But it was a memory that I had to recall at any cost.
In the email from Kyouka, she had written a little less than a few words: 'Help me, Shuu-kun.'
I had no idea where to start or how to help her.
But the moment I saw the email, I had a flashback in my mind of a terrible memory I had experienced in the past.
"Shuu, are you mad at me?"
Ayano, who was sleeping next to me, asked me with a worried look on her face.
"What is it? Out of the blue."
"After all, you just made a really scary face."
"I see... Well, it's just a flashback to something that happened a long time ago that really pissed me off."
"Hmm, that's fine then."
"Well, I'm sorry, but I've got to go out later. Today's plans are canceled."
"Too bad. So you'll be home late?"
"I don't know. But Ayano, you better go home. There's a chance I won't be back today."
"Hmm, okay. I'll do that after I finish the dishes and laundry."
From her words, I must have had a very sour look on my face.
Ayano, who would normally make a jokingly sweet voice at a time like this, is now obediently obeying me strangely. She didn't say she didn't want to go home, or she wanted to stay with me a little longer, or she didn't complain at all.
Maybe she sensed from my facial expression that something was not quite right. Ayano has surprisingly good instincts, or maybe that's how well she knows me.
In any case, now is not the time to worry about Ayano.
I quickly change into my business suit and walk out of the house by myself, leaving Ayano at home.
I already knew where I was going. As soon as I remembered, I relied on my ability.
However, it is unclear how far away the place is. If it was the same love hotel as in my memory, I could vaguely remember the location, but in terms of the directional sense, it seems to be slightly off. It would mean that the place was a completely different place, and it was quite possible that it was in the neighboring prefecture.
But then, it would still be not too late.
Ever since I came back to this world, something has been whispering in my ears, telling me to change this miserable fate.
That's why I'm starting my life over. Even though something similar to my memory happens, it doesn't mean that the exact same events as in the past will happen exactly as they did in the past.
Even so, I was honestly impatient.
Even though it was on a private road where not many people usually pass by, I was so impatient even wearing the mask of James Masuda in broad daylight.
Just like in my memory, no matter how many times I tried to call Kyouka, I couldn't get through to her, so I sent her back a message right after that: 'What's wrong? What happened?' but still no reply from Kyouka.
I had expected that I would remember at least the part where I recalled the memory with Kyouka.
Although it was a surprise that Akuzawa was involved in that memory, I had half-expected it to be a bad memory. If the memory had not been the scene of the tragedy itself, I would not have been in such a hurry.
With this frustration, I take my phone out of my pants pocket again and start to call someone else.
"Ayaka-san, it's me. I'm sorry to bother you, but could you please come to the routary of XX station right now?"
'Um, right now?'
"Yes, that's right. I'm sorry, but it's so urgent that I don't have time to explain the situation properly. I really need to get there. I was wondering if you could drive the car for that purpose."
'I see. I understand. The roundabout at the XX station. I'll drive you there right away.'
After exchanging this conversation, I quickly hung up the phone and went to the front of the station.
Although the area around the station where I called Ayaka is somewhat different from the direction I should go, I should use a car instead of my own feet since I don't know the distance to the destination.
Ayaka should be free at this time. She is usually free during the daytime after dropping off her daughter Kaede at the elementary school, and I have visited her house a few times to have intercourse with her.
Although Yukari was more suitable for what was about to happen, she was supposed to be at work right now. Even if she left work right away, it was going to take quite a long time to meet up with her.
"But what should I do if this is the case..."
I mutter to myself as I hurry on my way to the station.
The reason why I have almost stayed out of Kyouka's problem until now is not because I thought I can't help Kyouka's problem. It is because I thought that doing so would probably not lead to saving Kyouka.
At first, it was just a vague intuition that it would be better to stay out of it.
However, when I recalled my past memories of Ayano, Ayaka, Yukari, and Naoko in succession, I became more and more convinced.
As I recalled my past memories with the women, similar events to those memories were happening to them.
Events that could not be changed, even in a life that was supposed to have been redone.
This event may be a turning point that cannot be broken, as the threads of their lives are so tightly intertwined. In other words, it is an important turning point in my life. As if it was necessary for me to pass through this turning point.
I remembered the memory of Ayano when she suddenly visited my house in the pouring rain, even though we had been estranged. And I remembered the memory of Ayaka the moment I saw the angel's wings drawn on her back by a tattoo.
Up to that point, I didn't think there was anything wrong with me.
I thought that it was just a recall of memories connected with similar experiences in my new life.
However, Yukari's case was clearly different.
This memory was very different from the others.
The reason why Yukari's leg was amputated was not due to a slip and fall but due to a collision with a car.
At that time, I thought to myself.
Why did the event that was supposed to happen later happen now?
And in a different place, in a different form.
Normally, Yukari and I would meet much further in the future.
I can understand that my change of behavior has brought forward my meeting with Yukari.
However, the fact that Yukari accidentally slipped off the cliff and her leg was severed just like in my memory seems too unnatural to me.
It is the same with Naoko.
Naoko has been involved with me in a different way because of my encounter with Yukari and because the accident has changed the shape of her life. She has left her decision to have my child instead of Yukari's as it is.
I couldn't help but feel a kind of compulsion of fate.
Perhaps it is possible to change one's life.
My current relationship with Ayano proves this. Judging from Sakaki's attitude toward me and Ayano, my relationship with Ayano must have changed.
Well, there is a possibility that I am starting my life over again and again, and the memories I recalled of Ayano and Kyouka may be just one of them. But that would prove that I can change life.
However, I predicted that the turning point of my life cannot be changed.
At least, I should say that Yukari had to have her leg amputated, which is one of the turning points that could not be changed.
And I thought that there must be something hidden in the problem that Kyouka is facing now that could be the turning point.
After all, in the case of Kyouka, as in the case of the other women, I suddenly remembered my memory, and my guess was right up to that point. Now it depends on whether the result can be changed or not.
But if so, it would have been meaningless for me to prevent Kyouka's problem. On the contrary, a similar problem would occur in a slightly different form and at a different time.
Preventing the problem from happening would be a complete waste of time, because I would have to keep paying attention to the event that could happen at any time.
That's why I needed to recall the memories of Kyouka, which I did not want to recall, at any cost this time.
And perhaps I have to make the same thing happen.
Or maybe it will just happen inevitably without my doing anything. In any case, I am now faced with the difficult task of saving Kyouka.
The question is, where should I go, and to what extent?
Is the key point of my memory the email from Kyouka, or the fact that I witnessed the transformation of Kyouka by Akuzawa's hands?
The story would be totally different depending on the answer.
If it was the latter case, I was going to get rid of Akuzawa.
I could not kill him right in front of Kyouka, so I was going to keep his injuries to the extent that he would not be able to move properly for a while.
For that purpose, I need to disguise myself as someone else.
But that's not all. It was true that I had a strange hope that I could change the situation that Kyouka would be in trouble if I did not face both of them directly as Kaburagi Shuu.
Anyway, it was inevitable that the deal with Yasunaga would be ruined. After all, I could never forgive Akuzawa.
And if worse comes to worst, I will have no choice but to use Muldaur's poison to restore Kyouka to a normal state. But that will only cure the physical addiction. Kyouka would be left in a state of psychological trauma.
Still, it might be possible to overwrite the bad memories by drowning her in aphrodisiacs and slime.
But, can I really say that I helped Kyouka?
It seems to be different.
I could have protected Ayano from the clutches of Sakaki and others. I could have cured Kaede's illness and saved Ayaka.
I healed Yukari's leg.
I am not sure about Naoko, but it may have something to do with the fact that she wanted to have a relationship with Yukari more than she wanted to have a love affair with me.
If that is the case, I should be able to help Kyouka, too.
Otherwise, what's the point of starting my life over?
With these thoughts in my mind, I arrived at the station in less than 10 minutes. Unexpectedly, there was a familiar car parked in front of the station, which seemed to have rushed there in a great hurry.
I opened the door of Sayaka's car and quickly got into the passenger seat.
"I'm sorry. Thank you so much for your help."
"No, I'm sorry that this is the least I can do for you. So, where should we go?"
"For now, please head east. In terms of direction, it should be in the direction of the next town."
"If you can tell me the name of the place or the name of the building. I might know where it is."
"Ayaka-san. This case is deeply related to the cult I used to belong to. Even if it is you, I cannot tell you the details of the situation. I beg you, for once, please remain silent and follow my instructions."
"I see. I'm sorry. I understand."
"And, there may be some trouble with Yasunaga-san's organization. Of course, I will do my best not to cause you any trouble, but please keep that in mind."
While we are exchanging such conversation, the car starts to drive toward the east where I sense Kyouka's presence.
Neither of us speaks for a while without any further conversation, and we drive almost straight to the east, but there is no sign of any change in the direction so far. Sayaka occasionally asked me if this was the right road, to which I just nodded silently.
About ten minutes into driving east on the main road, I noticed that the direction of Kyouka's presence in my head was shifting a little bit.
"Just after you turn left at the intersection there, please pull over at the right place."
"And I'm really sorry, but if it seems to be okay with your time, could you please wait somewhere nearby for an hour or so? If it will take longer than expected on my side, I will contact you again."
"That's all right. I will have time until Kaede comes back in the evening."
As soon as we make a left turn, Sayaka pulls the car to the side of the road and I get out of the car quickly.
I am sorry for Sayaka, but if she doesn't stay at a nearby place, I will be in trouble when I have to run away with Kyouka. The reason is that I had to avoid being seen if she was using drugs or something.
Well, I thought I would not have to worry about it.
Anyway, I knew where Kyouka was because I was familiar with this area.
Now, I got out of the car and headed immediately for Ando Finance, where I had found Kyouka.
Maybe, just maybe, I was right.
Kyouka must be inside Ando Finance right now.
As soon as I realize this, a sense of relief washes over me. I don't know whether Yasunaga will be involved in this problem or not, but at least I have avoided an encounter at a love hotel. Now I have to figure out how to get away with Kyouka...
I hid myself in a narrow alley between buildings, and put the gold bars in an attaché case which I took out of the interdimensional storage room.
Anyway, I have to check the situation of Kyouka first.
It was a little unnatural to do so yesterday, but I thought it was necessary to fake a gold transaction for that purpose.
So I hurriedly prepared myself and entered Ando Finance from the front door.
As I entered, I heard a high-pitched, inorganic sound as I entered the store, and all the eyes in the store turned toward me unceremoniously.
I see Kyouka's anxious but safe figure in one of them, and I let out a sigh of relief that the scene in question has not yet come to pass.
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