BGM: Play With Me!
: Ah...thank goodness..."
: You're a little early...I'm sorry I wasn't home yet! Were you waiting for a long time?"
: But I started to get really nervous when nobody answered the doorbell..."
I thought that you hated me!
: You always could have texted me. If I had known, I would have reassured you and hurried more on my way home."
: Ah...I suppose that's true...I didn't think of that...for some reason."
It should be common sense to do that, but I decide to ignore it.
She obviously doesnt text people very often. This should not surprise you even a little bit.
: Anyway...let's go inside. I see you brought a lot of stuff with you."
: That's right. And did you manage to find everything I asked you to buy as well?"
: Yeah, pretty much. At least, I hope I got everything right."
I also bought a bunch of Red Vines. Those werent on the list but I like candy.
: I'm sure it will be fine."
The first thing she does is glance around curiously, which makes me feel anxious.
: It's so clean..."
: Ahaha...I cleaned it before you came over, so..."
: That's very considerate of you to do."
: Ah, no...I would be really embarrassed for my room to be a mess while you were here."
: Hmm...well, I do enjoy cleaning...I would have gladly helped you clean."
I appreciate the sentiment but that would just be weird.
: That would be even more embarrassing!"
: Wait, don't look in there--!"
I snatch Yuri's wrist, which was in the process of opening a desk drawer of mine.
: I'm sorry...! I wasn't thinking for some reason...I was just spacing out!"
So quick recap: Yuri was just about to look through our desk. This is a stock scene, meaning she would do that even if she hated our poetry as much as Natsuki does. To say that Yuri is a weird duck would be an understatement.
: It's fine, it's fine..."
I let go of Yuri's wrist. She puts both of her hands firmly in her lap, as if making sure she's keeping track of them.
: So, um...should we...get started?"
They sure do like pausing.
This was when I realized I hadnt taken a non-obscured shot of Yuri. Her outfit is really quite nice.
: Um, I have a few things planned that you can help with...decorations and other atmospheric enhancements."
: Atmospheric enhancements...?"
: Mood lighting, aromatherapy candles..."
Are we doing a poetry reading or running a day spa?
: Oh, wow. I didn't know you planned on taking it that far."
: Of course. I want to help take our guests to a faraway place. Although many will stop by just out of curiosity...and for...cupcakes, I guess..."
I love that she sounds almost bitter about Natsukis cupcakes, as if she hates that people wont stop for the joy of listening to poetry alone.
: I'm determined to provide an experience that will leave them wanting more."
: That's great. It's easy to forget that you're a pretty intense person."
: I guess that's the best way to put it."
: Is that...a bad thing?"
: No, not at all. It's something that I like about you, actually."
: I-Is that so...? That makes me feel relieved...and kind of happy..."
: Yeah, no need to be so anxious. You can relax a little."
What does that word mean, exactly?
: I brought some things for relaxation. I was going to use them during the poetry event..."
: Oh yeah? Like what?"
: Let's see..."
Yuri rummages through her bag. She pulls out a few candles and a wooden cylinder-shaped object.
: I planned to cover the windows in black paper and use the candles to light the room. I think that would be amazing, don't you?"
: Yeah, that would be really neat. What's that wooden thing, though?"
: Oh, this? It's a diffuser for essential oils. How familiar are you with aromatherapy?"
I have about fifteen thirty-year old women trying to sell me that on Facebook.
: Not familiar at all..."
: Ah, is that so? It's one of my favorite contributors to a positive atmosphere. Depending on the oils or herbs you choose, you can change the mood of the air itself. You can even feel it permeate through your body. Relaxation, positive energy, romance, reflection...It's almost like magic."
You could have saved a bunch of money by getting a Yankee Candle instead.
Yuri takes the cylinder and pushes a switch on the bottom. In just a moment, a thin ray of vapor begins to spout through a small hole on the top.
: Wow, that smells wonderful. What kind of mood is that one for?"
: This is a Jasmine essential oil. It smells a little sweet and flowery, right?"
: Yeah, that's a good way to describe it."
: Jasmine enhances your emotions and helps you feel them flow through your body. You feel warmer, and your heart pounds more heavily. Don't you think that will be perfect for sharing our poems?"
What, uh, poem did you plan to be reading, Yuri?
: It does sound suitable...but you seem to know a lot about this, so I'll trust your opinion with anything."
Yuri smiles gently, clearly enjoying herself. She again reaches into her bag and pulls out several spools of thin ribbon.
: What are those for?"
: Well...did you purchase the origami paper I asked you to get?"
: Yeah, I have it over here..."
: We won't be using the paper for folding origami. What I'd like to do is write a different word on each paper. We'll need about a hundred of them."
Did you have any specific words in mind or ?
: Oh yeah? What will those be used for?"
: Well, I'm going to cut pieces of ribbon to hang from the doorway of the classroom. Then, we can fasten the paper onto the ribbons to create a doorway curtain. Wouldn't that be beautiful? It would also catch the eye of those passing by the room...it may attract some to peek inside."
I didnt realize until this update that the festival was going to be held indoors. That seems a little off, even for a VN.
: That's really creative! I had no idea you'd be so good at this, Yuri."
: Well, I suppose I do get a little intense...as you'd put it. Uhuhu."
Yuri giggles with red cheeks. Is it just me, or is she more relaxed when it's just the two of us? Or maybe it's the excitement she feels from sharing something that she enjoys.
: Here's a marker, Mitayo. You can write any characters you want. I'll help you once I finish cutting the ribbons."
: Ah, alright."
Sitting on the floor together, the two of us get to work. I carefully draw a different character on each paper, doing my best to manage my bad handwriting.
Instructions unclear. At least one of these is a getting a dickbutt drawn on it.
Yuri unravels a long strand of red ribbon to her desired length. Then, she reaches into her bag once more and pulls out a pocket knife.
The knife is strangely beautiful. The silver handle has an intricate pattern of waves etched into it. The blade itself is gently tinted blue.
: That's no ordinary pocket knife...it looks really fancy."
Embarrassed, Yuri looks away.
: What is it?"
: You're going to think it's weird..."
: Yuri, whatever it is, I have no reason to judge. To each their own, you know?"
: If you promise you won't be weirded out..."
: Yeah, I promise."
: They're just...so pretty...I-I can't help it! I don't know what it is...the combination of craftsmanship and feeling of danger, maybe..."
Also, I can detect when orcs are nearby with it.
: Uu, what am I saying...? Please don't think I'm weird for this..."
You like good craftsmanship. That doesnt seem weird at all?
: You're laughing at me..."
: No, I'm not laughing at you. It's just funny how nervous you got about sharing. It's...well, it's an interesting thing to be into, I guess. But I think it kind of suits you."
: Suits me...?"
: Yeah... It's kind of intense. Ahaha. Besides, it's a really cool-looking knife, I can't deny that."
You sound like a twelve year old.
: It is, isn't it...?"
Yuri relaxes her expression once again.
: Would you like to hold it?"
: Sure, I'll check it out."
Yuri carefully hands me the knife, with the handle facing me. I take it and turn it around in my hands. It feels heavy, and extremely solid. Where do you even get a knife like this...? Curious of its sharpness, I feel the point of the knife with my index finger.
Oh God. You ARE a twelve year old.
: Why did you do that?!"
: I didn't expect it to be that sharp...! I barely touched it at all."
: I-It's my fault! I should have warned you...this knife is extremely sharp...it can cut through skin like it's paper. Oh no..."
A small drop of blood trickles down the side of my finger.
You deserved this entirely.
Yuri takes my hand and gives the wound a closer look.
She stares at it and noticeably fidgets.
: If you're squeamish, I'll go wash it off now--A-Ah!"
Without warning, Yuri puts my finger in her mouth and licks the wound. I feel her tongue curl around my finger.
Startled, I instinctively pull my hand back.
: O-Oh...p-please forgive me! I wasn't thinking! I..."
Yuri lowers her head, her face burning up.
: That's the most embarrassing thing I've ever done...how could I do something like that?? I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
Sure, it was a little weird, and it took me by surprise...but I guess she was just trying to help, right...?"
I mean, it was pretty gosh-darn weird. Unexpected from Yuri, though? Not particularly.
: Yuri, I think you're overreacting a little..."
She doesn't lift her head. What if she doesn't recover from this for the rest of the afternoon?
: Alright, you know what..."
A good life motto.
I take Yuri's hand and lick her index finger in return.
: Mitayo--!! D-Did you really just do that?"
: N-Now we're even..."
I mean, not really considering that she probably didnt have blood on her hands. Close enough, I suppose.
Yuri just looks at me like I did something wrong.
: Ahaha...I knew that would be a bad idea..."
If not for the sweet aroma of the Jasmine oil, the air would be extremely heavy right now.
: You're so weird, Mitayo."
Yuri giggles shyly.
Yuri calling me weird? I have no response to that...
We licked her finger to make her feel better. She wanted our hemoglobins.
: Where do you keep your bandages?"
: Ah...I don't think I need one, actually. It was a tiny cut. Look, it already stopped bleeding."
: I see..."
Uh, you should definitely go and clean that. Human mouths are disgusting.
The tension is quickly lifted. We each resume our respective activities. I watch Yuri's knife cut through the ribbon like it's nothing but air. Meanwhile, I continue to make progress on the paper.
I drew Spiderman on this one.
After we finish attaching the paper to the ribbons, we lay them all out side by side. It looks better than I expected and will be very effective as a door curtain.
: It looks great. Good thinking coming up with this, Yuri."
: Ah, thanks...it's just something I saw online, really."
: What what did you draw on that one?
: Chuckie Finster from Rugrats. Thats okay, right?
: Are you ready to move onto the next task?"
: Yeah, let's do it. What do you have in mind?"
: I'd like to create a banner. That's why I asked you to buy the paint tablets."
: Ah, that's right."
One of the items Yuri had asked me to buy was a kit of watercolor paint tablets.
: Do you mind fetching those for us?"
: Of course not. Six cups of water...I'll be right back in a minute."
: Thank you very much. Oh, and just a little bit of water is okay. If you fill the cups too much, it will be too diluted."
Man, were gonna have the best Easter eggs in the club.
Taking Yuri's advice, I decide to use small plastic bathroom cups rather than full-sized glasses. I put them on a plate to catch any paint that drips, then bring it back into my room.
I come in to see Yuri quickly unrolling her sleeve, pulling it back over her arm.
: Ah, nothing...your face is a little red. Is it too hot in here, or anything?"
: Ah--No, not at all! There's nothing wrong, so...let's mix the paint."
She probably is hot shes wearing long sleeves and is clearly excited by you.
Yuri hurriedly dismisses me and takes it upon herself to unwrap the tablets, dropping them into the cups.
: So...I thought we would do something simple that would look very nice. I'd like to paint a gradient across the banner...starting with the colors for a sunrise, then daytime, then sunset and nighttime. Once it dries, I'll write an inspirational quote across the banner. We can hang it on the wall behind the podium at the front of the classroom."
: Ah, neat. What are you going to write?"
: Well...It will be more fun to surprise you."
I was kidding before, but Im starting to think that she doesnt actually have a plan worked out in any way.
Yuri smiles at me.
: If you say so..."
After rolling out the banner, Yuri and I kneel on opposite sides so we don't get in the way of each other. Yuri uses a brush and adds a few dots of different colors across the banner to serve as a color guide when we paint.
: This kind of reminds me of elementary school..."
Painting on a banner with watercolors feels a lot like the art class projects we had back then. It's relaxing.
: No, I didn't mean that at all. It's kind of fun, you know?"
: ...Yeah. It is fun. I'm glad you feel that way, too."
Yuri stops painting for a moment, thinking to herself.
: For me...I don't need to go out and do crazy things to have fun. In fact, I usually don't even want to. I just like when I can spend time with one other person...even if it's something simple, like reading - it doesn't even matter if we don't talk much. Just having a friend next to me makes things feel a little bit nicer. I think that's all it takes for me to be happy."
Yuri is very much an introvert I fully understand how she feels with this.
: Is that so...?"
Even if Yuri and I are quite different, I can understand where she's coming from. I feel that way about things like anime and games, where simply sharing the experience with someone can make me happy.
: I think I feel the same way."
Yuri smiles gently.
: I knew you'd understand..."
Yuri leans over the banner to grab an unused paintbrush. But I move at the same time, causing my head to bump into hers.
Yuri reels back, and I quickly lift my hands in surprise.
: Are you hurt?"
: N-No, I'm not hurt. It just startled me...that's all. Sorry, I should have asked you to get it for me..."
: It's not your fault. Ah, your face..."
There are droplets of paint on Yuri's face and neck.
: Is there something on my face?"
: Yeah, I accidentally got paint on you..."
Wait, how? Did you have paint on YOUR face that somehow transferred over when you bonked heads?
: Sorry, it's totally my fault! I'll get a towel right away."
I rush out and fetch a small towel, then I dampen it with hot water. I return to my room and kneel back down in front of her.
I pat down Yuri's face and neck with the towel.
: Is something wrong?"
: It's hot...I just didn't expect it."
: Sorry...I didn't want to use cold water."
Thats smart thinking.
Having finished, I start to retract my hand. But Yuri suddenly holds my wrist.
: Just...for a little longer. It feels really nice..."
I keep my hand still against Yuri's neck. She looks into my eyes. It's an intense expression that I recognize from when she reads her books...
She breathes gently, half through slightly-parted lips. What is happening...? Is it the aroma of the Jasmine oil giving me this dizzy feeling Yuri's gentle fingers, wrapped around my wrist, send a tingling sensation through my arm. And suddenly, her face seems to be much closer to mine than it was just a moment ago...
Maybe its blood loss.
Yuri slowly pulls away.
: Sorry...I've been feeling a little light-headed today. I didn't mean to space out..."
: I-It's fine..."
The moment is over as soon as it began. Yuri picks up her brush again. But her movements seem clumsier, like she's unable to focus. I remain silent, forced to ignore the event that just transpired. I hesitantly retrieve my own brush and continue following Yuri's example.
: That should do it..."
I finish filling the night sky with white dots that looks like stars. Looking at the banner as a whole, it's very pretty and natural-looking.
: I'm really happy with the results."
: Yeah, me too. Are you going to add the lettering now?"
: Ah, not yet...it needs to dry first."
Wait, where are we keeping this? Just, like, on my floor?
: That's true, but won't that take a while?"
: Well...perhaps it would be best to leave it here, then have you bring it in the morning. I can do the lettering in the classroom before our event starts. Is that okay?"
: That's totally fine."
: Wonderful. In that case...I don't think there's anything more for us to do here."
: Ahaha. You say that like you're glad it's over. Was I wrong to assume that you were at least enjoying yourself a little bit?"
Yeah...slicing my finger, drawing pictures on things and bonking heads together was a veritable lark.
: Ah, no, it's not that. I'm just glad that we managed to get everything done."
: I see. I am, too."
: I need to start making dinner soon."
: So you don't have any time left?"
I was secretly hoping we would have extra time after finishing the work...
Yuri thinks to herself.
: I-I think it would be too irresponsible of me to wait much longer...I'm sorry! I was hoping there would be more time as well..."
: It's probably my fault. Sorry for being such a slow worker."
: No, it's not your fault at all. And...the important thing is that we got everything done, right?"
: So...I shouldn't be disappointed...or anything."
Gathering all her things, Yuri seems to look a little downcast. I understand why; it sounded like she rarely gets the opportunity to spend time with friends in a relaxed environment. But that doesn't mean this is the last time it can happen...
That would be awful for our budding relationship if that were the case.
: Thank you very much for having me today."
: No problem, I'm glad I was able to help. Just let me know if there's anything else you need me to bring tomorrow."
: I will. Well, then..."
: I guess...I'll see you tomorrow."
I kind of say that without thinking.
: About today...it's fine that we didn't have as much time as we wanted. Because we can do this again. Whenever you want, you can come over, or we can go out somewhere-- ah, I forgot you don't like going out much--"
Do you play WOW? We could meet online instead.
As I stumble over my words, Yuri simply smiles bashfully.
: Anyway...you know what I'm trying to say, so..."
: You're very thoughtful, Mitayo."
Yuri takes a step closer to me, then briefly squeezes my hand.
BGM: Music fades out.
Shes stepped much closer to us. This is the most forward Yuris been in a well, ever.
How am I supposed to respond to that? But I don't even get a chance to, as Yuri suddenly pulls back.
: H-Hi, Mitayo..."
Well, this isnt great.
: Just now, we weren't--"
: Ehehe~ it's okay, Mitayo. I just stopped by to say hi~"
: U-Um...well, it's nice to see you...I'm sorry, but I'm already on my way to leave!"
: Aw, really? That's too bad..."
She seems honestly disappointed by this outwardly, anyways.
: I'm sorry...but we'll all be together at the festival tomorrow, so...so that's fine, right?"
: Of course!"
: Y-Yeah, so...I'll see you tomorrow!"
Clearly embarrassed, Yuri hurries off. Sayori waves goodbye after her.
BGM: My Confession
: I thought you didn't want to come over today!"
: Ahaha, well...I tried staying in my room...but my imagination was being really mean to me...so I had to come here and see it for myself."
: See what? What are you talking about?"
: You know...how much fun you were having with Yuri. And how close you got to her. It makes me...really happy...that you've made such good friends. That's all that matters to me."
Tears start to fall down Sayori's face.
: That's all that matters to me--! Why am I feeling this way, Mitayo? I'm supposed to be happy for you."
: It hurts so much...everything hurts so much...this would be so much better if I could just disappear!"
Im starting to get the impression that we didnt somehow magically "fix" Sayori last update.
: Sayori, don't say that!"
: It's true, Mitayo! If I wasn't here, then you wouldn't have to waste your sympathy on me! You wouldn't have to put up with me being selfish!"
: Monika was right...I should just..."
: Monika...? Monika was right about what?"
: Sayori...what I said before is true. I'm not going to let this continue. Caring about you like this isn't the burden your mind is making it out to be. It's something that makes me happy. It's something that I wouldn't trade for anything else. So, even if it takes an entire lifetime..."
: I'm going to be by your side until you don't feel any more pain."
Sayori looks away. I put a hand on her shoulder to reassure her.
: I'm scared, Mitayo...I'm really scared..."
: What are you scared of, Sayori?"
: I'm scared that...that I might like you more than you like me..."
: It's true, isn't it? I was weak and started to like you too much...I did this to myself. Mitayo...I like you so much that I want to die! That's how I feel! And...and..."
: That's enough, Sayori...I don't want you to hurt anymore."
I slide my hand down Sayori's arm and squeeze her hand in my own.
: Do you remember how I said I always know what's best for you? Do you still believe me? "
Wordlessly, Sayori nods.
: Even if you don't understand all of your own feelings...I know what you need the most right now."
: And that's what I'm going to give to you."
this, as you might imagine, is a somewhat important vote time.