DARK MODE 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 @

Chapter 31, Part 1

 "Ggi... Gghiiiii!? Gghi... gi..."
 
 A small, ugly scream came from the body, writhing on the floor like a drowning man in agony. It was clearly not a normal creature, as its head was cut in half and it did not die instantly.
 
 This monster, which looked like an eel with no eyes and whose whole body was completely white, was spat out by the dying youkai as if it was his last desperate effort... It was probably the main body of that youkai, or his alter ego, or some kind of alter ego. Judging from the fact that it was moving toward Murasaki instead of escaping to the sewage, it might have the ability to be a parasite...
 
 ...either way, it's only a matter of time before it dies since its head was cracked open.
 
 "M-mister... I retrieved it back..."
 "Hmm? ...Ah, thank you."
 
 Fearfully, the guide pulls out a dagger from the miserably suffering monster and offers it to me, who is roughly wounded and unable to move. The dagger is, to be sure, a gorilla-made dagger. I had thought that he might just take it because of its high price, but I was a little surprised to see him being so obedient. Though I don't want to be rude, so I won't show it in my face.
 
 "I can't believe it spits out something like this at the last minute... At all, youkai are all creepy folks, aren't they..."
 
 With a contemptuous look in his eyes, the guide takes a glance at the eel-like creature on the floor and then shifts his gaze as if he has lost interest in it. This may be partly because the youkai, who had spat out the eel-like creature, began to be chewed by the youkai sword with a loud sound of its body crunching and crunching while screaming.
 
 The sight of the youkai sword mercilessly devouring the screaming youkai who desperately tried to escape was so vivid and shocking that in a sense it was inevitable that both the guide and Murasaki turned their attention in that direction.
 
 "Gghi.... gi... it.... gurts..."
 
 Thus, it was only I who could hear the tiny lamentations of the tiny life that lay at my feet. A miserable, pathetic existence, opening its mouth like a fish on land and twisting its body as if in search of something.
 
 "Am... I... gead... ahain? Gghi... gi..."
 
 The mortal eel was muttering a single word under its breath. There was a sense of deep despair, pain, lamentation, and loneliness. Rather than the words of youkai...
 
 "Nwo... Ghii... gigi... Nwo... I want... two go... bwack... to... my family... Ghigi... gigi... gi..."
 
 The creature, who had been sobbing, pleading, and whispering in a trembling voice, finally took a deep breath and... was silenced forever. Its flapping, looking-up head fell to the ground, and it never rose again.
 
 "...."
 
 I said nothing, just staring at the tiny corpse of youkai. Initially, when Murasaki was reborn, the youkai of hers had taken over her memories and personality almost completely from a descriptive point of view. So, even though the quality of this youkai material is far worse than hers, the memories will be retained to some extent if more than one person is used as material.
 
 And what is worse, the most vivid memory for human beings is the suffering just before death, and such memories are more likely to be inherited to youkai...
 
 "...it's really, really helpless."
 "Hey? Did you say something?"
 "Don't worry, I'm just talking to myself. Just... sentimentality."
 
 I said as the guide beside me gave me a doubtful look. Yes, this is just a selfish, self-satisfied sentiment.
 
 It's a little too late to say that this world is a cruel and hopeless place, and even the tragic fates of the "former humans" who died at my feet were not necessarily the worst in this cruel world.
 
 So there should be no need to feel sorry for it, no need to pity it. After all, that was the way it should be. Still...
 
 (Family, huh...?)
 
 As soon as I think about it, a throbbing headache rises and I clutch my head and frown. D*mn, my head aches from deep inside ever since that motherf*cking lunatic played with my mind. I've been ignoring it for a long time, thinking about it, but the back and forth is so fuzzy that once I get deep into it, I'm almost confused.
 
 "I-I see... That said—Eeek!? M-mister! That b*stard, it's coming this way!"
 
 Suddenly, the guide seemed to have noticed this and pointed at me in a frightened manner. Looking in that direction, I could see that the youkai sword, which had swallowed youkai completely, was crawling toward me.
 
 "Ah... Ugghh......"
 "Murasaki-sama, please calm yourself. If you look at the sword, you will see that it is yours. It will not attack us if you are in control of it."
 
 I encourage her to calm down, forgetting the pain of the wound on her hand and the torn costume as she slumps to the floor in fear. Of course, this is not with good intentions, but with a backhanded meaning.
 
 (Even if it is corrupt, it is a youkai sword... If the master is underestimated too much, it might rebel. If that happens, we are all finished.)
 
 Nekiri Kubi Sogimaru (Neck Cutter) is treated as a youkai sword in the game and in the original work, but to tell the truth, it is also true that the Ako family, which is specialized in swordsmanship, can control it. If it were a mob like me, I would be literally eaten to death without being able to even resist. So, I need Murasaki to control it properly.
 
 ...though in reality, youkai swords, which have been carefully trained (physically) by successive generations of Ako families, will not overcome their trauma and attack humans so easily.
 
 But still, there has never been such a case in the original game, let alone in the side stories and so on. Even when the sword betrayed Murasaki and skewered her to death, it did so after Murasaki was reborn as youkai... more precisely, it was the moment when the reborn Murasaki lost control of the sword after fighting with her father and dying.
 
 Conversely, this youkai sword has been carefully trained by its previous owners, so at least even in its violent "predatory" form, it would not attack humans just because it is hungry.
 
 ...yeah. That's what it was supposed to be.
 
 "Huh...?"
 
 The rumbling, and the floating sensation I felt immediately afterward, made me realize that I was flying through the air. Unable to keep up with what was happening, my thoughts went blank and I was confused. What? What is it? What happened? What the hell happened...?
 
 "Ah...?"
 
 What I felt a little later was a sharp pain in my left arm. As my vision turned to the opposite direction, I happened to catch a glimpse of my left hand where I felt the impact.
 
 ....and I saw that my left arm was completely broken and pointing in an obviously funny direction.
 
 "Agghh!? Gggghhhh!!!?"
 
 The first thing I felt as I rolled on the floor of the underground tunnels was doubt and doubt. What's going on? What happened? What's happening? Who did this?
 
 I finally find out the cause of it as I cough up blood on the floor, wriggling my body, and look around me. Probably I was head-butted on the head. The "predatory" youkai sword, with my blood stuck to its head, was staring at me with the utmost caution and hostility.
 
 "...what, why?"
 
 I didn't understand. I didn't understand why. I didn't know why. All I knew was that I was helplessly trapped in a dangerous situation. And while my head was filled with doubts, the youkai sword was transforming its appearance into something more sinister. But then, it was clearly trying to kill me.
 
 "Ha, ha... are you kidding me? You ungrateful son of a b*tch!"
 
 I had helped it to become a "predatory form," but this d*mn youkai sword... It made me so miserable that I found myself crying and laughing at the reality of the situation. It was a complete escape from reality. Haha, I'm really going to cry for real.
 
 'Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!''
 
 A moment later, the ferocious youkai sword was coming at me with a grotesque roar...
 
 
* * *
 
 
 "Wh-what...!? No, please stop! What are you doing...!!?"
 
 Ako Murasaki, whose face had turned pale several times during the day, was screaming with the tightest expression on her face so far.
 
 It was too sudden. She was already weak and worried that she would not be able to control her own sword, which had transformed her appearance into a ferocious youkai. Although the servant told her to be at ease, she still felt uneasy. To be honest, the next moment she was even prepared to be clamped down and eaten to death as she had been against youkai. But... however, this was in a way worse than being eaten to death.
 
 Youkai sword... 'Nekiri Kubi Sogimaru (Neck Cutter)' in the form of a giant snake completely ignored her as it slowly approached. With its huge physique, it scrambled past her, jumped, and attacked the servant with a headbutt. Moreover, she saw several blades growing out of its head just before the collision, as if to increase the killing power. Amidst this, there was a glimpse of clear intent to kill and hostility.
 
 "Why are you doing this!? Nekiri, answer me...!"
 
 Murasaki shouts the abbreviated name of her sword and asks. However, the youkai sword does not pay any attention to her and crawls toward the young man who is lying on the floor moaning and suffering. Although he was dressed in black vestments that were hardly soiled, it was clear from the red stain that was now spreading on the floor that he was losing an excessive amount of blood. Any further bleeding would be fatal.
 
 "...!? Nekiri!! Can't you listen to my order!? My order, your owner's order!"
 
 The frustrated girl stands in front of youkai's sword with her hands outstretched. Her torn costume is quite revealing due to the attack by youkai, but the frantic girl does not notice this, or if she does, it is a minor detail.
 
 '......'
 
 Youkai sword glances at its master with its reddish-black binoculars, but immediately loses interest and tries to approach the servant from the side. The girl's self-esteem is severely hurt by its complete disregard for her.
 
 "......!!? I told you to stop...!!?"
 
 Murasaki hesitated for a moment, but immediately raised her voice and touched the iron serpent. At that moment, Murasaki's face contorted in pain. The scales of the youkai sword were made up of countless blades. It is needless to say what would happen if she touched its surface carelessly when it was moving.
 
 And since her right arm had been pierced by youkai, the pain she felt was considerable. Even so, she did not let go of her hand. With her bloody hand, she grabbed youkai's sword and again gave an order.
 
 "I order you, don't move!! You know what will happen if you move any further...!!?"
 
 It was a threat using her own body. She does not know what youkai sword thinks of her. But the fact that her orders are being silently ignored gives a pretty clear idea... but that's not important at this point.
 
 What is important is her position. She is, after all, the daughter of the head of the Ako family, and she is literally giving an order to the youkai sword. If the youkai sword disobeys her order, the scar on her palm will become even more grievous.
 
 Murasaki admitted that she was being disrespected by the sword. She also understood that she could be a hostage. But if her sword ignored her order anymore, Murasaki would be hurt even more. If that happens, what will be done to youkai swords that have injured those who are related to the Ako family, even if she is a disgrace to the Ako family's lack of talent...? 'Nekiri Kubi Sogimaru (Neck Cutter)' must not be a lowly monster.
 
 '......'
 
 The steel monster pauses for a moment and stares at Murasaki as it touches its own torso. Murasaki is convinced of victory by its reaction. But...
 
 "...!? Are you going to that extent... are you going to that extent to ignore my orders...!!?"
 
 Murasaki's face is distorted with grief. Youkai sword did not give up on Murasaki's threat but responded by retracting its blade. The smooth, silvery body brushes past Murasaki's palm. A streak of bright red blood was left like a line on the silvery-white body.
 
 "E-eeekk...? M-mister, this is bad! W-we've got to get out of here... E-eeeekkkk!!?"
 
 The guide who was trying to escape by dragging the bloodied young man was lightly grabbed by the serpent.
 
 "W-Wait!! I don't bathe every day... and I'm sweating a lot!? Wait, please wait! Give me a break! I have a hungry sister... Ghhh!?"
 
 The serpent tosses away the guide who desperately begs for his life as if it doesn't care about the guide at all. The screaming guide plunged head-first into the sewer. Then, after seeing it, the serpent loses all interest in the guide and moves forward to the young man who is still in agony from the pain caused by his injury.
 
 "I told you to stop..!!!?"
 
 Murasaki rushes in front of the sword in almost hysterical desperation and strikes it with her blood-soaked fist. Pow! Pow! Pow! she punches it again and again, not caring about the pain of her own fist, but... what does a girl who has lost most of her spiritual power have to fear from the blows?
 
 Serpent looks at Murasaki's resistance with a cold gaze. But then, it opens its jaws... and stretches out its tongue like a needle, aiming at the young man's neck.
 
 "Hgghh... Aggh!"
 
 The blow was not fatal because the young man rolled on the floor with his palm outstretched. However, the tongue, which had turned into a metal needle, pierced the young man's palm and went straight through the bone and flesh of his arm to his shoulder. Although he did not scream loudly, the young man let out a moan of pain. When the serpent violently pulled out its tongue, reddish-black blood poured out from the new wound without stopping.
 
 "Ah, aaaaaah......!!!?"
 
 The sight of this made Murasaki's face twitch even more miserably. Tears of despair, helplessness, and guilt welled up in the corners of her eyes as she desperately tried to stop her own sword, screaming and punching it.
 
 Still, Youkai's sword stretched out its body without paying any attention to Murasaki. Murasaki knew what it was going to do. Just like it did to youkai just a moment ago, the youkai sword is going to clamp down on its prey like a snake, break its bones, and swallow it from the head.
 
 "No!! Please!! Please stop!! He's got nothing to do with this!!? Attack me, just attack me!! Why... why are you... doing that...?"
 
 Murasaki shouts. She couldn't understand at all why this youkai sword would give priority to attack that servant. She could understand if it attacked her because of the history of 'Nekiri Kubi Sogimaru'. But why target that young man, of all people, and him only? Why him of all people?
 
 "No... please... please stop... Please listen to my orders... Ugh... if you hate me if you're hungry... I'll take his place..."
 
 Murasaki's reproachful and angry commands were gradually turning into tearful pleas. Murasaki pleads with the youkai sword as if to hang on to it. She even suggested taking her own life as a substitute.
 
 Normally, there would have been no need for such a request. After all, a servant is a servant, and it is natural for him to sacrifice himself for Murasaki, and she has the right to accept it as a matter of course because she has no obligation to help the young man by sacrificing herself and proposing to take his place.
 
 The reason? Murasaki doesn't know. She herself didn't know why she would say such a foolish thing. She just didn't want to let him die like this. Yes, she would not leave him to die without doing anything to help him...
 
 '......'
 
 Youkai sword glances at its master with cold eyes and ignores her again. Then it crouches down and crawls toward the moaning young man, trying to strangle him. Murasaki screams as if she is having a tantrum, but it means nothing. But, because it seems annoyed, the youkai sword lightly restrains Murasaki with its tail so as not to disturb it any further.
 
 Then, when the youkai sword comes within a stone's throw of the young man and is about to open its jaws...
 
 "...what on earth are you doing?"
 
 A voice echoed too well in the underground tunnels.
 
 Yes, it was the very next moment that those icy words were spun. The huge body of the youkai sword was thrown through the air with a violent impact. It crushed and shattered, its skin shimmering like snow, decorated the underground tunnels.
 
 '...!!!?
 
 The youkai sword, which had been slammed against the wall of the underground tunnels, was astonished. At first glance, it looks like a pathetic sword that has had its rebellious spirit broken again and again by the Ako clan, but in fact 'Nekiri Kubi Sogimaru (Neck Cutter)' is a monster in the eyes of the general public.
 
 A youkai sword of that kind would be enough to wipe out its existence if it rebelled, and this youkai sword, which has maintained its existence and revived itself even after being crushed with all its might many times, is, paradoxically, a first-class monster that even the head family of the Ako clan could not easily defeat. Without damaging its body..!!?
 
 'Grrrrrr!!!'
 
 The youkai sword immediately rises and roars. As soon as Murasaki, who is an obstacle to the battle, is released from its restraints, its serpent-like head splits into six pieces. Each of the six jaws had countless blade fangs inside. If caught by them, the prey would be torn to pieces by hundreds or thousands of blades that could cut even steel plates and would be digested while being ground into pieces. The mere sight of this horror is enough to make most people cower in fear. But...
 
 "Shut up!"
 'Grrrrr!?'
 
 Immediately after, the head of the youkai sword explodes in a shockwave. The steelhead shatters into pieces. But it is not over yet.
 
 '......!!!!!'
 
 The steel body of the youkai sword is the entire body of the sword, and there is no so-called brain. The "predatory form" of the serpent is only a form that has been changed for the advantage of fighting, capturing, and feeding, and the destruction of the head cannot be a fatal wound.
 
 With its head missing, the youkai sword attacks its attacker with tentacle-like whips extending from its entire body. The tip of the metal whip was a blade, and the speed of the whip was such that it could cut through a thin steel plate with ease. An attack that a mere man would have no way of dealing with. ......But still, yes. Still, it was not enough to kill the human in front of it.
 
 "Stop your yapping, you spoiled dog."
 
 The whip was all cut and shredded. At this point, the youkai sword is finally shaken. Until the moment it was cut to pieces, the youkai sword could not perceive the movement, not even the signs of it.
 
 "...well, you are in my way..."
 
 And before long, the woman touches the youkai sword's body. She caresses the belly of the serpent with her right hand. Nonsense, when did she get so close?
 
 "That's an order. ...leave."
 
 The girl released the words at almost the same time the serpent broke into pieces...
 
* * *

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