Story IV – Part 05

Translator: Kell

“Well, it’s just a tall tale. Whether they actually ate a person is even doubtful. Society speaks ill of us behind our backs. They call us a family of demons, and we’ve used that feeling of awe to our advantage. It’s more convenient to be feared as a monster than to be called inhuman. But what I’m about to tell you from here on out, Odagiri-kun, is true. There’s a few missing pieces in Chihana’s story, you see.”

I straigthened up. Without responding, I waited for Mayuzumi’s next words.

I wondered which part of her ecstatic speech were lies.

“Why was the first Mayuzumi Azaka born with such strong power? She was the product of incest between siblings who didn’t care about the risks,” she said with no hesitation.

I couldn’t react immediately. Her words wouldn’t register in my brain.

Without waiting for my reply, Mayuzumi continued on, “The Mayuzumi family, you see, has had many incestuous marriages. Family members obsessed with power wanted their blood to remain as pure as possible. This, in turn, strenghtened the curse, and many people died. Yet they kept on violating the ultimate taboo and finally created the greatest monster.”

Children born of the same parents procreated so their blood remained pure.

“That’s Mayuzumi Azaka. In their own words, a creature with the purest demon blood.”

And that creature had the same name as the girl in front of me. Someone who laughed at and enjoyed the death of others.

Suddenly I was curious. What did she think of it?

“Mayu-san… How do you fee—”

“We ate a human being, copulated with siblings, and perverted morality for our own gain,” she interrupted. “We’ve been animals since we were born. Though in a way, we’re the most human of them all.” She laughed. Her words of disdain for herself and her clan were strangely devoid of any spite. She just continued on in an amused manner. “Demon is a fitting word indeed.”

Silence descended. Mayuzumi yawned, then closed her eyes, as if she was tired of talking. I couldn’t say anything. I didn’t know how to react at all.

As she pulled her cap closer to try to sleep, Mayuzumi said, “Oh, let me add something else for the honor of Mayuzumi Azaka. You said that she gave an order for the god to become the absolute ruler of the family, standing above the head. All business-related matters were relegated to the branch family, while the main family would control everything from the shadows using their power. That is also a lie. The First was a human being just like me—in fact, we were identical creatures. I would never have given such an order. It was someone in the immediate family who made that silly rule. Honor and power are but tacky ornaments. If you wear it around, one day their weight will tear your skin off. Though I would use them, I don’t want them.”

Mayuzumi flashed a grin. That seemed to be the end of the conversation. I swallowed my words again. There were so many questions I wanted to ask, but none of them seemed worth asking.

In the end, what came out of my mouth was a really simple question.

“Mayu-san, is it not difficult?”

What’s even the point of asking that? Still, I couldn’t help but ask.

What did she think of this truth? This story about her family?

Mayuzumi opened her eyes. She smiled again, as if she found the question amusing.

“I am Mayuzumi Azaka. It is a fact, just like how the sky is the sky, and the sea is the sea. I don’t despise it, and losing this name would be tantamount to death. I just don’t like being worshiped. Until I was born, the Mayuzumi family had deified many girls who had little or no ability due to their less pure blood as symbols of power. They can make as many puppets as they want. People can’t help but rely on gods. But I don’t see the point in relying on me.”

Slowly, Mayuzumi closed her eyes, then said exactly what I had in mind once.

“It’s simply morbid.”

She was inhuman.

But she never proudly claimed to be a god.

She was only a human being.

“Hello. Oh, good sir. Is Mayuzumi-sama asleep?”

“Yeah, she’s taking a nap.”

Kugutsu immediately closed his mouth. He might even be holding his breath. Silently, he put the foodstuff into the refrigerator. If they wouldn’t get spoiled, he could just wait until Mayuzumi woke up. The fridge was filled to the brim, but there was no meat at all.

“Where’s the meat?” I asked, crouching down.

Kugutsu moved his mouth like a goldfish. He was basically saying he couldn’t speak.

“Once she’s asleep, Mayu-san rarely wakes up. You don’t have to worry about it.”

Kugutsu flapped his mouth open and shut. He wasn’t sure what to do. Sensing my irritation, he let out a mosquito-like voice.

“There was no good meat. Since you’re being so kind to me, I want to choose the best quality meat. I’m really sorry. Please wait a little longer. I’ll make boiled tofu and tofu skin today. Do you dislike soy?”

“For the record, you don’t have to worry about my food. Mayu-san will not eat anyway.”

“No, no, no, no, no, that won’t do. I can’t let you eat awful meat. Even a lowly dog like me can be picky.”

Kugutsu found an old, shrieveled carrot in the back. He threw it into his mouth and munched on it.

“Meat is good,” he said. “Me, I like cooking. Of all the activities permitted by Chihana-sama, I like cooking the best. It’s how I best feel that I am of assistance.” Swallowing the core of a cabbage next, he smiled. “I know, I’m just a dog.”

Mayuzumi’s words came to my mind. Anger began to well up. My stomach ached, and I quickly calmed myself down. But this was all too much.

Raising someone to believe that they were less than human. Why does that woman treat people like this?

“Don’t call yourself a dog,” I said. “In my eye, you’re a normal human being.”

“No, I’m not. That’s impossible,” he said flatly, then put away a pack of milk. He turned around with a bright smile. “By the way, there’s a girls’ high school nearby, isn’t there? Young ladies look so soft, don’t they? I wish Mayuzumi-sama was as plump as them.”

He carried out a large amount of chocolate. He planned to melt them in a pot of water. Watching him prepare lunch, I let out a sigh.

Nothing I say would help. A hard shell covered his heart. No matter how much I tried, I wouldn’t be able to pierce it.

Everyone is crazy. And they don’t realize how crazy they are.

Dogs and gods, demons and foxes.

Every single one of them.

I bit the kid’s finger.

There was a fat forefinger in front of me. He tried to poke me in the eye as a prank. Now, their fingertip stopped just before my eyeball. A clear spite caressed my neck. I heard creeping laughter. The children found amusement in hurling abuse at me, kicking me, and treating me like a dog. So books were my only friends. They don’t discriminate based on birth or upbringing. I immersed myself in countless books, but one legend in particular fascinated me.

They say if you eat a demon, you become a demon.

I’m not human. I’m not human. I’m not human.

I had felt that way for a long time, and now I found the quickest way to physically surpass others.

They say that those who eat demons become demons themselves.

Above all, the meat spoken of in the legend looked very tasty.

By eating them, you gain their everything. What an efficient meal. Flesh filled with their soul must be delicious. The finest gourmet food there is.

And now I have a plump finger in front of me.

It was the perfect opportunity. How could I not eat it?

I sank my teeth against skin reminiscent of steamed bread. Canine teeth buried in the soft flesh. A hot stream of blood spurted out, and a deafening scream rang out. I put all my strength into my jaw while he hit me in the head. My jaw and the bone of his finger broke at the same time. I chewed off his finger.

Enduring the pain in my jaw, I swallowed the convulsing flesh. At that moment, I was convinced.

I’d never had a decent meal in my entire life. Fresh meat is good meat. It was the greatest and only pleasure afforded to me, someone who had spent their life crawling on the ground, suffering from feelings of inferiority. The people of the world were merely my food. I’m not human, so I can eat humans.

Human flesh is so good.

How tasty are gods, then?

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