Awakening in a pure white room, Akane Nishino glanced around.
“Where am I? It seems familiar yet not…”
Luckily, she wasn’t bound. She noticed that she had been changed into a thin, white garment resembling a hospital gown.
“I might be overseas… but these characters are unfamiliar.”
She scanned the room with various inscriptions, but none matched any languages from her memories.
“Seems like a research facility. Perhaps the organization that captured me wants to utilize my powers… but why aren’t they restraining me?”
Akane thought about her current state. She had regained her memories and her true “Knight of the Beginning” powers, so it was strange that she was not securely held.
“They’ve underestimated me.”
Just then, she felt the presence of two people just outside the door. There was some security in place, although it was feeble. Akane was confident she could easily overcome it, but these individuals might not necessarily be her enemies. There was a small possibility that they were part of an organization trying to help her.
As she contemplated, she sensed the presence near the door receding.
“A good opportunity.”
Akane made her decision quickly. She seemed to think that she could consider her options later. She rushed at the door and struck it with all her might. There was a resounding, exceptionally solid noise.
Akane winced and crouched down, clutching her fist.
The door she had hit showed not a single scratch.
“Why? I put my magical power into that punch!”
She gazed down at her hand and noticed that some of her black hair had turned golden.
“What’s this door made of…?”
When she lifted her face, she saw it. The inscriptions on the walls and door faintly emitted a soft radiance.
“This light… magical power?”
There was undoubtedly a flow of magical power.
“Could they possibly be extracting and using magical power from people? But that’s impossible; even my brother said so…”
The use of magical power had been studied by many researchers worldwide. This included attempts to extract magical power from individuals to use as a new source of energy, but all such experiments had been failures.
“Could this really be true…?”
If it were proven, it would explain why they hadn’t restrained her. This organization had the technological capability for it.
“But, it’s not certain yet.”
A single occurrence could be a coincidence. She stepped up once more and, with all her magical power, swung her fist.
In the next instant, the door abruptly swung open.
“Ah, not good!”
Her fist, which had suddenly stopped, struck the face of a silver-haired beauty on the other side. There was a soft sound as Akane’s full-force punch stopped.
Astonished, Akane blinked. The silver-haired girl had calmly caught Akane’s full-force punch with one hand.
Akane couldn’t believe her eyes.
“The door… it’s not locked. If you just ask, you can leave anytime.”
The silver-haired girl, speaking broken Japanese, mentioned this to her. Akane had a feeling that she recognized her.
“Wait, you’re… aren’t you Natsume? Why are you here?”
She was the younger sister of Minoru, who should have been in her brother’s research lab.
She wasn’t sure what there was to be okay with, but she nodded.
“Uh… Natsume, you can speak now. Who are you? And where is this place?”
The silver-haired girl, addressed as Natsume, tilted her head, contemplating for a moment.
“That’s right. I, Natsume, not right. Beta. I, Beta.”
Her words didn’t seem to make perfect sense, but Akane gathered her meaning.
“Wait, so your name isn’t Natsume; it’s Beta?”
“So you’re not Natsume; Beta is your real name?”
“I take care of you, no need to worry.”
Akane wasn’t completely convinced. This was all rather strange.
“So, you’re not Natsume; Beta is your real name. And you’ve brought me here?”
This situation was indeed worrying.
“Shadow Garden Beta, that’s who I am. I brought you.”
“So, you’re a member of an organization called ‘Shadow Garden,’ and you kidnapped me?”
Beta readily admitted to being the culprit with a big smile.
“So, you’re telling me that a member of an organization called ‘Shadow Garden’ abducted me under a false name, Natsume, while infiltrating Messiah?”
“No spy, investigation. Investigation of anotherworldly lifeform.”
Akane was baffled, unable to comprehend what this meant.
Beta pointed to Akane.
“So, you’re saying that I’m an anotherworldly lifeform?”
It was all very confusing.
With that, Beta took Akane by the hand, and they left the room.
“What is this place?”
Akane mumbled in bewilderment as she followed Beta through their facility.
The highly advanced magical technology in contrast with the less advanced scientific technology was evident.
The people in the facility spoke in a language Akane had never heard before, and most of them had distinctively pointed ears, indicating they were likely elves and beastfolk.
What astounded her the most was their formidable combat abilities.
“Want to try it?”
Beta suggested while crossing her arms. Astonishingly, she seemed to hold a high position in this place. Everyone treated her with great respect and carefully attended to her needs.
“Try what? You want me to fight?”
Akane tried to ask, but Beta interpreted her words differently, as there seemed to be some communication issues due to the language barrier.
“This place’s weakest person, come out!”
Beta yelled with a proud expression. It appeared to be one of the special phrases she had learned from Japan, although it didn’t make sense to anyone there because it was in Japanese.
“Since she really wants to fight, I guess the weakest among us should be her opponent. Just don’t let her do anything strange.”
Beta explained, looking a bit embarrassed. However, Akane couldn’t comprehend her words as it was a foreign language.
After a while, a Dark Elf with a blind eye led a young girl towards Akane. She looked around thirteen years old, with snow-white hair and beautiful yet somewhat intimidating eyes, twisted into a faint, mocking smile.
“711, you’re going to face her. You understand what will happen if you bring disgrace to the Shadow Garden’s name, right?”
The Dark Elf said something to the girl, who nervously turned her gaze towards Akane.
“Uh, well, nice to meet you.”
Akane said and extended her hand, trying to offer a friendly handshake.
The girl had a stern expression and glared at Akane.
“You’ll never defeat me. I can’t afford to falter in a place like this.”
Akane’s hand was brushed aside, and the girl continued to stare at her intensely.
“Uh, I’m sorry.”
Akane realized that handshakes might not be appropriate in this world.
Without further ado, Akane and the girl known as 711 picked up training swords and headed towards the center of the training ground.
Beta and Lambda waited at the edge of the training ground for the battle to begin.
“Who do you think will win?”
Lambda, a brown-skinned elf, asked. She was in charge of training the new recruits at Shadowgarden.
“Well, I don’t know much about number 711,”
Beta narrowed her blue eyes and smiled vaguely.
“Number 711 has been here for only half a month. She’s still the weakest, but in terms of potential, she’s one of the best.”
“It’s unusual for Lambda to say something like that.”
“She’s a prodigy. However, she’s a bit rebellious…”
“She’s still a child. I’m sure you can educate her.”
“Yes, of course.”
“I don’t know much about that black-haired girl either, but… her magic power seems a bit different. Is she the girl Beta brought back, the rumored one?”
“Yes, that’s her. Her name is Akane Nishino… but I think Shadow said Akane Nishimura .”
“In that case, it must be Akane Nishimura . If our master says so.”
“You’re right. It must be Akane Nishimura .”
“Akane Nishimura has intriguing magical power, but… I think number 711 will win.”
“I think so too.”
Beta quickly agreed with Lambda’s answer.
In the training ground, Akane and number 711 were standing ready with their swords. As soon as Lambda gave the signal, the match would begin.
At that moment, the door to the training ground opened.
A petite elf girl appeared from there. She wore a worn white coat and came towards Beta and the others, rubbing her sleepy eyes.
“Eta, what are you doing here?”
The petite elf was Eta, the 7th seat of the Seven Shadows, primarily focused on the study of Shadow Wisdom.
“I came to check on the test subject’s condition.”
She said with a sleepy voice. Her dark, long hair was messy and bounced as she spoke.
“The test subject? You mean Akane Nishimura? Did you get permission from Alpha?”
Eta replied, avoiding eye contact.
“We’ll confirm with Alpha later. Until then, you must not interfere.”
“There’s no need for confirmation. It would be redundant.”
“Until we confirm, you must not interfere,”
Beta repeated, as if reminding her.
“Hmph… I want to research her unique magical power right away.”
“Can I begin?”
Lambda asked Beta and Eta for confirmation, and both nodded.
“In that case, let the match begin!”
Lambda signaled, and Akane and number 711 swung their swords.
“Ngh… this girl is strong!”
Akane, trembling, absorbed the blow from number 711. It was a strike so sharp and heavy that it was unimaginable given her size, and it made her arm numb.
“I won’t lose… I absolutely won’t lose.”
Number 711, charged with determination, used her magic power to send Akane flying with force.
It was an unfamiliar experience for Akane, who had always been a strong individual in Japan. She hadn’t expected to lose in a straightforward magical power contest.
Akane managed to regain her footing and readied her sword. She had completely underestimated her opponent. She hadn’t anticipated that someone so young would possess such power. At this rate, she would lose.
Akane’s black hair gradually turned golden.
This was a battle that didn’t necessarily need to be won.
In fact, there might not have been a need to fight in the first place.
However, Akane felt the need to demonstrate her strength at this moment.
It was a way to prove her worth. Perhaps this young girl was a formidable individual within this organization, but she might not be the strongest.
The three individuals watching the battle from the sidelines probably held higher positions, and there might be other strong individuals as well.
So, escaping from this organization on her own using only her current abilities would be extremely difficult.
She needed to raise her standing within the organization, and eventually, an opportunity to escape would present itself.
Akane made this judgment and unleashed her magic power. Her black hair turned into a beautiful shade of gold.
“I’m sorry, but I have to go all out.”
Akane kept her sword at the ready and slowly closed the distance.
Number 711, perhaps sensing a change in Akane’s demeanor, observed her with an unhappy expression. The gap between them was closing steadily, and then, at the moment Akane took a step forward, she moved.
Her golden magic power was unleashed with incredible speed.
Reacting instinctively, Number 711 crossed her sword to defend herself and widened her eyes as she felt the force behind the attack. The sword she wielded creaked, and her arm went numb. She was pushed back.
Number 711 decided to retreat, trying to redirect the force, but she couldn’t completely control it.
She felt sharp pain in her right arm and frowned.
It seemed like she had injured herself, but Number 711 quickly composed herself, raised her sword, and faced Akane with a calm gaze.
Finally, Number 711 had regained her composure and was truly facing Akane, free from the pressure of Lambda and Beta.
She let out a small breath and adjusted her magic power. Although she had been practicing with a sword for a while, it had only been half a month since she started handling magic power. This was the true power of Number 711, recognized by Lambda as a prodigy.
“I won’t lose.”
Number 711 whispered to herself as if to reinforce her determination.
“What is this girl…?”
Akane shivered in front of the small girl who exuded an aura akin to a master. It was an opportune moment for a follow-up attack.
Number 711 had sustained some injuries during the earlier exchange.
Akane could sense it. If she had immediately followed up with an attack, there was a good chance the match would have ended.
However, she couldn’t do it. It was because of the way Number 711’s eyes seemed to see through everything. An opponent with eyes like those was dangerous.
“I can’t afford to lose either.”
Akane said, even though words weren’t necessary. She could feel that Number 711 was carrying something in this battle.
But Akane couldn’t afford to lose. She had made up her mind to meet him again.
Their determination clashed as their two swords met.
One strike, two strikes, three strikes… At first, Akane’s sword was pushing back, as the difference in their magical power was directly affecting the outcome.
Six strikes, seven strikes, eight strikes… However, as the battle continued, Number 711’s sword grew more composed. No, she was skillfully diverting Akane’s magical power.
Number 711’s sword began to graze Akane more frequently.
“Kageno-kun, lend me your power…!”
Around the twentieth exchange, Akane ventured into a dangerous range. She sensed that she would lose if she continued like this.
However, this was precisely what Number 711 had been waiting for. She had been enticing Akane all along, waiting for that moment when Akane stepped into the danger zone.
Continuing in this way would have resulted in Number 711’s defeat. At the perfect moment, Number 711 swung her sword. At that moment, a snap and crack sounded as Number 711’s right arm broke. Her bones were shattered in that instant. Her sword slightly dulled.
In that moment, Akane’s strike overlapped with Number 711’s.
And then, it was settled.
“I never expected it to end in a draw…”
“Our predictions were off.”
Looking down at the two fallen in the center of the training ground, Beta and Lambda spoke.
“As you said, Number 711 is quite the prodigy. Though she lacked composure in her initial moves.”
“It’s my fault for not training her properly. I’ll reforge her skills soon.”
“On her own, Number 711 outperformed her. But what’s most remarkable is Akane Nishimura’s quality of magic. It’s abnormal, not just in terms of the sheer magical power, but there’s something different about it…”
“Could it be that she wields magic from a different world than ours? Or is she the exceptional one?”
“We don’t know. Regardless, once she’s settled down, we’ll need to ask her various questions, and researching this is going to be— Wait!”
Beta interrupted and grabbed Eta by the collar.
“This unique magic is fascinating.”
Eta had been scuttling towards Akane like a cockroach.
“Eta! Don’t get any closer until Alpha gives permission!”
“If I wait for permission, I might end up dead.”
“You won’t die so easily!”
“Time is money. My mission is to prevent opportunities from being lost due to foolish choices.”
“Fine, but I won’t grant permission no matter what you say!”
“Ugh… Next time, I’ll make Beta the subject of my research.”
“Muu… If you do that, I’ll report it to Alpha!”
“Uuugh… It’ll cut into the budget… But if I give in to threats, it could hinder the advancement of Shadow Wisdom…”
Grumbling to herself, Eta seemed lost in thought.
“Now, let’s take them to the medical room while they’re still unconscious. When they wake up, I’ll explain the next steps.”
“What’s the plan for the future?”
“For now, I’ll leave Akane Nishimura in Lambda’s care until she settles down. After that, I intend to have her cooperate with us in various ways.”
Lambda gave orders to her subordinates and had Akane and Number 711 transported to the medical room.
“Ugh… Where is this…?”
When Akane woke up, she found herself lying on a soft, white bed. It seemed like a medical room.
“Did I… lose? No, my strike should have connected…”
In the final moments of that battle, Akane’s ambush had been completely anticipated.
Under normal circumstances, she should have definitely been defeated.
However, for some reason, her opponent’s attacks had dulled, and their strikes had landed almost simultaneously. It was at that point that Akane’s consciousness had wavered.
Akane sat up and looked around the room. She noticed a white-haired girl lying in the adjacent bed.
“It looks like it ended in a draw.”
Relieved to see that the girl had no visible injuries, Akane sighed with relief. The girl had a still-innocent and cute sleeping face.
But this tiny girl had completely surpassed Akane in strength. Having fought her, Akane knew that if they were to fight again, she would undoubtedly lose.
“Are you having a nightmare? It’s okay.”
Akane leaned in and gently stroked the girl’s head.
“It’s alright, you’re safe.”
It was unfortunate that such a small girl had to fight. Perhaps this world, like Japan, was a harsh environment.
As Akane affectionately stroked her head, the girl’s face gradually brightened. She slowly opened her eyes and looked at Akane.
“You woke up. Are you okay?”
The white-haired girl looked at Akane, still somewhat groggy, and smiled gently.
“Mom… Where’s Dad…?”
With an angelic smile, the girl reached out towards Akane, who was taken aback.
The girl quickly jumped up and distanced herself from Akane.
“W-Wait, calm down.”
She was clearly agitated.
“Grr… Don’t come any closer! I lost to the likes of you…? I lost…?”
The girl glanced around, gradually taking in the situation.
“Relax; you’re safe.”
The girl’s eyes welled up with tears as she processed what had happened.
“Are you okay? Is something bothering you?”
When Akane reached out to comfort her, the girl pushed her hand away.
“Don’t touch me… Ugh… I swore I would never cry again.”
The girl wiped away her tears and hopped off the bed.
She held back a sob and ran out of the room.
“Are you okay…?”
Akane watched the girl with concern.
However, she couldn’t communicate with someone who didn’t understand her words.
“You woke up.”
At that moment, the silver-haired elf Beta entered the room.
“Uh, the girl who was just here left while crying…”
Whatever Beta meant by “it’s okay,” Akane couldn’t quite grasp.
She realized it was futile to talk to her.
“So, what’s going to happen to me now? What is your purpose here? Can I go back to Japan?”
“I understand. I understand very well.”
Beta held Akane’s hand and grinned with a strange scent in the air.
“Oh, I see.”
“I’m on your side. Someday, I’ll send you back to Japan.”
“Can I really go back to Japan?”
“Probably, but you need to cooperate or you can’t go back.”
“Is this a threat?”
“It’s not a threat; it’s a highly advanced technical issue.”
“Alright, if I can help, I will.”
She didn’t trust Beta completely, but she understood that resisting now would be futile. In her current situation, to return to Japan, she had to explore this organization.
Being seen as a cooperative person rather than a defiant one would make it easier for her to move around later.
“Thank you very much. Akane, a good person. I’m your ally.”
“For now, you will be one of this organization’s people. The organization’s name is ‘Shadow Garden.'”
“So, I’ll be part of Shadow Garden. What kind of organization is it?”
“We hide in the shadows and hunt in the shadows.”
“That sounds pretty cool.”
She didn’t fully grasp their activities, but it had a different world vibe to it.
Now that she thought about it, he used to like this kind of cool stuff, and she smiled, feeling a bit nostalgic.
“From now on, you will have a number. You’re now 712. You’re not Akane Nishimura anymore.”
“A number… I’m 712…. wait Akane Nishimura?”
Akane’s thoughts stopped when she was called by that name.
“You’re Akane Nishimura. Isn’t that right?”
“Akane Nishimura … Why did you call me that?”
Only one person had ever called Akane that.
“Akane Nishimura, isn’t it?”
“That’s right; it’s okay. I was just curious why you knew my name.”
“I see. I heard it from someone.”
“So you asked someone about me?”
If it was just her imagination, that was fine. But if it wasn’t…
Akane’s heart started to race.
Calm down; she couldn’t let anyone discover it yet.
“I see. Were you curious?”
“I was. Are you surprised?”
“Why do you call me ‘Akane Nishimura’? You know my name. I don’t get it.”
“If it’s just your name, don’t worry about it. But if there’s something more…”
Akane tried to sound casual, extending the conversation.
“I heard it from someone.”
“Really? From someone in Japan?”
“Secret. But everyone at that base knew your name. It’s not surprising.”
That’s what Beta said.
Everyone at the base knew the name Akane Nishino, but calling her Akane Nishimura was something only he did.
If he was here, Akane’s goals and plans would drastically change.
“Yeah, you’re right. I wasn’t thinking straight.”
Akane awkwardly scratched her cheek, and Beta just smiled as she continued to watch.
“Starting today, you’re 712, and you’ll be living in Shadow Garden.”
“712, got it.”
“I’ll show you around the place where you’ll be living. Come with me.”
Guided by Beta, Akane left the medical room.
I woke up in a place that looked like it was straight out of a fantasy world, but then again, that’s exactly where I found myself.
It was like stepping into a vivid dream, filled with grand arches, ornate stonework, and soft, indirect lighting that bathed the surroundings in a gentle glow.
As I contemplated my surreal surroundings, I couldn’t help but wonder about the room where I had regained consciousness earlier.
It felt oddly familiar, like a slice of modern Japan transplanted into this otherworldly realm. It was as if they had taken Japanese technology and seamlessly integrated it into their world.
“712, is there something on your mind?”
Beta, the elf who was guiding me, asked.
Her silver hair glistened in the soft light.
I was momentarily lost in my thoughts before responding.
“No, I’m just fascinated by how different this world is.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
Beta replied with a hint of satisfaction.
“The medical room we just left is where they take you if you get injured. And this is the restroom.”
“The restroom, I see.”
“Yes, the restroom.”
Beta repeated, making it clear that she preferred the term.
I peered into one of the compartments and saw the familiar setup of a Japanese bathroom – large, flushable toilets, sinks with mirrors, and a clean, well-kept environment.
It was a stark contrast to the fantasy setting I had initially imagined.
“So, they have flush toilets”
“The latest technology.”
Beta affirmed proudly.
I couldn’t help but feel that there was something amiss. The resemblance to a modern Japanese restroom was uncanny, down to the smallest details.
“Who’s responsible for all of this?”
“It was Eta,”
I recalled the small elf in a lab coat who had appeared before the match.
“That’s right, the little elf who was watching the match with us.”
“But the original knowledge isn’t from Eta.”
“Who provided the knowledge?”
“It’s a secret.”
Beta answered with a mysterious smile.
The more I learned, the more questions arose. Something was not quite right with this place.
I was led by Beta to a spacious atrium.
Even though mealtime had already passed and it was quite peaceful, this place could comfortably seat several hundred people.
I was overwhelmed by the vastness of the space and the exquisite decorations on the walls and ceiling.
“Are you hungry?”
“Oh, a little…”
“I’ll go get something.”
Beta seated me and went to fetch some food.
The table and chairs where I sat were also of high quality. The enormous table, over ten meters long, was made from a glossy single piece of wood, and the chairs had intricate carvings and were quite comfortable.
No way, could this design possibly be the work of a famous interior designer…?
“It looks similar.”
Although the famous chair I knew didn’t have carvings, the overall design of the large frame was strikingly similar to a masterpiece.
If that were the case, I’d start to doubt the origin of all kinds of interiors.
Could that lighting possibly be…those dishes, maybe…I’d begin searching for his influence in every little detail.
“It can’t be…”
I realized I was only cherry-picking information that suited me. After all, these were tools used by humanoid beings, and there was a fair chance of resemblance occurring by pure coincidence. I tried to calm my thoughts.
“Why are you looking around so much?”
“Oh, there are so many unusual things here.”
Before I knew it, Beta was sitting at the seat in front of me. A group of elves and beastmen, who seemed to be his subordinates, were arranging the meal in front of Beta and me.
“What’s the matter?”
The meal placed in front of me was undeniably Japanese cuisine.
“Why is there Japanese food here?”
“Japan also ate the same thing?”
Certainly, Beta had operated under the name Natsume in Japan. It wouldn’t be surprising for him to reproduce the culinary culture he had encountered during that time in this world.
“Miso soup… and even soy sauce.”
Had he managed to recreate these condiments in a short amount of time, or did Beta bring them from another world? There were possibilities for both.
The miso soup had a refined flavor with a strong dashi taste.
“I’m glad you like it.”
Beta skillfully used chopsticks to eat.
I, too, began to eat my meal, trying not to appear suspicious.
“It was delicious.”
As we finished our meal and sipped on coffee, a familiar girl suddenly appeared behind Beta.
“I have obtained Alpha’s permission.”
It was indeed Eta. The girl in a white robe with tired eyes spoke to Beta in a foreign language.
“Really? Can I see it?”
Beta received the documents from Eta with a skeptical look.
“It’s a permission letter from Alpha. It says to entrust the handling of Akane Nishimura to Eta.”
The mention of “Akane Nishimura” caught my attention.
Eta quickly tried to collect me from under the table.
“Wait a minute! Even if Alpha gave permission, there are two suspicious points.”
“W-What are they?”
Beta grabbed Eta by the collar, and Eta looked uneasy.
“First, even if Alpha gave permission, it’s impossible that you’d be entrusted with this without someone to supervise you.”
“Well… that’s because of my past actions and the trust I’ve built up…”
“And secondly, the handwriting lacks conviction. It looks like someone was imitating Alpha’s handwriting and wrote it slowly.”
“W-What do you mean?”
Eta was sweating profusely.
“Eta, you forged the documents.”
Beta glared at Eta, and Eta forced a strained smile.
“Accept your fate. I’m going to Alpha now.”
Eta interrupted Beta with a cold voice.
“In that case, it’s time for the use of force.”
In the next moment, my view turned upside down.
I was restrained by a black slime and hung upside down. I struggled desperately, but the black slime was incredibly resilient.
Even when I infused it with magical power, it felt like my power was being absorbed.
“Eta, what are you doing!?”
Beta and her subordinates were also restrained in the same way.
“The use of force. It’s useless to talk to ordinary people.”
Eta said indifferently as she tried to take me away, hanging me upside down.
“Wait a second! Hold on!”
Beta tore apart the black slime and quickly generated a jet-black sword, flowing smoothly as she slashed at Eta.
Eta narrowed her eyes slightly and controlled the slime. What she created was a massive shield.
Beta’s sword clashed with Eta’s shield, resulting in a dull, echoing sound.
“What’s the deal with this shield?”
Beta’s sword couldn’t leave a single scratch on Eta’s shield. Moreover, it seemed to be absorbing the sword rather than being damaged by it. In a hurry, Beta pulled his sword back.
“New technology, responds to and absorbs magical power.”
“I didn’t ask for an explanation! You promised to report any useful technology immediately, right?”
When they were speaking, Beta made an astonishingly fluid move to attack Eta.
The agility of Beta, a dubious-looking girl, made me just overwhelmed.
I understood why Beta was respected within this organization. Compared to me, even the movements of the “711” seemed like those of a child.
And Eta’s skills in confronting Beta were beyond imagination.
She could freely manipulate the slime, creating shields, swords, spears, and more to counter Beta. Her movements were far from martial arts, but they indicated a mastery of technology in a different direction. Their control of magical power and parallel thinking were out of the ordinary.
The abilities of the two were almost equal, or perhaps both of them were not going all out. They were fighting within the limit where they wouldn’t harm each other, and they hadn’t shown their trump cards yet, as my intuition told me.
Beta’s strike pushed Eta back.
While using her shield for protection, Eta skillfully manipulated the slime in mid-air, taking evasive actions. However, Eta seemed troubled.
Beta’s subordinates had their weapons at the ready, surrounding Eta.
Beta said triumphantly.
“I will restrain you, Eta-sama, please forgive me.”
From Nu to Lambda, Kai, Omega, and the other Numbers, they gathered one after another.
Eta couldn’t help but frown at this.
“If you surrender now and throw away your weapons, apologize sincerely, I might go easy on your punishment.”
Beta closed the distance with pressure.
“Enough of this, what’s going on here?”
A beautiful woman with translucent, lake-like hair color appeared. She was the meticulous Epsilon, the Fifth Seat of the Seven Shadows.
“Two of the Seven Shadows, and a whole bunch of others… This is getting a bit tough.”
Eta mumbled quietly.
Some of those referred to as “a whole bunch of others” furrowed their brows.
However, it was only natural. Everyone here was an incredible powerhouse.
I could tell from their combat postures with weapons drawn and magical power being condensed. Remarkably, everyone present was far stronger than me.
I would have had pride in my own abilities and confidence in what I had achieved. To be treated as “a whole bunch of others” had to be uncomfortable, but none of us protested. Everyone understood that it was a fact.
“Perfect, Epsilon. Help me keep this idiot in check”
“Sure thing, Beta. I’ll lend a hand.”
She, too, understood that Eta was at fault.
Beta and Epsilon flanked Eta, and the rest of us formed a perimeter around them.
“Alright, I give up.”
Eta raised both of her hands, as if conceding.
“You surrender, right?”
Beta asked, but no one relaxed their guard. Eta hadn’t dropped her weapons yet, and given her personality, nobody thought she would give up this easily.
“I give up, I give up! I surrender right now!”
Even though she was completely surrounded with her hands up, Eta suddenly said something outrageous.
“Do you think I’m surrendering?”
“Everyone, be on guard! She is not surrendering?”
As Eta scanned her surroundings to make sure, everyone remained cautious, and no one surrendered.
“Okay, negotiations have broken down.”
“Yes, negotiations have broken down.”
Eta and Beta said simultaneously.
“Everyone, apprehend Eta with full force!”
And then, they all moved at once.
The next moment, they began to melt.
Their magical power went haywire, and their clothes and weapons melted away.
Beta managed to retain some of her equipment, but the rest of them were nearly naked, making it impossible to continue the fight.
“It’s a magical power disruption barrier that applies the interference waves of the Shadows of Garden (except me).”
“You should have reported something like that immediately if you developed it!”
“Setting conditions for it is challenging, so I could only use it in a limited way.”
“Forget it! In that case, Beta, let’s try to handle this together!”
Beta turned to her reliable ally, but Epsilon had disappeared. Instead, there was a note on the table.
“I’ve remembered an urgent mission, so I’m taking my leave. Epsilon.”
“Oh, that woman!!”
Beta let out a furious roar.
In the midst of her anger, Eta exploited Beta’s moment of weakness and pushed her over, leaving her unconscious.
And so, I was taken away by Eta.
I apologize for the mistake. Let me correct the text with the proper name:
“Ugh… Where am I?”
As Akane woke up, she found herself in a dimly lit underground chamber. She was restrained with black slime and lying on a bed. The surroundings were cluttered with experimental apparatus and various items that she couldn’t identify.
“It seems like I’ve been abducted quite often recently.”
Akane sighed quietly.
She struggled to break free, but the restraints held her firmly. This black slime seemed to possess some remarkable restraining capabilities.
“Is someone here?”
Akane called out. Despite the clutter of items and the dim lighting, she had sensed the presence of someone moving around.
The presence turned towards Akane. Emerging from the pile of items was a girl in a white lab coat, known as Eta.
“Oh, you’re Eta. What do you plan to do with me?”
“You’ve awakened. Surprisingly resistant… Perhaps I should have used a more potent sedative,”
Eta muttered in a foreign language.
Akane couldn’t understand what she was saying, but Eta’s gaze sent shivers down her spine. It was not the gaze of someone looking at a person. It felt like she was viewing Akane as a mere test subject or data.
“Am I an experimental subject? No, it’s as if she is just looking at data. You don’t see me as a human.”
Eta approached the bed and examined Akane’s condition in a clinical manner, touching her body without any consideration for her feelings.
“Normal breathing, slightly elevated heart rate, mild nervousness.”
Eta stated as she touched Akane.
“Everything is normal. Thus, no change to the plan.”
“What are you saying? What are you planning to do with me?”
Akane asked, but Eta continued to give her emotionless, clinical responses.
“Whether you’re conscious or not, there’s no change to the plan. However, your vocal cords might be a hindrance, causing distraction.
I’m considering either removing them or administering a sedative. Since I’m going to dissect her anyway, maybe I should remove her vocal cords and study them first, or perhaps I should begin with the verification of the conversation from the other world.”
Eta muttered, talking to herself to organize her thoughts.
She seemed to be talking to Akane, but she wasn’t actually paying attention to her.
“What have you been saying all this time?”
For the first time, Eta looked at Akane and uttered some Japanese words quietly.
“Ah, ah, aiueo, this the correct pronunciation?”
Eta said in a quiet voice.
“You can talk?”
Akane was amazed by Eta’s fluent Japanese and her superior pronunciation and language comprehension compared to Beta.
“What’s your purpose? What do you intend to do with me?”
“Experiment. To satisfy intellectual curiosity.”
“First, conversation. Understanding the rules of communication and the flow of thought. Then, physical examination, examination of magical power, and finally, extracting knowledge from your brain.”
“Extracting knowledge from my brain…?”
“The knowledge from another world is valuable. But even in conversation, there can be lies and noise. It’s a waste of time. Therefore, with this… I’ll do it quickly.”
Saying this, Eta pointed to a massive contraption, resembling a coffin, with numerous pipes and cables coiled around it, occasionally emitting steam.
It looks suspicious.
“W-What is that?”
“Brain Sucker 23. The masterpiece that extracts human knowledge without waste. After overcoming numerous failures, it has finally been completed… or so I think.”
“Completed, or so you think…?”
“I referred to Professor Sherry Barnett’s paper from the academic city of Lawagas, ‘The Relationship Between the Brain and Magic. The possibility of interfering with magic and destroying or healing the brain, and its practical application plan.’ If it fails, it’s her fault, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. I used to think Lawagas was full of stubborn old geezers, but there are some outstanding researchers among them, and she’s one of them. By the way, there’s a lecture by Sherry Barnett in Lawagas next week. I wonder if it’s worth attending…”
Eta muttered irresponsible words that couldn’t be trusted.
“What’s wrong with you? What do you think of me?”
“A fairly valuable life form. About a few generations after him.”
“A valuable life form, you say? And who is ‘him’?”
“He’s ‘him’… A much more valuable life form than you. I learned the basics of your language from him.”
“Japanese… from him? It couldn’t be…!”
Akane had a bad feeling. If Eta had learned Japanese from him, and he was captured by this girl who saw no value in people, then…
“Are you concerned about him? He cooperated with the Brain Sucker 19 experiment, but he’s fine, so 23 should be fine too.”
“Wait… Did you use that incomprehensible machine on him? Did he agree to it?”
“Agree… there’s no need for that. Just a little deception and a push. He’s tough; he’ll be fine.”
“Forcing him… to participate in experiments…!”
Calm down. It’s not confirmed that he’s the person Akane is thinking of.
Akane took a deep breath to control her anger.
“Experiment, you say… trying dragon-slaying poison, dissecting brains, trying to extract magic circuits, and things like that?”
Calmly, Eta explained.
Akane’s molars ground together.
“Tell me. Who is he…?”
In a trembling voice of anger, Akane asked.
“He’s ‘him’… Uh, describing people is hard. Oh, the one who wrote this.”
Eta said this and showed Akane a note written in Japanese.
There wasn’t much written on it, but Akane recognized the handwriting.
“No way… This handwriting, could it be… Kageno-kun?”
Tears welled up in Akane’s eyes. There was no mistaking it; that handwriting belonged to Minoru Kageno.
In that moment, all of Akane’s questions seemed to connect. Minoru Kageno was in this world.
He had been abducted to another world after the truck accident and had become an experimental subject of this girl named Eta, losing his knowledge of Japan.
This also raised the possibility that the accident’s victim could have been faked, or even that the accident itself might have been a fabrication using technology from another world.
Thinking about what he had endured—suddenly losing his home, being separated from his family and friends, and forced into an unknown, harsh world—Akane trembled with anger.
“You… What are you doing? Is he… is he safe?”
“He’s safe… for now.”
“For now? What do you intend to do?”
“Experiments and dissection.”
“What…?! Where is he?”
“Well… I think we’ve talked enough. I pretty much understand.”
Eta seemed unwilling to answer any further.
She turned her back to Akane and continued to prepare some equipment.
“Answer me! Where is he?”
Akane struggled to break free from her restraints, but the slime held her firmly, causing her bones to creak.
“Preparations are complete.”
She is holding what looked like a collar. Oddly, thick, foul-smelling slime clung to it.
“What… what is that?”
“Vocal Cord Removal Device No. 1. It had very limited use, and it was collecting dust in the warehouse, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
Eta proceeded to put the mysterious collar on Akane.
“Don’t worry; it won’t hurt. Now, 3, 2, 1…”
Just as she was about to press the switch on the collar:
With a dull thud, Eta’s head shook.
“Ah, my head…”
Eta held her head and crouched down.
“Cut it out. I won’t allow it today.”
A golden-haired elf appeared behind Eta, holding a hammer made from transformed slime in her hand.
She had used the hammer to strike Eta.
“What… What are you doing? Once brain cells are damaged, they can’t recover… My intellect…”
Eta glared at her.
“What’s with those eyes?”
“Even if it’s Alpha-sama, I won’t allow it…”
“Take this, Magic Interference Barrier (excluding me).”
However, nothing happened.
“It seems that this magic interference barrier was applied using jamming technology.”
“Sorry, but I’ve disabled the jamming signal.”
Saying this, Alpha removed her clothing. Underneath, she wore a gleaming silver slime suit.
“You know it, don’t you? Among the legends of the Hidden Wisdom, there’s a skill to block signals with aluminum foil.”
“Could it be that those legends were real?”
“This is your answer.”
With that, Alpha swung her hammer down on Eta’s head.
The impact left Eta unable to move.
She let out a small scream and collapsed unconscious.
“Take her away. She’ll be under disciplinary suspension until she reflects, and there will be a significant reduction in research funding. For a while, she’ll only be allowed to conduct the research I assign.”
The girls who appeared behind Alpha, as they collected the unconscious Eta and took her away.
“I’m sorry for the trouble,” she said to Akane and proceeded to release her from her restraints.
“Um, who are you?”
Akane was overwhelmed by the beauty of the elf, rendering her almost speechless.
“I can’t understand your language. I’ll leave the rest to Beta.”
She said, and then left.
She was incredibly powerful and stunningly beautiful. Akane had an intuitive sense that she was the organization’s top combatant.
“Are you okay?”
Soon after, the silver-haired girl Beta appeared, and Akane was rescued.
“Starting today, this is room number 712, dears.”
Beta led the way to a sterile-looking door.
“So, this is my room?”
“Yes. I’ve explained a lot. Have you understood everything?”
“Good. Here, this is a language textbook. Learn it quickly.”
Beta handed over a book with the title “Understanding the Language of this World for Otherworldly Beings.”
“Um, what about someone to teach me?”
“Practice is the only way. I’m quite busy too. Well then, goodbye.”
Beta averted her eyes and quickly walked away.
Things weren’t going well at all, but Akane was tired from everything that had happened today.
She sighed and opened the door to her room.
“It’s cleaner than I expected…”
Inside the room were three beds, and on one of them, someone was sleeping.
The girl on the bed seemed to sense Akane’s presence and woke up. She had snow-white hair, and she was the same small girl who had fought Akane before.
Akane and the girl exclaimed almost simultaneously.
“That…that, you’re the new kid, aren’t you…?”
“Oh, you’re in the same room too. Nice to meet you.”
Akane, who recovered quickly, smiled and said that.
“Ugh…I can’t stay with someone like you…! I’ll sleep outside!”
The girl jumped off the bed and glared at Akane before running away.
Akane didn’t know what she had said, but it was definitely not friendly.
She watched the girl’s back and sighed.
There were so many problems here.
A different world, an incomprehensible language, an organization filled with powerful individuals, an unfriendly roommate – there wasn’t a single true ally.
But there was one glimmer of hope.
“Kageno-kun, this time, I’ll be the one to save you…!”
With that determination in her heart, Akane clenched her fist.