“Oh, Yoshi… —Aggugah!?!?” The old leader cried.
“Yoshikazu-sama!?” An exorcist said out of concern.
One moment, the old man seemed to be mourning his grandson’s fate, but then in the next moment, he was scratching at his neck as though he were in pain.
『 As I’ve said, murder, suicide, instigation, and willful negligence are all forbidden. It may have only been for a moment, but the thought must’ve crossed your mind when you lost hope in your grandson’s future, alas, that too… Is murder. 』
“A-Argh… S-So this is the purpose of your curse!?” The old leader said.
『Ku ku ku 』
It was at this moment that they realized that their shackles weren’t just meant to fetter them.
With the reprieve of even death made forbidden, Yoshihisa would have no choice but to continue living in this house, though the power he held with such pride was already gone, unable to take his own life or ask others to.
The mask likely intended for him to serve as an example.
『…It is doubtful that you’d be able to commit evil with your shackles, but should you still insist in doing so, the moment I learn of it, I give my word that this commoner’s fate shall be yours. 』
As those words resounded, despair spread through the hall.
No longer could they defy the mask. In fact, even the very thought was no longer present.
『Well, there’s no need to think so hard about it. Just fulfill your duty as an exorcist clan. If you do that, then at the very least we won’t be crossing paths as enemies. Work hard now. 』
As the mask looked at every one of them, the exorcists all nodded without hesitation.
This was the only path left to avoid any further casualties.
After that the mask made a few ‘requests’, and then vanished.
Below was the speech from a certain video, transcribed and translated to Japanese.
『 Garesto, Earth… Ladies and gentlemen of the two worlds, forgive me for greeting you so abruptly in such manner. 』
This message was sent 1 hour after ‘that scene’, when the top brass of Kutoria and the academy, the government of Garesto, the government of various Earth nations, and the many anti-establishment bodies were all in chaos from fear. Especially, since another nation’s submarines have suddenly appeared on shore.
Was this truly happening? If so, what was that creature? Was it a foe? Was it an ally? How should they deal with it? They didn’t understand anything, and they couldn’t decide on anything, but it was then, that this message came.
『 To the people who’ve been watching my activities, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Masquerade… And please don’t translate that to a masquerade ball or anything of the sort. Consider it my name. Of course, it’s not my real name. 』
A black mist in the shape of a man, and on the part where the face should be, was a white mask that spoke in an indiscernible, mysterious voice.
Yes, that was none other than the
What would an existence capable of so much destruction have to tell them? What would it demand from them?
『 This is a recording, so I won’t be able to answer any of your questions. I’ve also sent the same message to all of the governments and organizations that were watching. 』
Though the mask spoke with courtesy, the one-sided explanation made such courtesy appear superficial, and that graceful bow clad in black mist only served to paint an even grimmer picture.
But all that changed when the video showed what was behind Masquerade, a painting, wherein a ghastly ‘red’ could be found on the dirty, crumbling wall of some dilapidated building.
The spectators screamed.
For two old men were nailed onto the wall through stakes piercing their limbs.
『 Now I’m sure you must be curious about the two elders behind me. But fret not, it’s nothing complicated. These two are merely sacrifices to demonstrate my capabilities. As sinners who’ve committed a great sin, they are fitting to be made an example of. Evidence of their crimes have already been sent to the various public organizations, and they will also be sent to the appropriate places later, so there’s no need to worry. 』
That was not a funny joke.
But Masquerade did not think they would take his words at face value either.
After all, one of the men was the leader of his country, while the other was a renowned Garestonian businessman, Gaen.
These were people that all governments and anti-establishment organizations knew.
Any large country with decent intelligence agencies would know were they were until just a moment ago.
That’s why they were speechless.
Where was Masquerade and what was he doing just an hour ago?
To the organizations that have received the evidence Masquerade was talking about, they were also dumbfounded by his thoroughness.
『 Without knowing my identity and my goals, I’m sure you couldn’t make heads or tails of the situation. Hence, to avoid causing needless anxiety and distrust between each other, as well as to avoid people from taking advantage of the secrecy of my identity to blame other nations, I have sent you this video. 』
Those words were spoken nonchalantly as though to ignore their shock.
If Masquerade was doing this on purpose, then he must have a terrible personality.
But it wouldn’t take them long to know that the bomb Masquerade had sent them was not so mild.
『 First, let us make one thing clear, I am neither an Earthling nor a Garestonian. 』
Such declaration was too problematic to simply be brushed off as nonsense.
But among those watching, there were those who thought that only made sense.
『 I’m sure you’ll find it easy to understand if I say that I am a lost traveler from a third world. I have no proof other than that there is no one else but myself who can do what I’ve done. Especially, that attack that split the ocean or the submarines being teleported. Can any of you do the same thing? 』
Although Masquerade had simply thrown that up there, he’d said it knowing that they couldn’t accomplish what he’d done.
Of course, such a feat wasn’t exactly impossible to either world if they prepared a device as big as a battleship beforehand, but they would’ve also long noticed such a device.
As far as teleportation went, teleporting that much mass while keeping the people inside safe had an astronomically small chance of success.
As for the attack that split the ocean, that was indeed Masquerade’s work.
The light and the energy that appeared in that moment was a power unknown to either world.
Hence, the explanation that there was a third world only made sense.
『 But I’m sure there will still be people who can’t accept that answer or will say that I’m lying. But to be honest, don’t you think none of that really matters? It doesn’t really matter where I’m from, does it? 』
The people that realized what he was getting at, paled.
He could exact so much destruction alone, run through the world in such a short time, and even gather information.
He even managed to break into the official residence of governments and various organizations, illegal and legal, and sent them this video.
No person was capable of such things alone, and it didn’t really matter what the true identity of his organization was. They were a threat all the same.
『 I’d like you to hide the matter about myself, as well as the incident in Kutoria. I don’t want to be caught up in the meaningless conflicts of these worlds any further. Of course, I couldn’t leave alone the matter this time around, and had to intervene for altruistic reasons. Although this isn’t exactly my world, I am living in it and would like to avoid any wars occurring in it. Besides, I’m sure anyone would do this much if they had the power to and knew that someone had foolishly launched such destructive weapons. 』
Another unfunny joke.
Though the general concept was sound, the scale was too big.
Was there even anyone else who possessed such power as an individual?
And even if someone like that indeed existed, would such a person really threaten the two worlds like this?
But Masquerade did indeed exist, someone who possessed the power, and also did something like this so non-nonchalantly, but that too begged the question… Was he really the real deal? Or was he merely a deviant?
『 Well, you might just take this as pretense, and I’m sure there are low-lives among you that can’t help but suspect, so let me make it clear for all of you.
────Obey me, or be erased from the map. 』
Until now, Masquerade had been talking politely, but for the first time, he broke that, and without the slightest hints of emotion declared death to any and all who defied him.
『 As for whether that’ll be in a physical sense or societal sense, that would depend on my mood then. I hate terrorism. And I also hate people who use violence to change the world, or try to rule the world, which is why, I am also not fond of taking these sort of actions myself, but alas… There are just too many that can only be stopped by force. 』
The mask shook from side-to-side, as though lamenting that fact.
But Masquerade indeed had the power to accomplish just that, and there was no falsehood in his words.
『 That’s why, when I feel that such actions are occurring, I will intervene. If you don’t want that, then avoid violent methods and handle things politically. I won’t be having any excuses along the lines that a display of power is also part of politics, nor will I be having any terrorists crying to me that they had no other choice. 』
In the end, was he an idealist or merely violent?
Regardless, it would appear that he himself was aware of how abstract his demands were, or at least, that’s the impression he gave with his spontaneous laughters.
『 If you still refuse to listen to me, and insist on making your claims violently, then in that time, you shall know just how cruel and irrational my power is. 』
Just like them.
The mask seemed to say as he glanced at the two elders behind him.
『 Unfortunately, this is neither a request nor a threat───this is an order. Whether you’re a nation, an organization, or an individual, I hope you you make your decision wisely. 』
This event would would mark into the dark history of the two worlds the biggest threat ever made, a threat wherein all of both worlds were simultaneously threatened by one criminal.