Date A Live - Volume 8 - Chapter 4
Chapter 4:High riskSuspect Designation
While sitting beside each other on the park bench, Shidou and Kotori were silently gazing at the fountain.
No, in correct words, it's not like they were gazing. The fountain was just in front of them that's all. Shidou was pressing his elbow on his knees and bending his back while, Kotori was folding her legs together and leaning her body on the back of the chair while, quietly immersed in thoughts.
The time was 11:30am. Maybe it was a weekday;there were only housewives with their children and an old man taking a stroll in the park. Inside them, there was a young man and girl sitting on the bench quietly that stands out, occasionally there would be some wives sending their sights over to them.
But right now, Shidou and Kotori have no leisure to bother about such sights.
Although that is something only normal. That's because------this morning, Yamai Yuzuru has suddenly disappeared.
And, after some time passed, Kotori suddenly let out her voice.
’’.............hey. Say something...........This is still a date tentatively’’
Being told that by Kotori, Shidou made a short sigh and pulled his cheeks to pull himself together.
Yes. Right now, although the time was a little late, Shidou and Kotori attended the date that was planned originally.--------right now, that was the only thing he could do.
But, even if he tried to say something clever, no words came out immediately.
When he did that, Kotori made a sigh as if she was irritated.
’’Feels absent-minded............well, that isn't shocking’’
After Shidou scratched his head, he blew out the irritation and powerlessness lurking in his lungs as a long sigh...............naturally, even if he blew it out, It's not like any of them cleared out.
Shidou made a sullen face while recalling back the image he saw in <Fraxinus>just now.
Going back in time to 10am. Reine visited the Itsuka house with Shidou and Kotori in it.
From what he knew, it seems she knew about the case regarding Yuzuru's disappearance. But, since it was better not to let Kaguya know about it, Kaguya, and also, Tohka, Yoshino will be made to stand-by in one room in the next door mansion.
’’So....... Reine-san, where on earth did Yuzuru disappear to?’’
When Shidou asked, Reine made a small nod before moving her lips.
’’...............Lets start talking from the beginning. First from Kaguya's talk, Yuzuru returning back the mansion room last night was confirmed. There is no mistake there right?’’
’’Yes. It's true she said that’’
He recalled back the talk he heard from Kaguya just now while agreeing.
It's true that, Kaguya saw Yuzuru coming back from outside last night. Since she said she was tired, it looks like they did not talk with each other but, she saw her taking her bath and entering her bed.
Which means-------Yuzuru disappeared between the few hours from night to morning.
’’.................Look at this’’
After saying that, Reine deployed the terminal on top of the table. When she did that, the image of a room that is thought to be a room in the mansion was displayed.
It was familiar scenery. It was Kaguya and Yuzuru's bedroom they are living in. There are two beds placed side by side in the back of the room and two-similar looking girls were sleeping.
’’Is it okay to take something like this?’’
’’.............Aah. The Yamai sister's room isn't the only one. Inside the room of all the suspects Natsumi might possibly disguise as, has an automated camera launched in it. I thought maybe, she would expose herself in a place where no one was looking’’
After Reine said that, she once again operated the terminal. When she did that, the image of the Yamai sister being shown on the screen, started replaying in fast-forward. The clock in the room was spinning round and round and consequently both of their sleeping posture became hectic.
’’.................it's almost time’’
After saying that, Reine pressed the key near her hands and the fast-forward replay turned back to normal.
Not long later, the needle of the clock pointed at 12am. When that happened---------
’’What is it............’’
Shidou and Kotori voice piled on top of each other.
The main monitor was showing the Yamai sister's bedroom. When the center of the room distorted, a broom appeared from the empty space.
Yes. That's Natsumi angel <Haniel>he saw a few days ago.
<Haniel>slowly opened its tip and exposed a mirror surfaced interior.
And then, after the mirror shined.
Sleeping on the bed, Yuzuru's body made a pale glow and was sucked into the glass.
Naturally, this happened inside the video. Shidou's shout was useless and Yuzuru's shadow and shape disappeared.
And like that, <Haniel>which sucked Yuzuru into it slowly closed its tip and dissolved into the empty space.
’’................just like what you see’’
Reine turned her chair around and faced Shidou.
’’............Yuzuru was kidnapped by Natsumi through <Haniel>. Most likely, the real [Someone] Natsumi is disguised as, disappeared the same way’’
’’I-is Yuzuru alright.........!? And the [Someone] Natsumi is disguising as too............!’’
When Shidou asked, Reine made a difficult face and looked downwards.
’’......................I want to think they are safe but, I can't say anything in the current situation’’
Reine said in a soft voice. Shidou has no idea where to let out his anger and irritation swirling inside his head, and scratched his head violently.
’’I, what should I...............!’’
’’..............there is only one thing you can do. It is to find Natsumi from the suspects as fast as possible’’
’’That's the case’’
As if to match up with Reine's words, Kotori took out the chupa chups she was licking out of her mouth, and looked towards Shidou.
’’We have no time-------let's start with my Wardate’’
And, while making a sharp look, she said that.
Turning back time in the Tenguu eastern park.
When Shidou was recalling back the event that happened in <Fraxinus>, Kotori sitting beside him stood up on the spot and after walking a few steps, she made an imposing pose as if to separate the fountain with Shidou's sights.
When Shidou lifted his face, Kotori launched a sharp chop on the crown of his head.
’’Ouch! Wha-what was that for Kotori!’’
’’Don't make such a gloomy face. Did you think Yuzuru would come back if you worry?’’
’’Tha-that kind of.............!’’
Shidou raised his voice and--------swung his head as if he thought back again.
’’..............no, it's just like what you say, Kotori. Now is not the time to be doing this’’
When Shidou said that, Kotori *Fuun* exhaled while making the rod of the chupa chups she put in her mouth stand up.
’’It's good you understand. Nothing will be concluded if all you do is worry.-------all the more now, since she added her own rule without notifying us. No.............rather than calling it added, the details were revealed, putting that way is more natural I wonder?’’
Kotori distorted her eyebrows in detest.
The rule that was revealed. There is no mistake;it is about the phenomenon that happened to Yuzuru last night.
’’[Before everyone disappears]...............that last part written on the card, was probably referring to this as expected’’
’’Should be.------this will be my speculation from now on though...............most likely, one person from the suspects will disappear through <Haniel>each time a day progresses. And, once all 12 suspects disappears except the [Someone] Natsumi is disguised as, Natsumi wins. If Shidou finds Natsumi before then, then Shidou wins’’
Kotori made one finger stand while lining up her thoughts. It's true that, if the literature on Natsumi's sent letter was treated the way as it is then, it would be the case.
’’...............I wonder if I really can find Natsumi’’
’’I don't want to hear your complaints. Now that Yuzuru disappeared, there are 11 suspects left including me. There is only around 10 days left’’
Shidou made a big nod from Kotori's words.
After that, for a while------ they became silent again.
When that happened, Kotori let out her voice as if she was irritated.
’’Hnn? What's wrong?’’
’’There is around 30 minutes left until the next schedule though’’
When Shidou made a vague reply, Kotori distorted her mouth to the shape of a へ character.
’’That's why I am saying if it is okay not to investigate me or not’’
When she said that, Shidou opened his eyes wide.
That's right. He has forgotten about it until now but, the Kotori in front of him right now, might be the fake disguised from Natsumi.
Naturally, Shidou does not want to doubt his cute sister who just encouraged him just now. But, by any chance the commander of <Ratatoskr>Kotori was a fake then;the damage would be much more serious compared to anyone else has. For the future, he has to prove Kotori's innocence right now.
’’Let's see, then, I'll ask a few questions............’’
’’...........although it has the title of an investigation but, this is still a date, tentatively’’
Shidou [Ah........] scratched his cheeks from Kotori's words.
He remembered the conversation he had with Reine and Kotori last night.
That's right. He was at wit's end because of the strange situation of Yuzuru disappearing but, this was a date. Just because Kotori understands the situation, there is no way he can end it with just practical questions.
After Shidou made a small sigh, he stood up from the bench and extended his hand to Kotori.
’’--------------That's right. Let's walk a little I guess’’
In a disappointed way, however with a little blush on her face, Kotori took Shidou's hand, and stood up from the bench.
And, while having their hands linked, they slowly walked to the outer edge of the park.
’’Somehow..............it's been a long time since we walked together like this’’
’’I'll ask just in case, do you remember the place of the date on June?’’
’’Of course. Ocean park’’
When Kotori said that, Kotori *fuun* exhaled.
’’But, if by any chance I am Natsumi, these types of question might be meaningless’’
’’Eh? What do you mean’’
’’Try thinking about it. Although I am prohibited from boarding the <Fraxinus>, I have a rough idea of the investigation's objectives. I think it is only natural to investigate about the past’’
After saying that, Kotori raised the side of her lips. Sweat flowed down Shidou's cheeks.
’’O-oioi, give me a break from the jokes’’
’’It would be nice if it was a joke.------well just in case, about that, you know..............with a method that is not influenced with things like that, isn't there something we should check out?’’
Kotori said that while averting her sights for some reason.
’’? What method is it’’
’’For example, something like trying it ............in order to see my reaction’’
’’Try it? Try what?’’
’’Tha-that's.......well you know, errr, that................Ki,.............ki------’’
Shidou had something that comes to mind, and his eyebrows jumped up.
Luckily-------------Shidou had an idea what that method was.
’’------------Kotori, can you close your eyes for a while?’’
When Shidou said that, Kotori closed her eyes with her cheeks slightly blushing.
Taking the chance, Shidou brought both his hands closer to Kotori's head and---------------stole the black ribbon tying her hair.
Maybe she noticed the strange feeling of her tied hair touching her shoulders, Kotori raised a hysteric voice.
She then *peta*peta* touched her head in panic and when she found out her ribbon was not there-----
And, while having teary eyes, she jumped towards Shidou who stolen her ribbon.
’’O-Onii-chan! What are you doing! Give it back! Give it back!’’
Kotori shouted with a tearful voice while *pyon**pyon* hopping to get back the ribbon Shidou was holding. Completely from the oppressive Miss Commander from just now, she had aspects which were similar and yet not similar.
Kotori usually put her mindset into strong. When she puts on the black ribbon, she can maintain her [Strong-self]. In the opposite, if she takes off that ribbon, and put on the white ribbon, she will transform into an innocent and cute sister mode.
---which means, like this.
He has finished confirming but, since he did not see white mode Kotori recently, Kotori hopping up like a rabbit was unbearably cute. He lowered the ribbon in front of Kotori and when Kotori jumps up, he calculated that timing and lifts his hands, he repeated this several time.
At first Kotori was desperate to take back the ribbon but, not long later her face started getting mushy while, *Zuu**zuu* slurping her nose.
’’So-sorry sorry. Here you go, Kotori’’
It might have been too much as expected. After thinking like that, Shidou handed over the ribbon and with amazing speed, Kotori snatched it away and tied her hair into two.
And then, *Yurari*............, she lifts her face, and directs a sharp glint towards Shidou.
’’N-no! That's great that's great. It looks like Kotori is the real one!’’
Just now was a method he used to confirm if she was real or not to the end, he raised his voice as if to emphasis that.------but, Kotori looks like she could not hear any of it.
’’Ko-Kotori? Calm down------’’
Added with a superb twist, Kotori's straight right pierced towards Shidou's face.
’’..........Shidou, what is with your face..........’’
The date with Kotori ended and after he reached to the next spot, Kaguya waiting over there was looking at Shidou's face doubtfully while raising her eyebrows.
Nonetheless, it might be something normal. Receiving Kotori's merciless retributions, Shidou's cheeks were swelling red and a rolled up tissue was thrust into his nose to stop his nose bleeding.............at least, it was not a face for attending a date.
’’No...........I kind of was attacked by a boxer in the street corner when I was on the way here’’
Kaguya was clearly making an unbelieving face but, maybe she guessed the situation somehow, she did not pursue any more than that.
Incidentally, Kaguya was right now wearing, a shirt with alphabets, crosses and a skull design on it, a bottom with many chains and belts attached;it was the so called gothic style. From what he heard, during that time when Reine brought her to buy clothes and daily necessities, she fell in love with it in first sight and bought it immediately.
’’Fuun.........but even so, I was shocked on that matter during the morning. You should have informed me beforehand that it was an inspection, that's common sense’’
And, while making an unneeded cool pose, *Fuu* she brushed her bangs upwards. That face right now has no traces of the panicked and even tearful Kaguya from this morning.
That's because, she was explained by Reine that Yuzuru will be sent to the <Fraxinus>headquarters temporarily for inspection.
It was somehow a lame excuse but..............it looks like she believed it.
’’Somehow.....she looked more lively than I thought, that Kaguya’’
’’..............It would be nice if that is the case’’
After Shidou made a sigh while saying that in a soft voice, Reine replied back with a difficult voice.
Even though he tried asking back-------Shidou's words, were cut off by Kaguya's unsatisfied voice.
’’Oi, are you listening Shidou. It is blasphemy failing to listen to my words. Know that imprudent fellows like that will be burned in hell fire, and dropped into the depths’’
’’Aah.......sorry sorry. I'll tell you that I will be careful from now on’’
’’Okay. Do that and it's good.--------so, how long does Yuzuru's inspection or whatever is it called takes?’’
’’Eh? A-ah.......since we are talking about the headquarters so, it should be about 10 days........’’
Shidou thought about it for a while, and then replied.
10 days. That's the time limit of Natsumi's game he was able to think of in the current situation.
Now that he thinks about it, finding Natsumi no matter what before the time limit ends and save Yuzuru, that might be an expression of his determination he made unconsciously.
After Kaguya distorted her face in boredom from Shidou's answer, she said that with a soft voice.
But, after immediately making a cough, she once again sends her sights to Shidou in a posed angle.
’’Kuku, that is quite slow. Pray as much as possible that I won't get tired’’
’’Ou........that's true. I will ask them to finish it as fast as possible.
’’Umu, excellent.---------so, Shidou’’
After Shidou nodded, she made a beautiful turn and then*piin*! She pointed towards the building behind her. On the roof of the big white building, there was a giant bowling pin soaring on it.
Yes. The place <Ratatoskr>designated for the date with Kaguya was a bowling alley which is a 15 minutes' walk from the Tenguu station.
’’When I thought it was sudden, it looks like you want to have a match with me’’
’’No, It's not like I want to have a match.............’’
’’Kuku, I'll buy that courage but don't you think you are too reckless? I am the child of the hurricane, Yamai Kaguya! There is no chance you would win!’’
Even when Shidou scratched his cheeks and said that, it looks like Kaguya did not hear it. She took an oddly cool pose while saying that. Even without Yuzuru, her love for matches is still going strong.
Well, he doesn't mind if that would help her loneliness with Yuzuru even if it was a little. After Shidou made a sigh, he entered the bowling alley with Kaguya.
They then borrowed the shoes and ball from the counter, and walked to the lane they were registered to.
And at that moment, Kaguya pulled at Shidou's sleeves.
’’Wai-wait Shidou. Look at that’’
While her eyes were oddly sparkling, Kaguya pointed towards the back of the counter. Shidou twisted his head while sending his sight to the direction she was pointing to.
It was the shop corner with various bowling products lined up. The shoes, ball that Shidou and Kaguya borrowed and the bag for storing all those were being displayed inside the showcase.
For an instant, he was about to say the rental goods were enough but-------he immediately understood the reason why Kaguya pointed there.
Beside the ball, there were excessively cool protectors used by pro bowlers in their dominant hands lined up there.................what's more, it seems it was not for rental.
’’............I have no choice’’
After Shidou made a soft sigh, he brought his legs to the shop counter;he then purchased a protector for females and handed it to Kaguya.
’’Here, try it on’’
After Kaguya's cheeks were blushed from excitement, she quickly put on the protector on her dominant hand.
’’This is the legendary, Fegefeuer gauntletArmguard of purgatory...........!’’
’’Is it legendary..........?’’
’’Kuku, is this okay Shidou? Giving me a divine weapon like this. It was a match with obvious results but, you just made an even bigger overwhelming gap you know?’’
After Kaguya said that, she made a stance with the arm wearing the protector before, changing her shoes in a good mood and walked towards the lane. He shrugged his shoulders as if he had given up and followed her.
’’Well, let us begin. I'll specially allow you to have the first move. Kuku, good luck struggling!’’
’’Yeah yeah........and here goes’’
After saying that, Shidou took the ball in his hand and walked towards the lane with the pin set up, Kaguya then raised her voice as if to stop him from advancing.
’’Wait! I know, I thought of something good’’
’’Hnn....? What is it?’’
’’A normal match is too boring. Why don't we make one bet.-------the one who loses the match will have to obey the winner for one request, how about that?’’
’’Eeehh....what is that condition’’
When Shidou made an unpleasant face, Kaguya made a fearless smile while covering half her face with the hand wearing the protector in a cool manner. ’’Kuku, what is it? Did you suddenly get scared of defeat after all this time?’’
’’No, rather than defeat, i just don't want to be made to.........’’
And, when Shidou was about to talk back while having sweat flowing down his cheeks, he could hear Reine's voice coming from his right ear.
’’..............well, It should be alright. If it is an aberrant request then, we will stop her’’
Haa, he made a sigh and looked back at Kaguya.
’’I get it. ------in exchange, if you add such a condition then, even I will get serious then’’
When Shidou said that, Kaguya *nii* lifted the side of her lips in a happy manner.
’’Kakaka! This turned interesting! Alright, show me that so-called seriousness of yours! I will take it down easily!’’
’’You said it.......look closely’’
After Shidou made his sights sharp, he threw the ball with a beautiful form.
The 13 point purple ball rolled straight down the lane-------and hit the center of the pins lined up into a V shaped. The pins made a nice sound and continuously fall down;the crystal screen installed above the lane then displayed a mark signifying a strike.
’’Alright! How about that!’’
’’Hohou, not bad! it won't be interesting if that weren't the case!’’
’’Fufu, that's because I occasionally come bowling with Tonomachi. I won't lose that easily’’
After saying that, he folded his arms together proudly.
However, Kaguya didn't looked a little disarrayed at all, she then took the orange ball and slowly walked to the front of the lane.
’’Kuku, look at this carefully. The hurricane child's hurricane. And then, understand it. The fact on how powerless you are..........!’’
Kaguya said that and swung the hand holding the ball,
’’Special move! Dunkelheit Windhose-------!!’’
When she shouted a mysterious skill name, the ball slammed on the lane filled with energy. *Goo*! Such a heavy sound was produced and caused a slight tremor to the surroundings.
’’Oi oi Kaguya, do you know how to bowl----------’’
And, when he was telling that to her while making a tired sigh, Shidou stopped his words there.
The ball slammed on the floor by Kaguya was *gyagyagyagyagya*! Started advancing forward with tremendous energy after making a sound that is produced by car tires when it suddenly takeoffs. He has no idea how she did it but, a proper revolution was added to it.
While making smoke and rampaging on the lane, the ball easily blew off the pin lined up ahead.
On the crystal screen of 3 lanes, the strike mark appeared at the same time.
’’Did you see that! My definite kill, the Dunkelheit Windhose!’’
’’You're joking oi!?’’
’’Kaka, a game like this, I have already finished it with Yuzuru last time! This special move I polished to the extreme, I'll show this to you nicely!’’
After Kaguya made a turn and send her sights to Shidou, she made a confident smile.
---After around 1 hour. Shidou was completely defeated.
Although he succeeded in stopping Kaguya in counting the strikes made in the neighboring lanes, it was just a temporary peace of mind. Shidou's score is by any chance not bad but, from the continuous special moves Kaguya made, an uncrossable difference was made when the game is only half-way done.
’’Kuku, it looks like it's my win! Well, I'll praise you for fighting well!’’
When Shidou raised both his hands to show he given up, Kaguya made a satisfied nod and made a fearless smile before folding her arms together.
’’Well then, you probably did not forget this. The contract we exchanged before our sacred battle’’
’’I remember it clearly.............so? What do you want me to do?’’
When Shidou said that, Kaguya suddenly looked serious and started examining the surroundings nearby.
’’Hn? What's wrong?’’
’’.................the [Ki] flowing here is bad, because of the ley line. We are changing the place’’
After saying that, Kaguya took Shidou's hands, and walked heavily deeper into the building like that.
’’O-oi, where are we going’’
’’It's okay so keep quiet and follow me.-------oh, just nice. I'll choose there I guess’’
The place Kaguya pointed was a resting spot with vending machines lined up there. She pointed deeper in, at the bench hidden under the shadows of the vending machines.
’’Sit over there’’
He was anxious and what was Kaguya thinking about but, Shidou has no right to refuse right now. He quietly sat on the bench like he was told.
After that, Kaguya silently sat beside Shidou before, changing her face completely into a serious one like just now and quietly moved her lips.
’’.............alright then, I will command you. Listen carefully’’
’’Wha-what is it........?
He raised his eyebrows while sweat was oozing down his forehead, from the weird situation. When he did that, Kaguya stared at Shidou while continuing on.
’’--------right now for 10 minutes, vow that you will not be surprised in what I do no matter what, won't be disarrayed, and also will not refuse at all. And also, swear that you will never tell anyone on what happens during that time’’
Kaguya said that in a stronger tone. Shidou reflexively nodded from that bloodcurdling intensity.
’’I-I get it............’’
After Kaguya made a small nod, she did not say anything for a while------
When he thought her upper body dropped from the side, she placed her head on top of Shidou's thighs.
He let out his voice by groaning from that sudden action but, he withstood it at the very end. Right now, he promised he won't be surprised, disarrayed----and also won't refuse.
’’Kuku, well isn't this comfortable to sleep on. I don't mind hiring you as a full-time pillow if you cry and beg you know?’’
’’Houu? Is a loser going to disobey me?’’
When Shidou raised his eyebrows regretfully, Kaguya *kara**kara* laughed in a good mood.
’’Kaka, pleasant pleasant. Slave, pat my head while you are at it’’
’’............as you wish’’
Shidou made a sigh as if he given up before, nodding Kaguya's head and combing Kaguya's hair with his fingers as a comb. Kaguya relaxed her cheeks from being ticklish, and twisted her body.
And maybe she thought of something, after Kaguya turned the direction of her body was facing, she wraped her arms around Shidou and *gyuu* inserted strength in it.
’’...............I told you not to get disarrayed’’
It is true, now that he thinks about it. When the inside of Shidou's mind was quietly being in disarray, Kaguya did not move from that posture for a while.
And, after some time has passed, Shidou tried calling out to her in fear.
Kaguya started leaking soft sobs.
And then. Shidou suddenly gasped, from the soft name he heard mixed inside Kaguya's sobbing.
’’Kaguya, You, Yuzuru's-----------’’
After Shidou said that unintentionally, Kaguya slurped her nose before, letting out a shaking voice.
’’.............You, can't find Yuzuru right..............I know that much. Don't take me as an idiot’’
But, Kaguya continued.
’’...............it's better if I don't know right.........then, I'll believe you. That's because, Shidou was the one who gave me and Yuzuru the 3rd choice at that time................’’
’’That's why..........please. Yuzuru............Yuzuru--------------’’
Shidou clenched his teeth tightly, and gently placed his hand on Kaguya's head.
---10 minutes after that.
Just like what she proclaimed at first, Kaguya stopped crying exactly at that time and during the time they got out from the shadow of the vending machine, the situation completely turned back to what it was from just now.
It was a self-restraint worthy to be shocked at. When Shidou patted her head and [You did great] said that, Kaguya blushed while answering [...........shut up].
After finishing bowling and sending Kaguya back to the mansion, a transmission was sent in by <Fraxinus>as if it was estimated.
’’.................hn, good work, Shin’’
’’No.............more importantly, Reine-san’’
When Shidou tried to talk about just now, Reine [...........Aah] and continued.
’’.....I am sorry for it being immediate but, we have no time. We will have you set off to the next date’’
’’I understand. I will...........definitely find Natsumi. And then, I will send Yuzuru back to Kaguya’’
Shidou clenched his fist as if he made a new resolution.
It's not like he was relaxed until now. But, it was reality that his feelings gotten stronger from the date with Kaguya. As expected, the 2 Yamai sisters have to be together. No matter who it is, he won't forgive them for separating those 2.
’’...............good. Okay, now head to the next target area. It's the coffee shop in front of the Tenguu station's eastern gate. Like usual, we used your name to invite the target to a date. She should be there in around 30 minutes’’
’’Yes. Who is next?’’
’’.............aah, your classmate Yamabuki Ai’’
Shidou twitched his eyebrows from Reine's words.
Yamabuki Ai. She is one of the famous female trios in Shidou's class. Now that he thinks about it, she is also one of the suspects.
But, the one they are close with was Tohka and not Shidou, so he has never talked to her on his own before.
Incidentally, during the time Natsumi was disguised as Shidou, it seems she laid her fingers on the trios in some ways and they are very wary of Shidou. Honestly, she is an annoying opponent in a different direction from Tonomachi's.
’’..............I might be asking an awkward question but, how did you invite her?’’
’’.............hnn? Well, unlike Tohka, Yoshino and the rest, I didn't use the method of inviting her in substitute for you. During the day time today, I left a letter inside her shoe rack in school’’
’’Le-letter.............? What is the content?’’
’’.............[Yamabuki Ai-sama. There is something I want to tell when we are alone. After school, on 6pm I will be waiting in the coffee shop in front of the station. Itsuka Shidou]’’
Shidou raised a groan while pressing his forehead, from the sentence Reine was mentioning plainly.
Somehow........................it was a content that would completely bring in misunderstandings...............no, as long as he takes it as a form of a date, he cannot not call it a misunderstanding.
After Shidou replied like that, he swung his head to regain composure.
That's right. He has no leisure to weaken his mind from that. Right now, what Shidou should do, is to investigate all of the remaining suspects as fast as possible and find Natsumi. He pulled his cheeks lightly and headed towards the front of the station.
..................but, Shidou scratched his cheeks.
The relationship between Shidou and Ai. The strife caused by Natsumi when she was disguised as Shidou a few days ago. An invitation letter sent using Shidou's name at this timing......... and also the nature of a female.
The answer derived from all these factors. That was-------
’’...............like I expected’’
After 30 minutes. In the coffee shop in front of the station.
Sweat was flowing down on Shidou's cheeks from the predicted scenery being expanded in front of him.
’’What is with that like I expected ’’
’’Got a problem---’’
’’What is it you bastard---’’
In the opposite side of Shidou's seat, starting from the right in order, Ai, Mai, Mii, these 3 were sitting there...............to think, it was just as he predicted.
Half-way when he was heading here, he somehow felt a bad premonition. Inside that situation, if she was invited by Shidou with those contents, it would be obvious the girl would be wary of him. There is no way she would purposely come to the meeting spot honestly. At least he was lucky not to be stood up though.
’’..............fumu, 3 of suspects gathered. We have no choice. The difficulty is a little high but, let's investigate all of them’’
After saying that with a soft voice, Shidou looked back at the female trio.
Tentatively, since they requested their preferred cakes from Shidou's treat, he felt their attitude was several times softer but, it didn't change the fact that they were in a bad mood. Shidou swam in his thoughts to think of something to say.
When he did that, the female trio let out their irritated voice, faster before Shidou could bring something up.
’’.........so, what do you want? Calling me with this letter’’
’’Is this that? A love letter? What, Itsuka-kun, are you aiming for Ai?’’
’’Now that you mention it, Ho-ra, the matter from before, you flipped me and Mai's skirt but, Ai was the only one having her ears blown at’’
’’N-no, that's not what I..............’’
He felt the conversation is starting to roll into a weird direction. Shidou hurried and denied but, the female trio weren't really listening.
’’Eh, seriously? Itsuka-kun, towards me? E-eeeeh----........no, well that's, I am thankful but, I, you know...........’’
’’That's right. Ai has a person her heart decided on called Kashiwada-kun! So Itsuka-kun has no chance to enter!’’
’’Yeah Yeah! Right now Ai is in an admirable one-sided love to the, super herbivore, cultural, glass guy, he would refuse naturally even if we invite him, that Kashiwada-kun!’’
’’Wait, both of you! Why are you blabbering so normally!?’’
Ai shouted while her face was red.............well, it's not like Shidou was planning to tell someone else when he heard that.
’’A-anyway! I don't know what you are planning but, although you have Tohka-chan, I won't forgive you sending such a letter to another girl!’’
’’That's right! What, are you saying you are not satisfied even though you are being liked by a super beauty like Tohka-chan!? Are you aiming for a polygamy!?’’
’’Ah, now that I think about it, Itsuka-kun laid his fingers on Tobiichi-san. Eh, don't tell me he has sumptuous feasts every night? Uwaah! How impure!’’
After 3 of them [Kya!] drew back chairs, they continued talking secretly while ignoring Shidou.
’’Now that I think about it, the transfer student Tokisaki-san was it? Itsuka-kun also laid his fingers on her too’’
’’Ah--, that happened! He really is indiscriminate--’’
’’And there is that, Ho-ra, last time during that one time, did that mysterious Loli child came over to send Itsuka-kun his bento?’’
’’Uwah, that happened. As expected, there is no mistake he is someone coming out as a lo*ic*n, mothercon, and siscon’’
’’Eh? A mothercon, siscon, on top of being a lo*ic*n?’’
’’Un Un, I heard this before. Incidentally Ho-ra, isn't that time Itsuka-kun too? The guy that made a high school girl put on a collar and brought her walking around the park with dog ears and tails, swimsuit’’
’’Seriously? From what I heard, it is a case where he removed a girl's skirt’’
’’Kyaa! I can't believe this! Why is Tohka-chan okay with a guy like this!’’
’’Ah, yeah yeah, I asked a girl next door-------’’
Even though Shidou raised his voice, the trio's conversation doesn't look like it will end any time soon.
At night. Having all his dates done, Shidou was lying down on the sofa in his living room while releasing a low tone voice.
Ai, Mai, Mii's long-talk continued endlessly after then, and it was completely dark when he was released. Tentatively, although he managed to do some investigation in the intervals but, by that time, Shidou's mental state and body was very exhausted.
After returning home, he ate (Shidou was about to cry in happiness from Kotori's feelings, and the fact food was already prepared when he got home, although Supermarket side-dishes was the main though) the food prepared by Kotori, even though he was slowly submerged inside the bath, the exhaustion from his body did not leave his body.
’’Seriously, how miserable.............I won't be saying that. For today that is’’
And, when he thought Kotori walked over slowly from the kitchen, a chilly object suddenly touched Shidou's cheeks.
He was shocked for an instant but, he immediately found out it was a cold carbonated can drink chilled inside the refrigerator.
When Shidou said that, Kotori [Yes] replied that and sat on the sofa. She then opened the juice can she was holding in her other hand and gulped down.
After Shidou raised his body, he imitated her and opened his mouth, before pouring in the carbonated drink into his throat. The feeling of the cold stimulating fluid spread out and expanded in his body.
’’So, how was it, yesterday and Today's investigation’’
After saying that, Kotori send her sights to him. Shidou slightly lowered his head forward.
’’...........hnn, that's right. There are some fellows that I doubt If I wanted to but...........anyway, I can't say anything unless I check out everyone’’
When Shidou said that, Kotori replied back easily like it was in her expectations.
It seems Kotori has checked every one of Shidou and the suspect's conversation. Maybe, Kotori might have felt the odd feeling like what Shidou has felt too.
’’Tomorrow tentatively, every one of the suspects shown on the photos will be investigated. Sleep as fast as possible and take as much fatigue off you’’
’’Aah, that's right. I'll do that. but-------’’
While saying that, Shidou brought his eyes towards the clock hanged on the wall.
’’Even if I dive in my bed...........it looks like I won't sleep any time soon’’
’’.............I thought so’’
Kotori shrug her shoulders as if she sympathized with Shidou's words.
The reason was very simple.
The clock hanged in the living room of the Itsuka house. The needles were, almost close in showing the time 12am.
Yes. Last night, it was the appearing time of the Angel <Haniel>that sucked in Yuzuru.
Originally, he planned to have a guard man placed at the house of everyone who was in the photos but, it was clear that it was meaningless since the opponent was an angel.................and more importantly, injuring Natsumi's mood can't be called a good plan when she has hostages in the current stage.
Most likely today too-------someone will disappear.
In silence, Shidou recalled back the video he saw in <Fraxinus>and also the warm feeling of Kaguya's tears on Shidou's lap. Powerlessness. While thinking he can't let Natsumi do as she please anymore, the irritated feeling of being unable to stop <Haniel>from sucking in someone else was, running about inside his chest.
And----at that moment.
The instant the long needle and short needle pointed at 12am, the space in the center of the Itsuka house living room was *Guwann*distorted. And coming from there, the figure of the broom shaped Angel appeared.
Shidou raised his eyebrows and stiffened his body. That's because, the Angel is over here.........!?
However, he immediately thought of the possibility. That's right. Right here there is Kotori---------one of the suspects was here.
After Shidou shouted, he threw the partially drunk carbonated drink away and stood in front of <Haniel>while spreading his arms to protect Kotori. As if to match up with that, the tip of <Haniel>slowly opened and exposed a mirror interior.
’’! Shidou!? It's dangerous! Go away!’’
But------no matter how long it took, <Haniel>did not suck Kotori in.
Such a laugh could be heard coming from <Haniel>.
When he looked over since it was strange, he found out Natsumi's face was being shown on the glass part of <Haneil>.
’’Hii. Long time no see, Shidou-kun’’
After Natsumi swung her hand in a friendly manner, she raised the side of her lips.
’’It is the end of the 2nd day of the game. Did you have fun?’’
Inside the glass, Natsumi asked while tilting her head. Shidou gritted his teeth.
’’................what are you planning’’
’’What do you mean by what am I planning?’’
’’Yuzuru-----where did you hide her’’
When Shidou asked, Natsumi *fufu* smiled and shrug her shoulders.
’’That is a se.cr.et. I will give her back properly if you guess who I am. But, if you can't guess who I am by the end then------at that time, her [Existence] is mine’’
When he asked while making a frown with his eyebrows, Natsumi agreed calmly.
’’Yes. If I gain victory in this game, the disappeared victims will not come back. Instead, I will use their face, voice, figure, to play around at that side of the world’’
Shidou gasped from Natsumi's words.
In the world with the original isn't around, a fake exceedingly closer to the real would be striding around.
The thing is, Natsumi is able to completely replace Yuzuru and the people that will be disappearing from now on.
’’.................Don't screw with me. I won't let that happen...............!’’
When Shidou said that with sharp sights, Natsumi *kara**kara* laughed in amusement.
’’Then the method is simple. Try and guess who I am.----well, who do you think I am? The answer time would be.............let's see, I guess 1 minute is enough then’’
Shidou and Kotori immediately looked at each other from Natsumi's words.
’’Answer.........!? Right now!?’’
’’Seems like the case..............’’
Kotori glared at Natsumi with detest while saying that. When she did that, Natsumi shrugged her shoulder while smiling.
’’Fufu, that's because, Shidou-kun was getting impatient. In the end, he didn't pinpoint anyone at all during the first day. That's why, I thought of.............giving him some navigation’’
’’............fuun, you sure said it’’
After saying that, *Fuun* Kotori exhaled. But immediately, send her sights towards Shidou realizing that now wasn't the time to be doing that.
’’So how is it, Shidou. Just now, didn't you say there was someone you thought of doubting when you felt like doing so’’
’’Aah..............well that's right but, I am still not sure------’’
’’Someone will still disappear and it will be the end for today if you keep quiet right. We will lose nothing even if we try so go ahead and say it’’
Kotori urged him by saying that. Shidou immerse himself in thoughts for an instant before slightly lowering his head forward.
And then, he looked back at <Haniel>'s glass showing Natsumi and opened his mouth.
’’-----Natsumi. The one you were disguised as was........Yoshino’’
The one who replied back was Kotori. Shidou was sending his sight towards Natsumi while continuing as if he was supplementing.
’’................aah, Yoshino is the one with the oddest feeling to her, if were to say within the limits of Yesterday and Today's investigation’’
’’I'll ask just in case, the reason is?’’
’’............inside the people I investigated, her actions was the most out of place’’
And of course, it was a definite proof. She only had the oddest feeling compared to others, that's all. He felt sorry to treat her as a criminal for something like this. But, it was also fact, that there were no other suspicious suspects at his current point.
After Natsumi heard Shidou's answer, she only said that and clicked her finger.
When she did that, <Haniel>'s tip closed and returned back into a broom before, disappearing into the empty space.
’’................disappeared!? What does this mean? Is Shidou's answer correct? Is it out...........?’’
Kotori raised her eyebrows in doubt while saying that.
However, there was no one who could answer that.
---And, on that night. 2 girls unexpectedly disappeared from their household beds.
Next day, 24th October.
Opposite to the nice weather, Shidou's mood was bad.
But that was only normal. Last night, 2 girls were erased by <Haniel>, such a message was sent from <Ratatoksr>.
---Yoshino and Yamabuki. These 2.
’’Yoshino............Yamabuki......, because of me they-------’’
After Shidou made a groan as if he was saying that to himself, he could hear Reine's voice coming from the Incam in his right ear.
’’................you did great in that limited amount of information. It was by any means not your fault’’
’’But...........didn't Yoshino..........disappear because........I named her?’’
Yes. Coming from <Ratatoksr>, when they were informed 2 more suspects disappeared compared to the night before last night, the explanation that reached Shidou and Kotori was that.
Which means, the number of people will increase each night, and whenever Shidou makes a mistake in designating the criminal then would another person will disappear? like that.
’’...............that possibility is high. But, Shin. That's-------’’
’’............it is okay. I understand. That and this is different. Even if I am hesitant, it's not like Natsumi will reveal herself. Also............if I keep on making a dejected face, I'll feel bad for the busy idol who has opened her time for me’’
After saying that and pulling his cheeks, he made a smile.
Yes. The partner for the first date of today was the popular idol, Izayoi Miku.
’’................hn, that's true.............sorry, Shin’’
’’? Why is Reine-san apologizing?’’
’’....................that's because although I understand about your strength and growth, I once again was about to make some unneeded ideas for you’’
After saying that, Reine mocked for herself and made a small smile.
He was somewhat embarrassed from Reine's rare response;Shidou then scratched his cheeks and looked around his surroundings.
’’No-now that I think about it............there are a lot of customers with weird appearance, here’’
The place Shidou was waiting for Miku at was the at the central plaza of the amusement park---Ocean park amusement area where he had his date with Kotori last time but, for some reason today, customers with unique odd costumes were noticeable. It wasn't like this last time though.
What's more, it was not just a simple type of unique. Everyone was wearing clothes from anime or games from what he can see. Yes.................commonly known as the costume play.
’’...............aah, that's because------’’
And, interrupting Reine's words, he heard a familiar voice coming from the entrance of the amusement area.-------it was Miku.
After Shidou looked over that side, he slightly raised his hand and was about to call her------
He made a blank face, after looking at the girl running towards him.
That's because, A girl that is thought to be Miku was.................wearing a frilly costume with white and purple as its basic tone.
The reason why he can't pinpoint her was simple. That's because she was wearing a mask covering her eye area on her face. It was a face as if she was about to head to a masquerade ball now.
’’Miku.....right? What is with that appearance’’
When Shidou asked her, Miku made a triumph *fufun* exhale and *baa*! Made a cute pose to show him.
’’How is it? It fits me right. It's the 4th war maiden of [Valkyrie Misty], Tsukishima Kanon-chan. And this is the rare mask version when she appeared saving Misty and the group in chapter 6!’’
’’...............eh? No, eh?’’
When Shidou brought his eyebrows in suspicion, Miku [Mouu!] puffed up her cheeks.
’’You don't know, [Valkyrie Misty]? It is an anime targeted towards girls on Sunday morning’’
Shidou [ah] rock his eyebrows, from Miku's words.
’’Now that I think about it, I feel that Yoshino watched that before..............’’
’’Eh, Yoshino-chan likes [Misty] too? Ufufu, I heard something good---. I'll invite her to my house next time---!’’
Saying that happily, Miku *nico**nico* smiled.
Shidou scratched the back of his head while pointing at Miku's appearance.
’’So..............why is Miku's appearance like that Kanon-chan?’’
’’Eh? Didn't you hear from Reine-san? In the amusement area of ocean park, there is a Halloween event this week so cosplay is allowed inside the park---’’
’’Eh........uh, is that so?’’
Shidou opened his eyes wide in surprise but.............now that she said it, he agreed. No wonder there were only cosplayers walking around from just now.
’’I see, that seems to be the case. But even so, I didn't know Miku loves cosplay’’
’’Well, there is that but, you know, I am a celebrity’’
Being told that, Shidou was convinced. Not only there were people wearing masks, there were also robot costumes. It's true that if this was the place, then even if Miku covers her face like she is doing now, it probably won't feel weird.
’’Well, I don't mind being exposed but, it seems darling is worried about that so--..........also, I don't want to be disturbed on our date’’
’’Haha.................no, well, unn, thanks for your consideration’’
And thus. When Shidou made a wry smile, Miku *pon* hit her hand as if she recalled something.
’’Oh yeah! I prepared a male costume for darling in the locker room. It's the mask and mantle of Jack-sama, the mysterious hero who saves Misty and the heroines! Alright, I will go and take it so please change into it---!’’
’’Eh? N-no thanks, I am okay’’
’’...............then, the spare 2nd battle maiden Narusaki Mei-chan I brought........’’
’’I think Jack is super cool! I would be glad to wear it!’’
He can't stand it if he were to wear something that frilly. When Shidou raised a shriek, Miku made a satisfied face as if she was very happy.
When he came out from the locker room after changing, Miku wriggled her body while raising an ecstatic voice.
’’Amazing! It looks great on you! You are so cool darling!’’
Shidou said that while sweat was flowing down his head.
That's because, right now, Shidou's appearance was a mantle covering his whole body, and a mask covering his face, there was also a long hair wig on his head. The only gap touching open air was his ear.
’’.............this, if not for my different extreme figure, wouldn't the appearance look like everyone else?’’
’’No! That is not true! The oozing aura coming out is different!’’
’’Yes! Actually, Jack-sama has that kind of appearance but, his real identity was the 6th war maiden, Kanou Emily-chan’’
’’Oi wait for a second, I didn't hear that’’
’’Ahaha, was that so?’’
Miku tilted her head adorably while *pero* bringing her tongue out..............somehow after looking at that, he stopped feeling angry. Well, it is better than being forced to wear a skirt.
More importantly, the date can finally begin. Shidou muttered [Okay] with his face covered with a mask.
’’Alright then, Miku. It's sort of weird to keep remaining in front of the locker room so, let's move.-------since it is a date, so let's talk a lot’’
’’Yes! I'll be glad to’’
After Miku said that happily, *Hashi* she entangled her arm with Shidou's. And just like that, with their bodies touching, they started walking.
................wearing a costume and mask might be a good thing. His cheeks were probably blushing red, so Shidou somewhat thought about that while starting his questions at her.
’’Hey, Miku.-------do you remember how we first met? You know, when Miku was singing in the Tenguu arena alone..............’’
’’Yes--. Of course’’
Miku smiled and nodded. Shidou narrowed his eyes inside the mask and continued his words.
’’During the first time we met, Miku was already like this. I was surprised when you suddenly hugged me’’
Miku opened her eyes wide from Shidou's words.
’’Did something like that happen? During that time, I think I was in a period where I hate males to the extend I can't stand it though............’’
’’...............she didn't get tricked huh’’
’’? Did you say something, darling’’
’’No, nothing at all. That's right;it looks like my memories are different’’
After Shidou said that, he faced his sight towards Miku to ask the next question.
But, at that moment.
In front of Shidou and Miku, 2 girls with the same appearances as Miku appeared and timidly called out to them.
’’That is Kanon-chan and Jack-sama right? If it is okay with you two, can I take a photo?’’
Shidou scratched his head in troubled. Shidou was still okay but, Miku is an idol. Even though she was wearing a mask, isn't it better to avoid------------
’’Yes, we don't mind. In exchange, please take it cool okay’’
But, in contrary to Shidou's plan, Miku easily gave her the permission in a calm manner.
’’Ah, thank you very much! Then immediately................’’
After saying that, the girl made a stance with the camera. Shidou whispered to Miku.
’’Oi, is this okay? Something like a photo.’’
’’It is alright. My face is covered. More importantly, darling do a pose’’
Miku said that in a good mood and gave Shidou fine instructions. Shidou put his hands around Miku's waist and like a finishing pose in a pair performances in figure skate;they took on an extremely unstable pose.
’’Wai-wait, I somehow feel this is unstable...........’’
’’It is okay. Okay, please take the photo’’
After Miku said that with a smile, the girl pushes the camera's shutter a few times continuously.
’’Ah, Is the angle from here okay too!?
’’Okay, go ahead’’
Miku responded to the girls demand and bend her body.
When she did that, a sudden burden was placed on Shidou's arm, and the originally bad balance collapsed in one go.
And just like that, he fell on the spot as if he pushed Miku down.
’’So-sorry! Are you okay!?’’
’’Uuun.............oh darling, you're so good da.ri.ng♥’’
It seems she wasn't hurt. Miku's cheeks was blushing while *tsun* poking at the nose park on Shidou's mask.
’’..........Looks like you are okay.’’
After Shidou said that with half his eyes opened, he stood up straight and pulled Miku up.
And----he noticed something odd there.
The girl taking photos just now was blankly opening her eyes and mouth wide, and was standing stunned there.
’’You're joking, the real one?’’
Hearing the girls word, Shidou immediately looked at Miku.------that's right. Why was Shidou able to see Miku's cheeks blushing from just now.
The reason was simple. The instant they fell, the mask Miku was wearing came off.
When Miku said that in a nonchalant way, the girls were surprised but, it seems to have spread to the other cosplayers in the surroundings.
’’Eh? Miku? That Miku?’’
’’There is an Izayoi Miku cosplay? Eh? Not that? The real one?
’’Uwah..........seriously? I am a big fan......’’
’’Rather the person with her, who is that. A guy? A girl.........?’’
Suddenly the surroundings started making a commotion.
’’Guh........let's go Miku!’’
After Shidou made a grimace face inside his mask, he took Miku who was still leisurely opening her eyes wide, and ran away from the spot.
But, Miku put strength into her hands as if to resist.
’’Wha-what's wrong Miku. If this keeps on, more people are going to gather’’
’’Hnn..............looks like I sprained my leg..........’’
’’Eh? There was nothing wrong just now..............’’
Miku pushed her index finger on the mouth part of the mask wearing Shidou, when Shidou was about to say that.
’’That. is. why...........carry me’’
Shidou opened his eyes wide inside his mask from Miku's sudden request.
’’Yo-you, what are you.......’’
’’Goo onn.............if you don't hurry, more people is going to gather and we can't get away you know?’’
After Shidou gritted his teeth, he carried Miku by the shoulders and legs and put strength into his whole body. Commonly referred as, the princess carry.
And just like that, he ran away from the spot.
’’Kyaa! Darling so cool!’’
Miku shouted happily, and wrapped her hands around Shidou.
’’That's why stop calling me darling in a place where everyone can hear.........!’’
Shidou raised a scream while running pass the amusement park filled with cosplayers.
In the end, in order to slip through the cosplayers while carrying Miku, it took him quite some time and stamina.
That's because, although it was the weekdays, customers wanting to display their transformation was everywhere in the amusement area. A crowd was made at Shidou and Miku surrounding when they were heading to their destination.
He somehow manages to run into the toilet and succeeded in running away from a predicament by making Miku wear Shidou's costume but-------by that time, a huge amount of stress accumulated on Shidou's body.
But, Shidou does not have the free time to rest leisurely.
The date with Miku ended and the time was 5pm. Shidou purposely changed to his school uniform and head towards the school with the classes already ended.
It is to meet the next target--------Tama-chan-sensei.
’’.....................I have already informed teacher Okamine beforehand. She is waiting for you in the counseling room.’’
’’Understood. I will head there immediately’’
After replying back shortly, he walked into the school building with few students left in it.
And, halfway there, a sudden small uneasiness passed by his mind. Directed towards the Incam, he asked her in fear.
’’...........now that I think about it, what kind of reason did you use to call Sensei out?’’
Yes. Similarly to Ai, Mai and Mii, Tama-chan-sensei was another person Shidou has not invited to a date before. He was curious on what kind of literature was used to invite her.
’’.............Aah, I told her regarding [He has something to discuss about his career]’’
’’I see. That would be natural’’
After Shidou made a relieved sigh, he headed to the designated spot.
Not long later, he reached in front of the counseling room.
*Kon**Kon* Shidou knocked on the door and [Go ahead] Tama-chan-sensei's cute voice could immediately be heard coming from inside the room.
’’Sorry for my rudeness’’
He said that after saying that and entered the room. When he did that, he confirmed Tama-chan-sensei there spreading out the submitted task printouts on the table while sitting on the sofa. It would seem she was grading while waiting for Shidou.
’’Ah, Itsuka-kun. Long time no see’’
Tama-chan-sensei said that with a smile while bundling the printout, and pushed it to the book which is thought to be related to careers placed at the side of the table.
Long time no see, Shidou felt a somewhat odd feeling from that word but.............there was nothing wrong with it, that's because Shidou has been skipping school to look for Natsumi from today and yesterday.
’’Well, please sit down for now’’
Being urged by Tama-chan-sensei, he sat at the opposite side of the sofa. When he did that, Tama-chan-sensei lifted the bridge of her glasses with a meek expression.
’’Eeer, I heard from Murasame-sensei that there is something you want to consult with me regarding your career.........’’
’’Yes, is it okay if I ask for a bit?’’
When Shidou said that, Tama-chan-sensei [Uuun.......] made a little difficult face.
’’I don't mind that but................why is it me instead of the counselor?’’
’’Eh? Ah, Errrr.................’’
Shidou unintentionally hesitated. That was true now that he was told that. There is a specialized teacher for the counseling here. If there was something he wanted to ask, it would be normal to consult that person.
However, if he were to make an honest reaction here, she would baton touch the counselor. Shidou clenched his fist while raising his voice.
’’No, how should I say it...................it has to be Okamine-sensei!’’
When Shidou said that, Tama-chan-sensei's face was for some reason filled with surprise. For an image, her face was as if her heart got *Dokyyuuun!* pierced through.
’’It is a career.............consultation, which has no meaning.............if it is not me?’’
’’Yes. There is no meaning if it is not Sensei’’
When Shidou nodded firmly, sweat started flowing down suddenly on Tama-chan-sensei's face.
’’E,eeh........? Do-does that mean, wed----------’’
’’N-no! nothing at all!’’
Tama-chan swung her head in panic. Unable to understand any of her actions, Shidou tilted his head.
Anyhow, since he managed to get alone with her. It might be better to check if this is the real Tama-chan-sensei or not quickly. Shidou swam around his thoughts to make that decision and-------for now, he decided to ask about when sensei became his homeroom teacher.
’’Err, Sensei. I want to confirm something..........do you remember about April?’’
After Tama-chan-sensei recalled something and opened her eyes wide, she then nodded violently which made him think her neck was about to come out.
’’I remember! I clearly remember! Itsuka-kun, perhaps..............have you finally made up your mind!?’’
When Shidou went blank from the unexpected reaction, Tama-chan-sensei took several books from her bag placed on the sofa and spread it on top of the table facing towards Shidou.
’’I prepared a lot of book related to careers. Please tell me if there is one from these you wish to go with!’’
’’No, Sensei, I........................’’
And, when he tried to return back to the question, Shidou realized something weird. It was the [Career related] books Tama-chan-sensei spread out.
The first book. It was a book with a beautiful bride on the cover. Is it related to a bridal work?
The second book. It had a man and woman thought of as a husband and wife with a cute baby decorated on its cover. This was.............. a guide to childcare division school.................probably. Maybe.
And the third book...........rather, that wasn't a book but rather something that looks like documents. On the top the word [Marriage registration] shined, her name was already written on the bride side and it was already stamped.
After looking until there, Shidou finally noticed Tama-chan sensei's outrageous misunderstanding.
Now that he think back, because of the instructions gave by <Ratatoskr>, Shidou confessed (More like, propose) to Tama-chan-sensei once on April.
’’Itsuka-kun..............I'am very happy! I, kept believing you know. That Itsuka-kun might have pulled your knees back from the sudden turns of event last time, and would definitely come back after calming down! Aaah..........., it was worth preparing a lot of stuff! Hey Itsuka-kun, when should I give my greetings to your parents? Ah, before that, should we write it down first? Eh? A seal? It is okay you know. I also prepared that properly. Please rest assured. I will make sure to submit this to the government office when Itsuka-kun properly turns 18 years old!’’
Her eyes were shining while Tama-chan-sensei was gripping on to Shidou's blazer. Shidou [Hii] gasped and immediately stood up.
’’So-sorry for the misunderstandingssssssssssssssssss!’’
He shouted and exited the classroom.
Right now still in the counseling room, Tama-chan-sensei was still blabbering about her future family plan in a fascinated state.
7pm. Shidou was walking in the night street for the date with his next target.
The 12th suspect. With this, this would mean the end of the investigation of everyone taken in the photos.
Shidou was silently walking while placing his hands on his chin, and swimming in his thoughts.
Right now the remaining suspects were, Tohka, Yoshino[8D 1], Tonomachi, Kotori, Kaguya, Mii, Tama-chan sensei, and also the last suspect, a total of 9 people.
The dates today were from, Miku, Tama-chan-sensei. Miku remembers the time when they first met and although he did not talk much with Tama-chan-sensei, she remembered about the confession Shidou made on April. In both sides, he doesn't think they are disguised from Natsumi.
Which means, the last person he is going to meet is going to be Natsumi..............would that be the case.
Or---------maybe Natsumi, has the ability to trace back into a persons'memory.
If that is the case, he would have to start the investigation again. On top of having to find another method to find Natsumi, today once more, someone will be erased from <Haniel>.
3 days after the investigation started. There was a small odd feeling constantly smoking in Shidou's head.
A game to guess the criminal with no clues. One person for one day will disappear and if he makes a mistake in pointing at the criminal, then the target will also disappear. Before all the suspects disappear, Shidou has to find Natsumi out from them.
Is that recognition, really correct............?
There is something entangled in his mind. But he does not know what that something is. Shidou scratched his head violently from the nasty feeling.
’’.............Shin, you are almost at the target spot’’
Being told that by Reine, Shidou immediately raised his face. He noticed he walked quite some distance while he was thinking about something. It's quite amazing that he did not collide into anything.
And, when Shidou made a deep sigh with self-admonition put into it, in front-------coming from the direction of the target spot Shidou was heading to, he could hear a familiar voice.
Shidou slightly hanged his hands and replied back. Towards the last suspect--------Origami Tobiichi.
’’Sorry, did you wait?’’
Origami slightly swung her head when Shidou said that.
’’I just arrived’’
’’.................we were observing her just in case but, it looks like she was waiting one hour before time’’
But, Reine said that as if she caught that. Shidou made a powerless wry smile.
’’? What's wrong?’’
’’No-no..................well you know, I just thought it was a while since I went out with Origami’’
After Origami said that and nodded, she continued without moving an inch of her expression.
’’I am also happy’’
There was nothing strange from what he could see but, during the long time he was with Origami, Shidou could somewhat understand there is a slight change in her emotions. Towards his impure actions of dating her for the sake of investigation, he felt a slight pain in his chest.
’’So, what are we watching?’’
After saying that, Origami looked up at the building she was waiting at until now. Over there, there were several giant movie signboards decorated on it.
Yes. The dating spot with Origami was a movie theatre.
’’Hnn, that's right.....................I haven't decided...........’’
When Shidou said that, Origami twitched her eyebrows.
Oh no, he gasped. Shidou was the one that called her out, so it would be unnatural to not decide on what to watch--------maybe, it might be too indecisive.
’’No, sorry, it's not that.............ah, right, let's choose this! It often appears in the CM..............’’
When Shidou was in panic, Origami quietly continued.
’’That means you did not invite me because there was a movie to watch, but rather you invited me because you just wanted to go out with me?’’
’’Eh? A-aah. Yes.................that would be the case’’
When Shidou was being vague, Origami *pyon* hopped up expressionlessly.
She then turned her body around, and walked quickly into the movie theatre.
’’Ah, oi, Origami?’’
After Origami brought Shidou to the ticket counter, she stood in front of the empty window and erected 2 fingers up towards the staff.
’’---------the [Black fantasia] on 7:30pm. 2 tickets for couples’’
The female staff opened her eyes wide from Origami's unhesitant words.
’’E-errr, is 2 tickets okay............?’’
’’I don't mind’’
’’Ye-Yes, alright, the total bill is 3600 yen please’’
After Origami took the tickets, she took one piece and handed it to Shidou.
’’A-aah...........thank you. Ah, I was the one that called you out so, I'll pay’’
However, Origami stopped his hands when Shidou was about to bring out his wallet.
’’It's okay, later’’
When Shidou opened his eyes wide, Origami walked towards the counter to buy some snacks and drinks like that.
Not knowing a single speck of Origami's intentions, when he was standing still in a half-blank state, he could hear Reine's voice coming from his right ear.
’’...........I see, so she is planning to not let you go back immediately after the movie finishes’’
Shidou felt his back oddly cold from those words.
’’He-hey, Origami. Do you remember the events on June?’’
Just before the movie started. Around the time when the new movie previews was on the screen, Shidou started talking to Origami sitting beside him to investigate her.
’’Events on June?’’
’’Aah, you know, didn't we have a date once at that time.’’
’’Of course, I remember’’
’’Really? So what actually happened’’
Origami nodded when Shidou said that.
’’Time: 1100 meet up in front of the fountain at the Tenguu station plaza. Time: 1110 went to eat lunch at the restaurant. Time: 1115 Shidou went to toilet. Time: 1200 headed towards the movie theatre. Time: 1210 Shidou went to toilet again. Thought Shidou's was having stomach problems, time: 1420, purchased medicine in pharmacy. Time: 1500-------------’’
’’Wai-wait a second’’
He stopped Origami from continuously lining up the events fluently, for a moment.
’’.................how can you remember so clearly........?’’
When Shidou asked with sweat flowing down his cheeks, Origami nodded before searching into the bag she brought. She then took one book out from inside.
When Origami replied that shortly, she handed the book to Shidou.------What's more, with the page opened after reading it. When he looked at the words, he found out it was certainly by the minutes and the events were written in very fine details.
He made a wry smile while flipping through the diary. Especially, the day when Shidou confessed to Origami and the day Shidou first went to Origami's house, the diary had around 5 times more sentences than normal.
Shidou looked at the entry on that day, and let sweat ride on his cheeks. It was about that time when she checked her room after Shidou disappeared, and the rabbit puppet she picked up a few days ago went missing ................it should be about [Yoshinon]. There was also an illustration there. There is no mistake.
Although it was for Yoshino, the experience of stealing was hurting his chest..............but, he felt a little at ease from the description [The anniversary Shidou took one of my personal belongings] that was written after that.
’’...............since she has something like that, would she be real, this Origami’’
’’.............we still don't know. The real Tobiichi Origami might have a diary but, it doesn't mean she is definitely the real one just because she was holding on to it now’’
Shidou closed the diary and gave it back to Origami.
When he was doing this, the screen suddenly turned dark and a solid song started flowing out. It would seem the original movie has started.
Shidou then felt something soft on the back of his right hand. Origami was placing her hand on top of Shidou's hand.
He made a wry smile but, he won't do something like brushing it away. Instead, something like grabbing hands in the middle of the movie, Shidou thought it was quite cute for Origami even charming.
But, Shidou's thoughts were naïve.
Accompanying with the movie progressing, Origami's hands gradually crawled bit by bit.
Her hand was originally placed on top but, now it was patting on the back of Shidou's hands. As if to be affectionate with Shidou's hands, she traced upwards with her fingers one after another and once she reached the gap of his fingers, she made an excessively erotic move and entangled his fingers.
Even though the place he was touched at was after his right hand wrist, Shidou felt a shock as if electricity flowed through his whole body. The mixed feeling of ticklish and unpleasantness pressed forwards like a wave and made Shidou eyes flash on and off.
He then heard a whisper on his ear. Shidou's eyes were swirling round and round.
’’Shidou I want you to touch me too’’
When Shidou said that with a shaking voice, Origami pulled down her collar with her right hand and show him.
’’I am not wearing anything today’’
Shidou gasped. His brain started to spin around as if it has gotten a shot, and his face was hot until he was hallucinating that smoke might come out of his ears.
Shidou took a deep breath to calm himself down before, lifting up the ice tea he bought, just now after feeling around for it and putting the straw into his mouth to moisten his dry throat.
However, no matter how long it took, the taste of the tea would not spread in his mouth.
Thinking it was strange, after he peeked at his hands, he immediately found out the reason. Shidou was not putting the straw pierced into the cup of ice tea into his mouth.
Then, where is this straw in Shidou's mouth right now.............
After Shidou shifted his sights, he found out Origami was putting the end of the straw in her mouth while bending her body forward.
Origami silently *churu* sucked onto the straw.
Shidou raised a loud voice and stood up from his chair. And the sharp sights coming from the surrounding customers were piercing through his whole body.
’’? What's wrong?’’
’’No, what do you mean what's wrong..............’’
’’The real one........’’
’’There is no mistake...........’’
Coming from Shidou's right ear, it has been classified Origami was unanimously the real one by the crews of <Fraxinus>.
---In the end, the time Origami released Shidou was when it reached 11pm.
He was walking in the night street exhausted and returned back until his house.
’’Today........was particularly tiring’’
He made a stretch while talking to himself. There was a soft sound produced around his shoulder bones.
After the movie, he talked with her in a coffee shop nearby but..................a single instances indicates what happens all the time, Origami recorded every single thing about the time she spent with Shidou. She said it with accuracy like a playback from a video recording.
On top of that, it was with assertiveness. As expected, it looks like Origami wasn't Natsumi.
With this, he has dated all of the suspects but, right now, the clearly most suspicious one was------
And when Shidou was thinking while opening the Itsuka house gate, Tohka in her pajamas called out to him from the entrance of the neighboring mansion.
’’Tohka, why are you here so late’’
’’That is my line. Where did you go until this time?’’
Tohka walked towards Shidou and said that. Rather than calling her angry, the feeling of her purely just wanting to ask a question was stronger.
’’Ah--............sorry, a little something’’
After Shidou evaded that, Tohka puffed her cheeks because she was a little unsatisfied.
’’These few days, Shidou looks so busy. You took day off from school and won't make bento and dinner at all................’’
’’So-sorry. I will make it again after everything is settled. Okay?’’
When Shidou said that while joining his hands and lowering his head, Tohka swung her head in panic.
’’No, you're mistaken. That's not what I meant, you know..............Hnn? No, it was correct that I wanted to eat Shidou's dinner, so it is not wrong...............?’’
After Tohka wring her head as if she was thinking about something, *muumuu* she groaned. But she immediately swung her head to regain composure and grabbed Shidou's hands.
’’Anyway! You have some matters to do right? Do not worry about me. I won't quarrel with Tobiichi Origami and I will do something about food. That's why, Shidou do what you should do.’’
When Shidou said her name, Tohka's cheeks blushed immediately.
’’...............but, having Shidou not around was, kind of, err..........lonely. Tell me if there is something I can do. If it is for Shidou, I will come running to you no matter what!’’
After saying that, Tohka gripped his hands tightly.
Those straightforward sights, those words, made him very happy and Shidou re-gripped his hands.
’’.............Aah, thank you. Tohka. I have the strength of a thousand men if I have you with me.’’
After saying that, Tohka made a smile with her face in a very happy manner.
’’Umu, that's what I want to say! Alright good night, shidou! Natsu-mi!’’
For an instant, he twitched when Tohka said that with a smile but...........I immediately remembered back.
’’Aah, good night, Tohka. Natsu-mi’’
When Shidou swung his hand, Tohka swung her hands several times more in a spirited manner and ran back to the mansion. And while making a big yawn, she entered the mansion.
It would seem, she really stayed up until now just to tell that to Shidou. Tohka usually goes to sleep early though.
How should he put it, he felt it was apologetic together with amusement and loveliness filling him up, so Shidou leaked a small smile.
He felt his walking was a little lighter compared to a few minutes. Shidou opened the gate and took out his key from his pocket to open the front door.
In a timing as if she was waiting there, his miss-sister said that in a daunting pose.
’’Don't say that. I had lots of problem in my side............’’
’’............I know that. I understand the situation and it's not like I am angry. But--------’’
*Fuun*When Kotori exhaled, she frowns her eyebrows in hate while continuing her words.
’’-----it's almost time’’
And, the moment Kotori said that.
*Gunyari* When Shidou thought the space between Kotori distorted, a broom-like Angel appeared in its place.
’’<Haniel>.........!? The time is already 12am!?’’
Shidou distorted his face and clenched his teeth. It would seem, it was beyond expectation that it took some time to get back.
Nonetheless, it was a blessing in misfortune <Haniel>did not appear during the time Tohka was him. He made a big sigh to calm his heart and looked at the broom-type angel.
As if to match up with that, the tip of <Haniel>opened and exposed the mirror interior to the outside.
And just like yesterday, Natsumi showed herself inside it.
’’Hi.i.i. One day no see Shidou-kun. Were you lonely?’’
’’Iyaaan, what a scary face. Let's have more fun with the game shall we?’’
After saying that, Natsumi made an enjoying smile. Shidou clenched his fist until his nails dug into his palm while making a thin sigh to calm his heart down.
Letting his emotions outburst right here won't fix anything. Rather than that, there might be a possibility Yuzuru, Yoshino and Ai who were erased by <Haniel>would be in danger. He can't say anything bad.
Natsumi *nya**nya* looked at Shidou in that manner while continuing her words.
’’Fufu, the third day for the game has ended. Have you investigated everyone already? Well, give me an answer.------Who am I’’
After Shidou gulped, he recalled back the faces of the suspects he dated in these 3 days.
But-------he could not answer immediately. Even though everyone's investigation was done, Shidou has not grasped clear evidence yet.
’’Shidou, there is no time’’
He replied to Kotori's voice and the suspects in his head disappeared one by one.
The remaining last one was--------Tama-chan-sensei.
It's true that she acted like she remembers Shidou's confession on April but, it's not like it was clear and if he trace back at Tama-chan-sensei's action in the past few days, he might at least get the answer on why she was impatient about marriage.
When he thought like that, he felt that over the top approach might also be a method to falter Shidou to prevent him from asking unneeded questions.
After Shidou glared at <Haniel>he quietly opened his mouth.
But...................at that moment, Yoshino's face who has disappeared yesterday scratched his mind, and made him stop his words.
The girl that was erased by <Haniel>----------- because Shidou vaguely pinpointed her to Natsumi.
If this pinpoint is wrong then, Shidou will drag someone new into this.
In reality, Tama-chan-sensei was to the end only [Suspicious]. It's not like he has definite evidence. In addition, the moment he was about to say Tama-chan-sensei's name, the very hazy odd feeling coiled up in his head bind on to Shidou's thoughts harder.
---something. Was something in a fundamental way, causing him to misunderstand.
Shidou's words stopped from his doubt which had no basis.
He opened her eyes wide from Kotori's shout.
But----------it was too late. The moment Shidou regained himself, Natsumi used her hand and made a big *baa*.
’’Buu---! Times up. Too bad. I will challenge you tomorrow~’’
The space once again shook and <Haniel>disappeared.
And the Itsuka siblings were the only ones left standing still silently in the Itsuka house entrance.
After some time passed. Kotori scratched her head while sighing.
’’...........I won't blame you. With a situation where the pinpointed person will disappear if you were wrong, there is no way you can give an answer without definite evidence to it’’
But, Kotori continued.
’’Several people have already disappeared, and also----------- this game will not end unless you find Natsumi, please remember this’’
What Kotori said made sense. Shidou clenched his teeth on his indecisiveness and powerlessness, and scratched his hair violently.
And thus, he heard Reine's voice coming from his right ear at that moment.
’’...........Shin. Can you hear me, Shin’’
’’Reine-san.......? What's wrong?’’
’’...........just now, <Haniel>appeared on the automated camera observing the suspects’’
Shidou felt his heart wrung out from Reine's words.
He should have known it. It was the same as yesterday. After Shidou's reply, <Haniel>will erase one of the suspects. That's, something he should have known already.
But, when he was told about the situation again, he felt his heartbeat violently until it hurts.
Was the one that disappeared? That word did not come out from his mouth. Although the results won't change from that, it was difficult to make those word's tone as if his body was rejecting it.
’’.......aah. The one that disappeared today was------’’
Reine hesitated for an instant-----------that was how, she was in question whether to inform the information to Shidou or not----------after she cut her words, she continued.
From the words Reine made.
Shidou felt a cracking sound in his body.
Translation Notes and References
- Jump up↑ It should be Mai but, Since this was the author's mistake/ printing error in the book i will respect that and go with the mistake too.