Raishin ripped the door open with enough force to tear it.
After entering the reception hall of the estate, that’s when he saw it. If he had to put it into words, then it would have been best described as hell.
Even amidst the sea of fire, it was obvious. The choking stench of blood.
The fearsome amount of blood everywhere.
Piled up in heaps, the countless number of corpses.
A larger number of those were the remnants of automata. Crushed, broken, and scattered everywhere, their frameworks twisted, and their broken gears strewn about. Coupled with the large holes in the wall and the torn tatami flooring, they told the story of the fierce battle that had occurred here.
And finally, there was a shadow standing in the middle of the corpses.
It was as though it was a ghost, or a demon.
It kicked away a body that was at its feet.
The crown of his skull had been split and his countenance had changed, but there was no mistaking it, it was the head of the Akabane clan.
Surrounding his father were the bodies of his other relatives. His uncles, aunts and his cousins. All bearing the name of Akabane, and all master puppeteers in their own right.
His head felt like it was burning up as he thought. What was this? Am I having a nightmare?
It didn’t feel real.
However, the heat and the smell assaulted him, telling him to face reality.
Slowly, he turned to face the thing in front of him he had been intentionally keeping out of his sight.
He wanted to believe that it was something he had mistakenly saw, or a fear induced hallucination.
But that thing was still there.
On the opposite side of the shadow, something that could be called an altar had been erected, and something had been put to rest there, and there it lay silently.
The first thought that came to mind was moulting.
If you cut open a body vertically and emptied the insides, then this should be what it would look like, right?
What was on the altar was a body that had its insides removed.
You couldn’t call it just skin because it still had plenty of flesh attached—
And it was too empty to be called a corpse, making it a decidedly warped existence.
From the clothes and the body size, as well as the skin and limbs, he knew all too well whose corpse this was.
What was in front of him was something that was once his sister.
Unable to bear it, a cry of anguish and despair burst forth from Raishin’s throat.
In response, the older brother silently looked down upon the younger with nothing but an icy gaze of steel.