V2 Story IV – Part 10

Translator: Kell

The Minase manor, in the clan head’s room.

Shirayuki was searching the porch where her brother used to stay. It looked familiar. The porch, with its warm light and panoramic view of the garden, was none other than the place where he had once slept on Yukino’s lap. As I watched the scene, I felt the touch of her hand in his hair. Shirayuki scoured the floorboards one by one, and when she eventually stopped moving, she took a brush from her chest. She drew the word “Unlock” on the floor, and the letters slowly bled and faded away. Shirayuki swallowed and painted her name on top of it.


The letters melted away. I heard the sound of some mechanism activating. With a small clunk, a section of the floor flipped over. There was a tiny box fastened to it. He didn’t mind if she didn’t receive it, but still he couldn’t stop himself from leaving it behind. The knot was tight; it didn’t look like it would unravel easily. Damaging her fingernails, Shirayuki detached the box and peered into its contents. Inside the vermillion box was a folded map and a letter. A darkened key lay next to them.

Dear sister.

Shirayuki hugged it tightly. She gave me the map, and I nodded at Mayuzumi.

How many times have I had to carry her? It’s about time she learned how to walk by herself. If she found walking too exhausting, then she should just cut her legs off.

“Isn’t it more productive if you carried me instead of me walking? Come on, now. Less grumbling, and more walking.” She gave me a light tap.

I wish she would stop reading my mind. And stop slapping me on the forehead, while she was at it. It was difficult to walk in the bamboo thicket. I could lose my balance. Shirayuki was staunchly walking beside me, not caring that her kimono was in disarray. Following the map, we trudged along the mountain owned by the Minase clan. I wasn’t sure if we were even following the map correctly. But a closer look revealed a path that vaguely resembled an animal trail. It was probably left behind by her brother. Forcing my feet onward, we continued on our never-ending trek. There was a red circle on the map, right around the third ridge, on a slope opposite to the Minase manor.

As we followed the uncharted path, we spotted a hut.

A small shack stood in the bamboo thicket. Shirayuki’s eyes widened, and she rushed to it. The hut was in disrepair, but the structure was still steady. I put down Mayuzumi and followed Shirayuki. She jumped on the door and struggled to open it. She didn’t seem to notice that the door was padlocked. I unlocked the door for her and pulled the sliding door to the side.

Dust rose. Streaks of sunlight shone through the dark room. The place reminded me of a church. Crystal-clear light touched the dark floor. But the sight of it left me stunned. I realized where the blood of the clan members he killed went.

Red letters were painted all over the walls, like some Buddhist incantation.

Countless letters, from small to large, covered the walls. Some of them were drawn carefully, while some were scribbled hastily. Some were painted in fine detail, as if in prayer, while others were scrawled on haphazardly, as if weeping. But they all read the same.

Minase Yukino.

The letters were silent and still.

There was no sign of any human being born.

“You can’t raise the dead,” Mayuzumi mumbled. “That’s why.”

Boldly, she stepped into the room. She stood in the middle and looked around.

Yukino Yukino Yukino Yukino Yukino.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you write their name,” Mayuzumi went on, studying the hysterically-written letters. “You can never bring back a person you’ve recognized as dead. You can’t bring them back to life. Because humans can’t imagine the letters they scribble turning into their beloved. No man can create another human being. It’s beyond the realm of human imagination.”

The letters painted all over the walls were like screams. I could feel their grief of losing a loved one, saw the sorrow the letters betrayed.

Why wouldn’t she come back to life?

Why couldn’t he see her again?

“Invoking a god is easier.”

My eyes grew wide. Mayuzumi nodded softly.

“If only I could invoke a god. If only I could recognize myself as a being that surpassed gods, then I might be able to revive people at will. The right to bring people back to life belong to the gods alone. Humans, bound by preconceived notions, cannot do so. If I succeeded in summoning a god, I might be able to draw my beloved to life.”

He called on a god to surpass the gods.

When in reality, he didn’t want to meet one.

“A terribly roundabout way of doing things. And a pointless one at that. But I guess he didn’t have any other option. Remember what I said? God is whatever man wants him to be. For him, a god was a means to bring people back to life. He needed to summon a god so he could revive his loved one.”

He didn’t need a god.

All he really wanted was to see her.

But the only way to meet her again was to summon a god.

“To convince himself that he was above them.”

He just wanted to see her again.

I recalled what I saw back then. After failing to summon a god, he stood still in a sea of flesh. But when he spotted something, he waded through the mass of the dead, risking his own life. Then, he pulled someone out from the heap and smiled brightly.

As if his wish had come true.

“The woman he dragged out… Was that Yukino-san?” I asked.

Mayuzumi slowly shook her head. She did not utter hopeful speculations. She simply stated a cruel fact without hesitation.

“Who knows what that thing was? He pictured god as all of creation. And among the image of man was the woman he loved. But I don’t think that was the same person he cherished. Just something with a very similar form, inspired by his own notions.”

Man cannot bring a person back to life. The things born there were simply imitations born of his imagination. I understood that.

I bit my lip hard. “I still think he got his wish, even if it was only for that brief moment. Don’t you think so?”

Mayuzumi did not answer. But she didn’t deny it either. Shirayuki came forward. She stepped into the room filled with his brother’s handwriting and looked around. Vacant eyes scanned the room. Seeing the writings made with the blood of the clan, Shirayuki turned her gaze downward as if holding something back. She didn’t move.

“It’s okay to cry,” I said.

Shirayuki raised her head. She stared at me with eyes that were asking, “Why would you say that?”

But I saw the depths of her eyes quivering.

People need to cry when they want to. Or else they’ll be wracked with regret.

I didn’t want her to feel that way.

“When he was swallowed by the flesh, you cried. You should cry when you’re sad. If you really don’t want to cry, I won’t say anything.”

If she didn’t want to cry, I wouldn’t be saying this.

She stood there, surveying the room, looking confused.

“But you seem heartbroken.”

Shirayuki’s eyes widened. She didn’t respond in any way. Then, she burst into tears. Like a broken dam, tears rolled down her cheeks, streaming from her wide-open eyes. Her face contorted.

She cried out loud.

A loud, childlike voice reverberated through the hut. Mayuzumi said nothing. I remained silent as I listened. The hut was filled with the sound of the voiceless calling out to their loved one.

Her howls echoed endlessly.

The voice of a sister crying for her lost brother.

Leave a Reply