Shinichi looked worried, but his worries actually lay elsewhere because he already had a solution to the problem at hand: he just had to become Masquerade.
Save for a few exception, Masquerade’s recognition interference ability was almost invincible, such that he could be standing right in front of someone and they wouldn’t be able to notice him, and even if they caught him on camera, he would at best be recognized as a black shadow, and the person behind the camera would just think of him as a glitch, making it all too easy to search the parade without being noticed.
There would be no need for Aristel to appear and no need to reveal the existence of the bomb.
Of course, they would have to make a report to the relevant authorities later, but they didn’t need to know about it ‘now’.
However, the evil god’s intuition told him that there was a troublesome presence, and that if he really tried to pull that off, a tragedy would ensue, and that presence would be pleased.
He knew from experience that there was an interloper that he ‘didn’t know of’.
He wasn’t completely clueless who that presence was, but he still decided to avoid using that method and left it as a last resort.
“So we don’t have any optical-camo-tech with us, and searching from the skies would be too difficult because of the distance. I also doubt they’d plant the bomb somewhere easy to find, so a simple eye-check probably won’t work anyway,” Aristel said.
The methods Aristel mentioned indeed made it possible to search for the bomb without being spotted, but they were unlikely to produce any results.
Kimura groaned and became thoughtful, but he couldn’t come up with anything either despite being part of the staff.
“Shinichi-san, can’t you use amaryllis-san?”
“She’s indeed harder to spot than any of us, but the performers will still notice her. And besides, her
It wasn’t a question of strength but of physique; her four small limbs were just too limited.
She also had to secure the security room, so it really wasn’t wise to move her.
“Well, this is certainly a predicament… At times like this, one should— Oh, yes! That’s right! When stuck, you shouldn’t just try to open the door again; instead, you should completely reverse your thinking!” Aristel said.
“The way you talk reminds me of a certain attorney, but okay… So, what’s your plan?” Kimura said.
“Uh… On second thought, how do I reverse my thinking in a situation like this?” Aristel said.
“Ehhh?” Kimura said.
For a moment, Kimura was full of expectation for Aristel, but her next words poured cold water all over his zeal.
Aristel did think she had something good, but in the end, the lack of substance made for a disappointing result.
“Reversing one’s thinking, huh,” Shinichi wryly smiled.
It was something he’d told her once upon a time, but he didn’t think she’d actually remember it so well, and at such a troublesome time too.
He relaxed for a moment because of that, but then ended up noticing something from the corner of his eyes.
And like a revelation from the heavens, his thinking was reversed.
“What? …Huh, w-what are you— ehhhhh!?!?”
As Shinichi became overwhelmed with emotion and cried out, he suddenly took Aristel by her slender waist and lifted her up, then started spinning with her.
“That’s right! Why couldn’t I think of something so simple! Thank you, Alice!”
With the two of them literally an arm’s reach away from each other, in a situation where she was being supported completely by him, and him looking at her with a sincere smile free of calculating thoughts, various emotions rose up from within her.
Embarrassment from being too close, reassurance from his strength, and a hastened heartbeat from his smile.
Aristel’s whole body burned up, and it easily surpassed her tolerance limit.
“Uu… ah… O-Okay! I get it, I get it! So please let me down already!”
“Ah, sorry, my bad. I got a bit too excited there.”
Aristel was so embarrassed she couldn’t hide her flushed cheeks, while Shinichi was so excited he lost himself in the moment.
Yet despite that, he still made sure to put her down gently.
Shinichi was the one who carried her and spun her around, but it was Aristel that was breathing heavily.
“Uu, no wonder Myuhi-san was so red.”
‘It doesn’t make sense. It’s just too strong. My head is all red.’
Because he was closer than usual and had no extraneous thoughts, the stimulation ended up too much for her maiden’s heart to bear.
She’s always tried to maintain a calm demeanor and be able to use the multitasking that she’s trained so much, but the resulting panic from that wiped all of that away.
She was jealous of Myuhi when she saw her being treated like this, but now that she’s experienced it for herself, she just felt apologetic.
However, that was by no means because she ‘hated’ it, and in fact, a closer glance would show a faint smile on her lips.
“So is that what you need to be capable of to hit on a girl from a higher social standing? …Sigh, it’s impossible for me.”
Meanwhile, a certain bachelor, who came to a realization all on his own, albeit in a strange direction, was brooding in a corner.
“S-So, what kind of method did you come up with?”
Aristel did her best to keep her composure, but her cheeks remained flushed.
Regardless, there was a pressing matter that had to be prioritized, so she forced herself to bring the conversation there.
A fearless smile surfaced on Shinichi as he meaningfully answered with a laugh.
“There’s no one inside.”
The face on him did not at all resemble a man revealing a stroke of genius, but a mischievous child that just came up with a prank.
Nyazdaland’s parade today was a little different from usual.
Monica Chantal, a singer described as a dimensional songstress, was invited by Goddess Aura herself. She gratefully accepted and is now headed for her castle with a gift.
───Or at least so goes the
But even without all those details, it was obvious that today’s parade would be special. In the first place, Nyazdaland’s parades have always been popular, and there were many that enjoyed it without thinking about the story.
Moreover, the songstress, who professed herself to be a half-Earthling and half-Garestonian, was the best-selling singer in both worlds, with or without Nyazda, so when coupled with the popular Nyazda, the result could only be an historic turnout.
That’s why today was also the most crowded Nyazdaland has ever been.
So much so that even without the students, there was still a massive gap between the most crowded day and the second most crowded day.
What was however not known was that there were those eagerly looking forward to this day and those that were filled with trepidation.
Someone exclaimed in admiration.
There were so many people that the train looked packed, but only a few people complained or yelled in anger.
Some people might lean over the ropes of light that demarcated the parade’s course, but the crowd was behaved well enough that no one tried to jump over them.
They were so captivated by the spectacles of fantasy occurring past the line that those ropes of light seemed to mark the beginning of a sacred world that ought not be touched.
At the head of the parade could be seen people dressed in an outfit akin to those of a certain country’s imperial guards, marching with perfect coordination and batons made to look like weapons while accompanied by an eye-catching light show.
Behind them followed float cars and objects that resembled boats, trains, cars, giants, and dragons…
Many of these movements and tricks were impossible before, but the new technology made them a reality.
Advanced image projection technology also made it possible to bring to life things that weren’t actually there, such as moving water, dancing fairies, fantastical beasts walking, and so on and so forth.
Already, the guests couldn’t tell what was real and what was illusion.
And all of that was accompanied by a music that’s easy on the ears and made one want to dance.
In between the float cars could also be seen various performers that showed all sorts of interesting performances.
They too colored the parade and brought happiness to the guests to charm them further.
All of this was only possible because the otherworld exchange raised the technology of the world, and that technology was used without hesitation to entertain people.
This whole parade was like a message saying that the difference between the worlds didn’t really matter.
“Look, Nee-chan! It’s Monica!”
“I know! Wow, it’s my first time seeing her in person!”
At the center of the parade was a float car resembling a sailing ship; on its deck could be found Monica Chantal.
Though it was already at that hour when the sun was setting, the sight of her illuminated still drew attention.
Nay, even without that, her confident expression and her good looks were sure to draw attention.
With the motif of the float car that of a pirate ship, Monica too was dressed like a pirate.
She wore a three-cornered hat, from which her long pink hair spilled out and fluttered in the wind to adorn her brown skin.
Strangely enough, the combination of her exotic skin tone, that was unlike a simple tan, and her flashy hair color did not feel out of place.
And when she posed with that fake saber of hers, she appeared majestic and looked just like a pirate.
The sight of her was enough to enchant the audience into a different fantasy from that of the parade, and her fans looked at her with sparkling eyes that seemed to shoot out light.
“So that’s the half songstress, huh. Hmph, well ain’t she a beauty.”
But among the crowd was an unhappy boy and a girl that chided him with a complicated expression.
“Your words don’t match your face, Ryou.”
The four of them were lucky enough to get a front row seat, but only the Senba twins were excited.
Ryou seemed unhappy with the songstress, while Tomoe was trying to calm him down.
She knew the circumstances, though, so she could only rebuke him quietly and gently.
“I know, I know… I’m just venting.”
“If you know, then can you not spoil their fun?”
‘I understand that too,’ Ryou was about to say when───────
Something akin to gunfire resounded.