Beta pours magic into her jet-black blade as she faces off against the Queen of Blood.
That instant, Beta’s flow of magic suddenly becomes turbulent. Beta lowers the output in an attempt to bring it back under control, but the rampaging magic shows no sign of calming down.
A much loathed yet familiar pain runs throughout her body.
Starting from the wounds made by the blood arrowheads, her skin is turning black.
This…… is the symptom of demon possession.
Upon understanding what’s going on, Beta immediately changes the way she controls her magic. The turbulence alleviates a little, but her magic still remains very difficult to control.
Then the Queen of Blood moves.
She begins gathering an even larger mass of blood above her head, imbuing it with enough magic to make the very air quake.
Beta’s voice trembles before the mass of blood that is clearly much larger than the previous one. Right now, she is in no state to move.
Furthermore, a cry rises up from behind her.
“Claire?! Hold yourself together!”
Turning around, Beta sees a wound on Claire’s body also turning black.
The situation is beyond salvation.
The mass of blood in midair is being compressed, threatening to explode at any moment now.
“My lord, forgive me……”
Beta murmurs while on the verge of tears —— then Claire’s eyes snap open.
Claire is dreaming.
She is floating within an endless white space.
There is only Claire in that space, with nothing else to be seen.
But she can clearly hear the sound of her own heartbeat.
“…… Can you hear me?”
Hearing a voice from somewhere, Claire lifts her face.
“Can you hear my voice……?”
This time, she hears it clearly.
Looking in the direction of the voice, she sees a black-haired woman. Her violet-colored eyes are looking straight at Claire.
“You are…… ?”
“I’ve come to help you.”
Then those violet eyes shift to look at Claire’s body.
“Eh? What is this?!”
Claire’s white skin is gradually being stained black.
This is a symptom that Claire had experienced long ago.
“Don’t tell me…… demon possession?!”
“Technical, not exactly. The condition that you call ‘demon possession’ has already been long healed by him.”
“You should know him very well.”
“I haven’t a clue. Who is ‘he’?”
However, the woman with violet eyes only smiles mysteriously.
“Your body will soon rot away. That’s why I’ll lend you my strength for a while.”
“Wait a second!? I have no idea what’s going on!”
“I’m really bad at explaining things.”
“Please, tell me. What is happening to my body?!”
“Let me think, how can I explain it best…… unfortunately, you are compatible and thus have lost control.”
“Sorry, I didn’t get any of that.”
“It might get a bit long, but we don’t have much time. So I’ll keep it concise.”
“Do you know what ‘evolution’ is? Long ago, someone from the same research lab as me looked into it, and apparently all humans are descended from apes. According to her hypothesis, apes became adapted to their environment for a long period of time, gradually turning into humans over the passage of time. I thought it a very interesting idea. I don’t know if it’s true or not, though.”
“Umm…… Is that related?”
“Sure it is. But you see, another researcher disagreed with the claim that humans adapt to their surroundings. But she was not refuting that humans are descended from apes. There are smart apes and stupid apes. Within harsh conditions, only the smart apes survive to reproduce and increase the population. Eventually, there are only smart apes left, and they turn into humans over the passage of time.”
“Er, what’s the difference? More like, what are you even talking about?”
“It’s totally different. In other words, the apes survived only because they happened to be compatible with their environment, they did not adapt by their own will.”
“And so…… umm, what was I talking about in the first place?”
“About me…… I think?”
“Right, right, about adaptation and compatibility.”
“In short, it’s the ones who adapted to their environment and changed shape that survived. It is because of adaptation that right now, even in this very moment, blood is evolving into two different kinds. The original kind causes such a heavy burden on the body that it becomes incapable of reproduction. The second kind, its divergence is clear to see from its characteristics. But right now, both are present inside of you, trying to adapt to each other. Adapting to each other is really hard to do, but you unfortunately happen to be compatible, and you also unfortunately do not know the way to control them. That is why your blood is rampaging within you and tearing your body apart —— ah, we’re out of time.”
“Wha-, wait, we’re at the most important part now! Eh, OW!?”
A sharp pain suddenly stabs into Claire’s hand. She turns it over to see a complicated magic circle engraved on the back.
“That mark will surely teach you how to control them.”
“Ah, it’s gone.”
The black bruise on her body has disappeared.
“There’s no more time. Things are taking a serious turn for the worse outside.”
“There really was no need for the first half of the explanation, right?”
“I’m going to borrow your body for a bit. I won’t be able to use my full strength, but……”
With that, the woman with violet eyes begins to fade away.
“Wait! What is your name?!”
“I am Aurora……”
“Aurora…… why are you helping me?”
“Because you, are his —……”
However, Aurora has completely disappeared, taking with her the final half of her sentence.
“What was that, seriously. ‘His’…… what? Is it the same guy who healed my demon possession? She didn’t tell me any of the most important parts…… ”
Claire is left muttering to herself in the white space.
Within Milia’s arms, Claire’s eyes suddenly snap open.
Within those eyes, her pupils —— have been dyed a beautiful violet.