From the brief time, I’ve known Reol the subject of Power Crystals had never failed to make the short-tempered gremlin lose her sense of reason.
It seemed this time was no different.
“Those two devices! They had power crystals in them!' Reol’s grip on my t-shirt destroyed any semblance of personal space as she brought me close up to her flushed face, the glowing stray strands of neon pink hair brushing against my nose. From it came the sweet aroma of harvest season apples, tickling my recently sharpened sense of smell.
Tearing her off myself, I pushed her back to get some breathing room. The intensity of her outburst was bordering on insanity. A cute girl she might be, but that didn't mean I wanted her crazy ass so close to me at the moment.
"Besides understanding what those devices I know jack shit about them." Knowing what something does didn't necessarily grant me knowledge on its inner workings. Hell being as aware as I am about them is way beyond a regular civilian right to know.
Lucia, who was still somewhat surprised at watching me get dragged indoors didn't burst into one of her usual giggly fits as a pondering look grew on her face. Well, I guess it was understandable considering she wasn't around when Reol gave her lesson on power crystals.
Though it quickly became evident wasn't because she was perplexed.
"Are you talking about the sand like grains that most of the Hero Guild's toys run on?"
An unexpected response was let loose from Lucia's lips, unknowingly stroking the flames in Reol's eyes as a new juicy morsel of information for the mad girl was drop on her plate.
"YES YES YES! Miniaturized power crystals! How did they manage what no one from my world could accomplish despite three centuries of research! My society's technology is light years ahead of yours, yet you have the holy grail of power crystal research already accomplished!"
At this point, I could only describe Reol as a kid who found out what their Christmas present was going to be….. Six months early. The constant look she gave the door worried me she was only seconds away from bursting outwards to try and chase the agents that we had just barely managed to somehow trick.
That also actually brings forth a good question. Exactly how did we manage to avoid both the lie detector and Mini D?
As though peering directly into my mind, Lucia gave me an impish smile and answered my skeptical thoughts.
"You did say that pile of junk in your back pocket was stopping Hunters from tracking you, no? Doesn't that mean it should stop devices using someone's ability?" Her smug attitude irked me. How was I supposed to know those things didn’t entirely work with science as a basis! It's not like I've been aware of magic any longer than you…..
Tsk. It’s such a shitty excuse even I don’t believe myself. I live in a world with superpowered individuals, of course, there's bound to plenty of powers unique enough to be comparable to magic, my own being a pristine example.
"She's right….The mana output of those ‘grains’ as she calls them are too weak to pierce the dense mana field surrounding you. Instead, those devices got false negatives as though there was nothing out of the ordinary. Ok, I'm calm…... I'm calm as an Erudite at a brothel……." Reol started cooling down from her deranged state. The focus in her pale eyes slowly returning as she sat down on what was left of the welcoming bench.
"So how did you know those things are powered by someone?" My curiosity was also piqued as even my dad didn't know how any of the exclusive tech from the guild work. How did I know he didn't know? Simply put, he just couldn't say no to his cute son. By the way, I'm serious, those were his exact words whenever I asked him a question regarding his supposedly secretive profession. How he managed to become the vice head of the Intelligence Divison of the largest organization in the world I’ll probably never comprehend.
“Well, I happened to get into some shitty situations before I got dragged into this parallel world of yours. One of them happened to be at the facility where they make the Hero Guilds equipment, though whoever added these strange batteries was never on site. They just referred to them as The Craftsman. This Craftsman apparently also designs all the special gear the Guild uses.” Shifting to a bored expression, Lucia gave a shocking explanation without context as to how she got into such a state.
A regular Tuesday for her it seemed, and that kind of scared me a little.
“Can we head out yet? Really want some clothes of my own, not that I don’t appreciate these comfy hand me downs.” Watching her chuckle lightly, I couldn’t help but feel like Lucia was downplaying the situation. Like I wasn't as excited as Reol, but if Reol could make us Hero Guild quality gear, it would simplify a lot of my future objectives.
“After a few things, I’ll call you down to the garage once I’m done.”
“Hmm.” Smiling while I shooed her away, Lucia swiftly disappeared around the corner leaving me alone with Reol who was staring at me with blistering intensely.
It wasn’t that hard to guess what was on her mind.
“I already know what you want to ask…. No, we won’t find anything made by the heroes guild at the tech yard, and no we can't afford to steal from the Guild.” These didn’t seem to be the words she was hoping for as her face shifted towards a vexed expression.
“Alright, Mr. Bossman I’ll play along for now, but if I see the opportunity to get my hands on this tech nothing you say will be able to stop me…” Running her right hand through her hair while grumbling I couldn’t help but realize she was pouting in her own strange way.
“What you staring at? Don’t you have shit to do?” Coming back from the trance I had just been pulled into I didn’t have a proper retort as I was indeed staring longer than I should have at.
“Sorry, but watching you pout was kind of cute in a calming way.” Not sure why I spoke my mind, but it was true. When these girls weren’t on their antics, it gave you the time to truly grasp how beautiful they were.
Now if only they could be like this more often.
Reol’s face twitched as her frown deepened further. My honesty didn’t seem to have been appreciated.
“Go away before I gut you…” Yeah, definitely not appreciated.
“Yes, I’m sure I want 30 kilograms of raw beef, and no this is not a prank call, now can you just let me pay so you guys can come deliver it to my home?” The man on the phone continued to fuss over the details until, eventually, he felt satisfied.
It seemed to order that much steak you typically had call at least a few days in advance for them to prep the food for you, but since I was ordering it raw they got to skip a lot of the more traditional steps.
Still, they really wanted to make sure it wasn’t a distasteful joke, so I had to give additional information for them to confirm and record my identity. I wish I could have ordered it online, but transactions pertaining to large quantities of food for personal use had to legally ordered over the phone.
It was a good thing Alsha said she didn’t care if the meat was cooked or not when I asked her, it made things a lot easier. Though I do hope the 30 kilos are enough to sate her hunger, the stupid restaurant wouldn't sell me anymore no matter what I offered.
Twenty minutes later, while sitting on a clean L shaped couch, I heard the doorbell ring off in the distance once again. As I stood up to go answer it, I gave my current knocked out companion a glance.
Alice rested on the couch face looking upwards while remaining in dreamland. Apparently, all the other girls decide to just ignore her, not bothering to even try to help. I wanted to think I felt somewhat sorry for her but then the memories of the last few days made me appreciate just how much of a good person I was for not abandoning her to the cold kitchen floor.
“Mr. Rivan? Mr. Rivan you ordered the 30 kilos beef correct?” A lanky teen with a bowl cut inspected me nervously as continuously had his eyes flicker to the disaster field that was my front yard.
“Yeah, yeah just drop the case by the garage to the side, I’ll move it myself, as for your tip I included it over the phone.” Seemingly satisfied the teen maybe a little younger than myself booked it to the self-driving van parked to grab the meat. When he came back down, I spotted him pushing a large temp-cooler, avoiding the potholes littered around.
Not bothering with him any longer I went to go fetch Alsha who I found sitting in the back yard in the firepit……..
While it burned.
“Holy shit! What the hell are you doing in there!” I wasn’t too surprised the fire wasn’t hurting her, but the fact that the cloths Xue gave her didn’t even seem to have a scorch mark on them despite the raging flames left me dumbfounded.
Fireproof cloths for flame users existed but you’d be hard-pressed to find any that looked like regular fabric.
Having sensed my presence long before I reached her, Alsha merely gave me a mocking smile. With a swift change in position, Alsha pushed upwards scattering ash while performing a backflip were ended up landing directly in front of me, who had been standing over 10 feet away.
“Has this One's meal been procured little wurm?” Is her calling me that worse than a regular worm, or was this a sign of endearment?
“Speakth before this One’s mood sours further, you would not like to see what a starving dragon is capable of.” Nope guess it just means she doesn’t see me as a threat of any kind. Like in what world is being called a little worm, a sign of affection.
“Just shut up an follow me, I have everything ready for you to pig out to your heart's content.”
Alsha’s condescending grin was wiped away as she realized her scare tactics weren’t going to get the response she wanted from me. We might be working together now, but it was only begrudgingly, which is why she seemed to continue to try and assert her dominance over me.
You might be stronger, faster, deadlier, taller, and downright better looking than me, but I already knew your bottom line. Plus the looks of fear you give Lucia don’t escape my eyes either.
Dropping of Alsha at the garage to have her fill I went to grab the two he were going to accompany me. I had wanted to find Xue and ask her if there was anything she was interested in me getting her, but I couldn't locate her anywhere in the house. If it wasn't because I actually trusted her not go out and get herself in trouble I would have summoned her right there.
“I’m so excited! These dreary boy clothes just can't bring out my charm!” Lucia happy as girl on her birthday was once again dangling from my arm, something I noticed was becoming a habit of hers. I should probably get her to back off a bit, but I'd be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the feeling of her chest on my arm. I’ll let it slide for now.
“This tech yard better have something decent, or I’ll go out looking by myself for gear.” Reol, on the other hand, was still somewhat frustrated about earlier.
“Cloths and supplies first, then tech yard for the rest of the trip, that sound good to the both of you?”
“A date it is!” No, it's not.
“Whatever, just make sure you're ready to pay.” I know I made a promise but that's a little cold towards the guy paying don’t you think?
“Well then, the car’s ready so lets get going.” Hoping in the self-driving car, I set the destination the New Athens Super Center and watched as the car began to pull out of the driveway.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I spotted a beast wearing human-like skin devouring bloody flesh.......
I set the tint levels to the max and did my best to ignore what I just saw.