True enough, Mikoto screamed with a face as white as death.
But whether she could believe it or not, she looked at her trembling hands in shock, then took out a knife from her sleeves and cut her own arm.
The old man could not even stop her. Blood was spilled, and someone gasped, but…
What resounded the loudest was the frightened voice of a person. The pain was too shallow.
It was not nonexistent, but it was by no means the pain one would expect from cutting off one’s hand, being at most the prick of a needle.
Moreover, as blood spilled from the wound, and her hand fell, all of those suddenly reverted.
Like a video being played back, not a wound was left on her arm, and not a drop of blood was left on the ground.
Even if it was a regenerative or retrogression ability, the speed and effect was simply too great.
The old man trembled in fear and astonishment, but it was not only the regenerative ability that shocked him.
He finally realized what the story meant.
This boy was not someone who would rely on an unexpected solution to solve his problems. No. He was someone who would spend a hundred or a thousand points worth of effort to accomplish a result worth 10.
He brought Mikoto into his household partly to annoy her and to dominate, in the process giving her immortality, but the fact that he could do something like that without any hesitation was a frightening thing indeed.
“Feeling better now, Tsuchimikado Mikoto?”
The voice that called out to her was cold.
No warmth could be seen in his eyes or expression, only a color of rebuke, while Mikoto slowly realized that she indeed could not go against him.
He had brought her into his household, and she could tell from the very depths of her soul that was indeed so.
She was his lowly servant, and despite the treatment she was receiving, she could not help but fear that he might abandon her.
But of course, that fear itself was something that struck her with trepidation.
『Hmm… Shinichi-kun… Are you angry?』
Then he turned to Shouko, who was still wondering about his aggressive attitude and harassment, and answered with a smirk – a stern one at that.
Shouko found herself coming down with a headache. Apparently, Mikoto’s actions pissed him off a lot more than she’d thought.
“…They could have died had I not been around, so be grateful that you’re only being punished to this extent.”
He said with a gaze that bore sharply into Mikoto.
They trusted her, yet she didn’t care whether they lived or died.
How was that any different from willful neglect?
Of course, he was mad at her, and he made that clear with his voice and expression.
『I see my daughter is loved. Fu fu… So since Mikoto has done something unforgivable, how will you be able to forgive her?』
Though she looked at the boy with favor, she wryly smiled and offered a helping hand nonetheless.
If she can’t die without permission, then she should still be able to die with permission.
Mikoto was so scared and agitated that she couldn’t even notice that.
“Of course, you have to do something about the exorcist clans. They’re a problem, and also a distraction. I don’t care what methods you use as long as they it doesn’t result in any casualties among the civilians.”
Impossible, she tried to say, but Mikoto couldn’t even say that.
Shinichi could still understand what she wanted to say, however, and he just responded cheerfully for some reason.
“Of course you can. Due to the spy problem surfacing and a bunch of people becoming unable to see, there’s suddenly a lot of useless people among the clans. As the clan master, it’s only right that you do something about this, no? Especially since right now, you’re practically invincible. You can take them head on, and you won’t even get a scratch on you! So clean house as much as you want!”
Shinichi said with a fearless smile, leaving the old man astonished and Shouko with a belly full of laughter.
Mikoto took awhile to understand what Shinichi was saying, and as realization dawned on her, her face twisted.
『Aha, ahahaha! Mikoto-sama, what an interesting kid! He’s crazy and his mouth is potty, but he’s pretty cool huh!』
In other words, it was that.
Everything up to this point was a prelude to that.
Mikoto’s deathly white face recovered some of its color, her body stopped trembling, and the despair that chilled her soul was dyed in some strange warmth.
Her expression was filled with bitterness, but the speed at which she recovered nonetheless spoke volumes of her experience as someone who has live for over a hundred years.
“…Takuma-kun, what should I do? There’s someone worse than me here.”
Spirit had returned to her words, but the old man chose to keep quiet while his eyes swam.
He could neither agree nor disagree in the face of a man who did not care about balance of the means and the ends.
“Don’t act like we’re the same. I’m not as lazy as you. It’s true I hate annoying things, but I’m also peerless and a hard worker.”
“Wouldn’t that make you the worst kind of existence in a sense?”
When he appraised himself as such, the old man unintentionally let out his thoughts.
After all, he was basically saying that no one could stop him once he’s decided on something.
And his words and actions until now proved that. So the old man stiffened, speechless, but…
“I think so too.”
Apparently, the boy was aware of that, and he nodded with a mysterious look on his face.
Seeing that, the elders fixed their seating position and let out heavy sighs.
“Sigh… what an inconceivable
She had misjudged him from how superficial his response was in Kutoria and this one incident.
He was supposed to be the person in charge of the curtains.
A machine god that would make any tragedy end on a decent note.
But it turns out that he was working with a completely different mindset.
“Not everything. I narrow it down to things that only I can deal with or things that I don’t like.”
In other words, it was all up to his mood unless there was an emergency.
What a terrible way to use a criterion for a person with such extraordinary abilities.
Yet it was that very attitude that resembled the selfish and haughty gods of old spoken of in the myths.
But of course, his criterion was more considerate of others, though it was certainly much more problematic than those other gods’.