World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 45: Testing and Hypothesis
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April 14, 11:12 am, Tokyo, Japan
"Okay, Test Number…14," said Sakura, looking down at the mess of cables on the table in front of her.
"Camera's good," said Michi, sitting across from her. He was wearing a buttoned-up green vest and long, flowing pants, and a rainbow flower crown on his head. The camera in question was just his phone, set up on a small tripod he bought online.
The two of them were sitting in the small living room of Michi and Bunta's apartment. For the past few days, it had also doubled as Sakura's bedroom.
She had been staying over ever since the incident with the stalkers a few days ago. She reasoned that it was highly likely that they would try to get her on her way back home. They knew where she lived, after all.
Of course, this lead to some inconveniences. For one, although she had her phone, she didn't have her laptop, where she had most of her materials for the story.
"You didn't upload it to a cloud?" Bunta had asked.
Sakura had just told them what had happened, and was wearing one of Michi's bathrobes while her clothes were in the wash. She was sitting on a pillow in front of the small table in the living room, sipping a mug of hot chocolate Michi had made for her.
Michi was next to her, spinning a neon green fidget spinner as he listened. Seeing him was always a bit of a shock; he always had different, brightly colored hair, and was always dressed in some different fashion. That day, he seemed to be going for some sort of punk look, with a leather jacket, skinny jeans, and finger-less gloves. Bunta stood in the doorway a little behind him, leaning his big, hairy body against the door frame.
Sakura shook her head.
"Good," he had said. "Makes it harder for them to get it."
"Makes it harder for us too," said Michi dryly. He gave his fidget spinner another spin.
"What if they broke into my apartment?" Sakura had asked.
The two fell silent.
"How much information was on that laptop, exactly?" Bunta asked.
"Pretty much everything," Sakura admitted. All of her research was on that laptop; names, places...but not the evidence from the lab.
"I mean, most of the evidence is actually on my phone," Sakura realized. "Audio and video recordings I have them all here...I could re-do all the writing and supplementary evidence, I suppose. That was all that was on the laptop."
The problem was the copies. She had copies of the video and audio recordings on her laptop. Normally, that wouldn't be too much of a big deal, but in this particular situation, it was a liability.
Or was it?
"The only thing the laptop doesn't have is the information from the USB," said Sakura. Slowly, the gears in her mind began to turn.
If Neurix and the foreigner broke in and searched her apartment, they would think she only had the audio and video evidence. But the truth was that she had more. If they thought she was less knowledgeable than she was, then that would be an advantage, albeit a slim one.
Not to mention, if she didn't go back to her apartment, they would probably assume she was in hiding, and not have time to look for more evidence. They would see her as desperate, weak, and unable to find anything of substance. That would make them underestimate how much she actually knew.
"I mean, it wouldn't hurt for them to think that I'm less of a threat, right?" she said. Bunta and Michi had pensive looks on their faces.
As if on cue, all three of them looked at the USB that was on the table.
"Welp, I guess we better hope there's something useful on this," Bunta sighed as he walked over and picked up the USB.
Ever since then, Bunta had been in his room, looking through the files. Apparently, most of them had been locked somehow, in a way that his program simply copied over instead of unlocking before copying over.
"Plus, we've got over a terabyte of information to go through," he said. "That'll take time."
"Wait, wasn't the USB only 128 GB or something?" Sakura asked.
It was only then that Bunta mentioned that if more space was needed, the program would copy it over to a cloud drive.
"So why did we need to go back to get the USB, if you already had it on a cloud drive?" Michi asked.
"To prove Sakura was who she was," said Bunta, shrugging. "We went over this, remember?"
He got to work three hours later, ears bleeding from the combined scolding he got from Sakura and Michi.
Of course, that didn't mean Sakura and Michi stood by idly as Bunta worked. Which brought them to now, with the camera and the wires.
Sakura focused, looking intently at the tangled mess of wires. She tried to imagine them untangling by themselves, and what that would look like. All slowly untangling, then wrapping themselves up in nice little coils, all by themselves.
Then, from the bottom of her heart, she wished that they would untangle.
The wires began to move. Slowly, they seemed to untangle, and then immediately they were in neat little coils.
"Okay, it looked like they were untangling at the start, but halfway through, it just became a bunch of neatly wrapped coils," she stated to the camera.
"Interesting..." said Michi, looking through the camera. "Yep, still nothing here."
For the past few days, Sakura had been testing her new power.
That's right. Her power.
After explaining how she was chased, Sakura explained how she got away. While Bunta made skeptical looks, Sakura simply held up her mug, and wished for it to be a potted plant.
She wished she had a camera at that moment to capture Bunta's look of pure shock. To be fair though, she herself wasn't sure it would work. But with this, it was confirmed.
Something happened to her while she was knocked out. Something that gave her the ability to make people see what she wanted them to see. Illusions, basically.
Setting aside the question of how she got these powers, and why, Sakura and Michi spent the last few days trying to document what her powers could and could not do. They had actually found out quite a bit.
For one, Sakura didn't seem to have any limit on what she could make appear, only by her imagination. However, the more detailed the object, the harder it would be for her to maintain the image. They had tested this by trying to get Sakura to create the illusion of a car, with all the details of the engine and such.
That brought them to the second discovery: Sakura could only make something if she knew how it looked. On her first attempt at making the car, she had managed to make a sleek Nissan Skyline, but when Michi opened up the door, the inside was completely bare.
Discovery number three: people could interact with her illusions, with no input from Sakura. All she really had to do was to make the object appear, and people could interact with it as if it were real.
But it wasn't. That was discovery number four: all of these were illusions. They discovered this on accident, when Sakura created a chair and Michi sat on it. After a while, his legs started to hurt, as if he were doing some kind of squat. That was when Sakura had the idea to record this, and discovered that Michi was basically doing an air chair squat.
"This could be a really weird metaphor about people beliving things that aren't real, even when it's hurting them," joked Michi. But Sakura had been too preoccupied to laugh.
Discovering that her power was to make illusons uncovered a certain fragment of a memory. Something about...a blessing...Truth...and a decision…
"Looks like there is no problem with moving an illusion," said Michi, snapping Sakura out of her reverie. "But it looks like you still need to have a clear image of how it moves in order for it to work properly."
Sakura nodded, her heart not really in it. She frowned as she tried to remember the fragment of the memory she had just recalled.
"Sakura? You okay?" asked Michi, worried. He took off his flower crown and started fiddling with it.
She had been like this intermittently over the past few days. At first, he was worried that it might be because she didn't have her hormones. He had been surprised when she showed him the 12-pack of hormones and needles she had in her purse.
"A girl's gotta be prepared," she had said, evading the question.
Back in the present, Sakura sighed.
"I think...I spoke with someone," she said. "In that time I was...y'know?"
She then explained the fragments of memories she was getting back, the conversation with someone who was probably a professor...something about truth…
Michi raised an eyebrow at that.
"You sure this wasn't just a dream?" he asked.
In all honesty, Sakura didn't know. It was all too confusing.
"But I do think he has something to do with...all this," she said, gesturing to the wires and the camera. "I mean, it's clearly not Neurix."
Michi nodded. They had crossed off that possibility early on, due to the overwhelming evidence that they had no idea what Sakura was capable of.
"Well, have you tried looking into this professor then?" he asked.
Sakura smiled weakly. She felt a sudden rush of affection when she realized just how supportive he was being. Letting her stay with him at his apartment, doing all these experiments to help her figure out her limits, and now helping her with a weird hunch she had about a man she had possibly never met.
About some superpower.
How had her life become this crazy?
"I've been looking into professors at local universities but..." she grimaced in frustration, "I don't actually know what I'm looking for."
She explained how she had looked up professors of philosophy and biology, given what was going on with her, but none of the professors she found seemed to be the right one.
Michi listened closely as Sakura explained her thought process, still playing with his flower crown. Then:
"Have you tried maybe looking into places where they do Religious Studies?" he asked.
Sakura blinked in confusion.
"Religious Studies?" she asked.
"Specifically Shinto Studies or something like that," he went on. "Cause from what you're telling me, it sounds like you were visited by some Kami who blessed or cursed you with this power."
Now it was Sakura's turn to raise her eyebrow.
"Hey, it's not like I'm the one chasing men I've never met," said Michi defensively. "I'm just saying, according to what you're telling me, this is what it sounds like. To me."
"Can Kami even do that?" she asked.
"Go ask a priest," Michi replied, putting the flower crown back on his head.
Sakura mulled over the idea in her head. Kami were sort of like gods in Japan, and they were numerous. Many different places had many different shrines to many local gods and whatnot. Of course, there were the major pantheon as well, like Amaterasu and Izanami and Izanagi and all them characters that were overused in anime and manga.
Did any of them ever bestow powers upon mortals?
Well, she supposed the best person to ask that would be a professor of Shinto Studies.
"Wait, you're actually looking?" said Michi, surprised when Sakura took out her phone.
"Well, it's not like I have any other leads," she said, looking up Shinto studies. To her surprise, it looked like there were only two universities that offered the course.
The more prestigious of the two universities was Kokugakuin University, who's main office was in Shibuya.
"Oh, I think I've seen that place," said Michi, suddenly behind Sakura. She suppressed the instinctive urge to push him away.
"They've got a really pretty campus," he went on, unaware of the danger he had almost been in.
"Well, I don't need to know how pretty their campus is," said Sakura dryly. "I just need to-"
She froze, unable to believe what she was seeing on her screen. Michi looked between her and the screen.
"Did you find him?" he asked.
On her screen, under the section of First-Year Professor, was a picture of the Professor. As soon as she saw his face, the fragment of memory came back.
"You're confident in finding the truth? Then let's say you'll have my blessing in showing whichever truth you see fit."
Slowly, Sakura nodded. She felt like she was gathering the pieces to a puzzle much larger than she had anticipated.
"I need to talk with him," she said, getting up.
Michi watched as she punched in a phone number, and started talking. He smiles hopelessly.
She had always been like this, ever since they met. Headstrong, resilient, and most of all, caring to a fault.
Oh, and also a complete mess.
He shook his head as he looked at the mess of wires he now had to clean up.
"I need to find you a girlfriend," he muttered as he started cleaning up.
April 14, 8:12 am, London, England
I had a feeling today was going to be a good day.
Once I had cleaned up and drove the two women out of my building, I decided to go a little extravagant. Instead of the usual black suit, I wore a nice, crimson suit. With a black tie.
I must say, of all the things to be underdeveloped in this world, I didn't expect men's fashion to make that list.
Well, enough about that.
Once dressed, I poured myself a nice morning whiskey. Of course, with my magic, alcohol does nothing to me. I simply enjoy the taste. With all that ready, I activated my seals, and teleported to my office.
To be honest, it would be more accurate to call it my viewing room, or something like that. Since all I did was just watch my storylines unfold one by one at this point. I barely did any work; anything that needed to be done by me I just had an underling do for me. I certainly paid them enough to warrant that much responsibility.
I leaned back in my chair, taking a nice sip of my whiskey, putting my legs up on my oak desk. I activated the viewing projection, and started looking at what I had missed while I was sleeping.
Seems like the superhero storyline hasn't moved much. That's to be expected; Dr. Larsson had only just started with working on the next part for that. For now, I'll probably send them some monster to subdue, just to keep them on their toes. Plus, it'd be a good chance for them to practice fighting their monsters.
Hard to believe they'd only had two proper fights.
The sunbeams shining into my office were distracting. I waved a hand, and the windows blacked out. There. Much better.
In darkness, I switched over to Ms. Watanabe's storyline.
Interesting. It seems that she discovered the hint I had planted in her dream. I was pleasantly surprised; she had found it a lot quicker than I had expected her to.
At that moment, Ms. Kang entered my office. Perfect timing.
"How are things on Mr. Tachikawa's side?" I asked her.
If Ms. Kang was surprised by the question, she didn't show it.
"He's strangely resourceful, for someone incompetent," she answered. "Or maybe it would be better to say that he's quite...persistent."
"It's his one good quality," I said. "It's why you chose him, isn't it?"
"That, and the fact that his ego is bigger than this building," Ms. Kang snorted.
I laughed, white Ms. Kang stayed stony-faced. Ahh, expressionless secretaries were the best.
"In all honestly, he's too rash for my tastes," she went on. "But that's what makes him perfect for this storyline."
I nodded, eyes back on the projection. Ms. Kang took a breath, before speaking.
"I would like to discuss the gamer storyline."
I raised an eyebrow. To show I was paying attention, I changed the projection to show the gamer storyline.
And blinked in confusion.
What...what was this?
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