That's Shiki's business knife.
Music: play track 9
I go down to the lobby quietly, so that Hisui and Kohaku-san won't notice.
I just need to open the door without making a sound---
but before I can open it, it opens with a creak.
"Nii-san? What is it? Why are you standing here, frozen?"
Why are you here, I ask wordlessly.
"I was just taking a walk in the garden. What about you, Nii-san? You look like you're going to go out right now."
"...... Yeah. I left something at school, so I was going back for it."
...... I don't want to lie to Akiha.
So, I say as little as possible.
Akiha knows all about lying.
Attending public school and spending all this time around Shiki has infected her with
...... Is it because of what happened in the garden last night?
Being trusted by Akiha, feeling that she trusts me, makes me very happy.
---Please be careful around her.
Senpai's words return like a curse.
"...... Anyway. I'll go to school, and come straight back." And I'll meet with Senpai.
Alright. I grasp the door handle.
----The school is wrapped in silence.
Those are Shiki's business glasses.
"...... With Yumizuka, it was just desperation..."
Removing my glasses calmly like this, I really feel how strange my eyes are.
"...... Now, where's a window with a line in the lock..."
Although anything can be cut, they can only be cut where the "lines" appear.
If I cut the wall or the window itself, it'll draw attention tomorrow. The cut has to be as small as possible.
"Ah, perfect. Here goes..."
With a click, I cut the lock smoothly, and open the corridor window.
Music: play track 6
Man, if only I hadn't used up my gastrointestinal humor on the Arc path
"...... Senpai... where are... you?"
It's hard even to murmur.
My heart beats.
A resounding pumping, like a drum driving my blood backwards.
It looks like my fingertips are trembling.
I feel sick.
Without my glasses, my headache is getting worse by the second.
"What is this... it's... strange..."
I don't understand.
The atmosphere inside the building is so different from outside.
If I have to put it into words, it's without life.
Compared to the fresh air outside, the air in the corridor is so weak that it feels sad.
"...... But, I know..."
Though I'm breathing this air for the first time, I know it.
"I know I've got to stop eating curry."
Because I've always watched it.
Every night, in my dream.
When I kill people and drink their blood, the atmosphere is always... full of this smell of decay.
I clasp my hand over my mouth, about to vomit.
The man... the "lines" run within his body.
They run through his whole body like blood vessels.
The man walks toward me, as if in slow motion.
I make up my mind and talk to him.
...... It's strange, but my eyes are stranger.
It's the first time I've seen "lines" all over a person's body like this, but take them away and you'll have a normal human.
The man is saying something.
But his voice is not even a noise, I can't hear.
The man approaches.
Why is it? Whenever the man steps closer, a shudder runs through me.
The man is right in front of me.
"W... wait, who..."
...... are you? I don't even have time to finish.
There is a crash.
As he approaches, the man throws me aside with a single hand.
My back. Thrown aside, my back smashes against the wall.
It's so sudden, the pain makes my eyes dizzy.
It IS the path of color!
I recover my sight, and look again at the man.
...... Yes, it's back.
Sensei said that my eyes see the "death" within things.
That's exactly right.
The man is saying something.
Of course it doesn't speak words. Because half of his throat is missing. It was bitten away by something. So there's no way for him to speak.
"Why---you were killed, yesterday..."
His shoulders are shaking; he seems to be laughing.
But there's no mistake.
The corpse before me is definitely the man I killed in the dream yesterday.
The man approaches slowly.
There's no thought. The lump of death approaches.
A shudder of pain.
Then, I notice. When the man threw me before, the side of my chest was injured.
That's Shiki's business chest.
---Without a doubt,
he intends to kill me.
I dodge the sweep of the man's arm.
There is an unpleasant crunching sound.
The man's arm is embedded in the wall... it's buried right into the concrete wall.
He did not hold back an inch.
Breaking a concrete wall, and in return, he's breaking his own bones.
It's a funny, hard to believe world.
If it's a dream... if it's a dream, I want it to end now.
The man turns towards me.
The man comes toward me, his arm still in the concrete wall.
The arm. Stuck in the wall, the arm tears away from his body.
"Gih, gigih, gih."
It's still laughing.
My legs move.
I can't bear to be here any longer.
My chest hurts.
Whenever I breathe, my ribs feel like they're about to break.
Those are Shiki's business ribs.
"Gah... hah... ha... h."
Somehow I catch my breath.
I have to somehow get back to normal. I MUST calm down.
Think. Look, and then think. I learned that from Sensei.
So I have to think hard.
Even if that's a dead body.
Even if it's someone I killed.
"Ha---I can't think about it, that's just...!"
Ignoring the pain in my ribs, I cry out.
I don't understand.
I can't understand.
The one I killed is about to kill me.
The one I have killed has returned to take his revenge.
It's like the Arc path, but with more
---That's just a nightmare.
It can't be real, just an insane nightmare.
But what am I saying now?
I've been in a nightmare for a long time already----
"Have to---get away..."
I drag my aching body up.
I fall again with a thump.
It seems that when he threw me this time, my leg was damaged.
There's no strength in my right leg at all.
I can't stand, and I can't escape.
That's Shiki's business leg.
Clank, clank; a dry, emotionless sound.
The putrid smell of a corpse hangs in the air.
My heart beats loudly. All rational thought has long departed.
That corpse is coming to kill me.
Well, if that's so, then there's no problem.
This one's already dead, so there's nothing to fear.
There's nothing wrong with putting the dead to rest.
There's no need to hesitate about killing again, is there...?
Shiki means business.
The body flings up an arm.
I take the knife from my pocket.
---What followed was, really, quick.
Was it because I watched all those crimes in my dreams? Or maybe because those crimes were committed by my own hands like I suspected.
My arm moved impossibly fast, and struck down the corpse like a true killer.
Music: play track 9
The meat, divided into eight pieces, now just rolls around the corridor.
The feeling of slicing meat. The acceptance of taking a life.
There is no flowing blood.
Only my knife drips with blood; I remain spotless.
A feeling of pain and coldness crawls on my back.
There is nothing to earn.
Only my knife drips with blood, I haven't gained anything----
I just feel ill.
Maybe I'm going crazy.
Looking at the remains before me, my chest hurts like it was torn open.
The school at night.
In the moonlight, it's amusing.
Shiki got scary
I laugh without stopping.
It's not funny.
Only regret is felt.
I killed. Whatever the reason, I killed someone again.
----Even though he was blameless.
This person also had a life to protect.
"Haha, hahaha, hahahahahahaha...!"
A jarring, laughing voice.
I want to kill my ears for listening, and my throat for laughing.
But I can only laugh.
At least, I have to laugh.
Unless I do a single act resembling human actions, I will break.
"Haha, ha, haha, ha-----"
I'm not laughing because something is funny.
I laugh to keep my sanity.
If I can't even ridicule myself, I can't keep my sanity.
"Hah----hahaha, ha... hah."
...... Perhaps I should have cried.
But I won't allow myself such hypocrisy.
What do I mean by... killing the dead... isn't a crime.
...... it doesn't change.
Whether he was living or dead, it doesn't change the fact that I made the decision to kill him.
Even if he was already a corpse, the feeling of stopping his activity does not dull.
I can't get mad at myself for my stupidity.
Even if they're dead, killing someone is still a sin.
As long as I, Tohno Shiki, remain a proper human, the burden of this sin will never leave me.
Hey, now, what's with this all of the sudden? This path doesn't have sin.
----Someone is coming.
This time, it has to be Senpai.
Somehow, I stand, holding onto the wall.
My heart still beats violently.
Even if my heart is halfway dead, my body tries to live until the very end.
...... Such a worthless life.
Dying like this is painful... I realized that already eight years ago, during my time with Yumizuka, and even this very moment.
Yet, Tohno Shiki's body is still making a great effort to survive.
That's Shiki's business... body?
"...... How... ugly---"
But, which is ugly?
The heart that thinks I should die, because I'm a killer?
Or the body, trying to live by killing others?
...... I think it's the heart.
Good or evil, my heart is really fragile after all.
Shiki's been bad, Ciel. He needs to be punished.
"...... I see. You called me here to kill me, Senpai."
Senpai doesn't answer.
...... Clearly, because there's nothing to say.
"That's mean. You said I'm not the killer, but you knew in your heart that I was."
"---Yes. I knew from the beginning that the vampire haunting this town was Tohno Shiki."
"---Senpai, I don't know what you are at all. Even if I knew, I don't think it would concern me."
"Yes; this is a situation of no concern to you."
"...... Yeah. But, I'm afraid I won't be killed. Thinking about it, I killed Yumizuka because I didn't want to die.
So---I can't just die here. If you say you're going to kill me, I'll..."
"That's fine. If we agree to kill each other, then there is crime, but no punishment. It would be more helpful if you think of it this way."
A noise of movement.
Before I realize it, Senpai's body is right in front of me.
"Well then, Tohno-kun. Let us continue last night's fight."
Music: play track 4
For a moment, my mind freezes.
There's no sign of her in the corridor.
In an instant,
as our weapons clashed, Senpai suddenly disappeared----
---I think it was just by chance.
Without reason, just the feel of a breeze beside me, I shift my gaze.
Must resist... can't rely on fart jokes...
In the blue moonlight shining in through the window,
I see Senpai's silhouette running up the wall like she was going up a flight of stairs.
Even as I notice, I lower my body.
As if her previous flash of movement never happened, Senpai stops moving.
Is she surprised I avoided that blow?
Her blue eyes confirm that Tohno Shiki is still alive.
Her eyes devoid of feeling, like a machine.
There is a tension, as I wait for her to spring into her next action.
The only sound is my heart pounding.
I stand unable to move, and Senpai only stares at me.
...... This is bad.
At this rate, I'll break under this tension, and make a movement.
When that happens, Senpai will certainly strike me down.
All I can do is grasp my knife tightly.
At that moment,
Senpai suddenly speaks.
You're certainly an excellent killer. You are not good at feeling the other's presence, but you are good at feeling your own death.
Even if you don't remember it, perhaps you have been trained for such things."
Senpai speaks without even moving her eyebrows.
That's Shiki's business sense.
"Against someone that has a superior self-defense mechanism close to seeing the future, assassination is useless.
Trying to attack you from a blind spot was pointless, Tohno-kun."
Seeming terribly sad, Senpai lets out a sigh.
"You've been feeling that way for a while, haven't you? Nausea that feels like your heart is being grabbed."
"You're so sensitive. That's..."
"...... Because of the impulse all living things have that says 'I'm about to be killed'."
she strikes from right in front of me.
The air is knocked out of me.
Senpai has stepped into the gap between my legs.
You mean to tell me...? Man, I thought it was small, but...
So close that our bodies collide, and with that momentum, Senpai slams her shoulder into my chest.
The strength in my knife weakens.
Without a single pause, her second attack begins.
Her dagger swings upwards from below.
Somehow, I block it with my knife, but I can't kill its momentum.
There's a horrible sound.
It was probably aimed at my heart.
Since I immediately twisted my body to avoid it, the knife rips out my rib along with the flesh around it.
The coldness of death does not cause me to shudder.
But fear from the pain races through me.
Follows the fourth unforgiving blow.
----My ribs are damaged.
I can only use the power of my arm to wield my knife.
But with that, it's impossible to block Senpai's dagger.
Somehow, I jump back on my staggering leg.
I get enough distance.
Senpai turns, showing me her back----
She drives a roundhouse kick like a spear into my belly.
I collapse backwards onto the hallway floor.
I don't have time to feel pain.
If I don't stand up immediately, I'll be killed.
But it's too late.
The moment I get up, Senpai is right in front of me.
"---It's over. Even if you stab that knife through my neck, I won't die."
"You said before that you saw it. Even though my body was pierced by an iron pipe, my body heals the wound instantly. ...... Certainly if you stab me through the neck I'll be dead for a while, but I'll kill you before that."
What she says is true.
...... There's no sense in lying in a situation like this.
In other words.
This situation where both of us hold each other's life in each other's hands is meaningless.
...... Ah, but it could be true.
Even injured like that, Senpai came to school like normal.
But, screw all that.
"Pssshhht. Heal? Bitch, you don't know who you're fightin'."
I can see "death" on her body.
Although it's very different from other people's, I can still see her death.
So, killing her is easy.
The "lines" have no exceptions.
"If you don't believe me, please, use your knife... In any case, you can't save yourself unless you kill me. Shall we test it out?"
......She's provoking me.
If I can be killed, kill me, she's saying.
But Senpai, provocation like that is fatal.
I'm not like the others----I can really kill you.
----My heart beats.
If I look down, her dagger is at my chest.
...... I have to kill.
Because I don't want to die.
I found out I shouldn't die that easily, so I can't let myself be killed.
No, it's simpler than that.
I just, don't want to die.
Well, we don't get choices this direct all that often.