Part 43: BrainlessPart 43 - Brainless
At some point, Rimi's clothing had switched to something different.
Though she'd been wearing her uniform up until just a second ago....
Had she stealthily changed her clothes in the brief period when I had my eyes closed.... no, of course not....
My thoughts couldn't keep up with her sudden transformation.
Rimi cocked her head.
She didn't mention a thing about the fact that the clothes she was wearing had changed.
What was going on?
Trying not to stare too hard at her, I checked out her outfit.
Were these.... her casual clothes?
It was enormously refreshing to see her like this, since up till now, I'd only seen her wear her uniform.
On top, a denim jacket; on bottom, a miniskirt. She wasn't wearing the thigh-high socks she'd had on before.
In short.... bare legs. Smooth-looking, sensual thighs.
On top of that, because she was sitting with her knees up even though she was in a miniskirt.... um.... I can sort of see your panties, Sakihata-san....
Rather, depending on the angle, it could also appear that she was going commando.
My eyes kept involuntarily traveling to the V-zone in her skirt. I made a frantic effort to hold back my lust.
This manner of sitting--
What popped into my head was the cover illustration of a famous moe eroge.
The limited edition version of "Suteane," which had also been made into an anime, had an illustration of the heroine sitting in the exact same pose as the way Rimi was currently sitting.
That illustration had been so moe-moe.
To the point that I'd temporarily used it as my PC wallpaper.
Was this a delusion? An illusion? Or.... 100% real?
Cr, crap, as I concerned myself with the contents of her skirt, my johnson started to stand to attention....
I had been picking up on the sweet scent she gave off for a while now, and how do I put it, there was a huge difference between her on the one hand, and figures and 2-D stuff on the other, when it came to the sense of touchability her skin radiated....
W, was this the power of the third dimension....
My entire system of values was being unavoidably rewritten. Even though I'd never meant to have any interest in the third dimension. Even though I'd only loved 2-D characters.
The current Rimi possessed sufficient destructive power to almost completely smash my dearly held convictions in one blow.
Demonstrating no perturbation at the fact that her clothes were different, Rimi offered me an innocent smile.
"Do you have anything to drink?"
"Ah, er.... um...."
The way things were going now, my ability to think logically would break soon, so I decided to take this as a spate of good luck and stood to go up to the fridge.
There was some Coke I'd been sipping from, but I'd drunk it straight from the bottle, so I couldn't exactly give it to Rimi....
I heard Rimi stand up behind me.
"I'm heading out for a bit."
Left behind by myself, I fell into thought.
What was this phenomenon?
Could it have been a delusion.... after all....
Rimi's outfit. The divided Ayases.
By what mechanism were such delusions able to manifest in a way that made them feel real?
Had I been the one to manifest them in the first place?
There was still a mountain of problems before me, and I was at a loss for what to do.
Rimi returned, though she'd stepped out just a second ago. Furthermore, she wore--
Had she performed a super-fast costume change outside? What for?
"Tahaha, I forgot to bring my wallet."
Apparently oblivious to my bewilderment, Rimi smiled ruefully as she took her wallet out of her bag.
I pressed my fingers to my temples and unthinkingly let out a groan.
I found Grim in our chat room, calling out to me.
Grim: Neidhardt, you there?
Grim: Oiiii, Neidhardt!
Grim: You've gotta be shutting yourself in today, anyway
Grim: W A N N A chat?
Grim: I've got fresh news--!
Grim: Neidhardt-cha~n? Time for dinner~
Neidhardt-san has entered the room
Current members: 2
Grim: You finally came
Grim: You're late, Neidhardt
Grim: Thanks to that, I'm totally whose eyes are those eyes right now
Dammit, whaddaya mean, "totally whose eyes are those eyes."
He'd just wanted to use the phrase.
Even though I quivered in fear every time I spied those words.
Neidhardt: What's your fresh news
Grim: New-Gen, duh
Grim: It happened
Grim: The fifth case!
Of course it gave me the usual sense of gloom, but on the other hand, I was also confused.
I'd thought "Shogun" and Yua would target me for sure this time. Perhaps one could say that they'd postponed it. Above all, I wasn't sure whether or not it was okay for me to celebrate this....
Grim: Wanna know more?
Grim: It's on the Taboo! home page
Grim: Look around a little and you'll know, easy
Neidhardt: Around when today?
Grim: The body was discovered last night
Grim: But the victim died two days ago
Grim: The one this time is wack
Grim: The victim, his brain got taken out
I panicked a little when Grim started giving out the details without any forewarning.
I'd had enough of guro stuff. I didn't want to hear about it.
If I listened, I wouldn't be able to help imagining myself being savagely murdered.
I hadn't even found out how to get a Di-Sword yet.
But Grim continued all the same.
Grim: It's seriously freaky
Grim: Why do you think the victim died
Grim: ....Physical debilitation
Grim: He went on living even with his brain gone!
I didn't want to know any more. Please spare me.
My life points had long since reached zero....
Grim: Basically, he was braindead
Grim: Maybe even for more than a week
Grim: He was sitting there without a brain
Grim: Obviously, he couldn't eat or drink
Grim: So they think that's how he died
Grim: @chan's already given it a name
Grim: "Brainless," haha
Grim: They've got good taste over there
Grim: And the hilarious part is
Grim: The victim was a psychiatrist
Grim: A psychiatrist who got his brain removed
Grim: It totally seems like some kind of message
Maybe I was thinking too much, but....
I wanted to know for sure.
I had the feeling that I needed to know for sure.
"How.... how could it be...."
The name of the victim was--
Dr. Takashina had been killed....
This was.... aimed at me....
"Shogun" clearly meant to provoke me....
That was why he'd made an example out of Dr. Takashina, on whom I'd relied so much, and murdered him....
My mind was turning to pulp. It felt like I was about to go crazy.
"I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die!"
"Rimi, save me...."
Not there. Not there. Not there. Why wasn't she there?
--Because she'd gone out shopping.
"Save me, Rimi.... save me.... don't go anywhere.... I'm begging you...."
Thank god she'd come back for me. Relieved, I stretched out my hand to her.
Rimi's hand had been cool when she touched me before.
Now it was amazingly warm.
"I'm here for you."
"So don't be frightened."
Smiling gently, Rimi wiped my tears away with her fingers.
I was truly a pathetic guy.
Crying and screaming and cowering like this in front of a girl.
But Rimi had said she would stay with me.
This scene is better if you can hear what is going on, so I'm including a link for a recording of this scene. There is a noise warning in effect for midway through the video, but not on the same level as Let Me Pass was.
SFX: The park is almost silent, save for a strange noise, clearly artificial, that fills the air
SFX: The stillness is further broken by a dozen or so people repeatedly chanting "Whose eyes are those eyes?"
An enormous group clustered together in the middle of the park.
There must have been over a hundred people among them.
Almost all of them were men and women in their teens; some were wearing school uniforms, others were girls in fashionable casual clothing.
Some were boys wearing otaku-esque glasses; others were ganguro high school girls, a rarity in these times.
All of them faced downward, their eyes empty and unfocused.
Though so many of them had gathered here, none exchanged conversations with each other, instead standing in place without attempting to move a single step away.
Every single one of them wore faint smiles, and all were muttering something under their breath.
The words they poured all their heart and soul into repeating were
--Whose eyes are those eyes?
Those words emitted by the mouths of the hundred murmurers resounded through the park like a Buddhist sutra, flat and emotionless.
Perhaps because of how bizarre they seemed, there were no other figures to be seen in Miyashita Park.
With his clothes, he could have easily blended in at Akihabara--a check pattern shirt, jeans, worn-out sneakers, fingerless gloves, a red bandanna, and a big green rucksack on his back.
He was fairly corpulent, to the point that his shirt buttons threatened to pop apart any moment now.
Though it was the latter portion of October and should have been rather cool out, he constantly wiped sweat from his forehead with a hand towel.
His eyes darted around as if he couldn't calm down, but his shoulders also seemed to be shaking with laughter.
Far from shrinking away from the odd group, she fixed her eyes on them and steadily drew nearer.
She was infused with intimidating poise as she walked, her long dark hair stirring in the breeze.
In sharp contrast with that, she for some reason held a half-eaten popsicle.
The group took absolutely no notice of her. Having completely entered their own world, they focused solely on continuing to recite the same words.
Nor did she lift an eyebrow at being ignored.
Rucksack Man: "Hey, wh, who are you!"
The rucksack-wearing man spoke up as if he'd reached the limits of his endurance.
Naturally, the girl--Aoi Sena--was aware that this man alone had been studying her for some time now.
SFX: The chanting temporarily dies down, replaced by a slight shimmering sound as Sena summons her Di-Sword.
It might appear to be either a hoe or a shovel, but its shape differed subtly from both of them. The tip of its razor-sharp blade was divided in two.
She gripped it with both hands when at last it developed a distinct shape.
But it didn't end there.
Immediately after, a blue light burned along the double blade she held and the air to her right at which it pointed.
At last there formed a ring, and another trail of light streaked from it toward the right.
The divided blade traced the trail as it rose.
Though one might have thought it was a shovel or a hoe, it had at some point metamorphosed to a giant sword.
With its supreme sense of presence, the sword settled into Sena's hand.
The man with the rucksack showed no reaction. He only narrowed his lips and stared at her.
Rucksack Man: "You've got nothing to do with this. Shoo, off with you."
His tone was thoroughly overbearing. His voice, high for a man's, demanded that Sena leave even as he stood some distance from her, waving her away.
Sena, in contrast, quietly opened her mouth without the slightest shift in expression.
"...Are you responsible for this?"
More than a regular question, it was an inquiry for confirmation.
Her eyes were nailed to him.
The rucksack-wearing man showed a previously unseen confusion.
He lost interest and pulled back, but he didn't answer her.
The group muttering "Whose eyes are those eyes?" made not a single effort to intervene in their exchange.
Or maybe it would be more appropriate to say that it hadn't even registered with them.
Sena's gaze clashed with that of the rucksack man.
He was the first to look away.
Rucksack Man: "Wh, who's that...."
Rucksack Man: "But even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you."
The sword radiated light again.
But rather than the same blue as before, it was a reddish-purple light.
With Sena's greatsword at its center, the air itself began vibrating.
The sword's red glow grew dazzlingly vivid.
Sena took a quiet breath-- and clenched her back teeth together.
Numerous sparks surged forth.
A sonic wave had erupted as though to blow away the vibrating air.
The chanting voices abruptly stop, though the sound from the rucksack continues.
But the sword's red glow continued blinking, reminiscent of the pulse in one's veins.
Sena gradually moved its point toward the man with the rucksack.
SFX: It seems all the people who were chanting have regained their senses and are currently running around, yelling and screaming in surprise, confusion and fear.
Sena went on focusing on the man alone without sparing a glance for the rest of them.
Rucksack Man: "Hiiiiiii"
Though he had not previously demonstrated any obvious fear, he began growing flustered.
Going pale, he retreated one step at a time.
He shook his head like a stubborn child.
Rucksack Man: "Wa, wa, wait! I really don't kn, know a guy named Hatano! I was ju, just following orders--"
"....I told you not to be mistaken."
Sena took no notice of his plea.
"I only asked as a form of greeting."
A fierce glitter resided in her eyes.
Crying out pathetically, the rucksack man turned on his heel to flee.
But the scattered group, bolting right and left, lay ahead of him.
His escape route blocked, the panicking man pulled to a halt so fast, he pitched about.
Have imagined her slim arms to be capable of dealing out
Such a fast and ruinous blow.
Sweeping along horizontally, the blade tore through the man's rucksack, together with its contents.
Collapsing on the ground, he rolled into a ball, holding his head and shaking all over. He seemed to have lost the energy needed to run away.
He was so frightened that he lost control of his bladder, and the crotch area of his pants began to stain itself wet.
Sena walked up to him and, showing no interest in the man himself, dropped her gaze to what lay inside the ripped-open, broken rucksack.
A mechanical device had been put inside it.
Originally it might have been about twice as large as a modem, but the Di-Sword had eaten through it, shattering it to pieces. It wouldn't be of any use anymore.
One could no longer hear the irritating mechanical whir that had been coming out of this rucksack until a few seconds earlier.