When the train arrived at Ichikura station, Rino-chan, carrying a backpack, got on.
It was still early and since today was a Saturday, the train was empty.
When she saw me sitting down, Rino-chan draws closer.
Yesterday, Rino-chan wore really casual clothing.
However, today she properly wore clothes appropriate for climbing a mountain.
She was wearing a plaid red shirt and navy blue shorts.
She also had brightly patterned leggings and thick socks.
Her shoes were also way thicker than sneakers.
She was carrying a largish black backpack and had a wide-brimmed beige hat on.
「Is Mt. Nomiya that tall of a mountain?」
Rino-chan, sitting next to me, looks over my way.
「Well, you’re wearing such an efficient climbing attire」
「Is that so? Usually I wear more…this is actually quite lax.」
「Do you like mountain climbing?」
After thinking a bit towards the question, Rino-chan replied.
「That’s right. Recently I haven’t done it at all but…what about you?」
「I think if you look at how I’m dressed you’ll know」
My attire was far away from a proper mountain climbing outfit.
I was wearing loose beige pants and a black T-shirt.
The shoes I am wearing are the ones I walk to school in.
I more or less had some rain gear and a light meal in my backpack.
Smiling, Rino-chan took out a thermos from her backpack.
And then, after drinking a mouthful, she let out a short sigh.
「Really, thank you, even though it was such a sudden request」
「I have already received plenty of thanks」
Rino-chan paid for the bill from the cafe yesterday.
It’s not like middle schoolers live an extravagant life. I disputed with her over and over but I lost.
And then, after that she bowed her head over and over and gave me words of thanks.
「No, it’s no good…please let me thank you properly this time」
「Well…if it makes you happy」
The train started to move.
From here it’ll be an hour and a half ride with two transfers to reach Nomiya Yamaguchi station.1
Since I haven’t trained my body, we’ll take the cable car and then walk from there.
I received that explanation from Rino-chan.
「Okutani-san…you know when you came to my house last time?」
When Rino-chan finishes her brief explanation, she changed the topic.
「At that time you came with someone…」
When I think about Mia, my chest had a stabbing pain.
Although I got the card from her, it’s not like our relationship has repaired to the point where we will see each other.
In order for the mood to not turn gloomy, I try and continue a cheerful conversation.
「You mean Kurusu Mia?」
「She’s the one who shook my brother, right?」
Rino-chan looks into my eyes.
Because of her perfectly clear pupils, I felt as though all the impurities I was holding have been cleansed.
Somehow, it seems I remembered something I forgot.
「It was like that before…he was shaken by a classmate…and then he went to the mountains」
「I-is that so…」
「It’s not like my brother is particularly unattractive…I think if he acts normally he could get a normal girlfriend」
I remember something about Ooki.
He was in the background and even his appearance was vague.
I think his bangs were definitely long and his eyes were hard to see.
He had this sort of air as if he was refusing to sense the feelings around them.
「But…his ideals are high. The one he always ends up liking is out of his league…it’s the same with Kurusu-san. Coming to like someone like that, I think it would be better if he knew his standing」
「I-is that so?…」
Somehow the way she talks about him hurts.
「Ah, your different. You are a wonderful person…I think you and Kurusu-san are good together」
Smiling a bit at my bewilderment, Rino-chan told me.
「After all, you two are dating, right?」
Because it was such a pure question, it was like a sharp knife.
Rino-chan unconsciously stabbed me in the heart with that knife.
「Me and Mia…aren’t really…in such a relationship」
「I guess so. I certainly…thought you matched really well…」
There is no way we match.
Mia and I live in overly different worlds.
「To the extent, Mia is out of my league…there’s no way we fit each other」
Listening to that, Rino-chan smiled.
It seems being able to go to Mt. Nomiya with me has somewhat lessened her worrying over her brother.
She put on quite a good smile that is befitting of a middle schooler.
「You have no self-awareness」
「You are quite attractive」
I was seriously surprised.
I unintentionally stare at Rino-chan’s face and end up wondering if she has some sort of objective.
「You’re looking too much, Okutani-san」
「You doubt me don’t you?」
「Well…I’ve never had anyone tell me that…」
It’s about time we reach the station we will transfer on.
After a bit of silence, Rino-chan said.
「Then, I’ll correct myself…you are very attractive to me」
We arrived at the station we needed to transfer on.
Rino-chan quickly got off the train.
Confused, I chase after her.
After transferring trains, the conversation ended up changing to a completely different topic.
Rino-chan amused herself with idle conversation as if forgetting what she had just said herself.
She has a good smile and is a surprising kid.
「Almost…we’re almost there」
After transferring once more, we reached the second station and arrived at the entrance to Mt. Nomiya.
When we get off onto the platform, Rino-chan did a big stretch.
The station wasn’t just the entrance of Mt. Nomiya in name.
The thick forest was spread before my eyes and the cries of cicadas echoed.
It was too close to the station. The mountain rose up like a wall.
The weather was clear. There wasn’t any sign of rain.
It’s a perfect day for mountain climbing.
「Wait for me, Onii-chan!」
After firing herself up a bit, Rino-chan started walking.
- Translates to Mt. Nomiya entrance station but I left it the way it is cuz its a name ↩