As I expected, the Tiger is standing right in front of Warren Villa, where Senjougahara Hitagi and her father lived nyah. I was planning on going up onto a roof or something right away and looking over the entire town just in case I was wrong — though I was certain that wasn’t the case.
It’s no mystery to me.
After all, me and the Tiger, we used to be one and the same nyah.
After all, we’re the same, born from the same place nyah.
“Yo, Tiger — ”
Just a greeting nyah.
” — I’m here to bring you back. Let’s go home together.”
But, as I also expected, the Tiger isn’t answering me at all.
It just wordlessly glared at me nyah.
Now that we’re actually facing each other, it strikes me again just how incredibly huge this tiger, this living creature is. Or rather, this monster — a real tiger can’t be this gigantic nyah.
How should I put it? It’s like I just can’t grasp its scale.
I’m drawing from the wrong fairy tale here, but I get the feeling that slipping into its mouth like Tom Thumb and beating my way out from the inside would be the right way to exterminate it.
Nyah, maybe if I really were trying to exterminate it.
But that’s not what I’m here for nyah.
`Out of my way.`
After keeping terribly silent for a while, the Tiger finally said this.
`I am going to burn that over there. You are in my way.`
I just, nyah — laughed.
It wasn’t really a strained laugh, no, I just couldn’t hold it in nyah.
I wonder why; it looks gigantic, and I can just feel the intimidation coming off it, so the words just now felt very serious — and the last time I met it, I was scared on the inside when I talked with it.
But that was wrong nyah.
It’s — not serious at all.
It’s just emotional.
Like a newborn baby, it just hasn’t mastered the skills of conversation and communication — that’s why we couldn’t hold a conversation nyah.
I say newborn, but of course, it really was only born a few days ago, so it’s only natural — an original abnormality, huh.
An original with no history nyah.
Something Mistress cut away from her own heart.
A new type of abnormality.
Still, it’s actually not very rare to see original or independently created abnormalities — there was once an artist called Yoriyama Sekien who made a living off drawing works depicting various spectres, but sometimes, among all these traditional phantoms, he would nonchalantly slip in a monster of his own creation nyah.
That’s because, whatever the time period, a creator always longs to indepedently create something that can rival the traditional nyah.
Of course, making said something which could rival a traditional monster would take a ridiculously vast amount of talent, or rather, energy nyah.
In Mistress’ case, that energy,
would be her stress, or her dark emotions nyah — it’s pretty ironic that the Tiger born from those emotions would come into this world lacking emotions, actually.
Or is that wrong nyah?
Maybe it doesn’t lack emotion because it was just born, but because Mistress unconsciously, intentionally created the Tiger to be that way nyah.
It’s exactly because it is born of these emotions,
that she gave birth to a tiger with its emotions carved away.
Gave birth, to a wild beast.
`It will be burnt. I will burn it. Out of my way. It is all too late. I will burn it all. First, I will burn that house.`
“…Mistress isn’t wishing for that nyah.”
The Tiger dismissed my words with a sneer.
I don’t think it even understands the meaning of my words.
I doubt it’s as much an idiot as me, but it is even less flexible than me nyah.
`I do not care what that girl does or does not wish for. It is your decision to call her Mistress, but to me, she is nothing. Nothing more,`
Nothing more, than the fount from which my flaming impulse flows.
Said the Tiger.
“The fount from which your flame flows…? Something’s not right with your wording there nyah.”
There wasn’t much meaning to it, but I decided to make a quip anyway.
Naturally, it didn’t go across nyah.
It really wasn’t trying to say something funny.
“She’s not nothing, Tiger — she’s the parent who gave birth to us.”
`The parent who gave birth to us? All the more worthless.`
The Tiger muttered emotionlessly.
This isn’t turning out to be a conversation at all nyah.
`Does that girl not know more than anyone else just how worthless a birth parent is?`
“Oh, that might be true nyah — ”
Hit it right where it hurts nyah.
Nyah, maybe it’s because it was born that way or because it’s that kind of abnormality, but I guess this shrewdness is proof that it is a monster born from Mistress’ “fount”.
“Maybe that’s why Mistress called us her little sisters, not her daughters nyah.”
`Sisters — `
“Not that I know, but they’re apparently supposed to be moe, judging from what that human bastard taught me.”
Nyahaha, I laughed.
“That title might actually fit you pretty well. You’re a character that loves burning up nyah.”
`…Hmph. I have no interest in titles. I am a natural phenomenon, simply burning what I wish to burn. As an automated mechanism would.`
However, the Tiger,
continued to remain obstinate.
`I am not moe.`
Talking isn’t going to work nyah.
Still, I have tried my best — nyah, I was trying pretty hard during that time before the Cultural Festival too, you know.
It may be hard to believe, but I really do think I overdid it back during Golden Week.
That’s why I wanted to settle this as friendlily as possible nyah — but, putting aside that time before the Cultural Festival when I was facing that bastard, or in other words, facing a human, it’s actually pretty depressing that I can’t even communicate properly with another abnormality, not to mention one that was similarly created by Mistress.
I can’t just push all the blame onto the Tiger nyah.
There’s no way around it.
It’s not like Mistress ever thought that she would be able to persuade the Tiger with words, and right now, we basically have the right guy in the right place nyah.
It’s my job,
to bring back the daughter who ran away from home nyah.
Unlike me, the Tiger doesn’t share memories with Mistress — doesn’t share her emotions.
We may be the same kind of abnormality, but we are different types nyah.
even though I am supposed to get through with words —
`What is it, Cat.`
“I’ll make this clear first, but the way I see it, it’s not for me to say anything about what you have done so far nyah. Whether it’s burning down houses or burning up buildings, I won’t hold them against you as crimes. Arson is just a human reason nyah.”
And if we let those control us, over half of all abnormalities would be under crackdown, including the me during Golden Week nyah.
Besides, there is quite a large number of tiger abnormalities, and fire abnormalities ridiculously more than that nyah. They might as well be limitless. Seriously, the world is so overflowing with fire abnormalities, you could be forgiven for thinking, “aren’t all of these just, like, the same?”
You can’t possibly come down on all of that.
It would be the same as coming down on every single parking violation nyah.
`Of course. Which is why,`
I interrupted whatever the Tiger was trying to say.
Interrupted — and glared.
“I already told you nyah. I won’t forgive you if you hurt Mistress.”
The Tiger put on a dubious expression, not, apparently, because my words weren’t getting through, but because it really didn’t understand nyah.
`That girl is nothing to me — as such, I have not even a speck of interest in harming her, but this feeling of wishing to burn this building flows forth from none other than your Mistress.`
That was probably true.
That was the truth, to this Tiger nyah.
Or, no — that would be the truth to anyone nyah.
Mistress felt envy for the Senjougahara home.
She was so jealous that she wanted to burn it to the ground.
That is the truth nyah.
It is also the truth that she felt envy for those two creatures she called her parents whom I sent to the hospital during Golden Week, and that she felt envy for the monkey girl who was the only one that human bastard relied upon.
“It’s just as much the truth that she was holding back that feeling — you’re ignoring that, Tiger.”
`More words. I myself am the abnormality that she gave birth to as a result of her perseverence. Now she reaps what she has sown. My flames will make no assumptions on her circumstances.`
I will simply burn it. I will simply burn.
As though washing it all away, letting it all flow away,
I will simply burn it all — I will make it disappear.
That is all I do.
The Tiger took a step towards me.
Surprisingly, it was the first to get impatient — nyah, its origin is fire, after all.
If its flames are kept in for too long, maybe it’ll be burnt black.
“As abnormalities go, you’re right nyah.”
That was something I had to admit nyah.
I was the one doing something not befitting abnormalities — in the first place, the creed of the Hindering Cat is to exact revenge, not return favors nyah.
If we are talking about abnormalities wanting to harm Mistress, then I was the very first one nyah.
Fickle as I am, I’ve had a change of mind.
And now — I am working for the sake of Mistress. Of course it doesn’t understand nyah.
It’s almost as if,
I were — human.
“But the one who lives in that house you’re trying to burn right now is a friend of Mistress nyah — at this hour, there’s no way it will be empty like the last two times.”
She’s probably just sleeping as usual nyah.
She might have sounded uneasy when she said that her home or the Araragi house might be burnt down, but she had no scruples about going to bed anyway.
If you trace along Mistress’ memories, you would understand why.
You would know —
that was how much she trusted Mistress.
That’s why I had to fight.
As Black Hanekawa.
As Hanekawa Tsubasa.
“And if she dies, Mistress will cry. I have to do whatever it takes to stop that nyah.”
`Hmph. I can assure you, that will not be the case.`
Said the Tiger, not even caring for my words.
`She will not cry. When she wishes to cry, she will cut away the part of her heart that wishes to cry. When she feels unpleasant, she will cut away the part of her heart that feels unpleasant. That — is how she has lived for these eighteen years. Giving birth to me and you. No, this is how she will live, from now on — `
Unto the end.
Giving birth to many a monster.
With only herself remaining pure white — remaining beautiful.
Hating and resenting none.
Kind and loving towards all.
Continuing on, as the ‘real deal’.
That’s what the Tiger said.
“That’s not true.”
And then — I,
not me nyah — not me.
Hanekawa Tsubasa — denied this.
“I’ve decided to end all of that. I probably will hate. I probably will resent. I won’t be able to be kind to everyone like I’ve always done before, and I won’t be able to love everyone. I might be hated, and I might be despised. I might get angry more easily, and I might not be able to forgive. I will probably be annoyed and frustrated, too. I might be so smart anymore. I might not be able to laugh anymore. I might not be able to stop myself from crying anymore.”
This really will disappoint Araragi-kun.
Unmistakably, I would not be able to overlook his mischievousness as I have always done — but, considering the one we are dealing with, perhaps he would find that worth celebrating.
Because that’s the kind of person he is.
Because he is kind.
Oh — I am so jealous.
“But that’s all right. I’m all right with that.”
I am sick of this.
Of turning my back on reality, and pushing the role of the muddied villain onto the two of you.
Is that not the same,
as doing to the two of you, what has been done to me?
“I don’t want to be the ‘real deal’. I want to be a real human.”
“I don’t have to be beautiful. I don’t want to be white at all. I want to be in the mud, together with the two of you.”
I can’t remain forever as a girl who never knew of the mud — I want to know.
But I don’t want to become black.
I want to accept both black and white together, at the same time.
I want to become a grey-colored adult.
Not even crying when I got my heart broken —
I am fed up with living like that.
“Please come back to me. It’s — past curfew already.”
Let’s have our meal together.
Saying this, I stretched my hand out to the Tiger.
I stretched my hand out to the past.
Saying this, the Tiger — bared its fangs, and pounced.