Volume 1, Epilogue - A Road Far Away, Aiming for The Sky
On that day, the hospital was very crowded because it was a holiday.
Patients rushed to the large and only hospital in the New City for examinations. There was a lot of people waiting in the lobby.
Passing by the side of that crowd, Tenryo Fuyuki set a foot into the general ward.
Waiting for procedures to finish at the entrance to the ward, her best friend who probably came with the same purpose came walked up to her, she had a surprised expression and a smile on her face.
"Eh?? And here Rui-san thought she will be first... why are you here, Fuyuki?"
"That's my line, Rucchan. Certainly, there's a wait until eleven o'clock, so why are you here an hour early."
Even though they smiled at each other, it didn't reach their eyes. Their gazes blamed the rival for trying to get a headstart, and as their eyes met sparks appeared between them.
On the chest of the girl with chestnut brown hair, shined a pendant that had a shape of the sun.
——Two days have passed ever since the confrontation with the Grim Reaper.
Rui and the Kiritou's researchers who had their spirit structure imprisoned have all woken up safely, the incident with Iolite running rampage has ended for the time being.
"Geez... Rucchan is also undergoing convalescence, you shouldn't overdo it. You'll collapse if you're not careful."
"Ahaha?, unfortunately Rui-san has already completely recovered. I can even run a marathon or something now. Fuyuki too, doesn't your head still hurt? Why don't you obediently go back?"
Rui's original physical strength and consciousness recovered very fast, it took just an hour and she was able to go home in the evening of the same day. Though, not knowing what after-effects there might be, she was continuously examined.
The two girls restrained each other.
It wasn't threatening, but it was a very chilly atmosphere. The nurse who serviced them said "Umm?this, the permit..." and held out the paper timidly.
Written on it was 『Room 202, Tenryo Taiga』.
Fifteen minutes later.
Bathing himself in the daylight pouring from the window, and looking at the sky that was so sunny it felt hateful. Tenryo Taiga joined his hands on his head while lying in bed quietly.
——Immediately after defeating the Reaper, Taiga could no longer endure the pain and fainted.
His consciousness was returned to his real body by emergency withdrawal that operated normally after the connection was restored, but because of arrhythmia and seizures caused by pain's feedback, he collapsed on spot.
After that, Fuyuki called an ambulance, he was transported to the hospital and landed in the hospital room because of severe trauma. He woke up yesterday after being administered with painkillers.
The uncomfortable feeling in his internal organs that felt like scrapping a wound still remained, but there was no problems with his body itself.
To be more exact, he felt overly energetic.
"...what a good weather?"
"Oh, you look pretty well."
He was so distracted he didn't even notice the sound of the door opening. When he looked at the source of the voice, he saw Kiritou Haya's figure closing the door behind her.
"...what, do you have anything you're guilty of?"
"You startled me? ...so, I wondered who it was, but it's Haya. Why are you here so early?"
"Since the aftermath was dealt with at last, I had time and decided to visit you. I've heard you are getting discharged today too."
Speaking of her appearance, it was very like her, Haya's outfit looked like one a lady would go in to a summer resort. She sat on the bed's edge, he didn't believe she came to visit him.
"I didn't thank you yet. Well done, for the time being. Thanks to you Iora was able to come back safely, thanks."
"You're welcome... speaking of which, what happened to Iora?"
Wondering when was she projected, he suddenly looked at his shoulder and saw a minimum size girl floating there.
Same as ever, but the strange wording of hers gave him a nostalgic feel, he responded to her with a wry smile.
"Heya, it's been a while."
〈"No idea if it's been a while, but hello. Taiga."〉
She lightly lowered her head, on her face was a faint smile. Completely different from how her face was as a Reaper. Even compared to Iora from before the Reaper incident, it felt like her emotions were more natural.
"Surprised? Somehow after returning back to normal, she evolved and became even more sensitive."
Saying that it was no different from a humans would be exaggerating, but without a doubt it was the most human smile an AI ever had.
And that definitely made Kiritou Haya happy.
I wonder if it's because I went through that kind of thing. But it seems like there's some anxiety remaining...
In the first place her rapid development was a trigger for 《Jail》 to activate. No matter how many times full scan was performed no abnormality was found, and they still haven't identified who wrote 《Jail》. There was a reason to be cautious.
...even if I think about it I can't do anything. Let's examine it steadily.
There were no candidates for it. There was no need to rush——for the time being she had one more thing to do, and she took out a card from her pocket.
"Taiga, please take this."
"Nn, isn't this a money card?"
It was an electronic money card, it was applied by scanning it with personal terminal. Engraved on it was a genuine emblem of Kiritou Group. The amount of money it charged was——fifty thousand.
"...haa, can it be, you're paying me to keep me silent?!"
"No way I'd do such a thing. There should be no problem with this little, it's the bounty for the Grim Reaper. It wasn't officially registered but... well, it's payment for your work. Spend it as you please."
The Reaper was identified by Aries as a virus and given a form. Price should be set automatically at that point.
"...is this fine?"
"Fine or whatever. It's the reward for your work. If you don't want it, just discard it."
Being told that, he had no choice but to accept it.
After confirming that Taiga held the card next to his terminal, Haya stood up.
"Well then, I'll be going back. Let's go, Iora."
〈"Understood, Master. Taiga, let's talk later."〉
Miniature-size Iora was gone from his shoulder, and Haya left.
Taiga looked at her back, and stretched on the bed. His joints made a dry sound, partly because they weren't used for two days.
"——Well then, it's about time."
He jumped down from the bed, and grabbed his packaged luggage. Like that Taiga left the hospital room.
The girls who came to pick up Taiga after he was discharged——couldn't enter the ward at the same time, and waited for the boy outside of the hospital.
By the way, that didn't mean he was forgotten.
"Rucchan made too much commotion. You didn't have to trouble yourself to pick Brother up."
"Mu, I don't want to be told that by Fuyuki who tried to get a headstart. ...though Rui-san is the same."
The two of them made a commotion in the ward entrance, and were ordered by the nurse to leave, and even though they were against it, they decided to wait outside of the hospital obediently.
It was spring's soft sunlight, it was comfortable even if they stayed outside——.
A delicate atmosphere was hanging between the two of them as their backs faced each other, and Rui decided to spark a conversation.
"Hey, Fuyuki... there's one thing I need to tell you, will you listen?"
There was no answer. But it was definitely heard, and believing she will listen to her,
"I, Saionji Rui am in love with Tenryo Taiga."
Those feelings, she revealed them to her best friend and rival.
It was a declaration of war.
The girl who turned away looked back, and continued her speech.
"Because I met him just recently, my reasoning was simple, I thought 『Let's think about it a little longer』 or something like that you know? But you know, I'm deeply in love with that cool prince, I can't stop myself."
I won't lose to Fuyuki——thinking like that, she faced her sky blue eyes straight. Those words were a head on challenge towards Fuyuki.
"No matter where, no matter to whom, I will never give Brother to anyone. Little Sister will always be by Brother's side, and will always support him. That person chasing his ephemeral dream, is my most beloved."
After listening to her best friend's rival declaration, Fuyuki didn't budge at all. Two different girls glared at each other——and they smiled together.
"Fufufu, having two people attracted to the same boy sure is difficult."
"So it is?"
Basked in sunlight both girls had radiant smiles, and waited for the person they thought about. Isn't he coming yet, it's about time——in the middle of it, Rui asked a question.
"Speaking of which, Fuyuki. Why did you fall in love with Taiga? I don't think you loved him ever since you were born, right?"
"You want to know... well it's not that special, it's pretty easy."
"...it was right after our parents died in an accident. Our heritage was ransacked and wasted by some relatives, and to get rid of Brother and Little Sister, they were put up for adoption. Little Sister had a talent as a hacker and was adopted by Karasuba's, Brother at that time was attending a dojo that had connections to Renjou and was picked up by them. Little Sister back then still didn't accept her parent's death, after being separated from her brother she realized 『I'm alone now』."
No matter how many unusual talents she had, Fuyuki was only seven years old at that time. Losing three people from her family in such a short time was too much for her.
"I cried all day long because of that. When I got tired of crying I went to sleep, and I started crying again when I woke up dreaming a nightmare. And then I went to sleep again... I waited three days to be picked up, every day was like that."
"Because Little Sister's room was secluded there was no opportunity to meet... and then on the last day, two hours before they came for us, we met."
She saw a young boy who blamed himself for everything, he could no longer cry, his heart was worn out and ragged and looked far worse than his little sister.
If just a little strength were to be put in, he would break. The only family she had left, debilitated so much it was dangerous.
"And then Brother forced Little Sister outside. Let's play together, he said. Game of tag, hide-and-seek... we played so much we didn't have time to grieve. And then I noticed, Little Sister desperately wanted Brother to smile."
He was so badly distorted, it looked very painful, and very lovely, seeing that figure she thought 'Yeah, this person is somehow broken.' And she stopped crying, she laughed.
"As not to have Brother regret that time in the future, I did my best to smile as we parted——that's what I decided, it was our last meeting. And as I parted with Brother, he said 'Someday, definitely we will live together again.'. And that, was unfair. Although I decided to part with him with a smile on my face, being told that I cried from joy."
Cry, cry, it's a promise.
For the sake of living together in their own house, both of them did their best.
"And well, that opportunity was like a trigger."
"...that seemed kinda dramatic?"
"It's embarrassing so it's a secret between you and me, okay?"
"Yup. Got it."
Both of them smiled facing each other, and turned around in agreement, they saw a boy walking slowly towards them.
"Brother? Over here?!"
"If you don't hurry up we'll leave you behind?"
Then, it was time to start a sweet and sour, exciting and fun day——
"...you're standing out so stop that..."
Taiga was called out to by two cute girls in front of a hospital full of people, he was troubled by a huge amount of piercing stares. Although he was glad they came to pick him up, it was problematic that they didn't know just how much they were standing out.
"...well, it can't be helped."
If he's to walk around with them, he has to be prepared to stand out. And he already decided in his mind. That he wants to stand next to those people. He wanted to be with them, that's what he thought. And he looked up at the sky.
It was a perfectly clear, endless blue sky, like a dream he wanted to reach, he wanted to stretch his hand and reach out towards it.
I want to go there, I want to go above it and look at the scenery, that was his dream.
Slowly, he began to walk towards the girls who waited for him.
The road leading towards his goal was long, he didn't know how long it was and how far it would take him.
But he still believed he can reach it, he decided in his mind that he will continue to walk towards the end.
For now, I have to beat this dull body into shape.
——The boy, aimed to be the strongest.
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