Chapter 47 – The Sea and the Distress and the Pairing 
“Ah, apologies. It’s at full capacity. The next one will arrive in 30 minutes so please wait for a bit.”
Having gotten completely into the Blue Cave, we ended up staying there for about 2 hours.
Sure enough, we started feeling cold by 4pm and thus decided to head back. However, the number of boats connecting Blue Cave to the beach had also decreased. Unfortunately, this also overlapped with the rush hour and not all 6 of us could take the ride.
The results of our discussion was to let Mitsuki, Hasumi, Prince and Soutarou board while Kaname and I stay behind. Till the very end of the very end, Soutarou insisted on staying back too but I somehow managed to get him to board first by pacifying that I’ll be right behind him. I’m extremely happy that the pairings of Mitsuki and Prince, and Hasumi and Soutarou were successfully formed.
Only several people remain in the Blue Cave.
Kaname and I stick our feet in the sea, lean against the wall and sit down.
“Did you have fun today, Mako-chan?”
“Yeah. I had quite a bit of fun.”
Although I’m completely worn out due to overexcitement, I had just as much fun.
Be it Soutarou being afraid to go deep into the cave, Mitsuki’s fear of bugs, Hasumi’s exasperation towards these or Kaname saying things that tickle everyone’s funny bones. All of these. I had tons of fun.
I had some friends too when I was a girl but I wonder if we could have celebrated youth this much. It feels like my current high school life is more happening.
“That’s great. I had tons of fun too.”
Kaname brushes his bangs upwards and smiles broadly.
However, that smile quickly fades. Making a troubled face as though he’s putting up with something embarrassing, he looks at me.
“What’s wrong, Kaname?”
“Y’know, Mako-chan, you…”
Having a hard time saying it, he averts his glance once and looks back at me. At the 2nd time, his gaze’s strong, as though he’s made a decision.
“What do you think of Souta and Prince, Mako-chan?”
I unconsciously catch my breath. With an expression that can be considered sad, Kaname looks straight at me.
I wish I was much, much more obtuse, such that I won’t understand what Kaname means by how I think of Soutarou and Prince.
Nonetheless, while I’m obtuse, I understood what his words were indirectly asking. I’ll be looked at weirdly if I pretend I don’t understand.
“I like them. Of course, I like you too, Kaname. As a friend.”
“… As expected.”
Kaname’s extremely sharp so he doesn’t probe me any further. Even I properly understood that this wasn’t what he meant when he tossed that question out.
Still, I wasn’t prepared enough to answer that.
Before being prepared, perhaps I don’t even have the answer in the first place.
What do I think of Soutarou and Prince?
Certainly, I like Soutarou. I like Soutarou very much. The kind and gentle Soutarou who’s like a large dog. The 1st person who talked to me when I came here was also Soutarou.
Similarly, although Prince is expressionless and taciturn, his heart’s warm. He’s really reliable in times of need and is a good guy who cares for his friends. That’s why I like Prince too.
Both their personalities are unique, they have cool faces and are good at sports and studies.
If I were still female, if I were still a proper female…
I might have liked Soutarou and Prince in that way and accepted them.
However, I’m currently not female, but male. I’m the older brother of the heroine, Mitsuki. I’m not a human from this world and I don’t know when I’ll return to reality. I don’t want to give up on the other world yet.
Therefore, no matter how much I come to like them, I can never give them an answer. I must never give them an answer.
“Can I make just 1 request of you, Mako-chan?”
“It can’t be helped if you don’t like Souta and Prince in that way, Mako-chan. But I hope that you won’t really nominate other people. Because I think it’s quite hurtful to be asked to like someone else by the one you like.”
The sweetly smiling Kaname’s extremely cute but at the same time, his words resound in my heart.
“Or are you the type disgusted when guys chase after other guys?”
“That’s not it! I’m very happy… to hear that they like me.”
What I had done, my thoughtless actions might have hurt Soutarou and Prince.
I’m saying this fully aware of my conceit but I’m sure that Soutarou and Prince don’t find me hateful. Therefore, having me unreasonably press on about Mitsuki must have been discomforting. Thinking of this, I guess I had unconsciously hurt everyone.
This is kinda like the catchphrase of an extremely annoying heroine. Please don’t fight over me!――a heroine-like statement.
However, I can’t say, “In that case, you don’t have to date Mitsuki”. After all, I may not be able to return to my original world if I don’t stick Mitsuki and Prince together.
I’m already becoming unsure of my path for the future.
“I hope you’ll excuse Souta and Prince for liking you that way, Mako-chan. And if they really say that they like you, let them know it’s impossible if it is.”
“… No, … aa.”
I didn’t know what to say.
I can’t say I’ll be able to reply with my true feelings and neither am I able to reject them entirely. I’m kind of acting like a people-pleaser but the current me has no idea what to do.
“My bad… I could tell that ya had your circumstances too, Mako-chan.”
Kaname’s sharp so he probably realised that I’m trying to stick Mitsuki and Prince together or that I’m trying to stick Soutarou and Hasumi together.
I wonder what I should do from now on. Even though if I may not be able to return to reality if I don’t stick Mitsuki with Prince or at least with one of the characters, people will get hurt as long as I try to do something.
I’ve absolutely no idea of my path for the future but I guess I can only live to the fullest here now.
“Ah, it’s about time our ride’s here, Mako-chan~. Let’s go~?”
I want to go back home but how does these transport-to-another-world tales usually conclude again? A happy ending where you marry someone from this world? Or returning to reality, fully prepared to be criticised? Or are there other endings?
I can’t exactly fall asleep that night.
Checking the time, it’s past 2am. It’s the dead of the night when even plants go to sleep. Bored of looking at the white ceiling, I put on a t-shirt, shorts and a jacket and go out.
The sea’s about a 10 minutes’ walk from the boarding house. I suppose it’s a duration just right for a stroll.
Outside, a lukewarm wind blows.
I can see the beautiful Summer Triangle asterism and the Serpent-Bearer constellation in the sky.
As I walk while looking at the sky, I hear Soutarou’s voice coming from behind. He probably noticed that I woke up and came after me.
“Mako! Wait up, Makoo!”
“Ah, Soutarou, sorry, did I wake you up?”
“Nope! Watcha looking at, Mako?”
I look up at the sky again and point.
“I saw the Summer Triangle asterism. The triangle asterism is formed by linking Vega of the Lyra constellation, Altair of the Aquila constellation and Deneb of the Cygnus constellation. Can you tell?”
“Wow~, are you well-informed about constellations, Mako?”
“Aa, … I guess.”
Subaru forced me to study with her once, when she was addicted to a certain otome game about 12 constellations.
That’s why although I’m not very well-informed about constellations, I understand them somewhat.
“Ah, look! Mako.”
“Whoa… the sea’s really sparkling…!”
The brightness of the stars are reflected upon the sea, causing the surface to sparkle. The whites reflected in the blue are extremely beautiful.
I reflexively dash to the sea and kick off my shoes. While the sea is more chilly than it was during the day, it isn’t so cold that I can’t enter it. The blue sky, the blue sea. Just for this moment, they’re entirely and solely mine and Soutarou’s.
“It’s amazingly… WIDE! Amazing!”
“Un, … Mako…”
As I enter the sea to the point it reaches my waist, Soutarou grips my arm.
“Mako, don’t go anywhere.”
“E? I’m not going anywhere. What’s up all of a sudden?”
“At times, it kinda feels like you’re going off somewhere, Mako, and that scares me.”
Squeeze, I’m hugged strongly from the front.
“You idiot. I’m not going anywh…”
I’m not a human of this world so I’ll surely return to my original world someday.
Did Soutarou notice this?
Will I be a liar if I say “I’m not going anywhere” here?
Noticing my hesitation to speak, Soutarou looks at me with a serious expression. It’s terribly awkward to be hugged and stared at at the same time.
“Mako…, I want to stay by your side, Mako. I want to always be the one closest. Even if Mako is a monster or a youkai, this feeling won’t change, no matter what. Mako is my close friend.”
Press, my heart hurts as though it’s being squeezed.
Soutarou’s back is trembling.
“Are you crying, Soutarou?”
I rub Soutarou’s back. His back is extremely wide. His trapezius muscles, latissimus dorsi muscles and rhomboid muscles are connected beautifully.
I was born a woman so I don’t really get it but are guys’ backs generally this muscular? Can it be that my back also feels like this now? I don’t know since you don’t touch your own back much and you can’t see it――wait, it isn’t the time to think of these.
“… Don’t cry.”
I peek at Soutarou’s face from below.
He seems about to cry but he isn’t crying.
Soutarou gives a wry smile when I stroke his cheek.
Induced by that, I laugh slightly too.
I’ve always been thinking of returning and returning. I still think so even now.
I miss my dad. I miss my mum. I miss my family. I miss my friends and my classmates too.
Of course, this world is wonderful and fun. It isn’t something I can easily throw away. However, the many years I lived in the other world aren’t what I can easily give up on. After all, the other world is also something of greatest importance to me and is irreplaceable.
What should I do. Aah, what should I do?
“Mako, I want to stay with you alone, just a while longer. Hey, shall we act like we’re stranded?”
Soutarou loosens the arm hugging me and slides his fingertips from the top of my shoulder to my wrist. They grip my hand when they finally reach it. Because he laughs with an expression that seems like he’s about to cry, even I’m starting to feel sad.
Don’t make such a face, Soutarou. See, aren’t you making me feel like crying too?
“… Sure. If you want to, Soutarou.”
Soutarou will definitely comfort me if I cry now.
But who will comfort me if I cry in the other world?