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Chapter 2 - The Eaton News Agency

Anchorville was a large city in the Republic of Calvard. Though it was smaller than the capital, Anchorville had managed to accrue its fair share of business. With the city proper backed by the mountains and the market and harbor districts by the river, it created a sweeping view to behold.

Rounding the market's corner, Edwin pedaled his bike hard down Sunset Street. The Eaton News Agency, the office of a small local publication, laid just ahead.

The newsroom was a frenzy, as nearly half the staff were out of their seats. A veteran reporter, Royce, gestured at a draft and didn't notice Edwin's arrival. The business editor, Clef, held a telephone to his ear. He looked as if he hadn't slept all night. The copy editor, or rather, editor-in-chief, Chang, nodded along with a stern expression. From what Edwin could glean, there had been a delay with covering a recent traffic accident. He kept to himself, slipped into his seat, and took out his trusty, worn-out bag.

The voice that cut through the commotion came from Brandon, a middle-aged man with peppered hair and the editor of the culture column. Upon seeing his supervisor, Edwin wasted no time and shoved his draft in Brandon's face.

'Today's article is perfect. Please, submit it at the editorial meeting!'

'There better not be any spelling mistakes this time. Unless you're looking to get scolded again.'

Edwin's broad smile appeared again. 'Everything is going to be great today! I guarantee it!'

'What...?' Carly's brow furrowed. 'At 5AM? Yes, yes...'

Carly stood and waved an arm through the air. The editorial department, which had just been as noisy as a train platform, fell silent. After putting the phone down, Carly turned her gaze to Chang.

'Mr. Chang, apparently Weber Hart is dead.'

A loud clap suddenly rang out. 'I need all the political columnists to gather up, ASAP!'

'Right!' yelled the reporters as they clambered to their feet.

'That guy, huh?'

'Hmm... This'll be a big domestic story.'

The crowd continued to murmur as more than ten reporters formed a mob around the editor-in-chief's desk.

'Who was this Hart guy again?'

'Seriously? He was a big-shot around here.'

'He was a famous intellectual. How do you not know him?'

'This is going to need to be a special feature,' Brandon muttered amidst the other comments. He tossed Edwin's draft back to him.

'The afternoon editorial meeting's canceled, Ed. You're going to be assisting on this story.'

'Huh?! But why?'

'Don't 'why' me. We've got our orders from the chief.'

Edwin unconsciously scowled. He was suddenly overcome with a sense of vertigo. It felt as if the ground was shaking, and he staggered. The others in the newsroom reacted in kind.

Next came the shrieking sound of metal crumpling in on itself followed by the grating roar of said metal grinding across the concrete outside the news agency.

The cacophony ended in a bang, and through the trembling window, an overturned burning orbal bus billowed smoke into the sky. Edwin ran out of the newsroom, bag in hand, as fast as he could. It wasn't his instinct as a reporter that made him move, but the fact that he could have sworn he saw Agnes among the panicking public.

第2回 イートン通信社にて