【Episode of the End: … and her birthday, Part 4】
Shiki does not confirm nor denies my mother’s words. She just stands there with her head hanged, avoiding looking me directly in the eyes. Fine by me, don’t look at me if you want, but I am really glad that you honestly wanted to patch things up between the three of you.
My heart however was still being ravaged by doubts and complicated feelings. It’s true that Kaguya might have been an indirect cause of the accident at 「Hachihoukan」, but if it wasn’t for her then Asagao would have stayed dead and Yugao-chan wouldn’t have gotten a new younger sister, so as much as I wanted to hate her for taking Shiinamachi-senpai away from me, I couldn’t deny that some of her actions ultimately resulted in something good happening.
「Since our initial attempt at bringing Kaguya her memories back failed, I have determined that the. Next best thing to do would be to use the technique used by the Yahata sisters at 「Hachihoukan」. Unfortunately, that plan was stopped before it even had the chance to begin, so I had to scratch it as well.」
Because my heart had been taken away from me that day, senpai had use her own heart to sustain the both of us, as a result of which she was asleep most of the time to avoid putting unnecessary strains on her body. So you want to tell me that if her life wasn’t in direct danger you’d have used Yugao-chan’s technique to revive senpai’s old personality instead of Yugao-chan’s sister?! Is that it?!
What Yugao-chan did back then was unforgivable, but I could understand why she decided to go with such drastic measures. She was doing all of that because she wanted to see her beloved sister again, no matter the cost. She was desperate to bring her back to life. Her plan might not have went as she envisioned, but as a result of that she got a new family member with whom she could form new bonds, and got a confirmation that Asagao was still alive, and maybe even brought back. Looking at it objectively, I’d say it turned out for the better.
「And what about Aika, huh? If you’re so 「ends justify the means」, then why did you choose to let her go?」
That’s right, my little sister, Aika. Remembering her image in my head now, she didn’t look like the current mother at all. Goes to show how much my consciousness has been manipulated. To begin with, Aika’ hair are more like mine in color, not jet-black like mother’s, and she’s definitely taller than her.
「Because I don’t want another irregular element to mess up our plan like last time. I’ve spent a substantial amount of time training you, so I know your thinking processes inside out and that you have that unusual talent to do exactly what I want you to do. That is why I decided to continue observing you from the best seat possible.」
In other words, she wanted to keep an eye on me because I was an easier target to manipulate than Aika due to how much time we spend together. That’s my mother for you: brutal judgements and sly words no matter who she was talking about or to. She was like that as long as I can remember.
And also ignoring the opinions and feelings of everyone and everything once she set out to do something she set her eyes on. That’s why she got me involved in this mess along with Fujisato and Kuhoh, destroyed the lives of Yugao-chan and Asagao and used Shiki as if she was just some handy tool. She was proceeding with that 「plan」 of hers just like that.
This strange fire-like feeling that is welling up inside of my heart… I wonder if that is the spark that lights the fire of rebellion against the parent in a child?
「Now I see that my decision to observe you personally was a correct one. Against all odds , you managed to splendidly protect Kaguya for me. I think you deserve a pat on the back for a job well done, Jiro. Or should I pat myself for raising you to be such an obedient son?」
Up until now, she was only explaining her plan to me in a cold voice, but when it came to praising me for protecting Kaguya, her voice has become gentle. Eerily gentle.
That was all she cared about after all. She was not pleased with my growth as a person. She was only pleased with my role as senpai’s bodyguard. Now I know that, and I understand that, but there was still one thing that I had to ask her about no matter what.
「Tell me this, mother. Will my beloved Shiinamachi-senpai ever return?」
「No, Jiro, she’s not going to return, because she didn’t truly exist to begin with.」
You say that, but that’s how I see that 「Princess Kaguya」 of yours. An impostor who stole the life of someone important to me and now she is just sitting here and happily listens to our conversation with arms folded on her chest as if nothing had happened!
This… this thing is not Shiinamachi-senpai I know! I refuse to believe that this is her real self!
「I… I see…」
I have no idea what I should do now? How should I go on knowing that the person I whom I was giving my best for is gone and will never come back?!
I feel so lost and alone… I wanted to continue walking through life beside her, but there is no longer any place for me there.
「Are you done here, Yuuto-san? I think our time here is almost up.」
「Yes Kaguya, I’ve said just about everything I wanted to say. We should go now, the Yatonos will be here to pick us up soon.」
「All right, let us be on our way then.」
When Kaguya suddenly rises, senpai’s familiar sweet scent filled my nose. But that scent does not belong to senpai anymore.
I still don’t fully understand what is going on here, but I have no choice but to accept it. Realizing the true hopelessness of my situation, my eyes filled with tears again.
「Jiro-kun, I have already taken my 『Divine Gift Thanatos』 back from you. With that, this is the end of your relationship with me… and Shiki.」
Listening to Kaguya’s words made me feel so sick as if I was about to puke all of my insides out and my chest hurt so much….
So she took 『Thanatos』 back from me, huh? I see, now the bond that I shared with her has been truly severed. It is no more.
And Shiki still refuses to look me in the eyes. She just leaves the room first without looking back.
And I just continued to lie there, unable to utter a single word. Because I know that nothing I could say would stop them now. All I could see was their backs as they slowly got further and further away from me. For some reason, I thought they were looking very sad and lonely.
I wanted to stand up and catch up to them, but I just couldn’t do it. My feet have no power left in them.
Just as she was about to leave the room, Kaguya looked back at me and said:
「Jiro-kun, now that you are my Knight no longer there’s no need for you to continue to involve yourself with a bloody world of the Lords. So please, make sure to live the rest of your days in happiness as a proper human being. That is what your beloved Shiinamachi-senpai wanted me to tell you before she disappeared.」
It’s no use. That was the last straw for me. I finally started crying so loudly that my own crying voice was the only thing I could hear. Kaguya listened to my cries for a while and then she simply left without saying a word.
Again, I couldn’t do anything to stop her from leaving me.
「Jiro, allow me to give you one last lesson as your relationship counselor: First love… never comes to fruition.」
And with that, mother also leaves through the door.
The only thing that could be heard in the now empty Shiinamachi-senpai’s room my crying was the only thing that could be heard.