“Contact was first made 38 years ago.
Diplomats from countries throughout the world discussed with them in secret, preparing for the day they unveil their existence to the public.
8 years ago, on the very next day you were drifted to Garesto, their existence was finally revealed.”
“The very next day!?
Does that mean the reason I…”
“Yep. When the existence of the otherworld was revealed, some drifters were also brought back, so the government decided to investigate missing people and runaways with suspicious circumstances.
In your case, it was immediately concluded that you fell into a dimension hole, so Garesto promptly sent a search party, but…”
“You couldn’t find me.”
“Ah, it’s fine. I just wanted to confirm. I’m not blaming you or anything!”
He did drift into a different otherworld, after all, so it wasn’t as if they could actually find him in Garesto. If anything, Shinichi felt a little guilty for making them go on a wild goose chase.
“No it’s my fault for ending up in such a weird place!”
You’re as kind as I’ve heard, Shinichi-kun.”
Being praised like that left Shinichi at a loss since he’s only been responding selfishly so far.
Just how did his father describe him to her? He really wanted to know.
Moreover, Shinichi also felt inexplicably uneasy. If these people couldn’t figure out that he ended up in a different otherworld, then the reason he went missing must be equally crazy. That left Shinichi with an ill foreboding, but he ignored it for now, and just listened.
“Actually, the nature reserve you were at wasn’t searched at all. Not because we didn’t want to, but because we couldn’t. I’m sure you know full well that it’s an unexplored area, but on top of that there are countless ferocious organisms living there, and not even Garesto’s technology could cope with them,” Rinko said.
“…And even if I was there, the odds of survival were nil,” Shinichi said.
All the more so if it were a normal middle school student from Japan. Regardless who considered it, regardless if both of his parents demanded it, there was no way anyone would risk it. It was just too high a risk for what was obviously a hopeless endeavor.
Rinko didn’t say anything, but that in and of itself was a sort of tacit agreement.
Personally, Shinichi was actually relieved that he didn’t end up sending people on a hellish wild good chase, but Rinko unfortunately mistook his silence for grief – that people had given up on him. Which is why she raised her voice and said.
“But Nobuhiko-san has always believed that you would survive! He’s been waiting all this time!” Rinko said as she leaned so close to him that she was almost out of her chair.
Expectedly, that sudden outburst surprised Shinichi, but Rinko continued to gaze into his eyes as she asked him to believe in his father.
“That’s why I’m so happy that you’re alive. Really… I’m… U, aa *sniff, Sorry.”
When she saw Shinichi’s face that was the splitting image of the picture she’d seen countless times, she couldn’t help but cry as all sorts of emotion welled up.
It was at this moment that reality finally settled in. Shinichi had at long last returned.
Meanwhile, Shinichi was confused. He couldn’t understand. Why? Why was this woman so happy that he returned? So much so that she actually started crying on her own. What was he supposed to do now?
“GUSU, UU, *sniff, actually…
There was a newly developed tool that could search all of Garesto. They said they could use it to search for the missing earthlings, but when they ran a search last month…” She was part regretful and part angry as she said that.
She must’ve felt they did something unnecessary. Although they did manage to find some missing earthlings, the fact that the new technology should’ve been able to find earthlings even in low-populate areas – except for the nature reserve – made Nobuhiko, Shinichi’s father, place his last hopes in it.
“You still couldn’t find me…”
“We couldn’t find you…
Your father acted strong in front of us, but I know he was suffering.
Just recently he was staring at your picture in the dead of the night, crying all by himself…
That’s why… I’m really glad… that you came back alive, Shinichi-kun!” She said despite the tears in her eyes.
It was at this point that Shinichi finally understood why she was so happy to see him come back.
She loved his father, truly, from the bottom of her heart, and that’s why she was so happy to see him return alive.
When Shinichi thought of how his father continued to believe in his survival these past 8 years, his heart ached. At the same time, he thought that this woman, who was now bawling her eyes out because of that, was someone worth trusting. So much so that he actually felt ashamed for suspecting her.
“I managed to contact Nobuhiko-san just a while ago.
He must be elated. He should be arriving shortly.”
Although she said that happily while wiping the tears in her eyes, Shinichi couldn’t help but tense up again. She might have told him how his father waited these last 8 years, but meeting him all of the sudden was too scary. That was a fear stemming from the 6 year time difference and the difference in their familial relationship.
Rinko was a sharp woman, and she was immediately able to see through Shinichi’s fears, but by the time she stood up with resolve in her eyes to say something.
“Umm… I know it’s a bit strange for me to be the one saying this, but… I think I should tell you beforehand—”
“Shinichi!!!” A voice cried out.
It was already too late. A certain someone had already arrived.
Following an intense succession of sounds, the door to the waiting room swung open, and a man in suit appeared. He looked to be in his latter 40s and was heavily drenched in sweat.
That man moved with so much haste that he looked like he was about to fall.
“Nobuhiko-san!?” Rinko cried out.
“D-Dad?” Shinichi said.
The both of them stood up inadvertently at the man’s sudden appearance. He came a lot earlier than they’d expected.
The man’s shoulders heaved up and down as he looked at Shinichi. He was a little older than he last remembered, but there was no doubting it.
This man was indeed his father, Nakamura Nobuhiko.
“Ah! Ahh! Shinichi!”
Shinichi’s hair was also longer than the man remembered, but this young boy was undoubtedly his son.
In the next moment, that man walked up to Shinichi and with all the feelings pent up these past 8 years called out his name as he gave him one big hug.
“U-Uwaah, thank goodness! Thank goodness!
I knew you were alive! I just knew you were! Shinichi, Shinichi, Shinichi!!”