15. A Naïve Plan
The next morning, all the furnishing within Sword Minas’ room are replaced with ones made of iron and titanium. The paintings and ornamental plants have all been removed, and the only decorations in the room are a western armor and a Boys’ May Festival doll.
“That’s why ‘your body arbitrarily’ commits tsujigiri1.”
Out of nowhere, the western armor opens its mouth. In truth, it is not a decoration. Inside it is Kuriyama Rintaro.
“Uu… uugh, cutting the clothes of whoever passes by is impossible to resist! It’s all unintentional!”
“If it’s involuntary, wouldn’t have being caught been preferred.”
“Noo! Ababababa, I don’t want to go back to that place ever again!”
Knives spill out Sword Minas as she pales with fright.
I kind of expected this… but is that how it is?
Rintaro has an idea of what ‘that place’ is like.
Ueno Park, America Yokochō, Kanda Myojin, and Ochanomizu, if the path of damage Sword Minas left behind is followed in reverse, it leads lead to Jimbocho. Located there is the organization that Rintaro knows best, Japan’s proud building, Hero Headquarters.
The top-secret underground facility known as the “Research and Development Department,” which is responsible for the design and manufacture of machinery and equipment, passes through Rintaro’s mind. Rumor has it that within that facility exists a secret prison known to only a select group of people, one where ecological research on mysterious beings is being carried out.
“You mean the underground mysterious being detention facility… I too have only heard rumors about it. So, how long were you there?”
Ordinary detention centers are inadequately prepared for containing the various types of mysterious beings out there. That said, if the location of such a facility were to be known, mysterious beings would likely raid it with the intention of rescuing the prisoners.
The existence of the facility was kept secret even from Rintaro and the other Victor Rangers. As Rintaro suspected, this female mysterious being has escaped from there.
That means… I can use this girl to make a deal with Hero Headquarters… I might be able to get them to withdraw their decision to reassign me with this. I’d better get as much information out of her as I can.
“……What’s wrong, Rintaro?”
“No, I was just thinking you’ve been through a hard time.”
Rintaro’s plan to return to Hero Headquarters, as he envisions it, is progressing smoothly.
No matter how harshly mysterious beings are treated, they are still mysterious beings. What matters to Rintaro is grasping the Achilles’ heel of Hero Headquarters. Even if he returns, it will be meaningless if he is sent to Abashiri.
To that end, he has to do all he can to collect as many cards as possible.
“Take your time. Can you tell me what happened there?”
“Ugh, that place was terrible. They all tormented me… I didn’t want to send out any blades, but if I didn’t, they’d hit me with electricity…!”
When Sword Minas covered her face, scalpels spill out like tears through the gaps between her hands.
“Hamu hamu, that sounds terrible, ssunee, hamumu.”
This time, the Boys’ May Festival doll speaks while stuffing her cheeks with pancakes. Rather, it is Samecchi dressed in Kamakura-style armor from head to toe.
“Hey, you can either eat or talk.”
“Is it that good? Looks like today’s were well-made.”
The pancakes taste so good that Samecchi is sinking her teeth into them without looking away. She fills her cheeks with the momentum of a hamster. The image is a poison Rintaro can’t rid his mind of.
“Can I also have one? …I- I can’t? Of course I can’t, I am sorry.”
“It’s fine. I’ll make some more so Sword Minas can eat some as well.”
“Really?! Thank you, Rintaro!”
Rintaro decided to eat the pancakes along with the mysterious beings who were absorbed in eating them. Even though he is making them himself, they are perfect with nothing to criticize.
“They’re quite good.”
“Hamu hamu, Aniki says that, but Aniki hasn’t eaten as much, ssu.”
“……I don’t like anything that’s too sweet.”
As if rushed by Samecchi, Rintaro brings a pancake into his mouth. The sweet aroma of vanilla spreads throughout his mouth.
Meanwhile, at the same time, within the underground containment facility of Hero Headquarters, Director Morikuni stares at a monitor with a sullen expression. The image is so blurry that what is being displayed is impossible to recognize.
“This is the footage of Sword Minas’ escape. We tried to clean it up, but the video itself is already several months old. We believe that someone has tampered with the recording data.”
Morikuni’s frown deepens upon hearing the report of his aide, Asaka.
“How did the guards not notice?”
“According to our investigation, a dummy video was played in the guard room during the time of the incident.”
“What about guards on patrol?”
“Patrols of the area were conducted every 30 minutes, but we are surmising that the local human disaster took advantage of that gap to escape.”
Other than the surveillance footage being altered, there aren’t many conclusions that can be drawn from the quick escape. Only that everything that happened could only have been accomplished by an employee of Hero Headquarters. There are many who demand human rights for mysterious beings, and quite a few of the civil servants at Hero Headquarters are influenced by those voices.
“What is the possibility that she had inside help?”
“We have received reports stating that all of the alarm systems along her escape route were in working order. We can only speculate, but the possibility that we’ve been betrayed is high.”
Asaka raises her glasses with those words. In contrast to her unchanging facial expression, Morikuni is clenching his teeth at the seriousness of the matter.
“The only people who know about the existence of this top-secret detention facility are the members of the R&D department and executives positioned higher than team leaders. If someone was involved in the escape of this mysterious being, we need to learn who as soon as possible.”
“Yes, sir. We’ve already made a list of people who fit the criteria and have begun investigating them.”
Director Morikuni, who will be 68 that year, gives a heavy sigh as he wonders when the heck it is he’ll be able to retire.
The Victor Ranger secret base, unlike a few days ago, is deserted and is also quieter. The table that originally seated six people is now only half full.
“A shame we let him slip by there, isn’t it, Red-chan?”
Commander Onuki alternates between looking over Red and Yellow with those words. The scene of a mysterious being and an ordinary civilian fighting like samurai is being displayed on a large monitor. The video, which is going viral on social media, was recorded by a social media user.
There are those in some circles who view that ordinary citizen who fought and held the upper hand against the mysterious being as hero. For Hero Headquarters, especially the Victor Rangers, it is instead a familiar face.
Kuriyama Rintaro, known as Victory Green, the top student of the Hero School’s 49th class, and also the man who was called the Green Convict. No, what is being displayed on the monitor is a completely different being, someone borrowing his appearance. He is the unidentified mysterious being who suddenly appeared and vanquished 3 members of the Victor Rangers in succession, Death Green.
“The one who took off with Swords Minas, it’s that Death Green. That endless weapons arsenal, this is definitely going to be abused. It falling into the hands of a hostile mysterious being organization is a bit discomforting.”
“I understand, we will have to fight harder than ever before. Still, with us, it doesn’t matter whether it against swords or Death Green! Right, Yellow?”
Yellow, Kioumaru stares at the man being displayed on the monitor in silence.
“What’s the matter, Yellow? Are you hungry?”
“No, it’s nothing, de gowasu. I was just thinking of a way to defeat Death Green, de gowasu.”
“Really? Well, that’s all right. However, don’t be reckless! If I lose you too, I’ll be the only Victor Ranger left!”
“Yes, I realize that, te gowasu. And even if something were by chance to happen, there is no mysterious being in this world that can break my ‘Strong Mower Shield,’ de gowasu.”
Yellow gives a confident smile with those words.