********************************************Translated : Svero
Edited : Nooby2, Skat, Wing, Akios
“[Hashiba…we have arrived at Hashiba Station. When getting off the train, please watch your step ---“
Without even waiting for the announcement to finish, a strong explosion blew the platform apart in the train station.
The train doors and numerous goggled figures were blown away by the explosion, and people wearing white masks charged out into the train station.
“The defense forces positioned at the train station shouldn’t be this few! Let’s get back into formation near the ticketing entrance before advancing forward!”
Leading the pack was a teenage girl wearing a dog mask. She shook her black hair and ran across the platform.
But unexpectedly, there was still no sign of any enemies.
Not just enemies, there weren’t any signs of passengers or train staff around; it was simply an empty station.
…I got a bad feeling about this…
Although the teenage girl clicked her tongue silently, she did not stop advancing forward.
Every day, there would only be three single line trains that travel to Hashiba City. But because they were using a nationalized train line, they had to go across two ticketing gates.
Although there were quite a few ways to enter Hashiba City, according to the knowledge of the former SEPB member, (MinMin), all of these forms of transportation were closely watched, or had ways of preventing non-personnel from entering. It was the same for those taking the train service, but because they knew they had to fight their way through, a form of transportation that would get them in unscathed would be the best. (Mushibane) took the train service, because even if it was the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau, they would be unable to engage in combat in a train station filled with bystanders.
Due to this fact, (Mushibane) successfully infiltrated Hashiba City.
But, when crossing the deserted ticketing gates, all the members realized that the situation was unusually different--- The number of enemies was simply too few.
This uneasiness dissipated the moment they stepped out of the train station.
Rina stood at the front of the group and said in a dry voice.
The companions at the rear started giving out sounds of panic.
An unusual sight of Hashiba City unfolded before their eyes.
Placed in the city was a Christmas tree that could be found anywhere during this season, and every shop in front of them was decorated very grandly. Above their heads were small lights hung about, and for a certain period, would be glowing with a red - white light together. A slight distance away in front of the western styled confectionary shop was a grand double layered Christmas cake.
Taking a look at the place, one would think that this was an ordinary city scene that can be seen anywhere.
What frightened Rina were the figures of the pedestrians on the street.
Everyone was silent and walking like they were programmed into doing it. The working class group wearing suits, students wearing their uniforms, families going out or figures of a couple strolling through the place. But there was not a single person talking. Everyone was looking forward with empty eyes, slowly moving about in the street.
The lively Christmas music that surrounded the streets along with the people walking like zombies absolutely did not mix well together. It was as unnerving as a real life man - made music box.
The people in their sights were definitely Fallen.
Everyone in white masks including Rina, were all frozen on the spot.
Rina couldn’t help but charge out of the train station and grab onto the shoulder of an upper class teenager in a suit.
Even in such an unexpected situation, the teenager did not have any response.
“I’m asking who you are.”
Even raising her voice was useless; the other party just stared blankly at Rina.
“You can’t even say your own name?”
She forcefully turned the other party towards her.
Rina pushed away the teenager carelessly; the teenager did not give any unhappy expression, and just slowly got up, and once again walked in a certain direction.
Rina grit her teeth and looked towards a certain point. In front of her was a couple that looked like a mother and daughter. One of them was someone she had never encountered, a middle aged woman who was slightly fat. The other person was the girl who was turned into a Fallen by (Kakkou) in the sea coast park.
Rina called out to the girl, but she merely returned a glance, held onto the hand that should be her “mother’s” and advanced forward. [TL note: the mother here is actually not the real mother of the child but another person. The original mother had already abandoned her in chapter 2.0X the others]
Rina just stood there speechless.
“W..We’d…become like that too…?”
People in the back said it. Even if Rina didn’t look back, she could clearly understand the fear of her companions.
Rina stared angrily in the direction where the girl had gone, and said in a low tone,
“Don’t mess with us…….who wants to become like that………!”
Listening to the weak voices of her companions, Rina couldn’t help but shout at them.
“Why do you think we came to this place? Isn’t it for the sake of trying our best to reduce the number of people who turn out like this? As long as the SEPB remains, the number of Mushitsuki turning into Fallen would not go down! We’re not here to lose, we’re here to win!”
The members of (Mushibane) were all rendered silent by Rina’s overwhelming presence.
“Our past comrades are definitely somewhere in this city. Don’t tell me that you guys have forgotten about them already? Forgetting the regret of not being able to save them? I will definitely never forget, I was able to live on till now because of the dreams everyone sacrificed!”
Rina lowered her tone and continued:
“I have made a promise with everyone who has turned into a Fallen, I will save them one day, and find a place where they can belong. I came to this city for the sake of fulfilling this dream. I believe everybody has the same intent right? We all have a dream that we cannot let go of at all! That isn’t something that you can just give up in this place! It’s because we have a dream that we cannot lose, that’s why we came to this place in the first place right?”
After listening to the words of Rina, the white masked group raised their heads; they looked at each other and walked up to the front of Rina with a relieved expression.
“…. You are right, if we were to just retreat from here, all the battles we have fought in the past would have gone to waste.”
“That’s right, everything was for the sake of this day. Even if we become Fallen, we still have (Fuyuhotaru), as long as we have her who has awakened from her Fallen state, we still have hope.”
“Right, our job is to rescue all of our comrades in this place, and try our best to reduce the number of people in the SEPB. (Fuyuhotaru) would definitely be able to think of a solution…….”
Upon hearing her comrades raising the alias of Shiika numerous times, a feeling of unease began to surge through her heart.
When Shiika explained to Rina about everything, she more or less guessed the reason behind Shiika’s awakening. If her guess was right, this nearby facility was probably not the reason behind Shiika’s awakening from her Fallen state.
Just then, a light clapping sound entered Rina's ears as she was deep in thought.
All of the white masked figures came back to their senses, and looked in the direction of the sound. They noticed a young adult was standing in the middle of the lifeless street.
When Rina saw the figure, a guy in a suit with the pale face of a sick person and frameless lens, her gaze sharpened immediately.
“Haji… … Keigo!”
Haji seemed to have heard Rina’s mutter. He stopped clapping his hand, and pushed up his specs using his index finger, and gave a light smile.
“Members of the (Mushibane), welcome to the city-size isolation facility “East-33” area, codenamed (Garden) --- Ah, I really am surprised! I thought that you guys would lose all your will to fight after seeing the scene in this city… but it seems that I underestimated the leadership ability of (Ladybird). Although I am the enemy, I must say that you really are a capable person.”
“……What are you trying to pull here? Coming out in front of us alone, are you looking for a death wish?”
Upon hearing Rina’s words, Haji gave a slight smile.
“Although I have been attracted by the thought of death, the answer that I will give you is “No”. I just suddenly remembered that I have not talked to you properly before, so I came to this place to do so.”
The young adult raised his hand, stopping Rina who was about to shout “Stop messing around!”
“Fallen, that is enough, disappear!”
When the young adult’s voice rang, the people in the surrounding area all turned around immediately, and in an instant, were all hurrying towards some place.
“Wha…What just happened…? What is wrong with them……?”
“You should already know by now, only command is able to move them. Those people, who have lost their dreams, are unable to do anything out of their own will. You can try telling them to “Go die”, and I can guarantee you that a corpse would appear in front of your eyes right away.”
Upon hearing Haji’s words, which were said with such an indifferent attitude, the expressions of the white masked figures changed.
In less than a minute, all the Fallen disappeared from the front of the train station, leaving behind only (Mushibane) and Haji.
“Compared to our other isolation facilities, this one is considered to be very different. Those living in this place, excluding the large number of Fallen, are the “Supporters” of the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau who are working on their research as well as concealing the truth from the outside world. In actual fact, experimental facilities that are searching for ways to turn Mushitsuki back into ordinary people do exist, but there haven’t been any noticeable results from them.”
Haji’s mouth moved into a light smile.
“To tell you the truth, the main motive behind this place is to monitor the people who have lost their dreams, that means studying the living habits of the Fallen. From another perspective, you guys wouldn’t be looking at the more intensive segments of the research. I’d consider that lucky... I guess? Oh… Right, regarding the Intel behind (Fuyuhotaru) awakening from her Fallen state because of the research result, that was all fake….All for the sake of luring you guys into revealing yourself. The beautiful (Ladybird), I believe that you probably would have realized it by now right?”
Rina stared at Haji who was making fun of her, and the first emotion that built up within her was not rage, but doubt.
The Fallen who have lost their dreams and forgotten everything, the (Mushi) that were the main reason behind the Mushitsuki becoming Fallen; and the Mushitsuki who were attracted by such (Mushi). Rina doubted all of these, but these problems were always at the back of her mind in the past.
“Hey, you said…you wanted to have a nice chat with me right? Then how about giving me some answers.”
Rina stared at Haji, and poured out all the doubts that she had in her heart.
“What exactly are we? What are the (Mushi) that devour our dreams? Why are we even here….?”
In the past--- from the day Rina was turned into a Mushitsuki till now, how many times had she asked herself? Being afraid of the day that the (Mushi) would devour all her dreams; afraid of the stares of normal people… Living every day in fear and endlessly troubled by these questions.
“These questions are ridiculous. Based on what I know, these are rumors that have been spread around with no evidence backing them at all. Do you still want to know despite this?”
Haji’s reply was unexpected but Rina silently nodded.
“This city is the answer to them. The people who lose their dreams have no desire, and are able to accept everything. As long as the number of Mushitsuki continues to increase, there will be more and more people losing their dreams. Do you believe that…..something would happen if this goes on? The answer is the (Garden) that you guys are looking at now. Three foolish individuals calling themselves Kings are planning to let this Garden fill the world, just like that.”
--- Rina’s heart skipped a beat for a moment.
Her comrades beside her did not seem to understand the meaning behind Haji’s words, and just stared at each other emptily.
The vision in front of Rina became fuzzy, as if she was hit by something, causing her to feel dizzy.
This (Mushi), who exactly gave birth to them —
Haji stopped Rina before she could complete the question, and said,
“But, these kinds of things are not important at all. Well at least to the ---“
“--- The man called (Kakkou), he doesn’t mind at all.”
Haji changed his expression in front of Rina; his gaze behind the specs became a lot gentler all of a sudden.
“What…do you mean?”
“You should ask him for the answer yourself, I can only tell you so much. Don’t look at me like that, I’m still a government worker and must refrain from any actions that would jeopardize my own situation.”
Rina noticed that Haji’s expression had already returned to normal.
Is this guy….trying to make fun of me?
Rina gritted her teeth, and called out to her (Mushi) in her heart.
A ladybug appeared from Rina’s hair, and became bigger in an instant.
“Before I deal with (Kakkou), I’ll get rid of you first!”
The members of (Mushibane) all followed closely, and called out to their own (Mushi).
“Aha, the princess of (Mushibane) is still this heroic, that’s why it’s so easy to trick you into our trap.”
In an instant, many goggled combatants appeared from different corners of the city. Behind the signboards, the corners of high - rise buildings and rooftops, above the roofs of bus stops, Rina’s vision was quickly filled with large numbers of goggled figures.
“Hmph…just as I thought, I will deal with all of you at the same time!”
Rina gave a bold smile.
“The art classroom of Ouka East high school was it? To tell you the truth, it sure is an unexpected meeting place.”
Haji’s words shook the members of (Mushibane).
“Since (Fuyuhotaru) is not among you, I guess that means she’s there?”
Stunned, Rina said in a low voice.
Haji narrowed his eyes delightedly.
“You do know of something called a double agent right? (MinMin) sure is resourceful! She actually intended on betraying us. But after some sweet talking from me….she let us know your meeting place. And not only that, through the information gained from the events that took place in the amusement park yesterday, I know that you have indeed met up with (Fuyuhotaru).”
Rina’s heartbeat got faster and faster, at this moment… Shiika was all alone in the art classroom ---
“My original motive was to find out the method behind (Fuyuhotaru)’s awakening from the Fallen state by any means. If I were to use normal means to capture her, the incident that happened four years ago would repeat itself. That is why; I have been waiting for her to reveal a loophole… the moment when her heart is at its weakest. At that moment, you ran into my clutches, just like a moth to a flame; there was no need for me to even plan anything and the opportunity itself came into my hands.”
Suppressing his laughter, a gun appeared unknowingly in the hands of smiling Haji.
As one, the goggled figures lunged upon the dumbfounded Rina.
The battle in the garden where dreams were lost, unfolded.
“Since the situation’s like this…I will just have to get rid of all of you! Everyone, charge!!”
The white masked group dispersed after hearing Rina’s order.
While the goggled combatants moved towards their appointed targets, three combatants appeared in front of Rina.
“You think three people is enough to stop me?”
Suddenly, she felt an ominous presence in the surroundings.
Those who did not have any of the combat experience that Rina possesses would probably be unable to detect it. Reflecting in the pupil of Rina’s eyes was the image of Haji laughing.
Looking overhead above the shoulders of the gun wielding young adult, she noticed a black dot in the sky.
“So that’s the plan… If that’s how it is, then…”
Rina understood the true motive behind the enemy’s intentions as her gaze changed.
The goggled members suddenly distanced themselves from (Mushibane).
For the sake of protecting her lost comrades, Rina moved her (Mushi) to the front.
In the next instant, objects flying at insane speeds flew to the head of (Mushibane); two combat helicopters with ear deafening sounds appeared in the sky.
Rina looked up towards the approaching helicopters with their guns ready, and shouted:
“Watch me turn these toys into scrap metal! (Nanahoshi)!”
The giant ladybug spread its wings.
A fully powered shockwave repelled all the bullets that were fired at their targets hiding behind (Ladybird). The combat choppers that flew past (Ladybird) went out of control and crashed into the ground behind her, releasing black smoke.
Rina, who was sacrificing her dreams without any limit, was fearless. She could even feel more strength pouring out from within her.
Rina turned, and faced the enemies in front of her once again.
“Haji Keigo! I will deal with you first!”
Ignoring the other goggled figures, Rina locked onto Haji, and released the might of her (Mushi).
The man did not seem to have noticed the overwhelming presence from Rina but withdrew the smile on his face. He quickly took evasive action, but was unable to complete his escape in time.
A blast with the force of a missile burned everything in the plaza in front of the station.
This was an attack made by Rina at full force. Haji was not a Mushitsuki but just an ordinary human. Even if he was lucky, he could never escape an attack like that.
“….It’s so rare for it to be Christmas, and you’re still wearing such a long coat? How about dressing up for a change?”
A voice devoid of anxiousness rang from the side.
Regardless of friend of foe, everyone looked back stunned.
“You dare to talk about this to me? Isn’t all of this equipment down to the revolver prepared by you!?”
Rina looked at the figure of this person and exploded in fury.
The teenage boy, who was wearing the same pitch black coat she was used to seeing, was standing over there shouldering Haji. His whole body had already fused with the green colored Kakkou Mushi; even his inverted hair had slightly changed in color. Numerous green scar-like markings covered the revealed areas near his mouth and neck.
“First of all, I shall thank you; the situation earlier was quite dangerous.”
“That’s why I told you not to stand on the frontlines; an un-killable cockroach standing on the frontlines is an EYESORE!”
(Kakkou) let go of Haji after cursing at him.
“The main performance cannot be watched using the recorded version and must be seen in person! Don’t you agree with me?”
Haji smiled as he pushed up his glasses and behind him, stood numerous goggled figures.
As opposed to the (Mushibane) group which only had about ten people including Rina, the numbers of the SEPB were superior. But knowing that Mushitsuki who have been pushed to the extremes would have unimaginable power, both factions were clear that with the present balance of power, it was hard to tell who would win.
“Good timing, the “me” right now is even able to take you down and as long as I eliminate you, the SEPB will be over….!”
Rina was very clear, amongst the members in the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau, nobody would be able replace the strongest Mushitsuki (Kakkou); as long as she took down the teenage boy in front of her, she could easily get rid of the weakened organization in one go. When that happens, (Mushibane) would be victorious, and that would be the time when many Mushitsuki would be able to find a place they belong---
(Kakkou) clicked his tongue in frustration.
“Even now, you’re still saying such things….”
Rina was disgusted by the teenage boy’s indifferent attitude. Just when she wanted to shout back, she was stopped by Haji’s voice.
“(Kakkou), you do not need to go easy. We’ve already found their hideout, and not only that, there’s also a freebie called (Fuyuhotaru).”
“You just said that….he was going easy?”
Rina originally intended on attacking in anger, but paused momentarily because of the change in (Kakkou)’s expression.
“….What did you say?”
Although the expression of the teenager couldn’t be seen due to the goggles, he seemed to be just as shocked by this.
“What…do you mean by this?”
“Although, I am a bit annoyed by you who was in charge of inspecting, but the double agent (MinMin) discovered their hideout, and even got hold of an easy method that will surprise people. Now, (Kabuto) is probably heading there with another person.”
“But…you should already have known (Mushibane)’s hideout, right?”
Haji said in a sarcastic tone. Just as he changed his tone, the narrow eyes behind the spectacles immediately caught sight of the teenage boy.
“What are you guys blabbering about over there? Don’t tell me that you’ve forgotten the foe in front of you?”
Rina shouted, and commanded her ladybug to release a fan shaped tornado towards (Kakkou).
(Kakkou) and Haji along with the other goggled members all dodged at once; (Mushibane)’s members took this opportunity and attacked the members of the SEPB.
“(Kakkou), stop diverting your attention away from (Fuyuhotaru)!”
Haji said towards (Kakkou) who landed in the cement tiles far away:
“You and (Fuyuhotaru) have no way of escaping anymore! Your dreams will one day be devoured by the (Mushi). But, as long as we obtain (Fuyuhotaru), there might be a way to be saved! You…We cannot turn back anymore. Other than capturing (Fuyuhotaru) like four years ago and attaining our place of belonging, do we even have any other choice? She definitely can’t forgive you for taking away her precious dream! In the first place, you guys are only able to hurt one another!”
(Kakkou) suddenly stopped moving.
“Stop acting like a fool! Defeat (Ladybird) and capture (Fuyuhotaru), (Kakkou)!!!”
Rina thought about the incident four years ago that Shiika had told her about. When Rina found out that the person who turned Shiika into a Fallen was none other than (Kakkou), she felt her own rage becoming stronger.
But, Shiika did not hold any hatred towards (Kakkou) who was her enemy. She did not curse the other person, and simply talked about the things she experienced.
And she even smiled at one point, which made Rina feel that it was rather unbelievable.
“This is the only place where you belong. I --- No, the country needs you, the dream that you hoped for only exists here!”
Haji continued shouting to (Kakkou) as he faced a member of (Mushibane).
“You’ve still got the time to look around!? (Kakkou)!”
Rina sent out a shockwave towards the teenager who was standing still.
(Kakkou) quickly raised his hand holding the gun.
With an incredibly loud cannon shot that pierced the shockwave, two forces with equally devastating destructive powers clashed and negated each other.
“Lady……What are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you be saving that person…saving (Fuyuhotaru)!?”
The words of the teenager stunned Rina, and she could hear Haji clicking his tongue in the distance.
Worry and unease crept up in her chest, causing Rina to bite her lip and stare hatefully towards the foe in front of her.
“I must first….take you down! As long as I defeat you, as long as you do not exist, we will be able to fulfill our dreams!”
That’s right; many comrades were turned into Fallen by the teenager in front of her. The SEPB was an organization that was built upon stepping over so many people’s dreams. To defeat this immoral organization was Rina’s destiny and dream; she couldn’t back out from this any longer.
“……You really are a big idiot.”
Rina opened her eyes wider, the ladybug responding to the intense emotions of the teenage girl, opened its wings forcefully.
“It’s not the time for you to be lecturing me!”
Rina’s hair was blown upwards by the strong gust. An intense energy flowing with the powerful shockwave was fired towards the teenager.
The teenager stood there, motionless.
The shockwave struck (Kakkou) directly.
The goggles covering the teenager’s face were destroyed and its wretched pieces were blown away.
Thank you for reading~
Feel free to leave comments for any questions or feedback~