“…Saying just whatever… Don’t run your mouth! You don’t know anything, brat!
Our lives were ruined because of that stupid interaction with the otherworld!!”
And that’s precisely why you were tempted, Shinichi chuckled to himself.
But he kept that to himself as he looked at the man who lowered his gun and whose fists were shaking in anger.
The blond man in the latter half of his twenties stared at Shinichi with eyes full of killing intent, but they were nothing compared to what one could find on the battlefield. Shinichi did not falter.
“Like I give a damn about some trash’s circumstances!
A coward who can’t even become violent without relying on a weapon (thing) like that shouldn’t bark in front of others! You’re just a mutt that ran with its tail between its legs!!”
“Stop, don’t approach him!”
Perhaps the man was short-tempered to begin with or perhaps Shinichi’s words just happened to strike a nerve, but either way, he approached Shinichi and angrily smacked him with the clip of his gun.
A dull sound resounded as Shinichi’s head was made to go down diagonally.
“Please be quiet.”
The child behind Shinichi wanted to scream, but the girl hugged him to keep him quiet.
Inwardly impressed at the girl, Shinichi raised his head back up and quietly looked at the guy.
“I-I’m not a mutt and I didn’t run away! I haven’t lost at anything!!” The man said.
Before Shinichi’s sharp glare, the man swung his fists fearfully.
Those eyes that neither feared pain nor quivered in fear were strong.
The man seemed to have an instinctual rejection of being looked at by those eyes. He swung his fists repeatedly.
Before long, the gun fell from the man’s hands, but no one noticed it.
“When I was a kid I did nothing but boxing. I worked hard with my dad as my coach!
And yet all that went to waste just because my stats are low!
What do you mean the rules changed!? What do you mean the league is being indefinitely suspended!?
Are you going to just ignore the opinion of the people doing it! Don’t mess with me!!
Because of that everyone stopped and dad’s gym closed down!”
He swung his fists one after another as he yelled. It was as if his fists carried his anger.
One of the things that surprised Shinichi when he returned was the shrinking of the sports industry.
The sports industry could be said to be the most affected by status culture.
Because of the difference in abilities between two people with different stats was too great, matches between high rankers and low rankers were meaningless.
Should they then treat status like divisions and separate people accordingly? Or should they consider the talent of the athletes instead and not separate them based on their stats?
Would it be alright for Garestonians to participate? What about group competitions?
Legal and humanitarian problems and values based on enterntainment… Due to various reasons, the whole industry couldn’t agree on anything – not even a single match – and until now, they still haven’t agreed on how the rules will be changed.
Because of that all sports competitions have been left in such a mess that they couldn’t be considered a business anymore.
It was still doing fine as a hobby, but it was steadily declining as a job.
“Damn it, I haven’t lost. I couldn’t even fight!!
It was just a little more until the pro test, and yet! Damn it!”
Because of that this youth lost his job and his dream.
The man in suit remained on alert, but the boy resisted so little it was creepy.
Shinichi’s head swung left and right along with the man’s fist; something red flew out of his mouth.
“Damn it all… Haa, haa, haa, haa…”
How long did the man beat Shinichi up?
The man stopped punching Shinichi due to exhaustion; his shoulders heaved up and down.
As soon as he stopped, Shinichi went back to his previous posture and quietly looked up at the man.
Blood spilled from his forehead, bruises littered his face, and blood leaked from his cut mouth.
But despite that the strength of his gaze didn’t change, causing the man to falter.
“W-What are you…”
“Aren’t you a combat sports athlete? You didn’t think anything about the way I moved?”
In response to the man’s question which he asked because of the creepy situation, Shinichi asked him a question of his own.
But the only thing that appeared on the man’s face was confusion. It was clear that he didn’t feel anything off when he was punching Shinichi.
“I see.. In that case, it wouldn’t have worked out for you even if Garesto hadn’t come.
An incompetent mutt won’t be able to accomplish anything no matter how hard he tries.”
That’s why Shinichi laughed.
He mocked the man as if to say that the effort he poured for his dream was only to that extent.
There was some pity mixed in that, but Shinichi hid it well.
To the man no words could be a greater humiliation. In his anger, he shook off even that restraint he had put on unconsciously and sent Shinichi flying with all of his strength (a right straight).
The boy’s body flew into the air and crashed into the bookshelves of the bookstore.
The girl endured the violent and dull sound as she hugged the child even harder.
She could somewhat tell what Shinichi was trying to do.
“Uu, GU… It’s hard to balance my strength when jumping along with the punch…”
Shinichi endured the pain from his body that barely mustered any of its resistance as he brought his body back up.
The position he was standing at now was pretty good.
It didn’t actually have to be that blond guy. Anyone would have done as long as it was someone with a short fuse who would come and beat him up.
That way he could distance himself from the people behind him and gather attention onto himself.
Just as he thought, the three aforementioned men turned to him as soon as he stood up.
What was more was that at his previous position, he could tumble anywhere and find ‘something that was just big enough’.
Shinichi pretended to breathe heavily as he picked himself back up by leaning his hand onto the bookshelf.
Whether it was out of fear or because they saw him as threat, all eyes were gathered on him.
The bookshelf was attached to the ground, but if he really wanted to pull it out, it would only take a moment. He would throw that bookshelf toward the man in suit, and while everything was in chaos, he would bring the other two into a melee.
There were less than 10 enemies, and most of them were not used to fighting or using guns.
If he just made them lose composure, they wouldn’t aim their gun at the hostages.
That’s why he placed his hands on the bookshelf, but— He suddenly stopped.
“Wow, as showy as ever, I see.”
When Shinichi heard a man’s happy voice, he moved his hands away from the bookshelf.
A group of about 5 or 6 armed men were walking from a different direction from the criminals.
These were probably armed men from a different floor. They had their hostage take the lead as they headed in Shinichi’s direction.
“I guess it’s about what you’d expect from me, but… This is seriously some rotten timing…”
If they came just a little later, Shinichi would have been able to take care of them too.
Unfortunately, if he were to act now, the ones who’ll be put in danger is the new hostage.
And their hostage was not someone Shinichi could abandon no matter what.
“…Why did you have to go and get caught…”
When his childhood friend saw his bruised and bloodied face, he went speechless.
Shinichi grumbled in a soft voice.
All Shinichi could do now was wryly smile, but there was still resolve in his eyes.
—Let’s go back and give this one more try.