Chapter 2: Cecilia's Chapter--Noblesse Oblige
In the middle of summer, Ichika was walking alone under the hot and intense summer sun.
“Un, I finally managed to get to the street in front of the station, and I already planned to go out with Kazuma and Dan.”
Muttering to himself that he failed so badly, Ichika continued to walk on aimlessly.
(Mn, what do I do now…it’s a rare chance to go to the game parlor, isn’t it? Guess not. It seems that I spent a lot of money on some unimportant stuff…)
A thorough explanation behind this scenario would have to involve the girls around Ichika.
Houki, Cecilia, Rin, Charlotte and Laura. As he went out to play with these five girls, his high school funds vanished in a puff of smoke.
(But really, other than Houki, everyone’s a representative cadet. It can’t be helped that the government’s giving money.)
Ichika may have let the girls treat for the first time, but he would politely decline if it was twice or more.
It was because Ichika would pay like this that those five girls developed feelings for him that would not fade.
Suddenly, someone ran over from the other side.
Even in the middle of the street that was crowded with people walking around, that figure stood out amongst them.
The bright blond hair extended to below her waist, glittering under the sunlight.
And as she walked over, that swaying posture dazzled under the sun as much as ever.
She was wearing a super high-class summer dress, and the high quality lace immediately attracted attention.
It just so happened that Ichika knew this eye-catching person.
Most likely, she came running in from somewhere, since she was breathing so hard.
Cecilia first checked on her surroundings, and then found a photo booth beside a convenience shop.
“Ichika-san, over there!”
“Eh? Uwah!? O, oi! Why are you dragging me!?”
Cecilia aggressively showed her personality, and Ichika was dragged together into the cramped space.
Ichika found himself side by side with Cecilia in that narrow space, and the close distance made his heart race.
(Uu... That’s really a nice smell…is, is that perfume?)
Ichika started to lose himself to the high-class perfume that gave a slight aroma, and the humidity in the cramped space made Ichika start to sweat like crazy.
“Ce, Cecilia, what’s wrong? Who’s chasing you?”
“Eh, ehh…well, a group of men dressed in black…”
“That’s really an interesting development. Just like a movie.”
Ichika joked around to hide his awkwardness of them being stuck together.
But he shut up on seeing Cecilia’s gloomy expression.
(Uu…can’t stand it. Really…)
(Fuu…seems like we got away.)
Cecilia pat her chest a few times, and turned around to check the current situation.
(I, I just followed through the momentum…ahh, but, but, being alone with Ichika-san in such a tight space.)
On realizing this, she blushed. It was not because of the summer heat that her body temperature to rose, but her forehead started to sweat too.
(I, I’m not reeking of sweat, right…? I feel that the perfume should be enough…)
A maiden in love would be afraid of letting the man she likes smell her sweat, and she would feel like dying if that happened.
(I want to avoid that no matter what!)
But even so, they were packed inside the narrow space of the photo booth. Right now, there was no space for both of them to even cross their legs. The smell, the body temperature, the breathing, they could feel them all.
(What do I do now?)
DOKI DOKI! The chest cried loudly as the body temperature and heart rate went up critically.
“I, I say, Cecilia.”
“Wha, what is it?”
She subconsciously answered without thinking.
Perhaps finding it too embarrassing, Cecilia used her hand to cover her mouth.
“Well—I guess. Should, shouldn’t we get out?”
“Eh, tha, that…”
“Well, it’s really hot…”
“Yo, you’re right…”
Though her feelings as a girl were playing with her as she didn’t want to go out.
But Cecilia, who suddenly backed away, rolled her eyes around at other direction and muttered.
“Is, is it because of the smell…?”
Though she was just muttering, they were close together in an intimate position. Cecilia’s words were heard by Ichika, and because of that, she blushed so thoroughly that even her ears went red.
“No, never mind. I do worry about the smell though…”
“Is that perfume? It sure smells nice.”
“It, it’s nice!?”
“Eh, ah, yeah.”
“So, I see!”
The next moment, Cecilia’s face brightened.
And then, she started chatting away.
“I’m using the L'Ireal number 15 perfume today! Fufu, as expected of Ichika-san, you have quite the good taste.”
Once her mood got better, Cecilia started regaining that confident master mood.
But in such a close distance, they got swallowed by the hot breath.
And Ichika blushed about this as he pulled Cecilia’s hand...
“Let’s get out, Cecilia.”
Cecilia nodded on instinct as she was shocked.
Her head went blank as her hand was held, and she and Ichika went outside the photo booth.
“Well, Cecilia. Who was chasing after you?”
Cecilia stuttered, unable to say it out.
Seeing her like that, Ichika felt that it was better not to dwelve too deep into it.
“Mn, well. It’s not that I need to understand, but where should we hide—”
Ichika continued to stare at Cecilia.
That serious look scared Cecilia.
(Do, do I look weird somewhere…? Do, don’t tell me that my hair got messy when I ran away…?)
“It’s too eye-catching. See, everyone’s looking at you. They’re probably thinking ‘what sort of ojou-sama is that’.”
On hearing these words, Cecilia looked at her clothing.
Though her attire of the summer dress didn’t feel out of place, the quality, the design, they all looked really high class.
Not to mention, it would be worth more than 1 million yen.
“You just need to change clothes.”
“But I, I don’t have any clothes to change to now.”
Hm~ Ichika folded his arms to think of a solution, and suddenly clapped his hands.
“Let’s go buy some.”
“It’s near the shopping district here. How about it?”
Ah. Saying till there, Ichika suddenly panicked as he rummaged through his wallet.
And his face went white after seeing the contents.
“So, sorry…I’m a little shorthanded…”
“No, there’s no need for that! I’ll pay for it myself! I’m Cecilia Alcott, the English cadet and head of the Alcott family, you know?”
‘’I brought my credit cards!’’ After saying that, she pulled them out. There was practically an unlimited amount of them, and she even had the unlimited black card, one of the less than 10 cards in the world.
On a side note, such card could even buy mansions worth billions or theme parks. However, without either the fingerprint identification, the cornea identification, the pulse identification, the voice identification and signature identification, it couldn’t be used. It was really an amazing thing.
“Well, Cecilia, I don't think there’s a shop that accepts that card.”
“We’re just going to a normal clothing shop.”
“Ah, then how about this ordinary civilian card?”
However, Cecilia’s so-called ‘civilian card’ was a platinum card worth 10 million yen.
For some reason, Ichika felt the strength sweep off his shoulders.
“Well. This card’s an ordinary credit card, so I guess you can use it.”
“That’s right. Then, let’s go.”
Saying that, Cecilia walked off cheerfully.
Ichika sighed heavily and changed his mood as he walked beside her.
"This is the shop?”
“Ah, this is the shop I was talking out. It’s popular among teenagers.”
The products were said to fit teenagers, and Ichika wondered if that was bad.
(So Cecilia isn’t suited to this, right? She’s still an ojou-sama at heart after all.)
But, what was really unexpected was that Cecilia’s eyes glittered.
“This is really refreshing! I have a lot of clothes, but I don’t have anything like this at all.”
“Oh, I see. That’s good.”
Cecilia suddenly squirmed and turned her hand to Ichika, who was behind her and looking up.
“If, if possible, Ichika-kun, can you choose one for me?”
“Un, I did choose Chifuyu-nee’s clothing before… but is this really good? You’re letting me choose.”
“Of, of course!”
Cecilia declared this as she again emphasized it.
“The, then…I hope to be dyed in the color of Ichika-san…”
Her face immediately turned red as she muttered softly.
Besides, it’s too embarrassing to say the truth like that, as Cecilia said that in a volume Ichika couldn’t hear.
“Mn—well, leave it to me then.”
“Please give your orders, ojou-sama.”
Ichika played a little joke, and Cecilia giggled in protest.
“Do, don’t~! Don’t call me ojou-sama.”
“Hahaha. Sorry sorry.”
“…It’d be great if Ichika-san was my personal subordinate…”
“No, nothing at all! Nothing at all!”
Cecilia rubbed her hands together. Though her face was dyed like a cherry blossom, she’s showing a really happy look.
--15 minutes later.
“I, I’m done.”
On hearing Cecilia’s voice from the changing room, Ichika, who was sitting on the sofa opposite, inadvertently stood up.
“Do the sizes match?”
“It’s fine…ahem. Can you help me check this out?”
“Oh, okay, I’m good when you're ready.”
Shyaa. The screen was pulled aside.
Cecilia appeared and put her hands on her hip, displaying herself like a model.
Like what Ichika thought out, she was dressed in a sky-blue tears shirt to go with the black ¾ pants. She’s wearing a casket hat, and she had a pair of really suitable sunglasses on her.
“How’s this? My casual outfit.”
“Un. It’s quite good. Really suits you.”
“Well, of course it suits me. O, other than that, shouldn’t you compliment me with something?”
Completely different from that confident look she expected, Cecilia uttered shyly, and it was so soft Ichika couldn’t hear it.
Ichika clapped his hands together. Readying her pose and expecting a compliment, Cecilia’s chest couldn’t help but tremble.
“Your pose’s really amazing!”
“I, I, Ichika-san? I, it’s not that I’m unhappy about you praising me about that, bu, but that’s too much.”
“Just joking. You look cute in casual clothes, Cecilia.”
“!! Re, really?”
(Ahhh, Ichika-san, Ichika-san…!)
Having been praised by Ichika for being cute or something, Cecilia’s heart inadvertently bloomed like the flowers. Of course, the flowers were roses, white roses that represent nobility. (TN: I believe white roses mean eternal love, or something like that.)
Not knowing the happiness in Cecilia’s heart, Ichika reached his hand over.
“There’s a step. Be careful.”
“Eh, ehh. Thank you.”
Ichika looked like a prince escorting a princess down a carriage, making Cecilia blush in the process.
<<Orimura-sama has the natural ability to attract female gazes, right? My mistress, please be careful. Maintain your sanity and don’t be lured over.>>
Chelsea’s words appeared in Cecilia’s mind for a moment, but it was quickly blown off at the speed of light, so fast that a Doppler phenomenon never occurred.
(Ahh. I, I’ll go down and be Ichika’s woman…)
Her heart seemed to be flowing with golden honey.
(If there’s a need to shoot down Ichika-san’s heart, I’ll be the one to do that personally. Sniper of the Sky, pilot of the IS [Blue Tears]—Cecilia Alcott!)
As for the knight’s soul she imagined it to be and worship—well, it didn't exist.
Cecilia’s heart got so sticky that she would surrender once she saw steamed sweet potato with butter. (TN: This is a little hard to explain. Steamed sweet potato is sticky, hot butter is gooey. Sticky and gooey, get it?)
(Ahh, what a wonderful moment.)
‘’But it’s just ordinary casual clothing!’’ The mini-Ichika that seemed to be hidden in her heart said. Either way, Cecilia shot him down with the [Starlight MK III], and her heart again sank into the sea of happiness.
Her shoulders used up the 120 seconds of endurance, and her sweat turned her face into a cherry blossom.
“Then, where should we go next?”
“Eh. Ehh. I just want to go wherever Ichika-san wants to go—”
Before she could finish, Cecilia stopped herself and used Ichika’s body as cover.
“? What’s wrong, Ce—”
“Shh! Those men!”
Cecilia whispered as she pointed in a direction. There were two men in black suits and shades observing their surroundings and walking around.
“That was close. Cecilia, put on your shades.”
After saying that, she put the shades on her face. The attire created a mysterious elegance that shocked Ichika.
(It’s like she’s a Hollywood star.)
By the way, it’s not rare to see the representatives and cadets of a country take part in movies, dramas, singer, models, attend concerts or musicals.
Not only that, it’s to be expected of a country’s ambassador to promote the fact that the country has an IS.
With the crazy fanclubs all over the world, it was really common for the girls in promotions to change their nationalities. Though a few of them were girls who wanted to be the next generation of pilots, a lot more of them are males who are attracted to them. No matter the age or the situation, this seems like it won’t change at all.
“Er, erm, Ichika-san?”
“Ah, ahh, sorry. I was too engrossed.”
Cecilia’s face went red again. It seemed like her face was red throughout today.
“Not good. That guy entered the shop… Cecilia.”
“…Ichika-san was too engrossed in me. Ichika-san was too engrossed in me…fufu♪"
“Cecilia? Oi, oi, hello?”
“Ye, yes!? Wh, wha, what’s the matter?”
“It’s over if you’re spotted. Stick close to me and go out.”
“Well, it’ll be alright if we lock each other's elbows.”
“!? Lo, lock each other's elbows…!?”
Having completely forgotten that she did the same to Ichika before (TN: Volume 2), Cecilia’s heart pounded, DOKI DOKI, as she kept her body close to Ichika.
“Ah, erm, that…”
“Shh, you’ll attract attention if you talk.”
Ichika whispered to Cecilia at a close distance, and she nodded her head hard. Her face was red all over again.
Gyuu. She grabbed Ichika’s arm, and her heart felt like it was going to pop out of her mouth.
Though her chest felt a little sweet pain, her happiness outweighed it. Having become accustomed to this complicated taste, Cecilia and Ichika walked out of the room.
Even through their clothes, she could feel those trained muscles. On realizing that, Cecilia’s heart pounded, DOKI DOKI, as she continued to walk.
(If I’m hugged tightly by this elbow…)
‘’My maiden circuits would be completely wrecked.’’
Thinking about this, Cecilia exhaled some hot air as she sighed.
Cecilia, who was walking with Ichika, let out a shrill cry.
“Ar, are you alright?”
In the darkness, Cecilia hugged onto Ichika’s elbow tightly.
It was a dark hidden room with only two people—of course not. It was the cinema.
In the end, to avoid the men in black suits and shades, Ichika and Cecilia went into the nearest cinema…
“I, I’ve never been able to take such horrifying stuff.”
Cecilia dragged Ichika in without checking the content of the movie.
However, it was not the man-made horror movies like zombies and monsters, but a documentary that showed real life in a more gruesome manner.
Ever since the beginning, Cecilia’s arm never left Ichika’s elbow.
“If, if you’re that scared, should we go out?”
“Bu, but, aren’t we not allowed to stand up when the movie’s showing?... We won’t be discovered easily if we mix into the crowd…KYAAAAAHHH!!!”
“Are you alright, Cecilia?”
Ichika stroked Cecilia’s head gently.
The soft touch of that hand made Cecilia sigh.
“Okay. It’s not scary, not scary.”
If it was the usual Cecilia, perhaps she would go ‘don’t do that, I’m not a child anymore’ and push the hand away, but it really felt good to be stroked by Ichika.
(Ichika-san’s hand’s really gentle…)
Her eyes couldn’t help but close.
She sighed, giving off a radiance that a 15-year-old shouldn’t have.
“Well—we were scared in the end.”
“Tha, that’s right.”
After watching the movie, Cecilia’s words became really vague, unlike the satisfied Ichika.
She completely memorized the ending and content of the movie (and she didn’t feel scared anymore because of that.)
“Bu, but, the following movies are rather good. Li, lik, like for example, romance or something—”
“Huh? What’s that kid doing there?”
“Well, are you listening?”
Cecilia forcefully pinched Ichika’s arm, and this hurt more than expected as Ichika couldn’t help but cringe.
“It hurts. So, sorry. But, the kid over there, is she lost?”
After Ichika said that, Cecilia turned to look in the direction Ichika’s finger was pointing.
Like what he said, there was a girl crying there.
Cecilia let go of Ichika’s arm and walked to the girl.
Cecilia’s eyes met the girls, and she pulled her handkerchief out to wipe the girl’s tears.
But only the crying remained, and Cecilia couldn’t understand at all.
Even so, Cecilia’s gentle look made the girl calm down gradually as she continued to wipe the tears off.
“See, don’t cry. Girls can’t cry in front of others so loudly.”
The girl finally stopped crying, and Cecilia praised her ‘you did well’.
The girl was really happy, and finally started to talk about what happened.
“Pa, papa and mama are gone…”
“Where did you lose them?”
Ichika, who waited silently behind Cecilia, finally spoke on seeing that the girl calmed down.
Nobody knew when he bought a candy stick as he held it in his hand.
“Okay, you’ll feel better once you try it.”
“Then, where did you lose papa and mama?”
“Un…I chased after a kitty, and I ended up in a place I don’t know…ueh…”
She was definitely anxious. Most likely, the girl thought of how she lost sight of her parents as her eyes teared up again.
“Erm, your name?”
“Yu, Yuri…” (TN: In hiragana, ゆり)
“Yuri…’Zephyranthes’. That’s a nice name.”
“That’s what ‘Yuri’s called in English.” (TN: Yuri would mean 百合, Lily, and Zephyranthes is the genus of Lily.)
Yuri felt that it was refreshing to hear an English word she never heard before, and though puzzled, she stopped crying.
Then, she started licking the candy Ichika bought for her, and then smiled.
“This is really good!”
“Really? Glad you like it.”
Yuri seemed to like it a lot as she licked the candy stick like she was in dreamland.
“Then, let’s find the parents. There should be a park nearby if we walk from the north exit of the train station.”
Ichika pulled his phone out and downloaded the images from the internet. Since there were obvious landmarks in the park, she should be able to spot it by comparing.
“Yuri-chan, does that park have this stone there?”
“Nn…I think so…”
“Okay, it’s the Odawara Park already. Let’s go then.”
After saying that, Ichika held Yuri’s hand.
“It’s not good to get lost.”
“I can’t go with people I don’t know, papa and mama sa…”
“Th, that’ll be really troublesome if they said that.”
“Ara, he’s not someone you don’t know. Have you seen ‘Orimura Ichika’ on TV before?”
“Ah. I remember seeing him on some special channel.”
“On some special channel?”
“Ichika-san’s famous, you know? Because ‘he’s the only male IS pilot in the world’, isn’t that right?”
“Ahh! I heard of that! The ‘only one’!”
Yuri, most likely, she remembered what her mother commented about on seeing the TV channel as she shouted out.
“O, onii-chan. Are you an actor!?”
“No, I’m not some actor.”
“Bu, but, you’re the ‘only one’!”
“A, amazing! People who appeared on TV.”
Perhaps Yuri was touched because of something Ichika didn’t know of, as her eyes were glittering. Most likely, the people on TV affected real life badly, and they would want to get a signature of an actor they like, or something like that.
“Therefore, he’s ‘someone you know’, right?”
“Let’s go then.”
Bringing Yuri, who believed them, Ichika started walking.
But after a few steps, Yuri stopped.
She pointed her finger at Cecilia, and just when Cecilia was about to have a ‘?’ above her head, Yuri spoke up.
“Onee-chan, you need to hold hands with Yuri too!”
“So you want to hold hands together tightly, right?”
“Ahh, I see.”
Still thinking of why there was a need to ‘hold hands’, Cecilia finally understood Ichika’s words.
And then, she walked to the other side of Ichika—and grabbed Yuri’s right hand as the three of them walked side by side.
The trio held hands as they walked together.
While walking to the park, Cecilia remembered her past.
(I think, I was about 5 that time…)
During the time when both parents were still around, and when both husband and wife had a good relationship.
During autumn, the trio would walk on the ground of the park that was covered with fallen leaves.
Like how the trio were holding hands together.
(At that time…I was happy that my parents, who were busy with work, could come out to spend time…)
It was simple happiness, not a trace of confusion.
Thinking about that, the kind smiles of her parents were all the more colorful.
--It’s just that this was the last memory she had of her parents being together.
After that, both husband and wife started to have a divide growing between them, until only Cecilia was left alone.
To attract her parents attention, she started learning piano, violin and other things.
Whenever she had a performance, without fail, only her father or mother would show up alone.
‘’I really want to meet them.’’
Right now, as a representative candidate, she would definitely be praised by both of them.
And one day, she would show that smile like how it was that day.
--I want to see them. I want to see them. I want to see them.
She recalled the reluctant lonely times.
Unknowingly, Cecilia’s face was full of tears.
“Ah, are…? That’s strange.”
Her tears dripped down.
The sudden change shocked Ichika, who was holding onto the handkerchief, panicking and not knowing what to do.
At that moment, Yuri, who’s holding Cecilia’s hand, said to her clearly.
“Onee-chan. Girls can’t cry in front of others.”
“Fufu, you’re right…mn, I’m alright.”
Now that the young girl pointed that out to her, Cecilia sad feelings were swept away as she used her fingers to wipe her tears.
--That’s right, she was no longer "that" Cecilia.
Even if she was no longer able to meet her parents again, she was not alone now.
In Japan, this foreign land, she met her classmates and friends.
And also, the person she likes.
So, she was not alone anymore—
She thought deep within her heart.
Either way, if she were offensive against others, she would end up being alone. Right now, Cecilia could calmly realize this.
(I’m a bad, bad child.)
But, that was in the past.
The lonely her who always tried to act tough no longer remained.
(I like Ichika-san—)
‘’Yes, if I keep such honest thoughts.’’
‘’I’m no longer, alone.’’
‘’The world, is so wonderful.’’
At sunset in the park, looking down from the high platform onto the street, one could find Ichika and Cecilia sitting on the bench.
“It’s great that we found that kid’s parents immediately.”
Most likely, they ran around looking for their child, as the father kept thanking Ichika and Cecilia.
As for the mother, she was crying non-stop because her beloved daughter’s here.
Most likely, Ichika and Cecilia would never forget the way Yuri smiled and squealed when she saw her parents.
“Thank you very much for today.”
Ichika couldn’t help but be stunned for being thanked so suddenly.
“Actually, I escaped.”
“Ahh, from those black suits?”
“No, it’s not really like that—”
Just when Cecilia was about to say something, a boom was heard.
Suddenly, a helicopter flew overhead.
And the person beside the pilot’s seat was someone Ichika met before.
“You’re not allowed to leave your work! And on top of that, running away as the head of the Alcott family!”
Lecturing forcefully, she had a sniper rifle on her knee, but it was better to ignore it.
Cecilia got up from her bench and walked to the helicopter.
“Ehh, Chelsea. Right now, I won’t run away anymore.”
On hearing Cecilia’s words, Chelsea heaved a sigh of relief as she patted her chest, and kept the sniper rifle on her knee.
The wind from the rotor blades nearby blew the casket hat off. Cecilia held it down with her hand and waved to Ichika.
“Besides, I’m Cecilia Alcott—”
That face was showing an elegant smile,
“A first-class lady.”
Cecilia hugged the casket hat on the bed.
The hat Ichika chose was really cute.
“What happened today is my precious memory.”
A summer date.
Though the sunlight was hot, and so hot it was unbearable.
“Good night, Ichika-san.”
With a kiss on the casket hat, Cecilia closed her eyes slowly.
That night, what she dreamed was a girl’s secret…