It was decided immediately after the magical girl assault that the students would have to leave Sorakara Academy, where they had been for at least a year.
So many people had died. There was a risk of disease spreading from the corpses and returning the place to a liveable state would have been a daunting task. But perhaps more than anything else, they simply no longer wanted to be here anymore.
Under student council president Onizaki Reki’s leadership, the students began incinerating the corpses and preforming funerary rites. It was hard work, physically and emotionally.
As if it wasn’t already hard enough, the students were struck with a painful reminder of the upcoming war with the magical girls, and the high likelihood that they too, in the end, would end up nothing more than a mangled corpse every time they faced a body. Some students had already been driven to suicide.
The sky had returned to its original colours after the breakthrough and subsequent collapse of White Noisette’s 21 Confectionaries, but they were not greeted with pleasant weather. Rather, they faced consecutive days of heavy rain barrelling down on them.
The 21 Confectionaries manifested itself as a hemisphere reaching about 1.5km into the sky with the student council room in the centre.
Under normal circumstances, entry is allowed only at White Noisette’s discretion. There was also a second, internal layer. And within that layer finally resided the deepest internals, Sorakara Farm where Takeya and the students had been.
The magical attackers had broken as deep as they could go, all the way to Sorakara Farm. To get to Sorakara Farm, they must have had to come from the city outside.
They had laid waste everything in their path. It resembled nothing but hell on Earth.
The magical girls beheaded people merely for entering their sight as they passed through the city. They slaughtered at random and without a single care in the world, making no distinction between those who had lived upright, honest lives, or those who had lived lives of sin. They had been killed much in the same way one may non-chalantly pick up a shell at the beach.
Many of the bodies had been picked at by feral dogs or become homes to swarms of flies.
When a head-count of the settlement was taken, the inhabitants realized they had been reduced to one third of their number. However, the totalled number of survivors and the number of bodies did not entirely match up. It was assumed that many of those unaccounted for had been taken away by the magical girls, be that for labour purposes, or for entertainment.
Takeya pounded the slightly dirtied mat on his bed.
Hearing that information alone was enough to send an overflowing hatred of magical girls coursing through his veins.
The students who entered the city’s settlement were battling with emotions even stronger than his, yet during these trying, times Takeya couldn’t even get out of bed. He had no choice but to rest after the deep wounds he incurred during his battle with Ice Madeleine.
His abdomen swelled in pain.
All he had received in terms of medical care was some disinfectant and bandages. They were unable to find any anaesthetic or materials for a blood transfusion in the city.
That said, I’m probably going to make it.
Raise the Marshmallows was still active. The healing effect it provided was tremendous, and his bandages had already stopped bleeding. His arm had already regenerated down to the wrist in just under three days.
However, while Takeya was healing up just fine, the city’s hospital was still filled with intermittent cries of anguish.
Raise the Marshmallows strengthens the abilities of magical girls, but it only works on people that are in the same age range as a magical girl. In other words, it only works on teenagers, and people outside of that range will not be strengthened, and of course, will not gain its regenerative abilities.
Takeya understood that this was the reason White Noisette had chosen to confine young students like him in Sorakara Farm.
Takeya watched as dying people were carried in.
Sorakara General Hospital was quite large for what one would expect for a hospital in a city of this size, but as one would expect, it had mostly ceased its function as a medical institution after the Human Yield.
Scores of people had died as a result of the magical girl’s attack.
They attacked because White Noisette’s strength had been weakened.
Because I locked her up in that room and made her unable to eat anyone, unable to replenish her magic.
The screams continued to permeate through the hospital. For Takeya, they served as condemnations of his actions.
…How dare I live?
It would be easy to say that the fault lies not with Takeya, but with the magical girls that had done the killing, but only an outside observer could say that.
Would the people who suffered irreversible damage to their bodies be able to suppress their sadness and anger, or even forgive the person that caused it all?
They’ll probably never forgive me. In my case, I can’t forgive the student council president.
When it’s put like that, Takeya was forced to act by Reki. That’s how Reika was killed. But still, most people would probably say that Takeya was the one that caused all of this, not Reki.
For the umpteenth time, Takeya reflected upon how his machinations had led to the weakening of White Noisette’s magic. His goals and intentions are irrelevant; all that matters is the result. And the result is piles of dead, all thanks to his actions. With no other outlet, people’s emotions would surely be directed towards Takeya.
It wouldn’t be weird if someone tried to kill me at this point… but…
Continuing down that line of thought, there’s no way could be allow himself to be killed. He would never apologize, even if he wanted to. He will not accept his own sins.
Because there’s no way a world that would kill Reika-san can continue as is.
He has to change it, change this mad world.
And to that end…
I’ll slaughter as many magical girls as I can.
He felt an odd foreign sensation in his chest as he thought that.
These feelings were wrong, even if didn’t quite feel like it to him.
Takeya squinted his eyes as a flashlight was pointed in his face. Before he knew it, he was clenching his teeth together so hard it was actually painful.
He took a deep breath and relaxed.
When he was trapped in Sorakara Farm, there was no night. He had forgotten what night was like, but it still awoke a primordial fear within him. Without a single streetlight lit, the city was covered by a pitch-black darkness that seemed like it could swallow him up at any time.
She should have been exhausted after finishing today’s work, but she had made her way through the darkness to him.
Takeya immediately noticed the thing sitting on her shoulders.
Takeya ignored the giddy Usakoro as he jumped up and down and started talking to Lilly.
“You don’t need to come visit me. You should focus on taking care of yourself first.”
Her pale face had an air of exhaustion around it.
“I keep telling you that you’re too informal. Stop dropping honorifics with me.”
Even her usual complaint lacked its distinctive vigour.
Lilly sat down on the bed without saying a word. It was faint, but Takeya could feel her physically shaking.
He couldn’t quite fully make out her expression and complexion due to the darkness, but there was clearly something wrong with her, and it was not a typical form of exhaustion.
Lilly froze up for a few seconds then started speaking in a light voice.
“You know my parents are still alive in Sorakara City, right?”
“…You know how we were able to leave Sorakara Farm after the magical girl’s attack? After I made sure you were still alive I got worried about my parents and headed to my house.”
Takeya stayed silent.
Looking at Lilly’s face gave him a good idea of what was coming next.
“Mum… And Dad… weren’t there.”
It was just as he expected, yet no less horrible.
“I started looking in the area but I couldn’t find them. I tried waiting, but they didn’t come home. I tried looking for them in between the time I was cleaning up the bodies, and even after we were done… but I couldn’t find them.”
“After work… Wouldn’t that make it took dark to really see anything?”
“It doesn’t matter if it was too dark.”
Lilly responded swiftly.
“I had to try.”
He couldn’t see that well in the dark, but he could still clearly see the bags under Lilly’s eyes. She probably hadn’t slept much.
“I looked as hard as I could, but I couldn’t find them anywhere in this city. I didn’t just blindly wander around in the dark. I asked around. My dad’s German, he should stick out like a sore thumb… but nobody knows anything.”
Lilly tightened her fists.
“I… I even looked through the bodies… It was horrible. Of course, I didn’t actually want to end up finding them dead in there… Magical girls really are horrible, aren’t they? It’s put me off eating meat ever again. In the end they weren’t there either. They’re nowhere to be seen.”
Takeya has no idea what he should say to her. There were no words that could console someone facing the horror of their parents going missing.
“Hey, Takeya. I didn’t know anything.”
Lilly put on a strong face, but she still seemed a bit unfocused.
“You fought when Reika was chosen as a sacrifice. When you rose up and spoke out I understood how you felt, but I thought you were going too far. If I was in your position, I wouldn’t have done what you did. I wouldn’t have been able to.”
Lilly took something out of her pocket.
It was her favourite survival knife.
“But I’ve changed. I feel like I’m on your level now. I don’t care about appearances anymore. Whether I actually succeed or not has become a secondary concern.”
Lilly ran her fingers down the blade of her knife.
“I’m going to do it.”
“Lilly… what are you doing to do?”
Lilly peered into Takeya’s eyes.
“If my parents aren’t among the corpses, they might have been taken away by magical girls, right? Of course it’s still possible they’ve already become minced-up corpses or unidentifiably charred bodies, but until I find out the truth, I’m going to believe they’re alive.”
Lilly drove her knife into the wall.
She took a moment of silence as she pulled the knife back out and brandished it.
“I’m going to get my parents back. From them.”
“Get them back? You mean…“
Insanity. Moreso than when Takeya tried to defeat White Noisette.
What Lilly is trying to do is a world away from trying to beat one or two magical girls. They’d have to charge right into the enemy’s home and kill god knows how many of those monsters.
“You’ve been doing nothing but reckless things, so don’t even think about giving me anything about how reckless it is. Fortunately, we can kill magical girls now. We might not be that good, but we’re not powerless anymore. Right, Usakoro?”
Usakoro answered from Lilly’s shoulder.
“I truly understand how you feel, but please hold on for a moment. Can we even actually trust White Noisette? Do we have any proof she isn’t an enemy? She’s still a magical girl, after all. Can we really put our faith in Raise the Marshmallows when we’re still not sure why she’s using it on us?”
Usakoro looked confusedly at Takeya.
“Takeya Do you remember that time?”
For some reason, visions of Takeya’s hometown appeared in his mind, and he remembered the snow-like magical girl he saw there, but he shook his head and drove them out.
Why am I thinking of that crap? It’s nothing but an all-too-convenient dream. There’s no way there’s such a selfless magical girl, nevermind one that’s out to save humanity.
“So you don’t remember I suppose there’s nothing we can do about that but Noi is just a poor soul. Please don’t say things like that anymore.”
“What do you mean ‘poor soul’? If she’s such a poor soul, why is she giving us her magic? If she’s really trying to defeat other magical girls, why doesn’t she fight? Doesn’t she have any magical allies? Surely that would be far more effective than turning us into soldiers. Are we not just dangling from a spider’s web, clinging on for dear life as the spider watches in amusement?”
“Noi can’t fight. She can’t rely on other magical girls either. All she wants is to save everyone.”
“Do you really think that’s believable?”
Usakoro just stared at Takeya dejectedly, offering no response.
“If she wants us to believe her, she could at least show her true form. Is she really among Class 18?”
“It can’t be done… Red Sahne and the others would find out who she is. She’d be killed.”
“If your goal was to protect her identity, why did you reveal to the student council that she was in Class 18 in the first place?”
“So they’d defend her when the magical girls attacked. Class 18 was saved by taking refuge in the student council room. We wouldn’t have been able to give Class 18 refuge if we didn’t say Noi was in that class, right?”
“That’s enough, Takeya. It doesn’t matter what White Noisette was thinking when she gave us this this power. If I have power, I can fight. That doesn’t change. Hey, Usakoro, tell me. Who am I after? ”
Usakoro slowly descended off of Lilly’s shoulder and onto the bed.
He then looked back up at her and spoke.
Takeya instinctively bit his lips upon mention of a magical girl named after a colour.
“That doesn’t mean she’s our only enemy, since Noi is the only magical girl that would ally with humans, but this time it was her. She’s really strong. She’s a Crayon, like Noi.”
Crayons, those magical girls who wield exceptional strength, even compared to others of their kind. Monsters among monsters. They are leaders without exception, rising to lead other magical girls around them. Only they are capable of manifesting their own 21 Confectionaries; in them, they build their own little utopias, hoarding humans with the help of other magical girls.
The amount of magic they can store is on a completely different level from other magical girls, as is the magic they can use. For example, White Noisette’s Raise the Marshmallows is truly exceptional. No normal magical girl could hope to wield magic on such a large scale or magic that affects so many people.
“Red Sahne is the cruellest and most belligerent, even among Crayons. She thinks of humans as nothing more than toys. She doesn’t get along with Noi at all. That’s probably why she came the second Noi’s 21 Confectionaries was weakened.“
“…Usakoro, what kind of magic does Red Sahne use?”
“Fire magic. I wonder, if she felt like it, and only had a few seconds to spare, could she still burn this whole place to the ground?”
Takeya had already heard Red Sahne’s name during the magical girls’ attack, so he was prepared for a conversation like this. But hearing of such power made him lock up with fear. If what Usakoro is saying is true, and she really can reduce whole areas to smoulders in a matter of seconds, then how can he possibly defeat an enemy like that?
But Lilly’s reaction was completely different. She was not overcome with fear, rather, she simply narrowed her eyes.
She glared at Usokoro and spat out her name.
“So that’s her name.”
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Kyahho! Everyone okay? Eating lots of delicious food?
Nice weather as always, huh? A clear red sky. As you can see, there’s a purple aura over there!
It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Completely different from those disgustingly white skies!
Eh? Who is this person, showing up and being all cheerful all of a sudden, you ask?
No way! How rude of you to not recognize a princess like me! But, since I’m so nice, I’ll explain it for you in simple terms. Like teaching a baby how to speak.
I’m Red Sahne!
Hmm? There’s still a bit of background chatter? How am I creating this video and projecting it? It should be obvious if you think about it a little! Magic!
One of my magical friends has the ability to control images. So I can play this endlessly in your city’s old rundown theatre! I wonder when people will notice? It’ll be soooo sad if nobody sees this!
Right, right, I’m going to show you my castle today. Please look. It’s great, isn’t it? Can you see that it’s made of red bricks?
It’s not that big of a castle, but it has the kind of cuteness you might see in a fairy tale, right? It was really hard getting the stained glass right! The rose garden is really well-maintained as well, isn’t it? I absolutely adore it!
We have parties every day! Parties chock full of sweets! Macarons, hotcakes, shortcakes, we have everything! Well, not marshmallows though. I hate marshmallows!
Okay, let’s go have a look inside!
Ah… Should I show you my throne, just this once?
Actually, can I tell you how I got my throne in the first place? I can? Then let’s begin!
Ever since I was a little girl, I had a dream. I don’t remember my human life, but I remember my dream. I wanted to be a princess. Even better, a cute princess! After all, isn’t that every girl’s dream?
Wives wear beautiful wedding dresses, but only for a day. As a princess, I can wear my favourite red dress forever! It’s so cute, isn’t it!? So, so cute!
Anyway, we reached the throne while we were talking. The seat of the kingdom! Well, there’s no king or prince, so really, it’s more like a princessdom. I especially love the chandelier. My frie-
“Red Sahne, what are you doing?”
Huh? Someone’s talking to me even though I’m in the middle of recording.
Uh… The girl wearing that half-assed armoury dress is my friend, Sabre Raisin.
Raisin, I’m recording. We’re live! I can’t just edit this out. Shoo, shoo!
“Please try not to drag Vision Rusk into your games too much.”
I’m not playing a game! This is important!
“Are you showing this to humans?”
Yeah. I need to show them my cuteness, my castle, as much of my world as I can! I’ll get demotivated otherwise!
…What’s with that sigh? Mean.
I’ll tell you about my mean friend. Sabre Raisin is the strongest magical girl here. She can’t hold a candle to me in terms of magic, but she’s really strong because she trains with her sword every day!
It’s pretty weird for a magical girl to train. We’re not suited to hard work at all! We should be cute!
But since she trains so hard every day, she’s so strong she might win in a straight fight against me. Respect!
“Win against you? Please moderate your jokes. I would never go against you in the first place.”
You’re so uptight. So, so uptight. You have such a cute face, but you talk like that. Are you a knight? Art thou?!
Right, next I’ll introduce my loyal servants. Huh? They’re not magical girls. All magical girls are my friends. There’s no hierarchy between us. Only humans are below us. Should go without saying, no?
Look, look! I have chancellors, stewards, maids, soldiers, they’re all great! I worked so hard to get Western clothes for all of them! Even the cart drivers have them!
Hey, Maid B, come here. We’re broadcasting, so face Rusk and talk. Eh? Yeah, I said you can talk. I know I usually say I’ll kill you if you open your mouth, but you have my permission now, so you should probably talk. Don’t you get that? Should I rip all your relatives into pieces like mannequins?
Right, this is a human girl that was procured from the town three weeks ago. Her maid clothes suit her, no? Isn’t it cute? I love it!
Aah… I crushed her cute little face. Oh well, I was getting tired of it anyway. You can’t spoil them too much.
Huh? What’s that behind me? It’s not that important, but I can show you anyway.
It’s my cattle, all gagged up. They’re mostly there for food.
Ah, this one? They had pretty green eyes, so I gouged them out and put them in soup. It’s so sad being blind.
Ah, the one over here is already dead. Oh, oh! There was a girl with a pretty face, a girl with pretty legs, a girl with a pretty chest, and a girl with pretty fingers, so we tried sticking it all together. We made sure it didn’t rot, but it just kinda seemed worse than we expected. Maybe it was the skin color not quite matching and stuff?
Ah, did you know one of them? Oh right, these ones were taken from White Noisette’s place!
You want to hear from them?
I guess I’ll be nice. The cattle’s screaming is super annoying, but I’ll put up with it out of consideration for you! The ever-enduring Sahne-chan!
Right, right, let’s get this one to speak. Off with the gag.
“Hah… Y-Yuzuki, run! Don’t worry about me!”
Off with his hair.
Agh, so annoying! Die.
All quiet now.
Actually, I’m really grateful. We killed way too many people in the nearby areas and starting running out of food. We started breeding them, but it looked like it was too late. There were a load of humans in White Noisette’s place though, so we’re saved! We should be fine for a while. Seriously, thank you!
Kya! Sahne-chan never forgets her gratitude! So lovely!
Anyways, that’s it for today.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Usakoro visited Takeya the next day as well. Takeya had no idea why, but Usakoro (or more likely, White Noisette) seemed to be quite attentive with him recently.
Usakoro brought him a tablet computer, a truly rare item these days. It didn’t get any kind of signal, of course, but it seems like it could still be used to play back and record.
The tablet contained a recording of what Red Sahne had been displaying in the cinema.
Takeya covered his mouth to hold back the nausea as he watched the playback.
I already knew how badly magical girls treat humans, but even then… this is horrible.
“Usakoro, why did you show me this?”
“I want you to trust Noi even just a little”
“How is having me watch footage of magical girls being evil related to me trusting White Noisette?”
Usakoro flew onto Takeya’s shoulder and talked right by his ear.
Noi won’t forgive this”
Those horrific actions are unforgivable. That much is obvious.“
…But Red Shane and other magical girls don’t have such feelings, so they’re capable of doing it without a second thought.
“She said it’s only natural to think that things like this are horrible. But magical girls don’t think like that.”
Usakoro descended onto Takeya’s lap and looked up at him.
“That’s why we need to defeat them”
A simple and concise reason. Moreover, it’s the most trustworthy sounding reason.
“…I don’t buy it. Why is White Noisette the only magical girl with a normal mind? Why is she different from all the rest? It’s too convenient.”
“Because her memories from when she was human came back”
“When that happened her values from then came back as well”
At the very least, Takeya had never of such a thing happening.
“Until then Noi wasn’t much different from other magical girls She killed humans and ate their souls Noi hates her past self more than anyone else she lives always feeling remorseful That’s why she wants to save humans so badly even if she needs to sacrifice herself.”
So she’s acting rashly in an attempt to make up for her past failures.
Just like how I caused this mess with my actions…?
But there was no way Takeya could accept her so readily. After all, for the past year, White Noisette had been a deeply despised enemy.
“…We’ll assume that story is true, but White Noisette is still different from us. She killed and ate many, many people in Sorakara Farm. Even if she had to replenish her magic, it’s too much.”
“Noi didn’t kill or eat anyone”
“What are you… then the sacrifices?”
“Noi is a crayon and she has allies. She has to use the minimum magical power required to keep her magical form for them but she was reluctant to do even that”
Takeya was on the well on the way to completely losing track of the situation.
…A magical girl that does not eat humans.
Takeya thought he wouldn’t be able to understand magical girls under any circumstances. But this, this exception among exceptions? Is that not completely different from the image of magical girls he had before?
Usakoro continued, as if pressing Takeya for a response.
“Would you believe me if I told you that the one that created the Sorakara Farm system was Reki-kun?”
“Noi went to Sorakara city two years ago you know that, right? She didn’t do anything for the first year. She just holed herself up in her 21 Confectionaries and defended the humans from other magical girls”
It is true that life was uneventful before Takeya and the others were herded into Sorakara Farm a year ago. Ignorant of her intentions, they were in a constant state of preparation, ready to react to anything she may try, but the time did in fact pass without incident.
“But someone came along that wasn’t comfortable with that.”
Usakaro descended off the bed and continued.
“That would be Reki-kun”
“Why? Did he hate the peaceful environment?”
“Because if things stayed like that he wouldn’t be able to defeat the magical girls”
Takeya remembered how Reki’s expression changed when he saw the blue butterflies.
Yeah… He definitely seemed like he had been looking forward to the magical girls’ attack.
“It seems Reki really really wanted out. Noi’s power was draining and she couldn’t just wait until she was spent from protecting people. So they talked and came up with a method to defeat the magical girls.”
“That plan being the creation of Sorakara Farm, then confining us as students and turning us into soldiers?”
“Yes. Noi believed that was the only way she still believes that”
“Even though we took such a hard blow from one attack?”
“…Noi wasn’t ready to fight yet. The 21 Confectionaries coming down was completely unexpected.”
“…Could it have been my fault, locking everyone in a classroom like that? Ah, no, if it’s true that White Noisette wasn’t eating anyone, perhaps that was unrelated?”
“Sadly it is related Noi’s power was already weakening The reason we were able to keep the 21 Confectionaries up for so long was by giving Noi’s magical ring to Reki-kun and strengthening her through risk.”
“…? How is that related to me locking everyone in the classroom?”
“When you confined everyone in the classroom Reki-kun relinquished possession of Noi’s ring He managed to sneak it into the classroom”
Takeya put his hands on his head as he struggled to try and process this new information.
“So… In other words, because the ring was in the room, there was an inherent chance that she could transform into her magical form. This reduced the risk involved and weakened her, and she became unable to keep the 21 Confectionaries on. Am I on the right track?”
Takeya realized something.
Wait, wait! If that’s the case, then…
“Reki caused this situation deliberately.”
He knew students would be killed.
“It seems like Reki-kun really wanted to start the war.”
“That… how could he…”
“Takeya-kun I should also tell you this”
“Reki-kun is the one that chose Reika as a sacrifice”
That was more shocking than anything else he’d learned so far.
“The person choosing sacrifices was Reki from the start. Noi couldn’t make a decision like that. So she left it to Reki-kun though she was backstabbed in the end”
“W-why, why did he pick Reika?”
“I don’t know that much. But everything started from that, right?”
Indeed it did.
Did he do it deliberately, knowing that choosing Reika would shake things up considerably? Was it all part of some plan?
Takeya found himself unable to go down that train of thought any further. He was captivated with rage, unable to think.
“The one who tried to kill Reika wasn’t White Noisette, but Reki?”
He clenched his fists as he muttered those words.
Reki is a human, and an enemy of magical girls. There’s no doubt about that. We might have been completely wiped out during the last attack if it wasn’t for him. He still protected the students, even if he was just playing a dual role in his own play. But still…
None of that mattered.
I’ll never forgive him.
None of it would change the fact that Reki is Takeya’s enemy.
Three days later, Takeya’s arm had returned to normal and his wounds were almost entirely healed.
Takeya found himself on a simple stage, but it wasn’t a normal show.
He was on a cross, his hands and feet affixed.
Onizaki Reki was standing beside the immobilized Takeya, addressing the city’s residents.
“We will now execute the person that caused this disaster, Minazuki Takeya.”