Shinichi and Frire were in a dimly lit space with intricate piping.
Although the area was spacious, it was dark, so it was hard to see anything without light, and only the area around Shinichi and Frire was lit up thanks to their skills.
However, they weren’t the only ones there.
For some reason, there was a group of 5 or 6 unconscious men and women bound in ropes of
However, the methods they used were the exact opposite of each other.
“So you say, Shirayuki, but the one that’s really doing the work is you, and I’m actually rather idle right now,” Frire said.
Frire’s exoskeleton was deployed only on her two arms, and from it extended a thin metal arm, from which extended several layers of tool-shaped arms that dismantled the bombs with such precision it seemed as though the bombs were going through their manufacturing process in reverse.
But it was really Shirayuki who was responsible for that precision and all Frire was really doing was to lend her her arms.
In fact, Frire wouldn’t even be able to obstruct her work unless she moved her arms a lot.
“Besides, keeping quiet would actually make it harder to focus here,” Shinichi said.
On the other hand, Shinichi had one of his hands raised to manipulate the
He would crush the exterior steel plates, strip off the number display, and messily shred the cords.
And when he finally retrieved the small golden crystal in the center of the box to which all of those were connected, all that was left was just scrap iron.
Before Shinichi, bombs that relied on detonating pseudo-photons were no more than meaningless dummies.
Speaking of which, Shinichi started wearing black gloves since his blunder a few days ago, so no fingerprints would be left behind anymore.
“…In your case, I have no idea what you’re focusing on.”
“That’s a trade— I mean, personal secret.”
To Frire, who was unaware of the circumstances under which
Shirayuki was even muttering in doubt how the bombs haven’t exploded yet.
〈Neutralization and dismantling complete.〉
But at the same time, she nimbly moved those robot arms and completely dismantled the bombs on her end.
Being able to continue working in the face of an incomprehensible phenomenon was one of the strengths of an AI.
Moreover, because that was the last of the bombs, the crisis at hand has finally passed.
“Good job… But Nakamura dismantled five bombs, while we dismantled two. You were a huge help, of course, but this is just…”
They were able to save a lot of time thanks to Shinichi, but this was supposed to be Frire’s field as someone from the military, and yet she was still lacking compared to him.
As Frire looked like she found the matter hard to accept, Shinichi wryly smiled.
“I had no choice because we didn’t have time, but normally, it would be best to properly dismantle them instead for the sake of the investigation afterwards. When I work, the bombs just get turned into useless scraps.”
Now that he mentioned it, the bombs he dealt with and the bombs Shirayuki dealt with didn’t look like they were even the same thing, and the bombs that were forcibly destroyed by him were indeed difficult to analyze.
Though his scraps were still better off than searching for the scraps of a bomb that managed to explode, there was no denying that Shirayuki’s work was much easier to analyze.
“Oh, they’re fast as expected. Just five minutes after the call.”
As Frire reluctantly agreed with Shinichi’s remark, several lights and sounds approached from behind.
The moment they found the bombs, they requested that the people nearby be cleared and for all relevant parties to be notified, so that’s exactly what the cops had set out to accomplish.
“Well then, I’ll be leaving the rest to you.”
Shinichi knew that nothing good would come out of meeting the cops, so he quickly tried to leave, but Frire grabbed his shoulders, so he had no choice but turn to her with an understandably surprised expression.
“…Me being around will just make things more complicated.”
“But you were the one who found these terrorists! At the very least, stay behind and explain what happened! All I did was help deal with the bombs!”
──I don’t know anything other than that!
When she vehemently argued that, Shinichi wearily sighed.
But of course, it was actually Frire who wanted to sigh the most.
Shinichi suddenly disappeared, and then just as suddenly, reported finding some suspicious people and some bombs, so Frire had to immediately make the necessary arrangements and rush to the scene to help him deal with the bombs.
Also, she only explained the circumstances leading to the field trip because he asked her about it.
“Alright, then let’s go with this story. I found a group of people acting suspiciously, so I reported it to you. When you followed them, you found them in the middle of setting up some bombs, so you took them by surprise and knocked them out, and then dealt with the bombs. But you only managed to dismantle two of the bombs properly before running out of time, so you had to quickly and crudely dismantle the remaining bombs. Finally, you had me stay behind to testify about when I discovered the suspicious group. Got it?”
“Y-Yeah, let’s go with that. As usual, you’re good with stuff like this.”
She was of course referring to his ability to produce an acceptable story without deviating too far from the truth.
Strictly speaking, all he really did was to switch the order of events and give his scenes to her, but the fact that he could come up with that kind of story on the spur left her half-impressed and half-dismayed.
“Alright, be sure to match our stories, you two. It’s a hassle, so let’s hurry up and wrap this up, then depart already.”
As he said that, he smiled meaningfully at the approaching cops.
Frire nodded, but her face twitched, as though she suspected that this boy before her was about to mess things up.
Unfortunately, the boy would betray those expectations
Of course, the fact that Shinichi could even control his countenance made Frire’s head ache badly.
“If you can do that, then be more flexible with people.”
“If I tried that all the time, I probably won’t last 3 days.”
Though stunned by that pathetic confession, it seemed he might actually be able to keep up the act for two days, and that made Frire’s head ache again.
───Second International Airport of Kutoria
That was the insipid name of the airport in the eastern coastal zone of the city.
Normal aircraft that didn’t use dimension gates normally used the second international airport when leaving Kutoria.
That’s why, although Shinichi might feel out of place, the design of the airport was exactly what one would normally imagine an airport to be.
However, since entering Kutoria by air was restricted, the second international airport was usually deserted, though this time around, it was particularly noisy because of all the students and teachers that were departing.
But of course, most of the students and teachers have already left an hour ago, so the airport has already returned to its usual tranquility.
Incidentally, it was later revealed that the terrorists had obtained information about the school field trip from the parents of the students, and took advantage of the traffic to illegally enter Kutoria.
They were planning on destroying the airport to spread the chaos and bring more people in, but Shinichi found them before they could.
They’d slipped into the busy crowd and would normally be difficult to find, but Shinichi was apparently able to intuitively find them by relying on the tenets of spot-the-difference puzzles.
“To think that my first time flying would be on a Garesto-made plane…”
A teacher and a student briskly walked side-by-side in the boarding corridor connecting the airport and the aircraft.
Frire was seriously hurrying, but Shinichi was just acting as though he was in a hurry, as he believed that a few more minutes wouldn’t make much of a difference given how late they were already.
That’s why he leisurely said that while looking out of the corridor window to gaze at the giant aircraft.
There was nothing unusual about it for those used to the aesthetics of today, but for him, who was still stuck in the aesthetics 8 years ago, there was one trivial thing that bothered him too much – the aircraft looked just like an egg with short wings.
Yes, that was a machine that looked less like an actual aircraft and more something straight out of Science Fiction.
He would have found it more convincing had someone told him that it was actually a full-sized model assembled for a movie shoot instead.
After all of his contact with Garesto’s technology, he knew in his head that everything would be alright, but he just couldn’t help but feel uneasy about riding that egg.
“What are you idling for!? We need to hurry!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Shinichi answered perfunctorily.
For a moment, he considered picking her up and running with her in his arms, but in the end decided not to because of all the people that would end up seeing them. Not to mention that he’d already inconvenienced her earlier and would likely do so again when something simiilar happens ‘later’.