She stood by the window and saw Tomoe off when she ran from the hospital.
She was in such a hurry that she didn’t notice her at all.
Understandably, she was curious why she was so panicked, but she could just ask that tomorrow. Right now, there was something else she needed to think about.
“I ended up saying something weird…”
Perhaps it was because she had her guard down most with her, or maybe she was just that weak because of this recent incident, but regardless, she’d exposed a memory and emotion that she’d never spoken of before.
She worried that Tomoe might pester her because of that, but she shook her head. She wasn’t that kind of person.
When she’d inadvertently spilled the beans, Tomoe just blamed herself.
For better or for worse that girl didn’t really hide her thoughts. Of course, she had her secrets, but that was a different story.
Perhaps that’s the reason why she felt sorry, and why she sighed from hiding how she really felt. She’d labeled her older brother during that incident as a cry baby and a coward, but subjectively speaking, she felt that such labels were uncalled for.
But if she were to be asked if he weren’t a coward, she wouldn’t know how to answer either.
She’d seen him cower and cry countless times.
In fact, he also cried ‘after’ that incident where they got attacked by that dog.
Someone saw them, and called for an ambulance to bring them to the hospital.
Their parents were then called, and when they got to the hospital, they scolded him severely.
───Why would you do something so reckless!?
As though he didn’t expect to be scolded at all, he cried.
But when he cried, their parents calmed down, and crouched down to embrace him, saying, ‘thank God you’re safe.’
Gradually, the tears stopped, and eventually, he stopped crying.
She would never forget the face her brother made that day. That face that ‘couldn’t understand’ at all why they were mad.
But as a little girl, she needed a lot more time to understand why that was.
“…But even if I understand it now, what’s the point?”
He was scared.
He didn’t want to be left alone ─── Because he didn’t know what to do.
Because he wouldn’t know what to do at all by himself, he was terrified from the bottom of his heart.
He was a cry baby.
He would cry when troubled ─── Because he didn’t know what to do.
Because he didn’t know what he’s supposed to do, he could lose his bearings and cry.
──I don’t get it.
I did exactly as they told me to, so why are they angry?
You’re the big brother, so make sure to protect your siblings.
That’s right. He promised to protect them because they told him to, so why were they angry?
Her older brother seriously racked his head for an answer, and as a little girl, she couldn’t understand at all where the problem there was.
When she’d grown enough to be able to put the problem into words, it didn’t matter anymore.
Her older brother had disappeared, their family was broken, and she became a student of the academy along with her younger brother.
Save for a few, no one believed that an unsupervised child would be able to survive in that world crawling with monsters.
Neither did she.
How could someone so lacking possibly survive that?
Her father that persistently believed in the survival of his son looked no different from a child throwing a tantrum.
As they sensed their mother’s mind growing frailer, they took her side, accepted that their older brother was dead, left their father, and blamed everything on someone.
Somehow someway they managed to survive these 8 years, but then… Their older brother suddenly
When she first heard about it, she thought it was some kind of terrible joke.
Their panicking mother contacted them, and on that very day, she and her twin returned to Japan.
What was waiting for them was a boy who looked exactly like that boy in her memory.
Her mom gulped and let out a tiny scream, but that was a given.
──What is this?
As the younger sister, she felt like someone had shown her a poorly made doll of her older brother.
『 A time lag has occurred for some reason, but our devices are certain that he is the person in question. 』
Even if she were to accept that explanation, her older brother just changed too little.
It was so eerie, as though he’d been forcefully sent through time from the day before he disappeared.
She knew that this was nothing more than a persecution complex on her part, but his existence made it seem as though the 8 years they’d spent were being denied.
Why? She wondered.
As a family of three, they supported each other and struggled desperately.
Despite her worsening psyche, their mother strove to fulfill her duty as a parent and forced herself to work, while they did their best to lighten her burdens.
And yet just when their efforts were about to be acknowledged by the world… Why?
Was this supposed to mean that their father was right? That same father, who was so possessed by his irrational faith in his son’s survival, that he gave no regard for their struggling mother, and just argued with her to no end.
She hated her father, who kept celebrating on his own, without knowing how they felt, and that thing that wasn’t even reacting.
Somewhere within her, rationality twitched, and despite knowing that she was just venting her anger, she could not find it in her to just stand there without saying anything.
From that moment on, nothing went right.
Her mother’s psyche started crumbling again, while her dad just kept arguing.
And no matter what happened, no matter what was said, her older brother didn’t react.
They struggled so much just to enter the academy, but that older brother was able to get in without any difficulty.
But he neither tried to get along with others nor tried to improve himself, he just continued to make a mess of the school.
She could understand that he was being treated accordingly as a miracle returnee, but she couldn’t accept it.
Whenever they met, he refused to answer any of her questions and just kept trying to avoid her.
This was wrong. This wasn’t the older brother that they admired so much.
He may have been somewhat off, but he was honest, showed a lot of emotions, and hated fighting.
Even when he couldn’t do something, he always worked hard, and respected the people who did their best.
He was timid, but he was always considerate of those around him.
“If anything, that mask was more like…”
She didn’t say the words after that, and just shook her head before sitting back on the bed and turning on the music app of her foster.
The soundproofing of the private rooms here was excellent. As long as the sound wasn’t overly loud, she wouldn’t be bothering anyone.
That’s why she could listen to the music of her favorite artists.
“…Monica’s songs are so good no matter how many times I hear them.”
She listened to the music to try and change her mood.
The song princess, Monica Chantal, was a rising star who has exploded in popularity and become a global hit recently.
And yet strangely, or intentionally, or perhaps, unconsciously, the song sung by that beautiful voice yearned for that broken family.