【Prologue: Reminiscence, Part 1】
「His name is Jiro. An assassin going by the mane of Sakuradamon Jiro.」
I, Yatono Shiki have long since made myself at home here together with my Lord, Shiinamachi Kaguya by the time he has been transferred to this school. Standing in front of the school gate, he doesn’t even seem ro realize that we are watching him through the window of the computer lab on the second floor. If he were to look up and notice me now, I wonder how would he feel? Would he be entranced by my gaze, or would he dismiss it as 「just a student looking in his general direction」? I guess it was the latter, since he just went past the gate and headed towards the mains school building while looking around with a rather gloomy look on his face and the eyes that were difficult to read, as if they didn’t belong to a proper human being.
「May I ask what about him caught your eye, exactly? Because even if there really is something remarkable about him, I’m not seeing it right now.」
My Lord, Shiinamachi Kaguya asked me as she was watching him beside me. Maybe he really has some amazing skills or qualities, but perhaps they cannot be perceived by just looking at his physical appearance alone? After all, there is always more to the people around us than it initially meets the eye, but because we can only see so much with our eyes, we can’t exactly see the things that are hiding in the subconscious of others unless they will specifically choose to reveal it to us. Before that happens, viewing people objectively is practically impossible.
The first thing we tend to notice about others is the atmosphere that surrounds them. Whether they are confident about themselves or not, the kind of movements they tend to make, their body language… those are the things that can be read just by reading the atmosphere around a person, but it can be applied when you are 「looking at yourself」 as well. However, there are people who have been specifically trained to change the atmosphere around them, change their auras and conceal their true feelings behind an impenetrable veil of deceit. Those people are the one who are truly scary, because you can never know if the 「self」 they are showing you at the current moment is their real one or is it just a well-worn mask. Of course, normal high school boys shouldn’t be able to do such a thing, since they are more like an open books due to the storm of their hormones taking the better of them and the fact that in this day and age most of them probably never had to fight for anything in their lives or learn the gruesome reality of a battlefield, and who knows, maybe that’s actually for the better? What I’m trying to say is that true intentions can never be revealed just by looking for them. In order to do so, you have to 「sense」 them. Especially when you’re searching for 「it」…
Bloodlust. The feeling of intense tension and determination exuded by those who are determined to take the life of someone else with their own hands. I was already quite skilled at sensing it before Kaguya has blessed me with her 『Demonic Gift Satori』, a Gift that augmented all of my five senses beyond their mortal limits, and with that power in my hands, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that as far as scanning, analyzing and sensing went, there was nothing that could hide form my sight.
As with everything else, the exact method of sensing can vary from person to person. For example, some people are able to foresee bloodshed by using their sense of touch to manifest the ill intentions as a painful sensation crawling all over their skin, while others use their sense of smell or taste to identify the taste and smell of blood in the air, no matter how frail it would be. No matter which sense we are using to do so, it seems that sensing bloodlust and danger is a primal instinct that we humans inherited from our animal ancestors in order to avoid the situations that would put our life and genes at risk. Personally I find that last statement to be a little sketchy, but this is what modern science considers to be the case, so there’s no point in arguing with that.
For now, let’s get back to Sakuradamon Jiro, whom I observed for quite a while now. As of now, he has yet to realize that he is being watched. He is was simply walking around the campus as if he was a lost child, comparing his surroundings to the map that has been included in the school’s pamphlet for new students. In a stark contrast to just a moment ago, his eyes were shining with excitement now, and it could be clearly seen that he was having 「fun」.
Fun? He was born and raised as a killer who should know nothing but what has been implanted into him and yet he’s looking forward to starting his school life that much?
In my mind, a question began to formulate.
Even though I have not been raised as a killer or an assassin, being born in the Yatono family meant that I had to undergo a harsh training that would prepare me for battles that are fought to the death. Aside from me there were also other children who were supposed to go through the same training regiment as me, but back then I couldn’t have known that before long I’ll be watching them break apart one by one until I’ll be the only one remaining.
And all of them did so with a smile on their faces, believing it was all for the 「One True Lord」’s sake.
For Kaguya’s sake.
That is what kept me going as I continued to endure the hellish training brought down upon me by my own family and eventually mastered the usage of the 「Cutting Threads」 and stopped being afraid of pain and mental distress, which, as I was told, will be amplified as long as I continue to use my Gift, which was bestowed upon me after my training was over. It sounded scary at first, but all I had to do was to bear it, since that was what was expected of me as the next heir to the Yatono family. That is how I have become the Knight of Shiinamachi Kaguya, a 「Lord Above All Lords」 who has lost her memories.
Looking back on it now,『Satori』 was the best fit possible for me, since even when knowing the risks, I was not afraid to fully indulge in the power it was offering me. Strengthening of all senses in exchange for a little pain? For someone who learned to live with it, it was the best possible deal. The way I see it, if you’re afraid of getting hurt, then you can’t call yourself a proper Knight.
I was monitoring Sakuradamon Jiro because that was the command I have received from my family. Just another order for me to carry out. In a sense I guess you could say we were similar, he and I. We both had a 「special」 upbringing in different specializations, but when my left me the way I am today, which is to say mostly emotionless, calculating and distrustful of others, his current behavior was like that of a gentle boy, calmer and fresher than you would expect of a high school freshman.
…. I wonder if that innocence of his would have been shattered by bloodlust should his life be endangered? Some part of me really, really wanted to know that, to the point where I could feel a slight, tingly sensation at the base of my stomach.
Right now he’s just wandering around in front of the main school building. There are no threads there, but… yes, what if I threw a knife at him? Not to hurt him of course, just to… see how he would react…
The sensation in my stomach grew stronger as I reached to my lab coat’s pocket and slowly gripped the handle of one of the many throwing knives I kept on me for occasions just like this one….