Scent of plum blossom (7)

“A messenger?”

“I can see those lost words. Furthermore, I can send those words to those person who should have heard it. I also a messenger with this ability and a role to serve by delivering lost words. My mother was also one as well.”

Kazuma change the characters in his head from <<convey>>  <<person>>, to <<messenger>>.

“So your mother drew that painting?”

“Her name is Umegae Mari. My mother had suppressed the lost words that she met into the picture.

All the portrait paintings that are on displayed here are painting by her.

She have particularly painted even more painting ever since that incident.”

That incident. Keito understood what does that meant from those words alone. It was that conflagration on the ship that caused many causalities two years ago.

“The person that was drawn in the painting just now is my childhood friend.”

Keito quivered.

“Can you tell me the name of that person?”

“She is called Takamori Shizuka.”

Utaha briefly sighed and saying “ah” in response.

“You knew her?”

Utaha started by saying “only her name” and continued.

“Mother was extremely concerned about that accident. She had often visited the coast near the scene.

It seems like she had encountered various lost words. Many of the lost words were from the decreased that had left behind. That is why after a bid accident, numerous lost words are born.”

“So……you are saying that painting is Shizuka’s lost words…….”

“Mother had left them in the picture. She had safely delivered the lost words. However, being unable to identify the person in the end, she regrettably lost sight of it and now there might be lost words wandering around.

I knew the victim’s face and name from the news. So I knew the person drawn in the painting was Takamori Shizuka, but when I pay a visit to her residence, no one was living there. I also don’t know where is her lost words now. There was nothing more I could have done.”

“If you are able to encounter Shizuka’s lost words, will you know her last words?”

“It is the role of the messenger to hear those words.”

“How am I able to meet Shi-chan!?”

“We can only wait for now. Even if we random search for one’s lost words, it is like picking a handful of sand will spilled from your hands on the vast sandy beach.

“Wait? Where?”

“Here, in 『Tsuyukusa』. If you wait here, I am sure that one day Shizuka-san would be drawn to this painting.

“Really?”

“I said it earlier. This is the kind of place of such things. About two years ago, I welcomed lost words of the person who died in that accident. That person had conveyed his feelings to his friends without problems.

“Shi-chan……..”

Will such a day even come?

Even if it is not the person herself, the remaining form still harbors those words.

My mind became blank.

Did I saw the ray of hope?

Or is it——

“Do you really want to meet Shizuka-san?”

Keito can’t avert away from Utaha’s eyes. It is as if her eyes are able to see through his heart.

“Yes.”

He agreed on reflex. There wasn’t falsehood in that feeling.

“No matter what words she says, do you want to know the feelings of that special person?”

What kind of meaning does those repeated questions have?

When he tried to reply, his phone rang. It is from home. He checked the time and it is already passed seven o’clock. His mother was over the phone asking where is he. He replied by saying he is returning soon.

“I have to go home………..I will come.”

“Aikawa-san, would you mind helping me tomorrow?”

Certainly that was the story at first. The old lady is still sitting on the chair a little further from where they are sitting as of now, facing the both of them hallowed eyes.

“Very well.”

Even the thoughts of anxiety and expectations are not definite yet.

However, if he is able to meet Shizuka and know her last words, there is no doubt that he have to be around Utaha.

When he stepped out, the rain has gotten heavier. There are still clouds remaining, but the stars are scattered in the sky as the sun began to set.

The number, that illumination and the palpitation are no match compared to the stars seen on the boat that day. Nevertheless, Keito can’t help but looking up at the night sky.

Is today a reality?

If he turned around and look at the place where there was a building once, would it disappeared like a dream? Such fear was harboring it.

A mysterious girl, Utaha. Wandering words, lost words. Thus—–Shizuka.

Everything seems like a lie.

In the end, Keito returned home, unable to look back

He answered his mother’s questions sloppily and reached out to his seat for dinner. He felt guilty that his little sister was smiling with a lonely face.

When he returned to his room, he looked at the night sky once again. The number of stars had increased but it still short compared to that day.

The chance of raining the next day was low, so he was staring into the patches of blue skies.

He couldn’t concentrate in class all day. He can’t help remembering yesterday’s incidents even during math lessons and the middle of music lessons.

Umegae Utaha. What does she want Keito to do? What can he do to help? Does it have to do with saving the lost words? Will he be able to meet Shizuka again in doing so?

“Are you still feeling unwell, Aikawa-kun?”

When it is after school hours, Seiko approaches looking worried.

“I am feeling okay already. But I won’t be going to the club for today as well.”

“There isn’t any activities for today in the first place.”

“Ah, I see.”

I seem to flustered to the point that I have forgotten basic schedules.

“Either way, I am in a hurry. See ya.”

He then left the classroom without waiting for Seiko’s reply.

“Oh, Keito. Heading home already?”

Just like yesterday, he came across Takumi when he stepped out to the hallway. Why is the timing so perfect? They hardly have time to talk recently. It is undeniable that Keito is intentionally avoiding him.

What will he think if Keito told him about yesterday incident regarding Shizuka? He is driven by the urge to tell him but he think Takumi wouldn’t buy it.

“Are you going for your club activities, Takumi?”

“Today is voluntary.”

When Takumi answered him, a broadcast chime had rang throughout the school.

『Vice-president of the student council, Irifune Sarasa-san. The vice-principle is looking you. Please come to the staff room.』

Upon hearing Sarasa’s name, they both of them looked at each other.

“Our Irifune-senpai seems to working hard today as well. Did you have the chance talk to her recently?”

“Not at all. Don’t say recently, I have never been able to talk to her since I enrolled here.”

“Same here. Being the smartest person in the school and the vice president of the student council huh? It is as if playing with her when we are small is a lie.”

“That is in the past. More importantly, are you sure you don’t have to hurry, Takumi?”

“Crap, I am going to be told off by my seniors……….Isn’t it unreasonable even though it is voluntary?”

Takumi made a bitter smile as he ran off.

Sarasa walked from the other side of the corridor as if she had just passed Takumi.

She holds the position as vice president of the student council and is most trusted among the teaches. He will probably be ask a favor or two by her.

They walked pass by one another. He gave a slight bow in doing so,

“………..Hmph.”

She said it softly without smiling.

With her long hair braided and wearing a strong glasses, she had a thin-like petite body but she wraps her chest and strode along as if she is intimidating her surroundings by not letting anyone get close to her.

It is hard to imagine that she is same girl who put the boys to shame by plunging into the pool when they were kids.

For this reason, it might be possible that she may be ignoring Keito and Takumi on purpose.

Gotanda Takumi who is in the same year, One senior Irifune sarasa, similarly another person who is also one year older and is studying at a different school, Ezaki Junichi, and Takamori Shizuka, who is not here anymore.

Including Keito, the five of them would play together all the time when they were small. They even traveled to Keito’s mother’s parents home for a trip when there are still primary school students.

However as each time gradually goes by, each one of their hobby and friends are formed. Then, I was completely estranged by that accident two years ago when I tried to go out and play just like before for the first time in a while.

Takumi is in the same school, same grade and his class was beside Keito so they still get to meet each other. That being said, they have never talked about Shizuka or that accident ever since they enrolled. Even if they met each other, they would only stand around and talk.

Sarasa didn’t even pass by let alone greeting because of the previous state. It looks like she is avoiding him and thought that she finds it hard to deal with him.

She was on good terms with Shizuka. It was who invited Sarasa to that trip was Shizuka.

Another person is Ezaki Junichi who is in a different school and is one grade higher, and there isn’t any interaction after enrolling.

In middle school, he played baseball with Takumi and was a prominent player. He should have enter a high school with experience of participating in the Koshien* and join the baseball club, but that high school had not entered one for the past two years. This summer was supposed to the last.

One out of the five of his childhood friends had died and the remaining four have went their separate ways.


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The National High School Baseball Championship commonly known as “Summer Koshien” was an annual nationwide high school baseball tournament that was held between 1915 and 2019. It was the largest scale amateur sport event in Japan. The tournament, which was organized by the Japan High School Baseball Federation and Asahi Shimbun, took place during the summer school vacation period, culminating in a two-week final tournament stage with 49 teams in August at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in the Koshien district of Nishinomiya City, Hyōgo, Japan.