Mikel of the Aphid People.
He is the older brother of Mokoka, whom I once met in a sycamore field in District 29.
If he has a sister in the 29th ward, then Mikel must be from the 29th ward.
It seems to be true that the wounded beastmen of each ward are gathered in this church.
'What do you want to talk to me about?I'll listen to you.
...... It's definitely Mokoka's brother. The way he speaks is just like him.
I'm sure he's got the same tone of voice.
I guess education is all about environment.
Yashiro. Let's find out what's going on.
Estella whispers to him.
If Rebekah's lover is in this church, we think that Mikel here might be the one.
We still don't know what we should do after we find out who it is. I don't know, but if we don't find out first, we can't start talking.
If that's the case, then Estella's right, we should probe her. ............ But how do we attack her? ......
I'm not sure what to say.
'No, not really. It's a girl.
'She's my sister, so I know she's a woman.It's the love one.
'Are you sick, too?
I wonder if he is a severe siscon who looks at his sister with love eyes. ......
'Mikel-san is a kind brother who really cares about his family and dotes on his sister to the point where it's weird to look at him from the outside.
'You're spitting venom, that sister.
'I'm sure Sophie has no ill intentions.
It's an objective fact that it's disgusting.
Either way, it's the end of the line.
'Mokoka is a kind-hearted sister who sends money to me every month out of the little money she makes. She's too good to me.
I believe Mokoka told me that she was working part-time as a pest exterminator while growing sycamores.
You will find a lot of things that you can do to make your life easier.
If Lucia hears about it, she'll take him in immediately!We'll take care of you! I'm not sure what to make of it. ...... For the sake of Mokoka's safety, let's keep this to ourselves.
...... Didn't Sophie just say, 'I've been working day in and day out until I've reached my limit to send money back to my sister back home?
'Aren't you the one who's sending money?
'I intend to be!......, but I'm always getting money. ............'
Try harder, bro!
...... Well, you can't be too hard on yourself when you're so dizzy.
I'm not sure how much money you can make working in the fields of the church.
'You're a good sister, aren't you?
'Yes, she is!You'd be crazy not to fall in love with such a cute, charming, big brother girl, kind, and hard-working Mokoka!
'No, your affection is too much, though.
'Mokoka, laaaaaaaaaaaaaab!...... Gof!
'Did you vomit blood?
It's ........., man.'
He was so excited that he coughed up blood and fell to the ground.
Sophie rushed to help him, but ...... she didn't feel like helping him at all.
Sophie called out in a panic as she headed towards the church.
Then, 'Yes, yes, what's going on? And then a frail old woman appeared.
'Oh, dear. Mikel, did you get too excited about your sister again?You're really ...... young.''
It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out of your vacation. ...... You're taking it easy, man.
I'm not sure what to say.I'm not sure.
'It's ...... fine, it's ...... fine.'
'Then you're fine. Why don't you go to your room and get some rest?'
'It's ...... mindful, mindful, mindful.'
'Come on, come on, guys. Take your brother Mikel to his room.
'''' Yes! ''''
The kids, who were happily playing hide and seek, responded cheerfully to the old sister's words, and they all carried the fallen Mikel up.
'I'm always sorry,......, kids,......'
''''It's okay, don't worry about it! ''''
With Mikel on their shoulders, the kids walked briskly into the church. ...... It's like ants carrying a cicada carcass. ......
'Rest in peace, ......'.
'He's not dead, Yashiro.'
'............ Rest in peace.'
'Don't force me to sleep peacefully.'
Estella kicked away my gentle reminder to let him rest in peace.
Then she leaned in close and whispered in my ear.
'Do you think that's the person Rebeka-san thought of?
'If that's the case, then Rebeka's love life is at a standstill, and she's already broken, so Fillman has one more chance. ...... Well, I don't think that's the case.'
'I guess so. ....... I wonder how many other candidates are out there.
I've heard that there are still some people who work here. ...... Let's just keep trying. It's a pain in the ass.
The old sister who just came out of the church loosened her mouth when she saw us talking in secret.
'Sophie. Who are those people over there?
'Oh, I'm sorry, Barbara-san. I was late in explaining.'
Sophie looks flustered and holds out the letter from Bertina.
The old sister takes it, takes out a large loupe from her pocket and begins to read it silently.
'Well, well, Sister Bertina's ......'.
The old sister takes off the loupe and stares at us intently.
I wonder if an introduction from Bertina is that rare. She is looking at us as if she were looking at a rare animal.
'Is Sister Bertina well?
'Yes. She watches over us with a smile every day.'
'Yes. That's just like her.
That one: ......
'What, does this old lady look up to Bertina too?
'Let me ask you something, Sister Barbara.'
'It's Sister Barbara, Yashiro.'
'Oops, excuse me. Sister Babarra.'
No, that's because humans get 80% of their information from sight. ......
'Mmm-hmm. You're an interesting person, just like you said in your letter. You must be Obayashi.
...... What did you write, Bertina?
'By the way, I've been asked not to share this letter with you, so I can't show it to you.
The old lady smiles. ...... You've beaten me to it.
'So, what is it that you want to ask me?
'Well, I was wondering if ...... Sister Barbara is younger than Bertina?
'Yes, she is. She was very good to me when I was little.'
Seriously?That's amazing, Bertina.
Isn't she immortal?
'She was very strict, but more than that, she was kind. ......'
'She's still the same.
'Mm-hmm. Isn't that right?'
Barbara and Estella smile at each other.
But you know, Estella.
I've heard that Bertina acquired her current appetite when Ginette was a little older.
...... She's changed, Bertina.
If you show the old lady that you eat a lot of food, she's going to freak out.
'There was a time when I used to be a customer of the 42nd district.
'Is that so?'
'Yes. We were poor, but we had good days.
The mention of the 42nd district came up unexpectedly, and Estella leaned forward with interest.
Perhaps Zelmar's grandfather or Mumm's grandmother might know about it.
'I don't know any sisters as worthy of being called saints as Sister Bertina.
That's a rave review.
It seems that Bertina is looked upon favorably by other sisters as well. You can call it respect, but it's not a bad level.
'Such a great person has stayed in the 42nd district for so long. I should be grateful.
Bertina has always been there for me, as a matter of course.
Seemingly reaffirming her gratitude, Estella is smiling happily. It's about forty percent more than usual.
But hearing Estella's words, this time Sophie opened her mouth.
'That's not true, Miss Claremona.
With a somewhat more serious look in her eyes, Sophie began to speak quietly, in a tone as if she were telling us.
'Bertina-san is not staying in District 42 as a favor. She's the one who needs to be there.
Estella gasps at the sudden denial.
He's looking at me, but how would I know? I keep quiet and wait for him to continue.
'Ms. Bertina is the only sister who has been chosen by the God of Spirits.
'Chosen by ...... the God of Spirits?'
Estella's expression grew puzzled.
Bertina, the elf, the beauty, the agelessness, the stomach of steel.
She must be a very special person indeed.
To begin with, I've never seen an elf other than Bertina.
But it must be a racial thing.
Just as the beastmen have powers beyond human understanding.
What does it mean to be chosen by a spirit god?
'Only that person is able to hear the Spirit God's message.
I remembered a story Ginette had told me a long time ago.
Sometimes Bertina would hear a sign in her dreams and head for the swamp.
And when she did, she would always find a new family.
This may mean that when a child is abandoned in the swamp, some kind of message is sent out from the spirit gods, and only Bertina can receive it.
I wonder if it is .......
When I heard Ginette's story, I interpreted it as a special ability given to Bertina to protect the life of an abandoned child. ...... Now I kind of think that the spirit gods are trying to protect the swamp.
Different narrators give different impressions of the same story.
'Ms. Bertina's presence in that place prevents the frogs from overflowing into the city. In other words, she's protecting this city ...... all by herself.'
It seems the narrator had a different interpretation of the story than I did.
The frogs were abandoned by the spirit gods.
That's why they're isolated and locked away from the world of humans who receive the spirit god's blessings.
The only one who can hear the spirit god's message is Sister Bertina, who monitors it.
I don't know what to think.
I don't think that's the case considering Bertina's personality.
It's not 'surveillance' that suits Bertina, but 'protection'.
'Sisters have a role to reach out to those who only they can save, in a place suitable for them. Just as I am here.'
Sophie says with a kind of pride, placing her hand on her chest.
She shows such a strong will that she is here to save the wounded beastmen.
She seems to want to say that she is here to save the wounded beastmen, just like Bertina.
The old sister Barbara, smiling and relaxed, let out a word.
She looked at Sophie, not blaming her, not admonishing her, just telling her one fact.
'What you think and where you stay is up to you. I can't deny that. But you can't see through other people's intentions.'
Only Bertina herself can know what she is thinking and what keeps her there. ......
But you can imagine it.
'I don't see Sister Bertina as being bound by a sense of duty.
Barbara laughs, her face twisted into a sneer.
The wrinkles on her face have deepened, making her words more convincing.
It would be impossible to argue with a face like this.
Hearing Barbara's words, Sophie's bunny ears droop faintly.
Estella quietly calls out to Sophie.
'Bertina-san is indeed a wonderful Sister. But more than that, she is a wonderful woman, a wonderful mother, and a wonderful - our friend.
'Miss Bertina was talking about you with a very happy face.
'Yes, that's it.'
'So ............ is it?'
Sophie's expression relaxed.
She's smiling with real happiness. Biting down on happiness. Such an expression.
'So, Sister Sophie, once again, please think of Bertina-san not only as a "Sister", but also as a "dear friend".
'A friend ...... of Miss Bertina?'
'Yes, sir. If you do that, you will see a different side of Ms. Bertina. She's not a one-dimensional person, she's much more attractive and interesting.'
Sophie's mouth drops open.
She looks as if she could almost see the scales falling from her eyes.
Barbara pats Sophie on the back.
Then she speaks to her in a soft voice, as she would to a young child.
'You need to look at something more important than just your sense of mission. If you do that, you may see the colorful world as Sister Bertina sees it.
'The ...... colorful world that Sister Bertina sees: ............'
It has to be this way.
It should be like this. --and if you're a sister with such a sense of mission, the world will look quite monotonous in color.
Bertina is enjoying herself more than anything else in raising the children of the church. She believes that by doing so, the children who see her will be able to truly enjoy life.
It's also where Bertina's gluttony began.
At first, Sophie refused to talk to us without question, before confirming our business and identity.
She didn't want the humans to meet the wounded beastman children.
Because he sincerely believes that doing so will protect the children here.
It may still be a little difficult for Sophie, who values rules and regulations, but ......
There is also the Bertina way.
I think it's better to have such a flexible way of thinking, so that the children's possibilities will expand.
You see. In fact, I've become annoyingly attached to them.
'So, you don't have to be obsessed with ...... your sister or your family's ......'.
'Ah!I think someone's here!I'll go have a look!
Shouting loudly to interrupt Barbara's words, Sophie ran towards the gate.
She didn't even look aside, and didn't even see our reaction.
It was as if she was running away.
'...... I wish she could be a little more relaxed like Sister Bertina.'
Barbara muttered, not sighing, but still looking a little sad.
Sophie seems to be avoiding Rebekah.
She seems to be avoiding seeing her, as she felt at the gate.
'By sister, you mean Rebeka-san, right? The koji maker.
'Yes. That's right.'
'Why does Sophie-san avoid meeting Rebeka-san?They're sisters.
There must be a reason.
But it's not for us to ask.
And will this Sister tell us?
Estella looks at Barbara with a serious expression.
Barbara smiles and closes her mouth for a moment - she doesn't say anything.
It's not like she's just curious. You have to offer something worth talking about.
'It's that ear, isn't it?
I said, and his narrowed eyes opened slightly.
I was only guessing, but it looks like I was right.
The beastmen here are all deeply wounded.
Sophie was trying to protect them. And she was doing it with a lot of guts.
She wouldn't even show them to anyone unless she judged them to be truly trustworthy. That attitude.
He wondered if this was perhaps a reflection of his own feelings about his injury.
"I don't want people to see my ears like this.
That's a strong feeling you have for someone in particular.
I knew it was for a specific person because he had shown up in front of us after he saw Bertina's letter.
If she didn't want anyone to see her, she could have left it to Barbara.
I could have left it to Barbara to handle it all and hidden myself. But she didn't do that.
From this point of view, we can see that Sophie doesn't want anyone to see her broken ear.
So who is this particular person? ............ Needless to say, it's Rebeka.
Or your own family, relatives, or clan, including Rebekah: ......
'You can't call yourself a Whitehead with a broken ear - isn't that what you're thinking?'
'I'm surprised ...... you're right.'
Barbara's mouth opened in silence.
Her voice sounded slightly pleased.
'Of all the rabbit people, the Whitehead clan has exceptionally good hearing. And the Whitehead clan grows koji with their ears.
Both Rebekah and Bertha referred to making koji as 'growing'.
Whitehead's ears are indispensable for this.
He has a super-hearing ability,......, which is outstanding among the rabbit people.
'She injured her ears in an accident when she was very young and her hearing is now very bad,......,' he said.
'Does that mean that those with poor hearing can't be Koji makers...... and so they left home?'
'Well, I don't know. ...... Only he can tell the truth.
Sophie's path to becoming a koji maker was cut off and she could not become the successor.
That's why she left home. ...... She said she wasn't interested in a family she couldn't inherit. ............ No, that's not it.
The lonely look in her eyes when she talked about Rebeca really shows the opposite emotion.
He doesn't want to see her because she's worried about him.
'That injury, was it caused by Rebeka?
'Not directly, but ......'.
Barbara kept her eyes down.
She completely blocks out the view around her, making us disappear from her sight.
It's as if she's trying to show that she's talking to herself.
'Rebekah Whitehead was a girl who was called a genius once in a hundred years. Soon after she was born, she recognized the 'sound' of koji and called it 'voice'. She was the only one who could distinguish the "voice" of koji, which even the generations before her and the generations before her could not hear. Her genius was apparent from the time she was barely able to speak.
I wonder how Sophie, who was born before her, must have felt when such a genius was born.
A genius that surpassed her predecessors and predecessors before her.
As far as Rebekah is concerned, Sophie probably doesn't have any older siblings.
And considering Sophie's age, Sophie must have been expected to be the successor in the years before Rebeka was born.
Sophie must have been desperate to ...... be overtaken by her younger sister, who was born with the talent to be the successor.
In desperation, she went to ...... and pushed herself too hard.
'You repeatedly tried to listen to Koji's voice, and Sophie had an accident.
'That's what I heard. She fell into a koji barrel and broke her ear, ruining a large amount of koji that was being grown at .......'
He ruined the product he was growing.
I injured my ear, which is necessary for a craftsman.
Which of the two hurt Sophie's heart more deeply?
'Soon after, Sophie came to the church and began to pursue the path of a sister. ...... She was nine years old.
Then, a few years later, Rebekah inherited the koji maker.
'Rebeka-san...... must have missed you.'
'Yes, I did. I heard that even though she was very young, she was crying when she found out that Sophie was leaving.
'How old is Sophie this year?
That means Rebekah was three years old when Sophie left the house.
Maybe she wanted her sister to admire her talent, which was praised as great by adults. She's not old enough to understand how that could drive her sister away.
It must have been a bolt from the blue for Rebekah at the time.
'When you grow up,' Sophie said to her sister, who was crying so hard. 'We will meet again when you grow up,' she said.
Grow up: ......
'Hey, Yashiro. Maybe that's why Rebeka-san is ......'
'Ah. I guess she's calling herself an 'adult'. I wanted to see my sister as soon as possible. But ...... Sophie is stubbornly refusing to see her sister.'
I look at her and Barbara slowly nods her head.
'Yes, she is. She's afraid to see her sister because she thinks she's ...... run away.'
She's been rising to prominence and is now considered the best of all time.
On the other hand, my own efforts were in vain and I was irreparably injured,......, and I ran to the church. --What are you thinking about?
'So, Rebekah's loved ones are ......'.
'It's definitely Sophie.
'It wasn't a man, was it?
'Looks like it.'
That's a relief. It's .......
I'm sure you can do something about this problem. ........................ Mental stability will affect the quality of the koji. If you don't make the best bean paste, it might affect the sales of the sunny side up. Yeah.
--And in the distance, the sound of metal clanging could be heard.
'Huh?...... Yashiro, what was that?
'Ah. It's probably the door knocker from the gate.
Earlier, Sophie had said, 'Someone's coming,' and had run to the gate.
I thought it was simply a way to smoke out Barbara's story. ............ On second thought, even if you knew each other well, would you tell such a blatant lie?I'm not sure what to make of that.
I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear that.
This means that ......
'Someone really was here, wasn't he?
'I noticed it long before I reached the gate ...... and probably 'heard' it, the footsteps coming towards the church.'
Estella and I looked at Barbara's face.
Barbara neither denied nor affirmed, she just smiled.
'It's quite a distance from here to the gate, isn't it?
In addition, considering the time between Sophie leaving here and the door knocker being rung, ...... Sophie heard the footsteps long before she reached the church.
Even if we take into account the time she spent being overwhelmed by the church's imposing iron gates, and the time she spent lightly consulting and preparing herself before the door knocker was rung, she would have heard footsteps quite far away.
'It's a straight road to this church after you turn off the main street. No one walks that way but the people who come here. That's how I know.'
No, you wouldn't, normally.
It's true, when I came to the church from the main road, I took a straight road.
A straight road flanked by walls on both sides.
I walked about 30 meters on a reasonably wide straight road.
--Hearing those footsteps, it's more than just having good hearing.
'So, Sophie, you're saying that your hearing is getting worse?
'Well, yes. It's said that the Whitehead clan's hearing is such that they can hear conversations inside the koji factory without having to listen carefully.
'In that vast koji factory?
Although the territory of the 24th district is small, they have reduced the area of fields as much as possible to give the koji factory a vast site. It's like a little theme park, that site area.
The most important thing to remember is that the ...... room where koji is made is called a "muro", right?I've heard that once you're inside, you can't hear a thing around you.
In order to listen to the voice of koji, the inside of the room is completely soundproofed.
When you are in the room, you cannot hear the sounds around you. No matter how much noise we make around the factory - for example, the noisy exchange we had with Filman when we first met him - we can't hear him when he's in the room. That's it.
So what about when she's out of the room?
'Rebeka, with her superior hearing among Whiteheads...'
'--I think I might even be able to hear the sounds outside the koji factory.'
'Ah. Even if it's just a small murmur that you might miss .......'
Estella and I look at each other.
Her eyes are full of power and she has the cheerful expression of someone who is sure of victory.
I'm sure I have that look on my face, too.
We had two misunderstandings.
The first was that the man in the church was Rebekah's lover.
The other was that the whisper that Rebekah said tickled her ear was a whisper in her ear.
You can't hear a whisper unless it's in your ear, normally.
But that's not the case with Rebekah.
Estella and I nodded to each other with absolute certainty.
'Rebeka's lover is the filmmaker.
There is no other man who can look at Rebeka and mutter 'cute' and 'I like you' in a quiet voice that no one can hear, other than that first love of his, the sullied Philman.
If you are a normal man, you would either talk to him quickly or otherwise keep it to yourself without saying it out loud.
You want to be known, but you don't want to be known.
The only person with such a troublesome problem is Philman!
'Come to think of it, when you met Rebeka, you didn't say a word, did you, Mr. Filman?
'Oh, no. He was too nervous to write.'
'And on top of that, Ms. Riveka is in her room at work.
'The conversation we had in that corner before the second visit, between us and Mr. Filman, was not overheard.
Filmmann's voice didn't reach Rebecca because she missed the timing by a long shot.
If she had been able to hear Philman's voice, she would have seen a change in Rebeka's expression. ...... d*mn, that was frustrating!
I'm not sure what to say. I think we can handle the Filman.'
'Yes, we can. But ......'
Estella didn't clench her fists, even though victory was in sight.
Instead, she turned her gloomy gaze towards the gate.
'I want to save ...... you, both of you.'
Hmm. It's not something we do--and I'd like to dismiss it outright. ............
I'm not sure what to do, but I'm sure it's a good idea.
...... You black-hearted lord.
I'm not sure. If it's a lord's order, I can't help it.
'Ahhhh. If only all of them had been honest, they wouldn't have gotten into this kind of trouble.
If you put this story together, it's all about misunderstandings, miscommunications, and miscommunication.
Donis's worries, Filman's crushes, Rebekah's loneliness, Sophie's stubbornness.
'I want to ask' - I can't.
'I want to say' - I can't say.
'I want to know' 'I want you to know' ...... but I'm afraid.
If you have a drink and make a fool of yourself, such a trivial misunderstanding will soon be resolved.
Liquor...... liquor or ............
'All right!Let's have a big party!
'You want to have a heart-to-heart talk over drinks?But I've heard that Mr. Donati is not a drinker, and Ms. Rebeca and Mr. Filman are still children - children even more powerful than the other children. ...... I don't think alcohol is possible.
Haha, you spit venom so easily, Estella.
Well, I'm not denying it.
'I'm fine. Drinking isn't the only thing at a party.
The theory behind such a complicated matter is to break it down gradually, starting from the corner that is easy to break down.
'If we prepare a lot of delicious food, we can pull him in.
'Ah!It's very effective against Sophie!
Okay. Then let's get the guys from District 42 involved and fish out District 24 in a big way!