Part 41: The Night Raid Continues
He grabs Shigetsugu by the collar before closing the door behind him. Their sheer differences in height and build cause Shigetsugu to get lifted right into the air by his shirt. Part of me wishes Numeral IV was down here with us. There was no opportunity to call for him, though. Not to mention that it'd probably be for nothing if all the noise so far hadn't woken him up.
You? Why are you here...?
I could ask you the same question...
...Well, no matter.
He returns his attention to Shigetsugu.
I will deal with you first.
Let him go! You can't just burst into someone's home and do this to them...!
I see you're meddling with others again.
What do you care?!
I can't lie... Right now, I'm terrified. Those frigid eyes alone are enough to instill fear in most people, but add in his build and lack of hesitation to use force like this... I can't run away, though. I won't abandon Shigetsugu. If you asked me why, well... I'm not quite sure.
Besides, there's not much you can do if I scream for help.
Unless I stop you from doing so.
Wait... listen to... what I have to say...
Keep your mouth shut until I give you permission to speak.
I know... your regret...
Hear me out...
Although hesitant, he eventually releases Shigetsugu. And Shigetsugu lands on his backside again... Fortunately, it doesn't seem to have hurt all that much.
You seem awfully desperate, don't you?
Spare me the attitude. Tell me what you know.
You're aware that Numerals III and XI came here before, aren't you?
What of it?
Worry not. I happen to have quite the reliable bodyguard, so they were unable to learn my own regret. All they have are my name and cause of death.
That's what I need, then. The only information I have on you is your name, so hurry up and tell me the other two.
He takes a threatening step toward Shigetsugu. The height difference between them is staggering. How intimidating, to have someone of his stature look down at you from so close...
Hang on. You may want to reconsider, since I've already gotten my hands on all of his information.
I'm sure you don't need me to explain the risk involved when two people elect the same person.
My name is no secret to you, though. The same likely goes for Numerals III and XI. As much as I appreciate the value of one's name, I take no issue in exposing it for the sake of earning the right to elect him.
That's funny. You happen to know my name as well. What makes you think I'd have an issue with exposing it in return?
Those eyes... They stir feelings within me that I would rather forget.
I can't risk having to reveal two of my own cards, but having my regret exposed to you here would also put me in a difficult position. Perhaps brute force won't get me through this situation.
BGM: Intel Investigation Underway
I can hardly believe that I was able to talk him down. Maybe it's thanks to what he pulled at the hospital with Keiko. There's no way the police wouldn't have eyes on him after that. It makes sense if he's trying to tread carefully.
I'll cut to the chase. Numerals III and XI are my main concerns, yet they've made no moves after yesterday morning. What happened?
I figured that's what you're after.
As I said, I happen to have a skilled bodyguard.
Hmph. That only proves to hint that your own regret sleeps within this place.
I'm not sure how he managed to figure that out based on what Shigetsugu said. Which means I need to really watch what I say from here on out. I might've convinced him for now, but there's no guarantee things will keep going smoothly.
Care to tell me who the so-called bodyguard is? I can't see it being the child you've taken in, to say the least. I doubt you've the money to hire a professional, either. Is Numeral IX complicit? He's the only one yet to show himself.
Then again, you were unsure about who I was. That means you likely haven't encountered Numeral IX.
Just who in the world are you?
That's irrelevant. I have to admit, I'm surprised that a little girl like her could fend those two off...
I start to fret over just how much he can glean from the tiniest bit of information. Still, his statement proves that even he makes mistakes. Hearing him assume the wrong gender, just as I did, serves as a bit of relief.
Ho ho. Apparently, Numeral III got beat up good. So good that he won't be moving for some time. Numeral XI seems to be in cahoots with him, so I doubt she'll go off on her own in the meantime.
Sorry, old man. I don't exactly like to be the predictable type.
Immediately after hearing that voice, I feel my body get sent flying toward the wall. Lucky for me, it is the wall where one of Shigetsugu's coats is hanging, so it cushions the impact for me. The culprit- Numeral XI. She made her way in and knocked me aside straight away.
Time to party!
Were you here the whole time...?!
I just got here!
Her sights are locked on Alan. Surely he holds the upper hand based on physical build alone. Doesn't stop her from kicking at him like a bucking bronco in the narrow hallway, though. I should call for help. I should, but... I can't bring myself to move. I'm not like Alan. The fear I have toward her in the dream world pales in comparison to how I feel now. This is someone who takes pleasure in harming others. It's entirely possible that she'll target me if I make even the slightest move or raise my voice. That terrifies me. I don't even have it in me to try and negotiate with her.
BGM: The Battle Begins
Heh. Guess those muscles ain't just for show.
Alan is no slouch, either. I'm not quite sure how to describe his fighting style. He keeps finding opportunities to strike back after dodging and parying.
I can tell how powerful each of her blows are based on the loud smacks heard when Alan blocks each one. Neither is able to score a direct hit on the other. And this long, narrow hallway doesn't allow them to move sideways, so they pressure one another without moving from their initial positions.
I'm here to get the scoop on that geezer's regret.
...As am I.
Oh, then let's hug it out and work together.
Too bad... He must have some real dirt on you, then.
Letting your guard down now, even for a split second, could prove fatal. Even I know that much. But Alan seems to have done just that. She wastes no time in delivering a swift kick to his gut, causing him to back away. This might sound weird, but I'm rooting for him this time. I need him to win, for my own sake. Neither are my ally, but Alan was at least willing to talk. That makes him a safer bet than that woman. And as much as it pains me, I am praying that Numeral IV will come down to save us. That's how powerless I am in this situation.
Alan takes another step back to create more distance between them, which effectively corners him.
You ain't the kinda guy to talk things out under normal circumstances. That's the impression I get, anyway. From what I can tell, the chick over there probably has all the info she needs to eliminate the geezer. Sound about right?
So now you run the risk of electing him at the same time as her, even if you manage to get what you came for. I'd guess that you were in the process of figuring out how to deal with your little pickle.
Hmph... You seem like the type to reach conclusions through situational evidence. That also tells me you haven't been able to gather any information since you and your partner were shooed away by that little girl. Perhaps I overestimated you.
Alan takes this opportunity to deliver a counterattack. He lands a solid hook against her shoulder, which causes her to retreat back to her initial position.
Man. You sure you don't wanna buddy up with me?
I'd only put myself at risk of having to compete with you for the right to elect him, so no. As much as I dislike anyone thinking I'd go out of my way to help these people, having you retreat is my best option now.
She grins from ear to ear. Then I notice that Shigetsugu has managed to slink off during all this. Just as I start to wonder where he's snuck off to, footsteps from the stairway give me my answer.
D-Don't go down there! You should hide!
No way. I can't hide when you're in danger.
The footsteps belong to Numeral IV, who comes running down the stairs. He's likely just woken up, but he doesn't seem tired at all.
D-Different people than before...
You know how to fight, yes? Assist me.
So she's the baddy, and he's the buddy. Is that right?
Shigetsugu reveals himself just long enough to nod in affirmation.
Two against one, huh? Now we're talking.
Numeral XI shows no fear. Just as her words imply, the prospect of this fight has her thrilled.
But just before they can start, the blaring of police sirens pierce the walls of the house. They are getting louder. Closer.
Tch, guess I gotta bounce... Till next time, Alan Scorpion! Or Mister CEO, if you prefer!
So she was aware...
She bursts out of the house immediately after, uninterested in hearing any replies. The sirens continue for a while afterward, so I assume she manages to get away. I'm relieved that at least one problem has resolved itself, but I have to at least admire her ability to react and make snap judgments like she did.
BGM: A Dot on a Piece of Paper
A neighbor must have called the police.
No, that was me. I texted a friend to call them.
You can explain things to them.
I couldn't bring myself to speak up, let alone move. Numeral IX was wary of me the entire time, but her line of sight was focused on Alan. It gave me enough of a window to message Miharu. I gave her this address and asked her to call the police. It was a gamble, not knowing if she'd actually check her phone, but the cards were in my favor this time.
Why are the police here? Shigetsugu hasn't done anything wrong!
Don't worry. Sometimes they visit people even if they haven't been bad. We should hide so things don't get complicated, though.
We pile into Shigetsugu's room just as the police park in front of the house.