Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!
Do you have anyone that you like, anyone that's on your mind? Don't hesitate! Today is the day you let him/her know how you feel! Go for it!
Enjoy ! ~
Shiika Part 5
On the county road that connected Akamaki City, Higano City, and Ouka City, there were the figures of Shiika and the others.
Different from the national highway that was parallel right next to it, the sparse county road in the night was rather dark due to its low number of road lights.
Hence, the sound of teenage girls whispering to each other in the dark seemed louder than usual.
“Eh, I-I have to do it?! Wouldn’t Ubuki-san be more suitable than me for this…?”
“I’m tired ~! Not to mention my feet hurts from all that walking, and I’m hungry too! Yuu-tan you’re my slave, so you should listen obediently to what your master said and just do it!”
“Um… How about I do it?---”
“Shiika-tan you look like you would just get run over, so no.”
“…I-I think so too…”
“Get run over…”
The three of them quickly came to an agreement.
Yuu timidly walked closer towards the dark county road, waiting by the road for cars to pass by.
Very soon, a car with its headlights shining brightly came straight in her direction.
“Yuu-tan, do it now!”
Yuu flattened her arm straight outward, and lifted her thumb.
The headlights immediately caught Yuu’s moving figure. However, the car didn’t decrease speed at all; it sped past Yuu and left her in the dust.
Silence and darkness enveloped the surrounding once again.
“Yuu-tan you wack! You have to act more sexy!”
Ubuki, who was sitting on the floor, began to pout while complaining. She was holding the goggles wrapped in her long coat in her arms.
“P-Please don’t ask for the impossible!”
“Shiika-tan, you wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Finally, another car appeared.
Although Yuu raised her hand up this time as well, the car still didn’t stop.
‘If we take too long, it will be a game over should someone go and call the police! We have to stop the next car no matter what!”
Facing Ubuki’s urging, Shiika and Yuu both showed a helpless look.
Their current whereabouts was a place that was even further away from Ouka City than the shopping center from before.
Although they have obtained from Erii the positions of the pursuers situated in Higano City, it only made them advance further and further away from Ouka City. For the sake of evading the pursuers, they were forced to stay away from Ouka City, not being able to get close at all.
Not to mention, it was already late at night. Yet compared to where they started off this morning, they were even further away from Ouka City. Their goal of wanting to arrive at Ouka City before tomorrow night was now even more impossible than ever.
Because of this, the three of them were trying to come up with an ultimate plan to overcome this impossibility.
And that plan was, asking for a ride.
Doing this sort of thing when they were currently being targeted was no doubt, a big gamble. If anyone were to report them to the police, the news would most likely be picked up by the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau. Or perhaps if they were even more unlucky, they might chance upon the enemy’s supporters; that would also mean a game over.
“…Please…make it stop…”
Yuu’s earnest tone was showing the urgency of the situation.
The possibility of arriving at Ouka City within the time limit was gradually dropping to zero. Unless a miracle happens, they would never be able to arrive there in time.
“Sorry, it’s all my fault for trusting Erii……”
Shiika suddenly apologized with a whisper.
If they hadn’t promised to meet up with Erii at the shopping center, they should’ve reached the border of Ouka City by now.
“It’s not Shiika-tan’s fault! Besides, we didn’t really have a choice back then.”
“Y-Yeah! Not to mention, we have also obtained the enemies’ location in exchange……”
Ubuki replied in her usual easy-going tone as Yuu turned around to look at Shiika.
Although they were being very considerate trying to comfort her, Shiika was still putting up a gloomy look.
--- I beg you… don’t deprive him away from us...
That girl had indeed said that.
“Him”---? Who is him? I’ve never thought of depriving anyone ---
Noticing that Shiika was hanging her head low pondering, Ubuki whispered:
“Don’t be too concerned about what Erii-tan said!”
As if she had seen through Shiika’s mind, Ubuki said that as she moved her face closer.
“Eh, Erii? Did she say something?”
“It’s not something that kid should know! Right, Shiika-tan?”
“S-Stop treating me like a kid!”
“Mm… Thank you, Ubuki.”
Shiika showed a weak smile. This caused Ubuki to suddenly startle for a bit, before instantly turning away to avert her gaze.
“I-It’s not like I’m worrying about you or anything, okay?!”
After saying that, Shiika and Ubuki fell into silence once again.
Perhaps, it was due to the reason of them being too overwhelmed with fatigue, the girls stopped talking after that.
--- After escaping from SEPB's pursuit, what am I going to do next?
She’d recalled the drawing that Rina left behind, and came here without giving a second thought. But after obtaining that drawing, what could she do next?
This question resurfaced in her mind once again.
--- I've made a promise with Daisuke-kun to meet again...But, before that day comes, where can I go?...
No matter where she goes, the situation of her being wanted would never change; not only that, she might implicate many more innocent people into her cause. Perhaps, just like what Erii had said, going back to the SEPB might in fact be a ---
Just when Shiika was pondering about that --
"Ah! There's a car, Yuu-tan!"
A newly appeared headlight was approaching in their direction.
Yuu hurriedly raised her hand up.
The strong beam of headlight shone on Yuu's body.
"Ah... Umm... Please stop---"
Yuu tried to raise her voice.
The headlight's speed was gradually decreasing.
Yuu abruptly stopped her words halfway through.
The reason for that was because she could feel the vehicle slowly coming to a stop in front of them.
And then, in front of Yuu, the vehicle completely stopped.
The three of them raised their head blankly to look at the vehicle.
The vehicle that stopped in front of them was a huge truck; the length of its container was at least 10 meters long. On the side of its container, a big pink neon light heading that reads "Happy Valentine's day!" caught their attention.
Shiika murmured lightly.
The day when a girl gives chocolate to the boy that she likes.
The boy that I like---
Within Shiika's chest, a faint tickling feeling could be felt throbbing against her heart.
Just then, a short-haired woman, who gives a strong impression at first sight, jumped off from the driver's seat. Judging from her young look, she was probably in her twenties.
"What are you girls doing? Could it be that you wanted a ride?"
Overwhelmed by the presence of the truck, Yuu stuttered.
"We want to go to Ouka City, is it possible to give us a ride?"
Not only did she not have the slightest fear, Ubuki’s eyes were filled with curiosity.
"To Ouka City? We’re passing by somewhere before that though."
"Ok, ok. That's more than enough."
"Mm --- Follow me then."
The short-haired woman brought them to the back of the container.
"...U-Uhm Ubuki-san...These people can't possibly be related to the SEPB right...?"
Yuu asked in a whisper, and Ubuki replied with a laugh.
"Does it seem like they do to you?"
"...It doesn't seem like...they do..."
The back of the container had a design that open outward left and right. And on the lower part of one of the two doors, there was a little door that allowed a person to crawl through.
The short-haired woman opened the little door and poked her head inside. It seemed like there were people inside. After talking to quite a few people, the woman turned around with a smile.
"Okay, get on!"
Yuu shouted a joyful cheer.
"T-Thank you very much."
After blinking a wink at Shiika who was thanking her, the woman walked back to the driver's seat.
The three of them then crawled into the little door at the back of the container.
It was completely dark inside container.
"Can't believe there are still people asking for rides nowadays! How cool, I totally like that kind of thing!"
"Stop getting emotional by yourself over there would you? Nonetheless, wouldn't it be dangerous if they were to chance upon bad guys and get taken away?"
"Speaking of chancing upon bad guys, what about us then? Well, at least it wouldn't be dangerous for sure..."
Amidst the darkness came the sound of a few people talking.
The last person who sounded like a girl grabbed Shiika's hand.
Being guided in the darkness where one couldn't even see their fingers, Shiika moved forward. Yuu and Ubuki grabbed Shiika's clothes, following right behind.
Just then, Shiika' feet bumped into a hard object.
After that, she heard the vibration sound of metal clanging against each other.
"Ah, sorry. My drum is over there, please be careful."
Shiika apologized perplexedly:
"It's okay, don't worry about it... In fact, it might actually be better if you broke it. So that way, the stingy manager will buy him a new one."
"You idiot, that's not the problem here okay?"
The sound of three boys talking could be heard coming from the side.
After walking deeper into the container, the tenuous girl voice spoke again.
"Here... It's dangerous to move around, take a seat..."
Shiika sat down onto the floor after thanking her.
Yuu and Ubuki also took a seat right beside Shiika.
The truck made a loud engine noise, and began to move forward.
"Are you guys going to Ouka City? You don't have any money to take the train or something?"
"Could it be that you guys are running away from home? You have to cherish your family more!"
"What are you guys going to do at Ouka City?"
The boys seemed to have taken an interest in them, and started asking questions one after another.
Shiika and others didn't know how to reply, so they stayed in silence. After all, they couldn't confess to them that the three of them were currently being targeted.
Before Shiika and Yuu could think of an excuse, Ubuki replied in her playful tone.
"Ohhh --- what a charming voice! Could it be that you guys are cuties? Oi, where's the flashlight?!"
"Idiot, stop making a fool outa yourself!"
"Shouldn't you be aware of it by now? It's because of these things you do that you're hated by girls."
"What, I'm just joking!"
"Hehe, to tell you the truth, there're at least two cuties here, with the addition of a pet!"
Ubuki immediately merged with the people; laughter could be heard continuously coming from them.
On the other hand, Shiika and Yuu didn’t talk at all, just merely staying in silence. Next to Shiika, Yuu complained in a whisper “Who is this pet you’re speaking of huh…”
“Are any of you injured……?”
This sudden voice that came from the side caused Shiika to shrink her body.
“I could smell the scent of blood…from you guys…”
The girl, who had unknowingly left the laughing boys and Ubuki, approached Shiika.
The smell of blood --- Although Shiika and Yuu only had a few scratches; Ubuki’s case was much more serious; she had bled quite a lot, and it seemed like the girl had noticed it.
“U-Uhm… It’s nothing. It’s really nothing……”
Shiika hurriedly tried to cover it up.
“Moreover, aside from that girl…the two of you seemed to be afraid of something…”
“What do you guys need to do at Ouka City? If possible ---“
Suddenly, the sound of music rang out; it was the sound of ringtone coming from someone’s cell phone.
“Oi, a message came from the manager at the front; she said it’s about time for the last meeting. Also, if there’s nothing particular, don’t bother the girls.”
“That last line is definitely directed at you dude.”
“In addition, there seemed to be checkpoints up ahead for some reason.”
A heavy and dreary atmosphere spread within the container, enveloping them,
Those were probably the acts of the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau for the sake of capturing the three of them. However, it seemed like they weren’t the only one that were shaken by this.
“What should we do?”
“The guys that had arrived at the scene will guide us. It should be okay as long as we get off the national highway and use the local county road.”
They seemed to have come to a decision.
“We’re going to talk a bit about work on the side, please don’t mind us.”
The sound of them whispering to each other could be heard in and out. Perhaps, it was time for them to part ways.
Suddenly, a hand patted Shiika’s shoulder.
“T-These guys feel…kinda weird…”
Yuu whispered timidly, which Shiika responded with a nod.
“Mhm… Can’t believe these people actually want to avoid checkpoints just like us…”
“Although ultimately it helps us in a way… but just thinking about these people hiding in a dark container like this...scares me…”
At the other end of the container came the sound of them talking and laughing.
“…First……make it big…since it’s a guerilla…”
“But the problem……Higano City’s…police…”
The sound that came over made Shiika and Yuu even more terrified.
“D-Did you hear that?! They were just talking about police…!”
"Mm---this does seem pretty bad, get ready to run whenever!"
Even the usual bold Ubuki had lowered her voice cautiously.
After driving smoothly for a while, the truck began to decelerate before coming to a complete stop.
And then, the sound of the engine running completely stopped.
"I-It's not moving? Have we already arrived near Ouka City...?"
"How's that possible...! You two, get ready to run..."
Just then, someone approached the whispering trio.
It was the girl's voice from before.
A nervous atmosphere instantly surrounded them.
"We're going to buy something, is there anything that you guys want?"
Shiika could not help but replied in a stunned tone.
"Are you guys...not hungry?"
"I want meat!"
Ubuki replied with a loud shout without holding back. It was as if she had already completely forgotten to stay on alert.
"I want meat! Meat~~! And juice plus snacks... ah, the juice; I want it hot!"
"Pork chop sandwich and the like should be fine right? What about the others?"
"U-Uhm... Can I... please have a bento...?"
Following after Ubuki, Yuu mumbled out the thing she wanted to eat.
Besides the meat buns that they had at noon, the three of them hadn't eaten anything else since then. Even if that wasn't the case, their stomach would have reached its limit already from all the energy that they spent on walking this whole day and the battle against Erii.
"What about you?"
Upon being asked, Shiika fell into silence.
She heard Yuu's voice calling out to her.
Of course, just like them, Shiika was also starving.
But when she was asked what she wants, something else came to her mind first.
The girl suddenly sounded a surprised voice.
"U-Uhm...if possible...I want... a chocolate..."
Shiika said resolutely.
A silence immediately descended upon the darkness.
However, it was immediately interrupted by the girl's giggles:
"I'll buy a cute one for you okay?... ah, and a bento as well."
The girl left after saying that. The back door was then opened, causing light to shine into the container. They caught a glimpse of the girl's silhouette walking down the container.
"Chocolate?! Who are you giving it to, Shiika-tan?"
"Shiika-san you have someone that you like?!"
The other two immediately cornered Shiika.
However, Shiika was trying to fudge the questioning over by saying this:
"I-I-It's not that...!"
Daisuke-kun should probably be there at Ouka East High School right now...
But Shiika herself knew very well; it would only cause him trouble if she were to give this chocolate to him as (Fuyuhotaru). Besides, the promise to see him again was still far away.
That is why, she can't give this to Daisuke.
However, in Shiika's heart, there was another boy that she had on mind.
To apologize for all the trouble I've caused him... it'd be nice if he can accept it...
"Sorry for the wait..."
After a while, the girl came back into the container. Because of the light coming from her back, they were unable to catch a very clear view of the girl's face.
The container was instantly filled with the aroma of food. The girl distributed the food to everyone, before placing a small package into Shiika's hand at last.
The girl held Shiika's hand as she said that. Although Shiika was unable to see the girl's expression, she could feel that the girl was smiling at her.
The engine gave out a sound as it started running once again as the truck began to take off.
The three of them focused on eating their meals, and finished them off within 10 minutes.
After cleaning up the garbage, Yuu suddenly spoke:
"They are good guys after all! They even bought food for us!"
"Mmm --- I'm very pleased~~"
Right after she finished her meal, the drowsiness suddenly descended and enveloped Shiika.
Both Yuu and Ubuki were also starting to doze off on the side.
Before she knew it, the sound of them falling asleep could be heard coming from the container's floor. Shiika leaned herself right next to them, and entered the dreamland as well.
--- After who-knows-how long had passed.
"The three of you, hurry and get up! Fast!"
A woman's abrupt shout caused them to wake up.
The first one to have noticed the abnormality was Yuu.
"Why is it so loud outside...?!"
Loud clamors could be heard coming from the outside of the container shrouded in darkness. There seemed to be a large number of crowds rioting outside, and it felt as if they were just right next to the container.
"This is the end of the free ride! Come on, follow me!"
The owner of the voice was the woman sitting at the driver’s seat.
Without giving a proper explanation of what was going on, Shiika was guided towards the door.
Just then, within the pitch black container suddenly came the heavy echoing sound of bass, followed by the sound of guitar being tuned, and then the striking of drums that shook one's heart.
"Have a safe trip ..."
"I don’t know what you guys are going to do, but still, good luck to you all!"
"You guys gotta stop doing these kinds of immature things like running away in the future, okay?!"
"If it's possible, how about listening to our song before you leave?"
Just when Shiika and others were advancing through the darkness, the cheering sound of the girls and boys from before could be heard ringing.
While being guided toward the exit, Shiika turned around and replied:
"Ah-Um... T-Thank you so much!"
Their cheerful voices came simultaneously. In addition, the girl's voice seemed to have filtered through a microphone, causing a loud echo to ring within the container.
"Until next time! And good luck!"
As if the short-haired woman was throwing them out, Shiika and the other two hurriedly jumped down from the truck and left the door.
The place which they had arrived was a small-scaled shopping district.
The big truck that they were just on a second ago was occupying the center of a tilts-paved plaza. A large crowd consisting of teens rioting had completely surrounded the truck.
Just then, in front of the dumbfounded trio that was standing in a daze, the truck's container was split in two.
And in the next instant, an ear-deafening heart-hollowing loud blast came storming into the shopping district.
The site was immediately overwhelmed with loud cheers.
The sound of the air-tearing guitar, the ground-resonating bass, the ear deafening drumbeats, and the melodies of the keyboard that united all these sounds together, were flowing into the shopping district.
The 5 teenagers that appeared from within the container were each playing their instruments as hard as they could, using the two giant speakers on the stage.
Amidst these 4 instruments, there was a girl holding a microphone. She had model-like slender arms and legs, and a faint smile that would burn deep into people's memory. She should be the one who approached Shiika in the container before.
"Everyone in Higano City… Happy Valentine's Day..."
The microphone-holding girl suddenly said this line in a light voice. Surprisingly, even amidst this kind of loud atmosphere consisting of blasting music and loud cheering, her voice could still be heard very clearly.
Yuu suddenly gasped, causing both Shiika and Ubuki to turn and look at her.
"They are "Crawling Life"! You guys don’t know?! I-It's r-really them..! Oh my god... I'm so nervous...!"
"Ah--- No wonder I felt like I've heard this before...so it was them!"
Thunderous applause overwhelmed them in an instant.
Right after that, the female vocalist began to sing. The voice that the microphone-holding girl released echoed throughout the whole shopping district.
--- My name is Happy Valentine's Day, who should I look for this year?
--- I've decided, that one over there, the girl that's hanging her head low.
Not screaming, or shouting, just merely singing in a light voice. The girl's voice had no doubt captured the audience's hearts, causing them to immerse into dancing drunkenly.
--- What's wrong? Patting your shoulder ---
--- Is today a bad day, for the girls that have nothing going the way they wanted?
The vocalist on the stage was surveying the surrounding audience with a smile.
--- My name is Happy Valentine's day, how can I leave you alone like that.
--- Today is a special day, and you are a girl ---
The female vocalist began to spread her arms wide on the stage as the interlude continued to heat up the atmosphere, causing the audience' cheers to skyrocket to its peak.
--- Feeling sad? Depressed? Want to cry? Ok, I understand ---
--- Let's try to dance! To rejoice our happiness, watch me ---
The girl began to dance on the stage while singing; changing her shy smile from before into a bright one filled with joy.
Shouting through the microphone, the girl called out to the audience. Not just the vocalist, all other members began to dance with smiles on their faces.
The atmosphere of the scene instantly reached its climax. All the audience began to break into dance, shaking their hips, and throwing their hands up in the air.
--- Let's sing! Let's dance! Let's be happy! Ok?! More and more---
Yuu, who was next to Shiika, had already been completely captured by the band's performance.
Feeling someone looking at her, Shiika turned to her side.
--- Feeling afraid? Scared? Want to run away? Ok, I understand ---
--- Let's try to sing! To express our passion, watch me ---
Ubuki was gazing straight at Shiika quietly as if she was deep in thought. Just when Shiika was about to ask "What's wrong?", Ubuki's expression suddenly changed.
"Let's dance, Shiika-tan!"
"Yuu-tan you too!"
Ubuki grabbed both Shiika and Yuu's hands, and dived into the rioting crowd.
"Let's dance along! It'll be a total waste if we just stand there and listen!"
Ubuki threw the long coat and goggles that she was holding onto to the side.
The slender teenage girl showed a cheerful smile, and began to break into dance. It seemed as if all the fatigue that she had been complaining about till now had completely disappeared.
The perplexed Shiika and Yuu were exchanging glances with each other.
"Okay okay, stop standing there like that you two! Come on, dance with me!"
Ubuki held onto their hands before continuing; the movement of her dancing to the rhythm could be felt flowing through her hands.
The crowds that were starting to gather in the shopping district all followed the vocalist's movement and danced along. Teenage boys and girls, one by one, flooded onto the plaza. In an instant, the three of them were engulfed by the sea of people.
--- How is it? Is that it? Is it not enough? I see, I understand ---
The strong beating of the rhythm, melody, clamor, and singing that would make one feel lighthearted and relaxed --- these loud sounds, were making one feel idiotic if they were just going to stand there and listen.
"Ahh ---! I-I don’t care anymore!"
Yuu shouted despairingly as she joined the dancing crowds.
Feeling the movement coming from other two through her hands, Shiika became even more excited. Her lips slowly softened into a smile before she started dancing along with the other two.
--- You're not a replacement! See, there's so much happiness looking right at you ---
As the song reached its climax, the crowd's cheering and screaming intensified as well.
The Yuu who was dancing while holding hands suddenly laughed:
"This is the first time... I feel so happy from dancing! Why is that?! Why do I feel like this even though we're trying to escape from scary people...?!"
"That's not important at all okay?! If we have to run either way, why not make this as enjoyable as possible?!"
The three teenage girls all laughed as they continued to dance to the rhythm.
--- My name is Happy Valentine's Day, thank you for your smile ---
Shiika looked up the stage.
And it was then she met the vocalist girl's eye.
The girl immediately smiled.
And Shiika replied with a smile as well.
--- My name is Happy Valentine's Day, who should I look for next year?
Behind the microphone-holding girl, an outline glowing with a purplish aura seemed to have appeared. Although it only lasted for an instant, the outline looked very similar to a certain insect.
It seemed like only Shiika had noticed this. She felt her body become lighter, and the pain coming from her injuries was slowly fading away.
"Shiika-tan! Jump a bit higher!"
Ubuki hugged Shiika, and jumped high into the air.
Upon seeing Ubuki's innocent smiling face, Shiika could not help but show a warm smile from the corner of her mouth.
Perhaps it was because she had noticed Shiika's gaze, Ubuki hurriedly put away her smile --- but she did not avert from Shiika's gaze this time. Instead, she showed a mischievous grin. She bent down, and picked up Shiika by her legs.
"---Heyo! Shiika-tan's big jump!"
"S-Shiika-san! It would dangerous if she falls down! Please stop it! Ubuki-san!"
The Shiika who was thrown up into the air flew to a spot higher than anyone else. After the surrounding crowd saw this, they cheered even louder. And then one by one copied them and started doing big jumps as well.
"Well next, Yuu-tan!"
"W-What?! You can't --- Kyaaa!!"
"…...Ops. my hands slipped."
Shiika desperately tried to fetch the Yuu who was being engulfed by the sea of people.
Just then, the sound of police cars ringing could be heard coming from afar.
Before they knew it, the guerrilla concert had already developed into a big commotion that required dozens of police to come.
Thank you for reading~
Feel free to leave comments for any questions or feedback~
A happy all around chapter ^ ^, these girls are getting closer and closer for sure~
And~~ Shii-chan, give me your choco~! I want it ~~
( P.S I just received a complete folder of that Shiika-cosplayer from last chap, here's the link to view them all! - Link - ) -Sneak peek-
And lastly~ for those of you that are loners, just like me xD. Here's a present from Rin-chan!