Monogatari Series:Kizumonogatari/Koyomi Vamp 013
A man with a hedgehog looking hairdo resembling a catholic priest.
He has slit eyes that made him appear calm.
A human -- that repudiates the existence of Kaii.
A human -- that erases the existence of Kaii.
He doesn't carry weapons.
A specialist of vampire exorcism based on faith.
Kissshot called him the archbishop of a 'new religion', and the shadow commander of the black team serving under the umbra fourth group of the dark special duty forces.
Half-vampire Episode described him as nasty, even Kissshot said to be on guard against him, a cleric.
That -- was Guillotinecutter, who had stolen both arms from Kissshot.
"Oh, did you run here -- much appreciated. However, not being able to turn your body into fog is a sign you are still new at this."
With an overly polite tone -- narrowing his eyes.
I was at a loss for words.
I didn't have a word to reply with.
We were at -- the sports field of Naoetsu private high school.
At the same place where, at the end of the last month, I had fought Dramaturgie, and where I battled Episode last night-- Guillotinecutter was waiting for me.
He was embracing in one arm the body of Hanekawa Tsubasa.
That hand that didn't carry a weapon --
Was tightly grasping Hanekawa's neck.
Hanekawa -- at present was safe.
She wasn't injured, and she wasn't made unconscious.
Because she -- is a hostage against me.
If she wasn't safe it would be meaningless.
"I-I am sorry, Araragi-kun -- I..."
"Please don't chatter as you like."
Suddenly, he put strength into the fingers wrapped around her neck.
Guillotinecutter forced Hanekawa to be silent.
Cough, from the inside of her throat a breath leaked out.
"H-Hey -- don't!"
I considered it bad to carelessly provoke him, but naturally I couldn't stand quietly -- I shouted.
With an extremely calm tone--
Guillotinecutter says affably.
"Is something wrong, Monster-san?"
"She...... she is a girl."
"I dislike discriminating on sex."
"But -- she is an ordinary person."
"Precisely. If she wasn't she wouldn't be a hostage."
I don't know how in the world I should talk anymore.
"Don't do something cruel."
"Cruel? Do you mean like this?"
With the fingers still entrenched in her nape, Guillotinecutter tried to raise Hanekawa's body. That looked the very same as hanging her by the neck.
Hanekawa -- groaned in pain.
As a reaction, Guillotinecutter,
"You are annoying."
He lowered the arm, and let her feet touch the ground.
Still, Hanekawa wasn't allowed even to cough -- I can't even imagine what action Guillotinecutter will take in response even for just a physiological reaction.
I just -- went limp.
I had no intention of taking them lightly.
I certainly have no intention of taking the words of Episode and Kissshot lightly -- however, as usual, I had understood nothing.
Possibly when I heard 'human' I might have felt partly relieved. I may have relaxed. At least, he doesn't have superhuman strength or immortality like vampires or half vampires -- I thought that meant the degree of difficulty was lowered.
However it was far from it.
This guy took a hostage without hesitation --
and in addition, he has challenged me to a duel.
"Well, this is entirely my fault."
Going back to the ruin of the cram school, when Kissshot was on the verge of waking up -- and after he informed me that Hanekawa had been kidnapped, he said that looking really apologetic.
This was not the place for frivolous talk.
"It was fine up until yesterday; yesterday night I even included class rep-chan in the contract. And yet, I was outguessed. The issue of Episode throwing a cross at class rep-chan could still be said to be part of an act of battle. And even then, normally a human that lives in this world, including a person in my situation, wouldn't want to involve an ordinary person--"
"Therefore -- you avoided Hanekawa?"
"I didn't mean to avoid her, but certainly I never wanted to face her. I thought that she shouldn't exchange words with me -- well, I too don't want to deliberately involve an ordinary person, not limited to class rep-chan. I won't try to hinder it, but I won't try to prompt it either -- that's my standpoint. However, Guillotinecutter..."
Like he had no hesitation, said Oshino.
"He didn't flinch at all -- the result of my actions was a complete failure. I completely misread the talents and the caliber of the other party."
"......But why Hanekawa -- he shouldn't know this place, right?"
"He has been watching. Probably -- the fight with Episode. Or maybe even the fight with Dramaturgie -- in order to avoid that, I conducted negotiations with the three separately -- however, I was outsmarted."
Like Hanekawa watching from behind the building.
Like Oshino watching from somewhere.
Guillotinecutter too -- had been watching.
"Even if you are followed the barrier is still effective, but it's not like class rep-chan was living here -- if you searched for her you will find her."
She had left the barrier behind.
She must have been found on the way back.
Or could he have been waiting for her in front of her home?
"......What should I do?"
I asked Oshino.
"What the hell should I do?"
Strangely -- I didn't have the words to blame Oshino.
What I should do now was more important.
There was nothing but that in my head.
"The terms are the same -- Araragi-kun and Guillotinecutter will fight one-on-one. If Araragi-kun wins, Guillotinecutter will return the arms of Heartunderblade. If Guillotinecutter wins, Araragi-kun will tell him Heartunderblade's whereabouts."
"......And what about Hanekawa?"
"He is not counting her in. Perhaps, he is thinking of her as a tool -- no, as a weapon."
Like the long swords of Dramaturgie.
Like the cross of Episode.
Guillotincutter, as a weapon, will use-- Hanekawa.
Guillotincutter was armed with Hanekawa.
"Th-The place and time?"
"Designated by him. The place is the usual, the sport field of Naoetsu private high school -- the fact he designated that is proof he has been watching the fights so far -- and then the time is the night of April 5th."
"In other words: tonight."
It was a designation that sounded very hasty -- but thinking from the point of view of Guillotinecutter, from his nauseating point of view, I cannot but understand.
Hanekawa is an ordinary person.
In addition she is not a dunce like me, she is an honor student -- even I would be worried about going out at night. If she doesn't return home one night, surely her parents will contact the police.
Guillotinecutter wants to settle things before that happens.
It was a rotten way of doing things, but still, he is certainly a professional.
He will put an end on things before causing an uproar -- however, it's not like this guarantees the safety of Hanekawa afterwards though.
On the contrary, I don't even think he has the intention to let it end quietly for Hanekawa who knew the situation.
Nevertheless -- that issue of hating 'early uproar', for me, should have been certainly something to take advantage of.
"That's the spirit, Araragi-kun."
"......No matter how much I gloss it over, this was my fault. I will give you another little hint for this time. A plan for rescuing class rep-chan. If you can manage that -- surely, you can beat Guillotinecutter."
"First of all -- forget everything about the main character of the Gakuen Inou Batoru manga."
"And then, give up being a human."
There wasn't much time left.
There wasn't even spare time for worrying.
Therefore, after Oshino made that preamble, I had no choice but to follow the strategy he taught me -- the risk of polishing up in advance a tactic for the time of the fight. In other words, becoming agitated and confused if it fails -- despite that, this time I have to accept that risk.
Even if it's already the third fight.
I capitalized nothing out of experience.
"Since Dramaturgie-san and Episode-kun unfortunately went back to their home town -- it is really bothersome for me to be your opponent alone. If I don't use even one hostage, I won't counterbalance you, will I?"
Guillotinecutter said this without flinching.
With his thin slit eyes, he smiled, amused.
"Both honest to a fault, Dramaturgie-san has already returned the right leg of Heartunderblade-san, and Episode-kun has already returned her left leg -- is this what they call chivalrous spirit? How quaint."
"In other words, Heartunderblade-san has recovered accordingly. Former human boy, Heartunderblade's subordinate-kun. If I face you directly, it is impossible for me to harm you."
In any case I am not immortal -- he said.
He complacently says with nonchalance.
"W-What are you going to do to Hanekawa?"
"I won't do anything at all. If you won't do anything at all."
Guillotinecutter immediately replied.
"If you want me to do something to this girl, I will do it though -- it is so nice that for a new former human a hostage is normally applicable. With a genuine vampire opponent that won't do -- or maybe if the hostage were to be a subordinate the story would be different, I guess? Would you be the hostage to use for Heartunderblade?"
"......You're kidding me."
"I am deadly serious."
Like he was using Hanekawa's body as a shield, Guillotinecutter thrust it at me.
Like -- it was a tool.
Like -- an actual tool.
"I don't possess superhuman strength like you fellows, but I am still well built. If it is just one girl -- I can kill her easily."
It is clear he is built.
It is very clear from the fact he's been handling Hanekawa with a single arm for a while -- however, what this man forged is not body but his force of will.
He is too strong mentally.
In this situation -- he won't show a gap.
"Incidentally, I won't kill her in a way that will give her time of resuscitate, like it happened with Episode-kun -- I will crush her brain with a single blow. If I destroy a complex organ like the brain of a human, even with the blood of the subordinate of Heartunderblade-san, a perfect recovery is impossible, don't you think?"
"......Do you still call yourself a human?"
"Oh no. I am God."
With one hand in front of his chest, so declared.
"It follows that you fellows who oppose me should not exist. I swear by God, that is to say by me -- I won't allow you to exist."
"Though if you became my ally, like Dramaturgie-san and Episode-kun -- maybe it would be worth it to let you live?
I answered by reflex.
Just receiving that invitation in itself gave me goosebumps.
God, my foot.
You are -- quite the monster.
Oshino Meme, is probably looking from somewhere at our current state of affairs like he did until now -- however, no matter what, he can't interfere. It's a one-on-one fight -- that's the result of his negotiations.
He can't but shut his eyes on the hostage.
There could have been the possibility of Kissshot coming out for me, but it is out of the question having Kissshot getting killed by Guillotinecutter at this point -- Kissshot still has some ways to go before recovering completely.
Also, even assuming Kissshot would win, in that case she won't be able get back her arms -- damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I -- had to give maximum priority to Hanekawa's life.
Without looking particularly disappointed, Guillotinecutter nodded.
"Frankly, I thought there was no way a new one like you could defeat Dramaturgie-san and Episode-kun, you know -- those two are unexpectedly pathetic."
"Look who's talking...... you didn't come out in the beginning because you were using those two to test me, right? So that when your turn came, you had chosen a valid tactic--"
Oshino carried out the negotiations with the three separately, but the one who decided the turns of Dramaturgie, Episode and Guillotinecutter was the opposite team.
Dramaturgie was the leadoff man, Episode said his batting position didn't matter to him.
And then Guillotinecutter -- aspired to be the last hitter.
"It is not like I thought so deeply. It is just that Episode-kun left the turn order to me, who was his superior, and to Dramaturgie-san......, Dramaturgie-san was the first player in order to get the reward. Ah, no...... now that I mention it, Dramaturgie tried to make you a comrade, right? Then he must have thought you could have been defeated by me or Episode-kun beforehand. Well, of course, it is not like I didn't think like you say, but even if either one would have exorcised Heartunderblade-san, in the end, my church would have gotten the credit."
"......You wanted to have it easy."
The one giving the reward was you, I bet.
Then what's your purpose?
If the purpose of Dramaturgie was a reward or an invitation, for Episode surely the reward was secondary to personal feelings -- therefore he didn't fuss over the turn order -- hereupon, the purpose of Guillotinecutter?
There was no need to ask.
It was his beliefs.
"Well, for me it's fine. I am not a person who shuns hard work -- in order to improve this world, I won't spare myself any toil."
The idle talk lasted too long, Guillotinecutter said.
Indeed he was talkative.
He may be a talkative man by nature -- a loose tongue is good, I could say it's a sign he is being negligent.
There are two ways to defeat an opponent who has the upper hand.
Either win by letting him be negligent, or win by making him tense.
No matter how much I think, this time it could only be the former.
I defeated both Dramaturgie and Episode doing this.
Guillotinecutter, now, is being negligent.
Even if he doesn't have a gap, he is being negligent.
There is a chance of winning.
However in order to do that--
In order to do that, I must throw away my humanity.
I ignored the words of Guillotinecutter, and I called out to Hanekawa, who was held by that arm.
"It's all right."
Hanekawa can't reply.
Because she is being strangled.
She can just -- watch me.
"I will definitively save you."
"......What a bother."
Guillotinecutter said in a calm tone.
"I won't be as forbearing as humoring you with this high school friend play. God, that is to say me, says this -- it's time to begin."
I say, facing Guillotinecutter.
"What can I do? As long as you keep Hanekawa as a hostage, I can do nothing. Besides, I don't have the intention of doing anything. I will completely submit to your orders -- in these circumstances, a fight is not feasible."
"God, that is to say me, says this -- the instant the fight begins, you should raise both hands and say 'I give up'. In other words, the fight will be settled the instant it begins."
I nod without hesitation.
I shouldn't even have a reason to hesitate.
"Therefore, let Hanekawa go now."
"That would be so convenient for you -- there is no way I will do it. The release of the hostage will be after the fight ends. Do I look like a fool who gives away his weapon in the middle of a fight?"
That too -- is the word of God?
Don't kid me.
Hanekawa is a weapon?
She -- is different.
She is different from you -- or me.
You are not a person who can touch her!
At that moment, Hanekawa -- cried while being strangled.
While her neck seemed to break at any time.
While she was threatened to have her brain destroyed.
Nevertheless she cried.
"Don't care about me!"
"It's not like I can do that--"
I shouted back.
And then that -- became the signal of the beginning of the fight.
Of course, Guillotinecutter doesn't move -- he doesn't do anything. He just opens faintly the thin slit eyes -- and just laughs a lot towards me.
He just makes a loud laugh.
Without wanting to hear that laughter -- I kept shouting.
"I told you I didn't want to turn back into a human even at the cost of belittling you--"
And then I--
"But if I can't meet you anymore, there wouldn't be any meaning in turning back into a human!"
I didn't even have to raise my hands.
The instant it began, the fight was settled.
It is as Guillotinecutter says.
It's just -- that I win.
I thrust away Guillotinecutter's body with all my strength -- at the same time, I also managed to plunder Hanekawa's body from him.
It was simple.
It was extremely simple...... and convenient.
"Y-You -- what the heck."
"Don't tell me -- this is the power of vampires."
"Wrong. It's the power of friendship."
However -- the distance between me and that guy was a little more than 10 meters.
Guillotinecutter didn't allow me to get closer than that -- nevertheless, even if I threw a shot or a roller, I didn't have the confidence I wouldn't hit the hostage Hanekawa, used as a shield.
Therefore -- without moving.
While I wasn't moving, I shortened that distance.
I shape-shifted my body.
"......There is no Gakuen Inou Batoru main character like this."
There's no way he exists.
He would be the villain instead.
Like Dramaturgie shape-shifted his arms into wavy blades -- I shape-shifted my arms into plants, and I extended them forward as much as possible. I considered many things, but in the end I couldn't conceive the image of 'extending the body' in a short time, so I switched to the image of replacing the body with plants.
Plants are my specialty.
Because I was thinking every day I want to become a plant.
Obviously I never thought I want to become a monster -- undoubtedly it turned out like in the image.
I thought that even if we are both vampires, it would be impossible for me to do what Dramaturgie does -- however Oshino refuted that.
"You can run on walls, you can jump 20 meters."
Then, he said.
"You should at least be able to shape-shift your body -- it's the same theory. Crabs dig a hole imitating a carapace, you have no need to fixate on the shape of the human body. It should be a trick completely unexpected by Guillotinecutter who thinks you are new -- therefore picture a form that isn't that of a human, and change the shape of your body."
That's impossible for me, I replied.
But Oshino said this.
"Then are you able to abandon class rep-chan?"
You are an annoying guy.
My arms which grew not like long swords but rather like large trees, just like millenary trees of a solitary island. They split off while they grew, moreover, each of those branches followed my intentions and I was able to make them bend as I wanted.
To thrust away the chest of Guillotinecutter.
To arrest the arm of Guillotinecutter.
I was even able to get Hanekawa back.
Somewhat I could also call it an over the top image.
Certainly this -- is not like a human anymore.
I threw away my humanity.
In the end, I thought I couldn't imitate Dramaturgie because I still didn't throw away my humanity – rather than because I didn't lose the common sense I had as a human.
For the me who wishes to turn back into a human, it is something I must not be able to do, I thought.
I couldn't imagine myself except as a human.
However that prejudice -- after all was only a prejudice.
Because I am already a monster.
Like that, I slapped Guillotinecutter onto the sports field, I constricted him -- I shut him up. I don't know if it was the word of God, but I didn't want to hear anything the guy could spew, so I bound his mouth with ivy -- and made him faint.
Obviously I won't kill, I'm going easy.
I must get back Kissshot's arms -- besides, if I could do such monstrous thing, it was thanks to you.
Thanks to you.
I thought I might be ok with not turning back into a human.
I restore the arms.
They instantly turned back.
Whether I picture them or something, they are the arms I looked at for 17 years...... all I had to do was remember them. Because I was inadvertently struck with the rash idea that if that didn't work, the worst case, I would have had to cut off my arms, hereupon I felt relieved from the bottom of my heart.
While I was at it, I had pulled Hanekawa toward me.
"Hanekawa -- are you ok?"
Embracing Hanekawa, I looked at her neck -- the mark of his fingers remained pitifully visible, but there was no internal bleeding. If that's the case, the mark should vanish immediately. It also appears that nothing else has been done to her.
I'm really glad.
That currently makes me happy more than anything.
"Ah -- ah, err, Araragi-kun."
Hanekawa, with a jerk, pushed my chest away with her hands. I don't know what she was trying to do, but somehow it seems she wanted to get away from me.
"Le-let me go."
I unwraps my arms, and Hanekawa moved farther away from me.
When there was a bit of distance.
"T-Thank you, Araragi-kun."
Hanekawa said in a small voice, looking away from me.
"B-But, um -- don't get closer. D-Don't come here. Don't touch me, I mean."
Don't tell me -- she was afraid of me?
Because she was dragged into this?
Because she was nearly killed?
Or because the shape-shifting of my arms -- startled her?
The me who threw away humanity – is scary?
Such -- but, I, although.
"Oh no, it's not that."
While fixing the cuff of her messed skirt, she said.
"Right now I am not wearing any panties."
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