1:17pm, Shibuya, Tokyo.
Asahi stood in front of a very modern skyscraper, wearing his usual hoodie and jeans combo, but without his backpack, which was in his inventory.
Opus Scientific Research
He looked at the building with a pensive expression. ‘There are a lot of labs underground. It’s not a bad idea to operate their Justice Department from a place like this. The security here is quite absurd.’
He could see that to get past the reception, one would need to go through a dozen heavily armed people, with all of them being low end Super Soldier types. However, those were true seasoned soldiers. They wore black suits, with a type of armored padding underneath.
Nodding in acknowledgement, he walked towards the building.
At the reception, there was a waiting area, and a large reception desk, with two receptionists, a man and a woman.
He walked towards the woman’s side of the desk. She had short hair, and wore a suit-like white and blue uniform, seeming to be in her early twenties.
Seeing him approach, she smiled. “Hello, may I help you?”
“Hello. I don’t have an appointment, but please, tell Ikeda Daiki that Kinoshita Asahi is here. He’ll want to talk to me”
‘If he has at least one functioning braincell left that is.’
She nodded. “Please, just wait for a bit.”
After typing on her computer, she waited. To her surprise, a message from the secretary whom she messaged came in less than ten seconds, saying to let Asahi pass.
Pulling a guest lanyard from a drawer, she looked at him, trying to hide her curiosity for as to whom the man in front of her was.
“You can go right ahead, and take the elevator to the 37th floor. Exiting the elevator, turn right, and Ikeda-sama’s office will be at the end of the corridor.”
Asahi nodded, taking the lanyard. “Thank you.”
With the lanyard on his neck, Asahi passed by the detectors and security with an extremely calm expression.
Entering one of the high-end elevators, he pressed the button for the 37th floor.
After going up ten floors, Asahi sighed. ‘What a moron. Planning to trap me in an elevator to interrogate me, after everything you’ve seen so far.’
When the elevator was between the 30th and 31st floor, it abruptly stopped, and the lights went dark, followed by the auxiliary lights turning on.
Asahi chuckled, looking at the elevator panel which went up to the number 50.
He then looked at the wall. “Nagamine Kagome, Minister of the Japanese branch of the TS’s Justice Department. My name is Kinoshita Asahi, and this might sound arrogant, but I know for a fact that you have never even heard of me so far, and that was a mistake on the part of your subordinates. Right now, I’m trapped in the elevator, between the 30th and 31st floor. I’m sending you two other videos aside from this one, please watch them. I’ll be waiting in your reception room.”
After finishing his monologue, he made a small rectangular device appear in his hand. It was pitch-black, with what looked like light-blue circuitry spread over it.
As he touched the elevator panel, the power came back on, and the panel shifted, revealing a button to the 51st floor, several other buttons to underground floors, and also retina and fingerprint scanners.
He didn’t bother himself with the retina and fingerprint scanners, and pressed the button with the number 51, which made the elevator go up.
‘They must be freaking out right about now, since I locked the other elevators, and the cameras didn’t see how I did that.’
The device in his hand had cost him 50,000P and was used to interact with ‘old tech’, which was pretty much everything on earth. Of course, the version he bought, had its limitations regarding distance, but it was more than enough for what he wanted right now.
But how did he think of buying that? When he absorbed Gilbert Dubois’ phone, the System gained the functions of a cellphone. On his way to that building, Asahi pondered two things; one was how to increase the amount of data that the System could store as an electronic device, and two was how would fast would be the System’s data transfer?
To not break the streak of being incomprehensibly overpowered, the System just showed him the device, and said that as long as the data was within the reach of that device, the transfer would be immediate, and there was no storage limit.
Taking all that into account, the 50,000P were practically free.
‘It’s unfortunate that I can’t even see the price of the one that would allow me to access everything through the internet.’
The elevator’s doors opened upon reaching the 51st floor.
Leaving the elevator, Asahi smiled. ‘She really isn’t one for gaudiness.’
There were no expensive decorations or furniture, just a regular reception room, with a comfortable couch, and a receptionist behind the desk.
A woman in her mid-twenties, wearing a skirt-suit, with wavy hair tied in a bun, and Chinese features. She had average looks and an average build.
Asahi smiled at her, and walked towards the couch. “Hello, I already told Nagamine-san of my arrival, so I’ll just sit here and wait.”
The woman behind the desk just nodded, without even looking at him, as she typed on her computer.
Asahi inwardly sighed as he sat down. ‘Ha, what a joke. Aural Affinity, Body Sculpting, Detoxification, Enhanced Senses, Enhanced Speed, Enhanced Strength, Fast Healing, Sense Danger, Instant Acceleration, Shapeshifting, Sensorial Camouflage, Telekinesis, Master of the Imploding Fist, Master of the Wind Blade, Grandmaster of the Thunder Arts. To close it off, she’s a 128-year-old monster with a Transcendence of 7, and a base body of 11.8. I’d have to get a lot stronger to even have the right to say that my chance of winning is zero. How far is she from Transcendence 8?’
[ Quite close. ]
‘That’s one hell of a secretary. Of course, the true monster with actual Transcendence 8 is behind that closed door. A total of 27 passives, and eight active powers, including Gravitational Manipulation. Her base body is weaker than Trish’s, but that doesn’t really matter. How much for me to buy all their passives?’
[ You do not want to know. ]
‘True, I really, really don’t.’
Suddenly, the woman spoke. “You may go inside, Kinoshita-sama.”
He got up and walked towards the door. “Thank you.”
Entering the office, what he saw was a large office with a door on the left and one on the right. There were several shelves with a variety of books, one rarer than the other.
In the center of the room, there was a large desk made of a synthetic material, with a large and comfortable chair behind it and two comfy couch chairs in front of it. On top of the desk there was nothing, but Asahi knew why, it was a holographic desk, probably one of the few of its kind.
Sitting on the chair behind the desk, was a 1.7m-tall woman in her late twenties, with a slender body, silky short hair and sharp features. A discerning eye would notice that she was half Japanese, and half Chinese. She wore sweatpants, a t-shirt with a bear-like mascot, and no shoes.
However, the most noticeable thing about her would be her gaze, which seemed to be able to cut steel like a hot knife on butter. It was quite the contrast with her beautiful face.
To her surprise, the young man in front of her, displayed no reaction whatsoever to her gaze.
‘Mind Fortress, we will make out later.’ Asahi thought, before actually speaking. “Hi. I’m glad that you watched the videos, and sorry about deleting them, but I don’t really like to leave proof of that type of capability.”
“Understandable, please, sit.” She said, gesturing to the couch chairs.
Sitting down, Asahi smiled. “I assume you have questions.”
She nodded. “Too many, but I will start with an easy one. How did you breach our security to gain access to my floor?”
He nodded towards her desk.
As if out of nowhere, a pitch-black rectangular device with light-blue circuitry had appeared on her desk.
She looked at it, then back at him. “May I?”
He nodded. “Go ahead.”
She picked it up, and in silence, she looked at it for a couple minutes, before putting it back on her desk. “I suppose that testing it would be useless.”
As he made the device disappear again, Asahi nodded. “You wouldn’t be able to open it, nor recognize the materials.”
“I figured as much. Next question; the way you blocked that punch, is that a power of yours? It was my first time seeing something quite like that.”
He shook his head, pulling up his left sleeve and showing her the bracelet. “It’s a defensive item that can block a hand grenade at point blank with ease.”
“Interesting. May I know what the ring does?”
“Sure. It completely decelerates my body before I collide with an object. Obviously, I can deactivate it If I so wish, otherwise it could become a hindrance during combat, since it might kill my inertia at unwanted moments.”
She nodded. “Aliens, fascinating.”
He smiled. “Why aliens, and not time travelers or a secret organization?”
“Because aliens are far more likely. Time traveling in and of itself is absurdly unlikely, at the very least towards the past. Even within the TS people talk about breaking the laws of physics, but we are not actually breaking anything, just making use of laws that we aren’t aware of yet. Going by that principle, it is extremely unlikely that the universe would actually allow sentient beings to travel to the past, given the endless disruption that they could cause. Imagine the virtually infinite planets and galaxies out there. If us, slightly less dumb monkeys, could manage to travel to the past, imagine the countless smarter civilizations out there. A secret organization is even less likely, because there are not even substantial rumors of something like that. Even the TS and the Consortium are known to some degree by some people outside of it. Therefore, aliens.”
[ She is as correct as an earthling could possibly be with the data she has; without unnecessary speculation might I add. Impressive. ]
She blinked. “Did I say something funny, or is it them communicating with you?”
“They said that you are as correct as an earthling could be with the data you have. Also, the answer is no, they won’t talk to you, because they left that up to me.”
She looked at him with a pensive expression. “What is their goal regarding earth?”
Asahi smiled. “To support me.”
She furrowed her brow.
Asahi knew why she did so, because she had three different lie detection passives, and neither one of them went off.
She pondered for a few seconds, before speaking again. “And what is your goal?”
“Make video games, write novels, meet new and interesting people, travel, but mainly, be happy. I have no intention of conquering the world or become its savior, because that’s way too much work and I can’t be bothered. Maybe if I’m bored in a hundred years or so, I mean, the savior thing, not the conquering one.”
“Do you intend to harm people?”
“Only the ones with intentions to harm me or the people I care about. I want to live in peace.”
She nodded. “Well, all the questions I have from now on regarding them are pointless, because you will not tell me either way. From the way you are talking to me, I suppose that you are already aware of all my capabilities, which is why you are choosing your words so carefully. Trying to pry answers from you by force, even if I was that type of person, it would be foolish, due to the incalculable risks. So, I will go in a different route; are you willing to trade?”
Asahi smiled. “Maybe. It’s not like I have unlimited access to things. What do you have in mind?”
“The bracelet, how much for it?”
Asahi pondered. ‘How much should I say it’s worth?’
[ ¥23,800,000,000. ]
“It’s worth 23.8 billion yen. But I don’t want money, I want a property instead. A large property, with a large house and a reinforced underground training room, with property taxes paid for life, and all the construction permits possible. The closer it is to Tokyo U, the better.”
For the first time since he arrived, she smiled. “I thought you wanted to live in peace.”
He laughed. “Yeah sure, like that will happen just because I want it to. Obviously, I’ll strive for that, but I also want the power to deal with my peace being disturbed. I do have at least a dozen or so functioning brain cells.”
She chuckled. “If only some of my subordinates had some as well. I suppose you already know which property I am going to give you, since you seem to have free access to the TN, given that the ping to Gilbert Dubois location didn’t have an origin.”
He nodded. “Correct once again. I also know that you have no intention of telling anyone about what we talked about here, due to their mix of stupidity and greed, which might as well be an oxymoron.”
Her gaze changed to one of curiosity. “I really enjoyed this conversation. It has been decades since I enjoyed a conversation to this extent. Another question then. Did you intend to make the TS think that it is actually an organization behind you by disguising yourself, and adopting the persona called Zunakyr?”
Asahi was waiting for that question, because from the moment he sensed her, even before the elevator was forcefully stopped, the System had given him a warning.
[ Aside from concrete details about me, operate with the assumption that she will see through everything. ]
No plan stays intact after making contact with the enemy. In this case, he basically had to throw it out the window, at least as far as Kagome was concerned.
He nodded. “As you have already deduced, my support isn’t unlimited, because I’m still earning it. Otherwise, I would have all the information I needed about you at that point, changing how I would have done that stunt.”
She nodded. “Even so, as much as you pose an unlikely threat, it would be riskier to eliminate or harm you. They could simply erase us, which I deem unlikely. Choosing an ill-intended individual as your replacement would be more likely.”
“That’s correct. Before I forget, here is your bracelet.” He said, making a brand new and unbound bracelet appear on the table. “To make use of it, a drop of blood is necessary, and it’ll be bound to the person until they die.” He then smirked. “You better not back out now, I can’t return it, and it took a good chunk of my allowance.”
Softening her gaze, she smiled. “Do not worry, I will not. All the paperwork shall be finished by Monday.” She then displayed a serious, but not intimidating expression. “I need to make something clear; although I am fascinated by all of this, my role here does not change. I am not your ally, nor your enemy, so please, look at me as a neutral party. However, I will act with what I have learned so far in mind.”
He smiled. “That is more than what I expected. I’m actually relieved that you and your friend out there are actually good people, all things considered. Do you wanna ask me anything else?”
“Yes, but you will not answer those questions. If you have more things that you are willing to trade in the future, do not hesitate to call me.”
“Sure thing. Oh, I’ll let you know something, as a courtesy. I do intend to trade with the Consortium in the future, in order to build some sort of amicable relationship with them. It’s not something that I want, but I’m certain that it’ll be needed, both for me and for the sake of balance.”
She nodded. “That is a given.”
He tapped the arm of the couch chair twice. “Well, if there is nothing else, I gotta go. Project to work on, novels to write, and a life to live.”
She smiled. “It was a delight. Do not worry, I will make sure no one stops you on your way out.”
“Likewise, and thank you.”
She watched as he left her office.
After feeling him enter the elevator, she picked up the bracelet on the table, and twirled it around her index finger. ‘It seems that they communicate through a visual medium, opposed to an auditory or telepathic one. His control over his body in order to not appear to be reading something, is quite superb. Since he talked about everything so openly, my recording devices most likely did not register this conversation. He was also quite calm for such a young man, with only minuscule vestiges of nervousness. Truly fascinating.’
Going down the elevator, Asahi sighed. ‘So, she did notice me looking at the System. I’m just glad that she actually intends to keep the things we talked about to herself.’
Like she told him, no one tried to stop him on his way out. The only stop he had was to give back the lanyard at the reception. As he left, he called Mayumi, telling her that things went well and he was coming home.
Back at his building, he entered his apartment.
Mayumi and Fumiko were at the kitchen counter, drinking some iced tea. Mayumi seemed ready to leave, wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a jacket, with her backpack on the counter. Fumiko was wearing sweatpants and a hoodie.
Both girls hugged him.
He gave each of them a light kiss. “Everything went fine. There was a tiny hiccup, but it only made me talk to the Minister faster. There were no altercations of any kind though.”
The girls sighed in relief.
Mayumi caressed his chest. “Did you end up giving them something as a peace offering?”
He smirked. “Not quite, but I did trade a bracelet like ours. Check this out.”
To the side, a large System screen appeared, showing a large property, with a modern mansion.
Fumiko furrowed her brow. “Isn’t that the mansion that was finished a couple years ago, a concept smart home? Doesn’t the CEO of Ito Imports live there?”
Asahi shrugged. “It’ll be mine by Monday.”
Mayumi’s eyes widened. “You’re moving?”
He smiled. “Of course not. There is an underground training area for powered people there, which is the main reason why I wanted it. I needed a place where I could start to develop my magic.”
He could see the relief in their faces. “In what world do you think that I would choose to not live close to the both of you? We don’t even need to involve feelings; my penis would probably quit and go attach itself to someone else.”
They girls laughed, lightly slapping his chest. Despite his humorous remark, they knew exactly what he meant.
Fumiko displayed a pensive expression. “You also asked for the taxes to be taken care of, right?”
He nodded. “For life.”
Mayumi smiled. “Since you’re okay, and all is fine, I’ll get going to my parents’ place.”
Asahi nodded. “We’ll talk later, when you log in to work.”
Fumiko caressed Asahi’s back. “I’ll keep him fed for you.”
Mayumi chortled, gave each of them a tender kiss, then left.