Chapter 5:



Sunday – 10:30


Thaddeus lay on all fours next to the truck, vomiting chunks of his breakfast onto the road. I wasn't surprised. After all, it was most likely his first time seeing someone hit by a truck. That kind of brutality would make anyone feel a bit sick to the stomach.

I quickly reported the success to headquarters, exited the vehicle, and walked around to where my pupil was heaving his guts. I put a hand on his shoulder to try comforting him.

"Remember, the girl will be back on her feet in a minute. The device causes no harm. You can see that for yourself."

After taking a few deep breaths, Thaddeus managed to collect his nerves and glanced at the girl in the bushes. Indeed, a few seconds later, the girl got up. She looked around in confusion for a few seconds and then shook her head and started walking in the direction that she was heading before the truck intercepted her.

"Let's head back to base," I continued. "I am sure that you could use a hearty lunch to refill your stomach."

* * *

Sunday – 12:00

I knew what awaited us before opening the doors to the cafeteria, but the reception was still unsettling. There was a massive crowd of agents waiting for his return. Right on cue, they started harassing him.

"Wow, Tobias. Are the rumors true?"

"Tobias! Tell me all about what happened. I want to know every detail."

"You are so cool, Tobias! Please give me some pointers."

And on they went—dozens of voices all blending into one. It was enough to drive anybody mad.

The praises always happened whenever I accomplished a mission, but It was even worse when I pulled off an extraordinary feat. Even after telling them countless times I was just lucky and didn't do anything special, they never backed off. I didn't like attention, but that made them even more hungry to push me into the spotlight.

"It was no big deal," I told them quickly. "Please, I would love to tell you about it, but my trainee is ill. I need a lot of space and some food. Right now!”

Immediately, they backed off and took care of bringing two lunches to an empty table. Thaddeus sat down, and after eating some food, a bit of color started returning to his face.

I watched him eat in silence, happy for the reprieve that the noxious state had granted. However, I knew that I would have to answer his questions sooner or later.

Eventually, Thaddeus broke the silence. "That didn't feel good at all. I am not sure if I can handle seeing that sort of thing again." He gulped down his drink and reached for a pitcher to refill his cup.

"Well," I said. "We are about to find out."

Thaddeus nearly choked on the water. "W-w-w-what do you mean? We are doing another mission now?!"

"Ha-ha! No. Every day at lunchtime, they show clips of all of the Isekai attempts over the last twenty-four hours. Look over there," I said while gesturing towards the front of the cafeteria.

A large screen was descending from the ceiling and hung half to the floor before stopping. A countdown appeared, and after finishing, video cam footage attached to their truck started showing.

"Oh, cool," Thaddeus said in wonder. "A television. I have never watched one before."

I spun in shock. "Seriously?"

"Yep," Thaddeus replied. "My parents were super strict, and while I have obviously seen TVs around, I have never actually watched anything on it myself."

I whistled in amazement. "That is a little sad to hear. So you never watched any movies or shows, neither live action nor animated. Remind me to introduce you later. You need to watch anime."

They turned back towards the screen right when the scene they witnessed firsthand had started. The truck was speeding towards the parking spot, and when the girl ran into view, the video speed slowed down. The girl ran obviously into the road in slow motion, and they witnessed the truck clobbering in full detail. The crowd of agents started cheering and letting loose a bunch of sound effects.

The video replayed a few times before the footage stopped and transitioned to the agent rankings. At the top was T-rank, with just ten members, though Toby was far above the rest by over double the number of points. Below them was R-rank, with nearly forty members, Tamari ranking second in that division. Below them was U-rank with about one hundred members. Below them was C-rank, numbering about seventy members. Finally, below them was K-rank, though that only displayed the new trainee names alphabetically since they weren't allowed to do solo missions yet.

Then the screen returned to its hidden slot in the ceiling. That must have been the only recent mission, as the video showed both successful and failed attempts.

I glanced at Thaddeus and was pleased to see that he didn't throw up again.

That was a relief.

* * *

Sunday – 12:30

After the meal, I showed Thaddeus the way to the K-rank dormitory and led him to his assigned room.

"Here you go," I said while opening the door. "This is your room. I will give you the remainder of the day off to rest. Enjoy!"

Thaddeus looked at the room but didn't enter. It was like he was scared of leaving his mentor's side. He looked at me as if he wanted to ask something.

"Sorry, kid. I can't enter your room. It's against regulations for a mentor to go into a pupil's room and vice versa. You will just have to find a way to locate the massive bed on your own. I am sure that you will find it eventually."

Thaddeus hesitated briefly, but he eventually walked into his room and closed the door behind him.

He was uncharacteristically quiet, I thought worryingly as I went on my break. I hope he is all right.

* * *

Sunday – 18:00

At dinner time, I waited in the cafeteria for an extended time just in case Thaddeus was feeling well enough to join, but he didn't show up in the end. Sighing, I was about to stand up when someone sat at the table. It was Tamari.

"So Tobias," she began. "Now that the peanut gallery is out of the way, tell me how your trainee is getting along."

I yawned before replying. "He was unsettled during the first mission, but that is normal. He is very inquisitive and quite sharp. Did you end up getting assigned that female trainee?"

"Absolutely! Teresa is great," Tamari said excitedly. "She is super polite and very obedient. I am sure that it won't be long before Teresa gets to go solo. I bet she will even reach it before that barf boy of yours gets approval."

I smiled at the challenge. "I am willing to take that bet Tammy. What are the stakes?"

Tamari thought for a moment before giving a sly grin. "Let's make it a surprise. That makes it all the more fun." She got up and started to leave. "By the way, Tobias, you may want to keep a closer eye on your trainee. I saw him entering this building on my walk here. Since he isn't here now, he must have gotten lost. That doesn't seem like a good sign for you, haha. Bye!"

I sat still for a moment. I didn't believe for a second that anybody could get lost on the way to the cafeteria, especially not somebody as intelligent as Thaddeus. I got up and went in search of him with just one thought on my mind.

What on Earth is that boy doing?

* * *

Sunday – 18:20

Security inside the building was almost non-existent since ISEKAI utilized nearly all of it to prevent people from entering the premises and to watch the barriers that isolated each department. However, once you were inside one of the aforementioned departments, it was free to roam except for the manager's quarters. To reach it, one would need the security card, which only the manager had.

I got out my phone and called Terry to ask if he saw anybody in the garage recently, but Terry reported that nobody had entered within the last hour. So that ruled out the bottom floor.

I pondered the situation. Reacting on a hunch, I headed towards the second floor. That was where the successful and failed missions were stored. Once reaching the floor, I stealthily tip-toed through the hallway, carefully listening for any sounds that might narrow down the search. While passing the third door on the left, I heard a soft rustling sound. It could have been my imagination, but it was something. I burst through the door and found what I suspected would find.

Thaddeus was picking through the filing cabinets with a flashlight in his mouth. His hands were holding files opened, and his eyes were scouring their contents. When I entered, Thaddeus jumped in shock; the flashlight dropped to the ground.

Thaddeus sighed heavily and forced a smile. "W-w-well, you caught me."

I had a feeling this kid would be an inconvenience.