Chapter 2 – Sound

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Chapter 2: Sound

Some part of me believed these uneventful days would last forever.

I hope something interesting happens today.

I hope today’s going to be different from yesterday.

Will tomorrow be another repeat of today?

Ah, my normal life is so boring.

…Those were the carefree things I used to say.

Some part of me believed these uneventful days would last forever.

Believed.

But our everyday lives are built atop a precarious balance.

If I could go back, I would, every single time.

I hope today is going to be the same as yesterday.

I hope tomorrow will be a repeat of today.

Ah, my normal life was happiness.

Things were so happy yesterday….

I loved singing when I was a little girl.

My mom aspired to be a singer at one point and my sister and I were lucky enough to get special lessons from her.

Even as kids, we sang in front of huge crowds and got lots of applause.

I didn’t really know how amazing that was, because what made me happy was seeing Mom overjoyed.

I loved when she patted our heads after our performances.

We started showing up on TV and in magazines.

And before we knew it, my sister and I were called Canaria.

But I knew the truth.

That I was better at singing than my little sister.

That people had a better opinion of me than my little sister.

And more than anything, that Mom acknowledged me more.

When the topic of my solo performances came up, she told me to do my best.

That’s why I decided to do it.

The number of solo opportunities increased dramatically for me.

And it was just at that time that I stopped singing like I wanted to.

The songwriter who chose me said he didn’t want me to do his solo anymore.

Mom pushed me to practice even more than usual.

I continued to sing.

There were times my throat hurt.

But still, I continued to sing.

My voice became a little raspy.

But still, I continued to sing.

I stopped hitting the high notes.

But still, I continued to sing.

The pain in my throat worsened.

But still, I continued to sing.

I began to cough up blood.

But still, I continued to sing.

I became mute.

But still, I continued to sing.

Though I lost my voice, I continued to sing.

But not something that could be called a song anymore.

I could no longer continue.

And in my place, my little sister sang.

She settle right where I used to be, with a voice that resembled mine and a similar level of talent.

Almost like I didn’t exist anymore.

Almost like no one needed me anymore.

Mom took a lesson from my failure, and treated my little sister dearly.

The amount of love increased for her until there was nothing at all left for me.

After I lost my voice, I lost where I belonged.

There was no place for me in Canaria after I lost my song.

It was the day before my little sister’s concert.

It was also my birthday.

We were late in getting to the hotel due to a traffic delay. Mom was worried about my sister’s condition and was focused entirely on her.

It was almost like my birthday didn’t exist at all.

Maybe she forgot, or maybe she never remembered in the first place—the clock ticked on without anyone even hinting at it.

Until it struck twelve.

I ran out from the hotel the moment my birthday ended.

Maybe it was childish indignation.

Maybe I was just lonely.

Or maybe I wanted someone to find me.

I ran around town without a destination in mind.

There were some people who asked me what was wrong.

But they seemed scary, so I ran away from them too.

Even though I was running terrified, I went deeper into town.

Until I found myself in front of small, cozy little shop.

I didn’t quite know where I was, since I was so focused on running.

But scared as I was, I wasn’t the least bit afraid for some reason when I dashed into the shop.

It was a strange little place.

There were things I had never seen before lined up on the shelves, but they didn’t scare me… because there were musical instruments there too.

My eyes were drawn to the instruments that sat alongside old paintings and expensive looking tableware. I saw violins, flutes, and all sorts other instruments.

I couldn’t turn my eyes away.

“Welcome.”

I heard a voice and turned around.

The shopkeeper that appeared wasn’t scary either. She felt mysterious, but not scary… I don’t really remember her face anymore, but get the feeling she was very beautiful too.

“Are you interested in musical instruments?” The beautiful shopkeeper asked, but I didn’t answer.

Because I had already lost my voice.

“……..”

She crouched to meet me at eye level, and stared at my face.

“I see. So you can’t speak.”

I wondered how she knew.

Maybe she guessed because I wasn’t saying anything.

But had a feeling it was something different.

Somehow I got the feeling she knew everything.

I took out my cellphone from my pocket. I couldn’t speak, but there were still ways for me to hold a conversation. I always used my cellphone to communicate and used it to type if I needed to.

That’s when I noticed that a message had come from Mom.

It was from just earlier, and read “Where are you? Come back quickly.”

Mom had noticed that I wasn’t there. She was actually worried about me. The message didn’t say anything about my birthday, but the horrible feelings I had when I ran out of the hotel were all gone now.

I tried to reply, but this shop was out of signal range.

The pretty shopkeeper told me to wait, and a moment later I had 3 bars. I thought it was strange, but didn’t think much about if before replying to Mom’s message.

“I don’t know where I am. Come pick me up.”

Mom replied a little later. She told me to to ask a police officer or taxi driver to take me back to the hotel.

She wasn’t going to come for me herself.

“Why?”, I asked.

Mom replied saying didn’t want to leave my little sister alone.

I thought so.

She was more worried about my little sister at the hotel than her daughter who was in some unknown location.

It was true; Mom was worried about me.

But only after my sister.

I turned off my phone.

I wasn’t sad.

I wasn’t crying either.

I guess I was just bitter.

I didn’t know who I was bitter against.

Was it Mom? My littler sister? Or did I just resent myself?

I was just bitter.

I wanted to break something

I wanted to break everything. Break everything, just like my voice.

“Is that your wish?” The woman asked me.

I quickly realized she was asking about the feelings in my heart.

She understood me.

My wish had been to sing again one day.

Until just a moment ago.

That had been my dream this entire time—ever since I lost my voice.

But that dream had been overwritten.

It was written over for me.

“I see.” The woman said, and handed me an instrument.

It was unlike anything I had seen before. The closest thing I could compare it to was a flute, just big enough for me to hold in my small hands. Parts of it looked rough, and it didn’t look nice at all.

I thought it was a perfect for me.

“Its sound will grant your wishes”, the shopkeeper had told me then.

And it was true, this flute—Otodama— had granted my wishes.

It allowed me to meet him.

And allowed me to find a new path after I lost my voice.

However—

I could only think that way now.

What if on that day, I hadn’t seen the message Mom sent me?

What if she had come to pick me up?

I might have gotten a different Relic instead.

I might not have had to hurt her.

——

“Looks like my theory was correct. Don’t you agree, Asuka?”

Shun’s question brought me back to reality.

We were in a room in his apartment.

Displayed on his computer screen was an article about the falling stage light at the concert the other day. It was about whether the incident would become a problem for the building managers.

“[What theory?]” I typed into the open text editor.

“Weren’t you paying attention?” Shun lightly shrugged and started from the beginning again. “I was talking about those two.”

That brought me back to the conversation we had about them three weeks ago.

It was the day after that incident in the high school gym, and Shun was concerned about the boy and girl we met there, even more than the Relics we obtained that summoned luck.

“Look at this.”

Shun put the two Fortune bangles on the table. Then he undid the chain wrapped around his wrist, and used it to hold the attached triangular jewel up high.

Dowsing, it was a Relic that showed a response if there was a certain something nearby. That certain something, being of course, Relics.

We were using it to search for a specific one.

Dowsing span and drew a gentle circle in the air, proving that that the bangles were relics.

“[What about it?]”

“The reaction is different from when we obtained this last week.”

Shun pointed to my Otodama, and told me to put it on the table. When I did, Dowsing began to spin in an even bigger arc.

Tsukumodo_v6_c2_img1

Dowsing was a Relic that reacted more depending on the number of Relics present; Shun had already told me that.

“Its reaction last week was even bigger than this.”

Back then we also had the two Fortune bangles along with our own relics. But he was saying Dowsing wasn’t reacting as much now compared to then.

Meaning—

“[There were other Relics?]”

“That’s right.”

Shun put Dowsing away and stood up from his chair.

“I was careless. I didn’t think there would be so many.”

“[Shun, does this mean you think those two have Relics?]”

“You remember when you shattered the glass in the gym right?”

“[Yes.]”

“The only ones who escaped unharmed were us, the sisters with the Fortune bangles, and those two, who just happened to be there. We were fine because we had a Relic, so it’s not a stretch to assume they had one too, right?”

And then there was yesterday.

I went to the concert for my own reasons, and ended up running into those two by complete accident. Shun came with me out of curiosity, or maybe a sense of protectiveness, but in the end I was glad he did.

That was exactly why.

“Looks like my theory was correct. Don’t you agree, Asuka?”

He asked me that question.

“They evaded all the shattered glass in the gym and also pulled the fire alarm before the stage light fell. You can’t help but think they have a Relic, right?”

Shun’s guess was that those two had Relics with them.

“[But in that case, shouldn’t we have questioned them at the concert hall?]”

We didn’t know who they were, or where they came from.

But Shun took out two pieces of paper from his pocket and fluttered them open. I took them and read the contents.

They were the ticket redemption forms they used at the entrance to the concert. On them were written the full names and addresses of the boy and girl.

I didn’t know what Shun did to get his hands on these, but it was clever.

He must have been just that certain about those two.

“[What kind of Relic do you think they have?]”

There might have been no point in asking that question.

If Shun was interested in them, then it was already clear. He believed they had the Relic he was looking for.

And almost as if to confirm, Shun smiled.

“A Relic that can predict the future—”

“You’re saying there were people there collecting Relics?”

I had only explained the situation over the phone yesterday before going home. As expected, Towako-san was making a sour face while I gave her the full report today.

I told her about our run in with the pair during the lucky bangle incident before, but back then she just told me there were some people out there like that and ended the conversation.

I hadn’t been to worried about them back then.

It was true that there weren’t many people who knew about Relics, and it wasn’t even unusual for people who did know to be ignorant of what Relics truly were or what they were called. In fact, there were some that didn’t even know the objects they had were Relics in the first place.

But that didn’t mean everyone was like that, with us and Towako-san being good examples.

That’s why, while it was rare for people to have know what Relics were and actively want to collect them, it was by no means unheard of.

That said, we had run into them twice now.

The same two people had caused to Relic related incidents.

Incidents that involved us.

We couldn’t afford to ignore them now.

“So they used a Relic to make the stage light at the concert fall?”

“There was also the thing with the glass shattering in the gym.”

The image of the glass shattering and falling on us floated back into my mind.

There they were, smiling as they avoided the glass shards raining around them. It wasn’t unreasonable to think they used Relic to do that. In fact, there couldn’t have been any other way.

“I guess…dismissing it as coincidence would be too optimistic.”

“Yeah.”

But what was their goal?

Were those two simply collecting Relics? Or were they trying to use them to accomplish some objective?

If they were charmed by the power of Relics and were using them recklessly, then that made them a danger to themselves. But on the other hand if they were using the Relics for their own interests, then that made them a danger to others too.

Up until this point, we had encountered a number of Relics, along with with people whose lives were tossed around by them.

Judging from what we saw in the gym, the two we met weren’t just being reckless; it looked like they had mastered using their Relics.

“We should probably be a little more vigilant. There’s a chance they could be going after yours too.”

“Huh?”

“Just as you have become aware of them, it’s possible that they have become aware of you.”

True, I couldn’t deny that.

Saki and I did escape from those falling glass shards unscathed. Adding that to the incident at the concert hall, and there was a chance they would chalk it up to just coincidence or luck on our part.

Not to mention the fact that we did actually past those dangers with Vision. All the more reason for them to believe it wasn’t luck or coincidence.

At the very least they had to know that we had some connection to Relics.

I was the one who said they were collecting relics.

They might not have noticed before, but if they by any chance realized that I had a Relic too, who knew what could happen.

“Vigilance…huh.”

They shouldn’t have had any information about who we were or where we came from. I wasn’t wearing a school uniform or anything that day, so they wouldn’t be able to narrow down what school I went to.

The only thing that worried me was that they saw our faces and talked to us.

Then, I suddenly realized.

Why was I afraid of meeting them?

It was true, I was hoping I’d never meet them again.

Up until this point, I had wanted to help people when I saw them about to destroy themselves with Relics.

But this time it was different.

To put it simply, it was because the pair we met weren’t just brandishing relics, they were actively using them.

I was finding myself with an ominous feeling about the future; the same feeling I got when I used Vision.

“Alright, see you later.”

Saki passed by in front of Towako-san in the middle of our serious discussion.

“Oh, take care… hey, wait a minute!”

When I called out to stop her, Saki turned around with her usual blank expression.

“What?”

“Not ‘what’. Where are you going!?”

“Getting groceries, of course.”

“Why!?”

“Cause we ran out of eggs.”

“That’s not what I mean!”

“Did I tell you we also ran out of milk?”

“That’s not it either. I’m asking why are you getting groceries now of all times?”

“Because there’s a limited time sale.”

“What does that have to do with anything!?”

“Are you telling me to go when there’s not a sale? Just how much money do you think I have?”

“I’m saying that’s not the point! What I’m saying is that it’s dangerous.”

“Indeed, limited time sales are a battlefield for housewives. I know full well how dangerous it is. But I’ve fought my way through countless sales myself, you know. I won’t lose so easily.”

I really couldn’t imagine Saki going at it with housewives over 40 yen egg cartons, but this wasn’t the time for that.

“I’m not talking abut the sale. Like I said a million times now, why are you going out of your way to get groceries so soon after yesterday’s events? We could still be in danger.”

“Like I told you a million times now, there’s a limited time sale and we ran out of milk and eggs.”

“… Fine whatever.” I was the idiot here for expecting Saki to have any sense of danger. “Give me a minute.”

I went back inside and took out my wallet and phone from my bag.

“I’m going with you.”

——

… I-it really was an incredible battlefield. Limited time sales were no joke.

Most terrifying of all was Saki, who ended up snagging two cartons of eggs while keeping up her usual expressionless face.

She stood among of all the housewives pushing and shoving as they reached for the store employee distributing the eggs, and without changing her expression, or even saying anything, let out a uniquely overpowering aura. The employee must have felt compelled to hand the eggs over.

“I-is it always like this?”

“Yes. I told you, didn’t I? This is war.”

Saki got her hands on eggs along with few other things she wanted from the limited time sale and seemed a little triumphant as she left the store.

“You’re going to be a great wife one day.”

In one of her rare moments, Saki looked at me shocked.

“What’s the matter?”

“…Nothing.”

For some reason took out the receipt and began double checking the total even though it was way too late.

Uhh, maybe I was overthinking it, but did that exaggerated reaction mean she thought…

“There really wasn’t any deeper meaning to that, you know.”

“Deeper meaning to what?”

“No, it’s just…it didn’t mean what you probably thought it did…”

“I wasn’t thinking anything.”

Saki shook her head like she didn’t care, but sure enough the receipt she was looking at was upside down.

“………”

“………”

The atmosphere turned kind of awkward, and the both of us fell silent.

Then, I heard a clinking sound as we quietly walked down the road. It sounding like a rolling can.

“Hm?”

There was strange feeling under my foot, and the next thing I knew, I was on my back looking up at the sky.

I had completely slipped on the can and toppled over.

“Ow….”

I managed to soften the blow somehow with my hand, but still ended up hitting my lower back really hard. I groaned.

“Are you alright?”

“The eggs sure are.” I was pretty proud of myself for keeping the them safe the instant I fell.

“Shit, who did that?”

I looked around to see what kind of jerk threw away a can, but there wasn’t anyone there.

Maybe the wind blow it towards me…today really wasn’t my day.

Now that I thought about it, I had a really bad time at the supermarket too. First I heard the sound of something collapsing, and the next thing I knew a bunch of canned food fell on my head. Then I heard a banging sound, and someone carrying a mop inside the store flipped over a bucket and soaked my shoes. After that, I heard a snipping sound, and a sales banner fell on top of me.

Maybe it was retribution for buying eggs on sale. I did protect them, despite everything, but man did I hate these eggs right now.

“You know I’m not talking about the eggs.”

Saki offered her hand.

I used my free left hand and stood up with her help. Saki then loosened her grip to let me go. I did the same and we separated…or at least that’s what was supposed to happen.

“………”

But I didn’t let go of her hand.

“Huh?”

I felt Saki looking at me questioningly from my peripheral vision, but I didn’t look at her and pretended not to notice as I began walking.

Like it was the natural thing to do.

It was like we were walking side by side holding hands.

—Not “like”, that’s exactly what was happening.

This wasn’t something I’d normally do.

But if you were to ask me why I did it, the only thing I could say is that there was no reason. There was no deeper meaning; I didn’t think hard about it didn’t work up the resolve either. There really was no reason.

It just felt like the natural thing to do…or maybe it was that letting go of her hand was too hard.

Towako-san would probably say something went wrong with my head after I hurt it at the concert hall if she saw us now.

And also, Saki wasn’t complaining at all as she walked with me.

I stole a glance at her from the side.

She had her usual expressionless face.

Except.

Her head was down just a little more than usual.

Her ears were just a little more red than usual.

…Though that might have just been my imagination.

I tried testing him four different times now.

The first time I collapsed a mountain of canned food and made them fall on his head.

The second time I flipped over a bucket and spilled water on him.

The third time I cut a cord, and caused a hanging banner to fall on him.

The fourth time I made a can roll caused him to slip.

He had utterly fallen for each and every one.

It was far too easy; it didn’t seemed like he had absolutely not idea what was going to happen.

Back then the two of them avoided the rain of falling glass in the gym.

And the second time, I didn’t know if they know about our plan to drop the stage light or not, but they did set off the fire alarm before it happened.

Considering they manage to get away from two seemingly unavoidable events, Shun’s theory was that they had some way of seeing the future.

But that theory wasn’t looking too promising right now.

Maybe what they did was just a coincidence.

Maybe we were just overthinking it.

However, it was a fact that they had a Relic. There was no doubt that Dowsing reacted to them.

But there was a chance that the Relic they had wasn’t the one we were looking for.

The Relic that foresaw the future.

If I didn’t get the result I was looking for after one more test, I was going to return to Shin for now. We could always go back and steal their Relic later.

The two of them went out to a bigger road and walked side by side.

I looked up at the building a little in front of them. There was a worker there, replacing the glass on the three story building.

Perfect. I could recreate the incident in the gym.

There was a chance they could get injured but they probably wouldn’t die if I broke the glass into small pieces.

I distanced myself a little, and got Otodama ready.

I pressed my finger to the hole, raised the mouthpiece and blew.

Crack

The sound of splintering glass rang out, and shards started to rain down on their heads.

Suddenly, a painful noise rushed through the back of my head—

It feels like something is glittering above me.

I look up.

Countless sparkles come into view—glass shards

A much larger piece of three sided glass is also falling.

It’s like a sharpened blade, edge pointed downward as it falls.

Its target, Saki, still hasn’t noticed.

With almost calculated precision, the glass pierces the nape Saki’s pure white neck and—

 

The sound of shattering glass echoed through the air.

“Saki!”

I snapped back to Reality after Vision showed me that image death. I didn’t didn’t even look up and pulled Saki towards me without a moment’s hesitation.

Saki pressed her self into my arms as if she were embracing me.

I held her like that and threw myself backwards.

Crash

With a sharp crack, the large piece of glass shattered and scattered in all directions. Immediately after, the rest of the glass shards hit the ground.

“Are you alright!?”

A guy who looked like worker called from up in the building in a panic.

I looked at Saki who was in my arms.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.”

That was dangerous. If we had not already been holding hands, I might not have made it.

Is this what they called a premonition?

At any rate, I had to say I was pretty proud of myself for not letting her go.

Now I was convinced.

He had some Relic that allowed him to see the future.

He moved the moment the glass brokebefore the shards entered his line of sight.

More than that, he didn’t even see the glass. He immediately jumped back without even looking up.

Of course, it was possible that he heard the sound first.

But this was someone we were already suspicious of.

It was enough to change my suspicion to certainty.

All that was to find proof.

Of whether or not he had a Relic that let him see the future.

The least I could say now was that he couldn’t see the entire future.

Perhaps it depended on the level of danger.

Or maybe it only worked occasionally.

I needed to know everything about this Relic, including the specifics.

There was still lots of ways for me to test him.

The thought of getting my hands on a Relic that saw the future made me shake with joy.

… No, what really made me shake from joy was imagining Shun’s happiness when he got the Relic.

I was here for his sake.

He needed me.

He was the only one there for me after I lost my song.

That’s I why I was also living for his sake. That was my wish.

He gave me a new place to belong and protected me even after I abandoned my sister and killed my mother.

There was no other place for me.

That’s right, nowhere else but by Shun’s side.

Wait for me Shun.

I’ll be sure to come back with the Relic.

I’ll do everything I can to show you the future.

That falling glass would have   if I had taken a single step forward.

I looked around. There wasn’t anyone I recognized nearby.

Even so, it was probably too optimistic to dismiss what just happened as a coincidence.

I knew we were being targeted. More than anything, I was glad I want along with Saki.

“Tokiya?”

“Let’s go.”

I pulled Saki’s hand and got ready to hurry back. But was it really a good idea to go straight back to Tsukumodo if we being followed?

We’d have no place to run to if they found out about the shop.

There was also a chance that they had already located it.

But even if I chose to face them here, at the very least I had to get Saki back…

Suddenly, a painful noise rushed through the back of my head—

We run into a commuter as we’re climbing up the stairs to the pedestrian bridge.

I stumble two, three times. My back hits the bridge handrail.

Suddenly I lose my balance and find there’s nothing there to support me

The part of the handail that I bumped into must have been rusted or something, because it makes a dull sound and snaps.

My upper body sways, and just like that, I’m in the air—

I came back to my senses as we were climbing up the stairs to the pedestrian bridge.

“Tokiya?”

Saki notices I’ve stopped since we were still holding hands. She pulls me forward.

Having come back to reality, I immediately look around, but don’t see any commuters on the bridge.

I grab the handrail and shake it a little just in case, but it feels pretty solid. Maybe it was some other bridge that Vision was showing me. But then again, I had never used another bridge to get to Tsukumodo before…

It really felt like Vision showed me something, but now I was starting to think maybe I was just seeing things.

“What is it?”

“It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

I was a little concerned, but I went onto the bridge anyway.

Saki and I crossed it moved walked to the road on the other side.

Suddenly, a painful noise rushed through the back of my head—


The
moment I look up, I see a giant concrete chunk falling towards me.

Part of the wall of the four story building to the side has fallen off.

I instantly kick my front foot on the ground and leap back.

But I don’t make it.

The chunk of concrete falls on my head and—

I looked up the instant I snapped back to reality.

But all I see above me is the sky; there is no falling concrete. I was sure that if the concrete I saw with Vision made a direct hit, it wasn’t going to end well for anyone.

The building next to us stood there with nothing obviously wrong with it. It didn’t look like any chunks were about to fall off the wall at all.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I was just think we have such nice weather today.”

“Huh?”

What was that Vision just now?

Given the the circumstances and timing, I couldn’t help but see it as an attack from the boy and girl before.

But the future with the broken handrail and the broken building wall never came to pass.

Did that mean that what Vision showed me didn’t absolutely have to match with reality? Or did it mean that event would happen at a similar place but with different timing?

“Tokiya.” Saki said my name.

She was trying to point out the bike coming at us from down the road. I put my thoughts on hold, and started to move to the side when—

…for some reason, I met eyes with the twin tailed high school girl riding the bike.

“What are you looking at?”

Saki made a dubious face and pulled on my sleeve when she saw I was following the approaching girl with my eyes.

“Huh? Oh, it just felt like I’ve seen her somewhere before.”

At the lie that instantly came out of my mouth, I realized it myself.

Did I actually meet her somewhere?

Now that the words came out of my mouth and I thought about it, it really did feel like I had met her before…

But contrary to what I was thinking, the girl took no notice of me and kept riding on.

Must have been my imagination.

“Does she go to your school?”

“No, I don’t think so…”

“Oh? It seems you have a lot of girl acquaintances at school, don’t you?”

Saki let go of my sleeve and kept walking without me.

“Hm?”

I didn’t know why, but it looked like Saki was in a bad mood. Weird, I wonder what happened.

“Hey, wait!” I started to follow after her.

Suddenly, a painful noise rushed through the back of my head—

A truck, tilted and driving on set of wheels is barreling straight towards us.

It flips completely over and slides until it hits the guardrail.

The impact cause the back of the truck to open.

An unidentifiable red substance burst out like an avalanche and swallows me up.

Pop! I heard the sound of something bursting nearby, and came back to my senses.

A moment later, I heard the squeal of breaks behind me.

This time it was real

I looked at where the sound was coming from, and saw a station wagon with with half its tires blown out leaning dangerously on its side as it charged towards us.

But there wasn’t nearly enough time to react; Vision didn’t warn me early enough.

Saki and I couldn’t get out of the way fast enough, and found ourselves in the path of the out-of-control station wagon.

I was deciding on my next target.

What should I make happen next?

There was no point in shattering glass again.

Repeating an attack I used before would be half meaningless.

There was no point in anything my target could predict. There was no point in anything he could guard against.

What I wanted to see wasn’t his ability to predict the future, it was his ability to see it.

And the best way to determine that was to set up a situation that no one could possibly predict.

Going by what had happened so far, it looked like his ability most likely triggered when there was a big threat to his safety.

It would probably be best to cause something really dangerous to happen with this next test.

I looked around.

This was a sidewalk right next a major road. There were lots of things I’d be able to use.

Then I noticed the large station wagon headed in my direction going way over the speed limit.

Exactly what I was looking for.

I raised Otodama to my lips.

…and the next moment,

With a loud ‘pop’, the station wagon’s tires burst.

… That was dangerous.

If the station wagon hadn’t veered out of the way at the last second, it would have run Saki and I over.

It did end up crashing into a store, but fortunately neither the driver nor anyone inside the store were hurt.

—Station wagon?

I realized something was different.

The vehicle I saw with Vision was a truck, right?

And while a truck and a station wagon were certainly different, I couldn’t deny that the future Vision showed me did in fact happen.

It was precisely because Vision warned me that I was able to react to the accident before my eyes.

That said, there were still things that didn’t make sense.

There was the pedestrian bridge, and also the building.

I couldn’t claim that the things I saw with Vision were going to be one hundred percent accurate.

But differences usually occurred when I did something to prevent certain futures from happening.

What did it mean then when the Vision future showed me never happened—or happened differently from what I saw?

I was pretty sure I had never experienced anything like this before.

So what did this abnormality indicate?

Vision was behaving so strangely that I couldn’t even hide my confusion.

“Are you alright?” Saki came running over and held out her hand. I replied with ‘I’m fine’ and stood up—

 

Suddenly, a painful noise rushed through the back of my head—

In front of me, a truck crashed into the shop.

A large number of red flowers are spilling out onto the road from the back of the truck.

There’s a group of boys and girls sitting on the ground.

And there’s me, holding onto Saki’s hand as I stand up.

And,

In a fraction of a second…no, even less time that, the atmosphere changes.

An explosion.

Bits and pieces from the small explosion from the truck fly towards us and piece—

 

“Ah!”

Saki was right in front of me. I pushed her down and covered her.

“Get away! It’s going to explode!” I shouted.

———………

But the station wagon did not explode. The only sound was the empty spinning of its wheels in the air.

“Tokiya…”

“A, Ah, sorry.”

I stood up and let Saki go.

Vision showed me there was going to be an explosion, but it didn’t look like there was going to be one.

Of course it would be great if nothing exploded.

But this time I couldn’t afford to relax.

The risk was still there.

I took Saki with me was trying to encourage people in the area to get away, until I saw there was one girl who got caught up in the accident.

I walked over towards the fallen girl.

“Are you alrig…?”

Right in the middle of my sentence, I found myself at a loss for words.

I had seen this girl before. She seemed to have realized it too, and while she didn’t say anything, the surprise was clear on her face.

She was one of the two we met before who were looking for Relics.

“Asuka, right?”

I grabbed her arm to stop her from escaping.

“Did you cause this?”

It didn’t seem likely that Asuka was going to answer, but I wasn’t going to let her use her inability to speak as an excuse for anything.

“Come with me.”

Curious onlookers were starting to gather because of the accident, so I tried to get Asuka to stand up.

But then she raised her uninjured hand to her mouth.

In her hand was a strange flute-like object.

She blew.

There was a sudden crackle of electricity, and pain ran like a current through the hand I was holding Asuka with.

I let go of her on reflex.

Asuka didn’t waste the chance and used hat moment to run away.

I tried to chase after her, but she was already diving into the crowd. I quickly lost sight of her.

I glanced at my right hand which was still hurting from her attack.

There were no visible injuries. She attack me with what felt like an electric current, but there weren’t any burn marks either. My hand was a little red, but that was it.

But she did attack me, that much I knew for sure.

Thinking back now, she also used that flute back in the gym at Toujou-san’s school. More than likely that flute was a Relic and her weapon.

All the things that happened today like the broken glass and the ruptured tire were probably related—it was safe to assume she caused those incidents with her flute.

I clicked my tongue at the fact that she got away, and returned to meet Saki who was looking at me with a worried expression.

I pulled her away from the crowd and explained the situation.”

“Saki, you need to go back to the shop for now.”

“Huh?”

“I’m thinking everything that’s happened so far today was that girl’s fault.”

“So far…you mean the thing just now?”

“Yeah, and the other accidents too.”

I assured her saying I was able to foresee the accidents to an extent, but this was probably my limit.

“This is just a guess, but I think she has a Relic that uses concussive sound waves or something to attack.”

Assuming I was right, then that would explain the breaking glass, the exploding tire, and the pain that ran through hand earlier.

It could also possibly explain the falling stage light at the concert venue and the shattered glass ceiling in the gym.

“Tokiya, what are you going to do?”

“I know what direction she ran off to. I’m going to follow her.”

That was a lie. My plan was to lure her out.

Asuka and that other boy were targeting Relics, so I was sure she’d come after me again even if she got away this time. Given that, it was dangerous for Saki to stay with me.

Not to mention the fact that I couldn’t just go to Tsukumodo with her right now since it was basically a warehouse for Relics.

“It’s dangerous.”, Saki tried to stop me, perhaps knowing what I was really planning.

“It’ll be even more dangerous if I let her do whatever she wants, you know.”

“But…”

“I won’t follow her too far. It’ll be fine, so go back to the shop.”

I forced Saki to stay behind and left her to chase after Asuka.

That was outside of expectations.

To think the station wagon would come in my direction after I popped its tires…

And on top of that he found me. Now that my target knew I was here, he was probably going to be even more on guard.

But there was no way I could give up here. .

For Shun’s sake, there was no way I could let it end here.

I couldn’t really tail them anymore now that I had been found, but I could at least figure out where their base was.

Looking at them now, it seemed they decided to split up and go separate ways.

Both of them moved away from me, putting them out of Dowsing’s detection range. I wasn’t sure who to follow, but decided to go after the boy.

Going by his behavior so far, I was sure he was the one with the Relic that could see the future.

All I had to do was steal it from him.

It looked like he wasn’t too keen on letting this end either. Right now he was going towards a nearby construction site where an unfinished building was.

Obviously he was trying to lure me out

You could also call it a trap.

But even still, I wasn’t planning to lose.

I had my Otodama.

And I was certain he had no idea what it was really capable of.

I went towards the direction Asuka ran to, and set my eyes on a certain place while keeping an eye on the surroundings.

It was a construction site for an unfinished building.

As if to prove the building was still unfinished, the first floor had not outer wall, and the floors about were covered in protective netting. It looked like it would be about eight flours once it was completed, and judging by how complete the walls were, it was only going to be a few more months till it was fully built.

…Assuming nothing happened here today.

 

Suddenly, a painful noise rushed through the back of my head—

 

Above my head a number of steel beams are falling quickly, gathering speed as they go.

I dodge to the right to avoid the first one. It sticks into the ground.

Then I leap back to avoid the second one. This one doesn’t get stuck in the ground and bounces towards me instead.  

I cover my head and duck to avoid it. The beam scrapes just over my head and lands behind me.

Then another beam crashes into some concrete right in front of where I’m crouching and sends pieces everywhere.

Those fragments become projectiles and hit me.

My head, my arms, my legs are cut to pieces.

I lose my strength and fall backwards.

Then I notice there’s something that looks like an “H” right in front of my eyes.

By the time I realize it’s the end of a steel beam, my head has already been crushed.

 

————!

I looked above my head.

However…

…there were no visible steel beams on the roof anymore. All I saw when I looked up was protective netting and the scaffolding along the outside walls.

What was that Vision I saw just now?

I didn’t see how it would be possible for steel beams to crush me at a construction site that didn’t even have any.

Strange. This was the same as before; it was happening again.

The futures I saw with the pedestrian bridge and crumbling wall never happened, and the truck I saw in the accident actually turned out to be a station wagon.

What was going on?

Could it be…

… That the futures Vision was showing me were off?

A moment later I heard the sound of something crumbling above me.

Almost as if there had been an explosion in the building, the wall had collapsed and huge chunks of it were raining down on me.

“Shit!”

I quickly ran into the lobby of the unfinished building’s to get away from this event that Vision didn’t warn me about. I heard the concrete chunks crash where I had been standing just seconds earlier. If I hadn’t gotten out of the way in time I would have been done for.

Shivers ran down my spine.

The only thing I could do to fight against an enemy with a Relic was to use Vision to avoid certain death.

If Vision wasn’t reliable right now, then I was at a clear disadvantage.

Why were its predictions missing?

I had never experienced something like this before…

Was it because Asuka was using a Relic to mess with it, or something else?

It certainly was possible that she had multiple Relics. Maybe she also had another Relic that made her opponents Relics malfunction in addition to the flute she used to attack.

…Calm down

I suppressed my feelings of panic.

There was no problem even if I couldn’t see the future with Vision; it wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe Vision just didn’t show me anything this time because it was easily escapable, or maybe because it wouldn’t have ended with a fatal injury.

There qas no need for me to panic even if there was something wrong with VIsion. Even in the one in a million chance that something was actually happening, my opponent’s attack was a direct attack with the flute.

She was able to destroy things outside of the building, but none of her attacks had piercing power..

First I could put some cover between me and Asuka.

After that I would close the distance between us and steal that flute.

There was nothing to hide behind in the lobby right now, so I was at a disadvantage.

I looked around for the entrance to the emergency staircase, and ran towards the second floor where there would be lots of things to hide behind.

“Don’t crap out on me now…” I prayed and put my hand over my right eye.

After everything, there was still some part of me that relied on Vision.

I went up the stairs to the second floor, and tried to open the emergency door.

But it was locked tight.

Rattle, rattle, I turned the knob, but the lock was firm and the door stayed shut

Dammit. This wasn’t part of the plan.

Then I heard the door open down the stairs.

“She’s following me.”

I couldn’t see her yet, but Asuka had just gotten onto the emergency stairs.

Not good. I wouldn’t be able to avoid her attacks while I was still on the stairs.

I gave up on the second floor, and ran up to the third., and tried to open the door.

But it was the same.

Same as the second floor, the door here was locked. There was no way to get onto the third floor.

“Shit.”

I gave up on the third floor too and headed towards the fourth.

But to no surprise, I got the same result.

Fifth floor, sixth floor, seventh,… I went higher and higher, and met with the same result every time.

I could hear footsteps coming from below.

I still didn’t see her.

But I was getting the feeling that her echoing footsteps were getting closer and closer.

I had no idea what would happen to me if I took on the same type of attack that destroyed a wall.

I didn’t even need Vision for this; just the thought made me run cold. I ran up the stairs to shake the feeling off.

The roof was all that was left now.

One more floor and then I’d have nowhere to run.

I reached out to the door with a prayer in my heart.

The result was the same.

The door was locked—but it seemed God or fate, or whatever had not yet abandoned me.

There was a bundle of keys hanging on the wall. Someone must have forgotten it, or maybe there was some policy to leave them here.

I took the keys off the wall and tried them on the door leading to the roof.

 

But it didn’t work.

The key wouldn’t turn; the door didn’t open.

“I guess this isn’t it.”

I tried putting another key into the keyhole, but the lock didn’t open.

“Next.”

The footsteps were getting closer.

The lock wouldn’t open.

“Next.”

The footsteps were getting faster

The lock wouldn’t open.

“Next.”

She was almost here.

The lock wouldn’t open.

“Next.”

I wouldn’t survive taking an attack from behind.

The lock wouldn’t open

“Next.”

Was there even a key here that worked?

The lock wouldn’t open

“Next.”

If this wouldn’t work, maybe I could give up and try to fight back.

The lock…

“…Opened.

With a clicking sound, the lock opened.

I quickly pulled the key out, pushed open the heavy door, and went out to the roof.

The wind was blowing.

With it, a sense of freedom that blew away my apprehension.

I ran out to the roof, and quickly locked the door behind me.

Bang!

“—Wha-!

I heard something hit the door hard a second after I locked it.

My heart rate started to rise.

There was no questioning it; Asuka was attacking.

But it looked like her attack wasn’t strong enough to pass through the door.

I wondered what would have happened to me if I had been even a second later. Feeling a sense of relief for the time being, I began to formulate a counter plan.

Calm down.

What I need to calm wasn’t my heart after running up eight flights of stairs, but heat that was starting to get to my head.

I was on the roof. There was no place for me to run, but Asuka couldn’t come in here either. But how long would it take for the door to fall if she kept attacking it like that?

That’s when victory or defeat would be decided.

If my opponent was going with destructive methods, then I was going to hide in her blind spot and wait till she got onto the roof the steal the flute.

The bling spot would be…the side of the door, or maybe above the door to the roof.

It was a bit of a gamble, but I didn’t have any other choice. The problem was whether or not she’d cautious enough to avoid me.

There was lots of construction material lying around on the roof. Maybe I could take a nut and throw it in random direction to distract her. Or maybe I could trick her by hiding some of my clothes in the shadows and purposely making some of it visible.

The method didn’t matter; if I could get her to drop her guard for even a moment…

 

Click

 

“….Huh?”

The lock made a sound that shouldn’t have been possible, and opened.

Shortly after, the iron door slowly opened with a creak.

“Why….how?”

The door had been locked.

Did the door become unlocked from the impact of Asuka’s repeated attacks?

That’s not what it felt like.

It felt much simpler, like the door opened the way it was supposed to.

Then did that mean she had a key?

That shouldn’t have been possible.

And if It were, what did that make the key I had in my hand right now?

Did she have a master key then?

That was also impossible

Because…

… As Asuka slowly came into a view, I saw that she wasn’t holding anything at all.

Meaning she couldn’t have possibly unlocked the door.

But it was unlocked.

I realized I must have misunderstood something somewhere.

Her flute wasn’t for making shockwaves through sound.

But what do it exactly?

What exactly was that flute’s power?

It shattered glass, punctured tires, and dented the door in. If that invisible power wasn’t a concussive soundwave, then what on earth was it?

Was I deceived by the Relic’s shape, and somehow convinced myself it used sound to attack?

Was it some kind of other invisible attack?

No, none that mattered now.

Because there was no explanation for how she undid the lock just now.

My sense of panic was getting worse.

But time would not wait.

My opponent also, would not wait.

Asuka smiled—the same thin smile as her partner, that boy, and put the flute to her lips.

 

All the events up until this point played back in my head.

A reproduction of all the incidents she must have caused flashed through my mind.

 

—I heard the sound of shattering glass, and then countless shards fell from the ceiling.

—I heard the sound of a tire popping, and then a station wagon with a punctured tire came careening towards us.

—I heard the sound of a lock being undone, and the door that should have been locked, opened.

Then it hit me.

What was it? What was it that was bugging me?

There was nothing strange here.

Nothing strange at all.

But even still, what was this sense of incongruity I was feeling?

Was something different this time? Was something different from the other events?

The difference…that was right. I was looking right at the door when she unlocked it.

For all the other times, like when the glass was broken and when the tire popped, I only turned to look after I heard the sound.

That’s how I was able to confirm what happened.

But this time, this thing with the lock was different.

And it wasn’t because Asuka didn’t use the flute to attack.

The biggest difference was that I was looking this time.

At that exact moment, I was looking at the door, or rather I was looking at the lock.

That’s what made me feel something was off.

But what was it?

Why did the single event that I happened to see feel so wrong?

It was because there was something not quite right with what I saw with my eyes.

But what was it? What was it that felt wrong?

There was no doubt the door was locked.

But despite that it was opened.

I heard a click, and then the lock opened.

What about it?

Was there something strange about that?

What was it that was bugging me?

 

Asuka took a breath to blow into the flute.

 

Calm down.

Don’t panic.

Even if there’s only a second left, I absolutely cannot panic.

Realize.

If I have time to panic, then realize.

Remember.

If I have time to panic, then remember.

I need to remember the moment the lock opened.

I need to realize what’s bothering me.

That was literally the key.

I didn’t hear an impact, I heard the lock open.

The lock clicked, completely naturally, then it opened.

“Huh?”

Not yet. Something was still bugging me.

Why did it bother me?

Why I was I so bothered about a lock being opened?

Why did I think there was something strange about a lock being opened?

 

—The lock being opened made a sound, and the door that should have been shut opened.

 

Was there something strange about that?

 

—The lock clicked, and the door that should have been shut, opened.

 

There was nothing strange about that.

 

—The lock clicked, and the door that should have been shut, opened.

 

Wait, it was strange.

 

—The lock clicked, and the door that should have been shut, opened.

 

That was strange.

Visual information and auditory information.

Which did people sense first?

It didn’t really matter, did it?.

It wasn’t all that complicated.

The incongruity I felt came from one brief instant.

But that was it.

That was exactly it.

In all the years of my life, it was something I had sensed unconsciously, and naturally—something reinforced over and over.

It was that sense that made me think something wasn’t right.

 

The sound that accompanies an event when it occurs.

 

That sound…came early —

 

Sound came after.

The fact that the sound didn’t come after was strange.

The was supposed to make a clicking sound because it was opened.

But this time the lock opened because the sound was made.

The incidents were probably the same.

If I had seen the other incidents first, then I was sure I would have seen the orders reversed.

A shattering sound was produced, and then the glass broke

A popping sound was produced, and then the tire burst.

With all of them, the sound was created first, and then the event occurred

In other words—

 

“A Relic that causes phenomena based on the sounds it creates”

Almost as if to confirm.

Or perhaps to mock me for noticing after all this time.

Asuka smiled and blew into the flute.

I knew he was under the wrong impression.

That’s why I was able to push him into a corner here.

Otodama was a Relic that caused things to happen depending on the sound it produced.

I could use it for direct attacks if I manipulated the sound just right, but that’s not all it could do.

It was capable of so much more.

As long as it was related to sound, there was nothing Otodama couldn’t do.

His face was tense.

It was colored with fear.

Relax, I won’t kill you.

I’ll have you faint for a short while, and in that time I’ll take your Relic is all.

I should be able to use Dowsing to find out where you keep the Relic.

But I wouldn’t mind killing you if you resist.

Because there won’t be any evidence.

If that does happen, I’m sorry.

But you see, I can’t just let you go.

Everything is for Shun’s sake.

If you want to regret anything, then regret the fact that you ever got that Relic.  

So what kind of sound should I produce?

Should I make a sound break the fence? I guess it would be too much to expect him to lose consciousness from that though.

Should I make a sound to collapse the scaffolding under his feat? He’d probably die if he fell from this height though.

How about making a sound to hit him with lightning? But then it would be a problem if the Relic got destroyed, wouldn’t it?

What a conundrum. I can’t think of anything perfect.

I really didn’t want to do this, but I guess I don’t have a choice.

There’s not much I can use on this roof, so I’ll have to hit you directly.

A sound to split his head? I’m pretty sure that’ll kill him.

A sound to break his bones? I don’t know if that’ll be enough to make him faint.

A sound to burst his body, I’m pretty sure that’ll kill him too.

Ah, whatever. I’ll just make a sound to hit his head, just enough to give him a light concussion. I did the same thing to him last time so it should probably going to be alright.

But this time I’ll be more careful.

I was in a hurry last time so I didn’t moderate the sound that well.

I feared the worst, but you did well to survive.

I’m sure it’s not going to be as bad this time.

If you do end up with some lasting damage though, I’m sorry.

Won’t you chalk it up to bad luck and give up?

I settled on hitting his head and blew into Otodama.

Oh right.

Maybe I should have let him borrow my Fortune pendant first…

Asuka played a sound on her flute, and caused something to happen.

—or a least, that how it was supposed to go.

My whole body was tense, but I didn’t notice anything change.

Her eyes had clearly been focused on my head.

I tried to touch it. But my head wasn’t gone, nor was it spurting with blood, nor had it been split open.

It was just the same as it was before.

I looked around in a fluster.

The fence wasn’t broken and the scaffolding hadn’t collapsed either.

But she must have done something.

Something was supposed to happen once she blew into the flute

This wasn’t matching up with my expectations.

“       ”

Hey, what did you do!? I tried to shout.

But my voice didn’t come out.

Was I really that scared? My throat seemed to have seized up.

I took a deep breath and shouted one more time.

“       ”

But sure enough, my voice didn’t come out.

What if I was already dead, and just hadn’t realized it yet?

Did I die even though Vision never showed me anything?

I knew it. There was something wrong with it after all.

But the world around me wasn’t dark, and I still had some strength left in me. I was still standing there.

And as proof that I hadn’t become a ghost, I still had legs too.

I didn’t get it. Just what was going on?

When I tried to ask again, I saw that Asuka herself was looking at her flute with a shocked expression.

Then she turned to glare at me.

Almost if she was instead demanding to know what I har done.

She raised her flute again, aimed at me, and blew.

But there was no sound.

Come to think of it, there was no sound earlier either.

What did it mean when a Relic that relied on sound to make things happen didn’t make any noise?

Was it broken?

No, something wasn’t right here. Her flute wasn’t broken.

I finally realized what was strange.

It wasn’t just the sound of the flute.

It wasn’t just my voice.

I couldn’t hear anything right now; not the sound of the wind blowing, and not the rumble of the cars that should have been driving down the street below.

What was going on?

It was almost like—

No, it couldn’t be anything else.

I shifted my gaze.

Behind Asuka, next to the roof door, Saki was standing.

And in her hand was—

 

—A mirror

 

The Mirror of Serenity: it was a Relic that covered everything shown in its reflection in complete silence.

It was the same Mirror of Serenity that a certain composer had so desperately wanted to obtain, and had caused him to lose someone important to him.

Tsukumodo Antique Shop came into possession of the mirror after he returned it.

And now thanks to Saki, it saved me out of a difficult situation.

Asuka still didn’t understand what was happening and tried to play her flute over and over.

But no sound came out.

I walked over to Asuka, who had stopped paying attention to her surroundings and was putting everything she had into playing the flute, and snatched it from her.

She looked up at me with a start, fear clearly written all over her face.

Without her flute, she was just a powerless girl.

Having recognized that, Saki put the curtain on the Mirror of Serenity.

In an instant.

Sound returned to the world.

 

“What is your goal?”

Asuka was looking up at me with a terrified expression, but that wasn’t going to get her anywhere. She was just about to kill me; I wasn’t simply going to let her go.

“Are you going after Relics?” I asked in an even stronger tone.

But as expected she didn’t answer at all. She tried to open her mouth like she was going to say something, but then quickly closed it.

Her right hand was rummaging in her pocket.

But I grabbed her hand and raised it up.

“What are you trying to do!?”

Was she trying to use another Relic this late into the game?

“What are you trying to do!?”

Asuka drew back and made herself small when I shouted.

I unconsciously increased the strength of my grip.

Her face twisted in pain.

I dug through her pocket.

What I took out was a Fortune pendant, and also a cellphone.

“Where you trying to call for help?”

She shook her head and looked at me.

Insisting I was wrong. Desperately trying to convince me.

The way Asuka looked up at me like she wished someone could help pissed me off. She, the one who smiled as she was about to kill me, was so scared of my hard questioning that she couldn’t even speak. She was making a face like she was the victim.

I was already irritated, and this was he last straw.

“Say something!”

When I twisted her arm upward—

“I’d like you to stop right there. She can’t use her voice. The blood may have gotten to your head and made you forget, but you should know that right?”

I heard someone speak up from near the door.

The boy from before—Asuka’s partner—had arrived.

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3 thoughts on “Chapter 2 – Sound

  1. Well this is a chapter clearly linked to the next one, I think it’s time for the final confrontation with the duo Shun/Asuka.

    As always, Tsukumodo surprises in finding solutions to the difficult situations of our protagonists, that mirror is a really great idea, well done Saki !

    Who knows why Vision seems to be working badly, it hasn’t been clarified yet.

    Saki best wife ! As always, together they are really cute !

    Here are some small error:

    “I didn’t really know how amazing that was, because what me happy was seeing Mom overjoyed.”
    It’s “what make me”.

    “I was finding found myself with an ominous feeling about the future; the same feeling I got when I used Vision.”
    It’s “I was finding myself”

    “The difference…that was right. I was looking right at the door when the when she unlocked it.”
    It’s “at the door when she unlocked it.”.

    As always, thank you very much Erebea, for all your work !!!

    Liked by 1 person

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