There was a small building by the border of the urban and suburban areas of Kyoto.
It was completely owned by a certain company, and for some reason, there weren’t many people in it. In a certain room within the top floor of that building could be found two women facing each other over a table with guards standing behind them.
There was a sharpness to the air between them, and the atmosphere was anything but friendly.
“What do you mean you failed?”
A woman in a white ladies’ suit was sat deeply on a luxurious sofa, glaring at the woman before her with an intimidating air, yet the woman dressed in a kimono was unaffected and merely returned it.
“We didn’t fail, someone interfered, but they didn’t show themselves even once, and all the units were destroyed.”
Hence, it was not an accident or anything of the sort, but the intentional interference of a third party.
The woman in a suit did not seem convinced, but that couldn’t be helped.
“Well, you’re the only one who can see, so you can say whatever you want.”
The only proof the woman in kimono had were her words, so her claims weren’t that credible.
But neither did she stay silent in the face of those accusations.
“Then why did those mechanical bugs you’re so proud of fail to return? Not even a single one came back. Operating them and figuring out what happened to them is your job, no?”
Why did they all become unresponsive? The woman in suit did not have an answer to that, so she changed the topic with a bitter expression.
“Hmph. In any case, our main objective, the dimensional interference device, was a success. The drones were just a way to explore the integration of our technologies anyway.”
“Let’s leave it at that then.”
When the woman in suit said that it wasn’t anything to fuss over, the woman in kimono sneered.
While it was true that their main objective was the Dimensional Interference Device, the demand was for the
The woman in kimono was aware how unfamiliar she was with the world, but she wasn’t so ignorant as to fail to understand that much.
A device that could cause cracks on the dimensional walls and force raybeasts to spawn, and a drone that could camouflage itself as a bug.
The dimensional interference device was certainly revolutionary, but it was by no means practical.
In comparison, even if the mechanical bugs were still prototypes, it was something that was being researched even before the exchange was made public.
Only, despite the many years of research, they could not make the bugs act like real bugs while packing them with cameras and keeping their size.
Was that not why they turned to them? The woman in the kimono mocked, not with words but with her expression.
“That’s funny. Was it not you who left your clan and had to cling to us out of fear that you might be completely left behind by the times?”
But the woman in suit seemed to have seen through that, and she said that bluntly with an even sharper glare.
The woman in the kimono did not change her expression, but she did grind her teeth.
Because they insisted on making the drones as small as real bugs, the amount of things they could stuff inside had to be reduced.
That’s why they didn’t include any
That made it possible to deploy a large number of eyes at a lower cost than if they were to be operated independently of each other.
The downside was that only the exorcists could see what the drones were seeing, so from the perspective of the woman in suit, it wasn’t really a product that they could have used. Of course, it would be a lie to say that she had no expectations for it.
But in that regard, the dimensional interference device was much better if only she
“Oh, but I don’t think you’re in any position to talk either considering you’re just a third rate company president drowning in debts.”
On one hand was a group that possessed advance technology but were a pitiful bunch struggling just to survive.
“That’s funny coming from an antiquated princess ostracized by her own clansmen.”
On the other was a group with history but whose power has declined and was now irrelevant.
The two women mocked each other with a dazzling smile, intentions veiled, while the guards standing behind them openly glared at each other, intentions unveiled.
These two women might share their technology and knowledge, but there was no camaraderie between them.
If anything, they were closer to being sworn enemies, and the air about them was so disquieting a third party witnessing this might have just fainted.
『Fights between women sure are scary. 』
But of course, that would only be true if said third party was normal.
“What’s the matter!?”
Suddenly, their guards were sent flying into the wall and knocked out.
The two women were so confused about what had transpired that they even failed to process the voice that spoke to them.
『I’m relieved to see that you aren’t as bad as I thought, but there’s no telling what you fools will do if left alone. 』
When they saw a white mask was floating in the air, a humanoid figured cloaked in black mist, they had no choice but to understand.
“W-What is this? How could a presence suddenly appear!?”
“What is security doing!? Didn’t I tell you people to handle it well!?”
Both women were shocked at the sudden appearance of a guest. The woman in kimono cowered, while the woman in suit hid behind a sofa.
But perhaps because the woman in kimono was experienced, she quickly recovered her senses and swung down a hand seal.
A spiritual blade invisible to normal people shot straight for the black mist, but the only response she got was a sigh.
『Good grief… 』
Something that resembled a black arm spun in a circle and gave rise to a black disc that swallowed the spiritual blade.
“I-Impossible! What is that!? That’s not spiritual power! What did you do!?”
When a power the kimono woman couldn’t sense was used, her still calm face finally collapsed.
『…They’re too hesitant to use their power against humans, but you people just don’t care, do you? But then again, it might be too much to ask you to consider me as human. 』
“Human? While looking like that?”
The black mist criticized the kimono woman’s actions but then came to a realization all on its own that perhaps it couldn’t be helped.
The women felt like they weren’t being taken seriously, but they couldn’t move because the black mist was just too mysterious.
“Who are you!?”
Despite that, perhaps in a display of courage or merely because irritated by the situation, the woman in suit raised her voice and asked that question.
When the woman in kimono didn’t say anything, the mask sighed.
『It’s one thing for the president not to know, but you’re ignorant too, huh. Looks like the amateurs of the underworld aren’t well informed. On one hand, I suppose I could say I did a good job, but on the other hand, this is sort of a failure too. Either way it seems my fame won’t have any effect on the exorcist clans. What a pain. 』
Then the mask vanished from their sight, and before they could even gulp, they were lifted by their necks.
“Ugu, d-damn, you!”
『I more or less understand what’s going on now, so I don’t have any use for you anymore. Your company, your clan, everything is already on the palm of my hands.』
Their faces were filled with the anguish of being strangled, and for a moment those same faces distorted in confusion and astonishment, their gazes turned to the two screens floating in the air.
On one screen was shown the collapse of a grand Japanese estate with history, and on the other, a local news report about the electrifying ousting of a certain company’s administration.
“T-The estate is… No way!”
When they realized what that meant, the mask put more power behind its hands.
After a sharp pain and a moment of agony, they saw a crescent smile surface beneath the mask, then they lost consciousness.
As the mask dropped them on the sofa, it opened another screen.
On that screen was displayed a boy and a girl standing before a building.
『Now then, how well will my disciples do?』
The mask said with great amusement.