“That’s obviously referring to all those gazes watching everywhere at the garden… Huh? Did I get it wrong?”
Ryou was though that much was a given, so when he saw the three girls looking stunned, he thought he’d been mistaken, but then the most persuasive existence confirmed his words.
『You’re right. There were a lot of shikis being used by different people. I don’t know what they’re thinking peeping, though.』
There was an amused tone in the way he pronounced those words, however, that suggested that he already had his speculations, leading everyone’s faces to twitch.
It seemed that allowing the Mask to get wind of a person’s guilty conscience was no different from a death sentence.
That’s why they ended up paying no attention to the part that should have been the most problematic.
“Ahaha… Come to think of it, why are the Garestonians concerned about the clans? It would be one thing if they were related to the Japanese government, but these people are completely hidden from the public…”
Tomoe smiled wryly and asked that question.
She found it somewhat odd that a clan that was keeping its own existence hidden with the help of the government would be exposed to the otherworlders.
But the Mask shook his head.
『There’s nothing strange about that. Think about it. Garesto has been investigating Earth for about 45 years now, and intelligence warfare is a given no matter the treaty. There’s no way Garesto would be the exemption to that.』
In the process of that, they must have found out about the exorcist clans.
Although Garesto is both a world and a nation, and its citizens and rulers are much more unified than on Earth, it is not free from mundane power struggles, territorial disputes, negotiations, and political disputes.
The fact that their existence went unnoticed in the few years before they reached out before the start of the investigation 45 years ago, and the fact that they were able to negotiate and conduct business with Earth while successfully concealing themselves from the rest of the world could only be possible because they’ve developed such abilities among themselves.
“My presumptions got the better of me… Of course they knew about us. They negotiated with the different nations of Earth nearly simultaneously 30 years ago, each of which must have had their own agenda. That alone speaks volumes of their ability in diplomacy and in gathering information, so there’s no way they could have missed us,” Tomoe said.
Tomoe was genuinely frustrated while nodding in agreement with the reasons that were pointed out to her.
She felt like such a failure since she couldn’t infer that much despite having the same information.
『Everything would still depend on whether the organization behind this is an official intelligence agency or an illegal underground organization.』
The Mask glanced at the old man, and he smiled back at him in understanding.
“Don’t worry, you have my word that we’ll the spy will talk even if we have to rely on inhumane
But of course, the words that left his lips left everyone speechless and petrified.
『Ooh, scary… Kusakabe-dono, you’re not a good person either.』
“Oh, I’m nothing compared to you, Masquerade-dono.”
Old Man Kusakabe and the Mask spoke as though they’d prepared those lines beforehand and laughed in a spine-chilling manner.
“What are you two acting like a corrupt politician and an unscrupulous merchant for!?”
“I can’t believe gramps is actually letting him play
Tomoe and Ryou were shocked to see the two get along, but the Mask just laughed, while the old man only made an evil face for a moment before returning to his usual good-natured face.
Only the Mask noticed, however, that the old man had also warned him not to touch anything.
『…But everything we’ve talked about is limited to the woman’s organization. There should be plenty of other organizations from both Japan and other nations that have made their move for their own purposes. Or at least, it would be best to presume that since Garesto, who is the furthest away, has appeared.』
One moment messing around the next moment serious, it was such a roller-coater of emotions that the three girls could not keep up, but the two disciples could, and they calmly listened with rapt attention.
“…So in other words, it’s only a given that Garesto mobilized,” Ryou said.
“Then again, it is the only organization of its kind in the country and is also irreplaceable. Anyone who learns of its existence would at least want to monitor it,” Tomoe said.
『Well, actually, there were two different factions that weren’t just there to observe that infiltrated the Ootsu family.』
Ryou and Tomoe had just been enlightened when the Mask suddenly dropped that bomb, leaving them to once again be speechless.
But without regard for their reaction, the Mask just nonchalantly continued.
『One of them appeared to be trying to weaken the exorcist clans, so they picked out the Ootsu family, who had a lot of people despite their lacking history, then they moved behind the scenes and got them expelled. The other one instigated the Kutoria incident. These people must have wanted to completely get rid of the Japanese exorcists. But of course, we defeated them.』
The Mask said as he pointed to both sides. He spoke ambiguously while explaining the details, but he still used expressions that made it easy for Tomoe and the others to understand.
After he was reminded of the existence of fingerprints and accepted Tomoe and Ryou as his disciples, the Mask went back to the Ootsu family again to check the traces he left.
In the process, he noticed that some of the people wearing “collars” had left, so he tracked them down and investigated, and he found out that there were two factions.
The faction that wanted to weaken the exorcist clans was an unofficial organization from another country that was affiliated with their nation’s exorcists.
These exorcists were fewer in number, so they demanded that their country help them kick their rivals down a notch.
The faction that wanted to wipe out the exorcist clans was an illegal underground organization that had their HQ in another country.
Apparently, they had connections with the government and had information on the exorcists of other nations.
The former was an unofficial organization, but they were moving according to the instructions of their ‘country’, so after Masquerade’s declaration, they immediately canceled the operation and withdrew, then punished all of the related personnel, choosing to protect their own country and organization instead.
All the spies were turned over to the Ootsu family and were made to reveal the truth.
『You could hear the sound of that slap smacking their face. They kept harping on and on about how much better they were than foreigners, only for them to find out that they’ve been dancing on foreigner palm the whole time! Ku ku ku!』