Chapter 12:

Death Vow

REWIND: How To Commit Genocide in 48 Hours

Akabane's face turned red. Her lips pursed like she'd been caught doing something wrong in class.

Yuuki, whether he even realized it or not, took a step away from her as if to say, No, not me, teacher. She made me do it! So is that who he really was?

I might have even done the same, but just seeing his placid face as he slinked away from a problem infuriated me.

Where's your phone now?

Yuuki boy.

Black Mask's movements were, as always, legendarily imperceptible. In fact, when he drew the knife it may as well have been shapes slithering over his body, that's how smoothly he morphed around. In one quick frame: he plucked the pocket knife out of Yuuki's school jacket. Flicked it. Thrust it forward. Stopped inches away from Akabane's throat.

She looked anywhere but at Black Mask. Just a nightmare, dude. If you don't look it's not there. The knife with Clarkson's dried blood was as mythical as Santa.

Black Mask said, "See? Life or death situation, and not even a dribble of Sei. Well, if you don't have anything to say for yourself, then-"

Akabane stiffened, which is the closest you can get to yelling and jumping off a cliff when there's a knife pressed up against your throat. She was like a freshly baked pie ready to be cut.

"I-I don't - I do, uh, test me!"

Black Mask sighed. He slashed. Akabane's throat was eviscerated like a pig for slaughter and her hot blood splashed on my face. Some of it got in my mouth and I tasted copper. I felt queasy-

I blinked and she was alive, throat unharmed. She clutched at it as if to make sure it was still there and backed away from Black Mask.


Everyone else looked just as confused. Yuuki was rapidly blinking.

"I just killed you, miss." Black Mask raised the knife. "Quite honestly, I'm surprised that someone with no Sei potential has made it so far, but it's not unprecedented. Anyway, goodbye."

I screamed a word.


"What is it, Kohei my boy?"

"Don't kill her! Please!"

"Please? That's very unheroic of you."

"P… please."

I dropped to the floor and bowed, grating my hands through the grass.

"Oh, stop with the theatrics. You saw a boy half your age being brave and now you want a piece of the cake?"

"No, I…"

Was that it? Was I trying to catch some of Renji's glory?

Please, don't let this be all I am.


It makes no difference if I die here. If I don't try anything, if I let her be killed, I may as well just be dead.

You don't even know her. You've saved her life once, and now what? You wanna be a knight in shining armor or something?

When Asano was interrogating Renji during their fight, Renji hadn't been able to answer a single one of his questions.

Because hurting people is wrong!

I wanted to repeat that. But I didn't. Because that wasn't my truth. It was Renji's. This was my truth.


If I went forward with this, where would my dignity go? It would float along like a tattered flag piece, a piece from a flag that was once a great nation, and land in a puddle. Who am I kidding? There's no greatness here.

"When I met my friend Yuuki-kun… I'd just been beaten up. I didn't do anything wrong. I was just protecting a sick bird. But they didn't care. Th-they just wanted something to hurt. So I thought it was better if they hurt me instead. I'm not a fighter. So… I won't fight you, because I don't have the courage. But I'll beg you… you're a God, right? So take my life, take my Sei, and give it to her."

"Oh, ho ho ho! I like this!"

Black Mask lowered the knife.

"So… do you swear on it?"

"I do."

"Sit up."

I lifted my torso, now on my knees. Black Mask performed the same knighting ceremony he did on Hermes, except he touched both shoulders twice.

"Say it again, Kohei my boy. Say, I swear on everything that I am and all I shall ever be."

I didn't want to think about what would happen next. I chugged out the words as quickly as possible. Tearing off the bandage.

"I swear on everything that I am and all I shall ever be."

"Aiko Desho - Seal."

Black Mask twisted and poked Akabane's forehead with the cane. It was the same action he performed on me that landed me in this world.

"There," Black Mask said. "You have just performed a Death Part Vow."

Akabane said, "What?"

He keeled over laughing. "Ohhh, that's good. Yeah, that's great."

"Death Part Vow?" I said.

"Heh, yeah!" Black Mask covered the part of his mask where his mouth would be. "Now - herg - if she dies, you die! You're bound permanently! Ah, to be mortal. Anyhow, I need to go laugh myself to death. Bye!"

I blinked and he was gone.

Ana Fowl