Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 31
The White Queen stopped dead in her tracks, her Noppera-bō face facing the floor. Unable to speak, she brushed aside the measuring worm-like creatures, rose up, and made her way over to it.
Where she turned her face, the crushed and mangled remains of the White Knight’s armor… were lying there. Black liquid was spilling down from the cracks in the armor. Perhaps he was on the verge of death, but he already seemed to be already breathing his last breath.
“White Knight…?” The White Queen mumbled and dropped on her knees, grasping the White Knight’s remnants. She was no less than the size of the massive White Knight, but she was a large figure as well. Her height was likely to be over two meters. Her white dress was smeared with the black blood of the White Knight.
The White Queen remained speechless, stunned, apparently unable to do anything but utter a question mark. She stared at his helmet for a few moments, as if to validate the White Knight’s lack of reaction, and eventually began to sob, clutching it to her chest.
From the corner of the wall, Humpty Dumpty peeked out and grew silent. Then as he stepped out, the White Queen’s sobs diminished.
“Is he done for…?”
With a jerk, she raised her head and turned her head to face Humpty.
“That’s impossible!” With a piercing scream, the White Queen stood up, still embracing the White Knight’s helmet. “The rebirth should begin any moment now! Do not underestimate the White Knight…”
“Come to your senses, White,” Humpty remarked quietly. The White Queen stopped speaking and looked down.
“The knight is finished. If you don’t acknowledge that fact, who will?”
The egg monster stepped out and approached the crumbling remains of the White Knight. He then rubbed the edge of the armor with his fingers and sniffed the smell with his nose.
“That’s the smell on the Hatter’s corpse. He was hunted by that Alice I fought.”
A grinding sound emanated from the White Queen’s head.
She approached Humpty with her enormous figure, almost draping over him. Like a balloon, her upper torso inflated up with her dress and began to grow, bobbing and rippling. Long, blade-like nails grew from her white fingers. The place where her mouth would meet her Noppera-bō face cracked open. From within, uncountable thorns resembling shark’s teeth peeked out.
“Lead the way, Humpty…”
“I’ll turn that Alice into minced meat and squeeze the blood out of her… You don’t object to that, do you…?”
“… Okay. I will guide you to Alice’s location from the lingering scent. After that, you are free to do as you please.” Humpty stated and passed by the White Queen, who had shifted into a different form as if it was no big deal. In his hand, he held the bottle from which the White Knight had collected Iberis’ blood. Seemingly oblivious, the White Queen turned her face to the ceiling, opened her gaping mouth wide, and let out a screeching roar. Humpty, looking sideways at her, twisted the edge of his mouth into a grin.
After all, that Bandersnatch is… it’s dangerous to confront it head-on. Fighting is for single-celled idiots. I’ll just salvage what I can afford to…
Muttering softly in his heart, he put the bottle away in his pocket.
Alice and Iberis were lying next to each other on a bed in the intensive care unit. There were many doctors in surgical suits moving around them. Oxygen inhalers were attached to their mouths; their bare chest wounds were stitched up; ointment and bandages were applied and wrapped everywhere.
They seemed to be unconscious. Jack, on crutches, was watching them through the glass. Then Philrain approached him, with her right hand hanging from a triangular bandage. In one hand, she held a cup filled with a sugary scented liquid.
“Master Jack, even if you stay there forever, Alice and the rest won’t be awake for the time being.”
“Ah… yeah. But…”
Jack stammered and fell silent, then turned his body towards her.
“I’ve brought you something to drink. I thought you might be better off resting. Let me watch after both of them.”
“Are you okay yourself as well?”
Philrain smiled as she handed Jack a cup of cocoa. “I’m fine. I’ve been training for a long time, even though I look like this!”
“… You’re strong…”
She was rendered silent when she heard Jack’s mumbled response.
“Even you, Alice, and that girl… named Iberis are strong. It’s not merely the ability to see Nightmare. Everything and anything that you can’t see, you’re going to face them.”
“I’m powerless… There was nothing I could do. Nothing.”
Staring at the surface of the cocoa, Jack muttered quietly and sipped his cup. Philrain studied Jack briefly, then drew a small medicine box from her pocket and offered it to him.
“Are you prepared to see the nightmare?”
Jack raised his head and glanced at Philrain.
“It’s a cure for collapse disease that’s being developed in this shelter. It works by keeping our body’s composition from collapsing.”
“What it is powered by is the factor of the cell that is disintegrating. By matching the wavelengths of the same system, we are able to suppress it. When taken by a normal human, instead of suffering from collapse disease, they become just like us.”
Accepting the medicine box, Jack eyed Philrain in amazement.
“I… can become like one of the… priestesses things?”
“The decision is yours to make. All I can tell you is that if anything, ‘you shouldn’t do it’… If this continues, you will certainly be caught up in it and end up dead. Before that happens, I thought it would be better to be the one who can touch the Nightmare…”
“Frankly speaking, I’m… calculating for now. Sorry…”
Philrain mumbled with downcast eyes. Jack contemplated for a moment, but eventually opened the small box with one hand and stared at the tablet inside.
“My family was killed by Nightmare.”
“They ripped their flesh before my eyes and twisted their necks to death. There was nothing I could do. I could only escape.”
Setting the cup down in the hole of the wall, he picked up the tablet with his fingers. Then he put it in his mouth and swallowed it.
“Let me engage in combat too.”
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