༺ Emergency ༻
『This is an emergency. Get up at once.』
It came like an ambush in the night, so quietly that I couldn’t hear even a footstep. By the time I realized, the thing—devoid of breath, warmth, and life even—was already next to me.
『This is an emergency. Get up at… Three attempts have been made in failure. Based on inductive logic, it is determined that further repetitions will be meaningless.』
Something came to me, murmuring to itself in a voice as faint as it was small. Was it a fairy that visited people in their sleep?
But this fairy didn’t seem capable of flying, seeing how it tried and failed to hop up a bed that was only knee-high.
I ignored the small sounds and returned to sleep. Not even old Santa could disturb my slumber, let alone a tooth fairy. If there was something it wanted, I wished it would quickly solve it on its own and go away while I slept…
『In accordance with the emergency response manual, the forced-waking protocol will be activated.』
I heard a sound of air being sucked in, and—
I kicked off my blanket and shot up at the deafening siren rocking my eardrums. As I lowered my gaze, trying to calm my surprised heart, I saw a pair of dimly shining crystal orbs looking up at me.
『This is Military State Signaller Captain Abbey speaking. Due to an urgent situation, it was necessary to—』
“You dare to ruin my sleep? I’ll put an end to that old model of yours today. It’s time to go back to the scrapyard. Trainee Shei! A golem here has escap—!”
The golem kicked my shin with all its might. The attack occurred far below my eye level, and unable to read the golem’s thoughts, I could neither dodge nor resist. Worse still, it was made of steel which was several times harder than my poor body.
The clash between a shin and other objects is an honest battle in which only hardness and solidity determined victory.
In other words, my eyes snapped open at the intense pain.
And my jaws stretched wide as I clutched my shin, collapsing on the bed as I shed a trickle of tears. I glared at the golem with rage, resentment, and agony.
The golem fixed the frame of its leg, twisted from the recoil of the kick, with creaking arms and looked at me.
『There is no time. This is a warning. Respond immediately.』
“Agh, to what? What the hell made you wake someone in the middle of the night?”
『It is an intruder. Someone is trying to break in.』
“Huh? An intruder?”
I thought over the golem’s words for a second. So someone was trying to infiltrate Tantalus right now? And the golem detected that which was why it wanted me to stop it happening.
An intruder breaking into a residence was, in ordinary circumstances, a nerve-wracking situation. But I couldn’t feel any of the tension I should naturally feel.
I held onto my sore leg and lay back on the bed.
“Aren’t you mistaking it for a person in distress? Seems to me that whoever it is took a bad tumble.”
Breaking into Tantalus? Now that was no different from trying to swim in the sky or grilling fish in the water. The combination of subject and verb just didn’t match. Why would anyone invade a place that was a one-way dead end and also had nothing to steal?
“What, it’s not the Resistance again or the like, is it? If it’s the Resistance again, then the State’s incompetent, I tell you. For real.”
Of course, the possession of bombs could be an exception to the logic. With explosives, humans could fly in the sky, and meat could cook in water.
It solved most things you would think impossible. So if there’s something standing in your way and you have a bomb beside you, try using it.
『It is impossible to tell the intruder’s intentions as he is carrying nothing. However, the unknown is what makes the matter more urgent.』
“Nothing? Hmm. Since the night lights are on, it must be night outside too. Oh, it’s nothing.
It must be like that one famous philosopher’s phrase, falling because he was too busy looking at the stars above to watch his feet. Let’s just pray for their soul.”
『… It is not possible to break into this place by simply falling. He must have thrown himself into the abyss with the intention of coming here.』
“No, like I said. That doesn’t make sense. Who the heck has any business here? Hah. I’ll be having a meal if he comes, so come and call me then.”
At my nonchalant attitude, the golem stopped talking and began to examine me slowly. I narrowed my eyes and leered back, engaging in a brief staring contest.
『…You are good at these negotiations. I presume you will not move unless given the appropriate information.』
“Eh? Say what?”
『Permission granted. By raising your threat level by one, I will temporarily elevate your information access rights.』
“I mean, for what exactly?”
Why was it arbitrarily raising my threat level? The hell was it on about? I just couldn’t be bothered getting up, that was all…
『Tantalus is the abyss. A place completely separated from the surface. It is impossible to reach by ordinary means.』
『Falling. Falling normally will only result in being lost to the abyss. One cannot determine the coordinates of Tantalus through that method.』
“Since when was falling a common and ordinary means of transportation? Historically speaking, crashing a fast and easy one-way ticket to Heaven, you know?”
Now that was a little different from the common sense I knew. That’s the Military State for you. An insane country that exploited even common sense.
Eh, hang on.
“But I was thrown into the abyss under normal restraints…? Ooh, I get it. So that wasn’t ordinary, was it?”
『…If you have understood, I shall move on.』
The golem hastily stopped my words and continued its report.
『By nature, Tantalus is a location that is impossible to reach without the permission of the State. As such, despite being a security level 5 facility, there are no security measures in place at the prison entrance.』
“Huh, the State did wrong then. How could they be so complacent when they call it an important facility? Tut-tut.”
『…In any case.』
I heard something snap just now. Hope it wasn’t a circuit breaking in the golem.
『Approximately 7 minutes ago, during my extensive monitoring of Tantalus, I identified that the illusion covering the entirety of the abyss had been broken. Immediately afterward, I came to you, the only usable personnel available. The intruder is heading right for this place and is expected to arrive in roughly 3 minutes.』
“So. What should I do?”
『Remove the threat, if possible.』
“Come on, why are you people so bent on murder? Does it make you antsy to not kill for a day?”
Always about killing when something happens. It was like that with the undying, and now, the guy falling in here. I waved a hand aversely.
“A good citizen like me taking the life of another? I can’t even kill a dog. Don’t be ridiculous, please.”
『Question. If so, then how did you handle those Resistance members?』
“Well, they pushed their own necks against a still blade, trying to fight Trainee Shei and showing off a rosary in front of Trainee Tyrkanzyaka. A twisted, high-quality suicide yeah? Though well, if they thought about living in the first place, they wouldn’t have dropped down here carrying explosives.”
Whatever the case, since a guest had come, I had to go and meet him. Reading his purpose here and pre-measuring whether I could use him would make things easier down the road. If the guy seemed hopeless, then I’d have to use the regressor and vampire to kill him.
And since I was going to go anyway, it was a small benefit to get some information out of the golem.
I equipped my clothing packet and got ready to leave.
“Now, now. I’ll go have a look. Stay here and wait.”
The golem grabbed my pants in an urgent manner.
『Please take this unit along. I have a duty to observe anomalies within Tantalus.』
“Don’t wanna ’cause it’s heavy.”
『You are a laborer assigned to Tantalus and are thus obliged to follow the instructions of the action officer, namely myself. If you do not wish to be penalized for insubordination, I ask that you execute my orders.』
“Did you think I’d listen if you spoke so stiffly? Ohh, I feel so hurt that I can’t find the strength to even lift the golem.”
As I complained in a theatrical way, the golem realized threats were no longer effective.
『…What do you want? Be forewarned that it is a felony to demand material compensation from a soldier on duty.』
“I don’t intend to get anything out of a golem. Let’s have you act charming for a bit. In a cute way. I want you to lisp like a wee little kid, if possible.”
“Since there’s no time, you’ll have to hurry so we won’t be late. Now then, how did you want me to take you? On a shoulder ride? Or a piggyback?
I heard something grinding from the golem. Did it have a broken frame somewhere? How worrisome. Regardless, I whistled leisurely.
About three whistles later, the golem replied through clenched teeth.
『A piggy… back… if you please.』
“Come on. You sounded a little rigid at the end. Even if a golem’s body is hard, at least your heart has to be soft.”
Snap. I heard something like a stalk breaking over the golem’s microphone. Then it made some unknown noise, followed by a shaky voice.
『Piggy, back… please… oppa…』
“I never asked for the big bro treatment. Still, it’s much better to hear you soften your tone. So wonderful to get along.”
In any case, my dear little sis was asking for a favor. I had to hear her out.
I picked up the golem and sat it down behind my neck. She had asked for a piggyback, but then I was afraid she couldn’t see. It was a small show of consideration on my part.
With the golem’s legs dangling over my shoulders, I started along the hallways.
“Oh, just for your information, I carried out the State’s orders, alright? It’s not like I handed over a bribe or anything. If you penalize me for this, then you’d be the one taking personal emotions into your assessments. And a State signaller wouldn’t falsify evidence out of a grudge, right?”
“Is it broken? Looks like there’s something wrong with the transmission. Why can’t I hear a voice?”
I rocked my torso about, deliberately making big motions to give the golem a thrill. Then the golem clenched my hair with its hard fists. The roots of my hair started to rip.
Okay, she’s found my kryptonite. Note to self: rocking is off-limits.
Wanna read ahead? Buy coins here. You can unlock chapters with coins or rather “genesis orbs”.You can support us by reading the chapter on the Genesis website, and also by becoming an exclusive member.
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
You can rate this series here.