When Kutoria was completely shrouded in the night, in a certain place within Japan, within an expensive mansion, was a black-haired young man lying on a sofa, speaking listlessly to the person on the other side of that black screen in the air.
The person he was talking to was the complete opposite of listless, however.
『 What is the meaning of this!? 』
“Nothing. Due to some circumstances, I’ve been completely busy these past few days. Of course, since it’s my fault, I’ll be paying the penalty for breaking our contract.”
Although the young man had admitted his own fault, he was flippant about this situation.
Evidently, he wasn’t the slightest bit apologetic.
If the person he was talking to could see him, he would’ve surely blown his top.
『 You said you’d make it by the appointed date! Don’t tell me you’re afraid of that ridiculous mask? 』
A threat video from someone calling himself Masquerade.
The video itself hadn’t reached the man, but it’s been getting around in their industry.
There was scorn in the voice of the man as though to ask ‘you don’t actually believe that cr*p, do you?’
“Ha, don’t be ridiculous. Only fools would watch that and not be afraid.”
『 What was that!? 』
“I recommend that you stay quiet for at least half a month. I wouldn’t want to lose a valued client, after all.”
The young man confidently declared that only a painful ending would await him were he to move now, and the person took that for contempt.
『Unacceptable! There’s only six days left until the appointed day! How many years do you think we’ve been waiting for this day!? The two worlds shall know that a mere video can’t scare us! 』
“I see. Good luck then. If you’re still safe two weeks later, I’ll be sure to send you the payment.”
『 Don’t forget those words,
One voice cold, the other emotional, the call ended in a quarrel, and silence filled the room, but a strange smile surfaced of the young man.
“What an idiot. He’ll only mark himself if he makes a move now… I got too heated up too.”
In a sense, his words had baited the man into making this foolish choice. That wasn’t something he would normally do.
“Ah~ This line can’t be used anymore. Gotta get rid of all my traces.”
He didn’t sound the slightest bit regretful as he said that.
In fact, his cheeks loosened because he could understand the reason behind his actions.
To think there would still be such a human side left in him.
“…Ah, welcome home.”
It was then that another young man entered through the window he’d left open.
From their calm attitude, it could be seen that the man was not an intruder.
This was the 80th story, but even that was normal for this two.
The man approached the young man, lying on the couch, and immediately knelt.
Like a knight offering tribute to his king, the man presented a blade.
Though this ‘knight’ was indeed male, he was a beautiful young man with blonde hair.
So much so that the way he looked as he offered that sword would fit right in a painting.
“What era are you from? …Ah, but then again, you’re not human…”
But the person on the receiving end of that knightly ceremony was just dumbfounded.
Despite the unremarkable response, the blond man just smiled as he watched his master become flustered.
The young man, who was his master, took the sword and placed it on the table, then he fiddled with his terminal, and immediately, the surroundings changed.
Although the blond man was already used to this, he still let out a voice of admiration when that rich living room suddenly transformed into a research lab.
Various pseudo examination equipments composed of photons appeared as well.
The young man did not create matter from air, rather he took the various systems in his terminal and made them both visible and bigger with photons.
“Quiet down, Ein.”
It was true that the young man had made these himself, but they weren’t anything new, and yet Ein was all praises for him, so he couldn’t help but sigh.
Using his terminal, a machine arm grasped the blade, and he examined it using various sensors.
“…I-I’m sorry, Master. The prototype you went out of your way to make was stolen by the enemy when I wasn’t paying attention.”
“It’s fine. Either way it was broken the moment you struck him with it. Repairing it now would be difficult, though, since I had to use a number of rare metals to fix it. I wanted to recover those metals that’s why I wanted it recovered… That and I was certain
“A trace left by Masquerade.”
After all, he already had it.
Usually, it would just be a possibility, but in this particular incident, he was sure that a trace would be left.
“But even without this, I would’ve still had a way to figure him out. The more evidence the better, though.”
“…Master, are you planning on getting involved with him?”
“He made an appointment, after all.”
A one-sided reservation that arranged for a meeting on June 14.
A date that was meaningful
“I’m against it. That person is… strong. To be honest, I don’t think I can win against him. Even if the whole world fought with us, I doubt I could win…”
To lose even with the whole world backing them up… It was such an absurd thought, but Ein was convinced of it.
He could tell when they’d fought that the enemy hadn’t taken him seriously.
And yet his master just took that as a matter-of-fact.
“I know… I’ve known that ever since.”
“At most, you might be able to win against the famed General Ortis. As I thought, the world really is big. Even an All S like you couldn’t do anything.”
Ein knew that his master was hiding something from him, but since his master wished to hide it, he wouldn’t pursue.
But as a servant, there were things that he had to say, so he stiffened his face and advised his master.
“That enemy was powerful, Master. But more than that power, what was really terrifying was his mentality. He might really have the power to contest against the world. Moreover, he made a decision like that in that moment… I wonder what kind of human he is.”
Was he a fool, a deviant, or someone amazing?
As Ein said that, he showed his master a fearful face for the first time.
And yet, his master didn’t think anything of it.
“I get what you want to say, but unfortunately, that guy is just an idiot.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“All that Masquerade is doing is sidestepping the problem by doing something in a way that no one knows so no one can ignore him, and by becoming a threat that no one can solve.”
An existence as small as a human that could travel throughout the whole world in a short time.
Moreover, one that could bring about that much destruction. Already, that was an existence that had gone far beyond a simple threat.
So much so that even the thoughtless use of cruise missiles was left in the mist.
“Don’t tell me, in order to prevent any chance for conflict from being left by the warmongers, he intentionally created an even bigger commotion?”
“That’s the general idea, yes, but it was also meant as a greeting for the actions he would be taking from here on.”
Unbelievable. Ein trembled when he realized the decision that that person made.
His master just enjoyed his reactions, however.
“Ku ku, but in the end, how many people has noticed it, I wonder. That this threat’s real goal is to buy time. A complete but indirect delegation of the problem to the people concerned. How nostalgic.”
“But as usual, he’s messing up in all the weirdest places. I can’t believe he left so much of it… He should be grateful that I recovered it for him.”
This was the first time Ein heard these kind of words from his master.
Words spoken of in a gentle voice toward the person underneath that mask.
“Master, do you know that person?”
“Yeah. When we were talking, it was just a possibility, but with how his brain works, there could only be one guy.”
They’d both spoken to the man, and yet, Ein couldn’t figure out at all why his master was so convinced.
In response to his doubts, his master shrugged his shoulders and said.
“He knew that you were at least four tails. In other words, he had the ability to know that you were an Amaryllis. But the Amaryllis are too strong, so they’re not being researched or observed even in Garesto. In that case, only someone who has an Amaryllis would be privy to such knowledge.”
That was enough for Ein.
After all, there was only person that was known to have an Amaryllis.
“W-Wait a moment, Master! Does that mean that Masquerade’s true identity is!?”
“The evidence doesn’t end there. His Recognition Interference ability is indeed terrifying, but his eyes can be seen.”
“I-Is there supposed to be an evidence there?”
The young man chuckled, then fiddled with his terminal to project a screen in the air showing Masquerade.
Because the black mist was expanding from the eyes, it was easy to tell that the creature was humanoid, but with the whole body indistinct, learning anything else was impossible.
After all, this was already the result after analyzing it with all sorts of video analysis software, however…
“Look at the mask that can be seen clearly. Now, zoom.”
On the screen was Masquerade when he glared at the young man. The screen zoomed in onto the white mask, and then enhanced the image, filling the entire screen with the eyes beneath the mask.
Upscaling the image all the way from that tiny point was possible thanks to otherworld technology, and by processing that image through various tools, new information could be extracted.
At this point, Ein finally understood what his master was getting at.
“I see. If the eyes can be seen, then a retinal scan and an iris recognition scan can be done!”
Both were ways to identify a person through their eyes.
The retinal scan relied on patterns on the retina specific to each individual, while the iris recognition relied on pattern recognition technology to match the pattern of the iris.
8 years ago it still wasn’t possible to use such technologies from this distance, but it was possible now.
“Of course, without any prior data it would still be impossible to know who it is, but I never got rid of his data from 8 years ago.”
Confident in his conjectures, he began the analysis of the two data, and the result was a 99.99989% match.
With the trace left on the blade and the matter about the Amaryllis too, there was no mistaking it any longer.
All of the data was pointing to ‘that boy’ that was projected on the biggest screen.
“Ku ku ku… I thought this day would come eventually, but it was a lot earlier than I expected. Regardless… The only humans worthy enough to stand in my way is either you or Daigo.”
The young man laughed with delight.
It was as though either of the two becoming an enemy was a happy event.
It had nothing to do with their abilities, he felt from their nature that that would be the case.
That’s why they were able to become best friends.
“It’s really scary, actually. To think that a person like you would be given power… Like giving a monster a weapon.”
He didn’t know how, but the boy he knew had gained ‘power’.
Moreover, enough power to threaten the world.
But despite saying how scary such a thing was, his face was full of delight.
“Just where and what have you been doing in your two years? You chose that date because you realized it was me, right? I’m sure you want to meet me even now too, isn’t that right—”
Full of yearning and anticipation, the young man gazed at the boy on the screen, and uttered that name after so long.
In a gentle voice deep with affection.
 This one is actually using the word ‘Master’, whereas Youko uses nushi-sama, an old respectful way of referring to men, when referring to her master.
Tl Note: No chapter tomorrow.
Update: Still no chapter today. We’ll resume tomorrow.