“…… Yeah.” (Hinagi)
Hinagi slowly spoke out, sounding very pained. Her voice was trembling. It’s a fact, no matter how much you don’t want to admit it, and it’s a past you can’t change. The crackling, pale ball of light disappeared and fell to the ground.
It was almost 11 pm. Even if today was a fireworks festival, it was not advisable for a minor to be out at this hour. On top of that, Hinagi is a girl. I’m sure her parents are worried about her.
But what are we doing here? We are playing with the fireworks. We are delinquents of the highest order.
I was going to just drop her off and go home, but Hinagi insisted on playing with fireworks, so I had no choice but to buy some at a convenience store, and here we are, playing together in a nearby park.
Hinagi has become a delinquent. There’s nothing I can do about it. I’m sorry, Hiori!
We couldn’t make a big fuss in the middle of the night, so the fireworks were just sparklers. The two of us crouched down and just watched the flashes fall silently. It was a lovely summer scene.
“So, did they do something to you?” (Yuki)
“No, but I’m scared. I’m afraid that something will happen again. ……” (Hinagi)
The reason why Hinagi was late for the rendezvous was apparently because she was involved with her seniors. The senior was a guy named Yoshikawa, a year older than Hinagi, whom she had gone out with in junior high school. Since they went to different high schools, they had never encountered each other before, but they met again by chance.
If that was all, it would be nothing, but apparently Hinagi sensed something more than just that. She has a vague feeling of uneasiness. What happened in junior high school must have been so traumatic for her.
I can see from her attitude that she has been suffering without my knowledge. She was wandering in the deep darkness to the extent that even her personality had changed.
“Then make some friends.” (Yuki)
“…… friends?” (Hinagi)
“You don’t have a lot of friends, if I do say so myself.” (Yuki)
“You have a lot of friends, Yukito?” (Hinagi)
Do I have a lot of friends? Who? Me? I don’t remember anything like that. The only one that comes to mind is a refreshingly handsome guy, but I wouldn’t say I have many by myself. Both Hinagi and I tilted our heads unnaturally. There was a blankness in the air. There seems to be a big difference in perception, but that’s not important right now.
“Anyway, get more friends. You’re already in high school. I doubt you’ ll be able to do anything too drastic.” (Yuki)
“What do you mean?” (Hinagi)
“It’s no pun intended. That goes for you, too.” (Yuki) [TL: There is a pun but don’t know which word it is. It is something with Hinagi]
“If you make the next wrong choice, you’ll never get it back this time.” (Yuki)
“It’s a good thing you’re talking to me now. Don’t ever keep it to yourself. Get more people on your side and rely on them. Your family will be there for you. Don’t think you’ll get in trouble.” (Yuki)
“U-un. I understand.” (Hinagi)
I knew that Hinagi had changed. That’s because a while ago, Hinagi was always denying my statements. That’s why I was taken advantage of. And I held my ground at the very last minute.
However, that may not be enough the next time. If you don’t know anything, if you don’t notice anything, and if it’s too late, there’s nothing you can do. But before that happens, there are plenty of things you can do.
“If you know who you’re dealing with, you can do whatever you want. As the great psychics say, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a bakemon for a bakemon.” (Yuki)
“You’re dead because you failed.” (Hinagi)
“Anyway. Don’t worry so much. You made the right choice. You’ve grown up.” (Yuki)
“Maybe if I’d talked to you about it, it wouldn’t have happened that way.……” (Hinagi)
“That’s true. If they knew you were my childhood friend in the first place, they would have never thought of doing anything to you.” (Yuki)
“You say that to yourself?” (Hinagi)
By the time I was in junior high school, I had grown distant from Hinagi. By that time, she had become bitter towards me, we were in different classes, and we rarely interacted at school. The only people who knew that she and I were childhood friends were my classmates from elementary school.
For some reason, I was often avoided by the older students. There were many times when they looked away from me. If they knew that I was a childhood friend of hers, they would probably look at me in a different light, but at least they wouldn’t think twice about messing with me.
Hinagi is worried, but I’m actually not that worried. She didn’t make the same mistake again. She should be fine now. Besides, she’s already a high school student. She’s old enough to be held accountable if she does something. It can’t just be something a child did. That’s what I mean when I say I don’t think the other side can be strong-armed.
If you force them to do something and it fails, it is they who will end their life immediately. In this day and age, it’s easy to record audio and video with a smartphone and leave the evidence behind.
In the world of fantasy, there are often NTR video letters, but those are just extremely stupid acts of self-destruction that transmit the evidence of your crime to the other party.
It is very difficult to hide what you have done. I’m so used to the hellish apocalypse that I don’t mind being punished at all, but that’s not the case in general.
As a student, it is not so easy to do something that may result in expulsion or suspension. They are high school students because they know what they are doing. Such hurdles are high, and it is difficult to deviate from them.
If that is the case, then the opponent’s moves will naturally be narrowed down. Even so, if they were willing to take a risk and go for a hard-line approach, they could be said to be an easy opponent.
Then I suddenly remembered. And then it occurred to me that there was someone who would be perfect for a situation like this.
“Yes. I’ll introduce you to Goddess-sensei, the Youkai face-puking BBA. She’s been giving me a lot of trouble and she’ll give me a free consultation.”
“Who is this woman?” (Hinagi)
“I heard she’s a famous lawyer.” (Yuki)
“Hey, who’s that woman?” (Hinagi)
“I heard her name is Koon Kozukata. I can’t believe it’s a sparkly name.” (Yuki)
“That’s why. Who that woman?” (Hinagi)
“I’ll tell her next time I see her. I’ll give you her contact information.” (Yuki)
“Thank you. Anyway, who is that woman?” (Hinagi)
“Huh? That’s weird. I’m not getting through.” (Yuki)
“Answer me. Who that woman?” (Hinagi)
Oi, what’s wrong with Hinagi?
There was a dark aura about her, which she shared with my sister, and Hinagi’s eyes were glazed over.
I try to explain it to her, but she doesn’t seem to be convinced. She’s very pushy. I mean, if she’s this pushy, I don’t think she’ll be able to take on such an insignificant senior, but there aren’t many people who are used to having bad intentions thrown at them. I can understand why she feels uneasy.
I watched the last sparkler go off and stood up. I cleaned up the trash and made sure there was nothing left. The time has come to be eco-friendly. It’s late at night. I can’t keep her around this late.
“Is your leg okay?” (Yuki)
“I’m fine. I can walk from here.” (Hinagi)
I couldn’t just say goodbye here, so I headed straight to Hinagi’s house. In the silence, Hinagi, who was walking next to me, softly opened her mouth.
“Do you want to stay at my house?” (Hinagi)
“D-d-d-don’t be silly! I can’t do such a horrible thing!” (Yuki)
“Why are you so upset, ……? You used to stay with us.” (Hinagi)
Hinagi mumbled in frustration, but I couldn’t help but shudder at the horrible suggestion. If I do that, I will be punished for sure. We’ve already taken a detour and it’s getting late. If we go any slower, we’re in serious trouble.
Besides, although Hinagi doesn’t know it, I’ve been banned from the Suzurikawa household by Akane, Hinagi’s mother.
Last time, I had to accept her invitation because she was so desperate. I didn’t meet Akane directly at that time, and if I had, she would have blamed me.
I betrayed Akane-san’s expectations. If she said that I could have saved her before the incident, I couldn’t argue with her. In that sense, I’m still the same person who hurt Hinagi.
“You know. The truth is, I wanted to ask you something. Why did you accept my invitation today?” (Hinagi)
“Do I need a reason?” (Yuki)
“Somehow or other, I figured it out. I know what you’re going to say.” (Hinagi)
“Mentalism, I see .” (Yuki)
“No, you idiot.” (Hinagi)
It was getting a little hazy due to the unexpected incident, but there was definitely something I wanted to say to Hinagi. It was the same thing that I had told Shiori.
“Hinagi, I–” (Yuki)
“Earlier, you told me that I wasn’t wrong, right?” (Hinagi)
Interrupting my words, Hinagi repeated them. Her hand gently grasped mine.
“I struggled and struggled and struggled. And you lit up the darkness. I’ll never let go of your hand again.” (Hinagi)
“You have your life to live. Look around you more. I’m sure they’ll tell you–” (Yuki)
“Yukito. I have my own life. So it’s up to me.” (Hinagi)
We arrive at Hinagi’s house. I can feel the heat directly from her hands. The night breeze awakens my burning body, and she gently kisses my cheek.
“I’m not going to give up. You’re always trying to help me. –Because that’s who you are.” (Hinagi)
A few hours ago, when I first met you, your face was completely blue, but now it’s dyed red with elation. Her expression was embarrassed and shy. It was the same Hinagi I hadn’t seen in a long time.
“Thank you for today. I’ll apologize and thank you again next time.” (Hinagi)
The expression on her face, which was bright blue when we met a few hours ago, was now dyed vermilion as if she was elated. The expression on her face was embarrassed and shy. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the same Hinagi from back then.
“—–That yukata looks good on you.” (Yuki)
“Thank you.” (Hinagi)
I had to tell her this, I thought as quickly as I could. Hinagi did not look back. I could just feel that she was smiling at me. That’s the distance between us now. It’s farther than when we were in elementary school, but closer than when we were in middle school.
I watched her disappear completely, and let out a deep sigh.
“What should I do……?” (Yuki)
I’m strong against hostility and malice, but I don’t know what to do about goodwill. I turned back heavily, unable to find an answer.
Deep down, she knew that it was something that she would never find alone.
“I’m sorryyyyyyyyyyyy!” (Yuki)
I fell flat on my face. I got down on my knees in the living room of my house and desperately begged for forgiveness. But the pressure only gets stronger. Ahahahaha! That’s it, that’s it!
“I said I wouldn’t forgive you if you are late didn’t I?” (Yuri)
“I have nothing to feel guilty about! I just had a stomachache on the way home and had to use the multi-purpose toilet.” (Yuki)
“What? You were having sex with her in the multipurpose toilet ?” (Yuri)
“Absolutely not! There is no such thing as a multipurpose toilet!” (Yuki)
“Well, it looks like you’ve been charged with suspension” (Yuri)
“Yes. For the time being, it’s kinship.” (Yuri)
“Crap! I have a feeling there’s some nuance to this, but I’m too afraid to find out!” (Yuki)
“Come on, let’s sleep together.” (Yuri)
“Why are you taking off your pajamas?” (Yuki)
“It’s hot.” (Yuri)
“I can’t hear a word.” (Yuki)
“Come here and cuddle.” (Yuri)
Brutality! My hierarchy had been reduced to an inanimate object. But my mother is here, too. She was smiling at me with a big smile on her face. I sent her a look for help.
“I’m glad you guys are getting along like you used to.” (Mother)
“Fufu….fufufu…..I thought I wasn’t old enough to get that.” (Mother)
“It was just a random thought, Mother.” (Yuki)
“It’s a little late in the game for rebellion, isn’t it? But I’m relieved. You’re still a child.” (Mother)
“I’m not relieved at all! And why is mom also not wearing pajamas?” (Yuki)
“Isn’t it hot today?” (Mother)
“I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” (Yuki)
“Shall we sleep together then?” (Mother)
“Yes, yes. I knew these two are mother and daughter. I’m the only one who feels different.” (Yuki)
“Don’t be so sad.” (Mother)
I was held tightly from both sides and taken away. They’re a splendid combination, aren’t they?
“I know this is the second time I’ve said this, but do you know this is my room?” (Yuki)
“We only need one air conditioner, and that will save money on the electric bill, right?” (Mother)
“I really can’t hear you say that.” (Yuki)
I’m a dependent! I can’t keep my head above water against my mother. I’m also afraid of heat stroke.
“Tell me what you’ve been doing or I won’t let you sleep until you tell me.” (Yuri)
“I’m innocenttttttttttttttttttttttttttt!” (Yuki)