After the last group of hostages and criminals left the department store, they were divided into hostages and criminals.
Most of the criminals were handcuffed and pushed into the police van, while the rest were brought to the temporary HQ of the countermeasure department to be interrogated.
The girl and the others were brought to a tent to be examined.
“Yep, you’re all good to go. The muscles on your back will hurt a bit, but you’ll be fine.”
Although they were being examined, the woman from the medical team just used a scanner-like tool on them.
That was sufficient for this Garesto-made medical equipment to check their condition.
The woman from the medical team said that if the beret girl minded the pain, she could treat her, but she refused her. After that the woman glanced at another member of the team.
But before that man could say anything, the beret girl handed him the criminal’s foster.
“This is the iFoster the criminals had on them. We used it to escape, but it should be of some use to the search team.”
“W-What did you say!? This needs to be analyzed immediately! Ah, you three should wait here a bit.”
The man came here to get the hostages’ side of the story, but he quickly turned around and left.
The object the beret girl handed him was just that important. After all, it could very well be the key that solves this yet unsolved hostage incident.
“Umm, could you also find the mother of this child? They seem to have been separated, so she’s probably looking for him too.”
“Alright. Can you tell me your name and your mother’s?”
The woman from the medical team asked the child calmly sitting on Daigo’s lap for his and his mother’s name.
After that the woman from the medical team also left, leaving only the beret girl’s group in the tent.
“…Now then, we should make sure our stories match.”
Daigo and the child failed to understand why they had to match their stories.
Her eyes still hidden by her glasses, the beret girl asked Daigo.
“Do you think that as his friend you should just honestly tell them everything?”
“…Ahh, I see. Now that you mention it, he probably wouldn’t want that.”
If they were to tell the truth just like that, Shinichi will immediately become a hero.
After all, he defeated a group of armed men and helped the hostages escape while being practically unarmed.
His face and name will surely be broadcasted by the media.
And as far as Daigo knew, Shinichi was bad with that kind of stuff.
The truth was that the issue with Shinichi’s issue was much bigger than just that, but none of them realized it.
Also, the reason why Daigo forgot cover for Shinichi because he was more concerned for his safety. After all, there was that explosion on the outer walls, which was followed by another explosion inside, and then there was that strange fluctuation.
“I thought so. He was being really modest too when he dealt with the snatchers. I’ve also heard that there are many Japanese who hate standing out. If that’s what he wants, then I want to minimize his involvement in this incident as much as possible,” the beret girl said.
All this presumed that Shinichi would come back safe, though.
Meanwhile, the boy wasn’t happy that they had to hide Shinichi’s actions.
“We can’t talk about oniichan even though he’s so strong and cool?”
“Yeah. He’s always hated being surrounded by people or getting so much attention. Besides, just think about it. Imagine being surrounded by a group of people telling you the same things over and over. Even you wouldn’t like that, right?”
“…Now that you mention it. Alright. I’ll protect oniichan too.”
When the boy imagined the situation Daigo talked about, he made a really unhappy face.
Seeing the boy clench his fist and declare that he would help his oniichan so firmly put a smile on Daigo and the girl.
“By the way, is this also a part of that ‘duty of the protected’ thing of yours?”
“It’s part of it, but in my case, I’m likely to be sent back immediately, so since I probably won’t have any opportunity to thank him, I want to do what I can for him now.”
Daigo admired just how honest and serious this girl was. But at the same time, he found it odd.
In order to thank her benefactor, she was going to hide the truth behind Shinichi’s actions to prevent him from being treated as a hero.
Normally, it would be the other way around, but this was indeed the best way to make Shinichi happy.
“Still, I’m impressed you were able to think of this on the fly.”
That’s why he honestly praised this girl for being able to think of this in such a short time.
The girl faintly blushed and shook her head. “It’s nothing special. Didn’t I say he reminded me of the person I once admired? That person would risk his life to protect others, but he hated it whenever people would extol his actions.”
When asked ‘why’ even though he was so strong, he would reply, ‘because I’m not strong at all’. He was that kind of hero.
Just like a certain someone who said ‘if I were really strong, I wouldn’t be attacked in the first place’.
“I see… So in the end, Shinichi became a part of your dream, huh. That’s kind of unfair. Even though we lost our dreams, he surpassed his.”
“Surpassed his dream?”
“Just a while ago, I remembered the dream he talked about too. It was a childish and vague dream, but it was just the sort that you would expect from him.”
When the three childhood friends talked about their dreams. Daigo said that he wanted to be a police officer, while Takeshi wanted to be a scientist.
At that time, Shinichi didn’t have a dream job, but he did have something he admired.
“He said he wanted to be ‘someone who helped those who did their best’. He said he’d leave saving everyone to us, so he’ll save those kind of people instead.”
It was the youthful wish of a little boy who still knew nothing of society and was the one always being saved.
A dream where he wanted to become a person that could at least repay the people who helped him.
It was so vague a dream that at the time, neither Daigo nor Takeshi could understand it.
Perhaps even the person himself could not understand it.
But Daigo knew that Shinichi had already surpassed his dream.