“I also don’t recognize this sender. A pseudonym, perhaps?”
“Probably. But the way they came up with it is too disappointing. If you just combine the first name and family name like this…”
“Pseudonyms don’t just come out of thin air, you see. Usually they’re a combination of names that one already knows of.”
But of course, they wouldn’t use ‘their’ real name.
Shinichi wryly smiled when he thought of how needlessly elaborate these fake love letters were.
“But why would they go through so much trouble just to do… Wait a second. The locations are different, but they’re all inviting you during lunch time.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“You’re not going?”
Of the five places listed, the park they were at now was not among those.
In fact, they were all quite a distance from the parks outside the campus.
“Why do I have to go when I know that people responsible for something as incomprehensible as this are lying in wait for me?”
Shinichi replied with a complete lack of interest that the girl found a little surprising.
“…I wonder why. But even though I feel like you’re right, for some reason this seems just like your usual response.”
No one would respond if they didn’t find any meaning in doing so.
It was also because of that that some of the students have come to really hate him.
“But at this rate, they’re just going to keep sending you these fake love letters.”
It was unlikely that they meant well when they’re trying to call him out like this, but if he just continued to ignore them, their actions might just get worse.
The girl implied that he should get advice from the authorities or other relevant entities, but…
“Don’t worry. They’re almost at their limits. Those guys aren’t really that good at keeping their temper. I’ve been ignoring all this time, and this morning, they sent me all five of those.”
“Fue? A-All of these were sent today!?”
Shinichi matter-of-factly said something so incredible.
Before the girl could even respond to those shocking words, he showed her a fearless smile that suggested he was scheming something.
“I bet they’re really angry right now. Maybe they’ll even use force next. Come to think of it, there’s a school-wide event that’s going to be held soon, right?”
Shinichi spoke as if he were confirming this piece of info with her, but the way he decided to deal with the situation still left her astonished.
After all, he was implying that he was going to deal with them if they were to try something in that event.
“Umm, you’re talking about the test the day after tomorrow, right? It’s a very important practical test, but I guess you’re planning on using this as an excuse to skip it?”
‘I can’t participate in the tes properly anyway, so I might as well put it to good use.’
The girl frowned when she realized what he was planning, but the boy happily nodded and honestly voiced out his thoughts.
“It’s good that you’re quick on the uptake. You might be better off as an assistant rather than a leader.”
“I’m not sure if that’s meant to be a compliment…”
The girl wryly smiled with a complicated expression as she didn’t know how to take Shinichi’s words.
“That’s unfortunate,” Shinichi muttered.
But while he said that out of concern for her standing, he also said it due to the presence of someone else (sound).
“Oh, right. We have a flight training during lunch time.”
“Wow, as expected of the Special Class. You sure fly some nice things.”
A sound akin to the sky tearing fell from the sky, and the boy and the girl looked up.
The people up in the sky weren’t close enough to be heard, but they could still be seen fluttering about in the sky.
They also weren’t completely covered in exoskeleton, so it was possible to distinguish their faces.
“Hey, tell me. Is that hard?”
“Yes. Most of the movements are done by the machine, but the minute adjustments have to be done by the pilot. There’s no control stick to move the device, so all you have is your mind and your body to move it. If you’re not used to it, you can’t fly and you won’t be able to play tag like that either.”
This might be stating the obvious, but humans can’t fly freely at will.
Even if one knows that one is wearing a device that allows flight, the sensation of flight itself is a difficult thing to imagine; hence, it takes time to get used to it. And even more time is needed if the level of expertise required is to be fit for air combat.
Even the students of the special class struggle with this subject.
“It’s even worse since the faces are exposed.”
“Yeah, I’m sure it’s scary even if you know that there’s nothing dangerous about floating in midair.”
“How long does it take to be able to do that?”
“If the issue is just safe flight, then the average is about 100 hours. The actual time needed differs from person to person.”
“So that’s what it’s like when you complete training, huh. Not only can they fly in formation, but they can even do quick turns in the air… Those are some pretty lines.”
The lines drawn in the air by the group of over 10 people were worthy of admiration. There was a touch of human in the way they moved that separated them from the maneuvers executed by fighter jets.
Meanwhile, the girl looked away from that to glance at the boy.
Something about his side profile struck her as odd, though the same could also be said about his remarks.
“…Can I ask you a question?”
“If it’s something I can answer.”
The girl asked the boy who continued to look up at the group of people in the air.
“Nakamura-san, why can you make a face like that?”
“I’m sure you didn’t really mind their actions, but still, how could you make such a gentle face while looking at people who kept flaring up like that?”
The special class students flying in the sky right now were the ones who saw Shinichi as a problem the most.
But when Shinichi looked at them, no hint of anger could be seen reflected on his eyes. In fact, even that apathy that he was usually so full of was missing.
If one were to liken it to another similar gaze in terms of warmth and gentleness, then the eyes that Shinichi held could be likened to that of a parent watching his children.
“…Was I making a face like that?”
Shinichi’s face was full of surprise when she pointed that out.
But when she nodded, all he said was, ‘I see’, and promptly admitted it.
“There’s no deep meaning behind it. I’m just glad to see people working hard produce results or have their efforts acknowledged. If possible, I wish they could keep working hard like that and one day reach their dreams.”
After all, Shinichi himself has never known how it feels to struggle for a goal or the happiness that comes with reaching it. And chances are that he will never know that feeling.
Shinichi looked up again at the students in the sky.
These were students who worked hard to improve their Status and master the equipment they’ve been given.
There was a brilliance and sacredness to those struggling figures that only he knew.
“Then why are you making such a sorry face?” The girl asked with concern.
And the boy replied with a wry smile, “…I’ll keep my silence on this one.”
After all, as much as he hated it, he knew that he could destroy all of that by himself, and that was not something he could say to her, who herself was leading at the front of that group. And neither could he tell her that his power was a corrupted power not gained through his own efforts or talents.