Part two in Japan.
The man, Mizokuma, saw a high school girl being pushed down by several men and was about to be killed in front of him. It was like he was watching a drama.
(...What was I doing again?)
Mizokuma was a student in his third year attending a university a little further from the city center. One year ago, he was offered a secret part-time job by a professor.
Since he lived alone and had little money, he had become engrossed in both working and playing around, and was on the verge of repeating a year. He was called by the professor and was introduced to two people in a room.
Although he wasn’t acquainted with the students, they were in the same situation regarding school credits as Mizokuma. The professor told them, that if they did a certain job, they would not only be given money but school credits as well.
The job was finding a young girl and bringing her, and the condition was that she had to be running away from home or have a family who wouldn’t worried about her whereabouts.
Why a girl like that? He questioned, but convinced himself that it was girls that enjoyed the nightlife districts in the city, and they would be made to do a job for their guilty conscience, and so he undertook it.
After bringing back a few girls, the three were not only given amazing rewards but the professor also promised to introduce them to a good company if they continued.
The three didn’t particularly get along with each other, but in order to do the job well, they cooperated and acted neutrally with one another.
About half a year later, the three learned that the girls they had taken had gone missing on the news.
Mizokuma felt shaken after hearing that. Still, he didn’t ask the professor about it. There was something terrifying about the job, but being lost in the rewards, the three didn’t even think of quitting.
It was a crime. But they were accomplices too. If it got exposed, instead of finding employment, their lives would be over. They couldn't betray the professor. So they continued deceiving and bringing runaway girls.
One day, the three went downtown during lunch hours.
It was a tourist spot, but walking a little further, there’d be many shops for younger people, and there’d be junior and high school students skipping school.
There, the three found two girls seeming to be in junior high in the park, and hoped to at least kidnap one of them.
He didn’t remember much from that point onwards. Suddenly, he wanted to hurt them. He suddenly thought that the professor would be pleased if he beat them, harmed them, and tortured them to death before bringing them.
He somehow knew where they’d escape to. There were many people thinking like them, and they naturally cooperated in hunting them down.
He didn’t think it was wrong.
Killing the girls would be “good” for everyone, and he naturally thought it was a righteous deed.
One of the girls was on verge of dying. It was such a wonderful thing. Now, the world would turn “kind”.
(I see… I shouldn’t stand here watching, but help in killing her.)
At this time, the world turned into something “unknown”.
Before he knew it, the girl with iron-like hair stood up.
The people killing her refused to move from the place, hunching over her, and since she was holding her head down, they could only see her curled back and not her facial expression.
Something like a pumpkin rolled by their feet, then, a dark fluid under their feet flooded the garage, like a dark sea at night.
For some reason, it was… cold. Like it was midwinter on a snowy mountain. Their bodies trembled uncontrollably. Their hands and feet turned blue, showing how cold it was.
Mizokuma noticed how the two standing in front of him also turned ghastly pale and trembled with clattering teeth. He was relieved that he hadn’t gone crazy and cold as the two had, but he wasn’t able to stop his body from shaking either.
The girl drew near, slowly and quietly. Something like a “string” glimmered in front of her, a pleasant melody sounded, and something fell down.
One… two… He shifted his attention to the sound of the pumpkins falling to the ground. It was the heads of his companions that were rolling, their faces full of dread and fear.
Blood sprouted out his companions' headless bodies and dyed her in a dark red color.
She approached him silently. His teeth clattered loudly.
The melody played again. Her figure flew forwards and flashed in front of him. He saw blood spurting out like a fountain from a headless body wearing the same clothes as him, and Mizokuma’s consciousness was forever dragged into the darkness.
“...I have to go.”
The shadow of a person stained in dark blood started moving silently and ran fast like a dark wind.
It ran in almost a straight line heading somewhere and shattered anything blocking the way.
A dark shadow ran through the city. A human who had seen a flash of it trembled like they had seen a nightmare or apparition, and the animals and insects laid face down, holding their breaths until it had gotten far away.
Suddenly, a huge tank truck broke through the concrete railing of a bridge above the dark shadow, and fell straight down, obstructing the way.
The dark shadow didn’t stop because of that either, the melody sounded again, and the tank truck was split in half, and the dark shadow ran through it.
From behind, a burst of flames built up, and shortly after, enormous black smoke rose up.
“Midou, get going.”
Jinbei was in a much better mood than previously. Because he could come here again and give another “offering” he easily got his hands on.
The driver, Midou, thought that his employer, Jinbei, had become crazy from impatience, and never expected him to take advantage of her weakness and bring her directly to the car.
If it had only been to that point, it would have actually been better. Instead, he asked how she was and pretended to be a virtuous person, which he clearly wasn’t, and promised to let her off at an appropriate place like a gentlemanly person.
Instead of doing that though, Jinbei foolishly put her to sleep by giving her a glass of water with sleeping pills in it from the refrigerator in the car.
No matter how he thought about it, it would only turn troublesome later on. Not only that, Jinbei would definitely want to make this girl into an offering.
Although he thought it was a pity, he could understand Jinbei’s feelings.
He didn’t know where the child came from, but the girl sleeping on the seat had beautiful black hair and a surprisingly good-looking face.
There’d be nothing to complain about when sacrificing this girl, who felt sacred even when she was asleep.
“What happened? We’ve been standing still since a while ago!”
“Something is strange, sir.”
The sudden traffic congestion frustrated Jinbei, so Midou fiddled with the equipment to get traffic information.
“For some reason, a tank truck caused an accident on the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway1 at 1 o’clock, so there are traffic congestions in various places.”
To bring back the sacrifice they obtained, Jinbei was heading to the basement in the Western-styled building. He doubted the young man, Murasame, would allow him in after having rejected him, but he was convinced he’d get permission for one reason or other.
“Midou, is there a building with a heliport nearby?”
“Yes… The 17th building is close to here, but… are you possibly planning on using a helicopter?”
“We’ll never get across like this. Prepare the 17th building!”
“Just do it! Useless guy…”
Saying anything more was useless, so Midou contacted the 17th building. There were preparations for a helicopter, but the company renting the building was Jinbei’s dummy corporation. The company was land sharking as its back-office business, but, in order to please the president, the remaining employees would gather in the underground parking lot to greet him.
It was a poor move to take a helicopter to that place. Even in this country, it was foolish to go to a secret location known only to a few people with a conspicuous helicopter.
What was making Jinbei take such insane acts? Was the “benefit” given by what was underground so attractive?
Furthermore, looking at the black-haired girl who was sleeping during this madness in the rearview mirror, Midou felt cold at deceiving such a beautiful girl.
“I will use a back alley. Since it is a narrow street, I apologize in advance.”
The black luxury car veered away from the main street and silently headed to a back street.
It was a street that only locals used and had one-way traffic, and the residents of it have put flower pots and bicycles on the road, acting like they owned the place. Therefore, it was unlikely for larger vehicles to be able to pass through.
Midou drove on that kind of road without hesitation. It wasn’t that fast, but they would arrive sooner than driving on the main street.
He paid attention to their surroundings as he drove at a reasonable speed. If a resident would jump out all of a sudden and be hit by the car, it would take time to resolve the matter, and Jinbei would be annoyed.
He thought as he drove, and when he glanced in the rear-view mirror…
Midou paled as he stared at it, and stepped hard on the accelerator pedal.
“W-what? What happened Midou!”
Jinbei shouted at the suddenly increased speed. Still, Midou didn’t answer the question clearly and only muttered, drenched in cold sweat.
“From the back… Please, take a look.”
Jinbei frowned at Midou’s attitude.
Although Midou’s secretarial work was only mediocre, he liked his overpowering build and unperturbed courage, and he could entrust him to do things he couldn’t do in public as well.
And that Midou looked drenched in sweat from being afraid of something. Jinbei turned uneasily to look across the seat behind him.
He saw something. Something dark on the other side of the road.
“W-what, that is…”
A dark shadow was approaching them at an insane speed as if it was crawling on the ground.
The moment he was seen by it, he got goosebumps all over his body, and aside from feeling nausea from terror, Jinbei screamed at Midou.
“Raise the speeeeeeeed!!!”
Midou stepped on the accelerator pedal to increase the speed further. He didn’t care about the flowerpots and bicycles that were sent flying. He wouldn’t step on the breaks even if a person appeared on the street in front.
At some point, a phone had started ringing in the car, but neither Midou nor Jinbei had the time to afford to care about it.
Jinbei couldn’t take the dark shadow drawing closer behind them, and turned back a to look…
The world was crumbling.
The dark shadow had crawled another 100 meters closer to them, and from left to right, from the roof of the houses to the wooden bricks, the houses were chopped up. It made Jinbei wonder whether the world was ending or if he was in a neverending nightmare.
Something like a string glimmered from the dark shadow.
At the T-junction of the road, Midou swerved to the left while the rear of the car scraped against the wall. Jinbei, who had fallen off the seat, felt a breeze on his skin and lifted his gaze to see the edge of the rear of the car looking like it had been cut off by a sharp knife and was gone.
If he hadn’t turned at that time, what would have happened?
“We reached the street! It’ll sway a bit.”
Reaching the street, Midou knocked off a lighter car on the opposite lane, rode across the median on the highway, and shifted to the top gear.
The phone’s ringing rubbed them in the wrong way.
Still, looking into the reflection of the side mirror, the light car they had run into was split into two behind them and went flying, and any hesitation he had left disappeared.
It was still chasing them. The dark shadow crept on the ground, chasing them.
The engine and tires screamed as they were pushed to their limits, which was the opposite for the two of them in the car who couldn’t let out their voices because of the sleeping girl, and they crashed into the underground parking lot of the 17th building.
“You guys, line up there. Soon, the president and Mr. Midou will arrive. I will send those who can’t greet them properly flying!”
Vulgar-looking men gathered in the underground parking lot to greet the president. He was a moody and famous president, but if he was in a good mood, his generosity wasn’t that bad.
Meeting this number of people, he would certainly buy them alcohol later.
A faint creaking sound from the grating of a shutter came from above.
At that time, when the outside light from the entrance filled in, the tattered car crashed into the shutter that hadn’t properly opened yet.
After the employees hurridly avoided it, the black car stopped sideways, as if hitting the wall in the back. The president, Jinbei, jumped out and rushed toward the elevator with a pale face. He kept pushing the button as if mad.
Midou, coming out after him, brought out a fainted girl and carried her like a doll over his shoulder. He called out instructions to the stunned employees.
“You guys, hold back the thing coming after!!”
Jinbei and Midou entered the elevator as soon as it arrived and left the confused employees behind. They pressed the closing door button and then the button leading to the roof.
Just before the elevator doors closed, they noticed the dark shadow jumping into the parking lot.
The elevator started to move, but they didn’t have time to feel relief because the faint screams of the employees rang out from under them soon after and chills went down their backs.
“... W-what was that?”
“...I do not know.”
Arriving at the roof, the sound of a bell rang, they saw the helicopter waiting there as directed and hurried towards it.
“Sir, please get on first. This girl too.”
“Get out now, Pilot!”
“That’s enough, get down!”
Midou forcibly dragged the pilot down from the helicopter and took a seat in the cockpit to fly the helicopter himself.
“Midou, hurry and go!!”
Leaving the dumbfounded pilot laying on his back, the helicopter started rising from the ground.
At that time, the elevator doors were cut open by something.
At Jinbei’s shout, Midou moved the helicopter forward and left the building.
A moment later, the heliport was cut into pieces. Jinbei felt like the dark shadow saw him and, trembling, he unconsciously looked away from the window while grasping the seat belt tightly.
The dark shadow stared at the helicopter taking off and thrust itself off the roof, ran down the wall of the building, and threw a string-like thing towards it.
Relieved from escaping to the safe sky, Jinbei and Midou finally let out a breath.
What would they do now? In the beginning, they were planning on sacrificing the girl, but thinking of the dark shadow coming after them, going down to the ground was terrifying.
“Midou, head to the airport now!”
“Airport… Haneda Airport2?”
“Anywhere is fine! As long as we’re going abroad!”
Midou doubted they could flee abroad in this situation, but he was thinking of asking a politician he knew if they could do something about it, when…
“Midou, speed up!”
Midou turned to the window Jinbei was facing and saw the dark shadow chasing them from rooftops.
“Hurry, hurry to the airport!”
“The radio tower is too close, I will have to take a detour…”
“It doesn’t matter, just go through it! Hurry!”
It seemed like it would add to the troublesome matters after this, but Midou still agreed to fly right beside the tower out of fear of the dark shadow.
The dark shadow ran on the side of buildings, looking at the helicopter, jumped over the ground, and clung to the steel frame of the radio tower border. It ran up the radio tower at a terrifying speed.
A tourist on the special viewing platform fell down when they saw a black shadow running up the window. The black shadow reached the top, wrapped a string-like object at the tip of the tower, and bent it backwards to plunge itself into the air.
The radio inside the helicopter rung, and unable to ignore it, Midou picked it up.
“I deeply apologize, but it’s an urgent matter... Huh? U-understood. Jinbei, sir.”
“What, you’re loud.”
“It seems to be… about the Shrine Maiden’s [oracle].”
“What did you say!”
Flustered, Jinbei took over the radio, gulping, and listened.
The Shrine Maiden was consoling the enshrined thing underground.
It was about a child, but since Jinbei hadn’t been allowed to meet her, he was frightened to hear it concerned an oracle.
[Jinbei sir… the oracle… from the Shrine Maiden… is…”
“I d-deeply apologize, but it seems like the reception is unstable…”
From the voice, he could deduce that it was likely to be one of the caretakers of the Shrine Maiden.
Although Jinbei wasn’t one of the Shrine Maiden’s people, he would have happily continued the conversation, but he couldn’t afford to deal with “children’s nonsense” during the current circumstances.
Furthermore, probably because of the radio tower, it was difficult to hear their voice, and he didn’t know to what degree their voices could be heard. The other party was saying incoherent things too.
[From now on… your…]
“Sir, that is on the radio tower!”
Hearing Midou’s voice, Jinbei paled and pushed his face into the window, looking outside with wide eyes.
“Get away from the tower this instant!!”
A wide string cut into the inside of the helicopter in an instant.
Looking at it, it seemed like a ribbon with jagged edges. However, the ribbon wasn’t of soft cloth but had an iron-like texture and color, and the jagged edges of it were like the sharp teeth of a saw. The edges drew near their throats.
Jinbei, frozen due to fear, finally heard the [oracle] from the caretaker.
[Princess Tsubakiri is coming.]
At that time, the black shadow appeared in front of Midou and Jinbei in the helicopter, and its figure was burned into their retinas.
A jet-black sailor suit that was covered in blood. Iron-colored hair stained in blood fluttered in the wind.
The iron ribbon around the helicopter bent the surroundings and a girl with silver eyes full of hatred glared at them, looking just like an evil spirit from hell
Princess Tsubakiri - The legendary slaughter demon from 1500 years ago.
Gravity pulled the girl down and she fell silently downwards.
Jinbei remembered one last thing: the grinding noise from the ribbon that was like a saw from the girl.
The saw drew a line and cut.
The blades of the saw silently slashed Jinbei’s and Midou’s necks together with the helicopter, and the bodies and parts of the helicopter scattered in the air, falling down to the ground.
Gently wrapping a ribbon around the sleeping girl that had been thrown out of the helicopter, she caught her in her embrace. Tsubaki hugged Nanohana tightly in the middle of the air.
The next title will be [Who are you?]
There will be a glimpse of Nanohana’s power.
- Also known as Shuto Expressway. It’s a network of toll expressways in the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan, the most populous metropolitan area in the world. ↑
- Haneda is a district in Ota in Tokyo. Haneda Airport is also called Tokyo International Airport or Haneda International Airport. ↑