Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly: Endings

2015-08-21-185352

Here are all the endings for Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. All the endings branch off at different points from the Common Route. I’m listing them in the order in which I played them. The length of this post is pretty monstrous too.

Bad End

Despite her fears, Beniyuri picks up the book. The moment she touches it, she’s overwhelmed with disgust – it’s as if she’s touching a dead person’s skin. She should immediately let it go, but unwittingly her fingers flip through the pages. Foreign language is written on the pages, so she’s unable to comprehend it. Upon catching sight of magical diagrams and human figures, she knows that she’s reading something frightful. Yet she can’t tear her eyes away, despite knowing the danger.

All of a sudden, she has the illusion that the open book is like a small well. A breeze blows past in the darkness. Beniyuri peers into the dark abyss, and she’s sucked inside in an instant. She is filled with loneliness, it appears as if she’s the only person here. She calls out for Hikage’s name, but there’s no answer. She says that he must be hiding, and tells him to stop fooling around. Desperate for another existence, and starts to walk forward. But no matter how far she keeps walking, there’s no end. Beniyuri quickens her pace, hoping to bump in anything.

Soon, she starts running frantically. She pleads for someone to respond to her, not to leave her alone. Beniyuri keeps running, and running. How many hours has it been? Soon, even she has lost her goal and is just a running doll. Where is she headed for? Is it heaven, or hell? Or will she never leave this place? Beniyuri was in that mansion, but did it exist at all? Was everyone she met just an illusion? With everything melting into darkness, her own existence even starts to fade away. And the her who recklessly peered into the darkness, is now forever running in the eternal darkness with what she thinks is her own legs.

Best End

As she flickers open her eyes, she’s first met with a white ceiling. It’s the hospital. Ai realises that she has returned, to where they belong. After that, a nurse who checks on her quickly calls for her family. It was a tearful reunion. As they converse, Ai slowly regains her memories of what happened. It was Nacchan’s 10th death anniversary. So one summer day, she, Takuya and Akira went together to the lake. Nacchan’s body was never found, and remains in the lake till this day. So they went there to mourn for him. But the bus they boarded to go there, met with an accident and the three of them were thrown into the lake. Thankfully, they were saved but they remain unconscious.

When Ai asks about Takuya and Akira, her father has a solemn expression. Just then, the nurse hurriedly comes into the room and announces that the two of them have also woken up. Even Kazuya, who has remained in coma for 10 years, has woken up. Everyone is delighted at this miracle, but they themselves know – this is the end of their long exploration from that summer day.

The scene jumps to the four of them in the forest. Takuya pants, asking if they’re there yet. He’s carrying Kazuya on his back, who replies that it’s just a bit more to go as he studies the map. Akira remarks on how weak Takuya is, who snaps at him to take his place then. As Kazuya gives out the next direction, his brother comments on how the path has been getting more dangerous. The former wonders if it’s the other way then.

Takuya: ……ha? What do you mean by that! Are you properly reading the map?
Kazuya: ……………yes.
Takuya: Your pause was too long!? Right!?

Kazuya only furrows his eyebrows, as he turns the map and compares. Akira remarks that they have plenty of time, and if he has complaints Takuya can read the map himself. The latter exasperatedly points out that he would if he didn’t have to carry Kazuya. Ai laughs, as she adds that they can’t use the wheelchair on this uneven path. It wouldn’t be a wonder if Kazuya still can’t move well as he was in coma for 10 years, but at least he’s well enough to come outside. She confirms if Kazuya is feeling fine, and Takuya points out that she should be asking if he’s fine.

2015-08-29-205547

It’s been 1 year since they’ve been discharged from the hospital. Due to Akira’s suggestion, they decided to mourn for Nacchan’s 10th death anniversary once more. They’ve reached the camp site safely this time, but they need to pass through the forest to reach the lake. They didn’t notice when they were kids, but looking at the map now there’s quite a distance. Soon, a small island floating on water comes into view. Surrounded by greenery, the scene is like a painting.

They’ve finally reached their destination. But it looks like the mansion has been destroyed, and no longer stands on the island. This was where they fought, cried, struggled, and survived. Takuya is the first one to break the silence, as he remarks that the island looks really small yet the mansion felt huge. It was probably huge, more so than the abandoned mansion they explored as kids. No matter how much they searched they couldn’t find an exit. But looking at it now, it appears small.

Akira shares that the mansion was destroyed almost immediately after the accident 10 years ago. He heard this from his mother, who had worked in the regional council. A strangely high number of accidents occurred in the lake, so it’s seen as a supernatural spot by the locals. So no one dared to approach it. Then when their accident happened, they decided to disassemble it for good in order to protect the children. They recall the beautiful mansion they saw in their childhood. Surely many other were also attracted to it, like butterflies to a flower. And those people probably also……

Ai lays down the bouquet of white lilies on the lake, telling Natsuki that they’ve come to see him and asks him to accept the flowers. For a long time, they were no sign on Natsuki’s corpse. But on the same day they woke up, it floated to the lake’s surface. They could finally bury it in his empty grave. But Ai still has yet to visit it. She thinks that it’s best to come to this lake to mourn for his soul, which took off from the mansion. He was a kind person who gave her courage since young. Her first love. She still thinks what if – their fate had been just a little different. Perhaps he would still be alive and standing next to her now. Perhaps in another future…but she’s already living in the “present”. So she needs to keep moving forward to the “future”, with the courage she has gained from Natsuki and the rest.

Everyone, who had been praying, opens their eyes. Without saying anything, they gaze at the island once more. Takuya shares what he had investigated previously, though it’s all mostly rumours. In the past, the mansion had belonged to a wealthy trader, as another villa. It was built in order to entertain foreign guests. In any case, the person who lived here was weird. He stayed cooped in the house, doing some strange research – to revive the dead. It resounds in them, since they just came back from a dimension in between life and death. But Takuya adds that the person who lived here, committed suicide in the lake as his research didn’t go well. After that, the number of accidents kept rising.

It feels as if what had happened to them, was all caused by that person. They may be wrong, but then again there’s no way to confirm the truth about the way to link the living world and the afterlife. The lake appears like a huge mirror, reflecting the blue sky. Whether they look up or down, it’s blue skies. It’s like they’re at the boundary of the world. They look at the endless sky, stretching to their past and future. Just like how they have a past they can’t erase, all souls have a past which they once lived to their fullest. While thinking of those souls, they shall continue moving forward – until their wings of life scatter.

2015-08-29-214905

The scene switches to an old photograph, before fading away.

Real World End

Beniyuri wonders why she came here. The fact that she is dead still hasn’t sunk into her. She shuts her eyes, and imagines that she’s back at home. That familiar place slowly envelopes her gently, and she falls asleep. Ai wakes up to a ringtone. She recalls that she had breakfast and seemed to have woken up from a nightmare. She picks her phone, and Akira asks where she is, it’s already 20 minutes past the meeting time. She’s alarmed to hear this. Ai quickly gets ready, before rushing to meet him. She apologises, noting that he had called her several times. He says that it’s rare for her, and she admits that she fell asleep and saw a nightmare. The feeling that you couldn’t escape even if you wanted to. Akira wonders if it’s some sort of sign.

Ai checks the time, and is sure that they will get told off for being late. Akira suggests skipping class, and just going for the afternoon classes then. She rejects his idea, and thinks that they can still make it if they take the shortcut. On their way, they pass by a game centre and Akira gets distracted by the crane game. It now features the mascot of the Tengu-kun series. She urges him on, and he replies that they can make it if they run. Anyway, she was the cause of them being late. Ai feels bad, but points out that she did say he can go ahead if she’s late. Akira refuses, saying that he doesn’t know the way to school so he has to rely on her. She wonders how he made it on the school opening ceremony day then. He replies that he was lost, but then a butterfly…

She’s aware that he’d just be happy if she gets mad at his words, so she just pushes him along. He suggests an after school date in exchange for going to school now, or rather to just accompany him shopping. Ai has no choice but to agree, and he happily hurries to school. She chases after him. As they reach the pedestrian crossing, she turns around as she feels a strong gaze. Was it just a imagination? Unable to find the person behind that gaze, she walks away. Meanwhile, someone notices the two of them.

It’s been 10 years since she last met Akira. During the school opening ceremony, she was standing among the second years and recognised a first year – Akira. He also noticed her, and waited for her after homeroom, calling her “Minato-senpai”. 10 years ago, he was physically weak and an introvert. Yet he showed up now as a lively young boy. The next day, he appeared in front of her house asking to go to school together. He said that he didn’t know the way. But months later, it clearly became an excuse. Despite knowing that, Ai is unable to ask him for the real reason. She’s not good at handling him when he pushes for things. Though he’s a close and important childhood friend, she’s afraid that something inside of her would be forced open.

After school, they head towards the shopping district. After shopping, they’re just wandering around. Akira expresses his craving to eat crepes, and points out a sign featuring a new flavour: natto yogurt cream. He’s interested, but Ai would prefer just the regular flavours. He remarks that it’s boring, and that she doesn’t really challenge new things. Ai observes that he often eats several pieces of bread during lunch, and also eats on the way home. Yet he never gets fat. She’s rather envious. Akira wonders if she’s complimenting him, and is hurt that she sees him as skinny. He does training once in a while, and offers to strip for her to see. She lets of a yelp and turns away, as he raises his shirt. He says that she’s overreacting, to the point where it seems like he’s sexually harassing her. Ai feels that he is though, and tells him to bring his shirt down.

Akira comments that she can’t continue like that, and suggests for her to go out with him in order to become more immune to these sort of things. She tells him to stop joking, but he insists that he isn’t. He has confessed several times already. But Ai refuses to believe such a flippant confession, and he sulks at how easily his words are dismissed. It seems that he isn’t trusted at all. Ai can’t see the past Akira in him at all. After walking for a while, they notice a unique stall which stands out among the crowd. A violet cloth is drapped across the table, and numerous sparkling accessories are laid out on it. An elderly man wearing a veil is nodding off.

Ai is captivated by the accessories, and spots a hairpin with a butterfly motif. It has an unusual sparkle, that draws her in. Akira comments that it’s rare to see her want something, but she replies that she was just looking. Just then, he notices something written on the back of its price tag: PsycheDelos. Out of the blue, a voice tells them that it means “the other world”. The old man is awake, and explains that “Psyche” means “soul” in another language, as well as “butterfly”. “Delos” means incarnation/embodiment. In the past, butterflies were seen as carriers of souls, that souls which have left its physical body turn into butterflies and move on. Since “the other world” would have numerous butterflies, in other words it’s “PsycheDelos”. But presently, it’s more known by the English name “Psychedelica”.

A strange feeling wells up in Ai, as she mutters the name. The old man explains that all of his accessories and meant to mourn for the dead, and he wonders if she has lost someone important since she’s attracted to them? He won’t ask more, but usually that is the case. His question calls to the memories buried deep inside Ai. Just as her memories are about to be dug up, Akira says that they should leave soon. It’s getting late, and she has to prepare dinner for her family today. She thanks him for the reminder, as he pulls her away from the stall. Ai also advises him to go back soon, since he needs to study for upcoming exams. If he fails, his summer break would be occupied by remedial classes.

Akira stills wants to see her home though, as it’s getting late. His words make her feel as if this is really a date, even though they’re not going out. Ai insists that she’s fine despite his reservations. In the end, he tells her to take her hand out, and places the hairpin from the stall earlier. She tries to refuse, but he claims that he can no longer hear anything. He excuses himself, and tells her not to be late again tomorrow. Ai can only gaze at his disappearing figure, wondering when he bought it. While she’s happy to receive it, to receive it from a guy…still it looks really pretty. It’s similar to the shard she picked up that time. She recalls that it’s a mourning accessory. Did he give it to her to make her happy? Or…

A voice calls out her name, adding that he did indeed see her this morning. She recognises him as Takuya, who always used to bully her. He remarks that she need not recall to that extent, but in any case it’s been a long time. He’s going to Nagikou, and she recognises it as extremely advanced school. She never knew he was that smart. He recognises her school uniform as Shirasuzu’s. They converse more, but Takuya has to leave soon. They exchange contact numbers.

Upon reaching home, Ai gets ready to prepare dinner. Haruka notes that she came home later than usual, and learns that she was out with Akira. They’re always going to school together, and Haruka remarks that they should just go out. After all, she’s sure that Akira likes her. It would be cruel of her not to respond when he’s appealing so much to her. She notes that her older sister is no good with men, even she has someone she likes. Ai replies that her hands are full with a cheeky sister like her. Haruka tells her a secret, that she promised to marry her classmate Makoto. Ai replies that it would be nice if it came true. Haruka nods and smiles innocently. Her smile is too bright for the present Ai.

That night, Ai takes something out with the hairpin she received from Akira. The two items are similar, the hairpin and the shard she picked up during summer camp. Nacchan had said that he wanted to give it to her as it was really pretty. It has been her number one treasure. Saying his name in a long time, causes her chest to tighten. When he proposed to her when they were young, she agreed without thinking twice. She really wanted to marry him. But, he passed away. Ever since then, she feels a sense of guilt in getting along with other men. Ai keeps soaking in nostalgia, each time she takes out the shard, like a lover who has been left behind. If he is still alive, would they be going to the same school? Surely he’d be taller, but his bashful way of smiling wouldn’t change. She wants to see him.

Just then, a text from Akira arrives. It says that he wants to eat ice-cream, and they should get it on the way back home tomorrow. Akira knows that Natsuki still remains in her heart. That’s why he’s been gently avoiding the topic of Natsuki, while approaching her with a half-joking attitude. Ai wonders how serious he is. She likes him, but in a different way from Natsuki. The misunderstanding of them going out seems to be increasing, so perhaps it’s best if they stop meeting alone. She mulls over what to reply, as she keeps the hairpin and shard. After a while, she replies.

The next day after school, Akira questions Ai why Takuya is here. She replies that it’s been a long time since they met Takuya, so she thought they should go out together. She wonders if they were on such bad terms. Instead of being touched at their reunion, both of them have difficult expressions. Akira observes that he’s going to Nagikou, and praises him despite being a single-cell organism. Or perhaps he used money and connections to get through? Takuya remarks that he’s turned into a really frustrating person in the time they haven’t seen each other. In the past he was such a crybaby. While the two of them say spiteful words to each other, Ai thinks that they get along pretty well and giggles. They’re totally on the same page, despite their denials.

2015-08-31-144627

They first head to the game centre. Ai wants to take a commemorative photo at the photo booth, and Takuya unwillingly joins in. Afterwards, they go to eat at a family restaurant. Takuya complains that Akira’s intake is unbalanced, while the latter points out that he doesn’t need to gobble down his food. Meanwhile, Ai orders the fishbowl parfait and the two of them awkwardly watch her eat the huge dessert. They continue to look at different shops. Akira comments on how cute Mojamoja-kun. Ai thinks that the bug mascot is too unique. Takuya tells her to say it straight to his face as Akira’s senior, that his sense is poor. Later, they stop by an ice-cream shop. Takuya only gets coffee, admitting that he doesn’t like sweet things. Akira questions if he thinks it’s cool to order black coffee. They continue to bicker, till Ai tells them to stop acting like big children.

Their lively arguments continue throughout the rest of the day. Ai observes that though they look different now, the way they interact is still the same. She recalls the five of them playing at the park when they were young, and wishes that everyone was here. Realising what she blurted, Ai covers her mouth. Takuya thanks her for inviting him along, but he has to leave soon. Ai is happy that he came, while Akira is shooing him away. Pretending now to have heard her words, Takuya walks away. She’s relieved, for she wouldn’t know how to react. After all, it’s a forbidden topic. Akira offers to see her home, plus he has something to say.

On the way back, Ai remarks that she can sleep well tonight since they walked a lot. She thinks that Takuya hasn’t changed, except for his physical appearance. Akira’s responses are brief and listless, and she’s at a loss. He leads her to the park they used to play at. It’s still the same as before, and one may feel that they’ve slipped through time. Akira knows that she may have wanted to see Takuya, but she also didn’t want the two of them to be alone – that’s why she purposely did that right? Ai awkwardly denies it, saying that he’s thinking too much.

Akira: Is that so? Then, let’s go out together tomorrow? And the day after, and the day after that, and the next day too, let’s be together? ……see, your face shows your answer. You don’t dislike me, but you dislike being alone with me right?

His words are correct, so Ai can’t say anything in return. He asks if she still likes Natsuki, that’s why she can’t be conscious of him as a guy. She tells him to stop kidding around, and he says that he can’t possibly joke about this. Ai is clearly shaken by the topic of Natsuki, which she had been avoiding the whole time.

Akira: I……like Minato. Since before, I admired the strong and optimistic you. Maybe because of that accident, when we met again you were a bit different from before. But your voice, the way you speak, and smile haven’t changed at all……I grew to like you more.
Ai: ………
Akira: It’s true, I’ve only spoken in a joking tone. But I properly conveyed them right? That’s why, you’ve been running away from my feelings right? By clinging onto the illusion of Nacchan.
Ai: A, Aki-chan, saying it like that……!
Akira: But it’s because Minato is always running away……even though Nacchan is already dead—!
Ai: ……!
Akira: Ah……

Akira closes his mouth, knowing that he crossed the line. A heavy silence passes between them, till Ai quietly says that she knows it. Akira apologises, he didn’t mean to mention it. The words spoken, cling to her chest like a curse.

Ai: ……Aki-chan has changed. You’re totally different from the past. Back then you were kind, gentle, and more—.
Akira: The past doesn’t matter anymore! That’s right. I’m different from the past! I wanted to change. I’m no longer the cowardly Hime-chan who gets bullied, I won’t go through that again……!
Ai: ……eh?

Both of them go quiet again, there’s a danger of hurting each other no matter what they say. Finally, Akira asks if she was never curious about how he was in middle school. She never once asked him. She only looks at the past him, and doesn’t notice the present him at all. With a sad voice, he pleads for her to look at the him now. Ai wavers, she didn’t know that he felt this way. It’s true that she never made the effort. Soon, he apologises and says that he’ll head back now. They part ways, and she ponders over his words. It’s true that she’s searching for the old Akira, comparing the two as she wonders why he changed so much.

She sighs, as she’s faced with the reality she desperately tried to avoid – Nacchan is already dead. Her neighbourhood holds an annual summer camp for the children. 10 years ago, she, Natsuki, Aki and twin brothers Takuya and Kazuya, all went for it. After arriving at the camp site, they went exploring and came across a lake. On it was a small island, and an abandoned mansion. She was captured by its fairytale-like presence, and suggested for them to explore it. Despite Natsuki’s worries that it was dangerous, they went ahead. They were so absorbed in exploring it, that they didn’t notice the rain coming.

It rained so heavily causing the water level to rise, and they hurriedly went across the only path available. In the midst, Kazuya returned to the mansion to find the ribbon she lent him. Natsuki and her went back too, and thankfully they found it. But by then, the path was covered by the water. Still, they frantically tried to cross. As a result, they were washed away by the tide and almost drowned. When Ai woke up, she was told the sad news. Natsuki had died in exchange for saving her and Kazuya. Until now, his body hasn’t been found. But considering the circumstances, it’s unlikely that he survived.

Due to this, everyone went separate ways. Everyone else except her, moved house. If she hadn’t suggested it back then, this wouldn’t have happened. If they didn’t recklessly cross the lake. If she didn’t tie that ribbon. If she didn’t participate in summer camp. There are many “if”s, but all that remains is regret. And so, Ai avoided getting deeply involved with anyone. She’s afraid to lose, that’s why she’s also afraid to gain. That’s how she is now. She hasn’t moved forward since then, and she keeps escaping into her memories.

Ai wonders how Kazuya is, she never did ask Takuya. She looks at his contact number, wondering where he was rushing off to. Unwittingly, she presses the call button and Takuya picks up. Since things have come to this, she asks about Kazuya. He pauses, and answers that they’re together now. When asked if he could let Kazuya speak to her, Takuya asks if she wants to meet instead. She affirms this, so he says that he’ll let her see Kazuya if she comes now. After getting the address down, Ai hurries over.

She finds the younger twin lying unconscious on a hospital bed. Takuya gently tells him that Ai is here, he had always been fond of her. Ai tears up, realising that he has been unconscious ever since that accident. Takuya confirms this, it’s as if his soul still remains in the lake. The doctor told him that if he keeps getting stimulation, he may wake up. That’s why he visits him everyday, to move his body and to talk to him. She observes that Kazuya wears a difficult expression, and Takuya adds that he always looks like this. She wonders if he’s seeing a nightmare. He remarks that it would be hell, if he had been seeing one for 10 years.

2015-08-31-150643

She notices the purple ribbon tied around Kazuya’s wrist. Takuya recalls that she lent it when Kazuya was hurt. His expression softens when he holds the ribbon, so Takuya tied it around his wrist. He asks if she wants it back. Ai replies that it’s fine, she will wait for Kazuya to wake up and return it himself. Takuya thanks her, hoping that the time will come. She learns that he comes everyday after school, as his parents are working. He hasn’t joined any clubs, and he can study here anyway. Ai recalls that he wanted to be a soccer player when he was young, and he points out that he hasn’t got time for that dream. Not with Kazuya like this.

Ai remains quiet. To think that the Takuya who always proudly spoke of his dream, is brooding like this. But to be honest, she’s a little happy that she isn’t the only one trapped in the past. She hates herself for that. If it were someone else, the silence would be unsettling. But not with Takuya. She asks if she can come again. He doesn’t mind, adding that Kazuya would probably be happy. Ai thanks him, happy that she has another place to go to now.

The next day, Akira acts as if nothing happened as he greets her with a smile. He talks while avoiding what happened yesterday. But that makes her feel more stifled, as if her neck was tightened with silk. After class, Akira waits for her. At first, Ai avoids him by going through the back-gate and she would go to visit Kazuya. The white, vacant space may feel lacking in changes, but it puts her at peace. The following days, she continued to run away from Akira and to visit Kazuya. Takuya isn’t here today. She notices that Kazuya’s hair has grown. Even if the time of his heart has stopped, his body is growing. Even if he’s asleep, he’s still living.

Ai: ……hey, Kazuya-kun. About me suggesting to go explore during the summer camp, does Kazuya-kun……hate me for it? If I had listened to Nacchan’s warning and didn’t go towards the lake, we would both be in high school……I’m sorry……it’s my fault……I’m really sorry……

She wraps her hands around his which is tied with the ribbon and brings it to her forehead, as if asking for forgiveness. She knows apologising won’t solve anything, but it’s painful. Ai shoots up when Takuya comes back. He was just called away by the doctor, who told him that Kazuya’s heartbeat is getting weaker. Though it isn’t critical, the doctor thought that he should be informed. He comments that Ai is really curious to keep coming here without getting bored. She only replies that it’s more than enough to get to see Kazuya and him. Takuya thinks that she’s weird indeed, and notes that it’s going to rain tonight.

Later, he offers to see her home. When Akira had offered, she instinctively rejected. It felt as if their relationship would gradually change. Yet when Takuya offered, she accepted without any objections. Takuya is just like her, trapped in the past. That fact makes her feel close to him, it’s a mysterious bond. On the way back, they talk about indistinct things. But Takuya looks like he’s having fun, and Ai becomes more talkative. She mentions how Haruka already has a boyfriend. Takuya is amazed by how fast time flies, the last time he met her she was still like a baby. Seeing her worry about her younger sister, he remarks that she’s like a mother. Ai doesn’t deny it, since there’s quite a difference in their ages.

Takuya thinks that the same blood runs in them after all. When she was young, she was also caught up in her wedding promise with Natsuki. Realising what he had just said, he looks away guiltily. Ai sees that the past they want to forget but can’t forget, always gets mentioned despite how much they try to avoid it. Ai confides in him that when she saw everyone move away after the accident, she wondered why they had to separate. But she understands now. If they’re together, they wouldn’t be able to escape, or move forward from that sad incident. They may even unconsciously hurt each other to pieces.

He accepts that his parents probably made the right decision to move. Up till now, his parents have yet to face up to Kazuya’s state, and only visit him minimally. Ai asks if it isn’t painful for him to face Kazuya. Takuya admits that he gets depressed on rainy days as he recalls Kazuya drowning, and feels helpless looking at him. Ai apologises. He quickly replies that it isn’t her fault. The rest of them also agreed to join her, plus she was also drowning. She points out that he went to call the adults though, so he did nothing wrong. He disagrees, it’s his fault that Kazuya is like this now, and that Natsuki died…she isn’t at fault. His direct words make her heart tremble, and she tears up.

When he notices this, Ai insists that she isn’t crying. She had always blamed herself. It’s still the same. But she feels less tense, to have someone stick up for her like this. Takuya wipes her tears, asking her to calm down. He doesn’t know what to do when she cries. She apologises, and he laughs at how they keep apologising after their reunion. While he’s troubled by how sad she is, to be honest he’s happy that she’s still mindful of the accident. He thought that it was just him left behind 10 years ago, and that she and Akira had already moved forward. Takuya feels relieved that they both feel the same way.

A voice mulls over how it seems that that’s the case. It’s Akira, and his arrival surprises them. Recently, he never saw her after class and found her suspicious, so she was secretly meeting Takuya. When Ai denies this, he forcefully grabs Takuya away from her. He doesn’t want to hear any excuses, and questions just how much longer she will run away till she’s satisfied. Though she used Natsuki as an excuse to escape from him, she hasn’t accepted Natsuki’s death at all. And now it’s Takuya? Does she think that she can stand up again relying on each other? Or is he the perfect companion in her escapade? That’s probably the case, seeing them together like this. Akira tells her to recognise her weak side, and to confront it. She just wants to be in a place where she feels comfortable.

Takuya demands for Akira to stop using her as an outlet to release his anger. He shakes Akira’s hand away, and steps in front of Ai to protect her. A tension runs between them. Akira asks why he appeared only now, why is he approaching Ai. Takuya has no real reason, and Ai remarks that she was the one going to see him, and Kazuya. Akira accepts this, but he’s sure that Takuya has hidden motives, like being comforted by Ai, to earn forgiveness. Both of them are cowards, much weaker, cowardly and more afraid then he was when he was being bullied. He gets irritated seeing them like that, why did they become like this? They have everything that he doesn’t have, did they drop it all in the lake during the accident? Right now, they’re just licking each other’s wounds. It’s extremely unsightly.

His words provoke Takuya, who grabs Akira by the collar. Ai desperately tries to stop them from fighting, nothing good will come out of it. She would hate it if they break apart again despite their reunion. She only wanted to return to the way they were. Ai wonders if they shouldn’t have met each other again, it only strained their relationship. What can they do to move forward? Feeling as if she’s sinking in mud, Ai looks up and meets Akira’s gaze. He looks straight at her, before suggesting that they go to the lake.

That accident was the cause for their separation. So they’ll go to the same place, and mourn for Natsuki who is sleeping there. Then they’ll redo things from there. They’ll put an end to things, and accept it, so that they do not turn back anymore. He tells Takuya to come too. Without an answer, he leaves them with that promise to end everything. They’re just going to visit, but can they easily do it? Ai can’t imagine cutting off the ties from 10 years ago. But she can’t voice her worries. If she rejects the idea, she knows that she would lose Akira this time.

And so the next free day, they meet at the bus terminal and head towards the camp site. The weather was so fine, that you couldn’t tell that the forecast said it would be rainy. On the flipside, Ai’s heart was covered with thick clouds. After a while, raindrops start to fall and soon it got so heavy that nothing could be seen outside. The greenery outside seems to be growing, but she can’t tell where they are. All she knows is that, they have to reach the final stop. She sighs. Will it all end if she offers flowers and prays – it would be nice if it did. Ai opens up her pouch, and takes the shard she got from Natsuki, and the hairpin from Akira, in her hand. They share the same sparkle, with one resembling the past and the other the future. Both are important, but she can’t choose. She grips them tightly, the past and future collide in her fist.

2015-08-31-183907

Some time later, and the bus is almost at their destination. They can see the lake past the window. But Ai starts to feel sleepy. She was too worried about today, that she hardly slept last night. She doesn’t want to sleep yet. Not when she hasn’t sorted out her feelings. But Ai can no longer keep her eyes open, and she falls into a deep sleep. In the midst, she can hear the boys talking.

Takuya: I think I should go back after all……I’m getting off at the next stop.
Akira: Hah? What in the world are you saying?
Takuya: This sort of thing is meaningless. Mourning, there’s no way we can redo things by doing that.
Akira: ……why?
Takuya: You ask why……
Akira: Aah……I see, I get it. Takuya did something he cannot undo.
Takuya: ……what do you mean.
Akira: I know. You were jealous of Kazuya right? That’s why you did something spiteful. During the exploration, Minato lent her important ribbon to an injured Kazuya. You were jealous of that……so you purposely loosened the ribbon when you were treating him right?
Takuya: St……stop it……
Akira: As a result, it led to that accident. If you didn’t do that petty trick, everyone would have returned safely.
Takuya: Please stop it……
Akira: And yet, you hid the crucial part, and took advantage of Minato’s weakness…… You’re the worst. Stop dragging Minato in now. If only you could take (his) place instead……!
Takuya: ……! If I could I would! Kazuya too……I do think that it would be better if that’s the case……!
Akira: Wha, what is with this shaking!? What is happening!?
Takuya: Like I would know! Ask the driver……oi! He has fainted!?
Akira: ……!? The cliff……watch out!!
Takuya: ……!?

That’s right. They were weak. Though they tried to be strong, their hearts were always unsettled. They could only run away, from everything that came close to them, so that they won’t break. That’s why, that may have been some sort of punishment for them. In the end, they were lured into a strange world. There, they laughed, cried, fought, struggled, and lived to their fullest—. Will they change, will they move forward?

She’s falling, falling. And so they ended up lost in a dream, in which they couldn’t escape no matter how hard they tried to.

Read: Related Short Episode

Yamato Bad End

Beniyuri decides that it’s better not to probe too much. The masked man not answering, means that he doesn’t want to talk. She will wait for him to be ready to open up. She returns to the quiet hideout, relieved that no one is awake. Yamato wished to keep their meeting a secret. Is it because he doesn’t want others to see his unsightly appearance, or is it something else? In any case, it’s best not to bump in anyone. Though she has prepared several excuses in case someone spots her. If possible, she doesn’t want to lie. Lies raise suspicion, and suspicion leads to separation. She doesn’t want to further strain their relationship. The masked man said that he will come again tomorrow. She wonders if she can slip out successfully. While planning what to do, Beniyuri returns to her room.

Since then, she’s been secretly going to see Yamato. The masked man would always be waiting in the corridor, and wordlessly lead her to the greenhouse. Even if she tried to talk to him, he hardly responded. So Beniyuri still can’t figure out his reason for leading her to Yamato. So she only conversed the bare minimum with him, lest she spoils his mood and she can no longer meet Yamato. One day, Yamato sees that she brought more weird things again. In her bag is a mixture of food, books and toys. She brought them, so that he wouldn’t get bored. He reminds her that he can survive without eating ever since he changed into this form. Plus he will find a way to kill time even without all of this.

He even finds cards, and a stuffed toy Karasuba had previously found. He asks if she doesn’t find him with a stuffed toy creepy, and she replies that it’s pretty cute. Yamato warns her not to imagine weird things. He then finds a soccer ball, which she had found in his room. Beniyuri apologises for intruding into his room, and wonders if she should return it. But he stands up instead, and starts to kick it. She’s amazed at his skills, but he thinks that this lifting technique is normal. She remarks that it may be normal for him, but not her. Beniyuri recalls her dog Koro, which would excitedly chase after the ball. Yamato is not pleased to be compared to her dog. But she explains that she feels nostalgia around him at times, to the point where she thinks of Koro.

Yamato passes the ball to her abruptly, and Beniyuri is unable to catch it in time. He laughs at how poor she is, but she claims that he took her by surprise. They try again, with Yamato giving her tips on how to accurately pass it to him. As they pass the ball to each other, a new bond seems to form between them. Beniyuri treasures this moment. After they’re done, Yamato remarks that it’s been a while since he exercised this much. She agrees, wondering what she will say to the rest if she ends up getting muscle pains the next day. She’s glad that she brought the ball, adding that he always made a strange face when she brought other things. He agrees that it’s far better than the weird toys and foreign books. He warns her to be careful not to be seen, especially if she keeps bringing out things. He doesn’t need any toys, but it would be troublesome if she doesn’t come anymore.

2015-09-01-195328

He reddens slightly, dismissing his last sentence. Beniyuri is glad to hear that she isn’t a bother, and Yamato replies that it’s the opposite. He would feel depressed if he’s alone, so he’s grateful for her presence. His unexpected words cause her heartbeat to quicken. She confirms that he’s really lonely, moreover he would feel uneasy with his body now. But he still refuses to return to the hideout, he still isn’t confident. Beniyuri can only wonder the reason behind his hesitation, so she promises to continue visiting him day after day – so that he won’t feel depressed and lonely.

Yamato stares at her, before showing a troubled smile. She really is curious to want to look after others, to the point of sacrificing her own sleep. Beniyuri replies that he’s an important friend, and can’t leave him be. She offers to be his strength, and tells him not to hold back with her. Yamato answers that her concern is more than enough. So he doesn’t need anything else, she just needs to come here. After that, Beniyuri continued to visit him more. Recently, she’s been going every night. They’ve become closer, as compared to their time in the hideout. Yamato only has her as a companion, and needs her. That reality and the danger of their secret, has brought them closer than before.

One day, she’s preparing lunch for everyone and is proud of the mountain of sandwiches she’s made. When she’s searching for a container, Karasuba strolls into the kitchen. He’s surprised at the volume she’s made, and she awkwardly laughs, replying that she’s really hungry. Karasuba warns her that she’ll gain weight if she eats so much, though he doesn’t mind if she does in certain areas. His remark makes her embarrassed, and he chuckles at her reaction. He returns to the living-room, and Beniyuri is relieved that she didn’t give things away. She’ll need to be more careful. But Hikage comes to check on her, as she’s taking too long. She apologises, and he glances around before leaving.

That night, she packs the lunchbox and quietly slips out. But the moment she reaches for the door handle, Hikage asks where she’s going. He noticed that she’s been slipping out at night despite the danger. He questions her reason for doing so. Hikage is Yamato’s brother, so it’s better to let him know. But Beniyuri recalls her promise to Yamato, and quickly comes up with an excuse. She claims to have lost something, so she’s been going out to find it everyday. It’s her own mistake, so she didn’t want to trouble the rest. She hides the lunchbox, while laughing at her clumsy self. Hikage eyes her suspiciously, before heaving a loud sigh. He calls her stupid for ignoring the dangers at night, and tells her not to do it anymore. It’s better to search in the daytime. She quietly apologises, and walks back to her room.

It doesn’t look like she can visit Yamato today, but it’s fortunate that the truth wasn’t leaked. Hikage glares at her sternly, as she heads upstairs. Meanwhile, Yamato calls Beniyuri’s name. He realises that it’s just a butterfly, and comments on how he’s acting like a dog waiting for its master. He wants to see her soon.

???: Despite committing a sin, do you think that you’ll be forgiven?
Yamato: —!! The rain……? Did I mishear……?

Ever since that day, Hikage has been firmly watching over Beniyuri. He would get up earlier than everyone else, and only return to his room at night after she does so. His silent restraint, is keeping her from seeing Yamato. Whether she’s awake or asleep, she remains concerned about Yamato being alone in the greenhouse. But she can’t worry Hikage and the rest. Since the masked man is unable to meet her inside the hideout, the days without seeing Yamato continue.

Yamato: ………Beniyuri……is not coming today too. How many days has it been, since I last saw her…………shut up. The rain……is noisy. I feel like I’m going crazy……please……stop! ………it’s my fault……that he………I want to listen to Beniyuri’s voice. ………just now, was there a voice……? ………that voice, is it Beniyuri? Did you come……? What……aren’t you late……how long did you want me to wait. From now on, let me keep hearing your voice. To the point that, I no longer hear the rain……alright……—Beniyuri?

Beniyuri freezes, as she feels like someone called her name. She looks around, but cannot see who it was. Kagiha asks what’s wrong, and she explains that she heard someone. He didn’t call out to her though, and there’s no one else. Perhaps she misheard? She agrees, but can’t help but feel a presence. She shuts her eyes to focus on the voice which lingers in his head. It’s a strange sensation. Kagiha remarks that there’s always a presence in this mansion, adding that he thought that he just saw a shadow. When he look up, the shadow vanished onto the second floor. Was it a monster, or a masked person?

She knows that she can’t confirm if the shadow was Yamato, or the masked man. It may even be someone unrelated. But she can only think that Yamato has come out, in search for companionship. She recalls him saying that he doesn’t need any toys, just for her to come. Though she promised to visit everyday, she is breaking her promise. Beniyuri has given up on persuading him to return, since that it his wish. But there’s no way that he isn’t lonely. Yamato regained part of his original self when they exchanged words. But has she truly accepted the sadness that hides behind his smile? She feels uneasy.

When night falls, she waits for Kagiha and Karasuba to return to their rooms. She calls Hikage out, saying that she has something important to say. She hesitantly confesses that she knows where Yamato is. Her heart wavers with regret, she’s stepping all over his wish. Is this really okay? Beniyuri shakes away her hesitation, and explains about the hidden greenhouse, how Yamato regained himself, how she’s been visiting him, and that he told her to keep it a secret. She apologises for hiding the truth. Hikage takes a while to respond to the news of his brother’s safety. For some reason, he doesn’t look happy but at a loss.

Beniyuri says that she hasn’t seen Yamato for a long time, and is worried about him. Could he have turned back into a monster? She wants to see him, that’s why she came to consult Hikage. She pleads for him to let her go see Yamato. In response, Hikage asks to go with her. He’s just as worried as her. She hesitates, since she isn’t sure why Yamato didn’t want to let the others know. Hikage guesses her reservation, and promises to remain hidden and will only watch from a distance.

With that agreement, they exit the hideout. For one reason or another, the masked man isn’t there. In any case, Beniyuri manages to lead Hikage to the door to the greenhouse. Hikage is unable to hide his nerves, and as promised waits at the door. He’ll come in if something happens and she calls for him. Beniyuri steps inside the greenhouse, and it still looks the same, as if time has frozen. She calls out Yamato’s name, apologising that she hasn’t been able to come recently. She can’t find him, not even at his usual resting place. She wonders if he’s hiding and tells him to come out. But strangely, she can’t feel any presence. It’s odd. He would always respond when she calls his name.

Nothing has changed, but it’s like something important is missing. She compares the current scene with the one in her memories, and realises a shocking revelation – there are no white butterflies anywhere. Feeling restless, she bolts down the stairs to inform Hikage that Yamato is gone. To her surprise, he’s disappeared too. Hikage has never left her alone before, but right now he’s nowhere to be seen. Desiring to find the missing existence, Beniyuri keeps running through the mansion even when she’s breathless. Just then, she spots the butterflies in front of a door. The only difference is, that their wings are painted black.

Usually, she would avoid anything inauspicious. But she can’t help it this time, and peers inside. The stale smell of old books fills her lungs, and she resists the urge to cough. It looks like a study room. Books line the shelves, and there are bundles of documents scattered on the floor. An extravagant-looking desk stands in the middle – as well as Yamato. He smiles brightly at her, commenting that she has come again today. He chuckles at how meddlesome she is, to come everyday. His words confuse her, and she stares at him. His eyes look extremely murky, that she unconsciously steps back. He seems different from usual, though she can’t pinpoint what. It’s just a strange atmosphere.

Yamato agrees that it’s weird, the sound of rain won’t stop. The night isn’t ending. He realises that it’s his fault too, that the rain won’t stop. That they can’t leave the mansion. That Kazuya won’t wake up. That everyone went separate ways. It’s all his fault, if only he didn’t exist. Beniyuri is alarmed to hear this, and tells him to get a grip. He wobbles towards her, reaching out his hand to her, like he’s seeking help.

Yamato: No matter how long I wait……he won’t wake up. I can’t escape from the night……!
Beniyuri: Yamato……-kun?
Yamato: The rain, the sound of rain……is blaming me. Surely, I will continue to hear it forever……but, no one will condemn me……just how long will the rain continue to pound down on me……?
Beniyuri: Condemn……?
Yamato: Aah……that’s right. The choice of words, is despicable right. Even though it’s me, who won’t tell anyone the truth. As expected I……may be a despicable person by nature……

But Beniyuri can’t comprehend his words. Yamato goes on to say that he killed his brother, because he had stupid thoughts and loosened the ribbon. She asks if he refers to Hikage. He corrects her, his brother is Kazuya. He didn’t want her to know his ugly and unsightly side. Yet at the same time, he wanted her to know all of him, to accept him. If not, he will never be forgiven. Even though he knows that it’s despicable of him to desire salvation, he is at his limit already. Tears stream down his face, staining the floor – as well as her heart. Beniyuri quietly acknowledges his confession, though she isn’t sure what he’s thinking. She will never know what happened in the real world. But she knows one thing – Yamato being driven into a corner and blaming himself, is her fault. She left him alone, even though she should have been by his side.

Yamato: It’s my fault……that he……
Beniyuri: (It’s my fault……that Yamato-kun is……)

2015-09-02-203702

Their hearts strangely overlap, as a sense of guilt binds them strongly together. Beniyuri hugs him, as he whispers that he can no longer endure it. He realises that he’s staining her, and she replies that it’s fine if it’s him. Yamato begs her to hug him tighter, to the point he is smashed and disappears. He wants her to erase him. He wraps him arms around her tightly, and his sharp claws dig into her till she bleeds. He wants to be at ease, he can no longer take it anymore. Beniyuri agrees, she wants to forget everything too. At this rate, she may be ripped into shreds by his claws. But that’s fine. The ecstasy of accepting all of Yamato, is much better than creepy feeling of her body eroding from inside.

Like this, they will become one. She wonders why, since before she couldn’t help but feel that they are the same. That’s right, she and him…… Yamato begs her not to leave him alone, she promises in return. They will always be together – Takuya. He agrees. With the reawakened memories, and the decaying bodies, what will become of them? How far will they fall? The destination is unknown. They only know that, they want to be forgiven. Right now, she will just fall with him into the depths, and gives herself up to the flow.

Karasuba Bad End

Beniyuri doesn’t know what Karasuba recalled, and what she can’t recall. But she feels that if she doesn’t take his hand, he will vanish to somewhere far away by himself. He laughs at her response, commenting that she’s always been kind. She agrees to always look at him only, and his smile widens each time she nods. It’s a kind smile, but also a twisted one. He proposes that they always be together then, and to only think of each other – whether it’s day, afternoon, night. She agrees once more. Each time she does so, her eyelids get heavier. He observes that she’s sleepy, which is natural since it’s late and she’s probably tired from trying to recall. Karasuba tells her to go ahead and sleep, he’ll remain with her – and won’t let anyone else have her. As if coaxed by a lullaby, Beniyuri is lured into the world of dreams.

The next morning feels more refreshing than usual. She has slept long enough, and feels happy even without doing anything. It’s been a while since she felt this good. But Beniyuri is startled by an unexpected sight. Karasuba greets her as he kisses her hand. She realises that she had been sleeping on his arm, and asks what he’s doing here. Could it be that they’ve been together the whole time? He only smiles in return, relishing the moment. He notes on how red she has become, like an apple. There’s no need to be so embarrassed, now that they’ve spent the night together. She panics and checks her clothes. Thankfully, she’s still wearing them, and her ribbon hasn’t been untied. As she sighs, Karasuba breaks out into laughter. He remarks that a lot still can happen, even without removing her clothes.

2015-09-02-234703

Beniyuri turns pale, and he’s deeply amused by her reaction. She’s so cute that he could eat her up. He wonders what she’s imagining to be this frantic, and calls her a pervert. She gets mad and pushes him off the bed. Karasuba nimbly climbs out, and says that it’s just a joke. He didn’t do anything. She fell asleep in the living-room last night, so he only carried her back and ended up falling asleep too. He casually apologises, and she notes that he isn’t repenting at all. While she’s glaring at him, her heart is pounding heavily. Was she in such a deep sleep? And was it because of him that she slept so well? It can’t be, right?

Karasuba calls her out of her thoughts, saying that they should eat breakfast soon. He offers to prepare it as a token of apology. He heads downstairs first, and treats her like a princess when she arrives. He draws out her chair like a butler would, and serves her bacon and eggs on toast. Beniyuri is impressed, he may even be better than her. He tells her to take him as her bride then. He would prefer to be the groom, but either way is fine as long as it’s her. She gets annoyed at his joke again, and he tells her to hurry up and eat before it gets cold. Karasuba looks at her with a kind gaze, and she asks why he isn’t eating. He remarks that he has always longed to wake up together with the girl he loves, to eat together, and watch over her smile. He’s happy that his wish has come true. Their life together is just like a dream, and he feels blessed.

She freezes at the mention of “just the two of them”. Was is just the two of them here? Something feels off. She glances around her, but there’s no other presence. She doesn’t know what’s wrong. What was she doing yesterday, and the day before? Beniyuri can’t recall no matter how hard she tries to. The fog covering her memories refuses to go away. When she tries to confirm with Karasuba, he replies that it’s always just been the two of them. They will always be together. The sense of discomfort overwhelms her again, and she swallows it down. Beniyuri tells herself that it’s fine, she doesn’t want to spoil the happy mood.

The next day, Karasuba asks her to play with the cards he just found. He suggests poker, and the loser will have to listen to the winner. The day after, he asks her to clean his ears. When Beniyuri tries to refuse, he claims that he can’t hear her properly. Left with no choice, she agrees and he’s delighted to get to lie on her lap. The following day, he shows her an interesting book he found and suggests reading it together before bed. And the next day too…and the next day…they are always together from morning till night. Karasuba will always playfully follow her, and she goes along with him. Their life together is peaceful with little change. The days are comfortable and easy, but they couldn’t be any happier.

Along the way, it’s become a habit of theirs to read before bed. Karasuba thinks that picture books deceive children, but she disagrees. They’re rather deep. He’d rather an adventure or mythology book though, it’s more exciting. She says that they can find one next time, for this house has loads of books. Unwittingly, she wonders why there are so many books, did he collect them? Karasuba shrugs his shoulders, for he really doesn’t know. Beniyuri also thinks that there are too many rooms here, when it’s just them. Plus, there are rooms with their names. He finds it odd too, but he doesn’t care as long as he’s with her. She’s thinking too much, and he advises her to be more relaxed.

He combs his fingers through her hair, as he closes the distance between them. His eyes are brimming with luster, as he suggests an adult’s game. Beniyuri is confused, and Karasuba asks if he can kiss her. He wraps his arms around her, clarifying that it won’t be a good night kiss, but one which shows his love. His breath tickles her neck, and her heart pounds loudly. His grasp is like a sweet, kind restrain. She could easily struggle free, yet she can’t move an inch. Beniyuri replies that he can’t, and he asks why. She doesn’t know, she just feels that they shouldn’t. He remarks that her reason is incomprehensible.

There is a small glass shard in her heart. It pierces her chest like a thorn, but it also shines beautifully like a jewel. While they spend their days happily, she feels that as long as she doesn’t remove the shard, she shouldn’t accept. If she responds to his feelings, she will never be able to remove it. But Karasuba probes her, saying that it feels good. She doesn’t need to think of anything, and can forget all the bad things. That’s why she chose to be with him right? His lips brush against hers for an instance, and the warmth numbs her body. He observes that she didn’t dislike it. Beniyuri repeats that they can’t do it, but he refuses to accept that answer. Karasuba asks to do it again.

2015-09-03-000124

This time, the kiss is forceful, as if it will expose the depths of her heart. Even if she tries to back away, he closes in immediately. She knows something is off, that they can’t continue like this. But her reason melts away, and the shard oozes into the wound in her heart, sinking in deeper. Beniyuri tries to hide her wound with her hand, and before she realises it she’s pushed down onto the bed. Karasuba unties her ribbon, telling her that it’s okay to escape – from the scary, sad and painful things. He kisses her again, pleading her not to escape from him alone. She should bring him with her if she wants to run away. If so, he will hide everything for her so that she won’t see anything else.

Beniyuri is pinned onto the bed, and she looks up at his teasing smile. Karasuba urges her to close her eyes, and to feel him only. They shall escape into the world of dreams. He will make her forget everything, besides them. She doesn’t understand him. He’s sure that she does though. Beniyuri had long realised that something was wrong with this world, despite how happy and fun the times were. Still, she refused to face it and kept running away. As a result, she’s now here. She asks if this is reality, a dream, or somewhere else? Karasuba replies that it’s none of the above, she doesn’t need to think of anything – she just needs to look at him. He seals her lips again, and her thoughts turn vague.

She can’t see anything. Only a lukewarm sensation fills her body. She has always been running away, and has now come this far. Beniyuri no longer knows where she came from, and where she’s going. It feels as though she let go of something important midway. But she has no plans of going back to retrieve it. She wants to remain where she’s comfortable. That’s all she wishes for. The two of them shall always be together. They take each other’s hand, and she drowns in his kisses. Beniyuri averts her gaze from everything and escapes further into her dreams. She continues falling in this obscure world.

Kagiha End

The sound of rain rings in Beniyuri’s ears. She should’ve grown used to it. Even if she covers her ears, the terrifying sound continues to ring in her head. Tomorrow is an important day, so she has to sleep. Hikage was always in the centre of everyone, bringing them together. She had trusted him. Why does she think this way, even though she doesn’t know his past or real name. Where does trust come from? What is trust? A giggle. She opens her eyes. Is it her imagination? She thought that she heard someone giggling. Is it the rain? Perhaps it’s a leaf. Beniyuri shuts her eyes again. Giggling again. What was that?

???: ……that’s right. You never thought that, Hikage-kun would betray you. It’s awful right. Even though you believed that he was a friend. Everything was an outright lie. Fufufu……you are really—a pitiful child.

Beniyuri looks around. There is no one, yet she can hear the voice clearly.

???: Hey, do you still believe your friends? You were deceived by Hikage. Not just lied to, but manipulated. And almost killed. Even so, do you still believe in friends? Those 3 people? Hey, you suspect them a little right?
Beniyuri: I don’t. ……I believe them.
???: Really? Even though everyone, is hiding something from you.
Beniyuri: That is……for my sake……
???: They say that, but maybe it’s really a trap. Hey, you can’t trust anyone. Fufu, you shouldn’t tru-st anyone.

Beniyuri covers her ears and shakes her head, but the voice won’t go away, it clings to her like the sound of rain.

???: What do you believe in? Friends? Hope? Truth? Do you truly, wish for those things? —Hey, you actually think like this right? I don’t need friends who hurt me.
Beniyuri: ……ah……aah……—! …………you’re wrong! That’s not true! ……I believe in everyone……because we helped each other out that’s why we’ve made it this far……
???: Help each other out? The other side, doesn’t think like that right? If you were really friends, you wouldn’t hide things right? You are all alone. You suit being alone. Because, that’s what you wish for.
Beniyuri: St, stop……!

Wanting to escape from that terrifying voice, Beniyuri dashes out of the greenhouse. But the voice is still there.

???: Fufufu, hey, where are you going? Who are you going to? You have no one to rely on right?
Beniyuri: D, don’t follow me……!
???: Fufu……fufufufufu……!

But the voice won’t disappear no matter how far she runs. On the other hand, it continues to whisper gleefully behind her, so as to separate her from the rest.

???: Don’t believe anyone. If so, you won’t feel sad anymore. You don’t need to doubt anyone. I will grant my wish.
Beniyuri: ……wish?
???: That’s right……see, you can see it right? What I wish for……
Beniyuri: No……!

She squats on the floor, covering both ears. That voice exposes feelings she doesn’t want to know. Soon, it disappears. She doesn’t want to be alone. Even though she wants to believe, why does she feel the opposite way? She can’t control her own heart. Beniyuri gazes up at a distant figure, wondering if she’s lost it. Now she’s even seeing illusions. To her surprise, the figure turns out to be Kagiha. He asks if she’s alright. She doubts her eyes. Is this an illusion, was this what she wished for?

Kagiha doesn’t answer, and stretches out his hand to her. When she doesn’t take his hand, he places a hand on her shoulder. Beniyuri screams, and backs away. She hits the wall, shocked even at her reaction. When asked why she’s so afraid, she replies that she’s afraid if he’s an illusion. Is he really here? Kagiha remains quiet, clenching his fist. He narrows his eyes, and asks to remain by her side for a while. He sits next to her. Their shadows are faintly reflected by a lit candlestick. The contours are blur, like a dream. A dream…?

He chuckles, relieved that she didn’t reject him again. Beniyuri gazes at him, wondering if it’s possible to remember his delicate features so well in a dream. She asks why he treats her so kindly, why he stays by her side.

Beniyuri: I—
???: You have a motive right?
Beniyuri: ………!
???: Surely, I will be betrayed again.
Beniyuri: Please don’t come. Don’t come near me. I don’t want to hear anything……I, am tired……of everything……!

Kagiha tells her to calm down, and gently strokes her back. He reassures her that he’ll always be with her, and won’t hurt her. In fact, he’ll protect her from everything. If she wishes, he’ll give his everything to her. Her wish, is equivalent to his wish. They made a promise, she should’ve recalled it already. They saw the same dream, to have a blissful future. So he prompts Beniyuri to think of her wish. A promise. There is only that one memory of hers – to marry Natsuki.

Beniyuri: That’s right……this world is my wish……no one……will get hurt……no one……will hurt me……I can be with the person I love, in a bright and blissful world—.
???: Forever and ever, in the world I saw in my dreams—.

That’s right, she dreamed of this blissful future since long ago. Natsuki is rushing off to work, and Ai sees him off. He still can’t believe that they’re married, and she replies that it’s been 3 months already and he says that everyday. He chuckles, recalling that they had the same conversation yesterday. He doesn’t get tired of this happiness. Ai agrees. She sees him off, and she promises to prepare his favourite vegetable stew for dinner. It’s a peaceful morning as always. Their days are blissful, having fulfilled their childhood promise.

2015-09-03-194437

Ai gets down to the household chores, and everything in the house reminds her of Natsuki. They are always together in the house. Like at dinner time, he complimented her improved cooking skills, such as the squid black ink risotto. Ai corrects him that it’s cream risotto, and he frantically tries to cheer her up. He apologises for his mistake, and Ai stifles a laugh. She was just teasing him since he’s always so serious. She decides to work harder instead. Realising that she was pretending, Natsuki thinks punishment is in order and starts to tickle her.

After their bath, they dry each other’s hair. Natsuki observes that her hair has grown longer, and she observes that his fringe is longer. It’s odd how they each know the other person better. When it’s time for bed, Natsuki is about to switch off the lights. Ai says that she still has something to do, telling him to face her way. He always does it, so she returns a peck on his cheek before diving under the covers.

Their days are so fulfilling and blissful, there’s no chance for her to feel uneasy. Over the weekend, they gaze outside of the window. A withered tree stands outside. Even though the room is warm, her skin feels cold and she trembles. A warm hand is placed on her shoulder, and the couple exchanges smiles. Even after becoming husband and wife, they still feel the same as they did when they were lovers. Natsuki asks if she has no regrets marrying him. Sometimes he wonders if he’s good enough for her. Since they made a promise, could he have been tying her future down with it. He doesn’t want her to misunderstand though, he is happy with her. It’s just that he sometimes loses confidence.

Ai firmly replies that he hasn’t stolen away her future. In fact, he has given her a lot – the feeling of loving someone, the happiness of being loved. Thanks to their promise, she couldn’t wait to grow up. He gave her a dream. It’s a blessing to have a promise with someone, it tells her that she isn’t alone. So she won’t feel lonely, and she can be optimistic at any time. That promise represented hope for her.

The scene switches to Beniyuri and Kagiha in the mansion. He replies that it’s the same for him. She represented hope for him, he had always wished for this future – always. He hugs her close to him. Her vision darkens slightly, but her attention is captured by his next words.

Kagiha: This is the world you wished for.
Beniyuri: …………yes.
Kagiha: This is your happiness?
Beniyuri: …………yes.
Kagiha: I see……if so, I’ll protect it no matter what.
Beniyuri: …………
Kagiha: I’ll protect you, from what you’re afraid of.
Beniyuri: …………Nacchan.
Kagiha: Your wish, is my wish. But……I want to make my wish, your wish too……so……give yourself to me too……okay?

The comfortable warmth, voice, and gaze, eases her loneliness. That’s right, she wanted to be with this person. This is her wish. She covers her ears when she hears a noise.

???: Really?
Kagiha: What’s wrong?
Beniyuri: Nothing……it’s just the usual sound of rain.

Beniyuri can only hear the heartbeat of the person next to her. It calms her, and her eyelids grow heavy. Kagiha notices this, and says that it can’t be helped since it’s nighttime. He tells her to sleep for a bit, surely she won’t hear the rain soon, and they will return to their happy days. He wishes his cute wife good night. Slowly, her world dims. Reality is painted in sweet colours by a loving voice. In a world with no pain, only happiness. A very sweet, blissful and distant world.

2015-09-03-201235

Grand Finale End

Everyone looks at Ai when she suggests waiting inside. Maybe it would be better to cross before the path is covered by water. But what if that happens midway? So perhaps it’s better to wait inside the mansion. While everyone else is hesitant, Kazuya approves of this. Even if they safely cross over, there’s no telling if they can reach the camp site. It would be dangerous if there’s lightning too. Natsuki agrees too, and Aki nods. Takuya shrugs, not wanting to get any more wet than this. So everyone heads inside. Ai is relieved that they agreed.

Inside, they hear the rain getting heavier. It’s as if they’re at the bottom of the lake, and Ai worries if the whole mansion will get swallowed up. Aki covers both ears, trembling in fear. Even the ever-confident Takuya, is uneasy and doesn’t know when the rain will stop. Kazuya feels more assured to be indoors though. Aki worries that the bus will leave without them tomorrow. Natsuki calms them down, surely the rain will stop by then. And the adults will come to look for them. Despite his words, the 3 boys look pale. Ai has regrets about her suggestion, but tells herself not to be weak and think in a bad direction. In any case, they should try talking.

She recalls seeing Takuya when she was walking Koro. Though he was covering his face and claimed to be Kemurinjaa it was so obvious. Moreover that character is a hero, so he shouldn’t do bad things. The rest look down on him and Takuya questions why she’s bringing it up now. She adds that he was surprised when Koro barked, and ran away too. Natsuki laughs, thinking that Koro must be trying to protect her like a knight. Takuya blushes, denying that he can’t deal with dogs. He was just feeling gloomy when the dog barked. Everyone else laughs, and Ai is glad that they’re feeling better. Afterwards, their lively conversation fills the mansion. And gradually, they fell asleep.

They wake up to a sunny morning. They hurry back to the camp site safely, where the in-charge questions where they’ve been. They were searching for them the whole night. Everyone looks down guiltily and apologises, but they smile at each other. It was interesting, like an adventure. As they board the bus, they excitedly discuss what to play tomorrow.

10 years later, Haruka urges Ai to hurry up. She’s envious that there are always good-looking boys waiting for her outside, wishing that she was in the same position too. Ai tells her not to be cheeky, and leaves the house. Akira and Takuya appear tired of waiting for her. She asks about Kazuya. Takuya replies that he was feeling tired and kept rolling about, so he left him behind. She laughs at this, and Akira comments that he has been like that since young. But the two brothers get along well, and Akira agrees that Takuya loves his younger brother. Takuya looks displeased, exclaiming that it’s creepy for grown-up boys to get along. He hurries them along, telling them to run. The other two chase after him, and they barely make it in time for school.

Before they separate ways, Ai reminds Takuya about their promise to study together at her place at 5pm. Akira is happy to finally be alone with her, and suggests discussing about their future together. She tells him to stop kidding around, though he replies that he isn’t. To be hones, sometimes Ai herself doesn’t know how to reply to his jokes.

After school, she waits at the school gate but no one is here yet even after 10 minutes. Did she come too early? All of a sudden, Akira pops up before her. She gets a shock, but he points out that she didn’t hear him at all. He pouts, and Ai apologises for spacing out. Akira can see a pink aura around her though, and she gets embarrassed. She promised to see Takuya at her place, so who could she be waiting for? Ai hesitates. Just then, her phone rings and she hurriedly picks it up. After the call, she sighs loudly. Akira sees through her, and squishes both of her cheeks. He forbids her from making that face in front of anyone else, and continues to knead her cheeks like bread. He lets go when he’s satisfied, ending the punishment.

2015-09-03-222137

They should leave soon, lest Takuya gets angry at them for being late. Ai notices that Akira’s been making her heart skip a beat more often, is it just her imagination? Soon, they spot Takuya and Kazuya in a distance. Kazuya remarks that it’s been a while, at least 3 days seems a long time to him. He clings to Ai when talking, it’s been his habit since young. He claims that his eyesight is poor, so he prefers to talk up close. But the older he gets, the closer he sticks to her – to the point where their faces almost touch. Akira and Takuya pull them apart, and Kazuya explains that he can’t talk while looking at her in the eye if he doesn’t do so. Akira thinks otherwise, and adds that he should just wear glasses. Takuya is doubtful, since he can watch TV just fine.

Kazuya remarks with a smile that he wants to see Ai’s face when he talks to her. His comment cause Takuya and Akira to go speechless. Ai feels bad, but she can’t hold back her laughter at their manzai-like performance. Akira is surprised at how easily she’s amused, while Kazuya wonders if he did something weird. Takuya points out that he’s the weirdest one. Ai can’t stop laughing, and the 3 of them can only stare at her. They hurry back, lest it gets late. Akira doesn’t mind staying over though, and Kazuya chimes in agreement. Ai thinks that her father and Haruka wouldn’t mind, leaving Takuya speechless at how clueless she is. He heaves an extremely loud sigh, before hurrying them along.

As they approach her house, Akira gets nervous since he has to properly greet her father. He starts combing his hair, since her father may be his future father-in-law. Takuya raises an eyebrow at his comment, while Kazuya is excited. He couldn’t go to her place this morning. Takuya points out that he’s always oversleeping. He comes here everyday, so he sees nothing refreshing. Akira notes that he’s appealing how special he is, and the latter rebutts that he’s always together too. Just then, Ai receives a call and she can’t help but smile at the display name. Akira sharply observes that it must be the same person who called her earlier on. She denies that it’s her boyfriend, but it just draws their suspicion.

They close in on her as she hesitates. But then someone appears in sight, and she’s surprised to see Natsuki waiting outside her house. Ai happily runs up to him, as he welcomes her back. He’d wanted to wait outside her school, but he decided to change locations today. It would be nice for him to welcome her sometimes. Akira wonders why he’s speaking so deeply, and he explains that sometimes surprises are fun during a newly-wed period. His words literally make the 3 boys’ jaws drop. But Natsuki adds that they did make a wedding promise when they were young. Ai is taken aback too, and she awkwardly says that it was when they were young.

2015-09-03-222953

Natsuki blinks in surprise, he thought that the promise was still in effect, and wonders if he’s troubling her. He apologises and asks how she really feels. Ai hesitates at her reply, and Akira stops the two of them from creating their own little world. Kazuya agrees, as he shakes his head with all of his might. Takuya remarks that it’s up to her but thinks that it’s sly of him to use a childhood promise. The atmosphere has turned awkward, and Ai feels like running away. She forcefully ends the conversation, and invites them in for tea and sweets. Hiding her embarrassment, she briskly walks to her house.

Kazuya clings to her, asking what sort of sweets there are. Everyone starts to talk about it. It’s trivial stuff, but Ai feels extremely happy. She feels blessed to be with everyone. Takuya wonders why she’s saying this, it’s a given. Indeed, that’s what they thought when they were younger. But why does she sometimes feel so happy, that she wants to cry? Natsuki says that it’s blissful to be with everyone, and Kazuya agrees. Akira notes that they’re getting sentimental, and switches the topic. He points out that Haruka has come to fetch them.

It’s the usual scene, and the usual members. It’s been a given since they were young. Will this continue as always? It may be ordinary, but it’s irreplaceable to her. So Ai wants to treasure every moment with them, so that they’ll always be together from now on. Natsuki asks her what’s wrong, and she shakes her head as she enters the house.

Yamato Good End

As she flickers open her eyes, she’s first met with a white ceiling. It’s the hospital. Ai realises that she has returned, to where they belong. After that, a nurse who checks on her quickly calls for her family. It was a tearful reunion. As they converse, Ai slowly regains her memories of what happened. It was Nacchan’s 10th death anniversary. So one summer day, she, Takuya and Akira went together to the lake. Nacchan’s body was never found, and remains in the lake till this day. So they went there to mourn for him. But the bus they boarded to go there, met with an accident and the three of them were thrown into the lake. Thankfully, they were saved but they remain unconscious.

When Ai asks about Takuya and Akira, her father has a solemn expression. Just then, the nurse hurriedly comes into the room and announces that the two of them have also woken up. Even Kazuya, who has remained in coma for 10 years, has woken up. Everyone is delighted at this miracle, but they themselves know – this is the end of their long exploration from that summer day.

Ai has just finished with maths, and is moving onto her English homework. It’s been a week since she has been discharged, and she has mostly recovered. She was told to wait and see for a while longer, so she has been studying at home. She thinks that she’s fine already, and wonders when she can return to school. Right now she’s alone in her house, and can only keep thinking about that mansion. They managed to return home after completing the kaleidoscope. After that, she heard that everyone else had woken up too. But she never met any of them, so she still remains worried about them. Should she text them? Just then, she’s taken aback by her phone’s message tone.

She meets up with Takuya in the nearby playground, who looks well. He asks if she’s still unwell, and she explains that her father and doctor want to observe the situation longer. He understands since they were unconscious for weeks. Ai sees that he’s back to his normal self, without the sharp claws and all. It sinks into her that they’ve really returned, and he remarks that it’s like a miracle to feel this heat. She asks about Kazuya, and learns that he’ll take longer to move since he’s been in coma for 10 years. But it’s a relief that he’s awake.

They sit at the swings, and Takuya recalls that they often played here. Nothing has changed, but the park looks smaller now. She agrees, since they’ve grown bigger. He remarks that they’ve changed too. He confesses that he hid something about Kazuya from her. During that summer camp, he did something he couldn’t undo. He admits that he liked her as a kid. But he couldn’t be honest with his feelings, and always regretted the contrary things he said. That’s why he was irritated whenever the honest Kazuya got along with her, even if he spoke poorly. So when Ai lent her precious ribbon to Kazuya, he was extremely jealous. While pretending to help Kazuya retie it, he deliberately loosened it. He thought that if Kazuya lost it, they would quarrel. If Kazuya didn’t go back to retrieve the ribbon, the accident wouldn’t have occurred. It’s all his fault.

Ai disagrees, she was the one who proposed the idea of exploring the mansion in the first place. Takuya adds that he even contemplated the thought that Kazuya shouldn’t exist – when he was a kid, and even when he grew up. Everyday he visited his brother in the hospital, it wasn’t because was he truly worried – maybe he just wanted to atone for his sins. He just wanted to be forgiven. Takuya scolds himself for being a selfish idiot. Ai points out that he doesn’t truly want Kazuya to disappear, in fact Kazuya is important to him. If not, he wouldn’t visit everyday for 10 years. Plus, he has a very kind look when he looks at Kazuya, like he’s thinking of his brother.

She recalls seeing many sides of Takuya in the mansion. A strong side, and a weak side – but mostly his kind side. Even when he lost his memories, he was constantly worried about Kazuya and wanted to leave the mansion soon. If he only wanted to atone for his sins, he would’ve forgotten about it right? So she’s sure that Kazuya is important to him – in that world, and here. Takuya looks straight at Ai, admitting that he wanted her to know him. He doesn’t want to run away anymore. He wants to apologise to Kazuya for what he’s done. He can probably say it now, but isn’t sure how he should face him. Ai thinks that he can do it, as Kazuya’s “brother”.

They visit Kazuya in the hospital, who wonders why they’re wearing strange expressions. Takuya sits beside him, taking Kazuya’s hand. He wants to apologise to him, and tells him what he just told Ai. Kazuya only quietly watches his brother’s painful expression. He apologises over and over, for being jealous and thinking of the worst things – that if he disappeared he could get along with Ai. What he did with the ribbon was a sudden impulse. But because of that, he was all alone in that mansion. Takuya knows that an apology isn’t enough, but still he wants to say it. Kazuya stares at him, hanging his head down.

After a while, he softly answers that it’s okay. It’s all over. He adds that Takuya is an idiot, he did wonder what Takuya was doing. But, he’s an idiot too. He was jealous too. He couldn’t speak well, was clumsy and didn’t have much friends. On the other hand, Takuya was popular and could do anything. Kazuya was always envious, to the point where he thought “if only Takuya wasn’t here”. He knew that Takuya liked Ai, so he kind of wanted to show off when Ai lent her ribbon – that he got along better with Ai. Moreover, Takuya must have been just as much in pain, as he was lonely. They both shared the pain. Everything is over, so it’s fine. Kazuya suggests making up, and thanks him for looking after him everyday while he was asleep. Takuya thanks him for coming back too.

Kazuya beckons Ai to come over. She feels sorry towards him too, but he stops her from apologising. Instead, he returns the ribbon to her. He’s sorry to have kept it for so long. It was thanks to this, that he survived in the mansion for so long. It was his protective charm, but he’s returning it. She asks if it’s really okay, and he nods. It was his hope, to return it to her. And now he finally did. Ai thanks him for taking care of it, but he tugs at the edge of the ribbon. Kazuya asks if she will still come even if he doesn’t have it. He still wants to see her. He pleads in a sweet voice, and Ai takes his hand together with the ribbon. She teasingly replies that she’ll come everyday, even if he doesn’t like it. She definitely won’t leave him alone again, and asks if it’s okay. He chuckles, and replies that it is. It’s the brightest smile she has seen. He then whispers into her ear, thanking her for saving Takuya. He’ll leave his brother in her care.

On the way back, Takuya remarks that Kazuya is pretty shrewd. Even if can’t speak well, he isn’t clumsy at all. Ai wonders if he overheard Kazuya’s last words to her. Her eyes meet with Takuya’s, and her heart skips a beat. He notes that she has always been soft towards Kazuya, that’s why… silence proceeds, and Ai shyly glances down at the ribbon. It seems to shine in the dark, is it because it’s special to her? Her mother had said that it would guide her towards a wonderful future. This ribbon taught her to believe in hope, and to overcome despair. It has been passed into the hands of many people, and it contains all of their thoughts. She had thought that she become a wonderful woman if she’s to wear it. Does it suit her now?

Takuya asks what’s wrong, and Ai shares her thoughts. He offers to tie it for her – this time he will make sure it won’t loosen. He combs his fingers through her hair, and his gentleness makes her blush. It isn’t like him at all, and he replies that he learnt from Kazuya. He finishes tying, and remarks that when he was young he thought that a ribbon suits her. Ai tells him that he should’ve said so then, and he explains that he couldn’t back then. So he’s saying it now. They exchange smiles, as she comments that it’s better to be honest. Ai asks if he’s still hiding anything, and he nods. It’s extremely huge.

With a flushed face, he recalls that he said “he liked her”. But it’s different. He still likes her, in fact even more than before. Ai freezes on the spot, unsure of how to answer. Takuya continues to say that they didn’t meet for 10 years. It’s not that he didn’t think of her, but he didn’t think of meeting her. He thought that she would’ve forgotten everything and moved on, since she’s bright and optimistic. She seemed too bright for him, who was still trapped in the past. But after meeting her again, he realised that her time had stopped too, and she seemed unapproachable. It felt as though she was him, and he couldn’t help but take notice of her.

Even in the mansion when they lost their memories, they were both influenced by the past. He was always irritated, wanting to leave soon for someone whom he couldn’t recall. And she was always fearful, that he or someone else would disappear. Though their output was different, they both had their worries and he couldn’t leave her be. But Takuya’s aware that it’s because he thought that she would understand his pain. The weak him overlapped with her, and he felt at ease. Ai thinks to herself that it’s the same for her. But Takuya thinks that she’s strong, to have been able to overcome her pain – she’s even stronger and brighter than she was as a child. That’s why he fell for her again. He was also encouraged by her, and gained the courage to confront his past, and Kazuya. He wants to let her see the same thing, so he wants to remain by her side.

A mixture of surprise, confusion and bittersweet pain wells up in Ai. She’s happy to hear his feelings, and he asks how she feels about him. Ai replies that she probably saw and felt the same thing as he did. She was happy that despite everyone and everything changing, he remained the same. But it is important to change. Their desire to not change, was just their desire to escape. So they couldn’t move forward.  That’s why the fact that they were running away from Nacchan and Kazuya, was thrust before them in that mansion. It was scary, and they were driven into a corner. But they changed and overcame it. Perhaps sad and painful and unexpected things may continue to happen. But if they can change together, she thinks that they’ll be alright. That they can overcome it together. Ai is surprised at her bold words, and closes her mouth.

2015-09-05-183349

She apologises for saying too much, but he’s glad to know her true feelings. He asks if she really thinks that they can overcome the unexpected together, and Ai corrects him. She said she “thinks” so, for she isn’t sure yet. Takuya acknowledges this, and asks if he should confirm it. Before she can reply, he pulls her towards him and something touches her lips. He remarks that something unexpected just happened, so does she know if she’s alright as long as she’s with him? Ai points out that she wouldn’t know with this surprise attack, so he offers to do it once again since it’s no longer a surprise.

Takuya kisses her again. She could’ve escaped, but she was captured by his heated gaze. Without any resistance, Ai accepts him. It feels like a dream. Takuya asks how she feels, if she’s really okay with him. Even though she said all that she could, he still wants her to confess. Ai questions why he always has to tease her despite knowing the answer. As he wishes, she says that she likes him too. No matter what happens, they can overcome it together. Takuya hugs her tightly, confessing his love again. He couldn’t say it all this time, so he’ll say it again. They exchange smiles once more, and start moving forward with the legs that had been frozen in time.

The path is dark, and they don’t know what lies ahead. If it was the her yesterday, she would have stopped as she was scared. But now Takuya is with her. Because of the warmth from his hand, even if tomorrow is rainy, even if the day after is stormy, even if it’s never sunny – no matter how rough the slope is, they can continue forward, looking up. Takuya tells her that they can take it slowly, it’s fine to even look back once in a while. But they shall continue walking, without stopping. He can do it if it’s with her.

Karasuba Good End

As she flickers open her eyes, she’s first met with a white ceiling. It’s the hospital. Ai realises that she has returned, to where they belong. After that, a nurse who checks on her quickly calls for her family. It was a tearful reunion. As they converse, Ai slowly regains her memories of what happened. It was Nacchan’s 10th death anniversary. So one summer day, she, Takuya and Akira went together to the lake. Nacchan’s body was never found, and remains in the lake till this day. So they went there to mourn for him. But the bus they boarded to go there, met with an accident and the three of them were thrown into the lake. Thankfully, they were saved but they remain unconscious.

When Ai asks about Takuya and Akira, her father has a solemn expression. Just then, the nurse hurriedly comes into the room and announces that the two of them have also woken up. Even Kazuya, who has remained in coma for 10 years, has woken up. Everyone is delighted at this miracle, but they themselves know – this is the end of their long exploration from that summer day.

Ai checks her appearance in the mirror, wondering if she looks weird wearing the hairpin she received from Akira. She was just discharged from the hospital the other day, and is finally returning to school today. It feels like she was stuck in between the real world and the after world for months, but only a few weeks have passed. Still, those few weeks make a huge difference as a high school student. Relationships may change, and she feels a bit nervous about the classes. So she wanted some sort of protective charm. When she went to the lake and met with an accident, she held this and the glass shard in her hand. And when she woke up in the real world, there was only the hairpin in her hand with the shard missing from its frame.

A lot happened, but only the hairpin remained with her. As for Akira’s feelings…she recalls that he’s still in rehabilitation, so it feels a little lonely to go to school alone. Ai leaves her house, and is surprised to see him waiting for her. Akira replies that school isn’t interesting without her, so he used rehabilitation as an excuse. But once he heard from Haruka that she’s returning to school, he rushed over. It’s his role to escort the princess. Ai had thought that she already sorted out her feelings, but she starts to feel shy and awkwardly covers the hairpin with her hand. But Akira is alert enough, and smiles as if he saw nothing.

He reassures her that he’s fine, and is energetic enough to even carry her. His footsteps are light, but she’s aware that he’s keeping to her pace. There’s a sweet scent of flowers, and Ai guesses that it’s gardenia. Every year, those white flowers are in bloom in the neighbour’s garden. The warm sunlight, cool breeze, and summer heat, all feel nostalgic. They were all absent from the mansion. Ai thinks that it would be a waste not to enjoy this and go to school, and Akira is surprised by her unusual remark. But she emphasises that she’s only saying it. He thinks that it’s fine to skip class together, and to just attend afternoon classes. His proposal sounds alluring, and Ai agrees. Her unexpected answer shocks him.

Later, Akira says that they’ll split the ice-cream in half, since he didn’t prepare much money. He adds that he found something nostalgic at the dagashi store too – double-ice. They can break it in half and share it. The ice-cream they share while skipping class is refreshing and sweet, and Ai feels the thrill. He wonders why she agreed to it, is there a class taught by a teacher she doesn’t like? She shakes her head, she just felt like taking a detour. She’d rather walk outside, than stay indoors for now. He eyes her suspiciously, and shrugs it off. Thanks to it, he can go on a date with her.

Ai questions if this is a date, and he says that there’s no other way to describe a boy and girl going out together. Akira offers her 1 second if she has something to say. She finds that sly. But he denies it and avoids the topic by commenting on how delicious the ice-cream is. They observe a young boy and girl building a tunnel at the playground. They often played here too. Nothing has changed. Akira recalls that he was physically and emotionally weak, so he was often bullied. Each time she saw it, she would chase the bullies away and protect him. Ai doesn’t remember. He remarks that it may not mean much to her, but he felt really happy – and vexed.

Of course he would feel vexed, being protected by a girl. So he wanted to protect her instead one day. Well, Natsuki always played that role, so he had doubts that he would ever get to do so. The mention of her precious childhood friend, reminds her of their farewell in that world. She always avoided talking about him before the accident, but she wants to stop doing so now. Akira recalls that 10 years ago, he could only watch them drown in the lake. He was neither a concerned party, nor an outside – merely a spectator. Takuya immediately went to call for help, but his legs were frozen and he couldn’t do anything. He could only watch, and in the end Natsuki drowned and Kazuya went into coma. He really despised his weak self – that’s why he wanted to change.

After that, Akira did his best to act cheerful when he switched schools. And somehow, he became popular. So he thought that he finally said farewell to his weak side. But upon meeting Ai again, he found her so dazzling – it’s like he was back in his childhood. His strong side was just a facade, and he was afraid of returning to his weak self. That’s why he thought that this was a chance granted to him by god. He wanted to protect Ai, to treasure her. To do what he couldn’t do in the past. But he was wrong, he hurt her instead. Akira apologises for the harsh things he said to her before the accident – and even in the mansion, he was unconsciously hurting her.

She doesn’t think that he needs to, but he knows that he said a lot of things. Or did his words not reach her at all? Ai recalls her conversation with Karasuba: “The you who believes and gets hurt, or the me who doubts and remains unhurt. Hey……who is smarter?”and how he didn’t trust even her. And when she agreed that it would be nice to only have happiness, but they wouldn’t be able to mature without the bad things so they have to confront it – he called her a liar, irritated at how she’s playing the good girl. It overlaps with how he lashed out at both Ai and Takuya for being so weak despite having what he doesn’t have.

Because he couldn’t believe in himself who watched his friends die, he couldn’t come to trust anyone else. And he started to think of worse things, so he wished everything was just a dream. Akira escaped reality. Despite wanting to change, he was still weak and took it all out on her. He is also stuck in the past. He offers to throw away the ice-cream sticks, but his smile looks extremely lonely. Ai calms her nerves as he walks back, prepared to convey her feelings. When he sits down, she places her hands over his. Ai admits that she didn’t face him properly.

When they met again after 10 years, he tried to get along with her more. He came to fetch her every morning, and brought her out after school. But she was afraid of him moving forward, of him changing. She was still unable to overcome Natsuki’s death, and desperately hiding in her shell. Ai thinks that she hurt him that way. She took advantage of his kindness, and always ran away at the critical moments. But now she realises her mistake. Being trapped in the past, rejecting change, and staying in the same spot – that hurts people. Even if she runs away, she can’t hide the past. They have to overcome it by themselves. So Ai declares that she won’t run away anymore, and will properly face Akira.

She touches the hairpin he gave her. It’s the protective charm to give her courage, to move forward. Akira remarks that it suits her, and she shyly thanks him. Her heartbeat quickens, it feels as if something is starting. A cool breeze blows past, and this is where she would look away. But not anymore. Ai looks at him, and he asks how she plans to do it. She apologises, for she didn’t think it through. He sighs, and she asks him not to be so disappointed. Akira replies that he isn’t, as he smiles wryly. He suggests making up with a kiss then. Ai is taken aback, as she blushes furiously and covers her lips. He laughs at her response, saying that it’s just a joke. He only wanted to tease her.

But Ai knows that he isn’t joking. The more serious he is, the more he plays it off as a joke. She remarks that it is a bit too early for that, but at least she can take his hand. She entwines her fingers with his, and says that she can probably grow stronger together with him. They may still be weak, but if they encourage each other, they should be able to avoid running away. She asks if such a relationship is okay. Akira is bewildered, wanting to confirm her meaning. Ai remarks that she wants to be together, and if they can go at their own pace. It feels like she has just taken half a step. But Akira remains quiet, and she asks if he’s alright.

2015-09-07-125124

He snaps out of it, and exclaims that he’s extremely happy. He hugs her tightly, saying that it’s okay. He’s aware that it’s still early for him to change. They haven’t taken a single step since 10 years ago. But if they’re together, they can go at their own pace. He will wait for her feelings to catch up to his. Since the Ai now, knows the Akira now. He wants her to like him, in a different way from a friend. Ai nods, and wraps her arms around him. She wants to respond to his feelings, and to grow to like him more with every passing day. She likes him just the way he is. She wonders if this is what love feels like, it’s a bit ticklish. Akira asks why she’s laughing, and she realises that he’s calling her the way he used to (Ai-chan). Previously, he always called her surname. He admits that he thought he should change since they were already in high school. But as expected, he prefers this way. She’s happy with that, and closes her eyes. She can hear his heartbeat beating just as quickly as hers.

Their feelings overlap in this moment. Time will move on, and nothing remains unchanged. At times, big changes will occur. The weak her would always remain fearful. But from now on, she will appreciate change. She may end up losing things, but at the same time she will treasure new encounters and bonds. Akira made her think this way, and they will step towards the future together. He says that he has always loved her, but surely he will love her even more tomorrow.

Monshiro

Beniyuri wants to wait and observe the situation a while more. Like they say, they don’t know what Hikage is thinking. If possible, she wants to sort out her feelings first. Yamato agrees that they don’t need to rush things, and Karasuba doesn’t mind more time to formulate a plan too. Monshiro also quietly agrees to go later. What is his motive for collecting the shards, and will they be able to safely go home? There are many questions, but it’s still too early to confront him. Moreover, is it okay to see him with these vague feelings. Loneliness and suspicion will affect your judgment. So they decide to wait.

In any case, Yamato suggests resting for today. Beniyuri sits down on the grass, and stares into space. She has many things to think about, but her head can’t function properly. Everyone else is just there, but they feel so far away. It’s like she’s all alone at the bottom of the water. She can’t sleep. Just then, a white butterfly flutters from flower to flower. She notices Monshiro standing in a distance. It looks like he has something to say, so she beckons him over. He sits down next to her, but doesn’t say a word. Still, she feels at ease with his presence.

Beniyuri glances at him, noticing that his pendant is black as charcoal. She feels unsettled with its colour, and points it out to him. She asks if he’s feeling unwell. Monshiro insists that he’s fine. But she recalls that one becomes a monster when it goes black, just like what happened to Yamato. Once again, he says that he’s fine. She asks how he remained safe all these 10 years, and he replies that it’s likely thanks to the ribbon. Her ribbon protected him – when he was attacked, and when he was so lonely that he wanted to die. No matter how painful or dangerous it was, the hope of returning the ribbon to her, saved him. He was determined to return it, so he always took great care of it. Beniyuri doesn’t recall lending it to him, but he’s satisfied with just returning it to her.

Still, if it’s that powerful she’d rather give it back to him. Monshiro firmly tells her to take it, he’s fine. For a moment, a shadow falls on his face. As Beniyuri peers at him, he reaches over to her instead. He wants to touch Ai. Before she can reply, he hugs her from behind. A fire is lit in her heart, as she feels his slightly low body temperature. Alarmed, Beniyuri barely manages to recall that he called her by another name. She is surprised yet again, when he hugs her tighter. The pressure almost chokes her, but she is also troubled by his sorrowful aura.

Monshiro: You are, warm………..it’s like, I’m hugging the sun.
Beniyuri: ……is, that so?
Monshiro: ……ever since I came here, it’s like I’m in dark and cold waters. Like the bottom of the winter sea, beneath the ice……
Beniyuri: ………
Monshiro: It’s been an astoundingly long time……not talking, not smiling, not touching anything. Even what is “warm”……I completely forgot about it.
Beniyuri: ………Monshiro-san.
Monshiro: But, after you all came, I remembered everything……that I had forgotten. You all gave me, “warm” again. ……I was happy. “Warm” is, something happy.

He speaks in both a happy and sad tone. The way he hugs to the point of breaking her, is probably because he doesn’t know how to control his strength. The way he halts and chooses his words, and his actions, all speak of how he has always been alone. His loneliness is conveyed to Beniyuri by his touch. He was probably much more lonely than she ever was. Once more, he calls her “Ai”. Monshiro wants to return them, who gave him warmth, to their original world. That’s why he— he lets go of her reluctantly. Beniyuri doesn’t know what he’s thinking, but it looks like he said what he wanted to. She asks what he was going to say, but he doesn’t reply. When she asks again, he only tells her to keep on hoping no matter what happens. She can’t give up. Monshiro wishes her good night, and quickly walks away.

2015-09-07-144557

The night gets darker, and Monshiro checks that Takuya and Aki are sleeping. He can leave now. He goes to check on Ai, and wonders if she’s having a nightmare. Her eyebrows are furrowed. He stops himself from touching her fringe. Instead, he gently kisses her forehead. Her expression softens, and he softly remarks that it’s a good luck charm. So that she won’t see nightmares, and so that he has courage. He doesn’t think that he can win over Hikage – but he has to take the kaleidoscope and return Ai to her world. Monshiro steps outside of the greenhouse, and sees the black butterflies leading deep into the mansion. His pendant has a dull glow. He follows the trail of butterflies, and reaches Hikage.

Monshiro declares that he’s here for the kaleidoscope. Hikage has a thin smile, asking if he really thinks that he can win. What a fool. Monshiro is fine with that. As long as he takes Hikage down with him, the kaleidoscope will be left behind for them. Hikage is annoyed at his self-sacrificial plan. Those who leave will be satisfied, it’s an extremely selfish way of thinking and it suits him. But what awaits him may not be something as amicable as death.

He observes that Monshiro’s pendant is pretty black. The souls stained with despair has only one future path – hell. No one knows for sure what it’s like, since no one ever made it back from there. Monshiro may end up there, and end up experiencing even more loneliness than in this world. He will be alone again, in such a dark and empty world. Hikage steps towards him, and Monshiro warns him not to come close. If he won’t hand it over, he will just have to use force.

Hikage: ……hey, Kazuya. This kaleidoscope, took me a very long—no, it’s not just long, a preposterous number of years to collect the shards, and it’s finally just one step before its completion. Don’t you think it’s impolite to just snatch such an important item?
Monshiro: ……even though you manipulated people as you liked in order to gather the shards.
Hikage: Don’t speak ill of others……it wasn’t manipulation. It was cooperation. It because you always speak without reservations……that everyone hates you. No one will understand you. No matter what you say or do, you will be alone……see, you’re so lonely right.
Monshiro: —you’re wrong. The one who is lonely is Hikage. Even though you’re not alone when you’re with everyone, in reality you are alone. No one knows the real Hikage. That is way lonelier—.
Hikage: ………..
Monshiro: I like everyone. So I will return them to their original world. That’s all there is……
Hikage: Shall I tell you, how the brother you love so much thinks of you?
Monshiro: What……

All of a sudden, the gun Monshiro was holding is swiped away. Hikage has closed the distance between them in an instance, and he whispers with a twisted smile – this was how he was shunned by Takuya. The moment Hikage touches his forehead, a scene rolls out in his mind. Takuya is watching an unconscious Kazuya, remarking that he has been asleep for almost 10 years. He recalls that they often played in the park. Even though he didn’t like the outdoors and often remain cooped up, when she came he would go to the park. Monshiro wonders if this is Takuya’s memory, and why is he in the hospital?

Takuya continues to say that he was always worried, since he couldn’t speak well and couldn’t really make friends. He was often alone in class too. So he was happy that thanks to her, Kazuya started to go out more often. But somehow, he also started to feel depressed. She always looked out for the clumsy Kazuya, and treated him kindly. No matter when it was, she took his side over Takuya’s. He thought many times “if only Kazuya wasn’t here”, he really is the worst brother. Even now, he comes to see Kazuya everyday but he doesn’t wake up at all. He may not know, but he has stopped playing soccer. Both his past and future, is tied down by Kazuya. Is this Kazuya’s punishment for him? But if this punishment were to continue, he’d rather Kazuya disappear…

Monshiro is shocked at this confession, and Hikage remarks that these are his brother’s true feelings. No matter where he is, he is shunned, alone, and pitiful. Monshiro shakes his head and steps backwards, refusing to believe any of it. Did he not die in the accident? From that scene, it means that he’s still alive? Hikage confirms it, but he has been in a coma and is only troubling his brother. Isn’t nice to know that he’s still alive, but does he want to return to the real world? In the first place, he didn’t have many friends and isn’t wanted by anyone. On the other hand, the brother whom he was willing to risk his life for, wishes for him to disappear. That’s how much he is worth, so he will always be alone. Wouldn’t it be better it he just didn’t exist?

Hikage: ……aah, I see. You can’t do anything if someone doesn’t look out for you? If that’s the case, I’ll break you on your behalf. ……I’m already tired of you.

The moment Monshiro looks up, he sees a gun pointed towards him. The next moment, he feels a dull pain at the back of his head. When he wakes up, Kagiha/Natsuki asks how Monshiro/Kazuya feels. He asks why he hit him, and the taller man explains that even though he acted roughly, he just couldn’t stand by. It’s a relief that a wound didn’t form. Monshiro wonders if he helped him out then. After all, if Kagiha opposed Hikage, then he wouldn’t fulfill the promise of reviving him. The former admits that he thought he could sacrifice anything for his goal. But he couldn’t when he saw Hikage about to shoot him, they’re childhood friends.

Kagiha smiles gently, and Monshiro feels bad since he wanted to shoot him. But Kagiha knows that he didn’t mean to hurt him. He was just desperate to separate him from Hikage. In fact, in order not to hurt anyone else, he didn’t want anyone else to become a sacrifice of Hikage’s. He just couldn’t convey it properly. Though Kagiha knows that it’s not his place to say that.

Monshiro: Natsuki is always like that……you always see through everything. You know me, and everyone else well. You are always observing the surroundings, even on “that day”……on “that day”, you tried to stop us from going to the mansion. Yet we didn’t listen to you……in the end, the lake was flooded by the rain. And Ai and I drowned……
Kagiha: ……………
Monshiro: Natsuki is……too kind. You know everything, but you give way to everyone else and just smile. Why don’t you blame anyone? Even though……I dragged Natsuki in, why did you save me?
Kagiha: That’s not it—!
Monshiro: No! You tried to save me, and ended up drowning! Even if you didn’t wish to be revived, you could’ve continued living! ——if I didn’t exist!!

Kagiha inhales sharply, and asks when his pendant became that colour. Monshiro remains silent, and Kagiha admits that he wants to live.

Kagiha: If only our situation was switched. If it were me, I can support her well.
Monshiro: Natsu, ki……?
Kagiha: So……let me have that place. These are my true feelings.
Monshiro: ——……!

The sound of something snaps, and Monshiro’s arms start to tremble. So he thought that way too, “if only he wasn’t here”.

Monshiro: Takuya and Natsuki, hate me……? Aki and——Ai too? I see……that’s how it was……I……just like Hikage said……
Kagiha: ……!!
Monshiro: ……it looks like, it’s better if I didn’t exist……

The next morning, Beniyuri realises something amiss. She learns from the other two that Monshiro is missing. Yamato thinks that he could’ve slipped out at night, but for what reason? Beniyuri recalls her conversation with Monshiro last night, and that he didn’t reply when she asked if they weren’t returning together. Could it be that Monshiro went to find Hikage alone? Karasuba tells the two of them to calm down. He finds Yamato too protective of Monshiro, and is unnecessarily worrying Beniyuri. He offers to search for Monshiro with Yamato, and advises Beniyuri to stay behind. There’s a possibility of him coming back too. Yamato agrees, since there must be a meaning behind him talking to her last night.

Left alone, Beniyuri starts to feel uneasy as time passes. It’s getting late, and Monshiro hasn’t returned either. As she looks up, she spots a black butterfly fluttering past. Why is it here? With a bad feeling, she steps outside of the greenhouse and is faced with a crowd of black butterflies. Is this what Usagi referred to, that this will lead to Hikage? In that case, maybe it also leads to Monshiro. She follows the trail, till she feels a strong wind blowing. It’s odd since all of the mansion’s windows are shut tightly. The wind is blowing from a different direction from the butterflies’ trail. It’s as if there’s a huge hole – is there an open window?

She hurries towards it, and arrives at the entrance hall. But in the middle sits a large hole, and the wind is blowing from there. As she wonders what this is, Kagiha replies that it’s hell. Beniyuri is surprised to see him here, she was really worried about him. But why is he here? And this is hell? Kagiha remarks that it’s his first time seeing it too. It’s where souls stained with despair fall into, it’s a vacant space different from the afterlife. There’s no sky or ground, and no end to it. Beniyuri recalls Usagi talking about it before – but why does Kagiha know this is the gateway to hell? Why is he so calm? He doesn’t answer, and only looks down with a depressed shadow hanging over him.

Just then, Beniyuri spots Monshiro’s pendant. Kagiha keeps her away from the hole, in case she falls. Reluctantly, he informs her that the darkness in Monshiro’s heart has drawn this gateway. Normally, the souls in despair would be gathered by black butterflies and move on. But because he was protected by the ribbon, he has accumulated much more darkness than anyone else. And having lost control of it, he was unable to endure the enormous amount of despair and was swallowed up. There’s nothing that they can do now. He couldn’t save Monshiro. So at least, he wants to protect her. Beniyuri asks if Monshiro is really down there, all alone. The Monshiro who was so scared to be alone, that he once forgotten what warmth was.

She takes out the ribbon from her pocket, and it feels as if it’s glowing warmly. He told her to always have hope no matter what. She grips it tightly and shuts her eyes, before looking at the gateway again. She will go and fetch Monshiro. Kagiha can’t believe what she is saying, and she repeats herself once more. She doesn’t know if she can return, but she doesn’t want to leave Monshiro alone anymore. Beniyuri even surprises herself with her resolve. She is truly afraid that she’s even trembling, but more than that she wants to be by Monshiro’s side. Kagiha asks if she likes Monshiro then. She isn’t sure. But she just knows that she wants to be with him now. If that’s what “like” is, perhaps she does. Kagiha refuses to let her go, he doesn’t want to lose even her.

His hands holding her back tremble, but they are extremely warm, like the sunlight. Beniyuri realises that this was the warmth Monshiro desired. She takes Kagiha’s hand, thanking and apologising to Natsuki. She was sad and frustrated that everyone knew what she didn’t – and felt lonely. But actually, she has people who worry about her – so she isn’t lonely. If Kazuya is being swallowed up in the darkness called loneliness, she wants to find him and tell him that he isn’t alone. She also finds the hole strange. There’s wind blowing from it, as if it’s connected to the world outside. It does appear scary, but it feels like there’s something across it.

Hearing her words, Kagiha seems to have given up on stopping her. Beniyuri leaves her hairpin with him. It has the last shard, so they’d need it to complete the kaleidoscope. She believes in Natsuki more than anyone else. So if she doesn’t return, she wants him to use this and have everyone else return. Kagiha asks about her, doesn’t she want to return and see her family again? Will she throw away that wish for Monshiro’s sake? She smiles at him.

Beniyuri: I can’t think of wanting happiness, at the extent of abandoning and sacrificing someone else. That isn’t true happiness. I, want to be happy with everyone……that’s why—.
Kagiha: ——! Ai-chan……!
Beniyuri: ——I’m going, see you.

Before fear overcomes her, before Kagiha soothes her, she jumps into the dark abyss. For a moment, darkness envelopes her and she can’t see anything. It’s as if her soul has been stripped out of her body. Kagiha remains standing there, mulling over her last words. As expected, she’s the person he fell in love with. He can’t remain like this either.

Inside, Beniyuri recovers her bearings. She stands up, but she can’t even feel the ground. It feels like she’s floating in water, and she imagines that she’s drowning for a moment. She can’t feel any other presence, and wonders how she should advance. The fear of the unknown makes her shudder. Where is Kazuya? Just then, the ribbon in her hand glows and stretches into the darkness. It seems to be guiding her. Beniyuri can only believe in her only clue, and starts walking. She doesn’t know how long she ended up walking. She’d just feel uneasy if she thinks about it, so she just keep walking while emptying her mind. After a while, the temperature, or air around her, turns chilly. Something drips onto her face. A voice rings in her head, as a scene plays out.

A boy with slanted eyes asks if anyone is there, unsure of where he is. He stops in his footsteps, gripping the ribbon in his hand. All he knows is that the ribbon is extremely important. Even though it’s useless. He hears a roar from elsewhere and hides. Someone, help! A boy with droopy eyes recognises him as Kazuya. A boy with two moles asks if they know each other, did they both fall into this dimension. The first boy realises that Kazuya must have…… The boy called Kazuya is relieved to see people, do they know him? The boy with droopy eyes sees that he has no memories, well so did he at the start. He calls the boy with two moles Hikage, asking him to let Kazuya join them. Hikage doesn’t mind, and says that he will return his memories. But in exchange, Kazuya has to help him complete the kaleidoscope. Kazuya doesn’t understand, but he doesn’t want to be alone anymore and agrees to cooperate.

Beniyuri snaps out of it, wondering if that was the memory of when Kazuya first came to the mansion. That means Kagiha and Hikage had known each other since before? She moves forward again, and another droplet falls on her cheek. Another scene plays out in her head.

A man screams in pain, and his body erodes. Hikage remarks that he was hardly useful and lost it so easily. He finds humans fragile. It doesn’t matter, other replacements will “fall” here. He’s just killing time till he finishes the kaleidoscope. Though it would be easier if there were pawns are sturdy as them. Natsuki remains quiet, as the man continues to scream while changing into a monster. Hikage shoots at him, telling him to shut up. Kazuya sees that another person has been sacrificed, and asks how long they have to do this. Hikage replies that it’s obvious, till the kaleidoscope is complete.

Kazuya: But, just for that, to capture those who cannot pass on, and manipulate and force them……
Hikage: ……since when have you become remarkable enough to talk back? What’s wrong? Widening your eyes like that……are you shocked that I’m pointing my gun at you?
Kazuya: …………
Hikage: Don’t think that only you are special. I’m only letting you stay by my side because you’re interesting as pawns. Just shut up and obey me. If so, I’ll grant your wishes.

Later that night, Kazuya calls Natsuki out without Hikage’s knowledge. The former thinks that what Hikage is doing is wrong, and he can no longer follow him. He asks Natsuki to escape together. The latter hesitates, but replies that he won’t. He wants to stay here and continue gathering the shards. If they complete the kaleidoscope, Hikage promised to revive them. Kazuya thinks that he’s lying, they can’t trust Hikage when he only sees them as tools. Natsuki points out that there’s nothing else to believe in. He wants to cling any small amount of hope, he wants to live again – even if it means sacrificing others. Kazuya asks for his reason, and Natsuki recalls his promise to her. He wants to live together with her.

The younger boy sees that this is where they part. He doesn’t want to see anyone else in pain, and couldn’t care less about the shards. He was lonely hence he joined them, but he doesn’t care to live again. Beniyuri realises that the two of them came much earlier and helped Hikage. But afterwards, Kazuya left them. Once more, a droplet trickles down and she sees the next memory.

Kazuya calls out Ai’s name. How long has it been? It feels like 1 year since he left Natsuki and the rest. He didn’t meet anyone today too – just like yesterday, the day before. Surely tomorrow too. It’s so lonely. This important ribbon is Ai’s, his hope. He wants to see her. Will he get to see her, as long as he holds onto it? No, not see her. But to return it to her. This is the world between life and death. So if he continues waiting here, even if it’s far into the future, will he get to return it to her? Kazuya looks at himself, and decides to hang it around his neck so that he won’t lose it. He will definitely return it, though he doesn’t know when.

Quickly, he hides in the shadows as a masked boy walks by. He is tempted to chase after the boy, but he shouldn’t. They will soon leave the mansion. He shouldn’t get involved with them, if not they won’t be able to leave, just like him. But—he’s lonely. Thanks to learning all he needed to know from Hikage, he can survive alone. But the longer he stays here, the further the reality – that bright world seems. He no longer knows his parents, and his brother. Wait, he has a brother? But he can’t remember his face. In fact, who is he? He doesn’t even know himself. Kazuya is in a daze, realising that he has lost his memories.

Hikage said that memories are required for you to stay here. Once they’re gone, your face and body will disappear, and you will leave for afterlife. But he can’t disappear yet, he has yet to return the ribbon. Wait, his face will disappear after his memories… his fingers touch something strange, and he quickly removes them. It’s as if a thin shadow is covering him. He’s terrified of his face vanishing. Kazuya hugs himself, enduring the strange happenings. If he walks around, someone may notice it. He recalls what the rest wear, and takes one off the wall for himself. He’ll be alright now, there’s nothing to fear. He will wait for Ai here.

Wearing a fox mask now, Kazuya wanders into the greenhouse for the first time. The blooming flowers heal his heart withered with loneliness. He wonders what he was doing, why is he this tired? What is he? He sits by the flowers, amused at their movements when he touches them. It calms him. He decides to make this his dwelling, while he waits for her. He pauses. Who is he waiting for? For what reason? He catches sight of the purple ribbon, and recalls that he has to return it. He cannot remember to whom, but he can’t disappear till then. He holds it in both hands, and it feels nostalgic, gentle and warm. It melts his ice-cold heart.

When Beniyuri comes back to her senses, her face is dripping wet. She realises that these are droplets, but her own tears. Kazuya has been waiting for her all this time, to return the ribbon – even when he can’t remember who he is. She recalls the first time she woke up in the mansion, and he saved her from the monster. Even though he didn’t want to see Hikage, he appeared before her. She wipes away her tears, desperate to find Kazuya. Once more, she walks into the darkness. It grows so cold, it seeps into her bones. Beniyuri endures it. It means that this place has a temperature, that it isn’t just a vacant dark space. If so, she has nothing to fear.

2015-09-07-210511

The water droplets floating midair keep increasing, and she can guess what they are. All of a sudden, something appears before the ribbon. It has a transient glow like the moon, but Beniyuri figures out its real identity when she draws closer. Monshiro is hugging his knees, crouched in the darkness. What seemed to glow like the moon, was his silver hair. She calls out to him, and he looks up with vacant eyes. He doesn’t recognise her, not even when she introduces herself as Ai. She desperately recalls their childhood memories, and their time in the mansion. But he claims to not know, and asks her to leave him be. He’s better off alone. A single tear trickles down, and floats in the air like a pearl. As she had guessed, the water droplets are his tears.

Beniyuri shows him the ribbon, asking if he remembers it. He waited here all this time, so as to return it to her. She properly accepts his feelings, and thanks him for taking great care of it. She also thanks him for saving her when they first met here. Thanks to Kazuya, she has remained safe till now. She has many things to thank him for. He finally recalls that he needs to return the ribbon, and asks if she’s that person. That person would always bring the lonely him to play with the rest. She let the lonely him join the circle of friends – is she the one? She nods, saying that she has come for him. They should return together now.

He remembers that she’s Ai, and immediately stands up. His eyes are alert, and life has returned to them. He asks why she’s here, as he recalls falling into hell. Beniyuri explains that she came for him. Even though he’s so afraid of being alone, he did this. Monshiro apologises, but he still thinks it’s better that way. He will only trouble the rest – Takuya and Natsuki went through a lot because of him. Beniyuri asks if Hikage said that – if so it’s not true. There’s no way it would be better if he didn’t exist. Takuya, Natsuki, and everyone loves him. Sure he may trouble them – but it works both ways. They’re not true friends or brothers if they don’t trouble each other. If he troubles them, and they still remain by his side – that’s called “worrying”. If so, he should either apologise or thank them, and return their kindness someday. If he escapes out of guilt, he wouldn’t be able to do so.

Monshiro shakes his head, but wonders what he can do for them. She replies that he can’t do anything here, so they should first leave. This ribbon led her to him, so surely it will also lead them to a bright place. It was him who told her to have hope after all. She tells him to go where they can go. Monshiro nods and takes her hand. They start following the ribbon, continuing their journey. After a while, it feels like they’re climbing up a slope. They continue walking, and the sensation remains. As expected, this isn’t a vacant place. Beniyuri looks up, and she feels optimistic too. Soon, the gentle slope turns into a rough mountain road. And she can see the sunlight glistening on the surface of waves. Perhaps this connects to their original world!

But he is quiet, and he stares at his feet with a grim expression. He asks if she’s alright, and she replies that she isn’t tired despite the sudden steep slope. Monshiro remains quiet, as his feet slowly sink as if he’s stuck in mud. Beniyuri is startled, since she’s doing fine. She hurries him along, they can make it once they reach the light. She urges him to run just a little bit longer. Monshiro struggles, but the darkness keeps swallowing him. She tells him to hold on tight to her, to not let go. He looks at her, saying that it’s fine. Beniyuri tells him not to give up, but the ribbon grows thinner at their weight – as if it would snap any moment. Monshiro says that she can still be saved, so she should let go. She doesn’t need to try anymore. Beniyuri refuses to, begging him to try too.

Yet when she struggles to pull him up, he releases his grip. Her heart is on the verge of breaking. Is she the only one who believes in the future? Their hands are slipping, and gravity is pulling them apart. Monshiro pleads to let him return it. She told him to return the kindness he received. He wants her to live, laugh, and be happy. Surely the rest feels the same way. So now, he wants to give her future to her. But Beniyuri doesn’t want a future where only she is saved. It’s sly of him to say that now. This ribbon is his hope, and always saved him when he was in danger. He shakes his head. It won’t grant such a huge wish. For the both of them to be saved – that’s a luxury. Even though he must be in great pain, he looks calm.

Monshiro brushes his lips against hers, saying that this is his good luck charm. Taking her by surprise, he lets go of her hand. He’s glad to have returned it to her in the end. He smiles blissfully, as he sinks into the darkness. Beniyuri can only reach out into space. What should she do!?

2015-09-07-214510

Bad End: She calls out his name, but can only watch his figure disappear. She continues to cry out desperately, as tears stream down her face. Is there no way to save him? If so, at the very least she should remember his image. But even that wish is hopeless, as her tears blur her vision. She can’t see him. Why is this world so unreasonable? Why can’t he be happy? The world is dropping him into an abyss of loneliness, when all he desires is warmth. If you have hope, do you end up despairing? If you don’t hope for anything, do you not taste any sadness? Though he told her to have hope, it seems rather difficult for her now.

Ai wakes up at the sound of her own crying. She cannot see where she is, due to her blurry eyes. But she knows that she has returned to her familiar world – all alone. After that, a nurse who checks on her quickly calls for her family. They check if she’s feeling well, asking her question after question. Though she passed out in the accident, thankfully she was unhurt. But, there’s is a raw wound which they can’t see. She can feel it bleeding. Her heart isn’t fine at all. It’s being ripped apart by the sadness of leaving the ones she loves behind. Takuya and Akira, who were on the bus with her, are still asleep. So is Kazuya, who has been in coma for 10 years. Ai visits them everyday, drawing the curtains, opening the windows, and placing flowers. So that the sunlight, refreshing breeze, and smell of flowers reaches that dark world.

She visits Kazuya one day, sitting next to him. It’s been 1 month since she has returned, and she can finally go back to school. She wonders how long it has been for them, how are they doing? She asks why he let go of her hand that time. Because it was him who told her to have hope, yet he gave up at the very end – she can no longer believe in such words anymore. The doctor told her to talk a lot to them, as they may wake up. But surely, such a day won’t come. There won’t be a day where all of them can smile in this world. She can’t have hope.

Her heart hurts, and she bites her lower lip. Even though she thinks that way, why does she get nervous when she opens the hospital doors? She talks to them everyday, and even asks them questions as if they would reply. Despite not wanting to believe in hope, Ai wants to try believing in a miracle. Even though no one will wake up and she will just be even more disappointed – she anticipates. Is it okay for her to do so? Ai takes Kazuya’s hand, which has her ribbon tied around it. His faint pulse pains her heart. This time, it’s her turn to wait for him. Whether it’s 1 year, 10 years or even more than that – she will wait for him here. So she pleads for him to wake up someday, for sure. So Ai continues to wait for him to wake up, in a loop of hope and despair.

Good End: She stretches out her hand further, despite knowing that it’s futile. Like a child, she pleads over and over for her hand to reach his. But he gets swallowed up in the darkness. Beniyuri cries at how unfair it is, when they were almost there. The two of them are split apart further and further, as they can only gaze at each other. She came here to fetch him, so she refuses to leave him behind. Once more, she pleads for her hand to reach his. Suddenly, the world shines and the ribbon in her hand elongates. Beniyuri can clearly see Monshiro’s figure. She isn’t sure if she’s falling or he’s floating, but the distance between them closes. His eyes waver, and Beniyuri tells him to reach out to her. She won’t leave him to be alone anymore. Hesitantly, he raises his arm. Their fingers touch, and she quickly grasps his hand. Their vision turns into a burning white, as they remain holding hands.

Ai wakes up, realising that she’s in the hospital. She sits up, ignoring the dizziness that hits her, and rushes to Kazuya’s room. His room is unchanged, as his figure remains sleeping. She takes his hand, begging him to wake up. But he only breathes quietly. Did she leave him behind in that darkness? Just then, his eyes flicker open and their eyes meet. Kazuya wonders why it’s so bright, and warm. Ai tells him that he’s back. She points out the sun, and the breeze. They are no longer in that mansion, but back in their own world. She repeats to him that they’re back, as he stares at her in silence, trying to absorb the information.

Ai: Welcome back, Kazuya-kun. ——Welcome back.

The moment felt like a miracle. It felt wonderful to be living here now. Kazuya stutters that he’s back, and also welcomes her back too. They keep repeating those words, an ordinary and daily greeting. Yet they feel so happy that they could cry, to be able to exchange those words under the sun. They hold hands, sharing the bliss and joy.

After that, a nurse who checks on them quickly examines their condition. Though she passed out in the accident, thankfully she was unhurt. She is healthy enough to be discharged. But Kazuya, who has been in coma for 10 years, is extremely weak and will need time to rehabilitate – whether it’s walking or talking…in any case, the training is tough. But with his hard work, he could finally talk and move without difficulties. Ai accompanies his training everyday, encouraging him. It’s become a daily routine.

And another daily routine, is to visit Takuya and Akira in the hospital and talk to them. They have yet to return, and are still wandering between life and death. One day, she tells them how Kazuya is getting competitive with a elementary school kid in rehabilitation. He denies this, but she points out that he’s pushing himself even though he still needs his crutches. He broke his promise to the doctor to go at his own pace. He still denies it, and Ai tells the two of them to remind Kazuya too. After his rehabilitation, they always visit Takuya and Akira.

She wonders if they can hear them talking, and how long more they need to wait for them to wake up. Kazuya reassures her that they will, just like how they came back. Ai agrees. She takes out the ribbon which he returned to her. It was thanks to this ribbon that she could return. She was saved by her mother and Kazuya’s feelings. So surely the two of them will return too. Kazuya thanks her, for reaching out to him in that dark place, and not giving up on him. Thanks to that, he is now by her side. Ai reminds him that he was the one who told her not to give up. They’ll both continue to believe and wait for them.

At that moment, Ai recalls that he kissed her. She blushes, and he looks at her quizzically. He is confused when she tells him not to look. He likes her, so he wants to look at her more. Since young, everyone liked the kind Ai. But he wants to be the one next to her, that’s what he always secretly thought. His wish has come true now. But it would appear like he’s stealing a march on them, so he’ll endure and wait till they return to confess his feelings to her. He’ll restrain from clinging to her too – everything will wait till they come back. She looks back at him, and says that she’ll believe that time will come too.

While holding hands, they look back at the sleeping Takuya and Akira. Kazuya remarks that they won’t just wait. They will keep calling their names, talking to them, and will welcome them together. So he wishes for them to hurry. Just then, they hear a quiet groan, and see fingers moving. Could it be? And then, they came to learn that you don’t wait for wishes to come true – you fulfill them yourself.

Read: Related Short Episode

Hikage End

Beniyuri wants to solve the mystery of this mansion. Despite Usagi having explained about this world, there are things she still can’t wrap her head around. Why does her master want to fix the kaleidoscope? And is her master even human? And why does her master seem to know about them? There’s no end to the questions. Speaking of which, was it really alright for her to show Hikage the photo? For Yamato, his brother, to disappear like that, must be rather shocking for him. Feeling worried, she goes to check on him. But when she sees him, she can’t bring herself to say her real reason for coming. Instead, she suggests switching their phone’s memory cards so that he will have the photo. After all, one would usually want to keep a photo of their family.

Unfortunately, she can’t find any way to open up her mobile to remove the card. Hikage only looks coldly at her, before telling her to come in to talk. Beniyuri does so, but finds it hard to speak when she notes his unusual melancholic expression. He speaks first, aware that she must have come here to check on him. Though he finds her meddlesome, he applauds her for acting just as he had predicted. But his words lack his usual spirit. Beniyuri sees that he must be feeling down and is unable to answer. He sighs, before crossing his arms and admits that he was thinking about Yamato. He wonders why he forgot all about his twin brother, is he that cold-blooded? She tries to reason that they had lost their memories, but he points out that he could’ve recalled faster by listening to Yamato.

She remarks that a cold-blooded person wouldn’t think that way. She asks how much he has recalled, and he replies that he only remembers Yamato. Beniyuri recalls that he was hospitalised for a long time, and he only recently woke up in the mansion – meaning that he wasn’t stuck here for the 10 years he was in coma. Or did something happen to him? Hikage says that in any case, if they complete the kaleidoscope they may be able to do something about Yamato. Since it looks like the mansion owner will grant them any wish. Hearing this, Beniyuri finds something amiss.

Does he believe everything Usagi said? She thought that the usual practical Hikage would have more doubts. He answers that he doesn’t accept everything. But whether this is a dream or a realm between life and death, to him this current world is reality. And the solution to all of the current problems, can only be found in Usagi’s words. So he’s using that as a base on how to act. The key lies in the kaleidoscope. Beniyuri thinks that he’s a strong person. The truth is still uncertain, they don’t even know who they are. And the only person he remembers – Yamato – just turned into a monster before his own eyes.

Beniyuri still trembles when she recalls it. She didn’t notice the changes in Yamato. So being blood-related, Hikage should feel even more regret, pain and sadness. Yet he’s using what he knows as a foothold, and moving forward. But at the same time, he must be suppressing his inner feelings. Hikage hardly speaks of his feelings, and always quietly observes the situation and proposes the best course of action. What does she know about him? Hikage sees that she’s quiet, and asks if she’s sleepy. If so, she should return to her room. She shakes her head, saying that she was just deep in thought. He asks what it is about.

About the kaleidoscope: She was wondering the mansion owner’s reason for completing the kaleidoscope. Is there a wish which the owner can’t fulfill within his own powers? Hikage vaguely replies that it’s probably the case. Beniyuri is reminded of the magic lamp in fairytales, but how selfish can the wishes be? Would she be able to get a life-time of chocolate chip ice-cream? If not, a mille-feuille filled with plenty of strawberries would be good too. Or maybe a body which will never grow fat no matter how much desserts she eats. Hikage stares at her silently, at a loss of words. He finally sighs loudly, and comments that she’s poor at comforting others. Didn’t she have any other topics? Though he admits that it is fitting of her to talk all about food.

Beniyuri asks how would he do it then, and he reluctantly considers this. Perhaps he would place a hand on the person’s shoulder while smiling, and kindly say that it’s alright. She stifles a laugh, unable to imagine Hikage doing that. He remarks that it’s better than her anyway. She apologises for laughing, but finds it curious. It really seems like things will be alright when he says it. He looks at her, before sighing once more at how ridiculous this is. He accepts her concern though, and thanks her with a kind smile. It makes her heart skip a beat. She didn’t expect him to be able to smile. He sulks, saying that he isn’t a beast and can smile too. Beniyuri sees yet another different expression of his.

She knows that she may not be reliable, but she want to support him if he needs anything. After all, he’s always helping her out. Her words suprise Hikage. He whispers that she’s really simple-minded, and resembles someone. Beniyuri fails to catch his words, and he dismisses it. In any case, it’s all about the kaleidoscope. Though he’s concerned about Yamato, they should continue searching.  She returns to her room, wondering what she can do to learn more. Perhaps she can ask Usagi. Of course, that’s just her own assumption. So she doesn’t want to let the others, especially Hikage, know, lest they hope for something.

Avoiding everyone else’s gaze, Beniyuri walks around while searching for Usagi. Then again, all she can do is check each and every door. While she was about to give up, she realised something. A basket full of food would regularly arrive from Usagi. So she slips in a letter into the empty basket, hoping that the girl will read it. The next day, the basket is filled with more food and the letter is gone. There is no reply, but Beniyuri continues to place a letter inside the basket everyday. And then one morning, she receives a reply. She rushed to her room with it, and anxiously opens it. Inside is a map, telling her to go to the marked place alone without anyone noticing.

She has no choice but to sneak out at night, and shivers at the growls of the monsters which she doesn’t hear. There may be other ways that are less dangerous. But since she was given this chance, she doesn’t want to waste it. Thankfully, it isn’t that far. Soon, , Beniyuri hears a noise and finds Usagi standing in the corridor. She leads her to a hidden doorway. They walk into the darkness, carefully making their way down what seems an endless flight of stairs. When Beniyuri starts to feel weak in the legs and breathless, they reach Usagi’s room. It’s a lovely bedroom, filled with delicately-crafted furniture, as if prepared for a princess. There are also white butterflies fluttering all around.

2015-09-10-075513

Beniyuri wonders why Usagi brought her here, since she was hiding all this time. The latter admits that she was hesitant. But she did want to talk to Beniyuri, and she sought the chance since she sent many letters. She asks the older girl to sit, while she prepares some tea and biscuits. Beniyuri is unsure of how to react, since she only came here to ask about the mansion owner. Though Usagi is still wearing her mask, she can easily tell how hard she is receiving her like a guest. It reminds her of Haruka. As they settle down, Beniyuri asks why she isn’t drinking. Usagi points to her mask, and Beniyuri asks if she can’t remove it. In fact, why do the other people also wear masks?

Usagi asks if she recalls her explanation the previous time. As Beniyuri and the rest recalled their memories not long after they came here, their faces and bodies remained the same. But those souls who regain their memories as they’re about to disappear, remain in this realm with incomplete faces and bodies. Simply put, they have no faces – like a noppera-bo. If they strongly recall their original figures, they could regain them again. But usually it’s extremely difficult for a regular person. So they wander the mansion with a sense of loss, and notice the masks. They decide to wear those masks, in replacement of their lost faces.

The older girl nods at this, but realises that Usagi has a face. In that case, why does she wear a mask? Usagi replies that she’s a bit special, and has her own reasons. She must not want to talk about it, but Beniyuri did come here to learn more. So she questions if it’s her master’s orders, and why does she obey her master. Moreover, what wish does her master want to grant, and could they use the kaleidoscope to help Yamato? The masked girl stutters and trembles, unable to answer. Her figure reminds Beniyuri of Haruka once more, and she feels guilty driving Usagi into a corner.

Beniyuri stops questioning, and confesses that she wants to help someone. She thought that if she came to see Usagi, she could learn something and move ahead. She apologises for troubling the young girl. Silence falls upon them, till Beniyuri hears the sound of a ribbon unravelling. Usagi removes her mask, saying that she’s alright if it’s just Beniyuri. The older girl exclaims at how cute she looks, just like a doll. She thanks Usagi for relenting, and the latter joins her for tea this time. Beniyuri decides to take her time getting to know Usagi, though she wonders why she decided to reveal her face.

After that, the two girls started to exchange letters about trivial things like their favourite food and recent dreams. At times, Beniyuri would sneak out at night to visit Usagi’s room. The younger girl told her to keep her visits a secret, though the reason is unclear. Usagi doesn’t talk much about herself. But she seems to enjoy listening to Beniyuri. At first, she was still wary of Usagi since she serves the mansion owner. But upon seeing how she adores her like an elder sister, Beniyuri grew less cautious and they grew closer. The days pass by, and they still don’t know Yamato’s whereabouts. The four of them continue to collect the shards – till it slowly grew harder to find them. According to Usagi, the kaleidoscope is finally near its completion. As that news sinks into them, they spend each day searching for the last fragments.

That day, Beniyuri is grouped with Hikage. When she first walked down the corridor, she was afraid of even the tiniest of sounds. But somehow she grew less sensitive, and now she can walk around without being affected. She wonders how long they’ve been here, and how many more shards they need. Whether they can return to their world with Yamato when they do. Hikage replies that they can only believe in it for now. Out of nowhere, a little girl appears and clings to him. The masked girl is happy to have found her brother, and tells him not to leave her alone. He is puzzled at her words, asking if she has the wrong person.

The little girl’s body is slightly transparent. She looks up, realising that her brother is smaller. She stops in her words, recalling that she got lost. Both her parents are dead, so she only has her brother. But she couldn’t find him at all. She doesn’t even know his face and name. Beniyuri observes that the girl has forgotten everything, and may be leaving for the afterlife soon. To her surprise, Hikage reassures the little girl. He’s sure that she will meet her brother someday. But as long as she remains here, she won’t see him. He kneels down to her eye level, smiling at her.

Hikage: There is a beautiful place up ahead where flowers bloom and butterflies flutter. I think that, he’s probably waiting there.
Masked girl: ……I can meet him if I go there?
Hikage: Perhaps, you may have to be the one who waits though.
Masked girl: ……but, where is “up ahead”? Further down the corridor?
Hikage: No……you know the way there right. Try closing your eyes.

She does as told, and her body becomes more transparent. She exclaims that she knows, but is afraid to go alone. Hikage tells her not to worry, she just needs to move forward so that she won’t lose her way. The girl nods, and thanks him as she transforms into white butterflies and disappears. Beniyuri asks if it’s okay to have let the girl go, she could live again like them. Hikage says that her parents are dead, so even if she lives again the reality awaiting her would just be cruel. Beniyuri agrees, but perhaps there are relatives she can rely on. He roughly remarks that a child can’t live by himself/herself. She is unable to say anything else, and only hopes that the girl left safely.

Hikage stands up, quietly looking at where the girl was. She remarks that he really seemed like an elder brother, even though Yamato is the older twin. He appeared really kind. But she finds it sly of him to act like that, when he told her to be more wary. He pauses at her words, unable to believe that he acted kindly. He dismisses it, and says that they should continue searching. Beniyuri wonders if she said something weird. But it was the first time she saw such a kind expression of his. That night in Usagi’s room, Beniyuri thinks about Hikage while stirring her tea. Usagi calls out to her, pointing out that her tea is going to spill out. She asks what the older girl is thinking about, and Beniyuri wonders what Hikage is thinking. She finds that he’s always curt, sarcastic and nags a lot.

Beniyuri: Today, when I used potato as an ingredient for the miso soup, he complained that I shouldn’t as it would be too thick. Moreover he went “You peeled the skin too much. You eat so little.” at me! But, he still drank all of his miso soup……and when we explore the mansion. He walks fast and it seems like he’d leave me behind, he’s a real Sparta you know? Yet he would immediately know if I’m tired or feel unwell and worry. He has no openings and isn’t cute.
Usagi: Hikage-san……seems to be the leader so isn’t it good if he has no openings?
Beniyuri: ……but, it feels like he’s pushing himself.

She recalls how Hikage treated the girl kindly this afternoon. But he also appeared fragile and dangerous somehow. She wants to know why he’s like that. Usagi mulls over her words, before declaring that it’s love. She wants to know what sort of person he is, and what he’s thinking. She wants to get to know him better, and to get along better with him. Beniyuri awkwardly agrees, and Usagi expresses her full support. She takes her hands, and the young girl’s eyes seem to be sparkling. Beniyuri quickly says that she isn’t sure, moreover this isn’t the time to be in love. But Usagi points out that she thinks about him, to the point of spilling her own tea. To be honest, Usagi only heard that’s how love is since she has never experienced it. The older girl starts feeling embarrassed to be getting love advice from a younger girl.

Usagi: ……Hikage-san may look a bit scary, but I think that he’s really a kind person. So if he falls in love……surely……
Beniyuri: Usagi……-chan……?
Usagi: No, in any case let’s work hard! First we need a strategy!
Beniyuri: S, strategy!?

She ends up learning all about love till dawn. The next day, Beniyuri is reciting the love manual book she got from Usagi. First, she needs to make time for just the two of them. Second, she needs to talk while making eye contact. Third, to get to know each other better. There are other methods on how to get closer to Hikage written inside too. To think that she ended up in an unrequited love. She knows that the situation doesn’t call for this, but the excited Usagi wouldn’t allow that and by the time she realised it they created a hefty manual book. But in any case, she does want to get to know Hikage better. That morning, everyone else is still asleep and Hikage is quietly reading. Beniyuri approaches him, and he receives her question with a serious look.

Beniyuri: Um, Hikage-kun. I want you to answer without avoiding the topic. What is——Hikage-kun’s favourite food?
Hikage: ………………………………what?

He looks at her suspiciously, before replying after a long pause that it’s Japanese food. She excitedly notes it down, before asking if he has a particular favourite among it.

Hikage: ……if I had to name one, it’s probably boiled wild vegetables.
Beniyuri: Boiled huh- yes yes, it’s delicious right! If it’s wild vegetables, it would be nice to eat it with soba too.
Hikage: ………
Beniyuri: Thank you for your cooperation! I’ll ask again tomorrow okay? (bows)
Hikage: ……what was that just now……

Beniyuri succeeds on the first day, though there’s still 99 questions to go. The next morning, she asks Hikage about his favourite type of girl.

Hikage: ………hah?
Beniyuri: U, um. Do you have a favourite type of girl?
Hikage: Haah?
Beniyuri: So, do you prefer those with long hair, or those who are shorter……and aside from appearances, do you have a favourite personality.
Hikage: ……I don’t really.
Beniyuri: Is that so? Not even a bit?
Hikage: In the first place I never even thought about it.
Beniyuri: I see, in other words—the person you like is your type!
Hikage: ……no……
Beniyuri: I understand, thank you! Sorry for interrupting your reading.
Hikage: ………………

2015-09-11-092436

She scribbles the answer down, and leaves him. Though she started this because of Usagi, she’s starting to have fun too. She wonders what sort of person Hikage will end up liking. After that, Beniyuri starts to regularly ask him questions much to his disbelief. It’s been really noisy around him recently. Till one day, he asks her directly if she’s interested in him. That can be the only reason for her actions. She grows flustered, and replies that she wants to confirm it so she wants to know him better. He asks for what purpose, and she answers that it’s to get along better. Hikage stares at her intently, making her more embarrassed.

Hikage remarks that even he would grow conscious with such a confession. If so, he could take action too. He takes a lock of her hair, and playfully kisses it to her surprise. He wonders how far they can take it in this world. Should they try becoming lovers in this situation where they could lose their bodies? He thought that she would be happy to hear his suggestion, but she clearly looks uncomfortable. He asks if he should be more forceful, as he plays with her hair. His suggestive gaze flusters her. He looks different from usual. Beniyuri asks why he’s being mean, he isn’t the type to be forceful or to play around. He remarks that it’s her desire, moreover what does she know about him?

She admits this, but that’s why she wants to know. He sighs at how she always sticks her head into things when she’s so cowardly. Again, Beniyuri admits this. But that doesn’t change the fact that she wants to know him – the real him. Hikage looks at her silently, before turning away and replying that he is himself. It looks like he overdid things, and tells her not to take his joke seriously. He lets go of her hair, unsure if she is proactive or cowardly. He confirms that she wasn’t a bother, but he gets thrown off with her around. Like the “real him” gets thrown out of order.

Though he said she wasn’t a bother, he clearly looks troubled. Beniyuri abruptly suggests having boiled food for dinner, she feels like eating boiled wild vegetables tonight. He comments on how great her appetite is with his usual sarcasm. But his tone is unexpectedly gentle. It feels like he’s slowly opening up to her, and it makes her extremely happy. This isn’t the time fall in love, so she will just keep her feelings a secret.

One day, Karasuba observes that the two of them are getting on well recently. She asks if they appear like that, and her response alarms Karasuba. Hikage laughs at how disillusioned he is, but unfortunately there’s no optician for him to visit. Kagiha also feels that Hikage’s recent attitude has grown more familiar. Karasuba says that it’s fine to get along better as friends, but he wouldn’t want anything more than that. He doesn’t want a blood battle over Beniyuri with Hikage. The latter thinks that Karasuba is more sly than he is, but Karasuba denies this. Hikage only disappears to the back of the room. Benyuri observes how he isn’t affected despite the other two pointing out how close they are.

Karasuba gets Kagiha to help him out, as they continue tidying up the hideout. Beniyuri directs her attention to the bookshelf. She takes the books out one by one, and they all look pretty old. If this was the world between life and death, who would have collected these books? Were they written here? One particular book stands out to her, with its beautiful art. It looks like a picture fairytale book. It’s written in English, but Beniyuri thinks that she can read it with the help of a dictionary. Taking it and a dictionary in hand, she starts to read.

Once upon a time in a place far away, there were two butterflies with white wings. They got along very well, and always flied together. Gradually, they fell in love. One day, a terrible storm came and attacked them. The two butterflies hid under leaves, desperately holding on. But, how could this be? One butterfly was beaten down by the cold rain, and died. The remaining butterfly wept. It wept and wept, till its tears dried out. When it almost drowned in a pond of its own tears, a traveller passing by saved it. The traveller asked why it was crying. The butterfly replied, that it was sad that its beloved other half is gone.

So the traveller told it to go to the psychedelica. There is a paradise called psychedelica much further down this path. It’s a place where the dead live happily. Perhaps, the one it hopes to meet is there. I want to meet, if I can meet again – there was no hesitation. The butterfly bid farewell to the traveller and embarked on its journey to psychedelica.

But the path was treacherous. The blowing wind beat the butterfly to the ground over and over again. Its prideful white wings, were gradually dirtied with mud. Everyone laughed at the butterfly which has turned black. Even so, the black butterfly didn’t give up. In the morning, afternoon, and night, it continued flying towards psychedelica. And the days turned into months, into years. Its heart and body were in shambles, and it could hardly move. It was then, that the black butterfly finally saw the entrance.

2015-09-11-094314

Beniyuri is relieved, thinking that it’s a happy end. But it doesn’t feel like a children’s book, with its lonely tone. Unfortunately, the last page has been torn out. She wouldn’t get to know the ending now. Hikage spots her, and is surprised to see her reading an English book. She explains that it’s a picture book, and feels a little angry when he shows understanding. Beniyuri shows him that the book is incomplete, and he stands next to her to take a closer look. Thanks to Karasuba’s earlier words, she feels nervous. She passes him the book, and he flips through the pages. Hikage recognises the book, and doesn’t reckon that it’s her ideal ending.

He shuts the book, and summarises it. Wishing for the white butterfly counterpart, the black butterfly set off on a journey. While being ridiculed by everyone, the butterfly kept flying for days……when it collapsed on the ground, out of energy, it finally saw paradise – the entrance to psychedelica. But the black butterfly turned back to the path it came from. It kept flying with its worn out wings which had once desired paradise so much, and finally lay on the sand of a desert. It opened its eyes, breathless, and saw a mirage of the white butterfly. While feeling happy at this illusion, it decayed in loneliness all alone in the desert.

She did not expect the two butterflies not to meet, and asks if he read it as a child. He doesn’t remember, but he probably did so long ago. He gazes at the book silently, before asking Beniyuri what she would do if there was a psychedelica – if she could meet her beloved ones who have passed away. She contemplates this quietly, as the topic seems to tug at her sleeping memories. She replies that she would meet them, so she doesn’t understand why the black butterfly turned back. However, Hikage says that he does.

The path to psychedelica is treacherous. Just like how the white butterfly turned into a black one along the way, surely you would become just as ugly too. He couldn’t bear to reveal that to his loved one who went away while remaining beautiful. He has changed too much, perhaps to the point of being unrecognisable. Even if he was recognisable, perhaps he would be hated for being so tainted. That’s why the black butterfly turned back. Beniyuri finds his words curious, and also points out that there’s no consideration for the white butterfly’s feelings.

She feels that the white butterfly wouldn’t grow to hate its other half just because of that. In fact, it may even feel angry. Just like how the white butterfly was “hope” to the black butterfly, the black butterfly should be important to the white butterfly too. Even if its appearance has changed, it is still its other half. Whether beautiful or tattered, the feeling of wanting to see the other is still the same. Beniyuri pauses, wondering why she is so worked up. Hikage remarks that it’s unlike her. She remarks that it’s weird for the black butterfly to escape in an illusion. He remains quiet, before repeating that it’s unlike the weak and cowardly her – she’s strong. His comment takes her by surprise.

Hikage: The white butterfly’s feelings……the people’s hearts whom I couldn’t believe in, you can believe in them. You aren’t trapped by illusions, and don’t flee into the desert. You are much stronger than me. Well, but I do think that it’s better for you to learn to suspect people too.

It’s rare for him to praise her, so Beniyuri feels shy. He finds it amazing that she picked out this book. She explains that she wanted to arrange the books according to title, but this book had none. Hikage recalls it as “Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly”. Suddenly, he stares down at the book. When she’s about to ask after him, Karasuba and Kagiha interrupt the scene. Hikage says that it’s nothing, and quickly disappears upstairs.

A few days later at night, Beniyuri goes to get a drink. She spots Hikage sleeping defencelessly on the sofa, as well as the picture book on the table. Perhaps he fell asleep reading it. She can’t help but stare at his sleeping face. They’ve grown a lot closer now, but she wonders how he thinks of her. She recalls Usagi’s words, saying that it’s love. Unlike that time, now a bittersweet feeling wells up in her. She’d wanted to keep it inside her, but somehow her feelings have bloomed. Just then, Hikage starts to moan in his sleep. He appears to be in pain, could it be a nightmare? She calls out to him, but he mumbles inaudible words.

Beniyuri is about to wake him up, but he leaps up first. He questions why he recalled such a memory now, of all times. It’s the first time she has seen him this unruffled. She asks what it is, and Hikage just notices her next to him. She explains that she was passing by, and he questions why she approached him. He could still endure it if she were next to him. She is noisy but at least she’s harmless. But now she is taking advantage by entering his territory and making a mess of it. She is at a loss of words, and he notes that she is always so oblivious at how she causes troubles. In fact, she was the one who brought out this book.

She attempts to calm him down, but Hikage slaps her hand away. He doesn’t want her to interfere. His outright rejection only confuses her further. Still, Beniyuri gently touches his shoulder, asking him to tell her what happened. He looks back, and is willing if she wishes to know. He pushes her down on the sofa and kisses her. She’s unable to escape his forceful kiss – both cold and hot at the same time. That instant feels like an eternity, and the sensation disappears just when she feels stripped of all senses. He averts his gaze, asking if she’s satisfied. She wanted to know him, so he’s letting her know now. She didn’t think of him as someone who would take a woman by force.

2015-09-11-100141

In that case, she should take this chance to rethink that – just what does she know about him? She doesn’t know whether to be angry or sad. Beniyuri’s thoughts and feelings are in a mess, and she can only stand up weakly. Hikage asks if she isn’t going to resist, and if she was just pretending to dislike it. He’s willing to do more if she wants, but he doesn’t want her approaching him anymore. If she wants someone to pay attention to her, she should go to Karasuba or Kagiha instead. She is taken aback by his words, and slaps him.

Beniyuri says that she didn’t approach him because she wanted attention. She wanted to know him better and get along better. This treatment is too cruel. Her hand hurts, but her heart hurts even more. Hikage softly remarks that she misled him, so she’s the cruel one. After that, they never exchanged words. They always went in separate groups, when searching the mansion. But they are unable to find any shards as of late, and the atmosphere is heavy. If they can’t find it, they can’t leave the mansion. She can’t make up with him, and Beniyuri is feeling down. No matter what, she keeps thinking about Hikage. Why did he suddenly kiss her, and why was he so mad? He said that she had overstepped into his boundaries.

Usagi calls her out of her thoughts, saying that she has been always sighing the past few days. She guesses that it has something to do with Hikage, and Beniyuri confesses that Hikage seems to hate her. He was really mad, and called her cruel. She was happy to talk to him, and to grow closer to him. But it seems that it troubled him instead. He pushed her away, telling her not to come near him anymore. Beniyuri tears up, noticing how crushed she feels at his rejection. Usagi asks if she’s in love after all. The other girl thinks over this, before admitting that she is. But she’s foolish to only realise it after being rejected. Beniyuri feels bad for worrying the younger girl, who looks like she’s holding back her tears.

She has something to apologise for to Beniyuri. But before that, she would like to tell her about herself and her master. Her master is really her older brother. It happened a long time ago. She lived in this mansion with her mother. The mansion on the banks of a lake far away from the city, and hardly anyone came. She enjoyed the peaceful life. But a few times a year, her father would invite foreign guests and it would be unbelievably noisy. The young her didn’t understand the complex stuff. Her father made a fortune in the shipping industry, and this mansion was built like the foreign ones for his guests. Her mother came from an extremely distinguished family which only had its noble name left, and married him in order to rebuild her family.

It wasn’t a desired marriage, so her mother held a grudge. Using Usagi’s birth as a reason, she moved to this mansion. But in the end, she received guests just as her father wanted to. The exchange of foreign words, the shrill laughter, the thick perfume. Her father collected gorgeous masks from all over the world, and used it for endless balls. While her father stayed here, she would always want to cover her ears from the elegant waltz she hears every night. She was lonely. Since birth, she was physically weak and always stayed in her room. So she didn’t have friends. Her only delight was reading her pictures books by herself.

It was then, that her father brought a boy to the mansion. He said that the boy would be her brother from now on, and to get along. The boy’s face was pretty as what you would see in picture books, but his eyes were vacant. She was afraid for a moment. Still, she called him “brother”. The boy remained quiet, and she called him again. His eyes widened in disbelief, before acknowledging her with a warm smile. The Usagi then, didn’t understand why she came to have a brother. But she just knew that the beautiful person with a kind smile is her new family. At first, she was perplexed. But her brother excelled in studies and his figure stood out among the crowd. She grew happy and proud of him, and slowly grew fond of him – always following him from behind.

Her brother was knowledgeable and kind, and often read her picture books. One day, he readher Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. She asked what “psychedelica” is, and he mulled over this. He replied that it’s heaven. She found the story sad, as the black butterfly died too. He agreed, but he believed that the black butterfly is happy to have met its other half on the brink of death – even if it’s an illusion. Usagi thought that it’s really over if you die. He shrugged, as happiness comes in different forms for everyone. But he believed that the black butterfly was fulfilled. She still didn’t understand, and asked him to read it one more time to her so that she will get it. Usagi asked if he has been in love, and he shrugged again. So she wished that he would have a lover just like the butterflies someday. They were always together, till she no longer felt lonely.

2015-09-11-101808

Some time after her brother arrived, she started to hear her parents argue. Her mother was furious that he would let the child of some other woman be his successor. She found the humiliation unbearable, just after he took in the son of his mistress. Her father remarked that it can’t be helped, since there’s no telling when her sickly daughter may die. It’s better to raise a healthy son for the sake of the family. Usagi was scared, and fled the scene. She didn’t understand, but she couldn’t stand her parents shouting at each other. She returned to her room and cried. Then, her brother came in and hugged her, comforting her. He’s with her, so she need not worry. He smiled at her as usual, but his voice sounded different.

Girl: ……brother, is it painful? Where do you feel pain?
Boy: It’s okay……because you’re here, I can be stronger. Because you’re here, I can……endure it.
Girl: Brother……? It’s okay, it’s okay so……don’t cry……

At that time, she didn’t understand the reason behind her brother’s pain. The two of them could only tell each other that “it’s okay” over and over again, like a spell. Perhaps it was because the disharmony between her parents pained her, but her fragile body grew weaker by each day. Fatigue and fever plagued her, and she even fainted while reading once. Luckily, she remained conscious thanks to the medicine. But misfortune continued. One day, some men suddenly came and searched the house, taking things away. Even the young her, sensed something amiss. She asked her mother, who only looked down sadly.

The furniture disappeared, so did the utensils and documents. She heard that her father’s business has reached a deadlock. But having grown up without any restraints, the ignorant her didn’t understand fully. She didn’t mind having less furniture and utensils. But the increasing days without her brother, was incredibly lonely. Her medicine was extremely pricey as it’s imported. In order raise money to afford it, her brother sold all the household belongings and pleaded for money from relatives. She only wanted her brother to be by her side, and was unaware of her brother’s feelings.

Her brother pleaded, even when he was insulted. As long as he could get her medicine, he would find a way to raise the money. A relative reluctantly agrees to provide the medicine, but tells him not to appear before him anymore. Having disappeared from the house for some time, her brother returned and paled upon seeing her grave condition. But he soon smiled and took her hand, reassuring her that he has gotten the money and that the medicine will come in a few days. When that happens, he’ll immediately call for a doctor. She just needs to endure a bit longer, their uncle will help. He said those encouraging words, as if speaking to himself. He will definitely save her. She thanked him, it really feels like everything will be alright when he says so. She is happiest when with him, and will believe in him and get well.

They acted as if separation was unthinkable. A few days later, she passed away. And on a rainy night where there was no moonlight, her brother committed a horrible mistake. He shot the uncle dead.

Boy: Ku……kuha, hahahaha……!! People die so easily……! The pig who deceived me, and the child who believed in me……death came to them equally……aah…………even though I thought that something would change if I kill him myself……just what exactly, did I do it all for……? Was everything for nothing!? Smearing my forehead with mud……! Gathering money……! Yet I could save that child, who believed in me!! I clung to their words, and was deceived……! I let that child……die…………if I can……see her again……

After that, her brother gradually turned stranger. The money he had gathered for the medicine, was used to buy strange occult books and tools. He read them all, searching for a way to revive the dead. To bring her back from psychdelica. Many people called him crazy, as he acted as if he was possessed. Her brother who was isolated from his surroundings, despised his parents, relatives and the world. The strong attachment and hatred ate him up from inside like a curse. And one day, he heard about a mysterious kaleidoscope from an elderly peddler. It was a kaleidoscope which projected many geometric patterns on the water surface. If used with the right conditions, its projection would connect to the other world.

Her brother spent many years finding the kaleidoscope. Finally, he found it on a merchant ship, throwing his whole fortune away for it. On a quiet night of the new moon, her brother set it up as told by the bank of the lake. And then, a beautiful geometric pattern appeared on the lake. A dazzling light was shone, as if the lake was on fire. The kaleidoscope was the real thing. As the lake was shining, and a path was about to be projected – what was her brother thinking – he shot himself in the head and fell into the shining lake. He was sucked in, and drifted to this realm. In the first place, there isn’t a realm between the living world and the after world. But the mysterious powers of the kaleidoscope forcefully created such a pathway, and gave birth to this twisted world that resembled the mansion above the lake.

Usagi had already seen afterlife. But perhaps due to her brother’s strong desire, when the kaleidoscope was used, she was pulled into this realm. Souls who fall into this world lost their memories, and her brother was no exception. But when he saw her face, he started gasping in pain as he recalled what happened to her. She hurried hid herself, and observed the situation. It seemed that her brother vaguely regained his memories upon seeing her. As such, he was stuck in the mansion. She was aware that souls who have memories or strong attachments to the living world, cannot pass on. So she hid behind a mask, and decided to live with her brother – her master – without revealing her true self.

Beniyuri takes a deep breath, trying to wrap her head around that long story. Usagi hesitates, before confessing that her brother is right next to them using a different name – Hikage. The older girl blinks in shock, as she points out that he’s Yamato’s younger brother. The smaller girl corrects her, her brother is only using Yamato’s brother’s face. She explains that those who arrive here lose their face, body and their souls will depart for afterlife. The same happened to her brother. Before he met her, he had lost his face and was waiting to depart. But he abruptly regained his memories, and couldn’t go anywhere.

This world operates differently from the living world. There is no certain self in this warped world. Memories, thoughts, attachment and imagination are powerful in this world. Just like how she can materialise a gun, you can create things if you strongly wish for it – you can even change your face. The reason why they fight with a gun, is probably because that was the last item her brother touched. Right now, her brother’s rule of thought is the strongest. That’s why their weapons are guns too. Strong attachments, memories, the pasts and regrets of the souls are strongly reflected in this world. So new and old memories are mixed up in this twisted mansion, and there are many items – including their mobile phones. But in this case it may be unconscious on their part.

Unlike that, it takes a lot to materialise something from someone else’s memories – and to maintain it. Her brother is capable of it, as among the books he has read, there are those which has immense and frightful powers. Having been in this world for so long, her brother has probably gained a thorough understanding of it and grasped it. Simply put, his powers can almost be called clairvoyant. If he uses it, he can partially read the person’s memories. So he probably read their memories. But Usagi is different, having once gone to afterlife. So even she doesn’t know why her existence can continue in this world.

The conversation halts. Beniyuri has many questions, but she first questions why Hikage is among them pretending to be Yamato’s brother. Usagi shakes her head, only he knows the real answer. But her brother ended his life hating and despairing everything. And it has only increased with each day in this world – to the point that he has become a demon who takes delight in staining people’s hopes into despair. The only memories he has regained is that of hatred and attachment towards the kaleidoscope. So he blindly believes that the kaleidoscope can grant any wish, and she thinks that’s why he does anything to finish it. She herself has manipulated the souls who have fallen here to gather the shards, according to his orders. She won’t ask for forgiveness.

Beniyuri asks why she still obeys despite that. Usagi replies that even if he becomes a demon or does cruel things, as long as he can regain his human heart – if he falls in love with Beniyuri, perhaps he will return to being her kind brother. And he will stop gathering the fragments and hurting others, and quietly pass on while loving someone. She can’t bear to throw away that glimmer of hope. She apologises for hurting Beniyuri, as she tears up. Beniyuri notes that this world was born out of Hikage’s feelings for Usagi – so has he really forgotten about her and lost his human heart? She recalls her conversations with Hikage – that women are weak, unreliable creatures so he was uneasy about protecting her alone. To not give up till the end if she thought for her friends. Asking her what she would do if she could meet her deceased loved ones again. And him remembering the picture book title.

She believes that inside Hikage, there are still parts of the brother Usagi knew. Maybe Usagi didn’t say anything till now for his sake. But Hikage should want to see his sister, so she encourages Usagi to talk to him as a sibling – not as master and servant. The younger girl finds it dangerous, Beniyuri could be dragged in too. Beniyuri doesn’t mind at all. She now knows that when Hikage talked about the black butterfly, he wasn’t speaking as the mansion owner, but as Usagi’s brother. She too wants to confirm if the Hikage she knows isn’t all fake. Beniyuri wants to get to know him once more, and asks Usagi to go together. The latter looks back, before resolving herself and nods.

One night, Beniyuri calls Hikage out from the hideout to the entrance hall. She’s aware that it’s dangerous, but she doesn’t want to involve the others. He guesses that it’s probably something troublesome, and applauds her for still approaching him despite the harsh rejection. She feels nervous, as he coldly gazes at her. Is he now Hikage, or the mansion owner? Just then, a small shadow emerges and walks over to Beniyuri. He looks at the two of them, realising that Usagi must be the reason why Beniyuri has been acting weird recently. It’s not like he trusted Usagi, but he thought that they both wished for the completion of the kaleidoscope. So he didn’t expect her to join hands with Beniyuri.

Usagi clings to Beniyuri, hiding behind her. The latter confronts Hikage, saying that she heard he is the mansion owner. The first time he saved her, encouraged her and smiled at her – was it all a lie? He acknowledges this. It’s more convenient to act as one of them, to see the completion of the kaleidoscope up-close. Everything was for the kaleidoscope. He finds her foolish to have realised it now. But perhaps he played around too much. He had wanted to see them hurt, that’s why he dragged it out. Yet this happened, making it all for naught.

Hikage speaks without a shred of guilt, which pains Beniyuri. She asks why he’s so obsessed over the kaleidoscope – does he have a wish? He confirms this, and specially shares it with her since she found out the mastermind. His wish is destruction. His unexpected words take her aback, and he chuckles with satisfaction at her response.

Hikage: The destruction of this world. And the beginning of despair. I want to thoroughly destroy this world with the kaleidoscope’s power – just like the dispersed fragments of the kaleidoscope. You see, I have lived for so long to the point of madness. Days filled with thousands and tens of thousands of pain. There’s no end to it, resentment, hatred, pain……even though I have no memories, I’m constantly suppressed with pain. I even contemplated dying for a moment. It’s weird to say this having died once, but I thought it would be easier to fall into hell rather than live endlessly. When I vaguely wished for the end, it dawned on me. Why does it have to be only me who thinks like this? Even though other souls peacefully pass on, why!? I want to taint the pure souls who don’t know anything! I want their hearts to be torn apart with the same pain I tasted! I want to paint this world black!! More, more, more! I want everything to be twisted. If I destroy this world filled with pain, and the bridge between life and death collapses, won’t all of the despair overflow.

Hikage is lost in himself, as he continues.

Hikage: Just imagining the looks of everyone writhed in the same pain as me, makes me excessively thrilled. I drown in ecstasy. Light was shone and colour was created, in my black and white days. It was the first feeling I had, after arriving here. That’s right. I shall destroy this world into dust and ashes! I shall live amidst the cries, as all of the pain is passed on to the rest. That’s all I want to wish on the kaleidoscope. Aah……that’s all……that’s all……I want……I want and yet……

His tone suddenly drops, and he looks perplexed. Is he hesitating? Usagi gathers her courage, and tells her brother to stop. All of this has no meaning. He looks at her, questioning what she knows about him and her motives for obeying him. He’d always thought that she knew too much. Moreover her way of addressing him. Usagi pauses, filled with fear. Beniyuri takes her hand, reassuring her. She tells Hikage to remember well, asking why he smiled to kindly at the girl they met before. Wasn’t it because he thought of his sister? Though he may not have his memories, but his heart felt something. Hikage is clearly shaken by her words, and holds his head in pain. Beniyuri recalls that this happened to him before – when he saw the picture book, it was the same one he read to Usagi when they were young.

Beniyuri grows suspicious, and asks if he already has his memories. He gasps, and it confirms her suspicions. She states that he has a younger sister, who was very ill but docile and cute. Even if they were blood-related, he thought dearly of her. They were always together, and he read to her too. He was a very kind brother. Hikage begs her to stop, for he doesn’t want to recall anymore. He steps backwards. But Beniyuri doesn’t stop, adding that he couldn’t accept her death as she was very important to him. He wanted to see her again, so he sought for the kaleidoscope which connects the two worlds. And he ended up here. So he doesn’t wish for destruction and despair, but for his sister. Hikage tells her to shut up, it has nothing to do with her. She refuses, for he is important to her.

The kaleidoscope can’t grant any wishes, it only connects the two worlds. It cannot destroy this world, so nothing will change. She doesn’t know how to be happy in this world, and won’t know the pain he went through. But there’s no happiness amidst sorrowful cries. She wants to make him happy by letting him feel warmth again. So Beniyuri wants him to remember his sister. Hikage aggressively denies this, asking if she’s plotting with Usagi against him to snatch the kaleidoscope away. She refutes this, but he refuses to listen. He laughs at how weak she looks, yet in reality she’s such a despicable monster. He was almost deceived by her. But he won’t, and won’t hand her the kaleidoscope.

Beniyuri continues to beg him to recall, but he warns her not to come any closer. As she nears him, Hikage screams at her not to come as he raises his gun. When the trigger is pulled, her world becomes white. She can’t see nor hear anything. When Beniyuri comes to, she realises that Usagi took the shot for her. The young girl’s clothes are stained red. She panics, laying Usagi down as she tries to stop the blood. The latter weakly requests Beniyuri, touching her mask. The older girl removes it, asking why she protected her. Hikage had almost recalled her. Usagi replies that it’s fine, she wanted to save her. Hikage stares at her figure fading away, and steps closer. Usagi apologises to him for hiding her face. She was afraid of their relationship changing, if he came to recall.

Usagi turns to Beniyuri, and says that she’s glad to have met her. If it weren’t for her, she would have never met her beloved one. She’s thankful. She notes that it’s time for her to finally pass on, and remarks that she loves her brother no matter what he becomes. The light enveloping her grows stronger, and she says goodbye. Her body dissolves into white butterflies. Hikage, having recalled everything, collapses to the floor where Usagi was and screams aloud. His body trembles, and he gropes on the floor as if feeling for any remaining warmth. She passes him Usagi’s mask, and he holds onto it.

2015-09-12-171811

Hikage cries out that he let her die again. Even though she was so close by, he killed her again. As he weeps, Beniyuri hugs him. She knows that she can’t comfort him, but she can’t help it. The sobbing Hikage, is like a butterfly burning its wings of life. He felt burning hot, and she held onto him so that the heat doesn’t disappear. She isn’t sure how much time passed, but silence falls upon them. It feels as though they’re the only ones in this world. Hikage slowly peels himself away from her, and remarks that he has always lived by lying. Even before coming to this mansion, his life was filled with lies. He asks if she still wants to hear about the real him, and she replies that she does.

Slowly, he tells his tale with a wry smile. He was given birth by a woman who lived in the impoverished area. Perhaps it was an unwanted birth, she took out her temper on him. One day, a wealthy man claiming to be his father came and brought him to another world in exchange for a small sum of money. He was brought to a luxurious and distasteful mansion, where a fox-like woman was to be his new mother. The woman acted even uglier than his real mother. He would be lucky to even get food, and if he did it would have bugs inside. His clothes would be shredded to bits, his books thrown away, he was thoroughly abused. It probably can’t be helped for her to despise a mistress’ child. But the young him did everything to gain her favour, and learnt to be amiable as a means of living.

Beniyuri wonders if he’s referring to the “lies”. He continues, saying that his father introduced him to that girl. His eyes gleam brighter, recalling how she adored him like a brother. He was perplexed at first, but he soon grew fond of her who had no other intentions. He hated his parents, but he suppressed those feelings for his sister, continuing to play the good brother and son. Till one day, he started to lie as if he were breathing. He felt no resistance to lying anymore, and had forgotten all about the real him. Some years later, his sister was bed-ridden. He kept telling her that it’s okay, that he’ll definitely save her. Somehow that lie became something to give him courage in that current situation – telling himself that it’s okay. But that shouldn’t have been a lie.

He pleaded his relatives for money everyday. After his father’s business collapsed, they started to scorn him. He endured everything, even as they scolded him and spat on him. Finally, it was promised that they would prepare the money and the medicine. But the medicine never came as promised, as his sister died just like that. It was then he realised, that he was deceived. They had never intended to get the medicine. It felt like the world he had built has collapsed. He pretended to play the good guy because his sister was there. But she was no longer there. Everything was a lie. Perhaps it was punishment for him, who kept lying. That’s why, he desired for one truth, in his life painted with lies. He said “It’s okay, I will definitely save you.” – he wanted to make that lie a reality.

That’s why he wanted to save her, by reviving her. Of course it seems impossible. But to him, who had just lost his sister, that became his goal for living. He read every book he could and collected all sorts of occult items. And finally, he gained the kaleidoscope to connect the living world and afterlife. The geometric pattern it projected became the entrance to the other world, he had finally came to the entrance of psychedelica. He was thrilled that his wish finally came true. But at the same time, he was terribly afraid to meet his sister. Many years had passed since her death, his reflection in the water is no longer the brother she knew. Just like how the white butterfly turned black, he has also changed much in his search of psychedelica.

He was afraid of rejection, and smashed the kaleidoscope in the midst of it working. Thinking back, that’s probably why its fragments are scattered. He calls himself foolish, to have felt fear when he was just one step away. His wish to revive her did not come true. Despaired and ignorant of the fact that the kaleidoscope was still half-functioning, he shot himself in the head. And he arrived in this world. Having lost his memories, he met Usagi here, not aware that she was his sister. This is the truth Beniyuri wanted, though he’s sure that she must have heard it from Usagi too. He is made up of lies, when he was living and after death. He is weak and couldn’t achieve anything. That’s the real him.

Hikage finishes his tale, and looks so transient as if he would disappear any moment. Beniyuri says that he’s wrong. Though he lied to her that “it’s okay”, in fact it wasn’t a lie. It was his wish, to want to save her. This mansion was created from his pure wish of wanting to meet his sister again. And he did, so his wish was half-fulfilled. It may have been roundabout, and he may have made mistakes, but he has regained his senses. A kind brother who thinks for his sister, and is a little fearful – that’s the real Hikage. The Hikage before her isn’t a lie, because it’s the real self he had wished for. He widens his eyes at her, before sighing. He finds her really meddlesome – sniffing out about him, throwing him out of sorts, and ignoring his warnings.

Hikage: I kept spouting “lies” for my sister. For myself who has faked and lived to the point of suffocation, this world which is like the dark depths of water is exactly the same as when I was alive……but, at least during the time when you were here……just a bit. Really just a bit……I think I lived and breathed. ……maybe if you, were there when we were still alive……

He turns to her, with an extremely peaceful smile.

Hikage: If possible……I would’ve liked to met you in the living world. Beniyuri. If the meddlesome and nosy you, was by my side when I was alive……surely you would have completely exposed my lies. I would have had no choice but to be true to myself. If you were by my side……

He stretches out his hand, touching her cheek. Their gazes remain on each other, as their faces grow closer. But Hikage only whispers in her ear, asking what she was anticipating. He chuckles, and places her hairpin on her hand. He informs her that the last fragment in her hairpin, much to her surprise. He has no idea why it’s there either, she’s really full of surprises. In any case, she can use it to complete the kaleidoscope and return to the living world. Beniyuri pauses at his choice of words, as he slowly stands up and walks away. She calls out to him. Uneasiness swells in her, as he walks up the staircase without turning back.

Hikage comments on how noisy she is, as he finally turns around. The stained glass behind him, appears like wings growing out of him. He is holding his gun. He knows that his body has long decayed, so he cannot go back. Beniyuri desperately tries to stop him, but her hasty footsteps causes her to trip. She looks up, but it’s too late to close the distance.

Hikage: The butterfly with black-stained wings, collapses in the desert. That is a most suitable end for me, who has sinned. But I found the psychedelica. This world was my psychedelica.
Beniyuri: Hikage-kun……!

He brings the gun to his temple, his fingers at the trigger. His eyes are bright with bliss, and he smiles widely.

Hikage: Goodbye. Beniyuri……you were my—

Beniyuri screams, as he pulls the trigger and his lifeless body collapses. It transforms into a swarm of white and black butterflies. Beniyuri cries at how cruel this is, watching the butterflies fly to the sky. Where are they going? Can he reach a peaceful place? She doesn’t know. She doesn’t even know what were his last words. While those words were lost in the gunshot, his feelings have surely reached her.

After that, she found herself lying on the hospital bed. She hears that the bus she was on met with an accident. When she woke up, she was sobbing and her family worried over her. Even when Haruka asked why she was crying, Ai couldn’t answer. How could she confess that she had gone through a painfully sad love?

Months later, Ai goes to visit the lake alone. The mansion has always lingered in her heart. One day, she boards the bus towards it as if guided by something. The mansion is already gone. According to someone fishing at the lake, the mansion has long been torn down. There were many accidents, and is was known as a supernatural spot. But some years ago, that all stopped and one could even take a stroll around the lake. It is now a beloved spot by the locals. As Ai offers flowers to the lake, she whispers that she never got to confess her feelings. She finds Hikage really sly, to just say what he wanted and left without listening to her.

That bittersweet pain still lingers in her. The mysterious happenings at the mansion, those memories are now carved into her. He whispered to her, “If possible……I would’ve liked to met you in the living world”. She touches her face, it feels like his warmth is still here. If the two siblings are reborn, what sort of lives would they be living now? She hopes that they’re living happily. Ai turns back after paying her respects, and passes by a group of energetic children. She would like to be as lively as them, playing with everyone else. But Ai stops herself from reflecting on the past, she has already decided to move forward.

2015-09-12-185847

Just then, a butterfly flutters past her. Its wings shine like a rainbow, as the sunlight hits it. Behind Ai, a girl points out to her brother at how pretty it is. The boy walks over, shielding his eyes from the sunlight. He agrees that the butterflies are beautiful.

Read: Related Short Episode

One thought on “Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly: Endings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s