There was no way for these spectators to understand the thoughts and experiences of those involved in such intense battle.
Neither Venom nor the soldiers could afford to move. It didn’t even matter that some of them had regained consciousness.
They just remained where they were as though waiting fearfully for a tornado to pass.
Perhaps precisely because of how fast the two moved, the resolution was reached in less than 20 seconds. Of course, for those involved, those 20 seconds felt more like minutes.
The difference in power was made abundantly clear. The once-mighty steel giant was now in a pitiful state with sparks flying, sunk into the floor. The small tanks embedded within it remained unscathed, but they were now mostly empty. Even the seemingly thick armor had been so severely damaged in the areas without the tanks that the burned skin of the pilot could be seen.
『…It’s over. 』
The Mask let go of Crimson, but she continued to cling tightly onto him. For a moment, he wondered if he had gone too far because she wasn’t responding, so without any hesitation, he decided to slap her on the butt. Of course, she was still in armor.
『Hyaa! W-What are you doing!? 』
『It’s over already… Are you hurt anywhere? 』
It was curious if it was the slap or the fact that it was her butt that he touched that woke her up, but regardless, Myuhi was flustered.
The Mask gently checked up on her. His voice was still inscrutable, but for some reason, Myuhi could easily gleam through his emotions, and she could tell that he was genuinely concerned about her. That’s why she couldn’t figure out whether to get mad at him or not.
『…I’m a bit dizzy, but something on this level should go away quickly.』
In the end, she decided to just put it off for later and glared at the immobile enemies. Because of that she didn’t hear Shinichi when he muttered to himself, saying, 『Has she built up a resistance?』
After Crimson confirmed that most of the enemies have lost the will to fight, she turned her attention to the two people that seemed most likely to try something.
Six groaned as he got out of his armor that has been turned to scrap, while Venom’s hostility increased despite standing petrified.
While Crimson kept out a wary eye for them, she asked the Mask a question.
『…What are we going to do with these guys?』
She had only really accompanied the Mask to confirm a suspicion of her own, and true enough, this was indeed the work of the Snake. That was all she came for, so she left everything else to the Mask.
『Of course, we’ll be making them talk. Especially in regards to this weapon. That’s why I went out of my way to keep the guy who seemed most knowledgeable here. It took me quite a bit of effort because he kept trying to get away whenever he could.』
The Mask spoke casually, but his eyes never once left Six. Even if that exoskeleton of his miraculously managed to start moving again, he still wouldn’t be able to escape.
『You did all that while carrying me, so it just looked to me like you were playing around. It was my fault for not being able to handle the situation properly, though, so I guess I owe you for that.』
『I won’t deny that, but the reason I kept us together was so that he wouldn’t have any choice but to attack me to get away.』
Masquerade had already proven that he could not escape with just the speed of his exoskeleton, so if he still wanted to get away, there was only option left.
『I see. So, in other words, he would have to create an opening with you if he wanted an opportunity to get away. I did think something was off since you had a baggage on you that kept one of your hands busy, but… How crafty of you.』
Crimson wore a grim expression beneath her helmet. She had experienced a nearly hopeless situation, so she wasn’t particularly frustrated about having held him back, but it turns out, that she didn’t hold him back. Her role in that battle was to give hope to the enemy and make it look like he had a chance.
The enemy had been blocked from every direction, but the Mask intentionally left a crack on of the walls, yet that crack was in fact nothing more than a trap.
A fake hope that allowed him to lead the enemy to where he wanted him to be. In so doing, he was able to keep the enemy from becoming desperate, and he was able to successfully dismantle his trump card and left him incapacitated. Indeed, what was that if not cunning?
『Why trouble yourself so much?』
Couldn’t he have just ended the battle in one hit? But the Mask shook his head.
『So long as the situation isn’t that dire, I want to maintain some flexibility to accommodate unexpected situations. Moreover, I want to make things a little easier for myself too.”』
『…I’ve always thought there was something wrong about your standards for ‘easier’.』
Surely, it was much easier to just demonstrate his great power right off the bat, conserve his strength, then suppress the enemy should anything unexpected happen. Yet he was saying that entering that domain that far surpassed anything known to man was actually much easier? Crimson frowned.
『The clean up is a hassle.』
Oh. So he wasn’t worried about using a great power and leaving himself open but the traces such a power would leave. Upon realizing that, Crimson could not help but think to herself how sincere the boy was beneath that mask. She drew her spear.
『You do a thorough job, don’t you?────Stop it. We can see you, and it’s futile.』
She pointed the tip of her spear at Venom, who stood with his back toward the garden. His once gentlemanly expression was now distorted beyond recognition. In its place was anger and humiliation, and he took an assault rifle from one of the soldiers that had been sent his way.
This assault rifle was connected to a tank filled with a mysterious silver liquid. It was one of those so-called Apostle Armaments that they were so proud of. However, the Mask had already proven that they were useless before him.
Of course, the power of those weapons without Masquerade to support her would be frightening.
Her blood ran cold at the thought of the destruction they could cause inside the chapel and the fact that they were being mass produced.
Despite that she was skilled enough to keep that from showing on her face, and Venom, who was consumed by anger, failed to see through her mask.
“Shut up! Us supreme ‘Snakes’ created these Apostle Armaments! There’s no way we would be defeated by the likes of you! A mere private soldier of some merchant of death and a clown that makes a mess of the world for fun!”
He placed his finger on the trigger with all of his malice.
Neither Crimson nor the Mask could be shaken by such insults, so they just responded appropriately.
Crimson tightened her body like a bow in anticipation of the attack, her spear at the ready, while the mask unleashed his power to deflect the silver bullets whichever direction they came from, but then───────
───────A singing voice resounded.