Story IV – Part 01


Translator: Kell


I pressed the blade against the neck and slid it gently. A red line ran across the flesh, hot torrent spurting out. I placed my mouth directly on the wound, and the rich taste of iron and salt filled my tongue. I caught the rest on a plate, making sure not to spill a drop. Now that the blood had been drained from the flesh, I was free to eat wherever I wanted. With overwhelming glee, I gouged out the eyeballs and slurped up their juices. The brain matter I scooped out with a spoon tasted more profound than any other part of the body. I chopped the meat. Tasted it. Chopped. Fresh meat is good meat. Chopped. Freshly-harvested organs are even more beautiful. Chopped. I removed the teeth and arranged them neatly.

Chop.


I tossed the chocolate out the window. Spheres garnished with chocolate spray flew across the blue sky. You could almost mistake the scene as some sort of a symbolism for peace. Wearing a demonic expression—the opposite of peaceful—I turned around. Mayuzumi was sitting cross-legged on the sofa, smiling.

She was wearing her usual gothic lolita outfit, and a cap with pompoms for some reason.

Maybe because she just woke up from an afternoon nap.

One might think this to be an absolutely ludicrous sight, but we were both dead serious.

Mayuzumi’s red lips slowly twisted. “Odagiri-kun,” she said, her tone as if admonishing a child. “You just did something awful to me.”

My veins popped. I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t care if Mayuzumi was right in front of me; I took out a cigarette and put it in my mouth. Hell, I wanted to just chew on the nicotine like chocolate.

That would kill me, though.

“I did something awful? For the record, Mayu-san, you’re the one at fault here. Please accept your fate already.”

I picked up another box. Mayuzumi gave a bewitching smile and did not move a muscle. But I saw the anger that filled her eyes, not something you’d see often. It meant my threat was working.

I held the box out the window. Holding the cigarette in one hand, I continued, “Either I throw away all your chocolate, or you take your medicine.”

Too much sugar is bad for the heatlh, and because she lacked the necessary nutrients, her cold lingered. Several days had passed since I crawled on the ground like an animal, roaring, but Mayuzumi still had not completely gotten over her cold. Even after the wound on my belly had closed up again, her coughing had not stopped. Not that I had any complaints about that in particular.

You can’t help what you can’t cure. The problem was, she wouldn’t put in the effort to cure herself.

“I see. Well, then. Until next time.”

Asato could reappear at any moment, yet Mayuzumi didn’t have that sense of urgency.

“He wouldn’t kill me while I’m emaciated,” she said. “Because I’m his precious little sister. Killing someone you hate in a situation where you can easily kill them, Odagiri-kun, is the same as admitting defeat. I doubt someone like you would understand. In fact, it’s better if you don’t.”

Mayuzumi took a bite of her chocolate. I held my aching stomach as I watched her. When I get angry, my insides wriggle, but I couldn’t stay indifferent any longer.

Sensing my displeasure, Mayuzumi added, “There’s no need to panic, Odagiri-kun. You should see this as break time and heal both your external and internal injuries. You don’t seem to realize it, but the frustration of letting a woman die is mentally draining you. Don’t worry. You’re not to blame. She basically chose her own death.”

I thought I saw bubbles rising in front of me. Bubbles the color of human skin. The moment they popped, I stood up, holding the box of chocolates. I strode to the window and pulled it open.

“Off you go,” I said, throwing all of the box’s contents.

Pieces of chocolate drifted across the blue sky.


Mayuzumi bowed. “Thank you for the meal.”

“You’re very welcome,” I replied, bowing in response.

We stared at each other. After emerging victorious, Mayuzumi took her medicine. Her eyes were not smiling—it only seemed like it—but for once I wasn’t going to back down. If I asked the whole of humanity for a vote, my suggestion would win by a landslide.

If you have a cold, take your medicine. Don’t eat sweets. Stay warm and stay in bed.

You don’t even have to think about it. She had no reason to criticize me at all. I was on the right.

“Might as well eat your porridge too.”

“That’s called getting carried away, Odagiri-kun. I agreed with your suggestion because you had a point. It’s the boss’s duty to take into account the mental stability of their subordinates. That said, you know what a big deal it would be for me to eat something other than chocolate.”

Yeah, I don’t know about that being a big deal.

I left the words unsaid. I decided to at least boil some apples and pour some chocolate sauce on them.

“Odagiri-kun,” she called from behind.

“What is it, Mayu-san?”

Mayuzumi crawled into the blanket like a cat. She grabbed her cap with her left hand and put it on her head.

“I’m going to sleep, so don’t wake me.”

Was she sulking?

And what’s up with that cap?

I stared at the pom-poms. The mouths of the two ducks opened every time Mayuzumi moved. It was clearly evolving. Right as I was about to touch it, the doorbell rang.

It sounded hesitant. A chill ran down my back.

Someone knocked on the door. It could only mean one thing.

Either someone died again, or something horrifying happened.

I turned around, but once Mayuzumi said she was going to sleep, she wouldn’t wake up no matter what. Shaking off the bad feeling in my gut, I turned to the intercom, and gulped.

“This is the Mayuzumi Psychic Detective Agency.”

“I apologize for the sudden visit. Is Mayuzumi Azaka-sama here?”

It was the soft voice of a woman. A feeling of dread stroked my spine. Most of the clients who come to the office sound desperate, but the voice had no hint of desperation.

Like the girl who popped like a bubble.

“Who is it?” I asked.

“My name is Mayuzumi Chihana.”

Mayu… zumi?

For a moment, I couldn’t understand what she said. The familiar family name made me turn around.

What’s going on here?

I could ask Mayuzumi, but she wouldn’t even lift her head from under the blanket.

“Azaka-sama, it’s me, Chihana. Your Chihana. Can you please open the door?”

This time, she addressed Mayuzumi directly. Unlike when she talked to me, her voice was sweet as honey. I turned around, but there was no reply. Without much of a choice, I decided to answer.

“Don’t answer.”

An icy voice stabbed me in the back. It felt like someone was digging into my nape. Gingerly, I turned around and saw Mayuzumi’s eyes peeking out of the covers. Her fierce eyes glinted in the dark.

“I. Am. Not. Here. Right. Now. Understand, Odagiri-kun?”

Then darkness swallowed her eyes. She went back to hiding her face under the blanket, with only her cap sticking out. The sight of the silly thing did not ease my fears. Wiping the sweat from my chin, I spoke.

“I’m sorry, but the boss is not around at the moment.”

“So you’re not going to see me. Ever since the day you left home, I have been waiting for your return.” Her voice was full of sorrow, pleading. “It feels like a hundred years has passed.”

Still no answer from Mayuzumi. As I stood there dumbfounded, the woman went silent. Suddenly, her voice regained its composure.

“I understand. Odagiri-sama, are you available?”

…Me?

I didn’t know how to reply to the sudden invitation. Mayuzumi remained silent. Suddenly, a murmur.

“If you want, you can go.”

Hell no. Not even if you ask me to.

But I was curious about the Mayuzumi surname. They were most likely from the Mayuzumi family. I know being curious about the dwelling place of monsters is not good.

But should I really just let her leave?

“I don’t really care about them,” Mayuzumi said.

She was saying the decision was mine to make. In other words, it was probably not that dangerous. After pondering it over, I mutely put my hand on the door and flung it open. A beautiful woman clad in a black kimono. Her silvery, white hair was tied up with a red hairpin. Despite her hair color, she was young. Her droopy eyes—there was a mole underneath one of them—gave her an air of tenderness.

Softly, her lips arched in a bewitching smile.



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