Part 53: Romantic Regrets II
"You mean you could sense it...?"
"That, plus the lie you told in the beginning."
"Come now. If you had come from the guesthouse to get a book from your room, you wouldn't have come through this hallway in that direction. Of the seven reasons you might have had for lying, which chessboard theory led me to, this was the worst-case scenario."
Telling a hasty lie to Kyrie would only put her on her guard. If Jessica hadn't told that lie, her surprise attack would have succeeded.
Video: Jessica VS Kyrie
BGM: Prison Strip
"Why? You were planning to kill me from the beginning."
"It didn't matter who it was."
"It's what you said that gave me the boost I needed. Thanks a lot..."
Kyrie dodged the punch, placed her hand against that fist, and slammed it against the wall. Normally, Jessica would have hurt her hand on the wall and rolled around clutching at it in pain... However, Jessica's fist had left what looked like a meter-wide crater in the wall.
"...Incredible. I see that you are your father's daughter. Have you taken up boxing too...?"
Impossible... Jessica is barehanded. She isn't holding any sort of weapon at all...!
"...Please don't resist, Oba-san. Just one strike to the head... I won't let you feel a thing."
Kyrie tried to look confident, but she couldn't hide her confusion at this unreal destructive force. If that punch had hit, her head probably would have split open like Jessica had said, killing her without any pain.
"Here I go..."
If Kyrie's kick off the ground and leap backward had been an instant slower, her gut would probably have been pulverized. Though she had avoided it by a hair, Jessica's left body blow was followed by a terrible tornado-like gust of wind, which blew Kyrie back.
This Jessica looked like the normal Jessica, but something was different...! It wasn't human, and common sense didn't apply to it! This is probably... some kind of nightmare...!! Kyrie slowly stood up. Then, she looked at Jessica, noticed the several meters between them... and realized just how far that blast of wind had sent her flying.
"...Feel free to hate me. However, just like you, I cannot back down. I can't let... my love... end half-baked either."
"...What are you talking about...? Hey, what are you saying?! What on Earth is going on?! Someone, tell meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"
The scene around Jessica seemed to bend like a heat wave. It seemed to be enshrouding her fists. And, it seemed as though something like a red magic circle had appeared beneath her feet. It looked just like a western demon standing amidst the flames of hell.
Each time Jessica muttered, her fists were surrounded by a pulsating, sinister, red light. Those fists, which were even smoking, surely represented... the iron hammers of hell wielded by demons...
"G, goodbye!! This is just a nightmare...!!"
Kyrie dashed away with lightning speed. Yes. Right now, that was her best option. Fortunately, she was smart enough to realize that pinching her cheek wasn't the best way to wake up from this nightmare.
When Jessica muttered once more, a blood-red magical barrier cut across the corridor. Kyrie slammed into it hard and realized that her path of escape had been cut off.
"Gah... M, make this stop... I don't understand...!! This is... a nightmare... It's a nightmare... Let me wake up... quickly..."
"...Yes, this is a nightmare... If you want, I'll wake you up right now. Just one strike... Don't move..."
Wielding her flames, Jessica slowly stepped forward towards her... Each time her foot lifted off the floor... a boiling steam hung around her footprint... This was... a true nightmare... Kyrie clutched her head in her hands, shaking it over and over again...
"It's a nightmare, right...? This is... a nightmare, isn't it...? Please, tell me it is...!!"
"Yeah, it's a nightmare."
"It is, right...? It's a nightmare, right...? Ah, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!"
"I acknowledge it. This is a nightmare."
"I do too!! I acknowledge that this is a nightmare!! S, so please-"
"I'll wake you up, just one strike. Wwaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!"
Jessica's neck was twisted at an odd angle, and she staggered backwards, her eyes white, as though she didn't have a clue what had just happened. In her forehead... a demon stake was buried at an angle. It pulled itself out of her, spun around, then became Leviathan and landed. The hole left behind in Jessica's head spewed blood.
"Leviathan of Envy, right here...!"
"If this is inside a nightmare anyway, why not have the friend that shows up in my nightmares? My friend from the hell of envy. Thanks for showing up just in the nick of time."
"...It's too early to thank me. She's... not down yet...!!"
Even though she had taken a deep gouge to the top of the head, Jessica just stood there, convulsing and white-eyed, and didn't fall over. The blood stopped pouring out of her forehead, and her blank, doll-like eyes returned. Then, she slowly pressed her own hand against the wound in her forehead. There was a *sizzle*, as though she had pressed a hot iron against it. It was easy to imagine that she was doing this to seal up the wound. If Kyrie didn't escape now, there would never be another chance...!
"Can I defeat her...?!"
"No such luck. She's immortal, thanks to a contract with one of the great demons...!"
"Yes, love is magnificent! Those with our blessings cannot be killed!!"
"Ronove-sama is also a great demon. There's nothing I can do...!"
"Can we escape from the window?"
"That was blocked, by Ronove-sama's barrier a while ago...!"
"Incredible... so has she sold her soul to demons for the sake of love?"
"How could she make so many contracts with great demons...! Aah, I'm so jealous...!!"
In response to these words, this time her entire body pulsated with a red light. She had upgraded herself with a defensive power that would prevent Leviathan's attacks from working again...
"What is she talking about...?"
"...Self-augmentation. It's a kind of enchantment. Right now, she has enough defensive power to prevent me from piercing her, and she even has the power to reflect the damage back upon the attacker! She's no longer human. She's a monster...!!"
"Oh, so that's all. Then not much has changed."
"How can you say that?"
"Just like in the very beginning, we still have no chance of winning...!!"
"...That hurt. But it won't... work again."
Jessica slowly lifted the hand that had been covering her forehead... and there was no longer any hole there. The hall was cut off by barriers on both sides, and even the windows were sealed. There was no way out.
"Is the door to this room sealed?"
"No, it's just locked. But it's just a normal room. It does have a window, but that's already been sealed. In other words, that's a closed room, and a coffin for us...!"
"A coffin is just what I need. Unlock it. Aah, I'm jealous, why are you the only one who can unlock it?!!!"
Leviathan's stake flew about at high speeds, ramming itself into the keyhole to that room. The tip of the stake had become a key. As soon as it was unlocked, the door flew open. Both of them fell into the room and quickly locked it.
"Even if you lock it, she can just smash through it with one punch!! You've just put the lid on your own coffin!!"
"However, if she wants to send us a killing blow here inside this coffin, she'll have to take the lid off first!"
With dim eyes, Jessica tilted her head upon hearing Kyrie's words.
"...What are you talking about...? How will such a small room... be able to protect you, Aunt Kyrie...?"
"This room may be a closed room. It may leave us with no method of escape. However, even you can't break into this room. That's what a closed room is!"
"...What are you talking about...? How does this tiny room... with its tiny door, make you think you can escape me...?"
Jessica wearily looked between her own burning fists and the door with a confused expression on her face. Then, slowly, she sent that pulsating, red light to her fists... She repeatedly enchanted her fists to give them the destructive power for the killing blow.
"...I'll smash this door to bits..."
"If you think you can, give it a try."
After sealing the door and calmly saying those words, Kyrie placed a single index finger on the door. Jessica slowly... raised her fire-wreathed demon's fists...
"...So long, Aunt Kyrie..."
Jessica's fists slammed into the door in slow motion. It was like the decisive scene in a movie was being acted out. However, this was no act. Jessica's fists really were... slowing down as though they were being sucked in... like a spoon sinks through a jar of honey. That punch... was no longer a punch. It was no more than a knock.
BGM: Rog Limitation
"I crawled through the hell of envy for 18 years because of my arrogance and naivety in love. So I envy you. You're going to remember my warning, succeed in love, and walk a beautiful life, right...?"
"...Aah, I envy you. You'll get to live through the most beautiful time in a woman's life... for a full 18 years longer than I did. Aah, I envy you so much...!!"
She could barely knock, much less smash the door...!
"...Speed upgrade. Instantaneous upgrade. Speed of sound upgrade."
"It's useless, girl."
With full speed upgrades, Jessica's fist moved at the speed of sound, 1225 kilometers per hour. However, how long had Jessica been in envy to gain that speed? She had started to envy George and Shannon's relationship about two years ago?
2x365=730 days, 730x24=17520 hours. However, she wasn't envious all the time. It only happened when Shannon started going on about George. With Shannon's shift on about 3 days of the week, ÷7x3. And it wasn't as though she would go on about George all day long. Her fond words for him would only leave a mark on Jessica for about an hour, right? So only one 24th of each day. 17520÷7x3÷24=312 (Removing the fractional part)
The number of hours that Kyrie had been jealous was 157680. In other words, this wasn't even 0.2% of the time that Kyrie had been jealous. Even 1225 kilometers per hour, the speed of sound, becomes only 2.45 kilometers per hour in the 1/500 world.
"...Understand? You're lacking in both love and jealousy."
Even if she increased the speed of her fist, in Kyrie's world, Jessica couldn't make it any faster than a walking child. Jessica ground her teeth, her fist still pressed against the door. If someone could have seen this from both sides of the door, it would have looked as though Kyrie was holding it shut with a single finger...
"Way to go, Kyrie...!!!"
"Ah, Beatrice's definition of a closed room."
"...What the hell...?"
"At this rate, this closed room will be troublesome indeed. It is impossible for a human to carry out a closed room murder. Only magic can do that. Until you truly understand magic, you will not be able to crush it."
"Jessica-chan can't corner me any further...! As time passes, the relatives will eventually realize that I haven't returned, and they'll start searching the mansion. And then, you will be observed. Both witches and magic disappear when they're observed. The nightmare is already over, girl!!!"
"...D, damn... it..."
"Ooh?! I can't believe Jessica dropped out all of a sudden!!"
"Oh, please give it your all! Do it for your beloved Kanon!!"
"I revise that. There isn't even any need to wait for time to pass. After all, there's an internal phone line right here. Of course, the line hasn't been cut."
"...I'll just... pick up this receiver!! This is... my... checkmate!!!"
"...Oh. It is effective."
"...Permeation upgrade. Attack transmission, indirect attack power upgrade."
Jessica's fist, which was pressed against the door, glowed red... and then white-hot...
However, Jessica's 'murder' extended within the 'closed room'... Through the crack in the door, through the keyhole... burst the flames of hell.
Jessica couldn't see what was happening inside the room. However, even here, on the other side of the door, she could tell that the flames of hell had swallowed the entire room.
Kyrie's smoldering death throes could be heard from across the door. Jessica clearly heard as Kyrie danced a dance of death amidst the hellfire, fell to her knees... and slumped over to the floor. Slowly, Jessica tore her burning fist away from the door.
"...If you love the hell of envy so much, then burn. Burn in the flames of envy... for all time. There are probably some things that can be learned from envy. However, it's nothing to be praised, and it's no one's duty. It seems you were too proud after all, Aunt Kyrie."
"I'll let you take care of the mess. I'd hate for her corpse to be burnt to a crisp when it's finally found. Do you think you could clean it up...?"
"As you wish, Milady."
Ronove transformed into a gold butterfly and entered Krauss's study through the keyhole. Then, he had to cross his arms and think... about how he should even start cleaning up Kyrie's unrecognizable corpse and this room that had ended up as a burning hell...
Jessica finally let out the breath that she had been holding down in her chest... Her normal human glint finally returned to her eyes... And then, she couldn't help but shudder at what she had done, even if it had been just a trial on the game board for the sake of her love...
BGM: Waltz Op. 34
George welcomed Jessica with a crisp applause. Beato timidly tried to join him, but Jessica yelled at her and she stopped.
"...It's just something that happened on the game board. There's no need to look so sad about it."
"I know that logically!! But still, how am I supposed to just accept it emotionally?!!"
As Jessica started to sob, Kanon held her quietly. And, he realized that he would have to carry on the determination she had shown him...
"You didn't make any mistake. And it also isn't a mistake to keep your human heart and be sad. I just happen to be a bit more of a stoic when it comes to that sort of thing."
"...Not everyone can match up to George-sama's level. But, in any event, you have completed your trial, Milady. Well done. I admire the strength of your determination."
"Hmm, I see. Both George and Jessica, have splendidly succeeded just the same. Very impressive, Jessica! That 'closed room murder' just now was wonderful enough to fascinate even a witch like myself."
Jessica had used 'magic' to kill Kyrie, who had holed up inside a closed room. In that instant, Jessica had 'constructed' a closed room murder, had it acknowledged by the demons, and raised it to the level of magic...
"The trials for the two of you have been completed!!"
"So then, who will take the next challenge?!"
"Will it be Beatrice-sama?!"
"No, no, it might be Shannon!"
"No, this has to be Kanon's time to shine!"
"What witch would hesitate at committing murder on the game board? Even excess shyness can kill love."
"Alright!! Who will-"
"Carry out the next murder of love?!"
The three who remained looked at each other. If none of the others raised their hands in the next few seconds, they would raise their own hand. All three thought this at the same time. So, they all raised their hands at the same time.