Tomoe found herself throwing a punch at Shinichi, but he easily received it.
His smile was so smug that it rubbed her the wrong way, so she used her other hand too and threw punches at him one after another.
Alas, she just couldn’t quite hit him on the face.
“Tch! Just once will do, let me hit that annoying face of yours!”
“Nope! Not happening!”
The way he looked like he was enjoying her frantic efforts just pissed her off all the more, but after the 57th attempt, it became clear that she had no choice but to give up, as any further attempts was just a waste of strength.
She understood that his finger snap was indeed effective.
That misdirection could also become a powerful weapon against those who have seen him fight.
An unpredictable yet audible action was annoying, making it effective as a feint. It was also just like him to make that half the reason he used it.
After all, despite his overwhelming power, the way he thought and fought was meticulous and put much effort into minimizing his energy consumption. Badly put, his methods were cheap.
It was so intolerable to have someone who possessed so much power rely on such cheap methods.
That’s why frustration was written all over her face, though of course in her case, it was frustration from being unable to pay him tit for tat.
“If only my jutsus worked on you, then I could even give you diarrhea right here and now!”
“…I know can’t exactly speak for others, but you’re something else yourself.”
Shinichi was taken aback to know what Tomoe would do if her jutsus could get through him.
Shinichi watched as Tomoe groaned with a sigh, but then an expression of doubt suddenly surfaced on him and he put his hand on his chin while tilting his head.
“Shinichi?” Tomoe asked.
But he didn’t respond and just made a difficult face.
His gaze seemed to be looking at Tomoe’s entire body, but really, he was staring at her face.
Since he even went as far as to stop walking just to look at her, Tomoe understandably stopped walking as well.
“W-What? What are you looking at my face so intently for?”
“Hmm? Oh, it’s nothing… I was just thinking how beautiful you looked under the moonlight.”
Shinichi said as though that thought just popped up.
The courtyard behind her was wonderfully made such that even a layman could tell, and with the moonlight pouring down on it, what was normally just a normal scene appeared mysterious.
When the plants, trees, and rocks that were carefully placed were illuminated by moonlight, the whole scene looked just like a piece of art, its mysterious brilliance adorning the girl that stood before it.
The darkness further accentuated that mysterious atmosphere, and those ever sincere blue eyes of hers seemed to radiate a light unlike that in daytime.
“You’d make for a great painting,” Shinichi chuckled.
He was actually just trying to fool her, but he kept that to himself and didn’t say it out loud.
Regardless, from how flushed her cheeks were, she probably wouldn’t have heard it anyway.
“Y-You really have to stop saying stuff like that out of the blue!”
Because of Shinichi’s surprise attack, Tomoe was once again a nervous wreck.
She had never been complimented on her appearance or been told that she fit in so well in such a Japanese-styled place, so it made her happy and made her that much more affected than what Shinichi’s teasing usually did.
Somewhere deep inside, however, she felt like this was always how things were supposed to turn out.
“It’s not really out of the blue, though… I mean the mood is perfect for it, don’t you think?”
They were out late at a Japanese inn in a courtyard illuminated by moonlight with no one else but them.
Indeed, there could be no situation more romantic than this.
“D-Don’t say it! I’ve been doing my best not to think about it!”
Reminded of that fact, her face turned beet red, and she found herself moving away from Shinichi while holding her head, implicitly confessing that she had been conscious of that this whole time. But of course, Tomoe herself didn’t realize that.
In the face of all that, there was no way that the man called Shinichi could have stopped.
“Ku ku, in that case, I might as well go all the way and tell you the magic words… The moon is beautiful.”
Only that last part was said in an emotional tone of voice, almost like a whisper.
Considering how he was basically laughing until then, it was as though another person had said those words.
“I-I don’t need it, thank you! Besides, weren’t you bad at studying? How come you know about something like that!?”
For some reason, the words, ‘the moon is beautiful’, made her blush even deeper.
It was a translation of an English text by a great writer when he was trying to relate how the Japanese spoke.
Though the authenticity of that story remains unclear, it wasn’t really part of studying, so even Shinichi knew about it.
Tomoe was quite attached to her Japanese identity, so he figured she too would know about it and so said it to tease her.
After all, the true meaning of that line was ‘I love you’.
“Whoops, if you act like that, I’ll seriously forget about my original purpose,” Shinichi said.
Tomoe amused him to no end because she reacted exactly like he thought she would.
Though there was no denying that he too wanted to run away from the troubles headed his way.
After all, anyone would prefer fun things over exhausting things.
That didn’t change even when it concerned Shinichi.
“Here, take it.”
Shinichi could all too easily
“Wait a sec! This! —Isn’t a foster!?”
Tomoe panicked when he suddenly threw it at her. For a moment, she thought it was a foster, but after getting a closer look, it became apparent that it was one of the weapon terminals used by the terrorists they fought during the exam.