【Episode 2 Part B: Real and Fake, Part 7】
That golden glow and those clothes, there was no mistaking it. The person standing in front of me right now was indeed Shiki.
「As you might have already guessed, Monjiro, the way out of this closed space is indeed in this classroom.」
Her emotionless tone of voice was the same as usual, but somehow every word she said just now filled me with the crushing sense of anxiety.
「How can you know that, Shiki?」
「I take it you took your chance to look at the blackboard, am I right?」
Her golden eye began to shine even more brightly. This pressure and uneasiness… Shiki was undoubtedly preparing herself for battle. I can’t believe it! We are in such a messed-up situation and she chooses now of all times to be hostile towards me?! And what about Fujisato?! Did she really…?
「Fujisato Yuika and Kuhoh Nagi have already returned to the real world. They figured out the way to do it rather fast although as you can probably see, they happened upon some… unforeseen difficulties.」
She tells me that with both hands in the pockets of her lab coat. That ominous feeling she’s emitting… Is this bloodlust?
「As for Kaguya, she is in the middle of an important ritual right now, so I would very much appreciate it if you could just stay still and not get in its way, Monjiro.」
「W-Wait just a goddamn minute Shiki! What ritual?! What the hell are you talking about?!」
All this time Shiki was behaving like her usual self. She made fun of senpai and sexually harassed me at every chance she got. And even though she showed no emotions for most of the time, I could always feel that she deeply cared about us, her friends.
But right now, I could feel nothing like that from her. She was so cold as if she became a completely different person.
….. a different person?
Could it be that…?
「You’re not Shiki, are you? You’re that 「Legendary Knight」 I heard so much about?」
When I asked her that, her body reacted. It was only for a split second, but it was enough for me to notice. The Shiki I l know is always so stoic and level-headed that it’s ridiculous, only showing her emotions when she purposefully chooses to do so, And I think she only does that in front of the people whom she knows it’s safe to allow herself to show them to, such as Shiinamachi senpai and myself. That’s why I know this is not the real her. Her reaction just now was way out of character.
「I believe there is no need for me to answer that since you figured the answer to that on your own, right?」
Oh yeah you asshole, you bet your ass I figured it out! Don’t you dare thinking that I haven’t noticed that your facial muscles twitches when I spoke the words 「Legendary Knight」!
So, did he used Shiki’s body to infiltrate our stayover party since the very beginning, or did he possessed her just recently when we opened the door to the clock tower and everybody ended up scattered all over the place?
Every fiber of my being wanted to believe that it was the latter.
「You must have really switched your heads with something else if you thought that I would just stand still after you mentioned senpai and that ritual thing. Care to enlighten me?」
I don’t want to waste any more time than it is necessary, but at the current moment I have absolutely no idea what is going on in here. I have to get at least some information out of him. What on earth is happening right now? What has senpai been dragged into again? And most importantly, is Shiki in front of me the real one or a fake? Even if she is being possessed, if she intends to hurt senpai, then I won’t have any choice but to…!
「It is a ritual to return Kaguya to her original self.」
However, the words that left Shiki’s mouth were not the ones I expected to hear.
「The True Lord. Queen of the Night. Legendary Princess Kaguya. She goes by many names, each and every one as true as the rest. And the method of achieving that is pretty simple: she has to regain the memories that have been taken from her.」
「So you want her to remember the things for three years ago?」
So it would seem that a ritual is needed for that.
「But why now of all times…?」
Why would he wait for this specific moment to do something like this? Unfortunately, it does not look like I’m going to get an answer to this specific question. If you don’t want to say it then that’s fine. I’ll get my answers one way or another.
Make senpai regain her memories, huh? In other words, return her to the state from before she had amnesia. But that would mean… now way…!
「What will happen to the current Shiinamachi-senpai once she regains her lost memories?」
「The very thing you are so obviously afraid of. The transient person she was up until now will cease to exist, and only her original self will remain.」
I couldn’t understand what she was talking about at all. But in this very moment, various images flashed before my eyes one after another. Her beautiful face, the gentle smile, all the expressions she was making when she was embarrassed and the flush of her cheeks whenever we teased her too much…
「As a Nightkin, Kaguya has lived a considerably longer life than any of you ordinary humans. Contrary to her original self, her current memories only consist of the last three years. As a result, she lost a significant portion of her personality, leaving only the scraps which formed the 「Shiinamachi Kaguya」 that you and your friends know, so it should be obvious that when her original memories will come back to her, the temporary personality she was using up until now will vanish.」
Vanish… that single word make a cold chill run all the way down my spine.
My current self… the individual known as 「Sakuradamon Jiro」 has been created with the help of my sister, Sakuradamon Aika, with an unbelievable among of hard work from both of us. Shiinamachi-senpai lost her memories three years ago, meaning that since that point up until today, she was living her life as a completely new 「Shiinamachi Kaguya-senpai」. In a sense, she was a lot like me.
I have lost my current 「self」 once already, reverting back to being an emotionless killing machine. So if senpai regains her original memories, the is a possibility that she will no longer be the person I know and love. That is to say, her current 「heart」… will die. And that is the thing I am afraid of the most.
「…Out of my way, Shiki.」
「I SAID GET OUT OF MY WAY!」
「And I said that I cannot do that.」
Shiki has taken her hands out of her pockets.
「Why? Why won’t you let me go?! You won’t back down no matter what I say?!」
「Yes, Monjiro. And if killing you is the only way to stop you, them that is exactly what I’m going to do.」
I still don’t understand if Shiki in front of me is a fake or the genuine one. But what I do know is that she is more powerful than me, and stopping her won’t be easy. I’m afraid that I will have to use my secret technique again if I can even hope for a sliver of a chance of winning.
Using 『Code Calvariae』 was out of the question for obvious reasons. What good using it would bring me if I ended up as a hollow doll right afterwards? Ideally I wanted to use the same thing I used to fight against Yorugao back at the Yatono villa, 『Code Calvariae Limited Mode: Criss Cross』. Using that still posed some risks, but they were much smaller when compared to the original technique and I could control it to some extent, but it has one insurmountable downside: last time Shiki was the one who helped me activate it and right now she is standing before me as my enemy. In other words…
「I’ll just have to break through you with my own strength!」
I took off my glasses and looked at Shiki with my naked eyes, the eyes of an assassin.
「Your resolve is admirable, Monjiro, but it will ultimately amount to nothing. After all, this whole area is already…」
「Is already covered with your threads!」
I have already assumed that this guy might be using Shiki’s powers, especially her signature 「Cutting Threads」, in which case my movements will have to be extremely careful and employ the Anti-Shiki Tactics I have developed just in case something like that happened. Honestly though, I thought that I will never be forced to use them, but unfortunately, the world is once again showing me that it has the cruelest sense of humor in the entire universe.
So, as much as I’m reluctant to do it, here goes nothing!