I reach the office with Ai, Ayame, and Arakawa-san waiting inside. First things first with Arakawa,
"Nakano-san was cooperating with the criminal Nakamura-kaichou, Suzuki-san could somehow push back her superhuman strength, and then Harada-kun came in with some unnatural breeze!?"
We very well can't be exposing ourselves so...I walk behind Arakawa and [Transform]. I put my hand to her nape,
"Eh!? What're you doing so suddenly Harada-kun!?"
She fidgets until I begin using [Mana Drain]. This won't kill her, she'll just go unconscious from mana deficiency which regenerates eventually. She falls over to lay onto the sofa where she was initially sitting.
I turn to look at the expectant other two girls.
"Ahem, so let's start from the beginning. Why were you late?"
"Oh, I was listening to one of my senpais..."
"Hmm, suspicious...well you came in the end."
"Nextly, what happened out there? Nakamura-kaichou ran out and after some time, Ai regained control."
"Well, he aimed for and took Arakawa's phone with evidence for his 'crimes' on it."
"He did indeed confess to many, so she happened to get it on tape. She was probably already suspicious of him. As expected, Arakawa-san is a sharp one. After that?"
"I followed him until we arrived at the back entrance. Then, he was killed."
"The senpai I was talking to earlier, Kanon Watanabe."
"The older sister of our class's Watanabe-kun, the Kyudo Club ace--Kanon Watanabe?"
"It seems she was similar to Jiro in the sense that they both had supernatural abilities unrelated to mana. Jiro could control the mind of one person within a range; Watanabe-senpai could cause intense destructive effects with lightning-infused arrow shots."
"Fitting for a Kyudo Club member, and surprising. Did she just straight-up murder him!?"
"It was pretty much that, she said it was for her job though."
"I don't know very well either. After that, I took Arakawa's phone back and narrowly escaped into the building."
"What do we do about this situation...these 'psychics' are a mystery."
"Let's inform the others, and then get Saegusa-san to use [Teleportation] somewhere close to our homes but not monitored. I don't want to be running into Watanabe-senpai again."
"Alright, let's do that and then give it some thought. Right now, we should be gathering information. The case about Jiro Nakamura--if Watanabe-senpai killed him, she must've had a plan for when he was gone. We'll trust in that."
I lay done Arakawa's phone next to her unconscious, and defenseless, body. I guess the evidence she gained was useless, but she did well for a normal person.
"This is just getting stranger and stranger, if only there was someone that could come in and just tell us all the answers."
"Haha, someone like that would have to be a legendary detective versed in these kinds of things."
You're absolutely right.
In the middle of the next school day,
"Yaho! Is Harada-kun in?"
I heard my name mentioned, why are my lunch periods always interrupted? The person looking for me waltzed on over. She turned heads, after all, she's a 3rd-year in a 2nd-year classroom. She's also a beauty--Kanon Watanabe. The heroes around me were confused but kept their heads lowered, what pitiful states.
"Nee-san, what're you doing here!?"
Keito rose from his seat and strode towards her. But, she just walked right past...ignoring him completely. Knowing her true feelings, I suddenly pity Keito.
"Nee~ Ha~ra~da~kuun~ ."
"The ~ is annoying. So, what do you want?"
I ask her bluntly with calculating eyes. My tone is properly received and her smile intensifies. But, those eyes are not smiling. They're like a deep abyss of rushing currents against each other. It scares me.
"Come with me, I have something to tell you. It'll be just the two of us on the roof."
The classroom was quiet before, but it just became silent. 'It's a confession,' they're thinking. But, it's definitely not that you monkeys. Also, calm down Rino, Ayame, Ai, what're you mad about?
I agree promptly and follow her meekly behind. The phone in my pocket is on, the battery will properly last since I charged it last night. Prepare yourself.
We reach the roof. It's nostalgic, the resting place of a [Demon Lord] and where my friends were played around with like punching bags. Actually, that's not nostalgic at all but traumatizing. Anyways,
"So, Harada-kun knows why we're here right?"
"...because I saw something I shouldn't have."
"Indeed, you saw me using my ability. This may shock you, but, there are people of this world that can use supernatural abilities without being a [Magical Girl]."
Do heroes and vampires count? Well, this is a whole different breed.
"Hmm, you don't look too impressed."
"Well, I knew that Jiro Nakamura had such a power. Mind control."
"Ah, true. You were around him at the time and he used that power frivolously. Its obvious leaks would appear... Indeed, he had such a power, and that power is similar to what I possess."
"An awakened mind like what the [Focals] can create huh."
"Oh? You're quite sharp aren't you Harada-kun. First your physical reactions and then your reasoning capacity. Aren't you an unexpected gem...you can cook too. Your face, well, it's average."
"Indeed, it's similar to what [Focals] can create--though theirs are oftentimes more potent."
"So, you had to kill Nakamura-kaichou for your job as an 'officer.' Why is this?"
"You sure are greedy, wanting all the answers. Didn't I say before that you'd die knowing nothing...I guess I'll indulge you. You're a dead man walking anyway."
"That boy had the power to control the wills of others. It was an extremely dangerous power in the hands of an immature individual. He had gotten it not long ago, but decided to cause mayhem in its awakening. He did it without much caution and caused accidents like you learning of it into fruition."
I listened attentively.
"We needed to silence him since it might've opened up the secret of our existence to the world. But, more importantly, we couldn't control him. His power related to the mind gave him extra resistance against similar powers. As such, we couldn't fully control his actions as an ability user."
"So you mentally control the actions of ability users around the world?"
"That's how we've kept the secret for years and years, even before [First Contact]. People with the ability to detect other ability users combined with people with the ability to control them; We could perfectly rule over the portion of humanity awakened to this special trait. All psychics are part of us or silenced. All who see them in action are silenced. There are some exceptions here and there but that's a main principle of our philosophy. It's absolute secrecy imposed by people."
So that's why she immediately attacked me after seeing that...or maybe that's just her...
"You keep saying 'we' and 'our,' so there's a lot of people like you behind this huh."
"...anyways, Nakamura died due to his unfortunate power and the way he used it. Well, he would've died even if he didn't use it to commit felonies since some of us find it unforgivable to not be in control of everything."
"Next question, why aren't you killing me now?"
"I'd love to do that, but orders are orders. Someone else will kill you (someone else will be sent), unfortunately for me. I'm just in such a high position that they don't give priority to you dying by my hands--I'd love to do it though to say it again. However, I'm in no rush...I like to enjoy everything to the last detail."
"Aren't you scary..."
"Hehe~ You're quite relaxed."
"Why can't you just mind control me or manipulate my memories like other people, why go out of your way to kill me?"
"It's more efficient. Instead of having someone come down here to take care of your memories, your removal from society will be mostly unnoticed if you're killed."
"It's true, I did some background research on you...no living immediate family and a few friends. There won't be too many swarming investigators at your death."
You couldn't be more wrong but continue.
"On a separate note, I found out that you're THE Tsukioka-sensei...I really like the art you do."
"Anyways, any more questions...?"
"So, you're just going to let me go free with all of this information?"
"The higher-ups are strict with this kind of stuff but I don't really think it's worth getting all stiff about. Even if you told someone about this they wouldn't believe you--a single high schooler. Additionally, you're marked to die by us meaning you're ab~solutely dead. Dead men tell no tales...after they die."
"You're really making my head hurt today...and you underestimate me."
"Lovesickness does that to you boys~"
"Oh shut it."
"Haha, well, before you go back..."
She comes up to my face and pulls my chin up with her hand. She's as tall as me but seems taller due to her personality. Even if I know she's a sadistic monster in human skin, my heart still beats just a bit faster.
"If the day ever comes where I get the chance to kill you with my own hands, then remember this."
I gulp reflexively.
"My ability is [Natural Disaster]. As the name says, I can create them on small scales, though if I try I can create big ones that can wipe out cities."
"Scared yet? Fufu~ The one I used on Nakamura and you was an EXTREMELY weakened version of [Natural Disaster: Thunder Storm]. And with that, we're done here."
She does an overexaggerated clapping motion and ushers me back to the classroom. Seriously, this is pressuring...I'm gonna die? Well, that won't happen I don't think. A few more paces and I separate from that devilish girl. On my way...
Looking around to see no one, I turn the corner and reach into my pocket to grab out my phone. It's been on call for a while with a contact titled "Airi Harada." The number only someone like Yoru could gain access to.
"Onii-chan...this is the best lead we've gotten yet."
"Glad to be of help."
"Oi Nodoka! Be grateful!"
The other side bantered like children, you wouldn't think of that great detective Emma Enderich at all.
"The most well-hidden secret organization of psychics, [Lilus]. We did some digging and decrypting: that name was what came up. That Kanon Watanabe, 3rd-year at your high school, is a [Lilus Officer]."
"We now know how they get other ability users under control and how they've stayed hidden for all this time. Their internal structure and systems are still unknown to us though. More importantly, you've caught their eye Onii-chan. Your name will forever be on their 'to kill' list. As Aki, you can probably handle yourself though."
"Fuu, so that's how this all is. Truly troublesome, [Lilus]..."
"It's absurd to me too. Especially that [Natural Disaster], that's cheating."
"So is [Invincibility]."
"Keep us updated Onii-chan, we'll continue our investigation from here and also give updates to you."
It's rewind time--sorry. Let's rewind time a bit...
The night after being attacked by Watanabe-senpai:
"Yoru, I'm going to call her."
"Then do it."
"Hello? Who is this?"
"Eh!? Onii-chan? How'd you get this number...oh right."
"I need your help."
"Feeling like you want to join the JP gov?"
"Not at all. I have a case for you."
"That sounds like something for the police department."
"It's an interesting case."
"Sounds like something for Emma Enderich, not this Airi Harada."
"Aren't you the same people?"
" *sigh* This conversation completely ruins our emotional breakup!"
"We both made it painful...sorry."
"Likewise. Anyways, I'll listen to you."
I explain about some ability users existing around me without being [Magical Girls] or vampires. I heard her freeze up when I mentioned vampires, but she soon regained calmness.
"This is big news Onii-chan. Truthfully, we're working on this case right now. To think there are--were two psychics present in your school. And you have no doubt about it..."
She explains the progress of her investigation.
"Naruhodo, a secret organization of ability users who've existed for years."
I wonder why they exist in the first place...Anyways, telling this to the others would be shocking, but it'd put them at ease. Though, I don't want them to be dragged into Watanabe-senpai's conflict with me. I'll tell them eventually when convenient...
"Onii-chan, I have an idea. Tomorrow, Watanabe-senpai will definitely make contact with you. When that time comes, have us in on the conversation--we'll record everything to analyze. We need all the cards we can get if we're going up against people who tried to kill you."
"Your very welcome, Onii-chan."
Just hearing her casual voice again returned my smile. It's been too long.
"So anyway, about Nodoka..."
"Hm? What about Nodoka? She's right here."
"Even better, hey Nodoka did you tell her about the time you lost spectacularly to me?"
"Come on, say it. You attacked me the day after--"
"Eh? Nodoka is that true?"
Ooh. Did Nodoka do that? I hope I embarrassed her a bit.