On the way here, I learned quite a bit about Rino-chan.
She is a second year middle schooler. She played the flute in her wind band.
She likes studying but no matter what she does she’s just not good at history.
She was really good at long distance running, but that doesn’t mean she likes it.
「Somehow, don’t you get tired of running on a flat street?」
She said such a thing.
It seems she can’t come to like her childish classmates.
She ended up going out once with a guy who confessed to her but she quickly ended it.
Since her family was fairly independent, it seems her brother and her have to do all the housework.
However, it ended up turning into complaints, but she didn’t show any worry about it always wearing a smile on her face.
Right now, Rino-chan and I are riding the cable car.
There was a middle-age man with a camera hanging from his neck as well as a pair of women with us.
We gradually go up the ropeway, heading away from the station.
「After we get off the cable car, we will need to walk right?」
Rino-chan nodded her head towards my question while looking at the scenery outside.
「How long will it take?」
「Ah, it won’t take that long. It’ll take about 30 minutes on foot」
「Is that so?」
「It’s just, since it’s quite a rugged place, please be careful」
We arrived at the end of the ropeway.
When I get outside, I was surprised at the change in the air.
It’s tranquil. I don’t know if those words are good enough or not.
However, the air changed as if it froze over.
I’m probably mistaking it with the change in temperature.
「It feels good, huh」
Rino-chan stretches out her hands while throwing out her largish chest.
It seems as if the closer we get to her brother, the better Rino-chan’s mood becomes.
「What’ll you do if your brother says he isn’t going home?」
「That won’t happen. If I come up and ask him, he’ll come down quickly」
「Well…it’s not a topic I’m particularly proud of but…」
Lowering the hands she stretched out, Rino-chan let out a bitter smile.
「The reason Onii-chan goes to practice is to make me worry」
The middle-aged man and the two women already left for the hiking course.
The cable car already headed back down.
「Our parents barely even interfere with us kids. After I became able to handle the house, they no longer did anything for us.」
Rino-chan starts walking.
It seems she’s heading down a road different from the hiking course.
It had more or less become a path but it didn’t get any service.
「I was emotionally independent but my brother wasn’t…rather it feels as if he’s become spoiled」
The temperature is high, but there was no humidity.
Each time the gentle breeze blew, it was easy to pass the time.
I had a strangely big feeling looking at the back of this middle school girl pushing her way through the forest.
「Somehow, if my brother didn’t get any attention from our mom, I feel as though he would try to get it from me. That’s why he wants me to worry…ah, turn here」
I could see two trails.
There was an old signboard nailed in the middle.
『Mountain Priest Gathering→』
Since they were training, I definitely thought there would be a temple or something.
However, it seems like I was wrong.
「I don’t want to try marrying a person like my brother. I think someone who can fully take care of themselves is better」
Am I really self-reliant?
I don’t have that feeling.
Turning around, Rino-chan said.
「It’ll get a little steep from here…」
Actually, there were a lot of rock walls. Even if we were to climb them it would be troublesome.
It seems Rino-chan was used to it. She steadily climbed up without stopping.
「Should we take a little break?」
Noticing my hastened breath, Rino-chan proposed a break.
When I nodded silently, Rino-chan found a flat place and sat down.
Taking off her backpack, she took out a box from inside.
「I made some sandwiches, how about it?」
「Ah, yeah…I’ll take some」
I sit next to Rino-chan.
In that instant, I received a shock.
I don’t know if I had turned around until now but the scenery was beautiful.
It seems he have come up quite a ways. All the houses I could see far away looked like specks.
The wind had also got a little stronger, and the sharp air felt like it was digging into my cheeks.
The hair I put off getting cut was disheveled. When I don’t blink for a bit my eyes are immediately dried.
「I feel like I can understand why Ooki would come here…」
While handing a sandwich to me, Rino-chan inclined her head to the side.
Looking at the scenery, I said what I thought just like that.
「I want to try resetting once…」
When I take the sandwich, I sucked in the air through my nose.
「Just forget everything, just once…If I do that, I’ll really be able to see what I want to do」
「Is that what you mean?」
Rino-chan asks seeming as if she doesn’t understand.
I smiled while looking into Rino-chan’s eyes motionlessly.
「Ooki certainly may want you to worry. If it was me and I had such an amazing little sister, I would want her to worry about me」
「But, I think…that’s not the only reason…somehow, I wanted to try throwing out things that make me gloomy. And then, I think I want to stare at things that are really important」
Taking a bite out of my sandwich, I rubbed Rino-chan’s head.
It’s not like I forgot.
However, on occasion, it’s important to keep my distance.
My narrow view got wider, and I reconsider what I want.
If you distance yourself from worldly desires you really can come to know more about yourself.
Walking a bit more, we were able to reach the『Mountain Priest Gathering』.
There was a clearing made out around a hut stationed near a tree.
Rino-chan was waiting a little bit away.
I could immediately spot Ooki.
He was airing his laundry out just next to the shed.
Surprisingly, Ooki had the hairstyle of a monk.
His face was similar to Rino-chan’s albeit a bit more stern.
He was wearing something like a white kasaya but I couldn’t feel a spiritual air from him.1
「It’s about time to head home」
「You’re probably right…」
The quiet air didn’t change.
However, as I thought, he probably fell prey to some kind of hindrance.
And then, he knew someone would eventually come to get him.
「Did Rino come as well?」
「We came together…She’s waiting over there」
When he nods his head as if giving up, he stared at me.
「Thank you. Well then, I will head down the mountain tomorrow」
There wasn’t a need to say anymore.
Ooki will head down the mountain without fail. There wasn’t a need to worry.
And I will also head down the mountain. I won’t get a monk haircut but I think I should try to get a haircut.
「He said he’ll head home tomorrow…」
When I get back to the place Rino-chan was waiting, I informed her.
She nodded seeming relieved.
「Is that so?…That’s relieving」
「Eh? The one who should be saying thanks is me」
Rino-chan smiled seeming a bit troubled.
- Kasaya is monk robes. ↩