231 – The Price of Each
May 31, 2022
So… I have decided to write a proper past chapter, so there will be about three more episodes.
A month had passed since then, and it was almost graduation season at the middle school.
I had stopped going to school since I left Nana.
I only go to school to have a student-like youth with Nana, and I didn’t see any value in taking the compulsory education itself since I had finished it when I was two years old.
But enough about that.
Fortunately for us, Nana, who had suffered so much emotional trauma, had recovered to some extent after a month and was showing a willingness to eat and sleep and, more importantly… to live.
She responded well to Ron’s regular calls, and her ability to make decisions had also been recovered.
Although she seemed bored because there was nothing to do, the fact that she could feel boredom was proof that she was so energetic enough to feel so.
And it relieved me to know that it would mean that there was no need to worry about her going to follow after her parents.
At this rate, the day when Nana and I can be together again may not be far off.
The situation was so going so well that I could imagine such a bright future.
I wish that was the whole truth…
In contrast to the good progress, there was also a big problem.
It was the confusion caused by the loss of that child’s memory.
More than half of Nana’s memories are gone, not only the memories from the day of the accident forward but also from before it.
It’s all gone.
The loss was particularly noticeable in memories related to her parents.
She could not even remember what she was doing on that Christmas Day.
Nana was only vaguely aware of the fact that her father and mother had died in the accident, and even Ron was puzzled by how indifferent she talked about her parents because we all know how much she loved them.
It was almost like she was talking about someone else’s problem.
“She covered up the trauma in her heart by replacing all of her [memories] of her parents with [records].
Probably her heart still cannot accept it, for now.”
“for now, huh…., but she’s coming back, isn’t she?”
“Yeah, by its look, it seems that she remembers only a few memories that involved Rin, me, and Touka… As for her parents, I don’t have a clue.
Nana’s loss of memories is more suitable to be called memory quarantine than amnesia, so I’m sure she’ll remember them all again if she’s stimulated enough.”
“I hope that her heart will have healed by then, and she’ll be strong enough to withstand the trauma.”
“Yeah, that would be for the best.”
At first glance, the wound appears to have mended, but that does not mean it is closed.
It may have a reasonably firm cover, but if that cover is removed, the wound will reopen.
It is like a drug-induced flashback.
Whether or not Nana can endure it when she once again is reminded of it depends solely on her mental capacity.
“I have to go back to my expedition soon, but I’m going to leave some of my men in Japan to look out for Nana until she can stand on her own.
Rin, the memories she has left are almost all memories of you.
You know what that means, right?”
“….I know, and it makes me want to cry.”
That’s right, even when Nana had lost most of her memories about her parents, she still clings to her memories with me.
I don’t need to ask why they stayed.
That’s how much value she put on me.
I was happy and relieved that my connection with Nana had remained unbroken after all that had happened.
And that is enough for now.
There was nothing more I could wish for.
“As we had decided, I would leave Nana in the care of Aunt Manaka.
Nana will also leave this house and live by herself.
She will no longer be returning to the Takajou family’s house.”
If everything is okay after a few more days, Nana will be sent to her maternal aunt’s house.
Akezora Manaka is the younger sister of Nana’s mother, Haruka.
She is a mother with 12 children and was the only relative who attended Nana’s parents’ funeral.
Haruka had chosen the hard way to elope and cut herself from her parents’ home, but she still kept in touch with Manaka on a regular basis.
Nana would not remember this, but she had met Manaka sometime before she met me.
The question of whether Takajou will protect or support Nana in the future to reintegrate her into society is a difficult one to conclude.
In terms of survivability, that child has surpassed all other living creatures on earth.
Especially in a peaceful country like Japan where people have surpluses of food, she can survive just by scavenging through the garbage in the streets.
Therefore, the question that Nana had to answer in order to return to society was whether or not she would want to mingle with society again.
Before the accident, Nana was a social misfit.
She was weak-willed and apathetic.
She was content to spend her time in idleness and rarely wanted anything for herself.
It might be wrong to call her rebellious because she only behaved as we wanted.
She knew how out of the ordinary and dangerous she was, so she entrusted us with the reins of her life.
We kept Nana’s peace by not using her as much as possible, rather than thinking about how we could use her.
But now, we had let go of her reins.
Her parents had passed away, and even if it was just temporary, I, who had been standing next to her, had let her hand go.
You may think it is dangerous.
But she has long since mastered the art of self-control.
Maybe It is the right time for her to break free from our chains.
And let her live by her own will.
However, it would have been too irresponsible to suddenly throw her out, so we asked Manaka to take care of Nana for us.
The entire Takajou family agreed to this problem, but not for the other.
Because the other one was not so easy.
“Are Uncle Kouki and Ran okay about you were living alone? Your headaches aren’t getting better, are they?”
“I don’t think they are [okay] with this, but I don’t have much time left, and I want to get out of the way.
I asked my mother to blackmail him.”
“You are forcing her to do it, aren’t you? It’s not too much to say that those two were way overprotective of you.”
When I said I wanted to live on my own, my father, in particular, was strongly against it.
I’m not a strong person, and I’m not good at housework.
I will at least bring a housekeeper with me, so there is no problem there, but my father still worried about my physical condition.
But I guess they don’t see it as a problem.
They simply worried.
And that’s because both my father and brother Ran were overprotective.
They just don’t want me to live alone in the first place.
But I can no longer rely on anyone else for support.
Because Nana is going to be on her own, and it would be too lame for me, her best friend, to be sheltered by my parents forever, wouldn’t it?
“Even if I put my all, the limit is four and a half years.
I’m sure I can manage that long.”
“That’s way optimistic.
You’re stubborn in a weird way, Rin.”
Sister Ron says so and chuckles in amazement.
Yet, she did not reject it.
“You can push yourself to the limit if you want to.
After all, your talent will burn you out even when you do nothing.
If you’re going to be burnt anyway, let’s make it festive!”
“Yes, I’ll make sure of it!”
We fist-bumped each other and laughed at our silly antics.
I sent my sister Ron back to the lab and quietly exhaled in my room.
A tearing pain pierces my brain.
The pain was so intense that I wanted to laugh at such common onomatopoeia.
I bite my lip, the pain so intense that I can’t help but frown.
This is the price I had to pay for letting go of Nana.
The headache had only calmed down when I was with Nana.
Of course, now that she’s gone, there was no means to calm the pain.
There was no way I was cured, and if anything, the symptoms were getting worse.
It was painful and agonizing.
I wanted to cry out in pain.
And yet, as the pain increased, my thoughts sharpened.
Like a candle that is burning bright before its life about to go end.
There is no turning back now, and I have no intention of doing so.
The pain is so intense that it makes me want to vomit, and I force it back down by pouring an energy drink into my throat.
This is a journey toward a predetermined end.
The journey will be freezing cold, and it would be so painful it would make me throw up.
The summit of the world best is far, far away.
My best friend is no longer with me, and I have thrown away my support walking stick.
The tears I have been shedding have completely dried up, and there is only one thing left for me to do.
All I have left is my talent, which has been sharpened like a blade.
It was a reckless act.
I was like a frog in a well who knows what the ocean is but still dives into the sea with only one weapon in its hand.
It was a challenge for me to make my mark on the world, even though all that was waiting for me was a ruin.
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