(AN: I’m a bit distracted with Spider-man~ >.> curse you good games.)
A month had passed by peacefully since then. Although they had been wary of further demon attacks, so far nothing had happened.
Over the course of that month, a number of things had happened. Hayate had received a rather ridiculous amount of proposals for arranged marriage meetings from the other families. There were also more from supposedly unrelated families, but from simple investigations, those families were also related to the Demon Hunters. Hatsuko developed quite a bit of stress from this trying to handle it all carefully.
It’s enough to say, Hayate was forced to do a bit of modeling with her sister more than once a week for the sake of her mother’s stress.
While this had happened, Hayate herself was training under her grandfather every afternoon after school. After being given her mother’s katana Hikaru as her second katana, she was learning how to dual-wield since she was omnidextrous. The second katana allowed a defense that she lacked as she fought too recklessly, something she was scolded about recently.
While during her training, she was also conditioning her body to handle her god-like speed. This had proven to be much more difficult than she had thought. Her grandfather’s training regime had been the hardest it’s ever been for her.
She was diligent in the training for that month. Until she collapsed with a fever at school.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
She woke up to an unfamiliar ceiling.
She looked around uneasily as she felt a pleasant cold feeling on her forehead. There was a cold wet towel there.
“You’re awake? Are you okay, Hayate?”
She felt her head hurting a moment as Chiaki looked at her.
“You collapsed suddenly during class, are you okay?”
There was a worried look on her friend’s face, she tried to think of the cause but came upon the answer rather quickly.
“I…will be fine. I think I overexerted myself with training.”
“The thing you said you would come home late every day?”
“Yes…especially on Sunday’s where I am training for a full day.”
“The nurse says you have a bad cold. You should’ve been resting at least a bit.”
She heard a term applied to her and thought it was some strange thing. She never had been sick before or so she was told.
“Hayate…why are you trying so hard?”
She was asked a question that she didn’t expect. She was a bit unsure how to answer her friend, whether to honestly talk about it or just keep it secret like before.
“I…heard from Fuumi-san. You were a little more selfish with yourself when you two were kids.”
…Fuumi. Why did you tell her about my past for? She couldn’t believe her childhood friend had revealed something from her past. Though in the last few weeks, it seemed the two had gotten along well.
“What do you know, Chiaki?”
“That the you now is different from the you as a kid. Something about a rite that changed you.”
“So that much. Do you…really want to know?”
“Are we alone?”
“Yeah, it’s after school, so no one is around. The nurse also left after I said I would look after you.”
“Then I’ll start from the beginning–“
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
“As you know, my family’s duty is to exterminate demons. It has been our duty ever since the age of the samurai. But we were an exorcist family, we did not learn our sword art until later when my predecessors became actual demon hunters.
And many, many years would pass as my family did their duty over and over. And then it became my turn to do my duty. A duty now hidden in shadows and night, a secret duty that cannot be revealed to the public.”
“But I know about it.”
“That was because you were attacked. And also my friend, you are a special exception. Back onto the subject, as it was my turn to soon take over. The person I am today differs from who I had been. The rite changed all of that. This all began before my twelfth birthday–“
When I was a young child, I was usually happy, always running around the mansion since it was the only place I knew. Fuumi was my playmate, my childhood friend, bodyguard and servant. It was a rather weird complicated relationship. She would always play with me, well, I usually forced her to since I had no one else to play with.
Outside of our training and studying, she was always there. She doesn’t know this, but despite being good at studying, I did not train as seriously as her. If we were going by pure skill with no abilities or powers, Fuumi would win easily against me. I, at that time, did not care much for training against demons.
Despite being told over and over the importance of demon hunting, I had never seen a demon. So I never truly believed everything my mother and grandfather had told me about. Around this time, my uncle Shiro had shown me some movies and books. At first, nothing had really interested me until he showed me this one mystery movie.
It was filled with such a fantastic mystery. The lead in the movie was a gruff detective who was extremely intelligent and was able to solve it through impeccable deduction. I could not solve it myself, however I was truly enjoying it. Uncle Shiro noticed this and brought me many movies and many more books of the detective mystery type.
Between my duty to train as the next demon hunter of my family and the next detective mystery. I gravitated heavily towards the latter. Even with mother and grandfather wanting me to take it more seriously, I continued this until I turned twelve.
By that time I had reached the appropriate age for the rite, my family considered my level of training to be sufficient enough for a simple beast-like demon to slay. They still displayed a bit of disappointment that I did not train seriously enough.
After a purification ritual and a few words about how to do a demon hunt, my rite commenced with me hunting alone. The ritual itself, I did not know at the time, was a deadly ritual that had very specific rules. My family could not interfere, those of the DHCA who had been there as observers would not interfere either. I would be hunting by myself.
I do not remember much tension as I walked towards the forest with my katana in hand. My family spoke to me about a beast-like demon that was close to mindless as it was trapped inside for the sake of my rite.
As I got closer to the edge of the forest, a roaring sound happened behind me. Fuumi also yelled my name in panic.
I turned around quickly to see. I saw Fuumi had ran towards me for some reason, there was clearly panic on her face as she came towards me. Where was the demon? I had thought then, I did not see it when I had turned around. I only saw Fuumi, my family, and the DHCA members.
As I questioned this, a large black being appeared behind Fuumi. I did not even have time to do anything, in the instant it had appeared, it swung its claw so quickly. With one swipe, Fuumi…had been instantly killed, her body was crudely cut to large pieces. Seeing all the blood, the insides, even the shocked look on Fuumi’s face. That had been so cruelly engraved into my mind.
A feeling I had never felt before had taken over completely. My legs gave away as I choked on the scream that should have come. Seeing Fuumi dead before me had drained any strength I had.
That black being, that demon looked at me with its red eyes, and for a moment I thought it was sneering at me. It turned around as if it had been disinterested in me and looked towards my family. My mother and grandfather had drawn their katana.
They will help! I thought in hope, my mother and grandfather were the strongest people I knew. They were so skilled. As I looked at them, the demon disappeared before my eyes. What?
My eyes focused on where it had been but I could not find it. I looked towards my family, only to see my mother impaled by its large black claw, my grandfather crushed underneath its foot. They were already dead when I had looked. I could feel warm tears down my cheeks. My urge to scream grew more but nothing came out.
My father covered for my grandmother in vain as the two of them were both crudely cut in half before my eyes. My family, and Fuumi had been killed. It had finally sunken in as I looked at the thing that took them away. Another emotion entered me, one that burned my mind, the pain in my chest grew more.
Somehow my mind still worked partially. I wanted to be faster than it. I wanted it so badly to kill that thing. To KILL that thing. To make it pay. A thousand times, no, a million times over.
This was how one of my techniques was born. My desire was granted as I appeared suddenly before it. I swung my katana and took out its leg. Then again, I appeared in the air and swung once more, taking its head.
I do not remember how I had done it, my body simply remembered after that and I could use it at will. But the look on its face when I saw just the head staring at me. I hated it. It had killed those dear to me. I used my katana to stab it. And stabbed it once, twice, thrice, over and over again.
I kept stabbing it over and over. And yet my anger, my hatred never cooled down.
Fuumi’s voice rang in my ear. I could not believe my ears, and it had caused me to stop. I looked and saw her looking at me in worry. She was whole and healthy.
I was in disbelief seeing her there. I turned to look at where my family was and they standing there, completely unharmed. Looking at me with a mixture of expressions.
What is going on?
I wondered while I stood there. My face was wet with something warm. My hand touched it and saw it was some kind of black like liquid. I turned to look and saw a headless corpse of some large black thing and it was also missing a leg. I looked some more and saw the black head before my feet, no, it was beyond recognition at this point.
I wanted to know what had happened but I blacked out.
Time would pass and I was told I had passed my rite. I had been hospitalized due to injuries of the technique that was born from the rite. Because my body was not used to it, I was suffering from a kind of serious backlash.
Although they wanted to know what had happened to me. I refused to say anything. I, back then, refused to reveal what I had seen and what I felt. I refused to let anyone know about this.
After that, I made my decision. While I aspired to be a detective, I would dedicate much to slaying demons as a demon hunter. I swore that I would take everything seriously, to train harder and harder so nothing happened again. My family noticed my change, thinking it was good, or so I believed.
“Ever since then until my sixteenth birthday. I have dedicated myself to this path. Maybe because you were almost killed earlier, maybe you can understand why. I do not want to see anyone I care for hurt. Not by them. Especially them, I will kill them to protect my family, and my friends, even at the cost of my own life.”
[Hayate’s POV End]
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“So you see, I cannot take it lightly like I did as a child. I have to be more serious, I have to become stronger.”
Chiaki looked down, her bangs covered her eyes for a moment. Her mouth formed a thin line.
“Chiaki, do not wor–“
“IDIOT! STUPID! Why are you doing it alone?!”
“You’re pushing yourself too hard! If you end up like this all the time, you won’t be able to help anyone! Think properly, stupid Hayate!”
“No ‘Buts!’ What’s your answer?!”
“H-How can I rely on others? I need to be able to do it alone–“
“No, you don’t! STUPID!”
“Calling me stupid is a bit–“
“Shut up! No back talk!”
Hayate got up a little, trying to figure out how to calm her angry friend. When she reached out, Chiaki hugged her instead, very tightly to the point where it hurt.
“I can’t do anything but rely on you. But…I want to do something for you too. How could I ever be happy if you died protecting me?”
“I really am.”
“Will you not…forgive me?”
“Then don’t do stupid things.”
“Try harder, stupid.”
The sun was setting as she also finally hugged her friend.
“I am really sorry, Chiaki.”
“You better be, stupid.”
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