Volume 2, Epilogue - The End, and The Beginning
*sharasharashara*, the glossy black hair shook restlessly.
Seeing his little sister go back and forth nearby Taiga sighed and said for the fifth time that day.
"...Fuyuki, calm down a little."
She took note of what he said and stopped her feet, Fuyuki was wearing a specific remodelled kimono from Aries. However, a moment later she started to do the same thing again, causing Taiga to sigh once again.
"Haa... there's still twenty minutes until we're supposed to meet. Are you going to continue doing that until then?"
"B-but it's been a week! You know just how long Little Sister waited for this!"
"Well I know but——"
"Ahaha... it's pointless to say anything to Fuyuki when she's like that. She's been waiting for her contact all this time."
Hearing Rui's words he thought 'I guess so', and was reminded of how Fuyuki acted over the past few days. Whenever she had free time she checked on her terminal, he remembered about her appearance as she confirmed if there was any contact from 'that girl'.
———It's been ten days since they defeated 《Zygote》.
When Angel disappeared the blockade was released and the four were able to log out somehow. ——However, neither Fuyuki nor Shio came out of it unscathed.
What Taiga found when he rushed home, was the appearance of his little sister who was lying on the floor.
Although he immediately carried her to hospital, because she overused her brain she had to spend three whole days in bed. Fortunately there was no permanent damage or disorders, and now she was as good as new.
The problem was the other person——Shio.
Honestly, even though Taiga logged her out, he was still a bit lost.
That's because her real body was far away, in the Karasuba's place. He didn't know whether she suffered serious consequences or not.
Even so, there was nothing they could do for her. That's why, after logging out he asked Haya to collect information through her acquaintances.
It seems like when he rushed to the hospital——Haya was already on the move.
The damage caused to her to her virtual body converted into pain and also damaged her spirit. Especially her limbs which were lost to 《Zygote》 seemed like they didn't work.
I'm going to go through rehabilitation and I'll be able to move again, it's all right——after they listened to the message from Shio through Haya, the trio was relieved.
Since then, they had waited for six days. In other words, Shio contacted them yesterday. Because she recovered to some extent she was given a permission to log in, and told them that they'll meet in 《Aries》.
And thus, the three stood at Aries' initial point——and waited for Shio at this golden meadow.
"Uuu... Brother, how many minutes left?!"
"Five minutes. If it's the earnest Shio, she should be arriving about now———oh?"
Immediately after, a light appeared nearby them.
The pillar of light faded away slowly, and behind it appeared a girl's figure.
Silver hair that glittered lightly, thin limbs covered with pure white skin and a hunter costume with a strange amount of exposure. Shio opened her eyes slowly and smiled from ear to ear after finding the trio.
"Can it be, that I made you wait?"
"We just came here way too early. Don't worry about it. ...come on, Fuyuki, go on."
Even though she's been eagerly waiting for this, he had to press her back because she was so nervous.
Although she looked back anxiously for a moment, after seeing Taiga and Rui smile, she went to pick Shio up.
"Eh, umm... it's been ten days, Shii-chan."
"So it was... I've heard from Onii-san. To save me Hime-chan overdid it and passed out. Thank you very much."
"That's... it's Little Sister's fault that you became like that... rather than that, how's the condition of your body? I've heard there was an influence on your limbs."
"Their movement is still a bit dull, but there's no problem as far as normal life goes. The doctor said that if I continue the rehabilitation it will be restored completely, there's no need to worry."
"Is that so, I'm happy to hear that."
Fuyuki sighed with relief. Although she already heard it was all right through Haya, it seems like she was still anxious.
"Yup. I'm already free from Karasuba as well. With this I can finally start my own life."
"...free from Karasuba? What do you mean——it can't be, were you told something by your family?!"
"Well I was an unneeded child in the first place. My only remaining value lied in the fact I could be married off somewhere. But no one will buy defective goods right? They said, and after that I was told I can live how I want."
"That's... what are they thinking Shii-chan is!"
Anger boiled within Fuyuki as she heard those selfish words. After restraining her for so long, they throw her away now that she's no longer needed as if she was a disposable object.
"It might sound awful... but I'm happy with this, that's what I thought."
She was always living according to her family's wishes. She has always desperately tried to live up to their expectations.
And in it, there was no will of her own.
"It's the result of the first choice of my own in my life. I don't regret becoming friends with Hime-chan again."
The fact that it was a lie, was found out immediately.
Fuyuki knew just how much Shio wanted to be acknowledged by her family since she watched her from up close. There is no way a long period of ten years can be abandoned that easily.
"...what do you intend to do from now on?"
"For the time being I want to challenge many things, and find something I can enjoy. And... umm... for the time being I thought about continuing in 《Aries》, umm..."
They could easily tell the words that would come next.
That's why, Fuyuki said with a big smile.
"——Yes. Let's do our best from now on, Shii-chan."
A gentle and warm feeling filled her chest.
"So with this everything is settled, right?"
"Indeed. It seems like it was worth meddling in."
Seeing the two girls finally get along, Taiga immersed himself in an indescribable sense of accomplishment.
These two should be all right now. No matter what will come next, they won't be cut apart again——that's how strong the bond they created was.
"...ah! Speaking of which, Rui-san still didn't introduce herself to Shio-chan!"
"Nnn? Ahh... I guess you're right."
Taiga had traveled together with Shio, but since Rui had been in charge of Fuyuki she hadn't had a chance to talk with her. And after that they hadn't had time for that.
"Mumumu... Fuyuki's friend is also Rui-san's friend. That's why, I'm going to get along with her too."
"Ohh. Do your best—"
He sent off Rui who started to run towards the two, Taiga was left alone and he looked up at the sky.
The case was settled——although he decided to summarize like that, he didn't really think that way.
That was because there were too many unknowns in this incident. And all of them, were leading towards that mysterious virtual body called Angel.
I'll be more wary next time——that's what it said. Without a doubt, it wasn't done yet.
"Fine. Come if you want. Next time I'll cut you up."
He had to settle it with Angel sooner or later. Feeling conviction in his chest, Taiga started to walk slowly.
Until this matter starts to move again, probably until the not so distant future. He decided to enjoy his normal life in full.
———Under the distant blue sky, he headed towards a garden of girls with smiles blooming on their faces.
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