Yeah. With this, I should be able to get back to living my normal life.
A normal school life, just like I did up until now.
...... Well, in exchange, I seem to have been cornered by this strange person, but you might argue that it's a heck of a lot better than becoming a murderer.
She stares at me.
It isn't malicious.
...... It's strange. I'd thought that to get someone back when they got you was one of the common laws of the world.
Then she should be trying to kill me, but---
"--What are you staring at? You're here to get revenge, right? Then--"
"Yeah, I guess I'm supposed to kill you back, in theory. I'll kill you if you really want me to, but otherwise I'll pass for now. It's not very efficient that way."
She stares at me head on.
Revenge is so blasé... now indentured servitude, that's really the cat's meow.
"I'm asking you if you're sorry for killing me.
I'm thinking about forgiving you if you are, you see.
Besides, I get the feeling you're a pretty bad liar for a human."
"Yep. If you apologize to me, then I'm fine with that."
---This is unbelievable.
What's so unbelievable?
Not that the person I killed is forgiving me, but... her voice sounds so kind.
Of course she's fucking angry.
---Am I sorry, she asks?
That goes without saying---
"...... Yeah, I regret it. No matter what the reason is, I did kill someone."
Without mercy or reason. I killed just for myself.
"...... I do regret the fact that I killed someone. But more importantly, the person I killed was you, and so---"
...... It's a lie that it's alright if she's alive.
It's a fact that I killed her.
It's the ultimate violation; the greatest violence possible.
"So---you can get your revenge on me--I thought it was only natural you'd be here to get revenge."
...... I hang my head, mumbling, like I'm confessing to someone.
"...... Hey. What do you mean by helping you?"
"It's simple. I'm going to get you to help me deal with the vampire which took root in this town."
...... Hold on, I'm getting more and more confused.
"Dealing with vampires? But you're a---"
"Oh, no, no. I am a vampire, but the vampire in this town is a different kind altogether.
You live here, don't you? Then you should know about the murders that have been occurring lately, right?"
"Yeah, quite a few people have been killed already... hey, wait."
...... I remember now.
Come to think of it, all of the killer's victims had their blood extracted or something, didn't they?
"Don't tell me that----"
"Exactly. Even the news is saying stuff like 'the work of a vampire', right? It's a funny thing; they obviously know what kind of creature is doing it, but no one is going around trying to vanquish it. That's why I've got no choice but to do it for them."
"Wait, but---vampires don't exist."
"---I don't really understand, but what you're trying to say is that you're here in this town to exterminate vampires, right...?"
"So, full of hatred, I went out to look for you. I was so worked up that I didn't even care about the vampire, the very reason why I'm here. I knew you were a student, so that's why I waited over there for you."
"...... I don't get it. If you hated me so much, why are you forgiving me?"
"---Let's see... to put it simply, I calmed down after a while.
I already used up a lot of power, and I thought that it would be more efficient to use you as a shield than to kill you."
"...... Hold on. You just said something really bad for me."
"Eh? Did I say something like that?"
"You said you were going to use me as a shield."
"What's with you? I can't tell when you're being sincere and when you're not. Let me repeat it again: you killed me. You probably can't imagine it, but it takes a lot of energy to regenerate once you've been killed.
Well, actually, it wouldn't be a big deal if you had just killed me, but the way you killed me was something I've never seen before. I couldn't heal the wounds, so I had no choice but to remake my body parts. That's why it took so much energy to revive---"
"Anyhow, I'm weak right now! I think I'll be able to recover after two nights, but if the enemy attacks before then, I'll be in danger.
That's why for now, I'll have you be my shield."
Two nights? Right, sure. "How much longer on those sausages?" "Two minutes, Turkish!"
"You'll have me do it---? What are you doing, deciding everything by yourself?"
"What? This is all your fault to begin with, so isn't that much to be expected?"
"Or are you not sorry after all?"
She looks straight at me with honest eyes.
This is unfair.
Sorry or not, using those eyes is unfair.
...... It's unfair she has such pure eyes like that when she claims she's a vampire---
Stuck for an answer, I lift my gaze.
Music: play track 6
A blue-colored bird.
A crow, to be precise.
...... A blue... crow.
That inauspicious thing I saw two nights ago---
The girl murmurs.
The crow just stares at us.
"Geez, thanks to your slowness, he found us."
The girl looks at the entrance to the alley.
"Found us? Who?"
I cast my gaze towards the alley entrance.
Its tense, steel frame is neck-like?
...... It doesn't need to resort to verbal intimidation.
Most humans would become nervous just by looking at that kind of "hunting" beast.
As a fellow life form, it inspires awe by its dishearteningly superior athletic ability.
"...... A black... dog?"
---I start to shake.
...... The black dog looking in our direction isn't small like a stray.
As big as a German Shepherd or a Doberman, it just stands there, menacing us.
The girl says nothing, but looks at the dog with disinterested eyes.
I can see it.
I can see its black body moving towards me, but I don't even have time to think about dodging it.
With a terrific "wham!", I fall on my rear.
"Why... you! What in the world are you doing!?"
"Never mind that, keep your eyes in front!"
The girl yells.
I look---Having lost sight of me, its target, the black dog bounds towards the wall.
Sticking to the wall like a lizard, it jumps again.
It bounces from the wall towards me.
The dog's path is like black lightning.
I close my eyes.
The dog's teeth sink into my throat.
But in that instant,
the dog lets out a yelp and releases me.
The black dog lets out a scream and leaps straight up.
There is nothing there, but nonetheless it flies high into the sky by itself.
Just like that---the black dog, after going several meters into the sky, makes a scream and falls back down onto the concrete.
No, perhaps more accurately, it was hit into the concrete.
"---That's quite a mongrel of a familiar. ...... I suppose it was some kind of scout."
The black dog liquifies into some kind of tar-like substance, and is absorbed into the concrete.
"...... It melted... no, maybe it's just dissolving. ----It can't be, can it? There's no way Chaos would be in a place like this."
Heaving a long sigh, she approaches me.
Music: play track 1
"Hey---what was that thing?"
"A familiar of an enemy vampire. We were discovered because you weren't being clear."
"Discovered---you mean... by that enemy vampire you mentioned?"
"Yeah, this isn't good. It looks like I really will need you as a shield now."
She says it so casually, and with a smile.
I don't think she quite realizes that Shiki nearly just soiled his trousers.
"S---stop saying such crazy things, you idiot! You saw me! What do you think I can do!? You're a lot better off by yourself...!"
"Not really. With the power I just used to protect you, I really am empty now."
What in the world?
I'm grateful she helped me just then, but still---
"...... I can't do it. I can't. I don't have the power to drive away something like that. Sorry, but I can't even be a shield."
I think that's her way of inviting Shiki over to her place...