[summary] No.6 ~ 3128
Author/Circle: Kino Hinoki, Asano Atsuko
Chapter 31 opens with Inukashi releasing a barage of bullets and curses upon the guards who’ve appeared to attack them, taking out one of Inukashi’s dogs already–but it’s not enough, and the audio canon whirs to life, powering up.
‘Don’t tell me…this is it? This is the end? I’m going to die here? Seriously?! You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! This isn’t what you promised, Nezumi! What do I do?! Do something–do something, Nezumi!’
But before the machine can fire, the lights go out and buzzers and alarms start going off, alerting the guards to an emergency on Level 5 and issuing evacuation orders. Inukashi uses the confusion to open fire, and with the help of the dogs, the guards are chased off.
‘Warm…so warm… I’m still alive…’
Rikiga crawls out of his hiding place, to Inukashi’s jeering, but they’re both alive and the guards are gone, and that’s what matters. Alarms continue to blare, and Inukashi realizes it must be Nezumi’s and Shion’s doing. Rikiga’s a bit worried that the whole structure will collapse; there’s said to be gold bullion hidden beneath the facility and it’ll be quite a task to dig up if it collapses.
Inukashi is dubious though–didn’t Rikiga get that information from his prostitutes? Inukashi reflects that if they had perhaps been like them and enamored of a certain beautiful actor by the name of Eve who whispered false information into their ears, they might believe it too…
Rikiga balks–but…why would Eve ever do something like that? Inukashi returns flatly that it was of course to light a fire under Rikiga’s ass.
Rikiga turns the question back on Inukashi here: why did they come along, then? Putting their life in danger…it’s not like them. If Inukashi knew all along Eve had planted the information about the gold nuggets, why?
Inukashi doesn’t even really know why, they admit. But something they’d always thought was indestructable…was going to be destroyed. A situation they’d thought would never change was going to do so. And that was just about as awesome as finding a mountain of gold bullion.
When Rikiga is now asked what he plans to do, since he knows the truth, his reply is unexpected:
“I’ll wait. Like a faithful dog.” Aaaand if he has the chance, he can maybe loot the structure too.
Inukashi realizes here that Rikiga also trusts that Nezumi and Shion will make it back alive. Soon.
Nezumi slumps, dead weight, into Shion’s arms, as a bullet rips through him. Shion’s entire body trembles as he cradles Nezumi against his chest.
The man who shot him leers, readying another shot, before he’s blasted from his post by an explosion. Shion just sits where he is, clinging tight to Nezumi until the dust settles, before lifting them both up. The hygeine management ward is just further in–there should be an examination room there.
But Nezumi is heavy and not moving–and Shion trips, finding his own hand covered in Nezumi’s blood as Nezumi lies sprawled on the floor.
Shion begins shouting, screaming for Nezumi to respond to him.
But to no avail–Nezumi isn’t moving, isn’t responding, and tears well up in Shion’s eyes.
But he hasn’t lost himself completely yet–he knows, in the back of his mind, he has to stay calm. But he can’t move, it’s like he’s frozen, and he just continues quietly begging Nezumi to open his eyes.
Then…he hears a voice.
/You idiot!/ it berates, cursing him as a stupid, useless idiot, a coward.
/You can’t even protect the person most precious to you? All you can do is sit there crying, not even trying to save him? What’ve you spent all this time at Nezumi’s side for> then? Are you still the same milksop elite you were when you lived in No.6?/
/Are you all right like this, Shion? Are you fine…with losing Nezumi?/
He gathers himself together and leans down–Nezumi is breathing, and he has a pulse. He can be saved. He dashes over to the medicine cabinet, gathering everything from antiseptic to gauze to foreceps. He has to stay calm–this is no time to panic.
He begins to cut away Nezumi’s clothes around his wound, all the while speaking to Nezumi to keep him conscious, praying that Nezumi can hear him. Nezumi pulled him back before–this time…Shion will be the one to bring Nezumi back. By force if he has to.
He’s pondering just how long Nezumi has with his stopgap treatment–he won’t make it if he doesn’t receive proper treatment within 2 hours likely–when Nezumi’s eyes slowly open. He’s weak and confused–he can’t move his body, but Shion urges him to rest, it’ll be okay, Shion will carry him.
And so Shion does–through fire and smoke and explosion, he carries Nezumi’s weak, broken body, but there’s no way out that he can see, until Nezumi, through effort, reminds him of the dust chute escape route.
He urges Shion to run–alone.
They can’t make it together, Shion has to leave him behind. Shion is confused–what’s he talking about?
“SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU IDIOT!” Shion fires back, furious. He refuses–he’s going to protect Nezumi, going to see them both home safely.
He drags Nezumi along, searching for the dust chute, and finally locates it, roughly kicking aside the dead guard whose body leans against it as he pries the door open. It’s smoky and dusty and almost too much to bear, and as Shion struggles for the strength to get them both over this last hurdle, he recalls a night he and Nezumi shared back in West Block.
He’d asked Nezumi to recite lines from Macbeth–Act 5 scene 5, when Macbeth learns of the death of his wife. Shion had wanted so desperately to hear Nezumi recive those lines, even though he cannot explain why. Nezumi had had no reason to refuse and so obliged.
Shion had simply wanted to hear Nezumi’s voice, to lose himself in it.
And listening to the words of a man facing his own destruction, he’d felt uplifted, at peace.
‘Nezumi…we’re going back now.’
‘Back to that room.’
Inukashi senses something’s up when one of the mice starts going wild–has something happened to Nezumi? The mouse scampers over to the end of a chute, chittering at it, and Inukashi immediately realizes what’s about to happen, dragging Rikiga over to help.
Together, they pile up mattresses to catch Nezumi and Shion, but Rikiga is dubious–those two are seriously going to come crawling out of a dust chute? Inukashi ignores him, though, silently commanding Nezumi and Shion to come back to them, praying desperately, and after a tense moment when little Tsukiyo drops out of the chute…
…a bloody, unconscious Nezumi and Shion follow.
To be continued…