Nakamura Shinichi was indeed depressed just as Youko had described.
He knew that it was pointless worrying so much. After all, there was no other way to it, and there was no changing the past either.
But to be able to accept that, to be able to look ahead with optimism and simply be happy… That was not something that the man called Nakamura Shinichi could easily accomplish.
That’s why he couldn’t help but be depressed.
Nevertheless, he kept moving, perhaps as a form of resistance, or perhaps out of fear that if he stopped, he might stop forever.
So he wandered aimlessly through a city whose name he didn’t even know, burdened by all sorts of negative thoughts, from frustration, to regret, to impatience, to powerlessness… Even he himself couldn’t quite understand anymore why he was doing all of this.
Yet though he walked aimlessly through the streets while haunted by such emotions, and despite how chaotic his state of mind was, his footsteps were firm and resolute.
Be that as it may, there was a distinct lack of people around him, likely because the atmosphere he exuded hinted at his state of mind. A commotion could be heard in the distance, but he was too preoccupied with his own emotions to be bothered.
Perhaps, not even the sounds of the city could enter his ears. His heart was just that heavy. It was as if he was carrying the weight of the whole world on his shoulders, and the dark and oppressive aura he radiated did little to help.
How long has it been? Where was he headed to?
Such questions have long left his mind, and despite knowing just how dangerous this was, he just left it all to his subconsciousness, while the same thoughts and worries continued to haunt him.
Where did it all go wrong? What was he to do now? There was no answer. No different answer, at least.
What awaited him at the end was a confrontation with his friend, and the consequences of that friend’s actions.
That’s why he was depressed.
“—aid! I— Wait!!”
But then something strange happened.
And the trajectory he’d decided on subconsciously changed. No, someone had changed it.
He was being dragged by something… Being called somewhere.
Was he drawn by some kind of factor? Well, that wasn’t that strange of a thing.
It was such a foolish thing to stick his head into an incident when he was like this.
But in order to switch gears, he needed something on that scale.
For such a reason, conspiracies would be thwarted, and people would be saved.
Ah, what a nuisance he was.
While he was thinking that to himself, something seemed to hit him, and his head cleared.
Perhaps, something cleared his head for him, perhaps his body judged that it had to clear itself.
Either way, a situation he hadn’t expected was unfolding right before his eyes.
“Hey, someone bring a towel!”
“Huh? Ah, okay!”
That was a long and narrow room with several benches lined up, leading to a small altar at the far end. A large crucifix could be seen hanging on the wall. There was also a small stained glass window, and of course, the serene smile of Virgin Mary was there to watch over them all.
The boy stood near the entrance, where he could see the entire scene.
To be precise, it was a chapel, but that made little difference to the boy.
Ever since that incident, this was a place he would never go to without a reason, so the fact that he’d wounded up here of all places was shocking indeed.
“What else does it look like?”
Then as if to take advantage of that opening, the voice of a woman from up close called out to him.
It was such a clear and beautiful voice, yet the emotion contained within was that of exasperation.
Shinichi looked at the woman, who – for some reason – was holding his arm.
She appeared to be in the latter half of her twenties, and was about a head taller than him.
She was dressed casually with a jacket and a pair of pants.
She wore a hat that covered most of her head, but her pink hair could still be seen, indicating what race she was.
Her skin had an exotic hue to it that was distinctly different from that of a typical tan. Her disheveled appearance revealed a pair of emerald eyes gazing in his direction. Even with just natural makeup, she was stunning enough to be considered beautiful by common standards. All of those factors combined together to elevate her beauty to a point that she could easily catch people’s attention.
But Shinichi’s thoughts revolved elsewhere.
『Other than her holding an umbrella even while inside, nothing else appear to be amiss. 』
It was curious if he merely cared little for appearances or was merely slow in that regard, but if a certain maid were to be asked, she would say that he simply did not prioritize it.
For women, who tended to become his targets, it was an inconvenient thing.
Regardless, he had appraised the situation as such, that’s why he was confused.
Actually, Shinichi was currently shocked to the point it seemed his heart would leap out of his chest.
Though because of a habit he’s long picked up, none of that showed on his face, but that didn’t change the fact that he was completely restless deep inside.
After all, this woman was holding his arms.
──I hadn’t noticed it at all until now.
No matter how abnormal his state of mind might have been, it was impossible for him not to notice that.
This woman had clearly brought him here.
If so, then she had not merely touched him but also dragged him.
There was no way he could have failed to notice that even in this state of mind.
“…Who are you?”
Above all, he truly didn’t recognize this person, so without intending to, he ended up speaking to in a flat voice void of all emotions.
To be fair, it did feel like he’d seen her somewhere before, but he was just too shaken to remember it properly.
Regardless, it was in a situation like this that he spoke with a tone of rejection.
That was clearly not the sort of attitude someone ought to adopt toward a woman they were meeting for the first time.
Moreover, while he was able to hide how shaken he was, his wariness was written all over his face.
In fact, if not for the fact that his arm had been grabbed without his knowing, he wouldn’t have even bothered to ask that.
Were either of his childhood friends here, they would have surely laughed, saying, ‘he’s gotten even worse with strangers! Now he’s even hostile right on the first meeting!’
“What!? You don’t know who I am!?”
But for some reason, the woman he spoke to was even more shocked than him.
Shinichi knew that she was being dead serious, so that bothered him even more, and he frowned.
However, even as he considered that such a reaction was strange, a disturbing sensation in the depths of his chest made his instincts react with hostility. His instincts were telling him that the person before him was an enemy.