Sorry for the delay!! Here’s part 2! I’ve had to split the 2nd chapter into 2 parts  as I haven’t finished the ending. Bear with me. The final part (part 3) will be available by the weekend!! I promise!!

Rain drops gently slipped through the sakura tree leaves and fell onto the hair.

“What do I need to do?”

The water in the hair slided across the skin and onto the face, merging together with Shimako’s tears. Though the sakura tree was tall and stretched broadly with its thick branches, the sparse leaves could not help but let the rain pass through.

“If it really started to rain heavily, you will catch a cold.”

The sound of steps treading onto the wet soil gradually moved closer. From the moment Shimako decided to hide at this place, she was probably waiting for this particular person to come.

“I figured out one thing this morning. Shimako is a greedy person, therefore she does not want to be disliked by anyone.”

Noriko was next to Shimako, crouching along with her. Some of the soil below the sakura trees were still dry. Drops of rain passed through the branches and was creating a pattern of dots in the soil.

“That’s right.”

The two did not look at each other but just looked at the rain in front of them together. Although the rain was still passing through the sparse leaves above, it was still better than standing without the coverage of the tree. At least that’s what it seemed, comparing the strength of the rain within and outside the canopy of the tree. Very quickly, Noriko’s premonition of the ‘heavy rain’ looked like it had arrived.

“Because Shimako is very greedy, you have acted that there is nothing that you want up till now. It is because you know that once you experience the taste of it, you will never be able to let go.”

Maybe it was because there was nothing to do so Noriko picked up a branch and started to draw casually on the ground.

“What are you saying?”

Shimako did not look at Noriko’s face but was staring at the lines she was drawing.

“I am saying that in the past, when you hid the fact that you were the daughter of a family that looked after a temple, didn’t you already mentally prepare yourself to leave the school once this was known to others?”

“…Yes. That’s about right.”

It was the hope that one could be relaxed and carefree. There was just no courage to reach out and touch the future or something that may be lost. If that thing is not stolen by someone but where one was forced to give up, then there is no way she would go and pursue it.

“But in the end, didn’t you hesitate? You couldn’t help the feeling of not wanting to let go, right?”

“Eh?”

“It is because you have made companions.”

Noriko wrote on the ground, the words [Yoshino] and [Yumi].

“Shimako, you cannot live without them.”

The small branch continued to write names familiar to Shimako, [Sachiko] and [Rei]. It is only at this point in time that Shimako turned to look at Noriko’s face.

“So? You cannot tell me to leave you.” (This is Shimako speaking.)

I cannot give up on my irreplaceable companions, yet I also wish that the one to stay beside me is Noriko. Even if others were to criticize her as being greedy, Noriko is already her own precious treasure and she definitely does not want to let go.

“I will not say that because I am confident that Shimako cannot live without me.”

Noriko threw down the little branch and faced Shimako with a smile that could ease one’s mind.

One final part to come…

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