When I arrived at the Yume System hall, the person I wanted to talk to was taking an afternoon nap whilst leaving his mouth open.
Yosuke: (wakes up) Oh. What brings you here, Hakka?
Shigure: I came to check what I asked you to find before.
Yosuke: You sure left me hanging for a long time after asking me a favor, didn’t you?
Shigure: Sorry. I have been very busy.
Yosuke: Don’t think high school students can say that excuse to adults…Here you go.
Kiritani-sensei handed me one of Shinonome Academy’s yearbooks. This one was printed 25 years ago. Holding the massive book with my hands, I started flipping through its pages.
Yosuke: If you’re looking for someone named Hakka, he’s part of the special class.
Eyes still on the yearbook, my hands stopped upon finding the said page.
Yosuke: Is he your dad?
Shigure: Can I take a photo of this?
Yosuke: Sure, as long as you don’t have any bad intentions with it.
Kiritani-sensei shrugged his shoulders. Since a member of the Mafia family must thank those who willingly cooperate, I did not mind revealing my motive under his seemingly probing eyes.
Shigure: I feel like I was continuously knitting a piece of fabric even though I knew I was doing it wrong from the very beginning. I was too afraid to confront what I should really be fixing that I kept on knitting without fixing that mistake. And because of that, I now have a lot of knots to untie.
Yosuke: Sorry but I’m bad at knitting.
Shigure: Me, too. (smiles)
I gently closed the book and returned it to my teacher.
Shigure: Just so you know, my parents are doing well in Sicily.
As I walked back towards the dorms, I noticed the sky was becoming dark and gloomy.
Shigure: Maybe it will rain…
I suddenly remembered how volcanic ash rained over Sicily several years ago.
I stopped in my tracks and fished out the jetblack notebook from my uniform’s inner pocket. As I feel my breathing become shallow…
…The evening breeze blew away the piece of paper inserted between the pages of my notebook. I extended my arms but failed to reach for it, so I started chasing after it.
Meanwhile, Takaomi, who was holding his Les Paul guitar, was quietly practicing in the rear garden.
Takaomi: This portable headphone amp is so handy. I’m glad I bought it. Now that I know how to play power chords, next, I’m gonna–
A piece of paper appeared from nowhere. Blown by the wind, it landed on Takaomi’s face.
Takaomi: What the hell is this? …A photocopy of a news article? Is this from a weekly newspaper? “Ten Years After a Tragic Incident: The Sudden Disappearance of a Police Officer’s Family” …? Oh, is this that incident where people suspect that the family might have been in conflict with the foreign Mafia? I see this news go viral sometimes on the internet.
The chief police officer’s wife and only son went missing. Up until now, the boy’s corpse remains to be found. After investigating the crime, the police announced that it was a murder-suicide, and ever since then, the media has never broadcasted any news on the issue.
Takaomi: Now that I’m reading about this again, I can’t help but think how sickening this is. But why the hell is something like this flying around in the first pla–
Takaomi: Oh, hey there.
Shigure: I was collecting garbage when suddenly, some of them were blown away by the wind, so I’m roaming around this area to collect them.
Takaomi: Garbage…? Oh, you mean this?
Shigure: Yes. Allow me to throw this piece of garbage away.
Takaomi: The article written there is about that incident 10 years ago where a family suddenly went missi–
Shigure: I see you’re practicing how to play the guitar.
Takaomi: (taken aback) Well…Ain’t it obvious?
Shigure: Babirusa, the vocalist and lead guitarist of the all time famous band Uribos — do you feel you can become like him?
Takaomi: Are you serious? There’s no way I can become a god! But…
Shishimaru-kun paused midway and shifted his gaze towards his Les Paul, his fingers gently caressing its curves.
Takaomi: Our band performance on the yume stage wasn’t bad. I knew it — nothing beats music. I think I finally understand what Babirusa loves so much about performing on stage. It’s frustrating how I couldn’t even properly play any instrument, which is why I swear I’ll learn how to play this guitar. Shit. What the hell am I even saying?
Shishimaru-kun looked down as if to hide his faintly blushing face. Afterwards, he started practicing with his guitar again.
Shigure: Wow…his skills have fairly improved compared to when he played it in the practice room in front of the students.
Upon keen observation, Shishimaru-kun’s hands were filled with calluses and bandages.
Shigure: How hard has he been practicing?
I was surprised and awestruck at how he is working hard to pursue his passion.
I suddenly felt like doing the same, too.
All this time, my heart has been filled with dark clouds, but now I can feel a ray of warm sunshine slowly passing through.
However, a strong gust of wind started blowing yet again, and I immediately tucked the piece of paper inside my notebook.
Shigure: I almost forgot that I need to confront what’s inside this notebook.
Even if I do not want to.
Even if this becomes a heavy weight on my heart.
Even if it feels like falling into a cold and dark dungeon.
Even if what awaits me is a reality that I never once hoped for.
Shigure: I was allowed to live on, and I myself must settle this matter for as long as I’m alive.
Takaomi: Hey, if you’re just gonna stand there doing nothing, then leave me alone. I can’t concentrate.
Shigure: Oh, I’m sorry. I was just thinking about how I envy you.
Shigure: I envy you because you’re pursuing your passion and trying your best to improve.
The Matagi (which is also Uribos’ fandom name) are traditional Japanese hunters.
A babirusa (which is also the name of Uribos’ vocalist) is a kind of swine that is also called a “deer-pig.”