That was a ludicrously extraordinary status, so much so that to Garestonians like them, it was literally at the level of a monster.
In fact, were a monster like that to appear near one of Garesto’s cities, not only would they have to abandon the city, they would have to gather an army with tens of thousands of soldiers, as well as the ten great nobles, and yet still, have to be prepared for death.
If their fear of the black mist was a fear for the unknown, then here was was a fear of of the known.
『Status beyond common sense, golden hair like the rice ear of harvest, and this presence. Sigh, just how much of a pull do I have? Would you normally pull even a divine beast here? 』
But in the face of that comprehensible fear, Shinichi just threw the cracked sword away, and sighed.
It was curious if his attitude was that of leisure or resignation, but regardless, the words he muttered caused a wave of killing intent to surface from the man.
“Divine beast? What makes you think I’m a beast!?”
『Heh, that’s a confession right there. What’s more, a mere
Shinichi snorted as he pierced through the truth of the matter.
Because of that the man instinctively judged him to be an enemy, and he lowered his hips and readied his arms just like a beast about to jump on a prey would, and then────he vanished.
『And here I was about to tell you to beat it. 』
No, he didn’t vanish, he had merely propelled himself so fast it looked as though he did.
That was a speed that neither the machines from the otherworld nor the former soldiers were used to, but not him.
As Shinichi muttered those words in complaint, he turned behind him and sent out a kick.
A thunderous roar that seemed to shatter the sky erupted.
In fact, the air did shake, and the married couple held each other fearfully.
As they sat, floating, over the surface of the water, kicks clashed above their heads.
Had the enemy not been stopped, that kick would have surely claimed their heads like the reaper’s scythe.
The armor covering the man’s legs couldn’t endure the blow and fell apart, but the man didn’t seem to mind.
“My master has demanded their death! Don’t stop me!”
『You dare protest my decision to spare their lives? 』
The moment they said that, they vanished.
Completely unable to grasp their movements, the married couple just fearfully embraced each other amidst the explosions in the air.
From time to time, traces of black and gold could be seen, so the two monsters were likely clashing.
But there were so many overlapping explosions and traces of black and gold that it seemed as though there were more than two monsters clashing.
The tempestuous fight stirred the sea, and waves attacked the couple from every direction.
A pitiful pair of spectators caught in a battle between monsters.
Just a few moments ago when they were so passionate about fighting for the sake of the world, and yet look at them now.
Despite that they did not feel any shame, and just wished for this whole thing to end.
Their state of mind was just like that of those waiting for a natural calamity to pass.
When a powerful explosion that was noticeably louder than the others resounded, the two monsters that clashed fists returned to their previous position as though they’d been deflected and glared at each other.
“Ku, haa, haa… Your movements may be hard to grasp but it’s still impressive that you’re able to match me in power and speed. It seems master’s intuition was right.”
The sorry excuse for an exoskeleton that he had was just getting in the way, so he’d already put it away.
One monster in its bare flesh, the other indiscernible… Already, the two monsters were fighting at a level that had gone beyond the reach of otherworld technology.
But despite their already abnormal battle capabilities, there was still a difference between them.
『Equal? Don’t make me laugh, kid.』
“What do you mea───!?!?”
Suddenly, the man found the world around him falling. No, he had merely been forced to his knees and couldn’t move.
Thanks to the ability he had equipped, he was able to continue floating on the surface of the water, but his two legs were shaking just like a newborn fawn, and he couldn’t stand up.
『That’s the price of believing yourself to be my equal. 』
It might’ve been the speed with which he moved, or the damage that he received, or perhaps both, regardless, because he had mistakenly believed the two of them to be equals, the damage to his lower body was greater than he’d expected.
Moreover, while his breath was ragged, Shinichi’s breath was as collected as ever.
In the few seconds of exchange between the two monsters, it was clear which of the two was superior.
“This shouldn’t be possible— Are you one of our kind!?”
It was not because he had some basis that he asked that, but that he couldn’t accept this result unless he were indeed one of their kind.
The corner of Shinichi’s lips lifted as he spoke in that usual circuitous manner.
Though he spoke casually, the sharp glint in his eyes made it seem as though the air had become heavier.
Whether that was a dream, reality, or an illusion, the man felt as though a black halo different from the mist had appeared.
A mysterious aura that took no questions and compelled him to feel awe.
His brain told him that what the black mist was saying was impossible, and yet his instincts made him acknowledge it, leaving him with no option but to falter.
Even the husband and wife that were behind the black mist trembled.
One glare was all it took for Shinichi to dominate everything.
『────I never thought my subordinate would be so easily driven into a corner like this.』
Which is why the person who said that could not be among the four present.
And indeed, that carefree voice had come from a black screen that had suddenly appeared.
The man was surprised to see the screen with the English text ‘Sound Only’ appear, but he didn’t get any response.
Shinichi glared at the screen, but as expected, even he couldn’t intimidate someone through a screen.
『 I doubt you’d answer, but I might as well ask… Who are you? 』Shinichi asked.
『 Wow, it’s actually kind of scary when you can only see the eyes, huh. 』Laughed the voice from across the black screen.
The voice sounded young, but he was brave enough not to answer the question of the black mist.
But he also knew that he didn’t really need to introduce himself.
“That voice… Is that?” Joyce said.
“Yes, that’s one of our external collaborators, the Doctor,” Cherry said.
『This is that prankster of a designer? 』
According to the information he’d gotten from her, this external collaborator of theirs was both an engineer and a researcher.
He was the person behind the camouflaged tanker, the mind skills, and the androids disguised as humans.
Among the anti-government organizations, he was known as Doctor, a man with exceptional knowledge and technical expertise.
Though his name and face remain unknown, he is one of the terrorists infamous in both worlds.
『What? Y-You sold me off that quick!? I went through so much just to accommodate your demands! How could you? But then again, I suppose anyone would after being treated like that.』
The youthful voice joked around as though it didn’t matter at all.
For some reason, goosebumps broke out on Shinichi’s skin when he heard him talk like that.
『Still, I’m surprised. I didn’t think there’d be anyone who would see those things as pranks. 』
『Going all out to do something unnecessary? What is that if not a prank?』
『Oh? …Just who are you?』
Did the black mist’s reply mean something else? For some reason, the tone of the youthful voice became heavier.
Perhaps, those words had plucked at his heartstrings? That much seemed evident from his voice.
But that wasn’t all, there was also some agitation mixed in.
『Why don’t you force my mouth open and then ask? If that servant of yours were to fight to the death, he might just be able to reach this body, a one in ten-thousand chance, that is. 』
In response, Shinichi threw him a clear provocation with an irritated voice.
Yes, that was not meant for the blond-haired man, but for the person across the screen that couldn’t be seen.
The two wordlessly glared at each other across the screen, giving rise to a disquieting atmosphere for some time.
During that time, the manservant forced himself up by sheer will, and awaited his master’s orders.
As for the married couple that were being ignored, they could only tremble in the face of the dangerous atmosphere unfolding.
『….Ha, ha ha ha, no, let’s not. He’s the only subordinate I have left alive. I don’t want to lose him. 』
The first one to give up was the Doctor, and the one most surprised by his decision, almost to the point of being pitiful was the servant.
“M-Master, that’s! —I mean, you’re right, but still!”
Surprisingly, being so directly told by his master that he would lose if they were to fight, agitated him to no end.
Of course, he himself knew that, and in fact, just standing was already taking so much out of him, but he still couldn’t help but feel so defeated that his face immediately transformed from tension to that of an abandoned puppy.
As for Shinichi, the manservant’s behavior only made it clearer what he was.
Just as he thought, their kind’s enthusiasm toward their master appear to be instinctive.
『If you keep fighting, I won’t be able to get any data for my prototype, so don’t. Still, I didn’t expect that you’d actually cover for those two… How about giving them to me?』
『No. You were watching, right? Then you should know, that the moment I told them they were saved, they were. And nothing can change that.』
The youthful voice so casually demanded for Shinichi to hand over the lives of the two former soldiers, but he immediately shot him down.
The Doctor may have ceased hostilities, but Shinichi was still emitting a dangerous aura.
One wrong word, and he might just attack.
The manservant felt that, so he decided to keep quite, and so did the Doctor.
『…But I don’t think you have time to mind us, look over there. 』
No, the Doctor hadn’t truly gone quiet, he was merely choosing the appropriate time to use his trump card.
On the black monitor appeared a giant arrow, and Shinichi turned some of his attention to that direction without moving his gaze before suddenly turning his whole body altogether.
『W-What are those? 8, no, 10 objects are flying at a high speed from the surface of the water? 』
Shinichi was the one who said that, and he did know that the objects were moving quickly, but he didn’t know exactly what they were.
The only other things he knew was that they were inorganic and were not using photons.
For some reason, though, he couldn’t help but become restless.
『…No way! For real? You could tell that much from all the way here!? What kind of sick radar is that? Damn, I so need to get a look at that!』
Unlike Shinichi, however, the youthful voice just sounded as innocent as ever.
As expected, even the servant was flabbergasted at the Doctor’s behavior.
“Master, please give the details already… Or else the battle will resume. This guy isn’t done fighting yet.”
『Oops, sorry about that. Let me show you what’s happening in real time, here. 』
As the voice said that, a different screen appeared, and on it was projected the meaning of the scenery.
The one who understood the most was none other than Shinichi, who had already unconsciously understood what was happening to some degree.
『Hey, hey, this has got to be a joke! This is part of your plans too!? You really want to start an otherworld war!?』
For the first time, the boy truly yelled in anger, and the glare he gave the youthful voice was nothing like what he’d given earlier.
Fortunately, for the owner of the voice, he wasn’t here, so he could act as flippant as ever.
『Hey, don’t blame, I got nothing to do with it. You sure are smart, though. If this were to be handled incorrectly, it could certainly start a war. And even if it’s dealt with, it would still leave remains that might catch on fire again… They really thought it through, those old geezers overflowing with patriotism. 』
That flippant attitude pissed Shinichi even more, but he controlled himself.
The voice wasn’t lying. In fact, it even sounded unhappy with the people behind this mess.
Besides, there was no point yelling at someone who wasn’t here.
It would be just a waste of time.
“Cherry, what are those? I feel like I’ve seen them before somewhere…” Joyce said.
“I-I think those might be…”
It might’ve been because they weren’t used to seeing them in Garesto, or because they’ve been living underground for 8 years, but the two married former soldiers of another world couldn’t immediately understand what the things projected on the screen were.
What they did know was that the screen made out of photons hadn’t been altered.
『 Do they not understand just how sensitive this place is!? 』
Flying over the surface of the water were elongated objects. With main wings and a tail, they looked just like small aircraft, but any Earthling could easily tell what those were even if they didn’t know a thing about the military.
In fact, the screen even showed what had fired those things.
『I knew that submarines from other nations were keeping watch here! But what kind of fuc*ing idiot would actually fire
Several nuclear submarines were situated over 1,800 kilometers (1119 miles) from Kutoria.
What was launched from these submarines were the Earthlings’ long-ranged weapons, the cruise missiles.
Given the situation and the direction they were headed in, they were without a doubt headed for Kutoria.
Yes, their target was neither a terrorist state nor a military base, but a city full of civilians.