【Episode 1 Part A: Sister and Legend, Part 3】
Yatono Shiki was certainly… a unique individual, from the lack of a better word. She is a petite blonde girl whom I met after being killed together with Shiinamachi-senpai. Her appearance is as bizarre as her entire persona, with her constantly worn lab coat and differently colored eyes, one deep-sea blue and the other one golden, usually hidden from view by her long bangs. Normally she is stoic and enigmatic, but she also has a penchant for being painfully direct with her words which often border on sexual harassment (directed mostly towards me and senpai) and she also likes lame jokes that basically no one but her understands.
That being said, I have a feeling that all of the above is just a façade under which a person who genuinely cares for others is hidden. Whether it was the case of mine and senpai’s double murder of the Yatono mansion murder case, she was always a reliable partner I could always count on in the time of need. So if I had to describe what my feelings towards her are… then I would have to say that at first I saw her as a slightly weird fellow Knight serving under Shiinamachi-senpai.
But now… now…
「Now I feel like something has definitely changed between us.」
「Ara ara, and what do you think changed, exactly?」
Clearly interested to hear more details, Aika moves closer to me. She’s my cute and dependable little sister, but even I’m not that blind or dense not to see that she was growing more and more feminine by the day so having her so close to me naturally made my heart beat much faster. She talked so much about sexual stimulation and getting excited, but I wonder if she realizes how attractive she’s become herself!
But as we all know, the very concept of 「Getting aroused by one’s own sister」 is universally frowned upon across the entire world, so if I don’t want to spend the rest of my life dubbed as a twisted siscon pervert I’d best bring that matter to her attention.
「A-Aika, your face… it’s a bit close, don’t you think?」
「We’re brother and sister so I see no problems here. Besides, as the person responsible for raising you and your heart up to this point I need to observe you as closely as possible and I can’t do that without getting closer to you.」
「Is… that how it is?」
「That’s exactly how it is.」
Once she spoke those words I knew that any kind of further resistance was essentially futile. Moreover, I am able to live my perfectly normal high school life the way I am now only because she’s been doing her best to make a proper human being out of me, and she continues to do so to this day. If it wasn’t for her efforts, I would have remained a mindless machine unable to feel anything.
And I really don’t want to return to those times ever again.
「Now tell me, are you concerned about the distance between you and Shiki-san the same way you were concerned about me cutting the distance between us just now?」
That reminds me, even while I talked with her on the phone at Hachihoukan she seemed to be extremely wary of Shiki, to the point of actually calling her 「The kind of girl who brings nothing but trouble with her.」
According to Aika my feelings towards Shiinamachi-senpai are nothing more than the symptoms of sexual attraction typical for adolescent boys my age, and what I had going on with Shiki was more akin to the typical romantic dynamic of 「liking someone」. Why was she thinking so and how exactly did she arrived at that conclusion? I have no idea.
「So Aika, what you’re trying to tell me is that the feelings that I harbor towards Shiinamachi-senpai and Shiki are not one and the same?」
「It’s only natural for them not to be the same. It is in human nature to harbor different kinds of feelings towards different people, even though they might appear to be similar on the surface. T put it simply: you cannot love two different people in the same way. That is why every time you fall in love with someone it’s like experiencing your first love all over again.」
I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that the true meaning of that line was actually very deep.
「Do you have a lot of experience with first love, Aika?」
I’m worried about her as her brother, that’s why I felt compelled to ask her about it.
「Eh? Me? N-No, I do not… I mean personally, I… b-but I did an extensive research pertaining to the subject, so…」
Judging from her words she does not seem to have a lot of experience on the subject of first love. But since she got so red on the face, maybe there actually is someone she likes.
「Aika, it might not sound reliable coming from me, but when you find someone you’ll love, make sure to introduce me to the guy so I could evaluate him myself. As your older brother I’ll have to make sure that he’s worthy of you, but if he’s not…」
「Uwaaah, you sound like an overprotective father now.」
Maybe I shouldn’t have said that now? Does it bother her that much? I know I said that out of concern for her, but maybe I said too much and ended up hurting her feelings? After all, my words were kind of intruding on her privacy…
「I’m fine brother so stop making those sad puppy eyes, it’s depressing, really. Anyway, I don’t have anyone that I like yet!」
「Just don’t to worry about it, okay?!」
Aika turned her face away from me, looking kind of embarrassed. She told me not to worry about it because she has no one she likes at the moment, but this reaction just now seemed to suggest that it was the other way around and she just didn’t want to tell me about it and she just kept on glancing shyly in my direction. This obviously picked my interest, but I guess I have no reason not to trust her words for now.
「All right, I understand. If you tell me not to worry about it, then I won’t.」
「Good, let’s keep talking then!」
Seeing her go back to her usual self in a flash made me relieved. Now that’s the Aika I know!
「Continuing from where we left off, what makes you so interested in Shiki-san?」
Although I sometimes wish she wasn’t so stubbornly adamant when it comes to knowing every little detail of my emotional life.
Summoning Shiki’s image in my mind I chose my next words very carefully.
「Well, maybe the fact that I just don’t know what is going on in that head of hers. It’s just that everything she says or does seems to be knocking me out of my usual pace. It irks me to no end, but at the same time makes me wonder what kind of person she really is.」
During the mansion incident she worked together with me to resolve it and showed me some glances of her real 「self」 during the process. Because she’s opened up to me like that I felt like we’ve gotten somewhat closer together… but then I remembered that I basically know next to nothing about her. All that I know about her is that she’s my senpai as Shiinamachi-senpai’s Knight, she has a knack for technology and information gathering, has a Gift that amplifies sensory perception, cares for her family… and that’s it.
「I’m afraid that I don’t know anything about her that’s not related to the Nightkin stuff.」
「Hmm, so what you’re saying is that initially she was wary of you but begun to open up to you recently?」
「Open up, huh? Certainly, when it’s just the two of us alone she’s not sexually harassing me as often as she used to.」
Back when we first met she was filling our conversations with as many dirty jokes as she possibly could, but I think that as time went by she stopped using them as often when there was no one else around but me. But the fact that her golden eye hidden behind her bangs could pierce my soul just by staring at me remained just the same. Or maybe that is just how it looks for me, an amateur who couldn’t read the mood and subtle hints in someone’s behavior even if my life depended on it?
「Hmm, I see, I see. So even if she was sending you obvious signals and subtle hints there’d be no reaction whatsoever from you unless she said that straight to your face, huh?」
「When you put it like that I feel like I’m being accused of being a bigger blockhead than I actually am.」
「…It all makes sense now! When it comes to Shiinamachi-san you’re subconsciously being drawn to her body and in Shiki-san’s case the main factor of interest is her mind.」
「It really might be just as you say.」
Except for the fact that I am not drawn do senpai’s body alone. There are a lot of things that make me interested in her. Maybe it’s because of her friendliness and kindness, but she does not feel as mysterious as Shiki to me. She’s always kind, caring, hard-working and even though she’s easily embarrassed and can be kind of a clutz sometimes she’s always doing her best to maintain a positive attitude. That is the Shiinamachi-senpai I know and love.
On the contrary, Shiki’s actions are always hard to predict since I don’t know what she’s thinking at all, and that makes her difficult to handle at times. So if this truly means that I like senpai just because she’s not as complicated as Shiki and has a superior body, that would really mean that I’m just the worst kind of menkui possible. (TL Note: Menkui is a Japanese slang term for someone who is only interested in the other person because of his/her looks.)
As I was worried over whether or not I am that shallow of a man, a small smile rose on Aika’s lips.
「I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with the way you think about those two, but it does make me a little jealous.」
「Jealous? How so?」
「Because I’m the one who cares about you the most, brother! I did ever since we first met and I helped you become the person that you are now.」
「Yes, you’re absolutely right. That is something that I’ll never be able to repay you enough for. You’re also the most important person in my life to me, Aika.」
In reaction to my words Aika’s face got red again.
「Hmm, is that so? When did you grow so bold that you’re able to declare something like that with a straight face, brother?」
Aika scolded me, probably because my words took her by surprise.
「Ekhem! Anyway, I’ll keep looking after you, so you can rest assured.」
And she showed me a lovely sisterly smile.
I should do something to properly thank her for all the things she’s done for me up until now. Maybe I should get myself a part-time job and buy her a present? Yup, that sounds like a plan.
「As I said before, it’s good to see that you’re in good relations with girls around you, but I’d advise you to be careful not to let jealousy take control over you, otherwise it might put an unremovable stain on your relationships with them.」
「That is how jealousy works?」
「Yes. To illustrate it with an example, I’m sure you’ll be set on edge if you saw Shiinamachi-san getting all friendly with any guy besides you, and it would make you feel like your heart was squeezed into a tight knot right?」
How would I feel about that?
Certainly, just imagining it made me feel sick in my stomach.
「I see. So that’s what jealousy is.」
If it really works just like Aika described, then allowing it to take root in my heart would be a bad thing indeed.
「But how should I deal with feeling then? How can I not fall a victim to its poisonous bite?」
「That is a question no one has found a right answer to. It’s just something you’ll have to tackle head on when it will come to meet you.」
「There no right answer to this?」
「I’m afraid there is not. Every single human has a different heart and different values after all. So if there ever comes a time when you’ll get jealous about someone, you have to make sure to face that person with a sincere, honest attitude and talk to them about it without any reservations.」
Even if you tell me to be sincere towards others, I was still at a loss as to what I should do now with my current predicament. I literally had no idea. But if there’s one thing our whole conversation helped me understand it’s this.
「I understand. That being said, is there something I could do for you, Aika?」
I feel like I have to do at least that much to properly respond to all the love and support she’s been giving me.
However, what Aika actually demanded was nothing short of surprising.
「Next time you’ll go on a trip, please take me with you.」
That simple request would later turn out to be the catalyst for all sorts of trouble, but at that time I had absolutely no way of knowing that.
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