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Chapter 40 – Unparalleled Affection
I ran through a long and narrow passage with all my heart to meet Riko as soon as possible.
Before long, the passageway came to an end, and it went into a spacious area.
And I saw the person in the center of this room.
When she heard my voice, Riko looked up and screamed back.
As I approached, I saw her sitting, chained to a chair.
I remember when she was once tied up by Alice, and I was angered by her servile methods.
“Riko, are you all right? You’re not hurt!?”
“Yes, I’m okay. That scream was an illusion made by Sakura, so don’t worry.”
“I’m glad …!”
After confirming that Rico is safe for the time being, I was so deeply moved that I hugged her.
It’s been a few hours since I’ve touched her, but by the time I got here, too many things had happened and I felt like I was separated from her for more than a few years.
I felt a strong sense of relief from Riko’s pleasant warmth.
“Serra, your eyes are red… were you crying?”
“… I’m sorry, I’m weak. I’m about to lose to myself again.”
“Did you kill her?”
Riko’s question made my body tremble.
In the end, I was swallowed up by the murder urge again. Riko will blame me for that. Maybe she will hate me.
Still, I’ll be honest and tell her the truth.
“I wanted to kill someone again. Even though I killed Cecilia, I still couldn’t stop the impulse…. Gillian was nearby.”
Riko said nothing and looked at me earnestly.
“I tried to kill Gillian… but just before that, I remembered Riko’s voice. So I managed to get my senses back and come this far without hurting my friends.”
Riko answered with tears in her eyes as she listened to me.
“I believed in you, Serra, that you could overcome it. I said she wouldn’t be a murderer. I said she wouldn’t lose to Sakura, but Serra really did it, didn’t she?”
“…… Yeah. I won’t lose. I’ll never lose. Because, at that time, I promised to live with Rico—”
A strange sound of flesh echoed through.
“―――― Se, ra …………?”
Riko’s eyes were opened wide as she sat in front of me.
There wasn’t a scratch on her body. In other words, nothing had happened to her.
It happened to me.
I gently looked down.
An arm was protruding out of my chest.
I wonder what sort of cheap presentation it was, but this was the impression that came to my mind.
Someone was penetrating my chest from behind.
Before trying to confirm their identity, the person behind me spoke.
“It’s been a while, Celestia.”
“I have only one thing to say to you. — Die.”
Immediately after, Rinka swung her arm down vigorously, putting her weight on my chest.
My torso was torn so easily, as if cutting fruit with a knife.
You could see a lot of blood and organs spilling out of it.
“Uh, eh ………?”
It wasn’t long before I understood it. It wasn’t long before I felt the pain.
However, my body temperature fell in no time.
I lost the strength in my legs and lost my center of gravity, so I fell down easily.
I heard Riko’s cry from above.
―――― I have to get up. At this rate, Riko is in danger.
But my body wasn’t responding. No, looking at the body, the regeneration had already begun. It seemed that the regenerative power of my body had increased so much that I could see it.
However, Rinka does not allow it.
Standing in front of me, she pushed her index finger into my mouth.
At first, I didn’t understand her intention at all, so I decided to ignore it and fight back, but she was a little faster.
Gui, one of the upper canines was pulled out.
With that alone, something exploded in me.
“Nfufu, you Undying will end with the death of the soul, right? Pain is the best stimulus to destroy the soul. Without anesthesia, even a very simple stimulus from pulling out a tooth turns into excruciating pain. Especially pain which strikes the nerves.”
While Rinka talked, Riko raised a bitter voice to stop her.
But Rinka ignored Rico’s voice, kicked up my lower abdomen, and gently grabbed my index finger.
“But you’ve received Cecilia’s ‘Divine Punishment’ before. This pain is probably inferior to the pain you felt back then, but the pain you’ve never experienced seems to be effective. Right… Between the nail and the skin. There are a lot of nerves in-between this space. What happens if I stab it?”
“No, stop it, hey, don’t do it.”
A needle pierced the flesh.
It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, but I know exactly what was being done to me.
Exposed to the unpleasant feeling of being stabbed in the flesh and the intense pain that blows away my consciousness. I was tormented by the two, but I couldn’t allow myself to lose consciousness.
“Ahahahahaha!! You have a good voice, you mercilessly beat me at that time, so this is in return for that. Well, I’m glad to receive good information from mother ♪.”
“Serra, Serra, hang on!!”
While my consciousness was trapped in pain, Riko’s voice could be heard from a distance.
―――― Yes, I have to protect Riko. In order to protect Riko, we have to kill Rinka. Kill Rinka, kill Sakura, kill all the other Undying, everyone everyoneveryone kill everyone else――――!!
Dark emotions fill my heart. The body regenerates in response to it.
Gripping the hilt of my sword, I stared at Rinka. I don’t care about the pain. That was the case with Alice, wasn’t it?
So, I’ll kill you. Kill you! Kill!!
In the midst of severe pain, I stood up and raised my sword and visualized it.
The image of closing the distance to her in an instant. Then a black shadow will guide me —
“Don’t lose, Serra!!” 」
Riko’s voice echoed from behind.
The urge to kill disappeared from within me as if I was bathed in cold water.
―――― I’m sure Rico is unaware that I was overcome by the murder urge.
Even with that cry, it was simply my intention not to fall down.
However, I was saved by her again. I’m supposed to protect Riko, but she’s always protecting me.
This time I’ll take up my sword. Not as a ‘killer’, but as Celestia Valentine.
“Thank you, Riko.”
Without looking back, I told Riko.
“I’m going to defeat Rinka now. Be prepared.”
I’m going to kill Riko’s ‘sister’ in front of her. She said she’s all right now, but it will still inflict an unhealing wound on her heart.
But I am ready to atone for it. To live up to the former Rinka whose heart was destroyed.
“So, I will kill you here.”
I turned my sword at Rinka and told her.
On the other hand, Rinka replied aloofly, without losing her expression.
“Is that so? Even with this, I’m still Undying, you know? What are you going to do?”
After all, Rinka didn’t seem to notice.
She had no regenerative ability. At first I thought it was a new form of immortality, but I realized that it wasn’t.
I was convinced when I cut off her head. She said, “I’ll be dead in a few minutes”. And, the statement about her having a lot of bodies.
Perhaps she was under a curse that will keep her body from dying as long as she was conscious. It was only to the extent that the body does not die, that the body decays. And, it is likely, before her consciousness was exhausted, they forcibly attached the body part of others and thereby connecting their life force. The fact that various parts of her body were bluish and discolored due to necrosis meant that the cells that had been connected to the body were being rejected. It was a curse which seemed typical of Sakura’s very bad taste.
But her mind was already broken, so she wouldn’t care that her body was in such a state. For the sake of her dignity, I couldn’t allow her to live any longer.
“I’m sorry, Rinka. I’m sure I’ll kill you in a terrible manner, but please forgive me.”
“So you can really kill me—”
Interrupting her words, I ran up to Rinka and pierced her forehead.
I pushed her down as it is, and stabbed her head repeatedly.
“U, ah, uoooooaaaaaaahhhh!!!!”
Stab, my whole body shuddered as I felt the raw sensation in both hands at the same time.
Now, for the first time, I was killing someone of my own will, not on impulse. There was no pleasure in it. There was nothing but disgust and guilt for killing people.
Tears overflowed from both eyes. Did I enjoy doing such cruel and inhumane things?
However, the only way to kill Rinka was to destroy her head thoroughly. I had to make sure she couldn’t get back up.
Stab the sword over and over again, pull it out, stab, pull it out.
Riko’s voice from behind.
I suddenly stopped moving.
“Uhhh … eh, yeah yeah”
Regaining my composure, the first thing I remembered was a feeling of nausea.
I couldn’t bear it, so I let it out.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I know…I’m really sorry, I’m sorry.”
Apologizing, I kept throwing up again and again.
―――― For the first time, I killed a person as Celestia Valentine, not as a ‘killer’.
All that was gained was not pleasure, but the fact that I had made a mistake.
That was the conclusion of this battle.
“Sister, Sister …!”
As soon as Riko was unchained, she ran up to Rinka.
Even if she couldn’t remember herself until the end and became Sakura’s pawn, she was still a precious ‘sister’ to her.
Clinging to Rinka’s body, Riko wailed. That figure was heartbreaking and painful, and I could only look away.
But this couldn’t go on forever. It’s a shame that I couldn’t kill Sakura, but I was a little too late in arriving here, she wasn’t here anymore. Let’s rejoin Karen, go home and set up a grave for Rinka.
“Hey, Riko. Let’s go home now――――”
“Congratulations, Serra. Today alone, you got to kill two of the Undying ✩”
A familiar voice.
When I noticed it, Sakura was standing in front of me. Clapping her hands as she spoke, Clap, clap, clap.
As soon as she spoke, I couldn’t move at all.
No, I’m not the only one. Riko’s crying voice had abruptly stopped.
It was due to Sakura’s “Dominion”.
“You don’t have to be very vigilant, Serra. I’m not fighting right now. It’s just that I forgot to tell you one thing.”
―――― What is it!?
I asked in my mind. Anyway, it’s her, she’ll read my thoughts and answer.
“That’s a lot of hostility (LOL). Well, I’m sure there’s only an unpleasant premonition from what Sakura’s announcement is, and that premonition is usually right. In other words, good news ✩”
It’s been nothing but bad news to us.
I glared at her and waited for the words.
“Oh, scary, scary. Well, Sakura doesn’t have time, and I want to see your reaction soon, so I’m going to tell you quickly. It’s about the bomb I implanted in Riko.”
―――― Rico’s ‘bomb’!??
Why would such a topic come up when coming here? It shouldn’t detonate because I came in time as promised.
Sweat ran down my face. The incentive brought forward.
Seeing the situation, Sakura, wholeheartedly enjoying it, announced while putting on airs.
“Actually, there were two conditions for detonation. The first one, as I told you, if the one-week deadline had passed. And the other.”
The following words.
By the time I heard them, Sakura had already disappeared.
“The other, was when Rinka died. Dummy!”
It doesn’t make sense.
I could move my body.
Slowly, I turned to Riko.
My voice had stopped.
She was on her knees in front of Rinka. stunned.
I’m sure she just hasn’t recovered from the shock yet. That’s right.
That’s why I touched Riko’s shoulder and called out to her.
―――― I don’t even know why I’m scared.
“Hey, Riko. Let’s go home now. Everyone should be worried. So――――”
As soon as I touched her shoulder, Riko collapsed.
Breathing became heavy.
Gently, I touched Riko’s cheek. I didn’t feel any body heat.
I held her body. I didn’t feel any weight.
I looked into her face. Nothing was reflected in her eyes.
―――― Now, in front of me, Riko was dead.
Arc 3 [Unparalleled Affection], complete
To be continued in the Final Arc [The Furthest End of Madness].