OmaeGotoki: Volume 3 015 - It Was Wrong From The Very Beginning

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A little before the siren starts blaring, Flum and Milkit find a researcher in the First Laboratory. According to her nametag, her name is Claris.

Flum tells her about what just happened to her in front of their room.

“You heard a crowd of people talking outside your room, but the hallway was empty when you opened the door? Fufu, that’s impossible. You must not be getting enough sleep, Flum-san.”

Claris tries to dodge the question, but Flum can spot a distinct wavering in her eyes.

“You know what’s really going on, don’t you? There’s no point lying to me.”

“I-I’m not…”

She guiltily averts her gaze. Flum keeps glaring at her, keeping up the pressure. Just looking at her face, it's clear that she’s the same kind of person as Daffyd. She should have a strong enough conscience to make Flum’s work a lot easier.

“...Promise you won’t breathe a word to Daffyd-san?”

“I won’t mention your name, at least.”

“Well… to tell you the truth, the test subjects’ mental states have been showing some irregular values since you arrived here.”

“Irregular how?”

“Well, the higher the value the more aroused the subject is, but at the same time it has a profound impact on their physical states as well. Just like any human being, you see.”

“So you’re saying these numbers are really unstable right now?”

“We’d thought that we had solved the problem, but now it’s as if we’re back to where we started.”

“What, exactly, does that mean?”

Claris’ expression clouds over in response to Milkit’s question.

“Their spiral organs throughout their bodies will activate and they’ll become monsters, indiscriminately attacking every living thing in sight.”

Flum knows full well what Claris is talking about. If the values are really that unstable, however, it’s strange that nothing’s happened yet.

“For some reason, however, they’re retaining their human forms and still have a grasp of their sense of self. Since there’s a good chance that it’s just an instrument malfunction, Daffyd-san told me to keep quiet about it, but…”

“That would explain why nobody came to get us for the banquet.”

“Yes, I’m afraid preparations have been rather slow with everything else that’s going on. Daffyd-san just left to call Gadio-san, though, so it should be soon.”

“You can forget about the banquet. There’s no way I’m going to just sit around after hearing that.”

Turning on her heel, Flum heads for the door. Claris grabs her by the arm, stopping her.

“Wait, where are you going!?”

“The Central Control Room, obviously. I’m putting an end to this!”

“Not even you could break down that door. Even if you could, you’d simply turn everyone we’ve revived in Sheol into monsters! It’d be a disaster!”

“Tia-san was able to leave the village for a few hours, wasn’t she? There should still be some time before that happens. You should start saying your goodbyes now, though.”

“The irregular values really might only be an equipment malfunction, and you have no idea how many years it took us to reach this point! Please, don’t destroy all our hard work so impulsively!”

“I’m not being impulsive!”

Flum whips around, rage in her voice.

“Do you have any idea what those Origin Cores can really do? I’ll tell you one thing, they never have and never will save anyone. They warp, defile, destroy, sow misery and despair --- they’re pure evil!”

“Even if you’re right, it ultimately comes down to how they’re used! Even poison can become medicine at times!”

Claris doesn’t have a hope of convincing Flum by repeating Daffyd’s arguments.

The two of them glare at each other. Even Milkit stands by Flum’s side and looks Claris with her best ‘tough’ face.

The mood continues to worsen until the silence is broken by the blaring of a shrill siren.

“Eh… Impossible, why is the emergency siren going off!?”

“Emergency siren? What’s going on!?”

“I wish I knew!”

Just then --- tonk, a small sound comes from the door.

All three of them turn to face the sound, and an irregular tonktonk, tonk follows.

It’s a little too quiet for someone asking to come in --- and besides, the sound is coming from far too low on the door.

“At a time like this…?”

Sighing vexedly, Claris opens the door.

A lone baby tumbles into the room.

“Goen-san and Luluka-san’s kid? Come on, now, you should know better than to come here alone like this!”

She leans down and reaches out to lift the child.

As soon as she touches him, however, her fingers start twisting.

“Eh…?”

With a crackle, her fingers start snapping like twigs as they start warping in on themselves, the destruction rapidly making its way throughout her hands, through her wrists, up into her forearms---

“Agh, aaaagh, w-what…!?”

“Auu… gyagyah!”

Flum looks into the giggling infant’s eyes.

Or rather, she looks into where its eyes should be.

Instead of eyeballs, beyond its eyelids lie twitching spirals of raw flesh. As blood spastically sprays out, long trails of crimson ‘tears’ run down its face.

“T-That’s not a baby…!”

“Claris-san, get away from that thing right now!”

Flum draws the Zweihander, but Claris is still too close for her to be able to attack.

She’s got to get Claris out of there first, but---

“I-I can’t, I can’t pull away! It’s s-sticking to… no, I’m being drawn into it!!”

From her fingertips, she’s slowly being assimilated into the baby’s own body. The horrible twisting has passed through her arms and reached her torso, legs, and even her neck is beginning to deform.

There’s no saving her now.

“I-It hurts… It huuurts… uagh, aaaagh… k-kill me… pleeease! I-I can’t take this anymoooore!!”

“Kh…. Teryaaaa!!”

In response to Claris’ pleading for death, Flum cuts both her and the child in half with a second swing.

Perhaps because Flum aimed for her heart in an attempt to give her as quick and painless a death as possible, Claris’ screams stop instantly.

The ‘infant’, however, seems to shed its skin like a shell as a twisted clump of meat slithers out, more maggot than human now.

“So that’s what the ‘perfectly normal babies’ really look like…”

“They really aren’t human… are they?”

“From pregnancy to birth, and even after that… Origin was just making those chunks of flesh look like real people all along.”

“So then the baby that Suzie-san is carrying is the same… Why would Origin do such a thing…!?”

Origin simply wants to proliferate.

The closer Necromancy nears perfection, the more people use it --- and in the end, the more its influence expands. It must’ve wanted to replicate even human reproduction to that end.

To Flum, however, Origin is doing nothing short of defiling humanity itself.

It’s probably getting some sort of sick pleasure out of giving people false hope like this, isn’t it…!?

“I’ve got to destroy the Central Core right now!”

In the end she’ll probably have to destroy every last Core in Sheol personally, but the key to everything is undeniably the Central Core.

The cause of the siren, the ‘baby’, everything stems from there.

Flum and Milkit hurriedly leave the room, but as they turn down the corridor heading towards the Central Control Room they find a lone woman blocking their path.

“Isn’t that Luluka-san…?”

The woman who had given birth to that child --- no, that mass of flesh.

The maggot-like clump of meat itself is just then slithering up her body.

When it reaches her mouth, it forces itself in. It’s far too big to fit naturally --- with a snap Luluka’s jaw dislocates, her throat bulging grotesquely as it oozes inside her. Finally swallowing it completely, her gut bulges almost as though she were pregnant again.

“You think that you can just birth it out again? Do you have any idea how many thoughts, how many emotions even a child has in so little time…? Just what the hell do you think human lives are!?”

Swinging her sword into the ground before her, Flum unleashes a storm of prana at Luluka. The monstrosity herself is blown away in an instant, but the prana continues to howl at the floors, walls, and ceiling of the corridor, scraping at it with countless blades of energy as the deafening wail of shearing metal fills the air.

Absolute overkill.

Even with the power of a Core, a single ‘normal’ corpse who wasn’t even brought back as a weapon doesn’t call for such firepower. Even then, however, just looking at the bloodstains and scattered shreds of flesh covering the corridor is enough to make Flum’s blood boil.

“Honestly, you’re the worst…!”

As the bitterness spreading throughout Flum’s chest starts to appear in her expression, however, Milkit gently embraces her from behind.

“Ah… Thanks, Milkit.”

“I’m afraid this is all I can do for you, but…”

“What’re you talking about? This is more than enough. Right, then, let’s go!”

Feeling refreshed and revitalized, Flum changes gears and they push onwards.

The Central Control Room is fairly close to the First Laboratory, but lying between the two is the researchers’ living quarters.

When they arrive, the sight is far worse than they could’ve expected.

The corridor is filled with the half-devoured remains of the living, and the dead play with their corpses as they continue to twist and defile them. The floor and walls are stained with sprays of vibrant blood as if a stack of crimson paint cans had exploded, and a powerful stench fills the air.

“Get outta our way!!”

There isn’t any time to get emotional, however. They can do that after the battle’s over. They have to cut straight through if they’re going to crush Origin’s foul ambitions and put any sort of decent ending to the tragedy.

“Fuu, ha! Haaah!!”

Flum swings almost blindly as she runs forward, mowing down everything in her way. The dead are weak enough that a single Prana Shaker is enough to kill them, but there are simply so many of them. Just fighting them would be easy, but since time is of the essence they’re a real problem.

Worse, they seem to only grow in number no matter how many she kills. There’s no way there could’ve been so many of them in the facility. Through gaps in the throng, they can spot a number of dead who aren’t wearing labcoats. They must’ve come from up above.

“There’s so many of them… The path ahead is completely sealed off.”

As if they’ve completely lost any and all signs of intelligence, the dead all crowd and shove at each other, all desperate to reach Flum first. She wishes she could just mow them down all at once, but the Zweihander is too large to effectively wield in such an enclosed space.

I’ll break a wall… no, they’ll just start flooding in from there, too. I don’t think we’ll be able to find a different way through even if we turn back to look for one, and I don’t imagine they’ll thin out enough for us to break through anytime soon. There’s nothing else, though… everywhere else is blocked off except for the ceiling…

There’s only one way to avoid having to fight her way through the dead.

“The ceiling… right over their heads… Got it!”

A strange idea pops into her head, and without hesitation she firmly pulls Milkit closer to her.

“Hold onto me, Milkit!”

“Okay!”

Milkit trusts in Flum, squeezing onto her with all her strength.

R e v e r s a lReverse, oh gravity!

She casts a spell, jumping into the air in time.

Then, she lands safely on the ceiling.

“Eh!? W-What’s going on, Master!?”

“I can’t really explain it, but all that really matters is that it works!”

To her, the ceiling has become the floor. Now all she has to do is run right over all the dead’s heads.

Hugging Milkit a little more tightly to her, Flum sprints straight through to the Central Control Room.


◇◇◇


Finding the heavy vault-like doors open, Flum and Milkit turn into the room --- and twist their faces in disgust at the sight.

The air inside the room is unpleasantly warm, a viscerally raw stench filling the air. The rooms is visibly different from the first time they saw it; the walls are covered in a layer of flesh of a variety of skin tones with some parts simply pink and raw, as if the walls themselves are made of human beings. At some points fingers, toes, hands, even arms and legs sprout out if it, horribly twitching and flailing as if they were somehow alive. In the middle of the room, the Necromancy Central Core is half-buried in the mass of flesh, telegraphing that it’s the heart of the whole disaster.

Daffyd starts a few steps away from the Central Core, staring at something a little above it.

“Doesn’t that resemble Suzie-san’s face…?”

In the whole mess of the human jigsaw puzzle, only Suzie looks at all like she did before. Her eyes are empty and soulless, however, and half her face is hideously spiralled. Her mouth is twisted into a broken smirk. Covering her bulging stomach is a lattice of bulging veins, pulsating unnervingly at a uniform rate.[1]

OmaeGotoki 03-Ch15 1.png

If the ‘child’ inside her is at all like Luluka’s, then Daffyd will surely witness hell itself in a few mere moments.

“Flum-san, whose fault do you suppose this is?”

He doesn’t even turn around as he asks her.

Flum’s voice is firm.

“Origin’s, I’d say.”

In the end, it all comes down to that.

“You should’ve known it’d turn out this way.”

“Heh… hehe… It’s been betraying me all along, then. You certainly don’t mince your words, Flum-san…”

“By ignoring that thing, you’ve only hurt yourself and everyone else. I heard from one of your researchers that you started getting weird readings ever since I came here. Didn’t you know this was going to happen?”

“I wonder… Ahh, but if you were able to realize things were amiss in just a single day, then I must’ve known it somewhere deep down myself.”

Daffyd wasn’t aware of it, however. Until just moments ago, he was still convinced from the bottom of his heart that his research was a success.

“I knew it, and yet I kept enthusing about my vision, deceiving others, dragging more and more people here… and even then, I was in the throes of a blissful dream. I couldn’t let myself accept that my life with Suzie was all a lie.”

That’s why he continued believing blindly in his research. He ignored the seams that were beginning to come undone before his very eyes.

“I should’ve known... hehe, kehehehe, ahahahahahahahahahahaha!!”

---This is the result.

Past depression, past rage, all he can do is laugh.

“Haha… hah… Who would’ve thought that Suzie would’ve been the one to end it all!? Why would she, of all people…!?”

“You should probably move. I’m just about to destroy that thing.”

Flum has no interest, no obligation to hear out Daffyd’s ramblings.

Hearing that, however, he stands with his arms spread out in front of the Central Core, protecting what used to be his wife.

“You can’t have Suzie!”

“Fine, I’ll just go through you!”

Fully intent on killing him, Flum releases a Prana Shaker. The mass of human parts covering the walls sprouts a tentacle made from an amalgamation of arms and legs, however, intercepting the crescent blade of energy.

“Suzie… You saved me… You’re really alive, aren’t you!? I’m sorry I said all those horrible things about you. No matter what you look like, you’re still you! My beloved wife!”

“I guess I’ll have to cut you down directly, then!”

Without hesitation, she charges straight forward at Daffyd. Pouring mana into her blade, she hacks at the tentacle in her path --- but despite only being as thick as a typical log, the Zweihander stops halfway through it.

“Kh, what is this…? I can’t even cut it with mana!?”

Flum stops, and a different tentacle suddenly lashes out at her. Yanking her weapon free, she backsteps out of the way.

“I’m afraid it’s no use.”

Daffyd gives her a broken grin.

“The power stored in the Central Core is tens of times stronger than a normal Core. It may not be designed with combat in mind like the ones Chimaera and the Children use, but the raw power it can emit is quite impressive.”

“Yeah, but in exchange it’s a big, easy target! Haaaaaaaaaahh!!”

If she can’t cut through the tentacles, she’ll just have to hit the Central Core itself.

Jumping up high into the air, she thrusts the prana-saturated black blade out in front of her, aiming a Prana Sting at a gap in its guard.

In a split-second, however, it sprouts yet another tentacle and intercepts the attack easily. It then makes a whiplike strike out at Milkit --- and at the last second Flum manages to scoop her up and clumsily roll out of the way.

“AAaa… AAaaAA… aAAaaaAAAA!!”

“Suzie…?”

As Flum struggles against the tentacles, Suzie starts acting strangely from her perch atop the Central Core.

Her bloated stomach starts throbbing, pulsating --- and finally it splits.

With a flood of sticky blood and mucus, a ‘baby’ falls out of her and onto the ground.

“This… You finally gave birth, Suzie! Ahh, he’s so cute…!”

Daffyd rushes towards the thing lying on the floor.

“Au, ua! Gyagh! Gyaagh!”

No matter how close to it he gets, however, the baby-shaped chunk of flesh ignores him --- its spiral-eyed sights are fixed on Flum.

“Luco… haha. Your name is Luco… Suzie and I chose it for you together. Luco Sharmas. You’re our new family…”

Daffyd himself is too filled with happiness and love to care --- even if his ‘child’ has already shed any semblance of humanity and his limbs have already begun to warp and twist.

“Ahh… You’re so warm. You’re proof that Suzie and I are here, alive, living in this world. Nothing could possibly make me happier than your birth…”

His dead wife revived, and with it the story of their life together finally getting its chance to continue, even going so far as to grant them a child. Even if they’re all beyond salvation, it’s a happy ending as long as he believes it to be so.

“Ahh, Luco…!”

He hugs ‘Luco’ to him and starts rubbing the ‘baby’s cheek against his own, covering his face in the bloody mucus still coating its body --- though that’s not all that begins to stick.

“Ugh, gyugh… hahh… Luco… Suzie and, my son… w-we’ll raise you, well… gagh, aghh…!”

Their flesh begins to cling to each other, merging and fusing, and soon it’s impossible to tell where their individual bodies begin and end.

“W-We’ll, be… happy… t-togeth, ghugh, AAAAAAAAAAGGHH!!”

Finally it seems to reach his brain, sending a pain like a bolt of lighting searing through his mind. He starts spasming uncontrollably, screaming as drool begins to fly from his mouth.

“Master, Daffyd-san is…!”

“Why would he… He has to know that thing’s not his real baby, so why would he go that far!?”

Luco and Suzie are still connected via umbilical cord. The thick blood vessel wraps itself around Daffyd, slowly but surely dragging him up into her body.

“Uu, uaaaaaaaagh… Luco… where are you, Luco…?”

Evidently stricken blind from the shock, Daffyd begins to blindly feel around for his child as his lower half disappears into the mass of flesh atop the Central Core. Seeming to realize that, he starts whispering to himself in a calm, peaceful voice even as his face twists in pain.

“I see now… There’s no way for us to all be together in life. This… this feels nice… it feels like love… Me, Suzie, Luco… I don’t care what form we take, as long as we can all live together as a family…!”

A path that saves noone, an extreme sacrifice that doesn’t even leave Daffyd himself satisfied --- such is his choice.

Apparently focused on absorbing Daffyd into herself, Suzie slows the attacks against Flum to a halt.

“Is that… Is that truly love?”

Milkit wasn’t even looking for an answer to her question, and Flum doesn’t have the experience to talk about other people’s love with any certainty --- but there’s no hesitation in her voice.

“No, that’s not love. I think Daffyd just couldn’t handle it in the end. He just convinced himself that he was happy and committed suicide.”

All Necromancy really gave to Daffyd was time, putting off his eventual death. When Suzie died, he lost his reason to live --- doomed to fail from the very beginning, Necromancy was nothing more than a means of forcibly clinging on to his meaningless life.

“Now that there’s noone left to protect it, I hope the Central Core’s just going to let me destroy it, but…”

Even as she says that, however, she gets the feeling things won’t resolve themselves so neatly.

Just as Flum raises the Zweihander to attack the Central Core, the sound of applause rings out discordantly.

From behind the monstrous Suzie comes a very gaudily-dressed woman.

“Ufufufu, that was quite the nice show you put on for me.”

“Why the hell are YOU here, Satils!?”

“!?”

Flum attacks the instant she lays eyes on her --- but the blade of energy she unleashes is effortlessly and harmlessly intercepted by Satils’ right hand alone, regardless of the fact that the attack was infused with Reversal.

“What a vulgar way to greet someone, Flum Apricot. Unfortunately for you, you can’t possibly harm me now that I’ve assimilated the Central Core.”

“I thought it was weird for Suzie to do something like that on her own… This is all your doing, huh?”

“Yes, I was the director of this little tragedy. Wasn’t Luco’s birth just such a touching scene?”

“Y-You… Why…?”

Daffyd has to muster all his strength just to speak. His absorption into Suzie has stopped at the shoulders --- Satils probably stopped it there.

“You still haven’t figured it out? Everything that happened here today was orchestrated by yours truly. Turning Suzie into that abomination, forcing her to give birth to that disgusting chunk of flesh, absorbing you into her --- I was behind it all! Hyahahahahahahahahahaha!”

In other words, the human parts ‘multiplied’ all over the walls are also her doing. All Suzie did was get sucked in, just like Daffyd himself.

“That’s, impossible… How did you even get in…?”

Only a few people, Daffyd included, can unlock that room. As Suzie herself doesn’t have the authority, it’s a mystery how she got in there to begin with.

Satils seems to truly enjoy answering him.

“Goen Foegan. He’s still got quite a bit of debt, you see, and he’s proven himself quite useful to me time and time again. Ever since he met Echidna he’s been leaking all manner of juicy secrets to us.”

“He’s… selling us out…? So the reason why Chimaera’s been making so much progress recently is…!”

“He must’ve let slip a thing or two about the Central Core, I’m sure.”

“How did this… Goen, you… you bastaaaard…!”

To Daffyd, Goen was more than an assistant --- he was his best friend.

To Goen, however, Daffyd must’ve been nothing more than a convenience.

“Ahh, what a wonderful expression, Daffyd! That’s the face I’ve been waiting for! To be honest, selling your little Necromancy gimmick would’ve been quite profitable, but seeing people like you who can’t seem to live would your petty love and friendship --- guess what? I just couldn’t WAIT to crush your stupid little fantasies!”

“That’s the whole reason you approached me in the first place…? For something as cruel and petty as that!?”

Listening to their conversation, Flum feels a bit of dissonance. No, from far before that, something has been on her mind.

He never once said anything about bringing Satils back to life.

“Wait, so you didn’t know that Satils was brought back to life, Daffyd?”

“Brought back…? Ahh, I see now. That’s why she can assimilate the Central Core… We’ve been dancing on the palm of her hand all along…”

Somebody must’ve snuck out a Necromancy Core and brought her back in secret --- Goen, or maybe his colleagues in Chimaera. The only remaining mystery is how she could live away from the Central Core for so long, but considering that they likely know all about the Central Core there’s a fair chance Chimaera was able to make her a temporary replacement.

“Well then, Daffyd, let’s end the hors d’oeuvres here and head right into the main dish, shall we?”

“There’s still more…?”

“Oh, yes. It’s the most important part, even!”

Satils grins broadly enough that even her gums are visible. Her eyes, expression, voice --- everything about her suggests an amusement akin to madness. She gleefully starts telling her tale.

“Your beloved wife, Suzie Sharmas, was raped, tormented, and even with her dying breath she kept screaming your name, crying and wailing for you to come save her, but you never did. Her murderer’s names were Triet Lanciela and Demiselico Ladius. At the time, the two were so hopelessly mired in debt that they had to stain their hands with all manner of crimes to get by --- human scum in every conceivable way!”

“How do you know that… Not even the guild was able to find them!”

“Do I really need to say it?”

The villainess laughs at him mockingly.

The sacrificial lamb can only reply in a pitiful, quivering voice.

“You… You hired them to kill Suzie…?”

“To be fair, though, they were itching to kill her themselves. That Suzie of yours was really nothing more than an eyesore to me. That bitch was always so determined to side with some ‘justice’ or another, saving even people who couldn’t possibly compensate her and going so far as to try and expose my plots. She only got what she had coming to her!”

Satils shows no signs of regret whatsoever. Knowing full well that her actions are evil, she takes only the utmost pleasure in ruining the lives of people who live for good.

“Seeing her try to crawl away with her broken legs, try to call out for you even though she knew it was all pointless was nothing short of the greatest ecstasy! I made an important realization then: That Suzie wretch must’ve decided to play the heroine just so that I could have the pleasure of murdering her! The gods sent her to me personally! All for my own amusement!”

“That’s why…? You killed her simply because you wanted to!?”

“I have money. I have power. That’s all I need to prove that I’m one of the elevated chosen few that can toy with the weak and powerless as they please!”

“Uu… uaaaaaaagh… AaaaAAAAAAAAAAGH!!”

For the first time, Daffyd explodes with anger at her. This might be the first time in his entire life that he’s felt so much raw hatred for another.

“What a face! Oh, it sends shivers down my spine! It was worth keeping up that idiotic deal with your little lab until now! This! This is it! This is how it feels to have a long-term investment finally pay off, ahahahahahaha!!”

Clearly having waited a long time for this moment, Satils’ shrill laughter fills the room.

“Just how rotten are you!?”

“Oh, but I’m not rotten. This is justice. This is how the world was made to be! And with that, I’m afraid that you’ve fulfilled your role beautifully, but I’ll have you leave the stage now, Daffyd.”

Clicking her high-heels against the ground, Daffyd starts to disappear inside Suzie once more.

“I’ll kill you… I’ll kill yooouu…! I’ll never, EVER forgive you for this…!!”

Even then he screams at her, but to Satils such struggling is nothing but icing on the cake.

“Hahaha!! Hehe, fuhyahahahahaha!! Struggling it meaningless! Flailing is meaningless! Screaming, raging, crying, everything is meaningless! Even that Suzie and your ugly little child are only monsters! Your life, even your death, eeeeverything you’ve ever done is meaningless!!”

“I’ll kill… kill, you… ghu, phugh… g-gill… you…”

As he finally disappears completely into the mass of flesh, they can’t hear Daffyd’s cries any longer.

“Daffyd-san…”

There’s sadness in her voice. Even if he was wrong every step of the way, she can’t help but pity him.

“Haha… heh, hahh… I’m a little tired from laughing so much… Anyways. It’s your turns next, as I’m sure you realize. I may be alive now, but do you have any idea how excruciatingly painful it was, dying like that? I’ll make sure to return that debt in full.”

Satils flexes her index finger and two tentacles rise out of the sea of flesh, whipping at Flum from opposite directions.

Flum takes a step backwards with Milkit, avoiding the attack, but the tentacles merge together where she was only moments before and fly at her from straight ahead with increased speed and power.

“Fu… kh, gh, aaaaaaah!!”

Flum accepts them with the Zweihander, knocking them off-course with a well-timed swing.

Having failed to take down their prey, the tentacles melt back into the walls a moment later as if diving beneath murky water.

“Oh? Is just protecting yourself really that hard for you? I’ve always welcomed such futile resistance. There’s nothing I love more than watching vermin struggle!”

“Don’t go thinking that’s my full strength!”

Rage filling her body, Flum unleashes a Prana Shaker at her.

In response, Satils makes a show of taking the attack head-on.

“For some reason you’re convinced that my body and the Central Core are my weak points, but---”

She emerges completely unscathed and closes in on Flum, seeming to suddenly appear right before her eyes. Spiralling energy starts rapidly building up in her palm.

“---That’s where I’m strongest!”

She swings her arm in a chopping slash, the pent-up energy bursting free.

With her bare hands she copied Flum’s own Prana Shaker --- and what’s more, her attack is far stronger than Flum’s.

“Gagh!?”

Flum tries to receive the attack using the flat of her broad blade as a shield, but the raw force sends her flying back into the wall.

“Come on, now, if you spend all your time staring off into space like that then who knows what might happen to Milkit?”

“I’ll never let you hurt her!”

She kicks off the wall, flying straight towards Satils without her feet touching the ground once. Satils catches the blade with her bare hand, a shrill screeching sound filling the air as the spiral energy and Flum’s Reversal mana clash.

Milkit moves back towards the corner of the room, trying to stay out of their way, but the entire room is covered in human flesh. There’s no real point in moving if a tentacle could come out of anywhere at any time. Worse, the corridor outside and even the town on the surface are likely filled with dead still. There’s no place left in Sheol that’s safe.

“You might have your hands full, but I barely even need both hands to deal with you!”

One hand still clutching the Zweihander’s blade, Satils holds out her palm towards Flum’s head with her other. A bullet of concentrated spiral energy flies out.

Flum leans out of the way at the last moment, but in the process loses her balance.

Satils, not one to pass up a prime opportunity, kicks Flum in the gut with a “Eei!” like a weak little girl trying feebly to kick a soccer ball. She seems to lack both speed and power, but Flum’s body is sent violently flying upwards. Flum crashes into the ceiling, nearly losing consciousness for a moment. Satils then casually jumps up to meet her as she falls, grabbing Flum by the shirt and unceremoniously whipping her full-speed towards the ground.

Right before she hits, Flum activates her Reversal to change her direction and flies right back up at Satils blade-first --- but again, Satils catches her blade with ease.

“My, you’re awfully reckless. Human bodies aren’t that strong, you know. What if the whiplash broke something, hmm?”

“So what!? No matter how many bones I break, no matter how many times I’m beaten down, I’m not letting you leave here alive!!”

“Nfufufufufufu, how very bold of you! You remind me of a yapping little puppy --- though at the moment I’m more curious as to how the other little puppy will whine for me!”

“Kh, Milkit!?”

“Do you really have time to be worrying about her, I wonder!?”

Flum’s attention is averted for just a moment, and Satils takes full advantage of that. The unseen power bursts out of both her hands this time, forcing Flum down into the ground. She practically bends in half as her bones crack and her internal organs are crushed, spewing a fountain of blood as she falls. She hits the ground with enough force to break it, and she can feel the strength of the impact reverberate through every bone in her body.

“Agh… kaphugh…!”

She might have a pain-numbing enchantment now, but it doesn’t null the pain completely. Her body is still completely wrecked, leaving her completely immobile as her regeneration sets about repairing every one of her countless injuries.

It’ll be some time before she can stand again, though --- and after Satils looks down at her and laughs tauntingly, she turns her attention to Milkit.

A tentacle slips out of the flesh of the nearby wall, rapidly closing in on her.

“Ugh… Ghuuugh… I-I won’t… let you… hurt her…!”

Seeing the most important person in the world to her about to be brutalized, Flum manages to call up an unbelievable burst of strength. Every bone in her body is broken, her regeneration far from complete, meaning that she couldn’t possibly stand up --- or so it would seem.

She manages to pick herself up, just barely enough to walk.

“Why, yoooooouu!!”

Flum rushes forwards to intercept the tentacle with her body.

Satils starts grinning widely enough to break out of her face.

“Don’t come any closer, Master!”

Milkit notices Satils a moment sooner than Flum, but there’s no stopping her now.

The entire room starts quivering and shaking, as if something were trying to come up straight through the floor---

“Eh…?”

The floor beneath Flum’s feet starts mounding upwards, and a moment later it bursts, releasing a huge mass of flailing corpses.

In the blink of an eye, Flum is swallowed up completely.

“Masteeeeer!!”

Milkit’s voice can’t even reach her now. She’s gone.

“Hilarious! How absolutely hilarious! I can’t believe she honestly got herself killed trying to save a slave! Ahahahahahaha!!”

As Satils laugh echoes throughout the room, the monstrous mass of bodies begins to assimilate itself into the Central Core. Some of them aren’t even recognizably human, others could barely be called so --- every one of them is different. The only constant is that somewhere on their bodies, they all have a spiral of flesh.

“These are the failures --- the ones who couldn’t even come back to life properly and were locked up deep in the basement. Daffyd was too soft to dispose of even these worthless things!”

He was no doubt planning on saving them eventually.

“But thanks to that, I’ve got even more power at my disposal now. Ahh, you really are pitiful, Daffyd. It’s as though everything you’ve ever done was for my sake! Yes, that’s right! Just as the gods created Suzie so that I could kill her, you were born to give me your life’s work!”

Satils spreads her arms triumphantly, as if she were delivering a victory speech. The dead continue to pour up out of the hole in the ground, adding their bodies in layer after layer to the Central Core. Satils herself begins to melt and join the mass.

“Ufufufufufufu, fufufufufufufu! There’s noone left who can oppose me now. I may as well have a little more fun with you now, Milkit, twisting your face little by little in front of Flum’s very eyes, letting her experience the true despair before --- Ah.”

She suddenly stops dead in her tracks. Seeing her standing limply there as if she’d passed out, Milkit thinks she almost looks like an abandoned puppet.

“Oh… Oh, that’s too bad. I suppose it can’t be helped.”

Satils suddenly sounds extremely put out.

“The plan’s changed, it seems. I can’t kill her. I’m to take her alive.”

“Satils… You’re just like the others, aren’t you?”

“Me, the same as those puppets? Don’t you dare take that tone with me! I’m special --- yes, Origin-sama’s TRUE Chosen! If I wasn’t, would I be able to control the Central Core like this!?”

“The others were the exact same. They all wanted to believe that they were living by their own wills alone when in fact Origin was controlling them all along!”

“Didn’t I just tell you not to take that tone with me!? You’re nothing more than a pitiful insect, begging to be crushed!!”

Driven mad with rage, Satils extends tentacles from all corners of the room, all converging on Milkit to crush her.

Milkit knew that would happen --- but now that even Flum is gone, the only thing she can do to fight back is taunt her with that undeniable truth.

If Satils is telling the truth, then Flum’s still alive, but there’s no way for Milkit to save her now---

“Connection!”

The next instant, the world around Milkit suddenly changes. Instead of that horribly oppressive flesh-room, she’s outside the research facility.

Milkit turns to look at the face of her savior,

“Eee!?”

and seeing a hideous fleshy spiral there she squeals by accident.

Nekt returns to her normal face, pouting slightly at Milkit.

“Jeez, what an awful way to thank the person who just saved your life…”

“I-I’m sorry… Thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome. I guess I was too late to save Flum-oneesan, though, huh? Well, given what Papa’s after they won’t kill her, but…”

“It doesn’t want to kill her?”

“Papa’s planning on assimilating her into its main body, after all. If it does that, then it’ll have its hands on Reversal and lose its only weakness. It’ll really be unstoppable.”

“But she’s nearly been killed by Origin’s monstrosities a number of times…”

“The let-her-live side’s got the majority, yeah, but some of Papa still wants her dead and they’re still arguing about it. There’s not just one of ‘Papa’, after all.”

“There’s… more?”

The more she hears, the more the mysteries surrounding Origin seem to grow.

There’s no time left to chat, however.

The earth itself begins to quake as a massive ‘something’ begins to crawl its way to the surface---


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  1. This illustration was originally included with Luluka, but given that it's of Suzie and describes her it was likely an error.