Part 122: Quiz Tournament (Gohda's Question)
BGM: Doorway of Summer
"Perfect! Ange-chan, you must really be a genius, to get something like that at your age."
"If you start at the south pole, then after you go north, going east just draws a circle around the south pole. So, anytime you go south again, that just takes you right back to the south pole."
"I tried to make it an extra hard puzzle, but Ange-chan was just too good."
"Congrats! Here's another medal for ya."
I got a heavy, gold-colored medal. All right, I did it...! Aunt Eva and I held up our fists in celebration.
"Okay, that's all for our puzzles! Go ask one of the others to give you one!"
"Okay! Thank you, Uncle Hideyoshi...!"
"Your aunt's really clever...! With the two of you together, you'll be gettin' medals right and left!"
"Yep, that's right!"
"Yeah. Let's do our best together, Aunt Eva."
Probably the easiest one of the whole set.
Eva hung her head. A single tear sparkled in her eye...
"Her reaction was only natural, considering how she felt. But I... wasn't able to see past it and accept her feelings..."
"It can't be helped. You're as human as anyone else. Humans tend to be more fragile than you'd think."
"Even so, it was my fault...! After all, I already had the experience of bringing up a child, right?! I should have become her mother. And yet, I let sadness overwhelm me, and I didn't do it at all..."
"It can't be helped, I tell you...! Don't think you were the only one at fault...! You shouldn't blame yourself so much!"
By now, Eva was unable to hold back her sobs... Large tears dripped down her cheeks as she stared at the ground and shook...
"What a sin I've committed... My sadness was no greater than hers...! And yet, I decided that I was suffering the most, so I didn't accept her feelings... I'm a failure of a mother... I wasn't able... to become a mother for her..."
Kyrie and Rudolf were standing behind Eva now.
"I know the lengths you went to... to keep the truth from Ange."
"...You held out well, Aneki. Guess that daughter of ours really has been a pain, clueless about how much you suffered."
After the accident on Rokkenjima... Eva, the only one who left Rokkenjima alive, adopted Ange, the girl who had been absent and survived. While they would eventually develop a sad and mutually painful relationship, it wasn't like that at first. Eva tried to show affection for Ange, her last remaining blood relative. She tried to become Ange's new mother. Even as she fought back the sadness she herself felt. However, Ange wasn't able to accept that kindness. She lashed out at Eva, the only one who had returned alive, for stealing her parents away from her.
Eva, understanding the wounds that this little six-year-old girl bore, withstood these attacks. She grit her teeth and poured all of her affection onto Ange... affection that went ignored. However, the wounds Eva herself bore were also extremely deep. She was never rewarded for her sad efforts, and the future in front of her grew dark.
"But still, that was just for my own satisfaction. Ange-chan never felt any of it..."
"Ange was the one who couldn't accept it. It isn't your fault."
"But who could possibly ask that of Ange-chan when she was just six years old...?! I should've held out much, much longer, until she could understand my feelings...!"
"Eva nee-san. I want you to believe one thing."
"We... don't blame you in the slightest."
"Thank you so much... for suffering so long for Ange's sake... If that kid has a human heart, then I'm sure she'll recognize the affection you showed her someday."
"Thank you, Aneki. We'll always be grateful..."
"...Isn't that wonderful, Eva... All of your efforts... have been witnessed..."
BGM: Stuffed Toy
"Hohohoho. And I, Kumasawa, have a ve~ry tricky puzzle for you."
"It doesn't matter how hard it is. I'm not alone. I'll solve it with Aunt Eva!"
Gohda and Kumasawa offered to challenge me. I'll have to go up against everyone in the end, so it doesn't matter who comes next. I waved at Aunt Eva to hurry up, and she ran toward me.
"Very well, as you wish. Here is my puzzle."
"Hohohohoho. I'll warn you, it's a toughie."
"I'll still solve it. I've gotten the knack of it."
"You'd better not underestimate Ange-chan. Right?!"
"My, my. Well then, being the humble chef that I am, here is a puzzle about food and the kitchen."
"We'll fight together this time. If you don't get it, just ask me to lend a hand. I'll give you a hint."
"...If I get a hint, does that mean I don't get a medal?"
"It won't affect your medals at all, so feel free to ask away!"
The ice cream