Uehara kept trying to use her hallucinations against the giant, but she couldn’t reach. I was covering her weak spots and was on full defence. It seemed like the giant was concentrating his attacks towards me.
“Moriuchi, pin down his arm and I’ll climb up his giant body. If I get close enough, I’ll be able to stop him before he destroys the entire school building.”
Other Outliners wanted to join us, but Uehara instructed them to evacuate everyone from the building and spread information about the current situation while we distracted him. It seemed like there were several assailants that appeared out of nowhere. I let Xykoss be at his full potential for him to dig his claws into the giant’s hand and keep it from moving. Blood was running down from his wounds, but the giant wasn’t showing any reaction to it. Uehara took that opportunity and jumped to sprint up his forearm, ready to use her Paroxys on him.
“Iadra. Receiveth hath lost and caterwauling out thy souls.”
The giant tried to grab her with his other hand, but she was quicker. She performed a cartwheel in the air and switched arms. Her moves were nimble but swift. There was no way that he could catch her. Or at least that’s what I thought. She had told me to be on defence and that she would handle it herself. I believed her. My eyes widened and I climbed on top of the giant’s arm as well.
My hammer turned into a claw. I was running as fast as I could. The giant’s arm was not pinned down anymore, and he started to move around again. His attention was back on me, but thankfully because of his giant body, he was slow. The thing that caught my attention and got me worried were the ghouls that were crawling around his body. They were the same ones that I had seen back when I was in Kyoto. That meant, that he was here and most likely other members of the RIP. They were hiding behind his back. That’s why we didn’t notice them at first.
“Uehara, look out!”
I screamed from the top of my lungs, but my voice didn’t reach her. She was too occupied to get to the top, while dodging the giant’s attacks. I got too impatient and made a leap of faith to get to the other arm while using one of the ghouls as a stepping board. Xykoss was closely following me while ripping any ghouls apart that would get into our way. Uehara managed to get on top of the giant’s shoulder. His eyes were covered by his long, black hair and he was breathing heavily through his mouth. He was only wearing a pair of brown trousers. His entire body was riddled with different lengths of scars and shapes of marks. He reminded me of Frankenstein’s monster. I saw Uehara using her Paroxys and expected the giant to stop moving, but nothing happened.
“Xykoss, throw me over to where Uehara is and follow me after you get rid of these ghouls.”
He did as I told him and I flew through the air, over the ghouls and landed on the giant’s upper arm. Something didn’t feel right. I was rushing to get to the top, as I saw Uehara getting closer and closer to the giant’s face.
“Uehara, get away from there!”
She stopped and looked back. My voice finally reached her, but it was too late. The giant turned his head towards Uehara and opened his mouth. It looked like a dark and endless abyss. I jumped forward and held out my hand as far as I could, but it wasn’t enough. Within a heartbeat, the gaping hole that was the giant’s mouth closed. Blood spurted on to my face and Uehara slowly fell from his shoulder. I rammed my claw into his flesh and managed to grab the one arm that was still intact. She was dangling in mid-air and I could see her face getting paler and paler. Her uniform was drenched in blood that was coming from where her other arm should have been.
“Uehara, I got you! Don’t let go! I’ll pull you up!”
I was feeling dizzy, and my hand was shaking. Looking at Uehara was reminding me of Charlotte. I shook my head vigorously to snap myself out of it. This was not the time for feeling bad. I had to get her out of here, no matter what.
“Moriuchi, let go of me.”
Her voice was faint, but I could still understand her.
“What are you saying? I’m not going to let go!”
“Stupid, behind you.”
The shoulder that we were on started moving. A large shadow was casted over us, and I could feel his breath on my neck. The giant was going for another bite. I tried to pull up her back up but was too slow. Uehara placed both of her feet against the giant’s body to quickly push herself up. She performed another cartwheel and came between me and the giant. Her hand was still warm, and I was still holding it. Both of my arms dropped next to my body, and I kept looking up at the giant’s face which was only centimetres away from mine. She was right there, but not anymore. What was left of her was the hand that I was still desperately holding on to like my life depended on it.
“Give her back.”
It was a whimper. My view of the giant became blurry.
“I said, give her back!”
“Give her back!”
I shouted again. Xykoss felt the disturbance of my feelings and instantly rushed to me. His sharp growl pierced through the air and without any hesitation, he digged his claws into the giant’s mouth to pry it open. There was no sound coming from the giant nor from his mouth. I let go of Uehara’s hand and pushed myself off the ground and dived into the abyss, hoping to find her. It smelled sour and the tongue I was standing on was slippery and felt soft. The teeth were all rotten and white spots were covering the flesh of his cheeks. I frantically was moving my eyes around when the tongue underneath me started moving.
It was Uehara’s voice. I stabbed the tongue with my claw to lift it up as much as I could to see her emerging from underneath. She was barely conscious and alive. I quickly grabbed her and pulled her out of the giant’s mouth, to only find Xykoss covered in ghouls. One arm was lost but I grabbed her served hand and put her on my back to get off the giant’s body and get back down.
“Xykoss, defend my back.”
We urgently needed backup or else I wouldn’t last long against so many enemies. And I needed to prioritise getting Uehara to safety as well. The giant lifted his hand into the clouds to then bring it back down at a worrying speed. I stopped in my tracks to see if there was a way out or else, we would most certainly die.
“Xykoss, cover Uehara with your body!”
I ordered him, but it wasn’t necessary. A lightning spear pierced through the giant’s hand, followed by lightning striking his head.
“I got this. Take them away.”
His voice was calm. I couldn’t see his face, only his back, but that was enough for me to know that we would be okay now. Xykoss did as he was instructed by Yu, who was completely swallowed in sparks and lightning. He jumped down from the building with me and Uehara in his arms. We were back inside the school building. All I could see was how the giant was struggling and hear lightning and thunder crashing. I took off my jacket to tie up Uehara’s shoulder where her arm was missing and was putting pressure on her wrist where her hand was missing. She had lost consciousness. Xykoss was getting rid of the few remaining ghouls that were crawling around us. Not long after Yu had arrived, Takumi, Sano-san and Takaki-san joined us as well.
“Takaki, get Uehara-san some first-aid and if possible, to the nearest hospital as fast as possible. Toshiko is covering the entire school ground with her Paroxys, so the enemies won’t be able to follow you.”
Sano-san instructed Takaki-san who took Uehara from my arms into his. I stood up and noticed the familiar orange tint to the air. But before Takaki-san could leave with Uehara, I grabbed him by his jacket.
“Use your Paroxys to rewind time.”
He stared back at me without saying anything.
“Quick! Use your Paroxys now! Not only will it save Uehara, but we’ll be able to defend ourselves.”
He averted his eyes from mine and firmed his grip on Uehara.
“I can’t. There needs to be an interval of at least 72 hours between each usage of my Paroxys. Yesterday, me and Satoshi went on a mission and I used-“
I loosened my grip on his jacket and took a step back while shaking my head.
“Yes. And it hasn’t been 72 hours yet.”
“And you can only rewind the last 24 hours, so it will be too late.”
“Yeah, unfortunately. Also, I can only revive people from the dead if it hasn’t been over 30 minutes before I used my Paroxys.”
I completely let go of his jacket and dropped to my knees.
“That’s not good enough. Uehara won’t last long enough for you to get to a hospital. She has lost too much blood.”
I was talking to myself.
“I’ll try my best and get her to a hospital, so they can do a blood transfusion.”
I heaved myself up and grabbed Takaki-san by his collar.
“It will be too late! You know that too! Can’t you see that she’s barely breathing? She’s dying! Do something!”
My voice was shaky, and I could barely say the words. Sano-san grabbed my hands and made me let go of him.
Uehara opened her eyes. Her voice was weak.
“I was bound to die one day. It’s just happens to be today. At least, I was able to protect one of our juniors. Even if it was Moriuchi Ayumi. Also, you’re not here for me, are you, Daisuke?”
“No. I’m here to take Moriuchi Ayumi to safety with the help of Takumi.”
I turned around and looked him in the face.
“What are you talking about? We can’t just leave Uehara. We have to protect her, like she protected me!”
“We were told to get you to safety. The RIP is after you, so if they manage to capture you, it’ll be over.”
I grabbed my hair and shook my head again.
“I don’t understand what you’re saying. I have to fight. Yu is fighting this giant right here. Uehara fought as well. Why am I supposed to run away?”
Sano-san came closer to me. I could tell by his face that he wasn’t listening to me at all. His hand touched my stomach and he rotated it like a clock’s hand.
“Micith. Changeth, bendeth and twisteth. Beest what I wanteth thee to beest.”
A red light emerged and engulfed me. My body was getting smaller and smaller. It had shrunk to a child’s size. Without any explanation, he picked me up and started walking into the opposite direction. Takumi silently followed us.
“Let me go! Let go of me right now!”
“We have to go or else her sacrifice will be meaningless.”
“What are you saying? What sacrifice? Uehara is right there and alive.”
She was right there, in front of me. Still in Takaki-san’s arms. She had just talked to us. So, why were her eyes closed again? Why was Takaki-san crying? She had a gold pin. She was strong. So, how could Uehara die then? I buried my face into Sano-san’s jacket and screamed and cried while he carried me further and further away from her until I couldn’t see her anymore.
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