Oh the insanity of a maiden's love, so pure and sincere.
Proofreaders: Kalkin + Imoutolicious
The 7.62mm Tokarev pistol round pierces straight into the skull and lodges itself in the cerebral cortex. The cerebrospinal fluid and viscous blood oozes out from the freshly-made bullet hole.
Like a marionette with its strings cut, the leader of the armed terrorists loses his balance and falls to the floor, dead.
Before other people can even realize what is happening, the silhouette cuts through the crowd at supersonic speed.
Having closed the gap between the three guards, Lily reaches out her hand to one of their necks.
As her arms reach out, the hideaway knife sheathed beneath the sleeve of her black trench coat slides out.
Lily stabs the knife between his two anterior jugular veins: one of many vital points of the human body, and draws a line down to the carotid, inflicting a fatal wound.
At the same time, she swings the violin case on her opposite shoulder, and with it bashes the other guard in the face.
His jaws break apart and his facial structure becomes deformed beyond recognition— primitive violence at its finest.
The violin case undergoes a geometric transformation from the impact at the same time and ejects a semi-automatic pistol from it, like a dispenser.
It’s same as the one she used to kill the leader, a Soviet semi-automatic pistol Tokarev TT-33.
Without even looking, she stretches out her hands and starts sharpshooting the guards beside the hostages.
Direct hit with no room for any error. Straight to the vital points.
In sequence with her last action, Lily hides behind the violin case she had pulled back to dodge the bullets fired by the armed guards who had just realized what was going on.
Because of Lily’s uniquely petite figure, hitting her hidden behind the cover was by no means an easy task.
And it was their mistake to have assumed that it was an ordinary violin case solely based on its exterior.
Stopping every bullet that was fired point-blank with their M16 assault rifles at close range, the hardness of the violin case’s surface is beyond imagination. It’s evident that it had been made bullet-proof with a special kind of alloy.
Now, the armed terrorists that was around 10 men has been cut down by half.
In a state of panic, the armed guard fires indiscriminately without any discretion..
To be more exact, that’s what he tried to do.
But Lily’s throwing knife dives into his wrist tendon. He drops the assault rifle, grabs his wrist with the other hand and, before he can even scream, another throwing knife comes flying his way.
After that, Lily kicks off the floor and charges across to the closest guard.
She dislocates his arm 180 degrees, and then moves to his back and drives the newly unsheathed tactical knife into his cervical spine. The grisly knife, with its serrated edge to maximize killing power, pierces straight through and cuts the spinal nerves apart.
However, just when the knife seemed to be stationary, it was no longer in the guard’s cervical spine or Lily’s hand— at blazing speed, it was flying towards the heart of another armed guard.
—Along with a scream the situation comes to an end.
Now there are only three of them left, disarmed and taken out of action.
The tables have turned.
◇ ◆ ◇
Having been tied up by Lily, the remaining gunmen were kneeling side by side in front of Maria.
But Maria doesn’t even give them the slightest glance and instead comes running to me, who’s laying on the floor.
“Is your injury okay?! Are you hurt anywhere?! Ahh, I was so afraid for Onii-sama’s safety that my heart was on the verge of breaking…!”
“Ah, ahaha. I’m fine, it’s nothing to worry about.”
To be honest, it’s a bit misleading to say that I’m fine since my stomach is still throbbing with pain. Even so, I really can’t let Maria get worried more than she is now. Her eyes are brimming with tears and she seems to be genuinely concerned about me.
“Thank goodness! Aah, really, thank goodness…!”
Maria says to herself quietly while caressing my cheek with her soft hand.
At any rate, did Maria forget that we’re in front of other people? Well, then again, there wouldn’t have been much difference even if she knew.
Eventually, Maria regains her composure and calms down.
Wiping away her glistening tears and reassuming her poker face, Maria slowly turns her head to the gunmen.
Looking at them without any emotion as though they’re mere objects, her eyes are as cold and still as the artic night. Yet, there is a clear animosity in those twin eyes, to such a degree that even the crowd can feel a shiver down their backs.
It’s my first time seeing Maria like this.
Even the time where she had laced into the teacher when she first came to greet me wasn’t as frightening as this.
Overflowing with an aura of authority like that of a grim reaper residing over life and death, she’s terrifyingly calm amidst this brutal bloodbath.
Her heterochromatic eyes of blue and gold seems to emit a brilliance of cold enmity.
“Like I said before, there is someone more powerful behind the curtains here.”
“F, fuck you! You goddamn filthy Blackhazel whore!”
One of the guards that was kneeling in the middle spits on her derisively.
“Oh my, it seems that you are in need of a lesson in proper etiquette.”
Maria smiles sweetly, taking out her handkerchief and wiping off the saliva on her evening dress. Then she lightly snaps her fingers, as a certain sign to Lily.
In synchronization with Maria’s motion, Lily fires a round into the guard’s knee.
“You are gravely mistaken if you think that I’m going to hand you over quietly to the police.”
“This cruise ship was never seajacked. You were never here from the beginning; therefore, the police will not come.”
…Because they have no reason to.
The moment the guards realize the meaning behind her words, all their faces become disconcerted with fear.
Maria is smiling gently like an angel.
But it’s just her mouth.
In contrast, her eyes were cold and dead to the world in their silence. That peculiar dissociation evokes a sense of overwhelming disparity that one cannot endure.
“N, No! Please, spare me! I really don’t know anything!”
One of the guards pathetically bows down and starts to beg, out of desperation.
“Don’t worry. Honestly speaking, I never had any kind of expectations for small-fries like you.”
The thoughts reflected on the guards’ expressions are easily understandable.
Maria takes a light breath and continues her words.
“I’m merely being faithful by taking the responsibility for the words that I have spoken.”
“W, what are you talking about?”
“I have clearly given you the opportunity to decide.”
The opportunity to decide?
As soon as they question themselves, a single scene flashes by in their mind.
「Right now, you have only two choices to decide from.」
That was the suggestion that everyone here laughed and brushed aside as a simple bluff.
“The one you should be resenting is none other than your leader. As I have told you many times, my actions are completely a matter of being faithful to my responsibility. I have no personal feelings.
There’s no personal feelings here. Maria snaps her fingers again, saying those words indifferently.
The gunfire tears through the hollow silence.
One shot, two shots.
“Hold it, Lily.”
Suddenly, Maria extends her hand in front of Lily’s way, stopping her.
Thinking it’s strange that he’s not yet dead, the trembling guard slightly opens his eyes, which were shut tight.
“Oh my, what a curious coincidence.”
For a while, Maria stares at him intently, not saying a word.
Eventually, the momentary silence comes to an end by her voice.
“You have inflicted violence upon my Onii-sama, have you not?”
That’s right. Now that I look carefully, he’s the guard who nailed my stomach with his rifle stock.
“Then it’s a different story for you.”
“Although I’ve said my actions were a matter of being faithful to my responsibility, it’s a different story if that person is the one who dared to blemish my Onii-sama’s precious body.”
Maria makes a gesture towards Lily, like she’s issuing some kind of a command.
As she does, Lily positions herself behind the guard’s back and opens the violin case. The object she takes out from the inside is none other than a needle... that is about 15 centimetres long, glistening.
“Wh, what are you…?”
“It’s your atonement.”
Realizing the gravity of the situation too late, the guard rocks his body in fear, but it’s a meaningless struggle.
Lily forcibly opens the guard’s hand tied behind his back, then without any sign of hesitation shoves in the needle right below his fingernail, all the way to the end.
An ear-splitting scream echoed out in pain.
“My my, you are such a crybaby. I have only put the first one in, you know?”
“W-w-wait! I-I’m sorry…! Please f-forgive me… Please! I b-beg of you…! Please!”
Pale from the intense pain, the guard barely manages to speak with his shivering lips. But his plea is met with silence as Maria continues to watch him with a twisted smile on her face.
It’s as if she’s enjoying the sight of his agony.
My blood ran cold.
This is torture— one that is inhumane and excruciating beyond one’s imagination.
A series of shivers raises the hairs on my skin and slithers down my spine like a nest of thousand snakes, then slowly twines around my whole body.
“Why did you stop, Lily? Continue with what you were doing.”
“W-w-wait… N-n-no… Please, p-please! Please, please, please, please… GYAAAAH!”
Foaming at the mouth, the guard writhes in agony and almost blacks out.
The pain must be unbearable, having the 15cm long needle pierce straight underneath his fingernail and reach all the way down to his wrist. Judging from the amount of blood he’s letting out, it must’ve went through one of the arteries.
The guard convulses like a madman and incontinently wets himself.
“Fufu, how dirty. Well then… Where were we? Ah, yes. We were on our third one now, right, Lily?”
“S, stop it!”
Unable to endure her act of cruelty any longer, I shout out with all I got to break free from the paralysis.
“This is more than enough, Maria! Stop this madness right now!”
“I do not want to, Onii-sama.”
But what I get is an unexpected answer that I’ve never thought of.
Those words that I had so foolishly believed that Maria would never say to me.
“W-what did you just say…?”
“I said I do not want to, Onii-sama.”
The words of refusal.
“I am— the Guillotine that punishes those who bring harm to Onii-sama."
This girl, just what is she trying to say?
“This human trash crossed the line and inflicted a blemish on my precious Onii-sama’s body…! There is no way this small amount of pain can count as atonement for his crime. Even if he has Onii-sama’s forgiveness, I shall never forgive him. Yes, without a question.”
A side of Maria that I simply can’t fathom.
“More, more… He has to scream more in desperation and agony beneath by feet!
It’s pure insanity.
“Now, Lily? Do not pay any attention to Onii-sama and carry on with what you were doing.”
“No, stop! Drop that needle right now and stop!”
“—As your master, I order you: Do not stop no matter what.”
And with those words, Lily carried out Maria’s orders until the tenth needle.
Ten needles. Ten trips to the circles of hell.
The man was now in an indescribable state; unable to talk, unable to stand. He was collapsed on the floor, he was convulsing like an epileptic.
The needles were poking out of the holes from his wrist, having punctured all the way.
He was spraying out blood like a fountain, losing his body temperature and slowly dying a painful death.
“J, just kill me…”
Having lost his grip on the last straw of hope, the guard waits for a coup de grâce.
It’s something that only a person who has been pushed to the utmost limit would wish for.
The earnest desire for death.
“No, that will not do.”
However, even his final wish for a swift, peaceful death is denied by the《Princess of Pure Darkness》.
“You’ll be buried at sea with your arms and legs broken.”
“Feel the despair seep into your bones as you drown to your death in solitude.”
‘That’s the only penance that you’re able to do.’
The goddess of death announces her final verdict and strikes the gavel three times, sending out distant echoes.
Maria turns around slowly and looks this way.
Our eyes meet.
A bloodcurdling shiver races down my spine.
My top was drenched in profuse amounts of cold sweat.
This girl— who is she?
This girl— is she really the Maria that I know?
「A genocidal war criminal in angel’s clothing. Persephone on earth.」
「The second coming of 21st century Clausewitz. The greatest military tactics expert of the century. 」
Tilting her head as though she’s worried, Maria moves a step closer to me.
I barely stop myself from taking a step back instinctively.
Just who are you?
My younger half sister Maria? The one with the silly jokes, who’s somehow just a little bit off with her sense of reality?
That’s not it.
Her sense of reality isn’t just a little bit off.
In every sense of the word, it’s otherworldly.
Then just who is that girl?
The 《Princess of Pure Darkness》and Maria… Are they really the same person?
Giving out command to kill people like it’s nothing of importance, and turning your back on them like nothing ever happened. Just who the hell is that 《Princess of Pure Darkness》?
And it’s not just Maria.
I haven’t forgotten about her. Despite being only twelve years old, she carries out brutal acts in cold blood that normal people can’t even begin to imagine— Lily.
Shooting someone at point-blank range, smashing someone’s head open, and thrusting a knife into someone without the slightest of hesitation.
Nonchalantly torturing a person who’s pleading for his life.
It’s not about her sense of reality being a little bit off.
War movies, spy movies, gore movies; I’ve seen them countless times.
But this is different.
It’s like it’s from a different world.
“I shall formally introduce her to you once more, Onii-sama.”
In the midst of countless people watching her in awe, the 《Princess of Pure Darkness》 slowly opens her mouth.
“This very child is the strongest agent that we Bandersnatch take pride in.”
Looking this way indifferently from Maria’s side, the eyes that Lily had were terrifying. Devoid of emotion, it was a pool of empty darkness that spiralled down endlessly.
She’s not acting here.
It’s not a practical joke she’s pulling here to intimidate me.
“With the code name 《Feo Pafisto》, she is the fourth highest ranking officer of Ladies in Black — a multipurpose special forces under the direct control of the head of Blackhazel. I present to you...”
“—Major Lily Shupiel.”
Those girls, so to speak, are residents of another world.