20-Remembrance of Linn

'Phew ......'

 For Nana's sake, I had to go from the fifth city back to the beginning, and then back to the fifth city again.
 If I were asked to do this shuttle-run-like march in real life, I would never be able to do it, but in the game, as long as I have SP, I can do it.

 I managed to make it back to the 5th town using all the broadcasting time I had started at noon, and logged out of the game.
 It was already around eight o'clock at night.
 The closer I got to the front lines, the tougher the fish became, and it took me an inordinate amount of time to move around.

 However, I was able to raise my level thanks to the monsters on the way, so it wasn't completely pointless.

'I'm hungry: ......'

 I haven't eaten anything for quite a while, and my stomach is telling me that it's hungry.
 Even though there must be some beef stew left over from the morning, there was no smell of anything else being cooked.
 My guess was that Nana had finished the broadcast before me and was cooking some hamburgers.

'Nana~, log out already .......'

 I have a couch in my living room that, frankly, I don't use much.
 It's not my hobby, it was a gift from my brother,......, but Nana was leaning her body against it as she slept.
 It's a big sofa, but for some reason it's incredibly adorable to see her curled up like a cat.

'You're sleeping ......, aren't you?

 The regular movement of her chest tells me that at least she is not dead.
 Nana breathes noiselessly, so you can't tell unless you look at her. Maybe she's a ninja or something, really.

 I wonder how long it's been since I've seen Nana take a nap.
 She used to sleep a lot before her parents died. On the other hand, I don't think I've seen her since then.

 I sit next to Nana, who sleeps curled up in a ball, but she doesn't seem to wake up.
 I gently run my fingers through her short hair, which is cut short because it interferes with her exercise.
 Her hair feels as smooth as silk. She used to have long, straight hair.

'Rin, is that ......?

 Suddenly, Nana let out a tiny voice.
 She didn't open her eyes. She made a small sniffing sound, so I guess she judged it by the smell and it leaked out as if she was talking in her sleep.

'Ehe, hehe.

 Perhaps she noticed that I was next to her, Nana let out a happy sound and put her head on my lap.
 This is the so-called knee-pillow position. Her body, which had been curled up in a small ball, was lying sluggishly on the sofa, sleeping with a happy look on her face.


 When I stroke her cheek, she rubs her body against mine as if to ask for more.
 It tickles me to see her squirming around, but it's nothing compared to the charm of this cute little creature on my lap.

 She really doesn't hide her happy expression, even though she's asleep.
 I'm the only one who can see Nana in such a defenseless state.

 Although she is defenseless by nature, I once saw my brother being strangled in his sleep when he tried to wake up Nana.
 She is fully capable of defending herself even when she is unconscious. And it doesn't work in front of me.

 That's just the trust I've built up in you. It was proof of Nana's approval.
 Just thinking about it made me feel happy, and I just loved the fact that my best friend was sleeping peacefully.


 Nana and I met when we were three years old.
 We met when we were three years old. Nana's parents, who said they had eloped, asked my parents, who were friends, for help, and we were brought together as their children.

 It's hard to imagine now, but Nana was originally a very quiet and expressionless child, like a doll without a trace of emotion.
 I took care of her because she asked me to, but basically she just sat behind me playing video games and watched me blankly.
 Anyway, she was a very absent-minded child, so I took her around for everything.

 We were together every day, and after a month, Nana started to follow me without saying a word.
 Just a step behind me. She still had the same expressionless face, but I remember thinking that it didn't mean she didn't like me.

 It was about a year after we met that things changed.
 By that time, Nana had grown up enough to respond to me with words, and I thought of her as my henchwoman.
 It was then that we suddenly decided to play a game together.

 It was a now defunct, but popular competitive gaming game at the time.
 I was so good that I could kick my brother's ass, and I wanted Nana to understand how great I was, so I played against Nana, who was a beginner, with such childish feelings.

 I was defeated by Nana in a daze.

 I was completely and utterly defeated. I couldn't take even a single damage.
 Because I was careless, I fought again and was beaten by a more sophisticated Nana.
 No matter how many times I tried, I couldn't win and I cried like a child.

 Even though I was able to respond to her a little, she was still very bad at capturing the subtleties of emotion.
 She would hug me, pat me on the head, and somehow try to comfort me when I couldn't stop crying.
 Still, I didn't like her, so I slapped her cheek and ran away.

 Nana was standing there, holding her cheek expressionlessly.
 She didn't know how to accept the anger I showed her for the first time.

 After the next day, Nana showed up as usual and did not seem to be bothered by anything.
 However, Nana, who used to keep quiet unless I talked to her, started to open up to me.
 That was a small but significant change.
 I think so now.

 Other than that, Nana's attitude didn't change too much, and I felt awkward with her, but eventually I broke down and the fight ...... or tantrum was over.
 That was it. That's when we really became friends.

 Then the accident happened.

 It happened when we went to the park together.
 We were playing in the sandbox when we were suddenly attacked.

 The attacker was a dog. It was a pit bull owned by a rich man who was also visiting the park.

 Maybe he wanted to play. Or was there something that excited him?

 As a young child, I was so frightened of the dog that suddenly lunged and barked at me that I threw a mud ball at it.

 As a result, it angered the pit bull.
 A ferocious breed of dog that could kill even an adult attacked a four-year-old child.
 I was really scared. I think I was crying.
 The pit bull jumped at me, and when I closed my eyes I heard a crunching sound.

 It didn't hurt. No shock. Just a warm liquid on my body.
 I wondered why, but Nana was right in front of me.
 My friend with the bite on her shoulder, bleeding.
 Are you okay? What a worried look on her face.

 After making sure I was okay, Nana slammed a shovel into the bitten dog's eyeball and forcibly pulled it off.
 She then struck the dog's fainting head with the shovel as hard as she could.
 Again, again, again, again.
 Over and over until the head changed shape and stopped moving.
 When she saw that it had completely stopped moving, Nana also fell down.
 With more strength than a four-year-old girl could muster, Nana beat the pit bull to death.

 I didn't really care that Nana had killed the dog, and I cried for her as she collapsed in a pool of blood.
 An adult who heard the commotion called the hospital.
 Nana barely survived, but I later learned that she was dying of shock from the blood loss.

 When she woke up, she called my name as her first words.
 I rushed to her and found her there as usual.
 I apologized, apologized, and cried again because I was so happy.
 Nana stroked my head.

 I don't know what happened next because my father took care of everything.
 I heard that the dog's owner was very angry, but the owner was also responsible for leaving the dog unattended without a proper leash.

 But the fact that Nana had beaten the dog to death spread quickly throughout the area.
 He was called a monster. They called him a bastard. Not directly, but behind her back, Nana was treated as a pariah.
 I don't know if Nana was aware of it, but I think even her own parents were frightened of her abnormality.

 But no matter what people said, Nana was my friend, my childhood friend, my hero who saved me.

 So I made a vow.
 No matter what happens, I'll always be on Nana's side.
 It's one of the few things I can do.
 Because it's the only thing I can do for the friend I love.


'......-chan, Rin-chan?

'...... Nana?'

 The shaking of my shoulders awakened my consciousness.
 It seemed that I had also fallen asleep while holding her on my lap. With my consciousness still in a slumber, I hugged Nana.

'What's wrong?

'I had a little dream about when we were little, you know. I had a little dream.

'I see. Let's go to ...... bed for today.'

'...... Yeah.'

 I wobble a little, and Nana supports me from the side.

'Hey, Nana.'


'...... Did you have fun today?'

'I had fun today, too.'

'Okay, good.'

 I reach the bed and get under the covers.
 I dragged Nana in as well, and she looked surprised for a moment, then came in without resistance.

'Nana, good night.

'Yes. Good night.