All of Shikimi's defenses are down, and the demon within him has finally made its move.
Writer/Artist: Tomo Maeda
Translation: Christine Schilling
Adaptation: Mallory Reaves
What They Say
They say all good things must come to an end... but will this hold true for Shikimi, as well? The half-demon priest was making such good progress, but a fun-filled day in the falling snow turns deadly as his demon half takes over. Will Grey finally win their bet?
Shikimi is different lately. He's more open, more human, willing to even do silling things like playing in the snow. Taki sees the differences in him, but doesn't really stop to think about what it all means until Grey warns him that this might be a sign that the end is coming for Shikimi. Rather than being a gradual transition, his change to full demon is going to be sudden, with no warning. Shikimi himself is struggling, but not in a way he expected to when he invited Taki to live with him on a whim. He's trying to reconcile his current happiness with the crushing guilt he still feels for everything he's done in the past. But the cost of this reconciliation is higher than he could have imagined, as the thing he thought of as the shadow of his guilt takes over his body.
Grey and Laz don't notice a difference, but Taki does. Despite this, he lets the demon-posessed Shikimi attack him and escape. He sends Laz, who doesn't realize how serious his wounds really are, to try to catch Shikimi while he recovers. This is where Grey's real motivations for sticking around finally come clear, as he and Taki make the bargain he's always wanted. But Laz is hopelessly outmatched, and Taki's recovery may come to late.
The calm introspection that opens this volume stands as a sharp contrast to the way it ends, especially the final scene. Looking back to the very first volume, it's clear how much Shikimi has changed, and it's interesting that that very change is what triggers the mad rush to the series conclusion. There's still a sense of hope here, a conviction that, no matter what, Taki will find a way to make everything right and bring everyone home together again. I'm looking forward to seeing how he manages to pull it off.