I felt my heart begin to beat again. There was still hope, however small it may be.
“Do you remember what I said a long time ago? I meant it when I said you would be my successor. I’m sorry you have to succeed me in such a fashion, but I’m leaving Kamisu 66 in your care.”
“Wait. I can’t…that’s-”
“Niimi, please go with Saki.”
He faltered. “If you will not escape, neither will I.”
“No. You have another task to do. Please tell Shisei what you heard here. If the fiend is really heading this way, broadcast the news from the town hall. Warn as many people as possible that they are to run as far as they can.”
“…understood.” He stood at attention, head bowed.
“What are you waiting for? Go!”
I stood there, unsure of what to do. Niimi grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the room.
“Wait! Tomiko will…”
“This is her wish,” Niimi said, tears rolling down his cheeks.
I felt myself about to cry as well.
Tomiko Asahina first encountered a fiend when she was around my age. In the two hundred years that have passed since then, she had continued to protect the district. She had stayed, for better or for worse, and now, she would sacrifice herself to keep us safe.
But I couldn’t wallow in sentimentality forever. I was strong. So I had to do everything I could. I kept telling myself that.
If I didn’t, the fear of what lay ahead would have broken me.
The terrified townspeople were running around like a herd of lemmings. They were incapable of following anyone’s orders.