Chapter 22 – A Good Dog


What is sleep? Why do living creatures need time to sever themselves from the world, completely defenseless, in sleep?

There was no definite answer.
However, how sleep affected a human could be inferred as one estimated the form of an object by its shadow.
Lack of sleep led to a twisted heart, and the person would become as sharp as a needle; they become tired, and their mind would flicker dangerously.
Even sages scrunched their face after an abrupt awakening, so sleep must be an act that refilled something of the mind.

However, as we cannot know completely, we cannot fully explain the role of sleep.

I was just floating in unconsciousness, waiting for something to wake me up…

Then, something grabbed my leg.
I instantly woke up from my sleep.

It didn’t matter how deep the sleep was.
The sensation of your body hitting the floor, whether it be sleep or anything else, deprived me of comfort.
The awful sensation of Mother Earth abandoning me forced my spirit straight.

It was no different from being cursed by Mother Earth.
Even the act of Mother Earth allowing me to hit the ground threw me into the abyss.

 

“I’m sorry! Help me! I’m sorry!”

 

I instinctively begged as I fell.
And—

Crash!

In an instant, in less than half a second, I fell on the floor.
I got up in panic without even being able to shake off the shock.

Huff.
Huff.
Huff.

I got into an alerted posture and scanned my surroundings.

I had fallen 50cm below the low military bed.
I had woken up because something had pulled my foot and dragged me off the bed.

It didn’t take long to realize the cause.

 

“Wurf.”

 

Azzy gave a curt bark with a cold face then left.
After our fight over the stolen food, she seemed to have developed a slight disdain for me.

But seeing as how she still came to wake me up, she doesn’t completely hate me.

No, that was a weird thing to say.

Dogs can’t hate people from birth.

 

“Azzy.”

“Woof.”

 

Azzy only turned her head.
Unlike before—when she would turn her whole body to face me—she now only gave me her gaze.

But what of it? A dog is still a dog.

 

“Come to the cafeteria.”

 

Her tail wagged, and her ears perked up.
I couldn’t read her mind, but there was no need for that.
There weren’t any creatures who had such a telling body language as this one.

 

“Woof? Food?”

“Yeah.
Because today, there’s a special dish.”

“Woof! Food!”

 

‘She becomes overjoyed at the sound of food and starts to jump around.
Haha.
There’s no need to be so happy about it.
Because today, it’s your turn to cook.’

 

“I’m going to take a shower first, so go and wait for me.”

“You wash too much! Woof! Hair all fall out!”

“I’m not bald yet, okay?! You’re just not washing enough! Anyway, bring her from downstairs, quickly! Not you and me, her!”

“Down? Woof! Okay!”

 

Azzy broke through the closest window and jumped to the lower floor.

You didn’t need to take the shortest path when I told you to go downstairs…

Anyway, Azzy understood me and went to get the regressor.
How did she know without me saying her name, you ask? For her, there are only three pronouns: ‘me’, ‘you’, and ‘her’.
You can’t fit two people in the word ‘her’.
It’s without a doubt a third-person pronoun.

Thankfully, there are only two people living in Tantalus.
If there were any more, it would be super confusing.

 

“Now.
Let’s see.
Shall we?”

 

I had a simple wash with today’s water ration while whistling.

Today would be the day that I put an end to the stew thief who had been relentlessly harassing me—Azzy.

When I got to the cafeteria after putting on a new Clothing Packet, Azzy had already arrived with the regressor in tow.
They had completely contrasting atmospheres.
Unlike Azzy, who was overjoyed at the thought of food, the regressor looked at me with a sad expression and turned her face away in dejection.

 

「Why did you call me…」

 

The regressor recalled last night’s humiliation.
She was completely exposed after trying to eavesdrop, and her mind was half occupied by the embarrassment as she shut herself in her room.

And it seemed like she cried a bit.

‘She cried’ as in ‘not physically but emotionally felt the sadness and self-disappointment’.
It seems like being exposed in her camouflage was absolutely shocking to her.

I thought she would live a sloppy life considering she can just regress and try again, but she was a lot more sensitive and more of a perfectionist than I thought.

 

「Dammit, dammit, dammit! Your first attempt was too obvious, Shei! Of course they would be on alert after that! When are you going to throw away these prideful thoughts? Just try your best for once!」

 

‘No, please, stop with the self-deprecation.
Was that all you thought about last night? Without any sleep?’

 

「It’s also a problem that you underestimated the opponent too much.
You set a low standard for this man just because he couldn’t see through the camouflage last time.
There are no guarantees.
Just because you didn’t get caught once doesn’t mean you won’t get caught the next time…!」

 

‘This is insane.
It was troubling when she was trying to kill me, but it’s even more so when she’s saying all that like she’s about to kill herself.
On top of that, she was avoiding eye contact with me from what I’m assuming is embarrassment. Sigh. Goodness me.
Why don’t we lighten the mood?’

 

“Trainee Shei, did you not sleep well last night? Your eyes look tired.”

 

The regressor was too busy mumbling to herself to reply properly.
She seemed to try and tell me not to talk to her, but there was no chance he would do that.

Because mind reading.

 

「Tsk.
Even though you’re the one who didn’t let me sleep last night…」

 

‘If someone heard that, there’d be some misunderstanding.
Thankfully, no one else could hear it but me.’

 

Anyway, you seem quite salty, Regressor.

 

“Up till what point were you listening?”

“…Wh-What?”

“I thought I was throwing a boomerang with the number of times you came back after I struck you down.
Please don’t pull anything like that ever again.”

“Urgh…!”

 

The usually violent and angry regressor didn’t assault me with her sword this time.

Probably because of her now-crippled pride.
And because this world has a strange law of conservation, as the regressor’s pride lowered, mine felt like it grew higher.

Ah, I shouldn’t be doing this.
But it’s just so fun.

 

“Woof! Food!”

 

I was going to make fun of her a bit more, but let’s leave it here.
Because Azzy is whining at me.

 

“Now, now, Azzy.
I have some things to say, so just wait a bit.”

“No! Woof! Say while eat food!”

“This dog, man.”

 

‘How can your pride not be hurt? Is there nothing to be hurt about when you’re a dog?’

 

“Ehem.
Anyway.
The reason I brought you all here is because I found a clue to the food supply thief who has been throwing Tantalus into chaos for a while now.”

“Woof!”

 

Azzy showed no interest in anything but food.

 

‘This despisable thing.
Let’s see how you fair when the evidence is pushed up against your face.’

 

I went to a corner of the cafeteria and got the doll-sized golem.
As I was fiddling around with it to make sure it was still functional, it turned its head around as if in response.

 

‘It’s connected.’

 

I placed the golem onto the table.

 

“As a witness, I have brought the State’s Radioman who has been sitting around in the cafeteria as a golem.
Captain Avey, welcome! Say hi, Captain!”

[…]

“Hi, nice to meet you!”

 

Azzy’s and the regressor’s responses didn’t change even after seeing the golem.
The regressor had cut attention after deciding to let go of what happened yesterday, and Azzy couldn’t care less about something that wasn’t a human.

 

‘I can’t introduce it like this.
Let’s try to bring out my puppeteering skills from that time I entertained some kids.’

 

I held the golem up between the arms and waved it around like a puppet.
As Azzy took interest in its movement, I closed my mouth and used ventriloquism. 

 

“Hello, Azzy.”

“Woof?”

 

Azzy tilted her head as she kept glancing between me and the golem.

She’s probably wondering what’s going on since the voice is coming from me but the golem’s waving at her.

I kept swaying the golem’s limbs and spoke with ventriloquism.

 

“Nice to meet you! I’m called Avey!”

“Woof, woof? Human?”

“Yes! I’m a human even though I'm trapped in here right now! You’re Azzy, right?”

“Woof! Yeah! Me Azzy!”

“You seem like such a good girl!”

“Thank you! You seem very hard!”

“Let’s be friends! You want to give me a lick?”

“Sure!”

[…Stop it.]

 

As Azzy’s nose came in closer, the golem moved at an incredible, never-seen-before speed.
After hitting my hand away, the golem stood up on its two feet and dodged Azzy’s face.

A dry monotone voice then leaked out of its speaker.

 

[The State requires the overseer to critically avoid making contact with the trainees.
However, by the Special Instances Clause Article 2, and by the current situation, all security clauses under security level 2 will be ignored.]

 

After declaring that, the golem stood up straight on its feet.
Whether it was because it was well made or because they were used to it, it continued to use synchronization even though the golem was a smaller model.

 

[I am the State’s Radioman, Captain Avey.
I am currently responsible for the communications between the State and Tantalus.
I warn in advance that the destruction of this individual will result in a negative assessment for the trainees.]

 

Even without mind reading, it was obvious who it was talking about since there was only one person here who could and would destroy it.

The regressor looked at the golem with a sour face.

 

“I don’t care about any negative assessments.
I’ll leave you alone if you don’t go sneaking around places only because I’ve made a deal with this man.”

[As an overseer and the director of Tantalus, surveillance is my duty.]

“Yeah? Well, I can’t stand machines that are sent by the State to keep watch on me.”

[There are sometimes people with that kind of disorder.
A category of individuals who are sensitive to being watched.
As we give out treatments for such disorders for free, I recommend you to go and get it treated.]

“…This little—”

[However, in this current instance, you would not be able to visit the State Hospital.
I have confirmed your doctor.
By exceptions to all regulations under safety level 2, for this individual’s safety, I shall put off its mission of surveillance.]

 

After staring at each other for a bit, the regressor scoffed and got up.

 

“If that’s all, I’m leaving.”

 

‘Huh? Straight away?’

 

I grabbed the regressor.

 

“Ah, wait! You must participate in this matter!”

“I don’t care.
You just take care of that golem.
If I see that thing outside the cafeteria on its own, I might just break it.”

 

The regressor headed straight out of the cafeteria.
Even when feeling down, she still had a deep hatred for the State.

At that time, Azzy—who had understood none of the exchange—asked with a bright face.

 

“Woof.
What it say?”

 

‘I’m guessing she’s talking about the golem.’

 

As Azzy didn’t understand a word of the golem’s hard and logical sentences, I explained in a flat tone.

 

“It said, don’t hit it.
And don’t bite it.
That it hurts.”

“Woof! I don’t bite! I’m good!”

“Yeah, yeah.
I know.
You’re good.”

“Awooo! I’m good! Good!”

 

As I patted Azzy’s head, I grabbed it and mumbled in a dreary tone.

 

“But I wonder which bad dog ate all the meat stew from the pot last night?”

“W-Woof?”

 

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