Part 141One more for today. I'll try and get one of the endings up tomorrow if I can, but I won't be home this weekend so the other ending and Kohaku's path (with all of four choices) will have to wait until next week.
Except that, you know, they are. Unless Shiki is bloodless now
For an instant, the scene flashes in my mind.
It does. I don't need to post the image, either. You know what it looks like... and will never be able to forget.
That hot summer day.
I was looking down at my blood-stained self as if I was another person.
"...... So. Someone must have been killed here."
Whether it was me or him, I don't know.
Which one was adopted?
Which one is the monster SHIKI?
"...... If I think about it logically, I had to have been the one to kill him here."
"That is incorrect. The one who was killed, was you, Shiki-sama."
I turn around.
I don't know when she arrived, but Hisui is there.
Music: play track 8
"Hisui. You woke up already? ...... Don't push yourself. Aren't you still tired......?"
"Shiki-sama, you are the one who should not push yourself. You are still losing energy at a great pace, much more than you have gained."
Hisui stands before me.
...... My pulse picks up.
Hisui standing so close to me really does make me feel more alive.
"Wow, my body really is warm. ...... I think it is your warmth coming into me."
"But Hisui, what are you saying? You say that I was killed here---do you know what happened here?"
"...... Wait a sec, Hisui. The one who was killed was the adopted Nanaya kid. So wasn't he the one who died?"
"No, you are the one that died, Shiki-sama."
Hisui answers directly.
----Oh, I see.
Then that means--.
"---I see. So, I'm the adopted child?"
"...... Yes, you are a descendant of the Nanaya family. Makihisa-sama adopted you, the only surviving member.
...... Your name is Shiki---and because Makihisa-sama found it amusing that his son was also named SHIKI by a strange coincidence, he adopted you."
"Our names----are the same?"
"Yes. It is natural for you to be confused. And you are different from us; you were really adopted into the Tohno family."
I can't speak.
...... Such a thing, isn't a shock or anything.
I remember not getting along with my old man from the beginning, and I never felt quite right in the mansion...
So such a thing---
Such a thing----
Note the glazed over eyes...
Even if it were all lies, I---
"...... I am very sorry. Saying things that cause you sadness."
"No, I'm fine. I'm not sad."
----I say that, but I know it's a lie.
I don't know what kind of feeling it is.
But it is true that I feel an emptiness in my heart.
"---But, that's weird. People of the Tohno bloodline have powers don't they? He...... if SHIKI is a vampire, then what am I?
I'm not the same as him, but I have these strange eyes."
"...... I do not know in detail. But Akiha-sama said that you are the same as Nee-san and I, whose families are enemies to those of 'mixed blood'.
...... We have the power to synchronize with those we exchange fluids with, and the Nanaya family had the power to fight demons."
"...... I see. But then, why was I adopted by the old man? It doesn't make any sense why he would adopt an enemy."
"...... Shiki-sama, you are the inheritor of a very special bloodline of demon hunters.
Asagami, Fujyou, Ryougi and Nanaya.
These four families are the enemies of 'mixed blood'.
I think Makihisa-sama brought you here to help fend off something."
"...... I mean, how did he even get a chance to adopt me in the first place?"
"I...... I heard that you were the only member of the Nanaya family to survive..."
"......... Ah, I see."
Ten years ago.
The Japanese style house nestled deep within the mountains.
Surrounded by a black forest, a rustic world isolated from the flow of history.
...... I can't, quite, remember it well.
All I can remember is that pale, blue glass moon.
And in the forest's clearing, a figure that looked like Tohno Makihisa was cutting up lots of people.
"...... Well, I understand that I was killed by SHIKI here. But how is it that I am living as Tohno Shiki right now?"
"...... Yes. Without a doubt, you were stabbed by SHIKI in the chest and on the verge of death. But by some miracle, you were able to recover.
You were saved and SHIKI also survived.
Since no one died, everything should have ended right then. But SHIKI became something that could not be shown to other people."
"I see, so a replacement was needed for Tohno SHIKI. The name of Tohno Makihisa is in the top of the business world; his son can't just suddenly die."
I still don't get that.
"...... Yes. Makihisa-sama pretended that the Nanaya child died, and had you live as Tohno Shiki...... It was all to protect the family name."
"...... I get it, it's something the old man would do."
Yeah, everything fits in now.
Even though I am Tohno Shiki, I'm not technically part of the Tohno family. Besides Akiha, no one else holds that blood.
So my old man sent me to live with the Arimas, and contrived a situation where I couldn't be the successor since my health was bad even though I was supposedly the eldest son of the Tohno household.
Akiha--she knows that I'm not her real brother......?"
"...... Yes. She heard it from Makihisa-sama after you were adopted.
But, Akiha-sama would always insist that you were her real brother.
...... Every day, Makihisa-sama would tell Akiha-sama to forget about you.
But, Akiha-sama would never agree. Even though she would be scolded severely, she still waited for you in her heart.
"...... If you knew the truth, you would leave. That is why Akiha-sama told us to never let you know the truth.
Akiha-sama always helped Nee-san and myself. Nee-san was Makihisa-sama's servant and was not allowed out of his room. Akiha-sama hated that and freed Nee-san.
So---for Akiha-sama's sake, we continued the lie. Akiha-sama, all of us... we wanted you to come back."
So. I am thankful to Akiha.
She welcomed me, nothing more than an outsider, back into the mansion. She even calls me brother.
...... So, I'll have to keep it up too.
If she is willing to call me Tohno Shiki, as her brother, then I don't care about the name Nanaya Shiki.
I have to continue being her brother, continue being Tohno Shiki----
Let it be said that being a brother does NOT involve sex!
"...... Geez. I just got helped by you, Hisui, but I'm still having these headaches."
"---Shiki-sama. Your body's weakening is because of that incident eight years ago. At that time, SHIKI stole your life and is using it to prolong his own life.
That---that is why you are weakening, and why you are linked with SHIKI."
"...... I see. So, that's how it is.
In other words, as long as I don't do something about that killer---SHIKI, I won't be able to return to normal."
"He hates me? ...... I don't get it. He's the one that killed me. I can understand me having a grudge against him, but why would he have a grudge against me?"
"No, SHIKI sees you as someone who has killed him. Shiki-sama, you have caused the existence of Tohno SHIKI to disappear."
"......? I caused him to disappear......?"
"Yes. You were certainly killed by SHIKI.
But once your life was saved, you took SHIKI's place as Tohno Shiki.
...... After that, the SHIKI who was confined somewhere must have viewed you as a threat.
Tohno SHIKI is still alive, but there is now someone else existing as Tohno Shiki.
SHIKI is still alive, but you have taken away everything as Tohno Shiki, and he became something that has no name, no existence."
"...... I see. So he views himself as the rightful Tohno SHIKI, and sees me as an impostor. No wonder---"
SHIKI wants to kill me and get everything back.
"But, that is coming to an end. I will protect you, Shiki-sama. No matter what SHIKI does, I will not let him kill you once again.
...... Even if the killer SHIKI walks the streets, he will be disposed of. So please, until then, rest in your room."
Rest in my room......?
No, that won't help me.
She doesn't know it, but our fusion gets worse by day.
if he really does go crazy, I don't know if I can stay sane myself.
"...... Ha. He's a guy who would hurt even himself to get his revenge."
...... Revenge? No, that's not it.
...... The SHIKI who says he was killed by me.
...... The SHIKI who sees me as an impostor.
...... The SHIKI who repeatedly says he will kill me.
...... The SHIKI who says any of this would not have happened if I was not here.
...... The SHIKI who has lost his sanity like Tohno Makihisa, killing people in the streets.
---The one who died in the distant past,
the child called Nanaya Shiki.
Unconsciously, I grit my teeth.
"Don't be ridiculous----I'm the one who has the right to be bitter, SHIKI."
the old wound on my chest starts to hurt.
There's only one way to stop this pain.
"Please stop, Shiki-sama......! With your body like that, it will be too dangerous."
"Hisui. Sorry, but there's a knife in my room. Would you go get it for me?"
"---I refuse. I cannot let you go."
"...... Oh well, I'll get it myself. Watch over things when I'm gone."
Turning my back to Hisui, I walk away.
"Shiki-sama! If you do that, I will really get upset......!"
Silently apologizing to Hisui, I head back inside.
He'll listen tomorrow, Hisui... when he's horny again.
"...... Hisui. Please, go back to the mansion."
"...... I refuse. You did not listen to my words, so I will not listen to yours."
Hisui peevishly tosses her head to the side.
"Now look. I'm not saying you're going to get in the way. ...... Um, the place I'm going to is very dangerous, so I want you to stay in the mansion."
"You say that, but should I leave, you will collapse. If you really do want to go, it will be a big problem for you unless I go along."
"Eh---your power, is like that?
But, we did that...... we joined our bodies together so much, shouldn't I be good for a while?"
"...... No. That is just like a ritual to form intimate bonds between us. Even if someone has exchanged fluids with me or Nee-san, they cannot receive energy if we are not nearby."
"If you still order me to stay here, I will. Please, decide on what I should do."
Hisui looks at me directly.
...... It seems my answer is already decided.
If I can't get to school without her help, then I can only let her come with me.
Well, this is shaping up to be beautifully disastrous. I can't wait!
"Shiki-sama, is this really the right place......?"
I don't have the words to answer her.
I've only seen him being in school in my dreams.
"...... Let's go, Hisui."
We walk through the front gate.
"Shiki-sama, this is--"
Hisui halts immediately like I did.
Night hangs over the school building.
As soon as I pass the gate, I feel something wrong in the air.
"Hisui... what did you eat?"
----Creak, creak, creak.
"...... This feeling, it's--"
I've felt this ill wind many times in my nightmares.
The air is thick with a murderous intent. Hostility. Hatred.
Inside the building,
the darkness is filled with murderous intent as if a battle to the death is occurring like in my dreams.
"SHIKI...... he's fighting someone?"
...... I don't get it.
There couldn't be anyone that would be able to fight an inhuman monster like him.
Hisui speaks this, as if resisting the urge to throw up.
Akiha hasn't been in the mansion since morning.
She left with Kohaku-san and didn't return all day.
...... Last night...
When I was locked up in my room,
Akiha told me to just wait a little longer.
"Wha---? ...... Don't tell me---Akiha----!?"
My legs spring into action.
Before I start to think, I dash towards the building.
Music: play track 6
A high pitched sound assails my eardrums. It shakes the windows.
---The sound, it's coming from the floor above me.
"...... Just stay close. Let's go, Hisui."
Grabbing Hisui's hand, I bolt to the stairs.
---Still holding her hand, I go up the stairs.
I clench my teeth.
I remember about the time when I left the room and overheard Akiha and Kohaku-san talking.
Akiha said she would kill SHIKI---her brother. I know now that she didn't mean me, but she meant SHIKI.
Without a doubt, the ones fighting right now are Akiha and SHIKI.
Ohh, so instead of Shiki, she meant SHIKI, but you thought she meant Shiki since you had forgotten about SHIKI and now she's fighting SHIKI while Shiki was at home getting his rocks off, but then Shiki left in search for SHIKI (who is being fought instead of Shiki).
I run up the stairs as fast as I can.
I turned her away, not trusting her.
I haven't done anything to act like her brother, but still she calls me her brother.
----And now, she is fighting the killer SHIKI by herself.
Shiki? No, SHIKI... Shiki... SHIKI? ShikiShikiSHIKIShikiSHIKI
...... I just have this terrible, awful feeling.
Akiha---Akiha can't possibly win.
Will SHIKI kill her?
...... I don't know. I don't think he will kill Akiha since he persistently went after Akiha in the dreams.
But, on the other hand...
I don't think he has the same definition of being 'persistent' about someone. Our definition is obtaining the ones we are persistent about.
I can't understand his broken conceptions since I'm not.
No, even a lunatic couldn't understand another lunatic's thoughts.
Since the lunatic himself can't understand it, no one understands it, and he has to be alone.
She can't be killed by SHIKI! Because SHIKI wants to kill Shiki who wants to kill SHIKI!
As I arrive on the fourth floor, that sound screeches once more.
It's close. It feels like it is in the hallway past these stairs.
The worst mental image still writhing in my brain, I dash into the hallway.
The Moonlit hallway.
In the freezing air that cuts into my lungs,
Akiha is standing, a few yards down the hall.
Like blood, a deep crimson.
---At first, it looks like Akiha's blood.
But that's not right.
What is red is just her long, long hair.
The one kneeling before Akiha is him---SHIKI.
Akiha is looking down at him.
...... Drawing close behind her is the figure of Kohaku-san.
SHIKI is seemingly on the verge of death and gasping for air. Akiha is not even breathing wildly.
Unbelievably, it would seem Akiha is the one overwhelming him.
SHIKI's screams echo through the hallway.
His evaporating body is covered in smoke.
His body under his kimono has mostly bones showing, like a mummy.
But he still lives, his gruesome form still staring at Akiha. His eyes filled with fear.
On the other hand, Akiha's clothes are undisturbed.
...... Even from here, I can understand it all.
Her surroundings are distorted like a heat-induced mirage, and it seems more out of this world than the air in the building.
"Haa, g, uwaaaaaa.........!"
SHIKI claws at his evaporating body.
Akiha calmly observes without carelessness.
----These two's powers...
They are fundamentally different.
"Amazing...... Akiha-sama, that is...... amazing."
Behind me, Hisui speaks in surprise.
That's exactly what I'm thinking too.
...... What is this? You can say she is superior, but that's too much.
She is too overwhelming----
Music: play track 9
"Why--why are you treating me this way? I'm your true Nii-san."
the distortion around Akiha increases even more.
"I love you, Akiha. I only love you. That's why I kept living in that damn basement, trying to kill that impostor and trying to get us back to being brother and sister! ...... So why, why are you getting in my way, Akiha?"
"...... I'm not getting in your way. This is nothing more than my duty as the head of the Tohno household---the duty to pass down judgment on all those in the family who stray from being human."
"I'm the head of the Tohno household! If he was not here, I would have still been SHIKI. I could have always been your Nii-san. Wake up, Akiha. That impostor is just deceiving you!"
The distortion around Akiha increases even more.
After closing her eyes briefly, she looks at SHIKI as if she is parting with him.
"---I am not being deceived. You are not my Nii-san......!"
SHIKI hides his face with his hands.
...... But that is pointless.
I don't understand what kind of power Akiha possesses.
But that---takes away heat from everything in her view, anything she can see. It is an inevitable "plunder".
...aaaand, that's a good place to stop for the day.