Inyouchuu Gaiden Chapter 1 Part 5
By the way, on the way to the dining room, Kyouko stopped for a moment and patted both of the Shiratori sisters on the heads, ruffling Mikoto’s hair while she was at it. It was her way of saying thanks for the two of them showing their gratitude for yesterday, but it was partially because the two of them were so cute that she could hardly even stop herself from doing that. Predictably enough, that caused Mikoto to lash out at her even more, but it was all worth seeing her adorable reaction……
That’s how the three of them came to the dining room, but unfortunately, the food prepared in the dining room was not very delicious. Kyouko wondered if the budget for this place was cut so much that they were unable to afford anything better? Kyoko felt a little sympathy for the staff members at that moment. In fact, the staff members in the cafeteria did not look so fresh about the food, either.
(Is it possible that they are also under the influence of the aura emitted by the youmas?)
As she continued to eat while conversing with the Shiratori sisters while thinking about such things, she was asked all of a sudden:
「Excuse me, do you have a moment?」
When she turned her gaze to where that voice came from, there was a boy standing there with an apologetic expression on his face. Judging from the fact that he was wearing a white lab coat, he must have been one of the researchers here, but no matter how she would look at him, he looked nothing more than a teenager.
(I’m pretty sure that his name was…… Toraya Maki?)
In fact, this boy was actually the director of this entire research institute. She remembered him well because she was greeted by him in person right before she started her job here. She did not know what his exact deal was, but even though he was younger than Mikoto and Takeru, he was a person who was put in charge of a facility such as this. At first glance, he seemed unreliable, but there was no doubt that he was a pretty good and knowledgeable guy.
「Oh, well if it isn’t Maki-kun? What’s up?」
His face was the one that was still retaining some of his child-like innocence, and his eyes looked pure and unblemished. It was safe to say that he’s was a truly beautiful boy, but there was something about him that was also rubbing Kyouko the wrong way.
He then pulled his chair next to their table and bowed his head down politely.
「Please excuse me.」
He bowed his head hesitantly once again and sat down in his chair. The Shiratori sisters, who were sitting across from Kyouko, also lowered their heads in a short greeting.
「So, do you need anything for us?」
After sitting down, Maki fidgeted for a while with an expression that seemed like he really wanted to say something. Kyouko knew right away when she first met him that he did not have a very clear personality, but he was still a good guy. So Takeru urged him to speak up by politely asking about the purpose of him coming here. Kyouko was a little impressed with how considerate of a person this girl was.
「Umm…… It’s actually very difficult for me to say, but last night there was a landslide on the prefectural road connecting this place to the city……」
He spoke rather vaguely, but she could easily understand what he meant by that. Although he did not express himself in a clear way, Kyoko was still disappointed by this inclination. She couldn’t really help it, but that meant that she had to stay here tonight at the very least.
「If the weather gets better, we can send out a helicopter, but for the time being……」
「Huh? Then, does that mean that we have to spend the night here with this woman, too!?」
The way in which Mikoto was surprised here was almost cartoonishly exaggerated.
「I am really sorry for this inconvenience!」
Maki bowed his head repeatedly before the three women. It seemed that this young man had his portion of work cut out for him for real. But being bombarded with hardships and setbacks is something that every director out there would have to learn to deal with eventually.
「Oh well, it’s something that cannot be helped. Mikoto, stop acting so selfish.」
Being told off by her little sister, the red-haired girl suddenly shrunk her shoulders. Kyouko also laughed bewitchingly at Mikoto’s current appearance.
「Yes, that’s right. It’s not Maki-kun’s fault, and there’s no need to apologize. Rather, I’m happy to be with you now a little bit longer.」
Switching her thoughts in a positive direction, Kyouko leaned on Maki’s small shoulders. Then the boy’s body stiffened all of a sudden. The breasts pressing on his shoulders collapsed and changed shape the harder she would lean on him. A warm feeling passed through Kyouko’s chest upon seeing that. As expected, someone so young would have little to no immunity to such things.
「W-Wait! Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing!?」
Mikoto got really angry upon seeing Kyouko acting like that, as if it was some sort of conditioned reflex of hers. Every time she would meet that woman, she would tease her mercilessly, so it was most probably that she became cautious of Kyouko’s every single move.
(I don’t think it will be a boring stay, at the very least. So it’s actually okay.)
In a different sense, Kyouko laughed happily as she looked at Mikoto, whose face was bright red with anger, almost the same color as Maki’s but for an entirely different reason.
* * *
Kyouko, who stayed at the research institute that day, was guided around the facility by Maki. To be honest, she did not really want to see the facility all that much, but she could not say no if she was asked by the boy to share her opinions from her position as a veteran Exorcist.
The facility was divided into various blocks, with separate research being conducted in each block. From the analysis of youma’s body tissue, research on the effectiveness of spells that differed for each youma, research to artificially create youmas, and so on and so forth…… No matter how experienced of an Exorcist she was, the things that they were doing here were not something that she could hope to understand just by merely looking at it once or twice.
However, it was well understood that the very existence of this facility was extremely valuable. The existence of youmas itself was not known to the general public, and it was not known where the research results would actually sell or benefit anyone. For the Kashiwagi Conglomerate, it could be said to be a gamble in a sense.
(If they do not produce results, they won’t be able to receive any funding. And without budget, no further research can be done……)
That line of Kyouko’s thinking was only proven by how bad the food served at the cafeteria really was.
「Ahh, aaa, uuuhhh……」
Mikoto herself was currently holding onto her head and staggering, as if her brain was going into an overheat mode.
While laughing at her, Kyouko turned her gaze to the youma trapped in the glass research case. The case was covered with multiple layers of ofuda talismans with protective spells written on them. Inside of the case, youma was struggling to break it apart and escape, but was helpless before the power of the protective spell.
(Serves them right.)
When it comes to Kyouko, she thought of youmas as nothing more but pure garbage. That’s why it was so nice to see them being turned into nothing more but guinea pigs like that. However, at the same time, bad memories would also resurface inside of her mind. Memories of her past. Even though she wanted to forget, she could not forget her hatred of youmas…… Even though she knew that they were entirely different, she ended up seeing herself and the youma overlap to some extent.
「Hey, why are you still doing your research like normal when an incident like the one yesterday happened? To be honest, I don’t think youmas should be handled by human hands. Don’t you think it’s dangerous? Generally, I don’t like the idea of using youmas to make money.」
Kyouko spoke to Maki as if to shake off the unpleasant thoughts that were growing inside of her mind. But with every word her tone would become harsher and harsher.
「I’m actually curious about that, too.」
Takeru also looked away from the research equipment and agreed with Kyouko’s question. Mikoto, who was holding her head still, looked at Maki with interest.
Maki, who was gazed at by the three exorcists with utmost curiosity, had a confused expression on his face. However, he immediately erased his hesitation and turned an angry look at the youma inside of the case.
「I understand the dangers all too well. I know that the people above me are thinking about nothing more but making money. But I…… I…… I really detest youmas. No, I hate them.」
Then he spoke slowly.
「My first encounter with a youma was on the day of my third birthday. My father, mother, and sister……I really loved my family. No, I think I loved them. To be honest. That being said, I don’t remember much about my family. Since that day, I have always been alone…… all by myself……」
After talking so much, Maki fell silent. The boy’s fists were clenched so tightly that his shoulders were trembling. His mouth was also tightly clenched. Kyouko felt a strong hatred that gushed out from Maki’s petite body.
(So his family was killed by youmas, huh……?)
She could imagine that feeling without hearing any of the details. Kyouko slightly regretted that she asked Maki that question without thinking.
Mikoto tried to speak to him after the silence and just kept on going with no one saying anything. It was not that she could not stand being awkward, but rather that she could not leave someone feeling all depressed like that. Kyouko liked that part of Mikoto’s character a whole lot.
「It’s alright. Really.」
However, before he could be comforted in any way, Maki smiled a truly bright smile at them.
「Losing my family was a truly painful experience. But I can’t just stay in place and feel depressed because of it. I’m here to prevent people like me from ever being born again. I want to create a society where there is no need to fear youmas. Until I make that dream of mine come true…… I cannot afford to stop and look back.」
And, when he cut off his words once he reached that point, he scratched his nose while looking all embarrassed.
「Well, but still, we do tend to have mistakes like the one yesterday from time to time. It’s really pathetic, I know. But I try to do better.」
He then gave a dry laugh. Seeing the boy like that, Kyouko let out a sigh and put his head under her arm. She presses his face against her chest really tight.
「What, seriously? Don’t worry about making mistakes. I understand Maki-kun’s dream very well. I’m also rooting for your success, so do your best!」
As she encouraged Maki, who was all embarrassed by her sudden embrace, Kyouko remembered her own determination.
(I will destroy all youmas. I will kill every single one of them……)
In that respect, she might have been the same as Maki.
「W-What the hell do you think you’re doing, huh!? Can’t you see that you are bothering Maki-kun!?」
Then Mikoto pulled on Maki’s arm, trying to pull him away from Kyouko. But she had a smile on her face. Takeru, who was watching the two of them by Mikoto’s side, was also laughing.
(Well, I guess this isn’t so bad, either.)
At this point, the feelings of the four of them might have become one.
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Inyouchuu ~ Exorcisms of the Lewd School ~
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