It's not because she choose to, she "had" to ---
The sound of wooden fish echoed intermittently. [TL note: Wooden fish, also known as a Chinese temple block, is a wooden percussion instrument.]
Many people wearing mourning clothing appeared one after another, before disappearing one after another.
Rina, who was also wearing black-colored funeral clothing, dazedly lowered her head.
Through the tabernacle, many of Tachibana’s relatives came before her mother’s portrait, held their hands together and paid their respects before switching.
Next to Rina, was supposed to be the seat of the host of today’s funeral, yet it was empty.
Rina raised her head, gazing at her mother’s portrait with an empty expression.
Rina’s mother, Tachibana Kouyou had silently passed away a few days ago.
She had always been a frail person, that’s why the relatives rushed her to get married so that the family’s bloodline could be passed along.
It seemed like her mother had been hiding her illness all along. Perhaps she was afraid that if she were hospitalized, Rina would be left all alone with her father. That’s why she concealed her condition, silently enduring the father’s abuse, little by little chipping away at her body and mind.
Or perhaps, it might be because of Rina’s runaway that dealt an unexpected blow to her mother instead.
Her mother, who had finally reached her limits, collapsed and never woke up since then, passed away just like that. She didn’t even leave any last words behind.
This life of her mother’s, was it happy, meaningful?
Marrying to this kind of man like her father, and enduring for the sake of her family.
When Rina was born, did her mother feel any joy?
Rina silently stood up, and left the room. No one tried to stop her. All of the adults were looking at her with their pitiful gazes, not even one person tried to hold her steady.
Walking past the entrance, she asked a woman who was responsible for handling the guests:
The reception lady showed a troubled expression, but still told Rina the truth ---
“Tachibana-sensei he… is probably at a meeting in regard to Skypia’s opening…”
Rina staggered her way out of the gate, adults dressed in mourning all moved way as if they were avoiding her.
Raising her head, she could see the thorn-like tower standing in the distant sky.
Akamaki’s Skypia, it seemed like her father was there.
Rina’s legs immediately turned to Skypia.
But soon came to a halt.
Turning around, she started walking in the opposite direction.
But stopped shortly.
Rina’s face began to distort.
What is this emotion??
Is it anger? Sorrow? Or perhaps fear?
Or maybe, it was all of them. These emotions that had been accumulated in her heart, had exploded ever since her mother’s death.
The hourglass within her heart that had been leaking until now --- that last drop of sand inside, had finally spilled.
Rina grabbed her head and started groaning.
She really wished to run to her father’s side this instant, and beat the shit out of him.
But as powerless as she was now, if she were to really run to his side, she would only get herself hit ten times more.
What about running away from his side then, to a place where he could never find –
No, that wouldn’t have worked either.
The fact that her pair of legs could never reach anywhere was already proven from her last escape.
Just then, a sudden chill caused her to embrace herself tightly.
And then --- It would be Rina’s turn.
Her mother died without ever feeling happiness in her life.
The next one to be killed… would definitely be Rina.
The word that she had been carefully not to say, slowly slipped out from her trembling throat.
“Why isn’t there anyone helping me…”
Up until now, Rina had helped many people.
She even went out her way and helped Mushitsuki as well.
But why would no one come and help her?
Her teeth began to grind against each other while groaning with a low voice.
And then, just in the next instant ---all the surrounding sound disappeared.
It felt as if her consciousness was pulled apart from her body, causing her mind to fall into chaos.
Feeling a presence of something lurking in her surroundings, Rina raised her head.
Before her stood a woman.
The first thing that entered Rina’s eyes was a big round pair of sunglasses.
And then, the rainbow-colored eyes glowing behind that pair of sunglasses, gazing straight at her.
“Could you tell me --- your dream?”
A tall slender woman, wearing a dark red long coat, stood in front of Rina.
There were still figures of birds flying in the sky, as well as cars speeding on the road near her, but their motions were so slow as if time had frozen in place and made no sound at all.
It was as if Rina and this mysterious woman were isolated in a different dimension.
“What are you thinking… and desiring right now?”
The woman happily curved the corner of her lips as she asked that.
Rina slowly clenched her lips.
Her desire, a wish that she hoped to fulfill from the bottom of her heart --
But then her lips began to move on their own.
Actually, she had been thinking about it since the start.
Every time she helped others, within her heart, she would feel envious of them.
She felt so from the bottom of her heart.
-- Really, really envious.
Her voice was low, yet crystal clear.
A dream that she had been depicting ever since she was a young girl was right near her lips.
“I … want a place where I belong, a place where I can find happiness…”
It was such a trivial dream.
Was it just too elusive to ask for?
Was it that impossible to come true?
This trivial dream, why couldn’t Rina reach it ---
“—it’s a very wonderful dream ---“
What happened after that, Rina couldn’t remember very clearly.
All she could remember was, after she’d spoken her dream, she felt somewhere deep within her --- something split into two. And that other thing was rampaging within her chest, making her feel extremely anxious.
By the time Rina returned to her senses, she was already dashing wildly on the streets.
Her body felt so hot,
Her heart felt like it was burning.
The unstoppable burning urge made her felt even more anxious, her eyes became bloodshot as well.
Even when she fell on her knee, it didn’t hurt at all. Rina was showing a distorted expression she’d never had before while running straight to the city’s center.
With a gaze similar to that of a beast, she knocked away whoever was in her path.
It wasn’t until later that she came to know of this --- It seemed like it was normal for those that were just turned into Mushitsuki by (The Original Three) to go out of control for a period of time. Some of them might even lose their rationality and vent the uncontrollable power at their surroundings.
Rina was most likely in that situation at that time.
Logically speaking, it must be that way.
At that time, she had already lost her rationality and herself because of anger.
Driven by a certain impulse within her, Rina dashed on the streets, wanting to fulfill a certain thought within her as soon as possible.
After entering the city’s center, she finally arrived in front of Skypia.
The securities and staffs working at the entrance noticed the running Rina.
They originally were going stop her, who was charging straight into the Skypia, but hesitated immediately --
“You’re Tachibana-sensei’s ---“
Taking advantage of this gap, Rina rushed into the Skypia, and got in the elevator.
She couldn’t even wait for one more second.
She must hurry.—
Before this overflowing power within her --- exploded.
The high-speed elevator soon arrived at the top floor of the observatory.
Accompanied by the electronic sound of the door opening, she saw that man.
The person, who turned around, was Rina’s father Kaeki. Surrounding him were his bodyguards and underlings.
The man who killed her mother.
And then --- the man who will kill Rina.
She doesn’t want to share the same fate as her mother.
She loathed this man who killed her mother from the bottom of her heart.
If there was no place where she could escape to –
And no one could come to save her –
Then, the only thing she could do, is to save herself with her bare hands before she is killed---
In front of the screaming Rina, an abnormal monster appeared.
It was a half-sphere red-colored ladybug with seven black dots on its back, with a size almost similar to a small-sized car, and wings that suddenly spread out glistening in a ruby aura.
The face of her dumbfounded father disappeared on the other end of the impact.
The sorrow that Rina had been suppressing until now, turned into shouts.
The tears she had been enduring all along, overflowed like a flood.
The shockwave storm that blasted everything away mercilessly cleansed the whole observatory floor.
The ladybug that had completed its duty then disappeared into space.
Rina stood dazedly amidst what was now a ruin.
She couldn’t even tell what was there before the shockwave destroyed everything. The elevator was broken, concrete rubble and debris piled up on the floor, and glass was scattered all over the place.
Her father --- Kaeki was lying at the corner of the observatory floor, not moving the slightest and with blood pouring endlessly from his head. Rina didn’t even bother checking whether he was dead or not.
Everyone else that was caught in the destruction was lying above the debris.
Rina stood where she was, gazing at her father’s appalling figure for quite a while.
The anger, anxiousness, and fear she had been feeling just a moment ago had all disappeared. It was as if she had a dream, her mind was surprisingly calm right now.
This scenery in front of her right now, is it the reality?
Could she be hallucinating ever since the moment she talked to that mysterious woman and told her her dream?
But --- the figure of her father lying there motionlessly was an undeniable reality; she could even smell that peculiar smell of blood in the air.
She then started walking towards the emergency stairs with heavy footsteps, following the stairs down.
Rina infused more force into her hands.
The strength that allowed her to get revenge against her hated father, a power which let her confront directly against the people who locked her into this birdcage without a means of escape.
Using this power, Rina had finally obtained freedom.
While walking down the stairs, Rina couldn’t help but want to laugh.
Even though she wanted to laugh, her expression was distorting into something rather dreadful instead.
Large tears began to roll down her cheeks nonstop.
Why did it have to turn out like this?
In the end, she couldn’t escape.
No one came to save her.
That’s why, she could only push ahead by herself.
She blubbered out.
Come to think of it, she had never cried in front of anyone before.
Even though she was just a kid.
A weak kid who couldn’t even save herself.
For the first time ever, she cried like a helpless baby.
She had killed her own father.
And if her mother were to have fallen ill solely because of her selfish runaway, then that responsibility would fall on her as well.
For someone like Rina, where could she go to search for her happiness? Where must she go, to find a place where she belongs?
After losing her parents, and no longer knowing where she could go back to, like a kid who was lost, Rina blubbered loudly.
Somewhere in this world, would there be anyone who could hear her cries and reach their hands to her? And as for Rina, does she have any rights to hold those hands?
After walking for a few flight of stairs, her tears dried up.
She then walked few more flight of stairs with a hollow expression, before stumbling upon some people waiting for her arrival.
“Hello, young lady…”
“C-Children all are, my food ---!”
Hibino Kazufusa, (Mr. Hat House), and Rokko, these three Mushitsuki were waiting for her.
Rina’s heart began to ache in pain again.
She knew they were seeking salvation.
She also knew that she was the only one who could save them.
Because, the one that was resonating with their pain --- was her own pain, which she hid deep inside her heart.
Rina dazedly gazed back at these people who were longing for her helping hands.
Even for someone like Rina, there was still something that she could do.
And that was --- to save them.
Creating a place where they could rest peacefully at.
Let’s make that my dream ---
For someone like her who still wishes to find happiness after committing such a “sin”, this would be the perfect punishment.
Let’s put away my true dream somewhere within my heart, and let it slowly be forgotten.
Rina was thinking as such.
As long as this pain remained within her --- as long as she had not redeemed herself of her sin, this aching pain within her would tell her who needed salvation.
And then for the sake of atoning, even if it is one more person ---
“…Yeah, I gotta save you right.”
And that was how Rina began to harbor a certain trivial dream.
And at the same time, the story of her burying her true dream at the shore of the forgotten.
A leader known as the (Ladybird), leading many Mushitsuki behind her back, a teenage girl who devoted herself to the fate of battling against the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau.
Just like that -
-- strongly smiled.
Thank you for reading~
Feel free to leave comments for any questions or feedback~