“What are you doing?”
The boy that was dressed in a school uniform looked around at the people surrounding him and unhappily said that.
It happened so suddenly. He was just about to ride the elevator when all of the sudden all these girls appeared out of nowhere.
They got in with him, chose a floor, then pushed him out through sheer number.
To be more precise, the female teacher of the lot held his hand in a firm handshake and dragged him along.
───Multipurpose room #1
It was curious if it was due to the contracts with Garesto Academy, or merely due to the recent trends of the world, but regardless, larger lodging facilities nowadays typically offered amenities for physical activities.
The hotel they were staying at boasted a moderate-sized indoor sports facility, including a gym, indoor pool, and two multi-purpose rooms. While the ceiling may not have been as high as a standard facility, the overall space was spacious enough to accommodate a full basketball court.
This particular area was primarily reserved for the Special Class students of the academy.
In response to the boy who had been brought there, Myuhi tilted her head slightly and for some reason answered as though asking a question.
Her ears and tail were all perked up, and she seemed to be smiling, but her eyes said otherwise.
Frire, Myuhi, Aristel, Tomoe, Ryou, and the aforementioned boy. Six people all in all were gathered at the center of the room in a circle with the boy at the center. They were all alone.
“We could have just done this at my room then. Was there any reason that you had to go out of your way to use a teacher’s and the top one’s authority to drive away the other students?”
“We felt it was necessary,” Aristel said.
“I do feel bad about getting in the way of their training, but…” Frire said.
Perhaps because he realized that all his complaints would simply fall on deaf ears, the boy just sighed as he decided to hear them out.
“So, what did you want to ask? By the way, if it’s something I can’t say, you won’t get an answer.”
“Ha ha, don’t worry, I’m sure it’s something you can answer. I think it’s the same for everyone.”
Myuhi said meaningful, and everyone else nodded.
“─────Who are you?”
They’d asked that question almost in unison, then all sorts of weapons from Japanese swords, to sniper rifles, to lances, to one-handed swords, to energy blades were suddenly pointed at the unarmed boy’s neck, back, face, chest, and abdomen.
Each of them had their foster around their arms in gauntlet form, showing their determination and vigilance. Evidently, one wrong move and all of them would attack.
However, not a trace of unease could be seen on the boy’s face. That was the kind of attitude one would expect from him, but no one present thought even for a moment that he was “him.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’re not Shinichi. Don’t think you can fool my ‘eyes’ with that,” Tomoe said.
“Your hands are too clean. That guy’s hands reek of fighting,” Ryou said.
“If you want objective evidence, then have you heard of Gait Recognition, nyaa? You might have spectacularly transformed yourself into a schoolboy, but the way you walk is completely different,” Myuhi said.
“Your voice might sound similar, but a voice analysis shows that it’s not the same either,” Aristel said.
“The evidences against you are too varied and too numerous to ignore. If you don’t want to be covered in holes, then stop pretending to be him.”
Five pairs of eyes silently exerted pressure on the fake Shinichi to reveal themself. Until now the fake had acted with composure and ease, but their revelations made their face go pale.
For a moment, silence lingered, and everyone held their breath.
The hands holding a weapon tensed at the possibility of a fight.
“It appears that I looked down on you too much. Still, the first two are one thing, but I see that investigation methods that rely on science are as annoying as ever. Who would have thought the technology here would prove to be our nemesis. How sad…”
The tone of the boy’s voice changed midway through. Although the boy before them still resembled Shinichi in appearance and voice, his demeanor was somewhat deferential, and his eyes were anxious. The sight of that was unsettling even though it was certain he was not Shinichi.
However, it was not the time be discomfited by petty things. There were two more questions that needed to be asked.
“Enough dilly-dallying. Who are you? And what happened to Nakamura?” Frire asked.
That was in fact the question that bothered the people gathered here the most; however, the person in front of them just nodded calmly.
“This is not an apology in lieu of the contempt I have shown, but I shall provide you an answer nonetheless. But before that, there is one thing I must ask? What was it that led you to suspect me in the first place?”
With a calm expression as though he could not see the weapons that surrounded him, the impostor asked that question.
There was even an implication that they had to at least provide that much in return.
Such composure elicited a sense of déjà vu that momentarily overwhelmed some of them, while others briefly questioned if the person before them was truly a fake, then there were those that were perplexed, unable to prepare an answer.
All of that happened in but a moment, that’s why only she, who didn’t have the slightest hesitation, could answer immediately.
“But of course, it’s the intuition of a maiden in love!”
Silence filled the place.
Everyone was shocked, though it was mostly in the sense of ‘what is this girl going on about all of the sudden!?’
And of course, it was none other than than the young lady with blue ringlet curls, Aristel, who had said those words with such confidence.
“Padyuel, this isn’t the time to be joking…” Frire said..
“Ahahaha… Unfortunately, Fudonecchi, Ari-chan is dead serious,” Myuhi said.
“W-Wait a moment, Senpai! If you put it that way, it almost sounds as if, all of us are in l-love with him, no!?” Tomoe said.
“Huh? Doesn’t Japan have the wonderful custom of ‘written as rivals in love, read as friends’? Such a wonderful custom! Now, I don’t know who you are, but don’t think you can fool the eyes of me and my
Astonished, chuckling dryly, and perplexed. That was how Aristel’s so-called rivals reacted in response to her words, but she just ignored them and declared that boldly to the person before them like when a certain famous detective would declare someone the criminal.
Everyone else remained alert and kept their eyes on the impostor, but the tension on them had already gone.
Interestingly enough, only the reason behind that remained serious.
“Padyuel’s image is breaking apart… Well, I guess the result is fine, though,” Ryou said.
Ryou wasn’t a girl, so he just acted as though all of this were someone else’s affair. However, he couldn’t help but be concerned about his childhood friend, who had gone beet red from Aristel’s straightforward words. Hopefully, that would at least help her become more aware of her own feelings, even if it didn’t lead anywhere.
“Oho? So that’s where you’re coming from? How wonderful,” the impostor said.
“Why the heck are you okay with a reason like that!?” Tomoe said.
“Oh? Then are you saying that there’s another reason why you girls were able to tell I’m a fake?”
“Duh! At that time, I… Erm, I… H-Huh?”
Why did she think that this impostor wasn’t Shinichi?
Tomoe, filled with enthusiasm, tried to explain her reasons only to find herself at a loss. She couldn’t quite understand why she thought there was something wrong with this ‘Shinichi’. That seemed to be true for Myuhi and Frire too, for though they remained cautious of the impostor, the three of them were now perplexed.
If they had to put it into words, all they could really say was that it was more of a call of instinct or intuition that led to them doubting the impostor before them.
“Oh, in my case, I was just following what Tomoe and the others said,” Ryou said.
“Fu fu, it’s good that everyone is so honest. But if you’re going to use the ‘intuition of maiden in love’ as an excuse, then I’m going to have to put you to the test.”
Upon saying that, the impostor’s face twisted into a sly grin. It wasn’t as terrifying as the real thing, but those upturned lips formed a smile that instinctively roused fear in the girls.