Regret and hate swirled within the boy who caused the tragedy.
The members of the evil god cult who should be responsible for these vengeful emotions have already been sacrificed in the ceremony, but there were still some members left. The boy was quick to recover himself and decide his targets.
Rage burned within the boy, but even then he was able to find out from the information of the evil god that this ceremony was a conspiracy between some of the members of the evil god cult who wanted the Evil God resurrected and some of the members of the church who wanted a clearcut enemy.
They were able to work together because their interests coincided, but either way, the boy’s benefactors were no more than sacrificial pawns in their plans.
At the same time, the boy also learned from the knowledge of the evil god that if only he wasn’t selected to be the sacrifice… ‘If’ only he hadn’t been chosen to be the host, then perhaps none of this would have happened.
Emotions high, the boy destroyed all the facilities of the churches and cults within the region, leaving all the believers unfortunate enough to be present then half-dead.
When the boy left it was as if a storm had just passed through, and only the traces of destruction were left behind in its wake.
Everyone agreed that it was a miracle that no one died, but for those who did see what transpired, they only had this to say.
‘A demon came’.
With a swing of his arms, the structures were cut into pieces as if a giant claw had pried them out.
With every step taken, the earth shook as if it were a giant walking.
His screams were inhuman, and anyone who heard them were stricken with fear.
He wreaked violence without discrimination, and people – be they old or young or man or woman – were brought before the brink of death.
No one died, but the wounds left upon the land and the hearts of the people ran deep.
And 2 years later, the people of that land yet feared the ‘Demon of the Black Tempest’.
But not everyone who saw the events then thought it was the work of the demon.
There was one among them – just one – who saw the violence of that white mask and saw hope.
A girl ran through the third floor with a terminal on one hand and a little boy in the other.
They had taken a long way around, but she still managed to lead them well and find the stairs.
“—This incident is a diversion?”
Daigo parroted when girl spoke about her conjectures.
But before he could ask her to clarify, she answered him.
“Most likely. If you think about it, the way they acted was odd. They panicked when that gentleman jumped in, but they were calm when they were trapped. If they were really planning on locking themselves in, then the hostages should have been invaluable to them, but they didn’t care even when they lost them. They said they hated Garesto, but they had Garesto equipment with them. All of this could only make sense if they had another goal in mind.”
After Shinichi’s roundabout way of scolding Daigo, there was a stark difference between those who broke down crying and those who didn’t.
The girl didn’t know the reason behind that, but the boy’s words helped her put the pieces together.
To the real criminals, this whole incident was nothing more than a farce.
“This place here isn’t their main objective. Their real target is somewhere far away, and they just want to use the incident here to draw eyes away; hence, a diversion,” the girl said.
“I know an incident this big is bound to gather attention, but isn’t it possible they’re just after money or have a grudge with someone related?” Daigo asked.
“No. Perhaps if this place were a bank or an art gallery or a museum or maybe a research facility of some sort, then there would be something of value to steal, but do you really think that a place like this could possibly have so much money or something so rare that causing a ruckus this big would be worth it?”
“I-I guess not.”
This was a department store. The only things that could be found here were the daily necessities people needed.
It wasn’t a place that seemed likely to have something so precious that someone had to become a terrorist and break in just to get it.
“Besides, the way I see it, they’ve done so little it’s creepy. If they had a grudge, then they would have been more proactive. Moreover, unlike the others, I didn’t feel any strong emotions from them at all.”
At most, they were annoyed that things weren’t going as they’d hoped.
But if they weren’t looking to steal or take revenge or fulfill some kind of ideal, then there were only a few reasons why they would possibly do something like this.
One such reason would be that the incident itself is their objective.
Of course, they could have committed this crime merely for fun or because they had another objective in mind, but he had already clarified that.
And from how the real criminals neither confirmed nor denied it, the truth was already evident.
“He probably figured it out early on. How to with the former criminals and us too. That’s why he endured all this time, looking for an opportunity to fight back. That opportunity finally came when he made his move. Or maybe he thought he couldn’t stretch the situation any further.”
‘Of course, he couldn’t have possibly expected that you’d try and stab yourself, though,’ she added with a smile, causing Daigo’s eyes to swim as he scratched his cheeks.
But there was a part in her explanation that caught his attention.
“Ah, no… Wait. What do you mean by ‘us and the former criminals’?” Daigo asked.
“…If this whole incident is really just a diversion, then the real criminals have to escape. But if the former criminals don’t have any reason to be arrested with them, then there’s also no reason why they would have to play along with their claims. If that’s the case, then when these former criminals are caught, the existence of the real criminals using them will also be found out. To avoid that, they orchestrated the whole thing on the third floor.”
The girl showed her foster to Daigo who was running behind her.
On the screen was a simplified blueprint of the department store, and on the floor of the third floor could be seen red lights flashing. There was also a red light flashing at the place they were at just awhile ago.
A dotted line served as an annotation to indicate what those were.
BOMB. Bakudan. In other words, an explosion device.
“No way!” Daigo exclaimed.
“Oh, but it is. A bomb that uses imitation photon as its fuel source. If that thing were to explode from directly under me, then even this body of mine won’t be able to hold up. The reason I had us take the long way around was to avoid other bombs in case there were more.”
After being told this much, even Daigo would finally understand what was going on. After all, he was someone who aspired to become a cop.
He could see now what exactly it was that the real criminals were trying to do.
When the time was right, they would make a break for it, leaving behind the other criminals to be blown up, sealing their mouths forever.
Ironically, because of Shinichi’s actions, the only adult among the hostages was Daigo.
If the authorities were to separate the criminals from the hostages, they would end up splitting them into a group of adults and a group of children.
Even if they were to investigate the identity of the criminals, the only thing they’ll find are a bunch of people unhappy with society.
At that, they’ll surely close the incident as nothing more than a suicide terrorist case.
The use of Garesto’s equipment could also be argued to be a part of their protest.
“What in the world. They were seriously planning on pushing everything onto these people! That’s why Shinichi said they were just being used and didn’t deserve to die!”