Prologue: The Price of His Contract
“It’s quite hot in today too ne.”
Mashiro said it with sweats exuding around her head while blocking the sun with her right hand and looked at the sky. Now was already the second week of July, it was hard to say that sitting at the rooftop made of concrete was comfortable with the sun shines directly to them. Even if they stayed under the water storage tower which was a shady place, the summer heat still remained.
“It’s exhausting to come to the rooftop at a time like this.”
Tooya agreed while his forehead was sweating……even so he can’t say things like “Maybe there’s other place”. There was many cool places around here, but definitely crowded with students.
“There’s still some wind today, it’s better than nothing.”
Kuroe said so with a cool expression, she was not sweating at all.
“Kuroe-senpai is very resistant to heat ne.”
“That’s not the case. I just don’t show it on my face.”
Kuroe answered with a grin. Actually Kuroe was saying she was a monster literally.
[You are so rude ne. I am just making the air around me cooler.]
The picture and the voice of her shrugging was appeared in Tooya’s mind…….why don’t you think of making us cooler too.
[Is it fine to let Mashiro suffer the heat alone, master?]
She said it sarcastically. How Tooya could do something that unfair……..it was not like he couldn’t stand it so he would just bear with it.
“Talk about hot……..it’ll be holiday soon ne.”
Mashiro said by accident.
Hot. Summer. It would be holiday if one talked about summer. Because they were students, so it was inevitable for them to relate to it naturally.
“I feels like wanting to go out somewhere to have fun when there’s holiday ne.”
Mashiro proposed excitedly. It was a very natural thought. Did not think of doing anything in this one month holiday…….only people like Tooya would be like that. What he wanted to do in that period of time, it was something that couldn’t be imagined by Tooya.
“That being the case, let’s travel to somewhere far ne.”
“That’s not a bad idea! A three days two nights trip!”
Mashiro accepted Kuroe’s suggestion immediately. Kuroe looked over here with a smile—- it couldn’t be wrong.
“It will be sea if we talk about summer ne.”
“Then how about we look for a resort where we can see the sea?”
“Yeah yeah! That’s not bad!”
Then it would be a resort with hot spring which could see the sea from there, I guessed. That was what Kuroe was going for. Ever since Tooya allowed Kuroe to take a bath, she’d been in love with bathing. She became interested in hot spring which she was very afraid of before this because of bath, she always asked Tooya to go with her. Tooya had rejected her with reasons such as the lack of money and time……..but there was the reward due the demon sword incident for the former reason, and the latter reason will be gone after two weeks.
[[Are you trying to dampen Mashiro’s enthusiasm?]
Kuroe’s delighted voice sounded in Tooya’s mind. He’d been seen through by Kuroe. Mashiro would be said if Tooya said he didn’t want to go………and Tooya couldn’t think of a reason to reject her.
Just do what you want, was what Tooya thought. But things wouldn’t develop if all he did was think. That meant he must agree if he didn’t think of denying…..watching the two discussing the trip happily, it was impossible for him to not join with them.
“That’s right ne.”
Kuroe grinned. It was because she knew everything which showed how bad her personality was…….at least right now, Tooya had no mood to talk about the trip with them happily.
“We should decide the place earlier. And it’s better if we reserve it earlier too.”
“Alright! Leave the alternate location to me!”
“Yeah, I will be counting on you.”
Tooya forced to smile because he couldn’t stand to see Mashiro being sad.
“It will be a very fun trip!”
A cheerful smile,
a bitter smile to hide his melancholy,
and a happy grin,
the three of them smiled differently.
At night,everything were surrounded by darkness, even the moon at the sky seemed dejected. Even if now was only 9 at night, the store nearby the intersection road they were instructed to go was closed already, therefore the area looked dark.
“Is that the place?”
“I think so ne.”
In that area, a car stopped at the roadside under the street lights alone. It was a black and very upscale car. The driver flashed the car signal to show they noticed Tooya and Kuroe. And so Tooya and Kuroe walked slowly towards the window at the driver’s seat.
“You are very punctual in time.”
It was Tanaka sitting in the car.
Tooya greeted to show his manner even though he had no emotion on his face. They had never met Tanaka ever since they made a contract with the Order of Black Magic. Yet they met each other right now where something unpleasant would be discussed in this kind of situation.
“Long time no see ne.”
“Yeah, Kuroe-san was following him along huh.”
“Of course ne. It will meaningless if I don’t come right?”
“Yeah,it’s like what you say.”
Tanaka nodded gallantly.
“Anyway, please take a seat at the back. Because we don’t have much time, so we will talk while I am driving.”
The two of them opened the rear door and took a seat.
Suddenly, a voice that would bring shudder sounded beside Tooya………it was definitely Akane’s voice. Her voice sounded very deep and low, full of animosity as usual.
“That, good evening.”
Tooya greeted, yet he received a sound of clicking sound from the other side.
“So rude ne.”
“Shut up you man-eating monster.”
Akane showed her killing intent towards Kuroe who was smiling with full of sarcasm. Akane who was sitting at the front seat didn’t turn her head to the back, or else Tooya would definitely see her glaring over here.
“Yare yare,Tanaka doesn’t need to bring this troublesome fellow along at all.”
Even though Kuroe said that, she was still with a cheerful look.
“Well, nominally she was the suppression against you two.”
Tanaka replied calmly as usual.
“Well, since she couldn’t become the suppression, so only me will be enough………but she’s not someone who will listen to what others say, can you two understand that?”
Tooya can imagine how Akane glared at Tanaka until he forced to accept her being along.
“Since she agreed not to interrupt us, so just assume her as a decoration.”
She clicked her tongue. What was with a decoration with maximum sense of presence.
“Anyway, it’s time to go. Since the journey will be three hours, so go buy a drink at the convenient store first if needed.”
The car was in total silence while the car was moving. Tanaka was the driver, Akane clicked her tongue once in a while, Tooya looked outside through the window without saying anything, while Kuroe stared at Tooya with excitement.
“If you have something want to ask, might as well ask now.”
Tanaka said out of a sudden, probably he couldn’t stand this silent atmosphere. Tooya knows that he was telling him………something want to ask, huh………
Tooya felt troubled to be told something like this all of a sudden. Because he already knew what they were going to do today, so he didn’t need to confirm it again. While something other than that………there it was. Although Tooya felt that now was not the right time to say that.
“Um, I want to go travel.”
Tooya said also he aware of Akane who was sitting at the assistant seat.
“I have to apply for permission in order to do that right?”
Tooya was certained something regarding that was written in the terms from the contract they made with the Order of Black Magic.
“Because it’s holiday soon so feel like wanting to go somewhere, is that fine?”
Seriously, it was a topic that did not suitable with the current atmosphere at all. Tooya thought so. It was not like he intended to ask right at this time where Akane was present. Since the location and time of the trip was not decided yet, it was better to contact Tanaka later and ask him about it………..however, at the end it would go through Akane anyway. That being the case, why don’t I just ask right now right in front of Akane, was what Tooya thinking.
[Master really is a masochist ne.]
Kuroe’s laugh sounded in his brain.
An annoyed clicking tongue sound came from the assistant seat.
“It should be no problem.”
Tanaka answered while ignoring that sound.
“Since the request given by the Order of Black Magic was completed nicely by the two of you, at least go against the contract right now doesn’t bring any good to the two of you………well, I guess it will be fine as long as there’s staff members monitoring faraway.”
“You guys are really free huh.”
Akane said frankly.
“You want to have a cheerful holiday at the summer even though you are a murderer?”
“Although we are planning to bring along Mashiro to have fun at the seaside for two days ne.”
Akane clicked her tongue after hearing Kuroe’s answer. A girl that she wanted to kill but at the end she saved her. Akane was quite concern of Mashiro, she wouldn’t say something harsh if Mashiro’s name was brought out.
Mashiro was innocent. Since she was innocent, naturally she would be expecting the trip without thinking anything, Akane could imagine something like that………Akane was the same as Tooya, both were very kind yet their relationship was the worst.
“If you enjoy the trip, I will kill you.”
“We will enjoy it for sure ne.”
“There will be one day where I will kill you monster.”
“I will kill you even if you don’t enjoy it.”
Akane ignored Kuroe.
Tooya nodded. Actually Tooya didn’t think of enjoying it in the first place. Although he was trying to [enjoy] it so that Mashiro didn’t feel anything weird……..that was the limit of what Tooya could do already. Ever since he separated with Rikka, Tooya didn’t have any yearning for his future anymore. A drawing named future was totally blank for him, and Tooya was just went through his life day over day without thinking of it.
Suddenly, Tooya felt the situation right now was somewhat similar to before. At that time Tooya who was in agony on his own was brought to the amusement park forcefully by Rikka. At first he was very gloomy, at the end he still threw away all the agony and enjoyed with Rikka.
However, Mashiro was not Rikka.
Tooya did not intend to replace Rikka with Mashiro.
“I think you can relax a bit. It’s a good moment to change the mood.”
Tanaka said so all of the sudden. He was totally oblivious to Akane who was sitting beside him with a bad mood.
“It’s better to say that it will be a problem if you doesn’t enjoy once for a while. Because you will be broken if you even forget how to enjoy as a human. I will be troubled if you were broken because of being too unhappy.”
It was not for Tooya, but the gains and losses from the outcome as the reason. Kind of Tanaka’s usual thinking.
It will be better if I was broken………or maybe I already was. At least I am no longer normal anymore the moment I live while accepted the fate of a murderer. Although I said that, but I didn’t feel like acting independently.
“Tsk, you are the worst anyway. No matter what kind of evaluation it also won’t change that fact.”
I am the worst, Tooya admitted it. Therefore he would only expect the worst.
And so, he was going to prove that after this.
They reached the location at the next day. It was a place tightly guarded and surrounded with high walls. Yet they just entered that place right at the front gate, then went to an open place under the driving of Tanaka. It should be a sports field.
“It’s right there.”
Even though there was no illumination in the field, Tooya could see something in the darkness under the instruction of Tanaka. In this open area, a person was sleeping over there. That person was wrapped with something looked like restraint clothing, that person looks like a bagworm.
“It’s, in there?”
“Since the aftermath over there was not that troublesome. If it’s only Kuroe-san, then I guess she can carry it out right from the beginning till the end perfectly, but this time it was our responsibility to observe this till the end………so let’s go.”
Tanaka moved forward while telling that.
Tooya followed with a confused expression. Behind him was Akane with an impatient look,and Kuroe with a pleasing face.
“Sleeping pills were given to him just be to in case.”
As like what Tanaka said, that man was in deep slumber. That man couldn’t notice Tooya and the others at all, his eyes were still closed and releasing quiet breath.
“Fumu, so boring ne.”
Kuroe said so.
“……..Isn’t an active food will be better?”
“It will be more intriguing if it has reponses.”
“We will take that in consideration next time.”
A tongue clicking sounded after Tanaka answered. Akane was biting her teeth to tolerate something and glared at Kuroe to show her obvious animosity.
“Akane-san, we wasted a lot of effort to go through this. Please don’t fire you gun even if it’s wrong.”
“………It’s been snatched by you so I didn’t bring it, are you satisfied?”
Her gaze was saying that she had already fired if she brought it.
“Well forget about it………now Tooya-san, please confirm it.”
Then Tanaka took out a fluorescent light and handed it to Tooya. Tooya received it and took a look at that man, then he nodded. As for Tooya right now, he could see things in the dark clearly even if there was no light…….and there was a meaning for him to receive the fluorescent light. It was to make sure that Tooya got no any excuses to escape from this.
Tooya walked to the side of that man wrapped with restraint clothing, and used the light to show his face. The man was around forty and with a ferocious look. He didn’t seem like waking up even when being illuminated by light. Tooya switched off the light after confirming the man’s face and the information regarding that man was correct.
Tooya handed the light back to Tanaka after answering.
“Thank you……..and now, the final confirmation.”
Tanaka look at Tooya.
“Is him, good enough?”
Tooya turned his gaze away to dodge from answering.
Akane glared straight over here.
Kuroe looked over here with a smile.
And Tanaka was waiting just standing over there waiting for a reply.
……..There was no place he could run at all.
“Please offer the sacrifice to Kuroe-san.”
It was something happened one week ago when Tanaka contacted Tooya. It was almost right after the incident regarding the demon sword was resolved. The information was sent long time ago, and Tanaka would be in charge of the arrangement. Go to the place confirmed by them for the meeting, then follow them all the way to this place. All Tooya had to do is to give command to Kuroe only. Everything was prepared by the Order of Black Magic……..except the most crucial part.
Asai Shouji. Forty-five years old. Burglary and murdered all the family members in that house. He even caused arson in the place of the incident………the fire spread quickly to the neighbor and brought in new victims. He was sentenced to death few years ago in the trial, and waiting for the time for execution……no.
The execution happened right now.
However, it was not according to the law.
It was also not an execution out of righteous for not able to tolerate the evil people.
Since he was someone going to die sooner or later, what happened right now was just a reasonable decision.
It was all because of a person’s willfulness.
Tooya called that name.
Kuroe answered with a smile. She was looking at Tooya happily, who was showing a somber expression…….that response showed that she was asking for her supposed reward.
“This is the price of the pact.”
Tooya said and pointed at that man.
Kuroe nodded with a smile……then, she transformed. Her body starting to extend and expand. The appearance of a human disappeared in a moment along with the darkness, her size increased few times in a blink of eye.
“Because it’s spacious here so it’s very easy to get back to my original form ne.”
After a few seconds, she became a giant wolf monster. The only thing remained the same was her voice. Tanaka couldn’t refrain himself from revealing a surprised expression since it was the first time he saw it. Yet Akane didn’t feel anything, she just continued glaring at Kuroe.
“Then, I won’t be welcome ne.”
Kuroe opened her big mouth while being oblivious to Akane. Although Akane felt remorse……..but she got no power nor any idea to defy this right now.
And so ,Kuroe started to eat the sacrifice. The man in deep slumber raise his head, his upper body was held in Kuroe’s mouth using her teeth.
One bite, and the man’s upper body was gone. The sound of bone cracking was heard.
Two bite, and the man’s body was disappeared from this world. Not even blood stain was left, it was unbelievable. Only the sound of chewing was left…….and the sound disappeared too as time goes on.
“Thanks for the offer.”
Kuroe said satisfactorily after the man’s body was shallowed. Her body shrunk rapidly and she turned back to human form in a moment.
Kuroe turned back her head and look at Tooya.
“I have received the price of the pact. So i will be in your care for the next month too.”
Tooya nodded and turned his gaze to Akane. Their gazes connected. She didn’t felt terrified because the person died without anything left right in front of her………what she got was only anger. The anger towards someone who killed the others unreasonably for his own convenience.
The ally of justice would never forgive Tooya.
There would be one day where she would punish Tooya for sure…….Tooya felt relaxed after knowing this fact.
“We have confirmed the price of the pact was paid…….and the things are done, so let’s go back now. Although there’s still some aftermath, but it’s just written work.”
You ate it nice and clean huh, I can save some trouble—-Tanaka said something like that in addition. As usual, he just made decision out of rationality without any feelings which was totally different from Akane.
“Finally we are back ne.”
Tanaka drove back on the same road when they went there, it was already four in the morning when Tooya and Kuroe reached their home.
“Although I am not really hate vehicles, but it’s exhausting when you sit for so long ne.”
They departed at nine at night, they stayed at that place for not even an hour, most of time was used to move between two places. And it was total silence in the car, therefore what Kuroe said made sense……..in the journey she just keep looking at Tooya and Akane with a smile, anyway it was a very happy look.
“Are we going to sleep?”
It was supposed to be sleeping time……..but Tooya didn’t have mood to sleep right now even if he was at home already. She already understood that even if Tooya didn’t say anything.
“I am going to sleep ne.”
“……..Just do what you want.”
Kuroe laid her bed sheet quickly and sleep on it, Tooya too slept on his own bed……..although he didn’t felt like sleeping but he was not planning to keep standing over here.
Wasn’t you going to sleep.
“Are we going to school?”
It would be the time for them to wake up after three hours, and the time to go to school after another hour.
Tooya answered without much hesitation.
“Is that so.”
Sounds like she was very delighted.
“Master gets used to it quite fast huh.”
What do you mean, was what Tooya wanted to ask but he didn’t.
But Kuroe was as if she heard his question and continued
He couldn’t sleep. But he didn’t felt like vomiting, the world was still rotating normally as usual.
It was the fourth time Tooya murdered a person.
The first time happened without himself knowing anything.
The second time was decided in a trance.
The third time was done with killing intent.
And the fourth time was to comply with the contract made with the Order of Black Magic……..yet Tooya strongly acknowledged that he murdered that person with his own will.
Just only three times, and Tooya would not longer manic up regarding murdering anymore……no, was it two times. The first time he didn’t knew it and didn’t mean to murder that person so he vomited right away. The impression of a dead person was more stronger compared to murdering.
The second time and the third time too………no, about the first time, if Rikka was not here then he would definitely never want to go out anymore. The existence of Rikka was the reason why Tooya forced himself to go school, and forced himself to smile even when he couldn’t find any excuses.
However, Rikka was no longer beside Tooya anymore. Even though the distance between them never changed, Tooya couldn’t be helped but getting further away from her.
Rikka was no longer the reason for Tooya to force himself anymore……..but Tooya still decided to go to school. Since he could see the smile of Mashiro at school.
“Got used to it, huh.”
That should be the case…….but, something was different. Was it because the person Tooya relied on had changed. From the childhood friend who always supported him, to the ally of justice of always deny him.
It was because someone who would punish him in one day was here Tooya felt his guilty got mitigated.
……..Even though he didn’t think that he would be punished at all.
“Seriously, I am the worst.”
Tooya mumbled and closed his eyes.
He still didn’t feel sleepy at all.
It was just that the world of darkness was quite peaceful