Deep at night, I am waiting in front of the office of Kanai Enterprises.
I watch as a lightweight truck stops in front of their door.
The time period is one in which even the grass and trees are sound asleep. Yet, there is the truck.
As if prompted by the arrival of the truck, people pile out of the building in succession, seemingly pushing something into the back of the truck.
Even from where I am, the silhouettes are unmistakably those of humans.
With hands bound behind their backs and blindfolds in place, humans are being stowed onto the truck one by one.
I count twenty in total. After stowing twenty people into the back, the truck drives off as if nothing’s happened.
I’ve got to chase it.
[Invisibility II] grants me 20 seconds of invisibility.
Within those 20 seconds, I dash like mad, then borrow that momentum to make a huge leap——and land on top of the container part of the truck.
After getting on, I lay low and cling on tightly, so that even after my invisibility wears off I won’t be easily thrown off.
Well then, where are we headed?
The truck runs for about an hour, before finally arriving at a dock.
There are almost no lights turned on at this dock.
The truck stops close to where what looks like a fishing boat is anchored.
Young members of Kanai Enterprises alight from the driving cabin of the truck, while more young men disembark from the boat.
“We’ve brought them. What about your side?”
Even more disembark from the boat.
Just as the man had answered, there are twenty of them. There are both men and women, with the common characteristic that they are all young.
During that time, the other guys from the Kanai Enterprises side open up the back of the truck and begin bringing out the people stuffed inside.
This side is also twenty. The numbers match exactly.
From that point onwards, there is no more conversation.
The twenty who’ve come from the boat help force the bound twenty onboard the boat.
Those who put up a resistance is quieted down with violence.
I’ve seen enough.
I jump down from the top of the lightweight truck.
The sound I make upon landing causes everyone to turn towards me.
“Wh-, who are you!”
“You, you’re from this afternoon?!”
The men who’ve been caught off guard are insta-KOed by me.
With [Close Combat VII] at full throttle, I plunge among the twenty young men and women from the fishing boat and proceed to incapacitate them.
“What is this?! We weren’t told about this!”
“Wait a second! I haven’t had combat training!!”
Everybody who’ve disembarked from the boat are speaking in a foreign language.
While they are clamouring in confusion, I insta-KO all of them too.
Now there are only two people left. It’s the two who made first contact, one from the Kanai Enterprises side and one from the fishing boat side.
I grab both of them by their throats, then slam them against the side of the truck.
“Wh-, who are y——”
“What is this all about?”
“Like I kn——”
I tighten my hands even more.
“I, I’ll tell…… you…… cough! Cough cough!”
One of them folds, so I loosen my hands.
“Speak. Who are these people? And where are those people being taken to?”
“Th-, these guys are brought over from the motherland. The aim is to switch them with the Japanese kidnapped on this side.”
“…… What did you say?”
My brows draw together in a frown.
I had stuck my head in after hearing about kidnapping and “sending to our motherland,” but the matter turns out to be much larger than that.
I am suddenly bathed in bright light.
Letting go of the two men, I bring my hands before my eyes.
Squinting through my fingers, I see the boss of Kanai Enterprises, backed up by a whole throng of lackeys.
The lackeys are quickly circling to surround me.
“To think what that guy said really turned out to be right……”
The boss mutters with a terrible scowl.
While attempting to deal with the backlight by keeping my eyes half-opened, I throw a question to him.
“What is going on here? What’s the point of making this switch?”
“This is our way of smuggling them into the country.”
“You heard that right. Things get a whole lot easier with valid family registers in our hands.”
“So the switching is for the family registers……”
The boss grins evilly.
If these people smuggle themselves into the country illegally, when they are caught they will be deported back to their own country. But if they have a valid family register in hand, that won’t happen, and they can also move freely as full citizens.
“That won’t work though. In the first place, the picture on the identification would be completely different, so it’d only take a glance for them to be exposed.”
The boss snorts.
“In this current world of ours, what with plastic surgery and sex change, even the gender can be changed. If we bring them to update the ID while clearly stating that they had undergone the knife, then even the government office wouldn’t dig too deeply into it.”
I am a bit shocked, but I find myself actually convinced by the efficacy of this plan of theirs.
There are indeed people who’ve very significantly altered their looks through plastic surgery. Even those people are living normally and properly registered with a family register, so I can easily imagine this switch being readily passed through the relevant departments.
“And while we’re at it, we also kidnap those with enormous debt and no living relatives and sell them off on the other side. Two birds with one stone, it’s a really good business.”
“…… Are you sure you want to be admitting everything to me so easily?”
“Hah, it’s not a problem. ‘Cus you won’t be leaving here alive tonight!”
The boss raises his hand, which prompts his subordinates to bring up their guns.
What they are holding are not pistols, but machine guns.
In other words, as soon as he gives the signal, I’m going to be filled with holes like a beehive, huh.
“You can die with an easy heart. Even your family register we will use with great thanks.”
Then the boss begins swinging his hand down——but that instant.
I activate [Invisibility II], which the cooldown time for is up.
“What?! Where’d he go?!”
As the boss is astonished, I close in on his lackeys.
I only have 20 seconds. I can’t waste even one of those seconds.
I run around the place at top speed, knocking out everyone holding a machine gun with one strike each.
“Turn on the light! He’s definitely here somewhere!”
The boss shouts loudly. This is convenient.
My skill not having been exposed makes it more advantageous for me.
Before the other side manages to recover from their confusion, I successfully bring all of them down.
Perhaps because they were holding machine guns, they gave more points than normal trash mobs, earning me a total of 64 points.
My figure reappears right as I grab the boss’s throat.
“It’s over. Now I’m going to hand you over to the police.”
“H-, hmph! Doing that is poin——”
This time, it’s me who grins evilly.
With one hand still clasped around the boss’s throat, I fish around my pocket with the other hand and take out my smartphone.
“That conversation we just had? I have it recorded from beginning to end. It may not serve as admissible evidence in court, but it’s more than enough to make an impression among the people. While I’m at it, I might even send it to the mass media.”
“Hmph, just you try it.”
The boss puts up a strong front. And it seems to me that he’s not doing so baselessly.
But this was also within the scope of my expectations.
“Incidentally, I was also recording when I visited your office.”
“I was stepping foot into a yakuza’s office. Isn’t it a given that I’d be doing that? In other words, I’ve got the conversation between you and that man on tape as well. What was it that you two said in your mother tongue?”
Finally the boss’s face color changes. Upon confirming that, I drive a body blow into him to make him unconscious.
Having confirmed that the evidence I have on hand is effective enough to make the boss flustered, I drop him to the ground and call the police.
Then I get onto the boat and help the kidnapped Japanese.
So, case closed, I suppose?
After a short while, a patrol car draws near with sirens blaring.
The patrol car stops a short distance away from the pier, and the policemen step out.
One patrol car and two policemen…… isn’t this a little too few?
“Was it you who called in a report?”
“Yes it was me. These guys——”
Automatically switching to polite speech because the other side is police, I turn around to gesture towards the unconscious boss and yakuza members. But that instant.
Incredible pain races through the back of my head.
My eyes go white, and I almost fall forwards.
But I grit my teeth and barely manage to remain standing.
I whirl around——that instant.
Once again I am caught off guard, and my hands are cuffed together.
I am dumbfounded, not quite able to understand what’s going on.
“…… Are you two imposter policemen?”
“Suspect secured, bringing him in now.”
The policeman who’s cuffed me speaks in a business-like tone to the other policeman.
…… They’re not imposters, then?
If they’re imposters, then they wouldn’t need to act like actual policemen after assaulting me.
The only reason to do is because they are the real thing, and I am really being treated like a suspect.
In other words……
I shoot a glance towards the Kanai Enterprises guys.
I tear off the cuffs with the attack power from [Close Combat VII].
“Wha-! Do you intend to resist arrest?!”
“Don’t mind that, secure him!”
The two policemen are surprised, yet still manage to draw their pistols and point them towards me.
Already having full intention of attacking them the moment I tore my cuffs apart, I’ve already stepped in by the time they get their pistols out, and summarily down them with a punch each.
The two insta-KOed policemen crumple to the ground.
I squat down and confirm their equipment. So they really are real.
In other words…… even the police are in cohorts with whatever is going on here. Whatever has the world come to.
But well, that’s fine.
The real question is, how far up the police does this conspiracy go?
“It doesn’t matter, though.”
I smile faintly with wryness.
Considering how far I’ve stuck my head into this, it doesn’t matter how far it goes. I just have to chase it to the very end.
That’s what I did in the other world too.
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