✍️✍️✍️✍️ Eternal Melody Chapter 171 - 175 Complete Chapters ✍️✍️✍️✍️



Shadows (Chapter 171)

The two of them took a stroll around the hospital grounds, nobody spoke. A comforting silence filled the air. How strange, when she is with Yuhi - she isn't scared of the silence. Why is everything so different when she is with this person? There is nothing special about Terashima Yuhi. He is just like any other kind guy. But, she     
can't help but think there is something.     

'Maybe I just like him too much.' Ever since she was younger, she liked Yuhi. It's normal to think there is something different when there isn't.     

"Hey, can you tell me about Mamoru?"     

Sumire blinked when she heard his question. "About Ru?"     

"Yeah, I don't know much about how you two met other than that story where he got furious at you."     

So he knows about it, then again it is that stupid guy's fault for always getting so close to her. Indeed a stupid person. "Ru was mad about that too, but yeah, the anger directed more at Inoue than me."     

"You two got along."     

Sumire laughs lightly, "You think so? Because at the beginning I didn't really think I'd get along with him. After all, when we first met, he called me a neet and shut-in. Long story short, a lot happened, but I didn't think I'd meet him again, yet he transferred to my school, and I was surprised. He immediately recognized me and said 'hey miss shut-in', it irritated me, and so I dragged him outside and told him to forget it completely. I told him my name, and he was like, 'Then I'll call you Ki-chan, it's cute like you'."     

"Too direct." Yuhi agreed. "Or rather coincidences do happen, huh?"     

"I thought so too. We ended up sitting next to each other the whole year too. No matter how many times we changed seats, they would place me next to him. Even though it's a lottery so at one point Ru was like 'When it happens this many times don't you think its fate?' He said something cheesy and out loud too. Loads of people teased him straight afterward, yet that smile never faltered.     

I would call him the class clown - but it seemed like something more than that. Although he was always messing around, and although the teachers scolded him, they always wore a smile on their faces. He was someone who brought everyone together, everyone was naturally attracted to him and eventually me too. Though I was stubborn to admit it at first."     

Yuhi seemed to pause, and Sumire laughed. "I was stubborn, very stubborn."     

"It sounds like you liked him from the start, though."     

Her gaze softened. "Well, maybe. I know what you're thinking that he is similar to Shuuske. Ru is different from Shuuske, though. Those two are completely different, whenever something goes wrong - whenever someone does something bad. He doesn't hesitate at all to tell it to them straight. Once Ru was like 'Your an eyesore,' and oh there was that time too during a case. 'His own mother doesn't believe in him, then who else is he supposed to believe in? Your really horrible."     

"Even to a client...unbelievable. He is quite the guy. However, he is nice a person." Yuhi sighed. "I hate to admit this, though."     

Sumire laughed. "He was truly a good person."     

"When I met him for the first time, he treated me like an old friend."     

Ru mentioned; briefly, they were in contact, but it still felt weird. Huh...how strange she couldn't picture them as friends. Yet when she thought about it. "It was exactly like him."     

Her thoughts broke off when Yuhi stopped walking. He suddenly pulled her into his arms. "I won't lose."     

It was a mere three words, and yet Sumire understood what he meant by that. He won't lose, huh?     

"Then, Yuhi-san, could you grant a few of my requests?"     

"Hmm? You have some?"     

"I would like for you to kiss me whenever we meet after parting."     

His lips curve to a smile. "That I don't mind doing. But even in school?"     

"Yes, please."     

It makes her forget all the unpleasant feelings. It makes her feel wanted even if it is just for a fleeting second. When she is with this person, she can delude herself into thinking she is normal, and just like everybody else.     


Several hours later     

Sumire did not know when it started.     

But she eventually slept with the lights on. At the start, it started with a small light source, the lamp. However, when she saw the small shadows where the light did not shine, she would quiver in fear. Before long, she kept the main light on, so she would wake up to brightness. But even this did little to stop the shadows she saw every night.     

This did little to stop the darkness from the nightmares she saw. But it was still a better solution than before.     

Her nightmares started off the same no matter what. In that dark space, covered in nothing but black. No source of light and no trace of another person. She was there, and yet at the same time, she wasn't. She could not see herself or anything else.     

This is just a dream; it will go away. But that thought vanished in an instance. That thought disappeared when she realized it did not go away even after she closed her eyes. If this was a dream, should she not wake up the moment she wants it to end? But it didn't end; she would remain in that pitch-black space for a very long time.     

It felt like there was something else there with her, too, something she could not see. Something frightening and something that would consume her. She has to get out of here, but how does she? She cant even wake up.     

Sumire stirred awake and blinked. She read the time on her phone two am in the morning. She scanned her surroundings and noticed something; the room mainly lit up. Only some corners were dark.     

Yuhi had his arms wrapped around her protectively, almost like he was shielding her from the darkness.     

Her gaze softened when she saw this. So Yuhi figured it out, huh?     

I will be the last one (Chapter 172)

Sumire stared at him for a few minutes. 'I wonder why he decided to stay.' There is still a chance for Yuhi to abandon her just like anybody else. But, so far, he has remained. Even though she showed him plenty of her weak side, he remained by her. Her gaze fell on the arms wrapped around her waist.     
'Stupid. What good will it do?' His actions seemed meaningless to her, and yet it made her heart feel warm.     

She remained like that for a few minutes before she eventually got up. She picked up her coat on the side when she spotted something else. 'Yuhi's coat…' She didn't hesitate and slipped it on. It was a bit bigger for her, but it felt comfortable.     

Sumire exited the room quickly and walked down the corridor. It was quiet and dark. 'Well, the hospital needs to save energy at night.' She wondered how Yuhi managed to convince them to keep the lights on.     

She quietly made her way across the hall and made her way up several flights of stairs.     

It did not take long before she reached the rooftop. A strong gust of wind blew the moment she opened the door. Sumire shrugged it off and walked over to the railing. A memory from the past appeared in her head.     



'That's the kind of person I want to be.'     

'You already know what you want to do.'     

Everyone around her doesn't hesitate to say what they're thinking in front of her, huh? Or maybe they do hesitate, but her actions are making them act. In the end, all of this is still one big spiral that's difficult to comprehend. It's that kind of story.     

Her thoughts broke off when she felt a pair of arms wrapped around her waist. This led to her halting her in her tracks. "Ru?"     

"It's dangerous, and you'll fall."     

"It's fine. I always do this." Sumire reassures him, yet he took her down anyway. She noticed the distressed expression on his face. "Is something wrong?"     

The maroon colored haired boy buried his head on her chest.     

"Ki, you don't have to keep suffering for my sake, you know? Aki-san told me about it, what you've been doing as of late. You don't have to do that much. Your road of atonement, stop it already".     

So that's it. It seems like he couldn't keep it a secret for long. Aki-san isn't usually a person to blab secrets unless somebody forces him. But when it concerns Mamoru, he's not able to say no. That's true if it's in front of Mamoru. No one can disagree that easily, that's how it's always been. He's always had that sphere of influence after all.     

"I'm sorry. I can't do that, I already said it once before. Although it was a long time ago, you know full well that it's still the same now. I don't like myself and let's face it who would? A person like me who's rude, violent, and not cute at all. There's not a single person in this world who will truly like me."     

That's right because people will always hate her, that's how it usually is.     

It's already too late to change things.     

Mamoru looks up then. "If that's true, then why are you crying?"     

Indeed once again, she could feel the crystal tears falling from her eyes at a rapid rate like waterfalls. The maroon colored haired boy lifts his hand, wiping them away before pulling her into a hug.     

Ah, really once again, this person. He's always like this. How come he's able to tell? Not even she will ever be able to understand it. Why was it always this person? Out of all the others, she's met, it's always been him.     

"You know Ki; you're a huge contradictor. You're the kind of person who doesn't hesitate to say what's on their mind - and you're always honest. That's the kind of person you are; you stood out to me being like that. However, despite how strong you were, I could tell that you're just as fragile and even weaker at the end of the day than all the others. That's why..." He tightened their laced hands.     

"That's why I'm afraid of leaving you alone, even though you now have others. I don't believe that anyone can truly understand you and care for you in the same degree as I do."     

Sumire managed to laugh despite her strange mood. "That's a huge compliment for yourself."     

"I'm that kind of guy. But ....you agree, don't you?"     

His hands - no, his whole body shook. Sumire knew the reason why this was, and it was because of her.     

"I'll be okay, Ru. I managed to survive this many years without seeing you after all....that's why this won't be any different...." Sumire said, struggling to keep her voice proper. Yet it was useless since her tears rapidly feel.     

"Don't lie in front of me," Mamoru muttered. "Ki. There is no need to pretend when you're in front of me; you know that full well."     

Once Mamoru said those words, she didn't hold back the tears any longer and said all that was going on in her head. Everything, everything she was feeling. She didn't hesitate to say them all. She couldn't hold back anymore. There's no way she could.     

"Ssh Ki. I am sorry...I really am. For now, I'll stay by your side."     


Sumire snapped her attention back to the present when she saw something from the corner of her eye. Not too far from the hospital, she saw a mini-explosion in the forest.     

All the signs are appearing now. The signs he told her.     

He was so kind and gentle. But in the end, he also left her. There is nobody who will stay; in the end, they all leave. The only one that remains is her. In this place, she will be the last one.     

But isn't that what she saw from the beginning? In that place, she saw it, a future - a destroyed world. In that lonely world, only she remained. The people she cared for all disappeared, and she was the only one there.     

She wonders if that was the future. Was that her 'power?' Could she see things people couldn't? Yet occasionally, she would feel something else. Something was burning across her right eye, her dry throat craving for something.     


I don't know what to think (Chapter 173)

Light Academy - Monday XX April 2035- 16:40 -
Summit lost count how many times she fainted and ended up in the infirmary. When she woke up and found herself there again, she cursed. Her body felt very weak but she somehow managed to get up.     

She picked up her bag and quickly left. The hallways were quiet - signalling that classes long finished. Orange and yellow hues spread across the vast sky.     

She took out her phone and her eyes widened when she saw thirty missed calls. Eh? What? Sumire immediately opened up thinking it was an emergency. Did something happen at home? However when she opened it up, she saw it was thirty missed calls from Yuhi.     

Why did he call her so much?     

Sumire hesitated but she quickly called him. Did she miss some important work? Lately she doesn't know what to think when it comes to him.     

She slipped her shoes back on. 'That day, she must have fainted too.' When she woke up she was no longer on the roof but in Yuhi's arms. He was carrying her down the steps. But, she recalled the expression on his face and sighed.     

'Why did he look so sad?"     

The wind was uncomfortable as usual, as she tried to hold my papers in place against her chest.     

Sumire didn't expect to step out of the building to see snow of all things.     

The wind whipped the cold crystals of snow against her legs.     

The winter was beautiful in late April, She couldn't argue with that. But, she didn't get a chance to admire that scenery when she felt another strong gust of wind. Soon however the cold stopped. A familiar black scarf wrapped around her neck and coat dropped on her shoulders.     

She whipped her head around to see Yuhi. He was on the phone, but wrapped his arms around her. "I got it Hino. But let me have some free time, I've been working non stop since I left the hospital. Yeah, alright see you."     

Yuhi turned to her and caressed her cheeks. "Cold."     

"Aha." Sumire laughed. "Um, so this is why you called?"     

"Yeah, I was going to pick you up."     

She thought something happened.     

"You slept in the infirmary most of the day? Aika told me."     

"Mmmm, lately I keep sleeping a lot more. I'm still sleepy even now." She trailed off and buried her face in his arms. "But I think I'll be wide awake soon."     

Yuhi caressed her hair and patted her back. "I see. Should we take a leisure stroll back then? I was going to bring my bike, but I think the roads are a bit dangerous. So I left it in the studio."     

"I want to go shopping for groceries."     

"Cool, let's go."     

Sumire glanced at the man beside her and leaned forward. "Yuhi-san, did you forget something?"     

He bent down and kissed her lips without saying anything else. "I forgot something?"     

"Uhh, nope you didn't."     

She feels so relaxed when she is with him. But Sumire glanced at his waist. 'His injury hasn't healed yet.'     


"Atushi, were ba--" Her sentence fell short the moment Yuhi fell into her arms. "Uhh, Yuhi?"     

Atushi exited the kitchen area and chuckled. "Am I interuptting?"     

"I think he fell asleep."     

"Yeah, he must be exhausted."     

Sumire's gaze fell on the tired Yuhi and placed the shopping bags down. She ran her hands through his hair. 'He looks so tired. Why didn't I realize it earlier?'     

She somehow managed to get him onto the sofa. But she saw how uncomfortable he seemed. "Hey Atushi, do we have a blanket?"     

"I'm keeping everything downstairs knowing that the King likes his naps."     

Sumire laughed and took the blanket from him.     

After a few minutes however Yuhi woke up and kissed her passionately.     


"Yuhi stop!"     

Yuhi deeply sighed and rubbed his head. "That wasn't a nice way to wake up."     

"Y--you--!" She was speechless.     


Sumire sighed deeply. 'Why am I freaking out? It was only a kiss, and he touched me a little..'     

"If you were tired, you didn't have to pick me up."     

"Mmm, well I wanted to go on a walk with you." Yuhi kissed her lips again. "Besides it would be a waste not your flirt when your wearing uniform."     

Yuhi-san has such strange fetishes. It's hard to deal with him. Still, it seems like he is more comfortable around her these days. She sighed in content when he kept lightly kissing her.     

"Yuhi...are you hungry?"     

"Yeah, your tasty."     

Her cheeks grew hot. "Yuhi, don't act strange."     

Yuhi kissed her earlobe then her neck. "Sorry, I'm drunk too."     

Yuhi would not stop kissing her so she had no choice to bring him upstairs.     

Sumire felt very embarrassed and self-conscious. What is with him? He did say he was drunk, but this is a bit— He lowered his face, so it brushed against her ear. "Too much?"     

Sumire closed her eyes and shook her head. She is just feeling strangely conscious right now. But that does not mean she hates it. Sumire allowed him to continue his strange advances. It was a good thing she decided to go upstairs; otherwise, who knows what Atushi would say?     

"Sumire, your so pretty."     


"Sorry, I know this is a bit overwhelming for you. But would you let me?"     

Let him? Sumire quickly understood what he meant and paused. Yuhi seems to be very needy right now. Maybe she should just allow him?     

Sumire placed her fingers against his lips. "Take a walk with me again, Yuhi-san?     


"Uwaah, it's so cold. What is this? It wasn't like this when I arrived."     

"Well, it is April. Dressed up in a fashionable coat like you are, of course, you aren't going to be warm.     

"Ah, then I have an idea. Give me half of that."     

"Huh- wha—" his sentence fell short when she wrapped half his scarf around herself, pulling them closer together.     

"Yup, now I'm warm."     

Sumire waited until he made the first move. Sure enough, Yuhi laced their hands together. This led to her cheeks growing hot, and she laughed softly. "Now, we're both warm."     

Yuhi did not reply, and Sumire continued to stare at his face. "I haven't had the upper hand in a while."     

At that comment, Yuhi deeply sighed. "Why do you even want the upper hand?"     

Why he asks… "Isn't it so I could make you miserable? Yuhi-san, you hold back too much when you're with me."     

"Just now I wasn't holding back but you—"     

Sumire brought her sleeves and covered her mouth as she laughed. "That was a bit, uhh…"     

Yuhi flicked her forehead. "Don't get me so worked up and then stop." He trailed off. "But I guess that is what I like about you."     

A tender smile appeared on his face.     

Yuhi isn't playing fair, smiling like that. Doesn't he know how bad that smile of his on her heart? But still, she glanced at their hands firmly enter winded with each other.     

She is happy too, being able to spend time with him like this. She already had so many moments like this since they have been dating for a long time.     

Certainly, most couples who have gone out with each other for as long as she and Yuhi have would be bored with each other. But it's different with Yuhi. Even if they have fallen into a routine whenever they are with each other, whenever they spend time with each other like this, everything still feels like a fresh and new experience.     


If we realized it sooner (Chapter 174)

He guessed immediately that she thought of Ru; and that something happened with Arashi too. Who would have thought that she would find someone who could read her like an open book like this? What a strange twist of events this is.      
Terashima Yuhi, without a doubt, is a completely different person then Ichinose Arashi, that was something she had already longed established. But it still surprises her how different they are—seeing even the small difference between the two. How is it that both of these guys who are polar opposites to each other managed to draw her attention?     

Others have said many things about her. Some terrible rumors - some that label her as a wicked woman. But to her amazement, those two never feared her. What's more, they treated her like a normal girl. In the end, Sumire could never tell if they were slow or had a screw loose.     

Oh, she probably just looked weak. They probably thought that they needed to come to her aid and protect her from danger.     

How hopeless, did they both want to play hero? But even if that's the case, those two have always believed in her strength too. Both Yuhi and Arashi, they've always believed in her. But if she thinks about it now, she chuckles to herself. Being a hero certainly doesn't suit a wimp like Arashi; and Yuhi, now that's even more of an amusing thought.     

"Hey, if your smiling like that to yourself. I'm going to start thinking about your kiss with Ichinose."     

Sumire blinked when she heard those words. Did somebody tell Yuhi about that? The kiss she shared with Arashi before she left.     

She shouldn't give him too much leeway. "Who knows? It was quite the romantic kiss under the cherry blossoms."     

  "A kiss under the cherry blossoms, eh? Well, I have better ideas."     

The brunette doesn't get a chance to say anything to him     

as Yuhi gently pulled her chin up with his hand and grabbed her waist with the other. Sumire looked at him and waited until their lips collided; first, he grazed her lips intending to tease her. He gradually applied more pressure until he finally stuck his tongue inside.      

There was something gentle about the way he kissed her. She slipped her hands onto his shirt and tugged on the material. A hum of approval escaped Yuhi's lips, and she bore her nails underneath- feeling his skin. Yuhi also did the same. She felt the cold air brush against her stomach as Yuhi touched her breasts.     

Before it could get any more heated though, they both see people approach from the corner. Sumire immediately pulled away from Yuhi. W-what was she doing there? It took her a moment to realize what just happened.     

"How about that? A kiss under the winter stary night."     

Eh, star— Sumire glanced up indeed to confirm her boyfriend's words. Right above them was a gorgeous night sky; the small sparkling white lights caught her attention. "Uwaahhh, it's so beautiful."     

"Hey hey, no comment about our passionate kiss just now? Che."     

Sumire chuckled at his expression and reached over to kiss his cheek, clearly surprising him. "Thank you, Yuhi."     

"You know, I'm starting to think you're messing with me."     

  She blinks and tilts her head in confusion at his words. "I am?"     

"You just admitted it. Well, that makes you a good woman."     

 Sumire smiles at his words, "What happened to the insults from last time?"     

"Aah? Those? I've forgotten it already. Besides, I've seen enough now. Your beautiful Sumire, so beautiful." Yuhi trailed off. "-whether you stood on stage and sang or when you paint, even when you talk to someone. In my eyes you're always sparkling and shining so very brightly. Your stage was very impressive. Even if I'm jealous that it was because of Mamoru that your wings released. Those bitter emotions disappear when I think of your stage."     

Her eyes widened when she heard those words. So that was what he thought of her stage during the festival?     

It took her a moment before she finally replied to him. She did not know how to react to his kindness. "Thank you for the compliment Yuhi."     

Even now, it is difficult for her to sincerely thank somebody. But things are getting better.     

She will treasure everything he tells her.     

"Silly girl. I will say them as plenty of times as you want. "Yuhi trails off. "You know back then, I didn't think I would continue with music. I was 'content' with just composing. I didn't want to get attached to another group last time. Touko and Morris betrayal aside, I realized that I became too attached when I was in that group. A person like me who is completely different than the rest of them.     

One day I would end up hurting them with my actions. So when Touko and Morris betrayed me, I may have been shocked. But I understood right away,' ah, so it's time now. 'Because I got caught up in my surroundings, I didn't properly take care of Touko. It's only natural that her feelings would sway towards someone else."     

"But Yuhi, weren't you working hard for you to be with Touko-san? I think it's unfair for you to put the blame solely on yourself. Touko-san knew that you over-exhausted yourself because you were working towards a future with her. It's true that you probably overdid it slightly. But I don't see anything wrong with what you did. If she loved you, she would have waited for you."     

Yuhi sighs deeply. "You and that positive mind set of yours. I wonder where it comes from. I don't remember your parents being so level-headed."     

"Is it bad?"     

"No, I've always liked that about you."     

Wah wah, did he just say --- Yuhi, is he doing it on purpose? She really doesn't know anymore. Her heart won't stop beating. That's right, even if her actions may seem selfish to others. Her heart already chose this person. From the very moment they met, it could only be Terashima Yuhi for her.     

"Honestly speaking, I don't know exactly why she cheated on Morris with me. If she felt unsatisfied and neglected, she could have easily reached out and told me that. She didn't have to date my best friend behind my back."     

Even though she knew him longer than his ex-girlfriends, they spent all that time together. She couldn't aide him even though she was beside him.     

Sumire wondered if those people knew. The truth was she watched Yuhi since a long time ago. Although she was dating Ren then, she still liked Yuhi. She could never directly help him. But during the times he had fallen asleep, she would warmly give him an embrace.     

"Sorry." Yuhi suddenly said.     

She looked at him, puzzled. Why did he suddenly apologize?     

"Is this topic disturbing you? It's negative."     

Sumire shook her head. "No, I am relieved. After all, you never spoke about your past with me. I more of less put the pieces together from what other people have said. But this is the first time I heard it from you."     

The reason why Yuhi never told her before is undoubtedly that; because he doesn't want to worry her. He doesn't want to trouble her with even more problems when she already has a lot going on.     

"My bad, I should have told you sooner."     

She shook her head. "You did it for my sake. By not saying anything I would be able to focus on the matters troubling me. I would be able to focus on being able to help everyone else. I already knew it, a long time ago. When we were partners, you didn't want to burden me with any of your troubles. But you know Yuhi, since then I've always wanted to be a form of strength for you.     

I went out with others then yes, but all I could think of was how I could help you. Perhaps I already knew. But, I wouldn't have realised it the way I was back then." She trails off and extends her free hand to extend her palm up to reach the sky. "Relationships are fickle, whether its relationships based on romantic affection, or family and friend. Nothing lasts forever and things come to an end much sooner then we think. Something like that, I don't have any need for it. That's why I was content with what we had. We were partners and had each other's backs, and everyday was fun. But there was always a line of distance. Something we couldn't cross."     

"But you were curious about love, weren't you? Even if you saw it as something pointless, there were occasions where you crossed that line too."     

Sumire smiles softly. "So you noticed that, rather of course you would. You were awake, weren't you, Yuhi?"     

"I was, and I've thought it through. Do you think that if we got together then. We could avoid this current mess?"     

Sumire nodded. "Yes, it would have. Were both to blame for being slow to realise everything. However, because we were young, then we can blame it on youth."     

If they realized it, then the future would be different.     


The correct path(Chapter 175)

"Huh? But haven't you always been searching for the path that leads to the ending where everyone is happy?"     
For a moment, Sumire looked at him, shocked. It seems like she has underestimated him more than she thought so initially. How come he knows that?     

"Then, before I go into further details about why I said that. Why does Yuhi think that?"     

Why is it that he knows so much about her? How come Yuhi can stir the emotions, she kept locked away? Even now, she still doesn't understand it very well. Why does this person know so much about her? It does not make any sense.     

"Because you use to say it before, didn't you? '. . The actors on stage cannot ignore their scripts and do as they wish. If they make a beautiful exit, I feel they fulfill their role.'"     

"That's right, the actors on stage cannot ignore their scripts even if they want to."     

This is destiny; the script predetermined. It cannot be changed.     

"But that's a lie. You have already ignored the script in more ways than one. Perhaps from the start, you never intended to follow it. Because in the correct ending, you would have gotten together with Ichinose and not me. "     

"Are you implying that an ending with Arashi is a tragedy and yours is 'happiness?'"     

"No. It's reverse. I said it once before didn't that I'll write and act my ending. I shall write it out, or rather I'm in the middle of it right now. Whether it ends as a tragedy or not, I will create our future together. The correct ending was clearly with you and Ichinose, yet you still strayed from that and chose me. Does that not mean the correct path here is where your happiness lies? Sumire, do you love me?"     

Really, this is exactly why. This is exactly why she held herself back for so long. She already noticed it a long time ago; that she was in love with you. Mamoru extended his hand out to her and showed her the possibilities of the world; she cannot be any more than grateful to him.     

Arashi showed her the pureness and joy of being love. But it was indeed Terashima Yuhi, who taught her how no matter how much pain and separations you go through, as long as there is a deep love, there will be a connection. The truth was, she had already realized it.     


"I love you, Yuhi. Saying this is embarrassing, and I can't keep still whenever I'm around you. I become frantic and nervous. I lose my calm composure so easily. But I feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders now. I want to be able to fly freely in the stary night sky. I want to walk hand in hand to a future with you."     

She wants to keep aiming further and further. But it's useless to do that unless she has him with her. Isn't she becoming too dependent on him? But, this sort of feeling isn't bad. She doesn't want to discard him; she wants to treasure him.     

"Just now, I said it didn't I? That I wouldn't like it if we realized our feelings back then?" At that, Yuhi nodded, and she continued. "That's because I believe it; the encounters I had with everyone else is something special. Of course, I saw our meeting as 'fate,' but how to put it. ..If we just got together like that without struggling, it would have been a pretty dull story, wouldn't it?"     

"Encounters and meetings are what shapes a person, huh? I guess I'm also grateful for it. Sumire, I'll also aim for something higher and higher. Right now, there is something I can't tell you. But like before, will you wait until im ready to say it?"     

"I will because I love you, Yuhi. I believe in you. Besides, I'm already used to waiting."     

"Brat, that part was unnecessary." Yuhi moved a strand of hair away from her face. "So, you brought me outside because you forgot to buy something, right?"     

Sumire nodded. "We need soy sauce."     

Yuhi sighed. "We could get Atushi to buy it. It's cold." Yuhi pointed out.     

She buried her face in his arms. "Yuhi-san, are you still cold?"     

"You know if you do this with me, I can never say no." Yuhi deeply sighed as he patted her back. "Maybe it was a good thing that your visit to the SF did not go through that day."     

Sumire blinked when she heard those words. Why is he talking about SF suddenly?     

Right at that moment, she felt something metallic brush against her shoulder. Yuhi quickly wrapped his arms around her, but Sumire felt a scratch on her shoulder. Ah--? How could she not recognize it? It was a bullet.     

He pulled her tightly into his hold and threw them both down on the ground.     

"Don't look, Sumire."     

"But what is--" She trailed off when she felt a scorching pain in her right eye.     

Ba-thump, thump. The sound of her rapid heartbeat. She felt her entire body burn. It felt like she was in a sea of flames. She felt the sweat cling to her face, arms, shoulders, and legs.     

"Sumire?! Hey?!"     

"Yuhi..." Sumire said weakly. What is happening to her?     

She hears the sound of approaching footsteps. Despite Yuhis hold on her, she spotted a cloaked man with grey hair. A cold shudder ran down her body despite the burning sensation. What is this feeling? It feels like somebody is trying to stare deeply into her soul.     

"The Queen?" The man mumbled.     

"You two stay down!" A familiar voice bellowed. At that comment, her eyes widened when a rain of bullets rushed past.     

The cloaked man remained unphased and dodged the bullets easily. But from the start, it did not seem like they were aimed at him. The bullets landed at the man's feet and formed a circle.     

Sumire looked up and saw a man with purple-colored hair. Her eyes widened when she saw who it was. "Hino?"     

Indeed it was none other than Hino; she could not mistake that purple-colored hair anywhere. But huh? Just now, those bullets that traveled so quickly - no, perfect aim?