Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 3】Life and Mind: Part A (3)
And that was how we ended up in our current situation.
Shiinamachi-senpai seemed quite content with just a casual walk around the beach, and honestly, I was fine with that too. At least it saved me the trouble of having to come up with conversational topics that might’ve been of interest to her. On a side note, just looking at her beautiful face from the side made my heart feel at ease. It was unbelievable that someone like her was actually not a human, but a Nightkin targeted by some unknown murderer. If you were to ask me, someone like her should live her life happily and without any worries, just like any other girls her age.
It was at that moment that I sensed a hostile presence, so I instinctively reacted by grabbing senpai in my arms and rolling onto the ground with her in tow.
「Kyah!? J-J-J-J-J-Jiro-kun!? W-W-What are you…?!」
「Please keep quiet, senpai. We’ve got company.」
I was able to detect the unknown presence just in time to avoid falling into a trap, and it was all thanks to my mother’s hellish「If you don’t sense my presence and counterattack, I will end your life」 training. But sensing the hostile intent was one thing, and locating it was another, so I quickly scanned all of the surrounding area with my eyes, looking for anything that was even slightly out of place.
「Forgive me, senpai!」
I pushed senpai further down the roadside and made a hush gesture, signaling her to be quiet. She understood what I was trying to say, and nodded affirmatively. She placed her hands on her mouth in a desperate attempt not to make even a single sound that could give our location away.
And then there was a sound of something flying towards us at high speed, and a knife pierced itself into the ground in the place we were at just a moment ago.
Senpai gasped frantically, and I got up to act as her shield.
Where did that knife come from just now? We were surrounded by a crowd of innocent bystanders, and all of them were confused by my abrupt action. Cars were also driving on the road next to us as if nothing had happened. So no one beside me noticed that there was an attempt to take Shiinamachi-senpai’s life in the middle of the crowd. Even with that knife in the ground, the thought that someone had thrown it specifically to kill someone else was just too unreal. If that was our current situation, then my 「Normal High-school Boy Mode」 might not be enough to protect senpai. First and foremost, I had to locate the assailant, and that will not be possible with all the interference from my surroundings.
Right now I had essentially two objectives: protect senpai’s life at all cost and make sure that no harm comes to anyone who was not involved, by keeping them ignorant about what was happening here. Yeah, for that level of multi-tasking, my 「Professional Killer Mode」 was absolutely necessary.
We can’t stay in one place, lest we wanted to be caught right in the trap set by whoever it was that attacked us. Then maybe, just maybe, it was finally time for me to use the power that was sleeping in my right shoulder? If I were to use it now, It’d probably be enough to handle things quickly and effortlessly. I placed my left hand on my right shoulder. It was giving an enormous amount of heat, and was pulsating as if it was a second heart of mine.
「Should there ever come a time that you’ll be forced to use the power of the scar on your shoulder, you must have the resolve to leave everything behind you. And I really mean 「 everything」. If you decide to use it, the power cultivated in our family for generations will grant you the power to thwart anything and everything that might stand in your way, but at the cost of the ultimate sacrifice. That is why the decision whether to use it or not is yours and yours alone to make. So make sure that by the time you grow up, you’ll become someone who will be able to make that kind of choice.」
Remembering my mother’s last words to me helped me snap back to reality. Now was not the time to abandon everything that I held dear. Instead, I should do everything within my power to protect those important to me with my own strength.
Picking up the knife from the ground, I was ready to combat the assailant at any time. I took off my glasses and sharpened all my senses to locate the source of the killing intent that I’ve now felt stronger than before. I will probably have only one shot at this if I were to protect both senpai and the people here, so there was no room for me to make mistakes. Then, in one of the corners of my sharpened consciousness, I felt some movement rapidly approaching our position.
Opening both my eyes, I threw the knife I was holding in that direction.
Some distance away from us, at the other side of the road, there was a house, separated from the rest by a small field and the road. Normally it’d be impossible to tell that the attack came from there, but in my current state, I could feel that someone was hiding in there. But the distance between there and us was too great to make an effective knife throw, therefore it was highly probable that the attacker either possessed some kind of device, or a Gift that allowed them to make that kind of throw
About ten meters away from me, I heard the sound of two objects colliding with one another in midair, and at the same time, the movement that approached us stopped. That must’ve meant that my knife had struck the attacker’s knife while they were still in the air, and that made the sound I just heard. To be honest, it was the first time when I managed to pull something like that off. In the past, when I was still a trainee, I never once managed to deflect the knives thrown at me by my mother, and they’d often pierce my body as a result. It was painful when they did that, so very painful. But since the speed of the thrown knife was much slower this time, I managed to succeed in stopping it.
「Jiro-kun, just now, you…」
Senpai asked me with a worried tone. Meanwhile, I was expecting that there’ll be a second attack, but alas, the killing intent vanished without a trace, and the people around us started making a huge uproar. I wanted to check the house where the unknown assailant was hiding, but leaving senpai alone in a situation like that would be a poor choice to make. The enemy might’ve aimed for that all along, using our separation as a perfect opportunity to land a killing blow on her. After a while where nothing suspicious happened, I decide that it was okay to stop hiding, and I put my glasses back on.
「Phew… senpai, are you okay? You’re not hurt anywhere, are you?」
But senpai just looked at me with her mouth still sealed by her hands.
「You can talk now, the danger’s over.」
I helped senpai get up from the ground as I said that.
「T-That was amazing, Jiro-kun!」
「Huh? What was?」
「The way you threw that knife! It was so fast that I couldn’t even follow it with my eyes! I knew from Shiki-san that your skills are amazing, but that was on a whole other level of my expectations!」
Being praised like that, and by senpai of all people, made me quite glad that I had those skills. But apparently, senpai was not the only one who I managed to impress. A lot of people on the street or in their cars were also looking at me with the expressions of amazement and disbelief on their faces. To them, this whole spectacle in which I pushed senpai down and thrown something in a random direction was probably just some bizarre performance.
「You were so cool, Jiro-kun, truly!」
Senpai’s praises were keep on coming, and it didn’t look like they were going to stop. It was strange to see her acting like a bewitched groupie who had met her favorite idol, but since her behavior was so cute, I had no real reasons to complain. I guess you could call it an example of that legendary gap moe people in school sometimes talked about.
「I was so scared that I could not make even a single sound, but now that know I have such a reliable escort, I don’t feel so afraid anymore. Thank you, Jiro-kun, it’s all thanks to you!!」
「Oh, well… I just did what I had to to keep you safe, senpai. And I’ll gladly do so again should the need arise.」
「Yes! Once again, thank you so much!」
Senpai was safe and regained her usual cheerfulness, so that was all that mattered to me now.
For some reason, everyone present beside us now looked at us like we were some kind of cute animals that needed to be protected, and I can’t really blame them for that. From their perspective, we were probably an overly lovey-dovey couple that could not contain themselves from public displays of affection. But wait, doesn’t the term 「Lovey-dovey couple」 sound like something outdated? Are people even using that term in this day and age? Hmm, I should consult my sister about that once I get back home later.
「I heard you were out on a date behind my back so I decided to spy on you to get my hands on some juicy info, and what do you know, this was the right decision to make. Event CG saved onto internal hard drive.」
Hearing a voice of someone who was not supposed to be there, both senpai and I jumped up in fright. Shiki was just standing there with her usual deadpan expression as if it was not a big deal at all. Even outside of school, she was still dressed in our school’s uniform and her lab coat, but there was no sign of sweat anywhere on her body. She just stood there, with her hands in her pockets, as if she was awaiting our reaction to her sudden appearance.