Story V – Part 05

Translator: Kell

Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama.

Tsutomu-san, Tsutomu-san, Tsutomu-san, Tsutomu-san, Tsutomu-san, Tsutomu-san, Tsutomu-san.

The next moment, crazy thoughts flowed directly into my brain.

I kill today too. I kill for her. I will swing my knife down and pull out women’s bowels. Mayuzumi Azaka-sama. Oh, beautiful Azaka-sama with eyes like a cat’s. I kill for Azaka-sama. I’m happy. I am very happy.

The thing in my stomach had devoured the man’s memories. Feeling nauseous, I bit my lip hard. Too much love will only destroy the other person. You think you own them and end up crushing them with your own hands.

Why don’t they understand that?

I grabbed the man’s shoulder and pulled it without hesitation. There was a dull crack, and he let out a scream. But that didn’t stop the man’s droning.

“Come on, now. Stop it,” Yuusuke said. “Have a little sympathy for the man. It’s not his fault he became like that. He gave up everything he had to serve Mayuzumi Azaka, yet he was abandoned.”

Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama, Azaka-sama.

Just listening to him made me feel like I was going crazy. I didn’t know what happened between Mayuzumi and this man, nor did I want to.

A man like this deserved to be abandoned.

Before I could say anything, Yuusuke grinned. “After all, Mayuzumi Azaka ordered him to kill her predecessor.”

What did he just say?

Yuusuke’s smile grew wider in amusement. It was similar to Mayuzumi’s smile, but his was more reminiscent of skulls. The words I had just heard ran through my mind.

Who ordered who to kill who?

“…You’re lying,” I declared.

Mayuzumi’s image popped into my mind. She was a creature that laughed at the death of others and grinned at their misfortune. She lived off tragedies, consuming them as entertainment. Nevertheless, I was sure.

She would never order anyone to kill.

“Aw, you don’t believe me? It’s true. I know, I’m an incredibly dishonest, backstabbing liar, but I’m telling the truth this time.”

“She would never do that,” I said firmly.

Yuusuke clicked his tongue. “Man, you’re stubborn. From my perspective, it’s a bit weird for someone like you to trust Mayuzumi-san. You’re like, normal times normal to the fifth power.”

He was misunderstanding something. I didn’t trust her. Mayuzumi deceived people without batting an eye. Trusting her would only lead to betrayal and suffering. Expecting anything from her was pointless. But these were two different matters.

I knew what she was like. That was all there is to it.

“…Fine. It’s okay if you don’t trust me. But why don’t you just ask him if it’s true or not?”

I turned to face the man. He was still muttering Mayuzumi-sama over and over. He didn’t seem to understand our conversation. His eyes were muddy. I doubted he had enough sense left to lie. It was worth asking him. Yet for some odd reason, a cold sweat ran down my spine.

I should not ask him. I should not know.

My mouth opened. “Did you kill her?”

The man finally looked at me. His eyes, glassy as a dead fish’s, glinted ferociously.

“Did Mayuzumi Azaka order you to kill the previous Mayuzumi Azaka?”

There was no reply. I felt deeply relieved.

But then the man’s crooked lips curved into a smile. “Yes, Azaka-sama ordered me, a pig. Mayuzumi Azaka-sama herself gave me the order. She told me to kill that shameless woman. I did what Azaka-sama told me to do. Aaaah, but why? Why did she forsake me?”

Tears streamed down his cheeks as he screamed, howled like a beast. His eyes went blank. Mayuzumi’s words played in my ears.

“I once thought that from the moment I was born, no one but me should bear the status of Azaka.”

A fake Mayuzumi Azaka.

And the one and only, real Mayuzumi Azaka.

“Mayu-san…” I breathed.

Yuusuke guffawed behind me. His heartfelt laughter was similar to the cackling of skulls.

“Poor Odagiri-san. This is what you get for believing in her. You don’t trust her. You don’t have any faith in her. Yet you still followed her because you sensed some hint of humanity from her. Must be tough.”

That wasn’t true. I didn’t feel a trace of humanity in her. She had no such thing. So why couldn’t I move?

Why was I so shocked?

Strength left my arms. I lifted my head, as if asking for help. No answer came from behind the sliding doors, from inside the room.

“All right. That’s the relationship over.”

A long shadow cast by the moonlight stretched in front of me. By the time I realized that it was Yuusuke raising his bat, it was too late.

“See ya,” he said in a bright voice.

His bat came down.


With a thud, I blacked out.

Shizuka and I became close quickly. One could say it was too quick. I didn’t know what she liked about me, but she began following me around. She would stand at the edge of my vision and give me an appealing look. She reminded me of a puppy who loved its owner. I thought I was flattering myself too much, but her gaze was so earnest and pure that it dispelled my doubts. When I looked back at her, she would turn bright-red and cast her eyes downward. She looked like a schoolgirl who hadn’t even experienced her first love.

Still, I ignored her.

Part of it was because we were in different grades, so I didn’t have much opportunity to talk to her. I didn’t want my classmates teasing us, but more than anything, I felt like she was going to run far away the moment I called out to her.

It was an ambiguous relationship, and the one who shattered the glass separating us was Asato.

“Hey, Odagiri. Did you notice?”

“Notice what?”

“Come on, now. There’s no way you haven’t noticed. I’m talking about her. Only a horrible dude would say no right now.”

Asato was a strange guy. Not only did he have otherworldly beauty, he also wore a fox mask on his head. Despite being a private school, the rules were pretty strict, but none of the teachers rebuked him for his bizarre outfit. He showed up to class only when he felt like it, and only rarely, but he always participated in every event, no matter how trivial, from sports day to spring cleaning. His attendance was so low that he would definitely be held back a year, but he didn’t seem to care. He frequently dropped by the literature club, and his name was always in the bimonthly booklet. Even a layman could tell that his works were very masterful, but they were too difficult for me to read.

The reason we became friends was because Asato came up to me.

Like a fox approaching a human, Asato casually approached me. In fact, he talked to every student in the same year as us, and for some reason, returned to me. He said that I was the only one who didn’t look at his fox mask funny. He chose me as a friend as casually as if he were drawing lottery.

“I’ve always wanted to make a friend. So anyway, nice to meet you.”

As far as I remember, Asato and I were in different classes until then. In fact, I had never seen him in the sophomore’s hallway. Then one day he was just there, sitting in a corner of the classroom. Since then, our bizarre relationship went on. At first I was wary of him, but despite his eccentric behavior, he didn’t seem to be a bad person. On the contrary, his carefree attitude was strangely comforting.

Asato was a fox.

So there was no need to be considerate. There was no need to show him concern that you would otherwise show to others. Although, sometimes being too thoughtless did cause some trouble.

“I’m gonna go get her,” he said. “I bet you’re wondering how she’s doing too. Have you seen her puppy eyes? Those are eyes that adore you wholeheartedly. It’s impossible for a simple person like you not to be moved by them. Keeping your relationship vague is not healthy.”

Asato got up. Before I could stop him, he grabbed Shizuka, who was peeking into the classroom, and dragged her over. The poor girl looked like she didn’t understand what was going on.

“There you go.”

“Huh? A-Asato-senpai… why?”

“Because you’ve been staring at Odagiri for a while now. Staying too far away is just weird.”

Shizuka blushed all the way to her ears. She quickly looked down, her whole body tense. It looked like her soul was gradually leaving her body.

“Also, someone like you,” Asato added, “will never be happy if you don’t say anything. If they don’t get the message, you’ll become twisted.”

Asato used some complicated wording, but I didn’t care at the time.

I looked at Shizuka, staring at her with her eyes full of tears.

Maybe Asato was right, and I wanted to get to know her.

“Um, Miyama-san, was it? If you don’t mind, can we have a little chat?”

She smiled brightly, a smile that seemed like a flower blooming, as if the wish she had been holding onto had finally come true.

Her tearful expression was completely gone.

Asato slowly smiled.

With only his lips lifted, he looked just like the fox mask.

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