Shinichi ignored his shock and left the spear that should have penetrated him hitting nothing but blank space.
Crimson’s speed was indeed terrifying, but since he was only moving in one direction, parrying his attack was a trifle task.
It would be a different story had he been able to move at a speed that was too fast for Shinichi to see, but alas, Shinichi pushed aside the approaching spear and moved to Crimson’s side.
If Crimson could see Shinichi’s movements, he would have been able to react, but the mask wouldn’t permit that.
From Crimson’s perspective, it was as if the black mist had truly become mist and slipped past his spear.
What was more was that Crimson was moving so fast that he couldn’t control himself anymore.
Even if he knew how to dodge the oncoming attack, his charging body couldn’t be stopped and couldn’t turn.
As they passed each other, Shinichi’s attack landed itself on Crimson’s defenseless back, knocking him into the bookshelves, sending sheets of papers flying.
“…Not yet… I haven’t lost just yet!!”
As the Crimson bullet shot forth once more, clouds of dust were raised up and scraps of paper were blown away.
But his spear could not reach Shinichi. No matter how many times he thrust with his spear, Shinichi would either parry or dodge it, and Crimson would be sent flying.
Every time he attacked, his back, neck, arms or legs would get hit. Gradually, he began to slow down.
Focusing all of one’s strengths to specialize in a single aspect. A last resort to be used in a desperate situation and a dangerous bet, but to Shinichi, it just made an easy prey.
Shinichi’s stats were all Rank D. Although he had poor stats, they were all equal.
The one exception was his Skill stat, which allowed him to bring the rest of his stats to perfection. In other words, he was an all-rounder.
Since he didn’t specialize at anything, he didn’t have any particular areas he lacked in.
Against someone like him, abandoning everything else to specialize in just one aspect was sure to end in defeat.
Moreover, Crimson himself wasn’t really making use of his speed. He was fast, but that was it.
It’s probably because he’s accelerating too quickly, but either way, he couldn’t change his trajectory.
“Why can’t I hit him!? Why do I have to lose against someone like him!!”
But no matter how many times Crimson was pushed into a wall or a store, he would stand back up and fight.
Shinichi couldn’t understand why he was so angry.
Crimson should have foreseen that he would be rejected. Even being ridiculed.
So, why? Why couldn’t he forgive the enemy in front of him?
He has already lost all of his calm and was rushing toward Shinichi purely out of anger.
“I know full well without you telling me that the path I’m walking is evil! But even then! It can’t be helped! There are people who can only keep walking on a path like that!”
Why was he even talking about this? And why did his emotions keep pouring out?
It was almost as if Crimson was throwing a tantrum while Shinichi calmly parried all of his attacks.
Crimson consumed a lot of stamina and energy with every attack, but Shinichi was moving very little, so he was barely consuming any.
“If his excellency didn’t walk down this path, I would still be nothing more than a test subject! Without even knowing that that place was hell! Without even knowing that there was a world like this outside! I would have died as a mere test subject!
What’s wrong with wanting to repay that! It’s not as if there’s any other way for me to live!”
When Crimson saw how nonchalant Shinichi was being, his emotions burned even fiercer.
But while Shinichi may have appeared unfazed, deep inside, he too was burning with anger.
Strangely, that anger grew stronger in the face of these attacks and yells that were full of anger.
The part of him in the corner of his head that was calm was equally shocked.
“You don’t even know about his excellency’s worries or how deep the darkness is! Don’t talk like you know it all!!”
Crimson’s attacks already seemed half desperate. The speed and power from before were already gone.
But even then, if he actually landed a hit, a hole would surely open on Shinichi’s body.
“…Who’s the one acting like he knows it all?”
When Shinichi spat that out, that same anger from before was present.
He grabbed Crimson’s arm mid-charge, and threw him over his shoulder, slamming him into the ground.
Crimson couldn’t break his fall, and he let out an anguished voice.
After removing his armor to the utmost, Crimson’s current defense was even lower than that of a simple exoskeleton’s.
Shinichi quietly extended his arm and lifted Crimson.
Before his grip that was strengthened by the Magic Raiment Battle Law, the chest part of Crimson’s armor started to crumble.
Crimson’s spear struck out toward him in desperation, but without any of the power from his speed supporting it, it was easily deflected with a little mana.
This was another consequence of specializing on just one aspect. Crimson’s ability to attack with his arm strength alone had weakened.
Shinichi ignored his weak attack and glared at his face through his helmet.
“What worries? What darkness? You can find those anywhere.
There were some here just awhile ago, weren’t there? The darkness and worries of the people you used.
But if you people hadn’t interfered, they would never have gone this far!”
Shinichi remembered those people whose resolve was easily broken by such weak Divine Words.
He could just imagine how strongly those people were spurred on by those men.
People can think whatever they want, and no wrong will have been done until another person is hurt.
It’s true that they were criminals, but they were also victims who were used by others.
“Those who couldn’t keep up with the changing times but still frantically struggled! And those who didn’t even know how to struggle in this new world!
Because of your stupid plans, those people became criminals instead!”
“T-That’s why we’re—“
Even if this Crimson did not plan for those people to be used, and even if his people weren’t directly responsible for them, that still wasn’t enough to quell Shinichi’s anger.
After all, Masquerade’s enemies were all people like him.
“You people always say the same things!
For the sake of a great cause. For the sake of justice. Some sacrifices must be made. A few dying can’t be helped.
In order to save the greater majority, you have to sacrifice some!
Ahh, I know. I know painfully well just how true that is!
That you can’t accomplish anything without sacrificing something. But you know!!”
Through the helmet or perhaps through the mask.
They looked at each other, not knowing what face the other was making.
As those eyes glared at Crimson, Crimson saw the eyes behind that mask for the first time.
For the first time since this battle began, he recognized this black mist as a human.
Inadvertently, he gasped and froze up, instinctively realizing just what that was.
“But a sacrifice you can’t help no matter how hard you try and a sacrifice made because you intentionally gave up on them… Those are two completely different things!!”
The boy who was sacrificed because a group of twisted believers hated the world.
He who became a monster and whom they could not cut down as a part of that necessary sacrifice.
To this boy who was saved because of their sacrifice, he could never accept that logic.
Because on that day, the sacrifices that could be found anywhere in the world happened to be him.
Therefore, if there was anyone who wanted to make such a thing happen by force, then regardless how great a cause they might have, the existence known as Nakamura Shinichi will recognize them as an ‘enemy’ to be defeated.
In the face of the anger and the violent atmosphere, Crimson couldn’t speak.
He didn’t agree with everything Shinichi said, but those eyes he saw behind that mask…
Those alone, he clearly recognized as human.
Weren’t those the same eyes that he had?
“Listen well and watch.
This is the grudge of those you’ve sacrificed!”
But then those eyes changed. A sadistic light appeared within them, and Crimson’s instincts screamed at him to flee.
But no matter how much he struggled as that fearful black hand reached for his head, it was all to no avail.
Within this inexplicable fear, Crimson saw something ominous appear behind the black mist.
“W-What!? What is that!?”
A monster made from all the creatures that couldn’t possibly be found on this world.
Bright red eyes beheld him as a multitude of smiles greeted him.
“No, NO, NOOOOOO!!!??”
The approaching black hand appeared from the jaws of the colossal monster, and it sought to mercilessly cover his head.
In the next instant, the world twisted, the space twisted, and everything was destroyed by a destructive power and will.
Never before has Crimson thought of the exoskeleton around him as unreliable as a piece of cloth.
Even though there was no pain, he could imagine his limbs being twisted.
As the world twisted, he couldn’t tell anymore what was up from down.
Fear of the unknown filled his heart, and it was all he could do to scream at the approaching black shadow.
Just the approach of the illusionary monster was enough to cause sparks on his armor and for errors to begin popping up on his display.
Under the great pressure, he felt like he was being choked. Only his screams resounded clearly within his mind.
And then, his mind flashed with— the experiments that occurred once upon a time.
“Ahh, ah, your excellency, no, it hurts, stop it!
It hurts, ahh, s-save me… ve me, the experiments, noo!!”
After vanquishing the apparition that had manifested enough to be seen, Shinichi clicked his tongue.
And then as if he had no more interest in Crimson, he let go of his two arms and released him.
But Crimson didn’t cry from the pain of falling. Instead, he continued to shake in fear and mumbled meaninglessly while hugging himself.
“No, ahh… No, ahh… Save, me.”
“…Sigh, this has gone past the point of monsters.”
‘More like an evil god,’ Shinichi seemingly wanted to say.
The wry smiles and the smiles of self derision could no longer be found on him.
After all, what had occurred just now was not an illusion spell.
Just now, Shinichi had truly been possessed by the evil god. And while his soul remained as it was, for a moment, his flesh had been assimilated.
That is to say that in one sense he had encroached into the territory of a god while remaining human.
He returned to being a mere human, but some of the authority of the evil god still remained.
Still, it wasn’t actually so special a power that it could be referred to as a special authority.
Rather it was the presence of a god’s soul that could also be referred to as a power of ‘existence’.
But suppressing all living creatures with just that was precisely what ‘gods’ were.
And the divine ki of the evil god could strike fear into the heart of the living and make them cry and go mad.
If he so wished for it, this divine ki could even destroy physical things and blow everything away.
In terms of military prowess, it was the most convenient of the things that Shinichi acquired, ‘the most sickening power of them all’.
A power that he didn’t have any intentions of using until just a moment ago.
“Sleep in peace for now.”
“Ee— Ah, ah… suu, suu…”
Using the similarly terrible Divine Words, Shinichi sent Crimson into a slumber.
Shinichi sighed and muttered to himself, ‘what a scam’, then he shook his head and clenched his two fists.
“So when I use it, even otherworlders can be affected, huh… This really is the worst…”
When Shinichi realized that, his countenance fell, then he took a step toward the fainted Crimson.
There was no particular meaning to that step.
He just wanted to take a closer look at Crimson’s face and exoskeleton.
After which, he would tie him up along with the other criminals, and leave the building without being discovered.
It was originally for that reason that he took that step.
“…Am I stupid?”
But when faced with that reality, Shinichi couldn’t help but become sullen.
Then he took a deep breath and sarcastically laughed dryly.
As he stifled down the emotions seeking to come up, Shinichi found himself wanting to crouch.
If only there was a hole nearby, he would have surely entered it and covered himself with soil.
“Ha ha ha, I’m definitely stupid. That’s definitely it. Even a child would have realized it.
I’m too stupid. Too useless. Too indecisive. Seriously, just what am I doing?”
Pathetic, he muttered to himself as he held his forehead.
He didn’t have a headache, but his actions were so stupid that it made his head hurt all the same.
After all— The moment he took that step, a ‘mishi’ sound resounded.
“If you cut the place and blow it up that much, and then even release divine ki to top it all off, of course, it would turn out like this… Ahahaha…”
Shinichi’s laughter resounded in the empty building, but his face wasn’t laughing.
This was a normal department store. Moreover, one that has been here before the exchange with the otherworld.
It was simply too much for it to be the battleground between a warrior from a fantasy world and a warrior from a science world.
Parts of it had already been damaged and a part of it hard even been blown off. It was already on the verge of breaking down because of their fighting, and yet, as if to finish it off, Shinichi went and released such destructive divine ki.
With all that, it was only natural that the floor of the department store would become so fragile that just walking on it would be enough to make it collapse.
If anything, the department store staying up after all that was nothing short of a miracle.
“So, this is my punishment for venting my anger…
…No. I just happened to break it. That’s all.”
Disgusted by this terrible ending, Shinichi willfully kicked the ground. Like a flash of lightning, cracks filled the floor from side to side, and then everything collapsed.
With it, fell Shinichi—