Elsa and Meili
The Assassin Sister's Dark Diary, Kill 4
In front of the charred remains of the mansion stood alone a girl with her hair in a braid.
The ashen air blew through her blue hair as her gaze swept across the blackened ruins. She wasn’t looking for anything; her eyes just wandered around aimlessly.
“…Ya ain’t gonna find anything searchin’ like that.”
A voice called out from behind the girl. The voice was rough, but contained a trace of concern. Because of that, the girl didn’t turn around. She simply relaxed her lips. That concern was laughable to her.
After all, the girl and the owner of the voice were recently involved in a battle to the death. It had only been a day since the battle, yet the person was already showing concern.
“…Hey, don’t even think about doin’ anything stupid. Try anything and my fangs will rip right through ya, child or not.”
“I think that’s a big bluff, coming from you.”
“Mister, you’re kind to women and children, aren’t youuu? That’s why I believe you wouldn’t even think of being merciless to a girl like me.”
The boy bared his fangs at her in dissatisfaction. Whether it was because she was correct, or because it was pointless to argue, or possibly neither.
Meili watched as the boy struggled to make up his mind and found it endearing.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to do anything. It takes time to gather witchbeasts, and if I called for them, you’d kill me instantly.”
“Heh, don’t “Legend of Alosya’ me, like ya understand everything.”
“Despite your attitude, you’re the one that’s here with meee.”
“That’s because there’s no one I trust to watch ya besides my amazin’ self.”
Revealing his lack of allies and strength, the boy Garfiel, kicked the ground with crossed arms and squatted in the scorched remains of a garden.
And like the girl he looked towards the burnt ruins of Roswaal’s former mansion. Spotting a quick flash of emotion in his jade eyes, the girl smiled sweetly and giggled.
“Mr. Tiger, you look really uncomfortableee.”
“That’s because… Dammit, ya already know. Stupid kid.”
“That’s mean. And besides, you and I aren’t that different in age. That’s what the man with scary eyes said.”
“Dammit Captain, what’re ya doin’, talkin’ with a captured enemy?” he muttered to himself.
Sitting down on a patch of burnt grass, Garfiel made a bitter face. In his mind he saw the black-haired boy’s carefree face, while with his eyes he saw the girl’s detestable smile.
That was that, then.
“…The agreement was to let ya see this.”
“Yes, that’s riiight.”
“So? Do ya feel any better doin’ this?”
The boy’s concern lingered, though masked by his agitated words. At those blunt yet touching feelings the girl simply pursed her lips again. “Who knooows?” she murmured.
She realized after saying those words that she might have subconsciously tried to imitate her sister. And so Meili Portroute, a sentimental girl, smiled and closed her eyes. Within the charred ruins, the person she was looking for was nowhere to be found.
Although she should’ve known that from the beginning.
“Elsa, are you immortal?” Meili asked, resting her elbows on her knees with her hands on her cheeks.
In response, the listener furrowed their eyebrows as they wiped blood off their cheek. “That’s quite a question to ask suddenly.”
“I don’t think it’s that sudden. I mean, you were surrounded, covered in blood, and stabbed with a spear. And yet you seem fine.”
Meili pointed towards the other girl’s stomach, where there was quite literally a spear sticking out. It had entered through her stomach and made it all the way through, leaving the end to poke out her back. Any internal organs in the way had been pierced, and the amount of blood pouring out looked particularly deadly. Anyone could tell that it was a lethal wound.
And yet, despite receiving such a wound, the black-haired girl seemed almost calm… No, she wasn’t quite calm. Her cheeks had flushed and her breathing heightened.
She felt every moment of pain and every drop of blood. But this excited Elsa.
“That’s unsanitary,” Meili remarked.
“Oh, that’s harsh coming from someone who surrounds themselves with witchbeasts all the time.”
“I make sure that they clean themselves. And this isn’t about the cleanliness of the body, but of the mind… Hurry up and pull that out! It hurts just looking at it.”
Elsa complied with a grimacing Meili and pulled out the spear from her stomach. The wet, sloppy sound echoed as Meili looked around their blood-stained surroundings.
In the dark, dirty shack there were the unidentifiable remains of about twenty bodies scattered all over the room.
That day, Meili and Elsa had gone on a job together to eliminate some people for reasons unknown. Thus the sea of blood around them.
Meili was to be the rear-guard, while creating the rivers of blood was Elsa’s job. Those were the roles they’d always stuck with. Considering the two of them, it was the obvious choice.
“I barely know anything about you, Elsa, despite working together like thiiis.”
“I wasn’t hiding it. If you ask then I’ll answer.”
“Then I’ll ask. How has that stomach wound already healed?”
Elsa stood in front of Meili, having obeyed and pulled the spear from her abdomen. Rubbing her bloody hands across it, there was no wound, just pure, soft, white skin.
“That’s just unnatural.”
“True, I’ll admit that it’s not normal. This is…the result of a curse.”
“Curse?” Meili echoed.
“There are countries that would try and claim that it’s a blessing, though.”
Elsa’s voice was uncharacteristically harsh as she rubbed the spot where the wound would have been. Meili realized that this was a topic Elsa didn’t enjoy discussing.
She didn’t want to cause Elsa any further pain, but she simply couldn’t hide her curiosity.
“So it could be called a blessing or a curse. Does that mean you were born with it?”
“No, I wasn’t. When I was about your age, I still had a normal human body. But after I was caught stealing back in my home country, I was sold as a slave.”
“The person who bought me was a bit of a strange one. He didn’t have much interest in girls…but the biggest issue was his skill in curse arts.”
At this, Meili looked down behind her eyelashes at the term. As a Witchbeast User, many witchbeasts used techniques similar to curse arts. Curse arts, however, were techniques fundamentally designed to end a person’s life.
It was difficult to associate them with Elsa’s undying body.
“In Gusteko, there’s a curse art called the curse doll. Have you heard of it?”
Meili shook her head at the unknown term.
“Simply put, it’s a curse art designed to harm a person. You choose the target you want to kill, then you carve the curse into the one who will be the curse doll. Once you activate that curse, the person who became the doll is unable to die until the target is killed. They’ll be an undying doll.”
“…Isn’t that something amazing? I mean, you can create a bunch of undying people. That would put us out of a job,” Meili commented.
“Yes, that’s true. But there’s no curse art that is that convenient.”
Elsa smiled somberly at Meili’s innocent brutality.
“First, the person who becomes the curse doll loses all sense of self and can only act in ways that help it kill the target. Second, once the target has been killed, then the curse doll dies.”
“Ahh, then they wouldn’t be a good paaawn…huh? But, wait…”
Meili pursed her lips as a strange contradiction came forth from Elsa’s explanation. According to Elsa’s story, she was one of these curse dolls. But also according to that explanation, she should have no self and only act to kill a target.
“But you can talk normally, Elsa… Or is it because you’re insane? That would make sense.”
“It hurts if you think that makes sense… I’m…an exception to a curse doll.”
“What do you mean?”
“I told you. Whoever bought me was eccentric and had a talent for curse arts.”
Elsa didn’t want to speak more of her former “owner,” so she cut off the explanation there. She played with her braid as she continued, “There are others like me with undying bodies. And those girls tried several different methods to kill themselves… They stabbed their hearts with stakes, they drained other people’s blood. People started calling them vampires.”
“An undying curse doll…”
Meili felt a chill upon hearing those words. She had asked ‘Are you immortal?’ Elsa responded that she was unable to die. It was just a slight difference in words, but Meili felt like there was meaning behind her choice of words.
“Do you also want to die? Like those other girls, Elsa?”
She had to ask that question. Elsa had been slashed with swords, stabbed with spears, burned her insides. Perhaps she just wanted to die like a normal person.
At Meili’s question, Elsa just looked confused. “Why?” she asked, tilting her head.
“That’s what you meant, wasnt it?”
“Really? Then I’m afraid you’re mistaken. I have no wish to die. I might not want to live as long as those ‘vampires’ though… Mostly though, this body has its own many advantages.”
“The smell of blood, torn flesh, of insides, makes me feel alive. And this body gives me lots of opportunities to feel that. I’m happy with this body.” Smiling gently, Elsa dropped the spear she had been leaning on, and walked towards the sitting Meili. “That’s why you don’t need to look so worried.”
“Worried? Me? For you?”
“Yes. When you asked if I wanted to die, you looked so sad. You really are a lonely girl, Meili.”
“D-Don’t say such stupid thiiings!” Meili shouted, turning red as Elsa patted her head.
Part of it was at being called lonely, but it was also because Elsa’s hand was covered in blood and messing up her hair. That was something that Elsa never learned to be mindful of.
“Come on, you’ll get my hair dirty. Your hair is a mess, too… Ah! How could you leave it like that? Unbelievable!”
Meili grabbed Elsa’s braid that had come loose in the fighting. She had done the braid just before they started work so that they would match.
It was hard to believe that someone with such a proper appearance could care so little about their looks.
“Even if your wounds heal, a sloppy appearance won’t get fixed so easily. Make sure you take care of iiit.”
“Yeah, but, you know. Since you’re always with me, you can worry about it. That way I can focus more on the job at hand.”
“Don’t try to play this off!”
Trying to braid hair in such a bloodstained environment was next to impossible. Especially since it was after a job. Elsa’s wounds had healed so they should have been focusing on leaving.
Standing up, Meili grabbed Elsa’s hand and started walking. If she didn’t, then her partner would just end walking into a crowd of people.
That was all there was to it. There was no deeper meaning in holding hands.
“You need to stay focuseeed. If you don’t, then I’ll end up dying before you with your undying body.”
Those words, spoken without facing each other, were meant to be half-comeback and half-teasing. And for a moment, Elsa’s eyes went wide before returning to her usual smile.
“Well, who knows.”
“Stupid Elsa… I was supposed to die fiiirst.” She recalled the exchange while pushing back the pain from her wounds.
Deep within the burnt ruins of Roswaal Manor, Elsa had been crushed and turned to ash by the flames.
As far as Meili knew, Elsa had survived being stabbed, having her neck broken, and having her heart crushed. But she had yet to be turned to ash. Elsa had wished for a place to die, not that she was aware of it herself.
To feel alive in the death of others meant that you lost the sense of being alive yourself. That’s what she thought now.
Thinking along those lines, that would mean that Elsa dying here was a blessing for her. At the very least, she wasn’t the type of person to cry and struggle when faced with her death.
“Mr. Tiger, we’re done. Thank you. I’m satisfied now.”
Rather than become a captive, Meili had come to the ruins to burn Elsa’s final resting place into her memory. That was her duty as Elsa’s sister in arms.
That much had been done. And so the next step was…
“Whatever, I don’t care.” Sitting in the burnt garden, Garfiel kept eyeing Meili with a somewhat irritated expression. “If you wanna cry, I ain’t gonna stop ya.”
Taken aback by such blunt words, Meili tried to smile in response. Only she couldn’t. Finding a burning sensation in her eyes, she quickly wiped them and looked up at the sky.
And so, with her face hidden, she opened her mouth towards the sky. Garfiel said nothing as the emotions came pouring forth from her lips. And then quietly, the two mourned the black-haired girl in that blackened garden.
—And the two would never again speak of what happened that day.