HyperDetective Vert: Goddess Green Heart's first case
Planeptune. It was a dark and stormy night. I had travelled into the far reaches of a distant land to convene with my important acquaintances. Shadows were creeping up every corner of the old moldy hut that we had designated as our meeting place. The incessant rain was dribbling down every inch of my long leather coat, creating a weary pressure on my barely protected body. Soaked and worn out I made my way to the others in the darkness of night. That was the night that I finally experienced my first mystery. A case so grueling and horrific that even putting it into words would probably be a crime in itself.
Lightning struck. A corpse. The hands of death embraced the first of us in a long row of unsolvable cases…
At least that would make a very exciting intro to my story, wouldn't it? My apologies for embellishing the tale a little. In truth the location was Planeptune tower. And it was evening, not night. There was also no rain cloud in sight, although it was rather windy if my memory serves me correctly. There was also a distinct lack of a corpse.
It wouldn't make a good plot for a mystery game, granted, but I do believe that this case is still interesting. It by far has the greatest twists of all right from the beginning. I called this case:
[The case of Noire's appearing friends!]
Yes. Appearing. I know it doesn't follow convention, but neither did Noire. It shouldn't have come as much of a shock to us as it ultimately did, but I must admit that I hadn't paid K-sha much mind during our exploits in the Heart Dimension. It wouldn't be prudent to use the imminent destruction of our world as an excuse to overlook such an interesting young girl, I am aware.
At the very beginning of this case I had not yet been put into my role as detective. For I simply enjoyed the spectacle of the moment. Neptune and Noire had returned to their usual antics, with the additional factor of Noire's friend as the escalator of conflict.
Naturally, the rest of us did not feel inclined to interfere even after Neptune's declaration of a contest over who was Noire's true best friend. Interfere I shan't, but I did offer to hold their little sport in my nation of Leanbox. I obviously had only the purest of intentions! To provide a ground for their squabble that was neither situated in Planeptune or Lastation seemed only fair. 4 Goddesses Online 2's servers were in maintenance for the whole of early morning to noon, so I could spare a few hours to observe as well.
After settling on these terms with K-sha, who gratefully agreed, I proceeded to do the sensible thing and send cute Rom and Ram an invitation e-mail. I told them that they were invited to join the big show and of course Nepgear and Uni would make their appearance as well. For some reason Blanc had decided to distance herself from this event, so it was only natural that I took her place as guardian of the twins. At least for the duration of the Quiz Show.
Noire: "Didn't you know Blanc would follow after her sisters?"
IF: "…is that why you invited them in such an obvious way?"
Vert: "Whatever are you suggesting?"
Neptune: "She's totally playing dumb, gals."
Noire: "Aren't you giving her too much credit?"
On the next day, as planned, the Quiz Show took place. While I did provide the venue, I was left in the dark on just how it was organized. K-sha had insisted that she would handle all the logistical procedures. I did think it was admirable, but also highly improbable. Did she not know that a big event needed dozens of moderators and the support of a Guild to truly function? At least in MMOs.
Sure enough, everything had worked out despite my doubts. Broccoli had been casted as the quizmaster of the event and equipment had appeared from unknown sources. Someone had to have funded and prepared all this.
It did strike me as suspicious, but my attention was strongly divided by all my little sisters. Nepgear is rather adorable when she cheers on Neptune, even though I'd prefer if her words of encouragement made their way in my direction instead. Uni is a brisk, but kind girl and makes for a very easy to tease sister as well. Deciding between Rom and Ram is like weighing strawberry parfait against blueberry pie. Simply impossible. I would adopt all of them on the spot if they wished so.
Ahem. It seems I have slightly gone off track.
As I recollect, there were a few suspicious elements to this contest. Not least of them our blue friend, Steamax, who had been so adequately pummeled the instant he appeared in stage. It was not hard to suspect him of at least some sort of negative involvement. I left his fate to Uni who seemed intent on questioning him about his behavior and instead focused on the entertaining Quiz Show for a while.
Interestingly enough, the one who gave me my first clue in this case was Nepgear. During the quiz she pointed out something very unexpected. The camera drones that were at work filming Noire's every self-destructive reaction, were in fact Ultra Dimension made.
That is very strange indeed, considering that the Ultra Dimension is technologically inferior to our own dimension. Why would these devices be on anybody's inventory list? And more importantly, there is a strict embargo on anything produced in another dimension, in prevention of creating artificial unfair advantages in the competition. The permanent connection to our Gamindustri's counterpart is only used very sparsely and nobody but a CPU had access to it. It just did not add up.
In the end there was no reason for me to lose sleep over such a triviality though, as I believed back then. And so I simply returned home after the end of the quiz show. I had taken to a splendid evening in my room where I maxed out the level of one of the new classes in 4GO2, a Paladin. The server's maintenance had thrown me back by a few hours, so I could only reach the level cap on the second day of the update. How very embarrassing.
Unfortunately my regained relaxation was rudely dispersed by a message I received on my inbox. With increasing curiosity I witnessed the fluctuations in the Share distribution. There was a sizeable flow towards Lastation. For a moment I had foreseen it to be a stealth release of some new hardware from Lastation's top companies, but no such news made the headlines. Instead I had deduced that it must have originated from the international broadcast of the quiz show.
But why was it only Lastation? Certainly, Noire had made a fool of herself in ways that many citizens might have found appealing to a degree, but Neptune was involved as well and it was held in my nation! The only one who should have suffered some losses was Blanc, but Lowee had taken the least damage.
It stood to reason that whoever was backing K-sha had to have a huge sphere of influence. In fact there was even a possibility that Noire herself had concocted this plan.
Soon I had used my sources to obtain the next planned location of this 'contest'. Lowee's Hunting Festival. I immediately took the liberty to arrange my appearance in Lowee the next day. As responsible as I am, there was no chance I would let this excit- ominous turn of events pass me by!
I left Gooman and Lady Goo with the paperwork at the Basilicom. They could handle themselves quite well when the occasion called for it. It happened so that S-sha had made her way to the Hunting Festival as well and her friends wanted to give her and E-sha some space to enjoy it with the other 'Shas'. This was the kind of display that made them perfect subjects of my nation. At least I considered them such. It wasn't like dogoos had birth certificates. And sublime pecs didn't count.
My arrival in Lowee was swift and I decided to tag along with the rest of the group, spearheaded by Neptune and K-sha as expected. We stepped into Blanc's Basilicom with grandeur, but she was heeding us not much mind. Her head was always in some book, but I have come to expect as much.
More importantly, knowing that the next stage of the competition took place in this area gave me the time to prepare something special. On short notice I had managed to acquire scanning mines. I only had to put these small devices into central locations of the event and would be able to spot any Ultra Dimension equipment in the vicinity and beyond. With some luck we would be able to track the signal back to its origin.
This hidden approach was entirely based on my lack of intel. Who was involved? And how far? For all I knew Blanc could have been part of the conspiracy. Lowee did take the least damage from the Share fluctuation.
I also didn't intend to create unrest or negative feelings between the four of us until I had definitive proof for my theories. It would hardly do to begin another Console War over a misunderstanding. Again.
The majority of girls had left for the festival grounds, leaving me to the lonely Blanc and her cute attempts to ascertain her dominance. While she explained to me just how I had to listen to her in her territory, I sneaked my way into her kitchen. My mission was to place scanners into hidden corners and spots as fast as possible. To distract Blanc as long as necessary I made small talk about her tea collection. It wasn't a hard task. She really ought to take better care in her refinement and choice of tea blends.
After the first one had been placed behind the sink (everything was squeaky clean, no doubt the work of the new maid Financier) I had to move on to the next step of my plan. There were still a few more scanners to be placed on the festival grounds. But if I had just left, there was the possibility that Blanc would discover the already attached scanners. Unlikely as it was that she would leave her desk and her amateur novel for even a minute if she wasn't forced to.
I couldn't help but think it was quite a shame to see her waste away in this place anyway, when her cute sisters were out there having fun. No doubt they were waiting for their sister to spoil them as well. An older sister has a duty to spend a minimum amount of sixteen hours every day with her younger sisters, wouldn't you agree?
"Say Blanc, what are you typing at so passionately?"
"…none of your business." She replied defensively as expected. That was the look of someone who had an embarrassing secret. Only that everybody knew it already. Yet she still felt the need to make herself a target of teasing.
"There is no reason to be so distant. If it is something I can help with, I would be happy to show you my reliable side from time to time." I winked and walked behind her chair to peek at the computer screen. I managed to spy just the first few lines of a new page that she had been typing on, before the monitor turned black. My my, her style never changes.
"Nobody asked for yer damn creepy help!" Blanc growled back at me and spun around on her chair to face me. Her brows were awfully close to each other. She had a mix of embarrassment and anger on her soft features.
"Heavens, I was not trying to commit economical espionage. There is no need to be so rejecting. I understand the importance of work all too well." I nodded encouragingly.
Blanc looked especially guilty now. How wonderful.
"…what would you know 'bout hard work? All you do every day is play games." A counter attack? Blanc was not very good at taking hits, but she loved dealing them.
"Oh? But I am always working. Even right now I am engaging in 'reconnaissance' for the sake of my nation, wouldn't you say?" I smiled teasingly.
"At least hide your ulterior motives for a minute you airheaded helium body woman." That was a clever variation of her usual chest based insults. Well done.
Still, Blanc clearly seemed annoyed with my presence. Whether she actually suspected me of spying or if she really didn't want me to see her unfinished script, the difference was minuscule to her anyway. The joke was on her of course, as I made sure to always pre-order her newest releases at the first opportunity. There was always a very limited print amount for her books and if I have to guess, I would say I might be her only customer.
It was definitely worth it for the chuckles that her stories gave me. Below that puffy hat and rough exterior was a teenage girl plagued by high school romance ideas.
And while she was not self aware of the low quality of her product in the least, she was still the type to get embarrassed if people she knew read her works. Her biggest mistake was to publish things online under such an obvious pseudonym.
More importantly though, she wanted me out as fast as possible.
"What are you still doing here? Don't you have anything better to do?" Her voice betrayed her impatience.
"Admittedly there is that festival just in front of the city." I put one finger on my cheek to appear especially airheaded. "But I wouldn't find my way around Lowee I fear. And now I lost my chance to tag along with the others."
Blanc shifted her eyes from me to the window and then to her computer. I could almost see the gears in her head move. Not much later she sighed in defeat.
"If it will get you off my back…" Here it was. "…I'll ask one of the guards to escort you there." She finished with a yawn.
"Pardon?" That was not the response I expected.
"Hm? What's the matter? You need a guide, so just accept my kindness already." She waved her hand dismissively. How unrefined. She could at least have read the mood a little. But there was not a day where I couldn't manipulate Blanc into any direction I desired.
"Why thank you. I was just surprised at your forthcoming nature." I crossed my arms below my chest. "I hope it is the young man that has greeted me at the entrance before. He and his colleagues have been especially kind to me." I said with an overly happy voice.
"…huh?" That made her suspicious.
"Ah it is nothing. I can't say that these stares are uncommon to me."
"Stares?" Blanc's right eye twitched.
"I'd assumed that all men in Lowee had a certain… preference. Imagine my surprise at the talk I heard behind my back."
"Talk?" Now Blanc was putting the pen in her hand to the stress test. It would break very soon.
"It would hardly be becoming of a lady to repeat such conversations. Do not blame them please. Size is an important issue for everyone." I gave her a fake sigh. "While their lecherous stares will follow my every movement, I do not feel anything but appreciation for Lowee's guardsmen and their superior taste-"
"I'll go to the darn festival!" Blanc exclaimed and snapped the pen clean in half. "Those backstabbing bastards." She mumbled quietly.
"Much appreciated. It is good to have a knowledgeable person as a guide."
"Shut it. I'm not gonna give you a tour. I'm just stepping out for some fresh air. Don't follow me." She gritted her teeth and got up from her chair. After moving to the door she looked back to make sure I followed her. I purposely took a slow step and made sure to flaunt my body to her in a suggestive way. As a reward she glared at me.
I followed Blanc to the festival camp area, obviously just to keep an eye on her in case she got into trouble (teehee).
I took the opportunity to check out the camp and the hunters that were preparing for their big day. All the while annoying Blanc with questions. To her relief and my luck we soon encountered C-sha and the twins at the edge of the camp site. C-sha was a woman of my caliber and she also seemed to enjoy to tease Blanc whenever she could. I will have to make closer acquaintance with her in the future. My attention was mostly taken by Rom and Ram, which I greeted gracefully.
Soon it became clear that Blanc had dug her own grave and was immediately dragged along by the trio to go for a big hunt. I waved Blanc goodbye with my best smile and looked at my surroundings. First I had to find out where everyone was. It would have been troublesome to be discovered while planting my scanners.
Below a tree close by I found IF and Compa, who were apparently giving Neptune long distance support. Maps and lists were spread out all over the grass and IF was busy talking through her headset. I approached the ever so lovely Compa first.
"Greetings. Are you two the only ones who stayed out of the hunting party?"
"Good day Lady Vert! Everyone is doing their bestest in the forest!" Compa nodded. "Ge-Ge and Uni went to the Renaissance Fair to have fun." She added as if she had just remembered.
"Sometimes you can be a little careless Compa." IF commented and looked at me with furrowed brows.
"Oh, never you worry. I have no intention of bothering them on their date." Although I was certain that both would have denied that it even was one. "Thank you." I gave them my regards and moved to the edge of the forest, where I planted another scanner below a tree hole.
Right afterwards I took off for the Renaissance Fair. Only to plant another scanner there of course. If I accidentally bumped into the two dating sisters that would have been utterly out of my power.
And indeed I found the contrasting pair in seconds after entering the Fair.
IF: "Have you ever heard of invasion of privacy before?"
Cave: "Lady Vert is also a stalker."
Vert: "Ahem, such biting commentary. I would consider myself more of a Guardian Angel that watched over them. Who knows what dangers could have assailed them in a foreign place?"
Noire: "Like being spied on by a pervert?"
Neptune: "Nep Jr. really was on a date?! I was just making fun of her!"
IF: "Keep up Nep…"
Not wishing to disturb them, I simply followed after them from the shadows. That was also a detective's job. To tail people involved in the case. Even if there was zero proof that they did have any involvement.
"Look, they have medieval cell phone straps at that stand!" Nepgear exclaimed excitedly.
"Putting medieval in front of a word doesn't make it actually medieval, you know?" Uni looked far less excited by the idea.
"It's all about the aesthetics. Look Uni they have a few made from black leather too. I think it would really fit you." She was rummaging through the display.
"The N-Gear doesn't have a hook for straps though."
"You could put it on your gun."
"It would get destroyed!"
This was a treat. Seeing my little sisters enjoy their time together was worth all the trouble of coming here. And while initially it seemed like Uni was the dominant one, Nepgear was in total control without even noticing. She pulled the powerless Uni along everywhere. In that regard she had some similarity with Neptune.
"Where do you want to go next?" She put her hands together and asked Uni thoughtfully. She must have realized that she was taking too much charge.
Uni sighed and then smiled. She was giving the question some due consideration and then pointed ahead.
"Isn't that a weapons smithy over there?" She pointed at a big tent which had a chimney. Smoke was rising from it too. It was the middle of a hot summer day, so that was an unusual sight. Uni's guess was certainly understandable.
"Oh, I want to see their swords!" Nepgear was beaming with excitement. Uni subtly grinned in return, but then hastily shook her head and moved ahead to lead the way.
"They won't have any beam sabers."
"I don't mind. Aren't historical swords just fascinating?"
"I-if you say so."
Curses. They entered the big tent without paying me any mind (because they didn't know I was following them), but now I was unable to proceed. Entering after them was out of the question, as it would have immediately revealed me.
Behind a few boxes I found a good place to hide. After making sure that I was in a dead angle for any other people that may have passed by, I poked a hole into the tent, just big enough for me to peek through. There were similar holes all over the tent, what difference would one additional one make?
Inside, things had turned out different from what any of us had predicted.
"So much for weapons." Uni took a look around the huge tent and scanned all the products and goods that were stacked up in it. There were metal goods of all kinds, from brooches to coat hangers and even pottery. But that wasn't all. There were also cosplay outfits and other more original accessories. The chimney in the background was just in place to give a warming fire that set the mood.
"This is wonderful. They have everything here." Nepgear had eyes as big as platters as she took in every little detail. The assortment of wares in here would put some malls to shame.
"I can see some gun parts actually." Uni seemed surprised and went over to a glass cabinet that was displaying parts of firearms. I am not very familiar with the blueprints of this type of weapon, but they seemed to range from common to very rare.
"Uni, look at this. It's a cat toy, right?" Nepgear waved her over and showed her a entirely mechanical mouse. It looked adorable, but was also very real to life if it weren't for the wheels on its bottom. This toy ran on batteries and once switched on would scurry around the ground to entertain any cat in its range. "I have never seen this kind before. I wonder if it has hit detection and balancing options." Oh my cute little Nepgear, that is not the type of question a normal girl would ask about a cat toy. But that just makes you all the more charming.
"You are right, it looks really high tech." Uni was impressed as well. "Cat toys these days are amazing. Maybe I could get one for Blanc. She feels lonely easily." Her comment was incredibly casual and it was clear that she had just uttered it without thinking.
Nepgear's and my reaction was expectedly one of disbelief.
Uni didn't notice immediately, but when she saw Nepgear's white eyes and dumbfounded expression she started sweating. I confess that even I was taken aback enough to lose my focus. I had to do my utmost not to burst out in laughter. Just imagining Blanc chasing after a small toy mouse was almost too much for me.
"W-w-wait a second! D-don't misunderstand!" She waved her hands around frantically. "I am not talking about Miss Blanc!"
"Y-yes, of course not. Hahaha." Nepgear laughed weakly in relief. "So who did you talk about?"
Uni's mouth was shivering. She was now between a rock and a hard place. Nepgear was intently staring at her face, waiting for the explanation.
"I was talking about a cat, alright?!" She lost the staring contest.
"A kitty named Blanc?" Nepgear tilted her head. Naturally, who would call their cat after the CPU of Lowee?
"It's not… I don't think K-sha knew Miss Blanc's name. She just called her that because of her white fur-" Desperate to explain herself she let slip out too much again and blocked her mouth with her right hand. The damage was already done though.
"Miss K-sha has a cat? Doesn't she live in a dorm?" Nepgear was a bright girl. Sadly she could not read the mood.
Uni let her shoulders sink in defeat. At this point hiding anything would be impossible.
"She is hiding her in her dorm room. You aren't allowed to tell anyone Nepgear! Especially not Miss Blanc!" Uni grabbed Nepgear's shoulders and squinted her red eyes.
"I will not say a word, I swear." Nepgear answered seriously. Uni sighed in relief. They really were good friends. The salesman in the back of the tent had probably not heard the secret either. Of course there was still humble me, but they couldn't know that.
"She is a cute kitty, but she got a little too attached to Noire and me when we hid at K-sha's dorm. I try to visit her whenever I am around the area. Big sis has little time to visit though." Uni was a responsible girl too, hm?
"What's up with that creepy laugh?"
"C-creepy…?" Nepgear was shocked. "I was just thinking of Miss Blanc as a cat." She admitted. "It surprisingly fits her, don't you think?"
Uni grimaced and then imagined the Blanc they knew, with cat ears and a tail, sitting at her desk with droopy eyes. At least that's what I imagined. Blanc already had a tendency to quietly sit in corners and laze the day away. And she hissed at everyone who disturbed her. Yes, Lowee's CPU would have made a good cat.
I snorted and had to control myself.
"I can see that." Uni agreed hesitantly. "But wouldn't your sister be more fit to be a cat?"
"Sis?" Now it was Nepgear's turn to put a finger on her temple and imagine Neptune as a cat. The purple kitten would just laze around all day and eat whatever snacks she could get her hands on. And occasionally she would leave home and play around outside in the wilderness. "Golly, Neptune is already a cat!" She exclaimed.
"See?" Uni looked proud of her own idea.
"Then Miss Noire would be a pure breed with glossy fur and a blue ribbon on her tail." Nepgear kept the train of thought going.
"H-hey! My sister is nothing like a cat." Uni protested.
"Maybe you are right. I just thought she might be able to pull the cat ears off really well." Nepgear noted.
"…" Uni closed her eyes to imagine it. Why was that such a perfect fit for her sister?
Noire could pull almost any cosplay off as far as I know. Black cat ears and a black cat tail seemed to be almost natural on her.
"Then what about Miss Vert?"
Oho! What about me? Finally the conversation had reached the inevitable peak.
"Eh… I don't think it would fit her." Uni rejected the idea.
"Blonde cats are rare. And Miss Vert has such a mature aura."
I am happy that you can see my mature appeal Nepgear, but are you implying that I am not cute enough to be a cat? Big sister is in shambles here…
"Uni would be really cute with cat ears too." Nepgear put her fingers together and smiled.
"H-huh!? D-don't be stupid!" Uni blushed and took a step back. "I am not cute. And I don't have the natural appeal like my sister." She was being awfully hard on herself. Nepgear seemed to be bothered by that as well.
"No, I really think Uni would be cute!" She stressed.
"W-w-what are you even saying so… you idiot!" Uni was too flustered to make sense. "W-well I think you would look waaaay cuter than me."
"R-really?" Nepgear stuttered.
"Obviously! Nepgear is already cute so it would just amplify-" She bit her own tongue forcefully.
"B-but I think Uni would be cuter…" She mumbled.
"Ahhhhrgh! Stop saying such stupid things! Fine I'll prove it!" Uni was overheating, so she made an interesting move. On one of the racks close to them were a bunch of cat ear and tail accessories (I did mention that this tent had some unique wares, didn't I?). She grabbed one with purple colored fur and slapped it on Nepgear's head.
"Goodness!" Nepgear hadn't seen it coming and was frozen in surprise. Lo and behold, the ears were also stiffening up. They reacted to the wearer's brainwaves?
"T-there! You look adorable!" Uni said triumphantly and crossed her arms in victory.
"W-well then you wear them too!" Nepgear grabbed a black pair and pushed them between Uni's twintails.
"What are you d-doing?!" Uni backed away and her ears were twitching in embarrassment.
How do I put this? It made me want to squeal to see these two adorable kittens.
"I knew it. Uni is really cute!"
"Stop saying that!" Uni yelled and grabbed one of the tails. Nepgear yelped as the tail was pushed under her skirt and attached to her back with a suction cup. Just like the ears, the tail reacted to her emotions too and bushed up in response.
"Not fair…" She grabbed a black tail and closed in on Uni, but she dodged. In their chase they knocked over a few of the benches and displayed goods. Eventually Nepgear nailed Uni down to the floor and pushed the tail up her skirt to attach it to her back as well. Uni cried out as the cool plastic touched her skin.
"…mmmhm…." There were tears in the corners of her eyes and she was still lying below Nepgear.
"Y-you are way cuter!" Nepgear confirmed once more.
"…don't think I will just roll over and accept this!" She pushed the purple sister off and jumped up. Then she grabbed her cheeks. "Meow for me! That will definitely prove it beyond any doubt!"
"T-that's embarrassing!" Nepgear blushed.
"O-only if Uni does it too…"
They were at an impasse. Right now Uni was obviously struggling between her pride and seeing Nepgear do the most charming and destructive pose ever conceived while meowing. The choice was pretty easy in my opinion.
"M-meooow!" Uni forced her body into a cat pose and stretched out her tongue meekly with one eye closed.
That was critical hit! Nepgear shivered in response.
"N-now you too! D-don't let me do it alone…!"
"Oh my goodness…" Nepgear forced her beating heart into submission and then posed hesitantly. "M-meow?" It seemed more like question than an expression.
Ohhhhhh! My maternal instinct almost made me blow my cover. I wanted to hug her so badly.
Uni was hit by the full force, as she was in the closest proximity. Honestly, it wouldn't have surprised me if she had gotten a nosebleed. This qualified as weaponized cuteness, no?
"It's my victory! Nepgear is the cutest cat!" Uni seemed pretty convinced.
"That can't be true at all! Uni is the cutest!"
This exchange at the top of their lungs kept going for a while. Would they ever realize what they were declaring so loudly inside the public? They had also created quite some chaos in the tent. If the salesman wasn't so utterly stunned by the show on display he would probably have gotten mad.
But nobody could get mad at these wonderful girls. For now their sense of competition was still keeping them afloat, but sooner or later they would have to return to reality.
Ah. The yelling stopped. They were starting to realize it now. That their faces were so close that they almost kissed…
And the mess they had created.
And even worse: Noire appeared. She was in her HDD form and entered the tent from above. She seemed disproportionally worried. I hadn't noticed anything unusual outside the tent, so it made me wonder why she was so ready for battle, sword drawn and everything.
The worried expression on her face soon turned into confusion.
Naturally, seeing Uni and Nepgear with cat accessories in the midst of fallen over goods and red from head to toe would take the wind out of anyone's sails.
"Are… are you two alright?" She asked just to be certain. Uni was completely petrified to the point where they could probably display her in the art museum. Nepgear managed to get out a stuttered reply of confirmation. "That's… good then. Be careful. Sorry for… interrupting you." Noire seemed too weirded out to really explain anything and left for the upper exit again.
"Nooooo!" Uni despaired.
"Careful of w-what?" Nepgear asked silently after Noire had left.
"Ahem." Suddenly they were snapped out of their daze by the salesman who had apparently regained his composure after seeing Noire appear. He pointed at the mess they had made.
"I am very sorry! We will clean it up immediately." Nepgear bowed in shame and the cat ears and tail drooped down as well. Uni was still a statue.
Well, as much as I would have loved to keep them company longer, Noire's appearance made me remember my true goal. And I was very curious about what they should have been 'careful' of. At this point I was not aware of the robot attack just yet.
So I left them to their clean up and returned to placing scanners at central locations.
Neptune: "Nep Jr. is getting bold…"
Neptune was surprised. Noire facepalmed, now finally understanding what she had intruded on. That only made it worse. How was she supposed to face Uni now?
Vert: "Oh. Maybe I should have kept that part to myself. My bad."
IF: "You say that now?!"
Cave: "Lady Vert is also a snitch."
Vert: "Is this going to be a theme with you, Cave?"
Neptune: "But that explains everything! You guys were talking about a cat, not an illegitimate child. Hahaha!"
Noire: "What are you babbling about Neptune?"
She whistled innocently.
Vert: "It's a good thing that Blanc is conveniently not here. We should not relay this information to her."
Noire: "Exactly! All of you keep quiet about this, okay?"
Blanc should never find out about her cat counterpart.
Neptune: "Pfff, But it would be fun to see her reaction~"
Noire: "I will hit you. I will really do it."
Neptune: "Only if you are fast enough, Speed Queen."
Vert: "…may I return to my story?"
5pb.: "I am sorry Lady Vert, but could I take a short break. I need to refresh myself after the concert."
Neptune: "You are really wordy today Verty. Even more than usual. I need a break too!"
Vert: "Very well. Then I will get to the conclusion next time."
She nodded patiently and dismissed the audience for a few minutes.
(To be continued)