Hole 3: Grave Robber
“So tell me…what are you willing to do for her?”
Muoru replied immediately, “Whatever I can.”
Crow grinned. “Right. Now that’s a good answer…thank you.” Their tone was surprisingly warm, and compared to their usual provoking demeanor, it seemed….dare he say it, cute. Of course “cute” for Crow had a different meaning than what he thought of Meria.
Unconsciously, Muoru’s bent mouth opened to speak. “You’ve never shown me any kind of gratitude before.”
“Well, don’t sulk about it. I think your passionate heart is embarrassing.”
“Ugh, you,” Muoru groaned, swinging his arms at Crow in response to the insult, but for some reason he completely missed. He figured if he put all of his energy into his swing he’d at least be able to land a single blow. Crow sneered as Muoru exhaled in frustration, then jumped back onto the tombstone.
But their smile soon vanished. “If you’re ready to abandon your life as you know it,” they said in a sing-song kind of manner, “Then you must steal half of the girl’s power – half of the curse.”
“No problem,” he said.
There was not even a hint of confusion for Muoru. He was resolved the moment Crow had uttered those words. And maybe it was because of his conviction that he also felt a bit of hope.
The grave keeper and the mole. Though there was a hopeless gap between them, if the world thought they weren’t supposed to be together then something needed to change. He was going to be the one to change it, and this method would grant him his wishes.
“But how do I do it?” Muoru asked.
“Essentially only one person can be bestowed with the power of the grave keeper, so if two people shared it together then the power would be halved,” Crow answered as they crossed their thin legs. “But in order to do that, you’ll have to kill her once.”
Muoru couldn’t believe his ears.
…what was this idiot babbling about? For a moment Muoru was at a loss, but he quickly shook off that hesitation and said, “You want me to drag her out under the sun or something? … I can’t do that.”
Crow laughed. “Well it doesn’t matter to me if she doesn’t die.”
“So, as I thought…”
“You’re not a total idiot, so try using your head. There’s another way to block The Dark’s power. It may be weaker than exposing her to the light, but it’ll still work even at night. It’s a method that owes itself to this very place, where the souls of humans sleep. Please… think about it deeply. You should already know it.”
As Muoru stared at Crow, he bit his lips and started thinking.
He remembered all the conversations he’d had with Crow.
He thought about the graveyard that stretched out beneath his feet.
Then he looked at the shovel in his hands.
Then the gravestone Crow was sitting on.
Mass grave…a graveyard humans and monsters shared.
“You understand now, don’t you?” Crow asked, reading the change in Muoru’s expression.
“Now then, this part is essential, so don’t forget it. If you do this and weaken her power, in the end—” Without hiding their large smile, Crow explained the rest of their plan.
After hearing it, Muoru turned completely red and spluttered out, “Is that possible?”
“It should be all right. And I think you’ll be happy when it happens.”
Muoru bit his lip again. It was frustrating that he couldn’t say no to Crow’s idea. So, with feelings of uneasiness leaking into his words he asked, “Is it really okay?”
“It’s okay, it’s okay….well Meria certainly won’t agree in getting you involved so you’d probably have to do it by force, but…” Crow stopped, their face warping as if trying to put up with some kind of pain. “Maria really valued Meria. She wished for happiness in Meria’s life. There’s no mistake about that- in fact when it comes to that and only that, I’m telling you the absolute truth.
“….However, Maria wasn’t very patient. No, it’s more like she didn’t have extraordinary willpower. The devil’s part inside of her, the disgust, the pain of not dying…they all proved to be too much for her to handle. And that’s why she ended her life.
“Sure, it’s easy to think that such a feeling couldn’t be helped, but….in the end the only thing she regretted was leaving her younger sister to such a horrible fate.
Perhaps it was just cowardice, but Maria was terribly worried for Meria, even though they weren’t related by blood.
“And that is precisely why she can’t sleep…so no matter what it takes, I want to grant Maria’s wish. I want Meria to be happy.”
I feel the same way…
Although he’d went so far as to throw Crow into a trap to try and get information out of them, that was his only intent. The rules of the world he’d come from were quite different from those governing the monsters and the grave keeper. And they seemed like something people like him could do nothing about. Even if he tried to think about how to fight those rules, his choices were extremely limited. And so even now it didn’t seem likely that he could save Meria.
Even so…helping Meria gain happiness would probably bring him happiness as well.
What would her face be like if I were able to remove the source of her pain and suffering?
If it were possible—-even though he understood that it was unreasonably selfish, he still wished for such a future. And if someone could see him now, they would certainly think that such a wish could make him happy. Even though far from being unable to escape, as a trade-off he would never again be able to leave the graveyard again.
Would I really be happy?
Without much of a change in his expression, Muoru smiled. It was funny how he wasn’t even trying to think about all the things he’d considered until now. Since coming to the graveyard he’d only thought about escaping, and before that he felt he’d passed each day only thinking about how to live longer. But in the past his only job was digging holes, regardless of which thoughts filled his mind.
“I’m sorry, Mole-kun,” Crow said. “Perhaps after this…you and your body will have to go through a lot of terrible suffering.” Crow then lowered their head in sympathy.
“Umm.” Muoru laughed weakly, feeling a bit embarrassed about what he was about to say. “Thank you for worrying about me, but…for me, being here but unable to do anything is far more painful.”