Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 3: Tension and intention, Part 6】
「I made plans and countermeasures for every possibility. For Fujisato Yuika betraying us when she saw fit to continue onward with her own story. For Kuhoh Nagi trying to kill us again. I even had a plan for you, just in case you’d decide to turn your back on Kaguya, but I’m honestly glad that I won’t have to use it, now or ever. I truly am.」
This time, her usual ominous words said in expressionless tone contained just a slight hint of relief when she was talking about me.
「So I hope you understand that it stands to reason…」
But her next sentence was like a bucket of cold water combined with a punch to the gut, King Crimson style.
「…for me to anticipate that Yahata Asagao and Yahata Yugao could also be our enemies. I have a plan for them as well, just like with everyone else.」
She buried her face in my chest so that I couldn’t see it.
「But I also hoped that I won’t have to use it against them. I didn’t want to hurt them and look what they did.」
So it was just as I thought. Knowing that made me feel just a little bit at ease.
「You want to reconcile with them, don’t you? You want the three of you to be family again?」
「You have no idea how much. Back when we were kids, those two were the only ones who were treating me with a true, gentle kindness, not because I was a daughter of the Yatono family, but because they liked me for who I was as a person. Asagao was always bright and hyperactive, and Yugao was always a gentle, timid scaredy-cat, always clinging to her older sister’s skirt. They were my precious friends, and I was their precious friend.」
It was rare for Shiki to make such an intimate confession, to put herself in such a vulnerable position, so I had to make sure to listen carefully to every last word she had to say.
「Four years. We haven’t seen each other for that long… but I looked forward to our reunion… so very much…!」
「… I see.」
She didn’t want to suspect someone so important to her. And taking advantage of that, Yugao-chan killed me. And together with Asagao, they started this whole barrier business. And since Shiki knew about it, she tried to act calm and indifferent as she always does, but she must’ve been enduring the suffering of knowing that in silent solitude. That’s why she was probably on the constant lookout ever since she found my dead body in that study earlier. And right now, here we are, with me hugging her while I carry her like a princess when she’s at her most vulnerable. If I still had my heart in my chest, it would’ve been pounding furiously right now.
「You still have a chance to make that happy reunion a reality.」
「What are you…?」
「Because I don’t think senpai would think of the two of them as her enemies, actually.」
Then I gently patted Shiki’s back in a 「everything’s going to be all right」 fashion. I really believed what I said just now. True, Yugao=chan and Asagao might’ve plotted to kill senpai, but she’s not a person who would have hated them and wanted to eliminate them without listening to the reasoning behind their actions so that she could understand them to only then make a proper judgement.
「…… I guess you’re right. After all, you can’t die even when you’re killed, so dying is not much of a problem for you.」
「Although this time it might be, considering the circumstances.」
I think that by obtaining the power of immortality, I might have started to take it for granted, and that in turn made me think bout life as less precious than it actually is. Basically, I began to treat death too lightly, knowing that I would come back to life anyway.
「And we can’t have that no matter what. Being immortal is practically a part of your identity now, and a quality that I value very much. A Guinea pig that will not die no matter what you do to it is the best kind of Guinea pig, after all.」
Normally I would be pretty mad at her for making such a joke, but looking at the situation we were in now, all I could do was smile and get along with it. And when I looked at Shiki, a something akin to a faint smile rose on her face as well.
「But I think that we all know that there is something else that keeps you alive.」
「Something other than immortality? What is it?」
「The burning desire to sexually harass me.」
Those were the words of the usual Shiki I knew, the ones that would usually provoke a violent reaction out of me, but now they just got a slight blush out of me.
「As I thought, getting your heart back is a necessity. Without your comical overreactions teasing you is not as fun as it used to be.」
「I want to comment on them properly, but we’ll save that for later. For now, let me say this: Took the words right out of my mouth. 」
When I get my heart back, when I’ll be able to react to her words properly, then I’ll be sure to give her an earful for them.
I fixed Shiki’s position in case she was uncomfortable and strengthened my embrace just a little to ensure she was safely nestled in my arms.
「Nnnnn…. Don’t… don’t do that so suddenly.」
「Ah, I’m sorry. Are you all right, does it hurt?」
「Ask me that again when we get to share a special night together, all right?」
Special night? Why would I need a special occasion to ask a question as simple as that?
When I was pondering about what exactly did she meant by that, my body was suddenly shaken rather strongly.
「Tch, looks like we just can’t catch a break, can we?」
When I looked up, I saw that we were almost at the door to the courtyard. However, no matter how hard I looked, the doorknob was nowhere to be found.
「Monjiro, a kick!」
「As I thought!」
I tensed all the muscles in my body and delivered a spinning kick at the door.
My attack was powerful enough to it out of its hinges, opening a further path for us. As soon as we went past it and finally entered the hallway area, my body was attacked by a sudden sense of reversal, as the gravity was apparently going through a shift again. I braced myself for a sudden impact, but thankfully, this time we landed on a solid ground.
「Looks like the gravity is fine here in the hallways on the ground floor.」
It’s great that we don’t have to worry about gravity for now, but it was still too early for us to openly relax. Currently we were in a hallway branching from the entrance hall, but the place we were heading towards, the courtyard, was still further ahead. We should be able to reach it soon, unless…
「Oh are you f*cking me right now?! You are, are you?!」
「Crudely said, but accurate. There is indeed quite a lot of them.」
The whole area was filled with doll-looking monsters that formed an insurmountable wall in front of us. There was so many of them that there was no way for us to run past them in any way. Our only remaining option was to…
「Looks like it can’t be helped. Monjiro, looks like you’ll need to strut your stuff a bit as well.」
Shiki nimbly slipped away from my arms and crossed her hands in front of her face. From her fingertips, numerous threads were already sprawling forward.
「Understood. Can I cut them normally, or is there something that I should be aware of?」
「Let’s see… Since they’re structured like dolls, just randomly slashing at them would be a fool’s errand. The best course of action would be dismembering them limb from limb or crushing their bodies altogether so they can’t move anymore. Oh, and do not, under any circumstances let them surround you.」
The length of the knife I was holding worried me a little, as it was somewhat shorter than the ones I was accustomed to using, but I guess I’ll just have to switch my technique a little to compensate for that. Besides, I don’t even know if my attacks are going to be any good against such otherworldly monstrosities, but since Kuhoh killed them earlier, then I guess I should also be able to pull it off. But before we get to that, there’s one thing that I need Shiki to know.
「I’m really glad that I met you. Before I met you and senpai, I was no different pretty much the same as I am now without my heart, or perhaps even worse. But now, thanks to you and Shiinamachi-senpai every day I spend with you filled my chest with warm emotions, and for that, especially you have my thanks.」
Once the battle starts I probably wouldn’t have been able to say all that, so I just used that chance to get that off my chest.
Shiki just stood there with a slight blush on her face and… is it just me, or is she trying not to look me in the eyes?!
「I didn’t do anything worth thanking me for. I just did that because you looked like teasing you would be entertaining fun, not to mention using you as material for my experiments… that’s all, nothing else to it. Nothing… at all…」
「Ah, I see, I under….. Say WHAAAAA?!」
So you want to tell me all that sexual harassment of hers was just so that she could entertain herself?! Surely that can’t be the case here… but what if… what if it’s really that, and I was just the one who was reading too much into it because of my lack of common sense and social impairment?! And why am I fretting so much about it anyway?! Is it because my emotions are slowly coming back to me? Or maybe it’s because it’s a Shiki related problem?
「See, that’s what I’m talking about. Your reactions are so funny to watch that I just can’t help myself.」
Well I’m glad that you’re happy, but why do you have to have your fun at my expense all the time?! And wait, so are you serious, or are you not?! Which is it, damn it?!
「You want to know if I’m serious about you with my teasing or not, right?」
「Yes I do, and refrain from reading my mind please!」
「If you really want to know, then ask me about it after the battle is over. I promise we’ll have a nice long chat about it.」
Ahhh, I just don’t know anymore! But, be that as it may, I’m thankful to her for being my friend all the same. That alone will never change.
Thanking her in my mind like that, I held the knife in reverse.
「I will definitely do that. Tell me, do these things have any will of their own at all? Because they are just staying there without doing anything.」
「Since they are the inhabitants of another world there are still many unknown factors surrounding them, but they apparently don’t. Supposedly it has something to do with the parasitic microorganisms that are present in the air of their world. They live inside their bodies, accelerating its natural healing capabilities, but eroding their minds in the process, ridding it of every emotion except basic instincts.」
「So what you want to say is, that they do not feel fear of hesitation?」
「Nothing, essentially. Knowing that, feel free go all-out on them with no reservations.」
I confirmed that I held the knife firmly in my hand and rushed into the mass of darkness in front of me at full speed.