Hour Empty Child
“Ahh! It’s starting to rain!”
Kudo shouts to the sky with his hands covering his head, feeling the pitter-patter of rain falling on him. Hinota at his side did the same to avoid getting wet.
The sound of drizzling rain as it cascades down to the streets filled their ears. The darkening sky dampens the atmosphere, turning the once sunny sky into a depressing melody of rain.
Kudo looks at the scenery around him, expecting in his mind the people running away from the rain into the safety of their homes. Instead…
They were rejoicing in it.
Sounds of hollers and excited shrills soon overtake the sound of rain, making Kudo’s body jump up in surprise as he took another look around.
The people started undressing—their outer layer of clothing—and shows only their underwear. The children’s cries resounded, and soon after, the howls of the adults joined in.
Kudo couldn’t help but gape at the sight. His eyes were popped wide open despite the incoming heavy rain. It was raining, yet the people are rejoicing in it.
“W-What’s going on, Hinota?!”
Kudo shouted as he sees that even women have undressed, getting him to nearly close his eyes.
“Forget about that, let’s just go back in!”
Hinota grabs Kudo’s shoulder and drags him inside the inn to cover themselves from the rain.
After they enter into the inn’s comfortable space, the two quickly shook off their dampen bodies by flicking their heads left and right to quickly dry their hair.
“Ah… I can understand why they like this, though. It’s really refreshing.”
Hinota’s hair flicks side by side, and she quickly catches it with her hands. The water streaming down her supple skin, from her head to her neck, creates an alluring image which caught Kudo like an underhanded sneak attack.
“What’s up?” She asks, tilting her neck slightly with a small smile.
(You look good…) “I-I mean, nothing!”
Despite not saying anything before, Kudo corrects his wording and quickly turn away from Hinota’s visage. For a moment, without Kudo’s notice, Hinota made a slight frown.
“…Coward,” She said under her breath.
“What did you say?”
Hinota closes her eyes as she nonchalantly answers, moving ahead of Kudo. But not before she casually flicks her ponytail and—*Slap!*—hits Kudo square in the cheek.
Kudo’s cheek burns slightly as he rubbed it while he looks at Hinota’s back. While doing so, he catches a glimpse of his parents who ran towards him.
“Kudo! What happened? Was there rain?”
“Y-Yeah…” He answers to his father, still wondering what exactly he did to Hinota. “But for some reason, the people were really happy about it.”
Trun glances at Meiki, getting her to nod as she focuses her eyes on Kudo.
“The thing is, it’s kinda this city’s feature. When it rains, it’s usually a good thing since it’s the time that gives their town everything they needed to thrive. You could say that it’s like a blessing bestowing onto them. So they enjoy every minute of it while it lasts by going out and get wet from it.”
“Eh, so rain is like a blessing to them?”
Kudo takes out a towel from his bag, and uses it to dry himself off. He gave another towel to Hinota as she asked.
“That’s right. It happened to us a couple of days ago when we first saw it. It really was surprising~”
Meiki shows her surprise while delicately places her hand on her cheek.
“Still, for people to get that excited about it… Nothing good ever comes from rain.”
Kudo admits his dislike of rain, getting Hinota’s attention.
“Now that you mention it, Kudo. You never did like the rain. You always complain about lost time whenever we had to stay in due to heavy rain.”
Hinota finishes drying herself off with the towel, revealing a slightly messier, yet still glamorous ponytail hairstyle.
“For a farmer, rain’s our worst enemy.”
Trun admits, getting the entire family to nod in approval. A cold sweat ran down Hinota’s cheek.
“Haha, so rain is a negative thing for you guys,” Hinota gave a wry laugh.
“It ruins crops, and the lightning scares the animals. Not to mention, we have to protect our house from breaking apart from the rain’s pressure. It’s always a hassle, and it gets worse when winter comes! We have to get out there while the atmosphere is so cold to the point that it hurts just standing outside!”
Kudo’s body trembles from remembering, huddling his arms together to provide warmth.
“Haha, Kudo naturally hates the rain more than we do. Though, it makes sense for us.”
Trun rubs Kudo’s azure hair while laughing to himself, getting Kudo to slap it off while he furrows his brows.
“It’s not funny! It really was terrible!”
“Now, now, let’s leave the roughhousing for later. Let’s quickly settle in and go to our rooms while the storm passes.”
Meiki clasps her hands together and offers her idea, getting the others to quickly nod in agreement.
The party then heads towards to their rooms, walking up the stairs and heads down the halls.
“Hey, Kudo, Miss Hinota…”
“Oh, just call me Hinota. It’s fine.”
Hinota said, interrupting Trun’s words.
“A-Ah, okay. Then, the both of you… is it really okay for you guys to spend so much for us? We don’t dislike everything that’s been happening, but we don’t wanna burden you guys anymore.”
Trun spoke out what he was thinking for a while now. He rubs the back of his head as he shows a look of concern on his face.
“Yeah,” Meiki adds herself into the conversation. “Aren’t we in the way of your work? I’m sure you came here to continue with your adventures…”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. We came here because we were taking a break. This was a perfect time to do this.”
Kudo answers, sharing a look with Hinota before turning back to his parents with widened expressions.
“Vacation? But it’s only been 6 months… what’s the occasion?”
Trun wants to ask, becoming curious alongside Meiki. Kudo looks at Hinota, and Hinota meets his gaze with her own.
He then turns back to his parents.
“Hehe, wanna know why? We’ll tell you!”
Kudo flashes his beaming smile.