Play 48: As She Lays Dying

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While I stood there stunned, Kaoru continued.

"I have been told to cooperate with Kazama and his men because of the relationship between the Satsuma, Choshu and Tosa." He glanced at the floor for a second before meeting eyes with Souji. "But...if their plan is to simply use my dear sister"—he paused—"or her replacement as some sort of demonic broodmare...I can't allow that to happen."

Souji's death glare could pierce through Chizuru's brother. "So you want me to drink the Water of Life and protect her, is that it?" He didn't even look at my way, and I felt my heart ached painfully. "Seems pretty selfish."

I quickly stepped into their conversation before Souji decided to take the solution. "I can protect myself, Kaoru. I don't need anyone to help." My nails sank into my flesh, but I didn't flinch. "Also, those twins are already protecting me."

Kaoru glimpsed at me without moving and sighed. "I do hope my sister is not as stubborn as you, Jun." He turned to Souji. "I'm sorry if it seems that way, but the choice is yours. You can lie in bed, cursing your illness and crying for battle, or you can drink this and become a fury." He shook the bottle temptingly.

I frowned. It was strange—it looked as if Kaoru was trying to lure Souji into a trap of some sorts. "But Souji—" I grabbed his sleeve in desperation. "Please, listen to me!" I shut my eyes tight, recalling those crazed white-haired men who went around killing like it was a game. "You've seen those men! If you drink that, I—" My voice got caught in my throat. What would I do if he drank that? End his life before he harmed anyone?

"I..." Souji trailed off, staring at the shiny substance in a daze. I could tell that he was seriously considering it, and I knew I had to do something fast—something to distract him.

"Kaoru!" I jerked my head to glare at the face so alike of Chizuru's. "Why are you doing this!? If you're really Chizuru's brother and you really care for her, why!?" If Chizuru was in my shoes, I knew she would definitely opposed to this.

Suddenly, the doors broke down, crashing onto the wooden floor loudly. Four humans—no, four furies—had burst into the room, their red eyes reflecting off the moonlight menacingly. The abrupt entrance didn't frighten Kaoru, and Souji hissed something under his breath, his hands immediately going for his sword at his hip. Instead of unsheathing it like he usually did, the sword clattered to the floor.

"This..is all I am now...Okita Souji, the captain of the Shinsengumi's first division."

I had never seen such a devastating expression on him before—it made my heart squeezed painfully. The emotions passed his face, and I knew he felt powerless. Sad that he could no longer protect the Shinsengumi like before. Sad that he might never step into the battlefield, fighting all just for the sake of his beloved Shinsengumi.

I had to do something. I glared at the grinning furies, feeling my temples burn in pain. It was as if my blood vessels and nerves had burst in my head, and I couldn't help but to groan. One of the furies were flung out of the room, but he got up as soon as he landed. It seemed that I had completely exhausted my powers when I lost my control.

"Damn it...!" I concentrated with all my might and my knees buckled due to the intense pain. My eyes teared up, but I bit my lip to keep myself from screaming. My vision blurred, and I put my hands out to catch my fall. When I was steady again, I noticed that bottle in Souji's hand.

In a second I was up, grabbing onto the bottle desperately. "Are you an idiot!?" I hissed. "If you drink this, there will be no turning back!" Souji didn't reply, but took a glimpse at the furies.

"Let go," Souji spoke so quietly I thought it was my imagination. I shook my head stubbornly, my hands around his tightening. Meeting his determined yet desperate eyes, I came to a conclusion. He wasn't going to let me stop him any moment—he was going to push me away, like those previous times. This time, however, I wasn't about to allow that.

I mustered the remaining succubus powers I had left and pushed him away. Souji let out a groan as he slammed into the wall, and fortunately he let go off the bottle in his hands out of shock. I looked down at my palm—there it was, its cold touch against my skin. The blood-red liquid seemed as if it was challenging me. I smiled bitterly at it.

Chizuru's father was the one who made this, and he was the one who gave Kaoru the bottle. Kaoru wanted to give this substance to Souji. It really suspicious to me, and I had a guess why Kaoru wanted Souji to drink it.

My grip around the bottle tightened, and I thought that it might break under my strength. I glared at Kaoru, who looked slightly amused at my reaction.

"If you think you win this, you're wrong, scumbag," I growled, and glanced at Souji. He was trying to get up from the floor, clutching at his arm. I must had hurt his arm pretty badly with that throw—the look on his face was painful.

Kaoru chuckled. "You're going to run away with that bottle? Koudou-san still has plenty of them," he pointed out. "Even if you vanish with that bottle, I still—"

I laughed. "I'm not that stupid." I stared at the liquid for a moment, mesmerized with its beautiful but deadly colour. "Well, maybe I am stupid for doing something like this."

Kaoru's smug expression dropped. "You—you're not going to—it might be poisonous to you!"

It was weird. I felt as if everything didn't matter to me anymore—everything except for the wellbeing of Okita Souji. I raised the bottle to his face and shook it. "If I die, there's a twenty-percent chance for me to return home." I brought the bottle to my lips and tilted my head back swiftly.

The burning liquid went down my throat before I felt it. It hurt. Every pore of my body burnt like it was on fire, and it had no sign of stopping anytime. I heard someone screaming in agony before I realized it was me. My vision turned so bright everything was white, and the pain was slowly fading away. I must be either losing consciousness or dying soon.

If I died, I didn't need to feel anymore.

If I died...everything would be normal again.

A small familiar voice resonated in my head. "If you die, Yukimura Chizuru will also die."

If I died, Yukimura Chizuru would die.

"It's all for the best," I told the voice. "I'm sure Chizuru will understand."

"What about Okita Souji?" The voice prompted. "Will he ever understand?"

"No, he probably would never," I said. "But I don't need him to understand the reason behind my actions."

"You don't want him to understand?"

I paused. "I don't need him to understand. He just has to know that I love him."

The voice sounded like he—or she—was shaking his or her head. "If you give up now, you'll never return. You will be going to the netherworld."

I laughed without humour. "Seems like that twenty-percent gamble was a failure. It's fine, really." I shrugged. "I don't have any reason to stay behind."

There was silence before the voice spoke again.

"What if he wants you to stay?"

.cBa7Lk

*Bangs head on floor while kneeling*

I wish I could describe how apologetic I am for not updating this story, but I'm beyond speechless at how much of an imbecile I am...

I am sorry.

Please do enjoy the story though.



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