A pretty long chapter with an interesting ending.
When I Returned From Another World I Was A Silver Haired Shrine Maiden: Chapter 23
Funeral (Part 2)
While the participants sat on cushions in an orderly fashion, the sound of the monk’s sutra echoes through the living room.
‘Even though he was still young’, ‘even though he had just entered high school’, the voice that was mourning for the passing of Ikutari along with the sounds of crying made me feel uncomfortable.
『I am sitting right here…』
I make a complaint in my head.
There isn’t the coffin that would normally be at a funeral.
My body is sure to rotting with a giant hole in it while in the Demon Lord’s castle in the other world. Meanwhile, my mind is here as Alice.
『Ikuto-san… are you okay?』
『Nn, honestly, it’s a little hard to bear. It’s awkward to be pitied like this and there is a sense of guilt because I’m cheating everyone.』
『It’s impossible for you to live as Ikuto-san, so this is necessary… Although participating in your own funeral is a strange feeling…』
『It’s too much to think that this is all due to my carelessness, right?』
『Please don’t belittle yourself like that. Though this may be selfish of me, because of that accident, I was able to meet Ikuto-san. Because Ikuto-san was unconscious in the water, my prayers (metastasis magic) managed to reach you.』
… Is that so.
『Ikuto-san was the one that saved my world. Please don’t forget that… Even though it was an annoyance to Ikuto-san and your family members.』
『… I see. So even though I made a mistake it still ended up with a good result.』
And, I was able to meet Alicia.
She was someone who stayed by my side for the past year. Even though there were many difficulties when in the other world, it’s only the memories with her that I end up thinking about.
It was because of her that I didn’t feel loneliness or fear about being able to return to Japan.
My mood became brighter as I thought about that.
The guilt of the effects of my actions on the people of this world will not disappear, it’s not something I can erase… But, if I could return to the past to that same point, I can say without question that I would follow the same path.
The sutra continues like a BGM as I continue thinking, eventually the incense burner came around to me.
I take it and put it in front of myself.
The distinct smell of incense gets thicker in the air around me.
I remember the etiquette after watching what everyone else did.
I straighten my body then put my hands together and bow my head in prayer.
We have been together for my entire life, Ikutari.
Thank you for everything up until now — Goodbye.
I picked up the incense with 3 fingers of my right hand and prayed while holding it at around the height of my face before dropping it into the incense burner.
The incense falls into the burner and scatters.
A drop of water falls. My view becomes blurry and vague.
There is nothing sad. But, for some reason tears fall from my eyes.
※ ※ ※
After the ceremony ended and the monk left, the altar was moved out of the living room and was replaced by a long table where dishes of food were lined up.
Memories of the deceased are talked about as the dinner party begins. It was a ceremonial occasion for our house, but it was also a valuable chance to report on our families recent situations to each other.
Since it was the young Ikutari (me) who died this time, the overall atmosphere was rather quiet.
As I was a new member to the family, I was helping Yuna carry beer and drinks to the rest of our relatives while talking to them. Eventually things settled down a bit and we decided to take a break from the guests in one of the side rooms.
There was already another person in the room.
Because there weren’t that many people during the funeral ceremony, it seems that some neighbors came by to offer incense afterwards, so the person I saw wasn’t unexpected.
The other person was someone I knew.
It was a girl giving off a very adult impression that had her hair done up in a ponytail wearing the uniform of Hirayama High School. It was Kamishiro Hisui, Souta’s twin sister, and one of my classmates. She lives at a Shinto shrine in my neighborhood and our families have always had good relations with each other. Since elementary school, though both middle school and high school, the two of us and our siblings had been together since we were children.
「… Ikutari… Why… Hikku, ugu….」
She was sitting straight with both of her hands clasped in front of her, teardrops were spilling to the ground. To such an appearance, I was at a loss for words.
Yuna called out in a small voice, Hisui raised her head and faced us.
Seeing Yuna, Hisui’s gaze seemed to soften a bit, a moment later she looked towards me with a stiff expression.
「… It’s a lie.」
She was probably surprised when someone she didn’t know appeared. Hisui was looking at me with her eyes wide. Although Hisui is often seen as an adult, truthful, she is actually quite shy.
「Nice to meet you Hisui-san… I am Kisaragi Alice.」
「Hisui-nee, this girl is the daughter of someone my father was indebted to in a foreign country, due to reasons, she’s become my imouto.」
「… You… Who…?」
…? Did she not hear my name.
「Kisaragi Alice, I have become Yuna onee-chan’s imouto. Best regards, Hisui-san.」
「… Why? Such a thing…」
Hisui stand up while holding her mouth, she looks at me like she’s seen a ghost. Her face is pale and she seems unsteady on her feet.
「– Are you all right, Hisui?」
Hisui lets out a small scream like voice then runs past us through the entrance, I call out to her as she leaves.
「Hisui… Are you hurt, what’s wrong…?」
Ignoring me, she leaves the house.
「Hisui was extremely depressed when onii-chan disappeared… So, I wonder if her emotions became too much for her at the funeral…? 」
「… Is that so.」
I hope a day will come when I will be able to tell her the truth…
As I recalled her expression, there was a very bitter taste in my mouth.