This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.
In the previous entry, Garfiel tried to gain points with the unhinged senior servant, the protagonist offered himself to the Oni senior servant as food, the protagonist taught the skimpily dressed servant trainee about the FBI, the senior servant used blood magic on her forgotten, comatose sister, the protagonist confronted a deceitful German, the senior servant insulted the German’s tea, and we found out that contract killer Elsa Granhiert has chosen to begin her murderous assault. Kind of a packed episode.
Despite both grown servants having jumped to their feet, and having gotten in a stance to fight against the sudden intruder that is holding a gutting knife to the tween trainee, Elsa’s purple eyes are staring straight at you. You get to see again that luscious soot-colored hair, the beautiful, mature face, and that pleasing, satisfied smile, as if this serial killer lives every moment of her life basking in the after-climax glow. She looks like the only real woman in the room, the only person in control of the situation.
“Whoever you are, intruder, free our trainee immediately or face your death!”, Ram shouts while distorting space in a swirl above her palm.
Frederica tries to maneuver towards Elsa’s flank, even though the contract killer keeps following you all with her gaze. You motion for the lioness to stop.
“Stay away from that woman, she’s a sexual deviant! And a serial killer!”
Elsa darts her eyes towards you, and frowns slightly as if you just insulted her.
“Sexual deviant you say, darling? Now how would you know such a thing? I assure you, anyone who would get to know about my intimate interests wouldn’t see the light of a new day.”
“That’s likely true!”, you shout nervously. “I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to letting you do those things to me again, in the right time and place, but more importantly, why the hell are you here so soon!?”
Although you hold Elsa’s confident, intense gaze, you sense the servants positioning themselves for an attack.
“Two servants, one of them a young trainee, a shut-in spirit… and you, darling. Preferably whenever you came. And I must tell you, you are lovelier than I had imagined.”
Her hungry, seductive voice makes you shiver.
“None of that again, Elsa!”
You hear a nasty creaking of bones coming from Frederica, who is hunched over while facing the contract killer. The German’s arms from her forearms down grow light blonde fur, and her hands distend into paws with long, sharp claws. You are shocked, but Elsa widens her smile as if Frederica was putting on a show for her sake.
“A shapeshifter. How lovely…” Elsa says, unworried. “Will you do me a favor, darling? After I rip open your abdomen and get to enjoy the color of your bestial insides, please turn back into a human so I can compare the change in your guts.”
Petra, shaking and leaking fluids from her eyes and nostrils, stops biting her lower lip to blubber.
“P-Please save y-yourselves! R-Run away!”
Frederica steps closer while clenching her teeth and glaring murderously at the contract killer.
“You will let my trainee go, fiend, or I will have no mercy on you. I’ll have you know, I’m German.”
“What does that mean?”, Elsa asks with a curious tone. “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard that word.”
“It means I’m about to end your whole existence!”
The lioness lunges from an angle at the contract killer, who separates the blade of her gutting knife from the trainee’s throat so she can face her attacker. In a split second, Frederica pushes Petra out of the way with one arm and swipes towards the contract killer’s torso with the extended claws of her other arm. Elsa parries the blow with one of the gutting knives, which produces a clank and a burst of sparks. With a predatory look in her eyes, the contract killer advances on Frederica. She parries another claw strike and stabs at the lioness’ face with the other gutting knife, but Frederica deflects the strike with her furry forearms in a splash of blood.
Ram walks briskly towards Elsa’s flank while extending her arm. In a sudden gust that ruffles your hair, a few thin distorsions slash the space heading for their target, but at the last moment Elsa turns and catches them with her arm. You hear the wind spell digging into the bare flesh of her upper arm, as well as the splashes of blood on the floor. Elsa stands there looking down at the bloody gashes.
“Ouch. You got me good.”
She smears a couple of fingers of the opposite hand with the blood running down her arm, and brings them to her smiling mouth. Her red tongue licks the fingers clean, and she looks satisfied.
While Frederica launches herself at the contract killer with her claws drawn, you look around frantically until you locate Petra, who is crouched near one of the windows while staring at the fight, frozen in fear. Are you as useless as this tween? Can’t you do anything? You don’t have any superpower that doesn’t involve dying, certainly nothing that can damage an infamous contract killer. But is that right? Beatrice had gone through a hell of her own to teach you a little bit of her arts. She had warned you, forbidden you actually, from using them until your magic gate recovered, but this is as huge of an emergency as you can imagine.
Even though your heart is beating way too loud, the area of your arm where Frederica punched you hurts, and the chaos of the fight to the death in front of you should require all your attention, you try to focus on drawing a solid ring in your mind theater. You bring forth your liquid-like magic essence as if coming from your navel, and this time you only amass a small part of it until you form in your mind a congealed mass the size of a bouncing ball. Then, as Frederica swings her arm towards the Bowel Hunter’s head a few meters in front of you, you push slowly, as if threading a needle, that ball of magical essence through the gate.
“Shamac!”, you shout.
An ink-like cloud bursts around you, and you get a still shot of the three combatants stopping their attacks in a sudden confusion. To your surprise you can see the faint outlines of the other people caught in the spell, you guess for magic-related reasons. The voluptuous, big breasted outline of Elsa Granhiert looks around as if trying to get her bearings.
“Hell yeah!”, you say. “Shadow all the way down, baby!”
As soon as you blurt those words out triumphantly even though you haven’t won anything, your body goes cold and you feel as if something has gotten torn inside of your chest. Before you could react to the worrying twinge, someone grabs you from the back of your shirt. You find yourself flying back towards the window. You fall to a stretch of the carpet out of the ink cloud that floats further into the room. In a split second you realize that Ram has run up to you, and you are about to speak when something plunges into the back of your shoulder and lodges itself in the bone. The sudden pain makes you wince, but you have no time to question anything. Closer to the window, Frederica has grabbed the tween trainee and is sprinting to jump out of the window. Ram and you imitate the lioness. You hope that she’ll manage to break through, or else you will all slam into each other.
After you feel more than hear the loud crash of broken glass, you jump through the window frame. As if time had slowed down, you see Frederica falling in an arc as she carries Petra under her arm. In the blink of an eye, four or five throwing knives get stuck into Frederica’s back up to the hilt, and the lioness’ face contorts with surprise and pain. Her jump goes briefly horizontal as the dagger that’s embedded into her spine causes her to arch.
You hit the ground with a roll, and pain shoots throughout your back. You spot Ram’s legs as the senior servant sprints alongside the outside wall of the mansion, and you half crawl half stumble behind her. When Ram finally stops to look back, you fall on your ass right next to her. Frederica and Petra are approaching you, but the lioness is hunched over and staggering as if her legs barely work. There’s blood dripping from her mouth. Her legs seem to give out, and she falls forward onto her furry forearms.
Petra runs to Frederica’s side and tries to support her weight.
“Miss Frederica! Please tell me you are okay!”
“Not in my current form, no…”, she says with a shaky voice, even though she forces a smile for the trainee.
Ram, looking worried, is observing the window you all broke through.
“That woman is way too strong. She came out of nowhere, too…”
“She’s Elsa Granhiert, a contract killer”, you say.
Ram turns her head sharply towards you, and judging by the dread in her face, you might as well have told her that Death had come for her in person.
“I doubt we could win against the Bowel Hunter even if Frederica wasn’t so injured”, Ram says with a low voice. “We need to flee.”
“What!?”, you shout with disbelief. “The moment we leave, that freak will find Beatrice and Rem and kill them both! That’s your own sister you are suggesting we abandon!”
“We don’t have time, Barusu. I hate having to do this, but that Rem, being my sister, would understand my position. She would agree that we need to save ourselves instead of risking all of us dying.”
You clench both your teeth and fists.
“You have no clue! Rem would have jumped right into the fray to save the people she cared about, even if it meant sacrificing herself! That’s who she was. Everyone in this mansion is part of our family. We can’t leave them behind!”
Ram is taken aback by the sudden anger you direct at her, but she glares in turn.
“This is no time to be a hero, Barusu.”
“This is one of the only times when it would make sense to be one!”
“I-I also think we should save the others…”, Petra says shily, tears streaming down her face.
Ram scowls at the trainee as if she hates that the tween is wasting time.
“Shut up. You are a child.”
“Now she’s a child!?”, you complain.
Frederica pushes herself off the ground so she can support herself on her shaky legs. She looks as if she might collapse at any moment. She spits blood to the side, and while more blood drips out of the corner of her mouth, she addresses the rest of you.
“We can’t abandon our people to their deaths. I will transform. Ram, come with me and we’ll handle that Bowel Hunter. Mr. Natsuki, lead Petra out of danger and figure out a way to rescue both our comatose friend as well as our reluctant librarian.”
You don’t want to say it out loud, but there’s no way that Frederica and Ram, as strong as they might prove themselves to be when pushed to their limits, would be enough against someone so clearly monstrous as Elsa Granhiert. Frederica is trying to buy you time to rescue the others, hoping that there’s a chance the both of them will end up escaping the contract killer. You feel terrible for having accused her angrily before. Despite her deceit, she’s a top-notch gal.
Frederica, wheezing from the blood that must be pooling in her lungs, still holds a faint smile as she looks over her shoulder to the knives sticking out of the bloodied back of her servant outfit.
“I won’t be able to be of any help unless I heal these wounds… Please, Petra, don’t be afraid.”
The lioness grabs the front of her outfit with her light blonde, furry paws, which look as if she only dressed with part of a Halloween costume, and she rips her clothes apart, ending up naked except for her panties.
You close your mouth, and force yourself to avoid staring at her big, shapely breasts that she makes no effort to hide. As Frederica clenches her teeth, she falls to her knees. Her head, torso and limbs groan and creak while they bulge, elongate or twist, and grow soft, light blonde fur. The knives stuck to her human form pop out and fall to the ground, pushed out by her bestial transformation. At the end you find yourself staring at a horse-sized fantasy world lioness that has lost the regular Frederica’s voluminous hair, although she has gained a long, fluffy tail. Her head lacks all human features, but she looks back towards you all and stretches her big mouth full of pointy teeth into a smile.
“Phew! That felt good! Petra, you should try it some time!”
The beast’s mouth didn’t form those words. Frederica must be projecting her speech through magic.
“I wish!”, Petra says with a smile, even though she’s still crying. “You look wonderful, miss Frederica.”
“Thank you, dear.” The beast form of Frederica lifts her big head towards you. “Mr. Natsuki, I would have expected you to be scared or even appalled, but what’s with that face?”
“Well… I mean, you look majestic and graceful, the kind of legendary beast that would appear on the flag of a fantasy nation. But we need a monstrous feline that would cause our enemies to piss themselves, you know? Your bestial form even has female eyelashes.”
Frederica looks down, suddenly disappointed. In her current form she looks like a gigantic cat who has been denied food.
“Frederica! We absolutely do not have time for this nonsense”, Ram says with a resolute tone. “If you want us to commit suicide confronting the Bowel Hunter, let’s do so while it means anything.” As she starts walking towards the busted window, she looks at you over her shoulder. “You better not waste this opportunity, Barusu.”
Your chest tightens. You open your mouth to answer, but you can’t form any words. Ram ends up closing her eyes. She faces forwards and both her and the graceful, horse-sized beast that Frederica has become hurry to their likely deaths.
You turn to run in the opposite direction, towards the front doors of the mansion. When you are about to pass by Petra, whose tween face is a mess of tears and snot, she alternates between worrying for the servants and looking expectantly at you. You grab her hand and force her to follow you. However, you feel blood running down your skin from the knife stuck in the back of your shoulder, and your heart hurts because you already miss this version of Ram who had looked at you as something closer to a human than to an insect for a brief moment, when she sat on the living room’s sofa after she understood that you had fought to make her understand the unbelievable truth about her lost sister. This reality is already a bust. You have learned the horrible information that Elsa Granhiert will time her attacks to either the moment you arrive at the mansion, or if you take your sweet time returning, to whether enough days have passed. You don’t think there’s a way you will avoid losing people when that contract killer is already trying to kill you all.
“Petra, you have a better chance of surviving if you just run as fast as you can to the village”, you say to the tween, who is trying to dry her eyes while running. “If I were you I would take this chance to save yourself.”
“No, I want to stay with you, Mr. Natsuki!” She says, clinging to your arm with surprising strength. “I am not leaving you by yourself in this place. Besides, I know you, and you wouldn’t run away! You aren’t doing so right now, and you didn’t do that back at the battle against those horrible cultists! I remember very well how you charged with your ground dragon so you could kill that man who was trying to stab me!”
“That’s because I’ve found out that under the right circumstances dying horribly can feel surprisingly good. You are still a child, Petra. You have a whole boring, unfulfilling life ahead of you. You barely know anything about this world yet.”
“I know you, Mr. Natsuki! You are a hero! I will not leave your side!”
You sigh, disappointed that she won’t listen to reason. It’s obvious she wants to prove her affection for you by staying by your side. Joke’s on her, because she barely registers in your consciousness.
“It will very likely become your funeral, but then again I believe in personal choice. Ever since you started working here I’ve done nothing but berate you and you still won’t get away from me. Some people don’t learn.”
The two of you enter the mansion through the front doors. You can already hear the fight coming from the side of the mansion opposite to where Rem’s room is. You want to pay attention to the muffled crashing, the shouting, the clanking, the magic sound effects, but you would only distract yourself from what you need to do.
As you rest against a marble pillar, you point with your thumb towards your injured shoulder.
“Petra, can you see what the hell is sticking out of there?”
You interrupted the tween as she was biting her nails.
“A knife, like the ones that hurt miss Frederica.”
“Then take it out. Quick.”
“I-I don’t think it’s a good idea. It might be preventing blood fr-“
“I don’t care. I don’t want to live with a knife stuck in me. Take it out, damn it.”
Petra nods. You crouch, then she pushes with one hand your flesh next to the wound while with the other she pulls the knife out. You clench your teeth, but you feel tears forming in your eyes. Petra leaves the bloody knife on a chair.
“It seems that the wound won’t bleed too much…”, she says cautiously.
“Whatever. Let’s go.”
You quicken your pace through the hallway towards your comatose demon servant’s room.
“I would need some time to find whatever door Beatrice put her Passage spell on”, you say without turning your head to the trainee you are dragging around. “And I’d also rather rescue my completely defenseless Rem first.”
After slinking around a couple of corners, you start to hear noises similar to shrieks coming from further down this side of the mansion. You stop for a moment, and when Petra attempts to question why you stopped, you press your hand against her mouth. No, you still hear the intense fight in the distance, but these strange, animal-like shrieks come from the opposite direction. The closer you get to Rem’s room, the more audible they become.
Something alive turns the next corner into the hallway you are walking through. It’s a black, furry creature the size of a small pig. It has an unfriendly face and a horn coming out of its forehead. When he spots Petra and you, it snarls.
“What the hell is that!?”, you shout. “Why is there a random monster walking around in this mansion!?”
The beast makes a raspy, barking sound before sprinting straight for you. Startled, you attempt to slam it with a punch, but it dodges the attack and sinks its teeth into your left arm. The creature shakes its head from side to side, tearing off layers of flesh with its fangs. Petra screams and punches the creature in the back of the head. It whines and opens its mouth, releasing you. When it falls to the floor, you punt it further down the hall.
You wonder if you just hallucinated. Why would there be a monster-like creature wandering around in here? You are about to shout insults to the furry monster when you realize that something close to a swarm of demonic-looking monsters of different sizes is running towards you both while baring their teeth.
“Get back!”, you scream at the young servant girl.
Both of you run in the direction you came from. The bites in your left arm burn and bleed, and you can’t move your hand right. Behind you both you hear loud noises, screams and roars. You are surprised that these monsters haven’t caught up to you yet.
“What… What are those things?”, Petra asks while panting.
“I don’t know! This is your world! Take some responsibility for having failed to make something decent of this place!”
“Ugh! I was just born here! We need to hide somewhere or else those things are going to bite us to death!”
You turn towards the first room to the side of the hallway, and you try the handle. It’s open. You pull the door towards you, then push the trainee inside. You wish you hadn’t looked back at what’s coming for you: there aren’t only cat or pig sized demonic-looking monsters rushing towards you both, but also some the size of Dobermanns, and a couple of the monsters, which look like bats from the glance you got, are flying over the running ones.
Your body acts for you. This is survival of the fittest at its most primal. Before you know it you’ve jumped into the room, closed the door behind you and leaned with your back against it to prevent the monsters from pushing it open. Still, that doesn’t mean you are safe from some horrific abominations jumping at you both from the other side of the glass windows, in case they are roaming the yard.
“Mr. Natsuki, the bolt! Lock the door!”, shouts Petra in a panic, while hunched over, crying and holding her head in her hands.
What sounds like a dozen monsters are growling and shrieking right outside of the door you are holding. They are pushing against it, making the wood tremble through your bones. You have broken in sweat and you can’t even begin to process what the fuck is happening.
“Why don’t you do it, Petra!? I’m quite busy already!”
You shout at her, angry that she is standing around doing nothing.
“I-I’m scared!”, she whimpers pathetically.
“Well, get over it! Do something for yourself for a change!”
As you shout at her, the door is pushed open and you fall over. A claw reaches from behind the door and tries to grab you, but you are already rolling away. Standing up immediately you feel a bit dizzy, probably because of the adrenaline rush. You grab Petra’s arm and run towards the window in order to jump through it. You have no clue if your strength and your speed are going to be enough, but you charge with your injured forearm in front of you, while also lowering your head and squeezing your eyes shut.
After the loud crash and the piercing pain of glass cutting your flesh, you fall to the yard while also pulling Petra out with you. You briefly look back and see that part of the horde is now inside the room. You notice the tween staggering around, and you push her to keep running alongside the wall of the mansion.
“Keep going!”, you shout, almost breathless. “We’ll need to enter through another window, or the first door we see!”
Your eyes start to scan the surroundings for another possible entry point. Fortunately, a door is only several feet away from you both, but as you pass by some windows you notice dark, beast-like figures trying to get out through them. You must have drawn further monsters in with the sound of shattering glass, but there’s no time to think.
You hear muffled noises coming from inside the mansion, and a couple of windows are shaking violently.
You reach the door, and press your back against the wall next to it. Petra, who can’t stop crying and whimpering, hides behind you from the source of the noises. After catching your breath for a brief moment, you slowly open the door. The dimly lit hallway in front of you is deserted, but it won’t be for long. You don’t recall ever having entered the mansion through this side door, and you would need some time to find your bearings regarding how to locate Rem’s room again. What if those random monsters sensed her presence inside and have already broken in? As your heart beats hard against your ribcage, you try to clear your mind of anything but the path in front of you.
You both start walking along the hallway, staying close to the wall so that any potential pursuers would have a harder time spotting you. Although Petra is trying to stay quiet, her tremors pass from her hand to yours. As the oppressive silence continues, the beastly noises from before grow louder. Your heart sinks. Petra can’t help but sob. You can’t get anywhere with those beasts walking around, and you can’t fight them.
Your stabbed shoulder hurts and burns, your bitten arm keeps bleeding and dripping onto the floor, and you have gotten so dizzy that you feel as if you are running through a nightmare. You won’t be able to push yourself for much longer. You head for the first door you see, you open it, you push Petra inside and then close the door behind you. You motion for Petra to crouch against the door and keep quiet.
The room is small, one of the smallest bedrooms you’ve seen on this mansion. For now it’s the safest place around. You take a deep breath and try to calm down your racing heart. As you wait in silence, you wonder whether or not you should open the window to check if the coast is clear outside.
You aren’t sure how much time you have spent sitting on the floor while leaning against the door. Petra is clutching to your shirt while trembling in terror. Her tears and snot keep dripping on your clothes.
Your mind keeps trying to wander off into insanity, maybe as a defense mechanism. Nothing that has happened ever since you parted ways with the only two people who can fight has made any sense. Truly there can’t be a bunch of demonic-looking monsters that came out of nowhere pursuing you. Not even someone who was born in this insane world understands why that would happen.
You feel Petra touching and tugging something on your wrist, a piece of cloth.
“Y-You are still wearing it, Mr. Natsuki”, she whispers as quietly as possible, sounding half-crazed. “I-I’m so glad I could help keeping you s-safe.”
You don’t understand what she means until you look where she’s touching. It’s a handkerchief which for some reason is tied around your wrist. Why would you be wearing a handkerchief as an accessory? Ah, the tween tied it around your wrist before you left, because of superstition. You had forgotten it was there.
You also speak as quietly as humanly possible.
“That you bring up me or any of us remaining safe when there are a bunch of monsters roaming around outside of this room, hoping to tear us apart and possibly eat us alive, and if they don’t we will probably still get killed by the most dangerous serial killer in this world, must be one of those delusions that dumb people cling to when they are about to die. It’s okay, though. You are only twelve, you have the right to be irrational.”
Petra doesn’t answer, and instead keeps trembling and crying almost uncontrollably. You fear that she’s going to end up pissing herself. The smell would likely attract quite a few monsters.
With both of your hands you hold Petra’s mess of a face, with tears and snot running down, to force her to hold your gaze.
“Petra, we can’t just stay here without doing anything. Waiting won’t help us. Truly, if the monsters don’t get us, the serial killer will, because she seemed likely to win against our friends.”
“I will leave through this door and I will try to drive the monsters away from this room. Once you hear them leave, try to climb down to the yard through the window, and run away. Keep running until you reach your village, in fact. You might even spot Patrasche in the yard. My ground dragon is a good girl, she will probably help you even though she must be worried sick about what’s going on.”
“But I… I’ll leave you behind!”
You would be lying if the fact that she is so loyal doesn’t make you feel at least a little good.
“That’s the whole point. I’m ordering you to do so. That’s your chosen profession, isn’t it, obeying the unreasonable requests of noble-like people? Then be a good servant. Shut your damn mouth and do as I say.”
Your harsh words cause her crying eyes to glisten with determination for a moment. She nods. You move her away from the door so you can stand up and open it. You pull the door slowly towards you and make sure there aren’t any monsters in the immediate vicinity. You then exit to the hallway, look at Petra’s face for the last time in this life and close the door behind you.
You walk slowly down the hallway while keeping an eye and an ear out for monsters or their growls and shrieks. You need to find your bearings so you can figure out how to reach Rem’s room from here. And you aren’t even sure what you will do if you do get to your comatose girlfriend’s side. Will you give her a piggyback ride with your injured body, and will you escape the mansion while weighted down and being hunted by both those random monsters and Elsa Granhiert? You are acting out of delusional defiance, but you still feel it’s better than to give up and die.
You get past a stairway to the second floor, and it serves as a landmark for your panicked mind. If you turn around a couple of corners you should be able to sprint down a hallway and reach your Rem. However, as you turn the first one, a lone monster you have never seen before, a pig-sized, insectoid-like creature with vicious teeth, seems to have lost the pack and is skittering across the carpet. You have no choice but to go that way, so you start running towards it. You kick at it, but it dodges. These horrid things seem to have had far more experience at surviving in this world than you, and have been far more successful at it. You run past the monster, but a glance tells you that the insectoid-like creature is getting ready to pursue you. You reach the corner and turn, hoping to reach the hallway that leads to Rem. After making it halfway down the next corridor, you hear a hideous shriek behind you, the high-pitched scream is of a creature spotting its prey. Even though you’d prefer not to, you glance over your shoulder and see that a couple of the black, furry creatures with a horn coming out of their forehead, one of which had made a mess out of your left arm, are exiting a room, followed by some other monsters. One of the creatures looks like a black, hairless monkey with an oversized head and blood-stained mouth, which is currently emitting an otherworldly screech.
That sight gives you the burst of adrenaline you need to reach the end of the corridor. You finally spot Rem’s door, maybe around ten doors away. Perhaps you can still save her. You start running towards it at full speed.
“Come on, come on!”, you whisper to yourself, your eyes trained on the door.
Your body stops by itself in the middle of your path, and staggers for a moment until your burning legs can support your weight. Someone is waiting further down the hall, a woman who is facing your way. It’s Elsa Granhiert, who despite having an arm covered in blood, as well as blood having splashed the bare skin of the impossibly risky cleavage that runs down until slightly above her crotch, she’s standing still as if unharmed, and she’s offering you a welcoming, self-composed smile. At the end of her arms that she keeps at her sides she’s holding on to her blood-dyed gutting knives.
As if the Bowel Hunter wasn’t enough, you can’t help but look behind you to see a dozen monsters barrelling down the hallway towards you while growling, shrieking and pushing each other out of the way as if hoping to tear you apart and eat you first. Your legs wobble.
“Meili, that’s enough!”, the Bowel Hunter shouts, the first time you have ever heard this serial killer’s voice rise above a conversational level.
A couple of seconds later, the monsters stop on their tracks like dogs ordered to do so by the trainer who disciplined them well. They eye you as if they’d rather disobey, but the bunch of nasty, demonic-looking creatures turns around and move away. You suddenly spot a small arm peeking out from an open room, and she waves towards you, or maybe towards the Bowel Hunter. Then her whole upper torso appears. Your dizziness doesn’t allow you to focus enough on the figure, but you can tell it’s either child-sized human being or an actual child, a female with dark blue hair braided in pigtails, who wears a black cape over an also black uniform. The monsters stop near the girl, although they continue growling and shrieking as if disappointed.
“I was so close, Elsa”, the new person speaks with a mischievous, child-like voice. “It would have been fun! But if you’d rather have him, I can’t say no to you…”
“That’s right, darling”, Elsa answers. “Now be a good girl and make yourself scarce. I want some time alone with our lovely target.”
“Alright then”, the child says, disappointed.
She jumps out of the room and runs away from you while hunched over, as if she doesn’t want to be recognized or seen clearly at least. The monsters follow her like pets that don’t want to stay away from their master.
Once you understand that you won’t have to deal with horrible, mutated, demonic-looking fantasy world monsters anymore, you turn slowly towards the other monster, Elsa Granhiert, who clearly wants you to entertain her the same way you did the first time you met this contract killer. Then, Elsa wounded you mortally before you could realize what has happening. Now you have to deal with the anticipation. Besides, you keep seeing Frederica and Ram in your mind, and your throat has tightened as if someone was squeezing it.
“Did you kill my friends, Elsa…?”, you ask with a hollow voice.
The Bowel Hunter smiles as if you’ve reminded her of people she’s fond of.
“They were so lovely. They struggled to their last ounce of strength. They wished so much to keep living. And their insides looked really beautiful.”
This reality is done, you knew it already. You aren’t sure to what hope you were holding on to. Nothing in this whole universe matters anymore, but you can’t relay that to your feelings, because you have to swallow a sudden nausea, and the next time you blink, the tears that built up in your burning eyes roll down your cheeks. You lower your head and glare murderously at the contract killer.
“Although destroying that body of yours through killing you will be to a certain extent like burning down the library of Alexandria, one day I will see you die, and I will enjoy it.”
Elsa spins the knives in her hands then strikes a pose, wielding her weapons as if preparing to strike you. However, you can tell that she’s mocking you, that she doesn’t expect you to attack.
“Then please do come for me, I’m looking forward to it. That shapeshifter as well as the magic user had wisdom to share, but I won’t be able to glean even that from you. You are as weak as they come, aren’t you, boy? Only you and that shut-in spirit remain. I can even afford to take my time checking out the color of your guts before I begin the tiresome task of opening every door of this mansion.”
A wave of unspeakable weariness hits. You stagger and grab the wall to your right, squeezing your head in an attempt to stop the room from spinning. You must have lost plenty of blood already.
“Well, Elsa, this time I’m going to struggle for a bit longer even though everything is ruined.”
You take a deep breath and sprint as if you are charging against the contract killer. Elsa smiles welcomingly. As you are about to pass by Rem’s room, you reach for the handle and open the door wide open. You lunge towards the doorway as Elsa throws one of her knives at you, and you hear it strike the door behind your head. You hear her begin to complain, but when you close the door behind you, her voice disappears. You lean against the wood trying to catch your breath. As you snap out of it you realize that you aren’t in Rem’s room. You see row after row of bookshelves, and smell the musty odor of old books. Beatrice is facing you a few meters away as if receiving you, even though every other time you entered her domain she had been sitting on her chair, barely bothering to lift her gaze from her book. The hundreds of years old child librarian stares at you intensely.
Elsa must have followed you into the room she saw you enter, but the Passage spell jumped to a different door the moment you closed this one. You just led the contract killer to meet Rem.
Note from December of 2020:
This entry was the toughest to get through of all fifty six. I couldn’t get it to flow right. It must have been partially due to the fact that during these last few days I’ve felt completely out of it, in a daze, barely able to focus at work, and experiencing a delay when thinking about or reacting to everything. I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me.