Beyond Abyss 17

Chapter 17 Higurashi Asuka

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

[Part 1/2]

 It was just an ordinary small room with old wooden doors lined up facing the corridor.

 When I opened the door, it made a creaking sound, and there was a Magic Circle shining pale blue at the back.

 ”Wow! It’s really here!”

 Higurashi exclaimed with excitement.

 The feeling of security, having both a safe zone and a way to return in the dungeon where undead creatures crawl, was huge.

 ”Let’s make this our base and look for the boss room tomorrow. I’m really tired for today, though.”

 Looking back on the day, there were too many things that happened, and I couldn’t sort them out right away. I sat down and leaned against the wall, and Higurashi sat down next to me.

 ”We also need to secure food.”

 Saying that, Higurashi took out two rolls of bread from a bag.

 ”I kept them for you from Kijima-senpai.”

 Saying that, Higurashi handed one to me.

 ”You did well. You managed to hold back from eating a lot.”

 I said that and ruffled her head.

 ”Hey, do you think Tsuchimiya-senpai sees me as some impatient dog or something?”

 There were supposed to be three of them, but let’s not ask about that.

 There’s also jerky, so for now, I can satisfy my hunger. Since both of us were quite hungry, we silently ate for a while. Finally, I muttered.

 ”Nevertheless, you really decided to follow a guy you just met and you don’t know much, like me.”

 ”Someone I don’t know, huh… Tsuchimiya-senpai is definitely hard to figure out. Even though you seem easy to understand, what’s deep down inside you is totally hard to figure out.”

 ’Hard to figure out’ doesn’t sound like a compliment, does it? Anyway, why did she even come along? I mean, when I think about it, it’s just the two of us staying overnight. I have no idea why she trusts me so much.

 ”Leveling up and becoming more aggressive might be a side effect, but I think it’s also a measure to get ordinary people used to this strange space called the dungeon. But Tsuchimiya-senpai is adapting to this situation faster than anyone else, just as he is.”

 That might be true, but I don’t think I’m doing anything that special.

 ”Aren’t there a certain number of people like me?”

 ”Hehe, Tsuchimiya-senpai must be serious. When I first saw a zombie, I hesitated, but Tsuchimiya-senpai didn’t. What if it had been a living person trying to harm us?”

 I imagined it for a bit.

 An unknown enemy with ill intentions. A human. An uncompromising dungeon.

 ”I can’t find a reason to hesitate.”

 ”That’s the kind of person you are. It’s understandable if you were just a bad person, but I don’t understand how Tsuchimiya-senpai, who is incredibly kind, can come to that conclusion so naturally. It’s the first time you’ll end someone else’s life with you own hands, right? Normally, you would hesitate. Unanswered questions like whether I’m qualified to do it run through my mind.”

 Am I an incredibly kind-natured person? I don’t want to admit it, but according to Higurashi, maybe I am. No, actually I’m not.

 ”When you think you don’t have the qualifications, you can clearly tell. If not, you can let the Yama judge after you die. Besides, I have experience stabbing someone.”

 ”What? I-Is that so?”

 ”Yeah, the person was my real father. It happened when I was just starting middle school.”

 ”Wait, wait a minute! Is it okay for me to listen to this story?”

 ”Yeah, it’s not a story worth hiding.”

 ”…Alright. Tell me.”

 Higurashi said that and straightened up, facing me.

 It’s not such a serious story, but oh well, I’ll tell it in order.

 ”My mom died before I even had any memories, so my dad raised me. He was a complete scum who never had any intention of properly raising a child. I was beaten up every day. But for some reason, he seemed to be popular with women, always bringing different women to his room.”

 Higurashi is listening to me with a serious face. It makes me nervous. Even if I look at my phone, she won’t get angry.

 ”My dad remarried when I was 11 years old. The person he married was a young and successful business owner who is involved in importing and selling cosmetics and product development. I have a cute step-sister who is two years younger than me, and for some reason, she is really friendly towards me. My step-mom is a busy person, and she often comes home late or is away from home. My dad is more like a stay-at-home dad or, well, just a freeloader. But for about two months, he was actually taking it seriously. However, after a while, he started drinking and getting drunk from the morning, and well, things went back to normal. Of course, just like always, my step-sister and I would get hit when my step-mom wasn’t looking. I used to be scared of my dad and would tremble, but somehow, I stopped being scared. I would observe him quietly, thinking about why this man is angry or when he would become violent. So, when my step-sister got involved, I would try to divert his attention towards me, but I guess he didn’t like that. I started getting beaten more persistently than before.”

 ”Isn’t this like a story from when I was in elementary school? It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but more like it just gave me an eerie feeling, you know?”

 Yeah, it’s a harsh comment. But I do remember feeling like I was told something like that.

 ”So, when I had just started middle school, my dad tried to r*pe my step-sister. When I tried to stop him, he kicked me down and told me to go play outside. I thought, ‘Ah, this guy shouldn’t be here.’ So I went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, wrapped it tightly with a towel to keep it from slipping, and stabbed him hard in the back while holding down my step-sister. But it didn’t go in as deep as I thought. I should’ve twisted it before pulling it out. I wasn’t really thinking straight at that time. In the end, my step-sister managed to escape, and when I was comforting her, the police came to our house. My dad had rushed to the hospital and reported it. I don’t know what procedures were taken after that, but my dad and step-mom got divorced, and I ended up being taken in by my step-mom instead of being sent to a facility. After that, I moved and changed schools about three times, and in the third term of my second year of middle school, I transferred to Seito Academy. It wasn’t really a big deal, was it?”

 ”No, it’s not just intense, it’s so heavy that I don’t know how to comment on it. I can’t understand why you’re talking about it like it’s a funny story about your first experience.”

 Higurashi frowned and had a difficult expression on her face.

 Well, it’s already a thing of the past, and it’s not something to be serious about now.

 ”Then, it’s not like I’m telling you this as a thank you for telling me, but can you listen to my story too?”

 ”Higurashi’s story? Oh, I don’t mind.”

 ”First of all, I have a serious illness, and I have about two years left to live, maybe even just one year.”


 Huh? What did you say?

 ”Is that…is that true?”

 ”Yeah, it’s a serious and honest story.”

 ”Um, um, is it a story that I can listen to?”

 ”I thought I wanted Tsuchimiya-senpai to hear it.”

 Higurashi had a determined look on her face, quiet and serious.

 ”Okay, I got it. Tell me.”

 I straightened up and turned to face Higurashi.

 ”I found out about my illness when I was in 6th grade. I used to be a normal girl. I took ballet and figure skating classes.”

 It seems like ballet and figure skating would be impossible for a regular family. This school has a lot of rich kids and young ladies.

 ”My parents did everything they could for me, even taking me to hospitals overseas. But when they realized there was no cure, I chose to silently attend a school far away when I entered middle school. I didn’t want to make my friends sad. My parents agreed to move closer to a big hospital near the school. And I came to this school without saying goodbye to my friends.”

 I hoped it was just a bad joke, but it seems like it’s not. I couldn’t take my eyes off Higurashi’s serious face as I listened silently.

 ”During my three years in middle school, I stayed by myself in a corner of the classroom, just watching everyone else. I felt like if I got close to people, I would end up making them sad in the near future. Asagiri-san occasionally showed concern for me and tried talking to me, but I would just glare at her without saying much.”

 Higurashi looked a little sorry and sad.

 ”Then, right before the high school entrance ceremony, I went to the hospital for some tests, and the results weren’t good. They told me I had only two years left to live. I thought, “Ah, it finally came,” but that was it. I was actually shocked that I didn’t feel anything about it. I was going to disappear from this world without anyone even missing me. I never had any real purpose for existing. No, I’ve been living in denial of that. So, I decided that I needed to change.”

 ”So, high school debut, huh?”

 ”Yeah, I guess. If I just tried to fit in and make friends like everyone else, I probably would’ve already had some friends. But maybe that wouldn’t have given me the results I wanted. So instead, I decided to live my life freely and have fun without worrying about what others think. I thought that if I could find a place where I could be myself, and if I could live the rest of my life like that, then maybe, at least in my final moments, I would think ‘I don’t want to die, I still want to live.’”

 From Higurashi’s calm and straightforward way of talking, I can’t really tell what she’s feeling.

 ”But then, as soon as Golden Week was over, I found myself in a different world. I didn’t understand what was happening when I faced two white hobs without being able to use my skills, I knew I couldn’t win. I thought it would be easier to fight and die knowing the goblins’ habits, but I just couldn’t accept it. So, instead of ending up in the same bad ending, I decided to buy myself a little more time. I threw away my sword and surrendered. While waiting to be taken to the nest, I kept questioning a god I didn’t even believe in. I asked if there was any way for me to reclaim the time I’ve wasted living aimlessly, even if it was just a year or two. I felt disappointed, but I’ve been feeling hopeless for a long time now. So, I just waited.”

 ”Waited? For what… What were you waiting for?”


 Higurashi, with a somewhat vague yet sparkling look in her eyes, murmured like that.

 ”If there is such a thing as fate, if there is even a little meaning in my life, or if such illusions do not exist, then all judgments are made at that final moment. And, it happened.”

 Higurashi leaned forward in excitement and leaned towards me.

 ”Senpai… Tsuchimiya-senpai has turned everything upside down. And you gave me back my time.”


 ”That’s right. And with Tsuchimiya-senpai, I had fun. It was fun! I haven’t felt like that since I was a child. I finally felt that I am alive. So, even if everything ends today, I can still smile.”

 ”Really? I didn’t know that… I had a great time too. I’m glad I got to see you today, Higurashi.”

 ”…I’m glad I got to see Tsuchimiya-senpai too.”

 I never imagined that Higurashi had those kinds of feelings.

 ”But maybe it’s a good thing you came to this world after all.”

 ”Huh? What do you mean, Tsuchimiya-senpai?”

 ”Well, over there, there might not be a way to cure certain illnesses, but here, there might be something. Like, remember how they said they could heal injuries with magic when we go back to school? Maybe they can even cure illnesses with magic easily. Even if it’s not that easy, don’t you think there’s still a chance? Like some kind of universal elixir or something.”

 ”Oh… yeah, you’re right… I don’t know why I didn’t realize that. That makes sense.”

 Higurashi looked surprised and soon started muttering excitedly.

 ”That’s amazing… I was trying to find the meaning of life, but now I’m just looking for a way to keep living… I can struggle to stay alive! Thank you, Tsuchimiya-senpai. Even if I can’t move anymore, I’ll keep struggling until the end!”

 ”If you can’t move, I’ll find medicine or anything else for you. So don’t worry.”


 ”Because you’re my cute kouhai, that’s why.”

 After saying that, I felt embarrassed and roughly tousled Higurashi’s hair.

 Then, Higurashi’s eyes filled with big tears.

 ”Huh? S-sorry. This is not right… I promised not to cry until the last day…”

 Higurashi tried to hold back the tears but they kept overflowing one after another.

 ”Don’t hold it in, cry your heart out. The last day is just talk of a half century away, right?”

 ”Uh…ah…Tsuchimiya-senpai…ah, ahh! Wahhhhh!”

 Higurashi cried loudly like a child. It felt like Higurashi, who is usually wise, was showing her true face for the first time.

* * *

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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