I’m back with Mochizuki Satoya (CV: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu). When you think things couldn’t get any worse, it does – in Satoya’s route again-. Likewise this contains two parts: Another (alternate story) and After (after Aijou end) so naturally this means spoilers for the original game. 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.
This story has the couple meet in a different manner, in which unknowingly they are both driven back-to-back with loneliness and anguish.
An empty feeling
The first words when they met was: “Are you the proprietress of Tsuki no Hotori?”
At Koukarou, Megumi sits with Satoya in one of the rooms. He asks her to explain how it all happened, and Megumi goes through the details: of Fukami being invited as a consultant on the island’s financial difficulties; of his measures being oppressive including the water tax; of Koukaseinendan‘s Hibiki helping them out but still things haven’t been looking up; of the Shoutengai people agreeing to raise their prices by 20%; of her refusing to obey this decision. As a result of that, she was punished and they removed her right to continue running business in Shoutengai. Still, she stands by her actions for she knows that raising her prices would only make the rest of the people’s lives even more difficult. Other people in Shoutengai gradually began to see sense in her words, and started to lower their prices. But others also didn’t like this and so they wanted to drag her out and punish her before everyone else. That was when Satoya passed by when he was on patrol and helped Megumi out.
When Megumi thanks him, he replies that he’s only doing his job. His curt reply causes her to feel uneasy, wondering if he thinks that she’s foolish. Satoya learns that her brother is working at the mainland, and won’t be back till a week later. He tells Megumi to rest here and will ask for further details on how to handle her current situation the next day. He returns to his work, and Megumi is left alone in the room. She has no one to confide in, and no idea what to do. If only she could throw everything to one side. But she stops her negative thoughts, telling herself that she’s decided to protect the store. She considers going to meet the Shoutengai president to talk things out. Megumi then hides under the blanket, and calls out Mamoru and Hotaru’s names.
Someone is calling her name, or rather her father’s surname “Fuyuura”. There are many others with the same surname. Maybe even with her full name “Fuyuura Megumi”. If so, what is the definite thing which defines “her”. She doesn’t believe that such a thing exists. Nothing definite exists in this world, which includes the proof which makes her, her. Satoya wakes Megumi up, and he sees that she’s confused for a moment as to who he is. He teases her, asking if his impression on her was so weak when they had only met yesterday. She quickly denies this, thinking that his demeanor is a lot gentler as compared to yesterday. Perhaps it’s the change in his clothes. Megumi greets him good morning, but he points out that it’s already evening. She leaps up, apologising to him. Satoya tells her not to pay any mind, and offers her some water. When asked how she’s feeling, Megumi admits that she’s still feeling under the weather. As she wonders what she should do, she stops midway in her words. She shouldn’t be relying on someone who she has just met, especially when it doesn’t concern him. Megumi apologises but Satoya only sighs, saying that he can’t pretend not to have heard her. As she looks up, she meets his gaze – it’s as if he’s looking through her, down to her hopeless sides. This causes her to look down again.
When Megumi apologises again, Satoya asks what she wants to do instead. She falls silent, before answering that she wants to continue running her business, and that she wants to get along with the Shoutengai people. However, she also wants to protect her store’s ideal and basically it clashes with what they want. But since she wants to continue the store above it all, she’s thinking of apologising to the Shoutengai president and expressing her intentions to obey the decision. Still, things probably won’t go that smoothly and there will surely be some form of punishment. Megumi then asks for Satoya’s opinion on the situation. In response, he says that the decision to raise the prices is understandable, but he wishes that they could act more calmly. It is not just Shoutengai‘s problem, but the whole island’s. Still, it has already happened so it cannot be reversed. When asked about Hibiki, Satoya admits that none of them know what he’s thinking and wonders if he trusts them. He quickly apologises for his words, for this isn’t something he should say to her. In any case, he’ll look out for her till everything is over. Megumi catches a glimpse of a shadow falling over the strong light in his eyes. She’s taken aback at this, but for some reason she can’t take her eyes off him.
The meddlesome girl……
Megumi is unable to sleep. Satoya did say that he’ll come see her again at night, but he never did. He’s probably busy. Still, she wonders why he brought her to Koukarou. Does he have an acquaintance here? He doesn’t look like the type to come here, but perhaps there’s someone he admires enough to do so? Megumi holds her thoughts, after all she doesn’t know him that well. With Mamoru not by her side, Satoya’s the only one she can rely on now. She goes downstairs and spots the large fish tank by the entrance. As she gazes at the goldfishes, Satoya calls out to her from behind. She quickly apologises for walking about, but he doesn’t seem angry. Megumi asks if he’s here to see her, but Satoya explains that he lives here. Megumi can only wonder the cause for it, but decides not to say anything. Satoya only gives a troubled smile, telling her not to consider for him that much. He tells her to sleep first, but Megumi holds him back. She borrows the kitchen and makes a simple meal for him.
She’s delighted when he finds it delicious, and notes that it’s the first time that she’s seen him smile like that. Megumi admits that he appeared tired, so she tried to make something light for him. Hearing this, Satoya remarks that he respect people who can treat others kindly, when they themselves are not doing well either. Megumi denies this, saying that he treats her well after all. But he states that he’s only doing his job. Still, she insists that it’s ‘cos he saved her then that she can talk like this with him now. And so Satoya thanks her for it’s not often that he gets to hear words like hers. He’s working for the people, and so whatever he does has become “expected” of him. Though it’s not like he’s doing this ‘cos he wants to hear words of gratitude. But there are times when things get difficult. Satoya then mentions how great Hibiki is, for he never shows it on his face. He thanks Megumi again for the delicious food, remarking that she’d make a good wife. She blushes at his words, thinking that he’s the only one who has complimented her food so directly besides Mamoru. She does receive compliments from her customers, but never took the time to stop and ask them for further details.
Megumi observes that Satoya has stopped eating, and he explains that he has been resting well recently. But he insists that he will eat it all since she made it for him. He slaps himself awake, and happily eats the rest of the food. When he stands up, he wobbles a bit. Megumi wonders if she did something unnecessary, when Satoya needs rest more so than food. She quickly clears the table and tells him to rest, abruptly leaving the room.
Chinese lantern plant
She’s unable to fall asleep, and the reason is close by. When Megumi returned to the room she saw that Satoya fell asleep sitting against the wall. He probably reached his limit. Not wanting to wake him up, she merely covered him with a blanket and sat nearby. But in the end, she’s unable to sleep anyway. Seeing him like this, one can see that he looks young. She finds it admirable that he works for the people. She already has her hands full trying to handle her own self, not wanting to show any embarrassing sides of herself to him. She needs to think through what she wants to do. The next morning, Satoya swiftly apologised and left the room. It’s not like she wanted him to panic, that’s not the case at all. But seeing that he had little to zero reaction, makes her feel that there’s a problem with her. She’s never felt like this before. Maybe she really wanted him to panic. Megumi feels ashamed of herself, that she’s feeling this way despite her own circumstances. But she was extremely happy when he smiled and complimented her food. She needs to think for the store, but her thoughts are occupied by Satoya.
And just like that, it’s the 3rd day since Megumi has come here. She hardly meets or talks to anyone, besides Satoya or Ayame who brings her her meals. At this rate, it’s like she’ll soon forget how to converse. She offered to prepare her own meals, feeling that she can’t leisurely stay here. But Ayame rejected this, and instead gave her two bright orange chinese lantern plants. 4 days later, and Mamoru will return. He probably won’t complain one bit when he hears what happened to her, and will instead shrug it off. Megumi wonders why Hotaru and Mamoru treat her so well. She does know the answer deep down, but she can’t help but feel indebted to them. As she slides open the lattice, she hears the sound of shamisen and koto. There are people over there, but she’s alone. Anyone is fine, she wants someone by her side. But Megumi soon berates her weak self.
Just then, Satoya visits her but he freezes when he spots the chinese lantern plants. It’s nothing rare to see, so she wonders why he’s acting like that. Megumi explains that Ayame gave it to her, and Satoya apologises as he cites that he doesn’t have fond memories of it. Seeing his lonely smile, Megumi doesn’t dare to question further. She doesn’t want to judge him, but wants to know more about him. She then asks if he knows what the chinese lantern plant means in the language of flowers – a lie, fabrication, deceit. Ayame told her this. There are many other meanings to it, but she finds this one fitting of herself. If she wants to know more about Satoya, she first has to open up about herself. And so Megumi asks if it’s alright to talk a bit about herself, to which Satoya obliges.
Pale clouds hanging
Satoya listens attentively, as Megumi talks about her real family and her current family. How she can never erase her guilt, could never call Hotaru “mother”. Despite the store being important to her, it’s no longer operating due to her. After she finishes, it’s as if a stone has been lifted off her heart. Perhaps ‘cos she’s finally let out everything. She thanks Satoya for listening, and he merely remarks that she’s been working hard all this time. Megumi doesn’t dare look up, for the side he commends on is just a front. She’s always been trying hard to be a sensible child, and each time Hotaru and Mamoru told her to depend on them a little she never did so. She was afraid that she would be abandoned again, like how her mother did. When she finally looks up, her vision is blurred but she can see a sad smile hanging on Satoya’s face. Megumi then asks to know about him, and decides to ask more about his past with the chinese lantern plant.
He mentions that he used to like them, and Megumi recalls often blowing on it to play. But Satoya says that one day, he learnt of a different side to the plant. It was used in the past to abort children too. After hearing that, he just couldn’t bring himself to like it anymore. He finds himself narrow-minded. The plant itself has no fault, but he just feels that way. Perhaps she has already noticed, but Satoya reveals that he’s the child of his mother who worked here, and her customer. When he was young, he held a strong disgust towards it – specifically the man. But in the end he’s on that same side too – men. But since he’s eating and living here, the most he can do for the women working here is to stand by their side no matter what……and to not think too much. Fortunately or not, he’s filled to the brim with work so he has no time to think about it at all.
Megumi senses a dark colour spreading in his eyes. It may be exaggerating, but she had always thought of Satoya as a “healthy” person. But is that true? It’s as if what he’s carrying within is almost like “stimulation”
arousal. Satoya then remarks that after hearing her story, it made him recall a lot which he had long forgotten. As he laughs bitterly, Megumi comments on how he appears to be hesitating and asks him to tell her more. He looks away with clenched fists, and she reaches out to him. His hand feel slightly rough, and she can easily imagine how he’s like at work. It feel dear to her, and she finds herself unable to let go. In response, Satoya clasps her hands, locking them together. Megumi smiles, commenting on how their hands are similar. Hers have become rough after working in the store. Satoya soon releases his grasp, and instead gently touches her fingers. He begs to differ, commenting on how pretty her hands are. Megumi feels a strange heat gathering around the area, and she’s robbed by a strong sense of exhilaration.
Are these accumulating thoughts love
After hearing his story, she knew one thing. That she wanted to return the favour she had received, and so she continued running the store. To protect the place which Hotaru found important. But in the end it is just all for her own self-satisfaction. She doesn’t know what Hotaru really wishes for, but she had always wanted Megumi to smile. If so, will she be angry or sad to see how she is now? Unknowingly, she’s become attached to the store and tied down to it. Like yesterday, Satoya spent the night in her room. But this time he’s sleeping in the futon. Megumi was unwilling to separate ways last night, and stopped him from leaving with the excuse that he’d wake the rest up. She knew that this wouldn’t hurt him as much as saying “I want you by my side”.
Satoya wakes up and greets her sleepily. (*Note: Satoya calls her “Megumi-san” now instead of “Fuyuura-san”. Likewise for Megumi.) He asks what she plans to do, and Megumi expresses that she’s decided already. What she did was just her own selfishness. Despite it being decided, she didn’t voice her objection on-the-spot so what she did was unreasonable in a way. So it can’t be helped if others think that she’s trying to gain profit. Plus she could have closed her store instead of lowering prices if she wasn’t happy. If she had wanted to carry on Hotaru’s spirit, she should’ve done so. She has decided to apologise to everyone, and to keep the store closed. She doesn’t want to cause a commotion with her own opinion, it will only tire everyone out. In addition, she’s learnt that she doesn’t have capacity to see it through. So she shall just live quietly, doing what she can. If they decide to punish her, she will accept it too. Satoya accepts her decision and thinks it’s best to talk things out soon. But he’ll insists on doing what he can to stop any form of punishment on her. There’s no telling what they will to do her, a mere girl. He’d rather take her place in that case. After all, he promised to look after her till everything was over. He adds that it’s the first time he’s met someone like her, in which he has come to naturally accept her. So he wants to treasure her. Megumi abruptly agrees, and loses her balance while doing so. As Satoya supports her, she sees a different light in his eyes. A light that shines like the sun, with no hint of the shadows of the night. But……things don’t ever go well.
When evening arrived, disputes suddenly started everywhere within the town. It’s been the 6th morning since Megumi came here. It’s raining and she hasn’t seen Satoya for a whole day. Koukaseinendan have been busy trying to calm the situation down. Apparently the conflict started between the army stationed in the town, and the Koukashi police. No one knows who started it, but it started from a verbal conflict, sparking into violence. And then unhappy residents also joined in. Mamoru is supposed to return tomorrow. But it’s said that the seas are rough now so no boats are headed this way. In a different meaning, it’s probably safer for him to remain on the mainland. As much as she’s worried about Satoya, there’s nothing she can do and it’s especially frustrating. It continues to rain till nighttime, and Megumi heads downstairs where everyone is listening closely to the radio. Just then, Satoya returns soaked by the rain and with a dark expression. He quietly announces that the town has been completely subjugated by the army.
Despair and sorrow, ecstasy
Everyone in Karyuugai gathers in Koukarou to listen to Satoya’s explanation. Using the reason of safety, and to prevent such a situation from happening again, everything is now under the army’s control. In other words, it was a plot from the start to deliberately cause a ruckus. It’s said that someone in the army ranks as well as a weapon merchant are controlling the mayor from the shadows. They have given out two orders to the residents: that they are not allowed to roam about freely, and to wait at home till the government side makes their official statement. Only Satoya and two others were released from Koukaseinendan to transmit this message to them. Hibiki and other non-residents of the island have been forced to leave the island. The very people who have been helping the island, are no longer here. Satoya advises them not to even consider fighting back.
In the corner of the room, Satoya hugs his knees and faces down. He was about to leave but Megumi forced him to change his clothes. Still, he doesn’t move one inch so she removes his outer coat and that prompts him to do so. She goes to make him tea, and stays by his side, waiting for him to look up. Megumi asks if he’s feeling cold, which surprises him since usually one would ask if he’s alright. But that’s asking the obvious. Satoya smiles, and replies that he’s feeling a bit cold. She only hopes that Hibiki is alright, and she notices that his expression goes dark – as always when the topic of Hibiki appears. Satoya only darkly replies that they want to smother him out so they may have other plans installed. Megumi immediately covers him, and he grabs her wrist. Though he feels cold, only his palm feels hot. She sits down, and Satoya says that in the end everything was half-hearted. He made her a promise, but couldn’t do anything. He’s the worst. Megumi denies this, for she finds him admirable and kind to want to be of help to others. For the women in Koukarou, for the residents as he works in Koukaseinendan. But he points out that in the end he was of no use at all. And as of now, he thinks that he merely wanted to be needed by someone – he only wanted to fulfill his own desire. It’s precisely due to this, that’s why he has no self-confidence. Despite this, Megumi replies that he has nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a basic human desire to want to be needed. If you aren’t needed by anyone, you won’t be able to live on.
She thinks that Satoya probably tried so hard to be someone “perfect, honest and of integrity” that he couldn’t forgive even a little “contradiction” or “badness”. Though it’s a bit extreme, but once he judges something as such, he’s unable to function. Megumi wonders if he’s holding back his tears. She can’t tell for he’s looking down. But his grip over her wrist tightens so much that her hand is turning white. Though she doesn’t mind if her wrist snaps at this rate. With her other hand, she reaches out for his face and asks if he’s still feeling cold. Satoya instantly lets her go, leaving behind a distinct scar on her wrist. That fact alone greatly excited her. She loves him, very much, so much. She wonders what this excitement is. But something is not quite enough. When Satoya calls out her name in an uneasy tone, she wraps her fingers around his neck. Megumi soon lets go and they hug each other. Satoya wonders if he had taken the initiative instead of just doing what he was told, or if he had met her earlier, would things be different now.
The next day, soldiers and government officials arrive. The latter to confirm if the registered people are living here. In other words, to return people like Megumi back to their homes. The former to take Satoya away to the army’s dormitories to be “re-educated”. Truth is, they probably think that if left to be, Koukaseinendan may incite a rebellion. Satoya obediently follows, and a soldier makes a face at him, remarking that they can’t use him. He can tell from the eyes that Satoya isn’t putting up an act. Even if they bring him back, it’ll be a waste of time. The soldier calls him a coward and they leave without Satoya. Megumi sees a mix of shock and pathetic feelings blurring in his eyes, enough to tighten her chest. He looks down, with his clenched fists trembling. Before she has time to call out to him, she’s forced back into her empty house. But she wants to remain by his side. Only probably she knows that what Satoya needs the most now isn’t comfort or encouragement. Megumi decides to leave and move to Karyuugai, leaving a single letter behind for Mamoru.
Light and darkness
It’s been half a month since then. With the military surpression of the town, there’s no one who dares to fight back. With the stores unable to continue running their businesses, life for Koukashi as a tourist spot is over. Megumi still doesn’t know Mamoru’s whereabouts. Probably so as to hide the real situation of the island, it’s been forbidden for any regular boats from the mainland to come in. At Koukarou, Megumi breaks a few branches off the chinese lantern plant. Feeling nostalgic, she removes the husk without break it and whistles through it. This wakes Satoya up, and when she brushes her hand against his, he pushes her against the wall. Their lips barely touch. He reminds Megumi that he hates it, and refuses to forgive despite her apology. Satoya forces his lips against hers. At times like these, Megumi is always thinking of Satoya’s feelings. Does he want to fill up the emptiness in his heart? Does he want to forcefully steal something away from others? Or does he want to be comforted? But somewhere along the way, a certain feeling melts inside herself so she never comes to an answer. She chokes and breathes for air. But Satoya doesn’t show any signs of concern, and only remarks that it tastes bitter. Megumi smiles in return, stating that it’s the taste of the chinese lantern plant, the one he detests so much.
She sees the corner of his eyes tinged with a slight scarlet red. There’s a dull light in his eyes, and she wonders since when it was there. Just a few weeks ago, his eyes were so clear. In just a few weeks, his surroundings have drawn out the inferiority complex he had been suppressing all this time and easily spewed out the darkness within. His eyes are flooded with stagnant water. As she stares at him, Satoya looks away and lightly bites on her neck. Megumi only calls out his name. He removes himself from her, and whispers in her ear: to say that she’s in pain if she is, to push him away if she hates it. Is he blaming her, or himself? Again she smiles, remarking that to feel pain is to feel that you’re alive so it’s good. Even if it’s only pain, as long as it’s Satoya she’s happy. Satoya’s face twists at her words, and she’s unsure if he’s laughing or crying. In return, Megumi hugs him lovingly.
The Satoya now is like a falling bird without wings (meaning: lost his identity). He can never return to the past. But she will go to wherever he is, so there’s no need for him to try anymore. Surely, “the him on the surface” is just like her “fake self”. Megumi eats the fruit of the chinese lantern plant. A strong bitter flavour spreads in her mouth and she gulps it down. She calls Satoya’s name, remarking that she can’t heal him but at the very least she can struggle together with him. With her arm wrapped around his neck and his hated flavour in her mouth, Megumi closes her eyes and kisses him. She has lost the store, her family and everything else but the most splendid thing remains in her hands. The scene fades out with Satoya’s words.
You seem to have a misconception. I was not such a dazzling existence from the start. If anyone desired for light, I would make the effort to become that light……that was all. So I have not gone crazy. This is my true self. I recalled it after meeting you. This time I’ll truly go crazy. Till the ends of the world. Together with you. Till the depth of madness*……
(Note: The word for “madness” is the same as in the FD’s title aka “kyouran“.)
The austere me
Megumi calls out to Satoya (“Mochizuki-san”), before repeating his name again in his ear (“Satoya-san”). This causes Satoya to snap out of it as he backs away, face flushed and hand against his ear. They greet each other good morning, with Satoya changing his way of addressing her to “Fuyuura-san”. Megumi refuses to say a word till he switches to calling her by first name, as he asks her what’s wrong. She explains that he’s a person who makes sharp distinctions so she was happy that he stayed the night despite them not being married yet. Yet each time he did so, he would spend it by drinking with Mamoru till dawn. She refuses to forgive him this time, but is unable to answer when Satoya asks how he can cheer her up. Instead, Megumi bursts out at him before running to the store room. After cooling her head, she starts to reflect on herself. Though she always restrains herself around Mamoru, she speaks ever so directly to Satoya for he said that he likes her real self, and would accept her no matter what. Still, she went too far and didn’t listen to his side of the story at all. She could have just told Mamoru straight off, and not take it out on Satoya. It’s proof that she’s spoiled by him.
It’s been a few years since then. After Satoya left for the mainland, she did her best to become a suitable woman for him. That included becoming stronger. Yet she still troubles him like a kid would. Soon after, Satoya comes to find her. He’s well aware that Megumi always says her piece before coming here to cry. He hugs her from behind, saying that it’s alright to be as selfish as she wants to be. He’ll accept all that she’s been enduring all this time. Hearing this, Megumi nods over and over as he pats her head. After calming down, they have their breakfast. Megumi thinks that he shouldn’t spoil her too much – at this rate she’ll become a hopeless person. Satoya laughs in response, saying that he’s the only one she acts like that to. He also finds it cute how she regrets it afterwards each time. She calls him twisted, but is unable to answer when he points out that she’s much more so.
Mamoru will be away next week for training on the mainland, and Satoya asks if he should stay overnight for security reasons during that period. This delights Megumi, but she asks if it’s alright as she considers the reactions of the neighbours. Satoya remarks that it’s up to them to worry but wishes that they would trust them more. Hearing this, she admits that she’s surprised as she thought he would be more strict since they’re not married yet. He admits that he would if it was before, but now he finds it silly since it just decreases the time they can spend together. His priorities have merely switched. After all, there’s no meaning in insisting on his opinion if it just saddens her. Satoya soon reminds Megumi about Beniichi and they hurriedly prepare to head outside.
The release of the women
Indeed, Satoya has changed. In the past he did think for her, but it felt like they were far apart. But now they’re this close. But if she were to express any dissatisfaction, it would be that ever since then the chance never came (hint: see the last scene of Aijou end). Satoya calls Megumi out of her thoughts and embarrasses her as he keeps calling her name. He remarks that he isn’t teasing her, but merely practicing – but he’ll return to how he called her before if she hates it. This causes Megumi to loudly deny so, which leaves him laughing. She can only think to herself of how mean he is. He soon explains that he did have something to talk about: Sae has returned home to the mainland.
Upon Satoya and Hibiki’s recommendation, the direction of Karyuugai has gradually changed. It’s still a tourist attraction, but they now target a different set of customers. In the past, it was the rich and wealthy. Perhaps the advertising efforts were not enough, but in any case there were few customers. Upon Hibiki’s suggestion, the island started to develop the fishing industry and pour efforts into farm produce. And so they relied less on imports which meant that they could afford to provide cheaper accommodation and food. So they could also target the middle class which included couples, and families. So how would that work for Karyuugai? There was the proposal to showcase the arts (shamisen, dance) like they did in the past. In addition, for the women to have a choice of whether they want to continue working or to return home. For those who wish to return home but haven’t returned their debt, the government would help them do so. They also helped those who wished to switch industries. Of course there were stores which disapproved, and were reluctant. But Koukarou showed the most support.
In the end, they never saw Sae again. After everything was over, Megumi went to Koukarou to thank everyone but never saw Sae. Though she wouldn’t be sure of what to say, Megumi still wanted to have seen her. Apparently Sae remarked that she’d never return to the island again, and left a tsurushi kazari for Megumi. Satoya passes it to her, explaining that it’s Sae’s farewell gift. She wants Megumi to forget about her, just like she would. There’s no way for Megumi to know her true intentions, but she’s sure that Sae cared for her in her own way. Megumi laughs, remarking that there’s no way she can forget about Sae with this now. She thinks that Satoya probably knew of Sae’s feelings, and he confirms so. But he feigned ignorance as he couldn’t return her feelings. Not just ‘cos she worked in Koukarou. Megumi thinks to herself that he’s a kind person to everyone. Plus he had decided to die alone in the place he was born. Satoya knows that he was despicable for not rejecting Sae outright. But he thought that if he can become a place of escape for her, he’ll become that hope for her despite not being able to embrace her. Ayame often remarked that they are not as weak as you think that they are. She probably saw Satoya as pitiful, so she often interfered with him like a mother would. With a happy expression, Satoya gazes up at the sky.
Upon returning home, they sort out the groceries, have lunch and do some chores. Megumi hangs the tsurushi kazari in her room. Satoya suggests taking to the trip to the mainland one day, after confirming that Megumi hasn’t been there before. He feels bad that all he got for her were sweets, so he’d like to get her a proper gift this time. She thanks him, but adds that he’s the best possible gift for her. With a serious face, Satoya earnestly decides on going ahead with the trip after all. He admits that he was at a loss as to what to get her due to an occupational disease – many items are considered rude if given. For example, blades, mirrors or pottery are a no go as they “break” and “cut”. Others include handkerchiefs, shoes, combs and many more. To be honest, Megumi is happy with anything he gives her but Satoya thinks it’s best to go together.
It’s soon evening time, and the couple head out for their routine stroll to the sea side. They wave goodbye to the goldfishes placed beside the door, and lock the door as Mamoru will be back late. As they stroll, Megumi asks after Hibiki. She learns that he’s opened his eyes to making dango so after his talks he would help out at the dango store. The two of them start discussing how Hibiki is such a workaholic and their tone would make others think that they’re badmouthing the person in question. Especially Satoya who’s usually polite. But the two of them are probably close enough to talk like this. Satoya then asks to stop by his lodging for a while. He’s no longer staying at Koukarou, but at Onsengai where he works now. He explains that the landlord wants to meet Megumi.
The moon which misleads you
They reach the harbour and Megumi recalls that night: “……You are like a moon goddess. You can provide a dim light in the darkness.” She wonders how that person is doing now. Satoya tells Megumi that he read an article related to the moon when he was at the mainland, that the moon draws people into lunacy. The word “moon” (or rather “lunar”) is within the word, plus when people change into beasts it is usually a full moon. Though it makes the moon out to be one that draws out evil, he couldn’t help but think that it’s a bit like Megumi. Like how she appears innocent yet is able to mislead others on. Megumi is at a loss as to what to reply, after all he’s implying that she’s the one misleading him. Instead, she asks why he read such an article and he answers that it’s ‘cos she said that she likes the moon. Just then, a bell rings and Satoya sees that it’s the stall selling hyouzu.
After buying, they sit on the wooden boxes eating and Megumi recalls the previous time when they gazed at the stars. As Satoya eats, a fair amount of black sugar drips out and she quickly offers her handkerchief. As he thanks her, he remarks that it’s nice to be taken care of like this since it’s often the opposite for him. Of course, it’s only ‘cos it’s her. Embarrassed by his words, Megumi keeps quiet though she’s happy too. He then points up at the stars, and comments that it’s different than seeing them at the mainland – probably ‘cos he’s watching them with her now. As they converse, Megumi accidentally spills the black sugar on her hand this time. Finding it a waste, Megumi asks to lick it up. But Satoya takes the initiative first, and before she realises it he licks it all up. As she freezes there and then, Satoya calmly proceeds to wipe her hand with the handkerchief.
Our love story
Megumi can only wonder what’s he thinking, and quickly grips her hand. Seeing her flustered reaction, Satoya bursts out laughing before suggesting to lie down on the boxes like they did before. Perhaps in an attempt to change the awkward atmosphere for her. As the moon and stars shine down on them, she feels like her heart is being cleansed. Out of the blue, Satoya remarks that she really endures it well – an exact opposite to the previous time. He abruptly sits up before pushing Megumi back down. He’s acting completely differently, leaving her confused. Satoya asks how it felt like then – and she soon realises that he’s referring to when she had sat above him and poured out her desperation. While recollecting her thoughts, Satoya quietly suggests to continue out here – back when he had said that they’ll do it when the chance came. Those were indeed the words Megumi has been waiting for. But he’s acting like a different person now, moreover they are outside. Unsure of what to do, tears start to well up before she knew it. Satoya’s tone immediately softens as he pats her head and wipes her tears away. He asks if she was afraid and Megumi denies this. She just couldn’t catch up to what was happening. Satoya apologises, and said that he merely wanted to pay her back for that time. Though midway he did start to get serious. Before she can react to his last words, Satoya helps her up and looks down with a complicated expression. Megumi explains that she had always thought that she needed to endure, till the “chance” which he had spoken of came. But she admits that every time he touched her she would be thrilled so it’s not that she hated it.
Satoya goes red in the face and tries to find an answer as he rubs the back of his neck. He quickly asks for some time before taking in deep breaths. But it appears not to be enough so he asks to take a quick run instead. When Megumi reminds him that they’re supposed to stop by his place, he dismisses his suggestion and gets ready to head there. But he keeps his distance from her, asking Megumi not to touch him for a while. As she gives her lonely consent, he agrees to hold hands but asks her to run away if she feels any danger from him. He’ll make the effort but his reason is not quite holding in there. Hearing this, Megumi stares at him as he turns away. She asks him to hurry up and marry her, that way both of them wouldn’t need to endure anymore. Looking back her way, Satoya quietly suggests going to ask Hibiki tomorrow to be the go-between. As she wraps her other arm around and leans her head against him, Megumi pretends not to notice that he’s stiffening up. He only remarks that the “moon” is really scary which makes her laugh in return. That was the story on a cool summer night – their story.
I finally got this out. Like his Izon and Separated ends in the original, I found that Satoya’s Another route is the “worst” so far. And I don’t know if it’s my bias or the writers’ bias but yup this post is longer for some reason! Anyway Another route was even more depressing than Nozomu’s – both of them are literally shut off from the world! In Nozomu’s at least they are still working but um I don’t know how they are surviving here. And I felt so sad seeing how Satoya changed like that. By the way the chinese lantern plants you see in the above image? Now you know the symbolism behind it. And the red moon hanging in the sky? That’s reference to the Izon end in the original game. Well now you know that this illustration isn’t as simple and lovey-dovey as it seems…! In case it wasn’t clear enough from their expressions. Seriously though, Another route has constantly proven to be better so far. Satoya’s After route was cute but too short. And frankly, not enough to heal the scars of his Another route so I couldn’t touch the game for a while – again. Anyway, it’ll finally be Hibiki’s turn! And wait, there’s still Mamoru yup.