Almost subconsciously calling her Fleu, Toushirou hesitated mid-sentence.
Even as Flika tilted her head in puzzlement, she smiled back.
“Nice to meet you, Toushirou-kun.”
“She” used to call his name slowly, without pronouncing the “u”
While holding onto the feeling that something is off with her name, Toushirou spoke.
“What would you like to drink?”
“Well, I’ll get the same as what she’s getting.”
In a shop she wasn’t familiar with, it was the response of someone trying to fit in with everyone else.
—Doesn’t look like she’s been to many cafés.
“She” was supposedly hospitalized for a very long time, so it’s understandable that she didn’t have many opportunities to go to cafés.
—Even so, she was in a bar for god’s sake.
If possible, he wanted to treat her to some coffee and get her to tell him that it’s delicious.
That being said, an order is an order. In a very accustomed manner, Toushirou put a pot over the fire and used a spoon to measure out cocoa powder, sugar and milk in that order.
He didn’t pour in the milk just yet. Heating the powder and sugar, he mixed it gently with a spoon making sure that it doesn’t burn. In due time, after the cocoa had melted into a paste, he then slowly added in the warmed milk.
A white swirl arose in the chocolate colored liquid, giving off a pleasant aroma.
When his attention returned to his surroundings, he noticed Flika was looking curiously at what he was doing.
Seeing her expression, Toushirou’s heart started racing.
—As I thought, she’s Fleu……right?
It was the same expression “she” had when he was brewing coffee in the ward.
“Toushirou, isn’t it about time hmm?”
While his breath was being taken away, the surface of the milk infused cocoa started bubbling happily. Hearing Ageha’s voice, he frantically took it off the fire. Pouring it into a pre heated cup, the cocoa was done.
As he brought out two servings of cocoa, Flika gently took a cup and held it in her hands.
“It’s delicious. Thank you very much.”
Though she said it with a smile, there were no emotions in her eyes and on the contrary, made him feel distant.
“Flika, if it’s bad just say so, I won’t mind. This time I heated the cocoa too much so it’ll be too sweet.”
“Ahahaha. Is that so? I actually couldn’t tell.”
Unable to get her to deny that the cocoa was bad, Toushirou’s shoulders immediately fell.
“Well, it’s about time for us get to the main business.”
“It’s about your brother, right?”
“Yes. About a month ago, he suddenly disappeared. I waited and waited but he still didn’t return so I wondered if he got caught up in some incident……”
“Did something like this happen before? Like does he ever suddenly disappear?”
Listening to Ageha’s prompt, Flika shook her head.
“No. Nothing like this had ever happened before.”
Her slender shoulders drooped, and Flika continued.
“My brother is the only relative I have. Even so…… Just what on earth happened to my brother?”
Flika covered her face and Ageha put her hands around her shoulders comfortingly.
—One month…… she has been fighting with her anxiousness all the way till now.
Even if he were to ignore the aspects of Flika that reminded him of “her”, it was still a heart wrenching story.
Ageha looked at Toushirou with testing eyes, and he gave a firm nod.
“Shuuya-san. Do you mind if I were to take up this request?”
As Toushirou said that, Shuuya popped his head out from inside the shop.
“That’s rare. For you to say that you want to take on a request…”
“In any case, I’m the one that’s working aren’t I?”
Above all, he wanted to help the young girl.
—Even though she might not even be Fleu.
“Wai… Hold on. A request is something that’s accepted when there’s some sort of compensation. Missy, how much can you actually pay? No saying that your brother’s going to pay for it okay?”
“Erm…… He said to use this whenever I’m in trouble but……”
What Flika brought out has a thick envelope.
Looking at its contents, Shuuya’s eyes flew wide open.
Even though he took a quick look, he could tell that there were tens of ten thousand yen notes inside.
“……Is this enough?”
“Of course! Please feel free to work him however hard you want.”
Said Shuuya with a refreshing smile as he stooped over.
—What a scum……
But really, why am I working under this sort of person?……
As Shuuya tucked the envelope into his breast pocket just like that, Toushirou grabbed his hand fiercely.
“Why are you trying to accept it just like that? Looking the way she brought it out, isn’t that her entire assests?”
As Toushirou gave an extremely respectable point, Shuuya held Toushirou’s head under his arm and squeezed him tightly.
(Don’t you go saying anything unnecessary Toushirou! The wall in my shop is completely blown to bits! It’s far from being enough to pay for the repair ya’ know!)
(It’s not like it’s this girls fault! Can’t you just catch that magic user from just now and make her pay for it?)
(Who the hell was the one who let that magic user escape?!)
(If you have any complaints why don’t you just do the work yourself?!)
(I hired you BECAUSE I didn’t want to work!)
(I really think that you’re shit)
Toushirou, who was fed up with Shuuya, rammed his elbow into Shuuya’s side.
Quickly stealing back the envelope from his master who fell on his knees about to pass out from agony, Toushirou handed it to Flika.
“I think it’s better for you not to show that much money to other people. ‘Cos there are people like him.”
“Umm, is that person…dead?”
It seemed that Toushirou’s elbow was well placed. Shuuya slumped onto the floor head first, not moving.
“Pay no attention to it. It happens every time.”
“Are you sure?”
Even though she was giving words of concern, the young girl had a forced smile on her face the entire time. Perhaps she has no tolerance for this sort of behavior and was stiffening her expression.
Toushirou asked once more.
“Back to the topic at hand, when you were being chased by that Magic User, did it have anything to do with your brother’s disappearance?”
However common Magic Users were, they weren’t the sort of unlawful people who would attack people in the middle of the town just for the fun of it. There’s bound to be a reason why she was being chased.
However, Flika laughed slightly and shrugged her shoulders.
“It’s something that happens very often so I don’t think it’ll suddenly be related to my brother’s disappearance.”
“…..Hold on a sec. Have you always been attacked like that?”
“Ahaha. That being said, I was always saved by my brother so it’s not like it’s a big deal or……”
“It’s quite a big deal if you ask me, though why did it happen……?”
“Who knows? There were those who bore grudges and those who try to kidnap and do something to me so I can’t really tell. Besides, it’s not like everyone who attacks me has the same reason for doing so.”
Toushirou’s chest began to hurt.
For some reason, this young girl’s life is being targeted by magic users.
Being chased constantly— has it become something normal for her?
At this moment, he saw her forced smile as a mask of sufferings.
“If that’s the case, we have to find your brother all the more quickly…….Could you tell me things like your brother’s appearance, or do you have any ideas where he might be heading to?”
“My brother’s name is Chris. His eyes and skin are the same color as mine, and his hair too. His height is about the same as that person lying on the floor over there. He’s probably about twenty years old.”
That one word caused Toushirou and Ageha to tilt their heads in confusion.
“Probably……? Even though you guys are siblings, you don’t know?”
“I haven’t asked him for his actual age so……”
Flika smiled wryly, but that wasn’t what was weird.
“No, even if you didn’t ask isn’t that something you should know? You both lived together right?”
Though there was the possibility that they lived separately because their parents were divorced, from what Flika said, they had been together all the while.
Flika gaze wandered around frantically.
“That, well, even though my brother was always with me, it’s more like I can’t remember it.”
“Can’t remember it? Why?”
“Ahaha. I’m a forgetful person so…..”
Somehow her behavior started becoming weird, and Toushirou raised his eyebrow.
—What is it? If she was trying to tell…… a lie, there should have been better ones she could tell.
If the talk about them being siblings is a lie, she could just cook up a random age to begin with.
On the contrary, Flika’s reaction is proof that she’s a terrible liar.
“This girl, could she be…..?”
As Toushirou and Ageha exchanged looks, Shuuya suddenly sat up and whispered.
“Hey missy. Just a quick question, how many moons were there before three years ago?”
“……? By moon, do you mean the one in the sky?”
As Shuuya nodded, Flika said in puzzlement.
“Isn’t it obvious? There were two.”
Toushirou let out a sound of blank amazement, and Shuuya nodded his head agreement.
“I see. So that’s how it is.”
“What do you mean?”
Shuuya spoke, with a rare hint of melancholy in his voice.
“This missy here doesn’t have any memories prior to that.”
“Missy, you too are someone who lost “something” three years ago am I right?”
Those were the words Toushirou could not deny.