【Last Episode: Curtain Call and the end Part C, 3】
With my strongest 「Cutting Threads」 I have unleashed hell and destruction all around Yugao.
I have sealed the entirety of the 「Mystic Hall」 with my 「Threaded Cage」, blocking her every means of escaping. But despite that, she still tried to break through it by attacking the wires in order to unravel them to create an opening for herself even though she knew I will replace them with new ones the second the old ones will become unraveled.
I never thought the two of us would end up fighting like this, to tell you the truth.
Thanks to her stupid stunt, my family’s home is on the verge of collapsing.
「Tell me, Yugao. Do you despise the Yatonos that much?」
「N-No! If anything, I’m grateful to you for everything you did for me, Shiki-sama!」
Her distressed, half-crying face is not befitting of a warrior at all. She’s like a child who got roped into a prank that has now backfired at her and she was too scared to face the consequences of her actions properly.
But even in the heat of battle, her intuition remained exceptionally sharp.
She jumped backwards to evade the threads which I used to lash at her like a whip. If she didn’t do that, she would have been reduced to dust instead on a pile of broken tiles on the floor. And she did that all the while jumping over the threads I was spreading behind her in secret.
Dodging the threads that she could clearly see that much I was able to understand. But how was she able to avoid the one meant for exclusively for launching surprise attacks?
「Yugao, how are you able to evade all my attacks?」
Tired of playing cat and mouse, I asked her directly.
When she heard my question she looked as if she was hit in the head with something blunt, because her eyes were filled with tears and her face was all red. What is wrong with that reaction?
「I-If you’re the one asking, Shiki-sama, then I will answer you honestly. But first, allow me to ask my own question!」
「Fine, what is it? Just be quick about it.」
「Shiki-sama… what do you think of Monjiro-san?」
For a moment my fingertips twitched uncontrollably, making me completely miss the attack that was supposed to strike just a few centimeters away from her in order to punish her for whatever nonsense she was going to say.
What do I think of Monjiro…?
「What I want form him is a sex-based physical relationship. There, happy now?」
「ABABABABABABA!!!!!!!!!! That was too straight of an answer even for you, Shiki-sama!!!!!!!!」
Despite being the one who wanted to know the answer, she was utterly shocked. And more importantly, why did she wanted to know what I think about Monjiro? If nothing else, she picked my interest with that.
I am interested in experiencing the sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Of that I am absolutely sure. But… could it be that I want something more? My desire is also to confirm that as well.
To begin with, do I even have the capacity for a feeling such as love left in in me after all I’ve been through? I guess I won’t find out the answer to that particular question until I meet him again, but this time without anyone getting in our way.
「T-Then tell me, Shiki-sama. Would you… would you be able to feel whatever it is that you feel towards Monjiro-san… with someone other than him?」
I tried to consider such a possibility, but then I felt as if a bucket of ice-cold water was being poured on me, feeling my entire body with intense feeling of self-hatred and disgust.
It’s not that I can’t imagine anyone but him. I don’t want it to be anyone else than him!
I feel revolted with myself, but a small part of me is overjoyed that such an honest feeling was hiding in the deepest recesses of my heart.
「The answer to that question of yours… is no.」
「I knew it!」
So that would mean that I don’t want his body only, but the affections of his heart as well. Why did it took me this long to realize something so simple?
「You also like Monjiro-san, right, Shiki-sama?!」
It would seem so. But what difference does that make now?
First and foremost, I am Kaguya’s Vassal, her loyal Knight. It is my duty to help her achieve her goal of returning to the original world with all the Gifts she brought to this mortal plane. Even if it means leaving this world behind to go with her.
And yet Yugao was spitting such nonsense right in my face. Me liking him?
「What makes you… think that?!」
In order not to allow those foolish thoughts to overcome me, I continued to slash away at her with my threads. They had no cutting force in them, because killing or hurting her was not my intention. All I wanted to do was to immobilize her in one place. But even so, Yugao still had her body cut here and there to the close calls her evasive maneuvers were.
But that farce of hers could only last so long.
Finally my threads wrap around her body.
「Target capture complete.」
For someone who knew nothing of how battle worked, she managed to put a surprising amount of resistance… no, it’s not like that at all. It’s not that she managed to evade me for so long due to her own skill. I was the one at fault here. Normally, if I remained perfectly calm I would have ended her prancing around in a fraction of a second, but her words about me supposedly liking Monjiro must’ve affected my thinking and decision making processes without me even realizing it.
「Now talk, Yugao. You’re the diversion, right?」
「Ugh, y-yeah, that’s right.」
Normally I would have eliminated her here and there, but for her I’m going to make an exception.
「My role was to lure you away from the rest, Shiki-sama.」
「Lure me away?」
「Yes. I wanted to take my chance at convincing you… to return to your old self, who could continue to smile and be happy together with Monjiro-san and Shiinamachi-san…」
I don’t know why, but my fingertips moved on their own.
With a tearing sound, Yugao’s maid uniform was torn to pieces.
I really did not intend to do this, but my body reacted instinctively, outside of my own control.
「Don’t you want to go back, Shiki-sama? To your friends?! To Monjiro-san’s side?!」
Just hearing his name made me feel intense pain in my chest.
「….Now I understand. Your job was not to defeat me in combat, but to try and sweet talk me into going back!」
And therein lies my internal conflict.
I want to return to how things were. I want to get my ordinary everyday life back.
But I am Kaguya’s Knight. Born and raised by the Yatono family, serving my Lord is the only way of life that I know!
「Your efforts were admirable, I’ll give you that. But I’m afraid I still need to reject them.」
「UGH!!! WHY WON’T YOU GET A CLUE, SHIKI-SAMA!!!! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SUCH AN IDIOT NOW OF ALL TIMES?!!!!!!」
She was shouting with a trembling voice, and when I looked back at her face, she was crying.
Her tears continued to flow and showed no sign of stopping.
「I, I KNOW MORE ABOUT MONJIRO-SAN’S HEART THAN YOU EVER WILL! NOW I AM MUCH CLOSER TO HIM THAN YOU, EVEN THOUGH YOU KNOW HIM LONGER THAN ME! I LOVE HIM, AND I’M NOT AFRAID TO SAY IT! SO IF YOU FEEL THE SAME TOWARDS HIM, YOU SHOULD BE FACING MY FEELINGS HEAD ON WITH YOUR OWN! BUT YOU REFUSE TO DO EVEN SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS THAT, YOU COWARD!!!」
Her every word was like a knife that was piercing and twisting itself in my chest.
…Yes, I do like Monjiro. The emotion I feel towards him is most probably love. If only I could continue to live alongside him and that troubled, awkward smile…
No matter how I tried to approach it, it seems that I really am smitten with him. And only now have I realized that my actions up to this point made my precious Yugao, a timid and shy girl cry and scream so much.
What… what should I do?
「You still refuse to face me, huh? Fine then. If that’s how you want to play this game, then let’s up the stakes with a bet!」
Even though she was immobilized by my threads, she continued to struggle to break herself free as she kept looking me in the eyes.
「If I beat you, you will confess your feelings to Monjiro-san! Then, and only then you and I will finally be on equal footing!」
And now she’s setting some outrageous conditions as she sees fit. To say that I was surprised beyond belief was like not saying anything at all.
And yet Yugao wasn’t finished. With her face red from all the crying, she continued to passionately scream her demands at me.
「And if I lose, you’ll be free to do whatever you want! Come back to us, leave or go with Kaguya to wherever it is she is apparently going, I don’t care! Monjiro-san will surely be sad and hurt but at the very least I’ll be there for him to heal his heart and to be the lover he deserves and who you are too afraid to become!」
That last part hurt me the most, as if she just stabbed a huge hole in the place where my heart should be.
Why is she so insistent on this. I mean, winning would be laughably easy for me. All I have to do is to tighten my threads around Yugao until she will no longer be able to move. It might hurt her, but the least I can do for her is to make sure that she will have no scars on her.
Do that and it will all be over in a flash. I will go back to Kaguya, help her finish the ritual and act like none of it ever happened….
But my fingers refused to move. No matter how hard I tried to force them to make that one, simple movement that would bring all of this to a close…
If I win, I will never be able to talk with Monjiro again… share my thoughts with him again… tease him again…
So, just this once… is it really all right for me to be this selfish?
I couldn’t stop my voice from shaking.
「What am I… supposed to do?」
The snow that began to fall through the destroyed ceiling slowly melted on my face, mixing with the tears which began to fall from my eyes.