Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly ~ Chapter One ~

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(The mystery of this mansion deepens. Does anyone have any favorite characters yet? I’m a total fan of Hikage and Mr. Fox Mask right now.)

In the Prologue, we left off with Beniyuri falling asleep after meeting the rest of the people trapped in this mansion and establishing names. Now, what does the mansion and its mysteries have in store for our characters?

*** CHAPTER ONE ***

Beniyuri wakes up to her phone chiming with an incoming message. How long did she sleep for? She felt like she was in a extremely deep sleep… Blinking, she waits for her eyes to focus, only to see an unfamiliar ceiling. This place is…? She looks around the room with a sense of discomfort. Ah! She recalls how, yesterday, she was attacked by a monster and then she joined up with everyone.

As she recalls the events of yesterday, she also remembers the countless gloomy things as well. She sighs out loud and realizes that, amongst those other things, there’s no way she would have remembered the ceiling, wall, and floor. She has no memories. She grabs her cellphone from the side table, where the lamp is dimmed, and presses the power button. 『万華鏡ハ館二アル』(The kaleidoscope is inside the mansion) is displayed with an unknown sender, as she thought.

She sighs deeply from within her chest at the words on her screen. If only she could sigh out the leaden feeling in her chest. At any rate, everything wasn’t a dream. She pats down her hair simply and arranges her clothes before heading down to the lower floor. The moment her feet touched the carpet of the living room, people turned around immediately.

Karasuba greets her with a cheery smile and invites her to come closer with his hand to where he’s sitting on the corner sofa. She recalls that Beniyuri… is her, right? He informs her that he was anxiously waiting for her for so long he thought he was going to die. She returns his greeting and confirms that his name is… Karasuba-san, right? He nods before pointing out that it’s his temporary name to be called. Although, he’d also like it if she didn’t talk to him with that behavior.

At her confused look, he points out that they all seem to be around the same age and so they can drop the honorifics. Beniyuri realizes that he has a point since it’d be strange if she is the only one using polite language. She nods and asks if she can call him Karasuba-kun then. He grins widely at that and tells her to go ahead before scooting over on the sofa and patting the seat beside him. He tells her not to continue standing there and to come over, before smirking and pointing out that his lap is free too. AH, THE PLAYBOY CHARACTER IS FOUND!

She just smiles politely and accepts his offer of the seat beside him. He pouts at how boring that is. She lowers herself lightly onto the sofa while acting as if she doesn’t notice his dissatisfied expression. It looks like she was the last person to join in and everybody is sitting in a circle. Could she have… greatly overslept? She hesitantly asks Karasuba if they were waiting to talk about something greatly important? Which is what he meant by “anxiously waiting”.

Karasuba shakes his head and answers not particularly. It was just getting hard to breathe with all these men around and so he wanted her to come. He breathes in deeply before claiming that the air is completely different with a girl around and that Beniyuri is his type. OH WOW HE MOVES FAST LMFAO. She thanks him… weakly and gives him an ambiguous smile. A voice from another direction calls out.

Kagiha asks her if she slept well yesterday. She thanks him and replies that she did, although with the clocks being broken she is unsure how long she slept. Is it… morning right now? He admits that they have nothing to go on to make a determination but it’s been 6-7 hours since they dispersed yesterday. She recalls that Kagiha stood watch, along with someone else…

She sneaks a fleeting glance at Hikage but he notices her glance and snorts softly before remarking on her thick nerves to sleep in this kind of situation. He thought girls would be a bit more sensitive but he’s relieved. A COMPLIMENT FROM HIKAGE? *SWOONS*. She laughs sheepishly before admitting her own surprise at her sound sleep. She wonders out loud if it is because the two of them were keeping watch and so she felt safe. She thanks them.

Hikage is taken aback by her words before stating flatly that her head is amazing to not even register sarcasm. … OH NO I HAVE IT BAD FOR THIS GUY. She narrows her eyes at how he’s immediately saying those things. But she does know that no matter what he says he saved her and is unexpectedly good at taking care of someone. Her eyes move to Yamato, who is sitting beside him and resting his chin on a hand in boredom.

She asks Yamato if he was able to rest. He only exhales deeply and glances at her. She presses on to comment on how cold it was yesterday, right? It seemed to have been raining too. He looks away without response and she winces at how he won’t talk to her. Karasuba makes a commotion on how cold Yamato is to ignore a girl. He thinks that Yamato must not have been popular before he lost his memories and looks at him pityingly.

Yamato clicks his tongue before snapping out that Karasuba is annoying and he’s tempted to tape his mouth shut. Karasuba is undeterred and pounces on the fact that if Yamato is annoyed then he must want to be popular right? Ah, he has some cute points then! Yamato asks him lowly if he wants the life to be choked out of him. Kagiha quickly pulls Yamato away from Karasuba. He encourages Yamato to cool down and then requests Karasuba not to make a pass at Yamato.

Both of them, calmed by Kagiha, sit down in their chairs but continue glaring at each other. Hikage sighs before muttering about how troublesome those guys are. She laughs awkwardly but thinks that it’s quite amazing for them to fight in their first meeting… she can almost see them being good friends. At any rate, having made comrades is a good thing.

They move into the kitchen and divide the bags that were placed in the storeroom before searching around in them. Karasuba lists out that they seem to have water, seasoning, dried meat and flour, cheese… and various other things. There isn’t any poison in these, is there? Kagiha confirms that he ate some before they arrived and there doesn’t seem to be a problem. Beniyuri thinks on how it doesn’t look like they have to worry about food. She’s surprised to see that they were given emergency stores, as if someone anticipated that they would spend a long time here, but she is relieved that they will be able to stave off any starvation.

Beniyuri suddenly looks around and wonders where Hikage is; he had been beside her but now he isn’t. After looking around, she spots him partly on the second floor and quietly walks over to him. She asks him what he’s thinking about while sitting here. He’ll develop wrinkles between his brows. Hikage looks quietly back at her while still remaining crouched and replies that he’s thinking about what the kaleidoscope is. He’s also thinking about the unknown monsters and the sudden appearance of their guns…

She realizes that, although there is a sense of relief at having made comrades, they haven’t resolved any of their problems. He nods curtly. She thinks on how there has been nothing but strange things since the moment she woke. Even now it feels like a dream… She suddenly remembers to ask him if he received a message a while ago. He repeats the new message about the kaleidoscope being in the mansion? Everyone received it and it looks like the kaleidoscope is precious to the sender.

Beniyuri agrees because they keep getting sent these acute messages– but then Hikage’s eyes widen and he suddenly stands up to cross the room in a long strides. He roughly grabs the arm of someone who had gripped the door handle to the entrance. Hikage asks Yamato lowly what he was trying to do. Could he have been trying to go outside? Yamato answers flatly that he was. Hikage raises his voice clearly in anger at him to refrain from acting on his own. OH MAN OH MAN THAT LOW COMMANDING VOICE.

Yamato throws off the hand on his arm and, with a sharp glint in his eyes, glares at Hikage. He points out that it doesn’t matter what the kaleidoscope is so long as they can get out of here, right? He growls out that he’s different from them and doesn’t want to continue with this farce. If the entry hall and windows are no good then he’ll search for another exit. Beniyuri stutters out that it’s dangerous to move alone, although she admits that yesterday she ran out of here on her own so she may not be able to say that but still…

She rushes up to him in a fluster and grabs onto the cuff of his jacket. She tightens her grip and has no intention of letting him go, but he suddenly exhales loudly like he’s been outlasted. Yamato confesses to them that he has an unbearable feeling of needing to hurry back home. She hesitantly asks him why, but he snaps out that if he knew he wouldn’t be experiencing this much pain. All he knows is that he can’t stand around here hesitating… He falls silent with an expression of deep thought.

He continues to stand there searching for words, and then the two people in the storage room come out at the commotion. Kagiha asks Yamato why he is so impatient… could he have something that he can’t forget…? Yamato only breathes in shakily. Karasuba wonders out loud if it’s a girlfriend, which means he’d have to withdraw his claim about Yamato being unpopular. Yamato only bites his lip without denying or affirming anything.

Beniyuri notes that even though he doesn’t have any memories, Yamato seems to have some kind of clue left in him… something unforgettable even though he forgot. Hikage sighs before admitting that he thinks they’ll need to search the mansion one day. She looks at him in confusion and so he continues on to say that he’s opposed to recklessly flying out but nothing will start if they remain confined here. He also thinks that if they don’t start moving as to how the sender of their messages wants then they might find another measure of forcing them to act to excite themselves.

Karasuba asks him what he means by another measure. Hikage points out that the easiest thing would be taking away this base from them. Hikage ignores Beniyuri’s protest at that and continues on to ask everyone to think; the sender of their emails took them here as hostages. Due to some circumstances, the sender cannot seem to find the kaleidoscope themselves and so seizing the mansion changes nothing. Hikage concludes that this is what he would do if he were the unknown sender. At any rate, he thinks it would be better for them to move first before their opponent throws out an unexpected plan.

Beniyuri thinks hard on this but realizes that it doesn’t seem like they can ignore the instructions on their cellphones since all the keys are being held by that person. Kagiha blinks in surprise when he realizes that, in the end, that means Hikage is agreeing with Yamato? Hikage shrugs and says that it appears that way, but he doesn’t want to be the same as the idiot who rushes out without thinking of anything. Yamato only sneers and averts his eyes.

At any rate, Hikage’s gaze shifts to everyone and asks them what they’re going to do. Beniyuri hesitates because she’s frightened of the idea of searching the mansion while monsters roam about. Hikage notes that Kagiha wants to say something and encourages him with a nod. Kagiha wants to work within the range that they’re able to and brings up the point that there may be others in this place. Hikage agrees that there may be others and then asks Karasuba what he wishes to do.

Karasuba shrugs and answers that he doesn’t care; all he knows is that staying here will be boring. In other words, he’s in agreement at heading out! Hikage addresses Beniyuri directly and asks her what she thinks. She thinks on her fear of walking around this uneasy mansion and the fear of being in this room, places both of them on a scale, and compares them to each other. She’s terrified of stepping foot into the domain where monsters run rampant and, if possible, she doesn’t want to leave this room.

Just remembering that cold atmosphere makes her knees shake uncontrollably. But this is all because she knows that this room is a safe place. If this place can be robbed from then then, she–… Beniyuri tells them that she thinks it best if they search for the “kaleidoscope”. They should hurry and find it so that they’ll be able to leave. Hikage smiles at how they’ve all come to a decision then.

After collecting everyone’s opinions, he heads into the kitchen and comes back with cutlery. Beniyuri unintentionally swallows when she sees the light glinting off of their sharpened points. Hikage explains that these are for self-defense since their pistols have disappeared; it’s better to have something. Beniyuri wonders if they can create those guns again. Hikage asks her if she’s tried it.

Beniyuri shakes her head but then asks him to wait and let her try it right now. She’ll try to visualize the gun in her head like she did yesterday. But the thing that she wished for to hold in the palm of her hands doesn’t appear or transform. Hikage tells her that it didn’t appear for him either and so they’re thinking realistically right now. Karasuba notes that it looks like these cutlery is the only weapon inside this room. Beniyuri agrees on both their points. But she wonders what is up with those guns.

Kagiha points out that it wouldn’t be smart to move alone and they should move in groups. Hikage suggests splitting into two groups so that they can investigate the right and left of the front entrance. Yamato informs them that he’s taking the left. Kagiha decides to take the right. Beniyuri is ambivalent to either side and looks between the two people who chose first. Yamato narrows his eyes and pins her with a look that says she’ll be a hindrance. WOW, THANKS BUDDY. I’M GONNA RUIN YOUR DAY THEN.

Beniyuri smiles awkwardly and asks Kagiha if she can go together with him. She’ll be careful not to drag him down. He smiles and tells her that of course she’s welcome to; it’d be nice if they found a clue on how to escape. Karasuba complains about how unfair Kagiha is being because he wanted to be together with Beniyuri! Beniyuri blinks in surprise at his loud complaint. And then Karasuba states that he’ll be on the right side too because he definitely doesn’t want to be together with Yamato.

Yamato shoots back that he’s the one who wants to refuse being together with him. Kagiha looks towards Hikage and asks him if it’s okay with Karasuba being on the right with them; they automatically formed their own groups though. Hikage notes that this leaves him with Yamato, which is fine with him since he has no preference… but he does warn Yamato not to do anything careless. Yamato rolls his eyes but agrees. And so they throw themselves once again into the gloom.

The moment they step out into the hallway, Beniyuri gasps at the cold air that swirls around her body, causing her to shiver. The actual temperature isn’t any different from the room they had just been in but there’s some kind of instinct, or sixth sense, that informs her of there being danger down the hall. They walk with caution as they explored the mansion but are surprised at how large it was. No matter how much they walk down the long hallway they can’t see the end and just continue to walk on this endless path.

On the side of their straight path are wooden doors all lined up and all of them are locked tightly. All of the doors are distorted; they could only be uneasy at their lack of knowledge on who would do such a thing and what their goal is. A maze isolated from the outside world. The only conclusion they have from their long walk is the impression that this maze encircled the entire mansion.

Karasuba rams at something and Beniyuri calls out to him worriedly. He reassures her that he’s fine but then he frowns at how this glass window isn’t breaking at all… he thought there’d be some kind of response. Kagiha reminds them that he already said he tried it multiple times but no matter how many times he tried to break one, it didn’t receive any scratches. Karasuba continues to frown because it’s received no damage at all.

He returns the sculpture he was using as a blunt weapon back to its original place and then puts his face up close to the spot that he struck. Kagiha points out that, since it seems difficult to escape through a window, they should consider a frontal attack. Karasuba sighs at how it doesn’t look like they have a choice; he didn’t want to be like Yamato though. As they continue walking, Beniyuri looks at Karasuba and secretly feels depressed.

She can’t believe their efforts were so easily denied… somewhere in her heart she was relieved that there were still windows and had the hope that they could break them somehow and escape but… She gives a small sigh as she tries the handle of the nearest door. But she only hears the unpleasant clicking of a lock as she twists the handle. Kagiha asks her if her door won’t open either?

Beniyuri confirms it and notes that it seems to be locked. It would be nice if they could find an open door at the very least… She moves onto the door beside it and goes to twist the handle. She sighs as this one is also no good… huh!? Beniyuri is shocked when the door cracks open. Karasuba praises her for being great because they have an open door! Beniyuri is also pleased but then she starts to worry about how safe it is to actually open it.

She timidly tries to investigate it but before she can Kagiha slides his body in front of her. He tells her that he’ll open it and asks her to step back. He grips the handle and, after meeting their eyes, pulls the door open slowly. He reports that it looks like a… storehouse. She peeks around his back at the room. Different from their living room, there are miscellaneous objects spread across this entire room; a chest with a broken handle, a misshapen table, candlesticks for daily use, an antique sofa, and mysterious objects from the East and West of all ages.

It can be seen at a glance that all of these are expensive objects but the irregularity gives off a bizarre atmosphere. Kagiha is smiling as he notes that it doesn’t look like a monster is in here. I KEPT EXPECTING A JUMP SCARE LMAO. Beniyuri agrees but also points out that it feels creepy here and she doesn’t want to stay long either. She nervously takes one step after another and follows Kagiha into the room.

She suddenly realizes that she can’t feel Karasuba behind her and turns around to see that he’s standing at the doorway still with a wide grin. She asks him what he’s doing there and if he won’t come in? He hums before answering that they need to take precautions so he’ll be the lookout. He winks at her and says that he’s not good with small things so he’ll leave the rummaging around to them. He’ll cheer them on from here. YOU’RE JUST SCARED AREN’T YOU?!

Her mouth drops open upon hearing that he’ll cheer them on, and so Karasuba gives them a demonstration 「フレーフレー紅百合ちゃん、フレーフレー鉤翅くん!」(Hurrah hurrah Beniyuri-chan, hurrah hurrah Kagiha-kun!). Beniyuri can’t believe that he’s actually cheering them on; she really dislikes that kind of thing. Anyway, she turns back to Kagiha who suggests that they look inside all the drawers.

Beniyuri decides to start from the ones deepest in and so she starts to open things and carefully looks inside them one by one. In one of the drawers she finds a lot of old haori and obis and, sometimes, she finds children toys. But it doesn’t look like there’s anything in here to help them escape. It’d be nice if they could find a sketch of the mansion or a bunch of keys or something…

She continues to pull out the things from inside the drawers while being disappointed. They continue like this for about an hour until Beniyuri pauses in curiosity. In the last box before her, which is a box engraved with butterfly patterns, there lies a clay box wrapped in delicate silk. In the weak light of the room, it looks different and she can feel as if there is something precious deposited inside.

Kagiha turns to her and asks her if she’s found anything strange. Karasuba is also excited to know if they suddenly found treasure. She holds out the small box to show the two of them who have come nearer. Beniyuri doesn’t know if this is treasure or anything but compared to everything else, which had been put away carelessly, this box was stored securely. Kagiha also gets the sense that there’s something special about it.

Karasuba notes that it hasn’t been opened yet and suggests taking off the lid. Beniyuri nods hesitantly before following his demand and taking off the cover, only to gasp at how pretty the items is. Inside the clay box is something that looks like a round decorative plate; the surface of it looks like it is covered with a pattern of mother-of-pearl inlay and it draws the eyes instantly.

Kagiha wonders what this is supposed to be… because he can see it as a plate, lid, or coaster… Karasuba admits that the treasure is a bit different than he imagined but he wonders how much money this would sell for if they did. Kagiha tells him in amusement that they can think about that after they leave the mansion. Beniyuri is still speechless and thinks it’s strange that even though this mansion is filled with many ornaments this one has a special quality to it… She feels like she can continue staring at it or that she’s being drawn in. What is this sensation? I CAN’T SAY I DON’T UNDERSTAND BECAUSE… SHINY!

Suddenly something falls and Karasuba turns around fiercely to ask who is there. In the doorway, where Karasuba came from, is a short gasp. Beniyuri is terrified as she wonders who’s there… she heard a voice! A hush descends on them and then a young girl discreetly looks out at them from the doorway. The mysterious girl apologizes for surprising them but she heard them talking.

Beniyuri is completely confused but can see that this girl seems to be around 10 years old. She’s wearing a rabbit mask… maybe she knows the fox mask? She approaches them nervously while shaking. She informs them that the item they are holding is the lid for the “kaleidoscope” and that once they join it with the body the “kaleidoscope” will be complete. Karasuba echoes her words with a disdainful face.

However Kagiha asks the girl gently how she knows this. She hesitates before answering that she was ordered by the master of this mansion to aid the people who open that box. She’s been waiting ever since they all came here. The girl explains this to them while clasping her hands in front of her chest uneasily. They can’t read her expression because of the mask but they can tell from her tone that she isn’t an enemy at least…

Karasuba narrows his eyes and asks her about this master she spoke about. Are they the same person as the one who trapped them here? The girl apologizes but she can’t say. Karasuba continues to press and asks her who she is then since it’s rude not to introduce themselves in a first meeting. The girl takes a step back and starts to say that she isn’t something to hold a name… but she trails off and her shoulders start to tremble.

Beniyuri calls out to Karasuba and asks him not to terrify the girl so much. Karasuba takes a step back and starts to complain, but Beniyuri ignores him and softly asks the rabbit girl what they should call her if she can’t give them her name. The girl answers that she doesn’t care and they can just call her “Usagi”. LITERALLY “RABBIT” IN JAPANESE. Beniyuri nods and decides to call her that from now on. She also expresses that they’d like to know all she knows about the master of this place and the kaleidoscope.

Usagi slowly says that she’ll be scolded if she speaks too much… but then she starts to speak. The goal of her master is the completion of the kaleidoscope. For that sake, they need to combine the lid and body and place fragments inside. Kagiha immediately asks what she means by fragments. Usagi answers that the fragments of the kaleidoscope are glass that release a strange light. These fragments have special powers but for some reason they are spread across the mansion. Moreover, the monsters are drawn to the magical powers of these.

Beniyuri realizes that this means some monsters have these kaleidoscope fragments. She also realizes something and tells Usagi that she had an email telling her to search for these kaleidoscope fragments. Usagi tell them that, in other words, they need to take these fragments from the monsters. Of course, they aren’t things that can be spoken to and so they’ll need to use brute force. COLLECT THE JEWEL SHARDS! HEY THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR–

Karasuba has a deadly grin on his face as he asks Usagi if by brute force she means they can fight the monsters in a struggle to the death. Usagi only stutters nervously. She moves on to explain to them that their weapons come from the power of their thoughts and are born through strong emotions. If they use those then they can put up more than enough of a fight. She admits that she doesn’t know much more than this… and the rest should just be them obeying their cellphones.

Beniyuri echoes Usagi’s words about the power of their thoughts and opposing the monsters… Hearing everything laid out simply like this doesn’t sound real and it’s hard for her to understand it all. The same seems to go for the other two who have furrowed brows and contemplative faces. Beniyuri has so many things she wants to ask but even more questions just keep on coming one after another… what should she ask?

But then Usagi straightens and notes that it’s this time already. Kagiha blinks in confusion and so Usagi points out that they can hear the sound of rain, which means it’s almost night. Beniyuri asks to confirm if it only rains here at night. Usagi nods and says that this is that kind of place before walking unsteadily to the door and placing her hand on the handle. She advises them that the monsters are active at night and they should return. They should try to move only in the afternoon.

Beniyuri tries to ask Usagi where she’s going because she still wants to talk–! Usagi apologizes but says that she needs to go now. She’ll entrust the gathering of the fragments to them. Usagi bows her head to them and then disappears out the door. Beniyuri calls out to her though and runs outside only to see that the small form is… completely gone? Even as she looks left and right down the long hallway there is no sign of the small girl.

The rain, coming down as if in apology, pounds against the windows with increasing harshness and force. The air touching her skin seems to have gotten colder and somehow the area around them has grown dark. It’s night… and just as she felt that, she could hear a far away scream. Just like the young girl said, would they have to face against those repulsive monsters again? And then try to take one another’s life with all their strength.

Suddenly, she remembers fear. Not just for the monsters but for herself too. She had gotten used to her fear after strange things happened one after another. But even though she knows that she took a life, the reality still feels like a far away dream. She sighs loudly and hugs her own shoulders as if to confirm her own existence. This isn’t a dream, is it?

At any rate, everyone returns to the living room and they share their information. Hikage has a contemplative expression as he hears about the girl named Usagi. Yamato points out that they could consider her the subordinate of the master of the mansion then. Both of these men had returned to the living room earlier than Beniyuri and her group. They told the two about everything they learned; how they met Usagi, that the monsters hold fragments, and the goal of the master of the mansion.

During the explanation, the ties that bound their thoughts untied and, as if a cloud lifted, they finally understood the situation they were in. Karasuba points out that even though they found the lid it means nothing if they haven’t found the body. Kagiha adds that, on top of that, they need to collect fragments… in the end, it requires a lot of work. Beniyuri nods in agreement as she continues to look at the lid on the tabletop. It shines like a work of art.

The lid was found in a storeroom and so would that mean the body is resting in another room? Hikage frowns and then wonders if the body is the thing they found. Beniyuri looks up in surprise and so Hikage picks up the box beside him and takes out a cylindrical vessel that looks like a pedestal. He places it on the same table. Beniyuri comments on how pretty it looks while Kagiha notes that it looks to be made out of the same material as the lid.

Beniyuri asks where this box was found. Yamato answers that it was found on a shelf in this living room. Hikage explains that they explored about half of the left side but because monsters were roaming around they couldn’t continue their search any further and so they searched inside this room since they finished early. And then Karasuba concludes that they found this. Beniyuri stares at it closely and then notices that the body seems to have a groove for the lid to stick into.

Karasuba suggests joining the two together. Beniyuri nods and then after getting confirmation from everyone, she tries fitting the lid onto the pedestal. It fits exactly! The lid joins with the body and it looks complete. Beniyuri gasps in awe at the “kaleidoscope”. It’s completely different from what she expected and knew. She’s so drawn to it that she almost forgets to breathe when she looks at it in its entirety. The solidly placed cylinder and the lid together present themselves like an antique.

Even though it’s supposed to be something old and even if they just made it, it still shines with a strange brilliance. This is the treasure of the master of the mansion, right? Karasuba continues the conversation and, assuming what Usagi told them was true, they’ll need fragments for this kaleidoscope. Yamato asks them what those fragments are supposed to be and if Usagi didn’t give them any hints?

Beniyuri hesitantly recalls that they were only told it was a glass that shined with a strange light but… Wait. Glass fragment? She suddenly recalls something and pulls something out of her pocket. Yamato, Karasuba, and Kagiha come closer to look at it, and Kagiha asks what this is. Beniyuri explains that it dropped when the man in the fox mask defeated the monsters. Maybe this is a kaleidoscope fragment?

The fragment shines and glows between her fingertips and a vivid light seems to leap around. Yamato suggests that she try to place it in. Beniyuri nods but… where? And how? As she touches the device and tries to find a place to put the fragment in, the lid and fragment start to shine with the same color and make noise. Maybe she’s supposed to just leave it there? Dubiously, she places the fragment on top of the lid.

And then the surface of the lid starts to glitter like starlight on water before getting sucked into the fragment. Karasuba’s eyes widen as he wonders what this is. Beniyuri also gasps. Hikage narrows his eyes at the strange sight. And then dazzling light starts to spill from the kaleidoscope’s opening where it looks like someone can look into it. The light immediately starts to spill out onto the walls where it projects geometric patterns. Beniyuri realizes that this kaleidoscope isn’t used to be looked into but it projects something!

The patterns projected onto the wall look like a mandala. As she continues to look at it, she starts to remember this sensation of feeling like she’s being drawn into a different dimension. Before long, the light weakens and the illusionary world meets its demise quietly. Beniyuri, who had become dazed at the sight, is startled upon hearing a notification from her phone. Yamato starts to ask who it is but then realizes that he doesn’t even need to question it. Karasuba concludes that it’s the master of the mansion, no doubt.

Beniyuri is uneasy because this means that, with this timing, the master seems to be watching them… She brings out her phone to look at the screen in this uneasy atmosphere. And there is a message 『ゴ褒美ダ』(Here is a reward). Beniyuri is flummoxed and wonders what it means by “reward”. Hikage notes from her appearance that everyone seems to have received a similar message, huh.

But then Kagiha notices something strange about this message. Yamato exclaims that there’s an attachment. Beniyuri confirms this on her phone and sees that below the message is a picture. It’s a picture of a family and seems to have been taken somewhere outside the entry hall. On the tiles of the garden, there are seasonal flowers and vegetation. In the picture, there are three people smiling. It seems to show a father, an older sister, a younger sister, and a puppy.

As she looks at this happy picture, her eyes are drawn to the person on the right. The girl holding the puppy… is her, right? Beniyuri tries to follow that memory but a sharp pain strikes her in the head like an arrow. What is happening all of a sudden? She has this throbbing pain in her head… and she feels strange. She feels like something is pouring into her and she’s scared!

Beniyuri is drawn into the memory. A younger sister asks her if she’s awake already, even though she’s always late in rising on the weekends. Beniyuri answers that today is a special day because she’s going to meet someone who is important to her. Her younger sister repeats her words in surprise before asking excitedly if she has a boyfriend. Beniyuri hurriedly denies that the person is her boyfriend but they’re still… very precious. The younger sister doesn’t understand.

Their father suddenly tells Haruka, the younger sister, to stop getting in her older sister’s way. The bus is almost here. The younger sister pouts and says that she’s curious though. The father asks Beniyuri to make sure she hasn’t forgotten anything. Is she also going to be home late? Beniyuri answers that she won’t be that late and should be back in the evening. Their father answers happily that he’ll be making their favorite omurice then and they can look forward to it. Beniyuri thanks him and then tells her puppy, Koro, that they’ll take a walk later. Koro barks at her as she says her goodbyes to her family.

Beniyuri comes back to the present and gasps heavily. Right now… was that her family? Her father, her younger sister, and Koro… she lived in that house! Yamato grits his teeth in pain and asks what this is. Beniyuri calls out his name in concern. Karasuba winces and groans about how he thought his head was going to split. She says his name as well before looking around at everyone and realizing that the strange phenomenon happened to everyone else.

She hurriedly tries to stand from where she had been crouched and holding her head. She asks if everyone ended up remembering something. Hikage confirms it and then asks if she did too. Beniyuri nods and then reveals that she remembered a bit about her family… In her mind, she thinks it would be more correct to say that they were made to remember it rather than them remembering it.

Yamato snarls in disgust at their situation. Beniyuri hesitantly asks Yamato if he would have preferred not regaining his memories? He snaps out that he’s not angry about that. He’s angry about how the master knows about them one-sidedly and then, at their leisure, gives them or hides from them their past. Who does the master think they are?! Shit! Beniyuri tries to get him to calm down and says that she understands his pain but… Kagiha looks on at them with a worried frown.

Beniyuri recalls how earlier Karasuba said that they had their “memories” and “freedom” taken from them. It’s true that they are helpless but more than that she… Beniyuri murmurs that she wants to hurry and go home. She wants to hurry and leave this mansion. She has people waiting for her… she has a place to return to! Yamato’s voice has quieted as he tells her that this is what he’s been saying from the start; they don’t belong here.

Kagiha reassures her that as long as they combine their efforts they’ll surely get out of here… surely. Hikage suggests that they gather the fragments and they’ll slowly think about what to do as they achieve this concrete goal. Beniyuri nods and resolves to do her best. She tries to raise her voice in encouragement. At that moment, she realizes the person who is usually enthusiastic has been silent.

She asks Karasuba if anything is wrong. He spins around and his eyes have a serious look in them before they widen in surprise. He hurriedly grins and apologizes for not hearing anything because he had been thinking. Beniyuri apologizes as well for seeming to interrupt his thoughts…? Karasuba continues to grin widely as he asks if they were talking about fighting the monsters, because they definitely need to do something about them. Beniyuri is taken aback by his enthusiasm and nods. But, in her mind, she wonders about that expression she had seen… was she mistaken?

At any rate, since night has fallen, everyone seems to retreat to their rooms and Beniyuri flops down on her bed. She’s tired… and a lot of things have happened. After the event, they spoke about the memories they regained and it looks like everyone regained some kind of memory of their daily life. But they still don’t know their own names or address. As usual, she still knows nothing about herself either. She’s only regained one piece of the puzzle about herself. She wasn’t about to see the full picture.

But… she’s glad that she was able to remember a little bit. Why did she forget such important things? While lying on the bed, she brings up the picture on her phone again. Haruka… her bright and cute younger sister. She’s a little cheeky and seems to love talking about relationships. Her father seems nice and skilled at cooking; his specialty is omurice and he always draws cute pictures with the ketchup.

Koro was a puppy that was abandoned at a park and picked up by her and Haruka. At first, he was afraid of humans but soon became very attached to them. And also… her mother died after giving birth to her younger sister and that’s why she isn’t in the picture. But she gave her a beautiful ribbon and Beniyuri keeps that as a charm. Her important and precious family… will she be able to see them after leaving this place? It’s not like she won’t be able to see them again… right?

It is a question that is asked deep in her heart. Not directed to anyone it just echoes over and over again. But, without any answers, she starts to imagine the worst. Why is she here? An unfamiliar ceiling. Unfamiliar furniture. Everything is surrounding her clearly. An unbelievable sadness rises over her and she’s struck by the feeling of how alone she is. She’s alone… She starts to cry quietly and asks why this happened to her. Why is she trapped in an unknown mansion?

In the moment she asks this in a strained voice, a moderate knock on the door startles her. HIKAGE?? HIKAGE HIKAGE??? She asks who it is with a stutter. Kagiha answers that it’s him and he wants to talk to her. She asks for him to wait a few minutes. She brushes away the tears in her eyes violently before quickly going to the door. Beniyuri opens it and apologizes for making him wait, but she trails off when she catches the smell of something sweet. What is this smell?

He apologizes for being so abrupt but is glad that she hasn’t gone to sleep yet. Beniyuri asks him what the matter is. He explains that he found some ingredients in the storeroom and decided to make some hot chocolate. He pauses before asking gently if she was crying. Beniyuri acts surprised and goes to deny it but he interrupts and points out that her cheeks are damp. WELL… I WAS DISAPPOINTED THAT IT WASN’T HIKAGE BUT KAGIHA’S GENTLE VOICE IS NICE.

It looks like she hadn’t wiped away all traces of it and she lowers her head in embarrassment, having not noticed those tracks. She scolds herself for her uncontrolled weeping. Kagiha was alone here before they came and so she can’t have a depressed look in front of him. Beniyuri scrambles for an excuse and then tells him quickly that she started to clean this room because it was dusty and something got in her eye so…!

He echoes her words with a frown. She nods quickly. But he only continues to stare at her quietly and so she falls silent as well. In her mind, she criticizes herself for being bad at telling lies and there were other better excuses to use! As she drops her shoulders and continues to inwardly scold herself, a mug with hot chocolate is held out in front of her eyes. She looks up at him in confusion but he only asks her to drink it. He already tested it for poison. He doesn’t say anything else as he holds the cup out to her and just smiles softly.

She takes the cup and feels the warmth leak out into her hands; as recommended, she brings it to her lips and feels a sweetness that melts the tongue spread inside her mouth. Beniyuri murmurs that it’s delicious and then tells him that she has the feeling the hot chocolate he makes is more delicious than normal hot chocolate. Kagiha reveals that he put in some cinnamon to bring out the taste.

Beniyuri tilts her head at that. He also adds that he was at a loss for brandy and so he thought cinnamon would do well. It’s helpful that the storeroom here has quite a few surprising things in it. She agrees quietly and then takes another sip of the drink. The liquid slides down her throat and settles somewhere deep in her stomach. Ah, it’s no good. The gentle warmth of the hot chocolate touches her heart and suddenly she can feel her eyes burning.

She apologizes because she doesn’t know why she’s… She struggles to wipe away the tears in her eyes but her tears just fall faster. Kagiha tells her not to hold back and that no one else will see it. No one will blame her. She tries to protest but he just says 「泣きたい時に泣いておかないと、後で笑顔を作れなくなる。そのまま笑顔を作らないでいると、どんどん笑い方を忘れて、気持ちが沈んでいっちゃうから。」(If you don’t cry when you want to cry then, later, you won’t be able to put on a smile. And when you can’t put on a smile, you’ll slowly forget how to smile, and then your mood will sink).

Once again, he encourages her not to hold it back. Beniyuri starts to cry quietly as he pats her head. The tears that she had frantically tried to hold back come pouring out. As she cries, she confesses that she wants to see her father and younger sister. Large tears continue to fall one after another down her cheeks. Kagiha silently stands close to her as she sobs loudly like a child.

Who knows how long they remained like that. She managed to calm down around the time the warmth from the hot chocolate disappeared. As she rubs at her swollen eyes and looks up, as usual, Kagiha has a warm smile. She feels embarrassed to be the recipient of those gentle eyes. He asks her if she’s feeling better now. She nods and reassures him that she is; she admits that she feels refreshed after crying although she’s not sure why she cried like this. He’s glad for that.

But Beniyuri apologizes for taking up so much of his time and for showing him her pathetic side. She won’t be so embarrassing again. Kagiha shakes his head and tells her that it wasn’t embarrassing. She nods slowly. And then he places a hand on her shoulder and then leans down to look her in the face. He smiles as he notes that she’s smiling properly again.

At her look of confusion he tells her that, even if it is an embarrassed smile, a smile is a smile. Once again, he tells her to cry whenever she wants to cry. And then she’ll be able to smile naturally. He informs her that she’s cuter with a smile. She echoes his words, which makes his eyes widen as he catches what he just said. A faint tinge of red colors his cheeks. He tries to cover his face with his hands and she can see that he’s embarrassed.

Kagiha apologizes and blames it on Karasuba’s influence. UH HUH… LMAO. THE BGM HERE IS SO CUTE BTW. He hurriedly says that he didn’t intend to say such a flirtatious line. Beniyuri laughs awkwardly and thinks their way of talking has changed a bit since they’re always together. Karasuba is always just joking though… Kagiha nods but then tells her quietly that, though his words were sudden, they weren’t a lie.

His voice grows even softer as he tells her that she’s cute when she’s honest. She calls out his name in confusion and feels as if there’s a hidden meaning in the look he gives her. She can see herself in those deep green eyes. He continues softly 「君はやっぱり・・・だね。泣き方も・・・笑い方も・・・」(You really are… your crying… and your smiles…). CROON ME TO SLEEP TORIUMI, OH WOW, HIS VOICE IS AS SOFT AS CLOUDS HERE.

Beniyuri becomes even more confused but then he changes tracks and asks her why she attaches “-san” to his name when she uses “-kun” with everyone else. She doesn’t know the answer herself but thinks it’s because he’s older than her. He’s calm and he comforted her like this… he seems like a big brother. A conflicted look appears on his face 「そっか、お兄さんか。それって喜んでいいのかな。それとも悲しむべきなのかな?」(I see, a big brother, huh. Should I be happy about that… or sad?). I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING.

She tilts her head because, for a moment, there seemed to be a look of sadness in his eyes before it was replaced by his usual smile. He hurriedly tells her that it was nothing and he’s stayed quite a while, so he should get going. She’s taken aback by the change in topic but nods and thanks him for the hot chocolate. He accepts her thanks and then wishes her a good night and sweet dreams. He turns and leaves after that. But his last words have given rise to some small doubts in her. Beniyuri thinks on how delicious the hot chocolate was and then, setting aside the cup, she drifts off into an easy sleep.

Meanwhile, outside, Kagiha is surprised to see Hikage in the hallway and he asks him what he’s doing here. Hikage states in a stern voice that those are his words and then he demands to know what Kagiha was doing in Beniyuri’s room. OOH MAN YES PLEASE. Kagiha smiles pleasantly and explains that he made some hot chocolate and brought some to her. Hikage narrows his eyes and asks him if that was all. Kagiha remains smiling and nods once.

Hikage continues to scrutinize him silently. Kagiha smiles and says nothing. But then he tells Hikage that he wants to talk to him about something… Hikage asks him what it is, but then he sees something in Kagiha’s expression which makes him snort and then decide to relocate to their rooms. Kagiha agrees and they leave.

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