Every day, I underwent rehabilitation at the hospital.
My right arm wasn’t the focus this time.
The skin's thickness was still too insufficient to do anything with it.
Instead, my right leg was the focus of this timee's rehabilitation.
A person who has never had a comminuted fracture might not understand, but even the slightest movement of your leg was enough to cause pain.
Even after time passes, the aches still remain.
The only treatment was proper palliative care.
The bolts they removed were quite big.
After overcoming a life or death situation, enduring the pain wasn’t that big a deal, so I pressed on.
However, occasionally the pain was too much to bear.
Well, the fact that it had gone from constantly feeling sore to an occasional bout of pain was a good thing.
As long as I didn’t make any sudden movements, my condition only generated very few obstacles to my daily life.
A part of the rehabilitation process was listening to stories about people with similar injuries.
I’ve heard various pieces of advice about what types of behaviors to avoid and how difficult recovery could be if you give up on rehabilitation.
People who recklessly tried to recover usually worsened their symptoms instead.
Yes, I understand. The doctors wanted me to know this, definitely.
Basically, they were trying to hammer home the fact that I shouldn’t try to run away just because the rehabilitation was hard.
Even if it was just a little bit, it was nice that I was regaining control of my body.
Besides, my current rehabilitation program was professionally tailored to my current condition.
The shortest road to recovery was to do as I was told.
However, from the doctors’ perspective, it was quite eerie to deal with a teenager in their rebellious phase who did what they were told without complaining.
Typically, teenagers in my situation would throw a tantrum when their bodies were stressed to their limits, so my silent acceptance was a bit abnormal.
Well, that was to be expected.
I was around forty on the inside after all.
This kind of incongruity was to be expected.
I only broke my silence in cases of unnecessary pain.
I hated doing useless things.
That wasn’t a childish way of thinking.
Therefore, I visited a counselor.
The counselor had a wary smile on his face because of my insistence on having regular sessions during my stay here.
I wasn’t having any trouble thanks to my counselor.
Because of their rationality and management skills, my diagnosis and treatments were as accurate as possible.
However, since I tried to process everything as rationally and positively as possible, I was told to act with caution because I might not recognize when I’d pushed myself too far.
I wasn’t irrational or emotional though.
The way doctors interacted with me changed as a result of the counseling.
They explained things to me as an adult.
Of course, there were times when the language was too technical for me to understand, 『This is the situation. This is our objective. For that reason, we will be doing this.』in those cases, they would provide a generalized explanation.
For children, the explanation usually began and ended with 『This is what we’re doing』.
If you just agreed with that explanation, then you’d be seen as an easy-to-handle child.
When I didn’t understand something, I thoroughly researched it.
There was an abundance of morning activities to do during my stay at the hospital.
Blood was collected twice a week, an hour before my usual wake-up time.
My blood pressure and oxygen saturation were measured at the same time.
At my usual wake-up time, I got dressed and ate breakfast.
My weight was measured once a week.
Of course, my weight was strictly confidential information.
It was a maiden’s secret.
Only after finishing my breakfast, does my day truly begin.
Depending on the schedule, I’d have a day full of examinations or treatments.
Everything besides basic rehabilitation practice was done in specialized rooms.
I usually aim for time slots when the rehab rooms were mostly empty.
That was because I didn’t want my presence to stress out the other patients.
Also, I didn’t walk around with black-suited bodyguards either.
As a result, I was basically within my own little world when I did my rehabilitation exercises.
“Yes, what shall I do today?”
Today was a rehab day.
I began by stretching my right leg until I started sweating.
The most useful measurement of the strain each session placed on my body was how sweaty I became.
It seems that excessive sweating wasn’t a good thing for someone undergoing rehab.
“Yes. I understand.”
With my stretches done, I took a single deep breath.
To keep my heart rate constant and because I was told to pay attention to my breathing, abdominal breathing exercises were included in my rehabilitation.
Inhale deeply, exhale slowly.
My heart rate leveled out, and my sweating began to slow.
I have been taught to inhale without exhaling and to exhale without inhaling.
The psychical therapist jokingly said that the breathing exercises had beneficial dietary effects.
Well, it was good advice! I’d use it sometime!!
“Isn’t today’s regime a bit much? I’ll work up quite the sweat.”
Even if I wiped it off with a towel, the doctors would notice the sweat across my brow.
There was also a new stretch today.
It was meant to build muscles around the hip joint by slowly rotating my legs.
Because I didn’t have a muscle fetish, I didn’t know what that particular muscle was called.
Still, it was refreshing to do muscle training.
“I see. My leg is starting to ache a bit more than usual.”
“Is that so? Then, you should take a break. Would you like to return by wheelchair?”
“I’ll walk. The doctors say that walking is the best therapy. Even if it’s slowly, I can walk on my own.”
I disliked wheelchairs.
The combination of linoleum floors and wheelchairs made me anxious.
Therefore, I firmly declined the offer.
Besides, the number of wheelchairs was limited.
If I took the wheelchair now, a person in actual need if of it wouldn’t have it later.
“I understand. We shall respect Sagara-san’s decision. However, at least use some crutches. You do need to allow your right leg to rest.”
“I’ll do as you say, Doctor.”
I nodded my head and accepted the compromise.
There was no point in being stubborn.
“Then, please wait for a little.”
While my doctor fetched a set of crutches, I wiped myself off down with a towel and glanced at the scenery outside the window.
This building called a hospital had quite a few rest areas scattered about the place.
It was a small private hospital, so that was to be expected, but its waiting room was larger than those you found in large general hospitals.
There were many receptionist counters: the counters for first time visitors and examinations were separated, and there were also a number of consultation counters, a payment counter and a counter to pick up prescriptions.
Roughly one hundred people could be seated on the various sofas in the waiting room.
A considerable number of sofas were placed at each consultation counter.
There were also two sofas within proximity of the toilets.
There were other chairs for the attendants wait at as well.
In the rehabilitation rooms, the back walls were filled with over-sized sofas.
It was a place for people to rest after they completed their treatment.
Other than the sofas, there were windowsills that had been expanded into seat-like ledges for the patients.
The room’s setup allowed for inpatients and outpatients to attend rehab with peace of mind.
To get to the hospital rooms, you need to take the private elevator in the lobby.
The rehabilitation room was the farthest away from the receptionist desk.
I’d be quite the walk before I reached my room.
If it weren’t for the various rest stops along the way, I would’ve obediently taken the wheelchair when it had been offered.
Because I could rest when needed, I chose to walk.
While using crutches, I walked at a leisurely pace.
In the case of emergencies, a doctor or nurse always accompanies patients undergoing rehabilitation.
They insured that the patients safely made it to their rooms.
It was something that any hospital would do for someone undergoing rehabilitation.
They would never tell a patient to hurry up.
That’s why it was so easy to walk with them.
As we entered the lobby, the doctor behind me suddenly made a strange expression.
“Sagara-san, is that person an acquaintance of yours?”
When asked the question, I caught sight of a woman holding a bouquet and small basket who seemed to be looking for someone.
The woman seemed to have realized something before she walked up to the hospitalized patient receptionist.
“N-no. Why do you think so?”
I knew that woman.
But that wasn’t important here.
After finishing her conversation with the receptionist, the woman respectfully bowed to them before turning to the elevator.
She saw me the moment she started walking.
“Ara, what a surprise.”
The woman uttered that slightly confused comment as she stared at me.
“Are you Sagara Mizuki?”
“Yes, I am. And you are?”
I only asked her name out of courtesy.
It was impossible for me not to know her name.
I knew of her, but this was the first time we’ve met.
“Forgive me, my name is Fujiwara Umeko.”
Umeko smile as she told me so, but I was utterly lost as to what was happening.
Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
She was a Japanese beauty with a small basket at her side.
Her raven black hair was loosely tied up by a pale ribbon, which projected a cool and calm atmosphere.
In her presence, the humid summer heat seemed to turn into a refreshing breeze.
Do beautiful women never sweat?
How can that person look so cool outside despite the humidity?
Those were the thoughts that occupied my mind as I had an unexpected encounter with Fujiwara Umeko.
My cheeks were slightly dyed red with embarrassment, and I had to lower my gaze.
The stares from the surrounding men were painful.
Why were strangers directing their unbridled rage towards me?
I mean, did they even know what was happening?
Staying here would only cause trouble for the doctors in charge of my treatment.
He had plans after this too.
“Fujiwara-sama, why did you come visit me?”
She offered me a gentle smile in response to my question.
No wonder the good-natured Ariwara had trouble dealing with her.
She was the maiden of people’s dreams.
So I couldn’t take a rude attitude with her.
“Well, Mizuki-sama…… ah, apologies. I called you by your name without permission…… how presumptuous of me.”
“I don’t mind. Things will get confusing if you address me as Sagara, given that my older sister works in this hospital.”
“Thank you very much. I’m happy. Ah, that’s right. When Shizuki-sama said you were being hospitalized here, I decided to come and visit you, Mizuki-sama.”
“Oh really. Thank you for taking the time to come. Sorry for exposing you to my unsightly figure. If you don’t mind, I can take you to the hospital.”
Why not take the opportunity to end things here?
Why did I tell you where I was being hospitalized?
Maybe the conversation won’t take too long.
Unlike Tachibana, Ariwara had poor conversational skills with difficult individuals, so he probably divulged the information without intending to.
Since it couldn’t be helped, I ended up inviting Umeko to my room.
I lowered my head to the doctor and received a soft smile in return.
The doctor and Umeko followed behind me as I slowly walked along on crutches.
“Shizuki-sama said that you could walk normally.”
“Yes, that’s the case. My leg is just sore because I was in rehab until a little while ago. I can now run short distances.”
Umezaki made a charming smile in response to my comment.
“So it’s like that. I’m not the most athletic person and can usually run about as fast as I walk. Running at a fast pace is wonderful, isn’t it Mizuki-sama.”
Umezaki spoke with a charming expression.
I imagined myself running laps in Umezaki’s brain.
It was a dramatization, not fact.
The physical therapist led me along. It was quite laughable honestly!
My shoulders shook a little.
“Please don’t overestimate my abilities. Currently, I can’t move very fast. Sometimes it is frustrating how slow I can move.”
Even though I was sure I was too quiet to be heard, I still corrected her.
We reached the elevator and waited a while after pushing the call button.
The light shined, and the door opened with a ding.
We entered and stared at the closing door after pushing the button to the top floor.
With their unique floating feeling, the elevator began to rise.
Once the doors opened again, my room was on the right.
“Thank you, Doctor.”
As always, I thanked him for accompanying me to my room.
“Yes. We’ve arrived. Please take your time and allow your leg to rest.”
“I understand. I’ll do as you say.”
I handed my crutch to the doctor with a nod.
No need to act rashly.
I hated pain.
After seeing the doctor off, I urged Umezaki into the room.
“Please, have a seat on the sofa. I’ll prepare us some tea.”
Having said that, I took out the tea set and began brewing a pot of tea.
“Oh, you know how to make it yourself, Mizuki-sama?”
“Yes. When I was younger, I wanted to be my brother’s butler, so I learned how to serve tea. Unlike in other houses, individual pursuits and hobbies are encouraged within my family.”
I explained things to Umezaki as I prepared our tea.
Since this was a hospital, I couldn’t put together any dim sum, but the tea would be masterfully brewed.
I really wanted to show off my skill, but there weren’t enough people I could show it to.
I carried to tea set to the table and waited the proper amount of time before pouring two cups.
“I am sorry, but I don’t have anything cold to offer you given the summer heat. Since we can’t cool our bodies, let’s acclimate ourselves to the heat with hot tea.”
Umezaki smiled in response to my comment.
“This fragrance, is it Bergamot perhaps? I love Earl Grey. How delightful.”
After saying so, she lifted her cup and took a sip.
“Ah, this is really delicious. Anything is possible for you, Mizuki-sama.”
“No. As I mentioned before, this is just the result of my special training. I’m happy that you like it though.”
My cheeks were flushing as I spoke.
“I actually saw Mizuki-sama as you were leaving Otomo-sama party.”
“Is that so? You should have spoken to me back then. I was with Ariwara at the time.”
We didn’t encounter Umezaki that night.
I thought we needed to change our strategy because of that.
It seems that I hadn’t needed to worry.
“Yes. It was the first time I saw Shizuki-sama laugh so wholeheartedly. Shizuki-sama has such an innocent smile when he’s with his friends.”
Umezaki spoke in a somewhat envious tone.
I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
Ariwara was equipped with a fantastic smile.
What kind of smile did you give her, Ariwara?!
“Since its the face I always see, I don’t know what time of smile Ariwara shows you, Fujiwara-sama.”
“It’s the same type of smile Mizuki-sama has. I can tell just by seeing it. Shizuki-sama rarely shows a smile that reaches his eyes.”
Umezaki faintly muttered something under her breath.
“How can that be? Ariwara is a straightforward man. He doesn’t smile or laugh unless he wants to do so. When we’re together, Ariwara will probably be laughing and smiling along with me.”
I was a little saddened to speak the truth.
“Is that so?”
“Of course. Ariwara, is true to his emotions.”
For some reason, Umezaki began to chuckle.
“That’s good. If Mizuki-sama says so, then it must be true.”
Yes, that’s right. That’s right!
Her behavior was a bit suspicious though.
“I attended an all-girls high school, so I'm quite shy and not good with talking to people other than close friends and family. I’m surprised that I can talk with Mizuki-sama so naturally.”
“Really? I’m quite honored.”
I took a sip of tea after I answered.
“Because you have such a soft and gentle atmosphere, it makes me want to talk about anything with you, Mizuki-sama. It’s no wonder that Shizuki-sama has such a close relationship with you.”
She seemed to be sincere in what she said.
It wasn’t the reaction of a woman obsessed with possessing her fiancé.
If anything, she was acting like a close friend of the (male) fiancé.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about Mizuki-sama and Okabe-sama. The description of a Prince and Knight is genuinely fitting. As I thought, I can rely on you for this particular matter. The spectacle of seeing you together with Tachibana-sama and Shizuki-sama prevented me from speaking at the party.
Umezaki seemed enthralled by her imagination.
Can we stop with the BL development?
That was my honest hope.
People that gleefully allowed rot to ferment in their brains caused a shiver to run down my spine.
I am an exception to the rule, please don’t lump me in with them!
While I was thinking so, Umezaki began to stare at my lips.
This was completely different from what I’ve heard.
“I’ve done something inexcusable to Shizuki-sama.”
Her sudden revelation made we wary.
“What do you mean?”
I didn’t want to hear it, but I had to listen to it nevertheless.
What she said might contain relevant information.
“I met Shizuki-sama at another party.”
Umezaki paused and made a complicated expression.
“Shizuki-sama was very nice to me. However, a misunderstanding cropped up between us because of something I did.”
“Yes. I’m truly sorry for Shizuki-sama.”
Umezaki nodded along as she explained her troubles.
“You see I fell in love at Otomo’s party.”
To my surprise, I was in trouble.
“How can I explain this to Shizuki-sama……”
“Do you think it’s normal?”
I had no idea what to say but managed a smile and a vague response.
“Ariwara is an honest person. He dislikes lies, so if you tell him the truth, he’ll accept it without issue.”
Umezaki nodded along with what I was saying.
“Thank you very much. I feel relieved.”
She gave me a gentle smile.
However, why was I the relationship counselor in this situation?
I waited for Umezaki’s next words while that thought crossed my mind.