『The same? So her song really did cause all of this. That’s certainly plenty reason to target her. 』
“You’ve already seen so much, so there’s no point in hiding anything anymore. Actually, one of the people from our development team was a fan of hers. He worked better when listening to music, so he played her music, and immediately, all the prototypes near completion ended up like this.”
With a guttural laugh, Six pointed to their surroundings, where their apostle armaments belatedly blew up to Monica’s song.
“For some reason, our Apostle Armaments blow up when exposed to her singing voice. Who would’ve thought that that would be true even for the threatener of the world. I thought it was over for us already, but I see we’re quite lucky.”
It was curious if he meant that for the Mask or for the girl, but but Six laughed at their unexpected stroke of fortune. But even Myuhi couldn’t help but agree. After all, normally, anyone on the receiving end of an attack from the Mask would have no choice but to give up. They even learned the weakness of the man who could threaten the whole world. He couldn’t be blamed for laughing. But of course, that did little to change the fact that he was annoying.
『…Gu, gah, ah, ah! Ah, this song, what a beautiful… Gu, gah!?』
The Mask was still in pain, however, so Myuhi had no choice but to shelve the irritation she felt for the time being.
『You can still hear the song despite this!? 』
“Oh? Did you use a skill to block off the sound? It’s impressive that you were able to respond so quickly, but it’s pointless. You think we haven’t tried such an obvious fix? This is a problem that’s left us stumped no matter what method we used.”
Either stop her from singing or get far enough that her voice can’t reach you. Six laughed. There was no other solution. Without that, the only fate that awaited them was their systems breaking from overload.
“But of course, there’s no telling what will happen if the one under attack is human.”
Myuhi clicked her tongue, she knew that her skill failed to do anything, so she just canceled it. It was just a waste of resource, and while he might not be able to move, it was disadvantageous for him to be deaf. She was also in a precarious situation, given that she now had to cover for him, but then, the clumsy cacophony of explosions suddenly stopped.
“Oh, good timing. The first song is done. Masquerade-san, do you mind if we talk for a bit before the next song?”
Realizing that Myuhi had removed the sound barrier, Six asked that question, but he didn’t seem to actually care whether he responded or not, and he just happily continued.
“I don’t know what kind of job that nameless spear took, but I’m sure you must’ve come on a whim or simply because you were curious about our weapons, right? So what do you say we declare this match a draw?”
『A draw? 』
Myuhi knew that he wasn’t talking to her, but she couldn’t but repeat those words.
“I’m sure this song is something you can’t ignore either, right? You don’t seem to want to deal with ordinary people, so we’ll take care of that girl for you, and in exchange, let’s both take a step back from here.”
In other words, ‘allow us to kill Monica, and we’ll let you off.’
Myuhi chose to keep quiet but kept a watchful eye on them. As for the Mask, it was impossible to tell whether he was listening or not. The song had stopped, but he still didn’t seem to be moving.
But then, the black mist suddenly stood up, and the enemies were immediately on guard. There was no point in hiding anything by this point, so they boldly attached new weapon terminals on their arms. Six could easily be using a prototype below the experimental level, though it wouldn’t be surprising if he possessed the standard model too. However, the hesitation to immediately don the exoskeleton likely stemmed from a wariness of what might happen if this battle were to escalate any further. Though Masquerade had been weakened, the fear of him had not abated in the least.
That’s why they’d intended to watch him very carefully, yet the voice that left his lips was incomprehensible even to Myuhi, who was next to him.
『Very good… So that’s how it is… I understand. 』
Despite its intermittent nature, a voice wove its way to the ears of all of those present. The man with a scarred, rough exterior, had his face contort in a sinister delight, seemingly on the verge of breaking into applause.
“Oh, you’re more understanding than I thought.”
『Who would’ve thought that she would be able to channel the voice of heaven! So, that’s why her voice could dull my perception… Hahahaha! What incredible luck! How spectacular! What a magnificent singing voice!!』
But of course, those hands stopped mid-flight before a clap could even form.
『Ah, so that’s how he’s approaching it. 』
Six was petrified, while Myuhi, despite anticipating a rejection, was dumbfounded for that unexpected reasoning. Masquerade didn’t even bothered to listen to Six. On the contrary, he appeared utterly excited, as if he had forgotten their current situation. Those eyes behind that Mask gleamed with a childlike brightness as he passionately expressed his emotions.
『To think I’d hear it in my lifetime. I’ve never even dreamed of it! Bravo! Encore, songstress! Sing for me and let me hear that heavenly voice!』
There was no way Monica could possibly hear him from this far away. In the first place, she was probably just singing because she had nothing else to do. But then Monica started singing again, and the explosions and sputtering resumed. This time, however, the mask remained standing.
『Ahaha! Ugu, gah… I can’t get enough of it! Truly the voice of heaven! The apex that humans can reach! Or perhaps you intend to go even further beyond!? Magnifico! My head hurts, my eyes swimming in vertigo, my body aching, and even my soul is crying! Yet none of that matters! To think that something could actually make me resonate to this extent! 』
The Mask swayed as if drunk, his footing visibly unsteady despite the black haze that obscured him. Yet for all the discomfort and the pain, everything only seemed to contribute to his excitement.
『To have so masterfully refined her innate celestial voice! Bravo! Brava! Ah, I can see it, I can see the sincerity and passion with which she polished her song! 』
The Mask was entranced by the truth behind that divine voice, and he laughed loudly as though to declare the pain assaulting him irrelevant. It was nothing more than an ordinary nursery rhyme, yet he was completely captivated. He’d seen through the efforts she’d poured in to perfect her talent, yet the Mask just laughed and sang her praises.
『What a weird guy. Just what is he reacting to? 』
The Mask seemed completely oblivious of their surroundings, so Myuhi took it upon herself to keep a watchful eye out for the both of them. Though the Mask still spoke as Masquerade would, the level of excitement he displayed wasn’t far off from the few instances when he’s revealed the ‘real him’. That was true in how little he cared about his own injuries too. When he’s like this, there really was nothing else to it but to wryly smile. Unfortunately, there was no way for Venom and Six to see her reaction, so their confusion could only worsen by the second.
“W-Wait a moment, Masquerade! Don’t you understand!? As long as her song exists, neither us nor you will be able to fight at full power! Isn’t it even worse for you? You could die! So first we should get rid of the songstress! At the very least, we need to steal her song!”
『…Get rid of her? Steal her song?』
It was then that Masquerade finally noticed Six. Those were words that he could not ignore despite his present state of mind. The voice that left his lips was exceedingly cold. Even Myuhi who wasn’t on the receiving end of it felt a chill crawl up her back, and it was all that Six could do to gulp.