──There was only tomorrow.
Masquerade had to be eliminated. Not just because they could, but because they had to. It was either him or them.
The damage caused by the Mask upon them followed a clear trend. He only crushed their eyes and tongues by chance whenever he happened into them, and as a result destroyed their routes to obtain people, resources, and funds.
In other words, the Mask eliminated them only because they happened to be in his way while he was doing something else. Such losses were minor when looking at the entire organization, but it was the greatest loss accrued in the past few decades. It was such a ridiculous story, but Six couldn’t find it in himself to laugh.
Then they met and the Mask appeared hostile to them because of Venom’s rampage. They used their prized apostle weapons, only for them to turn out to be ineffective. When the songstress sang and their devices were broken, the reason why they were after her was laid bare.
That’s why Six had come clean in hopes of getting lucky, but who would’ve thought that the Mask would actually try to kill him. It was foolish of him to even consider that someone mad enough take on two worlds might have some semblance of sanity.
In the end, the relationship between the Mask and the Snake had deteriorated to the point of complete hostility. Until now, their conflicts were just happenstance, but there was no telling how much damage the Mask could cause if he actually intentionally tried to stamp them out.
Tomorrow would be their only chance out of this mess, and there wasn’t enough time to get permission from the head. Six might be punished later as a result of acting on his own, but regardless, Masquerade had to be eliminated; otherwise, the only ending awaiting them was a life worse than death.
Even if the Snake wasn’t completely destroyed, there was a high chance that the damage the Mask would bring them wouldn’t be far off. Recovery from that would easily require more than a century.
Of course, that was a short time given the history of the Snake, but it was still best to avoid such a fate. It hasn’t even been half a month since the Mask threatened both worlds, yet everyone in the underworld already equated being targeted by him with death. However, the Mask had collapsed.
─Red blood spilled
─Therefore, he wasn’t invincible.
─Behind that mask was a human being.
─Therefore, he can be slayed.
─He can be erased.
─There was a path.
Six pondered how to approach the Mask, what to use, and how much. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t considered making the assassination happen at the live event. He might have stopped thinking it at one point, but in the end, the information was still in his head.
So when he put to mind to action, he was able to consider the traps, the poison, the location, all sorts of information and pit them against how the Mask might react.
Though it was officially a mission to assassinate the Songstress, really, her death was secondary, perhaps, even tertiary.
After all, what was one Songstress compared to the Mask? Some people might be enthusiastic about getting rid of her, but they were just disposable pawns, whose fate was already set. Regardless, Six would make the most of them.
He chuckled to himself without anyone noticing. Others might not know, but he still had plenty of cards left to play.
──Just you wait, Masquerade.
──Tomorrow it will be my turn to trample over you.
──It’ll be a great live, the best live in fact… For me.
The live performance of Monica Chantal was scheduled for tomorrow. It was set to occur at one of the locations of their tour. Monica personally hoped to be able to sing at her hometown. That hasn’t been officially disclosed, but since every other venue wasn’t available for one reason or another, the venue became what it was.
A wide stage laid bare with a giant screen behind. An audience area that could easily accommodate thousands, separated only by simple barriers. A long stage reminiscent of a fashion show runways that stretched toward the audience. And high walls that surrounded the entire venue to prevent unauthorized viewing and for security’s sake, beyond which was lush nature, and an unobstructed view of the sky – Yes, without a doubt, that was an outdoor venue.
“Wow, they got us right from the start, huh? I bet they’ve already interfered with the backstage.”
“They had free rein on sniping and airstrikes in the first place, so now what?”
Despite the sense of liberation, the fresh air, the beautiful nature, and the lingering festive atmosphere, a voice that was seemingly completely oblivious to all that muttered about such dangerous things.
At the same time, a woman whose face was hidden behind a hat and a pair of sunglasses kept acting surprised from in between the two people sandwiching her but no one paid her any attention.
“I’m against it!”
A pair of hands slammed on the table as a stern yet angry voice echoed in the room. The live venue had already been set up, and a prefab had been installed in the backstage. Surrounded by curtains and walls, and strategically positioned so as not to be visible from the outside, it was a makeshift waiting room for staff and other backstage personnel.
Amidst the furious outburst, Monica removed her disguised and stood there with an air of composure. The one directing a stern gaze at her through a pair of glasses was a middle-aged woman with emerald green hair styled in a bob cut.
“I’m aware of the threatening email you received yesterday, as well as the fact that you’re particularly cautious this time because you believe it to be serious, but it’s still absurd to suddenly hire an unknown person just because of that, don’t you think?”
That woman stood with other staff members from the office as she yelled at Monica. Her sharp gaze was directed not only at her but also at the man and woman already serving as guards behind her. However, both of them just remained indifferent.
Monica responded to her with a soft voice, but there was a firmness to it that conveyed that she wouldn’t yield.
“I’ve already done it, whether you want it or not. It’s my personal security. I don’t need your permission for that, do I?”
“W-Well, that might be true, but as your manager, I at least want you to communicate with me beforehand!”
“That’s why we’re talking right now.”
Monica wryly smiled and stood there with a calm and dignified air, as though to protest how troublesome she was being.
“Which part of this is beforehand!? I can tell from the face you’re making that you have no intention of changing your mind, but I’m not so careless about my job that I can easily back off when told that their affiliation and identity is a secret!”
“Fu fu, well, I don’t hate that part about you.”
“T-Thanks— Wait a moment! You’re not fooling me!”
Being praised by such a beauty caused a blush to surface on Teresa’s cheeks despite the both of them being girls. They had known each other since Monica’s debut, yet Monica could still make her blush with just a few words. Either Monica was just that amazing, or the manager was just that easy.
“…This songstress of yours sure acts differently from when she’s
Myuhi quietly muttered, but then again, this was also how Monica acted when on TV, so it was actually a lot more natural to see her like this. It wasn’t uncommon anyway for people to behave differently in their professional and private life, so Myuhi didn’t really mean anything by that, and she just quickly moved on to be vigilant of her surroundings.
“I-In the first place, what are those two!? Their faces have been changing regularly for awhile now! Do they have circumstances that demand they hide their face!?”
Though their genders remained the same, and the woman of the two retained her fox ears, their facial features regularly changed as if someone was channel surfing.
A careful look would show that that was due to the three-dimensional holograph technology, a brazen attempt to conceal their identity, but Monica just shook her head.
“Like I said, it’s to prevent their identity from being exposed. Think about it a little, will you? If there are people planning to harm me, wouldn’t they first try to break me down from my surroundings? Engage the security personnel, even reach out to their families and friends, try to pull them to their side? That’s a common tactic, isn’t it?”
Teresa couldn’t find the words to argue with that, and she fell silent. Monica was actually surprised at how easily she went quiet. She had merely repeated what she had been taught to say, and in her own opinion, it seemed like an overly cautious statement. But that was simply the difference between someone who was involved in dangerous matters and those who weren’t, celebrity or not.