Later that afternoon, Shimazaki visited Ota's office in Nagatacho. He drew closer to Ota with an air of confidence. "Now you've done it, Chief Secretary. Professor Feed has left the country!"
"You said that all you wanted was for his project to be dissolved, so what's the problem? I'd have thought you'd be pleased that he decided to leave the country of his own accord."
"That's true, but that high school student Nakajima has apparently disappeared..."
"Oh, come off it! Do you really think someone of my stature can be bothered with some high school student?" Ota's voice was laden with irritation.
"He might become a great interference in our plan."
"Our plan?" Ota looked at Shimazaki haughtily. "I don't ever remember asking you for anything. Events just happened to turn in my favor, that's all. Rather than dealing with that sort of nonsense, rumors of the bizarre occurrences in Musashino Ward have become a real problem for the cabinet. Using Fujita and Hamano, I've managed to keep things from getting out, but if things start spreading to the twenty-three wards, we can't just sit by and do nothing. You better ask your precious Saint to stop playing demon."
"I'll do what I can..." Shimazaki responded with a long face.
Without Isma, he had no teeth. Shimazaki could not approach the opening to the demon world. Worse, since he didn't know just how much power the demons had, if Ota put on a bold front, there was nothing he could do to counteract him.
"At this rate, we may have to use the SDF." Ota watched Shimazaki's expression to gauge his reaction.
"After all this, you want to oppose the demons!?"
"Too much of even the best medicine will make you overdose. It wouldn't bother me in the least if the demons just up and vanished."
"If the demons heard you saying something like that..." Shimazaki was clearly losing his composure.
"Oh, don't worry. What I say now will never leave this room. Ever..."
Baring his teeth in a grin, Ota snapped his fingers. A tall man casually approached them from the adjacent room. Ota pointed with a jerk of his head. The man slipped around behind Shimazaki. Shimazaki stiffened. A slight stabbing pain shot into his thick neck.
"What are you doing!?" Shimazaki leaped up from the sofa. "I won't let anyone try to pull anything funny on me--even you, Ota!"
However, greasy blobs of sweat were already appearing on his red face, and his legs started wobbling.
"You'll die painlessly. That was an anesthetic they use to execute prisoners in Texas. Go ahead, take a nap...though you'll never wake up."
"Wha...t?" Shimazaki tumbled forward as he bit down hard on his lip.
"Kuroda, I leave the rest to you. The Cabinet is waiting for me."
Acting as if nothing had happened, Ota strolled out of the room, not once looking at Shimazaki's body sprawled on the floor.