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Chapter 11 - Nothing but Screams

Agnes watched as Edwin clumsily tailed someone deeper into the graveyard. She was bewildered by his lackluster performance.

'Geez, if he keeps this up, he's gonna be noticed,' she mumbled. From where she stood, she couldn't tell who it was that Ed was pursuing. Eventually, the prolonged chase concluded at the hilltop.

'Something's up...' thought Agnes.

Ed came out of hiding and stood to face someone.

'Sorry, she gave me the slip again...'

'Well, these things happen.'

'Damn it. I thought for sure tonight would be the night! Still, Mr. Montaigne, was that little girl really created by a magician?'

'I have no doubt that within that human-looking shell is a malevolent power--an evil spirit. You've done your research, so I know you are aware that she has been present at every accident,' said the man as he clutched his right hand. 'She ends lives with a single strike diagonally through the heart,' he said as he traced a line across his chest. Montaigne continued.

'Evil spirits create disturbances, and only magicians can perceive their presence.'

'Is that so...?' Edwin sighed.

'Seems you still don't fully believe me yet. In that case, let me tell you another interesting fact.'

The man leaned in to whisper into Edwin's ear, but bathed in that moonlit graveyard, it felt as if he was speaking directly to Agnes.

'If you kill a magician, you can steal their powers.'

Agnes reeled, overcome with vertigo, and rustled the weeds at her feet. She cursed at herself beneath her breath.

'Killing a magician...? How could I be so blind?! The property manager, Hux Montaigne... I've completely fallen into his trap!' she scolded herself.

'What the...?! Agnes?! Why are you here? Do you realize what time it is?'

Edwin was thickheaded, so much so that she may be able to use that fact to her advantage. She stood, her focus not on Edwin, but instead on Hux Montaigne.

'So I've been your target this whole time, huh?'

'I wasn't aware you were such a young lady, though.'

'All those horrible much death...just to get to me?!'

'You make it sound so frivolous, when in fact, this is the only way for an imitation like me to gain more power.'

'Ed! Run! Get out of here!'

Agnes dashed straight at Montaigne. 'I've got to close the distance and get him away from Ed!' she thought. Suddenly, Kagemaru fidgeted in her arms and turned to face her. He meowed in her face as a warning.


An invisible force swept Agnes' legs out from under her, and a sharp pain shot up from her leg. She collapsed to the ground and writhed in pain. Blood gushed from her pierced thigh. From behind her came the sound of a child's laugh and the sound of her red ribbon fluttering in the wind.

'You're the little girl who was at the cafe today... Tizze?!'

'You said it yourself, didn't you? That my father's job will go well for the most part.'

Tizze's pristine, porcelain skin slowly undulated, as if something were squirming beneath the surface. 'My daughter is quite well made, isn't she?' boasted Hux.

Agnes screamed with all her might, 'Ed! Get away from him!'

Edwin, who until then had been stunned, shook his bewilderment and began to process the events transpiring right before his eyes.

'So this evil spirit we've been chasing this past week has really just been this...thing that you call your daughter?! Montaigne, it was you all along. You're the magician!' he shouted.

'This man is a fake,' thought Agnes. 'He is just using the powers he stole from a real magician...from Mr. Hart!'

'Run, Ed, please!' she yelled. 'Get out of here!'

Montaigne deftly raised his right hand, and his gesture exuded a degree of arrogance.

'My dear Edwin, I must thank you for bringing me the girl. However, this is the end of our partnership. Now you shall become a part of my power.'

Hux motioned toward the boy with his white fingers, and a crisp sound rang in Edwin's ears.

With a snap, Edwin's eyes rolled back and his body fell to the cold ground below.

第11回 もう叫ぶしかない

エドウィンは誰かを尾行しているようだった。そのへたくそな素振りにアニエスは何度も腹を立てた。もう、そんなのじゃ見つかっちゃうわよ! でも尾行している相手の姿はアニエスの位置からは見えず、結局そのまま、何事もなく丘の上まで来てしまった。




「くそっ、今夜こそと思ったのに……! ……でもモンテニューさん、あの女の子は本当に『魔法使い』に作られたものなんですか?」

「間違いないね。あれは人間の皮に邪悪な力を封じ込めて作った『悪霊』だよ」君も調べて分かったろう? 事故があった現場には必ずあの少女がいたことをね。男はエドの前で右手を振りながら言った。きっと命を刈り取るんだ。こう斜めにスパッと、心臓のあたりをね。



「君はまだ信じきれないようだな。まあいいが…… フフ、それではもう一つ良いことを教えようか」男はエドウィンの耳元でささやいた。それは月光の中で、なぜだかアニエスの耳にもはっきりと聞こえた。


がさり、と手元で雑草が大きな音を立てた。しまったと心の中で叫びつつ、アニエスは襲ってきた激しい眩暈を抑えるのに必死だった。……魔法使いを殺す(㈲ ㈲ ㈲ ㈲ ㈲ ㈲ ㈲)


「って、アニエス……? 何でこんなトコにいんだ!いま何時だと思ってるんだ!?」……エドウィンは鈍い。とことん鈍くて、本当に助かる。意を決して立ち上がったアニエスはエドを無視してその男、モンテニューに鋭い目を向けた。







あっ…… 足元を見えない力で蹴り飛ばされたような感覚があってアニエスはもんどりを打って倒れた。激痛を感じて押さえると、太股から血が噴き出している。……何かが貫通したんだ…… そのとき背後から幼い笑い声が聞こえてきた。可愛らしい赤いリボンがフワフワ揺れている。あなたは……昼間店に来た少女、ティセ!?


アニエスは渾身の力を込めて叫んだ。エド、その人から離れてッ!! 困惑してばかりだったエドウィンも、事ここに至ってようやく状況を飲み込んだ。

……「私の娘」だって? あれはこの1週間、一緒に追ってきた『悪霊』じゃないか!!

「モンテニュー…… お前が魔法使いだったんだなっ!!」アニエスは思った。違う、この人は本物の魔法使いなんかじゃない。ただ奪った力を操っているだけ……――魔法使いはウェーバーハルト氏の方だったんだ!




――パチン。 エドウィンは白目をむいて崩れ落ちた。