Or at least it felt like that for the woman. It was painful and felt like she would throw up, but then her breath stopped.
“H-Hey! What are you doing— Eek!!?” The man said.
An incomprehensible scream resounded from the woman, while the man fell despite sitting on the ground.
The throat of the woman ached and she couldn’t breathe.
Though that did not last for long, it was so painful it felt like an eternity for her.
Gazes turned to the boy, perhaps to plead for amnesty or rebuke him, but it was in that moment that they truly forgot to breathe.
With all emotions gone from Shinichi’s face, his eyes containing neither heat nor cold, all of them felt their backs freeze.
It would actually have been better if he merely looked at them as though they were trash, yet those eyes saw them not as ‘people’ but as objects, and that was terrifying.
“The ones who need to stop screwing around… Are you people. No matter the effort, no matter the sacrifices made…You were about to start a slaughter, and you have the gall to hold those efforts up with pride? Are your heads full of maggots? Hmm? There is only one fate for people like you who revel in the misery of others Do you know? It is death.”
Yet contrary the words woven, the boy spoke with indifference, and it was that calmness laced with venom that dug out the fear from within.
It was curious as to whether that ‘lack’ of emotion was because he was suppressing the emotions, or because this was not a matter that necessitated emotion.
Regardless, neither criminal could come to a conclusion about that, and either way, there was no changing the fact that their plans have been laid bare and were on the verge of collapse.
The boy’s ordinary appearance only served to amplify the terror they felt.
In the face of such a queer and overpowering sight, they could not even afford themselves the reprieve of a scream and just remained there shaking.
“Congratulations. I couldn’t possibly know how much effort and time you’ve expended, but you did well putting so much effort into something completely meaningless. Well done.”
Aristel charmingly smiled as she pointed them to that cruel reality.
“As a reward for all the effort you’ve done, you may enjoy the rest of your meaningless life inside a cage. What joy.”
Indeed, there could be no other future waiting for them now, and even they went pale as their shoulders dropped.
But for some reason, the girl gently held the boy by the shoulders and made a worried face as though she feared he would do something.
“…Don’t worry, I won’t kill anyone no matter what,” Shinichi said.
───Never again… Well, not directly, anyway.
Shinichi didn’t say that last part and just gently pulled her hand away, but the girl was sharp enough to read between the lines.
She looked at him meaningfully, but the situation didn’t allow her to pursue the topic.
“The mood was pretty good just then, huh… Wait, this isn’t the time for this! If you know where the bombs are, then hurry up and contact the cops! Ah, no, more importantly, we need to get the customers to safety first!”
For a moment, the male staff felt alienated by the atmosphere between the boy and the girl, but as someone that always took his work seriously, he quickly collected himself and started hurrying.
However, just as he was about to carry out what he had in mind, the boy and the girl stopped him.
“That won’t do. We know from the earlier call that there are other criminals. If they realize that we know what they’re planning, they might detonate everything remotely. That bomb did have a receiver,” Shinichi said.
“Even if you use a different reason to evacuate the customers, the criminals will still press the switch, but they still haven’t noticed us, so what we need to do now is to use this time to collect or dismantle the bombs.”
“B-But if we take too long, the criminals will blow everything up anyway. At the very least, we need to contact the cops and have them apprehend the criminals without alerting them.”
The male staff knew that the criminals carefully prepared for this day and brought dangerous things into the park.
He understood where the boy and the girl was coming from, but the criminals probably had weapons on them other than those bombs, so he offered another solution, bu Shinichi shook his head.
“With the situation at hand, it would be unwise to contact the authorities right now.”
“…What do you mean?”
“Frankly, the only one that can be trusted from the Nyazdaland staff right now is you. They managed to infiltrate the security room, so what’s guaranteeing that they haven’t infiltrated the staff too?” Shinichi said.
“Ah,” the male staff said.
“I see. We would have to rely on the police or the staff to communicate with the police secretly, and then we would also have to provide evidence to convince them that there is indeed a group of criminals planting bombs,. but we only have so much time before the bombs explode…” Aristel said.
“So, in other words, the criminals could notice us and it’ll take too much time, did I get that right?” The male staff confirmed.
Despite the pessimism on the staff’s face, Aristel calmly nodded.
He was about to snap back emotionally and ask, ‘then what are we supposed to then?’ But the boy spoke before he could.
“I’ve already contacted someone we could trust to take care of the remaining criminals. They’re from the academy, so they can be trusted, but they won’t be able to move until after the bombs have been dealt with. They’re preparing as we speak, but first, we need to deal with the bombs.”
“B-But… Sigh, fine. I wouldn’t be able to do anything anyway if not for you, so while it might be sad as an adult, I have no choice but to rely on you. Please take care of this matter.”
The male staff could only rely on these two now.
It was true that he had other ideas, but he didn’t have the abilities to execute them, so at the very least, he bowed his head properly and asked for their help.
After all, that was the only option he had to protect the guests of Nyazdaland.
“…You know, it’s really hard to abandon someone who can easily do something like this.”
“Ha ha, oh, Shinichi-san, you sure do love your jokes, don’t you? You never had any plans of doing that in the first place.”
Shinichi complained, and Aristel happily pointed out that it was him who first acted to save the male staff.
However, that quiet exchange was kept between them.
“In that case, you help too. Please give us the shortest route to all the bombs,” Shinichi said.
“It’s our first time coming here, after all. Do you think you can come up with a route that will allow us to go through the crowd without standing out?” Aristel said.
“Yes, just leave it to me. I might look like this, but I’ve actually been working here for a long time already!”
The male staff enthusiastically beat his own chest, and the boy and the girl nodded.
He held authority as a staff member and could be trusted, so after coming up with the route, they let him take the lead.
Like that, they neutralized the bombs planted in Nyazdaland one after another, but…
“…So this is the next item on today’s menu,” Shinichi said.
After going through that route, they
They succeeded in neutralizing most of the bombs, but not an ounce of happiness could be found on them.
“Well, this is bad…” Aristel said.
“Bad? This is terrible! There’s less than one hour until the bomb explodes!!” The male staff said.
“Sigh, why is the plot always so convoluted whenever I’m involved?” Shinichi said.
Though their expressions varied, trouble and impatience was a common theme.
There was nothing wrong with the route the male staff chose or the information regarding the bombs.
They also succeeded in neutralizing most of the bombs. At most, there were some places difficult for a customer to enter, and they had to expend more effort, but the real problem that stumped them happened along the way.
They put it aside to focus on the other bombs, but after dealing with those, they had to come back and face that problem again.
And just like before, they were stumped.
“Now, just where did that last bomb run off to?”
Yes, that’s right, one of the bombs was missing.