The moment the gentleman let out his true feelings and lamented his lack of power, a strange voice resounded.
When he raised his face, what greeted him was a white-mask fashioned from a raptor, floating.
Within that dense amalgamation of black darker than darkness itself was a certain white floating that seemed to be laughing.
The gentleman threw back his head in shock, and shamelessly screamed out from the top of his lungs despite his tall stature.
Not only did this thing give him the creeps, it could also bring about such great destruction, enough to part the ocean over a thousand kilometers.
How could he not be afraid?
『 Now why am I more relieved to get a reaction like that? 』
A little tilt from the mask, and the gentleman was screaming again.
Every single, itsy-bitsy movement from the mask was enough to submerge him into a sea of nightmares, but precisely because his fear was so great, the trembling would not stop, and he could not run.
“You bastard! How dare you show yourself here so brazenly!”
“Monster from another world! Our plans are a mess because of you!!”
But to these brave, hot-blooded, old men, it didn’t matter even if the mask were that sort of existence.
All of their pent up feelings that had nowhere to go just happened to find an acceptable exit – and exit they did, accompanied by bullets.
『 As expected of the people who wrote that stupid script… You’re really stupid. 』
But in response, the mask of the black mist just turned to a certain direction, and scorned the old men as lead bullets found their way to him.
『 The least you could’ve done is to use Garesto’s weapons… But of course, they wouldn’t work either. 』
The mask chuckled as a shrill sound resounded and the bullets were deflected.
The mask hadn’t move at all, and yet the bullets were deflected as though they’d hit a robust wall of steel, and they ended up finding their way into the furniture of the room instead.
『 You should be well aware that those are nothing more than antiques by now. 』
The firearms that were once the most convenient personal weapons on Earth were too easily neutralized by the defense systems of the otherworld terminals.
Although they haven’t circulated much in countries where firearms weren’t popular, they sold like hotcakes to those with gun cultures.
After all, it was much simpler to protect oneself with the terminals than it was to use a gun. There was no fear of thoughtlessly hurting others and no fear of spontaneous discharge either.
They also weren’t weapons, so it was safe to let children use them.
As a result, firearm-related deaths dropped sharply.
And along with that the production and sales of firearms.
“Shut up! It was because of those weird things that my country—!”
『—That all firearm-related companies went bankrupt and you took a huge loss, right? To be more precise, it’s not your country that’s affected, but your purse. 』
“That’s the same thing!”
『…And you’re seriously saying that. Wow. Despite the fact that this country is actually one of those that are doing relatively well covering for the deficits and getting people reemployed. 』
In the first place, there was no way for that to be the only industry supporting this country.
It was just that the people in power didn’t see it that way.
『 I so don’t want to be an old geezer like these guys. Though, to be honest… There’s a scant difference between us. 』
Ha ha, the mask laughed dryly as it approached the old men.
The old men knew it was meaningless, but they didn’t want to accept it, so they reflexively fired, but the result was the same.
Gunshots resounded and sounds of metal rebounding and furniture breaking resounded in futility.
“W-Why? Why won’t anyone come even though we’re making so much noise!?”
『 Because I cut off all sounds and communications earlier. But even if someone came, even 10,000 of your guards won’t be a match. I just didn’t want to be bothered. It’s true that battles are decided by numbers, but that’s a comprehensive number that includes other things as well, not just the number of troops. 』
As the mask said that, it approached in a manner that made it impossible to know whether it was walking or sliding along the floor.
When the mask had approached the old man in military uniform, it easily took the gun away from him.
“What!? G-Give that back— GUO!?!?”
And then without any warning, he shot the two thighs of the old man, and just like that, the old man with the best physique among the elderly gathered here all too easily collapsed onto the floor and was left groaning.
What happened next was like the reenactment of a disaster film, or perhaps a b-rated horror flick, as the unidentified black mist of a monster went out of its way to take the guns from the old men and shoot them as they scrambled to get away.
“Ha, ha ha… What the heck is this? Ha ha…”
Finding it even scarier to look away, the terrified gentleman watched the whole thing from beginning to end.
Before he knew it, his fear went past the peak, and he found himself laughing.
The old men scrambled to be the first to get to the door, only to be shot by the mask.
When the gun ran out of ammo, the mask stole another gun from someone on the floor and started shooting again.
Someone managed to reach the door, but when he tried to open it, and it wouldn’t budge, despair filled his face, and when the cry of a gun resounded, his consciousness left as a bullet entered his legs.
『 Sigh… If you just stayed put, I wouldn’t have had to shoot any of you… 』
The mask said as it crushed the gun, as though none of this had anything to do with it, not a hint of elderly compassion could be felt from it.
The mask hadn’t hit any of the vital points, but that seemed less an act of mercy, and more a means to prolong their suffering.
The mask said as it turned to the gentleman that didn’t get hit precisely because he couldn’t move.
The man screamed again, but the mask didn’t mind and just continued.
『 Tell me.
He couldn’t disobey. He mustn’t lie.
He understood that rule naturally and quietly pointed to the old man with the majestic beard.
“T-That guy… He has connections with enterprises everywhere. He himself holds enormous wealth, and he has close relations with the financial world of other countries. He loves attention, so he appears before the media a lot too.”
『 Thank you for the thorough explanation. In that case, I’ll be taking just this guy. You take care of the rest. 』
The gentleman blanked out for a moment when the black mist suddenly said that. When he saw that the black mist had stop the old man’s bleeding and was about to carry him away, he inadvertently asked him to wait.
“I mean, please wait. What are you asking me to do here!?”
『…This is payback, for the people who did something so unnecessary. For the sake of satisfying their own worthless pride, they exposed the whole world to danger. That is unforgivable. In that regard, even if you were
Though the eyes beneath the mask were apathetic, they seemed to be condemning him as well, and the gentleman found himself gulping.
He couldn’t even ask something as simple as why he knew that.
But that question did surface on his face, so the black mist did him a favor and answered the question.
『 It’s not hard to figure it out just by looking at you. After all, I checked how everyone’s family was doing. Well, I was a little bit surprised when they became hostages before they even turned them into hostages, though. 』
“D-Don’t tell me, my wife and children are!?”
For a moment, the gentleman imagined the worst.
That the one threatening him may have simply changed into this monster.
『 Don’t worry, your wife is doing her volunteer activities as usual without any knowledge of herself being targeted, and your daughter is in school studying the subject she’s so bad at, Math. As for the suspicious people watching them, they should all be on the operating table by now. 』
He was relieved that his fears were for naught, but at the same time, he was speechless. It had only been some dozen of minutes.
The fact that this thing could move into their country was plenty surprising already, but from the way it was talking, it seemed to be privy to some information, and that made him sweat buckets.
『 But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be forgiven for what you’ve done. Still, I am always in need of someone who can take care of the aftermath. Especially, someone who can come up with a convenient story for things like this that can’t be made public. 』
Although there was an implication of threat there, the idea of coming up with a story and dealing with the aftermath made him come up with an idea that has recently become familiar with him.
What should be sacrificed to survive this national predicament?
“…You wish to push everything onto the old men?”
『 I’m sure you have plenty of material that the old men are guilty of. Besides, they really are the culprits this time, so even if you have to sacrifice them, you won’t feel any guilt, right? 』
When he nodded, he was already plotting and calculating how to make this plan work.
If he were to make it out so that everything was because these men went out of control, it would be possible to absolve their nation of the crimes.
If needed, the old men could be made to give up some of their personal interests.
But even with all that, it wouldn’t be possible to avoid being penalized, and their nation would surely enter an age of diplomatic difficulties.
Instead of allowing these old men to do as they pleased, it would be best to give the world the impression that they’ve cleaned the infection and have extracted all of the pus.
The matter about the submarine was one thing, but as much as possible, he didn’t want the matter about the missiles to blow up too much.
Alternatively, they could also just deny all accussations since no one was openly blaming them anyway.
『 That’s a good expression, the kind of look the respectable conspiring politicians have on their faces. 』
“But aren’t you the one who came up with the gist of this scenario? …Ah, I mean…”
It was hard to tell if the black mist was praising him or mocking him, so he ended up grumbling inadvertently.
For a moment, when the black mist labeled him conspiring, and also because he felt it was much smarter than he’d thought, he forgot his fear, and he ended up saying something he shouldn’t have.
『 Hmph, the script you people came up with was too bad, so I had to revise it a bit. Be careful not to make the same mistake… Or you might just end up like the old men around you. 』
“…I’ll keep that in mind.”
After leaving that warning and threat, the black mist vanished.
The pressure bearing down on the gentleman also vanished, and he was finally able to let out a breath of relief.
But he was only relieved for a moment. Nothing had been solved just yet.
The first thing he did was to call trustworthy people who wouldn’t make a fuss.
That was the first action that this politican, who would one day carry this country on his back, took upon being freed from his puppeteers.