“They’ve been here before we even entered? Is that right?” Shinichi asked.
“Kyui,” Youko replied.
When Youko nodded to her master’s question, everyone groaned.
Though it was yet to be confirmed that someone had intentionally cracked the dimensional barrier, there was no denying that there was at least a faction willing to watch this tragedy unfold.
And with how they positioned real-sized insect-type drones here, it was likely that they had been expecting something to happen here too.
There was just too little reason otherwise to leave such drones in an open area otherwise meant for tourists.
One could argue that they might have been trying to chase after someone related to the school, but then it wouldn’t make sense why this place was surrounded right from the start.
“Good grief, just who is scheming what this time?” Myuhi said.
“This is definitely a problem. If this was intentional, they might have been aiming for us, but it’s not like we can’t find out… Hmm? Safina?” Frire said.
The two Garestonians heaved a sigh as though things were about to get troublesome again, but Tomoe paled when she saw the remains of those drones.
When they looked at the drones again, they could see that they’ve lost some of their protective coating.
They appeared even more metallic, but the two Garestonians just assumed that that was due to them losing their camouflage ability from the lack of power.
“No, way… Shinichi, could this be?” Tomoe said.
“Yeah, looks like there’s someone out there with some interesting ideas. I didn’t know there was this method of reinforcement. It was a terrible choice if they wanted to hide their trace, though.”
“Is this really the time to be appraising them!?”
But for Tomoe and Shinichi, who did understand, they could not afford to be as lax. A faint spiritual power could be picked up from the hull of the insect-type drones.
When they analyzed it, they found out that that was the ‘shiki’ that gave the drone its camouflage ability and served as the eye, indicating that the person behind these drones was related to the exorcist clans.
Though it remained a mystery whether this was intentional or not, and what the objective was, Tomoe couldn’t help but stiffen up.
“Muu, don’t just understand things on your own! Explain it to us too!”
Myuhi started complaining, however, and suddenly, Tomoe found herself struggling to figure out how to worm her way out of this situation, but Shinichi saw that action of hers differently, and he quietly smiled and shook his index finger at her instead.
“Uu, eh, what!?”
“Are you jealous, Hina? Don’t worry, my right arm is still free, you know.”
Shinichi embraced Tomoe by her waist and beamed at Myuhi with a face full of smile, beckoning at her with his right hand while keeping the blushing Tomoe at bay with his left.
Youko watched that scene with a huge grin, while Frire could only look up to the sky when she noticed the veins bulging on Myuhi’s forehead.
That might have been her scariest smile yet.
Myuhi was indeed weak to provocations as Shinichi suspected, but he wasn’t self-aware enough to realize that that was true only when it was about a certain person.
“Ahahaha, Icchi, you sure say some interesting things─────Why don’t you just drop dead already!!”
That’s why Myuhi blew up like that.
She changed her grip over her spear and kick off the ground, leaving a mark as she began a charge unbelievable for a girl of her stature.
She was so fast that Tomoe could only see the afterimages she left in her path.
By the time Tomoe realized what was happening, Myuhi had already stopped in front of Shinichi.
To be more precise, she didn’t stop. She was stopped.
“You’re kidding… Those weren’t just sword bits!?” Myuhi said.
There was a thin but firm layer of gold deployed right before Shinichi.
A triangular barrier with the three bits as the vertices.
A sight that immediately cooled Myuhi’s emotions as she found herself appraising that barrier as a warrior.
“There’s no way that romantic fool could make a normal weapon, right? The seven bits of his weapon could be used in any way, from sword to guns to shields…
When Shinichi heard that the current trend was to specialize in just one aspect, he knew that that self-proclaimed Wernher Braun would create something different.
And as someone whose senses were connected to the weapon, Shinichi knew that his creation was not limited to just that.
“Uu, huh, wait a moment, wah!?”
Shinichi was someone who could easily handle this difficult weapon that has been made even more difficult with its greater versatility.
And while Myuhi was still surprised to see her full-powered charge without an exoskeleton be blocked, the remaining four bits moved before she could notice them, then as the bits formed pairs, they shot out wires made out of energy to bind Myuhi’s arms and lift her high up into the air.
With her arms sealed and her legs separated from the ground, there was very little she could do now to resist.
“It can even bind a person or two for a while. It’s really well made,” Shinichi said.
“…Did you provoke me just to test this weapon?” Myuhi asked.
When Myuhi saw Shinichi seemingly so satisfied, a certain suspicion crossed her mind.
She hadn’t actually thought that her attack would be able to hit him easily, but her emotions got to her and she just couldn’t help herself but try to stab him; alas, things took an unexpected turn.
She had been relatively serious when she charged at him, but this weapon actually managed to stop her and even bind her.
If it was for the sake of testing out a weapon like this, then the warrior part of her could understand why Shinichi provoked her.
“Of course not! I just thought it would more interesting like this.”
But Shinichi just paused and looked at her blankly for a moment before shaking his head to readily tell her that testing the weapon was just an afterthought. Everyone other than Youko found themselves with a headache.
“…Damn it! Let me hit you! Let me hit you!” Myuhi said.
“If he wasn’t like this, he would be so dependable, though,” Frire said.
“If you keep playing with women like this, you really will get stabbed one day. And can you let go of me already!” Tomoe said while in his arms.
Shinichi smiled as he obediently let her go.
That was a smile of both understanding and nostalgia.
“Oh, it definitely hurt a lot.”
Tomoe and Frire were all question marks, but Myuhi had already heard about it, so she just informed them with a fed up face.
“Apparently, Icchi has already been stabbed by a woman before. In fact, it wasn’t even a stab but a slash on his back.”
“You’ve already experienced it!? And you weren’t stabbed but slashed!?” Tomoe said.
Myuhi was all nods when Tomoe had a similar reaction as her, but when she noticed someone else strangely excited, she couldn’t help but be dumbfounded with Tomoe.
“What? Someone actually managed to get behind him? Who was it!? What kind of person managed to do that!?” Frire said.
“…You know, even I would find it weird to see you start getting starry-eyed over something like that,” Myuhi said.
“H-Huh? Was Teacher Doneju this kind of person?” Tomoe said.
“A-Ahem! Anyway, enough playing around, Nakamura,” Frire said.
When Tomoe looked at her with a gaze that seemed to say, ‘something seems off,’ Frire recovered herself.
Frire was devoted to her own desires, yes, but she was still a woman that could prioritize her position as a teacher.
Unfortunately, it was a bit too late for that.
“You’re not fooling anyone with that, you know? Anyway, can you explain properly now?” Myuhi said.
“Who’s fooling who?” Frire said.
Though Myuhi was amazed by how obvious Frire was at forcefully changing the topic, Shinichi’s antics wasn’t about to fool her either.
But she knew that he was genuinely having fun and wasn’t just trying to fool her, so she didn’t actually expect him to answer.
“Don’t worry, I never had any intention to fool you. I’ll give a proper explanation.”
But what came next were those words, so a suspicious face surfaced on both her and Frire.
Not in regards to his attitude but his ‘troubled smile’.
“I feel bad to be asking this since you went out of your way to help, but can you leave this matter to me?”
Shinichi pleaded with his two hands together.
Myuhi and Frire glanced at each other. It was rare to see this boy with such a humble attitude.
Myuhi could see that this was something she shouldn’t poke her nose into, so she decided to agree and quickly take a step back, but Frire didn’t relent.
“Explain, Nakamura. I can’t agree unless you give me a proper explanation. After all, this is a matter that might very well involve the people of the academy,” Frire said.
Myuhi was a student without any responsibility, but Frire was a teacher, so she couldn’t just step aside.
It might’ve been because Shinichi understood that that he appeared troubled.
“It’s because an Earth organization that officially doesn’t exist is involved.”
There was an implication that there was more to the story but couldn’t be spoken of, but regardless, Frire’s expression was grave.
Not because that reason wasn’t sufficient, but because it had far exceeded what was necessary to convince her.
“An organization I can’t just ask about… I guess it would be problematic if someone as popular as me got involved then.”
“Something like that.”
It was problematic for someone like Frire, who had standing in Garesto, to be directly involved with the darker side of Earth.
And as someone weak to indirect confrontations, it would be problematic if suspicion were to be cast on her even if she wasn’t actually involved in anything shady.
Moreover, it would create unnecessary friction if a Garestonian were to confront an organization from Earth without permission.
Grudges could be sown and sparks could be left in places undesired.
Matters such as this also tended to invite danger just by ‘knowing’ about them.
That’s why Shinichi kept quiet.
“This is something that I should deal with as the ‘mask’.”
Frire didn’t have any words to argue with, but when the word, mask, was brought up, all the women gulped.
Evidently, everyone gathered here knew about his secret.
“Sigh… You’ll at least let me know when you’ve dealt with it, right?”
As compromise, Frire hoped that he’d at least tell her that much.
Shinichi was more than happy to nod, and with that, Frire didn’t pursue the topic any further.
“Since that’s decided, let’s go ahead and cover up this crack.”
Shinichi casually dropped that line.
“What did you say?”
Shinichi ignored the shock of the women around him and casually walked toward the cracked barrier, then traced his finger on it while looking at it with his
A red brilliance normally impossible could be seen from his eyes as his lips twisted into a crescent moon.
──A problem like this is no problem at all… If you have the authority of a god.