Carrying the notebook, I look up at the ceiling.
Ah, there seems to be something written on the ceiling.
I turn to a corner of the ceiling, and there’s a message there.
“Open the closet.”
“What does she want?”
This prank really is just like what she’ll normally do, and I can’t help but give a bitter smile.
It’s July 21, and the many days of rain finally faded.
It’s the first day of summer vacation, the shadows of rainy clouds appearing on the floor.
One of the benefits with holidays is that I’m able to leisurely wake up, and like usual, I’m forced to play along with her games. Well, whatever. I’m on vacation, so I’ll play along.
“Erm, what does it says? “My treasure? If you want it, you can have it! Everything in this world is all in that place! First, you have to go to your sister and say ‘good morning'”…Haaa.”
That girl’s still thinking about these dumbfounding games like usual.
I let out a sigh as I see the One Piece message that’s written in Hiroshima dialect stuck in the closet.
“Got it, got it.”
I take the note down, and head towards the bathroom, wanting to wash my face.
The wind blowing into the room ruffles my ears. I lift my head and looks out from the window, seeing a refreshing blue light. The chirping of the crickets outside the window is like a peaceful harmony.
“It’s summer vacation, huh?”
Thinking about this, I change my clothes, and head to my little sister’s room as Hikari Yumesaki instructed me. I tap at the door, and greets,
“I GOT MY INSPIRATION!!!!!!!”
What was that about? She shocked me!
Don’t just scream like that!
“It’s a trance! A heavenly like feeling! I can’t stop this!! Big brother’s the best after all! This will definitely be a top-seller!”
My sister’s seated in front of the computer that’s placed on the desk, tapping away at the keyboard furiously, yelling in ecstasy.
“Brother woke up rather early today, and I felt it was very weird, so I tailed him from behind. And then, for some reason, he started arguing with Kazeshiro, and then his tone became feminine. The relationship between men–WOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!! It’s coming! Brother’s the best here!”
What’s going on? This girl’s being so agitated I’m feeling a little freaked out by it. It feels like she’s been at this from morning till night.
“Ah, morning, brother! Yukiko’s still good as usual today! Yukiko’s been a little weird recently though!”
Oh, so you realized that too? Great. Also, please wipe the drool off your mouth.
“Anyway, what do you want? I’m a little busy today!”
“Ah, it’s nothing. Just saying hello.”
“It’s rare to see you come over to greet…ah.”
My little sister seems to remember something as she pauses what she’s doing, and takes out a note from her book before handing it to me.
“Hm? What’s this?”
“What are you saying? You’re the one who prepared it. You asked me to hand it to you after you wake up. Have you forgotten?”
Ah, I see. So that’s how it is.
Once I thank her, I leave my sister’s room, and open the envelope.
There’s a letter inside.
“There’s a date at the game center after 2pm!”
After a quick meal to fill my tummy, I head to the nearby game center, well, the parking lot.
Waiting for me over there are these guys.
“Thank you very much! We shall never forget your graciousness, Sakamoto!!”
The delinquent gang, led by the mohawk head, yell gruffly.
I got them to lure the media’s attention during the previous attention, and my promise to them was to get a girl to do a two-shot with them as reward. I don’t know where Hikari Yumesaki got this intel from, as she arranged a photoshoot on this day.
On a side note, it looks like the mohawk head managed to get away from the media’s pursuit. The local newspaper published an eyecatching report ‘A mysterious mohawk man failed to kill himself?’ and so, the mohawk head became a hoodlum of unknown identity. Thanks to this, Kazeshiro’s suicide plan was assumed to be done by this mohawk head, preventing a major ruckus from happening. Well, with his hair being so eye-catching, maybe it’s not a surprise if he’s taken away by the police for questioning one day…
“Ah, well, we’re going by order here, so line up…is that alright?”
“Y-yeah, take all you want…”
And there’s a surprising character here.
There’s a sweet-looking girl with dazzling orange hair and a hairpin, her braids swaying gently in the wind.
“Here, say cheese.”
“WOOOOWWWW! I-I finally got a two-shot with a girl!!!”
“Congratulations. I-I’m sorry to have you take photos with a girl like me…?”
Kasumi’s standing beside the mohawk head, showing a sheepish smile.
The letter Hikari Yumesaki left with my sister reads,
“I was discussing about the photo shoot with the mohawk head, wondering where I can get the girl to join in. For some reason, Kasumi said that she wanted to join in too! What’s going on? I’m not really sure, but it’s really a good chance!”
Does she want to make amends? I guess this is most likely…
“Thank you very much, Princess Kasumi! I’ll follow you for the rest of my life!”
“……Yes…please help me at all times…at all times…at all times.”
I guess it’s just my imagination, but Kasumi’s smile seems a little dark to me. That mohawk head may have gone down a dangerous path.
“We-well…as thanks for this, do you mind…going on a date with me?”
“Hm, yeah, of course.”
“Ah, ehehe…I did it…”
I guess this is what I expected.
This probably is the exchange condition Kasumi talked about.
She does a little victory fist pump in front of her chest.
“I guess I can’t give up after all. I’ll continue working hard, until you devote yourself to me…”
Kasumi declares to me. However, her mysterious smile is filled with realization. Looks like she’s going to be difficult to deal with.
She hugs her petite body as her eyes look up at me, saying,
“Erm, please think about it, after this date…which number do you want?”
I can’t help but exclaim in surprise, and Kasumi lets out a little smile.
That bashful smile of hers causes my face to sizzle, but I guess I’m just talking to myself.
I wonder this as I watch the guys beside me leave with teary eyes.
“Erm…let’s look at the mail sent to Kazeshiro…”
The photo shoot ended without a hitch, and before we went our seperate ways, Kasumi showed me a note saying, “Send a message to Kazeshiro!” What in the world does this girl want me to do?
I write an appropriate message to Kazeshiro, and walk down the scalding asphalt road basked under the intense sunlight as I wait for the reply.
There’s the cross-junction in front.
The sky looks wider than before, probably because it’s higher.
It seems the blood that flowed non-stop was washed away by the rain.
I feel the cellphone vibrate, and stop in my tracks, frisking for my pocket.
That’s quite the fast response.
“Forget about what I said at the graveyard! You said some embarassing things yourself too!”
Sorry, Kazeshiro. It’s your fault for saying, “I won’t lose to anyone if it’s my feelings for her.” That’s your black history, and I’ll keep it forever. From now on, I’m going to make use of it well.
“Huh? There’s more.”
There’s some more stuff below, and I continue to read on,
“Speaking of which, Sakamoto. Summer vacation’s here, so how about we go on a trip together? The three of us, with Hikari.”
“A trip, huh?”
After a second thought, I send a reply indicating my agreement,
I can’t help but smile, and close my eyes.
I have no idea what she and Kazeshiro did on that day, that rainy day.
When I woke up, I was in bed.
There’s the tattered notebook placed on the desk.
And on the last page, there’s just the word “Thanks”
I don’t know the details at all, but looking at how Kazeshiro sent me the mail, I guess things are finally settled, sorta.
Now that the last job’s done, and just when I’m about to place the faded notebook into the desk like I’ve just finished a trip, and suddenly, I can’t help but say ‘good work’. I just feel that I’ve relaxed somewhat, and I guess I probably won’t ever forget about such things that’s worth being happy over.
“Yo, you’re here.”
The cellphone vibration interrupts my thought process.
Kazeshiro’s reply is very simple, just a ‘I’ll contact you later’. Is this how messages between guys are like?
And just when I wonder this, I notice there’s still one line at the end,
“Because I won’t admit defeat.”
I look up at the sky, and the winds rustling from the tall buildings ruffle through my body.
I cover myself from the bright, energetic sunlight with my hands, and again look up at the sky. The tall, blue sky looks like it’s going to suck me in.
The dazzling white clouds, flicker in the air, grumbling.
That’s the sound indicating to us the arrival of summer.
Right, I’ve decided.
During the summer, I’m going to meet with Mdm Hinako.
I don’t care what the reason is. I want you to convey your words as it is. There’ll be terrible consequences if you continue to let her misunderstand like this. It’s alright. I’ll think of a way to amend the ruined relationship.
“Don’t just run away like that.”
Even if you died, you two are mother and daugher–
“Now then, I guess things will go well.”
A sound suddenly passes through my mind, and the moment my consciousness returns to the ground,
I fixate my eyes.
In front of me is the street surrounded by skycrapers, with crowds moving about, causing a blur.
Amongst the intersecting crowds, I can vaguely see a mysterious existence. That figure, a stark contrast to the sun, shocks me.
For that person’s–
“Yo, feeling well?”
“Y-you’re from back then…!”
The black-robed guy from back then is standing several meters away from me.
He’s facing me, looking like he’s melting from the sun rays.
“Looks like you’re doing well here. I’m relieved. Bye then.”
The black-robe guy bows towards me politely, and turns to leave, but I stop him,
I never thought I would be able to you again. After meeting you, I have a lot of questions to ask. Who are you? How did you get Hikari Yumesaki on me? Isn’t there a better way of saying ‘halving my life’? But, the most important thing I want to say is…
I shout out at the fleeting figure that’s ostensibly melting in the sunlight and crowds.
This is how it should be, right? I lost half my life, but I can say that I gained self-confidence as a result. From today on, my life will be wonderful, and it can’t be replaced as long as I’m with Hikari Yumesaki–
“…I never thought you would thank me. Have you matured somewhat?”
“Thanks to you.”
“But you’re only saying this now. Nobody knows what will happen in the future.”
“…I’ll wait and see.”
“Wisely put. You’re the right choice after all.”
I can’t see his expression under the headdress, but I can hear a clear chuckle that sounds different from his gloomy getup. Speaking of which, is that your character designation? I remember you’re a lot darker than that, right? I don’t have any right to say that though.
“See you then, Sakamoto. It’ll be great for us to meet again.”
“Wait. Now that we meet, I want answers.”
I stop the person in black robes from going back.
This is something I want to know no matter what
“Why did you choose me?”
I ask this question while facing his back.
After some silence, he slowly speaks,
“You want to know?”
“Don’t you often say that you want to die?”
Ah, maybe I did. It became a catchphrase, I guess.
“But after saying that 10,000 times, it seems you still can’t die though.”
“Answer me properly!”
The laughter echoes high up towards the sky.
With the white clouds in the background, the black robes make this a striking sight, one nostalgic one.
“This is what that girl wished for. That’s all.”
“Didn’t you promise before? You have to protect her well.”
“That’s all. And I shall say goodbye for real.”
Once those words ended, the black robes turn to leave.
I feel like I met that person before, the once with the out-of-season muffler by the side…
I look down and rack my head for an answer, and when I frown.
A clear voice passes through, and enters my mind while mixed in with the last spring breeze.
–Your hair is pretty long, don’t you think?
I instinctively lift my head, and in front of me is a vortex of crowds swirling with heat.
The buildings are reflecting the summer sunlight, disturbing my vision.
With a bitter look, I bid farewell to that black figure that’s no longer there.
It feels somewhat hot here, maybe because of a certain person, I guess?
“…Did I just come back?”
I stand in front of my house, my shoulders slumped.
Kazeshiro again sends another mail.
“Speaking of which, Hikari told me to send this message to you. I’m sending it over.”
And written under those words are,
“It’s good if you can open the second desk drawer!”
Why is it that she’s doing this in such a roundabout way?
Feeling haphazard, I return back to my room and sit down. I remember it’s the second desk drawer.
I guess it’s just some dumbfounding pranks again, and open the drawer without thinking much–
And stare hard.
There’s a letter inside.
The simple envelope and letter are exactly the same as the envelope and letter in my childhood memories.
“Don’t tell me–”
I open the letter with trembling hands, and scan the contents written on it,
“Are you feeling well?
I suddenly recall the past, so I tried writing a letter.
I’ll be glad if you will reply me.
I still remember the promise.
From Harumi Miyamoto.”
And below the letter is a note Hikari Yumesaki wrote to me, “that pen-pal of yours wrote a letter, and I opened it without permission. Sorry~ remember to write a reply!’
“My impression of Miyamoto changed for some reason, huh?”
It’s been several years, and from these words, it feels like she’s very different from the image I had at the time I was drowning.
Miyamoto’s the girl with short hair and a alice band who saved me from drowning at the campsite. The initial impression I had of her back then was that she’s an energetic girl filled with life. It seems that her image changed after she entered High School though? Well, a letter can be written in any way, and I do remember that she entered a famous elite school in Kansai. I don’t remember the name of the school, but I guess we’re in completely different leagues. I haven’t contacted her in quite a while, and I do feel delighted that I received her letter again after so long.
But at the same time, I feel a little disappointed
“There can’t be that sort of coincidence, right?”
I recall the words the black robes guy just said.
–This is what that girl wished for. That’s all.
–Didn’t you promise before? You have to protect her well.
After hearing those words, I had an instant suspicion if Hikari Yumesaki’s true identity is Miyamoto.
But this is impossible.
The envelope clearly states that the sender’s address is in Kansai, and the name’s completely different. There’s no way they can be the same person.
“I have to write a reply after this.”
Saying this, I cautiously fold the letter carefully and put it in the desk. Maybe I’ll read it again.
And so, leaving aside the letter.
I continue on with the note Hikari Yumesaki left behind. I feel three times the lethargy because the message’s an absolute joke.
“And now, the true identity of the discovered treasure is…the bonds of the comrades you just met! DON”
“What don!? Is this all you want to say after all these?”
I felt angry at that instant, but it seems like it’s unnecessary.
“That’s a joke. The white puzzle’s finally complete! Clap clap clap!”
This nostalgic topic cause me to give a wry smile. I pick up the white puzzle placed in a corner of the room.
Written on it is:
“I do feel embarrassed if it’s panties, but not if it’s swimsuits!
In other words, what this means is that it’s not an issue of the surface area covering, I think.
I think that panties is a work of art of seeking the invisible.
In other words, Sakamoto’s a panties alien.
The above words were erratic and vague.
I nearly throw it into the trash can, but luckily, she wrote in a corner of the puzzle ‘read it sideways! Read it sideways!’
“What, password (TN: Original has the hiragana pa,su, wa, a, do, パ，す，わ，あ，ド at the beginning of each line. I did a redux version of underlining some words there)?”
I enter the word into the computer, and open the heart-shaped folder titled, ‘my true feelings’.
There’s just one single document left over there, nothing else. Once I open the file–
I’m left speechless.
How is this possible?
The white memories awaken in me.
The girl crying on the opposite river bank that day.
The long black hair was brimming with gloss, and the girl was staring right at me.
The sight of her holding a panda plushie with tears in her eyes appears in my mind.
The white dress unbefitting of a campsite.
The vague memories form a silhouette in my mind.
–Polaris Princess! Wait right there, I’m coming to save you! I promise this in the name of In the name of Autumn Moon!
But in the end, I was unable to save her. That was–
“Thank you for saving me.
The hero of my heart when I was young, Autumn Moon.
From Polaris Princess”
The impish voice of hers, which I never heard before, echo in my mind.
That’s probably just my imagination.