|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2500 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1177 words|
They opened the door on the second floor of the alchemist’s mansion, a light coming through from it and illuminating the corridor. At the same time, a rather repugnant smell wafted out.
The fact the door had been opened was unnoticeable thanks to Complete Suppression, letting Mira and her group enter the room unnoticed.
The room was filled with shelves, holding many books and bottles of all sorts of colors, alchemy ingredients, presumably. There were also monster parts and gems, as well as cages with small animals. And strangely enough, a sheep plush toy.
A man stood in front of a desk placed in the middle of the room. He looked like he was in his late thirties, his black hair unkempt, and wearing a dirtied white coat and silver-rimmed glasses. He looked like a stereotypical scientist.
He had a stern look as he stirred the contents of a large cauldron, something thick and slimy moving inside. Rather than alchemy, that looked more like something a witch would do.
As they approached the desk, the disgusting smell grew stronger, but that was not enough to stop Mira and Sasori, who scowled as they approached the man from behind.
So as to not let anyone outside notice, they brought the man into the effect of Complete Suppression, and at the same time Sasori placed a dagger to his throat. The man froze, not uttering a sound as he gulped and let his stirring rod free and slowly raised his hands showing he was unarmed. Only then did his mouth open.
「Why are you doing this? I’m doing everything exactly the way you ordered.」
There was no desperation to his voice, but that did not mean he was calm. He had simply decided to ignore all the emotions stirring up in him.
「Well, maybe start by telling us what you’re working on then?」
The man’s response had been slightly unexpected, but Sasori prioritized gathering information and prompted him with a cold voice.
He remained silent for a good while, then he slowly turned around, and the moment he saw Sasori and Mira’s face his brow raised in confusion.
「Who… are you? You’re not from Chimera?」
As he said that, he finally showed some emotion, surprise. But that feeling was also felt by Mira and Sasori. They were convinced they had finally found one of Chimera Clauzen’s Heads, but the way he spoke made it sound like he was separate from Chimera.
「Please don’t associate us with those degenerates.」
But Sasori was more irritated by the idea of someone thinking she belonged to the evil organization, so she replied with her voice seething with anger.
「I… see. My apologies.」
Hearing her forceful voice, the man raised his hands even more to show he meant no harm.
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「Aren’t you one of Chimera’s Heads though? There’s plenty of evidence for that.」
「Head? Evidence? What are you talking about?」
Sasori leaned towards him even more, pressing her blade against his throat. He did not seem too disturbed by that, but his brow contorted in confusion. The two stared at each other in silence for a while after that.
「So you claim you’re not one of Chimera Clauzen’s Heads then?」
Mira walked up to the man and broke the silence with her inquiry. In response, the man’s eyes shifted from Sasori and focused on Mira’s. 「I’m not a Head, nor a member of Chimera.」 He firmly denied it.
Still, there was no way to trust his word so easily, and they did not possess the skill to read his mind and discern between truth or lie.
「So just in case, do you happen to know what those stones are used for?」
Meanwhile Mira continued the interrogation. She pointed at the black mist covered shards on the desk and asked about them.
「Yes, I do.」
He lowered his gaze as his face clouded over. Mylene said her mentor only told her it was used in powerful weapons, but from the alchemist’s reaction it was obvious he knew of its spirit devouring properties.
「Then you know Chimera uses that in their weapons. You’re involved in their manufacture, yet you claim you aren’t a member?」
Mira clearly enunciated each word while looking at the man in the eyes, slowly trying to make him cough up a confession. The man lasted a second with her eyes focused on his, quickly turning his head away while scoffing. But soon after he looked back at her and took a deep breath.
「I’m not a member.」
He repeated, slightly pained, but his voice was firm. Mira kept looking into the man’s eyes, then a while later she turned to Sasori and nodded slightly.
In response, Sasori softened her expression and removed her blade from the man’s neck.
While the blade was no longer pressed against his neck, it was still pointed straight at him, yet the man did not seem bothered by that, thanking Sasori in a low voice.
「If you’re not a member, then why are you helping Chimera? Is it money? Or is there some other reason you’re forced to do it?」
Mira’s next barrage of questions did not have a threatening tone to them. But her quest for answers would not stop there, so she bluntly asked everything she wanted to know.
「Well… something like that.」
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He hung his head down for a moment, then turned his head up with a distant look in his eyes as he muttered. After a while he seemed to decide on something and looked towards the window.
「Before that, just who are you? How did you get past all the guards outside the mansion? Only my assistant and Chimera’s people are supposed to be able to get inside here.」
The man replied with a question of his own and remained completely silent afterwards. He had no intention to speak unless he got a reply. The mansion was heavily guarded, so it was no easy task to infiltrate it. As the owner of the building, the alchemist knew that much. That made him feel suspicious of Mira and Sasori who had broken through that security and stood in front of him now.
「Hmm, fair enough. I’m Mira, I’m helping an organization fighting against Chimera for my own reasons.」
「I’m Sasori, a member of said organization.」
Once the two introduced themselves, the man looked at them with eyes open wide. But then his eyes seemed to turn resolute.
「I see. An organization fighting against Chimera huh. Considering everything those guys have been doing, it makes sense for something like that to exist, and for the leads to point towards here.」
He seemed to be muttering to himself, and while he was trying to stay calm, he was clearly excited for something. He was not simply relieved to hear of Mira and Sasori’s identities.
「I still don’t get this though. How come no one noticed you entering here?」