In any other situation I would have reacted, whether I had wanted to or not, to Hori’s acid tongue. Unfortunately for me, I was being gripped by something that seemed more menacing than Hori’s typical barrage of insults.
Four people were surrounding the squared-shaped table; if you included Aria and me, there were six people total inside this secret underground room.
Standing besides Hori was another girl that I definitely hadn’t seen before until now. Wearing round framed glasses and having dark green hair, she sported an aloof and languid look that was completely dichotomous from Hori’s typical loquacious energy. She was probably around our age as well.
Wasn’t this supposed to be some type of rebel club? I didn’t expect the members that shouted Viva La Revolucion to be so young.
Well, with the exception of at least two others.
Perry-san, the man that Aria had introduced me to (sort of) back in the front bar was next to someone else that I had also never seen until now. The man, who couldn't have been older than 28, was standing in the center of the squared table, facing Aria and me. He had his hands resting on the ends of the table, taking up the entire width, leaning his back forward as if he was going to use the grip that he had on the table as a springboard to charge at someone with one fell swoop. He didn’t have an aggressive mein, but his face looked self-assured but relaxed- as if he knew something that you didn’t know.
My head started pulsating.
“I’ve brought a new potential recrui- , what, Isei?!”
Aria was reacting to me having kneeled on the floor. I touched my temples, which were now sweating profusely for reasons that I couldn’t quite articulate. Oddly enough, this feeling was vaguely familiar. That’s right, this felt just like that one time at Shimao Komari’s office.
Wait, was this FPR?
I had my eyes shut to try to make the pain go away. I suddenly felt someone grab the side of my arm. I opened my eyes and directed my gaze towards the source of the touch and saw Aria’s large hazel eyes looking back at me.
Her large eyes were unlike those that I had seen before. Typically, the sorts of eyes that I saw this girl sport were either the eyes of her perfect heroine persona, or of those of a stone cold and rational robotic chick. But her eyes this time were different. They were the sort of doe-eyes that you would see only in someone that is genuinely worried about someone else- the eyes of someone that had let their guard down because someone that was in trouble captivated their entire attention.
I had never seen that sort of expression on her before.
“Huh, Gise?!” Hori stated loudly as she headed towards my direction and kneeled down besides me.
What was with the concern? I wasn’t expecting someone that treated me like garbage to show this much interest in my current predicament.
A large and familiar sigh was heard.
“I thought you said that this kid had potential, Aria.” the man with the fedora, Perry-san, stated with a disappointed tone.
“Really, him?” the girl with the green hair stated, her surprise getting the best of her listlessness, but only slightly.
I noticed that the only one that hadn’t reacted was the man that was standing in the center of the table.
I turned my gaze carefully towards him.
His expression was vague to the point where I couldn’t read it… but surrounding him was something that was hard to describe in words.
Noise and small ruptures not unlike the sort of rupture that Aria had created when we went from my New Tokyo to this New Tokyo. The ruptures were small, not large enough to be traversed through. No, what was I saying? It’s not like they were there at all, right?
The longer I looked at him the more the area around him would get distorted, and the more I would hear noise that made my head pulsate.
I instinctively looked at Aria for a way out. I noticed that she was able to tell that my struggle seemed to have increased the more that I looked at the man next to Perry-san. She directed her gaze towards him cynically.
I shut my eyes yet again, but despite my best efforts the pain associated with my head pulsating wouldn’t go away. The more I tried, the stronger it became. I felt someone poking my right forearm. I opened my eyes and saw the man surrounded by distortions right in front of me, kneeling down, his face less than a pace away from mine. His eyes were a dark crimson color that made them stand out more than they otherwise would due to his pale skin.
He smiled wryly and lifted his palm next to my face.…
“What did you do to him!” Aria reacted appallingly.
Haruki turned his gaze slowly towards Aria and gave her a reassuring smile.
“I merely made him go unconscious. It seemed like he was suffering after all.” he replied with a casual amiableness
Aria furrowed her brow.
“Now, shall we get the meeting started?” Haruki suggested, his crimson red eyes focused.
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