********************************************Translated : Wing
Edited : Skat, Keito
Daisuke Part 5
A few days had already passed since Daisuke arrived at Housawa Town.
Taking advantage of a holiday, he took a stroll to the plaza area.
Daisuke leaned against a wall near the entrance to the plaza area along with Iori and Akatsuki. The three of them stood shoulder to shoulder, gazing dazedly at the passing pedestrians.
Compared to Daisuke’s plain outfit— a pair of jeans and shirt with coat; the other two’s outfit seemed more fashionable. Iori was wearing a long stripped pant with chains attached near the side his waist and a befitting coat. On the other hand, Akatsuki was wearing a light jacket. And just like what Senri had described, Iori had a quite handsome look, while Akatsuki was also popular with the girls in the school.
The white mist that they breathed out was so thin that they were nearly invisible. Even though it was already noon, the sky was still gloomy and cloudy; there wasn’t even slightest sign of the temperature rising.
Only till noon, did the plaza begin to have the bustling feeling of a normal crowded square.
Daisuke forked his hands into the pockets of his coat, and began to think about the things happened at Housawa Town.
During the past few days, he had been investigating the incidents behind Senri’s back.
However, even though he was "investigating", it was actually nothing more than visiting the area where the witness reported, and collecting Intel on the remnants of (Mushibane) from the West Southwest Division. However, there just wasn’t any progress at all on both cases.
“It’s hard to believe that both (Mushibane) and (Shinpu) are both lurking in this small town.”
After Akatsuki said that, Iori nodded his head with a “Mhm”.
The so call (Mushibane) ---- is a rebel organization that was formed to fight against the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau. With one call from their leader, they constructed a nationwide network within less than a year. However, during the past few weeks, they had been slowly falling apart due to the loss of their strong leader (Ladybird). And the one who defeated the (Ladybird) was a member of the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau, (Kakkou) --- who was none other than Daisuke himself.
To Daisuke, right now was probably the best chance to defeat both (Mushibane) and (Shinpu), one of (The Original Three). Yet at the same time, it also meant that something major would happen in this town.
“This town really hasn’t changed at all.”
Daisuke whispered softly.
“Oh that’s right, Daisuke-kun. Senri mentioned that you used to live here before.”
Akatsuki finished as he walked away, causing Daisuke to wonder where he was going. And it turned out to be that he was just picking up an empty can that was littered by a pedestrian.
Akatsuki then threw the empty can to Iori who was slightly raising his hand. And after Iori caught the empty can, he dumped it in the garbage can next to him.
Daisuke felt surprised before subconsciously muttered: “Oh…”
“Even though it’s just a small empty can, someone might trip over because of it.”
It was pretty obvious who he was referring to. He then continued to add on:
“If it was me in the past, I wouldn’t give a damn about that empty can. I would just go and beat the crap outa those that litterers.”
After watching Akatsuki walk back, Iori asked Daisuke.
“…… Were you living with Senri before just like now?”
Daisuke thought for a second before realizing the direction of the topic. Even though Iori was saying that with a smile, his eyes were not friendly at all.
Both Iori and Akatsuki had to commute to school every day since they lived outside of the Housawa town, while Azu lived in the same town as Iori.
Daisuke laughed. He thought that Iori, who couldn’t hide his jealousy, was quite funny.
“I only lived here for a short while before.”
“Tsk, letting her live with a guy with a dual personality like you was enough to make me worry!”
“Eh, dual personality? Me?”
“Indeed, the normal Daisuke-kun and the Daisuke-kun during the investigation after school felt quite different.”
Akatsuki said with a wryly smile.
“Oh by the way, I haven’t seen your (Mushi) yet. What rank level are you, Daisuke-kun? A no-rank member like me could never get any Intel about you.”
“It doesn’t matter what rank level I am, as long as I stay in this town, I can’t fight.”
“Dai-kun, how are you gonna protect Senri like that?”
Daisuke scoffed at Iori’s joke, but suddenly, Iori spoke with a different expression:
“At that time… Was – Senri …”
Iori sneak peaked at Daisuke for a second before he continued to whisper haltingly. Judging from his normal attitude, this reaction was quite rare in a way.
“Was – Senri …… As cute as she is now?”
Daisuke stood dumbfounded right on the spot, while staring at Iori with his widened eyes.
Silence then fell between them for a while before Daisuke and Akatsuki burst into laughter.
“W-What?! Stop laughing!”
The blushing Iori kicked both Daisuke and Akatsuki on their legs. They didn’t even bother dodging Iori’s kicks, and just kept laughing non-stop.
After the laughter had subsided, their stomach was hurting as if it was in cramp. Daisuke then recalled that he hadn’t laugh like this for a while already.
“Want… Want me to bring my album next time for you to see?”
“Stop joking with me, bastard……”
“Iori-kun, you don’t want to see it?”
Akatsuki mocked with a smile, which caused Iori to become speechless.
“I just don’t want to see Daisuke’s photos…”
“That you don’t have to worry, besides the profile photo that was registered under SEPB’s database, I have no other photos.”
“It’s like that for all of us. SEPB prohibited us from leaving too much trace of our lives.”
Akatsuki, who was also one of the SEPB members, said:
Iori put up a complex expression as he glanced at Daisuke and Akatsuki.
“You guys have it hard eh?...”
“Used to it already.”
While saying that, Daisuke began recalling Senri’s figure from the past because they mentioned photos.
“Ah, but ... compared to before, Senri really did grow quite a lot!”
After hearing Daisuke’s words, Iori seemed to be thinking about something and asked with a stern look:
“Hey, that kind of statement would make people curious, you know! What part of her did you mean?”
“Umm what part…”
Within Daisuke’s mind, the image that he saw not so long ago after arriving at Housawa Town began to surface, which caused his face to blush immediately.
“Eh? Daisuke-kun… Your face is turning red…”
“Huh, really? ---“
Daisuke turned his face away, trying to obscure his blushing face, yet was stopped by Iori’s hand.
“Daisuke, What’s the meaning of this? What have you done to her?”
“I-I didn’t do anything!”
“Iori-kun, don’t use violence…”
“Tell me the truth! Or else I will choke you to death!”
Iori’s eyes were very serious, which caused Daisuke to avoid his gaze.
“I … I didn’t mean to… It was an accident, or you can say I was tricked by Miki-san…”
“Uh…… I opened the door … when she was changing her clothes…”
“Ehhh? Daisuke-kun, does that mean you… …!”
Iori nodded his head seriously before saying:
“… Okay, continue. How does Senri looks?...”
“Eh… Ehhh?! Iori-kun, what are you saying?!”
Iori hooked the panicking Akatsuki’s neck with his free arm and said:
“You obviously wanted to know as well right, stop pretending!”
“Huh… What are you saying, I……!”
“Then piss off if you don’t want to!”
Just then, Daisuke shifted his gaze upward from the blushing Akatsuki, and immediately froze.
“Hey, Daisuke. Can you tell us more in detail about---“
“That’s enough! Hentai trio!”
A strong voice filled with anger sounded behind Iori’s back.
Following after Daisuke, those two’s face began to turn pale as they turned their head about, before frozen in place from fear just like Daisuke.
Standing In front of them were Sunakozaka Azu that was forking her hands on her waist while glaring, and Senri with her face blushing red.
Since today was a holiday, they have decided to hang out together. But due to Senri’s hairstyle not being done by the time Azu came pick her up, the girls were slightly delayed on arrival.
---The five of them that finally regrouped, began walking across the plaza streets.
In order to match Senri’s pace, all of them slowed down to her walking speed. Hence every once in a while, there would be pedestrian that passed them by.
“Okay, where are we going to eat lunch? Is there any store around that has a space for five people?”
Azu, who’s was walking in the front, said as she looked around. She was wearing a coat embroidered with detailed flower patterns, a short skirt, and a pair of boots; while hanging the rosary that she always wore at school in front of her chest.
“That’s not right… Azu-chan…”
Senri said with a smile as she faced Azu, her right hand was holding Azu’s hand, while her left was holding the cane. Due to Miki’s skilled fashion sense, Senri’s outfit and hairstyle would always have a new look every day. And today, she was wearing a cotton-made hem coat, while her hair was tied into two tails that intertwined with each other in a complex form.
“You can’t count hentais as people, you know?”
“Ah, my bad. They don’t even need to sit then.”
“Then, Azu-chan. Does hentais need to eat?”
“Ah, my bad again. Pet food should be good enough for them; shall we go get some right now?”
Behind the girls that were chit-chatting lively, a group of three guys could be seen walking humiliated with their heads hung low.
“Damn it, why did I have to… It’s all Daisuke’s fault! Why did you invite Azu along?!”
“I was obviously trying to stop you guys… yet…”
“Senri is pretty scary when she’s angry…”
In the end, those five went to their usual fast food restaurant to eat their lunches.
During the meal, it seemed like Iori and Akatsuki was quite successfully on pleasing Senri, and hence obtained her forgiveness. While on the other hand, Daisuke didn’t get any chance to talk to her at all because he was sitting the farthest from her. Azu even stepped on his foot and said: “Get down to your knees and beg for mercy!”
After leaving the fast food restaurant, Iori suddenly proposed:
“Let’s go to Karaoke later on! I’ll see if I can get any discount coupons from them. Akatsuki, come with me!”
Just then everyone was putting up a perplexed looks, Iori turned and signaled a glance at both Daisuke and Senri.
Even though Daisuke didn’t get what he was trying to pull, Akatsuki and Azu immediately understood his intention. After giggling to each other for a bit, they left Daisuke and Senri’s side.
“Okay, I’m coming! Senri and Daisuke-kun stay here for a while, we will be back very soon.”
“I’ll go take a look on what movies they are having today then!”
Before Azu left, she poked Daisuke’s shoulder lightly and whispered: “Hurry up and apologize!”
With this, Daisuke finally understood what they were planning. Iori probably wanted created a chance for him to apologize since he didn’t get any chance to talk to her before.
The two of them that were left behind fell in silence for a while.
“Ugh…… Wanna take a seat first?”
Holding Senri’s hand, Daisuke brought her to a bench that was near the sidewalk. And after sitting down shoulder to shoulders, their hands were still holding together.
“You see what I mean?”
Senri said with a smile:
“Iori-kun is very considerate, right? He seemed to worry about us.”
Even though Senri seemed to have realized Iori’s intention already, she was still putting a happy expression.
Daisuke smiled as well, yet immediately turned his head facing the road and said:
“Its fine, I don’t mind at all.”
“… You’re really upset about it right….?... And also, please don’t tell Haji about this…”
“What should I do---??”
Senri giggled playfully, yet Daisuke was unable to smile along. If that guy knew about this, he would really slaughter Daisuke right on the spot without any hesitation.
Senri lowered her head as a faint blush could be seen appearing on her cheeks.
“Was… it strange?”
“I-I can’t see myself…… So…… If it’s different from the other girls, then… …”
With a blushing face, she tried to finish her sentence, yet was unable to sound them out very clearly due to embarrassment. Senri probably had struggled really hard before saying those words.
Just then, Daisuke smiled and held Senri’s hand slightly harder.
Since Senri is a girl after all, of course she would be wondering about those things right? Daisuke didn’t notice this at all in the past, perhaps Senri purposely hid her concern away from him?
“It was not strange at all.”
Daisuke said as he began to recall that moment when he saw her fair skin, and couldn’t help but blush up as well.
“Uh… I don’t quite know…; and since I have never seen any other girl’s… but I felt that… yours was very beautiful…”
“Ah! I didn’t mean anything perverted…!”
Senri raised her head to face Daisuke who was in panic trying to interpret his meanings.
The teenage girl then immediately exposed a weak smile, an innocent and frank smile from the bottom of her heart.
“Really?... Thank god.”
Using his free hand, Daisuke scratched his cheek as he shifted his gaze away from Senri.
A strange yet wonderful silence that was different from before enveloped them.
With no topic to chat with, they just gazed silently at the lively streets across from them.
Shortly after, Daisuke saw Iori and the others walking toward them from faraway. They were smiling as they looked at both Daisuke and Senri, while whispering to each other.
What are they talking about?
“I wonder… how is Onii-chan doing right now”
Senri suddenly spoke, causing Daisuke to gaze at her profile. Just then, Iori, Akatsuki, and Azu stopped in front of them.
“I have been having nightmares lately…”
“A nightmare about everyone disappearing in front of me… Including Onii-chan, and Dai-kun…”
Senri bit her lips. Daisuke could feel that her hand was slightly trembling.
“I could hear a voice telling me that, the reason why everyone disappeared was because of my existence… it said that it was me who… erased… everyone…”
The teenage girl turned and gaze at Daisuke with an expression what was close to tears.
“Was it all because of me? ... Am I really… a burden to everyone?…”
Senri’s uneasiness could be felt flowing over from her trembling hands and her closed lips.
Congenitally disabled with a frail body, and --- even though she hasn’t realized it yet, fact that she was a Mushitsuki, was probably gradually eroding her mind and soul… Just the fear of falling whenever was enough to make average people afraid yet she… Even though Senri dislike showing any weak side of her, due to her condition, it was probably hard for her to smile even a bit.
Moreover, Senri would never act over-spoiled. It was probably due to her over-sensitivity to her surroundings and her kindness, that she felt she might cause people trouble. And all of those concerns, Daisuke knew them better than anyone else.
Iori seemed like he was unable to endure it anymore, and was intent on opening his mouth and speak.
But, Daisuke took the lead and overlapped his free hand onto the hand that was holding onto Senri before saying:
“Can you feel?” [TL note: This sentence was said in broken Jap/English!! You rock Daisuke~ ^^]
“We watched it before didn’t we? I’m re-enacting that scene from the movie that you said you loved.”
It was three years ago during the time when Daisuke was still in this town, a scene in a movie that they watched together. The content of the movie was about a blind musician’s life. Concerned about Senri’s condition and feelings, Miki proposed to them to watch something else, yet because of Senri’s eager desire to learn about the content of the movie. In the end, Daisuke, Senri, and Keigo went to the movie theater and watched it. (That movie theater had closed down now though)
Senri liked movies very much, hence she had been learning multiple languages through hearing alone starting at very young age. She especially loved the movies with multiple language dialogues. Even now, she hoped she could engage in translation-related careers in the future.
Even after they were out of the movie theater, Senri was still crying non-stop. The Daisuke at that time didn’t understand why she was crying, yet he knew that her tears weren’t just solely because of her being touched by the movie, but rather more of a mixture of fear and anxiety. Keigo then spoke while holding Senri’s hand with his usual shallow smile, explaining to Daisuke ---
--- Senri was crying because of the certain scene in the movie.
--- Can you feel?
Those were the words that the protagonist’s lifetime partner said during that scene, while holding the protagonist’s hand, vowing to be by her side for eternity.
Senri raised her head surprisedly to look at Keigo as she cried even louder. Yet in her tears, there wasn’t any more uneasiness or fear feeling mixing along. Keigo had vowed to stay by her side.
But now, he’s not here to tell her the truth. Then at least before he returns, Daisuke will protect Senri at all cost. No matter what happens--- He will definitely protect the place where Keigo and Senri belong.
“It is the opposite, you know? Whether it’s Haji, or me. We are all trying our hardest because of you, Senri…”
Just then, Daisuke noticed the gazes of the other three, and revealed a smile before continuing:
“I’ll hold your hand forever. And not only me, there would always be people around you that are willing to do the same; you should able to feel it right?”
“We all like Senri. Aside from that, do we need any other reasons?”
Daisuke’s words penetrated the teenage girl’s heart, causing her expression to look more and more complex.
Then finally, as if she couldn’t endure it anymore, tears began to shed down from her cheeks.
She was probably bearing everything ever since Keigo left her side, right?
Huge tears began to fall onto their holding hands one after another.
Daisuke stayed silent until the last minute when she stopped crying.
Meanwhile, Iori was gazing at Senri with a deep-in-thought looking expression, while Akatsuki was revealing a warm smile, and Azu was closing her eyes as she held tightly onto her rosary.
After a while, Senri wiped her eyes and flashed a very innocent and warm smile, saying:
Daisuke smiled in respond:
“Oh, Iori and others finally came back.”
Daisuke’s remark snapped the dazing trio out of their day dreams, making them turned to look at each other perplexedly before Iori suddenly blurted out:
“Ah… Sorry, we’re late.”
Seeing Iori’s awkward expression, Akatsuki and Azu turned their gaze away in order to stop themselves from bursting into laughter.
--- After 5 minutes had passed.
The five of them stood shoulder to shoulder, checking out the flyers that were on the ground one by one.
“Hey, this one has one hour of free service and it’s around here!”
“Iori, are you an idiot?! If we’re going to sing for at least three hours, this one over here that gives 20% off is way better right? Not to mention it gives free drinks!”
“Sunakozaka-san got a movie coupon from those people too, and so we got 300 yen off, but ---“
“I think both karaoke and movie are fine.”
“Dai-kun, stop that! You’re being too unassertive about this… Oh yea, wasn’t the open live of our school’s popular music club today as well? They specifically gave me a braille version of their flyers before!”
The pedestrians turned their head surprisedly to gaze at these five that were having their meeting openly on the street. Aside from Daisuke, most of them didn’t mind the attention that they were getting.
“Ah--- No, no! Their music is too old-fashioned, you can’t count that music as rock!”
“A Christian that likes rock music… How rare is that… Oh by the way, I didn’t bring that much money… So if we also go Karaoke, I probably won’t have enough…”
“Huh? That means we can’t even go watch movies then!”
“Mmm --- I guess we can only go there then…”
“Mhm, I also think going there would be best.”
Seeing both Senri and Akatsuki nodding their head, Daisuke couldn’t help but frown and asked:
Just then, Iori groaned “Ah, going there again?”
“Who’s the one that said they didn’t bring enough money?”
Azu said as she patted on his shoulder like usual.
“Hehe, it’s a place that Dai-kun knows very well!”
Senri smiled happily as she spoke, while the other three also smiled at Daisuke.
She then reached her hand to hold onto Daisuke who had a perplexed expression, while Akatsuki quickly held onto her other hand; one step ahead of Iori. Facing Iori’s furious glare, Akatsuki smiled nonchalantly as if it was nothing.
The five of them picked a side of the sidewalk where there were less people, and started walking shoulder to shoulder. Daisuke, Senri, and Akatsuki were walking in the front, while Iori and Azu were following behind.
Even though they had decided where to go, no one intended to reveal where their destination was, including Senri.
“By the way, Iori, why did you skip the PART meeting again?! They forced me to sub for you, you know?!”
Azu complained as she stared at Iori, while walking.
“Ah --- you meant during yesterday’s lunch break? Something urgent came up in the club, can’t blame me.”
“Weren’t you playing soccer for fun?”
After hearing the conversation behind him, Daisuke asked curiously, which Senri immediately explained:
“It’s the “Barrier-free life style” Committee. It was Azu-chan that came up with that name last summer. Although it hasn’t been officially recognized yet, most students had already started calling it with that name.”
“And since “Barrier-free life style” was too wordy and contrived at times, we have decided to switch to “PART” for the title, which is a shorter version of “Partner”.
Azn said happily, while flashing a victory sign with her hand.
The so-called Barrier free life style committee was the result of the unique mechanism that the Moira private university-affiliated high school had adapted. The school enrolled students with disabilities and provide them with discrimination-free environment, while promoting team spirit and cooperation among the other students. The Barrier free life style committee --- which also known as PART, was created to promote such ethos.
Even though Daisuke had only been here no more than a week, he could clearly see the actual effectiveness of such system.
Basically, there would one, at most two, students with disabilities in each class. Using Senri’s class as an example, including textbook and exams, they would specially prepare a braille version for her. Since there was a hearing-impaired student in Akatsuki’s classroom, the school had prepared electronics devices for such students to learn materials with.
This sort of mechanism was also one of the reasons why Moira private high school had enrolled so many enrolled students. According to rumors, the board of education would occasionally send surveyors over there to see learn from the school.
“Changing the name of the committee, how could ever you think of that? Are you an idiot?”
Daisuke turned his head around, and saw Azu swinging her finger while saying:
“No, no! There’s actually a bigger idiot than me here.”
“… Who are you talking about?”
Iori protested softly, while Senri and Akatsuki were trying their best not to laugh.
“Is it Iori-kun?”
The one who answered was Akatsuki.
“Yup, we also discussed the direction of each class in the PART meetings. In addition, we also decide which students from each class would be working and assisting the students with disabilities. Since the original intention was to promote team spirit and cooperation amongst the students.
“But a certain idiot suggested something different on the first meeting after he joined the committee, which was to take a voluntary approach. He even said tons of other bullshit, but I guess the true reason was so that he could take Senri all for himself.”
“Eh…really? Iori-kun, is that true?”
“I told you it’s not that already! I just hate switching partners every day as if we’re playing soccer or something…”
Seeing Senri’s surprised face, Iori immediately blurted his reasoning out. Even though he was trying to stay calm, his slightly blushing cheeks were giving it all away; which really looked like his usual style.
“So, that’s why in our class it’s always Iori and Azu that are taking charge of Senri?”
Azu shook her head in respond to Daisuke’s question.
“No, even though Iori’s suggestion was quite reasonable, everyone though that it would be disturbing to the particular person so they rejected it right on the spot. However…”
“After a few days later, they suddenly passed the policy, but only limited to our class.”
“Ya, that was quite weird… I wondered what happened… Senri, did you hear anything about it?”
Facing Iori and Azu’s perplexed expressions, Senri could not help but giggle lightly as she turned to Akatsuki:
“Akatsuki-kun, can I tell them?”
The one who sounded that was Akatsuki himself.
“I secretly asked the teachers before why is our class the only one that’s using Iori-kun’s idea.”
“And the truth is that, it was Akatsuki-kun that had deliberately went and discussed this with the teachers right after the meeting. Saying that even though this idea was hard to perform, but it’s not something that can be ignored. So he suggested that we should try this idea out on our own class as an experiment…. That was what you said to the teachers right? Akatsuki-kun?”
Just then, everyone’s gaze turned to Akatsuki, causing him to alert his gaze while smirking.
“Wow really?! So it was you who helped out eh? Thanks for that dude!”
Iori hooked his arm around Akatsuki’s neck, while saying that with a teasing tone.
“Yohoo --- Akatsuki-kun, you’re so cool! Oh yea, now that you mentioned it, the four of us had been hanging out quite often starting from then, right?”
“Thank you, Akatsuki-kun”
“It’s no problem, I didn’t do much anyway. I should’ve let you guys know but I thought it was unnecessary. And not to mention, it was all because of Iori’s idea that we could hang out like this, so the one you need to thank should be Iori-kun.”
“Oh--- Akatsuki, are you trying to increase your status by praising others, eh?”
“… Iori-kun, since when has your personality become this bad?...”
“Iori-kun, and Azu chan, I need to thank you two as well.”
Senri turned and revealed an innocent and frank smile, causing them to turn and smirk shyly.
After walking for a while, Daisuke suddenly stopped after noticing that his shoelaces were loose. He told everyone to go ahead without him.
“…? Azu, what’s wrong?”
However, Azu stopped along with Daisuke. Raising his head, Daisuke noticed that she was gazing at him with a curious expression.
“Umm… Daisuke-kun, are you a Mushitsuki as well?”
Azu blurted that out abruptly. However, there wasn’t slightest fear in her tone, but more of a concerned feeling toward Daisuke.
“Can’t tell you that. But nevertheless, you should know already right?”
“Mhm… Daisuke-kun, you’re also giving out the same atmosphere just like Akatsuki-kun and Iori.”
After tying his shoelaces, Daisuke stood up and continued walking, While Azu followed along.
“In the end, I’m the only one that’s not a Mushitsuki… …”
“It actually felt quite lonely, you know? If that’s how it is, I too should just ---“
“Stop thinking about unhealthy stuff like that.”
Daisuke whispered softly, while facing forward.
After hearing Daisuke’s sudden change in tone, Azu shrank her shoulder as if she was surprised.
Azu whispered with a light tone as she lowered her head down. However, it only lasted for a few seconds before she raised her head up, and immediately revealed her unique smile while saying:
“Anyway, there’s no way for me to become a Mushitsuki after all. Since I don’t have any dream that I want to fulfill! By the way, if I were to say those things to Iori, you think he would be mad?”
“Of course he would.”
“Does Daisuke-kun… you also have a dream?”
Azu asked, causing Daisuke to emerge a smile on his face.
“Mhm, I do…”
Sparkled with curiosity, Azu came closer to Daisuke and asked:
“What kind of dream is it? Tell me!”
“Nope, can’t tell you.”
“Ehhh --- Why not?! It’s not like it’s gonna hurt if you tell me!”
“Of course it would, I’m a Mushitsuki after all.”
After saying that, Daisuke immediately covered his mouth up. As a member of the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau, they must never expose their identities as a Mushitsuki or else they would be assassinated, just like the Iori and Akatsuki’s case when Daisuke just met them.
“Ahh--- busted~ Hehe.”
Azu then giggled mischievously for a few seconds.
Watching the figures of the other three walking in front of them, Azu suddenly stopped while fixing her gaze straight ahead and asked:
“Daisuke-kun…… Can I ask you something?”
“Are you not afraid of Senri?”
Holding the rosary in front of her chest tightly, Azu turned and gaze at Daisuke. In her expression, a mixture of confusion, struggling, and sorrow could be felt.
“Whenever we’re with Senri….Both Iori and Akatsuki-kun would occasionally expose painful expression. It’s all because of Senri, right?”
Daisuke couldn’t answer her question.
Even though Senri’s (Mushi) would deprive others of their dreams, it would only do so from certain specific targets. Although its targets were only Daisuke and Senri’s older brother, Keigo in the past, it seemed to have targeted both Iori and Akatsuki’s dreams now as well.
“Are you scared? Azu.”
Being afraid of these mysterious (Mushi) was something very usual and common. Which also meant, being afraid of those that are infested by these (Mushi) are normal as well. This kind of concept had become a norm and gradually rooted in the deepest part of general public.
Yet Azu shook her head, while gazing at the ground. From the side of her profile, Daisuke could catch a glimpse of her biting onto her lips.
“It’s not scared, but just… wondered, how could Senri smile like that? It was because of her that Iori became a Mushitsuki…”
Hearing that, Daisuke’s heart skipped a beat.
Even though Azu’s voice was very light; to a point where it was barely hearable. After listening to it more closely, she did say that it was Senri who turned Iori into a Mushitsuki.
If her words were true ----
Azu suddenly raised her head, turning to Daisuke and said:
“Ah… Sorry, I was just muttering. It’s nothing!”
“You said it was Senri that Iori … … What do you mean by that?”
If what she said were true, then this case had become very serious to a point where it can’t be ignored anymore. According to what Daisuke had known, Senri’s (Mushi) would only devour the dreams of other, but would not give birth to any Mushitsuki like (The Original Three). So if what Azu said were true, then…
A painful expression flashed through Azu’s face, yet she immediately eased it after a deep breath, and continued walking.
“… Even though Iori had become more steady and matured, during his junior high, he was quite rebellious.”
Daisuke walked along Azu, listen silently to her words.
“He was pretty much a bully back when he was still young. And even now, whenever I walk with him near to the place where we used to live, there are people who avoid him.”
Azu smiled as if she had recalled something wonderful, while continuing:
“But after he enrolled in this high school, after meeting Senri, he had completely changed… Starting from then on, he would occasionally space out as if he was deep in thought. I guess it was during that time that he had become a Mushitsuki… And when I went and asked him, he even told me shyly that “I have things I want to do”, totally not like him…”
So it was like that ---
After hearing Azu’s word, Daisuke generally understood the reason why Iori became a Mushitsuki. And that reason was completely related to the things that he was worrying about. While feeling at ease, Daisuke had also noticed the feeling of the teenage girl next to him.
“It felt like I was the only one that’s being left behind, only I have not yet found my dream… That’s why, if I become a Mushitsuki like Iori then ---“
Just as Azu was about to finish her sentence, the sound of people rioting about could be heard. It came from near the entrance of the plaza, which meant the direction where Senri and the others were heading to.
“What’s going on?”
Daisuke gazed at the end of the plaza, but couldn’t see clearly of what was going on. Yet after taking a closer look, he was dumbfounded.
The first thing he saw was some little red dots of light.
The flaring red dots flew onto a passerby’s shoulder, causing him to fall into panic. Even though he was tapping the flame constantly off his shoulder, the flame wasn’t extinguishing. The firefly-like flame began to erode the passerby’s body as if it was burning through a piece of paper.
Those that were possessed by the burning flame dot gave distorted expressions filled with pain, and then bent down from sudden loss of strength.
--- How can this be?!
Daisuke’s expression changed as he charged toward, while Azu was following behind, screaming
He then soon found the whereabouts of Senri and the others.
Both Iori and Akatsuki were kneeling on the floor with painful expression, while Senri was calling out to them perplexedly.
Noticing Daisuke’s arrival, Iori raised his head. On his arm that was supporting his body; a little cyan colored ant could be seen climbing up. The ant, which was possessed by the flaming dots, was struggling in pain.
“Dai-kun? …! Iori-kun and Akatsuki-kun suddenly… …”
With a face close to tears, Senri turned to face Daisuke.
“What happened?... …?”
“I… don’t know… We didn’t do anything… Yet”
Akatsuki responded with a painful tone. Near his neck area, an orange colored mayfly that was on fire could also been seen.
Daisuke suddenly dropped down to his knees, feeling powerlessness.
At the same time, a Kakkou Mushi was also dropped onto the floor from out of nowhere. The wings of Kakkou Mushi were eroding by the burning flame bit by bit.
Just then, Daisuke’s vision blacked out.
---- The first image that he recalled during the black out, was the moment when he became a Mushitsuki. After that, his past memories began to surface one by one.
The figure of him being alone at an empty apartment. The encounter of him and Haji Keigo, Anmoto Shiika, Tachibana Rina, and finally ---- the reunion of him and Shiika.
After hearing the cry-like scream of Senri, Daisuke regained his consciousness.
She seemed to have noticed Daisuke’s abnormal condition, and since her cane was dropped near Iori, Senri could only reach her hands outward timidly, trying to search for Daisuke.
Yet despite of her desperately calling out to Daisuke, she couldn’t find him. Azu, whom was one step behind Daisuke, rushed to Iori and Akatsuki’s side after arriving at the scene.
Argh, that was close… Almost had my dreams completely devoured…
Daisuke then surveyed his surroundings; although the number was low, there were still passersby kneeling on the ground. And those that were not affected were whispering to each other on the side.
“Dai-kun…! Everyone… !”
Seeing Senri who fell into a panic, Daisuke took a deep breath before shifting his gaze at the Kakkou Mushi that was struggling in pain on the ground, and said in a very low tone:
“… (Kakkou), get up.”
The Kakkou Mushi immediately shot up its antennas.
--- My dream will not end here just because of this, right?
He told himself that.
Just then, the Kakkou Mushi stood up as well, and spread its wings outward with strength. Even though the ragging flame was still burning, it was able to climb up Daisuke’s arm rather speedy.
Iori and Akatsuki gazed surprisedly at Daisuke who stood up as if it was nothing.
“Senri, don’t worry. I’m fine.”
Daisuke grabbed Senri’s hand, pulling her closer to himself. Senri then exposed a relieved expression as she held Daisuke’s hand tighter.
“Thank god. Dai-kun…… What happened? How are Iori-kun and Akatsuki-kun…?”
Aze held her rosary as she gazed over those two with a worried expression.
“Senri, are you okay? How do you feel?”
“I… actually wasn’t feeling very well till then, but suddenly…”
Senri responded to Daisuke’s question perplexedly.
Judging from the looks of those passersby that were lying on the ground, it seemed like they had temporarily passed out. Even though the damage was not fatal, it might still cause them to unable to move freely for a short period of time if they didn’t take a good rest.
Ever since the past, there hasn’t been any case where Senri’s (Mushi) would devour the dreams of others so brutally like that.
Why is this happening----
Daisuke shifted his gaze away from Senri whom was in his arms.
Senri raised her head.
Yet, Daisuke didn’t answer back.
Actually, he was unable to. Even though it only lasted for a moment, his mind had completely gone blank.
And the reason was because of a figure that appeared into his view.
That figure was wearing a ragged black robe, and even though his facial expression was covered by the hood, one could still see the sliver necklace that was hanging in front of his chest. The tip of the necklace originally seemed like a rosary, yet due to its horrible condition; it looked nothing more than a metal stick now.
Daisuke could feel goose bump all over his body, while his mouth was becoming dry, making it harder for him to breath.
Under the black hood, Daisuke could somewhat see that guy was showing a treacherous smile.
--- And then, Daisuke heard the sound of his rationality snapped.
“Azu…… Take care of Senri.”
Daisuke didn’t know whether he had said that or not, but when he came back to his sense, he had subconsciously pushed Senri to Azu who’s on the side.
Starting with Azu, the gaze of all four began to fix on Daisuke.
Without saying anything else, Daisuke dashed out.
At the same time, the black robbed figure slipped into the alley.
Daisuke sounded a loud roar that echoed throughout the plaza, causing the window glass of the café nearby to resonance and vibrate. Leaving behind Senri with a perplexed expression, he charged straight at the spot where the black robbed figure was standing.
Yet the figure from before had already disappeared. Turning around at the narrowed alley, he saw a dark shadow flash by at the end corner of the alley.
Daisuke immediately charged straight through alley, and stopped at the end corner, however the black robbed figure was nowhere to be seen.
Looking ahead, the area behind the plaza seemed very much like an abandoned ruin. Due to the population shortage, the government had attempted on reviving the popularity of Housawa Town by building this area. However, due to failure of the project, this district was left abandoned; pretty much like a ghost-town.
The dark alley ahead was divided into more than four separate roads; Daisuke didn’t know which one did the black robbed figure from before had fled to.
Just when Daisuke was deciding on charging in with intuition, his arm was suddenly grabbed by something.
He immediately reached his other hand into his shirt behind his back.
“Daisuke, calm down! It’s me!”
After turning around and seeing the person who grabbed his arm was Iori, Daisuke let go of the metal object that he was holding onto in his shirt.
“Daisuke-kun… Why did you suddenly?...”
Following after Iori, Akatsuki rushed to Daisuke’s side.
Daisuke clenched his teeth as he surveyed around.
“Till now, has Senri’s (Mushi) ever devoured the dreams of others beside us?...”
Hearing Daisuke’s question, Iori and Akatsuki exchanged glance with each other before saying:
“…No, I don’t think so. By the way, before was actually the first time that it had devoured that much in one go…”
“It seems like Senri’s (Mushi) has calmed down already…”
Senri’s (Mushi) doesn’t have a form of itself. It might have, but at least Daisuke had never seen it before, nor did Keigo.
“It might because of that guy… What the hell is he trying to do Senri now…”
“Who is that “guy” you’re talking about? Who were you chasing anyway?”
“I saw (Shinpu).”
Daisuke’s words caused Akatsuki to widen his eyes.
“You mean… (The Original Three)’s…? It can’t be! How’s that possible?!”
“(Shinpu)…? Original what…? What are those, Could you explain them properly?”
“He is the prototype that can give birth to Special type Mushitsuki… Which means...”
With a disgusted tone, Daisuke continued:
“It was he who turned Senri into a Mushitsuki!”
Just then, Iori’s expression immediately changed. Daisuke originally thought that he had dazed out from the shock, yet it was not the case. Iori’s expression began to gradually distort from anger, before saying:
“It’s all because of him that Senri had to suffer…? I’m going to fucking kill him…!”
“W-Wait a second! (The Original Three)’s (Shinpu) only appeared at most once per year, are you sure you aren't mistaken?”
“His appearance was exactly the same from what Intel had described… and”
“… He was laughing. That guy was definitely laughing while looking at Senri.”
Daisuke began to clench his first tighter.
Perhaps because of the overwhelming rage that he was feeling, Daisuke could feel his chest burning up.
--- Did you know how much she had to suffer because of you…?! And, how hard Haji worked in order to conceal her (Mushi)?!!... How dare you laugh at them like that!
Daisuke hammered his fist against the wall furiously.
“Unforgivable… Only that guy, I can never…”
“Let’s separate and look for him! Daisuke, tell me his characteristics!”
“A figure clothed in a black ragged robe with his face covered by a hood, a petite body, a crooked back… and last of all, he should be wearing a broken rosary.”
The one who then answered Iori's question was Akatsuki.
“Those are the features listed in SEPB’s database, am I right? Daisuke-kun.”
Even though his tone was calm, Akatsuki' eyes that were staring directly at Daisuke’s were completely different from his usual self; as if he had made up something in his mind from Daisuke’s words before.
“Let’s go, whoever found him first contact the other two immediately.”
Iori said with a sharp look, yet Daisuke immediately stopped them.
“No. If you find him, don’t attack until I’m there. He is not someone that you guys can defeat by yourself.”
Iori shot a glance at Daisuke without saying a word, and dashed out right afterward.
Without even looking back, he disappeared at the end of the alley.
Daisuke turned to look at Akatsuki.
Akatsuki muttered with a low voice as his eyes flashed coldly. Only after seeing Daisuke frown, did he come back to his senses and flash a weak smile, yet his eyes were still icy.
“Don’t worry about me, Daisuke-kun…… By the way, you’re not supposed to engage in any battle in Housawa Town right? If you still treasure your dream, then you better listen to SEPB’s order!”
After saying those words, Akatsuki dashed in an alley that was in the opposite direction of Iori.
Daisuke reached his hand into the back of his shirt, after confirming the existence of certain metal object, he stepped forward.
“…. This is my resolve… I’m definitely going to defeat (The Original Three) …”
Daisuke’s murmur was then enveloped by the cold January wind that blew into the alley, before disappearing into space.
Thank you for reading~
Feel free to leave comments for any questions or feedback~
Gotta love that line, --- Can you feel ?---
It made me teary just by thinking about it, how tough it was for Senri to live in a world without light. So next time before you litter anything on the floor, take a second to think for those that would be tripped by it. Or else some Bishonen like Iori and Akatsuki will come after your ass! Hehe ^^