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Madoka guides us to the entrance of one of the buildings. They have a double door made of glass. There are two receptionists sitting behind a reception counter right behind the door. Both of them are very surprised to see a group as large as ours closing in on them.

Oomori rushes to the door first and kicks it open.

‘EXCUUUUUUUUUUUUSE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUS~!’ she shouts at the top of her lungs.

‘Excuse me, who are you people?’ One of them asks us.

‘I’m sorry but we’ve got no time for questions!’ I tell her while continue to follow Madoka.

‘Wait! You can’t just come in like this without an appointment!’ another one shouts.

‘It’s an impromptu health inspection!’ I shout back. ‘Don’t tell anyone, okay?’

‘...An impromptu health inspection? Really?’ Sakuya asks me.

I shrug. ‘It was the only thing I could think of.’

‘You didn’t have to tell her anything, you know?’

‘It would have been rude. Plus, if you want to lecture someone, lecture Oomori. She’s the one who kicked the doors open instead of pushing them like a normal person.’

‘And shouting like a mental patient.’ Takayama adds.

Oomori turns her head to look at us.

‘Oh come on, you two. Don’t you ever felt like doing that at least once in your life?’

‘Nope.’

‘Not even once.’

‘Boo~, you’re no fun.’

Besides, her shout at the end reminds me of a certain main-character-turned-side-character. It was quite unpleasant.

While running, we passed by a few researchers. At least, they looked like researchers, since they were wearing lab coats. Like the receptionists, all of them were surprised to see us. They were also smart enough to move out of our way. Maybe it’s because we had our weapons out.

After running for a while, we hear the alarms blaring.

I look behind me. ‘Was it one of the researchers we passed by?’

‘It is either that, or the colleagues of the guards that Takayama knocked out realized what had happened.’ Ichika says to me.

‘Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Once we’ve start to rampage, the alarm’s gonna sound anyway.’

‘Indeed.’

Madoka eventually brings us to a place marked as the storeroom. However, the door’s locked.

‘Oomori.’ I request.

‘Got it.’

She clench her fist and punches the door hard. The door falls apart from her punch.

After the debris from has cleared, we find ourselves staring at the interior of a room full of lab apparatus. Test tubes, beakers, and lots of other things I used to see back in the schools of my old life but couldn’t remember the name of.

Madoka starts to look around. Just as I was about to ask her what she’s looking for, she goes near a shelf at the middle of the room. She then reaches out her hand and twists a Bunsen burner. At least, I think that’s what it’s called. It doesn’t really matter.

As soon as she did that, the shelf slides upwards and disappears. We are immediately rewarded with the sight of a large, metallic gate. There’s a palm scan on the wall along with a numeric keypad.

Madoka proceeds to take out some tools and tries to hack it.

With the alarm blaring, it’s probably not hard to imagine that every single security personnel stationed at the underground lab would be waiting for us right outside the gate, which is why we take up a fighting stance while waiting for Madoka to finish her hacking.

Once she’s done, a metallic ‘Authorization approved’ was heard from the palm scan. The gate then slowly retracts downwards.

It’s not even halfway done, and I can already see the guards standing right behind it: robes-wearing Lost Children cultists, Destroyers, test subjects wearing weird helmets with wires connected to the back of their neck and holding all sorts of weapons. Just like how Assaf-sensei described.

Strangely enough, all of them are cannon fodders. Not even a single executive is here. It’s either they’re looking down on us, or those big shots are out for lunch.

‘FIRE!’ someone within the enemy ranks barks.

At the command, physical and magical projectiles of all kinds fly towards us. Fireballs, icicles, vacuum balls, bullets, throwing knives, you name it, they mostly have it.

Mashiro, who already took off her choker, blows all those projectiles away with her wind. While she’s at it, the guards got blown away too. We take advantage of the opportunity to go near them. By the time they’ve recovered, at least a quarter of them were down.

The place is kind of huge, so we still have plenty of space to run around despite the fact that there are at least 100 of us here. I start to think that they made this place this huge just for this precise reason.

The projectiles are still flying all over the place, which make a complete mess of the entrance. Some of us prefer to fight close range, and sounds of weapons clashing with weapons, war cries and grunts could be heard.

There are screams and moans of pain too, but thankfully, none of them came from people from our side. So far. I guess fighting low ranked enemies is much easier when your team member consist of the 2 highest Ranks in the Academy plus a former graduate who used to be an S Rank.

I fought with a few of the test subjects. From what I heard from Madoka, they’re mostly homeless people. However, the way they move sure contradicts their, well, occupation. In fact, they could even put Navy Seals to shame with their agility and strength.

According to the original anime, the helmet they’re wearing is being used to brainwash and control them. Their opponent’s first thought is always to disable the brainwashing by destroying the helmet.

The thing is, the test subjects tend to freak out when they regain consciousness and lets loose with their powers. I was almost skewered by a few icicles after they got materialized by a panicked test subject, even thouth I tried my best to calm him down. I had to quickly knock him out with my spear before he causes serious damage to himself and/or everyone around him.

If they’re just the prototype test subjects, I shudder to think how strong are the test subjects enhanced with the best serums they produced from all the experiments they conducted.

It has to be said. Our team works quite well with each other, despite the fact that we have new members this time. Everyone knows where everyone is, and we help cover each other’s blind spot. We’ve mostly Takayama and Yui to thank for watching our back, and in return, those in the front make sure no one touches them.

At first, I was worried that Oomori will get too hyped up in the fight and ignores her surrounding. However, I soon find out that the reason she’s going all out while disregarding her everything that’s not happening right in front of her is due to her trust in Takayama and Yui. It sure is nice to have trustworthy friends.

‘AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA~!’

And then there’s Madoka. Well, I’ve pretty much got used to it, and none of the others are bothered at all, so no harm done.

‘Oops.’

I tilt my head to the side as a fireball whooshes by. It effectively brings me back to reality. Just as I was about to deal with the cultist who fired that, Oomori beats me to it by punching him in the stomach and knocking him out.

‘You gotta pay more attention to what’s happening around you, Kagenashi-kun.’ Oomori chides me lightly.

‘I know I’m at fault, but I don’t think you of all people have the right to lecture me.’

‘Why not?’

Right on cue, a cultist who’s wielding a tomahawk rushes to her back and tries to wound her with it. The target herself is completely unaware of it. I help her out by hitting the back of the cultist’s head with the butt of my spear. The cultist goes down with a loud ‘Oomph!’

Oomori looks back in surprise. ‘Blimey.’

I smile at her. ‘Now we’re even.’

‘Drat. Here I thought I could make you owe me.’

‘Glad to hear it, cause I’m too scared to imagine what kind of things you would force me to do.’

‘It’s no big deal. I just want you to accompany me to go to D*sneyland.’

‘This again? I though we were done talking about it.’

‘No we were not. I mean, you didn’t say yes.’

I roll my eyes. As I thought, Oomori is the type of girl who won’t take no for an answer.

‘Fine, fine. I’ll go. Just, spare me from going to too many rides, okay?’

‘All right! It’s a deal! Don’t you dare go back on your promise!’

‘Don’t worry, I won’t bail on you.’

We may sound like we’re just chatting casually, in actuality both of us are still fighting the guards along with our teammates.

As the skirmish drags on, the number on their side is being diminishing further and further. Pretty much all the Destroyers are killed, and most human enemies are knocked out cold. At least, I didn’t kill any of them. Pretty sure none of my teammates did either.

As Amesaki-senpai and Sakuya finish off the last of the guards, I take a closer look at one of the enhanced human. His face is shown as a result of his helmet being cracked open like an eggshell. I had a feeling that Oomori did it. His face is extremely pale, the whites of his eyes are showing, and his mouth is opened. Most notably, his veins are all bulging. Also, he’s extremely skinny, as if he hasn’t been fed for a long time.

Madoka comes over and stares at him as well.

‘He’s Taira.’ she tells me.

‘You mean the guy who broke into the Shibuya branch of the Yamagata Pharmacy?’

‘The one and only.’

‘So he’s been brought here to be one of their guards. Why am I not surprised?’

I look at Amesaki-senpai who’s sheathing her Ensifer.

‘What should we do with them?’ I ask her.

‘I’m afraid we have to leave them for now. We don’t know who or what we might encounter, so we need everyone to be together.’

‘Roger that.’

I feel bad for basically abandoning these people, but she’s right. We’re not at a place where we could afford to temporary lose a member or two.

‘Is anyone hurt?’ I ask while looking around.

Some of us are wounded, but they’re nothing serious. Since that’s the case, we decide to move on. While we’re on the move, I point out something that doesn’t sit right with me.

‘Wasn’t the fight just now way too easy?’

Miyahara agrees with me. ‘No kidding. I was expecting to fight an army.’

‘I doubt that Ryuuouji Tatsuma will waste his precious test subjects on intruders any more than he has to.’ Amesaki-senpai says. ‘He was probably trying to stall time while most of them are getting transported out.’

‘Then I guess we better hurry, or he might escape.’

‘Right.’

Not long after we left the entrance of the elevator, we pass by lots of rooms with see-through walls. One of them contains lots of computers.

‘Can we stop by here for a while? I think I can hack into one of them and gather evidence of their donors.’ Madoka requests.

Amesaki-senpai nods at her. ‘Go on.’

Madoka nods back and heads inside. I follow her out of curiosity while the others stand guard.

She sits down in front of a random computer. Next, she takes out a thumb drive from one of her pockets and inserts it into the CPU. A few seconds later, the computer’s security got bypassed, and she’s in.

‘By the way, this is how I hacked your computer.’ she tells me all of a sudden.

‘Yeah, I thought so too.’

‘You’re not mad that I looked through your things without your permission?’

‘Nah. I know that you just wanted to know more about me. I would say I could just show you if you asked, but it’s kind of embarrassing for a guy to show a girl…those things, whether we’re going out or not.’

Madoka continues to talk while searching for the files she’s looking for.

‘President and Assaf-sensei had been pestering me to share what I found with them.’

‘I’m sure they did. Did you tell them?’

‘I told them that I’ll keep it a secret until you’re ready to show them.’

I raise my eyebrow. ‘Seriously? What are you planning?’

‘Nothing. I just find it nice that we’re sharing a common secret, even if it’s a lewd one.’

‘...You know, I find you so cute right now I want to give you head pats.’

‘Please don’t. I’m still working. And the others are watching from outside.’

‘Right.’

Madoka soon finds the list of the lab’s donors. She downloads it all to the USB. While waiting for the download to finish, she looks through the list.

‘...This is bad. At least half of Japan’s top company is involved in this. If we spread the word, the Japan’s economy might crumble.’ she tells me.

In actuality, that’s exactly what happened in the original anime, and that’s without all those loose test subjects running around and causing havoc.

‘Well, PM Shindou can decides on what to do with them himself. We’re just here to collect evidence, shut down the lab and arrest some people.’

‘True.’

She also manages to find a map that displays the layout of the lab. She reaches out a finger and points at a square spot.

‘We’re here.’

She points at another spot which is a bit further from our location.

‘This is the main lab. Ryuuouji is probably here, if he hasn’t evacuate already.’

‘Let’s just hope he hasn’t.’

‘We could all hope.’

After she’s done, she takes out the thumb drive. We then go outside and join the others.

‘Sorry for the wait.’ Madoka tells them.

‘It’s fine. Did you manage to find anything?’ Amesaki-senpai asks.

Madoka shows them the thumb drive.

‘Everything is inside.’

Shimazaki raises up his hand. ‘Um, is the Shimazaki family and the Ishibashi family really involved in all this?’

Madoka nods. ‘I’m sorry, but it’s true. I just looked through the list of names. Their names are really there.’

Shimazaki puts down his hand and hangs his head in despair.

‘Shimazkai-kun, I know you have a lot to take in right now, but you have to concentrate on the mission right now.’ Amesaki-senpai tells him.

Shimazaki slowly lifts up his head. He then takes a deep breath and nods.

‘Yes, I understand. Let us go.’

Since Madoka now knows where the main lab is, she once again takes the lead. All this while, the alarm keeps on blaring. It’s getting kind of annoying. I should have asked Madoka whether she could do something about it when she was still in front of the computer.

On the way to the main lab, we pass by some smaller ones. Most of them contain the simple chairs, tables, computers, plus huge metal tubes big enough to contain humans. Inside some of these tubes are, you guessed it, humans.

Like Taira, all of them are skeleton-thin. Unlike Taira, these test subjects are completely naked. Usually, I would feel awkward to see naked people, particularly naked men with their genitals out. Now, I feel so much sympathy towards these people and anger towards the researchers that I don’t feel anything else.

After I calmed down, I look at the tubes more closely. A lot of them are empty, far more than the ones we fought at the entrance. Majority of them are probably being sent to somewhere safer like Amesaki-senpai said, but why are some of them still here? I point this out to everyone.

‘This is just a guess, but I have the feeling that Professor Ryuuouji are just keeping those people he and his team deemed to have potential.’ Sakya suggests. ‘As far as they’re concerned, the rest could be left here and rot.’

‘But then, why didn’t they put all of them on guard duty?’

‘Because those helmet things they’re wearing cost money?’

‘First they experiment on them without their permission, now they just abandoned them like they don’t matter? That’s so cruel.’ Yui says.

‘No kidding. Ryuuouji has a lot to answer for.’ I say to her.

‘He and all the researchers who participated in these experiments willingly.’ Amesaki-senpai adds.

Meanwhile, Madoka is taking pictures of the test subjects with her phone to be used as additional evidence.

‘You need us to take pictures too? Just in case, you know, you lost the data or the whole phone?’ I ask her. ‘Not that I don’t trust you or anything.’

She shakes her head. ‘There’s no need for that. Whatever I captured on this phone of mine will be sent immediately and directly to a file inside a computer used by the Information Squad.’

‘Wow. You really thought of everything, huh?’

She shrugs like it’s no big deal. ‘I prefer to be safe than sorry when it comes to gathering information.’

We soon reach a room that’s much more larger than the regular rooms that we passed by. There, 4 people are waiting for us: Joseph Brennan, a man and a woman who I’ve never seen before in the original anime, and (oh, boy.) Gabriel Jordan, who’s supposed to be defeated by Yuuji back in Season 1 in the original anime.

Brennan flashes his insane and creepy smile at us. ‘Welcome, dear guests. Welcome to the Ryuuouji Bio Lab. The real one, that is.’

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Blackout FSH

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