Shinichi avoided his childhood friend’s awkward smile as he searched the outerwear he took from Mitsuda.
In truth, this was his purpose right from the start. That excessive violence from earlier was really just because he wanted to give Mitsuda a good beating.
Shinichi threw the foster to the girl as soon as he found it.
“Use that and get everyone out of here.”
That was all that Shinichi said before turning to the yet petrified men and glaring at them.
Shinichi moved a little and seemed to be protecting the confused criminals too on top of the hostages.
The girl looked alternatingly between Shinichi’s back and her terminal as she operated it.
“Huh? What about you!? And are you saying to take these people too!?”
The girl did as Shinichi instructed, but Daigo couldn’t just follow Shinichi’s instructions.
It was impossible for him to leave his childhood friend in a situation like this.
What’s more is that he couldn’t find it in himself to forgive the criminals who had broken down crying after everything they’ve done to his childhood friend.
Perhaps they would no longer work with the remaining three or four people anymore, but they were still originally in cahoots with the criminals, so they should just be left alone.
Shinichi could tell what Daigo was thinking from the tone of his voice, but he spoke as if none of these concerned him.
“Those guys were just used by those men.
Regardless of the time or place, there are always people unhappy with society.
Of course, these criminals still deserve to be punish, but there’s no need for them to die here,” Shinichi said.
“Used?” Daigo asked.
“Those guys aren’t really terrorists.
They’re either some underlings of a criminal organization or just all-rounders that were overly influenced by mercs.
The contents of their work aside, they were probably gathered just to cause a commotion.
Am I right?” Shinichi said.
“You!?” When the ringleader finally woke up from his stupor and cried out, the people that broke down finally regained their senses.
The ringleader neither confirmed nor denied Shinichi’s words. He just glared at him bitterly.
But that was enough to prove Shinichi’s words correct.
“H-Huh? What does that mean…?” Daigo asked.
“…So that’s how it is,” the Garestonian girl said.
“Ask her for the details.
We don’t have the time to talk leisurely here. Go. Are you okay?” Shinichi said.
After hearing the girl’s words of affirmation, Shinichi urged his friend to go, then he asked one last time if the girl was alright.
The girl nodded strongly in affirmation.
“Yes. I’ve turned off all the traps set up in this building,” the girl said.
“What!?” Someone cried out.
The girl held up her terminal as she said that with her chest puffed up. For a moment, Shinichi was taken aback.
It would’ve been normal for anyone to cry out in surprise here, but the one to utter that voice of shock was actually one of the criminals.
The girl had perfectly understood what Shinichi meant when he said ‘use that and get everyone out of here’, and she did exactly what was asked of her.
“…By any chance, are you actually really smart?” Shinichi asked.
“Yes! I’ve always been the top in my class!” The girl happily replied.
Shinichi swallowed the urge to say ‘you don’t look the part’ and just urged her to go before turning to the criminals.
“Why were you able to remove the traps with that!?” A criminal asked.
“Are you stupid? The only one in cahoots with you guys that brought Daigo was that guy.
So obviously that guy must’ve had something on him that would allow him to turn the electromagnetic nets on and off. Otherwise how could he have gotten to the third floor?”
The criminals that were only being only found out about those things later, so the main criminals were probably able to operate them unnoticed, but those who had to go against the flow of fleeing people probably already knew.
When Shinichi passed by, he had used his right claw to destroy them, but considering the reaction of the people here, someone had probably fixed it later.
“You bastard! Weren’t you here right from the start!?”
“Everyone! Please stand up and quickly run away!”
As the men snorted, the girl behind Shinichi helped the people up.
The rest followed suit and stood up, but their movements were really slow.
Their body and mind just couldn’t keep up with the sudden change of heart they were experiencing as well as the revelation that they were just being used.
When the main criminals saw that, they finally moved their attention away from Shinichi.
“You think we’ll just let you go quietly!?”
To these men, they could turn a blind eye to some things, but they had to keep these people here or they’ll be in trouble.
The remaining men used their terminals and summoned three drones.
Behind the cash register. A pile of cardboards. And one without any disguise.
Those three shadows that were hidden nimbly walked and lined themselves up before the men. They glared at Shinichi and the rest.
The four strong limbs stood on the floor and red light (sensor) illuminated loudly through the black visor.
They opened their jaws as if to show their sharp fangs, and they stepped firmly on the ground with their long claws as if to damage it.
Literally a pack of steel dogs.
“Are those… Pet Drones?”
Shinichi thought they resembled those dog-shaped things he saw from before, but an even more detailed explanation came from behind.
“No way. They have the military variants with them!?
Ah, it’s no good. I can’t control them with this terminal!” The girl said.
“We’re controlling these things individually. Get them!!” The criminal said.
At the behest of their masters, the steel hunting dogs attacked.
These things that were meant to attack humans and monsters ran straight for Shinichi at a speed beyond that of normal creatures.
This was the true form of these beast-type drones that were distributed for military use. They were not at all like the pet guard variants.
They hunted on command. And to that end, they came equipped with claws and fangs and a sturdy body made of steel.
“Hey, hey, I think you’ve got the order wrong,” Shinichi said.
But if one were to ask how they compared to the bullets from earlier, then the only response could be that they were slower.
It was true that they were quick and nimble as far as beasts went, but they were still too slow compared to bullets.
They ran like the wind and leaped with great vigor, but to the boy, they were no different from a sheet of paper slowly descending.
Avoiding them would have been child’s play, but there were people who’ve yet to stand up behind him.
In the first place, these things weren’t strong enough that he had to avoid them.
What could three possibly accomplish?
Shinichi fearlessly smiled in the face of the three beast drones.
Two beast drones leaped, aiming for his head and stomach, while the remaining one continued running to try and bite at his feet.
The three beast drones lined up vertically beautifully. If there were just one more, perhaps they would have vanished from this space.
Shinichi dared to think such idle thoughts as he watched the claws and fangs reach out for him.
If they were going to leap at him, they really should have done it after surrounding him first, Shinichi thought.
Fear and apprehension could audibly be felt from his childhood friend’s cry.
It was a voice Shinichi had heard many times before. A fearful voice that cried out whenever he got hurt.
He really hasn’t changed one bit, has he? Shinichi actually felt bad when he thought of what he was about to do.
But there was no stopping him anymore. Shinichi smiled and shifted his body slightly.
The first to reach him was the beast drone looking to take a bite out of his stomach.
Unfortunately for it, that small step Shinichi took caused it to miss its supper.
The fangs of the beast drone clamped down on the air only to find its head held down between Shinichi’s armpit, while the claws aiming for his head were grabbed by his other arm and then smashed into the beast drone going for his legs.
As the forelimbs to which those claws belonged to were torn off in the ensuing impact and then promptly abandoned, Shinichi laid his hands on the last beast drone locked between his armpit.
With the head of the beast drone firmly fixed, Shinichi twisted downwards.
When the limbs returned to their original position, a sound cried out from the steel body, and then it fell.
Shinichi loosened his armpit, and the head of the beast drone quietly rolled down onto the ground.
The whole process took only one breath to complete. It was almost as if Shinichi had done something similar many times before.
It was curious whose voice that was that cried out.
One thing for sure, however, was that the only thing left before Shinichi now was a heap of scrap that had been smashed into each other and the remains (scrap) of a broken toy whose head has been twisted off.
Just like that the fearsome hunting dogs of steel were easily put down by the bare hands of a human. They who were meant to hunt were themselves hunted instead.
Before that sight, the girl and the criminals could only gawk in silence with their mouth agape.