【Episode 1 Part A: Sister and Legend, Part 5】
The library was opened every day even during summer vacation. I was to accommodate to the needs of the students who liked reading and needed some quiet place to do so without being disturbed. Because of that we the members of the Librarian Committee were tasked with managing the place, so even when there was no classes we were required to come to school as if it was any normal school day.
When I entered inside, the tone of my voice dropped to something barely louder than a whisper.
You know, there was something awfully sentimental about being in an empty library room on a summer evening. Even I, a person who was still learning about his emotions, couldn’t help it but to feel my heart being squeezed by a mysterious loneliness triggered by the sight of the rays of the setting sun shining through the windows as the world was slowly transitioning between day and night.
Wow, that sounded so oddly poetic. Maybe that’s the sign that I’m getting even closer to being the same as any other high school student my age?
Anyhow, putting the matter of this lovely ethereal scenery aside, there was one more reason why my heart felt as if it was being tied into a bundle of knots. It’s because she was here.
Shiinamachi-senpai was quietly reading a book by the window while the gentle breeze made her hair dance gently in the air around her.
It was a truly breathtaking sight.
The only light that was pouring into the room as she flipped through the pages with her beautiful fingers was that of the setting sun, giving the entire scene a vibe as if it was a painting which was brought to life before my very eyes.
She just continues to read without paying any attention to the world around her, occasionally brushing her hair form her face. It was a magnificent spectacle that I wanted to watch for all eternity if I could.
Even though it was the middle of the summer vacation, the library was always filled with students until late evenings, so it was only then that Shiinamachi-senpai could have the whole place to herself to read in peace and solitude like that. The fact that she was also entrusted with the library key was also helpful.
Being here right now, in the middle of this wonderful situation felt like a dream come true to me, but at the same time I felt that if I make so much as a sound or blink my eyes then this scene would just fade into nothingness and I would never be able to experience it again.
「Ah! Um… what’s wrong, Jiro-kun?」
She probably noticed that I was staring at her all this time.
Shy as she is, she looked at me with a flushed face and a somewhat troubled smile.
「No, it’s nothing. Please, don’t mind me and keep reading.」
「That might be a little difficult to do. Knowing that you look at me so intensely I just can’t concentrate.」
Ahh, she’s just so adorable that I feel like my soul has been rejuvenated and cleansed off all its worries. I’d love to tease her some more to see even more of her adorable reactions, but since it’s nowhere near as fun when there is no one else but us around it’ll just have to wait until later.
「I’m sorry for making you uncomfortable, but you looked so beautiful just now that I just couldn’t resist.」
「P, please don’t say things like that with such a straight face!」
I just spoke my honest opinion, but it made senpai go even redder than she already was.
「Geez, Jiro-kun, you really are such a…」
Did I do something wrong here or is it just that she’s hot from the temperature? Oh well, no sense dwelling on that now when we have something more important to discuss.
「Senpai, I’ve received a call from Yorugao and Yugao-chan.」
「Oh, is that so? How are they doing?」
「Fine enough I guess. They also gave some 「juicy information」 that might interest you.」
「 Juicy… information?」
Senpai closed the book she was reading and gave me her full attention, so I told her everything that Yorugao and Yugao-chan told me.
「Apparently some kind of 「Legendary Knight」 will be coming to this city soon.」
For a whole senpai seemed to be deep in thought.
Seeing how excited Yorugao was I thought he was some kind of a celebrity in the world of the Nightkin, but senpai didn’t seem to know who it was at all.
「According to the twins he’s able to control people’s minds and alter their perception of reality.」
「If that’s really the case, then you think he’s the owner of an illusion-based Gift?」
「I think that the probability of him having such power is really high, but of course I can’t say for sure.」
If this guy was indeed someone who uses illusions then it would be pretty awful, but it might as well really be just an ability that tampers with the brains of his enemies. After all, the brain is such a bizarre thing that it can often make us believe that we see things that are not real. After all, a white, human shaped figure does not necessarily have to be a 「ghost」, right?
「Having such a versatile ability is dangerous in and out of itself, but I think that it’ll be even more dangerous since the owner of such an ability is widely regarded as 「Legendary.」」
「…. You have a point. And if he can indeed alter the entire sensory perception, then it means that Shiki-san would be the most vulnerable against him.」
Now that she mentions it, she’s right.
Shiki’s power is the 『Demonic Gift Satori』, an easy-to-use-hard-to-master versatile ability which amplifies the user’s sensory perception. But it has a major flaw that is pretty easy to exploit: If you get harmed while your sense of touch (and with it, the ability to feel pain) is strengthened, you’ll also receive the damage that will be that many times stronger. Same would happen to you if one of your senses got overloaded.
Skilled as she is at using it, I fear that even her mastery of her own Gift might not be enough against someone who has achieved the status of 「Legend.」
「It is also said that apparently he’s capable of killing a Lord even on a safe day.」
「If that’s the case, then I wonder if his aim is going to be myself or Fujisato-san?」
If someone like him is coming to a small town like ours, then surely he must have his reasons for doing so. If he’s as amazing as Yorugao painted him to be, then maybe he heard of Shiinamachi-senpai and her Gift of Immortality and that’s his reason for coming here?
「There’s no use in grasping at straws here. Let’s get Shiki-san to join us so we can discuss it all together. Three heads are better than two, after all.」
Taking the closed book with her, senpai left the library together with me.
The corridor we were going through was also beautifully lit by the setting sun. Senpai was apparently still thinking about something as she clutched the book in both her hands. Apparently she got so hooked into it that she decided to borrow it after all.
I tried to get a sneak-peak at the cover to see what its title was, but it must’ve been a foreign one for it was written with the letters whose meaning I was unable to decipher. At least I learned that senpai was so knowledgeable that she didn’t have to limit herself to Japanese books only.
「I ‘ve lost my memories so I can’t say for sure, but maybe I was living in many countries before I came to Japan.」 is what she said to me one time with a really sad look on her face.
…..That’s right, senpai has lost her memories and can’t remember anything that happened in her life more than three years prior.
So maybe… it’s only a thought, nothing more, but maybe… maybe she actually knew that 「Legendary Knight」 guy in person?
「It would be a problem if it turns out to be true.」
「Hmm? Did you say something, Jiro-kun?」
「N-No, nothing. It’s nothing.」
I covered my mouth and coughed to play it off. I realize that the senpai I know and adore is only a small portion of a much larger canvas. I don’t know how long the life she is living was up to this point and I also don’t know what she’s been through and what kind of things did she experienced. I only know her as my cheerful senpai who always maintained a positive attitude towards life no matter what happened. Besides that, I don’t know anything about her, and it saddens me to no end.
But the same could be said about senpai herself. She has no memories aside those of up to three years ago, so that means she can’t even be sure if her current personality is the 「real」 her.
She might be doing her best not to show it, but I knew it after just one glance:
Under that lovely smile and beautiful face was actually a lonely girl, scared and unsure of what she should do.