Yosh! It’s still Wednesday (for some of the world)! I’m still safe! I was planning on doing a double release this week, but ep 13 still requires some work, so it’ll be coming out sometime within the next 24 hours……hopefully. Things got busier than I thought it’d be……*sigh*. Well, such is life. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this Interlude!
*EDIT: Unfortunately, I won’t be able to finish Ep 13 this week, so the double release will be left for another time. Ep 13 will released next Wednesday as usual.
***WARNING: The second half of this interlude may contain content and/or language that some people may find disturbing or offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.***
Kiriko Interlude 3: The Siblings of Sin
The light faded from her eyes as the last embers of resistance were blown away. Her previously shining rubies had now gone dull, as her eyelids shut them away like gems in a treasure chest.
As her body went limp, I was reminded of her unconscious appearance from the day before.
At that time, she had fully trusted me to keep her safe, despite the fact that we were almost strangers.
Leaving everything to me, she had happily gone to sleep, allowing her body to heal.
I recalled the emotions that flew across her face when she looked at me, having realized my betrayal.
That she hadn’t even noticed my plot until the very last moment sent knives stabbing through my soul.
She trusted me. To the point that, even when the sleeping drug had finally kicked in, and she had collapsed so obviously, she still had not doubted me. It was only when I fell completely silent due to the shock at her naivety that she finally noticed something was wrong.
Apologetic words slipped out of my mouth as I lowered my head.
I was scum.
To betray her trust in such a manner.
It was inexcusable.
She probably would never be able to trust someone like myself ever again.
That brilliant, shining ball of innocence within her would be lost.
All because of me.
A searing pain ripped through my heart at the thought of what I had done. And what I was about to do.
Cradling the flame-haired girl’s small frame, I lifted her up and began to walk deeper inside of the house.
Hidden away from prying eyes, I snuck out of the building from the back door.
There, I was met by the minions of the devil.
The devil who had caused me to sin.
“Heh. Hey, Aurelia. I see that you’ve succeeded in catching the little flame. Young master will be pleased.”
Garrett smirked mockingly as he gestured towards the young girl lying helplessly in my arms. My face reflexively contorted in pain, as a stabbing regret flooded my mind.
However, I couldn’t stop here.
“Where is she?”
After all, that which the devil had taken from me was far more precious.
“Young master said that she’d be released as soon as this one is safely secured. Well, as ‘safe’ as she gets with him. Hah.”
The bulky man snorted as his charcoal black eyes glinted, exposing a unending darkness that seemed to have seen the depths of hell.
Though his off-handed remark could have been taken as a mere jest, I knew. That the girl in my arms would undoubtedly undergo much suffering after this.
All because of my betrayal.
After all, that bastard definitely didn’t have anything good planned for her.
Even so, I had to do this. I had to.
My arms began trembling involuntarily, threatening to drop the unconscious female. Her silky red hair slipped across her face, covering her unadorned features.
Kneeling down, I swept away the strand of hair that had gotten caught on her pink lips.
Then, lifting her up again, I handed her over to the darkness.
The ceiling above was familiar, yet foreign.
Like a prophetic carving, its wooden grains traced a story along the supporting beams, creating patterns that could be seen as certain animals.
However, as transient as they were, the playful bunnies that had once gazed down on me as a child had all but disappeared. Instead, what replaced them was a maze of confusing swirls, demonic images that only served to strengthen my unease as I lay on the bed below.
Why did I do that?
Regret flooded my mind. Rather, it’s been doing that since yesterday. By now, it was practically flowing out of my ears.
But I had to say, it was only natural.
After all, despite the warnings I had been given, and despite the fact that my elder brother had specifically told me not to leave the house……I still did.
Which landed me in my current predicament.
Confined within this room, with little to no one to talk to except for a stone-faced guard and a—
—speak of the devil.
Almost immediately following the faint knocking noise, the room’s door opened, revealing the face of the fiancee I never wanted to have.
“Good morning, Hawera~ I trust you’ve been finding your room comfortable~?”
The vile man’s oily voice violated me, each word dripping into my tender ears.
His condescending act grated on my nerves, like nails scraping down a chalkboard.
No matter how many times I meet him, I still can’t stand this guy……
His looks couldn’t be said to be that bad (though they couldn’t compare to that of my brother’s).
However…the way his swamp-like eyes leered at my body in such a filthy manner was simply unacceptable. It felt as though he were molesting me with his eyes alone.
“The room would be great, if I didn’t have someone guarding the door to prevent me from leaving.”
My words sounding visibly thorny, I glared back at the man’s muddy green eyes angrily.
“Ahahaha, well it can’t be helped, can it now? You’d refuse to stay with me if I didn’t use a bit of force, after all~”
As he spoke, Keith raised his slimy hands, bringing them towards my face. Sensing his attempt to grab me, I back-pedaled, bumping into the room’s wall in the process.
“Don’t touch me!”
Scoffing, Keith continued to approach me, putting his hand on my chin as he forcefully raised my face. His tainted jewels flickered triumphantly as his visage grew in size, rapidly approaching my own.
He was clearly enjoying the sense of power he currently held over me.
“Get……AWAY FROM ME!!”
Summoning an unknown strength from somewhere within me, I shoved the slender-framed man away from my body.
As he toppled backwards, his back soon hit against the wall on the opposite side of the enclosed room. Upon colliding with the solid barrier, his head snapped backwards from the momentum, banging against the hardwood.
“Giii!! Y-You……you whore!!!”
Screaming in pain, the uncouth nobleman collapsed onto the ground, clutching the back of his skull.
W-What do I do now……
Completely at a loss, I stared blankly at the enraged youth as he remained crouched on the ground.
I couldn’t run.
There was no place to hide.
And I’m far too weak to properly defend myself.
In other words……
I was completely at the mercy of the man in front of me.
Realizing this, I felt my body begin to shake.
Though he definitely wouldn’t kill me, there were fates worse than death.
After all, that was something I had learned from a young age.
Stammering out words of apology, I forced myself to get up and approach Keith, extending a hand out towards him. Regardless of my fear, if I didn’t hurry up and attempt to reconcile with him, there was no doubt that I would end up facing a terrible outcome.
However……it turns out that apologies don’t work so well on irate, egotistical noblemen.
As I bent over, a force suddenly sent me flying back, pushing me onto the bed.
Unable to register what happened, my mind spun as a disorderly panting blew into my ear.
“You…*huff*…bitch. You better pay me back……haa haa…with that indecent body of yours.”
His eyes glowering with pain and desire, Keith’s hand reached out once again.
As his grimy claws approached, time seemed to fall into a standstill.
No! Go away……scary, scary! Con, Darry, anybody……
Pleads for help gushed through my mind, overwhelming my senses.
A primal instinct of fear shackled my body, paralyzing it completely.
I was helpless. Hopeless. Useless.
There was nothing I could do but sit there, awaiting my dismal fate.
Shrinking back, I closed my eyes, wishing myself away from this situation.
Suddenly, the room’s door burst open.
From it, the figure of a muscular man with brownish blonde hair appeared. A long sack was slung over his shoulder, carried effortlessly, as though it weighed nothing.
“Sorry to disturb your fun, young master – but the Lord did say that you’re not allowed to touch her. He said to be patient, whatever that means.”
Keith’s body stiffened, as displeasure flickered across his face. Then, leering at me one last time, he backed off, turning towards the large man instead.
“Tch. Fine. I’ll leave this one for another time. More importantly—”
“Yessir, we got ‘er.”
A eerily wide grin surfaced on the murky-eyed noble’s visage. Just seeing it sent a shiver crawling down my spine.
“Perfect. Put her in the usual room.”
“And this one?”
The man looked at me, his face impassive.
“Release her. It’d be troublesome if that peasant kicked up too much of a fuss. She’ll be mine soon anyways.”
Waving his hand dismissively, Keith strode eagerly out of the room without giving me a single glance. As he exited, I caught a glimpse of his profile as he licked his lips in anticipation.
In contrast, the man carrying the large bag simply gave me a single glance with his cold, black eyes before turning to leave. Briefly speaking with my prison’s guard, he soon walked away, following after his sadistic master.
However, all of this failed to register within my mind.
Instead, a single image remained burned into my retinas.
That is, the image of the fiery threads that had been peeking out from the open bag carried by the man.
It was then that I somehow understood.
The price for my release.
Yet, though I had realized it, there was nothing I could do.
And so, all I could do was hope that the smouldering flames of that girl wouldn’t be stamped out.
But perhaps, maybe it’d be better if they were.
After all, what awaited her was undoubtedly……
A fate worse than death.