“Alice, do you have a visual of the target’s location?”
George’s voice comes from my earring while I ducked down onto the roof of the building, peering into the crowd, and spot a thin glowing green light.
“Yes, sir. The target seems to be around the fourth block before the main crossroads on Central Avenue.”
The city’s structure is basically a chessboard, and all the roads are straight, thanks to which visibility is good, especially if you look at it from a height.
“Okay, I also have my eyes on the target… but what is that? I could feel his sadness from this range, and it’s similar to Pete’s condition when he got kicked out by his wife.”
George’s word (though I know he didn’t mean it) made my heart ache.
Hayato and I are all supposed to have feelings for each other. But how can we be so distant?
“Hey, Alice, can you see the observatory with the stone statue of an owl on the roof from there?”
“Yes, I can. The one in the direction of the moon, right?”
“Yes. There’s a dead-end next to it; I want to corner him to that place. If he thinks he is in trouble, he will run into the shadows, but as far as I know, the distance he can travel in the shadows is not that great.
So, if you lose sight of him, don’t panic; just observe your surroundings carefully.”
“Okay, I understand.”
I listened to the instructions and walked along the roof of the building, aiming for the observation platform. Then I received a report from Ted.
“…this is Ted. I was able to get ahead of you at the main crossroad. I’m going to push on from here.”
“Oh, that’s fast.”
I could hear the sound of gasping for air. Betty’s voice came next.
“I’m here, too. George, it’s Plan M, right? Are you sure you want to do this?”
Betty also reports back, out of breath. They both fast.
“… Plan M? What are we doing?”
“Good. Feel free to execute it… Oh, he’s probably noticed. From here, his walking pace will be increased. Everyone, be prepared.”
As George said, the speed of Hayato’s movement increased slightly.
He weaved his way through the crowd, and at the main crossroads, he moved to the right end of the road, away from George behind him and Ted on the left, and then turned quickly to the right.
That’s the direction where Betty was headed.
“Betty, he going your way.”
“Roger that. George, are you sure you want to do this?”
“Do it! I’ll be there as soon as I can. Ted, I want you to tail his back. Don’t get too close, though, so he can’t escape into the shadows. Put as much pressure on him as you can.”
“He’s here! Alisha, Hayato, I’m sorry!”
Betty jumped out of the shadows in front of Hayato and raised her magic wand, which glowed in response to Betty’s magic power, and a huge ball of water was released from the staff.
The surprise attack made Hayato stop his tracks. He barely dodged the water that was moving almost at the speed of a fastball, but what he didn’t expect was the existence of another water ball that was aiming to the place where he dodged. The first water ball hit the olive tree behind him, flooding it with water.
This is Plan M?
“I-I’m sorry! Hayato!”
He was soaked in water after taking a serious hit from the water ball, and as passersby were in an uproar, he saw Ted approaching from behind and ran, soaking wet, into the corner path.
But George was ready to intercept from where he was headed. If he continued like this, we would successfully entrap him into the dead end.
“Did you succeed, Betty?”
“I did! But this! I felt so guilty!”
“It’s okay! You can blame it on me.”
George’s voice was cheerful. He seems to be having a great time.
“I will finally pay back a long year of humiliation I saved up to that bastard!”
I pretended not to hear George’s whisper and hurried to the observation platform.
I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination, but my body feels lighter, Betty’s magic is also getting more power than usual, and everyone’s legs seem to be faster.
It’s not just the magic tools that are strengthening my body. It’s definitely the effect of the magic buff we received from Hayato’s [Sounds].
“George! Intercept him at the next corner!”
George and Hayato arrived at the corner at the same time.
Hayato was startled by the encounter and stopped in his tracks.
George took the initiative, untied a small bag in his hand, and threw it at him. A cloud of smoke billowed out from the bag.
A smoke screen ……? No, what was in the bag was powder. The fine powder stick into Hayato’s wet body.
“Keh-ho! You ……! What’s the deal, George?”
“I’m sorry, but we’re no match for you in a straight fight, and we’re in desperate need of allies.”
From behind him, Ted is putting pressure on him. George was in front on the left. He ran toward the path on the right without saying anything. As we planned, he went in the direction of the observation platform.
“…Huh? He didn’t go into the shadows? I was expecting him to do it at least once here.”
“That’s right. it’s strange…”
It’s not just that. He could avoid getting wet earlier if he created a barrier just before the water ball hit him. Although he might be completely unprepared, normally, it wasn’t a speed at which he couldn’t react. I’m not sure why he didn’t do his best.
“… well, it’s okay though? Alice, the plan to lead him to the observation tower is going well. All preparation is perfect. All we need to do now is hoping that a lot our allies are there.”
George brushed off the powder from his clothes and smiled triumphantly.
“You’ll know them when you see them. I’m sure they’re there at this hour.”
“Anyway, Alice, stay on the wall of the dead-end, just in case Plan M is breached. Maybe that’s where he’ll escape from.”
I walked through the roof and trees in the direction of the observation platform.
If he is really using shadow to jump, he will need a place to hide.
…Will this go as planned?
My heart is filled with anxiety. I was worried at the thought that he might still escape from us; also, you’ll catch a cold if you stay like that. I need to wipe it off and dry your cloth with warm air.
The area around the observatory, away from the main street, was sparsely populated, with only a few lanterns providing light.
I stood on top of the dead-end building, carefully walking a little farther to avoid being noticed, and stared into the darkness.
It was then when I realized several glowing eyes has emerged from the darkness.
I was a little startled, but the owners of those eyes were cats of all sizes.
Almost like a gathering event, there were a lot of cats here.
A few of them twitched and raised their heads in response to something.
They mewed, ran to a nearby olive tree, and climbed it.
It took a few seconds for several cats to disappear into the thick foliage.
In a deserted dead end, a cry rang out.
A person fell out of the tree. It was Hayato.
–He was hiding there!
He had a number of cats attached to his body, and he was trying to pull them off, but they seemed to be clawing at him, and he was struggling.
In the meantime, in addition to the cats that were slurping furiously, the cats in the meeting reacted one after another and ran up to Hayato.
He was quickly buried in the swarm of cats as they meowed and meowed.
I went down to the ground but could only watch, not knowing what was going on.
Then George, who had arrived late, appeared with a villainous smile on his face and announced his victory in high spirits.
“How’s that? Plan M is a great success! It’s a good thing I bought so much matatabi powder from Rigel!”
“Matatabi? That powder was matatabi?”
“Yes. My hobby is to look for cat spots in my expeditions. Recently, the cats in this town changed their meeting place to this place.
Hayato probably doesn’t know about it yet, so I thought if I sprayed him with matatabi and led him here, the cats would become my allies.”
“That’s a pretty harsh plan you set up.”
“Because we can’t win if we are using normal method. He’s strong against monsters and men, but he’s weak against animals and women. You need to aggressively attack his weak points.”
Hayato cried for help while he was still buried deep in the pile of cat.
“It hurts! Please help me! The nail is sanding my skin!”
“It’s not a claw; it’s a tongue. It would be best if you used a barrier on your body.”
“I can’t do it! I can’t use that right now! So—”
“What? you can’t use your wards!?”
After receiving an unexpected reply, George and I looked at each other and decided to help remove the cat.
With the help of Ted and Betty, who joined us later, we gently removed the claws that were digging in here and there and quickly peeled off the one that was stuck to his face.
Then, from underneath, a beautiful black-haired figure covered in scratches appeared.
“This is worse than I thought. …… Hmm? When you had black hair, was you always had a red eye?”
“… I don’t know, and I don’t remember.”
While looking down, he created a warm wind to dry his body. Our gazes were fixated suspiciously on him.
–I have a lot of questions to ask, but first thing first, I’ll have to bring him to the inn.
I crouched down and cast a recovery spell on him, brushing off the matatabi that was still in his hair.
“… This won’t come off unless you wash it properly. Why don’t you rent a bath at the inn?”
I think I’m unfair, I’m aware of that, but I also think it’s true that you need to wash it.
He nodded, looking a little flustered when I carried and removed the kitties, who were still trying to climb on Hayato even after they were peeled off.