Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Lillia and Treize III(Part 2): My Prince - Chapter 9

(Download the updated version in PDF/epub format here.)

Enjoy.

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Chapter 9: My Prince


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At the coupling, Treize found the emergency brake.

The yellow lever was high up on the wall of the car. Treize grabbed it and pulled.

“…”

Nothing happened.

He raised it and pulled it down again. Yet again, it did nothing. The train continued to slowly cruise down the tracks.

“He’s really gone all-out here…”

Treize gave up on the emergency brake and clung to the wall the door into the corridor.

“Where are you hiding…?” He whispered.

<Excellent! This is so exciting!>

Weasel’s voice came over the radio. Treize pressed the call button.

<I’m here! Where are you? Show yourself!>

<Aah! I’m almost feeling faint from all this emotion! I’m at the dining car at the front of the train—along with the girl.>

<I want to hear her voice.>

<Of course. …Could you say something, Miss?>

Then,

<It’s me! I’m here! I’m not hurt!>

Lillia sounded as spunky as ever. Treize smiled, for a moment.

<I’ll be waiting.> The man said. And he ended the transmission.


“What to do… what am I supposed to do?” Treize wondered to himself at the coupling. “Am I all right to go?”

He spat out blood again.

Slowly, Treize opened the door and stepped into the corridor. The corridor followed the left wall of the train.

Treize took a low stance and gazed down the hall. There was no one there. The dining car was two cars ahead.

He made up his mind and stepped forward—

“Huh?”

For a second, he spotted something glinting in the corridor. It was about 3 meters ahead.

Something was floating across the corridor, glinting in the setting sun. Upon closer examination, Treize realized that it was a very thin wire tied at shin-level.

“…”

Treize stepped back out into the coupling.

He looked around and spotted a fire extinguisher.

Removing the elastic band securing the fire extinguisher, Treize picked it up and stepped into the corridor.

“Take this!”

He hurled it down the corridor.

The fire extinguisher bounced on the carpet once, then rolled down the hall. It tripped the wire.

A second later, an arrow came shooting from the right.

With an audible whoosh, the arrow drove itself deep into the corridor wall.

“Shit!” Treize swore. If he hadn’t noticed the trap, he would have taken an arrow to the shin.

“So he’s not trying to kill me. Sick bastard…”

Treize looked up at the ceiling.


There was a firing mechanism in the cabin the arrow had come from.

The wire in the corridor had been connected to the trigger of a miniature crossbow set up under the seat.

Next to the crossbow was a mechanism made up of a long match, a small wine bottle, and a piece of cloth. It was set up to catch fire when the arrow was shot.

The firing mechanism began to burn.

A thin wisp of smoke rose to the ceiling. Smoke quickly filled the cabin.


Treize exited the train.

From the coupling at the very back of the train, Treize climbed up the railings and footholds and onto the roof.

“…”

He peered over the edge of the roof. His bangs shook in the wind. Once he was sure no one was on the roof of the train, Treize climbed all the way to the rooftop.

The maintenance walkway on the roof was slightly sloped at the edges. And because the train was shaking, one misstep could lead to a slip and a very fatal fall.

Treize bent down and began to creep down the middle of the walkway. He moved cautiously, so that he would make no noise and be steady even against the wind.


In the dining car.

“That should be enough time.” Weasel said.

“Enough for what?” Asked Lillia.

She was seated in a chair. Although Weasel had untied the ropes around her ankles, her wrists were still bound.

“I’m terribly sorry about all this.” Weasel said, freeing her hands.

“…”

Lillia stared.

“Now, let’s be off. Let’s go meet our prince.” Said Weasel.

What, the prince of idiocy?’ Lillia wondered, but she said nothing as she walked in the direction Weasel pointed her toward—the front of the dining car.


After crossing the last car in the train, Treize leapt over the coupling to the next.

“Hah!”

Out of nowhere, he heard a male voice.

<Splendid! You’ve done well to make it this far, hero!>

Treize looked up.

On the roof of the next car—the dining car—was Lillia.

Just like Treize, she had climbed onto the roof at the coupling between the dining car and the locomotive.

When she saw Treize, Lillia waved her arms. She gathered her hair as it billowed uncontrollably in the wind, and began to creep towards him as though afraid. She had gone about 3 meters when the man who had introduced himself as a doctor suddenly peered over the roof.

<That’s right! I’m here!>

Slowly, Treize resumed walking across the car.


The beautiful spring sunset dyed the landscape red.

The train continued straight down the tracks.

At the head was a roaring diesel locomotive. Behind it were three cars.

Atop the first car was a man and a girl.

Atop the second car was a boy.

And at the windows of the third car were faint plumes of white smoke.


Treize pulled a gun out of his belt pack.

It was his favorite, a mid-sized handgun. He disarmed the safety, and pressed the call button with his left hand.

<I’m here!>

The man replied.

<Ah! How exciting. How exhilarating!>

Treize pressed forward.

Each car was about 25 meters long. He slowly closed the 40-meter gap between himself and the man.

Weasel addressed Lillia gently.

“Now, walk. Mind your feet—wouldn’t want you to slip, now.”

Lillia gathered her long hair in one bunch and brought it over her shoulder, then tucked the ponytail into her jacket. And she cautiously moved forward.


“Bastard…” Treize swore as he crossed the roof. He could not shoot Weasel because Lillia was in the way.

Soon, he was at the front of the second class sleeper car. Lillia was near the middle of the dining car. Weasel, about 3 meters behind her.

“Lillia! Get down!” Treize yelled. Lillia slowly did. So did Weasel.

Treize grimaced and pointed his gun at the air.

<Now, now. We can’t have you using such an unrefined tool like that here.> Weasel said through the radio, still crouching.

“Shut up, you coward!” Treize roared. They were close enough that the radio was no longer necessary, but Weasel made a point of using it.

<Let’s keep using the radio. I don’t really want to raise my voice.> Weasel said softly. <Now drop the gun. Toss it aside. Just like that. We don’t need anything like that between the two of us. I don’t like guns, you know. With a bullet, you can’t feel the sensation of taking a life. The greatest weapon in the world is your body, I think. Including your hands. So I want you to throw that gun away.>

“If I refuse…”

<I would prefer not to go against my personal policies. I’m sure you understand?>

“Damn it!”

Treize armed the safety on his gun.

“I’ll come back for you…” He whispered, tossing the gun.

The gun spun slowly as it fell to the plains. It landed in the mud and grew distant.

<You’re spunkier than I thought. I can scarcely hold myself back!> Weasel said with a glint in his eye, standing up again. Treize could hear the end of his sentence even without the radio.

“Er… I have a question.” Lillia said from her crouching stance, raising her right hand.

“Yes?”

“I can ask, right? So… can I go now?”

“Yes.” Weasel replied without a second thought.

“Huh…? Seriously? I can?”

“Yes. Thank you for taking on the job of a hostage. I apologize for involving you. I’m terribly sorry.”

“…”

“Now it’s time for me to be alone with my prince. You are free to go.”

“Really? …How?” Lillia asked, looking around.

“You’ll have to figure something out.” Weasel said firmly.

“What?! What the heck? You want me to jump off?”

“I wouldn’t recommend it. This may be a muddy plain, but you won’t get off unscathed. I suggest you give up.”

“Hey!” Lillia bellowed. But realizing that anger would get her nowhere, she quickly turned her rage on Treize.

“Treize! Please do something about this guy!”

“I know! But you can’t stay there—you’re going to get in the way!”

Lillia looked around, front and back.

“What do you want me to do?!”

Weasel ignored her completely and pressed the call button.

<Treize. I could have killed you any time I wanted back on that train. But I didn’t. Part of the reason was that I didn’t want to get caught and that it would have been hard to get away. But I could have overcome that if I wanted to. I could just have killed all the passengers. And even if this hostage plot doesn’t work out, I can snipe you in Iks later with ease. But I would prefer not to do that. Do you know why?>

“…No!” Treize lied.

<Then let me tell you. …Before I kill you, I want to love you.>

“Huh?” Lillia frowned. As for Treize—

“Urgh…”

He had expected the answer, but he averted his gaze in disgust anyway.

Weasel held down the call button with his left hand and spread his right arm. It was trembling in ecstasy.

<The moment I saw a photo of you, my heart shot through the stratosphere and into the heavens! This was love at first sight! Ah, I thought! Ah, I want to love this boy at all costs! I want to hold him in my arms… and kill him in my embrace! I want to cover myself in the scent of his blood! I want to feel his warm flesh grow cold against me! That pure desire moved me to cross the Lutoni, mother of life!>

“…”

Lillia, still crouching, did everything in her power to get away from the man without looking back at him.

“…”

Treize didn’t know what to say. All he could do was listen to Weasel’s voice and the voice coming from the earpiece connected to the radio.

<Now! Aaaah… Come to me! Take off your clothes and come to me! Together, we will dance a romantic waltz!>

Twenty seconds of silence followed.

In that period of time—

“Ah… The sunset’s beautiful today.”

—Treize whispered to himself, trying to escape reality.

Eventually, he brought himself to finally press the call button. He did his very best to not look at the man.

<And… if I… er… refuse? You’re not going to harm Lillia, are you?>

Lillia, meanwhile, was still creeping across the middle of the car.

<No! I don’t kill innocent women. But I will set off a bomb!>

“What?!”

Treize looked at Weasel. The latter was holding a small device in his right hand. It was about the size of a gun, and had a small antenna sticking out of it. There was a black button near the thumb. Underneath it ran a red wire.

Lillia also turned at the mention of a bomb.

Weasel brandished the object as Lillia and Treize watched.

<This is a detonator. I’ve loaded an extremely powerful explosive—two truckloads’ worth—in the last car. That’s enough to blow this entire train to smithereens! All thanks to a certain grandfather and his secretary! Now, take off your clothes and come into my arms! If not, I will press this button. Then the bomb will go off in 90 seconds. What is your answer?>

While Weasel was talking, Lillia had crept as quickly as she could. She finally crossed the dining car and arrived at the coupling.

Treize leapt over the coupling and landed on the dining car roof. He stood with his legs spread wide and let Lillia crawl through under.

<You heard me. What do you say?>

The man asked again. Treize had no choice but to respond.

“If I refuse…?”

<Then—I just pressed the button.> Weasel replied, looking at the detonator.

“What?”

<I pressed the button. Now what will you do?>

Treize looked at Weasel’s right hand. A red lightbulb on the detonator was flashing.

“Stop! You bastard!”

<That hurts! This is a negotiation, Treize. Take off your clothes and come to me, and I will stop the bomb.>

“You really are an idiot…”

<Hah! I do this all in the name of love!>

“You are the biggest idiot on this continent.”

<You know what? Never mind. I won’t hold that against you. You have seventy-five seconds left. You can try and stop the bomb if you want. You might be able to, if you climb back down and push the suitcases off the train. Although it won’t be easy, since the car should be on fire now. Go on, try and play the hero. …No. Never mind. Don’t. If you’re going to die, I want you to die before my eyes. Now come here. I’ll stop the bomb, and we’ll all be happy.> Weasel grinned.

“Please do something, Treize.” Lillia pleaded desperately.

“Look, Lillia… I’ve trained myself as much as I could. But… no one ever taught me what I should do against someone as crazy as him.” Treize confessed.

“No…” Lillia breathed.

But at that moment, the roar of an engine began to overpower the diesel locomotive.

The noise came from the direction of the setting sun.

“Hm?”

“Huh?”

“What?”

Weasel, Treize, and Lillia all turned their gazes to the glowing sun. They spotted a small speck in the distance.

The speck turned into a line and quickly expanded. And soon it became a large avian silhouette and flew clear over them at about 30 meters. The noise crossed the air from the left to the right.

It was an aeroplane. Its wings shone in the light of dusk, banking to the left.

The frame was painted in muted greens and browns. At the end of its pointed nose was a propeller. The cockpit stuck out like a birdcage. And though it was a 2-seater, the aeroplane was only carrying one person—the pilot.

It was a reverse gull wing craft with a wingspan of 14 meters. A gull wing was a type of wing that was curved like a boomerang, like the wings of a gull. In the case of a reverse gull wing craft, the wings were inverted.

Under the bends of the wings were cylindrical pods, from which protruded two pipes. The pipe and the inside of the pod was a modified 37mm anti-aircraft machine gun. The barrels were nearly 2 meters long.

The aeroplane slowly continued to bank left, eventually crossing the tracks ahead of the train.

<Listen up, Treize. I’m going to do something about that car with the bomb.> Said a female voice.

“Hm?”

Weasel frowned.

“Allison!” Treize cheered. And—

“Huh? Is Mom on that plane?” Lillia asked from behind him. Treize nodded.

<I’ve been listening to the conversation for a while now. I’m going to separate the last car from the train.>

<Wait a moment, please. How?> Weasel asked over the radio.

<You’ll see. You aside, I can’t let those two die.> Allison replied pleasantly.

The aeroplane broke out of the swerve and approached the left side of the train. The nose and the guns were pointed at the cars.

<All of you, please duck. You have 20 seconds.>

Treize turned to Lillia.

“Allison’s going to do something. Duck.”

“What’s she going to do?”

“I don’t know. But let’s trust her.”

They crouched at the end of the dining car.

“I wonder what she’ll do?” Weasel mused, taking a seat at the opposite end of the car.


“All right.”

Allison lined up her crosshairs with the train, which was getting closer and closer to her craft. Her target: the coupling between the third and fourth cars. Because the train was moving to Allison’s left, she adjusted for the movement with pedal control.

Only a few dozen meters between the train and the aeroplane.

“There.”

Allison opened fire.

The machine guns under her wings roared twice.

Rings of light were launched from the barrels, and were followed by a deafening noise. First from the left, then the right.

The first shot hit the coupling mechanism and shattered the metal link in an instant.

The second shot landed on the base of the last car, near the front. It pierced through a wheel and exploded underneath, half-destroying three of the axles.

“Now why can’t I pull that off when I’m shooting by hand?”

With the pilot’s mumbling in its cage, the aeroplane crossed over the train—almost low enough for the landing gear to touch the roof.


“…”

The aeroplane responsible for the gunfire crossed Treize’s sights from right to left. A second later, the last car in the train began to disappear into the distance.

Just like the car Treize had driven to the train, the last car moved away at 30 kilometers an hour. The broken base skidded against the tracks, and sparks flew into the air.

<Ten seconds left. Keep your head down.>

When Treize heard Allison’s instruction,

“Get down.”

He shielded the crouching Lillia and got down on the roof.

“Gah.” Lillia squawked when he lay over her.

Weasel also followed Allison’s instructions and got down on his stomach on the roof.

<Six… five… four… three… two…>

They could hear Allison’s countdown.


The separated, smoking second-class sleeper car was about 70 meters behind them.

<Now.>

It exploded.

For a split second the car seemed to balloon from the center.

The front and back of the car rose into the air, but a second later each end twisted from the inside out and exploded. Fragments of glass glittered in the air like droplets of champagne.

There was almost no fire. A shockwave spread like a white dome around the impact, but the dome quickly dissipated. The shockwave spread across the grass and finally crashed past the three on the roof.

“Whoa!”

“Eek!”

“Ugh!”

Treize, Lillia, and Weasel all screamed as the noise and the impact passed over and around them.


“Incredible…”

The shockwave even reached the aeroplane, which had departed at full throttle immediately after opening fire. The frame rose upwards slightly and shook.


“…”

Treize sat up.

The car behind them was in pieces. All he could see were fragmented metal bits from the base. The plain was already littered with chunks of scrap metal.

“That was close. If that went off while it was still part of the train, we’d all be finished.” Treize mumbled.

They could hear small impacts around them. Small, light pieces from the last car were flying at them and hitting the roof.

“I get it. Move.” Lillia grumbled from under him.

“Oh! Right. Sorry.” Treize said, quickly moving aside and letting Lillia go free.


<Splendid! That was fantastic!> Weasel cried, jumping to his feet and slapping his thigh in lieu of applause.

A piece of shrapnel hit him in the head, but Weasel paid it no mind as he began to walk.

“Still, I don’t feel like going out in such a bombastic blaze of glory.”


“Wait, Lillia.” Treize said.

He had noticed Weasel’s movements—he knew what Weasel was planning next.

“I’m gonna go over and do something about that guy.” He said to Lillia, and began to walk across the roof.

“Be careful!” Lillia managed to yell. Instead of giving a reply, Treize lightly waved his hand.


Watching the two get closer,

“I can’t shoot him like this…”

Allison gave up on shooting down Weasel.

“It’s all on you now, Your Highness.”


* * *


The middle of the roof of the dining car.

Weasel and Treize were standing a mere 3 meters apart.

Treize was making no attempt to hide his scornful glare.

Weasel was making no attempt to hide his excited gaze.

Lillia crossed over to the remaining second class sleeper car and moved back. She sat in the middle of the car and stared at Treize’s back.

She could hear an engine roaring overhead.


“I’m glad you’re finally here, though it’s a shame you’re still clothed.”

That was the first thing Weasel said.

“I have no intention of letting you do anything to me.” Treize replied, scowling.

“Then what?”

“I’m going to fight you—and win.”

“Scary. But you know, I’m both obligated to and interested in killing you. So at least let me enjoy you until the inevitable.”

Lillia could hear everything.

“Hey! Why’re you after Treize? You still haven’t told me!” She demanded from the second class sleeper car.

“Ah, right.” Weasel nodded. “It’s because Treize is a prince of Ikstova!” He cried nonchalantly.

“…Wait, what? Are you out of your mind?” Lillia croaked. “That’s ridiculous! You’re trying to kill someone because of a stupid misunderstanding! You’re an idiot! How could anybody think… that…”

Lillia trailed off.

Treize, who had turned, was looking at her with an expression both sad and sheepish.

“Treize? Tell him. We’re listening. If you have something to say, say it.”

“Er… well…”

“Well? What?”

“I… err…”

“You what?”

“That is to say… umm…”

Treize could not find the words. But Weasel could.

“Miss! He is a prince! A prince of Ikstova! The son of Queen Francesca and Carr Benedict!” He declared, hands cupped around his mouth.

“Hold it! Queen Francesca only has one child, and that’s Princess Meriel!” Lillia replied.

“There’s a complicated reason for that, Miss! There is an old rule in the royal family that allows the monarch to have only one child! Though the rule is meaningless now that the Ikstova Pass—the Treasure of Ikstova—is public knowledge, Prince Treize was born the twin brother of Princess Meriel and could not reveal his royal status!”

Lillia frowned.

“What the heck? That sounds like a story out of a cheap novel. Treize, are you gonna stand there and let this guy make up stuff… about… you…?”

There was, again, a troubled expression on Treize’s face.

“No way… is that for real?” Lillia said slowly.

Treize finally broke his silence.

“It is…”

He was acknowledging everything.

Lillia rose to her feet. Her long hair fell out of her jacket and tumbled in the wind.

Her hair aflutter, Lillia stood on her feet on the second class sleeper car and pointed an accusing finger at Treize.

“Wait! You’d better not say something like, ‘I wasn’t trying to hide this from you’!”

Treize’s answer was loud and clear. And immediate.

“No! I was going to hide it forever!”

“Agh!” Lillia moaned, and added, “Then never mind!”

“Really?”

“Really?”

Treize and Weasel replied in unison.

“Treize! I’ve got a boatload of things I wanna interrogate you about, but we can save that for later! Do something about that creep over there!”

“All right… Thanks, Lillia.”

Treize slowly turned. The last Lillia saw of his face was his profiled smile.


“Prince Treize.” Weasel said. “It’s very brave of you to risk your life coming all this way, although it’s a little predictable. Do you love her that much?”

It was an unexpected question. Treize thought for a moment before answering.

“My sister asked me the same question once before.”

“Oh? And how did you answer?”

Slowly, Treize held his right hand in a fist over his chest.

“I’ve been thinking. Ever since Mother told me about the engagement on my fifteenth birthday…”

“W-wait a second—”

Not even realizing that Lillia’s face behind him was red for a reason other than the sunset—

“I…”

Treize made up his mind.

“I don’t know!”

“What?”

“Huh?”

The two people around him furrowed their brows.

“I don’t know. I just don’t. We’ve been friends since we were little, and we had so much fun together. But if you asked me if I really liked her—loved her—if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her… not because I was running away from an arranged marriage, but because I truly loved her with all my heart… I couldn’t say for sure. I’ve been thinking about this ever since I visited the Capital District. But I just don’t know. How do I feel? Is this really what it means to be in love?” Treize wondered, lost.

“…Now I’ve got even more to ask you… but that’s after I give you a good beating.” Lillia growled, teeth bared and hands balled into fists.

Weasel, on the other hand, was astounded.

“My Prince, you’re more dense than I thought.”

“I’m not your prince!” Treize cried. Weasel scolded him almost as though he were a reliable older brother giving him life advice.

“But it’s true! Why else would you risk life and limb for a girl you might not even love?! I prepared contingency plans in case you didn’t follow this train, you know. In case the girl was nothing special to you. But here you are! And with no regrets, you’re risking your life for her! Isn’t that what it means to be in love?!”

“I-is that how it works?” Treize wondered.

“Of course! There’s no need to brood about your emotions! Love means being honest to yourself! Convey your honest emotions, and the person responds with their honest emotions. That’s what romance is! When two hearts become one and give birth to bliss!” Weasel pontificated.

“…”

Treize could not say a word.

“That’s pretty good.” Lillia admitted. Weasel continued.

“And I love you, Prince Treize! I am madly in love with you! From the bottom of my heart! So come to me! And die in my arms!”

“I refuse!”

This time, Treize answered immediately. He clenched his fists, pulled back his right foot, and took a low stance.

“So you’re going to play hard-to-get.”

Weasel also swung his arms, holding his hands in fists at eye-level and taking a fighting stance.

“I’ll knock you off this train!” Treize cried.

“I’ll love you to the end!” Weasel replied.


Treize took a step forward.

Weasel stayed put. He scrutinized Treize’s eyes with a strangely peaceful gaze.

“…”

Treize met his look with a glare and took a slow half-step forward.

“Beautiful…” Weasel muttered, entranced.

“Hah!” Treize lunged. He swung his right fist at Weasel’s chin, as Weasel was taller.

“Not bad!” Weasel grinned. He narrowly but languidly avoided the attack.

Treize swung with his left for a consecutive attack—

“Ah!”

But he noticed Weasel duck, and quickly leapt back.

Weasel’s left leg narrowly cut across where Treize had been trying to go.

“That was close.”

Weasel spun from below Treize, who had leapt back, and attempted a roundhouse kick with his right leg.

Treize leapt back again. This time, as far as he could. Weasel’s kick passed right under where Treize’s feet had been a moment ago.

“He’s really good…”

Treize ended up making no progress, instead being forced backwards. Weasel slowly stood up.

“You’re not bad at all, Prince Treize. And I was so ready to love you to death… It’s been a long time since I had the chance to lay eyes on a cute boy like you.” Weasel said sadly. Treize shuddered.

“Whoa… I’d rather you killed me quickly.”

Weasel beamed.

“Then leave it to me! Now is the time!”

“Not now!”

“Such a tease.”

At that moment, something flew violently at Treize.

“Huh?”

Treize was caught off-guard. The object struck him square in the chest.

There was a dull thud.

“Grk!”

Treize gasped as he fell to his knees, curling forward.

What struck him—and was now falling off the side of the train—was the radio Weasel had been wearing around his waist.

“Treize!”

Lillia, who had no idea what had just happened, called his name. There was no response.

“Oh. I suppose your ribs must be fractured now. Or maybe even broken. It must be painful.” Weasel said in a very sympathetic voice.

“Damn it… bastard…”

Looking down at Treize, who raised his head, Weasel put on a look of utter ecstasy.

“Aah… even when you’re angry, you’re beautiful…”

“Ha!”

With a cry, Treize lobbed his own radio.

The radio flew about 3 meters before hitting and bouncing off Weasel’s foot. He had quickly and effortlessly kicked it aside. The radio fell into the mud of the plains.

“Damn it…” Treize grimaced.

Weasel lowered his foot, and for seemingly no reason, cast off his jacket. It flew off in the wind.

He undid his necktie. Then he violently tore off his shirt, buttons and all. Then came his undershirt, which he slowly pulled off over his head.

“…”

“…”

As Treize and Lillia watched in silence, Weasel revealed his upper body.

Though he was slender in build, he had the musculature of a trained gymnast—not a single ounce of fat to be seen.

“I had so much time on my hands in prison. And I also had to deal with brutes who thought they could kill me for fame. So I found myself spending quite a lot of time training.” Weasel explained, though no one had asked.

Then, he clasped his hands over his chest, as though in solemn prayer.

“Now, my prince. Leave your body to me, if only in your final moments. I shall be a gentle cushion and hold you with love. Let me take you on a final journey to the wonderful world of death.”

“I refuse! —Ow…”

Treize had called out reflexively, but he clutched at his chest in pain. He lost his balance.

“Eek!”

Lillia screamed softly. Treize managed to avoid falling, grasping the rooftop with his left hand.

“You can’t fight me in that state. You don’t even have a weapon. Now… let us love.”

“Damn it…”

Treize plunked down on the roof. He clutched his stomach with his hands.

“Is this really it? …Is there nothing else I can do?” He wondered weakly.

“Wha— No! Don’t give up, Treize!” Lillia cried. But Treize did not respond.

“Ah! So you finally see reason!” Weasel smiled. He spread his arms wide and approached to embrace Treize. “Not to worry! As long as you do everything I say, the young lady will be unharmed! Now, come and be one with me! I promise, it’ll feel very good!”

“I’m sorry, Mother… I have no other choice…” Treize muttered, hanging his head.

“Ah. I understand you must be scared. But don’t worry, I’ll be gentle.”

Weasel’s smile was hanging right over him.

“Now… come here.”

Like a knight greeting a king, Weasel knelt before Treize.

Treize raised his head.

His eyes were clearly visible between his bangs.

“Hm…?”

At that moment, Weasel realized—these were not the eyes of a defeated dove, but the sharpened gaze of a hawk.

“I refuse.” Treize said. “Take this!”

Sitting upright, Treize swung his right arm at Weasel’s face. As though drawing a sword, he moved his right hand from his left side to the upper right.

“Ah.”

Weasel stepped back, quickly getting out of punching range.

There was a heavy, metallic thud.


“Agh—”

Weasel let out a cry.

The edge of Treize’s belt pack had struck his right temple.

Inside was the camera Treize had received as a gift from the queen. It was a piece of metal weighing several hundred grams.

Treize’s right hand was clutching the belt end of the pack.

The belt pack dropped from the side of Weasel’s head. Blood began flowing from the torn skin.

Treize, sitting on one knee with the makeshift sword in his grip, muttered quietly,

“I’m sorry, Mother… I think I probably broke it.”


“Ugh… Ahh…”

Scattering blood over his chiseled body and the roof of the train, Weasel moaned.

And the moment he fell to his knees—

“Don’t blame me too much!” Treize cried, lashing out again. He rose to his feet and swung his belt pack again from right to left.

This time, the camera struck Weasel on the left temple. There was another heavy thud.

Weasel staggered and fell forward on the roof. Blood from his head flowed down the car lit red by the sunset.

Treize pulled away the belt pack to strike Weasel in the back. And he swung—

“Ahh…”

Weasel groaned. Treize froze.

“Yes… yes… more… Everyone… they all died and left me behind… I’m sick of being left behind…”

Treize wasted no time in retorting,

“Because you killed them all!”

Weasel—bleeding from both sides of the head—looked up at him.

“I suppose… you could say that… But it really is painful… You understand, don’t you?”

“No, I don’t!” Treize replied, making to strike—

“Hah!”

Scattering blood in his wake, Weasel lunged.

“Whoa!”

The belt pack fell out of Treize’s grip. Treize and Weasel slid across the roof, skidding all the way to the edge of the dining car. And they fell between the cars.

“Treize!” Lillia rushed over to the coupling.

“Damn it…”

There she found Treize, holding on for dear life to the railings.

“Ahaha!”

And there was Weasel, his face covered in blood and his arms clinging to Treize’s legs. His body was dangling in the air.

“Hahahaha! I’ve killed so many people, and I’ve watched them die with my own eyes—but now that I think about it, this is the first time that I’ll be dying! This is going to be interesting!”

Treize tried to pull his legs away. But Weasel was too strong. He would not let go.

“Urgh… You sick bastard! I’ll be glad to watch, so go die by yourself!”

“Let’s not be so cruel! We’ve come this far; we may as well die together, my beloved prince!”

“I’m not your prince!”

Lillia leapt over the coupling and landed on the roof of the dining car.

She crouched at the edge and held out a hand to Treize.

“Treize! Grab my hand!”

“No, Lillia! You’re going to fall too! Get back!” Treize replied without a moment’s hesitation.

And behind him—

“Let’s go… together… together…”

The man covered in blood mumbled under his breath.

Treize looked up.

When his eyes met Lillia’s, he smiled.

“Huh?”

“Sorry, Lillia. We can talk later.”

Then, Treize turned to the man clinging to his legs.

“Hey! You said before that I could leave my body to you, right?”

“I did!” Weasel cried in ecstasy.

“And you meant it, right?”

“Of course!”

Then—

“Then I’m counting on you!”

Treize let go.

“Ah—”

As Lillia watched, Treize and Weasel disappeared into the shadow of the train.

Their figures tangled in midair and fell into the shadow, almost impossible to distinguish from the ground. They fell in the mud of the plains and quickly grew distant.

“TREIZE!” Lillia cried, rushing back to the other car.

She sprinted at full speed along the roof, quickly reaching the end of the last car. Lillia crouched at the edge and let her gaze fall to the tracks.

“No…”

All she could see were the lonely plains and the rails the train had traveled along.


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