Chapter 6: Doudemo ii Sekai Nante.
Urushibara finished up the events just as the day wrapped up. Once he finished, we cleaned up, and then took his car back to Chiba. The sun was just about set, but its faint glow illuminated the ocean red.
We were completely silent in the car— Renge didn’t even hum at all. It wasn’t that the events went poorly… it was just what happened after. Urushibara stayed especially quiet. Ever since Renge told him what happened, he hadn’t been talking much. Surely he was worried about Asagao.
Of course, Renge and I were just as worried for her. We did nothing but stare at the everlasting debris out the window. Some things never change, it seemed…
At last, after driving for some time along the coast, we finally arrived back at Chiba. Urushibara slowed down as he drove in, until he finally parked on a small hill near our office.
“… I’m gonna return this car real quick,” he said as he motioned us to get off.
He left the moment we stepped out of the car, and I waited until he was well out of sight to start walking. My hair felt kind of messy, but luckily the wind seemed to straighten it out a bit.
Seagulls began to cry out from far away. I stopped, and once again just simply listened to them. The more I listened, the more it seemed like their cries were being orchestrated together. They seemed to just blend in so seamlessly with each other.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps behind me, interrupting the flow.
“What’s going to happen from now on?”
“I don’t know…” I answered. I didn’t need to turn around to know who it was. After all, there was only one other person who was with me.
“I can’t imagine what’d happen if Natsume really went all out… or what Asagao is thinking right now…” she said, taking a quick step onto the grass and jumping onto some rubble. “If only the two could work together instead of fighting like this…”
She suddenly turned to me as she balanced herself on the rubble. Her skirt fluttered in the wind, and that just made her all the more beautiful to look at. She looked so beautiful here, in fact, that I felt she looked a bit out of place with all the rubble around her. In any case, for someone as clumsy as she was, she sure did have a good sense of balance.
“Asagao is so amazing, you know? She’s smart… cute… and she always has a lot on her mind. I truly believed she could be the city head,” Renge said passionately, but with a hint of sadness.
I didn’t say a word, but instead, just nodded.
“Natsume is also so amazing. She’s beautiful… strong… and has… hmm, what do you call it? Passion, I guess? Maybe pride? Anyways, she has something like that, and that’s why everyone follows her so loyally, I think.”
Renge spoke with such admiration that it reminded me of something that was said to me a while back: Girls don’t just simply compliment other girls… they usually have something else in mind.
“On the other hand, I’m completely useless…” she added with a bitter smile. But, that bitter smile began to turn into a smirk once I took a look at her. Her long, black hair swayed with the wind as it reflected the sunset glow. Honestly, with it swaying so much like that, it kind of reminded me of a demon spreading its wings…
I took a look back at the sky. It was red… almost too red. The sunset itself was beautiful to the point of disgust, and its allure almost seemed frightening. This sky left a slight crimson afterglow on Renge’s face, but that contrasted with her hair as it seemed to get darker and darker the longer I stared. She took the sun from the front, but the darkness crept up from the back. She always did stand in the middle of these two extremes…
“I was told I was sooo useless in the military. I for sure wasn’t needed there, but other places wouldn’t take me in because I was from the military… I truly can’t do anything, heh…”
I’ve said it so many times before, and I’ll say it again. Renge and I were clearly different from anyone in this city. We were a disgrace… We suffered the humiliation of not being able to find our place in this society.
“But, it’s because I… No, it’s because we are like that… that we can do things others can’t. It’s because of the very fact that we got kicked from the military that we are able to understand both Natsume and Asagao’s way of doing things. I truly believe that these are the things only we can do, not as members from the manufacturing or military branch, but as people who weren’t needed in this city.”
Renge said that and gently smiled at me. Yes, our circumstances were certainly similar. However, no matter how similar our journeys had been up to this point, our paths would probably diverge in the future. We were just different people with different fates.
I scratched my ruffled hair a little bit and looked away from her. “So essentially,” I said, “what you really want to say is that as people who had been part of the military, you want us to follow in Asagao’s footsteps?”
Renge was surprised to hear that. She blinked a few times, but then did a slight grin.
“So you could tell…” she said. “Kasumi, you really are amazing…”
“I’m really not that amazing. Anyone could have guessed that listening to you talk about her.”
In response, Renge jumped off the rubble and stood in front of me. “You’re right, I would have guessed the same. But you know, Kasumi? Don’t you think that’s something only we can do? We were once the military members Nastume was talking about. Because of that, we can pick up the things Asagao can’t do and do it for her. Once we do that, everyone can live with their chests held high.”
I carefully and silently listened to her words. After a bit of silence, I glanced at her once again, and asked her if that was all. As I did, she became a bit teary-eyed and looked up at me.
“Come change the world with me…” she said softly, holding out her hand.
Once again I couldn’t help but notice her slim fingers, her delicate wrist, and her smooth skin. Once again I hesitated to reach out, and once again I was late to shake her hand. Though, I think this time it was okay.
“Sorry, I’m going to have to pass on that,” I said as I withdrew my hand. Despite feeling that this would be the last opportunity to ever shake her hand, I didn’t do it.
“You know… To be honest, I’m fine with anyone being the head. Natsume, Asagao, and even you would be fine by me. To me, that’s really not that important. What is important for me is just doing my work and living a peaceful and stable life. That’s why I can’t…”
I sure said a lot, but that didn’t mean I meant any of it. It was just a whole lot of nonsense that came out of my mouth. She said she wanted to change the world with me, but unfortunately, whether it be changing the world, saving it, or even destroying it, I really had no interest in those things.
I’m sure that if she had worded it differently, I would have answered differently as well. If she had said what she really wanted to say, preferably with the tears and emotions that came with it, I would have gone with her. If she had told me her real wish, thinking only about herself and not anyone else, I would have happily followed in her footsteps. No matter how despicable, repulsive, and shameful that wish may have been, as long as it was something she had truly wanted from the bottom of her heart, I would have definitely helped her with it.
… But unfortunately, that didn’t happen. That’s why I only had one more thing to say.
Doudemoii Sekai Nante.
(I really don’t care about this world).
[End Volume 1]