21. Morning Without Dawn

When Chloe provided Kirika with the ‘final guidance’ by shooting her, her intended purpose was not to kill her, but to unlock the lost memories in Kirika’s mind. Now, as Mireille stands over her unconscious friend, it seems the Chloe has something for her too. As per Altena’s orders, she is to reveal the very truth that Mireille has been searching for- the identity of her parent’s killer.

At first, Mireille is dismissive of Chloe’s words- she already knows that it was the Soldats who killed her parents, but Chloe is offering more than that. She knows the name of the assassin, or at least, the name that the assassin is known by- Yumura Kirika.

Mireille doesn’t want to believe Chloe, but the other woman is adamant; not only was Kirika the killer, but Chloe herself watched as she pulled the trigger. As Kirika gets up, Mireille asks her if Chloe’s words are true, and with the memories of shooting Laurent and Odette Bouquet freshly awakened in her mind, Kirika is unable to deny it.

Continuing to speak, Chloe explains about the select few who are blessed by the high priest of the Soldats at birth, thus being chosen to go through the trials and become Noir. It is clear that she and Kirika were chosen for this duty, but what Mireille never realised was that she too was chosen. Her parents, however, refused to hand her over to the Soldats, and for that reason, they were executed.

Distracted by these revelations, Mireille doesn’t notice that Kirika has got up, and only when she hears the door does she realise that her friend has fled. As Mireille goes after her partner, Chloe stays behind, the rain starting to fall all around her. Her job here is done- now all she needs to do now is wait for Kirika at the manor.

Trancelike, and almost unaware of the world around her, Kirika walks through town, eventually finding herself drawn to the cemetery. Running after her, Mireille is unaware of the danger they are both in- the Soldats have discovered the men they killed earlier, and are even now moving another squadron into place to dispatch the two women.

Wandering through the cemetery, Kirika’s instinctive skills suddenly awaken as she is attacked by a sword wielding man. Without her gun, all she can do is dodge and run, but once again her natural ability for turning anything into a weapon comes to the fore. One of the diggers has left his tools out, and after picking up his abandoned pick axe, Kirika turns to face her foe.

Believing the pick axe to be no real threat, the man attacks again, but Kirika easily blocks his blow and counters with a swing that embeds the pickaxe into the man’s side. Even as her opponent goes down, however, two more men begin shooting at Kirika. Picking up the fallen man’s sword, Kirika goes on the attack once more.

Hearing the gun shots, Mireille runs into the cemetery, searching for her partner. But Kirika has the situation well in hand, and two nervous men are no match for her. With both down, she retrieves a gun from one of the fallen men.

After dispatching a third man, Kirika finds herself face to face with Mireille, who has finally caught up with her partner. As Kirika raises her gun, it seems that she is targeting Mireille, who resolutely awaits the shot. Kirika does indeed shoot, but not at her partner. Her target was yet another man, this one hiding in the bushes behind Mireille.

Lowering her gun, Kirika stands face to face with Mireille for the first time since the two of them learned the truth. After a long moment of silence, Kirika lets the gun slip out of her hand. Admitting that she was indeed the one who killed Mireille’s parents, she sadly acknowledges the fact that there is no way for her to atone for what she has done, before reminding Mireille of the promise they made when they first met. Now that they both know the truth they set out to discover, it is time for Mireille to honour that promise- by killing Kirika.

Kirika insists that Mireille must now shoot her, and as she raises her gun, it seems as if Mireille is going to comply. But as Kirika closes her eyes, Mireille’s arm starts to tremble, and a myriad of emotions and memories sweep through her mind. Realising that she cannot go through with it, Mireille lowers her gun.

As Kirika pleads with Mireille to just shoot her now, the other woman turns away. Swearing that the next time they meet, she will indeed fulfil the promise, Mireille walks away, leaving a sobbing and pleading Kirika behind. Their partnership, it would seem, is no more.