Music: Play Track 9
A black field.
I instinctually feel homesick. As I child, a small child, I always played in this forest.
Just in case it wasn't already obvious, I just want to clarify that I'm using a copy-pasted script and these are not typos. Well, they are, but they're not MY typos.
I always go out in the dead of night.
Since my parents and siblings feel uneasy about getting seen by people, we usually don't go out during the day too much.
So, this is just like any other day.
I walk out of the garden alone into that forest and I encounter those people I don't know.
The black field is an even darker shade today.
It isn't a natural darkness.
It's as if it was being radiated from a dull lamp.
The fresh carpeting of blood looks like wild berries.
It is awfully hot.
As I take each breath it feels like I'm bringing fire into my lungs.
The heat is as intense as summer.
Is that why?
I keep hearing those reed warblers in the chilled air.
A scarlet deeper than red.
A name for that has been passed down in the Nanaya oral tradition.
You know, since Shiki is now the last living Nanaya, I think their 'oral tradition' has become something quite different.
Crimson Red Vermillion.
A name that points to an existence that has awakened to the nonhuman blood of its ancestors.
It describes a person whose ego is subsumed by a transcendental self and loses all sanity.
It is said that the red Evil Eye is a sign of being possessed.
Like a mirage, something shimmers behind it.
Laughing around aimlessly as if insane.
It doesn't look like it's having any fun.
With the reed warbler's cry, its body becomes hazy.
It disappears as if eaten by the surrounding bush.
...... A voice calls me from the distance.
I'm scared to be alone, so I should go towards the forest.
Within the vale of trees, I hear sounds like they are having a festival. Crash! Crunch! Smash! Splat!
A festival of ancient Norway, maybe
Nanaya Shiki walks toward the back of the forest.
Music: Play Track 2
I open my eyes to the morning sun streaming from my window.
My pajamas are drenched with sweat.
...... It seems I had a weird dream.
It was like that really old silent comedy film...... I'm not too sure, but that one where that actor with a black derby hat and a mustache keeps getting in all sorts of situations... it was a dream where it felt like I was watching a movie.
Because the graphic slaughter of your entire extended family is *hilarious*
"...... Come to think of it, I never did dream when I stayed at the Arimas."
Actually, I never did dream since I was a kid.
My doctor said that I sleep so deeply that I can't dream.
Then, maybe the dreams I see since coming back to this mansion are actually my memories instead.
"...... Wait, isn't that what you call a dream?"
Well, I'll leave these little things for scholars to debate. As a student, I should go to school.
"---Alright, time to get up!"
I get up from bed.
I see if I can lift my arm vertically.
I finally lift it up.
Just doing this expends all of my energy and takes me about a minute.
"...... What's going on?"
This is like a dead body.
Or maybe like a robot without any power.
Either way, I can't move.
But still, my mind is sharp and I don't feel any pain.
I challenge that first statement.
I start to call her then stop.
Yesterday I said those things while I embraced her.
I don't know what Kohaku-san thought of that.
...... I don't think she knows that I know about her and Hisui trading places, but it's still difficult for me to face her now.
---In the end, I take off from school today.
When Hisui came to wake me, she immediately turned pale and called for Akiha.
As soon as she heard, Akiha came running, and I guess neither Akiha nor Kohaku-san knew what to do because they called the doctor in to perform an examination.
As usual, it came up with nothing.
As expected, Akiha ordered me to rest in bed afterwards.
Music: Play Track 1
Was it the wrong decision?
Last night. Maybe I should have stayed in that alley waiting for SHIKI no matter what Akiha said.
"......... I have to go tonight."
I can't cry over the fact that I can't move.
I have to stop SHIKI as soon as possible.
I have to save up all my strength until tonight so I can do that.
I like how often Shiki gets into a situation where he can't possibly move and yet, at the appropriate time, he can get up, walk downtown from the boonies, and engage in a fight to the death.
"Shiki-san, are you awake?"
Kohaku-san opens the door and walks in.
"Yes. It's been a whole day, hasn't it, Shiki-san?"
She closes the door with a smile.
"...... That's right. Yeah, that's right."
I suddenly feel awkward and look away.
I can't speak to her directly now. Not only am I worried too much about SHIKI, but I also haven't figured out a excuse yet for my stupidity last night.
"Shiki-san? Why do you look so down? You really don't feel well?"
She looks into my face.
"----No, that's not it, but..."
Blushing furiously, I somehow manage a calm response.
...... This is bad.
I said it would be difficult to meet her, but just seeing her face uplifts me.
That's a great word to describe exactly what's going on there.
Since I could not see her for a whole day, just having her beside me makes me so happy, I forget about SHIKI.
"If there's nothing, please leave. If Akiha sees you, you'll be in trouble."
"I do have something. I thought that I would ask if you wanted anything special tonight to eat?"
"To eat? ...... Since I'm like this, I think something easily digestible would be best."
"Heehee, don't worry about such delicate matters, Shiki-san.
The doctor said you could eat as you please. So tonight I'll make you whatever you want to eat."
...... I do have foods I like, but I think right now nutrition is more important than taste.
"---I see, then something really nutritious.
I have to get as much power as possible to stop SHIKI tonight---"
"Huh? Stop yourself, Shiki-san?"
Kohaku-san confusedly tilts her head.
Crap. I let that slip without even thinking about it.
"---I see, you know about it."
"Um. Do I know what?"
"...... That I was adopted, and that Akiha has a killer brother called SHIKI."
Her smile freezes.
"...... I see. Shiki-san, you found out about it."
But, that's just for an instant.
Kohaku's act of "Hisui from the past" doesn't crumble.
"But SHIKI-sama is no longer in this world.
You are the only eldest son of the Tohno family now. I think it's best to forget about it."
She keeps smiling.
The same smile she had when discussing the evening menu.
Shiki is not really listening, is he?
---This is the only thing I can do.
I don't know how to save this person or erase the sin of Tohno Makihisa.
All I can do right now is to stop the killer SHIKI and extinguish that Tohno blood.
Aww... Shiki is just so stupidly well-intentioned that Kohaku can't help but melt.
"...... Wait, Kohaku-san...... hear what?"
Kohaku-san doesn't answer.
...... But she isn't acting normal. Even someone thick-headed like me can tell.
My pulse starts to increase.
Unsurprisingly, Akiha's lies are one of the things NOT unique to this path.
"...... Please wait. ...... It's okay, you don't have to say anything."
"----Shiki-san. The one known as Tohno SHIKI is no longer in this world.
Certainly SHIKI-sama was a blood sucking demon and killed people on the streets.
But that is all over.
...... Five days ago, by Akiha-sama's hand, SHIKI-sama was exterminated."
No matter how much I try to pretend I don't know any better, somebody always guesses what's really going on. Somebody that is occasionally named ROSE WOOD *cough*
"The SHIKI that killed people and drank their blood is no longer alive.
So...... that means that all the recent incidents, they are all---"
---SHIKI is no longer alive.
The only one that is left.
Leaving every night to walk the streets,
the blood sucking demon named Tohno Akiha.
Ignoring her voice, I fly out of the room.
This is the man that nearly passed out from sitting up in bed. Seriously, of all the little oddities in these stories, Shiki's amazing ability to continue on despite wounds, excessive fatigue, or whatever the hell plagues him is one of the worst.
"What is it, Nii-san? Entering without knocking is pretty rude, you know."
I catch my breath as I stare at her.
No, I'm definitely glaring at her without realizing it.
Akiha senses the emotion in my look.
"Nii-san.........? Did something happen?"
I take one more deep breath and calm my breathing.
Suppressing the pulse in my chest, I glare as I speak.
"----Akiha. What is the meaning of this?"
Her face tightens.
...... With just those words she probably figured out what I was going to say.
After staring at me wordlessly, she walks casually over to the window sill.
The deep sky.
The red rays of sun glaring through the sky and into the room.
Like three days ago, she turns her back to the crimson sky.
Music: Play Track 8
"Nii-san? If you don't say anything I can't help. Or---will you go back to your room and pretend nothing happened?"
With that, I understand she was really deceiving me all along.
"You already know why I killed SHIKI.
I am the head of the Tohno family. It is my responsibility to exterminate those that become controlled by the Tohno blood.
What I did was by consensus of the family, and even you wanted to kill him."
The hairs on my body stand on end.
---What is this?
Who is this person in front of me?
Who is this that takes away my breath through sheer pressure?
"No---that's not, what I meant."
"Oh? Well then, there's no problem. Killing someone who isn't human isn't a sin, right?
It is just like killing a dog that attacks people. It is on the same level."
"I said that it's not about that......! What I want to say is, why did you hide it from me......!"
THIS SISTER! C'mon, you can do it!
"---You killed SHIKI five days ago."
"Yes," Akiha nods.
Five days ago---that night when she collapsed.
Hugging me while she was crying, trying to hold something back.
"Then the recent vampire incidents aren't the work of SHIKI...... they are all your doing."
"Yes," Akiha nods.
The detached building in the forest,
where Akiha was sucking Kohaku-san's blood.
At that time--SHIKI was already gone and Akiha was still committing those acts.
Kohaku-san even asked why Akiha wasn't satisfied with just her blood.
SHIKI was, but you---you don't seem strange."
"Yes, I am not like SHIKI. It's obvious because I'm drinking Kohaku's blood so I don't become like him."
"...... Then! Why aren't you satisfied with just her blood!? You said it yourself, so why---"
Why are you doing the same things as SHIKI..................!!
Thankfully, it is not Shiki's penis (this time). We narrowly managed to avoid that bullet.
"...... How do I put this...... ever since I killed SHIKI, I became unable to suppress my emotions any longer.
I become unusually strong minded, and my lust takes shape when I normally would have just kept it inside.
So I guess I just became honest with the desires I held back for so long.
I needed Kohaku's blood to maintain my body, but I was getting bored of that taste since I had been drinking it for few years."
"---Yes, you probably will not understand, but the first time I tasted the blood of someone other than Kohaku, it was simply amazing. It was so delicious I thought I would go insane."
She smiles from the bottom of her heart.
The wavering mirage.
The only time I sensed this danger was when I...... No, that was SHIKI. When SHIKI was killed in that dream.
"Don't look at me like that. I only stole their blood. SHIKI took their lives as well, so you should not look at me like that, Nii-san."
"...... Only, their blood......?"
Akiha is neither defiant nor remorseful.
She just smiles as she looks at me and speaks as if it was a matter of course.
"Stop messing around......! Why---that...... why, Akiha? There's something wrong with you......!!"
Somehow warding off her gaze, I take a step closer.
It must have worked, because she swallows her words.
"You must know, too. What you're saying isn't right......!"
I take another step.
After looking away peevishly, she bites her lip and glares at me.
"...... There's nothing wrong. I drink the blood of other people only for your sake."
My legs stop.
After she strongly bites her lip, she relaxes.
If, by 'normal', you mean he has nigh-irrepressible killing urges.
"...... But, I could not allow that. You were killed protecting me, so I was the one that should have died.
I was saved by your bloody body. You were already dead, but you still protected me. ...... I do not remember everything that happened afterwards clearly, but I just remember thinking only that it would have been better if I died instead of you."
"---That wish was granted.
See, it's like what happens in a fairy tale. Like giving your blood to dead birds and dogs so they can live again.
My power is really the opposite, but I guess I put that curse on you.
You miraculously recovered and ever since that day I have carried a load...... come to think of it, it was only natural. It is because I shared half of my life with you, Nii-san."
"...... Akiha. That time you had that fit, it was all---my fault?"
"...... Yes. As long as I keep you alive, I have to use the powers of the Tohno blood. If I do that, my human blood becomes thinned.
If it becomes too weak, I will become something less than human, just like SHIKI.
To prevent that, I have to only use the minimum of my powers. But if I do that, I can only maintain your life and I can't support my own body."
"...... As a result, those fits occur. Sensing the danger, my body tells me to stop providing you with energy or just become one with the Tohno blood.
It is only thanks to Kohaku that I have been able to resist it this long. As a Synchronizer, she can strengthen one's will. I regularly drank her blood to strengthen the human part of Tohno Akiha."
"But, I thought if I killed SHIKI it would be solved. If SHIKI died, then he would no longer be able to steal your life."
...... That's right.
If SHIKI is no longer alive, then I could have my life to myself, so I wouldn't be anemic anymore.
"Hehe. But, it really is funny. If anyone other than me had killed SHIKI, then you would have been back to normal.
Didn't I tell you? I stole everything from SHIKI. I do not have the power to synchronize like Kohaku. What I stole, I cannot give to anyone else."
She strangely gives a heart-felt smile in pure self-deprecation.
"After killing SHIKI, I felt a weight lifted from me. Those spasms I had every evening did not occur, and I felt great.
...... I do not need to say why, do I? Because, in place of SHIKI, I am now stealing your life.
But, I just took it and I can't give it back to you, Nii-san. Unlike SHIKI, I do not have the ability to fuse."
In other words, Akiha has been giving Shiki her life, and it was being stole by SHIKI. Now Akiha has taken the place of SHIKI, so Akiha is giving Shiki life that is being stole by Akiha.
That makes... no sense. She can give Shiki energy, but she can't help but steal a ton of it back, so she has to get more energy to give to him above and beyond the energy she's stealing? So where does the energy she steals go? Poof? If she were a battery, she would explode. Why isn't she a battery!?
"Nii-san. Maybe I am just a blood sucking demon, but it is all for your sake.
Will you still not allow it? Not as Tohno Shiki, but will you kill me as Nanaya Shiki?"
I don't know what to say.
Whatever she says, I'm Tohno Shiki.
I won't become what I don't even remember, as Nanaya.
But, my body is different.
Just seeing Akiha causes all the strength in my body to coil like a spring.
It's like, it's trying to do something to the nonhuman Tohno Akiha.
"...... No. It isn't about Tohno or Nanaya. I just don't want you...... as Akiha to have to drink blood. I don't want you---to be like SHIKI."
"Nii-san. I'm doing this for your sake. Don't you understand that?
Even that time---I told you how I felt and you didn't even say anything.
I told you, that I loved you, so why do you look at another woman......!?"
"You've had eyes for that kimono-wearing hussy all along! Don't you know you have a perfectly good sister!?"
...yes, actually, I think you've got it! Because you are siblings, you can't love him in that way. WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND!? ...seriously, if many more of these types of games are LPed we need an :incest: to go along with
...... That may be the first time she's yelled like that.
Akiha's shoulders rise and fall as she pants heavily and bites her lip regretfully.
"...... Nii-san. I don't care if I become no longer human. If that means you can live, then I do not care what happens.
So please---look only at me. I was always waiting for you. Now that you came back...... do not betray me."
---Her fingers tremble as she says this.
She closes her mouth and awaits my response.
She wants me only to look at her.
...... I didn't think Akiha, with her pride, would ever actually say that.
----But, that's wrong, Akiha.
Without a doubt, she is dear to me.
...... Akiha has saved me up until now. So I want to grant her wishes as much as I can.
But, still---she is my sister.
I can't love her in any other way.
Because the one I think of the most isn't her---
I love how the reasoning isn't "because she is my sister." He's pretty much admitting that Kohaku's existence is the only thing stopping him from incestuous desires.
She walks to the window.
The wind blows her long hair freely.
"That kimono-wearing hussy, I'll show her! I'll show him! Nobody will stop me from sexing up my brother! I'll show all of them!"
"...... Oh? But, Nii-san. You do not have a choice."
---Her eyes become glaciers.
In that instant,
My body collapses to the floor loudly.
"How is it, Nii-san? Returning to how it was eight years ago."
I can hear her laughter.
"A............... Aki, ha----?"
I somehow manage to look up.
Her eyes are filled with pleasure as she looks at my deteriorating, fragile situation.
Music: Play Track 4
"-----, Ss, -------!"
My heat cools down.
I feel like I'm rapidly tumbling towards death.
My senses start to drain away and I'm scared that if I let my guard down, I will totally disappear.
...... What she is saying is the truth.
Akiha clutches my very heart in her hands right now----
"You're pretty strong-willed. I took enough energy away to cause you to pass out already."
...... Her finger lowers.
Her finger traces on my back.
Her nail finds the scars on my back.
"...... Beautiful. The cuts I gave you are still here."
Those marks she gave me when she was holding me and crying.
...and I thought the Hisui path was creepy
I take it back, I take it all back! PUT ME BACK IN THE LOCKED ROOM WITH THE GIRL WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE IF ONLY I HADN'T GIVEN HER HOPE!
"Answer. I will not be gentle forever, you know."
............ You've gotta be kidding me.
Using her power like this on me, I won't cave in......!
"----Geez. You really are strong-willed, Nii-san."
Her finger pulls away.
"I understand. I will give you until tomorrow to think about it calmly."
Akiha walks away from me and picks up something that looks like a receiver.
"Kohaku, come to my room. There is something I need you to carry."
Her voice sounds happy.
...... I can't think well.
All I can understand is that Kohaku-san, will be, here soon.
The door opens and Kohaku-san arrives.
"Shiki-san......!? Hang in there, Shiki-san......!"
...... My mind must be really messed up.
Kohaku-san. She sounds, so tense. I don't believe it.
"Akiha-sama, what have you done?"
"Nothing. I just showed Nii-san how things stand. It seemed he would not understand unless I told his body."
"But I can't just let him lie here all night. So can you take him to his room? He will be in that state at least until tomorrow night."
Akiha turns away. ...... It seems like she's going to her bedroom. That fiery aura swirls behind her back like a mirage.
"............ Shiki-san, can you stand?"
......... I can. That's what I meant to say, but I can't even do that.
Kohaku-san lends me her shoulder.
Tohno Shiki is lying in bed.
My wheezing drowns out the ticking of the clock.
My body feels like every joint is bursting like a firecracker.
Consciousness comes in shards. I am probably alternating between waking and fainting in between each second.
---It's because of that, I suppose.
I don't know how long it's been.
It feels like a week since I came back to my room.
...... The clock pointed at the number eight tells me that it is just an illusion.
My breathing, almost, stops.
When I had a terrible fever, it wasn't this bad.
My body doesn't move.
But my heart is racing.
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
My wildly beating heart seems to overpower Akiha's curse.
If my limbs are nailed down,
then it feels like my heart will burst out of this nailed down body.
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
What is so exciting?
---Akiha with her red hair.
Just thinking of that makes those immobile limbs somehow convulse.
Probably, my body would move to do one thing.
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
...... What's in my head right now?
Akiha horribly filled with pleasure earlier?
That was certainly strange.
Certainly she has that in her character, but that was just too much.
It's like something that she doesn't even notice is controlling her.
No, I think she just REALLY wants to fuck you and she's through holding back.
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.
I try to suppress my raging heart.
Geez, what am I being so excited about?
If I keep going through this cycle, won't I actually start to feel that way?
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.
"Ha-----agh, ha, hagh------"
My throat hurts.
My body creaks.
Don't you get it?
I can't oppose her with this body.
If you want to kill,
if you want to kill that, then shut up for a second.
If you do, I will certainly destroy that demon without you telling me so---
"No............! What, like I would ever............!!!"
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
The mad pounding continues.
I, faintly, cycle between blankness and awareness, dream and reality.
---I can't last until tomorrow.
If this keeps up, I'll go insane first---
Since I may not be able to update this weekend, I leave you with this: in that first dream, where Shiki talked with SHIKI over several cans of coffee (link)... what was happening? 'Nanatsu Yoru' featured prominently, and Shiki woke up with red "paint" on his arms and hands. Was it really a dream, or did he actually go out, kill people, and then have a chat with SHIKI?