Chapter 22:


The Gallery

She didn’t say anything back to me, instead, she kept quiet and began painting something, then a small couch appeared right at the wall near us. The couch was only big enough for one person.

Victoria put the painting down on the floor next to the couch and began to cry her eyes out.

This is getting awkward…

I didn’t really know what to do, so I just stand there, waiting for Victoria to calm down a bit.

What is actually going on here?

She was still crying, but I could barely hear her mumbling something to me through all the tears.

“Daisuke,” She called me, “Do I look weak to you right now?”

What is she talking about? What should I say right now? Comes to think of it, this is definitely the most vulnerable moment I’ve ever seen her in. I should thread this very carefully.

“Not at all…” I replied, “Everyone cry, but that doesn’t make them weak. The same goes for you, Victoria.”

“Do you think so?” She continued asking me, “You’re not just saying that to make me feel better, right?”

“Of course not,” I responded, “Feel free to cry for as long as you please.”

“Thank you, Daisuke.” Victoria said to me, but her words got drowned out by the sound of her cry, it echoed throughout the corridor. I leaned my back against the wall on the other side, silently pondering to myself, “What calamity could have happened? That it turned even the sternest and most powerful person here into a sobbing cry baby.”

Around ten minutes straight had I been waiting for her, but eventually, she slowly composed herself and stop crying, she then looked right up at me.

“The child… that the monster turned into…” She told me, “Was Axel.”

“The child? …The monster?” I said, “Are you talking about the source?”

“Yes…” She replied, “And it was all his fault that it happened.”

“And by ‘his’…” I said, “You mean Dexter, right?”

“As sharp as always, huh?” Said Victoria, ”That’s correct.”

“So… can you tell me what actually happened in the old mansion?” I asked her, “It’s been on my mind for a long time now.”

“I used to have two children…” Victoria said, “Violet is one and the other one was Axel.”

“But we lost Axel to an unwelcome monster that Dexter brought home.” She continued, “It infected Axel and slowly turning him into that nasty black oil. We tried everything to undo it, but nothing worked; it only worsen his condition, eventually, he succumbed to the black oil. His body and his brain got fully engulfed in the oil, it took control of his body and still haunt me to this day.”

“So the source of all of the monsters was… your son?” I asked her. I honestly didn’t know how to feel about all of this. This is a little too much for me.

“That’s not my son!!” She yelled at me angrily. Her face turned red and she started tearing up once again, “That’s an evil monster! It killed my son!!”

“Wait! I’m sorry!” I told quickly told her, “I just worded it wrong! I didn’t mean that!”

Victoria wiped her eyes, then she slowly got up from the couch.

“I think we should go back to the office for now.” She said, “That monster could escape the painting any moment now.”

“Yeah, let’s go.” I told her.

So basically, Victoria’s son died, and she created Mori to cope with her loss? And what about Dexter? I still don’t know the full story, but things are becoming clearer and clearer now.

Victoria painted us back to the office. I looked down into the hole and I saw the painting was oozing out with black oil.

“It hasn’t escaped yet, right?” Victoria asked Mori.

“No, not yet.” Mori answered

“Be ready, Mori.” She told Mori, her expression was completely reverted back to her cold and stern self. “We have to wait for it to fully come out, or else it would just escape.”

“Got it!” Mori said.

Right after that, multiple oil monsters emerged from the painting, they took the form of the maids and the butlers and they began to crowd the area surrounding the painting.

“It’s almost time, huh?” I told Mori, “We only have one chance…”

All three of us stood at the hole for a bit, then the oil from the painting started bubbling, a hand emerged from the painting, then a whole arm came out, then the other arm, then its head, eventually its whole body came out of the painting.

It started looking around, probably trying to understand where it was. Fortunately, it didn’t look up, otherwise, it would see us right away.

Victoria looked at Mori and nodded, Mori nodded back, then he inhaled and breathed out his white fire down into the hole.

The monster looked up and saw the fire coming down, so it quickly jumped out to dodge the fire, but the fire still managed to hit its right leg, right arm, and part of its torso.

The monster was now partially petrified and was laying down on the basement floor, trying to get back up. The floor and the wall were lit on fire as well.

“We have to go down there now!” Victoria yelled.

“Wait! Don’t go all the way down!” I told him, “Stay on the bottom floor of the mansion, just in case.”

“Understood.” She replied, then she painted the painting and send all three of us down to the bottom floor.

“Y- you! Is this a trap?” The monster said frantically, after it noticed us.

“It’s time for you to die…” Victoria said, her face was the scariest it has ever been, even Mori seemed terrified of her.

I stared at the monster and noticed that the part that hasn't come into contact with Mori’s fire also seemed to solidify a little bit, probably because Mori’s fire was that hot, but also because the area surrounding it was also on fire as well.

The monster was panicking, trying to get away, but Mori breathed fire on to it before it could get up.

The monster ripped its leg off and throw it at the fire, but before the fire could reach the leg, I saw some black oil seeped through the wooden floor and began to fuse with the leg, almost double the size of it.

Then the leg broke apart, creating a small army of oil monsters, some of them got burned into statues, but most of them survived the fire.

“It won’t end like this!” The monster shouted at us, then it stuck its hand into the spaces between the floorboards and it slowly seeped its arm through the floor, trying to escape.

“You’re not going anywhere!!” Victoria yelled at the monster as she quickly picked her painting up and began to paint something on it.

I couldn’t really tell what she painted, but based on the monster’s reaction, she seemed to create some kind of wall under the floor, since the monster couldn’t escape to the lower floors anymore.

“Tck!? What did you do!?” The monster said as it pulled its hand out of the floor.

Mori started to inhale once again, but before he could breathe the fire out, the monster commanded the other monsters around it to form a shield in front of it.

All of the monsters turned into statues, but one of them emerged from the back of the shield and ran away while carrying something with it.

“W- What should we do next?” I asked Victoria and Mori, “It’s definitely getting away.”

“Should we chase after it?” Mori asked Victoria.

“There’s no need for that…” Victoria replied to us, then she painted something again, creating a wall blocking both sides of the corridor.

The wall then began to close in on the monster, it ran back to us, then it threw whatever it was carrying up the hole.

That thing flew all the way up to us. I managed to get a closer look at it as it got past us.

The monster was carrying the severed head of the source…

The head looked right at us and my instincts told me that it will do something, so I pushed Victoria and Mori out of the way, then I ducked down to the floor.

The head then spat out some black oil from its mouth, my instinct was right! No one came into contact with that oil thanks to me.

The head landed on the same floor as us. I quickly backed away from the head, and Victoria and Mori did the same thing.

“What’s with all the noises?” I heard a faint voice coming from behind me, I turned to the sound and it was the spider that tried to eat me a long time ago. “Oh! Hi! Axel! I haven’t seen you in a while. How have you been?”

“Well, I’ve been doing pretty find myself, how about you?” Mori replied to the spider nonchalantly.

“This is not the time to talk!” I told both of them, “We have to kill this monster first! Then you can talk all you want.”

“The monster? What are you talking about?” The spider replied, “You’re not calling me a monster, are you?”

“No!” I responded, “I meant the oil monster! Right here!” I told it as I turned toward the monster to find that it stuck its tongue out and grabbed on to the floor above with it, then it launched itself upward.

“We can’t let it get away again!” Victoria said, “We have to chase it now.”

She then painted us back up the hole and as we were ascending, the monster was already almost at the top floor.

“Hanako!” Victoria shouted in fear as we speeding up the hole back to the top floor.

This situation reminded me of what Victoria told me about her son. Will she lost her child again? 

No! Things will be different this time!

I won’t let anything happen to you, Hanako!