Part 75: The Beginning of the Ritual II
Video: Kanon VS Lucifer
"...Dammit. Another weird thing's happening... Like I'd ever believe in a magic battle...!"
"Look, look, don't turn your eyes away, look at it. Look, look, look! It's magic, it's furniture, no matter how much you try to deny me and magic, look, look, look, look, look!"
"If you've got all this happening right in front of you, it'd be a waste to miss it, don't you thiiiiiink? Look, look, look, just stop thinking, magic exists! This is fantasy! Don't close your eyes, look closely, look, look, look, look!!"
"Dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit... I won't accept witches, I won't accept magic...! But, if it's being done right in the open like that, what am I supposed to say?! Damn, dammiiiiit!"
"Come now, don't turn away, look closely, okaaaaaay?? Magic exists, this is fantasy, so stop playing detective. I know your secret, you actually don't really like to think things through, right?? Then just stop, stoooop, *cackle*cackle*! Look, look, it's gotta be fantasy, gotta be fantasy, kihhihihyahyahhyahhyahhyahhyahhyaaaaaahhh!!"
"Shut up, shut up, shut uuuuuuuuuuup...!!! Don't talk to meeeeeeee...!!"
"Then you wouldn't have to have your skin ripped off while you're still alive... or get lashed all over your body as you squirm until you die. Hehheheheheheheheh! You're a cutie, so apologize... If you do, I'll finish you off so, so gently, while it still feels great..."
"Be silent, furniture of the witch. I have no intention of speaking with you."
"...S-So you're saying you think nothing of me...? Hehhheheheheheheheheh, that disrespectful gaze of yours... is really ticking me offff!!"
"...Isn't he stronger than he was against Satan?"
"This is why humans are so frightening. In fact, sometimes they even become witches and treat demons as butlers."
"Pu ku ku ku ku! So, which should I cheer on?"
"...Are you... saying this guy's on par with me...?!"
"...Don't look down on me. As long as you have that pride, you'll never defeat me."
"Y-Y-You speak of Lucifer, the eldest of the Seven Sisters of Purgatory, and say that I cannot win?! H-How conceited!!"
Kanon was desperately trying to stay alive, and he had a strong desire to become human. But Lucifer didn't feel anything stronger than a slight desire to play. So, that led to an inevitable result. It was a result that could be reached by the power of humans. The power of the heart.
"...That's as far as you go. You cannot win against me."
The glowing red curve extended straight out from Kanon's arm, pointing at Lucifer's throat, just beneath the tip of her chin...
As she ground her teeth in irritation, she tried to deny the truth right before her eyes. But no matter how much she believed in her own superiority, it didn't change the facts right in front of her.
BGM: Organ Short #600 Million in C Minor
"...Lucifer, you are boring Milady. Was this opponent really too much for you to handle...?"
"I'm disappointed, eldest of the Seven Staaakes. Hahihihihihihihihihihihi...!"
It would have seemed like mere rebuke to an outsider. However, furniture serving the witch knew what kind of severe treatment was promised by that rebuke... and understood what had been left unsaid...
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaahh!! You... good for nothing furnituuuuuuuuuuuuure!!!"
She howled. Abandoning her last bit of pride, she made her body explode, exposing her true form. That form was a demon stake, which bounced off the walls surrounding the room...
After flying about wildly for some time, with a speed approaching the limits of what a human eye could follow, Lucifer flew at Kanon's heart... She could tell that it was Kanon's blood by the sweet taste of it... But she quickly noticed one thing.
...She hadn't pierced his heart...
"This is why humans are frightening. Would you like some black tea?"
"I am fine for now. This is so amusing, I don't even need any...!"
BGM: Black Lilliana
The floor was stained with dripping blood. It really was Kanon's blood... but it wasn't flowing out of his chest. Kanon had sacrificed his own left hand to protect his heart...
Lucifer was arrogant. Even though she'd been given enough time to realize that this was an opponent capable of cornering her, in her pride, she had believed him to be worthless. She had gotten careless. So, just as she had announced, she had aimed for his chest, trying to pierce his heart. Because she was arrogant, she hadn't even thought of aiming for somewhere other than the place she had announced.
...No, maybe she had thought about it a little. However, her pride would not allow her to aim for a different spot. After all, she was... Lucifer the Proud.
Kanon, withstanding the pain, grasped the demon stake sticking deep into his left hand strongly with his right hand... and pulled it out... When she heard the sound of breaking bones and even more blood dripping down, Shannon looked away reflexively. There was an air hole in the back of the pierced hand so big, you could clearly see through to the other side...
Kanon's face was filled with pain, but right now, he had won, without a doubt. The demon stake he was gripping with his right hand turned back into Lucifer again... So that Kanon was now gripping exactly where her neck was.
Kanon didn't hold back at all with the hand gripping Lucifer's throat. She had challenged him again after their fight had already been decided. Kanon had no obligation to be considerate. But even so, Kanon released the witch's furniture. Was it his naive humanism, his pity for another furniture, or a final bit of respect to the witch?
In any case, when she was released, Lucifer fell face-down on the ground, wretching and moaning over the pain in her throat...
"Spectacular, Kanon. Your great efforts have proven the correctness of some of Kinzo's research."
Ronove was clapping his hands. To Kanon, who had won at great cost and had a wound on his left hand that wouldn't close, Ronove appause only felt like mockery.
"...All possibilities dwell within the human heart, was it? My, my, this is why humans are frightening! Well done, Kanon. You were victorious. Spectacular!"
"...Haah... haah... haah..."
"Are you okay?! Kanon-kun..."
Shannon ran up to him and wrapped a handkerchief around his left hand, which was still spraying blood.
"...Y-You haven't forgotten our promise, right... Beatrice...?"
"Indeed. Of course I haven't forgotten. Witches and demons may be inhumane. However, we are much more noble than humans when it comes to keeping promises."
"I will not go back on my word. I guaranteed that if you won, I would give you the right to decide the five people who will escape becoming the 13 sacrifices."
"...B-Beatrice-sama, it's not like I've, lo... higi!!"
When Beatrice waved her pipe, heaven and earth turned over just for Lucifer. So, as a horribly natural result, she 'fell' onto the ceiling. The ceiling doesn't seem that high to people standing on the floor. However, people who fall on it upside-down and head-first usually don't agree...
"Milady, isn't that a little much?"
"*cackle*cackle*! Perhaps you are right. I suppose I'll forgive her."
Beatrice waved her pipe again. When she did, the magic that had been effecting Lucifer was released. So, as a horribly natural result, this time she 'fell' properly, back onto the floor.
"...Nggg... gghh... Beatrice-sama, f-forgive me..."
"What are you so afraid of? I have already forgiven you, haven't I? *cackle*!"
"So, Kanon. Shall we continue?"
"...Continue what? You aren't saying you want me to finish her, are you...?!"
"Ah, no, no. It isn't over yet, right?"
"...What isn't? Stop dodging the question...!!"
All the Seven Sisters of Purgatory were here, after Kanon was able to defeat one only by sacrificing his left arm... By now, Kanon regretted his thoughtlessness in accepting the witch's challenge. He had been foolish to assume that a game against a witch would be on an even footing...!
"...Laaame. Onee-sama, why are you crawling on the floor?"
"Y-You people... nnnggh..."
"I told you, Onee-sama's useless. Even though she acts like she's so great just because she's the oldest, that's only on the outside."
"Yeah, seriously! Lucifer onee-sama, your disgraceful behavior will damage the reputation of us all! Know your shame! You novice!"
"Kanon-kuuun, that was totally awesome. But don't get cocky, okay? Lucifer onee-sama brags all the time, but she's no big deal compared to the rest of us sisters."
"...That's why I'm always saying Lucifer-nee shouldn't do anything. Just let her keep bragging all the time. After all, those of us with talent can handle all the tough jobs."
"What are you gonna do, Onee-sama? Out of respect for your pride, we were planning to stay out of your way, in the hopes that you'd challenge him again in that beat-up body of yours..."
"...But Kanon-kun sure is strong, right? Right now, no matter how much you struggle, there's no way you could win, right...?"
"*cackle*cackle*! My, my, you sisters are always so lively. Is this any time to fight amongst yourselves? It's only together that you're the Seven Stakes of Purgatory, correct? Now, play nice and execute the tasks I give you. And swiftly, okay?"
"Hey, Lucifer onee-sama, if you wanna borrow the power of your little sisters, then say it, okay? We wanna hear you ask us for help with your own mouth."
"Nng... Do you plan to mock me even more...?!"
The Seven Sisters of Purgatory unanimously closed in on their worthless sister. Abusing her. Even Kanon, who had been fighting for his life until a second ago, couldn't bear to look at it...
"A-As if... as if I... could say... something like that..."
"Quickly now. Clearly, we won't make any progress here with you alone. Hurry up, let the Seven Sisters strike Kanon."
"Pu ku ku ku... My, my, what is the matter, Lucifer? This is an order from Milady, is it not?"
After grinding her teeth over and over after hearing her sisters' curses, ...Lucifer trembled all over... and answered her sisters' request...
"A-And shameful... Lucifer, the eldest sister... beg... whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!"
The girl known as Pride was finally unable to endure the words she was saying...and broke down crying. However, the six younger sisters kept giggling coldheartedly.
"Wait a sec! Don't try to trick us by crying! You haven't finished saying iiit!"
"That should be enough. Come, sisters, let us display our power."
"I won't be satisfied 'til I hear the whole thing, okay?! C'mon, c'mon, Onee-sama, keep going!"
BGM: Life's End
"Okay, how should we play with this pitiful furniture? Any wonderful plans?"
"Meee, me! Beelze thiiinks the seven of us shooould get along and split Kanon up between us!"
"Good idea. That way all of the sisters can get along."
"Then I'll take the head! I'll leave the limbs and guts to you all!!"
"No, no, noooooooooooo!! I get the heeead!!"
"There's no way that promise'll mean anything, right?! First one there wins!"
"Hihihihihi!! Kanon-kun, if you've got any ideas for how we should kill you, just tell us, okay? The Seven Sisters'll kill you in an aaawesome way!"
"...Aaarrrrrrgggh!! You've shamed me so deeply!! Slicing you into eight pieces won't be enough!! I'll slice you into a hundred pieces!! Here we go, everyone!!"
The seven of them burst at once. They had no intention of playing or boasting. This time, they would genuinely follow their master's order. Take Kanon down. Swiftly!
The Seven Sisters jumped around the room faster than the eye could see, examining how they could best kill Kanon. They tortured Kanon with their cruel giggles, sometimes making a close pass at him. They kept scraping his arms, shoulders, and cheeks, gradually carving red letters into his body...
At that moment, Shannon dashed up behind him, holding on to him so that she blocked the way to his body at least a little.
BGM: Scorpion Entrails
At the same time, a red cylinder wrapped around the two of them, like a beam of light sent from heaven. That cylinder repelled the evil ones who tormented Kanon...
"Whaaaat?!! You're me-an! This has nothing to do with yo-u!"
"Ah, I see. You must want to play with us."
"Kyaha! Then I'll take i-t! All mine!!"
"Beatrice-sama, can we take Shannon as our prey...?"
"Hmm? Aah, I don't mind, do as you like. It seems Kanon alone won't be enough to satisfy your gluttony."
"You have our deepest gratitude. Come on, I'll make you regret coming out uninvited!"
"I'll turn you into scraps of meat so unrecognizable, you won't be able to tell which is which, mix you and mix you and mince you into hamburgers!"
"Idiot, breaking that barrier should come first, right?! Don't let your gluttony get in the way of your job!"
...Shannon's barrier certainly was strong. It was powerful enough to impress even Beatrice. With its strength, frail furniture would turn to dust just by touching it, and it was firm, like a tree with deep roots. But no matter how big a tree gets, it will eventually surrender to a saw or a hatchet. For the Seven Sisters, 'chopping down' Shannon's barrier would be annoying, but not impossible.
A sound like beetles jumping about grew even fiercer and filled the room. The red barrier began to be cut up and eroded away as though with an hatchet, a saw... no, a chainsaw by now...
"...Because I couldn't overlook it."
As Shannon covered Kanon, who was already at his limits, sprawled on the floor, she spoke back resolutely.
"...Not all deaths are the same.
An cruel death will cause you far more anguish than merely dying. *cackle*cackle*cackle*!"
"...Go ahead, do as you like. Just as you always do what you want, I did what I wanted."
"...Hmmmm. At any rate, you're not quite amusing at the present moment. Romance is most interesting when you're wondering whether it will succeed or not."
"Once it does succeed, a woman is like salmon who has finished laying its eggs. I have already tired of you."
"Thank you. No words from a witch would make me happier."
"...Hehehehhihihahaha. Then, at least in the end, let me see you die in a truly entertaining manner."
"Seven Sisters, can you hear me?! Kill Shannon in a way that shows me the limits of brutality!!"
"...My apologies. In the end, I wasn't able to reach your level, Genji-sama."
"...You're an idiot, Nee-san... If you'd just let me be, then you might not have had to meet a horrible end..."
"No, it's fine. I received a ring from George-sama and lived as a woman. I have protected you and lived as a sister. With this, my life is complete, with no regrets."
"Look at me, I am a human!! Don't spout off philosophical crap, like you're more complete than I am, you furnituuuuuuuuuuure!!"
"...How ugly. Are those regrets... what you truly are?"
"They aren't a regreeeeeets, this is called LIVING!! What's this about not minding if you die, just because you were given a ring?! Aaaaah, I can't understand it, it's incomprehensible, disappointing, outrageous, stunning, and no goddamn good at aaaaaaall!!"
"...Milady, perhaps you're acting a tad undignified."
"Shut up, furniture!!"
"Shannooooonn, do you think I'll let you die so easilyyyyyyyyyyy?! Now's the time to bite your tooooooongue!!"
"...How pitiful. If you can see yourself reflected in my eyes, then shudder at your own ugliness."
"Fear not, once I've crushed you up, you'll be much more ugly even while you still liiiiiiiive!!!"
Then, Genji gently held her from behind... and covered her eyes with his right hand.
"You've already done enough... Go to sleep before me."
"...Yes. Thank you very much, Genji-sama..."
After that, Genji softly pressed his left hand near her collarbone... As he did, eminating from that area... a crimson stain gently spread out.
When Genji removed his hand, bright-red, fresh blood oozed out of there. It only happened for the first instant, and it was shaped like a crimson rose... And when he removed his right hand covering her face, there was a peaceful expression there, as though she was sleeping.
BGM: Daydream's End
Her soul had already been sent to a world where the malicious witch and her furniture could not reach her, no matter how evilly they tortured her... This scene left Beatrice and the Seven Sisters stunned. Only Ronove wore a mysterious smile.
Then, Genji leaned over Kanon, who was crouching on the floor.
"...You did well. You should sleep now too."
"...Yes. Thank you very much, Genji-sama."
Just as he had done with Shannon, he softly covered Kanon's eyes with his hand, then gently pressed the area around Kanon's collarbone with his other hand. And when his hand was removed with the lightness of a feather, there was a crimson rose there. But that rose shape quickly turned into the stain of bright-red blood pouring out...
"Spectacular, Genji. You truly are furniture."
"...Thank you very much. Well then, Beatrice-sama, Ronove-sama. With this as my final task, allow me to rest."
"...Tch. Damn you, snatching away my fun. Why don't I take all the thrashing and mashing I wanted to do to them...and give it to you instead??"
Beatrice faced him with an unsatisfied expression, but Ronove spoke quietly to Genji with a soothing smile.
"You have worked hard. You are my greatest servant. As a final gift, I shall bestow upon you a peaceful sleep fitting for all the labors you have performed."
"What?! Wait, it's not your place to...!"
He crumpled, falling into a sleep that no witch could call him back from... It was as filled with kindness as the sleep he had given Shannon and Kanon...
"...What was that, Ronove? What a boring anticlimax."
"Are you not a mighty Great Witch, Milady? What happened here is hardly worthy of your concern. It isn't like you, to let the provocation of someone like Shannon get to you."
What was it that had Beatrice so irritated? Was she still unable to remove the thorn of Shannon's words? Ronove laughed lightly, as though lamenting the complexity of humanity and a woman's heart, and ordered the Seven Sisters to go. After all, there were still two sacrifices left for the first twilight.