After school, Yukihana and I quickly left the school and met at a nearby card shop. The place is usually crowded with students playing card games, and it is possible to get lost in the crowd. The staff, especially near the entrances and exits, are rarely seen, as the selection of merchandise is limited.
When I told Yukihana what had occurred to me today, she kicked me out of the room without a pause.
“Why should I take you to that hospital?”
“I thought we should try to get a clue from there. It’s reasonable, and you’ll understand.”
“……This and that are two different things.”
Apparently, Yukihana doesn’t want me and her mother to meet. For me, meeting Yukihana’s mother seems to be important, but that’s not my primary goal. This time, I want to know the general atmosphere of the hospital and, if possible, see the director or someone close to him in person. In other words, I don’t care if I don’t get to meet Yukihana’s mother.
(For now, let’s give it one more push.)
However, if Yukihana refuses to go to the hospital, I will have no excuse to sneak into the hospital in the first place, so I have to clear this up. With the powerful card of visiting her mother (for me, a friend’s escort), I would be able to enter the hospital head-on. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass by.
We left the card shop and stopped at a nearby park. At this time of the day, elementary school children were playing around, and surprisingly, there were no adults to stop by. It seemed like we could have a more complicated conversation than at the card store.
“The hospital where your mother is hospitalized is where this all started, don’t you think?”
“Your mother was threatened in a roundabout way. And the upper management of that hospital is involved in it. That’s why you were forced to get engaged and get into a lot of trouble for it. Am I wrong?”
Yukihana also understands this. It was clearly unreasonable. And that it all started with the hospital where her mother is hospitalized. But she is afraid to step in, perhaps because she doesn’t want her mother to get involved.
“If you want to change things, you have to move. You can’t make any progress just thinking about it. Then it’s time to break out of that shell.”
Yukihana is slowly beginning to change. And if I want to encourage that change, it’s now or never. So, one more push.
“Do you know why your parents named you Ruri?
Yukikhana looked at me with a dumbfounded face, perhaps because she suddenly mentioned by name. Come to think of it, this might be the first time I’ve ever called her by first name.
“There is a flower called lapis lazuli like your name. The language of flowers is [I think] right?”
When I told her this, for some reason Yukihana’s eyes widened and she began to be surprised. Are you surprised because I said something that doesn’t even have a pattern in the language of flowers? Well, I used to be addicted to the meaning of the language of flowers and learned all sorts of things.
“But I’m sure that’s not what your parents took it to mean. You were probably born in September or December, right?”
“…..How do you know that?”
Yukihana was a little uncomfortable that I had guessed her birth month, even though it was a choice between the two. But I’m sure that Yukihana, with her good intuition, would have thought of it right away. Or rather, she would have definitely heard of it.
“Do you know the language of stones, which is similar to the language of flowers?”
“Language of stones?”
“It’s the meaning behind a gemstone.”
When I said that much, Yukihana was also taken aback. The gem of lapis lazuli……also known as lapis lazuli in English, is known as the birthstone of the two months of September and December. Each month has a different meaning, but I believe the meaning is the same.
“The words of lapis lazuli are [truth] [nobility] [health] and [good luck]. This meaning is often used, but did you know there is another meaning?”
“It means [guarantee of success].”
There are various kinds of stone language, but that of lapis lazuli is a little different. The word “guarantee” is a word that means to give the owner a trial and make them grow up. It is a stone that has the meaning of a little talisman, but it is a sublime stone that wishes the owner success in the end.
In a more detailed sense, it is further subdivided into the months of September and December, but that’s enough for now.
“What are the challenges you must overcome now? What do you claim as success?”
Yukihana clenches her right fist in front of her chest.
“I understand. I’ll take you up on your offer. But that doesn’t mean I trust you. I’m only acting for my own sake.”
With that, Yukihana turned on her heel and headed in the direction of the hospital. After a few steps, she turned back to me.
“If you want to follow me, you’re on your own.”
She said so.
(This kind of bluntness is similar to her brother.)
Or is it simply that Yukihana has a tsundere side? But if I made the mistake of mentioning such a thing, everything would go back to the beginning, so I silently followed her. The small back of the girl was more imposing than when we came to this park.
Whether or not Yukihana can truly change, this is where she will be tested. She has finally made it to the starting line.
Several minutes passed in silence as we began walking toward the hospital. Although we were within walking distance, it seemed the distance was farther than I had expected, and before I knew it, I was walking side by side with Yukihana instead of behind her. Or rather, the pace of Yukihana, who was probably used to going to the hospital,was slowing down. Perhaps she was tired?
(Come to think of it, she was also exhausted in gym class.)
I once saw Kisaragi and Yukihana playing tennis from a distance. Yukihana was fighting back with her skills, but she was losing because she could not keep up with Kisaragi’s physical strength, who is a track and field athlete. Apparently, she has an athletic sense equal or superior to that of her brother, but her body cannot keep up.
(She is the exact opposite type of Shinkai.)
That guy had the athletic ability of a human being, but she had absolutely no sense at all. She spent an enormous amount of time learning one thing, and was surprisingly slow. But the amount of effort it took for her to learn things made it possible for her to achieve tremendous results in that area once she had learned it.
“……Hey, can I ask you something?”
“Depends on what it is.”
I’m not sure if she couldn’t stand the silent time, but Yukihana opened her mouth and started to talk to me. And I don’t care about me, but for Yukihana, the moment she enters the hospital, she has to consider all hospital workers as her enemies. It’s better to release the tension as soon as possible.
“How did you know the language of flowers and stones?”
I’m not a romantic person, and Yukihana would know that, even though we have only known each other for a short time. So how did I possess such specific knowledge? Well, it is easy to say.
“I was interested in the meanings and origins behind things for a while. I learned it from seeing.”
“Did you go out of your way to find out something about me?”
“No, I just happened to find the word “lapis lazuli” among the things I looked up.”
Well, although it was good that I looked it up, I never showed that knowledge to anyone other than Shinkai at middle school. At first she listened with great interest, but the more I talked to her, the more amazed she was at my knowledge.
“Yeah, it just so happens.”
And so the conversation died down for a while. In the first place, we don’t have much in common. We don’t have the kind of relationship that allows us to talk about anything other than what we want to talk about. I don’t know what the definition of “friend” is, and neither does this guy.
“Why are you sighing?”
Saying that, Yukihana walks at a brisk walking pace. I thought she was in a bad mood, but she seems to have found her destination. A fairly large hospital peeked out in front of us, and Yukihana stared at it with a complicated expression.
“Are you ready for this?”
“…..Don’t ask me again and again.”
And so we walked into the hospital. I believe that it will be a chance for something to change.
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