Impossible. No matter how big the discrepancy was, he believed it would only be about 24 hours at most.
He was not that privy to the days of Falandia, but he knew that they also had 24-hour days.
Half a year, give or take… That he could have accepted. But this? This was just too much. After all, he was only traveling between worlds, not time.
“P-Proof! D-Do you have any proof! That it’s really 2022 today?” The boy asked forcefully.
It was almost as if his earlier silence was naught but a lie.
At the same time, the boy calmly remonstrated himself internally.
There was no reason for these people to lie to an unknown boy about something so trivial the current date.
Despite that, however, he still couldn’t accept the answer he’d been given.
The gap between 2 years and 8 years was simply too big.
“How about my phone? Here. See?
Do you really think we’d lie to you about something like this?” Kayama said, unable to comprehend why the boy was so panicked.
On that nostalgic Galapagos phone was displayed: 2022/04/02.
“If that’s not enough, then how about you check my foster too?” The female officer called Sasamori said as she nonchalantly showed her foster.
She touched on the device that looked like a giant wrist watch, and in the next moment, an image was projected in the air.
The boy cried out in shock, not because of how advanced the technology was, but because the image that was projected was shocking…. to him, at least.
“Ho ho,” Kayama laughed.
“Eh? Ah! Wrong! Wrong image!!”
—Please someone tell me this is a parallel world!
The boy wished for that so strongly that he felt he deserved to be praised for not saying it out loud.
This can’t be happening, he thought.
Impossible. Impossible. Impossible. Impossible. Impossible. Impossible.
Continue as he might to scream at himself inwardly that this wasn’t happening, his mind calmly told him that it was.
He traveled to this world using the factor he himself carried.
No matter how similar two worlds may be, they could never have the same factor.
That’s why there’s no mistaking it. This was indeed the world he was born in and raised for 13 years.
“I-I-I’m so sorry! It’s this one!” Sasamori said.
“Haha, sorry about that. This girl here is still in that newly wed mood, so she just can’t help but use every opportunity to show off her darling hubby and baby,” Kayama said.
“Please don’t tease me, Captain! Sorry about that. Here,” Sasamori said, beet red.
She continued to blush as she showed the boy the date, but the boy did not look at it as he sat back down.
It was supposed to be a happy topic, but the boy felt like something inside him had broken.
On the mysterious terminal was displayed the image of an adult man carrying a baby.
He could infer from the conversation that the man was her husband and the baby was hers.
A father full of love smiling as he held his child in his arms, and a mother waiting for them.
It was the very image of happiness.
Normally, the boy would smile too.
The sight of babies have always had a healing effect, after all. And the boy himself liked babies too.
However, this time, the baby did not paint a smile on the boy’s face, but instead pushed him down the depths of despair.
—What the hell is happening!?
Why did 8 years pass?
Why is this happening?
Why did I come back?
Why did I!?
For what reason!?
What is this? Just what is this—!?
The boy tore at his hair as he desperately kept himself from yelling out loud.
He didn’t understand. He couldn’t understand. He didn’t want to think about the things that he was starting to piece together.
“Hmm? Are you… Could you be? …Shinichi-kun?” Sasamori said.
It has been a long time since his name was last pronounced properly, but for some reason, his face was cramping.
He couldn’t remain emotionless anymore. It’s been one shocking thing after another.
His reaction was a tacit yes, and Sasamori smiled like a blooming flower.
“I knew it!
Your hair was long, so I couldn’t tell, but you really are Shinichi!” Sasamori said.
“You know him?” Kayama asked.
“Huh? Ah, no, actually it’s our first time meeting…
A-Ah… Umm… You know Shinichi-kun. About that last picture…
When she finally realized what was going on, she panicked.
She failed to form any coherent words as she stammered, while the boy just realized that 8 years had passed in the worse way possible.
The boy could tell from her pale face how panicked she was, and because of that, he calmed down.
No, he was forced to calm down.
—Sorry. Really… I’m sorry.
He felt bad, but he didn’t say the words out loud. Instead, he apologized inwardly.
She might be clumsy, but she wasn’t at fault.
She just had bad luck.
Only the boy was at fault.
Oh, right. He remembered and inwardly sarcastically laughed.
It’s been like this ever since.0
No matter how hard he planned or how right things seemed to be, things would always find a way to turn for the worse.
Sometimes he would do something and others would get mad, and then he would get a scolding. Sometimes, by some stroke of unfortunate luck, he would be at the wrong place and the wrong time, and he would end up troubling someone.
How silly could he be? That he actually forgot such a thing until now.
“Sasamori? What’s going on?” Kayama asked.
Kayama couldn’t follow what was going on as he glanced at the boy.
She was still confused, so she couldn’t talk properly.
“Before that, can you tell me one more thing?
What’s her official last name?” The boy asked.
Perhaps he just wanted to be sure. Perhaps he was still a little hopeful.
But unlike that emotionless face from before, right now, he looked like a helpless, sad boy.
Kayama answered his question without saying anything else.
That common last name was the nail in the coffin.
And the boy smiled in self-derision as he introduced himself.
“…I am Nakamura Shinichi.”
After finally coming back, this happens. As usual, he made the wrong choice.
He felt stupid for even trying to take this so seriously.
“I believe that makes me your second lieutenant’s… son by obligation,” the boy said with a dry laugh.
“…HAAAaaah!?” The captain yelled in disbelief.
And then.. silence filled the room.
Within that silence, the boy muttered to himself, “Yeah, that’s about right.”
Anyone would be shocked if a bomb like this were dropped in their face.
You thought only 2 years passed, but then it turns out, it was actually 8.
Then to top things off, a woman you don’t know suddenly shows you a picture of your own father with a new mother and a new sibling for you.
“Haha… Hahaha…. What the hell is this?
I just… don’t even… ha ha ha ha…”
—Arrgh! I don’t care anymore—!!!
As the boy laughed that hoarse laugh, he gave up thinking—
Tl Note: Galapagos phone = flip phones. The Japanese like them, apparently.