Sorry that it took so long to get this chapter out… RL stuff.
When I Returned From Another World I Was A Silver Haired Shrine Maiden: Chapter 24
Funeral (Part 3)
After Hisui left, we were left in the empty room with an awkward atmosphere.
Fortunately, that atmosphere didn’t last long, as another person entered the room.
「Yuna-san, it’s been a while.」
The one giving the greeting was the father of Souta and Hisui, Kamishiro Mitsuhiro. He was followed by his son and Hisui’s twin brother, Kamishiro Souta.
「Today we’ve come to pay our respects to your older brother.」
「What happened to Ikutari-san was really regrettable… Who is that?」
With my silver hair that is uncommon among Japanese and my outfit being the same as Yuna, it’s obvious I wouldn’t be seen as a normal guest. It’s no wonder that Mitsuhiro oji-san is wondering who I am.
「I am Kisaragi Alice. I was recently adopted by Ikuo otou-san. Please look after me in the future.」
「Alice-san is it? I am Kamishiro Mitsuhiro, the head priest at the local shrine. This is my son–」
「Souta-san right? I met you the other day… Do you remember me?」
「… Ah, I wouldn’t be able to forget an appearance like yours. Come to think of it, you said that you heard about me from your older sister. I would have never thought that it was Yuna…」
「I haven’t seen Sounii in a long time. Thank you for coming on behalf of my onii-chan.」
As Yuna says that, Souta’s face cramps. It seems he recalled the reason he had come here.
The two people bow in front of the altar then sit side by side in silence, they each pick up an incense stick before lighting them using the candle and stabbing them into the incense bowl.
They close their eyes after looking at my photograph while holding their hands together in a silent prayer.
It was a strange feeling to see a shinto priest giving prayer to me.
The words that spilled out of Souta were filled with distress, I couldn’t ignore it.
「Souta-san… Brother-in-law died because of his own carelessness… You don’t need to feel responsible.」
It’s troublesome if you feel responsible for my carelessness. My death was completely the consequence of my own actions.
Souta seemed to be taken aback by my words, but quickly started to argue.
「He was suffering. Without being able to tell anyone about it… If only I had reached out to help him!」
「Nothing would change. There was nothing you could do to stop brother-in-law’s death.」
I deny Souta’s words of regret.
「… You, are you making a fool of me?」
「No, you are, aren’t you making a fool out of brother-in-law? To say that he was that shaken by being rejected, that he would just throw away his life like that?」
「… Tsu, what do you know about it!?」
「I understand more about it than you… Generally, if Ikutari loved someone, then there is no reason that he wouldn’t have talked about it to you. Don’t you understand that!」
「Even I thought that! However, Ikutari suddenly disappeared, and I heard that he had kept his suffering from me!?」
「Please stop it you two.」
Our increasingly intensifying argument was interrupted by Mitsuhiro oji-san’s words. Though the words he spoke were in his usual tone, the pressure behind the words were enough, and we both went silent.
「Here is a place where we pay our respects to the dead… This isn’t a place for such words.」
Mitsuhiro oji-san tells us with a smile.
「… Oji-san, I’m sorry.」
I apologize to oji-san for the situation.
… I don’t intend to apologize to Souta.
「… Yuna, I’m sorry.」
Souta apologized to Yuna. It seems that he also won’t be apologizing to me.
「Well then, our business here is over, so we should go. Please give my regards to your mother and father.」
「… Yes. Thank you.」
Once the two leave the room, I receive an elbow strike from Yuna.
「You went too far.」
「Well, it’s not like I don’t understand how you feel.」
Yuna shrugged her shoulders.
※ ※ ※
As the night went on, the attendants left in groups of two and three. Like that, my funeral ended.
Returning to my room, I began to talk to Alicia after getting into bed.
Talking with Alicia has become part of my daily routine now, it has become something very important to me.
『What did you think about those two, Alicia?』
『Those two… Are you talking about Souta-san and Hisui-san? I felt that they care about Ikuto-san a lot. That is why, I think they were very shocked by Ikuto-san’s death.』
『… That’s right.』
『Is Ikuto-san not going to tell those two about what happened?』
『… Though I want to tell them, I’m honestly at a loss. If I were to tell Souta about it, it would reveal the lies his girlfriend told, it’s something that could break his relationship. As for Hisui…』
『Were Ikuto-san and Hisui-san in love with each other?』
『… I’m not sure. As childhood friends, it’s obvious that she’s important to me, and I’m certain that she was the girl I was closest to outside of my family. However, I can’t really say if it was a romantic feeling.』
『I think that Hisui-san was probably in love with Ikuto-san.』
『Even I vaguely understood that. However, at the time I was afraid that it would ruin the current relationship of childhood friends I had with her, and pretended not to notice how she felt. If our relationship changed because I said something about it…』
『Therefore, you won’t reveal your identity?』
『Because, I’m no longer the Ikutari that she loved. If that’s the case, assuming that my current identity was revealed, I can only imagine that it would be more painful for her.』
『If it was me, I would want you to tell me if you were alive.』
『… I see. I do intend to come forward eventually when Hisui gets a boyfriend and everyone has cooled down a bit.』
『Please do it as soon as possible… I’m sure she’s waiting for it.』
『Well then, it’s time to sleep. Good night, Alicia.』
『Good night, Ikuto-san.』
I close my eyes to finish the day of my funeral.
Today the existence of Ikutari Kisaragi is lost in both name and reality, from now on I will live as Kisaragi Alice.
Even though there will still be many problems in the future, me and Alicia can overcome any trial — At least I thought so.