I frowned. This was where our conversation had started, but what do fiends have anything to do with what the false minoshiro was saying right now?
“No. Fiends, or sufferers of the Raman-Klogius syndrome, existed before the fall of the previous civilization. Karma demons, cases of Hashimoto-Appelbaum syndrome, is presumed to have developed at during the same period. But in the chaos during the wars and the Dark Age, their existence did not garner much attention.”
At that time, I didn’t really understand what the false minoshiro meant. But thinking back on it, fiends and karma demons would have been perfectly camouflaged in a world ruled by violence where bloodshed and death were everyday occurrences.
“So you’re saying we only started noticing fiends and karma demons since our society came about? But doesn’t it seem like our society was structured specifically to prevent their appearances to begin with?” Shun asked sharply.
“I do not have information about the present society, so I cannot answer your question.”
“But what you said earlier about death feedback, why do fiends…”
“W-wait a sec,” Satoru interrupted, sounding flustered. “Shun, you might understand what’s going on, but we’re not following at all. Fiends, that Klogius thing, what exactly is that? And what’s the difference between fiends and karma demons?”
“Raman-Klogius syndrome is another name for…”
We were all listening intently, but the rest of the sentence would never be heard.
The false minoshiro and the tiger crab holding it were suddenly enveloped in white hot flames.
We jumped back instinctively, and stared dazedly at what was happening. The tiger crab let go of the minoshiro and tried to flee. It waved its pincers wildly and dragged its body across the ground, but couldn’t put out flames. It let out a screech, curled up on its back and eventually stopped moving.
The false minoshiro writhed back and forth, its body secreting large amounts of thick, foamy liquid. But it was as if the flames had come from the pits of hell and could not be extinguished. Its rubbery skin melted in the heat and quickly burned out.
Then, something strange appeared above the burning body of the false minoshiro.
A mother holding an infant. It was a three-dimensional image. She looked appealingly at us with tears in her eyes. Breathing became painful, and our bodies froze up.
Amazingly, the flames disappeared the moment the image of the mother appeared. But it seems like the false minoshiro had played its trump card too late. Weird lines started flickering through it as it slowly darkened and suddenly disappeared.
Soon, the false minoshiro stopped moving as well. Acrid, white smoke rose from its blackened body.
“Who…?” Satoru asked hoarsely, looking around at us.
“Who what?” Maria asked blankly.