Worshipping Beauty, also titled "Dissolving Beauty", is the fourth chapter of the Youkai (Dissolving) Series.

Plot Edit

Nao is invited to visit Maiko, her old best friend from middle school. However, she's shocked to see that the once beautiful Maiko has prematurely aged and become hideous. Maiko seems completely unaware of this and just thinks that Nao doesn't recognize her because they haven't seen each other for two years.

Maiko introduces her boyfriend, Yuma Azeri. Azeri constantly, effusively tells Maiko that she is beautiful and he worships her beauty. While Maiko is absent, Nao tries to ask Azeri what happened to Maiko; but he denies that she has changed in any way. Nao thinks he's just being supportive, but then he tells her she is beautiful.

Shortly afterwards, Azeri leaves Maiko for Nao. Maiko begins stalking the couple and Yuma apologizes to her on his knees. Maiko subsequently disappears and it's reported that she committed suicide. Yuma constantly tells Nao how beautiful she is, and she believes him, even though she is slowly becoming grotesque and deformed like Maiko. Nao's parents worry about her and she is bullied in the street, yet she ignores it, thinking that Azeri wouldn't praise her beauty if it weren't true.

Nao is accosted in the street by Chizumi. Chizumi says that when her brother praises Nao, he is actually directing his words at the demon he worships. Anyone who gets in between his bond with the demon will suffer their brain and / or face dissolving. Nao refuses to believe Chizumi, and Azeri soon arrives and sends Chizumi home. He apologizes and claims that she is a compulsive liar. When Nao demands to know if it's true that she's beautiful, Azeri says that her beauty transcends the whole universe. Nao ecstatically believes him, unaware that he is talking to the demon, which has appeared behind her. Her face begins to decay even more.

Azeri and Chizumi vanish a few days later. The hideously mutated Nao is heartbroken, but still believes his words about her beauty; oblivious to the horror of others around her.

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