When Shinichi’s knuckles dropped on Youko, Ryou and Tomoe reflexively cried out.
“H-Hey!?” Ryou said.
“Kyaa!” Tomoe said.
Youko had always been terrible at scheming because her emotions showed too easily on her face.
She could still hide them somewhat if she knew beforehand that there would be a situation that would trigger her emotions, but the completely unexpected situations related to Shinichi were just too much for her.
Apparently, this was a racial trait of theirs.
Meanwhile, the students seated in front of them were also shocked.
Shinichi had just been warned by Wernher to take care when dealing with his amaryllis because it was bad for the heart, and yet this was the result.
“…Doesn’t seem like there’s any helping this difference in perspective… Ah, whatever. And you need to stop getting flustered too,” Shinichi said.
“R-Right… So, what? Are you admitting it?” Tomoe said.
“Why would I? In the first place, I don’t even understand this mask you keep talking about,” Shinichi said.
The circle of the boy known as Nakamura Shinichi knew nothing about the mask.
In the first place, the matter pertaining to the bombing incident was rumor known only to a portion of the student body, so since it was known that Shinichi had little interaction with the other students, he had to play dumb.
“The first time I suspected your identity was when I noticed the resemblance between the two of you accidentally,” Tomoe said.
“Huh? Listen when someone’s talking to you, will you!?” Shinichi complained.
But Tomoe ignored the confused voices around her and just started explaining her deductions on her own.
“Although the way you talk is different, your terrible personality, stubbornness, and your minute gestures are the same. That’s why I started suspecting the connection between the two of you,” Tomoe said.
“Well, excuse me for having a terrible personality… Amu.”
Shinichi ate the last of his spaghetti while sulking.
Although Tomoe spoke casually, there was nothing casual about her gaze.
There was a sharpness to it that suggested she wouldn’t miss the slightest mistake on his part.
What was more was that everything she said was ‘unexpected’ to Shinichi.
When she mentioned that he resembled the figure he was supposed to be acting as, he was inwardly shocked.
“So when I started thinking about it from that perspective, that sword you used came to mind. I realized that adding black mist to that sword could indeed bring about a giant snake.”
“What mist? What giant snake? How about you start explaining already?”
Shinichi acted like he was irritated, but she didn’t answer him straight, and just touched the screen of the foster on the table, projecting a small screen in front of them.
On that screen was shown Shinichi using the snake belly sword, and a human-shaped black mist with a giant snake.
When lined up side-by-side, it certainly looked as though the only difference between the two was the presence of the mist.
“…You’re right, they’re really similar,” Ryou said.
“The other gun-like weapon that he used is similar too,” Tomoe said.
Shinichi, who would shoot down raybeasts with his air gun, and the black mist that would shoot out hammers of air to destroy his target.
On top of that, there was that matter with the snake belly sword. All of the scenes in the battlefield were recorded in her foster.
Although it was hard to perceive the air bullets, the foster was able to confirm the phenomenon occurring.
“All the weapons used are different from the ones in the academy, meaning they’re originals. I doubt a normal D Class student like you was able to bring a weapon from outside. If so, then you must’ve gotten them from someone from the technology class. Fortunately, you happen to know Braun. Now, everything makes sense,” Tomoe smiled.
When Shinichi realized that he and Wernher’s little rendezvous was found out at the worst possible timing, his head started hurting, but he didn’t let any of his agitation show on his face.
He quietly ate his cheese burger and shook his head.
He couldn’t taste the burger anymore, but he still wanted to eat it for the calories.
“A snake belly sword and compressed air bullets, huh. So the rumors were true then. That guy really does go all out for his hobbies. But wait… So, does that mean that guy is really this guy?” Ryou said.
“Don’t point at people… Sigh, so basically, you think I’m this black mist guy because I’m using the same weapons?”
Shinichi shrugged his shoulders as though to say that her evidence was lacking.
But Tomoe’s countenance didn’t darken even a little in the face of that, and she only nodded.
It was as though there was nothing to worry about at all on her part. That gave Shinichi a bad feeling.
From his experience, when a woman, who is not his enemy, is smiling confidently at him, something bad will happen to him.
“There’s more. This is just a little story that I heard from a public morals officer friend of mine, but apparently, the mask first appeared in Kutoria at the end of April when he defeated an armed group that had boarded a ship headed to Kutoria. After some investigation, I found out that that was none other than the ship you were on the day you transferred.”
A perfect match in both time and location, Tomoe smiled.
When Shinichi saw that face, it finally dawned upon him that this time around, the one being toyed with was him.
With how confident she was, Shinichi felt like running away.
Especially, since he could figure out just who her informant was, so he was especially gloomy.
“Come on, how many people do you think were on that ship that day?”
“But only a few got off Kutoria. In fact, not even 10. Moreover, on that very night, the mask appeared again to protect some students from a bomb.”
Shinichi tried to argue against her arguments, but Tomoe repelled his attacks easily.
The flow of events suggested that the mask came by ship and then got off at Kutoria, and Shinichi’s actions were a perfect match to that.
He was mentally unstable at the time, so the actions he took were really sloppy.
Unfortunately, the time has come for him to pay up for that sloppiness.
“…Right, I remember now. The bombing incident happened the night this guy came!” Ryou said.
Ryou had met him on that day, and with his testimony, there was more evidence now supporting Tomoe’s conjecture.
Shinichi had convinced the student council that it wasn’t him by relying on the fake hidden camera footage, but that was meaningless to these two.
“And when the mask appeared for the second time in the exams, as it turns out, none of them saw you when the mask was there on the battlefield with us. That’s verbal evidence that I got straight from the students that took the exam with us,” Tomoe said.
“That’s because you suddenly vanished. You know just how sensitive your position is, right? So I had to go through a lot of hoops to make sure that no one noticed you were missing,” Shinichi said.
That’s why he couldn’t stay there at the goal.
This was actually true, and it was the first reason why he had to leave that area.
Although he did intend to go back to the fields anyway, the reason he left at that time was Tomoe.
Because of that, or maybe it was just him putting on an act, Shinichi showed his displeasure.
“You acted on your own in a situation like that. I know you have your circumstances, but at the very least, you should’ve said something,” Shinichi said.
“Tomoe, you attacked those guys all on your own?” Ryou asked.
When the two said that with astonishment and criticism, Tomoe’s momentum finally weakened.
“T-That’s… Okay, I’m sorry, and… Thank you. I’d prepared myself to be demoted, but to think you would actually support me…” Tomoe said.
Tomoe herself was reflecting over her actions, so the atmosphere finally loosened up a bit, and she both thanked and apologized to Shinichi.
Either emotion was genuine, and her face was once again making a bashful expression, but Shinichi found it regrettable that she truly hadn’t expected him to support her.
“You’re such a dummy. I suggested you be made my assistant precisely because I didn’t want you to be demoted. If I didn’t support you, all my efforts would’ve gone to waste. Seriously… It’s good that you came back safe,” Shinichi said.
Although that was basically the excuse he came up with to deal with snooping noses, the last part was genuine.
And that seemed to have reached her as well, as she once again apologized.
But despite that she didn’t stop her questioning, though she did sound a little apologetic now.
“But… After the exam ended you never came back,” Tomoe said.
“…That’s because I heard that you came back to the goal already. I was tired, so I just headed straight back to my room. I passed by the guy from a neighboring room, so he should be able to testify for me if you ask him,” Shinichi said.
Of course, that was an alibi Youko had prepared using her illusion spell, but even if he was there at that hour, it couldn’t serve as evidence that he wasn’t the mask to ‘them’.
“Is that so? But what’s important are your actions before that,” Tomoe said.
“We know nothing about the specific times of that day, so there’s no point even if you tell us that,” Ryou said.
Despite Shinichi’s defense, they said that and played the fool.
The various diversionary tactics that he’d prepared were of no use against them.
He wouldn’t have minded if it was because of how skilled they were or because he’d messed up somewhere, but in this case, it was purely because they knew nothing about the information that would serve as his alibi – a pathetic, and yet troublesome problem.
“There’s no point Even if we asked you where you were after you disappeared.” Ryou said.
The detectives didn’t have any of those precise information, so the criminal couldn’t claim any of his alibis to protect himself.
Were this a mystery novel, the readers would have already started stoning the author.
Though it might work if the story started out from the perspective of the criminal, but it would likely end up being a story about a really dumb criminal.