This group is for writers and readers. If you are writing or have written stories you want to share with the VicsLab.com community, you can add your stories to this group. Or if you want to read a story and give feedback, you can join the conversation. Members also can create and comment via forum topics to discuss certain aspects of the stories, such as characters, plot, theme, style, and setting.

If you already have a story on your profile page under your “Stories” tab, you can add that story to the group by selecting the document and then selecting “associated groups.” There you can select this group so it can be seen here. Please select “logged-in users” for your story’s privacy settings if you don’t want non-members to view it. Also, please select “Doc author only” under editing privileges if you don’t want others to edit your work (i.e., make changes to your story).

Echoes of the Mirror 1.11 ‘Life and Death’

*Authors Note*

In this particular series, it should be noted that there is a heavy focus on sexual themes, violence, and traumatic events.

These are meant to challenge the main character's views on the world and his relationships. 

That being said, If your someone who's okay with that, I'd really appreciate it if you want to check it out and leave some feedback.

Thanks! =^.^=

***

Unlike last time, I wasn’t as nervous being invisible in public. I calmly walked down the sidewalk with my hands in my pockets as I watched the townsfolk go about their business.

-Ah… It feels so nice being outside!

There was a calm breeze and the sun was hanging high. Despite the heavy feeling of anxiety hanging in the air, I couldn’t help but feel a little at ease… Himari’s house may have been huge, but it was nice to be able to see the daylight.

Finally feel better now that you aren’t around that strange girl?

-Absolutely!

I tried my best to smile. I was fooling myself into being as happy as I possibly could given the situation… I focused on everything I liked about the present moment and staying invisible. Deep down though, I had many emotions stirring inside of me… This was the very last time I’d be walking these streets.

I didn’t like Hira, but it was my home… It was all I knew. I made the two best friends anyone could ever have here. I may not have had parents, but I was loved. I may not have been at parties, but I was with my friends. I may have been an outcast, but they accepted me.

*Tsk*

I scowled as I briefly glanced over this fact. It was cruel… All of it was. Why was it that life only lets you know what you have as it takes it away?

*sigh*

-And now we wait…

Approaching my destination, I crossed my arms and leaned against the wall outside the front of the clinic. As I made myself comfortable, I closed my eyes and focused on staying invisible.

Shouldn’t you be watching the door? You know, waiting for it to open?

-I’ll be able to hear if it does.

This was going to be my last time seeing Kira for a while… While I promised myself that this wasn’t going to be forever, I still felt anxiety in my chest. I didn’t want to see her like this. I wanted to be there for her when she gets released… I wanted to-

I opened my eyes as I began to hear the double glass doors of the clinic open.

-Well… Here we go.

Sticking my leg out, I tripped the younger man that was walking out the door.

*THUD*

“Ow! My knee!”

Using his body as a prop for the door, I calmly stepped over him and made my way into the lobby.

“Sir? Are you okay?”

I saw the nurse from the front desk begin to run towards the door. Feeling a twinge of sadism in me, I figured a bit more time wouldn’t hurt… As the woman ran past me, I pressed my left palm against her back and gave her a slight push.

“EEK!”

I chuckled a bit to myself as I watched her tumble across the floor and land on top of the man.

Looks like you’re becoming quite the demon yourself…

-I’m getting there. Now let’s see…

I narrowed my eyes as I walked behind the front desk. Rummaging through the paperwork scattered on top, I found what I was looking for.

-Ah. So they did transfer her out of the ICU… So now she’s…

Reading the ledger of the patients and their rooms, I found myself relieved as I read Kira’s room number.

-Lucky me… it’s not too far… Just down the hall…

Hurry, Haku. She’s coming back!

Setting the ledger back down, I pushed myself against the back wall, letting the nurse through to her chair. As she sat down, I put my hands back in my pockets and proceeded to walk towards the hall…

You seem… different.

-Oh? How so?

...You’re surprisingly calm.

I thought about this for a moment… It was kind of odd, wasn’t it? Given everything that I went through recently, maybe I was just getting used to the stress… or maybe-

You’re feeling confident in your abilities now?

I smirked as she said this.

-I have the best partner in the world and I’m starting to get a feel for sorcery now… Why wouldn’t I be?

I could tell that the first half of my statement made my familiar happy. After weeks of being bound to her, I’ve been able to get a good feel of her emotions even when she wasn’t manifested.

Hmm~? So I’m the best now?

-I certainly think so…

Tell me again!

-Tell you what?

Ugh! What you just said!

I was contemplating on toying with her emotions, but after all she’s done for me, I figured stroking her ego wouldn’t hurt…

-You’re the best familiar and partner a person could ever ask for. No, the best in aaaalllll existence! An all-powerful Demonica capable of all-powerful things!

...You’re being sarcastic, aren’t you?

-Not at all. I truly mean that.

Hmmm… I believe you. Though if that’s the case, how will you reward me for all the help, comfort and power I’ve given you~?

-I don’t know… What do you want?

I could tell that she had something very specific in mind, though I couldn’t tell what.

How about this… When I feel that I’ve properly done enough, and the time is right, I’ll just take what I want as my reward?

-That sounds rather ominous… Can you be more specific?

Oh~? And where’s the fun in that?

*Sigh*

-Fine.

Hehehehe… I’ll take that as a promise then…

-What do you mean ‘promise’-

*Tch*

-Shit...

Reaching the door to Kira’s room, I found myself confronted with a new problem. There were several medical staff in the hall. While one or two people wouldn’t have presented me with much difficulty, there were at least a dozen or so nurses and doctors. To make matters even worse, three of them were close enough that they’d probably recognize a door opening by itself.

-Ideas?

Hmmm… Cause a distraction?

-...Brilliant... A real Einstein. Why didn’t I think of that?

Hey! Don’t get snippy with me! I’m just trying to help!

Between my anxiety and frustration, I felt myself nearing a boiling point. ‘Cause a distraction’ was a lot easier said than done. Magicka was off-limits… even causing something as mundane as a breeze would give away my location. It wasn’t like I could stay invisible for an indefinite amount of time either… Sooner or later, I’d eventually reach my threshold.

-Ugh… Come on!

Looking over to my right, I noticed a shiny medical tray of surgical equipment that no one seemed to be using. As I peered over the instruments, I turned my gaze to a younger doctor not too far away from me.

...That’s kind of sick... Haku…

-I don’t want to hear that from a demon. I thought you loved bloodshed?

...I do… but… this isn’t something that you’d do.

-I’m out of time and options...

Grabbing a scalpel off the tray, I began walking up behind the doctor.

-...I’m sorry.

Grasping the blade firmly in hand, I plunged it deep into the doctor's calf, slicing through the sinew in his leg like butter.

“AAAARRRRRGHHHHHHHH!”

The man dropped to the floor, grasping his leg as medical staff rushed over.

“What happened!?”

“Are you okay!?”

The various personnel were almost drowned out by the man’s screaming.

“He’s bleeding out! Quick! Get him into one of the medical rooms!”

As the staff tried to pick him up, a large puddle of blood began to cover the floor, slowly making its way towards my feet.

-I need to move… fast.

Grasping the handle of the door to Kira’s room, I quickly let myself inside while everyone was distracted. Locking the door behind me, I let myself go visible.

*phew*

I tried to put the action I just committed out of my mind… I wanted to focus on the matter at hand. Looking towards the end of the room, I spotted Kira lying in bed sleeping. My heart sank as I looked her over. While she wasn’t using a respirator anymore, she was still hooked up to several IV’s.

Still… She’s not in the ICU so she must be doing a lot better now, right?

-Yeah… You’re right.

Trying to put on my bravest face possible, I grabbed a chair from the corner of the room and dragged it to the side of Kira’s bed. Sitting down, I couldn’t help but realize how beautiful Kira really was... Reaching over to her, I gently brushed her hair away from her eyes and looked at her face.

- She looks so peaceful...

Unlike the several times she slept over at my house, she wasn’t snoring. Her breathing was soft and quiet… It was like she was resting. Despite the fact that she was near death’s door only a few days ago, right now it looked like she’d open her eyes at any moment… I wished for that. I wished that she’d wake up and smile for me.

Reaching out, I took her hand into mine… It was warm. This made me smile. She was alive, even if she was a ways away from being released.

“Hi, Kira…”

I could hear my voice quaking.

“So… It looks like you’re doing a lot better now… That’s good.”

Looking next to her bed, I saw several vases of flowers and ‘get well soon!’ cards.

“I bet everyone really misses you right now… After all, you are one of the most popular girls in school…”

You don’t have time, Haku…

I was going to snap back, but it didn’t stop the fact that she was right.

“Listen… I don’t know if you can hear me or not, but…”

I could feel my eyes start to water.

“That night… it was a mistake… The person I… I wish I could take it all back… but…”

I tried to find the words, but I couldn’t.

“Anyhow… I… have to go away… for a really long time... But…”

Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out an old stuffed rabbit. Around its neck was a pink bow with a note folded in half.

“Just… read this when you wake up.”

Carefully lifting her arm, I placed the rabbit underneath it. Finishing what I needed to do, I stood up.

“I guess... this is… goodbye.”

...

As I turned around, I heard Kira’s covers move.

...

“Haku?”

I glanced over my shoulder to see Kira with her eyes half open, looking at me.

“K-Kira?”

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

-She’s… awake?

“Where are you going… Why are you dressed like that?”

As I began to open my mouth I began to hear the door jingle.

“What the… It’s locked!”

*BANG BANG BANG*

“HEY! I CAN HEAR YOU IN THERE! OPEN UP!”

-Dammit!

Gritting my teeth, I saw Kira begin to hug the rabbit tightly.

“Haku, w-what’s going on?!”

“Nurse! Quick, get me the key!”

Haku! We need to leave! NOW!

“Kira… I…”

NOW, HAKU!

I could feel panic sweeping over me.

“NURSE!”

“W-why are they yelling?! What’s going on?!”

I grabbed my hair with both hands. I didn’t know what to do!

NOW!

“GOD FUCKING DAMNIT!”

Whipping the pistol out from my waist, I took aim at a nearby fire alarm.

“I-Is that a gun?! W-why do you have that?!”

*BANG*

*BEEP BEEP BEEP*

The emergency lights began to flash red as the sound of the alarm filled the clinic.

“TAKE ME TO WHERE I DESIRE!”

The back of my hand shone brightly as a black smoke began to fill the room.

“Haku, please! Tell me! Where are you going!? When will you be back!?”

“Why aren’t we leaving yet, Lilly!?”

YOU’RE PANICKING TOO MUCH! I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU WANT TO GO!

“Do I look like I care!? ANYWHERE!”

CHOOSE SOMEWHERE!

“The field! Go to the field!”

As the scenery around me began to change, I saw Kira reach out to me.

“Haku! Wait! Don’t leave!”

“Goodbye, Kira…”

 

***

 

*GASP*

“What happened!?”

As I shot up, I glanced around… I was at the field. Sitting on the grass across from me was Lilly with an amused look on her face.

“Well, you panicked to the point where I couldn’t focus.”

…I waited for her to finish.

“Okay… and?”

Reclining onto her back, she closed her eyes.

“And, I took you to the field.”

I blinked a few times.

-Was that it?

“Then why did I-”

“But I ended up teleporting you here mid-air… You broke your spine.”

Thinking back to the clinic, I realized just how little focus I had… I was in a panic.

“Oh… Sorry I…-”

“You really love that girl don’t you?”

I was taken back by Lilly’s sudden question… I remained silent for a moment, trying to think of a proper way to reply. In response, she just sighed.

“You don’t need to answer that… I already know the answer…”

Her tone wasn’t curious… It seemed a bit spiteful and condescending. I tried to search for what exact emotion she was feeling, but I couldn’t pick up on it. Scratching my head, I stood up.

“Then why even bother asking?”

I could see Lilly’s eyes narrow as a scowl crossed her face.

“You hesitated. You put me and yourself in danger… Not that it wasn’t already dangerous enough to begin with.”

This irritated me. What she said was true, but what did that have to do with the way I felt about Kira?

“Yeah... I did... Sorry. But nonetheless, you agreed to it. You handed me the gun before we left. You knew what we were going to do. So what does it matter how I feel about her?”

As Lilly began to stand up, she turned away from me.

“It doesn’t… Not now. You’ll probably never see her again, so I guess it’s not an issue, is it?”

Now I was pissed… I was willing to bite my tongue over her passive aggressiveness before, but she went too far this time. Balling up my fists, I began walking towards her.

“The fuck is that supposed to mean?! You knew since I made a pact with you! So why don’t you drop the shit, and tell me what you-!”

As I reached over to turn her around, she delivered a hard kick to my chest, knocking me to the ground.

“Oh? You want to know how I feel?”

Placing a foot on my chest, she stooped over.

“You’re mine. No one else’s. You don’t have the luxury of calling me your partner and then turning around and putting me second. I’ll put up with Himari, but I won't put up with that.”

As she said this, I could feel her put more of her weight on my ribcage.

“Okay…! I get it…! I’m sorry I hesitated…!”

Lifting up her foot, Lilly sat down on my legs and lifted up my chin.

“Good boy… I forgive you. I’m sorry too.”

-Jesus Christ! I’m getting mixed messages like no tomorrow!

Slowly standing up, Lilly smiled and offered me a hand. Taking it, she lifted me back onto my feet and nuzzled my neck. As she pulled her head away, she tilted her head and stuck her tongue out.

“I guess I’m not used to the emotions that come with a pact and this body… Sorry, Haku.”

I blinked in astonishment… That was one hell of a 180. Letting out a sigh, I pulled out my phone and pointed it towards Lilly.

“It’s fine… That being said, you also know what else it was that I planned to do today.”

In response, Lilly narrowed her eyes at me and frowned.

“What’s with you and wanting to meet up with girls…? Are you having fun trying to make me angry?”

Putting a hand in my pocket, I cast her a nonchalant look.

“They’re my friends, Lilly. I won’t get to see them again for a long time… I want to say goodbye.”

Closing her eyes, I could see her trying to decide whether it was a good idea or not.

“Well… I guess it can’t be helped. After all, you are moving tomorrow… Just… Don’t hesitate again.”

I found it vaguely humorous that I had to make it seem like I was asking for permission… Lilly never gave me a hard time about wanting to be around them before, so I didn’t understand why it was such a problem now.

“Will do…”

Unlocking my phone, I punched in the number I wanted to dial off the top of my head.

“Huh… Guess it really does pay off only having two friends…”

Putting it to my ear, I began to hear the dial tone.

-Come on, pick up…

*Click*

“Hello?”

As I heard her voice, I felt relief sweep over me… She didn’t know this number, and she was notorious for just letting her calls go to voicemail.

“Hey. It’s me.”

“...H-haku-?!”

“SSSHHHH! Be quiet…!”

“Y-yeah… Of course…”

“Listen carefully… Just pretend you’re on the phone with your cousin or something.”

“Mhm… Yeah, I’m doing okay. What’s new with you?”

“Okay… good…”

“So… Umm… D-did you make it to the store okay?”

To the store…? What’s this girl on about?

-It’s called being discrete. She’s wondering if I made it to Nashta.

“No. I didn’t leave yet. I’m moving tomorrow…”

“O-oh… I see… I-if that’s the case, do you want to hang out soon?”

“That’s why I called… I want to say goodbye…”

There was silence on the other end for a moment.

“So… You’re not going to come and see us soon are you…?”

…*Sigh*

“No… I’ll be gone for a very long time…”

“Oh… What day you want to meet up then?”

“How about the cliffs? We haven’t been there since we were kids.”

“Yeah… I can do the park next weekend…”

“Okay… I’ll wait for you… Bye…”

“Okay… bye…”

*Click*

As I put my phone back in my pocket, I could see Lilly give me a concerned glare. Looking over at her, I gave her a weak smile.

“Don’t worry… This is the last thing. I promise.”

 

***

 

“Are you sure this is the best idea, Haku?”

Glancing over at my familiar, I could see her splashing her feet in the river as she sat underneath a shaded tree.

“Yeah. Why wouldn’t it be?”

Looking over at me, I could tell she wasn’t convinced. She let out a sigh as she stood up and began taking off her shirt and jeans.

“I know she’s your friend, but didn’t you say yourself that she’s the next town leader? How trustworthy can she be with those sort of obligations?”

Draping her clothes across a branch, she dropped her panties and set them with her socks.

“To be honest… I trust Himari more than I do Alex… I’m just concerned for you.”

Scratching my head I cast Lilly a half-hearted smile.

“Well, what else can I do…? More importantly what exactly are you doing? Don’t you think you should be… I don’t know… dressed when she gets here?”

In response, Lilly just swept her bangs behind her ears and smirked.

“Well… You said it would take a couple hours for her to get here, so I’m going to go for a swim.”

Covering my eyes I shook my head.

“Really? A swim? Right now-”

*SPLASH*

Not even waiting for me to finish my sentence, Lilly jumped into the river and disappeared into the water.

“HEY! Lilly! What… ugh.”

Scratching my head, I plopped myself on the ground underneath a nearby tree. As I laid my head against the bark, I could hear her splashing in the water.

-I swear she’s just like a puppy…

Strangely enough, I couldn’t help but smile. For some reason, I found her impulsiveness absolutely adorable… and oddly attractive. As I saw her burst through the water like a whale, I felt a tug at my chest.

-Actually… She’s really-

Shaking my head, I began to question my sanity. She was my familiar and a demon at that… I didn’t think anything lewd, but still.

*Sigh*

Then again it’s only natural. After being around her nonstop through all the bullshit I’ve gone through recently, It’s only expected that I would feel closer to her… Not too mention that between her and Himari, it’s been an extremely difficult if not impossible task to relieve myself. I could only imagine how vulnerable I’d be if I was to be seduced by either of those two… whether they kidding around or not.

Putting this out of my head for the time being, I took in a deep breath and took in the scenery.

-I haven’t been here in forever…

The area that I found myself in was about 3 miles away from Hira and was known to me, Kira, and Alex as ‘the cliffs’. It was an area almost as big and open as the field, though it was by far more scenic. The landscape was dotted with several large trees and had a river running along the edge of where the forest began. The most prominent feature, of course, was the actual cliff on the outskirt. It was about a 15-meter drop that left a gorgeous view of the rural landscape. Back when I was still in middle school, Kira and Alex would sneak out of their house past curfew and we’d come here to watch the sunset.

My heart ached as I remembered this. It was one of my fondest memories and one that I hoped to relieve… Though given my situation, that looked like an impossibility now. This was most likely the last time that I’d ever be here again.

*Crack*

Hearing a branch break and rustling off in the distance, I pulled my pistol from behind my back and aimed it towards the source of the sound. Keeping it there for a moment, I saw someone emerge from the path.

“Alex…”

Holstering my firearm, I stood up and dusted off my pants before making my way towards her.

-She’s here.

Already…? Ugh. I was having so much fun…

-Then just finish your swim. I was just letting you know out of courtesy. You don’t have to see her if you don’t want to.

As Alex approached me, she gave me a weak smile.

“Hey, Haku.”

“Hey, Alex.”

The moment after this was an awkward one. We stood for a moment and stared at each other in silence. Nonetheless, it was obvious what was on our minds. We didn’t want to say goodbye.

Turning her head towards the trees, Alex took in a deep breath.

“Wow… We haven’t been here in a long time huh?”

Giving a weak chuckle, I smiled.

“Yeah. I was just thinking that before you came… I’m going to really miss those times.”

Alex’s face was obviously saddened by this. Looking towards me with a frown, she took in a deep breath.

“Are… You ever coming back?”

I thought this over for a minute, trying to find the best answer to give her.

“I… don’t know.”

“I see…”

Pointing her gaze at the ground, her breath quaked.

“I have a lot of things I want to talk about… before you go.”

Biting her lip, she went quiet for a moment.

“Will… You miss me, Haku?”

Despite the directness of her question, my answer was obvious.

“Of course I’ll miss you! What kind of dumb question is that!?”

Walking forward, she put her head on my chest.

“It’s all my fault… Isn’t it? If it wasn’t for…”

I could her beginning to sniffle as she tried to gather her words.

“If I didn’t make you go to that stupid fucking match you wouldn’t have to leave!”

Putting my hand on her back, I took a breath.

“It’s not your fault… It’s mine. If it wasn’t-”

“IT IS MY FAULT!”

My eyes widened as I found myself taken back.

“I always pushed you to do better, even though you were fine the way you were! I forced you to come to my matches, even though you hated it! It is my fault!”

As tears began to stream down her face, I felt her grab onto my shirt and bury her face in my chest.

“I don’t want you to leave, Haku! There’s no one else like you here! No other guy wanted to be my friend! No one else treated me like a normal person! You were the only person that pretended to be interested in my hobbies… You were the only person that could just shrug off all the unrealistic expectations… You were…”

I could tell that she was beginning to sob, she was choking on almost every word.

“...You were my first…”

My eyes widened as I tried to comprehend what she was saying.

“...I lied, Haku. I lied to you that day. It wasn’t an experiment for me…”

As she began to finish her sentence, she looked at me with puffy, teary eyes.

“...I love you. I really truly do… and it’s my fault you have to go…”

I was speechless… I had no idea how to answer her feelings. Alex always held a special place in my heart, but it would be impossible for me to return her feelings in like. I always thought of her as more of an older sister than anything else.

-Why… Why Alex…?

I always had the feeling that she felt this way, but I tried my best to put it out of my head… I felt guilty. It may have been my first time too, but I always felt a heavy guilt over taking her virginity. Alex is a super sweet girl at heart, and any guy would be lucky to have her, but I wish she didn’t choose me. If anything, I didn’t deserve her. Altogether I just-

“...I know you don’t feel the same way about me… I get that... I understand... I just wanted you to know that before you left. I wanted you to know how I truly feel. I wanted you to know that even though you hate Hira, that there were two people here that really truly loved you.”

Taking a deep breath, Alex put her head back on my chest.

“...But I want to ask something really selfish… If I could make all of this go away, would you marry me?”

-...What… I…

“Alex…”

Putting a finger to my lips, she silenced me.

“Please… I already know your answer… Just listen... I would do anything to keep you safe… If you married me, no one could hurt you. Everything would be swept under the rug… My family would make it happen if we were together. I promise I’d do anything to make you happy. If I could promise you all of me and everything I have to offer, would you marry me?”

Biting my lip, I glanced off to the side.

“...I thought so…”

Letting out a jagged breath, Alex lifted her head with teary eyes and smiled.

“Well… will promise me one thing then?”

Nodding my head, Alex took my hand in hers.

“...That even though Hira treated you badly, you’ll remember the good times you had here… and that you won’t forget me…?”

Trying to fight the tears building up inside me, I nodded.

“...I promise…”

Letting go of my hand, Alex stood up on her tiptoes and pressed her lips against my cheek. As she backed away, she wiped tears from her face and smiled.

“...Sorry, I got your face and shirt all wet didn’t I?”

I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle.

“Yeah… That’s fine…”

Sniffling, Alex looked up to the sky.

“So… I guess this is goodbye… Huh?”

Taking a deep breath, I looked away.

“Yeah.”

We stood there for a moment, embracing the last moments of comfort that we had with each other. While it probably wouldn’t be forever, I still-

*BOOM*

My eyes widened as I saw all the water from the river soar up into the air and coalesce into a giant dragon.

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?”

I felt rage consume me. Even now, with these last few moments I had with Alex, I was still being pursued. Looking off into the tree line with narrowed eyes and a scowl, I saw Granny emerge.

“Granny!? What are you doing here!?”

Alex was visibly shaken. Her eyes widened as she watched Granny approach.

“Oh? I could ask the same thing of you, child! Forgot something at school, my ass! I knew you’d come to see this boy before he leaves! It was obvious!

Granny snickered as she stood in front of us.

“You should have killed me when you had the chance, Haku! Think you can win again? Hmm?”

As Granny finished her sentence, a figure dropped from the sky to the ground.

“This old hag?”

Lilly smiled as she shook the water from her hair.

“If I remember correctly… ‘Granny’... Haku had his sword to your throat not that long ago… Unlike last time, this ‘boy’ is nowhere near his limit. Do you truly think you can beat him now?”

Granny scowled as she narrowed her eyes at my familiar.

“A true Matsumoto woman knows where her obligations lie… Though, wasn’t it you that spared my life before? I thought a demon might know better than to let an enemy live, though I guess I was wrong.”

Lilly let out a sadistic laugh as she heard this.

“Spare you!? HAHAHAHA! No! Why would I spare an old dried up hag like you!? No… I simply stopped my master from doing something he might regret. But now~?”

Looking over at me, Lilly gave me a devilish grin.

“Do it. I’m ready.”

Holding my hand off to the side, my pact-mark began to glow. Looking towards Granny, I shot her a glare.

“This time… I will devour you… COME FORTH AS MY MANTLE! LILITH!”

*BOOM*

A shockwave blew past the area as a black smoke wrapped around me. Once again, I felt bloodlust consume me as Lilly and I became one.

“Oh~? Is that your new trick, boy? Just what good do you that will do you?!”

Whipping her cane forward, the dragon came down from the sky and descended upon me.

*Snap*

As I snapped my fingers, legions of chains burst through the ground and tore through the familiar, leaving millions of droplets rain down on the area. As I began to walk forward a tilted my head to the side and grinned at Granny.

“Oh~? Is that the best you can do?”

Disappearing in a black cloud of smoke, I reappeared in front of Akari and wrapped a single hand around her throat. As she gagged and clawed at my hand, I laughed.

“Cat got your tongue, hag?”

Whipping my arm to the side, I threw her body into a nearby tree with force.

“GRANNY!”

Alex let out a scream as she tried to run forward. Noticing this, I tilted my head to the side and let out a sigh as I snapped my fingers. On command, a single chain burst from the ground and wrapped around her leg, tripping and binding her in place.

“NO! Haku! Don’t do this!”

Turning toward her, I scowled.

“Hmm? Why? What importance could this vile woman possibly have to you? Is it because she’s family...? If so, is that where your obligations truly lie...? Would you much rather have her tear me to pieces in front your eyes? If that is truly the type of twisted logic you have, then why would I ever marry someone like you?”

As I heard her begin to whimper, I looked at Alex’s devastated face and scowled.

“I hate seeing your face like that… It makes me want to vomit. Are you so devastated by just hearing the truth? This is simply me taking what is due… One life for another. Pain for pain. That is the way how life works. She came here to kill me, so I’ll just pay her back in like, no?”

As tears began to fall down Alex’s face, she began to cry.

“That isn’t you talking, Haku! It’s that demon! All she cares about is death! She’s not helping you! Don’t let her control-

Appearing in front her, I pressed a foot to the side of her head and forced it into the ground.

“What do you know?! What could you possibly know about me and Lilly?! How do you know how she or I feel?! Where were you when I was being torn apart against my will?! Where were you when I carried Kira’s lifeless body to the clinic!? Where were you when I was bleeding to death at the bottom of a well!? Do you know who was there!? Lilly! Even now, when I’m being forced from the only place I know, WHERE ARE YOU NOW!?”

As I pressed my heel harder into her head, I could hear her crying.

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry I was never there for you… I’m not going to say that I know your pain… What do I know? I’m just a spoiled princess. But there was never a moment I didn’t see how much pain you were in… I thought about it everyday… I tried so hard to support you… and I failed. I failed you as your friend even though you were there for me… I’m so very sorry, Haku…”

Narrowing my eyes, I felt a need for bloodshed consume me.

Finish it.

Holding my hand off to the side, a rusted katana appeared in my hand. Bringing it forward, I held it Alex’s throat.

*FLASH*

As I moved to plunge my sword into her, I saw a mist of blood appear in front of me.

“Get your hands off my granddaughter, demon!”

Looking backward, I saw a heavily bruised Akari slumped over her cane with her hand extended. As I glanced over to the right side of my body, I noticed that my right arm was missing.

“Ow... That hurt... My turn.”

As I disappeared in a cloud of smoke, I reappeared in front of Granny with a black disfigured clawed appendage taking place of my lost arm.

“Came back to bully an old woman you-”

*BAM*

Planting my right foot on the side of Granny’s head, I kicked her several meters away from me, watching her tumble helplessly across the grass. As I slowly began walking towards her, I noticed her cane on the ground.

“I think you dropped something, hag.”

Picking it up, I walked over to the helpless woman and watched as she tried to stand up. As she turned to me, I took the cane and rammed the shaft across her face as hard as I could, breaking her jaw with a loud crack.

“Arrgh!”

Throwing the cane to her, I grinned as I saw blood pour profusely out of her mouth.

“So what is it that you owe me now? Two arms?”

Raising my clawed hand I swung towards her, severing her left arm from her body.

“HAKU! PLEASE STOP! WHAT IS THIS SOLVING!? WHY ARE YOU TORTURING GRANNY!?”

Looking behind, I saw Alex desperately struggle to release herself from the chains.

*Tsk*

Troublesome girl… So Haku, does it feel good? Isn’t this wonderful? Don’t we make an amazing team?

Looking back to Granny, I raised a hand, making a single chain burst from the ground and wrap around her leg. Waving my hand up, her body flew into the air.

“I think I’ll take the other now…”

Dashing my hand to the side, another chain shot from the ground and severed her right as she plummeted to the earth.

“Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

As her body crashed to the ground, I could feel myself laughing maniacally.

“GRANNY! NO! LILLY LET HIM GO! STOP MAKING HIM DO THIS! WHY ARE YOU MAKING HIM DO THIS!?”

Pay no mind to her… Let’s deal with this foul woman. She killed your father, right? Doesn’t that make you angry? It makes me angry. How could anyone do that to a person as wonderful and kind as you? Shouldn’t she pay? Shouldn’t she die?

Walking forward, I crouched down over Akari’s body and flipped her over.

Her familiar is keeping her alive. She’ll live if you don’t end this now.

Standing up, I listed my foot above her head and grinned.

“Die-”

“BURST!”

*THUD*

I felt my body fly into the into the air before landing on the ground with force. Looking up, I saw Alex with her hand extended toward me and her pact mark shining a bright green.

THAT GIRL!

Standing up, I began walking towards her.

“Please… Please stop this… I’m begging you… Please…”

As I walked up to her, she grasped my pant leg and let her head fall to the ground.

“This isn’t you… The Haku I know wouldn't hurt anyone… no matter what they did. Please stop… You won. You don’t have to hurt her anymore…”

Oh? She wants to get in the way? End it, Haku. After today, you wouldn’t ever see her again anyhow, so what would it matter?

As I looked down at Alex’s face, I felt a tug at my chest.

-No.

What do you mean ‘no’!? If you don’t end all of this now, they’ll just come back after you! Can’t you see!? I’M TRYING TO PROTECT YOU!

-This isn’t keeping me safe, Lilly… This is cruel! Alex is my friend, I don’t want to hurt her!

Why would a friend stop you from defending yourself?! That hag was trying to kill you! It wouldn’t surprise me if Alex brought her here!

-Stop… She wouldn’t do that… This is going too far!

YOU SAID YOU TRUSTED ME! YOU CALLED ME YOUR PARTNER! I’M TELLING YOU TO DO THIS BECAUSE I CARE!

Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes.

-Trust is a two-way street, Lilly… We are partners, remember? I said I trusted you… Do you trust me?

I…

-Do you trust me?

I do…

-Then, please… Stop. We won.

...I just want to keep you safe...

-Then let’s just leave… We’re moving tomorrow… There’s no reason to keep fighting…

...

...Okay… I trust you…

“Return to me.”

Holding out my hand, a black ash returned to my pact mark and the chain around Alex’s leg faded away. Looking up at me, her bottom lip quivered.

“H-haku?”

Giving her a weak smile, I held out a hand to her. Taking it, I pulled her up and embraced her.

“I’m... sorry, Alex…”

Laying her head on my shoulder, I heard her let out a jagged breath.

“It’s really you… right?”

“Yeah… It’s me”

Staying like this for a moment, I let her go and looked towards Granny… the entire area around her was covered in blood.

“Sorry, Granny.”

Despite the things I did to her, I wasn’t as remorseful as I thought I’d be… She killed my father and did unspeakable things to me. She truly did deserve this.

*Sigh*

Turning around, I started to walk towards the cliff... The sun was setting. As I looked towards the landscape, images of me abusing Alex flashed in my head.

-This… is fucked up…

I wanted to apologize to Alex for things I said and did… but honestly, there was nothing I could say that would redeem me. If she hated me now, I deserved it. Looking back towards Alex, I saw her nervously walk towards me.

“...I know you would never think those things about me… But still… I have to know… Was it you?”

I narrowed my eyes and grimaced. I remember feeling the bloodlust running through my veins and Lilly’s thoughts pushing me… but-

“No. It wasn’t me.”

Giving me a weak smile, she took a deep breath and held out my blade to me.

“Here… This is yours-”

My eyes widened as a tendril of water shot towards me.

NO!

My pact mark shined as Lilly materialized beside me and grabbed the gun from my waist. Pointing the gun towards Granny, Lilly fired the pistol, ripping the old woman’s head clean from her shoulders. Turning towards me, Lilly shot me a panicked look.

“See Haku!? They won't stop unless they’re dead!”

As Alex turned her head toward her grandmother, her eyes widened in horror.

“You… killed her…”

As I tried to grasp the situation at hand, Lilly already had the pistol pointed at Alex.

“You brought her here didn’t you?”

Putting forward a single hand, I pushed the barrel of the pistol down.

“Stop, Lilly! It’s over!”

My familiar looked over at me with a strange expression.

“It’s okay, Haku. You don’t have to do it… I will. Obviously, these people can’t be trusted. She’s the town leader now, correct? What if she goes home and tells someone she saw you? What will you do then? She said she loved you, yet she wouldn’t help defend you. As far as you know, she’ll try to avenge her grandmother’s death herself.”

Alex narrowed her eyes as she looked at Lilly.

“You’re insane! I would never betray Haku! Unlike you, I don’t think that people need to kill each other to keep each other safe! Besides, what would a demon ever know about love?! He wouldn’t have ever been in this situation if it wasn’t for you!”

Lilly’s eyes began to glow red as her mouth contorted in fury. Ripping the barrel from my hand, she began to point it up as Alex began to thrust the katana towards her.

“ALEX, NO!”

As I stepped forward to stop her, I felt the blade slide through my body and pierce my heart.

“NO!”

I could hear Lilly cry out to me as blood began to pour from my chest… I could tell that something was wrong.

“What’s… happening…?”

Grasping my shoulder, Lilly turned me towards her.

“Why did you do that!? Why did you bock it!? It wouldn’t have hurt me!”

...

As I looked at her face, I slowly saw her expression change.

...

“Why… Aren’t you healing? Haku…? Haku!?”

As I looked at her face, I could slowly begin to see her panic.

“Why can’t I heal you… Why can’t I heal you!? WHY CAN’T I HEAL YOU?!”

Glancing down at the blade sticking out of my chest, Lily's eyes began to well.

“No...No...Nononono. NONONONO! HAKU, NO!”

As the blood flowed profusely out of my chest, I remembered something important.

“...Wounds made with that blade will not heal…”

I was dying… for real.

“HAKU! DON’T DIE! PLEASE! NO!”

As I began to stumble backward, I could see Alex stare at me in pure horror as Lilly dropped to her knees and started crying.

“Nononononono… Why… Why that blade… Why did you do it Haku? Why? Why did you try to protect me?”

-This… is it?

As Lilly looked at me with tears in her eyes, I could see her body slowly dissolving into a black ash.

“I...failed…”

I began to stumble backward as my vision cut out… As Alex reached out for me, I could feel myself falling.

“HAKU!”

-Kira…?

As I began to plummet from the cliff, I could hear Kira’s voice calling out to me.

-This… is the end…

Looking up to the sky, I could see my blood streaking through the air as the world around me began to fade… Soon I found myself somewhere else.

…..

I stood naked in a realm of pitch black.

 

***

 

I could hear two men and a female talking back and forth…

“He’s moving!”

“He’s alive?”

Opening my eyes, I found myself lying on the floor in the back of an elegant vehicle. Himari sat in a seat across from me and smiled… There was an IV leading from her arm to a container… She was giving me a transfusion.

“Look… His eyes! What’s wrong with his eyes!? The collar was one thing, but what the hell?!”

Looking up, I saw a man in a suit gasping at me with wide eyes.

“They’re red! THEY’RE FUCKING RED!”

Turning my head to the other man, I began to open my mouth to ask a question…

“Are those fucking fangs!? What the hell is this kid!? What the fuck!?”

-Fangs…? Eyes…? Collar? I… Don’t remember…

As I was about to ask the men what they meant, I heard a familiar voice call out to me. As my eyes began to focus, I saw a collarless Lilly give me smile as she bared her fangs.

“...Welcome back to the land of the living, Haku…”