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Finale - Sunshine Agnes

Edwin Arnold had never been able to get the better of that girl. Not even once. He was confident in his physical strength and thought himself fairly sharp to boot. Despite that, he was beset with a losing streak that left him at a loss for words.

Not much has changed since that day two years ago and perhaps forevermore.

The wave of light sent everything flying upwards into the sky. Edwin found himself hanging aloft. His hands were held in hers. They were soft and warm like sunlight. Agnes' whole body shined. Her cream-blonde hair looked like white-hot flames.

'Thank you, Ed. It's been fun...'

'Wait, what's going on? Where are we? Am I dreaming?'

'Haha, Ed, you're as dense as ever. Even though you won't be able to remember what happened today, there's something I need to tell you...'

Agnes smiled. It was a rare smile, a pure expression of happiness. She had never shown it to anyone before, simply because she had never been able to--until now.

'I'm a magician, Ed. This is who I truly am.'

Edwin wasn't sure if he was shocked or somehow already knew. Now that he thought about it, Agnes was smart, good in a fight, seemingly knew everything, and even had a sharp intuition. It would explain a lot if she were a magician.

'Ha, well, that's Agnes for ya. Now, then, fix me a bourbon!'

If she could, she would have served him an ice tea instead, but that was impossible. Agnes was no longer in Anchorville.

Edwin was finally discharged from the hospital following his treatment for two ribs that he didn't remember breaking. From there, he boarded a long-distance orbal bus bound for the capital. It was too far a trip for his trusty bicycle. Besides, the time spent idly in the bus would be more conducive to planning his next move.

Montaigne had been arrested for the murder of Mr. Hart. The investigation revealed that Tizze's grave had been violated, and afterward, the young girl was laid to rest once more. The deadly string of car accidents finally came to an end. Edwin leaned against the bus's shaking frame and thought about the future.

The events of that day completely disappeared from the minds of the citizenry. Nobody knew the girl who disappeared. Even Edwin could only scarcely recall what happened that night. Every day, he tried as he might to remember, but only recently recalled their last conversation.

'This won't be the last time we meet. Well, so long as you don't become a reporter, that is.'

'What does that even mean?! Reporters are supposed to seek the truth, aren't they?'

Agnes clasped the esmelas necklace on her neck. The pain she felt was clear as day.

'You're way too oblivious of your own feelings, Ed...'

'Hmph, I won't give up no matter what. I'm going to be a righteous reporter.'

In his spot by the window, Edwin flicked through his notebook of plans. Being a freelance reporter was more challenging than he had ever imagined. His seniors at the paper, including Brandon, were repeatedly exasperated with him during his training.

'There's no way I can back down if Agnes is the one saying stuff like that. I'll take on that challenge of hers. I'll keep being a reporter, and I'll find her all while revealing the uncertainties in this world!'

'Just you wait, Agnes. I swear that I'll find you!'

The wind raced across the vast open prairie. Calvard's winds were magnificent.

'That's some strong wind.'

A girl sat by the window of a familiar bus. She rested her chin on her hands as her cream-blonde hair bobbed in the sunlight. It was the girl who came to Anchorville and brought sunshine wherever she went. Edwin cracked a soft smile and turned to face her.

'Well, a righteous reporter can only believe what he's seen with his own eyes, you know?'

The bus traveled down the gravel road beneath August's vast, blue sky.


最終回 陽溜りのアニエス




――エド――………… ありがとう。今まで楽しかった。

――何だよ急に。ってかここはどこだ? 夢なのか?

――ふふっ……エドは本当に鈍いよね。 ――きっとエドは今日のことを忘れちゃうけど…… でも、言っておきたいことがあるんだ。


――私は魔法使いなの。 これが本当の私の姿なのよ、エド。


なるほどな、さすがはアニエスだ、じゃあバーボンを1杯くれ! ……アニエスが居たなら黙ってアイスティを出すだろう。アンカーヴィルの街に、アニエスの姿はもうない。









でも……他ならぬアニエスにそんな事言われたら、気になるじゃねーか! 信じねえよ、もう会えないだなんて。……だから、俺は記者を続ける。でもって気持ちとやらもハッキリさせてやるぜ。


風がどうと鳴って、どこまでも広がる大草原を渡っていく。カルバードの風は雄大だ。「大きい風ね」とあの日の少女も呟いた。この同じバスの窓際で頬杖をついて、陽光にクリーム色の髪をくるくる躍らせて。アンカーヴィルに来た少女はいつだって陽溜りの中にいた。エドウィンは小さく笑う。正義の記者は、自分の目で確かめた事しか信じないんだぜ? 砂利道をゆくバスの上に、8月の青天が広がっていた。 〈了〉