In the aftermath of the rebound, the living room was now completely unrecognizable. It was already ridden with holes, but now the furniture, daily necessities, electronic devices, etc… were all almost completely unrecognizable. Some objects were even embedded in the walls, ceiling, or floor.
The holes offered a glimpse into the adjacent rooms and the second floor. Some of the enemy soldiers could be seen buried under debris. As for whether those were soldiers that failed to get up or the same ones that tried to jump her, Myuhi didn’t know.
『Was that too much power for him to handle cleanly? 』
The Mask was weakened, but he was still capable of so much destruction. Myuhi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Regardless, he should have been able to destroy that degree of power without affecting the surroundings. The second song has already ended too, yet the Mask’s movements were still awkward.
『Maybe he did it on purpose? I can’t believe that fingersnap actually covered the church in a layer of pure photon.』
Myuhi asked the Mask when he came back, but he just shrugged his shoulders.
The Mask looked around him for awhile before noticing that a hole had been opened in the ceiling.
When Myuhi looked up through the same hole, she could see the blue sky.
『That Six guy sure is a lot calmer than he looks.』
『He’s one of the executives of the Snake, after all. He’s famous among organizations that know of the Snake. They say he’s a calm battle fanatic… He did pretty well running away, didn’t he?』
Not one of the collapsed soldiers were named. Neither the tough, Six, nor the fanatic, Venom, was among them. Some soldiers appear to have escaped as well. Apparently, they restrained Myuhi and targeted the church precisely to get Masquerade to move. Though the question remained who and how much of this was predicted.
『There’s that too, but it also felt like he was playing around. 』
『Playing around? 』
『It felt like he was testing stuff out. I don’t know where he’s getting all that confidence from, but it was as if even if he were to be caught here, he was sure that the information he got would have meaning. 』
『…I did run a search just in case, but I didn’t see anything that might be used to record anything. And even if there was something like that, I doubt they could retrieve it with this place in this state. 』
Myuhi pointed to their surroundings. Shinichi nodded and looked around, then he shook his head and muttered something. When that terrifying heavy voice resounded, for some reason, a shiver went down Myuhi’s spine.
『 ‘That which are beyond the imagination of man, gather before me.’ 』
The apostle weapons and the tanks floated in the air and gathered before Masquerade. They were noticeably damaged, but no leakage could be seen.
『 ‘I reject your existence.’ 』
A terrifying power filled with hostility bore down, and even Myuhi, who only felt the shockwaves, couldn’t help but take a step back. The weapons and the tanks disappeared without a trace. They weren’t destroyed in any way, they simply vanished as though they were never there in the first place.
She knew that Masquerade possessed abnormal power. However could he really make something vanish with just a few words? Could he make people vanish too? Beads of cold sweat slid down Myuhi, and when that blank face turned to her, she was understandably petrified.
『I’ll leave the rest to you. I doubt they would have been able to get much… Tch.』
The black mist visibly trembled. Shinichi clicked his tongue and removed his mask, then as if he’d exhausted all his strength, he collapsed. Myuhi managed to catch him before he fell to the floor. She retracted her helmet and looked at him directly.
“Icchi, are you okay!?”
“Yeah, I pushed myself a bit too hard… I feel sluggish, sleepy, and this thing is too stiff.”
Shinichi tapped on Myuhi’s exoskeleton, as though to imply that he would have preferred to be embraced by something softer. Myuhi chuckled with an embarrassed look. Not a trace of that fear she held for him was left. That same Hina that Shinichi knew was back.
──It feels so stupid to be afraid of you when you’re so willing to entrust yourself to me like this.
Myuhi didn’t know herself if that was how she really felt or if it was merely an excuse, but regardless, she was relieved to see that the wound on his shoulder had closed.
“────Got it. We’ll maintain the situation until the next shift comes. Be sure to contact me if there’s any problem.”
A girl that looked no older than a teenager was walking down a corridor by herself, her fox ears and tail swaying. She gave instructions through her earpiece before ending the call.
There was nothing more to be done. The cleanup team had disarmed and captured all the soldiers that fainted, and they were currently being restrained in the neighboring house, which had been camouflaged with advanced three-dimensional imagery. Everything including the equipment and the house itself would be under the custody of Nameless.
The Snake was a global underworld organization, yet information about them was sparse, so any information they could get regarding them was worth it, and it was necessary too. The fake family they created had to live normally for a while, but they would be severing ties with the local residents soon. The sudden disappearance of a family would cause a stir, so there was a need to ease things in.
Both tasks required considerable manpower, effort, and money, but it was a commissioned job paid for by the Mask, so it wasn’t a problem. The merchants of the underworld were not to be underestimated. Their trade involved not only the buying and selling of weapons but also the selling of the use of force and cleanup.
The weapons and powers used might have been abnormal, but the scale was limited to the inside of a single house, and a cleanup on that scale was just a normal job for them.
“Just how far were you able to predict and how much of your actions were calculated, I wonder.”
Myuhi couldn’t help but consider that Shinichi might have known that things would turn out like this. But she had no way to figure out the extent of his predictions, and in the end, she couldn’t figure out whether he was smart or not.
“…I hope he behaves himself.”
Myuhi didn’t even know anymore how many times she’s pondered about this as she sighed in front of the door. When she embraced Shinichi, she saw clearly how exhausted his eyes were. Despite that, he rested for just a few minutes, and as soon as he got back up, he requested them to do a cleanup, then they teleported back to the chapel together.
He probably didn’t want anyone to see him going from the neighboring house to the church. As soon as he got back, he told everyone that the problem was solved, and the children poured him praises, saying “You saved us,” “Thank you,” “You’re amazing.” The women were skeptical, but they nonetheless saw that Shinichi was being serious and the kids were happy too, so Monica and the Sister thanked him for protecting them, only for them to see him collapse as soon as they sent the kids away.
───『Ha ha, sorry, but can I rest for a bit?』
Myuhi responded immediately and caught him, but his face lacked vitality and on it was a feeble and wry smile. None of that dependable older brother face that was so full of life just moments ago could be seen. Myuhi wore an exasperated expression, but he did that to assure the children that it was safe now and give them peace of mind. However, once that responsibility was fulfilled, and with the children no longer present, he ran out of strength, leading the women to say this.
───『Boys really are creatures that can’t help but show off, huh.』
“You’re not any better than our kids, are you?” Monica added, and the other two women nodded.
The Sister suggested that they go and rest in their own rooms. However, despite everyone else agreeing, Shinichi refused and insisted for various reasons that the Sister rest first.
Myuhi was understandably frustrated by that, so she dragged Shinichi into the room, and unceremoniously dumped him onto the bed. She even went as far as to resort to using restraining skills despite knowing they would have no effect on him. That was her way of showing her determination to get him to rest. Later, the Sister called her and gave her some drinks and food to give Shinichi, but she couldn’t help but wonder to herself.
“Will that guy really behave and rest?”