It will now be another protagonist. The time period will be contemporary.
Three years ago… In the afternoon in a small rural town in Eastern Europe, on the hill of a desolate rape blossom field spreading out, a gentle breeze blew in the soft sunlight...
It was then that [girl] made her abrupt appearance in this world.
The girl hadn't been hiding and nor did she fall from the sky. The girl was suddenly born from empty [nothingness] in this world...
Wearing only a simple unbleached dress, she was a barefoot girl about 10 years old. Black quartz dark hair fluttering in the wind, the slightly opened scarlet eyes reflected the rapeseed field in the surroundings like a flame...
Her empty stomach spoiled the mood, and the girl, noticing her hunger for the first time, pressed her hand on her stomach while curiously staring at her small limbs. The scarlet eyes, as if searching for something, surveyed the surroundings, and spotting a small rural town on the opposite side of the hill, she happily raised both hands.
There was no hint of anxiety in the girl’s eyes. The girl had nothing. She didn’t even know her own name. She first became “aware” from the moment she was born and fell into this world. Still, she was “aware” of words, common knowledge, and the bare minimum understanding of the world from the beginning. She also knew the circumstances of her "current" surroundings.
The girl could [see] the [essence] of things by staring with her scarlet eyes, like knowing that newborn babies burst into tears by nature, and understanding that the uproar she saw at a distance in the town was the “Harvest festival”.
She didn’t know “who” she was. She was neither a lost child nor did she have amnesia. The girl understood that there was no one in this world that knew her. Even then, the girl walked barefoot and with light steps towards the town without either anxiety or a feeling of tragic heroism showing on her face, rather, her eyes were energetic and a smile spread over her face. Whether this was the girl’s personality or not, it was as if she was used to doing so… Such strange proactivity made the girl seem different from an ordinary child. It was the greed of craving to [live]. Therefore, the girl...
“Uncle, another refill of grilled meat and vegetables.”
“Eat up, kid. The sausages are good too.”
Blending in with the festival with a nonchalant expression, the girl ate free food while perfunctorily talking, and treated herself to the meal as the adults wondered whose child she was.
“Well, it’s delicious. This vegetable is tempting too.”
“Yeah, it’s vegetables harvested by my family. It’s good, right?”
“Good Heavens, what a cute child. Come, eat the bread made from my barley.”
“My cheese is delicious as well. Won’t you try it?”
Grinning, the girl stuffed her face without discrimination with her lovely appearance, and was subsequently given clothes and things like a dress-up doll. An old woman, who had given the girl pocket money for taking the initiative to clean up the dishes and tidy up, asked for her name.
“...Well.” The girl chose the word meaning “flower” for her [name].
With only that [name], the girl left on a journey by herself. She received the necessary things for a journey from the kind town's people.
“If I don’t know myself, wouldn’t it be good to search for who I am?” It was only a simplistic idea, but the girl knew instinctively that she would gain nothing from staying still.
The departure was from a small rural town in Europe. The goal of the journey was to find her [self]. To find the unknown “something”. From now on, crossing various countries, it would be a journey with the true meaning of “finding oneself”. The only thing she possessed was her [name]. And then three years passed...
Looking up, there was a big enough blue sky to make one dizzy… Turning my face to the smell of seawater and the sound of waves, a blue ocean spread out as far as the eye could see.
“Heeey, Hanaaa. If you’re too close to the edge, you’ll fall.”
While I was in a daze, an old sailor called out to me and waved smilingly as answered. Oh, yeah, Hana was me. When I introduced myself as “Nanohana” in Japanese, they outrageously told me that “Nanohana is too long” and settled with calling me “Hana”. Yeah. It might be somewhat cute and nice. Also, as one might expect, I’m currently at sea… I’m on board a big ship. Luckily, an acquaintance worked as a sailor on the ship. It seemed that the hostess of the inn in Vietnam, who introduced me to this ship going to Taiwan, was the so-called wife of the ship’s captain… Alright. Let’s stop escaping reality. The ship I was currently on was not going to Taiwan, I’m boarding a Japanese cargo ship. To say why this happened, I think it was because of a simple reason and various coincidences.
Firstly, I successfully traveled alone for these three years. Although one might think that it’d be impossible for a 10 years old child to travel alone, as long as you make up your mind about it, you’d unexpectedly be able to do it. I slept in trees and bathed and washed my clothes in rivers. Thinking of when I was so hungry I couldn't do anything and crudely ate raw potatoes from fields, causing my stomach to hurt, those were some good memories… I’m sorry, farmer. In addition to that, there were many people letting me stay at their places. Sometimeees, it became something like confinement, and other times something like selling me off, but I was still living well.
Entering Eastern Europe from Western Europe, I sometimes had to escape from conflict zones, then I entered Western Asia, taking me three years to reach Vietnam. One could say that the hardest part of this trip was crossing borders. I have neither a [Family register] nor a [Citizenship] after all. Therefore, it was impossible to have a passport and I immigrated 100% illegally.
As I sneakily crossed national borders in Eastern Europe, there were warning shots. Since this sort of life was extremely rare, if I had pretended to be a lost child who lost their memories, I might have been able to enter an institution somewhere and acquired a family register, and having a roof over my head wouldn’t have been impossible.
Well… I deviated from the story. The reason for being on a ship to Japan although it should be impossible without a passport to be on one. I got on a large-sized passenger boat to Taiwan from Vietnam, went into a container, and was quietly smuggled along. Vietnam and Taiwan are fairly close if you go in a straight line, but since it was a passenger boat, the course went around and went from west to east, and stopped by Palau and The Philippines. Since it seemed like a pretty long trip, I thought about getting off at a harbor somewhere many times, but as I was working hard on board the ship, pirates attacked... Even in these times, above existing, they were here, pirates. Although I say that, they weren't raising a skeleton flag, but a normal country’s flag of an armed fishing boat, but the problem wasn't that. We easily ran into a navy of a nearby country who easily kicked us about and wanted to inspect the ship while at it. And well, normally, it wouldn’t cause any trouble. The only people it would trouble was the sailor who sneakily smuggled me along, and the hidden-away me. Thereupon, I pondered. It was nighttime. The sailors, flustered by the pirates, had prepared lifeboats. If it came to it, the solution was to… By the way, the solution was incorrect.
I was drifting at sea, alone in a lifeboat and munching on preserved food that was brought along. As my random and zero planning ability personality would drive me into doing something futile… like fishing with my long hair and was quietly regretting, I realized that God hadn’t abandoned me. There was an approaching large-sized cargo ship. I was easily taken into custody.
Why was I suspiciously drifting at sea? Being asked what had happened by my protector, the ship’s captain, I said, “Well… I was going to meet dad!”.
Since I was speaking in Japanese, and introduced myself with a Japanese name, I was easily misunderstood. I also think that it was because of my stateless-like features. A big part was that I could speak like a native too. Since I could understand most countries’ languages by looking at people with my [eyes], this ability came in handy. So, it seems like the sailors thought that a Japanese person had a child in a foreign country and that the child went to sea to meet their father and had an accident.
And maybe because he thought I'd be worried, the old sailor was friendly and said I had gone through a lot to be so young, and moved to tears, he didn’t want to hear the whole story.
…I- I wasn't at fault. My conscience hurt, that was all.
Be it misunderstandings or cross purposes, I was now on board a ship to Japan. The food every day was delicious. I was happy to enter a warm bath every day. And even though I offered help, I was politely refused and treated like a guest and even given candy. Thinking of the travel till now…
“...Japan is a peaceful country, huh.”
At that time, the sea whistle reverberated, and a voice saying “It’s come into view” came from the direction of the stern. All of the people on the ship came out on the deck and headed to the stern, and as I headed there as well, a kind old sailor gave his place up for me. A dark line in the distance became visible.
“Japan…”. The country I was heading to from now on. And the next place I’d get off at.
“If you’re troubled by something, get into contact with us.”
As I was thinking that we had finally reached Japan, the captain stopped me and put me in a car that had been in the cargo compartment. We entered a building, walked into a basement, walked along a long corridor, and as I was becoming a little anxious, I had walked out under the sun before I realized it.
Somehow, I had [secretly] entered a country that easily. Although I thought that in the worst case, the police would take me before I even stepped on Japanese ground, perchance, the captain might have brought me along while knowing everything from the beginning.
“...Is it fine.” I was very happy, but it would be good if the captain didn’t get into trouble because of me. Let’s make a serious prayer for a moment. Especially since I didn't actually believe in God.
As I was looking inside the envelope the captain gave me in the end, several large notes were put in it. So, after unconsciously praying in the direction of the captain, I turned around and walked away.
First, ensure tonight’s lodging and food. It was no different matter than when I first arrived in other countries.
“And then…” I took out a volume of a small book from my luggage to look at. Although the purpose of the journey was to “search for my self”, on the way, the sole purpose had multiplied.
I had bought this book from a kind grandma who put up with me for one night in Romania, and half of it was just blank pages, but I wrote various countries’ words and stories in it. It was surely, for someone who didn’t know, a handwritten book that was handed over from person to person. my [eyes] hadn’t been able to see who the author was, but it made me want to write in it as well.
“I wonder what kind of story can I find in this country.”
On the second day after landing in Japan, I began a test.
“How salty…” Sitting at the base of a tree on the roadside, muttering while drinking an extremely sweet canned shiruko (sweet red bean soup with mochi) like a shabby Japanese salaryman, I turned to face a strange gaze from a passerby.
To explain how things got this way yesterday, I searched for a live-in job I could do or a suitable job like waiting on tables as I had done in every other country, but every one of them turned me down. Apparently, it seems that a child whose residence is uncertain and ID is unclear couldn’t work in this country. For some reason without a “guardian”, let alone working, you can’t even stay at a hotel, and if you slept outdoors in a public park and ate a meat bun in the middle of the night, there’d be a report and a police officer would come. Apparently, the “information” that I got on me seems to be from more than ten years ago.
My [eyes] can “examine” things and “see” the [truth] of them. Seeing the [truth] means [the current state] of something, and that existence is the existence for the origin of it… I say, but it wasn't flawless.
I got this information from the time I “saw” the [Japanese cargo ship]. It was during its construction with “the common sense of Japan several decades ago, the good memories of an old lumberjack”, which was also something I could see. It really wasn’t stable. And not only that, it was really tiring.
When I tried to see the [ability] in a person, it felt like I was being consumed, and when I try to see something slightly troublesome, there were times when I got so tired I couldn't get up anymore. Well, I think it was fine for now.
“...What should I do?”
“...Huh?” As I was pondering about what to do from now on, I noticed strange gazes gathering on me…
Maybe I stand out? Well, most people wouldn’t squat by the base of a tree, I guess… was what I thought, but when I tried standing up, it attracted too much attention.
I wonder why… I pretended to look at a nearby store’s merchandise, and looked at myself in the shopping window’s glass instead.
Since it had been a convenient inn where I only had to put in money and press a button for a key to come out and stay last night, my hair and skin were shiny and new after entering the bath. My clothes were a pure white ao dai from an older woman, and since this country had a lot of tourists from foreign countries, it had many shopping districts, so my black quartz-like hair and scarlet eyes shouldn’t stand out. Yeah. Let’s ignore the strange things. I’m hearing the likes of “cosplay” and “shooting”, but honestly, I didn't understand the meaning of such words.
“What…?” In the middle of looking at myself in the glass, I had an “uncomfortable feeling”. Someone was watching me with clear intention. Where…? Who?
Without having to search for the gaze, it jumped into my field of vision. On the other side of the roadway reflected in the glass. There, a man was staring at me.
What was it… it was somehow different from a normal person. It wasn't a Japanese person… but a young man with a stateless face whose race was uncertain, who couldn't explain their nationality even if asked. A bright hair color. Deep ultramarine blue eyes. This person still wore the warm season half coat while many others had already taken them off, the surrounding people couldn’t even be compared to him, his [presence] was completely different.
“...!?” I unconsciously tried to see him with my [eyes].
Even when I only saw [something] slightly troublesome in normal people, I got tired and I couldn't choose what to see so I didn't use it on other people. Once, I “saw” myself, but I got so beat I couldn’t stand and in the end, I didn’t acquire any information. And yet, I “saw” that.
“!” In the next moment, I broke into a run at full speed.
Crap, crapcrapcrapcrap! Why, whywhywhywhy!
Feeling cold water soaking my entire body, I started fleeing with my utmost strength.
I had only seen a little of the surface of his state of mind. But I still detected a clear [determination] and felt a [murderous intention] solely directed at me.
“Japan wasn’t a peaceful country, after all!?”
T/N: To avoid confusion, this is the first chapter while the two preceeding chapters translated by I Do Hobby are the prequel.