The Sister mystery Begins!
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Small Village Tridente – Chapter 007
Who? Who are you? A relative’s child, a neighbor’s child, or the child of one of mother’s acquaintances? No matter how much I search my memories, the answer doesn’t appear.
Not existing in my memories, who is this false little sister?
「Are you tired from gaming too much? You’re gonna be in high school next year, so get yourself together, okay?」
「Eh? Y-yes, I will… I will wash my face for a bit.」
「Why so polite? Stop it.」
In a panic, I went into the bathroom.
What just happened? I still don’t understand. A girl that doesn’t exist in my memories, she knew my age, about my gaming, and even about my mom coming home late… she knew everything.
Looking around the bathroom, in front of the mirror that I’m used to seeing, there were three toothbrushes. Mine, mom’s, and… the false sister’s.
It’s as if there were three people in my family from the beginning, as if my memories are wrong, as if I’m being told that this house has three people living in it.
I checked my phone’s app and looked at the past chat logs.
Group Name: Kanzaki Family
Ayano is my mother, I’m Mari, and this unrecognizable name, Yukiko, is my false sister.
It’s there… she has existed from the beginning. Plans for family outings, and everyday conversations like menus for dinner, I had chatted with her many times in the past.
Did the world change? Am I being deceived? Or maybe I’ve become crazy… Unable to find any answers, because of my fear, I couldn’t move away from where I stood.
「Onee-chan? Are you alright?」
Being called out so suddenly, my body flinched in response.
「Y-yeah. I’ll go in a bit!」
As I got out of the bathroom, Yukiko looked at me worriedly.
「If you’re feeling bad, should I make the food? You can rest, you know.」
「It’s alright! Your sister is all right!」
See!, I struck a guts pose and Yukiko was taken aback and laughed.
It looks like she isn’t a bad person… for now, it’s a relief(?)…
「Can it be hamburger?」
「Okay. Let’s make it.」
Am I crazy, or is Yukiko crazy, or has this world gone mad, without knowing that, I went with the flow and decided to wait and see for the moment.
I replied to her with safe answers while eating dinner and passed the time so that I wouldn’t be exposed. I checked the conversation logs, and it looks like I call her Yuki-chan.
「Now that I think about it, Onee-chan, why were you hurrying this morning? Even though we always go to school together.」
「Umm… I promised to go to school together with a friend… and actually, we promised to go tomorrow too! Sorry, Yuki-chan.」
「Eh, what? Is it a lover!? Who, who is it!?」
Yuki-chan, who thought I had gotten a lover, showed great interest in the topic. It seems that she’s just a normal girl you can find anywhere…
I feel relieved that she doesn’t seem to be something unknown that had taken human form.
「I-It’s not like that! I said it was a friend. It’s a girl I just recently became acquainted with.」
「So it’s just that… Even though I thought that Onee-chan’s spring had finally arrived.」
「Ehehe, but she’s really kind, and a beauty, and strong, and she always protects me.」
「Hmmm? Just like I thought, isn’t that a lover-… wait a sec, what do you mean strong… a delinquent?」
For a little while, we had a friendly chat about happenings at school, and sometimes about Saya, until mom returned.
「Ah, Mama’s back! Welcome back~」
「Mama, dinner’s ready!」
「Oh my, thank you. Yuki-chan, Mari-chan.」
Mom accepted Yuki-chan as if it were normal. In that instant, I became unable to believe in myself.
Tomorrow, I’ll consult with Saya…
After taking a bath, I went back to my room and slept early.
Yuki-chan, she’s excitedly reporting to mom that I got a lover, but it’s not like that, okay!?
The next morning, I left the house early and hurried to the place where I promised to meet Saya. I had thought about many things and was feeling a bit down, but I should at least be energetic in front of Saya.
When I arrived at our rendezvous spot, Saya was already there.
「Saya~! Sorry to make you wait.」
When I greeted Saya, she replied somewhat dispirited.
「Saya, are you feeling bad? Is something wrong?」
「Not really, just a little. Yesterday night, I received a lot of message from someone I didn’t know. I wonder if got a virus or something.」
「Saya… could it be, you were looking at those perverted sites…」
「I was not! I don’t look at those, okay! Geez, even though I’m being serious.」
「Sorry, sorry! Then, what kind of messages were they?」
「A person I don’t know is reporting to me what they have been doing. It’s really creepy! And moreover, she’s calling herself my sister.」
It’s a trick that can easily deceive men. They pretend to be a woman and then lead you to a sketchy site that falsely bills you… Just like I thought, I’m certain that she’s been looking at perverted websites.
「In the first place, I don’t have a sister.」
She doesn’t have a sister?
I feel there’s something out of place with what she just said.
I recall the conversation that I had with Saya before――
I’m sure that it was at the time when we just met, during our conversation about starting points.
It seems like it will be impossible to meet my sister in the UK right now… She said that. I’m sure.
I have no doubt about that; she told me about her sister, about her existence. Just like I have forgotten about my sister, did Saya also…? Or could it be that the conversation I had with Saya was also a lie?
I don’t want to accept that my memories with Saya are a lie, so I can’t just not say it.
「Saya, you have a sister, right? Before, you told me that you have a sister abroad, you know?」
「Wait, don’t tease me, okay. Having a sister- …Wait, why did you know that it was from overseas…? Certainly, the one sending the messages said they were overseas.」
「She is studying in England, right?」
Saya, as if she were looking at someone with supernatural powers, looked at me with a shocked expression.
「Hey, Saya, listen to me. Actually, I also, someone I don’t know is… …a false little sister was at my house. Just like Saya, I’m the only one who doesn’t remember a certain family member.」
「Saya, did you hear me talking about my sister?」
「No, not at all. Since we haven’t talked about each other’s real lives much yet.」
If Saya had known about my sister, then it might have been what I think it is, but I still can’t be sure with just this.
I explained to Saya what had happened last night in detail as we walked.
「Really, before you knew it, there was a little sister in your house…? It’s a bit like a horror, isn’t it.」
「Yeah… but when I tried talking to her, she was too familiar with our household… or rather, it’s like she’s been a member of my family since the beginning.」
「… …In any case, we should continue this conversation later. See you later! Don’t talk about it with anyone else.」
When we arrived at school, Saya and I went our separate ways, and I entered my class. Maybe there are also people I don’t know about in my own class? Thinking that, I looked around.
It’s alright. It’s the usual scenery, it’s the usual classroom, it’s the usual faces that I recognize.
However, as the time for homeroom approached, the scenery was not the usual for the seats being filled.
There were absentees… and three people at that.
It’s not really that unusual for someone to be absent. Whether it be due to a cold or an injury, there are various reasons for someone to be absent. Nonetheless, three people being absent at the same time, even though it isn’t flu season, might be a bit unusual.
Well, since it’s not like 10 or 20 people were absent, it isn’t something that I should worry about, I thought. But I changed my mind when our homeroom teacher came into the classroom.
From what I was told during homeroom, I came to learn that the three absentees were sent to the hospital.
Hospitalized… three at the same time? I wonder if they were close friends that got into an accident while they were hanging out?
No, that’s not it. I think I know what the actual cause is. It’s just that, I’m scared, and I just don’t want to accept it.
If I… If I had told my mom about this yesterday, I wonder, what would have happened?
Suddenly forgetting about the existence of a family member, of your little sister. Would they send someone that confused to school? Most likely, another student would have been sent to the hospital.
The conversation with Saya, the absent students, and my little sister… Just what in the world is happening…?
In the end, I had too many questions on my mind and I couldn’t get the morning’s lessons to stay in my head.
「I should eat my lunch…」
Our school doesn’t have any designated place to eat lunch, so we can eat wherever we want.
The place where I always eat my lunch is in the AV room. During lunch, they stream anime or movies in the AV room, so I watch those while eating alone.
There are a lot of other people who are also alone, so it’s pretty relaxing. Today’s anime is going to be 「The Handsome Man and the Beast」, I think. I should watch it! But as I stood up, the other side of the classroom door became noisy.
「Mari~! Let’s eat lunch together~」
I heard a voice calling out to me from the direction of the classroom door; it was Saya. Everyone in the class reacted to that voice and looked towards Saya at the same time.
The school princess visited our class, and it became an outroar. Because there’s usually a crowd around Saya, you can’t approach her easily. But that famous individual had come here on her own.
Obviously, the guys, and even the girls, turned zealous gazes towards Saya. And I also gazed at her… gazed at her in complaint.
「What’s the matter? Do you have plans?」
「I-I don’t, but…」
「Then, let’s go. Is the rooftop fine? I also want to continue our conversation from this morning.」
Saya, the school princess, took my hand; the hand of someone that doesn’t stand out, of someone who’s timid and plain, she pulled it and ran.
And my classmates who had seen it, why Saya and me? They raised their voices in bewilderment.
I who don’t like standing out so much, blamed Saya.
When I go back to class, how should I respond if they ask about my relationship with Saya… …I wonder if they know that Saya plays online games?
「Sorry, sorry! This morning was a mess, so I forgot to make plans for lunch~ And I panicked and went to where you were.」
I don’t like standing out, but I’ve always wanted to have lunch with a friend like this, so I’m also happy.
「In the first place, why are you even that popular?」
Great looks, great grades, great athleticism, and a great personality that attracts people, but they all act too excited about it.
「I see. So Mari doesn’t know.」
Hearing those words, I pouted a bit and replied.
「All I know is a pickup artist that happens to be a beauty, smart, and athletic.」
「Wait a sec!? Didn’t you say that I was a prince!?」
「So, what is it about Saya that I don’t know? This me.」
The Saya that everyone knows, the Saya that I don’t know. I’m embarrassed about feeling jealous of such a small thing. Even though we just met…
「When I was young, I worked in show business a little. Like in CMs, or as a child actor, stuff like that.」
Around here, people make a fuss when our hometown appears on TV, so if someone famous that appears in CMs showed up, then people would definitely approach out of curiosity.
「Are you still doing it?」
「No, I don’t really do it anymore. It’s just when I was young.」
From what I heard, when she was a child actor, the drama she was in became a hit, so she received a lot of offers for CMs for a while.
I asked her what CMs and searched for the videos, but there were some that I had already seen.
「This is, so this was Saya…」
「Y~eah, watching it now though, it’s kinda embarrassing.」
「That weird way of talking that you usually have in school is…」
「Everyone was expected the me from my days as a child actor, so I thought that I should just talk that way to answer their expectations or something.」
I see. So that way of speaking, it’s from Saya’s time as a child actor. The school gal, or rather, princess’ greatest mystery has been solved. I am convinced.
「Hmm… So cute…」
As I was staring at the video intently, 「Geez, stop it!」, Saya said and took my device to stop the playback.
「That’s right! I do want to know more about Saya, but there’s something more important right now.」
「Right, right. Eating my lunch together with Mari is way more important right now.」
「Not that! It’s about my little sister and Saya’s big sister!」
If my memory is correct, Saya should have a big sister. Still, as I also have no memory of my little sister, I can’t count on it.
I wonder if Saya and I have the same symptoms? Just when did our ordinary lives change?
「Maybe we wandered into another world…」
「Just us? No way~」
What do Saya and I have in common?
Gender, age, school, the area we live in, and we’re both NW players. Just that.
「At the time that I logged out of NW, I felt something wrong with my brain…」
Saya said so.
It was the same for me. The instant I logged out, I sensed something warping, and for a little while, the nausea didn’t stop.
「Then, NW really was the cause…?」
「It’s still too early to decide that. There should still be more to this.」
「Now that I think about it, today, there were three absentees in my class. I thought that it might be connected, but… Saya, what about your class?」
「There were two in my class. But one was a cold, and the other one was, I don’t really know, but they seem to be at the hospital.」
The hospital again… four people from two classes going to the hospital is too many for this to be just a coincidence. Even so, it’s not an impossible number… It’s hard to get to the answer. Maybe we should ask the teachers.
Saya stored her half-eaten lunch box and stood up.
「The reason why the absentees are in the hospital, we need to know, right?」
She’s right, rather than worrying over it, we should just act.
「Saya, you really are quick with your decisions and actions. Going to the faculty on my own, it’s impossible for me.」
「It’s not like we’re causing a problem, so it’s alright. Stand up, and let’s go.」
Saya briskly walked ahead. Wait up! I said while catching up to her. I haven’t even finished eating my lunch yet!
『Excuse us』 we said as we entered the faculty room, but most of the teachers were so busy that they didn’t care about us, so we weren’t paid any real attention.
First, we talked to Saya’s homeroom teacher, Nakano-sensei.
「Sensei, can we ask you something?」
「Hm? Himemiya, huh?」
Nakano-sensei, who was in the middle of sorting documents, spun his chair and faced us.
「That’s rare, you’re free during this period. Even though you’re always surrounded by your classmates.」
Today is my date with Mari, you know♪, she said jokingly. Nakano-sensei was a bit surprised and looked at me.
I flinched and faltered a bit while bowing my head to greet him. It might have been rare for Nakano-sensei to see that there were only the two of us.
「So, what business do you have here?」
「Today, in class you said that Kenmochi-kun was absent to go to the hospital, right? What illness was it?」
「So, it’s about that. That’s private, so I can’t talk about it.」
「So you can’t talk about it? Could it be a dangerous disease?」
Saya worded it somewhat provocatively.
「Himemiya, what’s with you so suddenly… It isn’t something that you should care about so much.」
「Anyhow, this conversation is over. Hurry up and go back to class.」
In the end, we weren’t able to get much information from Nakano-sensei. And in that case, I would need to ask my homeroom teacher……
「u-um, se…sei, c-can i ask… a question…?」
Maybe my voice was too low, she didn’t notice me at all. Even though I’m not being scolded or anything, I’m much more tense than usual when I’m speaking to a teacher.
Seeing that, Saya stood beside me and called out to the teacher instead.
「Uhm, excuse me, may I ask something?」
「Oh my, if I’m right, you’re the neighboring class’ Himemiya-san? And the one together with you is… Kanzaki-san?」
As she turned towards me and smiled, her shoulder-length hair fluttered in the air. This beautiful and kind person is my class’ homeroom teacher, Kunieda Mayumi-sensei. (国枝真由美)
「What’s the matter? This is an unusual pair.」
「I want to ask about something I’d like to know about.」
「Oh my, I wonder what it could be? If it’s about my lover, I still don’t have one.」
「I’m not asking about that.」
『Oh my, how cold』 sensei replied as Saya asked the main question.
「Today, in Class A, there were three absentees, correct? I heard that they went to the hospital, but could you tell us why?」
After a short silence, Kunieda-sensei looked at me.
「First of all, why do you two want to know why those three were absent? If it’s just curiosi-… Well, it doesn’t seem to be.」
「That’s, how should I put it…」
Saya was stumped for words.
「Since you came and asked together with Kanzaki-san, there are reasons, right…」
I steeled my resolve and opened my mouth.
If I’m wrong, then I might be thought of as someone crazy, but still, I think that I should risk it if we want to get any information.
「M…maybe they lost their memories… or they are disordered, are their symptoms like that?」
「…No way, you two, the same as them, are your memories?」
Kunieda-sensei muttered worriedly.
「J-just like I thought, they had some problems with their memories? In what way-…」
「I’m sorry. The teachers too, we don’t really know the specific details.」
I don’t know the specific details, but it looks like it was a problem with their memories after all. If it was really serious enough that they even decided they should be hospitalized, then they might the same as us, who had similar problems with our memories of a family member.
「You two, are you alright? You should also go to the hosp-…」
「N-no… we are alright! Our symptoms are light after all!」
Honestly, it might be better to go to the hospital, but I want to know more about the current situation.
I know the cause now. Before we were asked any more questions, we left the faculty room. While we walked as if running away, Saya asked me a question.
「Mari, were the absentees in your class the type to play games?」
「I didn’t really talk to them so I don’t really know, but I heard they were a close group of friends that had gathered to play games.」
「So there’s a high chance that they have played NW, right?」
「Hey, Saya. If NW is the cause, then I don’t think that the loss of memories would only affect our school…」
Saya and I exchanged glances and thought a bit. If the loss of memory is due to playing NW, then…
I took out my phone and checked the news.
A politician’s adultery, an actor’s traffic accident, sports results…
【Nationwide Memory Loss, is the cause an online game?】
「Like I thought…」
「Symptoms are appearing nationwide… Won’t this 100% stop NW?」
NW is the place where I met Saya. The possibility of that world disappearing made me feel sad.
「B-but, is losing your memory because of a game even possible?」
「…Who knows. I don’t know if it can be proven, but it’s at the point that even we were able to suspect that NW is the cause. It’s not something that they can just make excuses for and get away with.」
「Then, NW will probably…」
End of service… will it end up like that?
「Still, I honestly think that I don’t want that world to end like this. That wonderful world, there aren’t any others like it.」
Hearing those words, I was relieved that Saya felt the same way. The world that started from zero is just beginning. If it ended like this, it would just be too sad.
Even though I’ve only played it for a few days, I’m already charmed by that game.
「Look. A press conference with NW Company is starting.」
I peeked at the screen of Saya’s phone and looked at the video on the screen. There was a laptop on top of a table, but there wasn’t a representative from NW Company. And then, a voice resounded from the laptop.
『To all NW players of Japan, we are truly sorry for the great inconvenience that we have caused you. However, please be relieved. This memory loss event is not a bug in the system. It is a step to advance towards the new world.』
Chapter 7 END
Goddess Loves you.