Vandread Extra Stage Chapter 7

Each One’s Place to Belong

Part 1

“They may be men, but I think it’s unnecessary to pay special attention to that……. On the fundamental level they’re just as human as we are……”

Hesitant attitude notwithstanding, Misty was reciting basic knowledge relating to ‘men’. It had been a short while since she had been assigned to the event crew, and though she was still shy and not very skillful at conveying her thoughts, as she was racking her brain for the event crew members whose knowledge of men was entirely non-existent, Misty finally realized that this was ‘something she is capable of’.

“Well then, it’s alright if we open the reception event with music and dancing, right?”

“Then, how about a show-type event? Would that be acceptable?”

As usual the crewmembers were raising questions in rapid succession, since they were ‘relying on Misty’, they had to pay thorough attention to what she said. In order to match her pace, the event crew members had attended the meeting while restraining their own pace as much as possible. As a result of this mutual compromise, Misty was able to, somehow or another, move the conference with the event crew forward.

“The important thing is to make an appeal that says ‘Welcome’, so it’s okay not to think too much about things like ‘men’s personality’ or ‘customs’. There shouldn’t be any differences between men and women when it comes that ‘happiness’ and ‘being pleased’……”

In response to Misty’s words, sighs of relief were simultaneously released from the mouths of the event crew members. That was the degree of their anxiety towards the unknown concerning ‘men’. Having seen this situation and despite feeling relieved about being able to be helpful, Misty once again newly realized the degree of the ‘misconceptions’ that existed due to the gap between Taraak and Majere.

‘……With it being like this from the start, will this really go so smoothly, I wonder?’

The anxiety that filled Misty’s inner thoughts was close to despondency. From her perspective, she couldn’t help but to think of the ‘warped values’ of Taraak and Majere as being considerably ‘backwards rebel cultures’.

“Well then, to begin with we need to review the announcement poster’s design……”

Upon hearing what Misty had said, the event crew’s leader spoke up.

“? Poster?”

Misty replied with a question in her confusion, at which point the leader turned towards her with a perplexed expression.

“……Indeed. The ideal image should appeal to both those of Taraak and Majere, and at the same time be something that conveys the idea of the new societal order……”

Hearing that Misty’s expression similarly became clouded by anxiety. The theme was too difficult to understand for it to be expressed by just a one-page design.

“……Do you have some kind of image in mind?”

At the leader’s inquiry, the eyes of the other crewmembers also converged on Misty. However even if it was possible to explain about ‘a world where men and women coexist’, to begin with Misty had no experience organizing an event. Immediately she averted her gaze by lowering her head.

“……Something like that……even if you say that so suddenly…………”

Seeing how uncomfortable Misty was, the leader followed up with words of self-admonition.

“……Sorry, Misty. You can just leave it to us……. You don’t have the answers to anything and everything after all, right? ……However, I do believe that you are surely the keyman for developing the current concept. If you think of something don’t hesitate to tell us, okay?”

The leader’s gentle tone comforted Misty. She had even bowed her head apologetically as she spoke.

The event crew meeting continued late into the night, though it continued uneventfully as they couldn’t settle upon a clear solution. The place that would be the ‘fusion point’ where the men of Taraak and the women of Majere could sit side by side was still the principal part of the immense anxiety they all carried.

|

“Haven’t you found ‘him’ yet!?”

Hanging over the crewmembers who were stationed at the consoles, Rebecca, while restraining her irritation, was trying to remain calm, but it was obvious from her tone how impatient she was. Even though she was behind Belvedere who was earnestly carrying out the operations, that presence was transmitted in full.

“S-Sorry……. If Pyoro-kun would at least access the network we could specify ‘his’ location but……”

In response to her apologetic reply, Rebecca softened her tone in awareness of her own impatience.

“……My apologies……. It’s wasn’t my intention to rush you, but there must be some kind of reaction if ‘he’ is moving so quickly even if it is buried within the machines. Please don’t overlook anything.”

Rebecca had not experienced the suffering of the Nirvana’s journey. Because of that, she couldn’t believe that a ‘machine’ like Pyoro could awaken human emotions. In particular, having heard that the Pexis rampaging would give rise to malfunctions, she felt all the more anxious about ‘him’. Even if at present ‘his’ attitude towards Kalua was favorable, ‘him’ suddenly taking a dangerous action was something that couldn’t be ruled out. Due to such anxieties it was beyond necessary for her to be vigilant.

|

“……I guess she intends on not coming back this evening……”

Ezra anxiously muttered to herself as she gazed at the clock above the sideboards. Said clock had passed ‘late at night’ some time ago. Even the faces of the security crew members stationed as guards within the room looked fatigued.

“It would be reasonable for everyone to take a short break as well……”

Although they were members of the security crew, as far as Ezra was concerned they were like her juniors. Feeling pity for them who were standing guard in the corner of the room, Ezra urged them to take a break as she brewed some tea.

“……No, since we’re on duty……”

The security crew members also considered the present situation to be a little exaggerated. However, they had received their orders and they were required to follow them. Politely refusing Ezra’s kind proposal, the security crew members returned to the corner of the room as though they were pulling themselves together.

“……It would be nice if Pyoro-chan would come out soon without causing a fuss……”

While checking on Kalua who was giving off sleeping noises in the next room, Ezra muttered to herself while sighing. And then, it was at that moment. Together with a piercing alert the voice of the flustered Belvedere was heard through the speakers.

“[Movement detected in the A-7 Residential Area! It’s Pyoro-kun! He’s heading your way at tremendous speed!]”

“EEH!?”

As soon they heard that, Ezra and the security crew members simultaneously raised voices of surprise.

“KUH! Where!? Where’s he coming from!?”

Just as Ezra’s living room was being enveloped by tension, the security crew members began hectically looking around while wielding their shock guns.

“No sign of ‘him’ nearby! Is ‘he’ truly on ‘his’ way towards us!?”

As a security crew member raised a hysterical voice after becoming irritated, the panicked voice of Belvedere was heard again from the speakers.

“[‘He’ is certainly approaching! ‘He’ will be there very soon!]”

“N-No way!?”

It happened an instant later.

‘BANG!!’

At almost the same instant as Ezra jumped up with astonishment, the vent cover for the vent near the ceiling released a loud sound as it was violently blown off, and from inside Pyoro emerged while covered in dust

“PYORO-TWO∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

“!? Pyoro-chan!?”

At the sudden appearance of Pyoro, even Ezra couldn’t hide her astonishment. With the security crew members having momentarily forgotten themselves in the excessive situation, Pyoro rushed forward at full speed towards the bassinette where Kalua was.

“PYORO-TWO∼∼∼∼∼∼! I HAVE MET UP WITH YOU PYORO————!”

Pyoro was jumping towards Kalua while ‘his’ digital eyes were filled with tears, when it happened.

“YOU CAAAN’T!”

Together with that shout Pyoro’s foot was firmly grabbed, which just barely prevented ‘him’ from embracing Kalua.

“PYO!?”

As Pyoro looked back in surprise, unexpectedly the one holding Pyoro back was Ezra.

“If you touch her with such a dirty body, wouldn’t Kalua-chan get sick!?”

At the unexpected restraint by Ezra who ‘he’ believed understood ‘him’ the most, Pyoro was in a state of shock. However, this was one of those case of ‘a mother’s might’. Compared to Rebecca’s stubbornness or Pyoro’s obsession, Ezra gave maximum priority to the safety of her own child’s body.

“Oku-sa∼∼∼n, don’t say such cold-hearted things pyoro∼∼∼∼∼∼……. Pyoro went through great ordeals to return here pyoro∼∼∼∼∼∼.” {TN: Oku-san is a way of referring to one’s wife}

Faced with the pleading Pyoro, Ezra fortified the completely changed attitude she’d been using until now.

“You cannot!! If you want to touch Kalua-chan then you will wash your body in the sterilization room!”

Faced with her state of flat denial, even the surrounding security crew members were dumbfounded.

“Everyone! Don’t just stand there, accompany Pyoro-chan to the sterilization room!”

Energetically giving out instructions like she was somebody else, Ezra’s words brought the security crew members to their senses and took action to seize the confused Pyoro.

“You can’t do this pyoro!”

Noticing the security crew rushing towards ‘him’, Pyoro twisted ‘his’ body and swung free from Ezra’s hand. After that, he once again made a jump for Kalua, but a member of the security crew managed to get around in front of ‘him’ to block the way, so ‘he’ couldn’t advance forward as he had planned.

“KUH————! Why is everyone hindering me pyoro! Pyoro just wants to meet up with Pyoro-Two pyoro∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

“Didn’t I just say you’re not allowed to touch her with such dirty hands!?”

“HEY! Don’t struggle in such a small room!”

“In that case you should stop being a hinderance pyoro!”

And like that Ezra’s living room became a flurry of confusion. The five security crew members and Pyoro were knocking over sofas and stands within the only ten-tatami room, and meanwhile Ezra was beginning to get jostled in amongst them. Pyoro was freely using ‘his’ usual anti-gravity device to dance through the air. With Pyoro running up and down all over, the security crew members were being toyed with. The room’s interior was narrow even on a normal day. The crew members were all bumping into one another, and with them tripping again and again throughout the house, they were by no means able to seize Pyoro.

“KYAH!”

At a loss of what to do, one of the security crew members had leapt at the jumping Pyoro. But due to Pyoro’s nimbleness, everyone, including Ezra, ended up in a pile on the floor.

“Now my chance pyoro!”

Using this opportunity Pyoro faced the room where Kalua was without hesitation.

“PYORO-TWO∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

As Pyoro was jumping forward with both arms spread someone’s hand abruptly appeared in front of ‘him’, and once again he was hindered from touching Kalua.

“KUH! Who is it this time pyoro!?”

Raising an indignant face, the one standing before Pyoro’s eyes was none other than Rebecca who had run over all the way from the control room. She had large drops of perspiration on her forehead, and was moreover gasping for breath, but nevertheless she glared menacingly at Pyoro as she spoke in a small voice.

“……Game over!”

Facing off with Rebecca herself, Pyoro undauntedly glared right back.

“No one asked you pyoro! Pyoro will meet up with Pyoro-Two pyoro∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

Pyoro frantically tried to push forward, but wasn’t permitted to due to Rebecca firmly restraining ‘him’ with both arms.

“Give it up! I’ve prepared a special isolation cell just for you! You can spent a while cooling your head in there!”

“PI∼∼∼∼∼∼! NOT  THAT PYORO∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

Rebecca and Pyoro continued to jostle with one another in front of the bassinette. Meanwhile the security crew members approached Pyoro from behind, and at last the curtain fell on ‘his’ ‘Parent and Child Reunion Play’.

“KUU∼∼∼∼∼∼! PYORO-TWO∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

‘His’ digital eyeballs quivering with disappointment, Pyoro was already at wits end. Perhaps feeling pity from seeing Pyoro’s figure like, Ezra suddenly began approaching the bassinet.

“……Like this, it feels just a bit pitiable……. It should be fine to just show ‘him’ your face, right Kalua-chan?”

Peering into the bassinet as she said this, she was about to pick up Kalua.

“NO WAY!?”

As Ezra’s near shrieking voice resounded through the room, everyone turned towards her in surprise.

“What’s the matter?”

Rebecca asked in puzzlement, but Ezra just stood there silently with a ghastly pale expression. Recognizing from her appearance that something strange must have happened to Kalua, Rebecca rushed over to the bassinet in a panic.

“Kalua!?”

However, there was no reply from Kalua from with the bassinet. Instead the sight that entered her eyes was that of a completely empty bassinet.

“!? K-Kalua!? Where is she!?”

Rebecca’s expression changed as she surveyed the area around the bassinet, but Kalua’s figure wasn’t there.

“I-It can’t be……could she have gotten out on her own!?”

In response to Rebecca’s shocked muttering, Ezra also roused herself with an expression of disbelief.

“She isn’t able to crawl yet though……”

Hearing that Rebecca rushed towards the corridor in a panic to search for Kalua’s figure.

“If that’s the case then she can’t have gotten very far! Kalua!? Kalua, you can come out now since the disturbance has calmed down already!”

Rebecca was searching for the small Kalua with a frantic expression, but Kalua figure was already nowhere close by.

“PYORO-TWO∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

Realizing that Kalua wasn’t there, even Pyoro was rushing about. Having shaken free of the security crew’s restraint he rushed into the corridor just like Rebecca had.

“AH!”

Rebecca and Pyoro were eagerly surveying the surroundings, then suddenly they both noticed something and raised a voice.

“EH!? What?”

Ezra looked back in surprise and what came into view was Rebecca and Pyoro standing dumbfounded in front of the open lid to the rubbish disposal chute. That was the slope that connected to the trash accumulation area. Somehow or another it seemed as though Kalua to get inside through there.

“……Something like that……”

Rebecca moaned with an expression of disbelief. Ezra was also covering her face while trembling from a lack of understanding. Having just settled the mayhem of Pyoro running around looking for Kalua, now Kalua had gone missing.

Part 2

At that moment, Misty who had become a member of the event crew was still confined in the event conference room. For that reason, she was entirely unaware of the strife that all started with Pyoro’s return. With a surge of images for the memorial ceremony poster’s design, everyone present was narrowing them down.

“……The large text isn’t the issue……. Everyone wants an image that you can feel at a glance…….”

The leader groaned with a sour expression. The other crew members merely groaned identically since the appropriate idea just wasn’t coming to them. Even with Misty being present, although they had thought it over, no good idea had come to mind.

“The image of the planets of Taraak and Majere overlapping, that’s just excessively ordinary……”

“Though it might be okay to keep it as the background, apart from that we need an image with more of an impact……”

“Quite so, one that hints at the possibility of a bright and comfortable future……”

Everyone, even though it was considered essential that they have a common image, they couldn’t come up with an idea everyone could agree with. In the midst of having come to such an impasse, they looked to Misty as though there was no one else to ask for help.

“Misty? Has anything come to mind for you?”

“It’s okay if it’s not an idea, just from looking at it from your perspective, could there be something enjoyable for male and female relations? ……Right, for example, an image that gives a feeling of future possibilities, like this perhaps……”

Having been asked, Misty was also trying think of something to answer their expectations. However, after such an obscure question, the right sort of words wouldn’t come from her mouth. With everyone’s high expectations weighing on her, Misty could only feel impatient with her own lack of ability.

“……S-Sorry……. I’m not useful at all it seems……”

She had hoped that by joining the event crew she’d find her own place to belong, but she felt disappointed that should couldn’t answer their expectations when they need her. Presently she felt that her reason for being at this place was meaningless.

“……Perhaps, a short break then……”

Noticing Misty’s uneasy state, the leader muttered a few words. She gently placed a hand on Misty’s shoulder and spoke in a whisper.

“There’s no need to overthink it so much. It’s not that we’re asking Misty to solve everything after all……”

At the leader’s remark, Misty, who had been hanging her head, gave a small nod. However, for the present her, such consideration only amplified her own feeling of helplessness.

“……I’m going to cool my head for short while…………”

Thoroughly disheartened, Misty stood up from her feeble chair, and left the conference room with drooping shoulders.

|

“Hey……what should we do?”

While gazing in astonishment at the rubbish disposal chute, Ezra looked entreatingly at Rebecca. However, Rebecca herself was too shocked to come up with any remarks.

“……Kuh……. If the rubbish disposal chute had been in the midst of starting up, Kalua would be in the crusher by now……. Her small body would be instantly……”

Even Rebecca, who normally should be calm and collected, had now so easily lost her frame of mind entirely. With only bad thoughts arising, without coming up with a countermeasure for the reality before her eyes, she merely stood there in shock. It was Pyoro who issued a sharp reprimand to the pair of them.

“What are both of you being so absent-minded about pyoro!? If you have spare time for strange imaginings, then immediately put a stop to the machine pyoro! Stopping to pour over every change in emotions is a bad habit of humans pyoro!”

Coming to her senses from Pyoro’s remark, Rebecca suddenly turned to the security crew.

“!……T-That’s right! Make an urgent call to the life squad! Request an immediate shut down of the rubbish disposal chute!”

“A-Acknowledged!”

The security crew members who had been standing shock still in a daze moved into action in a frenzy. Despite having seen to it herself Rebecca was going over her thoughts to call herself down.

“……Umm……next is……”

Apparently feeling frustrated with her behavior, Pyoro once again strengthened ‘his’ tone as ‘he’ leaned forward.

“There’s no time for vacant thoughts pyoro! Since the rubbish disposal chute is narrow Pyoro will be going from here! Rebecca, you should immediately boot up the sensors to look for Pyoro-Two pyoro!”

“U-Understood! Well then, I’m returning to the control room! Notify me immediately if you locate Kalua!”

Rebecca and Pyoro had been quarreling like cats and dogs until just a moment earlier, but they had strengthened their unity when faced with the common purpose of ‘saving Kalua’. Although Ezra felt that the two of them were reliable, she could only pray for Kalua’s safety.

|

Around the time the adults were running around with panicked facial expressions, Kalua herself, naturally unaware of the danger to herself, was crawling around in the trash collection area. As Rebecca had predicted, with her healthy sleep having been disturbed due to Pyoro’s intrusion, she had slipped off to the rubbish disposal chute and disappeared into a mountain of trash. With the major remodeling construction work that was being conducted within the hideout, there was more trash than there would normally be. This was fortunate for Kalua. Even though it would seem as though the crusher would easily crush her small body, with the amount of time spent on the framing wood and the construction materials it had taken more than the usual amount of time for Kalua to get dragged in.

“…………?”

As she advanced bit by bit over the mountain of trash, Kalua gave a sidelong glance at the sharp crusher blades that could possibly rip her body apart. However, what was awaiting her beyond that, rather than a crusher, was the incinerator. If one were to see the flames blowing upwards, it would naturally be something they’d back away from, but for someone like Kalua there was little she was afraid of. On the contrary, seeing the bright flames made her smile and even laugh. It was just like the saying ‘Ignorance is Bliss’.

“Ooh∼∼∼……ooh∼∼∼……”

Having apparently accepted the dazzling flames as something amusing, Kalua merrily reached out her hand. Just a little bit further and the cruel flames would have incinerated her small hand.

‘Gi————n……Gasha∼∼∼∼∼∼n!’

Behind Kalua a crane arm started up and began collecting the dispersed trash.

“KYAH, KYAH!”

The moment she saw that, it seems her attention abruptly shifted that way, and Kalua turned around and started crawling towards the strange crane arm. She’d escaped the crisis of being enveloped by flames by a hair’s breadth, but the baby Kalua could not be expected to notice that. Supposing, if her mother Ezra had personally seen such a spectacle, she’d have certainly fainted. However, having no idea what the situation was in the place she was at, Kalua was still approaching things that were dangerous to herself.

‘Gi————n……Gasha∼∼∼∼∼∼n!’

The crane arm made a rustic noise as it moved up and down within the accumulation area. If the timing should be off Kalua could have ended up getting squashed by the arm. However, perhaps due to the natural strength of her luck, at the moment her body was about to be squashed below the arm, the mountain of trash beneath her feet crumbled with miraculous timing.

“……!?”

Before Kalua could realize what had happened, her small body tumbled into the arm’s interior, and like that she was fortunately sent towards the entrance of the trash accumulation area.

|

“Search for lifesigns in the middle of the trash accumulation area! Make sure not to overlook Kalua’s body due to its small size!”

Having come rushing into the control room panting once again, Rebecca wasted no time as she issued instructions from the commanding officer’s seat. However, the control crew members were only confused by what they were told.

“We just finished changing them specifically for detecting Pyoro-chan. Making such a sudden switch is impossible.”

Belvedere replied with a feeling of bewilderment while also being apologetic.

“I know very well it’s impossible! However, right now it’s a matter of life or death!”

Strengthening her tone, Rebecca already had no time to spare to keep up appearances. This was a parent worried about her child. Realizing anew from Rebecca’s attitude that she was a human woman, the crew members pulled themselves together and got right to work.

“Trash collection area operations have been suspended! The incinerator emergency cooling systems are operational!”

“Securing a circuit to Pyoro-kun! Please connect using channel 956!”

The crew members treated their duties as seriously as if it was their own personal affair. While gazing at this scene, Rebecca once again felt strongly about the reliability of her subordinates. Over there, there was even one who had wasted no time in ensuring the condition of communication with Pyoro.

‘I’ve arrived at the trash accumulation area pyoro! However, I don’t see Pyoro-Two’s figure anywhere pyoro! Isn’t there any reaction on the sensors pyoro!?’

“Sensors are in the middle of being switched over! Can’t ‘you’ use ‘your’ built in sensors?”

Despite feeling anxious Rebecca replied to Pyoro’s voice.

‘I’m already doing that pyoro! But since the range is limited, it’ll take time to search a place this large pyoro! Supposing, if Pyoro-Two were to be injured during that time……. AAH! I’m so worried pyoroou∼∼∼∼∼∼!’

Speaking through the speakers, the panicking Pyoro gave a reaction very unlike that of a machine. Having heard that, this time it was Rebecca who raised her voice and scolded ‘him’.

“Calm down! If you’re worried then carefully extend your antenna and search! That’s what humans do when there’s no time to waste!”

‘A-Acknowledged pyoro! Notify me immediately when the sensors come back pyoro!’

Receiving Rebecca’s encouragement, Pyoro roused ‘himself’ and pulled ‘himself’ together. Having heard that voice Rebecca also smiled in relief. Before they had noticed, more than their concern over Kalua, the relationship between the pair began to bud into one of strange mutual trust. It was just like the saying ‘Children are the bond between husband and wife’.

“Sensor switchover complete! Now commencing to search inside the trash accumulation area!”

Amarone who was operating the console spoke up. Having heard that Rebecca leaned forward without wasting a moment.

“Yeah! Please do!”

Rebecca fixed her eyes upon the console as though praying. However, no matter how much she strained her eyes she couldn’t see any response within the search area.

“KUH! What’s the meaning of this!? ……I-It can’t be!?”

The worst possible scenario passed through Rebecca’s mind. At the same time her entire body turned pale as she was assaulted by fear. However, Belvedere, who had looked back as though anticipating Rebecca’s concerns, made a follow up to her remark while smiling.

“Don’t worry! We’re searching for reactions both to lifesigns and organic bodies. Fortunately, since the trash accumulation area’s sensors are designed to distinguish between human bodies and non-human organic material in order to prevent accidents, no reaction on the sensors means that Kalua-chan isn’t there.”

Hearing Belvedere’s remark, Rebecca merely let out a large sigh of relief. Her subordinates were reliable people who would go far beyond her expectations.

“……Everyone, thank you all……”

While her eyes faintly moistened, Rebecca meekly bowed her head. Amarone gave her a gentle smile and spoke.

“It’s as the Executive Officer said before. Kalua-chan is the child born aboard the Nirvana. Therefore we’re all parents to Kalua-chan!”

“……I see……. ……That’s so, isn’t it……”

Feeling touched by the feelings of her subordinates, Rebecca felt immensely happy, and at the same time, embarrassed by her own quarreling with Pyoro until now. Finally, she was able to understand deep down how Pyoro felt about Kalua.

Clinging to the consoles once more, Amarone and Belvedere hastened to work quickly without waiting for Rebecca’s instructions.

“Pyoro-kun! There’s no response for Kalua-chan within the trash collection area! It’s possible she’s migrated from there. Search for a place she could have moved to and patrol the surroundings! Since the hideout is currently undergoing remodelling, be careful since it’s possible there could be some unexpected secret passages around!”

‘Understood pyoro!’

Right now, the feelings of the crew members who had spread out to find Kalua were united. Having once again realized that this was not the time to be fighting, Rebecca fully realized the necessity of strengthening their unity.

Part 3

Not having a clue about the great tumult occuring within the hideout over Kalua, Misty was wandering aimlessly while feeling fully aware of her own incompetence. It was then that she realized, that before she had noticed she was at the shuttle platform where she had seen off Hibiki and the others. There weren’t any vessels moored there, and  yet, as though in preparation to accept ships  from Taraak, machine parts and construction material had been casually left around. Since it was currently late at night, there weren’t any laborers to be seen. On the huge deserted platform, the cranes that had been abandoned as though being forgotten served to highlight her melancholy.

“……As I though there’s no need for me……”

Frustrated from not living up to expectations, Misty  could only think back pessimistically by self-repudiating her own value. Apparently, for her who was a half-baked existence from neither Taraak nor Majere, she had no idea where she fit in to everything.

“There isn’t anywhere that I belong……”

Beginning with her miserable soliloquy, large teardrops began to flow from Misty’s eyes. And then it happened.

“Isn’t that just a barrier built by you yourself, Misty?”

A familiar voice was heard. Misty looked back in surprise, and standing then since before she’d realized was Meia.

“W-What’s that mean?”

While wiping the tears from her cheeks, Misty straightened herself ought in order to gloss things over. However, Meia had seen through everything. Towards Misty who showing her best effort at bluffing, Meia silently directed a look of reprimand. Being gazed upon by the dazzlingly piercing stare, Misty quietly curled up like a frightened animal.

“There’s no need to answer everything that’s asked. There’s no need to meet all expectations. ……I don’t believe there’s anyone who thinks less of you Misty just for that. ……If there’s anyone who thinks less of you, it’s you yourself Misty……”

Even as Meia slowly approached her resolute attitude wasn’t disturbed. Even if Misty wanted to cry, the sole feeling driving  her must be that she won’t permit herself to. That is, what Misty truly needed wasn’t kindness, but to think of herself as self-reliant.

“A person’s meaning in life isn’t limited to their ability. That’s something even I’ve only come to understand just recently……”

Again Meia continued speaking matter-of-factly. Even as Misty was listening, she slowly began to understand what it was she truly wanted to say.

“Dita was never a capable person. On the contrary it was her shortcomings that stood out. Hibiki was the same. Back when we first met, that guy from back then could only bare his fangs and recklessly rampage, much like a hungry beast. ……Nevertheless, my interest was drawn to them. And then, one day it seemed they became irreplaceably important colleagues……”

The darkness of the platform reverberated with Meia’s soliloquy as though soaking it in. In spite of her unemotional tone, from the true feelings of kindness those words were filled with, Misty heart had calmed down without her noticing..

“……Onee-sama…………”

For Misty, who had recovered her gentle smile, the ambience of being up against a wall from just before had vanished. Recognizing that a kind grin appeared upon Meia’s face.

“……Have you realized it?”

To Meia’s quiet inquiry, Misty displayed a big nod.

“YES! I should hurry! Even with me not realizing it, everyone’s been good to me……. Me, even though I had no self-confidence……”

Feeling glad about Meia having expressed how she truly felt, Misty also revealed what was inside her heart. Thereupon which, having heard that, Meia commended her with a smile on her face.

“You are Misty, not somebody else. What you can do, and what you can’t do, that’s all you should convey to those around you. ……Afterwards everyone will manage somehow.”

“Ahah! Such wonderful words!”

With Misty becoming so gleeful, this time it was Meia whose expression became one of embarrassment.

“Fufu……this is Gasco-san’s second hand advice……”

Gazing at Meia who was giving her a wink in spite of feeling shy, Misty felt that the darkness in her mind was being swept away. After that, having grown to understand how obstinate she had been in both mind and body, she who had only been able to hang her head in shame raised her gaze upwards.

“Hah∼∼∼∼∼∼! Somehow I feel quite refreshed!”

Misty took a deep breath as she said this, and then it happened. Her eyes opened wide as an impossible spectacle then appeared.

“Ah∼∼∼∼∼∼!?”

With Misty haising a reflexive scream, Meia also became panicked and followed her gaze. Thereupon, on top of the crane that had been neglected, they saw  the body of something helpless.

“W-What’s that!?”

Surprised, Meia doubted her eyes in the darkness, since surely that was Kalua over there.

“K-Kalua-chan!? But why’s she in that kind of place!?”

Misty’s complexion changed as she also became aware of Kalua’s presence. This was only natural for Misty and Meia, since as Rebecca and the other’s desperate searching failed to discover her, Kalua had continued her innocent journey until, with no one being the wiser, she had managed to reach the platform. From there, she had then by chance tumbled down the arm portion of the crane.

“That’s dangerous!”

As Misty shouted with a changed expression, Kalua was in a desperate situation. On the end of the crane that seemed to be over ten meters tall, the terry cloth baby clothes were just barely hanging on. Moreover, with the arm extending out over the gate side of the platform, if she were to fall like that Kalua’s small body would strike the ground after at least a twenty meter high fall. And moreover, with terry cloth supporting her body being of low-quality, it wouldn’t be long until it was ripped to pieces.

“I’m going to climb the crane! You go call for help Misty!”

Before she finished saying everything, Meia was running towards the crane’s fulcrum.

“B-But by then……”

Not understanding at all what good it would do, Misty could not immediately take action. Even then the terry cloth holding up Kalua began to tear with a dry ripping sound.

“Watch out!”

Kalua’s small body began to gently separate from the crane. Much like watching a video in slow motion, it felt like it was happening at a snail’s pace. And then, at almost the same moment, having lost control of her body, Misty’s will reacted in a way that was truly extraordinary.

“STAY BACK! MISTY!”

Although the surprised Meia shouted out orders, Misty who was acting subconsciously leapt towards the falling Kalua.

“!? Kalua!?”

Having finally pinned down Kalua’s location, Rebecca had come rushing to the platform at that moment, but by then Kalua was already falling from a height of twenty meters towards the hard floor.

Rebecca shouted as her face stiffened. At almost that precise moment, Misty, who had rushed forward, having kicked off the floor with her foot, was jumping towards the falling Kalua.

“Misty!”

With Meia and Rebecca staring wide-eyed in shock, Misty caught Kalua in midair. However, just because Kalua was secure in her arms didn’t mean the situation had changed. To protect Kalua’s small body, Misty was holding her tightly to her chest, and had positioned her own body below as a shield.

“Kuh!”

Misty had resolved herself to death, when the instant after she’d accepted that,

‘BAN!’

a thick sound was heard from the darkness of the platform.

“Misty!?”

“Kalua!?”

Meia and Rebecca each broke into a run as their complexions paled. Just as the two of them leaned over to peer down from the platform, an astonishing spectacle appeared before their eyes.

“PYORO-TWO∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

To their surprise, just before hitting the floor, Pyoro, who had come rushing over from the trash accumulation area, had caught Misty in ‘his’ arms. Even if ‘his’ body was small, Pyoro possessed considerable power. Previously, back when Kalua had been born, ‘he’ had bravely rescued her from a falling elevator.

“Pyoro will absolutely protect Pyoro-Two pyoroo∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

Together with a screan, Pyoro ascended with ‘his’ full power. Having realized that the crisis had been averted by a hair’s breadth, Rebecca and Meia stood shock still in silence having been drained of all strength.

Shortly thereafter, Misty once again alighted upon the platform with Kalua in her arms, and from all around a cheer was raised. Surprised by that cheer, Misty looked up, and without her realizing, the entire crew had rushed to fill the immediate vicinity.

“Well done, Misty!”

“Thank you Misty! You’re Kalua’s lifesaver!”

Meia and Rebecca were in complete agreement as they extolled Misty’s courageous actions. However, not one to boast about such things, the bewildered Misty spoke up while smiling.

“……N-No way……. It wasn’t anything that praiseworthy……. ……Rather, I rushed out without considering what I was doing……”

Meia calmly placed a hand on the shoulder of the bewildered Misty. She looked up at Meia’s face in surprise, and saw that that Meia’s entire expression was that of a gentle smile.

“That surely is the feelings for one’s comrades. It’s not about loss and gain, nor about superiority and inferiority. ……Perhaps you can understand that now? Companions aren’t something to be relied upon, they’re things to protect. We come together to protect one another, so we protect each other without giving it any consideration……. Isn’t that right?”

Misty responded to Meia’s words with a huge smile. There had been a time when even she  had had a moment that broke her out of her shell.

The crew members were all striving to be the first to surround Misty. Despite being jostled amidst the ongoing voices of praise, Misty felt blessed since the true meaning of it was that she was being hailed by her comrades. Subsequently, as she looked at Kalua in her arms with a smile on her face, Kalua reached out a hand towards Misty while also wearing a big smile on her face.

“Fufu! Thank you! Come to think of it we’re both new faces here, huh? We should get along with each other!”

Misty placed overlayed her hand on Kalau’s small and tender hand. Meia silently gazed at that spectacle in satisfaction.

“…………Even though it was Pyoro who played a major role at the last minute……”

Outside of the ring the crew members had formed around Misty, Pyoro muttered a few dissatisfied words. Certainly it was Pyoro who had saved both their lives. However, completely neglecting that event, the crew members were engrossed with Misty and Kalua. Pyoro’s dissatisfaction wasn’t unreasonable. Suddenly a joyful voice was heard from beside ‘him’ who hadn’t been applauded.

“THAT’S IT!”

As the surprised Pyoro looked around in shock, the one standing there was the event crew leader. Having thought of something she fled that place in a hurry.

“……What was that pyoro? Huh……?”

Not understanding the situation, Pyoro could only stand by and dumbfoundedly watch.

|

Subsequently, the next day…….

The event crew was hanging up the prepared posters throughout the hideout. The drawing extolled the catchphrase ‘Beginning the Taraak & Majere Cultural Exchange! A Place to Meet New Comrades!’ in large text. After that, what adorned that catchphrase was the image of Misty and Kalua’s smiling faces.

6 thoughts on “Vandread Extra Stage Chapter 7

    1. I’m about half done but I have been juggling other projects (that and September is usually a bad time for me as far as free time goes). So far though it’s been more focused on Hibiki acclimating to being the son of the planet sovereigns, with Dita barely showing up. That’ll probably change in the latter 3rd though.

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