“I can’t believe it. This is worse than what I’ve heard. Just what in the world happened here?” Frire said.
“Fudonecchi, it’s a little too late for you to be putting on airs now— Ow!?” Myuhi said.
Frire stiffened when she saw that sight.
Myuhi tried to tease her, but her attempts only earned her a karate chop.
Frire threw a glance at the boy responsible for her loss of face earlier, but there were no longer any hints of that earlier mischievousness left in him.
The expression he wore as he looked at his foster was so eerily serious it made one wonder if he was really the same person.
He had released wher when the numbness had completely worn off, so it was easy to conclude that he’d only dragged her around because she couldn’t move properly.
Really, it was hard to tell whether he was gentle or not. Because of that she couldn’t really be angry with him.
Of course, a bigger reason why she didn’t protest was because she feared she might end up suffering a fate even worse.
“Violence is prohibited! Violence is~!” Myuhi complained.
“Seriously, just what in the world happened here? I have no idea how to deal with this at all.”
Frire’s karate chop on Myuhi was stronger than normal and Aristel was also looking at her strangely, but she ignored all of that as she focused on the incomprehensible situation before her.
One could say she was being stubborn, but really she was just running away.
Fortunately, the sight that lay before them was so strange it permitted just that.
“Brown, you bastard!!”
“How dare you make a fool of me!? How dare you make a fool of me!? How dare you make a fool of me!?”
“All you do is play, so why do I keep losing against you!!?”
“How dare you use me with that meager sum! Raise my salary!!”
“Stop pushing the dumb students my way! Why do I have to do something like this!?”
The rest of the group followed Shinichi to the cage where the teachers were isolated. For the time being, they decided to retrieve the teachers along with the cage and brought them where the students were being bound.
But even after the students recovered their consciousness, neither them nor the teachers inside the cage showed signs of calming down.
They continued to go wild without any understanding for their own situation or their surroundings.
Frire knew some of these students to some extent, so she was a lot more affected than the others.
Even Werner, who was hated, was befuddled by this situation.
“Brown, have they been like this this whole time?”
“No. At first, they could still talk to some extent, but bit by bit they became like this. In the end, they were overtaken by their emotions. At the time, I was really creeped out and couldn’t be bothered to figure out why they ended up like that.”
Most of the students grumbled about their envy and dissatisfaction with Werner.
But although they had that in common, there didn’t appear to be any sympathy between them.
They were all mad about the same thing, but they expressed their anger alone.
As for the teachers, they were angry about various things from their life to their work.
“Not one of them appears to be sane… Hello, teachers? Can you hear me? I’m Frire Doneju, the person in charge of supervising this whole exam.”
“Stop complaining! You can’t even understand how sophisticated my work is!”
“I want to go home, I want to go home! Let me go back to my homeland!! Mama!!”
“Overtime! Always overtime!!”
Just in case, Frire called out to them, but even though some responded, their response was completely unrelated.
There were even some teachers who fought even though their complaints had nothing to do with each other.
There were also teachers who ignored everything around them and just insisted on their claims.
The students that have been restrained were only screaming, but if they were to be released, it was easy to imagine that they would just do what they did before.
“…Just what is going on? Clearly, they’re not just angry,” Myuhi said.
“The more I look at them, the weirder this situation becomes,” Aristel said.
Indeed, the situation was too grave for them to bother with Frire right now.
If these teachers and students had only lost their minds from anger and stress, it would still be understandable, but clearly that wasn’t the case. They were all getting puffed up on their own and running amok.
“For the mean time, we’ll have to keep watch until the rest of the rescue team arrives,” Frire said.
“…Let’s do what we can first, wage thief,” Shinichi said.
“GU!” Frire groaned.
“Sometimes Icchi trashtalks so naturally,” Myuhi said.
Frire suggested to wait since they couldn’t talk with the teachers and the students, but Shinichi shot her suggestion down.
Shinichi didn’t even spare a glance for the depressed teacher as he continued to look at his foster.
“Ahaha… S-So, what are you doing, Nakamura-san?”
Aristel asked with a wry smile, though she mainly asked this question to change the topic.
Surprisingly, however, the answer she received actually showed that they could in fact do something.
“I’m investigating. I scanned the affected students and teachers, but didn’t get any reaction to any drugs or substance. At most, I got a reaction for cold medicine and supplements.”
As such, it could be judged that that wasn’t the reason why these people had gone crazy.
Aristel and the others were surprised by Shinichi’s actions, but he feigned ignorance and continued to fiddle with his foster.
As far as Shinichi was concerned, doing this much was a given considering they had such a useful tool with them.
But it seems the students here had a habit of not using their foster except for their classes.
“Just in case, I scanned them for pathogens too, but nothing came up. I checked their clinical history too, but found no common points. No records of visiting a psychiatrist either. There are too many unnatural points for their behavior to be a result of mass hysteria, so I doubt that that’s the reason. I doubt they’re just acting too.”
Despite being merely a representative, Shinichi made full use of the information he had as an examiner to investigate the students and the teachers.
He used a little bit of his mana to investigate their history, but nothing stood out.
Shinichi mentioned ‘acting’, but what he really meant was that they might have been threatened or instigated to do this.
But although he considered that possibility, it was evident that these people weren’t sane.
“In that case, that leaves us with only a few possibilities.”
Shinichi approached a haggard-looking student that was ranting and raving.
The student was bound and rolling on the ground while yelling, but Shinichi ignored that as he looked into his face.
“I figured that might have been the case…”
“Did you figure something out, Nakamura?”
Although Frire was depressed because of Shinichi’s words and was even shown up by him, she was somehow able to keep her composure and ask him that question.
Alas, that composure shattered when Shinichi asked her a question.
“Hey, Teach— Is there a skill that can fiddle with a person’s mind?”
“W-What are you…”
‘What are you saying?’ was what she wanted to say, but Shinichi’s expression was firm.
A skill like that wasn’t written anywhere, not in any document or foster.
There were countless skills for different purposes, but a skill that fiddled with the mind wasn’t among those.
Yes, this was information that Shinichi could only become privy to thanks to his mana hacking.
But even if such information wasn’t publicly known, before Shinichi’s eyes that were full of conviction, Frire had no choice but to fold.
“…I can’t say for certain there’s no such skill, but my position doesn’t allow me to say any more than that.”
That was clearly an admission of the skill’s existence.
Voices of surprise could be heard behind, but Shinichi only muttered to himself, saying, “I thought that might be the case.”
“Skills that use the almost all-purpose photons can do pretty much anything, but there are still things that photons can’t do.”
“R-Right, resurrecting the dead or time travel are both impossible. Creating life or matter is also exceedingly difficult, so much so that they might as well be impossible,” Aristel said.
Skills are a product of programming the direction of the all-purpose photons.
Which is why things that can’t be programmed can’t be realized through skills.
And photons themselves also have their limits.
“As expected of you Padyuel, you’re exactly right. But if you put it another way, that goes to say that photons can do anything except the ones you mentioned.”
It is commonly known that the military is researching mind skills, but not because they wished to control humans, but to increase morale by developing a way to treat psychological wounds.
But such research could be spun the wrong way if leaked, so although it’s known that such research is being done, the specifics are kept under wrap.
Besides, Frire, who was the poster girl of the army, only knew about it through rumors. She doesn’t actually know how much progress the military has made.
“That’s what you want to say, right, Nakamura?” Frire said.
“There’s that too, but… Look at this,” Shinichi said.
Shinichi pointed at the head of a student, but no one found anything off about it.
Seeing everyone confused, Shinichi became troubled as to how to explain it.
“Didn’t we learn about seeing photons in the first classes?”
When Shinichi asked that, Aristel reflexively answered with a yes.
It was probably because she was the most confident person here when it came to her knowledge and her ability to explain it.
“Photon can be seen when emitted from crystals or when an energy-type attack is used. It can’t be seen when used to execute other types of attack or for communication or for searching the enemy where it would be troublesome if seen— Wait, don’t tell me!?”
She was also inadvertently appealing to Shinichi, but halfway through she realized what he was getting at.
The others too realized it and set their fosters’ sensors to search for photons.
When they saw the result on their screens, they all froze.
“This is!?” Myuhi said.
“I see. If you were able to see this, then it’s no wonder you suspected the use of a skill,” Frire said.
It wasn’t really that surprising for students and teachers to show a reaction when searched for photons given they were always in contact with them, but the amount of photons here was clearly abnormal, and they were also gathered in a specific manner.
“The shape makes perfect sense too,
Werner joked, but there was clearly nervousness behind his voice.
That’s why no one reacted to him and just digested the current situation.
The ring of photons on the head of the students could clearly be seen on their screens.
Photons would never attach themselves to human like this naturally.
“Nakamura-san, so you’re saying…” Aristel said.
“Yeah, it would probably be best to assume that someone came up with a new skill and used it on these people. The kind of skill that amplified a person’s unhappiness and anger to the point that they can’t control it anymore,” Shinichi replied.
“But Nakamura, that’s…” Frire said.
She didn’t have any objections to Shinichi’s conjecture, but there was a bitter expression on her face.
After all, this would mean that someone had intentionally made these people go berserk.
It also showed who was most likely to be behind this.
“No matter how you put it, it’s evident that there’s an enemy inside the academy,” Shinichi said bluntly, and everyone gulped and became silent.