Freaks Channel

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 wins

Sion: "Ahh......"

Shiki: "That's enough. I don't know what you're trying to do, but it's meaningless to continue."

Sion: "Yes. I admit defeat. Even though I collected all your data I could not finish reading it. ...... Even if everything was walking on a tightrope I can't believe I'm finished before even had a chance to start."

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

Sion: "What's the matter? I have no strength to resist. This may be a selfish request, but please end it as cleanly as possible."

Shiki: "...... Cleanly as possible? Look...... You seem to know something about me, but aren't you making a big mistake here? I'm no killer out for blood. Even if you asked me I wouldn't kill you."

Sion: "Not... a killer?"

Shiki: "Yeah. I'm not going to hit someone while they're down. I don't have a quarrel with you so there's no need to take it all the way. If you promise you won't attack me I'll let you go. ──You don't look like a vampire anyway."

Sion: "...... This is troubling. I may keep quiet, but I will not lie. Therefore I can't promise not to attack you again."

Shiki: "Eh? ...... You can't... then you mean... um..."

Sion: "That's right. Once my wounds heal, I will bind you."

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "If you don't like it, then you just have to kill me. For someone like you it would be very easy."

Shiki: "......... Idiot, what do you mean, easy?"

Sion: "Eh? Did you say something, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "Yeah, I said something. I was complaining about being involved in something weird again! ...... For crying out loud, if it's not one thing it's another────"

Sion: "────I cannot understand. This seems to be causing you pain."

Shiki: "You're the one who isn't understandable. But you don't look like you'll go back on your word."

Sion: "Yes. As long as I am not mistaken, I will not change."

Shiki: "I see. Your expression speaks for you. (Why do I only meet these kinds of people?)"

Shiki: "Well, anyway...... Um, can you tell me about your situation? You've been telling me what to do, so maybe you can at least tell me why?"

Sion: "...... My situation ... You mean my purpose here?"

Shiki: "Yeah. For some reason, you don't seem like a bad person. If you could tell me about your situation, I'll listen... Um, I'm also kind of curious why you attacked me."

Sion: "...... I understand. I was told you were not a bad person, and this confirms it. I should have explained the circumstances from the very start, Tohno Shiki."

Shiki: "?"

Sion: "My goal is to find a cure for vampirism. I have been researching a way to return humans bitten by a vampire back to normal."

Shiki: "A cure for vampirism......?"

Sion: "Yes. As you know someone who became no longer human after being bitten by a vampire, you can understand, right? The result of someone being desecrated by a vampire is death. Of course, we know how a human could become a vampire, but we don't know if a vampire could return to being a human. Many magi have attempted to research this problem and failed, but I do not intend to. I will make the impossible possible. That is what Atlasia means."

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

Sion: "Tohno Shiki, I believe you can understand how I feel. Like me, you have seen a friend become a vampire before your eyes."

Shiki: "───────You seem to know a lot about that."

Sion: "Ah...... That was inconsiderate of me. This is upsetting you."

Shiki: "...... No, it's okay. I'm just being childish."

Shiki: "I understand what you're saying. You want to find a cure for vampirism──I can't hate you for something like that."

Shiki: "But why did you attack me? I'm not turning into a vampire, and I don't know a lot about them, either."

Sion: "Of course. I did not come here to make you a research specimen. I came to this country to ask the cooperation of the True Ancestor."

Shiki: "Eh───True Ancestor, as in Arcueid?"

Sion: "Yes. If I want to find a cure for vampirism I have to study the source of Dead Apostles, a True Ancestor. If I merely needed data on the Dead Apostles, The Church has compiled much of that. However, that is insufficient. I need to investigate an unaltered True Ancestor."

Shiki: "...... I see. But I'm not sure Arcueid would go for that. She's kind of fickle that way.

Sion: "I know that. A noble True Ancestor would not grant the request of a mere mortal. I need you to negotiate for me."

Shiki: "Me? Negotiate?"

Sion: "(Nod)"

Shiki: "Idio-That's not going to work! You think she'd listen to me? Where'd you get an idea like that!?"

Sion: "W-well, you... the True Ancestor... aren't the two of you... l-l-lovers?"

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "With you as a mediator, perhaps I could speak with her a little. That is why I wanted to secure you first...... This is all the result of my carelessness."

Shiki: "Wha...... carelessness? You mean before?"

Sion: "Yes. I drew in all your data. The numbers indicated we were evenly matched, but my thorough knowledge meant my chances of winning were high. However, my loss means my abilities were the slightest fraction lower."

Shiki: "......? Um, then that isn't being careless...... doesn't that just mean your fighting ability is───"

Sion: "Wha, what are you sayinggg! I only lost because of carelessness! Excessive carelessness! My performance was far below my standard! I admit I miscalculated your power, but under normal circumstances, I would be the victor! You see, an hour ago, I calculated every single one of your maneuvers. Doesn't this just mean my evasion rate data was off by less than 0.5%!? If not for that one small mistake, our positions would have been completely reversed! Can you not understand such a simple thing!?"

Shiki: "Eh───right. Sorry I doubted you."

Sion: "Ah...... no, I was being a little rude. I would appreciate it if we just changed the subject."

Shiki: "(......Hmm. She seems totally different from before.)

Shiki: "To get back to your problem, you really just want me to bring Arcueid to you?"

Sion: "Yes. My intent was to formally request the True Ancestor's cooperation."

Shiki: "I see. So you won't give up even now? ...... Okay...... if that's the case, oh well."

Sion: "? Oh well? What do you mean?"

Shiki: "I mean, I can act as a middle man between you and Arcueid. ...... In all likelihood she's going to say no, but you wouldn't give up unless we tried, right?"

Sion: "(Nod)"

Shiki: "C'mon, it's just asking for cooperation, right? So, I'll lend you a hand. To be honest, I'd like to cheer on someone doing your kind of research."

Sion: "Eh......... cheer... on......?"

Shiki: "Yeah. Suddenly attacking me out of nowhere was surprising, but we can call it even. ...... If your research is successful, I feel like───I could finally help her."

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

Shiki: "I'll do something about Arcueid. Actually, I'm looking for her right now. I figured she would know something about these disturbances happening. I went to her place, but───"

Sion: "So she has concealed her location."

Shiki: "Yeah. And by patrolling the town, I thought I'd find the rumored vampire, or at least Her Highness the fickle princess."

Sion: "...... I understand. Then I can lend you a hand in your purpose. If you're tracking down the rumors, I can find the vampire more quickly than you can."

Shiki: "Eh? Really?"

Sion: "Yes, if the rumored vampire does exist. Data gathering is my specialty. If I have at least a backup, I can scan the minds of everyone in this town in one day."

Shiki: "───Hmm, I don't really quite understand, but you don't have to go that far, do you?" (...... She has a scary look in her eyes.)

Shiki: "But, yeah. I'd appreciate any help. I was feeling kind of hopeless by myself."

Sion: "Then I will chase down these rumors. And you?"

Shiki: "It's alright if I look for Arcueid and bring her to you isn't it? But, there's one other thing before that."

Sion: "Before that?"

Shiki: "It's Sion, right? If we're going to be partners, we should call each other by our first names, shouldn't we?"

Sion: "─────────────────────"

Sion: "You have a point. Very well. You may call me Sion. And you───"

Shiki: "Ah, Shiki's fine."

Sion: "────────"

Sion: "...... Shi-Shiki."

Shiki: "Yeah. That's much better, isn't it?"

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

Shiki: "Yeah."

Sion: "Shiki."

Shiki: "Yeah, I said that's fine."

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

Sion: "............... Then I will go start gathering information on the vampire. Please prepare for the negotiations with the True Ancestor, Shiki."

Shiki: "Yeah. But we don't have to go right away, you know."

Sion: "That would be the best, I think. We'll both need some time. Let's meet again tomorrow night right here, in front of this building."

Shiki: "Okay. I think I can manage something by then."

Sion: "Shiki. Can you... hold on for a minute?"

Shiki: "Eh......? Did I have something on my head?"

Sion: "...... Something like that. Well then, see you tomorrow night."

Shiki: "Yeah, see you tomorrow───Hm. This seems a little familiar. It reminds me of a year ago."

Sion: "?"

Shiki: "It's nothing. See you tomorrow night, Sion!"

Sion: "...... Yes. See you tomorrow night, Shiki."

The Daughter of Atlas

Sion Eltnam Atlasia

───That night, the air was maddeningly hot.


I run, seeking any moisture I could find.

I run through the dark forest.

I run through the hell of the steep mountain pass.

Compared to walking through the familiar deserts of my youth, the mountain path flooded with trees is like walking on needles.

All the knights who had accompanied me are dead.

No one is left alive.

I go back to the village.

All the villagers are dead.

The well is dried up.

The river is filled with corpses.

Still, I crawl my way to it, hoping to find water.

"Ah... hah... ah!"

Choking, I drink and drink.

As if I'm brought back to life.

Something feels intertwined.

Like a large cloth, endlessly intertwined.

It's in my way, so I pull at it over and over.

I tear and pull but the cloth still gets in the way.

Each time I bend to drink, I get wrapped further inside.

I pull again and the rustling cloth entangles in my fingers.

Again and again.


Rustle. Rustle.

Rustle. Rustle. Rustle.

Rustle. Rustle. Rustle. Rustle.

Rustle. Rustle. Rustle. Rustle. Rustle. Rustle. Rustle.


Skin. The human corpses shaped into a large sheet. Dead bodies. Empty shells drained of everything inside. The skin of all the hundreds of people pushed in and piled up until the dark and the damp rotted away their skin and it all oozed together into one hideous sheet sheet sheet sheet sheet sheet sheet............!!!!

"Ha... ah!"

────Even seeing that, I need water, so I continue to drink.

They get in my way, but I drink anyway.

The cartoon-like faces are actually comical.

Yes, mutilated, fleshless, organ-less.

The seemingly clothed corpses were piled up here.

Everyone was drained.

That vampire drank every last drop of their blood.

───What a nightmare. As if it was a curse.

"Atlasia. Even if you're the only one, you have to survive."

The speaker was one of the Knights, the only one I knew.

A Knight of the Shield. A woman.

Just like me. That is why I survived.

Allowed to escape.

She is... definitely────

I run along the mountain path.

            I run until dawn.   
    But there is no way out.  

           The curse rebounded on itself.   
Cursing myself, I cannot escape from myself.  

               And before my eyes   
───Something appears, black as night.  

It drinks and drinks.

Filled to the brim, the blood leaks from its eyes.

It is not enough.

However much it drinks, it cannot be sated.

"H... ha... hahahahaha!"

Crying tears of blood, it begins to laugh.

The fluttering of black wings.

The black eyes draw near.

Drip, drip. The rich red blood continues to flow.

────Dawn approaches.

At my crawling ankles trying to escape,   
    Something wet and slippery.  

 The crying, laughing, blood drinking monster────  



And then I wake up.

...... It is still daytime.

Like in my dream, today is stiflingly hot.

I think I am not suited for walking around during the day.

In the first place, I spend most of my time indoors as an alchemist.

My skin isn't used to being in the burning sun.

All the same, I made a promise.

To him──to Shiki. A promise to gather information on the vampire in his place.

Misaya at day

Longitude unmeasurable. The laws of time do not apply. Yet it appears in a predesignated space. It is not born, but is very troublesome. It is somewhat random so it cannot be expected. All the pieces are assembled. Knowing what actions will take place, the future is simple.

The appearance of the town has not changed. The streets are still empty. The heat radiates off them like smoke.

All the pieces are assembled. Knowing what actions will take place, the future is simple.

Why did I volunteer? It occurred in a mountain village in Western Europe. If they needed alchemists, they should have requested the ones from Prague. All the same, The Church requested help from us, the Atlas Academy.

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

First, limit the conditions. The place where it will occur easily, the culture, the population. Furthermore, simulate world affairs. Consider the random appearances of aces. 2000 patterns is acceptable. Begin after all variables are assigned value. Values with only some possibility are


I raised my hand. They said they needed calculations, so I thought I would calculate. Yes, we need to calculate. That is the all-encompassing fundamental of the alchemists of Atlas.

It's just so hot. Too hot for even a desert dweller.

not needed; filter for optimal candidacy. 12,500 corresponding sectors on the Earth. Only those places are where it can occur. Measuring atmospheric pressure results in predicting the time and place of a typhoon. It is the same. Then, grasping its general progression is

I hurriedly enter a large building in order to download data simultaneously from the gathered minds there.

With only poor Magic Circuits, we cannot rely upon magical means for the realization of the occult. Therefore, we use only our minds to do so. We read the stars, the wind, people, the

This is why they call me the Spiritron Hacker Sion Eltnam. This filament, Etherlite, is able to compel and coerce the human nervous system.

possible. The problem. The problem is, The problem is, yes, guessing what its prime condition is. What was the original cause of the phenomenon. What does it desire? Eternity? It cannot be. Such foolishness, why would it desire that? Is there

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

world. Collecting information to diagram the root ancestry of events. Our brains are possessed by the demon of Laplace. We interfere with limitless possibilities to set up limited formulas for "reading the future".

...... I really don't need to do that. In the first place, I...

a meaning to living forever? Perhaps there is? Wishing to make the impossible possible? Yes, in the first place, why do you cling to being human?

──Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.

──Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop.

────Utter chaos. I want silence. Cut. No I have to tell myself not to cut! I'm still being influenced from that nightmare. Calmly. Calmly. Cut. Cut. I have to block these thoughts from my mind.

──Third thought process halted.

──Seventh thought process halted.

──Second thought process halted.

──Sixth thought process halted.

"............ Ah..."

Suddenly, I'm very tired.

My throat is parched and sore, and my tired body collapses in on itself.


I expel the air from my lungs.

It's like breathing fire.

"Can't...... breathe..."

My vision blurs. If I don't rest... if I don't sleep properly, I won't be able to keep going.

I may only have two or three days left.

"But, I can still move."

If I can move, I'm still alive.

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

Sion: "Ah... I really was careless yesterday, wasn't I?"

I knew about Shiki's abilities.

But I was never clear on his fighting experience.

Maybe he only fought on a few occasions, but those were against members of the 27 Ancestors and an agent of The Church.

If he was strong enough to stand against creatures like them, he could hardly consider me to be a real enemy.

Sion: "It is a little... regrettable."

......? What was that outburst?

Shiki has already agreed to help me.

There can't be any problem, so what is regrettable?

Sion: "My Etherlite is connected to him. If he tries to back out of our agreement, I can calculate his location easily enough."

After we agreed to cooperate, I touched his head and attached my Etherlite.

Not remote control, but direct contact with my Etherlite burrowing into his nervous system.


Sion: "But, that's just in case."

...... I start to feel less and less well.

...... I should stop thinking these extra thoughts.

Anyway, I have to fulfill the promise I made with him.

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 portending bad luck.

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: "Good evening. You are right on time, Shiki."

Shiki: "Same for you. A big difference from someone I know."

...... Actually, she would come extremely early and then go hide.

Sion: "Shiki. How did things turn out with the True Ancestor?"

Shiki: "Well, it can be pretty hard to get hold of her sometimes. But I left a note in her room. Maybe tomorrow will be different..."

Sion: "Is that so? So she covers her tracks well. This won't be easy."

Shiki: "Right, right. As fickle as she is, she might just have decided to go off and play around for a while without even knowing what's going on."

Sion: "Perhaps. Do you not think she left you intentionally, Shiki?"

Shiki: "───Intentionally? What do you mean, Sion?"

Sion: "I mean that the returned vampire could possibly be the True Ancestor."

Shiki:"That's impossible. Arcueid would never do the kinds of things they're talking about."

Sion: "...... Never? You really are a wonderful person, denying it so completely like that, Shiki."

Shiki: "Er, well, thanks..."

I stammer a reply.

For some reason, her words don't seem sarcastic, and almost have a ring of admiration to them.

Shiki: "A-anyway, Arcueid doesn't drink human blood. You might not know that, Sion, but she───"

Sion: "She isn't the vampire in the rumors, right? If you say so."

Sion: "However, if the vampire has returned to this town, then isn't it strange that there is no other vampire around besides the True Ancestor? There has to be something which was a model for all these rumors."

Shiki: "A model for the rumors......? Wouldn't that be the incident from a year ago?"

Sion: "That isn't the model, but the source. The rumors have been very clear about that. No one has actually seen or heard anything themselves. 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 follow. No, in the first place───

Shiki: "Sion, I've been wondering. You talk about research and studying vampires... who exactly are you?"

Sion: "I am an alchemist. You know about magi, do you not? The one named Ciel belongs to The Church, but there is another organization called the Mage's Association."

Sion: "I am a member of the Mage's Association. There are three separate branches. I belong to Atlas."

Sion: "The Church views vampires as their enemy, but they have an agreement with us, the Mage's Association. ...... You could say we're a military force that isn't black, but not white either."

Shiki: "...... Mage's Association......"

...... Hmm. If that's the case then maybe Sensei is also in this Association.

Maybe Sion even knows her.

Sion: "I do not. Your Sensei is London's problem child, so it is natural for a member of Atlas like me to not have met her."

Shiki: "W-what did you say, Sion? How did you..."

Sion: "I can tell what you're thinking. You're someone whose face is easily read."

...... Hmph.

I'm used to Akiha and the others saying that, but it is a bit of a shock to hear it from Sion, whom I've just met.

Shiki: "...... Whatever. Then what do we do from here? It isn't fair if you don't tell me the results on all the information you gathered before."

Sion: "I don't mind. But what I gathered was not really any different than the rumors you heard. So I have nothing to tell you."

Shiki: "My. That's a little troubling."

Sion: "Isn't it? So now we will just have to confirm it with our own eyes after all. If we're going to find the rumored vampire and the source behind it, we have to search the city at night."

...... So we're back to that. I didn't expect anything better.

This reminds me more and more of what happened last year.

Sion: "So...... This is my plan, Shiki. Why don't we look together? I don't know this town very well. I would be wasting my time without a guide.

Shiki: "Eh? ...... Well, they say two heads are better than one but is it alright? Your purpose is to research vampires, so......"

Sion: "We cannot declare for certain the source of these rumors isn't the True Ancestor, correct? Reason stands that if we fulfill your goal, it would be easier to find the True Ancestor. It would be meaningless if only I found the True Ancestor, and you would become free much quicker. I think that goes without saying."

Shiki: "────"

I see, that's what she's thinking.

Well, we'll see, I guess.

Shiki: "Alright. Give-and-take, then."

Sion: "Yes. As much as I can, I will help you with your agenda."


Shiki: "We've walked so far and still we haven't found anything. The town is strangely quiet, but there's no odd feeling to the air."

Sion: "We haven't gone into the areas mentioned in the rumors. I hate to say this, but more victims will appear as time passes."

Shiki: "Huh? Sion, what do────"

Shiki: "Whoa!"

???: "Halt!"

Shiki: "Who────!?"

Shiki: "Se...... Sen, pai......?"

Ciel: "Tohno-kun......!? Wh-why are you with her──"

Ciel: "──Sion Eltnam. Don't tell me, you..."

Sion: "I think you misunderstand, agent. I asked for Shiki's help, so he accompanied me."

Sion: "No one forced him. As for what you're thinking about, no."

Ciel: "...... Is that so? So he has nothing to do with you, then. So you won't ask for his help when we fight."

Sion: "────"

Shiki: "Se, Senpai, hold on! This may look like something is going on, but you don't have to bring out your Black Keys like that all of a sudden."

Ciel: "Tohno-kun please be quiet! ...... Goodness, why do you always show up in these bothersome situations? Or is it that you can't resist the request of a cute girl?"

Shiki: "T-that's definitely not it!"

Ciel: "At any rate, stand aside, Tohno-kun. I will not listen any longer. If you get in my way, prepare to be punished."

Ciel: "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 Institute. 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."

Shiki: "Yeah, saying that all of a sudden is a little── W-wait, Sion... What did you just say!?"

Ciel: "You will not comply with The Church's orders? Very well, then. As an agent of The Church, I am placing you under arrest."

Ciel: "I will make you reflect on your actions. Your partner will also have quite the painful experience."

Shiki: "Uwaaa! Senpai, why are you getting so serious!?"

Sion/Shiki vs Ciel

Sion/Shiki lose

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

Shiki: "────!"

Ciel: "You certainly gave me a good fight, but this is the end of the line."

Ciel: "Sion Eltnam. You are under arrest by order of The Church. Any further resistance will be dangerous to your health."

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

Shiki: "No, please wait, Senpai! Sion is just trying to find a cure for vampirism. I don't know everything that is going on, but it would be wrong to take her away forcefully......!"

Ciel: "You are the one who is wrong. The charge against Sion Eltnam is no small matter."

Ciel: "───Sion. You don't want to get innocent civilians mixed up in this. Return to Atlas quietly."

Sion: "...... I cannot do that. Disappearing quietly is your style, agent."

Ciel: "Foolishness. You mean to continue your useless resistance?"

Sion: "Yes. If you come near me again, I can't guarantee Shiki's safety."

Ciel: "Huh?"

Shiki: "What?"

Ciel: "W... what?"

Shiki: "...... What do you mean by that?"

Sion: "Just what I said. Ciel, if you do not leave at once, I will burn up Shiki's brain."

Sion: "The artificial nervous system implanted in Shiki, my Etherlite, is connected to me through my bracelet. I can destroy his brain at any time if you do not agree to leave me alone."

Ciel: "Etherlite...... I've heard of that before. I thought it sounded familiar, but the name Eltnam is related to that man... typical of Atlas. I'll accept this temporarily."

Sion: "You should not speak of knowledge gained from Roa. I am different from that man you speak of."

Sion: "But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. This Etherlite is connected to Shiki's brain. Before you could stop me, his brain would be fried."

Shiki: "Sion, you......"

Ciel: "...... I see. So you enlisted him for purposes of using him as a hostage all along."

Sion: "Of course. He's my bargaining chip with the forces in this town."

Ciel: "───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"

Ciel: "...... sigh If you are willing to go that far, then it cannot be helped. Sorry, Tohno−kun. Please try and make the best of a bad situation."

Sion: "────!"

Shiki: "Eh────Um, Senpai?"

Ciel: "You agreed to cooperate with Sion Eltnam, so you brought this on yourself. Well, it is probably good policy to stay in the good graces of the one who could fry your brain, Tohno−kun."

Shiki: "Uwaaa, Senpai, you've really said it now!"

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

Ciel: "───It would be easy if it was this simple, though. Unfortunately, I cannot believe all of that, Sion Eltnam."

Ciel: "Certainly you would turn him into a vegetable if I tried anything. No matter what I did, I could not stop you."

Ciel: "However, it would not be anything that could not be healed. After I brought you down, I could simply heal him."

Ciel: "...... But, your control over him is different. I cannot win as long as Tohno−kun is restrained. In the worst case, I could not even escape."

Sion: "─────"

Ciel: "It's not impossible for us to start over here. Certainly I received an order to arrest Sion Eltnam, but it is just one of many orders. My priority mission is to deal with the Dead Apostle that is hiding somewhere in this town. I can deal with your case after that mission is over."

Shiki: "The Dead Apostle hiding in this town...... Senpai, so you are looking into the rumored vampire after all!?"

Ciel: "The Church has decided to investigate, and the job of eliminating it has fallen to me. That mission takes precedence over her arrest. However, do not think there will be a second time... I will not let you off next time."

Ciel: "Okay? By then, please cut your ties with her. ...... Really, Tohno−Kun, even though you already have so many loose ends, you voluntarily stick your neck out for even more......"

Shiki: "Senpai───seems to have let us go."

Sion: "A wise move. If she tried to force the issue, the cost in terms of time and effort would be greatly damaging to efficiency."

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "What is it, Shiki? You seem like you wish to say something."

Shiki: "Sion. Was what you said really true? You're connected to my head?"

Sion: "It is not exactly like that. The Etherlite, the artificial nervous system, is simply linked with your nervous system. It will not cause any problems with your brain."

Shiki: "That's not what I meant. Why did you do that?"

Sion: "I did it so I could locate you when I needed you. And to get information from you."

Shiki: "And what about your threat? Could you really burn out my brain?"

Sion: "Yes. It would take some work, but the chances of success are very high."

Shiki: "...... That pisses me off. This isn't exactly what you call a cooperative relationship."

Sion: "...... You are right. I understand how you feel. But that is why I decided not to tell you."

Shiki: "You deliberately hid this?"

Sion: "Yes. I thought you might refuse to cooperate if you knew, and I didn't want to lose a valuable partner. I decided it was best to conceal it."

Shiki: "...... I see. You just certainly know everything about what I would do."

Sion: "Of course. But it is a last resort. If I did use it, there would be no going back."

Shiki: "───────────"

Sion: "I understand if you want to part ways here. You are free to return if you wish."

Shiki: "───────────"

Sion: "............ Shiki. If you have something to say, just say it────"

Shiki: "───────────"

Sion: "────────"

Shiki: "────Sion. You knew I would be angry, but that's because you knew it was something wrong."

Sion: "Not at all. It is the best course of action, so I do not think it is wrong."

Shiki: "(STARE────────)"

Sion: "────────"

Shiki: "(STARE────────)"

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

Shiki: "(...... sigh It's not that she's good at lying, she simply cannot tell them.)"

Shiki: "That's okay. Let's just drop it."

Sion: "Eh?"

Shiki: "Let's just forget about what happened earlier. ...... Well, it was a pretty good plan after all."

Sion: "Huh?"

Shiki: "I'm saying, you were right, it might really have been the best course of action after all. With your bluff, you were able to drive Senpai away."

Sion: "────────"

Sion: "...... Wrong, it was not a threat. I was not lying earlier, I really was───kyaa!?"

Shiki: "Stupid, at times like this, you should just go with it. You should just say 'yes' like you normally do, Sion."

Sion: "Y...... yes, if you say so, Shiki───"

Shiki: "Alright, then that's how we'll look at it. But I have a few things to ask you, and I don't want you leaving out the details."

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

Shiki: "Alright. Senpai said you were a wanted criminal. What's that about? Aren't you just researching a cure for vampirism?"

Sion: "As you say, I am just researching a cure for vampirism. But, that went against the doctrine of Atlas."

Sion: "The Magi Association I belong to makes no exceptions for breaking its precepts. In my research, I had to do just that. That is why they are after me."

Shiki: "Breaking its precepts... Sion, did you kill someone in your experiments?"

Sion: "Of course not. The Atlas Academy only has one precept. The results of one's research are not to be shared with anyone other than the researcher. ...... But I could not complete my research with just Atlas's resources alone. I needed the help of other associations. I traveled to them, and traded my research for theirs. To Atlas, that is an unforgivable sin. I knew they were chasing me, but it is surprising they even went so far as to reach an agreement with The Church. Then again, I have been out of touch for half a year."

Shiki: "...... Hm. What you're saying is, your school doesn't permit you to study abroad?"

Sion: "...... Yes. You could put it that way. By doing so, I have been branded a traitor."

Shiki: "A traitor, isn't that a little...... much? Senpai was pretty serious, I couldn't imagine why. ...... But your explanation about breaking the rules makes sense. Still, why did you have to go so far if you knew what kind of trouble you'd get into?"

Sion: "...... There was no other way. If I stayed in Atlas, I couldn't finish my research on vampires. Staying would have been a mistake. I must find a cure for vampirism, by any means necessary───!"

Shiki: "Well, then, I guess it can't be helped. (Sion's really not the type to back down.)"

Shiki: "Alright. Well, let's get started finding Arcueid then."

Sion: "Eh?"

Shiki: "Well, Sion, you said you need Arcueid's help to complete your research, right? So we have to hurry up and talk to her. I promised you that I'd see this through to the end."

Sion: "...... You mean, maybe I cannot say it directly...... that you still plan on helping me?"

Shiki: "Yeah."

Sion: "But I used you as a shield. And if I decide it is the best course of action again, there's no way you can stop me from doing it! Even knowing that────um."

Shiki: "It's alright. It would be tough for me to find the rumored vampire without you, Sion."

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

Sion: "Yes. I understand, Shiki."

Shiki: "Well, our partnership is renewed...... Ah, that's right."

Shiki: "Partners usually shake hands to mark the occasion, but we kind of skipped that part."

Shiki: "Here."

Sion: "?"

Shiki: "Yeah, a handshake. Maybe we should do that, Sion."

Sion: "............ (open, close)"

Shiki: "? Sion, you're just opening and closing your hand. Maybe... you think my hand is dirty or something?"

Sion: "............... (Open, close. Open, close.)"

Shiki: "???"

Sion: "(Stops)────Shiki."

Shiki: "Uh, eh? Wha, what is it? D−did I do something wrong!?"

Sion: "...... There's no need for you to touch me excessively. I may be on the run from Atlas, but I am still the successor of the House of Eltnam. In the future, please bear that in mind."

Shiki: "Ah───yeah, got it."

Sion: "The operation will commence at once. In the daytime I can gather information on my own, but at night, we are better off patrolling the town together. I will not be able to do anything if I find the True Ancestor alone, and it would be dangerous for you if you encountered the rumored vampire alone."

Shiki: "Eh────slow down there, Sion! I need to rest a little from that fight!"

Sion: "...... Ah, still no results."

I returned to my bed.

Three hours since Shiki and I patrolled the town.

But we didn't get any results, and we promised to meet up again before we left.

Shiki's mission during the day is to find and speak to the True Ancestor.

In his stead, I have to go around town and gather information.

Cry Out, You Flies

Alice's Insanity

────A dream.

I'm working with Shiki to find the vampire.

The same goals, different goals.

Shiki's circle, my circle.

The centers are far from each other, but there are places where they overlap; our vague, mixed promise.

────That I am watching.

He said we were partners.

Partner. Cohort. Someone the same age as I, someone whose goals are similar to my own. Does that make us friends?

The two of us are hunting the vampire together.

Shiki is working with me.

I also wish to help him.

Until now, I never dreamed of these kinds of things.

────That's why this is a dream.

All this is transient.

The product of my sleeping imagination.

When I awake, Shiki and I will be back to being strangers.

I wait for that time.

That is my goal now, my final destination.

But if...

But if the dream continues until then, maybe it would be something good───?

The name Eltnam. Something of a scar on the face of Atlas.

Awe. Loathing. Avoidance. Criminal.

No one said that, but that's how I was viewed.

A family known for their long devotion to alchemy.

Once considered distinguished nobility, respected figures who commanded great influence.

When did that all change?

...... But by the time I was born, the House of Eltnam was ruined; our distinguished family name was ignored.

The primary cause of this was that three generations ago, the House of Eltnam broke the rule of Atlas.

The secondary cause was that the other alchemists feared our methods.

I think there were many reasons.

I simply continued to be the perfect student, to defend the pride of Eltnam.

I didn't care how others viewed me.

I took pride in my pride.

I endeavored to become the best possible alchemist.

I became a leader of the other students, I treated others fairly, I took on additional responsibilities, I excelled in all the literary and military arts taught at Atlas.

...... I hid my dark feelings deep inside, while I played the bright honor student.

The people around me could never tell.

They treated me as the perfect student I wanted them to see.

I caught the eye of the Academy president, and achieved the ultimate honor of being named the next Director.

In the future of Sion Eltnam, there was no darkness.

If I avoided trouble, and things went well for me, the stain on the house of Eltnam might well be erased with my generation.

────Despite that,

     I strayed from my path.  

Even though there were no problems.

They couldn't resist me, only ignore me.

As a successor of Eltnam, there was no doubting my abilities.

My future was not a problem.

No reason at all.

None that I could see.

But still, I was trapped by my own doubts.

With most questions, I could calculate some kind of solution, but I couldn't solve the problem of myself.

Moment by moment, the subtle gap between myself and others was increasing.

Unnoticed, my burden had grown heavier────

────My disguise as the perfect student peeled away.

Misaya at day

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

I awoke to sunshine hot enough to burn my skin.

...... A little past noon.

My body still needs sleep, and I haven't even fully recovered yet.

Sion: "Not good...... My mission during the day is to collect data."

I have to keep my promise.

For the sake of my partner who just nodded like it was nothing after I did all that to him.

Sion: "...... This heat certainly is harsh......"

I touch my palm absently.

...... It is regretful, but I cannot reproduce the sensation of Shiki's hand.

All the same───the feeling from last night has not faded.

Sion: "Shiki's hand was so big compared to mine. I knew men's and women's body types were different, but I didn't realize just how different."

And having a conversation with someone my own age for the first time, like it was nothing.

Ever since I came to this country, it's been nothing but the unexpected.

Sion: "──A promise, huh. I no longer need to gather information on Tatari, but since Shiki said he needed some, I have to gather some."

I pull my heavy body up and get back to work.

I only need to do one thing.

Go into town and research the rumors of the people.

Sion: "It would be nice if this ends up helping Shiki."

Well, I know he will be grateful no matter what the outcome is.

Tohno Shiki is an amazingly friendly person.

His reactions are so fresh, they make me want to see him happy.

Sion: "Tch!"

I feel nauseous.

Everything turns red and I may collapse if this keeps up.

Sion: "───Not good. Right now, I have to gather information."

In my current state, I can't even use Thought Partitioning.

But I must complete my mission.

No signs of life on the road.

I walk toward the town with the sun's rays beating down around me.

Sion: "────────"

My body is in pain, but not my mind.

As much as I can, I have to gather information from this ghost town───


It is ten minutes before our promised meeting time.

Like yesterday, Sion arrives punctually.

Sion: "Good evening, Shiki."

Shiki: "Hey. I knew you'd be on time, Sion."

Sion: "Yes. We did agree on the meeting time, after all, so I would not be late."

...... Sion doesn't look so good.

She didn't look too good yesterday, either, but her energy seems to be fading day by day.

Shiki: "Sion, are you okay? You look like you're overdoing it."

Sion: "There is no need to worry. Management of one's own body is a basic skill for alchemists. More importantly, have you found anything out about the True Ancestor, Shiki?"

Shiki: "Ah, about that. I couldn't catch her today, either. I think she may be deliberately avoiding me."

Sion: "───Hm, I expected as much."

Shiki: "Huh? What do you mean by that, Sion?"

Sion: "I cannot say for sure, but the True Ancestor will not appear before you until these rumors about a vampire cease. ...... Perhaps it is better this way. What are you going to do, Shiki?"

Shiki: "Ah, I tried to contact her. If she went back to her room at least once, she should be in the park."

Sion: "...... The park? That is where she has been witnessed the most, right?"

Shiki: "? Witnessed by who?"

Sion: "The people of this town. I tried gathering information on the rumored vampire today, but what was on people's minds was actually the True Ancestor. They say that the one responsible for the Vampire Murders last year was a woman with golden hair. They say that the serial killer actually is a vampire. They say the one who has been attacking people recently lurks in the park."

Shiki: "Wha...... what is that? If Arcueid is the source of these rumors, then they can't be believed, right?"

Sion: "Of course. They are just rumors after all. But, if rumors converge, then they become real. The True Ancestor seems to walking around town aimlessly. That is why the rumors about her are increasing...... There are also rumors about a girl with red hair searching for her prey."

Shiki: "G−girl with red hair!?"

Sion: "...... That is just what was said. At any rate, the rumors indicate that the True Ancestor is the serial killer. Please act accordingly, Shiki."

Shiki: "...... Got it. Anyway, let's go to the park for now, Sion. We can probably meet up with Arcueid."

Sion: "............ That is true. It might be better to have a painful experience at least once."

Shiki: "Hm? Did you say something?"

Sion: "Yes, but I was merely thinking aloud. Let's go to the park, Shiki."


The moment we reach the park, I feel something wrong.

The smell of blood is overpowering.

We run into the depths of the park, fighting our way through the thick night air, to find────

Shiki: "Wh..."

Sion: "────────"

Arcueid: "────"

Under the pale moon.

Above the countless corpses, above the ground dyed with blood, Arcueid stands before us.

Arcueid: "...... Hm. Despite being a failure, this could almost pass as the real thing."

Glancing at the moon overhead, Arcueid laughs amusedly.

There's something strange in the air.

Without a doubt that is Arcueid.

But there's something slightly different, something not quite right with her.

Arcueid: "At last you're here. Shiki, you call someone and you don't even meet them on time. Not to mention when you finally arrive you're with some other woman. Now I'm starting to get ticked off."

She giggles.

The pressure builds in the air around us, the abnormality almost overwhelming.

I start to lose my self−control, just like Akiha does when she is drunk.

Shiki: "A−Arcueid, this is────"

Arcueid: "What, this? Because you were so late, I wanted to have a little fun. So I trapped five or six people here and played around with them. But, you don't need to worry. I didn't drink their blood. I won't do anything that makes me lose control like drinking blood."

Shiki: "────You..."

Arcueid: "What, you're upset? Then I'm sorry, but I did hold back, you know? But humans are so frail, and they just died after I petted them. Rather than being enjoyable, it stressed me out even more."

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "...... No, Shiki. That is not the True Ancestor."

Arcueid(?): "...... Oh? It's you of all people, Sion."

Shiki: "Eh───You two know each other!?"

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

Arcueid(?): "Hm? No, we just met. But this is the second time we've ran into each other, right, Sion Eltnam Atlasia?"

Sion: "Shiki. This is the vampire that has been stalking the town. Looking at her, in this situation, there is no other explanation."

Shiki: "What...... No, that's wrong. That, has to be wrong. Because Arcueid would never────"

Sion: "This is not Arcueid Brunestud. Is that not right, Arcueid Brunestud?"

Arcueid(?): "Yeah, I'm really not Arcueid. I'm just an Arcueid, Shiki. ...... Ah, is this confusing you? Would it be easier to understand if I said I was a fake Arcueid?"

Shiki: "A fake...... I can understand that, but you─"

Sion: "A fake is not exactly correct. Because it really is Arcueid Brunestud. In the first place, that Dead Apostle...... 'Tatari' cannot be described of in terms of real and fake. It is just the manifestation of rumors about a sinister vampire───"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Hmph, after three years it's still the same old thing. But, I don't mind that about you. After all, you were probably antagonized by what happened. But I'm happy you're chasing after me though. Yes, it really was a good idea to let you live."

Sion: "If your intent is self−destruction, then you are correct. I came here to stop you, Tatari. I may not be able to make you disappear totally, but I can at least stand in your way───!"

Sion: "Ah...... agghh......!"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Dummy. You think you can maintain your sanity with me as you did before?"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Then, I'll make it easier on you. It really would have been okay to make you my next, but you do not compare to the body of this True Ancestor. ...... You really do have the worst timing."

Sion: "Ah...... Shi... ki......"

Arcueid(Tatari): "───! ...... What are you doing, Shiki? Are you getting in my way?"

Shiki: "...... Hey now. That's not it, you idiot."

Arcueid(Tatari): "?"

Sion: "?"

Shiki: "I'm not getting in your way. For saying something like that while looking like Arcueid, I'll just dismantle you."

Arcueid(Tatari): "───Oh? For a human, you're pretty bloodthirsty...... I wonder if I should allow you to keep boasting so much."

Shiki: "────────"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Fine, I'll play with you. Since it's you, Shiki, it should be a lot of fun!"

Shiki vs Arcueid(Tatari)

Arcueid(Tatari) wins

Shiki: "Gah......!"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Not bad. You managed to hang in there, Shiki. You helped me to relieve some boredom."

Arcueid(Tatari): "But, it's time to stop playing around. I'm out of time, so I'll end it here."

Shiki: "......! Run away, Sion......!"

Sion: "I───I cannot, Shik...... my body, it still───"

Shiki: "Damn...... then I'll attack again......!"

Sion: "Don't be... stupid───if you fight again, Shiki, your body won't last───"

Shiki: "Idiot, it's not time to worry about that......! You're in more danger right now, Sion......!"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Oh, you don't have to worry about that. I won't kill this girl, not yet. This time will be special, so we will need another alchemist for the final decision. The daughter of Eltnam will come in handy then."

Arcueid(Tatari): "So don't worry, Shiki. I'll only kill you."

Shiki: "......!"

Sion: "Shiki......!"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Bye−bye now, Shiki."

Arcueid(Tatari): "Wha, what is this!?"

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "────────"

???: "────────"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Ggg───the information, has not settled."

Arcueid(Tatari): "───I cannot believe it. In this town, there's a killer more suited to Tatari than the True Ancestor?"

Arcueid(Tatari): "...... That's rough. I thought this me would be the best, but it's hard to pass up your power. Hmmm, which one should I choose? Which one, which one......"

Shiki: "─────"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Oh, you don't have to worry you know. Whichever one I choose, you'll die here, Shiki. Yeah, I'm really ticked right now so I'll kill you soon────"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Eh────?"

Sion: "Disappear, vampire......!"

Arcueid(Tatari): "Oh, a sneak attack. I meant to cut off your nerves, but you reconnected them? You really know how to use that Etherlite, don't you?"

Arcueid(Tatari): "And, you pierced my heart from behind? I was really careless, wasn't I? It'll be hard to keep this body like this."

???: "────Very well. The True Ancestor's capacities are superior, but not impossible to reach. In that case, I'll choose your power."

The One Named Nanaya

Sin, I am guilty

After the vampire assuming Arcueid's form disappears, I start to be able to move around again and an hour later, Sion fully recovers.

Shiki: "Are you okay physically, Sion?"

Sion: "Yes. I cannot be defeated by wounds, so you probably have more damage than I. I only have a little dizziness, so there is no need to worry."

...... The problem is dizziness.

It isn't enough to prevent body movement, but the problem has to do with───

Sion: "Shiki? Do you have any problems? You may have avoided any fatal wounds, but how are the ones you have?"

Shiki: "Yeah, I'll manage somehow. Most of them are just flesh wounds, nothing serious."

Sion: "...... I understand. For you, you would die quickly if you received any blows head on. That means you were able to redirect all those attacks."

Shiki: "...... Well, something like that. I wasn't able to do it that well every time───but that doesn't really matter. There's some things we do have to talk about."

Sion: "Things, such as what?"

Shiki: "That vampire from before. Do you two know each other? You called it Tatari."

Sion: "It is not a matter of knowing each other. I only encountered Tatari once before."

Shiki: "So you know what the heck that is?"

Sion: "Yes. That is the Dead Apostle named Tatari and the rumored vampire you are looking for."

Shiki: "That was!? ..... you mean, Arcueid is the one that rumors are being made about!? Well, of course it's not the real Arcueid, but that fake Arcueid. It really was just like Arcueid though."

Sion: "No, you have it backwards. The rumored vampire is Arcueid, so Tatari became Arcueid Brunestud."

Shiki: "Eh? (Sorry Sion, I'm totally confused.)"

Sion: "In other words, Tatari is a Dead Apostle that dons the largest curse within a closed area. In simpler terms, one who makes rumors into reality. Widespread rumors gradually start to feel real. Such as when you believed in the rumor that there is a killer in the park, you mistook these things for bodies."

Shiki: "Eh...... Whaaaat!? What is this, just scattered trash bags!? The dead bodies and blood was nothing more than trash───!?"

Sion: "Yes. When a rumor collects enough momentum, the probability of it becoming real increases until it reaches a certain point and it becomes Tatari. Tatari probably became the True Ancestor because many people believed the rumor about the killer being a blonde vampire. Of course, the True Ancestor really did not kill anyone. Consequently, Tatari has yet to kill anyone. Until the complete realization of a rumor, Tatari cannot truly resemble the rumor."

Shiki: "...... So it just makes copies of others? It's a pretty troublesome guy. You seem to know a lot, Sion."

Sion: "────I have done a lot of research on vampires, so I at least know about the Dead Apostles."

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


It seems like there may be another reason why Sion knows about Tatari.

..... I have to figure it out.

Shiki: "Sion. You and that vampire..."

Sion: "──More importantly, I have to warn you, Shiki. Unfortunately, Tatari did not choose the True Ancestor, but an irregular like you. ...... No, 'choose' is not the correct word. Tatari does not have the power to do that."

Sion exhales in utter exhaustion.

Shiki: "Eh? Choose me? For what?"

Sion: "The vampire chose you. It wanted not a True Ancestor who does not drink blood, but a true killer. Tatari is a Dead Apostle that emerges from rumor and information. If Tatari copies the killer named Shiki, many people will die."

Shiki: "Copies Shiki───you mean, Roa SHIKI!?"

Sion: "Not Roa. Maybe the rumors are based on the vampire Roa, but the one believed to be the killer is you. Even you fear the possibility of you becoming a killer. The more a rumor spreads, the more people will fear. Tatari uses that pattern to find an easy form to assume. Once someone is killed, those rumors will become completely true."

Shiki: "Li−like I would let that happen! Sion, you really know a lot about him, so you know where he went, right!?"

Sion: "I cannot say it will for sure happen, but if Tatari wishes to become 'Shikiller', it will have to go where he is recorded the most vividly."

Shiki: "Where he is recorded most vividly───"

In other words, where he appeared the most.

That means───

TL Note

Shikiller (i.e. Satsujinki) is written 殺人貴, not 殺人鬼, it's a play on words.
殺人鬼 just means "a bloodthirsty killer" or "a homicidal maniac", things to that effect.
It's literally 殺人鬼 (satsujinki) with 鬼 (ki) replaced with the 貴 (ki) from 志貴 (shiki)
It's a god awful pun and you can blame Nasu for that


We run to the back alley.

No one is around.

As usual, it is totally quiet.

The hot summer night air flows through this place.

Right there, in the middle of it all, like a chick emerging from an egg, it stands there covered in viscous night.

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "───I knew it. You chose that instead of the True Ancestor, Tatari."

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "Yeah. I don't know what you think of this nonsense, but soon these eyes will be god−like. It's too much for the vampire Tatari that prefers blood, but isn't it human to want to try things at least once?"

Sion: "Foolish. Like that, you cannot reach your goal. You will run away from your ultimate goal for just momentary pleasure?"

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "Hmph. Easy for you to say. Certainly this time is the best yet. I will not have this opportunity again. But, that is not to say never."

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "This time I will enjoy the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, and next time I will pursue my goal as Tatari. I am beyond a life span. With an endless future ahead of me, I can have an even better chance later on."

Sion: "So, you are just wasting this chance?"

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "No. For me, everything is sacrificial. That is why I will still enjoy this stage. Above all else, this lead role is quite rare. While not a famous star, it is one no one else can play. ...... No, no. There will never again be someone so specialized in 'killing'!"

Shiki: "────────"

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "I have decided. This is unfortunate Sion, but I have to dismantle you here. I'm a vampire, so I have to kill everyone I come across."

Shiki: "...... Hmph. Not only my appearance, but my voice too? But inside, you're the worst. I guess this is what they mean by a poor copying job."

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "Hey, that's no way to talk, Tohno Shiki. I feel some danger now. Are you thinking of something not too good?"

Shiki: "............. If you're my copy, then you should know what I'm thinking."

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "Hahahahahahaha! I see, the real Shiki is great! Let's do it then. We have to clash. The end will be swift, won't it!?"

Shiki: "Sion, don't interfere. I'll───sing his requiem right here!"

Shiki vs Nanaya Shiki(Tatari)

Shiki wins

The Night of Tatari

Freaks Channel

Shiki: "───It's over. I don't know who you are, but don't speak of killers with that face."

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "Hu────ha, haha, hahahahaha! No, that was amazing. I have to truly acknowledge what it means to be a 'killer'."

Sion: "Shiki, get away from there. Tatari is not disappearing. It is too early, so it still has some strength."

Shiki: "It is too early......? Sion, what does that mean───"

Sion: "When Tatari is fully matured, it becomes a 'materialized rumor' no matter how many times it is defeated. Tatari does not exist, it is a phenomenon. Even if defeated, it will seek out another rumor."

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "Exactly, Eltnam. Like you said, I appear no matter how many times I am defeated. That is how I operate in this human world, this museum which I amuse myself with. ...... But, this stage is set. For the first time, I was defeated by the same ones who caused me. ───So how was it, human? Defeating your sin with your sin?"

Shiki: "────What──"

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "I am punishment. I became your sin which could not take shape, and I am also the phenomenon which will award your penalty. Not accepting that, you sinned further to dispel it. You penalized yourself with murdering in order to eliminate your sin of murder."

Shiki: "────Bastard. Smiling like that, are you enjoying yourself?"

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "Yes, very. There have been many short plays until now, but never one stunted like this. In order to cover up your past, you do the same horrible acts you tried to seal away in the first place. What skill. I know of nothing compared to humans when it comes to glittering emotion."

Shiki: "That's────"

Nanaya Shiki(Tatari): "But, that's that."

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "I will compensate you many times over for ruining my fun, boy."

Shiki: "N, Nrvnqsr......!?"

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "Curses will always return to those who uttered them. You are the one who killed yourself. Therefore, it is logical that you should be killed by your sin. As the one you fear, I am also compelled to carry out the curse."

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "Shiki......! His words use Suggestion, do not listen to them! Please think only of defeating the vampire before you!"

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "Very well. If such a thing was possible, people would not be living in such agony."

Nrvnqsr(Tatari): "Now───die by Tatari, human."

Shiki/Sion vs Nrvnqsr Chaos(Tatari)

Shiki/Sion win

_???: "Hu───AILGU, gah, YuDoBwPLG"

Shiki: "Did, did I do it this time────!?"

Sion: "...... It appears so. This Tatari no longer has enough strength to move information. As long as Tatari cannot occur in this town, all that can be done is to wait for the dispersed conditions to happen again."

???: "A────, ────, ────!"

Sion: "...... Disappear, Tatari. Next time will be ten years from now. As long as I live, I will destroy you."

???: "............................................................. Ki."

???: "Kikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikiki!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Shiki: "...... Gone. Is he dead?"

Sion: "Yes, it will never appear again in this town. And, neither will I."

Shiki: "Eh? Sion, did you say something────"

Shiki: "Ah...... Sion, don't tell me, you────"

Sion: "...... Forgive me. I used my Etherlite connected to you. You will lose consciousness for about one hour. During that time, I will take your memories."

Shiki: "Wha────wh, why......"

Sion: "...... I was unable to fulfill my purpose. I do not mind that, but it would be troubling if you revealed my connection to Tatari to anyone else. So I am removing the memories related to me and Tatari."

Shiki: "Idi───you don't, have, to───"

Sion: "Yes, you will probably not say anything. I believe you, but I cannot rely on you, Shiki. There are those in this world that will peer into your memories no matter what you wish...... Those, like me."

Sion: "This is goodbye. I really must thank you for your help and your courtesy, Shiki."

Shiki: "What────wait, Sion. Then, what───"

Misaya at day

───My eyes open to a frying sunshine.

In the middle of summer, the warm air resumes its daily rise in temperature.

The asphalt shimmers with mirages, and I am the only one around.

Probably because it is so hot.

That's why even though things are as peaceful as always, there is not a soul to be seen.

I walk to the park melting under the hot sun.

Here, I can calm down.

Why did I walk here?

Was I just planning to walk under the fierce heat?

Or was I going to meet someone?

Or───maybe I was searching for something?

No matter how hard I think, I just don't know.

I take a deep breath and look up at the sky.

Overhead, the sun burns as if it went crazy.

...... I feel a little giddy.

I'm probably just affected by the heat because I've stood here so long.


This summer really seems like a bad dream────