Getsuei no Kusari -Sakuran Paranoia-: Satoya’s Route

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Here’s the individual route for Mochizuki Satoya (CV: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu). This follows from the Common Route. Satoya is Hibiki’s right-hand man and the leader of Koukaseinendan‘s shock troops. He’s a polite and a person of firm character. He tends to act before thinking.

Making one person’s share and making 32 people’s share

It starts to rain and just then both Hibiki and Satoya enter the store. Megumi gives them a cloth to wipe themselves dry before serving them. As they converse, they learn that Megumi is not going for the festival, except to release the lanterns. She feels bad to enjoy it by herself when Mamoru is working. Hibiki advises her to at least look around though. As for them, the Koukaseinendan will be patrolling during the festival. Other customers overhear this and praise them, unlike the police who only do the work given to them. They explain that they’re working in shifts though, and will have to find time to eat along the way. It turns out that the shop owner of the place they asked to make their meals fell ill a few days ago, and they have a hard time finding someone else. Megumi offers to do it, though Satoya is hesitant since it’s for 32 people after all. Hibiki remarks that since she offered they should accept, and Megumi agrees that it’s for Koukaseinendan‘s sake after all. Satoya goes red at her answer, before realising the time and quickly chases Hibiki as he settles the bill. Hibiki notes that the rain has stopped and the two of them leave. A customer points out that Megumi didn’t get any details of the delivery point etc., so Megumi decides to check with them again tomorrow.

Restaurant “Tsuki no Hotori

That night, Megumi has a nostalgic dream of her past. A young Megumi and Mamoru ask Hotaru the reason why she opened this store. She replies that she was good at cooking, and she enjoyed seeing her customer’s happy faces as they eat her food. But to be honest, perhaps it doesn’t need to be in the shape of a store either. ‘Cos it’s a store, it’s expected that the customers pay for the food as a form of gratitude. So she doesn’t mind serving those poor and hungry people for free too. She’ll be happy to just see them well and in that case there’s no need for a store. But of course that would be troubling as she needs to feed them too, and one has to run a store in Shoutengai. But she tells them to remember that what’s important is the smiles of the people who visit this place. Neither of them really understand her though, and so Hotaru merely laughs. If they no longer have a store, she’ll just build a field in their garden to grow their own food. Her remark surprises both Mamoru and Megumi.

The next morning, Megumi tells Mamoru about her dream. She didn’t understand Hotaru’s words back then, but she did when Hotaru served a customer for free, as he had lost his job in an accident. Moreover that customer returned later to return the favour. Megumi thinks that what’s great about Hotaru is that she puts her words into action. So she wants to protect this store’s ideal in the same manner. Mamoru thinks that Hotaru would be happy to hear that.

A person who worries (for you)

After hearing from Mamoru on where they might be, Megumi heads to the central plaza. Satoya spots her and Megumi recalls their first meeting as he gave her a similar bright smile back then. Unknowingly, she stares at him, which makes him wonder if there’s something wrong. Megumi quickly denies so, as she thinks to herself that her own darkness may almost be drawn out by such a bright person as him. Satoya still remains worried, and offers to see her home but is taken aback when she raises her voice. He starts laughing though, as he got to see a new side to her. He really respects Megumi as despite her young age she’s managing a store by herself. But at the same time, he also can’t help but be worried about her. Megumi didn’t think that he thought of her like that before, and thanks him. To think that there are people who worry about her, and Satoya firmly replies that there surely are. He then realises that he’s held her up, but Megumi had wanted to see him anyway.

Hard-working sister

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Megumi returns home and Mamoru asks if she got to meet them. He can’t comment on how she decided on her own that he wouldn’t be able to finish his work though. When she goes quiet, he quickly dismisses this as a joke and adds that he’s at fault in the first place. Megumi replies that once she finishes preparing the food though she’s free so they can go together if he finishes that day. Mamoru immediately answers that he definitely won’t though. He then asks for breakfast and she hurries to prepare it, and Mamoru is seen sighing to himself.

Bentou for 32 people and drinks and

On the day of the festival, Megumi finishes preparing the meals (chirashizushi) by evening time. Satoya comes by to pick them up, as he easily carries the food. When he asks about the contents, she tells him that it’s a secret and to find it later. Megumi then recalls that she prepared them drinks too, as she brings out a large kettle full of barley tea. Satoya can’t carry it without messing up the contents though.

Gentle thoughtfulness

In the end, Megumi helps Satoya to bring the drinks to where the other members are in Karyuugai. Satoya explains to her that their main station is here, as he points out what looks like a food stall to her. They pass the food and drinks to the other members, and Satoya thanks her as he promises to return the containers when they’re done. Just then, loud cheers can be heard from the others members, as they’re pleasantly surprised by the food. Satoya is curious as to what it is, but quickly holds Megumi back as he asks her about her plans. Upon hearing that she’s going to return home before going to release lanterns when it isn’t as crowded, Satoya invites her to join them for a bit to hear their thoughts on her food. After consideration, Megumi agrees and goes in.

After they’re done, the members see her off. Just then, Satoya wonders where Hibiki is as it should be his break time now. The other members point out that it’s rare for Satoya to only realises it this late, and Satoya remarks that he doesn’t think about Hibiki 24/7. As Megumi’s about to leave, Satoya asks her if she doesn’t mind looking around the festival with him. The Koukaseinendan members are shocked to hear this, for Satoya never once showed any interest in women before. Satoya tells them that he’s free to use his free time as he likes. As Megumi notes their reactions, she thinks that perhaps Satoya is thinking for her as she said that she’ll only go for the lanterns event. If so, she’d rather accept his kind intentions rather than make him worry. Satoya is relieved when she accepts, as his face breaks into a smile.

Reflected in the transparent glass beads

As they walk around, Satoya spots a stall selling glass beads (tonbodama). Among them, includes one with a goldfish pattern. While Megumi likes them, she adds that her earnings now can’t really afford this. And with the water service taxes, she’ll need to save more for the future. Seeing the price, they’re probably imported goods. Satoya apologises for his words, and Megumi feels bad for spoiling the atmosphere. To his surprise, she pushes his back and tells him to look around some more. He has her hold onto his mantle so that they don’t get separated. Elsewhere, he spots a stall selling goldfish. He shares with her that the store he works at has them, so he looked at them since young. Satoya gets embarrassed for sharing unnecessary information, though Megumi has no intentions of forgetting them. Later, Megumi learns that he hardly came to the festival, which surprises her as he appears the type to enjoy it. Satoya merely says that a lot of things happened, as he averts his gaze. Megumi is unable to say anything, and just then a shout can be heard as a robber is spotted.

Megumi shuts her eyes as the said robber is running towards her, but Satoya quickly takes him out. Everyone cheers as Satoya presses the man to the floor, but is taken aback by the cheers. He quickly asks someone to take him before grabbing Megumi’s wrist and walking off. After some time he finally stops and Megumi catches her breath. She was surprised by Satoya, as she comments on how cool he was which makes him embarrassed. He disappointedly recalls that he didn’t manage to carry the kettle too earlier today though, which makes Megumi laugh as it’s rather cute of him. Satoya remarks that no guy is happy with that remark though, and Megumi apologises. Realising this, he quickly corrects himself and awkwardly tells her to laugh at her all she wants before getting embarrassed at himself again pfft. Megumi is happy to see him being earnest though, and also thanks him for saving her earlier. She questions if it’s okay to just leave the robber like that though, and Satoya replies that it’s his break time plus he doesn’t want to lessen his time with her. Though she knows that he doesn’t mean anything deeper, Megumi feels happy that he’s prioritising their time together.

Later, they go to get the lanterns. Megumi notices that Satoya has a sad and lonely expression as he looks at them. He lights their lanterns, before they release them to the river. She wonders who he’s thinking of, though she guesses that it’s probably an important person. Megumi recalls her own parents and Hotaru as she looks at the lanterns. Soon it’s time for Satoya to return to work, though he really wanted to see her home. He tells her to rely on him in the case there’s anything. She isn’t sure why he’s so worried, but she thanks him. No matter the reason, she’s happy with his concern. Before parting ways though, Satoya tells her that he wants to give something as a form of gratitude. When Megumi politely refuses, Satoya continues to insist. Megumi gradually can’t bring herself to refuse, as she recalls the customer who asked her to deliver the obi to the girl – did the girl feel the same way? Satoya asks her to accept his gift for now, and he’ll think of a proper reason till the next time. She laughs and accepts, and he excitedly leads her back to the glass bead store. Megumi is concerned about the price, but Satoya replies that he saved up quite a bit as he never got to spend on anything. He buys one with a gold fish design, and gives it to Megumi.

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Reason

The next morning, Megumi creates a netsuke with the glass bead Satoya got her, and attaches it to her obi. Mamoru enters the room and notices this. It’s pricey so it’s hard to imagine that Megumi would buy this for herself, so he concludes that someone must have bought it for her. He’s surprised to hear that it was Satoya, and starts misunderstanding their relationship. Mamoru tells her that Satoya is actually pretty popular, since he’s especially kind to the women. But that doesn’t mean he’s interested in them and he supports his sister. After all, she usually always prioritises the family and this house. Mamoru recalls that the water service tax starts from today. Upon hearing his words, Megumi is reminded that she shouldn’t be prioritising her own happiness. She shouldn’t forget her duty, and why she was able to remain here – and her reason for existence. She tells herself that she should place a distance in between with Satoya.

Envious of the upper class

Megumi goes to buy the required groceries before opening her store. Though they can buy at Beniichi, those are mostly to stuff to sell at their stores and does not guarantee their own meals – especially food which require extra processing. Megumi goes to buy at a tofu store she always patronises. Next door, someone from Onsengai buys all of the meat from the meat store. The tofu store owner wonders if he’s planning a banquet or something. On the way back, Megumi checks the mail and receives the notice on the water service tax. It writes that if there’s no reply it’s considered that they’ve understood. But if there is, they’ll cut off the water supply. Other than that, it also describes what the tax is about, as well as how it’s calculated. Basically whatever amount if used will be charged as accordingly each month. Water is indispensable, so it’ll certainly be difficult to continue life as it was before, especially for a business. It’s without a doubt that dark clouds have begun to loom over the town’s future.

At the store, the customers discuss about the water service tax. The tax won’t affect the onsen supply, but nonetheless it’s chaotic at a customer’s onsen inn. Another customer asks to switch on the radio. Soon after, Satoya enters as he returns the containers to Megumi. As he sits down at the counter, Megumi calms herself down as she consciously places a distance between them. A drunk customer approaches Satoya, and Satoya tells him to return home early as his wife has been worried recently. Megumi observes that Satoya will continue to get dragged into the drunk customer’s pace, and offers to pour some tea. The customer thanks her and soon returns to his seat, and Satoya places his order. As he thanks Megumi, the customer remarks that Satoya must be aiming for Megumi. Though Satoya denies this, the customer continues teasing him till another shouts for him to quieten down as he’s listening to the radio. As everyone falls silent, they naturally lean their ears to the radio as an appeal is called for everyone to understand the government’s situation and hence the water service taxes. The customers remark that it’s all the government’s fault, and that they shouldn’t let an outsider like Fukami decide the future of this town.

Satoya remarks that Fukami does make his words sound correct, but this time his actions are too forceful. The garrison proposal is also conspicuous as they only recite the benefits, but don’t address the problems which Hibiki have pointed out before. No matter how much grant they receive, the tourism will surely be affected by the garrison. It’s as if to Fukami, what’s important is merely the improvement of the government funds, so he’s almost chasing everyone away. A customer points out that those working for the government are exempted from the tax, and only common people like them lose out. Megumi thinks to herself that it’s true, but it’s not only the government who is responsible for the poor situation of the government funds – it’s all of their responsibility as they’re making a living here too. In that case, they shouldn’t push the blame but work together to do what they can do now. Megumi shakes that thought away though, as it sounds as though she’s supporting the implementation of water service taxes. Satoya notices this as asks after her, but Megumi merely smiles and says that it’s nothing. A gutter has suddenly appeared between them, but it was Megumi herself who wished for and created it. Just then, Hibiki enters the store.

Sticky mitarashi dango

The customers cheerily welcome Hibiki, as they ask him what he plans to do about the situation now. In response, Hibiki tells them that it’s natural to be uneasy and he himself can’t accept this sudden tax implementation either. However, this is a place to enjoy one’s meals and not to debate about policies. He promises to address this another time, and to forget about it for now and to enjoy a moment of easiness here. Everyone agrees, and Hibiki sits next to Satoya, who comments that they’re even together during break times. Both of them place their order, and Megumi serves them mitarashi dango and lemonade respectively. Satoya notes that Hibiki really loves dango, and wonders if that’s the reason why he’s staying at a dango shop. Satoya gets taken aback when Hibiki agrees, only for Hibiki to later say that it’s a lie for he merely enjoys teasing Satoya for his reactions. Hibiki explains to Megumi that the shop owner took him in after the disaster seeing that he had no place to go. He’s grateful to the owner for giving him a place to belong to. Hibiki notices Megumi’s change in expression at his words, and tells her that he’ll do what he can if she approaches him so there’s no need to make such a lonely face. Megumi reassures him that she’s alright though, so he leaves it at that. Satoya deliberately clears his throat loudly, which makes Megumi wonder if the lemonade didn’t suit him. This makes him flustered, as he denies this and remarks that it was delicious enough to make his heart stop lol. That’s troubling in another way though.

Megumi notices that Hibiki is merely staring at the dango, and he remarks that it would be better if the sauce was thicker and stickier. He quickly apologises though, as he explains that eating this made him recall his childhood. Satoya points out that he can return to his home to eat it, to which Hibiki agrees. He asks for some tea and another plate of dango though as it’s the most delicious one he’s had. Megumi goes to prepare it, and recalls Hibiki’s comment. She decides not to remake it, since this must have been good enough for him to order another plate. Seeing Hibiki eat them, Satoya ends up ordering a plate for himself too.

Appearances and sounding each other out

After making another plate, Megumi returns to the counter and Nozomu calls out to her. He notes that it’s especially crowded today, especially the counter area. So she leads him to a private room. After she serves Satoya, she notes something different but Satoya merely avers his gaze. She returns to take Nozomu’s order, who asks for his usual as he deliberately touches her hand. Knowing that it’s his usual jest, Megumi politely takes a step back as she smiles. Nozomu notes this, though that’s also what makes him like her. Satoya stands up at this, only to be interrupted by Hibiki who invites himself to Nozomu’s table. Hibiki asks Satoya to come over too, adding that it’s good to talk with other customers too. As Megumi returns to her work, they introduce each other and Hibiki confirms with Nozomu that he’s friends with Wataru. Nozomu also takes this chance to clear his queries with Hibiki, such as the reason why he remains in this town even after helping them to recover from the disaster. Hibiki replies that it’s a bit early to judge that he has no duty or obligation to this town, which makes Nozomu ask if he has an obligation to return anything to this town. Hibiki observes that their definitions appear to be slightly different – Nozomu’s is about returning the gratitude you receive from other people. In that case, he has no obligation to this town. But Hibiki’s definition is about fulfilling his own obligations (as according to Confucianism). He simply thinks that there’s something he can still do for this town.

Nozomu feels as though he avoided the question but shrugs at it. Hibiki asks if he’s interested in Koukaseinendan, to which Nozomu agrees, in a way. He then asks about the costs of their activities. Hibiki replies that it’s basically free for they don’t ask for contributions. But thanks to the people’s generousity, they are able to use facilities for free. In the case they need any expenses, the members themselves earn the money from their core job and they collect what they can to use. Nozomu asks what Hibiki does, and Hibiki replies that he doesn’t do anything. He has but little savings, but he can’t feed everyone with just that. Nozomu remarks that in other words, he’s merely depending on other people’s kindness to live. When Hibiki admits this, Nozomu merely laughs. Satoya can’t help but interrupt at this point, as even though Hibiki might not mind this he thinks that Nozomu’s attitude is a problem. Like how he touched Megumi’s hand earlier on. He doesn’t think that it’s appropriate for a man to casually touch a woman who can’t resist. Nozomu casually apologises and observes that Satoya’s the type to side with women. But to him, Satoya’s words seem to stem from hypocrisy and arrogance as he couldn’t touch Megumi. When Satoya remains silent, Nozomu sees that his words were right.

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Just then, Hibiki laughs which surprises the two of them. Hibiki remarks that they’re getting along and asks if Nozomu is interested in joining them. Nozomu doesn’t like the idea of working under him though. Hibiki finds that regrettable, though he thinks that it’s better than Nozomu’s current situation. Hibiki decides to stop here as causing a ruckus here will only trouble Megumi. He orders another plate of dango for Nozomu. Later, Satoya offers to get the tea kettle for Hibiki – but just then it slips from Hibiki’s hand. Alarmed, Megumi quickly gets a cloth to wipe off Satoya, and Hibiki. She lightly refuses any compensation from Hibiki, and Satoya goes to clear up the mess. At the same time, Megumi notices that Nozomu appears different from usual as he’s looking elsewhere. Satoya asks if Nozomu’s hurt, which surprises him. Hibiki also apologises for interrupting his time. Nozomu notes that it’s to be expected of the town’s hero, to worry about everyone. Satoya observes that he’s a rather twisted person, and adds that it’s natural for them to worry. For a moment, Nozomu’s cold gaze turns into a weak one. After paying, both Hibiki and Satoya take their leave. Megumi hears Nozomu muttering that one can say anything as a front. She thinks that perhaps Nozomu find them too bright.

Unrestful start

The next morning, Megumi goes shopping at Shoutengai but sees that the prices have increased everywhere – even for craftwork which doesn’t appear to have any relation with water. She sees the people from Onsengai and Karyuugai complaining about the prices, but the store owner merely tells them not to buy if they’re unhappy. They get madder instead as if it weren’t for the Dokusenkounyuuken (policy) they wouldn’t be able to survive in the first place. Satoya shows up to calm everyone down as everyone is facing the same tight situation with the tax implementation now. The store owner agrees, and tells them to raise their prices too. But it’s not so simple for them as raising prices will only drive more tourists away. Hibiki soon appears to tells everyone to quieten down. If they fight here there won’t be any solution and only more chaos. What everyone needs to do is to come and discuss together. There’s no choice but to endure with the situation for now, as they seek for a solution. As of now, most of their goods are imported. Hibiki is thinking of revising the Dokusenkounyuuken. It only worked best when the economy and tourist industry was doing well but that’s not the case anymore. Personally, he’s also concerned about the extremely low self-sufficiency rate of this town. Seeing that this involves everyone, he plans to hold a meeting at a more appropriate another time.

Satoya repeats Hibiki’s words, and tells everyone to solve this together. It’s dangerous now to be too uneasy, so they should try to act without panicking. Thanks to them, the tension eases up. Just then, both of them spot Megumi. and note that it must be hard on her. Megumi wonders to herself as to why they can worry about other people. Satoya asks if she’ll raise her store prices too, and truth be told she hasn’t thought about this before. That’s most probably the case though. Hibiki tells her to come to them if she ever has any troubles – adding that this was what Satoya wanted to say to her. Satoya gets embarrassed, but Hibiki soon makes his leave before the former can say anything else. Satoya bids farewell to Megumi, before leaving too.

Swaying in the threshold

Megumi returns to the store. She bought her usual groceries, and it cost her way more than expected. She certainly can’t continue this way. For a food business like hers, the water services taxes and increased store prices now are a matter of life and death for her. She can buy at Beniichi, but not fresh produces as they can’t keep for long. Megumi is also unwilling to increase her prices, as that means changing Hotaru’s ideal. At a loss, Megumi stops cleaning and sits down and buries her head on the table. Hibiki and co. are working hard to gain back their daily lives. And she wishes for those unchanging days. But unlike her, they’re walking in the sun, heading forward and actively interacting with others. Right now, she’s struggling with the wave called “change”, and swaying in a small boat. She has no clue as to where the boat is heading for – will it go with the flow to an unknown destination, or will she take out the oars to row against the tide.

Receive the dazzling smile

Before realising, it’s night time already. Megumi goes outside to close the store, and is surprised to find Satoya standing outside. He’s actually here to see her, and he asks to talk to her for a bit. Inside, Satoya recalls that he told her that he’ll come up with a proper reason for giving her the glass bead by their next meeting but he hasn’t yet. As for yesterday, returning the containers to her was probably just an excuse to see her. He apologises on this note, and also adds that it felt as though Megumi was acting differently yesterday and today, unlike when they were at the festival. He offers to listen to her if she has anything troubling her. Megumi feels bad for making him worry, but she can only apologise in return. As Satoya notes the time, he asks if Mamoru is home. Upon learning that he isn’t, Satoya apologises for barging in when she’s alone. He can’t let weird rumours arise and excuses himself for today. Even though Megumi did want to place a distance in between them, for some reason she feels lonely too. Before leaving, Satoya asks if he can come again. When she replies that he can as he’s an important customer, he corrects her by saying that he wants to come as a friend. This surprises her, especially as he goes on to say that in order to know her more, they need to first be friends. They went to the festival together so they should be friends already. Megumi asks if there’s a need to know her, and he replies that it’s to see her smile. Megumi can’t find any other reason to refuse him, so she agrees. Satoya beams in return, as he thanks her while leaving Megumi with her mixed feelings.

Absolute confidentiality

It’s been some days since the implementation of the water service tax. As always, its effects are significant and the prices of the goods remain high. There’s less people patronising Shoutengai, but in comparison Megumi’s store is the busiest it’s ever been. Everyone probably heard that her prices haven’t changed – apparently the dango store Hibiki resides in hasn’t either. Megumi’s been so busy that she hardly goes out so she can’t observe the town’s situation, though she can easily hear about it through the customers’ conversations. When asked about her situation, Megumi admits that it’s hard but she’s like to keep the prices the same if it can give them some form of peace. She thinks that Hotaru would’ve done the same. That night, Megumi calculates today’s profits but as expected things won’t go as smoothly as she’s clearly making a loss. No matter what, the more she sells the bigger the loss. She closes her eyes and lies down to rest for a short while. In the end, she chose to protect the store’s ideal but each time she’s faced with the reality she hesitates. Megumi shakes her head to rid those thoughts. Just then, Mamoru enters asking if she saw his fountain pen and she sits up.

Megumi: Brother, you’re a reporter right?
Mamoru: ……has dementia finally hit you? That’s right! My job is a newspaper reporter, do you know my name!? It’s Ooigawa Mamoru? Ma. Mo. Ru!!

Megumi quickly clears up the misunderstanding, as she merely wanted to know the situation now since he’s a reporter. He sits down beside her and tells her to read the newspaper if she wants to know. As a reporter they’ve a duty to confidentiality so he can’t leak out anything, even to Megumi. He knows that she’s uneasy and smiles at her. It just so happens to be the issue day tomorrow so he asks her to buy a copy and contribute to the sales. Megumi nods and Mamoru returns to the topic of his fountain pen.

The moonlight which gives rise to tranquility

The next morning, Megumi goes to buy the newspaper but it’s all sold out – even those on rent are all out at the moment. Just then, Ayame approaches her and reads out the headlines to her: An unprecedented economic crisis has suddenly attacked Koukashi. Tossed by the rapids what will happen to Koukashi now? Due to the water service taxes, the increased price of goods and related facilities, some people aren’t making any profit and are considering folding up. Well, one can guess as much by observing the town. Ayame gives Megumi the newspapers to read, and asks about her store. Megumi explains that she wants to stick to the store’s ideal. Previously, Koukaseinendan also said that everyone needs to come together and not fight – being stirred unnecessarily by the uneasiness is the most dangerous. Megumi agrees, for if Shoutengai panics and prioritises its own profit, then everyone else will panic too. They have the Dokusenkounyuuken so all those imported goods shouldn’t have any effect from the water service taxes. By right, the prices shouldn’t change that much. Everyone is connected and dependent on each other. There’s no helping it with the new tax, it’s their punishment for being so extravagant till now. But if they panic, then they wouldn’t know what’s the right solution anymore.

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Ayame sees that she’s not just thinking about herself. She’s sure that Hibiki and Satoya would be saved by that her. Recently, Shoutengai has been complaining more to Koukaseinendan despite the latter explaining things to them simply. Yet they refuse to listen. She’s sure that they’d be encouraged to see the likes of Megumi working hard instead of raising her prices despite the tough situation. Megumi remarks that she’s merely going with Hotaru’s ideal, but Ayame point out that the current owner is still her – she choose to continue Hotaru’s ideal. She won’t ask Megumi to become the sun. The sun shines on everything strongly and everyone admires it for they can’t live without it. Not everyone can become the sun, only people like Hibiki and Satoya who can release that strong light. So Megumi can become the moon instead. It’s not as bright, but it’s a gentle light. People can gaze at it without squinting, and it lights up the pathway at night. There are unexpectedly many existences which need such a moon.

Smouldering at the glass bead

As Megumi remains silent, Ayame apologises for the odd topic. But to Megumi, Ayame’s words always never occurred to her so it helps her. She also has a warm feeling when with her, similar to how she would feel with Hotaru. Perhaps that why Megumi can easily open up to her. Ayame notices the glass bead and after some hesitation, Megumi explains that it was from Satoya. As Ayame is reminded of who he is, she remarks that he looks alike to her husband when he was young. Megumi is surprised to hear this, as she never heard about this before. Ayame thinks that Satoya must be serious, and asks how Megumi got to receive the glass bead. Megumi thinks that perhaps she should return something after all, but Ayame points out that no matter what motive Satoya had he chose to give it to her. She doesn’t think he’ll give something to a girl he doesn’t like though. Thinking about it, Megumi only got to know him recently so she doesn’t know much about him. Ayame doesn’t mean to put down any one of them. It’s just that both sides should have their own resolution. After that, they talked a bit more about Satoya before parting ways. Megumi looks down at the glass bead, and wonders what Satoya felt when giving this to her.

Fading trust

After the last customer leaves, Megumi goes to close the store. Recently there’s been a lot of customers, so her closing time has been getting later. Outside, she hears a familiar voice – it’s Satoya, going around asking people for their cooperation. He soon notices her. It’s not long before he passes her a piece of paper. Koukaseinendan will be holding a meeting for Shoutengai this weekend on the day of Beniichi to talk about the current situation and gather their opinions. To overcome this crisis, they need everyone. Megumi agrees to come, and Satoya thanks her as he feels somewhat relieved to see her. Recently he’s been feeling tired but he has to continue working hard. Seeing that he’s still carrying a bundle of papers, Megumi recalls Ayame’s words and thinks that he must be having a hard time. Satoya takes his leave as he returns to work. At night, Megumi reads the paper: the meeting is to be held the day after tomorrow at the central plaza in the evening, to discuss the situation now and to request to revise Dokusenkounyuuken. Mamoru enters and apparently he received the notice too. When he hears that Megumi’s planning to go, he remarks that it’s rare for her. Recently, she’s more interested in her surroundings and more proactive. Megumi replies that it concerns their lives after all. She recalls Satoya’s words to him too. That’s why she isn’t increasing her prices. She’s sure other stores have their own situation too, that’s why they need to talk it out. Though this meeting may not dramatically change the situation, but she believes that it’s a trigger.

A transient and fragile thing

It’s the day of Beniichi. Megumi heads to the harbour and there’s a lot more people than usual – people from Karyuugai and Onsengai have come to observe too. As Megumi goes to line up, it’s observed that there are more police than usual. A government official whispers something to the police, before they disperse and the official addresses the people. He announces that Beniichi won’t open today. But that doesn’t mean the wholesale itself won’t be held. From today, a restriction will be implicated on the buying of goods. The government funds are at its limit, so they need to decrease the amount of imports. As a result, they need to systematically sell the goods so as to adjust the supply and demand as accordingly. It was decided in a hurry and they were only informed of this by the mayor yesterday, who is currently away. Naturally this creates a stir as the people start to blame the government. When things get worse, the police step in to protect the official who remarks that the people only use them when it’s convenient only to blame them later. Megumi’s knocked by the crowd and Hibiki supports her. He and the rest of Koukaseinendan go to ask the official about the situation. After understanding how it is, Hibiki points out that it’s almost impossible to predict and adjust the supply and demand. If they don’t handle it well, not everyone may have food to eat. And by right, they should seek everyone’s understanding first and hold a briefing session before passing it. With little explanation and no figures, naturally the people will disapprove. He’s aware that the government is in a dire situation, and that if they don’t deal with it quickly it won’t improve. But it’s ‘cos the people exist, the town does too – not the other way around. In order to rebuild the town, everyone is needed and doing this will only lose their trust which makes things worse. But Hibiki also apologises for seemingly blaming him, for the official is a citizen too, before he is an official. His strength is needed too, and so Hibiki asks for another representative to talk to if the mayor isn’t present.

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A silence proceeds, as everyone waits for the official’s answer. But Fukami interrupts the scene. As he and Hibiki debate, Fukami eventually brings up the garrison proposal as the easiest and speediest solution. He remarks that if they accept it, everything will be back to as it were before. Hibiki doesn’t buy it though for no tourist will want to visit a place which can become a battlefield anytime. Plus a garrison will require lots of land. This island itself is mostly made up of mountains, and all other land is already taken up. Fukami agrees and shrugs at this, for the world isn’t always that kind. He then asks how many approved of the garrison proposal at first, as he implies that many of them did before they sought Hibiki’s opinion – which was disapproval. But did they wonder why Hibiki knew so much? They never suspected anything for he saved them before and he remained behind for selfless reasons. However, wasn’t Hibiki indirectly leading the people to oppose it by only mentioning the cons and nothing of the merits of the grant? He was once a soldier, and there were rumours that he held a grudge against the army, so Hibiki was instigating the people to oppose for personal reasons. Hibiki calmly tries to deny this, but Fukami cuts him and says that Hibiki caused this whole situation. As expected, the crowd stirs and Satoya can’t calm them down.

Satoya quickly supports Megumi from the wave of people, and advises her to return home. Megumi reluctantly nods, for she can’t do anything now. Seeing Fukami walk away, Satoya calls him despicable for using such unnecessary information. Fukami questions if it wasn’t bad of Hibiki to hide his past, but Satoya remains firm. Fukami tells him to continue being an ignorant puppy, for it’s better that way as long as he plays around at his master’s feet. Megumi holds back an infuriated Satoya back, as Fukami tells him to thank her. Satoya can only watch Fukami leave.

Changed hearts

Tired, Megumi collapses upon reaching home. She wonders if Satoya knew that Hibiki was once a soldier. Just then, she hears a voice outside. It turns out to be the wife of the owner who runs the milk store. She informs Megumi that Shoutengai is holding an urgent meeting this evening. Megumi realises that this clashes with Koukaseinendan‘s meeting, but the woman says that there’s no way they’ll go for that. There’s rumours that Koukaseinendan conspired with Fukami to have the mayor pass the restriction, as Shoutengai weren’t cooperating. To be honest, perhaps Fukami is better as if Shoutengai is going to be destroyed at least it’s better to have the garrison. After she leaves, Megumi is left to think about what to do. In the meeting, the Shoutengai people will probably blame Koukaseinendan. It’s cruel to think that, when they’ve done so much for them till today. Yet they don’t see how hard they’re working now.

The town swirling in negativity

In the end, Megumi heads to the central plaza where she sees Hibiki and Satoya onstage. But there’s no one else besides her, it’s the first time such a thing has happened. Megumi informs them that Shoutengai is having a meeting now, explaining what they’re planning to discuss. After hearing this, Hibiki advises her to go there instead. If they see her here, they’ll likely to focus their complaints onto her instead. But Megumi came here well-aware of this. After a short silence, Satoya asks Hibiki if he’ll continue his speech since there’s one audience member here. But soon after, other Koukaseinendan members come rushing here as the Shoutengai people are behind them, storming towards Hibiki. Hibiki has Satoya take Megumi away, and they hide behind the stage. Satoya apologises as he covers her mouth, while they hear the people demanding for an explanation. Hibiki didn’t mean to deceive anyone, but still he apologises. Once again, he tries to explain that there’s no figures or quotations regarding the grant in return for the garrison. There’s a lot of unclear details so it’s not too late to at least wait for those figures. But the people refuse to believe him, accusing him of opposing for he has a grudge with the army – returning their favour with ill intention. Megumi feels a mixture of disappointment and sadness. Just a while ago they were full of praise and admiration for Hibiki, yet all that has changed now.

Satoya tells Megumi to dash for it once he lets her go. Right now everyone is focused on Hibiki so she should escape now. If they spot her there’s no telling what will happen. Megumi shakes her head, and Satoya implores her for it’s not just for her sake but also their sake. He’s relieved when Megumi nods. After letting her go, he apologises for treating her this way but Megumi thinks he’s splendid. Satoya thanks her, it’s the first time anyone has ever told her this. Megumi quickly dashes off.

Weak heart

Megumi escapes to the quiet roads, but stumbles and falls to her feet. She remains there, as she feels the shame of escaping more so than the pain of her fall. Even if she couldn’t do anything, she should’ve remained there to at least watch over them, and help if she can. In the end, she neither sided with Shoutengai, or Koukaseinendan. And she keeps escaping from all that’s unfavourable. How different is she from her mother who forgot about her then? As Megumi tries to calm herself down, Wataru and Nozomu spot her. Wataru helps her up, and Nozomu sees that her hand is hurt. But Nozomu grips her wrist tightly, as he coldly questions if it hurts. Megumi tears up, but rather than the physical pain it’s her heart which hurts more – and they must be in much more pain than her. Nozomu guesses that she’s crying for his sake, as he’s aware that she went to the central plaza and saw that scene. Megumi confirms this, as she explains everything. Wataru thought that they were admired by the people, but Nozomu remarks that that’s how it is. When it’s all good, they cheer and flatter you. When it’s all bad, they turn their back on you. But of course, they are part of those people too, vulgar and diminutive existences. It’s the first time Megumi has heard Nozomu speak so strongly, it’s almost overwhelming.

Nozomu notes that Megumi is no longer the same as before, and no longer to his liking which is disappointing. She was once a more fleeting existence but is now completely influenced by them. She probably didn’t increase her store prices ‘cos of them. Megumi is unable to answer immediately, but answers that she was merely doing as Hotaru would. Nozomu remains unconvinced. Though she calls them bright existences, in the end she needs them the most. In that case, she should hurry over to their side instead of being here. Wataru tells Nozomu not to hurt Megumi anymore, though it takes a stronger reminder to get Nozomu to stop. Wataru apologises, for as a soldier he feels bad that the Koukaseinendan is doing what they should be doing. But Megumi doesn’t think that of Wataru. She decides to return to the central plaza. Nozomu’s words made her recall many things, so she wants to return to their side. She doesn’t know what she can do but if she returns like this she’ll regret for sure. Seeing her resolution, Wataru decides not to stop her but Nozomu remains silent. They part ways and as she dashes back, her feet no longer hurt for some reason.

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Act fast with the promising stock

There’s no one at the central plaza though, and Satoya is shocked to see Megumi there. He’s supporting a hurt Hibiki, who’s bleeding from his head, and the other members follow behind. Hibiki tells Satoya not to pursue the matter with Megumi, for what’s done is done. He’s really lost out to the unity of the Shoutengai people. Satoya can’t understand why he can still talk so casually. Megumi offers to treat their injuries at her place, and after some thought Hibiki agrees. Hibiki and a few members remain there, while Satoya goes to scout the area again. Megumi offers to change the stained bandage for Hibiki, but he refuses. Megumi does whatever she can now, and he’s touched by her attitude. She recalls that Satoya praised her before too, but it really is a misundestanding. Hibiki asks if her leg is alright. Apparently on her way to the central plaza, she removed her footwear as it got in the way. She tells him not to mind it, for she doesn’t remember where she left them plus it’s dark outside. Hibiki thinks that Satoya may pick them up, as his eyesight at night is pretty sharp. Noting that Megumi appears worried, Hibiki observes how they’ve become pretty close now. He commends on Megumi’s tastes, as Satoya is a good catch. He has the ability to attract others too, but Satoya is too serious so he’s often disappointed in himself. Megumi recalls Satoya saying the same thing about Hibiki, but Hibiki replies that he merely came at the right moment. If it weren’t for that incident, he may not exist now. But Satoya is different. He advises Megumi to grab ahold of Satoya while she can, for he’s like a promising stock. She denies this though.

Soon, Satoya returns and as Hibiki predicted he found Megumi’s footwear. Megumi notices that they’re cleaner than expected. Satoya reports that most of the people have returned home so there probably won’t be any more movement tonight. Hibiki gets up to leave and Satoya immediately hurries to support him. Megumi notices a wound on Satoya’s arm, but he insists that he’s fine. Hibiki tells him not to be stubborn, and gestures for everyone else to leave, leaving the two of them alone.

The moon which chased away the clouds

Satoya remains silent as Megumi treats his wound, till he flinches at one point and Megumi quickly apologises. Satoya denies that it hurts, and she sees that he’s back to his usual self. He then apologises for being imprudent before, and tells her not to blame herself anymore. Megumi wonders why he can be this nice and kind, when she doesn’t deserve this treatment. Is it ‘cos they’re “friends”? Before she realises it, Megumi lets slip that she doesn’t deserve to be his “friend”. At first she panics, but soon decides to tell him everything. On the first day they met, Satoya praised her as “brilliant” but at that time she was merely acting like Hotaru would – it wasn’t her true self. It’s just like how she acts perfectly when running the store, as Hotaru would. So she deceived many people, but she doesn’t want to deceive Satoya and apologises. Satoya tells her not to say anymore, for no matter which Megumi she is it doesn’t matter – they’re “friends”. And friends don’t have a relationship with vested interests. And even if she wasn’t her true self that time, it remains a fact that he was saved by her then. After meeting her, his way of thinking changed. No matter how small it is, if one changes just one path, the destination one reaches will be vastly different. Plus she isn’t the only one, everyone pretends and lies. He himself also has many things he isn’t telling her. For example, he’s often uneasy about his height, or whether he’s really useful to everyone.

He then thanks her for treating his wound, and tells her to take care of herself. He’ll come again and as he leaves the store, Megumi replies that she’ll be waiting. Outside, Satoya’s surprised to find Hibiki waiting for him. He questions if it’s alright like this, and Satoya says that they’d best avoid coming here for it’ll only give Megumi trouble. As if seeing through everything, Hibiki agrees. Unfortunately, Satoya still feels that he can’t win over Hibiki now. He wants to protect this island, and Megumi.

Changing circumstances

Mamoru wakes up Megumi, who fell asleep at the store. He informs her that he went for the meeting in her place, as on his way home he met the woman who was looking for Megumi. Megumi feels apologetic, but he tells her not to for they’re family. In the meeting, the Shoutengai president decided to have everyone raise their prices by 20%. This is to prevent customers from only patronising stores which didn’t raise their prices, especially food stores. He asks Megumi what she plans to do, but to be honest she’s unsure. It’s her store though, so he tells her to decide for herself. Megumi asks if he went to the central plaza too then, and Mamoru confirms so but wonders why she knows of this. When she looks down, he appears to understand everything. Mamoru then informs her that he’ll be going to the mainland for work the day after tomorrow for about a week. It’s not rare for him to stay out for work, but it is for him to go to the mainland, and for such a long period. Megumi then realises that she has yet to prepare dinner, but Mamoru says that he isn’t hungry so she decides to prepare something light instead later. After a brief silence, Megumi asks him what was it like at the central plaza. Mamoru’s surprised, for Megumi never involved herself with others before. He recalls that at first they tried to discuss about what to do, but they came to no conclusion. A ruckus grew when they started to blame Hibiki, even when people reasoned otherwise at first. Everyone got swept away by this wave of emotions, and in the end they went to confront Hibiki – as an outsider he was an unrelated existence from the start. They threw a lot of insults and some even threw stones at him. It was a cruel sight. Megumi holds back her next words, and so Mamoru disappears to continue his work.

Breakdown and collapse, isolation

The next day, Megumi prepares the store. She couldn’t sleep last night as a lot of thoughts kept running through her head. Fukami planted a seed of uneasiness, and in a flash that has created a deep gutter between the people and Koukaseinendan. Now, they probably can’t show up as easily in Shoutengai if not the tragedy from yesterday will repeat. All she can do is wait for now, and to face her own situation. She stares at her store’s menu. The store will collapse at this rate, and what the meeting decides is absolute. After making her decision, Megumi goes to find the president as she tells him that she’d like to leave her store prices as they are. Hearing this, the president goes to talk about this in a quieter location. Megumi explains about the store’s ideal, but the president misunderstands this as her being selfish (to get all the customers). But Megumi thinks that while they can’t live as luxurious as before, if they increase the prices it’ll only cause more chaos. The president remarks that a certain man said the same thing, and tells Megumi to do what she wants. However, this doesn’t mean that she’s being forgiven. From now on no matter what happens to her, Shoutengai won’t help her for she betrayed them. Megumi was well-aware of this happening. So he bitterly tells her to not appear before him again, and there’s no need for her to show up in future meetings. Megumi thanks him for all this time, before leaving.

Fumbling for your way of living

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In the end, Megumi chose the store’s ideal over its survival. Her store is busier as ever. When she told Mamoru of her choice, he saw no problem. He doesn’t understand why she’s apologetic. Even though they’re not blood-related, originally he was supposed to inherit the store. If it weren’t for her, the store would’ve long closed down. To be honest, he feels thankful to her. He could choose to pursue his dream and do what he likes, so there’s no way he’ll complain about her choice. This store is hers so what she decides is correct, at least that’s how he thinks. After receiving those words and resolving herself, Megumi opened the store with a new constraint. In order to minimise spending, she’ll make use of what’s in stock and avoid going out to shop. What she bought at the previous Beniichi, is the last she has. While she’s prepared for the store to make a loss, she also wants to continue this store for as long as possible. As such, she had to removed a section of the menu she could offer. In other end, the customers’ response was better than expected though it’s probably ‘cos her prices are the same. Still, Megumi remains uneasy for what’s left in stock won’t last forever. And while the Shoutengai people hasn’t said anything, the quietness is intimidating too. But she feels fulfilled to be able to satisfy the customers who still patronise her store. She wonders how Hibiki and Satoya are, for she hasn’t met them since that day and none of the customers talk about them. At the counter, Nozomu remarks that he liked her listlessness look when she’s thinking . But she’s different now which is regrettable. As usual Nozomu’s gaze is challenging, but for some reason he continues to visit the store. When asked for the reason, Nozomu averts her gaze and replies that it’s merely ‘cos he likes the hiyashi ame. There’s no other reason so she can be rest assured.

Don’t let even the red mark disappear

It’s yet another day as dawn arrives. Megumi fell asleep immediately yesterday as she was tired, and didn’t manage to clear up the store. She notes that there isn’t much time left and quickly prepares the store. Megumi feels abject, for Hotaru had more customers back then but did everything on her own. She’s merely acting like Hotaru, but Megumi only has this to do. She accidentally cuts her finger with the knife, but rather than the pain the sadness bits at her. She can’t help but want to hear Satoya’s voice. At the end of the day, Megumi finishes clearing up and goes to rest in her room. She gazes outside and the moonlight shines inside, gently lighting up the darkness. It’s pretty enough to calm her heart. Megumi then looks at the glass bead. At first, it was painful when she was together with Satoya for her colourless world was being forcefully coloured. But now it feels more comfortable than it seems. Even though it hasn’t been that long since they met, Megumi wonders why she’s so attracted. It’s weird that she can’t find a reason for this, or a decisive turning point. Megumi grips the glass bead tightly, and when she releases it there’s a red mark impressed on her hand – though it’ll probably disappear soon.

Megumi returns to the store to prepare for the next day. The quiet store should be a place of peacefulness but she feels lonely instead. Megumi switches on the radio but she freezes as she hears Fukami’s voice come on. Unable to take it anymore, she switches it off. Fukami was hired by the government from the mainland, probably so that he’ll take a third person’s perspective. It’s true that if he doesn’t things may not progress. But at the same time it also creates a a rift between him and the people, especially when Fukami keeps pressing forward. Megumi wonders if there isn’t a better way for both the government and people to compromise.

The person who is refused

A few days later, Megumi wakes up one morning and is unable to fall asleep. So she gets up to prepare the store earlier than usual. Just then, she hears noises outside, something knocking continuously against the walls. Megumi calls for Mamoru, only to realise that he’s away now – she’s alone now. She calms herself down, and traces the origin. But upon arriving at the store, the sound stops. As she checks outside, she hears footsteps getting further. Megumi sees pieces of paper stuck all over, with the words “betrayer” written on them.

The moment the heart breaks down

Days pass, and even till today the harassment continues. Sometimes it’s not just pieces of paper stuck, they even write on her walls with ink. Megumi can guess who the culprit is, but she has no right to blame as she knew from the start that this would happen and chose this path. She just needs to endure this expected punishment, but it’s taking a toll on her mentally and physically. Once she’s conscious of the noises, she can’t fall asleep and she needs to clean up the mess after they’re gone. Coupled with the busy work days and sleepless nights, it’s getting to her. It’s painful. But Megumi tells herself that she can’t disappoint the customers who patronise her store. After all, what was the reason she continued the store? It’s all to protect it, and Hotaru’s ideal. She would feel better if she could talk to somebody – but as much as she’d like to rely on Satoya she can’t. She can’t trouble him. Just then, a customer calls to her and she has to attend to him. But for some reason her feet is heavy and her vision blurs. She needs to hang in there, it’s ‘cos she’s like this that she’s being denied and not needed by anyone. In her heart, Megumi apologises to Hotaru for not being able to protect her important store, and apologises to Mamoru for being selfish and troubling him. If she meets that person, surely her feelings will overflow. Megumi then blacks out.

True feelings

This is in Satoya’s perspective. Karyuugai is an area surrounded by walls, except for a large entrance door. It’s the only gateway outside. Among the women who work there, those who haven’t returned their debt to the store they’re hired at aren’t allowed outside. If they do so, heavy punishment awaits them. That was decided on by those managing the stores ever since this area was formed. Those who break that clause and escape, and those who help them to escape, all face punishment till today. In such a place, Satoya worked as a manservant at Koukarou. His mother worked there and got pregnant with him, and passed away when giving birth to him. Before he reached at age when he could discern things, he was already taught several times as to what this place does. With nowhere else to go and with nothing to do, Satoya started to work as a manservant there in order to survive. All the women who worked there were cheerful, though till today he doesn’t know the reason why. He felt as though if they don’t do so, they’ll crumble. But it’s a bit different from judging them as being mentally strong. In the past, he used to think “what if I was born as a girl”. Surely he’ll be in the same position, but as expected he doesn’t understand – it’ll probably be something he doesn’t understand for life. Still, it would be arrogant of him to just pity them as a manservant himself. Still, he thought that he should do all that he can. This was the place he was born in, and he thought that it would be the place he’ll die too.

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At the central plaza, Hibiki asks Satoya to join him for his rounds of the town. It’s been a year since the disaster. At that time, everyone was in a panic with no one to initiate anything, and the government responding slowly. But Hibiki appeared and swiftly gave them all instructions. Strangely, no one complained. At that time, Satoya had an indescribable feeling. He went to get permission from the okami, and voluntarily participated in the relief activities. Looking at Hibiki up close, as expected he was impressive. Soon, the government started to take action and so the people dispersed. It was as if they thought that everything was fine now that the government is working. The town became seemingly splendid again, but in reality it has returned to the place it’s fallen into. The people won’t act when unless it’s a matter of life and death. Seeing that, Satoya strongly felt that he wanted to change this place. As long as “he” is around. Seeing Hibiki as a glimpse of hope, Satoya gathered like-minded men under Hibiki and that was how Koukaseinendan was formed. He thought that things would go well. But of course it doesn’t work out like you imagine. As someone who worked in “such a place” he should’ve known better. It’s not wrong to have hope, but hope is not something you “entrust to someone”. By doing so, you’re relying on something. Satoya was no different from the residents, as he was completely relying on Hibiki. But he didn’t quite realise this before and like the people now, he couldn’t quite understand Hibiki’s actions and work, and even felt irritated.

There’s a need for everything to start from the small things. Yet he wanted to achieve great things without learning the foundations first. And so he kept failing. Then he met Megumi that day, who said that she’s merely doing what she can do now. Those words sent a greater impact to Satoya, than he felt when watching Hibiki work up close. Doing what one can do. It’s true indeed but as he had lost his composure then that thought didn’t cross his mind. That was just how stuck he was. And so Satoya changed his way of thinking. It’s alright as long as some people understand, for the more there are naturally there will be more breakthroughs. And so he started to about the distribution of goods and its mechanisms. Megumi is his benefactor. Before realising it, he thought about her more. His heart would tighten whenever he saw her. Without any intention he would call out to her, and worry over her. The distance between them shortened, and gradually Megumi addressed him with a gentler voice too. But at the same time, even if just a little, he started to see the darkness she held.

Back in present time, Hibiki remarks that it would be good if Satoya was able to see the bigger picture more. Satoya dismisses it casually, but truth be told he still feels inferior. That’s him being presumptuous too, for it’s to be expected when Hibiki has lived longer and also been to more places. But he’ll treat these feelings more importantly now. For he thinks that the moment you abandon that feeling of wanting to win over someone, is the moment your life ends. Being more involved with Koukaseinendan, his work at Koukarou has decreased. Though it’s also ‘cos he has to work elsewhere to earn funds for their activities. Thinking about it that way, his apologetic feelings towards Koukarou keeps increasing.

Horrid past

In a small village in the mountains, a boy lived quietly with his mother in such a world closed off from the rest. His beautiful mother was loved an trusted by the villagers, but she was never arrogant which made her more well-liked. He was happy as he only needed his mother, and wished this time would last forever. But no matter where it is, there’ll always be trash. The daughter of the village chief was jealous of his mother. That trivial and stupid jealously was furthermore ignited by the fact that the man she liked, actually liked his mother. Still, it was rare for such stupid thoughts to be implemented into action. It is common for “reason” and “restraint” from the surroundings to prevent that. But due to the village’s uniqueness, and her position as the village chief’s daughter – it was made possible.

One day, his mother merely caught a cold but she spread the rumour that it was an epidemic and had him and his mother isolated outside of the village to prevent further infections. The villagers knew that it was a lie, but unfortunately the village chief was away then to sell specialty goods. So being the chief’s only daughter, that woman held the most power then. Misfortune follows another. His mother never recovered and at this rate their food would run out. Many villagers admired his mother, but out of fear no one dared to approach them. Still, his mother built a field near their place but her condition worsened. And so the villagers would secretly visit his mother. Once, there was a man who regularly visited her since before. He came with food but when they were thanking him, he remarked that he’ll only give it if his mother accompanied him. At that time, he didn’t understand what it meant but his mother’s face paled before glaring back. In the end, the man left with the food and the boy wondered why he came. Ignorance was cruel indeed. His mother only smiled sadly as she patted his head. A few days later, their food ran out and they tried everything they could to survive – retrieve water from the river, get grass and bark and cook whatever they could. Still being young, he could not go out to hunt. In the end, his mother cried at the sight of him losing weight – it’s the first time he’s seen her cry and he was the reason. His mother apologised to him, but he never once blamed her.

A few days later, his mother returned with a rabbit much to his surprise. He was so hungry that he didn’t notice the bruises on her. After that, they started having a regular meals, and the men visiting their place also increased. If they came, his mother would tell him to play outside. The stupid him would play till the evenings, not knowing what his mother was going through. After some time, he grew somewhat aware but he couldn’t do anything still. Thinking that it would hurt her, he pretended not to know anything. It was a weak decision. They weren’t troubled by food now, but the villagers treated them coldly, especially the women. But his mother carried walking on uprightly. Wanting to protect his mother, he started to hunt in the mountains and also worked at the field. And so, he began to secure food for themselves – but then his mother passed away. Her condition never improved, moreover she was treated by the men in all sorts of ways. In the end he was alone. He asked the villagers to help with the funeral, but was rejected. So he buried his mother by himself under a cherry blossom tree in the mountains. His tears didn’t dry up even when nighttime came. It was all over. Now with his mother gone he didn’t feel like returning. He thought of dying then. He remained there till he passed out.

When he next woke up, the boy found himself in an unfamiliar room – and saw the village chief. Without the villagers knowing, he was brought back and adopted by an acquaintance of the village chief. He didn’t know why the chief went so far for him – he didn’t know the truth back then. But he was grateful probably ‘cos he was starved for kindness and love – so much for wanting to die back then. And so, the boy started to live freely. Back in present time, Fukami wakes up from a nightmare as the mayor comes to find him in the study room.

Overflowing from one’s palm

Megumi wakes up at Koukarou, where she learns from Ayame that she passed out and was brought here. She tells Megumi to forget about the store first and to rest, but naturally Megumi can’t do so since it’s almost like a part of her. But apparently she’s been unconscious for two days already, though there doesn’t seem to be any signs of Mamoru. Megumi is worried about him returning early though, and possibly troubling him at this rate. Ayame stops Megumi from leaving, telling her that she can’t return to her store now. Realising the implications of her words, Megumi imagines that there must be a lot of vandalism and such. As Ayame goes to get something for her to drink, Megumi is left alone to her own thoughts. Instead of protecting it, she’s hurt Hotaru’s store. The result of her decision has displeased the Shoutengai people. Megumi tears up as she feels regretful. In the end it was just her wishful thinking. Unable to stop her tears, Megumi tries to suppress her voice. She hears the door open but can’t bring herself to look up in this condition.

Her tears……

It turns out to be Satoya, and for some reason Megumi tears up again, probably out of relief to see him again. He remains by her side till she calms down. It turns out that Satoya was the one who brought her here. He apologises for doing so without asking her or Mamoru first, but Megumi is thankful especially since Mamoru is away now. She wonders why here though, and Satoya explains that he works here, and in fact was born here. He heard that his mother worked here before, and passed away soon after giving birth to him. So he doesn’t know how she looks like, much less his father. This is one of the things he said he didn’t tell her. But he feels better after doing so. He wondered back then why Megumi opened up to him, but more than that he was happy. As for him, it’s ‘cos he wants her to know. He tells her to rest for a bit more, but Megumi grabs his sleeve instinctively, worried as to whether he’ll really come see her again. Satoya reassures her so, before leaving the room. Left alone, Megumi reaches for the glass bead only to realise that it’s disappeared.

Outside, Satoya apologises to the okami for the trouble though she doesn’t mind for he’s paying. Though it’s the store’s rule not to have a customer over for more than a day, Satoya asks if she can stay for a few more days depending on the situation. The okami gives in, and asks if he’s fallen for her. She advises him to be clear-cut on this especially since she still has many things she wants him to do. Satoya reassures her that he’s not going anywhere and plans to die here. After a brief silence, she tells him not to get too indulged and to pay as accordingly.

A person’s kindness

The next morning, Ayame tells Megumi that her store has been temporarily closed. While Megumi doesn’t fully approve of this, thinking about her the result of her actions made the store close down. The food would’ve already gone bad by now so either way the store would probably be closed. Still, she’s concerned about the store. Ayame persuades her to rest for a bit more, and to rely on others more. They’re acquaintances after all. She was once like Megumi before, so she’s worried and wants Megumi to be happy. Just then, Ayame recalls that she has a lesson now and hurries off.

A person with value, a person without value

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The room grows quiet and it’s as if Megumi’s all alone in this world. Feeling uneasy, she reaches for the netsuke it’s not there. She wonders if she dropped it when being moved here. Satoya enters the room and asks after her. He heard from Ayame, and asks Megumi to stay here for a while till the ruckus has calmed down. Even if she coops up at home it may not be safe. Even if it’s dangerous, Megumi wants to return to protect Hotaru’s important store – it’s probably just her being selfish. She worries that she’ll harm this place by staying here too. As if seeing through her thoughts, Satoya asks her to rely on him. She’s hesitant that she may hurt someone due to the result of her actions, but that’s wrong. If she keeps being concerned over that each day, she can’t move ahead. No one can live alone. Even just by living, you’ll definitely trouble someone. Megumi knows just as much, but wants to keep that to the minimum. When asked for the reason, she replies that it’s ‘cos she is a person without value. Upon hearing this, Satoya asks who has value then. Megumi agrees that a person like Hibiki has value. And so Satoya asks what about if Hibiki has a dog whom he treasures a lot – does the dog have value too? Megumi thinks so, for just by existing there’s the possibility that it’ll make someone happy. Satoya questions if it isn’t possible for Megumi then, but she isn’t sure herself. He remarks that he’s happy each time he visits her store, for her food is delicios. But even without the store, he’s happy with her. Both of them get embarrassed by his words, and Satoya decides to end the topic here. It’s true that there may be people who can do anything by themselves, but usually it’s natural for people to have one or two weaknesses. By being different, people can make up for each other’s faults and help each other out. He convinces Megumi that it’s fine that way, and so Megumi agrees to stay here for the time being. He tells her not to worry about the price, especially since it’s costly here. Feeling apologetic, Megumi promises to definitely return the money when she can.

New encounter

Satoya shows her around. It’s still not open so there’s hardly anyone, though Satoya remarks it’s usually livelier. Megumi’s room is on the 2nd floor, where there aren’t as many people. The last place he shows her to is the large hall, with a large tank full of fishes near the entrance. It’s not Megumi’s first time seeing this as she’s made deliveries here before, so Satoya’s a bit disappointed to not see her as surprised as he’d expected. Soon, a male staff coughs deliberately and as Satoya smiles playfully, he quickly explains the situation. They then return to the room as Megumi is told that the okami will greet her this evening. Satoya leaves for work, and Megumi is left alone. When it’s lunchtime, a girl of the same age services her lunch. Megumi decides to ask how’s the situation outside now. But the girl doesn’t know, for they can’t go outside. Soon after, she introduces herself as Sen and asks to talk some more with Megumi. She learns that Sen mostly does work behind-the-scenes such as cleaning or sewing. It’s not all fun here, but that doesn’t mean it’s all difficult either. After talking, Sen returns to work.

Confined to the netsuke

As Megumi somehow passes time, it’s soon evening. Shoutengai would be closed by this time, but it’s bright over here. Satoya comes to see her and Megumi recalls to him on how she met Sen, and had find talking to her. As expected, she’s lonely and so Satoya disappears for a bit first. He returns with a goldfish, which he took from below, and places it in her room. With this, he hopes that she won’t be lonely. It’s all he can do for her now. He asks her if there’s anything which causes her pain, since people think different and he wouldn’t want to trouble her in any way. But Megumi is already happy, but feels unworthy. Satoya remarks that he wouldn’t do this if he dislike her. He’s often told that he treats others kindly though he’s merely acting as per normal. Perhaps it’s ‘cos he works here, that he can’t help but reach out to women in trouble. But that’s out of duty and Megumi is different. He wants to see her happy and so he doesn’t want her to feel indebted. He’s happy as long as he knows that she’s happy. Megumi feels sorry as in the end she only keeps for herself. But hearing his words, she decides to be more honest as she instinctively reaches for her netsuke. It isn’t there, and so she apologises to Satoya about it. He takes it out though, as he explains that he found it on the floor where she passed out. He could’ve left it by her side where she was sleeping but he didn’t. As he gives it to her, Megumi thanks him though she can’t bring herself to look back at him. Just then, a splash is heard from the goldfish bowl to break the awkward silence. Satoya has to return to work, and he informs her that the okami said that greetings aren’t necessary after all so she doesn’t need to pay any mind. After he leaves, Megumi stares down at the glass bead. The goldfish makes another splash, as if making its presence known. Now she has the glass bead with the goldfish design, and a goldfish – Satoya’s favourite thing.

Closed-off space

This is in Fukami’s perspective. Thinking about it, he’s now leading a more twisted life compared to back then. In the study, he observes that all the furnishing is imported. If the mayor didn’t splurge like this the government wouldn’t be having financial trouble now. He sits on the sofa, and waits and the coffee maker to do the coffee as he reads. His adopted parents gave him a coffee maker for his first gift. It’s not something you’d normally give a kid, but at that time he was so happy getting something that he cried – the happiness he had now and the unhappiness his mother had back then. After that, it became a custom for them to always have coffee breaks at 3pm over the weekends. Even when he failed during his first try, his adopted parents drank it with relish. The coffee is done and as Fukami pours it, the mayor bursts into the room frantically. The mayor cries out like a child that Koukaseinendan has collected signatures without his permission. As always, his explanations are lacking but Fukami reassures him that he’ll follow-up as he sips his coffee.

The next morning, Ayame brings Megumi her meal. She sees the goldfish and guesses that Satoya must’ve brought it over. As she probes about their relationship, Satoya appears. The two of them have a bit of a friendly bicker, and Megumi giggles as Ayame acts rather childishly. She soon dashes off though, as Satoya reminds her that she has a lesson. Megumi notes that Satoya is wearing his attire for Koukaseinendan, and Satoya confirms this. Megumi wonders if she could help out somehow, but he thinks it’ll be difficult as even though she’s allowed to stay here she’s still an outsider. Megumi decides to give up to avoid troubling Satoya any further. But he agrees to listen to her when he returns. He gives her some books from Hibiki, telling her to pass time with them. Megumi thanks her, and conveys her thanks to Hibiki too. After Satoya leaves, she observes that Satoya gives off a slightly different impression now – appearing more reliable than before. But she doesn’t know the reason for the change.

The labyrinth’s door veiled in the clouds

Megumi decides to read the books from Hibiki. But the first one on philosophy is filled with difficult terms so she picks up the next one, an adventure book for kids. The story’s happenings are almost too smooth-sailing but the last part was unexpectedly realistic. The protagonist’s sworn enemy, who committed a lot of evil deeds and killed many with his gun, was shot by that same gun and died. It’s a story where no one is saved, probably a story meant to teach you lessons of life. Feeling down, Megumi decides to rest a bit. Outside, there are a few tourists walking along Karyuugai – it’s the daily life in Karyuugai but not for her. Hers would involve getting requests, carrying them out, returning to the store, closing it at the end of the day, reporting to the client, etc. But now she does none of that. The more she thinks about it, the more she’s worried about the store. She wonders how long she’ll have to remain here, and thinks that she should take action too. But what can she do? Her only place was in the store, she’s useless here. Just then, Mamoru calls out to her. He’s heard about what happened, and tells her not to feel apologetic. After a short talk, he tells Megumi that he needs to head somewhere and will return when he’s done. Having heard Mamoru’s voice in a long time, Megumi feels somewhat comforted. Outside, Mamoru thanks Satoya, who asks him to visit Megumi again as she’d feel comforted. Mamoru remarks that he sounds like her family, and leaves Megumi to Satoya for now.

Is it alright to smile

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At night, Satoya learns that Megumi only read two books as she shares her thoughts. He thinks of bringing her a radio instead and when she politely declines, he tells her that he’d rather her smile and thank him. When Megumi attempts to do so, she gets embarrassed in the end and apologises. Satoya laughs as he notes that she’s totally different from how she is in the store, but as he said before he’s happy to see a different side of her.  She also shares that she met Mamoru, and Satoya reassures her that she’ll be able to open her store soon, they’ll help her too. Thinking that she’s worrying him again, Megumi switches to a brighter topic and asks him to convey her thoughts on the books to Hibiki too. It doesn’t seem possible for Hibiki to come here for now though, so Satoya suggests her writing a letter and he’ll pass it to Hibiki. Later, Satoya refers to this morning’s conversation, and asks her what kind of work she’d like. Megumi replies that she can do any household chore. Satoya doesn’t want the Shoutengai people to know she’s here though, so the kitchen area is out as they’ll come to sell goods to them. Apparently when Satoya moved her here, he made sure that no one was following them. There may be people worried about her, but more than that he feared that they would attack her. Satoya promises to find a suitable work task for her, before leaving for work. The goldfish splashes in the water, as it almost seems to be happy for Megumi. Megumi can’t pet it like a cat or dog, so she gently touches the glass bowl instead.

A sweet feeling faintly sprouting

Past noon, Satoya came to Megumi with her work task: to sew kimonoobi etc. for the women working here. After Megumi learns the procedures from Sen, she starts working away. She only realises it’s evening when Ayame calls out to her, as she brings over some food. Megumi has been pushing herself ever since she came here, so she wanted to do something for her. It does feel a bit weird to be this relaxed though, when it’s rather chaotic outside. Since Megumi isn’t aware of what’s going on, Ayame explains that Fukami has been pushing the garrison proposal to them. Koukaseinendan have been doing all they can but to no avail, especially with Hibiki’s situation now. Apparently underneath his bandages, are the burns he suffered from a fire incident previously, and it still hurts to this day. Moreover he got injured recently. Just then, Satoya abruptly enters before hiding himself in the room. Soon, a young girl, Sae, appears looking for him. Ayame helps to cover for Satoya as she manages to persuade Sae to return to work before her mother (the okami) gets angry. When Sae’s gone, Satoya apologises for the ruckus and Ayame leaves them alone. Trying to break the awkward atmosphere, Satoya explains that despite how Sae acts she’s actually already 18 years old. Megumi replies that it’s near her age then, which surprises Satoya. He almost appears to even gasp when he learns that Megumi is 17 years old. Megumi is also surprised to hear that Satoya is 19 years old, as that’s the same age as Mamoru. Seeing that this is the case, Megumi tells Satoya to call her by her first name instead. As much as he’d like too, Satoya can’t easily change his attitude from before. Megumi was rather hopeful for him to do so though, but she keeps her feelings inside.

The admired red fish

As a result of yesterday, Megumi can’t help but be curious about Hibiki but she can’t ask easily. In the first place, Satoya probably has his own reasons for not telling her. If so, she’ll pretend not to know anything till he explains to her. Though she feels bad towards Hibiki, she doesn’t want to worry Satoya any further. After their meal, Satoya brings a radio to Megumi’s room. They talk for a while till Satoya has to leave for work outside. It’s only to be expected but ever since coming here, Megumi hasn’t gone outside at all. As if reading her thoughts, Satoya asks if she wants to go outside, and she nods in return. So he offers to bring her outside at night to the harbour, adding that he wants to go too. He gives her some time to think and checks on the goldfish. It doesn’t look too well so he says that he’ll change the water for it later. Seeing him look lovingly at the fish, Megumi almost feels envious.

Sorrowful envy, stupid hope

Outside, Koukaseinendan is suddenly told to stop their activities by a group of large men. At the central plaza, Hibiki hears that Satoya behind to clear of them and thinks that Satoya will be alright on his own. At Koukarou, Megumi and Sen are sewing as Sen praises how Megumi is so capable. She then switches on the radio and Fukami’s voice comes on, talking about the garrison. It’s rather peaceful here so Megumi doesn’t feel any sense of danger, but it’s probably rather chaotic outside. Just some days ago, she would’ve been dragged into that chaos too. Sen has never seen Fukami before, so she asks Megumi of her opinion. Megumi can only answer that he appears scary to her. After Sen switches off the radio, Sae suddenly bursts into the room. The sweet smile Megumi saw before is gone, as Sae appears upset. She starts verbally attacking Megumi, even telling Sen to shut up when she tries to intercept. Sae demands to know what an auntie like her did to Satoya, before messing up their sewing work as she sweeps everything away. Sae leaves after that, as Megumi can only look on, taken aback. Sen checks if she’s okay, and apologises on Sae’s behalf as she adds that she’s usually not like that. As they clear up the mess, Megumi realises that Sae probably likes Satoya but for some reason she doesn’t feel angry.

Front and back

This is in Fukami’s perspective. He’s finished the radio broadcast, and returns to the study room. He opens a thick envelope, which contains information on Koukaseinendan as he hired a detective from the mainland to investigate. Even though he didn’t had to, apparently the detective investigated on every member. Fukami filters for the important ones but only glances through Hibiki’s as he already got most of the information. The next one is Satoya’s and he sees that he works at Koukarou. Fukami seems to understand now why he always found Satoya’s existence a bother. Just then, there’s a knock on the door and he’s surprised to see that it’s Satoya. Fukami recalls that he has his gun in the desk drawer. As he wonders how Satoya found his way here, he acts welcoming and Satoya soon gets to the point as he questions what Fukami’s real motive is. Fukami insists that it’s to rebuild the island, but Satoya remains unconvinced since he’s ignoring the people’s feelings. While Fukami feels that what he should protect is the island anyway, Satoya remarks that it’s no use if there’s no people. Fukami soon switches the topic though, as he recalls that Satoya works at Karyuugai. In that case, he probably couldn’t learn much though Fukami isn’t blaming him for that. Satoya remains unexpectedly calm, as he replies that he doesn’t mind what he says about him but he won’t forgive Fukami for looking down on Karyuugai. Is it that remarkable to have studied a lot, is it a crime to be ignorant? Fukami doesn’t thinks so for the former, but he does think that the latter is true. If they didn’t know anything, they wouldn’t have laws and a country wouldn’t function. If they don’t know, they should learn to know. Now, the people are receiving the price for turning their eyes away from the situation of the island. Fukami feels pleased when Satoya can’t say anything in return. There’s no meaning to ideals or hope. A brat who doesn’t know what reality is like should just crumble away.

Fukami adds that he always thought that the education level of this town was too low. So the people thought that the lives they lead now would last forever. Satoya doesn’t deny this, for they are rather happy-go-lucky. Fukami laughs as that’s a rather cute way of describing them. It’s more like they lack the ability to avoid danger and have given up on thinking, which makes them the same as animals. Satoya gets offended, but Fukami replies that he doesn’t want to understand them anymore. All he needs to do is the rebuild the island. Satoya thinks that there are other solutions besides the garrison, but he can’t suggest any when Fukami challenges him. Soon, Satoya reaches for the door and Fukami wonders if he’s given up. Still, he commends Satoya on having the confidence to come here alone. He doesn’t know why he came here, but he’s leaving hurt and with nothing. Satoya replies that he merely wanted to ask Fukami, especially since he knew where he was. He was chased by the people Fukami hired from the mainland, though he easily took care of them and made them confess where to find Fukami. He tells Fukami to choose his subordinates more wisely, though perhaps it’s also ‘cos he’s like that so he’s easily betrayed. To be honest, he doesn’t understand Fukami at all even after this but he doesn’t see any reason to remain here. After Satoya leaves, Fukami sweeps the documents off his desk in anger. There’s no use in understanding each other at all, yet Satoya doesn’t seem to know that. In the first place, that doesn’t exist among animals who don’t understand human language. They can try in similar situations, but they’ll never perfectly do so. Even so, he’s a brat who doesn’t know anything – in that case he’ll crush him with everything he has. After all, it’s the duty of an adult to teach an ill-mannered brat what the world is really like.

At any time in the palm of your hand

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This is in Satoya’s perspective. He couldn’t reap anything, though it’s Fukami we’re talking about after all. Like he said, anyone can bark. Satoya returns to the central plaza and acts as if nothing happened. He’s surprised to see Hibiki there, who claims that he’s feeling alright. When Hibiki asks if anything happened, Satoya denies this. Hibiki proceeds to apologises to everyone for the trouble, but they all deny this. Hibiki is really everyone’s hero, and the star of hope. Just by being present, he shines on everyone like the sun. But thinking about it, there’s no need to hide the truth and so Satoya eventually tells them that he went to see Fukami. He didn’t want to win or prove anything, and merely wanted to understand Fukami more though he couldn’t in the end at all. In fact, he got mad when Fukami blamed him for being ignorant. In response, Hibiki thinks that it differs for each situation, and you can’t say that for everyone. But he doesn’t think Satoya is ignorant. After all, he started studying when he knew that he didn’t know much. It’s already great that Satoya understood his own situation and is taking action – he’s no longer ignorant. Satoya is speechless, as he sees that Hibiki was not only knowledgeable but also loved by the people – but Fukami destroyed that. He tears up, but insists that he isn’t crying. No matter how disadvantageous the situation is, one can’t “give up”. Even if it’s a losing battle, what’s important is to have the will to see things through the end.

Flushed cheeks, aching chest

Satoya changes the water of the goldfish bowl after returning. As he asks Megumi about her day, she doesn’t mention about what happened with Sae. She notices that Satoya appears tired, but he can’t really lie so he switches the topic instead about going out tonight. Megumi agrees and Satoya brings her out after telling the okami. Upon hearing that she likes the moon, he asks Megumi why she likes it. She replies that it’s probably its soft and gentle light, though she likes it for other reasons too such as its melancholic atmosphere. It’s the first time Satoya heard about the moon being melancholic. As for himself, he sees it as more of a playful prankster since it appears like it’s following you when you walk, and stops when you stops. Plus it also changes shape. Thinking about it, Satoya realises that he has the character “moon” in his name too. They reach the harbour and Satoya recalls that there’s a stall selling hyouzu around here. They soon hear a bell ringing and Satoya explains that it’s the stall informing people of its location. Since Megumi wants to try eating it, Satoya tells her to hide while he runs off to buy some. She often came here when she wanted to be alone. Though she never felt anything before, it feels a little lonely now with no one by her side. After being in Koukarou, it felt as though something at her core changed. She then hears footsteps approaching and stopping nearby. She doesn’t want to do anything unnecessary, but she peeks out of curiousity and is shocked to see Fukami standing there.

It appears that Fukami has already sensed her presence, and asks her to show herself as he has no intentions of harming her. He doesn’t seem to remember her though, as he confirms if she is from the island. He recognises that he’s a rather hated figure now, since he’s only making the people’s lives more difficult. Megumi reasons that it’s not totally his fault, but she wonders later why she’s saying words which side with him. Fukami thanks her, and compares her to a moon goddess, providing a dim light in the darkness. When he sees her he’s reminded of his deceased mother, whom he would often gaze at the moon at with. Fukami’s existence was rather vague to her all along, but it occurs to her that he’s a normal human just like the rest of them. They hear hurried footsteps, and so Fukami takes his leave while asking her to keep their meeting a secret. When Satoya returns, Megumi decides to do as Fukami told since they didn’t discuss anything important. It was a chance meeting only. After the two of them eat the hyouzu, Satoya has Megumi lie down to gaze at the stars. He would sometimes do this while doing rounds. Soon after, Megumi turns to look at Satoya but gets embarrassed at the close distance and abruptly leaps up. When asked what’s wrong, Megumi dismisses it and Satoya doesn’t ask any further.

Ruined love

Megumi hardly slept that night due to what happened. Sen questions if she’s okay, while commenting that she’s sewing rather efficiently even though she’s spacing out. She suggests to Megumi to wash her face, and she goes to do so. Megumi decides to walk around a bit after that, as she goes to gaze at the fishes at the hall. She overhears women talking with the words “full moon”, “romantic”, “grass”. She’s curious since it has her favourite word, “moon”, and it appears that people have different views as to what’s romantic. When she returns, she asks Sen about what she heard. Sen freezes at the term “mangetsu yasou“, before explaning that it’s pretty much like a ghost story. A customer from the mainland told one of them about this tale, which is currently a popular play over there.

There was once a young man and woman. Both of them loved each other but neither of them noticed this. One night, the woman was unable to suppress her feelings and sneaked into the man’s room. But he rejected her invitation, thinking that he didn’t want to do anything immoral. The woman mistook this as him hating her though, and sank into despair as she holed herself up in her room. One day, a friend who didn’t know the reason for her holing up shared a rite she heard: on the night of a full moon, if you strangle the man who doesn’t love you, you’ll end up together in the other world. It’s impossible for a woman to succeed with her slim arms. But the woman is from a family of doctors. So that night she made the man drink wine with sleeping medication, before killing him. As if satisfied, the woman then killed herself while smiling. That night, it was said that the full moon was stained red. Sen remarks that it’s really like a ghost story, especially since the story ends there. There’s no knowing as to whether they really found happiness, and in the first place it wasn’t unrequited love and the friend never said that you had to kill yourself. Apparently the last scene in the play, would be that the man’s room completely red – it’s unclear whether it’s due to the blood, or to the red moonlight. Sen remarks that there is an age when women like these sort of stories though. Megumi thinks that it’s hard to think of people finding this romantic – but perhaps to the women who can’t leave this place it is. As they return to work, the goldfish splashes water as it usually does so.

Inferiority

Koukaseinendan are having a meeting here, so Hibiki visits Megumi that evening. She thanks him as Koukaseinendan has paid for her stay here, and Hibiki holds himself back from spilling that it was actually Satoya. He tells her that he read her letter, and comments on her unique interpretation. Megumi asks if they thought of any solutions, and to be honest they haven’t. They thought of getting information from the government but they’re rather tight-lipped. So they’re calling to the people again to take action if not the garrison will be built sooner or later. If that happens their lives will definitely turn worse. Even if they do receive a grant, Hibiki doubts that the government will use it for them. As Megumi hears this, she recalls Fukami’s words from last night. Hibiki adds that the government hushed up rumours of the water service tax, probably so that the people would take it easy and when things turn tough they can push for the garrison proposal. There’s a lot of uneasiness but at least they have comrades on their side. Hibiki then takes his leave.

Contradictions held, difficult world

Megumi wonders what she can do for Satoya – or is this feeling merely her arrogance? As she and Satoya feed the goldfish, Satoya recalls how there’s a fish in the lake which comes to you when you clap your hands. He explains that it’s ‘cos it’s being fed every time, so naturally it starts to respond thinking that it’ll be fed when you clap your hands. He’s actually tried doing this to all the fish, and so he demonstrates the same with this goldfish. As he circles his finger towards its open mouth, Megumi notices that he appears to be having fun. She thanks him for everything, since he must be tired from work yet he always comes to see her. Yet she can’t do anything in return. Satoya denies this, as it feels as though his exhaustion is gone each time he sees her. Plus they’re friends so it’s something one shouldn’t pay mind to. Friends – it’s a word Megumi should feel happy to hear yet for some reason her chest tightens instead. Megumi wants to thank him though, as she points out that gratitude is important in friendship too. After pondering over it, Satoya asks her to use this as a reason to accept his gift to her then. But Megumi refuses and a long silence proceeds as they look at each other. Megumi finds his eyes really clear and beautiful. She recalls her own eyes – dark and cloudy. Are these even the same human eyes, would she be able to see the world in a broader view if she had eyes as clear as his. For they’re cloudy, she can only see things up close and not far off. She won’t be able to see anything if she doesn’t go closer.

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She’s pulled back to reality as Satoya shouts her name, and she realises that his face is up close to hers. Out of shock, she stands up but trips and falls. It appears that she was so involved in looking at Satoya’s eyes, that she went up close to him – and now she’s twisted her ankle. Satoya admits that he was surprised, as he holds himself back from laughing. He only has some cream, so he helps to apply it on Megumi’s ankle as he explains that he’s used to doing this sort of tasks. She wonders to herself if he treats everyone here in the same manner. Megumi asks what sort of work he does here, and Satoya replies that he does pretty much all the odd jobs. After all, he’s been here since he was born. Megumi remarks that it must be an important place to him, just like how Tsuki no Hotori is for her. But Satoya corrects her as he says that while he likes everyone here, he doesn’t really like Koukarou as a place. So he doesn’t understand why the customers come here. Megumi thinks that he must be thinking for the women working here, and must have seen many cruel things even she can’t imagine. She apologises but Satoya tells her that she should feel proud of her self. He’s probably an exception, as everyone else who works here takes pride in their work. So saying what he really thinks would be smearing mud of their faces. What he should do is the protect this place, which is the equivalent of their homes. He thinks that that’s what he can do to return the favour to Koukarou. It’s the first time he’s ever told someone this, and Satoya apologises for the weird talk. Megumi sees a dark shadow fall upon his eyes – her figure is no longer reflected in his once-clear eyes.

The extremity of a foolish heart

A few days later, Megumi hears from Ayame that Beniichi has completely closed down and it’s become forbidden to do any business on the streets. The government added that anyone who disobeys this will be restrained. Until everything has settled down, the government will be distributing all goods. The actual implementation is still yet to be, but the people’s objections have almost become violent. It’s unclear what will become of the tourist industry when they can’t do any business. It’s rumoured that some stores from Onsengai and Karyuugai will be selected to sell to the tourists. But since Shoutengai primarily sells to the island people, it’s said that they won’t be considered at all. Even so, those who are not chosen will complain anyway. No matter what they do, the rioting will certainly grow out of control so it’s really a foolish plan by the government. There was a similar situation in the past – the disaster one year ago. At that time if Hibiki didn’t take initiative, surely the town wouldn’t have recovered to this extent. Yet despite him being their hero look at the situation now.

Both of them hear a commotion below and when they head down, they see injured Koukaseinendan  members being carried in. They are quickly brought in to attend to, but Megumi doesn’t see any signs of Satoya. Hibiki then shows up bleeding from the head, but he reassures them that he’s fine and asks for a drink instead. Megumi brings him to her room, where she serves him some tea. He explains that when they was campaigning against the garrison proposal, the government used force on them to stop them. It was probably Fukami’s orders, and the residents whom took so much effort to show their opposition have been scared witless now. Satoya is helping to disperse the police sent in now, and he reassures Megumi that Satoya will certainly be fine. Megumi recalls Fukami’s words again, and wonders if those were a lie – if not why would he be doing this? After that, Megumi spend the rest of the day worrying as she can’t bring herself to do any work and even pricks her own finger. Later, she hears Satoya’s name being called out and quickly rushes down. She’s relieved to see that Satoya doesn’t look hurt, and wonders if she should approach him as she sees him surrounded by the other members. Just then, Sae dashes towards Satoya, who lightly pushes her away. Still, she wraps herself around his arm as she remarks that she was worried. Megumi can’t help but avert her gaze. Satoya thanks Sae in a gentle voice and Megumi can’t help but look up – to see him smiling. She wonders why she came here, she’s totally out of place. She’s neither part of the Koukaseinendan, nor part of his important Koukarou family. They’re “friends” at the most, who only grew close recently. Megumi returns to her room.

Justification of one’s existence

In the end, Megumi didn’t go to see Satoya. He’s busy so it can’t be helped, but truth be told Megumi hoped that he would come to her room – despite the fact that she couldn’t approach him back then. The goldfish makes another splash, as if comforting her. As she thanks it, she thinks to herself that she wants to see Satoya. Ayame enters the room, as she conveys everyone’s gratitude as Megumi did a careful job treating their injuries. She notices that Megumi doesn’t look well, and takes away the kimono from her as she tells her to stop working. Megumi asks why Koukaseinendan came here, and Ayame explains that they can’t really go elsewhere with the situation now so they offered their place. They continue to believe in them, especially since they helped the town recover, yet everyone else forgot what happened last year. Though they’re not in any place to afford to be relaxed either. Thinking about it, Megumi doesn’t know anything about Koukarou or Ayame, so she asks Ayame to continue talking.

Ayame shares that before the disaster, the customers were already declining here. She heard from a customer from the mainland that there are no longer any stores like this there. In other words, they’ve already predicted what will become of them. There are people who enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere here, but most find this old-fashioned now and they want new things now. Everyone already knows that Karyuugai can’t last but still, she wants to protect this place. Megumi may not understand why so, being that this place forces women to do things. But most of the people working here have nowhere else to go. People may say that this place is hell, but to her it was a place that accepted and raised her. Megumi recalls Satoya’s words. Both Ayame and him want to protect this place but for such opposite reasons. She wonders why she’s protecting Tsuki no Hotori – ‘cos she likes it or to return her favour to Hotaru. Even though this industry is accepted y the law, most people will still point and say that they’re “evil”. Ayame’s sure that those people never lived with any hardships. Those who think that the good are rewarded and the evil are punished can’t survive out there. Ayame quickly apologises for getting emotional, and sums up by saying that one can only accept the world as it is. No matter what people say, she wants to protect Koukarou.

Just then, Sae enters as she tells Ayame that the okami is looking for her. After Ayame leaves, Sae remains behind and acts hostilely towards Megumi, calling her an old hag since she should be over 20 years old. She goes silent when Megumi replies that she’s 17 years old though, before demanding if Megumi wants to win with that. She comments on how dark Megumi is, and how she only waits for the men to help her. Sae gets annoyed when people think that they must be most unfortunate in this world. She saw that Megumi was there when Satoya returned, but ran away. She tells Megumi not to expect to always be protected, and to return as there’s no place for her here. After storming away, cold tears stream down Megumi’s face. If she could, she’d rather return to how it was before.

Brother’s thoughtfulness

Megumi does some sewing to calm herself down but she still can’t forget Sae’s words. People would usually always nod along to someone else if they’re saying hateful thing. That’s the only level of interaction she’s had so far, and never had to collide with any negative emotions. That’s why she could only take the verbal attack. She possesses no immunity to it since she never experienced any of the like before, and she couldn’t say anything in return. It’s the same with what happened in Shoutengai. Mamoru interrupts her thoughts as he enters. The work he has to do still isn’t done, but he feels at ease knowing that she’s here. He pats her head, and she remarks that he really feels like an older brother now. He notes that she still hasn’t eaten, and tells her to be careful for if she collapses they’ll be people who will be worried. Satoya said the same to her before, and Megumi asks who will be worried. Mamoru tells her that there certainly will be such as himself, Hibiki, Ayame and Satoya. But for some reason she appears down instead. Megumi remains quiet, and Mamoru offers to bring her outside for a breather.

Be honest to yourself

They reach the harbour but Megumi soon recalls the time when she came here with Satoya. She starts tearing up while giving the excuse that dirt got in her eyes. In response, Mamoru says that he just wants her to be happy. There’s no need for her to be tied down by the store or him. He’s always been waiting for the time when she meets someone who would change her. Though the town and store is in this current situation, he thinks that it’s a good chance for Megumi to become free. Megumi feels that she needs to return the favour to them though, but he reminds her that they’re family after all. There’s no need for her to be so eager to do so, for they never requested for it. They just want to see her happy, so she just needs to smile and accept the favour. Megumi recalls Satoya’s similar words, and thanks Mamoru. Just then, she notices a shadow in a distance but distracts Mamoru and suggests on returning. When she next looks back, the figure is gone. She didn’t catch a good look, but she believes that it was Fukami for some reason. She wonders which is his true side – he who ridicules the people, or the he who approached her in a gentlemanly manner. She’d like to try talking to him again if possible.

I suppress my heart

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They part in front of Koukarou, and as Megumi heads inside she purposely passes by the fish tank. Though she feels better now, she’s reminded of Satoya by the sight of goldfishes. To her surprise, Satoya welcomes her back, and she forces a smile in return. She gives the excuse that she’s tired and so he quickly offers to see her back to her room. When he hears that she went to the harbour, he remarks that she must really like it. But an awkward silence follows, and so Satoya excuses himself since she must be tired. Megumi holds him back as she asks if he was hurt anywhere, referring to this afternoon’s events, for she was very worried. Satoya thanks her, and adds that if that was the case he should’ve come to see her immediately. When he returned he didn’t see Megumi in sight, even though he thought that she would be the one most worried about him. But perhaps she didn’t hear the noise downstairs and so he was hesitant on whether he should go see her. Before he knew it, the meeting had started. Satoya forgot that Megumi is a very modest person, so she’d have a hard time approaching him. Megumi tears up hearing how much he thinks for her, and apologises. She’s happy that he understands her so well. She asks if he’s hurt, and Satoya replies that he only got scratched. But when he shows his treated wound, the blood has seeped through the bandages and he gets flustered and hides his injured arm. When insisting that he’s okay, Megumi remarks that she wants to be useful to him. Ever since she came here, she’s realised how useless she is, so she wants to do anything that she can. Upon hearing this, Satoya apologises for he brought her here with the only intention of protecting her. Perhaps he was selfish to bring her here, and should find a more suitable place for her. Megumi tries to interrupt his words, but he goes on by suggesting that perhaps she can go to the outskirts where the dairy and fishing industries are. It’s only when Megumi raises her voice that Satoya stops. He apologises and says that he’ll come again, leaving Megumi alone in the heavy atmosphere.

The things important to oneself have decreased

Days pass without meeting Satoya, and Megumi hears from Ayame that there’s been clashes between the residents and the government in the past few days. So Koukaseinendan have been busy remonstrating the people. That day, Satoya comes to see Megumi as he apologises for his recent absence. He’ll have to talk about the issue from the last meeting another day. Seeing that he’s about to disappear again, Megumi holds him back by asking if he’s headed for work now. Satoya explains that they’re gathering people at the central plaza for Hibiki to speak to them. He doesn’t know if it’ll have any effect, but they’re doing whatever they can now and asks Megumi to wait till then. After he leaves, Megumi thinks to herself that she wants to wait for his return here. But Satoya wants her to move elsewhere. She knows that he’s thinking for her benefit though. Megumi can’t concentrate on her work as her head is filled with thoughts of him. She feels both at ease, yet uneasy when with him – that’s how much she’s fallen for Satoya. Just then, her sewing comes undone as she forgot to tie a knot at the end. Megumi pulls the needle and the cloth falls apart – like how her relationship with Satoya is now. Megumi feels herself tearing up.

I want to be by your side

That evening, Ayame notices that Megumi doesn’t look well, asking if something happened with Satoya. Megumi denies this, especially since Satoya is always considerate towards her. He clearly says that they’re “friends”, and she plans to remain that way too – though it’s a lie. Ayame observes how they didn’t make any improvements since she heard about the glass bead gift, or rather they backtracked a lot. She asks directly about Megumi’s feelings towards Satoya, and waits for Megumi to sort out her thoughts. Megumi comes to the conclusion that she’s afraid to know what Satoya thinks of her feelings, and that their relationship may possible crumble. She’s afraid to get hurt. Feeling better now that she knows for sure, Megumi tells Ayame that she feels both at ease and uneasy around Satoya. She doesn’t want to trouble him, and wants to act for his sake. She feels happy with he smiles, and when he always comes to see her even when he has to go off for work soon. Even though she tells him not to push himself, truth be told she wants him to always be by her side. But she won’t say that since it’ll only burden him. Ayame remarks that she’s really fallen for Satoya, and Megumi wonders what she should do. She wants to be with Satoya, but not be a bother. Ayame advises her to not think too deeply, and just act as she wants to. It’s better than to regret not taking action at all. It’s true that everyone has their own solutions, and so one can’t easily find the right one. But if Megumi asks for her opinion and increases the choices she can make, in the end it’s still up to Megumi to make the final choice. And if the result is unfavourable, she’ll lament on not having chosen something else instead. If so, Ayame thinks that it’s better to just act as you want instead of regretting later that you should’ve done something else instead. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everything, such as cooking.

Ayame tells Megumi to convey her feelings to Satoya, and it’s up to Satoya to decide whether her feelings are a burden or not. No matter how nice Satoya is, he won’t force himself with someone he doesn’t like. Whether Megumi’s feelings are rejected or not, what’s important is that she faces her true feelings upfront. Megumi wonders to herself if she can do it – but she has to or else nothing will change. Just then, Sen bursts into the room as she informs them that the police and Koukaseinendan are fighting in the central plaza. Ayame decides to go and check on the situation, reassuring Megumi that she isn’t that vulnerable. Megumi decides to ask her to bring her along, promising to protect herself. Though Ayame is surprised at first, she agrees in the end.

If I smile will I be able to feel happiness

Outside, they see Shoutengai people holding torches and searching for Koukaseinendan. Megumi hides under a hood and behind Ayame, when they ask Ayame if she’s seen them. They claim that Koukaseinendan is the root of all evil for sending the residents into confusion. They heard from the government that Koukaseinendan held a meeting today so as to implant weird knowledge into the people, so together with the police they went to stop the meeting. When there was resistance, things got messy and in the end Hibiki had Koukaseinendan disperse. They’ve caught some of them already, and are now hunting down the remaining members. Ayame replies that she’ll let them know if she sees them, and afterwards they head to the central plaza. While avoiding looking suspicious, they search around and talk in quiet voices to let any Koukaseinendan members hear them. But in the end they couldn’t find anyone. Midway, they walk into a group of Shoutengai people with the president – there are even a few kids. Megumi recognises one of the kids as one of those who bullied Noah. Ayame feigns ignorance as they advise them to head home straight away. They don’t seem to recognise Megumi, till the kid points her out as the one who saved Noah. Megumi’s hood is pulled down and the president tells the men to take her away. She’s disturbed the peace of Shoutengai, so she needs to be punished. Ayame stands before Megumi, and whispers to her to run away. She doesn’t think that they’ll do anything to an old lady like her, but there’s no telling what they’ll do to a young one like Megumi. Megumi understands what Ayame’s referring to, but she finds it hard to imagine since just a while back they were normal neighbours. Megumi dashes away at Ayame’s cue, till she can no longer hear the voices. But soon she’s caught and pulled by her wrist, causing Megumi to lose her balance and fall.

Tragic love

With her hands tied up, Megumi is pushed inside a storeroom. The wife of the hardware store removes her gag, and Megumi asks why they’re doing this. Another man replies that she’s being sacrificed as an example lesson to others, so that others won’t dare to throw Shoutengai into confusion. It’s all her fault anyway. Megumi can’t reply anything. The wife tells the man to stop, for there’s nothing fun about reprimanding such a young girl. They leave, with only a guard standing outside. As Megumi sits up, she wonders if Ayame is alright. Just then, the guard asks if she’s alright, and continues to stare at her even after she answers. Megumi wonders if he’s pitying her, and if so maybe she can’t escape. Megumi decides to wait for her chance, and tries to seek out his sympathy as she asks him to let her go. The guard appears surprised at first, but unexpectedly agrees and goes to untie her hands. Just as Megumi is about to thank him, he suddenly hugs her from behind after untying her hands. Megumi freezes as the man continues to confess that he’s already liked her since before, and asks to do it just once. He ignores her protests, till Megumi grabs a farming tool nearby and hits him. His forehead bleeds, and she apologises. But the man is infuriated and violently pushes her down, stepping on her back when she tries to crawl away. Megumi can’t voice herself well, as she tries to call for help. He grabs her collar and forces her to face him, as he approaches her closely. She can’t help but close her eyes out of fear, as she prays for help.

>> AIJOU (LOVE) ROUTE

Blurred feelings, the person you love

Suddenly, she hears the man groan and fall to one side. As Megumi opens her eyes, she sees an enraged Satoya. As if noticing something, Satoya immediately kneels before her and fixes her upper garment in place. He explains that he heard her and Ayame’s voice, and wanted to let them know that they were safe. But just then Megumi’s identity was found out by the Shoutengai people. Ayame should’ve been saved by the other members, so she should be safe now. For some reason, Megumi can’t feel any warmth in Satoya’s voice. As he stands up, Megumi grabs his coat and starts apologises. She can’t express herself well. Satoya remarks that she did nothing wrong, but to her it sounds as if he’s blaming her. When she tries to say otherwise, Satoya raises his voice as he insists that she did nothing wrong. But Megumi asks why he won’t get angry, in fact she wants him to get angry. Even though she couldn’t protect herself, she went outside in this chaos. In response, Satoya pushes her against the wall, coldly telling her to keep quiet. If she makes a ruckus, the other people could come. Megumi is speechless, as she stares at her stupid self in his cold eyes. His voice is the same as it was when they first met. It’s as if something has broken down. Thinking about it, she was too self-conscious. She thought that he’d be more worried when he came to save her, but he treated her coldly. Thinking that he was blaming her, she wanted to seek his forgiveness and constantly apologised. She was too simple-minded. They can’t stay here for long – the man may wake up, the other people may come. And yet Satoya came to save her despite the danger. Why didn’t she understand all this then. Megumi rubs at her eyes, and can only silently follow behind Satoya.

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I want to be imprisoned

Since morning, Megumi has been holed up in her room. She’s embarrassed of herself, misunderstanding the situation. No matter how much she loves Satoya, it doesn’t mean that he feels the same for her. Just then, Hibiki enters her room, with even more injuries than he had the last time. He asks after her, as he conveys that Ayame is worried too. He apologises, as he heard from Ayame that they were worried about them and came outside. It’s unfortunate that some of their members have been caught as rebellions. Soon after Hibiki leaves, and Megumi sees how everyone is working so hard – but she’s of no help at all. Though in the first place, she never had a place in Koukarou. The work she has now, was in fact only given to her when she forced for it. Yet she misunderstood that she was useful, using it as a tool to erase her guilt of staying here. She’s only able to be here thanks to Koukaseinendan‘s kind intentions. Megumi feels like disappearing from here. She wants to return home and see Mamoru, for he needs her. But then again he told her to not be imprisoned by him and the store. In other words, he doesn’t need her either. What should she do. As the goldfish splashes in the water, Megumi wants to see the sea.

“I love you”

This is in Fukami’s perspective. He’s at the harbour, and he recalls that he first saw the see after leaving that village. After the village chief brought him out, his life changed. Thanks to his kind foster parents, he could live happily without any inconveniences. His foster parents are gun dealers, and had always wished for someone to succeed them for they had no children of their own. So perhaps the way they showered love on him was not normal. Still, it was just right for him. The self-esteem that was cut away from him was slowly restored. His foster parents encourage him to widen his horizons, and so he went to Britain to study a lot of things. In the end, he saw that his own country’s culture was backwards in many ways – in particularly how women still sell themselves till this day. It made him recall his own mother. Before he realised, he wanted to change that system. And then, he learnt the truth about his mother’s death from the village chief. It was all his daughter’s plot, and the village chief kept apologising for he didn’t know the truth at first. When he returned to the village and heard that they were chased out, no one told him the reason. When he asked his daughter, she merely said that they did wrong. He thought that something was off, but he couldn’t say anything against his daughter. His daughter passed away from illness some years ago, and he feels apologetic that she couldn’t apologise for what she’s done. Seeing the elderly man bow on the floor, Fukami couldn’t blame him. And so the brunt of his anger couldn’t be let out anywhere.

Back in Megumi’s perspective. She managed to leave Koukarou rather easily, perhaps ‘cos she’s an outsider. The moon tonight is as beautiful as always. If only she could disappear like the moon does. But no matter how much her existence is denied of, as long as she’s already living she has a duty to fulfill it. If not, it would be disrespectful to Hotaru who raised her till now. Though if by losing her life it means being useful to someone, she wouldn’t mind that – even if it means falling to hell. Megumi reaches for the glass bead, and wishes she could return to the time when he bought her this. When Satoya still thought that she was “like Hotaru”, and when she could still be like “Hotaru” before him. Would she have been able to be closer to his side if so? She loves him, but she has no idea what he feels towards her and doesn’t have the courage to ask either. If she would be rejected, she’d rather remain at this distance. People can scold her for being weak, but she isn’t the protagonist of a story and doesn’t have the capabilities for that role either. So it’s fine. Protagonists are free in their stories, but in reality people aren’t. Everyone has different chains chained to their feet. Megumi reaches the harbour and sees Fukami, who approaches her with a smile. He’s here alone to gaze at the moon, and tells her not to be so stiff. He naturally knows the current situation, and remarks on how ridiculous the residents are, to destroy each other. Megumi can’t deny this, and Fukami adds that even if he didn’t interfere this town would crumble sooner or later anyway. Megumi finally sees that he was the one who messed up this town. If not for him, she wouldn’t have lost her store, and place of belonging. Satoya and co. wouldn’t have to go through so much hardship, and this island would’ve been peaceful.

Fukami notices the change in Megumi’s gaze, and repeats his earlier words. It’s merely the fate of this island. He ends this topic, and recalls that the person who was with her before came to his room. Satoya really had the courage to come alone to enemy territory, but he was also reckless. He notes that Megumi is angered by his words, but she merely replies that it’s nothing to do with him. Fukami agrees, but goes on to ask if she likes Satoya and if so why is she here alone.  Megumi replies that it’s one-sided and so has nothing to do with Satoya. Still, Fukami advises her not to go after Satoya for he doesn’t know the world well. Megumi doesn’t like him speaking badly of Satoya though, as a friend, and she doesn’t know why Fukami’s purposely telling her all of this. He then asks if she believes in “love”. She asks for a proper definition, and he defines it as “not asking for anything in return, and willing to sacrifice yourself”. Megumi replies that she does, for the person who took her in and raised her did exactly that. Fukami remarks that he thinks he experienced that “love” too. He continues to ask if she loves Satoya then, according to that same definition. She answers that she does, for she’s willing to do anything to be of use to him. She questions his motive, and Fukami recalls that when he saw them he thought that they had feelings for each other. Fukami asks if she wants to confirm Satoya’s feelings. Naturally she does, but she’s scared to ask.

And so he offers to tell her a way to easily know Satoya’s feelings – to tell Satoya “I want you to love me”. If he loves you, he’ll accept. If not, he’ll reject. Fukami’s words are true, for she can know Satoya’s feelings without saying her own first. But Fukami only says the benefits, just like what he did for the garrison proposal. Or rather, in this case the drawbacks are obvious – Satoya would reject her. Fukami asks if she wants to bet on this – if Satoya accepts it’s her win and he’ll retreat from this island, but if Satoya rejects then it’s his win. Megumi finds this hard to believe, and he leaves it up to her to choose. In return, she questions how he can believe in her. Fukami points out that she has an inferiority complex so she won’t involve others by lying for that’ll only hurt her. They’ve only met and talked twice, and yet he’s seen through Megumi. Fukami remarks that he’s here every night recently, so if she succeeds she can come and tell him. He’ll retreat as a result of their love. After Fukami leaves, Megumi is still confused about his motives. But she knows that he’s teasing her – but what if his words are true? Megumi stares at the glass bead.

Tragicomedy

In the end, she returned to Koukarou. Days pass and Fukami’s taunts continue to circle in her mind. She shakes away those thoughts. Ever since that day, Megumi didn’t see Satoya. Even though he would always come to see her when he’s busy, there’s probably no helping it when she showed her foolish side. She was really happy when he came to save her though, and she wants to see him, hear his voice, hold onto him like Sae does. She wants to bury her face in his embrace, and so cry aloud as he gently pats her head and hugs her. Megumi’s head is filled with these disgraceful dreams. In this case, she’s no different from the man who attacked her. As Megumi sighs yet another time, there’s a knock on the door and Satoya enters. As he greets her with his clear eyes, Megumi feels irritated at her own lust for him. She looks away while answering him, afraid that her feelings will be conveyed through her eyes. She thanks him for saving her, and adds that she won’t forget the favour. Silence soon follows, till the goldfish splashes in the water. Satoya recalls the topic from before, about Megumi moving elsewhere. Shocked, Megumi can’t help but look up as Satoya continues to discuss about this, as if it’s already been decided. An indescribable feeling tears apart Megumi, but she tries to control it for she doesn’t want to show her ugly side to Satoya anymore – her “real self”.

Satoya appears to notice something wrong. He calls out to Megumi, as he approaches her and places his hand on his shoulder. Inside, Megumi pleads for him not to call her name, to not touch her, to not treat her gently. If so she’ll start to long for him. Unable to control herself further, she starts saying that she loves Satoya repeatedlt as she looks up. Satoya freezes in surprise, before looking away. Silence proceeds, till Satoya remarks that she’s his friend. Megumi can only take those words as a rejection, and it hurts her. Satoya shakes her, and insists that it’s not what she thinks but Megumi answers in a condemning tone unintentionally. He appears sad, and she drives him further as she sits on him, asking what is wrong. She’s willing to do anything. But Satoya shouts for her to get a grip, and apparently without realising tears were streaming down her face. Megumi’s calm, but Satoya feels that this situation is abnormal. Megumi stands up, as she sees how ugly she’s become – she no longer has any shred of self-esteem left. Satoya holds her back from leaving, and looks on sadly when she insists for him to let go. Megumi asks if he’s stopping her out of pity, and he denies this. But Megumi points out that he doesn’t think anything of her then, and if he isn’t going to accept her he should let go. His eyes waver, and he soon realises her hand. Megumi thanks him for all this time, and gives the netsuke to him. She smiles while bidding him farewell, and leaves the room she’d lived in all this while. Left behind, Satoya can only call out her name.

First love

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Thinking back, she did a foolish thing. She offered herself thinking that she could entice Satoya. She wanted him to say that he loved her, even if it was a lie. But that would mean making him, with such clear eyes, say a lie. It’s quiet at night, and Megumi reaches home. There’s no sign of Mamoru. As expected, this is the place she should live in, it’s the only place she can do so. She’ll go see the Shoutengai president tomorrow, and try to talk things out. It’s probably just her thinking conveniently so as to escape from reality. What if she isn’t able to reopen her store? Just then, she hears a noise outside and plucking up the courage, she goes to confirm the source of the noise. Megumi’s surprised to see Satoya there, and can’t react even when he greets her with a smile. He didn’t explain properly so Megumi, so he came after her. He apologises for earlier, to have made a girl like her go to such extents. Megumi is embarrassed at the recollection of her foolishness, but Satoya only smiles at her. He explains that he’s a man after all, and has a lot of things he wanted to hide from her – but he’s going to tell her all of them now. As expected, like any other man he didn’t want to keep showing her his uncool side, as he loves her. Megumi is shocked by his words, as she confirms with him a second time. When he repeats that he loves him, Megumi can feel her cheeks burning and he starts laughing as she gets flustered. She points out how he’s extremely calm, but Satoya replies that he’s extremely embarrassed too – not that she can see so. Satoya remarks that his extremely small shred of rationality left must still be hanging in there. Earlier on, he was just inches from shaking free from it as he’d unexpectedly held back a lot too. He knows that Megumi was uneasy, and that’s why she acted like that.

As he told her before, he was born and raised in Koukarou, where his mother worked at. Satoya doesn’t like the store, but he doesn’t hate the place itself. He just doesn’t understand why customers go there. In him, flows the blood of the man who made his mother pregnant too. Thinking it that way, an excessive conflict was born inside of him. He wanted to disconnect himself from this place, but he couldn’t so in the end he decided to die there alone. Though he did still overturn his decision and accepted her. He didn’t say anything to her before, so there’s no helping it. In fact, it’s alright for her to blame him, since due to that he refused her bluntly. At that time, he was telling himself to get a grip too. He didn’t want to embrace her then to hurt her, though in the end he still did so. Megumi chuckles, as it appears that she’s a very simple-minded person. Just before she was extremely sad, but now she’s so happy. She’s never been attracted to someone this much before, so she’s being swayed around by her own feelings and giving him trouble. Satoya tells her not to mind it, and that if he tells her what she said earlier he’ll accept this time. Though she was pretty bold, and Megumi explains that a lot happened to her too. After hearing about what happened with Fukami, Satoya feels pretty annoyed about what he did. In any case, he promises to come again tomorrow. Megumi is filled with an incredible sense of loneliness.

Satoya seems to see through her, and remarks that if she makes such a face he wouldn’t be able to leave. If he could, he’d want to be together with her till the next morning. But there’s still a lot left to do. He doesn’t want to live in such a narrow world, where they have to throw away everything and run away. His words ring the truth, though Megumi can’t hide her disappointment for she doesn’t want to lie about her feelings to Satoya anymore. He prefers that too, but laughs at how easily he’s affected by her words to the point where he’s tempted to embrace her. But if he does he probably won’t be able to hold himself back. Satoya gets embarrassed by his own words, though Megumi appears happy. He promises to protect her, and asks her to discuss with Mamoru too, who will probably return soon. After Satoya leaves, Megumi is shocked by sudden Mamoru’s entrance. Apparently he’d been there the whole time, as Mamoru remarks that he should’ve brought sekihan as today is a memorial day of sorts – of Megumi becoming a woman. However, he’s shocked to hear that Satoya didn’t do anything.

Becoming an adult

After using what she can to make dinner for Mamoru, she tells him everything that happened as he eats. She doesn’t know what will happen now but she wants to help Hibiki and co. Mamoru’s happy to see that she’s matured in the short span of time. The next morning, the two siblings discuss about what to do with the store. Mamoru reminds her that Beniichi is completely closed and it’s forbidden to do business on the streets now, though it hasn’t been implemented yet. He’d support her decision no matter what, but the situation now looks tough. Mamoru also praises on how hard she’s worked till now, referring to the vandalism the store gets. He had to clean up recently, though some Shoutengai people helped too. It doesn’t look like everyone treats Megumi as an enemy. He then whines that he’s hungry, and Megumi goes to prepare their meals.

Reconciliation, and after this……

Satoya soon comes by, and he ends up discussing together with them. In the end, Megumi and Satoya decide to approach the Shoutengai people, while Mamoru has to settle something else. Outside, Satoya reassures Megumi that she’ll be fine. His words and smile give her courage, and Megumi tells herself that she has Satoya now. Satoya brings up the issue of her moving from Koukarou back then, as he explains that he’s already apologised to the other person who was slightly disappointed that he couldn’t get a daughter over. He promises yet again to protect her, but Megumi’s always happy to hear him say it. Just then, they hear a ruckus and it turns out to be some police clashing with Shoutengai people, outside the Shoutengai president’s store. Both of them hide and observe the situation, till one of the Shoutengai men threaten to hit a policeman. Satoya quickly intercepts and takes the punch, and Megumi rushes to his side. A policeman doesn’t take this well, but Satoya easily dodges his attacks and holds one of his knives to the policeman’s throat. The one in-charge has the police retreat, and despite the initial protests all the police soon disappear. Satoya reassures Megumi that he’s fine, for it often happens at Koukarou since he can’t retaliate when it’s the customers.

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The president asks why Satoya saved them, since if things got out of hand like that all of them would’ve been caught and taken in by the police. Plus they persecuted them all this time. Satoya replies that these are separate cases, and it’s only expected to save someone in trouble. Plus Koukaseinendan are meant to protect the people. The president thanks him, but Satoya tells him to thank Megumi instead for if she didn’t want to come here he wouldn’t have either. Megumi is unsure of what to say, especially when the president thanks her. He comments on how strong she is, to still be unruffled despite what happened to her store, and what happened a few days earlier. Recalling what happened in the storeroom, Megumi grabs Satoya’s coat without realising it. Satoya holds her hand in return. The president apologises for that man was actually his son, though it may only be expected that she doesn’t know since his son holes himself up most of the time. He seemed to have fallen in love at first sight with Megumi. Since she wasn’t cooperating, they did the vandalism and captured her to as to make her fearful. But his son’s case was unexpected so he apologises. Megumi replies that it’s alright for it’s already over, though her voice is possibly trembling. Satoya holds her hand tighter, and asks if it’s alright to just leave him like this since they’d wanted to capture him. The president remarks that he’s not as rotten as to do that to someone who saved them, and Satoya is happy to hear that though it would’ve been nicer to have heard that earlier. But if their way of thinking has changed, he would like the president to meet Hibiki to hear what he has to say and if possible lend their strength. Satoya knows that it’s a losing battle now. But he thinks that it’s important for the people to still come together as one and do something about it. If not, they’ll be worse off. The president asks for some time to discuss with everyone, and will let them know when they’ve come to a conclusion. After they disappear, Megumi wonders if she just came to a reconciliation with them.

In order to know his real self

In any case, they decide to ask about Megumi’s store another time. On the way back, Megumi asks if Satoya knew the policeman in-charge. He explains that they never talked properly but they did exchange moves once. It was during a training session with the police, and they had a group battle and that policeman only lost once. Megumi asks how did Satoya fare, and is impressed when he replies that he won all times due to luck – to her it’s no longer luck but a matter of capabilities. Satoya gets embarrassed as he denies this, even looking down when he usually looks straight at her. He explains that he often had to settle any disputes in Koukarou, and sometimes it’s faster to use some force. Megumi is confused as just now he mentioned that he can’t raise his hand against customers, but Satoya smiles and replies that those who trouble the store and other customers have crossed the line so they’re no longer customers. Megumi remarks on how his smile is exceptionally bright.

Back at home, Megumi explains to Mamoru what happened. He remarks on how things seemed to have gone well, and prepares to head out to report his findings about Fukami to Hibiki, as he reveals that Hibiki actually hired him. Both Megumi and Satoya are surprised to hear this, and decide to go together with him. At Koukarou, Mamoru shares his findings: Fukami was born in the city, and his parents are gun dealers. He went to Britain at a young age. He runs a consulting form on the outside, but in the shadows he inherited his parents’ company and so is a weapon dealer. Mamoru remarks on how Fukami was born into such good circumstances, and so probably can’t understand how others feel. Megumi feels something off about this, but can’t quite pinpoint it. As Mamoru continues, she continues to ponder about this. During the break later, Megumi tells Satoya about what she heard – back then Fukami clearly told her that it was just him and his mother. It’s hard to think that Fukami would lie about this, and Satoya plans to ask him directly later tonight at the harbour. Megumi wants to go with him too, though when nighttime comes they’ll still in the meeting. Satoya uses the excuses of seeing Megumi home. Hibiki appears to have seen through them, and tells Satoya not to push himself as they leave the room.

Love

Satoya remarks on how Hibiki is one of those extremely intelligent people to the point it’s disgusting. But he’s also saying this ‘cos he respects Hibiki – if it were someone else who didn’t know anything he’d get mad. It’d be okay if you were the one saying, but not others. Megumi asks if that’s the other side of love, and Satoya weakly agrees. They reach the harbour but there’s no one in sight. Perhaps they’ve reached too early. Satoya then recalls something, and takes out Megumi’s netsuke. He hopes that she can accept it this time, without any reason. Megumi gladly does so, as she attaches it to her obi. In the end they never found a proper reason, but Satoya is fine with it as he merely wanted to give it to her – though he did want to make her happy. Megumi replies that was she back then, and is still happy till now. But she couldn’t accept it honestly back then, thinking that if there was a reason she couldn’t keep herself going. If only it could be as simple-minded as eating ‘cos you’re hungry. Still, it’s important to think through things, as both of them agree that up till now they were merely going with the flow. Megumi adds that she thought that it was a smart and easy way of living till now. Satoya remarks that he likes that side of her, though he’s unsure if it’s her being modest or humble. Megumi wonders why he can accompany her so tirelessly. Though she’s the one saying it and he did say that he likes her, it must’ve been rather troublesome. He replies that at first, he was probably purely admiration, but then she said that it wasn’t her true self. It was probably then, that he thought that he wanted to do something for her. So it’s without a doubt that he loves the “real her”.

It’s a weird way of phrasing, but the real her is almost child-like. Before she could mentally mature, she’d already found her own goal (who she wanted to copy). It’s true that her capabilities as her copy are impressive, but due to that the real Megumi’s growth was halted. That’s why he was happy whenever the “real her” laughed and got angry, and when she revealed her true self and relied on him. Megumi is happy that he knows her so well. It’s true that she wanted to live well, but maybe the “real her” was really crying. The her on the surface didn’t notice it, but Satoya did. Just then, nearing footsteps sound the arrival of Fukami.

>> END: Single action

This end occurs when Megumi replies Fukami that she doesn’t love Satoya, as according to his definition. While she can say that she does, she doesn’t know how she’ll act when the time comes. Fukami wonders if they’re here to report their success, and in that case that means it’s his loss. Satoya doesn’t believe his nonsense though, and instead questions his motive for telling Megumi all that. Fukami keeps his charades up though, even applauding Satoya for being such a feminist – despite the fact that he works in such a place. In fact, the money earned from women selling themselves eventually becomes his pay. Fukami questions if Satoya really knows his place, and asks what does he understand – not that he cares to know. Fukami tells them to hurry up with what they came here to do. Satoya asks his motive for coming here once again. The older man replies that it’s obviously to earn money. Satoya notes that he isn’t referring to the consultation fees, and Fukami agrees that by building the garrison he planned to build his branch company too. As for why he told Megumi those things, he was merely killing time. His expression is as if he’s looking at something unpleasant. Once again, he asks what they’re here for. Satoya recalls that he found something off when he thought about it. Fukami usually talks with a lot of reason but among everything he clearly shows hostility towards one topic – the red-light district. Fukami’s expression darkens, as he immediately draws out a gun and points it at Satoya. He threatens Satoya to shut up, who sees that he must’ve guessed correctly. Satoya questions if something troublesome happened to him at a store, and Fukami shouts that he’s not like those men. Megumi observes that the situation looks like it’ll explode anytime, so she dashes up and grabs Fukami’s arm. A gun shot is heard and Satoya is hit in his shoulder.

Fukami frees himself from Megumi’s grasp, causing her to fall as he throws the gun on the floor too. He remarks that he never planned on shooting, so it was pretty much Megumi who shot Satoya. Hearing this, Megumi starts to blame herself and Satoya tells her not to be misled by Fukami. Fukami planned to shoot him from the start. Looking down at the gun, Megumi instinctively takes it and points it at Fukami as she stands up. She pleads with Fukami to leave, but he refuses to oblige. Satoya tries to persuade Megumi otherwise, for it won’t change anything, but Fukami continues to challenge Megumi. Megumi tells Satoya to not move for he’s bleeding, but he’s more worried about Megumi – he doesn’t wish for her to do this. Fukami remarks that to love someone is to accept someone. He claims that he’s moved by their “love”. He congratulates Megumi for having a world who approves of her. She’s loved by Satoya so her value for existence has been found which was what she wanted. In the end, she merely wanted someone who would accept her – which means anyone who did so would be okay. Satoya goes quiet as Megumi denies this. Once again, Fukami challenges Megumi to shoot while Satoya struggles to stand up and stop Megumi. But Fukam tells him that he has no right to stop her, speaking as if he’s giving out a punishment. For Megumi, she only has Satoya – but what about him? Satoya is sickened by his speech, but he can firmly declare aloud that he does love her. And so Fukami convinces Megumi that she has to protect Satoya, and the only way is to shoot him. Satoya gets so worked up by Fukami’s words, he eventually collapses. Fukami tells Megumi that she has to repay Satoya’s love, and Megumi quietly agrees.

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Pleased to hear this, Fukami dramatically raises both arms – once she shoots it’ll all be over. Satoya cries out that it can’t be that convenient, and tells Megumi not to be deceived. Fukami reminds Megumi that once she kills him, she’ll have to carry the burden of that action for the rest of her life – he wonders if Satoya will still love her then. But Megumi replies that she plans to die too. She can’t do anything else but to protect Satoya this way, but she’s happy still. Both of them will fall into hell. She hears Satoya’s cries in a distance, as he questions why Fukami is doing this. The older man remarks that he isn’t a philanthropist, so he’d planned to return the humiliation he’d received earlier on – which was why he drew his gun. Megumi pulls the trigger, but she doesn’t hear the gunshot. Instead, the voice of someone calling out her name painfully rings in her ears.

>> What’s important as a person

Fukami wonders if they’re here to report their success, and in that case that means it’s his loss. Satoya doesn’t believe his nonsense though, and instead questions his motive for telling Megumi all that. Fukami keeps his charades up though, even applauding Satoya for being such a feminist – despite the fact that he works in such a place. In fact, the money earned from women selling themselves eventually becomes his pay. Fukami questions if Satoya really knows his place, and asks what does he understand. Satoya remains quiet, and Megumi observes that Fukami has easily poked at the agony Satoya’s been holding all this time. Eventually, Satoya admits that he was born there and his mother worked there. Moreover his father was a man of doubtful origins and that blood flows in him – the hateful blood of the type of men who buys women. Fukami doesn’t really care for his upbringing as unfortunately it’s something you’re born with. It’s like how the child of a criminal will forever be treated as the child of a criminal. No matter how much time has passed and how much the world’s systems have changed, a person’s weakness won’t ever change. But Megumi thinks otherwise. A person who wants to make a just decision would not look at the person’s birth, but at other areas. Such as being able to treat others importantly, love others and so on. And if the people around you are weak and don’t accept what’s different from them and even attack you, it’s alright as long as you accept that and mature to the point where they accept you. If you change, what’s around you will start to change too. She herself changed her way of thinking, even if just a bit, thanks to Satoya. Thanks to that, she’s started to look around herself more. Satoya admits to such hateful blood flowing in him, and at times he even felt unpleasant. But he doesn’t think that there’s a need to feel guilty over something you’re born with, he learnt that after meeting Megumi. Fukami isn’t convinced for this world isn’t as kind as they think. You’ll be betrayed by what you believed in, that’s the despairing truth of this world they live in. But Satoya believes in Koukaseinendan, and vice versa. He questions if it’s different for Fukami, and if he lived all alone without relying on anyone and vice versa.

Fukami dismisses their words, remarking that it would’ve better if they got mad and hit him instead. Satoya asks his motive for coming here once again. The older man replies that it’s obviously to earn money. Satoya notes that he isn’t referring to the consultation fees, and Fukami agrees that by building the garrison he planned to build his branch company too. As for why he told Megumi those things, he was merely killing time, not that he expected Megumi to really do as he said. Satoya wonders if he admitted to his plot so easily due to the fact that they’ve no proof. But Fukami just looks away and asks what will they do – will they capture the mastermind before them, or kill him? Satoya sees no point in killing him though, for it won’t change or save this island. That’s indeed the case, and Fukami adds that the people here won’t ever wake up from the dream of their past glory, and will crumble just like that so it wouldn’t hurt to build a garrison here. Once again, he asks what they’re here for. Satoya recalls that he found something off when he thought about it. Fukami usually talks with a lot of reason but among everything he clearly shows hostility towards one topic – the red-light district. Satoya wants to know his reason for that, and persists when Fukami tries to avoid replying. Eventually, Fukami remarks that it’s presumptuous to want to know everything. A world where everyone is equal doesn’t exist. Poverty, hatred and jealousy are easily born. It’s true that it’ll be nice if what they say they’re doing will become reality – but it’s not realistic. If you want to better something, you’ll need to throw something else away, it’s not possible to raise everything equally. He ends off by saying that he merely hates it, and will leave if they don’t plan to catch him. He turns away, reaching his hand into his jacket. Satoya whispers to Megumi that he’s possibly carrying a weapon.

Megumi holds Fukami back, recalling that he said that he lived with his mother but according to her brother’s information both his parents are gun dealers. Both of them try to question this disparity and if what Fukami said before was a lie. Fukami continues to give ambiguous answers, and Megumi observes that he appeared to love his mother a lot when he was recalling to her back then. She’s only imagining so based off the little information she has and so is possibly making him feel discomfort. That’s why she wants to hear the truth. Satoya feels the same, especially being someone who was born and raised in the red-light district. So he wants to know the real reason Fukami hates such a place. Fukami doesn’t think they can understand anyway, and doesn’t want to be understood for some cheap sympathy. They persist, till Fukami replies that it’s due to his ideology. He may be making this up, but Satoya doesn’t mind so as long as he’s convinced. In the end, Fukami gives in and reveals about his foster parents, and what happened in that village to his mother. Megumi doesn’t think that it’s a lie, for if so he wouldn’t look this sad. Satoya questions what he wants to do then if he hates the red-light district areas, what would he do to peacefully rid of those places. Fukami replies that there are many solutions, and there are people already doing such activities at the mainland. Fukami finally takes his leave.

This is in Fukami’s perspective. He continues walking till he no longer hears the waves. He looks up at the sky. Though it’s also due to the lamps, the skies look cloudier than they were in the past. But one can see the stars better here as compared to the mainland. Perhaps he wanted revenge, against the village chief’s daughter who’s already dead. That thought may have smouldered in his subconscious. Due to that, he acted in that way towards them with no plans at all. He was angry at them, and at the same time he unconsciously saw his past self in them. He thought that he’d long threw away his true feelings, but to think that he still had strong emotions left inside of him. It’s indeed embarrassing that he saw the brat as an opponent. But it’s as he’s come to his senses, he feels extremely calm for some reason.

Looking back we’ve grown up……

Some days later, Megumi is talking with Hibiki and Satoya in her store. Apparently Fukami resigned from his post and left the island. Of course it’s possible that their love really drove him away…right. Though the reason isn’t for certain, it appears that if Fukami built a garrison here he’d receive some favours. Plus apparently he wanted to build his own company here too, as a weapon merchant. He probably didn’t use any force as he didn’t want to leave any tracks behind. Personally, Hibiki doesn’t want to reveal to the public the truth about Fukami. After all Fukami left first, and it’ll be troublesome to chase after him. As for the government side, they’ll have to rethink their strategy. It’s soon time for Koukaseinendan‘s meeting and they take their leave, with Satoya telling Megumi that he’ll come again tonight. The next day after talking to Fukami, Megumi went to find the Shoutengai president. They both apologised to each other – Megumi for not cooperating and the president for acting in an immature way towards a young and inexperienced person. To be honest, Megumi’s running her own business and so whatever decision she makes is her own responsibility. But she didn’t have enough resolution back then. So she was both thankful to the president for his words, but also feels at fault for making him say that for age really has no relation. As for the future of Shoutengai, they plan to talk with everyone another time and the president expressed that they will support Hibiki. As for the forbidding of business on the streets and the rationing of goods, there doesn’t seem to be any indications of implementing them. The town is still in confusion, but with Fukami gone it feels much calmer.

Ever since that day, Megumi hasn’t reopened the store. Of course there’s the issue of no ingredients, but more than that she doesn’t think that she can continue the store with her current capabilities. So she plans to keep it closed temporarily. When the town has calmed down somewhat, she wants to train and learn at a restaurant in Onsengai. Satoya merely nodded at her words. Megumi goes out to wait for him, and soon Satoya comes by as he apologises for taking long. They head to the harbour, as he remarks that she really likes this place. She feels apologetic as she recalls that they always keep coming here, but he reassures her that he’s fine with anywhere as long as they’re together. Megumi suggests going to a goldfish store next time, and on that topic she asks why he likes them. Satoya explains that since he was born at Koukarou, before he realised it he was already working. He was quite the crybaby back then, and would often cry while working and be hit for it. Since it’s a service industry, it would down the mood to hear a child crying – in a lot of ways. At such times, Ayame would bring a goldfish to his room to have him look at it till he stopped crying. That’s why he’s no match for her. Sometimes, he would wonder if his mother was as kind and warm as her, and how nice it would be if she was his mother. Since he was cheered up by goldfishes since young, he grew to like them. As they both look up at the sky, they are reminded of Fukami. He’s led an unfortunate life too, and is a pitiful person. But no him giving others trouble is another thing. Megumi can’t help but think that their lives are slightly similar – he probably inherited his foster parents’ company so as to return his gratitude to them. Satoya remarks that he used to think Fukami was a bad person, but he can’t hate him for some reason. He’s unable to separate things clearly. But Megumi thinks it’s alright for him to remain the way he is.

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After seeing Megumi home, Satoya is able to leave but then returns to inform her that he plans to go to the mainland when things have settled down. From this recent case, he’d learnt that he can’t protect anything without knowledge. Koukaseinendan is relying on Hibiki so if Hibiki is gone, they’ll fall back to where they started. So he wants to go out and learn. Plus, he’s curious as to how the red-light districts are being treated at the mainland. He thinks that it’ll be an abandoned culture someday, though they’ll just change the form and keep the custom. But Karyuugai is certainly done for so he wants to learn many things so as to find other line of work for the people working there. He’s already discussed this with the okami and Ayame, and gotten their approval. It’s strange how he never thought this way before. While it’s annoying to admit, Fukami has influenced him. Megumi supports him, but she can’t but tear up at the thought of having to part ways. Satoya smiles as he takes her hands, and recalls the day he first saw her back. If it weren’t for her telling him that she’s merely doing what she can do now, he wouldn’t be here today. He was always moping about the small things, wanting to achieve something big thinking that he would gain everyone’s appraisal that way. But he was wrong and failed to see his surroundings – till he met Megumi. Megumi doesn’t want to cause his determination to waver, and smiles back as she promises to wait for his return. Satoya thanks her as he hugs her. As the moonlight gently shines on them, their shadows become one.

END: Loving and being loved as you live

Today is the day Satoya returns. Though they’ve been exchanging letters, as expected it’s been lonely and Megumi has been looking forward to this day. Megumi closes her store earlier than usual, and goes to the harbour to welcome him. The Koukaseinendan members are already there. When Satoya arrives, Megumi rushes up to hug him. After talking for a bit, the members leave to return to work, and Satoya thinks of going to see Hibiki. Megumi recalls that Hibiki’s probably in the middle of the lecture now. After Fukami left, the government started to lose control and reveal their faults. It came to light that Fukami wanted to build a garrison here without permission as he colluded with a section of the army. When Koukaseinendan and the residents pursued this, the army retreated back to the mainland. The commotion all this time came to a disappointing close. After that, Hibiki created a place for the residents and government side to talk together at regular intervals. And for this not to happen again, Hibiki decided to teach the residents as he holds classes in the town hall. There’s a lot that happened which they haven’t told each other in their letters, and Satoya decides to visit Hibiki later. He feels like eating Megumi’s food. On the way back, Satoya tells Megumi that Hibiki plans to build a school here, and he returned so as to be a teaching staff there. He didn’t tell her before, as he wanted to tell her directly and surprise her. He also wants to help reform Karyuugai. He saw a lot at the mainland, and so first wants to remove the rule that one can’t step outside of the area, and also find jobs for those who wish to do other jobs. Satoya wants to return it to how it was before, only performing dance or the shamisen, though it’s only in the planning stage. Megumi offers to help with whatever she can.

In the store, Satoya congratulates Megumi on reopening her store. They inform each other on how they’ve been doing recently, and Satoya asks how the goldfish is. Megumi places it in the store now, though Mamoru’s probably cleaning the tank now. She adds that ever since she was in Koukarou, it’s been cheering her up. And in fact, it’s given birth, after Ayame gave her another fish. After Megumi makes his meal, she tells him more about what happened as he eats. She recalls that there was a thief but she managed to chase him away by making him trip and then throwing him over. After that she preached to him and let him off as he started to cry and reflect. Satoya’s speechless, as she continues to explain that she thought of becoming stronger since he wasn’t here. So she got in contact with the policeman he mentioned to her before, and through him he contacted an acquaintance that runs a dojo. So now Megumi she goes there once a week. Satoya remarks that he may very well lose to her now, since all he’s been doing recently is study and hasn’t been training himself. Megumi challenges him to try then, but then gets embarrassed of herself. It’s sudden, but Satoya proposes to her. Naturally she’s shocked, and asks if she’s alright. He replies that she is, and unable to answer Megumi only nods repeatedly. Reaching his limit, Satoya hugs her and raises her chin. Despite the initial banter, Megumi admits that she was lonely and asks him to call her by her first name. Satoya obliges, and she does the same.

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All of a sudden, Mamoru enters the room and both of them are shocked by the noise. Mamoru probably didn’t know that they were there. He merely gives them a lukewarm smile, and disappears to the next room as if nothing happened. He returns with some water, and heads back to where he came from. Both Megumi and Satoya only shout in surprise then, and Mamoru responds by explaining that he was cleaning the tank in the garden. He tells Satoya to head to Megumi’s room if they plan on getting along even better, before leaving the room. Embarrassed, both of them clear up the dishes and go to the kitchen to wash up. Megumi had been living in a narrow world all this time. Not wanting to discomfort others, she threw away herself and wore a mask. By doing so, she already had a narrow vision. She gave up on thinking, as she was both afraid to get hurt and to hurt others. She chose not to involve herself with others, not to be selfish, and not to stand out. But even though she cut off her ties with others, the foolish her really wished for someone to need her deep-down. Satoya noticed such a her, and approached her on his own will. He needed her and so she can be here today. He loves her, and so she can smile today. She thought that she was alone all along, but he made her realise otherwise. Satoya then tells her that he’ll do it if there’s another chance, before dismissing his words out of embarrassment. Megumi replies that she’ll wait for that time. She’s really thankful to have met Satoya.

>> IZON (DEPENDENT) ROUTE

Camellia complex

(Camellia complex: it refers to a man’s mentality when he sees an unfortunate woman and wants to save her.) Megumi freezes, she’s stuck in a situation where she can’t even harm herself. She recalls Sae’s words, that she’s always waiting for a guy to save her. Tearing up, Megumi shuts her eyes and tries to kill off her feelings since she can’t escape. But she feels something wet touching her and as expected, she doesn’t want this. Megumi struggles and the man raises his hand to hit her as she glares back. At that moment, the man collapses and standing there is Satoya, with the expression of a demon. Satoya helps Megumi up, unties the rope around her feet and tidies up her kimono. He remains quiet and when he looks at Megumi, his face twists into an extremely painful expression. Satoya then looks down as his shoulders start to tremble. It’s the first time Megumi has seen him cry. Could he be crying for her sake? She feels happy. Despite the situation, the sight of Satoya crying for her sake thrills Megumi.

Pity is love towards your own people

Megumi is brought back to Koukarou and Satoya treats her wounds. He explains that he’d escaped with the other Koukaseinendan members and saw her and Ayame being caught. He was waiting for a chance to go in and save them. All this time, Satoya looks down and Megumi tells him that it isn’t his fault. He looks up, his eyes extremely red. It was Megumi who made him look this way, and a loving feeling fills Megumi. She reaches to touch his face, and whispers in his ear to call her by her first name. Satoya jerks back, embarrassed, and excuses himself to get her a drink. Left alone, Megumi bursts out laughing even there’s nothing interesting. It’s possible that she may meet such an incident again. In that case, she’d rather quickly become Satoya’s.

Transference love

It’s dark. Megumi’s falling headfirst in that darkness. Meanwhile, someone keeps begging for forgiveness in a distance, though she doesn’t know for what reason. She reaches the ground, and in that moment her body scatters into pieces – except her eyes. But it’s dark so she can’t see anything. Her eyes keep rolling till someone picks them up. In the darkness, something floats up – there lies Megumi with vacant eyes. The next morning, Megumi is embarrassed of her foolishness yesterday and doesn’t know how to face Satoya. But she soon realises that he won’t be coming to see her anyway, for yesterday it was Ayame who brought her the drink. She was told to rest some more and not to work. So all Megumi does is gaze at the goldfish, though it only reminds her of Satoya. He doesn’t want to see her, but she does. If only she could do and see him, but she knows that this feeling is merely her own greed. She gazes at the goldfish swimming in the narrow bowl. She’s not suitable for Satoya, who shines so brilliantly. If it was for his sake, she could die and there would be no need for her to reveal anymore of her foolishness. After all, she doesn’t have anything – even Satoya hates her. Just then, Mamoru enters the room and Megumi observes that he’s looking at her with pity.

Later outside, Satoya asks Mamoru how Megumi is. Mamoru remarks that her eyes are exactly like her mother’s now. He explains Megumi’s past and how even as a child she didn’t smile at all. Wanting to do something for her, Mamoru would often play and talk with her. Mamoru asks Satoya to save her, for he’s the only one who can do it. Satoya blames himself for not saving her earlier though. Mamoru remarks that Megumi has been suppressing her own feelings all this time. But recently, her feelings have been wavering due to Satoya’s existence. Once more, Mamoru asks Satoya to save her.

Scared of being hated

Satoya goes to find Hibiki at the central plaza. He recalled that Hibiki studied psychology at the mainland, and wants to know how he should go about approaching Megumi now. Hibiki confirms with Satoya if he loves Megumi, and asks Satoya to share whatever information he has. After listening, Hibiki replies that it’s only his speculation but what happened in her past shaped Megumi’s personality today. If how Megumi usually acts is all a lie, then that means the “real Megumi”‘s mentality is underdeveloped. But Megumi herself doesn’t care for that, and instead suppresses herself for as long as possible. If a trigger is pulled to reverse everything, then that means Megumi can’t restraint herself any longer and acts as she wants so that’s why she approached Satoya like that. Hibiki isn’t an expert, but in any case Satoya needs to persistently see to her. Hibiki tells Satoya not to mind the work here, and will help him out if anything. Satoya returns to Koukarou, where Ayame tells him that Megumi has calmed down but won’t move an inch from the corner of the room. She won’t eat either and only stares at the goldfish.

satoya-20

As Megumi looks at the goldfish, she notices its eyes. She recalls her dream, where she was scooping out her own broken self. Though she didn’t feel anything then, looking back it’s eerie. Satoya enters the room and persuades her to eat a little. Megumi observes that he’s acting as if nothing happened. Though he acts as per normal, she thinks that he really doesn’t want to appear before her. She asks if he isn’t afraid of her, and he reassures her that he’s a man so he can stop her. Satoya’s acting so devotedly when he did nothing wrong. Megumi remarks that she’s scared of herself, of doing something to him and making him hate her as a result. But she thinks to herself that she truly wants to become his, and is afraid that she can’t suppress herself. Satoya promises to remain by her side till she calms down. He reassures her, and says that he won’t hate her ‘cos of that. It hurt Megumi. She really doesn’t want to hurt Satoya and yet—.

The chain tied to you

Two women in Koukarou sympathise over what happened to Megumi. Sae overhears this and asks to find out more. Meanwhile, Megumi tells Satoya about her past, and she also listens more about his past. He tells her that he really wanted to meet his mother at least once. When he asked about her, no one said anything except Ayame – who only replied that she loved Satoya a lot. In that case, it probably means that she wanted him to be born. Megumi is glad to hear that, for it’s sad and empty to be an existence no one wished for. She’d thought all along that it couldn’t be helped. But after knowing an existence which gives her meaning it’s different – so not she can’t bring herself to leave Satoya. Satoya asks if she’s sleepy, and promises to remain by her side till she sleeps, and even after she sleeps. As Megumi hears his voice, she slowly drifts to sleep. Satoya keeps fulfilling all of her wishes. Though she didn’t wish for them to be bound like this, she doesn’t tell him so. Satoya probably knows this too. She wonders just what he’s thinking.

One’s breakdown

Satoya left to see Hibiki. She’s free so Megumi gazes at the goldfish, it appears less energetic than usual. Just then, Sae storms in but Megumi doesn’t reply to any of her questions. Sae remarks how she got worse, referring to the incident at Shoutengai. She accuses Megumi of initiating it yet she’s acting like the victim. Sae grabs Megumi by the collar, exclaiming that it was only attempted and tells her to stop moping around like this. The feeling she experienced back then revives in Megumi, who quickly covers her ears. Sae calls her a jinx, and tells her to consider how she’s troubling Satoya too. Megumi responds at his name, and Sae adds that there’s no way Satoya could like her. He treats everyone kindly that’s why he can’t leave her alone. In an almost lonely tone, Sae whispers for her to disappear somewhere else, before leaving the room. Satoya still hasn’t returned, even though he said he would be by her side. He could by doing work, even though he said he would be by her side. Even though he said he would be by her side. Even though he said he would be by her side. She wants to see his face, and ask if her existence is really a bother. The sun sets, and Megumi opens the window to see a round and red moon hanging in the sky.

One’s disappearance

Megumi is delighted when Satoya returns, and leads him in the room. He wonders what happened as she’s in an especially good mood. Megumi replies that it’s ‘cos he’s here, she’d been waiting all this time. Satoya goes quiet, till he asks if anyone came to see her this afternoon. She recalls that someone may have, but she was looking at the goldfish all along. She thinks that they should name it. He goes quiet again, and holds back on his next works. Megumi laughs at him. She’s smiling, and she’s long noticed that his smile has disappeared – but she doesn’t want to think about the truth behind his kindness. Megumi wants to talk some more today, but he doesn’t look at her. As if trying to get his attention, Megumi reaches to unbutton his shirt. Satoya quickly grabs her hand to stop her and their eyes meet. She shouldn’t do this. But Megumi merely giggles and asks what he was imagining. She asks him to say something, and reaches out to touch him when he looks away. Satoya firmly tells her to stop and abruptly stands up. Megumi’s hand is left hanging in the air, and returns to her senses. She tries to explain herself, that she was scared of being alone and didn’t know what to do. She wanted to see him but he wasn’t there, and then he came. But she can’t do anything and doesn’t possess anything, but she wanted to make him happy.

END: Mangetsu Yasou

From the look in his eyes, Megumi sees that Satoya is clearly pitying her. When her father passed away and her mother forgot about her, the neighbours look at her in a pitiful manner too but refused to extend a helping hand. She didn’t need that. The her then and even now, only wished for someone to embrace her, to call out to her. Yet Satoya is looking at her in the same way those people did. Satoya tells her that he’ll always be by her side no matter what. But he doesn’t understand the feeling of those men who visit this place so he doesn’t want to do that to her. Megumi questions if he’s pitying her, only asking the same question when he tries to calm her down. Satoya denies this, but Megumi lashes out at the way he’s looking at her – it’s as if he’s looking at something miserable. Satoya’s face twists into a sad look. He’s pitying her after all, and Satoya tries to calm her down again. In response, Megumi asks to become his then, if so then she’ll become at ease. She pleads with him, closing in on Satoya. Pulling at his clothes, Megumi wonders why he won’t do so. She then looks up, not at his face but to see a red and round moon in the sky. She recalls that there’s a method she can use. Megumi remarks that she’s okay with anything he does to her – though it might be a bother to him. Satoya holds back on his words and remains quiet. He could’ve just replied that it’s a “bother”, she wouldn’t hate him for it. He’s a really kind person, but his kindness has made her reach her limit already. Megumi tells him that she really loved him, pushing him down at the same time and straddling on top of him. She proceeds to strangle him, and Satoya struggles as he pulls at her sleeve. It must hurt, but Megumi tightens her grip. Satoya gasps for air, calling out her name. Megumi wonders how long more she must do this. She wants it to end quickly, so that they can be happy together in the other world. She begs for him to accept her, to need her, to not abandon her. Megumi whispers for him to die. Though it’s minor, a change occurred inside of Satoya as he stops struggling. Instead, he reaches out to touch her face and he mouths her name before smiling. The goldfish splashes behind as it leaps out of the bowl and stops moving – it has already died.

satoya-21

At the central plaza, Satoya apologises for dozing off. Hibiki asks him what happened with Megumi after that. Satoya replies that she’s settled down now, but doesn’t talk to anyone else besides him. If it’s just a bit it’s alright, but she appears in pain. Hibiki tells him just not to become interdependent. If Satoya’s unable to leave her, then there’s no meaning anymore. Satoya reassures him otherwise, and thinks it really isn’t that big an issue. But Hibiki warns him not to underestimate naivety. He then apologises for going overboard, but wants to advise Satoya that it’s better to not disrupt his lifestyle. If Megumi comes to require constant supervision, then it’ll become more troublesome than Satoya had thought. Too much dependence is like a sickness. It’s true that by being together Megumi’s mental unstablility may be erased temporarily. But that also causes her to become overly reliant on Satoya. Megumi is a case of her not receiving love from her real parents when she was young. Satoya remarks that she wants love then, and Hibiki corrects him by saying that being always together doesn’t equate to love. It’s presumptuous to think that your partner can’t hang in there if you’re not there. Satoya acknowledges his words, and soon excuses himself. Hibiki holds him back by saying that this is not words from the head of Koukaseinendan, but as a man and friend. If he falls down with Megumi, they’ll be no one else to pull her up and it’ll become irreversible. He then recalls that today is a full moon, and suggests bringing Megumi out as she likes the moon.

On his way back, Satoya thinks to himself on how he feels like screaming aloud when he thinks of Megumi. If he dies and Megumi would be happy, he’d gladly do so. If only he’d stepped in earlier. If only he didn’t just wait and see. If only he didn’t make an error in judgement. The current situation is an aggravation of all of this. In the end, Megumi lost her smile. She still does smile from time to time. But when she’s still carrying a wound in her heart, as expected it’s awkward. So he wants to remain by her side till she can smile from the bottom of her heart. Eve if Megumi doesn’t return to how she was before, as long as she needs him he’ll be together with her. This feeling doesn’t come from regret or sympathy. Satoya just wants to be her strength, towards Megumi he just—. It’s a full moon tonight, so he’ll bring her out if she agrees. Satoya returns to Megumi’s room. He’ll do anything he can to fulfill what she wants – even if it’s at the cost of his life.

END: Interdepending darkness

Megumi begs Satoya to not abandon her, as she covers her face with her hands and pours out all of her feelings. Even if Satoya doesn’t accept her, she won’t hate him. She’s at fault and even so she put the burden on him. Megumi tells herself to thank him now, leave this place and return to her usual life. She needs to say it soon and not bother Satoya anymore. But to her surprise, Satoya apologises and hugs her. He confesses that he feels the same way too. When asked why, Satoya admits that he’s given in to her ardour. Megumi’s filled with happiness. Time skip and Sen persuades Megumi to eat, since she’s doing work now. She then notices Megumi’s happy mood and asks if something happened. Megumi replies that it’s a secret though. At Tsuki no Hotori, Satoya apologises to Mamoru for doing that to his important sister. Mamoru knows that Megumi must have pushed her way through, and feels apologetic instead. He leaves Megumi to Satoya, and will work for Koukaseinendan till Satoya can return. But the situation worsened as conflict erupted between Koukaseinendan and the government side. Upon Hibiki’s request, Satoya had to participate too in the end. He promises Megumi that he’ll return immediately after it’s over. He also heard from Sen about how she’s not eating, and observes how much she’s thinned. Megumi reassures him, and raises her little finger to do a pinky promise too. After they do so, Satoya says that he’ll truly get mad if she’s still this thin. Megumi giggles and promises so – her smile looked as if she’s satisfied. The time Megumi saw him off then, was his last conversation with her.

Just as the situation in town was calming down, Satoya was hit by reality. Ayame tells him that Megumi hasn’t been eating at all, and would even throw up if forced to eat. It was just a while ago that she was calling out Satoya’s name happily. She doesn’t know why this happened. Megumi said that she no longer had any regrets and passed away. Satoya remains silent, as he tries to recollect himself. He realises that it’s ‘cos Megumi’s wish was fulfilled so she no longer had any attachment to this world. If he’d rejected her then, maybe she would still be alive. Satoya collapses to his knees, and starts to blame himself. He killed Megumi. Ayame doesn’t know the reason but she tells him not to do so. Even if he blames himself Megumi won’t return. Satoya wonders why he didn’t realise anything from that last smile of hers. Why he didn’t question the sudden pinky promise. Even though he appeared to think for Megumi, in fact he didn’t feel anything. He can recall her voice, gesture, and smile – but she is no longer in this world. He killed her. Time skip and Ayame is seen dashing towards Hibiki, with a note she found in Megumi’s room. Megumi’s body has disappeared from the room. After reading the note, Hibiki thinks that Satoya must have taken her body. He calms Ayame down and immediately goes to gather people to search, while telling her to wait here. Ayame can’t believe the situation as she starts to cry – does Satoya plan on dying too.

Satoya carries Megumi on his back, as he heads into the mountains. Every time she slides off, he stops to readjust her and each time he touches her she’s dreadfully cold. She’s no longer in this world. He loved her. At first it was probably just admiration but by the time he realised it, it turned into a deep yearning. He was happy that she longed for him, but he couldn’t accept her feelings. It was more important to find a way to support her mentally. If he didn’t make the wrong choice then, she should still be smiling at him now. It starts to rain. Before he participated in Koukaseinendan, he mainly worked inside of Koukarou so he never got the chance to hear the rain like this till now – pitter-pattering  on the grass and trees. It sounds different from when he would be indoors or out in the streets. The new sound excites him. He wonders what Megumi would think of this sound – not that she would never be able to listen to him and answer him ever again. The rain gets heavier and his shoes get muddier, and Megumi grows heavier as her clothes soak the rain. Satoya decide to rest first, as he sits her down beside a tree. She looks like she’s sleeping. He tidies her hair, but can’t dry her face as his own sleeve is wet. His body grows cold as the rain steals away his body warmth. Placing his hand over Megumi’s, he realises how she still feels colder than him. The scenery before Satoya is fading to white. As he recalls what happened up till now without any rest, his eyelids grow heavier. Satoya hooks his little finger with Megumi’s. He hopes that the next time he wakes up, Megumi would be smiling. He seems to hear her calling his name in a distance.

Overall

Omg where do I start…Satoya was the character I’ve been looking forward to since Getsuei was announced so yes I tend to get biased. But unlike the previous two routes where I can clearly say that I prefer the happy ends, I can’t say the same for Satoya’s. It’s weird. I mean of course I love a happy end. But in the Izon route despite the fact that may partly be camellia complex, I was really touched at how kindly Satoya treated Megumi. But of course I knew things weren’t going to end well, I mean look at Megumi’s breakdown. I was this close to screaming at the first mention of the red moon there since it basically foreshadows what’s going to happen. And then that CG…wow this close to crying at that, and I was that close to crying at that very last end I just typed. If they’d made Satoya voice his own monologues, I’m sure I would’ve cried. And in that Izon audio track you unlock, Satoya asks Megumi if she regretted meeting him since then nothing of the above would’ve happened. He goes on to say that he was still glad to have met her no matter what I just…omg. Everything about those ends just make me feel so sad.

satoya-23

Hibiki is basically saying: Izon route leads to bad ends!

So enough about them, let’s talk about the happy end. I didn’t find it as perfect as the previous happy ends. Firstly, we don’t get to see how the town recovers – which is acceptable as Satoya had to first go out to learn more before coming back. Secondly, the irony of “chasing” Fukami away with their love. We know that this isn’t the real reason, definitely not in Getsuei. I know that Fukami’s past and resolution (surprisingly) overlapped a lot with Megumi’s past, current situation and even Satoya’s background. I enjoyed that. But I do find that things got magically wrapped up, even how Megumi so-called “reconciled” with the people. I kinda knew that due to Megumi’s inferiority complex, she probably wouldn’t pursue the issue (you know what I’m referring to). I also see that it mirrors how Fukami couldn’t pursue the village chief – but the village chief REALLY felt guilty and did a LOT to make up in comparison. Basically as the game said it came to a disappointing close curtain call. Really ironic when you know what goes on in the other routes, and I guess it depends on whether you appreciate this irony or not. In any case, I was happy to learn more about Fukami’s side of the story. It made me wonder if his home village is actually this island, for he compared the night sky to how it was in the past…?

Thirdly, Satoya’s conflict. This is the point which thoroughly confused me. Satoya said that he planned to die alone in the place he grew up since he couldn’t cut himself away from it. In that case, I thought that he would’ve struggled more with how he treated Megumi ‘cos…it was rather obvious that Megumi was special to him from the start. He said they were “friends”, but you know he did give Megumi an expensive gift and even said so himself that she was special – he treats her kindly ‘cos he wants to see her happy. It’s as if Satoya doesn’t want to cross the ‘physical’ line since he did say that those who casually touch women are the worst – and when he does touch Megumi it’s unintentional or only in dangerous situations. So he rejected her at first but then in the following scene he explains his conflict and says that he’s thrown his resolution away after all to accept her…confusing much? I’m sorry for my rant but usually I try to understand the characters I like. Anyway I give Takuyo the benefit of doubt and see it as Satoya having that conflict in him all along – the **** incident probably shook him since he saw that he could act like the men he despised the most (eg. his father, that perpetrator). So he treated Megumi coldly and also thought of shifting her away. But then Megumi confesses and this causes him to waver once more. Welp, my lame attempt to join the dots. Anyone else is welcomed to shine the light.

Sorry for the essay……I love Satoya’s character. I like how Megumi’s (fragile) character developed – it was painful to see how she’s robbed of what was important to her by force (eg. the store), grow attached to her new important one (Satoya) and then COLLAPSE LIKE A BROKEN DOLL AHHH. Ahem, sorry about that. Basically I think that Nozomu’s route is still the most well-rounded route. But Satoya’s had its (painful) enjoyable points too. Like descriptions of Megumi going crazy…I mean, displays of Satoya’s devotion. Only thing I didn’t like was Sae, and I question how much the **** incident was needed. Oops, I’m sorry I should really stop ranting this post is getting way too long. Again give me time to recover (seriously my heart) and I’ll move on to the final route aka Hibiki’s route.

2 thoughts on “Getsuei no Kusari -Sakuran Paranoia-: Satoya’s Route

  1. Usagi says:

    Ahaha. That’s the reason why I said his Izon End caught me off-guard! I guess maybe I should’ve seen it coming for obvious reasons. Gahh. I agree with you about how unsatisfying Mochizuki’s Love End is compared to the other characters. (Besides the fact that he never got a proper kiss CG ahaha, but I’m having too much expectations here. ;;; Still, it was a cute ending!) And Sae was such a bitch. It’s amazing how wonderful the main characters are in this game, but everyone else is just so hateful. I have a lot (seriously a lot) to say about this game, but I don’t want to err, “spam” the comment section so I’ll save it for another time.😄 Just warning you to maybe prepare tissues for Hibiki’s route though! He’s the guy I have the least interest in, but his Izon End made me CRY SO HARD lkalfdafaldakalj. This game has officially ruined my life. _(:3 /L)_

    If you don’t mind, can we exchange links? ^^ I recently moved to wordpress and I see we have a lot of mutual interests (particularly Taisho Mebiusline, DMMD and Clock Zero alhfafdns I LOVE THOSE GAMES). Let’s fangirl together!

    • Yume says:

      Oh I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who feels that way! I really like him and can see that he’s a fairly popular character (or maybe even the most popular?), so I was wondering if I was the only one who felt that way. OMG SAE. She only appears in those few scenes but gosh did she push all those buttons to make me dislike her a lot…like way more than Fukami’s sarcasm or the residents’ unreasonableness. Even if she was given a (sad) backstory to explain her behaviour, she said some stuff which I just couldn’t forgive. And usually I see myself as quite a tolerant person, since it’s fiction and all lol. I guess it’s partly ‘cos I’ve grown rather attached to Megumi.

      Lol feel free to spam next time on Hibiki’s post then! Since I would’ve completed the game and know all the spoilers already…whenever I finish it that is. ww Omg since what you said for Satoya’s route came true for me I’ll…prepare myself once again then. orz

      And of course, welcome to wordpress! I’ll add your link asap!❤ Asldkajsd omg it's not everyday I meet someone who loves all those titles. Yes, let's! \o/ (P.S. I recommend playing, and later adding Shinigami to Shoujo to your list too. :3)

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