Chapter 44:

Chapter 44 - Standing at the edge of insanity (Part 1)

Vehemence 激烈

I flipped the light switch and the ceiling lamp flickered. It was a cheap inn that I was staying in. I filled up the bathtub with hot water while scrolling through all the text messages and missed phone calls. My clothes fell to the ground and my hair was clipped up. I sank into the water, deeper and deeper until my lips were submerged. Steam was rising and covered the walls and the mirror. I don’t know how long I was in the bathtub, but it was time for dinner by the time I got out. The knock on my door confirmed it. I threw on my black yukata and left the bathroom. The food was simple, and I finished all of it. I didn’t realise how hungry I was until I had my first bite. My dirty clothes were in a laundry basket as I was making my way to the coin-operating washing machines. I stared at it as it was rumbling and spinning. The machine came to a halt, and I collected my clothes. Once I entered my room, I hung them up on the drying rack in the bathroom. I heard a second knock on my door. Whoever it was didn’t wait for me. The door opened and he entered my room. Bookmark here

“Please make it quick. I want to sleep.”Bookmark here

“That will depend on you, Ayumi.”Bookmark here

Yu closed the door behind him.Bookmark here

“I don’t know why you’re here.”Bookmark here

“I should be asking you that. Why are you staying in an inn after getting released from a prison?”Bookmark here

I sat down on the edge of my bed and looked up to him.Bookmark here

“The school has been suspended for now. And probably for forever.”Bookmark here

“Yes, but we are still allowed to stay in our dormitories.”Bookmark here

I pulled my hair behind my ear.Bookmark here

“What happened, Ayumi? You have to tell me for me to be able to help you.”Bookmark here

“Nothing happened. I’m fine.”Bookmark here

A faint smile appeared on my face.Bookmark here

“You don’t look fine. And neither of us think that you’re fine. Everyone is waiting for you at school.”Bookmark here

“Then you should have brought them with you. Or did you want to keep it a secret that you tracked my phone?”Bookmark here

He let out a sigh and shook his head.Bookmark here

“Look, I’ll only say it once, so listen carefully. You’re my friend and I care and worry about you if you like it or not.”Bookmark here

I exhaled through my nose. I couldn’t help but laugh a little.Bookmark here

“I’m being serious Ayumi!”Bookmark here

His voice was stern. He walked closer to me.Bookmark here

“I know.”Bookmark here

I lowered my head and cracked my knuckles.Bookmark here

“Was this all you wanted to say to me?”Bookmark here

He didn’t answer. Was I supposed to feel bad?Bookmark here

“Everything will be okay.”Bookmark here

I tried to reassure him.Bookmark here

He grabbed me by my shoulders and forced me to look him in the eyes.Bookmark here

“Do you really think that?”Bookmark here

I swallowed the spit that had collected in my mouth. It felt like my throat was closing up. All I could do was to nod my head. He let go of me and left. I was again all by myself. I turned off the lights and went to bed. I had an early start the next morning and left the inn before the sun was up. Nobody was on the train with me. It would take me a while to get to where I wanted. I barely slept at night and dozed off. It gave me an opportunity to talk to the little girl with no name, also known as my Paroxys. We were standing in water. The sky was red. Bookmark here

“Can I trust you?”Bookmark here

“Of course. I’ll protect you.”Bookmark here

“What about Xykoss?”Bookmark here

“He’ll protect you too.”Bookmark here

The uneasy feeling that I was holding in my heart refused to go away. I wasn’t sure if I could believe her words. But I had to, especially today. The announcement told me that I had reached my destination. It was still dark outside. Yesterday’s wind had disappeared. Everything felt still. No person could be seen as I got closer and closer to my goal. I walked up the set of marble stairs and heaved open the large doors. The air was dusty and the brown, wooden benches were empty. Eien was standing next to the piano and his slender fingers were playing random notes. They echoed and danced within the empty space between us.Bookmark here

“Are you religious?” Bookmark here

I asked and took a few steps closer to him to let the door shut behind me.Bookmark here

“No. But I thought that a place of worship would be perfect for today’s showdown. Because one of us will not leave this hallowed ground alive.”Bookmark here

The sun was slowly rising.Bookmark here

“I’m glad that you came.”Bookmark here

His voice was harmonious with the piano notes.Bookmark here

“You gave me no choice. What did you say to me again before you ran away? That I have two options. I can either give you Xykoss or kill you before you kill my family.”Bookmark here

He chuckled and continued playing the piano.Bookmark here

“In my humble opinion I gave you fair choices. Of course, there is another way. Become one of us, but you already refused that offer.”Bookmark here

“I rather save people and not kill them.”Bookmark here

His chuckle became a laughter.Bookmark here

“We will see about that at the end of today. I don’t understand your fascination and obsession with saving people. Why should we be obligated to use our powers for others, just because they are not strong enough themselves? I don’t owe them anything.”Bookmark here

“The same thing can be said about hurting or killing someone.”Bookmark here

I loosened my tie and threw it on the floor. He played one last note on the piano and with it all the beautifully stained-glass windows shattered into a million pieces and fell like snowflakes, splitting the rays of the sun. Bookmark here

“Xykoss. Devour those who stand in my way.”Bookmark here

A big shockwave escaped my body and I immediately jumped to attack. Half of my vision was shrouded in red. He blocked me with his arm and pushed me away. I materialised my hammer in my hand. The military had returned it to me, but the little girl with no name held on to it for me. I swung it behind me to extend the handle. He leaped through the air, but I dodged him by doing a cartwheel backwards to then spin my body to give my hammer some momentum. He blocked it again with his shin, but the impact propelled him into the wall behind him. I was relentless and followed to keep attacking him. He managed to parry every single of my attacks. Bookmark here

“Tell me one thing, Moriuchi Ayumi. Why can’t you just let me have Xykoss? I mean, you having your own Paroxys will mean that you won’t die if you give him to me.”Bookmark here

I twisted the knob on my hammer to turn it into the claw.Bookmark here

“Or are you holding on to him in remembrance of your dead father?”Bookmark here

“I’m not handing him over to you because no good will come out of it. And I don’t want to be the accomplice of a murderer or be part of your disgusting experiments.”Bookmark here

He grabbed me by my arm and pulled me closer.Bookmark here

“I don’t think you realise how the world works. Are you fooling yourself? You came here with a purpose. And that purpose is to kill me and take my Paroxys, is it not?”Bookmark here

His lavender eyes widened, and a deranged grin was plastered on his face.Bookmark here

“I am capable of snapping the thread that connects the host with their Paroxys, ultimately causing death to the owner. It’s like I’m an upgraded version of your principal as he can only lock away a Paroxys for a single day. What we both can not do is preventing someone from becoming an Inliner. But you know who can? You, Moriuchi Ayumi. By taking and making the Paroxys your own and controlling it with your own Paroxys. The blow of becoming an Inliner and the consequential force that comes with it; you’ll be able to take all of that away for them. Because you have fully awakened now. You’re the upgraded and perfected version of me that I always desired. We both are collectors. The only, small flaw that you have is that your uncapable of snapping that fateful thread. That is where my Paroxys comes into the equation. But for you to get hold of my Paroxys, you’ll have to kill me first.”Bookmark here

His grip firmed and he pulled me even closer.Bookmark here

“That is the only way. Because we both refuse to give in to the other.” Bookmark here

My heart was beating fast. I tried to strike him with my claw, but he was quicker and punched me in the stomach. I instinctively bent over as a result of the pain. He then elbowed me in my back, and I was smashed into the ground. I was too slow to react to defend myself. My hair was grabbed by his hand, and he flung me up into the air. He jumped after me to kick me in my ribs. I flew across the room and crashed into the piano. It made a dissonance of continuous musical notes. I spit out some blood and took out the broken wooden piece that got stuck in my shoulder.Bookmark here

“Let me take over.”Bookmark here

It was a whisper. Xykoss howled inside of me after hearing the little girl’s voice.Bookmark here

“No, I can handle it.” Bookmark here

I stood up and took off my bomber jacket.Bookmark here

“Are you sure? I can kill him for you. Isn’t that what you want?”Bookmark here

I circled my shoulders and made my back straight.Bookmark here

“Maybe.”Bookmark here

I answered her and ran towards Eien.Bookmark here

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