Part 90I'm pretty sure this was going to win anyway, and that last update was amazingly short.
I go down the stairs which creak only when they shouldn't, and walk quietly to the door.
"Nii-san? You're going out, at this hour?"
Already in the lobby, Akiha speaks quietly.
It's not a look of blame.
She is merely gazing at me uneasily.
That makes two of us that are uneasy
"You're going to go out and get hurt again, like last night. Aren't you, Nii-san?"
"...... I'm sorry. A friend of mine is in trouble. I can't let it go."
"...... I see. I'm sure you're going to go even if I stop you, Nii-san."
"Yeah, but I won't do anything dangerous. I'm just going to check it out a bit. ...... I'm sorry to cause trouble like this, when I've only just come home."
Saying so, I begin walking out.
A soft voice comes from behind me.
A weak voice, so unlike Akiha's usual tone.
...... It's just like her voice from eight years ago--tinged with unease.
"...... What are you talking about? I'm only going out for a moment. You shouldn't make a face like that."
"I... I know, but..."
"It's okay. I'll come right back. I'm sorry, Akiha; I've always been causing you trouble."
This would actually be a touching brother and sister relationship if it weren't a *touching* brother and sister relationship.
Ignoring Akiha's voice behind me, I leave the mansion.
...... Outside, a moonlit night.
Perhaps because I saw Akiha's unsettled expression.
For some reason, I feel I may never return here.
Music: play track 6
...... How long has it been?
There's no sign of Yumizuka; not in the back alleys nor in the crowds.
I rest my body, burning from all the running.
It's almost midnight.
...... It might be useless to keep looking around.
"Where has she gone...?"
I start walking again.
There's one place I haven't looked yet.
I'll give up after my body really can't move anymore--
A faint headache.
A low temperature.
My mind is cool like ice.
Something is strange.
This park, it feels like something bad is around here.
"...... A little more till I reach the center of this park."
I shake the headache off, and walk deeper in.
Music: play track 9
"...... Wait, Shiki-kun. I'm glad you came, but I don't want you any nearer right now. Please, don't come any closer."
Her breathing looks painful.
Her body convulses as she speaks, as if she's about to collapse any second now.
"Don't be stupid! I'm not going to leave someone looking as painful as you alone...!"
"No, I'm okay... You came, so I'm fine now."
Forcing herself up, Yumizuka smiles at me.
It seems like a show of bravado.
...... But I can't approach her.
I do at least understand that Yumizuka doesn't want me near her.
"...... What's going on, Yumizuka? Why haven't you been home? What was that about, yesterday? Why, that----"
"Hm? That what?"
"...... Damn it, I don't know! I really don't understand anything, Yumizuka...!"
"Really? You saw what happened yesterday. I told you 'I killed those people', didn't I?"
She answers frankly.
...... It's almost as if she's laughing at my feelings of denial.
"Yumi... zuka, you--"
"Please. Stop calling me that. I'm calling you Shiki-kun, so it's only fair for you to call me by my first name too."
I take a deep breath.
Yumizuka is still like before.
Even though she acts like she used to----she says some pretty scary things.
She says 'I killed those people, I can't lie about it' and Shiki doesn't understand. She asks him to call her by her first name and he says it's scary.
"When I think about it, I look foolish. I could never talk to you like this, for all the years I watched you from afar."
"I was always watching you, Shiki-kun. Even before I was saved in that warehouse, I was always watching you.
I'm... really a coward. I always just agreed with the people around me, and smiled when it seemed right. Before I knew it, everyone was treating me like an idol."
"So school wasn't fun for me. But that changed, after you talked to me in the second year of junior high, Shiki-kun."
"Nah. It's not something you'd remember. How can I put it... You were always natural, never showing off. Probably you didn't even think about what you said back then."
"It's okay. Don't make a face like that. You were only hanging out with Inui-kun, so it was normal for you to ignore other classmates."
"But that was okay. I was happy just being in the same class as you, Shiki-kun.
It was my goal to talk to you and let you call me Yumizuka-san. Now that I think about it, it was too small of a wish."
She recalls nostalgically.
Those ancient days.
...... Like she is remembering something that happened a long time ago.
Aw, no... NO... why do we have to make this choice? Awww man.