City Series:Volume2 Chapter 4

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Chapter 4: Mistaken Blood[edit]

Part 1[edit]

On the second floor of Scotland Yard, the Inspector’s office was under attack from another wave of paperwork. The walkway he had just barely managed to maintain the day before was completely gone today.

More cases seemed to have turned up.

The setting sun shined through the window and reflected off of the white paper filling the room. The room and the paper were dyed in crimson light.

“To think this is how I would get to enjoy the sunset again.”

That annoyed comment came from Fir. She was lying on top of a pile of documents large enough to make a bed and inspecting the papers around her.

Suddenly, she threw away the documents in her hand and Overrode the newspaper that must have been around somewhere. An article covered one entire page and she read it aloud for someone to hear.

“In two days, a total of ninety-one people have died. Rumor says this is the return of Jack the Ripper, but the number of dead goes far beyond that. Some say they have heard occasional gunshots or other odd noises in the city and everyone is living in fear of this unseen murderer. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard has only shown their incompetence by saying ‘the investigation has only just begun, so no comment’.”

She sighed.

“So you really are incompetent, Inspector.”

“Don’t just accept that.”

The Inspector’s voice came from the inside the largest pile of documents in the center of the room.

“I’m so busy dealing with this paperwork that I can’t do any real investigation!”

“You’re going through it all pretty quickly for you. But…I’m sure there will be more deaths tonight.”

“Fir, it is all over if we back down.”

She heard the sound of the man striking a pose inside the mountain of paper.

The mountain surrounding him shook unsteadily and suddenly collapsed inwards.

“Gwaaaah!”

Swallowing up his scream, the mountain collapsed into a hill.

“Honestly, what are you doing?”

Fir sighed, but the Inspector’s arm grew from the paper hill and beckoned her over.

“Fir, dig me out real quick.”

“If you want me to, then answer my question from earlier.”

“You mean what kind of monster that young man is? Why do I need to make a judgment on his race?”

“Because you always get so serious when it comes to him.” She sighed. “Or is it because you’re gay?”

“Of course not!”

The hill sank further inwards, so the internal density of paperwork had to be quite high.

“Ow, ow, ow, ow. Fir, this is getting legitimately bad.”

“Fine then. If you were a zombie, you’d be able to get out on your own when you’re buried.”

She casually stood, but the phone suddenly rang.

“?”

“Wait, Fir. Hurry up and get me out of here.”

“Shut up.”

With that quick comment, she used her excellent balance and agility to walk along the piles of papers and to the ringing phone.

The sound of the bell was muffled, so it had to be buried somewhere.

“Is it around here?”

Judging its general location, she stuck her hand into the sea of paper.

She found it on her first try. Her hand felt the phone’s dial that vibrated as the bell rang.

“Wait just a second.”

She only pulled out the receiver because anything else would have been too much work, but the cord was too short to reach her ear.

She solved that by lying on her stomach atop the paperwork.

“Hello, this is Room 13.”

She tried to sound as cheerful as possible and a voice reached her ear. The voice and what it said covered her skin with goose bumps.

She directly Opened her first thought.

Not good!

There was no way the Inspector had missed it.

“What is it, Fir!”

“Amon… That idiot’s gone off somewhere!”

That was all she told him before pressing the receiver hard against her ear.

“Eh? On the way back from the bazaar, he said he’d forgotten to buy something? And a Miss Moyla disappeared too? U-um, Klau, try to calm down a little. You’re at Westminster Cathedral right now, aren’t you?”

“Has that young man vanished?”

“Yes! So be quiet!”

Fir gulped.

The Amon she knew had not been the type to lie.

So where had he gone after tricking the girl named Klausl? What was he hoping to do in this short time away from her observation?

A bad feeling sent Fir’s pulse racing. She nodded several times with the receiver to her ear, but she suddenly frowned.

“After he left you, he went back to the bazaar? Why?”

She paused to listen.

“A bouquet of flowers?”

“What’s this about flowers?”

“Shut up. Amon left Klau…and apparently he returned to the bazaar and bought a bouquet of flowers. But she doesn’t know where he went after that.”

The Amon that Fir knew was not the kind of guy who would decorate his home with flowers.

So why?

She soon found the answer. It was something she knew quite well.

Amon had bought the bouquet on his way to a certain place.

St. James’s Park!

That park had a lake and a small forest and a change came over Fir’s body as she prepared to say its name.

“No, wait! Don’t get so worked up!”

Before the Inspector had finished his complaint, the air in the room rapidly converged.

The instantaneous gust of wind created a blizzard out of the piles of documents. At the same time, a large amount of fog appeared, wrapped around Fir, and gently exploded outward.

She had Altered.

“!”

With a gentle sound, the wind let up and the flying papers fell like scattered flower petals.

The papers accumulated like snow, but Fir had vanished from the top of the pile. Where had she gone? Only the uniform she had worn lay on its belly.

“Fir, you did it, didn’t you?”

As if to answer the Inspector’s question, the uniform lying on the sea of paper twitched slightly.

The edge of the uniform lifted up and a Siamese cat crawled out.

The cat sat in front of the phone receiver and mewed.

Now, what do I do?

The cat’s Opened thoughts had Fir’s tone of voice.

This completely normal looking cat was Fir’s Altered form.

“Having you Alter whenever you get too worked up is a real pain.”

Fir turned toward the Inspector’s voice. The man had somehow managed to sit up from the hill of paper and he pointed at the receiver sitting next to her.

“Klausl is calling for you.”

I know.

After Opening that, she used her paws to awkwardly grab the receiver.

She heard Klausl’s voice from it, but Fir could not speak in this form. She could only express her thoughts through gestures and Open Words.

And unfortunately, neither of those worked over the phone.

Inspector!

She turned the receiver so it faced the man.

He sighed at her urgent thought. His waist and below were still buried and he brought a hand to his chin in a pose of contemplation.

“Klausl, can you hear me? The young man you are after has likely gone to St. James’s Park.”

He then looked at Fir and Fir nodded.

After some hesitation, he continued.

“There is a memorial in the woods on the west side of the park. …Hurry there! We will head that way, too!”

Part 2[edit]

The perfectly clear night sky covered the heavens with some purple remaining to the west.

The moon filled the sky.

It was not a full moon. Some of the roundness was lacking.

The moonlight did not reach the city of London evenly. It fell weakly on the bright downtown area and strongly on the many nature parks.

St. James’s Park was one such nature park. It was located east of Buckingham Palace, a large lake extended from east to west, and it was surrounded by woods.

It was a quiet park. The sun had only just set, so not much noise was reaching it from the city. During winter, the entrance closed at four, so there were no guests in the park.

Nothing moved and it gave off a faint pale light. That was the reflected moonlight. It almost looked like time had stopped there. With nothing to see it, the park did not move. It simply stayed still without Overriding itself.

Or so it should have been.

Everything should have been still and unchanging, but sudden motion entered the park. First, the trees of the woods trembled and shook their leaves.

Small waves covered the lake surface.

A slight wind blew through.

This wind did not carry a wind spirit. The air itself had moved as if called by something.

The wind danced at a gentle pace on its way to the western woods. It followed a stone-paved walking path through the woods and stopped halfway through.

At that point, the path widened.

A stone slab was installed near the curbstone. The stone had words carved into it.

“We pray for the peaceful afterlife of the following victims of the slaughter that occurred here.”

A voice read the inscription.

At the same time, a bouquet of flowers was tossed on top of the moonlit stone.

It had been thrown by the wingless demon named Amon.

He called the names of those who had been killed here even though the inscribed names were covered by the bouquet.

He called forty-two names and took a breath.

“Sorry. I still haven’t died.”

His pale breath scattered.

“It’s been two years, but it doesn’t feel anywhere near that long. …The only survivors were Fir, me because I left the team, and two or three others.”

His eyes turned toward the bouquet on the stone, but he was not looking at it.

A bitter smile appeared on his lips, but he quickly erased it.

“What do you think, Eilen? Why were you with me? Why did you decide to stay by my side? And…”

And?

“What were you trying to say when you died in my arms?”

He recalled another instant from his nightmares.

“My mother was the same. When she died in my place, why did she smile toward me? …Why?”

There was no one there to answer his question.

“…”

He bit his lower lip and looked away from the stone slab. He closed his eyes as if to say he did not want to see anything.

Suddenly, the wind struck his cheek. The bottom of his jacket waved about and his body swayed.

The leaves rustled as if the woods were jumping around. It sounded like waves or spraying water.

“!”

This was a powerful wind and it was so cold and sharp it felt like it was cutting into him.

This wind felt like it had actual mass and Amon knew what it was called: murderous intent.

He opened his eyes.

The bouquet on the stone slab had been blown away and the forty-two names were visible.

“Wait for me.”

With that, he turned his back on the stone and faced the source of the murderous blowing wind.

He looked down the walking path and saw the moonlit stone pavement.

A man stood there.

His right hand held a sharp line of light that looked like it had been tempered in the moonlight. One glance was enough to know this was a quality sword.

The man was about five meters away, so he was not in combat range just yet.

The man was the first to name himself.

“Hound Rickland Valeath.”

He held the long sword in front of his face, split his own vision in two using the back of the blade, and stared at Amon.

“I swear on this sword I shall slay you.”

Part 3[edit]

Ralf was not comfortable in his luxurious room in the Savoy Hotel.

“Living in poverty is best for a minister.”

He had a sleeping bag set up on the small area of available floor. That was where he slept. The art deco and modestly luxurious room was going mostly unused.

He had his shotgun and rifle cartridges lined up on the room’s side table as he refilled the cartridges. The cartridges were completely sealed, but for some reason, the powder inside had a way of getting damp.

“I can’t believe this. There’s just too much moisture in England. …If Moyla is back by the time I finish, I’ll greet her and head out to get some work done.”

As soon as he finished speaking his selfish plans aloud, a loud knock came to the room’s door.

“!?”

He stroked the top of the side table with his hand and Overlossed everything so it appeared empty.

He also Overrode a few pound coins in his hand. If it was the bellboy here to make the bed, he could hand him some money and ask him to leave.

“If the expenses keep piling up, I won’t even be able to buy any souvenirs.”

Completely forgetting his previous complaint about not living in poverty, he stood to the side of the door with an annoyed look. His arms were still hanging to either side of his body.

“Who is it?”

“It’s Moyla!”

“…Why?”

He asked a stupid question without thinking. This was the person he most wanted to visit him, but he was caught off guard because he had never expected it to actually happen.

He let his guard down and opened the door.

“Moyla?”

He called out and found Moyla standing in the hallway. She looked on the verge of tears, she was gasping for breath, and her shoulders were trembling, but she must have been relieved to see Ralf because her expression softened.

“Kh.”

With a slight groan, she began to cough. She doubled over and expelled the air from her lungs as if in spasms.

“A-are you okay?”

He wrapped his arms around her and felt something slightly warmer than body temperature reach his hand.

It was blood.

“Moyla!?”

“I-I’m fine. This is normal.”

Her shoulders rose and fell as she breathed and she removed the hand she held to her mouth. Her lips and palm were stained by slightly darkened blood.

“This is due to London’s air. …I’ll be better once I return home.”

She almost seemed to be reassuring herself of that and she wiped her mouth with a hand. She then looked up at Ralf as he held her.

“Ralf, please. Please tell me where Master Valeath is!”

“!”

The words literally stabbed into Ralf.

He frowned a bit.

“Why are you asking me that?”

“I have a bad feeling! I happened across the young man you mentioned last night, but he was so much like Master Valeath…and even the girl by his side was similar!”

“Eh?”

Moyla grabbed at his chest and shouted at him.

“This will only lead to tragedy! Master Valeath is trying to kill himself! He is trying to destroy his own past and everything that happened!”

“…”

“Please! You’re the only one I can rely on right now.”

“Do you really think I’ll tell you?”

Still holding Moyla in one arm, Ralf entered the room and closed the door.

He used his free arm to push the door closed.

He gathered strength in both arms as if to make sure no one could get in and no one could leave.

“That man has gone to kill the young man who resembles him and I know where that will happen.”

“Then please tell me!”

“Do you really think I can do that?”

“Eh?”

Ralf saw the question in her eyes from close range and he spoke to her.

“You’re practically falling apart.”

“…”

“Staying near that shadow of a man any longer will only bring you grief and death!”

“But…”

He shook his head to reject that word.

“Don’t you get it!? No matter how long you stay by his side and no matter how much you love him, you will never get anything in return!”

“I-I am not trying to get anything in-…”

“You are. You’re waiting for that. …That’s why you never do anything on your own. Doing anything that ignores your past would destroy the connection you have with him now, so you don’t do anything.”

She hung her head in his arm.

She bit her lip and held back her Open Words. She may have wanted to say something back at him.

He continued speaking so she would hear him and learn from his words. That was a minister’s job.

“He is treating you like an object, but you are a human with a heart. You can’t become a mere ‘thing’. …Isn’t your exhaustion now proof enough of that?”

He removed his hand from the door and brought his fingers to her mouth. He scooped up the blood remaining there and placed it on her lips as lipstick.

He took a breath and looked at her as if testing her.

“I never again want to lose someone I should have saved.”

Tears welled up in her eyes when she heard that.

Her scarlet lips trembled slightly and spoke quietly.

“I…don’t play fair, do I?”

“Eh?”

As he gave that questioning voice, she moved from his arm, grabbed the doorknob, and began to leave to search for Valeath on her own.

The words she spoke next were the last ones Ralf wanted to hear.

“I’m sorry.”

He did not let her say any more.

He turned her around, gave her a deep embrace, and forcibly took her blood-soaked lips with his own.

He then Opened his past, what he desired, and everything he was thinking. At the very end, he Opened where Valeath had gone.

He simply could not bring himself to say it in words.

Part 4[edit]

The battle had only just begun.

The stalemate of trying to read the other’s intention ended after only five minutes. Surprisingly, Valeath was the first to move. Amon moved in response to the sword strike.

Fifteen seconds after the beginning, Amon received his first injury.

Another minute and twenty-six seconds later, his fist struck Valeath’s face for the first time.

A solid sound rang out.

“!”

Valeath held Amon back with his sword tip, ended his chained sword techniques, and put some distance between them. A trail of blood dripped from the corner of his mouth, but he wiped it away with a finger. The blood on his finger looked black in the moonlight.

“Interesting.”

It was unclear whether his comment was directed at the dark appearance of his blood or the strike from Amon.

Meanwhile, Amon’s shoulders were rising and falling as he corrected his fighting stance.

“That hit signals the beginning of my come-from-behind win.”

Despite his words, Amon’s expression was grim.

He was injured in one spot on the chest, two on the stomach, two on the back, nine on his limbs, and one on his face. It had been that much of a risk to get a single hit in on Valeath.

For the first time in his life, Amon was at a disadvantage.

He accepted it and Valeath probably did too. And since they both accepted it, it was Overridden as truth.

That truth said Amon could not defeat Valeath as he was.

“I see.”

Amon gathered strength in his clenched fist and thought about his situation here.

He held his breath for a moment and finally nodded.

“Everything is finally turning out the way everyone wanted, Near Death Amon.”

As he spoke to himself, he kicked powerfully off the stone pavement. He made a low and quick charge forward.

Valeath was right in front of him and Amon twisted his body while swinging up his right fist.

At the same time, Valeath used his sword for a mid-level guard. He intended to cut Amon’s fist out of the way. It was a combination of offense and defense that was only possible with a sword.

However, a smile appeared on Amon’s lips when he saw it. He looked like he wanted to say something, but he Closed himself off so as not to give away his intention.

An instant later, the fist moving toward Valeath’s gut struck the stone pavement instead.

“Urah!”

The stone was audibly smashed.

Amon took a crawling pose and rotated his body around the fist he had thrust into the stone. He would use his extended legs to sweep Valeath’s feet out from under him.

Due to his nearly crawling pose, Valeath vanished from his vision, but he did not care. This attack was guaranteed to hit an opponent so focused on his upper body.

This would defeat your average swordsman. An above average swordsman would jump back to avoid the kick and lose their balance. If he attacked then, he could win.

I can win!

In his hurry, he Opened that thought, but a sudden impact sent him flying.

He heard the sound of popping muscles.

“!?”

Even after the tremendous force sent him flying and tumbling over his shoulder, Amon had no idea what had happened to him.

What was that!?

The impact had hit him in the gut and there was only one way for that to have happened.

“You can kick!? I thought you were a swordsman!”

Valeath was neither a swordsman nor a mere fighter.

He was a Hound.

City v02 157.jpg

Amon clicked his tongue and pushed down on the ground with his hands to rise into a sprinting posture. Strength filled his gaze as he faced the one he needed to charge at.

But the shimmering of the sword was not there. Its owner had vanished as well.

Where is he!?

He thought before looking to the left or right. Where was his opponent? He would not be to the left or right. This enemy would not choose an attack so boring and predictable.

The answer came with an instantaneous flash if insight.

Amon looked up into the night sky that he could not fly through.

“There!?”

Darkness spread out before his eyes.

The darkness blocking the moonlight took the form of a coat. And a line of light silently stuck out from beyond that darkness as it was raised overhead.

A strike from four meters in the air arrived. A solid hit would slice him in two from head to crotch. Amon could not allow anything like that to happen.

He tried to run, but a voice reached him from above.

“It is no use. My hand touched you earlier.”

And…

“The Over Contract has already been applied.”

What is he talking about? wondered Amon as he bent backwards.

However…

“!?”

He could not move his left arm. That one arm would not follow the rest of him as if it had been frozen in space.

He frantically Overrode his body, but the arm still would not move. It felt glued in place. Even if he tried to run or lower his hips, his left arm would catch there.

“It’s over.”

The darkness descended and a silver curve drew a sharp line straight down.

Seeing that light, Amon reflexively moved.

“Daaahhh!”

He used his right fist to punch his left arm as hard as he could.

He heard a dull impact and the dry creaking of his bones. A black light appeared around his arm and drew a knot-like design.

After another audible impact, the pitch black light burst and Amon was blasted to the right.

He had resorted to forcing his way out of it, but he had escaped the Over Contract.

“Ow, ow, ow. Why is a human using a demon’s-…”

He never finished his complaint.

As he got up, he saw Valeath’s second merciless strike. He had his feet on the ground, so the slash had enough speed to make the sword bend.

It sliced through the wind and literally flew faster than sound.

Amon reacted by lowering his hips to the ground. He could not avoid the attack this time. He would be killed before the moonlit sword’s path had drawn even a half circle. What he had desired for so long and what he had wished for in his nightmares would finally reach him.

Destiny, hm?

He thought about that word he never used and prepared to accept it. The faces of the people he had lost appeared in his head and suddenly a certain girl’s face came to him. This girl had her eyes closed.

Why!?

Valeath’s sword raced toward him before he received an answer.

And in that instant…

Stop!

With an Opened rebuke in a female voice, something white dropped between Amon and Valeath.

It was an animal with obvious intent to attack.

It was enveloped in a prickly aura.

“!”

Even Valeath was caught off guard. He forcibly stopped his sword and jumped back to prepare himself. After a long time in the air, he silently landed and looked down. He faced what had fallen from above and stopped him.

“…”

Valeath and Amon looked at what stood between them.

It was a cat.

Amon recognized the cat and he called her name.

“Fir!?”

At the same time, someone called both the men’s names.

“Amon!”

“Master Valeath!”

Amon realized who it was running toward him and who it was that had kept him from dying.

The person panting and running from the woods was indeed the blind girl.

Part 5[edit]

She was approximately ten meters away, the moon was the only source of light, and everything looked vaguely pale.

However, Moyla accurately saw the girl and young man standing in front of her.

The young man had a similar presence to Valeath and the girl resembled her. She was fairly certain their names were Amon and Klausl.

I was right.

Moyla looked at Valeath, but he was not looking back at her. His eyes were still glued to his target.

“Why are you here?”

His prompt reprimand had a low, deep ring to it. It was one of the few times a hint of emotion was noticeable in his voice.

Moyla did not answer.

Answering would not help and not answering or saying anything else meant he could not reject what she said.

“…”

Valeath said nothing more, took a step forward, and turned his back on her.

She watched his back as he walked toward his target.

As he moved one, two, and then three steps away from her, she felt her pulse speeding up, bit by bit.

She had not come here to look at his back. She had something to tell him and something she wanted him to hear. She had come here to stand by his side.

Ralf’s face briefly flashed through her mind.

That acted as a cue for her.

She raised her head and faced the leaving back.

Wait!

Just as her pulse truly began to race, she cried out loud.

“Master Valeath! What will killing that young man accomplish!?”

He did not respond.

But she opened her mouth regardless with only one thing in her mind.

Turn around! And answer me!

She took a breath.

“What will killing yourself accomplish!? Master Valeath! Do you hate yourself that much for not saving Lady Melda!?”

Her words just kept coming. She did not try to catch her breath. She simply shouted the one thought that had filled her heart for so long but that she had sealed away deep inside her because she did not dare say it.

“Why… Why won’t you forget the past!?”

Her shoulders rose and fell and Valeath gave a concise answer.

He ignored her.

He did not turn around.

He raised his sword and did not answer Moyla’s desperate question. He did not stop walking, he did not turn toward her, and he moved silently forward.

“Ah…”

Moyla realized her question was meaningless. She realized she could not change anything.

Why?

Questioning it was a waste of time.

Valeath did not stop. He was continuing the fight, so she had to support him.

“…”

Did her thoughts mean nothing to him?

I…

While unknowingly Opening her thoughts, she folded her fingers half on instinct. Light gathered in those fingers and a round bullet of light instantly grew to an intense flash.

In the end, nothing has changed.

Valeath would not accept her feelings. No matter what she did or how long she waited, nothing would change.

She gave a sigh of resignation and gathered strength in the light floating in her hands. Once it burst, it would become a fiercely directional spear of light that could pierce through anything.

Normally, her job was only to cover for Valeath, but the feelings in her heart led her to choose a different role.

She directly targeted Amon.

In the distance, that wingless demon had taken a defensive stance as he tried to protect the girl named Klausl.

That was the young man who so resembled Valeath.

“Shoot him!”

Once those words escaped her mouth, the girl behind Amon noticed what she was doing.

“Don’t!”

With rushed movements, Klausl stood in front of Amon and shouted her thoughts to Moyla in a clear voice.

“Do you understand what you’re doing!?”

Those words woke Moyla’s heart.

!

Sense returned to her somehow desperate mind.

However, she could do nothing about the spell now that it was activated.

The spear of light fired from her hands a moment later.

With a great flash of light, the scent of scorched air reached her nose.

However, the soaring spear of light did not hit Amon.

It flew straight forward and landed a direct hit on the girl who stood in front of him.

A great bursting sound filled the air.

“!”

Someone cried out. Or perhaps it was everyone.

Klausl’s left arm burst with the sound of shattering glass.

Her body trembled from the shock and she started to collapse, but Amon awkwardly caught her in his arms.

Ah.

In a blank, wordless state, Moyla suddenly gasped.

Something was rising within her body. Her breathing stopped, her voice was destroyed, and something rose to the surface.

She could not hold it back.

“Kah!”

As soon as she opened her mouth, she brought a hand to her lips, but the action proved meaningless.

She coughed and enough blood spewed out to spill between her fingers and down her chin. Unlike before, she coughed up a fist-sized clump of blood. Her body forced out so much of that warm precious substance.

Her vision gradually darkened.

“Ellis!”

She heard Valeath’s voice calling her true name. Or she thought she did.

Thinking she had to be hearing things, she closed her eyes.

Part 6[edit]

Before Valeath could support the woman who fell backwards, Amon wrapped his arms around Klausl.

“You idiot!” he shouted as he embraced her.

Klausl smiled in his arms. It was a smile he had seen somewhere before.

She also tried to look up at his face.

“Thank goodness.”

After that quiet comment, strength left her body. She had likely lost consciousness.

No matter what it was Amon wanted to say, he could not bring himself to say anything and he held her tighter in his arms.

But he could not let his guard down yet.

“I’m sorry.”

He forcibly tore his vision off of her and glared at the enemy he had been facing.

Valeath looked back while also holding someone in his arms.

“To hell with this!”

Amon had no idea who he was talking to.

Suddenly, the stone pavement burst below his feet.

After a short delay, he heard a gunshot.

“Moyla!”

With that cry, someone ran out from the forest to the side. He was dressed like a minister and held a long gun.

He was clearly a new enemy.

“Valeath! Hurry up and take her away! I’ll finish them off!”

The cat version of Fir at Amon’s feet bared her fangs at the man’s words.

The threat must have reached him because he aimed his gun at the cat while still facing Valeath.

“Outta the way, Fir!”

Amon did not hesitate to kick Fir away and jump for himself. The stone was once more smashed to pieces where Fir had been a moment before.

This isn’t good!

While facing his enemy, Amon focused on the girl in his arms.

He felt her breathing and her pulse.

She was alive.

He took a breath and a step back, but…

“I can’t exactly let you escape now that you’ve seen our faces.”

Amon heard those words and saw the muzzle of a gun.

!

He turned to the side to protect Klausl from the path of the bullet that was sure to come.

Amon!

He heard Fir’s Open Words just as something grazed his ear as it flew in from behind him.

“?”

Before he could ask anything, the gunshot mercilessly sounded.

Immediately afterwards, he heard a scream.

The voice of pain came from the man who had been holding the long gun.

“Gwaah!”

Amon looked back in surprise and realized the man’s right arm was gone. The arm that had held the gun had fallen to the stone pavement.

What!?

Whatever had grazed by Amon’s ear must have severed the man’s arm.

The man held his hemorrhaging shoulder, but he did not seem to know what had injured him either. He seemed confused as he endured the pain and the disturbance filling him was obvious.

He did not know what had happened and no one gave an answer. The only sound was the distant siren of a Yard police car.

That signaled the end of the battle.

“Ralf! We’re leaving!”

By the time Valeath’s voice rang out, he was already gone. He had Overlossed himself somewhere to hide his form.

Ralf looked down at his own arm on the ground and picked up only the gun. He then looked at a certain point behind him and clicked his tongue.

“This just isn’t my day!”

He leaped and his one-armed minister’s outfit instantly vanished into the darkness.

The only people left were Fir in her cat form, Amon, Klausl in his arms, and…

“I see you are all still alive. You’re a lot of trouble, you know that?”

With that voice, someone appeared behind them.

Inspector!

Amon turned around when he heard Fir’s Open Words.

“!?”

The Inspector was indeed standing there.

The middle-aged man had the same look, same feel, and same attire as when Amon had seen him two years prior.

“Were you the one that fired something in to save us?”

“What are you talking about?”

The Inspector seriously wrinkled his brow in the moonlight and his thoughts were impossible to read.

Amon sighed and looked to the girl in his arms.

“!”

His heart skipped a beat.

There was not a hint of blood on the rolled-up sleeve of her blouse.

He quickly realized why.

Her left arm was hollow.

“Eh?”

Her broken upper arm only contained a narrow metal rod as a central support and several wires running through it. There was no way she could bleed like that. Instead, a few wires were dangling down from the damaged point.

Her skin seemed to be made of ceramic.

She was artificially made.

However, this was different from the prosthetics used by Hard Wolves and other combat races. The body in his arms had the body heat of human skin, had a pulse, and was soft. It felt like a real body.

In that case, she was…

“A doll?”

The cat mewed and replied.

That’s right. She’s a Sein Frau. An automaton. And you won’t find one better made even here in London.

Without even nodding at Fir’s Open Words, Amon turned to the Inspector.

“What am I supposed to do?”

“The man who made her is in Scotland Yard.”

“I’m going on ahead.”

He began to run.

The Sein Frau girl in his arms had her eyes closed as always, but her eyebrows were slightly stiff and her breathing was very, very shallow.

He bit his lip, looked down, and spoke.

“I’m sorry.”

He faced forward and toward the park’s exit.

“I got careless.”

Beginning to run caused blood to flow from the various wounds across his body. They left red dots along the path. He spilled countless signs indicating the path he was taking.

But his focus was entirely on the girl in his arms.

This idiot is all that matters. As long as she…

He was the only one that knew how that sentence ended.


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