“So, you mean to say that not only you took a person you just met into your house, but even revealed your secret identity to her?” Dead-shot said in a tone that left her unsure whether to believe in her own words or not.
Seeing how all that Ace did was looking away from her while a muffled whistling sound echoed from his helmet, she left out a long sigh before shaking her head and looking at the other person who stood on the rooftop with them. The blue girl had been carried up here by Ace a bit before even the cops appeared to take the bandits away.
While seeing the subject who was supposed to be an unknown variable, not only mostly ignoring her, but putting on an extremely innocent smile that made the gunslinger feel embarrassed for even thinking bad things about her, she started doubting her own words. However, the fact that she was clinging so closely to Ace while not wearing anything under the jacket didn’t exactly help either.
Taking a long moment to breathe in and out and calm herself, she saw as Ace quickly started helping the girl put on the clothes in her body and finally cover her up.
“Okay, I can understand why you would do that.” Dead-shot said while holding her head in her palm and sighing deeply. “She really doesn’t look nor feel like a threat when I look closely, but shouldn’t you be more careful at the very least?”
“…Probably?” Ace said a bit wryly. “Now that you mention it, I might have been a bit hasty.” Stopping to think for a moment, he waved away. “Oh well, it’s done already, so there’s nothing we can do about it now, right?”
“Yeah, yeah.” Dead-shot said a bit annoyed before sighing. “So, should I take it that the reason you wanted to pass in my hideout is…”
“Related to Pria, yes.” Ace said with a nod and putting on a more serious atmosphere around him. “As you can see, Pria here seems to be an Aberrant of kinds.”
“…Yeah…” Dead-shot said a bit dubious.
“But she also seems to have lost her memories, and without any kind of personal property and her innate ability to shapeshift, it became a bit difficult to find out who she was initially.” Ace said initially before sighing. “I’m also worried whether her actually state is a danger to her own health or not.” He added lastly, receiving a small grimace from the Gunslinger.
“Then, why didn’t you try to analyze her yourself?” The hero asked confused. “As far as I know, analyze magic shouldn’t be expensive, right?”
“That… Didn’t work either.” Ace sighed annoyedly. “She pretty much literally eats magic, so the moment that I tried using the ritual on her, she ate it up and there was no feedback.”
“…She… ATE… magic?” She asked shocked while staring in shock at the blue girl, who immediately hid herself behind Ace’s back. “That… Doesn’t make sense. No sense at all.” She said shocked.
“Well, more specifically, she actually seems to eat energy and magic simply falls in the line of energy in her definition.” Ace explained with a tone that sounded about as confused as how Dead-shot felt.
After a few seconds of simply staring at him in confusion, she finally blinked and shook her head as if snapping out of her state and widened her eyes as if she suddenly understood something. Leading her hand to her chin and taking on a pensive look.
“I see…” She said suddenly. “If I take that in account, it does…”
“So, what do you say? Think you could help us?” Ace asked, snapping her out of her pensive state. “Since magic wasn’t working, I thought that maybe some kind of sciency thingy of yours could help.”
“Huh? Ah, yeah.” Dead-shot said suddenly, blinking surprised and nodding weakly. “I… I think I might be able to look into it.” She replied almost instantly, regretting for a moment before shaking her head. “I’ll just need some more time to prepare my equipment than what I initially expected.” She added hastily.
“Even longer?” Ace asked a bit surprised.
“I can’t exactly let a man around my age enter my house before I clean it up, can I?” She said in a slightly embarrassed tone while peeking at him. For a moment she noticed as Ace froze and Pria looked up at him in confusion.
“Ah… Sorry… I didn’t…” Ace started adding before blinking and frowning. “Wait, your hideout is in your house?” He asked confused, but what he received in answer was a brief laugh as Dead-shot seemed to enjoy herself.
“Nah, silly. There’s no way I’d do that.” She replied with a shrug before shaking her head. “Well, I do need some time to prepare anyway.” She said in a more serious tone feeling a bit better for fooling him. “I’ll need to arrange some analysis equipment and prepare room for them there anyway.”
“Wait, you don’t have the gear?” Ace asked surprised before shaking his head. “That’s…
“Don’t worry about it.” She said while waving her hand. “I’d probably need something like that sooner or later. And I think I may be able to build something using some older pieces to save some money, so don’t worry.
“Ghhh…” Ace made a clearly pained sound as he heard how his friend would have to spend money for his sake. Knowing the pain that it was himself, he still didn’t have the right to complain seeing how they had to do something about Pria sooner or later. “I’ll… I’ll find a way to repay you… Somehow…”
“I can almost see you shedding tears of blood right now.” Dead-shot mentioned with an amused tone before shaking her head. “Anyway, since it’s something a bit more… complex than what I expected… I’ll need some really specific gear if I want to even think of analyzing her.”
“I… I see…” Ace said a bit awkwardly before sighing. “I’ll be counting on you then.”
“Hmm…” Dead-shot nodded with a small smile before eyeing the slime-girl one last time in conflict. “I’ll call you later once I transfer your part of the bounty.” She said before taking her old-fashioned looking rifle from her back and holding it as if preparing a shot.
“Thanks…” Ace said a bit ashamed before shaking his head. “Anyway, I’ll get going back home so that I can add that blasted enchantment to this armor. I think I’m starting to melt in here.
At his playful words, Pria reacted a bit extremely, by turning to him surprised and starting to tug his sleeve as if wanting to ask if he was alright. He calmed her down by gently passing his fingers atop of her squishy hair for a moment.
Seeing as the girl eyed him worriedly, Dead-shot decided that it was time for her to go before she ended up doing something she would regret, so she loaded her rifle with the grapple bullet and prepared to take aim.
But she stopped completely when the Slime girl suddenly stripped herself down without any prior warning and turned to Ace.
“WHAT THE HELL?” She shouted surprised while seeing the scene.
For a small dosage of relief, she saw that Ace was just as shocked, if not more than herself, as the man took a step back and made a surprised gasp.
Then, while the two looked at the exhibitionist slime, they saw as she looked down towards her chest while tugging Ace’s sleeve a bit harder.
“…Ace…” Dead-shot said in a low and threatening voice that sent shivers down the lower ranked hero’s spine. “What the HELL do this means?” She asked while putting the rifle back and taking the revolver out and loading it with some dangerous looking bullet. “Didn’t you just say she have amnesia? What exactly have you been teaching her?”
“That’s… Wait! Lower the weapon! I have no idea what the hell is happening either!” He said while taking a step back, only to be stopped by the urging Pria who kept pulling his arm.
“You have three seconds to explain what is happening.”
“THAT’S NOT ENOUGH TIME!” Ace shouted just as Dead-shot took aim with the revolver, but she stopped when the slime girl put herself between the two with a slightly angry face.
“What are you…” She started, but stopped once she saw that a small gem had popped up in the middle of her chest, probably the one that she had deep in her body earlier. “…What’s that?” She asked confused.
“Oh, did the mana dry out?” Ace suddenly asked, to which Pria nodded with a guilty expression. “It was supposed to last for the entire day…” To his words, the slime looked away shyly while propping the gem towards him in a motion that wasn’t exactly modest.
Hearing as Dead-shot pulled the hammer back and readied the revolver, he quickly went on to act, by picking the gem from the girl’s chest and quickly charging it with magic before passing it back to the girl, just in time to dodge the rubber bullet that scratched his helmet.
“Explain. The next won’t miss.” She said while aiming again with a grim look to herself.
“…I didn’t understand a single word.” Dead-shot said coldly. “Slower now.”
“… She was asking me to refill the gem in her chest with magic so that she wouldn’t get hungry.” Ace replied hastily before hiding himself behind his arms.
Turning towards Pria who was absorbing the gem back into her body with a satisfied smile, Dead-shot let out a brief sigh and approached the girl who took a step back in surprise. Pulling the jacket back up and closing the buttons, she made sure that everything was nicely done before letting go of the girl, who now had a confused look in her face.
“…You need to be a bit more modest… Even if you are like this.” She commented, only to receive a mix of confusion and wariness from the slime girl. “I’m starting to think that leaving her living with you might be bad idea, but for an entirely different reason, you know?”
“That one isn’t my fault.” Ace replied readily with a serious tone, to which he simply received a long stare in response. “What? I’m innocent here! Heck, I’m the victim if anything!”
With those words, Dead-shot finally let out a long sigh before nodding heavily. Checking Pria’s clothes one last time to make sure it wouldn’t open for any reason, she finally felt satisfied and turned away once again.
Leaving the slime girl in a mix of confusion and wariness, the gunslinger made her way towards Ace and shoved her finger in his chest while emitting a dangerous aura.
“If I even dream that you touched her or did anything of the kind…” She left the words hanging on the air, making her partner swallow dryly before nodding. Seeing as the slime girl looked angrily at her for bullying her savior, even she couldn’t help but put out a small gentle smile. “Anyway, I really need to get going. I’ll contact you when I get the gear, okay?”
Seeing how Dead-shot quickly left after her words by using her grappling bullet, Ace sighed before nodding and turning towards Pria, who looked a bit annoyed towards the leaving heroine.
“You do know that she was worried about you, right?” Ace asked with a wry smile, to which Pria replied with a confused glance.
‘But she was mean to you!’ Is what she seemed to be saying as she puffed her cheeks and crossed her arms.
Laughing at the girl’s cute angry look, he didn’t notice as she approached him and prepared to be carried by passing her arms around his neck.
Taking a few seconds to recover from the shock, he finally passed his arms beneath her legs before lifting her into a princess carry, only to flinch as pain ran through his arms.
Noticing that, Pria looked at him worriedly and started making a motion as if trying to get down, but Ace replied with a shake of his head.
“It’s nothing. Just a little injury from the battle.” He wondered if this was from when he parried the lizard’s attacks, seeing how strong the scaly bastard was. “I’ve had far worse than this already.” He added while trying to calm the girl.
She nodded weakly while holding on to him as he made his way to the edge of the roof and jumped towards the next one using his magic. Still, she didn’t let his injury escape her mind, as she tried to support herself with her arms more than what his arm did to her.
Well, if one were to think about it for a moment, the situation in which the hero found himself was both extremely delightful and worrying at the same time. Feeling some really dangerous killing intent coming from far behind, he quickly hastened his steps and ran through the rooftops on his way back home.
Which would have been an extremely eventless run if it wasn’t for the fact that he almost hit head-on with someone who suddenly jumped on the rooftop a few blocks down the road.
Surprised with the sudden event, Ace had to pull himself back in a sudden move to avoid falling down the road, as even with his armor and expensive (Expensive being relative) safety spells, he would get seriously hurt with the height. Falling on his back with Pria still in his arms, he took a moment to check on the girl’s state, relieved that it was mostly shock.
“Wooooaaaah… Whooops… Eiiii…” He heard a person making some odd sounds. Turning back forward, he noticed that there was someone trying to balance himself on the very edge of the rooftop by swerving back and forth and spinning his free hand while the other one held what looked like a hamburger package.
Oh, he also was dressed like a ninja. Black clothes, katanas and everything.
With a pair of swords on his back and what looked like chainmail underneath the black robe, his face was hidden under a modern-looking hood and a mask with scarf combo. With leather belt holding a few throwing knives and such having a surprisingly modern look, he didn’t look too out of place in a modern setting.
Snapping out of his surprised state, Ace quickly raised his arm and summoned one of his weapons. A long whip that he quickly used to wrap around the super’s hand just as when he looked about to fall.
“Gotcha!” He said while still sitting on the ground and pulling the whip tryin to keep the tension.
“Th-Thanks. You saved my lunch man!” He heard the ninja replying as he pulled him to more stable ground. “Sorry about that. Didn’t expect someone to be running on the roof.” The ninja said as he offered a hand to help Ace up.
However, what happened was that Ace simply stared at him blankly for a moment before it finally dawned on him.
“AH! You are Kageyama!” Ace said surprised as he recognized the super before him.
The ninja blinked before clearing his throat and putting on a more serious and magnanimous look that was only broken by the bag of fast food in his hand.
“Indeed. I am Kageyama. Rank S Martial artist super.” He said in an overly serious tone, and as Ace watched him in awe, he suddenly relaxed. “That said, I’m on break right now, so just call me Kay.”
Ace watched at the hero in awe for some seconds before nodding and prompting Pria to leave his lap so he could stand up. The girl complied, but not long after she hid herself behind his back while peeking over his shoulder.
Confused for a moment, Ace quickly changed his focus towards the super before him as he checked the hamburger in the paper bag
“Okay…” Ace said with a wry tone before shaking his head. “Wait… By any chance you wouldn’t be hunting some kind of unstoppable monster that managed to escape even from Genesis herself, would you?” Ace asked worried as he remembered what Dead-shot had said the previous day.
To his words, Kageyama froze for a few seconds before turning to him with a suspicious look.
“How did you learn about that?” He asked confused for a moment before sighing. “Then, we weren’t exactly subtle with our search, were we?” He asked with a tired tone. “Yes. Technically, I am hunting something like that, why do you ask?” He asked curious.
“Well, then I’ll make sure to take Pria here with me and run the hell away from this place until I can arrive at a place where I don’t need to worry about being blown away out of nowhere by some kind of ridiculously overpowered monster.” Ace replied bluntly while not even thinking about his answer.
“That… Doesn’t sound very hero like, you know?” Kageyama said surprised.
“Look. We are talking about something that escaped Genesis. As in, THE Genesis.” Ace said before pointing towards himself. “I don’t think a wimpy low rank like me would even stand a chance against such creature.” Pria clenched on his jacket a bit tighter, looking back at her, he couldn’t help but wonder why the slime was being so wary this time. Maybe she’s a lot shyer than what he thought?
“Well, you do have a point.” Kageyama said with a nod before sitting on the ground cross legged and taking the burger out. “Anyway, don’t worry about it. The search area is actually on the other side of the town, I just came here to buy me some burgers.” He raised the packaged goodie and had a clear cheerful voice as he said. “Limited edition. Three times more cheese!” As he eyed the burger hungrily, he quickly shook his head. “Still, I did kind of messed up your date with your girlfriend, so I guess I owe you something.”
“D-Date?” Ace said surprised before giving Pria a look as she hid herself behind him. She replied with an innocent and confused glance. “No, we aren’t dating.” He replied with a shake of his head.
“You weren’t?” The ninja asked surprised while frowning. “Weren’t you carrying her in a princess carry? That seemed very datey for me.” He said in a teasing tone.
“That’s just the easiest way for me to carry her without… Well… ” Ace’s mind wandered for a moment and he swore he could see a smile under the ninja’s scarf. “Anyway, she’s actually an aberrant that have been passing through some bad times, so all I’ve been helping her.” Ace said while taking a step aside to allow the hero to see the girl. “Why don’t you give hi to kage, Pria?”
But the moment he stepped aside, Pria quickly moved behind him again and hugged his back refusing to stand in front.
“Looks like she is a shy one, huh?” Kage said amused.
“Yeah… A bit more than what I expected.” Ace said with a surprised tone, seeing how Pria was a bit more defensive than even with Dead-shot. “Sorry about that. She’s not too keen on the whole hero thing yet.” Ace said with a slightly sad tone.
“Don’t mind it. Everyone have their tastes.” The ninja said while lifting his scarf from below so that he wouldn’t show himself to ace and taking a bite out of the burger. “Minns ss Xpciul urdrr Brgr.” He said happily before gulping down the food. “YIIAAAH! As good as promised! Anyway, it’s still a fact I almost hit you, so feel free to ask anything.” He said as he picked some french fries.
“Anything…?” Ace said amused before widening his eyes and smiling under his helmet. “Then, could you please give me your autograph? I’m actually a fan of yours to be honest.” He asked, seeing as the Ninja blinked surprised before nodding.
“Sure! Seems fair.” The ninja said as he put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a sharpie, much to Ace’s surprise. “A ninja must always be prepared for whatever situation!” He said in a serious deep tone. “Then again, a ninja is also supposed to not almost hit a guy while jumping on a roof. Or actually be seen at all, for that matter. Then, it is difficult to not be seen and work as a hero at the same time nowadays.” He said trailing off before blinking and shaking his head. “Anyway, where do I sign?”
“That’s…” Ace stopped for a moment thinking before blinking and processing the words, before finally cursing and searching his pockets for something to write. Cursing his lack of paper, he finally had an idea as he stored away the whip and pulled out a couple of ninja throwing knives, AkA kunais. “Here. These two if you will.” he asked excited.
“One for you and one for your friend?” The ninja asked as he opened the pen and started writing down in one of the kunais with a surprisingly happy mood.
“Nah, Pria isn’t too keen on the whole hero thing. The other I’ll sell on the internet.”
“I see. One to sell on the…” The ninja froze as he raised his head and stared at Ace blankly. “Erm… Would you mind repeating that?”
“Oh. I’ll sell the second dagger on the internet. With your autograph I should be able to get something around one thousand credits! I wouldn’t have to worry about food money for a few months!” He said with excitement.
His reply was a simply long and dry stare from the more experient hero as he processed the words from his junior. After a long time, he finally sighed and went back to writing down his signature in the two knives.
“For some reason I just can’t seem to get angry at you.” He said with a wry tone before passing the knives back to Ace. “Here you go… Erm… I didn’t get your name, did I?”
“Ace. Ace of Spades.” he replied with one eye sparkling and the other taking shape of dollar signs as he stared at the single kanji followed by Yama written in eastern letters. “Thank you very much! I will always remember you when eating lunch from now on!”
“Good luck.” Kageyama said wryly before sitting down on the ground. While Ace jumped around happily, commemorating his newest achievement, Pria simply looked at him confused.
After some time, the young hero finally calmed down and lifted the cloaked girl once more, and after once again thanking the ninja, he used his magic to jump towards the next building while humming a happy song.
Smiling to himself, the ninja quickly went on to enjoy his food as he dug in into the burger in his hand.
“Funny guy.” He said to himself while munching the burger. “Will look around a bit more later.” As he spent the next few moments thinking to himself, a thought crossed his mind. “Now… Where did I hear that name before…? Pria, was it…? And there was something strange about her that I just can’t grasp my finger… Bah, no matter. Burger comes first!” And he once again bit into the junk-food in front of him with a happy smile under his scarf.