I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – Garesto Academy – Exam Arc: Epilogue – Those Who Take Advantage of the Test – 04-40: In the Shadows of Earth and Garesto (2/5)

“…A-Are you alright, Teacher Doneju?”

When Frire left the interrogation room, it was the vice-president of the student council that met her.

Long, orange hair flowed down her back. She was Riltina Bergman.

Frire was so exhausted that she inadvertently asked that question.

“Sorry… I got a little too flustered there. Send me the bill for the table. I’ll pay for it,” Frire said.

But when Frire saw Riltina, she feebly shook her head and avoided the question.

Her actions confused Riltina, but she nodded nonetheless, and followed after her.

In the somewhat narrow halls of this facility, she followed after her teacher and looked up at her, but she couldn’t find the usual vigor she had in her.

She’d heard what Frire had talked about with the criminal in the interrogation room, so there were some things she wanted to ask, but she chose to suppress her curiosity instead.

“…Perhaps it would be best to take a break, after all? Since the end of the incident, you haven’t been able to sleep properly for two days now, right?” Riltina said.

“That’s true for the student council too… Besides, the most troubling part is being pushed onto one person. This much isn’t really…”

“Teacher?”

“Ah, no, it’s nothing.”

When Frire inadvertently muttered out that last part, Riltina eyed her suspiciously, but she immediately denied it.

With that, Frire knew that the fatigue was really getting to her, and she forcefully changed the topic.

“More importantly, I really demanded a lot from you this time,” Frire said.

Although she was trying to worm her way out of what she’d let out the bag earlier, it was true that there were several(・・・・) things she was feeling apologetic for.

Undocumented contact with the volunteer army and disclosure of unpublicized facts, while allowing another member to eavesdrop on that conversation.

Meanwhile, everyone else was ordered not to approach this place.

“No, it was profitable to Garesto too. I’m sure it was necessary to stop her from committing the same crime again. It would be troublesome if she managed to get away again, after all. And besides, this isn’t a conversation that Earthlings should hear…”

But she didn’t seem to mind at all and just shook her head as she acknowledged the necessity of the job.

The facts disclosed by Frire and the truth that turned their motive over its head.

Though these things may not have been top secret, they were not things that could be publicized just yet either.

Of course, the discerning ones from either world would have likely already realized it.

Despite that the circumstances prevented them from publicizing these matters.

“So in the end, what was the point of inspecting their weapons?”

This part was not mentioned at all during the interrogation, so the vice-president couldn’t help but be curious.

Before this meeting, Frire had personally investigated their equipment.

The vice president had preparations of her own to do, so she couldn’t watch when Frire did the inspections.

“Huh, oh, it’s nothing… There was just something that bothered me. Sorry to have troubled you, but apparently, it was just my misunderstanding.”

For a moment, she’d let herself out, but she managed to worm her way out by putting on the face of a teacher.

It was her usual tone, so Riltina did not think much of it either.

“Sorry to demand so much, but I’ll also need you to keep this a secret. If possible from your superiors too. If not, then at least just tell them that it was just my selfish wish to bid an old friend a last goodbye.”

After one lie, came another. That distressed her, but at the same time, when she realized that she’d started to adopt the same phrasing as a certain man, she wryly smiled to herself.

If she hadn’t done that, she was sure that she would’ve become flustered.

“Please rest assured. That much is within my authority. Besides, it makes me happy to be of help to the Sword Saint.”

It was curious if Riltina was being sincere or merely giving lip service, but regardless, a smile bloomed like a flower on her, and Frire made a sullen look.

When Frire first became a teacher here, people would often ask her for an autograph after greeting her.

Of course, they would choose an appropriate time for that, but she still couldn’t help but shrink back when she suspected that this vice president might be a fan of hers.

Though she indeed took advantage of the respect and envy from her reputation, it was still something that weighed heavily on her.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t strong enough to betray the expectations of those around her.

Especially for someone like this girl, who was not only close to her in age, but in a broad sense, also her colleague.

“Thank you.”

Frire replied with a sour look, as she tried to hide her emotions, but to the people of the academy, that was exactly the kind of face they expected from her, so Riltina did not think that anything was amiss.

Though it was also because of her persona as a demon instructor that her original nature never became known to those around her, this difference in perspectives was another reason.

“Please don’t mention it, I— Excuse me.”

Riltina suddenly stopped what she was about to say, and took out her foster.

When she saw the name on it, she realized it wouldn’t be a problem, and so chose to project the screen onto the air.

What appeared next was the tense face of the student council present.

『Tina-kun? Where are you? Oh, Teacher Doneju is with you? That’s great. Could you two please come to the student council now? 』

“Hmm? Did something happen, Amamiya?”

Frire asked, though it was certain that something must’ve happened, given the tense tone and expression of the student council president.

Amamiya took a moment before responding with an exhausted voice.

『…Masquerade made a move again.』

As sounds of gulping resounded, tension ran through the two women’s face.

It has only been two days since the incident, or no, actually, midnight passed just awhile ago, so it should already be the third day since then.

The two women nodded at the information, and immediately hurried toward the student council room.

 

The student council was originally an organization within the school made to observe the alumni that have learned otherworld technology and knowledge.

But the members of that very student council were presently dominated by agents under various secret orders from their governments.

As for whether the alumni themselves chose this path or it was because of the anticipations of their governments, that was a question akin to the bird and the egg.

At first, the agents were meant to get information and technology faster than any other country, but Kutoria’s insular nature and the presence of people from a myriad of different nations led to the student council being used as a place to exchange information unofficially and to hold secret talks.

With Garesto joining these secret exchanges, the whole matter has essentially been tacitly approved.

That’s why whenever there’s an incident or calamity that concerns the whole world, the student council would end up gathering a lot of information.

That’s especially true for information that couldn’t be officially disclosed, but still needed to be shared with other countries.

And that’s also why they were able to detect Masquerade’s movements quicker than anyone else.

 

The student council room was more like an office than a simple room in school.

There, office desks were lined up, and people sat before them and quietly worked.

As for the difference between that and a normal office, that would surely be the lack of paper.

But of course, that was only because the desks they were using were equipped with high-performance state-of-the-art terminals.

In the center of that room was an open space where three people stood.

“Please take a look.”

The president, Amamiya, fiddled with his foster and projected a globe with a diameter of about 5 meters right in front of him.

The three-dimensional planet(Earth) spun on its axis as though it were real.

On that globe could be seen dotted lights of red, yellow, and black.

“The red lights show the locations that have been confirmed. America, Russia, France, China, Austria, and Egypt. Terrorists operating independently in these countries were defeated, and the evidence of their crimes sent to the local investigating authorities.”

Several more detailed images appeared above the red dots of light.

Piles of smoking rubble, defeated armed men, destroyed armored vehicles, soldiers with faces twisted in fear, and a naked man rolled up in bamboo left alone in front of a police station.

“The yellow dots are the ones that have yet to be confirmed, but incidents have occurred in these places. The numbers already reach up to 50 when both are added, but this number is expected to increase,” Amamiya said.

“You sure work hard… So, where is the proof that Masquerade was involved?” Frire asked.

“There are no third-party witnesses and no videos, but… Everyone is saying the same thing. A masked devil, a darkness approaching, a white mask laughing,” Amamiya said.

“Ha ha ha… So it’s the same as last time then?”

Frire laughed, but with such testimonies, there was indeed no doubting it.

If not for the last incident and this recent one, one could presume that they’d simply gone mad and hallucinated, but now, it was all too clear just what they were referring to.

Unlike the first time, however, the investigation of the victims(criminals) this time went smoothly.

According to the reports, the victims were convinced that a horrible fate awaited them if they didn’t talk.

“So he’s making good on his word then. I suppose we can take this as proof that he meant his threat? Moreover, he made his move on the second day, so it’s definitely the same guy.”

“Yes, it’s too quick for a copycat criminal to have appeared. Besides, I really don’t want to imagine that there’s someone else out there who could do the same thing.”

Amamiya said with an exhausted face, giving rise to an air of mutual understanding between the three.

As scary as it was to think that Masquerade was completely alone, losing even the advantage they believed they possessed, numbers, and the notion of there being multiple criminals responsible for these incidents was even more terrifying.

After all, if there truly were several people with such powers, then the world was already over.

Just one showing himself in the shadows of the world was already enough to cause so much trouble.

If there truly were more than one person with such powers, then regardless whether they were good or evil, the world would be theirs.

When the student council president and vice president thought that, they became depressed.

“…Moving on. The remaining black dots. These are much more speculative than the other places, but we believe these are the countries where Masquerade intervened politically.”

“He did what?”

Unlike with the terrorist hunting, this was a matter that took Frire completely out of the blue.

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I imagine that Shinichi just tracks a bunch of sand, mud, water, blood, and gravel into his room from all the teleporting he’s doing. And since we now know that he’s weak to science I wouldn’t be surprised if someone were to think up some method to put an extrememly low tech radio tracker that couldn’t be manipulated by mana or photons or whatever.

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