It was the third day after the incident at the bank.
「This is unbelievable」
「But that is the truth!」
All the faculty members, including the principal, were in a conference room of the combat school. Currently, Shiori is giving a full report of what happened during the『First Bank incident』. Beside her, the recorded images from the surveillance cameras in the bank were being shown on a large screen.
「No, I am not doubting you. It’s consistent with the reports of two of your men and the security camera footage from inside the bank.”」
The principal looked troubled and expressed his opinion as he looked at the boy in the video. Every member in the meeting room could not hide their surprise when they saw what had happened in regards to the boy.
Naturally, the principal was one of them as well.
「『Unbelievable』is what I think he had done. The things that he performed, are realistically, impossible.」
The principal tells Shiori what he felt when he witnessed the unprecedented case.
「I believe I should not be the one saying this but… I am frightened by him.」
Those were the words of the man who was the head of combat studies in Japan, and the gravity of the situation was conveyed to everyone in the conference room, including Shiori.
「The most terrifying thing is probably the abilities that he has. He took down one of the enemies without even showing any visible abilities.」
「Yes, I could only hypothesize the same.」
「Yes. So, the most likely reason is that he may have more than one ability.」
Everyone in the room froze at the principal’s statement. There had never been a precedent for someone to develop multiple abilities.
By any chance if he is the first person, it would be frightening that he had not been enrolled in combat studies till now. An unprecedented combat power holder, unmanaged living like a normal citizen. If he willed it, he could have used his power to deal damage to the city.
「Don’t be so surprised. No, it’s my fault for making a horrible assumption」
In order to break the tension, the principal laughed and showed some remorse for his words.
「Seriously… I wonder what the inspection committee is doing up to now. I can’t believe they couldn’t find him before now.」
Then, in a slightly youthful tone, he explained what had been unclear so far.
「No, I think he may have been keeping it a secret. He realized his abilities at the age of an elementary school student and has hidden it his entire life until now.」
Shiori remembered the rules that the combat power holders had. A test conducted in elementary school. If the test determines that the student has combat powers, he or she is entitled to enter combat studies.
But on the other hand, there was a rule that if you refused to enroll, you would be given a treatment that would make you lose your fighting skills and force you to lose your powers in order to reduce the danger to your life. He had escaped the regulations. He had awakened his fighting power before the inspection, and even gained control without telling anyone, and escaped the inspection. It wasn’t impossible.
(There’s no way an elementary school student could do that!)
Shiori imagined this process and denied the result. She asked the principal, who was imagining the same process, to confirm or deny.
「How is that even possible?」
「I’d say it’s impossible, but then again, we’ve seen him in action.」
The principal is right. He has to be in complete control of his powers to be able to do the things he did.
「He had captured a combatant in a criminal organization, an enemy who had gone invisible. It’s hard to believe that someone who grew up in a normal environment could do that. He’s not just an amateur」
「It’s unknown what method he used to hide his combat powers. It could be a manipulative ability to plant false information in the testing equipment, a brainwashing ability that manipulated the inspector himself, or it could be that he hid his combat power from the equipment using only his own skills.It’s useless to think about it ……」
Just thinking about it is terrifying.
「As for the moves he had shown at the bank. From what we can understand of the situation, it wouldn’t be possible without having multiple abilities.」
Something that stopped the guards from moving, something that frightened the female banker. Something that found my subordinate who was hiding in the ceiling. Something that discovered an enemy who had gone invisible.
This was the reality I saw with my own eyes.
「Well, these are his records..」
The principal picked up a few sheets of paper placed on his desk and turned the attention of everyone present to him.
「I had a government contact look into him, Hiroki Ogino, but no matter how much information I gathered, there is no information related to his combat power.」
If he had combat power, he would be able to advance more quickly than ordinary people. There should be traces of this somewhere.
「He’s currently a freshman in an ordinary high school. That means for over three years he’s been hiding his combat power.」
Normally, he would use his powers to rise above others in school life, but he didn’t, and he has the same reputation as those around him.
「He has never made any attempt to escape the inspection committee. No, that’s great. I think most guys would think of using their powers to be popular or something.」
The principal explained Hiroki’s history and jokingly suggested that this is what a man would do.
「But this time he revealed himself. I don’t know what the reason was. I don’t know what his reasons were, but he came to the bank, he knew that we were working with the crime syndicate, and he did what he did.」
「I wonder if that funny outfit was to hide his appearance. No, it was funny. Well, I turned the security camera records over to the analysis team and they found his face.」
That’s the only question I have.
「It’s possible that he is using an ability to change his appearance. You couldn’t see most of his bare skin in that outfit.」
That would make sense. He has the ability to change his body. There is the ability to cover your entire body with needles like a hedgehog, and there is the ability to grow wings like a bird and fly. In other words, it is possible that he was demonstrating the power of an animal in the natural world beyond that of an ordinary person.
「Now, I’m going to get serious here…」
The principal’s expression changed from the casual atmosphere he had been in to a serious one.
「Hiroki Ogino, I’m sure he’s aware of our presence. And he suspects that we have a combat power against Hiroki Ogino. No, it’s not a suspicion, it’s definitely the situation.」
I started explaining the relationship between him and ourselves.
「He’s been hiding his combat power until now, and now he has revealed himself in front of us. And he did it without revealing his abilities.」
He made us understand that he has abilities without letting us know what they are. He did the unthinkable.
「Now, what do you think his next action will be? Is he going to reveal the secret he’s been hiding? I’m sure he’ll try to do something big.」
His words seemed simple, but the contents were very frightening. There must be a reason why he showed his abilities in public that he had kept hidden until now.
Considering what he had done in the past, there was no way he would give away his secret without a reason. I’m sure that what he’s going to do is going to be related to us..
「Now, there is one thing I wish to ask you, Shiori-kun. Are you okay?」
The principal asked the question to Shiori with a gentle face and tone, unlike before.
「At that time, what was your impression of him?」
「I’m not going to use it against you, so just answer honestly」the principal added, looking at Shiori.
The principal was going to ask Shiori about what she felt about him at that moment. She was the only one who had approached him and had a conversation with him.
「The first thing that came to mind was Idiot. Then, it turned to fear and finally respect and gratitude. 」
「Respect and gratitude?」
Shiori stated her thoughts frankly.
「When I realized that the strong man whom I thought was my enemy turned out to be my ally suddenly, I felt that I had fulfilled something.」
Shiori put her hand on her chest and told the principal how she honestly felt.
「I don’t know what I should do in order to be able to emulate him. But he truly felt like a strong person. At that moment, when I knew he was on my side, I knew I couldn’t lose anymore. 」
Then I told him how I felt at the end.
「I felt that if he became one of us… a member of the Japanese branch of Combat Studies, we would be able to stand above all the other branches of Combat Studies scattered around the world.」
This was all Shiori felt for the boy. The teachers and staff saw in her words the shadow of a person named Hiroki Ogino. The principal pondered over her words. As he sits in his chair, he looks at his reflection in the panel. Then, as if he had made up his mind, he turned to Shiori and made a suggestion.
「Do you think you can make him an ally?」
「I believe it’s possible, sir.」
「Well, ……, then, Shiori. Now, I have a mission for you.」
「Contact him and get him transferred to the combat school.」
「At this juncture, it will be difficult to deprive him of his abilities. We don’t know what kind of resistance he’ll show. Then we have no choice but to keep him with us.」
While all the teachers and staff were surprised by the principal’s story, Shiori continued to listen nonchalantly.
「I’ll take care of the preparations for the new transfer. You will contact Hiroki Ogino from now on.」
And finally, the principal said.
「If he refuses to go to combat school, I want you to evacuate immediately. I don’t know what he’ll do to you.」
The teachers and staff could only imagine that if he wanted to, he would kill her before she could evacuate. But Shiori, who should have understood this better than anyone, responded strongly.
（He will join us! He will join us! ）
Because in her mind, Hiroki was all she had on her mind.
Her heart was set on fire to the point where she could unleash her abilities at any moment and skewer everyone in this room with her thorns. There was Shiori, thinking about various things, imagining what he would do after he entered combat studies, and she was excited.
And right below the conference room where Shiori and the others are, there is a document storage room. The next day, those who visit the document storage room discover that the items stored there had been skewered.