*The Sixth Hour reaches it's conclusion!*


Kiryu House.

The Twin Dolls Room.

Kamijou Touma and Kurosawa Yae stood before the life-sized doll of the two Kiryu sisters; both of them identical copies of the real person down to smallest of details, except one of them was missing it's head and a pair of arms. To gain access to the secret underground passage hidden by the two dolls, Kamijou and Kurosawa searched the entire house for those missing parts in order reassemble the broken doll to unlock the seal.

They weren't doing all that for the fun of it; a companion of the spiky haired boy had been taken by mysterious dark forces into that very same underground tunnel, and he would very much like to get her back sooner rather than later.

"You ready?"

The girl nodded and slowly walked up to the broken doll.

Kamijou steel himself to expect the unexpected.

She first attached the missing left arm- it locked perfectly in place.

Then the right arm was placed without incident as well.

Giving the boy one final glance, Kurosawa Yae placed the head of the doll back to it's body...


~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

The eternity that I dreamed while confined in my room...

Where will it take shape and blossom?

The morning will eventually come and bring the darkness back home...

... And with it, takes my sight away from me.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~


THE SIXTH HOUR (Part 3) : Behind Those Eyes
=================================

...And nothing happened.

They waited for a full minute.

Still nothing.

"Is it... Broken?" Kamijou asked slowly.

"I'm not sure... Maybe we need to place it in a certain order?" Kurosawa suggested.

They removed all the parts and reattached them again- this time with the head first, followed by the left arm, and finally the right arm.

Zilch.

"Now what?" Kurosawa looked to him.

Kamijou gave it some serious thought before answering-

"Maybe we need to kick it a little?"

"...Somehow I don't think so." Kurosawa smiled nervously.

"Well, I'm stumped." Kamijou threw his hands up in defeat.

"Why don't we head back to the doll maker's secret room? Maybe there's something there that we overlooked the first time that could tell us what to do?"

"Makes sense, it's better than doing nothing here-"

The air became heavy with animosity...

The sound of two distinct childish laughter echoed from somewhere in the house and reverberated sinisterly throughout the room...

The spiky haired boy gulped.

"We should probably go now..!"

"Yes, I agree completely...!"


In the doll maker's secret workshop, Kamijou and Kurosawa started digging through everywhere for some clues as to what they had missed the first time around.

At that time the two of them only found a single journal entry by the doll maker that led them on the hunt for the missing doll parts all over the Kiryu house. The sight of hundreds of unfinished doll limps and figures that littered the room gave him an uneasy feeling; he couldn't wait to get out of the room.

"There's nothing on the desk." He said.

"The drawers only contain doll pieces and craft tools." Kurosawa Yae shook her head. "We've looked everywhere already- what could we have missed?"

Considering the possibility that the clue might be on one of the numerous doll pieces, they started to check everything that could conceivably hide a message- no matter how implausible.

It was at this moment, Kamijou decided to ask the one thing that was on his mind since they first entered this house.

"Kurosawa... If you don't mind me asking... What happened to both you and your sister?"

Her shoulders twitched.

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence.

"We wanted to escape the village together. Itsuki- a friend of ours, said he would help us by distracting the villages while we escaped... We were supposed to met a mutual friend Munakata-kun who would take us away..."

"Then what happened?"

"My sister... Sae... She... Didn't show up..." The short-black haired girl looked away. "I didn't think that they would perform the ritual with just one maiden, but... I was wrong..."

"I see..." Kamijou frowned.

Something didn't add up, Kurosawa Yae was hiding something. In the ceremonial master's notes, BOTH Yae and Sae escaped, but only Sae was captured... So why would she lie about it? Or did she not know that Sae had been captured?

"Kurosawa," the spiky haired boy looked straight at her. "Why did you come back?"

"..."

"Kurosawa-san?"

"I found it."

"What?"

The girl pointed to an unused fireplace in the corner of the room.

There they were among the black ashes.

Two scraps of paper survived the fire.


~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

-Design Plans-

Open the doll's eyes and give the Shrine Maiden a soul.

When the two Shrine Maidens face each other, the bridge through the underground opens up.

I've used one of those wind-up clocks imported from the west for the twin shrine maiden mechanism.

Unfortunately the shipment for that month was mixed up and I was only left with hazel coloured eyes for all the dolls.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

-Design Notes-

The doll's soul is needed to make the mechanism work.

I could create the other parts again, but I could never duplicate that soul.

I can't let that hellish creature get its hands on the soul.

thE sOul Is thE kEy!

I'll hAvE tO kEEp It sAfE wIth mE!

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~


"THE EYES!" They both shouted in revelation.

Looking back, Kamijou did notice the doll's head were missing it's eyes but he paid no attention to it- After all, this place was so filled with weird and creepy stuff that missing eyeballs just don't stand out as much as it should.

Confident that this was the final piece they were looking for, Kurosawa and Kamijou quickly left the secret work shop to look for the doll maker.

"I guess it's obvious from that last two lines that we would find the Doll's eyes on the Dollmaker himself... Now all we just have to find him-"

{Why must only twins face this...?}

The hollow voice came from the closed door on their right.

They looked at each other.

"That was suspiciously convenient..." the boy groaned. "But come to think of it, a lot of things seem to be happening that way lately..."

"After you?"

"...Figures."

Kamijou approached the door with the enthusiasm of a death-row convict, he resisted the comical urge to knock on the door to ask for permission to enter and quietly open it- as if he thought he could stealth a ghost.

What the hell am I doing...? He mentally facepalmed himself. I've been here for too long...

There were several small Japanese dolls hanging from the ceiling with ropes tied around their necks; a scene that could have come straight out from a gallows. This was the very first room that Kamijou and Kurosawa had saw when they entered the Kiryu house.

"What are the odds he'll just hand those eyes over?" Kamijou joked.

{thE sOul Is thE kEy! I'll hAvE tO kEEp It sAfE wIth mE!}

The erratic voice of the doll maker answered him.

"...Not very likely." Kurosawa earnestly replied the spiky haired boy.

"Fukou da..."

The ghostly figure of an old and feeble looking man emerged from behind the wall across the room.

"Here we go again!" Kamijou grit his teeth.

Without hesitation, he ran towards the doll maker and put all of his strength into his fist with the intention of defeating the ghost before it could pull any stunt on him.

{I hAvE lOst bOth my dAUghtErs...}

One of the dolls sitting on top of the shelf flew through the air and into the path of Kamijou's punch, effectively stopping his right hand from reaching the doll maker.

*pachii!*

The doll fell lifelessly onto the ground.

"What the hell...?-!"

He turned his head to look around the room; the dolls that littered the floor rose up around him like soldiers obeying their command.

"...That's new." the boy gulped.

{why mUst Only twIns sUffEr thIs...?}

Kamijou Touma counted at least six dolls, not including the one he had dispelled earlier. Like wolves circling around their potential meal, the dolls spread out to try and box them into a corner.

Kurosawa immediately ducked as one of them came streaking towards her- they weren't particularly fast, but at the same time it's not like they were very slow either. Two of them started harassing her while the remaining four were focused on him- It seems they were well aware who was the bigger threat to their master. The boy punched out one of them, but had to rolled away to avoid the other three.

In the midst of all the chaos, the doll maker had slipped away into the walls again.

"Damnit we're at the disadvantage fighting in here!"

Kamijou made a dash for the sliding door only to find out that it was held back by some mysterious force.

"Shit-!"

As he turned around, one of the dolls slammed into his abdomen and knocked him onto his knees. The impact felt similar to getting hit by a soccer ball kicked by a middle school student; it wasn't lethal but it still hurt like hell. On the plus side he was able to touch the doll with his right hand to dispel the doll maker's magic.

It's going to turn ugly if he could take control over these dolls again... I got to end this fast...!

{why mUst Only twIns sUffEr thIs...?}

"THERE!"

The doll maker reappeared from the wall on the far side of the room where Kamijou was.

All around him, the fallen dolls began to rise again.

The boy ran to close the 5 meters distance between them; all seven dolls started throwing themselves in front of his path. One by one he swiped them with his Imagine Breaker and they fell lifelessly to the ground again.

THIS IS IT...!

Just as his was pulling back his fist, one of the doll slams itself into his left ankle, causing him to trip over as he loses balance.

"FUU-!"

{If Only wE dIdn't hAvE thIs rItUAl...!}

The doll maker started fading into the wall again; he was going to hide again while his toy soldiers kept the boy with the Imagine Breaker occupied long enough for him to recharge his strength and the circle would repeat itself again.

Or so he thought.

Kurosawa Yae grabbed a hold of the doll maker's hand and pulled him away from the wall.

"It's over already Kiryu-san."

The doll maker had not anticipated her to do this, but this moment of surprise made him hesitate long enough for Kamijou Touma to get back on his feet.

*pachii!*

The fist that possesses the power to destroy all illusions was slammed into the side of the old man's face, knocking him across the room.

A pair of Hazel Brown Glass Eyes fell out of his hand and bounced off the ground.

As he laid there on the cold wooden floor, the feeble old man spoke with the last of his strength.

{First I have to kill the doll by hanging it...}

His voice became soft again.

{Then I must throw it into the wgbudABYSSnsrio …}

The doll maker's words blurred.

Kamijou frowned, but neither Kurosawa nor the doll maker himself showed any signs to have noticed it.

{It knows this and is controlling Akane, trying to kill me. I have to throw it in, even if seeing the wgbudABYSSnsrio blinds me...}

Slowly, his body starts to become transparent until his entire existence seem to fade away.

{My daughter must die again... And Akane must relive the pain of losing her sister. If we didn't have this ritual, no one would have to feel that kind of pain...}

And just like that, he was gone.


The Twin Dolls Room (again).

Kamijou Touma and Kurosawa Yae stood before the life-sized doll of the two Kiryu sisters (again); both of them identical copies of the real person down to smallest of details, except one of them was missing a pair of eyes. To gain access to the secret underground passage sealed away by the two dolls, Kamijou and Kurosawa searched the entire house for the missing eyes in order reassemble the doll.

They weren't doing all that just for the fun of it; a companion of the spiky haired boy had been taken by mysterious dark forces into that very same underground tunnel, and he would very much like to get her back sooner rather than later- All this detouring was starting to get on his nerves.

"You ready?"

The girl nodded and slowly walked up to the broken doll (again).

Kamijou steel himself to expect the unexpected (again).

The short hair girl placed both glass eyes into the doll's socket.

The boy heard a sound coming from the box behind the doll.

*Click!*

A mechanism has been unlocked.

"KUROSAWA!"

"H-Huh ?-!"

Kamijou grabbed the girl from behind with his left hand and yanked her away from Kiryu Akane's outreach grasp.

Both Kiryu ghosts emerged from behind the life sized dolls.

{WHY DO YOU KILL...?}

They looked exactly the same as each other; both wearing black kimonos with long black hair covering their paled skinned faces- it was virtually impossible to tell them apart.

Kiryu Akane.

The girl who was forced to kill her own sister to save her village; and had to live with that burden on her conscience for the rest of her life.

The Remaining.

"Round Two..." He clenched his fist hard till the knuckles turn white. "It looks like we're not going to be able to leave this place without dealing with them first...!"

{I WON'T LET YOU KILL HER...}

A wave of malice erupted from those words; they echoed unnaturally throughout the room making it difficult to know which one of the two was speaking.

{I WON'T LET YOU KILL HER AGAIN!}

Both of them vanished and reappeared behind him.

The boy spun around instinctively to avoid getting grabbed by them.

Kamijou had experienced fighting the twins before under less favorable conditions; the narrow Hallway of Contrast gave the girls all the advantage of being able to phase in and out of the walls, plus at that time he did not know that one of them was actually a possessed doll- this would explain the inconsistency he felt when punching the two of them; he thought it was strange how one of them felt rigid and hard like she was encased in a shell.

Despite the change in environment, their tactics still remained the same- they'll both disappear and reappear on opposite sides to flank him. However this method was a lot more effectively in a more restrictive location; the big and spacious area of the Twin Dolls Room provided Kamijou and Kurosawa enough room to outmaneuver the Kiryu Twins' pincer attack before they close in.

But avoiding their attacks alone isn't going to win this fight...! Kamijou grit his teeth. I'm still going to need to go on the offensive soon...!

While the spiky haired boy had figured out how to evade their trap, he still hesitated before attempting any real counterattack, giving the ghostly Twins enough time to vanish, regroup, and make another attempt at their lives. Fortunately the girls seem to only have that one trick up their sleeves so it made them very predictable... Unfortunately if this turns into a battle of attrition, Kamijou would definitely lose against an enemy that doesn't need to rest.

But still he did not make any attempt to fight back yet.

The reason for this is simply- Kamijou was trying to figure out which of them was Kiryu Akane.

He was convinced that the doll only served as a fake and distraction; the boy had witness on more than one occasion it had stepped in to protect the other girl and never the other way around, which tells him that the one he needs focus on defeating was Akane. It's possible, even though he doesn't know the details, that the possessed doll was using Akane as a form of portable car battery. Index had told him on more than one occasion how Magicians use life force to power their spells, in that case it's not out of the question that a ghost could use another person's 'life force' to prolong its existence.

Regardless of whether this theory turned out to be true, he hoped to take out the 'weaker' one before focusing on the possessed doll. Even better if the doll would simply vanish without Akane there to supply it with magic.

The problem then, was how to differentiate one from the other? Whether it's physical statute and body language, both girls look and feel exactly the same as the other.

The doll maker truly was a master at his craft.

But even so...Kamijou narrowed his eyes.

Nothing is perfect.

No two individuals are exactly alike in every way; not even twins or biological clones are 100% the same because people go through life differently- they get different scratches, different bruises, different experiences.

There has to be something I'm missing...! Touma thought to himself in frustration. Think damnit! There has to be some way to tell them apart...!


~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

I think Azami was trying to tell me where the head and hands of the doll are hidden.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

It is said that when a spirit takes residence in a doll, it can steal the soul of others...

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

I'll make the doll look exactly like Azami, so that when they are together, no one will be able to tell them apart...

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

Unfortunately the shipment for that month was mixed up and I was only left with hazel coloured eyes for all the dolls...


"THATS IT!" Kamijou exclaimed. "Kurosawa! The doll has brown eyes! Look for the one with brown eyes!"

"Even if you say that-!"

Both girls have long hair bangs that cover their faces making it impossible to tell their eye colour from afar.

In that case...

Kamijou Touma dashed forward without a trace of hesitation.

...I'll just have to get in close!

He tackled one of the girls to the ground. Her body was cold to touch, so cold it was borderline painful- much like grabbing a fistful of dry ice with your bare hands. Kamijou could feel the strength slowly draining from his body, but he held on long enough to see her eyes.

They were crimson red.

"KUROSAWA! THE OTHER ONE IS THE DOLL!"

The boy could hear some kind of struggle going on behind him and something heavy collapsed onto the floor like a sack of rice.

Kamijou couldn't see what was happening between Kurosawa Yae and the possessed doll behind him, but whatever it was made Kiryu Akane shierked in desperation as she tried to claw her way towards them... This was the first time he had seen one of these violent spirits reacted with a very human-like emotion.

At the very least this should mean that Yae had gain some kind of upper hand right?

{I WON'T LET YOU KILL HER AGAIN!}

"What ?-!"

Drawing her strength from some unholy source, Akane flung Kamijou across the room and slammed his body against the wall. The pain threatened to overwhelm his senses as he struggled back up to his feet.

"Kuro…Sawa…!" The boy coughed out the words as he tried to warn her.

That was when he saw what had set off the Kiryu girl; Kurosawa Yae had overpowered the possessed doll and wrapped both her tiny hands around its fragile-looking neck and was strangling it. The possessed doll was struggling desperately to break free from her grasp.

Initially it would seem odd trying to choke a doll.

But Kamijou knew the truth.

This was the same method that Akane had used to kill her sister, Azami.

In fact, it was the method that all the twins that had taken part in the Crimson Sacrifice used to kill each other.

Just before he vanished, the doll maker said that he would kill the doll by hanging it… Kurosawa Yae heard it as well and must have realized the doll's weakness from those words.

{I WON'T LET YOU KILL HER AGAIN!}

Kiryu Akane approached from behind looking like she's going to tear Yae into pieces.

But something had happened; something the boy didn't expect.

Akane stopped dead in her tracks.

A pale, white hand had grabbed hold of her wrist; it belonged to a young girl with long black hair who was wearing a similar midnight coloured Kimono as Akane and the possessed doll.

She looked like a perfect copy of Akane, except for the discoloration around her neck.

{...Onee-chan?}

Kiryu Azami.

The girl who gave her life to protect this village... Protect her sister...

{...Kill her.}

Azami looked directly into his eyes.

With a heavy heart and a clenched fist, Kamijou walked up to them.

{I don't want to kill anymore…}

{I don't want to kill...}

{I don't want to kill anyone... So...}

{Let's stay together, OK...?}

{Onee-chan…! I'm… Sorry…!}

{I don't want to kill...}

{I don't want to kill anyone...}

Kamijou Touma could hear Akane sobbing and pleading forgiveness from Azami; all form of malice and evil was replaced by the sight of a terrified little girl.

He let go of his fist.

"You don't have to kill anymore."

{I don't... Have to kill...?}

"This messed up illusion... This endless nightmare of yours... I'll put an end to it and destroy them here."

Touma place his right hand on top of her head and smiled.

{I don't... Have to kill... Anymore...?}

Almost immediately, the heavy sinister atmosphere was gone as Akane slowly faded away into a shower of blue sparks with a peaceful look on her face. The possessed doll, after losing its source of power, had begun to disappear as well.

In that briefest of moments, Kamijou Touma could have sworn Azami smiled at him right before she vanished along with her sister.

The fight with the Kiryu Twins was over.


A single item, no bigger than a cellphone, was all that remains on the spot where the Kiryu girls had stood.

"What is this?"

The Japanese word [Kiryu] had been carved into the side.

It looks like some kind of family crest... but what am I suppose to do with it? Kamijou pondered.

At the moment, he decides to hold on to it first just in case they'll need it later.

The sound of mechanism being unlocked could be heard from the floorboard behind the two dolls; the path to the [Earth Bridge] was finally revealed to them.

"Kurosawa...?"

Kurosawa Yae looked calmed and composed enough, considering she was just strangling someone to death moments earlier.

But there was a distant look in her eyes that it made Kamijou uneasy just by being near her.

She didn't even seem to notice his presence.

I don't want to think too much about it… Kamijou Touma frowned. But Kurosawa Yae… The reason why she came back…

Could it be…?


*End of the Sixth Hour*