Uwaa… why are they all girls ?
Koremitsu Akagi surveyed the funeral, dumbfounded.
The combination of a high-class blazer and a black shirt composed the uniform of Koremitsu’s school, Heian Academy. There were also other uniforms at Heian like a one-piece, sailor uniforms, vests, bolero jackets with ribbons – so many that it was shocking, the girls attending were wearing all kinds of distinct outfits.
But that was not all there was to see for Koremitsu.
There was a female university student in her own stylish black attire present, screaming grievously.
A sorrowful woman stood alongside the student, carrying an air of scholarship about her secretarial appearance, and she covered her face with a handkerchief as her shoulders quivered uncontrollably. Behind the woman stood an opulent lady awash in tears, her eyes fixing the ground. Together in the crowd was a young girl who seemed to be a primary school student, and she was no exception with eyes swollen red, filled in tears.
Koremitsu used the school’s bulletin board to check the funeral’s date beforehand. However, he soon regretted coming along at all.
Among the weeping girls stood a high schooler with messy red hair, his back bent, glowering sharp eyes and a frown, making him look an obtrusive sight to be seen.
Those attending the funeral would occasionally glance suspiciously at Koremitsu Akagi.
Even the fellow girls of Heian Academy uniform were alarmed, wondering why the infamous freshman was in attendance.
In spite of their discomfort, none of them dared to ask why he had come. They bit their lips and pretended to look at something asquint, averting their eyes uncomfortably to walk away.
Even if anyone were to ask Koremitsu the obvious, he himself couldn’t supply an answer.
Really, why must I come to the funeral of this bastard who lived such an abundant life, when I never even talked to him much?
Hikaru Mikado’s portrait was placed above some white sandalwood incense at the front of the hall, the space filled with mourners.
Hikaru’s corpse lay among the crowd like an angel, with a smile on his face and adornment from tulips, lilies, and carnations.
He had a slender face, the nose delicate and lips plump; his skin was an immaculate white and each of his irises possessed a crystalline transparency. These qualities lent themselves to an effeminate purity and sweetness in Hikaru Mikado’s resting body.
When they first met, Koremitsu wondered why a girl would be wearing a boy’s uniform at school.
This was thought only before Koremitsu learned that this very affable boy with unique voice was known to others as the ‘Imperial Prince’ of the school.
He was not simply the school’s ‘Prince’, but its ‘Imperial Prince’, a title befitting the elegance of ‘Lord Hikaru’ much better. Female middle school graduates and newly-enrolled high schoolers were chatting dreamily about Hikaru Mikado in this vein, and that was how Koremitsu learned of Hikaru’s place in Heian.
All the same, he was extremely popular, and many girls even started liking him when he was a student in the affiliated kindergarten.
Even in this school full of rich peers, his family background and wealth were considered outstanding. Despite this, he showed the same abundant affections and tenderness to every last girl.
“As expected, that guy is some handsome dude I have no affinity with whatsoever.”
That was what Koremitsu thought before meeting Hikaru.
But, for some reason, Hikaru Mikado called out to Koremitsu with a grin when they met for the first time.
“There is something I want to ask you.”
Koremitsu felt there was something wrong with Hikaru’s statement back then.
He came to question whether he heard things wrongly after Koremitsu was told of Hikaru’s death before those words made sense to him.
It was said that Hikaru drowned in a flood caused by heavy rain while staying at a resort in Shinshu, during the Golden Week.
Even though they had merely exchanged a few words, the fact that Hikaru died at the young age of 15 was a huge shock to Koremitsu, making him aware once again of how life was not permanent – how fleeting it was. He recalled his father’s death, and felt bitter in his heart.
Koremitsu harboured such complicated, incomprehensible feelings as he went to Hikaru’s funeral under the soft rains.
Koremitsu sat on the pipe chairs indoors with forlorn expression, vacantly staring at the funeral leader surrounded by women’s anguished sobbing.
Hikaru was a beautiful child.
He was such a kind child.
He really had such a refreshing smile.
His voice was so nice.
And he had such delicate fingers – like a gifted artist’s.
He was a little stubborn, but I can’t bring myself to hate him for it.
He was scared of loneliness, but that made him adorable.
He was a child who looked like he could carry all the happiness in the world.
He was a child who seemed to be enveloped by light.
Everyone present was mourning and weeping for this young man and his premature death.
The funerary songs of remembrance fell upon Koremitsu’s ears.
He really understood too little about this deceased person, and it was difficult for Koremitsu to understand the mourners’ feelings.
He was awash in waves of sadness, annoyance, guilt, and unease.
At this moment, he noticed a woman sitting in a seat reserved for relatives.
She appeared young.
She was probably in her early twenties or so.
Her body was so frail-looking that she seemed like a flower about to snap at any time, and she was neither wearing a one-piece nor black kimono. Her hair was tied back.
The moment she entered Koremitsu’s vision, he held his breath from the sheer impact of what he saw.
At that moment, he had the wrong impression that Hikaru Mikado himself was sitting before him.
She bore a shocking resemblance to Hikaru.
Her smooth, silky hair looked golden under the light; she had milky white skin, a subtle yet elegant nose, lips like petals and a slender neck.
Is she Hikaru’s older sister…?
The woman slowly smiled.
Those tears continued rolling down her delicate face, but the ends of her lips curled up a little.
It was a tranquil, pleasing smile.
Hers was a smile that did not fit a funeral scene. Koremitsu stood in front of the sandalwood incense, his nostrils heavy with its smell, and he gazed at her half-mesmerized.
Why… is she smiling?
She’s smiling so beautifully, so—happily.
Why, at his funeral…?
This woman who looked like Hikaru’s sister showed a smile that lasted for such a brief moment it felt like an illusion.
Koremitsu was so rapt by the display that he was beginning to space out. Before he could, a sharp voice in the crowd interrupted his thoughts.
“HE IS JUST A DAMN IDIOT!”
Startled, he glanced over in direction of the voice.
A girl wearing Heian Academy uniform was standing in front of Hikaru’s mourning post.
Her long, black hair was left behind her head, tied with black ribbon. She gave off a childish vibe, looking quite the refined princess. As she clenched her fists she could not help but shudder, her large eyes almost appeared to emit an aura of furious contempt as she angrily stared at Hikaru’s smiling portrait.
She let out scathing words from her trembling lips.
“YOU ARE REALLY AN IDIOT FOR DROWNING IN A RIVER LIKE THAT! THAT IS SO EMBARRASSING! I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE STABBED TO DEATH BY A WOMAN! IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE TOO MUCH OF A PLAYBOY THAT KARMA STRUCK BACK!”