Translated : Sveroz
Edited : Nooby2, Wing, Akios
After Rina finished replacing the canvas sheet, she took a deep breath.
The blinding sunlight of the morning entered the sparsely populated art classroom. The shaft of the pencil in Rina’s hand was shining as it reflected the sunlight; placed on the table in front were a flower vase and an apple which were being used for modeling purposes. It has been quite a while since Rina drew still objects, but she felt that today the drawings would turn out rather good.
She sat on a wooden stool, facing a snow white long canvas that had nothing drawn on it yet.
---It’s the first time I said it out.
There was nobody that she confided her past to in the past, but yet she told everything to Shiika.
It was definitely because of the fact that both of them shared the same dream. The reason they were so similar was due to the illogical reason that they’ve lost the place they belong in, and are people who intend on finding a paradise where they could live in peacefully one day.
God, this is the first time I am grateful towards you---
Rina whispered quietly in her heart; this totally didn’t suit her style. In the past she had never expected she would actually meet someone who shared the same dream.
It is because of the meeting with a teenage girl with the same dream that caused Rina to remember the important things that she had slowly forgotten.
Although her dream was diminishing, Rina had something she needed do at all costs. Her true wish was to accomplish this task.
Afterwards, she could only pray that the people left behind would be able to find a place where they belong. This way, Rina can proudly say, “She has truthfully lived in this world before---”
“For the sake of fulfilling this wish, no matter what the cost, (Kakkou) must…..”
Rina unconsciously said it out.
The words of the man called Haji rang in her mind.
--- Ah, comrades who share the same dream, but have to fight against one another, and suffer because of it, what a tragic fate it is… …
Stop talking nonsense!
Rina’s expression immediately became serious.
That (Kakkou) actually shares the same dream as me? He also wants to find a place where he belongs? How can that even be possible! That guy is the enemy, and not to mention a nuisance, a cruel and unforgiving existence.
Only after defeating the spectacled guy and (Kakkou) could Rina and her comrades truly achieve victory. For now there was probably no one else who could replace that cunning man, and that Mushitsuki who is said to be strongest. It should be like this, there was no mistaking it. Up till now, Rina had never come across such a knotty Special Environmental Preservation Bureau member before.
“Next time I must win…”
While saying it halfway, Rina’s vision suddenly became distorted. The pencil in Rina’s hand was dropped to the ground as well.
“… Ugh …”
The flower vase in her vision started distorting as a light headed feeling began taking over her consciousness.
Just then, an image of her mother who was crying silently as she wrapped her arms across Rina’s body suddenly flashed through.
Next was the image of her furious father approaching her, then the face of her classmate Kusuriya Daisuke, followed by Shiika whom she had just met yesterday, then (Kakkou) who was raising his gun; and a giant ladybird with its countless glowing eyes---
Because of a sudden sound, Rina came back to her senses.
She turned towards the door, and noticed a familiar teenager was standing there shocked.
“… Ah… Kusuriya…?”
“Are you okay? Your complexion seems rather bad…”
Rina shook her head lightly to get rid of the dizziness, picked up the fallen pencil, and moved her vision away from the approaching Daisuke; once again facing the canvas.
“You got something up? Today is a school holiday you know?”
“…Of course I know that today is a holiday! I went out today to take care of some errands, but when passing by the school, I felt like coming in to have a look. I never thought that Tachibana-san would actually be here. Do you come here to draw even if it’s a holiday, Tachibana-san??”
“It’s none of your business.”
Rina said coldly, and started drawing the outlines of the flower vase. But because the feeling of the pencil that she had while drawing earlier had disappeared, she was unable to move her pencil like how she portrayed it in her mind. Daisuke’s sudden appearance caused Rina to lose all her concentration in a flash.
“If you are alright, that’s fine. You don’t seem to be in a good mood, guess I better leave first.”
"Hey, uhm... Wait ..."
Rina said unintentionally as Daisuke was just about to get up and leave the classroom.
When Daisuke turned back, it caused Rina to feel even more troubled. It was her that called Daisuke to stop, but she just could not think of a reason for her actions.
“Erm…that…if you have nothing to do, how about sitting here for a while! Since you came here already, I will let you observe for free!”
“I totally don’t have a clue about what you are saying, but since I have nothing to do… However, before that matter I am indeed quite free, so might as well. Since you were breaking the rules in letting me observe for free.”
Although Daisuke was a bit suspicious, he still moved his chair to a place where he could see Rina’s canvas sheet clearly.
Rina could feel Daisuke’s eyes looking in her direction, and was finding it difficult to remain calm. Although her hand was continuously moving on its own, she had no clue whether the one being drawn at the moment was the flower vase or the apple.
Rina continued to look forward, not intending to let Daisuke see her expression, and talked. For the sake of preventing Daisuke from finding out her anxiousness, she continuously moved her pencil and said quietly,
“Since it’s rare to have such an opportunity…how about you sit over there…”
“That would be in front of me, the front; FRONT…I have already drawn this vase before so it’s kind of boring to draw it again. Since I feel like drawing a human figure, would you be willing to be my model? I feel like taking up the challenge, if I were to draw a person like you, would I complete it first? Or would I break my pencil first?”
Daisuke remained silent for a while. And after a few minutes, he replied hesitantly:
“I got some errands to take care of in a while…so, I would have an hour at most…”
God, I feel like thanking you again---
“It’s okay, since I don’t have that much time anyway. Give me a minute; I’m going to get a fresh new canvas from over there.”
Rina got up from her seat and walked into the storeroom without even looking back at Daisuke once. She then hurriedly combed through the storeroom in order to find a blank canvas, while making it as quiet as possible so Daisuke wouldn’t notice. And very soon, she luckily found what she was looking for.
When she came out from the storeroom, Daisuke had already neatly put away the flower vase and the apple. The guy who normally gave people the impression of being a blur doing this kind of thing sure was surprising even to Rina.
“You…You don’t have to do that… I should be the one cleaning up those things…”
“It’s alright, I don’t mind helping you clean up these things. Not to mention, you looked rather under the weather today.”
Daisuke smiled as he said.
Rina, at a loss for words, could only silently return to her seat. She suddenly thought of Shiika’s face. If it were her, she probably would be expressing her gratitude honestly right now…
“Okay, you can go over there now… No need to remain still on purpose, just relax and stay seated!”
Daisuke followed her instructions, and sat in front of Rina at a slanted angle, and got ready his pose.
Rina silently moved her pencil on the canvas; her hand was so nimble that it was shocking. After drawing out most of the outlines, then step by step, drew out the face, neck, and shoulders of the teenager.
When Rina looked at the drawing seriously, she noticed that the number of “OK” band aids on Daisuke’s face had increased by two. But the most important thing to note was the presence of the ordinary Daisuke, which caught more of Rina’s attention. Regardless of grades, athletic ability, appearance, personality, he was just a guy that had no special talent in and out, not to mention he did not have much of a presence in class as well, that kind of him was radiating a sort of --- out of this world feel today. He seemed to be thinking about something… that’s right, he was showing the same unique expression Rina saw a few months ago.
Rina’s pencil strokes became faster; she wanted to depict Daisuke’s figure onto the canvas as accurately as possible. The figure of the current teenager in front of her was the one that attracted her attention after all.
Daisuke suddenly opened his mouth. Rina realized that at this moment, she has not said a word ever since she started drawing.
“Actually, I came to school to look for Tachibana-san’s painting. Since you said that the Art teacher just sent your piece of her own accord, I thought, maybe there’s a chance it’s still in the art room…I remembered that the painting at that time was still incomplete.”
“It will never be finished.”
“It was just scenery that I drew based off my memories when I was little. It’s unusual to draw scenery painting in the art room right? I just drew it from my memory, how can that kind of thing ever be completed a day?”
“…So it was like that.”
“However, I still really want to see it. When I saw that painting, I felt kind of nostalgic from it. It made me recall a feeling that I had forgotten at times…”
Rina stared at Daisuke’s face, and suddenly realized that he too had some frustrations in him. Even though she was unsure what Daisuke was troubled by, something definitely must have happened to cause him to let out such an expression. When she saw him a few months back showing such an expression, he probably had some troubles on his mind as well right?
“It’s just a lousy piece of art.”
“I may not know much about art, but I feel it’s not a lousy piece of art at all. Tachibana-san’s art piece could give a certain feeling to those that appreciate the work. Since you have won an award, it was probably the case right?”
“….The one who drew it never intended it to have such a meaning; how can you say those words with such confidence? Maybe, you were just feeling a wrong emotion or something.”
“I am firm on this, regardless of whether the artist or other people disagree with me, I still feel this way.”
“You sure are a happy-go-lucky kid.”
After talking up till this point, the two silently continued on with their tasks. Daisuke did not move an inch and kept his pose as a model, while Rina continued to draw his figure onto the canvas. To Rina, this was a warm experience that she had not truly experienced in a long time. Whenever she opened her mouth, she would carelessly end up arguing with Daisuke; that’s why to Rina, to be able to peacefully enjoy a time where both of them were the only ones present was a treasured moment to her.
Her pencil was the opposite of her attitude; it was honestly bringing out her emotions onto the canvas.
Although she did not know what Daisuke was thinking, but during this short one hour period, it seemed to fly faster than Rina thought. When Daisuke turned to look at the clock, Rina had also put down her pencil.
“…I’ve been thinking about this ever since the beginning.”
Daisuke spoke all of a sudden; his expression became very calm unexpectedly.
“Tachibana-san, you should stop fending for the Mushitsuki. Otherwise, even you would be suspected of being a Mushitsuki.”
Daisuke’s words were like unintentionally pouring oil onto a fire.
However, he turned away before Rina could say anything back.
“Anyway, please be careful on your way home. That’s all I wanted to say. I’ma head off first.”
Daisuke said this line as he swiftly left the art classroom, leaving behind Rina who was tightly biting her lip, while standing there motionless.
It took so much effort to have a normal conversation…but now it has all gone to waste. Not just that, Rina felt that her attitude was clearly showing that she admits herself as a Mushitsuki.
But it was just too unbearable for her. Although she finally managed to talk to Daisuke more frankly… why did Daisuke have to just blurt out such a moralistic view about Mushitsuki, which caused her to turn out like this.
Nevertheless, Daisuke’s words were somewhat expected… right now, most of the people in this country shared the same mindset as him.
Even if it was like this, Rina still hoped that Daisuke does not look at Mushitsuki with such a mindset, and didn’t want him to look at her with such view.
---I also want to experience the world that Tachibana-san sees through her eyes.
Why must he purposely choose such a time to say such things?
Her originally unwavering determination was actually shaken by just one sentence from Daisuke. She never expected to end up feeling a desire to live on again because of this.
Shifting her gaze onto the canvas, a portrait that hardly anyone would believe was done in a time span of one hour could be seen. Although the lines were a bit messy, the soft strokes of the pencil were a world apart to Rina’s regular style. Even she doubted if it was she who had drawn such a portrait.
I should’ve never drawn this…
Just when Rina was regretting her decision, a door knock sound came from behind.
Walking into the classroom was an unexpected visitor. Rina gazed at the person in shock.
“Thank god; it was right to come here after all.”
Shiika, who was wearing a scarf covering half of her face and a coat that she borrowed from Rina, entered the classroom.
“Shiika, why are you here? Didn’t you say that you were going to meet up with your boyfriend this afternoon?”
“I just happened to pass by here, so I decided to come in for a look around. And since I got time to spare I also wanted to see how you look when you draw… and another thing…he is not my boyfriend….”
Shiika then smiled timidly.
“Since you are in the same school as ---- kun, I felt like checking out what kind of place this is…”
Rina could not help but chuckle when she saw Shiika quickly turning away. Although she never had such an experience before, this kind of feeling felt just like a sibling bringing something she has forgotten for her? Although Rina was feeling very happy, it also made her feel embarrassing at the same time.
“Though, I don’t think this place is that much fun… By the way, did you come across a boy who looked very happy? He just left here not too long ago.”
“No, I did not come across anyone…”
Upon noticing the canvas in front of Rina, Shiika’s eyes sparkled. She gave an expression like a kid who just found sweets, and stared at Rina’s face.
“This drawing was done by Rina? May I have a look?”
“Sure, though it wasn’t drawn that good…”
Just when Rina nodded her head, the doors of the art classroom suddenly slide opened.
Shiika, who was just about to appreciate the drawing, got frightened as she looked back.
A group of different size teenagers appeared; each wearing different white animal masks.
Upon seeing Shiika who stood shocked, Rina could not help but chuckled.
“Let me introduce them, they are the members of (Mushibane). Last night I explained to you what (Mushibane) is right? Actually this is our meeting place, in many aspects; the school is a great place to confide in.”
“Lady…Who is she?” said a wolf-masked tall male in a cautious tone.
“She is my friend. For now let’s call her Yuki! Even though she is also a Mushitsuki, she still has not given her decision on whether or not she would join us.”
Rina said as she gave Shiika, who was at a loss, a push.
“Ya know, Shiika, you are going to be late for the date! For the sake of clearing up the misunderstanding before, I think you should better get going.”
Shiika looked worriedly at Rina’s face and said,
“Are you guys going to be doing something dangerous again?”
“No worries! We are only going out for a picnic. Don’t worry about it. Just enjoy your date with your boyfriend!”
“I-I already said he is not my boyfriend…”
Shiika struggled within for a bit, but still followed what Rina said and made her way to the entrance. Just when Shiika stopped halfway, and looked back as if she wanted to say something.
“Sweetheart, please be back home before dinner!”
Rina blew a kiss, stopping Shiika from talking. Although Shiika was embarrassed, she still managed to reply with a “Mhm, I will.” before leaving.
“Are you sure it is alright? Could she be a spy from the SEPB…?”
Rina gave a cold stare at those who looked with suspicion; the originally smiling girl they saw earlier was now giving off an overwhelming presence, which caused all of them to shut their mouths.
“She is my friend.”
“As long as you get it, it is fine.”
Upon seeing Rina smile, her comrades heaved a sigh of relief.
“Alright, let us start the discussion! Since time is running short anyway.”
Rina looked around at the silent (Mushibane) members and said,
“Just like what I’ve informed everybody, the SEPB are starting to mobilize at last. (Mushibane)’s hideouts have been assaulted many times consistently already; I think we have been tracked for a long time. However, this does not mean that we do not have any way to counterattack---“
Thank you for reading~
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