■Search Results for "date":a particular day on the calendar. an agreed upon time for opposite genders to meet up. the word "date" originally meant the day of the month but gradually took on the meaning of "a man and a woman agreeing on a time, then meeting up at that time." a man and a woman making a promise to go out without interference from others.
Hence, Shiinamachi-senpai and I were strolling along the seashore on a date.
I don't quite understand either how this happened. After a convoluted process, that was how the situation developed--
"Jirou-kun, what's with you?"
Shiinamachi-senpai's attire was probably what one would call a white shoulder-less one-piece dress. The skirt's hem was decorated with many layers of frills and she looked like an angel to me. The white straw hat was also an excellent match for her dress and made her look like a sheltered classy young lady.
Anyway, I felt very happy to be able to go on a date with Senpai.
"Nothing much, I'm just feeling so elated to be on a date with you, Senpai."
Senpai in casual clothing and even exposing her shoulders and collarbone, I really didn't know how to get along with her.
Of course, I knew that I could just treat her the usual way, but I really couldn't remember how I usually got along with Senpai.
"Fufu, actually… I feel a little nervous too."
Senpai seemed a little shy, her cheeks getting red… That's absolutely unfair.
"I'm nervous too."
"Yes, I can see that. Your glasses look like they're about to mist over."
I frantically took down my glasses and vigorously rubbed the mist off the lenses.
"Should be fine now."
"Oh I'm sorry, I was just joking with you…"
To think it was just a joke… And I even failed to respond normally to Senpai's joke, clearly I'm really far too nervous.
"But it's great that I got a chance to see you without your glasses, Jirou-kun."
Senpai looked up cheerfully at me. The heat rising from my body seemed to make my glasses mist up again.
Right now, the feeling I have is… There was one sun hanging high in the sky, and there also seemed to be another sun down below.
"But someone should be targeting you currently, Shiinamachi-senpai, is it really okay for us to be strolling outside?"
Senpai made a troubled look then said:
"The story mentioned that certain things might happen tonight, so perhaps trying to get targeted might be our goal."
"Certain things? That sounds quite ambiguous, you know?"
"The 'stories' of the Nightkin are often cryptic in content. The basic content of the stories mostly consist of vague explanations. For example, they might mention 'a certain incident might be encountered in the future', 'on a certain day, certain things might happen' etc, and most of the endings aren't very clear."
So the Nightkin's stories were really ambiguous. When I first heard the term "story", I was thinking there would be more detailed content recorded in them…
"However, the majority is… How should I say it…? In my story, it seems that there are many dangerous parts so that's why Shiki says I need vassals who can contribute in powerful ways. But because… I'm almost unable to interact with boys, so…"
Born in a family of killers, I was forced to learn all sorts of professional skills. Combined with the fact that I had feelings for Senpai, that's probably why Shiki recommended me to her.
"So, why are you able to interact with me?"
"…I don't know either. Somehow it feels like there's a nostalgic smell coming from you, Jirou-kun."
I couldn't help but bring my hand to my nose to sniff.
"Fufu, I don't mean that kind of smell. I'm referring to a certain kind of atmosphere. For some reason, whenever I'm with you, Jirou-kun, I get a reassuring feeling."
"I-In that case, I'm very glad about that."
"Yes, I feel very glad too!"
Seeing Senpai's reassured smile, I really felt thankful that I was able to exude this kind of aura.
"I understand. Since the story says something will happen, is there any related information mentioned?"
"Let me think… The story uses Nightkin language so I can only try my best to express the linguistic feeling. Translated directly, it feels like the event mentioned is something like 'the story's real beginning is a path that gradually becomes clear amidst the gap between life and death'."
…I see. That definitely was cryptic. I recalled how I wasn't able to understand the full meaning of foreign books when reading in English.
"The story is roughly composed by forms resembling poetry. So that's why I wanted to say, since it mentions 'real beginning', then probably… It means that certain events will happen."
"You're right, that sentence really does give a feeling like something's gonna happen."
Rather than ambiguous, it would be better to call the story a guessing game. It was impossible to know what was actually going to happen.
"When you invited me, Senpai, what was in the story?"
"Oh, hmm, umm… It was something like 'The arrival of death, the joy of rebirth, the bonds of involvement'."
…Even after the event had happened already, I still found the story's contents rather difficult to understand.
'The arrival of death' probably hinted at Senpai's death. 'The joy of rebirth' represented… What did it actually mean? 'The bonds of involvement' referred to my becoming Senpai's vassal, so I'm quite happy about that.
"A Nightkin's story is so hard to understand. Is every day's story like that?"
"No. It's only recorded in this format if it's a special day."
In other words, life every single day was ambiguous and cryptic? Or it meant that no matter how the story's possessor spent their days, it was impossible to evade the content mentioned by the story? The more I thought about it, the harder it felt to understand.
"Today is a rare chance so that's why we're going out on a date. I'd like to investigate what does 'gap between life and death' actually refer to."
Senpai's suggestion was unexpectedly proactive, surprising me a little.
Although Senpai was being targeted for sure, she did not run away but decided to confront things head on instead.
The enemy was someone who had killed Senpai and me using advanced skills.
Not only that, Senpai also knew that the enemy seemed to have some kind of Gift.
My power was quite plain, simply "not going to die" but if used flexibly, I should be able to use it to accomplish many things.
In the worst case, I can at least serve as Senpai's shield.
Thinking that, I decided at the same time to observe the situation carefully in this area.
This national route followed the long coastline. It was currently summer so there were many cars passing through. Traffic congestion could even be seen up ahead. Beyond the railings was a vast seashore, lively as ever. People were making noise on the beach while the beach restaurant was totally packed.
There were no tall buildings on the other side of the sea so there was no need to worry about someone sniping Senpai from there. But if someone made a move on Senpai then mixed into the crowd, it would be very difficult to search for them.
…I suddenly realized that Shiinamachi-senpai was looking up, staring intently at me.
"Nothing, I just wanted to say that your eyes suddenly looked so serious."
Crap. I was too preoccupied with thinking about the killer's actions that I accidentally allowed my thoughts to show on my face. I can't believe I'm doing something so insensitive when given the rare chance to have a stroll with Senpai.
"Sorry, was my face scary just now?"
"No, I found it very cool."
This prompted a "everything is okay" feeling in me. Senpai is such a tease! Oh, so my face actually looked very cool? In that case, I shouldn't mind that much. But upon further thought, it also meant that I don't look that cool ordinarily? Well true, I think my face has quite some way to go before it can be considered that of a pretty boy's.
"Fufu, Jirou-kun, you really do think seriously about everything, don't you?"
"Part of it is because I'm not too used to thinking over things in a half-assed manner…"
I used to lead a life without any emotions. Even now, I'm still often lost about whether my behaviour could be counted as normal.
Although my sister had thoroughly instructed me on all sorts of common sense knowledge of normal people and there shouldn't be too big of a problem, whenever I encounter exceptional people and situations like Shiinamachi-senpai, I couldn't help but feel a bit confused.
I know that the current "me" was actually cultivated only recently. So when interacting with people, I'm always trying hard to feel my way around. As long as the situation permitted, I hope to be able to face everyone with a sincere attitude. I probably think that because I hope to really treasure the current "me" who can act like a normal person.
"But I don't want to talk about such a scary topic right now."
"Jirou-kun, let's have a normal date!"
This sentence was repeated from what Senpai said to me last night.
Hearing this sentence alone was enough to make my heart pound uncontrollably. That also made me feel quite troubled.■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Let's rewind back to last night.
After Shiki drugged me, I apparently feel into a coma.
By the time I recovered consciousness, it was already midnight.
I had just noticed a sweet fragrance when a soft and tender sensation came from my lips.
My head still felt hazy as I struggled to open my eyes, only to find Shiinamachi-senpai's face right in front of me.
"Oh Jirou-kun, you've woken up?"
Sitting on the bedside, Senpai smiled gently and covered her lips slightly shyly.
This action, this fragrance, that sensation just now.
Could… Could Senpai really have done that to me just now…?
"E-Excuse me, Senpai? My lips just now…"
"Fufu, try and take a guess. Because you looked so full of openings just now."
Senpai's mischievous behaviour and giggling expression made my heart race instantly.
If things really turned out as I thought and Senpai had actually kissed me, then how could I just lie here casually? But if Senpai only played a small prank and used something such as her fingers to imitate lips, then I…
…No matter what, it was still nice.
In other words, no matter what Senpai did to me, I still felt happy. That's the conclusion.
"You startled me. If possible, I'd like you to do it again, Senpai…"
"No, no way. Since you're already awake, I can't do that kind of thing to you while you're conscious."
Senpai's cheeks went bright red.
From the way things looked, my guess might be right after all.
Okay, I'll assumed that it really was Senpai's kiss just now and savor the happy feeling in my mind carefully.
But anyway, let's put that aside for now.
The place I woke up seemed to be the same as where I had fallen unconscious, the computer lab's management room.
I scanned for Shiki but she didn't seem to be present.
"Oh, Shiki-san is currently in my room. I think she's probably taking a bath."
"You're very concerned about Shiki-san?"
Of course, she suddenly drugged me and put me in coma, how could I not feel concerned? And before falling unconscious, I saw that terrifying golden eye. A normal girl couldn't possibly give off that kind of pressure and terrifying aura.
But what Senpai just said about "concern" felt like it wasn't referring to that.
"In terms of suspiciousness, I am very concerned about her, but if I had to comment about her as a girl…"
No wait. Shiinamachi-senpai was Shiki's friend after all. If I said I wasn't concerned about her at all, wouldn't it make Senpai feel angry or sad?
'Jirou-kun, I can't believe you're saying such things about my friend. That's so cold of you. Hmph!'
In the past, my little sister asked me to comment on her friend. I simply answered 'I think she's kind of cute but I don't feel anything towards her. I think she'll grow up to be quite a beauty' but my sister inexplicably scowled at me. I can't let Senpai react with the same thoughts as my sister back then.
My sister tirelessly reminded me again and again: women's thoughts are very complicated.
"I think that there are cute parts to her personality, but in terms of level…"
"Personally, the one I'm most concerned about is still you, Shiinamachi-senpai."
"Hmm… I-Is that so…?"
Why are you here? What have I gotten myself swept up into? In that sense, Senpai was definitely the one I'm most concerned about right now.
'Seeing Senpai's face getting redder and redder, in that sense, I am really concerned about Senpai!'--I really wanted to say that, but the situation and mood hadn't really reached that point, so I endured it for now.
"But what exactly happened?"
I was totally lost.
Although Shiinmachi-senpai looked just as cute as usual even in a dark room, apart from that, I totally had no grasp on the situation.
"I think it's most likely one of Shiki-san's experiments?"
"Yes, a death experiment."
Being raised from childhood as a professional killer, I had no right to say anything, but this kind of experiment really was too dangerous!
"What you mean is…"
"Shiki-san had you drink a drug, Jirou-san, trying to test out the extent you can resurrect. It's probably that kind of experiment."
Undoubtedly, it was very dangerous.
"That's totally murder!"
"Yes. But Shiki-san said that she only put you fully in a state of suspended animation."
"…Oh really? Hmm… okay."
I couldn't help but groan.
The "killer" mentality in my brain was working subconsciously so I couldn't help but think 'if death didn't happen, it's a failure' but I decided to forget these things for now and think like an ordinary school boy.
…I fainted, hence this could be construed as assault, how about that? No, I couldn't find any abnormal signs on my body so this probably wouldn't be very convincing.
Immortality was quite inconvenient in situations like these. At this rate, I felt that Shiki could indifferently say "because I feel deeply interested" any time then perform experiments on me as if was the most natural thing.
"No, this isn't good at al. I must complain to her properly!"
That's right. Even if I'll just end up feeling compelled to forgive her, I must let her know that some things were unacceptable.
"Yes, I think it's a good a idea but isn't it time for you to go home?"
Yeah, that's right. It should be late night already, if I don't go home, my sister will be worried.
"Umm… What time is it now?"
"Midnight just happened to pass."
I guess the excuse "a bit of a night excursion" should still work at this time.
If my sister came home at this kind of hour, I'd definitely not forgive her. As soon as our positions were switched, I feel that it's okay as a boy… That's right, that's the kind of feeling I have.
However, I totally hadn't called my sister and that's truly bad. But ultimately, if my sister said to me "I thought you ran into danger" and I answered "actually I died", my sister will probably think there were something wrong with my brain instead of worrying about me.
I decided to tell my sister honestly that I was actually staying late at school.
"Well then, hmm… I guess I'd better get home."
"Yes, I think it's a good idea too."
Shiinamachi-senpai smiled and expressed agreement.
"Senpai, tonight… You'll be fine, right?"
Senpai didn't quite seem to understand my question for a moment.
She blinked her eyes before saying:
"Fufu, it'll be fine. Or rather, as long as I stay in school, I'll be safe all the time."
Hearing the word "safe", I recalled what Senpai had said about a safe day previous.
Senpai, you got killed on your safe day… I couldn't help but think that.
"Oh, today really will be fine, so…"
"…So? But last night actually wasn't fine… Was it?"
I couldn't help but seek confirmation. Senpai went bright red and nodded at me.
…There was clearly something wrong with that day yet Senpai told me it was a safe day and not to worry.
Upon further thought, I found this conversation quite adult in flavour, doesn't it feel that way?
"No, that day was truly a safe day."
Ever time I heard Senpai say those words in that calm tone of voice, I couldn't help but feel my heart pounding uncontrollably.
Breath out, calm down, Jirou, calm down.
"That night, I didn't check carefully before opening the door because I knew you were coming. Normally speaking, as long as I don't open the door to that room, no one can enter my room at all."
"No one can enter your room at all…?"
"Yes, even if they try to use a Gift. Even if they try to teleport, they still can't get inside. My room is protected using a special technique. Simply stated, there's a barrier."
I see. That night, Senpai accidentally let the culprit in because she thought it was me, in the end leading to her murder.
Actually, that meant that I had indirectly caused Senpai to come to harm. As soon as I thought that, I couldn't help but feel quite regretful.
"Fufu… Seeing you worry about me, Jirou-kun, I really feel happy. It'll be hard to say goodbye if we keep staying here so let me see you off to the school entrance."
"Oh okay, after all, it's not far from the clock tower."
The school's back door led to a mixed forest. Having Senpai see me off at that small metal gate should be fine.
At the same time, I was thinking: After all, Shiki was apparently in Senpai's room in the clock tower…
Next, I suddenly felt that everything was very suspicious.
"Oh right, Shiki could be the culprit."
I told Senpai about Kuhou's conjecture.
"Yes. I was discussing the case with Fujisato and Kuhou. Kuhou was participating quite a lot… She thinks that there are three suspects, Senpai, me and Shiki."
"I see. Speaking of which, I guess we didn't suspect ourselves."
Shiinamachi-senpai pondered as she looked up.
Then she nodded.
"Shiki-san is my vassal so I think she should be fine…"
Indeed, after all, Shiki was her knight and vassal so there shouldn't be a problem. I'd like to believe that too.
Nevertheless, something much more frightening must be hidden behind that golden eye of hers.
"If Shiki-san wanted to kill me, she should be able to do it any time without choosing a safe day on purpose."
"After listening to you, Senpai, I guess that makes sense…"
Senpai was definitely right.
For example, if Shiki did not intend to make a move after gaining Senpai's full trust, then there was no need for her to pick Senpai's "safe day" to murder her. Although it was also possible that she could have performed a death experiment on Senpai like how she tested my body's abilities, in that case, everything would have been simply a criminal act for personal enjoyment and causing trouble for the sake of trouble.
Also, if it really was her, I think she would have stepped up to say "actually, I'm the culprit" when Senpai and I resurrected.
"Oh, by the way."
"Didn't you say before that if you died, Senpai, I'll die as well?"
If I remembered right, it was after the first time I died and resurrected…
'You're right. If I were to die again, you would lose your life as well.'
I think she said that to me back when I was lying on her lap.
"Oh, that's right! Because your immortality is linked to my life, Jirou-kun."
"Linked with… Senpai, what does that mean?"
"Yes, actually, strictly speaking, you're not actually immortal. If I were to die, then you'll die as well."
So that's the situation? In that case, my responsibilities were truly heavy.
In other words, I must protect Senpai's life securely.
It really felt like being a knight and made me feel a little proud.
"What about Shiki? Will she die as a result of your death, Senpai?"
"Hmm, that doesn't apply to other vassals."
Speaking of which, Shiki was the possibly the culprit who murdered Senpai.
If like me, killing Senpai would be equivalent to suicide for her, then all that would become impossible.
Stopping there, Senpai suddenly looked like she wanted to say something but felt hesitant.
With blushing cheeks, she secretly glanced at me with shy eyes.
"Basically, how should I put this? …On dangerous days… I hope you'll stay by my side the whole time… W-Will you?"
On dangerous days, staying by her side.
Sigh, Jirou, could your heart stop beating madly every time you hear certain keywords, come on!?
"Of course there's no problem. Even if my life was not tied to yours, Senpai, I still hope to protect you, Senpai."
I clenched my fist hard and vowed to Senpai.
"Yes… Thank you."
Senpai placed her hand on my fist, showing a calm smile.
Her slightly cool hand made me feel very comfortable.
"But, staying by my side the whole time… Hmm… That feels so embarrassing."
"Actually, I feel embarrassed too."
I made an embarrassed smile at the demure Senpai.
"Oh right, Jirou-kun."
Next, Senpai seemed to recall something, her eyes widening until they were round.
"You don't have summer supplementary lessons tomorrow, right? Jirou-kun, let's have a normal date!"
That was the sudden proposal she offered me.■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Then that was how things developed to the current situation.
Shiinamachi-senpai seemed quite happy just to be strolling, making me feel quite relieved because I was originally racking my brain, worrying about what conversation topics were appropriate for a date.
Just looking at Senpai's face from the side, I felt very satisfied already.
It was hard to believe that she was a Nightkin and that someone even wanted to kill her. If possible, I really hoped she could live a carefree life, away from all such conflict.
Then at that instant--
I sensed an unusual presence so I swiftly swept Senpai off her feet and into my arms.
"Don't speak, Senpai."
I knew what the presence I had just sensed.
Back when my mother was doing the "from this moment on, I will really kill you, so do everything you can to detect the presence and evade my attack" training, that was the kind of feeling I got from my mother's gaze.
However, where exactly was it coming from…? I searched desperately with my eyes.
I pushed Senpai down on the roadside and put up my index finger, making a hush gesture.
Senpai swallowed the scream she was about to make and desperately covered her mouth, trying to suppress the urge to scream.
The sound of wind slicing flew past our previous location.
Then a flying knife embedded itself into the ground ahead of where we had hit the ground.
I could feel Senpai gasp.
Faced with this obvious attack, I immediately got up on my knees to shield Senpai.
Where did the attack come from? Ordinary people were walking past us, all of them showing frightened looks at our sudden action. Cars were driving along the road. These people looked like they had not noticed that Shiinamachi-senpai and I had been attacked. Even if there was a knife stuck in the ground, it probably wouldn't occur to them that someone had thrown it to kill us.
Furthermore, the same went for "my current self".
At this rate, affected by excessive information in the surroundings, I will become unable to narrow down who I should be wary off. Not only must I protect Shiinamachi-senpai but I also had to prevent the culprit from attacking ordinary bystanders and definitely could not let pedestrians notice that a small battle was taking place here. With all these preconditions plus the added requirement of making appropriate decisions on the spot, this was too difficult for me with a normal high school boy's mind and rich set of emotions.
…If this continued, Senpai and I would get caught up in the enemy's manipulations.
If that was the case, what if I used the power sealed in my right shoulder? That should be enough to handle things, right?
I touched my right shoulder lightly with my left hand and found that it was giving off heat right now.
'When using the power sealed inside the scar, you must have the resolve to abandon everything. This "everything" means "all things". Once you use that ability, the power of a killer's clan will surely enable you to resolve the difficulty at hand. But the final result will be that you might lose everything, so no one can decide whether it is the right decision. You must grow up as quickly as possible to become a person who can make that decision.'
I recalled my mother's words and corrected my thinking just now. Now was not yet the time to abandon everything. What I ought to do was focus and carefully protect what's before me.
I picked up the knife embedded in the sidewalk and entered a combat ready stance. Taking off my glasses, I closed both eyes to focus my concentration. I had only one precondition to getting out of this difficult situation--
This point also pertained to whether other people would get hurt, hence…
Inside that dark space… I felt some kind of stinging object in the corner of my consciousness.
While opening both eyes, I threw the knife towards where my consciousness was feeling the stinging pain.
On the other side of the road, thirty meters from here, was a dark civilian dwelling. The house was separated from my current location by a clearing and the road. Using just the naked eye, it was impossible to tell if there was anyone inside that house. The enemy must have hidden either by beside the wall or inside the house. From that position, it was very hard to throw a knife using ordinary methods towards us, so it was possible that the enemy was using some kind of firing device or possessed some kind of special technique.
The sound of hard objects colliding was heard from the clearing between me and the hourse.
The knife I threw had flown roughly ten meters, striking the attacker's knife in midair, the two knives falling to the ground and making that noise after colliding.
In the past, I always failed to strike down my mother's knives and many times, the knives even stabbed into my body. But this time, the speed of the enemy's knife was inferior to my mother's, hence--I succeeded.
"Eh, just now…"
Senpai asked with a face full of worry.
I originally thought the enemy would attack again, but--
The killing intent directed towards us suddenly vanished as though nothing had happened in the first place.
Then I heard a commotion in the surroundings.
Although I really wanted to head over to that house to confirm the situation, I couldn't leave Senpai alone unattended. After all, that could very well be what the enemy wanted.
I decided to observe for now… Soon after, I decided that things had probably become safe.
I put on my vanity glasses again.
"Phew… Senpai, are you okay?"
Senpai still kept her hands on her mouth. Staring with wide-open eyes, she looked up at me.
"Oh it's fine now, you can talk."
Saying that, I extended a hand to Senpai.
I gripped her hand firmly and pulled her up.
"J-Jirou-kun, you're so amazing!"
"I already heard Shiki-san mention before, but you really are very amazing! When you threw that knife, I felt my heart beating so fast!"
Wow, hearing Senpai say that makes me so happy!
Not only that, I looked around… and found many people around us, some of them looking with an expression of disbelief at us while walking by. Others were simply sitting in their cars.
One could hardly blame them. Suddenly on the street, I had embraced Senpai and pushed her to the ground then picked up something and thrown it pretentiously. Those people most likely thought they had chanced upon some kind of weird performance.
"Wah~~ Jirou-kun, you were so great… Ehehe!"
Senpai swooned almost as though she were a fan who had met her idol.
Because Senpai always seemed so detached from reality, I felt quite surprised to see her acting this way.
But Senpai was really cute this way too. Hence, all of it was justice.
"It does scare me to be targeted… But Jirou-kun, your actions are even more astounding to me. Thank you so much!"
"Oh, i-it's nothing. I'm glad you're okay, Senpai."
"Yes! I'm fine!"
Senpai expressed her safety to me in a lively manner.
A layer of warmth seemed to suddenly appear in the eyes of the pedestrians and car passengers watching us.
Yeah, it's true. From others' point of view, we probably looked like an idiot couple sitting on the roadside.
The term "idiot couple" sounded a bit outdated. Next time, I'd better ask my sister to see if there's a more fashionable way of calling couples who engage in public displays of affection.
"I've heard that the two of you are currently having a date that shouldn't be taking place, so I came on purpose to have a look."
Hearing a voice, Senpai and I both looked back in surprise at the same time. Standing there was Shiki with her head tilted in puzzlement.
Even in such sweltering weather, she was still wearing a lab coat over her uniform with her hands buried in her pockets as usual. She must be hot, dressed like that… But there was not a single sweat drop on Shiki's face.
I couldn't help but answer and got up together with Senpai.
Shiki stared at us through her bangs while saying:
"There are two throwing knives dropped on the clearing over there. I have already picked them up just now."
Having said that, she extended her hand out from her pocket, presenting two knives held in her hand. One was the knife I had thrown after picking up while the other was an identical knife that had struck the knife I threw back. Both knives showed cracks apparently caused by the impact.
"Did you throw the knives?"
"No. Regrettably, I don't possess that level of physical ability and skill."
Shiki immediately returned the two knives to her pocket and swiftly brought her face up close.
I felt that the blue eye was flashing with a certain light.
"Monjirou, you are definitely worthy as the one I selected. Despite not having a Gift in this area, you not only evaded the assassin's knife but was even able to counterattack. What amazing skills."
"You saw it?"
"No problem. I have been watching all along ever since the two of you started your date."
I totally had no idea where there was a problem in the first place but her explanation definitely made me feel quite embarrassed.
"The assassin doesn't seem to be in that empty house anymore. Did the perpetrator use a Gift? Or like you, it was purely superb skills? I have yet to deduce the answer to these questions. Sorry."
"Oh, most of that doesn't matter…"
So Shiki was observing the situation all along and even gathering information for us?
Although I felt that Shiki was a girl I couldn't lower my guard against, she was quite reliable indeed.
Just as such feelings sprouted in my heart, I suddenly remembered that she had just drugged me last night.
"By the way, what did you put in my drink yesterday?"
"I later tried out that can of Avocado Spark. That taste was certainly quite stimulating for the taste buds."
"Yeah, it really is…"
Think thinking about it made me feel like the disgusting taste was surging form the back of my throat.
Feeling that indescribable odor reaching my nose, I instantly felt drained of strength.
"Uh, no, that's not the question I've asking!"
"You're asking about the drug? I am deeply sorry about what happened."
Shiki bowed deeply to apologize to me.
How unexpected. I never expected her to apologize so honestly.
It made me unable to complain further.
"As Kaguya's guardian together with Monjirou, I have decided to perform further tests to confirm the extent of Monjirou's immortality. Stabbed and drugged to death have been verified, so I must next test out death by strangling, bludgeoning, grinding, crushing, incinerating, cursing, beheading, dehydrating, annihilating…"
"Hold on hold on hold on hold on hold on!"
Hearing Shiki say a series of extremely dangerous words, I immediately stopped her frantically.
"That's going way overboard! It sounds like you intend to try everything out on me for real!"
"Jirou's hearing confirmed to be normal. Very good."
"Good my ass! You can't be serious in wanting to test everything on me once?"
"Jirou's ability to grasp the situation confirmed to be excellent. Congratulations."
"Congratulations like hell! What's there to congratulate about!? Shiki!"
No good. This girl looked like she was serious.
"Also, I can't believe you even want to annihilate me."
"I really want to know what would result if you were annihilated together with your physical form. I intend to test it through an explosion."
"No no, I'll surely die!"
"If you die, the experiment ends."
"No matter what, absolutely no!"
"Then may I ask what extent is okay with you?"
"No extent is fine! Anyway, killing is wrong!"
"It's totally unconvincing to hear that coming from you."
I was a professional killer and immortal as well. Indeed, it was not very convincing.
"Uh… W-Well, I haven't actually killed anyone, I should have the right to say that!"
"I see. So that's the case?"
Resting a finger on the side of her lip while looking down, Shiki seemed to be pondering something.
"So, how about a double kill?"
"That's a baseball term! You mean double play!"
"You and Kaguya already encountered it."
The culprit first killed Shiinamachi-senpai then killed me, thus achieving a double kill. I see.
"Perhaps you think your lame joke works well this time, but you're totally wrong!"
"How regrettable. Lame puns are hard to understand."
I couldn't help but feel plunged into annoyance.
Watching me arguing with Shiki, Shiinamachi-senpai seemed to have concluded we were performing some kind of comedy routine, bursting out with a chuckle on the side.
"Shiki-san, Jirou-kun, you two are such great friends."
"No, but if possible, I hope you can help me out here, Senpai."
Senpai partially closed her eyes and smiled at me. Seeing that, I was unable to say anything more.
Yes, Senpai really was a woman who could easily get away with crimes!
"Back in the bathroom, you already got seduced to death by Kaguya, right?"
"That counts as a cause of death too?"
"I believe that joke was not bad."
"Shiki-san, y-you're so annoying…"
Going red in the cheeks, Senpai finally spoke to restrain Shiki.
I see, so once the sexual harassment involves Senpai, Senpai will speak out against it?
"Sigh, in that sense, Senpai truly has my life and death under her control."
"I see, that's quite well said."
"So annoying, even Jirou-kun is joining in to make fun of me!"
Senpai turned her face away a little displeased. I couldn't help but smile quietly at the sight of that.
If possible, I really hoped Senpai could continue living peacefully like this, serving as the girl who soothed my heart and soul.
On the other hand, it was quite fun for us to be chatting as a trio.
Same for the day when the murder happened. Perhaps it was all thanks to Shiki's brand of behavior, doing and saying whatever she wanted.
However, I really wished from the bottom of my heart that she won't try killing me again.
"I'll let you know later… The conditions for Jirou-kun's resurrection. Is that okay, Shiki-san?"
"Yes. In that case, those tests and experiments won't be necessary."
"I'd like to know myself as well."
I was quite surprised to learn that there were conditions capable of killing me, at the same time, it meant that if those conditions were not met, I was immortal. It was a strange feeling, knowing that I had become someone that was difficult to kill.
Suddenly, I noticed that Shiki, who was the most interested in those death conditions, seemed to be staring at me.
Lately, I found my self more and more able to sense her gaze behind her bangs.
"Monjirou, were you originally thinking of using 'something' just now?"
Her tone was indifferent as always, but there was a certain kind of cold emotion in her voice.
"…Inside my right shoulder's scar is a forbidden power."
"Its use is limited?"
Shiki couldn't possibly be satisfied with just this explanation but she did not pry any further.
Perhaps it was because Shiinamachi-senpai made a worried and uneasy face again.
If possible, I really didn't want to tell Senpai that I possessed a power "that might cause me to lose everything."
"Understood. Okay, let's go."
Saying that, Shiki swiftly started walking.
"Hmm? To where?"
"A place where dates must go."
Shiki pointed at a small island. It was a sightseeing island with a bridge connected to the land where we were, allowing us to walk directly to the island. Over there were all sorts of shops, viewing platforms, caves, an excellent spot for dates.
"Great, then let's go there now!"
Shiinamachi-senpai seemed quite enthusiastic and I nodded.
However, the assassin seemed to have observed our movements before attacking with the throwing knives.
Since the enemy had showed killing intent, of course he or she meant to kill us. If that really was the case, I found it quite incredible that he or she would do it in broad daylight. To be honest, unless the knives struck extremely precisely, it was very difficult to kill using throwing knives in one hit. More precisely, it was only possible to take the target's life by piercing the throat, the head or the heart. Apart from attacking the throat, it was very hard to achieve "precision".
Regarding the heart, I've already explained to Shiki and Senpai before. The heart itself was a mass of muscle and needed substantial force to successfully pierce. As for the head was covered by the skull which had a curved shape. Even attacking with bullets, deflection was possible and difficult to cause fatal wounds from a distance. Hence, when killing, the throat should be aimed… But the throat was a small target and required a certain level of skill. In other words, even if the enemy was a highly skilled killer, assassination using throwing knives was still unlikely to succeed.
I think the enemy was only trying to test my abilities.
I looked over at the house just now.
"Jirou-kun, hurry up."
Shiinamachi-senpai had apparently calmed down from the fear of getting ambushed. I saw her waving at me from a distance not too far away.
"Okay, I'll be right there."
I hastily ran forward, meanwhile feeling even more sure that someone was currently targeting us.
This fact further heightened my internal vigilance.■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Walking along the long bridge, reaching the island--
"Oh my, isn't that…"
I looked in the direction Shiki pointed and found Fujisato and Kuhou standing in front of the souvenir shop opposite the parking lot.
Although we just had lunch together yesterday, it was quite a rare sight to see the two of them together. Fujisato was my classmate but did not join the library monitors or any clubs. Kuhou was a member of the library monitors and also part of the kendo club, but we were in different year groups. In other words, although both girls were having lunch with me yesterday, it still felt quite unexpected for me to see them going out as close friends.
They also seemed to notice us. The two girls instantly showed an incredulous expression.
"Hey! Monjirou, I'd never expect you to be out on a date with two girls at once!"
Fujisato pointed at me, surprise written all over her face.
"Oh dear, Senpai really isn't to be underestimated."
Kuhou added as well. Arms crossed before her chest, she was smiling.
"Hello. What a rare combination to see you two together!"
Fujisato was wearing clothes very similar to what you'd find in fashion magazines, all of her attire consisted of this year's summer fashion. In contrast, Kuhou was wearing well-fitting clothing suited to her own whims, the very image of her personality. Having two almost completely opposite people together actually gave off a feeling of a good match. I couldn't help but feel a bit touched to be able to admire the view of them out of school clothing.
"Yes, we just happened to meet by chance in the streets. Oh right, I never expected you guys to appear as well. That's even more surprising to me?"
"Perhaps so-called fate does bring people together. I'm very happy to run into you."
If all this could be attributed to fate, of course it was worth celebrating. However, the attack just now made me suspicious whether this was all coincidental. But considering the time the attack took place, it seemed as though these two girls who were already here might be innocent.
"Senpai, hello again after seeing you yesterday."
"Oh, hello to you two. I'm very happy to be running into you here too."
Hearing Senpai's answer, the two girls then turned their gazes to Shiki. I was just about to offer assistance in introductions when I noticed Shiki stepping forward on her own.
"Nice to meet you. I am Yatono Shiki, Kaguya's servant and Monjirou's slave."
Although I had expected something nonsensical from her, Shiki's self-introduction turned out to be way too nonsensical.
"Hmm… Servant and slave, what a crazy position!"
Compared to Fujisato's shock, Kuhou seemed to be murmuring away in deep thought… I had expected these reactions already.
Humans were naturally capable of facing situations calmly as long as they were able to predict future events. Shiki would make a weird self-introduction, Fujisato would jump in fright, Kuhou would remain composed as always. I had already prepared myself psychologically, hence it was only natural to think there wasn't a problem.
Suddenly stabbed to death, suddenly turned immortal, suddenly having someone offer to scrub my back… After experiencing all kinds of situations, perhaps I had already learned how to face most happenings calmly.
"Well then, let us all get along."
"You're not going to deny it!?"
Fujisato's perfect criticism made me feel quite gratified. If possible, I really hoped that Fujisato could become good friends with Shiki, thereby relieving me of the responsibility of acting as the straight man.
"I feel quite troubled that neither of you denied it. Hence, I will express denial: all that was a joke just now."
"Phew… I was wondering when did Monjirou transform from this serious glasses-wearing type to a fiendish glasses-wearing type… I was scared for a moment there…"
Fujisato pressed her hand on the chest area of her loose garment, breathing a sigh of relief. Although I was very curious on what fiendish glasses-wearing meant, I decided to continue observing the situation.
Because looking at the two girls, Shiinamachi-senpai seemed to be thinking about something.
These two girls were still suspects. It was possible for either of them to have killed me or Shiinamachi-senpai, and to think they were able to chat with us and joke around so calmly… I really didn't want to believe that!
Precisely because of that, I would be much more relieved if they could be cleared of suspicions. I found myself feeling like one of the detective novel protagonists who wanted to believe in heroines and friends.
But in that kind of story, those people often turned out to be the culprit so I absolutely could not be careless.
"Are you three on a date?"
"It would be nice if it were a date."
I made a troubled smiled while Senpai giggled.
"Yes, I invited both of them on a date. They are both my good friends so I hoped they could become good friends with each other too."
Fujisato giggled and stared at me. I could clearly feel her sending a message of "that's lovely, nishishi" to me. Sigh, yeah, it's lovely, okay?
"Then what about you, Fujisato and Kuhou? What were you doing just now?"
I started to check their alibi. Senpai and I had been attacked roughly ten minutes earlier. If they had arrived here prior to that, then things would be fine.
"My hobby here is feeding cats. Whenever I have a day off from summer supplementary lessons or work at the store, I'll most likely come here by bike!"
Fujisato pointed at the parking lot where many cats were scattered about, hanging around.
Speaking of which, there were really a ton of cats on this island, perhaps because there were fishmongers here. And the only road led to the parking lot, which meant it was less likely for them to get hit by cars. This was indeed quite a suitable place for cats to live.
"I live nearby, so I just happened to be on a walk before my training."
Kuhou pointed to the bridge's opposite shore and told us that. There was a tall building in the direction where she was pointing. That was probably Kuhou's home.
"You've been here how long?"
"I just got here, yeah? I was just saying to Nagi 'fancy meeting you here' when you three popped up!"
"Yes. Adding to that, I was crossing the bridge when Fujisato-senpai happened to pass by me."
"Wow, that really happened? Sorry, I didn't notice at all!"
"You were riding your bike so casually, Senpai, it didn't sit well with me to call out to you."
Judging from the bridge's length, walking to cross it would take roughly five minutes or so. Walking from the location of the attack to the bridge would also take five minutes roughly. No matter what, if they hurried, both of them could still make it in time.
However, why would the culprit deliberately rush here after ambushing us from that kind of spot?
I couldn't feel anything suspicious from their explanations and it really seemed like they had appeared here by coincidence. However, Shiinamachi-senpai made a look as though she was thinking about something again.
Then she clapped her hands loudly together and said:
"Oh right, Fujisato-san and Kuhou-san, would you happen to be free tonight? If it's agreeable with you, would you like to come to my room for a chat?"
That was--no mistake about it.
One of Shiinamachi-senpai's famous invitations--The Night Gatherings.
"Wow, I'm so happy! I've always wanted to go inside the legendary clock tower! I'm free today so it's totally fine!"
Fujisato seemed quite happy and I saw her nodding many times.
"I am also free after self-directed training today. The kendo hall is at school so may I come to your room directly after training, Senpai?"
Kuhou had participated in one of these gatherings before, so she agreed readily this time as well.
"With Shiki-san as well, let's all have a fun time together!"
"Yes, I understand."
Fujisato and Kuhou both looked happy and I couldn't help but breath a sigh of relief.
They had both agreed readily to Senpai's invitation. Based on that point, they really didn't seem like culprits.
Of course, it was a bit unreasonable for me to suspect them just based on the fact of this coincidental encounter. In that sense, Shiki was actually a possible culprit too.
I looked at Shiki and found her staring at Fujisato and Kuhou the whole time.
Although I was unsure what kind of gaze those eyes under her bangs were showing, I noticed that her hands, buried in her lab coat pockets, were currently moving slightly.
"Shiki-san, is that okay?"
"Yes. I intend to make a show of my smart pajamas at tonight's pajamas party."
"H-How can that be acceptable?"
Going red in the cheeks, Fujisato secretly glanced at me.
If I had honestly said 'I won't feel particularly happy even if I saw Shiki in transparent pajamas', I think the girls were going to scorn me.
In that case, my only chose was to…
"You must wear them!"
"N-No way, you can't go 'affirmative', right!?"
Fujisato's vigorous retort made me feel incredibly refreshed.
"Perhaps you two will have to take the trouble to bring pajamas too. Just normal pajamas will do."
Shiki's reminder elicited a troubled look on Kuhou's face.
"Hmm… I usually sleep in tracksuits or t-shirts and shorts, so I don't think I have decent looking pajamas."
She was wearing a tracksuit indeed last time. Compared to the other people's spectacular pajamas, only Kuhou and I were attending in tracksuits. I guess that was probably one reason why we got along so well.
"Well… I can lend my pajamas to you. Kuhou-san, I have a feeling that the soft and frilly kind of pajamas will definitely suit you very well."
Hearing Senpai's suggestion, I couldn't help but imagine Kuhou dressed in a soft and frilly pink pajamas.
…Hmm, indeed, it might suit her unexpectedly well.
"It'll definitely suit Kuhou!"
"R-Really? I've never worn soft and frilly pajamas before, so please go easy on me, both of you, Senpai…"
Hearing the girls chat happily about pajamas, I couldn't help but wonder: should I also prepare similar clothing for myself?
But then I immediately thought: these girls probably won't find male pajamas very interesting even if they saw them, right?
Shiki quickly walked over to my side and said in a barely audible voice that only I could hear:
"If these two are the culprits, then tonight will be the climax of the case."
…What was she talking about?
In other words… If the culprit was one of them, then Shiinamachi-senpai was going to expose this fact… So Senpai invited them only because she was carrying such intentions?
Still in the dark, Fujisato and Kuhou continued chatting happily with Senpai.
I couldn't help but think: I can't believe Senpai is doing this kind of deceptive behavior…
But if one of them really was the culprit then we were actually the ones being deceived.
--However, even if that was the case…
I still couldn't accept it. I felt compelled to clench my right fist.
"If you believe them, then watch tonight's proceedings clearly and carefully. If both of them are innocent, then I won't suspect them anymore."
Everything was for clearing up suspicions.
After understanding that, with a heavy heart, I watched the three girls who were currently laughing together in harmony.