Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 2: Heart and Heart, Part 7】
Going after Yugao-chan turned out not to be as hard as I thought it would be, and ironically, I had Yugao-chan herself to thank for that.
As a result of our bathroom encounter, the whole floor was turned into a wet mess, and due to that, her feet also got wet when she was fleeing from Shiki and me. So now, all I had to do to find where she ran off to was to follow the wet footprints on the dry floor of the mansion’s hallways.
Of course, the bathroom was still filled with a number of puppets, but now that Shiki figured out how they were operating, she should have no trouble with dispatching them with her wires, I had absolute confidence in that. She might be acting in a goofy, perverted manner around me, but when it came to fighting, she was a formidable fighter with unmatched mind, so thinking she’d be unable to handle small fries like that would’ve been extremely rude of me.
Going back to my current task, the lack of any kind of traps aimed at slowing me down was very concerning to me. There was also a possibility that now that she’s been compromised, Yugao-chan might’ve set her sights on Shiinamachi-senpai, but Fujisato and Kuhoh were guarding her, so even if she was attacked, I’m sure those two will be able to protect her.
That’s right, Jiro. Trust that your friends and focus on the goal task at hand. Do what only you can do right now.
After a while the trail of Yugao-chan’s footprints led me to one of the rooms that I’ve yet to visit. Could it be her own room? Did she decide to stop running and confront me head on?
Standing in front of the door, I contemplated whether or not I should try knocking on them, and then a certain thought occurred to me.
I was murdered by her, and she is my murderer, those are the facts. In light of that, what should I say to her when I see her? And how is she going to react now that the shock she was probably under in the bathroom when she saw that I was alive and well has probably subsided? Well, no use overthinking that. For now I’ll just casually knock on the door, see what happens, and adjust my actions on the fly.
I knocked on the door just like I always do, without any prejudice.
「Please, Monjiro-san, come in.」
That feeble, scared voice certainly belonged to Yugao-chan. Yet despite that, I maintained the state of heightened alertness as I entered my current murderer’s lair.
「Pardon the intrusion.」
When I entered and closed the door behind me, I found myself in the room that was exactly the same as the one me and the others were staying in. All the lights were turned off, and Yugao-chan just stood there in the middle of the room with her hands joined together in front of her skirt. All I could sense from her was her usual timid, but friendly atmosphere, void of any hostile intentions.
Maybe it was because my 「Core」 was taken from me, but my head was not getting heavy, and my thoughts remained razor sharp. Good. That way I’ll be able to talk to her properly, without anything interfering.
「Were you the one controlling those dolls in the bathroom?」
「Yes, I was the one operating them.」
Her voice was calm, but it was clear as day she was forcing herself to keep it that way. Just what was going on inside her heart? Regrettably, that was still something that I was unable to deduce on my own.
「I knew Shiki-sama will be able to figure out that I would use the bathroom to clean your heart up, so I decided to make an ambush there. I knew it won’t be enough to stop her, but I hoped they’d at least keep you occupied until the end of the day, but apparently it was not meant to be like that.」
「I guess so.」
I don’t know how long she was planning that particular strategy, but if she knew she’d be going against Shiki, it must’ve taken an enormous amount of simulations and preparations.
「I was surprised when you killed me, you know? You didn’t strike me as the type who could actually muster the courage to do such a thing.」
How strange. Just a moment ago I was wondering what I should say to her or how to continue the conversation, and yet the words naturally left my mouth on their own, as if I was just chatting with a good friend.
「And I didn’t think you’d be so calm after experiencing such a thing. Once again, you’re so amazing, Monjiro-san.」
「There’s nothing amazing about it. You just get used to it, that’s all. Oh, but that little sneaky you pulled on me with taking my heart? Brilliant move, if only a little rude. Do you have any idea how confusing it is to go back from the dead, thinking you can just go back to doing your own thing, only to discover that a very important part of you has been cut out of your chest?」
「I imagine that must’ve been… quite the experience?」
Because of the dim light, I was unable to see Yugao-chan’s face clearly, and her voice was not enough to determine the state she currently was in. She might’ve been crying, or she might’ve just stood there with a cold, condescending gaze. Whatever the case might be, I think that the face that suits her the most was her flushed face when her older sister was teasing her. It looked so natural on her that it was almost… nostalgic.
「It was an experience alright, and the one that I don’t want to go through ever again. Now, can you tell me why you killed me in the first place?」
「The reason for it is very simple, actually. At this rate, if your heart stops, if your 「Core」 loses its power, all that is left would be the Gift that the 「Core」 contained. I killed you in order to get my hands on your Gift.」
「But my Gift is useless without my Lord, without Shiinamachi-senpai.」
「You’re not wrong, but I might’ve stated my intentions in a confusing manner, so allow me to rephrase them: after your complete death, I would’ve used your 「Gift Core」 to turn myself into Shiinamachi Kaguya-sama’s Knight.」
Could such a thing really be possible? I only learned about Nightkin and their Vassals recently, so compared to Yugao-chan, my knowledge of the subject was probably severely lacking. Now that I think about it, when we were fighting with Kuhoh and Fujisato, she did something that sounded just like what Yugao-chan said.
Fujisato bestowed her 『Divine Gift Chronos』 to Kuhoh, and then took it back from her like it was nothing. So basically she just took the 「Gift Core」 from Kuhoh and placed it inside herself again? And now Yugao-chan wanted to do the same with my Core?
「Also, you might want to know that it was not Shiki-sama who told me that your Gift is 「Immortality」. I did my own homework on that topic. I learned that the 『Divine Gift Thanatos』 belonged to Shiinamachi Kaguya-sama, and that me especially wary of her. It was quite obvious that whomever she’d chose to pass that Gift onto would become her most important servant, the most valuable asset to the most atrocious of Lords.」
I couldn’t believe that the gentle Yugao-chan just called Shiinamachi-senpai atrocious! To me, she was not someone who lusted for power, but rather a kind, gentle individual who always went ahead with a gentle smile on her face, no matter how hard or thorny the path was.
However, I can’t say that I couldn’t understand where Yugao-chan was going with her argumentation. Everyone and everything is afraid of death, and will do literally everything to avoid it.
「That is why both the Yahata and Yatono families were closely observing Kaguya-sama to determine to what kind of individual will she bestow such great power… and whether or not they should claim that power for their own gains.」
Having an immortal Knight to protect his Lord was undoubtedly an ideal scenario for any Nightkin, and it would stand to reason that the one who obtained such power would be resented by the others, both the Lord and the Knight alike. And it just so happened that this time, senpai and I were those Lord and Knight.
Looking at it objectively, senpai did have powerful Knights at her side. I am an immortal assassin trained in the art of killing from a young age, and on top of that the power of my clan, a power to turn myself into a perfect killing machine, is sealed within my right shoulder, and there is Shiki, someone who might be called a genius when it came to both knowledge and analytical thinking. Of course, we’re not invincible by any measure. Shiki cannot overuse her 「Satori」 due to the risk of permanent damage to her senses, and as for me, I believe I’ve already explained it enough times. If I use the power sealed in my right arm, it’s over for me, my soul will be gone, and there’ll be no coming back, but if all goes well, I won’t be forced to use it this time.
However, there was still one big problem that I had to deal with, namely…