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“We’re not going to reach an agreement here.”
After Bafrosk’s scornful laugh,
“You need to change your mind! Please, wake up already!”
Jalardos cried out, and then…
Amidst the radicals, the “dwarf” suddenly appeared.
“What do you think you’re doing!?”
But without saying a single word, the dwarf threw a silver ball over head and then disappeared in the blink of an eye.
(That’s that Nega-Doll!)
The only one who could react in time to it was Ann, who was present but concealed by the Invisible spell.
A silver ball. There was no time to determine what it actually was. Whatever it was, it was certain to be bad news.
Jin (‘s double) wasn’t here. And the place was full of radicals. And yet…
(…To think that Nega-Doll would still attack…!)
Whatever that silver ball really was, the “simple transfer machine” would be able to make it disappear. But at this point in time, Ann hadn’t been equipped with it yet.
The only prototype currently in existence was in Reiko’s possession. It would take another twelve-or-so hours before they could be mass-produced.
(I don’t have enough time! I have to protect Jalardos and Belials at the very least…!)
Since they were the two closest to Ann, she pulled them even closer. As Bafrosk had just pushed Jalardos’ shoulder, he too collapsed near Ann.
Then she deployed a barrier. That was all Ann could do with what little time she had.
And one second after Nega-Doll 001’s vanishing act…
The silver ball unleashed the magical power contained within.
＊ ＊ ＊
At Hourai Island, the chair Jin had been sitting on tumbled over and fell as he stood up abruptly.
For a brief moment, the radars picked up an Ether disturbance.
But that was all they got. The Magic Screen had blacked out.
“What happened to Ann!? And where’s Reiko?”
“My Lord, I’ve confirmed the others are safe. Switching over to them now.”
The Magic Window became brighter. It seemed that it was now showing Reiko’s field of view rather than Ann’s.
“Reiko, something happened to Ann and the others!”
Reiko replied immediately.
“Yes, Father. I could feel the fluctuation of Ether. Capricorn 1’s sensors detected both a sharp decrease in Ether and a sudden outburst of energy. At the same time as that, there was a strong flash of light around the location where Ann and the others had gone.”
Seeing this was a very serious matter, Jin decided to investigate it.
“Reiko, the simple transfer machine… Could you take the Transfer Gun and go check what happened to Ann and the others? But listen, listen to me. Be very careful.”
“Right away, Father.”
Reiko took her “Peach Blossom”, picked up the Transfer Gun and jumped out of Capricorn 1 before breaking into a run of over 200 km/h.
It took her a little over a minute to traverse the 4 kilometers between Capricorn 1 and the Kaigyaku clan’s abode.
Everything was completely silent, as if the commotion that had taken place just moments ago had been nothing but a lie.
After cloaking herself with an Invisibility spell, Reiko cautiously headed towards the place where the discussion had been taking place -that is, the residence of the clan chief, Bafrosk.
“…What is this…?”
Some demons were lying on the road. There was no time to check if they had died or just fainted, so she went past them.
Bafrosk’s residence was still surrounded by a deathly tranquility. The iron gates attached to the stone walls that surrounded the residence were closed.
As Reiko tried to open them, she noticed something strange.
“…The Ether concentration… is low?”
Compared to the area around Capricorn 1, the Ether concentration in this area was unusually low. It seemed to be slowly recovering, but the decrease itself had been abnormally excessive.
Such a phenomenon wouldn’t occur unless a series of super-powerful spells were to be used in rapid succession, and not just 10 or 20 times, but 100,000 or 200,000 times.
And even if such powerful magic had been used here, the building itself seemed to have sustained no damage.The confused Reiko pushed the heavy iron gates open.
Reiko’s Ether converter was highly efficient. It managed to convert enough Ether into Mana to supply energy to Reiko, regardless of the little amount of Ether currently in the area.
The bolts locking the door shut snapped like tree branches, and Reiko entered the residence.
Things inside weren’t too different from what she had seen outside. There were several demons lying around seemingly unconscious on the ground.
Since she learned from Ann’s report that the discussion was taking place in the courtyard, Reiko cut through the front yard and rushed into the manor itself.
There was no movement inside either, so Reiko simply dashed through the manor without being stopped by anyone and jumped out into the courtyard.
What Reiko saw there…
There were about 20 demons lying on the floor just like those before them.
After surveying the scene, Reiko finally caught a glimpse of Ann’s familiar blue hair on the opposite side of the courtyard.
In a single leap over the fallen demons, Reiko reached Ann’s position.
“Ann!” What happened!?”
Ann had collapsed there along with Belials, Jalardos, and Bafrosk.
There was no barrier protecting them.
Ann opened her eyes to Reiko’s voice.
“Ann, are you unharmed?”
“…Yes. …I’m feeling a bit weakened, but… I’m fine. No abnormalities found.”
Ann’s first words after opening her eyes came out with a bit of difficulty, but her voice soon returned to normal and she managed to stand up on her own.
Nega-Doll 001 had come out of nowhere, launched a silver ball and then vanished. That’s all she could recall.
The problem was what had happened after that.
“…I don’t know. I remember putting up a barrier as I kept an eye on that silver ball, but it seems that it got somehow disabled soon after that.”
Then she looked at the three demons lying on the floor near her.
“I tried to at least do something to help Belials and Jalardos, since they’re friendly towards us, so I dragged them both inside the barrier. It seems that Bafrosk got dragged in as well at that moment.”
Ann then crouched and took at them. None of them were conscious but were breathing and their hearts seemed to be still beating.
“Their heart rates are very low, though…”
Reiko also took a look. Ann was right, their heart rate was at about 30 beats per minute, which was about half of the normal rate. And the beating itself was extremely weak.
Reiko sent a report to Jin explaining everything that had happened so far.
＊ ＊ ＊
“Let’s try giving them some restorative medicine.”
Laojun instructed Ann to try and administer some of the medicine that she always carried with her to Belials, and Ann was set out to do exactly as she was told. However…
“The medicine… seems to have changed.”
The ampoule Ann took out had turned into a muddy color. There was no time to investigate the reason behind that at the moment, so Jin had Laojun send some more to Ann via the transfer machine.
Belials slowly swallowed the medicine, and after a short while, his heart rate seemed to have returned to normal. However, he had yet to regain consciousness.
“I’d like to hear Elsa’s opinion as well.”
Jin then had Laojun summon Elsa, who wasted no time in arriving at the Control Room.
“…What’s… wrong, B-Brother Jin…?”
Elsa had a stiffer attitude than usual, but Jin didn’t seem to notice it.
“Elsa, I want to hear your opinion on something.”
Then he briefly explained what had happened.
“…I see. If possible, I think it would be… better if we could administer this medicine to the others as well…”
Then Elsa shared her opinion.
“If we let their blood pressure stay this low for an extended period of time, these demons could end up having some bad aftereffects.”
Jin instructed Anne to administer medicines to Jalardos and Bafrosk as well.
Then he told Reiko to check the condition of the other demons.
Having received her orders, Reiko examined the other 20 demons. But then she reported a shocking fact.
“It’s no use. Everyone’s dead.”
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