"Sabrina, I'm coming in."
"This isn't like you at all, Ootaki-kun!"
When Sofia knocked on the door and went inside, Sabrina was sitting in a chair near the window. She was still in her school uniform, while the new clothes provided for her were still sitting on the hangers.
She probably didn't sleep since the bed was still made.
"I see that you haven't eaten again."
"You haven't eaten anything since yesterday. Just have some yogurt at least."
Sofia sighed and lifted up the plates to take them away.
Before she left the room, she looked at Sabrina once more.
All she was doing was looking out the window.
Sofia quietly closed the door.
"How chilling. I can't tell if she's alive or not. She's almost like a doll."
As she left the room, Sofia saw the one person she didn't want to see, who was wearing a sinister smile.
Sofia suppressed her feelings and replied.
"Underboss, my apologies, but let me tell you something. Sabrina is not a doll."
Juan whistled and flexed his shoulders. Sofia ignored him and placed the dishes on the cart.
She then simply walked away from him.
There was no-one else in the corridor. It wasn't surprising, because the Jevini Family booked the entire level on the hotel's highest floor.
Sofia turned the corner.
Sofia weakly punched the wall in the tight hallway.
What is this feeling?
Why do I feel like this?
It was all for that child.
Unexpected things had happened, but she should be happier here.
Why did Sabrina look like she was in such pain?
I've done the right thing.
I should be able to say that with pride... but looking at Sabrina now, I'm not even sure anymore.
Sabrina was like this back in Italy as well.
She was almost like a doll.
Now that I think about it...
Sabrina was generally passive in her studies... except Japanese, which she was particularly studious in learning.
Was it for that boy named Kazuki Ootaki?
Because she might see him one day, even though it's unlikely.
So that she'll be able to speak with that boy if they were eventually able to meet.
Sabrina studied extremely hard.
In other words—.
She was happy... just being... by that boy's side...?
Her true happiness...
"Am I fine with this...?"
Sofia muttered to herself.
She couldn't give an answer, because the question evaporated under the gloomy lights.
He was dreaming.
It was quite an old dream.
Kazuki was walking at a fast pace among a crowd of people.
"Well done." "Heh heh heh." "It's all on camera~."
Cheerful dialogue could be overheard and there were a bunch of parents and children sitting around their colorful lunches.
"Daddy, do your best in the parents relay." "Leave it to me. We practiced together for the event, after all!" "But dear, you need to be careful so that you don't hurt your back."
He was trembling as he walked.
He spoke in a discontent manner as he walked.
Why is everyone so happy?
They're all laughing and smiling.
I want to...
— 「Listen up, Kazuki. You must eat all the bread in the bread eating race! If you do, you won't lose! Daddy and mommy will be watching you, so do your best!」
— 「We'll film you and send it to Hollywood so that they make an amazing SFX movie.」
He remembered what his parents told him.
Kazuki's parents were so busy with work, they usually didn't return home. So he'd never seen his parents participate in these events before.
So Kazuki used to hate these festivals so much.
But today was different.
Surprisingly, his parents called him and said that they would actually visit the sports festival.
He was really, really excited about it. Thanks to that, he wasn't able to sleep a wink the night before.
Kazuki's parents didn't show up.
Right now was lunch time of the sports festival. This time was meant to be special. It was a time where he could be loved by his parents.
Kazuki spent this time alone.
What happened to mom and dad?
Other parents came, why didn't my parents?
... Do they hate me?
No, that can't be it.
They must've slept in.
They will come... for sure.
As Kazuki was trying to get away from the crowded field, he heard a scream from behind the school. Looking at the source of the scream, there were three male students surrounding a female student.
Since today was the school sports festival, all students were wearing a colored tag to indicate their year. The male students were 3rd years while the female student was a 2nd year - same as Kazuki.
The biggest of the three boys pushed the girl down and she landed on her butt.
The three seniors were bullying a single girl.
The first thing Kazuki felt when he saw the situation was fear.
He didn't want to let them off the hook for bullying a girl. He wanted to go and help her; however, the bullies were older than him. If he joined in, he might get bullied as well.
"I need to get a teacher first..."
"You're just an abandoned child."
After hearing the comment said to the girl, Kazuki stopped looking for a teacher.
An abandoned child... what do they mean?
"Your mom and dad just threw you away."
"No, that's not it."
"Then why aren't your mom and dad here to see you in the sports festival? They're not here because they don' t like you. You're just an abandoned child!"
The words said to the girl actually affected Kazuki as well.
The bullies aren't even talking about me, why does my heart hurt so much...?
"If you're not abandoned, then why aren't your parents here to watch you?"
"See, you really were abandoned by your parents!"
The boys teased the girl as they giggled.
The girl wasn't saying anything and kept her head bowed.
That girl, is she being bullied because her parents aren't here?
To say that you're hated by your own parents... or that you're an abandoned child...
Kazuki was becoming furious.
The older kids started to say even meaner things.
"It's decided that you've been abandoned~."
The brown haired girl had tears in her eyes.
"You're a hated child."
She tried to stop herself, but.
She started to cry.
Kazuki couldn't take it any longer.... Moreover, when he realized what he was doing, he was already standing in front of the seniors.
The bullies surrounding the crouched girl looked at Kazuki.
Although they were surprised by the yell, they quickly relaxed after spotting Kazuki's tag.
"What, it's just a 2nd year. What do you want?"
"What's wrong with parents not being here!? It's not like we're hated just because they didn't come! Apologize!"
"What? This doesn't involve you!"
"You act pretty cocky for a kid. What are you going to do about it? Huh?"
The tallest one of the seniors slapped Kazuki's face. It hurt a lot. Kazuki thought he was going to cry from the pain.
But he didn't cry.
If he cried, then it would be the same as accepting what the seniors were saying as the truth.
"I'll make you apologize!"
Kazuki rebelled against them. Not knowing what to do, he charged in with a head butt. Luckily, Kazuki head butted the senior who just hit him right in the chin.
The senior fell backwards.
"Hey, are you alright?"
The senior started to cry.
When Kazuki saw that, his heart started to hurt even more than his slapped cheek or his head.
"I won't forgive you even if you cry! I told you to apologize!"
"Eh? Ah, whooaa."
The remaining two charged at same time. Kazuki couldn't protect himself and was instantly knocked over.
But Kazuki didn't give up.
While still on the ground, Kazuki grabbed one of the senior's leg.
"Hold it. I said, apologize... for what you've said before. About the abandoned child. Apologize for everything you said!"
"What the hell man! Hey, let's go."
The older students must've been put off by Kazuki's persistence, because they left the place after shaking Kazuki's hand off.
"Damn... I guess it's too hard to win against someone older than me in my first fight."
Kazuki was shaking as he lifted himself off the ground. As he did, the girl who was getting bullied came up to him.
"T-thanks for helping me, I..."
"... You don't need to thank me. I just couldn't forgive those guys... and I think you were in the wrong as well."
"They normally come don't they? Your mom and dad."
"Then you should've boldly told them."
"But... but they haven't arrived even though it's lunch time. What if they really hate me..."
"Family members wouldn't hate each other!"
Kazuki yelled at the girl without meaning to, but he quickly regained his senses and turned his head.
"... Family members wouldn't hate each other."
He said that to the girl.
But he also said it for himself.
At that moment.
There was a voice. The girl turned around by reflex.
She ran towards her parents' arms.
"You're late! What were you doing!?"
"Sorry, sorry. We couldn't find the camera, so we spent a long time searching for it."
"Geez! I was really, really lonely."
"Sorry Sa-chan. Are you hungry? We packed some lunches, so let's eat. There are some of those fried shrimp that Sa-chan loves so much."
"Uuu... I won't forgive you with just that."
"There are a lot. You can have them all Sa-chan."
"Huh? Really? All of them? ...Then I'll forgive you, heh heh heh."
The parents gently patted the teary eyed girl's head.
"... See, it all worked out somehow."
Kazuki muttered to himself while watching the girl with her parents in the distance.
「Please be aware that the afternoon portion of the sports festival will begin soon.」
The announcement echoed out from the speakers.
"Ah, not good. I better buy some lunch."
Kazuki picked up the white and red hat that flew off during the fight, and passed the girl and her parents.
The girl tried to say something, but Kazuki pretended not to notice and ran away.
Kazuki pulled down on his hat.
And sprinted towards the convenience shop.
* * *
"... That dream again."
The light seeping through the curtains shone upon Kazuki's face. He peeked at the clock and saw its hand pointing to 9 o'clock.
Yesterday, before a crowd of people formed, Kazuki and Saki ran away from the school. They soon parted ways afterwards, but before they did, Saki promised him that she wouldn't speak of this incident to anyone.
After separating from Saki, Kazuki waited in his living room hoping that Sabrina might return. However, she didn't come back no matter how long he waited.
Not knowing when he fell asleep, Kazuki picked himself up.
He even forgot about getting changed, so his uniform was crumpled and his joints hurt because he slept on the floor.
Kazuki looked around the living room with half open eyes.
It was quite empty.
Only silence filled the space.
"Ah ha, ha ha... that's right. This house was this large, wasn't it..."
Kazuki stood up.
Yesterday, he and Sabrina were running late so they had some breakfast and left for school without cleaning up afterwards. On the table, two sets of mugs and plates remained the way they were the day before.
He spoke to himself.
I've been lonely by myself.
Ever since Sabrina arrived here, I'd forgotten that.
Even though she was a bother and such, the one getting saved was me.
But Sabrina has already...
— Arrivederla... (Good Bye)
Kazuki couldn't get the image of Sabrina's expression from last night out of his head.
I deeply hurt that girl.
But I am a civilian while she is a member of the mafia. This was going to happen sooner or later anyway.
He didn't think that it was going to last for a long time.
So now, his life was back to normal.
His life was back to normal, just like it was before Sabrina arrived.
Nothing has changed...
As Kazuki stood there blankly, the doorbell rang.
He ran towards the front door.
Kazuki was taken aback at the sight of the visitor.
Kazuki backed away slowly.
The one who called out Kazuki, Saki and Sabrina to the school and caused the explosions was standing before him.
His body started to shake just by remembering yesterdays event.
"What? Is that how you should react after seeing a girl? You're really an insensitive boy."
"I- I'm sorry..."
Sofia turned her head away, but she was still looking at him from the corners of her eyes.
"... You're not hurt?"
The silence continued.
"So... what brings you here today?"
"I just came to check out what expression you have - now that Sabrina is going back. What a devastated face."
A cold smile appeared on her face.
"Sabrina is quite happy. Now that she's finally returning."
Her words cut deep into Kazuki's already hurt feelings.
"Is... that so..."
He bowed his head. When he avoided her gaze, Kazuki saw Sofia's hand reaching out to his chest.
She grabbed him by the collar.
"What do you mean 'is that so!?'"
She glared at Kazuki.
Her cold smile that was present before was now deformed painfully and pitifully.
When Sofia let go of her tight grip, Kazuki fell down in the entrance.
"... I was a fool for coming to see you."
She looked away from him.
Just in that short amount of time, Saki and Izuna arrived at his house.
Sofia sneaked away from the two guests.
"Are you ok!?"
Saki ran towards Kazuki while still keeping an eye on Sofia.
"That was Sofia-san just now wasn't it? Did she do something again?"
"No, it's nothing. I'm fine."
Kazuki tried to smile so that he didn't worry Saki, but he couldn't smile properly at all.
"So, what's up?"
"Hmm, I - I just came by to pass a notice on to everyone. Since I'm the class president, I have to make sure everyone received the message, but I heard no-one passed the message on to Ootaki-kun... so I came to visit... because I was worried. I just happened to meet Izuna-san on the way."
Saki's head was wrapped in bandages that appeared to be very painful. She noticed Kazuki looking at her head with concern and smiled awkwardly.
"Ah, this isn't anything threatening. My mom and dad were freaked out though."
She mimicked herself wrapping the bandages around her head.
Silence set in again. Saki peeked at Kazuki as if she had something to say.
"Ah that's right. About the notice, school will be on break from today on for a while. All the teachers are really worried about what happened yesterday. It was all over the news this morning, but it seems like they don't know exactly what happened."
So it was on TV as well.
Well, that's not unexpected. It was a big deal, after all...
The two of them closed their mouths again.
When the silence continued, Saki asked him while mumbling.
"S... so what happened to Sabrina?"
"... She's not here. I waited for her all night, but she didn't return."
"Hasn't she contacted you yet?"
"I think her phone is turned off, so I don't even know where she is."
Kazuki hunched his shoulders.
Izuna cut in.
"I don't know what's going on, but has Sabrina gone missing? That girl dropped this just now so maybe this is where Sabrina is?"
Izuna handed a page torn from a memo pad to Kazuki.
Sabrina's name as well as the address of a hotel and a room number was written on it.
Kazuki looked up at the newly built hotel which was placed only a station away from his house.
If the memo Izuna found was correct, then Sabrina should be on the top floor of this hotel in a suite.
Saki and Izuna didn't come with him. Although they offered, Kazuki turned them away because of the possible danger.
When he entered the building via the revolving door, he walked into the lobby. The fancy decorations in the lobby intimidated Kazuki - he thought this wasn't a place he should be.
Even though he felt nervous, he asked the front desk attendants to call the room number on the memo. Surprisingly, Kazuki was allowed to visit the room, so he got on the elevator and took it to the highest floor.
He stopped in front of the room.
"So Sabrina is here..."
But what am I going to do when I meet Sabrina?
I don't think she would want to go back together. After all, Sabrina is mafia.
Sabrina and I live in two different worlds.
So what am I going to do when I meet her?
I don't know... but I don't want to separate from her like this.
I want to talk to her once more before she leaves.
What does Sabrina think about this?
No matter how much Kazuki thought, he couldn't give himself a clear answer.
Kazuki took a deep breath and pressed the bell.
Immediately, the door opened and there stood a slim man dressed in a white suit.
"Hey, I've been waiting for you."
The man lead Kazuki into the room with fluent Japanese.
It was probably because of the design that the room appeared to be larger than it actually was. The furniture and various parts of the room were made of matching wood – producing a simple but elegant atmosphere.
The white suited man came and sat down on the impossibly soft sofa, which Kazuki was sitting on as well.
"You did well finding this place."
"Pardon? Um, that's..."
"As expected of the child of the 'Happy Crown.'"
"Ah, thank you.... Ah ha ha."
When Kazuki stuttered, it seemed like the man misunderstood Kazuki completely.
"My name is Juan. And you are? Or maybe you won't tell me, since you're their son. "
"No, no, that's not it. My name is Kazuki Ootaki."
"Kazuki. That's a good name. So Sabrina was indebted to you, wasn't she? You have my thanks. Hey, get something to drink for Kazuki."
Juan ordered a lackey standing behind him.
"Umm, you don't need to worry about me."
"Oh, I know what that is. It's that thing where you say something opposite to what you really want to say. 'Tsundere,' was it? Kazuki must be really thirsty... hey, bring twice as much."
The lackey, who was ordered to fetch the drinks, brought back a bucket sized cup of coke. It was almost like a swamp of coal tar.
While leaning against the back of the sofa, Juan looked out the window.
"Japan is nice. Animes, mangas and maid-cafes. It's really interesting."
Although the man was quite biased, it seemed like he had a slight understanding of Japanese culture. That was probably why he was able to speak Japanese.
"So, why did you come here today?"
"Umm, where is Sabrina? I came here to talk to her."
Juan's expression darkened. He looked over his shoulder at the door behind him and shook his head.
"Sabrina isn't in a state where she can see anyone. Sorry."
"That's... was it because of what happened yest—"
"That's not it. She's just not feeling well."
"It's ok if it's only for a moment. Could you let me see her please?"
Juan looked away from Kazuki and he started filing his nails to show he wasn't interested.
The atmosphere had changed.
The lackeys who were near the walls appeared to be nervous and anxious.
Kazuki suddenly thought Juan wasn't lying when he said Sabrina wasn't feeling well, and that Kazuki was an uninvited guest.
However, he couldn't give up.
He had to talk to Sabrina.
Kazuki didn't have a clue as to what he wanted to hear from Sabrina.
But he just wanted to hear Sabrina's voice.
He freed himself from Juan's intense atmosphere and reached out for the door where Sabrina was. But the door was locked.
"Sabrina! You're here aren't you!? Open the door!"
He desperately banged on the door. But there was no response.
Juan twisted Kazuki's arm around to stop him from banging on the door anymore.
"Calm down. I don't like people who don't listen."
"Just for a bit... Please let me talk to her for just a bit!"
Kazuki asked Juan once more.
Juan started twisting his arm even more and his joints started to scream in pain.
"I want you to scram. Otherwise—"
Juan was still smiling, but his words were cold.
The lackeys in the room all took aim at Kazuki with their guns.
The sight of the guns sent chills down his spine.
That's right. This was that kind of a world.
Just when Kazuki's arm felt like it would break if Juan twisted any further, the door opened from the inside.
It was Sabrina.
Juan let go of Kazuki's arm while saying "Tsk."
Although only a day had passed since the last time he saw Sabrina, it felt like a long time.
Kazuki walked towards Sabrina.
But when he saw her face, he stopped breathing.
It was the same as yesterday.
Sabrina looked at Kazuki with cold eyes that froze him in his steps.
"Please go away. Kazuki Ootaki-san."
Sabrina just called Kazuki "Kazuki Ootaki-san" instead of her usual "Onii-chan."
"What's going on Sabrina? I- It's me."
"Please don't say my name so easily. You and I no longer have any relation to each other. Sorry for 'bothering' you to come all the way here."
Sabrina spoke to Kazuki coldly and turned her back to him as she walked back into her room.
He tried to follow, but Juan placed his hand on Kazuki's shoulder.
"Well, there you go."
He started gripping Kazuki's shoulder harder.
Juan was smiling at Kazuki, but his eyes weren't smiling at all.
Sabrina closed the door slowly.
While Kazuki could only look at it as it closed.
The door closed.
Juan smirked at Kazuki and let go of his shoulder.
"Kazuki, thanks for understanding. This is my farewell present, treat yourself with it."
Saying that, Juan took a stack of notes and shoved it in Kazuki's shirt pocket.
Since Kazuki wasn't expecting it, he could only take the money and get kicked out of the hotel.
On his way home, Kazuki walked aimlessly without knowing what he should do.
He felt something on his nose.
When he noticed, the rain started pouring.
Since Kazuki didn't bring an umbrella, he was drenched by the shower.
But as for Kazuki, he didn't mind at all.
The sky lit up and shortly after, a loud noise echoed.
It was thunder.
He suddenly thought of Sabrina who was scared of thunderstorms.
The thunder sounded like it was telling Kazuki off.
He couldn't stop his tears.
In his tightly clenched fist, his fingernails dug into his palm and he started to bleed, but he could put up with it.
What he couldn't put up with was his sadness, anger and embarrassment.
* * *
After Kazuki left, Sabrina looked out her window at the pouring rain.
"... He probably didn't bring an umbrella."
Then suddenly, Juan walked in.
"His eyes were bloodshot before he left, so maybe he's crying right now. Ku ku ku."
Sabrina, who was sitting on the sofa, flinched.
"... But it turned out well."
However, she maintained her cold attitude.
"I'm sorry, I want to be left alone. It looks like I'm really feeling unwell."
"Oh, are you ok? We can leave tomorrow if you like. Since we rented the place, we can leave anytime you want."
"No. I want to return as soon as possible."
"Really? Well then, take a rest for now."
Juan left the room as he said "take care of yourself."
The door closed.
Being left alone, Sabrina muttered to herself.
"Even if I'm here, if I can't be with Onii-chan, it's pointless..."
When Onii-chan came, I was actually happy.
I wanted to run up and hug him.
But I can't do that at all.
I remembered what Sofia told me at the school.
—If you really care about that boy, you must leave his side. If you don't, you might lose him.
That's right, I'm a mafia boss now.
If someone like me stays by Onii-chan's side, then it would trouble him.
Not only that, I'll be putting him in danger.
I can't let that happen.
So, I can't live together with Onii-chan.
Sabrina felt a tight sensation in her chest. Without realizing, she had to use her hand to support herself on the bed.
Droplets of liquid fell onto her hand.
"What are... these?"
They were tear drops.
"Why... am I crying?"
She really didn't know the reason why she was crying.
Outside the window, thunder echoed as if it were trying to cancel her voice out.
She grabbed the quilts and threw them over herself.
Sabrina had to fight her sadness and fear of storms by herself.
The rain just now must've only been a shower, because the weather cleared up fairly quickly after it poured for a while.
When Kazuki returned home drenched, Saki and Izuna were still by the front door. It looks like they stayed there the entire time.
Seeing Kazuki walk towards the door, Saki ran towards him. Kazuki quickly turned his eyes away from her. He didn't want Saki and Izuna to find out he'd been crying.
It looks like she was quite worried about Sabrina. Saki asked as she ran up to him.
"Yeah. She's going back to Italy... so they say."
"... That can't be!"
Saki's eyes opened wide.
"Did you really meet her? Did she really say that!? Did Sabrina really say that?"
Saki asked question after question.
"Yeah, I met her... but I was chased out for being a bother. Ah ha ha ha..."
Kazuki could only put on a bitter smile.
He felt so frustrated at himself, he couldn't face it.
"But it's alright... I understand now. Sabrina herself said that she'll go back to Italy. So there's nothing I can do about it."
"And I think Sabrina is starting to hate me as wel—."
Saki swung her right hand at him.
It came in contact with him.
Kazuki closed his eyes and clenched his teeth to prepare himself for the hit with an accepting heart.
But it didn't hurt at all.
Instead, Saki placed her hands on Kazuki's cheeks warmly.
"... It's not like you."
"This isn't like you at all, Ootaki-kun!"
"Even if you say that—."
"To speak like that about your own family, it's not like Ootaki-kun at all!"
Saki cut Kazuki off mid-sentence.
"During the sports festival in our second year in primary school... Ootaki-kun might not remember, but you told me that 'Family members wouldn't hate each other!'"
"H-how do you... know..."
Kazuki still remembered that day very clearly.
Because that was a very memorable day for Kazuki as well.
But he said that sentence to a girl who was being bullied at lunch time. How did Saki know what he said?
Kazuki finally realized... the girl's parents called her "Sa-chan".
"It can't be..."
"That's right. That day, Ootaki-kun saved me from bullies. I didn't have a chance to properly thank you, but I've have always been looking at you since then Ootaki-kun. So I believe that Ootaki-kun values his family members dearly!"
"But, but... I heard it from Sabrina herself."
"Do you really think she was telling the truth? Sabrina really likes Ootaki-kun! And Sabrina is Ootaki-kun's family right? Isn't she your sister?"
"Even I... even I think of Sabrina as my little sister!"
"But it's impossible! I'm just a civilian and Sabrina is a member of the mafia. Our worlds are too different!"
A heavy atmosphere settled in between the two.
Then Izuna, who had been leaning against the wall watching the two, spoke.
"I heard about it from Saki. Although she promised you she would stay quiet, don't get mad at her for telling me. I made her tell me anyway."
Izuna walked towards Kazuki.
"You're a spineless guy aren't you, Kazuki?"
She pointed a finger at him.
However, Kazuki already knew that... it was what he didn't want to hear the most.
"I- I'm not spineless! I'm just a civilian! Just a normal person! How can I go against the mafia!?"
"Hmmm... a civilian and a normal person, huh."
"Then I guess a normal brother would just sit back and watch his little sister get taken away by the mafia."
"And what do you mean your worlds are different? The world is all connected, that's why we all breathe the same air and stand on the same ground. If there's a difference, then it's something you created yourself."
Kazuki had nothing to say in response.
Everything Izuna said was true.
Izuna spoke softly this time.
"Even if families are far apart, they've got one heart and one mind no matter what they're doing, right? Your parents might not be here because they're doing a special job that's slightly different from your average adult, but you don't think of them as being in a different world, do you?"
Kazuki shook his head in denial.
"You want to be by their side at all times. Even if you're not by their side, your heart is always with them. Isn't that what being family is all about? It's exactly as you said to Saki."
Kazuki was trying to avoid a lot of things... and he has been depressed ever since Saki got hurt in the classroom explosion.
He had fooled himself into believing that he was normal and lived in a different world from Sabrina.
He has been forgetting the most important thing.
He had forgotten what it means to be normal after trying so hard to make himself seem normal.
Not wanting to be rejected and being self conscious of other people's view of him.
The fear of meaningless violence.
The feeling of regret - thinking that it was too late.
Kazuki threw all those feelings away and focused on one thing only.
"I want to live with Sabrina."
This was what Kazuki wanted.
Hearing Kazuki declare that, Izuna put on a bright smile. Saki, who was watching him nervously, smiled warmly as well.
"... Maybe I'm not too late?"
Kazuki asked hesitantly.
"Of course you're not. There are no 'it's too late' in this world!"
"No, no, Saki. This world is full of things that are impossible to do. If not, the cathedral would be doing wel—."
"Gee—! This isn't the time for that!"
Saki hit Izuna who just ruined the mood.
"Ah ha... ha."
Seeing the two girls, Kazuki unknowingly laughed.
"Thanks, both of you."
Kazuki raised his head.
His eyes no longer showed any doubt.
"...During that sports festival, your parents were amazing Ootaki-kun."
"Ah ha ha, that was just embarrassing."
When the teacher and parents relay race was about to begin, Kazuki's parents showed up. The couple suddenly participated in the relay and won with an overwhelming speed (a speed that normal humans shouldn't be able to pull off). Afterwards, when their win was contested, they complained to the PE teacher and performed a brain buster on him. Thanks to that, Kazuki got an earful from the teachers afterwards.
"But, you looked happy, Ootaki-kun."
Kazuki set off running.
With a determination to bring Sabrina back this time.
* * *
Seeing Kazuki leave, Saki hunched down.
"Ahh... why did I just help out my opponent.... It's ok... I can't accept it if Sabrina leaves like this anyway. That's right! You've actually done the right thing Saki! ...Ah - but maybe I'm going to lose against Sabrina... I guess I sort of regret it."
While Saki was deeply engrossed in her monologue, Izuna patted her head gently.
"You did the right thing Saki. There aren't many people who are capable of saying what you said."
"If you're ok with me, I can council you."
A large rumbling sound came from Izuna's stomach.
"Now then, we should go somewhere else if I'm going to council you. Should we go to a shop or something? Ah, I have no money, by the way."
"So that's what it's about.... Well that's ok, suit yourself. Should we go to a family restaurant or a cafe?"
"Hmmm~, I don't want to give up either of them, so why don't we go somewhere far away? I know a good place."
"Hmmm. Well, it's up to you."
"Before we leave, do you have a first aid kit, Saki?"
"A first aid kit? What for?"
"Just something ☆"
Izuna put on a mysterious smile and winked at Saki.
1. Brain buster - a pro wrestling move. Also known as a suplex. ↩
1. Brain buster - a pro wrestling move. Also known as a suplex. ↩