The technology for humanoid robots indeed existed, but due to the low demand and the ethical issues surrounding the construction of androids, barely any existed other than the ones made by the students of the technology class in their spare time.
Who would’ve thought that the terrorists would prepare some of their own?
『To be more precise, they’re androids with no individualities made to look like humans. They’re exquisitely made so that even when they’re destroyed, the parts inside will resemble humans. 』
“What are you saying!?” The enemy said.
The enemy the mask was fighting was currently caught in the mask’s arms. As the mask said that, it took away his lance, and then threw it into the one of the bodies that the girl had cut.
As it penetrated the body and a metallic sound resounded, the identity behind the cut bodies was finally brought to light.
“Ah,” Youko said.
『A really well thought out trick if I say so myself. Raybeasts aren’t living creatures, so students have a tendency to rely on their motion sensors alone. And most student equipment have a hard time using several sensors at the same time.』
Although the students indeed faced many types of enemies, they were mostly either raybeasts or robots.
Either of which moved, so it made perfect sense to rely on a sensor suited for that.
It might be different for enemies far away, but at a distance this close, few students would go out of their way to first identify what kind of enemy they were facing unless it wasn’t obvious.
In other words, if one just altered their appearance, the odds of the students scanning their opponent was almost nil.
This trick took advantage of that.
『That’s also why they carried out their surprise attacks with optical camouflage. You know, as much as you people seem to look down on these students for being kids, you sure like to pull off a lot of childish pranks, don’t you? 』
“Tch, shut up! Let me go!”
That seemed to hit a sore spot, as the man in the mask’s arms desperately struggled.
He tried to pull his arm to no effect, so he threw a punch with his other arm instead, but that was also easily stopped, and now, both of his arms were sealed.
The black mist was only holding him, but the visual effect of being wrapped by that black mist was surprisingly potent.
“Eek! Damn it! Just what the heck are you!?”
The man was visibly frightened, but the mask just creepily smiled.
It may have been doing that on purpose, but it spoke volumes of its personality.
“…It’s such a wasteful feature, though. Is there any point in putting so much effort to come up with something like that?” Tomoe asked.
After all, such a feature was just so worthless for a weapon.
She could still understand making them look like humans, but what was the point of going out to make them look like humans even after they were destroyed?
The mask casually revealed the unbelievable motive for that.
『Oh, but there is a point, To make children believe that they’ve become murderers, a psychological attack, so to speak.』
Tomoe turned to her shocked childhood friend in her arms.
Youko was trembling because she’d really believed that she’d killed people.
If the truth behind the events here hadn’t come to light, it would have likely become a trauma for her for the rest of her life.
But something was still off.
So the human-shaped weapons could indeed be used as a psychological attack, but the problem was that they had to be destroyed first.
Given how sophisticated the technology was in these androids, it just didn’t check out.
“W-What the heck is with that? So they went out of their way to bring out such crazy advanced technology just so they can annoy some kids!?” Ryou said.
The trick itself was extremely simple.
They projected a super realistic image over the interior of the machines to make them look human, and then installed some blood beforehand.
But the precision and effort that went to the execution of the trick wasn’t by any means normal.
An image projection technology that wouldn’t be doubted regardless what angle one looked, blood that felt and looked just like the real thing – what’s more was that even the temperature had been regulated – and they even did the calculations so that these robots would move themselves to look just like human bodies after receiving a certain amount of damage.
Of course, they could no longer work once they’ve been destroyed, but they didn’t need to to perform their purpose.
Everything was designed, so that the enemy would think that they’d become a ‘murderer’.
From that, one could see the eccentricity and passion behind this wasteful application of technology.
『Pranks are often like that. 』
But the mask took this whole thing in stride, and for some reason, was fully convinced that the person who came up with this just wanted to come up with a prank.
『It feels strangely nostalgic for some reason, though…』
When he felt like he was having a deja vu in the face of such crafty imagination, he couldn’t help but have a bad feeling.
『Hey, whose idea was this? This isn’t something warriors like you could’ve thought of by yourselves.』
“S-Shut up! Like I’d tell you anything! ‘Air Slash’ !”
The mask tried asking, but all it got in response was an endless number of wind blades.
Being point blank, defending and dodging seemed impossible, but the skill just dispersed.
『Well, it doesn’t really matter… Right!?』
And then the black mist smashed its mask into the surprised face of the enemy, and then sent a roundhouse kick next.
The three leaders approached to help, but their commander crashed into them, and they fell together.
These men equipped in simple exoskeletons could neither get the exoskeleton up nor get up themselves.
“Arrgh! You’re in the way! Move it! That bastard! That was point blank! Why didn’t the skill work!?”
They all tried to get up, but because they kept pawing at the ground, they got in each other’s way and just failed to get up altogether.
Their supposed commander raised hell, but that just made them look even more pathetic.
『Hmm. I don’t have any obligation to reveal my own tricks. If you really want to know, then you should rack your head, and explain it yourselves. 』
However, there was no trick.
The skill just simply couldn’t penetrate the layer of mana covering the black mist.
Hence, the skill wasn’t ineffective, it just wasn’t strong enough.
『After all, what’s most important now, is that you haven’t killed anyone. 』
While completely ignoring the men raising hell, the mask approached the girl and gently patted her on the head.
As the mask gently caressed her wet hair, it used a spell to dry her hair for her.
The black mist may have appeared creepy, but the girl didn’t think that at all.
As for why, the girl herself was the most confused. She couldn’t understand why she didn’t feel any discomfort being touched like that.
In fact, the mask’s touch both calmed and warmed her.
While its words were gentle and even reassured her.
Just a moment ago, her heart was like a hurricane from the fear and confusion of having become a murderer, but now it was as still as a tranquil sea.
That was partly because the truth had been revealed, but it was also partly because of the mask’s touch.
People had various reactions to that. Tomoe had a pleasant expression on her, while Ryou wore a strange face, and Yousuke looked at the pair with complicated feelings.
“But so what!?”
But that scene was broken when the enemy from before was final finally able to stand up, and said that with irritation.
The mask turned to him, but there was an aura about it that suggested it didn’t appreciate his interjection.
“The girl still lost her calm because she thought she’d killed them. In the end, that’s all these brats amount to! They’re all just playing soldiers out here!” The enemy said.
“Yeah! All we did was to make them understand that!” One of the leaders said.
“Hyeh, hyeh! Whe hidn’t do anywhing hwong!” Another leader said.
Despite the mask revealing their trick, the men didn’t think they did any wrong.
But that excessive selfishness that made them lay a hand on the children just roused the mask’s anger.
“If you know the battlefield too, then you should know as well! People without the resolve to kill have no right to wield weapons!”
That was the commonsense of the battlefield, the resolve to fight and its qualification.
In other words, they were saying that they themselves possessed that, which is why they were able to fight.
They truly believed that, but───
『Says the ones who couldn’t even beat those kids playing soldier. 』
───They failed to realize that a certain fact was being revealed.
And then the mask quietly aimed its hands at different locations, and released a snake and a gale.
The snake slithered through the land and wrapped itself around something at a certain point, while the hammer of wind smashed into something and created a crater.
But while it was evident that something had happened, the targets of those attacks remained unseen.
“Y-You couldn’t have!?”
『I did say I would reveal all your tricks. Dye them, Water.』
At the mask’s behest, the artificial blood that had been sucked into the ground, gathered in the air to form a bloody ball.
That ball split into three and poured on three different heads.
“D-Don’t tell me!? The reason behind that speed was actually—” Ryou said.
“They really pulled a fast one us, didn’t they? Such a simple method…” Yousuke said.
“W-We lost to that!?” Youko said.
When they realized what the trick was, they all became speechless.
Tomoe, who didn’t know the events here, was the only one who titled her head.
『Not even magicians use that trick nowadays. 』
One had been kicked by the mask, while the other was being constricted by a snake, and the third had been knocked down by the wind, and every one of them was dyed in red.
Even if their armor had a mechanism to repel water, so long as the type and amount of mana used was apt, then Falandia’s magic would realize the power of the words uttered.
Which is why manipulating liquid and soaking a target with it was well within the capabilities of the spell.
“*Cough, cough… W-What the heck is this!? The color of my armor is ruined!”
“Oeeue, damn it, just what the heck is this thing coiled around me!?”
“Ek, I-I can’t go invisible, the camouflage function is broken!”
Some of the liquid seemed to have gotten into their mouth, but either way, the jig was up.
They wore the exact same type of exoskeleton, and also had a similar voice and stature.
Perhaps they were triplets, or just siblings that were close in age. Regardless, they combined their likeness with their armors’ stealth function to make it look like they were one super soldier that could teleport.
Unfortunately, such tricks were useless to the mask that could sense even the very presence of souls.
『Three soldiers pretending to be one soldier… Now, tell me, who’s playing around again?』
Tl Note: Changed the three commanders into just leaders.