There were several facilities and rooms in Garesto Academy that didn’t exist officially.
The reason for that was because they utilized information and technology that couldn’t yet be publicized in Earth.
It was a decision made to protect against the various thoughts that they predicted people would hold if they knew about these places.
Putting it simply, it was a way to prevent intrusion through illegal means and information theft.
That’s why they had jails and interrogation rooms as well, but they were rarely used.
Presently, however, they were being used like never before.
Due to the recent incident being covered up, many arrests were made, and the defense force, the security department, the safety department, and even other departments, though not to the same extent, were tasked in processing all of them.
That was especially the case for the team that attacked the school for they were asked to keep them under arrest until the authorities could deal with them.
The moment that decision was given, she knew that this was her last chance.
In one of the rooms hidden underground.
In an area simply designed, made out of only white walls, though that in and of itself engendered an intimidating aura of its own kind.
At the very center of that were two women facing each other. They were both seated, and between them was a four-legged table affixed to the ground.
Both were beautiful, but their beauty contrasted each other’s, and so did their expressions.
“Impossible! There’s no way!”
One of the women, the one that usually feigned a meek countenance, yelled out in surprise.
If not for the cuffs on her wrists and her ankles, she would have surely slammed the table.
She was Aria Banslet. When her old friend cruelly revealed an intel that wouldn’t be left on the records to her, her mind was thrown into disarray.
“Think what you want,” the white-haired teacher, Frire Doneju, said calmly.
She was in that unfashionable jersey as usual, but her expression was firm.
Her own speculations had led her to reveal this truth to Aria and her friends.
“But it’s the truth. Didn’t you think it strange? Even if this place was meant to be a symbol of our cooperation, two successors of the ten great nobles are still here,” Frire said.
“What are you talking about!?” Aria said.
“The city can claim neutrality all it wants, but it still exists on Earth. Don’t you understand what it means for us to be here?” Frire said.
“—Don’t tell me!?”
Aristel and Frire. The reason they came to Earth differed, but the reason their wish was granted was because it proved advantageous to either world.
To Garesto, having the two girls, who were vital to their army and also possessed lineage, in Earth would result in the weakening of their respective territories’ defense, and force people to move to fill those gaps.
There’s also a chance for them to be captured if the unthinkable were to happen.
To Earth, though the two girls may only be individuals, their placement in the academy was equivalent to a powerful force being stationed.
Even those that weren’t part of the anti-Garesto movement suspected that they might actually be the vanguards of an invasion.
“Yes, it’s because those that could see through the real meaning and value of the interaction between the two worlds were able to secure benefits,” Frire said.
In spite of all that, the reason why both worlds acknowledged their placement in the academy and why they could live normally in the academy said to be the symbol of the two worlds’ cooperation was because the authorities prioritized the merits that they could get from it.
That’s why their presence in the academy could be made out to look as though the interaction between the two worlds was going smoothly.
As for the organizations that managed the city, they believed that the impact of the two girls’ presence far outweighed the demerits.
At least, in regards to keeping the relationship between the two worlds peaceful.
“Aria, I am also a pure Garestonian, and someone who was once in the army. I understand being wary of our differences with Earth, and I also believe it to be necessary. I don’t think the Garesto government is without mistakes either,” Frire said.
She could sympathize with the Gaen Volunteer Army and the fears held by the anti-Earthers toward this world.
She also agreed that the government had indeed been inadequate in dealing with issues that have been predicted way before the cooperation between the two worlds was announced.
But even then…
“The interaction between the two worlds is necessary. Today and from now on. If not, then
As two people who once held the same position in the Doneju territory, they knew of the blessings it brought them.
The slight difference of acknowledging that or not is what led their paths to diverge so drastically.
“Impossible! There’s no way! It was a mistake! They messed up! We don’t need Earth!!”
Aria yelled as though that had to be the case.
She knew in her head that Frire was right, but her emotions prevented her from acknowledging it.
Because acknowledgment meant denying everything they’ve worked for until now, and the actions they took to try and protect Garesto would have actually been harmful.
That’s why she could only rave madly to deny reality, insisting that the government was wrong, that they’ve failed.
But that was not something she should’ve said in front of her.
Unfortunately, she didn’t know that words like those would rouse the painful memories Frire kept hidden.
True enough, a dark countenance appeared on her firm expression, and then her lips pulled together and her body shook.
But Aria didn’t notice that and continued to repeat her words, pouring oil into the flame unknowingly, giving rise to emotions that blazed like flames within Frire’s eyes.
“…You said the same thing when you lost to me too. Mistake, failure, disaster, unnecessary… You make me sick, Aria.”
Those words roused Aria from her raving.
They were just so cold and so unlike Frire that they caused a chill to sweep through her.
An emotion that hadn’t been aimed at her since they were friends and even when they became enemies was finally baring its fangs at her.
“You terrorists always use words likes those to deny everything! That’s why you can do anything! Burn you, Aria!!”
Driven by her emotions, Frire’s fist slammed into the table, and as though it were made out of plastic, the table smashed into the ground all too easily.
The emotion called ‘hate’ that had always been so distant from Frire had finally been unleashed.
“Cheap words like those mean squat, Aria! The woman who called me a mistake wouldn’t shut up about how she was justified. The bastards who mocked me for a failure later praised me as a masterpiece. The ones who called me a disaster and treated me harshly started praising me. They were the ones who abandoned me, and yet when they realized they needed me, they picked me up and acted like they were doing me a favor!” Frire said.
Those were words woven from experience, and in the face of Frire’s domineering speech, Aria could only listen quietly. She couldn’t even think.
But Frire was so agitated that she couldn’t even realize that.
“Are you like them too, Aria? Are you like them too!?”
Possessed by her anger, Frire lifted Aria by her collar and angrily yelled.
And yet, for some reason, despite all the anger, her voice sounded sad, but then again, perhaps that was only Aria imagining things.
“You called it a mistake, but when you finally find out that you’re wrong, you just lose your mind and deny everything! What’s next, Aria!? What’s next!? When you can’t deny it anymore, what will you say!? I bet you’ll flip your hand, and then you’llsay something self-serving again!”
Frire talked on and on with such intensity that it seemed as though she were about to attack her.
Hate and killing intent alike poured out from her eyes and her words.
And with Aria point blank that, she could only cower.
For the first time, Frire saw fear on her old friend.
When she saw that, she regained her sanity, and she turned her back on Aria as she let her go, dropping her.
Then as her shoulders shook in anger, she embraced herself and calmed herself down.
Aria looked up at her from the ground, but no words left her.
She’d never seen Frire like this before, so she didn’t know how to approach her.
“…Sorry. I didn’t intend to talk like this with you,” Frire said.
The silence lingered for a long time, only to finally be broken by Frire’s monotonous voice.
But her back was still turned to Aria, not willing to show the expression on her face.
From the sound of her voice, she likely just forced herself to calmed down.
“But… No, that’s why… Ah, forget it. I just can’t put it into words well… At times like these, I really hate myself for being so bad with words,” Frire said.
Indeed, she had only managed to appear calm, but deep inside, she was still as agitated as before.
With the weaving of words even harder than usual, Frire couldn’t figure out what to say or what she even wanted to say.
She knew she’d thought of them earlier, but they were gone now. In their place, came something else.
But then again, perhaps this was always what she wanted to say.
“Maybe that’s why… I’ve always been jealous of you, Aria,” Frire said.
“Huh?” Aria said.
When Frire muttered those words tinged with jealousy, she still had her back to her old friend, so she could not see the confusion that appeared on Aria’s face.
But as far as Frire was concerned, Aria had taken a girl that had no experience socializing and quickly became buddies with her.
After becoming estranged with her older brother, had she not met Aria, she would have likely been all alone.
That’s why ever since, Aria was both her first friend and a woman that she admired.
“I would’ve loved to always be your friend, but…”
That’s why she thought she’d at least bid her her last goodbye.
This incident hasn’t been disclosed to the public, so it was not possible for their trial to be held officially.
As things were, they would likely be sent to Garesto secretly, and then judged secretly.
With how high everyone’s combat abilities are, they would likely be sentenced to hunt raybeasts under an even stricter watch.
They would literally be used until their death, made to fight day after day, as sacrificial pawns known as warriors, to form a wall of humans to protect the sinless warriors.
She did not think that too heavy a price to pay for their crimes, but she was certain they would not be meeting again.
“We won’t be meeting again… Goodbye, Aria.”
“Ah, ah, w-wait, Frire! I!”
When Frire turned over her shoulders a little, she saw the surprise written on
Before Aria’s voice could even reach her, she’d already left the interrogation room.
Even Aria herself didn’t know what she meant to say after calling out to her.
Only that she’d forever lost a friend she couldn’t afford to lose.
Within the quiet room, she dropped her shoulders all alone.