Silver Cross and Draculea:Volume04 Chapter6
Chapter 6 - The Last Runner
It was near the end of the lunch break when Rushella went to look for Hisui.
Seeing him enter the classroom block, Rushella originally intended to call out to him but seeing some kind of determined look on Hisui's face, she changed her mind.
Hence she hid her presence and secretly followed him.
Hisui went up the stairs and towards the roof.
Because it was during the sports festival, the classroom block was very deserted. Plus the lunch break was about to end, there was almost no one there.
On this empty roof, waiting for Hisui was--the other him.
Rushella gulped and hid in the shadow of the roof shed while watching the two Hisuis meet.
Hisui waved and greeted himself.
The other him grabbed the metal net fencing on the roof edge and looked down.
Dressed in the high school uniform, carrying the cross-shaped sacred sword, the Tzara Blade, wrapped in white cloth.
He turned around. His face was identical to Hisui's.
But the deep sorrow in his eyes made him a completely different person from the usual Hisui.
It was Hisui's doppelganger, carrying the Anti-Drac mode constitution and his memories from the past year.
However, what he possessed was not limited to that.
"...How did you know I was here?"
"After all, it's my own thinking."
"For this kind of event like sports festivals or athletic meets, Miraluka always observed from this kind of place. She didn't want to attract too much attention. Also, carrying a parasol would hinder other student's parents from photographing them. Besides, her eyesight was amazingly good... Watching from up here would be good enough. So, did I guess right?"
"Yeah. As expected of myself."
The other Hisui answered weakly with self-deprecation.
"Then... The question is, what are you doing here?"
"Since it's you, you should understand, right?"
The other Hisui asked him in return.
Hisui leaned against the shed's wall and looked up at the sky.
"I don't remember. Because you have that memory. But I heard from other people. Strangely enough, I don't feel sad."
"I thought so."
"I should be terribly sad. In fact, I do feel like there's a hollow in my heart, but it's nothing serious. Clearly I should be utterly sad. In other words... Carrying these feelings, you must be in great suffering. You are bearing all this for me, right?"
The other Hisui did not answer.
The feelings and memories after Miraluka was lost--were all with him.
He must be immersed in a swamp of sadness.
"I was thinking, if Miraluka was gone, what would I do? I think I'll be very depressed and shocked."
"Correct. In fact, that's what your summer vacation was like. Having few friends to begin with, you ended up being further estranged. And started not trusting anyone. Using a hyperbole, you didn't trust the world. You didn't trust this world which did not have Miraluka."
The other Hisui spoke in a torrent of words.
Talking about sadness, talking about loneliness, talking about his feelings for that woman who had passed away from this world.
"Then... Finally pulling yourself together, you entered the high school entrance exam. For a change of pace, to make a clean break of the past, you chose this high school where no one knew you. What a lame reason for your choice of school."
"Isn't that great? Also, don't insult yourself so much, it'll make me sad."
Hisui lowered his gaze in sadness.
After all, the other guy was himself. Whether speaking ill or self-abusing, it all reflected on himself.
"Can't be helped, during the most depressing time, you were me. Until yesterday, I was wandering the streets. Carrying Miraluka's past possessions, going to those place visited together before. Really fucking lame."
The other Hisui laughed in a lonely manner.
As the listener, naturally, Hisui did not laugh.
How could anyone laugh.
"Although I already know that she's no longer here. But... I still feel so reluctant to accept it. After all, I didn't even get to say anything..."
"...Yeah. I understand. Not even a word of thanks."
The current Hisui did not have complete knowledge of Miraluka. However, he still knew that they had parted suddenly.
Back when he scraped his knee and Miraluka showed her true nature as a vampire for an instant--After that, he had not even said a simple "I don't mind" to her.
All this time, all along, he was never able to say it out.
"So even now, you still feel sad, right?"
With abject pain, Hisui asked his other self.
Just like Reina.
It was all his own fault for being incompetent, which was why the doppelganger before his eyes had to shoulder the heavy burden.
"It's the same for you, right...? These feelings are enough for two people... No, even two people cannot shoulder it all."
The other Hisui answered.
His eyes carried bottomless melancholy.
These feelings would be better off forgotten.
"It's about time you return. At this rate, I'm gonna croak. If it means forgetting for a lifetime, I don't want it."
"Perhaps your current state is better."
"Give it up... No matter how painful, I still want to be able to remember at least upon my death."
"Only because it's you, I'll tell you this."
Hisui took a deep breath.
No one else is allowed to hear this.
For a whole lifetime, he absolutely won't tell anyone this.
Apart from himself, never.
"Once upon a time, I loved her."
Hisui heard the sound of something falling on the ground behind him.
Like something rolling on the ground, rupturing, breaking into pieces.
As in happened, a sudden gust of strong wind blew, covering up that sound. Even the quick and light footsteps leaving downstairs could not be heard by Hisui.
"Perhaps it was love for a mother, or love for an older sister, or a first crush... Anyway, I loved her, I was serious."
Finally, he said it out.
In this world without Miraluka.
Although saying it out had no meaning, at least he managed to say it out.
The other Hisui smiled tragically, turning into a grieving audience.
"Aren't you embarrassed to say that?"
"So noisy, shut up. If you think it's embarrassing, then you go ahead and feel embarrassed."
"If I return, you'll surely feel more suffering?"
"I know. But... Lacking memories is also painful. Not only Miraluka... But Rushella as well."
"The reason why I can still live my days properly after Miraluka was gone, it's actually thanks to Rushella, right?"
The other Hisui did not answer.
Silently, he smiled and stepped forward.
The two Hisuis intersected and overlapped.
The instant the Hisui in uniform touched the main body, they merged into one.
The clone left behind the Tzara Blade, falling to the floor with a crisp clink.
Hisui picked up cross-shaped sacred sword and stretched lightly.
"I finally managed to retrieve my original feelings."
He lightly reached towards his neck and tore off the bandaid.
Touching it, he confirmed the disappearance of the fearsome teeth marks.
"Now I can stop worrying. Wow, the afternoon competitions have started already... I'd better hurry to the relay match... Eh, what's this?"
Just as he was about to go downstairs, Hisui noticed a lunchbox by his feet.
Probably the plastic lid popped off when it fell, the contents were all spilt. Luckily, the cloth wrapped around the lunchbox was still intact, so the food did not scatter all over the floor.
This cloth and lunchbox... Hisui recognized it.
Those were clearly his.
"Why...? Could it be that girl!?"
Hisui looked downwards, then frantically ran downstairs and looked all around.
But the classroom block seemed to be empty.
Rushella had already ran off.
Rushella grumbled, wandering behind the school building.
Students, teachers and parents were all gathered at the sports ground right now so no one came over to this classroom block.
Hisui... was probably still over there.
Rushella knew very well in her heart.
She knew from the start.
Even had she not bitten him, even if just an ordinary person... A long time ago, to this date, continuing into the future, Hisui's heart always belonged to Miraluka.
While she walked like this, tears naturally fell down.
Rushella could only cover her face with both hands.
Pressing her fingers to seal her tears in her eye lids, she desperately suppressed herself.
After a while, she put down her hands but her vision was blurred by the tears.
Then a dark mass appeared before her, dark enough to distort rays of light.
Clad in a pitch-black cape, the tall shadow was rich in vampire style, exuding an aura that dyed the surroundings of this little path red as blood.
The long black hair resembled a piece of darkness that was plucked then combed into threads while those crimson lips were even redder than fresh blood.
Most unforgettable of all was that skin of pure white, surpassing all creation in this world.
She seemed to have applied light blocking agent, her skin exhibiting a subtle sheen, blocking sunlight.
This was supposed to be artificial armor that reduced a vampire's beauty.
But the absolute beauty of her skin did not suffer at all from this.
Whether her lips or her black hair, everything was so perfectly flawless.
To sum up her face in one sentence, that was a beautiful face born from darkness.
The same kind of beauty as Rushella's, but more refined and honed, the beauty of maturity.
To this date, Rushella had seen many beauties.
Although differences in beauty varied from person to person, categorizing them into three, six or nine ranks perhaps depended on personal preference.
But this woman before her was undoubtedly more beautiful than her.
More accurately, there was a difference in fundamental nature.
In front of this woman, she was at best a cute little girl--Rushella could not help but feel a sense of defeat.
"...Who are you!?"
"I am one of your kind, in every sense of the word."
Her face closed in.
Also those blood-red lips.
Even as a fellow female, it produced a sense of lust in the viewer, so seductive it compelled one to suck on them.
The woman parted her lips slightly, exhaling sweet breath.
The instant she smelled that scent, Rushella felt intense dizziness.
"What... are you... doing!?"
"Trying out a toy I obtained. It's already used up now."
With her porcelain-like hand, she crushed the small bottle in her hand, turning it into powdered glass scattered on the floor.
"It's the doppelganger huh...? No way, I am...!"
"You are a vampire. In a certain sense, vampires cannot be considered complete entities, they are existences intermediate between physical bodies of flesh and spiritual bodies. Hence, you won't turn out like that girl or boy. Just that your true nature will be exposed completely."
"You are thirsting, right?"
She reached out to stroke the throat of Rushella who was collapsed on the ground. With sharp finger nails, she clawed at her skin.
"I understand... that thirst enough to drive one mad. For a vampire, it is essentially hell. It would be better if one were used to it. It would be better if one could accept any filthy blood, no matter how lowly. But not for you. Because you have sucked Hisui's blood, you are already accustomed to that fragrant blood and taking it for granted."
"Who... on... earth... are you!?"
She did not answer.
Then she left Rushella.
Despite knowing it was useless, Rushella still reached out a hand towards her.
Her other hand pressed down on her own throat.
Because the terrifying thirst was surging up.
Irrepressible desire spread throughout her entire body.
For Hisui and Reina, their inner self was liberated.
But vampires could not do the same.
They simply exhibited the true selves hidden within.
The struggle between reason and instinct.
With a scream akin to vomiting blood, Rushella called for the one she desired.
"Sorry I'm late. It's my fault for putting us in last place..."
Hisui got back from the relay track and headed over to Mei and Eruru, bowing his head in apology.
He barely managed to return in time for his spot as the runner for the second leg of the race, rushing onto the track to receive the baton and run at full speed.
Hisui's class had already fallen behind with the first runner, so due to the leg delayed by Hisui, they fell to last place.
"...Don't worry, it's fine. By the way... Is your condition okay?"
"I won't die. Ah, but I wanna puke."
"Why are you holding your belly after running such a short distance? That is way too weak of you."
Eruru's reprimands were perfectly reasonable.
Although Hisui currently was not in perfect health, he was running way too poorly.
Plus clutching his belly right now.
"It wasn't easy catching my doppelganger. The class rep's was found too, although she forfeited the relay. Happy ending, right?"
"Well... I guess."
"Then only Rushella is left, right?"
Mei and Eruru had run their part already and were resting on stand by.
They both held back, so Hisui's class was still dead last.
And the difference was quite large.
"Hey... Isn't it almost time for her to run? And we need to choose a new final leg... In this kind of situation, someone has to run twice, right?"
"They're discussing it right now. Oh, coming up, she's here."
Mei pointed to the other side of the circular field.
Each leg of the whole-class relay race was half a circuit around the track--hence, the runners must separate into odds and evens, standing on opposite sides of the track, waiting for the baton to pass to their hand.
And this moment, it was Rushella's turn to stand on the starting line.
Because they were trailing far behind the other classes, Rushella was standing there alone.
"Thank goodness, she finally came. I can watch the results of her training... Hey, isn't there something wrong?"
Hisui was the first to notice the unusual situation.
Even from far away, he saw very clearly.
Rushella was trembling all over, hugging herself desperately.
On the hands hugging herself, the fingernails were exceptionally long.
"Hey... She looks really thirsty. Isn't she a 'True Ancestor' at least...? Can't she bear it for a bit...?"
"I do not know the specifics regarding her condition but this clearly an emergency. As much as I am reluctant to cause a scene in public... There is no choice now."
Argentum's luster already flashed in Eruru's hand.
Hiding behind Mei, she tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. If necessary, she was going to shoot.
"Hey stop it... What are you thinking!?"
"That is my line. Do you not understand after seeing the way she looks...? Clearly an abnormal state. You should know very clearly what a vampire in thirst is like, right!?"
This was the destiny of blood that no vampire could escape.
When the thirst for blood reached a peak, they lost all rationality and turned in beasts feeding on fresh blood.
Hisui anxiously looked towards Rushella then revealed a smile.
The runner before Rushella reached out to her, handing the baton.
Then... Rushella caught it.
Although her hand trembled somewhat, she caught it steadily.
"...See, the results of practice is showing, right?"
"Please stop feeling impressed about the inconsequential."
Eruru scolded strictly. Beside her, Mei also showed a solemn face.
Nevertheless, Hisui ignored them and turned towards the nearby classmates who had also finished running.
"Sorry everyone. I'll take the final leg. After all, you guys still haven't decided, right?"
"That's not too good, right?"
"Although being dead last is for certain, giving up in despair is a bit..."
"Say, has your stomach ache stopped?"
...Looks like there was grumbling aplenty.
Hisui knew very well his position in the class.
Just as Hisui was at a loss, a voice from behind helped him out.
"Let Kujou-kun go."
He turned around to see Reina.
Her right leg was wrapped in bandages while she spoke with a smile. Rangetsu was supporting her.
"This was originally my responsibility... Kujou-kun, I'm counting on you."
Hisui accepted Reina's request and headed over to the starting line.
Since Reina spoke up, the others had no objections... silently watching Hisui.
Then... Rushella arrived.
Although the sunlight was intense, she was running way too slowly.
Desperately fighting against the impulse inside her body, she was reaching her limit.
After all, Hisui was right before her eyes.
The desired blood was within reach.
Calling out at the same time, Rushella licked her lips.
Her running speed suddenly rose.
The baton in her hand was becoming hard to hold.
Her other hand, empty, reached towards the flesh and blood she had desired for a long time.
Mei prepared herself, gathering sunlight in her eyes.
Eruru lifted the gun.
Rangetsu made a stance like a carnivorous and ferocious beast.
But Hisui took action faster than them, faster than anyone else.
In contravention of relay race norms, he ran over towards Rushella.
Then to avoid letting others see her horrifying appearance, he spread his arms and hugged her.
Hisui proactively put his neck towards Rushella's mouth, letting her drink his blood.
Without making a sound, he endured all pain.
Simply running up to embrace the girl who was collapsing from utter exhaustion--That was surely what spectators saw.
The entire school's eyes were focused on the two of them.
In a duration too short to call an instant, Hisui whispered in Rushella's ear:
"The lunchbox was delicious."
The light of rationality lit up in Rushella's eyes.
Because of Hisui's words or because of Hisui's blood... Surely both reasons were responsible.
Hisui's existence manged to rescue Rushella's mind, on the verge of collapse.
"If I had to say something, you're still at a developing stage. Honestly, why is the omelette looking like that and the hamburger steak is raw, it's totally mind boggling."
"You're being noisy... Shut up..."
Rushella protested in a trembling voice. Her dainty hand clutched desperately at Hisui's back to avoid falling over.
"B-But the effort nearly killed me... Treated like an idiot by that girl, cutting myself in the hand, getting up early..."
"I know, I know. Now you can understand some of my pain, right?"
"So noisy... In any case, in any case, it's Miraluka who's better...!"
"You're more important than that dead person."
These words caused all strength to drain from Rushella's entire body.
She was already on the verge of tears.
No matter what era, sweet words were the easiest form of instant cure.
Even between a vampire and a human... it was the same.
The baton slid off from Rushella's hand.
Just before it hit the ground, Hisui caught it.
"Sorry, I'm leaving this girl to you."
Hisui gently pushed Rushella away, entrusting her to Rangetsu.
Rushella looked like she had something to say. Hisui deliberately ignored her gaze and touched his neck.
His bleeding had stopped.
But the body that was vampirizing only just earlier was seriously anemic.
And just now, Rushella had sucked with reckless abandon.
In fact, standing was difficult with this body that had suffered excessive blood loss.
Nevertheless, this was what allowed him to do what was not usually possible.
"Eli Eli lama sabachthani...!"
Accompanied by increasingly loud heart beats, Hisui chanted the incantation.
The black emblem resembling thorns appeared on his neck.
There was no worry even if other students saw it.
After all, this was only going to flash through their memories briefly.
Together with this body, flying past before their eyes.
Anti-Drac mode, activate.
Instantly, Hisui's outline blurred.
The only people who could capture him in their view were Rushella and the girls, the supernatural creatures.
Hisui raced along the track with lightning speed.
The distance with the other classes was shrinking.
Originally wide enough to be despairing, he closed the distance within the blink of an eye.
"So fast... Kujou-kun is too fast!! He passed three people all at once!!"
The announcer's energetic voice was relaying Hisui's heroic feat on the track.
It was Kirika who had snatched the megaphone, so emotional that her cheeks were scarlet.
After the live announcement, cheers began to sound repeatedly as the entire school focused their eyes on Hisui.
This was good.
With that, no one would remember Rushella's scene just now.
Although this contravened Hisui's philosophy of an ordinary school life...
"Once in a while, I guess."
Hisui sighed and entered the final stretch, the straight part of the track.
The final leg runner in first place was just ahead, a few meters away.
"I know this counts as cheating, please forgive me."
"Finally only one person left to pass! Kujou-kun, you are too amazing!!"
Hisui's speed dropped all at once.
Also, the entire school's gaze focused on Kirika.
Red in the face, she returned to her spot at the student council.
Then... As though his tense nerves had snapped, Hisui was slowing down.
Before he knew it, the emblem on his neck had vanished.
"Ah, it was no good after all."
Leaving these last words, Hisui crossed the finish line, falling over forwards.
Naturally, he was second place.
"You great idiot! I can't believe you failed to get first having gone this far! Doesn't this make my training go all to waste!?"
"Don't say anymore..."
Hisui had no strength to argue with the unreasonable Rushella.
If he did not wait quietly for his blood to recover, or get a blood transfusion quick, his life really would be in danger.
"Oh well... Whatever, I forgive you."
Saying that, Rushella hugged Hisui in her bosom, pressing his head tightly between her breasts.
"Ah! Hey, that's my job! Move aside!!"
Mei ended up hugging him as well.
Getting crushed by two pairs of giant breasts was no joking matter. Hisui felt his consciousness flying far away.
Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap, super crap hyper crap.
However, there would be no regrets dying like this with his consciousness far gone.
His classmates, particularly the boys, were staring at him with murderous eyes.
Eruru and Rangetsu's eyes were filled with despise.
For some reason, Reina was getting tearful.
Finally abusing public authority for private intentions, Kirika grabbed the megaphone specifically and yelled "Hey over there! Hurry and get off the track once you finish running!"
"...Oh well, whatever. Oh dear, I'm really out of blood..."
"Ah, hey, don't sleep! Pull yourself together!"
Several minutes later, Hisui was carried to the infirmary.
After that, he received a transfusion from the blood delivered by Eruru, lying on the bed while listening to the closing ceremony speeches. Thus Hisui's sports festival was finally concluded.
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