Unfortunately, Shinichi’s group was near the escalators and the stairs.
Everyone wanted to be the first to go down, so there was a lot of panic among the customers in the first floor.
“This isn’t a joke! Like hell I’ll get caught up in this!”
“Wait, there’s a kid!”
“You’re in the way! Move it!!”
The security yelled out to try and calm the people down, but no one was listening.
As the last fragments of clarity were swept away, the panic of the fleeing customers turned into a wave that rushed full-speed toward the entrance made by the converging flows. Human waves were a terrifying thing.
The very people that formed it were swept by it as if amidst a tsunami or a raging stream.
Shinichi had already foreseen this result, however, and his family was already outside of that terrible flow.
“…This isn’t a situation the security can handle.”
Shinichi muttered as he watched that raging stream quietly.
Everyone was headed toward the same exit, so if one tried to do something different, it could easily cause the people to panic even more, but somehow Shinichi easily avoided getting caught up in that flow.
“W-We have to run too!!”
But Nobuhiko didn’t think this was a good thing.
The sound of people screaming and guns shooting could still be heard from time to time.
The fear of not knowing when those men might come spurred the people onwards.
The people descending from the upper floor had decreased, but there was still no end in sight.
That’s why Shinichi had to calmly point it out.
“If we enter that flow now, Shinji will be in danger.”
If it were just them, then it wouldn’t be a problem even if they bumped some people, but they had to carry Shinji too, so it was simply too dangerous.
As such, the best course for them to take was to patiently wait for the number of people to decrease and then leave.
Of course, that was only because the direction the gunshots were coming from didn’t seem to change and there were no armed men descending from above.
“I’ve contacted the police and the countermeasure department.
They’ll be here in less than 3 minutes. We’ll go outside through the entrance there!”
Rinko said with a firm face as she pointed toward a slightly different direction from where the people were headed.
There was another entrance some ways away from their position, but no people were going there.
That was because they wanted to leave as soon as they could, so they picked the nearest exit.
“Yeah… Let’s just pray that there aren’t any armed men by the entrances,” Shinichi said.
“I intentionally left that part out, so don’t say it, Shinichi-kun…” Rinko said.
Shinichi intended to say that in jest to lighten the atmosphere, but while it worked on Rinko, it had the opposite effect on Nobuhiko who was between them.
Part of that fear was because of how calm Shinichi was despite their situation.
“Nobuhiko-san, right now, just focus on getting out of here!”
As Rinko said that, she took the lead.
But when they were about to go, someone with a desperate look passed by them.
“W-Where are you going!?”
The security guard helping the people escape caught her as she tried to head up the stairs.
The security guard was also scared, but he tried his best to fulfill his duty.
Alas, the woman cut him off.
“Let go of me! My kid! My son is at the third floor!
He wasn’t with the people who ran away! Let go!!”
“I-I can’t do that! We have no idea what’s going on above right now!”
The woman desperately tried to push the security guard off, but the guard was a man, and she could not shake off his restraint with just her strength.
Rinko probably sympathized with her since she too was a mother.
She worked with the security to try and convince her to run away first.
“Right. I’m a mother too, so I understand your feelings, but the police and the countermeasure department will be coming soon. You should just leave this to them!”
“But— Ah, you’re the boy from earlier…”
Perhaps it was because another woman was talking to her that the desperate mother was able to regain some clarity.
But when she noticed the Nakamura family, she turned to Shinichi and yelled.
“You’re strong, right!?
Then hurry up and defeat those men!”
Shinichi titled his head at the strange implication hidden behind those words.
Although this woman was a mother whose child was in a dangerous place and was evidently panicking, she had no problems asking him to take out those men.
That alone shouldn’t be strange, but there was something odd about her.
“W-Wait a moment, what are you—” Nobuhiko said.
“Don’t hide it! You’re a high ranker, aren’t you!?
Guns are useless against you, so go!
Isn’t that the duty of those with high stats!!” The mother said.
“P-Please calm down! He’s not a high ranker!” Rinko said.
The woman ignored Nobuhiko and Rinko and put on a tough act despite her fears as she yelled at Shinichi.
A plea from the bottom of her heart to save her child. There was nothing special about that.
But why did she refuse to move from Rinko’s side?
Before anyone else could, ‘she’ howled (barked) in response to the impudent and criticizing look of those around her master.
Even those who just descended were quietly sending a look that said ‘do something’ despite not knowing what transpired on this floor.
But there were many who knew just what kind of creature ‘she’ was.
Before her menacing posture, their gazes returned to that of fear and they returned to fleeing.
But that was enough to prove just what it was that the mother was thinking.
“I see. So… That’s the kind of ‘fear’ it was!”
Shinichi finally understood the meaning behind their gaze.
No. It would be more apt to say that he remembered. After all, he once held the same eyes.
Before that incident.
Those that wielded great power. Those that used their power only for violence. Those that were weak and could not defend themselves.
Shinichi remembered that he too once looked at those sort of existences with the same eyes.
‘The eyes one has when looking at a monster’
Earth had misunderstood the meaning of status, the duty that came with it, and the necessity.
That was especially true for this country that had caused fissures to erupt between the high rankers and the low rankers.
It wasn’t just because of the preferential treatment that the high rankers received.
Shinichi didn’t know which came first since he wasn’t in this world at the time, but the low rankers must’ve also discriminated against the high rankers and rejected them.
The difference in rank was dreadfully merciless. Shinichi knew that full well.
That was even truer in a world where the concept of the skill stat did not exist.
But unlike Shinichi who sought it out of necessity, this country was peaceful.
Before something as strange as another world, it was necessary to be peaceful.
Shinichi felt that there was even that kind of obsession somewhere.
That’s why they instinctively feared him. Someone who was able to acquire the power of another world.
“The reason everything is a mess is because they adopted the rules of another world even though they didn’t need it!”