-Changing wasps to bees, since I'm pretty convinced they're supposed to be bees now.
-Read wikipedia and discovered that Mr. Mayor's nickname is supposed to be Fennec. Corrected in previous summaries.
-Just an amusing note, but Nezumi's voice is often described as gender ambiguous in the novels, and he can switch to a female voice at will. AKA nothing like Hosoya's (wonderful) voice.
But enough rambling. Enjoy the summary!
Chapter 1: A Prayer to Yonder
Karan has just woken up after fainting while thinking about Shion. Lili and Yoming are present. They see a mouse carrying another message, this one from Nezumi: "You'll surely meet again." With this, Karan regains her strength and hope.
While Lili is distracted by playing with the mice, Yoming and Karan start discussing Lili's family. Her current father is actually her stepfather. Her real father, Suifuu, died under mysterious circumstances - he was a construction worker who was hired by the government to work on some top-secret project. One day he suddenly died while eating dinner, right in front of Lili and her mother. Yoming thought the death was suspicious, as if it was planned by the government.
Karan thinks that Lili has been through a lot despite her age. She questions the way people live in No.6, all the while repeating the words in Nezumi's note in her mind.
Chapter 2: What's Inside Hell
Suddenly the elevator floor opens underneath everyone's feet. They land on something soft, then Nezumi quickly pushes Shion out of the way toward a wall. Shion tries to see what's going on - there's a literal mass of humanity, countless bodies piled up on top of each other. There's a strong smell of blood, sound of bones breaking, and people being crushed from the sheer weight of the bodies piled on top of them. Many are dead, but many are still half-alive. Shion says "This is Hell," Nezumi replies "This is reality."
Nezumi leads them down a small corridor. After walking for a while, they see a room, and Nezumi says they can rest there for a bit. Inside the room they see a man, probably one that also managed to escape earlier, struggling in pain. He begs for Shion to "save him". After a while of trying to ignore him, he gives in and attempts to choke the man to death, but his hands are too shaky and Nezumi soons stops him. Nezumi kneels beside the man, who starts confessing all the crimes he committed in his life. Nezumi responds that all his sins are forgiven and he can rest now. He covers the man's nose and mouth and starts to sing a song. The man starts to smile despite his pain, and soon stops breathing. Shion is amazed. He says that while he himself was powerless, Nezumi was able to save the man. Nezumi says that that wasn't "salvation", it was only murder.
Nezumi closed his mouth for a moment. He mumbled something under his breath.
"The show has only just begun."
"I know, it's only just begun..."
"I'm really looking forward to it."
"Hm? What are you looking forward to?"
"Your performance. Remembering is what the survivors should do, you said so yourself. I want to see just how far you can go, if you can really remember everything that's about to happen. Will you make sure to remember? I'll watch till the end. I want to see just how far that mouth of yours that can only say pretty words will twist."
It was a dull tone of voice. It contained no sarcasm, anger, or impatience. It was a tone with no feeling, but sounded extremely serious. Shion clenched his fist and asked,
"You don't trust me?"
"I completely trust your memorization abilities."
"Then do you doubt my nature?"
"More or less."
Nezumi extended his fingers and grabbed Shion's chin. He squinted his eyes and concentrated on that gray light.
"We're not suited for each other, that's what I've always believed. I think no matter how long we live together, no matter how much we experience together, I'll never be able to understand you. Shion, honestly speaking, sometimes I... think I hate you, hate you so much I want to kill you... there really are times when I think that."
"I've noticed... I've noticed that you hate me."
Nezumi's fingers sunk deeper into his chin.
"You're part of No.6. Even though you spread pretty words and ideas everywhere, your true colors are ugly, like a cruel demon covered in a pretty veil."
"Me? That's what you think?"
Shion grabbed Nezumi's wrist. He forced his fingers off his chin.
"Those are my true colors in your eyes?"
Nezumi didn't answer. Shion tightened his hold on his wrist.
"I'm not the same as No.6. Definitely not the same. But you don't understand that at all."
He felt Nezumi's pulse through his fingertips. He strengthened his hold even more.
"How are you different?"
"I won't deceive you. I'm not covered in a veil, I've laid out everything about me in front of you."
"Shion, let go, it hurts."
"I've completely laid out everything in front of you, it's you who can't see! You're bound to No.6, you can't forget its existence, and you look at me. True colors? What a joke! Have you ever seriously tried to look at the real me?"
His thoughts were boiling, bringing with it a heat that made his entire body hot.
Aren't you the one who doesn't want to become close to others? If you hate me so much that you want to kill me, why not kill me? You only know how to look at No.6 and blame me, hate me. If you really want to associate with me, even if you hold such a hatred for me with killing intent, I'll still accept it. I've already prepared my mind to accept it.
Why don't you understand?
His emotions that were already past boiling point continued to burn. Nezumi shook his head, as if he was trying to resist.
His pulled his hand out from Shion's fingers.
"Honestly, don't use brute force. What if my bones broke?"
"Your bones aren't that thin, are they?"
"It's your strength that was too great. I wish you'd use that kind of strength in more critical situations. See, it's all red."
He showed his wrist, which was covered in dull red marks. It was apparent how great of a strength was used to grab it.
"You didn't realize how strong you are?"
"No, I didn't realize."
"You don't understand yourself at all."
Nezumi put on his gloves, covering the red marks.
"You don't understand what kind of person you are. I'm guessing your mother, that baker, doesn't even understand you... She definitely thinks you're some gentle, cute, and smart little kid."
"But you don't understand me either, right?"
"Me? Who knows. But I at least understand you more than your mother does. Shion, what you said is right. I'm too bound to No.6, so I'm unable to grasp your thoughts. But it's not always like that. Once in a while... only once in a while... I feel like I've gotten a grip on you."
"Are those the times that you want to kill me?"
"No, not at all. Rather than wanting to kill you, it's more like..."
"What is it?"
"Fear? What do you mean?"
Nezumi remained silent. His mouth seemed to move slightly.
Is that was those thin and elegant lips said?
Before Shion can ask, a few more wounded people stumble into the room. Nezumi says it's time to go back, so they start walking. Shion notes how the corridor seems strangely out of place on the map.
Nezumi turned his head back and continuously stared at Shion. Shion caught his line of sight.
That's right, Nezumi. I have faith. As long as I'm by your side, I'll always be human.
"What is it?"
Nezumi blinked and asked, "What are you smiling about?"
Shion felt his cheek.
Sweat mixed with blood was dried up and crusted on his skin.
"I'm really smiling?"
"You are. Would any normal person in this kind of situation be able to smile? I thought you had finally gone mad."
"I'm still normal, probably."
"Then that's good. This place is the junction between normal and madness, there's only a fine line between them."
"If I were to go mad, would you abandon me?"
"No shit! If I continued letting you be a burden, that'd be the end of me!"
"You have a point."
The corners of Nezumi's mouth rose. He wasn't laughing at the situation he was in, it wasn't a forced laugh, and it wasn't a sneer. It was a genuinely cheerful laugh.
"I wouldn't throw you away, Shion."
Shion closed his mouth. Of course, what followed wouldn't be some heartfelt cheesy line like "I'd carry you with me."
"I'd cut off your neck in one stroke."
Nezumi held up a finger with a smile. However, his gray eyes weren't smiling at all. They were as calm as a frozen lake.
Shion subconsciously felt his throat. The wound from Nezumi's cut a few days back was still there. The skin that was slightly cut open by a knife had only leaked out a bit of blood. The cut was supposed to have scabbed long ago, yet it started to hurt.
"Don't worry, I have feelings too. I'd end you in an instant, give you a bit of happiness. I won't make you suffer at all."
Shion expressed his thanks while still clutching his throat.
"You're so kind to me."
"I've always been kind to you. Thinking back, I've been too kind..."
"It could just be temporary derangement."
"You need to make sure whether I've really gone mad, or if I've just been struck with temporary insanity. It wouldn't be too late to slit my throat after you've confirmed that, right?"
"Only if I have the energy for that."
"Come on, wait a sec..."
The cut under my palm still hurts!
I have no complaints about dying by Nezumi's hands.
He would follow through on his promise and slit my throat without making me suffer at all. I saw with my own eyes just now, how wonderful it is to die in peace. I wouldn't have any complaints, but I don't want to die without a word. No matter what happens, I want to live on and return to that house.
"It might be difficult, but I want you to confirm it. Please."
"You could splash water on me. Or if there's no water... then there's no choice, you can do the same thing you did earlier and slap me. If it's a hysteria attack, then that degree of shock should bring me back."
"I'd give you a kiss."
"Before I slit your throat, I'd give you a kiss. I'd let you see for yourself how superior my goodbye kiss is compared to yours, and send you to heaven."
I must be red from my cheeks to my ears right now. It's hot, even my forehead is sweaty. It might have sounded like a joke, but he's definitely not joking.
No matter whether I've gone mad or become wounded, as long as I can't move, everything would end right there. So before he slit my throat, he'd kiss me.
A kiss of death. Something reacted from deep within him, and his heart beat faster. Shion shook his head. No matter how enchanting, as long as it brought along death, he had to refuse.
"That won't do, you have to think of some other way."
"That would only make me even more crazy."
Nezumi turned to the side and started laughing.
Even though he wanted to hold back his laughter, he was unable to bear it, and his whole body started shaking.
"You're... honestly... honestly too simple.... actually answering so seriously... it seriously caught me off guard... how rare!"
"Is it that funny?"
"It's too funny."
Nezumi took off his gloves and wiped the corners of his eyes.
"I wasn't expecting to start laughing in this kind of place... It really is surprising. What a riot!"
"I... I wasn't joking."
"Stop, Shion, spare me, please... All right, I got it. I know you won't go crazy."
Nezumi wiped his eyes once more, then softly breathed in.
"These humans, they really do love laughing. New discovery."
The smile disappeared from Nezumi's face. With no expression, as if wearing a mask, he slowly pointed using his chin.
They go back to the place they were first dropped to. There are a bunch of new bodies, making the mountain even higher. Nezumi says that they're climbing, so... they climb.
Chapter 3: Sprouting Things
Back in West Block. Inukashi is checking out the destruction from the man-hunt. Her dogs are excavating the rubble, bringing up some nice finds like a bag of money. Before long, she hears a baby crying - it's the same one Shion rescued during the man-hunt. After seeing one of her dogs guarding it, Inukashi can guess what happened. After a brief "you have got to be kidding me", she decides to take the baby home with her, since she can't just leave him there.
Back at home, the baby falls asleep next to the dogs. Not long after, Rikiga arrives. He's worried about Shion, saying he wants to help him. Inukashi is suspicious because Rikiga isn't the type of person to care about much more than money, much less risk his life for others.
At least those two aren't deceiving each other.(Yes, I included this just for the fandom. Please use this passage in future arguments.)
Nezumi and Shion probably weren't open about everything in front of each other, especially Nezumi. But at the very least, they weren't deceiving each other. Neither sought to control the other, nor did they want to hide their own sincerity. Neither cared for profit, desire, or scheming. They just wanted to live for each other.
Inukashi had never encountered such a relationship before. She knew of mothers who would protect their children with their lives, and of girls who would sell their bodies to help their families. But those two, their relationship wasn't a sacrificial one. It wasn't a relationship where one perished to save the other.
Friendship, love, kindred spirits, sympathy, pity, intimacy - call it whatever you want, but none of them were exactly right.
Neither cared for profit, desire, scheming, or sacrifice. They just wanted to live for each other.
Rikiga mentions the Twilight House - on the outside, it's a retirement home with the best medical technologies, but in reality it's an execution ground. No.6 takes the old/sick people that can't contribute to society anymore and kills them so that they don't waste any more resources than necessary. He then admits that the real reason he wants to go to the prison is because he heard a rumor that there's a mountain of gold stored underground. Soon after, the baby wakes up and Rikiga becomes aware of its existence. When asked his name is, Inukashi says that it's Shion(シオン), because he has the same purplish eyes that Shion has. (I believe this is the first time we hear of Shion's eye color. They didn't turn red like in the anime.)
Chapter 4: The Name of the White Darkness
Another scene of Safu. She has a flashback back to the days of her and Shion being happy together. In her present condition, her vision is hazy and she can't see what's going on. But she can somehow sense that Shion is close by, and calls out to him.
Shion is almost through climbing the mountain of people before he slips, and Nezumi catches him. At this point he's both mentally and physically exhausted.
"Huh? What are you sorry about?"
Shion covered his face with both his hands. The stench of sweat and blood and the moans of people on the verge of death closed in all around Shion, not only permeating through his flesh but also pricking his bones.
That's enough, I can't take it any more.
"I... can't do it."
I can only make it up to here. This is my limit, I can't go any further. If Nezumi hadn't grabbed me earlier, I would have slid right down, wouldn't I? I can't do anything by myself...
"I can only be a burden on you."
"What are you saying now of all times?! Hasn't it always been like this? You've always been a burden on me."
"Nezumi... just leave me here."
"You want to stay here by yourself?"
"You'll die, Shion."
"It won't be a happy death. Even I don't know how long this is going to continue. Even if it's winter right now, corpses will start rotting all the same if kept here too long. If you don't die by going mad in the midst of the stench, you'll become miserable due to the lack of oxygen and keep getting weaker until you die."
"I'll kill myse..."
"Shion, don't assume dying is that easy. You'll suffer if you mock it too much! Do you have a poison for instant death in your pocket right now? You don't have a knife to cut your throat with or a rope to hang yourself with, so how do you plan to kill yourself? Even if you bit your tongue and jumped from here, you won't die that easily!"
"You have... a knife."
Nezumi's shoulders twitched a bit.
"So that's what you meant."
Shion was grabbed by the hair, pulled back and turned. A knife was pointed to his throat. The knife was sharp, it seemed as if the tip would pierce his skin if he merely breathed a little deeper.
"Do you want me to kill you?"
Shion quietly breathed. If Nezumi slit his throat like this, what would happen? The blood would probably spray everywhere and dye Nezumi red...
Nezumi's voice was shaking.
"Do you want me to kill you?"
"Don't 'huh' me... I'm asking if you want me to continue murdering people."
Shion shook his head. Nezumi took down the knife.
"There's no way I would want you to do that, definitely not."
Nezumi sighed deeply. It was similar to one of Inukashi's old dogs that frequently sighed.
Geez, there really is no helping this kid.
"Honestly, try using your head some more! If I slit your throat, of course that counts as murder. If I give you the knife, that's assisted suicide. No matter how it works, I'll be responsible for your death. Are you telling me to be responsible for your death? And..."
Shion's hair was pulled with an even greater force than before.
"What did you memorize the structure of the facility for? I need your brain from here on out! We're already here, so I won't let you give up. Like hell I'll allow it."
His hair was being pulled without mercy. The pain was like a needle, piercing into his foggy consciousness.
"If you're not here, it'll be impossible for me to escape this place. If you want to die, I won't stop you, but do it after we get out of here. You understand what I'm saying?"
"All right, then listen to me. The show has only just begun. Shion, I need you."
Shion forced himself up with his legs. After much difficulty, he was able to stand firmly.
"Let's go then."
Now here's where I'm somewhat unclear about the setting. They're in some corridor/room and one of Nezumi's robot mice helps secure a rope to somewhere. They drop down outside, then proceed to climb up a rocky cliff, where they find the entrance to a cave. They walk down into the cave, where Nezumi pauses for a second and mutters "I came back..." They eventually get to an open area, where they're suddenly attacked by a hoard of rats. (I think this is the first time the novel differentiates between rats and mice, meaning Nezumi's name is definitely supposed to be translated as Mouse.) After struggling for a bit, Shion actually manages to make friends with the rats, because he's like that. Then a large, emotionless-looking man appears. He and Nezumi seem to know each other. The man asks why Nezumi has come back, because he's never supposed to return after leaving this place. He says that Nezumi has to die, and the two start fighting. During a slight pause, Nezumi says that he needs to speak to the old man (or Rou, but it just means "old", so I'm calling him old man). Nezumi tells Shion to run away while he continues fighting.
Shion stopped and looked back. Two shadows were tangled together. They were moving around in the dark and it was very hazy, but he saw it. He definitely saw it.
The man was on top of Nezumi, choking him with both hands. Nezumi was struggling. Shion continuously took in short breaths.
Nezumi was struggling? This was the first time he saw him this restrained, struggling so much.
"You must die!", the man said. He really did say that.
Shion raised his hand, which was wrapped in the superfiber rope. No thoughts ran through his mind. His body broke free of his control and moved on its own. No, that's not right. He ordered himself to move.
The rats jumped off from Shion's shoulders and ran into the small cracks in the rocks that Nezumi had ordered him to escape to. But that's not what Shion did, he violated Nezumi's orders.
Squeak squeak squeak...
The rats squeaked from all around the rocks, sounding somewhat like a warning. The man stopped and looked around him, sightly raising his chin.
Shion jumped behind the man and coiled the rope around his neck. He crossed the rope, then fell backwards.
The man's body twisted. Shion's foot pressed down on the man's shoulder, then forcefully pulled on the rope. Back in the room next to the execution room, when he was trying to strangle that pitiful man, Shion wasn't clear on what he was trying to do. His thought process was half numb. But it wasn't the same right now, he was completely clear-headed. His consciousness was unclouded. Right now, his perception and judgement were completely his own.
If you want to kill Nezumi, then you need to be destroyed. Die!
He strengthened his pull.
The man's body arched, bending backwards.
"Shion!" A desperate cry sounded. It was a desperate, sharp voice. The frenzied voice called out his name.
"Shion, stop! Let go!" Nezumi ran up behind him.
"Stop it, please, Shion."
"Can you hear me?" Two hands wrapped around Shion's cheeks.
"Let go, quickly! Release your grip."
Shion obediently let go. The man turned over and attempted to stand up, but he could only kneel and violently coughed. Huu, huu-- the man's throat that had almost just been strangled off made sounds like wind blowing through the wilderness.
"Shion, didn't I tell you before? You're not fit to be an executioner."
Nezumi picked up the rope and clenched it tightly. His lip was ruptured, with blood seeping out. He opened his red-dyed lips.
"Or do you want to say that this is also a form of salvation?"
"Then what is it? If you wanted to save me, then you've overestimated yourself a bit. Shion, don't do this sort of thing again, it's not what you're suited for."
"Punishment... what do you mean?"
"That man tried to kill you, so he had to receive punishment."
"I'll do the same thing again. If that man tries to kill you, I'll do the same thing again, no matter how many times."
The man was still crouched down, holding his throat and breathing rapidly.
"Who is... this guy?"
Nezumi didn't say anything this time, he only silently looked down at Shion. His hands that were still holding the rope shuddered.
"I didn't notice his presence until after he started choking me."
"Yeah... it seemed so."
"I couldn't run away at all when he was strangling my neck from behind."
"Right. You were waving your arms and legs around like a rabbit caught in a trap."
"The rats were afraid of his scent."
The man violently trembled.
"Who is... this guy?"
"A resident of No.6."
"Of No.6? ...Why would a resident of No.6 be here?"
Nezumi let out a sigh.
"Let us see the old man, I'll tell him everything."
Shion listened to the man and Nezumi's conversation. The feeling in his palms of pulling on the rope started turning into an ache.
"Then I'll listen." A voice came from above.
Shion raised his head and looked around. There was only a stretch of pitch-black where the light from the candles couldn't reach.
The voice came from up there. Only one line.
Then I'll listen... The voice said only this, then disappeared. There was no presence of a person either.
"Thank you." Nezumi sighed.
"Shion, let's go."
The two started walking into the darkness.
"It's useless saying something like this, but..."
"I want you to always remain Shion."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"The Shion I know would never place fault on others, no matter what happens. He definitely wouldn't."
"Fight against yourself!" Nezumi said.
"Fight against myself..."
It was a sincere request, it even sounded like a plea. Wasn't that one of Nezumi's most taboo expressions?
Shion closed his eyes.
There was a shade of black in his eyes even deeper than the darkness in front of him.
(volume 5 end)