Last Embryo Volume 1 Chapter 1 Part 5
「Well, it’s not like this matter is on its way to a happy ending right now, is it? Taking all the procedures and the tests they are going to have to pass through in the future, I would say finishing and perfecting those nanomachines of yours would take another decade or two, and that’s if you’re really lucky.」
「Exactly. Moreover, If I want this project to truly earn the recognition it deserves, then I’m afraid I will have to obtain the latest model of that electron microscope I have always wanted to get my hands on…. But can you believe that a single such microscope costs around 2.5 billion yen?」
To say that Tokuteru was astonished when he heard Homura say how expensive that single piece of laboratory equipment was would be an understatement.
「T-Two and a half billion yen?! What the hell is wrong with that price?! For it to be so costly, does it come equipped with diamond lenses or something?!」
「More or less. But you know, the price of mankind’s wisdom and technological advancement is way steeper than the price of diamonds. Even with the most basic apparatus, I highly doubt tha the price would be any cheaper than… ah! Tokuteru! Look out!!!!」
Homura shouted mid-sentence.
When the car they were driving turned right into a narrow alleyway, a luxuriously-looking black car suddenly rose in front of them, as if to block their way forward. Homura and Tokuteru both clicked their tongues in disdain, knowing that they were mere inches away from causing a traffic accident. When they understood who that car probably belonged to, they exchanged solemn looks with one another. After all, out of all the people in this entre neighborhood, there was only one person rich enough to fit the bill.
「… Looks like she finally caught onto us, eh, Idioteru?」
「I admit that this is my screwup this time. I completely forgot what kind of monster Milady’s chauffeur is. Damn Prith.」
Frustrated, Tokuteru vented his anger by slamming the steering wheel with his fist, causing the car’s horn to sound out sharply.
Coming out of the driver’s seat, a dark-skinned, white-haired woman came to the back of the luxurious car and opened the rear door, and then a clear and soft voice echoed throughout the empty alleyway.
「Such a fine weather we are having today, wouldn’t you agree, Tokuteru-san, Homura-senpai? A perfect one for a little stroll in a car.」
The girl’s voice was like the sound of wind chimes moved by a spring breeze: cool and calm, and intimately pleasant to the ear. On her face she had a peaceful smile that was amplified by her lovely, pale-pink lips.
The icy daggers of her eyes were pinning him down in place. He understood that his situation was already beyond hopeless. No matter what kind of excuse he would try to feed her now, it would certainly not work. If that is how it is supposed to be, then instead of getting desperate and using pathetic excuses, he’s going to come clean and at least die an honorable death after fighting the battle to the bitter end.
Homura looked to the sky, slammed his palms against his cheeks, and bowed deeply.
「My humblest apologies, Lady Ayato! It is exactly as you say! I haven’t finished writing the orphanage’s financial report because of all the items I have secretly bought with the fund’s money and the need to somehow conceal that fact from the company’s management! To be more precise, I am talking about the 55’’ plasma screen TV that now resides in the living room!」
「I know. And? What else?」
「Immoral as my actions were, they were done with the purest of intentions! All I wanted to achieve was to see the smiles on the faces of the youngest inhabitants of the orphanage, thinking that the entertainment brough by the television might help me achieve that goal! That is the only reason why I decided to stray from the path of righteousness into the darkness, so if I may have any last wish, I would like the ever-so merciful Milady to turn a blind eye to this transgression, for which I will owe you two, no, three favors! I beg of you, Milady! You can do whatever you want with me, but please, spare the younglings form thine wrath!」
Finishing his fiery plea, Homura clasped his hands in front of his face as if he was praying to a God. He was surprised at how desperate his entire speech sounded, because it was very unusual of him to be this emotional about anything, but even so his plea to Ayato was an honest one from the bottom of his heart. After all, Canaria Family Home was indeed severely lacking in the department of entertainment facilities. He still clearly remembered how the amount of laughter in the orphanage’s halls dropped significantly when the lifespan of their old 32’’ TV finally came to a rather abrupt end. The worsening of the mood among the youngest orphans was the main reason why Homura decided to use the funds they were granted for something other than their intended purpose and but a new, bigger and better TV. Ayato sighed heavily, fully aware of those circumstances.
「… Three favors, you say? If it was all depending on me you could have won me over with that proposition, but I regret to inform you that cheap tricks won’t be enough to deceive the company’s accounting department.」
「So you mean to say that no atter what I try to do, it’s no use?」
「Rather than that, I wanted to say that no matter what you do or how much you will beg, the accounting department won’t waver. They are the most stubborn among our employees after all… which means I will have to take care of that little loan of yours with my own pocket money.」
Shocked beyond belief, Homura raised his face while Ayato flashed him a mischievous smile, putting her hands on her waist and turning towards her dark-skinned chauffeur.
「Prith, the none-research related equipment bought by the residents of Canaria Family Home is to be treated as a gift from me to them. I admit that it is definitely pricey, but if it makes senpai owe me three favors, I say that’s actually dirt cheap.」
「Oi, wait just a goddamn moment…!」
「It shall be done as you wish, my lady.」
Not giving him even a moment to react, the dark-skinned lady called Prith snatched the unfinished report from Homura’s hand and hid it in her car’s trunk.
「Now then, senpai, you will be coming with me. As one of the three favors that you owe me, I will be having you acting as an escort for me and Suzuka. I hope you don’t mind it, do you?」
She said, patting the seat next to her happily. Great, Homura thought, one disaster after another. But he had to give it to her, obtaining a favor by buying off his debt, as expected of a daughter of the CEO of Everything Company. Everything must have played out exactly as she wanted it, but given his situation, there was really no reason for him to complain at all. Looking up to the sky for the third time, a bitter smile formed on his face.
「…… Understood, Milady. If that is the price I have to pay to not get into financial trouble, then it is a price I am gladly willing to pay.」
「Indeed you should be. Also, before I forget, I decided to live with you all in the orphanage starting today because I feel a little sorry for you and the others, so I would be grateful if you could prepare a room for me when we get back, alright?」
Dumbfounded, Homura looked at Ayato, then a Tokuteru, then back at Ayato and once again at Tokuteru. He said the same thing not that long ago. What the hell is going on here? Why is their orphanage getting popular now all of a sudden?
「I don’t really mind it, but I think we’re going to have a bit of a problem space-wise. For you see, Tokuteru over there also said that he’s going to be living with us from today, meaning that all of the free rooms have been taken.」
「Ara? If memory serves me correctly, there should still be one vacant room that no one is using at the current moment. Or is it not available anymore?」
「Well, no, but you see, that room is…. Ahhh, you know what, just forget it.」
Homura gave up while scratching his head with embarrassment, and got inside the car, sitting next to Ayato. But as soon as he closed the door, the entire sky went dark.
「Hmm? It got here way faster than I expected.」
「Taurus」 was supposed to arrive in the Tokyo Bay at night, so for it to arrive this early in the afternoon was strange no matter how you looked at it. Then again, Homura thought to himself, it is not all that uncommon for the predictions of the meteorological agencies to be off by as much as half a day, so it should still be in the expected margin of error.
And yet, when he was looking at the sky, Tokuteru Mikado’s eyes were filled with nothing but unease and anxiety.
「This certainly is unusual.」
「You think so? I thought it was perfectly normal for the weather to worsen during the typhoon, right?」
「Yeah, but I feel like this one is going to be especially troublesome. So after the three of you go back to the orphanage, make sure not to leave it tonight, you hear me?」
With those words, Tokuteru turned his beloved car around and drove out of the alleyway, heading into an unknown direction. Fully intending to follow his advice, Saigo Homura got into the back seat of the luxurious car, and went on to accompany Kudou Ayato and Ayazato Suzuka on their shopping trip to Shinjuku.
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