Heretic Alliance's assault on Alchemist's First Research Facility ended with almost complete success.
About time sunrise has begun, Takeru returned to the meeting point for the operation end.
Everyone else from the detached force has already gathered there, not a single person was missing.
"Kusanagi, you're back."
Sage was holding a girl of the same age wrapped in sheets.
Yuzuho too, was carrying a tall woman.
The seventh squad and the sixth guard troop seemed to have succeeded in rescuing their key targets.
Takeru took Ouka and Kyouya, then stood in front of everyone.
Seeing Takeru face down, everyone guessed what happened.
Mari, Usagi and Ikaruga realized everything.
As everyone stood in silence, Takeru raised his face.
"Is everyone alive? That's great... really."
With his usual good-natured smile Takeru said so.
His bluffing was seen through with ease. Since Kiseki wasn't with them, it without a doubt meant it ended with a failure.
Ikaruga moved beside her and looked into his face.
He felt like crying a little, but turned his expression firm.
"I'll explain the circumstances later. Before that, there's something I want to ask Ikaruga."
"...what is it?"
Takeru removed the homunculi pod from the backpack and passed it to Ikaruga.
"This homunculus, it's still prior to adjustment right?"
"Yes... little sister's DNA is entered into the socket, but it hasn't been input yet."
"In that case——collect Yoshimizu's DNA and enter it."
The expressions of everyone on the spot froze.
The one who was most surprised, embracing Akira, was Kyouya.
"...what do you mean... Kusanagi?"
Depressed Kyouya stared at the humunculi pod.
Takeru ignored Kyouya and put a hand on Ikaruga's shoulder.
"Please. Yoshimizu doesn't have long. Hurry up and change it then transfer her soul."
Hearing Takeru's unbelievable decision, Mari snapped.
"Wa-wait a second Takeru! That's for Kiseki-chan isn't it?! Why would you use it for him!"
"It's not for Kyouya. It's for Yoshimizu. Also, the one who needs it the most is her. About Kiseki... I'll tell you later, spare me from that now."
Mari couldn't say anything to smiling bitterly Takeru.
Usagi and Ikaruga weren't convinced either, just Ouka looked away and strongly held her right arm with her left.
Ikaruga stared at the homunculi fetus, then looked up at Takeru.
"...is it really fine?"
"Yeah. I won't say it twice."
Hearing his clear response, Ikaruga did as he said.
"Move. You're in the way."
"Hurry, put Yoshimizu down."
Intimidated by Ikaruga, Kyouya quietly put Akira on the floor.
Akira was breathing faintly. Probably cells in her body reached their limit, she was red and swollen, skin all over her body was peeling off. Ikaruga picked up a piece of the skin that fell and opened the pod's socket.
Inside, was a single hair of Kiseki's. Ikaruga wrapped it in a cloth and put in her pocket, then placed Akira's skin in the socket.
A shrill, high pitched sound of charging echoed.
Ikaruga placed the pod beside Akira and took a little bit of distance.
As the preparation for possession has begun, Takeru has turned with his back to everyone and started walking.
The First Research Facility has been already suppressed by Heretic Alliance.
Although enemy resistance consisted mainly for drones, there was a significant number of machines.
However, after Takeru and the others penetrated the L6 - XXX Lab, all the machines stopped functioning.
Most likely because Suzaku died... or rather, because Suzaku's gene has awakened in a different location and lost control over them.
Takeru walked alone through the quiet research facility, looking up at the sky. The sky dyed white with sunrise was sunny, without a single cloud.
At the same sky, he swore the same thing countless times.
I will never give up.
Even if Kiseki doesn't want it, I will save her.
He stretched his hand to the sky, searching for the moon.
As he always did, as if to grasp hope he clenched his fist.
But, as he searched for the moon he suddenly fell to his knees.
Seeing as his trembling legs wouldn't respond, Takeru smiled wryly.
He tried to stand up, but it was in vain.
"...hey... what's going on..."
Still smiling wryly, he put his hands on the ground.
Trickling down, something quietly dripped.
Takeru touched his eyes.
It were tears.
"What... is this..."
Even as he tried to smile, it failed.
His vision was distorted with tears, his smile collapsed.
He covered his face with both hands.
Unable to suppress his voice, he clenched his teeth and shed tears.
There was no way he could remain calm.
The rescue he was hoping for so long has failed.
Kiseki didn't wish for the same salvation Takeru did.
It was enough to cause his heart to collapse. It was too much for a sixteen year old boy to bear. He had no idea what was right and what was wrong.
Still, he recklessly came here.
And from now on, it'll probably the same.
There's no way it won't be difficult. There's no way it won't be frustrating.
When he spat that out in a chagrin, with a trembling voice, unexpectedly something warm has wrapped his back.
"There's no one here. Don't hold it in."
It was Ouka. As it to wrap his body, she hugged him from behind.
"You obstinate... big fool... how many times do we have to tell you not to shoulder it alone."
"Of course it'll be painful. It's fine to cry. I'm by your side."
Her gentle voice spoiled Takeru.
Nagaru said so. Let yourself be spoiled by someone.
I see, so that's what it means. Takeru was convinced.
Don't be ashamed of your weakness. To change it to strength, it's best to cry.
Understanding the meaning behind Nagaru's words Takeru gave up, held Ouka's hand and earnestly cried.
Ouka pressed her cheek against Takeru's and quietly, she waited for him to stop crying.
After leaving First Research Facility, dragging Hyakki Yakou Kiseki climbed a mountain.
Wherever Kiseki walked, turned into a desert. Even though she controlled it, she was unable to completely suppress the erosive properties.
She hasn't decided where to go.
Until she meets with someone, she just continued to devour.
Her hollow eyes had no vitality in them, she continued to think over Takeru's words in her head.
——Nii-chan is angry.
It was the first time Kiseki's brother was angry at her.
That didn't really cause her any pain nor soothed her.
However... she just felt emptiness in her chest.
"No way, I didn't think you would bloom so quickly."
On top of the mountain she noticed a man, his back was soaked in the rays of morning sun.
Squinting at the glare, she firmly discerned his figure.
White hair that didn't sway in the wind. His mouth forming a smile like that of a Cheshire cat.
The white man looked down at her.
This man, seeing Kiseki's appearance stretched a helping hand to her.
"Hello, Kiseki-chan. It's been a while."
Her eyes still hollow, Kiseki stared at the man.
The man was smiling.
That smile of his was gentle, yet it somehow was reminiscent of destruction.
The man tempted her. Sougetsu tempted her.
He tempted Kiseki.
"——If you'd like, then how about you destroy the world together with me?"
——To step on the path of destruction.