Cutscene: A Sacrificed Piece

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Every function of his life evaluates to pain.

He has no conception of where he is, save that he is tethered, pierced, tied down... the poison in his body operating to deconstruct him from the inside out. He breathes shallowly, a monster coiled up and bound. Fenrir under the fetters. He is, in the end... a sacrificed piece in his own plans. Plans that carried a distinct possibility of failure.

Plans with no other goal than to make some part of Naomi-- her mind or heart or soul-- his. He wanted, needed to own a part of her.

Take her, runs through his mind, a mantra against the agony. Mine. Make her mine.

That the Duchess would honor their contract and give him time to play with Naomi-- critical time in which rescuers could find and breach the shrine-- Kyo knew. That Naomi herself would recognize his delaying tactic for what it was, he knew. That the Duchess would possibly attack and discard him before rescuers could arrive, he knew. That the poisonous plants of her shrine would be used to try to kill him, he knew.

That his carefully-tailored behavior towards Naomi-- the role he'd played as a protector standing between her and some even greater threat-- would put at least some note of sympathy into that cry she emitted at the last, he... guessed.

Risks and rewards. One did not achieve the latter without braving the former.

But there were things he did not know, and these were the most important things.

Did she see?

Did she care?

Would he live to find out?

There is one last thing he has up his sleeve. One thing for which the Duchess had not accounted. With luck, it will be enough. But if not--

The world grows dark. The vine pulled across his face has gouged thorns into his eyes.

Dissolving musculature twitches. Something that had once been part of him, liquefied by the poison, melts off his body, drooling down the wall he's bound against. Amidst the pain, there is only one distraction to be had. Dreaming. Dreaming, the one thing he shared with other humans, the one thing Naomi had picked up on...

She dreamed. She knew he dreamed too.

If they lived through this, she would surely love him a little. She would look at him the way Mitsuru and Yisa did, the way Miwa once did... with the sort of interest, the sort of investiture, the sort of hope, that meant they wouldn't leave him. That meant they would sink with him...


His body slackens beneath the vines. As if in final insult, the love-lies-bleeding is already flowering between the knotted thorns.

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