Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly: Short Episodes

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This post contains all the short episodes for Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. You can read them separately, but be warned that the later episodes contain spoilers. (Fully updated on: 19th September 2015)

Read after Chapter 1

A conversation with my family

Ai enjoys the fresh morning air, though she still can’t help but feel sleepy. She can’t be late for school, and gets herself ready so that she can have breakfast with the family. Downstairs, her father has prepared bacon and eggs for breakfast. He can’t make the likes of miso soup or egg rolls like their mother. Ai laments on how she can’t cook like her mother. Her father comments on how both of them are becoming like their mother, but especially Ai. The latter gets embarrassed, for her mother is her ideal woman. It’s almost her death anniversary, so they have to visit her grave soon.

Amidst all this, Haruka remains quiet. Unlike the two of them, she still has yet to accept her mother’s death. After all, she passed away soon after giving birth to Haruka. So Haruka doesn’t know her at all, and always goes quiet when they talk about her mother. In an attempt to cheer her up, Ai suggests dropping by the cake shop while they’re buying flowers. The younger sister’s face softens up, as she mildly agrees. At that moment, Ai receives a message and resists the urge to burst out laughing when she reads it. The sender is making one of his jokes again, and always fills the screen with emoticons and pictures. When Haruka asks who it is, she vaguely replies that it’s a friend. This draws suspicion from the younger sister, but Ai dismisses it as she stuffs a piece of bread in her mouth and hurries off.

To her surprise, the doorbell rings and Ai is surprised to see that he’s arrived so quickly. Haruka grins, as she wants to check who the person is. The older sister dissuades her and hurriedly leaves the house. As she carries her bag, she thinks that he will surely be waiting for her outside with his usual friendly smile. She exits the house with her heart beating rapidly. She wonders how today will be like, it would be nice if something fun awaits her.

Cooking together with everyone

Several problems are solved thanks to the hideout, one of which is food. There isn’t the convenience of microwaves or rice cookers, but you can make what you like with the ingredients. Amidst the tension of fighting monsters, everyone coming together for a meal helps to ease their nerves. One day, Karasuba feels hungry though Yamato points out that he just ate. The former says that he doesn’t have the appetite being cooped up here. As expected, the two of them start to argue and this draws Hikage and Kagiha’s attention. Beniyuri tries to calm the situation, thinking that they must be irritated as they’re hungry. She proposes to make something, and Karasuba excitedly requests for curry. Yamato is distrustful of her skills, though Karasuba thinks that he’s using this as an excuse to get close to her.

As another quarrel is about to erupt, Beniyuri suggests everyone cooking together then. Hikage is worried if they’ll have enough food to last them, but agrees with Kagiha that they could save by cooking a lot at one go. In the end, everyone is in but they can’t find any curry roux or powder. They contemplate changing menu, till Hikage finds a vegetable curry recipe note among the spices. They wonder if the master prepared this. Everyone glances at the unfamiliar spice names, except Yamato. When Beniyuri asks if he likes cooking, he turns red and says that he remember something like that. They divide up the roles, and Yamato starts to cry. While Beniyuri is worried if he cut himself, he insists that it’s due to the onions stinging his eyes. Elsewhere, Hikage is focused on the measurements of the spices and raises his voice at Karasuba for distracting him. The latter remarks that he just needs to roughly estimate, but Hikage insists that any mistake can invite huge failure and demands that he be quiet.

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Eventually, the curry is finished much to everyone’s delight. It was thanks to everyone’s cooperation and efforts that they could finish such delicious curry. However, they also need to clean up once they’re done.

Searching the hideout

The hideout has guestsrooms, and is a convenient place to live in. There are also many intriguing items found in the meeting room. Despite her curiousity, Beniyuri is hesitant to touch any of them, since anything can happen in this mansion. One day, Hikage proposed to search the room. The rest join in, though Yamato and Karasuba start to quarrel over their duties. Beniyuri suggests drawing lots to be fair, and Hikage remarks that she does say good things from time to time. While she is embarrassed at his words, Karasuba points out that he isn’t praising her. They each draw lots, and go to search their respective spots.

Beniyuri searches the kitchen, where she discovers two rustic tin cans with a rose motif on the lids. She’s unable to open the lid though, and asks Kagiha to help her. He does so, and inside are tea leaves. Kagiha takes a whiff, and guesses that it’s orange and rose. The other tin contains cookies, and he makes sure that it’s safe to eat. Having a sweet tooth, Kagiha is delighted at the findings. Somehow, Beniyuri finds this cute.

Elsewhere, Karasuba is immersed in a book and Beniyuri tries not to disturb him. Though she grows curious, and is surprised to see that it’s The Setting Sun by Daizai Osamu. Karasuba explains that it feels nostalgic, that he probably read it a lot in the past. As she sees that he likes books, he casually replies that rather than books he prefers something else. Karasuba brings out a bear-raccoon character called Kuma no Ponta. Beniyuri recognises it as well, and he’s happy to have something in common with her. He decides to bring it to his room, so that he won’t be lonely at night. He is willing to share it with her when she’s lonely too. As for Yamato, he’s seen kicking around a ball he found. Seeing his moves, Beniyuri can’t help but think that he’s experienced. The sofa next to him is also has old sports magazines strewn all over. All the pages have been turned to soccer-related news. He glares at her before she can say anything, and she moves elsewhere. It’s good that he found something he likes though, and it may serve as a trigger to his memories.

Beniyuri sees Hikage studying something. On the table are items like rope, can openers and so on. He’s thinking how to use these objects which might come in handy. She expresses her awe, especially when he explains that he’s been gathering the items since they came here. He replies that it’s more like she’s hopeless, and points out that they don’t know when they’ll leave the mansion. So they need to consider the possibility of a long-term stay or other unexpected situations. When she says that she has her hands full thinking of her own situation, Karasuba interrupts them while waving Ponta around. Hikage is clueless at the sight of the toy. Yamato vaguely recalls it as a character which uses its tail as a weapon, while Kagiha is equally clueless. Hikage remarks that he has no interest in such toys, though Karasuba points out that he’d seem like a pervert grinning around these toys. As Beniyuri panics and warns him of his harsh words, Karasuba continues to play with Ponto innocently.

At the end, everyone shares what they found. Hikage concludes that they didn’t find anything, but Beniyuri thinks that she’s discovered everyone’s unexpected side. Her words puzzle the rest, but she feels that she’s gained a lot today. She wants to know everyone better, to which Hikage casually agrees. Kagiha thinks that they’ll surely learn more about themselves and the rest from here on. Though she thinks likewise, she also feels a bit afraid to know what she thought, and what sort of people they were.

Hikage’s gun-training

Late at night, Hikage gathers everyone (but Beniyuri) to train materialising their guns. Both he and Beniyuri managed once, but not the rest. So he wants to try and teach them the pointers he knows. Kagiha points out that Beniyuri is extremely tired so it wouldn’t be nice to wake her up. Karasuba questions if Hikage plans to do special training with just Beniyuri, and the latter agrees that he might have to. Yamato notes that at times it hard to tell if he’s joking or not.

First, Hikage shows them a demonstration. He explains that you first imagine it shape, followed by its colour, weight and touch. Imagine holding one in your hand. When it doesn’t seem enough, he then asks what they desire to protect with it. After all, the gun is a symbol of what you’re thinking. Both Karasuba and Kagiha eventually succeed, except Yamato, whose gun instantly vanishes at the last stage. Hikage hushes the rest, noting that Yamato is almost there. Against Yamato’s protests, Hikage goes behind him and takes his right hand as it would be easier for him to imagine the weight. Behind, Karasuba remarks that it’s an unsightly scene. Hikage only says that he isn’t doing this ‘cos he wants to, and that Yamato has to clear this stage in order to gather the fragments.

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Once more, Hikage asks Yamato to recall the time he was attacked – the fear, confusion and grief he felt, and what he wanted to protect in that moment. Yamato tries one last time, and finally succeeds. They’d still need more practice to be able to immediately materialise the gun. It’s late though, and Hikage says that anyone who wants to rest can do so first. Everyone doesn’t budge, each feeling the need to carry on the momentum. Yamato then asks Hikage what he was thinking when he was fighting the monster – why did he manage to materialise the gun? The latter isn’t sure, but perhaps it has something to do with his past. In any case, they have to practice and everyone resumes training.

Just a shred of pride

There are little conflicts, and usually Kagiha is the one to mediate. But there are troublesome times when no one gives way. One day after dinner, Hikage has stacked his plates and leaves for his room. Yamato appears annoyed, for the grease will get onto the bottom of each plate. With Kagiha’s suggestion, everyone takes turns to wash the dishes and tonight is Yamato’s turn. He noticed that Hikage always stacks his plates in order of size. Beniyuri observes that it makes it easier to carry to the sink, but it’s troublesome to wash up. Karasuba doesn’t care either way, and Yamato snaps at him for being such a messy eater – he should place the fish bones to one side of the plate. Hikage reasons that there are not many utensils here, so stacking them like this lessens the chance of breaking them – like how Beniyuri did previously. Kagiha defends her, saying that he called her all of a sudden back then and surprised her. Hikage stands by his case, saying that it’s to prevent future accidents. Yamato points out that it’s even safer to just carry them as they are. Yamato is me. I don’t like stacking dirty plates or being a messy eater.

In fact, he’s too sissy effeminate to always pick on the past. His words seem to step on a landmine, as described by Karasuba, as Hikage insists that he takes back his words. In fact, taking forever to carry dishes one by one seems way more effeminate. The comment is also the greatest insult to a man, and he questions just which part of him is effeminate. Yamato gets more irritated, adding that he’s effeminate for picking on the small things. Hikage raises his voice, insisting that he retracts those words. The rest stop clearing the table and try to intervene. Kagiha can understand both sides though, and asks for Beniyuri’s opinion. Both Hikage and Yamato turn to her for her opinion – the former asking if he’s effeminate and the latter asking if she dislikes such a high-strung guy. When she weakly states that the issue is about dishes, both of them insist on her answering.

As a result, she shouts loudly at them to get a grip. Both of them are taken aback, as she points out that they’re both being picky over the small things and shouldn’t be arguing over this. While Kagiha and Karasuba express their admiration, the other two are awkward. Hikage quietly retreats to his room, only to be stopped by her. She wants both of them to apologise to each other. Yamato mumbles that he said too much, while Hikage flatly says that he’ll act accordingly to not cause problems. Once more, Beniyuri urges him and he stutters at his apology – only to start coughing violently. Karasuba remarks that his whole body refuses to apologise to Yamato. Under everyone’s gaze, Hikage looks at Beniyuri like a child that was scolded. She cheers him by nodding firmly, and he quietly apologises before disappearing.

Yamato chases after him, for he didn’t hear it at all. In the end, they didn’t decide on how to clear the dishes. Normally, the two of them are reliable yet they suddenly acted like little children just now.

Like cats and dogs?

After searching the mansion once through, there was nothing much they gathered. So they would get together to drink some tea or read books. But when they get bored of it and have nothing else left to do, the time feels like an eternity now. As Karasuba complains one day how he’s bored, Kagiha suggests playing cards which he found the other day. They decide to play Old Maid, and invite the rest to play. While they’re playing, Yamato’s face stiffens when he draws a card from Kagiha’s deck. Karasuba’s easily guesses that he’s drawn the joker, and even tells Beniyuri not to draw the card 3rd from the right. When Yamato tells him not to say anymore, Karasuba sees that he got the lucky guesses and apologises as he pretends to zip his mouth up. He later remarks on how the weaker the dog the louder it barks (“wan“), and one-sidedly gives the nickname Wan-chan to Yamato. Yamato threatens to hit him, and tells Beniyuri not to agree so easily. Hikage warns Karasuba not to play around with Yamato.

As the game is reaching the end, Kagiha suggests creating a prize. Karasuba lights up at this idea, and suggests Beniyuri’s lips. The rest immediately reject, and ignore his other suggestions of the right to sleep on her lap or to sleep together. In the end, they decide on the winner being able to skip on washing the dishes once. All of a sudden, Hikage finishes his cards first. While they were busy talking, he was calculating the percentage of the cards left. Everyone else is left speechless, but he remarks that the simpler a game is, the more it tests your brain. In the end, only Yamato and Karasuba are left. It feels that there’s some connection between them, almost as if they were enemies in their past lives. As Karasuba tries to trick Yamato into which of his cards is the joker, Kagiha disappears to the kitchen to prepare some tea.

When Yamato is about to draw the card, Kagiha returns with iced tea but trips and spills it all over the pair. Beniyuri hurries to get towels for them, Karasuba remarks that he’s lost the will the play and calls it a draw. Yamato insists that he lost since he had the joker card last, and they start to argue again. Hikage sighs loudly over how they fight over every single thing. Beniyuri thinks that they must get along well enough to do so though, drawing a synchronised denial from both of them.

Weakness

With no memories, they have no idea what their past selves did or how the lives they led. This makes them uneasy. But it’s not as though they truly know nothing. They know how to use daily necessities and what happens in society, as well as their likes and dislikes. So this becomes one of their conversational topics. On such a day, Karasuba wonders if Hikage has no weaknesses. The latter says that he doesn’t. Beniyuri envies who he’s always cool and collected, and he says that she just has to put in the effort. Karasuba remarks that girls can’t be like that, and that a panicky Beniyuri is cute too. While Hikage fails to comprehend, Yamato asks to go through them. He appears to be checking the mobile signals, to which Hikage says that it’s useless no matter where it is.

Karasuba laments on how it has no application to pass time or SNS. Yamato says that they can’t use any map functions either, nor check the message logs. Beniyuri agrees, saying that they can only use the gallery. It’s a pity when it’s a smartphone. All this time, Hikage is quiet. Karasuba wishes that there was LIME (aka LINE lol), so that he could be friends with Beniyuri and send lovey-dovey stamps. She politely rejects him. He’d block Yamato though, who doesn’t want to friend him either. Beniyuri comments that Hikage doesn’t seem the type to use stamps. When he is unable to respond clearly, they suspect that he doesn’t use it at all, even when he starts to pretend to. They check his phone, which is a relatively old model feature phone. It’s no wonder he doesn’t know LIME. Hikage states that it’s okay as long as he can use it, tucking his phone back inside his pocket.

Just then, Karasuba claps his hands together as he realises Hikage’s weakness. He has no clue about SNS, apps etc. so his weakness is technology. Beniyuri expresses how unexpected this is, but Hikage firmly denies this. Karasuba eggs him on, asking if he can perfectly master the smartphone, to which he confirms. Beniyuri says that it’s okay not to know this nor to push himself, but Karasuba lends Hikage his mobile to try it out. The latter is shocked that it has no buttons, but still insists that he isn’t pushing himself. They call out to Kagiha about Hikage having his first smartphone experience, but the former gives a confused look. It appears that he doesn’t even know the existence of a smartphone, and has gone one level up beyond Hikage. Beniyuri tries to reason that there are many people whose weakness is this, though Karasuba points out that it’s different from not even knowing it.

Kagiha asks if it’s an important clue to leaving the mansion, and Hikage proudly presents the smartphone to him. As Kagiha gazes at it like a rare item, he sees that there are no buttons. Hikage confidently answers that there are none, and shows him the message function. Yamato wonders why he’s showing off, and Karasuba claims that the phone belongs to him in the first place. Kagiha then asks Beniyuri to teach him the functions too. After that, they held a lecture on smartphones. To think that Hikage and Kagiha, who looked capable of everything, had weaknesses. Beniyuri feels closer to them knowing this, though Hikage would probably sulk if he knows this.

Comparing heights

This mansion has many entertainment items from antique board games to dolls. When they discover a new game, everyone plays together to pass time. Though sometimes the toys would be broken or there would be missing pawns. Beniyuri found a sugoroku set, however it’s missing a die. Thinking that it may be somewhere, she ended up spending hours searching the shelf. At one point, she struggles to reach for a box tucked near the back at the very top of the shelf. Karasuba passes by, and offers to help her. But he’s having difficulty too, and soon Yamato passes by. He tries to stop Beniyuri from explaining the situation, for as expected Yamato notes that he’s not tall enough with a hint of sarcasm. Yamato attempts too, but is having trouble too but he refuses to give up. They end up discussing about their height. Karasuba points out that both of them are the same height so naturally they both can’t reach it. Yamato insists that he’s taller though.

Soon, Kagiha spots them and hears the situation from Beniyuri. He swiftly steps in front of the shelf and brings the box down with little difficulty. He tells her to rely on him for these sort of things since he’s tall. Beniyuri expresses her envy, since many things would be more convenient. Kagiha replies that she’s fine the way she is, plus you would bump your head in many areas if you’re tall. When he seeks agreement from Karasuba and Yamato, they awkwardly agree pffft. Beniyuri says that it must be hard for them. Kagiha lets out a sigh of relief upon knowing that he’s not the only one. After Kagiha leaves, Beniyuri is left wondering about the awkward atmosphere. They remark that it has nothing to do with her, and Yamato leaves the room. Karasuba says that it’s a matter of a man’s pride getting hurt. Though she still is clueless, he doesn’t elaborate further and offers to help her search for the die too – starting from his room.

Afterwards, she asks Hikage about this and he explains that Kagiha is the only one who bumps his head here. Both Karasuba and Yamato were probably trying to show off. Still, Beniyuri fails to understand the need for them to do so.

About siblings

Unable to fall asleep, Beniyuri gets up from her bed and heads downstairs. After pouring herself a cup of warm tea, she feels a bit calmer. But she can’t help but think of her family when she’s alone. There’s still many things she doesn’t know yet. That’s why the memories she regained from the photo is the thing she relies on, but also makes her extremely lonely. Yamato calls out to her from behind. Apparently he couldn’t sleep too. He sits next to her with a cup of coffee, and an awkward silence befalls them. He asks her to say something, and she redirects the question back at him. She does want to talk with him, but she can’t help but feel nervous. She gets the impression that he’s always angry. Beniyuri knows otherwise, but if she approaches him poorly he would gruffly say “be quiet”. All of a sudden, he speaks up and she nearly drops her phone. Yamato tells her not to get so frightened.

He asks if she wants to return outside, to the place she belongs to. Beniyuri confirms this, she’s just like him. He agrees that he wants to leave the mansion asap, he can’t help but feel that there’s someone important waiting for him. Beniyuri remarks that Haruka may be searching for her too, as she explains that she has a younger sister. Yamato realises that it’s the reason why she tends to meddle in other people’s affairs. She goes on to say that their mother passed away not long after giving birth to Haruka, that’s why she acted like a mother to her. She talks more about Haruka, before catching herself and apologising to Yamato. He doesn’t mind though, and he can tell that she truly cares for her younger sister. He gets embarrassed for speaking like an idiot, and Beniyuri replies that she was happy at his words.

She asks if he has any siblings, but he honestly answers that he can’t recall anything about his family. He can’t quite grasp it, so it’s making him irritated. Beniyuri remarks that he appears to act like an elder brother. While he’s brusque, he’s really good at taking care of others. After all, he’s sitting here with her and talking to her, so as to cheer her up right? He bluntly says that he wouldn’t want a slow sister like her. She laughs weakly, before asking if he thinks of her as a sister then. Yamato denies this, adding that she’s rather dense for an elder daughter – but he mutters that she’s working hard. He doesn’t repeat himself, and goes to get more coffee for them. Beniyuri thought that he would return to his room, and is happy that he’s still staying by her side. After that, they continued talking quietly and awkwardly about trivial things. Though he had a brusque image which made it hard to approach him, as expected he’s a kind person. He’s just bad at expressing it. The night is still long, and she wants to talk more with him.

Of course you can’t sleep when you drink coffee right?

Read after Chapter 2

Childhood

It can make you happy or sad to see an unexpected side of someone. They have no idea what they were like in the past. Perhaps they may have even committed a crime? Or they’re not who she thought they were? It’s useless to think about all of this, but the continuous rain call out the negative thoughts. What did her past self think while living? On that day, they return to the hideout after a fruitless search. The only clue is their smartphone, but there are no new messages. Unable to sleep, Beniyuri heads to the living-room to flip through the books and photographs. She finds several familiar picture books, recalling that she read them when she was young.

Just then, she nearly trips over Karasuba who also happened to be reading. She observes that he’s carrying several books which she’s heard of, but never read. All of them seem rather difficult. She wonders if he likes books, and he shrugs his shoulders. He admits that he does like the selection here though. Karasuba notes her surprised look, slumping his shoulders in return as he appears hurt. When Beniyuri tries to explain herself, he replies that he’s only joking as he smiles widely again. He can’t help but tease her, since she always takes things as they are. He eventually answers her question, saying that he feels that he read widely when he was young. He can even recall what the content was. This prompts Beniyuri to ask if he has regained his memories, and he goes quiet with a wry smile.

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He remarks that they aren’t pleasant memories, that he was physically weak when he was young. He often had fevers, hence unable to attend school. So he was unable to really make friends, and would often coop up in the library reading books. Beniyuri can’t imagine him like that, as her image of him is the bright, playful, popular guy in class. Karasuba explains that the library card is filled with his name. If it borrowed too much, his name would be announced as no. 1 during reading week so he would restrain himself then to avoid being picked on. He dismisses it as the past though, saying that he’s overcome that period to be who he is now. Despite his bright tone, Beniyuri can’t help but think that his past may have contained some painful memories. He tells her not to pay any mind, but he is happy that she’s interested. He would be happier if she takes an interest in the current him though.

Karasuba brings himself closer to her, but moves away quickly when she remarks that she won’t fall for it. It’s only at times like this that her guard is strong. He wonders how he should change his approach. Beniyuri asks him to recommend some books to her instead. Excited, Karasuba piles some books onto her right hand. He grabs her left hand, forcing her to be close to him. This was the new approach he came up with, as he starts to introduce the books. His hands feel warm, and Beniyuri thinks that such times are alright time to time. The books he recommended were all interesting and matched her tastes. While they can’t recall the past, the Karasuba who chose the books for her exists. The her with memories and without memories aren’t separate beings. So she wants to believe in everyone, and herself.

Twin elder brother

Does everyone have siblings? That thought happened to cross her mind as it starts to rain at night. Everyone has returned to their rooms, but Beniyuri is drained of energy after defeating the monsters. She wonders if she is just weaker than the rest, and contemplates training out. Hikage comes to find her, and Beniyuri is touched by his concern despite his flat and matter-of-fact tone. She reassures him that she’ll be alright after resting, but he reveals that he brought some chocolate. Apparently it’s good for regaining one’s energy, and he got some from Kagiha. Somehow the sight of him asking Kagiha for it makes her laugh. She share it with him, since he should be just as tired. Beniyuri insists on also making some coffee and tea for them.

When she returns after a few minutes, Hikage remarks that she’s unexpectedly forceful. She admits that she wanted to talk with him too. He reminds her that she shouldn’t easily let men in, but she doesn’t think he’s the type to do it. He sighs, asking what she would do if he came here with dirty intentions. He warns her to be more wary, and to also take note of how she’s wearing her clothes at all times. Beniyuri laughs at his words. Though she knows that he means well, he’s acting like her father. She’s reminded of her family, she asks if he’s recalled anything about his past. Hikage is silent for a while, before replying that he recalled his elder twin brother. His brother was cheerful, strong in fighting and had many friends. But he was not good at expressing himself, and would often be protected by his brother. Though they often fought, they got along and he still respects his brother. He can’t help but wonder if his brother is looking for him now. Beniyuri observes that he’s clenched his fists tightly. It’s rare for Hikage to act like this and it goes to show how much his brother means to him.

While Beniyuri isn’t sure what he exactly recalled, it was also his family, just like her. She expresses that she also understands him, as she has a younger sister. So it’s weird to say this, but she feels a bit closer to him. Hikage tells her that it’s bothersome for him, but admits that he also feels the same way – it’s not just him who is in pain. His usual cold gaze appears warm, and Beniyuri feels embarrassed. She turns her gaze away, and apologises for keeping him here. Hikage thanks her for the talk, and Beniyuri hopes to be able to hear more about his brother next time. He leaves her room, and she’s left alone in her own thoughts.

Hikage was the most mysterious figure, and it was always hard to approach him. But now she feels closer to him. But perhaps only she thinks this way. She’s sure that everyone wants to return home soon though. They can only focus on gathering the fragments. She clears the cups, and spots the chocolate. They’d forgotten about it. She pops one in her mouth, and a sweet fragrance spreads in her mouth. Her weariness is wiped away. As she listens to the rain, she feels sleepy and soon falls into a gentle sleep – one she hasn’t had in a long while.

I hate the rain

A smell can reawaken your memories, the view of someone’s back can make you think of someone. Things that draw out your memories. To one’s surprise, it’s all around them. It’s raining again, and the sound of it makes Beniyuri feels as though she’s slowly sinking. Karasuba laments at it raining yet again, and Kagiha agrees that it does make one feel a bit depressed. Hikage remarks that while he doesn’t dislike it, constantly hearing it can make you depressed. Yamato remains quiet, before abruptly getting up to return to his room. Beniyuri is worried, and Karasuba asks her to worry about him instead. He wouldn’t mind falling ill right away if it means that she’ll look after him. She only laughs awkwardly at him. But she is worried after all , and goes to find him.

He appears extremely pale, as if he could fade away any moment. She is about to go search for a thermometer and medicine, when Yamato raises his voice at her. He quickly apologises, as he explains that he’s been feeling irritated.  Beniyuri suggests having some herb tea to calm down. She returns with chamomile tea, and he asks her to drink her share here too instead of returning to her room. As he comments on the soothing smell, his expression softens. He apologises again, for taking out his irritation on her. He gazes at the ceiling, as the rain continues pounding. She asks if he doesn’t like the rain, and Yamato confirms that he doesn’t like the sound of water for some reason. That’s why he gets irritated at night, especially when he doesn’t know the reason. It’s as if a bad memory is being awakened.

If only he had headphones or audio to block out the sound of the rain. When Beniyuri suggests searching for a record player, he tells her not to bother. He pats at the spot next to him, signalling her to sit beside him. Hearing to her speak can distract him, so she can be the replacement. Though she knows that he doesn’t mean it in that way, she can’t help but redden and feel nervous. Yamato warns her not to think of anything weird, and she remarks that he’s quite the airhead and any girl would misunderstand his words. She soon takes her leave, and he hurriedly calls out to her. He praises the tea, and asks her to make it for him again. Beniyuri promises to do so, before leaving his room. She’s happy to see him looking better, though she was a bit surprised that he used her voice as a replacement.

Just like how the rain causes his head to be filled with the past, would the same apply for her? She looks up at the ceiling and listens carefully. The sound of the rain pounding vibrates as if she were at the bottom of a lake. But she couldn’t recall anything.

Mode of transportation

The group continue the cycle of hunting down monsters and collecting back the fragments to complete the kaleidoscope. On one such day, Beniyuri is left gasping for breath. No matter how many times she encounters them, she still feels fear. She collapses to the floor, overwhelmed with exhaustion. Hikage remarks that it’s alright for her to be afraid, but she shouldn’t act so carelessly. Beniyuri apologises, but is thankful for his help. He observes that she’s rather worn out, and before she realises it he scoops her up with both arms. Despite her protests, he only tells her to remain still so that he doesn’t expend more energy. To him, he’s only moving luggage around for it’ll soon be nighttime and he can’t wait for her any longer. While she’s taken aback at being treated like luggage, Hikage adds that she’s more troublesome since she complains and moves about. After being reminded to stop making a fuss, Beniyuri eventually quiets down and accepts her fate.

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Still, she can’t help but be conscious of the chest she’s pressing against, or the arms carrying her. She can only pray that he doesn’t notice her quickening heartbeat. When they finally reach the hideout, Hikage notes that she seems even more worn out. Thankfully for Beniyuri, no one else has returned so she quickly lets herself down. He offers to get her a drink, as he adds that he feels responsible for her – if anything happened to her the others would surely get mad at him. Her position as a girl plays a far bigger factor than she imagines. Moreover, she was the last one to be able to successfully materialise the gun regularly, so everyone looks out for her. Not to mention her personality. He rightfully guesses that she must be feeling sorry to be a burden. Though her straightforwardness is her strength, it’s also her weakness too. Beniyuri can only apologise at his words. It is true that she’s at a loss each time she confronts a monster, it still feels unreal to her. Upon wondering how she usually acts, she realises that she has no memory of it anyway.

Hikage observes that she’s rather shaken, and hands her a drink as she calms herself down. After all, her heartbeat was beating rather rapidly too. Beniyuri stutters and protests that it’s because he carried her like a princess. He repeats her words curiously, and corrects her that it was a mode of transportation. He advises her not to be so shaken up, so she asks him for some advice since he’s always so calm and collected. Hikage curtly replies that he doesn’t know. When she probes him, he explains that it’s just his personality but maybe she just needs to get used to things. As she wonders if she can get used to defeating the monsters, he bluntly adds that she should get used to the likes of being carried like a princess. Beniyuri firmly denies this. Though it’s trivial talk, before she realises it she’s recovered from the incident. In the midst of abnormal daily encounters, such talk proves to be healing for her. She’d like for such peaceful times to continue on forever – even though she’s aware that it isn’t possible.

Happening

I want someone to save me from this place – it’s not as if that thought has never crossed her mind. She has friends, and a target to reach. Once the kaleidoscope is finished, they can possibly leave. So rather than lamenting and wishing for help, it’s better to take action. But there are times where you fall and the delicate balance is tilted, so you can’t help but wish. And you end up anticipating that person’s kindness. On a rainy night when Beniyuri is about to sleep, she spots a white butterfly which seems to be struggling. She approaches it, and realises that the wings have been caught in a wall lamp. She attempts to release it, but her approaching fingers seem to scare the butterfly as it flutters its wings frantically. As she tries to reach for it again, she ends up falling off the bed.

Soon, Kagiha comes running it as he was alarmed by the loud noise. She reassures him that she’s alright, and he heaves a sigh of relief – or not. He gets alarmed once more by the sight of her and quickly averts his gaze. He points it out to Beniyuri, who realises that her skirt has been pulled up. She quickly straightens it, her face reddening as she apologises for the unsightly scene. Kagiha apologises too, for entering her room without knocking first. She then turns his attention to the trapped butterfly, and asks for his help. With a calm voice, Kagiha soothes the butterfly before releasing it when it’s still. Beniyuri is amazed, for the butterfly must have felt at ease enough to entrust him to help it out. He thinks she’s overestimating her, and points out that it was her who first saw it. She’s the kind one. She thinks to herself that he’s being kind by following up on her like that. He then tells her to call for him next time such a thing happens. He may also be saying too much, as he points at her hair with a troubled smile.

Beniyuri is once more alarmed at her messy hair, and he apologises. He thought that it would be better for him to point it out, rather than for her to realise it later and get embarrassed. She heaves a deep sigh, for she’s happy at his kindness but it can be painful too. Kagiha thinks that her clumsy side is cute, but she doesn’t feel comforted by those words at all. He remarks that it’s his honest opinion, before saying goodnight and leaving her room. Overwhelmed with embarrassment, she buries herself in the blanket. As she drifts off to sleep, she wonders where the butterfly went. Did it return to the rest of its group? She wouldn’t know, for all of them look the same to her. But she still feels fortunate that it was saved. As she closes her eyes, Beniyuri wishes for it to be able to stay well and to be able to be with its companions.

Favourite food

How many days have they been in this mansion? Honestly, it isn’t nice to constantly discuss about defeating monsters and a future which remains unforeseen. Still, Beniyuri continues to work hard thanks to her companions, and perhaps thanks to delicious food too. One day, she excitedly reveals something she found in the storeroom to Hikage and Yamato – dried shiitake mushroom. They can create dashi with this, and there are many other ingredients which can be used with a little effort. Hikage isn’t particularly fond of it, but it is vital to Japanese food. Learning of his tastes, Yamato remarks that he’s like a grandpa. As for himself, he likes meat and filling food – he needs his calories. Hikage remarks that his answer sounds like him, whose brain is even made up of muscles. Naturally, this provokes Yamato. Beniyuri returns to them, wondering if they were arguing, to which they both deny.

She decides to switch the topic, asking if there’s any requests. When Hikage safely answers miso soup, she demands for a more challenging one. He adds grilled fish, ohitashi and boiled radish to the list which makes her wonder if he’s deliberately naming simple items. Hikage doesn’t seem to realise it though. It would be hard to grill fish without any fresh fish though. Yamato craves for a thick slab of steak. But again, they don’t have the main ingredient for it. Beniyuri can try to fry pork and ginger for him, though it would be with frozen pork. She decides to ask the rest for their requests too, feeling motivated. Hikage asks for her opinion, and she answers that she likes sweet food – which she hasn’t gotten a chance to eat much of.

Beniyuri names clafoutis, and goes on to describe its sweet and sour fruity sensation. Both Hikage and Yamato are clueless about it, the latter even commenting that it sounds like some spell. When she seeks their agreement, Hikage weakly answers that it’s a new blend of tea while Yamato says that it should be a type of fruit. When she asks if they don’t know what it is, both of them refuse to admit it. They continue to embarrass themselves, adding that it’s best picked in spring and tastes great whether peeled or not. As they try to fault each other, Beniyuri points out that there’s nothing to feel embarrassed about not knowing everything. In fact, it’s worse to act as if you do. This silences the both of them, and she describes what clafoutis really is to them. Unfortunately, there’s no oven or fresh fruits so she can’t make one.

Hikage briefly thanks her for the explanation, while Yamato says that he understands that it must be delicious. For some reason, they feel as though they’ve been defeated by her. Beniyuri is puzzled by their words. Afterwards, the three of them started preparing dinner according to their requests. She’s regretful that both of them are meticulous and can cook better than her, but today was an interesting day as she got to see many of their different expressions.

Senior and junior

They have no memories of the past, only a fragment of it returned to them. So Beniyuri can’t help but question who she is every time she’s free, or when she’s falling asleep. But it is fun to guess about the others. One day while drinking coffee, Karasuba suddenly wonders what if his real name was Yamada Ichitarou despite his current cool name. While they try to comfort him, Karasuba directs the question to Kagiha then. Beniyuri remarks that he would seem kind, though Karasuba points out that it’s her impression of him and not his name. Still, she feels that no matter what he would have a name with a kindly tone to it. Karasuba asks her to imagine what his real name is, and after some thought she replies Jordan which leaves him speechless. Since names are too hard, they switch to ages.

Karasuba immediately guesses that he and Beniyuri are the same age, ignoring Kagiha. When Kagiha points this out, Karasuba says that age doesn’t really matter for men but a one/two-year gap means the world to women. Beniyuri guesses that Kagiha is older from his gentle, mature aura. Karasuba excitedly asks for her opinion, whether he’s a reliable senior or a cute junior. As she mulls over this, she replies that they’re the same age after all. He grows disappointed, feeling that he dug his own grave. When asked for his opinion, Kagiha thinks that it would be fun if everyone was the same age going to the same school and classes. She agrees that it would be interesting, which draws a smile from him. Karasuba says that they can’t return now anyway, and abruptly asks Beniyuri what is her type. Kagiha is curious too, and Karasuba decides to simplify things by asking if she prefers someone younger, older, or of the same age.

She struggles with an answer, saying that she feels at ease with someone older, but someone younger would have a fun and energetic image too. And she could talk of common things with someone of the same age. In other words, age is not a factor if she likes someone. When questioned if it really doesn’t matter what the age is, even a young kid or an old man, Beniyuri replies that it’s alright as long as you like the person. Kagiha remarks that she’s more mature than them. She decides to turn the question to them, and they both reply that it’s her. She doesn’t take them seriously, which disappoints them. So they have to work hard to make her think otherwise. With such conversations, it makes things a bit easier having no memories. It reminds her that she isn’t alone. They continue their talk till it’s mealtime.

Read after Chapter 3

Mother’s ribbon

Her mother is knitting a small pair of socks, for the baby to be born soon. Ai looks forward to having a younger sister. But she feels lonely too at the thought of her mother being hospitalised from next month onwards. She has to endure it for her younger sister, so right now she’s staying by her mother’s side as much as possible. A young Ai stares at her mother’s stomach, as she eagerly awaits Haruka’s birth. When her mother asks how kindergarten is, Ai replies that it’s fun except for this boy who always bullies her. He calls her names and even hid her doll the last time. She wonders if she’s being hated by him, but her mother thinks that he really wants to be her friend. He’s probably trying to attract her attention, and her mother encourages her to ask him if he wants to play together next time. Ai doesn’t understand, for she would be kinder and do things that would make the person happy.

Her mother chuckles at this, and remarks that she’ll surely be able to make lots of friends. She would also be able to trust people, and perhaps one of them will be her lover. At Ai’s puzzled reaction, she remarks that maybe it’s still too early. She takes her daughter’s hands, hoping that she will be able to make lots of great friends who can share the happiness and sadness with her. If she becomes a lovely girl, it will come naturally. Ai asks for a good luck charm then, so her mother does so as she removes the violet ribbon from her hair, and ties it to Ai’s wrist. It was a present from her father, and Ai happily accepts it. She promises to protect it, wanting to become a kind and warm-hearted person like her mother. Her mother is pleased with her words, adding that the ribbon should guide her. She gently strokes Ai’s hair, and the girl soon becomes drowsy. She gazes at the ribbon tied like a butterfly, feeling as if she too has turned into a pretty butterfly and lightly flutters around.

Friends that fight

Takuya is always a bully, though when they were smaller they played together just fine. But recently he’s changed and he would pull Ai’s hair while calling her a tomboy. He doesn’t do it to other girls, so why does he only bully her? When asked, he denies it. Ai can only be troubled over this, wondering what she can do to get along better. One day when she’s walking home, a soccer ball hits her head. She turns around to see Takuya, who comments on how slow she is to not avoid it. He retrieves his ball, and doesn’t feel guilty when she blames him for doing something so dangerous. So she continues her way home, ignoring him. He tells her not to play the victim, though Ai points out that he was bullying her. Frustrated, he kicks the ball up high. Ai is unable to understand why he’s so angry, and Takuya says he he doesn’t care about her when she’s acting selfish. She directs his words back at him and walks away.

That being said, he follows her from behind even though his house is in the opposite direction. Takuya insists that he has something to do. Ai observes that he always raises his voice at her, even though she just wants to talk normally. Does he hate her? As they continue walking back in silence, Takuya mutters for her to say something. She’s at a loss, and so is he. But he still wants her to talk. As she’s mulling over this, he suddenly shouts and points out a shooting star. Flustered, Ai looks up and he takes the chance to snatch her bag away from her. He runs off, provoking her into chasing after him.

However, Ai trips on an empty can and he quickly returns to her side. Asking if she’s alright with a sorry look, she glares back at him. Takuya checks that she isn’t hurt, and appears a bit relieved. He apologises for overdoing it, and returns her bag. She sullenly takes it, unhappy over the fact that she did nothing wrong yet she has to meet with this. He asks her not to glare at him like that, and Ai senses that he’s worried. But she can’t bring herself to forgive him so easily. She remains silent as he apologises again, prompting for her to say something. Eventually, she replies that she has no wish to speak to him before turning her gaze away.

Feeling troubled, Takuya decides to cheer her up as he starts to kick his ball up high and catches it perfectly with his knee. He keeps the rhythm, and Ai stares in awe. She asks if it’s a soccer skill, and he replies that she’s stupid not to know soccer ball juggling. He tells her to remember it, for she can be proud to have seen him demonstrate it live when he becomes a famous player in the future. Ai forgets her anger, and says that she’ll look forward to it. He then offers to show her dribbling, beckoning her to follow him. Both of them were not straightforward back then, and didn’t know how to make up without the help of the soccer ball. As she chases after him, Ai hopes that she can talk with him like this tomorrow too.

Someone who understands the oddball

Kazuya was always alone. He wasn’t being bullied. But the aura around him was just different, so no one approached him. Though Kazuya didn’t seem to mind what’s around him, he would sometimes show a lonely expression. That’s why she paid attention to him. One day after school, Ai is playing volleyball with her classmates in the park. As their school yard is too narrow, they would hold their social and physical education lessons here. Midway, Ai misses a ball and goes to fetch it, telling the rest to continue on with another ball. As she picks it up, she notices Kazuya sitting in a corner, looking intently at the floor. Curious, she asks what he’s doing and he answers that he’s drawing on the floor with a branch. It looks like a vehicle. She is impressed, and he only replies that it’s nothing.

He continues drawing, and he looks especially lively unlike his usual self. It’s as if the air particles around him is dancing happily. Ai learns that he would sometimes draw, though he also reads in the library. She requests for him to draw Nekonomiita, showing him the badge she’s wearing as a sample. Kazuya takes the badge from her, and soon starts to draw. She’s amazed at how well he draws it, remarking that he could become an artist in the future. He doesn’t think that it’ll be that easy though. As she sits beside him, a classmate with a soccer ball walks past and sees them. The boys observe that he’s with a girl, and comment on how weird he is, always staring into space. They wonder if he’s possessed, that’s why he has a weak presence and can only speak to girls. They find him a total opposite of his twin brother, Takuya. They gaze at Takuya who’s playing soccer elsewhere, and back at Kazuya.

Their comments tick Ai off, and she’s able to confront them when Kazuya holds her back. He tells her not to mind them, even as they laugh about how they’re draw a couple’s umbrella on the blackboard later. It always happens, and he continues drawing. But Ai observes that his lips are tightly pursed, and knows that he is lying. She invites him to play with her today, with the rest of her friends. When he remarks that he isn’t skilled, she replies that it doesn’t matter and they just need to have fun. But Kazuya freezes and declines, not wanting to be a bother. Moreover it’s almost time to return to school. She is shocked that there’s only 10 minutes left, not realising how much time she’s spent with him.

Ai hurriedly picks up the ball, and is about to return to the rest. But she turns around and asks Kazuya to play again next time. She’s like to draw with him. He looks at her, surprised, but answers that he’ll always be at his seat so she can come and find him anytime. Ai nods happily, promising to do so tomorrow. In return, Kazuya smiles shyly and it makes her heart skip a beat. It’s fun to play with everyone, but she also looks forward to drawing with him. Only she knows that he’s good at drawing, and his kind smile. Somehow it feels special, to only know this side of him. Ai wonders what they will draw tomorrow, as she returns to her classmates.

The girl you yearn for

When he was young, he was physically weak and poor at sports. He would be told that he’s like a girl. Since his name is Himeno Akira, they teased him with the nickname Hime-chan. But he couldn’t refute anything since he was meek, and cried a lot. He always thought that he wanted to be stronger. But no matter how much he wished for it, he couldn’t change – and he despised himself for that. That day, he was surrounded by his “friends” and they were blaming him for losing the team relay. This always happened, as they found all sorts of reasons to blame him. Aki was used to it, but it was still painful. Still, it was true that he was slow. And they are the only ones who pay attention to him. If they don’t, he’ll be all alone in class. So he would remain quiet in fear of that, and only smile ambiguously while apologising.

However, his response ends up provoking them. They question if he expects to get away with everything with a smile, just because Hime-chan is a princess. They start teasing him, telling him to address himself as “atashi” (feminine way). Aki is reluctant, and they threaten to no longer be friends with him if he doesn’t. As they laugh, Aki tells himself not to cry and struggles to smile. But the more he resists, the stronger the urge to cry. They are turned off, asking him if he’s crying or smiling. Once more, Aki only laughs meekly. At that moment, a girl interrupts them as she accuses them of bullying him. It was Ai. The boys feign ignorance, saying that their friend Aki doesn’t dislike it. Aki is startled at the word “friend”, but Ai turns to him, encouraging him not to run away. He shouldn’t lose out to such people and should admit if he dislikes it.

Aki is hesitant, for he’ll be alone. But she reassures him that she will become his friend instead. Aki is surprised at her words, even though she’s a girl, and this has nothing to do with her. Once more, the boys tease him for wanting to be friends with a tomboy. But Ai firmly stands up for him, saying that they shouldn’t say such things to friends. Annoyed, they dare her to take the punishment instead by addressing herself as “ore” (masculine way). Aki tries to discourage her, but Ai remains unfazed. She’s fine with being seen as a tomboy, and addresses herself as “ore” without any qualms. Her straight reply shocks the rest, for they didn’t expect it. She tells them to keep their promise to stop bullying Aki, and to no longer call him Hime. She glares defiantly at them and Aki is in awe. But he notices that her legs are trembling in fear.

As the boys gang up on her, threatening to hit her, Aki jumps to her defence. He warns them not to touch her, and is fine with no longer being their friend. The boys back away, and leave as if they’ve lose interest. Aki thanks her, but Ai returns the words of gratitude back to him. She’s happy that he called her his friend. Since they’re friends now, she suggests calling each other by their first names. He agrees to let her call him Aki-chan. As he calls her Ai in return, she beams brightly like a flower blossoming. Somehow it draws tears out of him again, and he wishes to become as strong as her. She wonders if that’s the case because she’s a year older than him. Aki thinks otherwise, and wishes to become a man who can protect her someday.

Aki picks a small flower, and gives it to her. She thanks him, and wears it in her hair. Her smile is too bright for him, that he turns his gaze away. Embarrassed, he dashes off and she chases after him. Though he’s still weak, he wants to change bit by bit for the sake of that little girl. In order to become a man who can protect her.

If only we could meet again

How many years has it been since mother passed away? Since she died not long after giving birth to Haruka, Haruka doesn’t know her. And she doesn’t know what “death” is for she is still young. But when she sees her friends’ mothers, she seems to be envious. She would then ask her father why she doesn’t have one, and he would answer vaguely with a troubled look, that she has gone somewhere far away. She would then ask everyday if her mother would return, to which he’d replied “someday”. That day would never come. But Ai doesn’t know how to explain to her either, and can only reply the same thing. However, Haruka’s innocent question started to be a burden to Ai. She herself can’t accept the reality, and wants to believe that she’d return someday. But since she’s the elder sister, she can’t tell Haruka to stop. And can only smile to evade the question.

But today, Haruka is unable to accept her answer, and Ai soon grew irritated. Haruka insists that she’s been a good girl everyday, yet her mother never returned. She insists on wanting to be hugged by her own mother too, and hits Ai’s hand when Ai offers to do so instead. As Haruka wails away, Ai can’t help but want to block it all out. She’s frustrated too, and in the end she scolds Haruka and runs out of the house. She ends up going to the park, as she sits on the swing and regrets her outburst. But she’s at her limit, and misses her mother too. She starts to cry, wondering why she has to keep it all in just because she’s older.

A young boy, Natsuki, calls out to her. He hands her a handkerchief to wipe her tears, before sitting next to her. Noting that she cried so much, he offers to listen to her story. Ai ends up confiding in him, saying that she’s a failure as Haruka’s older sister for lashing it out on her. Natsuki disagrees, for she’s in pain too. He can understand her loneliness, for he doesn’t have any parents. He doesn’t know where they are, and is currently staying with a distant relative. It hurts to not have family, so it’s alright for her to cry. She’s always doing her best to smile, even when she feels sad. Even though he looks like he’s able to cry, Natsuki gently pats her head. Ai apologises and she tears up again, and he reassures her that no one else is looking.

After letting her tears out, Ai thanks him. Natsuki is happy to see her feeling better. He then says that there might be a place where you could meet the deceased. He read about it in fairytale book he borrowed from the library. There were two beautiful white butterflies, and they got along very well. But one day, one of them died and the remaining butterfly wanted to see it again no matter what. A traveller told it about a place where it could meet its other half. And so it travelled towards that destination. Natsuki doesn’t know exactly where though, and Ai wonders if such a place really exists. If so, they could all see her mother again. Even though it’s a fairytale, it really feels like that place exists when he says it.

Soon, Haruka comes looking for her. She thought that Ai had disappeared ‘cos she was a bad girl, and it’s evident that she’d been crying. As Ai hesitates on how to react, Natsuki persuades her to hug her younger sister. She does so, and the two sisters make up with each other. Ai thanks him for staying by her side. She still wants to talk with him, but leaves it for another time since Haruka is here. A place where you can meet the deceased. She thinks that Haruka would be delighted if she told her the same fairytale. But she feels that it’s better to keep it to herself. So Ai remains quiet and she walks back home with Haruka, hand in hand.

Conflict

One day after class, everyone has gathered in the park to play. But they’re unable to agree on what to play. Ai wants to play kick the can, and Natsuki and Aki agree with her. But Takuya and Kazuya are for soccer. As they start to squabble, Kazuya contemplates drawing by himself. Takuya tells him off, while Aki expresses his admiration for being able to say what he wants. With everyone saying what they want, Natsuki suggests doing both, 30 minutes each. Everyone agrees, and they play kick the can first. Takuya is the oni, as he proudly declares that he’ll find everyone immediately. Natsuki pulls Ai as they hide behind the bushes. When they’re almost spotted, Kazuya deliberately gives himself away and stands quietly beside the can.

Natsuki and Ai switch hiding places, and after a while Takuya discovers Aki. The latter eyes Natsuki, who nods at him in return. Natsuki tells Ai that he’ll distract Takuya, while she goes to kick the can and save everyone. He deliberately stands up, so that Takuya spots him. Ai is given the push to run towards the can, and kicks it successfully. Takuya is vexed that he lost, especially when he hears that there’s still time left before they switch to soccer. Natsuki reassures him that he’ll find everyone quickly, like just now. And so once more, everyone disperses to hide. Natsuki grabs Ai’s hand once more, while Kazuya and Aki wink to signal at them. Surely it’ll be alright this time too. Everyone will cooperate again and kick the can. But even if Takuya discovers them, it’ll be fun too. It’s always fun when they play together. Back then, she never once doubted that these days would not continue forever.

The feeling of being alive

It’s raining again that night, and it robs away the warmth of their bodies. If reality is waiting for them after this rain, at least they could wait for it while trembling from the cold. But if this rain was a dream— a knock interrupts Beniyuri’s thoughts as Karasuba enters her room. He’s relieved that she’s still awake, and sits himself on a chair. He remarks that the rest are asleep, but she guesses that he probably just came to her room only. Karasuba reveals a small box of biscuits he found in the storeroom, decorated with a picture of a bear in a pop design. He eats a piece first, declaring that it’s delicious, before offering to feed her one. She hesitantly eats it, and is surprised be its tastiness. She wonders if he deliberately came here to cheer her up.

Karasuba finds it odd that they can find something delicious, when they’re in such a ridiculous world. She vaguely agrees. Karasuba adds that despite the weird daily pattern of fighting monsters and eating delicious food, he feels more alive than he was in reality. Somehow compared to the uneventful days where you’re tied down to the past—he dismisses his suggestion that it’s better. But it isn’t that bad either to be able to eat like this with her. While it is scary, he promises to protect her. Beniyuri points out that previously he said that he would run off without her. Karasuba replies that it was a joke, and does wish to be relied on. She says that it’s enough to have the emotional support from him. For example, she’s happy that he came to share the sweets with her. She feels cold and lonely at night, perhaps due to the rain.

Mulling over her words, he gets up to sit next to her. Karasuba points out that their senses seem more sensitive in this world. For example, food would taste especially delicious. Perhaps it’s the same for loneliness. It’s unfathomable, but in that case he’d like to try something out. Before she can question what he means, he leans towards her and she instinctively retreats. Karasuba tells her not to be so guarded, for it’s as if he’s playing the bad guy. She awkwardly apologises, and he insists that being forceful isn’t his style. Beniyuri forces herself to laugh with him, confused at his words. But she still doesn’t think that she’s misunderstanding anything. He apologises light-heartedly, offering a biscuit as a form of apology.

Beniyuri can’t tell how much of his words is a joke or not. She refuses the biscuit, and he takes the cue to stand up. He comments that she’s pretty careless, and that it’s a mistake to think that everything will be conveyed according to what you think. She wonders if she said something weird, and he replies that he’s leaving – unless she wants a pot of tea to go with a deeper conversation. Karasuba disappears, and she’s a bit relieved. It puts her at ease to be able to talk on an understanding level, but sometimes she can’t understand him. Still confused, Beniyuri buries her face in her pillow. It’s difficult, for they’re different beings. But that sweet was delicious. At least that sensation was the same as what he tasted.

Who you’re going out with

Amidst the abnormal days, they try to search for the normal, common things. Such as delicious food, fun conversations, nostalgic toys. She thinks that the books Karasuba reads is one of them too. She approaches him one day, and learns that he’s reading a romance novel. He wonders if it’s unlike him, but he finds them nice to read once in a while. Beniyuri corrects him, for it’s just that not many men read them. Karasuba agrees, especially not the other members. But on the flipside, he’s curious as to how they’d react. Beniyuri recognises the novel title, recalling that it was adapted into a movie. She knows that it’s famous, but never read it and asks what it’s about. Karasuba describes how two childhood friends who grew apart, reunited again in high school and fell in love. The thing is, they both didn’t realise that the other person was that childhood friend when their friends talked about them – only until they met each other again. Beniyuri asks for the details of the confession scene, keen on making him spell it all out.

Karasuba gives in, as he describes that the guy misunderstood that the girl likes someone else. He grabs her arm and declares “At least accept my words for now. Look only at me.” Even though she made him say it, she’s getting embarrassed too. Beniyuri apologises, but her apology makes him more awkward. He observes that when you’re in love one can say such embarrassing lines straight-out. She thinks that it only happens in fiction though. He says that love can be blind, so it’s possible. But all this talk of high school love feels so distant and nostalgic now. When asked if she has no time to consider this, Beniyuri redirects the question to him. Karasuba replies that he feels envious upon reading this story – to be hesitant on calling out to the one you like, and to be over the moon with just one word.

When she agrees with him, he takes the chance to ask if she sees anyone like that. She vaguely replies that surely all girls are like that, even towards the person you admire or your friend. He then asks she’s going out with anyone, and his probing causes her heart to skip a beat. Beniyuri doesn’t think so, and for some reason he looks happy. She casually remarks that he seems the popular type, and may have a lover. He takes it as a compliment, but denies having one. He doesn’t recall, but he’s certain. As for her, she can only long for love as shown in books. Karasuba says that he’s the same, and if the person was someone as lovely as her. She points out that his composure suggests that he has a lover, but he says that he’s only being honest. The situation seems so distant, that’s why he can speak with composure.

For some reason, he looks lonely. Karasuba switches topic as he offers to make tea. Though the discussion over the book is over, the rare love talk is making Beniyuri’s heart beat faster. The Karasuba who longs for love. He’s a great person, so she’s sure that someone nice will appear before him. But if – if one fell in love in this world, how would it turn out? What sort of ending will there be?

Read after Chapter 4

Wedding promise

She often picked flowers or berries by the riverbed with her childhood friend Nacchan (Natsuki). It was fun to play hide-and-seek or tag with everyone, but she loves searching for new types of plants with him. The older Natsuki was extremely knowledgeable and often taught her the names of plants and flowers. When she praised him, he replied that she knows lots of things too. She loves seeing that gentle, sunny smile of his. One day, he suggests searching for four-leaf clovers. It normally has 3 leafs, but on the rare occasions you find ones with 4 leafs. It’s a good luck symbol in other countries. When asked if you can be happy if you find one, Natsuki says perhaps. But maybe having it will bring good things your way. They split up to search. Ai starts to feel lonely and wonders if they can search together. But she feels embarrassed calling out to him, and decides to try a bit longer.

In the end, they couldn’t find any. Seeing her disappointment, Natsuki feels apologetic. She replies that it isn’t his fault, and maybe they can find it elsewhere next time. He has another present for her, and slips on a ring made of white clovers. Ai is delighted, and he promises to give her another ring which won’t wither when they’re older. When she appears confused, he blushes before clarifying that he wants to give her a wedding ring. She’s taken aback by the abrupt proposal but admits that she’s happy. Natsuki is relieved, and asks her to marry him when she grows up again. He kneels down and takes her hand, and Ai nods in agreement. She promises to treasure the ring, and they both agree that they won’t forget the promise.

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Ai then asks him to wait as she hurries to make a present for him too. She makes a ring for him, just as she was taught by her mother. When she’s done, she gives it to Natsuki but it’s a bit wide for him. He transfers it to his middle finger, which fits perfectly. He promises to receive her with a real ring when they grow up, and promises to wait till then. His expression appears different from usual, almost like a mature person. The sun is almost down, and they hold hands while returning home. On the way back, she wonders how the wedding will be like. Even at home, she continues to stare at the ring, not wanting to remove it. As if all that happened today will disappear like magic once she does so. Even when her father question her about the ring over dinner, she was so happy that she didn’t mind. If only she could become an adult tomorrow.

The image of Natsuki’s smiling face when he promised to come for her lingers in her mind. It was only much later did she find out that the flower language for white clover is promise.

In the midst of searching

She’s not sure whether she grew used to it or whether she grew numb, but each time she pairs up with someone to search the house, she feels less resistance. Not only is it ‘cos she understands the rest more, but she’s also grown more confident. But that’s why she probably also lowered her guard. One day, she’s searching with Hikage and she goes to open a door. Thinking that it’s locked, she unwittingly placed her weight on it. So the moment it opened, she fell inside. Hikage reaches out to help her, and they end up being buried in a mountain of things. As he sarcastically praises her skillfullness, she profusely apologises. Both of them can’t help but blush at the close distance, for it’s as if he’s hugging her. She tries to slip her way out, but her hair is caught against something.

Hikage tries to loosen it, but it doesn’t go well. Their faces grow closer, and he seems to be pulling at her hair more. Beniyuri considers cutting her hair, but to her surprise he protests. After all, hair is a woman’s life, and it would be a waste to cut the hair she grew out so prettily. He attempts to undo her hair again, as he gently combs through it. She’s wrecked with nerves, until he finally succeeds. They try to get up, but more items collapse on top of them. Though she knows he doesn’t intend it, his chest is pressing heavily against her face. They can only hope to attract someone else’s attention, to help them out of this predicament. Beniyuri quietly prays for help, lest she dies of embarrassment. When she tries to move, a heavy dictionary drops down. Hikage advises her not to move, though he’s almost overwhelmed with embarrassment. It’s rare for her to see him red in the face, but now’s not the time for this. He tells her to take responsibility for this later.

When she wriggles out of embarrassment, he shouts at her not to move and a glass vase comes crashing down. Terrified, Beniyuri begs for someone to come. He tells her not to let out a weird voice, as though he’s doing something terrible. So she corrects herself by adding that he’s not in the wrong. Finally, Karasuba appears and helps them out. He can’t help but eye them suspiciously, and they quickly explain that it was an accident. It’s good that she isn’t hurt, but Beniyuri is worried about Hikage. He insists that he’s alright, which makes Karasuba remark that he’s like a reliable knight – he’d like to be one too. Hikage tells him to do as he like, and Karasuba considers saving her like a princess then. She denies this, though she can’t deny that he did save her.

But the more she talks, the redder her ears turn as she can’t help but feel conscious of their close contact. Though Hikage kept complaining, he was kind enough to still worry about her condition later. So Beniyuri is full of gratitude, but she isn’t quite sure what to say to him.

Bathing

All this time she felt her heart sinking into the depths of water, but now she can finally breathe. And she realised the reason why. Apparently Yamato’s disappearance was a greater shock to her than she’d imagined. After all, you always realise it after you lose something. Always? Why does she think that, did it happen before?

That night, Monshiro safely sees her to the greenhouse again. But she can’t find Yamato and wonders where he went. She starts to worry, till she hears the sound of water splashing. Beniyuri discovers him washing himself at the fountain. She gets embarrassed for peeking at him, though he says that it was he who’s bathing here on his own accord. He normally wouldn’t do this, but he wanted to straighten out his thoughts. Still, she can’t help but feel conscious and averts her gaze. He wonders if she’s feeling off though, and approaches her. He stops himself though, as he notices that she’d get wet too. Yamato goes to dry himself off, while Beniyuri observes that he’s more muscular than average people.

When he’s wearing his top again, Beniyuri suggests eating the sandwiches she made. He thanks her, and she offers to listen to him if he’s something on his mind. He admits that he’d thought of her as meddlesome, but now he sees that she’s pretty tough and pushy. He’s praising her though, for still coming to see him and not being scared of his appearance. Beniyuri points out that he is still the same inside, and to be honest it’s easier to approach him now. He gently laughs at her words, admitting that he agrees too. The reason is probably him. In the hideout, he was needlessly anxious and couldn’t trust anyone. He apologises for treating her coldly. She replies that it’s not his fault, and it was due to the circumstances. She’s just happy that it isn’t the case now. After all, it hurts to always see everyone else as possible enemies. Yamato commends on her positivism, which is what makes her strong.

But to be honest, she’s thankful as she feels at ease here. He tells her not to push herself though, for it’s not 100% safe even if Monshiro is with her. He admits that he isn’t used to this. Beniyuri questions if it’s because he’s always the one worrying for others, to which he frantically denies. Noting that he’s embarrassed, she switches the topic and asks if he works out. Yamato replies that he doesn’t do much, and soon realises that it’s the reason why she acted weird when she saw his body. While she weakly denies this, he says that he’ll take note from now on. After that, they talked about all sorts of things. To think that just that alone can put one at ease. Though Beniyuri’s heart does skip a beat at times when she gazes at him.

Struggle

Ever since Monshiro came to the hideout, a strange situation has been happening. It isn’t in a bad way, but rather in an embarrassing way. Beniyuri wonders why things turned out like this, as both Monshiro and Karasuba are stuck close to her. When she tells them to let her go, but they refuse and snuggle against her even more. It isn’t bad to have them get along, but not when Karasuba is touching her thigh openly and Monshiro is leaning against her shoulder.They’re acting like two cats. When she asks what the others would think when they see them, Monshiro replies that they would be envious. Karasuba guesses that Hikage would see them as a bother, while secretly wishing to snuggle too but can’t bring himself to do it. As for Kagiha, he would joke that it looks like fun and would like to join them too – even though it isn’t a joke. Monshiro asks what he would do, and Karasuba light-heartedly replies that he would take advantage of the confusion.

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Later, they both agree to switch positions though Beniyuri would like for them to let her go. Karasuba refuses, unless she says what she thinks of everyone. Monshiro quickly asks what she thinks of him, and she replies that he wears a fox mask. When asked if she dislikes foxes, she denies this – if not she wouldn’t let him be this close be it foxes or Monshiro. So if she were to say if she likes or dislikes him, it would be the former. Monshiro replies that he likes her too, and she awkwardly thanks him. Karasuba concludes that the same must apply for him, as he expresses his delight. He happily says that he likes her too, but she takes it as a joke. Monshiro interrupts them, as he asks Beniyuri to talk about anything. She laughs at his words, finding him cute. Karasuba points out that he’s the sly one, using his cuteness as an appeal.

Unable to take it anymore, Beniyuri says that it’s over. She shakes them off, saying that they won’t be able to have a special one if they act like this. Both of them say that she’s the one, but she tells them not to speak so casually of it. It should be someone you loves so much to the point you lose sleep and can’t eat. Karasuba asks if she’s like that, and she weakly admits that she doesn’t. It’s as if she was played by two cats. She’s exhausted, but she doesn’t dislike it. For one, thanks to Karasuba, Monshiro speaks up more. Monshiro also doesn’t seem to pick up on Karasuba’s sharp words. It’s good that they can talk happily – though she wishes that they would stop with what borders on sexual harassment.

Having sweets together

A sweet smell is nutrition for the heart. She feels happy at the taste of a small sweet, that hasn’t changed in this world either. In fact, she feels more strongly about it here. So when Usagi delivered eggs and milk that day, Beniyuri naturally thought of making pancakes. She and Kagiha stand in the kitchen, with all the necessary ingredients laid out. She remembers how to make it, though she doesn’t recall when or how she did so. Kagiha follows her instructions, and she wonders if he’s skilled in cooking. He admits that he can’t recall, and asks her the same question. Beniyuri doesn’t think so, to which he expresses disappointment as he would’ve like to taste her homemade cooking. She remarks that she can make simple dishes, so he suggests cooking together again next time.

They finish the preparations and Kagiha suggests cooking it together. She agrees, but little did she expect the close distance between them. He comments that they’re like newly-weds, making pancakes together like this. Surprised, Beniyuri almost drops the bowl which he catches in time. She wonders if she’s stuck too close to him, but stepping away would seem awkward too. Kagiha tells her to move in closer, so as to smell the fragrance. He laughs at her reaction, saying that he only wanted to try acting like newly-weds. It’s time to flip the pancakes, but Beniyuri can’t help but be aware of his hand on her shoulder – they’re acting like a married couple! She tries to maintain her composure. Kagiha even kindly checks if she didn’t burn herself. But all she can do is try to push out the words “married couple” from her head.

They succeed in making a lot, and Beniyuri suggests sharing some with Monshiro. The other day she mentioned it, he wanted to try it. Somehow, Kagiha appears disappointed. In any case, they need to taste it first. He helps pour some honey over the pancakes, and even prepares the tea. But his customer service even reaches the stage of him offering to feed her. Beniyuri freezes at this, but is unable to reject his sad face when she hesitates. She eats the pancake, and he offers her another slice. Though she’s nervous, she manages to taste it properly this time. It’s thanks to his hard work that it was successful. Kagiha observes how kind she is, to make others look good and to cook for others. Beniyuri replies that she didn’t just make it for Monshiro. She just wants everyone to enjoy sweets together. She admits that she was also happy when he invited her to cook together, as it ended up being a fun experience.

Kagiha agrees, but what made him happier was seeing her enjoying the small bite of happiness. And only he saw it. It’s the first time Beniyuri has seen him smile like this, but she’s at a loss as to how to answer him. He then hands the fork to her, asking her to feed him too. Embarrassed, she agrees to do so once. The fragrant and soft pancakes changes to a taste of happiness. To think that food can change one’s mood so easily. And the smile of the person eating it, outweighs everything else in nourishing the heart.

Lured by a sweet smell

At times she wonders that if this was the real world and Monshiro lived together with her, she probably wouldn’t be able to sit like this with him. Because this isn’t the real world where they have nothing else to rely on, they can be this close. Once more, Beniyuri tells him that he’s too close to her – just like yesterday. Monshiro asks if today is no good, even though it was alright yesterday. When he puts it like that, she’s unable to reject and just warns him not to act like this to girls all the time as it’s embarrassing. He doesn’t feel embarrassed though, feeling that there’s nothing wrong with snuggling up to the person you like. Though Beniyuri knows that he doesn’t mean it that way, it appears that her explanations don’t work on him.

Monshiro leans against her more closely, and she does agree that a person’s warmth can make you feel at ease. On top of that, he remarks that she’s kind, fun and that he likes her. When asked if he doesn’t like anyone else, he replies that it’s better to have everyone around than to be alone. And within them he likes her (the most). She laughs awkwardly while thanking him. Monshiro remarks that he doesn’t want to return to being alone, where he had no one to talk to. Beniyuri recalls the masked people she say, who would either disappear or turn into monsters. She can imagine how lonely it is, which explains why Monshiro is happy now. Knowing this, she decides to let him be.

He then asks if it’s fun to be with him, and she agrees. It’s refreshing and she won’t think of anything unnecessary about the future such as who she can trust or not. Monshiro answers that it’s the same for him, and hugs her tightly. Beniyuri feels her heartbeat quickening, since he is a guy after all. When she’s about to ask him to release her, he sniffs at her. She smells like a flower, and she wonders if it’s due to the tea just now. Monshiro takes a whiff again as he removes his mask, embarrassing her further. Surely anyone else who sees them will misunderstand. But he reassures her that no one will come, probably. She doesn’t know why he’s so confident, but he sounds persuasive enough.

Beniyuri agrees to endure it a bit longer, though Monshiro doesn’t seem to be letting go soon. She’s unable to read his expression, which makes her feel a bit lonely. She can’t bring herself to ask about his mask though, learning her lesson with Yamato that it isn’t always right to pursue the truth. She should stop if it’s just satisfying her curiousity. Though Monshiro is full of mysteries, he doesn’t hide the important side of himself – that he wants to be with somebody as he’d been very lonely all along. That’s why he saved her, and came to the hideout. In that case, she should accept his feelings and understand him while she can do so now.

Shoujo manga

That day, they agreed that they needed to rest and recuperate at times. So after breakfast, Beniyuri took the books recommended to her by Karasuba, and ended up reading while relaxing with tea in her room. Engrossed in them, she had little idea on how the rest spent the day. Outside, the guys wonder what to do. Karasuba laments that the master should’ve prepared a television for them too. He’s in need for some entertainment. Kagiha suggests searching the storeroom, though apparently Monshiro is already on it. The latter appears with a small stack of bags, as he seems excited with his find.

It turns out to be shoujo manga, and Karasuba explains that men don’t usually read them. Monshiro questions if that means he can’t read them, and Karasuba replies that it isn’t strictly the case. Kagiha observes that the books are in rather poor condition, and Karasuba notes that someone has ear-marked certain pages. The former flips to one of them, and is taken aback at the bold kiss scene that appears. Karasuba wonders why he’s so shaken, as there can be even more audacious scenes. Monshiro is curious, and Karasuba starts to search the books. Hikage coldly tells the both of them not to bother – not that they’re listening. Karasuba flips to a page where the couple is hugging and kissing in school, and he wonders if Kagiha is a late-bloomer since he’s taken aback once more. Kagiha thinks that he doesn’t need to explain everything in such detail, but Karasuba points out that Monshiro wants to know. Hikage says that Monshiro just doesn’t know the meaning, which prompts the latter to ask him instead.

Monshiro: Hikage, will you teach me, kiss.
Hikage: Hah? Why do I need to teach you. Or rather, don’t speak in such a way which will invite misunderstandings.
Monshiro: Misunderstandings? What of? Kiss?
Hikage: You don’t need to repeatedly say it……

Karasuba excitedly points out another scene of the guy pushing the girl against the wall, and she doesn’t seem to dislike it. Kagiha can only question if this really is a shoujo manga. Karasuba wonders if there are those who enjoy the more forceful approach, moreover the heroine is alright with kissing a person she doesn’t like. Monshiro asks if it’s okay to do with someone you dislike, and Karasuba replies that it’s possible. Though Kagiha disagrees, believing that women are more sacred.

Hikage: Sacred? That’s exaggerating, it’s only touching a part of their body.
Karasuba: Then Hikagecchi is the type who can kiss just anyone?
Hikage: ……I didn’t say that.
Karasuba: Ah, I got it a tsundere. The type who goes it’s not like this is a big deal……while being embarrassed when kissing!
Hikage: Stop it. Don’t say weird things.
Monshiro: Tsundere? What is that?
Karasuba: A tsundere is a person like Hikagecchi. The type who acts that he doesn’t really care about Beniyuri-chan, but deep inside he truly worries for her.
Hikage: Wha……!!
Kagiha: Aah, I see.

Fortunately for Hikage, Monshiro shifts the attention to another scene, of the guy nibbling on the heroine’s ear. Karasuba corrects his misconception that he’s eating, and it’s not like it’s delicious or anything. It’s just one expression of love. Kagiha once more, says that there’s no need to explain in such detail, which causes Karasuba to ask him to explain then. The taller man thinks that all this is still too early, and refuses to disclose if he’s done it before to Karasuba. Monshiro decides to ask Beniyuri then, and Kagiha desperately stops him. At that moment, Beniyuri spots them and asks what they’re doing.

As Karasuba beckons her over, Hikage and Kagiha swiftly keeps the shoujo manga away. Monshiro points out that she has yet to see it, and Karasuba is also curious about her opinion. Hikage insists that it’s nothing interesting as he and Kagiha clear it. In the end, Beniyuri never found out what the commotion was about. But she guesses that it must be something between boys, and didn’t pursue further. But in the afternoon, Monshiro suddenly asked her if he could eat her earlobe which bewildered her. She can only wonder what it was all about.

In the greenhouse

Ever since being trapped inside the mansion, the sound of the rain lingers in her ears. She would’ve grown to hate it, but recently she realised otherwise. After all, there is someone whom she can only meet on night when it rains. Once more, Monshiro guides her to the entrance of the greenhouse, and remains there to stand guard. Inside, Yamato remarks that she’s late and she explains that earlier on she was searching the common area with Hikage. Later, he comments on how the rain feels especially close. Beniyuri doesn’t get his words, for the same weather has been continuing for days. She apologises for refuting him, but he tells her not to since it’s just a feeling of his. As they’re talking, she notices him gazing at the sky and rubbing his eyes. She realises that he must not be sleeping well and offers to come back another time. He appears lonely though, replying that she took great lengths to come here. Moreover, even if she leaves he can’t sleep. For some reason he can’t settle down at night.

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Beniyuri asks if he’s bothered with the sound of the rain, even when she’s here. He answers that it’s the opposite, for he feels calm. So she suggests sleeping together, but only realises the implications of her words when Yamato reddens. Even though she tries to explain herself, it still sounds weird and she slumps her shoulders and apologises. He chuckles, saying that he is grateful anyway since she’s thinking for his sake. Unfortunately for him though, her next suggestion is for him to sleep on her lap. He gets flustered but she reasons that he would know that she’s here even if he closes his eyes. Beniyuri tells him that his health is more important vs. his embarrassment, and gestures him to her lap. While hesitant at first, Yamato eventually gives in and lies down on her lap. It’s only then that she realises how close they are and the boldness of her suggestion. Still embarrassed, he tells her not to look at his face.

She feels awkward too, and suggests singing a lullaby or telling a bedtime story. Yamato insists that he isn’t a kid, and requests for her to just talk as per normal. Beniyuri starts talking about the umbrella designs. When it’s raining, you feel depressed at not being able to go outside to play. But if you have a cute-looking umbrella, you’d feel a bit better and can head outside too. That’s why she has several favourite umbrellas. Yamato replies that he doesn’t really care, and as expected his is a regular black vinyl type. She wonders how you’d get excited with that, and he laughs in return that he doesn’t know.

But he agrees that it’s a good idea to have something you like to balance out the negative feelings. Just like how she’s talking to him now – so rainy nights don’t seem too bad. Yamato slowly falls asleep, and Beniyuri is thankful that he feels at ease enough with her to do so. She listens to the sound of the rain, which at times sounds lonely in this mansion. It’s as if it’s pleading for you to not neglect it and to turn back.

Defenseless appearance

Though he had a prickly attitude at the start, now he’s friendly as if they’re old friends. Perhaps only she thinks that way, but she’s still grateful. Laughing and fooling around and other frivalous things do heal her heart. That’s why she’s at ease when she returns to the hideout. At least for now, this is where she belongs. It’s nighttime, and everyone else has gone back to their rooms – except Beniyuri. Karasuba tries to call out to the sleeping figure on the sofa, but there’s no response. He thinks that she’s being too defenseless in a place full of men. She shows no signs of waking up, even when he sits next to her and pokes at her cheek. He contemplates pulling all sorts of pranks, and sighs when she continues sleeping peacefully.

As if time has stopped, Karasuba continues gazing at her. He whispers sadly that if her memories returned, she probably wouldn’t be this defenseless. If only things could remain this way forever. He wonders if she’s testing him, though he is full aware that the honest Beniyuri wouldn’t pretend. He leans in to kiss her, but pulls back and sighs deeply. Even if she isn’t doing it on purpose, she’s testing him. Karasuba lightly hits his face, and shouts that a fire has broken out. Beniyuri leaps awake, and he greets her. He informs her that his heart has caught fire from seeing her sleeping face, which confuses her. He then explains the situation, and she realises that she fell asleep while reading. He advises her to return to her room to sleep, and she thanks him for waking her up. As Beniyuri returns to her room, he wonders who she is thanking.

Karasuba calls out Monshiro for peeking, and the latter comes out of hiding. Monshiro remarks that he’s liked her since they were young, before disappearing. His words confuse Karasuba, wondering how he knew this. Meanwhile, Beniyuri drifts back to sleep. Slowly, she no longer knows what is up or down, what is dream or reality. She doesn’t mind either, as long as she can be at ease. While having that thought, the borders between dream and reality continue to blur and remain ambiguous.

What I’m afraid of

At times, she wonders what do those butterflies eat to live on. Both the white butterflies and black butterflies. What sort of nectar do they live on? Or is it only an illusion? She can’t help but wonder when she sees them being sucked into the accessories. After defeating the monsters, Beniyuri is exhausted as usual. But she tells herself that she has to work hard in order to leave the mansion. A worried Kagiha asks after her, lending her a hand as she stands up. There’s still time till night falls, so they can take their time to return. His kindness is conveyed to her though that small gesture, and Beniyuri can’t help but misunderstand that he’d treat her kindly no matter what she does.

She remarks that he’s always kind, but wonders why he’s strict towards Monshiro. He was the one who objected the most strongly when Monshiro appeared, and also tends to avoid him even when they’re together. Kagiha denies this, asking the grounds for her observation. Beniyuri replies that she’s unsure, that’s why she’s asking. Though Monshiro is a person of few words, he’s a good person. Kagiha’s expression darkens, but she continues on as she wants him to understand – Monshiro’s a lonely person, and is worried if others get hurts. He may be poor at expressing himself, but he truly wants everyone to get along. Kagiha replies that she speaks as if she knows him, and asks why she trusts him so much. Beniyuri can only say that he isn’t the type to lie. When she sees that he remains unconvinced, she gets frustrated at herself for not being able to convey herself better.

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She averts her gaze to the window, realising how painful it is for them not to understand each other, in this constrained world with only each other for company. She tells herself not to blame others, and it’s just her unable to convey things properly. Just then, Kagiha touches her hand from behind, saying that he didn’t mean to hurt her. He was at fault, but he’s unable to say anything else. Beniyuri is at a loss on what to say, for she doesn’t understand where he’s coming from, why he’s in such pain. So she’s willing to listen to him.

After a long silence, Kagiha sadly replies that he’s afraid of being despised by her. But she still doesn’t understand why, not even when they are this close to each other. They then returned to the hideout without another word, and he acted as if nothing happened. They didn’t resolve anything in the end. That night, Beniyuri dreamt of a bunch of butterflies quietly sucking at nectar. It was an extremely beautiful, but frightening dream. Though you find it beautiful, it’s scary. Though you want to know more, you’re also afraid. She doesn’t know why she feels this way. The unknown is scary. Even though she was always gazing at the beautiful butterfly.

Since when have you been here?

Recently, just looking at the white butterflies makes her feel relieved. When they’re present, monsters don’t appear nor do they have any dangerous encounters. Thanks to them, Beniyuri can relax in the hideout and go to the greenhouse without any worries. So when a lone butterfly wanders from the others, somehow she finds it cute. Once again, she enters the greenhouse but Yamato isn’t around. She finds a note left by him, saying that he’ll be back soon. It would feel lonely to wait alone, so she calls Monshiro inside too. She’s relieved when he follows her in, agreeing that it’s lonely to be by yourself. He reaches his hand out, waiting for a butterfly to rest on his finger. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to take a liking and flutters away. It appears to come as a shock to him, and he starts to chase it. Beniyuri watches him chase it, purposely stopping when he’s almost caught it, before chasing it again. Monshiro gasps as he realises that he’s forgotten about her, and returns to her side. He can always play with the butterflies, but she’s different. She’s busy so they don’t have many chances to talk alone.

Beniyuri is important to him, she’s his first friend. His words make her feel happy, and also deepens the realisation that he’s been alone all along. She asks if he’d always been in the greenhouse before they came, and since when. Monshiro is unable to answer the latter question, as time flows differently here. But it feels long enough, for him to have forgotten when. He no longer wants to return to being alone. While the time is short, it’s fun to be with her and everyone else. He wishes to always remain together. As Monshiro repeats his words, his clenched fists tremble. Beniyuri can observe that he’s doing his best to convey his feelings, and agrees with his words. She lightly pats him, as if to give him courage. He looks up and brings his cold fingers to her cheek, remarking that he doesn’t want to leave her side. Through his mask, Beniyuri can feel his piercing gaze.

Even though he’d always snuggle up to her without any permission, he seems a bit different today. She wonders what he wants to truly say. Noticing that she’s at a loss, Monshiro moves his hand away and instead, leans his head against her shoulder. He says that he wants everyone to always be friends, and doesn’t want to destroy that. Beniyuri attempts to comfort him, but he only shakes his head in return. She is unsure what is the answer he seeks for. After a while, he falls asleep and Yamato returns to the curious sight. Even as they’re talking, Monshiro shows no signs of waking up. Yamato comments that he’s like a wild animal, being able to sleep anywhere in any position. He’s like an animal which snuggles up to who it likes. Several white butterflies flutter around Monshiro. If they could talk, what would they say to them – comfort them about the past, or warn them of the future?

Long hair

It’s been a while since she started to meet Yamato in the greenhouse after his appearance changed. In any case, he appears to be more relaxed and acting more like himself. Beniyuri thinks that this is his true self, but she also feels a bit embarrassed for thinking that she knows him well now. Once more, Monshiro leads her safely to the greenhouse. He sniffs at her, wondering what the smell is. She reveals the sweets she made, saying that they’re not so sweet so as to match Yamato’s tastes. She invites Monshiro to share it with them. Though once they’re inside, Monshiro starts chasing butterflies. Yamato tells her not to panic, for he’s sure that Monshiro will return to their side once he’s done.

But Beniyuri decides to search for him after all, since they did promise to share it together. It would feel bad if they were to eat without him. She leaves the sweets there and runs off. But while she’s frantically searching, Yamato throws a flower bud at her, telling her to calm down. When she questions if he really had to throw it at her, he replies that she was at fault for being so absent-minded. In the first place, she came here to see him. So she should pay attention to him. Somehow, it feels as though they’ve had this conversation before, as her head throbs painfully. But she’s unable to recall it. Yamato tells her not to force herself, for she’s still herself even if she can’t recall anything. He pats her head, as she soon feels embarrassed, unable to tell him that it’s alright to stop already.

Beniyuri drops her gaze to the floor, where she recognises that the white flower is a gardenia. Yamato points out that there are a lot of them blooming in a corner, which makes her wonder why the plants are growing so healthily when no one tends to them. He grows quiet, as if deep in thought, which makes her think if he’s avoiding the topic. Out of the blue, he remarks that her hair is rather long. She’s confused by his words, as it hasn’t grown much. She observes that their bodies haven’t changed much since coming to this mansion, as if time has stopped for them. Yamato comments that a ribbon would suit her now, as he strokes her hair. She’s perplexed further, especially when she notes his serious but kind gaze. He dismisses her concern as he lets her hair go and lightly flicks her forehead. Beniyuri insists that it hurts, especially her heart. He agrees to take note, recalling that she doesn’t like this sort of thing. His words make her confused once more.

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She’s holding the sweets again…?

He walks off, pointing out that Monshiro probably went over there. Though she’s puzzled at his actions today, she quietly follows him. He’s acting as per usual now, but his heart seems to be further away. They find Monshiro, who is touched that Beniyuri came to find him due to their promise. Yamato tells him off for disappearing like that, which lessened their conversation time. Monshiro thinks that he’s jealous, and Yamato threatens to eat his share. Beniyuri is relieved that he’s back to his usual self, and that night is a bit more lively than usual. While she’s happy to see more sides of Yamato, there was that moment when she was unable to read his thoughts. She was unable to hide her confusion, since he usually speaks honestly. Though it’s impossible to understand others completely, she’d at least like to do so with her friends. Perhaps it’s her selfishness speaking here.

Read after the following ends

Confronted by reality (Real world end)

Stepping out of his room, Karasuba sighs, wishing that his memory never returned. Though he woke up in the mansion with no idea who he is and was uneasy, to be honest he felt released from the burden of his past. He gradually came to know the reason why, but he pretended not to notice and continued with the fun days – till a few days ago. After receiving a certain photo, he was thrown into the depths of depression. 10 years ago, when everyone went to the summer camp and was smiling innocently for the group photo. Probably everyone except her felt that it was better to not recall anything. Within the memories, was the person he desperately wanted to erase – the weak him who couldn’t protect his precious ones, the him he hated so much. As much as he wanted to forget the past and become someone new, he’d remember it.

To be honest, even now he’s weak and irritated at how he’s always escaping. Amist the heart-warming days with everyone, he was averting his attention from something. But it’s about time he confronted it. Drumming up the courage, he knocks on the door before hesitation stalls him. He calls Hikage out from the hideout, saying that it’ll just be a moment since it’s dangerous. But the real reason is that if they remain inside the room, something may happen if his prediction is really true. Karasuba confesses that he likes Beniyuri, to which Hikage replies that it’s more than obvious. It makes things easier for Karasuba, as he’d wanted to consult in him. He’d wanted to consult in Kagiha, but it seems that he has his eyes on her too.

He wants to know what he can do to convey his true feelings, for it seems that Beniyuri isn’t taking him seriously. Should he be more forceful, or even sneak into her room at night. Hikage warns him not to do anything weird, moreover he shouldn’t even consider it. So Karasuba asks for his advice then, and Hikage admits that he never thought about it before. After all, now isn’t the time for such things. Karasuba repeats his answer with much thought, as Hikage shakes his head. He’d thought that Karasuba was feeling down, but to think he was having such nonsensical thoughts. Karasuba asks yet another question – Hikage isn’t Kazuya right?

Hikage goes quiet, staring intently at him as if trying to figure out his intentions. He insists that he is, but Karasuba is unconvinced. From what he recalled, ever since the accident Kazuya never regained consciousness – so it wasn’t the time for such things. But the things is, Kazuya had someone he liked 10 years ago aka Beniyuri. Hikage shrugs his shoulders, saying that he can’t suspect him based on the past. But his words confirm Karasuba’s suspicions. Their childhood was special, and others wouldn’t be able to understand. One can’t just dispose of it as “the past”. At least the real Kazuya would want to be with her. Though he has the same face, he’s a different person inside.

A long silence passes between them, till Hikage laughs, much to Karasuba’s surprise. The atmosphere changes, and the latter is on guard. Hikage praises him for seeing through him, but what will he do? He also confirms that he’s the master of the mansion, and sent all the messages and photos. Souls who come here will instantly be called to the other world if they have no memories. So he did all that, so that they could remain here. Acting as one of them, also made it easier for them to cooperate in gathering the fragments – though of course there were other enjoyments. Once more, he questions what Karasuba plans to do now.

Karasuba: ……it’s obvious isn’t it. Stop acting as friends. The pretend play ends here.
Hikage: ……but is it alright to end things? Even though I was keeping quiet because we’re “friends”?
Karasuba: ……what do you mean.
Hikage: Hime-chan the coward. You were wimpy enough to have such a nickname since young. Not saying anything when you were teased, and would only smile and bear it when you were bullied. You couldn’t do anything.
Karasuba: ……why……do you……?
Hikage: That’s right. You always couldn’t do anything and could only watch. It was the same for “that day” right? Even though your precious friends were drowning in the lake, you could only tremble and watch.

As a result, Natsuki died and Kazuya remained in coma. If he’d plucked up the courage back then, perhaps that wouldn’t have happened. But he watched them die. He wouldn’t want Beniyuri to know his real self, would he? The kaleidoscope is almost finished, so Hikage doesn’t mind if his identity is revealed. But it would be boring to end things like this, so he warns Karasuba not to do anything – unless he wants Beniyuri to know. In the end, Karasuba couldn’t say anything in return and could only watch the master of the mansion leave. Even now, he could only stand and watch. Even though he wanted to change his weak self, he’s scared of her knowing the truth. Karasuba sighs deeply. That’s why he can never become stronger.

2015-09-01-111834

Wanting to be alone, he slipped into another room. He wonders being strong is. Desperately concealing his weak self is not being strong right? He’s well aware that nothing will change at this rate. He needs to confront it if he wants to become suitable for her. But he keeps hesitating. What if she looks down on me? But if I keep running away, I will become even more despicable. But now is the critical moment, there is only one path to take if he doesn’t want to hate himself further – to reveal the truth. When dawn breaks, surely he will be reborn from his weak self. But until then, he’d like to stay in his shell and warm his wings a bit more.

The two caught in between life and death (Monshiro good end)

He has been alone in this world for a long time. He’s lived in loneliness, not interacting with anyone and not knowing who he is. And one day, he’d witnessed a living creature suddenly turn into a monster. Monshiro quickly hides himself, wondering if it was one of those people who came to Hikage. If it’s already a monster, he has to defeat it. Just as he took out his gun, the monster suddenly calls him Kazuya, and begs for forgiveness. Monshiro pauses, as that name sounds terribly familiar. He drops his gun, and decided to watch over the monster. And after that, the monster start to live in the greenhouse with him. He felt nervous to share the space with someone else, but more than that a warm feeling spread in his heart. He was happy that he was no longer alone. In order to confirm that feeling, he would watch the monster everyday. It acted like a human, and felt familiar to him. Then slowly, the memories started coming back to him and realised that the monster was Takuya, and he was Kazuya.

Monshiro wonders when he forgot all this, and how Takuya came to look like this. He appears lonely, just like him. He wishes for someone to save Takuya, and is reminded of Ai who stretched out her hand to the lonely him in the past to their circle of friends. In the end, despite not knowing her memories, she healed the wounded heart of Takuya. And even brought Monshiro back into the circle of friends. The loneliness in his heart gradually faded away, and he spent his days in peace – or that should have been the case. A single photo, from the summer camp, broke the peace. His name and face as Kazuya, had been robbed by Hikage. He doesn’t know Hikage’s reason for doing this, but Monshiro continued to hide under his mask. He isn’t regretful that he can’t reveal the truth. But if he exposes Hikage’s lies, the friendship Ai desperately tried to maintain would crumble with everyone going separate ways. He didn’t want that, for the warm and gentle atmosphere to return to a lonely one. And he didn’t want to lose Ai’s smile.

Despite knowing that the truth will still be revealed one day, he extended that day by keeping quiet. But he soon came to notice his naivety, on the day Usagi informed that that the kaleidoscope is almost finished. There is only a few pieces left. Monshiro was shocked, for he never expected the moment to arrive so soon. But if it’s completed and can grant any wish, everyone can return to the former world. Later, he quietly approached Kagiha, the person who had always been avoiding him. His smile disappeared for a split second, as Monshiro tells him to address him as Kazuya and he would call him Natsuki.

It hasn’t been long since he talked to Kagiha, but it’s been a long time since he’s spoken to Natsuki – ever since he left Hikage’s side. Kazuya knows that he and Hikage see him as a bother, but he wanted to leave things as they are since it was fun. However, Hikage won’t leave things be and the situation may turn worse. He wants Natsuki to stop listening to Hikage. Natsuki admits that he was scared of Kazuya, but never found him a bother. When Kazuya was with them, he said that he didn’t want to see anyone in pain, and didn’t want to revive himself either. Kazuya confirms this. If you’ve died, it’s only natural to turn into white butterflies and move on. But Ai, Takuya and Aki are still alive, so they should return. Natsuki notes that he has already accepted his death, as expected. He doesn’t finish his sentence, and instead explains that he still has an attachment. He wants to live again with her. If he listens to Kazuya, that would mean he would be split up from her again. That’s why he was afraid of Kazuya.

Kazuya is surprised that he feels that much for Ai. Natsuki replies that while their childhood promise may seem transient, he was serious about it then and so was she. They could’ve become family. As he lost his family when he was young, she, who would’ve become his new family, was a special existence to him. He begs for Kazuya not to take her away from him. Hikage had promised that he could return to the real world with her, if he cooperated. For his own reasons, Hikage also wants to live again so their wish is the same. Kazuya insists that Hikage is only making use of him, but Natsuki doesn’t mind as long as his wish can be granted. Kazuya remarks that he didn’t used to be like this, and would distinct right from wrong. If they did anything wrong, he would gently scold them. That was the Natsuki he liked, and same for Ai. Natsuki replies that they can’t remain the same way forever, and something has to be sacrificed in exchange for what you want.

Kazuya asks if that’s why he remained quiet when Hikage dragged the innocent in for his own goals. Because of Hikage, instead of passing onto to next life, they were tortured and turned into monsters. Do other people mean nothing to him? Natsuki doesn’t refute anything, and only smiles, for it appears that he hates Hikage quiet a bit. He adds that he probably doesn’t understand any of his pain, since he left Hikage’s side. In the end, both himself and Hikage aren’t that different. They are both making use of each other. Even if Hikage is gone, he would still sacrifice others for his own desire. His words surprise Kazuya.

Natsuki: Hey Kazuya. I’ve become weird right? It’s true that in the past, I wasn’t this selfish. ……I would think for other people a bit more. But somewhere along the way, I could only think for myself. Me and……her only. I could only wish for out future. Fufu……sometimes I hate myself.
Kazuya: ……Natsuki……
Natsuki: I am fully aware of how ugly I’ve become……but despite knowing this I can’t change. It’s as if I’m becoming a monster while I’m still alive. If only someone could stop me……if someone kills me, I would stop becoming even stranger……haha……yet I want to live on. What a contradiction.

Kazuya seems to have noticed something, and remarks that once he returns Ai the ribbon he would have no attachments left. That’s why before he becomes any stranger, together they will……he lifts his gun up, and aims at Natsuki. The latter only smiles gently at him.

The master and the masked girl (Hikage end)

It was past midnight when he realised it. The man laughs as he gazes at the sky, remarking that it’s falling into this world. The last fragments which he yearned for, but could never obtain. He stretches his arms wide, as if catching it. The kaleidoscope which could grant any wish was destroyed years ago, and the fragments were scattered throughout the mansion. He doesn’t know why it was broken, nor why he’s this attached to it. His memories have faded alongside the years – but he knows that he has a wish. He’s waited for this moment. While he could collect the other fragments, he couldn’t reach into the outside world. To think that it’s fallen on its own accord, or rather, they have it. Just then, Usagi knocks on the door as she informs him about the people who have just fallen in this world. She has realised it too.

He knows their names: Kanda Takuya, Himeno Akira and Minato Ai. But they would’ve forgotten it, so they’d need to give them names again. They’re to be chosen as the next cooperators. The kaleidoscope is about to be finished, and they who possess the last fragments will be the witness to the miraculous moment. He predicts that the girl will choose the name Beniyuri, as did all the previous girls. Usagi asks if he will be Hikage again, and he replies that it’s just been that way all along. Natsuki also seems to have taken a liking to the name Kagiha. They will just let the flow of things be. He gazes out of the window again, reading the memories of those 3 people among the countless other souls. It’s a special power he gained in this mansion, and it’s useful at times like this.

It appears that they’re childhood friends but were separated, only to be reunited recently. However, some discord happened and……he realises that they are old friends with Natsuki and the one who escaped his side. He recalls that when the two of them fell here, they also had fragments. He isn’t sure why they have them, but it doesn’t matter. Since they know each other, he decides to change his appearance to that of Kazuya’s. He shall pretend to be one of them, to guide them to gather the fragments. He’ll perfectly perform that role, being confrontational, supportive and encouraging at times. And when they trust him, he will break it.

He gleefully laughs just imagining the thrill of ridiculing the relationship between brothers and childhood friends. This is the space between life and death. Whose fault is it that they’ve been trapped here all this time? When they realise it, how would they feel? Anger? Pity? Regret? He looks forward to it. Two fragments have already fallen into the mansion, there is just one more. He shall smash the hope she has, and regain the fragment to return the kaleidoscope its former sparkle. It will become the rightful last piece, filled with despair. Usagi only quietly watches him, as if she has something to say. He asks for her thoughts, for he never knew what she was thinking or why she obeys him. In fact, she’s the only existence here whom he can’t read memories of. Who is she and what is her goal?

Usagi hesitates, and apologises as she looks down. It doesn’t look like she will talk, and he doesn’t mind. In exchange, she shouldn’t oppose him or complain to him. If she’s with him in fear of being lonely, then she just needs to quietly obey. She agrees softly. He then prepares to go fetch them, asking her to act as the master’s messenger to guide them, as she always does. Finally, the end of the long, never-ending journey seems near. What he desires is just ahead, and he can’t help but quicken his footsteps. His heart is singing like a child’s. The kaleidoscope. A mirror which reflects tens of thousands of flowers. He’s just like a butterfly drawn to that sweet flower – or maybe a moth lured into a light trap. For just that one wish.

Just then, he feels something off. But surely it’s just his imagination. Nothing has changed. He will end everything, destroy and dye this world in despair. That’s the reason he has lived till now. Walking on a straight path towards destruction, his heart skips with joy.

5 thoughts on “Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly: Short Episodes

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