13 The Ex-Wife

Within the ICU room was a woman with feline ears on her head. She wore…a doctor's outfit? Her profession has to be something along those lines if she's already present in the room. The white lab coat fit the bill. But her green dress is…it didn't cover her bare shoulders, and why are there parts transparent with plastic? Coincidentally, why are most of the operators wearing clothes that have transparent plastic parts where you can see their skin? Back to the woman, her icy gaze locked on to our group, or rather toward Doctor. Whoa, those are some really intense emotions coming off her.

"Amiya, you've come back safely…and with Doctor." (Kal'tsit)

"Dr. Kal'tsit…please don't be so hard on Doctor." (Amiya)

"…I'll try." (Kal'tsit)

The feline woman, Kal'tsit, held herself back with Amiya's plea and inhaled a breath. Turning over to us, she started to speak with authority appropriate for someone in a high position.

"I've heard from PRTS that the rescue mission ended in a success. I'm happy to see so many operators return safely too." (Kal'tsit)

Kal'tsit gave Scout a glance to which he nodded back in confirmation. Now it was our turn to be scrutinized by her.

"I've heard of two prominent names that came in the hasty report. Outside supporters with similar intentions to rescue Doctor. Miyama Kaito and Arisato Minato. Am I correct?" (Kal'tsit)

"That would be us." (Kaito)

I answered her question politely. The surface emotion she carried were those of apprehension, doubt, and praise.

"Report tells me you said you had past relations with this man. Where did you come across information on his position to save him now?" (Kal'tsit)

"We have a tracking method on his person that will give off signals when he shows life sign. It noticed when he came to conscious, so we rushed to his aid as quick as we can." (Kaito)

"I'm in doubt as to whether there is such a thing on him and if he were to allow it. Because this man doesn't have the ability to trust others. Betting his life on others was never his approach." (Kal'tsit)

"Guess you know now. Goes to show you don't know everything about someone when you thought you had them figured out, eh?" (Minato)

Minato-kun opened his mouth to retort. Something tells me I won't like what happens if he's allowed to continue talking to her. With his blunt way of speaking his mind, I don't know what's going to happen.

"In any case, me and Minato-kun are very happy to see Doctor is finally up after disappearing all these years." (Kaito)

"...Speaking with honorifics like that, are you someone from Higashi?" (Kal'tsit)

"Ah, yes. I was born in Higashi and lived there for most of my early life. Minato-kun here is an old friend of mine I've met by chance when I left Higashi and travelled around." (Kaito)

That was the background I've chosen to weave for myself in Terra. Hopefully she doesn't ask too many questions that are out of my depth or find out it's a lie from my facial expressions.

"And what have you done in your time travelling Terra?" (Kal'tsit)

"Well…I have the unique Art of teleportation. That was written in the report, right?" (Kaito)

"Indeed. And what a groundbreaking Art it is. It's unheard of, the invaluable power to appear in any location, even from long-distances. Someone with such a power doesn't live undercover for long in public." (Kal'tsit)

"I'm something of an expert in keeping myself out of the limelight and trouble." (Kaito)

(Kaito-san being inconspicuous? That's unheard of. Such a version of Kaito only exists in Lilia's daydreams I'm afraid.)

Please don't ask me that, Shiro. I'm doing my best to not show my lies on my face.

"So travelling for me was never an issue. I went around admiring exotic locations and living in other mobile cities for short periods of time. Things slowed down when Minato-kun followed me after visiting Laterano and we eventually stumbled upon Doctor together, and the rest is history." (Kaito)

Kal'tsit made no movements listening to my fabricated history. Her suspicions only seemed to grow after hearing it. That's not good. Not every bit is a lie, and Kal'tsit looked to be discerning which is which.

"I told myself I wouldn't ask how you are involved with this man. But I'm deciding against it. Kaito, you appear to be a young man with a kind heart. I know of your exploits in Chernobog. You rescued Scout and others of Rhodes Island, incapacitated thousands from Reunion and saved many more in the process. And you achieved all this without killing anyone, even under the stress during a catastrophe. Your excellent accomplishments are unimaginable, and your good character is unquestionable from first-hand accounts and from our brief talk. You have a habit of wearing your emotions on your sleeve. While some find it easy to communicate with others, it's exploitable. My question is why do you associate with someone like him? You must know what kind of person he is." (Kal'tsit)

"Can I just say I don't remember anything? What the old me did has nothing to do with me." (Doctor)

Doctor on the side was helpless from Kal'tsit's not so subtle passive aggressiveness whenever she mentions him. Holy shit! The speed of her snapping her neck at him had me blinking. And what a furious temper boiling inside her.

"...What?" (Kal'tsit)

That low, cold voice gave me chills and I'm sure everyone else felt the same. I'm willing to bet Doctor was sweating bullets under all that clothing. So he quickly shut up.

"Um, while it understandably sounds irresponsible, it makes sense. Past Doctor isn't present right now. I'm more than willing to stick around for the current Doctor and lend a hand for him." (Kaito)

"Then you've chosen not to allow his past to be a reason for whether you associate with him. I'm astounded by that kindness of yours, Kaito. To not allow your eyes to be influenced by other people's past and seeing beyond their external shell. You acknowledge the sins others carry yet willingly stand by their side because you choose to believe in the version you know and have interacted with. You won't give up on Doctor because of your past relations with him, yet you carefully consider the present him and his boundaries that separate the past. Finding that distinction is a quality I am reluctant to see in you in this case. It is a kind of thinking you'd rarely find in people who'd look past their score for another and believe in a tomorrow they can build different from how it would be perceived before. Will you treat Doctor like you've done before or find him a wholly different person and not hand him the expectations you've had of his former self? I can easily regard the latter concerning how you carry yourself. What you see in him and how you treat him is only something you decide, and no external stimuli can influence your decision. Even if the current him were to become someone that goes against your sensibility, you will not regret your association to him. Some call it wise, but commonly it would come across as youthful sorrow in wanting the inexplicable." (Kal'tsit)

"…Uh…Thanks?" (Kaito)

She lost me by the half of it when she went on a tangent. Is she trying to compliment me or insult me because I'm friendly with Doctor? Why the hell is Amiya or Scout not raising an eyebrow at how talkative she was? There's no reaction from them. Is this normal? Are they so desensitized that they don't find their brains being spun around by her useless monologuing?

"I don't have any other questions for you, Kaito. Your sankta friend---" (Kal'tsit)

Oh dear, Minato-kun's eyelids look heavy. Kal'tsit's unexpected spiel made him lose interest fast.

"During Reunion's invasion, I've heard that you took it upon your lone self to protect Amiya and everyone else by engaging the top brass of Reunion and managing to escape thereafter." (Kal'tsit)

Kal'tsit's words didn't had praise in them, it sounded like a manager on the verge of giving a sermon on their employee after listing off their blunders. While Kal'tsit acknowledged Minato's achievements, she treated him strictly, likening his actions to that of a reckless youth rushing into a fire to rescue trapped individuals without proper training.

"So what?" (Minato)

…Eh? So what? The bored bluenette was impervious or just refused to register the pressure from Kal'tsit. Such a brazen attitude got me and everyone's eyes wide.

Kal'tsit was a little unresponsive from that.

"What you said can be dismissed as utter nonsense. Why do I need to hear how great I am from you?" (Minato)

Minato-kun yawned, choking Kal'tsit at how dismissive he was. She must've had several responses ready to reprimand him and yet he stopped her dead on her track from saying any of them.

"Whose to say that's the truth? One person preaches it false for how unrealistic it is, then comes a hundred or a thousand more with the same shared opinion. So what does it matter? Is there someone who can confirm my awesomeness? No, everybody had already left before they witnessed the end of it and only knows I'm just a little strong." (Minato)

In other words, Minato-kun doesn't care about Kal'tsit evaluation of his achievements. She could praise him or reprimand him. In the end, what Minato-kun wants to hear is how he will be treated henceforth in the future. Eventually, Kal'tsit spoke naturally without a hint of being affected by him.

"You surprised me that you hold your won responsibility to a very high degree. I thought you were reckless, but you have plenty of foresight in your surroundings." (Kal'tsit)

"As expected of me." (Minato)

"…" (Kal'tsit)

"…" (Doctor)

"…" (Amiya)

"…" (Scout)

"…" (Kaito)

Again, he does it so effortlessly in bringing the conversation to death. He just crossed his arm proudly and never once gave any respect for Kal'tsit. Minato-kun, do you not like her that much?

Kal'tsit's words were stuck in her chest and would not come out.

"Keep brevity alive, people. And if you're wondering about my opinion on Doctor? Past is buried. Oh no, he was a bad man before. Oh no, his old self was antisocial. You really are disappointed about him having amnesia more than anyone. What are you, his clingy ex-wife?" (Minato)

I had to do a double take. Doctor, Scout, and Amiya likewise did the same. Kal'tsit reacted by turning stiff.

"Oh, I'm so sorry for being here. I'm sure you were so eager to catch up and unload all your complaints and engage in your lovers spat until things start to heat up with you two alone. But knowing how controlling you are of him and questioning his connections with others, I can see why he ditched you and had his memories erased." (Minato)

Silence. The room was deathly silent. Well…I can understand him not wanting to stand still and listen to her rambling.

Kal'tsit got herself composed again, albeit with clear irritation on her face from having been insulted by Minato-kun.

"Does working for Rhodes Island sound attractive to you? I won't force you or try to persuade you, this is your choice in the end. What is important is how you come to decide---" (Kal'tsit)

"Just tell me where the recruitment office is and where my evaluation will take place. That's all I wanna know." (Minato)

Minato-kun outstretched his arm forward to stop her and get to the point. Kal'tsit popped a vein on her forehead and glanced at Amiya.

"Er, please wait until after we're done with business here, Minato. We'll get around to handle your application process in due time." (Amiya)

Amiya did a small bow with an apologetic expression. Being on the receiving end of Kal'tsit's irritation for a moment must be rough even when it's undeserved. Minato-kun shrugged and went to the back to lean on the wall.

Wonderful. Looks like I'm the one doing all the talking from here on out.

Afterword:

Serious-senpai: "Uwaaahh…Minato really got on her nerves."

???: "Minato knew right away that he wouldn't get along with someone like Kal'tsit who can't keep things simple when she opens her mouth. I don't like those roundabout types either."

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