Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Part 4 – Langue de Chat of Truth
Chapter 13 – Memory
The red and yellow leaves had all fallen and the barren trees seemed to have lost a bit of their color. The air was cool and Sui could feel the signs of winter in the forest that looked different than when he had first entered it.
The sky’s always the same but seasons change. Sui mused, burying his face deeper into his scarf.
“My stomach feels heavy…”
Rubbing his stomach, he started following the road back home. Several days ago, he’d made it to Akebi by himself. It wasn’t like his bad sense of direction had been cured, but for the time being, he’d managed to remember the way to Red’s house. You could even say that it was the biggest development he’d gone through lately.
Sui was glad because he used to feel bad that Red always had to take him to and from Akebi, but Red, who saw him off from inside the house, seemed somewhat dissatisfied. This morning as well, he had asked if he should come along while wrapping a scarf around Sui’s neck. When Sui answered that it was fine, he puffed his cheeks and sulked.
Did he want to go on a walk for some change of pace? Or does he like coming to pick me up that much?1
Sui remembered the photograph that had fallen out of Hansel and Gretel. He’d wanted to ask Kasa if he could take it, but had completely forgotten about the photo after that man had come.
The next time I have work is next week, isn’t it? Let’s ask him then.
As Sui was thinking this, he arrived back at the house.
“I’m ba… huh?”
Red, who always greeted him at the door, wasn’t there.
Was he very busy with work today? Since there were sometimes days like that, Sui first headed to his room to drop off his bag before going to the living room.
He could see Red’s figure collapsed next to the sofa.
Eyes opening wide, Sui ran to him in a panic.
“R-Red-san!? Are you ok!?”
He held him up and shook him2 and Red’s eyebrows moved a little.
“Ugh…” He let out a small groan but didn’t wake up.
“What should I do?”
Within his chaotic mind, Sui suddenly remembered about that piece of paper.
That paper was a magical artifact that had the same function as a phone. He took the paper that had been folded four times out of his pocket and at the same time it began to tremble.
Sui didn’t know what to do, so in the meantime, he tried shaking it. And then he heard a voice.
“This is Kasa. Sorry for calling all of a sudden. Are you on your way home? Um, there’s something I forgot to tell you – what happened today happens all of the time so don’t say-”
“K-Kasa-san! Help me please!”
“Eh, Sui-kun? What happened?”
“I just got back and Red-san was on the floor, and-”
“Wait. Calm down. He’s breathing right?”
“Does he have a fever?”
Sui put his hand on Red’s forehead. “It’s hot.”
“Uh-huh, it might be a cold then. I’m on my way, so just let him lie there for now and put a damp towel on his forehead.”
Gently, he lowered Red back to the floor. He went to the bathroom and soaked, then wrung out a towel, placing it on his forehead carefully so that it won’t get into his eyes.
Other than that, was there nothing that Sui could do?
Unable to calm himself down, his head still in a panic, Sui heard someone knocking on the door. It was Kasa.
“Sorry for the wait. How’s his condition?”
“He seems to be in pain. I, what can I do?”
“It’s ok, he’s not that weak.” Kasa patted Sui’s head.
The fact that Kasa was there and the warmth of his hand helped calm Sui down a bit.
“For now, let’s carry him to his room. Help me ok? Ready… and!”
Together, the two lifted Red up.
“In times like this, I wish I could use transportation magic but carrying books is enough lifting for me. It suits me, doesn’t it?” Kasa said cheerfully to lighten the mood.
Third floor, south side – Sui had been told not to go there, but this was an emergency situation so it couldn’t be helped. He apologized in his heart as they continued to carry Red.
Opening the door, the view inside Red’s room was gloomy with the curtains drawn. They laid Red down on the bed and covered him with a blanket.
“Well, currently, it looks like it’s just a common cold and some lack of sleep.”
“Lack of sleep…”
Sui looked at Red’s chest, which was moving up and down with heavy breaths.
He thought that it was definitely his fault. Red had been making him sweets every day, and until recently, he’d been walking him to and from Akebi. Furthermore, Sui had caused him a lot of worry and trouble.
“If only I’d done better…” When Sui hung his head in dejection, Kasa patted him once again.
“Mm… Well, there’s been the thing with Sui-kun lately, and he seems to have been working until late at night, but… I mean it’s not just because of that… How should I say it?” Kasa groaned then resolutely stated, “Yup, it’s a problem with this guy’s self-preservation.”
“No buts. Well, I mean, eleven percent of it might be because of Sui-kun, but if you nurse him back to health, it’ll cancel it out, so let’s do our best.”
Sui nodded at Kasa’s encouragement.
Afterward, Kasa taught Sui how to make congee and ice packs.
“After the congee is ready, put the ice pack on him and take his temperature. I’m going to go back to Akebi for a bit to buy some medicine and nourishing food.”
After sending Kasa off, Sui began making the congee the way he’d been taught. Basically, he just needed to leave the rice there and check on it from time to time. In the meantime, he made the ice pack and brought it to Red, wedging the thermometer he’d been given under Red’s arm.
“38 degrees3.” It was a number higher than he had expected.
Sui took off the damp towel that had turned warm, checked on the congee, and placed a new towel on Red’s forehead.
“Please get well soon,” he whispered as if praying.
When Sui was about to stand up, his knee hit the table, making a loud sound. It didn’t disturb Red’s peaceful sleep, but when Sui looked at the table, apologizing inside his head, he saw that a small picture frame had fallen.
Gently lifting the frame, what Sui had thought would be a drawing of Red’s was in fact something else.
It was a slapdash, colorful, and cute-looking drawing. It was something a child would have made. When Sui reached out for it, he noticed something yellow sticking out from the back. It felt like plastic.
He tried pulling on it a bit and saw that it was a candy wrapper.
Something about it bothered him.
What…What is it?
It felt like something was going to burst out of his chest any minute, but it wouldn’t come out.
Feeling dizzy from the strange feeling the candy wrapper had caused, Sui left Red’s room.
A bit later, Kasa came back with a bag stuffed with cold medicine and things that seemed to be cooling sheets.
In the end, Red still hadn’t woken up, so they decided to have him eat the congee tomorrow for breakfast.
“I don’t think the situation is that bad, but just in case, I’ll stay over tonight. I’ll borrow the room next to Sui-kun’s, so if something happens, don’t hesitate to call me.”
“I understand. Thank you.”
“It’s all good.”
Sui was about to step into his room when a thought popped into his head and he was about to stop Kasa. He wanted to ask him about that photo; it could have been a photograph of his grandmother and her friend. But, in the end, Sui shook his head slightly and said goodnight to Kasa.
If he had asked, Kasa would have generously answered him, but he must be exhausted after suddenly being called over, nursing Red, and being made to do all sorts of things. It would be fine to ask him after Red gets better.
For now, let’s think about what I can do on my own. For example, about that uneasy feeling from earlier.
Lying on the bed, he tried to decipher the feeling, but it seemed that he, too, was unexpectedly tired.
He tried to keep his heavy eyelids from closing numerous times, but before he knew it, the world around him turned black.