Renkoujizaka Koneko is in Group 1, whose allotted sleeping time is from midnight to 8 in the morning. Thus, it was decided that the operation to capture White Noisette would take place within that period.
At present it is 3:15 AM, 10 minutes before the operation begins.
While the class were in the classroom, Takeya was standing in the corridor, sorting out the final details of the plan with its most important actor.
That actor, of course, being the student council president, Onizaki Reki.
“Please get everyone ready.”
Takeya carefully placed 10 massive stakes on the floor.
Reki responded with his usual, unchanging, facial expression.
The operation isn’t that complicated. Takeya, Zan and Shuuhei would simultaneously plunge stakes into the head, heart, and abdomen of Renkoujizaka Koneko, the probable White Noisette, thus destroying those parts of her body.
A magical girl can regenerate from her injuries, even when her vital organs are pierced by humans, but it takes 25 seconds for the healing to kick in for such a severe injury. Or at least, such is the testimony of Reki, who had faced magical girls many times.
In those 25 seconds, Reki and five other student council members would drive more stakes deep into her body, pinning her to the floor. Once that is done, she should be unable to move, even if she regenerates, and the capture will be complete.
If they fail… Who knows what will happen.
Takeya held the bastard sword he always wore on his back. The hand holding the hilt was trembling, and not because the sword weighs 3 kilograms.
He started taking deep breaths. He needed to be calm.
“…President, I have something I want to ask.”
Takeya wanted to calm down, so he decided to ask Reki as question.
Reki, holding a 2 kilogram stake effortlessly like it was a pencil, turned his gaze to Takeya.
“What is it?”
What Takeya was about to ask was a stupid question. He was very much aware of this, but he wanted to hear anything that would soothe his mind even a little.
“Do you think my plan will succeed?”
He expected Reki to say yes. If he didn’t, there was no way he would have approved this operation in the first place. They’ve already sacrificed Sumire. Reki is actively participating. If he didn’t think there was a chance of success, he would have never cooperated up to this point.
It was obvious that he was going to say yes, but Takeya still wanted to hear it from Reki’s own mouth.
Reki opened his mouth, his expression remaining unchanged as always.
“Not for a second.”
A completely unexpected answer. He felt like someone who was dangling off the side of a cliff and about to fall off when their partner decided to cut themselves away and kick them off.
His lips trembling, he asked:
“T-Then… Why did you go along with this?!”
Reki responded to the words Takeya had somehow managed to eke out—with the same expression he always held.
“It feels like a godsend. That’s why.”
It made no sense. Takeya couldn’t understand what he was saying.
But if he was expecting failure, then…
“It can’t be that… You want humanity to be wiped out…?”
It made no sense, but Takeya noticed something. The eyes of the normally expressionless Reki were clearly different from usual. The expression in those eyes…
“I just want to kick off the story.”
Takeya started shaking his head and stopped thinking about Reki.
After all, Reki was weird, he already knew that. There would be no point in thinking about his motives at this point. It would be far too late. All he could do at this point was ignore it, regardless of how of bad a vibe it gave him.
All I can do now is do my best.
Kill Koneko. That is all he can do.
He entered the classroom.
Hearing the door open, Zan and Shuuhei immediately looked towards at him.
They made eye contact with each other then started walking towards the location of Kokeno, who should be sleeping.
Zan had a shortsword in both hands, Shuuhei gripped a dagger in his right hand.
The class looked at the three boys holding weapons with odd faces but said nothing. Really, it was nothing that out of the ordinary.
Renkoujizaka Koneko entered their eyesight.
At that moment, Takeya saw something.
Two almost mesmerizing wings flapping around in front of him.
Is that the beautiful blue butterfly I saw the other day?
Huge amounts of what should be an exceptionally rare butterfly began flowing into the classroom through a huge, glassless window.
Reki was peeking in from the side of the corridor.
The expression on his face, eyes wider than never before, could be described only with one word.
“Finally, it begins.”
One of the butterflies touched a student’s head, Okonogi Hishou.
And at that moment, his head exploded with a thunderous boom. His brain was scattered across the room, his eyes splattered against the floor.
A liquid of indeterminate composition, perhaps blood, perhaps brain fluid, gushed all over his lover, Himezaki Yuzuki. She delivered Class 18’s first scream.
Butterflies began buzzing around the room.
Zan screamed with a suitably shocked expression.
Takeya finally understood what was happening in this unprecedented chaos.
This is a magical girl’s attack.
“Don’t touch the blue butterflies under any circumstances! Run! Get out of the classroom! RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!”
Zan, in a complete departure from his usual calm self, started screaming without any concern for how he looked. The class started moving.
Himezaki, who had just lost her lover, was already surrounded by butterflies. She was given no time to grieve as the butterflies landed on her arms and legs and flew into her mouth.
She stuck out her tongue and looked down to confirm they were indeed in her mouth.
With a huge explosion Himezaki was blown into tiny pieces, which scattered all over the room. Some of those small chunks of flesh smacked Takeya square in the cheeks
Takeya ran out of the classroom. Suddenly he felt warmth behind him. When he looked back, one of the twins’, Narukami Hikari’s, right leg flew off. She lost her balance and fell over. She tried to get up, but the rest of the class trampled her, not noticing her as they frantically tried to escape.
Butterflies started gathering around her head, then surrounded her entire body.
As the butterflies flew off in several directions, so too was Hikari torn apart in different directions in a flurry of explosions. All that was left was her lower body. The rest of the body was completely disfigured and destroyed, but her skirt retained some of its original shape, fluttering through the air.
The hell is this…
There was another explosion behind Takeya. He didn’t have time to look back. Another person was dead.
Another person he had spent a year with, another person that was like family. Dead. Those close to him were dropping like flies.
“THE HELL IS THIS?!”
When he got out of the classroom and into the corridor he was greeted by more dead bodies, male students from another class.
Not just one body, but two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Takeya stopped counting.
Ah… That’s good enough. Well, it’s not good at all, but good…
There’s something wrong here.
The bodies haven’t been blown to pieces, they’ve been cut to pieces.
Magical girls can only use one type of magic, and the method used to kill these people clearly differs from the magic of the blue butterflies.
In other words, the magical girl that came through the window is not acting alone. There were at least two nigh-undefeatable magical girls here, and they were undeniably on the attack.
He could hear his classmates screaming those words.
This is the end.
Takeya heard a sharp, high pitched scream. He looked behind and saw Dosanryuu Tadayoshi, who had been trailing him. Takeya noticed a gaping hole in Tadayoshi’s torso, large enough that he could see right through it.
Then he met Tadayoshi’s tearful gaze. Entranced, he stopped moving for a split second, at which point Tadayoshi’s head exploded. The shockwave caught Takeya, throwing him against the wall.
His left arm took the brunt of the bone-crunching impact as his body collided with the wall. He writhed on the ground in pain, convinced that his shoulder was dislocated by virtue of his inability to move it.
I need to get up, fast! The butterflies!
He rose shakily to his feet.
A butterfly touched down on his now dangling arm.
The butterfly flew away—at that instant, there was another explosion.
Once again he was shoved against the wall, though this time he was at least able to brace himself with his feet to bear it.
That said, his left arm was no more.
He was too deep in shock to feel the pain, but he could feel the energy draining from his body, and he had trouble getting his legs to move.
He couldn’t walk straight forward.
I need to escape! But where to? Escaping from the classroom and running from the threat in front of me doesn’t mean I’m heading anywhere in particular. Where can I escape or find help? There is no such place. We won’t be saved.
With a quick whoosh, any and all weight disappeared from his body. There was not an ounce of strength left in his body. Suddenly the inside of his head clouded over in mist and his mind stopped working.
Takeya was disoriented from the current situation, but he still knew exactly what was happening.
Ah… That feeling… It’s been a while…
The feeling of having experienced a horrible world many times. The feeling of being ruled over by a sense of utter hopelessness.
That word echoed in his head, making his steps feel heavier and heavier each time, like he was being weighed down with lead.
He finally became aware of the pain emanating his shoulder as the blood dripped onto the floor. Immediately, it grew to an intense pain and he let out a scream. His footsteps became even heavier.
Takeya’s legs finally stopped moving. His classmates were leaving him behind, but he took no offense to that. He understood that his time was at an end.
He looked out the window and was stunned at what he saw.
The colour of the sky had changed. The absurdly milky sky he was used to seeing every day was gone.
However, by no means had the sky returned to its original state. It was an absolute mess, like someone had taken paints of various colours and splattered them all over a canvas at random.
“I don’t care anymore.”
He murmured once more.
A blue butterfly was flying between Takeya’s eyes. A lump of magic that could blow someone to smithereens in a heartbeat. When and how did it get so close?
He tried to escape, but his legs still wouldn’t move. Not even the imminent threat to his life was enough to get them moving.
He felt like the despair was eating away at his body, like his blood itself was turning black. He already knew how this would end.
Takeya is a dead man.
His head would explode and his brain would be scattered across the halls. He would become a decapitated corpse.
Or at least, that’s how it should have been.
Somehow, the blue butterfly split into two right in front of his eyes. The two halves gracefully floated to the ground like petals. They then shrunk and disappeared, driving in the fact it was never a real living being in the first place.
Takeya found himself staring at Reki’s face. He was now aware that the feat was a product of Reki’s extraordinary swordsmanship.
The pokerface Reki usually wore was… absent. His face was crooked, as if he was enjoying himself, or thought something was hilarious. Of course, it’s quite unlikely that he was overjoyed that he managed to save Takeya.
Reki pointed to the classmates escaping in front of Takeya. All the while, another butterfly’s body continued to twitch as Reki chopped it up finely, like he was dicing up vegetables on a chopping board.
“Class 18, please make your way to the student council room. Vice President Leila will be waiting for you in front of the door, please take refuge there with her help. Being directly under White Noisette’s management, the student council room will be the safest room in the school.”
Takeya immediately disagreed.
“Why would White Noisette let us in there? Isn’t this her doing?!”
“I don’t have time to explain. We can’t let any more of Class 18 get killed lest we risk exposing White Noisette’s identity.”
What Reki was saying made no sense whatsoever, but it’s impossible to conclude that Reki didn’t expect this disaster to happen. At any rate, Takeya didn’t have time to give Reki a full cross-examination. He didn’t want to think about it.
Thus, Takeya switched his mind off and headed towards the student council room.
Takeya could see his classmates in front of him, but he was falling behind them due to his inability to run and the extreme pain he was in.
The butterflies were less dense than in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean the situation is any less hopeless than before. He was a losing a lot of blood. Even if he somehow escaped from this magical attack and made it to the student council room, he may very well end up dying anyway.
I… don’t care…anymore…
As Takeya raised his head with a self-loathing smile he noticed something astounding.
A figure running towards him, blonde hair swinging in the wake.
She stopped right in front of Takeya, breathing erratically.
Lilly looked shocked when she seen Takeya’s missing arm up close but quickly put on a smile.
“Let’s get to the student council room, okay, Takeya?”
“Don’t mind me, Lilly.”
“Take care of yourself first. It doesn’t matter what happens to me anymore.”
She slapped him as soon as he said that.
Takeya was taken aback by the slap and Lilly’s lack of hesitation. His eyes widened as he held his face with his right arm.
Again without hesitation, Lilly curled her mouth into a big grin and said…
It was just a single phrase. One tiny little phrase.
But it was enough to drive out the despair that had taken over Takeya.
That one little phrase drove him to think…
I want to keep living, to live together with Lilly.
“Ah, let’s go.”
Lilly happily turned around and started running towards the student council room. Takeya started running after her.
There were fewer butterflies flying around, but there were still plenty between them and safety. That said, they move like real butterflies, so they’re not the fastest things in the world.
Takeya moved forward, taking great care to avoid the butterflies, and avoiding any thoughts regarding the bodies he ran past.
He made it to the stairs. The student council room would be close at hand once he went down them.
Suddenly, a truly repugnant smell almost caused him to choke. It was coming from the stairs.
It smelled like dried up blood.
The first floor probably played host to an even more terrible tragedy than the hall outside the classroom.
“Takeya, don’t stop.”
Lilly gently descended the stairs and Takeya soon followed.
Leila came into view immediately.
“This way, quickly.”
There were only a few people at the door. It seems like most of Class 18 had already entered the classroom.
Shuuhei, who had been part of the rearguard, appeared and entered the door. His expression lit up slightly as he noticed Takeya and made eye contact.
“Shall we go as well?”
The smell of blood was indeed thicker than it had been on the second floor. Clumps of red meat were scattered all over the hall. There were still screams coming from places unknown.
Are we going to live through this?
He had no idea, but for now his only option was to believe Reki and seek refuge in the student council room. There was no other option for survival.
But how can I live? When I’m the person that caused all this? When I have to live bearing this guilt?
But, he wanted to live anyway.
He looked at Lilly, he saw her wonderful eyes.
Ah, I see.
He didn’t realize it until now, but Lilly had saved him.
Meeting someone amazing like Lilly, a person he could respect from the bottom of his heart, made being kept as magical girl’s bearable. It was fun.
He was glad to have regained the feelings he had lost. He wanted to keep them forever.
I want to live. I don’t care whatever hell I go through, I want to live as long as you’re there.
He held his left shoulder where his arm used to be and looked forward.
Their eyes met.
Takeya’s conviction was shattered. The will to live he summoned from within himself mere moments ago vanished into thin air.
“What are you doing, Takeya? Let’s go!”
Lilly shouted back at him from the door, but Takeya stood motionless, unable to speak.
“Takeya? Takeya! What’s wrong?!”
“How inconvenient. A magical girl is coming.”
Leila started shouting.
“We cannot allow a magical girl to enter. Close the doors!”
“N-no! What about Takeya?!”
“He’s just standing there. There’s nothing we can do for him.”
Leila said that then shoved Lilly through the door.
“Takeya! Takeya! What are you doing?! Hurry up and come here! Agh! We’re supposed to go together! Live together! Hey! Heeey! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!”
“Please give up.”
Lilly’s voice was cut off.
The door to the student council room disappeared.
Takeya could no longer escape into the student council room, but that no longer mattered to him.
He slowly walked through the corpse-ridden hall. He took no notice of the hellish scene surrounding him, focusing instead on only one point.
He could hear the sound of his feet treading through puddles of blood. He continued walking.
His head was completely clear of any thoughts about the girl he had adored until just a moment ago.
Takeya had only one thing in his eyes, a body up ahead, left dangling in the air.
It was among an assortment of torsos, stuck together like a bunch of grapes. They were intricately stuck to the ceiling with ice, almost like a work of art, a stalactite of horror.
That said, this ‘piece’ probably wasn’t made with the intention to send any kind of message, or to make an example of the victims. Magical girls do this kind of thing for fun. That’s just the type of creatures they are.
Takeya touched the stalactite. It felt like it could freeze his hand in seconds, but he didn’t mind that much.
They eyes met. No, more accurately, their eyes hadn’t strayed since the moment they made eye contact before the door closed.
Takeya’s eyes and the lifeless eyes of Reika-san.
His until then unbreakable gaze was finally averted as he looked down.
Reika… Reika-san’s body was gone from the chest down. Her heart stuck out from her exposed body, and her entrails hung down. Her tongue stuck out from inside her mouth and her eyes were cut open.
She was, without a doubt, dead.
The woman special to him was dead. Just another body in the pile. She had received no special treatment. No warning. No drama. No attempt at preserving her beauty. No last words.
She had died without Takeya being able to do anything, without him not even knowing.
Everything was for Reika. This hellscene was created to save her.
Takeya had never imagined Reika herself would become embroiled in that hell. He knew it was a possibility, but he had never pictured it in his head. He was just happy that he had prevented her being sacrificed for the time being.
What a stupid idea.
Reika was Takeya’s everything. Reika was what made Takeya who he was. He thought that every drop of blood he spilled was hers, every single cell of his body loyal to her.
He loved her, without a doubt.
It was the day before Takeya was taken to Sorakara Farm.
Usakoro had told Takeya and the rest of the students they would be given one more day before they were taken.
Takeya held a wonderful white flower in his hand. Before the Human Yield, they would have been abundant, but now they are a precious luxury. In addition, his pocket contained a silver ring that he made himself.
He entered Reika’s room, a room that seemed home to a very secluded woman. There, he greeted her as she sat on a chair in front of a make-up drawer. He was even more nervous than the time he had faced a magical girl.
His heart felt like it was about to explode.
Reika was wearing a white one-piece dress that day as well. She looked at the white flower Takeya held in his hand, stopped combing her hair and stared at him.
He was determined. He spoke the words he had rehearsed a thousand times in his head.
“D-do you wanna get married?”
Her eyes were wide open. Her pupils were almost transparent, like glass. Takeya saw his own reflection in her eyes, helping him clam down to his usual state.
Reika put her hand up to her mouth and let out a dignified laugh.
“How odd of you to say that. We’re already family, even if we don’t get married.”
Reika continued, gently and lovingly stroking the flower Takeya had given her.
“You’re already the most important person to me.”
Reika stood up and started walking towards Takeya.
She started slowly undoing the buttons on his shirt.
“Takeya, we don’t need to get married.”
She put her fingers under his shirt, on his chest. Her fingers were cold to the point of eeriness.
She gently touched Takeya’s chest. He was unsure whether she would touch the burn mark over his heart. The mark he received when he first came to this mansion, the mark of The Family. The mark resembled an abstract representation of light.
“I’m already giving you everything I can.”
Reika licked the mark with her blood-red tongue. She giggled as he instinctively gasped.
Takeya’s face went red as he took a silver ring out of his pocket. Reika gave an exaggerated face of surprise and laughed.
Takeya went down on one knee and put the ring on Reika’s left ring finger, thin and white. Even during this, Reika was letting out little laughs.
Her eyes closed slightly as if she was happy and she stared at the ring. She stared as if she would never get tired of it.
Takeya had no idea how this would turn out, whether she would accept his proposal or reject him.
She says she’s his family, but does that mean she’s his wife? Has their relationship changed? Or is there no need for it to change?
Either way, Takeya was already certain of his future. He was already dedicated, but he decided to renew his dedication.
He had dedicated his life to Ijuuin Reika.
Takeya recalled events from even further before, from when they first met.
It was seven years ago.
Ten year old Takeya fled his home for Sorakara City with his mother and father, as the area they had lived in was home to particularly evil magical girls. His sisters, one older and one younger, had already died before they moved.
His parents had chosen Sorakara City because distant relatives of theirs lived there, and they had heard rumours that the city’s magical girls were quite nice, relatively speaking.
However, they were unable to locate their relatives, and the rumours about the nice magical girls were just that, rumours. In truth, magical girls are horrible and cruel no matter where they are.
Takeya was crying in front of his collapsed parents, who were covered in wounds. A group of magical girls had appeared and attacked them.
It was an attack devoid of any real meaning, as if the magical girls were just kicking around a can of juice that had been left on the street. They trampled over his parents like it had simply been a game to them.
Takeya did nothing. His reason for doing so was laughable. One of them wasn’t attacking him, saying things like “poor little thing”. Have they no imagination?
At any rate, experiencing something like this, and living life in this crapsack world without his parents was bound to be dreadful.
The magical girls finished playing with his parents and wandered off with the same kind of casual demeanour one would expect from a group of young girls that were off to see a movie.
His father was dead, his legs gone and his ribs sticking out through his chest.
However, his mother was still alive.
All her bones were broken, and she looked like a marionette held by a skill-less puppeteer. Her face was smooth and flat, the skin having been shaved off like slices of salami. Most of her hair had been ripped out. Yet, she was still alive, emitting a scream filled with contempt for this world.
There are no longer any doctors in this world. She was beyond saving. As good as dead.
Losing her mind, she clung to Takeya and started to beg to him.
She pleaded with her last bits of energy.
“Kill me! I’m suffering! Kill meeeeeeee! Please! Pleeeeeease.”
Takeya refused with all his might. Even at that young age, little Takeya was fully aware that his mother was unsaveable but that doesn’t mean he could finish her off himself.
There’s no way he could kill the mother who had up just a few moments ago been holding his hand. There was no way he could bear that cross.
Also, he still desperately wanted her to survive somehow. If she died, he would be all alone in this world. He couldn’t bear that either. It would be equivalent to suicide. She was effectively asking him to kill himself.
“Stop messing around! Kill me! Do it fast! Please! Wring my neck! Stab me! Suffocate me! Help me ! Kill me! Please!”
A hole appeared in her head.
She died immediately, just as she had wished.
Takeya raised his head. To his surprise, he saw a young girl not much older than him pointing a gun at his dead mother.
She was wearing a snow-white dress, completely out of place for this world. He remembers thinking she looked like a ghost.
It was Reika. The first time he ever saw her was when she killed his mother.
Takeya was happy he didn’t have to choose whether to kill his mother or not anymore, but he still couldn’t help but condemn Reika. He started screaming and crying, unable to handle the life of utter loneliness he now faced, shouting at Reika for killing his mother.
Reika, looking utterly dejected, told Takeya why she did it.
“She looked like she was doomed. It was for dignity’s sake.”
Reika pointed her gun at Takeya.
“What are you going to do now?”
Takeya stopped crying. He had finally realized that this girl was his saviour.
Takeya answered without a moment’s hesitation.
“I want to die.”
He wanted to be euthanized. There’s no way a kid like him could survive in a gang-infested area he’s unfamiliar with.
“Why do you want to die?”
“B-Because… I’m alone now…”
Reika chambered the next cartridge.
“I’ll go with you then.”
She handed him the gun and put his finger on the trigger.
She then opened her mouth wide, putting it over the barrel.
There’s no way he could do it. He couldn’t understand why a girl he just met would be doing something like this.
They stayed still like that for a while, not moving a muscle. Takeya’s hands ended up wet as Reika drooled all over the gun.
Eventually, she took her mouth away from the gun.
“Why won’t you pull the trigger?”
Reika tilted her head and gave Takeya a look of absolute bewilderment.
“I-I don’t even know you!”
“Didn’t I say I’ll go with you? You’re not alone anymore. I’ve decided that. So if you die, I’ll die too.”
“W-Why?! Why would you even?! I only just met you…”
“It doesn’t matter if we just met, we’re going to live together now. If you won’t kill me, I won’t kill you. What do you think? Are you okay with that?”
Takeya couldn’t nod his head for yes, nor could he shake his head for no.
“Then live with me for a while. Is it okay if I use your life?”
Takeya didn’t understand what was going on very well. All he really knew is that it would be better than being alone. He gave her a light nod.
“Sorry. I can’t protect you. I’m a child. Weak, brittle, and fast to give up. But, remember this…”
Reika pointed her gun to her own head.
“I’ll die with you anytime.”
He finally started believing her. She was serious.
At that point, Takeya felt new blood rushing through him. When Reika hugged him, he felt like he melted and was being pulled into her body. He couldn’t hear anything except her heartbeat.
She hugged Takeya, who was almost choking on his own tears, and said to him with an almost saintly smile…
“It’s all okay now. I’ll never leave you. Ever.”
But now she was dead. She said they would live together, that she would never leave him, but that is exactly what had happened.
He could no longer dedicate his life to her. He couldn’t even see his reflection in her eyes anymore. They were transparent and lifeless, like they were made of glass.
Reika’s arm fell down and landed nearby. There’s no way he would mistake the arm he had been seeing every day since he came to Sorakara Farm.
On the arm’s ring finger was the silver ring Takeya had made for her. It was a clumsily-made, unrefined ring, a ring unbefitting of Reika.
He gently removed it from her finger.
His fist tightened as he put the ring in his palm.
He didn’t scream. He didn’t cry. His mind was refusing to accept any of this was real, refusing to process that his everything was gone.
Takeya understood only one thing. He had returned, returned to a world before he met Reika. A world dominated by magical girls, a world without hope.
“Hey, you done?”
Takeya heard an unfamiliar, pubescent voice.
He raised his head to see a young girl in fluttery attire coloured a deep-ocean blue.
She had healthy looking skin and a child-like body. Her similarly ultramarine hair was in a ponytail, and her posture was proud and defiant—perhaps even arrogant.
A single look was enough. She’s a magical girl.
“Riiight, I guess I’ll introduce myself. Be honoured. I’m Ice Madeleine, the ice magic magical girl.”
She was standing in the corridor, still rife with the stench of blood, giving the peace sign with both hands.
The happy, innocent smile seemed to fit Ice Madeleine, who looked about 13, though her smile was also clearly misleading.
Something about her—maybe her clothes, or maybe even everything about her—was an ill fit for this corpse-ridden hall.
“You’re pretty interesting, actually, completely blanking me like that when I’m right beside you. But I don’t really get what you’re doing. Are you like a ring thief or something? But why would you take that one? I saw it as well, but it’s pretty crappy.”
Takeya said nothing.
“Huh? You’re ignoring me?! Say something! …Actually, never mind, I’m gonna kill you anyway.”
Having a magical girl in front of him like that meant Takeya was effectively already dead.
But he felt no fear. Much as Reika had filled him with emotion, any emotions he once owned escaped through the hole in his heart created by her death.
“Y-you d… did this?”
Takeya asked automatically. His difficulty speaking was not because he was trembling. He had forgotten how to speak when he saw Reika’s body.
“Wh… why… such horrible things… not just eating… these horrible things…”
“Horrible things? You mean this?”
The magical girl looked at the mountain of bodies, a pile of flesh blobs frozen in ice, and titled her head.
“Eh? No real reason. Do I need one?”
She wasn’t playing dumb. She was serious.
This was not done to make an example of the victims. It was not done to strike fear into the hearts of humans. It wasn’t even pleasure. She just felt like it.
“Did White Noisette tell you to do this?”
Takeya finally regained his ability to speak properly, but he was still far from composed. The fear and anger that should be welling up inside him was still completely dull.
“Did White Noisette order you to do this?”
“Huh? The hell you on about?”
Ice Madeleine spoke…
“White Noisette is our enemy.”
A shocking truth.
“She’s the worst traitor we’ve have ever had. Why the hell would I be her ally? Ridiculous! She’s a nutcase. She sided with you humans and started trying to kill magical girls even though she is one. The lowest of the low.”
“What do you mean ‘what’? I just finished explaining it to you, you were talking garbage.”
She was clearly irritated, and began tapping her foot impatiently.
“We came to kill her, actually. We’ve been dying for a chance, but the 21 Confectionaries stopped us from getting too close. Strength-wise she’s a top-class magical girl. She’s been cooping herself up here with all of you, but she got for really weak for some reason recently, so we were able to get in.”
On that note, the colour of the sky has changed. No doubt the result of the 21 Confectionaries being weakened and the invasion of the other magical girls.
White Noisette is an enemy of magical girls? An ally of humans?
Takeya couldn’t understand. What Ice Madeleine was saying went against everything he knew up to this point.
He was fighting White Noisette. He was rallying all of the students against her. That was his plan. They would become humans again. They would escape from the humiliation of being kept as cattle.
And now the magical girl in front of him was telling him the exact opposite.
“We’re talking about White Noisette, so she probably got lazy about eating humans, right? She’ll lose most of her magic if she doesn’t eat one soul a week. Has she stopped eating humans altogether? Usually that’d be unimaginable, but she’s crazy enough that she might actually do it.”
Once a week.
That’s how often White Noisette chooses sacrifices.
Choosing sacrifices wasn’t to make us feel controlled? This was the absolute minimum necessary to protect us from other magical girls?
No one other than Takeya himself had claimed it could be said that they live in a stable environment, that they go without being attacked by other magical girls thanks to being kept by White Noisette.
Usakoro said it as well.
“Stop! If you do that! Everyone will be killed!”
“Noir won’t betray you!”
What if it’s all true?
What if White Noisette really was protecting everyone?
Caused this catastrophe.
“Oh? You seem depressed? ….Aha! No way! Could it be you didn’t know White Noisette was on your side? That you’re the ones that made it possible for us to get in? Ehhhh? What’s with that face? Did I get it right? Oh god, this is amazing! What a complete idiot! She tried to save you shitstains and you stabbed her right in the back! Ahahaha!”
She was laughing so hard she was holding her stomach.
“Oh, that was hilarious. Anyway…”
Ice Madeleine’s happy face vanished in an instant and she pointed at Takeya.
“Time to die, human. You’re stinking the place up.”
He could feel the magical energy building up in her palm. Takeya will die as soon as she releases it.
She stopped charging her magic when she heard someone shouting her name. A magical girl dressed in yellow came jumping down the stairs Takeya had come from, desperately struggling to keep her breath.
“What’s wrong, Cord Anglaise? You look like such a dumbass running around like that.”
“W-we need to go! Withdraw!”
“Withdraw? What? You’re talking nonsense.”
Two people came bandying down the stairs while Ice Madeleine furrowed her eyebrows. Cord Anglaise closed her lips tightly when she saw them.
Takeya recognized the first as Reki. The second was a student council member whose face Takeya could barely recognize.
“It’s them! There’s something weird going on!”
Cord Anglaise put her hands out in front of her towards them.
“Honey and Hunt!”
Sparkling light came pouring from her fingertips. Upon closer examination, something was stretching out of fingers. Golden threads, thin like piano wire.
They flew towards Reki and his companion, moving as if they were alive.
The companion student council member’s head was neatly split into three parts. It soon became apparent that not only their head but their entire body had been sliced up like they had been strewn through an egg slicer.
For whatever reason, Reki simply stared intently at the mesmerizing threads as they slithered like snakes. Then, within an instant, he closed distance on Cord Anglaise and charged her.
He swung his katana at a speed imperceptible to the human eye. Cord Anglaise’s head was neatly sliced and separated between her nose and upper lip. However, he did not stop there. Taking advantage of the momentum from his previous swing, he spun a full circle to land a second hit, slicing her in half at the chest as well.
“That looked like it hurt. It will take you a long time to recover from such a grievous injury.”
Humans cannot kill magical girls. They can recover from any magicless attack no matter how much punishment they take.
But this time, something was different.
Cord Anglaise was not recovering.
On the contrary, the halves of her body were rapidly aging, crumpling and drying up like some kind of mummy. And like that, she disintegrated into sand and disappeared.
Ice Madeleine stared at her friend caught in the grip of death, eyes wide open.
Reki cared naught for her confusion and wasted no time in charging at her, katana at the ready.
Ice Madeleine was still dumbfounded, but not as far as forgetting how to deal with a sword lunging at her.
Within an instant she had conjured an ice blade and deflected his attack, though just barely. She was able to use her physical prowess to kick off the ground, flying away from Reki, but she was unable to fully suppress her distress as she built up space between her and her attacker.
“T-The hell are you? H-How can you kill a magical girl?! Could it be… You’re a magical girl?”
Reki was no longer wearing a joyful expression. He had returned to his usual, expressionless face.
“That is not the case. I am exactly as my appearance would suggest. A human male.”
“Then how are you so strong?!”
“White Noisette’s magic. There’s no way you could have forgotten about “Raise the Marshmallows”?”
“Raise the Marshmallows… The one that strengthens magical girls within the bounds of her 21 Confectionaries by giving them a part of her own magical power, ri- Wait… No way, it can strengthen humans as well?!”
Reki continued speaking, the tip of his katana still pointed at Ice Madeleine.
“White Noisette has transformed and activated Raise the Marshmallows. The students that were in Sorakara Farm now have her magic flowing through them.”
When Reki said that, Takeya noticed for the first time what had been happening to his left arm. The wound had begun to close up, and the bleeding had stopped. It was as if he had the power of regeneration, though not quite with the same potency one would expect from an actual magical girl.
“The students have been undertaking ‘lessons’ and honing their combat skills for a year.”
Those tough but utterly useless lessons. They were indeed like drills, but Takeya had never imagined that White Noisette put them in place to train them. He thought the they were just there to torment the students.
Such an assumption was only natural. After all, every magical girl treats humans in one, singular way; the way Ice Madeleine does.
“And she decided to do that… why?”
“To create soldiers, magical-girls slaying soldiers.”
For some reason, Reki elegantly performed an about-face and swung his katana immediately after he finished his sentence.
A mysterious sound resonated throughout the room.
The nature of the sound soon became apparent. Two transparent blades had been shot at Reki. The blades, summarily deflected, fell to the floor and disappeared into nothingness.
There was another magical girl, dressed in what seemed to be armour, standing with her hands stretched out towards Reki. He immediately started charging her.
He ran up the wall, as if ignoring the very concept of gravity itself, and kicked himself off the ceiling, leaping at her.
The armoured magical girl found herself unable to fully keep track of such unexpected movements.
Reki had propelled himself into a flying forward somersault and used that momentum to slam his sword downwards.
The armoured magical girl still had her arms low and was unable to prepare for Reki’s attack.
Yet somehow, she was still able to defend against it.
Reki’s katana had stopped so close to her face that it was impossible to tell whether or not the blow had connected.
What had stopped his attack was another transparent blade held by the armoured magical girl’s mouth.
For a magical girl, whose entire body is seven times stronger than that of a human, even the jaw alone is strong enough to thwart a human attack.
But Reki did not falter at all, stabbing upwards diagonally as soon as he landed. The attacks were chained together at a blinding speed, yet the armoured magical girl had conjured up two more swords, blocking his attacks as she held the swords in a crossed pattern.
“Who are you? I am not aware of a magical girl that can counter these kind of movements.”
“You shouldn’t assume all magical girls are on the same level.”
While still parrying Reki, the armoured magical girl turned and said in a calm tone:
“Get out while you can, Madeleine.”
The armoured magical girl started pulling back little by little each time she parried a strike of Reki’s ongoing onslaught. She probably thought Ice Madeleine’s chances against Reki were slim.
“Hell no! Running away from humans? I’d rather die!”
“You really will die. Cord Anglaise isn’t the only person that has died. If we don’t fall back and regroup, we’ll lose even more.”
“No, no! NO!”
“Madeleine, listen! It’s a direct order from Red Sahne!”
Ice Madeleine scrunched her lips up as soon as she heard that name, like she was throwing a tantrum.
She seemed to absolutely hate it. Her face went red and she started crying. For Ice Madeleine, the idea of not being able to do anything she wishes to humans was unimaginable.
“So we need to run? That’s too humiliating! I don’t want to! Like a human! Like a filthy fucking human!”
Ice Madeleine tightened her fists, bearing the shame. She had no choice but to accept it.
She gritted her teeth, wiped her tears and turned her back on her battle with Reki. She started walking away, completely ignoring Takeya as she went past him, as if the lowly humans around her weren’t even there.
She’s ignoring me?
Her sight never glanced over Takeya for even a second. She considered a complete non-threat.
She had taken away everything important to him, yet, she didn’t give him a single thought.
Even though it hurts her damn pride so much she’s in tears…
Takeya felt such an overwhelming urge to kill course through his body that he felt as if pure animosity was leaking out of his pores. It effortlessly blocked out any sense of reason in his mind as his body went on auto-pilot.
He swung his sword down at Ice Madeline’s head.
It… didn’t reach.
She had blocked it with a newly conjured ice sword with her back still turned.
“The hell do you think you’re doing? So annoying.”
“Ice Madeleine, you must be the one who killed Reika, no?”
Ice Madeline brushed Takeya’s sword off to the side. Her face soured and she glanced at the ice encased bodies.
“This ‘Reika’, she’s in that ugly pile?”
Such a tone did nothing but make Takeya want to kill her even more. He gave her a death glare.
Ice Madeleine saw his glare and responded with a cruel and cold laugh as she extended her hand towards the bodies.
Krchh krchh krchh
As she did that, pillars of ice started shooting up from the ground from near her feet. They started heading away from her, getting larger and larger as they went, heading right towards the bodies.
The pillars went right through the students’ corpses, impaling and destroying them, Reika’s body included.
“I don’t quiiiite remember whether I killed her or not, but I guess I can twist the knife for now anyway.”
Takeya gave in to his rage and furiously swung his bastard sword at Ice Madeleine.
But his attack was overloaded with emotion and lacked any finesse. She effortlessly repelled it with the back of her hand.
Takeya lost his composure, not expecting Ice Madeleine to deflect his attack so easily. Ice Madeleine grabbed his face, having no intention of leaving his mistake unpunished.
His face was burning! Or so he thought momentarily. In actuality, his face was frozen. He immediately swung his bastard sword once again and forced her back.
“Look at this one-armed amateur flailing about. There’s no way you can possibly fight me. Killing a magical girl requires destroying their heart, even if the attacker is also a magical girl. You’re definitely the same now after being infused with magic, but even with Raise the Marshmallows on, it seems like humans can only double their strength. And that’s before we work in your amputation. And you still seriously think you can take me? Reckless. Stupid.”
She’s not incorrect.
“Yeah, pretty much. If you get down on your knees and apologize, lick my feet, get naked and do a little dance—I’ll let you go.”
Though in reality, Takeya had absolutely no intention of ever letting her live.
“Your eyes make me sick. They lack awareness. Awareness that you are an ant we can crush with a single finger. I’m in a really shitty mood now. The kind of mood where I won’t be satisfied until I rip you apart to the point no one can tell what part of you is which anymore or something.”
“I’m glad that’s good enough to satisfy you.”
“Even if I ripped your organs apart thread by thread and cut you into mince I would be nowhere near satisfied.”
Takeya pointed the tip of his sword at Ice Madeleine.
“You magical girls cannot be allowed to exist.”
For a single moment her face was serious.
Her eyes flew open with rage.
“Bring it, human!”
She extended her hands towards Takeya.
“Ever-stretching Ice Cream.”
Icicles like the ones that were pierced in the corpses he found earlier rushed straight at Takeya. The icy spikes grew almost as tall as his total height.
He dodged sideways to avoid them, slightly upsetting his balance in the process.
“Ho ho! Take that!”
Naturally, the attack did not stop there. Another came right after. He dodged it, only to be greeted with the next closing in.
The onslaught repeated five times until the narrow corridor was filled with icicles. Takeya found himself boxed up against the wall, no longer able to dodge sideways.
“Hey~ Nowhere to run now, huh?”
Ice Madeleine showed Takeya an icy sneer and raised her hand.
“Ever-stretching Ice Cream.”
Takeya realized something.
Ever-stretching Ice Cream’s range seemed to be about 20 metres, and the icicles increase exponentially in size the further they get away from Ice Madeleine.
In other words, the icicles right next to Ice Madeline are small.
There lies Takeya’s chance. He can jump over the icicles before they reach him!
Takeya ran forward and jumped with all his might. The icicles were too tall for human legs to jump over, but at present, Takeya had the strength of two humans.
Takeya barely dodged the icicles and charged straight at Ice Madeleine.
Ice Madeleine was shocked…
or at least so she pretended as she floated a coarse smile.
“Escaping into the air? I knew exactly what you were going to try! Ice Cream of Infinite Entanglement!”
A clump of cold masses came flying at him. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven frozen bullets. There was no way for Takeya to avoid them mid-air.
Takeya quickly thrust his sword into the ceiling, changing the trajectory of his jump.
Ice Madeleine was not expecting a move like that in the least.
Her shots hit Takeya’s now-abandoned sword, covering it in ice instantly.
Takeya took a quick glance back at his sword as fell then somehow managed to reorient himself in the air.
If he messed up his landing, he would be impaled on the icicles and killed. On the off chance he somehow survived being impaled, Ice Madeleine would have just finished him off anyway.
Takeya stretched his legs out as much as he could as his feet hit the blunt side of an icicle. If he were to successfully turn his legs and soften the blow, he would be in a position to kick himself off the icicles and flying straight towards Ice Madeleine for another attack.
Ice Madeleine tutted at him and fired Ice Cream of Infinite Entanglement at him again.
They came flying right at Takeya’s head. Unable to dodge he was able only to attempt to put his right hand in front of face to try and block it.
The projectiles landed on his fingers, which were immediately covered with ice, leaving them frozen stiff and utterly immobile.
“Ahaha! How are going to attack me with no working hands? Hey, you know what, you can’t stab my heart if you don’t have a sword anyway.”
An ice sword appeared in her right hand.
He couldn’t do any fancy manoeuvres anymore. He couldn’t escape. However, his right hand should be enough to block any of her finishing moves.
Ice Madeleine’s sword went right through him, like he wasn’t resisting at all!
She had pierced him firmly in the abdomen.
She had stopped moving, utterly dumbfounded by Takeya’s inexplicable conduct.
Takeya’s pierced body proceeded to… slide down the sword. Naturally, Ice Madeleine was still lifting his body through her sword as blood continued to drip.
He was getting ever closer to her.
Small icicles stabbed into his feet once he reached the ground and put weight on them. He was overflowing with blood, but he was far past the point of caring.
Ice Madeline’s face twitched for the first time since she came here, perhaps in response to Takeya’s insanity.
However, she immediately returned to her usual composed expression.
“Ha! You left your sword behind ages ago! There’s nothing you ca-”
That sensation made Ice Madeleine’s eyes fly open.
“Huh? Wha-? This stinging feeling? What the…?”
Ice Madeline slowly looked down.
No matter how much she strained her eyes, the result did not change. There was, without a doubt, something piercing her chest.
Frozen and hardened, Takeya’s right hand had run right through her
Takeya’s hand was frozen solid, fingers outstretched. The edges of those fingers were sharp, near blade-like. His hand was still flesh, yet, it bore great resemblance to the ice sword that Ice Madeleine was holding.
She let out cries of pain.
But she did not bleed. After all, magical girls are no longer human.
“I can’t believe… Seeing how I made my sword out of ice and turning your hand into weapon using the concept… ”
That wasn’t quite it. Takeya hadn’t been thinking that thoroughly.
It was just pure desperation. His mind was focused on one thing only.
That thing? Killing magical girls.
He had been taken over by a burning desire to kill the magical before his eyes, no matter what.
The still-impaled Takeya formed a twisted smile as he coughed up blood.
“Disappear, useless thing.”
The ice sword in Takeya’s abdomen disappeared.
Ice Madeleine’s arms dangled limp at her side. Her facial expressed resembled that of an innocent child, eyes wild open with bewilderment.
“I’ve been… by a human?”
Ice Madeleine’s face began aging rapidly.
“No… No way… That can’t… There’s no way a human could kill me… Yeah. I get it… You’re not human at all. You’re something different entirely. The humiliation of being killed by a human… No! No! NOOOOOOO! Y-you… can’t be…”
Ice Madeleine laughed feebly, begging for some kind of solace as she turned into a crumpled mummy.
Takeya spat blood that had been pooling in his mouth on her face.
The mummy’s eyes flew open, full of utter despair.
She stared at her hands as they began to crumble away.
“I’m… not like this! I… don’t age! I’m special! A special life form! Different from humans, from those… pitiful beings! I’m a cute, beautiful magic girl, the object of everyone’s desires! There’s no way I’m on the same level as these maggots! This human can’t kill me! Please. Please! Transform… back to my wonderful ideal form!”
The red jewel in the ring on her finger began to turn black as it cracked apart.
Ice Madeleine’s death scream.
She turned into sand and disappeared.
The remnants of her magic throughout the area also started disappearing.
Takeya watched and made sure it was really disappearing but soon became unable to stand, collapsing on the spot. The blood gushing from the gaping hole in his abdomen began spreading all throughout the corridor.
I’m dead, aren’t I? …No, surprisingly enough, this might be nothing to worry about. I’m starting to heal up.
Takeya unconsciously smiled bitterly.
I was almost killed by a magical girl, now I’m being saved by one.
Unfortunately, this part isn’t done yet!