Chapter 32 – The Dawn of Despair
“……’Mother’. I’m ready.”
“Okay. Well then, Hi-chan can go beyond the ‘critical point’ too, so fight to your heart’s content ✩.”
Sakura’s hideout somewhere in ‘Rogen’.
Hildle stood next to Sakura in the dim room and raised a slightly troubled voice.
“Umm, ‘Mother’… I am named Hildle.”
“Well, that nickname is cuter. And it’s the last time I’ll have a conversation with you, isn’tit?”
“………… Yes, I understand.”
Hildle responded to Sakura’s quick and shocking words without changing her expression.
It’s as if the fact was a matter of course.
“Speaking of which, ‘Mother’, I don’t see Kirino.”
“Hey, no matter how many times I call her, she won’t respond. I feel like I’ve seen her, wandering around aimlessly, killing people who pass by one after another and drinking their blood. It looks like she’s completely broken after drinking Sakura’s blood.”
“But if it’s in the hands of ‘Mother’, couldn’t you bring her back as soon as possible?”
“There’s no point bringing a ‘discarded piece’ that doesn’t listen to orders. And since the ‘critical point’ has already been exceeded, even if left alone, she’ll die on her own. That’s why I’ll do my best for Cessy here.”
Saying that, Sakura stroked the head of the nun, Cecilia, who clung closely to her left arm.
Touching Sakura’s skin herself, she didn’t have the expression of fear, but was rather ecstatic and surrounded by a sense of euphoria that may even be reminiscent of climax.
“Kuhi…Thank you very much, my ‘God’!!”
“Wow……..gross. It’s pretty creepy to be made into a god”
Cecilia, who broke through the ‘critical point’ by Sakura’s torture, saw Sakura as a ‘god’ and began to worship her.
Of course, it was convenient that she listens better than before, but Sakura felt a physiological aversion to being the focus of her faith.
Sakura once again realized how disgusting the act of “not treating as a human being” is.
“Kuh, kuhihihi, yes, Lady Sakura, Lady Sakura is the God. All life is returned to Lady Sakura.”
“No, I can’t. I really can’t do that. You’re really stupid. Ugh, now I know how dear Hazel feels, this is the worst.”
And Sakura peeled Cecilia off with a blatantly disgusted expression.
Nonetheless, as she kicked Cecilea’s face in, as she cried “Oh, my God”, Hildle suddenly asked.
“And yet, there is that Celestia Valentine woman. Why treat her so special?”
“Oh, it’s rare for Hi-chan to ask so directly. The answer is simple. I met Riko Akasaki.“
Sakura smiled at Hildle’s question and answered in high spirits.
“Riko Akasaki was certainly a ‘dud’ as the Homunculus that Sakura had envisioned. It was junk that wasn’t worth the use. That’s why I went out of my way to let her off the hook when we passed each other at that time.”
Sakura’s words reminded Hildle of what happened a year ago.
When she was distracted by Rinka, Riko tried to escape, and she immediately tried to capture her. However, Sakura ordered Riko to be left alone and Rinka’s movement should be blocked.
――――Sakura doesn’t know that Rinka’s painful scream of being tortured lingered in Hildle’s mind ever since.
“But Riko, who ran away, came across Serra. That’s right, she met her. What changes do you think would happen if she, with perfect morality and ethics, met Serra?”
“…… I don’t understand.”
“Well, I don’t know. No, this is the only thing that surprised Sakura, right? As Serra gradually approached the critical point, it turned out that she was only sane with Riko.
“But then, as Undying, that would make her a failure, wouldn’t it?”
Hildle doesn’t know the truth of Sakura’s plan, but she knew that an immortal tainted with insanity was essential to execute that plan.
Then, if Serra had overcome madness to some degree, she doesn’t understand why she should be even more involved.
“For example, now Serra is gradually losing her emotions like you, and I think she’s probably going to lose her memories sooner or later. However, it seems that feelings and memories remain vivid when it comes to Riko. Yes, the power of love is wonderful.”
“…… Even if you say that, Idon’t know what love is.”
Hildle quietly muttered.
She was a Homunculus produced with little emotion. A mechanical ‘doll’ that only drew out her fighting instincts if necessary.
Therefore, when the subject of emotions was brought up, she couldn’t help being confused.
“And, as Hi-chan said, Serra may be incomplete as an Undying. But, you see, her madness is purer and stronger than anyone else’s. Serra is closing in on the ‘critical point’. It’s just being suppressed.”
“…… you don’t say.”
Hildle read what Sakura was trying to say, and being noticed, she had an evil smile on her face.
It was as if to mock Serra who didn’t know the destiny that is about to befall them.
“Nuffu ✩ Do you think Sakura would give them hope so easily? No, it’s the opposite. I’ll beat the despair that Sakura tasted. I’ll thoroughly break that heart.”
In the strange atmosphere overflowing from Sakura, chills ran down Hildle’s spine.
She stood up, turned her heel, and told Hildle and the rest of the world.
“Then, everyone should wait at their respective posts. Kill each other to your heart’s content.”
The train gradually slowed down and finally stopped moving.
We finally arrived at Rogen. Now, Sakura and the others are in this town.
The tension between us is building.
At Karen’s words, we stood up and got off the train.
Even if it was a station, there were very few people. I heard from Ms. Iris that this was a quiet country town.
“Come to think of it, Ms. Iris, you know a lot about this town.”
It was not Iris but Karen who answered the question.
“Oh, actually, this is Iris’s hometown.”
“Eh, is that so!?”
The unexpected fact surprised us.
Iris herself blushed a little and said as if embarrassed.
“I’m sorry, but it’s the town where I was born and raised, even if it’s such a dangerous place…”
“No, Ms. Iris has nothing to do with it, so it’s okay. But when did you meet Karen?”
“I was 17 years old. When I enrolled military training school, I happened to be assigned to the same class as Karen――――”
Iris, who was nostalgic, suddenly stopped moving.
With her mouth gaping open, her arms hung down, and she wasn’t moving. Her eyes were hollow, reflecting nothing.
Karen asked Iris, who stood still much too unnaturally, with a suspicious face.
Then Riko pulled my sleeve.
In a trembling voice, Riko pointed her finger forward.
When I looked forward, there was a ticket gate, and all the people there stopped unnaturally like Iris.
Finally, I realized that something unusual was happening.
Looking around, everyone except us stopped on the spot.
They all, in the same way, were paralyzed with their limbs dropped and their eyes hollow.
“Wh, what is, this…”
My heart was pounding loudly with an unfathomable sense of fear and danger.
I can’t understand what’s going on, and even though I’m half thinking, my brain was frantically sounding the alarm.
―――― I know this.
A sense of déjà vu that couldn’t be wiped away. I felt like I’ve forgotten something I shouldn’t forget.
Desperately trying to remember it ――――.
A strange voice leaked out of Iris’s throat.
I turned back to Iris, questioning her strange and incomprehensible voice.
Iris’ head popped.
Picha, something sticky adhered to my cheeks.
Black droplets and a lump of flesh fluttered in front of me.
With a thud, Iris’ body, which had lost its head, collapsed.
Karen screamed. Riko and Gillian hold their mouths. Ms. Olivia’s face stiffened.
I could only stand stunned by the sudden events and the rapidly changing pace of the scene.
Guchari, the sound of flesh being crushed resounded continuously.
As I looked around, I saw people with their heads bursting and black blood and flesh scattered everywhere. When they all lost their heads, they fell down one after another.
Certainly I was familiar with this horrible scene. One of the broken girls we just recently confronted.
No way, no way.
“Ehehehehehehe. It’s been awhile, Celestia.”
When I looked back at the voice.
Rinka Akasaki stood right before my eyes.
“Well then, everyone, please go to sleep.”
Without waiting for my still voice.
My consciousness faded and I fell unconscious.
―――― Madness and malice. The ‘despair’ that blurred the two had not even begun.