She didn’t even have the leisure to be surprised when she finally put two and two together and realized that her face had been grabbed.
It had only been two seconds at most, yet she was exhausted as though several days had passed.
Another two seconds later, and she realized that those black fingers had torn open her skin, and there were now five red streaks on her face.
It had taken her four seconds just to understand that much.
Then again, she might have known intuitively that understanding any further than that was too dangerous.
“Did you think you could take advantage of me just because I was being lenient?”
That voice resounded monotonously, but it exuded a cruel pressure.
Normally, one would wonder just where it was that he acted leniently, but this sudden act of violence made them delay their recognition of his actions.
They knew that their soul would not be able to endure it if they suddenly acknowledged it.
It was to that extent that the boy did not rein in his divine ki.
He intentionally released it and polluted the air and the space.
Then she met those eyes, a pair eyes that did not possess a hint of Japanese color but a brilliance that transcended humanity.
There was nothing juvenile or apathetic or indifferent about it, and yet seeing those eyes made her want to bow her head.
The dark divine ki showed itself in a way that could not be understood by the eye.
Fallen angel, demon, apparition, monster, specter, ogre, evil god…
Without a doubt, ‘something’ manifested there that mocked the humans that had imagined such things.
Everything until now, including that violent act, was nothing in comparison.
If anything, it was curious how she was still alive.
“The time has come for you to receive your punishment. Do try to persevere, won’t you?”
That something bit on its right thumb and tore opened its skin.
She looked up at that absentmindedly and vaguely realized that she was being held up by her left arm. What she found more surprising, however, was that the color of that thing’s blood was still red.
Perhaps, it was strange to think of something so trivial at a time like this, but facing something so incomprehensible required her to.
An involuntary self-defense mechanism, but of course, it could not stop the blood dripping on her.
A drop of blood fell on her face and made contact with her own red.
Though gripped by darkness, her vision that had been fine suddenly distorted.
She was being forced to look directly at that thing she was trying to avoid.
The faceless apparition that could not be described in the human tongue formed a smile in the shape of a crescent moon.
Before it, all those monsters, raybeasts, and all those beasts conjured by the human imagination were nothing but insects.
It felt as though her body was spun hundreds of times in an instant. It was so nauseating that her guts threatened to spill out.
“Ah, uee, ah, ugu!!”
She was being forced to look, and yet it felt as though, she was the one being peered into. A sense of discomfort assaulted her, and her soul shriveled up as though it were being trapped.
Their eyes met only once, yet already her heart has been seized. No, it was being crushed.
Unable to even sit down, she fell into a squat, clutching her chest.
Before she knew it, the old man was screaming her name, and
No, he was still there, only in his original position with an innocent look on his face.
He was just a boy now. That must be why they were able to talk again. The old man held Mikoto up by her shoulders.
Mikoto’s body was abnormally cold.
She was conscious, yet her face looked as though it had aged by 20 years.
Her breathing was ragged, but she nonetheless turned her frightened gaze toward the boy, while holding tightly onto the old man’s kimono with trembling hands.
The old man had been with Mikoto for a long time, but this was his first time seeing her like this, and for the first time, he felt a fear of a different kind toward the boy.
『Umm… Shinichi-kun, what did you do?』
Upon seeing the two completely shriveled up in fear, Shouko asked that question with a twitching face, and Shinichi readily answered.
“I brought her into my household.”
Shocked. Speechless, Stunned.
Every one of them reacted differently, but none of them misunderstood what the
After all, though the aura might have been evil, it was still that of a god’s.
If so, then bringing her into his household must have been tantamount to turning her into a messenger of a god, making it impossible for her to go against him.
But not one of them believed that this would end on such a simple note.
“Rejoice, Tsuchimikado Mikoto, now you can
And true enough, their suspicions were proven in the worst way possible.
With a smile that covered his whole face, the boy happily explained.
“No matter the situation, the reason, or the method with which you die, you will not pass. Whatever happens to that body, it will recover immediately. Even if you undo your jutsu, you will neither age normally nor age all at once. Should you be annihilated, it will reform itself at once, and even if your soul is destroyed, it too will be restored… And of course, that will remain so even should I die. Congratulations. You have achieved humanity’s lifelong wish – immortality.”
Shinichi said with a round of applause.
But no one here misinterpreted that for genuine praise.
Immortality may have been a dream held by many people throughout the ages, but it was also a dream that lacked imagination.
No human being could actually endure a life without end unless he or she possessed a special spirit.
Any human was at some point bound to become bored, tired, and eventually go insane.
The human heart simply did not have the foundation to continue existing for such a long time.
Even she, who has only lived for about a hundred years, has already attempted such a desperate act.
Behind her scheme of using the wild card that was Masquerade was actually a desire to end it once and for all – all the problems and even her own life.
To someone such as that, immortality was nothing but torture.