Shinichi calmly turned around.
There he saw Crimson crawling toward him.
He could have ignored him, but there was something bothering him, so he decided to lend him his ear.
Crimson thought this was a good opportunity too, so he continued.
“How about… Ugh… Forming an alliance with us?”
“…That’s not something someone who lost should be saying.”
Crimson couldn’t talk straight probably because of the pain, but Shinichi wasn’t really surprised or taken aback by his proposal. It was a common pattern, after all.
After being driven into a corner, one will offer attractive conditions to his pursuer in an attempt to purchase him and bring an enemy with unexpected skills into his camp.
It could be effective depending on who the offer is being made to, so it’s not exactly a bad idea.
Unfortunately, the reason why Shinichi was talking in such a roundabout manner was because he didn’t have the slightest interest.
Be that as it may, the way Crimson saw it, it wasn’t a bad thing if Shinichi were to become interested after a little chat.
“It’s precisely because I lost… that I’m inviting you… If you’re also a human from this side, then you should understand.”
So, that’s how Crimson saw him. Shinichi acted as such and tacitly confirmed his misunderstanding.
One of the things Shinichi wanted to find out from Crimson was what he thought of him.
Crimson spoke through his armor, and his voice sounded low-pitched and firm, so it could belong to a man, but it could also belong to a woman trying to make her voice sound heavier.
In fact, Crimson was indeed going out of his way to make his voice sound like that.
“You probably know who I am from my spears and the color of my exoskeleton, but while I don’t know who you are, you fought me in a straight-up battle and won. I’m sure his excellency will look highly upon your bravery and abilities…”
“…If so, then why ask for an alliance? Why not ask me to join you?”
Crimson didn’t know that Shinichi knew nothing about the underworld or that he was not only not using an exoskeleton, but was even unarmed.
Because of that and since Crimson was famous and belonged to an organization, he mistakenly assumed that Shinichi must belong to an even greater organization.
And just like that he had inadvertently given Shinichi the information that he thought his strange attacks were due to his exoskeleton (Power Suit).
Shinichi chuckled to himself at Crimson’s misunderstanding as he continued the conversation and searched the perimeter for any intruders.
“If you were merely affiliated with some puny organization, then we would be more than prepared to fight for you from them, but whoever it is you’re affiliated with, from the fact that they were able to successfully hide the development of such technologies, it is clear that they are not to be taken lightly. As such, we, Mumei (Nameless), would like to have a fruitful negotiation instead as allies…”
To Crimson this conversation was both a means of buying time, as well as an earnest proposal for an alliance.
To Shinichi, however, Crimson’s strange misunderstandings have brought the conversation into a troublesome direction.
Masquerade’s recognition interference ability and his magic attacks have – for some reason – been interpreted as such.
Although this was much better than his enemy suspecting that he was using real magic, the fact that he was being highly appraised was troublesome.
As Shinichi worried about Crimson who wanted to work with him due to his unknown equipment, this conversation that was fundamentally off continued.
“Surely, such an agreeable person wouldn’t have been so keen on silencing those thugs?”
They both knew that the main culprit has already been identified and has already escaped without doing anything to the hostages.
Such actions were rather soft for a person from the underworld, but focusing on escaping was indeed the most appropriate action to take.
And yet this Crimson didn’t do that and was even inviting him to join their cause.
Shinichi wanted to know his thoughts.
“…About that. There were some misunderstandings. We can only apologize as an associate to the people who hired those thugs.”
But Crimson took his words as him being unhappy with him attacking him, so he raised up his body a little with his shaking arms and awkwardly bowed his head.
The truth is that Crimson didn’t know about this either.
In fact, he just realized from their conversation that it was his associates who planted the bomb that blew up on him.
The damage behind it incapacitated him, so he couldn’t even laugh about it.
“And the reason I’m inviting you is because of how you didn’t abandon others and protected them instead. I believe you’re not someone who would abandon others to save yourself. I won’t ask what organization you’re affiliated with, but I’m sure you have a heart of justice.”
At last, the word ‘justice’ comes to play. Shinichi was speechless.
Fortunately, he had donned Masquerade, as he would have surely been unable to hide the doubtful look on his face.
It wasn’t because Crimson talked poorly, but rather because his choice of words was too dubious.
Shinichi did some self analyzing since he often fought with people who loved to yell those things.
“I know Mumei has a bad reputation. But we’re not really evil. Please understand. Right now, we have no choice but to become stronger even if it means staining our hands in blood.”
Crimson believed that Shinichi’s silence was because he knew about them, so he tried to explain, but his voice still changed from a neutral tone to a bitter tone.
Try as he might to keep his voice calm, there was an anger and resentment behind his voice that he couldn’t hide. Those feelings were so strong that they managed to convince even the suspicious Shinichi.
“…To what end?”
Realizing that Crimson was serious, Shinichi urged him to continue.
However, despite knowing that, Shinichi wryly smiled behind his masked, thinking that this was probably just the usual complaint.
Shinichi acted like he was convinced, but his eyes that were hidden by his mask weren’t.
“I’m sure you’ve already realized it somewhat. That the Garesto government is scheming something behind this cultural exchange of two worlds.”