Adachi was cornered, trapped in a twisted landscape sprung from his own mind, and he was having the time of his life. Finally he could voice his true thoughts. Sure, his only audience was a bunch of kids too naïve and self-centered to see the truth, but that was fine. It was enough that he could drop his lovable fool persona and show his real genius.
And maybe he’d been doing that since they’d tracked him down, but it was so much better when he could see their stupid faces. They’d charged in acting all high and mighty, as if he was going to be threatened by a bunch of teenagers. Even that Tatsumi kid had just looked constipated.
And the more he talked, the more their expressions began to crack. It was clear that they could see the truth of his words, even if they refused to admit it. The orange one in particular looked so horrified that Adachi couldn’t help but laugh.
The idiot tomboy just refused to get it, though, still blabbering about justice and the law and whatever. She sounded like a five-year-old. Frankly, Adachi was doing her a favor by shattering that fantasy. “Y’know why I applied?” he asked. “So I could legally carry a gun. That’s all.”
It was enough to get even the ever-stoic Souji’s brow to furrow in discontentment. Adachi couldn’t help his satisfied smirk in response.
He was rather less satisfied an instant later, when he heard Shirogane scoff. “Pathetic,” they muttered.
Adachi rounded to face them. “What, and your motivations are so much better?” he asked. “You just want to make your mommy and daddy proud.”
Shirogane rolled their eyes. “I’m going to ignore that pitiful attempt a taunt. No, I was just noting that you seem remarkably concerned with the legality of your actions for a nihilistic murderer.”
Now that was something Adachi hadn’t expected. He let out a laugh. “Are you really encouraging me to break the law? Be careful, you wouldn’t want that to get back to the prefectural police. Wouldn’t want to tarnish that precious Shirogane name.”
“As if they’d believe any of this situation.” Shirogane lifted their gun slightly higher. “Even discounting the fantastical elements, who would believe that a group of teenagers were able to dispense vigilante justice using illegal weapons?”
The ex-idol bimbo stopped pouting long enough to stare at Shirogane. “Wait, illegal? You don’t mean…”
Shirogane’s eyes never left Adachi. At least one of the morons understood the situation they were in. “Rise-san, I’m sixteen. I could not legally apply for a gun license, let alone own and carry a firearm of my own.”
“But you’re a detective!” the tomboy said, once again demonstrating a stunning grasp of the obvious.
“Yes, a consulting detective. Officially, I am not affiliated with the police, and as such have not been issued a weapon of my own.” They made a face. “Liability concerns or some such.”
“Holy shit,” Tatsumi breathed. Adachi couldn’t blame him. Maybe Shirogane wasn’t quite as much of a killjoy as he’d thought.
“So this whole time, you’ve been breaking the law just to fight with us?” the Amagi girl asked.
“It’s no more illegal than possession of an unregistered sword, and I highly doubt Senpai has been bringing every sword we find in here to the police.” A note of annoyance had crept into Shirogane’s voice. “I could hardly have asked to join you with no way to defend myself.”
“But wait,” the weird bear one said. Adachi still wasn’t sure why he was wearing the Junes mascot costume now, of all times, but he sure as hell wasn’t willing to sit through the bullshit response he’d get if he asked. Bear kid was easily the most annoying of their little club. Which was impressive, given the competition. “You definitely had a gun before Sensei gave you one. If you aren’t supposed to own a gun, where did you get that one?”
Shirogane shook their head. “That’s really not important right now.”
“I disagree!” the orange one yelled.
It was clear that this could go on for a while, so Adachi did what he should have done ages ago and interrupted their bickering. “Not that this isn’t fascinating and all, but we were kind of in the middle of something.”
Risette waved a hand dismissively. “Yeah, but you said we have until the New Year, right? There’s still time left, and this is way more interesting than your melodramatic speeches.”
“Seriously? Can you not let me have this one thing?” They didn’t know what they were talking about anyway. He wasn’t being melodramatic, he was just telling the truth. And it wasn’t like they were in a position to talk about melodrama anyway.
Whatever cosmic force had chosen a bunch of teenagers to oppose him would have to beg for his forgiveness.
Souji chose that moment to finally intervene. “To be fair,” he said, his tone entirely too reasonable given the circumstances, “We explicitly came here to ruin your plans. Think of this as a headstart.”
Adachi could have screamed. Instead, he summoned Magatsu Izanagi and watched the brats scramble to assume defensive positions. As much as he was looking forward to watching Inaba get devoured by the fog, he was going to enjoy killing these kids even more.