◇◆◇ (Abigail’s point of view)
A few days after the meeting.
Abigail went to Valhalla. Through InoRyder’s connection, they had arranged an appointment to meet with Wakefield of the Romeo team tonight.
When she walked through the automatic door, InoRyder, Vani, and Rudra followed behind her.
Moreover, Natsuki and Yakumo were with her today. They were moving together to keep security as tight as possible.
It was dinner time.
InoRyder, looking around the crowded place, raised her voice and waved her hand.
“Hey! Those Fox overthere!”
“Oh! aren’t that InoRyder! Come here!”
A large man, Hirsch, raised his hand. His teeth were all showing from his smiling mouth.
The Fox team was eating in the back corner of the restaurant.
“You, aren’t you still off duty?”
“That’s right, Today is my time off.”
“a-ha? I see, you girls are getting along well.”
At the sight of Abigail standing there, seemingly at ease, Hirsch nodded his head in approval.
“Abby, come here, come here.”
InoRyder beckoned Abigail over to sit at the table.
At the table, besides Hirsch, Whisley also sat there.
“This is Hirsch…… and this is Captain Whisley.”
Whisley glanced at Abigail with his one eye.
“You look well.”
“Thanks to you.”
Abigail and InoRyder took the same seat. Now the table is filled.
“Hey, Vani, take this seat.”
Verni and Natsuki took the table next to the Fox team.
–In this way, an even more strange vibe was created in the corner where the Fox team gathered, attracting more attention.
Natsuki and Yakumo with dead-pan glares now face the expressionless Rudra and Vani.
The twin speak with few words while Yakumo was completely silent. The pressure on the table is chilling and heavy like the deep sea. An intriguing duel between siblings. Nevertheless, everyone at this table was young, unfit for Valhalla.
While the whole restaurant was looking at them strangely, Natsuki dropped a bomb.
“Umm, One Pepper Paradise please.”
“Oh, hey……. that girl, isn’t that one from the other day?”
Someone knocked his chair back and pointed.
“Ahh? this day too!? Are you kidding me!!?”
“Please forgive me!”
The customers, who had witnessed Natsuki’s “refill” Pepper Paradise before, went into a frenzy, clutching their heads.
The curious stares that had been focused on them earlier turned to fears as they became aware of Natsuki’s presence.
Abigail chuckled at the reaction of the patrons and shifted her attention to Whisley.
Noticing her gaze, Whisley stopped eating. Today his eye patch was of a different material than last time. He seemed to be a surprisingly stylish man.
“Have you settled down well?”
“Not yet. Maybe things have gotten busier.”
Just as the conversation was about to break off, Whisley paused for a moment, pondering.
“So, what are you going to do after you leave the 88?”
Abigail’s gaze flicked at the unexpected question.
“Well……. once it’s all done …….maybe I’ll go on a trip.”
“A trip in this day and age?”
“Yes. I thought it was time for me to live my life freely.”
“Freedom might be rather cramped and uncomfortable, you know? Outside the city, you are constantly in danger. Wherever you go, you will feel suffocated.”
“I know. That’s why it would be so helpful if you could come with me, How about it Captain?”
Whisley’s face relaxed.
“Well, it must be a deal that is worth dying for then. Let’s see …. if I accidentally step on a land mine. As long as you’re willing to push my wheelchair after that, I’ll be happy to accompany you.”
“I’ll get you a prosthetic leg to match with that eye patch, something fancy and tough, maybe with a hot-rod style too. Don’t forget that I’m a mechanical girl.”
“That’d be great.”
Whisley crossed his arms exaggeratedly.
“Now I can use the maintenance as an excuse to come over to your place.”
“I can give you a roof over your head while I’m doing maintenance, but not on a bed, okay?”
“Hey, hey, hey!”
InoRyder leaned forward angrily.
“What’s the matter with you, why are you two awfully friendly all of the sudden? –grrrr!”
Holding Abigail in her arms, she growled and bared her fangs to intimidate Whisley. Then the table burst into laughs.
“–Oh, that’s right. I have to thank the Captain. You really saved my life.”
“What are you talking about?”
Abigail suppressed a laugh at the sullen Whisley.
“fufu …. Of course, you did. Can I buy you a drink at least?”
“…… Chai. No ice and sugar.”
The order was surprisingly cute, and Abigail finally let out a small giggle.
As Abigail and her friends were enjoying their meal, making idle chit-chat, a man suddenly stood next to them at the table.
A young man, clean and neatly dressed, gave them a stiff salute.
“I am Johann Strauss III(the third)! It is an honor to meet you!”
“I’m Abigail. Nice to meet you, Johann.”
When Abigail smiled back at Johann, Johann stiffened and repeated, “I am Johann Strauss III! Nice to meet you.” he repeated.
“……? Um……Nice to meet you too… Johann Strauss….the third-kun?”
“Thank you! If you need anything else, by all means, please contact me! I’ll be glad to help!”
Johann said to the confused Abigail and left the piece of paper behind.
“…… Was he just hitting on me?”
InoRyder holds back a laugh at Abigail’s confusion.
She pokes her shoulder.
“Hey don’t laugh, just tell me.”
“Sorry, sorry … He’s one of the few people who knows Senpai in person.”
She looks at Johann’s back and continues her explanation.
“–In the past when he was a new recruit in Fox, he was so nervous that he introduce himself with my full name to Senpai. And it was even a lot funnier than earlier.”
“Then, while everyone laughed at him, only senpai said, “…..Isn’t Johann Strauss III a cool name? ” and since then, he has been using his full name. You can call him Third-kun.”
“He was so weak that he was thought to be the first to die among the new recruits at the time, but in the end, he survived through it. He said it’s because a blessing he got from senpai, and he even holds the name Strauss III with the utmost honor.”
“Is that so?”
“That is why you have to call him by his full name, or else he’ll get very angry. But in the case of Abby, you can just call him Third-kun I think he might prefer it.”
InoRyder’s voice trailed off as her expression fell.
“She said it would be a pity to die as a virgin, so it was senpai’s mouth that popped his cherry.”
Abigail looked at Johann’s back with a complicated expression.
*bang!* the table shook.
Abigail looks up in surprise, and this time another man is standing there. A rough-looking man with a mohawk knocked his hand on the table.
“hehhehheh, are you having a great time lady?”
The man spoke in the way exactly as he looked, his eyes looking like a snake
“Yes, I am.”
Abigail raised her glass. It was almost empty.
“Hyaha!! How about another drink?””
“What? um…well, I’ll have the same one …….”
“Mashuuuu!! One white rum on the rocks for this lady! bill on me! See you later then! Let’s meet in hell next time!”
The Mohawk man, who she can’t decide whether he was a delinquent or a gentleman, shouted, bought her a drink, and strode off.
Even Abigail can’t help but grin as she watches him walk away.
“So? what’s with that.”
“That guy is Hyaha!! He’s like that on the surface, but that’s because from the training, deep down he’s quite gentle. He is an observer and very good at Mental calculation, he was called
Hirsch burped and then continued.
“We Fox are a bunch of freaks, but we’re all professionals.”
He chuckled. His teeth look perfect as usual.
“Once you turn any rascal into a professional, their inner viciousness can be turned into the strength as a soldier, and they can even live a normal life. That was the mantra of our former captain.”
“……Is that Garnier’s teachings?”
“Oh, you know him?”
“I met him the other day.”
“a-ha, how’s he doing?”
“Umm, Surprisingly healthy.”
“Of course. Ex-captain Garnier is a superhuman. He must be over fifty years old by now, and yet no one can beat him in an arm-wrestling match.”
“Did Garnier start the whole doping thing?”
“Oh, I mean, Gilles Garnier was the only captain of Fox since its foundation. He was a purist when it came to making strong soldiers. Well, the current captain is just as professional and hardworking.”
Hirsch glanced sideways, but Whisley only gave a small snort.
“How long has Garnier been out fighting at 88?”
Hirsch raised his eyebrows, then closed his mouth and gave a shrug.
“I only heard about it from the lieutenant general that it was a long time ago.”
Whisley replies in his place.
“Garnier was recruited directly by the lieutenant general.”
“Oh, the lieutenant general recruited him?”
“At that time, the lieutenant general was still a lieutenant colonel, and the 88 was not as strong a fort as it is now. It had almost fallen to the aliens many times. So the lieutenant general at the time was pushing a rapid strengthening and weapons development program.”
“Then came Yasmin, the current Secretary General, and Garnier.”
“You mean they were from the same place?”
Abigail was a little surprised.
“No, but they were around at the same time, Yasmin was hired first, and Garnier was brought in through a friend of hers.”
“So they knew each other before that?”
“Maybe. Originally, Garnier was leading the training of soldiers in the Special Forces under the direction of the Lieutenant General, but when the teams were reorganized in Alpha, Beta, etc. to streamline the operation, Garnier formed the Fox team. The Fox was a small, elite scouting and ranger unit that specialized in creating strong soldiers.”
“Aren’t you know a lot of things!”
“This is about my own unit. I asked the general how it all happened because Garnier was a man who never talked about anything he didn’t have to.”
InoRyder spoke in a mocking tone, and Whisley sighed.
At that moment, Abigail suddenly grinned.
Out of nowhere, she pulled out a mask. It was a thick, fume protection mask. Next, she put on diving goggles and earplugs.
InoRyder, next to her, also stopped talking and pinched her nose.
Seeing this, Hirsch and Whisley looked at each other suspiciously. And then–
Hirsch frowned. He felt as if he had been stung on the nose by a bee.
About the same time, Whisley squinted his one eye, like he was stung.
“…Hffff… Sorry to keep you waiting …Pffff….this is Pepper Paradise …Hffff….it’s really spicy, so beware….Pffff… But Natsuki has already been through it, so …Hffff… everything should be …Pffff… fine…Hffff….”
“Wow, that looks so yummy♪”
*thud*…… and the Pepper Paradise placed in front of Natsuki.
These appetizing tortillas are made of yellow corn dough and cooked to a golden brown. The ingredients and sauce are served separately, and the problem is the sauce.
The finely diced red, white, green, and black ingredients are all various kinds of “peppers” collected from all over the world. And to keep the current world record holder status, which is updated every year, they consistently include more chilis making its Scoville values rise steadily with each passing year. Wasabi is also one of the key ingredients in this dish.
The Scoville value of Pepper Paradise somehow exceeds the total Scoville value of the chilis that are used in the dish.
The other name of this dish is Tear gas Taco.
According to a rumor, the fumes that waft through the air are more potent than military tear gas, and at one point, it was seriously considered to be used as a new type of tear gas.
“Open the window!”
“No ….Pffff…. it’s going to cause another incident …Hffff…. and the police are going to come flying in.”
“Cough…… Cough! I can’t …… breathe!”
“I can’t stop crying……”
“Come on! Come on, eat it all, girl!”
“What is this!! It even hurts my ears!!”
Those were the laments of the warriors in their dying breaths as they sought Valhalla, to end their misery as soon as possible.
The guests, except for Fox, were all either plopped down on the table – or slumped on the floor – clawing at their eyes, noses, throats, and ears in agony.
Perhaps more frighteningly, the restaurant’s ventilation fans shut off while Pepper Paradise was out.
This was done out of concern for the damage to the area outside. Until the Pepper Paradise is completely consumed, this place will be the closest thing to paradise – a purgatory.
But even the screams of agony were nothing more than a cheer for Natsuki, who had her favorite dish right in front of her.
“Thank you for the food!!”
With a big smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, Natsuki put her hand on the taco.
Facing her were Vani and Rudra. The two were quiet.
Hirsch, pinching his nose, calls out to them worriedly.
“Are you two okay?”
“I’m not okay.”
“Natsuki’s breath hurts.”
They turned around and were in tears, covering their mouths with handkerchiefs. Their senses are sharper than those of ordinary people so they must have endured a tremendous amount of pain. But still, they show no expression on their faces.
“Do you two want some?”
” “No I don’t.” “
Vani and Rudra responded to Natsuki’s kind offer.
“Really? But it’s so delicious…….How about you, Yakumo.”
Natsuki offered a taco, which Yakumo accepted and bit it.
The sauce dripped from his hand.
—onto Niblo on his lap.
Immediately, his hair stood tall and his eight legs jerked and twitched slightly. Abigail could see – or feel – his spirit slowly slipping away in a form of black smoke with a skull shape. His hair was also a sensory organ.
Niblo was no longer moving. He might have fainted. Yakumo silently wiped the stain from Niblo, who had one foot in heaven.
Then Mashu speaks.
Natsuki-chan…Hffff…. this is the prize…Pffff… given only to those who completed the …Hffff… Pepper Paradise challenge…Pffff…the Pepper Angel’s mark, so please pick up your …Hffff… prize before you leave.”
“Oh, it’s ready already? Yay! I wanted to wear it when I come next time with my boyfriend!”
It’s no secret that wearing the Pepper Paradise Challenge prize will make it easier for soldiers to accommodate you if you get into trouble in the city.
As Abigail watched the commotion, Gas Masked Mashu placed a piece of paper in front of InoRyder.
“Hmmm……. Abby. Change of location.”
“Change of location? Where?”
Romeo’s Wakefield and she had agreed to meet here in Valhalla. So she brought Natsuki and Yakumo with her.
“Do you want us to go with you?”
“It’s not good to spread out, is it?”
With the addition of Natsuki and Yakumo, it becomes riskier so they tend to not split the group as much as possible.
This was also a setback for Abigail. They had to be careful not to let the girls hear that Nigel was Abigail’s biological sister.
Gevaudan is Nigel. Nigel is Abigail’s sibling. So far, Natsuki was the only one who could use this to get to the direct link between Gevaudan and Abigail. It was Abigail’s hope that she would go to the central knowing as little as possible.
“Well, I just want to listen, and he’s a good man, so It’ll be fine.”
“I wonder if that’s true.”
InoRyder’s reassurances made her uneasy.
“I’ll be real quiet, okay?”
“…… can Rudra join us?”
Abigail asked, and Rudra replied with a thumbs up over his back. He’s been really helpful in keeping me company, even though he’s not off-duty.
At first glance, it seems that he is at her sister’s mercy, but if anything, InoRyder says, Rudra is overprotective of his sister, Vani.
Abigail patted Rudra’s head.
“Then, let’s finish our meal and go. We have to hurry, or we’ll have a death toll. Natsuki-chan, please don’t order the refills this time alright?”
At Abigail’s request, Natsuki’s cheeks puffed out, pouting.