The Let's Play Archive


by Seorin

Part 51

See? Kohaku's nice even if we completely ignore her. Now don't you feel bad?

"Besides, your school is thirty minutes from here on foot, is it not? Please don't be late to a school that's so close by. It would be an embarrassment."
"...... Urgh."
Akiha's words are filled with thorns that stab at me.
But as it's the truth, I once again have no room to make any counter-argument.
"Argh, geez! I couldn't help it. It was so noisy last night that I couldn't get to sleep."

"Ah, I see. You must not be used to your room yet, having just returned... Well, I'll let you off the hook this time."
"No, it's not because I'm not used to the room, but--"

At any rate, those stray dogs last night were really noisy. It wasn't because of the room, it was because of them.

Chapter 9

Super short summary:

Longer summary: Shiki talks with Akiha and Kohaku about the strange noises in the middle of the night, but neither of them heard anything. On his way out the door Kohaku gives Shiki a gift from his late father. After much anticipation, it turns out to be an old knife with a retractable blade. Placing the knife in his pocket, Shiki heads towards school.

As he leaves the mansion's front gate, Shiki notices a commotion nearby. Hisui informs him that the police found some bloodstains near the mansion. Shrugging it off, he simply heads to school. Once there, he has a brief discussion with Arihiko and Ciel about the bloodstains found near his new home (among other things). Ciel leaves and Arihiko warns Shiki that they're going after the same girl. Class starts, and ends.

Wouldn't want to slip back to the Arc path now... and Ciel's path is VERY unforgiving of bad choices.

Music: play track 3

I knock on the tea ceremony room door.
After a brief wait, the door creaks open and Senpai pokes out her head.
"Huh? Tohno-kun?"
Puzzled, Senpai tilts her head.
She doesn't seem annoyed, but it seems like she really doesn't understand why I came here.

The eternal despair of unrequited love.

"Would you like to have lunch together, Senpai?"
Holding out the bread I purchased at the cafeteria, I tell her why I am here.
"Lunch? I'm happy to hear you ask me, but---"
Senpai thinks over it looking troubled.
...... Things don't look good.
It seems Senpai isn't very interested.
I guess I've got no choice. I decide to employ a little strategy.

"Damn, she isn't into me after all. Fuck it, I'll bribe her with food!"

"I have curry bread."
Senpai's face becomes bright and cheerful.
...... I had a feeling about this from yesterday's lunch, but I am amused at her reaction.
"I'll give you this in thanks for yesterday's lunch, so why don't we eat together?"
"Yes, please! I've just put the tea on!"

Senpai hastily vanishes inside.
Following her, I enter the tea ceremony room.

"Tohno-kun, would you like green or English tea?"
"Eh? ...... Ah, green tea, please. More importantly, have you already finished lunch, Senpai?"
"Yes, just a little while ago. I slept in this morning, so I didn't have any breakfast and I was hungry all morning. It was terrible!"
"...... I see. Well, you don't have to force yourself to accompany me. Sorry for intruding on you. I'll eat in the classroom, so please take your time relaxing."

Maybe you should've thought about this intrusion when she refused you the first time.

"Eh---? You mean you're not going to give me any bread?"
Senpai's sorrow seems to resound from the bottom of her heart.

"No, I mean---you must be full, right, Senpai?"
"Not at all. I'm hungry."
...... It doesn't appear she's just saying this to make me feel better.
"Really? Well, I'll be intruding then... Is this really okay with you, Senpai? The bread from our cafeteria really has volume, you know."

I can only hope that his desire for Ciel will override his desire for sibsex.

"How is your new house, Tohno-kun? It seems something terrible happened this morning."
"Hmm... yeah. Well, the inside of the house is really fancy, but there are these really noisy stray dogs at night. I guess it's also bad that there's no TV and no Japanese-style rooms, so there's nowhere to drink tea like this."
"What, a stray dog? You mean what happened at your house wasn't related to those serial killings?"

"I don't really know. There's this really high wall all the way around our mansion, and they say they found bloodstains there. But listen, that's where---"

---I saw the stray dog last night.
I couldn't say it.

"...... Hmm. Well, anyhow, it's got nothing to do with us. Let's stop talking about unpleasant topics, now that we've finally got an opportunity to relax."

"Wait... I came here to talk about sex, and this really isn't setting the mood..."

"Not at all! We're residents of this town, so I think the killings do have something to do with us."

Holding her cup in one hand, Senpai casts a serious gaze towards me.
"Yeah, I guess that's true, but you'll be okay if you don't go walking in the streets late at night, won't you? There's been eight people killed so far already, right? With that many victims, the police ought to catch the guy any day now."
"---Geez, Shiki-kun! You don't have any sense of danger, do you? The newscasters have been saying the same thing since the third victim was found, but they haven't caught him yet, have they!?"

"Oh, alright... I GUESS we can talk about violence instead of sex. "

"But Senpai, why are they calling him a vampire anyway?"
"Well, the blood was drained from all the bodies, right? Isn't that kind of like a vampire?"
"...... You really think so? Isn't it said that you become a vampire yourself once a vampire sucks your blood? These victims are all dead, with the corpses to prove it, so they don't really have to go calling him a vampire."
Senpai laughs and nods.
"Do you really believe in things like vampires, Tohno-kun?"

"...... Hey now, I'm just saying that's how the news is presenting it. If there really were vampires, there wouldn't be any dead bodies left, just like I said earlier."
"Yes, you're right. But can't you think of it like this? The people who were found dead died because they couldn't become vampires. There are actually people who can and can't become vampires, and those who can become vampires wouldn't show up as dead bodies after being attacked by one. Because they're still alive somewhere."

Well she certainly doesn't have any special knowledge on this topic at all. Nope, just your typical third-year student. Nothing odd at all.

"Haha, that's what you'd call a horror story, Senpai."
"Yes, exactly. I'm sorry to say there's no punch line."
Laughing, Senpai sips from her cup.

While we are having our rambling conversation, lunchtime ends.

Music: stop

Chapter 10

Shiki sees a crow outside the window of his classroom and imagines it attacking him. He nearly passes out from anemia, but Arihiko catches him and gets the teacher to excuse him from school. On his way home, Shiki sees a very unusually attractive girl and begins to think very strange thoughts. He follows behind her carefully, stalking her all the way back to her apartment. He takes off his glasses and knocks on her door. As soon as she answers, he reaches through the door and slices her apart into seventeen pieces.

What, exactly, do these choices mean? This is the point where you actually choose between the Arc and Ciel paths, but this choice isn't quite that simple. If you have 2 or more Ciel regard, choosing "this is reality" will put you on her path. Choosing "this is a dream" forces you to have 4 Ciel regard to go onto her path. 4 is the maximum possible, and it's what we have, so nothing we choose will affect the next scene in the slightest. Mechanic (not plot) spoilers beneath the tag:

 There are two reasons I forced it so high without asking for opinions (other than the likelihood of you all making the 'right' choices anyway). First is that we can get an alternate scene in the hotel, but we need a minimum of 3 Ciel regard to do it. Second, we need to get 11 or more Ciel regard by the end of her path in order to get either of her two endings. There are only 14 possible, so forcing that single extra point gives us a little breathing room for later, allowing us to make either one major bad decision or a few lesser ones. 

I included that picture only because otherwise it would break the tables.

"...... Wr... ong."

No, no, that is wrong.

"I'm saying---it's wrong."

It can't be. It just can't be.

"Wrong! ---Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrongwrongwrong...! I don't know her! She's just some stranger I saw walking down the street......! See! Isn't that strange to you, Shiki...!? She's a complete stranger! Why would I have to kill her...!?"
There is no answer to my screams.
Besides, the reason is clear.

From the moment I saw her, I could only think of one thing.

Yes, I----

Tohno Shiki wanted to kill that girl.

I promise, it gets different soon enough.


I feel like throwing up.

"Uh, uggg, uh."

The contents of my stomach rise.

"Ah, aaah, ah!"

The crimson is soaking into my eyeballs.

I dash out.

I don't think for even a moment about how I might be seen, or to hide the body.

I just want to escape from here.
Half-crazed, I flee from the unfamiliar apartment--

Music: stop

*pant*, *pant*, *pant*, *pant*...!

There is nothing left in my stomach.
But my body continues to force me to throw up, as if trying to undo what had occurred and return me to the everyday.

...... *pant*... *pant*... *pant*... *pant*...

It hurts, like my insides are burning.
The tears won't stop, and my body collapses to the floor like a pile of garbage.

"Ah, guh----gu, guguh, guh!"

I keep crying.

...... I killed someone.
I killed her without reason, without mercy. Like breaking apart a doll.

---What was it all about?

Why I felt like that,
Why I killed her,
Even now, I can't find a reason.

"----It's a lie."

No---it's too odd to be true.
That thing that just happened might not be real. So this is just one of those dreams I have when I faint---

What the fuck kind of books did he read where they talked about cutting apart human bodies? No wonder he snapped and killed someone.


Gastric juice drips over my lips.
Passing out of my mouth, dripping down my jaw.
Mixed with the juices is something red.
My throat is probably bleeding because my stomach keeps trying to throw up even when there's nothing left in there.

"O...... u----"

It hurts.
That's why this...
This isn't a dream, and I'm just lying to myself.

Yes, actually, I understand everything.

I lusted after her. Just looking at her aroused me.
When I cut her apart, it was so thrilling I almost ejaculated.
These eyes, too.
If I knew these "lines" could cut things apart like paper being shredded...
I should have understood that even a person could easily be cut apart like I just did to her.
I had lived a normal life without even thinking about something like that.
---If I really am the sort of dangerous person who could easily kill just about anything...

Then I should have put out these eyes or lived a life without seeing anyone.
"...... I'm sorry, Sensei."
---I'm so sorry.

Not even such a simple promise,

was I able to keep----

But I don't care about myself.
I killed that person.
That person's life up until now.
The people around that person,
the future that person dreamed of,
everything---destroyed by a stranger.

Even if I regret it, I cannot be forgiven.
Even if I apologize, I cannot be forgiven.

"Have I----gone insane?"

Not yet, wait 'till later.

Then the answer is simple.
I must be insane.

Dude, I just told you... not yet.

----I've probably been mad since eight years ago, when I miraculously came back to life from a fatal accident.

Ahh, finally, new stuff. I'll be quiet now.

The sound doesn't stop. It's terribly cold.

If I stay----sitting down on this bench like this, I think I'm going to die.

Static, static, static
I don't feel anything.
I don't care about that repeating noise or the freezing cold.

I killed her just because I felt like killing her.
Such a reason is insanity.
...... Yeah, it would be so easy if I was just insane.
But my heart still remains sane.
It's only because I'm still sane that I can feel this numbness.

The knife is still in my hand.
Resolving this by killing myself, that's pretty easy.
But I can't do it.
I'm still sane, so I can't do it.
My heart fears death,
And somewhere in my heart, I know that doing so will not settle this---or atone for it.

The noise continues.
My body temperature continues to plummet.

If I

just quickly


like this...

"Tohno... kun?"
Suddenly, my name is called.
I raise my head.
There's Senpai----it feels like decades since I last saw her.

Music: play track 1

...... Senpai's voice is so painful.
It was only a few hours ago that I had last heard it, but now---it sounds so distant.
"Tohno-kun? Can you hear me...?"
"Nn---ah, yeah. It wouldn't be so bad to catch a cold."
I just reply without thinking.
"That won't do! You'll catch more than a cold with rain like this, even if it is October---"
Her sentence cuts off as she touches me.
"How long have you been like this, Tohno-kun...!? You're so cold!"

Senpai pulls my arm and forces me up from the bench.
"I'll lend you my umbrella, so please hurry and go home, and do something about your body. It'll really be a matter of life and death if you don't warm up quickly."
"...... Ah, yeah. But I can't go home. I can't go anywhere ever again."

...... I can't go home after doing something like that.

I don't think there's anywhere left where I can rest anymore.

"Here, please wipe yourself with this."
She hands me a bath towel.
"Sorry, I don't have any clothes that fit you. Please just bear with this for a while. I'll go prepare something warm for you to drink right away."

...... Senpai retreats to the kitchen.
I'm left by myself in the neat room.
I've never imagined coming into a girl's room like this.
A girl's room.
...... The room of a girl.
A girl's room which I forced myself into and killed a girl in.
I feel like throwing up.
What---am I doing here?
In such a place.
I have absolutely no right to receive Senpai's hospitality here.

Suddenly, her fingers stop.

"...... Um... er."
Senpai takes a long hard look at my chest.
"...... This is a healed wound, isn't it?"
...... Ah, she must be surprised to see the old wound on my chest.
The burn-like marks are right in the middle of my chest. She might be surprised at seeing them because she didn't know.
"...... Yeah. They're fine. It's already been eight years."

"I see. ...... Thank goodness. If this wound was the reason you're acting funny, I'd have to take you to the hospital right away."
Senpai gives a faint, soft smile.
...... A twinge.
When I see her smiling face, my chest hurts.
"...... It's alright. I can do it by myself, so leave me alone."
"Okay. I'll bring you some tea then. Oh, if you take your shirt off, please use that sheet there and warm yourself."

I wipe my trousers with the bath towel.
But even so, my trousers are still wet. The sheet is going to get soaked if I cover myself with it.
I take off my shirt, and wrap the top half of my body with the towel.

"Ah, are you finished wiping yourself? Then let's have some tea."
Senpai sits down, holding a tea set.

"Please sit down too, Tohno-kun. I can't calm down with you standing up."
I do as I'm told and sit down.
Senpai pours some English tea and hands it to me.

Neither of us say anything.
Senpai drinks her English tea as if she doesn't notice my presence.
Following Senpai's example, I drink some as well.

Senpai says nothing.
It's not long before the teacup is empty.
Senpai naturally refills the cup again with more.
"......... Ah."
I get the feeling that I have to say something.

I recoil in shock.
"I'm going out for a bit. Can I count on you to look after the house?"
"Ah... y-yeah. That's fine."

"Alright, then I'll leave it up to you. I'll be right back, so don't do anything funny."

I wonder how serious she is. Smiling as she speaks, Senpai leaves.

...... Senpai didn't ask me anything.
She takes a person like me into her room and looks after me like it's the natural thing to do.
...... Though I didn't notice.
The warmth of the tea, the neatness of the room.
What is many, many times more comforting than those things,
is having someone beside me.

My chest hurts.
A little while ago, I preferred to be alone, feeling nothing.
But now, I become uneasy just by her absence.
I want to scream like I've gone crazy.

...... What arrogance.
I'm a murderer, after all.
I don't have any right to Senpai's kindness.
But I'm selfishly wanting Senpai to quickly, quickly come home-----

"I'm home, Tohno-kun. Thanks for looking after the place."
"---Sen... pai."
It seems Senpai has bought all sorts of things.
There are several plastic bags hanging from her hands.
"Let's see... please wear this for now. It's cheap, but it's better than wet clothing. By the way, the bath should be about ready now. You should feel a bit better after relaxing in there for a while."

"......... Eh?"
Senpai neatly prepares everything.
My change of clothes, a bath...
...... This person is.
Even though there is no need to do so, for a person like me.

"...... Why?"

"Yes? What is it, Tohno-kun?"
"...... Why do you go so far, Senpai? I---don't have any right to be treated kindly by you."
---I killed someone.

I can't have someone taking care of me.

"...... I'm hopeless. I made a very big mistake just then, and I ran away without taking responsibility. I was even considering just dying---"

---I'm trying to cling onto Senpai.

Senpai sighs.
"...... It seems you're convinced that you're a bad person, Tohno-kun," she answers simply.
Senpai grasped the truth lying deep within me.

"But that just shows you have no confidence in your own actions.
You know you made a mistake, but you don't understand whether it's good or bad. That's why you have no choice but to drive yourself into a corner until things become clear to you."
"----No, that's----"

...... I don't know.
But yeah, I am taking in the fact that I did it, yet I still don't understand why.
I've killed someone, and that makes me a bad person.
Maybe I've just been forcing myself into the role of a villain as I try to confirm where my sin lies---

"...... Well, I mean, I'm doing this because I want to.
It has nothing to do with your circumstances. It may be a bother to you, but please just think of yourself as having been caught by a mean-spirited senpai and give up."

Saying this, Senpai smiles.
That soft, protective, faint smile.

Music: stop

Music: play track 9

My throat feels blocked.
Senpai has taken care of me so much my senses feel numb.
During dinner, she spoke cheerfully like she always does.
She raised all the usual topics, about school, about the many shops in the business district, and so on.
...... And although I couldn't give her even one proper answer, every time I responded, I felt a little bit of myself coming back.
Right now, I'm sleeping in Senpai's bed, and can't stop thinking about Senpai, who's sleeping on the floor.

---What a turn of events.
I killed someone only hours ago and now I'm getting excited like a normal student.
My senses really do feel numb.
I didn't think I could ever be showered in happiness like this ever again.

"...... I'm sorry. I'll sleep in the kitchen then."
"Oh, how many times do I have to tell you? You've got a cold, so you can't sleep in a place like the kitchen. It's alright, so please just hurry up and forget your unpleasant thoughts so you can go to sleep."
"-----Unpleasant thoughts."
...... That's impossible.
That's not something I can forget---it's something I shouldn't forget.
Whatever the reason, I killed someone.
To forget about the person I killed would be a sin deep beyond imagination.
"...... No. I can't just gloss over my sins, Senpai. I can't forget about them, and I won't try to.
...... But thanks. You really helped me with all sorts of things today. I really might have died if I stayed like that."
That would be running away.
If I really think I had made a mistake, I shouldn't deny it.

"Sins, you say? It seems like your mistake is something unimaginable for me."
Senpai speaks in a cheerful voice, like she's telling a joke.

I think Shiki should listen. She knows a thing or two about religion.

"...... What? Then you're saying we're beyond salvation? I don't like that story about how everyone makes mistakes."
"...... Yes, I guess we can't be saved if that were the case.
But you can atone for your sins. There are only people who can and who cannot atone for their sins.
I think those beyond salvation are those who cannot atone for their sins."

...... For some reason, Senpai's voice sounds very sad.

"But you can atone for your sins, Tohno-kun. I don't know what kind of mistake you've made, but you are the kind of person who can atone for your sins.
If you're too worried to sleep, then just think about how you intend to live and atone for your sins from now on.
It's a really hard thing to come up with, so your brain is sure to tire out, and you'll fall right asleep."
I don't know how serious she is, as she seems to be throwing jokes into the mix.

"...... I can atone for my sins, huh? But Senpai, my mistake is definitely one that can't be atoned for. That's something I can say for sure."
"Ahaha, that's right. No matter what form it takes, sin cannot be atoned for.
If you injure someone, the sin is not gone even if you heal the wound, is it?
No matter how hard you try, you can't erase the mistakes you've made.

"...... I don't understand. I'm a terrible person. I'm not the great person you think I am."
"I can easily see that. I was really moved just then. You have a terrible wound on your chest, right?"
"Eh...? Yes, but what about it?"
"You must have had a serious accident to get a scar like that... scars tend to distort your mind. A wound that size which doesn't disappear is a little out of the ordinary."

"But you're a very natural person. Anyone with that kind of wound who can lead a normal life can be proud of his own strength. You must have had a very proper childhood."
Satisfied, Senpai concludes her musings and falls silent.
I can hear her even breathing if I strain my ears.
"...... Are you asleep, Senpai?"
There is no reply.

I can only hear the sound of the rain from outside.
"...... Atone for my sins, huh?"
A punishment to fit the sin I had committed.
I guess they'll find the body of the girl I had killed tomorrow, and there'll be a new serial killer story on the news.

I hate to be the one to tell you, but it's not a serial murder if there's only one.

I can't even begin to count the things I'll lose when that happens.
It'll be trouble for Akiha for sure, and I'll never be able to talk to Senpai like this again.

Music: stop

...... Fwoomp.
...... Sssh.

"...... Nn."

...... There's a noise coming from nearby.
I don't feel like waking up at all, but I lazily open my eyes in reaction to the noise.

Shiki LIKES to watch.

What a shame.
If I wasn't in such a deep state of regret over the murder I've committed, or half-asleep, I would be able to fully appreciate how sexy Senpai looks. Right now, though, my head doesn't seem to function properly.

...... There's... something... not right... about this.

Please ignore the swords and other implements of doom scattered below.

Music: play track 2

"Ah, good morning. Did you sleep well last night, Tohno-kun?"

I remember now.
This is Senpai's room. I had borrowed her bed for the night----

"Ah---yeah, good morning, Senpai."
Becoming extremely embarrassed, I hop off the bed.

"A-anyhow, thanks. I'll be going home now."

"Oh, really? It's barely six o'clock, Tohno-kun."
"Yes, but I didn't get permission to stay the night away from home yesterday, so if I don't hurry back to the mansion, there's no telling what Akiha will say."

"Ah, your little sister. Well, I've already called her, so it should be okay."
Senpai delivers her earth-shattering statement with a casual air.
"Wh---you called my house, Senpai?"

"Yes. I thought it wouldn't be right if I didn't contact them about you staying over. Is that a problem?"
I'm at a loss for words.
Ciel-senpai calling my house means a girl has called my house saying, "Tohno-kun is staying over at my place."
That's... well---
"---Yes, it's a problem. A big problem."
If Akiha had been the one who picked up the phone, she's going to think I'm some kind of playboy.
Given the severity of the Tohno household, I don't even want to imagine what would happen if she found out about that sort of thing.

"...... Tohno-kun... did you really hate staying at my house that much?"
"Ah, no, that's not it. It's just that... my house is really strict. It's definitely not because I don't like you, Senpai---"
Flustered, I try to explain the misunderstanding.


"I was just joking. Even I wouldn't directly call your house. I asked Inui-kun to call your house and tell them that you were staying with him last night. There should be no problem with that, right?"
"...... Yeah, that should be no problem... but that was kind of a mean joke, Senpai. I thought my heart was going to stop."

Something about this whole scene really gets to me. Shiki thinks he's a horrible murderer (well, he is, but that's beside the point), yet this kind and innocent girl from his school (well, she isn't, but that's beside the point) takes care of him without asking questions. Even his best friend calls his home to cover his ass so he won't get in trouble while he's dealing with all the crap going through his mind. I guess, even if very few people have problems quite as big as 'murder', it's just a nice idea to think that there might be people to help you unconditionally and without asking questions if you really, really needed it.

"Yes, I'm actually pretty mean. Pick on the ones you like, right?"
"...... Eh?"
---Ones you like? Then that means---

"But, it's true you should go home early. Please hold on for a second."

Senpai rummages around in her drawers for something.

"Here you go, Tohno-kun. It's a little gift for you."
Saying that, Senpai hands me an old-looking ring.
"...... A little gift... what is it, Senpai?"

"It's a protective charm. You seem to be dangerously spaced out a lot, so please hold on to it."
"Ah... yeah---I'll take anything that's given to me, but... alright. I'll take good care of it."
Accepting the ring, I put it in my pocket.

Music: stop

---Senpai sees me off with a smile.

But that smile is one I might never see again.
The woman I killed might be found already, and police might already be at the mansion.
...... But I can't run away from it.
All I can do is thank Senpai and return to the Tohno mansion.

Music: play track 2

"Ah, welcome home, Shiki-san."
As I enter the lobby, Kohaku-san greets me with a smile.
"Ah... yeah, I'm home. Um, Kohaku-san?"
"Ah, do you want breakfast? I'll have it ready soon, so please wait in the sitting room. Akiha-sama has just finished hers."

Kohaku-san patters off towards the sitting room.
...... It's too peaceful.
Maybe they haven't found the body yet.

Out of context, those last two sentences could make a great one-liner under the right circumstances.

For now, I head towards my own room to change.

"Jeez, you're acting like you just got off the phone with some police asking about a random murder."

"Yes, I was unaware you spend the night elsewhere quite often. I am more astounded than angry."
Akiha glares at me.
"...... Uhhh."
It's true I spent the night somewhere, so I can't argue.

"Well, I suppose there was no helping it if you weren't feeling well. The one called Inui-san is your friend from middle school, isn't he?"

Thanks, Arihiko. Sorry I slept with your crush.

"Yeah... I see, so he was the one who called you."
...... Suddenly, I feel uneasy.
Just what did he say when he called my house......?

Goddammit, Shiki, learn to appreciate your friends a little

"Besides, even if you had to leave school early, you could have just called me and I would have sent a car to pick you up.
I don't know why you are so reserved, but you are the eldest son of the Tohno household, Nii-san. Please use everything at your disposal...... Besides, your body is weaker than that of a normal person."
Oh yeah, I left school early yesterday.

See? Arihiko did a damn good job covering for you

"I would never worry about you. ...and I also certainly wouldn't lust for your manly body."


"Oh, I'm fine, just a little worried about that girl I murd... nevermind."

Music: stop

Summary of the following for those that don't want to read:

blah blah blah school blah murder blah blah not murder blah...

The light turns red, and I stop in front of the crosswalk.

The school fence is on the other side of it.
Since it's a school path, the footpath is protected by a guardrail. Even now, the students in front of me are heading towards the school gate.
There's no one but students from our school on the other side at this time of day.
...... There should be no one but the students.
But between the cars rushing by, I feel like I catch a glimpse of someone in white.

"Dammit, I've been feeling guilty about killing you since yesterday! You explain to me why you're alive RIGHT NOW, missy!"

The light turns green.
The students around me walk towards the other side.
I'm the only one amongst them who stands there, stunned.
She sits on the guardrail, her legs swinging idly.
As if she is waiting for someone.
I can't tell how long she's been waiting, but her expression isn't a grim one.

---Who is she waiting for?

She fidgets restlessly, as if she were waiting for her lover.

---I have a bad feeling about this.
The girl in white looks over in my direction.
It's probably nothing more than a coincidence.

She's just a stranger who looks like her. She must be waiting for someone else.
If not, then this moment must surely be a bad dream, too.
After all, I have completely and utterly killed her with my own hands----

Giving a familiar wave and a smile, she hops off the guardrail.
Fluttering her hair, she heads towards me.
"-------Don't come."
This... is a bad dream.
The light turns red.
"-------Don't come near me."
She doesn't even look like she cares, walking straight across the street while the cars pass by.

There's only a few meters between us.
"...... I'm telling you not to come----!!!"
The reality before my eyes does not change even when I scream out.
Screaming in a voice even I don't understand, I run from the girl in white.

I run.
I run with all my strength.
With no regard to embarrassment or shame, I blast through the passersby, running full speed across the asphalt.

*huff* *huff* *huff* *huff*

My breathing is wild, and my heart screams out.
But still, I run.
I feel like I'm going to go crazy if I don't.
I look behind me.
The girl in white is walking towards me.
She's definitely following me.
The girl I've killed is chasing me.
That's more than enough reason for me to run.

Naturally, like she's taking a stroll, she follows right behind me.
*huff* *huff* "...... Haha, hahaha!"

It's not funny, but I begin to laugh.

"Haha, hahaha, ahahahahahaha!"

I can't stop laughing.
But even so, I run. My body complains that I'll die if I run any more, but I keep running.
The reason is simple.
If she catches me, she'll kill me for sure.
I ask myself what I base that on, trying to shake it off as mere imagination. But even as I try to console myself, I am the one who knows best it's true.

There's no reason, no basis, no evidence.
I already know that if she catches up to me, I will be killed-----

I try to pull myself up against the wall, but it's no good.
My knees lose their strength as I try to rise, and I collapse back down.
My body won't move anymore.

*pant* *pant* *pant*

I look up as I breathe.
----It hurts.
I don't have enough oxygen.
I can't think properly because of it.
I can't even tell what I'm doing anymore.
I don't know why I'm doing this.
Why? Why? I don't even know why the girl I've killed is alive.
Unmistakably, I've utterly and completely killed her in the most final way imaginable.
So why?
How can she be waiting for me in front of my school, smiling---?

"Oh? Is the chase over already?"
With light footsteps, she comes into the alley, shrugging her shoulders in disappointment.
"Hello. You really gave me some trouble yesterday."

Music: play track 9

With a warm smile, she comes into the alley.
----I've got to run away.

So thinking, I retreat, only to hit my head against a concrete wall.

"The chase is already over, right? This is a dead end, after all. There's no need to worry about anyone coming along or interfering."
She smiles, looking very happy.

Panicking, I look around at my surroundings.
A desolate alley. I'm disgusted at how stupid I am.
To run away here is like asking her to kill me.

"Don't be ridiculous! Dead people can't be alive!"
"That's true, but there's no need for you to be so surprised. I just revived, that's all."
With that curt response, she makes another footstep, the sound reaching my ears.

The distance between us is gradually decreasing.
"...... Re... vived?"
Stunned, I repeat her phrase back to her.
Revived... you mean some doctor saved her with some surgery...?
"---Don't be stupid! There's no way any human could revive from being cut apart like that---!"
"Yeah. Then again, I'm not human."
Her words are so simple there's no way I could have misinterpreted them.

I'm not human.

That's what the girl in front of me said.

"No... way."
That seems to be the girl right before my eyes.
I try to laugh, but my throat is so dry, I can't.
"...... What the hell is that?"
It's not exactly a funny story.
Besides, there's too many things in this story that aren't funny.
Because definitely...
If she's not human, it explains why she's alive even after I've killed her.

---I start to calm down.

"Ohhh... she's not human! WELL... that's a load off MY mind."

This is a situation where I've got to observe everything and think it over.

Now I can spoil it and re-point out just how fucking odd it is for her to say she lives off human blood.

"I see. You're a vampire---"
She smiles in satisfaction to indicate her assent.
...... What a crazy reply.
I've heard that vampires can't walk around during daytime, but I guess that's a trivial matter right now.
"...... So, what does this monster want from me?"
For some reason, she recoils as if surprised.
After a moment, she puts her hands on her hips and looks at me, irritated.

"Have you forgotten what you did to me yesterday? Even though you didn't know me, you cut me apart the moment we met. You've got to be pretty used to this to ask me what I want with you now."

"Yeah, happens all the time. Dammit, why can't people just stay dead when I kill them? Always coming back to ask pesky favors. It's a wonder I kill anybody at all anymore."

She looks more disgusted than angry.
But right now, that's how I feel, too.
Because someone I've killed is coming to complain to me why I killed her.

Chapter 13

Arcueid makes Shiki apologize and tells him all about her plan to use him for protection. While Shiki is bemoaning just how unlucky he must be to have killed somebody, he notices a crow perched nearby. Shortly after he gets attacked by a vicious, rabid dog. Arcueid kills it after it nearly kills Shiki, then she demands Shiki watch her sleep. (Shiki LIKES to watch ).