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Chapter 196, titled "Act. 16 [Beneath the Masks]", is the 16th part of the fourth story arc of the Coppelion manga.
Haruto and the Ozu sisters watches a large Yellow Cake jet followed by a huge fleet of aircrafts behind them looms above the skies of Tokyo after the airspace is cleared following the Black Wings fighter drones' destruction, noting its large numbers and the presence of the Three Professors in one of the aircrafts.
The Three Professors, aboard the Yellow Cake jet, looks outside through the windows to get a look on Tokyo, although the sky was too dark for them to see. Professor A reminds them of the reason they came to the abandoned city: to collect Aoi Fukasaku and return to Kyoto with her. The Mizoguchi brothers moves in to meet up with the Professors and informs Setsuna about the Professors' arrival. Haruto noticed their movement and follows them along with the Ozu sisters. Kanon wanders whether the Professors are now working against the Japanese government, whom Haruto agrees and presumes that they are now working for the Yellow Cake.
Meanwhile, Meisa noticed the Yellow Cake fleet approaching Tokyo through the noises they generate just as she managed to find Dr. Coppelius after following Kiara and Ingmar, but much to her shock, she saw Dr. Coppelius alongside Setsuna, appears to be friendly with her, causing her particles to disintegrate as Mana appears, who appears to be surprised as Meisa unable to accept what she just saw, for she always consider Dr. Coppelius to care so much for her only. Mana tries to convince her that Dr. Coppelius is just using her, but Meisa, in her fury, breaks her body.
The Cleanup Crew follows the Retrieval Unit to the Sumida riverbank, whom Haruto notes to head into a clearing large enough for the Yellow Cake jet and fleet to land. Sure enough, the Yellow Cake fleet follows the Retrieval Unit and the jet lands on a large field near where the Type 87 mobile AA gun is parked at. Haruto and the Ozu sisters hide nearby and watched as the Three Professors disembarks the Yellow Cake jet, much to Kanon's pleasure as Haruto told her to hide. As the Professors stepped into the grounds of Tokyo for the first time in years, Professor A remarks that it's such a shame for the large city to be abandoned, and the government would've benefit if they put the city to good use. However, the other two Professors ignored him and instead went on taking several pictures around as a memento, although he reminded them that they are not here for sightseeing. They noticed the Tokyo Skytree in the distance, and take a picture with it as a background as the last picture before leaving for Kyoto, just as the Retrieval Unit suddenly appears before them, much to their surprise.
Haruto watched the Retrieval Unit as they are about to hand over Aoi to the Three Professors, and orders them to stop the exchange, but Kanon told Haruto to get Aoi as she deals with the Professors. Haruto asks whether Kanon plans to kill them for revenge, whom she confirms and noted that she had been waiting for this opportunity all along. She also noted that as the Three Professors cruelly tortured her and Shion over the years, they never took off their masks even once because it was the humans' nature; they can become heartless demons with a mask that hides their façade, and vows to rip their masks off their faces and see what kind of faces they have. As Haruto observes the exchange, however, he noticed that Aoi is nowhere to be seen.
The Three Professors congratulates the Retrieval Unit for their work and ordered them to hand over Aoi to be loaded into their jet, completing their mission and giving them the freedom they wanted. However, none the Retrieval Unit that answers, which made the Professors remind them of the kill-switches in their heads that will detonate when the Professors trigger it, or otherwise will explode in hours anyway. Setsuna answers by stating that the Professors have tortured them with no respect for human life, much to their anger as they threatens to detonate the kill-switches. Suddenly, Dr. Coppelius speaks through the Professors' radio, saying that Aoi is on his hands, for she was his creation, much to their shock as he told them that he owed them a lot, and are aware that they are behind his exclusion from the Expo Park laboratory, before dismissing them as disgraces that deserve nothing than to fertilize the land.
The Three Professors, getting desperate, activates the kill-switches, but somehow it did not detonate regardless of how many times they pushed the button. Setsuna then pulled out a pistol and shoots Professor C at the head, killing him instantly. Frightened, the Professors orders the Yellow Cake mercenaries to gun down the Retrieval Unit, but Setsuna managed to evade the shots by using her spatial displacement ability and kicks Professor B at the face, breaking his visor and exposes him to the irradiated air of Tokyo. Ingmar beats down the mercenaries single-handedly, forcing Professor A to run for the jet, much to Kanon's dissapointment. The jet then tries to take off with most of the mercenaries remain outside and Professor A kicking off some trying to board the jet. His escape was short-lived however, as Setsuna appears right in front of him as Dr. Coppelius reveals that he had resetted the Retrieval Unit's kill-switches, for it was his own invention anyway, and thus they are already free of the Professors' influence. Professor A tries to buy his way out by saying that he merely follows orders and offers them large sums of money from the Yellow Cake, but Setsuna kicks him off the jet, causing him to fell to his death.
Professor B, managed to survive, tries to hold his breath to stay alive and begs for help, prompting Haruto to step in and save him, but Touma finishes off the Professor with a shot to the head and puts Haruto at gunpoint. Dr. Coppelius then appears and asks for his assistance to finish the last stage of his grand plan, noting that they no longer have any reason to fight and the Retrieval Unit is now on his side, as he tries to found a new empire with Haruto as the symbol of the new era, but Haruto rejects Dr. Coppelius' offer outright by saying that he's not interested in it and remains determined to clean up. The Ozu sisters move in to assist him, prompting Touma to create a wave of fire that forces them to duck as Dr. Coppelius and the Retrieval Unit boards the Yellow Cake jet and leaves, mocking Haruto for his insistence on cleaning up which he notes would take forever.
As the Yellow Cake fleet withdraws, Haruto notes that Dr. Coppelius' interference changed things, although he still can't believe why the Yellow Cake would just retreat after all this. Haruto then noticed Kanon looking at the Three Professors' dead bodies, with Professor A's visor cracked open and giving her a clear sight on his face. Realizing that the Professors are just normal humans like any others, she gently closes Professor A's eyes and walked away by saying that what's done is done, and they are just ordinary peoples.
In the Tokyo University's hospital, Ibara finally awakes, whom Ryuunosuke noticed upon entering her room. She was glad to see him okay before joining with Omoya, the Bathhouse Owner and the Dumpling Maker as Ryuunosuke filled her in that Haruto had survived and are now with them, and the Dumpling Maker informs her that with the radio jamming gone, they can contact Taeko and the others. Ibara contacted Taeko, who reported that the Genryu will arrive in Haneda at 2:00 hours, but they were interrupted when Alice suddenly cough up blood, prompting Taeko and Asimov to tend her.