I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – School Field Trip Arc – Act 1: This Is What Happens When I Go on a Trip – 04-105: Defend the Concert! 4

Approximately 10 kilometers away from the live venue was a highway. Only a few people and vehicles was present due to the location and time, but there was one large truck parked there. And in it was a middle-aged man lying down in the driver’s seat, looking down at his terminal.

“Which one is the target?”

What was displayed on his screen wasn’t a webpage or a LINE conversation but a black and white video, a reproduction where two figures resembling the Songstresses could be seen standing side by side. Yes, this person too was a member of the Snake.

『Normally, the one that appeared later would be the imposter, but the voice signature and the body measurements from the sound resonance are a match. The audience’s reaction suggests that they look the same too.』

“Your point?”

『Just target both of them.』

The man’s lips twisted into a sardonic smirk. He’d expected this, as otherwise there would have been no point in bringing this thing out themselves. He was the captain of Fang’s sniper team, and his gaze naturally drifted towards the truck’s cargo. Had someone overheard his conversation earlier, that someone would probably think that he was crazy. After all, he would be targeting the venue from so far away, yet that was precisely what Six’s orders for him were.

“In that case, I better get ready.”

He muttered to himself and put on what appeared to be an eye mask, as though preparing to take a nap, but of course, that wasn’t really an eye mask but a slim VR headset. The moment he put it on, a different perspective of the earlier black and white footage appeared before him.

He could see the two songstresses standing side by side on the central dance floor, but this wasn’t a proper video. There was a clear depth and a sense of three-dimensionality, but the lack of color made everything feel somewhat unreal.

Regardless, just having such visual information was more than sufficient to carry out their nighttime sniping. Moreover, he was also receiving various environmental data and target analysis data in real-time.

─It’s finally our turn, Commander.

Another message came. This time it was from one of his subordinates. Yes, this man wasn’t alone. Other trucks of the same make could be seen scattered in the area of a radius of 10 kilometers from the live venue, totaling to five trucks all in all. In other words, there were five snipers including him.

─Don’t mess up now just because it’s been awhile.

─No way! We’ve finally been released, and with full-auto capability too!

─I’ll cover her face in holes, keh keh. The whole crowd will be shocked!

─I can hear them screaming right about now.

─Leave the forehead to me! I’ll make sure to shoot through her brains!

The texts that came one after another spoke volumes of what sort of people these men were, but to the commander, he couldn’t ask for more reliable subordinates.

─The only downside is the way this thing shoots.

─It’s like a gaming console, so it’s not very fun.

─Nothing beats the feel of pressing the trigger directly.

─It’s for the sake of camouflage, so just endure it. If we succeed, our position will get better too.

They were somewhat dissatisfied, but it couldn’t be helped. Besides, there was a strange connection between them and this weapon given how similar their situation were.

Back when the development of the apostle weapon was gaining momentum and completion seemed imminent… The lower ranks were informed of immediate objectives, but the organization’s ultimate purpose remained a secret. However, there were murmurs suggesting that the development and advancement of the apostle weapon was a significant milestone, so even the lower members still knew to celebrate it.

However, the sniper team, who wanted nothing more than to show off their sniping skills, found it hard to feel the same. But even more bitter than them was a research team that had been busy working on repurposing a technology for weapon development, but with progress sluggish and results meager, not to mention that the same advantages could easily be achieved with the apostle weapons, their project was put to a halt, and their resources were redirected to the apostle weapon project.

Other than those researchers, it was snipers like them, who dreaded the completion of the apostle weapon. After all, the completion of the apostle weapons would render their skills unnecessary. What was the point of having professional snipers when even amateurs could assassinate entrenched figures in impregnable fortresses from afar with a single shot?

However, fate had other plans. Despite being effectively confined to Japan with little work, they received a direct summons from the top brass of “The Fang” and was given a sniper assignment. There was no way they wouldn’t be excited. Even if they had to use cumbersome weapons, as long as they could shoot someone dead and chaos ensued, they would be satisfied. It was hard not to believe in fate when they were also being accompanied by weapons that just like them lost a place in the organization because of the apostle weapons.

Yes, it was none other than the prototypes from that research that were given to them. Unfortunately, it was precisely because of that that the weapons couldn’t be made smaller, so they had to be crammed into the container of a large truck. In fact, these weapons were even heavier than the truck themselves—weighing over 10 tons. Transporting them would have been impossible without reinforcing each truck with exoskeleton technology. Because of the cost of transportation and camouflage, these weapons were really just too impractical to serve as a sniper.

However, there could be no better weapon in this situation where the apostle weapon couldn’t reach and even bullets couldn’t penetrate.

─Our target this time is the world famous Songstress. Protecting her is that Masquerade, who’s immune to those apostle weapons.

─I see, so that’s why we’ve been called.

─As expected of the undying fang. As the rumors say, his predictions are right on point.

─Ke ke ke, I guess that’s about it for our vacation!

─With this, we’ll finally be able to get back to the front lines of slaughter!

─As you can see from the data, we can’t tell which of the two songstresses is real, but the commander believes that the fake will be waiting for our attack, so we’ll just have to hit them at the same time.

─Yes, sir!!

Six had been looking for an alternative weapon since finding out that the apostle weapon didn’t work on Masquerade. He quickly came upon these old weapons as an answer. It was an ironic story. A prototype that was shelved because of the apostle weapons was now back precisely because of the apostle weapons. Fortunately, these weapons have been left here in Japan, and because they needed people with sniping skills to use them, these snipers were called.

The snipers were full of admiration for the late developer upon seeing the design. While they were aware of the original technology and had hoped for its military application, they also recognized its impracticality due to the technical constraints. However, the developer had taken that limited and imperfect technology and placed his bets on it, evoking a unilateral sense of kinship with them. At the same time, they also thought better of Six for making the decision to use it. Indeed, the only way to breach an otherwise unbreachable defensive network – other than through the apostle weapons – was this. It was a remarkably simple answer, just take the attack and deliver it straight into the enemy.

In other words, it was a teleportation attack.

In this situation, the only way to attack Monica Chantal was to teleport either the soldiers or the attack itself straight to her.

Teleportation was a challenge even with Garestonian technology. Theoretically, it could be achieved with skills, allowing for short-distance teleportation up to the size of a single human wearing an exoskeleton, bu in practice, achieving teleportation reliably and safely required an innate talent or affinity for it, and as it were, only Frire Doneju possessed that talent.

Though research on the subject has not stopped, the current technology needed a building-sized apparatus to safely and reliably teleport a human to their destination. Furthermore, the maximum distance for teleportation was limited to 1-2 kilometers. Safety and reliability considerations aside, the size of the apparatus could not be changed. However, there was some flexibility regarding the size of the object being teleported and the distance it could travel. But as these factors increased, so did the energy required grow exponentially.

Due to such circumstances, the prevailing perception of the technology was that while it was possible, it was currently too costly to implement. Teleportation originally emerged as an accidental byproduct of research into dimensional space, and to this day, it remains full of shortcomings that Garesto tech has yet to address. Without a clear vision of its purpose, there has been no concerted effort to fully develop it.

However there were those who believed that it was possible to compensate for such shortcomings. Essentially, this involved limiting the teleportation to small objects. The smaller the object, especially if it was non-living and smaller than a human, the easier the teleportation became. With this hurdle lowered, the distance issue would likely boil down to a simple matter of output.

However, even if this hypothesis were to be proven correct, substantial funding and resources for verification and practical application would still be needed. Additionally, since no clear advantages could be identified in teleporting such small objects using vast amounts of energy, it remained more of a theoretical discussion than a practical solution.

However, from the perspective of terrorists or those familiar with the tactics of the Falandia world, which did use teleportation magic, it was a possibility that couldn’t be overlooked. After all, it was a technology that enables surprise attacks and assassinations by bypassing all defense networks.

For instance, one could throw a knife and teleport it right before the target. Such an attack would be exceedingly difficult to dodge without an exoskeleton. Perhaps the reason for the passiveness of the development of the technology was precisely because of powers who feared such tech being used against them.

As for the Mask, he had already foreseen the emergence of such specialized weapons. After all, they were picking a fight with someone who could nullify their precious apostle weapons. He did not think that Six would even dare to dream that conventional weapon would work against him, so he naturally thought of all the other possibilities.

Among these, he believed that “teleportation attacks” were the most likely. Considering the existence of the technology and the long history of “The Fang,” he figured it wouldn’t be surprising to find prototypes or similar developments. Moreover, his show of teleporting around the world had clearly demonstrated its effectiveness.

However, he intentionally avoided preparing any obvious defensive measures to prevent the enemy from feeling desperate. As much as possible, he did not want the enemy becoming too reckless.

That’s why they completely obscured the view of the venue from the outside. That’s why they deliberately overlooked the suspicious apps on the spectators’ mobile devices. And that’s why they themselves remained at the venue and waited for the enemy to make their move.

All of that led up to this moment where the Mask appeared before the audience in Monica’s form. It was the most suitable way for him to stand on stage while appearing as though it was part of the script. While it seemed like the Mask was messing around, the Mask was dead serious.

“Your mischief ends here!”

The fake Moncia pointed at the real Monica.

“Huh?”

In order to prevent her from reverting to her normal self due to the sudden turn of events, the fake Monica accused the real Monica with the exact same voice.

“How dare you hijack my concert! Reveal your identity, impostor!”

The word “impostor” echoed loudly throughout the venue, skillfully deceiving the audience that this had been planned.

“…You appear out of nowhere and that’s what you say?”

Monica quickly picked up on what was happening, but her eyes did not look amused at all. Evidently, being treated as an impostor on stage was extremely unpleasant for her.

“I’m the impostor? That’s not funny.”

“Oh? Then do you have a way to prove that you’re the real thing?’

“Of course, and you?”

“Well, there’s only one way to prove it in this situation.”

Raising his voice noticeably, the fake Monica led the real Monica to the part of the stage that served as the runway’s end. Monica quickly picked up on what he wanted to do and faintly and gracefully advanced to stand alongside the fake. With a microphone in each hand, they both loudly proclaimed together.

“It’s a contest then! Whoever can captivate the audience the best must be the real Monica!”

As if they’d coordinated beforehand, both Monicas simultaneously raised their opposite arms and snapped their fingers at exactly the same moment. As the spotlight colors shifted vibrantly across the entire venue, the backing band began to play, and a lively and intense prelude filled the arena.

It was the most challenging combination of dance and singing in Monica’s repertoire, and the audience cheered at the sudden appearance of the second Monica and the unexpected showdown between two Monicas. Meanwhile, with the performance as a cover, the two quietly engaged in their own conversation.

“You’re good at improvising, aren’t you?”

“Can you not say that with my face and my voice? So, what happened?”

The fake spoke casually, while the real one was clearly anxious.

“I just felt like appearing on stage too.”

“What a horrible lie. You can’t tell me anything?”

“There’s no need. We both just need to do our job. Don’t tell me you’ve lost your nerve, now.

“Hmph, what big words. Can you even keep up with me?”

“Enough to make you out to be the impostor.”

The real Monica smiled fearlessly, a smile which the fake reflected back. In fact, the fake smiled even more aggressively as both Monicas formed a gun with their hands. Derived from the title of the song “Shoot for the Future,” they shot their imaginary bullets, and the dancing and singing began.

“Fu.”

“Ha.”

As the two Monicas shot at each other with the drumbeat to end the intro, they elegantly released the straps of their dresses and threw them away to reveal themselves in sleek leather suit-like outfits that echoed the colors of their dresses. There stood two songstresses, ready to captivate the audience.

“────────!!”

As the surroundings were adorned with effects and scenes synchronized to the music and lyrics, the two Monicas performed an impromptu duet. The real Monica sang and danced with all her might, as though to tell the fake to ‘keep up,’ while the fake Monica, in other words, Shinichi, used his eyes honed by the experiences of an evil god to effortlessly replicate her every move and vocal timing to the point that it appeared simultaneous, allowing them to flawlessly showcase a dance routine that resembled a mirror reflection, leaving the audience breathless.

With a feminine silhouette and a toned yet tall frame displayed through graceful movements, Monica seamlessly executed a series of turns, jumps, and swift steps. This was originally choreographed to show off Monica, but with the fake mirroring her in perfect synchronization, it seemed as though the dance had been designed like this from the start.

The both of them stepped forward as though to assert their authenticity, singing the solo parts, and resonating with powerful unison during the chorus. The audience was ecstatic, but those behind the scenes were stunned at how such a performance could be achieved without prior coordination.

──Well done.

──You too.

The two Monicas spoke with their eyes as they danced. Monica was accustomed to being a solo artist and rarely had the opportunity to perform on an equal footing with someone else. So, she found a fresh sense of enjoyment in his movements. It was unlike anything she had experienced in her solo career. It was as if another version of herself had appeared, or perhaps this was just how it felt to have a partner.

Predicting her movements and syncing with her provided Shinichi with more information than necessary. The intense dancing, the powerful singing, the sustained potential to keep those going, and the physical conditioning and training required—all of that were part of Monica’s talent, but it was her dedication and genuine passion that gave her voice the “power” to reach Shinichi. Every day, she worked tirelessly to deliver the best performance to those who appreciated her music. The thought of that alone brought a smile to Shinichi.

They looked at each other. For Monica, she was elated to have someone she could call a partner on stage for the first time. For Shinichi, he was elated to be able to protect such dazzling radiance from up close. That’s why he noticed that presence, and she too noticed how stern he became.

The song entered its final phase. Up until then, he had been matching her movements, but then, he suddenly pulled her arm. For a moment, his serious expression reflected on Monica’s surprised eyes. Her agitation quickly calmed, then as though nothing had happened, they continued to dance and sing while holding hands. They twirled each other around as if dancing around a focal point formed by their overlapping hands, sometimes him pulling her closer, then letting her go, then spinning again.

Their movements, reminiscent of a scene from a ballroom dance, were embellished with light effects. Vibrant colors flashed, flowed, and sparkled with the two songstresses before dispersing like scattered stars.

They sang and danced with perfection, but eventually, that too came to an end, and they found themselves standing next to each other. Cheers erupted in unison, and while catching their breath, the two songstresses bowed deeply. One of the songstresses snapped her fingers, but only Monica noticed that.

Meanwhile, on the first line, Crimson’s subordinates, the Ladies, continued their all-out battle without regard for what happened later, slaughtering enemy soldiers in numbers too numerous to count. They were covered in so much blood that it was difficult to tell whether the red on them was from their armor or from their adversaries. Their focus never wavered, their stamina never ran out, they even stocked up on photons. At most, they were starting to breathe heavily. That was partly because they were amazing, but it was also because the Snake had taken a tactical approach blatantly aimed at buying time and keeping them pinned down. While everything was going according to plan, in a sense, it was also a mutual struggle. This unexpected stalemate, brought about by an unexpected move, had thrown things off course slightly.

“!?”

As the space in front of them distorted, they halted their steps, then something unexpected happened.

“A truck!?”

“W-What the hell!? An earthquake!?”

There was an unusual neutrality to the truck, as though it had been there right from the start, but evidently, even the driver was shocked. Meanwhile, the assistive AI of the exoskeleton immediately recognized the driver and reported on the hud.

─Attention: Suspect Detected
─Internationally Wanted Terrorist, Known for Mischief and Crime

Various information were spat out, including the name, background, criminal record, and other information. The driver had no way of knowing that and was currently confused. In fact, so were the surrounding soldiers of the Snake.

──If the enemy suddenly appears before you, crush them before being flustered ──

But then those words surface and this Lady immediately unleashed her firearm. The Gatling-type weapon not only shredded the man along with the front glass but also pierced through the gasoline tank, causing the truck to explode in flames along with the container. With her weapon in hand, she ruthlessly dealt with the enemy soldiers that reflexively tried to withstand the explosion with their firearms.

Such scenes occurred elsewhere as well. Five trucks had suddenly appeared in various locations at the first defense line. They were all terrorists, so the Ladies didn’t hesitate to destroy them all. They didn’t even last five seconds after being teleported.

“Ha, ha ha… Ahahaha!!”

Alone back at the base, Six clapped his hands as he burst into laughter. However, he clearly wasn’t laughing because he was amused.

“I see, so that’s your answer! You did teleport a nuclear submarine to various countries! So of course it would turn out like this with trucks if you just knew where they were!”

The shocking event of the sea splitting was so overwhelming and the succeeding chaos so intense that everything else was overshadowed, but that submarine still caused a stir in society. It was just that only the parties directly involved were troubled, and the underworld organizations were too preoccupied with dealing with the havoc caused by the Mask to spare them attention.

“Good grief, you just keep defying my expectations in the worst ways… Hahaha.”

Six already expected for the to Teleportation Attack to easily be countered. Of course, he didn’t expect the Mask to dance on stage, but regardless, the Mask was superior to them when it came to teleportation, so there was no reason for him to believe that he wouldn’t be able to detect and intercept any such attacks.

However, whatever superiority the Mask held only remained before the teleportation. By exposing the Mask to attacks that could come in at any time and from anywhere, Six had planned to make the Mask listen to the Songstress’ song from up close, but who would’ve thought that everything along with the device itself would be rendered worthless by the mask on the very first shot?

“Ha ha, sigh… This is bad. At this rate, I really can’t see anyway to defeat him other than to weaken him with the song.”

Despite trying to keep up appearances, there was no denying the harsh expression that surfaced on him or the beads of sweat. It was such an absurd thought to consider that the Mask could actually teleport others on command. Not to mention something as large as nuclear submarines, and to various locations on Earth too.

With that ability alone, all military forces, powerful organizations, and even new technological weapons would prove powerless. Six never thought that the Mask could be overwhelmed by sheer numerical superiority, but he still believed that he could use them to buy him time.

That’s why he hastily gathered soldiers regardless of their affiliation; however, no matter how many soldiers he gathered, no matter how meticulously he planned, everything would collapse before that teleportation ability.

Even if he had billions of soldiers, they could be scattered and sent to enemy forces, or teleported underground, or even made to fight each other by swapping their positions midfight.

“…”

Six found himself holding his breath as he considered the possibilities, but he soon shook his head, as though to keep himself from being scared by the power he’s been shown. It didn’t matter. No matter how extraordinary the Mask’s capabilities were, as long as he intended to destroy them, he had to press on no matter how hopeless it seemed. This operation was devised from the start with the presumption that their own forces would be annihilated.

“That’s right, the plan hasn’t gone awry. The predictions are on point so far too.”

The primary objective of this teleportation attack was also to assess how much the abilities of the Mask has deteriorated from listening to the Songstress from up close. The plan was originally supposed to prod at him a few more times to make him listen to the songs more, but that wouldn’t be possible anymore. Regardless, the Mask had definitely weakened.

“You must be really weakened by now if a bullet of light of that level could hurt you.”

Six deliberately put on a smug smile to overpower the fear cast upon him. The terminals in the venue had indeed picked up on such a sound. Perhaps it was because the Mask realized what was about to happen that he took the hand of the Songstress and danced with her. Bullets of light teleported around them and blended in with the rest of the spectacles, unnoticed by the audience, but though they were easily deflected by the hands of the Mask, who was posing as another Songstress, there was no denying the sound of bullets tearing through his skin.

Six was sure of it. The fake songstress was definitely Masquerade. They might look identical from the way the audience reacted, their voice even sounded the same, and there didn’t appear to be any sort of technological manipulation at play, but that was precisely why he was so sure that the fake songstress could not be an ordinary entity.

Moreover, the way the fake seemed to anticipate the teleportation attack could only be due to the Mask’s adeptness at teleportation. Who else could deflect all those teleported bullets without disrupting their dance? The fact that all the snipers were eliminated afterwards only lent credibility to Six’s theory.

Above all, despite Venom’s attempts at deception, Six himself has always been confident that Masquerade was with the Songstress.

He was surely prepared to confront them, but he probably didn’t know when or where they would strike, so the safest way was for him to be next to the Songstress. Besides, there have been no traces anywhere in the battlefield that would hint at the presence of the Mask. Though it was also true that there hasn’t been a situation that required him. Regardless, this basically meant that the Mask has been contained within the venue..

“Everything is exactly as we’ve hoped for, but…”

The only problem now was that there were no longer any strategies to prolong the current situation. While he’d like to continue listening to the song until the end of the live performance, it’s clear that their means of interference within the venue have been discovered. If that’s the case, then no matter how many forces they continued to attack with, they’ll simply be destroyed once Masquerade appeared. If Masquerade were to attack before they were ready, the only fate that awaited them was defeat. If so, then it was a race. Would Masquerade move first, or would they finish their preparations first? As Six thought that, he gave out a series of instructions, then he smirked.

“…I see, so that’s how it is. You’re very kind, aren’t you, Masquerade?”

He muttered somewhat mockingly as he watched the two songstresses.


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4 responses to “I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – School Field Trip Arc – Act 1: This Is What Happens When I Go on a Trip – 04-105: Defend the Concert! 4”

  1. Magnawell Baskus Lardo Kurtzvald Avatar

    Thanks for the chapter

  2.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thank you for the chapter

  3.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    thanks for chap

  4.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    thanks for the chapter

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