Chapter 20 – Sound
Ryou’s laughter seems to have become stronger; it becomes impossible to stand, groveling on the ground, his breath becomes strained while beating the ground with his hand, the laughter giving the impression of it being from the bottom of the heart.
The bewildered Erika couldn’t ignore it before long and once again shouts at Ryou with an angered look.
“What is this! You’ve been laughing for a while!!”
Ryou has tears in the corners of his eyes, whether it’s from excessive laughter or joy isn’t known. While trying to subdue his laughter, he stands up and wipes his eyes, turning towards Erika he says while catching his breath.
“Ah, sorry…, uh, *cough cough*…un, sorry.”
Erika frowns looking at Ryou as he finally catches his breath.
“Why did you suddenly laugh? Are you making a fool of me?”
When Erika cross-examines him, Ryou becomes speechless for a moment, shortly afterwards he says laughingly.
“Nope, I just fell in love again.”
This time Erika becomes speechless from Ryou’s words.
When Ryou looks at Erika making such a face, her face quickly becomes bright red and a perplexed voice is heard from Erika.
Gazing at Erika’s changing facial expressions with interest, Ryou stretches his hand out placing it on top of Erika’s head and says.
“Wait a moment.”
After saying so, Ryou then says in a slightly large voice to reach Azusa and Saki.
“I want to go over there, is it alright?”
Erika shows a perplexed appearance to Ryou who doesn’t answer her, while touching her head with both hands confirming she is being touched, lured by Ryou’s words she shifts her attention to Azusa and Saki and them nodding strongly was seen.
Having asked whether it’s alright to go, their fear might be remembered if Ryou approaches. Ryou who has confirmed the two’s acknowledgement, slowly approaches the two and stretches his hand out to Saki who is still on her bottom.
“Are you hurt?”
With no hesitation Saki takes Ryou’s hand to stand up while shaking her head. Ryou leaks a breath of relief from Saki’s answer, then turned to Azusa who is knitting her eyebrows in displeasure looking at Ryou. Seeing Azusa like that, Ryou’s face becomes awkward and lowers his head.
“You were afraid, my bad.”
Azusa lets out a sigh and says while shaking her head.
“Before receiving your apology, please receive ours. This was the result of us asking you to take action so I shouldn’t have looked at you like that. I’m sorry, please forgive me.”
Azusa lowers her head when saying so. Saki seizes Ryou’s sleeve looking upwards and said to Ryou in a clear voice.
Ryou has a stumped look from the two’s apology, and said while scratching his head.
“No, I think such a reaction is natural. Rather, I thought your reactions were weak. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were more frightened.”
Azusa shakes her head while it’s still lowered and said.
“Nonetheless, the fact that your feelings are hurt doesn’t change. Please receive my apology.”
Saki looking up at Ryou strengthens the grip on his sleeve. Ryou has a face that can’t quite be described and says.
“I’ve received it so raise your head. And so, I’ll apologize once more.”
Azusa lifts her head because of Ryou’s words, waiting for the continuation of his words. Saki is still gripping his sleeve.
“I arbitrarily decided by myself that everything with you guys would end…”
While saying so, Ryou looks at Azusa and Saki’s eyes in turn then says.
Saki nods towards Ryou, Azusa as well.
“It really is as you said, you were about to go away quickly… Well, I can’t really retort since I wasn’t able to chase after. Let’s call it even.”
Ryou leaks a breath of relief and cautiously asked.
“That’s so. Is it alright now? Not afraid to face me…”
Azusa and Saki look at each other in mutual puzzlement and laughs lightly.
“It disappeared completely after seeing your and Erika’s exchange… Haven’t you noticed?”
Ryou asked again curiously because of Azusa’s words.
“Some time ago, when we faced each other even an inexperienced eye can see that the killing intent has completely disappeared.”
Ryou is a little surprised from Azusa’s words, probing his own body he confirmed his killing intent certainly has disappeared. He thought there would still be 30 minutes left, why, when, Ryou starts to think about what Azusa said.
“Do you understand when it disappeared?”
“No, I don’t”
Azusa laughs lightly to Ryou’s answer and says.
“It’s the time you were hit by Erika.”
Ryou’s eyes are widened as he touches his cheek.
“Right, that time, with the slap’s sound it completely disappeared. The chill that was felt even with your back turned instantly disappeared with the sound of Erika’s slap. Erika’s slap to the face is awfully strong and carries a warm air.”
Ryou absentmindedly opens his mouth, when looking at Saki, Saki also has the same opinion and nods. When the understanding reaches Ryou, he once again burst into laughter.
“Ha, hahahahaha…! Fufu…, what a woman…”
Azusa with a mischievous face asks Ryou.
“Did you fall in love again?”
Ryou is amazed from Azusa’s words then smiled.
When Ryou says so, the three had a similar face and laughed. It’s not Azusa’s usual nihilistic laugh, Saki also raises a small voice.
Erika looking at those three can’t wait in silence and said to those three.
“Hey! Till when are you going to leave me out!?”
Ryou laughs while turning to Erika and says.
“Our bad. There wasn’t any intent to leave you out. Please wait just a little more.”
Ryou’s words make Erika show a sulky appearance and she turns to the side.
Azusa looks at Erika’s state, smiling, she suddenly noticing something and said to Ryou.
“By the way Sakuragi-kun…”
Ryou who is called out to turns towards Azusa and interrupts her words saying.
“Ryou is fine.”
When Azusa asks again about Ryou’s sudden words, he seems to be embarrassed, turning to the side he said while shrugging his shoulders.
“Because my friends call me Ryou…, Ryou is fine.”
Ryou looks at Azusa and Saki and said so. Azusa eyes instantly round from Ryou’s words, and at once said mischievously.
“Then, we have become your friend.”
Still embarrassed, Ryou says while scratching his cheek.
“Well…, from tomorrow you should avoid me if I make you frightened.”
Azusa shows a bit of an amazed appearance.
“What? Do you intend to often show such a dangerous presence?”
Ryou said in a panic.
“No way! This is the second time it was seen from someone from school.”
“Second? Ah…, so… no, it’s fine. Leaving that aside, if a dangerous sign is shown again we just have to make Erika stop it.”
Azusa says so in a voice of thinking a little, in the end she smiles impishly, such an Azusa sees Ryou glancing Erika and laughed a little.
“That’s so. Well, I’ll be sure not to… Didn’t you start to say something just now?”
Ryou who recalled so in the middle of talking, Azusa laughs a little and says.
“It’s the same thing. Won’t you call us by our name?”
When Ryou has face wondering what the story is, Erika who can’t stay silent any longer suddenly says to Ryou.
“Yeah! A while ago you called my name, what, do you want to go back!?”
Hearing what Erika said, Ryou turns to Azusa who nods.
“That’s right. A bit ago…, before going to help those three you abruptly changed into another person, all of us were called by out name…, don’t you remember?”
While hearing what Azusa said, Ryou looks puzzled, when Ryou heard what Azusa asks him.
“You three’s names? First names? Me, I said so?”
When asked, the three nod towards Ryou, taken aback he looks puzzled.
“Ah… I was in a hurry, at that moment it might have become like that…”
“Th-then, won’t you use our names anymore?”
Erika asked while impatient from Ryou’s words, Ryou shook his head.
“No. Not any longer, such a thing is only…”
“Then, call me by name! It’s usual for me, it’s not only you calling me so!!!”
When Erika says so with a desperate appearance, Ryou says while scratching his cheek.
“No, it’s not particularly that…, it’s habit…”
Azusa frowns at Ryou and says.
“Do you intend to not use the names of your friends? I don’t know if it’s habit but I’ll say it once, call us by our name after this.”
Erika and Saki both nod to Azusa’s words. Ryou shrugs his shoulders.
“I got it. I’ll keep it in mind.”
Erika’s face suddenly lightens up and she asks Ryou.
“Hey, and me?”
“What is it?”
“Is it fine to also call you by your name? As friends!”
With Erika’s words, Ryou makes eye contact with Azusa and Saki, the three smile wryly, Ryou shakes his head and says to Erika.
Erika’s face becomes shocked and approaches Ryou.
“Why!? Why is my using your name unpleasant!?”
While smiling wryly, Ryou suppresses Erika with both hands.
“It’s different. The name is fine. That’s not unpleasant.”
Erika has a perplexed look. Ryou is troubled looking at Erika like that and starts talking.
“It’s the friend part.”
“Err…? Is it…, being friend’s with me is unpleasant!?”
Erika looks further perplexed, in the middle of talking she becomes anxious. Ryou smile wryly to such an Erika.
Azusa and Saki look at the two in interest.
“Well, that’s so… no, I don’t dislike it!”
Little by little tears form in Erika’s eyes because of Ryou’s words, Ryou then said so in a panic.
Erika with moist eyes asks Ryou.
“Before explaining it, something must be said before.”
Erika silently looks puzzled at Ryou.
“A while ago… about not meeting up anymore, avoiding and not contacting me, when I said so…”
Erika suddenly interrupts Ryou’s words.
“That’s right! I forgot! What was that!? I’m disliked after all…”
Ryou shakes his head and says.
“It’s different. Please forget it.”
“Not meeting, avoiding, not contacting, when that was said…, do you not want to hear why I decided that?”
“Why you suddenly said that…?”
“Okay… why did you say such a thing?”
Though reluctant, Erika answered in the affirmative, wanting to hear the reason for what Ryou said. Ryou has a look of embarrassment from Erika’s enquiry.
“I was afraid…, from tomorrow you would look away, thinking I would be avoided…, therefore I said we wouldn’t meet anymore.”
When Erika hears Ryou’s words, she glares at Ryou with a severe face.
“Was, it said, I would look away?”
“Avoiding, was it said?”
“Not wanting to meet, were those words said?”
Three times, Ryou denies Erika’s questions. Erika looks downwards and falls silent, in a complete change she says with a forceful tone.
“Twice you decided such a thing, don’t say such selfish things!!”
“I won’t say…, please forgive me.”
When Ryou apologizes, Erika controls her anger and regains he breath, looking up at Ryou she says.
“Understood… So what did you mean earlier about disliking it?”
The worry in Erika’s eyes can’t be covered up. Ryou smiles wryly seeing that.
“I intend to say it clearly… It’s unpleasant to only be friends…”
Erika reaches the point of frowning from being perplexed, Azusa called out to Erika.
“Erika, after he said that just now, hasn’t it come to this?”
Erika looks up diagonally, thinking for a little bit, suddenly startled, she looks down with her face reddening. Ryou is amused by Erika’s change and says teasingly.
Erika recalls the ‘falling in love again’ words and her face becomes bright red, her line of vision moves around restlessly, muttering.
“Err…, eh? But……”
Ryou holds the shoulders of Erika who is looking away turning her towards him, Erika’s eyes are looked into and he said.
“I, like you Erika.”
Erika’s eyes become rounded and her red face becomes redder.
At first delight is felt from being called by name, from the word ‘like’ she can’t help but advance into happiness. The present happiness can’t be believed, Erika instinctively grabs the arm of Ryou who’s holding her own shoulders and asks.
Seeing Erika looking upwards with moist eyes it might make his waist collapse, he nods with a serious face.
Tears overflow from Erika’s eyes, lines of tears flowing.
Ryou is at a loss with the crying Erika, for some reason his hand is put up to catch the tears before it fell from Erika’s cheek. Ryou notices that his left hand is on Erika’s shoulder and his right hand on Erika’s cheek.
When Erika realizes Ryou’s hand is on her cheek, though a little surprised, her hand is put on Ryou’s hand and she looks up at him.
“I like you as well.”
Though Ryou though it would be so from what Azusa said, he is amazed hearing Erika say it clearly, becoming red, he can’t help but be filled with a sense of joy.
And so only the girl in front of him is seen, looking at Erika’s eyes, Erika also looking at Ryou’s eyes.
Feeling his heart pounding, Ryou thinks the sound of his own heart can be heard by Erika.