Chapter 10:

Linger

Densetsu: A Beautiful Day


Mimi’s story lingered in his thoughts. Even during the passing hour, he took every opportunity to stare at Mimi in fascination. Bookmark here

By the end of school, he walked the eerie suburban roads with Rocky.Bookmark here

Rocky’s eyes squinted, followed by his grin. “Do I need to tell Mimi you’re checking her out?”Bookmark here

“I was—”Bookmark here

“The way you kept looking at her. It’s kinda creepy, ya know that?”Bookmark here

Kotaro dropped his head, but Rocky patted him by the shoulders.Bookmark here

“It’s okay, though. You got Noel! She’s been doing the exact same thing as you are with Mimi!”Bookmark here

Kotaro stopped his tracks. He turned around.Bookmark here

“Is it me or does it feel like someone is following us?”Bookmark here

“Must be your imagination, Koty.”Bookmark here

Piles of pine needles planted on their previous footsteps caught his attention. He could sense the abnormality.Bookmark here

“Then, look at this.”Bookmark here

Rocky turned around to see the pine needles, and he impersonated a ghost. Bookmark here

“SpOoky ghosts! There’s literally a pine tree—”Bookmark here

Their heads raised, only to see the sky. They had already passed a crowd of pine trees.Bookmark here

“Above us…”Bookmark here

They briefly stayed silent.Bookmark here

“Yeah, someone’s following us,”Bookmark here

The two immediately bolted, their breaths synced, keeping pace with each other, and fear drenched into their minds.Bookmark here

Their meaningless run had come to an end when Rocky tripped on ice. Even worse, he may have twisted his ankle.Bookmark here

Kotaro didn’t hesitate to pick him up. And they continued their run. Bookmark here

Abnormality struck reality as a rift opened beneath the snow. Giggles filled the eerie road. He watched them flee for their lives when it was merely trickery.Bookmark here

“Isn’t this a little too cruel?” commented Noel.Bookmark here

“What? You didn’t find that funny?”Bookmark here

Their silhouettes drifted into the horizons. She could only sigh in disappointment. Bookmark here

They watched and waited. Until the two friends parted ways. The trickster had more in his sleeves.Bookmark here

Heavy footsteps followed the young man, yet he saw no one—nor any footprints. Snowballs were thrown near him. Then a trail of butterflies emerged from the ground. Bookmark here

It surrounded Kotaro until his sight was nothing but the insects. They were forced to reveal themselves, exiting from one of the portals. Bookmark here

“This isn’t exactly what I planned for.” Bookmark here

Yuuki snapped his finger. The butterflies dispersed into dust. Bookmark here

“Good afternoon, Koty.”Bookmark here

He raised his brows, but his surprised expression turned to annoyance. Bookmark here

“It was you who was behind those pranks.”Bookmark here

“I just came to say ‘hello’. I can’t do that?” Bookmark here

Noel rolled her eyes. Bookmark here

Revitalization had come for the fallen insects. Their size grew: expanded wings, antennas, and abdomen. They went into a formation until they transitioned into cherry blossom petals. Bookmark here

“You’re making a grand entrance for the outsider, I see…” commented Yuuki.Bookmark here

Winter’s breath brought forth a faint gust, interrupting petal ritual. Or it would seem. Bookmark here

A white, silk veil hid her face. Her entire body was transparent even when dressed in a pastel blue kimono. And her pink hair swayed by the wind. Bookmark here

She approached Kotaro, her elevating sandals creating an instinct capriccio. Particles forged each footstep she made, mainly butterflies. Bookmark here

Personal space was invaded, so Kotaro took a few steps back. She revealed her beauty. Her maroon eyes enticed him. Bookmark here

“So you’re Kotaro Nishiki?”Bookmark here

“T-That’s me!” Bookmark here

She stepped back and pondered. “Hm, where have I heard that name before?” Bookmark here

Her response caught his attention. His curiosity grew, and so did his desires. Despite all this, he couldn’t recall this woman’s face. Bookmark here

“That’s right! I remember it!”Bookmark here

Kotaro awaited the answer; Noel shared the same curiosity. Yuuki was indifferent.Bookmark here

“Kotaro Fuma! Wait…you are Kotaro Fuma, right?”Bookmark here

“My name is Kotaro Nishiki.”Bookmark here

“Kotaro Nishiki…” she pondered again. “Where have I heard that name before?”Bookmark here

Confusion filled the atmosphere, and all anticipation died down. Bookmark here

“That’s right! Kotaro F—”Bookmark here

Yuuki smacked the pale lady in the head. “This is Miharu Sakura. Like me, she’s one of the Legends of Densetsu.”Bookmark here

“You’re so mean, Yuuki! I was trying to make new friends!” whimpered the pale lady. Bookmark here

“Legends?”Bookmark here

“That’s right. You’ve been hearing that, yet you haven't a clue what we are.” said Yuuki.Bookmark here

Miharu covered her face with a paper fan. “The Legends are a group of individuals who transcended normal godhood with the ability to manipulate the very fabric of—ow! What was that for?”Bookmark here

“That sounds nothing like me.”Bookmark here

She flailed her arms. “That does sound like you! You always say things that don’t make sense.”Bookmark here

“So you guys are gods?”Bookmark here

The two Legends stared at the outsider. Bookmark here

“That’s right.”Bookmark here

“Master, do you remember what you came here for?” reminded Noel. Bookmark here

“I was getting there until Miharu came out of nowhere.”Bookmark here

“If I recall, you were busy playing pranks…” Noel murmured.Bookmark here

Yuuki harrumphed. “It has come to my attention that you discovered Densetsu not by chance.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

A staring contest commenced. “You want to know, don’t you?”Bookmark here

Kotaro’s eyes widened. Silence…Bookmark here

“You can remain here and forget everything about Densetsu. We will not bother you. Or, you can come with us and rediscover your past self. Your choice…”Bookmark here

The choices were tempting. How would things change if I never entered that alley?Bookmark here

Riku appeared in his thoughts, recalling the time she saved his life. Her words of wisdom passed down to him. New faces he met who carried memories of his forgotten self. He hated to admit it, but he knew what needed to be done. Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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