Taisho x Alice episode 1: Akazukin

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Next route is Akazukin (CV: Maeno Tomoaki). A policeman with a constant stern expression, and who always wears his trademark red hood. Though he appears calm and collected, he can lose his composure in the next moment. He claims to hate women. This follows from the Prologue.

“One day, my mother called to me and told me that I was a good kid unlike the rest. So I can’t play outside, as everyone else is a wolf. There’s no telling what bad things wolves will do. Even if they approach you, ignore them. When mother is not around, I have to properly watch the house. If anyone comes by, I can’t let them in. I promised her to do so. But I broke the promise. I went to a nearby lake, and arrived at a house in the dark woods. I asked if anyone was in, but strangely there was no answer even when I knocked. It’s the only house standing in the area, there’s no mistake that it’s a home. I carefully opened the door, surprisingly it was not locked. It was dark inside, with only the moonlight shining in, just enough light to see inside. Upon looking, I realised my sin. If I had kept to my mother’s promise and didn’t loiter around, I wouldn’t have lost my loved ones.”

(End of monologue)

There was a young man called “Akazukin” in the mirror world. He was known for always having a stern face, and always wearing his trademark red hood. (Note: In Japanese, red hood is “akazukin”.) Once, Akazukin was hired as a bodyguard for a certain rich lady. Apparently suspicious incidents kept occurring around her. And the trigger was threatening letter implying that she will come to harm.

That day, Yurika was sitting down with a curious-looking man. He had heard about what was happening to her, and specially came to learn more. She shares that a month ago, she would receive a call 2-3 times a day. But the caller would not speak and would just hang up. She thought it was just her, but it continued. And next, she felt like she was being followed on the way home, and as if she was being watched when at home. Akazukin asks if she’s mistaken, in other words she’s being overly self-conscious. She raises her eyebrows at his implication. He elaborates that humans are sensitive creatures, especially when they are uneasy. He notes that she’s living alone in this big mansion, and she confirms this for her parents often travel. Akazukin only concludes that she must feel lonely everyday. He doesn’t accuse her, but he cannot rule out the possibility that it is just her imagination.

Yurika shows him the threat she received. It is put together by cutting and pasting letters individually. The content warns her to admit her sins from before, if not misfortune will befall her. It signs off as “Wolf”. Akazukin will have this letter checked, but he doubts that they will be able to find any clues seeing how careful the culprit was in making this. He notes that this lessens the chances that it’s just her imagination. Moreover the contents are vague, so only the involved person would understand what this “sin” refers to.  Even if this was an act by her for attention, it would be preferable for her to clearly write what sort of harm will befall her.

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Next, he asks if she knows who “wolf” might be, and what the “sin” is. She only shrugs her shoulders. She doesn’t recall haven’t offended anyone before either.  He notices that it isn’t specifically addressed to her, so perhaps it may refer to her family. Yurika has no clue, and she also shares that her relationship with her family is on good terms. She doesn’t mind the fact that she’s left alone, since she has freedom in return. Akazukin recalls that she has an older brother living nearby too, and asks if she can call him over as part of the investigation. She thinks that he’d be too busy with work to do so though, and this surprises the police. She explains that he’d probably brush it off as just her imagination too. He unwittingly remarks that her brother is really cold-blooded, and she strongly agrees. Akazukin clears his throat, apologising for his comment as he downs the tea.

He can only conclude that her family is rather unique, and takes down her brother’s number for reference. Yurika thinks that he won’t answer the call though. In any case, Akazukin promises to keep her safe. She snaps her fingers in approval, finding him truly reliable. In other words, it’ll be like those situations in movies where the hero protects the heroine with his life. Against her expectations, he announces that he will watch over her 24/7 starting from today so that no harm will come to her. She checks if he will do so until the culprit is caught, reminding him that she is a young lady after all. He promises to accommodate to her privacy as much as possible. Yurika thinks that it’s a bit too much, but he points out that she did receive a threat. He was ordered by his superiors to strictly guard her, and asks for her understanding.

>> Reject Akazukin’s suggestion: Yurika refuses, wanting him to find another solution instead. He demands for the reason, forcing her to admit that having two young people stay together will be too awkward. He bluntly says that he has no interest in her. In response, she says that she does though since he’s handsome. So if they’re alone together, she’ll be too conscious of him and can’t be bothered with the threat. Akazukin is at a loss of words, as he takes the threat letter and quietly agrees to find another solution. As she tries to explain that it was just a joke, he takes his leave.

At that moment, Wizard appears as he briefly introduces himself. He calls her a “flag crasher”, noting that she totally threw away her own chances. Yurika looks suspiciously at him, thinking that he must be the stalker. He desperately stops her from calling the police, telling her to believe in him. She asks if he’s here to kill her then, causing him to sigh and advising her to restart – so as to get her happy end. She sharply observes that he refuses to specifically say the details, to which he agrees and just tells her again to restart. (BAD END)

>> Accept Akazukin’s suggestion: Yurika accepts, stretching out her hand. He belatedly introduces himself, completely ignoring her handshake. Akazukin had apparently already brought the his basic necessities, gesturing to the basket beside him. She notes that despite his wild looks, his luggage is rather cute. He shares that he will settle his own meals, and accepts her offer to borrow her shower. He also says that he will sleep outside, and she exclaims that it’s winter now. Yurika recalls that she has a guestroom, but he flatly refuses for he’s not a guest. It’s not that he’s being considerate.

Yurika: ……do you hate me? Do you hate the idea of being with me?
Akazukin: It’s not a matter or like or hate. It’s because it’s my duty to protect you.
Yurika: …………
Akazukin: …………Miss Arisu. Don’t mind me, and please act as you like.

In any case, Yurika decides to interpret it as him not wanting to encroach on her privacy. She feels like taking back that statement though, when he says that he will accompany her when she goes out. She can’t help but feel uncomfortable if that’s the case, and he only drinks his tea again. Akazukin refuses for seconds, as if implying that he would be in her debt if he does so.

Yurika: ……Akazukin-san, are you often told that you’re always guarded?
Akazukin: If I was unguarded, it would hinder my occupation.
Yurika: No, you’re absolutely right but……
Akazukin: Do you have any other questions?

Yurika compliments him on his clothes, and he curtly thanks her. She wonders why he wears a hood, and if he likes the colour red. Akazukin questions if this has any relation to the case. It clearly doesn’t so he refuses to answer, cutting down her response. Feeling chilly at his blizzard-like responses, she awkwardly stands up (even though this is her own home). He immediately stands up too, planning to follow her even though she wants to rest alone in her room. Yurika can’t help but inwardly scream for help. In the end, she decides to stay in the living-room since she won’t be alone no matter where she goes.

When it’s dinnertime, she asks if he really won’t eat together. Akazukin still refuses to accept her invitation. She suggests at least eating at the same time then, and he questions why.

Yurika: Because it’s lonely.
Akazukin: But I’m right here?
Yurika: That’s true. Then because it’s efficient. Please think about it. You will have to follow me after this right? I’m not the type to properly schedule what I do, so there will certainly be times when I act on impulse. If you consider this point, wouldn’t it, in many ways, be more efficient to eat together with me?
Akazukin: ……you do have a point. I understand. Then I will do just that from now on.

Upon agreeing, he takes out a can of food from his basket with a picture of mackerel on the label. Coincidentally, she’s also eating simmered mackerel in miso tonight. Akazukin claims that it’s convenient and safe food which he can bring with him anytime. He is not planning to eat anything else with it, and will eat the same food (the other alternative being canned meat) for every meal. Yurika looks at him pitifully warmly, inviting him to eat with her once more. He rejects and she bursts out at his stubbornness. He coldly returns the statement back to her, allowing her to cool down. She apologises for being persistent, and he says that he doesn’t mind. So Yurika thanks him, asking if he doesn’t mind if she’s more persistent then.

Akazukin gazes sharply at her, as Yurika repeats her invitation. He asks for her reason, and she replies that she wants to get along better with him. Of course, she’s aware that he may dislike her for being so persistent. So she asks if he recognises the implication of that. They glare at each other in silence, and finally he looks away. He doesn’t want to keep arguing with her. Inwardly savouring her victory, Yurika goes to prepare his share of food too. He tells her that her food will be cold, so she suggests him eating first then. That way both of them will get to eat warm food. He quietly accepts, as he sits in her chair. Akazukin eats in silence, feeling her gaze on him. Even when eating, he’s still wearing his hood.

Yurika: Isn’t it bad manners?
Akazukin: Thank you for the food.
Yurika: Eh!? W-what’s wrong!? Does it not suit your tastes?
Akazukin: I don’t have the right to eat your food if I have bad manners.
Yurika: Don’t be like that, I just wanted to say it. It’s a joke, a joke ♪
Akazukin: Was it a joke?
Yurika: Yes. In fact, I think that the hood itself is Akazukin-san.
Akazukin: Is that so.

He returns to eating, and soon asks if she’s good at cooking. She proudly answers that she enjoys it as it’s fun and you get to eat delicious food. The conversation ends there and then, and she asks why he made the question. Akazukin remarks that there’s no meaning to it, making her feel like an idiot for being all happy. But Yurika refuses to back down, since she wants to get along better.

Yurika: ……does it suit your tastes?
Akazukin: Would you feel better if I answered “delicious”?
Yurika: From the point of view of the person cooking, it would spur the motivation if you say that. Of course, I would still be motivated even if you say it’s not.
Akazukin: I see. So it’s the hardest for you if you’re told nothing.
Yurika: Frankly, that’s exactly it!
Akazukin: I have no relation to your motivation.
Yurika: …………

His response was so cold, she could still feel the blizzard indoors. She tries once more to ask him, asking what his favourite food is. He pauses for a moment, before replying that he doesn’t. Before she can ask any further, Akazukin points out that she hasn’t started preparing her own food. Yurika busies herself, while telling him to free feel to have seconds.

Later, she enjoys her time in the bath. Who would have thought that the only time she could relax is now. Across the door, Akazukin tells her to let me know if anything’s off, and he’ll immediately come. Yurika mutters that he’d only see her naked body now. After she’s done, she tells Akazukin to wash up now. He replies that he’d good for a day. She insists as she glares at him, and he quietly takes up the offer as he enters the bathroom. Just then, she recalls that he has no bath towel, and quickly goes to fetch one. Yurika knocks, but there’s no answer. Unable to hear any sound, she thinks that he must be in the shower already and turns the doorknob.

Suddenly, the door opens and standing there a is naked–no, fully-clothed Akazukin. She’s shocked at how fast he was, did he even bath? But she realises that his hair is wet, and reaches out to wipe him. He quickly snatches the towel it, saying that he’ll do it himself. He apologises for making her floor wet, but she replies that she’ll clean up. Instead, she suggests for him to dry himself up next to the heater lest he catches a cold. Akazukin accepts. When she’s done, Yurika offers him a cup of warm chamomile tea. He’s surprised, but thanks her. He notices its fragrant smell, though he doesn’t explicitly say that he likes it. Still, Yurika picks it up. She finds it unexpected, since it’s not often men say that they like herb tea (at least her brother doesn’t). When she sits next to him, he quietly shifts position. While feeling slightly hurt, she later asks if his clothes are dry. Without looking at her, Akazukin says that they are thanks to her.

She tells him to sleep inside, lest he catches a cold and that will hinder his job. Unable to argue against that, Akazukin sighs and agrees. He apologises, promising for this not to occur again. Yurika shrugs her shoulders, telling him not to be so stiff. He agrees to keep that in mind. Later, Akazukin asks to enter her room, checking the situation from the window. He had checked outside too, and saw nothing suspicious. Yurika asks if he really plans to sleep in her room, since it’ll be a man and woman in the same room after all. Akazukin says that it’s the only option, if he’s not going to guard her from outside. She resigns herself, since he doesn’t seem be conscious. She goes to her bed, while he sits on a chair next to the window.

Yurika invites him to sleep in her bed, and he warns her that a lady should’t joke like that. When told that it isn’t a joke, he is more turned off. She gives him a blanket instead, but he refuses at first – till she remarks that there will be no one to protect her if he falls ill, or would he rather warm up together in the blanket? Akazukin quickly accepts the blanket alone and thanks her. In the end, nothing happened today. But he warns her not to lower her guard, since you’d never know. Yurika then asks what sort of crime he handled before, adding that it’s to make her trust him more. But he replies that he doesn’t remember, as everything seemed trivial to him. Akazukin stares at her, before dropping his gaze and then looking at her again. He asks if she isn’t worried, for she is being stalked and even threatened. To his surprise, she answers that she isn’t as he’s with her. The room grows quiet, and she tries to change the topic.

Yurika: You know, Akazukin-san. How does it look like I’m reacting to the situation?
Akazukin: You look like you’re enjoying the situation.
Yurika: Ahaha…………well, yes. It is fun. This sort of thing hardly happens.
Akazukin: ……I see.

He wonders if his actions are a bother to her despite them being necessary, and apologises for any inconvenience. Yurika says that it is a big help to her though, since he’s protecting her. Silence follows once more, till she admits that she’s been thinking if she had brought someone misfortune ever since she had received the threat. She will let him know if she ever thinks of something. She then asks what he thinks a sin is. Akazukin replies without hesitation that it’s to commit a crime. Yurika doesn’t recall doing any then, if it refers to breaking the law. Though she did tell small lies, like being late because her alarm didn’t go off. He states that he is the same then, if they’re going with her logic. In other words, people have more or less sinned. He adds that the law has a limit, and it’s impossible to govern everything if not we would have no freedom. The issue is how heavy the crime is.

Yurika wonders if the heaviest crime is murder then. Akazukin thinks that if it’s going by the law, it would be an instigation of foreign aggression. In other words, to incite war. She asks how does one decide how heavy a crime is. He replies that it’s probably depending on the amount of harm done, the motive, and how it was committed. From which the law came about. She questions if the opposite of crime is not justice, but law then. He says that it may be the case. She closes her eyes in contemplation, prompting him to remark that if she thinks too much now, she wouldn’t be able to sleep. Of course, he himself plans to stay awake throughout since he’s protecting her.

Yurika: Aren’t you nervous?
Akazukin: I always do my best to stay calm.
Yurika: I see. Actually I’m feeling very nervous now.
Akazukin: I won’t let you get hurt. So please be rest assured and sleep.

She didn’t mean it that way, but Yurika chuckles and bids him goodnight. As she closes her eyes, a kind voice wishes her goodnight and lures her to sleep.

The next morning, she wakes up to find him missing. She opens her door, taken aback to see him standing outside. He explains that he went outside to check the surroundings while she was asleep. She thanks him, while tying her hair up as she prepares to go and wash up. She feels his gaze, but he looks away when she asks him what’s wrong. Akazukin asks for her schedule today, and she answers that it’s just school.

Later, Yurika cheerfully prepares breakfast and lunch for later. He keenly notices that there are a lot of lunchboxes – 4 in fact. She replies that it isn’t all for her, making him ask who it is for. He intends to know who she interacts with too. She explains that 1 is for her, 2 are for her friends (well though not everyone is), and the last one is his. He looks suspiciously at her, saying that he has canned food. She points out that eating too much of that is not good for his health. It wouldn’t do any of them good if he is unable to perform at the critical moments, so to just take it that it’s also for her own safety. Left with nothing else to say, Akazukin accepts.

As she’s about to leave the house, he remarks that he’s following too. Yurika thinks that it’ll be difficult, unless he dons the school uniform and pretends to be a mysterious transfer student. He takes her joke seriously, noting that he should start preparing for it. She points out that it’ll take too long, and he would stand out too much as a student. Rather, he would draw unnecessary attention as a possible culprit. She’s doing all she can to stop him from approaching her school. Akazukin sees her reasoning, and considers being a relief teacher instead. She snaps her fingers in approval at his idea.

During lunch time, Yurika shares what happened to her good friend, Ookami. (Note: Ookami in Japanese is written as big god. But the same pronunciation and different kanji also means wolf.) He holds back his laughter, asking where the policeman is now. She shrugs her shoulders, saying that she was just told to shout if anything happens. In the end, the suggestion of being a relief teacher was rejected since it’s impossible. Ookami asks if she’s okay, since he can’t help but be worried. She reassures him that it’s fine.

Ookami: Is that so–? Arisu-chan is cute–
Yurika: Fufufu……it’s fine to praise me more?
Ookami: Yo! Number one pretty girl in the world!!
Yurika: Seriously! You’re so honest!!

They hi-five each other, and he asks what she thinks of the policeman. Yurika remarks that he’s strange, and very handsome. He pauses at her last comment, clearly looking down. But he perks up immediately with a grin, asking if she feels like making the policeman fall for her. She deliberately misunderstands his question, by answering with other moves that also involve “falling”. In exasperation, Ookami says that he’s referring to the romantic kind. She pretends to appear shocked, but as you can see he plays along well. Yurika answers that she purely just wants to get along better with him. He eyes her suspiciously in return.

Ookami: Can you say that you have no underlying motive?
Yurika: You mean sexual interest?
Ookami: Yes. If I were to say it more directly and tactlessly, whether you can have sex or not!

She almost spits out the tea she was drinking, saying that this talk shouldn’t be done while having lunch. He apologises, telling her to think of this as girls’ talk about love after school. She points out that it’s lunch and he’s a boy. He happily celebrates over the fact that she sees him as a boy.

Yurika: If I don’t see you as a boy, then what are you?
Ookami: A pet!
Yurika: Your hand!
Ookami: Woof woof! That’s not it!! Aah–ahem! Anyway, let’s return to the topic.

He tells her to grab onto this chance situation which is out of a movie, of a weak (?) girl and the reliable (?) policeman. He relates it to the suspension bridge effect. Yurika replies that it would be a temporary thing and not love then, since it’s a misattribution. He thinks that it is still love, and is willing to cooperate if she’s serious. Her response is hesitant, and he sees that she doesn’t believe him. Ookami remarks that a lamb who’s playing innocent like her will get eaten up by a wolf, and Yurika points out that all men are wolves. So does it mean that her situation now is dangerous? He commends her observation, and pretends to attack her. She pretends to ask the hunter for help, as he hugs her.

At that moment, Ryoushi appears and asks what they’re doing. The actual hunter appears, and Ookami quickly separates himself from Yurika and greets him. Ryoushi is his name, but everyone calls him “hunter” (Note: Both have the same pronunciation in Japanese.) Yurika greets him too, as he observes that they’re playing around as always. Both of them chime that their studies are good though. Ryoushi sits down and is about to draw out a cigarette. Yurika stuffs a lollipop in his mouth instead, reminding him not to smoke here. Ookami is about to share that she has someone she likes, and she tries to stop him. The boy notes that the older man shows no interest, asking if it’s really okay if his sister’s important thing is stolen. Ryoushi hits his head in response, and Yurika is relieved. She comments that he has no interest in who she likes, and neither does she in who he plays around with. Ryoushi replies that it’s not entirely true, and she remains smiling.

As he’s about to say something, the bell rings signalling the end of lunch. Yurika is thankful, as she stands up to make her escape. Ookami follows her, but stops as he coughs for a bit. She worriedly pats his back, and he reassures her that he’s fine. Though he always appears energetic, the truth is that he was frail since young and often fell sick. He thanks her for lunch, and they part ways.

After school, Yurika searches for a figure among the woods. Akazukin is glad to hear that she’s fine, and apparently he had been patrolling and asking around for clues. But everything appears peaceful. He accompanies her for shopping, and she asks if he has any requests. In fact, she wonders if he’s a meat-lover, just like Ookami said – that all men are wolves. Aside from the fact that she just equated that to meat-lovers, he asks if she really told her friend about him. But he adds that perhaps her friends should know and accompany her. She reassures him that Ookami is reliable, asking if he won’t ask more about her friends. Akazukin replies that he won’t.

As they pass by a florist, he abruptly stops in his tracks. He pulls his hood further down, and whispers that someone is following them. It may just be his imagination, so he suggests escaping from the main street just to be sure. Yurika runs after him when he gives the signal, and stops to catch her breath when they reach an alley. Unfortunately, it appears that it was just him and she can only respond with a dry laugh.

During dinnertime, Yurika proudly serves hamburg steak. When asked how it is, Akazukin gives a vague answer. She considers it better than his response yesterday (as expected of meat), and is even more elated when he says that lunch was delicious. His silence draws an awkward cough from her, and she remarks that nothing has happened. Akazukin picks up what she is referring to, and thinks that perhaps the culprit is on alert ever since he came. In other words, it’s likely that the culprit knows about Akazukin’s presence. He takes out a black object from his basket, asking if she has seen it before. He found it in the living-room, and it’s probably a listening device. He believes that Wolf set it up while she was away. He’d only found one though.

Despite this, Akazukin believes that Wolf knowing that he’s here will restrain the culprit’s movements. But at the same time, it will be harder to catch him. Yurika suggests deliberately putting herself in danger, and he warns her not to say that even as a joke. After all, he’s here to protect her and that’s his top priority. Followed by catching the criminal. It has only been 2 days since he came. Just because nothing has happened, doesn’t mean that nothing will happen from now on. In any case, he plans to gather more information in the meantime.

Yurika closes her eyes to ponder, before asking what will happen if nothing happens at this rate. Akazukin considers this, before replying that he will report it as a prank if nothing happens within a week. In other words, there are 6 days left including today. Of course, if something occurs after a week, he will immediately rush over. She mutters aloud that it’ll be lonely when he’s gone. Though they had just met, she wants to get along better with him. An idea dawns on her, and she offers to show him around the house. Well, he’d already looked around for his investigations so she won’t force him. However, he accepts, and they start touring the mansion after dinner.

First, she introduces the living-room. He replies that they’re usually here so he already knows. So she brings him to the entrance hall next. The second floor links to her room and guestrooms, while the first floor connects to the living-room and dance hall. Akazukin remains quiet, giving off the vibe that “I already know, miss”.  Yurika brings him to her bedroom next, and his response remains unfriendly.

Yurika: …………
Akazukin: What a gorgeous room. How envious to be able to live in such a fine mansion.
Yurika: ! I think so too!
Akazukin: Isn’t this your house?
Yurika: T-that’s right……sorry. I was happy so……

She guides him to the dance hall, which she labels as her second favourite spot. She tells him to look forward to her favourite spot, and he doesn’t reply. Yurika stares intently at him, till he comments that one could hold a ball here. When asked if he can dance, he answers that he can’t and doesn’t deal well with fancy places like this. Unexpectedly, Akazukin remarks that she appears lady-like and good at dancing. With arms crossed, she proudly admits that she can’t dance either.

Yurika: ……hey, if there was a ball held here, would Akazukin-san choose me as your partner? Don’t you think that we’d have nothing to fear since we both can’t dance?
Akazukin: Two minuses don’t make a plus. Having someone to lead you would be much better.
Yurika: In calculations, doesn’t minusing a minus from a minus give you a plus? And multiplying a minus with a minus give you a plus.
Akazukin: ……………………isn’t that mathematics.

Yurika tells him not to think of it as numbers. If the two of them collaborate together, they could possibly change the situation. For example, if the two of them who cannot dance, practice like crazy. Akazukin thanks her for her valuable opinion, and she brings him next to her favourite place. He can already guess where that is, but she frantically stops him from saying it aloud. He sighs and resigns himself. She happily reaches for his hand so as to lead him, but he leaps away and tells her not to touch him. Shocked by his response, Yurika quietly apologises. Akazukin feels bad too, and before the awkward silence can continue, she shows him to the garden outside.

He kneels down next to a flower. When asked if he likes them, he acknowledges it. He feels at peace when he sees flowers. He can tell that she likes flowers too, judging from how well-maintained the garden is. As the season is winter now and only winter roses are blooming, he’s sure that many others will bloom in spring. Yurika asks if he likes roses, and he replies that he does. But roses are beautiful and luxurious, so he feels that roses are too distant from someone like him. She reckons that he seems the type to like affectionate flowers. But Akazukin only says that someone like him doesn’t seem suitable, to like flowers. But she begs to differ, pointing out that he’s protecting her. He remarks that it’s the duty given to him. Before he can continue, he abruptly stands up and tells her to go back inside as it’s cold.

Yurika: Will you come to my house when it’s spring?
Akazukin: Huh?
Yurika: Just like you said, roses will bloom when it’s spring. No, not just roses. Lilies and……in any case many flowers will bloom! So, together……
Akazukin: ……no. It’s better if I don’t come here again.

The only reason he is here is to protect her from Wolf. So his presence here is a special case. He thanks her for her consideration, but she doesn’t need him in her daily life. They return inside, and with that her tour is over. Akazukin checks with her if she carries the entrance keys. Yurika confirms this, and that each of her family members has one too. But she left the spare and master key in the kitchen drawer so that she won’t lose them. They go to check just to be sure, and curiously the keys are missing. The last time she had seen it was the day before yesterday when she was cleaning. Akazukin finds the chances of it being stolen very high. Yurika blames herself for not being more careful when she had received the threat. But it’s already the past, so rather than regretting, she should focus on what to do now.

He suggests informing her family about this, so she tries to call both her parents and brother. Unfortunately, none of them are picking up. He appears taken aback at how unconcerned they seem when she is in danger. She admits that may be the case, if not they wouldn’t have let him live alone in the first place. He questions if they prioritise their own convenience over her, and she cannot deny this.

Akazukin: Are you not lonely?
Yurika: Hmm because I am used to being alone, perhaps I have forgotten what it feels like to be lonely.
Akazukin: ……I can understand that somewhat.
Yurika: Akazukin-san too?
Akazukin: …………sorry. I said something unnecessary.

He pulls his hood further down, and comments that there’s no telling what the culprit may set up next since the key is stolen. By right, they should leave her home. But he leaves the decision to her. Of course, she doesn’t plan to leave. So he willingly obeys.

At night, Akazukin goes to her room and reports that there are no suspicious figures. He observes that she looks tired, and tells her to rest. Yurika immediately widens her eyes, and says that she isn’t, she wants to talk with him. He tells her to do what she wants, as he continues setting traps in her room as he did outside. She sees him holding what looks like a string in his hand, and he explains that there’s no such thing as being too careful since the key is stolen. To be specific, he’s tying the string to the doorknob such that if someone opens it, a knife will come flying. It’s not meant to be fatal, so that he can at least interrogate the person. Yurika asks what if her family comes back, and he replies that he’ll deal with it then. After all, certain things require sacrifices. A long pause comes between them, till she asks if that was a joke. He confirms that it was with a deadpan expression.

Akazukin finishes up, explaining that the bell will ring if anyone comes in. She asks if he also learnt this at the police. His response is vague at first, but he shares that he learnt this from a friend. Surprised to hear this, Yurika asks what sort of person his friend was. But he completely ignores her, saying that he will deal with it if anything happens. She gives up on pursuing the matter, and lies on her bed. When asked if he plans to sleep there again, he replies that he does – unless she wants him to sleep outside.

Yurika: No! In fact I’m delighted! Yes! Really!
Akazukin: That’s a problematic statement in itself.
Yurika: Ahaha……but, is it really, really alright? Actually, did you sleep properly yesterday?

He says that he does, but she notes that he has dark circles under his eyes. He merely answers that he as born with them. After setting everything up, he sits down on the chair.

Yurika: Why is Wolf harassing me?
Akazukin: ……because he/she wants to be noticed?
Yurika: Who does he/she want to be noticed by harassing me?
Akazukin: Of course that would be……you.
Yurika: ……as expected.

Till now, she doesn’t know what sin she committed. Akazukin cannot tell either, since from what he has observed, she is a good person.

Yurika: You can’t be sure? Perhaps only I have forgotten, and in fact committed a very serious sin. At the very least, a sin serious enough for Wolf to send a threat.
Akazukin: ……yes. There’s a possibility.
Yurika: Hey……would you scorn me if I committed a crime?
Akazukin: I won’t.
Yurika: Really?
Akazukin: Yes.
Yurika: What does Wolf want me to do by getting me to admit my sin.
Akazukin: I wouldn’t know.

He advises her to sleep, since she has school tomorrow.

“That night, I had a nostalgic dream. I’m a child, sitting all alone next to the lake. Unlike other children, I didn’t go to school. As such I would stand out, so I went to a place where hardly anyone comes. It was a fine day. But I just sat there, listening to the waves. Still, a lake is a lake. It doesn’t connect to the world like the sea. But even if it does, I’m sure that she won’t be able to go to a far away country. One day, a boy called out to me to play. Seeing that he didn’t go to school to, I’m sure that he’s a spirit or a delinquent. As my mother said, all the people are scary wolves. I continued to feign ignorance as my mother had told me too. Eventually the boy gave up and left. But the next day, and the next day, the boy kept coming. I already broke a promise to my mother, so I can’t break anymore. I continued to ignore the boy, but he didn’t give up. Somehow, I started to look forward to the boy coming. After all, I did want to play with someone.”

The next morning, Yurika remarks that it’s nice to have someone to eat with. Apparently, Akazukin eats alone, and refuses to answer about his family as it’s unrelated to work. He accompanies her to school again, and as they part ways before the entrance she gives him his lunchbox. When she looks at him, he asks if she’s uneasy, not that she appears to be. He reassures her that surely the criminal won’t strike when she’s at school. If anything does happen though, he tells her to call for help from those around her. Out of the blue, Yurika covers her face, and then shows a weird face. Akazukin remains expressionless, asking if that is all. His cool reactions is gradually freezing her heart too.

During lunchtime, she passes Ookami his lunchbox. As he happily celebrates that it’s meat, she bluntly asks if she’s attractive or not. Surprised, he jokingly asks if she’s finally realised his charms. Yurika is referring to Akazukin though, and he reckons that she seeks his cooperation – well he did offer his help yesterday. She pretends to cry, and he gives into her request. He is startled when she asks how to make someone laugh, and even more so when she answers that she already tried making a weird face. Yurika says that Akazukin is always serious, but Ookami points out that it probably can’t be helped with the situation. She remarks that it’s hard to get along with people, but he points out that she has many friends – like him. In any case, he advises her to keep talking to him. Surely over time, he will start to open up to her.

After lunch, Yurika sees Ryoushi along the school corridor. As expected, he can’t smoke here so he’s eating a lollipop. He silently passe her the lunchbox back, and comments that it was okay. When he observes that she’s in high spirits, she agrees and notes that he looks otherwise. Ryoushi replies that a lot happened, and also warns her to be careful. He had heard about her situation already. She’s smart, but she is overly-confident. She accepts his advice, and asks what she should do to lower down another person’s guard. He remarks that it’s her specialty, but she shares that he’s pretty guarded and there’s not a lot of time. Ryoushi suggests going somewhere for tea, or to a place with a nice atmosphere. Perhaps she could also act more familiar by physically touching too. Yurika accepts his suggestion, terming it as a date. When asked if he knows of a place, he proposes a quiet lake in the forest.

And so, she brings Akazukin to the lake later. When asked for her purpose, she replies that she wants to get along better with him. He appears taken aback, and asks why the lake. Yurika replies that it was the result of her consultation. He shares with her that he doesn’t dislike quiet places, but refuses to answer when asked if he likes the lake. Though she mentioned that she wanted to get along better, he has no such intention at all. They are merely a policeman and the victim. There is no officer who will delve into a victim’s privacy more than necessary. When she mentions police drama, he immediately brushes it off as fiction.

Yurika: Do you hate me?
Akazukin: ……………………it’s not that I hate, yes.
Yurika: You said it so directly……
Akazukin: I said it directly now, since you are like this.
Yurika: That’s good. In other words, our relationship has become one without any lies?
Akazukin: ……it’s tiring talking to you.
Yurika: Really? I find it fun.

He whispers that she’s just like him, a strange person who found conversing with a boring person like himself fun. In fact, she’s exactly like that person – callous and rude and selfish. She concludes that he must be very optimistic, active and bright like her. In any case, Akazukin doesn’t plan to say anymore since it isn’t related to work. Yurika giggles instead, as she observes that his tone has become less polite. She supposes that this is more like his true nature. When he confirms that he’s only with her because it’s his duty, she remarks that he’s really serious. Just as he’s about to go back, she smiles and points out that there’s a lot of distance between them. Sensing her underlying motives, he takes a step back and she steps closer. She tells him that he can’t protect her so far away, but he insists that he’s confident enough.

Yurika pretends to give up, but asks for his help in pulling her up. He looks at her coldly, before grabbing a nearby branch instead. His other option is to get up by herself, so Yurika relents and takes the branch. The moment she stands up, she slips. She can’t tell if her legs gave way, or the branch slipped from her grasp, or if the branch broke. Just as she’s about to fall into the lake, Akazukin calls out her first name and grabs her hand. As they both realise what just happened, he starts to redden and breath heavily before screaming loudly. Startled, she screams too.

Akazukin:  D-d-d-don’t touch me!! Woman!!
Yurika: Eh

She gets pushed away and ends up falling into the lake. As she stands up, her eyes meet Akazukin’s and he starts screaming again while covering his eyes.

Akazukin: Gyaa—-!! Clothes!! Wear your clothes!!
Yurika: Eh?

Yes she is soaked. But she can’t see why he needs to scream over this. It’s not as if her clothes are soaked till they’re see-through like what you’d see in comics. Perhaps the only thing is that her curves are more obvious? Meanwhile, Akazukin keeps peeking over through his fingers.

Akazukin: Wear your clothes!! You shameless woman!!
Yurika: No, but, I don’t have……
Akazukin: Wear this then!!

He throws his red cloak at her, and Yurika becomes curious about how he looks like now. She immediately pulls it off her – only to see that he’s still wearing one. Yurika feels cheated for getting all excited just now, while he remains flushed and agitated. Seeing his reaction, she realises something.

>> He has a cold: Akazukin hesitates at first, but agrees and pretends to cough. Yurika offers to return him his cloak back if he’s feeling cold. But he tells her to keep it, before awkwardly bidding her farewell and running off. Wizard shows up and quickly introduces himself, before criticising her for poor joke of a response. It was the perfect chance to reveal his true nature – or was it her natural response? She remains clueless, and he realises that it’s the latter. In any case, he declares that it’s a bad end. (BAD END)

>> He is poor at dealing with women:

Yurika: ……umm, could it be that Akazukin-san is not a blizzard-type boy, but a shy boy who is poor at dealing with women?
Akazukin: I don’t get it, what do you mean by blizzard-type boy! Is it freezing!? Am I freezing!? Don’t make up such weird terms! This is why I hate women!
Yurika: Isn’t it fine. It seems that tsundere, tsundora or tsuntsun were in trend not too long ago. And perhaps it was men who first came up with these terms, and gradually it became known to women too?
Akazukin: Shut up!! That doesn’t matter now!! Rather than that, hurry up and do something about this!! That, wet and drenched……ugh……
Yurika: Wah! Are you okay!?
Akazukin: I-I’m okay!! So don’t come any closer!! Don’t show me that!!

Or so he claims while squeezing his nose as a few drops of blood flow out. Yurika wraps his cloak around herself and steps out of the water. Though it was the shallow end, she is drenched and the cold winter wind is making her shiver. She can’t help but sneeze. And she tries to mentally sort out the situation – the usual cool and collected Akazukin has disappeared somewhere, by touching her hand as he tried to save her. Perhaps it’s not that he hates her so he kept his distance all this time, but because he can’t deal with women. She finds it rather cute.

Yurika: I get it. Akazukin-san……I won’t get close to you anymore.
Akazukin: You swear!? Absolutely okay!!
Yurika: Yes. So in any case, let’s go home……

Back at home, she warmed herself up with a shower, turned on the heater, and changed clothes. But she can’t stop shivering and sneezing. Moreover, her head is feeling rather hazy. Akazukin stands by the door, hesitantly calling out to her. Yurika promises to wash and return his cloak, but he actually wants to apologise for before. Since she already knows his nature, she tells him to come closer as there’s nothing to be shy about anymore. Despite gesturing to the sofa and tilting her head cutely, he firmly refuses. He observes that she’s feeling unwell, and tells her to rest for today.

Yurika: Surely, it’s because both my heart and body are feeling cold. If Akazukin-san hugs me tightly, I’ll feel very warm……
Akazukin: I refuse!!
Yurika: It’s a joke……you didn’t need to refuse to strongly……

She can’t tell what she’s saying anymore, and she’s feeling very feverish and breathless – almost like how he was earlier on. Yurika looks to him for help, but she’s unable to say anything and her vision grows blurry.

Akazukin: D-don’t look at me with such a heated gaze!! I-I’ll misunderstand!?
Yurika: …………

She loses consciousness after that.

“After our first meeting, the boy kept approaching me everyday and talking to me. It didn’t matter how much I ignored him. Usually, people would give up soon. Instead, he happily approaches me, starts talking about himself, feels satisfied, and then disappears. He would usually talk about his beloved grandmother, combat sports, the book he read yesterday, or even the aunties’ gossip talk. While listening to him, I can’t help but feel the urge to reply. Because unlike me, he always appears to enjoy everyday – nothing like the “bad wolf” my mother says. But I’m keeping my promise to my mother so as to be a “good kid”.

taialia-3

Surprisingly, he smiles while claiming that he sees me as a friend. He describes me as rational, smart, independent – that we’re not outcasts, we just choose to be away from the rest. To be honest, I didn’t understand him. Do I appear that way? And does he really see me as a friend? Friends mean that we’re of the same kind, people who do the same thing. Someone who is the same as me – what exactly is that? He looks different from me. His way of thinking, likes and dislikes are different too. But if we are the same, surely we share a common point. I don’t know what that common point is. But if we’re friends, surely I’ll be forgiven for being with him.”

Yurika wakes up on her bed, and Akazukin informs her that she had collapsed in the living-room. She vaguely recalls that she was last there, and asks if he carried her here. He immediately blushes at her words, weakly admitting that he did.

Yurika: How?
Akazukin: I-It’s not like I did anything weird……!!
Yurika: Your voice is cracking.
Akazukin: Should I say……that……I carried……you……

He raises his arms up and down, which seems to mean that he carried her like a princess. She smiles and thanks him for doing so, despite being unable to handle women. Akazukin’s face only reddens further. Yurika finds it a pity that she has no memory of him carrying her, it will surely be her life’s regret. He asks how she’s feeling, and offers to change her towel – by telling her to throw it at him. A pause follows, and she confirms if he really means it. In other words, he doesn’t want to get any closer to her. He stiffens up when this is pointed out. Not wanting to move about as she’s feeling lethargic, Yurika suggests her turning over while he takes it. He seems agreeable, so she leaves the towel at the side and turns her back to him. She can hear Akazukin’s footsteps slowly approaching, and his heavy breathing.

Yurika: ……somehow, you sound like a suspicious person.
Akazukin: I can’t help it!? And don’t talk to me!!
Yurika: Okay……
Akazukin: ……! ……I got it! I got it!!
Yurika: Oh–……congratulations……

She gives a small clap, and sees him soaking the towel in a bucket of water. Surely, he did his best to keep cooling the towel while she was asleep. She can’t help but smile at this thought, and then spots a single, red carnation at her bedside. He acknowledges that he decorated it there, and she gratefully thanks him. Though Akazukin claims that it’s nothing much, she remarks that she’s really happy. He tucks his hood further down, so as to hide his embarrassment. Yurika comments that it’s been a while since she caught a cold. When he apologises, she says that it’s her fault for being too persistent. She tells him not to speak politely too. Even if it’s temporary, they’re friends who are staying under the same roof. He blinks at her words, before casting his gaze downwards.

Akazukin: ……I dislike being in a group.
Yurika: Do you like being alone?
Akazukin: I do not need to think about unnecessary things when I’m alone.
Yurika: Like now?
Akazukin: ………………it’s been squeezed thoroughly. Please face that way. Or do you want it to be thrown over?

She obediently turns over, and he approaches her slowly with heavy breathing. It probably looks as if he’s attacking her. Yurika judges the moment he is closest to her, and suddenly flips over. Akazukin screams at the top of his lungs while throwing the towel in her face. As she enjoys the cooling sensation, he kneels down with his hands covering his flushed face.

Yurika: It’s awful to scream at a girl’s face……I didn’t even touch you yet.
Akazukin: ……I’m sorry……after I touched you, for some reason I involuntarily react even just by meeting your gaze.

She laughs bitterly at his allergy-like reference, and feeling bad, he mentions that he did make porridge for her. Yurika brightens up at this. However, he feels unsure since it was his first time making it.

Yurika: First? Then, I’m eating Akazukin-san’s first. It’s an honour!
Akazukin: E-eating……my first……!?

For some reason, he seemed to take her words at a different meaning as he blushes deeply. When asked where it is, Akazukin hesitantly presents the porridge. He had added in corn beef and mackerel for additional nutrition. So instead of a white porridge, it looks brown now.

Yurika: Wow, what a creative look and smell.
Akazukin: I’ll throw it away.
Yurika: Please don’t throw it away! I want to eat it! I’m rea–lly, really hungry!! Okay!!
Akazukin: ……is that so. Then, please.

That being said, how can she eat when he isn’t moving an inch and she is too tired to move. Yurika asks him to feed her, as she closes her eyes and opens her mouth. Flustered, he tells her not to do it so defenselessly as he goes to hide in a corner. With a red face, Akazukin tells her to eat by herself if she is able to talk that much. She pretends to cough and feel unwell, and even pretends to cry. But he remains firm. She closes her eyes, requesting once more. She soon opens one eyes, and sees him doing his best to feed her. She takes this chance to grab his hand and succeeds in feeding herself.

Akazukin: You ate it!! From my hand……!!
Yurika: …………yup. Delicious. How about trying it too, Akazukin-san?
Akazukin: That would be……an indirect ki……!!
Yurika: Ah, this is bad. A nosebleed again. Tissue, Akazukin-san. Please use tissue.
Akazukin: Tissue……! Erotic……

She decides not to question what he meant by that. In any case, Yurika has learnt one thing about him – that his flow of thought is just like a teenage boy, or perhaps less than that. Akazukin keeps the porridge away such that his nosebleed doesn’t fall in. She instructs him to hand the porridge to her, while he faces upwards till the bleeding stops. He does as told, while squeezing his nose. When she sees that he has calmed down, she notes that he really cannot handle women. He corrects her, saying that he hates them. With a teasing smile, Yurika wonders if that’s really the case. Akazukin panics at her words, and reminds her to take her medicine.

Akazukin: You’re a patient, so please rest quietly!
Yurika: ……will you stay by my side?
Akazukin: ! ……o-of course. I’m here so as to protect you.
Yurika: Ah, you’re embarrassed–. Fufufu.
Akazukin: No I’m not!

Is the one who is embarrassed him, or is it herself who is feeling feverish?

The next morning, Yurika wakes up and prepares breakfast and lunch as per usual. Akazukin thinks that she should rest, but she reassures him that she’s fine. However, she coughs soon after. He sees that she still hasn’t fully recovered as expected. When she worries about the meals, he tells her that he isn’t a kid anymore and questions if she will force herself.

Yurika: I want to do what I can.
Akazukin: For whose sake?
Yurika: Truthfully it’s probably for my own sake……I think that I want to be needed by someone. To be praised, to be a good kid.
Akazukin: I see……
Yurika: I don’t mean to defend myself, but I think that there are many people like me out there. Is Akazukin-san not like that too?
Akazukin: I……don’t know.

She sighs in response – but it’s only because she feels a lack of energy. She decides to rest as advised, and Akazukin tells her to let him clean up the rest. He asks if she has any appetite, to which she replies that she does. He tells her to sit at the sofa, while he prepares something. Yurika is delighted, and he embarrassingly tells her to go to one side. She resists the urge to hug him, as he starts to peel the rest of the potatoes. She tries to warn him of how to use the knife properly, but he points it at her, warning her not to come any closer. She raises both hands up instinctively, and backs away.

And so breakfast became potato with butter and canned food. She praises the food, while he quietly eats. She asks if he doesn’t get sick of always eating canned food, and he replies that he does eat out sometimes – such as hamburg steak. Noting this, she asks if he prefers the canned mackerel or corn beef. When Akazukin replies the latter, Yurika confirms that he is a meat lover. He can’t help but feel that her questions are deliberately leading, and she doesn’t deny this. With a resigned tone, he admits that he does like meat dishes. She happily offers to make some next time, and asks what else he likes. He seems to mutter something, but dismisses it.

Back in her room, Yurika admires the carnation. Akazukin asks if she really likes it that much, and she cheerfully agrees. He prepares a glass of water and medicine for her, and she obediently takes it. She lies in bed, but doesn’t feel sleepy at all, asking him to talk about something. He remarks that he isn’t her servant, so she says that he’s her friend. He rejects this too, and is resigned when she suggests that he is her guardian instead. Yurika asks if he won’t catch a cold too, and he reassures her otherwise. Unlike her, he is fit.

Yurika: You’re a man after all.
Akazukin: ……yes, that’s right.
Yurika: I see. That’s true. Akazukin-san, is a man after all.
Akazukin: …………

She notes that he must be bored later if she’s asleep, and doesn’t mind if he walks around. This causes him to question how trusting she is of him. While he is a policeman, he doesn’t live here. What will she do if he’s a bad person? Not that he is.

Yurika: That’s right. Because you’re a policeman (on the side of justice).
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: And…… I trust you.
Akazukin: ……you’re good at casually restraining people. It appears to be an innocent statement on the surface, but in reality you’re implying for the other person to treat you kindly.
Yurika: Is it no good?
Akazukin: No. That is how you slyly survived till today.
Yurika: If not, I’ll be easily eaten up?
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: Women are good-natured and weak people who are eaten up by wolves?
Akazukin: ……if you think based on the past conceptions, that is the case. There is an evident difference in strength too.
Yurika: But, there are girls who want to be eaten by wolves?
Akazukin: That’s a decay of morals!!

While she is grinning, his face is a deep red.

Yurika: Or perhaps a hunter hunting for his prey. Perhaps wolves will get caught in the trap? Bang!

She pretends to shoot a gun like a hunter would. To her surprise, Akazukin clutches his chest with both hands as he collapses.

“After being considered as his friend, I started to hang out with the boy. One day, he invited me to his house and his grandmother warmly welcomed us. I instinctively slap her hand away when she tried to pat me though, as it was a first for me. He gets angry and lunges at me, and we end up in a brawl. His grandmother uses force to stop the fight, and tells both of us to apologise and draws our hands into a handshake. She remarks that it’s much more fun to get along rather than to fight. In memory of this, his grandmother prepares cake and grape juice. The boy immediately beams brightly – unlike me, his expression is always changing. I feel envious of that.

The cake is simple. But it’s my first time eating a homemade one, and I hardly eat cake. So I take small bites, reluctant to finish everything quickly. Observing this, his grandmother tells me to eat more as she can always serve me more. Children should eat lots and grow up big. The boy loudly agrees. He tells me that his grandmother is skillful, and in fact made his hood too. He loves his grandmother a lot, and is proud of her. I soon grew to like her a lot too.

taialia-4

One day, his grandmother beckons me over. Both her and the boy are grinning, and before I realise it, something is put on my head. It’s a red hood. The boy pats my shoulders, remarking that we have matching ones now. His grandmother tells me that now I no longer have to keep looking down. I can’t hold back my tears, and quickly pull the hood down to cover my red face. In a small voice, I thank her. After this, the red hood became my treasure.”

Once upon a time, there was a boy who was always alone. One day, the grandmother of a boy he became friends with made a red velvet hood for him. It really suited the boy, and so everyone started to call him “Akazukin”.

Yurika wakes up, and sees that about half a day has passed since then. After Akazukin collapsed, she somehow managed to shift him to her bed. After which she was overcome with fatigue and ended up sleeping. By the way, the reason for him collapsing seems to be because he has also caught her cold. And now that she’s awake, she finds herself being hugged by him. Yurika compares their temperatures, but she can’t really tell the difference. After all, she was still feeling unwell this morning, and right now she feels flushed for a different reason. She sighs, and wonders how to get herself out of this situation. Akazukin’s steady breathing feels ticklish, and he seems to look better. In any case, she’s certain that he will scream once he wakes up – push her away, fall off the bed, hit his head – she can already imagine the flow of events.

She decides to give up struggling, and stares at him. It’s only been a few days, but due to the string of events, it feels like they’ve been together for a long time. He looks very cool, but he’s actually a very shy person. Yurika can’t help but giggle at this gap in personality from her initial impression of him. She reaches a hand out and pats his head. Unlike how he acts when he’s awake, Akazukin remains still and hugs her tighter. A moment later though, he’s groaning in his sleep and whispers to be forgiven. A single tear rolls down his cheek, and she wipes it away. Bringing their foreheads together, she says that she forgives him.

taialia-6

At that moment, a bell rings. It’s coming from the window. At first she thinks that it’s a cat, but quickly recalls the trap Akazukin had prepared in case an intruder appears. In other words, someone has trespassed into her house. She tries to wake Akazukin up, as a shadow appears. Moreover, the shadow has pointed, large ears – almost like a wolf. When Yurika loudly asks who it is, the shadow disappears. Her voice wakes Akazukin up, and as expected he screams. Trying to quieten him, she tells him to calm down. He stutters and asks why she is here. She calmly points out that this is her room, and proceeds to press on his nose.

Akazukin: A-aah…………s-sorry……t-that’s not it!! Why am I hugging you……
Yurika: Um, about that…………
Akazukin: Don’t tell me, that we…………!!
Yurika: Aah, as expected you went that way.
Akazukin: !!
Yurika: Akazukin-san?
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: Akazukin-san has frozen……

As promised, his nose starts bleeding. In any case, she waits for him to calm down. After a few minutes, she asks if he’s calmed down and he nods in return. Yurika explains the situation to him, but his eyes seem to be pleading with her to explain why they’re in an embrace. It appears that he has no idea that he is the one hugging her. Once she replies that he wouldn’t let her go, he immediately apologises and leaps off the bed. As she sits up, she sees Akazukin opening and closing his hands, as if confirming something. When she calls out to him, he panics and insists that he did not do anything. Somehow Yurika starts to feel embarrassed too, and averts her gaze.

Akazukin: Um……!
Yurika: Yes?
Akazukin: Should I take r-responsibility as a man……?
Yurika: Huh?

In response to his unexpected words, she asks if he’s willing to do so. Akazukin stutters in his reply, till she asks if he’s referring to marriage in that case. He’s startled, and unable to give a proper answer. She chuckles and says that it’s a joke, and knows that it was unintentional. She had passed the cold to him, and she was the one who moved him to the bed too. So he doesn’t need to take responsibility. Rather than that, Yurika brings his attention to the fact that the culprit may have intruded just now. His face immediately turns serious, and he goes to check the window where she saw the shadow. But there’s no one in sight.

Akazukin: ……please wait here. I will go and look outside!
Yurika: What if something happens then?
Akazukin: ……I take back my words. Please don’t leave my side and follow me!
Yurika: I understand!
Akazukin: Ah, by the way, please don’t come within a 1 metre radius of me.
Yurika: …………

Outside, Akazukin sees that a string with a bell is broken. This could not have been the work of an animal, so surely someone intruded. Moreover, she saw that shadow. Yurika thinks that the culprit may be rather careless to have been caught is a trap, and to not have noticed his/her own shadow. He asks if she wasn’t scared, and she replies that he did promise to protect her. He shyly pulls his hood down. Yurika wonders if the intruder noticed the trap, and Akazukin thinks that the person would unless he/she is really slow. He notes that the person didn’t seem to have trespassed into her room. He apologises for letting the culprit away, but she doesn’t blame him due to the situation then. He replies with a weird accent, and jumps when she points it out.

They return inside, and sit in the living-room in silence as the clock ticks away. She’s deep in thought about what had happened earlier. He asks if she’s feeling alright mentally and physically, and she reassures him that she is. Yurika directs the question back at him, and he replies that he’s feeling fine.

Akazukin: What would I achieve by lying.
Yurika: There’s a possibility that you wouldn’t want to worry me.
Akazukin: ……not a chance.
Yurika: Is that so? Because you’re kind.
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: ……in the end, did I pass you my cold?
Akazukin: Please don’t pay any mind. It was me who caused you to catch a cold. ……because of that, I caused you a l-l-l-lot of trouble……
Yurika: I also caused you a lot of trouble. So we’re both even?

He agrees with a smile, and she comments that it’s the first time she’s seen him smile. Akazukin remains quiet as he blushes and pulls his hood down. It was then that Yurika realised that he wears the hood so as not to meet people’s eyes. He tries to dismiss it, but she refuses to back down. After all, she wants to get to know him better – is it not the same for him?

Akazukin: !? R-rather than that!? It’s more important to catch the culprit!!
Yurika: Were you thinking about the culprit?
Akazukin: Yes! It’s not like I was thinking about you and looking at you.
Yurika: Really?
Akazukin: Yes! ……I think so……

Yurika giggles at his words, and he only reddens further. She remarks that he may not realise it, but his responses will only give way to misunderstandings. Akazukin tilts his head in confusion at her words, causing her to look up to the skies and go “oh my god”.

At that moment, her telephone rings. Akazukin goes to pick up, but it appears to be the wrong number. The tense atmosphere disappears, and Yurika sinks into the sofa. It appears that Wolf has finally made a move, but what could be his/her purpose? Akazukin has no answer, as his lips remain tightly shut. Trying to lighten the mood, she changes the topic and offers to prepare some delicious meat dishes for him.

“It hurts, it’s painful……before I realise it, I’m in the water. The bubbles escaping my mouth rise above. My vision is blue, and gets bluer as I sink further. In pain, I reach my arms out and struggle. But I can’t reach the web of light above me. Rather, my limbs are as heavy as lead and the light grows further. If I was a mermaid, I may find the sight beautiful. But I’m not. Will I continue sinking to the bottom of these dark waters? Someone, save me!!”

Yurika yells for help as she wakes up from her nightmare. Akazukin rushes to her side, and she shares that she saw a dream. She can’t remember it, but it was very painful. He sees that she still hasn’t fully recovered. She agrees that may be the case, and notices that he’s sweating too. She offers him a handkerchief, and he hesitates. Yurika realises that she has to find a way without touching him. However, he says that it’s alright and takes the handkerchief from her.

The next day, Yurika returns to school but complains of boredom during lunchtime. Her friend is not here. Ryoushi tells her to eat by herself if she’s bored then, but she refuses. If she hadn’t known Ookami yet, she might be able to. But it’s rare for her to do so nowadays. Ryoushi remarks that the cold this year must be quite bad for her to have fallen sick. She teasingly offers to infect him with it, as she opens her arms widely. He pushes her away, and she says that she’s just joking. Yurika comments that he’s a cold person, and he replies that he merely doesn’t interfere unnecessarily. She asks if he will get dragged in if he does, and he narrows his gaze at her. Yurika only smiles and quietly packs up the lunchboxes.

After school, she joins Akazukin and they head home. He finds the main streets dangerous, so they’re taking a detour today. He learns that her friend is sick too, and she wonders if it’s the season. She’s thinking of visiting him tomorrow. Akazukin doesn’t mind, but is surprised to hear that the friend she makes lunch for everyday is a guy. His reply sounds down, and Yurika stops to face him. She asks if he’s bothered, but he immediately denies it. She doesn’t back down, and enacts how Ookami said the wolf may eat up the sheep. Akazukin appears shaken by her words.

Akazukin: ……I
Yurika: I?
Akazukin: ……I’m not bothered.
Yurika: Which is it?
Akazukin: …………

He blushes and looks away. Feeling pleased with his response, Yurika continues on.

Yurika: By the way is Akazukin-san the type to think that men and women can’t be friends?
Akazukin: What are you suddenly……
Yurika: Actually I’m the type who believes that they can.
Akazukin: I-I see……
Yurika: They are of different sexes, so they will be attracted to each other.
Akazukin: S-sex!?
Yurika: But that can’t be called love. At least that’s what I think. Me and him don’t see each other as potential lovers, we can’t. Why do you think that’s the case?
Akazukin: ……I don’t know.
Yurika: Because I already have someone I like.
Akazukin: I-is that so–……

His answer is stiff, and unexpectedly he points out that even if she has no interest, the other party may be interested in her.

Akazukin: ……you, that is, you’re a charming lady, so surely there are one or two men who admire you.
Yurika: I’m sorry. Could you please say that one more time?
Akazukin: …………surely there are one or two men.
Yurika: No, not that, could you say it from a bit earlier. Specifically from “you’re a charming lady~” please.
Akazukin: …………

He remains silent with a heavy blush, so she asks if he’s interested in knowing who she likes.

Akazukin: …………L
Yurika: L?
Akazukin: Like I know!!

It appears that his capacity has overloaded, and she finds this a pity as she wanted him to know. He stutters, and urges her to hurry back home. Yurika chases after him, and notices that his hands and legs are moving awkwardly. When asked whose fault it is, she wonders if it’s hers. Akazukin tries to deny it, but hesitates towards the end.

Upon reaching her home, he stops in his tracks and tells her to be quiet. He senses someone inside, and instructs her to wait outside. If he doesn’t come back after 5 minutes, she should ask for help from the nearest police station. He immediately heads inside, but soon comes back outside while shaking his head. The intruder is no longer there, but the back door was open. As much as he wants to pursue the culprit, he can’t leave her alone.

Yurika: It’s fine.
Akazukin: It isn’t fine! What happens if you are attacked!
Yurika: !
Akazukin: Ah……I-I’m sorry!
Yurika: No.

He appears impatient and she wants to reach out her hand to him. But she decides not to agitate him further.

Yurika: Thank you for worrying. Will you stay by my side?
Akazukin: ……Of course. Because……I’m here to protect you.

She is shocked by the state of her home when she enters. The flowers and other objects decorating the entrance are on the floor, and the contents of the cabinets are strewn on the floor. Akazukin appears worried, and she smiles at him reassuringly. As Yurika picks up the flowers on the floor, she recalls the carnation in her room and dashes upstairs. Her room is a mess too. Her bedsheets and curtains are ripped into shreds, and the vase with the carnation is broken on the floor. She bends down to pick it up, and Akazukin rushes in telling her that it’s dangerous. Yurika pricks her finger, and he immediately brings her to the kitchen. He cleans her wound and presses it with a towel.

Yurika: Akazukin-san, I’m fine so please place the flower in water. If it’s now, it still……
Akazukin: It’s obvious that you’re more important than that!

Seeing her surprised reaction, he quickly apologises for shouting.

Akazukin: ……it’s alright to just leave that petty flower alone.
Yurika: It’s not petty. To me, it’s the important flower which you gave me.
Akazukin: …………

She apologises for being selfish, and for worrying him. He apologises for letting her get hurt despite being with her. But Yurika shakes her head, insisting that it isn’t his fault. He averts his gaze, and she says once more that it isn’t his fault. Akazukin slowly looks up, and she takes his hand and thanks him for saving her. Later when the bleeding has stopped, they go to check the situation in the rest of the house. It appears that only the entrance, living-room and her bedroom were messed up. Nothing was taken either. But all the traps which he had set up were removed. The culprit left behind quite a few footprints, so it should be helpful. The size of the footprint wasn’t very big, but it doesn’t look like a woman’s. So it’s likely to be a man’s. Akazukin also checks to see if any fingerprints were left behind, but can’t find any. Unlike the other day, he culprit seemed to be careful this time.

Usually, one would think that the culprit’s motive is to steal something. Since the culprit seems to be attached to her, the culprit should only steal things related to her. But in the end, nothing was stolen. Perhaps there wasn’t a lot of time. If that wasn’t the motive, it could be to show her that the perpetrator can always attack her. When Yurika remains quiet, he feels bad for scaring her. But she prefers it that he be honest.

Yurika: And, I have a fine knight with me.
Akazukin: ……do you mean me?
Yurika: Who else do you think there is?
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: Seriously! Seriously! Didn’t you say that you’d protect me!
Akazukin: I will protect you.
Yurika: Perfect!

They finally clean up her bedroom, but she notices Akazukin staring at the window while holding the broom. He appears deep in thought, and she slowly approaches him and reaches out her hand. Before she can touch him, he instantly leaps away and yells. Yurika finds it a pity that she couldn’t touch him, and asks if he’s still not used to her. He reminds her that he does instinctively react just by meeting her eyes, and she finds his words rude to a lady. He quickly apologises, but it just makes her feel smaller. She pretends to cry, saying that she wants to get along better with him. Akazukin gets annoyed when he sees that she’s pretending, but Yurika tells him that her words weren’t a lie. She was hurt, and wants to get along better with him, and to touch him – be it him or his heart. She forms a gun with her hands and pretends to shoot him. She guesses that he was thinking about Wolf, and asks if he knows anything. His reply is weak and hesitant.

The sound of something crashing interrupts them. The window behind Akazukin had been broken. He immediately carries the shocked girl to her bed, and asks if she’s hurt. It seems that he did not realise that he had just touched her. Thankfully, they’re both unhurt. He smiles in relief, and Yurika tries to settle her feelings. She’s both upset and angry at how extreme the culprit has acted. He picks up the baseball that was thrown in, and finds a letter attached to it. He crushes it after reading it, suggesting that she shouldn’t read it. He hands it over when she asks for it again, and the letter this time is filled with intense ill will.

“You betrayed me. I have observed the situation till now, but it looks like you still don’t understand the sin you have committed. I shall drown you in the lake. Die and apologise for your sin in hell! There will be punishment for your sins. If you don’t admit your sin, I shall kill your beloved ones. I repeat again. There will be punishment for your sins.”

Yurika looks up at Akazukin, and sees him reaching out his hand towards her. But he quickly withdraws it. It appears that he was trying to comfort her. She restrains the urge to take his hand instead and hug him, and looks down again. To her surprise, he sits down beside her and places his hand over hers. He tells her not to make that kind of face, and promises to protect her. He gazes towards the broken window and away from her with a flushed face. But she knows that for him, this gesture took him a lot of courage. His act of kindness makes her heart ache.

After cleaning up the broken glass, they move to the living-room. Akazukin thinks that it’s best to sleep here for the night. Yurika sits on the sofa, and he gives her his hood, adding that she had been sick. She thanks him, commenting that he’s kind indeed. He denies this, but she points out that he has been caring for her all this time. She makes space for him to sit on the sofa, and after a small window of hesitant, he sits a distance away from her. She chuckles at this, and he pulls his hood down to hide his blush. Yurika remarks that he really likes the hood, and asks where he bought it. He replies that it was given to him, by the grandmother of his friend. She praises how skillful she must be, and this triggers Akazukin to happily agree for the grandmother can cook and sew well. He immediately apologises, but she wants to hear more – even if it’s not related to her. He widens his eyes in surprise, and starts speaking after some thought.

A long time ago, he was born a bit differently from others. So he didn’t blend in well and didn’t go to school, and would gaze at the lake everyday. That was when he met his friend, who kept talking to him even though he would be ignored. He felt dismal, but as the boy called him his friend, he ended up playing with him. One day, the boy invited him to his house where he lived with his grandmother whom he admired a lot. The grandmother was scary when she got angry, but also very kind. She treated him well even though he was a stranger.  He couldn’t dislike her, and ended up going over to play everyday. She was skillfull in baking, and sewing, and often had many interesting tales. She really cared for him. And one day, she gave him this red hood. It was the first time he received a gift, so he was really happy. He came to wear it all the time, and couldn’t bear to let it go.

Yurika remarks that his friend and grandmother are both wonderful, and he smiles in agreement. But the smile soon fades away, and he questions if her family is still not worried. There’s been no contact from them despite the danger she’s in. She only shows a lonely smile, and he says that her family is too irresponsible, even with the excuse that they’re busy. She cannot say anything in return, and Akazukin realises that he’s been rude. He is in no position to comment on her family. Instead, she thanks him for truly worrying for her.

Akazukin: ! T-t-t-t-t-there’s no such…………th……there is……
Yurika: Fufufu
Akazukin: ……when I’m with you……I get caught up in your pace……
Yurika: Is that so?
Akazukin: Ya! Yes……
Yurika: In what way?
Akazukin: When our eyes meet, my heart pounds strangely, my chest gets tight, and itbecomes painful to breath……but I can’t help but worry about her, and my eyes keep following you……even what I talked about earlier, I didn’t intend to tell anyone before……
Yurika: You didn’t like telling it to me?
Akazukin: ……I didn’t, not like it.
Yurika: Then, you like it?
Akazukin: ……!
Yurika: Do you like it?
Akazukin: ……I like……it. D–! Don’t misunderstand! That kinda of like is because, you’re interesting so……!
Yurika: Yup.
Akazukin: The real me is……not like this……I’m a tough, calm, smart……independent man who only relies on his own strength!
Yurika: That’s right. You’re cool. That’s why my heart beats faster when I’m with you, and it’s very fun to talk to you.
Akazukin: I-is that so?
Yurika: Yes.
Akazukin: ……I, I too……don’t……dislike……being……with you……

Yurika decides to take this chance to confess to him.

Yurika: I like you. Both as a friend, and as a lover.
Akazukin: Eh…………
Yurika: Nn? Did you not hear me? Then I’ll say it again. Akazukin-san, I like you a lot.
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: Ah, blood.

She wipes his nose with a handkerchief, expecting him to leap away or to scream. But this time he is frozen on the spot, and doesn’t react when she calls out to him or waves her hand. Wondering if he has a fever, Yurika places her hand on his forehand. There’s no response either. However, his face is really red and hot. At that moment, Akazukin abruptly grabs her hand and glares at her with a flushed face. He’s breathing heavily, and calls out her name. Though she pulls away, he continues holding her arm and his face comes closer to her. Just as their noses touch, his nose bleeds terribly and he collapses into her.

Episode of Akazukin (aka Akazukin’s POV)

I don’t quite understand the feeling of “like”. I don’t quite understand people’s feelings. Especially women. What do I have to do, to get her to look at me?

When I return home, no one is there. The liveliness from before seems like a lie, and it is now all dark and quiet. I switch on the lights, and see some money placed on the table. It’s my food allowance. My mother sells flowers for a living. She works day and night, and is hardly at home. When she does return home, she only does so to leave me money. There’s no one at home, nothing at home. That was natural to me, and I didn’t feel or think anything of it. But it’s been different recently. I’ve grown to hate returning home, and wish for the day to come sooner. I want to spend the day under the warm sun, with those warm people. Unlike in the day, any dinner I eat when I’m alone cannot beat grandmother’s food. I grab the red hood I received from her tightly. It’s my only treasure in this room with nothing. Dear god, I’m a bad child.

taialia-5

My mother called to me and told me that I was a good kid unlike the rest. So I can’t play outside, as everyone else is a wolf. There’s no telling what bad things wolves will do. Even if they approach you, ignore them. When mother is not around, I have to properly watch the house. If anyone comes by, I can’t let them in. I promised her to do so. But I broke the promise, went outside, and made friends with a wolf. The wolf’s grandmother even gave me a red hood, and I’m so happy. Despite knowing how bad this is, I can’t stop visiting their house.

Sometimes I stop in my tracks when I pass by a florist. The flowers all look so beautiful, and all the women gazing at them smile just as beautifully. I think that if grandmother receives flowers from me as thanks for the hood, she will surely be delighted. But I don’t have any money to buy flowers. So I went to the forest and picked some flowers, before heading to their house. The boy welcomes me, wondering what the flowers are for. When his grandmother appears, I quickly give her as thanks for yesterday. She beams brightly, and thanks me, calling me kind. Seeing how much I like the hood, she says that she’ll make one more for me. The boy remains silent.

Being praised by his grandmother, I feel like a “good child”. It’s good that she was happy. I pass by the florist on the way home. The flowers there are much prettier than the small ones I gave. I suddenly feel miserable. She would be happier if I gave these pretty ones instead of those tiny flowers right? But the small allowance I have can only buy small flowers, and not those big, pretty ones. The answer is simple then. I have to save up. I start saving up the food allowance money to buy flowers. I can’t starve either, so instead I buy the cheapest canned food there is and eat it. I’m hungry, but I endure while thinking of how happy she would be.

Before I can buy flowers, I would pick flowers in the forest everyday and give them to grandmother. Each time she would thank me, and praise me. And each time I would forget that I’m a “bad kid”. One day, my friend comments that it’s girly to pick flowers. A boy should do something grander. He proposes making a secret hideout since there are many trees here. I remind him that he shouldn’t. His body always been weak, and his grandmother would tell me to make sure he doesn’t overexert himself. When I continue to object, he grows furious and scolds me for pretending to be a good boy. He points out that I’m skipping school here, and even broke my promise to my mother. He calls my mother weird, leaving me alone and playing by herself. Stop it. He claims that he saw my mother walking with other men.

Stop it stop it stop it stop it!!!!

His grandmother hits him, and he protests to her for always taking my side. When she says that he was in the wrong this time, and points at me, saying that I’m a bad kid too. I know, I know that I’m a bad child. He gets agitated, insisting that she is his grandmother. Suddenly, he clutches his chest and falls to the ground. His face grows pale and he is in pain. His grandmother quickly kneels beside him. The flowers I had picked for her fall to the ground. She holds her grandchild, reassuring him that she’s here.

It was then I knew. No matter how many flowers I gave, how much I pretended to be a good kid, I cannot become her grandchild.

Back to Yurika’s POV

Dawn has broken. Akazukin is sleeping on the sofa. He must be tired from yesterday, as he doesn’t look like he’s waking up anytime soon. Yurika pats his head. She really wants to remove his hood, but she won’t as it’s important to him. He needs to be the one to do it himself. She whispers in his ear that she will save him.

2 hours later, he wakes up just as she’s preparing breakfast. He appears half-asleep, as he doesn’t respond to her. When she greets him once again, he awkwardly returns the greeting and falls off the sofa. Akazukin then reassures her that he’s okay, and quickly asks about Wolf. He grabs her, asking if she’s hurt. He asks why she didn’t wake him up, as it would be too late if anything had happened to her. Yurika apologises, and he leaps away from her with a scream. With a red face, he apologises. She explains that she felt bad if she woke him up, but he says that he would be more worried if something occurred to her. She promises him to wake him up next time, resisting the urge to hook fingers with him.

She directs his attention to breakfast, and he widens his eyes at the sight of thick pancakes. Yurika explains that it’s because he mentioned cakes yesterday. She didn’t have enough ingredients or time though, so it’s not quite in shape. Akazukin remarks that the grandmother’s cakes aren’t as fanciful as this, and simpler. She regrets not asking for the details, and offers to make them again next time. After all, she’s good at cooking. To her surprise, he agrees on this point. Till now he had only quietly eaten her food, and never commented on its taste. Yurika is thrilled when he takes a bite and says that it’s delicious.

Yurika: Really!? Uwah! I’m so happy! Ah, please eat a lot, a lot of it!! In the end, I made quite a lot!! Ah, and do you have anything else you like or want to eat!? Please tell me anything!! I will work hard and make a lot!!
Akazukin: You are…………
Yurika: Yes?
Akazukin: ………………no. It’s nothing.

It’s been a week since the first threat letter came, and 5 days since Akazukin came. Still, she’s going to school today. He asks if she really intends to go, when another threat came and Wolf may attack her anytime. She thinks that nothing can be done if she coops up at home. But he points out that she has too little sense of danger. Since a while ago, he’s been nagging at her – hard to imagine of him from a few days ago. Not that she can blame him, since she’s being targeted. Yurika says that he’ll protect her, and he firmly acknowledges this. She calls him reliable, causing him to blush and say that it’s because he’s a policeman.

A short pause passes between them, before both of them speak at the same time. They tell each other to go ahead, and there’s yet another period of silence. She breaks the silence, asking what he plans to do after this case is over. Previously, he said that he would return once Wolf is caught. He agrees, since his duty would be over.

Yurika: Even if I say that I don’t want you to go?
Akazukin: Eh……
Yurika: I li-
Akazukin: Wa–h!! Wa–h!! Wa–h!!
Yurika: …………
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: Li……
Akazukin: Wa————–h!!

She wonders just how shy he is – though she likes that part of him too. She asks him what he wanted to say, but he hesitates. His eyes appear dark. Soon, he dismisses it as nothing.

Yurika: Ah
Akazukin: What is it!? Is it Wolf!?
Yurika: No. We’ve reached school.
Akazukin: Ah……yes.
Yurika: Then I’ll be off.
Akazukin: Yes. —-please take care.

Yurika turns around and heads inside – except that she can’t move. Akazukin is grabbing her arm. When she calls out to him, he screams and releases her. He apologises for doing it unwittingly. It appears that he doesn’t understand his own actions, as he kneels down and starts muttering to himself. She honestly wants to enjoy this situation more, but she can’t. She tells him that she’ll be off this time. He instantly stands up and sees her off.

In school, Ryoushi is disgusted by her merry mood. Yurika threatens not to make him any lunches, but he points out that she’s always pushing it to him even when he says he doesn’t need it. In any case, it looks like she’s getting along with the policeman. She admits that she has since the start, as a lot happened. But soon she sighs deeply, and he grins at her lack of energy. She complains that the culprit went overboard in messing up her place. She asks if Ookami is on sick leave again, and Ryoushi recalls that she plans to visit him afterwards. Yurika nods as she happily shows that she made cake for him. She is disappointed at his lack of reaction, and imitates how Ookami would usually respond. He gazes at her coldly.

She remarks that no woman will like her at this rate, and he’ll forever be alone. He remains unaffected by her words, and unwraps a piece of candy. He adds that he’ll let Ookami know, since it would be troubling if she shows up unannounced. Ryoushi shoos her away, but she wants to talk more to him. After all, it’s break time now. He clicks his tongue at her.

Yurika: Hey, Ryoushi-san. Am I a bad child?
Ryoushi: ……Aah, yes you are. So go back.
Yurika: There will be punishment for your sins. I may be punished later on.
Ryoushi: ……Wolf?
Yurika: Yes, that’s right.
Ryoushi: ……hm. Well from what we know from the threat, Wolf seems to have a unique sense of justice. We don’t even know anything.
Yurika: Are you worried for me? I’m happy.

She wonders what Akazukin is doing, and he replies that the policeman should be watching over her. She happily agrees that it’s to protect her – though he’s not very meticulous. Yurika looks out of the window, seeing the red figure uneasily approaching the school. In the end, she knows nothing about him. Ryoushi sharply remarks that it’s impossible when it’s not even a week. Knowing her, she probably grew to like him just because they’re together, and confessed when the mood was pleasant. She has nothing to say in return. He finds her character too open, unlike an average person, and asks if she wouldn’t mind being rejected. To be honest, she doesn’t. Ryoushi sighs, as he recalls that she is this sort of person. Yurika says that she doesn’t mind if the person she likes can be happy. As always, he can’t understand her thought process.

Yurika: Ah, and you say that? Despite being Ryoushi-san.
Ryoushi: It’s because I’m a hunter that I’m saying it.

She grins at his words and spots Akazukin sneaking inside the school. She takes her leave. Before she does so, Ryoushi warns her to be careful of the wolf. Upon seeing her, Akazukin hushes her and beckons her to a nearby bush. He doesn’t want to be caught and chased out. He’s relieved that she’s fine. Yurika reassures him that she’s fine here, and has friends. He’s recalls her male friend, and she reminds him that he was sick since yesterday. In any case, at least she’s fine. She observes that he looks pale, and he remarks that he doesn’t really want to stay here. She decides to skip the rest of school. After all, she wanted to visit Ookami too.

Yurika: Akazukin-san. Shall we go on a date?
Akazukin: Date!?

They head towards the lake, but he’s been out of sorts for a while.

Akazukin: Date date date date……

Yurika calls out to him, and Akazukin snaps out of his thoughts. He asks if it’s really alright for her to skip school, and she says that she’s actually a pretty bad girl. To be honest, she’d bring him to a cinema or somewhere fancy – but now’s not the time for this. She opens up the packed lunch she made, and tries to feed him a piece of asparagus wrapped with meat. He backs away blushing, saying that there’s no way he can eat it. He looks a bit sad when she eats it instead, but he claims that it’s nothing and turns away. Yurika finds his reaction cute, and tells him that there’s still left over cake from this morning.

She also asks him what cake the grandmother made, and Akazukin tries to recall it. He doesn’t know the recipe, but it was green colour, and had something like grapes inside it. The taste was slightly sweet and soft, and the texture was similar to hers. Based on his description, she guesses that the base is green tea and that there were red beans in the cake. She will try making it next time. But she deliberately recalls that he will be gone if he catches Wolf.

Akazukin: ……i-if!
Yurika: ?
Akazukin: If you are……fine with it……I will come and visit……
Yurika: …………
Akazukin: A-and……didn’t you say so before. That the garden is pretty in spring……
Yurika: Of course! I welcome you anytime–!
Akazukin: ……thank you.

He smiles shyly at her, saying that he’s always on the receiving end. Yurika points out that he’s protecting her though, but he says that it’s expected of him. She adds that he also took care of her when she was sick, made her porridge and gave her the flower. In fact, she’s the one on the receiving end. So she tells him to say whatever what he wants to do. Against her expectations, he suddenly has a nose bleed. Or did she unintentionally step on a landmine? Akazukin squeezes his nose, and apologises in a nasal voice. He appears pale and wobbly on his feet, though he claims to be alright. Yurika walks up to him, and starts to tickle him. She’s pleased with his reaction as he starts laughing, and takes the chance to push him down. He freezes when she does so, allowing her to rest his head on her lap.

taialia-7

Before he can panic too much, she tells him to stay still as a stream of blood runs down his nose. She remarks that he’d be anaemic if he keeps losing blood everyday, and wipes his nose with a handkerchief. Akazukin calls her name, but averts his gaze and dismisses it when their eyes meet. Yurika says that they’ve been having this conversation happen all day, and before she realises it she’s patting his head. He yelps in surprise, but doesn’t seem to dislike it. Having calmed down a bit, he asks if she does this with others, such as her friend she’s going to visit later. She assures him that she only does this with him.

Akazukin: ……even if you know the real me?
Yurika: The real you?
Akazukin: Ah……no………………
Yurika: The real you is tough, composed, smart, doesn’t rely on anyone but his own strength.
Akazukin: ……yes. But the truth is……not that……the real me is extremely weak, and a very cowardly person. I’m……actually a really bad person.
Yurika: Akazukin-san……

>> I’m the same: She gives a bitter smile, saying that she is actually really cunning and sinful. So it may be no wonder that Wolf is targetting her. He replies that even if that’s the case, he will protect her. She thanks him, adding that he’s a wonderful person. Yurika gently pats his head, when he looks like he’s about to cry. Akazukin remains still, and whispers that he has something to tell her after he catches Wolf. She agrees to listen then. He appears as though he’s swallowing all of his pain.

Akazukin: Till a few days ago, I was always alone, and could never imagine spending a day with someone else like this.
Yurika: Do you hate being alone?
Akazukin: ……I’m like you. I’ve already grown used to being alone. Feeling lonely and hating it, I’ve long forgotten what that feels like.
Yurika: Really? Do you really think so?
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: ……I don’t think so. It’s true that you may have been alone. But you met your enjoyable friend right? And also met his kind grandmother? In truth, you’ve already realised the feeling of loneliness.
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: You know, Akazukin-san. I have you now, and you have me.

So please hurry up and realise. The truth of this story.

Episode of Akazukin (aka Akazukin’s POV)

One sunny afternoon, I was pacing before the florist, wondering which flower to get. Indeed, I have finally saved up enough money. While enduring the hunger, I have saved up till 2000 yen. An array of flowers appear in sight – red, white, pink, purple, yellow. I decide to go with red, just like the red hood grandmother gave me. Red is a special colour to me. My attention wanders to the red rose. While I don’t know much about flowers, I at least know roses. But each stalk of rose is expensive, and I can’t possibly afford a bouquet. Perhaps I should save up more. I can always buy the flowers later.

At that moment, my friend calls out to me. It’s rare for him to come and find him. When asked what I’m doing, I pretend that it’s nothing. He invites me to go to the lake, where we had first met. There, I learn that he fought with his grandmother. I find it rare since they get along so well. But according to him, his grandmother keeps nagging him and preventing him from doing anything even though he says that he’s feeling alright. I point out that she’s thinking for him, and naturally he’s aware. Apparently, they had quarrelled over something trivial and he ended up leaving the house. His friend wants to play outside more though, and to run and go to far places. He can’t bear to remain here all the time.

I feel pity for him, and he was born with a weak body. He says that he envies me, as I’m strong. He had aimed to be composed, smart, independent like a wolf – but he can’t be one at this rate. I’m taken aback by his words. Unlike me, he has everything – he’s smart, active, bright and rich – the more I get to know him, the more I realise how out of reach he is. Yet he says he envies me. How curious is this?

The boy says that everyday was boring before he met me. Talking to me like this is exciting for him. He tells me to accompany him till nighttime, and to build a secret hideout. He eagerly shows me the treasure he brought from home. I nod in return. Perhaps it was because I had came to know of his unexpected feelings and envy towards me, that I got carried away. But if I had stopped him then, perhaps none of that would have happened.

While reminding him not to overexert himself, we start to build our secret base. We collect sticks, cardboard and anything else that can be used. I follow his instructions on tying the rope on the trees (according to him, the base will be in the trees). Time passes by and soon it gets dark. As we are moving wooden planks back, we hear a siren sounding far away. I can’t help but have a bad feeling, and suggest going back for the day. But he refuses, saying that I had promised to accompany him till nighttime. I give in, and he recalls having found something good at the lake. We head there, and there is a blue sheet floating on the lake. He says that with it, we can avoid the rain. I say that it’s too far to reach, but he grabs a branch and tries to reach it.

I offer to do it instead, but he insists otherwise. I continue holding onto his legs, watching over him. At that moment, a man with sharp-looking features appear. He mistakes me for Ookami as I’m wearing a hood, and grabs me by the arm, saying that my grandmother has collapsed and is in the hospital. He tells me to hurry to her side, she had been calling my name all this time. The boy is shocked by the news. He slips and ends up falling into the lake. Given his physical limitations, he can’t swim. The man removes his coat and pushes me to hurry on. Unsure of what to do, I’m stuck between my friend who is drowning, and his grandmother in the hospital. In a split moment, I find myself turning away from my drowning friend and dashing off.

I am surprised at the sight of a frail elderly woman when I reach the hospital. She had been so well just a few days ago. It appears that she can’t see and is unable to tell that I’m Akazukin, and instead asks if I’m Ookami. I pretend to answer that I am, and she looks so thankful. I reply that I was worried, and she apologises in return while crying. Resisting the urge to cry, I pretend to respond as he would. She apologises once more, despite knowing how Ookami felt. Feeling bad, I immediately say that I’m the one at fault – because I’m a bad child. She says that I’m a good child, and a grandson she’s proud of. I say that I actually love her a lot, and she reciprocates this. But she is sorry that she cannot protect me anymore. Desperately, I say that we’ll continue to be together – I will grow stronger for her to see, how I can run, swim and climb trees – so to not leave me behind. I can’t stop crying.

I’m truly a bad kid. I know that I shouldn’t pretend to be my friend, yet here I am conveying what I feel to grandmother. I recall the flowers I hurriedly bought on the way here, and present the bouquet of carnations to her. It’s a flower that appears kinder and friendlier than the roses, just like her. She comments that it must be beautiful, as I hand them to her. She thanks me, noting how kind and good I am, that she’s proud of me. She smiles kindly, and shuts her eyes.

I can’t quite recall what happened later – what happened to grandmother, how I got back. Before I realised it, I was in front of my house. It was a rare sight to see the lights switched on inside. Has mother returned? It’s already quite late, it’s certain that she knows that I broke the promise. Will she be angry at me, or worry about me? I open the doors and see for myself. She wasn’t angry, nor did she kindly hug me. She looked at me coldly, and never came back home again.

Dear god, where was I wrong? Perhaps if I hadn’t broke mother’s promise, hadn’t loitered on the way, hadn’t talked to the bad wolf, I wouldn’t be having these sad feelings now. I’m alone now. No one is by my side. No one needs me. But that’s to be expected. This is punishment given to a bad child. I vow to no longer stray off the path and walk around idly.

Back to Yurika’s POV

A voice calls out to Yurika, and then calls her again by my first name. She wakes up to find a flushed Akazukin. She realises that it’s gotten late, and reminded that she is supposed to visit Ookami. He gets up, and offers to help her hand with a red face. She happily takes his hand, as he hurries her along. She follows the map for about 30 minutes, but they’ve yet to locate the house. He walks behind her, and is a lot quieter. However, he helps her when she almost slips, warning her that it’s slippery around this area. He then walks in front of her, telling her to follow him instead. She should be touched by his kind gesture, however his tone is just a cold as when they first met – it feels lonely. Yurika obediently follows, and they soon arrive at a house. Akazukin doesn’t move forward, so she passes by him to head to the door. She spots a single, red carnation at her feet. It looks fresh, so it must have been bought recently. Turning around, she sees that he’s still looking down.

Taking the carnation in her hand, Yurika knocks at the door. She asks if anyone was in, but strangely there is no answer. It’s the only house standing in the area, there’s no mistake that it’s a home. She carefully opens the door, surprisingly it is not locked. It is dark inside, with only the moonlight shining in, just enough light to see inside. As she peeks inside, a hand covers her mouth and she gets dragged inside before she can scream. She gets pushed to the floor, and the person apologises without truly meaning it. It’s Ryoushi. She demands for a reason, and he replies that it’s to make sure she doesn’t do anything unnecessary – after all, she is an important hostage. He takes out a cigarette, but she gives a condemning look. He sighs and warns her not to go outside, before leaving her alone.

Yurika sinks onto the bed, wondering why Akazukin didn’t move an inch when she was kidnapped. It was sudden, so it probably can’t be helped. But why does his painful, hurt expression make her chest tighten up? Will he come and save her? At that moment, a voice says that he won’t. Wizard appears before her, explaining that Akazukin is unable to withstand the fact that she was kidnapped, and strayed off to loiter around. He is easily deceived. And the person he was supposed to protect got kidnapped before his very eyes. His heart is deeply scarred, and unable to face his own sins – instead his sins accumulate. And so have her sins, as well as he himself. (BAD END)

>> I forgive you: Yurika says that if he is a bad person, she will forgive him, rather than punishing him. She wonders if she sounds arrogant. But no matter what others say or what he thinks, she will forgive him. He doesn’t need to keep blaming himself. Akazukin widens his eyes in surprise at her words. She gently pats his head, when he looks like he’s about to cry. He remains still, and whispers that he has something to tell her after he catches Wolf. She agrees to listen then. He appears as though he’s swallowing all of his pain.

Akazukin: Till a few days ago, I was always alone, and could never imagine spending a day with someone else like this.
Yurika: Do you hate being alone?
Akazukin: ……I’m like you. I’ve already grown used to being alone. Feeling lonely and hating it, I’ve long forgotten what that feels like.
Yurika: Really? Do you really think so?
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: ……I don’t think so. It’s true that you may have been alone. But you met your enjoyable friend right? And also met his kind grandmother? In truth, you’ve already realised the feeling of loneliness.
Akazukin: …………
Yurika: You know, Akazukin-san. I have you now, and you have me.

So please hurry up and realise. The truth of this story.

Episode of Akazukin (aka Akazukin’s POV)

One sunny afternoon, I was pacing before the florist, wondering which flower to get. Indeed, I have finally saved up enough money. While enduring the hunger, I have saved up till 2000 yen. An array of flowers appear in sight – red, white, pink, purple, yellow. I decide to go with red, just like the red hood grandmother gave me. Red is a special colour to me. My attention wanders to the red rose. While I don’t know much about flowers, I at least know roses. But each stalk of rose is expensive, and I can’t possibly afford a bouquet. Perhaps I should save up more. I can always buy the flowers later.

At that moment, my friend calls out to me. It’s rare for him to come and find him. When asked what I’m doing, I pretend that it’s nothing. He invites me to go to the lake, where we had first met. There, I learn that he fought with his grandmother. I find it rare since they get along so well. But according to him, his grandmother keeps nagging him and preventing him from doing anything even though he says that he’s feeling alright. I point out that she’s thinking for him, and naturally he’s aware. Apparently, they had quarrelled over something trivial and he ended up leaving the house. His friend wants to play outside more though, and to run and go to far places. He can’t bear to remain here all the time.

I feel pity for him, and he was born with a weak body. He says that he envies me, as I’m strong. He had aimed to be composed, smart, independent like a wolf – but he can’t be one at this rate. I’m taken aback by his words. Unlike me, he has everything – he’s smart, active, bright and rich – the more I get to know him, the more I realise how out of reach he is. Yet he says he envies me. How curious is this?

The boy says that everyday was boring before he met me. Talking to me like this is exciting for him. He tells me to accompany him till nighttime, and to build a secret hideout. He eagerly shows me the treasure he brought from home. I nod in return. Perhaps it was because I had came to know of his unexpected feelings and envy towards me, that I got carried away. But if I had stopped him then, perhaps none of that would have happened.

While reminding him not to overexert himself, we start to build our secret base. We collect sticks, cardboard and anything else that can be used. I follow his instructions on tying the rope on the trees (according to him, the base will be in the trees). Time passes by and soon it gets dark. As we are moving wooden planks back, we hear a siren sounding far away. I can’t help but have a bad feeling, and suggest going back for the day. But he refuses, saying that I had promised to accompany him till nighttime. I give in, and he recalls having found something good at the lake. We head there, and there is a blue sheet floating on the lake. He says that with it, we can avoid the rain. I say that it’s too far to reach, but he grabs a branch and tries to reach it.

I offer to do it instead, but he insists otherwise. I continue holding onto his legs, watching over him. At that moment, a man with sharp-looking features appear. He mistakes me for Ookami as I’m wearing a hood, and grabs me by the arm, saying that my grandmother has collapsed and is in the hospital. He tells me to hurry to her side, she had been calling my name all this time. The boy is shocked by the news. He slips and ends up falling into the lake. Given his physical limitations, he can’t swim. The man removes his coat and pushes me to hurry on. Unsure of what to do, I’m stuck between my friend who is drowning, and his grandmother in the hospital. In a split moment, I find myself turning away from my drowning friend and dashing off.

I am surprised at the sight of a frail elderly woman when I reach the hospital. She had been so well just a few days ago. It appears that she can’t see and is unable to tell that I’m Akazukin, and instead asks if I’m Ookami. I pretend to answer that I am, and she looks so thankful. I reply that I was worried, and she apologises in return while crying. Resisting the urge to cry, I pretend to respond as he would. She apologises once more, despite knowing how Ookami felt. Feeling bad, I immediately say that I’m the one at fault – because I’m a bad child. She says that I’m a good child, and a grandson she’s proud of. I say that I actually love her a lot, and she reciprocates this. But she is sorry that she cannot protect me anymore. Desperately, I say that we’ll continue to be together – I will grow stronger for her to see, how I can run, swim and climb trees – so to not leave me behind. I can’t stop crying.

I’m truly a bad kid. I know that I shouldn’t pretend to be my friend, yet here I am conveying what I feel to grandmother. I recall the flowers I hurriedly bought on the way here, and present the bouquet of carnations to her. It’s a flower that appears kinder and friendlier than the roses, just like her. She comments that it must be beautiful, as I hand them to her. She thanks me, noting how kind and good I am, that she’s proud of me. She smiles kindly, and shuts her eyes.

I can’t quite recall what happened later – what happened to grandmother, how I got back. Before I realised it, I was in front of my house. It was a rare sight to see the lights switched on inside. Has mother returned? It’s already quite late, it’s certain that she knows that I broke the promise. Will she be angry at me, or worry about me? I open the doors and see for myself. She wasn’t angry, nor did she kindly hug me. She looked at me coldly, and never came back home again.

Dear god, where was I wrong? Perhaps if I hadn’t broke mother’s promise, hadn’t loitered on the way, hadn’t talked to the bad wolf, I wouldn’t be having these sad feelings now. I’m alone now. No one is by my side. No one needs me. But that’s to be expected. This is punishment given to a bad child. I vow to no longer stray off the path and walk around idly.

Back to Yurika’s POV

A voice calls out to Yurika, and then calls her again by my first name. She wakes up to find a flushed Akazukin. She realises that it’s gotten late, and reminded that she is supposed to visit Ookami. He gets up, and offers to help her hand with a red face. She happily takes his hand, as he hurries her along. She follows the map for about 30 minutes, but they’ve yet to locate the house. He walks behind her, and is a lot quieter. However, he helps her when she almost slips, warning her that it’s slippery around this area. He then walks in front of her, telling her to follow him instead. She should be touched by his kind gesture, however his tone is just a cold as when they first met – it feels lonely. Yurika obediently follows, and they soon arrive at a house. Akazukin doesn’t move forward, so she passes by him to head to the door. She spots a single, red carnation at her feet. It looks fresh, so it must have been bought recently. Turning around, she sees that he’s still looking down.

Taking the carnation in her hand, Yurika knocks at the door. She asks if anyone was in, but strangely there is no answer. It’s the only house standing in the area, there’s no mistake that it’s a home. She carefully opens the door, surprisingly it is not locked. It is dark inside, with only the moonlight shining in, just enough light to see inside. As she peeks inside, a hand covers her mouth and she gets dragged inside before she can scream.

Episode of Akazukin (aka Akazukin’s POV)

I visited grandmother’s place a while after the incident. I was standing before the house, before I even realised it. Why did I come here, even though I vowed now to stray away again?  I blame myself over and over, and end up throwing up. It’s so painful that I end up tearing up, but there’s no one to help me. Of course, it’s punishment for my sins. I collapse to the ground, breathing heavily. I see that the house still looks the same – except that no one is living there anymore. Grandmother is gone, my friend is gone. This pain ripping my heart apart is my punishment. I have to receive it properly. That’s why, I intentionally keep visiting the places I had avoided – the lake, the forest, and the house. Each time I did, I would recall the happy days, and feel the terrible pain in my chest. Along the way, I started to place a single, red carnation in front of grandmother’s house – as proof of my sin, and as a form of atonement.

One year passed, two years passed, three years passed. Growing accustomed is a scary thing, as time passes by my memories start to fade. And after more time passes, I saw that man – hunter.

Back to Yurika’s POV

Yurika gets pushed to the floor, and the person apologises without truly meaning it. It’s Ryoushi. She demands for a reason, and he replies that it’s to make sure she doesn’t do anything unnecessary – after all, she is an important hostage. He takes out a cigarette, but she gives a condemning look. He sighs and says that Akazukin is looking for her, and now things have gotten troublesome. He warns her not to go outside, before leaving her alone. Of course, Yurika does otherwise and reaches for the door. Suddenly, Ryoushi enters again and she trips and falls. Though she feigns innocence, he sees through her. He is carrying someone else, and says that he’ll have someone stand guard just in case – who he had dragged from nearby. At least he’ll be her conversation partner. Ryoushi throws a blonde boy down and leaves again. The blonde boy fell flat in the face, and lashes out at Yurika with a red nose when she asks if he’s alright.

Boy: There’s no way I’m alright! Can’t you grasp the situation!? Are you trying to be a trapped princess who knows nothing of the world!? It’s a female stereotype hated by women! Ah–damn! My nose hurts!
Yurika: Ah, thank goodness. Your nose is not bleeding.
Boy: Hmph. There’s no way a delicate, pretty boy like me can have a nosebleed. Obviously only those teenage boys or sour-looking perverts or gag characters would get nosebleeds……ah.

He suppress a scream when a stream of blood flows from his nose, and Yurika tells him to sit on the bed and hands him a tissue. Determined not to owe her a favour, as he never ever owes people favours, he immediately says thank you. She asks for his name, and he refuses to say his first. However, he also gets irritated when she proposes to call him “A-kun”, especially since it isn’t far-off his actual name. The boy introduces himself as Alice, and she is about to happily answer that she is too – till he says that he already knows her name as she said it before. Alice announces that he’s going to sleep, and tries to ignore her. However, she shakes him more aggressively and he sits up instantly.

Alice: Aah, how noisy!! Annoying!! Just what are you!!
Yurika: A trapped princess?
Alice: …………hmph. If you are a trapped princess, it would’ve been better for you to be tied up with a rope. A development which would make all the countries’ masochistic maidens dance with joy. It would be convenient for me too if you were more obedient.
Yurika: I’m not masochistic.
Alice: Aah, you’re sadistic. In the first place, if you were a trapped princess (heroine), act more like one (heroine). Just why do you think princesses are always kidnapped by the enemy. Because princesses are weak? Because they have no special power? Wrong. Trapped princesses exist to give the man the role of a hero who saves her from the kidnapper.
Yurika: ……yes, that’s right. Don’t worry. I won’t forget my role.

She goes to open the window, and a chilly breeze blows in.

Yurika: But I can’t help but worry. Is he getting hurt because of me, is he going through a very painful experience because of me……even if it is a promised event.
Alice: I see……
Yurika: Yes……
Alice: I don’t care about your tragic heroine feelings, it’s disgusting. It’s cold so shut the window!! Now!!
Yurika: ……yeees.

Episode of Akazukin (aka Akazukin’s POV)

He’s running around town, but she’s nowhere to be found. Nowhere. He swore not to stray off the path and loiter around again. That’s why he chose to be alone, and tried to avoid people. He didn’t belong anywhere, and never made any friends or lovers. No one knew him, and no one bothered him. Nothing happened the year before, last year, or this year. He didn’t feel lonely, and it was only natural for him. It was just how he lived before he met those kind people. But one person changed all of that. They spent the days together, touched, and conversed. That was unimaginable for the him before, and also an act which broke his vow. It is true that he was the cause of this change, but it was just temporary – not straying off the path. It was only for revenge play. He used her.

It was a coincidence that he saw the hunter, talking happily to an unfamiliar girl. 5 years have passed since then and we have both grown bigger, but he knew at once it was him. In that moment, his frozen feelings suddenly melted. The memories he tried not to recall, all came back to him , along with something he had not felt then – resentment. If he had not mistaken Akazukin for her grandson. He knows that this is unwarranted resentment, that he wasn’t wrong. He know who is really at fault. But he didn’t know what to do with these feelings. As time passed and after worrying over it, he decided to try meeting the man once. He isn’t sure what he would do, but perhaps he could resolve these feelings. But there was no news of the hunter, and Akazukin couldn’t locate him.

The only thing he knew was that the hunter had a sister, who lived by herself in a big house. Yes, the girl who was with him then was his sister. So he carried out my plan. If he deliberately harassed his sister and she is in danger, surely the hunter will come. Akazukin tailed after her, sent the threat to her house, and waited to see. He had no grudge against her. He only wanted to scare her, and didn’t want to harm her. It is indeed just his ego. But he really didn’t mean to harm her. But the hunter never appeared. At his wit’s ends, he decided to pretend to be a policeman and infiltrated the house. Why the role of a policeman? Perhaps he had admired the police (justice) who fought evil and protected the weak. Yurika easily believed him.

It was a strange feeling to see her up-close, after observing her all this time. He repeatedly tried to scare her so that she would call her brother out, but it completely backfired. She felt safe by his side. She believed in his lie, that he would protect her. And then he came to realise that she is lonely like him. Her family left her alone in that big house, so as to pursue their own desires. She never appeared deeply bothered by this, but he understands her true feelings all too well.

I miss you…

Soon he became mindful of her. She was bright and warm, like a sunny spot. She was different from grandmother, his friend, and of course his mother. She smiled at him, cooked for him, touched him, and treated him kindly. She said that she loved him. He has received a lot from her in this short span of time. Soon his breathing would quicken and his chest would tighten when he’s with her – as if he’s drowning in water. When he struggled and reached for the light at the end – it was her who took his hand. He knows the truth behind this pain.

I’m lonely without you.

Once upon a time, he broke his mother’s promise and strayed off the path. If he had kept the promise and stayed inside the dark house, he would have never known this feeling. His mother told him that he was a good kid unlike the rest. So he can’t play outside, as everyone else is a wolf. There’s no telling what bad things wolves will do. Even if they approach him, ignore them.

But he really had longed for the outside world all this time. He could not resist the temptation of the light, and strayed off the path – and came to knew that the other people were not wolves. He is. And now he longs for that sunny spot, and wants to be by her side. Yet he couldn’t do anything when she was taken away. His legs were trembling in fear, and he couldn’t move. What a hopeless man he is, but that is who he is. I’m less bright than others, and a weak creature who moves outside of people’s turf. I’m not a cop of justice. He whispers her name, calls it over and over again. Of course there is no response, because she is not here.

He knew, that the second threat which came was addressed to him – not her. After he had infiltrated her house as a policeman, he had planned to hold back on the harassment. Yet someone kept at it, and things escalated. He was at a loss at first, but he did truly want to save her from her uneasiness, fear and loneliness. But that was his arrogance. He doesn’t know who this other Wolf is. Yurika had no idea who she offended – of course, because she has no sin. He does. And her not being with him now, is his punishment. It is only natural for there to be punishment for his unforgivable sins. But he cannot bear the fact that it is her bearing it now.

He desperately searches every possible place, no matter how thin the chances are. Alice answers when Akazukin knocks at one door. He immediately says that Yurika isn’t here, saying that he knows everything. Akazukin asks where she is, but Alice asks what will he do then.

Alice: Will you save her from the starving big bad wolf?
Akazukin: That’s right!
Alice: Akazukin. It is true that you are stupid and easily deceived. But it’s not as if you haven’t noticed who the wolf is pretending to be?
Akazukin: …………
Alice: There will be punishment for your sins. The wolf who tried to eat her, will have his belly cut open, stuffed with stones, and be drowned in the end. Even so, do you not mind it?
Akazukin: ……it can’t be helped if that is the fate of the wolf. Rather than that, she is shut in a dark world and going through a scary experience. Someone has to save her.
Alice: Isn’t that the role of the hunter? You are different from the hunter, a powerless existence with no weapon. What can you do, you who can only be deceived?
Akazukin: ……I don’t know. But it’s fine even if I’m deceived. I just want to see her happy.
Alice: You are truly stupid. Or rather honest to a fault. If I were to put it nicely, should I say naive, innocent, or pure. Well, it’s no mistake that you’re stupid for giving up on thinking. Being deceived means believing in the other person. To not be suspicious. That is probably your weapon, and also what ties you down. There will be punishment for your sins. In fact, is that really the case?
Akazukin: For my sins……
Alice: Akazukin. She is at the lake now. She really adores you so save her. Surely she will be happy too.

Akazukin immediately dashes off. Left behind, Alice mutters that he shouldn’t stray off the path this time around.

Back to Yurika’s POV

Right now, Yurika is at the pier of the lake with her hands tied up. Someone is grabbing her by her neck, though it isn’t suffocating her. The person is none other than Ookami. He has been silent all this time, unlike his usual self. So she remains quiet too, thinking that Akazukin will soon show up. The kind-hearted him will be deceived by the wolf, and gobbled up whole. Poor Akazukin, please save the pitiful him from the darkness.

Akazukin calls out her name, and catches his breath. She cries for help with all her might, just like a trapped princess would. Ookami draws a knife to her face, threatening to kill her if Akazukin moves. Akazukin begs for him to stop. Ookami reminds him what the threat wrote, that he will destroy his beloved one if he doesn’t admit his sin. Akazukin admits to it, and is willing to do anything as long as she is unharmed. Ookami contemplates this, and orders him to remove his hood. When Akazukin hesitates, he pushes Yurika nearer to the lake. The former panics and immediately says that he will. With a pale face and trembling hands, he removes his hood – to reveal a pair of wolf ears. He avoids Yurika’s gaze and looks down. Ookami orders him to look up, and he reluctantly does so.

Ookami: Akazukin. That is your true nature! You’re the wolf!!
Akazukin: That’s right……my real identity isn’t a policeman (an ally of justice), but a bad wolf……
Ookami: That’s right. You’re the wolf. So you know what you should do right?

Akazukin immediately kneels down, and apologises. He begs for forgiveness, and pleads for him to let Yurika go. His voice is overwhelmed with fear, but still he pleads for her. Yurika can’t help but feel pity for him. Ookami asks if Akazukin knows who he is – he should, after all he pretended to be him and visited his grandmother. Ookami removes his black-rimmed glasses, and Akazukin recognises his friend and his face turns white as a sheet.

Akazukin: I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry
Ookami: It’s not “I’m sorry”. Even though you never realised my true identity till now.
Akazukin: ……! That……
Ookami: Did you forget about me?
Akazukin: That’s! Not the case……I’ve always, always remembered……I have never……once forgotten you……
Ookami: Is that so. That’s right. I have also never forgotten about you. Of course, what happened that day too.

He’s aware of what Akazukin did, betraying him even though he thought they were friends. He left him to drown and went to visit his favourite grandmother, pretending to be him.

Ookami: What do you think happened after that, because of you? What did grandmother think, after knowing that she was deceived by you? Huh? What are you trembling for, with that face. You did all of that, didn’t you?
Akazukin: I know……
Ookami: No you don’t. You don’t at all! I had always been looking for you. I had something I always wanted to convey to you, after finding you. Do you know what it is? There’s no way you would. You had always been stupid since before. That’s to be expected. When everyone was at school, you were always all alone at this lake. How pitiful.

It was Ookami who called out to him, and they played together. He even brought him home and introduced his family to Akazukin. They often played pranks and made his grandmother angry. But she was kind too and they loved her. He notes that Akazukin is still wearing the hood she made for him. Yet he deceived his grandmother when she was ill. Why couldn’t he just say that he wasn’t Ookami then?

Akazukin: I’m sorry……I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry
Ookami: That again? Listen. I don’t want your apology.
Akazukin: Then what should I……
Ookami: Didn’t I tell you to admit your sins.
Akazukin: ……! Wasn’t I doing so since just now!!
Ookami: You don’t get it at all. And why are you getting upset. That’s why, I……
Akazukin: That’s enough, let her go!! No matter how many sins I have, she doesn’t have any!!
Ookami: Aah, that may be the case. Yours and her sin are different matters. And……you really like her don’t you. Hey, but what of it? Did you like her because she was kind to you?
Akazukin: Eh……
Ookami: Isn’t that just like how it was with grandmother. You are actually fine with anyone who treats you kindly right? You weren’t treated kindly, so you become attached to people who are kind to you! You are only seeing the illusion of your mother who abandoned you in grandmother, and now in her!!
Akazukin: Ah……aah……aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!

His cry was like a beast’s, and Yurika is worried if he has broken down. Ookami claims that he can find someone else to replace me even if I’m gone – just like his grandmother. But Akazukin firmly denies this.

Akazukin: It’s true that, I……like this girl who treated me kindly! But……there is no replacement for her……of course, grandmother too……! Ookami’s……I do feel sorry towards your grandmother. And to you……I was envious of you……you had many things which I didn’t.
Ookami: So you tried to steal?
Akazukin: ……no. No, really……! It’s true that I was jealous of you! But I never meant to deceive……!
Ookami: But in the end you lied on that day.
Akazukin: ……yes. That’s right. I pretended to be you, and deceived grandmother.

He had heard the news that Ookami’s grandmother collapsed from the hunter, and was told to go to the hospital – and left his drowning friend behind. He should’ve said that he wasn’t Ookami. Even though his grandmother called Ookami’s name. But he stuck to the misunderstanding, and lied. Ookami adds that he’s also trying to lay the blame on hunter, since he even sent a threat. Akazukin shakes his head at first, but eventually admits it.

Akazukin: I……actually wanted to run away from my sins. It is me whose at fault. But, just the reason for lying……the trigger, I wanted to believe that it was the hunter’s mistake……I’m truly sorry……!

Confessing in a tearful voice, Akazukin lowers his head to the ground. Ookami sadly whispers with a lonely expression, that things wouldn’t have come to this if he hadn’t lied then. He draws the knife closer to Yurika, saying that there will be punishment for his sins – and his punishment is. Akazukin yells at him to stop, and demands for Yurika. The moment Ookami’s knife draws away from her, Akazukin leaps in. Ookami is taken aback and slips – and all of them end up falling into the lake.

The water is deeper than she thought, and they sink. Or rather, Ookami is panicking and dragging her down. The bubbles escaping her mouth rise above. Her vision is blue, and gets bluer as she sinks further. In pain, she reaches my arms out and struggles. But she can’t reach the web of light above her. Rather, her limbs are as heavy as lead and the light grows further. She pleads for help. As she stretches out her hand, Akazukin appears. Yurika catches her breath on shore, and Akazukin hugs her in relief. His action makes the pain from before disappear like a lie. She feels herself tearing up, and thanks him for saving her. He releases her and looks at her in the eye. His eyes are tearing up too, and he apologises to her.

Akazukin: I have been lying to you all this time. I’m not a policeman who will protect you. I’m……the real me is……just as you can see, a big bad wolf……I lied to you……I’m really……really sorry……!

As he shuts his eyes, tears stream down his face. She gently wipes his tears, and confesses that she should be the one apologising. She knew that he was lying to her, and even lied to her. Ever since he came to her house, all of the harassment was actually fake. Yurika bows deeply and apologises. She had heard about him from her brother and Ookami, and decided to take responsibility. She made use of his kindness, and is hurting him now. She’s very sorry for that. Akazukin is speechless, and the silence suffocates her.

Ryoushi appears and greets them. Akazukin immediately grabs Yurika and glares at him. At the same time, Ookami arrives all drenched and reminds them that he’s present too. He wonders if he’s caught a cold again, even though he was just sick. Ryoushi notes that all three characters are here, and asks where they should start from. Akazukin blinks in surprise at the abrupt change in mood. In any case, Yurika has everyone introduce themselves first.

Ryoushi: Arisu Ryoushi. As you already know, I’m Arisu Yurika’s brother and a hunter.
Ookami: And the star is last! It’s my turn! I’m Ookami. I’m Arisu-chan’s soulmate who has crossed male-female relationship, and have a master-disciple relationship with Ryoushi-san who is my life saviour. And Akazukin-san. You’re my childhood friend.
Akazukin: Friends……me and Ookami?
Ookami: Heeey! That’s the part you should first catch! And what other word is there to describe our relationship?
Akazukin: Didn’t you resent me……

Ookami denies this, telling him not to misunderstand things. Yurika points out that he did send quite a disturbing threat, and even acted to that extent just now. He shrugs and scratches his head, admitting that the mood got to him. It’s only then that Akazukin realises that Ookami is the male friend Yurika had mentioned. When asked about the knife, Ookami shows that it’s just a retractable knife toy. It was also him who had messed up the house, and Ryoushi had told him to go all the way so make it more believable. Of course, what Akazukin would want to know if why they deceived him. Yurika explains that it’s to make him understand, or rather a lesson.

Yurika: That you aren’t alone. We just wanted to teach you that, for you to realise that.
Akazukin: I’m not alone……
Yurika: I pretty much heard everything about you from brother and Ookami. Everyone is worried about you. You think that you’re alone, that you have to be alone. Because of your sin. That it is punishment for having done wrong. But you actually hate it more than anyone. Because you already knew. Being alone is lonely. But because you are a serious person, you may stubbornly recognise it but won’t forgive yourself. A long time passed. And it became natural for you to be alone. The long years of loneliness has frozen your heart. That’s why, there was a need to save you before you truly become alone. It was then that you sent the threat, and after discussing, the three of us decided to take advantage of it. Somehow, some unexpected things also happened, and it has become a bit complicated……

Ookami says that he’s hurt that Akazukin didn’t realise that it was him – especially when he used such an obvious fake name. (Note: Ookami sounds like Wolf in Japanese.) The latter replies that he never forgot him, it was just that he never wore such lame-looking spectacles before. Ookami is taken aback, and Ryoushi stifles a laugh. When his disciple complains, he kicks him and tells him to get back to the point.

Ookami explains that he was always bothered by the fact that Akazukin disappeared after pretending to be him. He had to move away for his operation, so he also couldn’t see Akazukin after that. After his successful operation, he can now freely move about unlike in the past. And the very reason he came back to this countryside way-out is all because of Akazukin. He actually met Akazukin soon after coming back, yet the latter completely ignored him. At that time, he was furious and thought that Akazukin had forgotten about him. But soon he met Ryoushi and heard about the situation – that Akazukin was always alone. He came to wonder if Akazukin was bothered by the past all this time. He had so much to tell Akazukin, yet he disappeared.

He isn’t angry at Akazukin because he pretended to be him when he visited grandma – but because he disappeared all of a sudden. Akazukin apologises once more, and Ookami says that it’s alright since they’re finally talking after all these years. Actually, after Ryoushi saved him, he went to visit his grandma. He apologised to her for being selfish, and troubling her. But she smiled and forgave him, saying that it’s okay – she knew that he was lonely being away from his parent and being unable to play normally like everyone else. She was happy to see him getting along with Akazukin – and she told him to treasure his friend.

Ookami: “That child is very honest and serious. But it’s precisely so that he always keeps everything to himself. Surely, it’s because that child feels more lonely than anyone else.” So she told me to become strong, and to save that child……she told me to tell that child “thank you for the pretty flowers”.

Just like how he was saved by Akazukin, she told her grandson that it’s his turn now. Ookami immediately promise her. She had already saw through Akazukin’s lie to her. When Akazukin appears surprised, Ookami tells him off for taking them lightly. Everyone around him is looking properly at him, so he should hurry up and realise that he isn’t alone. He was weak as a child, and sent to this countryside for recuperation. He was lonely as he knew no one and couldn’t properly go to school. So he thought that Akazukin might become his friend when he first spotted him at the lake. He persisted, and just when he was about to give up, Akazukin finally responded. He was so elated. Ookami’s words cause Akazukin to tear up once more.

Ookami: It’s a lie that you are fine by yourself……you actually really want to get along with others. You actually truly feel that way right?
Akazukin: Ookami………………aah, that’s right. The reason why I broke my promise and went outside, was because I was lonely……after I met Ookami and grandmother, I was finally not alone……I was scared when I heard that grandmother collapsed. If grandmother was no longer around, I may become alone again……but in the end it was my own fault that I became alone……I was always lonely……I was lonely……
Ryoushi: You’ve finally admitted it.
Akazukin: ……what……
Ryoushi: That is the true identity of your sin……in other words a sense of guilt.

Ryoushi elaborates that it’s when you feel at fault, that you’ve committed a sin. Because of the past, he shut his heart away. He couldn’t allow himself to laugh or be happy. That’s why he refused anything happy and chose to be alone. Just like Yurika said, his heart has been frozen from the years of loneliness. He was truly in a precarious situation. Him wanting to do something about Ryoushi is proof of that. If his sense of guilt goes over his limit, he may unconsciously do something extreme – not just by hurting himself, but maybe also hurting others. By thinking that it’s his/her fault that I was wrong. There’s no way that he could always be so hard on himself, as it would wear him out. He was just barely saved when he coincidentally saw Ryoushi and directed his resentment to him. As a hunter, he also came to know about Akazukin well. So he felt a need to save him before it was too late. And he also felt that he was a reason for causing Akazukin’s trauma, so he prepared this script for Akazukin to overcome that trauma.

Though of course, someone else overwrote his script a lot. He grabs Yurika as she turns away, forcing her to look at Akazukin. For Akazukin’s sense of guilt to be healed, someone needs to forgive him. To be honest, he’d rather avoid this roundabout and troublesome method and just tell him directly. But it wouldn’t work on Akazukin. His heart has been bound so tightly over time, so he wouldn’t feel forgiven if things were just explained to him. In order to feel forgiven, he would first need to face his own sins. It was timely that he himself sent a threat, so they made use of the set-up.

Ryoushi: “You’re not in the wrong”. We had to wait for such a person to accept everything, both your good and bad sides. That was the plot I had written.
Akazukin: ……am I forgiven?
Ookami: Only you yourself know best.
Akazukin: …………

Her brother pats her on the head, telling her to handle the rest. Yurika takes this cue, and goes on her knees. She apologises to Akazukin. No matter the motive, it’s a fact that she deceived him. She won’t ask him to forgive her, and can’t help it if he hates her too. She is taken aback when he questions why she’s apologising. He knows that it was all an act, but in the first place he dragged her into the picture by sending the first threat. She almost agrees, but quickly shakes her head and tries to say that she is a bad child. But his voice overrides hers.

Akazukin: I—-I’m just glad that……you’re alright. I hate it the most when you get hurt.

Yurika finds his words unexpected, and tears up. She wonders just how kind he can be. He is shocked and calls out to her by her surname. He immediately corrects himself, when she tells him to call her by her first name instead. She breaks out into a smile when he calls her again. Though her vision is blurred by her tears, she can tell that he’s smiling too.

Akazukin: If you meant to deceive me……when you said that you liked me……no……it’s okay if you don’t answer.
Yurika: Why?
Akazukin: ……because I’m stupid, I don’t know how to suspect others.
Yurika: Akazukin-san……will you forgive me? I deceived you, just as you deceived me.
Akazukin: ……yes. I forgive you. And, I……forgive myself.
Yurika: Akazukin-san!!

Unable to hold back, Yurika hugs him and says loudly that she loves him. He panics at the situation, but she’s willing to wipe any amount of blood he spills. She doesn’t even care if he hits her. Akazukin remarks that he won’t do that, plus her brother and Ookami are here. Yurika doesn’t mind this shame play though, and her words alarm him. Ookami asks if he’s thinking of something perverted, to which Akazukin firmly denies. His friend recalls that they read erotic books behind his grandmother’s back though. Hearing this, Yurika realises that it’s Ookami’s fault that Akazukin is so sensitive to sexual knowledge.

Yurika: It’s fine! One or two erotic books, even if it’s rather maniac, is still acceptable as a gentleman’s taste.
Akazukin: Eh!?
Ookami: Seriously!?
Ryoushi: …………
Ookami: Hey hey, Arisu-chan! Rather than this virgin, play with me–. I’m definitely way more fun!!
Akazukin: V……!!
Yurika: Unfortunately I’m not a bad girl who strays off the path. Ookami-san?
Ookami: Eh–straying away is good–. It’s fun–!

Ryoushi hits his disciple’s head, telling him that they’re leaving first. When the latter protests, he offers to throw him into the lake. Ookami pleads as he really thought he would die, and sneezes loudly. Ryoushi tells his sister to do something about the person who is frozen, and drags Ookami away. Yurika secretly thanks her brother, and turns to the one who is opening and closing his mouth like a fish on shore. She remarks that they’re alone, as she puts her arms around his neck.

Akazukin: Hah! U……uuuuuu……umm!!
Yurika: Yes?
Akazukin: Do you kiss me!?
Yurika: Do you want to kiss me?
Akazukin: Kiss!!??
Yurika: Yes. I want to kiss you.

(Note: Instead of saying “do you like me”, he said “do you kiss me”. In Japanese, suki = like and kisu = kiss.) Yurika pecks him on the lips, and thanks him for the meal. He points out that he’s a wolf, but she doesn’t hate him at all for that. She was a bit perplexed at first, but she actually quite likes it. She was curious when she first heard about him from her brother and Ookami, but as she got to know him better she grew to love him. And she even got Ookami to switch their roles.

Yurika: You’re always doing your best and so serious. It’s cute how you’re a bit shy and honest too……you’re a very, very wonderful person!
Akazukin: I-I’m stupid you know!? Just like Ookami said, I’m hopelessly stupid!! I’m a huge idiot who doesn’t realise what’s important until I lose them!! And I also deceived you…………nn!?

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She kisses him again, and says this is her punishment for him then. She tells him that it’s his turn to punish her, and readily closes her eyes. Akazukin remarks that it’s more like a prize, and his nose ends up bleeding. It appears that he has reached his limit, as he passes out. Yurika calls out to him, but he moans softly.

Elsewhere in the forest, Wizard is there with his black cat.

Wizard: If only I didn’t knew love. If I didn’t, then surely I wouldn’t know this pain too. Haha. Whose words were they? I wonder who. The Akazukin who knew love, also came to know loneliness. But, he was saved from that loneliness by being loved by someone again. What is loneliness. Is it feeling as though you’re left behind even though one cannot live alone? Aha. Do you feel loneliness too? Me? I’m not quite sure–. But with this, it’s happily ever after……one happy end down. Are you satisfied?

Once upon a time, in a far away place, there was a lonely boy. The boy was always alone. Because his mother told him that the world is full of bad wolves, and told him to ignore them if they approached him. Never getting involved with anyone, never reached out to anyone, and living all alone while hiding. But the boy who had longed for the outside world, sneaked out to play at the lake while his mother was away. Even though the outside world is so wide and overflowing with many things, he only stared at the lake. Other children at his age go to school, but that has nothing to do with him.

Then a boy called Ookami called out to him. Recalling his mother’s words, he ignored Ookami at first. But he could not see Ookami as a bad wolf. After being constantly called out to, he soon came to get along and play with Ookami. Ookami was very weak, and lived with his grandmother. She made a red hood for the boy to as to hide his outstanding features. The red hood really suited him, and soon everyone came to call him “Akazukin”. Everyday was fun, and the next day, and the next day, he kept breaking his mother’s promise and went to play at Ookami’s house.

And one day when they were playing at the lake, a man hurriedly came up to them and said that the grandmother collapsed and was looking for her grandson. Instead Ookami, he grabbed Akazukin. He should’ve said that he wasn’t Ookami, but instead he pretended to be and went to visit grandmother. It wasn’t just his mother, Akazukin also came to betray Ookami and his favourite grandmother. When he returned home, he saw that his usually dark house was lit up. His mother was back! He carefully opened the door, and his mother met him with a cold gaze. After that day, she never returned to his side anymore.

Akazukin regretted breaking his mother’s promise. If he had kept to it, and did not stray off to loiter around, he wouldn’t have betrayed his beloved ones and wouldn’t have lost anything. The Akazukin who was left all alone looked at himself, and finally realised something. His big ears, his mouth which lies, and a big bright pair of eyes. The reason why his mother never let him out, was because he was a bad wolf. After that, he never got involved with anyone again, and never reached out to anyone again. He led his life all alone while hiding. There wasn’t his mother, nor grandmother or Ookami by his side. He lived a lonely life, not being understood by anyone. He shall never stray off the path again – that’s the punishment for Akazukin.

Time passed, and one fine day the grown-up Akazukin saw a hunter. It was the man who had mistaken him for Ookami back then. Next to the hunter, was a princess who had a smile which shone like the sun. The Akazukin who was crushed with loneliness, truly envied that sight. That was when he thought of something. He shall become a “policeman” who protects the princess from the “bad wolf”, so as to get closer to the hunter. He successfully infiltrated the princess’ house. But things weren’t going well even though he had tried to scare her by harassing her. Instead, “another bad wolf” was harassing her. As Akazukin stayed together with the princess, he came to really want to protect her. And the more he fell in love with her, the more he was in pain from deceiving her. If he captured the bad wolf, he had planned to confess everything to her. But while he was looking away, the bad wolf took the chance to kidnap her.

He went to the lake to save the princess, and saw a grown-up Ookami with her. The “other bad wolf” was actually Ookami. He told Akazukin to “admit his sins” if he wanted to save the princess. Thinking that he was angry at him for pretending to be Ookami and visited his grandmother, Akazukin apologised over and over again. But Ookami did not forgive him at all. Unable to bear it anyone, Ookami was about to hurt the princess. Akazukin panicked and lunged at him – and the three of them fell into the lake. After he saved them, Akazukin apologised for lying: “The bad wolf is me.” Yet the princess’s sun-like face was not clouded, and she apologised to him: “I knew that you were lying. And I still deceived you.”

The hunter appeared and explained the truth to a confused Akazukin. Everything till now was all a set-up by him, Ookami and the princess. The grown-up Akazukin was caught up in his sins, and in pain from the punishment of loneliness. There was only one way to save him – “to forgive his sins”. Ookami telling him to “admit his sins”, was actually for him “to face his sins”.  The princess forgave Akazukin for lying. And Akazukin also forgave her for lying, and forgave himself. And so Akazukin was saved by the princess’ love, and lived happily ever after.

(After the credits)

There was a lonely man in the mirror world. He was always alone. He never got involved with anyone, and never reached out to anyone. He lived all alone while hiding away. But that is a story of the past.

Outside, Akazukin takes a deep breath and is determined to say it today. He knocks on the door, and Yurika answers it. He thanks her for inviting him to tea today, presenting her a bouquet of red carnations. He had picked them for her. She happily accepts them, and he asks if Ookami and Ryoushi are here yet. She notes that they have not, and he is the earliest. An awkward pause follows, and Yurika asks why he came earlier than the arranged time. He honestly admits that he didn’t want to be interrupted by them. She wonders if he wanted them to be alone, and he gulps at her words. But Akazukin agrees, and she happily welcomes that sentiment.

Akazukin: Ah, and……I thought that……today for sure, I want to reply you from that time……
Yurika: That time?
Akazukin: Yes. That time……Yurika-san! I-I……you…………lo……
Yurika: Lo?
Akazukin: ……your back is wide open!!
Yurika: How cliche!!
Akazukin: N-no! That’s not it!! That was a mistake!! Please forget it!!
Yurika: Yes. I’ve forgotten it already.
Akazukin: Phew…………a-ahem! T-then, I’ll start again!
Yurika: Please do.
Akazukin: Yurika-san. I……to you……you……lo, lo……lo, looooo……haaaaaaaaaaaa……
Yurika: …………
Akazukin: …………

When she calls out to him, he snaps out of it and quickly apologises. He didn’t mean it as he isn’t used to it, or rather it’s his first time. Silence follows once more, and Yurika says that he doesn’t have to force himself today. She will always wait for him. But Akazukin insists that he can’t. It’s not manly for him to keep reserving it, when she’s always confessing to him.

Akazukin: Carnation……
Yurika: Eh?
Akazukin: ……Yurika-san. Do you know? The meaning of red carnations.
Yurika: ……no. Will you tell me?
Akazukin: Red carnation means “a mother’s love”, “to believe in love”……and “passionate love”.
Yurika: Passionate love?
Akazukin: ……yes. Yurika-san. When I’m with you, my breathing gets painful as if I’m drowning, and my heart beats faster……it doesn’t make sense. But it isn’t a detestable feeling at all……rather, it’s really enjoyable……and I want to be with you more. And when I’m not by your side, I keep thinking of you……and my chest grows painful……and I did ask myself why that is the case…………in the end, I think that I’m really concerned about you……no, that’s not it. I……I think that along the way I was enraptured by you.
Yurika: …………
Akazukin: ……Yurika-san!!
Yurika: Y-yes!
Akazukin: I love you!! I love you a lot!! So, that……sorry!!

He catches her by surprise as he kisses her. He says that this is his punishment to her for deceiving him. Though he did it through the flower petals, they’re even now. He panics upon seeing her flushed face, asking if she’s sick again. Yurika observes that her chest is painful and she’s having trouble breathing. Flustered, Akazukin suggests going to bed immediately. Hearing the word “bed”, Yurika passes out. ……and they lived happily ever after.

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Overall thoughts

Again, I feel that I made some typos along the way, so sorry about that in advance. Please let me know if you spot any. This route feels shorter (and I checked that it does have slightly lesser scenes) but I feel that it’s also because there are lesser characters = less dialogue. Which is a pity because Akazukin is so cute huhuh.

I felt that this story was more predictable due to a few reasons. One, I started to guess what the plot might be from the beginning already lol. Two, I wondered if it would have a similar twist as Cinderella’s. Three, there was lesser characters in comparison so there can only be so many key people involved in the twist plus that voice. That being said, I was still surprised at the ~fantasy~ element. I guess it is a fairytale after all. And I still really enjoyed the parts which mirrored the original story, were flipped in the story, and the metaphors involved! Especially the part where Alice was talking to Yurika, and then Akazukin. Plus I liked the theme and the message it was trying to get across. I can’t say anymore than this due to spoilers.

The character interaction was mainly between Yurika and Akazukin – which I really loved. But too bad we couldn’t see more scenes with Ookami. It’s sure to be fun haha. Also, Alice’s appearance in this route gave rise to many ??? due to certain lines of his. I’m sure that we will learn more about him as we go on.

Now that episode 1 is finished, I will try to proceed with episode 2 soon. Till then~

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