Hologram Summer

Encounter and Second Coming


Atlas Institute

"Sion Eltnam Sokaris.

Hereby decreed as candidate for Academy Director."

The grim face of the university president reading the edict.

The students and the teachers look at each other, wide-eyed.

Unhushed whispers rise and hundreds of eyes face me.

Surprise. I'm astonished, I never would have thought it.

Blame. Unforgivable.

Denial. I can't believe it.

Other words I can't make out, blending together into sounds as arcane as the syllables of a spell.

"Henceforth, Sion Eltnam will be Sion Eltnam Atlasia.

She will be accorded the privileges and respect of an instructor and have the same status as ambassador-at-large."

The words of the university president are absolute.

Not just because of the authority of his position, but because the words make it clear it is a command.

There is no protest from the audience, only more glares directed at me.


It's not as though I've suddenly changed.

Of all those gathered in the great hall, only the university president and I seem calm.

As for everyone else──the students and even the teachers are dumbfounded with surprise.

I suppose it is natural.

I am now Sion Eltnam Atlasia.

Those given the name of Atlas are chosen to represent this Academy.

No one guessed that out of all the students and faculty, it would be an Eltnam.


Of course, I was calm.

Not that I was informed beforehand I would be given the name Atlasia.

Simply that among the Atlas Association, I was the only one with the requisite power.

Instead of being surprised, it was rather natural to be bored.

...... Just what has changed in my life since then?

I do not look any different in the mirror.

Since I was an Eltnam, a once-noble house, the others treated me with contempt.

I excelled as a student to erase the sin of my ancestor.

The others wanted only to have me removed.

As long as I was the top student in the class, all they could do was ignore me.

Once I became Atlasia, I had the power to remove them.

They were afraid of my retribution.

They probably believed I would treat them in the same manner they treated me.

They did not want to receive any contempt.

I am a noble.

The blood of the sinner Eltnam runs through me, but I am not ruled by my emotions.

In the first place, I do not feel any emotions towards them anyway.

If they wished to distance me, then I will keep them distant.

That will not change from before.

I do not need anyone, so I do not need to associate with them.

I already had the needed laboratory, so I just continued to excel in my studies.

It was eight years ago.

What was correct? What was mistaken?

────Even now I don't really know for certain.

Misaki at night

Sion: "...... Not good. It's already this late."

I open my eyes.

Was it because I was so exhausted?

I saw a meaningless dream.

No, because I was dreaming, you could say I was not completely exhausted.

If my mind were truly burdened, I would not have seen anything.

Sion: "...... Probably because of overexertion during the day. There is something wrong with this much heat."

I had heard that Japanese summers were hot, but I had not thought it would be this bad.

The heat shining back from this town is too strong even for me, a child of the desert.

I thought I would sleep through the heat of the day, but it seems I could not control the time of my awakening.

Sion: "...... A cold night. I must have slept too long?"

Whatever the case, confusion is for certain.

Not sleeping properly and not ordering all this information is setting myself up for failure.

Sion: "...... But before that, I must confirm where the next incident will occur."

As long as I can move, I must finish the preparations.

Fortunately, I have data on this town I downloaded from Tohno Shiki.

I can find the source of all these incidents without needless roaming.

Sion: "Ah, come to think of it...... Tohno Shiki. Securing him is also a priority."

It is before midnight.

There are three possible routes he will take.

It should be easy enough to determine his current location.

Location changes to the Shrine

Shiki: "...... Then, all that's left is this?"

I come out to an unfamiliar clearing.

A small clearing apart from the office buildings.

Until a short while ago everything was another large city park but it now transitions into private property.

Shiki: "Wow. From down here it really looks impressive."

I look up at the building under construction.

I heard the monumental architecture would be finished next spring.

Nobody seems to be sure exactly what it's going to be, but it's something important.

I've heard everything from a big department store to the corporate office of a powerful electronics company.

Shiki: "The area around it is also being landscaped. Maybe I don't have to go this far."

The land all around the building is perfectly flat like a mirror.

The name of the building, Shrine, may be appropriate... but it's going a little too far.

Shiki: "────Well..."

I hold my breath and scan the area.

No sign of anyone else around.

Of course there are less and less people as night falls, thanks to the rumors of the vampire murders starting up again, but...

I can understand why no one would be in the park, or the back alley, but this place is empty of people for another reason.

Shiki: "...... Well, after all, this is private property. The only people around would be trespassing, so why should I expect to see anybody......?"

───And then,

I suddenly get assailed by nausea.

My fingers are numb and my throat is parched.

My pulse quickens.

A feeling like poison creeping from the back of my brain.

Without even realizing it, my right hand reaches into my pocket and soundlessly takes out my knife.

Shiki: "────This... sensation."

...... I've felt these chills so many times before.

Am I just disposed to this?

Before I meet up with something unworldly, I always get assailed by this sensation.

Shiki: "............"

...... I sense someone.

Someone standing right behind me.

Someone (a human?) on this private property where no one should be.

A faint chill.

And...... the vampire has returned────!

Shiki: "...... But, something is......"

It feels a little different.

Are my reactions weak?

It simply feels "different from usual", a discomfort that indicates the presence of an outsider.

Shiki: "──Well, show yourself......!"

Shiki: "Hello? Is someone there?"

I speak with my knife hidden behind my back.

───And then,

Sion: "Good evening. Do you have business with me?"

Even though it was all so sudden, the girl speaks so calmly.

Shiki: "────"

Seeing her, I was startled.

That distinctive dress and hat.

Definitely a foreign look, and I'm almost afraid to say it, but she looks really cute.

Sion: "What is it?"

Shiki: "Oh, ah... well, no, nothing really."

Shiki: "Um──Sorry, I mistook you for someone else. Sorry to be so rude."

Sion: "You do not have to apologize.

But that is not the way to greet someone, is it?"

Her tone is so smooth.

...... Now that she mentions it, it makes total sense.

Lately, I seem to be off-kilter.

Shiki: "...... You're right. It's a little late, but, good evening."

Sion: "Yes, nice to meet you."

Sion: "So, what are you doing here?

Are you looking for something at this hour?"

Shiki: "Eh? ...... Ah, yeah, something like that.

And what about you? You couldn't have not heard about how dangerous it is at night──"

Oh, right.

If she's a foreigner, she wouldn't have heard the rumors circulating this town.

Since she's probably just sightseeing, she wouldn't know anything about the vampire murders last year, either......

Shiki: "It's nothing...... Um, I don't know why you are here, but it's better to not hang around places where no one is around. You never know what might happen."

Sion: "────"

She just stares at me.

...... It's only natural.

There's no way she can understand me if I keep suddenly blurting out all this stuff.

Sion: "No, you cannot say I don't know what will happen. Whatever shape he takes, the vampire will appear. Even you are patrolling in order to find him, are you not, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "W────what?"

Sion: "You could say we are looking for the same thing, Tohno Shiki. ...... Although our reasons are very different."

She speaks devoid of any expression.

Those chills return.

Pain in my temples like a stabbing needle...

Sion: "An irregularity like you throws the equation out of balance. Unless I move quickly to root out any problems, the results this time will also be undesirable."

Her arms swings forth and I hear an unfamiliar click.

She holds a black gun in her hand.

Sion: "────Please, resist if you wish. My name is Sion Eltnam Atlasia. Your freedom now belongs to me."

And with that, she jumps towards me.

This foreign girl I'd never met before attacks me with almost unspeakable speed.

Shiki vs Sion

Shiki loses

Shiki: "sstt......!"

Sion: "Battle finished. Fourth, sixth thought processes halted."

Sion: "Results compiled. Your choices in combat are rated at merely 70. Even if you possess the ability to inflict instant death, your tactics are still easily predicted."

Shiki: "Damn...... What do you want!?"

Sion: "I do not intend to harm you any further. Did you not notice something different? ...... Your intuition was correct. Just as you felt, my method of fighting is entirely different from those you have faced before."

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "You must stop resisting. I have no interest in taking your life. I require you in my calculations, so if you do not resist, you will not be hurt."

Shiki: "Eh───Hey, don't touch people's heads like that!"

Sion: "Please calm down. Did I not say I would not harm you? All I did was connect my Etherlite to your brain."

Shiki: "Huh......? Co−connect to my brain? What the heck......?"

Sion: "The artificial nervous system called Etherlite. In terms you can understand, a filament only one micron thick. Think of it as a thread you cannot see using the naked eye."

Shiki: "......!"

Shiki: "...... No way. I do feel something strange on my temple, but that───"

Sion: "Yes. Upon contact with your skin, it seeks out your nerves and fuses with them. The maximum range is 5,000 meters, so it is a simple matter for it to fill your entire body."

Sion: "No further explanation is needed to understand, correct? I have hacked your mind and body. From now on, I will control your actions. I assume there are no objections, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "...... No objections!? Like hell there aren't, you idiot! I don't know who you are, but are you crazy!?"

Sion: "How rude. I am trying to hold a civilized conversation. Tohno Shiki, please correct yourself."

Shiki: "Correct myself? Are you stupid!? First you attack me and now you want to control me!? If you're sane, then that makes me the crazy one. Seriously, you're as ridiculously random as Arcueid. No, you're even worse of a random bastard!"

Sion: "Ra−random────!?"

Sion: "You are calling me random!? How superficial your knowledge must be for you to proclaim the actions of an alchemist like myself as random! No, to use the term random so senselessly is evidence of that probability! Yes, as you say, I cannot but think that you are the one who has gone crazy!"

Shiki: "Eh────huh?"

Sion:"Correct yourself! I am Sion Eltnam Atlasia, an alchemist of the Atlas Academy where all knowledge is accumulated and stored! What an insult. There is no one who can match my speed of thought and rational knowledge acquisition! Do you understand, Tohno Shiki? I am not a man, but a woman! In your rough terms, you should not call me a random bastard, but a whore!"

Shiki: "────────"

Sion: "Let me warn you, is your behavior not unnatural? I have gathered information from the past year from you and all you have done is proceed from one engagement of low victory probability to another! It is so amazing, it is enough to almost make one cry! How Tohno Shiki has been able to survive this long... it can only be a miracle────"

Shiki: "────────(Whoa)"

Sion: "Ah────────"

Sion: "───Back to the main topic. Tohno Shiki, I will have your cooperation with my research. I respect your right to choose, but please do not consider refusing. I now have control of most of your nerves, so if you disobey, I may be forced to hurt you."

Shiki: "Eh, well────(WHOA) uh, what do you mean?"

Sion: "Do you not understand? I am saying I will fry your nerves if you do not listen. I have no qualms about sending electricity along this Etherlite to fry your brain."

Shiki: "...... (Stupid. In that case, all I have to do is cut it. I may not be able to see it with the naked eye, but if I take off my glasses......) ......"

Sion: "I advise against it. If you cut the Etherlite, your entire body will burn. The Etherlite is now a part of your nervous system. ...... Yes, while this may not be effective against the True Ancestor, it is quite effective against humans. Before nerve damage ensues, you would probably die from the pain."

Shiki: "What────just now, what did you──"

Sion: "I read your thoughts. The Etherlite is connected to your brain, so no matter what you think, I can read it. Well, I am able to read subjects and verbs minus the conjunctions, at least."

Shiki: "...... Uwaa, that's amazing. Then, this──" (Um, why do I always get involved in things like this?)

Sion: "Do not misunderstand me. I do not intend to force you. Our goals are the same, so I propose a mutual relationship to achieve our objectives."

Shiki: "......? Work together to achieve our objectives......?"

Sion: "Yes. Our goals overlap somewhat. Otherwise, we would not be negotiating like this."

Shiki: "...... Speak for yourself. You can't call this negotiation."

Sion: "I only chose the method with the best chance of success. This was the most suitable method to achieve your cooperation."

Sion: "Well, you must be well−rested by now. My method of fighting is to chip away the opponent's fighting strength, not like the method of chipping away the opponent's body that you all employ."

Shiki: "...... You got a point. If it wasn't for that strange string, I would have run away by now."

Sion: "I do not mind. Once connected, it cannot be removed except by me. Wherever you go, it will follow."

Shiki: "Yeah, yeah. That's what I thought."

Shiki: "Well? What's this about us cooperating?"

Sion: "It is as it sounds──have you changed your mind? You were disparaging me earlier, so for you to listen to me attentively now......"

Shiki: "All I can do is listen, right? And, well, your methods are a little rough, but you have been polite. I guess I can hear you out. You didn't finish me off, and you do seem sincerely interested in talking it over. ...... And, well, you don't seem like a bad person."

Sion: "I did not attack you while you were down because you might have used a very strong counterattack...... But if you wish to view it that way, it is just as well. It is meaningless for me to offer another point of view."

Sion: "Then, I will be concise. My goal is to discover a cure for vampirism. I wish to obtain data from the vampires in this area. Such as a member of the True Ancestors, the origin of the Dead Apostles."

Shiki: "Eh...... True Ancestor... you mean Arcueid?"

Sion: "Yes. She is the last of the True Ancestors. ...... Correction, there may still exist some lower members of the True Ancestors, but what I need is the data of True Ancestor royalty from Arcueid Brunestud."

Shiki: "Data from Arcueid...... you want to make her into a guinea pig or something?"

Sion: "Of course not. You of all people know full well that is not possible. I seek only the aid of the True Ancestor. I wish to examine her blood, body and fluids to understand more about the vampiric impulse. If possible, I would like a full week, but that may be more difficult than finding a cure. If she does help me, it would only be because you are cooperating with me."

Shiki: "? Why do you think she would help me if I'm with you?"

Sion: "That, that is───because you are the one the True Ancestor is the most...... interested in."

Sion: "At any rate, I wish to approach vampirism from a medical standpoint. Consequently, I need data from many vampires. Once bitten by vampires, people become no longer human. Until now, it has been impossible to save them. I challenge that impossibility. It has to be in line with your goals. Because, you know someone who became a vampire."

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "────What is it?"

Shiki: "Nothing, really. You just have a way with words."

Sion: "I am pleased at your correct evaluation, but what makes you say that?"

Shiki: "Oh, nothing. But the next time you speak so lightly of her, I'll have no choice but to fight you."

Sion: "────"

Sion: "...... Certainly I was not considerate enough. What I said was not good."

Shiki: "...... It's fine. If you say your goal is to cure vampirism, then it's alright. It definitely is something I see as very important."

Sion: "Then, you will help me, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "Yeah, but I really don't get you. If you knew so much about me, you should've known talking it over from the beginning would've been fine. If you said that was your goal, I wouldn't have refused."

Sion: "...... So it seems. I was mistaken. I did not have a complete understanding of you."

Sion: "However, this may be for the best. Verbal promises are one thing, but if you do not put a high priority on our cooperation, I have means of ensuring you listen to me."

Shiki: "Yeah yeah. The loser must obey the winner, right? That's fine, but I'm not exactly swimming in free time. I have my own reasons for walking around late at night."

Sion: "Searching for the rumored vampire? I have not said anything about that, but I also have an interest in finding it."

Shiki: "? You, you know about that vampire?"

Sion: "Yes. Upon arriving here, I heard the rumors. The atmosphere in this town is strange and I knew something unusual was going on."

Shiki: "...... I see. If an outsider like you thinks that way, then that rumored vampire probably does exist."

Sion: "I cannot say that is absolutely true, but the True Ancestor seems to be pursuing it. It is her responsibility to dispose of Dead Apostles. She could not turn a blind eye towards any in the town she lives in."

Shiki: "────! You even know about Arcueid hiding her whereabouts!?"

Sion: "You are thinking it now. About how she is evading you because she is worried over you and wants to settle it herself. So if we find the rumored vampire, we should find the True Ancestor. At that time, she may listen to me if you ask her to."

Shiki: "...... I see. That's why you want my help."

Sion: "Yes. I wish for you to mediate our negotiations. For the time being, that is your first priority."

Shiki: "...... I see. That's pretty simple, but saying 'for the time being' makes me a little uneasy."

Sion: "But of course. You even said before that the loser has to obey the winner. Because I defeated you, I have the right to use you. Is that unsatisfactory?"

Shiki: "Yes, but I'll keep quiet. Since you're looking for the rumored vampire, I won't be doing anything different. I'll help you out until we find Arcueid."

Sion: "Very prudent. After concluding negotiations and business with the True Ancestor, I will leave this country. Staying in one place too long is dangerous. As for negotiation, that will be my problem. If negotiations break down, I will remove the Etherlite. Is that acceptable, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "Yeah, no complaints. But what do you want me to do? Help her to see things your way?"

Sion: "No. If I need you to, I will let you know. All you have to do is ask her to listen to me."

Shiki: "I see. Then, lead on, My Lady."

Sion: "First is investigating in town. I am unfamiliar with the area, so I ask you to direct us."

Alchemist of Atlas

Extra Alchemist

That is how our patrol began.

Shiki: "So, you are different from the magi Senpai was talking about?"

Sion: "I am different from the majority of magi. There are factions of Magi Associations that guide the practice of rituals and the revelation of knowledge. Please think of alchemists as not practicing rituals, but discovering them."

Shiki: "Discover? You mean, like making new magic?"

Sion: "Most types of magic are already identified, but we discover new methods. As the name alchemist implies, we try to create precious metals from base metals, for example."

Shiki: "Ah, that makes sense now. Like... making gold out of lead?"

Sion: "...... Yes, but that refers to the Central Association of Alchemists. I am part of a different organization of alchemists, the Atlas Academy. We have no interest in the transmutation of elements."

Shiki: "I see. So there's even different kinds of alchemists."

Sion: "Not kinds, but factions. We are considered somewhat heretics. Among the three main branches of the Magi Associations, Atlas is considered somewhat of a tumor."

Shiki: "Ah, that word again. Is Atlas a place?"

Sion: "A place? Yes. There is an association based on an academy located in the Atlas mountains...... The magi of London call it The Pit. Well, it is surrounded only by desert, so it may not be too inaccurate."

Shiki: "Desert......? Then, where are you from?"

Sion: "It is said to be a land where much magic originates. But simply, it is a place with a lot of history."

We speak of these mysterious and complicated things as we patrol.

She isn't wordy, but she isn't close−mouthed, either.

In fact, she answers most of my questions and asks me some in turn.

She doesn't start any unnecessary conversation, but if it is necessary, she goes really deep in detail.

Shiki: "...... (I think this girl just loves to talk)......"

Sion: "Do you have any other questions?"

Shiki: "Oh, uh...... I was just wondering what kind of studying your alchemy involves."

Sion: "Human research. You could say it is more science than alchemy."

Shiki: "Human research? You mean, not magic or sorcery?"

Sion: "Yes. The alchemists of Atlas were originally a gathering of those with little magical ability due to having a small number of Magic Circuits. They decided for themselves to take a completely natural approach and proceed forward as humans to achieve their goals. The result of that is the present Atlas Academy. We use above all else our own intellect to make a blueprint for the future."

Shiki: "Make───the future?"

Sion: "It goes without saying that the future is not something that occurs, but is something that is made. With the ingredients of the present day, we make the future for better or worse. We analyze these ingredients to measure the future. We dramatically shift probability to make a perfect model from the ingredients. Magic Circuits are paths connecting to the 'Root' called 'The One'. Magi use these to bring their ideal future closer. However, those of us with meager Magic Circuits must rely only upon our own intellect to make that ideal future."

Shiki: "To make an ideal future......? That means those of the past, they......"

Sion: "They failed. At some point, the alchemists of Atlas stopped predicting the future and devoted themselves to excel at making various things. Another view has it that at some point, an Academy Director constructed a weapon to deny and resist the 'answer' that was discovered. But as a student, it is not something that I know of."

Shiki: "Wh−what......? You mean, you all..."

Sion: "Now we craft weapons. But our foundation is a fusion of rituals and science. You could say the alchemists of Atlas specialize in those techniques."

Shiki: "Oh... like that Etherlite you have?"

Sion: "The Etherlite is a technique handed down in the Eltnam family. The foundation techniques of Atlas are Thought Acceleration and Thought Partition. After that, acceleration and conversion alchemy is acquired."

Shiki: "??? Thought Acceleration just means thinking really fast... but Thought Partition is......"

Sion: "As the name implies. The alchemists of Atlas are able to partition their thoughts to form multiple thought processes. Think of it this way. Normal people have only one 'room' in their brain, so they can focus on only one thought. Thought Partitioning adds partitions inside the one room to create multiple rooms. Alchemists of Atlas must be able to partition their thoughts into three rooms, and five is on the level of genius. It is said there was an Academy Director in the past who was able to achieve eight."

Shiki: "...... Hmmm? So, it's like having two or three calculators in your head?"

Sion: "That is meaningless. There may be multiple thought processes, but only one goal. While the multiple thought processes work on differing problem sets, they work together to generate one overall solution. If it was simply calculation, would not current machines be on the same level? Rather, it is for problem solving, so nothing else even compares."

Shiki: "Wow, then you're incredibly smart. ...... That's right, I remember thinking no matter what I did, you were reading my moves───"

Sion: "I already simulated all of your patterns, so it was only logical that you were defeated. Any situation can change within a second. It is like a wire diagram showing all possibilities. From this sea of possibilities, we calculate the most likely outcome of events and act according to that outcome. Consequently, events occur in that same manner. ...... We do not see the future in combat, but are simply one−step ahead. The possibility for defeat still lay everywhere in our previous fight. Incorrectly choosing a branch of possibility would render everything useless. If you acted completely outside of predictive behavior, out of whim like you normally do, it would not have been surprising if I lost. But, that is the nature of using Thought Acceleration and Thought Partitioning."

Shiki: "Wow, that's pretty amazing. It did feel that way."

Sion: "If there is no predicted 'future with victory', the alchemists of Atlas will not fight. ...... Between you and I, you are undoubtedly superior at fighting. Therefore, I have to use alternative methods to obtain victory. For us, fighting is assembling the proper ingredients ahead of time. However, that only makes us equal. Neither strong physically nor in magic, we predict the future to steer it away from the worst outcome. We invest everything in guiding events towards the single opportunity where the future can be reversed. We fight not the enemy, but our own minds. We can trust only ourselves and wager our lives on a moment of thought───that is the way of the alchemists of Atlas."

Shiki: "Wow. All this talk of calculation and prediction makes it almost sound like gambling."

Sion: "That is not mistaken. That is very close to what we do. Those who gamble must wager calmly while still being very passionate."

Shiki: "(I see. That's how it is.)"

While we talk, we pass by the most prominent part of town.

It's been two hours since we started walking.

The whole time, the town was very quiet and we passed by no one.

There is none of the frying heat from during the day.

The night town is quite cool and suitable for walking.

Sion: "There is no one in the police box. They may be on patrol, but we have not come across them."

Shiki: "Eh───Ah, that's right, now that you mention it. Patrols are meaningless if you do not meet anyone.... Well, maybe that is a good thing."

Sion: "? A good thing? What do you mean?"

Shiki: "Well, if someone saw us, we'd make a strange pair. Don't we stand out a lot?"

Sion: "...... Stand out......? We do?"

Shiki: "We? Dressed strangely like that, if some policeman saw you, he would start to ask questions."

Sion: "...... Ask questions......?"

She starts to look at her clothes strangely with her head tilted to the side.

...... I knew it.

She really does think that her appearance is normal.

Sion: "Perhaps I look strange?"

Shiki: "Yeah, you really stand out."

Sion: ".................."

Ah, she seems a little dissatisfied.

Sion: "We will deal with that when the time comes. If I am asked questions, I will just have to lie."

Shiki: "Okay. So, if asked, I'll say you are my friend, so make sure you match that story."

Sion: "───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"

We seem to have made our way back. Our feet have returned us to the tall skyscraper.


Sion: "Shiki."

Behind me, she suddenly calls my name.

Shiki: "Eh────"

Sion: "Um, please call me Sion. If−if we are friends, we must match the way we call each other."

She───Sion says that and just stands in the road.

Shiki: "────────"

Sion: "────────"

Shiki: "────────"

Sion: "────────"

Shiki: "...... Alright. Well then, Sion, shall we head back?"

Sion: "Yes, I was thinking the same thing."

───My patrol with Sion ends uneventfully.

Without saying why, Sion says we will patrol once more tomorrow.

"Tomorrow at the same time, here."

Saying just that, Sion left.

Until she removes this weird Etherlite, I have no choice but to stay with her.

...... Well, in the first place, even if she didn't coerce me I'd probably go patrolling with her, so it isn't like I'm doing anything different.

That night, the air was maddeningly hot.

It happened in a mountain village.

In that small village that seemed frozen in time, it happened.

It started with a legend.

There was an old story about a woman from another town who had triplets. It was an unfortunate story, as there were two stillbirths.

Certainly, the baby drank the blood of its brothers, became a vampire, and brought evil to the town.

An eternal curse.

The unwritten law permeated the village without notice.

In the words of this country, tatari.

In any case, the legend became real.

The child grew up and became a vampire.

Of course, fearing the curse, the villagers executed the child before that could happen.

Three days later.

The town was annihilated by the vampire.

The dispatched Knights of The Church were also annihilated.

I run, and run, and run.

I run out along the mountain path.

I run until dawn.

But there is no way out.

The curse rebounded on itself.

I curse myself, I cannot escape from myself.

And, before my eyes,

"Something" appears, black as night.


Dawn is too far away.

The vampire who could exist for only one night drank the town dry.

The legend became real.

The curse proved itself real by bringing complete destruction to those who brought it into being───

...... Hot.

It is unnaturally hot and there is no wind.

Even though I am used to the desert, I cannot bear the heat of this country.

My throat is incredibly dry.

Is it because I slept outside? My skin has become very dry, almost like a shell.

Sion: "Water───I want, water."

My mouth runs without thought as my mind starts to awaken.

Sion: "...... Right. At this time, of course it would be at its worst."

It is noon.

Last night, I parted with Shiki and slept here.

I have been asleep for around eight hours.

Sion: "I overslept. It is dulling my mind."

Rubbing my pained temples, I take a deep breath.

Sion: "...... Amazing. Even though I said intellect is our only weapon, Shiki still does not understand."

In the first place, I doubt how much he listened to our conversation last night.

Sion: "...... Well, there certainly is no need for him to understand, but......"

To explain it, first explain it to yourself. Even if I have no more ties to Atlas, I will still be an alchemist my entire life.

───Thought Acceleration is our magic.

Fast thinking is only a prerequisite.

Thought Acceleration itself is applying that ability to multi−expansion diagrams.

And furthermore, superior alchemists must have multiple sectors in their brains.

If Thought Acceleration is proof of an alchemist, then the number of sectors is proof of their facilities.

Through Thought Partition, a superior alchemist can create between three and five rooms.

I gave the example of dividing one 'thought' into rooms to Shiki, but that would be the limit of a strictly average alchemist.

Superior alchemists may perform first−order tetrations of their 'thought' into rooms.

These 'rooms' are synergistic.

Four Thought Partitions allow 256 thought processes.

But, that does not simply mean 256 alchemist calculations can be achieved.

The 256 accelerated intelligences do not work independently, but constantly cycle towards the same goal.

The pinnacle of alchemy is creating a miracle.

That is the magic of alchemy.

We are weak.

Our bodies are hereditarily frail and our Magic Circuits are below average.

The source of alchemy as derived by our ancestors is different from what we practice.

Seeking to avoid the final end, we created various weapons.

However, the truth is, all we do now is make weapons to protect ourselves.

Not for results; just to make weapons.

Consequently, our Academy has only one rule.

"Nothing is forbidden except the release of creation secrets."

Do not associate with Atlas.

That was the line from the Central Association.

Before we knew it, we were treated as a tolerated cancer.

We do nothing.

We are the magi who descend into the pit solely to create phenomenal weapons.

Our exposure would be nothing less than tearing open the seal on every weapon we created and unleashing their destructive force on an unsuspecting world.

That is why we were given our name.

───The alchemists of Atlas.

The name of the giant who silently supported the heavens.

Sion: "...... A fitting name for the clueless, secluded alchemists at the Atlas Academy."

───It is not very surprising to feel this way.

I am still young, so I still have dreams.

As years pass, I will no longer be able to see them.

Sion: "...... There is still time before nightfall. Perhaps I should gather some information."

Shiki is helping me reach my goal, so I should also help him find the vampires.

After all, he is───

Sion: "My partner."

Furthermore, he is the same age as I.

It is strange, but I was never able to envision those of the same age as I until I left.

In other words, I never knew what it was to be with someone my own age.

With him being the opposite gender, it makes it even farther beyond my understanding.

Sion: "...... Hm. I have gathered enough data on Shiki. There is nothing I do not understand."

Therefore I can trust that he is helping me.

The command to 'betray' is not even present in his operating logic, so even without a contract, he could not betray me.

Sion: "───That is why I have to match his efforts, at least just a little bit."

I stand up as I speak this excuse.

...... And then it occurs to me.

Is this not the first time I ever had to give an excuse?────

Misaya at day

The appearance of the town has not changed.

The streets are still empty.

The heat radiates off them like smoke.

Even though people pass me by, if I look behind me, no one is there... only a strange emptiness.

Sion: "────────"


The clear sunlight melting everything white.

I quickly enter a large building to draw information from the minds gathered there.

My two names are Spirit Hacker and Sion Eltnam.

That is why I have this monofilament, Etherlite, to allow forceful intervention in the nervous system.

Because the intent is not to destroy the mind, you cannot call it cracking.

...... No, that is not right.

That is not even necessary.

I am only gathering information about the vampire which has returned.

That is something I can find quickly.

Sion: "............ Ah."

This tiredness will not go away.

My throat is painfully dry, and my tired body creaks and groans in protest.

Sion: "Ah────ahhh"

I expel the air from my lungs.

It is like breathing fire.

Sion: "Can't...... breathe."

I feel slightly dizzy.

If I do not rest, if I do not sleep properly, I will be defeated.

I have two or three days left.

Sion: "But, I can still take action."

If I can move, I'm still alive.

I'm still injured from last night's battle, but it won't slow me down.

If I return to my hastily prepared bed, it will soon be night.

Information collection ended easily enough.

It does seem that most of the citizens have heard of the second coming of the "vampire."

But it is only thin rumor, not too different from the information that Shiki knows.

Sion: "...... All the same, no one denies the rumor. Even if the credibility is nonexistent, it is a rumor accepted naturally."

Everyone seems to feel something bad is going to happen.

The emptiness of the town has crept into their hearts.

The town will bake in the heat today, and probably tomorrow as well.

The stage is set, a town under attack by fierce heat of record high temperatures.

The spawning of strange paradoxes of unknown origin.

Terrible ideas, ill omens, visits to the temple portend bad luck.

Dreadful thoughts, feelings of misfortune, ill omens.

Coincidence? The dark night where "uneasiness" fed by anxiety becomes reality.

Even though not one murder has occurred, everyone says it "happened", and the vampire has returned.


During the deep night in the empty town, a lurking shadow which wanders the streets.

Sion: "...... Soon the moon will form a perfect circle in the sweltering night, which seems itself to be in agony. Until then, I..."

I must guide this loose 'rumor' into a definite shape.


Sion arrives according to schedule.

Sion: "You are right on time, Shiki."

Shiki: "Yeah, I managed to sneak out of the mansion. Akiha was acting strange and pacing back and forth in the lobby...... Maybe she found out about me leaving at night."

Sion: "I do not think so. According to the data I took from you, Tohno Akiha does not seem to be one to have such devious surveillance."

Shiki: "...... Hey. That's exactly how it is."

Sion: "That is entirely your affair, it does not relate to me. More importantly, how are matters with the True Ancestor?"

Shiki: "Ah, about that, I couldn't catch her. I left her a note in her room, so something may happen tomorrow."

Sion: "Because she is chasing the vampire out of worry for you, she may not come near you until everything is settled."

Sion: "There is a possibility we should consider. What if the rumored vampire is not the one from last year, but is one who has been in this town since then?"

Shiki: "───Sion, you..."

Sion: "In the first place, the True Ancestor is the strongest of the vampire race. It is stranger for her to live in a human town for a year without anything happening."

Shiki: "That's wrong. Arcueid doesn't drink human blood, you just don't know that. Arcueid───"

Sion: "Is not a vampire? You may say that, but that is what a True Ancestor is."

Sion: "Would it not be strange for a vampire to return to this town while the True Ancestor lived here? There must be a model for all these rumors."

Shiki: "A model......? Isn't that the incident from last year?"

Sion: "That is not the model, but the origin. For this rumor to emerge, there had to have been an eye witness. Putting aside what is true or false, does there not have to be some 'shadowy figure wandering the night' on which to base these rumors?"

Shiki: "......?"

Sion is a little hard to understand.

Sion: "Whether a rumor is true or not, the model for it has to have existed. The True Ancestor is probably searching for that model now. It is good even if we just find the model. I can meet Arcueid, and you can meet the rumored vampire. I think it is very simple."

Shiki: "...... I see. Now that you say it, it does make sense."

Sion: "Doesn't it? Then let us begin patrolling. I collected information earlier today, so we can search the areas where the origin of the rumors is most likely to be."

Misayaa at night

Shiki: "Next is the alley? That's a pretty bad place to be."

Sion: "It is better to say that the conditions are ripe for it to be the place. It is a dead space in town, so it is ideal for────"

Shiki: "Sion? What's wrong, did something happen?"

Sion: "The smell of blood."

Shiki: "Eh......?"

...... Sion brings a hand to her face which is clearly resisting nausea.

She may think it smells very thick, but I don't feel it at all.

It may be because I am somewhat desensitized to the smell......

Sion: "You are simply able to distinguish between what is fake and what is real. This is the scent of artificial blood, somewhat fitting for this town────"

Shiki: "Where are you going, Sion!?"

I chase after Sion.

She enters the alley.

Shiki: "It really does smell like blood───"

There is nothing different in the alley.

Maybe it's because of the rumors about this place.

But the image of the blood−stained alley floats in my────

Shiki: "────!?"

Sion: "Who is there!?"

Shiki: "!?"

Something quick.

Whatever was hiding in the shadows runs from the alley without a sound.

In that instant, I see long hair fluttering in the air.

It reaches far down to the back. Long, long red hair.

Without a doubt, that is───

Sion: "Shiki, follow!"

Shiki: "Y────yeah, got it!"

The town is silent.

Only our footsteps echo in the air as we chase it.

Akiha: "Ni, Nii−san......!?"

Shiki: "Akiha──what are you doing here?"

Akiha: "That, that is my line! Lights out has long since passed, so what are you doing outside of the mansion!?"

...... Akiha shakes visibly.

Does she have something to hide?

Her normal calm and cool manner is nowhere to be seen.

Shiki: "...... What am I doing? I'm searching for the rumored vampire. I'm not doing anything bad, so that should suffice for explanation."

Akiha: "Eh...... yes, that is...... certainly an easily understood explanation."

Shiki: "Alright, your turn...... What are you doing out this late? I know it was a misunderstanding earlier, but what was that all about?"

Akiha: "Ah───no, I have...... have nothing to hide, so, nothing, um......"

Shiki: "Um?"

Akiha: "It is hard to explain, so I do not wish to......"

Akiha fidgets with her fingers.

...... I don't know if that really was her in the alley, but it is clear she is hiding something.

Shiki: "Hey. If you're that suspicious, then I know something's going on. It's okay, so just say it."

Akiha: "────"

Sion: "Shiki, we are wasting time. She does not seem inclined to tell us. And if she is possessed, she may not have any memory of it, so she may not be able to answer."

Shiki: "Sion......? What do you mean by possessed?"

Akiha: "...... Wait. Who is that woman, Nii−san?"

Shiki: "Who? Well────"

As I answer, a chill runs through me.

Akiha: "────────"

I don't know what happened to her disarray from earlier, but Akiha stares at me harder than usual.

Shiki: "A−Akiha, she's────"

Akiha: "Yes, I understand, Nii−san."

Liar! You don't understand at all!

Akiha: "Of course I trust you, Nii−san. But what to do now? Walking around late at night with a girl, you can't complain even if you are misunderstood, can you!?"

Shiki: "..............."

The Lady Akiha chooses a rather roundabout way of saying, "I will not hear any excuses."

This is pure intimidation.

Shiki: "No, you have it wrong! There's a reason for this────"

Sion: "Shiki, that is your sister, right?"

Shiki: "Yes, but please be quiet for a bit. I'm a little busy."

Sion: "That can wait until later. I wish to examine her, so please catch her. If she resists, you can use force."

Shiki: "Whaaa────!"

Akiha: "────"

Shiki: "Wha, what are you saying, Sion! Akiha isn't joking around, so please don't say such ridiculous things!"

Sion: "Shiki. You know you have no right to refuse me."

Shiki: "Yeah, I know, but I can't! Even if you fry my brain, I can't do that to her!"

And what Akiha will do to me will be far, far worse......!

Sion: "...... It cannot be helped. Well, certainly I must show you how things stand at least once."

Sion twitches her finger.

And then, my body starts to move on its own......?

Shiki: "Eh────Ehhh!?"

Sion: "Did I not say the Etherlite is connected to your nerves? This is its original purpose."

Shiki: "Uwaaa, stupid, stoooooopppp! This, this is a breach of human rights, this is heartless, do you enjoy doing this to others? Don't think this is over you idiiiiooooot!!!!!"

Sion: "...... Wonderful. Thanks to your insults, I do not feel guilty. Thank you for your help, Shiki."

Shiki: "Waaahh────! No way, no way! Give me another chance!"

Sion: "I decline. If you insult me like this again, I do not think I could be calm enough to continue."

Sion's fingers move again.

Totally controlled, Tohno Shiki grabs his knife.

Shiki: "Gyaaaa────! Don't make me do this!"

I scream.


Vermillion Akiha: "────"

...... With her red hair swirling, she smiles fearlessly.

...... That is anger. Unbelievable anger.

It is a great offense to the Lady Akiha for me to not refuse Sion's order to capture her.

Vermillion Akiha: "...... Oh? I do not quite know all the details, but..."

...... Oh, please just let me explain everything.

Vermillion Akiha: "It seems you are in dire need of a rough awakening, Nii−san."

Akiha cracks her knuckles.

This, this isn't an awakening, it's a punishment〜〜〜!

Shiki vs Akiha

Akiha wins

Shiki: "Ah, you got me."

Wham, thud, thud.

After taking Akiha's (merciless) attack, Akiha's brother Tohno Shiki (that's me) rolls on the ground.

Shiki: "Dang, I let my guard down......!"

...... I let out those words of regret.

If I was truly serious, Akiha would probably escalate things as well.

Keeping it at this level means I'll have to be the one that holds back.

I manage to resist Sion's Etherlite enough to lose.

Well, I am being the true model of an older brother.

You could call me the God of Older Brothers.

Shiki: "Ah...... I can't, move......"

The God of Older Brothers acts defeated with all of his might. But,

Sion: "Shiki, you lost on purpose, didn't you───!?"

Akiha: "Nii−san, you held back, didn't you......!"

They both yell at me at the same time.

I never had much of a chance in the first place.

Akiha: "Do you enjoy making a fool of me so much when you hold back!? I demand you stand up and start over, Nii−san!"

Shiki: "D−don't say that! Maybe I was holding back, but you really did hit me hard, so I can't attack now! And if you knew I was holding back, you could've held back and listened to me!"

Akiha: "Ah...... That, that is true."

Shiki: "See? Geez, you're going to get in trouble one of these days, flying off the handle like that. Whenever you're like that it's bad unless you calm down."

Sion: "──────I understand now."

Sion: "Then, no matter what happened, you did not intend to fight her."

Shiki: "Of course. No matter how hard you tell me to, I wouldn't do it."

Sion: "...... Very well. Then I will capture her. Please wait on the sides, Shiki."

Shiki: "...... Hey now. It isn't just that I don't want to fight with Akiha, it's that I don't want Akiha to fight with anyone. If you are looking for a fight, I'll give you one, Sion."

Sion: "Can you fight me in your condition? Your chances of victory are extremely low."

Shiki: "I'll fight anyway. And you probably couldn't beat her. Against someone she doesn't know, she has no mercy. Once she gets serious, she won't lose."

Sion: "...... I see, you have given me a few more details. Certainly, she is a strong opponent and not one to face without preparation."

Shiki: "Then..."

Sion: "...... I understand. Our goal is to search for the vampire. I will just have to wait until later to obtain a sample from Tohno Akiha. First, we must find the vampire."

Shiki: "───Thank goodness. You anger as easily as Akiha does."

Sion: "She does not have a short temper. It is only because you say the things you do. You can tell just by looking."

Shiki: "Eh────?"

Akiha: "Oh? Who gets angry easily, Nii−san?"

Shiki: "! N,no, I was wrong... I just let it slip out, I just......"

Akiha: "Hm. I will listen very carefully to everything you have to say when we get back. ...... And you over there, are you really looking for the vampire?"

Sion: "That is a fact. I am receiving help from Shiki for that purpose."

Sion answers without hesitation.

...... Well, that is a fact, but she really hasn't said the most important part, has she?

Akiha: "In that case, let us make a compromise. I do not know what your goal is, but if you will not fight me, I will not fight you either. ...... I suppose our goals are the same, so would it not be better to talk things over?"

Shiki: "? Goals are the same......?"

Sion: "────"

Akiha: "Normally I would finish a fight, but I will stop here. ...... To be honest, I am interested in your abilities."

Akiha starts to laugh suspiciously.

Sion: "That is true. Having more people would help."

Amazingly, Sion agrees right away.

Akiha: "Good, you seem to understand things well. Lately, I have dealt only with someone who will not listen, so I think we will get along well."

Sion: "I agree. It would be best if we all got along."

Two girls making eye contact and being in agreement.

Shiki: "...... Uwaa, I have a bad feeling about this......"

A chill runs through me.

The Battling Ladies

Battle Princess

Explaining things was rather quick.

About how Sion was wanting to cure vampirism an how we needed to negotiate with Arcueid.

And how I was looking for the rumored vampire.

And how our goals overlapped so we patrolled the town.

Akiha: "I understand. Certainly, you do seem to need Nii−san's help."

Akiha: "If there is any fault here, it is only with Nii−san for doing things on his own. I must also scold Hisui for allowing this behavior."

Shiki: "Hisui has nothing to do with this. I snuck out from under her watch to go outside."

Akiha: "That may be true, but she does check up on your room periodically, right? She had to have realized you were not there."

Shiki: "...... Uh, that's because I masterfully crafted a fake Shiki−kun doll and wrapped cardboard around it to help camouflage it..."

Akiha: "There are no servants in our house who would be fooled by such a teddy bear. In the first place, how did you ever get such a thing, Nii−san?"

Shiki: "Uh, it was Miyako−chan's birthday present, but for some reason I ended up getting it."

It happened a little bit ago.

I heard from Keiko−san that Miyako−chan wanted some elegant glasses, but Miyako−chan didn't say anything.

And when it was time to go, Miyako−chan suddenly appeared carrying the large bear, saying "just take it, okay?"

That is how my room ended up with a half−dead teddy bear looking like it was on the receiving end of a Hachimon Kaida.

Akiha: "Is that so? Even though she is not too bright, sometimes she is quick on the uptake."

Shiki: "It's because the Arimas did take care of me. ...... Well, it was Keiko−san who told me to come over because it was Miyako−chan's birthday though."

Akiha: "That is true. You do not appear to be one who would remember a girl's birthday."

Shiki: "Uh───well, I do remember, but..."

It usually ends up being the day after.

Sion: "Are the two of you finished?"

Shiki: "Eh!? Ah, uh, yeah, whenever is good."

Akiha: "Yes, forgive me. We were carried away in our conversation."

Sion: "Then we will return to the main topic. Tohno Akiha, why are you wandering the streets at night?"

Akiha: "The same reason as Nii−san. I wanted to confirm the rumor of the vampire in town."

Shiki: "I thought so, but why? Since it's you, um..."

Akiha: "You think I would use others? Yes, normally I would not do this myself, but because of what happened last year, it is something I must do myself."

Shiki: "What's that about?"

Akiha: "Wh−'what's that about?' That's────"

Sion: "It deals with the dark side of the Tohno family. The events of last year dealt with the concealment of Tohno SHIKI's existence. The managing of this region's darkness falls upon the Tohno family; if they were seen as incapable, it would destroy the equilibrium of the area."

Akiha: "...... As you say. Such investigation is normally delegated to branch families. But if it deals with Tohno SHIKI, it cannot be given to them to handle. After all, Tohno SHIKI was my brother. If it was known he was not punished for succumbing to the Tohno blood───"

Sion: "There would be no standing for the founding Tohno family or for the eldest son Shiki. Is that why the Tohno family stood aside during the abnormal incident last year? Which is why it has no choice to act itself if this vampire is an extension of the events last year."

Akiha: "Yes, but the only people to be trusted are Hisui and Kohaku. We cannot have them encounter a vampire, correct? That is why I have to face this problem myself."

Shiki: "...... Oh, is that it? I understand perfectly well."

Shiki: "But Akiha, aren't you being a little rash? If you knew it was a vampire from the beginning, isn't it dangerous by yourself? I'll deal with the vampire, so you should go bac to the mansion."

Akiha: "That is unacceptable. It is the duty of the Tohno family to deal with non−humans in this town. ...... We lost the initiative last year, but we must settle this before any victims appear."

Shiki: "Of course, so let me and Sion handle it. It's okay if you just watch things at the mansion."

Akiha: "Nii−san, if you are worried about me, then I will be angry. This is my duty as the head of the Tohno family, not some cheap sense of justice. I am just−"

Sion: "Could you leave the argument at that? Shiki, I think Tohno Akiha's actions are correct."

Shiki: "...... I know that. But she is by herself. If anything happened, I−"

Sion: "Both of you are by yourselves, correct? So you should work together."

Sion: "How is this? Since our goals are the same, we should all work together. Frankly, her abilities in combat are easier to understand than yours, Shiki. You are a wild card, but your strength is not reliable. Tohno Akiha is a queen when it comes to getting results."

Shiki: "....................."

Sion: "Tohno Akiha. Your opinion of this is?"

Akiha: "It goes without saying, right? I find no flaws in your plan."

Akiha smiles and extends her hand.

Sion: "────"

After freezing for a moment, Sion returns Akiha's handshake with some difficulty.

Shiki: "...... Man. More than anything else, I wanted to avoid getting you all involved."

Akiha, Hisui, and Kohaku−san are my symbols of peaceful living.

So I didn't want them to be involved in this bloody affair.

Shiki: "Oh well. But that's enough for tonight. It'll soon be dawn, so the vampire won't be around."

Akiha: "That is true. ...... Yes, let's end here for now."

And then, Akiha whispers something in Sion's ear.

Akiha: "...... By the way. It seems you did something to Nii−san. What was it?"

Sion: "...... The Etherlite? It......"

They start to talk between themselves.

It's hard to hear them, but it appears she is explaining how she persuaded (coerced) me to help her.

Akiha: "...... Yes, yes, I see......"

The Lady Akiha seems to be eagerly paying attention.

Akiha: "Then, that means────"

Sion: "You cannot take away their free will, but you can restrain and oversee their actions."

Akiha: "────That is absolutely wonderful!"

A resounding shout.

Akiha−san tightens her fists as she says "wonderful".

Akiha: "Sion, do you have a place to stay!?"

Sion: "No, I do not have a fixed location."

Akiha: "Then it's decided. From now on, please feel free to use our mansion. We can talk as much as we please there!"

Akiha pulls and tugs at Sion insistently.

Shiki: "............ Sigh"

I guess it can't be helped.

Sighing, I follow the two of them back.

The next day

And it's night again.

The three of us go looking around town.

It seems Sion and Akiha have hit it off, because...

Akiha: "So you're saying the rumors in town are centered in three areas, Sion?"

Sion: "Yes. There are three models for the 'Return of Last Year's Serial Killer'. There is one rumor which involves a blonde, female vampire."

Akiha: "Hmph, that is not a rumor, but reality. Rumors happen because she willfully walks around town."

Sion: "However, you cannot speak of others. The long, black−haired killer must be based upon you. Even though you have not appeared before as many people as Shiki or the True Ancestor, your actions have carried a lot of weight."

Akiha: "Ah...... certainly, I must be cautious. I will take care from now on, so let us leave that aside."

Their conversation seems very harmonious.

Speaking of harmonious, Sion has removed her Etherlite from me.

Sion nodded in understanding after Akiha said, "he is my Nii−san, so..."

Shiki: "Hey you two, let's go. The back alley and the main street seem pretty empty, so next will be the park."

Akiha: "Yes, if we cannot find anything out of the ordinary, we should try something else."

The town is just as usual.

After baking during the day, heat still rises from the streets at night.

There is no wind; there are neither cars nor people on the street.

The only things to be seen are the solitary lights of various vending machines.

Come to think of it, it's almost like a picture someone drew.

Just like a photograph.

The sunshine and the insubstantial rumors these past few days.

Thanks to that, the silent town riddled with fiction barely seems real────


Akiha: "I do not detect anything out of place here. ...... It seems to have ran away. Perhaps the rumored vampire does not want to hunt people like us."

Sion: "...... Akiha. There is some merit to using someone as a decoy, but you are not suited for it. It would have to be someone who does not possess such solid air of unearthliness about them."

Akiha: "Oh my, that's a little rude, Sion. Could you not say I have an air of wisdom instead? Furthermore, you are not one to speak so of others. You may have a point, but the way I see it────"

Shiki: "────! Look out, Sion!"

Sion: "!?"

Shiki: "Who────"

Ciel: "That is my line. Why are you with her?"

Sion: "────"

Akiha: "────"

Shiki: "Se−Senpai......!?"

Ciel: "...... And Akiha−san, too? That means this cannot be the worst possible situation───unless of course if this Tohno Akiha is a fake, then it will be even worse. Are you the real Akiha−san?"

Shiki: "? Real? Why are you asking for something so obvious? No, more importantly, why did you throw your Black Keys all of a sudden!?"

Akiha: "...... Sion. Nii−san bursting in is a little troublesome. Could you please silence him a little?"

Sion: "...... (nod)"

Shiki: "────!, ────, ────!"

Akiha: "Very well done. ───Now then, shall we talk things over, Senpai?"

Ciel: "...... (It seems Tohno−kun is just wrapped up in this......)"

Ciel: "Very well. It seems only Tohno−kun doesn't know what is going on. Do you have anything to add, Akiha−san?"

Akiha: "It goes without saying. I am none other than Tohno Akiha. And what of you, are you the real Senpai? I always knew you were a little wild, but I never pictured you to be a rogue that would attack people for no reason."

Ciel: "...... I see. Then you are simply protecting Tohno−kun. Then I will leave you alone. You two, please do not interfere with this."

Akiha: "────(Clench)"

Ciel: "Now then, Sion Eltnam Atlasia. An order has been issued by The Church to take you into protective custody, or failing that, to capture you by any means necessary. A similar request has been issued by the Atlas Association. Do you have anything to say in your defense?"

Sion: "──I have nothing to say. But I will not let you capture me. If you try, you will be destroyed."

Ciel: "You will not comply with The Church's orders? ...... Very well──As an agent of The Church, I am placing you under arrest. I have no intention of currying favor with the Mages Association, but you are an existence which must be punished."

Sion: "────"

Akiha: "Is that all? You made a big speech, but that's all you want to do? I have to remember that you have not progressed at all. In the end, you are just a dog of The Church."

Ciel: "───What does that mean, Akiha−san?"

Akiha: "Is it not true? You all view things only in black and white. If someone is 'black', no matter how good they are, you ignore it and kill them. Really, just what century are you all from? All the same, I thought you were different. After all, were you not 'black' once?"

Ciel: "───Are you grouping me with yourself, Tohno Akiha?"

Akiha: "Yes. No matter what the present, you cannot change the past."

Ciel: "...... Very well, this makes matters more expedient. I will take time to cross−examine you about what you have been doing these past few days."

Akiha: "────Oh? And what does that mean, Senpai?"

Ciel: "Is it not obvious? All rumors have some grain of truth. In the rumors about vampires, a girl with long black hair appears. As an agent of The Church, it is my duty to investigate the truth of this matter."

Akiha: "Yes. I am completely innocent, but please feel free to investigate all you want, Senpai. ───However, If you so much as try and come near me, it will cost you."

Ciel: "I look forward to it. Between my cost and your humiliation, I will make yours the greater───!"

Akiha: "She's coming, Sion. Be careful!"

Sion: "I understand. Shiki, I have released you, so please fight!"

Shiki: "───Oh, I can move...... Wait, what is this!? You're all just making a big fuss, do you want to fight so badly──!?"

Shiki/Sion/Akiha vs Ciel

Shiki/Sion/Akiha win

Ciel: "...... That is far enough. We should stop; at this rate, we will both be defeated."

Akiha: "Don't be saying that now. Once started, things should be carried through to the end......!"

Ciel: "Your spirit is admirable, but do you truly feel that way, Akiha−san? Are you saying you want to fight until the end?"

Akiha: "Sst......!"

Sion: "Akiha, the agent is correct. If we continue like this, we will be defeated. I will cease combat."

Akiha: "Sion......! Fine, Nii−san and I will────"

Shiki: "I am also against it. You know already, don't you, Akiha? Senpai wasn't fighting seriously. Even though she wishes to take Sion alive and it is three against one, it is still uneven. If she does get serious, we will lose."

Akiha: "────"

Ciel: "It seems you understand. ...... But, it would take too much time to pursue you. My priority assignment is to take care of the vampire in this town. I cannot waste any of my strength dealing with you all."

Sion: "Then you are overlooking me until you stop this vampire?"

Ciel: "My orders from The Church are to dispose of the vampire Tatari. Catching you is simply a request from the Association. It is simple to guess my priorities as an agent."

Ciel: "Certainly I can't leave you alone. But as long as you are with Tohno−kun, you will not attack anyone. Being with him means you can't do anything bad."

Ciel: "And since Akiha−san is with him, then that means you can't trick him, either. Can I trust you on that point, Akiha−san?"

Akiha: "Of course. Besides, Sion is not one to trick others."

Ciel: "So you do trust her. I don't really mind, but I wash my hands of this affair. The signs of the vampire grow stronger each day. It will definitely appear at any moment now. After I deal with it, catching her will be my priority. If you interfere with me before then, I will not show you any mercy."

The One Called Chaos

Sin, you are guilty

Shiki: "───Sion. About what Senpai said earlier......"

Sion: "Yes. What is it, Shiki?"

Shiki: "...... How she would have to take you into protective custody and barring that, use force. I imagine that wouldn't be so gentle."

Akiha: "Nii−san, aren't there more important things we need to worry about, such as────"

Sion: "It is alright, Akiha. There are some things I intentionally have kept quiet about, and it is the bare minimum for partners to answer when asked questions."

Sion: "As the agent says, I am a wanted criminal. Shiki. I told you how I belonged to the Atlas Academy, right?"

Shiki: "(Nod)"

Sion: "I became estranged from Atlas. Those who learn in Atlas must stay their entire lives...... well, it is not anything official... Leaving would be a violation of an unwritten law. I have been breaking that law for three years."

Shiki: "...... So all that protective custody is just to return you. But still, that doesn't mean Senpai had to attack you."

Sion: "...... Yes. Atlas is one part of the Magi Association. Even if she says there was a request of The Church, the two organizations have always been antagonistic. For The Church to accept such a request means they both agree I must be caught."

Shiki: "Then vampires are involved?"

Sion: "───It all happened three years ago. I fulfilled the request by The Church for an advisor from Atlas to deal with a Dead Apostle. ...... This Dead Apostle was once an alchemist. Representing Atlas, I joined in the punitive expedition of The Knights. ...... It ended tragically. All the Knights were destroyed and the entire village the Apostle took root in was destroyed. As the only survivor, I did not report back to The Church nor did I return to Atlas. I have been pursuing that Apostle since then."

Shiki: "So that's why you're being chased? Then, the vampire in this town is..."

Sion: "Three years ago, the vampire I failed to catch. The Dead Apostle named Tatari."

Shiki: ".................."

In that case, things are simple.

Even a dense guy like me can see how things are.

Shiki: "Sion. You already took part in The Church's effort to exterminate the vampire. So why are you still pursuing it?"

Sion: "That is......"

Sion stops.

This is the first time I've seen her hesitate like this.

...... But, that must be why.

What's been nagging me since I first met her.

The girl who walks around only at night.

Senpai said she can't leave Sion alone.

And the reason she seeks a cure for vampirism... That has to be────

Akiha: "Enough already, this is no time to ask questions, right!? If what Ciel−senpai says is correct, the vampire will appear soon, right? Then we have to hurry before there are any victims!"

Sion: "Akiha, you..."

Akiha: "Talking just wastes time! Sion, if you need to tell us something, isn't it something else? We don't even know what the vampire looks like!"

Shiki: "───That's right. Akiha's right. What we were talking about doesn't really matter."

Akiha: "Of course. Goodness, you always get so off−track, Nii−san. Please be more careful in the future."

Shiki: "Sorry, I'll keep that in mind."

Sion: "As long as you understand, it is alright. So, Sion?"

Sion: "Ah────yes, Akiha?"

Akiha: "Could you tell us about this Tatari? It is hard to fight without knowing what kind of enemy we face."

Sion: "...... Yes. Tatari is the alias of a Dead Apostle. This individual does not have a specific name, so it was given the nickname Tatari."

Shiki: "Tatari...... You mean, like a curse?"

Sion: "Yes. It comes from the language of this country. A custom within a small, enclosed community. A curse which occurs from breaking a taboo. The Dead Apostle in this town is one which is 'a curse born from human anxiety'."

Akiha: "So it doesn't have a true form?"

Sion: "It takes form, but only for one night. Tatari embodies the uneasiness of others. It uses widespread rumors to accomplish this. The Dead Apostle Tatari has no form. Because it has no form, it does not exist. The container used by Tatari is just a rumor until given reality."

Shiki: "...... I don't really get it, but you mean the Dead Apostle makes rumors real?"

Sion: "That is the end result. There are some conditions, such as the rumor's basis needing to be humanoid. As Tatari was originally human, it cannot act without human intelligence. There are not many communities in which Tatari can occur. In civilized society, rumors of killer vampires are usually not believed."

Shiki: "Humanoid...... Is that because a rumor about a vampire is something anyone can know?"

Sion: "It is because the rumor needs some basis in reality. A woman with blonde hair who appears every night, last year a young man wandering the streets with a knife, a girl swaggering in town with long, fluttering hair. It is obvious they are based on all of you. And the incident with the vampire was also real. Tatari uses those rumors to possess those people already there. If the rumors of 'a woman with blonde hair who appears every night' start to become coherent, Tatari will collect those rumors and truly possess the form of the rumored 'woman with blonde hair who appears every night'."

Shiki: "...... So that's why Senpai asked about real and fake...... Then, there's a chance a fake me or a fake Akiha could appear?"

Sion: "Yes. But you know there is 'a killer other than yourselves'. Even if Tatari can assume your form, it cannot possess you."

Akiha: "...... Hmm. I have a question. This town has changed; is it the work of the vampire?"

Sion: "Yes, it is a Reality Marble. With smaller, isolated communities becoming less common, it is difficult to create abnormalities in large areas."

Akiha: "I see. Then if we defeat Tatari, we can say goodbye to this sweltering summer. ───I feel very motivated now."

Akiha smiles rather fearlessly.

Despite her cool appearances, she has been affected by the heat as well.

Man, it's because she insists on being tough and not using the air conditioner.

Shiki: "Okay, we've got an idea of what our opponent is. So, Sion, has this Tatari guy appeared yet?"

Sion: "Tatari occurs on the full moon. Whether that is tonight or tomorrow, it intends to make a massacre."

Shiki: "Do you know where it will appear?"

Sion: "The options are narrowing. If it occurred today, it would without a doubt be the back alley."

Back Alley

────We arrive at the back alley.

Everything is silent.

The air is saturated with oppressive heat and a sense of foreboding.

Shiki: "...... Appear here? What shape will Tatari take?"

Sion: "...... It is not determined yet. Perhaps the True Ancestor, or something close to her. The rumor which causes the most uneasiness is Tatari's goal. The strongest form in this town is the True Ancestor, so Tatari may take that form. That was the originally planned curse."

Akiha: "Taking the shape of human rumors. That means it cannot manipulate them. Even if Tatari desires to become Arcueid, if the people in town fear something else, it cannot become a True Ancestor."

Sion: "Exactly. Tatari becomes not the strongest existence, but the most ominous. With that in mind, it may become a Dead Apostle that murdered much in the past."

Shiki: "...... I see."

That helps. I wouldn't want to fight even a fake Arcueid.

That wouldn't feel right, and it would be hard to win.

Shiki: "...... A Dead Apostle from the past?"

A truly unfortunate image.

Certainly SHIKI──Roa was a vampire.

But, I can't equate him with a killer.

He did both good and bad.

So a killer that was a true butcher would be────


Sion: "It is coming. It would have been the strongest tomorrow; perhaps the calculations were off...... The two of you, please be careful."

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"

Shiki: "────!? Wait, why is he......!"

Sion: "Shiki, you thought of that here!?"

Shiki: "Eh───What, it's my fault!?"

Sion: "Did I not say Tatari receives the influences of others rather than possessing them!? An impossible 'monster' emerging is the result of people's anxiety. For you, the reappearance of Nrvnqsr Chaos is the worst curse possible. That is why Tatari could not even wait until a full moon to appear!"

Shiki: "Tss───"

Sion: "───I have no way of capturing Chaos. At this rate, it will be like three years ago───!"

Akiha: "This is no time to be bickering! I don't know what that is, but if it is an enemy, we must defeat it! If you two don't feel like fighting, then stand back!"

Sion: "...... Y−you are right. As you say, we should not be distracted. Whatever Tatari becomes, we will capture it here───!"

Sion faces the vampire with her thread in hand.

After the black chaos forms, it takes the shape of that butcher from last year.

Sion: "Tatari, I will show you what it means to escape your fate for so long......!"

Sion/Shiki/Akiha vs Nrvnqsr(Tatari)

Sion/Shiki/Akiha win

The fight is over.

The Dead Apostle Tatari in the guise of Nrvnqsr from last year crumbles away.

Shiki: "............"

It really was incomplete.

If it was truly Nrvnqsr, it would not have been this easy.

Akiha: "It is over and the battle is decided, vampire."

Akiha walks closer.

Probably to finish it off.

The black vampire...

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────KI"

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "KIKI, KIKIKI────"


It starts to laugh as if broken.

Sion: "────Don't tell me..."

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "Hah, what a farce. Even after these favorable conditions, for my body to be defeated..."

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "But, that is only temporary. Nothing can stop Tatari. Even if I am destroyed completely here, Tatari will recur.
Circumstantially reliant eternity. That is what I am."

Sion: "...... I knew it...... just destroying you would not end your phenomenon, Walachia."

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "Indeed. Too bad, girl. You cannot heal yourself. You should just wait until my unpredictable return on the edge of night, dragging your dirty, filthy limbs behind you!"

Sion: "............ Then, there is one thing left to do."

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "Most assuredly. But can you do it, Eltnam?"

Sion approaches Nrvnqsr slowly.

Shiki: "Stop it, Sion. Let Akiha finish it. You won't know what'll happen if you get close......!"

Akiha: "Nii−san is right. It is best to destroy something like this from afar."

Sion: "...... I appreciate your thoughts, but I──"

Sion speaks, but at the same time, that thing rises up.

"Get down, Akiha!"

A sudden flash.

It has to be the fading Nrvnqsr's last resistance.

"Sion, you too────"

I look for Sion, but I can't see her.

But still,

in the sea of whiteness,

Nrvnqsr's body is breaking apart.

And towards it, someone's figure moving with a speed I've never seen before.

It runs towards Nrvnqsr,

and without any hesitation,

bites the black vampire───

Shiki: "────"

The light fades.

Eyes closed, Akiha is crouched in a ready posture.

Sion is──right where she was, as if shielding Akiha.

Akiha: "It seems it is over. That was probably its death throes earlier."

Sion: "Yes, it must have been the release of stored data. After the diffusion of data, Tatari no longer has a form, at least in this town."

Akiha: "This town? Then it hasn't learned its lesson and will come back again?"

Sion: "Because Tatari is a phenomenon, there is no way to completely vanquish it. It exists as long as there is human anxiety.
That is the nature of Tatari's system to take th form of human anxiety, so completely stopping Tatari requires the destruction of the human race."

Akiha: "...... I see. But it will not appear in this town again? Then this incident is over. If it occurs in another town, it will have to be settled there."

Sion: "Yes. The vampire you and Shiki need to worry yourselves over is gone. The town will return to normal and the false summer is over."

Akiha: "Hearing that is a relief. Then shall we return to the mansion? Both you and Nii−san must be tired, right?
Let us rest for the rest of the night."

Sion: "No. After the destruction of Tatari, the agent will not leave me alone. So I must leave this country as soon as possible."

Akiha: "Oh yes, that person is still around, now that you mention it. But do not worry. If you are a guest of the Tohno family, she cannot do anything."

Sion: "I thank you for that. But I came here to pursue Tatari. Once gone, I must prepare for the next time."

Akiha: "...... I see. If you say so, I will not stop you."

Sion: "Yes. It was only for a little while, but you have done a lot for me."

Akiha: "That couldn't be helped. If you need anything, please feel free to contact us. I... have no reason to dislike you."

Sion: "I am grateful. It is also hard for me to part ways here."

Akiha: "I feel the same way. To be honest, I wanted you at least to stay until I became good at using that, but that is just my selfishness."

Sion: "There is no need to worry. I have shown you the basics, so all that is left is practice."

Sion hands Akiha something.

...... Uwaa, she is giving her the Etherlite.

Akiha: "...... Well, take care, Sion."

As if embracing the Etherlite given to her, Akiha shakes Sion's hand.

Sion: "....................."

Is she not good with shaking hands? Sion stiffens momentarily before returning the handshake with some difficulty.

Sion: "────"

After the handshake, Sion looks over at me.

Shiki: "..............."

Sion: "..............."

She looks away, and,

Sion: "Then, this is it. The two of you be nice to each other."

With a quick bow, she disappears from the back alley.

Shiki: "────────"

I watch her leave silently.

Akiha: "Quiet until the end, Nii−san?"

Shiki: "───Hm? Oh, I was just thinking."

Akiha: "But what was that about? She seemed to want to shake hands with you too. Nii−san, were you not a little cold?"

Shiki: "────Hm? Oh, maybe I was a little cold."

Akiha: "I am surprised. It seems I have misjudged you."

Akiha protests my absent−minded response.

But that's not what it is, really.

Actually, assailed by my thoughts, my body feels very numb right now.

Hologram Summer

Hologram Summer

...... Dark.

Even though the sun has risen, it is dark.

The darkness permeates.

This hallucination that my skin is painted black.

This sensation like my veins are sharp as thorns.

The nausea fades.

This painful heat...

This dry throat...

I have never felt it this bad before.

I have recovered.

This body will no longer degrade.

The body which until yesterday was on the brink of death has now become coveted and will receive long, long life.

Nothing can threaten me.

My body has healed.

That which tried to control me is gone.

Things have resolved themselves according to my worst case predictions.

So there is nothing more to be troubled about.

...... There is no need to be troubled.

No, I have no right to be.

I have already taken into account being stained black and predicted a better future.

...... And.

Aimlessly, I think of wanting to go outside.


This is not a better future.

Black as I am, I cannot go outside.

At the very least, I cannot bathe in sunlight.

Before, it made me weak, but I at least could stand it. Now───sunlight is instant death.

"...... I have to wait until night."

Wait until night and go into town.

Then it will be over.

What happened in this town, what I gained, everything.

I came here to deal with Tatari.

After becoming like this, there is no point in searching for a cure for vampirism.

So I have to get up and leave quickly.

After the sun sinks and night begins, I must immediately go to a place where nobody is.

...... But, that is strange.

Leaving town like this, it makes me feel like I am running away from someone────


And, she came here.

Shiki: "Good evening. Before you left town, I thought you would come here."

Vampire Sion: "───────"

She looks at me with red eyes.

She seems to be something entirely different than before.

Shiki: "I see. I thought I was just imagining things."

My headache acts up again.

The feeling of something not quite right when I first met her is now magnified many times over.

Sion's shadow seems like a curse that is haunting her.

Shiki: "So that was you right before Tatari disappeared. So, you..."

Vampire Sion: "Yes. I bit Tatari."

Shiki: "───Why would you do that?"

Vampire Sion: "That is a meaningless question. You know why. That is why you were waiting for me here."

Shiki: "Sorry, I'm a little slow. If I did know, I would've stopped you then."

Vampire Sion: "That is true. But, did you think I would really tell you?"

Shiki: "Yeah. You always tell me things whenever I ask about them."

Vampire Sion: "I see. Then it cannot be helped."

Vampire Sion: "To say it simply, I was bitten by Tatari three years ago. Since then, my body has been slowly turning vampiric and I arrived at this town."

Vampire Sion: "That is why I was researching a cure for vampirism. But, my research has reached its end. Tatari is a vampire that can appear for only one night. After appearing once, it will be a number of years before it appears again, and just for one night. ...... Thanks to that, I remained human for that long. But, the change was continual and constant. Nearly half a vampire already, I could not resist Tatari's orders. The next time Tatari appeared, I would become a vampire completely. Unable to research a cure any longer───unable to defeat Tatari, I had no choice but to take in Tatari and become Tatari myself. If I became Tatari, I would not be controlled by Tatari."

Shiki: "So you became Tatari yourself?"

Vampire Sion: "While this is the worst outcome possible, it falls within my calculations. I... have no regrets."

There is no emotion in her voice.

As if to imitate her, I nod and respond with "I see" in an equally emotionless voice.

Shiki: "But, it's not too late, right? That black haze has not subsumed you. It is just around you."

Vampire Sion: "Yes. Tatari's night was not last night, but this one. When this night begins, I will become Tatari."

Shiki: "Are you okay with that, Sion?"

Vampire Sion: "Yes. When the next Tatari occurs I will have my answer. ...... Twenty years from now in Australia, or perhaps thirty years from now in Transylvania. In whichever case, I would not have been likely to survive.As an alchemist, it is natural to choose the certain solution."

Shiki: "............"

Vampire Sion: "Will you kill me, Shiki?"

Shiki: "No. But I will kill that black thing."

Vampire Sion: "That means you will kill me. The part of me that is not Tatari is afflicted and dying."

Shiki: "I see. A hard choice either way. In that case────"

Vampire Sion: "Please do not say this is for my sake. You have no right to interfere."

Shiki: "I do. You are my friend, so I don't want to see you mistaken like this."

Vampire Sion: "────────"

Vampire Sion: "...... I was mistaken to leave town like this. If I am Tatari's successor───then I must first prove it."

Vampire Sion: "Tatari has no need for human emotion. I do not have any emotions. There can't be any left."

Shiki: "────"

Vampire Sion: "I am still just a young girl. In just these past few days, I received something I never had before and that made me human."

Shiki: "...... I knew it. You don't seem to realize it, so I'll say it out loud. You might think you are ruthless and cruel, but you really are a good person. You can't lie. You're terrible at lying, Sion. You can't even fool yourself."

Vampire Sion: "────Yes. You are definitely correct, Shiki."

The black haze wavers.

Power courses throughout her.

Quietly, I take out my knife.

Vampire Sion: "To make falsehood into reality, I will kill you. ────Farewell, Shiki. If I kill my first friend, I will certainly become more like a Dead Apostle."

Sion's body disappears.

With a calmness that surprises even me, I direct my gaze towards Sion as she approaches.

Shiki vs Sion Tatari

Shiki wins

Shiki: "I killed it────! How's that for a solid hit......!?"

I whirl to face the collapsing Sion.

In the culmination of our fight, I deliver my strongest blow to the line running through the black haze around her, and───

Vampire Sion: "────, ────!"

Sion doesn't fall to the ground.

On her knees, she arches her back as if resisting the urge to vomit.

Then, she springs back explosively.

Vampire Sion: "──Unexpected. I never thought you could kill this."

There is no black haze swirling around her.

It seems I really killed the Tatari she was speaking of.

Shiki: "tsst............"

But the sense of revulsion from her has not changed.

Just looking at her, no, just looking at her eyes, makes my headache start to pound.

Vampire Sion: "But nothing will change. Once I bit Tatari, I became a vampire. All you did was kill this time's Tatari."

Shiki: "Damn...... then, you mean, you..."

Vampire Sion: "Me being a vampire will not change. I can resist the vampiric impulse because Tatari is gone, but it is no different from before. ...... If it did change, it only means I will not attack people senselessly."

Shiki: "...... Oh. Then, doesn't that make it the same as before? You didn't act like a vampire before this, right? So you don't have to. You can just continue to search for a cure for vampirism, and......"

Vampire Sion: "...... That is true. I am alive because my goal is to heal those who became vampires. That has not changed even once. The only difference is that the agents of The Church will pursue me in addition to the hunters sent by the Magi Association."

Shiki: "......... Ciel−senpai, and other people too?"

Vampire Sion: "Yes. That is why until I can complete my research, it is unlikely they will leave me alone."

Shiki: "Then you can come stay with us. Akiha even said that as long as you were with us, they will not move against you."

Vampire Sion: "That is a contradiction, Shiki. If I live as a vampire, I can only become Tatari. Yet if you tell me not to become Tatari, I must find a cure for vampirism. That is correct. However, I cannot complete my research in the Tohno Mansion."

Shiki: "────────────"

Vampire Sion: "If I simply wanted to conceal myself as a vampire, living in the Tohno Mansion would be ideal. But I cannot remain in this country if I wish to continue my research to find a way to turn people back. A cure requires a sample from my parent vampire Tatari, and there is simply not enough samples of vampires in this country. I will ask you one last time. What should I do, Shiki?"

Shiki: "───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"

I can't speak.

That is something I could ponder forever if I wanted to.

But, the answer wouldn't change.

Shiki: "............ That's right. Being a vampire really doesn't suit you."

Vampire Sion: "────Yes. That is a wonderful answer."

Vampire Sion: "This time, it truly is farewell, Shiki. I will not apologize for earlier. Because you are the one who stole my comfortable weakness."

Vampire Sion: "But, I will thank you. ...... It really is strange. I have no regrets.But still, I do feel some disappointment.
────When I first met you... Maybe it would have been better if I lost."

Shiki: "────────"

With that, she disappears. I can say nothing to stop her. I can do nothing to stop her.

"...... She has no regrets? Once more..."

Once more, she shows how bad she is at lying.

"You're going to search for vampires in that condition?"

There's no point in saying that though. All around me is darkness.

This hot, silent town...

Without a single answer to be found, I continue watching her long after she disappears from view────