——After letting go of the sword dripping with blood, Kusanagi Takeru looked up at the blue sky.
The day has risen long ago.
Outside was being baked in heat and the odor of vegetation tickling his nose was uncomfortable.
Something on the ground was smelling of iron.
It was a girl with very white skin and black hair.
A girl he has raised his hand upon.
Just recently he has learned that she was his little sister. After learning that the girl of Kusanagi harboring demons was his little sister he was both happy, and sad.
For the first time in his life he felt he needed someone else. An existence he wanted to have beside him.
And yet——he ended up killing her.
He asked himself. Why did you kill her? If the girl who accumulated demon curse over long years is released, demons shall spread all over the world. That's why she has to be killed. That's what his father said.
That's why you have to choose, his father said.
This was the result of his choice. A body right in front of him.
For his parents?
For the world?
Then for what sake?
Tears spilled from Takeru's pupils as he looked at the sky. He killed her for her own sake. For her, who was sneered at, feared and hurt by the world, and yet endured all alone.
For her sake Takeru had become lonely.
Falling onto his knees, he smashed his both hands into the ground.
Tears fell onto the dry earth one after another.
"Dammit... as if I could bear this burden..."
Inside of Takeru overflowed with anger.
Why did this happen. Why did this happen. Why did this happen. Why did this happen.
There's no way this is a good end. This isn't what I want.
Stop screwing with me. Stop screwing with me damn it. This shit just can't be.
Feeling loneliness for the first time since being born, Takeru was bewildered.
He looked around seeking help.
"Why... am I in a place like this all alone?"
The feeling of discomfort from hurting his little sister and the fact he was despairing all alone lacked sense of reality.
His parents died. He killed his little sister. But other than that he had something else, something, many things precious to him...
Where have they gone? What was it, and who was it?
I don't like this. My parents are dead, my little sister is dead, people precious to me aren't by my side. I hate this. I hate being alone.
Takeru approached the girl who didn't breathe and pressed against her chest with all his strength. Putting his entire body's weight on his arm, he pounded the girl's chest.
"Don't die...! You can't! Wake up...! I want you to remain by my side...!"
Breathing roughly, Takeru desperately tried to resuscitate the girl.
He already pierced her heart with his blade. But despite knowing it's pointless, he did not stop.
"Don't leave me alone..."
It was as if his basic feelings were revealed. Not knowing human hearts he always distanced himself from others, but now that he has become lonely he realized just how much he needs others. And just how selfish he was. That's why he wanted his little sister to live. That's why he sought the existences who disappeared even from his memories. All of it was his means of escaping loneliness.
His tears spilled. For such self-centered desire he didn't want his little sister to die. How sly and cunning, how hideous. In the end, in his desire to save his little sister, the thought of doing it "for her sake" was merely a pretext.
Selfish, self-centered. Exactly that. So what... whether it's past or the future, he intended to come clean with it someday. But seeing reality in front of him, he could only be disgusted at how despicable he was. The fact that despite killing his little sister, he goes wallowing just how much he hates it, and how much he doesn't want to give up, felt so disgusting that it felt nauseating.
This was Kusanagi Takeru's real nature.
No matter how much he tried to resuscitate her, his little sister did not wake up. He was unable to recognize her face too well, but he was certain that she was at peace.
Death was his little sister's wish. He granted her this wish.
Takeru's sweat-covered face was twisted with resignation.
——If you realize just how despicable you are, instead of acting sissy he might as well act proud about it.
He heard a voice in his head.
——You did well as a brother. You have saved you little sister from the vortex of suffering. That's much better than acting selfish, not wanting either your little sister die, or die yourself.
This voice calmed Takeru's fury.
——This is the result everyone wanted. Thanks to you, your little sister won't hurt anyone and will sleep without being hurt either.
This voice did not soothe him. It was tempting him.
——You aren't at fault. What's at fault is what forced this suffering on you and your little sister, this world itself. Rather than hating yourself, hate this world.
——Destroy it, this world——you will kill this world's God.
Takeru hung his head and relaxed his muscles. He felt like entrusting his heart to the voice.
Heartbroken, Takeru had no strength to resist the voice nor he had any reason to. His little sister was in death's comfortable embrace, out of his reach. People who supported him didn't exist right from the start.
It's fine, isn't it.
There was no need to remain lonely, was there. There was no need to remain alive. If he unleashes his hatred towards the world, he'll feel better. Once he breaks everything and all, there'll be nothing to...
Laughter leaked out of Takeru's mouth.
His heart broke and he already gave up.
But, for some reason. For some reason Takeru's arms attempting to revive his little sister did not stop. He shouldn't have any strength left, but his body kept moving.
Why did he so miserably, so brazenly, so unsightly struggled? He granted his sister what she wished for, so why take this peace away from her?
He questioned himself. He questioned his memory.
Remember. Remember the reason why is this body not giving up.
"...I feel like... I was told something by someone... I don't know when was it... I can't recall."
A voice leaked from his dry lips.
"Someone allowed my... wretchedness..."
Along with tears, a voice has come out deep from inside his soul.
"Someone somewhere... is affirming... my selfishness..."
He hit his little sister's chest. As long as he had strength, there was hope.
With his own desire. With his own selfish ego.
"That 's why I... can't stop my hands..."
The warmth of hands pushing his back was revived.
Even if he had no memory of it, a warmth of embrace shook his soul.
"No matter how pathetic, miserable, disgusting, nauseating I am... I..."
I can't betray that warmth.
"I need to be proud of myself as I am."
With his tears flowing without end, Takeru continued to press on his little sister's chest.
The pain of forcing his way through with his ego was much harsher than pretty words and just arguments. It was more painful than settling for easy results. Believing in his own ego had immeasurable difficulty. Takeru wasn't so strong. In fact, he was a lump of self-loathing.
Don't think awareness is an excuse, he said.
You being aware of it makes it even worse.
That was exactly right. That's why even while being ready to vomit, Takeru continued to question himself as he forced his way through. Crying miserably, intoxicated with himself, he moved his body.
So that one day, he could really be proud of himself. In order not to be alone. In order to reject loneliness. And to be together with people precious to him.
In order to regain all that he holds dear.
"I guess, I'm a fucking bastard... even if I say so myself..."
While mocking himself, Takeru continued to struggle. His little sister's body grew cold and hard like stone, but he did not give up.
He felt so sad his tears wouldn't stop. There was not enough hope for a droplet of tears, he couldn't help but to hate himself for being unable to stop.
It was so lonely to be alone, that he couldn't stand it.
Takeru struggled desperately trying to recall someone's warmth.
How many months have passed. A minute, an hour, a day, it felt even like a year. Takeru continued to try reviving his little sister.
Even if summer passes, and fall had comes, vegetation withers and winter comes, and then spring comes along with fresh sprouts.
Even if his little sister's body rots and all that's left are bones.
Without rest, continuing without end, he continued to fight all alone.
It wasn't manly. It wasn't beautiful.
His simple honesty did not connect with salvation.
This was reality, and reality isn't so sweet.
Before long not even bones were left of his little sister's body, which returned into the earth.
With nothing for his hands to touch, Takeru embraced himself while clenching teeth and looked up at the sky.
"Damn... damn it...!"
No matter how much he stimulated her heart, a dead person won't go back to life. It was completely different from fighting and defeating enemies. No matter how much he continued, a miracle didn't happen. It was impossible right from the start.
However, however, however, however.
Takeru stopped embracing himself and reached out to the ground. Then started digging in the dry soil.
It was nothing but madness. From the moment he tried to revive a dead person, he was completely insane.
Even when the tips fingers broke, even when his nails broke, Takeru did not stop.
If there was someone who could stop him that would be——
The ones who are gone, people important to him who have disappeared.
——I wanted to be saved.
——I wanted someone to stop me.
——But there's no one here.
——There is no one to embrace me.
——I was weak to no end.
——I had nowhere near enough power to save.
——I can't bear being alone.
——Alone I'm just a fool.
——I can no longer live alone.
——Someone, help me.
"You really don't know when to give up."
After a ridiculously long time, the response had come when his own body was on verge of rotting. After over a hundred years, she appeared in front of Takeru.
From behind she hugged Takeru's shrunken and rounded back.
"You're miserable, brazen, selfish and self-righteous... but..."
He could no longer turn around. His arms were worn out, he might as well not have them. His body was merely a machine for breathing. Even his breathing would end soon.
She embraced Takeru's body, which had only bones and skin remaining on it.
"But I love that about you. Even if no one in the world acknowledges you... I will love you."
"I'm sorry to make you lonely until you have turned like this..."
This voice wasn't an auditory hallucination.
"Even if this isn't reality, I allowed you to taste loneliness for such a long time."
Warmth had touched Takeru's chilled heart.
"It's all right. You are no longer alone. I am with you. I am forever by your side."
His hand akin to a dead branch has reached out to the warmth.
"Even if you're weak... even if you're stupidly honest, I will grant you power."
"You haven't lost anything yet."
"So stand up with pride. For your own sake."
Power has filled his collapsing body.
He recalled. He got it back. Everything.
Takeru stood up.
"Wake up——it's time to save the world, Host."
Even if it's his selfishness.
Even if it's madness.
If he has the power to save——
——Kusanagi Takeru will stand up.