Delta In The Darkness - Scene 4
Join our discord to get latest updates about the translations.
Translator: Mr. Steak
Horokusa Junpei sneezed.
He gripped the wooden steering wheel tight as the practically antique automobile sputtered along, ready to lose steam at any moment. The passenger seat was occupied by Takanashi Nerina, who was still wearing feminine clothes. There hadn’t been any particular reason to change, after all.
“That guy before… You said you’ve known each other a while?” Nerina asked.
“Yeah, he was my upperclassman in the radio technology club in high school,” Horokusa answered.
“Radio technology? Sounds sketchy. What’d you do, wait and listen for secret messages from aliens?”
“Well, you’re not that far off.”
After hitting up the convenience store to stock up on bento lunches, Horokusa had next parked his car at a small streetside appliances store, in front of which hung a faded sign reading “Nakahashi Electrics”. To the extent of spilling out onto the sidewalk, piles and piles of appliance parts and audio equipment were heaped up, and due to these junk piles, the front door could only be opened halfway. The owner, Nakahashi, was a tall man with round glasses. Horokusa had received the goods from him in a brown paper bag and handed overpayment. 280 dollars. According to their arrangement, these were the personal radios they’d be using for the night’s lookout job. That’s more than twice my entire salary for this, Nerina had thought for a moment, but in the end, openly splurging money on such gadgetry was definitely a Horokusa thing to do. So he wasn’t upset about it in the slightest. On the contrary, Nerina was just as excited to see the cool futuristic tech inside the bag.
Now, Horokusa was holding a cigarette in his mouth while he drove, smoke drifting around his face.
“He’s gotten me lots of useful stuff in the past, like wiretaps and miniature CCD cameras and stuff,” Horokusa continued about Nakahashi.
“Why does he even have that kind of stuff?”
“He’s a nerd,” Horokusa said, turning to face Nerina. “It’s not actually for anything. It’s unrelated to him. Meaningless, really. He just likes that stuff.”
“He’s a detective geek, basically. Especially when it comes to spy gadgets.”
“Then shouldn’t be become a detective himself?”
“No, not at all. That’s a bit outside of his interests.”
“So, what’d you borrow?”
“Do we really need that?” He made up his mind to get straight to the point. “For 280 bucks, that’s a bit of a letdown.”
“It’s fine, I can write it off it as a necessary expense,” Horokusa said, cutting the steering wheel to the right. “This is another one of my techniques. Within reason, the client will always accept a certain degree of overhead cost.”
Horokusa’s also a detective geek, Nerina thought, but stayed silent.
Horokusa’s car was a Volkswagen Beetle. Its air-cooled engine rumbled away in the rear, occasionally making small explosion sounds. The muffler hung so loosely it looked like it would scrape against the street, but Nerina had no clue what purpose such a setting could serve. Surely it wasn’t for discharging static electricity? The car’s main body had once been a bright orange color.
The Beetle passed in front of Avarice Heights, proceeded directly across the T-intersection, and continued through the front gate of House Oumei Rokkaku. They drove slowly along the stone paving as it sloped down to the right. There, they emerged into a parking lot with brand new, perfectly black asphalt and fresh white lines of paint.
“Alright, now we’ve just got to charge the remaining batteries.” After bringing the Beetle to a park, Horokusa twisted his body around and reached for the paper bag in the back seat. “There’s four more, so at ten minutes each, they should be good to go in forty minutes.”
There were two batteries for each of the three radios. Six in total. When they’d picked up the goods from Nakahashi Electrics, they’d been told that two had already been fully charged. Those were the ones Nakahashi had been charging until Horokusa had arrived to take them.
Nerina looked at his watch. Half-past six.
Nerina had already overheard how to charge the batteries from Nakahashi. He unplugged the car’s cigar lighter and stuck the battery’s charging cord in the socket.
“Okay, I’ll leave this part to you. I’m going on ahead to meet with Miss Odawara. Also, to get a general feel for the place. Hold on to these two also,” Horokusa said, taking out the two radios with fully-charged batteries and opening his door. “Once they’re all charged up, flip the power switches for me. Oh, and… we need to give one to Shiko-chan too, so if I run into her I’ll tell her to swing by.”
“Is it really fine for me to be out here the whole time?” Nerina asked.
“Until further instruction.”
Horokusa got out of the car and headed off toward the mansion.
As soon as Nerina plugged in the first battery and confirmed that a little green light appeared on the charger, he reclined the seat a bit and folded his arms behind his head.
A yawn escaped his lips.
This was a huge plot of land surrounded on all sides by a large wall. There were three locations where entrance and exit were possible, which consisted of the south entrance they’d just driven through, the rear entrance on the north side, and a small service entrance on the east side. The front and rear entrances were always left open during the day. None could even remember a time when those doors were ever shut during daylight hours. Most likely, the mansion itself was locked up thoroughly, or else it must be equipped with a security system. In either case, even if the gates were kept closed, all you’d need is a ladder to break in from whichever side you wanted.
After ten minutes had passed, three figures came walking from a path by the mansion’s eastern gardens. It was Kaguyama Murasakiko, Sezaimaru Beniko, and Negoro Kichiei.
“Ah, Ren-chan.” Murasakiko approached, having noticed Nerina inside the parked Beetle. “What are you doing out here?”
“Work’s already started for me,” Nerina responded, sticking his head out the window. “Have you talked to Horokusa?”
“Nope.” Murasakiko shook her head.
Kaguyama Murasakiko’s outfit was odd, contrasting a classy hat with her form-fitting dress. A bit avant-garde, he thought, but not horrible. Sezaimaru Beniko, who walked up a little afterward, was wearing a wide, older style skirt and a frilly blouse. She looked just like a porcelain doll come to life.
“Oh wow…” Nerina gawked as he absentmindedly stepped out of the car. “Beniko, you look great. Like a real-life princess. I love this flowy style.”
“I could say the same to you,” Beniko replied. Her expression was demure.
“Takanashi,” Negoro said with a displeased expression. “Will that outfit be suitable if things go awry?”
Although saying that, Negoro Kichiei was clothed in a tuxedo and bowtie getup that exuded the most extremely peaceful aura imaginable.
“No need to worry, Sir,” Nerina assured with a smile.
“By awry, are you talking about fighting?” Murasakiko asked, holding in a laugh. “Shouldn’t you at least have a transformation sequence first?”
“This skirt is particularly effective for surprise attacks. They can’t see my legs, so it’ll take just a moment longer to figure out where and when my kicks will come. And that delay is fatal.”
“Fatal how?” Murasakiko laughed.
“The best way to take out your opponent in a single strike is with a full-frontal attack.”
“However, in the event that you fail to knock out your opponent, you put yourself at a disadvantage. Alright, I shall demonstrate. Come now, strike me from any direction.” Negoro turned his body at an angle and dropped his weight into a defensive stance.
“Now now, boys…” Beniko interposed herself between them. “I’d like you two to restrain yourselves while we’re here. Could you please take a moment to understand your surroundings once in a while?”
“Ren-chan, you’re gonna be out here the whole time?” Murasakiko asked.
“Aah, you poor thing. Alright, I’ve got it. Since I’m so nice, I’ll come bring you food from the party every so often.”
“Aah, please do…” Nerina did a mock prayer pose with his hands together. “I’ll be waiting for your generosity.”
Two of the batteries had finished charging during their idle banter, so Nerina plugged it into one of the radios and handed it over to Murasakiko. She put in the small earplugs, which were quickly hidden by her hair.
“To start transmitting, press this button here,” Nerina explained. “Besides that, just make sure this switch doesn’t get turned off. Oh, and we might need to adjust this dial to reduce interference.”
Nerina put the other battery into his own radio and pressed the transmission button.
“Hello, hello, testing, one two three. Can you hear me?”
“Woah, this is wild… I got you, I got you.” Fiddling with her earplugs to check, Murasakiko’s eyes were wide with excitement. “Ren-chan, do you hear me?”
“Loud and clear.”
“Dang, this is so frickin’ cool!” Murasakiko said overenthusiastically. “Totally high tech!”
Nerina removed his battery and handed it to Murasakiko.
“Here, this is your spare. We probably won’t have to change them, but in case this goes longer than we expect, a light will start blinking right here when it’s getting low, so just change the battery if that happens. Think you can do that? Look, you just plug it into the port like this.”
“Where did you even get these?”
“Erm, we’re borrowing them.”
“Ridiculous. What could we possibly need these for?” Beniko said, crossing her arms. “Is this all just a game, or what?”
The three of them walked off toward the mansion’s entrance, leaving Nerina alone again. He got back into the passenger seat and started charging the last two batteries.
Translator and Editor Notes:
Support this novel on NU by adding it to your reading list or by submitting reviews and ratings.