(Same old, same old. It’s Karasuba’s turn for some happy interlude time, but also featuring Monshiro and other characters!)
Probably recommended to read most of my posts in the Psychedelica series since this’ll feature some childhood scenes too.
*** CHILDHOOD （子供の頃）***
It is not surprising that people have sides to them that aren’t happy or sad, but what kind of past they have is something they don’t know. What if she were a criminal? What if the men aren’t who she thought they were? It’s hopeless to think these things but the continuous rain in the night draws out these terrible thoughts. Just how did the her in the past live out her life?
In her room at night Beniyuri murmurs to herself that there’s nothing new, huh. She exhales and places her silent phone onto the side board. They searched the mansion, returned to their rooms, and did nothing. Their only clue is their smartphone. She had hoped that today would bring about a new message and tried but there was nothing in her inbox except for the previously sent message; there is no new clue.
She sighs again and decides that, since she’s not sleepy yet, she’ll head to the living room. There must be a lot of books there and she might be able to distract herself with staring at beautiful photographs or illustrations. She cheers herself up with that and gets up to head to the living room.
In the living room, Beniyuri gasps at how the amount of full bookshelves there are (which they had previously discovered in an exploration of this room). But there are more types of books lined up than she could have imagined and just looking at their backs stops her from being bored. There are also countless books mixed in that she remembers. Feeling nostalgic, she unconsciously extends her hand.
Beniyuri comments excitedly that she’s read this picture book when she was very young! It’s nostalgic. She takes it into her hands and flips through. She’s a little happy to find something in this mansion that she knows. There are also a lot of foreign books. She notices on that looks to be German, which she can’t read. And then she finds a book of paintings, though it’s by someone she doesn’t know.
She was certain that these books would be about difficult topics but it looks like she can easily enjoy these picture books and she’ll take a few. She walks slowly in front of the bookcase while looking at the backs of the books one by one. And then she bumps into someone. She yelps before apologizing quickly, only to realize that it’s Karasuba! Karasuba gives his usual likable smile as he greets her.
Beniyuri notes that it’s unusual to see him down here at this time. Is something wrong? Karasuba explains that he was bored and so he decided to read some books. Hearing him say that, she realizes that he’s holding several books. All of them seem to have names that she recognizes but not ones that she’s read. She comments on how they all seem to be difficult books. Karasuba looks faintly surprised and then tells her that they all looked interesting to him. For some reason, he takes a hard look at the books under his arm as he says this.
She asks him if he enjoys reading. He shrugs before telling her that he does like the books here though and he reads every little bit whenever he reads them. She’s surprised by that, which he notices and calls her out on. She hurriedly tells him that she was just shocked. He pouts and wonders out loud if he looks that dumb or something. Seeing his slumped shoulders and thinking that his feelings were hurt, Beniyuri hurriedly tries to explain. She doesn’t read very many books so she thought the same of other people.
Karasuba laughs and reassures her that he was joking and he’s not someone who’d get hurt by that, so it’s okay. His usual smile returns and the dejected expression that he had is erased. She frowns and asks him not to tease her because she thought he was serious! He tells her that it’s because she immediately takes things seriously, which is cute. He winks at her as he says this making Beniyuri think on how she really doesn’t know when he’s joking and when he’s being serious.
Anyway, she ends up asking him if he liked to read books since childhood? He frowns and replies that he can’t remember clearly but he read a lot as a child. Even now, he still remembers the contents of the books he read back then. She asks if he has memories from that time then? He shrugs and answers that it seems so… or more like he doesn’t have any memories except for those at that time.
Beniyuri is shocked to hear that he remembers! Why didn’t he say anything until now? At her unintentional question, the smile around his lips twists. She apologizes as she realizes that she became a bit flustered. He blinks before telling her that it wasn’t her fault and it’s just that his memories aren’t… very nice ones. She clarifies if he means his childhood ones?
He explains that they aren’t very important ones and were just about how he was weak as a child, often getting fevers, and having to be absent from school. Because of that he wasn’t able to make friends with his classmates and so he holed himself up in the library and just read books. She admits that she’s surprised to hear that and can’t imagine it.
The Karasuba in front of her is cheerful and a bit of a tease; if she had to say anything, she’d say that he seems like he’d be popular in class. That’s why she’s not able to draw a picture in her mind of Karasuba being alone and reading books. Karasuba continues on to say that his name filled the library cards. But he didn’t overly borrow them because once reading week came he’d be awarded first place, and so during those weeks he’d make sure to moderate himself so he didn’t borrow too many books.
Beniyuri asks him why he didn’t want to be publicly acknowledged? He points out that he obviously didn’t want to stand out and be bullied as someone who thinks he’s better than the others or was a nerd. She hums at that and tells him that she thinks kids who like books are amazing. Karasuba concludes that it’s all in the past though and because he was able to overcome that painful childhood, he can now stand here cheerfully. He sticks out his tongue, seeming to purposefully put on a bright attitude.
She recalls that he said they weren’t nice memories. Could it be that something painful happened? Karasuba suddenly tells her not to have such a dark look on her face. She blinks, surprised to hear that she was making that expression. He’s grinning as he tells her that she was and that she was looking at him with pitying eyes. She apologizes quickly and says that it’s because he called it a painful childhood…
His grin widens as he asks her if she has that much of an interest in his past? He’s happy about that. But then he adds 「でも、オレは過去よりも・・・、今のオレに、興味を持って欲しいかな。」(But, you know… I’d like you to have more of an interest in the current me rather than my past). She blinks at him in confusion. He only brings his face closer to hers.
Beniyuri reels back to avoid him and says that she won’t fall for that trick. He pouts and complains about how her guard is high only at these times. She retorts that it’s because he’s so frank. But in her mind she thinks on how the atmosphere around him is different than usual and her heart skipped a beat. Karasuba mutters out loud on how he needs to change his approach so that she isn’t able to sense it. He has a serious look on his face with a hand on his chin.
She stutters out that he can put that aside, and right now she’d like him to recommend some books to her. He blinks and then recalls that she said she didn’t read many books though. She nods but explains that there’s nothing to do at night here and she’s bored, so she figures she’ll try reading. Karasuba becomes excited as he thinks on what books to recommend to her so that she’ll read them. His eyes are glittering. And he’s not smiling with his usual adult-like smile, but one like a kid whose found a companion to play with and whose happiness is overflowing.
Beniyuri realizes that Karasuba also has this kind of expression. Somehow, it makes her feel happy too. Karasuba asks for her right hand. She sticks out her hand in confusion, and watches as he begins to pile books on her outstretched hand. She startles and tells him that if he wants her to hold books then she should properly– but Karasuba tells her that she can’t use her other hand and grabs her left hand, that she had been trying to use to support the books, with his empty hand.
He grins at her and tells her that he has recommendations at the other bookshelf and they should go there together. She shakes her head ruefully and notes out loud that he did a feint. He replies simply that he thought of a different approach and now he’ll introduce her to his recommendations! As he walks and talks, she notices that his hand is warm and that this isn’t so bad… once in a while. Afterwards, she realizes that the books he introduced to her and selected were ones that she’d find interesting and that she could read.
They can’t fully remember their pasts but, here, the boy who picked out her books exists. The her with memories and the her without memories aren’t different people… and that’s what she’ll believe. For the others. And for herself.
*** THE GIRL HE ADMIRES（憧れの女の子）***
When he was young his body was weak. He wasn’t good at exercise and he had no strength. It was like he was a girl… those words had been said to him. His name was “Himeno Akira” and bullies liked to tease him by calling him “Hime-chan”. LITERALLY CALLING HIM “PRINCESS”. And because he was weak he couldn’t talk back… he cried a lot. He wanted to be strong; that’s what he always thought. But no matter how many times he wished, he wasn’t able to change… he hated himself.
On that day, he was surrounded by “friends” in his class and tortured. Boy A calls him princess and blames him for causing their team to be last on the list during today’s relay in gym class. Guy B asks him how he’s going to take responsibility. It’s always like this. People start to blame him with whatever reason they can find. Even though he’s used to this it’s still painful. But it’s his fault that he’s slow.
These people are the only ones that put up with him and if these people disappeared then he’d be alone in class. Just thinking about that is scary and so he can’t say anything… he can do nothing but smile halfheartedly and apologize. Aki apologizes. Guy C asks him why he’s still thoughtlessly smiling. Does he really think he’s at fault? Aki hurriedly tells them that he’s not smiling. Guy A snaps at him to shut up and accuses him of always smiling and trying to trick them.
Guy B mocks him by saying “Hime-chan” is like a princess and does he really think they’ll forgive him just because he smiles? Aki denies that and tries to explain– but Guy B interrupts and tells him that he’s using the wrong pronoun. He should use one that makes him sound like a princess. IT’S HARD TO GET THIS ACROSS IN ENGLISH BUT AKI (IN EXTENSION KARASUBA) USES “ORE” WHICH IS A VERY MASCULINE WAY OF TALKING. THEY WANT HIM TO USE “ATASHI” WHICH IS VERY FEMININE.
Guy A agrees and also points out that Aki likes reading more than he does exercise and so, from today, he should refer to himself femininely. Guy C comments loudly on how gross that is. Guy B orders Aki to try saying it. Aki quietly mutters that he can’t do that. Guy A asks him loudly if he’s trying to disobey them?… when he’s a princess. Guy B tells him to hurry up and say it or else they won’t include him with them anymore.
Aki tries to protest but all the people are him jeer with wide smiles. He mustn’t cry. If he cries then he’ll just be hated. He won’t have any friends. He grits his teeth and swallows loudly before trying to smile. But the more he thinks about trying to endure it the more his tears well up in his eyes and start to overflow. Guy A asks him if he’s trying to smile or cry. Guy B mocks him about how he cries so quickly even though he’s a man. Aki forces out a laugh and says he’s not crying. Guy C only comments again on how gross he is.
Just as the tears are about to slip out from his eyes and he bites his lips– a young girl loudly tells them to stop and imposes herself between him and his “friends”. Guy A asks her what her problem is since this is none of her business. She admits that it isn’t but she can’t leave instances of bullying alone. She also knows that they’re always bullying this kid. Aki realizes that it’s Minato Ai, who lives close to him, that is standing in front of him.
Guy A retorts that they’re not bullying him, right princess? Aki stiffens upon hearing his “friend’s” voice. Guy B points out that they’re friends, right? Aki opens his mouth to say something, not wanting to be alone, but before he can say anything Ai turns to look straight at him. She tells him that he mustn’t run away and he mustn’t lose to them. Aki stares at her blankly. She encourages him to tell the truth about being bullied if he is.
Aki confesses that he can’t do that because then he’ll become alone. Ai tells him that it’ll be okay. At his look of confusion she tells him that he’s not alone. If those kids refuse to include him after this then she’ll just have to be his friend. She talks as if she sees completely through him. Even though she’s a girl… even though she has no connection to him… Aki murmurs the word friends. Guy B intrudes and asks him if he’s going to be friends with this tomboy. Lame!
Ai snaps at them to shut up and not to bully Himeno Akira. Also, friends don’t call each other lame. Guy A complains about how annoying she is. Guy B asks if she’ll play the punishment game in place of the princess then? Ai is fine with that and asks what they’re going to do? Guy C thinks on it and tells her to use a masculine pronoun to refer to herself instead. IS THAT THE BEST THEY CAN COME UP WITH? SERIOUSLY? LMAO.
Aki interrupts and tells Ai to stop it and that he’s fine. He grabs onto the sleeve of her jacket from behind and tries to plead with her. But Ai remains firm and refuses to move from in front of him. Guy A tells her to do it if she’s going to do it and that they’ll forgive the princess if she does. Guy B adds that, in exchange, she’ll be the “mannish woman” from now on. Ai easily says that she understands and she’ll be the tomboy, all the while using the masculine pronoun.
Because she said it so simply, the bullies stare at her with blank faces. Ai asks them what’s wrong because she’s using the pronoun like they want. Guy A asks if she’s an idiot and he never thought she’d actually do it. Ai shrugs and doesn’t care if she’s an idiot because she did what they asked for and so they’ll keep their promise, right? Guy B chokes. Ai continues on to forbid them from calling Aki “princess” anymore too.
Guy C shouts at her to shut up and calls her a mannish woman. He doesn’t want her to think too highly of herself or he’ll shove her! Ai calmly tells them to try it. Aki watches her easily respond to these things and, if it were him, he’d never be able to say these out of fear. He would have just remained silent and been glared at by them. Is she not afraid of being hated by people? He murmurs under his breath that she’s amazing.
But then he realizes that her legs are trembling minutely. She’s afraid too. She’s surely wondering what to do if she’s hit. And yet… she’s enduring it all to protect him. Could someone like him really be her friend? Ai asks the bullies if they want anything else to be done, because she’ll do anything. Guy B snarls at her and steps out from the group surrounding them to grab Ai. She closes her eyes and at that moment, Aki springs out from behind her with his hand raised.
He shouts at them not to lay a hand on his friend! Ai is surprised. Aki continues on to tell them that if they hit Ai then… he won’t forgive them. Guy C asks him if he’s betraying them. Guy B snaps out that they won’t include him in their group anymore. Aki retorts that he doesn’t care. Even though his voice is shaking, the group of boys start to have uneasy looks in their eyes. Guy A tells the rest of the group that they’re going to leave and he’s not going to be friends with Aki anymore.
So saying that, the group of boys leave while cursing them. Ai asks Aki if he’s alright? He nods and then thanks her. Ai shakes her head and thanks him back since he protected her. Moreover, she’s happy that he called her a “friend”. Aki stiffens and apologizes for saying that on his own. She asks him why he’s apologizing because she’s really happy! Aki is stunned. Ai also adds that, since they’re friends, they can quit calling each other by their last names.
Ai decides that since his name is “Himeno Akira” she’ll call him Aki-chan. She pauses though and asks if he’ll mind having “-chan” as a suffix since it’s feminine. He quickly shakes his head and says that he doesn’t mind it if she says it. She nods and then tells him that he can stop calling her “Minato-san” and just use “Ai”. Aki hesitates before calling her “Ai-chan”. She grins and says that she looks forward to being great friends with him. He returns the pleasantry.
He notices that her face is shining like a blooming flower after being called by her name. That smile is dazzling, gentle, and warm. The tears that he had suppressed start to reappear again. Ai becomes flustered and asks him what the matter is. Is it because he doesn’t like the way she says his name? Aki shakes his head and reveals that he’s just… happy. She blinks in confusion. He tells her that it’s nothing. Ai accepts his words.
Aki confesses that he wants to be strong like her. Ai laughs sheepishly and tells him that she isn’t strong at all. He denies that and says that she is. She thinks on that a bit before settling on saying that she is one year older than him. Aki doesn’t think that’s all though. He knows that it’s impossible for him to be one right away, but one day he wants to be a man who can protect her. One day… for sure… Ai giggles but thanks him.
Anyway, she suggests that they go home now. Aki calls for her to wait though and looks around quickly before spotting a flower growing at the base of a tree. He doesn’t know its name but it’s a beautiful flower. He grabs it and intends to present it to Ai as thanks. She blinks in surprise and asks to confirm if he’s giving this to her. He stutters out a yes. Of course, this is only if she doesn’t mind. She accepts it happily and thanks him.
And then she takes the stem of the flower and bends it before sliding it into her hair like an accessory. She asks him how it looks. Does it suit? Her smile is so bright that he feels embarrassed. He can’t look at her directly and only nods. She asks him if something is wrong. He shakes his head, saying that it’s nothing, before suggesting that they head home now.
He hurriedly walks ahead of her, turning his back to her, and listens to her catch up to him. He still has a ways to go and he’s still weak but… even if it’s slowly, he wants to change. No, he will change. He makes this decision all because of a small girl. And for the sake of one day becoming a man who can protect her.
*** FEELING OF LIVING （生きてる実感）***
It is also raining outside of the window today. The dark of the night and the scent of rain steals away the body’s warmth; the faint coolness of her skin attests to that. It’d be nice if it didn’t rain every night… the cold makes her feel alone. If reality was waiting for them when this rain lifted then she could wait despite her trembling. If this rain were a dream– Just as she thought this, someone knocks on her door.
Karasuba lowers himself into a chair energetically and with a grin on his face as he comments on how it’s boring to go to sleep immediately when it’s night. He’s glad that Beniyuri was awake. His smile relaxes her and she continues the conversation with him while sitting on her bed. She inquires if the others have gone to sleep already? He chuckles and compliments her on being sharp because he didn’t go to the other rooms. If he went and was turned away then he’d get depressed.
Beniyuri hums lightly at that though in her mind she thinks Kagiha wouldn’t have done that. Karasuba goes on to say that he knew Beniyuri was kind so she wouldn’t do that. At any rate, he found this in the storage and wants to eat it together! Speaking with his usual light tone, he’s grinning as he pulls out a paper carton. On the box is a drawing of a cheerful bear; it’s a pop up design, but with its bright colors it somehow looks suspicious.
She asks what it is. He replies that it looks like some kind of candy? Though it’d be nice if they didn’t include a cute or creepy looking bear. At his words she looks at the back of the box and sees that it’s biscuits. Seeing her investigation, Karasuba takes out a normal wrapped biscuit out of the box. He shows her that the inside is very normal looking and did she think that he drugged her food? She quickly blurts out that she didn’t think that! It was just a strange package and so she wanted to check it out.
Karasuba offers to eat one first and then laughs at how the biscuits are in the shape of a bear. He’s smiling as he throws the biscuit into his mouth and continues to look at her with the same smile, despite chewing and testing the food. He confirms that it’s delicious and urges her to try one too. He tries to get her to open her mouth, but Beniyuri hesitates and tells him that she can eat by herself. He pouts and tells her that it’s fine to do this every now and then, she should just be obedient.
Beniyuri acquiesces and opens her mouth, letting him happily press a biscuit against her lips. He’s more polite than she thought and she crunches down on the offered biscuit, listening to the pleasant sound it makes. At the same time, a fragrant taste spreads through her mouth. There’s nothing suspicious about it… more like it’s delicious! He grins as he says that he told her so! She notices that he looks happy and wonders if he went out of his way to bring these pastries to her to cheer her up?
She admits that it’s really delicious though the drawing is a bit strange. He agrees but also reveals that it’s strange. At her look of confusion, he elaborates that he feels strange saying it’s delicious when they’re in such a dream-like and nonsensical world. She gives him a point. They don’t have memories, nothing feels real, and she’s thought countlessly about wanting this dream to end.
Beniyuri comments out loud on how, even though it’s strange, delicious things are still delicious. Karasuba agrees adding on how they eat delicious food but fight monsters day after day in a life or death situation. It’s strange, but it also gives him the feeling of being alive more than the real world does. She echoes his last words in confusion. He tries to explain that more than a never-changing world day after day and being bound by the past…
She asks him softly if he prefers this world? Karasuba immediately denies that and says he wouldn’t go so far as to say that! Never. She smiles awkwardly and admits that she was surprised. He goes on to say that this world isn’t all that bad either though since he gets to be together with her and eat these delicious pastries. There might be terrifying things here but he’ll just have to protect her, right? Just kidding.
Beniyuri reminds him that he told her he’d leave her behind and run away if dangerous things occurred. He laughs before defending himself by saying that it was a joke! She tries to reassure him that people should do whatever is within their limits. Karasuba hums and thinks that’d be nice if that were all. She tells him that it’s more than enough to receive someone’s emotional reliability. He repeats her words and averts his eyes as if in deep thought.
She wonders if she said something pushy… but it’s the truth. She tells him that she was happy when he brought the pastries here because it gets unbearably lonely at night. He repeats the word “lonely” in surprise. Beniyuri explains that her chilled skin makes her feel cold… and it might also be because of the falling rain. Her words are half-muttered to herself but Karasuba stands up from his chair and seats himself beside her on the bed.
Beniyuri looks at him in surprise, feeling a bit nervous at his action. He tells her that this might just be his own bodily experience but, in this world, don’t these strange sensations feel sharper? For example, delicious things are especially delicious and this might work for feelings of loneliness. Emotional things seem enhanced in this place and one is able to immerse themselves in their sensations.
She realizes that he has a point and it feels different than normal… are they more sensitive? Karasuba notes that this world is even more strange than they thought, but if this is the case then… His voice is more serious than usual and, before she realizes it, he’s turned his eyes onto her and she can see his amusement. He tells her that he has something he wants to try. Just as she’s still comprehending his words, the distance between them has shrunk and they’re within reaching distance of each other.
As Karasuba’s center of balance starts to lean towards her, she moves backwards. The thing he wants to test… Karasuba tells her not to be so on guard. She tries to protest. They’re close enough to exchange breaths and his voice is a whisper. It’s only natural that she move back at that. Karasuba points out that this makes him seem like the bad guy here. Once again, he encourages her not to be so wary.
Beniyuri wonders if she’s thinking too much about this situation and she might be being rude to him. She nods hesitantly and apologizes. Karasuba adds that he doesn’t have a fetish for forcing people into things either. She laughs awkwardly in response to his laugh only for his words to catch up to her mind. E-Eh?! Forcible?! Is he saying that he’s going to do something she won’t like? At this distance she doesn’t think her confusion is mistaking things.
She asks him loudly what he meant!? Karasuba bursts out laughing and apologizes before urging her to eat a biscuit to repair her mood. She thinks again on how she really doesn’t know when he’s joking. Karasuba asks her to open her mouth, but she refuses this time and says that she’s had enough. He pouts and asks if she won’t eat more? She stubbornly keeps her mouth closed, and so he gets up from the bed with a light smile.
He comments on how unobservant she is and he thought she’s immediately understand from his words but he was greatly mistaken. She blinks and asks if she said something strange? He points out that she just proved how unobservant she is. At any rate, he’s going to excuse himself now. She stares at him in confusion. He smirks though and asks if she wants to eat more biscuits, drink tea, and have a deeper conversation? Beniyuri blurts out that she’s fine and she’s going to sleep now. Karasuba tells her that it’s a shame but wishes her good night. She watches him leave.
Seeing his form disappear, she feels faintly relieved. When she can understand him, talking to him makes her feel at ease but from time to time there are a lot of things he says that she isn’t able to understand. She buries her face into her pillow, feeling a bit confused. It’s difficult to understand him. There are a lot of differences between them and so she doesn’t think they can understand each other all the time… but those pastries really were delicious. She’s sure that both he and her shared that same experience… without a doubt.
*** STRUGGLE （取り合い）***
Ever since Monshiro came to the refuge, strange things have continued to happen. Not that strange things mean bad things but just embarrassing things. How did it come to this? She finds herself frequently wondering about this.
In the living room, Beniyuri cautiously asks if the two of them can’t give her more room. Monshiro echoes her words and then moves closer to her in confusion. She hurriedly tells him to do the opposite thing and move more to the opposite side. He replies that doing that would make him separate from her. In her mind, she thinks on how this is what she wants though… Karasuba tells Monshiro that he’s thickheaded and Beniyuri’s meaning was precisely that!
Monshiro states that he doesn’t want to part from her. Karasuba’s eyes widen at how closely they’re pressed together and it’s unfair; he wants that too! Beniyuri can only watch with wide eyes as, due to Monshiro’s close distance, Karasuba closes the distance between them too. It’s nice that everyone is able to get along but… Monshiro mumbles out loud that she’s warm. Karasuba tells him that if he hugs her then she’ll be more warm. Monshiro asks if he can do that. Beniyuri refuses.
Karasuba pouts and tries to coax her to allow just that much. Beniyuri looks at him helplessly. Monshiro asks if Karasuba has done it. Karasuba replies that he has, and tightly too. Beniyuri quickly yells at Karasuba not to lie and tells Monshiro that she hasn’t been hugged by Karasuba. Karasuba muses about how his feelings are around that level though, to the point where resting his head on her lap isn’t enough.
Beniyuri yelps because she feels something touch her thighs. Karasuba says that she’s just imagining things. She retorts that it wasn’t her imagination! In her mind, she sighs at how these two have no reserve and so aren’t listening to anything she says. They’re pressed right up against her, like small pets. It feels like she has two cats pressed up against her. She weakly asks the two of them what the others would say if they saw them like this.
Monshiro suggests that they’d be jealous. Karasuba thinks they’d want to join in too. Beniyuri corrects them and says that she doesn’t think they’d say anything like that! Hikage would probably say something about it being troublesome.
Karasuba tells them 「あー、アイツはムッツリっぽいから言わないよね。僕もくっつきたいけど出来ないから目障りだ離れろ、って感じかな？」(Ah, that person is so taciturn that he wouldn’t say it, huh. Instead he’d probably say something like “I want to be close to her too but I can’t so you’re all an eyesore and separate yourselves). He even does an imitation of Hikage’s voice. Of course, the only words that would come out would be them being eyesores and to separate.
Beniyuri isn’t certain about the details but she feels like his words are on point. Monshiro asks about Kagiha’s reaction. Karasuba tells them 「鉤翅くんは、『楽しそうだね、僕も混ぜて欲しいくらいだよ』って言ってから冗談だって付け足すタイプ。」(Kagiha-kun is the type that would say “That looks enjoyable; it makes me want to join in too” and then add that he was joking). He wouldn’t actually be joking though. Beniyuri helplessly says Karasuba’s name but she can see the actual person saying that kind of thing in her mind.
Monshiro asks about Karasuba. Karasuba startles at that and then takes a moment to think. Beniyuri winces inwardly at how Monshiro asked a hard question. Karasuba answers that he’d do whatever he wanted in the chaos though. Beniyuri yelps at him not to touch her thighs. He points out that he was asked a question and so it couldn’t be helped. She retorts exasperatedly that he doesn’t have to actually do the action though. Monshiro echoes Karasuba’s words about doing whatever one wants as much as one wants…
Beniyuri pleads with him not to rest his head on her shoulder and sleep. Monshiro murmurs quietly that it feels nice. Beniyuri cries out that he’s not following! Karasuba states that he wants to do that too, though he’ll settle with her soft thighs. Monshiro asks if he wants to switch. Karasuba agrees. Beniyuri yelps at them not to move. Monshiro pouts. Karasuba slyly points out that this means she’s fine with how things are currently then, right? He’s going to fully enjoy her lap being a pillow.
She can only tell the two of them that she’d like for them to give her some space though. Karasuba tells her that he doesn’t feel like separating from her if there’s nothing interesting going on… but if, for example, she were to talk about what she thinks of everyone… She repeats his words in confusion. He tells her that anything is fine; she can talk about who she likes or dislikes. Monshiro immediately asks what she thinks of him. Karasuba is amused at the lack of a delay but also wants to know what she thinks.
Beniyuri slowly says that Monshiro is… a person with a fox mask. Karasuba points out flatly that she’s just stating a fact. Monshiro asks if she hates foxes? Beniyuri reassures him that she doesn’t and if she did then he wouldn’t be allowed so close to her. Karasuba asks if she’s talking about foxes or Monshiro. She admits that she’s talking about either one. Monshiro asks if she likes them then? She sighs but admits that, if she had to choose between liking or disliking, then she likes them. Monshiro likes them too.
She thanks him helplessly and feels him move closer to her, though she’s glad that he’s happy. Karasuba muses on how it’s been shown… but he’s going to take her words about how if she disliked something then she wouldn’t let them get close to her and apply it to himself too. She gapes at him. What?! He comments on how he’s happy that she likes him. She continues to stare at him in shock. He points out that she said it before, how if she had to choose between liking or disliking then– Beniyuri finishes the sentence by recalling that she said she’d choose like.
Karasuba grins slyly. She accuses him of being sneaky, to which he replies that he’ll say it back to her then; he likes her. She sighs at how he’s always telling jokes. Karasuba sounds mock hurt as he tells her that it was a confession with his entire body, how strange. Monshiro tells Karasuba that he’s being unfair and he wants to talk to Beniyuri too. She eagerly asks him what he wants to talk about.
Monshiro finds it difficult to find a topic and so he says anything is fine. She finds it cute that he doesn’t mind anything but he still wants to talk. Karasuba thinks this is unfair because Monshiro has a cute appeal, which makes her able to nonchalantly call him that. Monshiro asks what a cute appeal means. Beniyuri tells him to ignore Karasuba. Karasuba pouts and tells her that if she’s going to say that then he’s going to use her legs as a pillow and be alone.
Beniyuri yelps and tells him not to touch her legs. He retorts that he’s being ignored though. She tells him that he can’t just do whatever he wants because he’s being left alone. Ugh, she’s finished! Karasuba and Monshiro pouts in unison. She scolds them about being too close to the opposite sex and they should only be doing that to a special girl. Monshiro repeats her words in confusion. She gives him an example of the girl he likes or his girlfriend.
Monshiro tilts his head and replies that he likes Beniyuri though. Karasuba joins in and says he does as well. She tells them exasperatedly that it isn’t such a light thing; it’s something like being unable to eat any meals or being unable to sleep. Karasuba muses on how those are the standards of a maiden and is she talking about something like shoujo manga? She retorts that she IS a maiden so it can’t be helped. Monshiro asks if she’s ever gone through that.
Beniyuri opens her mouth in consideration before snapping out that they’re not talking about her! Karasuba refuses to move away from the subject though. She hesitantly answers that she’s able to eat and able to sleep at night. Karasuba thinks her answer is boring. Beniyuri thinks on how the two of them contrast each other and it also feels like being teased by two cats. It’s not that she hates it but… it’s tiring.
There are a few reasons as to why she doesn’t mind these moments. One reason is that it’s easy to talk to Monshiro because Karasuba talks a lot and encourages others to. Another reason is that it’s rare to see Karasuba get irritated, which he does when talking to Monshiro. At any rate, it’s not bad to be able to have light-hearted conversations with the two of them, though she’d like the two of them to stop their sexual harassment.
*** DEFENSELESS APPEARANCE （無防備な姿）***
Even though they were all irritated and nervous when they first met, everyone treats each other like old acquaintances now. It might just be her who is treating everyone like friends, but she’s still thankful for this current situation. Occasionally they’ll smile, or joke around, and these acts soothe her tired heart. And that’s why returning to the refuge is relaxing because, at the least, it’s a place where she’s comfortable and a place where everyone returns to. That’s what she thought.
Karasuba calls out her name in the living room. His voice is mixed with the sound of rain. Everyone has returned to their own rooms and so there’s no one to reply to Karasuba’s voice, with the exception of said person being called who is sleeping on the sofa. Karasuba stares at Beniyuri with wide eyes, wondering if this is what they call being fast asleep. He averts his eyes and comments out loud on how she’s being too reckless in this refuge which has nothing but men. But there’s still no reply.
Even as he takes a seat beside her and stares at her, there’s no change. He even pokes at her defenseless cheek with a finger. He calls out for her to wake and if she doesn’t then he’s going to poke her in a lot of places. He’ll even tease her and things might become troublesome. Beniyuri stirs and moves her head faintly. Karasuba wipes the smirk off his face and stares at her expectantly. But then she just falls back to sleep. He thought she was going to wake.
Staring at her regulated breathing, he finally sighs and gives up. And then, as if time has stopped, he stares at her sleeping face and murmurs to himself. She’s dropped her guard. His voice is tinged with sadness. If her memory returns… then she won’t be innocent like this anymore, huh. He closes his eyes like the sleeping girl in front of him, appearing to be in thought. If she continues to stay like this then–
Karasuba leans in and confirms that she’s not just faking sleep, right? Because he’s not trying to test her right now… but she wouldn’t believe him, huh. She’s too honest, “Beniyuri”. She shows no signs of waking through his whispers and slowly the distance between them shrinks, to the point where their clothes graze against each other. Karasuba warns her that he’s going to kiss her. Is that okay?
His lips close in slowly, even as he is conflicted– but then he pulls away and sighs. Even if he wasn’t doing it on purpose he was still testing something… on himself, huh. Karasuba slaps his own cheek lightly and then returns to his previous self.
He shouts out for Beniyuri to wake up! There’s a huge fire! Get up! Beniyuri springs up, asking what’s going on. He grins as he notes that she’s finally awake. She asks him quickly what happened. His grin transforms into a smirk as he tells her that there’s a big problem… his heart is on fire. She stares at him blankly. He winks at her and says that when he saw her sleeping princess-like face his heart felt like it was set on fire. She slowly asks him what he’s saying.
Karasuba yelps out that her blank look is damaging him greatly! He finally explains that he just woke her up because she was sound asleep on the sofa. She realizes that she fell asleep like that while reading a book. He tells her that she can’t sleep here and should properly sleep in her room! She nods and thanks him for waking her. He tells her that she’s welcome with a bright smile. She decides that she’s going to return to her room to sleep then and wishes him good night. He returns the good night.
He watches as she walks to her room and closes the door before his expression falls. He laughs softly at how she thanked him. And then he hears a door open, making him ask who it is. Monshiro appears. Karasuba raises an eyebrow and tells him that it’s a bad habit to peep. Monshiro’s voice is flat as he notes that Karasuba has liked Ai from when they were children, huh. Karasuba’s eyes widen. Monshiro doesn’t say anything more and walks away. Karasuba calls out for him to wait but he’s already gone. His eyes turn distant as he wonders why Monshiro would…
Beniyuri is falling slowly, wrapped in a soft blanket. Which way is up, which way is down. Which is a dream, and which is reality. She’s not sure. If things are peaceful and calm then she doesn’t care. That’s what she thought. The boundary between dreams and reality is uncertain.
*** CONFRONTED REALITY （突きつけられる現実）***
Karasuba sighs and wonders why he’s remembered everything. He’s just exited his room before he stops and sighs. It would have been better if his memories hadn’t returned. At first, when he woke up in this mansion, he had no idea who he was– he had amnesia. All his memories had been omitted, he had nothing but his body, not even a weapon to defend himself. In truth, those made him uneasy but he also felt free without the weight of his past.
But he slowly understood the reasons as to why, he just continued to act like he didn’t notice it and didn’t see it and spent his days happily. A few days ago, when the conclusive photograph was found, he was thrown into the depths of depression. The group photo that was taken ten years ago at a camp outside the city. The instant he saw their younger selves smiling innocently, the memories that were supposed to be lost were resurrected.
He’s certain that everyone but Beniyuri were thinking it was better not to have remembered. It’s a memory that he can’t help but want to erase from their mind. His weak self. The self that he hates. The self that wasn’t able to protect what was important to him. Even though he tried to forget the past and become a new him, he suddenly has to remember the past. He smiles wryly as he thinks that, no, he wasn’t weak just when he was a child. Even now he’s fed up with how cowardly he is.
In the half-hearted living state of being in this circle of companions, he still continues to avert his eyes from “that incident”. But he knows it’s time to face it… which is why he’s standing here right now. Karasuba cheers himself on and blows away his doubts before reaching out to knock on the door in front of him.
Scene skip! Hikage asks Karasuba why he took him to this place. What’s the matter? Karasuba grins at him and tells him not to make such a disagreeable face. It’s fine if he just accompanies him for a bit, no? He really does have something he wants to talk about. Hikage reminds him that it’s dangerous to be walking the halls at night. He knows that much, right?
Karasuba tells him exasperatedly that he knows and they’re just going to walk for a little bit. In his mind, he notes that this isn’t something they can talk about in their rooms and if he’s right about “that” then he doesn’t know what will happen. Even as he curses at Hikage in his heart, he continues to smile brightly on the surface.
But Hikage presses him as to what he wants to talk about with cold eyes while they continue walking. What is it that he wants to talk about here? Karasuba nods and lowers his voice to say that he… Hikage leans in. Yes? Karasuba confesses that he… likes Beniyuri. Hikage stares at him dumbfounded. OH MY GOD THE NOISE HE MAKES HERE IS SO CUTE LMAO. IT’S LIKE “… UHH… UHH???”.
Hikage steps away and says exasperatedly that he knows and it’s not a confession. He leaks it out like water. Karasuba also steps away and laughingly jokes about how he meant to keep it a secret! It looks like love really does flow out. But it looks like this’ll make the conversation quick. He wanted to get some relationship advice from Hikagecchi! Hikage asks why it’s him of all things, and Karasuba could have asked Kagiha.
Karasuba admits that he planned to do that at the beginning but Kagiha seems to be aiming for her too; and he wouldn’t want to help his enemy, right? Hikage snorts and then asks what he wants advice on. Karasuba tells him that frankly he just wants to know how to get his feelings to reach Beniyuri; he’s tried to convey his feelings with all he had but she’s never taken him seriously. He’s troubled by a lot of things like whether he should be more forceful in his approach or if he should try sneaking into her room at night.
Hikage is silent before telling Karasuba not to do anything strange where he can see him. Karasuba pouts and asks if he can’t do any of those then. Hikage replies that he’s protecting the standard and there’s no way he’d allow Karasuba to attack a sleeping girl. Karasuba frowns and asks Hikage how he would do it then if the girl he likes isn’t considering him. He replies simply that he’s never thought about it. Karasuba teases him about how serious he’s being again.
Then he asks 「緋影っち女の子好きになったことないの？ちょっといいなーとか、一緒にいたいなーとか。そういうのもない？」(Hikagecchi, have you ever liked a girl? Anything like thinking “Oh, she’s nice” or “I want to be together with her” or anything?). Hikage sighs and replies that he hasn’t. Not even once. Karasuba should know that he’s never been in the environment for one.
Karasuba muses on that last point about not feeling it even once. Hikage sighs and comments on how Karasuba had seemed depressed recently but it was just that idiotic conflict? Karasuba asks if he can ask him one more thing then? Hikage rolls his eyes and tells him to go ahead, though it’s just going to be something worthless, right? Karasuba asks 「緋影っちってさーーカズヤじゃないでしょ？」(Hikagecchi… isn’t Kazuya, huh).
Hikage’s eyes widen minutely. Karasuba finds himself on the receiving end of a sharp glare, as if searching for his intentions. For a second, Hikage looks scared but then he replies that he’s Kazuya. Karasuba accepts his words but comments lightly on how he can’t seem to get rid of his discomfort though. Hikage echoes his words. Karasuba explains that the Kazuya he remembers had an accident and hasn’t returned to consciousness since then, which is why Hikage told him that he’s never had that circumstance. Hikage tells him that if he understands then–
But Karasuba interrupts and tells him that those words are fitting for the “present” Kazuya’s situation. But Kazuya had a girl he liked. Hikage is silent. Karasuba presses closer and asks if he didn’t realize it, that Kazuya liked Beniyuri 10 years ago. Hikage narrows his eyes and admits that he had wondered what he was talking about, but he’s talking about their childhood. Is Karasuba really going to bring the past and use it as a reference to suspect him?
Karasuba laughs softly before confirming that Hikage really isn’t Kazuya. Hikage stiffens and asks him what he means. Karasuba tells him that their time together as children was important to all of them and someone like him, who wasn’t there and didn’t experience that, wouldn’t know. Yes, outsiders wouldn’t know. As if they could know so easily…
Karasuba goes on to say that, more importantly, when they’ve all just remembered the past they wouldn’t just cast it away with words like “that past thing”. At the very least, he knows that the real Kazuya in this mansion would want to be together with Beniyuri. He also isn’t surprised to know that the real Kazuya is a nice person too and has remained silent up to now. Karasuba declares that even though Hikage has the same face as Kazuya… he’s another person inside.
Hikage doesn’t respond. Karasuba falls silent. Suddenly, Hikage’s lips which had been scowling twist and he starts to laugh. The air around them changes and becomes dangerous. Hikage asks him simply 「・・・それで？」(… And?). Karasuba looks at him in confusion. Hikage asks him what he’s going to do. Karasuba repeats those words quietly and averts his eyes, hesitant. Hikage confirms that he’s not Kazuya and, as a reward for seeing through to the truth, he’s admitting it like this. But what does Karasuba want to do? Did he just want to confirm it?
Karasuba stiffens as the man with Kazuya’s face easily admits the truth about deceiving them. He asks Hikage who he truly is then– except he knows already that Hikage is the master of the mansion, right? Hikage admits it. Karasuba asks him if he’s been sending them mail, orders, and the photos up to now? Hikage glances away and comments on how he tried to match their fashion and style in the present time but it looks like it didn’t work. Karasuba asks him angrily why that was necessary.
Hikage tells him that it’s very simple. All the souls that come here have no memories and head quickly to the other side. In order for them to remain here he needed something to make them remember. It could be said that it’s thanks to him that everyone is here like this. Karasuba narrows his eyes and asks if he’s asking for thanks. In that case, why was he acting like Kazuya? Hikage tells him that it was easiest to blend in as a companion in order to get them to cooperate in collecting the fragments. Although there are other fun reasons too.
Suddenly, the man in front of Karasuba with the dangerous smile closes the distance between them. Hikage wants to return to the original topic. What does Karasuba want to do in the end? He must be glad to reveal his true form, right? What’s next? Karasuba tells him that it should be obvious. He wants Hikage to stop acting like their companion and friend. Hikage gives a bark of laughter at these serious words, it’s quite unlike of him as “Karasuba”.
Hikage wants to know if Karasuba really wants it to end though? Because he’s remained quiet before for people who were his “friends”, right? Karasuba narrows his eyes and asks him what he means. Hikage only calls him 「弱虫のヒメちゃん。」(Princess Crybaby). Karasuba flinches away from him. Hikage’s smirk deepens as he muses out loud on how Karasuba used to have that nickname as a child since he was so timid.
He couldn’t retort with anything despite being teased and he only smiled submissively as he was bullied. He couldn’t do anything. Karasuba asks him shakily how he knows that. Hikage doesn’t answer and only continues to go on about how Karasuba has always been like that, unable to do anything but watch. It was the same for “that day” right? His precious friends were drowning in the lake but all he could do was tremble and watch.
Because of that Natsuki died and Kazuya is in a coma! If perhaps, at that time, he was able to do something courageous then maybe those two wouldn’t have ended up being like that, huh. YOU ARE SUCH UTTER TRASH HIKAGE PLEASE. HIS VOICE IS SO OBNOXIOUS HERE IT’S AMAZING. Hikage’s voice drops as he tells Karasuba without any emotion that he let them die without helping. Karasuba is trembling as he tells him to stop it.
But Hikage continues 「弱虫なヒメちゃん。意気地なしのヒメちゃん。弱くて弱くて、自分が大っ嫌いなヒメちゃん。」(Crybaby princess. Cowardly princess. The weak princess who hates himself). He doesn’t want his unsightly real self to be known to the girl he likes, right? BTW HIKAGE’S VOICE IS ALMOST SING-SONG HERE. Hikage’s voice returns to being flat as he reveals that the kaleidoscope is nearly complete so he isn’t hurt, nor does he care, about his true form being found out.
It’s boring for things to end like this though, which is why… he tells Karasuba not to do anything unnecessary and to just watch silently. If Karasuba does that then he won’t tattle to Beniyuri about how pathetic Karasuba is… since they’re “friends”.
Scene skip! In the end, Karasuba couldn’t say anything back. He could only watch silently as the master of the mansion left. Yes, even here he seems to be able to do nothing but watch. Even though he hates his weak self and wishes to change. He hates how he isn’t able to endure disclosing himself to the girl he likes. Karasuba sighs deeply and calls himself pathetic. And that’s why, no matter how much time passes, he isn’t able to become strong, huh.
He slips into a small room because he wants to be alone and sighs greatly again. What is strength…? Desperately hiding his weakness like this definitely isn’t strength, huh. In that case… In his mind he knows. He’s already known within ten minutes. He knows that if he remains like this then nothing will change, even now. If he wants to become a man to match well with Beniyuri then he needs to face this without running away. He needs to face this… but…
That’s why… but… that’s why… but… This repeats. If Beniyuri knows how pathetic he is then she might scorn him. But if he continues to run away like this then he’ll be the worst person in the world, even more than he already is. He sighs again. He can’t find the courage. Even right now in the critical moment. If he doesn’t want to hate himself any more than this then he has only one road. He has to bring the truth to light. If he brings light to this night then surely he’ll be reborn. He’ll break free from his weak self.
But, until then, he wants to be like this a little longer… cooped up in his shell… warming his wings. BTW THIS IS THE MOMENT RIGHT BEFORE HE GETS ATTACKED BY A MONSTER AND BENIYURI ENDS UP FINDING HIM WITH HIKAGE. THAT TIME.