【Last Episode: Curtain Call and the end Part C, 9】
In response to her sudden confession, my chest… my heart… it felt as if they were being squeezed by a vice.
The eyes which were looking at me were not lying. And upon closer look, her lips were also slightly shaking.
She was telling the truth, from the bottom of her heart. Even with my consciousness being quieted down for the purpose of maximizing my combat efficiency, her words have reached me.
In other words, I…
「Thank you for telling me that, Shiki. When all of this will be over, I will make sure to give you my answer. I swear upon my name, the identity of Sakuradamon Jiro.」
「Yes, and I’ll be waiting to hear your reply. So now that I have finally said it, I have all the courage I need.」
Suddenly Shiki turned her face away from me. She probably did so hide how embarrassed she was, because even when she stopped facing me I could still see that the tips of her ears were bright red, which made me extremely happy. Looks like she finally decided to be completely honest with herself.
「We have nothing to be afraid of anymore! We can go all out, Nagi-chan!」
「Certainly, it would seem that the time of waiting patiently on the sidelines is over.」
「Okay, that’s settled then! When this battle is over I’m proposing as well!」
「Why not do it now? That way we’ll be on the same position as Yatono Shiki.」
「We know, Monjiro-kun. Leave the rest to us!」
「We just have to overcome this crisis by working together.」
「Yeah, but don’t you think that things are getting a bit… overgrown? Get it? Cause we’re in the garden?」
「This is a courtyard, not a garden Fujisato. There’s too little plants in here for this joke to be valid, especially when you turned the place into a pool of blood and guts. Also, you suck at dad jokes.」
Not to mention that she erected a number of death flags through her exchange with Kuhoh, but she also failed that joke.
「Way to go, Monjiro-kun! You know you’re my go-to straight man, right?」
Shiki just stayed silent throughout this whole exchange and approached me when we finished.
「I know I only just said it, but I’m going to say it again.」
And she grasped my hand tightly.
「I love you, so please, come back safely.」
Her fingers, although delicate, perfectly conveyed the strength of her words, and her belief that I will keep my promise to her.
「Sure thing! This time death is not an option.」
I also squeezed her hand to show my seriousness. She then closed her eyes and made a singular, deep breath before saying…
「All right then, off you go!」
But before I was able to make my move, Fujisato had to make one last sarcastic remark.
「Never knew you were such a player, Monjiro-kun. Having both Yugao-chan and Shiki confess to you, maybe I should think of some method of whipping you into shape to avoid you cheating on me? I am your new Lord after all.」
「Please don’t do that. It’s not like I am some harem protagonist or something, you know?」
「Sure, but I’ll be sure to tease you about it later anyway.」
And while still holding Shiki’s hand, I point the other one at Kaguya.
「I’m sorry, but we’ll be bringing Shiinamachi-senpai back home with us, whether you like it or not.」
To support my claim, everyone stood beside me, fearless smile on their faces.
「So I take it you finished saying your goodbyes, Jiro? Or will you make wait even longer?」
She snickered and smiled back at us in a mocking manner. She probably thinks that she’s won already because we are still the ones in the middle of a desperate situation. She must be thinking that we’ve lost, and simply try to make the best out of our remaining moments.
「Kept you waiting, huh? But do not worry. From now on, you’ll be the sole focus of my attention.」
I let go of Shiki’s hand and approach Kaguya. I can’t quite explain it, but right now I feel like I can do anything. I don’t have to be afraid of disappearing, as long as my 「heart」 remains entrusted to my friends. It might be nothing more but an illusion, a like that I keep telling to myself to keep my eyes averted from the inevitable reality.
But that’s okay.
With such calming, fulfilling feelings filling up my chest, I am finally ready to face my last enemy and do what must be done.
That is why…
「Let’s go, senpai, everyone.」
I close my eyes, making sure to burn the smiles of everyone who’s dear to me in my heart.
…….. and place my left hand on my right shoulder.
「『Code: Calvariae』, activate!」
The moment I shouted these forbidden words, my right shoulder began to emit a ghastly violet light which slowly took the shape of the skull. This is not the Limited Mode I used with Shiki’s help in order to fight Asagao during the summer. This is the original technique at its full strength, the same which I used to beat Fujisato, a power that converts my entire being: will, memories, emotions, into pure power, turning me into an unstoppable killing machine.
The world around me is changing. The world experienced with the five human senses is gradually dissipating as I am being repainted and remade form the inside to become nothing more but a walking sentient mass of killing intent. But unlike last time, now I had a way to keep 「myself」 from succumbing to the technique’s effect and continue to exist as 「myself」 at the bottom of my consciousness.
Thanks to 『Demonic Gift Gorgon’s』 self-hypnosis I’ve placed upon myself my will was now separated from the rest of my being, acting like a separate entity. That is why even with my body turning into a murderous marionette moved by 『Code: Calvariae’s』 power, it was still possible for my heart to remain intact. But even with this solution, losing myself was only a matter of time. For you see, whenever 『Code: Calvariae』 is used, it uses the user’s mental and spiritual power as fuel to keep itself going, so my plan was as follows: use all the mental power remaining in my body first to elevate my physical abilities and intuition to a level that transcends that of any normal human being. The longer I’ll be able to use mental power instead of the spiritual one, the lesser the probability that my soul and heart were going to be devoured. According to Kuhoh’s research, this technique is also much closer to magic than modern day technology, since it relies not on the resources invented by human hand, but rather it dwells in the realm of forgotten or unexplored territories lost to us in the modern era. For all we know, it might even be classified as a Gift at this point.
What we have to remember though, is that although most people tend to think that the power of the mind is infinite, this is not the case at all. Willpower alone is not enough to sustain the human body and keep it functioning. To give you an example, no one can live for long without sleeping, eating or drinking.
Therefore spirit is the most important lifeline that constructs us human beings that connects us to God, our creator, so in a sense it can be said that 『Code: Calvariae』 is in its essence 「Anti-God」, because using spirit to enhance human beings was tantamount to committing the gravest sin possible.
Even with all the knowledge of the human body that our civilization possesses, there are still many things we have yet to unravel using our knowledge and collective experience.
But 『Code: Calvariae』 goes even beyond that. Even if you don’t know something, it allows you to deal with it as if you knew everything about it, no matter how esoteric, otherworldly or logic-defying it would be, and that is something simpler and more obvious than Kaguya’s future prediction. It allows you to 「understand」, grasp the 「meaning」 behind that understanding and take action based on it.
My body was already running towards Kaguya before I even thought about doing so.
Yes, from now, this will be a totally different battle than before. Right now, this is Kaguya and her myriad of Gifts vs Me and my 『Code Calvariae』. It might sound like we’re evenly matched now, but in actuality I am still at a disadvantage here, because contrary to Kaguya, I am operating on a strict time limit. I have to finish this up before all of my energy gets drained and my soul disappears.
Looking up at the sky, the giant full moon continued to shine behind the beams of golden light which still continued their descent. It was as if the moon itself wanted to bear witness to our last battle.
Kaguya tried to point her hand at me, but by the time she finished that motion, I was no longer there. I herd the sound of the stage floor and the walls around the courtyard being destroyed, but I do not need to concern myself with it, instead focusing on closing the distance between me and Kaguya. Her face is now so close to me that I could touch it if I wanted to, but what I saw on it was not surprise, or anger, or disbelief.
It was expectation.
When I saw that, I felt a sharp pain at the back of my head, coming straight from the depths of my consciousness. I thought it will hinder my further actions, but it did just the opposite, sharpening my body’s judgement-making ability.
Kaguya once again puts her hand in front of her, aiming straight at me. She wants to burn me with her flames before the lasers from the moon reach me. That is probably what her future prediction showed her.
But I continued my charge without fear, knowing that she can’t use 『Kaguzuchi’s』 flames and 『Omoikane’s』 future prediction at the same time.
This allowed me to ran up to her and grab a firm hold of her right hand.
By doing this, she has no space where she could create more of her all-burning flames. She could still do it of course, but it would be a sign of desperation since she would have to unleash them at point-blank range and burn herself as well in the process.
「Jiro… a knife?!」
Also, in addition to not being able to use two Gifts at the same time, she was also unable to foresee the future in which I came at her with a knife in hand and attacked her with it, because I am still being manipulated by 『Gorgon’s』 ability.
That is to say, there are two wills driving the movement of my body.
Just before I grabbed Kaguya’s hand, I ordered my body to throw the knife up in the air above her head to make it fall on it under the force of gravity.
But it never reached its target, because Amenohabakiri appeared, cutting right through it. An expected result, since that is a defensive tool designed to cut everything that 「goes against」 its user, or rather things possessing such properties, like 「being able to kill Kaguya」 or 「being able to inflict harm upon Kaguya」 and so on, but we already managed to figure that out without 『Code: Calvariae』.
That being said, both the beams from the moon and the dead were getting dangerously close to us.
「Don’t you think it is high time for you to stop this nonsense, Jiro? 『Tsukuyomi’s』 light will reach this place in minutes, you are surrounded with 『Izanami’s』 dead, you are all exhausted form continuous fighting and to top it off your time is bound to be running out.」
Kaguya’s eyes still had the light of determination in them. Feeling her unwavering resolve, my consciousness was deeply stirred.
That’s right. Kaguya is absolutely right. The time for me to safely use 『Code Calvariae』 is inevitably running out. At this rate it will be impossible for me to deal wit both of the threats around us while simultaneously subduing Kaguya.
That is what she is probably thinking.
『Are you sure about that?』
At that moment, the world around us turned pitch black.