Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
When we arrived at the fireworks venue, it was overflowing with people to the point where it seemed like a soda can ready to burst. Wandering around the food stalls, we satisfied our hunger whilst looking for a spot where we could watch the show from.
“Hey, Izuru-kun! Looks like the view’s good from over there!”
As the light gradually waned with the sun already set, the two of us walked hand-in-hand. While there were some people at the spot Hiraoka had found, it was still the best place we could get for the fireworks showing.
“As expected of the fireworks master.”
“Hehe, you got me!” Hiraoka proudly pugged out her chest, delighted with the sudden compliment. But suddenly, her expression darkened. “…Izuru-kun, do you like being called ‘Master’?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I mean, it’s strange to have such a relationship with your own sister…”
“Oh, well, that’s…”
Ugh, Miriya, that idiot. Causing such confusion… Hiraoka looked at me struggling to answer with a wry smile.
“Sorry, you don’t have to explain it. There must be a reason, right?”
“Thought so. Well, I’d be happy to hear it someday.”
If she wanted to press the issue, she could anytime. So why doesn’t she? Isn’t it concerning? A person went missing for a whole month, so where were they and what were they even doing? And who even is Miriya, the foreign-looking girl who showed up from thin air along with me?
…I don’t know how to put it, but Hiraoka seems oddly uninterested. As if she thinks it’s meaningless to ask, or something like that.
“It would be nice… If I could really hear it…”
It happened as soon as I tried to answer her waning murmur. A single white streak rose, cutting the night sky before bursting into a blazing bouquet of colors.
“Wow! The fireworks started, look, Izuru-kun!”
One after another, the dark canvas above was filled with splatters of flame and color; a breathtaking sight, a reminder that the hellish days I’ve endured were finally over, away as one of those stars shining atop even the fireworks.
It really is beautiful… As I gazed into the magnificent spectacle, those days in that other world felt like a distant, blurry dream. Sometimes I even wonder, were the last two years of my life a fleeting illusion? Unfortunately, they were very much real. Harshly so… Oh no, I feel like crying.
Lost in my own thoughts, the biggest streak of fire shot up to the sky. The rising whistle of it soaring above could be felt in my own chest, a telltale sign of what was to come. A few seconds later, the biggest blazing flower blossomed into the night, illuminating the venue in pure white.
“I’m so glad I could see it with you, Izuru-kun…”
Turning over at her, I saw sudden tears trickling down her cheeks.
“Hey, Izuru-kun…” She squeezed the hand she’d been holding all along even tighter. “I’ve loved you since the day we met… I always have…”
For a fleeting moment, illuminated by the countless bursts of light above, it was as if her face filled with a radiance, unlike anything I’d ever seen. It was the most beautiful sight in the world, and it was accompanied by warm words of love.
However, like the fireworks that last for a second or two, so too did her smile disappear.
“Ah, I finally said it…”
While still clutching onto my hand, she collapsed to the ground, completely unconscious. I held her body in my arms, desperately trying to shake her awake.
“Hey…! Hiraoka! Hiraoka!”
People nearby looked on, saying things like “Is it a heatstroke?” or “Shouldn’t we call an ambulance?” but their words barely registered in my ears.
Still holding onto her frail body, I shouted the name of a certain girl. There was no way she’d ever leave my side, even if I gave her the most freedom in the world. After all, she’s persistently chased me from that hell to here.
“What are you doing!? I know you’re here, so come out quickly—MIRIYA!!!”
Despite the clearly appalling situation unfolding before me, Miriya still hadn’t shown herself. Growing impatient, I called out her name with even more force, and her voice soon echoed from behind me.
“I can hear you. You’re quite noisy, Master.”
“And you’re too slow!”
I turned my head to glare at her.
“Healing magic will be faster than taking her to the hospital! Use your teleportation magic to move us elsewhere!”
“Do you really think it’s appropriate to do that in such a crowded place? Master’s intelligence seems to have declined so much.”
“—! Do you realize we don’t have time to waste on useless banter?!” I hollered at her, angry to the neck and disregarding the onlooker’s gazes.
While Miriya may appear defiant, she was quite obedient. Still, this might’ve been the first time she’s ever resisted an instruction of mine. Yes, it’s as if she thinks there is no point in hurrying…
“…Do you know what’s wrong with her?”
Miriya only gave me a loaded glance in response. Then, she crouched down, picked Hiraoka up from my arms as if to take her away from me, and spoke, “I’m glad your head has cooled down. Well, you’re not wrong that we don’t have time, so let’s move to somewhere quieter.”
We quickly left the venue using her teleportation magic, hoping to find a place without any prying eyes. The destination was the shrine where I first met Hiraoka.
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