The next day, I sent the clues I'd gathered to the police's public mailing address, and then wrote a letter to Anna handing future company matters over to her.
Then, I gave Kiro a call.
A mechanical, female voice notified me over and over that the phone I was dialing was turned off.
What now? If I couldn't contact Kiro, I wouldn't be able to go through with my plan.
But there was no time to lose. I couldn't keep waiting.
With that in mind, I decide to disguise myself and go looking for Kiro.
After leaving my house, I had a vague sense that a pair of eyes were always following me.
I surreptitiously turned on my phone's selfie cam, but after looking around, I didn't find anything suspicious.
MC: My nerves must still be on edge from yesterday!
Being among other pedestrians and cars, I settled down some more. My adversaries wouldn't act out in broad daylight like this, right?
I walked quickly to the corner, and a hand suddenly grabbed me. A shady figure dressed in black and wearing a black hat and mask appeared before me.
Kiro: Shh-- It's me, Kiro.
When he took off his hat, I finally recognized that this suspicious character actually was Kiro!
MC: Wh--what are you doing here?
Kiro: I was about to give you a call when I got to your building. I didn't think I'd run into you first.
Kiro: More about that later. You've got someone following you. We have to lose them.
MC: There's really people tailing me?
I looked carefully behind me, but I still didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
Kiro: Don't worry. They won't do anything rash here. We'll easily give them the slip!
MC: Then what should we do?
Kiro: I'll count down from three, then we'll run into the metro station.
MC: What? Just like that?
My look of complete shock made Kiro laugh.
Kiro: Yeah, it's just that simple. Here we go, three, two, one…
I took off running with him. His hand in mine was warm and strong.
I knew we were being followed, but in the moment, it felt exhilarating.
I turned and looked into Kiro's shining eyes, and we both laughed together.
(On the metro)
We ran onto a metro train about to take off. Anyone behind us definitely didn't have time to get on.
There were no other people in the whole car, only the two of us huffing and puffing in our seats.
Kiro: Now no one's following us!
Kiro took off his face mask. His expression relaxed greatly and then shifted to anger.
Kiro: Why did you go outside against my advice?! If I didn't just happen to run into you...
MC: Sorry... I needed to find you, and you weren't answering your phone...
Kiro took out his phone. Seeing the screen was black, his eyes grew dim.
MC: What is it?
Kiro: Never mind. Why did you need to find me?
MC: This might sound far-fetched, but I think the most recent events may be because of an unknown electromagnetic wave.
MC: It can affect some people with special power, a power called Evol. The message from Black Swan in the secret room also mentioned it.
MC: The source of the wave is the Loveland TV Tower. My guess is there's an emitter at the top.
MC: So… I thought maybe someone like Key would be able to shut down the device.
MC: Do you... believe what I've said?
Kiro: I believe you!
Kiro: If there's one place that can affect the whole of Loveland City, it's the TV tower.
With the look of trust on Kiro's face, my last speck of worry evaporated from my heart.
Kiro turned on his phone, connected his mini-keyboard, pulled up the antenna, and a dense string of numbers started flashing across the screen.
His fingers flew over the keyboard, the sharp tapping sounds mixing with the screech of the metro tracks making me unconsciously hold my breath.
The metro entered a dark tunnel, and the daylight disappeared. With the final key tap, a huge "ERROR" prompt flashed on the screen.
Giant beads of sweat ran down Kiro's temples. He scowled at the screen and wrung his fists.
Kiro: Sorry... I can't shut it off...
His tone was dripping with disappointment. I looked into Kiro's gloomy eyes and held his hand.
MC: It's okay. I'll think of another way.
Kiro squeezed back on my hand, looked me in the eye, and said in earnest:
Kiro: MC, next time, I'm sure I'll turn it off.
At the time, l didn't know what kind of determination was behind those words, and I couldn't make out the hint of unease behind his earnest expression.
I only clung to the warmth and courage flowing between our enjoined hands.
As the black tunnel flew past me, I even felt a moment of serenity.
MC: There's something I want to go do.
Kiro didn't turn his head and lightly patted the back of my hand.
Kiro: I've already guessed what it is.
Kiro affected a mystical tone as he spoke.
Kiro: If you want to go play the superhero and save Loveland City, then you can't go without me. After all, I'm this superhero's biggest fan.
MC: I'm not trying to be some mighty superhero and save the world.
MC: I just want to do what I can.
MC: Even if it's hard, even if it's dangerous, I don't want to have any regrets.
MC: I must turn off that emitter. Then, everything will go back to normal!
Kiro: Not just you. We.
MC: But... this will be dangerous. And I don't know what might happen.
MC: We might even run into some Evolvers. I don't want to get you wrapped up in it.
Kiro: MC, don't look at me as some normal person. I'm an Evolver too.
My eyes grew wide hearing this word coming out of Kiro's mouth. I almost couldn't believe it.
As if satisfied at how shocked I was, Kiro perked up his eyebrows and smiled.
Kiro: Don't believe it? My Evol is passively attracting others, so that's why everyone loves Kiro.
MC: I thought that was just something your fans say as a joke?
Kiro: No, it's really true. I'm an Evolver too, so I have a responsibility to resolve this as quickly as possible.
The seriousness of his tone swept away my doubts. It may have felt unbelievable, but it seemed to explain some things I wondered about before.
MC: So, does that mean those fan riots from before were because of your Evol?
Kiro: Right. When I lose control of my Evol, it has bad effects. I couldn't appear in public anymore as Kiro, so I had no choice but to retire.
His face looked hurt for a moment, but it quickly returned to normal.
Kiro: Aside from that reason, there's still another important thing I have to do.
MC: What important thing? Is it what you talked about on the phone last time? I thought you were talking about retiring...
Kiro: It's not retiring. It's something else. Although right now, solving the out-of-control Evol problem with you is more important.
Kiro: Don't say no to me. The reason I'm here is to help you.
Kiro: I know this might be dangerous, but that just means I can't let you go alone all the more. I want to protect you too.
I seemed to be the only thing in his mind just then. That determined look in his eyes made my chest heat up, and I just couldn't say no to him.