Shiika Part 2
Holding Yuu’s hand, Shiika ran through the narrow alley.
Her body was feeling heavy.
Because of the fact that she had been imprisoned within the facilities for such a long time, her physical body condition had plunged. It wasn’t long before her chest began to feel pain, and having trouble breathing.
Four years ago, as well as the Christmas two months ago were also the same. It was the same pain and fear that Shiika had experienced back then.
Run away after being caught, and then run away again after being caught.
It felt as if Shiika was repeating the whole process.
The figure of the teenage boy, whom she had promised to meet again, began to surface within Shiika’s mind.
--- I want to see you……
Shiika bit her lips.
The teenage boy who harbored the same dream --- Kusuriya Daisuke, had said that he wanted to see Shiika once more. His words, and the promise made between them, had become the only thing that supported her until now, making her able to endure the loneliness of this two month period.
But under the current situation, she definitely cannot go see him.
Even if she were to meet him right now, it would only repeat what happened two months ago. Even if Shiika were to see Daisuke, it would only give him trouble.
She only thought about escaping the facility to take back Rina’s drawing.
But Shiika did not think about, after taking back the drawing, what’s she going to do next?
Ubuki seemed to have wanted Shiika to help her do something, and Shiika hoped to help her as much as possible.
But then, what’s next after that…?
Without any goal.
After bidding the last farewell to her family, and lost her most precious friend, Rina.
What could Shiika do next?
The Shiika now had nothing. The only thing that she had left… was a promise that she couldn’t even consider as a hope… a tiny promise that she made with a teenage boy.
Raising her head, she could see numerous (Mushi) flying up above.
Shiika pushed Yuu against the wall, and hid under the shade of a tree. They held their breath for a while before looking up once again.
The (Mushi) herd that was still up in the air didn’t seem to have a slightest intention of leaving.
“We’ve been found out… Ubuki-san she… (Kasuou)…”
Yuu’s body was trembling, hiding tightly behind Shiika with a terrified expression.
Shiika shook away her depression.
It’s still too early to talk about what to do next.
They were the two companions that she had encountered; the Shiika now was not alone anymore.
I need to get the three of us out of this predicament first.
Yuu took a look behind them and let out a low scream.
Following Yuu’s gaze, Shiika also turned around to take a look, and saw the figures of white-attired people flashing by.
Shiika and Yuu held each other’s hands, and hid in the alley next to them.
The two of them ran through the labyrinth-like alleys of residential buildings. After running for a while, they stopped once again.
At the corner where they were about to turn, they saw the figures of white-attired people again.
The two of them could only turn back, and look for a different route.
“They are also here ---“
On the roof of a nearby building, figures could be seen patrolling with their (Mushi).
“Yuu-chan, over here…”
There was a low wall at the end of the alley.
They climbed over the wall with great effort, and walked deeper into the dark alley. Even though it was a dark alley that was filled with the disgusting smell of the garbage littered all around, there wasn’t any sign of people.
The two of them stopped running, and took a breath. The smell of garbage was making them lock their eyebrows.
It seemed like this area was completely surrounded.
Not to mention ---
“We’re getting further and further away from Ouka City…”
Yuu whispered in a desperate tone.
What Yuu said was correct. While in the process of evading the pursuers, they were pushed onto a route that was completely the opposite direction of the escape route that they have had in mind.
“Even though we have to be at Ouka City the day after tomorrow…”
Yuu dropped onto the ground and began to cry.
It had been a long time since noon; the shadows on the ground were becoming longer and longer. Before long, the sun would completely set and day would turn into night right?
Setting aside getting out of Akamaki City aside for now, the two of them were even getting further away in the opposite direction of Ouka City from the spot where they met. How could they ever get out of Akamaki City, and pass through Higano City within two days?
“W-What should we do…What should we do…?”
Yuu held tightly onto the CD that she took from her pocket.
Shiika was also feeling the same anxiousness. Although their situation was pretty bad, but without a doubt, Ubuki’s situation was probably even worse than ---
Both Shiika and Yuu twitched their bodies in shock.
It was because a sharp music sound suddenly rang throughout the dark alleys.
“W-What is that…?”
A music that was played in an electronic monotonous tone was coming from the ground covered in garbage.
Yuu murmured to herself as Shiika turned her head around to look at her.
“This is the song of the very popular music group, “Crawling Life”. But why is it ---“
Shiika noticed the flashing light on the ground.
It was a foldable cell phone; the music seemed to have come from it as a ringtone.
Shiika exchanged glances with Yuu.
--- Why is there a cell phone here…?
While the two of them were standing still, unsure of what to do, the music continued to ring.
Shiika timidly reached her hand towards the cell phone. The Yuu behind her didn’t intend on stopping her.
The cell phone had the same model as the one that Rina used. Shiika picked up the cell phone, and moved it closer to her ear.
“Please calmly listen to what I have to say, (Fuyuhotaru).”
Shiika almost dropped the cell phone onto the ground from shock.
There wasn’t any introduction or greeting from the other end of the call, just words that were spoken in a bland tone. It was a girl’s calm voice that had a slight childish tone in it.
“You guys are almost surrounded in all directions by them. Please listen to my instructions, I’ll help you guys get out of Akamaki City.”
Yuu also moved closer to the cell phone to listen to the girl’s voice; the two of them were speechless from shock.
“W-Who are you…?”
“…Please call me Erii. (Fuyuhotaru), please get out of Akamaki City as soon as possible. The neighboring Kurohishi City should be safer than here.”
Yuu grabbed onto Shiika’s wrist. Her expression was filled with vigilance toward this situation.
“Why are you…helping us?”
“Do you doubt that this is a trap? It’s up to you if you want to follow, but if this keeps on, you guys will definitely be found by the members of the Central Headquarters right?”
Shiika could not refute Erii’s words.
“First, please immediately leave your current position. The combat squad’s members would patrolling there really soon.”
Yuu suddenly moved her body back, which caused Shiika to look at her surprised.
“That cell phone… has no battery…!”
Flipping the cell phone around, the spot where the battery was supposed to be was empty.
“Please hurry up and move east…!”
Erii’s voice suddenly became sharp.
Shiika was baffled for an instant, but immediately started moving eastward.
Yuu hurriedly followed after Shiika.
Perhaps this might be a trap.
But if it goes on like this, it would be just like what Erii had said; it would only be a matter of time before we were caught.
After walking out from the dark alleys, a deserted road filled with shops lining up side by side next to each other appeared into their view. At the other side of the rusty arch bridge, a wide road where cars were passing by could be seen.
“If I had such intention, I would have leaded you toward the direction of pursuers. So now, do you trust me a bit?”
“How did you ---?”
“It doesn’t matter how I did it. More importantly, please immediately escape Akamaki City right now. I’ll safely guide you to the neighboring Kurohishi City.”
“I can understand your hatred towards the Central Headquarters, but right now you need to get to somewhere safe as soon as possible ---“
“My hatred towards the Central Headquarters…?”
“…Could it be…that you have not seen the content of the CD?”
Erii asked in a surprised tone.
“Why would I hate the Central Headquarters? What does this CD has to do with me?...”
Erii became silent.
A strange uneasiness arose from within Shiika.
---Why…does she think I would hate the Central Headquarters…?
However, Erii ignored Shiika’s questioning.
“…Currently, there are total of 5 high-ranked members participating in the mission of recapturing (Fuyuhotaru), as well as the recovery of the CD. (Kasuou), (Konoha), (Toramaru), (Ashitaka), and (Yotsume)…… As time goes on, more and more combatants that were out on missions would gather here. The path to Kurohishi City is the only route left that would not come in contact with them.”
“T-That won’t work…! We have to be there at Ouka City the day after tomorrow---“
There was a slight confusion mingled in Erii’s voice. After a short silence, she continued to speak:
“(Fuyuhotaru)……Why would you still want to go to Ouka City now, after all that ---?”
Shiika did not answer. Yuu was also in silent.
Perhap she had felt the strong determination in their silence, Erii didn’t push them any further with the topic.
“…Please listen carefully to what I’m going to say next. You guys should be able to see the national highway from your current location right? First of all, please run to the national highway, and then advance eastward.”
“But if we were to do that, we would be getting further away from Ouka City!”
Yuu shouted with a loud voice, yet Erii continued onward with her calm tone:
“After running for a while, you guys should be able to see a subway train station. Please don’t stop, just run straight into the subway.”
“Even though the Inspector squad would be waiting there, please ignore them and just charge. You have to arrive there in the next 3 minutes and 20 seconds.”
Shiika and Yuu exchanged glances with each other.
“More combatants are gathering near you. If you were to make it into the train, they would not be able to catch up to you. Get off at the next station after you get on the train, and then immediately leave the station with haste. This way, you would be able to arrive near the border of Higano City.”
“Please pick up the pace, there’s only 2 minutes and 45 seconds left, run!”
After a sharp urging sound, the connection was cut off.
Both Shiika and Yuu took a deep breath.
There was no time to hesitate.
The two of them started running through the streets, rushing toward the national highway and immediately heading eastward after that.
The Yuu who turned her head around to take a look sounded a cry filled with fear.
Numerous black shadows appeared from the sky; the figures of (Mushi).
After noticing the running figures of Shiika and Yuu, the (Mushi) that were flying in the sky began to chase after them.
Grabbing onto the wrist of Yuu who had almost stopped running, Shiika continued to run ahead. The passersby would turn their head around to gaze surprised at the teenage girls that ran past them in full speed.
Just then, the subway station’s billboard and stairway appeared ahead.
The two of them ran down the stairs without taking a break.
After arriving to the station underground, a group of people suddenly turned their heads around. Upon seeing the figures of Shiika and Yuu charging straight towards the wickets, they immediately put on their white goggles.
They were the enemies that Shiika had encountered many times before. Inspector squad members usually disguised themselves as normal civilians, and monitor their mission from their daily life.
Following Erii’s instruction, Shiika and Yuu ran toward the wickets. They could see the train had already come into the platform and was gradually slowing down.
“W-What about…our tickets?!”
Yuu asked confusedly.
Shiika didn’t answer her question, just continued to run toward the wickets. The goggles-wearing figures were gradually approaching them.
Just then, with a loud *Gadong* sound, the automatic wickets opened in front of them. Of course, neither Shiika nor Yuu had put in a ticket.
“Eh…W-Why did it…?”
Right after Shiika and Yuu passed through the wickets, the wickets immediately closed up. The goggles-wearing figures that were chasing after them were a step behind, and crashed into the wickets.
At the same time, the music that notified the passengers that the train was about to leave the station began to ring.
--- Almost there…!
Harboring feelings similar to prayer, they dashed towards the train at full speed.
However, Yuu crashed into a passenger by their shoulders, which caused the CD that she was holding in her hands to drop onto the floor.
Yuu was hesitating between the train that was about to take off and the CD that fell onto the floor, but after biting her lips, she immediately went for the CD on the floor.
Shiika grabbed Yuu’s wrist and ran for the train door.
However, the time Yuu spend to pick up the CD became their fatal crux.
In front of the running Shiika and Yuu, the train door closed.
Shiika, who was late by a few seconds, banged her hands at the closed train door.
The train slowly began to move.
They couldn’t make it in time ---
Shiika and Yuu turned around to look behind them.
The goggles-wearing figures were gradually approaching the two of them.
The sound of air escaping suddenly rang.
Because of Yuu’s shouting, Shiika turned around to look, and saw that there was a door open on one of the latter cars of the train. The opened door was about to pass where Shiika and Yuu were at.
The fact that the two of them had successfully jumped into the train could almost be considered a miracle. If there were a slight mistake in timing, they would definitely suffer serious injuries from colliding against the train.
The train door immediately closed up after they jumped in; the figures of those white-goggled enemies were gradually fading away in a distant.
While panting heavily, the two of them stood up.
The surrounding passengers were looking at them with astonished eyes. Seeing someone jumping onto a moving train, of course it would be normal for them to have such reactions.
“L-Let’s go to the other cars…”
Before they could calm down their breathing, Shiika pulled Yuu’s hand and moved to a forward car.
Even though they almost missed the train, they somehow managed to make it through and escape from the pursuers.
The fact that the wicket opened automatically even without a ticket, and the door of a running train suddenly opened up…had no doubt saved them. Those were probably the acts of that girl called Erii right? The two of them began to accept this fact within their hearts.
After walking forward for about two cars, the two of them leaned their bodies against the train’s wall. Raising their heads to gaze at the ceiling, they began to slow down their breathing.
Yuu apologized with a hoarse voice as she held tightly onto the CD, and lowered her head.
“I’ve caused you a lot of trouble…I’m sorry, Shiika-san……”
The Yuu who was apologizing began to tremble her shoulders slightly. Perhaps the fear from almost being caught had caused her to feel extremely scared.
Shika then remembered the words that Ubuki had once said.
--- Do you think you can afford to take the responsibility?
To the Yuu who was a normal junior high student yesterday, presumably the current situation would be unbearable for her right? She should be more uneasy and scared than Shiika could ever imagine right?
“Yuu-chan…Let me deliver the CD to (Kakkou)-kun for you…”
Yuu widened her eyes.
“So…I’m really a burden…after all huh?”
With an expression near to tears, Yuu grabbed onto Shiika’s clothes.
“Since I couldn’t do anything to help… Shiika-san you’re actually very strong right? But because of me by your side, you couldn’t ---“
“I’m not strong… Not strong at all…”
The cement walls outside of the train’s window flashed by at a blinding speed. A strong wind resulted from passing by an opposite train was shaking the train.
“I have thought about it many times before… If I can become stronger… If I can… obtain the strength to not lose to my (Mushi), then I might not hurt as many people as before. And I might even be able to save Rina… But I’m just someone – that has seen more people getting hurt than others.”
Up till now, there had been numerous people who’d fallen in front of Shiika.
Some of them, before they fell, would give Shiika a push. While some of them cursed nonstop at Shiika before their dreams faded away. Those that hurt Shiika, as well as those that protected Shiika, Shiika could only see them to the end, unable to do anything for them.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore… If it weren’t for Yuu-chan, I might be hurting a lot of people right now…”
Shiika gazed straight at Yuu’s face, and continued:
“But, Yuu-chan you have those that you hold precious right? There are still people waiting for Yuu-chan to come home right?... If you were to fall to any danger, I’m sure those people would be sad.”
Yuu’s expression was shaken, just like what Shiika had said; she had a lot of things that she held precious right?
“I’m sure the guy called (Centi) would be very happy to know there was someone that received his final will… Even if Yuu-chan only accepted his will, it must have meant something just as great. That’s why… Even if you chose to entrust this will onto us right now, I’m sure he would be able to accept it. This way, Yuu-chan, you don’t have to go through all these dangers.”
Yuu’s hands were trembling nonstop as she took out the CD from her pocket.
Yuu slowly handed the CD towards Shiika.
Shiika smiled as she reached her hand towards the CD.
However, the instant before Shiika could touch the CD; Yuu took it back, holding it against her chest.
Under her glasses, large droplets of tears began to fall.
“I know that dad, mom, and my friends are worrying about me… and I’m actually very scared right now; I wanted to go home right away. B-But I just can’t give it up… I don’t even know why myself, could it be that I’m really hypnotized just like what Ubuki-san had said?”
Yuu held tightly onto the CD against her chest.
“That’s why I have to do it… Because, I was the one that accepted (Centi)’s will… T-That’s why… I have to deliver it…”
Gazing at the teenage girl that was desperately explaining, Shiika smiled weakly.
Looking at Yuu-chan now, is it wrong for me to feel happy?
Shiika suddenly recalled what happened four years ago, the moment when she was about to lose her life, from her dream being devoured by her (Mushi).
The teenage boy who also harbored the same dream, and accepted Shiika’s will --- (Kakkou).
How’s he doing right now…?
She knew that he was a very prudent, strong-willed teenage boy.
She also wanted to see him again.
If I could see (Kakkou)-kun again, I’ll definitely apologize properly this time ---
Because of the fact that Shiika had escaped the facilities, he would probably receive the capture mission of (Fuyuhotaru) for the 3rd time.
But for some reason, Shiika wasn’t afraid of him.
(Kakkou)-kun, every time I’ve caused you a lot of trouble, I’m really sorry about that ---
Within her heart, Shiika apologized quietly to the (Kakkou) who harbored the same dream as her.
“I-I…want to have a place where I belong, a place of belonging that accepts me; allows me to stay.”
Shiika’s sudden words caused Yuu to feel perplexed.
“That is my dream.”
“A precious dream that I won’t forget no matter what I have to go through, no matter how much that I want to run away… Yuu-chan, are you scared right now?”
Upon being asked by Shiika, even though she was confused, she still nodded her head in response.
“Do you want to run away?”
Although still puzzled, Yuu shook her head left and right.
“Do you have something that you absolutely can’t let go, can’t forget even when you’re this scared, and wanting to run away?”
Yuu suddenly remembered something, and gazed at the CD that she was holding in her hands before strengthening her grip.
“I wanted to deliver this… I wanted to deliver this to (Kakkou)-san… with my own hands.”
“What’s so special about Mushitsuki’s dream? I’m sure what Yuu-chan received, wasn’t just a CD.”
Shiika gazed straight at Yuu. Although Yuu had a wonky look, she still firmly nodded her head.
Just then, the surrounding passengers became noisy.
“Did something just fly pass by?”
“What was that? Something black, like a bird……”
“Look! There’s something bigger over there ---“
Both Shiika and Yuu raised their head.
Just at that instant, a music sound came from Shiika’s hands. It was the same ringtone that came from the cell phone before.
The two of them stood near the end of the car, and put the cell phone closer to their ears. The passengers were glaring at them with blaming looks on their faces. Shiika apologized lightly to them with a whisper.
“You guys were almost caught by them, you know that right? Do you really wish to get away?”
From the other end of the call suddenly came a scolding from a little girl.
Yuu showed a displeased expression.
“Were you the one that saved us?”
“You are almost there at the next station. Please get ready…is what I want to say, but some problems had occurred.”
“At the end of the cars, a couple Inspector squads’ members had boarded the train. They are moving toward your whereabouts.”
Shiika and Yuu were speechless.
“The train might not make it in time to the station before they come… But if it did, then (Fuyuhotaru) you need to immediately---“
The connection suddenly cut off.
The train’s lights had blacked out as well.
After the car instantly turned into pitch dark, weak fluorescent lights began to light up. It must be the train’s emergency lightings.
At the same time, the cell phone that Shiika was holding onto sparked blue white glows. Amidst the light that showed a figure similar to a butterfly, an English alphabet “C” could be seen surfacing on its wings.
The instant the surroundings darkened, the figure of the butterfly that appeared onto the cell phone had vanished as well.
The cell phone that lost its glow became silent. No matter how many times they tried to talk through the phone, there was no response from the girl at all.
Within the train, the notice “Due to an unknown blackout, the train will be temporarily making a stop here” was being broadcasted.
The train that was running slowly came to a complete stop.
“W-What should we do now, Shiika-san…?! She said they would be here really soon…!”
Yuu grabbed Shiika’s wrist as Shiika gazed at the train’s door.
There was an emergency button next to the train’s door; a device that allowed passengers to open the door manually in case of emergency.
The two of them exchanged glances with each other for an instant.
Right after that, Yuu rushed toward the door, and pressed the emergency button.
Under the gaze of the surrounding passengers, the two of them worked together to slide open the train’s door. The unique smell of underground air that had a mix of rust and moisture began to pour into the car.
The two of them then jumped down from the car.
“Shiika-san, over there ---!”
The tunnel was completely enveloped in darkness.
“Hurry! Before the Inspector squad arrives, we have to get out of here from there!”
Shiika gazed at the direction where Yuu was pointing at.
At the end of the underground tunnel, a station platform could be seen in the distance in front of the train.
Thank you for reading~
Feel free to leave comments for any questions or feedback~
Next up~ Ubuki's past! Stay tuned ^^