Chapter 1: Part 8
It had become completely dark. The Tokyo night sky was completely clouded over, blocking any stars from view.
The sky was filled with clouds, but like stars in the night sky, the streets were bursting with people. There were salarymen who were returning from work and students who were returning from their clubs… And among those people, there was that man.
The King of the Night… A zombie like me. And as his name would suggest, this time of the day was his time.
We left the department store and tailed the King of the Night as he strolled around calmly. We walked through a wide street lined with restaurants. We matched our pace with the river-like flow of the people around us and headed for the station.
Whether he realized we were following him or not, the King of the Night just continued forward with his hands in his pockets.
Haruna, Sera, and I did our best to stay behind cover as we followed after him.
Tomonori was currently calling all the other vampire ninjas together for us. It was definitely a sounder plan to surround him with vampire ninjas rather than for us to try and catch him here.
“Ayumu… How long are we going to follow him around?”
Haruna seemed a bit worked up, her ahoge swaying from side to side.
“We need to wait for the vampire ninjas to get here…”
“I can’t wait any more!”
“Idiot! If we let him get away now, we’ll lose our only clue to find Dai-sensei…”
As if she really just couldn’t keep still anymore, Haruna ran towards the King of the Night with her upper body almost toppling forwards.
“Did she even hear me?”
“Where’s Dai-sensei?! You damn hentai!”
Haruna’s screech pierced through the air. At the same time, the King of the Night disappeared from the crowd.
“Ayumu…!” Sera scowled and almost yelled my name.
“I know. Let’s go.”
Now we’d done it. Now that it had come to this, we had to try to catch him at all costs.
Haruna changed direction, and I kicked off the asphalt.
We had just suddenly started running at full speed, so the people around us gave us suspicious looks, but I had no time to care about that. Don’t just stand there, dammit, get out of our way!
Couldn’t they see we were in a hurry?
The King of the Night lightly ran away. It was almost as if he wanted us to follow him, but I didn’t care. Rather, it would be convenient if there was an ambush or a trap up ahead.
No matter what it was, it would be a clue!
We turned a few corners, and when we entered a narrow street, Haruna stopped in her tracks.
It was a dead end. A narrow, long dead end, covered in a bit of dirt and wedged in between two restaurants. From the bad smell in the air, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a place people threw their garbage.
One man stood, alone, in that dead end. He had his usual smile on, his hands were in his pockets, and he stood there with a lazy posture.
“I don’t see Eucliwood with you. Even though she hates me more than any of you do.”
“Could it be that she returned to the Underworld?”
As soon as I made that short response, his smiling face transformed into that of a demon. Rage welled up in his eyes. Those eyes of his were enough to make goosebumps rise on my flesh.
However, that lasted but a second, and soon he returned to his slightly teasing, condescending, bold smile.
“All right, I guess it’s time to kill you all.”
He shrugged his shoulders and said that almost as if he was making fun of us. Sera watched the King of the Night with red eyes.
Whshhhh. He took just one step towards us, and I felt an incredible sense of pressure assault my body.
I looked not at the King of the Night, but all around us. Sera’s eyes also darted here and there. There might be a trap here, somewhere.
However, Haruna was…
“I’m going to punch this guy right noooowww!!”
Haruna was holding her fist up. But I quickly caught her hand.
“Don’t stop me!” Haruna turned around, and I saw an intense fire burning in her large eyes.
“Let me punch him instead.”
If we were going to jump into a trap, then the person who couldn’t die should be the one to take the leap. I pushed Haruna to the side and jumped right up to the King of the Night. But as soon as I did, I felt a sharp kick slam into my jaw.
I didn’t see it at all. I saw a blue mist appear in front of my eyes, and then, in the next moment, I felt something collide with my cheek.
Something hit my face with a lot of force.
I couldn’t see that either. I couldn’t even understand what had happened to me.
But I didn’t care! I held my ground and launched a punch.
Next, I felt a heel come down on top of my head, and I was knocked down to the ground.
“Now, you were a zombie, were you not?”
“You’re also a zombie, aren’t you?”
“Well, then there’s no reason to deal with you. Let me kill the other two.”
…Seriously? I felt a sense of relief surface somewhere within me.
After all, I never thought that we would be settle this here and now. I expected him to show his face briefly and then try and run away.
“Why are you doing this?” I almost moaned out that question, and the King of the Night looked down at me.
“Why? Hmm, I suppose I can tell you. It would be boring to just kill you all, so I’ll explain while I’m doing that.”
The King of the Night said that and, in the next moment, ran to Haruna’s back.
It wasn’t something as silly as super speed. It felt like something more frightening than that.
Haruna looked behind her. The King of the Night took his right hand out of his pocket and swung it down onto Haruna’s cute head.
But Sera cut that right hand off. The King of the Night was right between Haruna and Sera. In other words, Haruna’s back was Sera’s front.
Nice one! As expected from Sera!
And then the return stroke. He shouldn’t be able to evade that.
“You’re faster than I expected.”
In the next moment, without warning, blood burst out of Sera’s back, and she fell to her knees. Once again, I had no idea what had just happened.
“You asked for a reason, didn’t you? Let me start from the end. It’s all to drag Eucliwood out into this world.”
“Even if you tell me that, I still don’t know what’s going on.”
“You all seem to be close with Eucliwood. So if I kill two of you, I’m sure she will appear. Because she is a kind person.”
“Don’t screw with me! You think you can use me as bait?!”
Haruna tried to sweep his legs from under him. I heard the satisfying sound of Haruna’s attack connecting, but the King of the Night didn’t move an inch.
“Masou shoujo, you’re quite an interesting one. I’m happy to see that you have such fighting spirit. Usually, people just wither in my presence.”
The King of the Night gave us a forced, emotionless smile. Certainly, just as he said, I had withered in front of him. I had been attacked by something I didn’t understand, Sera had been suddenly done in, and I just lay there, completely still.
But soon I got up and prepared to attack.
“If you three are really her friends, then you should die for her sake. Do you not know what poor treatment she is subject to in the Underworld?”
“Ah, we don’t at all!”
420%! I gathered power in my right arm. The King of the Night’s kick sent Haruna flying, and after picking up his own right arm from the ground, he… threw his arm at me. What the hell was he, a Mazinger or something?!
I had no idea that he’d throw his own arm at me, so the attack hit me in the stomach. Or, rather, the attack pierced through my stomach.
“For comparison’s sake, that attack was at around 400% the maximum power that humans can output. If you were human, it would have been incredibly painful, but… Oh well.”
He was toying with us. He was completely toying with us.
Even Sera, who was propping herself up with a leaf sword, seemed at a loss as to what attack to launch next.
“Well, shall we continue with our story? Eucliwood herself is ill-suited for war. However, she is indispensible to the war against the masou shoujo. Her healing powers, her blood of immortality, the power of her words… If she felt like it, that girl could stand up to the masou shoujo. However, that girl does not want to use her power. So how do you think the other inhabitants of the underworld feel about that?”
“……They try to force her to use it.”
Haruna groaned out a response.
“Exactly. However, subjecting her to pain won’t yield results. Eucliwood has met enough hardship in her life to become accustomed to pain. So? Do you want to save her? I was like that once too. I am almost painfully aware of your feelings.”
“I doubt that a zombie like you could understand pain.”
“That’s quite rude. However, if you die, then that girl will reappear in this world. How about it? Do you want to die now?”
“Don’t screw with me! I’ve already decided that I’m going to meet her while I’m still alive!”
“You’re really quite dazzling. You’re like the sun. To the King of the Night, you’re quite… an unpleasant existence.”
At that moment, I saw the air turn dark. It wasn’t because it was night. It was as if the air itself was changing into killing intent. It became hard to breathe in that atmosphere, and I felt nauseous.
What the hell was this… I felt like a deer in the middle of a road, staring at an oncoming car but unable to move…
Was I an idiot?! If I had time to think about stupid things like that, then I had time to move my legs!
I screamed that out as I prepared a low tackle.
Haruna did just as I asked and jumped back like a shrimp. If my tackle connected, Haruna would be able to escape from his range of attack. But if I failed…
“Here I go!”
Sera threw some green leaves. The leaves spun like shuriken and passed by the side of the King of the Night’s legs. He had dodged them.
However, perhaps because of that, I was able to grab onto the King of the Night’s torso.
How about this then?
I glanced in Haruna’s direction. From this distance, unless he did that Rocket Punch attack again, she should be out of his reach.
However, Haruna was punched on the cheek and was sent flying. She probably guarded herself with a barrier, but her small body flew right into that mountain of garbage bags.
This time, I managed to see just what had happened.
I see… I finally understood what this man’s ability was.
His dark blue mist could probably teleport objects around.
The area around his right wrist was surrounded in mist, and there was mist beside Haruna’s face as well. His fist had come out of that mist.
The mist also seemed to chase after Haruna as she flew away.
It seemed Haruna still hadn’t realized what the mist did.
Sera! Do something here! I really had no idea how to defend against that.
But then the vampire ninjas appeared.
“My, my… The guardians of this world have quite a good sense of smell.”
“We’ve found the man we were told about! Requesting reinforcements!”
Much like Sera, vampire ninjas sure had a tendency to show up with heroic timing at the last moment. Or rather, maybe Haruna was just a lucky person.
A young girl with a blue transparent sword appeared in front of us. She was from the conservative faction, just like Sera, and she went to the same school that I did. Her name was… Actually, I never asked.
When the vampire ninja swung her water sword, the King of the Night shook me off and surrounded his body with mist.
I just quietly counted out the time.
“Unfortunately, I cannot allow you to catch me now. I still…… want to die, after all.”
The King of the Night gave us a bold smile and vanished into the mist.
Once the mist had gathered, it took around five seconds for the King of the Night to vanish. It was likely that he couldn’t use the mist to teleport unless it was thick enough.
So if we didn’t want him to escape, then we had to knock him out within at least five seconds.
“Don’t let him get away!”
With that female voice, the vampire ninjas who had just gathered scattered in all directions. The few vampire ninjas who remained didn’t seem to pay us any mind, and just began discussing something amongst themselves.
“Sorry, Saras… You saved us.”
Sera called out, but the girl swung her sword to the side with a demonic expression.
Ah, so that girl’s name was Saras…
“Don’t speak to me so casually! You traitor!”
Sera’s eyes were filled with surprise. That sword swing wasn’t just a feint. The sword’s point cut into Sera’s skin.
“You’re an eyesore. Get out of my sight, Seraphim.”
Her voice was filled with anger, and she once again swung her sword.
Sera would have been able to nimbly evade the sword in normal circumstances, but her footing was unsteady and she couldn’t dodge.
“Hey, wait just a second. You… Saras, was it? What are you doing?”
I tried to grab the girl with the water sword by the shoulder, but the other vampire ninjas pointed their swords at me, so I couldn’t move.
“Don’t call me that! My name is Sarasvati. The only ones who can call me Saras… are my comrades.”
Sarasvati… Wasn’t that a water goddess or something? Saras was definitely an easier name.
“Well then, I think I should be able to call you that too. But, more importantly, Sera hasn’t done anything.”
“She hasn’t done anything, and that’s exactly why we cannot forgive her.”
That’s exactly why… Was she talking about Sera’s refusal to obey an order to kill Yuu?
“How is that so bad? She just disobeyed a single order.”
In response to my words, Saras took me by the collar and narrowed her eyes.
“This is not a world where you can disobey orders that you dislike. We are risking our lives.”
I see. Vampire ninjas were almost stupidly faithful to their laws, and their missions were their first priority. There were probably plenty of missions that they weren’t happy about.
But even so, they had taken that difficult path to reach their current heights.
Even if she didn’t say that out loud, I could understand at least that much.
“Seraphim, nobody wants to see your face anymore. Don’t ever show yourself in front of us again.”
As Saras gripped my body, she thrust a water sword into Sera.
“… I understand.”
But Sera just responded quietly, her voice quivering.
END CHAPTER 1