The Missing Score – VI

This was getting out of hand.

I was starting to wonder when I would ever be able to eat dinner.

Following the kerfuffle, the room key at the front desk was handed over in the company of a bulky bundle of faxed papers.

We returned to the room, she laid them out on the table, and right at that moment took her perfectly-postured seat and would not be moved from it.

She spent the next two hours reading.

It was a bundle of sheet music.

Kitahara-senpai had sent it from Vienna.

It was just like the image Setsuna-san had sent—threadbare scores, written in a shaky hand.

Some sections were densely filled, while others had only the harmony and part of the melody, or nothing but numerals and symbols.

And they were numbered at the top.

She was reading through all of the scores in numerical order.

Once, twice… now for the third time.

Her concentration was so immensely powerful, it was as though she were wrapped in bright flames.

Just being next to her was making me break out in a cold sweat.

She was serious.

There had been times when, in a fit of caprice, she had simply declared that she was tired of her program, and changed or added pieces mid-tour.

At those times, I put every effort into finding the new sheet music she demanded on-site, and she would read it through carefully at our lodging. This was that same Serious Mode.

When she was facing down a musical score, all I could think was that she had become something beyond human.

The one who adored sweets, who loved Kitahara-senpai, who loved his wife and her dear friend, Setsuna-san, in spite of her complex feelings…

The one who had chosen to remain with them, in spite of the pain that might come with it…

Tremendously sensitive in spite of her bluster, timid in spite of her pompous tones, fiendishly charming when she blushed just slightly while looking away in a huff…

That was Kazusa Touma, the human, and this was something else.

There was something divine in her elegantly straightened spine.

Sometimes, just looking at that back almost terrified me.

Her beautiful black hair fell down it like a waterfall. I started to see each strand transforming one by one, becoming wings.

And an electric shock ran through my body that I couldn’t quite call fear or excitement.

Because, whether those wings were white or black, in my imagination they were something terrible.

Something horribly beautiful.

Though I might be frightened, I couldn’t rip my eyes away.

As I was pondering all of this and shivering, I sensed that some of the tension had weakened, and she laced her fingers together and stretched her arms upward with a grunt.

“Yep, no question.”

She arranged the faxed sheet music back into a pile, tapping it to straighten it out.

“Thanks to these scores, I feel like I have a better understanding now of what he was trying to say.”
“Oh. Is that so?”

Released from the grip of my nerves, my rhythm for responding was a little out of whack.

“Man, I’m hungry.”
“I am, too…”
“Nikolaus said this piece was ‘like a stone from the moon,’ but I’m not sure I’d put it like that.”
‘Nikolaus’? That Nikolaus?
“If anything, it’s more like something that leapt out of the earth’s gravitational sphere.”
“Then, this sheet music is the real thing…”
“Oh? Figured it out, Koharu-chan?”

I sighed heavily. “Yes, I suppose so.”

Kazusa-san’s lovely lips twitched upward in a smile.

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