Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi:Volume 1 Chapter 2
Chapter 2 - 900 Seconds Of Afterschool Time
That was the voice of the girl in his dreams.
Sleep, sleep, sleep, she had beckoned in his dream; it was the voice of that girl.
Sleep, sleep, sleep, and then meet me, meet me, meet me.
Since I'm begging you.
Since I'm begging you, please don't forget me ---, she had beckoned in his dream; it was the voice of that girl.
The voice had said to him. It sounded happy, it sounded like it was on the verge of crying, but with a tinge of firmness, that girl's voice whispered to Taito.
"Ahh, you've finally died......you've finally died...... I've been waiting all this while for this day, Taito...... but with this, at last...... the << Black MagicPoison >> lying within you has activated. At last, my powers are returning...... at last...... at last......I can meet you...... now......"
The voice of the girl in his dream was turning over in Taito's head. Over and over, over and over, turning over and over, thrusting into the depths of his heart.
And then the girl said.
"Now, hurry, and come save me...... Kurogane Taito."
On hearing that voice.
On hearing that voice, Taito, who had been running at full speed, started slowing down. One step, two steps, three steps, his moving legs slowed down, and before long, they came to a complete stop. On the dark, wooded path. He stopped his legs to catch his breath, which was ragged from the running. Breath in, breath out.
"...... what the hell was that. That dream...... that embarrassing, stupid dream...... don't tell me it was real?"
As he was murmuring, all of a sudden, there was a sound.
Rustle, rustle, it was the sound of swaying branches.
Taito looked towards the source of the sound. And he saw two people dressed in a strange garb. A tall lanky white man, and a short macho man of Spainish lineage. The two were clad in purple robes, which are not even used by people for cosplaying magicians in this modern age.
Looking at the two resembling a pair of perverts, Taito recalled Haruka's words once again.
"It seems like two perverts have been spotted there, and it's too scary for me to use that path at night."
Even though that was what she had said, looking at the eyes of these two, Taito immediately knew that the two of them were not merely perverts. Looking at the two men who were glaring at him with a piercing gaze that clearly do not belong to any Tom, Dick, Harry, Taito said in an exasperated voice.
"...... geez, give me a break, what the hell is with today. I was stared at by the Gekkou whom I've never talked to before, my head was torn off and I'm still alive, a girl whom I've never met confessed her love to me in my head...... and lastly, some foreigner perverts are glaring with me with a scary look, like some hired killers coming out of a movie...... what the hell? Is this an ill-fated day?"
While saying that, Taito tensed up his whole body. Preparing to run away. Since he could tell that the two foreigners were glaring at him with hostility.
Furthermore, these two were probably quite strong.
Taito could immediately tell from his karate experience. By looking at which parts of the body are more developed, he could more or less tell whether the person had any training in martial arts.
And the bodies of the two foreigners before him were clearly the type of bodies which had undergone martial arts training.
They also seemed to be quite skilled, he thought.
With eyes of hired killers, perverts who had come from foreign countries.
Looking at that.
Taito said in a groaning tone.
He had heard that there were more of those types from foreign countries.
Hey pretty boy, I love ~ you ~ <3, saying that and attacking him; isn't that pretty bad......
At that moment, the white began,
"Oiy, are you Kurogane Taito?"
As he was saying that, Taito gradually lowered his body. Preparing to escape.
Preparing to escape from this incomprehensible situation.
Some strangers knowing his name, furthermore, his body had become something inexplicable, and on top of that, the voice of an unacquainted girl resounded in his head.
It was already too terrible.
There were too many things occurring in his situation which he couldn't grasp well.
In such times, it's best to run. In times where he couldn't launch the initiative, retreating doesn't make him any less of a man. That was taught to him by the same man who had taught Taito how fun karate was, his wise grade school physical education teacher. Ichinose-sensei.
Sensei had said.
"Oiy Taito. When you can't take the initiative, don't fight. Never fight a battle you can't win, get it? Don't confuse recklessness with courage."
And then, a few weeks after he taught him that important thing, he got married with his classmate who was just only eight years old, Sakuma Miki-chan! We truly love each other!, he shouted something incomprehensible along those lines, took on a trial which he couldn't win, and did a good job in dying a noble death.
Since then, Taito has continued abiding by that important lesson that his sensei had taught him through his own example.
Never fight a battle in which he has no chance of winning.
Never fight a battle in which he could not grasp the situation.
That's why he would run.
He lowered his body even further, and and gathered his energy in his legs. Ever since he injured his leg, he hadn't move it much, and a wave of uncertainty on whether he could move it as well as in the past passed over him, but, he had no choice.
Hey pretty boy <3, if he's told that, he would make a break with everything he got.
That's why Taito gathered all his power into his legs.
"And so, Mr Otakus, what in the world are you guys? What the hell do you want from me, and furthermore, what in the world is happening to me?"
He asked. On hearing that, the foreigners' faces relaxed a little. Understanding they had managed to establish a conversation, they looked like they were willing to be open, and on top of that, the tension strung up in their bodies loosened up, and they started closing in.
Waiting for the right moment,
Taito mumbled and turned heel. With that, once again, he started running with all his might.
"Ah, hey, wait!"
"Let's give chase! Don't let him get away! We're going to catch him and kill him!"
The foreigners behind him yelled.
On hearing those words, as he was running, Taito's eyes widened.
"....... kill, kill him?"
And he turned his head around.
The two robed men were chasing after him with a terribly angry look on their faces.
In response to that. To that terribly dangerous kill him! line, which is often a joke among ordinary high school students, Taito couldn't but shiver in fear.
"They're kidding right?"
But they weren't.
The pair of foreigners took out something from their bosom. For some reason, they took out gleaming rod-like objects. He could immediately tell that they were knives. And then the white man said.
This time round in English,
"Kill him kill him!"
On hearing that, Taito was already on the verge of crying,
"Eh? What? Kill Bill? A movie?"
"Then again, this is not the time to be saying such stupid thingsssssss. What should I do? What should I do? Terrible, seriously terrible, I'm really going to get killed. Someone, someone help me! Policeeeeeeeeeee......"
At that moment.
At the moment he was yelling, he could feel something more terrible happening inside of his body. In other words, following the incomprehensible thing that had happened to him earlier, in succession, something more terrible was going to happen from here on? What the hell!? He wanted to retort to himself at the thing that was going to happen.
He was already at his wit's ends.
For some reason, he was feeling abnormally sleepy.
Even when he was running at such a frantic pace, he found it hard to keep his eyes open. Against his will, his eyes closed, but even so, as he forcibly opened them persistently,
"Uwahhhhhhhhhh stop! This is bad! It'd be terrible if I fall asleep now! It'd be terrible if I fall asleep here! Then again, why am I sleepy? Why the hell am I sleepy? What the hell is happening?"
As he hollered, his eyelids gradually fell shut. Despite using both of his hands to hold his eyelids open, he could no longer fight off the sleepiness. His knees started lowering. In his running state, he was about to fall to the ground from his sleepiness.
From behind him,
"Get him! Kill him!"
A voice shouted.
On hearing that, Taito,
"I don't want to dieeeeeeeeeeee."
As he desperately endured his sleepiness, he started running once more.
But that effort.
He could no longer sustain his last burst of effort.
Just until a while ago.
From the time he woke up till the time he bid Haruka farewell, he was merely leading an ordinary life.
A supporting character of someone else's life, a person who didn't stand out, not knowing what to strive for, just leading an ordinary regular life.
But yet, right now, his life took a 180 degree turn.
Along with the voice of that girl.
Along with the voice of that girl whom he had exchanged an important promise a very long time ago.
"It's alright. It's alright Taito. So sleep. And then everything will turn out fine. Now, just like always. Just like the past. Leave your body to me, please sleep already."
With that voice.
With that voice, she intruded on his consciousness.
Even though if he loses consciousness, he might be assaulted and killed by the two scary foreigners behind him, but still, Taito readily lost his consciousness.
His knees gave way. His body stopped running by itself and he started falling to the ground.
And then, that scene started flowing.
The dream he had always seen flowed in.
Time and time and again, the repeating dream flowed in.
That was an old memory of the distant past.
That was an old memory of the faraway, distant past.
That was probably a memory when I was still around six or seven years old.
It was a memory of me meeting a certain young girl.
It was a memory of me meeting a young girl, whom before long became a regular playmate of mine.
Indeed, at that time, as a result of him moving frequently, he had transferred school thrice during his first grade, and for some reason, on the third time he transferred school, things didn't go quite well and he was the target of some meaningless bullying; it was during that time.
But initially, he was fine. He wasn't depressed even when he was subjected to some amount of bullying.
Well, he had thought that it was something not unheard of for one who kept changing schools.
Besides, in the meantime, he got used to it, and had had the naive thought that he would be able to make a lot of friends and enjoy himself, just like in the previous school.
However, that didn't go too well.
Beyond his expectations, the bullying continued for a long, long time.
No one had talked to him.
Dog dung was placed on his desk.
His indoor shoes went missing.
As these went on, gradually, gradually, it became more unbearable.
In the morning, with a show of enthusiasm, he would wave goodbye to his parents and set off for school with a smile on his face, but he was really filled with painful and heart-tearing despair till the point he readily wanted to die, but feeling too shameful to talk to anyone about it, he had no choice but to go to school in that manner. However, words like Die or Disappear were written on the blackboard or on pieces of paper stuffed into his shoe cupboard, and people whom he had never talked to and should know nothing about him were bad-mouthing and laughing behind him for no reason, and on top of that, when his sensei asked him, Kurogane-kun, are you ok?, he would always reply with, It's ok, everyone's just joking around, but in the end, he would make excuses such as having a stomachache and leave school early, but since there was no way he could go home immediately, he would go to the park to kill time......
Everyday in this manner.
Everyday, everyday, idling in that park at a time with no children. With the clock ticking at the side of the toilet in the park, he would always wait until its time for him to go home.
During those times, there were also occasions in which he cried. There were occasions in which he would cry about his wretchedness and empty life.
However, as much as possible, he would refrain from crying out. Since if he had cried and was seen by some adults who might call up to him, he would have to be honest about everything. I was bullied for being a nerd, and couldn't really deal well with the things happening in school, and it would be too shameful for me if my parents or teacher got wind of this, and if I think about it now, it shouldn't have been such a big deal, but yet, during the time that if they do get wind of this, I would definitely feel very ashamed.
That's why as much as possible, he would refrain from crying out. Without letting the adults getting wind of this, without letting tears flow, he cried.
But, that day was different.
On that day, the person who was crying in the park wasn't me.
Having excused myself from school early, without going home, I took a back lane hidden from public view towards the park, and someone was there before me, on the swing which I had always used. The swing which I had always used was occupied by a little girl.
It was a girl of around my age. It was a girl around the same age as me. It was a little girl who, like me, should not be here in this park at this time for her age.
That little girl was sitting on the swing alone, crying.
For an instant, he was hesitant, should I call out to her, what should I do?
Since for the past two months or so, he had no friends whom he could talk to, and was wondering whether it's good idea to call out to her --- should a hated person like me call out to her?
But, I made my decision and said.
"...... are you alright?"
I called out to her.
On hearing that, she shook, seemingly out of surprise, and looked towards me,
"...... can you see me?"
"No, it's nothing."
"...... erm, are you really ok? Did something sad happen?"
She looked at me and began,
"Why did you think so?"
She said. And I replied.
"Why, you say, because you have been crying."
"Have been crying? Me?"
As I said that, she had a surprised look again, and touched her own cheeks. And then, she scooped up a tear and looked at it.
"...... you're right."
"You didn't realize it?"
"You're a strange one."
As I said that, she merely smiled and puffed up her cheeks.
"I'm not strange."
And she glowered at me.
On seeing that, I frantically,
"Are you angry?"
She shook her head.
"Nope. I'm happy that you called out to me. Since I've always been alone......"
As she said that, she smiled lonelily.
I was fascinated by her smiling face. Her smile which was tinged with sadness was too beautiful, and I was fascinated by it.
And I said.
Looking at her face, I said.
"So, you're alone as well. Well, we are comrades then."
She again had a surprised look,
In response to that,
As I said that, she looked at me blankly. And for some reason, she suddenly seemed to be on the verge of crying.
"...... comrades. Comrades...... I had never thought that the hated me would have any comrades however...... will you become my comrade?"
She said. And the meaning of that, the meaning of what she had said, was not known to me then.
That's why I replied immediately.
"Of course. I'm bored all by myself everyday."
"Then, then, will you be with me?"
"Let's become friends."
Seemingly happily surprised, she smiled.
And after that, we would always hang out together.
Always the two of us playing together.
I could remember the happy and fun times we had had when we were hanging out together. Even though only unpleasant things continued to occur in school, the times spent with her were full of joy.
However, the time for me to transfer school came again.
To go to a completely different place from here, back to my former school.
Even though I had always wanted to transfer school.
Even though I had always wanted to return to my former school.
Yet I cried.
Not wanting to leave her, I cried.
But yet, even just before I moved, she appeared.
With a happy face.
With a beautiful and lovely face which I could not imagine to belong to a human being.
"Tada. I've come ~."
Even just before I moved, at the park, she appeared.
Come to think of it.
Even though it should have been something real strange, but as a child, I didn't find anything peculiar about it.
No, by all appearances, she was no longer a human.
Her long lavendar colored hair was flickering and shifting through a series of seven colors. Involuntarily wanting to touch this person, with fair white skin, and ebullient, mischievous, deep crimson eyes.
Her figure was extraordinarily beautiful.
Her figure was extraordinarily unworldly.
Clearly not a human being, but something else.
But, at that time, I did not realize all of these.
I was only happy to be able to see her.
I was only happy to be able to play with her.
Hanging out with her, everyday was fun.
Hanging out with her, it was always fun.
And then on a certain day.
On a certain day, she,
"It's about time to do it."
She came saying.
She came saying today was the time to do the thing she had mentioned to me before.
"Are you going to suck my blood?"
On hearing that, she replied with a smile.
"I'm not going to suck it. Your blood that is."
At the unpopular park at twilight.
A park with only the two of us.
"I'm going to inject my poison into you. A poison that will make you unable to leave me."
That was something known as black magic.
In order for the two people to be unable to leave each other, a precious magic.
<< A magic that would bind two people in love for eternity, she had said. >>
And then, her alluring pink lips parted. Beyond those lips, I could see her small cute teeth. Her lips closed in and she pressed those teeth against the back of my neck.
At the same time. I could feel the poison being injected into the back of my neck in one breath. The poison was entering. Her binding << Black MagicPoison >> was filling me up.
And then, everything ended immediately.
She drew away from me, and as expected, with a delighted face, she looked intently at me.
"Alright, it's done ~. With this, you won't be able to leave me. Alive, or dead, forever and ever. Are you prepared for that?"
Of course, I couldn't possibly be prepared for that.
But the willful her didn't seem to care about that. She merely smiled delightfully. Smiling mischievously. She was smiling happily at the fact that we were now truly tied together.
And then she said.
Looking at me intently, she said.
"Tell me you love me. After that, the << Black MagicPoison >> will be completed. Or is it that...... is it that you hate me?"
There was no way, that I would hate her.
There was no way that I would hate her.
But yet, she was making an unsettled face. She was making a lonely face. Always brimming with confidence, willfulness, and filled with so much energy that could have make her seem annoying, on that day, she was truly making an unsettled face, and I didn't want to see such a face from her.
That's why I said.
The words that would complete her << Black MagicPoison >>.
"I also...... I also love you, Himea."
That's what I said.
In the instant I said that, I remembered.
Her name is Himea.
<< Saitohimea >>.
That is what she calls herself.
I had asked her, are you a foreigner?. After laughing, That's not it, though this name is a little too difficult to call, isn't it? Then, just call me Himea. That will be better right? Call me Himea, Taito ---, she replied.
How did I forget all those conversations?
How had I forgotten them?
Despite the fact they were such precious memories, how had I forgotten all that?
That was the thought.
That was the thought that I held.
But the dream continued further.
The me inside the dream called her name.
"I love you, Himea."
In the instant I utter that.
I knew that anything and everything had changed. I knew that the world, and the composition of my body, anything and everything had changed.
It had arrived.
It had arrived.
The << Black MagicPoison >>.
Her beautiful pink lips parted, revealing a little of her small teeth.
I like looking at that smiling face.
I like looking at that unyielding smiling face of hers.
That's why I smiled as well.
Gazing at her, I smiled.
And then once again,
"I like you, Himea."
At the moment I said that, my head flew. Something from the side, an unknown light came mowing down, and my head was dancing in mid-air.
On seeing that, Himea's face contorted into an expression that seemed to be on the verge of crying.
Frantically, she came forward to catch hold of my head.
Completely surprised, I did not understand what had happened.
I only knew that Himea had caught hold of my head and hugged it to her chest. That chest was very warm.
"What's the matter?"
On hearing that, with a slightly fumbling voice, Himea,
"It's, it's alright. There's nothing for Taito to worry about."
Even though she said that, her face clearly said otherwise.
"Uhn shit, I'm already discovered? Even though I thought I would have a little more time......"
As she was saying, Himea reattached my head to my body. As she did that, I was surprised by how easily my head had reattached itself.
"What in the world is this?"
I asked, but Himea did not answer.
With a stern expression, her deep crimson eyes were looking at the top of the jungle gym in the park.
I turned my sight there. I turned my sight towards the top of the jungle gym.
There sat a boy.
A boy of around the same age. With pitch black hair and piercing eyes, the young boy was dangling his legs, letting them swing to and fro, and looked towards here with a cheerful face.
And then the boy said.
"...... so, are you that rumored Saitohimea?"
"...... who's asking?"
"Me? My name is Hinata......"
But that was interrupted by Himea,
"That's not what I'm asking. I'm asking you what's your purpose in coming here. Are you sent by the Church ? Cut me some slack, would you? I'm no longer a comrade of Bhalskra. I've never thought of undoing his seal. That's why there's no meaning to confining me."
Even though I did not understand the meaning of her words, the one thing that I did understand was that she was being pursued by something.
However, on hearing that. On hearing Himea's words, a smile floated on the face of the young boy who called himself Hinata.
"...... Church , what's that?"
Instantly, Himea's face stiffened. I could tell that her body was shaking in nervousness.
"...... then, you are......"
On hearing that, with a swing, Hinata jumped down from the jungle gym. At the same time his feet touched the ground, the ground became stained with a rotting black. From the ground that was stained like it was rotten, a giant claw was born, and the hand of a monster flew out. Following that, the owner of that hand appeared. With the face of a lion, and the wings of a bat, a monster --- at a glance, it's like a horror movie where a monster in the form of a devil comes flying out.
That thing glowered at Himea. It gave off an ear-splitting howl. Following that, Hinata gave a few taps to the leg of that devil and then, directing his words to Himea,
"...... now, let's go revive the Bhalskra that you've betrayed and sealed up. I have a great interest in his power."
On hearing Hinata's words, a slight smile floated on Himea's face.
"...... so you're that huh ~. You are one of those mad believers of the Devil, aren't you. I'm so scared, I'm going to lose."
On hearing that, Hinata shrugged his shoulders.
"Ah-rah-rah, you're not surprised by the form of the devil?"
"Not at all. Do you think something of that level of a devil minion will bother me at all? Do you really think with that level of power, it can be a match for me, for us
<< VampiresMost Ancient Sorcerers >> ......"
But at that moment.
Interrupting Himea's words, Hinata said.
"Not counting you, that's what the remaining three << VampiresMost Ancient Sorcerers >> had said, but all of them died easily."
On hearing that.
But Hinata's words did not stop.
"Now, how much of an entertainment will you provide me, I wonder?"
Just as he said that, Hinata's figure disappeared.
Immediately after, with a strangling grip on Himea's neck, he slammed her to the ground.
She cried out in pain.
On seeing that, I frantically,
And then, as I was about to hit Hinata,
"You're in the way."
Hinata waved his hand lightly. As he did that, a small light materialized in front of his hand. That light struck me in the chest.
And in that instant.
My upper body readily disintegrated.
For a short instant, I could not think about anything. I could not hear anything. An excruciating pain drove me crazy. But, that only lasted for a few seconds. Gradually, my consciousness returned.
And I could hear Himea's voice.
A voice that was on the verge of crying.
A voice that was on the very brink of tearing.
No, in truth, she was crying. While her neck was being strangled by Hinata, her body pressed against the ground, she was looking towards me with tears flowing.
Hinata looked at her.
And then he looked intently towards me, and with a slightly surprised expression,
"For him not to have died after having your upper body erased...... I see. He is your contractor, your guard, and your beloved...... if so, then I would have to eliminate him first......"
Even before Hinata had said all that, I went hitting him again.
"Leave Himea alone......"
But at that moment, Hinata said.
"Sentinel, kill him.'
I could hear the beast's roar behind me. And I turned my head around. As I did so, the giant beast which was twice my size and was standing immediately behind me made a swipe at me with its paw.
I did not cry out.
The four claws of its paw pierced through my body, of which one went through my neck, rendering me unable to make a sound. With that, I was struck by its paw and sent flying. I was sent flying for about ten metres and fell onto the ground. My fractured skull, fractured legs, and my body which had landed in an awkward position and was assaulted by an intense wave of pain that made me want to cry, all of that was healed up immediately.
For some reason, they were healed up immediately.
It was probably due to the << Black MagicPoison >> . It was due to the effect of the << Black MagicPoison >> that Himea had injected into me. And I finally understood the reason why in the world she has bestowed this power onto me.
So that I can protect her.
So that I can protect her during times like this.
That's why I stood up and glared at Hinata. I glared at the monster who was waving around an incredulous amount of power.
On seeing that, Hinata made a troubled face and said.
"You can't die even with this...... uh~n. That's why it's bothersome to fight with a << VampireMost Ancient Sorcerer >> . What kind of << Black MagicPoison >> gets injected into the guard; it's almost impossible to know. What the hell is he? Saitohimea. Even though he appears to be a powerless kid, what kind of power did you confer on him?"
On hearing that, Himea, who was having her neck strangled, said. Even with a pained expression, she grinned broadly.
"As if I'd tell the likes of you."
"Uh~n. Well, nevermind......"
As he was saying that, I started running again.
To save Himea.
To save her.
"Remove your hand from Himea......"
But, at that moment, a sword came flying from somewhere. And it went through my neck.
I groaned, but I did not stop. On top of that, another sword appeared and pierced through my stomach, but even with that, I did not stop.
On seeing that, once again, Hinata,
"Even with this, you won't die, huh? Then, what about this?"
Twang! A sound rang out from his finger.
Two swords appeared, and came piercing through my left and right shoulders, swinging downwards thrusting into the ground and pinning me, rendering me immobile.
Blood flowed. Blood flowed from my neck and shoulders. Even when my strength was gradually, gradually ebbing away from my body, I did not give up.
As I was trying to pull out the swords from the ground,
"...... shit...... shit, come out. I'm going to go save Himea."
On hearing that, Himea said. While crying, she said.
"St, stop. It's enough. It's enough, Taito. Don't move anymore."
"I'm fine. I'll be right there. Himea. I'll be right there......"
On hearing my words.
After looking intently at me, Hinata spoke.
"...... hmm. It's useless even with this. Just now, it's apparent that I've aimed for the heart however...... well, you're still alive even after your upper body was disintegrated. So it's not related to the heart huh? Then this time round, I'll go for the lower body. There's a possibility that the core of your life has shifted down to your lower body. Then, light."
On saying that, once again, light began to gathered before his hand. It was the same light that had disintegrated by upper body earlier. The light was aimed in my direction. In order to dodge that light, I tried to pull out the swords. Frantically attempting to pull out the swords. But they wouldn't bulge. It seemed like I couldn't move a single inch.
"Shit, shit, shit."
I said as I completely failed in my desperate attempts to pull out the swords. Still a child, possessing the arms of a child, it seemed like I lacked the arm strength, the reason behind my inability to pull out the swords, or to protect her.
The current me.
The current me had not a single shred of power.
Shit, shit, shit.
With a teary voice, I hollered.
But even when I hollered, even when I hollered in a teary voice, there was nothing I could do.
There was nothing I could do.
At that moment, Hinata seemed about to say something. Aiming the light in my direction, he seemed about to say something.
"Please stop already!!"
"I, I would listen to whatever you say, so, please....... please stop......"
On hearing that, my eyes widened.
Looking at her resigned face. At her weeping face.
That's also for my sake.
It's all my fault.
Because I was weak, I had to see her, the girl who was always full of confidence, stubborn, and a little mischievous, I had to see her pleading with Hinata.
I hollered. I hollered frantically.
But even so, there was nothing I could do.
"Pull them out! Pull them out! Pull them out!"
I desperately tried to pull the swords out.
"Pull them out! Pull them out! Pull them outtttttttttttttttttttttttttt!"
I desperately tried to pull the swords out. But, they didn't buldge. It seemed like I had not enough strength. What's with this, I thought. Why, why don't I have the strength? Why don't I have the strength at all? I thought.
And in the end, I couldn't move at all.
No matter how much I struggle and flounder, I couldn't move.
Hinata said. With a slightly happy face, he looked down at Himea,
"Ahh, so that's the mechanism. There's a limit to the number of times, isn't it? I've already killed him six times. And, the next would be the seventh, and you reacted. In other words, it would be bad if I kill him for the seventh time. In other words, he won't revive after his seventh death --- is that correct?"
On hearing that, Himea did not reply. With a face on the verge of crying, she merely looked in my direction.
But Hinata said.
"Ah-reh, is it that you can't hear anything I say? If you're not answering, then I shall.......'
Himea spoke. With a shaking voice, she spoke.
"That, that's right. Just as you've said...... as long as he's not killed seven times consecutively within fifteen minutes, he won't die --- that's my curse that Taito bears......"
"I see. That's an interesting contract exchange you've made...... a << Curse >> conferring immortality is indeed of a high level magic but...... for a mere human to be conferred immortality for just a short amount of time, what in the world can he accomplish? Without the power to protect you, without the power to stop me, with only the ability of not being able to die, what in the world can he accomplish? I don't get it at all. I don't understand what's your motive at all. With all that power that a << VampireMost Ancient Sorcerer >> should possess, why did you utilize it in such a meaningless manner? Could it be that you are an idiot?"
Hinata said. And then I thought that it was just as he had said.
If Himea had the power to confer upon me another kind of power, she should be doing just that, I thought.
No, in fact, the contractor need not be me, I thought. Even though it would definitely have been better for her to confer some great ability to someone who's more capable, stronger, and more adult-like.
Why did Himea confer a power upon such a mere powerless, incompetent child who only gets bullied by others?
I don't get it.
I don't get it.
Why did she do such a thing? Why didn't she choose someone who could be more of a use to her? Why did someone like me,
Why did someone like me got chosen?
As I was about to ask that, Hinata continued. With a pair of extremely, extremely, extremely bored, demeaning eyes, he looked at her,
"...... I see. You've fallen for your contractor? ...... that's why you've conferred him with such a useless power. You've done something completely meaningless by giving your power to someone who would only drag you down. In order for the one you've fallen for to not die, in order for him to stay by your side without dying, you've given away a foolish power. And this is the result. So this is the truth about the renowned monster, Saitohimea...... ha, haha, how boring."
That's what he said.
And there was no longer anything I could say.
I've understood why she had conferred me with such a power.
And I realized she was looking towards here at me with a tear-streaked, yet happy-looking and affectionate face.
There was nothing I could say.
Himea then said.
"Please...... please cut me some slack at this juncture. Whatever it is, I'll do as you say....... so please stop shaming me beyond this in front of Taito......"
On hearing that, Hinata nodded. As expected, he nodded with a hint of boredom.
"Alright. If you would be obedient and just follow me...... I'll let him live......"
On hearing that.
Himea then, once again with a sad but gentle face, looked towards me,
"It'd be fine. Everything will be over quickly. So Taito, just close your eyes."
She said to me.
And I shouted things like, 'No way! I'll definitely save Himea!
Despite the fact that I was helpless. Despite the fact that I was powerless.
I just kept on shouting how I'd save her.
On hearing those, Hinata said.
"Geez, that's why I hate humans. In spite of not having any power, they still clamor on incessantly. It really pisses me off. But because of our agreement, I'll let him live ,however, ....... but, it'll be a bother if he follows after us, so I'm going to erase his memory. Is that good?"
On hearing that, Himea's expression changed. Her weeping face further contorted in sadness. But before long, she seemed to have made up her mind,
Hinata then released her neck, and closed in toward me.
Hinata shrugged his shoulders,
"Without any power, no matter how much you clamour, nothing's going to change, you know?"
He said to me.
But still, I yelled at him to stop. I asked him to stop.
"I don't want to forget Himea."
Instantly. Himea's face contorted again. With tears flowing, she sobbed. She shut her eyes, and turned to face another direction.
I looked at that.
I looked in her direction.
"I...... I'll never forget!"
"I'll definitely come and save Himea."
"So wait for me. I'll definitely...... I'll......"
At that moment.
Hinata reached his hand out towards my head.
"You'll forget. Promptly."
And then I forgot, about anything and everything.
Those forgotten memories.
All of a sudden, for some reason, he remembered them.
Taito stopped his legs.
Somewhere along the wooded path in the dark night.
He stopped his legs that were running away from the hentai foreigners.
And then he lightly pressed his hand against his head. He lightly pressed his hand against the head in which a strange throbbing pain remained.
He shouted with all his might without any reason.
And then he thought.
What the hell, he thought.
What the hell's with me, he thought.
What the hell was I doing all this while, he thought.
Even though he had said that he wouldn't forget. Even though he had said that he would definitely go save her.
But yet, in the end, he had forgotten.
And he had led a regular life. Carefreely, slackingly, sluggishly, always spacing out, he had led an ordinary, regular life.
He couldn't do karate anymore?
He had lost his dream?
He was a supporting character after all and couldn't find something he could do?
Am I am idiot?
Aren't there a lot of things I can do?
Aren't there a lot of things I must do?
But yet, many years had passed. Many years had passed since she was taken away.
He couldn't even remember the feelings she had held for himself. And since he had always misunderstood the embarrassing dreams he had, he was unable to even put a sense of reality to the feelings he had held then.
That amount of time had flowed away. An unbelievable amount of time had flowed away.
And during all that time, Himea; how many years, how many years, how many years......
"Damn! How many years had Himea...... continued waiting..... "
As he muttered, he turned around.
Facing the wooded path, from where the two robed foreigners carrying knives in their hands came running.
Seeing that, thump, thump, Taito's heart was pounding at a rapid rate. Then, he tried thrusting his nails into his face. As he pull them out of his skin, blood flowed. But immediately after that, he could feel his wounds healing up.
After ascertaining that, he took out his mobile phone from his pocket. He opened it. The time was already six. If he went back home now, his Mum would have finished preparing dinner, and together with his little sister, Onii-chan had said that he would be back home early today, but yet, they would probably say something along those lines.
Well, that was of no consequence for now.
The important thing now was the time he was knocked down by the truck. The time he was knocked down by the truck, the time he had died. More than thirty minutes had passed since then. In other words, it meant that the timer had been reset.
His own power --- he wouldn't die unless he was killed seven times in fifteen minutes, the power conferred to him by Himea.
That had already been reset.
"...... which means that there wouldn't be a problem even I die six times from now on......"
It would be okay even if he die six times.
With that, he slowly lowered his pose. He adopted the basic stance of karate. And then,
"Then it'll be a breeze."
He murmured, and with that, Taito put a step forward.
As he did that, the two foreigners had a slightly surprised look on their faces, but right after that, a smile then floated on their faces,
"Hah. Karate? With the fighting level of a student, do you really think you can beat us?"
The man of Spainish lineage sped up his movements. With a sharp movement, he came thrusting in with his knife. That movement was really sharp. It was so sharp that it's all one could do just to dodge it.
Taito did not dodge. Neither did he try pushing it away with his hand. He seemed to be receiving it straight on with his chest,
"Are you crazy?"
The man of Spainish lineage shouted out with surprise.
And with that, the knife pierced into Taito's chest. Completely unconcerned with the knife, Taito's fist struck into the solar plexus of the man of Spainish lineage. Completely unconcerned with his own death, he put in all his strength into his strike.
The man of Spainish lineage groaned and fell to the ground. Of course. It was accompanied with a reaction in Taito's fist. It was accompanied with a reaction strong enough to destroy his own fist. It was already at the level where he put in every ounce of his strength into the strike without fear of any retaliation. But that kind of thing was normally not possible. Completely conquering the fear of death and the fear of pain, putting in all of one's strength into an attack against the enemy, such a thing was normally not possible. But he did that.
The short stumpy macho man whose body appeared to be clad in an armor of muscles was defeated in a single hit. In reaction to that.
"...... awesome. "
Taito uttered without thinking.
Following that, this time round, he turned towards the tall, white man. The white man was looking at Taito with a face already contorted in fear. His gaze was locked onto his chest, at the place where the heart should be located, where a knife was protruding,
"...... you damn monster."
Taito shrugged his shoulders. Looking intently at the white man,
"If you're scared and want to surrender, that will make things easier for me."
But the white man laughed.
"Surrender? Who? "
He said and threw away his knife. Following that, he again took out another knife from his bosom. However, this time round, the shape of the knife was different from the previous one. The hilt was in the shape of a cross.
Taito looked at that.
Cross. Cross. Taito looked at the cross.
"Ah, could it be that you guys are from the Church or something?"
On hearing that, the color of the white man's face changed. Looking straight at Taito with a glare,
"Do you know about us?"
But Taito shook his head.
"Not at all. It's just that the name kind of propped up in an old memory. I see. So you guys are from the Church huh? That means you probably can't be a comrade of that Himea."
That was something that came up earlier in his dream, from his recollection. For some reason, it seemed like Himea was being pursued by something called the Church, but Hinata didn't seem to be affiliated with the Church. Then, these weren't the guys who had taken Himea away.
But still, even so, probably,
"Perhaps you are more well informed than me?"
On hearing that, the white man fixed a glare on Taito,
"Do you intend to force information out of me?"
"Well, I'll be grateful if you're willing to talk without the use of force however...... but then again, what's this? Why are you guys attacking me all of a sudden?"
In response to that question, the white man replied relatively simply.
"It's the prophecy. It was foretold that the familiar of << VampireMost Ancient Sorcerer >> Saitohimea will revive around here...... and, we met you...... we were ordered to kill you when we meet you, or to capture you if you're weak, but......"
"I'm stronger than you think?"
On hearing that, a smile floated on the white man's face,
"It's the opposite."
He said. And then he moved. He pointed the cross towards Taito.
And following that.
"...... SEIIRU, KURAIESU, TARATORURINE......"
At the same time he was uttering those nonsensical words in an orderly fashion, the center of the cross started glowing.
Taito looked at that and thought that it's going to be something awful.
It was that light again. A light similar to that released by Hinata. A laser, or a beam, or magic, or some psychic powers, what was it exactly was unknown but at any rate, the light was something awful. Looking at that,
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, it looks really bad, should I dodge it or not, I've to make up my mind......"
At that moment, he could hear that voice again.
He could hear the voice of that person who fought for the sake of marrying an eight year old girl and got destroyed wonderfully, the voice of Ichinose sensei.
"Oiy Taitio, if you can't grasp the initiative, don't fight. Never fight a battle you can't win. Don't confuse bravery with foolhardiness."
And thus, right now, he realized that he could not tell the classification of the type of light that was about to be released before his very eyes.
If this light was fired off for the sake of destroying him, then it won't matter. Since he could die five more times, it wasn't a problem. But what if the light contained another power? Say, for example, if the light's power was to immobilize and restrain him, what should he do then?
It'd bad if he took it on. Extremely bad.
"Then I shall dodge."
With a large step, he jumped to the side.
At the same time, the white man fired the light, but he fired it towards the place where Taito had been before he dodged.
It was just as Taito had predicted.
The light fired off by the white man was in the shape of some form of a net and it struck the man of Spainish lineage, and went wrapping round his body, binding him.
On seeing that, Taito said.
"A pity you missed ~"
The white man then smiled.
"Nope, it's at just where I've aimed."
And with that, he carried the man of Spainish lineage still wrapped in the glowing net and started running. That was in the direction opposite of Taito, in the direction of the wooded path, he made his escape.
"What, you are escaping!?"
The white man then turned to face him,
"I'll kill you next time."
"Huh? I don't think you can escape while carrying......"
But, at that moment, the white man further went on to take a lump of something out. And then,
He flung it towards Taito.
In response to that, Taito,
He said as he caught hold of it. And he looked at it. It was a black mass resembling something that could only be seen in action movies.
"Could, could this be...... a hand grenade?"
At the time he said that, the hand grenade glowed.
Following that, he could feel his body burning and being blown flying. Gyahhhhhhhhhhh, he cried out in extreme pain as his body was sent dancing in the air, making a few spins before falling. He landed head first, gokin (sfx), his neck broke and with that, he fell.
And then after some time passed after he had fallen, he got up. Gokin (sfx), he further went on to fix his head with his hands, after which he took in a deep breath,
"...... to throw a hand grenade in the park, are you guys idiotsssssssssssssss!?"
He yelled. But the robed pair were already nowhere to be seen. Realizing that,
"Uwah, shit, they got away ~."
He groaned, after which he looked down at his messed up disheveled clothes. And then,
"....... geez, what excuse should I make to my parents today?"
He said in a fed-up voice.
However, at the moment he said that, his clothes started regenerating piece by piece.
"Eh? Eh? Even the clothes are being regenerated? Even if such graciousness were not extended......"
Looking at the completely repaired tatters and healed up wounds,
"Well, with this kind of power, there's nothing that can go beyond this however......"
While murmuring that, he looked up.
Following that, he looked intently at the wooded path on which he just fought the pair of violent foreigners, and thought for a while.
He thought about the fight just a while ago.
Firstly, he died once from the knife wound. Following that, he died another time from the blast of the hand grenade, and he probably died again during the time when he fell to the ground and broke his neck as well.
In other words, he could only die at most three more times.
At that moment, once again, he took out his mobile phone from his pocket. And he breathed a sigh of relief on seeing that the phone seemed to be still intact after the blast.
He checked the time on his mobile. No more than five minutes had passed since the start of the fight.
Taito committed it to memory. He committed to memory the sensation of the amount of time that had passed in the five minutes of the fight. The fact that he had already been killed three times was carved into his mind. In spite of having ten minutes remaining, he could only afford to die another three times. And that was pretty bad, he thought. The enemies just now were not really that strong, if he were to encounter stronger enemies, it was fearfully possible that dying seven times in fifteen minutes would be an easy feat. So it was necessary for him to be more vigilant the next time, Taito thought. Well, at any rate,
"...... before the next time occurs, I should buy a watch that can track time accurately...... will something like a G-shock withstand a blast from a hand grenade? Perhaps, that's indeed too much to ask for?"
While saying all that, he looked around his surroundings.
As expected, it was an unpopular, dark wooded path.
After looking around,
"So, what should I do next?"
"...... it's good that I remembered the various stuff but, now, how should I go about gathering information on Himea from here on?"
At the moment he said that.
The voice came again.
The nostalgic voice of Himea.
That voice said.
With a voice that, for some reason, was softer than before,
"Ah-rah, so this is the end, it seems. It seems like these are all of the remaining of my thoughts left inside of you. But, it's already alright, right? Taito. You've properly awakened, right? That's why I'll be able to see you in a moment. The promise. If we ever get separated, at that place...... we'll meet again at that place...... that's the promise made between us......"
But at that point, the voice disappeared.
At the same time, he could feel that those thoughts of hers and the like which had been resounding in him had disappeared.
He could feel that all those things that had been embedded within the depths of his heart all this while had disappeared.
And all of a sudden, a feeling of loneliness filled his heart.
As the precious feeling of being together all this while was gone, a feeling of loneliness filled his heart.
But he had no time to be bothered by that.
The reason was because he had no further need of her thoughts.
Her words just now.
Her words that were cut off.
"At that place...... we'll meet again at that place...... that's the promise made between us......"
Remembering those words, Taito said.
"...... that place so as to speak, where is it?"
After saying that, Uwah, this is bad, he thought. After letting her wait for nine years, Well, sorry, sorry, I've forgotten where our appointed meeting place is, isn't saying such a thing a little unforgivable?
"Uwah, what should I do? I kind of feel that it'll be really terrible if I don't recall it properly...... erm...... what's that again? What kind of promise did I make with her again?"
He tried searching his memory, but not a single thing came up.
More importantly, while this could be due to the fact that he had forgotten about her for a good many years, right now, his memories were still jumbled up.
His memories of the times he had spent with her were vague. If he were to see her again after all this while, he would be unsure of how he should behave, that was how vague things were.
But, even so, there was no question that he had to go meet her.
Because it had been nine years. Because she had waited for him for nine long years.
That's why Taito desperately tried to remember. He racked his brains and desperately tried to remember. Not from the voice in Himea's thoughts that were left behind, but from her voice that was left in his own memories, he desperately searched.
At that moment.
And then from the depths of his memories. From the depths of his memories which had not been touched for a long, long time.
"If say, Taito and I got separated......"
He found those words of hers of that time from his memories.
"Ah, is it this?"
"Wait, what if I'm mistaken?"
"Ahhhhhhh, but whether it's a mistake or not, for now, if I don't go take a look......"
After saying that, he turned on his heel.
And along the wooded path of the night, in the direction from where he had come, he ran.
The destination was once again the park.
The park where he had played with her often.
Before he knew it, shedding his old ordinary life, starting on a new path, toward the park, he started running.
That very scene ---
That girl who was saved from the rampaging truck by Taito, Andou Mirai, was staring at it.
With her short body, she had scrambled up a stone wall with utmost effort, and with only her eyes above her cover, she secretly saw the leaving Taito off.
Following that, she,
She uttered as she clambered up to the top of the stone wall.
And she said.
"Well well ~. Somehow, after following the severed head monster-kun here, I got hold of some incredible scoop, it seems. Isn't this awesome? Awesome right? Well, anyhow, I've got to let Gekkou know."
On saying that, she got off the wall with a thud. She fell.
As she was uttering that, she broke off into a run.
And that wooded path became devoid of all life.
But, nevertheless, that had already begun.
The prophecy of the Church, the many complex entanglements of their fates, the entire story had already begun.
With the crossing of the many threads, the story started progressing towards its end.
Translator's Notes and References
- VampiresMost Ancient Sorcerers: The kanji is given as 最古の魔術師, which I currently translated it as "Most Ancient Sorcerer", while the furigana (in katakana) is given as ヴァンパイア (ie. Vampire). Depending on circumstances, I might change "Most Ancient Sorcerer" to "Most Ancient Mage" or "Most Ancient Magician" in the future since all these are valid translations. Furigana (text above) is used for reading, which means one should read it as "Vampire" when reading the text. The kanji + okurigana (lower text) gives either (1) the real meaning or true nature, (2) alternative meaning (thus implying the word has multiple meanings), or (3) an alternate reading (ie. equivalent meaning).
|Prev||Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi||Next|