Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 4: Day and Night, Part 2】
The first thing I felt was an immense amount of scorching heat. The kind that makes you feel like you’re boiling inside and makes it increasingly hard to breathe.
All around me I could hear the sound of crackling fire together with the pulsating pain in my whole body that threatened to make me lose consciousness.
The world around me was surrounded by flames. Even when standing still, I could feel them licking my clothes, hair and body. When I looked at my hands, they were covered with liquid-filled blisters and hideous burn marks, but… but those weren’t my hands. Those were the hands of someone younger than me.
And then I realized.
This is not me. The body that’s enveloped in the burning flames does not belong to me. It belongs to the owner of this little hand.
「Noooooooooo! Onee-chan! ONEE-CHAAAAAAAN!」
Someone’s desperate scream echoed in my ears. A girl, a young one at that. She hugs me tightly, and the flames that eat away at my body engulf her clothes too.
If she stays with me like that, both of us will die soon. That…
「I don’t want that to happen.」
I heard such a voice calling out to me from somewhere. I tried to look around to search for it, but my burnt eyes were unable to see much anymore.
Everything is distorted by the blazing inferno that dances around me. Inside this world of fire and smoke, we were powerless. There was nothing but the sensation of the excruciating pain, and the desire for it to stop no matter the cost.
My eyes hurt and I cannot see anything.
My nose and lungs hurt and I cannot breathe.
My mouth hurts and I can’t make even the smallest of sounds due to how burned my lips are.
My skin hurts and I can’t move a muscle, as if my whole body was paralyzed.
My ears also hurt, but I can still hear the sound somewhat clearly.
The sound of pure agony and despair.
「No, please, God, nooo, Onee-chan, ONEE-CHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!」
The girl who supports my body howls at her own inability to help me.
「It hurts…. right? I’m sorry for…. for putting you through such a hideous… experience. Some sister I am, huh?」
The words barely left my burned mouth, but I heard them clearly in my head. Could it be that I could hear her inner voice because I was now connected to this young girl?
「It would seem to be the case. When you entered this another world, the spirit world, my thoughts and past probably got tangled up with yours, Monjiro-san, making you experience something quite horrifying. This is quite a problem. What should we do about it, I wonder?」
This voice belonged to Yugao-chan, meaning that what I am experiencing now are her and Asagao’s memories? One thing’s certain: this pain, this horrible sensation was indeed terrifying. I think I understand why she’s acting the way she does now. If she went through something so painful, then no wonder she was altered by this experience. Luckily for me, even though I felt the pain, I was still in control of my mental state. It was not perfect, as the sensation of being burned alive was stimulating my brain in all the wrong ways, but it was better than being swallowed up by this vision entirely.
「As expected of someone trained to be an assassin, you seem to be more resistant to pain and torture than I thought. Or is it because you’re just the type of guy who keeps on pushing himself even if all of his limbs are broken?」
Well, let’s just leave it at that and not dwell on the details too much. And more importantly, this bright disposition and cheerful manner of speaking…
「Yup, that is correct.」
My field of vision was obstructed by a flash of bright light, and in the next moment I was in a body of a young girl clad in a white dress. So those are Asagao’s memories, and I’m experiencing them through her eyes?
「Most likely. I don’t like the idea of you seeing it all with your own eyes, but at least it’ll save me the time I’d have to spend on explanations.」
She showed me a troubled smile.
「But first, some background knowledge. Four years ago, there was a big fire in the Yahata’s main house. At first we thought the cause was a natural one, but it soon became obvious that it was actually an arson. Someone purposefully set the whole building ablaze.」
She said it somewhat nonchalantly, but it was actually a serious matter! After all, someone has knowingly killed two or more people!
「Even Shiki-sama doesn’t know about it, because she was preoccupied with different, seemingly more important matters at the time. Ah, but I guess you weren’t supposed to know that. Ah well, if you want more details about, I’m afraid you’ll have to ask the person in question herself.」
I am indeed curious about it, but now is not the time to get distracted. I’ll just have to ask her about it when I get back from here, but from the little snippets of information she’s been giving me I can more or less guess that her life was not all rainbows and sunshine either.
But the incident from four years ago? That was something that I definitely wanted to know more about.
「Anyway, the fire started when both Yugao and I were sleeping, so for us, it was a hopelessly big pinch! And you felt just how short end of a stick I drew, right? It hit me pretty hard, both physically and mentally. And as we were trapped inside that hellish inferno, there was no way for anyone to come to our rescue. Why, you ask? Well that should be obvious. No sane person would risk diving head-first into a storm of fire, even f it would mean sentencing two innocent girls to death. That is just how instinct works.」
All the time when she was speaking, I saw those morbid images in my head and felt the sensation of fire crawling all over my skin. Certainly, one of the basic instincts rooted deeply in human mind is that the fire is dangerous and contact with it should be avoided at all costs. That is what the sense of pain is, to communicate to us what is dangerous and what is not. It’s not something that can be overcome by willpower alone. No one wants to be burned alive, so what do we do when we get burned or catch fire ourselves? We try to get rid of it. We’re trying to escape from it.
「Onee-chan, Onee-chan, nonononono, please don’t die, please, don’t die! DON’T LEAVE ME ALL ALONE!」
Yugao-chan screamed like that as she held Asagao’s burning body in her arms. From what I could tell, there was no much of a difference between her body now and four years ago. It’s like she stopped growing at all.
「What an insensitive thing to think, really! I’ll have you know that I’m still at an age where I haven’t reached my full growth potential. Give me another two or so years, and I’ll be fully matured, both height and chest size-wise!」
Crap, I forgot that she can somehow tell what I’m thinking about! But I didn’t mean anything malicious by that. It was a simple observation based on how she looked four years ago compared to how she’s looking now. I’m sure she must’ve suffered a lot in the past but knowing that her sister was with her all the time gave me a small solace.
It would be too cruel if she had to endure all that hardship and suffering by herself. By having someone by her side during those painful moments, at least she could share her fears, burdens and sadness with them. Seeing that from her perspective allowed me to understood just how important it is to have someone we love near us all the time. It was an experience that no amount of words could properly convey, and I’m happy that I was able to witness it.
You went through so much pain, Asagao. I can’t say that I know exactly how you felt then and how you feel now, but I am genuinely happy that even after all that pain and despair you experienced, you still managed to find happiness at your sister’s side.
「Buha, hahahahaha. Monjiro-san, you really are a hopeless weirdo!」
Even though my chest is now empty, I still felt it squeezing with a mixture of joy and sadness. It really might sound filthy rich coming from me, but if being happy for someone is what it means to be a weirdo, then I can as well be the king of weirdos.
「Ahaha, thank you. I’m really glad you feel that way. But I do feel sorry for Shiki-sama. To think that she has a thing for hopelessly romantic fellows!」
Well, as long as you’re happy I don’t care about anything else.
「If you say so. But I have to ask this anyway: Now that you’ve seen all this, how do you feel, Monjiro-san?」