Part 85*presses fast forward*
Shiki walks along the streets towards the Tohno mansion, remembering fondly the times he spent with his sister. Now that his father is dead he's suddenly been called back to the mansion. He wouldn't have accepted, but the only person that remains in the mansion should be his sister. Ever since Shiki's accident, she would have been brought up strictly to become the head of the household, and to this day Shiki feels guilty over it.
Eventually, Shiki finally reaches the manor that is to once again become his home. A cheerful maid lets him in and he curiously notes her old-fashioned style of dress. The maid, named Kohaku, leads him to the sitting room where he is greeted by his sister, Akiha, but their reunion isn't exactly as he'd hoped it to be. She is cold and distant to him, immediately demanding that he adopt a lifestyle befitting of the eldest son of the Tohno family. He grudgingly acquiesces to her odd demands, and she introduces him to his new personal maid, Hisui.
Having a maid makes Shiki feel uncomfortable, but he allows her to lead him to his room anyhow. It only seems vaguely familiar to him, but Hisui seems to think it's the same room he had as a child. After ensuring that he has everything he needed brought over from his past home, Hisui leaves with a promise to call Shiki for dinner in an hour. He laments the lack of a television and, after some thought, Hisui informs him that her sister, Kokahu, has one in her room. Shiki brushes it off and simply waits for dinner.
Dinner is a painful affair, with Akiha clearly unhappy at Shiki's poor table manners. Unable to relax under Akiha's hateful glare, Shiki grows more and more depressed that he accepted the invitation back to the mansion. He's uncertain that he will be able to get used to life in the mansion. Pushing those thoughts aside for the moment, he thinks it's too early to go to sleep and asks his group of panelists what he should do after dinner.
Shiki decides to visit his sister in the sitting room. The two of them share a rather unpleasant conversation over a cup of tea, and it's rather obvious that Akiha bears Shiki a significant grudge over his absence the last eight years. She especially scolds him for never responding to all of the letters she sent to him at the Arimas. After whining even more about Shiki's table manners and poor health, she departs to take a bath that Kohaku prepared for her. Shiki starts dreaming lesbian dreams when Akiha returns to call him an idiot.
Returning to his room, Shiki notices that his bed has been made. Hisui arrives and he thanks her for it, then she asks if he has any questions. Shiki whines about having a personal servant and asks her to simply stop calling him Shiki-sama. She reluctantly agrees, and promptly disobeys. When she turns to leave, Shiki thinks of one last question and grabs her shoulder to stop him. She freaks the fuck out and slaps his hand, then apologizes sheepishly. The atmosphere is uneasy for several moments when Shiki finally asks about Akiha's school. Hisui tells him about that Akiha received special permission to attend her boarding school from home, even though it's unusual amongst the students there. After that, Hisui leaves and Shiki's mind wanders on the subject of his sister for awhile longer.
---I hear the wave-like sound of something's voice.
---Something is howling. It's too sharp and high-pitched to be a stray dog.
---It echoes in my eardrums. Is it howling at the moon?
---This doesn't feel right. The beastly howling is beginning to give me a headache.
---It doesn't stop.
1. Near Side. 2. Far Side. .......2
Today's been a very long day.
I'm mentally tired from eating dinner in this unfamiliar mansion and my conversations with Akiha and everyone else. After all that, the howling is just background noise.
I close my eyes and gently fall asleep.
I hear it again.
...... Inside the mansion... from the lobby?
Oh god, oh god, Nrvnsqr is in the mansion
"-----Could it be a burglar?"
It's not impossible.
The mansion's contents are outrageously valuable. On top of that, with no one here now except Kohaku-san, Hisui, Akiha and myself, it's very insecure.
Getting out of bed, I slip out of the room quietly.
Music: play track 6
There's nothing wrong there.
No, someone's there.
The figure that enters from the entrance and crosses the lobby with wobbling, uncertain steps, is---
That's not Nrvnsqr... OR IS IT?!
She's not going to her own room on the second floor, but to the first floor of the west wing.
The only things there are Kohaku-san's room and my old man's room.
...I guess that bath wasn't enough
"...... What's she doing at this time of night?"
I can murmur all I want, but I won't be getting any answers.
After gazing at the lobby for a while, I decide to return to my room.
Music: play track 9
Oh, hello there, garden picture. We haven't seen you in about five minutes.
Every day was fun.
No one thought about ever growing up,
and we believed that days and nights would always be the same.
It was just a childhood spent playing like puppies.
Barking, biting each other's ears, mounting the females from behind...
We got along wonderfully, and were the best of playmates.
Whenever I turned back, Akiha would be there, waving her hands and hiding shyly.
Yes, always the same.
Back then, the whole mansion was like a giant playground.
The garden, a deep forest.
The house, a tall castle.
We played in our own little world, which would take days to explore.
Music: play track 2
Came home? But you never left on this path! Somebody got a bit too overzealous with the copy+pasting
"Good morning, Hisui. Thanks for coming to wake me."
"There is no need to thank me. It is my duty to come and wake you, Shiki-sama."
Hisui answers indifferently, completely expressionless.
"Ah, really...? Okay then..."
...... Even in an unfavorable light, I think Hisui's features are beautiful.
It should be wonderful for such a girl to wake me every morning, but as Hisui never smiles, I don't feel that happy about it.
...... What a shame.
If Hisui only had half of Kohaku's brightness, she would be really cute.
"---Do you need something?"
Realizing I am looking at her, Hisui stares straight back at me.
"No, nothing at all. Waking up with you there makes me feel like I'm really at the Tohno mansion."
Now then. Getting off the bed, I stretch out both arms.
"Shiki-sama, there is no time. From the mansion to your school is a thirty minute trip. This leaves only twenty minutes for breakfast."
"Eh? ...... Ahh! It's already seven o'clock!?"
I gasp in amazement after looking at the clock.
...... My repeated awakenings last night must have messed up my sleep pattern.
"Damn it, if you're going to wake me, wake me up earlier..."
Muttering selfishly to myself, I reach for the uniform.
It's folded neatly, and the shirt has even been ironed.
Passing my wrists through the sleeves feels good. It's that fresh, brand-new feeling.