DARK MODE 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 @

Chapter 21, Part 1

 The Ako family has a history of more than 1,000 years, and its first generation was one of the 'Seven Exorcists', Ako Yakuro, known as "Akuro the Monster who Kill with a Single Cut to Piece (千切り撫で切り人でなし悪九郎)"... And this family has only one youngest daughter, Murasaki Ako, who is a character of 'Firefly of the Dark Night (Yamiyo no Hotaru)'.
 
 She is one year younger than Kizuki Aoi, currently 13 years old, and 15 years old at the start of the original game. The reddish-purple hair with a goofy hairdo is a perfect example of a girl with a strong personality.
 
 She has a reddish-purple head, a baby face, a slender body, and the second smallest breasts next to those of sis (anego-sama). Her character is arrogant and proud, and she easily makes a quick conclusion and gets angry easily, but... if I may defend her, she is not a bad person.
 
 She is hardworking and earnest, and she will thank even those whom she does not like if they help her, and she can honestly apologize to them for their past mistakes once they become less hostile to her. She does not lash out at those who are not hostile to her, and she is polite to her superiors. Although she is hostile to and disdainful of the original main character at first, her attitude gradually softens as she goes through the events, and eventually, she is even rewarding him with help and gifts. This is what is called "delayed Dere". ...And the most remarkable point is that she admires and envies her cousin Kizuki Aoi.
 
 This is also a reflection of her own sense of inferiority.
 
 The Ako clan is a family of sword-wielding exorcists in the western region of the country. Her parents, relatives, and brothers do not appear directly in the games or novels, and only their names and stories are mentioned, but even just from the settings that are mentioned, it is clear that they are swordsmen of a very extraordinary level. For example, they can kill a group of great youkai from a distance of kilometers away with a single thrust of wind pressure, or they can cut down a great youkai with a wooden sword until it is cut into small pieces, or they can shoot an unavoidable and instant death beam from the tip of their swords.
 
 In such a crazy fighting clan, a girl named Ako Murasaki was... the weakest. To be more precise, she was the weakest of the family members, but that didn't make much of a difference to her.
 
 Being young or a girl is unfortunately no excuse for being the head of an exorcist family or for having a sword that has been handed down in her family. No, maybe that's why it was even worse. She is a leftover of the family's lineage who inherited the youkai sword but failed to inherit its talent and power... Well, her parents and brothers do not see her that way, and from the description in the work, she was probably well-loved, but the people around her do not. Behind their backs and criticisms must have been considerable.
 
 A failure from a prestigious family... that is how the people around Ako Murasaki saw her, and she herself was aware of it in her heart, even though she acted tough. Or perhaps it is the opposite, and her personality was formed from her environment.
 
 For such a girl, it would have been natural that Kizuki Aoi became the object of her admiration. She is a cousin by blood, close in age, and unlike herself, a strong person blessed with talent... Although it was not publicized in the original game, the fact of the rape party by youkai was a fact, and Gorilla-sama was treated like a tumor by those around her, so Murasaki's father dared to bring his own daughter closer to his sister's daughter to help her. And Murasaki herself admired her cousin who was talented, powerful, mature, and graceful. But it was also her first step toward tragedy.
 
 In 'Firefly of the Dark Night (Yamiyo no Hotaru)', which was even disclosed to be a depressing game at the time of its release, her presence turned out to be an extraordinarily great landmine. Since she appeared on the official website and in game magazines along with other major heroines, many players mistakenly thought she was the heroine of the game and approached her to gain favorable impressions. This may be due to the fact that she is a good old-fashioned tsundere who is straightforward in a sense among heroines with one or two peculiarities. Thus, players fall into the sneaky trap set by the producers.
 
 'This time I will stream the fastest clear of the much talked about gal game, “Firefly of the Dark Night (Yamiyo no Hotaru)” which was released today!'
 
 Due to the concealment of information in advance, many distributors and runners played the game while streaming it online without realizing it. Most of their targets were Ako Murasaki, whose information was disclosed most in advance, and whose events leading to the route were plentiful and easy to raise the likability of the players. But they did not realize until that moment that this was a blatant attempt by the game's creators to lead them into the game.
 
 An hour after the game went on sale, the Internet message boards were in an uproar. Of course. When they played for Ako Murasaki, who seemed to be the easiest to beat, she died at the end of every game... and all of her deaths were physically and emotionally damaging in a variety of creative and creative ways.
 
 In almost all of 'Firefly of the Dark Night (Yamiyo no Hotaru)', Murasaki Ako was involved in countless death events in all of the routes. Being killed by youkai was the most basic of all, and in the worst case, being slain by her own youkai sword. There is also the case of her who is silenced and stigmatized as a traitor when she learns of a plot by the imperial court. Beaten to death by the Tengu. Being used as an impregnation pouch by the youkai to rescue people. Turned into a youkai by a 'youkai mother' and was exterminated by her friends... But most of all, the other heroines killed her with murderous and malicious intent.
 
 To be honest, Ako Murasaki is a fairly decent character among the female characters in the story... or rather, a fairly regular characterization for a sub-character. Or is it her fault? Anyway, as soon as the player gets into a good mood with her, she is turned into a pudding by the fox, burned by sis (anego-sama) without a single bone, crushed by Aoko with an anchor, trapped by a young hag and covered with youkai's white fluid, and the highlight disappears.
 
 As for gorilla-sama, she has prepared 13 different ways to kill her based on the route in which Ako Murasaki is pierced through the heart. Yes, the moment she blurts out a joke in front of her cousin whom she respected and admired, the gorilla who looked at her as if she was looking at dust has her arm stuck in her stomach. I remember a famous streamer on the day of the release of the game, and as soon as the screen switched to the scene of the gorilla piercing Ako Murasaki's heart, the viewer's section was covered with a barrage of 'What?' Even the subject herself couldn't believe it, and she was despairing and dying.
 
 And the official announcement that this work is not just an erotic game but an extraordinarily depressing game, and moreover, the fact that Ako Murasaki, who had been pushed so much by the official announcement, was not a character to be captured but only a sub-character used to cloud the players, creates further tragedy for her and the players.
 
 'You guys have only one hope... trust in the god of possibility.'
 'It's something I hate to admit. But it's my own... youthful mistakes.'
 'You guys... don't stop. If you stop... I'll be right there for you. So, guys... don't stop, okay...?'
 
 Many well-known streamers, or gamers, have been hooked on this depressing game to explore Ako Murasaki route, which they believe is hidden somewhere. And many of them burnt out with the above-mentioned lines. To top it all off, some of them even analyzed the game source code and tried to develop the route by modifying the game... But the creators had read that far.
 
 So, after clearing the happy ending of the Ako Murasaki route in the modified game, the screen suddenly went black, and once again, the video viewers made a comment, "What?".
 
 The creators had anticipated that the game would be modified and had planted the source code so that the hidden ending would be inserted at the moment of clearing the forced fabrication of Ako Murasaki's happy ending route. And the ending was,
 
 'In fact, it was all just a temporary dream she had in order to escape from the reality of her imprisonment and despair. Then the cruel reality returns. In front of her is a maniac who whispers his love for her with madness in his eyes, and her life under house arrest in hell will continue from now on. In despair, she is overwhelmed. And then, from shock, or perhaps drugged? Her consciousness fades away again. In the end, her eyes have lost their light, and she stares blankly at the hair ornament he presented to the reddish-purple girl whom he once told of his love. It was left on the floor, badly damaged, its surface stained reddish-black...'
 
 ...this ending, which could be called the culmination of the malice of the creator.... completely broke the hearts of the players and viewers.
 
 The shock of the hidden ending, and the fact that it was so difficult to avoid the death flag in the story structure, caused many people to give up even in the case of the strongest main characters in the secondary works, and there were even ideas of RTAs that dared to kill the main character to advance the event. Fans have already treated her as "Murasaki who keeps getting killed by the deterrent force." And because she died too many times, a MAD video in which the Captain of the Mobile Suit Squad makes flowers of hope bloom in her place went viral on a certain video site.
 
 Ako Murasaki was a poor girl who was killed by the story, the official story, and even by secondary creations. But...
 
 (Ah, well, surely the gorilla must be annoyed at her...)
 
 I quickly eat my food and sat silently in the corner of the room, staring at the scene from behind my mask.
 
 "...and, it seems that imported clothes are in fashion in the capital these days! The other day I went to a clothing (呉服) shop in the eastern part of the capital and saw a fresh new design...."
 "Hmm, really?"
 
 While Ako Murasaki was talking long and somewhat desperately, the gorilla-sama's attitude was not so friendly. It was an expression of boredom, leisure, and annoyance. It was obvious that she showed neither affection nor interest in the relative in front of her. Even the half-youkai standing by her side looked bored.
 
 (She is too desperate...)
 
 That is how I describe the conversation with the youngest daughter of the Ako family. She seemed to have done a lot of research beforehand, but she talked too desperately and spoke too fast. Moreover, she is probably nervous and doesn't seem to notice that the other party is getting tired of her conversation.
 
 Talking is not a one-way conversation but a two-way one. If the other person is not interested and sympathizes with their opponent, it is just a waste of time, and it is nothing but a pain. In this sense, I could say that the girl in front of me was a failure.
 
 (Gorilla, well, I'm surprised you're still with her.)
 
 The tea conversation also seems to be clearly unmotivated... but still, it is better than the rough treatment in the original story. At least she pretends to listen to her by giving a few words. At least it was much more considerate than the silent ignoring. Seriously, her attitude in the original game was terrible...
 
 Still, why is she more considerate than she was in the game...? I couldn't tell what she meant by that at this point. I wonder if the attitude will get worse from here to the start of the game, or did the avoidance of the humiliation event change the gorilla-sama's thinking in some way...?
 
 "Tomobe."
 "...I'm here, Princess. What can I do for you?"
 
 As I sink into a sea of thoughts, I suddenly hear a voice calling my name, and I immediately respond and stand by her side. Ako Murasaki, who is sitting opposite the gorilla, looks at me with a grim expression on her face. What is it?
 
 "My cousin's tea there is getting cold. Go make a fresh one."
 "Should I call the maidservant?"
 "No? You brew it. Oh, and make me one too, please."
 
 Kizuki Aoi puts a cup of water on the tray and smiles. You gorilla...!
 
 "...yes, Princess, I understand."
 
 I'm sure the kitchen wenches won't be too happy about this, but since I have no right to refuse, I have no choice but to reluctantly accept the order.
 
 Disposable, a servant of unknown origin is a lowborn creature. The maids of a lord's house wouldn't want such a filthy little thing coming to work for them. It's harassment. But I'm in the sad position of not being able to say no.
 
 I put the two teacups on the tray and, using the concealment technique, get up, walk away, open the bar, and leave. All the while, there is almost no sound.
 
 'What a wasted technique.'
 
 I hear a small piece of paper in the shape of a human being echo in my ear as I walk down the corridor. No, it was not paper. It was a shikigami. It was the shikigami of the old man Matsushige O. It was leaning on my right shoulder...
 
 (As always, I wonder how he can slip through the boundary...)
 
 Worst of all, it is not impossible for a small shikigami to enter the capital because of a 'secret technique'... but it is a different story if he can get into the residence of a court noble in the Inner Capital. Still, he is a former assistant of Saio and the head of the Research Institute of the Onmyou dormitory. Not to mention his skill in hiding, he was obviously making shikigami with his own unique processing technique.
 
 "...what business do you want, Master (teacher(師よ))?"
 
 I ask the shikigami which was being remotely controlled by the old man as I walk around to make sure no one is around to hear me. The shikigami lets out a mocking whine in my ear.
 
 'What, it's no big deal. I'm just making a little home visit.'
 "Home visit, huh? Which one is for?"
 
 I ask the shikigami probingly. Unlike the gorilla, the old man would not have taken the trouble to send a shikigami simply because he thought it would be fun. And if considering the words "home visit," the purpose of the visit is obvious.
 
 'I am also cautious, but so far there is nothing to be suspicious about.'
 
 That's how he describes the little white fox girl's movement.
 
 From the point of view of the old man, who is an absolute youkai killer, there is no way that the half-youkai brat will not be on his radar even if she has lost most of her evil "youkai" spirit. In fact, the longer she stays in the inner capital, the more vigilant the old man will be. If she behaves even a little suspiciously, the old man might even use force.
 
 Well, youkai are cowardly and sneaky. And their perception of things is far-reaching. It is a simple matter of acting for a decade or two to get them to let their guard down. Especially when it comes from a fox.
 
 Anyway, on the way, I pass a lady's maidservant, and I berate her without saying a word. She looks a little doubtful, but she leaves, and when she disappears, I continue my conversation with the old man.
 
 "I see, I can't deny that. Monsters have a different sense of time from humans. But even so, would she behave in such a frightened manner?"
 
 The monster fox is cunning and quick-witted, but at the same time noble. She may be good at acting protective, but that childish attitude is not an act. And it's hard to believe that Kitsuri-Shiroki, who has dismissed her own childhood as a disgrace, would act in such a demure way.
 
 'Oh, you are talking so confidently again, huh? Have you been charmed by her young appearance? Don't forget that, despite her appearance, she is essentially more than ten times the age of your Lord.'
 "Of course, I'm aware of that."
 
 Considering what she did in the original game. However, at least that attitude is surely not an act. At least, her current consciousness is that of a child. The question is what will happen next...
 
 'Oh, my dear? What a terrible thing to cheat on me. And such a young fox... Maybe you don't like adult women like this big sister?'
 
 When I was thinking about it as I was walking, it was not Ou who said so through the shikigami. Or rather... hey...
 
 "...Ou, is that a kind of technique to change the vocal cords?"
 'Can you not talk to me like you wish I wasn't the one you're talking to? It makes me sad too, okay?'
 
 The woman replies with an aloof voice that seems not to be sad at all... or rather, it was the voice of that demon.
 
 "...Ou. Where is he?"
 'He's literally right in front of me. And how very unmannerly of him. The shikigami who is mediating this conversation on this side has just robbed from me. The one I'm using now is a spare.'
 
 The voice was on my left side... I was slightly surprised to see the shikigami appearing in my left ear, but I did not realize it.
 
 "Why are the demon there?"
 'It can't be helped! Even I, I must admit, it's hard for me to get into the capital. So, I'm staying at this old man's house for now.'
 'Well, with a monster of your caliber, even the first net of boundaries can't be fooled. Once you set foot in the capital, dozens of exorcists will come to you immediately afterward.'
 
 Needless to say, a demon living for more than a thousand years is much more dangerous than some calamity youkai, even if it lost most of its power long ago. And moreover, the Imperial Court is very sensitive to any monster that tries to enter the capital.
 
 'I don't intend to lose, though. But I'm not trying to destroy the capital. In the first place, I'm not going to make a fuss.'
 
 She was smiling and saying so, but I knew that she was really frightened by the power of the Imperial Court in the capital. Of course, if she had suffered such a terrible defeat a thousand years ago, she would never want to fight again.
 
 (Or maybe she'll be watching us again.... Or maybe I'm being watched again....)
 
 Even when I was in Kizuki's house, I never felt comfortable because I never knew when I was being watched. I had no idea where the demon's baleful scales were. I thought that I would be able to enjoy myself in the residence of a court noble in the capital, but...
 
 "...I'm just a spectacle, aren't I?"
 
 I muttered to myself as I walked quickly and opened the sliding door of the kitchen that was in front of me at once.
 
 I see a couple of maids who are probably looking at me through the sliding doors as if they were dealing with a rare animal and gossiping about something. When I looked down in front of them, they held their breath and looked up at me nervously.
 
 "...excuse me, I'd like to make tea for the princess and her guests. I'm afraid I must intervene in your business but I have my orders and I ask your forgiveness."
 
 They cower in fear as soon as I lift my hand, but once they realize that it is just a cup of tea on a tray, they look at me and shake their heads in small increments as soon as they understand the words.
 
 I glance at the young maids who are getting ready to serve the green tea while looking at me and wonder for a moment if they have heard our conversation.
 
 (Maybe I should practice directional communication techniques and counter-intelligence...?)
 
 I was thinking about it absentmindedly as I was also preparing to make tea with the maidservants...
 
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