Yamazaki Susumu (山崎 烝)
CV: Morikawa Toshiyuki (森川 智之)
One afternoon, Yamazaki came to you, out of breath, when you were resting at the military quarters.
Yamazaki talked happily about how he won for the first time at shuttlecock with Toudou, Nagakura, and Harada.
For Yamazaki who, on top of his post, had interacted with the other soldiers with a sense of distance said he had a great time.
You and Yamazaki, who was overjoyed at such a small change, enjoyed playing shuttlecock together too.
During this time, you ended up accompanying Yamazaki who had to head to Hiroshima for a mission.
At Hiroshima, while the two of you spent days like a married couple, Yamazaki said that,
“This happiness won’t continue for long. Once we end up apart, we’ll surely separate.”
The real meaning of those words was—
Many thanks to Lux for the commission! Rejet’s series isn’t officially labelled as R18 but it gets pretty steamy and manages to fade out JUST before the real stuff happens. So, while I’m not gonna put up an official warning I am letting you guys know there’s a spicy scene.
Note1: Hiyokuroku (比翼録) is an interesting word, but all you need to know is that hiyoku (比翼) is found in a compound that means a happily married couple. It’s supposed to invoke the imagery of two birds together. So, that’s why Hiyokuroku is the happy AU of the Wasurenagusa series compared to Kekkonroku (it has blood in its title) LOL.
*** TRACK 1: Sunlight Filtering Through Trees ***
Narration: It has already been a year and a half since the Ikedaya incident. Slowly, slowly… at a speed which the eyes cannot see, this period of time passes. In addition, each and every person’s feelings also change slowly in a different direction. Where will the Shinsengumi head in the future? We desperately ran through a hazy path, carrying this indistinct concern. I don’t care what future awaits us. I’ve decided to dedicate this body to supporting the Shinsengumi until the last moment. That is my will, hope, and the one and only promise that will never waver for me to remain myself.
Susumu: Excuse me, are you there? *opens sliding screen* I’m sorry for my sudden appearance. You’re currently on your break, right?
S: Listen! I was playing shuttlecock just earlier. Toudou-san and Harada-san, then Nagakura-san and I split into two teams like that and had a match. It’s my first time winning in a game like this! Yes, Nagakura looks strong but when you try playing you surprisingly get fired up, huh.
S: Those three said they were tired already and returned to their rooms. But I haven’t played enough. If you’d like, I was wondering if we could play together?
S: Really!? Ehehe, then let’s go to the courtyard.
S: It’s coming again. Here! *hits shuttlecock*
S: Ooh, that’s a nice one. Hah! Battledore is a game for women, huh, so I should have expected you to be skilled. Oh, woah!
S: Really? Haha, it’s because I was trained by Nagakura-san just earlier ago. Or, actually, perhaps I should wonder why Nagakura-san is that good at a game for women— ah!
S: Hah, you got another point.
S: You must be getting tired too, right? Then let’s make this the last one. Here! *hits shuttlecock*
S: It’s the first time we’ve played together like this, right? It feels somewhat refreshing. I didn’t think it was possible for me to have this much fun too— oh! Haha, it flew off somewhere. Oh no, don’t worry, I’m sure you didn’t have much space to hit it.
S: Let’s see… where did it go? *pushes bushes* Ah! Here it is.
S: Haha, it flew this far. Even though it’s winter, we built up quite a lot of sweat. How about we sit down and rest a little?
S: We got a bit excited at doing what I wanted to do, huh. Thank you for keeping me company.
S: Yes, I’m personally surprised too. To think I’d get so absorbed into playing shuttlecock. Next time we play, I’ll prepare a brush and ink so that every time a point is taken the winner can scrawl over the other person’s face.
S: It’s the first time I’ve played like this with everyone since I joined the Shinsengumi. Toudou-san casually invited me while I was passing through. Haha, that made me happy. It made me think, ah, the soldiers and everyone else has accepted me. Somehow, I also feel like I’m finally a member, with its true meaning, of the Shinsengumi.
S: Haha, yes, I know. I was probably the only one who thought that way. Because, in the past, there were times when I accepted invitations too. But, how do I put this… I was never given an invitation to something where it was a matter of course that I’d participate. Haha, and yet, nowadays it’s always like that.
S: This small change is a happy fortune for me.
S: It seems like I’ve really changed since I met you. It’s not that I hated myself from before, but I like who I am right now the most. The importance of loving yourself… I never thought about it. That I started thinking like this is all because of you. It’d be nice if I could convey this happiness to you even just a little…
S: Really? I’m glad then. *hugs heroine*
S: … Please continue to stay with me. I can’t live anymore without you. It’d be nice if I was someone like that for you too. *kisses*
S: Haha, don’t worry about this location. It’s in the shade, so no one can see. That’s why… just for a while longer… *kisses*
S: Mm? Ah, it’s raining. Haha, jeez, we got interrupted by something unexpected. I guess we can only go back inside.
S: Huh? Haha, you’re right, let’s play shuttlecock again some time. Next time, it’ll be with Toudou-san and all the soldiers.
S: Next year, and the year after that… it’d be nice if we could do it every year.
*** TRACK 2: A Private Worry ***
S: Haah… ah, perfect, I was just thinking about going to your room.
S: Yes, there’s something I’d like to talk to you about. The sooner the better, so could I ask for some of your time right now? I’m sorry for interrupting while you’re in the middle of sweeping. Shall we go then?
*scene skip; opens sliding screen*
S: I was speaking with Kondou-san and the others until a moment ago. There are some things I need to talk to you about with respect to that conversation.
S: To get straight to the point, the Shinsengumi will be heading to Hiroshima, following the surrender of Choushuu. That being said, only a dozen soldiers will be heading there. The majority will be left behind here at this station. Because of Choushuu’s previous defeat, they are listening to the shogunate presently, but they have been showing movements to overthrow the shogunate again.
S: Right now, it appears like a punitive expedition will be needed, but we cannot thoughtlessly start a war. For that, we will first send over the terms of their surrender and hold a formal conversation. Us, the Shinsengumi, will also be following with the meaning of being an escort. That’s the situation.
S: The people of Choushuu will probably refuse us, the Shinsengumi, setting foot into their state. It’s likely Kondou-san and the others will hear of these things, but it’s necessary to keep an eye on Choushuu’s movements from a close distance. There, I will be living in Hiroshima for a while as an observer and reporting about the situation in detail to the Shinsengumi.
S: Because of this, I need to leave this station for a while. Now, this is the main subject I wish to talk about. You see, I also… want you to come along with me on this mission.
S: You and I will be acting as a married couple in Hiroshima. In these times, when it comes to a single man moving to another land and settling down, he is looked at with suspicious eyes and people will wonder if he is a spy or not. Then, no matter how carefully I act, there is a limit.
S: If that’s the case, then I asked how it would be if I brought you along as my wife so that I wouldn’t be suspicious from the start. Of course, this is only if you are willing. I don’t intend to force you. It’s part of a mission and so it definitely won’t be easy, but it might be a nice experience for you to live in a land outside of Kyoto too. How about it?
S: You’ll come then!? Thank you very much. *hugs heroine*
S: I’m glad you nodded. To be honest, I was worried that I would be rejected by you. If we’re separated by a distance, then surely our feelings would become distant too. I didn’t want that.
S: Ah, that reminds me, I believe Kondou-san is going to be heading out immediately. I need to report to him as soon as possible.
S: Haha, in any case, I don’t have to part from you with this and I’m glad for that. *kisses*
S: Well then, I’m going to report this.
*** TRACK 3: Unbearable Frustration ***
S: I’m home. *kisses*
S: Haha, thank you for coming out to welcome me back today too. Now, how about we go home? Let’s hold hands. Thanks to how we walk around town like this every day, the fact that we’re a married couple has spread through the neighborhood.
S: In this land, I’m recognized as a simple medicine dealer. I’m sure I’m no longer suspected to be a spy from somewhere.
S: In Kyoto, I wasn’t really able to hold your hand out in the open and walk around. I know we’re in the middle of a mission, but I can’t help but get a little excited. Ah, of course, until just now I was firmly doing my mission. There’s no problem there.
S: Yes, at the restaurant I dropped into in the afternoon, I had an opportunity to speak with a doctor who is part of the Choushuu group. It seems like he didn’t have work today and he was drinking sake since noon, so I was able to easily obtain information.
S: It appears that the Choushuu group haven’t broken their attitude of overthrowing the shogunate. If the shogunate were to come with a punitive expedition again, then it seems like they will put up a fight without exception. In addition, this is nothing more than my intuition but they seem to have some sort of plan as well. I’ll need to investigate more for the details.
S: If our side doesn’t make a move, then I’m sure there’ll be movement from the other side. Even if it is just as a restraint, it’s necessary for us to set up something first. Once we reach home, I’ll need to draw up a report right away and send it to Kondou-san. Ah, right.
S: Come to think of it, we’ve run out of paper to use for reports. That was thoughtless of me. It’s almost time for the shops to close. I’ll quickly go and buy some, so please go on home first.
S: I’m sorry, since you went out of your way to come here, but I’ll catch up immediately. I’ll be heading off then. *runs off*
*heroine walking; men surround her; scene skip*
S: Thank you very much. Here is the payment. *drops coins*
S: Phew, I’m glad I was able to buy some. *opens sliding screen* It’s already getting dark. I need to catch up to her quickly. *runs*
S: Haa… hah… this is strange. I should be able to see her soon…
S: Ah! There she is! I’m glad.
S: Huh!? Who are they…? Those men… It doesn’t look like she recognizes any of them.
S: Grgh… she belongs to me alone…! *touches sword* Ah, going like this would be bad. I need to hide my face.
S: You men… do you have business with this girl? It doesn’t matter who I am, does it? I am asking what business you have. If you don’t have any, then please step away from her.
S: Don’t touch her with your DIRTY HANDS! Scram right now. IMMEDIATELY!
S: So you won’t leave then. I understand. If you won’t stop despite me asking… I simply need to make you step away by force. I won’t let off any person who touches her. *gets into fight* HAH! Hmph! You guys too…! Don’t run away! Hah! Ngh! Don’t touch her ever again! *punches men* Grgh! Ngh! *heroine pulls at him*
S: Ah, you’re right, these men aren’t conscious anymore.
S: … Let’s return.
[06:22] *scene skip*
S: DAMMIT! *punches wall*
S: What was with those men!? Touching your body so easily with their filthy hands…! *punches wall* I was negligent. Why did I leave you alone!?
S: Ggh… I’m sorry. Because of me, you went through a terrible experience. I’m so sorry! Kgh… should have died… Those men… they should have died!
S: Ah… yes, I didn’t kill them, but I should have killed them.
S: Why are you worried about that right now? Are you saying… that you’re more concerned over the lives of those men than the fact that they touched you and that I stopped them? *grabs heroine* Hey, tell me.
S: Oh, what, you mean that? Please relax in that case. I made sure to hide my face and it shouldn’t affect our mission. Even if someone were to have seen that, I just need to say I taught a lesson to the men who tried to touch my precious wife and everyone will understand. *kisses*
S: I’m relieved. For a second, I thought you cared more about those men than me. Haha… but that’s impossible, right? After all, your heart belongs to me alone, doesn’t it? No matter the situation, you wouldn’t have feelings for a man other than me.
S: … Isn’t that right? *kisses*
S: I won’t ever let you experience that again. Please tell me, where were you touched by those men? Your shoulder? Your back? Was this placed touched as well?
S: You’re mine… you belong only to me, and yet… *kisses; loosens clothing*
S: At the very least, I need to touch you a lot… until you can’t remember them. Mm… *kisses*
S: That was the first time I’ve wanted to kill someone that badly. If you hadn’t stopped me, I might have killed them like that. *kisses*
S: Even though I’ve always been able to be calm, when it comes to you, I lose all sense of composure. *kisses*
S: Is this side of me terrifying?
S: … To be honest, I sometimes become afraid of myself. The love and attachment I feel for you… I sometimes wonder if it isn’t abnormal? *kisses* But when I’m in front of you, it’s impossible to suppress my feelings. I love you… to a helpless extent. Mm… *kisses*
S: Has the feeling of those men disappeared? *kisses*
S: If it was possible, I’d like to make you forget the sight and voice of all men other than me. *kisses* When I’m in front of you, I become more and more selfish, huh. I’m sorry… but, please understand, I just love you so much that I can’t help myself.
S: I’m glad and it comforts me to hear you say that. *kisses*
S: I’m going to complete the report to Kondou-san. Once you compose yourself, could you bring some tea to the room? Then, I’ll have to trouble you.
Narration: After that, I asked another soldier who was staying at Hiroshima to be my messenger and my report was delivered to Kondou-san. Due to this matter as well, the shogunate eventually arranged its forces and decided on the soldiers to send to Choushuu for suppression. When it became June, the shogunate’s navy attacked Suou-Ooshima and occupied it. Before long, the Hikone group, which acted as the leading army, advanced but Choushuu forces set up an ambush. Then the battle at the ports began.
*** TRACK 4: Premonition ***
*heroine chopping; Susumu sneaks up and kisses*
S: Haha, there was a delicious smell from the kitchen, so I ended up coming out. What are you making? Dinner? Haha, for me, right? I’m so happy. Thank you. I stayed in my room the entire day, so I happen to be hungry now. Once you’re done cooking, let’s eat right away.
S: Like this, we seem like a real married couple, don’t we? Mm… *kisses*
S: Haha, I can’t help myself now, can I? I want to be holding you tight. I won’t get in the way, so please let me stay like this. Haha, in the end, it’s not allowed while you’re cooking? I’m sorry. Then, let’s leave cuddling like this for something to look forward to after dinner.
*he steps away; heroine returns to cutting*
S: Ngh, as you’d expect, my body’s tired. My waist hurts for some reason. I finished my report with respect to the punitive expedition of Choushuu. This time, there were many things I needed to convey, so it took time. Soon, the soldier who acts as a messenger will come to pick up the report. I need to tell Kondou-san about this situation as soon as possible.
S: The shogunate was taken out in the first offense. They should have overwhelming numbers, but the unity of the Choushuu forces is tougher than expected. Looking at it, the morale of the shogunate is lower than ever before. At this rate, the Choushuu side will likely claim victory.
S: If the shogunate is defeated, the way the public views the Shinsengumi will also become different to what it is now. There is a large possibility that we will be seen as enemies of the court. If that becomes the case, then the desire for soldiers to stay in the Shinsengumi will also be weakened.
S: Depending on this matter, the current state of the Shinsengumi may also change a little. Yes… perhaps it was after Kondou-san and the others went to Edo to recruit soldiers. Ever since then, the atmosphere within the army has changed a little.
S: There are probably other various reasons. Once a strain appears, things cannot return easily to the way they were before. This battle will become a trigger and the soldiers who are concerned about the Shinsengumi presently will probably feel their concerns are strengthened. This is nothing more than my intuition, from having observed the other soldiers all this time, but… I wonder if the Shinsengumi will collapse bit by bit after this?
S: Haha, the thing called happiness might not be something that can continue for long. *door is knocked on* Ah, it seems like the messenger has come. Then, I’m going to hand over the report. Once I come back, let’s eat that dinner.
*** TRACK 5: Festival Music ***
S: The luggage to carry back should be these, right? It’s now time for us to leave this house we’ve lived in for a long while. They were busy days, but acting as a married couple was quite nice, wasn’t it?
S: Holding your hand out in the open and walking around, being able to hug you without worrying about people looking, and above all I was able to have you all to myself from the other soldiers. Now that I think about it, these were all nice things.
S: Once we’re back at the military quarters, we’ll need to return to having a secret relationship. It’s a matter of course, but there’s also a feeling of frustration.
S: Hm? This sound… Is it a festival band? Yes, it sounds close. Maybe because I was preoccupied with my mission, but I didn’t know there was going to be a festival. Huh? Right now? Sure, you’re right, why don’t we go look at it for a while?
[01:54] *scene skip; festival time*
S: There’s so many people. So, festivals are this lively, huh. Look, there’s a lot of stalls. Ah! Those are the rumored cotton candies, aren’t they? Look, over there is goldfish scooping. I didn’t think these would really be here.
S: What is it?
S: Ah, yes, that’s actually the case. Even though they’re festivals, I’ve never gone to one until now. I’ve always thought about going one day, but there wasn’t anyone I wanted to invite in particular. Even when I was invited occasionally by other soldiers, I thought becoming friends would affect my job as an observer and so I refused them. Thus, today is my first time.
S: I don’t know if I can give you an enjoyable time, but if you don’t mind… could we go around together?
S: Thank you! Then, let’s go! Ah, before that…
S: Today is the last day we are acting as a married couple, so let’s hold hands.
S: Haha, being at a festival as a married couple… it feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Oh, that’s right, since we’re here let’s buy festival things. What would be good?
S: How is it? Does it suit me? It’s a bit tight.
S: Ah, this is for children? H-hey, don’t laugh. I didn’t know. Haha, it’s my first time, so I wouldn’t know, right?
S: For you… this fox looks suitable. It’ll be a problem if you can’t see in front of you, so if we angle it a little like this… mm, cute! You have more of a festive air now. Maybe I should do a fox too.
S: *to shopkeeper* Excuse me, could we have two of these masks? Thank you very much.
S: I want to eat cotton candy next. Let’s go!
S: *to shopkeeper* Two cotton candies. Thanks.
S: Here, for you too. Now, let’s eat them. Wow, they’re really fluffy. It’s completely different from the sugar I know. How are we supposed to eat this? Do you just bite it normally? Then… om… mm! It’s sweet and tasty! Mm, it’s unbelievably sticky. What the heck is this?
S: Ah, you’re laughing again! Hey, why are you tearing it off and eating it? No, that’s definitely the right way to eat it, isn’t it? If you eat it like that then it’s certain the cotton candy won’t melt. I’ll do that this time. Mm! Eating it this way really is the right way, haha. I’ve learned it. Later, we’ll eat candied apples, scoop goldfish, and watch the fireworks to complete everything.
S: Haha, this is nice. Oh no, it’s because you were smiling and enjoying yourself a lot so I felt happy.
S: If only these days could continue…
S: … Let’s go to the arrow and targets next! I’m good at taking aim, you know?
S: That was fun, wasn’t it? We made a lot of memories before we return to Kyoto.
S: Haha, we went around to mostly everything, but in truth I don’t want to go home yet. It’d be nice if this night could continue forever…
S: Um, why don’t we rest a little on those steps over there? I’m sorry for asking this, but I really don’t want to go back yet. Thank you! *goes to sit down*
S: Look, it’s a full moon. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
S: … Thank you for being with me today. I didn’t know something like a festival could be this fun. It was a really wonderful day. The things I’ve always wanted to do at a festival, being able to hold your hand and walk around… they’ve all become good memories.
S: Above all, nothing makes me happier than seeing you beside me laughing and enjoying yourself. I love it when you smile. Just earlier, I thought that from the bottom of my heart too. For me, who always lived in the shadows, your smile is as dazzling as the sun… to the point where sometimes I feel sorry that you’re beside me.
S: To be honest, I’m still doubting this is reality because I’m so happy I wonder if I’m not dreaming. This might have been the most enjoyable day in my life up to now.
S: I’m sure I’m at the summit of my happiness right now… Tomorrow, we’ll be leaving Hiroshima. Then, before long, we’ll arrive at the military quarters. I’m a little afraid of that. The shogunate has failed in its punitive expedition on Choushuu in the end. From what I heard by the messenger, the Shinsengumi’s situation doesn’t seem to be very good.
S: Criticism from the public is strengthening and the morale of the soldiers appears to be dropping. Already, several soldiers seem to have withdrawn. The Shinsengumi is beginning to collapse bit by bit. The situation I feared is happening at last… is what you could say about this.
S: If we return to the military quarters, I need to feel the atmosphere within the army with my own body. The Shinsengumi is the most important home of all to me. Seeing that break down… frightens me.
S: You should… also prepare yourself, I think. If the Shinsengumi eventually faces destruction, then it will also be difficult for you to continue on as a maid. Sooner or later, you will have to leave the military quarters. If that happens then I won’t be able to be together with you like I am now.
S: If we are to become separated then I’m sure we’ll… split up. Ah, it seems like the festival is over.
S: … Well, we should head back soon. We need to be sure to sleep for tomorrow. Can you stand?
S: Let’s go home.
*** TRACK 6: Sleeping in Sorrow ***
*nighttime; heroine goes to Susumu*
S: … Come in.
S: For you to come at this time, what’s wrong? Ah, you brought the kimono you washed. Thank you very much. Don’t worry, I was thinking about getting into my futon, but my mind is awake and I don’t seem to feel sleepy.
S: How is it living back at the military quarters? For a while, you only needed to wash two pairs of clothes, so do you feel burdened? I’m glad then.
S: … That’s true, lately the number of soldiers have lessened, so your work is easier compared to before.
S: Ah, no, I was just thinking recently this station has become lonely.
S: The time since we returned from Kyoto to when Itou-san and Toudou-san left the Shinsengumi as the Goryou Eiji was quick. In particular, Toudou-san was good at livening things up. So it feels even more lonely.
S: Haha, there wasn’t that many people, but they were comrades who I fought together with since the beginning. There’s also the soldiers who I’ve finally reached an understanding with but have left… it really has an effect on you.
S: Next year, I won’t be able to play shuttlecock with everyone… I wanted to play it again. No matter how dear you think of them… for you to become separated with them… is a sad thing, isn’t it?
S: Yes? Ah, do the dark circles under my eyes stand out that much? Haha, yes, somehow after I start thinking about things I haven’t been able to sleep lately. Even when I sleep, I have terrible dreams and wake immediately.
S: … It hurts, maybe. I don’t really understand it myself. Haha, I know that much. Everyone in the Goryou Eiji didn’t leave the Shinsengumi because they hated it… but that’s probably why I can’t accept the fact that they left. If they hated it then… I could give up on them.
S: Haah… um, could I ask for one thing? I’m worried and it hurts. For today… can you sleep beside me? Even just for a short time will be enough. Thank you! Come over here.
S: Come closer beside me. *holds heroine* It’s warm, isn’t it… I feel relieved somehow. In Hiroshima, we slept like this every day, didn’t we? It was just a few months ago… but it feels so nostalgic.
S: One day… together with you again… it’d be nice to live like that… *he falls asleep*
*** TRACK 7: Sunflower ***
S: Ah! W-what, so it was you. Haha, sheesh, please don’t startle me. It’s not fair to surprise me. Ah, when I was walking through the hall, I saw these bamboo in the garden and grew curious enough to look at them. Did we have these in the military quarters?
S: Oh, Nagakura-san brought them. So, why did our friend bring bamboo here? Our wooden pots are sturdy, so these are a bit overdone. Ah, I see! Today is Tanabata, huh. Then, these hanging papers are strips where people have written their wishes. It’s my first time actually seeing these.
S: Yes, up to now, I haven’t had the chance to celebrate Tanabata. Haha, there’s a lot attached here. Let’s see… “I want to become a stronger man”, “I want to eat as much crab as I want”, “I want to be taller”, haha, these are all child-like dreams.
S: Did you write your wish and hang it here too? Oh? I’m curious now. I wonder which one it is. Let’s see, writing that looks like yours…
S: Haha, why are you so embarrassed? It’s not like it’s something that’ll be a problem if it’s seen, right? Haha, I’m joking, because I actually saw it earlier. It’s that pink slip, right? It’s hanging at the lowest position, so I could tell it apart from the others immediately.
S: “I hope everyone’s wishes are granted”. Hah… sheesh, it’s a wish that’s just like you. Haha, I can’t decide whether you have no desires or if you are too greedy. This might be the limit for you and your short height, but shouldn’t it be tied in a higher place? For these things, it’s said the closer they are to the sky the better, right?
S: I’ll hang it somewhere higher for you. Let’s see, ah, that branch is good. *ties it* Alright. Like this, your slip of paper is at the highest point.
S: Haha, oh no, this is nothing. If your wish is granted, then everyone else’s wishes will be granted. We need to have that slip of paper be the first thing read by Orihime and Hikoboshi.
S: Eh? Me too? You’re right, since I’m here I suppose I’ll make a wish. *grabs paper and brush*
S: If I’m to write something, then there’s only one thing. *writes; ties it*
S: … “I hope I’m not separated from anyone else”.
S: The wind is picking up. Even though it’s summer, if you’re careless you’ll catch a cold. Come, let’s return inside. It’ll be nice if these are granted… everyone’s wishes.
S: Please come in.
S: Did you finish your work already? I see, you’ve worked hard. It’s a nice day today, so the laundry should dry fast. However, it’s unusual for you to visit my room at this time. Did something happen?
S: Hm? Yes, I’m going out for a quick mission in the evening. I have time until then. Is there somewhere you’d like to go? Haha, saying it’s a good place is pretty abstract. Alright, if you don’t mind it being me then I’ll accompany you. Please wait at the entrance then. I’ll get ready right away. *heroine leaves*
[06:18] *scene skip*
S: It’s hot, isn’t it? We’re right in the middle of summer. We’ve come pretty far from the town, where exactly do you plan on going? If we keep going like this, we’ll end up entering the forest. Well, I suppose the forest is cooler than this place.
S: Ah! W-why are you running all of a sudden? Please wait! Hold on!
S: Hey— this place…
S: This is amazing. There’s so many sunflowers blooming here.
S: I didn’t know a place like this existed! It’s bright and beautiful. How did you learn about this place?
S: Aah, I see. Meaning, it’s one of your parents’ memorable places. Why did you bring me to such an important place? I would have thought this sort of place is something you’d want to keep to yourself.
S: Oh, haha, you’re right, I also took you to my favorite place soon after you arrived at the military quarters. I didn’t plan on telling anyone about those butterflies, but I couldn’t stop myself from showing them to you. Whenever I see a beautiful sight, I want to tell you about it no matter what. It looks like you think the same, right?
S: Thank you, that makes me happy.
S: Haha, for some reason I feel like I’m out-of-place here. Is it alright for me to be in such a bright place?
S: Hm? What’s wrong?
S: Huh, I’m… a sun? No way, those are my lines. To me, you’re the one who is like a sun. I said that when we were at the festival too, didn’t I? That I’ve always lived in the shadows and can’t help but find you to be dazzling. So, for me to be a sun…
S: … You’re saying the reason you can smile is because I’m here?
S: I see… so you’ve always thought that, huh.
S: Huh? Haha… hahah! You’re right, sunflowers and the sun might be similar. I’ve never thought about that, haha. I’m glad. Then, it’s alright for me to be here beside you, right? *hugs heroine*
S: Thank you. You’ve been worried about how I’ve been depressed lately, right?
S: That’s right. Your sun can’t continue to remain hidden behind the clouds. I’ll stop what I’ve been doing and accept the Shinsengumi as it is now. Haah…
S: … Even if it’s impossible, I should try and forget everyone who has left, right? Huh? W-why are you suddenly angry? Did I say something wrong?
S: Eh? Is that true? Is it true that the people who left the Shinsengumi won’t forget it?
S: But, if they put some distance between them, then naturally their feelings will disappear, right? I’m wrong? What do you mean!?
S: If it was me, even if I were far away, I definitely wouldn’t forget about everyone. It’d also be impossible for me to hate them. To be honest, no matter how hard I would try, it would be useless. Because, to me, they’ve always… been precious comrades.
S: Everyone thinks… the same? Ah…
S: … I see. You’re… right. Everyone might be like me too… holding onto their feelings for their friends. No, it isn’t that they “might” be… they definitely are, right?
S: We’ve lost lives in the Shinsengumi and overcome struggles together. Their feelings towards the Shinsengumi should be the same as mine. In that case, everyone wouldn’t forget about the Shinsengumi and the comrades they fought together with.
S: Even if all of us were to walk on separate paths, it’s not as if our bonds will break, right? *hugs heroine*
S: I’m a ridiculous idiot. I didn’t even notice such a simple thing. It’s no wonder you got angry at me.
S: Thank you for telling me. Yes, the distance between us doesn’t matter. Even if we’re separated, our hearts will be beside each other. Huh? Haha, that’s right, it’s like you say… our hearts won’t part so easily. Because we have such deep feelings for one another.
S: Aah, I want to scold myself for even thinking once about what I’d do if we were to get separated from each other. Even if you were in a far away place, I would continue to love you without any change. You would continue to have feelings for me in the same way, right? Haha, no matter where you are, I’ll love you. And then I’ll return without fail… to you and your love. I won’t die and leave you alone. It’s a promise.
S: Yes, absolutely. How about we do a pinky promise? So that my words right now can never be a lie. Let me swear it.
S: It’s a promise.
*** TRACK 8: Red Pinky Promise ***
S: May I come in? Excuse me. *opens and closes sliding screen*
S: Ah, were you about to sleep? I’m sorry for coming late in the night.
S: There’s something I wanted to tell you today by all means. Starting tomorrow, I’ll have to settle various things for my preparation. You see, the Shinsengumi is heading to Fushimi for war.
S: Yoshinobu has left the Nijo Castle in Kyoto and is transferring to the Osaka Castle. The Shinsengumi will be accompanying him. It is not a small part of the Shinsengumi, like the previous time in Hiroshima, and many soldiers will be heading out. Unlike anything up to now, it will be a large war.
S: I don’t need to mention how many victims will appear because of this war. Yes, I will be participating too. This time, I don’t intend to bring you along. Please, wait for my return here at this military station.
S: Haha, why do you look so concerned? I will be alright. I find it strange too… how my heart can be this calm. If it was the me from before, I’m sure I would be prepared to die. Naturally, there is more than enough chance of that happening.
S: However, for some reason or other, I don’t feel any fear at all. It might be because the feelings of reassurance from being with my comrades and needing to return to you are large. After all, we made a pinky promise, didn’t we? As long as we have this promise, I absolutely won’t die. I can’t prove it, but there’s this confidence deep in my heart. Haha, it’s strange, isn’t it?
S: Are you still worried? Then, why don’t I show you just how strong my resolve is?
S: This is something I’ve always cherished and kept with me. As you can see, it’s a comb. There is only one meaning behind a man gifting a comb to a woman.
S: I want to… be a real married couple with you. I’ve always thought this, since the time we acted as one in Hiroshima. That, one day, I want to be married for life with you. But that can’t be granted yet. Because, until I leave the Shinsengumi, I can’t marry you.
S: It might be selfish of me to say this, but I want to be a soldier of the Shinsengumi to the last moment. My heart will continue to exist for the Shinsengumi that Kondou-san and the others protected until the day it greets its end. In actuality, this might not have been something I should have handed to you yet. But this intention of mine won’t change. So… I’d like you to accept this vow.
S: Will you be my wife?
S: You’re accepting it then, right?! I’m so glad.
S: Haha, with this, I feel my nerves drawn tight again. I can’t die until the day I welcome you as my real wife. Haha, if you were to become someone else’s after I was gone, I’d go crazy in the afterworld. You know my resolve now, right?
S: Good. Then, please believe in me and wait. Ah, don’t cry. *hugs heroine* It’ll be okay. Even if we are separated, our hearts are beside each other. A bond that has already formed won’t snap no matter what happens. That is what you told me, isn’t it?
S: I will definitely return. Definitely. I’ll make sure. *kisses*
S: We won’t see each other for a while. Starting tomorrow, I won’t be able to hold you in my arms like this…
S: So, in this last moment, please let me feel you. *presses heroine down* Please, don’t forget this sensation even when we’re apart. *kisses*
S: … I’m a little scared to leave you here alone. I believe your heart won’t leave mine, but I’m scared over whether a man will try to court you. Ah, how nice it would be if I could lock you up somewhere. *kisses*
S: Please, be sure not to walk around recklessly alone and try not to talk to other men. Is that alright? Haha, that’s a good answer. But you’re a strange one…
S: Do you not find my love heavy? Were you not actually scared of me when we were in Hiroshima? *heroine shakes head* Really?
S: … Haah… it’s because you say these things, that I’m not able to conceal my emotions again. *kisses*
S: For me too, I believe I’d be happy no matter what shape your love came in. Because I can’t help myself. I just love you… without reason. *kisses*
S: Ngh… oh, that reminds me. I have a request to make of you. Could you hold this kunai? I want you to use the tip to draw a red line at the base of my little finger. My promise to return without fail… I want to make it more pronounced. So, please.
S: Don’t be afraid. This is what I desire. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt. Come on… ngh…! Haha… it looks like there’s a red thread tied around my little finger. It’s like the red string of fate. I’m so happy.
S: Huh? That’s true, but I can’t possibly make a mark on your finger—
S: You want one… too? Haha, alright.
S: Then… I’ll try not to make it hurt as much as possible.
S: Haha, we’re matching with this now. *kisses* Haa… for some reason, my heart feels completely filled right now. It might be the first time I’ve felt this sensation. Haha, your love might be a heavy thing as well.
S: But I would actually like more. Please let me take in all your feelings. I won’t mind whatever shape it takes. Anger, pain, even sorrow is fine. I want you to show all your feelings to me. *kisses*
S: Nngh… I adore you. I love you. There is no one for me but you. *kisses*
S: My one and only dear…
[13:30] *scene skip*
Narration: After that, we, the Shinsengumi, headed to Toba. Living for the Shinsengumi and dying for the Shinsengumi… that was my wish. For me, who always thought that, this battle was slightly different from the rest. In the midst of the tumult, I suddenly looked up at the sky and thought about her.
Narration: “Please listen, I now have one more large wish. I want to live, return to you, and be happy with you until the very end. I want to exist as your sun.”
*swords clashing; gunfire*
S: HAAGH! *cutting* Don’t think you can win against me!
S: Ngh! *get shot* UGH! Grgh… aiming at my leg… dammit! Gugh…! Heh… don’t look… down at me. This little thing… can’t possible stop me! GRGH!
Narration: An invisible power pushed my back. The fact that I had comrades beside me… the fact that someone was waiting for me… these things made me strong.
Narration: Some time later, the shogunate called for a retreat and concluded this battle as a loss. In the boat that headed towards Edo, I suddenly realized that I couldn’t move my leg as I pleased. I understood that I could no longer move it like I did before. I stared at the red thread wrapped around my little finger, while being swayed by the boat, and made a certain decision. Then, I wrote a letter to you.
*** TRACK 9: A Happily Married Couple ***
*ocean waves; heroine gets off boat*
S: I’ve been waiting. *heroine runs into his arms* Ah! Why do you look like you want to cry?
S: Haha… jeez, I told you many times that I wouldn’t die, didn’t I?
S: … For you to come to Edo means that you read the letter, right?
S: Then, let me tell you it once more. Exactly as I wrote in the letter, I’ve left the Shinsengumi for a while. However, I don’t intend to give up yet. Right now, I’ve been told by Hijikata-san to recuperate for now in Edo. But, if I find an opportunity, I want to return. I also don’t plan on being negligent about my training.
S: My heart is always with the Shinsengumi. I believe this will take a lot of effort and I’m sure I’ll become disheartened if I’m alone. But, as long as you are by my side, then I feel like I can do my best to the very end. That’s why… this time… will you… become my real wife?
S: Haha! *hugs heroine* Thank you so much. I don’t know how I can thank you. I don’t know enough words to convey all the feelings I have.
S: I love you… I love you. Haha, somehow my heart hurts. I’m so happy it feels like my heart will explode.
S: Yes, I thought my happiness during the festival reached the highest point, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Right now, I’m even happier than that. But I’m sure in the future there’ll be more and more happier events waiting for us. *kisses*
S: I’ll cherish you. Until… this life of mine ends.
[05:02] *ocean waves; birds chirping*
Narration: A pair of birds spread their wings above our heads… through the blue sky… to far and away… and the ends of the earth. We watched them intently until they reached the end of our vision and couldn’t be seen anymore. I’m certain that somewhere our distant friends are looking up at this sky.
Narration: This is the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. The Shinsengumi ran through a riotous age. Each and every person began to walk their own paths, believing in themselves and supporting their loved ones, they take one step at a time and continue forward. The bond between people is truly a strange thing. This strength that one person cannot possess surges up as if it were unlimited. Someone who you can believe in exists. Someone who believes in you exists. Just this fact alone is enough to make me strong.
Narration: A bond which has already formed won’t snap no matter how far apart we are. Our hearts are beside each other for sure. Closing my eyes, I wish strongly; please, let there be a bright light on all the paths my friends set out on. And let the pair of birds between them and you spread their wings high in the vast sky forever.
*BGM song plays; birds chirping; ocean waves*
Note2: The last track title is “hiyoku no tori (比翼の鳥)” which you’ll recognize was what I was talking about re: the title of this whole series. Fitting that this guy is the last volume with a track title that has the name of this season.