The person in charge was about to stand up after Ishida, but Hiroki stopped him, saying that “What’s after this is only for Ishida-sensei’s eyes”.
Since they are going to have an important “discussion”, it would be preferable to have it one-on-one.
It wasn’t really a problem for Hiroki if the two of them went with him, but then, he thinks that he might have to resort to “other means”.
In that case, that would be…… terribly troublesome.
It’s a natural precaution, isn’t it?]
Ishida himself agreed to come along by himself, so “that troublesome situation” was avoided.
Thereupon, the two of them left the office and Hiroki brought Ishida to the place that was usually surrounded by galvanized iron walls.
In the middle of the compound, there was a small hut with a padlocked entryway.
[Ishida-sensei, do you remember this place?]
[This place is…… Ahh! I remember now.
This is where we conducted the boring analysis in the earlier inspection.
I see…… So that’s why you were acting a little strange at that time.]
[You noticed I was acting strange huh.]
Hiroki wryly smiled.
He had been flustered to see if the boring drill would pierce through the ceiling of the hole underground.
He thought that he had mended his demeanor at that time, but it seemed like his thoughts were sensed by him.
Dealing with a lot of people on a regular basis really seems to improve one’s observation skills.
In many ways, Ishida is undoubtedly capable.
[So, the device is on the other side of the wall, is it?]
Ishida’s voice buzzed with excitement.
You’re actually the first person I’ve ever shown this to.]
To be precise though, there were about six people who had come to see it on their own, but they were already “gone”, so I guess it wasn’t a lie.
[This is quite an honor! …… Ahh, I’m sorry, I can’t see very well in the dark.]
[Ahh, I suppose Ishida-san wasn’t able to see it.
I’ll turn on the light now, okay?]
With a flicker, Hiroki flipped the switch on the wall and an undecorated light bulb lit up, revealing a hole in the ground.
It was a big, black hole, with the bottom not visible at all.
[Yes, a hole.
I’m throwing all the waste into the hole.
I can throw anything in it, and yet, no matter how much I throw in, the hole will never feel satisfied.
It is the perfect hole.
Hmmm, it looks like it got a little bigger.]
[……You’re kidding, right? Where’s the processing machine?]
From what Hiroki sees, Ishida must have felt that he was being deceived.
Looking like he lost his temper, Ishida began looking around.
[Whether I’m kidding or not, how about I show it to you?]
Evidence is better than theories.
Seeing is believing, as they say.
Hiroki picked up a piece of concrete block that had fallen into the shed and threw it into the hole.
When it touched the hole, the piece of concrete block suddenly disappeared from their sight.
No sound of falling or crashing into anything could be heard.
It was completely silent.
[See? No sound could be heard, right?]
Ishida was bewildered by Hiroki’s eccentricities and the weird phenomenon that occurred before him, and wasn’t able to hide his trepidation.
There was something going on that was incompatible with the common sense of his world.
[How about you try it out, Ishida-sensei?]
Doing as Hiroki asked, Ishida threw the piece of concrete he was given into the hole.
The moment it was thrown into the hole, it became invisible and no sound could be heard.
[……What in the world is this?]
[I wonder? I don’t know what it is either.
All I know is that it’s a hole where I can throw as much garbage as I want.
That’s good enough for me.]
[What are you saying!? This is…… amazing! I’m going to be writing about this in my essay for the academic meet……]
I can’t have you doing that.]
Hiroki stopped Ishida, who was running ahead with his words in an excited tone.
He couldn’t let him do such a thing.
[W- What? It’s a phenomenon of this magnitude! The world must know about it and conduct research……]
This hole belongs to me.
To make a living, I require this hole.
The hole also requires waste.
I can feel it.]
When Hiroki stared at him, Ishida turned pale and averted his gaze.
[I…… I see.
Is that so? I understand.
A- Anyway, I’ll be taking my leave today.]
As Ishida tried to slip aside and exit the door though, Hiroki gently grabbed him.
[I’ve told you this much.
I can’t have you going home like this.]
[Pl…… Please unhand me.
……Let me go, d*mn it! Let me go or I’ll call the police!]
In fear, Ishida flailed his arm to free himself from Hiroki’s grip on his shoulder, but he was unable to resist Hiroki.
Meanwhile, Hiroki was composed enough to make his grip gentler so as not to crush his shoulder in the process.
[Ishida-sensei, I mentioned earlier that I’ve met with some trouble lately, haven’t I? I was actually attacked by some hooligans the other day.
All under the direction of the local petty yakuza.]
Remembering how frustrated he was at that time, Hiroki seemed to have put a little pressure on the hand that grabbed Ishida’s shoulder, making him scream in pain.
[It was then that I realized that I feel much healthier since this hole appeared.
Thanks to the hole, I can do things like this.]
Saying those words, Hiroki grabbed Ishida’s ankle with his other hand and hung him upside down.
Ishida was a little short, so his head didn’t hit the ground, but his hand could still reach the ground.
What’s happening at that moment makes Hiroki feel like it isn’t as cool as what could be shown in movies, but holding Ishida’s feet, Hiroki mutters to himself.
[U- Uwaaa…… What are you doing!? Let me go! Let go of me!]
Still, the experience of being hung upside down by the person he had been talking to seemed to have enough of a panic-inducing effect on Ishida.
Flailing his arms and legs, he shouted to put him down.
[Should I really let you go?]
Ishida’s flailing about was annoying him, so Hiroki changed the place he hung Ishida upside down.
More specifically, right above the pitch-black hole.
As if he understood what was under him, Ishida stopped flailing about and started to plead.
[D…… Don’t let me go! No, go back! Move away from here!]
In the first place though, is there any reason why I should listen to Ishida-sensei’s instructions? I’m just dealing with a swindler after all.]
When Hiroki said this with a sigh, Ishida began to unsightly refute her.
[W- What are you talking about!? You…… You’re out of your mind!]
[I told you I’ve gotten much healthier, didn’t I? It’s not only my physical strength that’s gotten healthier.
My hearing is much better too.]
[……W- What of it!?]
[I heard it when I was sitting in the bathroom.
The conversation between Ishida-sensei and your henchman, I mean.
It seemed like you’re having quite the fun, eh?]
[T- That doesn’t prove anything at all!]
[Pfff…… I told you how I had faced quite the trouble just now, didn’t I? Did you really think that I wouldn’t at least have installed recording devices around my home?]
When Hiroki pointed out that he had proof, Ishida began to tremble.
If the contract had been forcefully taken away, and on top of that, there is audio recording data, it’s him who will be ruined.
The university would surely cut off Ishida for causing a huge scandal, and no university would be willing to pick him up as a researcher after that.
[……Gomi-san, no, President Gom, let’s talk about this.
It seemed like there was a misunderstanding.]
I wanted to discuss this.
That is why I called you here.]
As he suspended Ishida over the hole with one hand, Hiroki smiled broadly.
Hanging in midair, Ishida shivered and nodded again and again.
Within Ishida’s mind, Hiroki’s black, piercing eyes were more frightening than the hole below him.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A few weeks later, a small article appeared on the university’s website and in the local newspaper: 「With the Launch of a Ground-Breaking, New Waste Treatment Technology, A University-Launched Venture has been Established」
T/N: With this chapter, the novel’s 1st Arc is finished.
I won’t be posting any further chapters for I would be focusing on translating another one.
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