Panicking, I looked at him in bewilderment and met his gaze. Still smiling he said:
“My name is Alexis.”
“Yes sir… .”
He clasped my hand tightly, although it didn’t hurt. I couldn’t raise my head because I was too embarrassed to look at him.
“You know, I’m going to exterminate all the pups here.”
“You too and those researcher bastards over there. I’m going to burn this lab to ashes.”
A cold fear made my body shiver.
“I won’t kill you until then. Stop trembling.”
“… yes… .”
He was smiling brightly, but his eyes seemed to have gone sour, like they had lost their taste. I was so nervous that my vision was dizzy.
Apparently, no one was in their right mind here.
“Come on, then shoot.”
I fiddled with the gun as he let go of my hand. But I didn’t know where to put the bullets, so I just rattled it around.
Alexis was staring at me as if he had no intention of helping me. It felt like a bear was stalking me, it was hard to concentrate.
My hands were still trembling, and I had no idea where to put the bullets.
“Yes? Yes… .”
“Call me Alexis.”
“Ah, Mr. Alexis… .”
“Try turning into a woman.”
Startled, I looked up at Alexis in surprise, he was donning that same grin from earlier.
He did know. He knew I was a woman.
“Can I take a look under your clothes?”
“Ah… that… . I—I am a woman—a woman… .”
“You were definitely a woman before, but now you’re a man. I just want to check.”
As I averted his gaze, he still managed to meet my eyes as if to persuade.
He won’t believe it even if I say he saw it wrong. Besides, he’s a Z and I’m an A. That being said, if I don’t do as he says, he could use training as an excuse to slay me.
“Y-you don’t need to check, I’m a woman.”
“Then try to change into a woman like you did back then. Is it your ability?”
“Er—well, it’s… .”
“As far as I know, the ability to change the body would be a grade Y or higher.”
I started sweating as he tenaciously grilled me. It would be better not to tell lies that would get caught anyway, but the words could not come out easily because of the overwhelming anxiety and fear immobilizing me.
“I won’t kill you until I destroy the lab. Really.”
Tears came to my eyes at his words.
No matter what I tried I was meant to be slaughtered.
Even if I built up Kalisten’s affinity, another dangerous man appeared.
In his last life, he lived and died as a laboratory slave, and this life was lab waste.
The despair and sorrow that I had neatly folded and piled up in the cabinet in my heart suddenly exploded. I was so unlucky that I somehow managed to be the only woman in a men-only lab. There was also a research institute for female Espers, but I didn’t end up there.
Even if I retained the mind of a woman, if my body had been a perfect man, this would not have happened. How did I get so unlucky?
“Are you crying?”
I shook my head, but I couldn’t hide the sound of my erratic breathing, since I was crying uncontrollably.
“You are crying.”
As if he found my tears fascinating he was peering into my hidden face, crouching at eye level. Under his detached observation, I couldn’t help but feel even more miserable and ashamed.
“What was your name when you were a woman?”
“… Hic—sniff, unn… .”
“Aselia or Celia?”
I sealed my lips and held my breath to avoid crying. Then he lowered my arm and stroked my cheek with his hand.
“Go back to being a woman. Then I’ll let you go today.”
“If you say I saw it wrong or tell a lie like that—”
“I’m going to twist your neck right now.”
My crying stopped abruptly at his murderous remarks that he uttered casually.
My shame about breaking down flew away. I couldn’t afford tears now. What good was it for a deer to be sobbing in front of a lion?
I calmed down, sniffing and hiccuping as I tried to take a steady breath.
“Tur-turn around, Sir, please.”
He amicably turned around.
Anyway, after 13 days, Kalisten will destroy the lab. Then this man will die too.
Then I only need to keep the secret for 13 more days. Yes, it is less than two weeks away, and he was undoubtedly a dead man in the original story.
Because when Kalisten awakened, he rushed to fight like a moth drawn to fire.
I slowly opened my eyes with a new found determination. The sky was still black and the surrounding lights were bright. This was the exclusive training room for the highest-ranking awakened Esper.
Even researchers were not allowed to enter recklessly.
With that comforting thought, I took off my necklace.
My hair grew longer for an instant and flowed down my shoulders. It wasn’t even frizzy even after being roughly washed with soap, and ran down my larger chest.
I put my necklace in the lab coat pocket and announced,
Then he turned and looked at me.
With an expression of seeing something unbelievable.