Owari no Chronicle:Volume2 Chapter 22
Chapter 22: Unforgettable Secrets
Memories can be made into words
But they do not need to be made into words
That is why our desire to know more of them never ends
Sayama stood in the city with Shinjou Setsu as the sun set.
Sayama was wearing a suit as usual. Shinjou was wearing a shirt and brown shorts.
Sayama was using both arms to hold the paper bag from a hobby center that Shinjou should have been carrying. Baku sat on his head.
They stood before a large estate surrounded by a green fence. They were looking at the side of the estate. They could see a large lawn with pine trees, cherry trees, and garden stones. The main building beyond that was a large tile-roofed Japanese-style house.
The area around it was growing dark, but the estate was brightly lit by the light coming from the sliding doors and windows.
Shinjou looked back and forth across the 100-meter fence.
“Wow… Th-this is your house, Sayama-kun?”
“It is not my house. This is the Tamiya family’s house. They control the underside of Akigawa city and the surrounding areas. To put it simply, they are a vigilante group. They run a security company as their foundation.”
Sayama looked at Shinjou and lifted up the paper bag in his arms a bit.
“I was thinking of eating dinner here to apologize for today. Is that okay with you?”
Shinjou looked up at him. Finally, he bent his eyes and showed his teeth in a smile.
“Sure. I would love that.”
Shinjou held out his hands. He seemed to be asking to take back his bag, but Sayama smiled bitterly.
“I decided to carry this of my own free will. And I need to show a guest proper courtesy.”
“I suppose so… Thanks. I’ve never been in an estate like this before.”
“This place can also be used for celebrations after various events. There is nothing to fear. Although, Izumo was once attacked by a selectively bred alligator after diving into the pond.”
“I’ll ignore that last part, but why don’t you go to school from here?”
“It is my grandfather the Tamiya family is indebted to. They will not tell me much about it, but it seems they would have been destroyed if it were not for him. …But my grandfather’s achievements have nothing to do with me.”
“You’re really strict… Do you not think of them as family?”
“It would be nice if I could. Now, the gate is this way.”
Sayama pointed to the eastern end of the fence with his chin. Shinjou looked up above his head and laughed.
“What is it?”
“He copied you up on your head.”
“Oh, Baku did? He seems to be gradually taking a liking to me.”
“Everyone and everything around you is strange, isn’t it?”
“Yes, and that causes unending troubles for a normal person like me.”
“Y-yeah…” said Shinjou as he averted his gaze.
Sayama nodded just as a voice came from the estate’s entrance to the east.
They had not been able to understand it, but someone was yelling. They looked and, in the center of the eastern fence, a large black car was stopped in front of the small wooden gate. A young man and woman were dealing with a fat elderly man in between the gate and the car.
“What is going on? Is it what you call a turf war?”
“Where did you learn that term? Anyway, this is nothing so serious. That is Tamiya Kouji and Ryouko. Those siblings are the current supporting pillars of the Tamiya family. I do not know who that man is, but just watch.” Sayama watched the young man wearing a colored shirt and suit pants and the young woman wearing a blue kimono. “I am still too inexperienced to think of them as family.”
The woman wearing a blue kimono stood with her back to the lights of the estate. Her narrow drooping eyes were covered by glasses and watched the black car and the elderly man standing in front of it.
His fat body was covered by a gray three-piece suit and a white scarf. He held a cigarette in his mouth.
The blue kimono-wearing woman spoke to the man in a gentle voice.
“I am glad you appear to be in good health, president.”
“I don’t care if you call me fat and bald, Tamiya Ryouko-san. I am here about-…”
“Yes,” nodded Ryouko. She placed a hand on the hair pulled back behind her head in a bun. “One of your young members seemed to have had some late-night business with one of the companies we protect.”
“Yes, that. As I said before, that is a misunderstanding, so-…”
“Unfortunately, well, the issue has already been handed over to the police.” Ryouko brought her hands together in front of her waist and smiled. “Trust matters most to us. We cannot go back on this now.”
“Are you stupid? I’m not talking about your convenience.” The elderly man’s tone gradually dropped as he glared up at Ryouko. “If you youngsters think you can get away with this using who your predecessors were-..”
“Good point,” said Ryouko while still smiling. “President, how much longer is this speech going to last?”
That comment silenced the man slightly and he pulled his cigarette from his mouth.
As soon as he opened his mouth, Ryouko took action.
She took a step forward and pressed the cigarette in his hand against her chest.
“Oh, dear. That is quite hot.”
With a slight sound of burning, a hole was created in the kimono. The man frantically pulled his hand back.
“Y-you idiot...” he started to say, but Ryouko’s eyes narrowed further behind her glasses.
“You mustn’t suddenly touch a woman’s chest.”
While still smiling, Ryouko raised a hand too fast to see.
That instantaneous movement came to a stop. By that time, something other than a cigarette was sticking into the elderly man’s opened mouth.
It was a mass of black metal. It was a handgun.
Ryouko suddenly squeezed the trigger.
The man let out a voiceless cry and the gun’s hammer shook.
Ryouko tilted her head.
She could not pull the trigger. Her slender finger had tried to attack, but the trigger stopped after moving a few millimeters. The man breathed erratically and adjusted his hips that were about to crumble beneath him. And then Ryouko spoke to her younger brother who stood next to her.
“Kouji, this thing’s broken.”
“What a pain,” said the young man in a navy blue shirt and with a crew cut. “Um, nee-san.”
“Yes, Kouji? What am I supposed to do at times like this?”
As the two siblings spoke, the elderly man slowly raised his hands. He was trying to remove the handgun from his mouth and hold Ryouko’s hands back. He calculated the timing, calmed himself with three deep breaths, and tried to take action.
At the same moment, Kouji nodded and answered his older sister’s question.
“You turn off the safety. Didn’t I teach you that before?”
“Oh, that’s right, that’s right. I was too quick to think it was broken,” she said delightedly. She then overcame the elderly man’s actions and removed the safety. “Sorry about the delay.”
And she pulled the trigger. She fired six shots all at once. Repeated gunshots rang out and the man trembled.
As the final gunshot faded into the sky, the elderly man collapsed as if crouching down.
At the same time, the driver’s door of the black car opened.
The young driver charged out of the car.
The instant he reached into his pocket, an object seemed to grow from the hood of the car.
With a metallic noise, a single carving knife had stabbed into the hood.
The driver froze in place with his hand still in his pocket.
He stared at the knife before him and the person who had thrown it.
Tamiya Kouji lightly held his right hand toward the driver.
“I apologize, but our family is currently preparing a meal for some guests and therefore preparing for battle.”
As he spoke, something that glittered hung down from Kouji’s hand. It was a cooking knife with a rectangular blade.
He closed his eyelids a bit as the blade hung down between his index finger and middle finger.
“I was in the middle of chopping cabbage. If I do not continue soon, the poor thing will wilt.”
Ryouko then spoke from where she was crouched down next to the collapsed elderly man.
“Oh?” She turned toward Kouji and lightly tapped the knife blade in his hand. “Kouji, Kouji. This didn’t shoot any bullets.”
Smoke could be seen rising from the elderly man’s mouth, but no real harm seemed to have come to him. Kouji stood next to the man who was breathing smoke.
“I put blanks in it. You can have real bullets once you learn how to use a gun.”
“C’mon, Kouji. Why do you always treat your big sister like a child?”
“If you want that to change, nee-san, then learn how to use a gun. Not to mention the video player, the stove, the stereo, and the washing machine.”
“I’m no good with machines that have more than two steps.”
As Ryouko tapped on Kouji’s knee, the knife fell from his hand.
“Ah,” said the siblings.
“Ahhh!” cried the driver.
The knife stabbed down just above the elderly man’s head.
A clear sound rang out.
The rectangular blade stabbed about five centimeters into the asphalt and stopped while digging shallowly into the man’s hair.
The driver frantically ran around the car. As the three of them watched on, the elderly man lay on his back with his limbs sprawled out. His eyes were opened wide and both corners of his smoke-spewing mouth were lifted up.
“How strange. He somehow looks quite satisfied,” commented Ryouko as she stroked the handle of the knife sticking into the ground.
The driver frantically tried to help the elderly man up, but Ryouko looked up at him and smiled.
“Oh, um. No. I meant… I was saying I’m an idiot. Sorry.”
“I see… but you shouldn’t point out that kind of thing about yourself.”
“Nee-san, you’re just agreeing that he is an idiot.”
Ryouko pulled a small black device from her pocket. It was a simple single-button camera.
She took a few pictures of the elderly man without using the flash and the smile in the eyes behind her glasses changed to a satisfied one.
“At any rate, you can leave now.”
Without saying anything, the driver put the elderly man in the backseat. Meanwhile, Kouji wordlessly pulled the knife out of the car’s hood and suddenly looked to the side.
“Oh, young master,” he said with a bow.
Ryouko turned around upon hearing Kouji’s voice and the car quickly drove away.
As the sound of exhaust grew more distant, two figures stood before them.
One was a boy wearing a suit and holding a brown paper bag. The other was wearing a shirt and shorts. The second figure folded his hands in front of his waist with a stiff smile.
The suit-wearing boy smiled and said, “I am glad to see you have not changed. We are here for dinner.”
After entering the Tamiya household, Shinjou ended up helping prepare dinner.
Everything Shinjou saw there left his mouth hanging open. All he had seen so far was the sprawling entranceway, the hallway five people could walk abreast through, and the kitchen which had two sinks. He also saw men and women servants who accomplished everything with no wasted movements.
Shinjou was short and he greeted those tall people with a smile before helping in the kitchen.
Sayama was in the living room next to the kitchen. Shinjou could see his back across the wide hallway where he was sitting on a cushion and reading a newspaper.
Shinjou peeled potatoes in between Kouji and Ryouko who had changed into an orange kimono.
Kouji wore an apron to Shinjou’s left. The movements of his hands were quick, efficient, and highly varied. As Shinjou watched, he sliced the vegetables, fish, and other meat the servants brought him, washed them in the sink, and moved on to his next action.
The repeated sounds of the knife striking the chopping board, the sounds of the ingredient being sliced, and the sounds of the sink seemed to continue without end.
To Shinjou’s right, Ryouko had taken up her position in front of a pot sitting over a weak flame. She was not doing anything, but…
“Okay, nee-san. Move out of the way. The fish is burning.”
“Kouji, you’re treating me like I’m in the way again. The older sister is more important.”
“Yes, you are quite important. But you’re still in the way.”
“You’re acting like the young master now, Kouji.”
“I am still more decisive,” called Sayama from the living room.
“Kouji, where are Seizou and the others?”
“They went to Atami for the neighborhood association trip. He said he was looking forward to the Atagawa Tropical & Alligator Garden and for some reason brought a shotgun with him.”
“What an airheaded family,” Shinjou muttered to himself as he peeled the potato before his eyes.
Ryouko restlessly looked like she wanted to help.
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Nee-san, you can focus on what’s right in front of you.”
“Watching something boil is boring.”
“Yes, yes,” nodded Kouji. “But everyone says it tastes better when you cook it.”
Ryouko smiled in Shinjou’s direction and he tried to avoid commenting on that.
“…Are things always like this here?”
“Yes. The young master has not been around recently, but we have been enjoying ourselves well enough.”
Shinjou nodded and realized Ryouko’s tone of voice was different when speaking to him than it was when speaking to Kouji or Sayama.
Shinjou nodded even deeper for that reason and others.
“What kind of person is Sayama-kun?” he asked.
Kouji’s hands stopped when he heard that question. He stared forward with a serious expression.
“The young master is the type of person who will undoubtedly accomplish something great. I have no proof of it, but I have no doubts.”
“Wh-what do you…?”
“Setsu-kun, feel free to back away. Kouji is a bit right-wing when it comes to the young master.”
Ryouko held Shinjou’s shoulders from behind while saying this, so Shinjou was unsure how to respond. Ryouko then peered over his shoulder at him. Her eyes were gently bent in a smile behind the glasses.
“What kind of person are you, Setsu-kun?”
Shinjou’s hands holding the potato and the knife stopped moving.
At that time, Shinjou realized Ryouko’s gaze was stopped on the fingers of his right hand.
As Ryouko looked at that completely bare right hand, she suddenly let go of Shinjou’s shoulders.
“Sorry. I should not keep you from your work.”
Shinjou began peeling the potato once more. He heard the pot to the left spewing steam and Kouji left the kitchen.
Shinjou was now alone with Ryouko.
He looked over and saw Ryouko was staring at the pot with a smile.
“Cooking is love~,” she muttered as if humming.
From the look in her eyes, it seemed she truly meant those words. Shinjou decided it would be wrong to interrupt her work if she was that into it, but he then realized he had not answered Ryouko’s previous question. He spoke while continuing to peel potatoes.
“I…don’t know that much about myself. I have no memories before about the age of 6.”
“Is that so? But you will be fine here. They might have their memories, but a lot of people here have no ID.”
“Hee hee,” laughed Ryouko. “But it is not often that the young master holds an interest in another person.”
Shinjou listened to Ryouko’s voice. She spoke so quietly only the two of them could hear it.
“He seems interested in you and your sister.”
“Eh?” replied Shinjou while blushing.
Ryouko smiled bitterly while still watching the pot.
“I think it is a good thing. But it seems he really was traumatized when it comes to women…”
“What do you mean traumatized?”
“Well,” said Ryouko casually. “I slept with him a long time ago.”
Shinjou’s hands stopped moving. He could feel sweat appearing all over his body.
“Hm? …You shouldn’t stop working.”
Shinjou began peeling the potato once more. However, he could not bring much strength into his hands and had to focus on digging an eye from the potato.
Ryouko gave a bitter smile while watching his small motions.
“Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. And it happened 10 years ago.”
“But 10 years ago would mean…”
“I was young back then. I am still quite young now, though.”
Ryouko spoke that last sentence with more intensity as she continued to watch the pot. She suddenly stirred the contents of the pot with a pair of cooking chopsticks. Steam rose and the scent of both soy sauce and sugar came with it.
“I had fallen for the young master’s father. But his father died during the relief operations for that great Kansai earthquake. Then his mother took him and…” She nodded. “At that time, his grandfather was devoting all his time to work, so the young master seemed depressed. And so…well, you get the picture.”
“Was Sayama-kun really depressed?”
“He had a bit of a backlash. He was very attached to his mother after his father died, but his mother would often tell him she hoped he would be able to do something one day. But that was not a promise. I think it was just a parent’s hopes for her child. But…” Ryouko trailed off and paused before continuing. “The room he stayed in with his mother is still left unopened.”
“But the young master really is a boy. He tried to take responsibility with me. But he is smart, so he realized something.”
“What was that?”
“He realized that I did not want that.”
“I think he thought no one was expecting anything of him. And that was why he always wanted to be able to do something someday.”
“Am I talking too much?”
After thinking for a moment, Shinjou nodded, but he spoke with his head hanging down.
“Sayama-kun only speaks about himself like a stranger.”
“Do you want to know about him?”
“I see,” was all Ryouko said. Her shoulders relaxed and she continued. “I would love for someone like that to be by his side. Someone who hopes for something from him.”
“He left to live in the dorms and I became the head of the Tamiya family. Since then, he has managed to speak with me again…and now he has brought a friend like you, Setsu-kun. However…”
Ryouko faced Shinjou while continuing to stir the pot with the chopsticks. Her smile was thin and could be seen in her eyes.
Her lips thinly covered in lipstick opened and she spoke.
“Listen. I am his ally, but I do not intend to pressure you into anything. And if he attacks you, it may have been my fault that he turned in that direction, so complain to me rather than him. If possible, it would be best if he attacked your sister instead.”
“What do you mean it would be best!? Also, Sayama-kun and I are normal friends!”
“I see. So you are normal friends.” Ryouko gave a deep nod and a smile returned to her face. “So having your friend pull on your penis in the bath is normal. Friendship has made some amazing advancements.”
“S-Sayama-kun! What are you telling people!?”
Shinjou heard a newspaper folding in the living room.
“I only told the truth. I asked them to hold a feast so that I could apologize for angering you.”
Shinjou’s shoulder’s drooped and he let out a deep sigh.
The next thing he knew, strength had returned to his hands.
The Kinugasa Library was filled with the chirping of a bird as Siegfried placed down a phone receiver.
“So the transport plane carrying Gram has taken off,” he muttered to himself.
At that time, a knock came at the library door, it opened, and a single figure entered. It was Ooki who was wearing a white track suit. Siegfried tilted his head.
“Are you locking up again, Ooki-sensei? We have janitors for that.”
“There is still so much about this school I can’t get used to.” Ooki smiled with a ring of keys in hand. “Have you seen Brunhild-san?”
“Yes. She said she had some business to take care of and left. She said she will return tomorrow morning.”
“I see… It seems she hasn’t submitted her dorm registration for next term yet. I just locked up upstairs, but the art room was sitting open.” She tilted her head. “Her painting was finished. The forest had a cabin, four people, and a bird.”
Siegfried looked down at the cardboard box on the counter. Ooki followed his gaze and walked over to the box.
“Oh, it’s a Japanese tit.”
“Hm? Do you know a lot about birds?”
“Yes. There are tons of trees back home, so I know a lot!” Ooki clicked her tongue several times, held a hand out toward the bird, and narrowed her eyes. “You were taking care of this bird all last night, weren’t you? That’s why you were in the music room in the morning.”
“Oh?” Siegfried’s eyebrows raised. “You noticed? But you have only been here for a short time.”
“Yes. I heard it was two years ago, before I arrived at the school, that you started going to the music room every weekend and day off.” Ooki closed her eyes and smiled as she spoke quietly. “Do you have some reason? Is there someone you want to hear that organ music?”
Two figures stood before the gate leading into the Tamiya household.
It was Ryouko and Kouji who had removed his apron. They were watching Sayama and Shinjou leave.
“They’re gone. …Kouji, you need to make sure people stick around longer.”
“Nee-san, you’re the one that is bad at keeping people around. Young people these days aren’t interested in Chogokin models.”
“And I just got it from a customer, too. That ‘Giant Combining God Chuck and Norris’ is really rare. But,” continued Ryouko as she smiled and brought a hand to her cheek. “Setsu-kun seemed to be getting along well with the young master.”
“Just to be clear, nee-san, Setsu-kun is a guy.”
“What’s wrong with that? He has a sister too, remember? The young master should be plenty satisfied with that.”
“Satisfied with what? From what I could see, Setsu-kun and his sister Sadame-kun are normal.”
“You’re so scary when you look at me from the side like that. You need to learn from your sister how to be gentler.”
“Fine, fine.” He patted his sister’s shoulder. “But I saw a suspicious look on your face when you looked at Setsu-kun’s right hand. What was that about?”
“Oh… I have a bit of a connection to someone named Shinjou… It’s someone else, though. That person is dead, so I won’t say anything. …Anyway, anyway.” Ryouko tilted her head and held up her right hand. “Setsu-kun’s finger had a slight mark from where he had been wearing a ring.” The smile had disappeared from Ryouko’s face. “It wouldn’t be that odd for him to wear it to be fashionable, but if not, isn’t it weird that he wasn’t wearing it? …I wonder why that is?”
Despite her question, Ryouko’s slight smile returned and she looked straight at her younger brother.
“Well, I’m sure the young master will do something.”
The moon rose in the night sky.
Its pale light lit the mountains and a single shadow flew above them.
This object with large wings and a thick body was a transport plane with four engines.
The aircraft bathed in the moonlight as it flew high, high above the forest-covered countryside. The noise reverberated far above and descended from the sky like a stain.
The aircraft appeared to cross over the moon.
And in that moment, a white line stretched up from below.
Even as the line grew blurred, it continued on diagonally upwards, pierced through the aircraft, and seemed to split the moon in two.
It took five seconds.
After that, a crimson flower bud appeared in the sky.
And a great noise descended.
It was a muffled yet loud noise.
It was the sound of an explosion at high altitude.
That crimson bud bloomed into a crimson flower, but the flower petals quickly shriveled up and grew black.
The two colors of crimson and black scattered in multiple forms and dropped while trailing the color black. They fell down and down, they scattered, they spun, they slipped, and they tumbled through the sky and into the depths of the shadows.
It fell. It fell further. And even as it fell into the dark forest spreading out below, the moonlight covered it all.
It had fallen.
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