【Last Episode: Curtain Call and the end Part B, 17】
When I heard that thunderous roar, I immediately knew that Yugao-chan managed to pull her task off successfully. Well, she had my 『Perseus』 with her so such a result was to be expected. With her mission now completed, it is highly unlikely that any Lord or Knight would be paying attention to the duel between Monjiro and his mom.
Before the Ritual begins, create a commotion that would put the ritual itself in jeopardy. That was the first operation we had to carry out here. And since Shiki-chan, Yuto-san and Princess Kaguya knew about the special quality of Yugao-chan’s blood, there was no way in hell any of them could have anticipated that we will assign such an important task to someone who attracts male Knights to herself better than promotions and discounts on Black Friday.
「Fujisato-san, is this really okay for me to take it?!」
That was her reaction when I gave her the ring which contained 『Perseus』 in it. She just couldn’t believe her eyes and continued to stare at it with her jaw literally dropped to the floor for a good minute or two and honestly I can’t blame her for it. After all, she already possesses Kaguya’s 『Angelic Gift Azrael』 and the established canon is that one Knight can only possess one Gift, so she probably wasn’t even putting using a second one under consideration. Even if it was normally possible to have more than one at the same time, Yugao-chan is a total newbie in combat, it wouldn’t really change much. At least that was my prediction.
That’s why none of our three Big Baddies this time: Kaguya, Shiki-chan and Yuuto-san didn’t pay too much attention to her disappearance. And now as a result of that, a large portion of the mansion should be… pretty roughed up, to put it mildly. If I wasn’t sitting right next to Kaguya, I would probably be laughing my sides out, but I had to keep up appearances at least for a while longer.
Not even waiting for her wounds to be tended to and with the bleeding stopped only halfway, Shiki-chan went off into the mansion without saying so much as a single word. But when she walked past Monjiro, I saw something. It was only for a brief moment, but when she glanced towards him, she looked like she was about to cry. And Monjiro looked exactly the same: as if his world was about to end.
So news flash for those of you who didn’t caught on: Monjiro didn’t hurt Shiki because he wanted to do it. He did it because he had to. But I guess that served as a nice eye opener for both of them. Somebody once told me that one of the many ways to communicate your feelings to the other person was through an honest exchange of blows and wounds. And since Monjiro made the decision to hurt Shiki himself then she probably witnessed the regret and guilt that raged inside of him from the best seat possible. But if you want my personal opinion, then I shall say this: Monjiro more than proved his intentions and determination to her. She might need some time to come to terms with them, but I believe that after we finish our business here all it will take for their relationship to return to how it used to be will be a healthy shouting match, a nice dosage of face slapping and maybe some hateful/apology sex… or am I getting too far with my delusions? Either way, now that Shiki-chan removed herself from the stage in order to have a chat with Yugao, the only enemy that needed to be taken care of now is the unprotected Kaguya.
「Did you have anything to do with it, Suzuka?」
Despite the rather chaos that was unfolding around her, Kaguya remained perfectly calm. She didn’t flinch one bit even though she could clearly see the smoke that began to rise from certain parts of the mansion.
「I told you already, that’s not what I go by now. Yuika. Fujisato Yuika. I know it’s probably a pain, but do please try to remember it, Lady Kaguya.」
「I guess you’re right. Besides, that name suits you better than its original owner anyway.」
From the tone of her voice and the smile on her face it was apparent that everything that happened around her was not that big of a deal to her. The mansion being destroyed, the 「Legendary Knight」 being defeated, her friend getting hurt… throughout all of those things her face remained perfectly calm.
Could it be tha she expected everything to unfold the way it did and that’s why she didn’t do anything when her strongest Knight was struck down and her closest retainer left her side?
What is going on in here, really? What does Kaguya truly aim to achieve here?
The corners of her mouth rose a little and she let out a small chuckle.
「Also, I really have to praise you for crafting such an elaborate scheme. I admit, you outsmarted me there. I truly wasn’t expecting that you will use one of my own Knights to sabotage the ritual while everyone’s eyes were focused on the fight between Jiro-san and Yuuto-san. To think That Yugao would finally muster the courage to do something so bold of her own volition, ufufu. So, which one of your Gifts have you bestowed upon her? Oh, no, wait, allow me to take a guess, all right?」
And she started to fit the pieces of the puzzle perfectly.
「Something that would allow her to cause an explosion… was it 『Heroic Gift Perseus』? It must be, there is no other option. I see, I see. Indeed, if it’s the Heroic Gift were talking about, then I guess even someone who already possesses one Gift would be able to use another one, since the Heroic ones are not engraved directly on the user’s soul. And with 『Perseus’s』 drastic boost in physical strength even someone as amateurish in the art of combat as that child should be able to create a big enough commotion. Those are my thoughts on the matter. So how did I do?」
Bullseye on every account. Okay Yuika, play it cool now, just laugh it off as you always do.
「Ahahaha, as expected of you, Lady Kaguya. You’re always so perceptive!」
「One Gift for Sakuradamon Jiro. One for Yahata Yugao, and one for Kuhoh Nagi. That would mean that you’re left with only one Gift yourself. Is that supposed to be kind of gamble, or just a very risky strategy?」
「When you put it that way, I guess I’d rather call it a gamble than a strategy. I decided to bet everything I have on Monjiro-kun’s pure, simplistic wish.」
「Ara ara, and what would that be?」
I smiled at her before I replied.
「A happy ending where we all come back home. Together. All seven of us.」
When she heard that, she raised her brows slightly.
「Seven? You mean he includes me in that calculation as well?」
「Well duh. I mean, Princess Kaguya and Monjiro-kun’s beloved 「Shiinamachi-senpai」 are basically one and the same. For me at least.」
「……………..fufu, you really are an interesting girl, Suzuka.」
And with that she returned to observing Monjiro-kun and Yuuto-san.
Even after receiving such a serious wound, she could still stand and fight. Moreover, as soon as that explosion occurred, her attitude changed completely. Her attacks became fiercer and more aggressive, to the point where Monjiro-kun’s body was being torn all over despite her having no knife in her hands. Despite that, Monjiro-kun was constantly switching between defense and offense, evading as many of his mother’s attacks as he could and countering with his own whenever he had the chance. In his case, he was using a variety of killer techniques and tools such as throwing knives, blades hidden in shoes and darts hidden in his gloves. They were going back and forth between defending and attacking, with no one being able to land a truly decisive blow so far.
But the difference in their abilities was painfully obvious.
Monjiro-kun swung his knife vigorously with blinding speed… and Yuuto-san took the hit directly without even bothering to avoid it.
Blood slowly drip from the hand she used to stop Monjiro’s weapon. At first I thought it was strange of her to do something like that. After all, if she didn’t took that hit with her hand, she would have ended with just a scratched cheek at worst, so why…?
Ah, I see now. It was a part of her plan all along.
She used the fact that they were now locked in place to attack Monjiro-kun’s knife holding arm from below, targeting his elbow. When his whole joint bend in the direction it was definitely not supposed to bend, his fingers were unable to hold on to the knife and let go of it.
「Your attack patterns are all so monotonous that I don’t even have to focus to read them like an open book. All I have to do is wait for an occasion to present itself and take advantage of it, just like I did now.」
But before the falling knife could reach the floor with a clang, Monjiro-kun dashed towards it with his other hand… only to be stopped by Yuuto-san’s two fingers.
I had no doubts that Monjiro-kun’s speed and reaction timing were all superb, but it looks like Yuuto-san was still able to go even beyond that.
「Monjiro, you said that my Gift won’t work on you anymore, right? You said that yourself with such cockiness.」
She approached him slowly like a predator, all the while spinning the knife in her hand. When she was just one step away from him, she stopped. Now they were both within the other person’s arm’s reach.
「That was a truly fascinating misconception on your part. Do you remember what is my 『Doppelganger’s』 ability? It alters the sensory perception of those around me. It’s true that using it for shapeshifting is my favorite way of utilizing it but changing one’s looks is not the only way it can be applied to battle situations. Tell me, Monjiro, does the term 「Absolute Hypnosis」 ring any bells to you? (TL NOTE: Bleach’s 「Number One」 stop’s playing in the background)」
Yuuto-san asked, pointing the knife straight at Monjiro-kun’s chest.
I looked at Kaguya for explanations, and she was more than happy to oblige.
「My 『Doppelganger』 is a Gift that can completely manipulate all of the five senses: sight, hearing, speech, smell and touch. It’s not that it stopped working on Monjiro after he witnessed it a month ago like he thought. All this time, he never really stopped being under its influence.」
「Wow, talk about being overpowered.」
『Demonic Gift Doppelganger』.
Looking at your opponent was useless, because he will take the appearance of someone you know or love, taking advantage of your hesitation. Listening to the sounds your opponent makes was useless, because he could no longer be in the lace where the sound was coming from. Relying on the smell was useless, because she the opponent can merge it with that of your surroundings. Trying to judge the opponents fatigue by their breath was useless, because its rhythm and frequency might be altered at will. Relying on the sense of touch was useless, because when you thought you were touching the genuine article, you were actually grasping at a misty afterimage.
That has to be one of the most troublesome Gifts I have ever encountered.
So what she means to say is that when Monjiro declared that 「Your Gift won’t work on me anymore」 he was already… no, he was still under its influence.
「All I had to do was to manipulate your senses little by little so that you wouldn’t realize what was going on. The length of my arm, the timing of my breathing, signs of fatigue, all of those were fabricated.」
His arm is broken from the elbow and below and he is being held at the business end of a knife. No matter how you’d look at it, his situation is hopelessly desperate. However…
It was all within the scope of our expectations.
「I know, mother.」
「Huh? Know what?」
At that time, Monjiro-kun…
He gently hugged his mother’s petite body.
「The hell are you…?!」
「I know that this sensation might be a lie. I know that the mother I’m doing this with might not be real. But that does not matter to me. Because what I’m doing right now, what I feel right now… to me, that is my reality.」
Looking at that scene from the side I smiled a little.
Everything went exactly like we planned.
「I believe that’s a check, Lady Kaguya.」
Without standing from my seat, I threw a large knife straight at the center of Yuuto-san’s back.
As to where it came from, it was the first knife that Nagi-chan threw, 「an assassin’s knife long enough to penetrate two targets at the same time」.
The blade emerged form Yuuto-san’s chest and pierced Monjiro-kun’s body as well, connecting the two of them.
「I was intending… to beat you this way… from the very beginning… *Cough!* *Hack!*…」
「But how… I made sure that you were completely under my spell… that your senses were all sealed by my power…!」
Both parent and child were now embracing one another while blood continued to ooze out of their mouths, brought together by a cold piece of metal between their chests.
「From the very beginning, Monjiro-kun’s cognition of you was already altered, Yuuto-san.」
When the hateful eyes of everyone focused on me, I stood up and walked to the middle of the stage so that everybody could see me clearly.
「You said it yourself: your 『Demonic Gift Doppelganger』 alters the sensory perception of those around you, but let me ask you this? What would happen if your target was a puppet controlled by someone else?」
Finally realizing what I was talking about, Yuuto-san let out a surprised voice. The response from all the other Lords and their Knights was even more noisy and irritating.
「It pains me to say it but she’s telling the truth.」
Kaguya admitted with a bitter smile.
I then spun around and treated everyone to a theatrically overexaggerated bow.
「My 『Demonic Gift Gorgon』 allows me to make everyone whom I have come into eye contact with obey my every command. That’s right, you guessed it! Monjiro-kun was under the influence of my Gift even before we arrived here!」
「! ! ! ! ! ! ! !」
Even if his cognition was to be manipulated, there wouldn’t be any problems as long as my own perception of Yuuto-san remained unchanged. After all, all this time he wasn’t really fighting as 「Sakuradamon Jiro」, but rather as my cute love slave puppet whom I have ordered to talk and act in the same way as 「Sakuradamon Jiro」 would.
「So that’s why… you seemed to be more reliable than… usual…」
「That’s your… opinion, mother. Wanna… take this outside to…」
And then the two of them fell to the ground as the pools of their own blood began to grow under them.
A draw that was simultaneously our victory.
Even though we were weaker than her, we managed to defeat Sakuradamon Yuuto, the 「Legendary Knight」 who was supposed to the strongest Vassal in Nightkin history. This is going to look quite nicely on our achievement list.
「Now then, everyone! The 「Legendary Knight」 is no more, and the victory belongs to me, the Lovely 「Lord Killer」 and her wonderful Knights! With that said, I believe the celebration is in order, and what better way to celebrate it than by slaughtering each and every one of you? Let the killing festival begin! 」
When I shouted that out loud, Nagi-chan jumped off from the roof with her trusty knife in hand and began massacring every Lord and Knight she could get her hands on.
You’d think that something like that was no longer possible, but the courtyard erupted into an even bigger panic than before.
Man, this evening is suddenly shaping up to be the best day of my entire career! If all goes well, I will be eating delicious food and drinking the best drinks while gazing at the stage of carnage form the mountain of corpses of my enemies as my 「Story」 will be concluded!
Ahh, what a time to be alive!