|Author: We Ain’t Fish||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 2196 characters|
|Translator: FrozenFirez||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1563 words|
|Translation Checker: Silva||Editor(s): Deximus_Maximus|
Mixed with howling winds, the sounds of rain pittering and pattering down rang out in my ears, appearing to continue forever as they rang from the far distance, all the way to the distant future.
“Are you awake?”
An old gentleman sat before me. Although his body wasn’t broad or muscular, it had blocked the exit of this small room under the slide completely, keeping the bone-chilling autumn wind from being able to break into this weakly insulated fortress.
“Do you want anything to eat? I’ve got a little bit of food with me.”
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I nodded my head in response. Despite clearly having his back faced towards me, the old gentleman pulled out a rock hard bun from his inner coat and handed it to me.
Right at the instant when he turned his body around, a sliver of faint light shot through the crack and illuminated his entire body.
Messy hair and a beard that seemed to have not been taken good care of for months covered the greater half of his face. Nevertheless, the glow of his eyes obscured behind his messy hair appeared exceedingly bright. Covering his body was an old and tattered western suit of unknown origin. Due to it being slightly small in size, it caused the old gentleman’s skinny body to appear really conspicuous. Wrapped around his neck was a slightly torn up flower-patterned necktie, which coupled with his grey color suit, gave him an extremely comical appearance.
“You’ve been beaten again.”
A slight jolt shook through the hand the old gentleman had used to hold out the bun. After a period of silence, he gave a forced smile and replied: “Nope. How can I be beaten? I’ve been on a tear1 recently, and have also been known as the king of the park, God Honkyu, you know.”
“You have to wait for the bruises on your face to heal before you start to sprout lies again.”
Lifting his hand, the old gentleman rubbed his face subconsciously, before suddenly reacting in fury as his face and neck turned red: “You’re making fun of me again, you smelly brat.”
“It’s your own fault for not being able to lie.” taking a forceful bite at the bun, which was as cold and hard as a pebble, I replied in confusion. “So? Why did you get beaten again this time?”
The old gentleman hesitated for a good while, before squirming about and speaking out with a mosquito-like squeak: “I just wanted to buy that bun, okay. Not only did he not sell, but he also beat me up…”
“You didn’t give him any money, right?”
“I paid for it.” the old gentleman stared at me.
The old gentleman flung his lips before replying, “When I went to buy, he actually had the guts not to sell! In a fit of anger, I tossed the money to him, grabbed the bun and ran. After that…after that, I stopped running.”
“Forceful buy and sell, huh…”
The old gentleman gave a low child-like snort, before turning around once again.
The bun in my mouth felt cold and bitter to my tongue, just as though I’ve really bitten into an actual pebble.
“Aren’t you going to eat?”
“I’ve eaten. Of course, I’ve eaten.” just as the old gentleman finished his statement, the sound of his grumbling stomach betrayed him, causing his ears to turn beet red.
“Eat it.” I threw the half-eaten bun at him. Turning around, the old gentleman lowered his head as he grabbed hold of the bun, before wolfing it down quickly like what a hamster would do.
“Look at you…can’t you learn how to beg from those real beggars?”
“I’m not a beggar!” the old gentleman grew more agitated upon my mention, causing his already flushed face to turn completely red, appearing just like a mad chicken that had reared its head to glare angrily at me.
“Isn’t a vagrant considered a beggar?” not the slightest bit of terror surfaced in my heart in the face of his frightening appearance, as, after all, I’ve seen this scene many times since I was young.
“As if! Although vagrants and beggars live the same kind of lifestyle, with some times being even worse than beggars, beggars rely on people to carry on living! As for vagrants, we rely on our own hands to feed ourselves, without the need of charity from others!”
“However, you’ve received quite a bit of charity, right?”
A lump formed in the old gentleman’s throat as he replied, “As…as if.”
“Oh really? Then tell me where did you get the money to buy this bun. You better not tell me that you’ve put up with this heavy rain to search for junk to obtain it.”
“That…that’s my savings…”
“This rain’s been continuing for half a month, and yet, you actually still have savings? How did I not know that you’re that awesome?”
“I…I…” feeling less and less confident, the old gentleman had no other choice but to lower his head, focusing his attention on eating his bun, no longer continuing to verbally tussle with me.
The atmosphere quietened down, leaving the sounds of the old gentleman grinding away at the bun ringing in the air. Due to the long exposure to the rain, my fingers were soaked in the small puddle that formed on the ground. Wriggling them about and sensing the bone-chilling cold, a sliver of a smile formed on my face.
So real, and so nostalgic.
“Hey, let me take a look at your collection.”
“Wh…what?” the old gentleman raised his head to look at me in confusion, seemingly unsure of what I’ve just said.
“It’s that thing you place in the deepest part of your inner shirt.”
“You!? How did you know about that?” the old gentleman hugged his chest tightly, appearing just like a helpless young lady that had been r̲a̲p̲e̲d̲.
Rolling my eyes, I replied, “Having spent the whole day with you, I definitely know what’s there to know about you.”
Hearing my reply, the old gentleman’s flushed face suddenly turned pale white, “What you mean, is that you also know about those things?”
“Naturally. That includes the earnest ‘studies’ that you do every single night~” I didn’t show a single ounce of mercy to give a death blow to the old gentleman. Hearing that, he seemed to lose all sense of life as he swayed and tittered about, on the brink of collapse.
“I’ve been discovered…I’ve been discovered…”
“Okay, okay. Stop this incessant repetition. Hurry up and take it out.”
“H…However, it’s impossible for children to see it.”
“I’m already 14 years old, so I’m no longer considered a child.”
“Stop with your nonsense, and hurry up and take it out!”
“Okay…okay.” truly unable to continue tussling with me, the old gentleman could only twist his body towards me.
The old gentleman shifted to a place exceedingly close to me, so close that I could clearly see the pores on his extremely wretched-looking face. With extreme care, he pulled out a wrinkled book from his undershirt.
The old gentleman carefully handed the book to me, before leaning even closer to me, “This…is my most valuable Holy Tome. Don’t destroy it, okay.”
“Of course I wouldn’t.”
I extended one hand out to hold onto the Holy Tome, while extending the other to grab hold onto the hand the old man had stealthily extended over from beneath the book.
“You…what are you trying to do?” the old man sent an awkward smile towards me, unwilling to give up as he asked me.
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With a jolt of my hand, I easily dealt with the old gentleman’s hand, which he claimed could destroy all of the substance in “this world” and said: “Just trying to express my fury to you for taking my most important item.”
“…How did you discover it?” after a moment of silence, the old gentleman’s voice suddenly changed, transforming into an icy-cold and indifferent girl’s voice: “I didn’t reveal any loopholes at all.”
“Of course you didn’t…” I took a deep breath, before surveying everything familiar in my surroundings: “ Regardless of smell, sight, hearing, taste, or touch, everything feels incomparably real. Even my feelings of hunger, cold, heart pain, and the senses of this body are exactly the same. However…”
Looking right at this very familiar face of his, I continued to speak, “It is impossible to feint the feeling one would feel when one loses the most important person to one. Regardless of how realistic this construct is, nor how identical you look to the one in my memories, I should still be able to feel the pain that seeps right into my bones when I think back about it.”
“That feeling…can’t be faked.”
As the R18 restricted book dropped down, my hand had already pierced right into the “old gentleman’s” abdomen. Staring right into his still indifferent looking eyes, I said: “However, since you’ve done such a thing, you should be prepared to pay the price. This price…would be more frightening than death.”
“Oh really?” The ‘old gentleman’ gave a disdainful laugh and replied: “I really must ask, what’s more frightening than death?”