Part two in Japan
An unblemished white marble corridor where, just by walking in it, you understood that it wasn't cheap.
A real crystal chandelier hung from the high ceiling.
A long crimson carpet spread out in an enormous saloon… The luxurious ornaments made it seem like a western-style mansion from the Taisho period.
However, there were no windows there.
There, an evening party with a buffet was taking place.
There were familiar people from somewhere. They wore elegant attires and held drinks in one hand while chatting with each other.
"There seem to be many black beings today…"
"Oh, how scary… but, it's the oracle's words."
"Then, it won't be long for that person to awaken…"
"Do not rush things. This is why we are waiting to replace the parents."
"And therefore… before we grow old, we want to see them."
"It will not be long… it will not be long, I am sure."
"As long as that person exists…"
"Indeed, everything is for this country's peace and prosperity…"
Deep ultramarine eyes stared at them.
Bright hair and a well-proportioned face. Wearing a perfectly tailored formal suit while his presence floating around the assembly hall gave a sense of discomfort.
No one tried talking to him.
He also didn't have a reason to make conversation with the humans in this place.
Because he knew it wasn't necessary to participate in this "farce".
He stood by the wall, receiving drinks from a waiter, instantly emptying glasses and returning them.
It was just a repeat of this while he observed the people.
"Sir Murasame, the shrine maiden is calling for you."
A young woman wearing a simple formal dress called out to the man.
She had said it clearly… however, it seemed to have only been the man that heard her.
Murasame answered the young man that was called briefly, and silently followed the woman that had walked off ahead.
Leaving the windowless saloon, they walked along a windowless corridor, and Murasame abruptly opened his mouth.
"Nothing special. You seem healthy… Oh."
"No… Around this time, when she was taking an afternoon nap, she sweated more than normal."
It was a simple conversation, but both Murasame and the woman didn't think so.
After walking for five minutes straight in the white windowless corridor, two women in loose white clothing welcomed them with a gentle bow and opened two large double doors.
"Murasame is here."
A young child's voice sounded.
From the back of the room larger than the corridor, a toddler in shrine maiden clothes rushed over.
It had soft black bob hair and big eyes, seemed to be four to five years old, and had a gentle smile.
Murasame kneeled in front of the girl rushing over, and smiled gently, which the others didn't see.
"Shrine maiden, how are you?"
The girl smiled with her whole face and used words... unlike her.
There were tons of picture books and a ridiculous amount of toys.
Everything from things infants used, to wood machines inappropriate for her age, to toys for girls and boys, were put there, similar to an offering.
She had no name, she was put here as a newborn, and was called like this from the time she was born.
After replying to Murasame, the Shrine maiden lowered her eyebrows a little.
“However… It seemed like I had a scary dream today.”
As the Shrine maiden held out her arms for a hug, the maids who had been standing by her sides backed off, and Murasame gently hugged her.
“A scary dream… you say. An evil dream?”
“I don’t know. But I felt something “call out” to me.”
“Is that so…”
“But now Murasame is here, so it’s okay.”
“Yes, Shrine maiden.”
Like the bond between a brother and a sister - like a father-daughter bond, the Shrine maiden was spoiled like this, and Murasame answered like this.
“Right, did you get the bad child, Murasame?”
“I deeply apologize. I lost sight of it.”
“I see… but Murasame will be fine, for me, the Shrine maiden, you will beat it.”
“Yes, for the Shrine maiden… For the peace of this country.”
Murasame softly rubbed the Shrine maiden’s back, and she hugged his neck with a big smile on her face.
“Murasame, will you tell me a story again?”
“Yes, Shrine maiden. What kind of story would be suitable today?”
The Shrine maiden lowered her eyebrows again and grumbled before raising her face.
“The story about the princess is good.”
Murasame sat down on a cushion large enough for the both of them and started telling the story.
“Today… let’s talk about [Princess Tsubakiri].”
“...An unfamiliar ceiling.”
Uttering the lines I had always wanted to try to say, I slowly opened my eyes.
A dimly lit room. Light wooden ceiling. A faint sweet scent of milk tickled my nose. I gazed at the moonlight gently pouring in through the window made of wood and paper.
My consciousness finally awakened.
“Where… is this?”
I was sure that I… arrived in Japan, and walked around downtown… oh no. I couldn’t remember.
Uhh, my name was “Nanohana”, and I was… to be exact, “three years” old. My physical appearance seemed to be around ten.
What was with this room? This tatami… Japanese-styled room… it was a room with tatamis, huh. On top of the study desk… looking at the accessories, although they were old, it seemed to be a girl’s room. Did that mean that this sweet scent was from the girl living here? It didn’t seem like she had been brought here by that man while sleeping though.
To my relief, after looking down at my body, I was still wearing clothes, but it hung down from my chest to abdomen and had gotten all torn up to the point of showing my skin underneath.
But the most important part wasn’t visible because the torn cloth was hanging together. I wasn’t sure whether I should feel sad or happy because my size hadn’t made it fall off.
But I didn’t feel like it had been forcibly torn. Was it burned? Was it a terrorist attempt? But for that reason to be true, I should have burn marks, but I didn’t have any, let alone injuries.
Hmm, how mysterious. The fluffy futon was fascinating, but I stood up to try and find what else was going on.
As soon as I opened my clothes, I was pushed down on the tatami mat.
I fell on my nose and moaned, but didn’t have a voice.
Huh? Why is my body heavy? No, I think it’s because my body was pulled down by something…
I hadn’t noticed it at all! A strange girl had slept by my side and fallen off the futon while grabbing my clothes.
How hadn’t I noticed the presence of this child? She was so close. Were my senses growing dull? It felt like her body had gotten heavier a moment ago.
It was hard to see in the darkness even though there was moonlight. My senses were worse at night. It was like my physical ability dropped by several levels.
This was like… the [power] inside of me was completely gone.
Something had happened. Maybe I was seriously injured and I used that [power] to heal the wound? It was true that I could heal quickly if I used the [power], but…
“It’s no use. I don’t know.”
I couldn’t help it if I didn’t know. A good trait of mine was that I didn’t care much.
But there was one thing I had found out.
The girl hadn’t woken up despite the noise I had made. When I poked her cheek with my fingertip, she let out a cute sound.
She surely brought me here and nursed me without changing my clothes. It was probably a lot of work. Was she tired? Without realizing it, I had put my trust in her as I was unconscious.
She was the same as me, a slightly above-average pretty girl. Her hair, shining in the moonlight, seemed like silver.
I removed her grip on my clothes and stood up silently.
The pure white ao dai was only ripped on my chest and back. Why did it break in this manner? Oh well. Although I wanted to change, my luggage couldn’t be found at a glance, so it was probably lost at some point.
I was curious because the size wasn’t something that was easily lost, and so I borrowed the light cardigan lying on the futon.
Let’s confirm the current state first. Believing that this child is trustworthy, I want to at least confirm an escape route.
My [power] was almost nonexistent as of now. I had only an age-appropriate strength now. And if I couldn’t use the power of my [eyes], I would have to find out information myself.
I slowly opened the door made of tree and paper going horizontally - fusuma1 and went out to the corridor. The polished floor felt cool under my bare feet.
If it was about this much, I could use enough information about a few decades ago. It was a typical old Japanese home. And pretty big, huh. Was that girl a daughter of a rich family?
Walking along the corridor, the rough tree fusuma was changed into shoji(paper sliding door). And there…
“Young girl 2, did you wake up? “
“... Good evening, Grandfather.”
When I opened the sliding door, there was a figure of an old man sitting in seiza on the veranda and drinking tea.
I wonder who that is? Could it be the girl’s grandfather?
“Won’t you sit down here and drink some tea?”
I judged that he wasn’t a bad person, and sat down on the zabuton3 spread out across from him.
“...I am called Nanohana.”
“How polite you are. I am the landlord here, Senjou Fukami. You seem to be from overseas, you have pleasant manners.”
He made a swift attack. If it got out that I didn’t have a passport, it would definitely become a lot of trouble.
Since I got the information, I could sit in seiza normally, but as expected of a Japanese person, they saw through it.
“It is low-grade tea though.”
“Oh! …Thank you.”
There was suddenly another person behind me - a boy wearing high school clothing handed me steaming tea… I hadn’t felt his presence in the room.
I looked over the beautiful garden while moistening my throat with tea and took a short rest.
“I studied about Japan. I was a little bewildered by the old information. And… thank you very much for nursing me.”
“No, no, it was shocking when my granddaughter brought you home, but it’s a relief that you weren’t hurt. If you want to give your gratitude to anyone, thank my granddaughter, Tsubaki.”
So the girl’s name was “Tsubaki”. It was somehow very…
“It is a fitting name.”
“Isn’t it? When I first saw her, this name came to mind. Your name, Nanohana, is quite fitting as well. It’s “Japanese” though…”
“...Thank you very much.”
Taking advantage of my statelessness, I used to change my name according to the language of the country I was in to fit in immediately, but it would be strange if it was a monoethnic country, huh. I failed.
As expected, it would be unskillful if it continued this way. I would rather speak honestly.
“I am a child who traveled alone in rural Europe for three years without citizenship, and I illegally entered this country as well.”
That sounded so suspicious! The truth sounded like a lie…
As I was pondering about what to say instead, I heard a flapping sound from running in the corridor.
“Ah, you’re here…”
This girl, was it Tsubaki? The flustered girl who came running, sunk down on the floor after seeing me as if she lost all her strength.
“This, Tsubaki. Don’t run in the corridor.”
“Y-yes, Grandfather. I am sorry…”
I didn’t think this was good timing, but I rose from the zabuton to give her my gratitude.
“Err, Tsubaki? It was you who saved me, right? Thank you very much. I am called Nanohana.”
“Oh, err, yes, I am Tsubaki.”
Despite her beautiful appearance, she answered in a flustered manner, and I couldn’t help but smile, and she grew red.
“I apologize. I ended up borrowing the cardigan.”
“It’s okay! I have a lot of clothes to wear anyways, so please wear anything you want!”
“I-is that so?”
Anything… I couldn’t stay here for that long anyway, and wasn’t she a little too excited?
What a cute granddaughter, huh. When I looked in the grandfather’s direction, Fukami was looking surprised at his granddaughter, and the brother was making a surprised face as well, but it was an appreciable smile.
Noticing my gaze, the grandfather gave me a light smile and called out to Tsubaki.
“Tsubaki. It seems like Nanohana came here for her studies from overseas. I would like for her to stay here for that while, and it doesn’t seem like it would disturb you.”
Without realizing it, both I and Tsubaki let out our voices at the same time. I did it out of bewilderment though.
What intentions did the grandfather have to say that? I shouldn’t say it myself, but there are seldom people who are this suspicious, right?
… This old man, just how much did he know?
I won’t say anything about chasing off an unconscious person, but wouldn’t people normally be troubled by it? I thought and sneakily glanced at Tsubaki.
Tsubaki, like she was anticipating it, looked straight at me.
Her amber eyes shone even more beautiful at night than day…
In the moonlight, her silver hair wasn’t beautiful like a jewel, rather, as if it was a sharpened blade, it possessed you and drew you in.
Ah, there’s no use. If I look at this child’s face, I won’t be able to refuse.
It wouldn’t trouble anyone, but it felt like I was caught somehow, and when I glanced at Fukami, he playfully winked at me.
“...I will be in your care.”
All I could do was raise my hands in defeat and surrender, and it was decided that from now on, I will be imposing on the Fukami Family.
This story was told from the perspectives of “Rape blossom” and “Camellia”.
The slaughter scene will be in the third-person perspective.
The next title will be "Diverging fate".
- Japanese sliding screen ↑
- Ojou-san ↑
- A floor cushion used when sitting or kneeling ↑