Guriko’s Offering
Winter break had ended, and the new school term had begun as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. However, the girl known as Gankyuu Eguriko had already disappeared. Her desk was removed over the winter break, and it was noticed that her name was no longer on the eleventh spot in the class register. Though he already knew this, Sakaki Guryuu still felt sadness the moment he confirmed it.
Gankyuu Eguriko had vanished before their eyes.
The reason was unclear.
She disappeared from Sakaki’s ordinary life as if her existence was but a long dream. What happened to Guriko? Snake? The Mushi? They were things Sakaki cannot know. The town devastated by the Dream World Beast had also been restored over the winter break. The only thing that she left behind were their memories – and two Apples.
Those two Apples must have taken roots in Sakaki’s and Rinne’s souls! Sakaki’s appetite did fall, and occasionally Mushi-like people would look at him with reddish eyes. He apparently needed to stay cautious for the time being. However, as the Mushi had so far remained docile, Sakaki had been rather calm. As he thought, as long as he and Rinne could stay together, living forever wouldn’t be so bad!
Rinne would graduate high school in two years, and Sakaki resolved until then to push thoughts of the future out of his mind and optimistically live his life. He would enjoy it as much as possible while treasuring his memories with Guriko, until life itself became a bore. Guriko must have thought the same somewhere else in the world!
These thoughts gave him courage.
He was not alone. He had friends such as Guriko—and also Usagawa Rinne.
Rinne returned to her solitary life since Guriko’s disappearance. She should have felt lonely, but she avoided pessimism and gave an impression of strength. What about himself then? Had he, perhaps, grown a little tougher too?
Whether she has matured, or not.
Sakaki was glad to have met her.
One morning, facing his class of students suffering from winter-break-induced brain malfunction, Kannonsakazaki High School’s teacher Sakaki Guryuu of class 1-B announced the day’s schedule as well as the schedule for the semester.
This morning was just like any other morning in the past. He had expected such a typical scene to never return, yet Guriko’s efforts made it possible. Where was she at this moment? Had she saved someone else in some place unknown to Sakaki?
Sakaki thought about this while absent-mindedly stood at his podium.
“SLAM!” The classroom door was suddenly forced open.
Sakaki was dumbstruck. Rinne was dumbstruck. Obviously, the rest of the class was dumbstruck. Why couldn’t this person appear in a more normal way? Like so, the door was opened, and without even closing the door behind them, the person pompously walked in and silently wrote on the board with her unkempt handwriting:
Transfer Student: True • Gankyuu Eguriko
Since this was simply too odd, even Sakaki was speechless.
Could this sailor uniform donned wolf-haired girl still not manage to tie her shoelaces properly? They were messily bundled together.
Her face was stone stiff, as if challenging the world; and a mighty aura seemed to rise from her. However, for some reason, her eyes flickered with a strangely satisfied gleam. This was something the old Guriko lacked, this light that emanated out of eyes that now obtained their humanity.
In a sharp, confident tone, she announced her introduction.
“I am transferring into this class. My name is True • Gankyuu Eguriko.”
“Wait a minute.”
It’s not surprising that Sakaki decided to interrupt her. Guriko, surprised, looked at him.
“What do you mean, ‘What’?... Guriko, what was that ‘True’ about?”
The two hid behind the podium and started to talk.
Though the students found this suspicious, this type of thing wasn’t necessarily important.
“I also considered using ‘New’, but that feels a bit modest.”
“Are you a Getter Robo or something? This is definitely weird, what kind of world has high school girls with names like that? Why can’t you just call yourself Gankyuu Eguriko like normal? That being said, why would you transfer again? You still have your school documents here, so just come to school like a normal person!”
“They aren’t here!”
Guriko bluntly responded.
“How so?” Sakaki replied.
“I used up the Apple’s power in the fight against the Snake. It was inevitable after releasing God’s power. Because of that, my original foothold in the school, which was made using the Apple’s power, all disappeared together with my fake identification and residential documents. Plus, since I left the other two Apples with you, I could only use a new Apple’s power to transfer over in this situation.”
“…a new Apple?”
“Taken from that Snake.”
“I see.” Sakaki understands now. “In the end you kidnapped that guy away, how pitiable.”
“Pitiable in what way? He reaped what he sowed. Plus, I’m not a cruel person. I never took Snake’s essence, that of his soul. I let him off easy! I didn’t expect him to actually be a physical snake, and he seemed to be using an Apple’s power to turn into human form… Ugh, as long as he doesn’t accidentally get another Apple again, it would be physically impossible for him to do evil anymore! Oh, and there’s no need to worry. I already let him experience first-handedly what true terror is. He won’t show up before you again.”
“What did you do…..?”
“It’s better if you don’t know. But two weeks passed before I noticed while I was fixing him, and I didn’t manage to get back to Rinne’s place until today … Sorry for making you guys worry.”
Guriko said this with only trace amounts of regret.
Two weeks?! What kind of humiliation did she put him through? Though Sakaki was curious, his fear was stronger, and he decided that ignorance was better.
Guriko shyly said, “…Actually, I didn’t want to show myself to you guys again. But I couldn’t resist. It’s pathetic; only two weeks and I already want to see you so much. It feels like I never wanted to leave you guys, so let’s continue to live with each other until we get tired of life, Sakaki.”
Sakaki couldn’t help but agree, but he still had a few concerns, so he asked, “hey Guriko, since this is how it turned out, isn’t ‘Gankyuu Eguriko’ fine for a name for you to keep? Though I’m making a new class register, your previous record is already gone anyways—”
“Even so, it’s impossible to erase memories. Though it’s only been a short while, there should still be some people in the class who remember me, right? It would be way too weird to get two transfer students with exactly the same name, but if I just use the name ‘True • Gankyuu Eguriko’, then I can completely dispel their suspicion. They’ll just think I have a similar name, and they’ll move on to thinking about something else—”
“Who’d accept that? You give way too strong of an impression; the whole class remembers you!”
“Oh? This kind of mistake can happen?”
“You should seriously put more effort into being less conspicuous!”
Despite his astonishment, Sakaki was still happy just to be able to see Guriko again, so he continued with a smile, “Then again, we can think about this kind of stuff afterwards. Welcome back, Guriko! Even though I have a lot to say to you, introduce yourself as a transfer student first!”
At this point, Sakaki got up from his hiding spot behind the podium.
Guriko followed him up, and stiffly said to the dumbstruck students, “I’ll introduce myself again, I’m True • Gankyuu Eguriko, but call me Guriko. That being said, it doesn’t matter if you call me True • Gankyuu Eguriko. Don’t talk to me if you don’t want to; you might as well not talk to me at all. Just don’t disturb me, and I won’t injure you, so keep that in mind. Mind your own business, and generally avoid talking to me. If you dare to bother me, I’ll gouge out your eyeballs no matter who you are. If you value your eyeballs, then don’t get on my bad side. If you talk too much or you love meddling in other peoples’ business, go die. If you’re nosy about others’ business, you can go die too. That’s it.”
Being an apparent repetition of the previous introduction, the introduction was finished in one breath. Guriko looked forward and made eye contact with Rinne, who showed a gentle expression that seemed to say, “you’re really hopeless, aren’t you, Guriko?”
“…It’s not like this, is it? You can’t drift away from everyone else like this. I believe everyone would like very much to talk to you, and don’t you want to talk to everyone else too, Guriko?” Rinne had already said this to Guriko before.
Guriko remembered these words. For a while, it was hard to recognize her facial expression, but she soon decided.
“…I originally wanted to say something like that….”
Guriko suddenly lowered her head. All her powerful aura seemed to have disappeared.
“But, that would ruin the mood wouldn’t it? I don’t really like the changed atmosphere either, so—Ah, what should I say—”
She seemed unable to find the right words to say. The class’s anticipation did not cease. Rinne’s face showed an encouraging expression to Guriko, and Sakaki also gently protected Guriko who was about to take a bold new step.
Soon, Guriko bowed, and softly said, “—basically, pleased to meet you…”
—At that moment, thunderous applause echoed throughout the classroom.
Guriko’s face filled with surprise.
——You see, if only she opened her heart, everyone else would also stay kind to her. That is the beauty of humanity. Humans live their lives helping each other, loving each other.
The girl who died a millennium ago had wandered for a millennium, and finally found people important to her and a wonderful place in the world. She shouldn’t say that ‘it’d be fine as long as she’s the only unfortunate one’, right? Guriko was not unfortunate, because of this happiness that she had finally found.
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