Editing CubexCursedxCurious:Volume16 Chapter3

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===Part 7===
===Part 7===
Turning the clock back slightly earlier, back to the Yachi home's garden...
Haruaki was staring at the house when Kirika suddenly got up from where she was sitting on the side.
"I'll get some refreshments to take to Konoha-kun and Kotetsu-kun. Can I borrow the kitchen for a bit?"
"Sure, thank you... Need any help?"
"I don't plan on making anything labor intensive, so I'll be fine alone."
"Really? Then it's fine even if you pour out all the tomato juice from the fridge."
"Got it."
After ending this conversation, Kirika walked into the dim interior of the house. It felt like Kirika needed to find something to kill time.
Clearly they should not have time to kill.
Clearly before the final deadline arrived, they must do something.
In spite of that, Haruaki still could not muster any strength. As soon as he sat here, looking at the wrecked house as though admiring flowers, for some unknown reason, neither his mind nor his body could exert any strength.
After running around all day, his body was filled with fatigue. His left hand's wound was giving strange feeling between pain and numbness, suggesting a sense of emptiness as though something important was escaping from there. His mind could not focus, only recalling ambiguous activity records while his consciousness was about to drift away any moment.
No good. No good. Haruaki shook his head lightly while saying to himself:
"What should we do...? My brain can't operate at all..."
"Because too many things changed all at once. This can't be helped."
Originally muttering to himself, the father sitting beside him responded to him. Because he had been cleaning up the whole time, Honatsu was still wearing an apron, sitting with his calves tucked against his outer thighs.
"You're talking like this has nothing to do with you... Don't you have any good ideas, Pops?"
"How could there be none? Rather, it would be better to say that I've been putting them into action the whole time."
Haruaki turned this head to see Honatsu patting the broom on the side while he continued:
"This only happened because too many things have changed. Then the first step is to try restoring everything back to the way it was. I think it's a great idea."
"...That's why you're sweeping?"
"Yes. You won't come up with good ideas if you don't calm down. Going through the motions first turned out to be surprisingly effective, it's really great."
What should one say? It felt too simple and wishful. Haruaki shrugged and sighed.
"Sweeping is all fine and good, but it still doesn't solve anything. What if the enemy attacks and damages the house again?"
"Just continue fixing and sweeping, right?"
Honatsu spoke boldly and simply.
"...Then will a good 'development' follow from that?"
"Yeah, probably. Right now, that's all I can do then wait."
"Probably? This is so unreliable..."
Haruaki sighed again.
At this time, Honatsu turned his body to face Haruaki while remaining in sitting posture. With a smile, he asked him:
"Eh, what's the most 'life as usual' thing for you, Haruaki?"
"Let's start the restoration from there, how about that? After all, we can't possibly restore everything all at once, so we have start our efforts somewhere critical."
Life as usual.
Haruaki tried to think. At the same time, he kept the same view—looking at the house from the garden.
An undamaged roof. The veranda heated warm from the sun's rays. The pillar where heights were recorded in the past. The old but staid smell of tatami. Everyone gathered in the living room. Konoha slightly in a huff. Kuroe saying frighteningly absurd things. Kirika reciting her usual catchphrase in exasperation. Then, in the very center. The center of their group was—
"Fear in human form, munching on rice crackers, also scattering crumbs everywhere... Right?"
Haruaki squinted and spoke. The dark living room. The heavily scarred living room. These were superimposed upon his imagined scene.
"So... Let's start with restoring that, okay?"
"That's what I want to do too."
"Fear... has suffered a severe shock. The meaning of her birth was rejected by that Dominion Lord, that guy who created her. Also... Because of her curse, she lost control on the ship."
In addition, there was the matter of chopping his fingers off.
"I... What should I say? Like 'don't let it weigh on your mind' or 'I don't mind,' stuff like that... Just repeating those things I've kept saying all along isn't going to change anything... Geh."
"Hey hey~"
Honatsu suddenly extended the broom's handle to rub Haruaki's cheek. Haruaki narrowed his eyes and pushed the broom away.
"What are you doing?"
"This is educational instruction for my overly serious son. Listen to me, the answer is surprisingly simple. When facing difficult things, don't think about anything, just do what your feelings tell you to do. Just like last time, it's necessary to be willful sometimes."
But this time was different. The situation was much worse than last time.
During his indecision, Honatsu's throat shook as he laughed "hoho."
"The way I see it... I think that Fear-chan is just troubling over boring little things~"
"Don't make it sound so easy, to her, it's—"
"That's exactly it. Although Fear-chan is treating this very seriously, there's no need for us to take such a serious attitude as well. All we need to do is speak to her in a live~ly~ manner from our own standpoint. So what if her existence was a mistake from the start? So what if she deserves to be cursed? Sometimes, right things are born out of that... Stuff along those lines."
"Right things... Such as?"
Honatsu narrowed his eyes slightly after Haruaki asked.
He fell silent for a long time.
So long that Haruaki was beginning to wonder if his father refused to answer, whether he was spouting things randomly.
But after a while—
Finally, he spoke in a calm voice.
Those words were exceedingly feeble, sliding into the world with the impression that they were murmurings to himself.
"Perhaps precisely from understanding curses, these negative thoughts, one can further understand how irreplaceable positive thoughts are. Perhaps precisely from being something that has been cursed again and again—only then can something farthest removed from curses be born and nurtured. That's what this is about..."
Honatsu seemed to be recalling something in a daze, his gaze directed towards the house...
Near the end of his speech, his gaze suddenly shifted.
Towards Haruaki.
Surely, ever since his birth till now—
Over these past eighteen years<!--18th birthday during the summer of 2nd year high school? I suppose that works-->, his father was slipping up for the very first time.
His father's gaze and words made him realize something. Could it be possible&mdash;
With a mighty beat, his heart began to grow hot.
Haruaki could not help but ask&mdash;
"Umm, I've been wanting to find a chance to ask you again since a while ago, my mother..."
His father's eyebrow twitched as though going "crap"&mdash;Did he imagine it? That instant was too non-obvious and his father immediately resumed a foolishly smiling look too naturally, so he could not be sure. Perhaps it really was his imagination.
"Hmm? The subject changed suddenly~? Well, I don't know what she's doing, out there somewhere. After the divorce, we never got in touch again, but I think she should be doing well? Uh, this is my&mdash;Sorry, I should apologize seriously for times like these and switch back to a normal male tone of voice.<!--in the JP, Honatsu usually uses "watashi" to speak in a female voice, now he's switching to "ore"--> It's all my fault for always running all over the world outside. She couldn't stand it and left this home. It's my fault for making her life full of uncertainties. I am really so sorry. Anyway, it was all my fault, I am to blame for all of it, so hate me if you must, son, no wait, conversely, in order to lavish you with double the amount of love, that's why I'm trying so hard looking like this, so you should be able to conclude it's a happy ending, right!?"
He glossed over the issue in full force.
Haruaki knew very clearly, but unbelievably, he did not feel like pursuing the matter to the very bottom at this time.
Regardless of the truth, it did not matter now. Even if he found out, it would not change anything.
Hence, he could only relax his body and mind then smile.
"...No way no way, how is this a happy ending?"
"Eh~ To think I created a brand-new realm of child-rearing by being both parents at once. Oh, I guess I need to let you breastfeed after all? Wanna suck?"
"I-I'm not allowing him to suck! Absolutely ridiculous!"
By the time he noticed, Kirika had already returned at some point. She glared viciously at Honatsu who was squeezing his bosom with his arms to accentuate it under the apron, but Honatsu giggled and ignored her. Then he stood up with a grunt of "ooph" like an old man.
"Okay, it's time to continue sweeping~ Oh, Kirika-chan, can I take a cup of tea?"
"Yes, I poured these out for you two in the first place... Yachi, take one too."
Haruaki took a cup of barley tea from Kirika's tray then turned his gaze while drinking. On the boundary wall in the back, Kotetsu was drinking canned tomato juice with a serious look on his face. Kirika had apparently gone to visit Konoha and Kotetsu first to deliver refreshments to them.
[[image:C3 16-246.png|thumb]]
"Puha~ Great, then I'll work hard for a while longer! Kirika-chan, can you clear the cups later and first help sweep up the broken glass in the main house? After that, I'll provide you with an unused room to rest."
"I don't mind, but... Uh, what about Yachi...?"
"The unworthy son seems to have things to do."
Looking at Haruaki, Honatsu winked. It did not suit him at all. Then turning around, he said at the same time:
"Anyway... I think the topic went on a tangent in the middle, but the conclusion is very simple. Since you're not sure what to say, remember that actions speak louder than words. This is an ancient proverb that's still circulating."
The father's figure moved forward after handing the broom to Kirika.
Watching his back, Haruaki also stood up.
Compared to just now&mdash;Strangely enough, he felt energy in his body.
Even though what he needed to do remained unclear.
But he knew what he wanted to do.
"The answer is surprisingly simple. Actions speak louder than words... I see? Then it can't be helped."
His lips curling in a grin, Haruaki muttered:
"Then I'll be willful for once."
After that&mdash;
"...Hi, are you awake?"
Fear's reply was very brief.
The room was dark. There was only the moonlight shining in from the sliding door he had opened. It illuminated the steel cube standing coldly on the futon.
It was as though Fear were saying that staying in that form was the only penance for her.
As though saying it was the only safe solution that would not hurt anyone.
Still withdrawn.
Haruaki narrowed his eyes lightly and reexamined his own heart. What he wanted to do. What he desired&mdash;The scenery of life as usual.
To restore it, what action should he take seeing as he did not know what to say?
Crap. I'm grunting the same way as Pops. Haruaki frowned while...
Picking up Fear's body in his arms. Extremely heavy.
"What are... you doing...?"
This was a willful solution.
What he wanted to do.
Hence, completely unabashed, Haruaki carried Fear in his arms out into the corridor&mdash;At the same time, he said:
"Let's sleep together."
Although it sounded like a scream of insanity...
For the first time in a while, Haruaki finally heard Fear's voice full of emotions again.
===Part 8===
===Part 8===

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