When Kimberly finally arrived at downstairs where screams and bellows and beastly roars were flying past each other, he witnessed the manifestation of picture of hell there.
Men and women were enlarged atrociously without distinction. The strengthened monsters were trampling down everything at the surrounding following their instinct.
At first there were only several people that got dashed over with【Berserk】, but the body fluids that were scattered along with the roar, the biting act, the scattering blood due to the security guard’s gunshot, all those were increasing the number of the infected like rats multiplying.
If it was only a bit of【Berserk】, then surely there wouldn’t be anyone at the surrounding that got infected just like when that young man rampaged in the middle of city a few days ago. However, this time the people that got infected the very first were absorbing a lot of the undiluted solution of【Berserk】. The ability of【Berserk】should be lowering much if it was by indirect infection, so at this level there would be no worry of explosive contagion happening.
However, even so there was the need to be resigned of at least tertiary infection or quaternary infection. And above all else, the people who got hit at the beginning with the undiluted solution were even now scattered about somewhere and kept producing the secondary infection.
The hell was only starting just now.
「Fuck-. It’s really a B-class movie like this.」
Kimberly was cursing while aiming his gun muzzle at a berserker that just now was snapping the waist of a small statured female student to opposite direction. He consecutively fired life-reaping bullets within an instant.
The former student that was Berserkified carelessly tossed away the female students who died in a way that was beyond imagination by getting snapped right into half, and then it covered its head using its arm that was like a log while rapidly rushing at Kimberly.
Kimberly’s bullets that flew straight to the berserker’s head were easily stopped by that muscle armor. Its flesh was gouged and blood was flying, but that was all. The wound was immediately starting to regenerate and its charging momentum didn’t decline at all.
「Nine milli is just like peashooter huh-」
Kimberly immediately jumped forward into a head-sliding. Strong wind of death and madness passed through above his head. He evaded by slipping through between its legs.
Kimberly was sliding while instantly rolling face-up, and then he aimed at the back of the head of the berserker and pulled his trigger. Inside the corridor that had turned dim due to the broken lamps, muzzle flashes flickered along with consecutive gunshot sounds.
At the same time, skin and flesh and blood scattered from the berserker’s back of the head. The berserker that got hit with fierce impact on the back of the head while in the middle of charging pitched forward and fell on the corridor with a slide.
「I heard that it doesn’t have weak point other than the head but……it’s more troublesome than I thought.」
Kimberly stood up while smoothly replacing his gun’s magazine. He whispered with an expression as though he was chewing something bitter.
Right after that,
「-!? Sheet-, it’s infected!?」
Behind Kimberly, the female student who was snapped into two just now shrieked while standing up. When he looked there, the girl’s face was really wet. Probably when she was caught she was also dashed with a lot of saliva that was scattered together with the berserker’s roar.
Kimberly aimed his gun to deal the finishing blow before it could finish its transformation. But, before he could pull the trigger, presence of death blew from behind him.
He obeyed his instinct’s order and jumped to the side, an instant later, a war hammer was swung down. The fist attack was so fierce that he mistakenly thought that. Cracks in the shape of spider web was created on the floor by that fist.
「So I failed to finish it off-」
Yes, the attacker from behind was the berserker just now. Actually, the angle of Kimberly’s bullets was too bad to pierce the skull, they could only slide on the skull’s surface and shaved the skin.
And then, the worst thing was that the second berserker finished transforming in front of Kimberly who lost his chance.
「This is bad……」
He muttered those words unconsciously. Cold sweat trickled down the temple of Kimberly. He was sandwiched between two berserkers behind and forward in a corridor that wasn’t that wide. Kimberly’s cheeks were twitching in this dangerous situation.
But, at that time, a severe earthquake suddenly came. The corridor wall slightly away from him was blown away along with intense thunderous roar, and from there a berserker came out. However, it appeared that the berserker wasn’t intentionally smashing the wall. The berserker flew out with a somersault and its head struck uncouthly at the corridor’s opposite side with a tumble.
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It was as though its charging momentum was made use to send it flying and crashed onto the wall. That conjecture was proved to be correct by the man in white doctor robe that jumped out from the broken wall right after that.
「My stomach got cold inside here because I need to imitate a matador against berserker.」
The man made such frivolous talk while kicking the berserker’s arm that was trying to stand up. When its balance’s broke, the man drilled its head with point-blank range shooting and finished it off with certainty. The berserker fell down like a puppet with its string cut, and then it withered up while spewing white smoke. The man in white doctor robe attentively put in bullet toward the heart’s location from the back.
「Oops. Spare me from anymore chicken race okay.」
One of the berserkers aiming at Kimberly roared and charged toward the man in white doctor robe. Immediately following that, a black object lightly flew in air.
「Wai-, you stupid bastard-」
Kimberly got down in panic. The next moment, the dim corridor was overran with intense flash. The white robed man was using flashbang.
Kimberly was sweating coldly that he was crouching defenselessly right beside a berserker while desperately covering his eyes, then gunshots roared four times in the corridor that was filled with flash. At the same time, a heavy crashing sound resounded for the second time.
(He sniped in this kind of situation!?)
Kimberly shuddered in his heart while sweating coldly at the white robed man’s skill, however, he still jumped out by relying the slight presence that he felt.
「Uwah, that’s dangerous-」
「Chih, I missed-」
The flash was already settling down and the dim corridor came back into view. The two people crossed through each other among the falling bodies of berserkers and now they were opposite of each other. The white robed man that easily slaughtered three berserkers tried to cross in front of Kimberly to go ahead of the corridor, but then Kimberly assaulted him with the knife that he was secretly carrying.
Kimberly already perceived that it was impossible to catch this man for interrogation due to the difference in strength between the two of them, but rather than letting him escaped just like this he thought that he would instead kill the man and search for even a scrap of information about who this man was from his dead body.
However, the attack that was filled with that killing intent was easily dodged. Kimberly reflexively clicked his tongue.
Although, as expected, perhaps the man in white robe didn’t expect Kimberly to attack using his instinct when his eyes were burned to some extent by the flashbang and he kept it closed, the man exposed a slightly pained expression.
「ts, ……you, that face」
「……Geh, this is bad!? Aa, can you pretend not seeing anything?」
The white robed man still talked with light tone. The place on his face that was grazed by Kimberly’s knife had something dangling down on there. However, it wasn’t blood. There was unharmed skin that could be seen from under the peeled off skin.
It was obviously a disguise mask that was using advanced technology. It was something in the level that couldn’t be prepared by low level organization.
(Wait, wait a second. He is using a disguise of this level just for sneaking into a university’s research facility? He is extremely vigilance of having his face known? In addition he know about Berserk’s existence and act in this timing, also an organization that has skilled member above my level?)
Kimberly stared fixedly at the white robed man who was holding his head in exaggeration while saying「Ooh my, goddd!」because of his failure of exposing the fact that he was in disguise. And then, with the information that he had as the premise, and the speech and conduct of the man that he felt déjà vu from……
「You……don’t tell me……」
The eyes of Kimberly who guessed the true identity of the white robed man turned round. The man showed even more fluster at Kimberly’s state that was like that. The man muttered in small voice「Even though I’m already at risk of getting fired from making this great failure, seriously spare me from more than this!」before turning on his heel.
「I’m not waiting! This is out of control already! I had taken care of all the first berserkers already, take care of the rest please! This is what you called collective responsibility!」
Kimberly tried to chase after the man, but the white robed man vanished in the blink of eye deep at the corridor ahead. Furthermore, in a bad timing more berserkers showed its figure from the opposite side of the corridor that Kimberly was forced to stop running.
「This is really a sheetty B-class. This one and that one are just doing whatever they pleased.」
With a pained expression, Kimberly gave a sidelong glance at the berserkers charging at him while roaring. He then dashed up the stair to the floor above.
At the very least, he had to secure his money tree, the girl that was Berserk’s creator.
On the other side, when the berserkers were starting to scream for the first time, Emily and others were tormented by bewilderment and anxiety and fretfulness while hesitating of what to do, whether they should go out to look at the situation or not, or if this was the diversion caused by Rod and others and they should get out of the research building right away.
At the very least, this surely wasn’t the diversion that they planned seeing from Kimberly’s state before this and from how the two agents that came to be the guard replacing him suddenly dashed away in panic and abandoned their guard duty.
「……Everyone, let’s escape.」
Professor Down made his decision in the middle of the oppressive atmosphere. Hendricks was about to make objection reflexively, but Professor Down continued his words before Hendricks could form his words.
「This feels too strange to be something caused by Rod and others. Perhaps something else is happening right now. However, it’s certain that the agents are directing their attention elsewhere. I think we shouldn’t let go of this chance.」
Those words caused everyone to look at each other’s face. And then, they nodded at Professor Down’s suggestion even while feeling anxious.
They slowly and quietly opened the door, and after confirming that there was nothing strange going on outside, Emily and others came out. Violent sound of clatters and impacts resounded from the corridor. Emily’s body spontaneously froze from that. Hendricks showed his usual kind smile at Emily who was showing small fear while her body stooped a little, their eyes met each other.
「It’s fine Emily. We are with you. Surely everything will go smoothly.」
Emily looked anxious, but she obediently nodded. Hendricks then tousled her head in encouragement.
「Wait Rick. Don’t tousle Emily’s hair like that. Good grief, you just don’t understand how to treat a girl.」
「Oi oi, Lizzie. If Hendricks understand how woman’s heart work, then you two will be already married from long time――」
「Stupid Milo-, close that mouth of yours!」
The cheerful overseas student Milo ate Lizzie’s slap with ‘hebuu’ and his body half-rotated. But he kept rotating for a half more and returned to face the front and sent Lizzie a wide grin. A vein emerged on Lizzie’s forehead.
Seeing the exchange between the seniors――no, her big brothers and big sisters who were always jovial, Emily’s anxiety was also eliminated a bit. She said「Thank you」inside her heart while returning back a powerful smile in place of words of gratitude.
Emily and others arrived in front of the stair.
「Then, Hendricks, Lizzie, Milo. We’ll rely on you to recover the research data and the drugs. I and Emily will leave ahead from here. Let’s meet again at the meeting place.」
Hendricks replied with determined expression at Professor Down’s instruction. Lizzie and Milo also nodded.
Like that, Hendricks and other went upstairs while Emily and Professor Down went downstairs, it was just before they could do that, *zushin-, zushin-* a sound that was like something heavy hitting the floor resounded from downstairs.
Hendricks and Milo looked at each other’s face and they peeked downstairs hesitatingly. Even while they were doing that, the heavy sound was gradually getting louder while transmitting vibration regularly.
「He, hey, Hendricks. You see, I, feels like I have seen this kind of scene, in a movie before……」
「He, hee? What, coincidence. I, I also recall something like that.」
The two were feeling cold sweats drenching their body while they couldn’t take off their gaze from downstairs, however, they muttered in small volume simultaneously.
「This ain’t a joke. Why, the hell. Why, are those guys……」
「Ha, haha. I wonder, if this is still better, than T-Rex……」
Milo stepped back while shuddering in fear from that――the berserker that finally showed its appearance. Hendricks also stepped back while making a dry laugh.
Right after that, a scream that pierced the air was raised.
Hendricks’s voice warned so loud it felt like her throat would tear. Milo came back to his senses as though he just got punched, while Emily and others who were similarly stiffened also turned on their heel and started running through the corridor.
「Go down from the other stair!」
「No, use the elevator! Get into that!」
Lizzie mentioned about the other stair at the end of the research building. But midway Hendricks saw the floor display of the elevator and wasted no time to tell the others about the change of plan.
Emily jumped forward and pushed the elevator button. The elevator was currently at a floor above them. The sound of the elevator operating sounded a beat later after the button was pushed. Emily and others would be able to ride the elevator in just a few more seconds. But, right now those seconds felt like eternity to them.
Emily spoke impatiently while pushing the button repeatedly.
A roar reverberated. The berserker climbed the stair and arrived at the floor where Emily and others were at right now. The figure of Emily and others was reflected on its bloodshot eyes. And then, it screamed once more. However, this time the sound was accompanied by the shaking of the floor from its forward charge.
At the same time, the elevator door opened. They all rushed inside and pushed the button with all their might. Seeing the door slowly began to close was really frustrating. However, it closed just in time.
Just before the door closed, the wicked look of the berserker peeked in from between the door’s gap and a fist approached, but the door closed completely. Thunderous sound and impact ran through the door. Milo and Hendricks fell on their butt seeing the door now became greatly dented.
Lizzie was covering her mouth with her hands, her expression showed how she couldn’t believe what had happened. And then, Professor Down was dumbfounded while muttering「Impossible. This……what happened……」.
While the floor display of the elevator was slowly heading to the lower floor, Emily let out her words using voice that was filled with uneasiness.
「We, we have to contact the police. After that the security bureau too. After that, after that, the research building need to be sealed……but, the way to seal it is……」
Those voices caused Hendricks and others to quickly return to their senses. Their little sister was desperately thinking even while they were in stupor. That fact made them recovered some part of their composure.
「We don’t know what happened but, it’s unthinkable that Rod and others were the one scattering【H3-α4】――no, 【Berserk】. Anyway, let’s get outside for the moment abd then contact the police. If they don’t send armed men here……」
「……Yeah. We don’t know how much【Berserk】is scattered, but it will be a disaster if it gets outside.」
「Are Dennis and others safe…… As for the security bureau, surely agent Warren has contacted them though.」
Hendricks and others desperately calmed down themselves while talking to each other. Before long the elevator arrived at the first floor. The door opened and then they caught sight of armed men in janitor uniform a slight distance away. Those must be the bodyguard agents from security bureau.
With that conclusion, Milo felt a slight relieve, and then he rushed out of the elevator in order to seek help from them.
「You guys! Help us! Upstairs there is berse――」
Milo’s figure disappeared.
It was unknown who whispered that. Hendricks came out of the elevator with shaky footsteps and turned his gaze to the right.
He already knew. Right after Milo got outside, something big nabbed Milo from the side. He knew――that this something was a berserker.
「A, a, aah」
Hendricks trembling voice echoed. His eyes opened widely and he sunk down on the floor as though strength left his waist. He didn’t avert his gaze away. He couldn’t.
He couldn’t avert his gaze from the figure of his friend that got his head crushed. He couldn’t avert his gaze, from the monster straddling his friend while madly punching with its fist that was like rock.
The roar of the berserker that easily snatched Milo’s life reverberated. It sounded like the war cry of victory.
The agents fired. From the direction they fired at, further two, three more berserkers appeared.
The agents fired blindly in panic. Several of the bullets hit nearby the elevator, even so Hendricks kept standing stock still without being able to avert his eyes from the tragic appearance of his friend. Emily and Lizzie jumped at Hendricks who was like that. And then, both of them dragged him back into the elevator.
「Milo is, Milo is-」
「Rick-, get a hold of yourself!」
Lizzie scolded Hendricks who was holding his head in panic. A painful slap flew onto Hendricks’s cheek. Hendricks returned to his senses due to the pain running on his cheek and the expression of Lizzie before his eyes that looked like it would burst into tear anytime.
「Right now……that’s no good. You still, cannot break down yet. Live, search for help, after that……protect our little sister! Think just those for now! You are a big brother right!」
「Lizzie……yeah, you’re right. Sorry.」
Hendricks stood up and turned his gaze at the little sister who was standing still at the elevator corner.
(She looks like a corpse. Sheet-, it’s just as Lizzie said. I’ve got to pull myself together-)
The look of Emily’s expression that lost color was certainly like a corpse inside a coffin. Hendricks who treated her like family all this time understood really clearly that Emily now was getting crushed by guilt.
The drug that she created turned a lot of people into monster. And then, those monsters, finally killed a person that she loved like brother. That was really no different than Emily herself getting killed……
Of course, from the point of view of Hendricks and others, that was nothing more than barking up the wrong tree. But, surely, even if they said「This isn’t Emily’s fault」, their words wouldn’t reach the heart of Emily who was drowning in guilt.
That was why,
「Emily, I want you to lend us your strength.」
Hendricks entreated to Emily.
「It’s only Emily who can stop Berserk. There is no doubt that we will be unable to make the antidote. It’s only you who grasped the whole thing and possess the insight that we won’t even be able to imagine, that can stop the monster that we created.」
「Please, Emily. Save us, save everyone. Lend us, your power.」
There was no time for them to stop still. There wasn’t any time to drown in guilt. Exert Emily Grant’s whole strength. Hendricks who pleaded like that made Emily to notice his true intention.
Emily’s almond-shaped eyes sharpened even more fiercely. She wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her kinked lab coat and slapped her own cheeks so hard that it made sound. And then, she gave a sharp nod at Hendricks.
Hendricks looked fondly at Emily’s gaze and he nodded back, and then he suggested that they took a look at their own laboratory. He was thinking of the possibility that perhaps Dennis and others or agent Warren returned there.
Of course, there was the possibility that the berserker before this was still there. Therefore, they had to stay on guard so they could evacuate back into elevator anytime.
However, when they peeked out of elevator, what entered their eyes was――a disastrous sight.
「A, e, a……this is, lies, right?」
There was the figure of Sam who had been reduced into a berserker, and then the figure of Jessica who was dangled in midair with her neck broken. And then, there was the figure of Dennis soaked in sea of blood at the side, and the figure of Rod sitting down while leaning on the wall. ――It was really, a nightmare.
Right after that, the elevator that had its button kept being pushed by Emily so they could escape anytime was suddenly assaulted by impact. *zuhin-* Something fell on the elevator from above. The elevator was making unpleasant sound while sinking below.
At the same time, a roar and an impact struck the elevator’s ceiling. The elevator was dented with each roar. It was clear that a berserker was invading from above the ceiling.
「-, Emily! Teacher! Get out quickly!」
Hendricks and Lizzie stretched their hand to Emily and Professor Down in panic. The elevator entrance had turned narrow like a guillotine. Emily and Professor Down crawled out from there desperately.
The next moment, the elevator finally surpassed its endurance limit and fell below with a screech. The berserker that was on its ceiling reached out its hand and grasped the edge of the elevator entrance that was still opened.
Emily and others moved away from the entrance in panic, but there was no way that much commotion wouldn’t attract the attention of the berserker that was Sam once.
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Sam threw away Jessica like a doll and raised a groan. And then, a berserker crept up from the elevator.
In this hopelessly deathly situation, a gunshot suddenly rang.
The one who yelled in frenzy like that while pulling trigger toward Sam――was Rod. He kept leaning on the wall while still sitting down, perhaps he had no strength to stand up anymore, yet he was still pulling the trigger of the gun that he likely borrowed from a dead agent.
It seemed that Sam whose attention was taken by Emily and others got taken unaware by this surprise attack. The moment he was about to turn toward Rod, one of the fired bullets pierced the side of his head and he fell down. His body was smoking white while rapidly withering.
Hendricks and others had no word toward the figure of their important companion that was so miserable it was painful to look at, and then, Rod who was the one that did that was crying while muttering「Damn it……」one more time.
Emily rushed ahead. She dashed toward Rod who was dropping the handgun powerlessly. Hendricks and others were also sprinting to Rod’s side in panic.
Midway, Hendricks took a look at the condition of the fallen Dennis but……there was a single shot in his temple. He had already expired. And then, looking at Dennis figure that was smoking even though it was only a little, Hendricks guessed how Dennis was already infected.
「……Den, nis, he did it, by himself. He got splashed, by Sam’s blood……, midway here, he picked……the gun……that was why, he said, he don’t want to become monster……and he」
The gasping Rod was sending his gaze at Dennis with hollow look. It seemed that it was Dennis who dealt with himself. Dennis and Rod always quarreled when they met each other, they weren’t compatible with each other at all, but even so, they were “buddy”. Surely the feeling inside Rod’s chest was something that couldn’t be expressed by words at all.
「You idiot Dennis. ……When I go to the other side……I’ll yell at……you again. ……I’m going, to beat you……up」
「Enough already-, don’t talk, Rod!」
「Rod-oniichan! Don’t, please don’t! You must not die!」
「Stupid Rod! Get a hold of yourself!」
Emily and others clung on Rod. ‘Gofuh’ Rod vomited out blood while making a wry smile. Shadow of death was emerging on his face. Looking at his caved-in chest and his stomach that looked discolored, it was clear that his internal organs had received fatal damage.
No matter how they looked, Rod, was already beyond help.
Surely even Rod himself understood that. His gaze was calm in acceptance while his trembling hand patted Emily’s head.
「……Sorry, yeah, Emily.This is, our fault……because, we did……something, unnecessary……but, we want to do something……really, sorry」
「No-. This isn’t Rod-oniichan’s fault! I, I-」
Rod’s hand fell down limply.
――Youu, live on
Those were Rod’s last words.
Emily and others were dumbfounded. Their companions who were like family, who were laughing with each other only just now, were gone already. That fact, that reality, they couldn’t accept it.
But, reality wouldn’t give any consideration to their feeling.
The berserker that crawled up from the elevator showed up. Its bloodshot eye glint captured Emily and others as its prey without any room for hesitation.
Hendricks stood up. And then, he slowly pulled out the handgun that Dennis’s hand was still holding and he ascertained its magazine. Hendricks sent only his words to Emily and others without looking back.
「I’ll lure away that guy somehow. During that time, you guys escape.」
Emily and Lizzie reflexively were going to shout just what was he talking about, but Hendricks didn’t allow any objection.
「Go-. I’ll meet up with you guys again for sure!」
Saying that, Hendricks charged at the berserker alone. Emily yelled「Senpai-」and she was going to rush out, but Professor Down pinioned her from behind. Emily struggled, but when she was yelled「Don’t waste Hendricks’s feeling here!」, strength left her.
「……We are going!」
At the corridor ahead, Hendricks was shooting while he passed through the berserker’s side with a slide. And then he fired again to attract the berserker’s attention. The berserker turned on its heel and determined Hendricks as its target. During that time, with the monster between them, Hendricks and Lizzie’s gaze crossed each other.
That was enough.
Lizzie grasped Emily’s hand and she turned around. Emily made an expression of unable to believe the action of Lizzie who should be harboring feeling for Hendricks, but she shut up when she saw the blood flowing from Lizzie’s lips and her bitten lips.
Emily and others ran off with the figure of Hendricks running to the other side of the corridor behind them.
「Let’s use the emergency stair. The first floor is dangerous, so let’s use the plumbing pipe from second floor to go down.」
Lizzie wordlessly nodded at Professor Down’s words and she pulled Emily’s hand.
They opened the door to emergency stair and ran down toward the second floor. But, right now the research building was a berserker nest. And then, their developed sense of hearing could sense the prey’s existence even across wall.
The door of the emergency stair was blown away together with a roar. The steel door that was flown together with its clasp became a brutal weapon, and in a stroke of bad luck, it separated them from each other. Professor Down fell on his butt on the stair that connected to upper floor, while Lizzie and Emily fell on the stair landing because they embraced each other.
The eye glint of the berserker caught Professor Down.
「Do, don’t come-」
Professor Down stood up with a yell and escaped by climbing up the stairs. Lizzie and Emily also stood up desperately, but because the steel door stood in their way and they couldn’t pass through, they had no other choice but ran down the stairs.
The berserker seemed to choose the group with more prey. He sent a crushing blow to the direction of Lizzie and Emily.
「Emily-. Don’t stop no matter what!」
The two somehow escaped from the range the fist could reach and immediately stood up again even though they were entangled with each other due to the impact. However, the berserker immediately caught up to them. It really looked unlikely that they would be able to escape until second floor.
Lizzie instantly made an expression that was filled with resolve. Emily who noticed that was caught by bad premonition. Lizzie pulled at Emily’s hand and wasted no time to open the door right below them and ran through it. The berserker destroyed the steel door again and entered the floor to chase after Emily and Lizzie.
Lizzie who was pulling Emily’s hand continued to run without hesitation as though she had a destination in mind.
「It will be fine! I swear I’ll protect you!」
Lizzie turned the corner several times to shake off the footsteps resounding behind them before she came to a stop in front of a certain door. And then, she desperately suppressed her fingers that were trembling from tension and fear while she entered the password into the electronic lock that was installed beside the door.
The door opened accompanied by small mechanical sound. Lizzie pushed in Emily inside. Emily who had no doubt that they would be hiding together inside turned pale seeing Lizzie didn’t enter. She guessed what Lizzie’s intention was.
Toward such Emily, Lizzie showed her a gentle smile even with a stiff face while opening her mouth in persuasion.
「Emily, hide here. You absolutely mustn’t go out.」
「Wa, wait, Lizzie-nee-. We can――」
「The door here is sturdier then other room, that’s why it won’t be broken down that easily. The security bureau people should arrive soon, that’s why do your best to endure until that time.」
「If that’s the case then Lizzie-nee too, quickly get in!」
「I’m sorry, that guy has to be lured away. There is no more place to escape inside here, so in the worst case that guy noticed then that will be the end. That’s why, okay?」
「Who cares about that! It doesn’t matter, just come in quickly!」
Emily desperately pulled at Lizzie’s hand, but Lizzie smiled sweetly and pushed her down on her butt.
「It’s okay. I’ll find that idiot Rick and teacher, and we will return here together. So believe in your big sis.」
Emily reached out her hand. But the steel door obstructed that. Emily’s small fist desperately punched on the steel door, but of course it didn’t even twitch. Yet even while losing composure, Emily recalled in a flash that the door could be opened from inside too and her hand reached out to the door button but,
Lizzie’s angry voice resounded from behind her. Emily’s body spontaneously stiffened. This time a gentle voice reached her.
「No matter what happen, never give up. If it’s Emily, then it absolutely will be fine, I, we all believe that.」
Those words of her big sister that came from across the steel door made Emily’s hand that was reaching to the button to fall powerlessly. Hot tears were falling along her cheeks without end.
「I love you, Emily. Don’t forget that. No matter what happened, you are the little sister, that we are proud of.」
A roar reverberated. Lizzie’s presence was getting farther away. A beat later, heavy footsteps were passing through in front of the door.
Emily backed off unsteadily before she powerlessly sank down on the floor helplessly. And then, she hugged her knees and buried her face onto it, both her hands held her head and she turned small.
Emily waited, obeying the command of her beloved big sister.
However, what returned was only the completely transformed Hendricks.
Emily’s important people, in the end, not a single person of them came back.
(This is baadd…… Heavy. This is just awfully heavy. Honestly, that’s too heavy that I want to run away right now……)
After she finished talking of the long recollection, Emily hugged her knees once more, buried her face, and turned small. Kousuke was sighing inside his heart while looking at such Emily. Honestly speaking, he couldn’t help but felt sympathy with Emily’s circumstance. Emily had even forgotten that she wasn’t wearing anything down there that it felt like her secret place down there could be visible with her current sitting position, but right now Kousuke was in the middle of much regret of hearing the story that he didn’t even have the composure to be aware of such thing.
「When we arrived, there is almost no survivor anymore inside the research building. We met up with Kimberly who ran out of bullet and went into hiding, then after we shared information, we split up to search for Doctor Grant, I managed to secure her but……」
「That handsome bastard betrayed you then.」
「Yes. It was when we met up with our comrades and gathered in the first floor to escape. We were surrounded by berserkers and put up a fight, and when we somehow managed to secure an escape route, we were gunned down by Kimberly and an armed group from somewhere that had replaced the bodyguard agents.」
Because of the attack of that time, the agents who came for the pick-up were annihilated. Vanessa was able to survive even while getting wounded on her side was because she was immediately covered by Hughes. But in exchange he was also lethally wounded, even so he fought hard in order to let Vanessa and Emily escaped.
As the result, due to Hughes’s last stand, Vanessa and Emily managed to escape.
There, Kousuke spoke his doubt.
「Hm? After that, you didn’t contact the security bureau right away?」
Kousuke witnessed the car chase at the afternoon. From the story that he heard, the incident occurred at midnight. That meant that Vanessa and Emily were fighting alone for more than half a day.
「My smartphone that can connect with the private line was broken when we were ambushed…… Doctor Grant’s phone also seemed to break somewhere in the middle of our escape.」
「You can just use public phone right?」
「That’s true. I also tried to do that. However, that……it’s embarrassing but, after I performed first aid on my wound, I fainted.」
It appeared that Vanessa ran out of strength because she even performed the bullet extraction inside the car. After that Emily nursed Vanessa for the whole night.
And then, the next morning, Vanessa who woke up from her fainting finally made contact with the headquarters, but right after, perhaps they were detected or something, they were assaulted by Kimberly and his group then.
After that, they were chased around relentless without any time to meet up with the people from headquarters, also the meeting site that was decided beforehand was also known by Kimberly so it couldn’t be used, and that was why they were doing nothing but running away.
「I see. ……Then, what are you going to do from here? The security bureau seems to be suspicious too right?」
「That’s right. However, it’s also the fact that we won’t be able to do anything by ourselves. It’s only in the movie when individual can oppose an organization as their opponent. ……We have to determine, the true intention of the chief.」
In this situation, even though the security bureau seemed suspicious, but it was unthinkable that the whole place was pitch black. If it was just as Kimberly insinuated, that the security bureau was pulling the string of the attack, then Chief Magdanese was exceedingly close with “black”. In that case, then Vanessa would ask for help from bureau member listed up inside her head that seem to be trustable, and also from other places like intelligence department and so on.
But if it was the opposite, that Chief Magdanese was “white”, they would be able to get rescue from the most direct place.
In any case, to investigate about the organization behind Kimberly and further to oppose them, Vanessa would need to obtain the power of organization too. Because of that, no matter what it was essential to clearly determine the position of Chief Magdanese, whether she was white or black.
「First, it’s important to classify which is the enemy and which is ally. I plan to move with that direction, so during that time I want Mr. K to protect Doctor Grant.」
Kousuke scratched his cheek with a troubled look after listening to Vanessa’s plan. And then, he was about to open his mouth to say something, however, his voice that was going to sing an objection was interrupted.
「I’m not looking for protection or anything.」
Vanessa turned her gaze in surprise. There, Emily who turned small was slowly lifting up her face and looked back. The dark flame dwelling inside those eyes, which contradicted her frail atmosphere before this caused Vanessa to gulp unconsciously.
「That drug,【Berserk】, it’s something that mustn’t exist in this world. It has to be erased from this world, all of it without leaving anything behind. I who created it, have to erase it no matter what.」
「I absolutely don’t want to be just protected, only waiting for the situation to end without understanding anything. That’s why, Vanessa. Please, bring me along. I want to ascertain with my own eyes, who was the one that spread around【Berserk】, and, what will happen from now on.」
「……My apologies but, Doctor Grant. You are――」
「A burden? I don’t think so. 【Berserk】is a defective merchandise that was created by chance. Whether it’s to improve it or making its antidote, those are out of the question without me. In other words, I am the best shield you can ask.」
Vanessa was greatly troubled with Emily’s point. Indeed, for the people who were seeking for Emily’s knowledge and ability, Emily’s life was something they had to absolutely protect. To put it another way, if she turned Emily into shield then they wouldn’t be able to pull the trigger.
If Vanessa said that she would search information against an organization in this isolated situation, then indeed it could be said to be a useful card. However, even though she was fighting to protect Emily by nature, but if she made her into something like a shield than that would mean putting the cart before the horse.
Besides, there was nothing absolute in a battlefield, on top of that an “accident” could possibly happen. And even if those didn’t happen, the enemy had no reason to not make the decision “it’s fine if she is at least alive”.
For Vanessa, taking around Emily together with her from here on was something that couldn’t be permitted. However, even with all those reasons, she was unable to simply reject and left her was surely because of Emily’s eyes. If she forced her to stay behind, then she would run off by herself. That risk was something possible with the current Emily.
How should she persuade her……Vanessa was at a loss, but before Vanessa could say something, the one who spoke to Emily who said rash things, was Kousuke who was being reserved.
「Look here……as I thought, something like this, I think it’s better if we leave it to the pro you know? Emily is a researcher right? A researcher has their own battlefield that can only be fought by researcher isn’t it? If Vanessa-san found ally and they prepared a place for you to research【Berserk】, then Emily’s battle would be from there on, isn’t that right?」
For Kousuke, it would be the best for him if Vanessa could quickly found ally organization that could give heavy protection to Emily. Because at that point of time Kousuke would become unnecessary and he could leave. Thinking so, Kousuke tried to back up Vanessa, but
His opinion was rejected with one word. Emily didn’t even meet his gaze.
「Saying no like that, are you a child throwing tantrum huh. You understand right? You said you are going to become shield or whatever, but you are virtually still a burden. There is no way Vanessa-san will be able to use Emily as shield. That’s why, here you shou――」
「If I said no then no-!」
Hearing Kousuke’s words, this time Emily’s almond-shaped eyes glared fiercely while saying a rejection that sounded completely childish. As expected Kousuke was irritated hearing Emily’s words that weren’t even an objection but simply selfishness.
「Seriously, this isn’t the time to throw tantrum. How about you understand your own position a bit more? You are genius right? Then at least understand that much.」
Kousuke’s obviously pathetic atmosphere until now faded, and its place he replied with expression and tone that were visibly irritated. Emily trembled in shock from that. However, the flame dwelling in her eyes didn’t die down for even a bit. She couldn’t say any rebuttal and tears were oozing out slightly from her eyes, but even so she still radiated rebellion to Kousuke.
Kousuke continued his words while holding down his irritated feeling at the unreasonable Emily.
「Look here……if you keep being obstinate, and Vanessa-san get hurt again because of that――」
「What’s wrong with being obstinate huh!」
Emily interrupted Kousuke’s words and exploded.「OoU」Kousuke raised a strange voice in shock. Emily approached Kousuke who was like that and gripped his collar.
「I know already! It’s better for Vanessa-san to move by herself! That I won’t be useful if I’m with her! I know that! But, I still cannot help it! Because, because-」
「Ca, calm do――」
Kousuke caught Emily’s shoulders to try to calm her down, but right after that, he tasted an impact that shot through his heart from the words that Emily yelled next.
「Everyone, they died!」
Emily who was shedding tears with her emotion exploding kept yelling without noticing Kousuke’s condition.
「Everyone, everyone died there! In order to let me get away! In order to let me stay alive! Everyone died! They died there……」
――I told you they died! Captain Meld and Alan-san and the others, all of them! All the knights that entered the labyrinth died! In order to let me get away! Because of my fault! They died! They all died there!
The wailing that he once raised was resurrected in his head.
「I was entrusted. Everyone, they entrusted me with their hope. I, I cannot stop. Or else, or else everyone……」
He was entrusted. At that time, Kousuke was entrusted with his comrade’s hope. The knights, they entrusted their hope to Kousuke. They kept him alive and let him escape, just him――
As the result, he could save his friends but, Emily……
Kousuke stared at Emily. She was hanging her head down, clinging on Kousuke while sobbing. At the side, Vanessa’s hand reached out to stop Emily, but she saw Kousuke’s face and her breath got caught unconsciously. Vanessa didn’t understand how to describe it, it was a mysteriously transparent expression.
Kousuke gently caressed Emily’s head. And then, to the surprised Emily, he spoke with a voice that was calm, and yet it mysteriously penetrated until deep in her heart.
「I’ll become your strength.」
Emily slowly lifted up her disheveled face. Kousuke scooped the tear trickling on her cheek with his finger, and then he smiled with a troubled look.
「I’ll become your strength. I’m not Mr. K though. But, surely, it will turn out well.」
「Mis, ter K――」
「It’s Kousuke. Emily. I’m Kousuke.」
The tear on her cheek was gently wiped. It was like, the warmth of her brothers and sisters.
Emily was half in a daze while she repeated Kousuke’s name「Kou, suke?」just like how she heard it.
Even Vanessa at the side was wide-eyed. Kousuke showed a grin that was full of confidence and declared.
「It will be okay, Emily. After all I’m――」
――The right-hand man of the demon king-sama yeah?
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