Hour Empty Child
His chest felt tight enough that it left him breathless. Every step he took, he took it so that he could be as far away from that place as possible. He ran across the hallway and reached to the bottom floor where all the party goers were still celebrating the great ‘news’.
Kudo was not fond of it at all as this was a party meant to celebrate him being part of the Valkyria family again. He never planned on continuing any legacy. All he wanted was to do as he pleased, to be an adventurer through and through.
If he had to forget the name that he has carried with him since he was born, or at least when he was nothing but a small baby, he would rather throw all that legacy away.
Bypassing every socialite enjoying their time in the hall, he reached the entrance and pushed open the doors with haste. The doors hitting against the walls resounded, but in amidst of the ecstatic voices and the loud music, it was drowned out.
Kudo ran through the entrance, no longer wanting anything to do with that party. He sees the empty space in front of him, shined upon by the glowing moon above. The maids weren’t returning back to pick them up until after the party’s closing, so Kudo was willing to walk back if he had to.
A concerned voice cut through the silence, catching Kudo’s attention which stopped him in his tracks, his back facing against Hikari who ran down the stairs of the entrance, surprisingly gasping for breath.
Hikari tried to reason, but Kudo’s anger welling up inside of him burst forth instead.
“Why?” He asked, his fists and shoulders trembling. “Why would you do that? Why would you get rid of my name?!”
“Kudo, it’s not like that.”
Hikari ran forward to place a hand on Kudo’s trembling shoulder, but once she did, Kudo snapped by slapping away her hand, his body jerking away as he turned around to face her.
Hikari could see the look of anger, despair, and confusion written on his face.
“My name…” Kudo’s voice shook. “My name is the last thing I have of them! Why would you take it away?!”
Kudo did not have to elaborate on what he said. He couldn’t anyway. His mind was too agitated to think straight. Hikari saw this on his face and frowned. Her usual happy-go-lucky demeanor dissipated as she held the hand which Kudo slapped away.
“Kudo… Please forgive me. I didn’t mean to do the things you said.”
“You…” Kudo kept quiet. He wanted her to explain everything.
“Kudo, what I did, it was unforgivable. I was so wrapped up in the excitement that I have ignored on how you would feel about all this. But please, hear me out.”
Hikari showed a solemn look on her face. Each of those words she spoke came earnestly.
“I never meant to make you feel this way. It was only just for a moment. I never meant to take away your name. It was just a proclamation to some businessmen, nothing more. There is no need to get rid of your name just like I’ve said.”
“But... you only mentioned ‘Valkyria’.”
“It’s not like I tell everyone in the whole world about your circumstances. It was only my closest friends who have been with me since before you were born.”
Hikari explained as subtly as she could. She has to try to douse down the tense atmosphere for the sake of her son.
“Kudo, I care more about you than anyone else in that party. I don’t care what they think. But sometimes, things can get complicated if I explain everything that happened between us to other people, and they’ll ask too many questions to keep up. However, only after finishing the preparations is when I’ll explain to everyone that your rightful name is Braven.”
“…R-Really?” Kudo could feel himself calming down after hearing her calm and composed explanation.
It didn’t seem like she was lying. Rather, it’s hard to believe that she would ever lie to him.
“But, Kudo, if you want, I’ll make it so that everyone here knows your real name. I understand that you would want to leave too. It’s okay. Everything is over and done with. That was the only thing you needed to do—just making an appearance.”
Kudo kept quiet. After thinking about it seriously, it was as if he was too immature to understand about the subtle circumstances in the adult world. Hikari was taking all of that into thought, and now, Kudo was just about to ruin everything because of his own childish misunderstanding. He felt smaller than before, as if he just made trouble for everyone around him.
His arms lumped forward, and his head lowered, “Mother… I…”
After getting back to his usual thought pattern, Kudo now wanted to take back his words. He never felt so shameful before.
Hikari stepped forward and extended her arms over him. Enveloping him in her warmth, Hikari tucked her head on his shoulder as she hugged tightly.
“Kudo, don’t feel bad. It was my mistake, not yours,” Hikari could see it in his face that he was regretting his actions, so she stepped forward to admit her own. “I didn’t take your feelings into account. Please, forgive this foolish mother of yours.”
“…I-It’s not your fault.”
Kudo meekly answered as Hikari released him, still holding on his arms while looking directly into his eyes.
“Now that I think about it, there’s not much you know about me, is there? I never even explained how you ended up in Peranim, or even about your father. Of course you would feel frightened of such changes.”
“I-It’s not…” Kudo wanted to deny, but he didn’t have any proof of his actions to deny it. Biting his lip, he responded. “I… I should have known that you only had my best interests at heart. You helped me out so much already, and I…”
“I didn’t help you and gave you a home because I wanted you to feel obligated towards me. I wouldn’t ask for any kind of compensation from my own son.”
Hikari’s tone became resolute. She is true to her words—that was how Kudo took it.
“But this shouldn’t be so one-sided,” Hikari then changed her tone to a melancholic one. “You only looked at the positive sides of me. You never knew what happened in the past, when you were taken from me.”
Kudo widened his eyes and looked up to see her face. She put on a pained expression, as if she was recalling bitter memories.
“Kudo, let’s go back. I promise to tell you everything.”
Hikari said, a warm smile on her face as the moonlight caught her in the most dazzling way. Hikari led Kudo back to the hall, his heart feeling heavier from the topic they’re going to discuss.