For someone in her position, that was not something she could have been ignorant of.
In a sense, it was information meant precisely for those with a certain level of authority.
And by information, that was of course referring to the existence of the Mask that protected Kutoria and its students, while simultaneously threatening the whole world.
In other words, the existence of Masquerade.
She had already heard a little here and there about the Mask during the bombing incident.
It would be a lie to say that nothing had caught her attention back then.
That’s why when she heard what he did and what he said, her eyes opened wide.
She played that video of
She looked at the information and events disclosed behind the scenes from multiple angles and even followed up on them.
Before long, her
The warmth spreading within her chest was so strong that all the evaluations and opinions of those around her fell on deaf ears.
And when she saw that monochrome picture, that warmth reached its climax.
And so, without anyone knowing,
“Oh, they’re doing it, they’re doing it.”
Shinichi acted as though his foster were in camera mode and pointed it at a certain structure.
That structure was Aura Castle, the castle of the goddess of the Nyazda World, Goddess Aura.
Or at least, that was the setting of the castle-like attraction with European-styled towers that was the Japanese home of the mischievous goddess that always appeared in Nyazda’s productions. Its design could be described as both divine and majestic with subdued colors befitting that of a goddess’ castle.
With a total height of 60 meters, any and all who beheld it for the first time could not keep themselves from gasping in admiration.
“…In the end, this way’s the easiest for me,” Shinichi said.
“Indeed, unfortunately,” Youko said.
Over in Falandia, these two have already seen lot of castles where real royalty ran the government and knights and servants worked, so this attraction wasn’t really that interesting to them.
In fact, what was reflected on Shinichi’s foster had nothing to do with the castle, and a huge spherical space surrounded by stands could be seen on it instead.
There was a thinly colored barrier with cushion there, and a game was currently being held within its confines.
A fiercely fought game between young men and women riding on differently styled broomsticks.
Especially fierce was the competition between a dark-haired girl that straddled her broom and a boy that rode it standing up like a surfer.
Shinichi’s cheeks loosened as he watched the video feed of the giant monitor in the venue without permission.
After all, both were familiar faces, and that was the case for the boy and girl following from behind as well.
“Ha ha, she always gets so serious when competing.”
While pretending to take a picture of the castle that could be said to be a landmark here, Shinichi stepped away from the crowd and leaned against the fence of an artificial flowerbed.
This was an inconspicuous spot due to the castle gathering so much attention, so he could safely raise his palm and speak his feelings.
A piece of paper had fallen into his hand when he said those words. It was a bird origami, but its head was distorted enough that it could be taken for something else depending on how one perceived it.
“…I’m surprised you managed to turn that origami into a dove, Master. When it’s that bad, even I don’t know what to say… My condolences, I suppose.”
“If you really think that, then just don’t say anything in the first place! I’m sorry I can’t even fold origami properly!”
Youko wiped her eyes with her front paw as though she were crying, causing veins to bulge on Shinichi’s forehead as he looked away pouting.
Being skillful with one’s hands had little to do with one’s Skill rank since folding origami just had too little to do with combat.
And for the record, their quiet exchange was spoken in the Falandian tongue.
“Alright, alright, I’m sorry. But, as expected of someone you fell for at first sight, she really is quite sharp.”
“Yeah, she noticed as expected.”
Shinichi ignored the problematic expression that Youko used and just chuckled as he tucked away the badly made origami into his pocket.
“Intuition, circumstance, my mistake, my relationship with them, and her perception… Though I must say that it really is rare for someone with such abilities and a situation easily seen through to just come together like that… I really have no luck, do I?”
They had both been watching through the origami, so Shinichi and Youko bot knew that Tomoe had noticed in ‘both sense’, though of c course, her ability and intuition were certainly a thing to admire.
“I’m sure she knows that we were watching, but she probably still only has some guesses about your relation with those two.”
Tomoe was both more knowledgeable and experienced when it came to shikis and other related jutsus than them, so while Shinichi might have intended to hide their presence, that one moment of agitation allowed Tomoe to notice them.
As for inferring the relationship between him and the twins, that was purely because Tomoe was Tomoe.
“I can’t believe I couldn’t notice how different yet similar you were with your siblings.”
“Would have been great if we weren’t similar, though…”
It might have been due to the innate intuitiveness of Tomoe’s linage that she was able to notice the similarities between them, but it was something that he actually deeply lamented.
Alas, since he himself inherited his personality from his parents, it was only natural that the twins born from the same parents would carry the same factors with them.
“The way she gets serious over competition is similar too,” Youko pointed out.
“I can’t deny that,” Shinichi agreed.
A wry smile surfaced on Shinichi as he watched the video with Youko.
Sparks scattered between Ryou and the older Senba as they entered the last lap neck and neck.
The expression on her was nothing like the sort when she acted as a Public Morals Officer or when she’s with Shinichi and about to blow her top.
With her competitive spirit laid bare, the face she wore now was one that Shinichi remembered all too well.
“If you were going to go this far just to watch, we could have just watched from somewhere closer… You know, you’re going to make me jealous if you look at her with an expression like that.”
While poking fun of his gentle expression, Youko reminded him how he specialized at hiding, but Shinichi shook his head.
“There’s still a chance they might notice us, and I wouldn’t want to get in the way of their fun.”
Shinichi said as he watched his siblings play with his disciples.
That was actually his biggest concern after finding out that all the students would be going out on a trip.
How could he ensure that his siblings wouldn’t happen into him? After all, his younger siblings were finally able to go on a trip.
Yousuke was still fine, but Youko would surely be unhappy if she saw him.
He was used to hiding, trailing, and observing people, but he knew things never went right when his family was involved.
“I see, so that’s why you had to use a shikigami experiment as an excuse.”
It was such a strange way of being considerate that Youko couldn’t help but tease him like he would.
“But thanks to that, we were able to confirm once again that you’re terrible with familiar-like spells.”
Despite continuing to chuckle, she reminded her master of that cold hard truth, and that there was never ever a need for an experiment since he’s always been ill matched with such abilities.
“I-It’s because you can’t increase mana or spiritual power with Skill; it’s a limitation of the conservation of energy.”
Shinichi internally cried, but the ceiling in either department was just too low for him.
In that regard, no effort or ingenuity or skill could help him.
He could economize as much as he wanted, but at the end of the day, with less spiritual power, the spells just couldn’t be maintained for long.
“Sharing senses, changing orders, controlling from afar, maintaining their existence… None of these things consume a lot of energy, but when you pile them all up, the consumption really is painful for you, huh, Master.”
“Shikis are better for versatility and stealth, but my spiritual power really is just too lacking.”
For awhile now, he’s been wondering if he could use those to gather information.
Unlike the familiars of Falandia, there was no need to prepare the whole body to accommodate that goal.
He could just do something like he did earlier and make it so that the shikigami could hide among the real things.
They would also continue to function once an order has been given until they run out of spiritual power or are physically destroyed.
They had a lot of advantages over familiars, but while Shinichi could cheat attack jutsus by mixing in mana, shikis had too many parts that couldn’t be compensated for with mana, so he struggled just to produce that one dove.
So the question boiled down to whether he would much rather break into the security system to gather information or waste his precious spiritual power.
Naturally, the former would be a much more economical option.
Though having more cards at his disposal wasn’t a waste, this new card of his was a bit too difficult to use just to gather information.
“Why would you ignore such an obvious and major premise?” Youko asked.
But that was something that he should’ve realized without even having to try it out.
So when he did all that just to see how ‘they’ were doing, Youko could more or less tell what his main purpose was behind his so-called experiment.
A huge grin surfaced on Youko.
“Sheesh, enough already… You can just use it in my place,” Shinichi said.
“Please don’t ask the impossible of me. What even is Spiritual power? With my lowly C rank in Skill, I don’t understand it and can’t use it,” Youko said.
Shinichi could tell by looking at her with Spirit Sight, that with the power of her soul, she should be able to specialize in Spiritual power.
However, since she didn’t even understand spiritual power as a concept, he first needed to make her understand what it was, then have her be able to perceive it and manipulate it, and then and only then would she finally be able to use it.
Unfortunately, that was a concept as difficult as teaching mana to the people of this world that didn’t understand the very concept of mana.
It was akin to asking a primitive man to read, write, and speak Japanese.
That’s not an impossible road by any means, but what a long road it is indeed.