Makai Senki Disgaea: Revelations
5: An Excursion of Desperation
Laharl exited his office and called out to Etna, who was in the hallway, "Oi, I'm headed out."
In another two hours, it would already be time for lunch.
"Where are you going?" Etna asked.
"I can't unwind working all the time. On top of that, I can't take a nap in peace with someone after me."
"So, you're playing hooky?"
"That's right," Laharl answered, thrusting out his chest.
"In that case, please take Shas-chan with you. She was crying that she wanted to play."
"What?" Laharl asked Etna in reply, his expression serious. "Why should I have to do something like look after a child? Leave that kind of thing to the prinnies."
"You're free, aren't you? So I'm asking you."
Having said just what she wanted, Etna walked off.
But she was already gone.
"Grr, at a time like this."
When he tried to run off, something caught the edge of his scarf.
"Let's play, Laharl-chan!"
"She showed up, huh......" At his wits' end, Laharl looked down at Shas. "Listen, I'm busy. I don't have time to play with a kid."
"Laharl-chan, you seem free," Shas insisted.
"Now you just—"
"Shas-chan!" an energetic voice burst out from behind, interrupting his words.
Jane came running, the two embraced each other tightly, and, ignoring Laharl, they began talking. Gordon and Thursday could be seen as well.
"Ne, ne, where are you going, Shas-chan?"
"Who decided on that!?" Laharl said.
"I'm going, too!" Jane exclaimed, skipping.
Having descended from the spaceship, Jennifer came up to them and handed over a large basket to Laharl.
"Well then, I'm entrusting you with Jane, too, Laharl-chan."
"We haven't had any time together as a couple in a while," Gordon said.
Gordon and Jennifer pressed against each other.
"Oi, you lot!" Laharl barked. "All of you, what the hell do you think an Overlord is!?"
"If it's babysitting, then you do it!"
"UNFORTUNATELY, I HAVE INSTRUCTIONS FROM JENNIFER TO HELP WITH HER RESEARCH."
"For a robot, you sure know how to make excuses."
"YES. IT IS BECAUSE I WAS WELL-CRAFTED."
"You want me to teach you the Three Laws of Robotics?"
"I KNOW THEM. BUT, LAHARL-SAN IS NOT HUMAN SO YOU ARE OUTSIDE THE APPLICATION OF THE LAWS."
"Tch, you always have a comeback."
Having been out-talked by a robot, Laharl glared at Thursday trying to figure out what to do. That was when Jennifer's voice broke in.
"That's the bentō you have, Laharl-chan."
"Yay, bentō!" Shas cried.
"Mama, thank you!" said Jane.
"Well then, Laharl-chan, I'm leaving it to you."
"Who said I was going!?" Laharl shouted.
Jennifer was smiling broadly.
Jane and Shas looked up at Laharl, their chests swelling in anticipation.
"We're going!" he said in a despairing voice, and taking Shas and Jane with him, and on top of that carrying the bentō, Laharl walked off.
Laharl went out, and, laying face-up on the sofa in her room, Etna picked up a magazine.
Naturally it was a fashion magazine. Even the accessories were loud. The latest trends of the human world could change on a whim, and because new things showed up, she never tired of it from day to day.
"The Prince is taken care of, and Shas-chan isn't here anymore, so it looks like I'll be able to take it easy until evening."
Once morning had come, Shas's wound had healed considerably. It had not even left a scar.
"All the same, that rotten angel is unforgivable."
Etna threw the magazine onto the table and glared at the ceiling.
When she remembered what had happened the night before, anger welled up inside her.
But, something was strange.
Why did I go storming off like that just from Shas getting hurt?
As she tried to think about it, Flonne's face floated up again in her mind, and again the anger came rising up in her.
A strange power is at work here.
Seems like it'd be better to check it out.
Etna got up and put a hand on the door to her room.
Meanwhile, Flonne was at confession.
"Last night, I forgot myself, and gave myself over to anger. As long as I am someone who preaches love, committing that kind of act is disgraceful. Please forgive me."
Facing the statue of the Seraph, she prayed whole-heartedly.
Ahh, but, I wonder why I got so angry?
Flonne tilted her head.
Anyone would think that Kira-chan's injury was my fault. I shouldn't have tried to argue, but I wasn't able to stand there without saying anything back.
"Ahh, what was the matter with me?"
When Etna-san blamed me, I remembered how she looked talking happily with Laharl-san, and before I knew it, I was shouting.
Did I feel anger because I thought about Laharl-san?
I'm understanding this less and less.
"I must talk to Etna-san again."
The moment she thought of it, just as before, that developing, nauseous anger filled her chest.
I wonder if I'm sick? she thought, but there were more important things than that.
Love thy enemies. That's it. If I can't even love Etna-san, then I can't do my work to spread love.
Determined, Flonne left the House of Love, and headed straight for the castle. With her mind set, she headed towards Etna's room.
She thrust open the door.
At the same moment, she heard a loud thud together with a cry from Etna.
Having been about to open it, Etna's face had been struck by the door.
"I- I'm sorry!" Apologizing reflexively, Flonne tried to help Etna back up. But, her hand was shoved away.
"It's because of that kind of slapstick stuff that Shas got hurt!"
"My personality is unrelated!" Flonne shouted, and then she became aware of something out of place. There was some sort of mistake. "Etna-san, what did you say just now?"
"That you hurt Shas! Did you forget already?"
"The right leg, wasn't it?"
"So you do remember."
"Um, but the one I injured was Kira-chan......"
Etna stared at Flonne's face to determine whether or not she was lying. But, although she had fallen, Flonne was an angel. Etna didn't think that she would tell such an insignificant sort of lie.
"I was careless with the holy water and splashed it on him."
"And Shas was with you, right?" Etna asked in confirmation.
"No, it was only Kira-chan."
"What does that mean?"
The two of them looked at each other.
"Was it Kira-chan pretending to be Shas-chan?" Flonne wondered.
"That'd make for an impressive performance."
Flonne tilted her head.
They fell deep in thought. Searching her memory, Etna said, "Hey. There's never been a time when Shas and Kira were together, right?"
"That's right. Kira-chan said that he dislikes it."
The two of them looked at each other.
"It couldn't be—" Flonne began.
"It's possible." Etna continued with a grim expression, "Shas and Kira have some sort of secret."
"But, what for?"
"Maybe it's in order to kill the Prince."
Flonne gulped. "Then, the ones who have been setting traps recently are—"
"Probably. The recent super-Overlord is suspicious, too."
"I'm going to look into it," Flonne said. "We don't know why the seal which the previous Overlord-san put in place vanished either."
"Then I'm going to check up on Kira. He's royalty, so I think there should be records in the library."
"Be careful, Flonne-chan."
"You, too, Etna-san."
As though the prior day's fight had never happened, the two nodded at each other and parted.
Jane raised her voice in delight.
In front of her eyes, a verdant, grass-covered plain stretched into the distance. On the other side stood a range of mountains.
"So there are places like this in the Netherworld, too!"
"Of course," Laharl said. "Well, they're less famous than the scorching beaches or the plains of ice. It's probably because there's nothing interesting here."
Laharl flopped down atop the grass.
"Play whatever. I'm going to sleep."
"Eh!? Laharl-chan, you play, too!"
Shas tugged on Laharl's scarf in an attempt to make him stand up, but it seemed Laharl had no intention of moving.
"Have lunch or something." He pointed at the basket as though it were a pain.
Jane came running, and jumped for the basket Laharl had left at his feet. There, she spread a sheet as she was used to doing, and, placing the containers with the bentō atop it, she began preparations.
"Laharl-chan, over here."
She tapped a place on the sheet, indicating that he should sit there. Laharl scowled, but without saying anything he got up and sat down on the sheet.
"Shas-chan, you're over here, okay?" In the same way, Jane indicated a seat to Shas.
But, without making any move to sit down, Shas stood where she was and looked intently at Laharl.
"But, is it all right for the Overlord to come to a place like this without bringing his retainers?" Shas asked.
"I'm not concerned. Who would rival me anyway?"
"That's right," said Jane. "Laharl-chan is strong, isn't he?"
"Yeah. I'm the most powerful of three worlds." In answer to Jane's words, Laharl showed them his muscles.
"I wonder how long you'll be able to say that," Shas said.
"Forever," Laharl said.
"That self-confidence is going to be fatal," Shas whispered in a cold voice, her silver eye shining.
"It's just as we thought......" Flonne murmured.
She was in the desert ruins where the self-proclaimed super-Overlord Baal had been sealed. It was about five minutes distant from the town. Five minutes flying, of course.
The seal at her feet clearly showed signs that someone had broken it.
"Someone released him."
Touching it with the palm of her hand and feeling the vestiges of magical power, Flonne faced the seal and cried out, "Hello, Super-Overlord-san?"
She waited a moment, and she heard a voice like the earth rumbling.
"What do you want?"
"Could you come out a moment and talk?"
"I'm going to sleep for another 8,000 years. As long as he is Overlord, there's no way that I'm coming out."
It must must have been quite a shock to have gotten such a thorough beating from Laharl. Flonne gave up on that, and decided to talk to him where he was.
"Well then, do you know who it was that released you from the seal?"
"I don't know."
"You don't remember anything?" Flonne persisted, and there came a sound like a moan.
"All that I remember is a vulgar pink color. Are you satisfied?"
With that, she no longer heard Baal's voice.
"Pink? I must let Etna know."
Just then, before Flonne's eyes there suddenly stood the shadow of a person. It was a stifling muscle man whose eye-popping, florescent pink cape fluttered in the desert wind.
"My, my, young lady. Where might you be going?" His voice was as thick as one would expect from his appearance, but he spoke with a woman's words.
"Who might you be?" Flonne asked without stammering.
"I've been slow to introduce myself. I am Kira's father, Vesuvio. Call me Vesvie. You're Flonne-chan, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am Flonne. I'm sorry. I'm in a hurry."
Flonne bowed politely and attempted to leave the ruins, but Vesuvio stepped in front of her to block her way.
"I can't allow that."
"Please don't obstruct me." Flonne smiled sweetly at Vesuvio, who held his arms thicker than her thighs out to either side, and slipped past him.
"W-wait a moment!" Vesuvio called hastily to stop her.
"I don't want to exercise violence on a cute girl, but if you don't stop then I have no choice. I'll have you black out for a bit."
Vesuvio struck an exaggerated pose, brandishing a fist, and punched at Flonne from behind.
Flonne turned around, and at her voice, a transparent barrier spread before her. Vesuvio's fist was caught by the barrier and he could not move it.
"What?" In surprise, Vesuvio struggled to free his arm.
"You know, I'm getting mad," said Flonne.
"Huh?" Caught off-guard, Vesuvio stiffened. Even so, the pose he had taken was that of a bodybuilder.
"Because now, I understand. You released the seal here. Why did you do such a thing?"
"It's no big deal. We meant to test Laharl's strength."
"That's right. We thought it would be useful reference for our next steps. But, not at all. We thought it would be like that, but those of the opposing faction were a nuisance wanting to go ahead and try."
"By opposing faction, do you mean those who were against Laharl-san becoming Overlord? I didn't know there still were any."
"That's right. There are quite a lot of us."
"Why so many?"
"Isn't it obvious? It's because he has that filthy, inferior half-human blood coursing through him."
"What a thing to say!" Flonne cried out. "Certainly Laharl acts like a child, and he wakes up late, and he's lazy, and troublesome, and he never does any work, and he's short-tempered, and self-centered—"
"My, you have a lot to say yourself. I can relate to all that."
"But! Laharl-san knows love!!"
"Looove?" Vesuvio said in a strange voice that could have been a scream or a laugh, and Flonne's eyes flashed.
"You look down on love, too, don't you? That's fine. I'll instruct that body in love."1
"N-no, that's all right."
"Please don't hesitate." Flonne took out a white staff and indicated the ground with its tip. "Sit there."
In the desert ruins, Vesuvio's deep-voiced shrieks echoed eerily.
Around that time, Etna had shut herself up in the Netherworld library adjacent to the castle, and was covered in dust.
"The royal family tree and the like should be around here somewhere."
Etna looked up at the excess of documents, her face saying that she was at a loss.
A semicircular 10-shelf bookcase occupied one wall, and in the same area another 10 five-shelf bookcases stood in a row. Books and scrolls were crammed into them tightly. Their number was exceedingly large. At last she had found out that the books concerning the royal family were in the innermost of these bookcases.
"I guess I'll look at them in order."
Taking a bunch in her arms, she threw them down onto a bookrest. Dust billowed up, and for a moment everything went pure white.
"If it were a magic book, it'd answer me if I called its name..." Etna grumbled, and began looking at them in turn.
The mountain piled atop the bookrest shrank one by one. Once she finished looking through all of one row, she moved on to the second row without sparing the time to put the first away. Though she made mountain ranges of three bookrests, there were still more and more books.
Just as she was getting fed up with it, she at last came across the family tree she had been looking for.
"This is it!"
Her fingers turned the pages faster and faster. Before the blank pages at the end was the most recent part of the family tree.
"Vesuvio, Yasurl... Got it!"
The two names were lined up beside Krichevskoy's. From there the line continued—
Stunned, Etna slammed the book shut and stood up. "I have to tell Flonne-chan and the Prince."
"I wonder what you mean to tell them?"
Abruptly she heard an icy voice from behind her. Not having felt the presence at all, Etna turned around in surprise.
The addition of 'sama' like an afterthought seemed to irritate her, and Yasurl's eyes narrowed. They were filled with a dangerous light.
"I wonder what that look is? For a lowly servant, you don't show enough respect towards the royal family."
"You're plotting to kill the Prince—no, the King, aren't you?"
"Even though you have no proof, you're going to treat me as a traitor?" Yasurl's stretched into a thin line. "You've got guts."
Yasurl placed her right hand atop her left palm, and slowly withdrew it. From the palm of her hand, she pulled out a rod-like thing. She then extended the thing as though it were a sword. Once it exceeded one meter, Yasurl swept her right hand out to the side.
The thing struck the floor with a sharp snap. It was a whip. A whip red like blood.
"Like I did with Laharl, I'll teach you manners."
"Don't you mean, like you broke2 him?"
"My, I don't do such rude things. For a relative, it was the expected upbringing. This is a convenient tool for instructing him without touching his filthy blood, don't you think? And if he misbehaves, I can inflict punishment, too," Yasurl declared, and controlling her whip, she drew it left and right. It cracked with a shrill sound.
"Now, let's have some fun!"
The raised whip swam through the air like a living thing, and then, came down towards Etna.
Etna flew to the right to dodge, and with a shrill snap, the whip struck the bookrest. Immediately after was the sound of something collapsing with a crash. When she looked, the bookrest had fallen cut cleanly in two.
"You're nimble, aren't you. Don't run away," Yasurl growled in irritation and slid one hand from where she held the whip towards the end. Flames travelled along it.
"To children who don't do as they're told, I'll apply moxibustion3."
Her brandished whip swept about the library. Etna dodged, leaping or crouching, and when she saw an opening she let loose a Mega Ice spell.
Yasurl destroyed the ice attack completely with her whip, and closed the distance between her and Etna.
Frustrated that her attacks had not hit, Yasurl increased the violence of her whip's movement. Here and there the library began to catch fire, and Etna could only defend her own body with magic.
While dodging an attack, she chanted a spell of protection.
And from that resulted one moment's opening.
"I've got you!" Yasurl cried, and the tail of her whip wrapped around Etna's legs. At the same time she pulled forcefully. At her wits' end, Etna was dragged before Yasurl.
"You've made yourself a nuisance. Prepare yourself!"
Yasurl's fiery whip howled as she lifted it.
Seeking to turn the tables, Etna was about to chant a spell, but however she thought about it there was no time. Gritting her teeth, she braced herself for the blow.
But, the whip did not come flying.
Having frozen with her whip held high, Yasurl's body pitched forward and fell.
"Are you all right, Etna-san?"
Behind the fallen Yasurl, having just lowered her staff, stood Flonne.
Once he had said this aloud, Laharl shook his head.
"No, you aren't, are you."
Jane looked frightened and clung to Laharl. "That's not Shas-chan......"
"Kira, huh......" Laharl narrowed his eyes.
"A minute ago you were saying there was nothing exciting here, weren't you? Starting now, I shall provide you with plenty."
Kira made an exaggerated bow, and abruptly leapt into the air. He came to a stop at a height of about five meters, and looked down at Laharl and Jane.
"You've got guts, challenging me," Laharl said.
"Challenge? Your Majesty? By no means would I do something so reckless."
"What did you say?"
"I believe you'll destroy yourself for me."
"Destroy myself, you say? If I defeat you before that, it's all over."
Laharl began to bring flames to his clenched fist. In an instant his fist was red-hot, and it produced an immense power.
"My, my, do you intend to kill Shas?"
"Shas is just your act."
"By no means. That isn't true. Shas is right here," Kira said as though Laharl's words were unthinkable. In that instant, he opened his eyes and his expression changed to one of fear.
"Laharl-chan, what's wrong? You look scary." The voice, too, had changed to Shas's high-pitched one, and it grew anxious. "Did Kira-chan do something?"
Kira abruptly stopped looking around and bowed in jest. "See?"
"See what? You're a bad actor."
At Laharl's words, Jane shook her head. "No, that was Shas-chan, just now."
"What the hell is this?"
"It seems that that girl can see my form, just a little." Kira continued his explanation to Jane. "Until now no one has seen my true form, but now there is someone who sees me. And yet, for that to be a frail human child, that's the most well-crafted joke."
"You want me to make it so no one will see you?" Laharl asked.
"Are you going to fight here? Can that child withstand your magic?"
At Kira's words, Laharl froze.
"Something like the life of a human child is trivial. You cannot fight while concerning yourself with such a thing. If you're a demon, too, then surely you agree?"
Jane clung to Laharl more tightly. Laharl gritted his teeth and glared at Kira.
"Now, let's fight." Kira spread both hands and chanted a spell.
In the next moment, a huge dome of flames enveloped Laharl and Jane.
"Kira is dead."
After Flonne had reported what she had learned from her investigation of the ruins, Etna said this.
Etna continued to the astonished Flonne, "The records say that he died immediately after being born. Probably, he's a ghost."
At that, Flonne clapped her hands together. "So that's it. So that's why......"
"When I tried to heal his injured leg, he ran away."
Etna nodded in comprehension.
"So then, Shas-chan and Kira-chan are the same person?" Flonne asked.
"No, that's not it. Shas is alive. In other words, Kira is possessing Shas."
Etna picked up another book.
"That, and I found this out after reading this record, but it seems like when the the Prince was young, he was left in Yasurl's care for about 100 years. Right after his mother died."
"Um, you mean when Laharl-san became sick, and his mother saved him by sacrificing her life in exchange—"
"Yep. And it seems like Yasurl, who hated humans, tormented the Prince."
"Then, the reason Laharl-san's personality is so distorted—"
"That's got nothing to do with it—at least, I get that feeling. But, well, I can imagine the reason he hates buxom women."
"That's right. But, maybe that's all right," Flonne mumbled, looking down at her own chest, and then she stole a glance at Etna beside her. She, too, was looking down at her chest. Flonne met Etna's gaze, and for some reason or other they each let out an awkward breath and smiled faintly.
"By the way, what happened with Vesuvio, Flonne-chan?"
"It was kind of strange. When I hit him with my staff, he said things like 'Ahh, that's good~! My Queen~!!' It made me uncomfortable, so I let him go."
"Ah, that was the right thing to do." Vesuvio's image came to Etna's mind, and she smiled weakly.
"Never mind that, where is Laharl-san?"
"He should be playing with Jane-chan."
The two looked at each other.
Struck by an unpleasant premonition, they left the library, burst into the castle, and headed for Laharl's room. Along the way, they caught a passing prinny and asked it:
"Where's the Prince?"
"He went somewhere with Shas-chan, dood."
"I- I don't know, dood."
Releasing the prinny which shook its head not knowing what was going on, Etna headed for Laharl's room. However, it was completely empty. The two went out into the courtyard and ran up the spaceship's ramp.
"Gordon! Have you seen the Prince!?"
Seated on the sofa in the living area, Gordon and Jennifer turned surprised faces on them. Whatever they had been doing, they hurriedly adjusted their clothes.
"If you're looking for Laharl-chan, he went for a picnic with Jane and Shas-chan."
"The three of them!?" Etna said.
"Has something bad happened?" Gordon asked.
"Kira is trying to kill the Prince."
"Unbelievable!"4 Jennifer exclaimed. "Surely you're joking? But, Kira-chan isn't with them."
"Shas and Kira are the same," said Flonne.
"Well, that's not quite right, but," Etna said.
"What are you talking about?" Jennifer asked.
That was where Gordon broke in.
"Wait a minute! Jane will be caught up in it!!"
"That's right." Etna nodded as if it were no big deal.
"We're going now, Jane!"
Having lost his head, Gordon flew out of the living area and ran onto the bridge. With the same momentum, he leapt over the pilot's seat and sat down. Immediately he activated the engine.
"Calm down, Gordon!"
Jennifer's cry did not reach his ears. Unreasonably, Gordon raised the output of the inadequately-warmed engine.
The bridge began to shake, so unstable that it became impossible to stand.
"YOU ARE RECKLESS, GORDON." Thursday shrieked as he rolled.
Without raising their altitude, Gordon jammed forward the throttle.
The rear engine roared, and with a jerk the ship accelerated.
With a thud came the impact of the lower part of the ship crashing into something. But, the spaceship rushed on just the same.
Left behind were the courtyard scorched by jet flames, and the castle tower which had been destroyed when the fuselage crashed into it.
The hemisphere of flames which had enveloped Laharl dissipated, and Laharl crouched wrapped in his outspread scarf. He had pushed Jane beneath his scarf and protected her from the flames.
"Is a human child really so valuable?" Hovering in the air, Kira gave a derisive laugh.
"I'll make you regret opposing me." Laharl threw up his scarf and stood, and pointing a finger at Kira, he chanted a spell.
Just then, Kira's expression abruptly changed.
At the high-pitched cry, Laharl, about to let lose magic at any moment, froze instantly.
That was when Kira's loosed flames swiftly closed in.
With Laharl unable to dodge completely, the mass of flames struck his arm. No, it wasn't that he had not dodged, but in trying to protect Jane, he had raised his arm.
"Just as I thought."
Looking at Laharl's hideously burnt arm, Kira made a face of triumph.
"Your softness is fatal. It's a miracle that you've been able to go on unharmed until now. Now I understand that you cannot win against me."
"Is that so?" Although Laharl smiled fearlessly, in a low voice he cursed, "Will those guys get here already?"
"If you're seeking aid, no one is coming. Etna and Flonne have had a fight and it seems they've broken off their friendship." Kira was smiling in enjoyment.
"Broken it off, you say?"
"Yes. Once I introduced a little instability to their affection, they began fighting. It was a simple matter."
"You did what...?"
"The slight distrust, the jealousy arising from inside of them, like expanding a balloon, all I did was pump air into it. And in the blink of an eye it ruptured. For a demon and a fallen angel to live a demon's daily routine, it's too naive."
"Hm, you greatly underestimate those two."
"Is that so?"
"Flonne's Love Freak attitude isn't that shallow. She's a love otaku through and through. No matter what happens, she forgives the other person. Etna gets fired up about her rationality, too. If logic follows, then she'll overlook some things."
"You've really considered this. But, I wonder if they'll be able to live up to that."
"Of course," Laharl answered, full of confidence.
"Although, I think it'll be a problem for you to last until then."5 Kira smiled cheerfully and pulled a sword from thin air. "I'm going to kill you, and have fun with it."
Swinging the sword straight for him, Kira came closer.
"You're thinking to fight me with a sword?" Laharl reached a hand for the sword at his hip—the hilt of the Overlord's sword.
"I wonder if a human child can withstand it?"
At Kira's murmur, Laharl's hand stopped. Powerful magic had a strong impact on humans. And for a small child...
With great speed, Kira came closing in on the motionless Laharl. Accompanied by a shockwave, his sword sliced sideways and he attacked Laharl and Jane.
At once, Laharl spread his scarf so that the shockwave did not go past him. Jane was unharmed. However, the price was considerable. The scarf tore sideways, and Laharl was cut open from his chest to his arm.
Fresh blood fell.
"It's as I thought."6
Without a moment's pause, Kira thrust out his sword, and as he attacked Laharl, he raised his voice, "When one prepares for battle, one naturally raises defense, and doesn't sustain injuries. But, there are also weak-hearted people who don't do that."
"I need neither a sword nor defense. I can beat someone like you with my bare hands."
"Is that so?"
Adjusting his sword stance, Kira prepared to attack.
Laharl clenched his fist and gathered his magic. That fist had demolished even the Earth army battleships. It was unthinkable that Kira could take a direct hit and be unharmed.
Laharl was about to thrust out his red-hot fist when—
Kira's face had changed in an instant.
Laharl's fist froze.
That was when Kira's sword thrust forward.
Having stiffened, Laharl was not even able to dodge, and he took Kira's attack. The tip of the sword stuck out from the back of his left shoulder.
Immediately Laharl leapt back, and the sword pulled free. Threads of blood stretched from the base of his shoulder to the tip of the sword.
"Ugh......" Laharl groaned and grasped the wound. "You use dirty tricks......"
"It's because I told Sister that we were 'playing with Laharl-chan.' Consequently, when we change places for an instant, it's still in the middle of play," Kira replied in amusement as he swung his sword to shake off the blood. Then, he unleashed the final blow.
Laharl tried to fight back, but in an instant spears of ice brought forth from a quickly chanted Mega Ice struck at Laharl and Jane.
Laharl immediately pushed Jane to the ground to protect her. At the same time, he formed a shield. But, he was one moment too late. The sharp ice slipped through his shield and tore into Laharl's body.
Struggling out from beneath his body, Jane looked at the wound-riddled Laharl and let out a scream. Blood flowed from his whole body, turning it red, and his appearance was nothing short of miserable. However, Jane rushed out in front of the sword-brandishing Kira, and spread both arms to block his way.
"Don't......" Staggering, Laharl got to his feet.
"What are you playing at?" His silver eye filed to the brim with a cold light, Kira gave a twisted smile.
"Don't pick on Laharl-chan!"
"I'm not picking on him," Kira laughed. "I'm killing him."
"Don't tell me that. Or will you die for me in his place?"
"Uhn......" Although she looked like she was about to cry, Jane bit her lip and stood her ground.
"But then, you won't really do for a substitute."
"Move aside!" Laharl pushed Jane aside and headed for Kira.
"Have you finally become serious?"
"Laharl-chan, that's a scary face," came Shas's voice.
"Shall I become serious, too?" Kira asked.
"Jane-chan, let's play."
In a whirl, Kira's expression and the sound of his voice changed. Even his appearance flickered as they switched places. The power of his ghost was that strong.
Trembling, Jane could only stand behind Laharl.
"Where are you, Jane!?"
Gordon was driving recklessly at full throttle.
Flying at low altitude at the speed of sound, the spaceship threw up sand with its shockwave, smashed trees, and rushed on.
"It's because you're dashing around without knowing where you're going," Etna said.
"He's really a doting parent, isn't he," said Flonne.
Patting Gordon's shoulder, Jennifer smiled to try to put him at ease. "Jane is all right, dear."
"There's no way she could be all right caught in a fight between two demons!"
"She's all right, because Laharl-chan is there."
But, Jennifer thought, her face becoming serious, I don't know if Laharl-chan will be all right or not. That boy, he isn't as ruthless as he thinks he is.
Just then, Gordon's shout struck Jennifer's ears.
"There they are!"
She looked at the main screen, and in the middle of a grassy plain was a circular area that showed traces of scorching. In the center of that were three figures.
"Jane! We've come to save you!!" Gordon let out a yell and forced the control stick down with all his might.
The spaceship took a nosedive and plunged for the plain.
"What are you thinking!?" Etna cried.
"This is crazy!" said Flonne.
"HE IS NOT THINKING."
"Be reasonable," Jennifer said. Thanks to her immediately pulling the control stick back, they avoided crashing. Even so, a shockwave rose up with a slam and assaulted the bridge, and everyone toppled over.
Gordon was the first to spring up, and he dashed from the bridge. He pushed open the hatch, and the ground was right there. The ship had landed head-first and gouged up the earth. Gordon leapt down and went running.
"Papa!" Jane shouted back from behind Laharl's back. But, because Kira was between them, she could not run.
"Now, you villain. Eat my powered up ray gun of justice!"
Gordon readied the ray gun at his waist. Then Laharl's sharp voice broke in.
"Stay out of it!"
"What did you say?"
"First, your weapon won't work. Second, I'm going to finish this guy off."
Flonne leapt out of the spaceship next, and seeing Laharl's figure she raised her voice. "What are you saying, in that condition!?"
"I'm fine so stay out of it. I have to teach this guy personally."
"Teach him what?" Flonne struck the palm of her hand. "Oh, I understand! Love!"
"No!" he denied, his whole body shaking. "My greatness!"
"Shall you be recorded as the shortest-lived Overlord in the history of the Netherworld?" Kira gave a sneer and looked in the direction of the spaceship. "Nevertheless, it's surprising that they came."
"How dare you manipulate our hearts," said Flonne.
"They do say that there's no smoke without fire, don't they? I only fanned that fire, Flonne-san."
For some reason, Flonne turned red and fell silent.
Instead, Etna, the last to come down, thrust a finger at Kira. "We see your scheme."
"Even so, we did have a showy fight, didn't we?" Flonne said.
"That fight was an everyday thing," Etna said.
"We don't fight that much."
Etna and Flonne began arguing.
"Wow, they're fighting. They mustn't," Shas's delighted voice burst out. They could see that Kira had become Shas again and was jumping up and down.
"You be quiet!" Etna said.
"Etna-san, it isn't Shas-chan's fault," said Flonne.
"Shas and Kira are equally guilty!" Etna glared at Flonne.
"What on Earth is going on?" With his ray gun held ready, Gordon looked at the three arguing in puzzlement.
"Kira-chan died when he was born, and he's possessing Shas-chan," Flonne explained.
"He died? You mean he's a ghost7?" Gordon asked with a frightened face.
"Not quite, but something like that," said Etna.
"I hate ghosts. That's scary." Shivering from a cold feeling running up his spine, Gordon drew back.
In contrast, Jennifer's eyes brightened as though she had understood something. "Wow!8 Don't tell me, Jane is able to see Kira-chan possessing her?"
"Why do you say that?" Flonne asked curiously.
"The first time Jane met Shas-chan, I remember she said something strange. Now I understand it was because she realized Kira-chan was a ghost."
"For the daughter of the Defender of Earth and the genius scientist to see ghosts— you say some pretty unscientific things," Gordon said.
"Taking facts as facts is what they call scientific thinking, dear," Jennifer soothed the troubled Gordon.
"That's how it is." It was Kira's voice again, and Kira returned his gaze to Laharl. He assaulted Laharl, who had pulled out his sword and stood.
As he closed in, Kira feinted that he was going to strike, and with his empty hand he unleashed a Wind spell. The gust brought forth a vacuum around Laharl, and changed to a whirlwind of blades.9
Laharl swung his sword, creating an eddy in the air to try to erase the whirlwind, and then froze.
In that moment, the blades formed a swarm and swooped down on Laharl.
In a flash, fresh blood went flying.
Laharl countered and chopped through all of the blades, and once again Kira came closing in on him.
In the interval between attacks, Kira feinted swings at Jane. Each time, Laharl's attention was drawn to Jane, and then, he suffered injuries. When he tried to shift to attacking—
"Laharl-chan, over here, over here!"
Shas abruptly raised her high-pitched voice. He stopped his attack, and Kira's swiftly unleashed blow pierced his body.
"What's wrong, Laharl-chan? Let's play more," Shas said impatiently to Laharl, who had fallen forward onto his knees.
"Laharl-san, please stop already!" Flonne cried, no longer able to watch.
"This isn't like you, Prince. Please just get to it and kill him," Etna shouted, getting irritated, too.
"You spectators sure are noisy......"
Laharl gave a shout and got to his feet. The instant his scarf fluttered, spatters of blood went flying. It was impossible to tell what color the scarf had been originally because of the blood.
"Laharl-chan, we have to stop your bleeding."
Knowing that the origin of half of those wounds lay with her, Jane unfastened her tie and wrapped it around Laharl's leg. But, it was not strong enough to bind the wound.
"If he can beat me at this level, then I can't prove myself the Overlord." Laharl forced his voice out through gritted teeth, and started to advance on Kira. He desperately held out against tripping over his own legs and falling.
"If this is how it is, then I—" Flonne began.
A hand intercepted her as she was about to butt in.
Flonne looked to the side, and Gordon stood at his full height watching Laharl.
"Let him do it," Gordon said. "He has his own way of doing things."
"What do you mean, his way? I can't see any such thing."
"Even so, you'll see it. If you have love." Gordon's eyes were blazing.
"Love......" Flonne's eyes, too, began to blaze. "I understand! Laharl-san is trying to teach Kira-chan about love, isn't he!!"
"I don't think that's it," Etna interjected quietly with an incredulous face, but Flonne did not hear her.
"Laharl-san, I will watch over you!" Clenching a fist, Flonne fixed Laharl with a fiery gaze.
"Right, I, too, will make certain with my own eyes!" Gordon shouted hotly, his arms folded.
"Can it!" Laharl shouted.
Driving the surrounding noise from his ears, Laharl concentrated on what was in front of his eyes.
With an expression of composure, Kira swung his sword around with complete mastery, as though it were a part of his body. His eyes darted around in amusement as he thought about how next to attack.
"Shas......" Laharl suppressed his body's shaking and raised his voice. "Do you mean to kill us?"
"Aren't we just playing?" came Shas's voice.
"Don't listen to him, Sister."
Laharl ignored Kira's voice and went on. "If Jane and I die, then we won't be able to play with you anymore."
"That's not true."
"It is. Do you understand what will happen when we die?"
"He's playing at riddles, Sister."
"Once I die, I'll become a prinny," Laharl said.
"See?" Kira laughed.
"Is Laharl-chan's prinny cute? I want to see!" Shas jumped up and down. "Will Jane-chan become a prinny, too?"
"Jane probably won't. Once I become a prinny, I'll work in the castle. So I won't have the time to play. And then after a while I'll be cleansed and go to the red moon." Laharl pointed to the moon suspended in the daylit sky. It was not red now, but a normal moon. "Once that happens, we'll never meet again, and we won't be able to play. Is that really all right with you?"
"We can never play again?"
"Don't lend him your ear, Sister. His Majesty is only playing."
"Kira and I aren't playing. That guy is trying to kill me."
"Is that true, Kira-chan?"
"It's a lie, Sister."
"It's true, Shas."
Having come out in front of Laharl, Jane clenched a fist and cried, "It's true, Shas-chan."
"It's a lie!" As he shouted, Kira tried to stab at Laharl. But, his body suddenly stopped its motion. As though pulled back by threads binding his arms and legs, he came to a sudden stop.
"It's true, isn't it, Kira-chan?"
"It's a lie!" Kira shouted again. But, his body did not move.
"Even though I wanted to play more with Laharl-chan and Jane-chan!" Shas cried as she clenched a fist and stooped. "Get out! I won't lend you my body anymore!!"
"Why, why won't you believe what I say, Sister?" Shas said angrily in Kira's voice.
"Because, now I understand what Kira-chan is thinking," Shas said, puffing out her cheeks.
"If this is what it's come to, then I'll steal your body, Sister! I'll make it my body!!"
Kira and Shas's shouting voices mingled, and something like a shimmer of heat rose up as if to envelop Kira.
Laharl ran towards Kira. But, he could not get inside the heat haze. The power surrounding Kira's body became even stronger, and it seemed even Laharl was repelled.
"La-ha-rl......-cha......n—" Shas's pained voice squeezed out.
"Do you mean to kill Shas!?" As he shouted, Laharl gathered power into his fist and drove his arm into the midst of the burning air.
"I'll be damned if I let you do as you want to Shas!"
The heat haze emitted flames as it began to tear to pieces. But, Laharl's arm, too, was torn to shreds by a power that could not be seen by the eye.
Together with Kira's shout, the power of the heat shimmer increased, and Laharl was forced back.
"I should have been born alive. Not my sister, but me!"
Kira and Laharl—they struggled against each other's power, and let out angry roars.
In the middle that straining tension—
"Hey, you, does that mean you're okay with a woman's body?" Etna's indifferent voice rang out.
In that moment, Kira's movements stopped as though he had frozen.
At the same time, Flonne went running out.
Kira tried to fly away, but he was one moment too late. A green light billowed up and surrounded Kira.
"Flonne-chan, nice one!"
Life energy poured into the entire surrounding area, and Laharl's wounds, too, healed. But, Kira— Possessing Shas's body, only Kira raised a cry of anguish as the life energy poured into him.
"I— I won't accept it. For you to be the Overlord—"
At the last glaring at Laharl, Kira dropped to his knees and then fell to the ground.
Laharl ran up and lifted Shas into his arms. Flonne came up beside him and held the palm of her hand to Shas's forehead.
"She's all right. She was just forced to use too much power."
"Is that it. That's a relief......"
Flonne thought she saw something shine in Laharl's eyes, but without saying anything, she embraced Shas and Laharl.
Next Time's Preview
- ^ Flonne is imitating Laharl's line from Chapter 1. So yes, it sounds really wrong, but she doesn't realize it.
- ^ The word Etna uses here indicates training or breaking animals.
- ^ Moxibustion is a form of traditional Asian medicine that involves applying burning herbs to the patient's skin, or using them in conjunction with acupuncture. Sounds painful.
- ^ She says this in English.
- ^ For some reason Kira drops his typical polite forms here and for the next few lines.
- ^ And Kira is back to speaking politely.
- ^ The word Gordon uses for "ghost" is used when talking about haunted houses and ghost stories. What the others use is a little closer to "spirit."
- ^ Again, she says this in English.
- ^ The word kamaitachi is used here. Apparently one meaning of this is a trio of demonic weasels which appear in a whirlwind to scratch people. I'm assuming that its use here is figurative and describes instead sickle-like blades made of air. But with Disgaea, you never know. They could be weasels.