Translator: Saitama-sensei Editor:Ryunakama
69. Bounty Head and Awakening 
When we went to the lowest level of the laboratory, which was now half-destroyed by the black Dark Roar, there was a spiral staircase leading to the basement.
As we slowly descended with increased vigilance, there were a huge number of eerie machines lined up.
「W-What is this…?」
The huge beaker in front of me was filled with a transparent orange liquid, and a bluish stone floating in it.
「…It’s a very uncomfortable place.」
Beyond Rose’s gaze, there was a water storage tank-like mysterious machine that emitted sounds like an electrocardiograph.
「Fumu… It looks like they were doing research on spirit pills here.」
Leia-sensei picked up a bluish ore and muttered so.
As we continued straight through the dim laboratory which was filled with stagnant air, we encountered five people who looked like researchers.
「Y-You’re… Black Fist!?」
「Thor-sama and Zack-sama… have been defeated…!?」
「Aa… It’s over…」
They started cowering in fear when they saw Leia-sensei.
「I guess I don’t need to introduce myself. Now, I’m going to get straight to the point. Where’s Ria Vesteria? I don’t mind even if you resist, but you’ll just experience pain is all…」
When sensei cracked her knuckles,
The researchers screamed all at once.
One of the researchers began to guide us to the back of the laboratory.
In the back of the laboratory was a prison with iron bars, and in it there was the figure of Ria with both hands and feet restrained.
「A-Allen! Even Rose, and Leia!」
Apparently, there was no serious injury to her body.
As I sigh a breath of relief,
「Where’s the key?」
Sensei received the key from the researcher, unlocked the prison and continued to remove the chains on Ria’s hands and feet.
Free from her restraints, Ria jumped into my chest.
「I was scared…I was really scared…」
I embraced her trembling body gently.
「I’m sorry I’m late. It took some time to find this laboratory.」
「No, it’s okay… Thank you, Allen. I believed you would definitely find me…!」
A big smile bloomed on her face, with tears in her eyes.
Being shown such a pretty smile right in front of me,
「I-Is your body okay…?」
I turned my face away slightly and asked.
「Un. They took a little bit of blood, but nothing else.」
「I see, I’m truly glad.」
And when I and Ria were talking,
「…Ria. I know how you feel, but you’re being a little too clingy.」
Rose, with a vein popping on her forehead, said so in a low voice while tapping her foot.
「…Ah, I’m sorry, Allen. I’m just a little too happy.」
「A-Aa… Don’t worry about it.」
And when I and Ria distanced ourselves slowly,
「This is an unexpected harvest.」
Sensei picked up a bluish pill which seemed like a spirit pill, and whispered quietly.
「Aa. As far as I know, this is the first time in the world that we have seized a Black Organization laboratory. This is a great achievement, Allen!」
She said so and patted my back.
「It’s because I had help from sensei and Rose, and even Rize-san.」
「Haa… You’re as humble as ever. It’s the exact opposite to me.」
Then sensei smiled and clapped.
「Well, it’s already late, so you guys better go home soon.」
「What about sensei?」
「I’m going to restrain these people, toss them into the Holy Knight’s station, and then join the on-site inspection. And there’s a lot of other work to be done still.」
She said so while shrugging her shoulders.
「Well, to tell you the truth, I’d like to borrow your help too, but… This is the work of the ‘Director of Five Academy’… I can’t impose these duties on my students.」
It looks like there’s nothing we can do to help from here on.
「Thank you very much. Well then, we’ll take our leave here.」
「Thank you very much, sensei!」
And when I, Ria, and Rose were leaving this place, I heard someone running down the spiral staircase at a tremendous speed.
「Who is it?」
I stood in front of the exhausted Ria and Rose, and immediately pulled out my sword.
「It is I…*gasp* No. 18……*gasp* I have returned…!」
Large beads of sweat trailed down his forehead and he was breathing heavily.
If I remember correctly, I heard that he was out on border security.
「You’re late… Where were you loitering around, No. 18?」
「I’m sorry, huff huff… I started running at full speed as soon as I was contacted, huff huff… But as expected, it took a long time.」
He explained so, gasping for breath.
「Good grief, such a helpless guy. Here’s your next task. Just in case, escort Allen and the rest to Thousand Blade Academy. Rose is especially worn-out, so it would be helpful if you move while keeping that in mind.」
No matter how you look at it, No.18-san was way more exhausted than Rose.
「C-Come, everyone…! Now that I’m here… You can rely on me, *Cough Cough* Let’s go…!」
We went up the spiral staircase with No.18-san at the lead.
「Oh, that’s right! You have classes tomorrow as usual, so don’t oversleep!」
At the end, Leia-sensei said something that was very teacher-like, as she smiled and waved goodbye.
In the forest located far north of the laboratory.
「…Hey, simpleton. You’re alive, aren’t you?」
The unscathed Thor called out to Zack, who was riddled with wounds all over.
「Some… how… But I’m beaten… can’t even move a finger.」
Saying that, he shook his head feebly.
「So pathetic. What happened to your prided〈Phosphorescent Armour〉?」
「Za, Zahaha… If it wasn’t for that, not a single piece of me would be remaining.」
He was swallowed by the black Dark Roar, and barely survived by deploying〈Phosphorescent Armour〉at the last second.
「But dammmnn… It was really ridiculously sparkly, you know! Because his power is still incomplete, its true depth is still unknown!」
Zack spoke so excitedly, reflecting on the jet-black darkness burned into his memory.
「Fuun, Allen Rodore. If he’s such a great talent, should we butter up to him…?」
Thor, who trusted Zack’s aesthetics in her own way, was beginning to seriously think of a way to make up with Allen.
「Zahaha, I wonder if that’s possible. Well, come to think of it, how was things on your end? Did you win against Black Fist?」
「HAA? Obviously Not! In the first place, it’s impossible to win over a transcendent. I tucked my tail between my legs and immediately ran away.」
Thor said so without any shame.
From her point of view, simply surviving the battle with Black Fist Leia Lasnode was a victory.
There’s no way they could win in the first place. That’s why they split up.
「Fumu, to be able to escape from Black Fist… Did you use that thing?」
「Ou, I threw『Copy of Leia』and『My Copy』and ran away. It’s dangerous to think that there is only『one』soul dress, isn’t it?」
Saying so, Thor took out two daggers.
〈Mimic Art〉is an extremely rare two-bladed soul dress.
The only person who knows this is Zack, due to their years of working together as a pair.
「As usual, you use sly methods…」
「You can say whatever you want, my creed is『surviving is winning』.」
As they finished sharing information,
「Well… we’re going back to the home country for the time being.」
「Aa, that’s right.」
Thor carried Zack on her little body, and disappeared into the dark of night.
「You’re damn heavy, dude! Lose weight, right now!」
「Za, Zahaha… Don’t ask the impossible.」
After returning to the dormitory safely, I and Ria decided to have supper.
She must have been very hungry. Ria ate a lot during supper.
「If you eat that much, won’t you get fat…」I wondered, but it was not easy to ask a woman about her weight, so I swallowed it in my throat.
Anyway, our huge refrigerator packed with a large amount of ingredients, was completely emptied out in that one sitting.
After that, Ria, who took her bath earlier, was combing her hair while humming in a good mood.
「Hmm, Hmm, Hmm…」
She untied her usual twin tails and let her hair down. It was very attractive.
Even though I’ve gotten used to it, my heart still throbs whenever I see her with loose hair.
「W-Well, I’ll have a bath too.」
「Ah, Un. Slowly wash off the fatigue.」
「Aa, thank you.」
After I got out of the bath and got ready to go to bed, the time was already 2am.
「Then, I’ll turn off the lights, okay?」
I turned off the lights and got onto the bed with Ria.
The moderate elastic mattress gently supported my body, and a warm blanket enveloped over my body.
Strength drained away from my body, and at the same time, the fatigue of today seemed to melt away in tandem.
「Good night, Ria.」
「Good night, Allen.」
And we went to sleep quietly.
Five minutes later.
「……Nee, Allen. Are you still awake?」
「Aa. What’s wrong…?」
When I asked,
「…Somehow, I’m a little restless.」
She whispered in a feeble, anxious voice.
She was abducted by the Black Organization and was held in that creepy laboratory all day.
So it’s no wonder.
「I see… Then why don’t we have some fun talk? Let’s see… should I make some hot tea?」
I said the first thing that came to mind to comfort Ria.
「That is… If possible… I would like to…」
It was unusual for Ria to chew on her words.
「……? You can tell me whatever you want.」
As I replied as gently as possible,
「Well, that is… Can I hold your hand…?」
She said with her voice trembling.
「A-Aa… Of course, you can…」
I was a little surprised by the unexpected request, but there was no reason to refuse if this was what Ria wanted.
I stretched my right hand to Ria, feeling slightly nervous
「Aa, thank you.」
Her small hand gently grasped mine.
With the distance between us getting shorter day by day, and my pounding heart beating even faster – I went to sleep together with Ria as usual.