Next is Haruna Nozomu (CV: Naruse Makoto). Again, this contains two parts: Another (after Izon end) and After (after Aijou end) so naturally this means spoilers for the original game. Doesn’t it sound like fun…Nozomu is not a resident of the island, but appears to be staying long-term on the island. Filled with mystery, he visits Megumi’s store whenever he’s free and woos her.
This takes place after they fell into the hands of Fukami, the story of the changed girl and the boy who loved her. *Note: Nozomu’s perspective is often woven in.
Dependent on one another, and then……
Nozomu gazes at a sleeping Megumi, and softly kisses her forehead. He only wanted to make her happy, only wanted to protect her and the things dear to her. But he never felt this way before so he had no idea what was the correct way to do so. As a result, he hurt her to the extent that her heart is now in tatters. Perhaps he ended up hurting her ‘cos he loves her. Seeing the half-frantic Megumi long for him, a hopeless and mad love for her welled up in him and nothing else mattered at that point. The true happiness that should have been waiting ahead, was easily blurred. Perhaps he is incapable of love – he only knows lust and attachment. As long as she only looks at him, loves him, desires him, it doesn’t matter what becomes of her smile. He has stolen her smile. But he has no regrets. He is even happy to know that he’s capable of doing so. He’s the worst. He should actually tell her the truth, that he did it all for her. But that’s equivalent to saying that Megumi ruined it all ‘cos she didn’t choose to believe. But in truth, he wants to monopolise all of Megumi – as long as she loves him it’s okay. But still he wants to apologise to her. As Nozomu does so to the sleeping figure, he cries.
The dim morning of the princess and her servant
Megumi wakes up, and panics when Nozomu is nowhere in sight. When he appears, he reassures her that he’ll always be by her side, and asks her to believe in him. In return, Megumi asks him to make her believe in him, as she clings to him and tries to calm down. He pats her, and she remarks that she’s like a cat or dog being raised by him – she wouldn’t mind that being the case at all. He’s happy to hear this, but points out that he wouldn’t be able to love her. He prefers Megumi the way she is now. As she recalls the night before, Nozomu promises to do the same tonight. He removes her grasp off him and kisses her, before offering to comb her hair and prepare breakfast. Mamoru is now at the mainland. Ever since Nozomu moved in, he prepares everything in the morning, explaining that it’s ‘cos he tires her at night.
She remarks that she’s like a princess, and Nozomu plays along by asking to continue serving her. Megumi closes her eyes, recalling the time they ravished each other on the carpet of the mayor’s office that day. It was like something she had been holding back all this time overflowed, and both happiness and pain messed up both her heart and body. She still clearly remembers the feeling of ecstasy of being seen, and even the scars of the act. After that, they continued to work for Fukami as if nothing had happened. Nozomu gave Fukami the information from Koukaseinendan, and this in turn upped Fukami’s chances. The residents soon grew tired of fighting, and the garrison proposal was decided upon. Recently, construction of facilities for the army have begun at the back of the mountain. So an influx of workers have also been pouring to and fro. The scene of her home village changing. A strong smell of perfume in her house. A future with the one she loves, and not having to worry about the daily necessities – she wonders how those people with vacant eyes looking at her feel now.
You can kill me at any time
The couple is in the bamboo forest now, and Megumi is delighted to be together. Usually, she would be handling the reports and other paperwork in the office, or entertaining guests. But today, she’s been asked to investigate the Koukaseinendan’s meeting secretly with Nozomu. She remarks that they’re strange to not give up; to still keep trying to overturn the garrison plan even though it’s already been decided. Megumi thinks that it’s much easier to go along with the flow of things. In response, Nozomu softly agrees while looking away.
They don’t see the Koukaseinendan in sight at all, till Nozomu suddenly tells Megumi to hide behind him. Hibiki and Satoya pass by, as they comment on how they’ve been fooled. But Satoya has no regrets in choosing to believe, since it was his own choice. Even till now, he doesn’t believe that he made a mistake. Perhaps he gives into emotions too easily. Hibiki points out that it’s his good point. While people would choose to go with the flow when in a crisis, Satoya takes responsibility of his own decision. Megumi doesn’t understand their conversation, seeing that it’s all a meaningless fight. But Nozomu’s face twists in anguish. Wondering what’s wrong, Megumi pulls at his sleeve but he fails to notice her. Both Hibiki and Satoya soon part ways, and it becomes clear that their meeting was already over.
Nozomu mutters that they’ve been had, and is fully aware of what he has done. Megumi gets desperate when he continues to ignore her, and forces a kiss on him. She does not comprehend why he will not see her and her alone. Nozomu falls due to the abruptness of it all, and Megumi deepens the kiss. She tells him to look at her more, before pressing lightly at his throat. When she sees his face twist in pain, she feels relieved and stops. He observes that she’s been touching that area a lot recently as if she has something on her mind, and Megumi replies that it feels good – the cry of pain, throbbing blood vessels, and his face twisted in pain. When she does it, she can feel that he’s both alive while in pain. She can feel that he hopelessly loves her. Nozomu replies that he enjoys it too, as places his hand on her throat too – making her feel extremely relieved. He then suggests going home, though Megumi wished that they could’ve soaked in their emotions there and then. After that, she continues to observe that he’s thinking about Koukaseinendann and not her. She feels extremely hurt when he doesn’t respond to her despite how much she loves him.
I want to fill you up with my presence
At home, they have dinner and Megumi sees that Nozomu is still thinking about Koukaseinendan. Even though they’ve won already, she doesn’t understand why he’s still so attached to them. She hugs him, telling him to look at her. He hugs and pats her in return, admitting that he’s happy but Koukaseinendan is also part of his job scope. He reassures her that if he ever does get together with someone else she can kill him. He cuts off her words, telling her not to worry. In response, Megumi asks what he would do if she falls for someone else. Nozomu says that he will commit suicide – though he’s happy for her, there would no longer be a need for him to live on. Though Megumi agrees that she’s okay now, she doesn’t like that Koukaseinendan has been on his mind this whole time, even after work hours. Nozomu panics when he realises that she heard everything earlier on, and Megumi feels his quickening heartbeat. She doesn’t like that he’s being shaken up by someone else other than her. Megumi was happy that he saved her from Koukaseinendan and everyone else, so she loves him and doesn’t want to part from him. She hugs him tighter, digging her nails in and blood seeps out. She questions if he isn’t satisfied with just her, if he desires others.
Nozomu raises his voice as he pulls her away and the thought of him hating her scares Megumi. He kisses her, before asking if she hates Koukaseinendan. Megumi agrees, saying that she had believed them yet they betrayed. Nozomu continues to ask if she loves him, no matter what type of person he is. Unsure of his point, Megumi replies that she believes in him, he protected her after all. He’s the reason she lives now and she’s hopelessly in love with him. Hearing this, Nozomu pushes her down and kisses her again. There’s a look of sadness in his eyes, and Megumi closes her eyes expecting something more. But he tells her that he loves her, and asks for her to obediently go to sleep now. His words make her uneasy, and this morning he had promised her otherwise and she’d been dying for it. Nozomu apologises, and though his pained face should make her happy – for some reason her chest hurts instead.
The little bird which sings love
That night, Nozomu gave into every other request of Megumi’s such as singing a lullaby, patting her head etc. till she fell asleep. He recalls Satoya’s words. It would’ve been better if Satoya had berated him. After all, Nozomu was the one who betrayed them; even still Satoya said such words. In the end, he can never win over Satoya. He knows that Megumi would be much happier by someone else’s side. Yet despite thinking that he should free her, he unconsciously binds her to him. He even feels pleasure at the thought of making her unhappy – all these ugly thoughts are buried within him. He’s just happy at the both of them loving each other madly and dangerously. It’s a ugly love towards the person he broke with his own hands, as well as an overwhelming sense of guilt towards her. He can’t stop himself even if he wanted to; it’s as if both of his feet are already sinking in the swamp. Nozomu tears up, as he thinks of how much he loves her. It’s so painful to the point in which he feels like dying.
Megumi wakes up, to see a tearful Nozomu. She asks if he’s making that expression ‘cos of Koukaseinendan. Hugging him, she tells him to confide in her. Instead, he pushes her down and questions if she wants to know the truth which could very well sent her spiralling into despair. He’s sure that she will fully break down. Megumi is only thrilled to see him in pain while looking at her. She wonders if he will be in further pain if she agrees, and so she nods with a smile. Nozomu recalls the time he had asked her to die together, yet she told him to live on. At that time, he really wanted to save her and free her. And so he tried to act what he thought was best, but it all failed. It was all for naught and instead he only pained her. When he looks down, Megumi makes him face her, wanting him to continue. Nozomu struggles on, explaining that he felt happy at the thought that she was sad too. When she was surrounded by hostility, the only person she could rely on became him. The only person she desired, and loved blindly. So he was happy when they became entangled on the carpets of the office that day. Nothing else mattered as long as they were together, even if they had to starve.
In truth, he had wanted to bind her to him from the very first time they had met, locking her up in his own cage. He’s a pitiful person, so he’s happy to see an even more pitiful person. Moreover if she’s in a cage, she won’t know the truth. She can only call out in her pretty voice to her master in that narrow world of hers. For she’s not needed by anyone else except her master. But at the same time she will not believe anything so he wonders how much will it take for her to leave his side. So he toyed with her, and yet she still didn’t leave, which tempted his sadism even more. In reality, what he feels for her isn’t love but only sadism and lust. He asks if Megumi’s in despair at this truth. Seeing his sad expression, Megumi thinks to herself that he’s the cowardly master who needs the bird and yet he’s saying all this…she finds him dear. She replies that it’s because he sings/expresses love towards her like this, the bird stays. She loves him, and is staying as she wants to. Megumi pecks him lightly, and Nozomu asks her to prove her words with her body then.
Sexual perversion play
Nozomu leads Megumi to a dust-filled Tsuki no Hotori. It’s a place she has always treasured, and where she would act someone other than herself. He asks her to patronise him here, to expose her senseless side to him only. He wants her to try losing even her most important thing for his sake. Megumi kisses him in respond, accepting his request. But for some reason she feels more nervous. She knows that he probably made them change clothes for this reason, her wearing her work clothes and him in his casual clothes. As Nozomu pushes Megumi onto the counter, he tells her to close her eyes and imagine a bustling store. Megumi does as told, and recalls how fun it was back then. And then, he questions what the proprietress is doing, being pushed down by a customer who isn’t even drunk in such an unsightly manner. He wonders what the previous proprietress will think of this. With a spiteful smile, he wonders how she looks from the perspective of a customer at the side. As Megumi feels more embarrassed by his words, especially when he asks she’s getting turned on, she tells him to stop. But Nozomu pushes for an answer, and she only nods in return. Her chest hurts. She’s thoroughly embarrassed and crying.
Noting her situation, Nozomu says that he’ll forgive her but remarks on how she did well enough to put up her proprietress front. In fact, the moment she was captured by him, she was no longer that fine and proper proprietress. This is her true nature, so he tells Megumi to forget everything unnecessary and to indulge in him even more. Nozomu’s voice shakes as he begs her to kiss him madly, to show proof that she loves him, to prove to him that it’s okay for him to continue on like this. He wants her to love him no matter what he becomes, to fall together into the depths. Megumi is happy to know this, for she loves him. With a smile on her face, she replies that she’s even willing to die. She doesn’t need anything else. As she kisses him madly, the two of them indulge in each other. She feels a blinding thrill from soiling an important thing with her own hands, and abandoning it. Nozomu has freed that one chain that was binding her with his indulgent hands. And in place she now has a new, heavier, rusty, wicked chain binding the both of them together. But she has no intention of removing it, and doesn’t mind dying together with him.
Nozomu carries a sleeping Megumi to the storeroom. It’s a bit narrow for them, but it’s just right for this moment. He has cleaned and changed clothes for the both of them, even removing the ordour with perfume – as if erasing the earlier events. There was no way he could’ve told the Megumi who constantly believed in him, to reject his helping hand. This has happened over and over again, and now he laughs at how he could’ve possibly ever considered it. He’s a hopeless coward, so it’s practically challenging a losing match. But if Megumi had thought carefully she would’ve realised that his words were contradictory. She was uneasy over the fact that he kept thinking about Koukaseinendan. But when he talked about the reason he never once mentioned them. But she probably did not notice, for he made her indulge in that pleasurable and painful game so as to forget all the small things. As he strokes her, the sleeping figure smiles blissfully as she rubs against him like a cat would.
There was a reason why he chose that place. The more Megumi realised what embarrassing act she was committing, the more she would writhe in shame and no longer think of anything else. Especially in the place where she had always acted prim and proper. The only thing he could do for her, was to expose her lewd figure there while recalling the past. Other will surely scoff at him being hopeless. He thinks the same of himself too. And truthfully, he doesn’t like forcing Megumi. He would rather tenderly indulge her…just like she would’ve preferred too. The play just now was the best act for him to forget everything: his feeling of indebtedness to Koukaseinendan, his atonement towards Megumi, his hopeless humanity.
He touches the perfume satchel in his pocket, and recalls how he was still restraining himself on many things back then when he could only look at her across the daphnes. He was just fine with seeing her troubled expression, and thought that it was a luxury to desire more. But he has now dived into the swamp and can’t go back, and can only sink further in. It’s the same for Megumi. They can never go back into the past. He takes out the tsuyabeni from his pocket, and carefully dabs it on her lip. Nozomu remarks how pretty she is, and closes the door. It would be nice if they could lock the door from inside, or would she agree to not go out of here. His eyelids slowly close, and in the dark he sees the swaying image of the moon reflected in the waters – the one they both saw together for the first time. It’s both transient and sorrowful, just like her. Nozomu then remarks on how beautiful the moon is tonight.
The homecoming’s moonlit night
The couple remark on how beautiful the moon is, as they gaze at it in the sky and its swaying reflection in the dark waters. Megumi gets excited when her hometown slowly comes into sight, as it’s been a long time. It’s the first time actually, since they went to the mainland. After getting off the boat, they head to Megumi’s home which is now empty as Mamoru is now travelling. She had only first heard of his dream back when he made the decision, saying that he wanted to know more about the world. Perhaps he had always wanted to do so, but couldn’t ‘cos of her. But she can’t possibly ask him that now. She’s just grateful towards him. Nozomu worriedly calls out to her, seeing her lost in her thoughts. Megumi reassures him that she’s just recalling the past. It’s been a few years since they met, and somehow they’ve both grown from children into adults. They have both gradually changed, but their love for each other hasn’t. They both have dyed each other with their own unique colour.
The family I love
They enter the house which is full of dust. Megumi admits that before they left, the Shoutengai people had offered to help clean it up from time to time but she kindly rejected. It’s rude but she really did not want anyone else stepping into the place where she, Mamoru and Hotaru had lived in. A place full of precious memories, where she had always been taken care of since young. The home she and Mamoru would always protect no matter what. Hearing this, Nozomu asks if it’s okay for him to enter then. Megumi replies that before they left, she had already introduced Nozomu to her parents and Hotaru when they visited their graves. So he’s already part of her family. He thanks her in return and gently kisses her. They head inside and open the windows to clear the stale air. But Nozomu tells Megumi to leave the cleaning for the next day as it’s already late.
However, Megumi insists on tidying up her own room at least, and asks to be alone too. So Nozomu goes out for a short stroll in the meantime. Soon after, she welcomes him back. It’s a small thing but she knows that Nozomu feels happy to say that “I’m back”. It’s proof that he thinks of here as his home now. She recals the past, when he had lent her a helping hand when she was all alone. And then they fell in love and she invited him into this house. Though he would always look guilty, Megumi knows that he did it all for her sake and always reassure him. But perhaps it has to do with his pride, but he would always sulk and say that there could’ve been better ways to go about it. When asked about his stroll, Nozomu remarks that Onsengai and Karyuugai are still bustling with life at this time, probably ‘cos of the tourists. He advises Megumi to greet the people tomorrow instead, and when she is convinced he appears to heave a sigh of relief before kissing her. Megumi seems to feel his fingers trembling ever so slightly. He appears a bit strange, but doesn’t question. As they’re feeling hungry, Megumi suggests going to Onsengai to eat as there’s no food to prepare at home. Nozomu only quietly agrees.
After taking a bath in Onsengai, the couple go to eat and everyone welcomes them in. Megumi explains that they were busy with work, but she did want to come back and visit the graves of her parents and Hotaru. For a moment, Nozomu seems to flinch at her words and Megumi can’t help but regret her words a little. Afterwards they take a stroll, and Nozomu leads her to Karyuugai much to her surprise. The area is still filled with a culture that has been long gone in the mainland. There, they meet Satoya by chance and exchange words. Satoya can’t help but feel surprised to hear Nozomu feeling a sense of nostalgia towards the food here, or that the residents will surely be alright by themselves now. As she watches on, Megumi feels glad to see them interacting as friends. The place has changed. Of course it was not just by Nozomu’s efforts. But she recalls how he had always offered to bring her away from this island, and she’d always refused. And so, he tried to change the island for her sake. Later, Nozomu deliberately questions if Satoya has a lover yet before bragging about his rosy days with Megumi. Satoya tells him to leave his noroke for now but also admits that he’s envious. Soon, he excuses himself as he still has work to do.
Being loved, from now on too……
After they return home, they retire for the night and Nozomu recalls the first time he entered her room. She had lost the meaning of his existence and went to the harbour. There, he sought for the value of her life, and also invited her to die together. Yet he saved her and in the end she brought him in. Even though he had confessed his love for her, he left immediately after. But now he’s here with her. As Nozomu switches off the light, he kisses Megumi but she senses his uneasiness. He admits that he could have easily taken break off from work to return here, but was uneasy. It’s not that he wants to suspect her, but despite what had happened Megumi was so insistent on not leaving the island. That goes to show how much she values it. So he was really happy when she agreed to leave with him, to choose him over the island. So he was afraid that if she returned home she may not want to leave again. In response, Megumi merely smiles and says that she’s chosen to live with Nozomu so it doesn’t matter where it is. Still, he appears uneasy and his sorrowful expression, mixed with tenderness and desire, is one which she has not seen in a long time. He apologises for only thinking of himself, not considering how Megumi would’ve wanted to visit her parents and Hotaru’s graves. She kisses him in return, finding his reactions rather cute. Though Nozomu thanks her, he adds that “cute” shouldn’t be used to describe men.
And I swear they totally make out.
Back when Nozomu started visiting her store, his true nature was still a mystery. He carried it all within without telling anyone, and only smiled before her. But she managed to overcome many thing with him, and eventually fell in love. He’s always thinking for her, even while suppressing his innermost desires. But at the same time he fretted, and had to hide things behind her back. On the flipside, he also felt uneasy over whether she would hate him for it, and would try to erase all traces to avoid making her uneasy. But gradually those feelings of his settled down over the years. Perhaps it’s ‘cos he realised that those acts aren’t necessarily out of love. Megumi can’t help but think that she’s loved. After living with him, she noticed that he would tend to touch her when he feels uneasy. Thinking back, when he was hiding things from her he often did so. She thought that it was to comfort her but perhaps it was also to calm himself too. Even so, when asked he would easily confide in her his troubles. Through many experiences, they have slowly grown up. Their love and dependence have been shaken, but now with their trust for each other they are able to remain steadfast.
I don’t know why Nozomu’s post is much longer. I blame it on the fact that he talks a lot and I tend to have more fun with the writing in his routes. But yeah his Another route really saddened me so much as you can see many references to what happened in the original – Nozomu saying that he will die for Megumi but if she finds happiness elsewhere he will be happy for her but still die. The perfume satchel, the daphne symbolism, the tsuyabeni, the chain metaphor, the idea that pain is the crystallisation of love. The contradiction of Nozomu becoming the type of person he despises the most but he can’t stop. Instead of protecting her world he ended up choosing Megumi. That last quote on the moon. There were so many references but all of them have been twisted in the Izon route vs. Aijou route. So as painful as it was, I admit that I preferred it over the After route. To be honest nothing much happened in the After route, but you just see how much the two of them have grown. Nozomu is still a coward but he has matured and come to trust Megumi more as opposed to the other ending. Again, it was really short and I think it’s ironic how I preferred the Another route over After route for its writing considering that this is a fandisk. But anyway……Nozomu’s route always pushes the ratings.
I still have no motivation to continue playing from here but the next post should be Satoya’s.