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“……ren! Karen! Hold on!”
Karen woke up to Iris’s voice.
The surroundings were surprisingly quiet, and neither Hildle nor Cecilia, who should have been just before she fainted, were anywhere to be seen.
“…… Iris? Where did they go?”
“I don’t know. The moment after you stood up they were gone. And before I know it, you fell down, too.”
“…… Oh. I’m sorry, I was just lying down a little bit. Anyway, let’s get away from here. They might attack again.”
“Never mind that, but… why is the wound closed? 」
As Iris pointed out.
Karen’s body, which should have been full of wounds from the last battle, was completely restored.
It’s as if the fight never happened.
“—It’s no use thinking about it. Let’s find Olivia and join up with Serra as soon as possible.”
“Yes… I’m not satisfied, but you’re right. Even if they’re gone, we’re still in a crisis.”
Iris seems to have been convinced by Karen’s rushed proposal.
Iris pulled Karen’s hand and helped her stand up. Her body should have been overworked, but she made surprisingly light movements.
The two started running, led by Karen.
Iris never noticed that Karen had a wicked smile on her face.
“It’s here! Serra is fighting here!”
After being rescued by Serra’s hands, she joined Gillian as promised and returned to Serra.
Serra was fighting an Undying named Alice. Gillian and Olivia, who had been told by Riko, were armed and on guard, but as they approached the scene they found it strange, Olivia raised a question.
“……? It’s strangely quiet.”
When Riko heard that, she realized that there was no noise at all.
She wondered if it was already settled.
“But, maybe that Alice could be lurking. Both of you, keep that in mind. First of all, be careful—.”
“Listen to me!”
They couldn’t hold her back any longer, and Riko suddenly jumped out.
She went inside, but couldn’t see Alice anywhere.
What happened to Serra? The answer will be found soon.
“Serra, Serra! Where–eh?”
A splash, the sound of water.
When she suddenly looked at her feet, a pool of blood spread to Riko’s feet.
Beyond that, with a gaping hole in her chest, her left arm and left leg half blown off, and her right arm unnaturally broken, was the figure of Serra.
“Eh!!?? Se, ra………!?”
The tragic figure made Riko feel like vomiting, and she took a few steps back.
She stepped on something with her left foot, with a nasty sound and unpleasant sensation.
Involuntarily, Riko turned her attention to it.
The red-black, crushed chunk of flesh is pulled by a sticky thread and stretched to the sole of Riko’s shoe.
She was already her limit.
She couldn’t afford to scream.
Immediately after, Riko lost consciousness with a strong wave of dizziness.
With a heavy breath, Alice ran into the back alley.
She put her back on the wall, and slumped, falling on the spot.
Calling his dear childhood friend’s name, Alice’s expression was not of concern but fear.
Serra showed her intent to kill. Her hatred and anger disappeared, yet the mechanical intention of just killing was frightening.
“You seem to have done something very selfish.”
A girl’s voice echoes out of nowhere.
Alice looked up and saw a girl with red hair and bloody red-black eyes ―――― Sakura was standing there.
Staring at her, Alice asked.
“What can I do for you?”
“I wanted you to keep your hands off Riko and Serra if possible, but you violated my orders, so I’m here to punish you. but by the looks of it, you’ve seen something interesting.”
“Shut up. I’ll do what I want.”
“How was it? Serra’s Madness”
Suddenly, Alice’s movement stopped exactly in response to the words thrown by Sakura.
“Unlike a sham that is simply pretending to be crazy, that real deal was completely driven by insanity?”
“…… she didn’t care about her body. She was like a machine that prioritized killing. But when she tried to kill me, she was smiling….”
Perhaps Serra wasn’t aware of it, but when she was hitting Alice, she certainly had a smile on her face.
“You’re the one who changed Serra into an Undying, right? What did you put into Serra at that time!?”
“Nothing. All Sakura gave Serra was just the curse of immortality. That murderous impulse was always hers.”
“No, that’s not true! I was closest to Serra! Serra is not that kind of girl!!”
“Such a self-centered thing to say. Well, Serra might have been a normal child at first. But isn’t it your fault that she’s as distorted as she is now?”
Alice spoke to Sakura’s point.
Cackling, as if to mock her, Sakura approached Alice and spoke with a scornful expression.
“Pretend to be crazy, acquire the curse of immortality, and use it to defeat Sakura. Finally, in the state which exceeds the critical point, get killed by Serra who holds a grudge, and put an end to it. I think that’s a pretty stupid idea, don’t you?”
“How did you know that………”
“This is Sakura, isn’t it? There’s no reason I won’t find out. However, Serra was not the suitable person to carry out this strategy. In the end, that’s all there is to it, right? You seem to have noticed that Serra has always had the makings of a killer, haven’t you?”
“Makings of you say, don’t speak like you would know! You don’t know anything about us!”
“That’s my line ✩”
Having said that, Sakura extended her arm towards Alice’s left chest.
Immediately after, he stabbed her hand in the chest without hesitation.
“Guaah, gi, i? Ah, aaaaaaah!?”
“I told you, didn’t I? I said you have done something very selfish, so I’m going to punish you.”
Completely changing from the aloof attitude she had till then, to a serious expression, Sakura said in a cold voice.
“So selfish. I don’t care what small fry has to say. I hate people like you, who use their self-righteousness as justification for themselves and create sacrifices.”
“Just, fication, not, like tha… Kehoh!”
“It’s a justification.”
With her hand thrust into Alice’s chest, she rummaged around.
Alice suffered unbearable pain that made her whole body bristling.
“In a plan to kill me, you dragged a lot of people in as ‘necessary sacrifices’, didn’t you? This prank has gone too far.”
There was quiet anger in Sakura’s eyes.
“I will strip you of immortality. But I won’t let you die yet. Hate me, despair at your own stupidity and powerlessness for as long as I live. Until then, you’ll suffer plenty enough to regret having gained my attention.”
Badum, Alice’s heart pulsed violently.
Gently touching it, Sakura had a crazy smile.
“You have fallen from Sukhavati by your own fault. This Sakura will drag you to the Eighth Hell.”
Alice’s heart was brutally crushed.
A small private room set up in a passenger locomotive.
The room was enveloped in a heavy atmosphere.
By the time Riko regained consciousness, Serra’s body was almost regenerated. However, Serra’s consciousness did not return, and Alice disappeared in the end.
After that, we met up Karen who came running. For the present, Riko and the others unanimously agreed with Olivia’s opinion that they should flee to the neighboring town of Saul.
Then, on the locomotive heading for Saul, Riko and others talked about their respective experiences on the events which occurred in the town, and how they arrived at the present situation.
Riko was thinking of that Undying as she rubbed the four of her fingers which were wrapped and fixed in bandages.
She didn’t know that Serra had a childhood friend.
And, for the first time in her life, she saw her sweetheart’s anger and intent to kill.
Soon, perhaps the time to talk is near.
Riko’s Secret. And Serra’s purpose. Since Sakura has begun to move in earnest, it might be better to reveal what each other is hiding at this time.
…… The most important thing, Serra, still hasn’t woken up.
It was when she thought so.
“………… un, hmm…”
Serra opened her eyes with a moan.
At last, her consciousness had recovered.
“Hey, Serra, are you all right?”
Just after Serra woke up, Riko, Karen, and Gillian came close together.
“Oh, Riko… Everyone, this is…?”
Serra was confused because she was the only one who was unaware of the circumstances after a long time.
Everyone there was relieved, in spite of her appearance which wasn’t as healthy as usual.
―――― However, she soon realized that the situation was serious.
First of all, because Riko and the others filled me in, I was able to swallow the situation.
…… However, the strange incident that had occurred after I woke up had not been resolved.
I wondered if Riko’s hair color, which I peered at as she called to me, was always so black.
Riko’s eyes, which were as red and lovely as rubies, were also black, and the contrasting skin color was strangely white.
It’s not just Riko. Karen and Gillian too, no, not just people.
All colors were lost from the scenery in front of me.
Upon hearing that, Riko and others were speechless, the mood in the room became heavy again.
Barely opening her mouth, she asked.
“………… You’re very calm, in spite of that.”
“Normally, that… wouldn’t you feel sad?”
I tilted my head at Iris’s words.
Oh, I see. It is only natural that when what was taken for granted until then is lost, one’s feelings become dark.
So Iris’s question might be crucial.
I involuntarily replied Iris’ question with another one.
And my words froze the atmosphere of the place.
“—-sad, what is that?”