You really are my hero, Koremitsu.
Thank you for passing on my feelings to Miss Aoi.
If you had not encouraged me on the roof back then, Aoi would never have received these presents.
Hey, Koremitsu. You may not realize it, but when I first spoke with you on the courtyard corridor in school, I said, “Mr. Akagi, I forgot my Classics textbook today. Can you please lend me yours?” Actually, that was an excuse I came up with to meet you again.
It was the same when I said, “I’ll come over to your class to borrow your textbook then.”
Back there, you looked at me without understanding what was going on at all.
But I wanted to approach you.
I wanted to get close to you.
That was because I personally witnessed you using your body to block the truck.
I suppose that was in late March.
I was on my way, when you suddenly shouted aloud.
“Gramps! Watch out! Come back!”
I heard it.
When I looked back, I saw a red-haired boy of the same age as me chasing after an old man.
“That’s dangerous! Gramps! Not that way!”
You kept yelling.
When the truck suddenly rushed over, it was about to knock into the old man, but you flew over without hesitation. You pushed him aside, and got yourself knocked down by the truck.
I did yell this before.
You were sent to the hospital by ambulance, and had to be admitted there for a while. But you were amazing to be able to work hard with such risk for the sake of others.
Thus, once I knew that this hero at the cross junction is a freshman at my high school, I felt really excited, and felt that it was fate at work.
I heard about all sorts of rumors about you.
What infamous delinquent, hell hound, the red devil, how you beat another school’s delinquent army to near death.
But I didn’t feel scared at all.
That’s because I knew that you were that hero.
Everyone whispered about how you’re always one who always challenged others, one against many, and never bullied the weak.
Once I understood how you’re just a little clumsy and easily misunderstood, my opinion of you changed for the better, and I kept on hoping that you could be discharged and enter school someday.
So, that morning, when I heard you had finally appeared, I immediately ran to the courtyard, got in front of you, and waited for you to pass by the big pillar along the corridor.
You definitely didn’t know how overjoyed I was to meet with the hero I admired, and my heart fluttered as I wondered about how I could be friends with you.
Oh yes, I was the one who sent the flowers you liked to the hospital.
That flower’s name is called Magnolia Kobus.
The pure white flower signals the arrival of Spring, and I suppose it has this name because its protruded bud and stem look like a fist. (TN Not: Kobushi means fist)
One of the floral meanings is ‘welcome’.
The other is ‘friendship’.
From that moment on, I always wished to be your friend.
I intended to head to your classroom and borrow the textbook. After you would lend me your textbook, and I returned it to you, I wanted to ask, “Can you be my friend?”
This was the request I wanted to ask of you.
Since I died before it could be done, you would be bothered if I ask to be your friend as a ghost, so I deliberately said that I forgot.
But I never thought you would be the one to say, “We’re friends.”
To me, that was the best thing that ever happened in my life.
I really felt delighted deep within – really blissful.
Why am I sticking with you?
On the day of the funeral, my photo was hung on the altar, and the girls were calling my name, weeping. I wanted to comfort them all, but couldn’t do anything, and felt despair as a result.
It was the same when Miss Aoi exclaimed “liar!”. I knew all too well how much I hurt her, and tried my best to think of what I could do to fulfill my promise.
But nobody could hear my voice, and I couldn’t move. When I thought that my soul would leave Earth like this, I saw you among the visitors.
I lost all control over myself as I yelled.
“Please help me! Lend me your strength, Mr Akagi!”
I thought that since you would stand up for an old man you are unfamiliar with at the cross junction, you might be able to help me.
That’s why I called out.
“Mr Akagi, Mr Akagi!”
I called out countless times, and you finally stopped and turned your head around.
At this moment, my body, which couldn’t move no matter what I did, immediately went towards you.
At that time, you were the one who responded to my desperate pleas.
After that, you accepted my one-sided request when we’re still not friends, I caused you lots of trouble, and yet you helped me.
To a point where we became friends.
It was great that I could meet you on this Earth when I was alive.
Really, thank you.
You’re my hero, the best friend I had.
……Are you crying, Koremitsu?
Didn’t we promise?
You must smile and send me off when I make my journey towards space.
♢ ♢ ♢
On Monday morning, Koremitsu met Honoka in front of the shoe locker, and bowed his head to her.
“Sorry for causing you so much trouble, Shikibu. Thank you.”
“Don’t, well, don’t say it so formally. Hey, lift your head. People will think I’m your boss if they see it.”
Honoka said anxiously.
Koremitsu lifted his face with an, “Uu”, and she was at a loss of words. She stuttered, lowered her voice, and said with a slightly nervous tone,
“Sp-speaking of which, what happened—between you and Her Highness Aoi? Erm, did you go on a date on Sunday?”
Koremitsu answered with a hoarse voice.
Recalling yesterday’s events brought him grief and anguish.
“Ah! It’s alright if you don’t want to talk about it. So Her Highness Aoi didn’t show up after all. Your…eyes, they look red…it can’t be helped. Right, life’s not like you thought it was. Even I have lots of adversities in my life.”
“No, I went to the theme park.”
Honoka’s eyes watered.
“Ehhh!? Ho-hold on, that means, everything went well? You became lovers with Her Highness Aoi!?”
Honoka, shocked, widened her eyes and made a fuss.
Koremitsu shook his head.
“Not lovers; it’s not what you think. I just had some things I needed to tell her no matter what, and I’ve finished saying what I had to. That’s all.”
“Is that so…so the theme park’s the last memory.”
“It’s great to be lovelorn in such a splendid manner.”
What do you mean by lovelorn? He wondered, while Honoka looked extremely relieved.
She reached out and patted Koremitsu on the head.
It was a warm, gentle expression. Her hand on his face was comforting.
He would have, normally, yelled at her to stop touching him, but now, he could only murmur.
“Up ‘til now, I’ve always thought that there were no decent women, but my view has changed…there’re good girls like you too, Shikibu.”
“Yeah, no way, I’m…”
“Women…are gentle and cute…”
He recalled Aoi in his embrace, and her face as she sobbed and called out Hikaru’s name, felt a pang feeling in his heart, and muttered.
Honoka’s hand, which was patting Koremitsu’s hand, stopped, and her face reddened.
“She felt really tender when I embraced her, like a twig that may snap if I’m not careful.”
“And I was about to kiss her…”
Koremitsu was yanked from his reverie by a kick.
“Ugh! What are you doing!?”
“YOU’RE THE WORST!! T-T-T-T-THIS IS WHY YOU WERE DUMPED!”
She blushed as she yelled, and quickly left.
“What’s with her!?”
And, once again, Koremitsu thought women were ridiculous.
“Good morning, Mr Akagi.”
A cute voice called out.
He looked over to see Aoi standing there shyly.
“Good- good morning.”
Koremitsu greeted her in a slightly embarrassed manner.
“Thank you for yesterday.”
“Did you sleep well last night?”
Aoi’s eyes were still bright red, probably from crying so hard last night. However, a smile crossed her lips, and she answered,
“Yes, I had a proper breakfast this morning too.”
Koremitsu’s eyes were as red as Aoi’s, and he smiled back at her.
“Well, I want to draw, a picture…of Hikaru. Will you please look at it when it’s complete, Mr Akagi?”
Koremitsu answered without hesitation, and this brought delight to Aoi’s eyes.
“It’s a promise.”
She ran off, seemingly embarrassed.
Koremitsu watched her leave with relief.
That’s great, Hikaru.
Your thoughts have reached Aoi. She’s all energetic now, and you can head to heaven peacefully.
“Miss Aoi can paint portraits? Her sketch of Asa from elementary school was rather miserable though. I really hope she doesn’t draw me like that!”
“OI! WHY ARE YOU STILL AROUND!”
Koremitsu yelled as he pointed at the ceiling, scaring the surrounding students.
“AREN’T YOU SUPPOSED TO ENTER HEAVEN ONCE YOUR WISH IS FULFILLED!?”
That was supposed to be the case.
But at this point, he floated above Koremitsu, apparently carefree.
As he did before, he would follow Koremitsu to the toilet and bath, saying “Well, I won’t mind since I’m more or less used to it~” with a refreshing smile.
“Why did you come in school with such a dazzling expression!? And your hair’s all tidied up like that!
Veins protruded from Koremitsu’s temples, and Hikaru’s eyes smiled with delight.
“That’s because I still have to find a girlfriend who’s good at laughing for you, Koremitsu. How can I leave Earth like that after seeing you cry your eyes red?”
Koremitsu blushed at Hikaru’s words.
Last night, after walking Aoi home, Koremitsu had a heartfelt conversation with Hikaru, and he could not help but cry when thinking that it was time for Hikaru to depart. However, Hikaru said,
“Didn’t we promise? You’re to smile and watch me leave when I head to space. That’s why—I have to cure your habit of crying, and you have to learn how to smile before I leave.”
“I, I’m fine with myself right now. I don’t need a girlfriend either way.”
“I do want to make you happy though. Also…”
Hikaru’s eyes were slightly gloomy, and he seemed to be hiding something as he slightly lowered his eyelids, but his gaze lifted immediately afterwards.
“Actually, there are still another 4, 5 girls I’m very concerned with. No, maybe 40, 50 of them?”
Koremitsu, haunted by Hikaru, widened his eyes, and bellowed.
“WHAT DID YOU SAY!?”
“You’ll definitely help me, right? We’re close friends after all, right?”
Hikaru descended to the ground and ostensibly fawned over Koremitsu, grabbing him by the shoulders and smiling. After Koremitsu grasped that this annoying friend of his was truly still on Earth, he couldn’t help but clutch his head and groan.
“Ugh, what kind of joke is this!! HURRY UP AND ASCEND TO HEAVEN ALREADY, THIS HAREM BASTARD~~~~~~~~~!!”
♢ ♢ ♢
The other students ducked aside in fear as they watched Koremitsu Akagi head towards the classroom with a sour demeanor.
Asai watched over this with a sharp glare.
Aoi came back late the previous night, and though her eyes were red, her expression was surprisingly calm.
“I’m sorry for going out without telling you, Asa.”
She did not apologize tentatively as she usually would,
“Did you go out with Akagi?
And once Asai asked her, Aoi answered with a smile,
“Yes. I was really happy. It felt like I was reborn.”
Asai felt a sense of defeat she could not say.
Koremitsu Akagi…what exactly did he say to Aoi?
No matter how Asai persisted, Aoi did not say.
How much did Hikaru say to him?
Don’t tell me, even that—
“Are you very concerned about Akagi? President Saiga?”
Unwittingly, a petite, short-haired girl—Hiina Oumi of the news club—approached Asai and stood beside her. She played a sincere expression and chuckled at the frowning Asai.
“You hardly have anyone around you who’s actually straightforward, and even though he doesn’t look decent, and that’s refreshing for you, I guess? It’s the same for me too; there’re a lot of students in our school who look well-mannered, but are rotten and despicable. I suppose the nobles are like this, right? I’m a peasant who entered during middle school, so I’m not really well acquainted with that.”
She ignored Asai’s icy expression and continued quickly.
Hiina’s expression shone with the dazzling light of youth.
“Akagi proclaims himself as Lord Hikaru’s friend, so he probably knows how Lord Hikaru died. Ah, but about that rumor; I think you might have an idea, President Saiga.”
Asai intended to ignore it, but Hiina quickly raised her cellphone screen up to Asai.
Hiina continued with a tone of harassment in her voice.
“Because President Saiga smiled during Lord Hikaru’s funeral.”
The screen showed Asai, sitting alone amongst the many sobbing girls, a strange smile resting on her lips.
What kind of person is Hikaru Mikado exactly?
Is there really anyone who can truly understand the heart of the garden’s owner?
On the day of the funeral, when the chilling rain descended, there were a lot of flowers scattered around Hikaru’s coffin.
The blooming flowers basked under the radiance of Hikaru’s were dyed a black color of gloom.
It was like a wilted and desolate garden, having lost its owner.
While everyone was washing their faces with tears, I was the only one smiling.
The women who mourned for his death are really laughable. They don’t know anything. How pathetic.
I was the only one who knew of your final moments.
I was the one who ended your life.
Confusing others, yet incomprehensible.
The one beloved by all the flowers—Hikaru Mikado.
You sin will never be forgiven even once you die!