Yuu Part 4
Ever since the encounter at Akamaki City, this was their second time welcoming the morning together.
In the hotel room where they had just spent a night sleeping over, the three of them were facing each other, discussing.
“Okay, our goal today is to arrive at Ouka City before the night falls! Shiika-san, and Ubuki-san, please take note to not do anything that makes you stand out, got that?!”
“Aye Aye, captain!”
“Who are you calling captain?!...Well…I did actually take the role of class president back in my school, but that’s not the point there!”
“Reporting to captain, Shiika-tan seems to have something to say.”
“Shiika-tan said that she doesn’t want to get ordered around by someone who only knows how to cry out loud like a kid.”
Yuu instantly became flushed.
Yesterday night… or rather today’s early morning, right after Yuu woke up, she found out she was left alone by herself on the bed with both Shiika and Ubuki nowhere in sight.
The CD in Yuu’s pocket was gone as well. Because of this, Yuu thought that the two of them had abandoned her, and broke into tears.
“It’s because you guys disappeared without saying anything…and the CD was gone as well…!”
“We only went out together to take a look at the situation outside! And besides, wasn’t the CD safe and sound in your clothes’ pocket after all?”
What Ubuki said was right; they came back very soon after that. When Yuu told them the CD was gone, Ubuki replied “Really?” while searching Yuu’s clothing. And then immediately, Ubuki’s hand went in the other side’s pocket and fished out the CD she was looking for. It seemed like Yuu had remembered incorrectly which pocket she used to put the CD in.
“L-Let’s just forget about her and go, Shiika-tan.”
Just when Yuu and Shiika were about to walk out of the room, the phone in their room suddenly rang.
Yuu immediately rushed to the phone, and picked up the call.
“I’m sorry, we will immediately leave right now ---“
“No, please don’t leave the hotel.”
A calm, young girl’s voice came from the other end of the phone.
Shiika and Ubuki turned around to look at Yuu.
“(Fuyuhotaru) is there right? Please switch her to the phone.”
“She says that she wants to talk to you Shiika-san…”
Facing Yuu, Shiika showed a perplexed expression. Meanwhile, Ubuki snatched away the phone on the side.
“Are you the one who helped them yesterday? Who are you? How did you know our whereabouts?”
Ubuki questioned in a low suppressed voice, while Yuu and Shiika moved closer to the phone with their ears.
“(Karasu), I have nothing to say to you, switch (Fuyuhotaru) to the phone.”
“Why should I obey the order from a brat whom I have never seen before? Stop surreptitiously following us from behind, and show us who you are!”
“I do have that intention; now give the phone to (Fuyuhotaru).”
The three of them exchanged glances with each other, before Shiika took the phone from Ubuki.
“H-Hello… thanks for saving us yesterday…”
“Don’t mention it. More importantly, please do not act rashly and leave your current location. The Central Headquarters’ combatants are currently surrounding the Higano City.”
The three of them became speechless.
H-How…? How did they know we were at Higano City?
Before Yuu could open her mouth and ask that question, Erii continued talking:
“Not only that, the Central Headquarters had also mobilized forces to Ouka City. And in addition, perhaps because they were aware of what the Central Headquarters is doing, the East Central Division had also begun to act. Two forces have never been so close together before. If the Headquarters were to clash head on with the East Central Division --- the situation will become even worse. That’s why, any suspicious movements you make from now on might result in you being attacked right away.”
“Even risking the chance of clashing with the East Central Division, the Headquarters still want to take it back… (Fuyuhotaru) you, and the CD… If that CD were to fall into the hands of the East Central Division, then a war might really break out within the SEPB.”
--- A w-war…?! Because of this CD?!
Shifting her gaze away from the trembling Yuu, Shiika held onto the phone with both hands.
“What exactly is in the CD that Yuu-chan is holding? And what does it have to do with me ---“
“Wait, Shiika-tan. Before asking about the CD, we need to first ask this girl one question.”
Ubuki stared straight at the phone with a stern expression.
“Why did the Central Headquarters gather in Higano City? The fact that we arrived at Higano City from Akamaki City, how did the Central Headquarters find out? Even our plan of going to Ouka City, they seemed to have known them all. Why is that?”
“I don’t know the details of it.”
“Erii-tan, was it not leaked out by you?”
Ubuki questioned in a sharp voice.
Yuu then suddenly realized.
That’s right; Yuu had once accidentally told Erii their destination. Hence, Erii was the only one else that knew where they were going.
But, that would also lead to a contradiction in a way.
“B-But…Erii saved us yesterday……”
Just as Shiika said, if she were to have that intention, she could’ve done so back at Akamaki City.
“Exactly, (Karasu)…You have secretly contacted the others, haven’t you?”
Yuu turned to gaze at Ubuki.
“You’re putting the blame on me now?!”
Ubuki raised her eyebrows.
“Who are you?! Show yourself!”
“That’s exactly what I’m planning to do; I’ve just arrived at Higano City. There’s a shopping center at the end of the street you’re on, let’s meet up there… Do you have anything that you can write with near you? I’ll tell you the approximate location of the combatants situated in Higano city. You guys can just follow ---“
“Answer my question! Who are you?! How did you know these things?!”
“I’ll tell you everything when we meet.”
From start to end, Erii kept a consistently calm attitude.
On the memo pad next to the phone, Shiika drew out the approximate layout of the pursuers situated in Higano City according to the content of Erii’s explanation.
The amount of pursuers, that Erii listed one after another, immediately caused the three of them to become speechless.
--- How the hell can…we get away…from this…?
Yuu shouted within her.
The whole Higano City was almost completely filled with pursuers.
“You want us to believe in the words you said?”
Ubuki finally spoke. Her voice had a slight provoking tone in it, and her expression was serious.
“Do you think the three of you can break through Higano City with this many pursuers in it? The miracle of defeating (Kasuou) would not happen for the second time. (Karasu), just you alone, would not be able to protect (Fuyuhotaru).”
Yuu heard the sound of Ubuki grinding her teeth.
Yuu suddenly spoke.
“The location of the building that we’re supposed to meet up is in the opposite direction of Ouka City… Going somewhere that far, it’d be evening by the time we arrive… Right now, we definitely have to arrive at Ouka before tomorrow…!”
“That’s no problem, please trust me, (Fuyuhotaru).”
Yuu and Ubuki turned to look at Shiika with perplexed expressions.
Shiika closed her lips, as if she was pondering about something.
And very soon, she made the decision.
“Let’s go, to the shopping center.”
The sky above Higano City was clear as blue today, with white clouds floating slowly high above.
After leaving the hotel, Yuu and the others moved eastwards.
Let’s meet up at the shopping center ---
After saying that, Erii hanged up on the call. As for the time when Ubuki requested, “You have to come alone!” the girl replied straight away with “Of course.”
Higano City was a city known for being a suburb with a lot of old buildings; sandwiched in between Akamaki City and Ouka City, two large-scaled cities. And between Higano City and Ouka City, there was a highway running across.
Yuu and others followed an arc-like route within Higano City, and advanced slowly forward.
On the way, the three of them were fully cautious; hence the pursuers haven’t found them yet. At the places where Erii mentioned, the presences of white-attired figure had been seen numerous times already; it was clearly terrifying to them. It was always Yuu that took the lead and observed their surroundings first, before they move on.
When it was almost noon, the incident of Ubuki making a fuss shouting, “I want meat! Steak! Or Barbecue!!!” happened. Yuu took great efforts using the meat buns that were sold at nearby food stands to make her shut up; and this had also become the trio’s lunch.
“Looks like we can successfully arrive at the shopping center!”
Underneath the highway, while walking on the road that didn’t have any cement paved on it, Yuu whispered lightly.
“But we’re also getting further and further away from Ouka City…”
Even though Yuu had said to believe in Erii, her uneasiness only intensified more and more. She felt like she was slowly giving in to the anxiousness within her, having the impulse of wanting to change direction and go straight for Ouka city.
“Well… That girl named Erii, who exactly is she?,,,”
Facing Shiika’s question, Ubuki put up a dirty look and said disdainfully:
“Those who say please trust me are the ones that shouldn’t be trusted at all!”
Ubuki seemed to still not trust Erii for some reason.
Well, it was normal to not trust a stranger that came out of nowhere; even Yuu was still dubious right now.
But it was a fact that Erii had saved both Yuu and Shiika back at Akamaki City, and even now it was also because of Erii’s Intel that they were advancing without meeting any enemies.
There are full of enemies ---
Yuu began to ponder, and recalled the dangerous situation from yesterday.
“U-Ubuki-san, (Kasuou) is really not hunting after us anymore right?...”
Ubuki nodded her head and replied as she placed her finger-crossed hands behind her head:
“Should be! Headquarters is very strict with those who failed their mission. Beaten by a low-ranked me, not only should she get a downgrade in her ranking, she should also receive a penalty along with it.”
“So awesome; Ubuki actually could beat someone like that!”
“Hehe, praise me at least another 235 more times!”
“So awesome, so awesome, so awesome, so awesome---“
“Don’t get too serious with her, Shiika-san…”
“Ohh, (Yotsume)-tan and (Ashitaka)-tan were also defeated by me!”
“Yea yea, you defeated him by luring him to attack the cables right? I’ve heard of it many times already… But speaking of them isn’t (Kasuou) and those people the strongest members in the Central Headquarters? Giving them penalty at times like this…”
“That woman is like that. Because the head director doesn’t stay in the central headquarters that often, she usually uses this kind of rigid method to do as she wishes.”
With her hands crossed behind her head, Ubuki said in a leisurely tone.
Both Yuu and Shiika became silent.
It seemed like it was impossible to view this organization, the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau, with the logic of what Yuu recognized as the “Common Sense”. Aside from that, everything regarding (Mushi)’s existence and Mushitsuki, as well as the Ubuki and Shiika that were next to her right, could not be explained with common sense either. Even though it was later that she came to realize this, Yuu began to become aware of the fact that she actually didn’t know a thing about them.
The events that happened in the short time span of these 2 days were completely different from the past life she had lived. Living a life that repeats itself, going to school every single day, going to cram school to study, and then meeting up with friends afterwards…just constantly repeating this progress. And she herself thought that it was normal that this happens.
It would never change no matter where she goes. At least in this city that Yuu lives in; in this peaceful country, it should be like this.
Yet the truth was different.
Because of an accidental encounter --- she chanced upon the teenage boy that was lying on the ground. All she did was turn her head around; and yet she was entangled in a completely different world. Was that world always near her like this? Or was it because the instant she turned her head that the two worlds intersected one another? No matter which one it was, Yuu had stepped into the world of the “other side”.
There had been numerous chances given to her to return to her original life, yet Yuu rejected them all with her own will.
Even she herself didn’t know the reason behind that; but, in doing so, makes her feels like the world she had been living in until now was a completely different world.
Yuu shook her head slightly. Perhaps she had gotten tired already? Her logical reasoning seemed to have short-circuited a bit.
The past Yuu who had lived a never-changing life in this peaceful world no longer existed anymore. The only one that exists now was the other Ebina Yuu who’s being hunted by the SEPB, yet still trying desperately to go to Ouka City.
“What’s wrong, Yuu-chan?”
“Ah, it’s nothing… Just thinking about something…”
“It’s pointless for you to think any further on this! Just make up your mind and get done with it~”
“I don’t need you to tell me that, I already ---“
Yuu suddenly stopped turning her head around, and gazed into the far distance.
Higano City was completely enveloped by a never-ending orange that expanded beyond the horizon.
The three of them were walking under the highway. And unknowingly, it was already sunset.
The scene of high-rising buildings surrounding them on the streets made them seem like a bunch of wooden blocks being piled together. The appearance of the city was also being rendered into a blazing orange red color by the dusk’s glare.
Although it was a scene that could be seen just about anywhere, Yuu found it to be surprisingly attracting. For the first time in her life, she felt that the reddening sun was very beautiful, making one feel very melancholic.
Yuu’s eyes suddenly became blurry.
It was then she realized she was tearing up.
“Ahh, Yuu-tan is crying again! Did you get scared or something? There there, there’s nothing to be afraid of!”
“I-I’m not crying! And besides, it’s not because I’m scared… It’s because the sunset is too pretty!”
“Okay, from today onward, Yuu-tan you will be a Mushitsuki as well! Because you have been possessed by nakumushi!” [T/L: “Nakumushi” means crybaby. There’s a Mushi in the term, that’s why Ubuki using it to make fun of Yuu.]
Shiika also gazed at the sunset.
“Yuu-chan, do you like the sunset?”
“Eh? Well…I don’t really like it particularly…but I don’t dislike it either. I just felt it was very pretty…that’s all.”
As if she was pondering about something, Shiika fell into silence. Facing Yuu and Ubuki who tilted their head, Shiika replied with a smile.
“Perhaps it might not be there anymore, and I don’t know if Yuu-chan would like it or not… But if it’s Yuu-chan, I think it will be fine.”
“I know there’s a very beautiful sunset painting. If I could find it, I’ll give it to you Yuu-chan!”
“A sunset painting…?”
“Yes, it was painted by Rina. Although I don’t know why, but Rina only painted sunsets for some reason.”
“Isn’t Rina…that person called (Ladybird)? A painting painted by her huh…”
“Do you want it, Yuu-chan?”
“Of course! Please let me have it if possible!”
She was someone that a teenage boy risked his life fighting for after all. If her painting still exists, I would really want to see what kind of painting it is. Who exactly is this person called (Ladybird)? And what feelings does she harbor when she was painting the sunset…?
Upon seeing Yuu sparkling with joy as she almost tackled Shiika, Shiika chuckled happily.
“I still don’t know if it’s there or not. But if I can find it, then sure!”
“The thing that Shiika-tan wants, wasn’t it Rina’s painting?”
“Well, it’s the other painting that I want.”
Facing the sunset with their backs, the three teenage girls walked onto the trail. The tallest Ubuki was having the longest inverted shadow on the ground.
After they walked in silence for a while, Ubuki suddenly opened her mouth and started talking:
“(Ladybird)… that girl called Rina, what kind of person was she…?”
Although she had wanted to ask this many times already, she always missed the opportunity to.
“I remembered you said that she was…the leader of (Mushibane), right?”
Facing Yuu’s question, Ubuki nodded. She had only heard before from higher-ups that (Ladybird) was the leader of (Mushibane), a rebel organization that consisted of rogue Mushitsuki that were not registered in the government’s listing to fight against the SEPB. Other than that, she knew nothing else about her.
“Umm…I also want to know about her.”
“Mmm --- If I remembered correctly, (Ladybird) was born at Akamaki City. From my impression, I probably had seen her only once. And that time I was pretty far away from her, so I couldn’t really see her face that clearly. Even now, Intel regarding her was still classified as confidential matters! Seriously, she had died already, why are they still keeping it as confidential as if it matters anymore?”
“How about you Shiika-san? You and Rina-san were friends right?”
“Mhm, she’s a very strong and gentle person.”
Shiika gazed straight at Yuu. On her face, a slight melancholic smile could be seen.
“I’m sure, after you guys have seen that painting, you would be able to understand what kind of person Rina is.”
Yuu originally had wanted to try and imagine (Ladybird), but gave up on that idea rather instantly. She was someone who had lived in a completely different world than Yuu; it would be impossible for her to imagine someone such as her right?
“Well then, what about (Kakkou)-san? What kind of person is he?”
Facing Yuu’s question, Shiika replied with a smile that was different from before; a slightly happy smile.
“(Kakkou)-kun is also the same as Rina, a strong and gentle person!”
“Aha, you said (Kakkou) is gentle?”
Upon hearing Shiika’s words, Ubuki threw a sarcastic smile that she rarely showed at them.
“Shiika-tan, are you serious? How could that demon ever be “gentle”!
“It seems like Ubuki-san really hates (Kakkou)-san…huh? Isn’t he a Mushitsuki for the SEPB just like you?”
“Don’t group me in a lot as that guy! Almost all the SEPB members hate that guy to the bone. Who knows how many Mushitsuki were forced to work for the SEPB from being captured by him…Well, it’s probably more in number for those that were turned into Fallen. In my opinion, (Kakkou) is just the same as that woman…just a bunch of merciless killers…”
“T-That’s not true, (Kakkou)-kun is ---“
“Wasn’t it because of him that Shiika-tan was turned into a Fallen? If we were to chance upon him, Yuu-tan will definitely get killed for sure. Since (Kakkou) was known for being even more merciless than (Kasuou)-tan!”
Being threatened by Ubuki like this, Yuu felt terrified once again.
Someone that even Shiika was no match against, and even more cruel than (Kasuou) --- (Kakkou).
She had only thought about delivering the CD to him, but didn’t think about anything after that. Even if she were to see (Kakkou) at last, would he really accept the CD?
Next to Yuu who began to have her same old worrying episode, Shiika was still trying to protest against Ubuki. But because of the height difference, she was being held down by her head by the taller Ubuki, being toyed around.
--- (Kakkou)-san… What kind of person is he…? He wouldn’t possibly pop out of nowhere and ambush us like (Kasuou) right…?
No matter how many times she tries to imagine, she always ends up with a bad ending. Yuu also knew this was one of her bad habits, but she just couldn’t change it.
Yuu gazed at the sunset, and closed her lips.
--- One more day left huh…
For the sake of keeping Intel confidential, the data within the CD would automatically corrupt itself within 3 days. Although they were not sure of the exact time when this CD was recorded, according to what Ubuki said, it seemed to be around yesterday’s evening. Which means, she has to deliver this CD to (Kakkou) by tomorrow around this time or earlier.
--- I wonder… around this time tomorrow, what will become of me…?
Yuu suddenly had that question in mind.
Either she would deliver the CD to (Kakkou) safe and sound.
Or she might get caught by the pursuers, and end up getting killed.
Yuu tried to shake away the uneasiness and fear that almost enveloped her heart.
I’ve decided to come here on my own!
--- “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?”
She suddenly recalled the words Shiika had said.
Within her chest, there certainly exists such a feeling.
I want to deliver the CD.
It was for the sake of delivering that entrusted will to (Kakkou) that Yuu started this journey after all.
“It is…this place right?”
The three of them arrived at the place where they promised to meet up with Erii.
From the vast construction came the continuative sound of metal bumping into each other.
Next to the sign that read “Non-Employees are prohibited from entering”, there was a billboard with “Higano Shopping Center Construction Site” heading on it.
On the other end of the construction site, numerous buildings with different sizes could be seen. There should be the main area of the shopping center right? At a far distance, an excavator making loud noises could be seen as well.
“Ah, over there……”
Shiika pointed her index finger at a corner of the construction site.
Next to the shadow of a parked bulldozer, there was a tiny finger standing there.
“She really is a brat huh…”
Ubuki whispered in a tone full of caution.
Just as they had imagined from the voice they heard through the phone, the figure that was looking at them was a young girl. Upon seeing her clothes that was filled with heart-shaped patterns, Yuu widened her eyes.
She was the girl that Yuu had seen back at Akamaki City’s crossroad.
“Ahh, it’s that girl!”
“She was looking at us back at Akamaki City’s crossroad! That’s why at that time, I subconsciously stopped walking……”
“So we were already targeted by her since the beginning huh?”
The three of them cautiously approached the heart-shaped pattern girl.
“Doesn’t seem like… she belongs to the SEPB… She’s not wearing the coat…”
Shiika whispered softly. Ubuki nodded her head lightly in response.
“I’ve recognized most of the faces of those who belong to the Central Headquarters’ combat squad, and inspector squad. There was no one like her in there.”
The distance between them began to gradually shorten.
Underneath the shadow of the bulldozer, the three of them stood face-to-face in front of the girl.
Shiika asked that question first.
The girl gazed straight at Shiika, and nodded her head lightly.
Just then, Ubuki walked closer to Erii, and leaned forward to stroke the girl’s head.
“You’re even tinier than I had imagined! Well now, just exactly who are you? It’s about time you spit it all out!”
Erii only moved her eyes to look at Ubuki.
In the girl’s pupils, a blue-white light sparked.
Shiika felt something was wrong, so she shouted to warn Ubuki.
The heart-shaped pattern girl raised her small hand, and pointed her index finger at Ubuki’s forehead. At the tip of her slender finger, numerous blue-colored butterflies appeared.
“This is the first time I’ve met you after all, (Karasu)…Of course you wouldn’t know me.”
Erii flicked the butterflies from her fingertip.
Startled, Ubuki was, as she tried to move back, instantly enveloped by the blue-white lighting.
Ubuki’s expression became stiffening-still with her eyes staying wide-open. Not just her expression, even the posture of her body trying to lean backward had stopped moving as if she was frozen by time as well. Her slightly trembling eyeballs that were staring into space were the only part that was moving.
Erii immediately pointed her index fingers at the other two that were trying to reach their hands towards Ubuki.
“I’m Horiuchi Erii --- I belong to the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau Central Headquarters’ Intel, Special, and Experimental Squad; a Hishu level two ranked member, codenamed (C). Hishu level one ranked Mushitsuki (Fuyuhotaru), and Ebina Yuu, I’m going to arrest you two.”
The girl who claimed to be Erii spoke coldly. That voice was no doubt the voice that they had heard through the phone numerous times.
Yuu took a step back as she subconsciously muttered:
“Didn’t you save us back at Akamaki City?...”
Blue-white lightings began to spark even more from the silent Erii’s body. Those sparks gathered in the air, before turning into countless butterflies. On the wings of those butterflies, an English alphabet “C” could be seen. Upon seeing this, Yuu then suddenly recalled the image of a mocker swallowtail that she had been seen from illustrations before.
Just then, Yuu suddenly felt a force pulling her.
It was Shiika. For the sake of protecting Yuu, Shiika pulled her away from Erii.
“What did you… do to Ubuki?”
Hiding Yuu behind her, Shiika stood in a confrontational stance facing Erii. The usual docile Shiika was speaking in a rather hostile tone.
“All I did was obstruct the current in her brain a bit. Although it’s going to take a bit of time to recover, it shouldn’t leave any side-effects. This is a part of my abilities; because I have to come in contact with the target, that’s why I let her get closer to me.”
Surprisingly, Erii’s response was rather straightforward. And because of this, Shiika was perplexed as to what to do as her voice became much lower.
“H-How did you…know our whereabouts---“
“Because of the CD that you took from (Centi); the data that was stored within that CD, is actually a fragment of my “Memory”. Like magnets that attract each other, I was able to find out the exact location of those that contain such data within them… This is also a part of my abilities; even the Central Headquarters didn’t know I have this ability.” [T/L: the term “Memory” here, is being used as the computer language term.]
“I’ve answered your questions, now (Fuyuhotaru)…it’s your turn to answer my questions. For the sake of having a calm conversation with you, I’ve come here alone after all.”
The young girl was still using her mechanical-like tone.
“Please go back to SEPB, (Fuyuhotaru).”
The girl noticed Shiika gasped slightly before continuing:
“You should be fully aware of the dangerousness of your existence by now, not to mention you have the conscience of not wanting to hurt others. When you take a step out into the outside world, those that weren’t supposed to get hurt will be injured because of you. Able to come outside for the past few days, shouldn’t you be satisfied already? Please stop this wayward act of yours, and go back to the place where you belong.”
Shiika showed a shaken expression.
“Among the many Mushitsuki, you’re the most dangerous one. Just by living, you will repeatedly hurt those around you…you should’ve realized that by now, right? If it weren’t for you, who knows how many people would be able to live on!”
Erii’s words, seemed to have shaken Shiika’s determination bit by bit. Shiika tried to open her mouth, wanting to say something, but could only close them immediately and fell into silence.
At the same time, Erii’s words caused a new emotion to emerge from within Yuu.
“What…are you talking about…?”
Yuu slowly opened her mouth and said that, causing both (C) and Shiika to look at her.
“If it weren’t for Shiika-san? What does that mean? Why…do you have to say something like that…?”
“A brat like you, what do you even know… Shut your mouth, Ebina Yuu.”
Erii replied disgruntled, yet it only caused Yuu to explode with furry.
“Do you even know what Shiika-san’s dream is?! Or perhaps you knew already, yet still say that SEPB is the place where Shiika-san belongs?!”
“If you’re going to obstruct the negotiation between me and (Fuyuhotaru), I will immobilize you as well! You’re not even a Mushitsuki, just merely an ordinary human that doesn’t know anything; someone like you should just stay aside and shut your mouth! Put bluntly…in this world, it is better if some people never existed.”
“Shiika-san said that it was her first time eating a crepe!”
Yuu shouted out loud. Even though she herself was unable to move due to fear of the girl in front, her mouth went on by itself and defended for Shiika.
She faced straight at the frowning Erii, and continued:
“Shiika-san said that she only had (Ladybird) as her friend! Shiika-san she is…so kind and gentle… B-But why! Why do you have to say things like “It’s better if you never existed” to her!”
“That’s because you don’t know ---“
“So what if I don’t know! You’re the one that doesn’t know a thing about Shiika-san!”
Shiika gazed at Yuu, surprised.
The originally calm Erii showed an angry look, slowly distorting her expression.
“(Fuyuhotaru), you will come with me right?”
“If I obey and go with you…What will happen to Ubuki and Yuu-chan?”
“…I promise I won’t hurt those two.”
The young girl replied as such.
Shiika looked at Yuu, before shifting her gaze to the motionless Ubuki.
“Or perhaps, you wish to see them getting hurt because of you?”
Erii’s one sentence, caused Shiika to waver. With an expression close to tears, she turned to look at Yuu and Ubuki once more.
Shiika took a step further away from Yuu.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore…”
Shiika moved away from Yuu, and slowly walked towards Erii.
Shiika gazed sorrowfully at Yuu. While on the side, Erii showed a smile as she changed her cold stare from before into a sharp glare.
Subconsciously, Yuu grabbed the wrist of Shiika that was moving away from her.
Yuu pulled Shiika back, and glared straight at Erii.
“Why does Shiika-san have to go through all this?! Why can’t Shiika-san do the things she wanted to do?! She just…wants a place where she belongs, that’s all she ever wanted…!”
Shiika turned around to look at Yuu.
“And there are contradictions in your words! If you just wanted to talk to Shiika-san, then there should have been a lot of chances for you to do so! And besides…you attacked Ubuki-san without saying a word, who would believe you that you won’t harm us!”
Erii’s expression changed dramatically, slowly changing into a hateful glare at Yuu.
“Answer me! Why did you tell us to come here?!”
Both Yuu and Shiika gazed at the girl.
Erii was silent at first, before showing a ferocious expression that a normal girl wouldn’t show to glare at Shiika.
“…If only you had obeyed me obediently, I could’ve killed you without letting you feel any pain!”
Yuu and Shiika instantly widened their eyes.
“S-So you had planned… to kill Shiika-san from the start…?!”
“The Central Headquarters will never change the principle of recapturing (Fuyuhotaru)… I definitely will not allow such easy penalty! If you were to cause “him” trouble, I’ll kill you first and then escape from SEPB!”
Because of the intensified lightning, (C)’s charged sweater gave off even stronger sparks. Shiika lowered her head and muttered:
“So that means, the one who gave our whereabouts to the Central Headquarters was also ---“
As if responding to Yuu’s question, numerous blue-white colored butterflies appeared from within the hair of Erii that was dancing in the air from sparks.
“As long as I could deprive the places you guys could escape to, you guys will be forced to come here… That way, I’ll be able to kill (Fuyuhotaru) without any interference!”
Erii walked closer to the perplexed Shiika.
Shiika bit her lips as she held onto Yuu’s hand. And then, the two of them ran away from Erii.
“Wait, Shiika-san…U-Ubuki-san she…”
“Erii had said she would return to normal after a while… The only thing we can do right now is to run away…”
While running back to the trail where they came from, Shiika muttered:
However, Yuu showed an expression filled with sorrow. Although Shiika had said “we”, in actual fact, she was running away for the sake of protecting Yuu. Even though she had already made up her mind to not become a burden… the only thing she could do was stand rooted to the ground when facing Erii.
The butterflies that came out of Erii’s body came in contact with the nearby bulldozer.
The bulldozer was instantly enveloped in blue-white colored lightings, before sounding a loud jamming noise from its engine.
And then after that, the giant bulldozer began to charge at the two of them.
Because of it being so sudden, Shiika was frightened as she came to a stop. Yuu noticed that there was no one in the driver’s seat driving.
--- “Yuu-tan you’re not a burden!”
Ubuki’s words emerged in her mind.
That’s right, I’m not a burden!
Yuu shouted out loud within her, yet her two feet still refuse to move.
The figure of the bulldozer that was larger than them by a few times came into her view. Like a movie that was being put into slow-motion, Yuu could clearly see the movement of the bulldozer closing in on them.
--- The sound of my heartbeat…is really annoying ---
Within Yuu’s brain, the calm part of her consciousness was telling her that.
--- My fingertips are cold ---
Yuu extremely-calmly analyzed her body’s condition.
Her throat was running dry, and her legs wouldn’t listen to her.
Of course, it was due to fear, and uneasiness.
Of course, it was because she was going against an enemy that she has a no idea of and their unknown (Mushi).
--- But even so…
I’m going to --- expose the enemy’s identity!
Yuu used her body to tackle Shiika’s back.
The two of them fell into a furious roll onto the ground. The bulldozer that narrowly missed them, charged straight through the place where they were just at, and crashed into an excavator in front; those two vehicles fell to their side right after.
Shiika turned around, and looked at Yuu who was lying on top of herself, protecting her.
Yuu raised her head. She probably looked really horrible right now from having an expression of her trying to hold back her tears right? However, she didn’t have the time to care about any of that.
Yuu used her hands to hit her legs that were paralyzed from fear.
Move… Hurry up and move, my legs! Do you know how hard I worked to come here?!
The trembling of her legs stopped. Both Yuu and Shiika stood up immediately.
Turning around, they could see a flock of mocker swallowtail butterflies taking off from Erii’s body one after another.
When construction vehicles came in contact with the butterflies, the blue-white lightings would first envelop them, before the sound of their engines running rang out loud.
“Shiika-san, over there…!”
Holding Shiika’s hand, Yuu started running.
In front of Yuu were the main streets of the shopping center.
Thank you for reading~
Feel free to leave comments for any questions or feedback~
Erii-chan is a good girl! I swear! she's just being... slightly misguided. =(
Now, time for some fan services~ some cosplay pictures that I found!
(My god... those legs...)