"May I borrow your phone?"
When Wendy asked this to Chris, the young man's brow only rose but he still lent his cellphone to her.
"What are you planning to do? We can't possibly stay here forever," he asked.
"...I know. The police will surely come after me unless I go back there and pretend that I'm the impostor, which I obviously couldn't do."
She grabbed his phone and then went back to her personal space and hugged her knees again. By this time, she had already washed her hands and face. However, nothing but time could lessen the insecurities and redness in her eyes.
While running her thumbs on the screen, she explained to Chris her plan to contact her best friend. She told him, aside from her family, only Sofony was the person she could trust.
"...Through her, we should know what happened after we fled from there. For example, if that fake claiming to be me had also fooled my family, if the police saw you or discovered that you helped me, if they managed to trace us here... There are just so many things I want to know."
"What makes you think she'd believe you are the real Wendy? Don't forget, you just ..." Chris halted. When he saw that she was trembling again, he almost slapped his stupid mouth.
'Great, when did you become insensitive, Chris Meyer?' he scolded himself.
"Sorry. I was probably just doubting whether that friend of yours will believe us."
"...I just know she will... I also just want to know if, if S-sir Matthews is still a-alive."
This time, Wendy really burst into tears once done relaying to somebody what had been bugging her since the moment she regained consciousness. As a person who blanked out for a minute and woke up to a reality where she suddenly had stabbed another person, it was so hard not to be shaken, especially when she was not just any other girl, but someone who grew up tied to the two words 'law' and 'righteousness'. Even now, she was still wishing it was all a nightmare, that after she cried everything, she'd be able to wake up.
The devil in Chris' head commented.
<System: Lol. Now I know why you're still single. But it's a chance! Go hug her and then kiss her! Leave the mood setting to me! I'll fill this room with The Foxy Scent! And then after that, you two virgins can leave everything to your primal urges!!!!>
He cursed the system because when he heard its words he was about to reach out and pat Wendy on the shoulder. However, this damn troublemaker made him hesitate, and in the end, he didn't dare touch her!
With a troubled expression, he could only say, "I... didn't mean to make you cry. Don't think too much. Maybe Mr. Matthews is still alive. Also, you are not yourself when you did that, so technically, it's not supposed to be your fault."
Under the watch of the stupid bloke, the girl who was hugging her knees cried for a fairly long time. She hid her face through her long messy hair while curling into a ball. Chris could only stupidly let her vent her frustrations and worries out while receiving self-destroying suggestions from the damnable system.
A little more than ten minutes later, she muffledly blurted out, from time to time stuttering, "Chris, I-I don't want to be a killer... I-I swear I... though I did it, I swear I don't remember why and how... I'm a l-law-abiding girl... B-believe me, I want to be a d-detective so t-there's no way I-I'll do a crime like that. I mean, i-it's just a no-brainer!"
She returned to crying and only stopped after a minute or two, stiffening due to the hand that suddenly began to pat her on the head.
"I believe you..." he said, the tone awkward. Maybe if she lifts up her face, she'd see him looking away out of embarrassment. She didn't know it took him a great deal of effort to do this.
"I know you're proud and annoying, but you won't definitely harm anyone... not out of your own volition."
Wendy was no longer crying, but she went extremely silent. Chris didn't know what's currently on her mind as she was not letting anything show on her tear-stained face.
<System: Hey, why don't you tell her that she's been controlled? Maybe that'll lessen her guilt.>
'...And how do I explain that? I don't have proofs, I only believe because I have the unwelcomed you in my brain. You want me to sound crazy to her?>
<System: Fine. Just think I said nothing.>
Not long after, as if she had finished gathering the willpower needed, she held his phone again. To what she typed there, he didn't know. But he was guessing, she texted that nerdy goddess friend of hers. He shook his head because in his opinion, the probability that Sofony Mendez wouldn't believe the real Wendy was higher. After all, that girl seemed to be not the type who would believe that a friend stabbed someone, even if explained that it was done due to a hypnotic spell.
"Did she reply?" he asked the nervous girl.
The sad shaking of her head made him sigh. He wanted to tell her that even if she was incredibly pretty, he still has no plans to become a runaway with her. But of course, his mind finally did its job and made him realize that it would not be the proper time to say this.
He stared out of the window nearby and pondered about the future. They were now in an unfamiliar city, in a place far from their family and friends. He didn't know what to think now that he realized how hasty and immature their running away act was. However, since they were now in this situation, there was nothing they could do but charge forward.
To what their next steps would be was a matter for tomorrow to decide.
After taking a deep breath, Chris reached out to his phone and took it from the girl. As he pondered whether to call his family, he heard the girl saying,
"Fortunately, you have wifi access... I have already logged in my banking account in your app. I have made some money from my part-time as a consultant.... so at least we can pay for food and others. Deduct the fare there. I already owe you for helping me. At least, don't let me owe you money. When you order later, you can also use my money."
Chris' brow arced up but he didn't say anything. The girl spoke up again.
"Actually, I'm already okay. I'm a tough girl even if I have broken down earlier. I'll be fine on my own. After sorting out my memories, and once I-I learn that S-sir died, I'll turn myself over to the police...."
Then she smiled, forcibly, at him. "You are different. You can say that you didn't know I killed, that you only saw me crying senselessly there, therefore, you sympathized with me. You can say you didn't witness me doing the crime, or that you didn't see the body... I think these are the truths anyway. You can still live your life once you go back to Alina."
Chris, once again, didn't speak up. He saw the pain and fear in her eyes. But since he honestly didn't know how to comfort her, he just stayed quiet. He also couldn't possibly hug her, so he just continued patting her head, until she went back to crying.
"S-she messaged me!"
An ecstatic voice echoed next to Gio's ears and he could almost picture its owner jumping in extreme joy. His guess didn't come wrong. Sofony was indeed jumping already from the chair, running to him as fast as she could.
"What did she say?"
"She's asking me about the situation. I mean, about our teacher. But, but she didn't mention her location." Sofony gloomily looked down to her feet. "She's controlled earlier. If I don't find her fast, I'm afraid she's going to believe that it's all her fault. The problem is, someone barred from getting her location. It's probably someone like me!"
Gio silently turned to his assistant who immediately understood his intention. Five minutes later, his assistant shook his head at him and told them that no matter what hacking or tracing method they use, the location just couldn't be found, like it was never on earth in the first place.
Gio's forehead creased as he saw his girl frowning deeply again. He thought, it seemed Sofony really cared for that Wendy or else, she wouldn't fret about her for more than five hours.
"Just who can do this...?" he heard her muttered.
"Why don't you try to call the number? Maybe she'd pick it up and answer?" he suggested after some deliberation. The young master didn't truly know how Sofony's information network runs, but even if the location was masked through some equal force's interference, calls and such should probably go through, right? Anyway, he was just suggesting.
Seemingly desperate and accommodating to all sorts of suggestions, the girl really did call and was again jumping from joy when it got picked up. "It took me a while to make her spill it out, but she's at Velvet City! Gio, I'm sorry for the bother, but please take me there!"
Sofony's red eyes probably did the trick thus the man who was still in his office attire nodded.
"Velvet City is at least 3 hours away, it can take more since it's still evening rush hour."
The girl just nodded, looking as if nothing else mattered as long as she could locate her friend.
He was actually correct. All she could think of right now was to find her.
To make sure nothing out of plan would happen again, she stocked up points by pestering the system to reward her for the mass hypnosis she did earlier. There was also her foiling of Clarissa's plan.
Actually, she was not sure if she accomplished the latter, but at least people should no longer think of Wendy as the one who stabbed that fat teacher.
'People will only remember the impersonator as the real culprit. It means the real Wendy can still go back to her normal life. The only problem is getting her back.'
And about that Chris? That hateful bloke should be thankful that she at least cleaned up for his mess. It was only because of her initial guilt towards him that she included him to the memory reset that she did to the involved people. This means once he goes back, everything would be okay for him once again. She wouldn't take revenge or slap him to face. Still, she would never have any favorable impression again about him.
... Or so she thought and assumed until she arrived at the hotel and confirmed that no enemy was around.
With enough points for inquiry and due to regaining suspicion about the matter, she finally thought of confirming who blocked her from getting Wendy and Chris' location from the system. And her heart dropped when she heard it was not actually Clarissa.
<System: Hehehe. Don't worry, you're not gaining another enemy host!>
'...But you said he's doing a qualifying mission? Chris is a future host and Wendy's his first target?'
The look focused on the hypnotized young man became complicated. She couldn't speak for a couple of seconds, originally ashamed for mistaking him for Clarissa's accomplice. However, when she remembered his impure intentions towards Wendy, anger just suddenly welled up from within, and her palms alternatingly struck Chris' face!
"Maniac! Maniac! Maniac!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Damn you!"
"How dare you bring Wendy to this faraway city? You think I won't be able to track you and stop you from doing that to her if you take her away?"
"I'll slap you to death!!!"
About this loud shout that she suddenly let out, even Gio's eyes widened a bit, though amusement immediately replaced the slight bewilderment.
It was only after Sofony remembered how Chris helped to destroy some annoying evidence that she stopped. However by then, the hypnotized and defenseless Chris already fainted, both cheeks have swollen red. Sofony's anger didn't diminish though. Recalling every trouble she encountered just to find her friend, she had almost sent this pervert schoolmate to jail.
Thankfully, she managed to sober up, remembering that Clarissa was still the number one enemy she should focus her energy on. Still, she angrily exclaimed,
"I'm so angry! I've never been so angry before!!!!"
"Chris Bastard, be thankful that I can't file kidnapping and attempted **** cases against you! Or else, I would've personally delivered you to your cell!"
After calming her breathing a bit, she picked up the sleeping Wendy to piggyback her out of the hotel. Gio and some of his men also brought the unconscious guy. However, when they arrived at the first waiting shed near Alina City's railway station, they haphazardly tossed the poor guy out to a stone bench.