“But I gotta hand it to you, you sure did them in really badly. I mean they’ve been perfectly cut in half and roasted,” the teacher said as she eyed the machines by Shinichi’s feet and by the door.
“We won’t be able to fix these. I’m supposed to have them fixed by the day too… What to do?” The teacher said as she dropped her shoulders in an exaggerated manner.
The teacher looked at Shinichi with a suggestive gaze.
She seemed to be laughing behind that gaze but why exactly was a mystery.
The conversation seemed to have taken an annoying turn, but Shinichi couldn’t just run here either as that would only make things worse.
Shinichi had a dubious expression on as he looked at the teacher.
“I’m actually a pretty busy person.
I want to have some time to myself, but the research and experiments just demand too much of my time.
That being said, I can’t just ignore my orders either, or I’ll find myself without a job.
I really need to submit two hoppers today, but at this rate, I’ll have to pull an all-nighter.”
“What… Exactly are you saying?”
“I’m sure asking a student like you to compensate financially would be too much, so how about lending me a hand instead? Just work enough hours to cover the costs of those hoppers,” the teacher brazenly said, causing Shinichi to be astounded.
In fact, even Myuhi who knew her also stiffened up.
“I… reject your proposition.”
“Frankly, what you’re saying doesn’t make sense.
You’re the one who caused those things to go out of control, and it was also you who left them to their devices.
Hence, it only stands to reason that the one who should be taking responsibility for them is you.”
She didn’t think she would actually get refused. Because of that she went speechless for a good moment or two.
Even after regaining herself, there was still a hint of wonder in her voice as she asked.
“Even though you’re the one who broke them?”
“Legitimate self-defense. If I hadn’t broken them, we would’ve gotten hurt.
I don’t believe I exercised any force beyond what was necessary… Am I wrong?”
She could argue that electrocuting one until it was black was excessive, but Shinichi could just argue that it was needed to completely shut down the device.
The smile from Teacher Shiroda’s face vanished as she quietly pushed up her glasses.
“…Fine. We can forget about the hoppers.
But breaking that sword is inexcusable.”
“That was also just used for self-defense.
It’s true it broke because of that, but when you think about it, the one who left it lying around was you, no?”
“…………I see where you’re coming from, but this is really putting me in a—”
“That’s none of my business.”
Try as the teacher might to get the conversation rolling, there just wasn’t anything she could cling to.
Shinichi just savagely cut down whatever excuses she gave.
“If you tell people your situation, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a way out of this predicament.
But regardless, the one responsible is you, not me.
Besides, isn’t it strange for a teacher to push her problems onto a student?” Shinichi said with a quiet chuckle.
That quiet chuckle was necessary when pushing the blame on other people like this. It allows one to easily leave the scene when emotions start to run hot.
I’ll figure something out by myself, so leave, just leave. You’re in the way…”
“Well then, if you’ll excuse me…”
The teacher was a lot calmer than expected, however.
Perhaps it was because she realized further talk was meaningless that she just shooed Shinichi away.
Shinichi and Co. didn’t bother refuting her kind offer as they promptly left the scene.
“Don’t get mad. If you get mad, you’ll lose.”
After ‘she’ got back up on Shinichi’s shoulders, she gave the impression of wanting to zap the faculty room.
Shinichi tried to soothe her anger, but she was probably concerned about how fishy the earlier situation was.
It really felt like there was another reason why the teacher tried to detain them.
“Guess that whole thing about ‘providing shelter’ really was hogwash.”
—That gaze was exactly like someone looking at a guinea pig.
It was a gaze he’d once experienced himself, so Shinichi understand very well what it meant.
“Hey, hey… Icchi?”
Just when a cold, dark expression was about to surface, a voice called out to Shinichi.
He’d already half-forgotten that the fox girl was still with him.
“Ah, what’s the matter?”
For some reason, Myuhi looked down.
She was still smiling, but her tail was drooping, so it was easy to understand her.
“Can I thank you for that just now?”
Ah, ahh, yeah, sure… I mean, are you ok?
I pushed you all of the sudden… Did you hit anything hard?”
When he recalled what he’d done to protect her, he suddenly began to worry.
Everything happened so suddenly, so he pushed her out like that, but there was probably a better way he could’ve done things.
“…………I-I’m fine! You don’t have to worry because I’m really sturdy!”
For some reason, Myuhi became cheerful when Shinichi showed his concern for her.
Her ears stood up and her tail started wagging so fiercely it seemed it would break.
Seeing her like that, Shinichi couldn’t help but think she was more like a dog than a fox.
“Now, let’s continue with the tour!”
Myuhi pulled Shinichi closely to her as she dragged him along.
But because of how close they were, Myuhi couldn’t hide the anxiety she felt.
Shinichi followed along, but just to be safe, he spoke to the girl who seemed to be avoiding turning around.
“………Don’t worry about it. I already forgot.”
At that, even Shinichi felt like he said something unnecessary.
He should have just honestly accepted her thanks.
There was no response, so Shinichi just quietly followed along, but seeing how Myuhi’s fox ears were moving around vigorously, she was probably in high spirits.
“Sorry about that earlier.
Shironacchi… Teacher Shiroda Natsumi is a true scientist who only shows interest in what’s in front of her.
She might act like that but she’s actually a great teacher who came up with Garesto’s system that ‘forcefully recovers’ yet-to-be-returnees.”
“…I see. Thanks.”
So that’s why she went through all that trouble to try and detain him.
Shinichi smiled as he shared that odd exchange of thanks and apologies with Myuhi.
“I sure was shocked, though.
I thought for sure you were the type to just do things on your own pace, but then you went and shut Shironacchi up.
I’ve never seen anyone do that before.”
“My own pace? You know I really don’t wanna be told that by you.
But with situations like that, you really have to firmly reject the person.”
It’s because some people honestly hear out people like that that they get taken advantage of.
“Ahaha, I guess even you’re bad with people like that, huh, Icchi?
But other people would have had an even harder time dealing with her. That’s her special trait, after all.”
Shinichi snorted when Myuhi said that.
“Special trait? You’re wrong, that’s just what you call being a brat.
People like that just don’t want to take responsibility for anything and just do whatever they want.
I hate stupid brats like that… Enough to want to kill them.”
A grim smile filled with bloodlust and hate appeared on Shinichi’s face as he honestly voiced out his opinion.
Myuhi gulped and ignored that threatening yet joking atmosphere.
“…Then, how about the other students?
I’m sure you know this already but there are a lot of strong kids here, a good part of which are full of selfish people.”
It was a scary question to ask considering Shinichi was still wearing that earlier smile as he listened.
He said he hated irresponsible people to the point of wanting to kill them.
But because of the school’s disposition there were more selfish people than selfless ones.
There was a thin difference between acting properly and doing as you pleased.
“Hmm, what do you mean?”
But Shinichi seemed confused by Myuhi’s question.
“Aren’t those children? Brats and children are different.
Children are supposed to be selfish, that’s a given.”
Apparently, Shinichi saw the words ‘brat’ and ‘children’ as two very different things.
The former he saw as a nuisance, while the latter he saw as an obligation.
“Ahaha, you’re so grownup, Icchi.
But I think 15 is too old to still be called children. You should lower the maximum age!”
An adult who looks after children.
That mature opinion left Myuhi in stitches as she bowed to Shinichi.
She even seemed to be trying to make herself as small as possible.
“Hmm… Now that you mention it, I’m 15, aren’t I?”
That’s a child, or at least, according to Japan’s standards it was.
When Myuhi saw Shinichi mutter that to himself and smile, she started laughing again.
“Let’s go!” Myuhi said with an exaggerated childlike voice as she pulled Shinichi by the arms and made herself smaller.
Shinichi felt grateful to her.
“I failed…” The teacher muttered to herself after everyone left the faculty room.
Her plan to take advantage of the student council’s request had completely failed.
The boy was completely different from his timid picture in the documents.
He was like an immovable rock that wouldn’t lie regardless who he was talking to.
“Too bad, I wanted to investigate a couple of things too.”
That was a very important research material, the girl thought as she laughed to herself.
After all, that was none other than the boy the system she came up with failed to detect. Moreover, it was a mysterious returnee who was by himself for over a month.
“The mysteries and the questionable parts… I want to know both.”
But what really piqued her interest was the fact that he was washed away by a mysterious dimensional drift and came back in an abnormal way.
Not being able to even come up with a hypothesis to answer the questions surrounding the boy has left her speechless for many nights already.
She wanted to investigate his body down to the last corner.
“I even thought of using force, but it seems hopeless.”
The improved hopper drones she made in her spare time were all instantly taken out.
The boy’s reflex speed and decision making were both top notch.
Not to mention that amaryllis that easily roasted one of her drones.
But more than anything else—
“He actually used ‘that’ sword to perfectly cut the special alloy I made.”
—was that impossible reality that left her in doubts.
“That sword was really under maintenance, so it didn’t have a foster link system, but somehow that boy still managed to course photon through it. How?”
It was a pity that reckless act of his blew up even the data.
Suddenly, the common sense she knew wasn’t so common anymore. That fact greatly roused her curious heart, and that same joy she felt once upon a time when she first touched Garesto’s science filled her chest again.
“…Sure is pretty, though. It’s almost as if it was always like this from the start,” she remarked as she slid her fingers by the cut side of a hopper.
That was one of the remnants of a hopper that was destroyed with a weapon under maintenance.
Other than using a foster what other means did she have? Even the drones she created couldn’t do anything. What was a mere scientist to do?
“What is it you know that I don’t, Shinichi-kun?”
Regardless, she would do anything to uncover those secrets.
As she decided that, she cheerfully laughed and started operating her foster.
“I’m not giving the student council any data.
Delete the video. And to be safe, delete everything.”
She didn’t feel like reporting, and they weren’t expecting one anyway.
The only thing in her mind right now was how to lure that boy again.
—She would end up spending sleepless nights, thinking of that.
As a result, she would be submitting those hopper drones late, but she didn’t care at all—
Author’s Note: The teacher is the same one that mediated the meeting in case 4 of 05-00.