“—Anyway, it’s fortunate that we were immediately able to figure out the cause. It’s a good thing that you’re a returnee, Nakamura,” Frire said.
“Fu fu, indeed. We probably would have figured something out in the end, but I doubt we would have gotten this far this quickly without Icchi,” Myuhi said.
“…What do you mean?” Shinichi asked.
It seemed as though his being a returnee was important, but Shinichi couldn’t understand why.
At that, the others couldn’t help but be shocked and make a face that seemed to say ‘how come you don’t know?’
“N-No one really taught you anything, huh, Icchi. We don’t know why just yet, but people who’ve undergone dimensional drift have a tendency to be much more perceptive of photons,” Myuhi said.
“We Garestonians are always surrounded by photons, so we’re more sensitive to it than Earthlings, and yet people who’ve undergone a drift are even better,” Aristel said.
“Come to think of it, I think that teacher was saying something about returnees when I got my foster,” Shinichi said.
“Hey! Listen properly when big bro— I mean, Teacher Frank is saying something!”
Clearly, she was saying that because of her brother complex and not because of her position as a teacher.
At the time Shinichi wasn’t as calm as he was now and his attention was also taken by the foster, so he didn’t remember it all that well. That being said, he does recall becoming more perceptive of photons.
When he drifted into Falandia for the first time, he was immediately able to see mana.
At first, he thought it was normal since everyone else was able to do it, but he later found out that it was a necessary technique that everyone had to train for.
It was one of the few boons of being an otherworlder.
Of course, it was completely useless to him.
“But it’s really strange that no one taught you anything. Normally, the countermeasure department or your guardian would teach you about these things,” Aristel said with a puzzled face.
It was at this point that Shinichi finally realized why he didn’t know about these things. “Ah, so that’s why. My guardian had a lot of difficulties, you see. First, I was mistakenly arrested under the charge of illegally traveling across worlds. That was eventually resolved and I was released, but my guardians had to put in a lot of effort to make that happen, and in the end, they never really talked to me a lot about Garesto.”
Somehow Shinichi was able to fool them by uttering some half-truths.
Other than Frire who knew the specifics, the other students here didn’t find anything suspicious.
“Huh? They didn’t talk to you about Garesto? Why?”
“Probably to be considerate. I just came back, but it was a mess right from the start, and bombs kept being dropped at me one after another, so they probably wanted me to get used to my new home first. Besides, I didn’t have any intentions of going to school when I was first taken in.”
Her conjecture was right on the money.
Normally, either the countermeasure department or Rinko should have explained things to him, but the impossible time difference and the secrecy of the information sent the countermeasure department into disarray. To top things off, Rinko’s superior gave her such a heartless order that only served to confuse her even more.
Because of that she prioritized dealing with the other problems at hand and helping Shinichi acclimate to his new surroundings before anything else.
And so, matters pertaining to the otherworld were put on hold in the Nakamura family.
She decided to teach Shinichi gradually, but Shinichi suddenly made up his mind to go to school, and just like that it was suddenly too late for her to tell him anything.
“But enough of that. Do returnees have any other special characteristics? From what I heard when I first transferred, it sounds like there are a lot of high rankers among them.”
“As I told you back then, returnees just tend to be better at surviving. After all, not everyone drifted into a safe city or somewhere nearby,” Frire said.
In fact, the odds of being drifted away from the territories inhabited by Garesto were a lot higher.
As such, it was only natural that most of the returnees who were able to survive were high rankers.
“But isn’t it strange that they know how to raise their status? After all, you need to train while under the burden of photons in order to improve it, right?”
Earthlings weren’t privy to the concept of ‘Status’, which is why they were mostly low-rankers.
So just how were these otherworlders able to increase their status when they neither had the time nor tools for it?
There were other curious points too, but those questions could be asked later.
“You don’t know that either? Hey, caretaker, you explain,” Frire said.
“Okay! Just leave it to me!” Myuhi said with a triumphant face as she happily obliged. “The reason Earthlings are able to raise their status after drifting off into Garesto is because of Garesto’s environment. You see there are high concentration photon particles floating in Garesto’s air. They’re too small and feeble to be used as an energy source, but perhaps because they’re plenty dense, they’re good enough to facilitate the growth of status.”
That was especially true for the Earthlings who were coming into contact with photons for the first time.
All actions taken in extreme situations to survive are connected to the improvement of status.
That is to say that one can increase one’s stamina and strength even by just running.
Of course, that’s under the assumption that one has potential for growth.
“We only found out about this recently, though.”
The Garestonians never realized it since their environment was normal to them and their bodies have also adapted to it, but when the Earthlings suddenly improved their status after traveling to their world, they looked into the matter carefully and found out what the reason was.
Shinichi nodded in an exaggerated manner after listening to Myuhi and muttered to himself. “Hmm… Isn’t that ether?”
They were strangely similar in so many ways that Shinichi couldn’t help but consider the possibility.
Looks like he really had to visit the place at least once. How depressing. Evidently, something was bound to happen once he got there.
“…Teacher, if I may change the topic, isn’t the real problem the fact that no one explained anything to him? I understand that he has his circumstances with his family and that his transfer was decided abruptly, but it’s still too strange. He hasn’t even received the school guide,” Aristel said.
Even though she knew that he was an otherworlder and a transfer student, he still knew too little.
At this point, it felt as though the school itself was being too negligent in its duties.
“What? If that’s true then that really is a problem. Why did something like that…” Frire said with a serious expression.
“They just didn’t put any importance to me, that’s all. After all, I’m a D Rank otherworlder,” Shinichi said.
“Is… that so?”
Frire wore a suspicious expression and shook her head, but Shinichi signalled at her with his eyes.
—Drop this topic now.
Shinichi realized too that the information he was supposed to have been given had been withheld.
He also knew that the perpetrator was none other than the student council who’ve been put in charge of investigating him.
From the moment he came back in such a conspicuous way and with a time difference on top of that, it was decidedly impossible for him to avoid prying eyes.
He was fully aware just how suspicious his circumstances were.
Withholding information from him was one of the ways they had to try and understand what he was hiding. After all, by knowing too little, any action he took would surely cause a commotion.
All the more so in a place like this where the hubris of the high rankers stood tall and the low rankers were treated poorly.
They probably wanted to see how he would react in an environment like this.
What they didn’t expect was for Shinichi to ignore all the tumult around him.
This was not the kind of topic that could be told to a girl who didn’t know who to believe and who to doubt.
It was a topic already too dangerous by itself even if there wasn’t anything to worry about, so there was no need to tell her about it.
“Well, enough of that. Since we know the reason why these guys are like this, is there anything we can do to help them?”
Frire said as she pointed to the yet berserked people as though she wanted to drop the topic immediately.
Aristel wasn’t happy with that, but she knew that this too was an important topic and was in fact of higher priority.
“Hmm~ I’d like to do something, but since someone’s already used a skill on them, it’s difficult to intervene. Especially, since this is something that deals with the mind. Carelessly tinkering is too dangerous,” Aristel said.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t an easy problem.
Especially since it was the all-too-important mind that was affected.
The odds of worsening the situation or leaving lasting after-effects was too high.
“Officially, the correct way of doing things is to analyze them externally with a skill program, and then analyze the information, but… That would take a long time.”
Moreover, they can’t order the people of this city to analyze a skill that’s related to the mind.
There were trust issues too, but in the first place, it was dubious if they even knew or had the technology to analyze it.
They could call someone from the army to analyze the data, but even then there was no telling how long it would take.
On top of that there was still the question of how long it would take to actually dispel the skill after the analysis.
At this point, it was more realistic to hope that the skill would wear off after enough time passed.
“Either way it looks like they’ll have to stay like this for a while… Oh, their poor throats,” Myuhi said.
“Ruona, I think their throats are the least of our concern right now. Anyway, since we have to watch over them, in the worst case, we might have to put them to sleep. But even that can only continue for so long… Exactly what should we do?” Frire said.
Thanks to Shinichi they were able to make a lot of progress and find out what the cause behind their current state was, but unfortunately, they were still a long way from curing them.
Frire found it painful having to listen to them continue to run their mouths with abuses and all the things they were unhappy about.
“Is it really that big of a problem?”
While everyone was thinking that they could only watch over these people, Shinichi suddenly came out and said that.
And then before anyone could ask him what he meant by that, he suddenly flicked one of the students on the forehead with the finger from his left arm which was equipped with his foster.
A ‘DAN!’ sound resounded as the student’s head was suddenly sent backwards.
While everyone was dumbfounded, unable to keep up with what he had done, someone suddenly angrily yelled.
“Oww!? What are you doing!!? Huh? Wait, who are you? And why am I tied up like this!?” The student asked.