-SLASHDØG- Chapter 7
Having slipped out of the underground hall, Tobio dashed directly to the elevator together with Jin. Waiting for him there were his fellow classmates who’d been turned into Utsusemi. It was as if they were stationed there awaiting anyone who fled from the hall. Two men in business suits could be seen commanding them from the rear. They each had tied tokens to their hands. Agency members.
Tobio charged while screaming. Jin was rapidly bisecting the Utsusemi monsters that his fellow students were employing with Night Haken. An enormous plant Utsusemi with the appearance of a rose, an insectoid Utsusemi resembling a stag beetle, in an instant they’d been cleared away by thorny blades appearing from the shadows at their feet——by Haken.
Suddenly, he saw that Haken had also pierced a wall. Looking over, there was a Utsusemi with a form resembling a chameleon that was mimicking a wall. It had clung to the wall, seemingly to conceal its figure, but its abdomen had been pierced by Haken. It was already dead, falling as it was to the floor of the corridor. ……It seemed Jin had immediately perceived something that Tobio himself was not able to see and followed up with an attack . Such bestial senses to detect presences, this was something Tobio did not possess.
……No, it’s not just that. It’s evident that Jin’s ambiance had completely changed since coming here. Jin’s small body was generating shadows that were spreading, completely dying a portion of the corridor black. The floor, the walls, the ceiling, they were all swallowed by shadows incomparable to that of the puppy’s physique. From that black shadow, countless blades had sprouted. With every step that Jin took, the shadow advanced as it spread along the corridor.
Seeing this the agency members’ eyes widened, and their entire bodies were trembling. They dropped the magical talismans in their hands due to the extent of fear they felt towards the tiny dog.
Shaking off his fear, one of the agency members once again produced talismans from his breast pocket. However, a single Haken sword appeared from the shadows on the walls, precisely piercing through the talisman he had produced.
Since the talismans were now useless, with the bound token still being okay the agency member switched to the hand type——but a Haken appeared from his feet and instantly reached his throat.
At this moment of aggression Tobio was at a loss for words. Jin……had already understood it. The talismans they possess, the hand tokens, he was already aware that these were articles used to bring about supernatural phenomenon. As a result, he utilized a technique to destroy them first. The talismans, the hand tokens, his opponent’s fighting spirit——.
He hadn’t taken lives the way an Utsusemi monster would, since it was apparent that Tobio his master was against murder. Having guessed as much about his master’s true feelings this puppy had been influenced by him.
It was not only Tobio, the agency member duo understood as well, having lowered their hostility, and dropped what they were wielding.
While looking over at Jin, the agency members whispered to each other.
“……It seems its power was raised through instinctual resonance. Seeing that battle between ice and flame……”
“……Within the thirteen varieties, several of them have been gathered here. Merely one variety can be said to distort events, but with this many……”
Tobio, without giving any thought to their murmuring, spoke vigorously as he took one step towards them.
“That elevator was a type requiring authorization. ——Would you be so kind as to escort me up.”
For them whose fighting spirit had been diminished, they no longer had the power to deny Tobio’s request.
From the elevator, waiting for Tobio and Jin who had ridden it up——was a multitude of his fellow classmates. Utsusemi monsters were deployed nearby, which rushed at Tobio and Jin as soon as they passed through the door.
Receiving his master’s order, Jin turned into a black bullet and plunged into the group of Utsusemi. Simultaneously distorted blades sprouted up throughout the passageway. The points of those blades accurately struck the cores of the Utsusemi monsters, and from that single blow, they all collapsed.
Seemingly overwhelming, with just that amount of violence, in a flash Jin closed in on the monsters without interference, and blew straight through them.
Tobio, shaking off the outstretched hands of his fellow classmates, was thrust away from Jin who up ahead having been caught. Unable to follow his this puppy’s master could do nothing but call his name. For Tobio himself as well, the passage being blocked by his classmates, it had developed into scuffling and grappling. However, as Jin struck down the Utsusemi monsters, they would lose consciousness and fall to the ground, so it didn’t become a serious situation.
In this manner, there was no need to worry about them suffering fatal injuries, since in this approach they wouldn’t even receive injuries. Using the minimum amount of self-defense to escape danger, Tobio’s body suffered bruising all over. In spite of getting hit and kicked, he limited the amount of times he retaliated against his fellow students. Because of the brawl, the uniform he was wearing was in tatters, and he was gasping for breath.
Yet nevertheless, he faced each of his classmates who had been turned into Utsusemi. As for Tobio, he was depending on Jin’s nose. Regarding Jin, he had started to follow Sae’s scent that lingered in the corridor. Tobio, in pursuit of his figure, gave chase immediately.
Within the passage ahead of them, all lighting was suddenly plunged into darkness. The moment he thought it might be an enemy trap, the emergency lights immediately came on. And then, a flurried alert sound reverberated throughout the entirety of the building’s interior.
‘Emergency alert announcement. Emergency alert announcement. From outside, a hostile organization is approaching. They appear to be agents from the Five Principal Clans. Repeat. From outside, a hostile organization is approaching. They appear to be agents from the Five Principal Clans. All members, evacuate your post, and follow the emergency manual——‘
The red lights installed throughout the hallway were fervently flashing.
……Emergency alert announcement? The Five Principal Clans were approaching from the outside? This location, it must have been leaked to the Five Principal Clans. For all the Clans who seek to keep the ‘Four Fiends Project’ under wraps, with members of the Five Principal Clans going as far as to ensure that the media would not be alerted to the ‘Utsusemi Agency’, it’s certainly possible to say they would attack this base once they discovered it.
……Assuming that’s the case, there’s no time. Sae hasn’t been rescued yet……. However, Tobio was struck by such anxious thoughts.
No, wait……. The Five Principal Clans, in regards to his fellow students and their families who’d been confirmed to be in this base, what exactly was it they were planning to do with them? Would they be safely sent home? Such a thing was not within expectations. He had heard that they correct deficiencies in their families. In that case, his classmates and their relatives——.
Suddenly Tobio looked back. Behind him, his fellow students who had come rushing at him were collapsed throughout the passageway. Having lost their Utsusemi monsters, they had lost consciousness and immediately collapsed. There was no transference by means of a magic square occurring. That may be natural. Since they had been previously transported here, there was no need to move them this time.
Seeing his fellow students collapsed on the floor, Tobio wore a bitter expression.
……As far as rescuing those who are here, will I not have a second chance to save them? Perhaps, regarding those guys from the agency, if they were to be defeated by this raid against them, it seems they would abandon this base in order to escape in one piece. In that case they…….
There wasn’t enough time for Tobio alone to carry all these people out. It was also necessary to disconnect all of their relatives from that equipment. In that case, what about Lavinia? If it was her magic——. No good. She was taking part in a life or death struggle with a powerful witch down below. Even if for arguments sake he had succeeded in rescuing them right now there was no way for Tobio, who was lacking in comprehension of supernatural powers, to move them all.
Well then, as the only one who could save them, who could he save……? Could he only save Sae and her relatives……?
Having thought of this Tobio banged his head against the wall.
——That’s the worst idea.
……Regarding myself, I had already made up my mind. Not just Sae, I would save everyone. Sasaki, Minagawa Natsume’s friend, Samejima Kouki’s friend, everyone——.
……I won’t give up……!! That I could just yield to such absurdity and leave them like this, of course I can’t do that……!! I’ll save everyone! I will save everyone!
……Well then, how do I……?
Not coming to an answer was torturous for Tobio. Certainly while debating this Sae was steadily getting further away. There wasn’t time to think about this. He couldn’t spare the time to come up with an answer.
Wearing an expression of anguish, Tobio raised his voice.
“——These ‘human beings’ are beyond comprehension. To think they can use a human being in an experiment as though they were the same as trash, and that it would appear to be an act of divine mercy to try and save them all. Undeniably, they are beings beyond salvation.”
As he cried out as such mingled with grief, a man with long wavy black hair appeared. He was a foreigner wearing something similar to a robe. After glancing at Tobio and——Jin, the man spoke.
“……I’m someone from the ‘Governor General’s’ Organization. Intruding to help you guys was unexpectedly easy.”
……The ‘Governor General’s’ Organization. If that’s the case, he’s a Grigori official? Unsure if what he said was accurate, Jin was increasingly vigilant given the apparent pressure that the man was giving off.
The man spoke while flipping his robe. He pointed down the passageway with his index finger.
“’Dog’, up ahead, the man who is seeking his own death, he is waiting for you. Go. You can entrust the matter of transporting of all the people here to me. Since that is the task I have been entrusted with. Originally, it was just to confirm the presence of the aforementioned witch but……”
The man dropped his gaze. It was as though he was aware of the battle involving his magician comrade that was happening down in the basement. The man let out a sigh and spoke again.
“Look, it’s as I said. Go quickly now.”
The man turned his finger towards the collapsed fellow students. Thereupon, a magic square expanded underneath them, and following the glow their figures vanished. It appeared they had been transported.
Tobio timidly enquired.
“……What’s your name?”
The man replied while seemingly uninterested.
“……Cadre of the Grigori, Kokabiel.”
Confirming that, Tobio bowed saying, “I’m relying on you,” and left immediately. Already, he apparently could do nothing under the present circumstances other than rely upon this suspicious man.
As he ran Tobio heard,
“……I should have said already that I have no interest in Sacred Gears, Azazel”
The man——Kokabiel’s voice could be heard letting out such words.
Again advancing through the passageway the place Tobio and Jin arrived at——was an upstairs room with a wide view. Most of the walls were made of glass, providing an unhindered look at the outside. Looking around, a green landscape could be seen below——. All kinds of trees could be seen filling the entire area. It was clear that this place was somewhere in the mountains.
“Isn’t the scenery great? It’s the only place in this base I find to be pleasing.”
A sudden voice. Looking over in that direction, there was the figure of Himejima Hanezu. Next to him, Sae was stationed there accompanied by an enormous black lion.
Himejima Hanezu spoke while gazing outside.
“We spent many years establishing this hidden base within this remote mountain. Here is the only place. This outlook room was made using one part of the mountain. Since it’s surrounded by a barrier, it’s not visible from the outside. Therefore, without being seen by anyone, you can have an unbroken view of the landscape. Isn’t it beautiful?”
Himejima Hanezu wore a smile on his lips as he uttered this. As expected, this place——their base had been built inside of a mountain. It was clear from just a sweep over the exterior that, in regards to the mountain’s vicinity, it could be reliably determined that it was a long distance between them and the nearest town.
He let out a single sigh, and after shaking his head, continued the conversation.
“——Utsusemi, the reason we refer to your fellow classmates as such, do you want to know the reason?”
Even without Tobio’s answer, Himejima Hanezu immediately continued talking as he stepped forward.
“Clearly it can be understood to be related to the name of our organization……. Utsusemi, it’s the same name. ——It means ‘humans’. Thus, the cast off skin of a cicada. Something which is hollow. ……Though born into a family with a righteous lineage of supernatural powers, yet not possessing the power passed on by that family, those were the people that we have recruited to our objective. As far as the people from the Clans are concerned, those people who didn’t possess the power the family desired, they weren’t ‘human’. They were merely ‘incompetent’.”
His eyes——were gloomy with self-mockery, without any radiance within them.
“We who were rejected by that value system were hollow existences——Utsusemi.”
“……Then, the reason to call everyone as such……?”
At Tobio’s inquiry Himejima Hanezu shrugged his shoulders.
“——Even when provided with power, they were still only human. ……Remember this well, Ikuse Tobio. On our side, the definition of what is called ‘human’ is as varied as the number of people. Sooner or later, this is something you’ll likely have to confront.”
……The definition of ‘human’. In regard to that Tobio did not presently have a clear answer, something which Himejima Hanezu was sufficiently aware of.
He then, from his breast pocket——produced a tokko. It was a ritual implement with sharp pestle-type implements at both ends. Upon Himejima Hanezu’s recitation of a whispered spell, the tokko automatically began floating in the air. It then began revolving around him. Thereupon, before anyone noticed, there were two tokko. He supposed he could have misjudged, but the number of tokko continued to increase, three, four, five……the number had exceeded ten, all flying around the surroundings.
Himejima Hanezu spoke under these circumstances.
“……I, from the time I was a child, have excelled at handling ritual implements such as this. Purely in regards to this, even among the Himejima, I was number one in prominence.”
Once again he produced the shakujou within his hands. Step by step he began to approach Tobio. Even while doing that though he continued speaking.
“My own house of Himejima, it’s a Shinto clan. Including the ancient Hinokagutsuchi, we have faith in the gods of that religious system. Naturally many were born possessing the supernatural ability to manipulate flames. ……As for myself, I was not blessed with such power. Despite believing in the Hinokagutsuchi, as well as all the gods of that system I was unable to receive any of that divine protection. As a result, here I am now. ——For those who were unable to conform to the circumstances of the clans, even though we originated from the clans, we have been relegated to this. This is the justice they have strictly observed since ancient times.”
That is to say, for him who didn’t possess the power of the Himejima——the power of fire, there was no place for him outside of the ‘Utsusemi Agency’?
What Tobio had heard was worrisome.
“……Let me ask you one thing. Are the ‘Four Fiends’ and my ability also things originating from the gods of Japanese mythology?”
Himejima Hanezu shook his head.
“……No, the sacred treasures——those supernatural powers which are called Sacred Gears, they were not created by a system of gods belonging to Japan. Regarding that, it’s a creation of Christianity——the God of the Bible. Consequently they were originally an existence that is incompatible with us. It is heathenism, the very thing itself being a heresy.”
……There was no relation between Jin and the Hinokagutsuchi? It was something involving the God of Christianity…….
Tobio was perplexed at this unforeseen truth, the reality he had been convinced of was again floating before his eyes.
The black angel he had encountered when he was a child——. The organization that was protecting Tobio and the other survivors——the Grigori. From the conversation with Himejima Hanezu, Tobio was beginning to understand little by little. It was seemingly absurd talk, and yet the summary of all that was said fits together consistently.
The aforementioned tokko that Himejima Hanezu was manipulating, they had completely captured Tobio and Jin.
“It would seem that the subordinates of the Five Principal Clans will arrive here very soon. Indeed, from the time I had encountered you and that young girl it was already my loss.”
He then, “Kukuku,” let out a suppressed laugh.
“‘Governor General’ Azazel, you had made certain of this from the beginning. ……Well this seems okay. Regarding this alliance of like minded people, those ‘witches’ that joined up with us have likely already fled. The techniques we have cultivated here, it seems they will continue to develop it accordingly. The ‘Four Fiends Project’ will be continued, and it will grant the deep-seated wish those witches are seeking. It would be nice if we respectively were able to accomplish our revenge against the Clans. ——But, I shall not achieve that.”
Himejima Hanezu stood before Tobio. In spite of his self-derision, he said this.
“——Himejima Tobio. Grant my desire. Make it come true. Remake the ominous blade of the black dog born to the Himejima. And then, kill me with that ominous blade. I won’t die by the hands of those guys. If I am to die, allow me to perish by your black blade. ——Can you understand this?”
Tobio was exacerbated by Himejima Hanezu who was repeatedly saying things that were impossible to understand.
“DON’T SCREW WITH ME! Doing something like that! That only results in sorrow! Just to die in the end!? Moreover, you even want to be killed by me!? Don’t screw with me! DON’T YOU SCREW WITH ME! Besides! I……I’M NOT A HIMEJIMA! I’m Ikuse! IKUSE TOBIO!”
Tobio was yelling those angry words, and yet Himejima Hanezu was still wearing that thin smile.
“No, you are a Himejima. If you were not, we would not be here. That’s what drew you into all of this, the blood of the Five Principal Clans. Particularly because the power you wield is black more than anything else. It’s pitch black. As the one harboring that darkness, it dishonors you to speak such ignorant lip service. Don’t you think that even among your companions you stand out the most?”
Responding to Tobio’s scream Jin leapt forward! Moreover all of the numerous tokko floating in the air around Himejima Hanezu faced towards Jin. Jin, a single-edged blade growing from his forehead, knocked down one of the tokko. ——But, with the exception of that tokko the rest changed their trajectory in mid air, the pointed ends thrusting towards Jin’s flank! Jin moved to avoid them entirely, the tokko also moved after him, and at last, they captured the puppy and pierced his abdomen! Jin let out a shriek “KYAN!” as he was knocked to the floor by that single hit from the tokko!
Jin, his whole body trembling, stood up. The tokko’s attack having been quite severe, Jin “KAHA!” coughed up a clot of blood. Just the amount of damage that Jin had suffered from that one blow…….The power of the man’s magic——the power of Buddhism that was infused into the tokko was quite strong.
However, nevertheless Jin hadn’t given up, his pupils shining red. From the shadow at Himejima Hanezu’s feet, a Haken appeared! However, he had already seen through the attack. Anticipating it he evaded easily, destroying it with a sweeping blow from the shakujou.
As this was happening, several of the tokko flying through the air, setting their sights on Tobio this time, attacked. Just before taking a direct hit, a Haken formed from the shadows at Tobio’s feet in the form of a shield, but just before hitting the tokko changed their trajectory in mid air following an arc, sidestepping the Haken, and went flying at Tobio! At wits end, Tobio’s whole body was struck by several tokko!
His shoulder, back, arm, waist, leg, all of these places were struck by the tokko, producing a thick sound. Just as he was assaulted by the pain, fell to his knees on the spot. It was fortunate that his head hadn’t been struck……they had purposefully not been aimed to strike there. It would have reached an immediate conclusion had he aimed at his head. That wasn’t what he desired.
……Together with the pain in his left arm and right leg it was as if they weren’t functioning either. His arm and leg were limp. ……It seemed the bones were fractured. The arm aside, having lost the leg was fatal. ……Already, Tobio was no longer able to move around.
His master being on the verge of a crisis, a blackness sprung forth from Jin’s whole body, enhancing his power all the more, but the puppy itself had already suffered serious damage. Again and again he vomited blood from his mouth. His internal organs had been injured. In this situation, Jin——.
At this the black lion also joined in the offensive. Shaking its large body, “Gurururu” it let out a low growl. Jin was also undoubtedly menacing but……. The black lion in addition to Himejima Hanezu. It was a desperate battle.
Jin caused a Haken to shoot out of the shadow at the lion’s feet, but the lion leapt to the side to evade it. The lion took a deep breath, expanding its abdomen. The next moment, the lion spat out enormous flames from its mouth targeting Jin!
While expelling blood from his mouth Jin evaded these flames. Without waiting a moment, the lion expanded the shadow at its feet. In an instant its large body sank into the shadows. Only its shadow was left, and that shadow scattered in all directions and ran across the entirety of the outlook room.
The shadows produced by the lion each possessed individual will. Each of the shadows that had scattered relentlessly pursued Jin. One of the divided shadows captured Jin as he was running around. The rest of the shattered shadows converged there, again forming a large shadow. From this the lion emerged. Having been captured by the shadows, Jin sprouted blades from his body to cut away the shadows——but at the same moment he was struck by a blow from the lion’s downward swinging forefoot.
“KYAN!”, a thin scream echoed throughout the outlook room. Having bounced across the floor several times, Jin was laying there exhausted, unable to stand up.
His partner, the appearance of the puppy that was his other self, Tobio screamed as he dragged himself towards the body.
Neither Himejima Hanezu nor the black lion gave pursuit towards Tobio’s crawling form. It was already clear that the battle situation would not be overturned. The opponent was far superior to Tobio and company. Even if they were to all take him on at once, defeat was inevitable.
While shedding tears, Tobio crawled along the floor barely managing to reach Jin. The pain he was feeling, that was nothing compared to what Jin was experiencing. For himself who had no power, his small partner had been desperately fighting. Jin, though still breathing, Tobio understood that his life was on the brink of being snuffed out.
“…………Thank you……sorry, so sorry……I……because I’m so weak……I got you involved in this……I’m so sorry.”
Tobio held Jin in an embrace, speaking his absolute thanks and apology.
Himejima Hanezu spoke while shaking his head.
“……You said that I was crazy. That was deserved. Since taking my place here, a normal mind hasn’t existed for me. But, Ikuse Tobio. You haven’t changed your ominous blade here, even omitting this state of affairs it’s not as bright as before. Since the time you were born inheriting the blood of the Himejima, it was impossible for you to be able to live a life the same as a normal human being.”
In contrast with Himejima Hanezu’s sighing, Tobio complained while letting out sobs.
“……I……merely wanted normalcy. And, merely for recovering that life……. Just to keep living with Sae and everyone, the students of that high school……!! Why would you people ruin that……? For what……myself, Sae, and even Jin here……!!”
Indeed, Ikuse Tobio——merely sought to reclaim that life he had lost. To spend time with Sae, with his fellow classmates at that high school, to simply live his life like that. The desire to be an ordinary high school student, it was simply an ordinarily commonplace desire.
As for possessing supernatural power, since he was to be nothing more than a seventeen year old high school student——.
Someone brushed the cheek of Tobio who was shedding tears. Tobio, as well as Himejima Hanezu, were astounded by what they saw.
“……Coming to this place, all to take me back?”
Himejima Hanezu’s eyes widened in astonishment at the actions of that person.
Sae, as tears poured down her cheeks, was standing before Tobio. Sae stroked Jin’s head as Tobio held him in his arms. From that head, a blade was still sprouting.
She, while wearing a pleasant expression announced to Tobio.
“……I’m truly……sorry. Was it……harsh?”
Sae——embraced Jin. The blade growing from his head, it pierced Sae’s chest——. Obvious to everyone who saw it——the action left a fatal wound. Still embracing Jin, Sae lost all strength and laid down on the spot. Tobio embraced the collapsed Sae. While smiling, Sae gently brushed the cheek of the dumbfounded Tobio.
Tobio took her hand and tried to call out her name, but at that moment his voice wouldn’t come out.
“……I……was happy……to meet you again……”
Still smiling, her hand slipped from Tobio’s hand——.
Tobio was at a loss for words. He kept shaking his head from side to side, unable to accept this reality.
Tobio——had come to rescue her.
This girl named Toujou Sae——.
For him who had lost his entire family, she was the only person important to him. The one he most wished to save. While embracing her who was lying there, Tobio overcame his muteness.
……However, that life he had merely wanted to continue living.
……However, to merely pass the time uneventfully, tranquilly.
……However……to merely have continued living an ordinary everyday life with Sae…….
Everything he had wished for having been severed, Tobio, tormented by despair, wailed.
As Himejima Hanezu was watching this, a mysterious luminescent phenomenon was emitted from his breast pocket. Sensing this, he retrieved a wooden box from his breast pocket. That was what Himejima Hanezu had previously withheld from Tobio at Toujou Sae’s house. That was what Tobio’s grandmother Ageha had bequeathed to him——.
When Himejima Hanezu opened the wooden box, what was there was a tiny crystal. The crystal was giving off a bluish-white glow.
Suddenly a voice was emitted from the crystal.
‘The fact that this seal has been undone is unfortunate, but it is apparent that someone is abusing Tobio’s power, or else it seems that supernatural malicious intent has been inflicted upon that child.’
Tobio remembered the owner of that voice. It was the voice of the dearly beloved relative that was his grandmother.
“……The crystal is a recording of Ikuse Tobio’s grandmother, Ageha-dono’s voice?”
This was what Himejima Hanezu determined.
The voice of his grandmother continued to be emitted from the crystal.
‘Speaking to those who came into contact with Tobio while possessing evil intent. I who have great compassion for that child have raised him to be a gentle child. At any rate, that child……from the time of his birth he has possessed the ‘merely-an-imitation-god’s’ forbidden technique.’
Hearing that, Himejima Hanezu’s facial expression——completely changed. Those eyes that had been watching with a fickle expression this entire time, were full of astonishment.
“…………!!! The forbidden……move……!? That’s ridiculous……!!!”
The words of his grandmother’s voice from the crystal were truly terrifying.
‘I am informing those who have approached that child possessing malicious intent. Having done this, since you have inflicted that child with malicious intentions, it might be nice if you were to thoroughly taste the god-slaying blade with your own body. ——Even your souls will be completely hewn apart.’
The voice of the crystal continued speaking even more. This time it made a simple appeal to Tobio.
“——Tobio, I’m sorry. It must be harsh. It must be frightening. I ask that you please forgive me for not previously conveying the truth to you.”
It was the usual strict yet kind voice of his grandmother. For the present Tobio, it was unmistakable. It penetrated his mind and body more than anything else. While experiencing an optical illusion similar to his grandmother kindly brushing his head, he listened carefully to the voice from the crystal.
“Nevertheless, Tobio. By now, it’s okay right? By now, there’s no need to be afraid anymore. There’s no need to cry anymore. ——Sing. Even if you had forgotten, by now you should have recalled it. Therefore, sing. ——The forbidden song of the god’
Hearing his grandmother’s voice, a memory rose to the surface of Tobio’s mind. A memory that had been sealed within the depths of his memory——.
A day when he was very young, Tobio had been escorted to a certain shrine, and was instructed to do something within the inner sanctuary.
——Are you okay, Tobio?
His grandmother was tracing some kind of character on the forehead of the young Tobio with her finger.
——Supposing, if there is ever a time you are truly lost, I’ll teach you an ‘incantation’ that will save you.
Beside Tobio——a large black dog was sitting there before he had noticed.
——However, can you keep this in reserve until the very last moment?
The dog’s red eyes captured Tobio. At that moment he realized his heart was pounding.
——Since this ‘incantation’, it will take everything from Tobio.
As his grandmother embraced Tobio, she taught him the ‘incantation’, speaking in his ear.
——You have not yet finished becoming a man.
Thereupon, the black dog——while narrowing its red eyes its figure was erased.
That sequence of memories was what Tobio had recalled at that moment. Simultaneously, the ‘incantation’ his grandmother had taught was refreshed within his mind.
Tobio, while embracing Sae and Jin, suddenly laughed.
It’s okay, Baa-chan.
I……am ready to become a man……!
Those who stole the tranquility of mine and……Sae……I won’t forgive them.
If they are going to unreasonably assault me, us, then I, we, will be unreasonable in return……!
At last Tobio began to speak——.
<<——I sing for the slaying of a thousand humans>>
Tobio and Jin were each enveloped by a black haze. This gradually spread, filling up the outlook room.
<<——I celebrate the slaying of ten thousand goblins>>
The black haze was applied to his arm and leg that had been broken, and the pain subsided in an instant.
<<——The name submerged in total darkness, that of the imitation god that drifts through the polar night>>
Tobio immediately stood up. Jin who had been completely exhausted——a black shadow spread from his feet, no, he was submerged within the darkness.
<<——Thou will perish by mine own black blade>>
Tobio’s whole body was covered by the black haze, which was clinging to his body, and was being absorbed. His form transforming little by little, no longer the form of a human, he had become something that differed from a human being.
More and more darkness was expelled outwards from Tobio in massive quantities, forming his new appearance. Having forelegs, hindlegs, and possessing a tail, it opened its mouth that had become massive.
Being produced in addition to that, it also possessed jet black fur like an enormous dog——no, it was a <<Hound>>.
<<——To be something absurd, the godof the deformed>>
As Tobio spoke this final stanza, the jet black <<Hound>> let loose a penetrating howl.
What had appeared before the eyes of Himejima Hanezu and the black lion, standing alongside the brutal humanoid beast clothed in darkness, there was an enormous <<Hound>> breathing out darkness——.
Himejima Hanezu, seeing the bodies of the two jet black beasts, was in a trance.
Towards him who had spoken as much, the two beasts glared with their red eyes.
Ikuse Tobio who had been enveloped by clothes of darkness——the beast growled offering a glimpse of its bared sharp fangs.
——For the sake of slaying this guy, it’s okay for me to be a ‘monster’.
Minagawa Natsume, together with Vali, had arrived at the ‘Utsusemi Agency’s’ base and some time had passed since they had entered and begun progressing through the facility. An alarm was sounding throughout the facility’s interior. Since the Five Principle Clans, having received Vali’s leak, had released their agents, they were sending those with whom Natsume was acquainted, the relatives of the fellow classmates who had been retrieved from the cultivation tanks, one by one through the magic square of transportation.
Immediately upon invading this base, they had tied up one of the agency members and he had spilled the beans about this location. Having arrived, they had already shut down the equipment in this room, so all that was left was to retrieve them. Natsume had Griffon release a sudden gust, swiftly destroying all of the cultivation tanks.
Seeing this scene, Vali,
“That’s a good arrangement”
Said only that much with a fearless smile. With the destruction of the equipment in this room, it was likely that someone was already aware of this.
Natsume then began to pick up and move her fellow classmates who had collapsed in the passageway into the center of the magic circle Vali had had drawn for their relatives, which would send them to the Grigori Institute.
There were still some Utsusemi monsters squirming within the facility, but with the gigantic beast that was the transformed Griffon as an opponent, the ‘Four Fiend’ that had transformed from a falcon, by means of a sudden gust, minced them all.
As for the relatives of her fellow classmates that had been put in the cultivation tanks, they had finished transporting all of them to the Grigori Institute. The fellow classmates who had lost their Utsusemi were also caused to jump through the magic square.
“Vali! Are you searching for clues or something? Why are there classmates here and there that you haven’t sent already?”
Natsume asked. Vali was closing his eyes, sharpening his senses to detect any sign.
At that report Natsume decided to resign herself. It was okay to take their time. It was okay if they came across the Five Principal Clan’s agents. They had saved everyone! They had rescued all of the fellow classmates!
Thinking about that while wearing a seemingly surprised expression, he abruptly put on a frightening smile.
“……This is also fine.”
Vali, having become excited, controlled his breathing before speaking to Natsume.
“All that’s left is to pick him up. Look up Minagawa Natsume. The ‘Hound’——Ikuse Tobio is there.”
She herself also wanted to rescue everyone. Anticipating this feeling, Vali shook his head.
“Rather than the Utsusemi pupils, if you cannot suppress the ‘Hound’ up above, you realize that you may not have a second chance to return?”
So said Vali. Simultaneously, Natsume was left at a loss for words by the phenomenon that was occurring within the room.
——From every location, warped blades began sprouting up.
This was familiar. It was only natural. Since they resembled the warped blades that the puppy Ikuse Tobio possessed——Jin had released. It should be that those would sprout from an object’s shadow. However, this was different. An inexhaustible supply was sprouting from all over. From the ceiling, the floor, the walls, the various types of equipment——. It didn’t seem like it was limited to this room either. In all likelihood, the entire based had sprouted warped blades.
Seeing this phenomenon, Natsume instinctively understood the true meaning of Vali’s words.
“I understand. I’ll go to the place where Ikuse-kun is first.”
Announcing this, Natsume ran off entrusting this place behind her to Vali.
Running through the passageway, she proceeded to take the emergency stairwell straight up. From every spot in the stairwell, blades were appearing one after another. She steadily ran upwards, climbing up the first stairway in one go and exiting into a passageway. Up ahead she confirmed a large double door.
Having run until she was before this door, the instant Natsume touched the door she experienced a feeling as though the pores all over her body had opened. For an instant, her entire body had trembled. Whatever was inside was causing her to feel uneasy. Even though she had erased her presence and was accompanied by the large build of Griffon, it was causing her whole body to tremble.
Gulping down her saliva Natsume entered and looked around——.
It was an abnormal world of blades. From throughout the entire room’s interior, every object had countless blades sprouting from it. There were some which were straight, some which were curves, even some that were zigzagged in shape. Floating in this immense darkness there was a bright light. There was a figure who was illuminated by this bright light, that of a middle aged man wielding a shakujou with a gigantic lion beside him. And then, giving off an ominous jet black aura, were a pair of beasts.
One was a large black dog. Although there weren’t any blades growing from his body, the face was that of Jin. Were that puppy to have grown up well, its appearance would likely be something like this.
Now the other one——while possessing a dog’s form it was a humanoid monster. It had a protruding mouth like that of a dog, and its ears stood up like pins. From its mouth its bared sharp fangs could be seen. The arm resembled that of a human, but it had sprouted razor sharp claws. Its legs were identical to those of a dog, only it was standing on two legs. From its back grew six tails——.
Seemingly sensing Natsume’s arrival, the man spoke while looking over in her direction.
“……Minagawa Natsume is it? Fufufu, how good of you to have come. Nice to meet you, I am Himejima Hanezu. I presume you’ve probably heard this name before, right?”
Himejima Hanezu——. The one from the ‘Utussemi Agency’. Natsume understood that this was the person that had appeared before Ikuse Tobio and Samejima Kouki.
Himejima Hanezu again set his sights upon the pair of black beasts.
“……You should understand somewhat, right?”
Regarding Himejima Hanezu who had asked this, floating in his surroundings were several ritual implements——tokko which were facing towards the black beasts. These ritual implements possessing supernatural power, they moved freely through the air as they attacked the black beasts!
<<KILL kill kill KILL Kill KILL kill KILL kill kill KILL Kill KILL kill KILL kill kill KILL Kill KILL kill KILL kill kill KILL Kill KILL kill KILL kill kill KILL Kill KILL killlllllllllllllLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!>>
From the mouth of the humanoid black beast something like a curse was being spat out. Hearing it made one’s mind feel odd, such was the power possessed by the resentment in this one voice.
The tokko Himejima Hanezu has fired, they all failed to score a direct hit. From the ceiling, floor, and walls the numerous blades extended, resulting in all of the tokko being chopped apart.
At this result Himejima Hanezu was anything but astonished, he was in ecstasy.
“……Already my tokko have been seen through huh. You just saw it, Minagawa Natsume.”
He pointed in the direction of a windowed wall. In all likelihood, this was an outlook room, which had been made for the purpose of observing the scenery outside. That scenery——had been repainted in black. The entire visible scenery had become a world of mountains engulfed by blackness——. Even the scenery of the sky had been dyed black, wrapping the entire region in jet blackness.
……When Natsume had arrived at this base the sun had still been up. It should still be too early for the sun to have set already!
As she watched, from here and there throughout the mountain forests gigantic distorted blades were springing up successively. The entirety of the surrounding was being buried by the force of these bizarre blade-like objects.
……Natsume once again looked in the direction of the black beast. Already, Natsume had understood. That humanoid black beast must be Tobio. In the corner of the room she was able to confirm the figure of a young girl lying on the floor.
……Seeing that, Natusme reached a rough estimation. After experiencing extreme sadness, he had——.
——changed into a beast.
Tobio was standing right before her, in the form of a black beast.
After releasing a brave roar, the black lion sank into the shadows that had extended beneath its feet. Once the lion was within its shadow, the shadow scattered and began shooting around the room. As each of them crawled along seemingly with independent will, Tobio merely watched patiently. Thereupon, raising both arms up high, he immediately swung them down. Instantly, within the room countless huge blades sprung from the floor, piercing through to the ceiling! Some of the blades had captured the black shadow, and the captured shadow was once again forming the form of a lion.
The lion——had been skewered by the blades, but by violently shaking its huge body it forcibly destroyed he blades. With the lion having been released, it raced across the floor at high speed closing the distance to Tobio, but Tobio also vanished in an instant, and without a sound the battle commenced.
Tobio and the lion were moving at a speed beyond Natsume’s perception as they battled. As the two black beasts were battling, there was also a black <<Hound>> left behind——Jin who was steadily walking around the room, his red eyes shining mysteriously.
With a *ZUN!* a single large thick blade appeared from behind Jin. The black lion was pierced by this. Jin, having sensed the lion’s movements, had followed up for Tobio. Tobio revealed his form as he approached the lion head on.
While in that pierced condition the lion breathed out flames at the approaching Tobio but——. Without any hesitation at all, and without evading, facing straight forward, stabbed into the blaze with both of his sharp hands! He kept stabbing with both hands until they reached the source of the flames it was breathing out of its mouth!
<<KILL kill kill KILL KILL KILL kill KILL kill kill KILL KILL KILL kill KILL kill kill KILL KILL KILL killlllllLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!>>
Releasing a shriek of deeply held resentment, Tobio slipped his hands into its mouth and in one forcibly spread them apart!
The lion, its body ripped right in half, tumbled to the floor. With the apparent death to its body, the lion melted away into the darkness——.
Natsume was unable to watch such an otherworldly spectacle without shuddering. There was movement——perhaps she herself would be seen as an opponent as well. Such was the degree of the fearsome ominous aura Tobio and Jin were releasing.
Tobio and Jin had destroyed the lion. As for the next objective, it appeared to be Himejima Hanezu.
However, there was a third party that appeared at that moment. It was a silver haired youth——Vali. Upon seeing this scenery, Vali whole body began trembling as he smiled with ecstasy.
“……In spite of visually confirming Minagawa Natsume he’s hasn’t returned to normal. ……Azazel……!! Isn’t this different than what you said……!! What was that about a ‘cute dog comparable to a heavenly dragon’……!! This is……that monster is……!!”
Putting aside the youth’s trembling voice, another familiar voice was heard reverberating throughout the room.
‘Repainting the surrounding landscape on top of changing into a black beast huh. Geez, that I would happen to meet a Longinus with such a shady history.’
The plush dragon on Vali’s shoulder——its mouth was moving on its own,
The voice of the ‘Governor General’ was coming from it.
The ‘Governor General’ addressed Himejima Hanezu.
‘Yo, chief engineer-dono’
“——!! ……Grigori huh.”
Himejima Hanezu immediately guessed as to the identity of the voice he was hearing.
‘How about it? His power is quite irregular?’
The tone of the ‘Governor General’s’ voice was cynical.
“……This is that ‘Dog’ isn’t it? The one incarnation that overthrows gods……it must be the dog of the black blade.”
‘Ahh, that’s it. That’s the correct understanding. His black blade is the one said to cut even god. However, in any case, I hear that boy was born naturally being able to express the Sacred Gear.’
“Isn’t that something particularly rare? The case of one being naturally born with that——“
The ‘Governor General’ continued Himejima Hanezu’s words.
‘Ahh, that’s right. ——Ikuse Tobio was one who was naturally born that way.’
“…………That such a thing was possible……”
Contrary to Himejima Hanezu who was smiling fearlessly, Vali narrowed his eyes saying, “It’s not such an irregular thing.”
The ‘Governor General’ continued.
‘Ikuse Tobio’s grandmother placed a seal on her grandchild who was naturally born possessing power to break the balance of the world. You guys came casually into contact with that in such a reckless and rude manner——. You wanted to see it didn’t you? Abandoning everything for the sake of seeing this form right? That comes at a price. It’s nice to be able to enjoy being able to freely watch you getting sliced apart.’
Hearing that, Himejima Hanezu sneered.
“……Kukuku, given the case of the ‘lightning’, as well as this case, even though the bloodline of the Himejima has been cursed, Oji-ue……!!”
That sneer, it was a level of ugliness that he hadn’t shown until now, however, he put on a satisfied smile.
Himejima Hanezu took one step forward. His expression was one of satisfaction.
“——It should be possible for you with one of those ominous blades.”
He took one step towards Tobio, then one more. Again he launched the tokko, and again they were completely shot down. He also attacked with the shakujou in his hands, but a blade was produced from the shadow beneath Jin’s feet, cutting off both of his arms. Despite losing his arms Himejima Hanezu again drew closer.
——Tobio calmly swiped horizontally with his arm.
Approaching until he was right before his eyes, Himejima Hanezu spoke.
“The Five Principal Clans, the Himejima, destroy them.”
Announcing that, Himejima Hanezu’s head went flying in an arc after being severed from his body by a blade protruding from the floor——.
The black lion, Himejima Hanezu, both had been defeated by Tobio and Jin——.
Natsume and Vali had been watching this happen…….
“——Well, how about it? Has it been boring for you having yet to encounter the ‘Red One’, Vali?”
While saying that, the figure of a man was revealed at that point, a beard growing from his chin. The suit he was wearing was very disorderly, giving him a very tough impression.
“……It’s just your imagination, ‘Governor General’. ——No, Azazel. I mean, for you to have come here expressly, particularly since you can simply transmit your voice through this dragon.”
Grinning, the man called ‘Governor General’ gently brushed Vali’s head.
Looking over at Natsume, the man gave a self-introduction.
“Nice to meet you, Minagawa Natsume. I am Azazel, the ‘Governor General’.”
This man was the ‘Governor General’——. Despite finally meeting the one who she had only known by voice, this wasn’t a situation where Natsume would become especially emotional.
For starters, they have yet to come up with some means or another to stop Ikuse Tobio who was before their eyes. Appearing immediately as Natsume was thinking of such things, there was Lavinia looking completely worn out.
“I am just a little bit late, Natsume.”
The two of them having exchanged a brief reunion greeting, Lavinia spoke to the ‘Governor General’——the one called Azazel.
“That you would show your honorable face is quite a big deal Governor General Azazel.”
While saying this, she looked over at the completely transformed Tobio.
“……I see, this is what the big deal is.”
Having merely just seen it Lavinia seemed to understand what had happened.
Azazel then asked.
“Lavinia. ……Did those guys escape?”
“I feel very regretful.”
“No, from the beginning I had understood that they would be extremely troublesome.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Azazel set his sights on Tobio.
“Now then, Lavinia, Vali. ——Let’s stop that. Lend me your power.”
Azazel took one step forward and Vali began following right behind him.
“Good grief, I’m always being asked to clean up afterwards. ——How long do I have to put up with this cruelty?”
Lavinia also took off her worn out hat, and began advancing towards Tobio.
“Toby, please come and return to us. Haven’t we not yet conversed enough?”
The three of them selected a fixed distance.
Glowing wings grew from Vali’s back, a magic square filled with powerful magic formed beneath Lavinia’s feet, and simultaneously she summoned the ice princess to appear beside her.
As cold air began to circulate within the room, Azazel who was leading——had 12 black wings appear from his back with a *kasakasa* sound!
Lavinia spread her arms, and the princess simultaneously did the same. The room was instantly frozen. Even the countless blades that were sprouting up had been frozen over, Lavinia’s world of ice. Tobio and Jin had also been encased in ice. However, the ice engulfing them immediately began to crack.
“Ikuse’s Baa-chan! You had used Buddhist magic in order to manage it!”
From his breast pocket, Azazel produced something similar to a sutra. While tying a token to his hand, he opened the sutra. The sutra started glowing, with multiple characters floating up into the air. These floating characters, they surrounded Tobio and Jin while laced with power. The characters became a single, long chain that bound Tobio and Jin.
The encasement in ice together with the characters from the sutra were restraining Tobio and Jin——.
“Vali! Steal his power now!”
Hearing Azazel’s order, Vali quickly flapped his light wings and closed in on Tobio and Jin, touching each of them once.
The silver haired youth snapped his fingers while floating in the air.
A powerful voice reverberated within the room, and even Natsume noticed that the power surrounding Tobio had immediately been reduced. Furthermore when the voice said ‘Divide!!’ , there was a light released from Vali’s light wings in concert with it.
Gradually Tobio and Jin were losing power. As they watched, the darkness outside was steadily clearing, and the gigantic blades were beginning to crack. After a short while, Tobio dropped to his knees on the spot. And simultaneously with the cleansing of the dark regions, the countless blades crumbled and dissolved. The dark clothes that had been covering Tobio had come off, and his true appearance began to become visible. Jin was also losing strength, having bent down on the spot——.
Due to the teamwork of Azazel, Vali, and Lavinia, Tobio was beginning to wake with the total conclusion of the supernatural phenomenon, and the room’s interior was also returning to how it was originally. Visible through the glass wall was the splendid mountain forest scenery that was spread out before them.
Confirming all of this, Azazel sighed.
“——Phew, with this one task has been completed huh. The Himejima follow Shintoism, yet she was familiar with the sutra of Buddhism. For that she was banished, Ikuse’s grandmother.”
Leaving behind Azazel who was muttering such words, Natsume rushed towards Tobio who had returned to normal.
Natsume confirmed that the fallen Tobio was breathing. He……was still breathing.
He was alive! He was still alive……!! She was able to confirm that Jin who had transformed into a large dog was also breathing while lying down.
Lavinia placed a hand on Natsume’s shoulder.
“Everyone, they are all safe. Now, let us return, Natsume.”
Natsume, wiping her overflowing tears away with her arm, nodded——.
- Kanji:Dog God of the Black Blade
- Kanji:Cast-off cicada shell
- To be clear, Utsusemi when referring to the student is written in katakana. The agency name is written with Kanji and translates to “cast-off cicada shell
- Kanji:supernatural power users
- Kanji:my fellow classmates
- another religious use tool, apparently similar to a single-pronged Vajra
- Fire of Kagutsuchi, a fire deity
- Kanji:blade dog
- The Japanese uses two different Kanji for dog in this sentence. I did my best to capture this.
- Kanji:human being
- He’s saying “kiru=kill” over and over using different kanji, hiragana, and katakana
- Essentially, he’s saying “korosu (kill)” over and over but with different kanji and/or using hiragana and katakana. That said, not all the kanji actually mean “kill”.
- Kanji:Godslaying Tool
- religious text
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