Calling – 1
Mai ended up falling asleep on the mattress after a while, and so Chizuru lay down next to her and stared through the darkness at the small light bulb in the ceiling.
The small two-room apartment appeared faintly in her vision.
There was her bed, and while the room looked modern, there was a small table that doubled as a kotatsu. She had a tv and refrigerator as well. A calendar hung on the wall. All of these things were a part of her daily life.
And yet, before she knew what was happening, all of these things began to feel foreign to her. Especially on nights like these, where memories of Lukrov would return to her.
In that other world, the culture was something that would be called medieval back here.
There was no electricity, no cars, no running water, and of course no methods of transmitting information such as television or the internet. The only thing they had was animal hide that was used like paper to write on. And many people could not even read.
As was common in the western world during the middle ages, there was rank and class and knighthood. Lukrov himself had originated as the heir of a baron. War had made an orphan of him, and he had made himself a knight who could stand alone.
And so when she had first met him, she saw a youth with eyes so sharp and a face so severe, that just touching him seemed like it would cut your skin.
His hair was jet black, as were his eyes. His facial features were angular and while he had the overall appearance of a western man, his skin was quite tanned. His height… How tall had he been? She did not even know if they had units for measuring a person’s height there. But she thought that it must be close to 185 cm. A head taller the Chizuru.
Thinking back now, she did not know his birthday, his blood type…
It made her realize just how full of information the modern world she lived in was. Things were much more primitive in the other world. When people loved each other, having each others’ bodies was enough. There was no ritual dating.
Lukrov had accepted her, and she had shown him what she was capable of.
A thrill had run through their core like electricity…and it was the beginning of everything. She doubted that Lukrov had ever considered watching her from afar, or worried about being rejected.
“You are the one I chose.”
With those words alone, he swore eternal love. Like a wolf who has found his mate.
And yet, there was comfort in the way he loved. Without shame or dishonor, an unending desire led by his soul and his instincts… That kind of love.
She was sure that in this world, at least in modern Japan, that being loved in that way and loving in turn, was not possible. The very way that people lived was too different. It was as obvious as anything.
The sky was covered in a dark cloud on the following day. Mai had checked the weather report on her phone before leaving and said that there would be strong rain from the afternoon on.
Chizuru put on a beige cardigan and a modest black skirt and white shirt before heading out to work, a little later than usual. Employees were allowed to dress casually. It was an open environment where men did not have to wear suits during the summer, but Chizuru did not pay as much attention to fashion as the other women who worked here.
She felt that as long as you did not stray too far from what was current and kept yourself clean, then that was enough. She also felt no need to attract the opposite sex, and so she did the bare minimum in terms of makeup.
And yet men like Karasawa, her superior, would still appear now and again.
She was not always aware of it, but Chizuru did have the kind of pretty face that drew more attention than most. Her height was not too short and not too tall. Her body was slender and yet full where it mattered. To put it plainly, she was on the popular side.
Chizuru made sure that the fold-up umbrella was inside of her bag as she rushed into her companies building. But just as she passed the automatic doors at the entrance, she felt a sudden sense of vertigo.
Perhaps it was anemia from a lack of sleep.
She felt dizzy as her head swayed to the side, then a numbing sensation shot up her limbs. Chizuru had always had low blood pressure, so these symptoms would occasionally appear during the morning. She had been so absorbed in her talk with Mai, that she had only gotten a few hours of sleep. That must have been the reason, she thought.
However, when she managed to stand still and lean her head against the frame of the entrance, a sudden ringing pierced into her ears out of nowhere.
There was something otherworldly about it. It existed only in Chizuru’s head, this sharp echo that merged with the bustling noises of the office building.
Chizuru’s heart pounded with undisguised excitement.
She remembered this feeling. She remembered this sound…
Without thinking, she pressed her palms against her ears as she tried to calm her impatient breathing. And still, the familiar and mysterious sound continued to echo in her head. Not only that, but it seemed to be getting louder. It was so strong that she knew she could not be imagining it.
At the same time, other employees and office workers who were coming in late saw her. They glanced with suspicious eyes as Chizuru stood there, but they left her alone. None of them could hear.
Yes, she remembered it.
It was like this the first time. After this sharp ringing, a ‘voice’ would follow…
The sound stopped. Just like a bubble that has abruptly burst.
At the same time, someone’s hand was firmly on her shoulder, and Chizuru raised her head frantically. And then she saw that Karasawa was standing next to her, his eyebrows narrowed in an expression of concern. His head was tilted to the side as he peered into her face.
Chizuru breathed without thinking.
“What is it? Why are you standing here this morning? Does your head hurt?”
There was an exaggerated concern in his voice. A white shirt and gray necktie peeked out from his dark blue suit. The faint remnants of morning aftershave floated in the air. Chizuru felt herself being pulled back to reality.
“S-sorry. I uh, a friend slept over at my place last night. I didn’t get much sleep… It’s just a slight headache.”
She hadn’t lied.
But she hadn’t told the whole truth either.
She straightened her posture and forced a smile. Karasawa stared at her as if considering whether or not he was satisfied by this explanation. But he finally shrugged in defeat.
“Do you want to go to the medical office?”
“Uh, no. It is really just a mild headache. I have low blood pressure. It happens sometimes. I’m fine now.”
“If you think so…”
Karasawa’s hand lightly touched her back as if pushing her. “We’ll go up together. Don’t faint on me, alright?”
Chizuru cringed when she felt the large hand on her back. But before she could move away from him, he had adeptly maneuvered her towards the elevator.
There were many around them, and it was possible that he was genuinely concerned about her state. But still, Chizuru felt something warm when he touched her back. Something like affection or passion.
The ‘voice’ was long gone.
The familiar chime of the elevator indicated that it had arrived, and the door opened. Chizuru and Karasawa entered the box as if being sucked into the crowd of people inside.
At the moment before the doors closed, Chizuru looked over the other shoulders towards the entrance of the building, her stare was full of longing.
What had that been, just now?
It was just like the feeling she had had on the summer of last year. But it was so brief.
Was this just her imagination playing tricks on her after the excitement of telling Mai her story? Or was it…?
Translator: Sorry for the long delay.
Please consider liking, sharing, rating, reviewing and turning off adblock if you enjoy this series. Thank you.