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 – 04-106: Defend the Concert! 5

───Someone had shot a gun at her.

She realized it after the singing while bowing with the fake songstress. There had been unfamiliar flashes mixed in with the light effects, as well as the sound of the air tearing, but she didn’t have the leisure to ponder what those things could’ve been while they danced. However, when their performance ended, she was immediately able to connect the dots. They were gunfire.

“!?”

The thought of that froze her. She couldn’t raise her head. She wasn’t confident that she would be able to put on a decent expression for the crowd. The realization of what had been happening made her knees tremble, but she didn’t want the audience to realize that, so she tried to act tough, but her expression just wouldn’t listen. The sight of all those lights shooting for her and the realization what those were struck her with fear. She might not be able to sing again even though she’d been protected properly. She hadn’t been hurt in the slightest. She understood that in her head, but the fear of seeing bullets fly at her was something else. After all, even one of those would have surely been able to kill her. Pathetic. Was she going to run away from her work? Could she not remain a professional? Were those words yesterday just for show? She scolded herself, but her thoughts raced, and she found it impossible to raise her head. She had to do something. Anything, and soon, or the audience might notice.

“──Huh?”

Panic led to more panic, and soon, she found herself unable to even move, but then her body suddenly moved on its own. No, she’d been lifted by the person next to her, and she found herself nestled in the arms of the fake songstress.

“Fue!?”

As soon as she recognized that sensation, Monica blushed. Of course, she has had experience working closely with male dancers; however, the “unexpected” easily brought out her true personality. Shinichi’s appearance was exactly the same as Monica’s, but when he was embraced firmly, she could tell that it was the body of the opposite gender. There was no doubting it. That was the feel of his actual body, but it was not the body that Monica expected from a boy younger than her. He had strong arms and a firm chest. He looked slender, but really, he was well-trained. It wasn’t just the body of a boy but that of a man. It was an unexpected gap from what she’d expected, and she felt it fully through her own body.

“…One more song.”

He whispered by her ear, neither encouraging, nor scolding, nor teasing. Monica found herself eyeing him curiously as the image of a bad boy reflected on her eyes, as though proudly saying, ‘just leave it to me.’ At that, her cheeks slackened all on their own.

“As expected, the real thing is amazing! I couldn’t help myself but challenge you, but it turns out it’s all I can do monkeying around to try and keep up!”

He spoke in Monica’s voice and said that while she was still in his embrace.

“You guys think so too, right!?”

Then when he asked the crowd what they thought, the crowd cheered and cried out for Monica. Everyone was completely clueless about what was really happening on stage. But that was also why they were able to genuinely enjoy their song and dance. The sound of their voice and the expressions they wore said as much. At that, Monica finally relaxed.

“…Thank you all for witnessing my impromptu challenge! I might not be able to repay you properly, but I have a surprise song for you! It’s a song that’s not yet composed, has no title, and hasn’t even been decided if it will be released. Nevertheless, I want everyone to hear it here and now! Behold, her new song!”

“Huh?”

However, such sentiments were blown away when he said that. After all, there was no such song. Of course, she did have songs she was still working on, but none of them were even close ready. Alas, it was already too late. Cheers of excitement from the audience poured onto them. There was no backing out anymore. In fact, it seemed Shinichi wasn’t willing to let her back out either, and their hands, which had somehow intertwined without her noticing, suddenly raised up high.

“!?”

Monica did her best to keep her surprised voice from leaking through the microphone, then soon, they were covered in light. While the audience couldn’t see them, Shinichi whispered to Monica in his own voice.

“Just lip sync for now and play along.”

However, he didn’t even wait for her to respond, as he snapped his fingers with his free hand. That sounded throughout the whole venue, then the curtain of light vanished, and the two songstresses underwent another costume change.

Monica wore a bodysuit with a long skirt dress, reminiscent of ethnic attire, while Shinichi donned a simple black knight’s attire with unadorned shoulder patches. Their sudden transformation from a live performance to a theatrical stage seemed to evoke images of a village maiden and a humble knight from another era. With Monica’s hand still held, Shinichi straightened up and knelt down. Simultaneously, he gently touched his own hair as if stroking it, instantly dyeing it black and changing its style into a ponytail. Then, as if it were the most natural thing, he lightly kissed the back of her hand.

“…”

Monica felt inwardly shaken by that unexpected gesture, but she rallied her professionalism to maintain a calm facade and even smirk at the other songstress. Though frustration had begun to bud within her, Monica did not let any of that show on her face.

“—”

From there, Shich slowly rose while still holding her hand and sang softly as he guided her back along the runway. His resonant voice was gentle yet imbued with a certain strength, and although to an observer it certainly sounded like Monica’s own voice and song, to Monica it was someone else’s voice singing a song that wasn’t hers.

“─────”
“……………”

But that was also precisely why it captivated her. Shinichi took her hand and led the way forward, making sure to keep his face always turned toward her. Perhaps that was meant to make it easier for Monica to synchronize their movements as they sang together. She was just lip-syncing, but for some reason, the voice that resonated throughout the venue was a duet. No doubt Shinichi had something to do with that, but regardless, he was sincere in his singing. Even though there was no new song, no genuine voice, and even this singing was a mere imitation, but regardless, the resulting song was warm.

It could be called an anthem to humanity. A song that praised those who lived seemingly unremarkable days. A song that celebrated the joy of nameless individuals living such everyday lives. A song that unconditionally accepted and extolled the act of simply “being” there. A song that encouraged not just confronting, resisting, and enduring, but also acknowledged that uncertainty and imperfection were parts of life. A gentle song that acknowledged and accepted the present, even if was uncertain or incomplete. A kind song that taught that being ordinary was extraordinary. The feelings embedded within seeped into the heart, not just through the singing voice, but through the lyrics as well.

Monica looked at the audience as she sang along, but she wasn’t the only one. It was a different sight where people were intoxicated by her songs. Instead everyone was moved by the song that offered words they longed for. Many could people could be seen crying, and even Monica herself felt herself becoming tearful. Such was the immense power of those lyrics that were laden with sincere emotions.

“…”

Before they knew it, the song had ended. It was unclear who between the two of them let out a breath of admiration, but regardless, the both of them were now back at the center of the stage, and they quietly bowed. Despite that the response from the audience wasn’t a cheer but a subdued yet somehow grateful applause. “You’ve done it again,” Monica thought inwardly, though she wasn’t entirely at peace. As she glanced at the person beside her, who had captivated the audience in a different way, a momentary surge of anger bubbled within.

She, who should have been able to understand the emotions embedded in the lyrics, had been mistaken. Shinichi’s expression exuded a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, but to Monica, who could discern the fake from the real, such a face was too calm. That wasn’t a face of familiarity, indifference, or apathy, but that of envy. Instead of basking in the glory of captivating the entire audience, or expressing gratitude for those who listened, his eyes were instead filled with envy towards these people that were emotionally overwhelmed..

Indeed, the meaning of the song differed between the listener and the singer. As it turns out, this was a song of an outsider watching those ordinary daily lives. Someone who yearned for that ordinary life yet couldn’t find it for themselves, so instead they sang a pledge affirm, support, and watch over those who lived such lives. That’s why despite his sincerity, he could not be touched by the song.

───This isn’t funny.

“Hey!”
“Oww!?”

Monica jabbed Shinich from the side with her fist. She didn’t put much force into it, but it still caught him off guard. Though Shinichi spoke with her voice, the sight of his genuine surprise and him wincing at the pain made Monica feel a bit relieved.

“What kind of thanks is this supposed to be? Singing an unreleased song without permission! Sure, I went along with it since the challenge was fun, but look! The atmosphere in the venue has become solemn!”

“…Ah.”

But she didn’t want her own feelings to become obvious, so she pointed at the audience instead. Shinichi couldn’t argue against her point, so he just froze. They’d only known each other for a day or two, but Monica found that oddly characteristic of him, and she chuckled as she offered a solution.

“It sure seems we’ll have to switch to a more upbeat song, doesn’t it?”

She said that to the audience and hyped them up, then she turned to the fake songstress (Shinichi) and said.

“This time, you’ll accompany me in my song. Let’s see… how about we go with ‘Falling in Love à la Mode’?”

“…”

Monica didn’t miss the momentary tightening of his face as she mentioned the title. It seemed that even he, who knew nothing about Monica Chantal until yesterday, had taken the time to research what songs she had. Perhaps he had tried singing each song to see if any of them had a negative impact on him. In any case, his reaction indicated that he knew what kind of song it was. After all, it was the song that the most sickeningly sweet melody and lyrics among all of her songs, a song that even she, the singer herself, needed to psych herself up before performing because of how embarrassing it was. One could only imagine how much more difficult it would be to sing for a man. However, for the fans, it was one of Monica’s rare songs that mentioned “love,” and its scarcity in live performances due to her subconscious avoidance made it all the more desirable. Therefore, the audience showed joyful reactions, indicating that there was no avoiding it anymore.

“Fu fu.
“…”

Shinichi didn’t say anything, but “you got me” was written all over him. Monica responded with a wink, as if to say, “You’re welcome,” then, as though that were a signal, the lights illuminating the two of them went out. The stage plunged into darkness, and they turned their backs to each other in silence. Monica assumed her usual pose before starting to sing, and he too followed suit. Feeling his presence behind her, Monica chuckled softly and confidently threw her voice over her shoulder.

“Since you dared to participate in my concert, I’ll have to make sure you don’t go home with a bored face.”

“…As you wish. Let’s enjoy one more song then.”

Monica nodded silently, and the lights shone on them once more. Their costumes had changed again. Shinichi’s attire had mostly shifted from dark colors to lighter tones, while the songstress wore a frilly pink dress-like outfit. Designed for ease of movement, their appearance together emitted a vibe reminiscent of a prince and princess. As the lively, cute, and poppy song began to play, the prince and the princess entertained the audience with somewhat comical dance moves while weaving sugary lyrics. The audience raised pink-colored penlights and joined in on the fun. The two songstresses were equally beautiful, so they made for quite a pretty sigh. But Monica knew that one of them was really an ordinary-looking boy, so she couldn’t help but wonder if Shinichi was genuinely smiling or just faking it. Just what did the boy really think about singing these lyrics that were as sweet as sugar.

“Just who are you really?”

During the extended instrumental break in the song, Monica inserted the usual short MC segment and leaned towards him to intiate their scripted interaction. That was parlty to ensure that the stage setup was clearly communicated as part of the performance, but it was also partly a test to see if ad-libbed banter would work. Interestingly enough, the way they exchanged lines in while leaning on each other’s shoulder was as if this whole thing had been rehearsed.

“A mischievous some lured by your wonderful song.”

“A fairy?”

“No, an evil god.”

“From a fairy tale to a grim fairy tale?”

“Don’t worry, I won’t do anything. As long as I get to have fun.”

“Fu fu, don’t worry, even a god will melt before my songs!”

With roaring cheers, the overly saccharine song continued. Sweet treats laden with sugar continued to adorn themselves, seeking even sweeter love. While the coquettish gestures and choreography might have drawn criticism elsewhere, Monica’s adorable appearance, rarely seen in other songs or media, was well-received. And it was further accentuated by the second songstress that was clad in princely attire.

Shinichi didn’t sing solo as usual and instead opted to focus on Monica, making her the center of attention on stage. Monica couldn’t help but inwardly chuckle at his over-attentiveness. Approaching him with a natural ad-lib, she leaned against his shoulder in sync with his movements. Then as she struck a cute pose, Monica leaned her head forward and brought her lips to his cheek.

“Chu.”
“!”

Monica timed it with the lyrics and kissed him on the cheek, mischievously smiling and quietly saying, “that’s pay back.” Shinichi was momentarily stunned, but he quickly masked it with a smile as Monica playfully pulled his hand, leading him into a dance. Though he responded accordingly, a smile lingered on his face, indicating that he might have caught on that that was meant to thank him too. Monica chuckled inwardly, but at the same time, she couldn’t help but feel a bit indignant, thinking, “Isn’t he too composed after being kissed by me!?” However, despite her inner turmoil, they maintained their performance flawlessly. There was just one problem.

“The price of your lips is too high for this job,” Shinichi said.

“Oh? In that case…” Monica’s replied as her expression softened with a proud smile”the

“Accompany me some more. You don’t mind, right?”

Shinichi nodded, surprised to find that he actually enjoyed a stage like this that was unlike the norm. Monica smiled, and the live performance entered its final stages with the two songstresses.


『This feeling… That guy must be flirting with someone again!!』

In the sky, a long way away from the venue, Myuhi suddenly became irritated by a strange feeling, then as though to vent her frustration, she hurled a spear at the flying enemy soldier. That spear exceeded speeds of 200 km/h, even faster than a major league fastball, but the target and his companions were alerted by their exoskeleton and were able to scatter, only for the spear to explode in front of them, raining bullets of light upon them. It was curious if the opponent was just that skilled or Myuhi had still missed, but regardless, no one fell from the sky.

─The commander was so cheerful until just awhile ago too.

─If she’s suddenly cranky, then it’s probably because of a guy.

─That guy that’s getting along real well with Monica.

─It’s cute how she doesn’t realize she’s jealous.

That’s how Myuhi’s subordinates saw the situation deep inside, though of course, such thoughts could only be said out loud when they were sure that they wouldn’t get in trouble for them. Regardless, there was no stopping the gunfire that they unloaded toward the fleeing enemy soldiers.

Myuhi was currently in the midst of a pursuit with about half of her subordinates. However, this was really a feigned pursuit. Just a few minutes ago, the soldiers of the “Snake,” who had been relentlessly attacking, suddenly began to retreat. There was no change in the situation, nor any apparent orders given; it was as if they were retreating because they couldn’t fight anymore, but of course that didn’t make sense. Either they were blatantly mocking them, or the commander behind them was inviting them. Shinichi too agreed with that take.

──『Definitely a trap.』

──『Yep──────So?』

Out of the blue came a telepathic message from Shinichi. Myuhi responded without much surprise, but her heart seemed to ask for more, so Shinichi gave them concise instructions.

『Take a few people with you and charge in.』

A ruthless trap had obviously been set before them, yet that was the kind of order Shinichi gave. Myuhi smiled.

『Oh, you want us to charge in head first to a place riddled with traps, soldiers, and all sorts of weapons?』

『I’m sure you’re not soft enough to lose to something like that. Your subordinates too.』

『Of course! Is that what you wanted me to say?』

『Obviously.』

It was a conversation wrapped in an oddly casual atmosphere, not the typical exchange between someone ordering the other to jump into a deadly situation and the person being urged. Yet, both found amusement in it, laughing at the absurdity. Neither of them disliked this sort of banter.

『──Lady 2 (Ruby), choose four individuals other than yourself with relatively low levels of exhaustion.』

『We’re giving chase, right? Just leave it to us!』

Myuhi’s subordinates could read the enemy too, so they were aware of the retreat and the blatant invitation. Sensing the meaning behind the instructions from their superiors, they acted promptly, indicating a well-trained response. It seemed they had also received a request from the client himself.

『Thanks.』

『You’re welcome, I guess.』

Shinichi’s brief thank you suggested that he knew how dangerous this was for them, yet Myuhi herself just responded casually, as though there was nothing to worry about, so in response, Shinichi said this.

『One day.』

『Hmm?』

『For one day, so long as it’s reasonable, I’ll accompany you to do whatever you want.』

Shinichi didn’t say it straight up, but he added another reward for this daring order. Myuhi blinked in response, but as the words sank in, she couldn’t help but smile. It just felt so typical of him.

『…Fu fu, you really do like to do things in a roundabout way, don’t you?』

He made it sound like a reward, but really, he was saying, ‘Don’t push yourself too hard.’ Such display of concern ignited a warm fire in Myuhi’s chest.

『You don’t like it?』

『It’s perfect!』

But of course, it was also because she liked the reward, and unconsciously, her morale soared, but that only lasted until her female’s intuition kicked, and then only until they were led there.

The retreat of the Snake and the pursuit by Nameless was really nothing more than a farce. They were too obvious, so them being lured could only be because they intentionally bit the bait. Perhaps it was because of that that what greeted them could only be so stereotypical.s

『When they’re this transparent even at this point, it’s actually quite refreshing.』

Myuhi wasn’t one to let her emotions get the better of her even in the face of such blatant manipulation, while her subordinates thought similarly and nodded. There was even a hint of wry amusement in the expressions beneath their armor.

That was an open area full of nature, illuminated mostly only by the stars and the moon.Exoskeletons typically included night vision systems, so darkness posed no problem to them. There were no houses or facilities nearby, so this was probably private property. At the center was a single-story log cabin. It was somewhat plain, and one might even find charm in its simplicity, but that was only the case to the naked eye.

“Commander.”

『I didn’t expect such a courteous welcome from someone with a face like that.』

In front of the log cabin, a rugged man with scars stood boldly, unarmored. While the women forced smiles at the ironic warmth of the welcome, their leader merely chuckled in derision. With a mere hand gesture, she ordered her subordinates to watch from above before descending alone. Six, the rugged man, smirked, but his eyes weren’t smiling.

『It is an honor to receive your invitation. Would you prefer it if I said that, Undying Fang?』

She landed softly on the ground and addressed Six, who stood just 10 meters ahead. The man merely shrugged in response.

“It should be us thanking you for accepting the invitation.”

『What’s the purpose of this meeting? If you’re here to surrender, I might consider treating you as prisoners of war that have disregarded human rights.』

Myuhi stood tall and planted her spear into the ground as she spoke in a commanding tone.

“Oh, we just wanted to split your forces so we could take you down one by one.”

『Big words for someone who’s been failing to break through against even a single one of us.』

“That’s true.”

Six wryly smiled, seemingly in resignation, but his composure suggested that there was no such thing.

『You’ve gathered quite a lot, haven’t you? I’ll take that to mean that you take me as a serious opponent. That’s something to be proud of, I suppose. Well, it’s probably Masquerade that you’re really wary of, but then, there’s no way this could possibly be enough.』

Myuhi spoke as though there were someone else here, and Six neither confirmed nor denied it.

“As expected of Nameless’ state-of-the-art exoskeleton. Even a system of this level can’t hide from you.”

Their eyes only reflected each other. However, the sensors in their exoskeletons could pick up on strange noises from around them. It was a phenomenon commonly observed when various optical camouflage and blocking systems were in operation. However, in Myuhi’s case, it was actually the sensation of an unnatural flow in the air that led her to suspect that this place was teeming with enemies. However, there was no need to correct his misunderstanding.

『You’ve sure erected a ton of barriers here. Soundproofing, light, camouflage, there’s even a field barrier too. Do you really intend to hold the final battle here?』

“What do you mean?’

『It should be obvious to anyone just how terrifyingly powerful Masquerade is, yet you still choose to antagonize him. I’ve heard you enjoy fighting, but I’ve also heard that you’re calm enough to know better.』

The reputation, achievements, and actions of this man up to now didn’t quite align with the image of the man she’s heard about. While the weakness of the Mask coming to light was certainly an opportunity, that very Mask had defeated them even in his weakened state.

“Would sensible judgment be of any use against that man?”

『…I see you don’t intend to talk』

She didn’t disagree with him, but she did not appreciate him dodging the question. Though of course, she never expected him to answer anyway. Maybe he still believed he could win, but if so, he was sorely mistaken. Maybe he’s prepared a surefire way to assassinate Monica Chantal then? Regardless, there was only one answer for Myuhi here. She reached for long and short spears alike.

“You know I’m unarmed, right? Can’t you wait a second before starting?”

『What?』

“I’ll pay five times the usual rate. How about teaming up just this once? For you guys too, he should also be…”

『──I’ll take that as a declaration of war. Die.』

Myuhi threw the two spears right at once. Nameless have never betrayed a client, and they’ve never abandoned a job. Any betrayal would either be from the client or the job itself was a trap. That was how they established their reputation in Garesto’s underworld in the first place. There was no way Six didn’t know about that, so to suggest such a thing was nothing more than insult.

Perhaps that was exactly what he hoped to do, though no hint of agitation could be seen on his rugged face, just an expression of exasperation as though he expected her to act like this. Then two sharp metallic sounds rang out, and out of nowhere, appeared soldiers in with thick shields. They formed a protective wall around Six. Their movements were swift despite their heavy armor, and they immediately parted to the left and right. They were positioned to shield Six in case the spears detonated, but their true aim was likely to clear a path for him.

『Tch.』

Myuhi didn’t even have time to click her tongue. Silver bullets shot out at her in the next instant, but her short spear-type bit weapons already floating around her deflected them. In the next moment, explosions and cries of agony resounded, then a humanoid silhouette that had suddenly closed in on her swung down with a silver blade.

She parried that with a sweeping motion of her long spear and jumped back. At the same time, she unleashed a barrage of bit spears, only for them to be easily shot down by the opponent’s gunfire. She gasped at the figure beyond those small explosions.

──There stood a humanoid figure (Six) cloaked in dull silver.

He was clad in a bodysuit that emitted a dull silver light that seemed to flow. Throughout the suit were armor plates that resembled a makeshift exoskeleton. In his right hand was a single-edged sword, and in his left was a large-caliber handgun. Both weapons appeared unremarkable, but the pressure of the silver light they emitted sent shivers down Myuhi’s spine.

He looked like a villain straight out of those hero shows from a long time ago. Not that she was any different, but she didn’t really have time to entertain any such thoughts. After receiving Masquerade’s divine protection and seeing similar things yesterday, she could already tell just what it was that stood before her.

『I see, so the claim that yesterday’s prototype was making its debut in actual combat was a lie.』

This was the real thing, an exoskeletal version of the true Apostle weapon. Compared to the tank he had worn yesterday, this one was sleeker and more refined, showcasing a sophistication far beyond the bulky appearance of the former.

“It wasn’t a lie. I just never said that there was already a completed version.”

Six wore a smug expression.. Clad in that silver liquid energy flowing throughout his body, he stood there with confidence. No flight unit could be seen on him, but he could probably still fly somehow.

“Also, this really will be the first time that this Apostle Armament will fight. So, Crimson, let me see how far it can go!”

As Six poised to leap forward, his headgear was covered in silver liquid metal, then it mimicked the jaws of a serpent, and then… everything vanished.

『Over there!』

Invisible, unpursuable, the sensors were useless. Yet by instinct, her body moved, and she thrust her spear diagonally upward, giving rise to a high-pitched metallic sound and a shockwave that seemed to distort space.

『Tch!!』
『Gu!!』

It was only by relying solely on a mysterious sensation that she was able to intercept that attack. Blade and spear clashed, giving rise to sparks. Six let out a displeased sound. However, despite managing to counter his attack, Myuhi felt a numbness in both of her hands.

Six shot at her next, and Myuhi unleashed an attack skill. Silver light and crimson-black flames of bullets shot out to crash right in between them, giving rise to shockwaves that swept the surroundings and blowing away the other soldiers. Myuhi and Six distanced themselves. Six aimed his gun at Myuhi, while she summoned ten spear-type bit weapons. Confusion surfaced on Six. 4 bits was usually the limit even for experts; however, that was presuming precise control.

『Go!』

If all she needed was to shoot straight ahead, then there was no need for precise control. Spears enveloped in crimson-black lightning shot through the air. Six shot at them and leaped out of the way, leaving the area where he stood completely devastated.

『Haaa!!』
『Don’t get in over your head now!』

Myuhi charged at him with her lance but just as the tip was about to touch, Six vanished again. Myuhi tried to stop her momentum, but before she could, a chill ran down her spine, compelling her to continue thrusting forward. In that instant, a silver blade slashed past her.

Myuhi clicked her tongue, and a bullet got her from behind, only for it to be deflected by the black pattern. It was a huge help to have that kind of defense against an opponent like this. Myuhi felt that the one-hand sword that Six used was too suspicious. She’d thrown her lance at him in a counter attack as she turned, only for that silver blade to be cut it in half just like that. It seemed that the protection of the Mask didn’t remain active with the weapons she threw.

『…This one seems to be a poor match with me.』

A ‘spear’ was meant for piercing or slashing, but it was hard to hit fast opponents with piercing attacks. Her main role in their team was to break through enemy lines with sheer force rather than finesse, and she was also at a disadvantage having to fight someone that moved so fast she couldn’t see them.

She’s always relied on the destructive power brought about by the speed and output of her exoskeleton rather than skill, but regardless, it was still much better compared to fighting Masquerade. The fact that she thought like that spoke volumes on just how skewed her standards have become.

As a smile surfaced on her lips, Six vanished. That mysterious sensation and premonition told her that the spear wouldn’t work this time and that the enemy would attack from right in front, so she took out a different and moved without even seeing Six.

『Tch, where’d your spear go!?』
『It’ll be your undoing if you think spears are all I know!』

With her right blocking the slash that had descended from above, she spun with her left and struck at Six from the side.

『Gu! 』

The silver suit of fluid-like silver rippled with black as it left traces in the air from the impact. Six turned to her with his snake-head helmet.

In response, Myuhi adjusted her stance, positioning her right weapon in front of her, and her left weapon by her waist, holding tightly onto the staff part of the weapon, onto which were attached two steel cylinders, each as thick and long as an adult’s leg. There was only one weapon that fit such a description.

『Tonfa. I did hear that you were proficient with all weapons, but to think that you’ve mastered even that.』

The size had been adjusted for exoskeleton use, but the shape was undoubtedly that of a tonfa. The design was simple yet effective and specialized close-quarters combat. Originally, it was entirely red like Myuhi’s armor, but now, black patterns were engraved on it too. Six clutched his side. The black ripples that have surfaced on him could be seen fading over time, but he must not have been able to stop the impact.

However, Myuhi wasn’t someone who would show mercy just because of that. Photons mixed with black lightning burst from behind Myuhi, propelling her forward. She moved like lightning, but the opponent vanished before she could even close in, then she stopped abruptly and immediately deflected a silver bullet with her left tonfa.

After which, she instinctively lowered both of her arms and slammed them down behind her. A stifled voice of pain cried out from behind, but she wasn’t done just yet and sent a spinning kick to where the neck ought to be. With her thrusters accelerating her spin, her kick swung down like the death reaper’s blade, but all she got in response was the unpleasant metallic sound from the body of the silver blade blocking her.

Six realized how unfavorable this distance was to him and promptly vanished, then without giving Myuhi a chance to catch her breath, surrounded her with silver bullets from every direction. Myuhi relied on the mysterious sense to move her tonfa at high speed and fend them off, but Six took advantage of that to slash at her with his silver blade. The premonition however triggered, and Myuhi was able to dodge in time. She tried to strike back at the silver suit, but she hit nothing but air. A similar exchange repeated five more times. Although she was confident that the bullets could be stopped by her armor, they started targeting her subordinates, preventing her from being able to ignore them. She couldn’t deflect bullets without consideration too, as she might end up sending them to her subordinates.

From the Moment, Myuhi had thrown her spear, her subordinates moved for the enemy soldiers in a way that wouldn’t obstruct her. The area might have been big, but the enemy was crowded together, so thoughtless actions could easily result in friendly fire. Of course, the enemy didn’t stay silent either, but they were mostly small fry.

Even with good coordination, a skirmish here would not necessarily be advantageous to the side with more soldiers. However, not only did the enemy have more soldiers, they were also poorly coordinated. With the risk of friendly fire, their numbers ended up backfiring on them. Despite their mobile artillery and aerial combat drones, they were unable to capitalize on their numerical superiority.

If it were just them they were fighting, then Myuhi wouldn’t have to worry, but Myuhi had the premonition that even with the divine protection of the Mask, they wouldn’t be able to defend against these bullets.

While it’s better than being directly attacked, the situation was still bad. The problem was that there was no way to respond to Six except to wait for him to attack first. While she could somewhat predict where he would attack, she couldn’t hit him before he disappeared again. But if so, then the answer was simple. She just had to catch up to that mysterious mobility. The rational part of her criticized her for coming up with such a simple-minded answer, but the intuitive part of her told her that that was the right answer. So, she dealt with the gunfire and narrowly avoided the blade by relying mostly on her reflexes as she shifted her focus to seize that crucial element.

─Don’t lose sight of that silver presence.

─Memorize the sensation of responding to him.

─Head toward that realm of speed that Masquerade reached yesterday.

─Entrust everything to your senses.

─After all, he said it, didn’t he?

『That it’s okay for me to be spoiled.』

With a natural smile, she chuckled to herself, then she surrendered everything to her armor, and in the next moment, as if she saw Six within the silver flash, her right hand reached out.

『GAH!?!』

Just like that, despite Six disappearing, the tonfa slammed into the serpent head, and a voice distorted with shock and pain resounded. Myuhi grinned. She wouldn’t stop at just that. Without allowing her opponent to recover or even think, she thrust her left tonfa into Six’s stomach, giving rise to a pained exhale, then Myuhi began a fierce onslaught, showering him with punches, stabs, strikes, slashes, every trick in the book to cover that silver body in black.

However, Six wasn’t about to just watch himself get killed, and after a while, he started fighting back, but Myuhi locked his arms with her tonfa, and they tumbled into the ground. Six took advantage of that to swing with his silver blade, but Myuhi blocked it with her left tonfa. Black and silver lights scattered, as they found themselves in a standoff, their arms locked against each other. But neither of them would relent, and they both thrust out with their legs, sending a kick that pushed them away from each other.

『Gu… Tch, you damned woman! After all that beating, you go for the jewels next!? 』

Six’s serpent head was now a lot looser around his mouth. He spat out blood and curses as they separated, but he didn’t forget to point his sword at her.

『I am the Red Ogre, after all. It shouldn’t be too strange, right? Though from the way you’re acting, I guess I failed. Pity.』

Myuhi nonchalantly smiled before clicking her tongue in disappointment; however, the reason she wasn’t continuing to attack wasn’t because Six lacked openings but because the kick he’d sent out toward her had landed firmly on her side, keeping her from moving. While the damage to her organs was minimal, there were cracks in the surrounding bones. Glancing down, the armor where she had been kicked was marked with an unwelcome silver hue in the shape of a footprint.

She knew how to use this thing now. She was able to catch up too and even delivered plenty of damage, yet just one kick left her like this. It didn’t make sense. It seemed that attacks from the Apostle Armored Suits were extremely dangerous. Perhaps, even more so than the silver blade. If so, then she would have no choice but to avoid hand-to-hand combat unless absolutely necessary. Despite being on the same level, the difference in equipment was glaringly obvious. Myuhi found it frustrating how one surprise blow might just be able to take her out.

『*Cough, *cough… Damn it. What a pain.』

She adjusted her breathing to feign bravado. Oddly enough, the words Six muttered echoed her own thoughts. Of course, the subject of their concerns was different.

『We spent hundreds of years creating this thing, yet something one just made on the fly managed to catch up with us. Annoying.』

If those words could be taken at face value, then it sounded as though Six was embarrassed, so of course, Myuhi took that opportunity to punch down.

『Just goes to show that effort isn’t everything.』

『Tch, you sure know how to prattle… Mind if I ask just one thing, Crimson? For reference.』

Six spat out those words with such frustration that one could almost hear him saying, ‘this is all Masquerade’s fault.’ But immediately after, he switched to a calm tone and asked that.

『What?』

『It took me a week to master this thing and be able to control those movements, so just how did you manage to tame that thing so quickly?』

Six seemed genuinely curious. Myuhi suspected that he was just buying time to recover from the damage, but that was true for her too, so she cooperated and sincerely pondered how she’d done it.

『Fu fu.』

『Ah?』

Without intending to, an irresistible smile surfaced on her. The figure of a sulking boy passed through her mind, and all of her tension disappeared. While she remained cautious, all the fear was gone, while the pain, she just laughed off. As she readjusted her grip on her weapon, she said.

『It’s like entrusting all of yourself to a lovable man.』

『That doesn’t help one bit.』

It was curious if Six thought she was messing around or not, but he just shook his head and summoned a silver dagger in his left hand. As he aimed that weapon and the other at her, it was clear that the time for stalling was over. They looked at each other without exchanging even a single word, completely ignoring the surrounding hubbub from all the fighting and the explosions, and then… They vanished.

The silver meteor and the red lightning veiled in black resumed their clash in a battlefield known only to them. It was a battle that no one could stand witness to. Would the Fang of the Snake emerge victorious, or would the Spear of Nameless stand triumphant? Regardless, the battle between the two factions that had began with the start of the concert was soon to reach its conclusion.

A conclusion that someone else had prepared.


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Comments

5 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 – 04-106: Defend the Concert! 5”

  1.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Nice chapter!

  2. Magnawell Baskus Lardo Kurtzvald Avatar

    Thanks for the Chapter

  3.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    finally caught up today

  4. WrongerMonk10 Avatar
    WrongerMonk10

    Thank you for the chapter!

  5.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thanks for the chapter

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