I swear I picked the right option.
Am I running away?
From that----monster who mercilessly, cruelly, one-sidedly slaughtered all those people?
Run away and pretend like I never saw it?
After being the only one to survive, I'm just going to run away without any pangs of guilt?
The lines of death only I can see.
Didn't that important person once tell me that I have this power because there would be a time when I would need it----?
"...... Yeah, I know. I can't run away by myself."
I look up at the ceiling and take a deep breath.
Fortunately, that prepares me just a bit for what is to come.
"Alright----I'll help you, Arcueid. I think it's my duty to do so as the only one who survived in that hotel."
"The question is how I'll act to do that. I froze as soon as I looked into his eyes at the hotel, so I think all I can do is to approach him from behind so he won't notice me and then get him somehow."
"Oh, that. That was just because your will is weak, Shiki. Nrvnqsr's Mystic Eyes are nothing special, so if you just discard your doubts, you should be able to deflect his gaze even if you look right into his eyes."
Arcueid casually mentions it, but I'm still nervous.
"Shiki, you are about to fight a monster called a vampire, so throw away your human morality, even if it's just for tonight. They'll only weigh you down in the crucial moments."
"--I understand that much. He's a monster, so that's why I wanted to help you stop him."
"No, you don't understand. Cut off his limbs? Don't do something so suicidal. If you've got the time to cut off his limbs, first cut off his life.
Nobody else can but you. Listen to me and don't give Nrvnqsr the chance to retaliate. The difference in your offensive abilities is just too great; if you miss your first strike, you've got no chance of winning whatsoever."
Arcueid's eyes are unforgiving of any denial.
It's exactly as she says. If I take my time cutting his limbs off first, I might find my head being eaten by the mouth of an crocodile as I do so--
Or a shark. Don't forget the land shark.
"Shiki. Nrvnqsr will come at midnight tonight. That's when we'll---no, when you and I will kill him until he can be killed no further.
Not how to act.
But how to kill, think only about that."
Arcueid's savage eyes are staring straight at me.
She is---really angry.
Angry that I still hold such naive notions.
"---I understand. I won't hesitate.
I'll take out his 'point of death' in a single strike. That's what I should do, right, Arcueid?"
"What's wrong? If you've got something to say, then say it. I've decided to help you, so I'm willing to take risks."
"...... It's useless. You haven't used the word 'kill' even once. At this rate, you'll just hesitate at the last moment and be killed."
"---That's not true. He's a monster who's eaten over a hundred people. There's no way I'd hesitate to kill him."
Arcueid gives a small sigh.
"---If I controlled you, I could make sure you killed Nrvnqsr.
I've felt that I wanted to do so for the first time, but I also felt that I didn't want to for the first time. It's kind of like a big contradiction."
...... Arcueid turns to face me, mumbling something I didn't really understand.
Then, I'll hide in a bush where I can see Arcueid, and wait for Nrvnqsr to arrive. While Arcueid keeps his attention, I approach him from behind and cut his 'line of death'----
The park is empty.
It's ten minutes before midnight.
Arcueid has her head tilted up, watching the blue moon above her.
I grip the knife tightly.
Arcueid said that Nrvnqsr will definitely come.
So all I have to do is get behind him, approach him without making too much noise, and then cut his 'line' in one breath.
I try taking a deep breath.
My body is moving just fine.
Except my fingers gripping the knife. They are tight and immobile, as if not part of my body.
that I have to kill him soon.
My breathing speeds up.
My heart pounds, as if it's not a part of my body.
"Calm down--he isn't even here yet."
That's right. The target has yet to arrive.
I'm beginning to worry I won't even be able to move my feet by the time Nrvnqsr arrives at this rate.
"Arcueid... aren't you scared?"
I stare at the white girl vacantly looking up at the moon.
She doesn't look uneasy at all.
Her face looking up at the moon comes down.
At the same time--
"---It seems I have kept you waiting, Princess of the True Ancestors."
A heavy voice, like rusted iron.
That's why Arcueid looked down.
More than five meters away from her, and more than ten meters away from me, a man in a black coat appears like a ghost---
"---Impressive. I would never have dreamed anyone would call me by the name I went by while I was still a human.
Just what one would expect of our Executioner. I suppose you have long found out all there is to know about the current Twenty-Seven Ancestors of the Dead Apostles."
I can hear Nrvnqsr's reply clearly as well.
My breathing grows louder.
Arcueid is drawing Nrvnqsr's attention.
This is my only chance.
I take my glasses off through sheer willpower.