Case 1: Evil Spirits All Over!? (Part 6)
"By the way, why are you doing this at your age?" Hitomi asked Naru curiously. She was kind of surprised his parents would let him skip school for something like this, not to mention how a seventeen-year-old could afford all of this expensive-looking equipment…
"Because they need me." Naru replied without the slightest bit of hesitation.
"B–But there must have been some cases you couldn't solve?" Mai said, sweat-dropping as she smiled wryly.
"Never. After all, I'm good at what I do." Naru stated confidently.
"Wow~" Hitomi said with appreciation. Color her impressed. She found it a bit hard to believe, but at the same time she couldn't help but feel that if anyone could do something like that, it would be definitely be him. Mai, however, was not entirely of the same opinion. She had flinched at this revelation, clearly taken aback.
'I'm speechless… I can't stand this guy…' Mai thought, sweating nervously, as the corner of her mouth twitched in an awkward nervous smile, more than a little chagrined. She kind of wanted to smack him. "~Ahh… How impressive!" Mai said a bit sarcastically, though the effect was kind of ruined since her nervousness made her voice sound weird. "You're handsome, and on top of that you're capable of getting a difficult job done."
"You think… I'm handsome?" Naru asked, turning to look at her. Hitomi's eyebrows rose slightly in surprise. Mai-chan was pretty bold.
"Yeah, I guess… Everyone else seems to think so." Mai said thornily, sweat-dropping as a vein throbbed on her forehead. Why was that the part he cared about? Didn't he notice the sarcasm in her voice!? At least give her the satisfaction of reacting to that, even if just a little…!
"I see… at least you have good taste." Naru stated calmly before turning away and getting back to work.
"Uh!" Mai groaned, trying not to gag as she bit her tongue and reeled backwards in shock, desperately trying not to face-fault or drop the expensive mikes. This guy…!! He was definitely looking down on her! 'I… I'm absolutely stunned…! Of course his looks and title are impressive, but the most stunning thing is… his narcissistic behavior!!' She thought grudgingly, astounded by the sheer nerve of the handsome jerk.'From now on, I'm going to call you 'Naru-chan'—Narcissistic Naru-chan!!'
"Pft~!" Hitomi laughed softly, turning away to hide her Cheshire cat smile, as she shook with suppressed laughter. Watching these two together was just too funny! They were like a two-man comedy act...!
"Okay, I helped you. So, was that enough?" Mai asked once they had returned to the van with the Mikes and their stands. Naru was in the process of unlocking the back of the van so he could open it for them. "I want to go now…" Mai continued, trailing off when she saw what was waiting for them inside of the SPR van. Packed on sturdy shelves were several monitors, various control systems, and what looked like several more cameras similar to the one she had broken earlier that morning. Hitomi let out a slow whistle of appreciation. This was her first time actually seeing what they had back there as well.
"Nice~" Hitomi said, grinning. This was just like that TV show she used to watch back in the States about a team of American ghost hunters who went around conducting scientific paranormal investigations, too… what was it called again…?
"Let's carry them out." Naru said abruptly.
"You mean all of them!?" Mai asked incredulously. Looks like she could kiss her dreams of going home before the sun finished setting goodbye…
"We're going to need everything." He stated calmly.
'What part of this is 'ghost hunting'…?' Mai wondering, sweat-dropping. "Do you really know how to use all of this stuff, Shibuya-san?"
"I'm smart, unlike you." Naru replied bluntly as he rolled up his sleeves. "Let's go." Hitomi sweat-dropped as she grabbed part of the spare, disassembled set of shelves to carry. Was it just her imagination, or did Shibuya-san enjoy picking on poor Mai…?
"Eh? Are we going inside?" Mai asked nervously, so shocked that she forgot to react to his sarcastic insult.
"Of course." Naru stated very matter-of-factly. That much should have been obvious. "Don't worry, I won't make you go in by yourself. Just stay close to Matsumoto-san." He added when he noticed that Mai had visibly paled and looked like she might be considering making a run for it.
'Why do I have to go through all this? The old building with the scary rumors… This weirdo that came to research the building, who calls himself a 'ghost hunter', or whatever… What have I gotten myself into!?' Mai cried internally, biting her lip nervously as she followed their jerk of a fearless leader and Hitomi-sempai inside the creepy old building.
'… Yikes. It feels really creepy in here…' Mai thought as a bead of nervous sweat rolled down her face. The floorboards creaked practically every time they took a step…
"Say, Shibuya-san… can we use a room on the first floor? I don't trust the structural integrity of this building enough to spend too much time on the second floor…" Hitomi said, smiling wryly.
"Very well. Let's use this room." Naru said, sliding open a nearby classroom's door. Mai glanced around nervously as she followed them inside. It seemed Naru had chosen wisely, because this room was still relatively intact and there still some decently stable tables left in it as well.
"Could you two build a shelf, please? I'm going to bring in some more equipment." Naru stated, managing to make it sound more like an order than a request.
"You mean you're going to leave us in here all by ourselves!?" Mai shouted incredulously.
"But there will be two of us…" Hitomi reminded her, smiling wryly as she sweat-dropped. If anything, Shibuya-san would be the one in the more dangerous situation since he would be walking around on his own without a safety buddy.
"Would you rather carry the equipment?" Naru asked them, pausing in the doorway. "Some of it can weigh up to 40kg…"
Hitomi sweat-dropped. That meant they probably weighed around 88lbs. if you converted the metric values…
"Shelves will be fine." The two girls replied almost immediately, while trails of somewhat comical-looking tears began to stream down Mai's face because of how helpless she was against his logic. Neither of them saw the smirk Naru hid as he turned back and continued on his way.
"Don't worry, Mai. I've been in here twice, and I'm still in one piece~!" Hitomi said brightly, trying to cheer her up. "For now, let's just focus on getting this shelf set up."
"O-Okay, Sempai…" Mai agreed reluctantly, wishing she was anywhere but here. At least she had Hitomi-sempai with her… 'It's still light out. Everything's going to be fine, right…?' Mai thought, trying to keep calm.
"!" Mai gasped, startled when an ominous creak suddenly echoed throughout the room.
"… That's strange. I wonder if an animal got in while we were gone…?" Hitomi wondered out loud, glancing up at the ceiling. She could've sworn it sounded like it had come from up above…
"Eh… Ah, yeah… I guess maybe that could be it…" Mai said, sweat-dropping, as she smiled wryly and laughed nervously. She was so glad Hitomi-sempai was there…!
"Aaaah…!" Mai shrieked with fright, instinctively shielding herself, when the lights suddenly flashed on rather violently. Hitomi shut her eyes and covered her ears to protect them against the sudden onslaught of bright, fluorescent lights and Mai's startled scream.
"Calm down, Mai! It's just the overhead lights coming back on." Hitomi chided her kohai calmly, sweat-dropping. It seemed Mai was letting the spooky atmosphere get to her a little too much…
"Ah, right…" Mai said sheepishly, blushing out of embarrassment, as she lowered her hands and tried to still her rapidly beating heart. 'Calm down, Mai… It's nothing. Nothing…' She silently told herself, taking a deep breath.
KTZ. KTZ. SSST…
Mai froze when she heard something scratching at the door. Ever so cautiously, Mai glanced over her shoulder when it sounded like something had slowly begun to slide it open. There was a hand…!! Mai's eyes widened in as she reared backin shock and horror preparing herself for the worst…
And then Naru stepped into view, carrying some cables he had looped over his shoulders. … It had been his hand.
"Ah…" Mai said, sweat-dropping, when she realized just how ridiculous she must look as Naru stared at her, unimpressed.
"Oh, welcome back, Shibuya-san~!" Hitomi said, smiling, as she paused in her work and glanced up at him from a nearly completed shelf. While Mai had been too nervous to work, Hitomi had just gone ahead and done it herself. Mai sweat-dropped, feeling bad for letting her sempai do most of the work by herself, but slightly chagrined that the older girl could be so at ease in such a creepy place.
Still, Mai sighed in relief as Naru walked past her, relieved it hadn't been a real ghost.
"Don't just stand there. Get to work." Naru scolded her rather coldly as he set the cables down, wondering just how much of the work Hitomi had to do on her own while Mai was wasting time by goofing off.
'I really don't like this guy!' Mai thought, sulking a little, as she picked up one of the remaining shelf parts and helped Hitomi finish putting it together, while Naru left to get more equipment.