Snail's pace indeed xD, forgive us.
After all, Mushi Uta' 14th Volume (A) just came out not so long ago and finished tled into chinese, my mind was blown (Even thou I haven't finish reading it).
The return of Ladybird!!! -fan girl scream-
Rina Part 2
The supernatural being that had suddenly appeared a few years ago, was given such a name.
Processing forms akin to insects, they would infest themselves onto adolescent teenagers and devour their dreams and hopes to grow. Those who were infested by these (Mushi) --- were called the Mushitsuki. Once infested, they would all have to bear the same tragic destiny; either have their (Mushi) get killed and themselves turn into emotionless walking corpses, or die when their dreams were fully devoured by the (Mushi).
Above were the rumors that were spreading about.
In addition, eye witnesses and encounters continued to grow among the public, especially recently, at a city called Ouka City there was even an army of Mushitsuki marching.
Nonetheless, even under such conditions the government still refused to acknowledge (Mushi)’s existence. Rumor also mentioned that the government deliberately created a secret organization to control such matters, concealing its intelligence.
Rina was not the type to be afraid of insects. That’s why after she heard about the rumors regarding (Mushi) she thought that if “they” really existed, they would look nothing but tiny and cute.
That --- was her exact thought, before she encounters a real (Mushi) for the first time ever.
After poking her upper body from her window, she slowly climbed out and stood on the little protruding spots on the wall of the house. Letting the wind sway her hair as it pleases, she stuck close to the wall and started climbing down.
“W-Woah, phew, t-that was close.”
Just when she almost slipped and lost her balance, she grabbed onto the metal pipe that was used for discharging the rainwater.
Akamaki City’s night view was filled with flickering lights everywhere.
And amidst this glorious view, there was a gem sparkling brighter than anything else. The tall building that was as tiny as a thorn in day light, was now gleaming in green lights.
The building that was embraced by green aura, was known as Skypia --- Akamaki City’s observatory tower. It was rumored that its highest floor, which was completely surrounded by half-transparent glasses, was designed to look like a garden of sky.
"Seems like... I brought a bit too much..."
Right now she felt as if she were a thief, or maybe a spy. She was wearing shirts and shorts that were easy to move around in, a pair of sneakers that she secretly hid in advance, and was carrying a huge backpack behind her back; you could say she was thoroughly prepared.
Holding onto the metal pipe, she slid down to the ground and silently crossed the yard. All the blind spots from the surveillance cameras and other security measures had been confirmed in advance.
The route to escape this birdcage, she had been exploring it since long ago.
But deep down she knew, even if she were to escape from here, she would never be able to escape from her father's palm.
That's why every time when that thought came across her mind, she would feel helpless; which was also why the escape plan remained as a fantasy in her head.
After escaping from her residence, Rina began to run furiously onto the night streets.
There was a purpose as to why she escaped tonight. She was planning on returning home as soon as she accomplished that purpose.
Just when she was about to pass by the park located next to the kindergarten, she suddenly came to a stop.
In the center of the deserted playground stood a shadow in a very unnatural stance under the constant flashing street light.
"Why is she still here this late...?"
Rina subconsciously stepped into the park. Even though her destination lay elsewhere, she just couldn’t help but feel drawn towards that strange figure.
As if it had felt the presence of the unexpected visitor, the music box suddenly rang throughout. The figure then slowly walked toward Rina stiffly while making cracking sounds.
It was the acrobatic girl from this morning. She was walking closer and closer to Rina.
"Children are my food --- I'm going to eat them all, not leaving even one --- Guru Guru, biting from the head downward--- come, come here closer ---"
The music box's sorrowful melody, her hoarse voice, and creepy movements.
All of the above had caused a chill to run down Rina's spin for an instant, which made her to immediately halt. When the puppet girl finally stopped in front of her, lowering her gaze and opened her mouth wider and wider, she felt as if she was about to get swallowed in.
Despite her feeling afraid from the puppet girl's unmoving gaze, she still mustered up the courage and asked:
"I-It's already this late at night, are you still waiting for customers?"
The puppet girl immediately stopped, and moved her head up and down as if she was nodding.
"Don't you feel dispirited? To keep on doing this, don’t you feel tired from it?"
The puppet girl then moved her head left and right, denying.
It seems like she was capable of answering questions, Rina could feel her fear easing just from seeing her responses and continued.
"Where and when do you sleep? Is your body okay? Are you hungry??---"
"--- I'm fine."
The puppet girl opened her mouth and said that line, it sounded just like a doll speaking with Ventriloquism.
"Rokko, can eat children."
"Rokko? Is that your name? And--- What do you mean eating children...?"
"Guru Guru, biting from their head downward."
"Y-You're lying! You ate the food that Mikajima brought you right?"
"You, looks very delicious."
Rokko curved her lips and started smiling, before turning around. She walked back to her original spot and raised her finger, pointing at a location.
The direction where her finger was pointing at, was Rina's room.
"You know me?!"
"You, are the most delicious kid. One day, I will definitely eat you up."
"If Rokko were to eat me ---- will Rokko... be saved then?"
For an instant, Rina caught a glimpse of Rokko showing a human expression, a human emotion; confusion. She could tell that it was not an act.
"Because no matter how much food Mikajima brought you, you seemed to be always hungry."
"To me, it seems like you always have an uneasy expression as if you were looking for help."
Just then, the sound of music box suddenly stopped.
Rina turned her back on the motionless Rokko, and said:
"I will definitely help you one day, but not right now, so please wait just a bit longer, okay?"
Since tonight's goal was to find someone else, leaving behind the unmoving Rokko in the dark quiet park, Rina began to run once again onto the streets.
Just when she was panting heavily from running, she suddenly encountered another visitor.
It was a teenage boy who wears a tiny hat on his head as a decoration. With a slender figure and outfit, he seemed just like a magician on a stage.
The only thing that was unbefitting from his elegant expression and atmosphere, was the pair of mechanical goggles that hanging by his neck.
Rina stopped her steps in front of the teenage boy.
"Good evening to you too, young lady."
He shifted his gaze from gazing at the sky down to Rina, showing a gentle smile.
"Please immediately turn around, go head straight home."
The teenage boy spoke with a steady voice that was just as calm as the night.
"It's very dangerous to stroll around at night, let alone talking to strangers. You should hurry home before you're swallowed whole by the monster pretending to be a puppet. If you're lost, then I shall take your hand and walk you home."
"I have to go somewhere right now, that’s why I can't go home yet."
"Is that so? If that's the case, then head straight there, don’t wander off to elsewhere."
"Who are you? Are you also lost?"
The teenage boy's brow twitched for a moment, he then tilted his head before smiling.
"What makes you think I'm lost?"
"Aren't you walking back and forth on the streets since a few days ago? And also ---"
After telling him the reason why she thought he was lost, the teenage boy seemed to be surprised.
After that Rina chatted with him for a while.
Just as Rina was interested of him, he seemed to be also interested in Rina. Under the streets lit by streets lamps, laughter and chitchats could be heard from the duo.
The teenage boy who processed a magical atmosphere around him, self-proclaimed to be "Mr. Hat House".
"Goodnight, Mr. Hat House."
"Mhm, Good bye."
After gently bidding farewell to the waving Mr. Hat House, Rina finally dashed towards her destination.
The scenery around her began to change as she ran, following after the high class residential area into low-rise bungalow-lined streets, and then finally into a construction area where large numbers of wooden frame houses could be seen. As the distance from the City center increased, the number of street lamps decreased dramatically.
"I think it's around here... Ah, it must be that one!"
At the corner of the construction area, she found the large building that she was looking for. Inside the rectangle-shaped structure, which was exposed on top of the soil without anything sheltering it, there was not a single trace of light. Judging from its appearance, it seemed to be a storage room for materials. Next to the slightly opened door, construction materials that had turned pitch black from the weather could be seen.
Rina surveyed her surroundings closely as she stepped into the interior. Right when she stepped into the ruin, she heard a calm breathing.
"Good evening. How are you doing? Still okay?"
A glimpse of moonlight illuminated the figure that was huddling in the corner.
A young boy that was around the same age as Rina. He was hugging his knees with both hands, silently staring at the intruder who came out of nowhere. His clothing was very dirty, and there were many plastic bags from the convenient store lying around him.
"I'm Tachibana Rina. Didn't someone take you here? That person is Mikajima Yorozu, she's my tutor."
"What is your name? And where do you come from?"
Rina walked towards him casually as she spoke. The boy, however, was still curling from fear. His gaze towards Rina was filled with clear hostility as he desperately tried to move back.
"You don’t have to be scared. I noticed you through my room's window, it seems like you're in trouble, so I was thinking if I can do anything to help you."
"...Don't come over.."
"Didn't I say I'm just wanted to help you, why are you still this scared?"
Just then, the boy who was pushed back against the wall suddenly stood up.
"Right. I heard you're --- a Mushitsuki, is that true?"
On the shoulder of the boy who trembled upon hearing that word, a centipede crawled past. She could only see it quickly crawl behind him before the storage was hit by small quake.
Behind the boy, a pair of shining compound eyes appeared. Accompanied by the sound of repeated clicking sounds, a huge shadow raised in front of her. On its body that was broken into segments, countless legs were wriggling about. The antennas on its head reached outward as its sharp teeth grinded against each other, making strange sounds.
"T-This is... a (Mushi)…?..."
Raising her head to look at the monster that was bigger than her by many folds, Rina could not help but gasp with a hoarse voice.
Even after hearing the whole incident from Mikajima, Rina wasn't feeling fear towards the existence known as (Mushi). That was because she continued to follow her belief that (Mushi) were nothing but "small and cute insects".
"D-Don't... come closer!"
As if it was synchronized to the boy's trembling voice, the centipede gave out a sign of warning. It wriggled its ten meter long body and grinded its sharp teeth.
Just "small and cute insects" --- What a naïve thought she was having. The creature which appeared before her was not small and cute at all.
It was a monster.
Seeing an alien existence for the first time ever in her life, her legs were shaking nonstop.
"Y-You're also a Mushitsuki right?! Why are you following after me?! You must be one of those SPEB's people!"
The boy's reaction was just the same as Mikajima had descripted.
When Mikajima had found him, he was terrified just like now. Mikajima said after she told him the location of this storage and that she had put some money and food here, she left immediately.
Rina bit her lips as she infused some strength into her shaking legs.
""SEPB"? What's that, I don’t know such thing."
She then slowly walked toward the boy who was guarded by the centipede.
"And beside, I'm not a Mushitsuki."
"Didn’t I tell you to not come closer?!!"
The centipede's huge body moved closer to Rina all of sudden. It whipped out its long body across the storage house, and sent Rina flying aside.
Her shoulder crashed into the wall, and then her body fell down to the ground. It was a heavy impact that made her feel as if all her bones had been crushed. She even lost her breath for a moment. Her waist, shoulder and even her forehead were crying in extreme pain from the impact. Rina gripped the sand and dirt on the ground in her palm tightly as the taste of blood spread out within her mouth.
"You--- little ---!"
Rina could feel all of the blood in her body was rushing towards her aching head.
--- Please don’t hit Rina …!
In the head of Rina who was distorting her expression, suddenly flashed the image of her mother hugging her father's legs begging him to stop.
Rina hated pain. Because to her, pain equals the memories of her being beaten up by her father, and at the same time, making her remember the figure of her mother enduring from abuse.
"Didn't I just tell you --- I'M NOT A MUSHITSUKI!"
Rina shouted out load before walking furiously towards the boy once again. Perhaps the impact had also injured her head, she could feel a warm liquid running down from her temple to near her throat.
"S-Stop coming closer..!"
"You're afraid of an ordinary girl that's not even a Mushitsuki?! You coward!"
The Centipede raised its head once again towards Rina.
"Do it, I dare you! If you want to be a murderer then do it!"
The boy twisted his face as the centipede suddenly stopped its movement.
Walking past the stiff centipede, Rina walked up to him in an instant. The first thing she did when she walked up to him, was gave him a hard slap in the face.
"If you have something to say, then say it with your damn mouth!"
She then tugged his shirt, pushed him against the wall.
"If you want to hit someone, then do it with your own hands! Don’t use your (Mushi), you coward!"
"Don't come closer? Go away? You liar! That's obviously not you're thinking! Or else you would have not come here in the first place, am I right?!"
"What do you actually want me to do?! Say it with your own mouth!"
The boy covered the side of his cheeks that was slapped as his expression distorted even more.
From the eyes of the boy gazing at Rina, large tears began to overflow.
Rina nodded her head before she let go of the hands tugging the boy and showed a smile.
"Then I'll save you."
The smile she showed came directly from her heart; she had that intention from the start.
She doesn’t know the meaning of the word destiny.
But even so, she could feel it.
From the one imitating a puppet, or the one staying at the corner the street, or ---the one telling her not to come any closer with a terrified gaze ---
She could tell who longs for help, and will continue to encounter these kinds of people.
If she could tell, then she would not stand idly by. After all, she's had that kind of personality since birth, and the talents that built up her confidence to act.
Up till now, Rina had always been doing things like that.
Definitely --- till death, she would continue to do so.
Because of harboring such thoughts, Rina never had any hesitation.
Became fascinated by her smile, from the corner of the boy's eyes --- shedded last drop of tear.
After a while ---
Rina and the boy sat shoulder by shoulder next to each other, hugging their knees.
"Special... Environmental Preservation Board..?"
"It’s... the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau."
"I-I know that!"
The first Mushitsuki that Rina encountered, the boy who self-claimed himself as Hibino Kazufusa, said that he was being chased by a secret organization created by the government purposely to capture Mushitsuki, known as the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau.
“Unforgivable, how could they seize people just because they are Mushitsuki…”
On the forehead of Rina who puffed her cheeks, a large piece of gauze could be seen. The wound inflicted by Kazufusa’s centipede was very shallow, hence she was able to perform first aid solely from the emergency first aid kit that Mikajima brought and left behind just in case.
“Those guys… are also Mushitsuki.”
“They must be close… I’ll definitely get caught this time…”
Kazufusa buried his chin into his knees, staring up ahead with his gloomy eyes.
She could tell, before arriving here, he must have gone through a lot of things. Perhaps it was because of lack of sleep due to fear, heavy eye bags could be seen under his eyes.
Rina silently gazed at the profile of Kazufusa that was worn out from fatigue.
A boy that was overwhelmed by the upcoming fear, just merely trembling in the dark; His figure looked as if he was already defeated by an irresistible power, and had lost all of his will to run away.
“It’s over… It’s impossible to help me…”
Rina nodded her head frankly, and stood up.
Rina couldn’t even handle Kazufusa’s (Mushi), let alone defeating the enemies chasing after him.
She took a step outside of the storage, before turning around.
Kazufusa raised his head to look at Rina.
He probably thought that Rina had turned back on her words of helping him, and decided to run away from here. That’s why, the gaze of the boy looking at her became even darker and gloomier than ever.
Yes, just as the boy had thought, Rina was going to run away.
She originally had planned to just come here and have a talk with Kazufusa, and then return home immediately. But now, she changed her mind.
Perhaps --- all the things that she couldn’t do on her own till now, if there were two people, it might be possible to accomplish them then.
For the sake of giving him courage, I must muster up courage as well!
“Let’s run away, Kazufusa!”
Facing the boy who was curled up, Rina reached out her hand towards him as if she was inviting him.
Kazufusa widened his eyes.
“We will keep running, until the guys behind give up completely!”
“B-But, I’m already...”
“But what, there are two of us.”
Facing the frowning Kazufusa, Rina showed another bright smile.
“I’ll run away together with you.”
Kazufusa was stunned completely, not moving the slightest. Rina could not help but have to go back to the boy and pulled his hand.
“With the two of us, we can definitely run to anywhere!”
Through the doors of the storage, a ray of bright sun light shot in.
Holding onto the hand of Rina who stood facing the light with her back, the Mushitsuki who was drawn by her smile, stood up.
Thank you for reading~
Feel free to leave comments for any questions or feedback~
Aha, did anyone expect to Centi again lol? He sure pops out from time to time.
P.s back to spoiler: Not only did Ladybird come back, my waifu also come back, omg I'm tearing wif joy atm.