Last Embryo Volume 1 Chapter 1 Part 2
「Wait, what, seriously?!」
No less perplexed and worried about this sudden development than Ayaka, Homura picked up the phone with a foreboding feeling. Pressing the Pick Up icon and placing it next to his ear, he heard a quiet yet gentle voice.
「Thank you for your continued hard work, Homura-senpai. If it is alright with you, may I take a moment of your time?」
「Thank you for your kind words, milady. As for the financial report for the laboratory management, please rest assured that it is going to be delivered right on time, and by right on time I mean in exactly one hour from now…」
「I am sorry to interrupt you, Homura-senpai, but the matter I wanted to talk to you about is far more important than that. With that being said, would you mind if I asked you a couple of questions?」
Ayato cut Homura’s explanations mid-sentence, which made Homura so surprised that he actually raised an eyebrow. Ever since their first meeting, the most important subjects for Kudou Ayato were always the matters of fund raising and the timely delivery of the management reports. After all, her household, the Kudou Family, was the patron of the Canaria Family Home, where Homura and Ayaka lived. At the current moment, the orphanage hosts as many as 78 children of both sexes and varying ages, and the costs of their upbringing, food, school tutelage and daily necessities were all provided solely by them. As such, it was unilaterally agreed that all the expenses and payment for them should always be the matter of utmost priority, so for her to actually consider anything else more important than that, it could only mean that the situation was exceptionally serious and dealing with it should not be delayed.
Homura was still a bit puzzled, but he shook his head and putting on his most serious expression, asked:
「Did something happen, Ayato?」
「Well, I guess you could say that something has indeed happen, but I cannot say that I fully understand exactly what happened, so in order to explain it in as simple of a way as possible, allow me to put it like that: something that should not have happened, happened, making an impossible possibility possible.」
Ayato’s voice sounded hesitant the entire time, as if she wasn’t sure if she should talk about it or not. Exhibiting such behavior was most certainly rare for her, but given the circumstances it was understandable. As someone who always went through life having her own sense of reason as a compass that never failed her before, dealing with something that went outside the boundaries of said reason must have been pretty difficult for her, causing her to display such embarrassing uncertainty. After a moment of brief silence which prominently displayed how bewildered she must have been, she coughed a few times to clear her throat and resumed the conversation.
「What I am trying to say here is… have you noticed anything strange or unusual happening around you lately, senpai?」
Say what now? Homura tilted his head in puzzlement. That was an unusual thing to ask, so no one could hold it against him that this short 「Huh?」 was the only thing he was able to say, especially when the person he was speaking with was not usually the one to ask about such ambiguous things. How vexing.
「What do you mean by “strange or unusual”? You mean strange or unusual in general, or do you have something more specific on your mind?」
「Well… for example: have you received any strange letters in mysterious ways?」
「Letter? As in, those old-fashioned messages written with a pen or pencil on a sheet of paper and placed in envelopes that almost no one uses anymore? Those kinds of letters? And once again: mysterious ways?」
「Yes, exactly those ones. As for what I meant by mysterious ways, I was thinking something like… like a letter falling from the sky at your feet in a completely closed room, but not closed like in all those 「no one goes in, no one goes out closed room murder mysteries」, just a normal room where no one would ever think of bringing you any letters when you have a perfectly normal, functioning mailbox outside your house gate, or perhaps a Calico Cat bearing the letter in its mouth and leaving it at your feet type of thing…」
Word after word, Ayato’s explanations started getting more and more confusing. She must have been perfectly aware of that too, since she was saying every consecutive sentence more quietly, until her words were no louder than a faint whisper. Catching wind of the sour mood at the other side of the phone call, Homura kindly refrained from any jabs like 「What the hell are you talking about?」 or 「Are you feeling alright? Is everything okay with your head?」, choosing instead to ask a question that bore with it another portion of his increasing worries.
「Ayato… is this some new punishment game you prepared for us for not delivering the report on time?」
「Of course not! But…. I see. If nothing happened on your side, then it’s all good. Just… just forget about all that nonsense I was saying just now, please.」
「Hmm, ok. Knowing you and how busy you usually are, you wouldn’t have time for such nonsensical things. And speaking of being busy, I heard you and Suzuka plan to hit Shinjuku later today to have some fun?」
「Yes, that is indeed what I have planned for my afternoon activities. After all, Suzuka is an avid reader, and I am not all that versed with the trends relating to books nowadays, so I was hoping to have her recommend something for me. I also plan to drop by later…」
She suddenly went silent. Homura tilted his head doubtfully at this rather abrupt radio silence. It continued for a while, only to be cut in half by a voice colder and sharper than the sharpest of blades.
「….. Wait a second, Homura-senpai. What was it that you said before?」
「Eh? What was I saying?」
「Yes, just a minute few minutes ago. Did I heard it correctly that you were saying that the financial report… is still not ready?」
「Geh? What do you mean by 「Geh…!」? And more importantly, don’t you 「Geh…!」 me here! What we are dealing with here is not just some random data, it’s the orphanage’s lifeblood! Besides, weren’t you the one who wanted me to wait for you to prepare the entire thing by hand to make sure everything will be included there and not a thing was missing?!」
「God please have mercy on me.」
「Begging God for forgiveness won’t do you any good in front of the management!」
Maybe it was because this time the situation was especially bad, but Ayato’s voice sounded even rougher than usual. Glancing at the clock on the wall, Homura clicked his tongue in irritation at his own blunder. Right now it was 12:00 AM sharp. If he clenches his cheeks and kicks his ass into high gear, he should be able to finish the whole thing before 1:00 PM.
On the other hand though, they will be in trouble if Ayato comes by to pick up the report anytime earlier, because he still had to come up with the way to somehow conceal their unaccounted expenses. If they want to get out of this crisis alive, they have no choice but to somehow stall for as much time as possible. Unfortunately for them though, Ayato flat-out ignored Homura’s reply, saying things like:
「It was stupid of me to believe any of the things you said, senpai! You are at the orphanage right now, am I wrong?」
「Erm, well… y-yeah…. I, I mean so what If I am?」
「I see. So that’s how you want to play it, huh? I understand. I am on my way there now, and once I get there, we are going to have a nice, long talk about your future, senpai. Oh, and one more thing. I would also love to hear you explain to me about all those luxurious, non-research related items you have bought with my family’s money…」
So you better prepare some good excuses. With those ominous words, Ayato was the one to end the call. At the same time, Homura and Suzuka heard the sound of a car stopping outside of the orphanage’s gates.
Homura clicked his tongue for the second time.
「You for real, milady? Suzuka, this is bad! Looks like Lady Ayato really is after our assess this time!」
「W-What should we do now?!」
「Anything but giving up without putting up a fight of course! I’m going to get the hell out of here with the documents, so you just focus on buying me as much time as you can, and in an hour, let’s meet at the usual place!」
「Got it! I wish you luck, and don’t you dare go dying on me Bro!」
With those words of encouragement, Homura quickly stood up. Their current situation was one where every second counted, and failure was not an option. With that being said, he grabbed the pile of documents with one hand and jumped out of the window, dashing through the courtyard while still wearing his indoor slippers.
With the situation escalating the way it did, there was no way for him to escape through the main entrance, so his plan was to leave by using the back door. Knowing that something like that was likely going to happen, Tokuteru Mikado took his favorite car and drove it right outside of the back exit, shouting at Homura from the inside:
「Really? The same trick each and every time, and you have still to learn your lesson, do you!?」
「Shut up! Also, nice timing, old geezer Mikado!」
「I told you to stop calling me that! Just hurry up and get your ass in here!」
Homura quickly jumped to the back seat, and once he was inside, Tokuteru put the pedal to the metal, quickly leaving Canaria Family Home behind them.
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