“No wonder you’re so sleepy,” Myuhi pointed out with a smile.
Youko nodded from atop his head as though to say, “exactly!”
Those were indeed people that Shinichi noticed since coming to Osaka, and of course, they were all crushed before they could put their nefarious plans into action.
Shinichi even took care of the cleanup afterwards, so indeed it would be a lie to say that he did not expend effort.
“Well, thanks. Though to be honest, I was more worried about you than the wolves.”
“I don’t want to hear that from someone who broke not only their fangs but even their mind.”
Myuhi laughed, but the expression within her eyes was something else altogether.
Those were eyes with some mixture of doubt or concern as though she were facing the unknown.
“Icchi, you’re quick to identify your enemies and deal with them, huh.”
“…The way you put it makes it sounds like I’m trigger happy. I might look like this, but I actually have my considerations… Amu.”
Of course, he himself noticed what Myuhi pointed out, but the way she put it made it sound like he would destroy any enemy he came across, and he didn’t want to admit that.
With how weak his protests were, however, it was evident that he had some self-awareness regarding that, but…
Myuhi spoke as though she had been waiting for those words.
But she did not speak as a student of the academy.
“What are you thinking letting an enemy myself walk around freely?”
She was speaking as an executive member of the rebel organization, Nameless.
There was no smile on her face, only a serious expression that was probably close to her true self.
“You were probably telling the truth when you said you wanted information from the perspective of a rebel organization and did not want to fight with a friend. But you’re not shrewd enough not to fight because of a reason like that.”
He should know very well just how many victims have been falling prey to them, and yet not only was he not destroying them, he was even allowing her to stand beside him, eat with him, and share a pleasant chat with him.
None of that fit with how he’s treated the enemies that he’s come across until now.
At the very least, he did not strike Myuhi as the type to be able to endure that.
“…Not because I’m a coward, not because I’m not wise enough, but because I’m not shrewd, huh.”
But Shinichi just wryly smiled at how appropriate that was, then he wiped the sauce from his mouth and peered into her green eyes.
With the serious expression he wore, Myuhi believed that he would give her a clear answer, but──
“Looks like you’re really enjoying yourself. That’s great!”
──He said something completely unrelated and nodded with a huge smile.
Myuhi was stunned, but she quickly collected herself and frowned.
“…I’m talking about something serious—”
“I know. You’re talking about how you feel guilty of all the sudden, right?”
He seemed almost convinced of that, and Myuhi could only gulp in response.
This was a field trip wherein she teased her roommate, Youko, and played with Aristel.
She would enjoy the local specialties, visit famous places, and laugh at the troubles that occurred.
All with another person just like a real student.
The more she enjoyed herself, the more those emotions she tried to suppress threatened to surface.
Blood left her face.
Her teeth could not mesh properly.
Even her ears and tail drooped while shaking as though she were afraid.
That was how little she wanted to talk.
She just wanted to ask about the questions that have been plaguing her heart since they made that deal akin to a declaration of war.
But the way he answered her sounded as though he was accusing her of merely wanting to be punished, and his eyes bore sharply into her.
“…I think I might have overdone it again.”
Fortunately or unfortunately, the person in question did not intend that at all.
He only casually noticed it and casually mentioned it because they were the same in that regard.
It was a troublesome habit of his that he sometimes skipped the process because he knew too much.
Sometimes it worked out for the best, but most of the time, as was in this case, it stripped his partner and left her as bare as the day she was born.
“I have to take responsibility for this, huh.”
Shinichi nodded, filled his mouth with the remaining takoyaki, washed them all down with his drink, then he squashed both of her cheeks and made her look him in the eye.
Was it the pain that spread from her cheeks? Or was it the proximity of the boy’s face that loomed over her?
Regardless, her shaking eyes calmed down.
“…Icchi, it hurts.”
“Let’s tour Osaka together! I had to deal with all sorts of problems, so I haven’t gone anywhere myself! Let’s go together, Myuhi!”
Then without waiting for her response, he took her hands and pulled her along.
At times like this, it was best to take them by surprise and get them caught up in your own pace.
But then again, that was how he usually did things anyway.
She almost stumbled as she followed him amidst her confusion.
But Shinichi just faced forward and said in a cheerful voice.
“I can’t cover it up, or get rid of it, or act like it’s not there. For people like us, our hands will never again be clean. So let’s just do our best to have fun, get excited, and make our hearts scream, okay?”
But unlike the tone of his voice, his words were heavy and dark.
It was only at the end when he turned around that he made a mischievous face and laughed, leaving Myuhi stunned.
She shook her head as though it ached.
“So I’m not allowed to receive or seek punishment, only embrace the pain for the rest of my life? No… If anything, it sounds as though you want me to have fun now so that I can suffer even more.”
“Yep, that’s exactly it.”
──What a cruel
Those words almost slipped out of her lips, but she caught them before they could and thought to herself, ‘this won’t do.’
Despite saying that ‘it would never disappear’ the boy was also telling her that it was ‘okay’ to have fun.
On one hand was pain that she did not wish to extricate herself from, and on the other was a pleasure she did not wish to let go of, and he delivered both to her… And that was irresistible.
“…Besides, that’s what I’m doing too.”
“Oh, how strong.”
“No way. As a certain someone put it, I’m just a self-centered, selfish, boneheaded guy.”
“…I don’t know who that someone is, but it’s hard to say if that description is apt or not.”
She had an idea why that person would describe him as such, but she also felt that there was something off about it.
Unable to figure out if it was appropriate or not, she wracked her brain while he dragged her along and laughed.
“Ku ku, you’ll figure it out soon if you continue to be my stalker. Because apparently, from a different point of view, there’s no man simpler and easier to understand than me.”
He ended the conversation with that and brought her along, and Myuhi too followed suit and took his hand with a smile.
“Now where to go? The Ferris wheel? The Kagetsu? Or how about the American Village? …But since we’re here, I think we should go for crab, after all.”
“Sounds good to me. Of course, it’s your treat, right, Icchi?”
“Well, I am asking out a pretty girl, right? I need to do at least that much…”
“You’ve been dragging me along this whole time, though? And why do you sound unsure about the pretty part!?”
The two spoke as they usually did, and perhaps because of the crowd, or perhaps out of consideration for dragging her along, they never kept pace with each other even once just like that time.
After all, his hand, that was full of invisible wounds, was touching her hand.
──What an unfair and cruel hand.
Though they interacted as they usually did, her heart both throbbed and ached.
The touch of his hand was just too poisonous to Garestonian women, and if she were ever to let her guard down, she would be unable to suppress the heat in her gaze as she looked at his back.
But she couldn’t let that happen. Because there were just too many things that she had to think about.
Where her own sins lay, the nature of the punishment she ought to receive, the future of Nameless and the two worlds, her own future, and the fact that his hands have already been tainted.
Above all────Just who was that person he kept referring to?
Myuhi tried to think about it objectively, only to find herself back into that vulgar line of thinking.
When she became conscious of it again, she couldn’t help but become awkward because of the sensation of the boy’s hand, and she even started hoping that they could be like this forever.
She wanted to put aside everything and just drown herself in the sea of depravity.
She wanted to spend the time making a fool out of herself talking about senseless things.
And as that desire and her enjoyment grew, so did the guilt.
But at least for now, she would have fun despite the pain.
Perhaps because she felt that the boy too was suffering the same thing, though they’d stopped talking, her gaze remained firmly on the boy’s back.
Was he in pain? Was he having fun?
If so, then
The heat of the contrasting excitement and pain drove her crazy.
It was hard to decide whether he’d answered her question or brushed it aside, but it wasn’t a bad idea to enjoy the trip together despite the torment of guilt.
At the very least, that’s how she felt right now.
She thought it was sly of him to imprint something so
That’s why she couldn’t suppress it anymore, and the heat finally surfaced on her chest, her face, and her eyes, not realizing just how entranced the smile she wore was.
“Kyuu kyuu kyuu.”
She ended up hearing those amused chirps akin to laughter.
In an instant, her whole body cooled down, and sweat slid down her forehead.
She’d forgotten but there was another creature here with them, and that creature was quietly putting her paw out.
One finger stuck out of her paw as she placed it right in front of her mouth, as though to say, ‘I’ll keep quiet for you.’
But at the same time, that also sounded like, ‘you owe me one,’ and Myuhi’s expression froze.
“Ah, I let my guard down…”
For some reason, she felt like a fatal weakness of hers had been caught by the beast, and she became depressed until Shinichi turned around again.