Well, I guess we have to choose the option that doesn't involve the amazingly awesome ending
Bitch, please. The other choice worked out fine.
Music: Play Track 6
"You made a mistake, Nii-san. That was your last chance to kill me."
The enemy stops.
Her breathing and stare are full of confidence.
That means, this distance right now is her maximum range in this dark hallway.
"You were so quick earlier. I thought I would still lose sight of you even in this narrow hallway with your speed.
But, that won't happen with this distance. I am close enough to see the color of your eyes, so I can easily track you."
No matter how fast I dash, she is saying she will kill me before I get close.
But---that's only if I dash toward her.
That's just Nanaya's verbose way of saying, "lol, what a noob."
"---You look like you're planning something, Nii-san."
She says the obvious.
There's no need to answer.
"--------Is she stupid?"
I mutter and switch my knife to the other hand.
I take it from my dominant hand and place it in my left.
I have figured out her range.
All that's left---
"---Ridiculous. You're getting scared now."
"I-----I'm not scared......! You're the one being scared and not able to move!"
"...... Okay. You can kill me, right? Then you should do so. If you do nothing, I'll kill you the next time you blink.
---I'm about sick and tired of seeing your face."
I leap back.
More than anything, I slice the red hair coming to wrap my dominant hand.
Akiha's clipped voice.
I then switch the knife to my freed dominant hand.
I slice the hair around my left arm...... It took a bit to free myself on this hand.
I can't feel my left arm.
I can't see any wounds, but there isn't any sense or feeling.
"I see now----that's what it does."
...... No, chasing isn't the right word to use.
There is no way to escape this red hair.
When she sees me, it is already wrapped around me. It is wrong to imagine dodging it or avoiding it.
If it's there, it's there. If it's not, it's not.
Like the air touching my skin, the red hair is already wrapped around me.
Therefore, there was no way to escape from that attack.
If there is anything I can do, it is---before Akiha steals something from me, I have to cut that pipeline...... that red hair of hers.
The interval between her seeing something and stealing from it is only an instant.
But if the target isn't clear in her vision, there is a small time before she actually steals from me. Before she can steal too much from me, I cut the hair to avoid a fatal wound.
That's all I'm doing.
Even though I can see her image of "red hair", it doesn't make a difference that her ability is overpowering.
As disappointed as I am with the lack of killing in this choice, I am still gay for Nanaya.
What's making me uneasy is that the open flesh sends sickening cold air into me.
Thanks to that, I can't concentrate fully on escaping.
My efforts to escape Akiha's gaze gradually become slower and I soon stop.
---And, it now becomes Akiha's range.
"----Oh, what's this? All you can do is run away? I told you, my prey will only end up burning."
She must be confident that I've been driven into a corner.
She stops walking and glares at me.
I love that way of thinking. "Why talk when you can kill?"
"Why you............! Stand still.........!"
Akiha looks down the stairs to try to see me.
Before she can do that, I jump down one more time.
Flying down the stairs a second time causes my knees to protest in agony.
I ignore it and run to the hallway.
I hear the dry sound of Akiha's footsteps rushing down the stairs.
This is the second floor. I can jump down outside and still be okay.
But then, I'll end up like SHIKI.
I have repeated what happened in that dream this much, so I shouldn't have to copy what SHIKI did to every detail.
"Shit...... she's more wicked than I thought."
I cut the hair.
My left leg---It's now just like my left arm.
The sound of footsteps comes closer.
Before she enters the hallway, I dash into a classroom.
See? The other choice was so much better
In my dream, SHIKI was killed right after this.
...... SHIKI's decision wasn't incorrect. He just didn't have a full understanding of Akiha's ability.
The burnt smell of the air.
The temperature's scorching resemblance of deep summer.
And the body parts that disintegrate with burning pain.
All of these facts made SHIKI think that Akiha's power was 'burning' the enemy.
But the truth is just the opposite.
Akiha entangles her target with her red hair and completely steals their "heat". This causes instant freezing followed by vaporization, making it look like it disintegrated.
If it truly was burning, then matters would be hopeless once the flame was lit. No matter how many times the red hair is sliced, it's not possible to cut off your own body.
But---that is just stealing and taking in.
Therefore, even if I get completely wrapped by the red hair, as long as I can cut off the hair before I am completely drained and kill Akiha herself, then there's no problem.
While she lives, she can turn her target into an inferno. But that illusion of fire will die when Akiha dies.
I was already prepared to have my left arm burned when I stuck it out. I was prepared to cut it off from my shoulder once it lit up, but there was no need for that.
That's pretty fucking hardcore.
Akiha's ability will not kill me if I can stop Akiha herself.
Since Akiha is not a true flame user, a surprise attack cannot end up in mutual death if she dies before me.
Well, last time it gave us a dead end when we got impatient.
The footsteps stop there.
She hasn't passed the classroom yet.
She just stands on the other side of the door.
Thump. The inside of my head torques painfully.
Does she know? Does she know?
Then what should I do?
She cannot come in the classroom unless she opens the door.
She needs to come in the classroom in order to see me.
So---as long as this door is closed, she can't kill me.
All of a sudden,
A crash comes from the window.
My brain freezes.
I instantly lose all feeling in my arms and legs.
My heavy body rises up and is slammed against the wall.
My field of view cuts off.
The water in my eyes evaporates instantly and I can't see anything.
I don't know anything about what is going on in the outside world.
All I can understand is what I'm doing.
I'm suspended in mid-air, and just like Kohaku-san earlier, I'm crucified to the wall by Akiha's hair.
Music: Play Track 4
"How careless. It's nothing compared to a natural-born assassin like you, Nii-san, but I can still hide my presence.
Well, that's what I did and while you were paying so much attention to the hallway, I came by from the next classroom. Next time, you should learn from experience and pay attention to the balcony, too."
"lol, I'm a noob and I still killed u."
My neck is being constricted.
"Ah, that was rude. There is no 'next time' for you, Nii-san.
Besides, I'm sorry, Nii-san. I rudely ate you instantly.
Even though I consumed most of you in the heat of the moment, you are still conscious, right? Please forgive my lack of manners since I'll do this right this time."
----Well then, I will have you.
Damn, we didn't get rid of the Red Lock of Hair at the appropriate time and now it's caused our death. We'll have to start again and not pick up the Red Lock of Hair next time. Damn you, Roberta Williams!
Music: play track 3
I like how she's well aware this is by popular demand.
...... Oh my, Akiha-san is like a monster.
Maybe she had something pent up all this time against Tohno-kun, but she has gone pretty crazy.
"I don't think so. That's nothing."
How are those two thoughts even related?
This time, the cause was your carelessness, Tohno-kun.
SHIKI-kun showed you that method was not going to work, but you repeated it anyway, right?
I'll make this a re-submit, so please go back and try again.
There's only one thing left to do.
...and so we end it.
Music: Play Track 4
I focus on the "lines" running along the wall.
...... On the other side, I can hear her footsteps.
More intently, I stare hard at the wall, as if my brain would fry.
...... The footsteps are right in front of me.
Across this thin wall, Akiha is walking, completely defenseless.
...... If I do this well, I don't even have to do it myself.
Tohno Akiha will die, being crushed by the wall. ...... No, the wall is too thin. That won't kill her.
Cutting that long hair and dismembering her body is my role.
Headache. I thought the headache was gone, so why?
-------Throb Throb Throb
This headache. The pain feels like my eyes will burst from my head.
...... It's because I tried to see the lines on the wall.
My head, it hurts.
...... Ah. If it hurts this much, my recent self feels like it will go away.
-------Throb Throb Throb Throb
Ignore the headache.
If I think right now, I will definitely---recognize my mistake.
Before that happens---before I return to Tohno Shiki, I have to kill Akiha before she kills me.
He just BROKE THROUGH THE FUCKING WALL!
Akiha's voice almost sounds comical.
...... That's only natural.
Having a large circle suddenly appear in the wall and burst out against her, she should be surprised.
And, it's all over.
I jump through the opening in the wall and into the hallway.
Over here---my figure is completely hidden from Akiha's view by the wall.
The collapsing wall rushes towards Akiha.
The red hair wraps around it.
...... It even steals heat from inorganic things? The wall starts to break apart.
Before she can break it down, my knife dismantles it.
The wall falls into clumps of varying size.
Music: Play Track 9
It all happens in an instant.
This scene, it lasts for one instant.
Her hair races back up.
It wraps around my body.
But---it is too late.
I slice through both the wall and the fiery aura around her.
She won't be able to instantly put out more heat, not that it matters.
Because my knife is far faster than her hair as I push her down and get on top of her.
My knife is raised. All I have to do is pass through the "line" running from her left collarbone to her right lung.
But, Akiha's hair is wrapping around my arm.
It flows around my neck, around my body. I know that if I wait, in an instant, my body will be vaporized.
But, this headache does not go away.
My head hurts, Akiha.
Even though the command to kill repeated itself so many times in my head,
and I hated you so much,
Why did I wake up?
Why did Akiha suddenly look like her old self?
If it wasn't for that, I would have brought this knife down.
Talk about an unsatisfying ending
...... My skin is burning.
The hair that wraps around my body steals my heat.
My vision starts to fade.
I can't force Akiha down.
With a breath.
My body is so light now that it feels like Akiha could blow me over with one breath.
But---my arms are still alive.
I can still make it. If I don't die, victory is mine. As long as I can kill her now, she can't steal any more of my heat.
But still, for some reason, I can't bring down my knife.
How incredibly naive.
Akiha will kill me without hesitation.
I already know that.
Because Akiha, she's not the Akiha from before.
But still, such a thing.
I just can't, do it.
I hate this ending so much.
It has bothered me many times, but I have to thank it this time.
No, no you don't... it's still a bother!
...... I was wrong.
Thinking that just because she isn't human, she isn't like the old Akiha, it's acceptable to kill her.
No matter how much she changes, Akiha is Akiha.
Always helping me, always waiting for me, my dear sister.
The only thing she's about to help you do is die, idiot.
Why did I think I could hurt her?
.................................... Thro, b
My headache disappears.
The strength in my body also disappears.
As my mind dims, I put all my strength into my arms so my knife will not descend on Akiha.
Music: Play Track 7
"...... Stop it. It's not fair to die looking like that. ...... I'm the one to blame here, so you should hate me to the end. Can't you even say that you hate me for killing Kohaku?
Kohaku had to hate me too. I'm the daughter of Tohno Makihisa, and I kept her bound to the mansion while I knew her feelings."
That's right. Shiki 'wins' not because he can do, well, anything... but because he looks so goddamn pitiful.
"...... That's why I thought it would be okay if it was Kohaku.
If she wanted revenge on the Tohno family, then I would play along. Even if drinking her blood made me less than human---because she hated me, I thought it couldn't be helped."
Akiha was the same as me.
She knew. She knew that Kohaku-san plotted on our downfall, but still---
"But it couldn't be helped, right? I had no way of making it up to her.
...... If she wanted it, then the most I could do as a member of the Tohno blood was to support her."
"........................ That's wrong."
I surprise myself as I voice my thoughts.
I'm still---alive, it seems.
It's just that she couldn't find any other purpose, so she only desperately acted out that plan.
...... That, that was all she could do.
All she could do was try with all her might to deceive herself into thinking that she had a purpose to live.
"Akiha. I think I led a happier life compared to you or Kohaku-san.
...... So, I'm sorry. I don't know. Neither your pain from being bound to the Tohno family, nor Kohaku-san's pain, where this was all she could do."
Because that made for an awesome ending when you actually went through with it <>
"...... Nii-san. Maybe you can still make it."
Akiha still being pinned, she looks up at me aimlessly as she says this.
"...... You'll die soon, Nii-san. But if you kill me, I think you can make it. ...... Well, Kohaku is no longer alive, so I can't say that for sure."
Her eyes turn serious as she looks up at me.
"...... Right? So please hurry up and swing down your knife. That will save you."
Akiha sulkily says those ridiculous words.
...... Geez. I'm saying that if I could do that, I would've already done it a long time ago.
"...... Fine, if you can't do that, then I will be the one who survives.
Okay? Starting tomorrow, I will turn these streets into a painting of pure hell. Not just Hisui, but I will make people like your dear friends suffer."
...... I can tell she's pretty serious.
You know, I would like this ending a whole lot better if Shiki died here and the Epilogue was Ciel destroying Akiha.
Why do you look at me like that, Nii-san?
...... I'm no longer the Akiha from before. Even now, I want to bite into your neck.
Just like SHIKI, I'm a crazed, possessed monster, right? Then you should return to how you were like before and kill me once and for all."
She pouts and looks as if it was all my fault.
...... She says I should kill her.
That's certainly my own words from before.
But, that. That isn't good.
"----I can't do it. I can't kill you, Akiha."
"You're thinking about me from before? But I'm different. I'm not the Tohno Akiha you know."
"---No, that has nothing to do with it.
Even if you were possessed and it was to destroy that---as Tohno Shiki, I can't harm Tohno Akiha."
...... I love this black haired girl who forgave me so much these past eight years.
Even if I love her as a sister, different from the way she feels.
"...... What are you saying? You have always hurt me, Nii-san. If you can't even realize that, then you really are dense, aren't you?"
Always has been, always will be.
Her whispered voice is very gentle.
And then, she brings both her hands on my stopped hand.
With just that, I can see her intentions.
I try to pull back, but I have no strength.
...... Just like she said, I lost the freedom to control my body a long time ago.
"Sto------stop it, Akiha.........!"
I frantically raise my voice.
Akiha pretends not to hear me and smiles.
"...... Geez. That's why I have to do it all myself even now."
Her smile seems happy, but also full of sadness.
She puts power into her hands.
Akiha looks disbelievingly at that figure.
I---just like Akiha, stare blankly.
Music: Play Track 8
"Yes......! Akiha-sama, it is me......! It is me, so please---please let go......!"
...what? Where did you come from? Why aren't you dead? WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF ENDING IS THIS!?
With a face close to tears, Kohaku-san pulls the knife away from Akiha.
".................. Ko, haku."
Akiha is in a daze. As if the demon that caught a hold of her has completely left, she stares at Kohaku-san in surprise.
"............... I see. You were alive, Kohaku."
"----Yes. Akiha-sama, you only made me lose consciousness.
At that last instant, you held back from killing me."
Her eyes flicker with sadness.
...... Even while possessed by fury, there was still humanity deep within Akiha.
That---was what saved Kohaku-san and Akiha.
You have seriously got to be fucking kidding me.
She closes her eyes as she lets out that breath.
"Go ahead, Kohaku. ...... Nii-san wasn't able to, but you can kill me, right? I tried to kill you, and I am the daughter of the hated Tohno Makihisa."
Kohaku-san holds the knife and stares at Akiha. And she shakes her head.
----It is, terribly quiet.
Like melting ice, time flows by calmly.
".................. That's strange. I wonder why even Kohaku can't kill me."
With her eyes still closed, she speaks softly as if she was sleeping.
"Of course. It is because I like you, Akiha-sama."
The knife Kohaku-san was holding clatters to the ground.
"............... You're asking something pretty difficult."
A deep sigh.
Akiha averts her gaze as if she was pouting.
"But, I guess it can't be helped. I owe you from before, so I won't do anything for now.
...... Same for you, Nii-san. I will think that it's good enough for you to love me as your sister."
Um. Hooray for last minute 180 degree reversals?
----Her hair flows.
The binding around my body disappears and I collapse to the floor.
My mind starts to recede.
My cold body starts to drift towards sleep.
But before that,
I watch the peaceful moonlight and think.
After a while, after I've gotten used to living in the mansion.
I think selfishly that we'll be living happily like right now----
"Akiha unconscious, me 70% dead, Kohaku on the brink of tears... yes, I want to be happy like this forever."
With a name like that, you know this ending is going to suck.
"Shiki-sama, please wake up. Shiki-sama."
...... I hear a voice.
Hisui's voice that I have heard so many times.
"It is past time. I do not think it is a good idea to keep sleeping like this."
...... Hisui's reserved voice.
But, with that, it's impossible to wake me up since I was so excited last night, I couldn't get to sleep.
"---Shiki-sama. Please wake up or I think Akiha-sama will be mad at you again."
My mind snaps from its dozing.
It's so very like Shiki to not only spend his life terrified of Akiha, but to WANT to do so.
Music: Play Track 3
I jump up from bed.
Hisui stares at me from the side as I panic.
I can hear the voices of cicadas from outside.
Chiiiiiiiiiiirp. Chirp. Chirp.
It's still morning, but the sun is streaming in pretty strong, and my sweat drenches my pajamas.
Well, that is, it's a pretty typical summer morning.
"Good morning, Shiki-sama."
Hisui gives a succinct bow...... She acts very calm, but I get a bad feeling about all this.
"Hisui. Don't tell me Akiha hasn't left yet......?"
"Yes. Akiha-sama is waiting in the sitting room until she sees your face, Shiki-sama...... That's right, I think she has been waiting for about an hour now."
I look at the clock.
It tells me it is around ten in the morning.
Methinks Hisui looks a tad jealous.
"...... Got it. Anyway, I'll go to the sitting room right away. Please go there ahead of me."
"As you wish. Then, excuse me."
...... Hisui courteously exits the room.
After changing into the clothes I got ready yesterday, I sling a bag over my shoulder and leave my room.
Her, too, but that's nothing out of the ordinary. God, why can't she be dead?
"Hey, good morning, Akiha."
"Good morning, Nii-san. You're taking things slow for the morning of a trip, aren't you?"
She looks at me with a sharp glance.
"...... Sorry. I couldn't sleep last night and was awake till early morning. This is still getting up early for me."
"Oh? Looking forward to a trip so much you couldn't sleep? How cute.
Nii-san, are you looking forward to playing with Inui-san so much?"
"You bet I am!"
"Why do you sound like that? Of course a trip is fun."
"I see. You seem almost drunk with happiness. You've been waiting for this day since the start of summer, right? I don't know where you are going with Inui-san, but there has to be something really good waiting for you there, right?"
"Oh, he's not waiting there. We're going to travel together!"
"Well then, Nii-san. How long will you be gone?"
"...... Seven days. Why do you ask?"
"Oh really? That's pretty short. Since you can only see her once in a while, I thought that you would spend your whole summer break there.
Nii-san. Don't you feel sorry for Kohaku like that?"
"Wh---wh, wh, what are you saying? I'm just going on a random trip with Inui, I'm not going to see Kohaku-san at all......! Anyway, I see her all the time. She's still coming here every weekend, so there's really no need for me to go see her............"
"............ There's really no need, but...... she probably is lonely, and........."
I stare down at the floor.
---Damn it, what's wrong with it?
It is summer vacation after all, so they should pretend to not notice that I'm going to go see Kohaku-san.
"I'll leave it up to you, Hisui. I will be back in the evening, so we can maliciously gossip about Nii-san then."
What's with all these shifts in Akiha's personality, and even Hisui's?
It's all part of this mixed up trainwreck they call an ending. This never would have happened if only you killed your sister!
"I will be going. Nii-san, you should be going as well. I'm not hoping for any souvenirs, so please relax."
Akiha disappears towards the lobby.
"Man, I want to find a good man too!"
She leaves her last complaint loudly.
"......... She seems to be getting more cheerful each day."
I really didn't think things would end up this way.
...... She still has the urge to drink blood, so every once in a while she will suck on a blood pack used for transfusions.
Akiha absorbed some sort of evil spirit from SHIKI.
That's why she originally went on a rampage, but since then, I guess she has control over it.
Simply put, it weakened when it transferred to Akiha, and its only influence is making Akiha strong-willed.
...... Well, she's more like a bully than strong-willed, but if I tell her that, she will get angry, so I'm not going to.
Deep down, she's a psychotic murderous demon, but she can choose not to be so it's okay.
Not only did it make her a bit more honest, but it also increased her power.
Thanks to that, Akiha can exert better control over her Tohno blood. That's probably why she can hide the color of her hair.
...... To say the results, she's pretty much invincible, and as her dear Onii-chan, it's pretty troublesome to keep her under control.
...... But at the end of the week, she comes back here and the four of us pass the time together like always.
Before, I asked her why she decided to do that, and she answered that there was something she wanted to investigate and that I should wait patiently until she is done.
Because I love her, I couldn't refuse, so all I can do now is wait.
Since then, even though Kohaku-san and I can meet at the end of every week, being alone together is difficult because of Akiha and Hisui.
Also, Kohaku-san and Akiha are on very good terms.
Kohaku-san likes Akiha, and Akiha cares for Kohaku-san.
...... About me and Kohaku-san, Akiha has acknowledged it openly. She did, but...
"That's fine. If you're going to do as you please, Nii-san, then I will just do as I please."
She added that random exclamation which can really mean anything.
It means you're going to die in your sleep Please?
That's how it was, and in the midst of all that complexity, I received a letter from Kohaku-san.
The letter said that there was something she wanted to show me, so she wants me to go to Nagano during summer break. After seeing that, I planned this insane trip immediately.
I am supposed to be spending the week with Arihiko.
But Akiha and Hisui doubt me...... Geez, those two, what do they think of me?
"Damn women, always making me feel guilty for my forbidden love!"
"Shiki-sama, if you do not hurry, will you not miss the train?"
"Ah---crap, this isn't the time to be spacing out."
Always one to be prepared, Kohaku-san arranged transportation for me out to Nagano.
I have a reserved seat on the train, so if I miss it, I'll have to pay out of pocket to ride...... For a poor student without a job, that would be like suicide.
Will kill self for $50, need to get on train
Music: Play Track 2
Maybe it's because this is a really rural area, but I'm the only one in this car.
Sitting by the window, I stare at the flowing scenery.
The radiant sun illuminates my vision while the wind wafts comfortably on my cheeks.
I glance down at the letter.
There is a picture included in the letter, and the address of where we're meeting.
...... I say address, but there really isn't one. It's more of "take a left here, a right there, and down this path" sort of place without an address.
This picture has to be of that place.
"------A place to return to, huh?"
Where it is, I do have a feeling without it being said.
...... Kohaku-san probably remembered where it was.
Those trivial words that Tohno Makihisa said. Just working off that information, she must have found that forest.
That black forest.
Hidden from sight, the old mansion in the heart of the mountains.
The place where Nanaya Shiki spent his childhood.
That's at least kind of cute, even if they do conveniently ignore a whole lot of details to get here.
The sunshine that is so white.
The smell of the air untainted by the touch of civilization.
The endlessly pure sky, the shimmering summer air that rides on the wind.
The wild grass of spring. The starry sky of autumn. The cold ground during winter of my home.
In summer, it was---the bright flowers that steal your breath away.
---There, she is waiting.
There is a suspicious lack of white 'Fin' or 'End' screen here, but this is Kohaku's only ending that has an epilogue. I still think of it as a 'good' ending.
Music: play track 9
It's not a 'True' ending!
Thank you so much for all your hard work.
After a long time, their stories have ended.
Now I wonder what that could be referring to?