Part 71Music: play track 2
"Hehe, that's right. I will be late to fifth period too. I thought I would skip the rest of class, but maybe I should seriously attend class after all."
Senpai smiles happily.
"...... Senpai? Don't tell me, you've been taking classes......?"
"Of course I was! I wouldn't be dressed like this if I wasn't!"
...... She seems quite angry.
"Hey, what's so funny, Tohno-kun!?"
"No, it's just---so happy and so angry, I knew that you really were Ciel-senpai after all."
I really am happy.
You really are stupid, too.
In a flash, Senpai looks up at me with emotionless eyes.
...... It's hard to speak. It's hard to speak, but this is why I came after her.
"What does that vampire hussy have that I don't, huh?!"
"...... Anyways, I can't just ignore this vampire. But I kind of broke up with Arcueid because of yesterday, and I can't do anything without help.
So---if you're looking for this vampire, can I help you?"
...... Senpai is quiet.
She takes a deep breath.
And says so with a smile.
"You refuse? Why!?"
"Of course I would! Tohno-kun, don't you remember almost being killed by her!?
Hunting vampires means being in continual danger of death. I will not let you be involved in such a thing, Tohno-kun!"
"---I know, but I'm saying I'm prepared for that! I might not look like it, but I've experienced many near-death situations. I can at least protect myself!"
"...... Um, Tohno-kun. How can you say that?
I will admit that you have very good athletic abilities. Even though you have a weak constitution, your body itself is excellent."
Slumping her shoulders, Senpai says something very surprising.
"...... R, really?"
The tension seems to disappear, and I blurt that out in response.
"Yes. Tohno-kun, you got naked when you spent the night at my house. I saw you then. Not flabbiness, but tight muscles.
You were far away, but I thought your body was very well-formed."
"...... Naked-----But I, didn't get naked."
"Did you forget? Tohno-kun, did you not change before you entered the bath?"
Ah, that's right.
Certainly I did take off my clothes and had her wash them for me---
If she is, I think you're the one that should be embarrassed.
"Geez, look! No matter how good your body is Tohno-kun, ordinary people cannot stand up against a vampire."
Oh, that's why she doesn't want me to fight.
"I see. Then, it's no problem."
I take off my glasses.
I take out my knife.
Somebody gon' get stabbed.
My headache starts to flare up.
Resisting that, I cut an appropriate "line" on a nearby tree.
"--I, see. So it isn't the knife that's special, but it's you, Tohno-kun."
"...... Not special. It's just a side effect of an accident I had."
"---That is why she was so interested in you. Your eyes have too much power for an individual to have."
She suddenly seems drained of all energy.
"...... Certainly, with that kind of power, it is more dangerous to leave you alone Tohno-kun.
And even if I did refuse, you would probably search for the vampire yourself anyway, and he---couldn't afford to ignore you."
"Senpai......? You mean---"
"Yes. I do not want you to be involved, but it's too late. I cannot deny that you have any connection to this any longer."
"So, it's okay if we go after this vampire together?"
"Yes. I am prepared to do that."
Senpai extends out a hand.
But I can feel it's different than when we shook hands in the cafeteria.
Of course, I take her hand.
Our hands meet briefly, and the handshake is over.
"This makes us a team now. I am counting on you Tohno-kun, so please count on me.
From now on, the two of us will hunt down the vampire in this city."
She speaks with a gentle smile.
As I nod wordlessly, the chime sounds, signaling the end of lunchtime.
Not the tea ceremony room, I don't like that place anymore
I really don't like where this is going.
Dammit, don't tell me...
I breathe hard----
I dash towards the tea ceremony room.
...... *pant*...... *pant*...... *pant*.
My heated body doesn't cool off that easily.
I painfully gasp for air.
My body is drenched in sweat, and I feel terrible.
My gasping fills the air.
I've been resting for a while, but my breathing is getting worse.
In the first place, why is my body tired after only running this little distance......?
Music: play track 4
Oh son of a bitch.
My mind is drifting away.
My fingers claw at the tatami mats in pain.
I pull and rip at the mats.
But, it doesn't stop the pain.
"Hagh, ghah, ghaaaaa......!"
Such pain, is frightening.
"U, ugah, kuaaaa.........!"
I can't bear it.
If it lasts another second,
then, it would be better, just to die----!
"Fine. I'll grant your wish Shiki."
I lift my head off the floor.
I don't even feel heavy.
I don't even feel... alive.
I try to say something, but my throat doesn't move.
not even, freedom.
I don't know what's going on, so I try to get up.
My body doesn't even twitch.
It's not that I'm tied down, nor is it that my entire body is numb.
If I have to give a metaphor,
it's like my body is already dead, but my mind is mistakenly still lingering in my body.
Of my five senses, only my sight is still alive.
...... the room is dark.
It is already night outside.
I can't move my face, so I move my eyes.
Just kidding, it's different
"---Oh? I thought you had completely disappeared, but you're awfully persistent, Shiki."
I can hear a voice I shouldn't be able to hear.
I glance around the dark as best as I can.
I see something I don't know about.
"What's this? How mean of you, Shiki.
You've been looking for me for so long and when I come out, you don't remember me?"
With an amused laugh, he stares at me with blood-shot eyes.
My mind, the only thing still working, freezes.
He didn't say it yet,
But---I know he is a vampire.
That he is the "Serpent" Senpai and Arcueid are looking for.
"...... No, that's wrong. Certainly I am the vampire known as the Serpent of Akasha.
But to you, I'm not the Serpent, but rather, SHIKI, right?
---Man, how cold of you. You make me look stupid for thinking about you all these eight years.
Hey, don't you feel the same way Ciel?"
He says that while looking at me.
Senpai. Is Senpai here?
But where? I can't see her, nor do I sense her presence.
If she is here, then why isn't she doing anything about him?
In front of me. Right now, our enemy is in front of me.........!
"...... Hey, didn't I tell you not to pay attention to that......!?
Look Shiki, the only thing you should see is me.
The only thing you should hear is my voice.
The only existence you should acknowledge is mine.
The only one that lets you live is me.........!
Finally, at last, I've met you here, so don't think of anything other than me---!"
----A sharp sound.
From the hand of the man before me---this vampire called the Serpent, I hear a sickening sound.
And then, I hear a faint, pained gasp.
I can't quite make it out.
"---Did you really forget Shiki?
...... Was the old man's hypnosis that good or---did you lose your memory after dying once?
Shit, either way, what a waste!
What is, he saying?
"That's right! If you've forgotten, then remember. The three of us were always together, right?
In the Tohno mansion. Akiha and you, and I would play in the garden together. Before I became like this eight years ago that day!"
This picture really loses a lot of its impact since they keep fucking showing it.
I don't know about you, but I don't stab my friends in the chest.
"---Geez. Was I the only one in pain?
That's terrible, Shiki. I was always locked away by my old man, but I could always sense you.
Haha. Because I was using your 'life'. Even though we're not connected by blood, we're connected by our souls."
"That's why you---I wanted you to have a terribly gruesome end."
How unfortunate, he says.
That sound again.
The sound of someone clawing at the tatami mats.
"----Hmm, where were we?
Ah, that's right. We were talking about how deep our bonds were.
What I wanted to say is this, Shiki. I'm your brother. But you and Akiha seem to have heartlessly forgotten that."
My...... Tohno Shiki's, brother.........?
"...... Well, I'll keep it at that.
Shiki, you've heard from Ciel about me, right? A reincarnating soul. A vampire that returns to life after it dies."
His eyes narrow.
His mood turns different from before.
His soft, almost human personality starts to disappear.
"This is my eighteenth reincarnation. You know about my requirements for the new reincarnating body, right?
A family that carries power within its blood and has influence in society.
There's no need to say what fits those requirements.
During the seventeenth time---my previous self chose the Tohno bloodline.
Choosing the Far East was just a whim. Maybe I just wanted a change of scenery from my previous incarnations."
"I was killed by the princess and my eighteenth self was reborn as Tohno SHIKI.
I had no complaints about his body. His intelligence and development advanced rapidly and the weather in this country was comfortable."
"---But, that was as far as it went.
'The Serpent'---Well, Roa made a mistake in that the power of the Tohno bloodline was too great.
Akiha and I, we're only half human after all. The other half is as much a monster as Roa, which those of the Tohno line must resist throughout their lives.
But, some people are weak, which stops them from resisting.
It is the duty of the head of the Tohno household to kill those who succumb to this inversion and are no longer human but---"
"Two wills cannot exist in one body.
It's possible if the other personality stems from a person's will, but a completely different will cannot enter. What happens when it can't?
Simple. The vessel, the brain, cries out.
Headaches occur. Suddenly, without reason, without meaning."
Head...... aches......, don't tell me---
"That's right. Your headaches have flowed from me to you.
Didn't I say so earlier? I am using your life. We are two people using the same life.
So---if I can move like this, then you end up as immobile as a corpse.
What kills a will is another will. My will to live is stronger than yours."
If you actually put much thought into this, it really makes very close to no sense at all... not that much of Ciel's path does, anyway.
"...... Well, but you are still amazing. I'm using your strength trying to kill you...... But that's strange, why are you still alive?"
As he tilts his head, he really does look perplexed.
"...... It seems you still don't understand, Shiki.
I told you, the only thing that can kill a will is another will. In other words, killing the will does not kill the body.
The Roa inside of me was another will besides my own.
Eight years ago that summer day. Roa killed the will of Tohno SHIKI."
Like I said, I'm Tohno Shiki, right?
"Yeah, you are Tohno Shiki. A true impostor who became the eldest son of the Tohno household in place of me, who succumbed to inversion."
...... I even liked you Shiki.
Me and my old man didn't get along either, and you were a good guy. We really were good friends.
Of course I loved Akiha too. But I couldn't allow her to grow more attached to you."
He'd better mean he loved her as a fucking sister. No, I mean... a sister that is NOT for fucking!
...... w, wait.
What, what is he saying----
"...... Yeah, I remember that feeling from that time.
Everything turned crimson and I started to hate everything. The voices of the birds, the leaves on the treas, everything became bothersome to me, and I destroyed whatever I came across.
"Eight years ago, Shiki.
In that courtyard, Roa killed my will.
Normally, it would have been all over when Roa awoke. But the Tohno family is special.
As soon as my reason was lost, my body succumbed to inversion.
I guess it's what you call an inversion impulse, but you do what you always thought was taboo.
I guess deep in my heart, I was jealous of you. In the end, I killed you because you were there."
In that courtyard.
The bloody corpse of a child.
"--Yes, you finally remember Shiki......!
That's right, I'm the one who killed you! But you lived through it and took over my place as Tohno Shiki......!
My old man, that bastard---he locked me away like trash in an underground cell after killing me.
Because he couldn't have it known that his eldest son was dead, he took you, his adopted son, and replaced me!"
"Yeah. The old man used you after your miraculous recovery. Fortunately for him, we were kids.
We didn't doubt the fact that we were actual brothers---and you were pretty screwed up from that incident.
My old man deceived you and Akiha with a simple lie and made you forget about me, the true Tohno SHIKI!"
"Yes, it's because no one needed you.
Well, in order to protect the image of this family, you were treated as Tohno Shiki.
---Yeah, but I did need you.
Because thanks to stealing your life, I was able to survive when my old man killed me.
For that, and only that, I thank you, Shiki."
...... I don't understand.
Why am I still alive then?
"Who knows. I'd like to know that myself---but, it really doesn't matter. Because you're going to die here anyway."
He---Roa stands up slowly.
The voice nears.
I'll be killed like this.
...... No, I say I'll die, but maybe I'm already dead.
My arms and legs can't move.
My eyes, my ears, my nose don't work.
---There is nothing left.
I don't want to just accept what he says.
...... But I don't care about anything anymore.
My eyes that can see "death", because my body is already like a dead body.
In the end, I was just an impostor.
And on that summer day eight years ago, I was already dead----
...... But, I can hear a voice.
A sobbing voice.
An incredibly sad, almost shouting voice.
I hate this part... and by hate I mean love
Music: play track 7
I finally grasp what it was this bastard was sitting on while he gave his long speech.
"---Damn, you regenerated again?"
Roa's legs stop.
He turns around toward Senpai.
"Didn't I tell you to stay dead? You really are an eyesore."
With a piercing sound,
Roa takes one of Senpai's swords and thrusts it into her body.
Her pained voice.
Her nails dig into the tatami mat.
Clawing, and clawing.
Her nails are almost peeled off, and her breathing is like a combusting engine.
"...... Tohno, kun.........!"
Clawing and writhing.
She frantically continues to call out my name as I lie there collapsed like a cut puppet.
More piercing sounds.
The swords pierce Senpai's body.
Her body twitches in response.
Even still---Senpai continues to call out my name, as if she was a broken record.
With her pain-filled, sobbing voice.
Even as she spit out blood.
She kept calling out to me who was just lying there like a thrown-away, broken doll.
"---An immortal body?
How foolish. If you had this much power you could have defeated me."
The sound of stabbing again.
"But for such a guy you laid down your swords. I'm disappointed, Elesia. Thinking a piece of trash like you is actually my daughter makes me sick......!"
Thrust. Thrust. Thrust.
As if he's lost his mind, he keeps stabbing Senpai over and over again.
Her defenseless back. Her shoulders. Her legs. Her throat.
Her bloody arms outstretched towards me.
Her lips keep on calling my name.
But she still keeps calling out to me.
As if she is wishing I'll be able to move if she continues on like that.
To be honest,
I don't understand why she would go that far.
I'm almost going insane.
Watching her be stabbed for my sake makes me almost insane.
"Look boy, let me teach you something.
No matter how limitless the regenerative ability of a vampire is, it lasts only when they are alive.
Their immortality is only as long as they are alive. Once they die, their powers of recovery cease immediately.
Vampires are only difficult to kill, not immortal, but---"
A black sword springs forth from Senpai's chest.
Her chest breaks apart.
Roa impales her heart from behind.
The throat that died moves.
Spewing forth with blood, her body writhes in agony.
"But---the amazing thing about this woman is.
Even if she dies completely, it isn't her but time itself that restores her body.
Do you understand?
After she dies, without anyone's help, even her own, this world itself returns it back to normal in order to rectify a contradiction.
For example---just like this!"
"Hyahahaha, isn't it natural for a pierced brain to bring death!? Look Shiki, she's flailing about like a fish on a hook!"
Full of amusement,
Roa loses himself in amusement.
"But look. Even though the light in her eyes faded, her heart is starting to beat again. ...... Shit, what a fucked up life.
It makes us, the ones living with only one life, look foolish."
He swings his arm.
As if she really was a piece of trash, Senpai's body slams into the wall.
That was it.
I don't care what happens.
I don't care if I go crazy.
I don't care if people call me a murderer.
That is the signal.
With that, all rational thought splinters away.
"Bastard, how can you move---!?"
There's no need to say it.
The one with the stronger will uses the life, right?
Then---up until now,
I never thought this strongly about anything before.
Roa. I'm going to kill you.
My arms move as if they belonged to someone else.
My eyes persistently, accurately look at just his "lines".
My entire body burns.
My brain feels like it is on fire.
Just like---when I first saw that golden-haired princess of the vampires, my body is like something else.
Roa springs away.
One of his legs. His upper right arm. His left collarbone area.
I have already cut through the "lines" there.
The price is my right arm.
Roa first took my arm holding the knife.
So, if he destroys my remaining left arm, it would mean my loss.
In this situation, losing means certain death.
"---I don't believe it. A match for me, a vampire.
...... your eyes, they are perhaps more appropriate for me than this body."
"If you don't realize it, then that's fine. This story is a boring one not even worth talking about."
With a shuffle,
Roa increases the distance between us.
"---To live forever.
That was the miracle that Roa dreamed about.
I decided that an everlasting cycle of rebirth is eternity.
But that is no different than a continuation of a single bloodline.
If there is such a thing as a power that Roa, who accepted death, can earn at the end of his reincarnation---instead of the power that steals the lives of others like vampires.
...... I just thought the power you have, the power to see death, was an appropriate end for me."
His body lowers a bit.
"I just had that ridiculous idea!"
I don't care about anything else.
I've already killed one of his legs, and his speed is reduced.
As he runs away,
He braces his hand against the wall and glares at me.
"Shit!---Do you intend to fight yourself, Shiki?"
"Don't be silent......! You're me. I am SHIKI, and you are Shiki.
We are the same type of being. It doesn't matter if that bastard Roa existed or not.
...... I was originally a creature eating human flesh. As a child, I had this urge to eat human flesh. Even though that has changed to drinking blood, if Roa hadn't entered my body, I would've certainly become a human eating monster."
"---But, that's the same for you.
Like I enjoy eating human flesh, you enjoy killing others! Remember the urge you had when you first saw that woman, the ecstasy of killing with that knife!"
"Yeah, that's right. No matter how much you pretend to be a good person, that's something you can't excuse. You wanted that woman and did the thing that got you the most excited.
What can you call that other than being a killer?
You and I are the same---we are both abnormal people living in the same place."
...... Shut up.
If I hear his voice any longer, I'll go crazy.
"Yes, the same.
So why are you trying to kill me? It's just that Roa entered me!
If Roa entered you instead, our positions would've been reversed......!
But you're going to kill me!? You're just hurting yourself......!"
These past eight years.
The monster who made his lair in this city, feeding off the blood of countless people screams.
"Isn't that right? I know that's inside you too.
You know, that impulse is not something that flows from me to you.
Just admit it, killer.
Your inversion impulse is nothing more than what you wish for......!"
"...... I see. You're trying to kill me, Shiki."
He pulls back.
That's his final move---
"But, don't you ever wonder which one of us was really killed?"
I halt my attack.
"Yes, in the end, both of us died in that place.
So---I might be the one killed by Roa, and you might be the Tohno SHIKI taken over by the Serpent, right?"
"Hey Shiki. Didn't you ever think about it this way?
That you just have not realized it, but you were already insane a long, long time ago!"
I get kicked into the wall from behind.
What is this? Being distracted by such stupid words.
My remaining left arm becomes shredded and painted in blood.
I can't move it one bit and my knife clatters to the floor.
And---in front of me, Roa stands with his furious, blood-shot eyes.
"---Idiot, that's not it at all. I'm Roa. You had that inverse impulse because you were connected to me subconsciously."
I think part of the reason this path is confusing is because it contradicts itself so much. He *JUST* said the impulse didn't come from him. In this case, he's obviously lying, but not all the contradictions are that easy.
Roa takes a step forward.
"Bye Shiki. It's been fun!"
With that, he swings his knife-like claws downward.
I can't think of anything.
No, there's no need to think.
I scoop up my fallen knife with my mouth.
My teeth tighten around the hilt.
"I won't let you get away---!"
I run to the window.
But of course, I can't jump from the third floor.
Under the moonlit night.
As if he didn't receive a fatal wound by just having his "lines" of death cut, Roa runs away like a beast.
...... I can't chase him.
From here, I can't chase him.
But, it seems like there's no need for that.
Music: play track 9
One, the beast-like figure of Roa.
One, the sublime, white figure of the vampire princess.
---The fight lasted only an instant.
Roa screams as he dies and fades to ash.
She stands there composed and looks up at me, then disappears before my eyes.
The knife falls from my mouth.
From my elbow down, my right arm is shattered, twisted and split.
Roa's claw marks remain gouged into my left shoulder and my left arm hangs, unmoving.
I feel like a squid or an octopus with both my arms just hanging there.
"...... Sen...... pai."
I look down the hallway.
I look down to where Senpai had collapsed when she protected me earlier.
"Sen---pai, your wounds are okay?"
"Yes. A wound like this will heal quickly."
I cannot make out her face since it's dark.
But I thought it looked paler than usual.
because I still see these "lines",
I have this headache.
"---Probably because you saw too much death.
...... Tohno-kun, you were pushing yourself too much. Trying to defeat Roa by yourself was being reckless."
"...... It's not reckless. You were the one being reckless. Why---did you let him do that to you?"
"He just...... caught me off guard......"
"---Idiot, I, heard all of it."
...... I heard how Senpai threw away her swords to protect me.
"...... Going through that just to protect me, was stupid."
Going through that, and just calling out my name, there's something wrong.
"...... But, I heard you."
"Your voice, I know I heard it. You kept calling my name---so it made me realize that I was still alive."
what saved me wasn't my desire to kill Roa.
But it was just... Senpai's voice.
"Tohno-kun---!? Your wounds, do they hurt? Please wait, I'll heal them......!"
"...... No, it's not, really my arms......"
This headache is terrible.
The pain isn't coming from outside, but feels like it is shooting out from inside me.
"Look, your power is very dangerous to you, Tohno-kun. Seeing that which should not be possible to see puts a huge strain on your body, and your blood vessels will not be able to handle the flow of your blood.
Seeing the 'death' of something close to you...... like humans shouldn't be a problem, but seeing the 'death' of things that don't naturally have a 'death' is extremely dangerous."
"...... Yeah, that's okay though Senpai.
Roa...... is now dead. I don't have to see any more 'death'----"
"So, I don't have to see them.
...... Senpai, do you know where my glasses are?"
"My glasses...... without them, I see these lines all the time.
If I don't have them, I'll go crazy...... they're probably in the tea ceremony room, so could you please get them for me?"
"Tohno-kun, what are you saying? Your glasses are definitely----"
"...... I understand. I'll go get it right away, so please close your eyes. If you use them much longer, it will be really bad for you."
"---Yeah, I'll do that. Thanks."
I close my eyelids.
"Thanks Senpai. Now it's back to normal."
"What are you saying? There's still some work before you return to normal, so please keep still."
She says that and sits down besides me.
"---Hmm, these wounds really aren't that bad. I'll be able to heal them right away, so please hold on just a little longer."
Senpai carefully reaches out and holds my twisted arm.
There's an almost tickling, warm sensation.
My cold arm begins to warm up again, and the numbed pain returns after that.
"If there's pain, it lets you know you are alive. Now, let's take care of your left arm."
With a light step, she moves over to my left side and puts her hand on my shoulder.
Only Shiki. "Is she a nurse or something?"
"...... Hey Senpai."
"Senpai, just what kind of person are you? Come to think of it, I don't really know anything about you, Ciel-senpai."
The fingers over my wounds suddenly stop.
But, it was only a momentary reaction.
"I'm the same as you Tohno-kun. I also, have not had this body from birth.
I also was close to death...... no, I am someone who died and came back to life. And it just became a habit for me to come back to life."
Is she joking? She gives a pained smile.
"...... What do you mean? If you die, you normally can't come back, right?"
"What I am saying, is that I was not normal."
"Not normal...... like, Arcueid?"
She doesn't respond.
Is she done? Senpai stands up.
"There, all finished. How is it, can you move?"
I lift my hands and move them around.
My fingers can move at will, and there is only a little pain.
"Yeah, no problems. ...... Thanks, Senpai. I'm just always helped by you."
Senpai doesn't answer, she just smiles.
"Then, let's go back. There's no need to be here any longer."
Senpai starts to walk away.
...... Picking up my fallen knife, I follow her out of the school.
Music: play track 8
...... This is serious.
I knew it all along---but I never thought this would come so quickly.
I want Senpai to stay here.
I want her to stay---but it isn't just my problem.
I steal a glance at Senpai's face.
What does Senpai plan on doing......?
Senpai suddenly stops walking.
"...... What is it, Senpai?"
"About what we were talking about before."
"Before---about how you're like Arcueid?"
Still staring me in the eye, she starts to speak.
"Tohno-kun. If I was a vampire, what would you do?"
My mind goes blank.
I don't know what she wants to hear.
I don't know, maybe the truth?
"...... Senpai is Senpai. Even if you are a vampire, that wouldn't change."
Her expression remains the same.
Just for an instant,
I think she smiled sadly.
"I am not a vampire but I cannot be considered human." Later: "I just might be a vampire"
I'm at a loss for words.
...... I don't know what to say to that.
So, just like before, I can only say what I really feel.
"...... That's fine."
"I said, that's fine. Even if you are a vampire, I still like you Senpai."
Senpai stands there in complete amazement.
Realizing what I just said, I blush furiously and look away.
"Anyway! That's all I want to say. C'mon, let's go back, Senpai!"
Trying to hide my embarrassment, I pull myself to reality.
Where is Senpai going to return to?
I suddenly feel terrible.
I'm afraid to look at her face and can't turn around.
From behind me, Senpai's voice calls out.
Her quiet, emotionless voice.
"...... Yes. But, I haven't told you why yet. I really meant to tell you in the tea ceremony room, but things ended quickly."
"...... That's true. It was kind of disappointing.
But, wasn't you chasing Roa part of your duty in the Church?"
"...... No. The place I'm in doesn't really have much work. Even when there is, it's only a few times a year I get called there.
So this time is my own judgment. Not because of the orders of the Church, but I came here through my own will."
"...... Your, will?"
"Yes. I came here only because of my own circumstances. I want to die as a human, so I've been chasing Roa. He is the reason my body has become like this."
...... wants to die. Wants to die?---
"...... For that sole reason, I have kept on living like this.
But, that is all over now.
...... These past five years. Was it a long time? Was it a short time? I don't know."
Her emotionless voice stops.
"Thank you so much for everything until now. It has been a long time since I've been this happy.
So, let's finish with a handshake."
Senpai puts out her hand.
I wordlessly accept it.
A handshake where we only grip our hands tightly.
"Then this is where we part. Um, even though I'm not going to be here, please stay friends with Inui-kun.
I wanted to be a student like you and Inui-kun."
"And, and please don't take off your glasses too much. Strange power has a tendency to attract strange things. You were fine this time, but I do not know what will happen the next time."
"...... Yeah. I know, someone taught me that a long time ago.
In the first place, I've only recently began to take them off with everything that has been happening."
"I see. That is a relief."
Her fingers pull back.
With the handshake over, she pulls back slightly.
"Then this is farewell. It would be nice to meet again someday."
I can't reply.
I couldn't even stop her.