Chapter 22 – The Madman Spoke Thus
Olivia, with Gillian, was visiting a general store.
One can’t just walk into a general store for goods and so on when they’re a fugitive with the possibility of being involved in battle with immortals. Reluctantly, they decided to go in, saying “I just love this Ornament” with interest.
Of course, there was nothing remarkable, and Olivia was walking around the store while looking at Gillian, who was wondering whether to buy this or that. but one product caught her eyes and she came to a stop.
Olivia murmured with little change in expression.
It was a small teddy bear.
Olivia was an excellent sniper who could take out the subject coldly without relying on emotions, but she in fact had a hobby of loving fancy things.
Contrary to her adult behavior, she has the heart of a maiden who is as bashful as pure young flowers.
“Ah, Ms. Olivia. Which stuffed animal are you looking at?”
“Fhuh!? Wa, wa-wa-wa-wa-wasn’t looking!?”
“Oh, it’s so cute! Hey, Ms. Olivia, you like this kind of thing.”
“Y-You wrong! I don’t particularly like such things….
Olivia blushed and turned away in defiance, as she opened her eyes.
She was fascinated by Gillian, with her pink hair swaying, her small animal-like eyes shining and smiling.
The innocent expression was appropriate for a girl of her age.
In spite of herself, Olivia uttered her when she saw her.
“I’m sure you like this bear, right?”
“No, it’s different. It’s not the stuffed animal――――”
Then Olivia realized what she’s about to say, blushed and looked away from Gillian.
For some reason, her heart was beating faster. She couldn’t look her in the face.
Suddenly, Gillian, curious about Olivia’s strange behavior, approached and whispered in her ear.
“What’s the matter, Ms. Olivia?”
“Hiyaaah!? It’s nothing!!”
Olivia trembled at Gillian’s words and ran away to escape from her.
Of course, Gillian didn’t intend to seduce her. However, her speaking and acting so alluring with a sober face gave her various frightening feelings.
“Oh, Ms. Olivia. Why are you running!?”
Of course, Gillian chased Olivia without realizing it.
Convinced that it would be strange to stay with her, Olivia continued to run away without looking around.
She ran into a girl wearing a black coat and covering her face with a black hood.
“Ouch! I-I’m sorry, you’re okay――――
Olivia, who immediately got up and apologized, looked at the girl’s face and shut up involuntarily.
“Ms. Olivia, are you…. alright… eh!?”
The moment Gillian caught up, her eyes were wide open the moment she saw her.
However, her eyes held an immeasurable passion.
Olivia timidly asked.
The girl broke her expression and answered with a gentle smile appropriate for her age.
“Oh, I beg your pardon, I am Hazel Radford.”
The atmosphere that had been strained up until now disappeared in an instant.
But Olivia and the others still couldn’t get rid of their vigilance and tension.
――――Still, her eyes were aflame as if burning with all the jumbled emotions in her body.
The girl, who called herself Hazel, asked Olivia in a pompous manner.
“…… excuse me being so blunt, but do you happen to know a person named Cecilia Waitley?”
Suddenly, Sakura was sitting in front of me.
With just that.
The world has changed drastically.
All the “normal” till then collapsed only by mixing with Sakura’s “abnormality”. It announced the end of the happy time I was immersed in up to a while ago.
――――Why, how, what to do, what should I do I do not know what what!?
I can’t hold my thoughts. My vision is unsteady. Unpleasant sweat flows down from my whole body.
Come on. My breathing was getting disordered.
Struck by unprecedented tension, despair, and fear, I am, I –!!??
“Hold on!? Hey hey hey hey wait a little bit! Yes stop!! Calm down for a moment!!”
I was taken aback by Sakura’s panicked words.
When I realized it, I stood up and tried to pull the sword out of the sheath on my waist.
“In this shop here! Are you going to cause a scene?”
“But you’re not going to ‘cause a scene’… “
“Even though it’s Sakura, I want to be in the public eye. I’m not here for that today. Sit down for now, okay?”
Though I was not satisfied with Sakura’s words, I quietly obeyed and returned to my seat.
Of course, the other party is the other party. There’s no way I can let my guard down.
I stared at her and asked.
“…… What can I do for you?”
“Today I would like a conversation with you ✩”
Sakura is as aloof as usual.
She called the waitress and placed an order like any other customer.
“Oh, I’m sorry. A cup of coffee, please.”
“Yes, sir. What about you, customer?”
“…… I don’t need it.”
“Then two cups ✩”
Although I glared at Sakura who gave my order without permission, she lightly said “Oh, scary”.
At this rate, a chance might present itself. She said she wanted to talk without making a scene (of course I don’t believe it). I’m sure it’s nothing good, but I might be able to hear something about the Undying.
“So, what do we talk about?”
“Well, calm down, Serra. We’re in a coffee shop, right? Isn’t it polite to have a drink first?”
“I’ve had mine. Do you think I can be that patient?”
“I know that. Your senior knew and asked anyway.”
“Don’t play around. I’ll kill you.”
In my words, Sakura raises the corner of his mouth.
“You’re really getting into it.”
“…… What is it?”
I finally noticed Sakura’s words.
―――― How long have you been overwhelmed by impulse?
Before I knew it, my right hand was on the handle of the sword.
I’m afraid of the unconscious behavior.
“No~, I’m glad you’re getting closer to the ‘Killer’ ✩”
“Shut up, that’s not the way it is!”
I strongly shook my head in denial of Sakura’s words.
“Originally, to speak of, you’re the reason this happened, aren’t you?”
“You’re stubborn, aren’t you?”
Sakura, who rested her chin on her hand, turned it down like it was someone else’s problem.
I was frustrated by the situation and as I tried to open my mouth to protest, the waitress brought the coffee, saying, “Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Sakura received it happily, and sipped at once.
“Yes, it’s delicious. You should drink too, Serra.”
“…… I don’t need it.”
“I just told you that it was basic etiquette to accept basic service from the shop. The conversation will start after that ✩.”
The still unserious Sakura clicked her tongue, so I sipped the coffee.
I can’t taste my drink in this tense situation.
It should be the same coffee that I drank earlier, but I didn’t appreciate the taste. The hot liquid just passed through my throat.
“Well, you’re curious, aren’t you? About the reason Meena died.”
That was a bullseye.
The topic I wanted to hear was just brought up, a shiver ran down my spine.
“…… Why did Meena, who was supposed to be Undying, die? She should have had higher regeneration abilities than I did until just before.”
At my words, Sakura was in good spirits and pointed her finger at me.
“Meena was clearly more capable of regeneration than other immortals. And you also suffered a huge head injury, didn’t you?”
“…… I think it’s better than yours. What’s the connection?”
“A great deal. Spoilers, Meena died because she surpassed the ‘critical point’.”
I inadvertently listened to words that I do not understand.
Come to think of it, Hazel seems to have mentioned it too….
“That’s it. Critical point. Simply put, it’s the degree of madness….”
“The degree of madness… What kind of consequence is that?”
“You may or may not be aware, but the driving force of the Undying comes from insanity.”
That’s how Sakura easily revealed the secrets of the Undying.
Strictly speaking, this immortal curse is not a curse to make someone “never die” but a “perpetual body regeneration” curse.
Therefore, no matter how perfect the body is, if the spirit gets worn out, the soul will die, and even the Undying will lose their lives.
Strong madness is the driving force of human beings, but sometimes the psyche cannot bear overly intense madness, which would lead to death of the soul. You can say this “line where one’s madness begins to kill the soul” is the “critical point”.
“As I said, insanity is the driving force for the Undying. The closer you get to the critical point, the more your regeneration and physical abilities increases, but your psyche will steadily break down. OK so far?”
“…… It’s hard to believe that a vague and unscientific term like a soul suddenly comes up.”
“Isn’t it a little late for that? Even though you’re actually under an immortality curse?”
Sakura said it best. Her story is too much of a leap, but I have to admit.
But if the key to killing the Undying is the ‘Critical Point’….
“In other words, if I break through the ‘critical point’…”
“Could you kill yourself? Oh, it’s impossible, just think about it. The critical point is the moment when madness reaches its highest point, and the moment you completely quit being human. By then, the ‘killer’ would overtake any tendencies for suicide.”
If I want to kill myself so that I don’t kill many people, but if I fall into a state of killing a lot of people to kill myself, I’m putting the cart before the horse.
However, there was a harvest from the present conversation. In other words, to kill the Undying, I’ll use their madness to exceed the critical point.
…… I finally found it. Once you know how to kill them, the rest is easy. Find them and kill them.
I couldn’t help but smile.
Oh, how will I kill Cecilia? How do you approach the critical point? Then Hazel, Kirino, and Alice….
As I was beginning to contemplate how to kill them.
A familiar voice
Behind Sakura. Riko stood there with a confused face, holding a paper bag.
She turned her eyes to me, and then moved on to Sakura.
The moment she saw Sakura, she opened her eyes wide, making a fearful expression.
And in a trembling voice, she said: