Hagakure Sakura Does Not Lament - Chapter 164
Definition of Friend
Translated by LyraDhani
Edited by LyraDhani
“…You seem to be in a good mood.”
Toono was humming in her office in the government, looking at the documents at hand, when Yatagarasu suddenly said that to her.
–She was in a good mood. It might be true.
Ever since her return from England, Toono had been spending her free time sending random messages to Tsugumi, enjoying his reactions. The replies, which at first were fearful, became more relaxed and easygoing after a week, and the exchanges became more like those of a true friend.
The content of the exchange itself, which was neither poisonous nor healing, was about what they ate today and the dreams they had, but it was inevitable that Toono, who had longed for such things, would get carried away.
Thinking about this, Toono looked at Yatagarasu. The three-legged raven, whose expression was unreadable, was staring at Toono with a slightly dissatisfied look.
Toono sighed in her heart, thinking that he was just pretending to be a guardian.
–Toono and Yatagarasu had a Magical Girl contract, but their relationship was a cold one. …It was just Toono’s subjective opinion.
Yatagarasu himself might think that he was protecting a poor baby bird. But Toono always looked at him with cold eyes.
If Yatagarasu hadn’t advised Toono to be revealed as a Magical Girl, she would have remained locked away in the back of the Ministry of Divine Worship as a vessel of Amaterasu. In that sense, it would be fair to say that Yatagarasu was a benefactor. However, Toono felt neither debt nor obligation to Yatagarasu.
Toono, who had learned information and knowledge from the government and the Ministry of Divine Worship, was well-versed in backstage affairs. She knew why she was born, what happened to her mother, and everything else. That’s why she understood that Yatagarasu’s actions toward Toono were just a compensatory act.
Toono’s genetic mother became Amaterasu’s vessel because the woman who was supposed to become her vessel ran away. Yes–because Yatagarasu let Sakura Akane escape, the destiny of the mother and daughter was twisted. Yatagarasu had always been bothered by this.
Apart from that, Toono didn’t think anything of her mother. Even if her mother hadn’t become Amaterasu’s vessel and lived a normal life, she couldn’t imagine that a person exactly like Toono would be born, and above all, she even thought it was nonsense to think about “what ifs”.
—In the end, people cannot escape from reality. A small human being can only live desperately in the present.
Yatagarasu had never expressed his feelings about Toono’s mother. However, it was obvious from the outside that Yatagarasu felt somewhat guilty toward Toono.
However, no matter what Yatagarasu thought about it, he couldn’t change the fact that Toono would be the next vessel. So, at the very least, let her spend her time freely until then – that’s probably why Yatagarasu made a contract with Toono. That way of thinking was very God-like and self-indulgent.
Toono was sacrificed as a result of his own favoritism and although he told her to live freely, in the end, he wanted her to act as a puppet for his convenience. …There was nothing more unbearable to watch than an egoist pretending to have good intentions.
Hiding such disgust behind a smile, Toono opened her mouth sarcastically.
“Oh my, is there something wrong with dolls looking happy?”
“I didn’t say that. I just don’t understand why you are so attached to that person.”
Yatagarasu then turned to the desk. There, information about Nanase Tsugumi, gathered in secret, was crammed together. It was almost insane.
Toono, ignoring Yatagarasu’s puzzlement, replied straightforwardly.
“We’re friends now. It would be rude not to have a certain amount of information about him in my head.”
“I think that’s a little too much…”
“I don’t care. I’m not bothering anyone. And since he’s such an important friend, why shouldn’t I at least be allowed to care?”
“Friends, huh? I am not against you making friends. But you don’t have to choose that one. –He will reach his limits in the near future. And when he does, you will be the one who suffers.”
“…That’s right. I know that very well.”
Even Tono was well aware of that.
The events that happened to Hagakure Sakura during the expedition also reached Toono’s ears.
–The time left for Nanase Tsugumi was running out.
In addition to unintentionally activating his ability, he also used his power in defiance of the contractual rules laid down by Amaterasu. Neither of these would have been possible under normal circumstances. In other words, it indicated that an extraterrestrial force was at work.
Tsukiyomi, another Magical Girl’s contract God who happened to be watching the scene, plausibly explained that it was due to the influence of a holy relic, but the government Gods were of the opinion that what Tsukiyomi was saying couldn’t be fully trusted.
–In times like this, bad predictions never go wrong.
Just as a large tree that had been eaten by insects on the inside would suddenly fall one day, the things that lurk within Nanase Tsugumi would eventually eat through its shell and come out into the open. This incident was nothing more than a prelude to that.
The reason why Nanase Tsugumi hadn’t been disposed of was simply because he had made a contract with another God.
No matter how justifiable the reason, they couldn’t escape criticism from the other Gods if they messed with another God’s handiwork. That’s also true–there was nothing more frustrating than a body coming out in the open. In the worst case, even the Magical Girl system would be in danger of collapsing.
In addition, Baal, Nanase Tsugumi/Hagakure Sakura’s contract God–called Bell by his contractor–loved his contractor dearly, which was unusual for the violent God.
Therefore, as it had already been proven in the previous house arrest, making a contact with the contractor hastily would provoke his anger.
The last time he was suspended, he reluctantly backed down, but if Nanase Tsugumi was killed at the hands of the government, it was easy to foresee a future where he would go on a rampage without regard to the penalties.
…There was a proposal to inform the contract God about Nanase Tsugumi’s current situation before that happened, but it was dismissed as dangerous.
The government had no way to save Nanase Tsugumi. In other words, no matter how things turned out, the government would have to kill Nanase Tsugumi. Depending on the contract God’s degree of attachment, he might go crazy if he was informed of the situation. The government was truly at a loss.
–But it was a matter for the Gods of the government to worry about, not for Toono.
Thinking about it, Toono laughed bitterly and said.
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t have much time left either. So I am the same.”
Toono’s words shook Yatagarasu’s shoulders.
–You’re not going to help me. She was about to continue, but she held her tongue at the last moment. Even if she said this kind of sarcasm, nothing would change.
“It’s just a joke, so don’t overreact like that. It’s rather annoying.”
“Ah, but if you’re so concerned about me, there’s one thing I’d really like you to do for me. Is it okay?”
Toono announced this in a voice that sounded as if the had just occurred to her. Yatagarasu slowly raised his head.
“Tell me. I can’t give you everything, but I will do what I can.”
Toono smiled slightly at Yatagarasu as she answered.
“Then, I will not hold back. –When Nanase Tsugumi becomes a harmful monster, please let me fight him. I don’t want to give him up to other Gods or Magical Girls.”
That was something Toono had been thinking about ever since she returned to Japan. If Nanase Tsugumi transformed into a monster, a subjugation team would be formed immediately. When that happened, Toono was going to be the first to volunteer for the subjugation.
Seeing Toono’s serious face, Yatagarasu gave a small nod while looking deep in thought.
“…Are you sure that’s what you want? Nanase Tsugumi is a friend to you, right?”
“Yes. Because he’s my friend, I want to stop him.”
Toono said as she gently put her hands on her chest.
Hagakure Sakura/Nanase Tsugumi was a good person. That’s why Toono believed that if one day his existence would be transformed, his will and everything would disappear and he would fall into a beast of destruction, it was true kindness to end him gracefully.
And Tsugumi was Toono’s first precious friend. Since they wouldn’t be together for long anyway, she wanted to at least end him with her own hands. She didn’t want to give him up to someone else. This was Toono’s only selfishness, having lived her life as if she had given up on everything.
Realizing that Toono wouldn’t give it up no matter what he said, Yatagarasu opened his mouth with a small shrug.
“I can’t give you permission depending on the strength of the thing that comes into being. However, I will do what I can to accommodate your wishes. This is all I can promise you for now.”
“…You can’t let me die, right? But that’s enough. Thank you.”
Even Toono fully understood the role she should play. She had no intention of putting her life on the line.
–But even so, she should at least be allowed to take care of her friend’s final days.
Even if she was not allowed to fight, she should at least be allowed to watch from afar. If she stayed in a safe place, she should be allowed that much.
“I will inform the government’s subordinate Gods. Until the time comes, do not make any moves.”
“Yes, I understand.”
With these words, Yatagarasu left the room.
After that, Tono, now alone, quietly picked up Tsugumi’s file and said in a whisper.
“I’m sure he’ll be happier fighting with me than in the hands of another Magical Girl. We’ve only known each other for a short time, but no one understands his situation better than I do. –Fufu, we sound like close friends.”
–Toono knew information that not even Nanase Tsugumi himself could know. In a way, she understood him even better than he understood himself. In other words, it was no exaggeration to say that she was his closest friend.
…If Tsugumi had been here, he would have modestly denied it, saying, “That’s not quite right, is it…?” But unfortunately, no one was there to correct her.
◆ ◆ ◆
Thus, the “Vessel of Calamity” and the “Amaterasu’s Miko” are all present. The opponents are “Wicked Vile,” “Rebel of the Dawn,” “God of the Night”–and “Battle Avenger”.
What will the “Daughter of Hero” think when she learns the truth? The time to choose is near.
The man who calls himself Tsugumi’s best friend
“I’ll kill you first so that you can die human.”
The girl in a box who already thinks she’s Tsugumi’s best friend
“When you become a monster, I’ll finish you off and kill you so you don’t hurt anyone.”
Both have 100% good intentions.
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