Please Tell Me How to Remember Love - Chapter 3 Part 5
T/N: Reina’s ability was Little Mermaid, not Maid, let’s just say that I was blind. I’ll make adjustments on the old chapters at a later date. Anyway, enjoy the chapter!
Chapter 3 Part 5
Ever since she was a child, Himuro Reina always laughed at herself, calling herself a mermaid stranded offshore.
She’d always find herself exhausted after merely running for 30 meters. Her meal portion was always unnaturally small and there were even days when she couldn’t eat due to nausea. There was always a part in her body that wasn’t in a good shape. She didn’t even know that it was possible for her body to not be hurting all over until that fateful day arrived.
“Poor child, she’s lucky that she’s blessed with good parents.”
“Well, Himuro-san’s family is related to the Takayamas, that’s why they can afford to call a doctor for her every single day. I can’t imagine how much it cost them for that.”
“If she was born in any other family, she’d die much quicker than this.”
Ever since she was a child, all Reina could hear were words filled with pity, jealousy and a sense of superiority.
A sickly girl who managed to live on because she was born in a rich family. That was Reina in the eyes of her surroundings.
That was why, before she learned how to speak, she first learned how to smile. She always had a gentle smile on her face. It wasn’t a smile from the heart, of course. Rather, she figured out that to avoid any conflicts with everyone around her, smiling amicably was the easiest way to do it.
And it worked. Every time Reina let out her gentle smile and said appropriate things at the appropriate time, most of the people around her wouldn’t utter a single word of complaint. They’d just treat a sickly person like her accordingly with the right amount of pity. Even though deep inside her heart, hatred soared through like a searing flame. The smile that she made was meant as a mockery, both for herself and other people around her.
That was the kind of smile the girl named Himuro Reina had.
At least, that was the case, until she met with a boy called Hiiragi Sojiro.
* * *
“Okay, let’s make a deal.”
Reina’s first impression of Sojiro was, she thought of him as a ‘persimmon thief.’ There was a large persimmon tree in the garden of her house. Her parents and servants were too busy to take care of the tree regularly, so a mischievous boy managed to sneak in and snatched a few ripe persimmons from that tree. And that boy was Sojiro.
Back then, they had just entered middle school. When Reina came back from the washroom while wearing her nightgown, he found Sojiro in the garden, picking up persimmons that fell off the tree.
“If you let me go, I’ll give you anything you want. As long as you don’t call your family here. I don’t want my dad to beat me to death!”
Reina watched Sojiro’s pathetic display with her usual gentle smile. However, unlike her usual smile, her smile this time didn’t hide any feelings of hatred.
Instead, she felt a sense of superiority. For the very first time in her life, she was in the position above others. With that feeling in her heart, she spoke out to Sojiro.
“Then, from today onwards, you’ll become my underling.”
Behind her gentle smile, lied her true character, a selfish and mean spirited girl.
From that moment onwards, the strange relationship between the two began.
Sojiro was good with his hands and he was physically strong. On top of that, he had a great sense of justice, though he was an idiot at his core. The reason why he broke into Reina’s garden to steal their persimmons was because he didn’t want to see the persimmons go to waste. To compensate for his idiocy, Reina, a calm girl who had a different view about the world, decided to assist him by giving him advice.
Their dynamics were akin to an armchair detective and his assistant.
Sojiro was a particularly active boy. Every time, he’d tell his experiences to Reina with excitement and every time, Reina would tell him to calm down and reluctantly listen to his stories. Despite feeling reluctant, Reina was still interested in his stories.
After all, he was the first person who treated Reina as his equal.
Someone who didn’t pity her as their relationship formed by mutual trust and interests toward each other. When they were together, they were able to laugh their hearts out.
Having met such a person for the first time, not to mention a member of the opposite s*x, it was an inevitability that Reina would fall for him.
She had already given up on living due to her body condition, but because of Sojiro’s presence, she started to think about going to high school together with him. And so, she started to pay more attention towards her health. She started to follow the doctor’s advice that she always brushed off. She started to fight to regain the life that she had almost given up.
That was how much Reina cherished her time with Sojiro.
“…It would be a miracle if you were to last for another year.”
She still fought on, even though the doctor had already diagnosed that she only had a few days to live.
* * *
The doctor’s words came true, Reina’s life came to an end. No matter how hard she tried to resist, in the end, she couldn’t overcome the limit that was bestowed to her from her birth. She ended up suffering, struggling and dying without anyone to care for her.
Or that was how it was supposed to be.
“I see, I see. You don’t want to die, huh? A simple wish, nonetheless, a not unusual wish for a living being. Very well, I’ll grant that wish for you.”
A miracle happened. Just when her life was about to end, Reina ended up summoning a witch. A real witch, a being who dealt with real magic, not some kind of phony from the streets.
“But, you need to be mindful of two things. First, the price that comes with it. You won’t age. Your body will stay youthful no matter how much time passes. It might not seem like a big deal right now, but one day, you’ll come to understand and regret everything.”
Like the Cheshire Cat, the witch laughed as she explained the situation to Reina. Strangely enough, as she spoke, the pain that had been ailing Reina’s body had subsided. It was as if the witch had casted a spell to shoo it away.
“Second, there’s a time limit. Please understand that you’re a being that isn’t supposed to live. Because of that, this world’s ‘common sense’ will deny your existence and will continue to erase your presence. You’ll be fine for a few years, but the longer you live, the more of your existence will be erased. Eventually, you’ll disappear without a trace from everyone’s memory. To prevent that, I set up a time limit for you.”
Reina couldn’t understand half of the witch’s explanation. To her, the most important thing was that her suffering was eased. Not to mention that there was hope that she could survive and live on longer.
“Do you understand? The time limit for your immortality will be the moment you resolve your unfulfilled desire. I don’t know how long you will be able to do that, but once you do, you’ll die— No, you’ll be able to die. Please keep my words in mind.”
‘I want to live, I don’t want to die. I want to wear beautiful clothes, I want to wear the sailor uniform. I want to go to school with Sojiro. I want to spend more time together with him.’
‘I don’t want to die without telling him about those feelings.’
Like a moth drawn to a source of light, Reina reached out her hands to the witch without hesitation.
“Now, after considering my words, what will you decide, Himuro Reina?”
With all the strength she could muster, she grabbed the witch’s hand and nodded her head over and over.
“Alright. The contract has been made. The name of the ability I’ve given you is ‘Little Mermaid.’ O Maiden in love, give form to your feelings before you turn into foam of bubbles.”
And thus, Reina turned into a completely different person.
Her hair and eye color changed, but no one was bothered by this, probably because of the effect of her ability. But, more importantly, Reina was impressed by the fact that for the first time in her life, she didn’t feel any pain in her body. She finally could live a healthy life like a normal person.
She didn’t get exhausted even after she ran for 100 meters. She didn’t need to take her medicine after her meals. Ever since they first met, she could only wait for Sojiro to come to her side, but after she gained her ability, she didn’t need to do that anymore as she could just approach him. They were able to go to school together. She even could wear a sailor uniform and went to school together with him.
Reina managed to accomplish everything she wanted to do before she died.
Everything, except for one thing.
* * *
“Homemade ice cream? What’s the occasion? It’s unusual that you’re making something this fancy.”
It was a trivial conversation on a sunny day. The pair were eating ice cream together on the porch of Reina’s house.
“Don’t you like sweets? That’s why I put in a little effort to celebrate your recovery! I even went out of my way to beg that naggy girl from the cooking club to teach me how to make it.”
“That’s surprising. I thought you two didn’t get along with each other.”
Reina remembered how happy she was back then when Sojiro showed his concern to her. The normally blunt and caring boy seemed cooler than usual that day.
“We didn’t! She’s always nagging me about everything! If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t even think about begging her for this!”
But, at this point, Reina sensed something. Despite complaining, Sojiro was talking happily about a certain girl that they knew. Seeing this, she understood.
Her one unfulfilled desire, her love, would never come true.
She wished so badly that she had just misunderstood, but in the end, Sojiro ended up together with the girl he had complained so much about.
Reina thought about confessing to him at least, but she decided not to. As she didn’t want to confess just so she could clear her regrets. And, if she were to confess to him, she’d end up hurting him more than anything.
And that was the reason why she was still alive. Unable to hurt the person that she loved, unable to die a beautiful death in her youth, the undying maiden was still holding on to her unfulfilled desire.
Even long after the time when the dazzling boy was eaten by the passage of time, she was still around, unable to die.