Shisei Kaburagi didn’t even bother to turn around.
The air seemed to thicken as the arrows and bullets flew toward him, and they slowly came to a stop.
He turned, almost lazily, and looked at the queerats with his four-pupiled eyes.
In a flash so bright I thought my retinas would burn off, the remaining six hundred or so soldiers evaporated. All that remained was a thick mist. A second later a burning wind swept over us. If I hadn’t used my cantus to protect my face just in time, I would’ve been blistered by the heat.
Shisei Kaburagi walked slowly toward Koufuu Hino. The arrows and bullets clattered to the ground behind him.
“Koufuu. Hold on.”
As Shisei Kaburagi lifted him up, Koufuu Hino opened his eyes and coughed up a lungful of blood.
“I can’t believe it. Those l-little rats actually got me…”
“I’m sorry. I was careless.”
Koufuu Hino didn’t seem to hear him.
“Why were the children of god given such…frail bodies…”
Satoru and I began to run toward him to help, but Shisei Kaburagi shook his head slowly.
“The artist in me…is losing its flame…what a waste,” he continued to whisper incoherently. “May I leave beauty in my wake…”
Those were his last words. A faint glowing image lit the darkness. It was a young woman. I watched with bated breath. She stood naked in a field bathed in the light of a setting sun, smiling gently at us. Even now, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful.
Just as I was wondering who she was, the image slowly faded away into the darkness.
Koufuu Hino, wielder of the most powerful cantus, had passed from this world.
Shisei Kaburagi put on his sunglasses and stood up.
“Everyone, please stay calm. The immediate danger has passed. Are members of the Security Council present?”