I was stunned to see Towa standing in front of me.
I had seen this face many times in front of the mirror, but when I faced him like this, I recognized that he was a proper stranger who did not look like me. I don’t know whether it was just a dream or something that had to happen, but I had to tell him something first.
“…… I’m sorry. About your life …….”
I don’t know why it happened, but it is an unchangeable fact that I took away Towa’s life. The fact that the consciousness of Touwa disappeared because of the entry of the consciousness of me is a certainty. Whatever the cause, I must apologize for that.
I was nervous about what Towa would say to me, but what he said was different from what I expected.
“You don’t need to apologize. In a way, your being here is what I wanted.”
“……What do you mean by that?”
He said that I am here because Towa himself wanted me to be here. I was tilting my head and wondering what he meant, but he continued.
“There were a lot of things I didn’t realize until after everything was over. What I learned was that Ayana had been suffering for a long time. She would act normal in front of me, but then she would suddenly have a shadowy look on her face. I asked her what was wrong, but she wouldn’t tell me.”
It was a fragmented speech in many ways, but I had an idea of who Towa was in front of me. Rather, if I look closely, I can see that he is slightly more mature than I look now. …… This is now confirmed.
“…… are you Towa from future?”
Towa mouthed the correct answer and nodded.
“Yes,…… I am the fool who foolishly failed to recognize the darkness in Ayana’s heart and hurt her.”
Towa looked pained as he spat himself out as an idiot while clenching his fist tightly. Then he raised his face, staring at me, and said he had a wish.
“I think that somewhere in my heart, I wished for someone who could save Ayana, someone who would protect her heart.”
So that was me.
Regardless of the intention, in a sense, this was the moment when my wish and Towa’s wish coincided. I who saw the future and wished to do something about it, and Towa who regretted the past and clung to anyone who could help her.
After hearing the story, I thought to myself that it was too good to be true, but since the fact remained that I had become Towa, I couldn’t conclusively deny it. Well, entering the world of a game itself is impossible, so I’ve already come to terms with it.
“…… I don’t know what I can do. All I can do is talk to Ayana head-on.”
“That’s all right. I couldn’t even do that.”
Looking at him as if he had given up on everything, I felt …… a little sick to my stomach. I went up to Towa and smacked him on the head with a fan chop.
“Don’t make a gloomy face! It’s annoying. Try putting yourself in my shoes for once.”
I’m tired of being told to do something one way or the other. And now that I have the desire to save Ayana, …… there are still other problems and other things that are quite a hassle.
“There’s also Shu and his family to deal with. …… It’s hard enough dealing with Ayana’s mom and all that.”
“…… that’s …… yeah, good luck with that.”
“You’re not a stranger!”
…… This one. In the end, the relationship with Ayana’s mother remains sulky until the future?
“I wanted to do something about Ayana. Even if it worked out well, I couldn’t be sure if my consciousness would continue to exist.”
My wish is to make the future a better place. But even if a change happens in the predetermined future and my wish is fulfilled, it’s uncertain whether my existence will continue to exist unchanged. It’s possible that I might return to the world I originally came from without even realizing it. That thought is a bit lonely, but I can’t help but consider it.
“That should be okay, don’t you think? You must have noticed by now that our souls are mixed together. You’re unequivocally Towa Yukishiro living in this world. That’s something that won’t change anymore. So, you don’t need to feel guilty about the current situation.”
“….I see. But in the end, all the trouble will be left to me, right?”
I see, I see, I understand now.
I manage to hold back my raised fist. However, that was the part that bothered me the most. Although I’m not sure if he can be called the person in question, hearing him say that did give me a little relief.
The strange encounter with Towa Yukishiro has come to an end, and a light shines into the dark space.
“Is it goodbye then? Do your best—-Towa Yukishiro.”
I’m going to do my best… How must it feel to be told that by someone who has the same face as you? Nevertheless, there is no other choice but to go forward at this point.
“I’ll do my best!”
With those words, I finally leave this space.
“……Good luck, and please save Ayana.”
I woke up as if something was rushing me. The white of the infirmary spread out in front of me, and the faint smell of some kind of chemical. I sat up and checked my watch.
“…… it’s already after school.”
Apparently I had been sound asleep for quite a while. I thought someone should have woken me up, but since I looked so pale, I guess they must have just let me sleep. Just as I got up from the bed, the nurse came in.
“Ara, you’re awake. …..Yeah, you look better.”
“I was probably just tired. Thank you.”
“You should be thanking Otonashi-san more than me. She came to you every recess, you know?”
“…..I see. I understand.”
After leaving the infirmary with these words, I headed for my classroom. On the way there, I met someone from the same class and was approached by him, but I told him that I was fine and he seemed relieved.
My body was now light and in perfect condition, and as I walked quickly to the classroom, there was only one person who was still there …….
The only one left was Ayana.
She ran towards me with all her might. Seeing her like that, my heart warmed up. …It seems that what was conveyed to me from Towa in that space was true. Although I don’t quite understand what it means for our souls to be mixed together, I have a strong sense of recognition that I am Towa.
“I’m fine now. And thank you, Ayana. I heard you came to check on me every recess.”
“Of course I did. But ……. I’m really glad to hear that. You seem to be feeling better already.
“Ou, I’m fine.”
Ayana’s anxious expression changed when I gave her a thumbs-up, and she smiled her usual smile.
(……Yes, that’s right. This smile. The future is coming, and it will be a little bit different.)
In the future to come, if I do nothing, it will be just like that, albeit with a certain amount of discrepancy. I don’t know why, but I had the certainty that it would happen. I remember many things like this, and because I have connected my memories with Towa, I want to protect this girl in front of me from the bottom of my heart.
“Hey Ayana. Can I ask you to go out with me after school?”
“It’s totally fine. Right now?”
“No…… How about we meet in that park in an hour or so?”
“There? Okay, got it”
To be honest, I still don’t know what I should do. However, I thought it would be best to start by settling the things that I, or rather, Towa Yukishiro, is carrying. That’s why I chose the park, which is a memorable place for us. I remember there should be a soccer goal there as well.
“Then, Towa-kun, I’ll see you later.”
” Yeah, see you later.”
After parting with Ayana, I headed straight home.
When I arrived home, I took down my luggage and visited the storage room. The dust is not that bad because my mother opens the door from time to time, but it still gets around to some extent. Coughing…… I searched for what I was looking for and found it.
“……Yes, partner, I’ve been neglecting you for a long time.”
What I took out was a soccer ball, the ball that Towa was still using when he was playing soccer. Holding the ball, I finally took out my smartphone and called a certain person. I think he’ll probably come out because he’s probably helping her with her work as before.
A few rings later, the person I’m looking for answers, and I decide to be direct.
“Sorry, I have a confession to make. Can I take back the promise I made earlier? I… like Ayana.”
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the phone, followed by a confused response, but I hung up immediately.
I turned off my phone, put it in my pocket, and headed to the park where Ayana was waiting.
I don’t know what will happen, but I’ll do what I can.
Hey, Towa, if our souls have merged, then you should be able to hear my voice, right? Let’s work together to end this half-hearted relationship that has continued since then and move forward with Ayana towards a real future.
“It’s strange, but I don’t feel nervous at all… Well then, let’s go.”