If there were only a few students affected without any common points, the conclusion might’ve still been different, but this was the technology class. The same technology class that the administration feared might be susceptible to an information leak, and so keeps it under strict rules – rules that applied to both students and teachers.
It’s hard to imagine that someone unrelated to the school would easily be able to get in touch with anyone from the technology class.
Odds were that the skill was casted simultaneously on the students and teachers too.
In the school, there were several situations where the teachers in charge and the students would be gathered in one place.
As for what kind of person would be able to gather them without being suspicious, as well as to be able to move freely in the academy and come into contact with other teachers and students, evidently, it could only be someone affiliated with the school.
“I agree with Icchi. Kutoria is already plenty isolated as it is. Icchi’s example is a bit extreme, but outsiders would certainly stand out here, and even newcomers are treated with a degree of caution. But if it were someone who was originally from the school, then it’s easy not to be suspected.”
Myuhi’s smile as she agreed with Shinichi remained, but it had clearly grown stiff.
“This sure has gotten complicated,” she added with a smile, but everyone knew that her expression didn’t match her feelings.
“That’s true. That’s definitely the most likely conclusion, but… Just who could possibly…” Aristel feebly muttered, unable to hide her agitation.
Not a lot of people may have been gravely injured in this incident, but that’s only true if one looked at the result of the incident.
In truth, it was only because the teachers were isolated early on and Shinichi’s group had interfered that no casualties came out of this incident, but if anything had gone wrong even a little bit, the students and the teachers may have very well started killing each other.
That was how serious this incident was, and to make things worse, the person behind it may very well be someone they knew.
A classmate or a coworker they were with until yesterday was most likely the culprit.
That weighed heavily on everyone’s minds.
The reasons behind their agitation varied due to their different positions, so it was rather complicated.
Some didn’t want to doubt others but were forced into a situation where they now had to doubt, while others were frustrated for failing to notice ahead of time.
The only one who didn’t doubt or feel any regrets was Shinichi.
“H-Hey, I know this is a bit weird coming from me, but if that’s the case, then wouldn’t I be the most suspicious one since I’m the only one not affected?”
It was then that Werner raised his hand and spoke with a dry smile.
Apparently, it had just occurred to him that he was the most suspicious person here.
“Oh, now that you mention it, that is indeed the case. The teachers and classmates in your class were all affected by an unknown skill, and you’re the only one unaffected. There is indeed plenty of reason to suspect you,” Aristel said happily.
“Ah, I thought that might be the case. But hey! I know I’m really suspicious, but I’m one-hundred percent innocent! I mean you all know that the technology class doesn’t deal with skill programs, right!? There’s no way I could come up with something new in a field I never even studied! And the teachers themselves only know how to program low-level skills!” Werner said.
His arguments made sense, but he himself knew they were hard to prove.
“That would require a devil’s proof, but hey, as your kindred spirit, I’ll defend you. First of all, the perpetrator was likely thoroughly prepared when he infiltrated the school. It’s doubtful he’d put himself in a position where he could easily be suspected,” Shinichi said.
“But couldn’t he be acting in front of us precisely because he expected that reasoning?” Aristel asked.
“We can’t rule out the possibility completely, but you saw him being attacked, right? No matter how durable his unit might be, if that situation had continued, it would have been dangerous for him. In the end, we saved him, but the stars had to align for that to happen. With no way to keep those students under control, the one in most danger was actually him,” Shinichi said.
The risk was too high for him to have orchestrated this whole play.
He knew the students here were envious of him, so if he had planned this whole thing, then he should have known they would attack him.
Even if he was the sort to fuzz over his romance, he should still know that it’s difficult to endure the attack of several guard robots.
Of course, it would be another story altogether had he attacked the other students seriously, but he was quite concerned with their lives.
He couldn’t have known that Shinichi’s group was watching him then, so there’s no way that he was acting.
“But wouldn’t their battle eventually catch the attention of other classes and call upon the aid of the teachers?” Aristel asked.
“That’s unlikely. Communications were jammed here and none of the examiners realized anything was happening, remember?” Shinichi said.
“Yeah, it seems the teachers have stopped their reports because they’re in that state, but it’s not really unusual for teachers to stop reporting since we are in the middle of an exam. We barely have enough people as is, so it’s unlikely anyone would realize that something was off. I know it’s terrible for someone in my position to be saying this, but really, you can’t expect much help from the teachers in his situation,” Frire said.
There was no way that the perpetrator who could infiltrate the school and come up with that unknown skill wouldn’t understand that.
“But what if the jamming was a lie, and he actually intended to ask for help later?” Aristel said.
“That’s impossible. Until you defeated them, I couldn’t contact Nakamura at all. Besides, the only class near them is 1 – D. That’s not exactly a class you can count on for help. Though, again, that’s really not something I should be saying,” Frire said with a complicated smile.
Although she had said all that to defend a student, since the reasons were actually because of her shortcomings, she couldn’t really be happy.
Still, the fact that she was able to answer without any difficulties goes to show that she’s still an adult.
“But in that case, it still remains unclear as to why he’s the only who hasn’t been affected,” Aristel said.
“About that… I happened to overhear this before the exam, but Brown, you’ve been skipping on your classes the past few days and have been cooped up in your workshop, right?” Frire said.
Although there were differences between the normal class and the technology class, information on the problematic students were still being shared.
Werner was infamous for being overly zealous with his work and losing sight of everything else.
“Huh, oh, right. Come to think of it, I was too focused on doing the finishing touches for Grandfizer that I didn’t go out at all,” Werner said.
“Can you not say it as though you remembered it just now? Sheesh. In any case, you weren’t with the other students, which is why you were able to escape, right?” Frire said.
“Given the sudden change of these guys, it’s likely the skill was used on them just recently too. It’s hard to believe that they could actually live a few weeks while in this state. When you put everything together, it’s hard to imagine that he’s the culprit. Does that clear everything up?” Shinichi said.
“Yes,” Aristel smiled.
In the first place, she never really actually doubted him.
“Well, he is just a romantic scientist, after all, so there never really was any meaning in doubting him in the first place,” Aristel said.
“Is that something you should be saying when you’ve been arguing against me this whole time!? Could it be you just wanted to make me the culprit!?” Werner said.
Although Shinichi and Frire’s defense allowed Werner to be at ease, he couldn’t help but shrink whenever Aristel brought out a point against him.
Because of that he ended up glaring at Aristel, but she just ignored those glares.
“Surely not. I’ve always loved debates like this, so I just wanted to give it a try,” Aristel said with a wonderful smile, leaving Werner speechless.
Shinichi and Myuhi figured that this was probably her way of getting even with him because of his incomplete weapons.
They shrugged their shoulders and smiled.
It would be great if this would be enough to lighten her worries. Aristel wasn’t someone used to doubting her allies, after all.