Chapter 8:

The Past

TRUE false

Why are you sulking alone in here?Bookmark here

What? Who is this? Where am I? Lights… I see a lot of lights… and people… foreigners… I’m sitting on a couch… It doesn’t look like I’m in Japan. Oh yeah… I’m in Switzerland. I came here with my father six days ago. I’m in the lobby of our hotel. But who is this girl? what is she saying?Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

Why are you sulking alone in here?Bookmark here

What? What do you mean? Who are you? What do you want?Bookmark here

Ahh… So many questions! I’ll answer only one of them. The last one.Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

I want your help.Bookmark here

Wha… My help? How?Bookmark here

You see, I’m lost. And I need your help to get to the back of the hotel.Bookmark here

To the hillside?Bookmark here

Yes.Bookmark here

This hotel was a resort built right next to the Lucerne Lake, so to the backside of the hotel was a pretty good spot at the ridge of the hill to look at the view, or so I’ve heard at least, I haven’t seen it myself yet. But what I don’t understand is how the hell could someone wound up all the way here from there if they’re lost? Anyway, I’d rather not make this my problem.Bookmark here

Shouldn’t you should ask an adult for help instead.Bookmark here

No way! My parents said never to go anywhere with a stranger.Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

But I’m a stranger too, you know.Bookmark here

But you’re a kid, so it’s okay.Bookmark here

What kind of logic is that?Bookmark here

What difference does it make? I’m still a stranger.Bookmark here

Yeah, but you won’t be able to fool me, because we’re of the same age.Bookmark here

She looks to me like the type who would be fooled by a five-year-old.Bookmark here

Then why don’t you ask any of the hotel staff?Bookmark here

My English isn’t good enough for that, and would you just stop nagging and help me already?Bookmark here

What a pain!Bookmark here

Why do you wanna go to the back of the hotel anyway?Bookmark here

Because that’s where I spent most of my time in the last six days. If I get there, I could find my way back to my room. I think.Bookmark here

You think? Ah… Why not just go to your room directly?Bookmark here

I won’t tell you what room I’m staying in, even if you are a kid.Bookmark here

Why? You think I’m gonna start stocking you or something?Bookmark here

Gosh! You ask so many questions! Just come with me already!Bookmark here

She grabbed my hand and dragged me along with her without my consent. I couldn’t resist her. At that age, girls are almost as strong as boys, to me, she seemed stronger. Whether it was her physical strength or willpower that was stronger than me, I didn’t know, I couldn’t think about it at that time, because the only thing that was going through my head was…Bookmark here

Hey! That’s… that’s not how it works! Wasn’t I supposed to take you somewhere? Hey! Will you stop for a second? Hey!Bookmark here

Not listening to my cries, lost in her own world she kept dragging me until we ended up somewhere none of us recognized.Bookmark here

Huh? Where are we now?Bookmark here

You tell me! You’re the one who dragged us here!Bookmark here

You mean you don’t know where we are?Bookmark here

How would I? You’re the one who was leading the way!Bookmark here

So now we’re both lost? Ahh… you’re a terrible guide.Bookmark here

Except, you didn’t let me guide.Bookmark here

What should we do now?Bookmark here

I’m gonna ask an adult for help.Bookmark here

What? Don’t do that! What if he takes you someplace shady and kidnapped you?Bookmark here

I’d still be better than hanging around you.Bookmark here

No! don’t be stupid. We need to figure this out on our own. Hmm… let’s see, first, we need to figure out where we are in the resort.Bookmark here

Who is this moron? That’s like the first question she asked herself, a few seconds ago. Did she really have to think to get that conclusion? And besides, it’s obvious where we are! What we don’t know is where this place is in the resort.Bookmark here

We’re in the pool area! Can’t you see all that water over there?Bookmark here

Oh yeah, you’re right. Wow, this is a really big pool!Bookmark here

How much of an airhead is this girl?Bookmark here

Anyway, I’ll go ask someone for help.Bookmark here

Why? Now that we know where we are, can’t we go to the back of the hotel ourselves?Bookmark here

Just knowing we’re in the pool area doesn’t tell us where we are in the whole resort!Bookmark here

Hmm… it does. Haven’t you read the broacher? The pool is located in the northern part of the resort, so we just need to head towards the west.Bookmark here

Ahh… is that so? Ok fine.Bookmark here

Yep! Let’s go!Bookmark here

Hey wait…Bookmark here

I slipped on the floor and was about to fall in the water, but she caught my hand. From that angle, the only thing in my field of vision was her. In front of me were those two blu… wait… what is this? It feels like… it feels like this has happened to me before. It’s weird. Do I know this girl?Bookmark here

Careful now! We wouldn’t want you getting wet.Bookmark here

Ah… it’s your fault for running like that.Bookmark here

What’s this can’t accept me running away from you? Scared of finding your way alone?Bookmark here

What? No way!Bookmark here

Then let’s get going!Bookmark here

Hey, let go of my hand! Oh god, not again!Bookmark here

We’re standing at yet another place that wasn’t our destination. Again, she dragged me the whole way, running like crazy.Bookmark here

This isn’t the back of the hotel. Where did we end up this time?Bookmark here

We’re in the Plaza!Bookmark here

Oh, so we’re in the southern part of the resort, so now we just need to head towards the west!Bookmark here

Now hold on a second… Hey! Wait!Bookmark here

And we’re at another place we didn’t want to go to.Bookmark here

This isn’t the right place either! Where are we now?Bookmark here

Will you listen to me for a second?Bookmark here

Oh, I see, it says ballroom over there, so we’re in front of the ballroom, which means, we’re in the southwest corner! We’re almost there, let’s keep going!Bookmark here

Hey wait…Bookmark here

And we’re now at the restaurant. Yet again nowhere close to where we had headed. In fact, we’re in the exact opposite direction.Bookmark here

The restaurant, huh? That means we’re in the east. So, we just need to head toward the west.Bookmark here

Hey! Will you listen to me for a second?Bookmark here

What? We’re almost there! Why are you wasting time on idle chit-chat?Bookmark here

We’re not close, we’re right back where we started!Bookmark here

What are you talking about? We started at the lobby.Bookmark here

Yeah! From that lobby over there, which is like twenty meters to your right!Bookmark here

I said while pointing my figure toward the lobby.Bookmark here

Oh my God, you’re right! We’re right back where we started. How did this happen?Bookmark here

It’s quite simple actually, you keep saying we need to head toward the west.Bookmark here

And?Bookmark here

Do you even know, to which direction west is?Bookmark here

Of course, I know! I’m not an idiot!Bookmark here

Do you now?Bookmark here

Yeah, I do! For example, the pool was located to the north, right? So, if we’re standing next to the pool, facing the water, then west will be to our right.Bookmark here

Yeah, but the pool has four sides, did you take into account on which side you’re standing while making your judgment?Bookmark here

Ah… I think… I understand now. My bad! Tee-hee.'Bookmark here

What an idiot. I guess I’m an even bigger idiot for staying with her this whole time.Bookmark here

Anyway, I know the way from here to the backside. Let’s go.Bookmark here

Hold on a minute! All this running has made me hungry.Bookmark here

You’re not the only one. I haven’t run this much since I came to Tokyo, so I’m starving myself.Bookmark here

You wanna eat?Bookmark here

Well, we are at a restaurant, and I have a VIP pass!Bookmark here

That’s a thing? I didn’t know. Well, I myself have an invite for the conference, which covers all the charges of the resort. Wait, could she be talking about one too? She did say she’s been here for six days.Bookmark here

Here! Look!Bookmark here

She showed me her VIP pass.Bookmark here

Yep, it’s the same thing. So, she came here as a companion for the conference too. As far as I’ve seen, I think she is the only other person of my age who came here for the conference. But who did she come here, with?Bookmark here

Before I could read the name, she put the invite away and headed towards an empty table, again while pulling my arm.Bookmark here

Since we were both starving, we took full advantage of our so-called VIP pass. We ate till we were full, and while doing so tried many different dishes. It was mostly her though, she kept ordering different stuff for both of us herself. I had no choice but to go along with her since it’s my policy to never waste food. She particularly ordered lots of different cakes and pastries for herself. I guess she’s a sweet tooth.Bookmark here

After we were done eating, and relaxing for a bit we headed toward our main objective. And after another walk for about five minutes, we made it there.Bookmark here

It was already evening and the sun was about to set. We started this journey around 3 P.M. in the afternoon, but thanks to her detours, it took us this long to get here. We spend almost 2 hours walking. But finally, we made it here.Bookmark here

Ok, we’re here. You can find your way to your room from here, right?Bookmark here

Oh, Yes I can. Thanks for your help.Bookmark here

So… you’re not going to your room?Bookmark here

Not right away, this is the best time to be here.Bookmark here

Why is that?Bookmark here

Look! You’ll see for yourself.Bookmark here

Huh? What does she mean? What’s special about this time? It’s still the same lake. Still the same scenery. So, what makes this the best time?Bookmark here

I don’t’ see anything special.Bookmark here

What, really?Bookmark here

Yeah.Bookmark here

‘Look there! It’s shining like gold, amidst red water surrounded by mountains, isn’t it miraculous?’Bookmark here

What? I’ve definitely heard this before! I’ve had this conversation before!Bookmark here

What’s miraculous about it? It’s just normal.Bookmark here

‘These ordinary things, mountains and water, and sunlight. When put together, it gives birth to such a divine sight. Just glancing at it calms your soul.’Bookmark here

‘Calms my soul, huh?’Bookmark here

‘If you feel empty, depressed, or stressed, you shouldn’t stay cooped up in your room, you should come out and see the world. The vast skies, the endless oceans, dense forests, and giant lakes, there’s so much to see, the world’s so big if you look, there has to be a solution to your problems, you just have to look hard enough. If you just try to see, there are so many wonders in this world that no one could be empty. No one could be alone.’Bookmark here

You sure sound like someone with a lot of wisdom, for the idiot you actually are!Bookmark here

Hey! Who are you calling an idiot?Bookmark here

But I can understand why you would suggest seeing the world. For your sense of direction, you might’ve seen a lot of it already, whenever you got lost.Bookmark here

Hey! I don’t get lost that often. I suggest what I suggest because that’s how every solution is found in this world.Bookmark here

Then what about the scientists looking for the answers to the world’s toughest questions from inside a room?Bookmark here

You think they don’t explore the world? You can’t be any more wrong. They explore far more than we can even imagine, from a quirk in the sub-atomic space to a massive black hole in the cosmos. They explore our world more than anyone else. Maybe in their imagination, but they still seek for answers out there.Bookmark here

I’ve got nothing against that, she is absolutely right.Bookmark here

But not all answers can be found in the imagination. For most of the problems life throws at you, you have to step outside. Because some problems can only be solved by practical experienceBookmark here

Wow, is she the same girl from before? Talk about a total of one-eighty. It’s like I’m talking to a totally different person.Bookmark here

So… you spent most of your time here, for this divine sight of yours?Bookmark here

You can say that. I’d say this is the most beautiful spot I’ve found since I came here. So, in the evening I almost always come here.Bookmark here

Don’t you get bored looking at the same sight?Bookmark here

You can’t get bored of it so easily. Do one thing, come sit here.Bookmark here

Following what she said, I sat down on the bench right next to her. As soon as I sat down, she woke up and walked in front of me.Bookmark here

Now right to take it in, all the beauty in one go.Bookmark here

She said pointing her hand towards the lake.Bookmark here

As I looked at the lake again, this time her words from before echoed in my head. It felt like a completely different experience this time, divine just as she said. Her description was like the scene itself put into words. It couldn’t be defined any other way. It was perfect.Bookmark here

Can you see? How brightly it shines!Bookmark here

I can see, I can see now. The shine, even more than the golden water, I could see a shine in her eyes. From my point of view, I could see, a sight that could be called divine, and right in the middle of it was she, shining like a goddess, and her eyes shining like gemstones. It was truly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I wonder how beautiful the world must appear from her eyes?Bookmark here

Hey!Bookmark here

Yeah?Bookmark here

You’re here for the conference, right?Bookmark here

Well, my dad is, I’m just accompanying him.Bookmark here

So is my dad. So, hmm… We’re both here for three more days, right?Bookmark here

Yep!Bookmark here

So… ah… what I’m saying is… hmm… would you… will you show me… those other places you’ve found too? Like maybe tomorrow?Bookmark here

Oh crap, how did I say that? It’s so embarrassing. We don’t even know each other, why would she agree to it, actually why would she even consider it?Bookmark here

Okay, sure.Bookmark here

Huh, really?Bookmark here

Yeah, I mean I had a lot of fun today, so why not?Bookmark here

She had fun? But we just ran around the whole place. But then again, I asked her to do the same thing myself. Did I have fun, too? It’s weird, I don’t know the answer… I guess I’ll just have to look for it. And the only way to find an answer is to explore. Then I’ll explore her world and find the answer.Bookmark here

Great, then how about we meet here again tomorrow at the same time?Bookmark here

Sure!Bookmark here

Just make sure you don’t get lost.Bookmark here

Oh, shut up!Bookmark here

After that, we went back to our rooms.Bookmark here

Back in my room, it was different. I felt different than usual. Today, I was excited, I enjoyed this trip for once. Unlike the past six days, today I had a story to tell, today I learned something new, today I saw something beautiful.Bookmark here

That divine sight, of the crimson water of a lake shining like gold from like the light of the setting sun, and in the middle of it all, a girl with sparkling eyes, like the goddess of a divine land. That sight was the only thing on my mind. Enchanted by its beauty, for the first time in my life, I wished to paint something. I wanted to engrave its beauty onto paper.Bookmark here

Although I had drawn pencil sketches, I had never painted anything before. I spent hours trying to perfect it. I began working on it pretty much as soon as I returned to my room and kept working until 10 P.M. So, I spent about four hours on it. And the result was pretty decent. Most people could tell that it was the work of an amateur, but I was still pretty satisfied with it, considering it was my first painting.Bookmark here

Right around when I was done, my father returned to the room as well. He was pretty surprised to see me so invested in something.Bookmark here

I didn’t know you liked to paint, Akio?Bookmark here

This is actually the first time I’ve painted anything.Bookmark here

What for real? This is incredible!Bookmark here

Well, I did say most people will. I think to a science person like him, any piece of art would appear like a masterpiece.Bookmark here

By the way, who is that girl in your painting?Bookmark here

Oh, she’s a new friend I made today. I saw this scenery from the back of the hotel while I was with her.Bookmark here

Oh, good for you. I’m glad you’re enjoying this trip. So, what’s the name of this new friend of yours?Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

I’m asking what’s her name?Bookmark here

Ah… I… don’t know.Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

I hmm… I forgot to ask her name.Bookmark here

What? You made friends with her, and you don’t even know her name?Bookmark here

I guess I can’t call her an idiot anymore. I feel pretty stupid myself right now.Bookmark here

I’ll… I’ll ask her tomorrow.Bookmark here

Do you know if she’ll be staying here tomorrow?Bookmark here

Yes! She’s here with her father who’s here for the conference too! I saw her invite, she’ll be staying here just as long as we will.Bookmark here

Didn’t you read her name in the invite?Bookmark here

No, I didn’t get enough time to read it.Bookmark here

What color was the cover of the invite.Bookmark here

Blue. The same as ours.Bookmark here

Oh, I think I know who your friend is.Bookmark here

What? How?Bookmark here

If she had a blue invite, that means her father is from my research group. And the only person in my group who brought their kid with them other than me is my assistant.’Bookmark here

You mean… You mean she is the daughter of Mr…Bookmark here

My eyes open. An unfamiliar ceiling. I’m not at my home. Where am I? What happened? I was dreaming? No, it was all real. All of that really happened. How could I forget?Bookmark here

I look around, I’m lying on a bed. I seem to be getting IV therapy. Am I in a hospital? To my right, I see a window. It’s bright, it seems it's morning already. To my left I… I see her… there, sitting on a chair was her. It was Yukawa.Bookmark here

It was you, wasn’t it?Bookmark here

The words left my mouth as soon as I saw her.Bookmark here

You’re awake!Bookmark here

I’ve met you before, right? Before St. Stephen’s. Why didn’t it ever occur to me before? Your name always sounded familiar, and you were acquaintances with my sister.Bookmark here

You’re the daughter of Mr. Asahi Yukawa, my father’s assistant.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.