Noisy Pixel continues the Novella for Spirit Hunter: NG. This is a 5 chapter story posted initially to Famitsu for the Japanese release of the game.
In case you missed it, read the prologue chapter first, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3. Each day we will share a new chapter for readers to learn more about this haunting spirit, which is the first spirit to be investigated in the game.
It should be noted that there might be some spoilers ahead, so please read with that in mind.
Delivery Room ~Life and Death~
Author: Hitomi Amamiya
How long has it been since Yasuko said she was checking the baby’s vitals?
She is still monopolizing the baby with a chipper hum somewhere in the room. This is her first pregnancy, but even so, Himeko knows that this situation is odd. She, the mother, has just given birth but was then immediately abandoned without any proper aftercare, and she has yet to see her baby’s face at all.
Because of that, her senses become more acute.
She knows that just laying there is no longer acceptable. Himeko sits up again and opens her mouth to call out to Yasuko. Yasuko notes Himeko’s sudden movement and lets out an “Oh?” that stops Himeko’s movements in her tracks.
“Something’s wrong with this child.”
“I wonder what happened?”
The sudden revelation chills Himeko to the bone.
“D-Did something happen to the baby?”
“His heart rate is a little worrying… His breathing isn’t steady.”
“What…? B-But, the doctor, said nothing was wrong!”
The insistent questions cause Yasuko to furrow her thick eyebrows.
“How many pregnancies have you witnessed before? Can’t you hear how much less he’s crying now?” As Yasuko said, the baby’s crying is far less intermittent. The tiny legs that Himeko could see from in-between the partitions were hardly moving either.
“But he was so lively just a few minutes before…”
“Sudden asphyxia is quite common in newborns.”
“Asphyxia…? No, it can’t be! My baby, my baby!”
“You can see from the lack of sounds and movement that I’m not lying, right? You really are an idiot.” Yasuko is no longer holding back her harsh words. “That’s why I need to hurry and show him to the doctor.”
Yasuko pulls a white cloth from a shelf and skillfully swaddles the baby. She quickly heads towards the delivery room door.
“W-Wait! Miss Yasuko!”
Yasuko looks back, annoyed. “What is it? I told you I was going to take him to the doctor.”
“…He’ll be okay, won’t he? The baby. If you show him to the doctor?”
“Yes. Probably. But the doctor might not be in the hospital anymore.”
Himeko’s heart feels a twinge at the flippant, non-committal response.
“But, worst case, I suppose it’ll be fine if we just attach him to the incubator and let it regulate the breathing.” For a life and death situation, Yasuko’s face and tone are oddly light and playful. However, Himeko is too distraught for it to register.
Himeko stands up, determined but unsteady, gripping the partition frames for support.
“…Will my baby be okay? Can you save him? You’ll save him, won’t you?”
Yasuko’s expression gradually turns into an annoying glare under Himeko’s constant peppering of inquiries.
“Ugh, what is wrong with you?! You’re so persistent!” Yasuko roughly grabs Himeko’s shoulder and shoves her back.
Himeko’s hip hits the corner of the bed, and she curls up on the bed like a pillbug.
She claws at the sheets from the pain, a stabbing that washes over her in waves and seems like it’ll never end.
She feels something damp, sliding down her thighs. It’s a dark red clump that leaked from her uterus that looks kind of like a jellyfish. It trickles down her calf and drops to the floor with a sickening splat.
Immediately an over-exaggerated, “Oh dear,” and a sigh is uttered. “Your placenta just came out.”
“Didn’t I teach you this before? You have to rest two hours after labor. What a mess. It’s going to be such a bother to clean it up.”
Despite her feeling like her insides were pummeled by a rolling pin, Himeko continues to choke out her words. “…I-I’m sorry. But… But, please…!”
Yasuko silently watches Himeko pleading and trembling.
“Save him! My baby! Hurry and save him!”
In spite of her desperate appeals, Yasuko merely twitches her mouth. “My my, where have your manners gone? I hate bossy people.”
Her expression is dripping with malice as if she is somehow enjoying watching Himeko writhing and pleading.
Upon seeing the twisted sneer, Himeko no longer has any delusions. Yasuko never intended to help her baby or her.
That “new medicine” given to her with the vitamins was probably something meant to accelerate her contractions. She couldn’t help but ask why.
“Why are you trying to steal my baby?”
“Don’t put it that way. You were only a surrogate.”
“Yes.” Yasuko’s cheeks lift to form a twisted smile. “You’ve been carrying my child.”
“Thanks for all your hard work. You’ve done a great job giving birth to him in my stead, Miss Himeko.”
Was this on purpose? Did she truly believe that? Ignoring Himeko, Yasuko now looks down at the baby in her arms. “But, I wonder what I should do with this baby?”
“Even if I show him to the doctor, it might be too late…”
Himeko feels her heart sink at those ominous words.
“It might just be better for him if I just end it here.” Yasuko reaches towards the syringe on the processing table.
“Wh-What are you doing!? Stop it!”
The pain in her abdomen is still assaulting her, but Himeko knows that unless she takes back her child, his life will end at the hands of this monstrous woman. She lowers her weak legs to the floor and bows her head as she crumples down.
“Please, I beg you.”
Still, on all fours, she heads towards Yasuko with a squelching noise.
“Save my baby!”
But Yasuko kicks Himeko’s cheek as soon as she gets close.
“You’re so annoying! All that squelching noise, it’s so disgusting!”
The impact makes her choke, and Himeko curls up again and coughs violently. Once again, blood stains the floor bright red.
“Ugh, look! The blood splatters come all the way here!”
“Ngh… P-Please! S-Save my baby!”
Himeko pleading for her baby’s life while lying in a pool of her own blood is a perfect visual summary of just how deep her devotion to this child runs.
Yasuko looks down at the display in exasperation and releases a droplet from the tip of the syringe. “You really are making such a racket.”
The sight of Yasuko smirking makes Himeko recoil.
“It seems like we should take care of the mother first.”
Yasuko playfully taunts Himeko on the floor by showing her the point of the syringe. “Just wait a little child. I’ll put your mother at ease right away…”
Himeko retreats, sliding on the floor that is now slick with her own blood.
“You don’t have to look so scared.”
“It’ll be over in a moment.” Yasuko grabs the fleeing mother like a predator and twists her thin arm.
“Ngh, nn. I-If something happens to me, my child…!”
“Don’t you worry about that. This child will be following you shortly, so-…”
“You’re lying! You want to steal my child from me! That’s why you’re doing this!”
“You don’t know when to give up, do you? How can a newborn be this quiet?”
Himeko pleads to be let go with her eyes, but despite looking straight into Yasuko’s glimmering eyes, the two do not make contact.
“It only hurts at first. After five minutes, you’ll be knocked right out. After that, you’ll just go into a peaceful coma.” Yasuko digs her nails into the white skin and stabs the tip of the syringe into a vein.
“Now now, don’t move. You don’t want any air to get in you, do you?” Yasuko holds down the struggling mother and empties the contents of the syringe into Himeko’s body.
“NOOOOOOO! GIVE HIM BACK!”
Himeko’s shrill cries fill the dimly lit hallways.
The drug Yasuko pumped into her veins is making the muscles in her body heavy and non-responsive.
Her body feels like it’s moving in a dream.
Her legs were dripping with blood, which is leaving trails that look like roots. The lower half of her birthing gown now resembles a red skirt.
But despite her situation, she wills herself to keep moving.
Yasuko had taken her baby.
She had left the delivery room, and Himeko figures that she wasn’t going to the incubation room, but to the entrance of the hospital. Himeko had seen the purpose in Yasuko’s steps.
She knows that her baby isn’t in a critical condition. The child was being still because Yasuko had done something to him that she couldn’t see behind the partition.
Himeko’s eyes narrow and her ears ring from the rage and regret boiling up inside her. But this isn’t the time for her to flail around aimlessly. She must get him back. Her still-living child. She must save him from that monster.
Fighting back the pain, she wobbles towards the delivery room door. Despite stumbling, Himeko manages to get out to the hallway. Leaning her body against the wall, she continues to drag herself forward. With every step forward she takes, a thin red line is drawn further along the baby pink walls. Blood continues to seep out of her lower body. But with every step, her body also becomes heavier. Moving must cause the drug to coarse through her veins even faster. Yasuko had said earlier that she would black out after five minutes. Himeko had no idea how much time had passed since Yasuko emptied the contents of the syringe into her bloodstream. But judging from how her body felt, she only had a short time until she could no longer move.
“I… need to hurry…” she pants. Her body now feels like it is made up of several independent pieces. To pick up the pace, Himeko places her hand on the wall and trudges, slowly but surely progressing towards the entrance.
A bright lightning strike harshly lights up the scenery beyond the entrance. Water droplets splay themselves into a lace pattern on the opposite side of the glass.
The storm is still raging.
Himeko wheezes painfully as she looks at the interior near the glass door. It isn’t wet. Which means that the door hadn’t been opened. And that means that… the baby and Yasuko are still in the hospital.
“Where…?” Himeko looks around. She hears stomping footsteps coming from above.
“Ugh, what! Where did the keys go!?” Yasuko’s voice.
Her loud, irritating voice reverberates downwards from the second floor, grating against Himeko’s ears.
“Are they in the locker?”
Himeko focuses her mind on the detestable voice of the woman she now wanted to kill.
“Give it back…”
“Give it back…”
“Give it back!”
Still weak and swaying, Himeko, is drawn to the second floor and staggers towards the stairs leading upwards.
This is the landing with the stained glass.
The downpour makes the mother and the baby seem like they are crying.
“Oh! Finally, got it.”
Looking up at the commotion, she sees Yasuko stomping down, swinging the car keys from her finger. “Geez, who’s the idiot that moved things around? I put them in the break room for a reason.”
In her arms—— A baby swaddled by a white cloth.
Mustering the last ounce of her strength, Himeko climbs the stairs with a single-minded purpose. Yasuko’s eyes bulge out of utter shock.
“You?! Why are you here?!”
Reaching the landing, Himeko extends her arms towards her child, as if trying to pry him from the clutches of the devil. “Give him back! I’m the one that birthed him!”
“You’re so persistent…! Besides, he’s already dead!”
“He’s not dead! He’s alive!” Himeko screams, trying to take back her child. But Yasuko slaps her arms away, causing her to slam into the stained glass.
“Ugh! You’re such a pain in the ass! All the way to the end!”
“Nngh! …Give him back!”
Himeko clutches for her child once again.
“I told you he’s dead! You’re too persistent!” Yasuko, being healthier, is in much better condition. Himeko is turned aside once again, and she clatters onto the floor.
But Yasuko’s exertion also causes her to lose her balance…
The baby in her arms spills free of her grasp.
Himeko reflexively shoots her arms out to catch the falling baby.
In that moment…
She finally sees her baby’s face, the one she so badly wanted to meet ever since the moment she shed tears at this very place.
“Ah… ah…. My…”
But Himeko is standing at the edge of the landing when she grabs hold of her beloved child. Her long-awaited meeting is far too short. Gravity shows them no mercy, and she and her child tumble down the stairs.
“More important than my life.”
Come back tomorrow for the next Chapter.
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