The Inquisition's First Branch in old Nagoya.
"——We have detected a large-scaled magical disaster in the region of the capital, the damage is rapidly expanding. Communication with the headquarters has been completely broken."
"——The mixed corps have bypassed Kantō's Sanctuary with goal to intercept enemy. After engaging the unidentified forces we lost communications with them."
The Inquisition's branch had directed reinforcements to the capital where a conflict had broke out with Valhalla, but they have been thrown into a state of extreme confusion as they received emergency call from the mixed force of Dullahans and Spriggans.
A Dullahan took post as a temporary commander in the Inquisition's branch.
According to the Inquisition headquarters' order, the forces have all been focused in EXE, because of that the chain of command had fallen into disorder and the Inquisition responded to the enemy attack too slowly. They received orders from the headquarters to concentrate their forces in the Kantō region and have followed them, but since then there were no further news or response from the headquarters.
Although they didn't mind sending reinforcements, old Nagoya was absolutely packed with the refugees from the capital's region which caused the old Nagoya branch's movements to dull.
It was a situation where they couldn't even manage the communications.
The Chairman who should have been in the headquarters, as well as the executive board members who should be there were all missing.
"Learning what's the situation in the capital is the top priority. Did we get a permission to use the satellite yet?"
"Only the executive board can grant us permissions to use it, as long as we can't contact them..."
"...Then get some reconnaissance from other branches or from mass media or whatever! Get me some live video right now!"
A video was displayed from an area outside the capital, a thick red mist has been covering Tokyo and it was unknown what was happening.
There were no incoming information from the troops in the headquarters. As if matching the disappearance of the Chairman, not a single member of the executive board had responded to calls.
What they knew, was the fact that the headquarters were attacked by the Valhalla.
The communications with the reinforcements Nagoya branch sent has been interrupted mid-way as well. The last thing they have heard incoming were screams of the reinforcements.
The Inquisition branch could not move carelessly without prior information.
"——Commander, we have video from a single drone that has risen above the clouds!"
As instructed, the operator had displayed the video on the huge screen in front.
After intense radio noise running through the screen a video from the drone's camera had flowed, displaying the city center from up above.
Seeing the red color covering the ground and a huge tree that had its roots in the city center everyone had suddenly screamed on spot.
There weren't many Inquisitors in the branch who knew about the first time Hyakki Yakou went berserk. Immediately after that the Border was invaded by the Pureblood Party so circumstances around that incident were unanswered.
While the majority of the Inquisition was distracted with Valhalla, Ootori Sougetsu had kept this monster tamed.
The temporary commander was covered in cold sweat after witnessing the devastation displayed on the screen and swallowed saliva soundly.
He was the only one in this place who knew about Hyakki Yakou's existence.
He has learned about Kusanagi Kiseki's existence before.
Guessing that Ootori Sougetsu has finally decided to use her in combat, the commander gave an order to the operator.
"Have the second troop return...! Cooperate with the other branches and make evacuating of the nearby residents a priority! Make sure to absolutely not attack it..."
His shocked subordinates gasped and returned back to work. No one even tried to to request an explanation from him. Seeing the video they understood that it wasn't an existence they could understand even if they received an explanation. Trembling, the operator took contract with the second troop and forces from the other prefectures conveying them that evacuation is the highest priority.
The temporary commander clenched his teeth and gave out the next order.
"Flying Knight troop, squadrons 302 and 303... sortie."
"B-but, we don't have the authority...!"
"It's an emergency. I'll take all responsibility. The goal is the entire capital."
"But there should be some more evacuees in the capital's area...!"
"As if anyone would survive that...! There's no choice but to purify everything above the ground to eliminate the threat... other branches surely made the same decision...!"
No. Even if the bombing is carried out, as long as a single Hyakki Yakou cell remains it will continue to grow.
But in order to prevent the erosion from going any further they could only do whatever they could.
The operator followed the instructions and had the squadrons sortie from the runway.
Despite knowing there was no hope the temporary commander looked as the aircrafts left.
"——?! Commander! The magic observatory is detecting an unspecified heat source underground...!"
"Give me location!"
The female operator took off the intercom and trembling, turned around to the commander.
The temporary commander's pace turned pale all at once.
Then, the coffee cup placed on operator's desk started to rattle strongly.
The shaking has continued to grow stronger.
"It can't be... did she aim directly at Inquisition's facilities first...?"
In which case, the same thing must be happening in other branches.
Stunned, the commander placed his hands on the desk.
After a moment of silence, he relaxed his shoulders, closed his eyes and wiped off the sweat from his forehead using a sleeve.
Immediately after that, giant demon pillars have protruded from below the frightened operator.
Taking shape similar to a drill the demon pillar broke through the protective walls underground that were supposed to be made of anti-magic materials and have entered the branch's command room directly.
The Inquisitors started to run away screaming, but the tentacles grew from the pillars and mercilessly assaulted them.
The tentacles tore Inquisitors bodies' to shreds, as if to rip them to easy-to-swallow chunks.
Hyakki Yakou was overjoyed with the slaughter.
After finishing the slaughter of the Inquisitors, the pillars changed form transforming into what resembled a human woman.
A giant girl made of red meat extended her head towards the temporary commander.
The commander looked at the hell the control room has turned into before looking up at the demon incarnate.
"That girl... she's controlling it, prioritizing the extermination...."
The commander saw Kiseki just once in the Inquisition's headquarters.
The appearance of a girl locked in the deepest part of the deepest prison who was killed on a daily basis.
He has witnessed her power in the past.
And now, in front of him there was the incarnation of it.
While trembling in fear, the commander gave up on his life.
"..................This is... retribution."
Despite witnessing appalling things happening to the girl he accepted it as "something that can't be helped" and abandoned his pride as the guardian of the law. He discarded morality and ethics pretending not to see what cruelty Inquisition was doing to the girl.
This was the retribution for that.
The retribution for abandoning this girl and trying to use her. The retribution towards Inquisition——and the entire world.
Commander has accepted death.
Just as he expected, the carnage happened not only at Nagoya's branch but was happening at almost all Inquisition's branches existing across the old Japan.
While devouring the planet, Kusanagi Kiseki decided to crush Inquisition preferentially, seeing their strength an obstacle.
The only remaining forces were the already-sortied aircraft and the surviving reinforcements directed to the headquarters.
In the empty control room the red dots displaying aircraft on the map have been disappearing one after another.
The aircraft squadrons that entered the Tokyo area have disappeared from the radar so quietly it was eerie.
In the city being swallowed by the Hyakki Yakou, Kirigaya Kyouya continued to resist the impending death.
The endless mass of demons that overflowed and attacked from all directions wasn't a liquid like before, but a solid mass.
The giant demon tree towering over the city had grown lumps looking like fruits, breaking out from these fruits were demons incarnate somewhat similar to Kusanagi Kiseki herself who descended on the ground.
Orochi had massacred the majority of the humans in the city, but there were some people who survived after escaping to the shelters.
In the middle of trying to rejoin Takeru and others, Kyouya had encountered Hyakki Yakou in the vicinity of a shelter with survivors and was stranded.
If he used the Relic Eaters' power he would be able to rejoin the Heretic Alliance.
《"Hey, what's with this good person act?! Just leave this bunch and prioritize your own life, Master!"》
"Shut up! Stay quiet you shitty gun!"
Spitting curses, Kyouya pulled Nero's trigger to the limit.
The incarnate demons formed by the Hyakki Yakou were stupid, but no matter how many he killed they continued to regenerate and jump back at him again. Moreover, not only they didn't single-mindedly try to kill him, but they also were disciplined to an extent and tried to avoid his attacks.
Probably majority of Hyakki Yakou's power was directed under the ground in order to devour the planet.
The entire Tokyo's surface was being engulfed in the Hyakki Yakou, but he had no idea how much was it eroded beneath the ground.
There was no doubt that this huge tree intended to devour the planet's core and then eat up the surface all at once from inside.
These demon incarnations were a vanguard, something like soldier ants protecting the queen.
"I told ya dammit! You should have killed her when you could, Kusanagi!"
It was pointless to fight, there was no end to them.
Still, Kyouya continued to remain at the entrance to the shelter.
He felt himself to be ridiculous. Before, he wouldn't care less about the civilians, he was the reason the first time Hyakki Yakou went berserk.
He didn't feel he had to atone for that. He couldn't care less about the bunch immersing themselves in the temporary peace given to them by Inquisition.
It was just that if he abandoned the shelter here, his childhood friend would surely be disappointed with him.
Thinking so, he couldn't bring himself to run away.
《"You're so damn weak towards women! If this is to be the case it would be much better if you remained with the Inquisition!"》
'Shut uup! You are no better when it comes to dealing with Akira, you coward!"
《"Huhh?! I'm just bad with the type of people who won't listen to you whatever you tell them! You're the coward here!"》
Despite being exhausted during the fight with Einherjars, Kyouya had to deal with Hyakki Yakou's army one after another in quick succession.
The demon incarnation roared and swung down its right arm.
Unable to respond Kyouya clenched his teeth, that's when a rust-colored magic bullet struck from the sky blowing away the demon's arm.
Kyouya clicked his tongue and looked up to the sky where a boy in red clothes was riding a broom-type flight device and a girl with a spear floating in the air.
It were Sage from the Pureblood Party and Yuzuho from the Gods' Embers.
"Seems like your Magical Heritage has poor fuel consumption."
Seeing the two worry about him, Kyouya spit out curses.
"Stop doing needless things, damn heretics."
"No point bothering about heretics or whatnot at this point, is there."
Sage sighed at Kyouya who glared at them and listened to the voice coming from the intercom on his ear.
"...Our squad and the Sixth Guard bunch are transporting survivors to the shelter. Other members of the Heretic Alliance who split up with main force and the Inquisition survivors, although there isn't many of them, are dedicating themselves to rescuing and evacuation of the citizens."
"Hah, here I thought it turned into a ghost town, but the people here are as stubborn as cockroaches."
"The reason the alliance's arrival was delayed in the first place was giving priority to civilians' evacuation. It seems like Hyakki Yakou only eroded this city on the surface but..."
It's unknown how long will that last.
Sage shook his head as if to get rid of his anxiety and jumped from the flight device, landing beside Kyouya.
Yuzuho too had descended, landing beside Kyouya.
"Thinking is pointless now. It's no longer possible to evacuate the citizens out of the shelter and outside the city.'
The three stood back to back, Yuzuho holding a spear, Sage expanding a barrier made of rust. Thanks to shutting out the attacking demon incarnations with barrier, Kyouya was given some time to rest.
"You did well protecting this place alone. You're quite something."
"While unwilling, I shall lend you my strength. We'll protect this shelter together."
"Don't you dare ordering me. What about your comrades?"
"No need to worry about my subordinates. The Seventh Squad isn't as weak as you might think."
"I would like it if you didn't underestimate the Sixth Guard."
Squeezing out their remaining power the three entered battle readiness in front of the incoming demons.
The barrier made with the Rust attribute was strong, but the Hyakki Yakou has broken through it already.
"In this situation there's no point bothering who's friend or foe. Can we expect some reinforcements from other Inquisition branches?"
"It's not like I'm an Inquisition either, I've no clue. I bet the branches won't move as long as the shitty Chairman in the headquarters doesn't order them. I bet they'd just bomb this place in order to stop this all."
When Kyouya answered, Yuzuho concentrated magic power on the tip of her spear.
"Hmph... would they think a mere bombing would change anything?"
The situation was hopeless, one the original plan didn't apply at. They were unable to contact Hoshijiro Nagaru who was the leader of the alliance, and no one knew where was she.
Since the chain of command has collapsed they decided to do whatever they could, but at this rate the situation would just deteriorate.
Something had to be done about Kusanagi Kiseki who was the source of Hyakki Yakou.
"So it's up to Kusanagi, huh."
Hearing Sage's mutter, Kyouya spat out laughter.
"It's pointless to expect anything out of him."
"I wonder about that. I think he's a guy who unexpectedly manages to do his job."
"Tracing backwards, he's the cause of this catastrophe. It's because he's gone selfish and didn't kill his little sister."
"Is that so? Then even more so I can expect things of him. He'll finish this while feeling responsible."
"What's with that positiveness, you're so annoying."
"Same to you, you negative bastard."
"——Could you stop arguing in this situation?"
Yuzuho stopped the two from insulting each other and they have raised their weapons.
"I'll focus on defense. While I'm chanting, you two stop the demons. Can you do that?"
Kyouya raised Nero up and a magic circle appeared beneath his feet.
"I wanted to leave this magic for that motherfucking Necromancer but... it doesn't seem like I can."
"You mean intrinsic magic, do you..."
"Hey, you guys stop breathing or you'll die."
Kyouya got down on his knees and struck the magic circle with Nero's barrel.
Pulling off the grip he fired Nero and reloaded.
Momentarily, magic mist has diffused from Nero's muzzle and dark green particles have spread in the air.
Just as told to, Sage stopped his breathing and watched Kyouya's attack.
《"The poison type?"》
"The enemy ain't witches. Can't just suppress them, we'll go with infection."
《"So we're attacking enemy who erodes everything with infection huhh. It'll be seriously magic power-consuming and I don't think it'll be too effective, either?"》
"Just do it."
Kyouya released Nero from the ground and directed the muzzle towards the demon incarnations who passed by Sage's barrier.
There were ten demons total. Behind Kyouya and others there were tightly shut shelter's doors. The road was wide and it was impossible to kill them all at once with Nero's buckshot.
In the middle of dark green fog, Kyouya squeezed the trigger.
The moment he spoke the magic name, the magic circle broke into pieces and tiny particles scattered in the air——have all flowed assaulting the incarnations at once.
The tiny particles of magic in the air attacked the demons like a shotgun shot.
They were countless tiny magic bullets.
It was hard to say that alone would be effective against Hyakki Yakou.
Even a large number of tiny bullets piercing through enemy didn't have much of an effect. This intrinsic magic didn't have power to blow the enemy away.
But the true value of this magic, just like it's name implied1, was not its destructive power.
Nero's magic attribute was "Poison".
The demons stopped for a moment after their bodies were pierced by the particles and seemed like they will immediately resume their activity, but something like a dark green mold had appeared from inside them and started spreading.
The incarnation's regeneration stopped and the mold gradually spread.
"So this works too... so not only it's unable to erode magic power and magic, but also poison."
Kiseki's body was immortal, but it was possible to kill the Hyakki Yakou that was detached from her body. So to say, they're like every cell of hers that's a living organism in itself. They're able to spread erosion, but a single cell each didn't hold much strength.
——Poison magic that continuously delivers damage was in a way a natural enemy of Hyakki Yakou.
Although Nero's "Poison" had the only non-ancient attribute among Relic Eaters, it held power over poison from various other attributes. Poison magic was capable of infecting enemy and the damage spread for as long as the magic isn't exhausted.
The demons' proliferation could be offset by infecting them with poison.
Even if they can't be beaten, their expansion can be stopped.
That's what Kyouya was aiming at.
"The magic itself can only buy us time, but while their erosion is stopped we can kill them all we want."
Kyouya smiled and changed Nero's form into that of a tonfa.
"Restraint, is it. That really sounds like Inquisition's tactic."
Before Kyouya could, Yuzuho had assaulted the demon incarnations. Even without receiving the strengthening from the rearguard her spear attacks were enough to kill enemy with her skill and magic power.
The spear tinged with magic power had cut apart the demon incarnation and shone with white light.
"Guards' Spearsmanship——Eternal Septuple Flash!"
In rapid succession Yuzuho delivered seven blows to the seven demons whose movements stopped.
The ones who were pierced by the spear had light come out from inside them which wrapped around them, as if purifying them.
Not allowing a drop of blood stain the blade Yuzuho rotated the spear and poised it very low.
The incarnations have immediately surged, but Yuzuho remained in the same posture and did not move.
At that time Kyouya rotated in the air above Yuzuho and let out an intense blow at a demon.
"I ain't dyin'——as long as she's waiting for me to come back, I'm invincible!"
With Sage's support Kyouya and Yuzuho stood up against a demon army.
While maintaining protective magic, Sage organized the current situation.
The Heretic Alliance's goal was initially to find Mineshiro Kazuma's documents, but since the Second Dullahan War2 had started the situation had taken two or three turns.
After Kusanagi Orochi and Mother Goose were defeated with great pains, the Second Dullahan War was terminated.
However, the whereabouts of the essential person Ootori Sougetsu was were unknown and without giving them a moment to rest, Hyakki Yakou has appeared.
He could only think that they all danced on top of Sougetsu's palm. If Ootori Sougetsu really is this world's God, it wouldn't be strange if he kept track of what all of them are doing.
His goal was the destruction of this world and if that means his own death, this situation could be said to be going according to his plans.
Sage looked towards the hill the academy was in.
"...The only way for us is to entrust everything."
Right now, they could only pray.
——Kusanagi Kiseki and Kusanagi Takeru met inside a very, very dark box.
In the valley at the bottom of the mountain there was a small box-shaped warehouse. That was the only place Kiseki had, the only world she knew.
The inside of that warehouse made out of anti-magic materials was always filled with the smell of blood.
The red liquid that caused the room to smell was all her own blood.
Once every three days without fail, Kiseki was killed by the hands of her own father.
She heard the reason for that from her father. Kiseki knew her body was a product of an abominable curse and a "demon" the Kusanagi household has destroyed in the ancient times.
If the demons accumulated inside Kiseki weren't forced out and killed every few days the world would have been exposed to the demon threat. And in order to force the demons out, it was necessary to kill Kiseki.
The face of her father when he cut off her head was always filled with bitterness and sorrow.
Forgive me. Please forgive me. I'm really sorry.
Those were the only words spoken to Kiseki by her father.
Girls born to Kusanagi were to be put to death immediately after birth. The Kusanagi household has strictly obeyed these commandments. The moment they have learned the child to be born is female they were to perform an abortion and if it's too late, the child is to be killed along with her mother.
They learned Takeru had a twin right after birth.
Kiseki had attached herself to her brother's, Takeru's body. She reduced her body to a level of a cell and parasitized his body. It must have been the vengefulness of the demons' curse that has done it. In order to be born again in this world, the demons had given her a false birth.
According to her father, right after birth Kiseki's body rapidly expanded and massacred everyone in the Kusanagi household aside from her mother, father and older brother.
You aren't to blame. I'll take all the blame on myself.
That's why forgive me, said her father.
Kiseki from back then did not know what was she supposed to forgive her father for.
To Kiseki, a father was an existence that kills his daughter, that was natural to her.
She did not hate her father. Not just that, she didn't even know the emotion called "hate".
Her mother had worried about Kiseki at first. Gave her a book, spoke to her.
But after her father and mother quarreled outside the warehouse, her mother no longer spoke anything to her. No matter how much Kiseki spoke to her, her mother wouldn't respond. Just, from time to time she came over and sang a lullaby from outside.
That's what family was to Kiseki.
That's what was normal to Kiseki.
Everything changed when she met Takeru.
She understood the circumstances around her were abnormal.
She understood she was a pitiful existence.
She had become aware of love, she had become aware of despair, she had become aware of the feeling called "hatred".
The meeting with him was the beginning for all of it.
Listening to his stories she couldn't help but yearn for the outside world. She had become aware of her own misfortune and couldn't help but seek happiness.
Above all, she couldn't stop herself from wanting to meet Takeru.
Even so, Kiseki couldn't bring herself to betray the tears of her father who killed her so many times or the singing voice of her mother who tried to act like her parent, even if just a little bit. She told herself that she is an existence that shouldn't exist, one that shouldn't go to the outside.
After all, that's what her father continued to tell her.
Told so, she had been killed time after time.
And yet, the reason she was unable to accept the death given to her by her father was,
『"I'll take you out of there."』
『"I want to meet you, I want to be by your side."』
『"I will save you. I promise."』
Because Kusanagi Takeru had shaken up Kiseki's heart.
Just how high expectations did Kiseki have of his words.
Just how big of an existence was Takeru to Kiseki, who knew nothing of the world, knew nothing of other people.
The only person in the entire world to be her ally. Someone who would love her.
The person who would kill her.
Takeru was Kiseki's entire world.
But that also why her hatred when she was betrayed was——
"Unlike Onii-chan, Kiseki fulfills her promises, you know?"
Kiseki said that to Takeru who, at loss for words, stared at the huge demon tree that appeared in the city.
Jumping from on top the piled up mass of meat, Kiseki landed in front of Takeru.
Still speechless, Takeru stared at her.
Kiseki joined her hands behind her back and peeking into Takeru's face, she smiled brightly.
It was an unclouded, innocent smile.
"I need to keep my word. First Kiseki will kill all people in the world, then splatter people Onii-chan holds precious. Kiseki will work hard until there's only Kiseki and Onii-chan left in the world."
"It takes more time than I thought it would, sorry. Earth really is big. It seems like it'll take some more time to swallow it all."
Her body clad in red a dress, Kiseki did a twirl.
Giggling, she spread her words as if to bless the world that was being devoured by demons.
"See, it's the first time since Kiseki was born that she feels this good. I didn't think I would be able to move my own body so freely and see on my own eyes how the world I hate is destroyed."
"And above all, I can be with Onii-chan... no, I can be with Takeru-kun in the same place, inhale the same air and face each other like this. There's nothing more wonderful than this."
Kiseki laughed merrily and monotonously.
"Hey, Takeru-kun. Can you hear? Just listen. You can hear the screams and cries of the people in this land. You see, Kiseki has aaaalllllwaaays wanted to hear this. While Kiseki was killed in the darkness time after time, dozens of times, hundreds of times, thousands of times, she continued to hear the sound of happiness from the outside. Happiness, sadness, affection, hate, love, urge to kill, Kiseki always heard the hearts of various people in the dark, dark place."
"Kiseki who could only experience death always wanted to hear this."
Takeru didn't know whether that was anger, delight, or both.
She continued to laugh. With tears in her eyes she celebrated the achievement of her long-cherished wish.
After laughing for some time Kiseki placed a hand on her chest.
"Once this tumult is over Kiseki will be able to rest... when the only sounds in the world are Kiseki's and Takeru-kun's, and the two disappear, Kiseki will be finally saved."
"You didn't know, did you, Takeru-kun? You didn't know what to do to save Kiseki, right? I think that can't be helped. The reason Takeru-kun took all the burden on himself was because Kiseki didn't do her best."
"But now that Kiseki did her best you know it, right? This is Kiseki's salvation. Hey, Takeru-kun... Takeru-kun? Are you listening?"
"Takeru-kun Takeru-kun Takeru-kun Takeru-kun!"
Kiseki opened her eyes wide and shouted angrily.
"Give up already and save Kiseki."
Bloodshot eyes embedded in the mass of meat in the surroundings all glared at Takeru.
Takeru faced downwards and clenched his teeth.
Seeing his chagrined expression Kiseki stared with gaze full of love.
"Ahaha. You're making a wonderful expression, Takeru-kun. Kiseki wanted to see Takeru-kun's face like this. You must have understand just how irrelevant the things you did so far were."
"I hate you, Onii-chan. I love you, Takeru-kun. And——
【【【【【【【【【【【【 "Serves you right."】】】】】】】】】】】】
Hyakki Yakou and Kiseki speaking overlapped.
Kiseki's lips expressed love and hate, as she laughed with ridicule at Takeru.
As Takeru watched Kiseki laugh innocently, feeling fear and love, his determination on the brink of fading, he clutched the sword's hilt.
One could blame Kiseki without end.
What have you done, he could say.
Just how many people have you killed during just this moment.
He could throw out words forcing them on her without end.
But he knew what would she answer if he tried cheap preaching like that.
——It's all because Onii-chan didn't kill Kiseki.
——This is all Onii-chan's fault.
Surely, that's what she would answer with.
However, that's not why.
It was because what Kiseki would say would be true to an unbearable extent.
That's why he didn't blame her.
This devastation was all his fault.
He had two chances to kill Kiseki.
The reason he didn't do it was because he chose Kiseki's and his comrades' lives over those of some strangers in this world.
This devastation was merely the result of his choice.
He had nothing to excuse himself with, nor had any intention to.
Takeru shouldn't respond by blaming Kiseki, nor respond to her twisted love.
Serves you right.
These are the words he should respond to.
"——You've grown a really bad taste, Kiseki."
Ignoring all the lives that were lost in this moment, Takeru laughed.
Kiseki's smile disappeared at once.
"Bad taste? I guess so. That's the person Kiseki was in the first place."
"Whether it's Master or you, I think you two should think about the surroundings more. Just how selfish are Kusanagis, really. You're being inconveniencing others."
"Are you one to talk, Takeru-kun?"
She furrowed her eyebrows a little bit.
Takeru erased his wry smile and shouldered his sword.
"Among Kusanagi I think I'm more on the side that knows moderation y'know? At the very least I'm a better human than you or Master."
Takeru announced boldly.
It were his true feelings. While being aware he was an egoist, aware he was more irresponsible than anyone else, he said what he honestly thought.
What are you talking about, you're the biggest inconvenience here.
He laughed at himself, but he couldn't help it since it were his true intentions.
Kiseki made a comical expression that made him feel like he heard her respond with that.
"I don't understand well what you're talking about, Takeru-kun... the reason Kiseki does this, the reason why she turned like this, the origin of it all is——"
"——It's all my fault. So what?"
Hitting his shoulder with the back of the blade, Takeru raised his chin.
"Well, it's my fault that the world has become like this, but you are the one who did this to the world. Sorry, but Nii-chan intends to shoulder only his own part. It's your choice to destroy this world."
"It might be worth a fart and smell like shit but it's logical, it's true. I have no intention of following your choice. I'll resist it with all I have."
"I'll save you, save my comrades, and while at it... well, it looks pretty bad now but it ain't too late, I will save the world to finish this entire case."
He swung the sword from his shoulder and pulled half of his body back.
His gaze was directed straight at Kiseki.
Kiseki was expressionless, but her hair have bristled up slightly.
"Why do you go so far to deny Kiseki salvation?"
"Obviously, because I want to."
"Even if you're unconvinced, I will go through with my way of doing things."
Slowly he raised the sword horizontally and pointed the tip of it at Kiseki.
The azure blade sparkled under the sky reddened with fog spat out by demons.
Like melting ice, Kiseki's expression was slowly tinged with hatred. Her tears disappeared and she furrowed her brows with anger.
"...You're selfish, Takeru-kun."
Hearing her squeeze out these words, Takeru smiled.
"You didn't know that I'm selfish, have you."
"You didn't know that your beloved Takeru-kun was such a horrible big brother."
"Hey, Kiseki. You said earlier that you love me, but what is it about me that you love so much?"
As if responding to his words, Hyakki Yakou wriggled.
He couldn't feel the intent to kill. The only thing he felt from it was anger.
"...Why do you ask such a thing despite knowing Kiseki's feelings...?"
Takeru responded to the discomfort he held for the way Kiseki called him.
Kiseki didn't call Takeru "Onii-chan" but "Takeru-kun". It was how she called him when they met for the first time and didn't know they are siblings yet.
Even Takeru knew what does that mean.
He knew Kiseki's feelings best of all. He was aware of them for a long time.
Kiseki didn't think of Takeru as of her brother, but as just another person.
As another person, she saw him as object of romantic interest, love.
She rejected her Onii-chan and accepted the so-called "Takeru-kun" from the past.
In other words, it was forbidden love. He didn't feel it to be disgusting or off-putting at all, he thought himself a lucky brother to be loved by his little sister.
But he couldn't be honestly happy.
Takeru will respond to that forbidden love of Kiseki's.
"——So, what do you even know about me?"
As Kiseki was at loss for words, Takeru continued without mercy.
"I know... after all I'm Takeru-kun's——"
"Little sister, you're saying? Yeah, you are my little sister. But just like I don't know anything about you, you don't know anything about me."
"It's natural. The time I spent together with you, the time we spend as siblings, was very short."
When they first met they were separated by a box and could only speak with each other. At the time he also went to school and had swordsmanship practice, leaving him few time for that.
They learned they are siblings when Kiseki went berserk massacring the villagers and was caught by Inquisition.
Then they met only once or twice in two months for just ten minutes. Just like when she was in the box, they couldn't touch each other.
If put all together, how much time would that make?
At worst it would be just about a week, wouldn't it?
What could they know about each other when that's all their relationship was.
Until now, Takeru took actions he thought are natural as her older brother.
He faced Kiseki holding such feelings.
Just like towards his comrades Takeru played his ideal of "Kusanagi Takeru" as a decent human, he also played his "ideal older brother" towards Kiseki.
That's why he didn't know anything.
Takeru knew nothing about Kiseki.
There's no way he could unconditionally accept love from someone he knows nothing about.
"That's why I said we should have a fight. Without mercy, without holding back, just you and me. I couldn't care less about others, this problem is yours and mine."
This was Takeru's answer towards Kiseki's feelings.
Kiseki remained speechless, she staggered slightly swaying her hair.
——Then once again, she glared at Takeru from the bottom of hell.
Takeru smiled fearlessly and accepted all her anger.
"If I learn about you, understand your feelings and fall in love with you, I'll die together with you."
"You learn about me and think if I'm someone worth dying together with... ascertain that I'm a man you can say you love from the bottom of your heart."
"And if both of us by chance come to the same conclusion... we'll live together."
Grasping the handle he firmly poised the sword.
It wasn't in order to kill her. It was to understand her.
To have a fight with her.
It could be said that this was the first time Takeru bared his feelings to Kiseki.
Right now Takeru didn't lie or deceive her, he didn't put up a cool act, threw away his ideal of a big brother and faced Kiseki as just another person. Kusanagi Takeru, stained with desires, ego and pride.
Kiseki chagrined and held her head in her arms. Hyakki Yakou squirmed, raged as if to reject Takeru's words.
But Takeru didn't intend to have mercy on her.
He couldn't care less if she screams and cries in order not to listen. He'll have her surrender with the swordsmanship for killing demons and will scream his feelings to the human Kusanagi Kiseki's ears.
He'll force his ego on her.
"Prepare yourself——Nii-chan is helluva strong in fights."
Cladding himself in armor, Takeru confronted her.
His troublesome little sister in her rebellious phase.
"...ghh, I don't know, I don't care, I don't want to hear this...! Takeru-kun wouldn't say such things...! Kiseki doesn't need anyone but Takeru-kun she knows! If Onii-chan won't become Takeru-kun, Kiseki will bring Takeru-kun back!"
"Fine by me! Try your best, Kusanagi Kiseki!"
The demons cried, Takeru roared.
Takeru ran towards the looming Hyakki Yakou and swung his sword.
Not in order to kill.
He swung his sword in order to make her understand.