Part 48Earlier on Tsukihime...
Young Shiki wanders out into a field in the middle of the night and witnesses the brutal murder of his mother and several unnamed others. The only thing he can think about is how pretty the moon is. Next, he wakes up in a hospital having survived a terrible accident. Following the accident he can see mysterious black lines covering everything, and if he runs a knife along those lines he breaks stuff. He meets a mysterious woman by chance and spends several afternoons with her, talking in a nearby field. Before she leaves, she gives him a pair of special glasses that make the strange lines disappear.
8 years later, Shiki leaves the Arima home for the last time. He's only leaving for school, but afterwards he'll be returning to a different home: the mansion he grew up in. On his way to school he reminisces about the Arimas and also about the sister he left behind when he went to live with them, Akiha. He's eager to see her again upon returning to the mansion, but doubt also plagues his mind. His wandering mind almost causes him to be late for school, but he runs and makes it just in time. Except there's a strange noise coming from somewhere and he isn't sure if he should investigate...
Our choice is clear... Ciel path, here we come! Interesting side note: very few choices will guarantee you a certain path, but many of them will permanently bar you from several. Making this choice locks off the far side paths.
Whoever could that be? Certainly not the woman whose path we're pursuing.
What is she doing? There are only a few minutes left until homeroom.
"---Maybe she doesn't have a watch."
At the moment, that's the best I can come up with.
...... Still, to notice and then just ignore her would be somewhat cruel.
I approach her unhurriedly, trying not to surprise her, and speak.
Music: play track 3
"Hey, homeroom is starting soon."
The squatting girl raises her face. The ribbon on her uniform displays the color of a third-year.
The older student looks at me while holding her hammer.
Her gaze through those glasses is so direct I feel like I'm being pulled in.
Her serious eyes make me want to apologize for bothering her.
The splint she was facing is rotten beyond use.
Fancy meeting you here. Who'd have thought?
---I take in the situation with a single glance.
The girl with the hammer is repairing the broken-down splints, paying no mind to the fact that her tidy uniform is being dirtied. She has sweat on her brow, and it looks like she had been swinging her hammer in a most serious manner.
...... But as far as I know, there is nobody in charge of repairing public property at this school.
"Um... What is it?"
The older student asks, adjusting her crooked glasses.
"Uh, it's nothing. I was just wondering what you were doing."
"Ah... as you can see, I'm in the middle of fixing the splints."
Yeah. I can see that.
"That's not what I meant. I was wondering why you are doing something like this. Won't the maintenance people take care of it anyway?"
The older student laughs to hide her embarrassment.
"I'm the kind of person who can't stand seeing a mess like this. I just can't leave them alone."
It seems as though she is repairing the splints because she just couldn't let them stay that way.
What an odd senpai.
"That's why you're fixing it on your own? If you don't like the mess, why not just avoid coming here?"
"Well, my classroom is over there."
Senpai points at the second floor classroom facing the courtyard.
"My seat is next to the window, so it's easy for me to see the courtyard... Well, usually I just bear it, but when I took my seat today, I was surprised to see all the splints in this area were broken."
Senpai's face clouded, as if to say, "Isn't that terrible?"
...... Apparently she's upset, although she doesn't look seriously angry.
If this were the Crescendo thread, now would be a rather appropriate time for a 'boiling' joke. Then again, I'd also have gotten a few good 'fragile' jokes, too.
"...... Alright, I understand all that, but how about we leave it here for now? Homeroom is in less than five minutes, and if it's this bad, won't the school get around to fixing it pretty soon?"
Gripping her hammer, the senpai with glasses shakes her head furiously.
"I won't be able to concentrate with the garden like this, even if I go to class. It'll just sound like nonsense to me, and then the teacher will say, 'Hey, you! What are you staring at?' I'll get yelled at for sure!"
Senpai continues to grip the hammer while she emphasizes her point.
"...... Well, I suppose the teacher would be upset if you kept looking outside."
"He would, wouldn't he? That's why I have to do it now."
With that, Senpai begins her repairs once again, clumsily hammering away. She's obviously not used to using a hammer.
She's really more of a sword kinda gal.
*Clank* *Clank* rings the hammer as it hits the wood.
...... By the looks of it, there isn't just one or two broken splints.
I can't begin to guess how long it will take her to repair all of them on her own.
The bell begins to ring.
"...... Looks like first period's started."
I give up, considering things have gotten to this point.
I sit down silently and begin to help repairing the splints.
Thirty minutes have passed.
I can't stay here any longer, and only one more would be no problem for Senpai.
Come to think of it, just who is she?
I hadn't given it any thought because of what I was doing, but when I stop to consider her I realize she is quite beautiful.
Someone this good looking would be known by every male student. They'd be talking about a "third-year beauty".
That's... not depressed at all.
It's a little late now <>
"Ciel-senpai... isn't it?"
Apprehensively, I suggest her name.
"Yes, and I'm glad you remember. You seem the type to space out and forget, Tohno-kun."
...... I don't think I space out, but there's nothing I can do about the fact that I forgot.
"See you later, then. Sorry for keeping you."
Ciel-senpai bows again. I watch her go, then start to walk towards the school building.
Music: play track 3
I slip into the room while everyone's busy talking.
My desk is the window seat in the very back row, so I can sneak there without drawing any attention.
And, when attendance is taken in the second period everyone will probably say, "Hey, when did Tohno get here?".
It's a strange quirk in an otherwise dull class.
----But I guess that plan won't work this time.
"Yo, truant boy! It's totally unlike you to be late."
It feels like reality is being hammered back into me after the pleasant time I spent with Senpai.
We're 10 pictures in and he's already got the hots for her. Oh, to be 17 again....
His hair dyed orange, his ears pierced.
His vicious glare that screams he will pick a fight with anyone, anytime, and his wearing of rebellious clothes.
A button-down shirt. You rebel, you.
Inui Arihiko is the only free-spirited outlaw in our university-oriented high school.
"We've been bitter enemies since middle school, right? If you make a carefree face like that in front of your rival, you'd better be prepared for trouble!"
In any case, Arihiko is a loud guy.
"Yo! Morning, Tohno!"
Before I know it, everyone in class is looking my way and greeting me.
"...... Shut up, Arihiko. You're ruining my chance to slip into class unnoticed!
And why am I your 'rival', anyway? There are plenty of other tough guys around, so stop bothering me."
...... Well, he still owes me close to 10,000 yen from middle school so I guess that does make him my enemy.
That's actually a decent amount for a high school kid.
"Why are you only mean to me, Tohno? You're like a saint to everyone else. It's not fair."
"What, you just figured that out? Life's not fair."
"...... You really are only mean to me."
Hey, on the Arc path he's mean to her, too! Wait...
I didn't try particularly hard to be cold to Arihiko. That's just the kind of relationship we have.
"By the way, Arihiko, what's a chronically-late night owl who never shows up until second period doing here in homeroom? It's a little... no, it's very odd."
"Ahaha... I was thinking that too. I guess being at school on time isn't just for when I happen to wake up early."
"...... Well, I won't comment on your hobbies, but what I'm asking is why you woke up early."
"Why I woke up early? Uhh... I guess it's because I can't stay out late since all that fuss started, so I actually go to sleep at night now. You've heard the stories about those serial killings, haven't you?"
"What was that again? They've given it some really nasty name, like the 'Freakish Serial Killings' or something."
"There's more to it. So far, all the victims have been young girls. The eighth victim was only two days ago! And to top it all off, they were all... wait, what happened to them again?"
Arihiko tilts his head in contemplation.
I'm an idiot for asking him.
"Yeah, I remember now! All the victims had cross-shaped slashes on their throats!"
I see Miss has decided to join us.
"Well, anyway, that's what happened. Even I wouldn't be going on the streets at night with a killer walkin' around. That's why I've been waking up at seven lately."
"...... What, that's it? Having a good reason doesn't make a good story. Where's the fun in that?"
I sit down while dealing with Arihiko.
"Man, you're cold. What, did you collapse from anemia already this morning?"
"I'm alright, thanks for asking. If I was anemic twenty-four hours a day, I'd be dead by now."
"Yeah, you're right. If you say you're okay, then I guess you're okay."
The bell rings while we're talking.
"Hey, class is about to begin. Hurry up and get back to your seat."
"Yeah, alright. Oh, by the way, we'll have lunch today in the cafeteria instead of on the roof. I've invited a special guest, so look forward to it!"
With a scheming laugh, Arihiko returns to his seat.
"See you later, Tohno-kun."
"Ah... yeah. Sorry for keeping you, Yumizuka-san."
Her light footsteps tap across the floor as she returns to her desk.
That's cold, Shiki. Real cold.
In the time it took me to upload the pictures for this update I could've fully edited and commented the next one. The update will have to wait until WaffleImages hates me less, but in the meantime this is the next choice you'll get to make: