Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 2: Heart and Heart, Part 3】
「… In other words, you need to be careful from now on, monitor your mind’s condition at all times and look out for any abnormalities, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. You probably know that yourself but let me remind you just in case: emotions and blood are connected, so if you continue being heartless for too long, there is a possibility that your soul might end up disappearing again.」
Shiki recounted all the information regarding our current situation as we were making our way through the corridors.
「You’re right, I understand that much.」
That was one of the first thoughts that popped into my head when I realized what had happened to me. Now that I am permanently in 「Professional Killer Mode」 all of my senses are sharpened to the extreme, which might prove helpful in certain situations, but if I lose my soul and emotions because of it, then it’s not worth it. Unfortunately that is the hand I’ve been dealt, and I have no choice but to make the best of it.
「Such a turn of events is unfavorable for me too. I can’t take advantage of your youthful lust if you feel no lust to begin with.」
And she taxed me with that blue eye of hers.
That would make sense, since lust is an emotion too, and a strong one at that. So under normal circumstances, if Shiki was ok with it… I mean, don’t take me wrong, Shiinamachi-senpai was still the only one for me, but I am a high-school boy at the peak of puberty, and Shiki in her yukata was… really above average, completely different from her usual uniform + lab coat attire. She knows about my feelings towards senpai, but she also claimed to be highly interested in me, perhaps even in the romantic or sexual context, and I think that’s why she’s so suggestively aggressive around me and uses sentences that are basically one innuendo stacked on top of the other. On the flipside, she often seems to perceive me as a test subject for her wicked experiments whenever my immortality is involved.
Even though she displays a duality like that around me, that is no reason for me to think badly of her or badmouth her, she’s a Vassal of Shiinamachi-senpai just like myself, and my precious friend after all. And that is why I wouldn’t want to pursue a relationship with her that would be built on something as animalistic as indulging my own lusts. I am not that kind of a shallow man.
… Heh, if I’m still able to have such complex internal monologues, then everything is all right for now.
「Everything… is still all right.」
「If you say so, Monjiro.」
Is it just me or did I sense a slight sound of worry from her voice? Then again, her being worried was not that unexpected since both senpai and I were running on a pretty short timer here. And still there she was, trying to play it cool by joking about me having my way with her due to my lustfulness… no no no, keep your wits about you, Sakuradamon Jiro! Don’t fall into such an obvious pitfall, or else you’ll forever be self-branded as the most despicable scum of all time and you’ll make senpai sad!
Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Good, that’s the spirit, me. It’s a great thing that I’m able to control the remnants of my emotions with my assassin’s stone-cold rationality, otherwise… otherwise what?! Why are you trying to find excuses for yourself?!
「Whatever internal struggle you’re going through right now, it looks like a tough nut to bust.」
「And whose fault do you think it is that I must bust this nu…. Deal with it?」
「Just so you know, I can lend you a hand every time, every day. All you have to do is ask.」
Why was the topic derailed into pervy territory again? Even without my heart, Shiki’s still able to drag me into her shenanigans as if I was a damn fiddle that she’s playing when she feels like it.
「All right, all right. Putting the issue of your handiness aside, I wonder why my heart was taken from me in the first place?」
To get the mood out of the gutter, I talked about what was on my mind right now.
「The answer to that is rather simple, Monjiro. It’s because of both Nightkin and their Vassals, everyone has a 『Gift Core』, something that fuels our Gifts, essentially.」
「Yup, core. In the case of your 『Divine Gift Thanatos』 that’s the heart. For me, the core of my 『Demonic Gift Satori』 is my golden eye.」
Shiki raised her bangs and showed me her left golden eye. As always, it took so much as a glance at I for me to feel like I was about to be swallowed into its depths. If what she was saying was true, then that golden abyss was where the power of her Gift was being held.
「It all depends on the power really, but the general rule is that the core of a Gift is a place that is associated with it or influenced by it, but in cases of complex abilities that tend to affect the entire body, much like your immortality, it’s usually the heart, an organ that has the strongest connection to both life and death.」
「Sounds reasonable enough for me.」
「That was my intention. If you possess the knowledge on how exactly a Gift works, then it’s easy to predict which part of the body acts as its core.」
In other words, Yugao-chan knew that my heart was the source of 『Thanatos’』 immortality, most probably because the Yahata clan dealt with supernatural powers since they were established, so they must possess a natural talent for sensing and analyzing powers like that.
「Tell me, how does it feel to be alive without a heart beating in your chest?」
「To say that it’s strange would be an understatement. What happens if the core of my Gift… if my heart would be destroyed?」
I had to ask that question, both for myself and Shiinamachi-senpai’s sake.
「Destruction of your heart means the destruction of your Gift Core, and in consequence, your death.」
That’s the worst possible outcome, but somewhere in the back of my mind I guess I expected the answer to be as such. At least I know that for now my heart is still intact, but the important question here is: for how long? Yugao-chan is presumably in its possession right now, but what is she going to use it for? Since she didn’t dispose of it immediately, maybe she wants to use it for negotiations? Is there something she wants to obtain or do that badly that she was ready to go to such lengths to obtain it?
「Now that you know the stakes, spill the beans already. Who’s the murderer? Asagao?」
Shiki asked those questions so suddenly that for a moment I just stood in place, not knowing how to react. But since she was with senpai, Fujisato and Kuhoh all the time then it’s to be expected that she would suspect the twin maids, the only ones who were not with us the entire time. I could not bring myself to lie to her about that, but I wasn’t denying that either. One thing that I found curious though, was the fact that Asagao was Shiki’s first choice when it came to pointing fingers at the culprits. Maybe that was because she is under the impression that Yugao-chan is too fragile to actually try to kill someone? Anyway, hiding it won’t do me any good, so telling Shiki the truth was the only option.
「No, actually. It was Yugao-chan. She lured me to that study under the guise of having some information that might’ve been helpful with our current situation.」
Shiki looked and sounded genuinely surprised to hear that.
「For someone like you, a self-proclaimed professional killer, to lower your guard and expose your back to someone like Yugao… you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention, Monjiro. Tell me everything that happened in that study. Every juicy detail.」
「Well, uhm, how should I put it… s-she, she started to take her clothes off and…」
Shiki’s face remained expressionless, but her blue eye looked at me as if I was something that she just scraped off of her shoe. Come to think of it, she did mention that if I so much as lay a finger on Yugao-chan, she’ll end me. Well, I said A already, so now I have to say everything from B to Z, even if I potentially seal my own demise with it.
「When she… when she stripped down to nothing but her underwear and began to take off even that, that’s… that’s when I turned my back against her.」
Now Shiki’s eye was showing a mixture of disgust and pity, as if it wanted to say something along the lines of 「That hopeless man whore got seduced by another woman again」. And the worst part? I couldn’t rebuke that in any way, because that was one hundred percent the truth! I really need to work on countermeasures against female seduction.
「You know what, Monjiro? I somehow expected you to come up short, but that was disappointing even for you. Is killing you really that easy? Showing you a little bit of my skin will really do the trick?」
That felt like a Natural 20 Vicious Mockery critical damage straight to my manly pride.