386 – That Side and This Side
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“He sure is a hasty fellow.”
I couldn’t help but let out a sigh after hearing about the message that fellow sent to the guys from Kouga Service.
“Is he a coward or a confident guy……? He’s really hard to read.”
“What are we gonna do, Boss?”
“Call me Captain. Now then, I wonder. This would be a good chance to finish him off.”
“Eh……? If we did something like that, she’d probably hold one heck of a grudge though?”
“……I just wanted to point that out, alright?”
I’m sure I’m making a really bitter expression right about now. That child, Mimi, is already so attached to that guy. When we looked into her, we found that she was already registered as that guy’s wife in the public records, and no matter how you look at it, she was already madly in love with him. She also seems to be getting along pretty well with the rest of that guy’s women, and her expression is always bright and happy.
“The only thing I don’t like about him is that his background is unclear……”
“No matter how much we investigate, nothing comes up.”
This kid is quite talented. As far as I’m aware, only a handful would be able to match this kid when it comes to hacking and cracking. At least on the individual level, that is. This kid wouldn’t be able to fare well against organizations or sentient AI though.
And even this kid wasn’t able to come up with anything while investigating that guy’s personal history. It’s almost as if he just popped out of thin air in the Termaine system all of a sudden. According to the Star System Garrison’s database, he was suddenly thrown out into this system due to a hyperdrive accident, which is one heck of a pathetic excuse.
Afterward, he locked himself inside his ship for a while, registered at the Mercenary Guild, and then began working as a mercenary. And on that very same day, he made contact with a girl named Elma who’s apparently a Silver-rank mercenary, and met Mimi as well. He then brought Mimi on board his ship. Ain’t it far too convenient?
“Isn’t this fine already? Your granddaughter almost hit rock bottom once, but luckily, she was picked up by a skilled mercenary. She then fell in love with the mercenary and went from an amateur to a professional combat ship operator, and she’s now enjoying a carefree and rich mercenary life with the man of her dreams. Ain’t everything fine as long as she’s healthy and happy, Boss?”
“I told you to call me Captain. Anyway, I don’t acknowledge that guy yet.”
“Mou. It’s not good to be too stubborn. And I believe that as long as she’s happy and wants to be with that person, nothing you say will be able to change her mind, right?”
“She’s the Boss’s granddaughter after all.”
“Hey, do you two really wanna have a taste of my fist?”
The moment I clenched my fist, the two of them ran away like panicked spiderlings. Good grief. Only their escaping techniques were on par with veteran mercenaries.
When I first saw Mimi together with that guy, blood rushed into my head and I felt like killing him. But even if he had an ulterior motive, the fact remains that he saved Mimi from hitting rock bottom. When my head cooled down, I thought things through again. Just like what those kids said earlier, my granddaughter’s current situation really isn’t all that bad.
The more we look into it, the more the details paint that fellow as a good guy.
“Well, in any case, I still have to meet with him face to face. At least once, in any case.”
“Wonderful. Truly wonderful. Amazing. It’s so amazing that I now find myself lacking in vocabulary.”
Elma was wearing a pure white frilly dress, Tina was wearing a pink one, and Dr. Shouko was dressed in a classic-style Lolita outfit that was both cute and cool.
“You’re so cute, Elma-san!”
“You look really adorable, Big Sis!”
“That dress really suits you as well, Dr. Shouko.”
Standing near me was Mimi who wore a black gothic lolita dress, Wiska who wore a blue frilly dress, and Kugi who wore something that surprisingly combined gothic lolita and Japanese style in one seamless package.
“Kuh…… She’s so perfect right from the beginning that changing anything feels like sacrilege……!”
“As expected of Orient……!”
“They really are one heck of a company.”
By the way, even though those enthusiastic store clerks were surrounding Mei, it appears like they were helpless before her impeccably designed maid outfit. To think even the clerks of this shop were left in awe of her maid outfit. It looks like Orient Industries was good in both making maidroids and maid outfits.
“I’m gonna take a holo-pic and send it out.”
“……Where are you gonna send such a thing?”
“Of course, it’s to the Willrose Family back in the imperial capital.”
“Don’t you dare.”
Elma, who managed to close the gap in an instant, placed me in a complete armlock. But you miscalculated, lady! I’m just a decoy. The true sender will be Mimi– is what you thought I’d say! It’s actually Mei! She might be able to deal with me and Mimi, but there’s no way she’d be able to stop Mei. We’ve already won right from the start. It’s game over already, so just let go of me please! I’ll do anything you want, okay!?
“This definitely doesn’t suit me……”
“That’s not true! You look really cute in it, Big Sis!”
Wiska was busily taking pictures of Tina in her dress using her portable data terminal’s built-in camera with passion and energy that you usually don’t see from her. It looks like seeing Tina in a lolita-style dress really fired her up.
“Well, what can I say……? This kind of thing really isn’t my style.”
“Oh, but your dress really suits you too, Doctor! You look really cool!”
“That is truly the case. You are quite tall, Shouko-sama, so you look very dignified in that dress.”
Despite getting heaps of praise from Mimi and Kugi, Dr. Shouko’s expression still seemed a bit miffed when she turned toward me, so I gave her a prompt and energetic thumbs-up in response. By the way, Elma-san. My arm’s really hurting a lot, so could you release me already?
“We’ve gotten a reply from that side.”
The moment Elma finally released my arm, a voice suddenly echoed out from somewhere. It was Ms. Stealth Kunoichi. Maybe she waited until Elma released me from her armlock before she went ahead and called out.
“Ow, ow…… Well, that was fast. What did they say?”
“It seems they will come to the lounge of the hotel you are staying in tomorrow at 13 hundred hours, colony standard time.”
“So they’ve accepted huh……? Hmm.”
What does this mean, I wonder. Did their intentions suddenly change despite directing such murderous intent at me last time? They said they’d be meeting us in the hotel lounge, so they probably aren’t thinking of doing something reckless. Since we were staying in a pretty high-class hotel, it had armed guards at the ready, and they were also probably equipped with a means to directly report to the colony’s security department. They may even have security bots or non-lethal riot suppression turrets tucked away somewhere in the building.
“Well, it’s not a bad deal for us as well. Please let them know we’ve accepted on our end and will be waiting for them if possible. But you don’t really have to go out of your way since they seem to be closely monitoring our movements anyway.”
After responding, Ms. Stealth Kunoichi turned completely silent again and proceeded to move away. Of course, I couldn’t actually see her, but I could feel her presence. Kugi seemed to be following her movements as well, so she most likely was able to detect Ms. Kunoichi’s presence too.
“What’s going on? It kinda feels like things are progressing much further ahead before I knew it.”
“Oh, don’t worry. I’ll explain everything…… After enjoying this private fashion show, that is.”
After saying so, I turned my gaze to the spot behind Elma. Elma followed my gaze with a dubious expression on her face, which quickly cramped up. Right behind her were the squealing store clerks holding new dresses for her to try on.
“I think I’m already a bit too old for this stuff you know.”
“It’s fine. They really, really suit you after all.”
I gave the grumbling Elma a thumbs-up.
“Isn’t it fine? You always look like the typical mercenary with your usual tank top and hot pants. It isn’t so bad to dress up every once in a while, right?”
“You’re the last person I wanna hear that from.”
“Me? Nothing would come out of a man like myself dressing up, right?”
“I’ll definitely put you through something similar, so you better prepare yourself.”
Elma displayed a terrifying smile as she got dragged off by the store clerks.
How scary…… I better lock the door to my room after this.