Chapter 1

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Hole 3: Grave Robber

Chapter 1

The mole had dug a very deep trap hole; and inside Muoru had caught the strange Crow, who looked like a child. Even though Crow had given him the helmet, Muoru still tricked them into falling into the trap. He realized that the deception went against his moral code, but he had no other choice.

There was no time.

How much time did Meria have left?

And how much more pain can her heart endure?

There wasn’t a tool in the whole world that could measure that, but even if there were, it would probably be better not to use it.

And so this was the second time he was going to talk about the pain Meria didn’t need to suffer.

“Okay then, why don’t we talk?” Crow asked.

Looking at the Crow he’d captured, Muoru launched his questions.

“Well then, first of all…I’d like you to tell me who you truly are. Was the mask you showed me back when we first met, a fake?”

“No, it’s not a fake,” Crow said, looking up at Muoru with an innocent expression and once again pulling out the mask from somewhere on their body.

“This is real. I got it from my “hunter” friends.”

“What? So, in other words, you’re saying that you’re not one of those ‘hunters’?”

“Your intuition is sharper than any claw, Mole-kun.” Crow dropped the mask and mocked Muoru the same way they usually did. Then Crow shrugged. “I apologize for lying. I thought it would make things easier…but it’s a bit difficult to explain my position.”

“It’s alright if it’s difficult. Just tell me, or I’ll bury you. I mean it!” Muoru scooped up some dirt and held it over the hole.

It may have been a threat, but if Crow screwed around anymore he was prepared to bury the lower half of their body.

Pouting, as if saying ‘give me a break’, Crow reluctantly spoke. ”Well then…I’m a ‘representative from the victims’ association’ so to speak.”

Muoru shook the shovel and some clumps of dirt rained down into the center of the hole.

“Hey, hey cut it out! I’m telling you the truth this time.”

“Well, you sound like you’re screwing around. But if not, tell me, what type of suffering are you complaining about?”

“About the devils of course. Could there be anything else?”

“If you’re not joking about being a representative, then there ought to be others,” Muoru said, intending Crow’s words to be just another joke. However…

“Yes, there are others. Ten of them,” Crow replied quickly with a thin smile. “Why are you asking me about that anyway? You’ve already met them.”

“Are you talking about Meria?” Muoru asked right away. He couldn’t think of anyone else it could be. “Is she also a member of your imaginary victims’ association?”

“She qualifies,” Crow answered. “But, she’s different…she’s not a member yet”

“Why is that? Meria…”

There was no one who suffered at the hands of those monsters like the undying grave keeper girl…and even if there were they’d been killed a long time ago and were probably buried in a grave.

“Unfortunately our movements are limited to the day.  Since that girl can’t come out into the graveyard except at night, we’ve never met. But, I can’t say I completely don’t know anything about her…” Crow was being vague and speaking in a roundabout way.

Muoru wanted to probe further into what they meant, but before he could ask another question –

“But I knew Maria well in the past. Definitely more than any other person around these days,” Crow said something he couldn’t ignore.

…The person he didn’t know, the grave keeper who Meria said was like an older sister.

Why did that name come out of Crow’s mouth?  I mean, Crow seems to know the graveyard well, so it isn’t that strange that they would know it, but still…

Attempting to hide his discomposure, Muoru turned his gaze away from the bobbed-haired person in the hole and sat down.

Then as he moved to sit on the ground cross-legged, he heard Crow say, “Why do you think Maria died?”

He quickly turned around. Just a second ago, no, just a moment before, Crow had been in the hole. But now they were standing to his side, their voice sounding like they were close enough to rest their chin on his shoulder.

How did you do that?

“Grave keepers shouldn’t die. So then, how did Maria die?”

“She probably burned up in the sun.”

“What, she told you that?” Crow seemingly surprised, blinked at the response that flew out of Muoru’s mouth. ”Yeah, it’s just as you said. Well, it’s not like she roasted like a sunny-side up egg or anything. That’s one misunderstanding I should clear up.

“There is no way to kill The Dark. In fact, from the beginning, the concept of death hasn’t applied to them.  They certainly hate the light, but if it touches them, their movement will only stop. They won’t die. And when night comes they would simply start moving again…and resume their killing of humans.

“But, despite the fact that sunlight is necessary for humans, the grave keepers who have stolen their powers will die if touched by it. Don’t you think that’s strange? Why do you think that is?”

“I couldn’t care less about that. What I want to hear is…” Muoru had started off curt, but then he trailed off, unable to get out what he really wanted to say…He was completely confused, unsure how he should try and continue, or what he should try and ask.

Crow sighed.

“Humans that consume a part of The Dark become grave keepers. So, although Meria is still human, at the same time a part of her is “The Dark.” Those two aspects are intertwined and they cannot be separated. And they both have an equal effect on her. So if light hits her then her grave keeper’s body would stop. Which would mean death for a human.”

Muoru craned his head to the side. “Stopping is death?”

Crow poked Muoru’s chest with their index finger.

“Can you stop your heart?”

Muoru laughed.

“Idiot, if I did that…”

I’d die…right, so that’s what Crow meant.

“Right. Now it’s not just your heart, but also your breathing, your brain, your nervous system, and everything else…See, the human body is in some way always moving from the time they were in their mother’s womb until the last moments of their life. Even when someone is asleep, fainted, or unconscious, their body never stops. In other words, the concept of stopping is precisely how humans are able to perceive death.”

Muoru grabbed his chest. “Hmm, so if the monster’s part becomes unable to move, so too do the grave keeper’s heart, lungs and such- basically all of their human parts also stop moving. And as a result, they die…is that what you’re telling me?”

“That’s right.” Crow nodded.

Muoru bit his lip.

Many thoughts were racing around in his head. But overall he was mostly thinking about how far he should trust Crow’s words.

All this doubtful talk was nothing more than guesswork. But then again who wouldn’t be troubled by putting their weight on a potential trap suspension bridge.

…Still, Crow had an objective; and probably the only reason they got so close to Muoru was to achieve it.

Right….there was no other way…I’d have to do it…to her….with my own hands…

“Mole-kun, I want to hear how determined you are.” Crow looked directly at Muoru. “You may not believe me, but I really like you Muoru. And I have an idea of something you can do for Meria, a way to help her. So tell me, how far are you willing to go for her?”

Muoru had absolutely no trouble answering.

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One thought on “Chapter 1

  1. footnote1: This is a rhetorical question.
    Therefore, I think “who would not be troubled by it?” is correct.
    誰が悩まずにはいられようか? means 誰だって悩む(Enyone would be troubled.)

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