The six of us Black Cards had arrived first, aside from the four guards who stood on each corner of the dining room, to watch out for enemies who might want to break into the meeting and disrupt it.

They're to protect us, too.

Okay, these guards are weird. I mean, we're the Black Cards. We can fight for self-defense.

Representative Clayton and the mayor haven't arrived?” I asked, turning to one of them.

No, sir,” said the guard. “Please get seated before they arrive.”

I turned to the table and saw a placard with my name typed out onto it. It was placed near one end of the table. In front of me was Hunter, taking his seat, to the left of a sleepy Alpine, who propped her head up on the table, and was obviously unable to stay awake.

I scanned the room, then noted that Yuu seemed to look bothered as he approached the window to look out.

I went over. “You okay?”

Then I nearly flinched from him when I felt his emotion: a hidden annoyance and dislike, and the fact that his expression was an eerily cold frown.

For who? This afternoon, he'd been all cheerful, so it doesn't mean that he didn't like any of us.

But upon seeing me, and it looked like he was struggling to clam his negative emotions, he smiled, but I could see that it was strained. “Yeah, I'm fine. Just wondering what's it like outside the window.”

A lie. I could feel that his emotions told me the opposite of what he said.

I nodded, pretending that I didn't pick up on his emotions. Just as someone's thoughts broke into mine: You want to know what's with him?

I turned to the owner of the voice. Hunter. I tried to read his emotions, but he'd put up a mental barrier so I can't read them but unless I observed his expression.

I approached my seat and sat down, then looked directly at him. You must be enjoying yourself here. Reading minds.

So you want to know? Hunter smiled faintly at me.

Fine. Tell me.

Nagasaki does not trust Representative Clayton.

I sat up at that.

Just as there was a knock on the door, and in walked the two officials. Representative Andrew Clayton nodded towards all of us.

Alarmed, I stood up. Yuu, Akuchi, Seven, and I greeted the two men with our own nods of acknowledgement in return.

My hands, though, were shaking from the surprise.

Yo,” said Hunter, smirking coldly, not making a move to stand.

Good-” Alpine began, then dozed off.

You two could be more polite . . .

The End

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