Part 103: Coco's Route - True End - Part 8
I screamed out.
"You are so silly. It's just a fairy tale!"
"Look, not all fairy tales are fiction!"
"That doesn't mean that Rip Van Winkle actually existed, does it? Besides, even if the tale of Rip Van Winkle was real, that has nothing to do with you, Kid."
"It does, too. We're talking about whether people could actually travel through time, right?"
"That's what I mean! Don't you get it? I'm saying even if someone could actually travel in time, that doesn't necessary mean that you did."
"Then how come I can see the future?"
"Don't ask me. How should I know..."
"It has to be because I'm experiencing the same moment in time over and over again. I must have been stuck in LeMU in the past, also...Three days passed, and then four, five days...and after that, I must have slipped through time for some reason. Meaning, I must have traveled back in time, to the moment I fell into that pond. That must be why I can look into the future. No, I mean, I must be remembering things I've already experienced in the past, instead of looking into the future to be exact. I don't know how, but I'm probably carrying memories of the past."
"Really...well that must be it, then."
"Oh, c'mon, I'm being serious here!"
"I'm sorry...but I've got far more serious, urgent problems. I've got tons of things to think about. You know what I'm talking about, Kid?"
"I don't know what the reason is, but you can predict the future. So what...? It's not like it's a bad ability to have. As a matter of fact, I can imagine that it would really come in handy."
"You make it sound so simple...but in my case, I don't think it is the ability to see the future, I'm pretty sure I traveled through time. I might even be repeating the same moment in history over and over again. And what's more, I'm pretty sure the amnesia has something to do with the time travel..."
"Look, how many times do I have to tell you? Time travel is NOT possible. And as far as your amnesia, I'm sure you'll regain your memories in time! You're already beginning to remember things, right? I mean, you've actually remembered most everything, haven't you?"
"Not everything. I just remembered things about Sara. Just childhood memories. I still don't have any memories from the last few years...I have no idea how I got to LeMU, why or with whom. I still don't remember anything before May 1st, the day I came to LeMU. Where I was...what I was doing...Or who I am..."
"Huh? Wa-wa-wait a second."
"You're Mayo's brother, right? You did remember that, don't you?"
"So you have to at least know 'who you are.'"
"How can I explain this...If someone were to ask me 'who are you?' All I could say is, 'I'm Sara Matsunaga's brother.' I don't know any other way to answer."
Then all of the sudden ...
"Oh! Oh, oh, oh!"
You raised her voice and pointed her finger at me.
"Oh, that reminds me - I keep forgetting to ask you something important!"
"Name! Your name! Your name, Kid!"
"Mayo told you, didn't she?"
"You DID ask her, didn't you?"
"You haven't asked her your name!?"
You shook her head, looked up at the ceiling, and chewed on her lips. She clenched her fist, went to shake it into the air, then rethought it and pulled it back down. You then proceeded to stomp around in a puddle of water. She crouched down and hopped up swiftly. She took a deep breath. I thought she was going to blow it out, but she continued to take one long breath in. And then she said...
Her voice was so loud it shook LeMU like an earthquake. I was a bit frightened that it would tear the partition walls.
"That's the first thing you should ask her before anything else!!"
"Well...you probably wouldn't understand this, but...Sara and I had so much else to talk about. We had endless things to talk about...and I just didn't have the presence of mind or chance to think about myself. For us, the first priority was to regain the time we had lost. And to be honest, I could care less about my name."
"Listen, Kid...just think about it. It's YOUR own name. Aren't you curious to know?"
"Now that you've brought it up, I'm starting to wonder...When I was talking to Sara, it didn't even flash through my mind."
You sighed with an exaggerated gesture.
"Well just put yourself in our position, You? Sara and I saw each other for the first time in nine years. We were just so happy, caught up in the memories...But on the other hand, we were scared, in pain and our hearts ached...All these emotions were mixed up and jumbled together and came flooding over us. Sara and I were overwhelmed just trying to understand one another. Like I said, names didn't seem so important at that time. She just called me 'brother,' and I just wanted to call her Sara. Do you understand?"
"No, not at all."
You said that and started to walk off.
"Hey, wait a second! Where are you going?"
I tagged along beside her and asked her again.
"Hey, where are you going?"
"I'm going to ask Mayo."
"Well, helloooo? Your name of course, Kid!"
"Look, you don't have to do that..."
"Huh? Why not?"
"What you've been saying doesn't make sense."
"Don't you want to regain your full memory? Don't you want to know who you are?"
"Oh, of course I do, but... "
"Well then, instead of talking about stupid, outrageous things like seeing the future or time travel...Don't you think it'd just be faster to ask Mayo?"
I thought back briefly to the sight of myself in that mirror. I had been so confused at that time because 'my face' didn't look like 'my face.' If the same thing happened when Sara told me my name...I was afraid that I might feel like 'my name' wasn't really 'my name,' and end up all confused again. To tell the truth, it was a bit scary. Besides ...
"Is a name really all that important?"
"Look, names are just a way people give themselves to make identifying one another more convenient. It's just for convenience...so while living without a name certainly has its own challenges, I don't think a name is an absolute necessity. Take dolphins. They are highly intelligent creatures, but they don't go around calling one another by name. And they seem to be getting along just fine. They seem to be able to identify one dolphin from the others, too...They know which one is a son, which one is a wife and the difference between a gray whale and a killer whale...They don't have names, yet they can recognize things correctly."
"And...this is just a speculation, but...they seem to recognize individual identities. A dolphin seems to have its own sense of self, separate from that of the dolphin swimming next to it. And it is aware that it is a separate entity They don't have to depend on names to recognize all these things...My name is James, this one next to me is Ling Ling and that one chasing after a fish is Yumemi...I don't think they do that. It may sound kind of cocky, but sometimes I feel humans depend on names too much."
"If one day, this girl you've known as Ling Ling tells you 'Oh, by the way my name is Lang Lang,' wouldn't that throw you off? It'd cause confusion...and you might think...'You know, Ling Ling and Lang Lang are really similar, but they're probably just two different people. It seems stupid to get confused just because of a name. Meaning people value, trust and depend on names, more than the actual individual differences...I bet dolphins don't think like that. Because, to begin with, they don't have names to identify individuals."
"I realized that for the first time once I lost my name. I noticed that a name really isn't all that important."
You didn't stop walking. I couldn't tell whether she was listening to me or not, because she didn't respond to me at all.
As we turned around a corner, I asked her.
"Yup, I'm listening, I'm listening."
"I've been thinking about what you were just saying..."
"I feel like I understand what you mean. You know, I've had a complex about my name for a long time, and I've actually thought quite a lot about this issue."
"You don't like your own name, You?"
"Of course I don't."
"I'm embarrassed about it. People introduce themselves to one another when they meet, right? Every time a new year at school would start I would just cringe..."
"I remember you said something about your full name being much longer, right?"
"Well, would that have something to do with the fact that you don't like your name?"
"Something to do with it? ...That IS WHY I don't like it."
You stopped walking. She had a bitter smile on her face.
"Do you want to know?"
"I still haven't told you my full name yet."
"Uh, I guess."
"Will you promise that you won't laugh?"
"Okay, I'll tell you. My name is...Tanaka...Yubiseiakikana."
"It means 'gentle', 'beautiful', 'pure', 'autumn', 'fragrant', 'green', 'blossom'."
TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
All the sudden, it was as if I felt a heavy thud in the bottom of my heart. A strange feeling started to take over my body. A sense of something out of place...
That's it! That's right! I must have known You's real name! Wait...but...I've never heard it from You directly...
What is going on!? This is just like the situation with Sara...I already knew You's real name, from before...You's real name was...
"Your...real...name is...Yubisei 'haru' kana."
"You said it wrong, didn't you? You actually meant to say 'harukana', right?"
"Look, I don't think I'd say my own name incorrectly. Well, 'haru' or 'aki', either one is fine with me. But on the birth certificate, it says 'aki'..."
"Your full name has to be Yubisei 'haru' kana! It's not 'aki'!"
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha..."
"A, ha, ha, ha, ha."
"What are you laughing about? This isn't funny at all! You don't remember your own name!"
"Yeah, yeah, that just may be it. My real name is...oh, was it Ling Ling? No wait, maybe it was Lang Lang?"
"Kid, listen up. My name is Yubiseiakikana. It's been that way since I was born, and it will be that way as long as I live. You got it? It's neither, haru, or natsu, or fuyu, but aki. Do you know why?"
"I was born 18 years and seven months ago. A little more than seven months, to be exact. My birthday is September 22. I was born in Japan. I wasn't born in the southern hemisphere. Let's see...was September spring in Japan!? No, it's autumn, isn't it? So, my name is 'akikana' - 'aki', as in autumn - you got that?"
I was already starting to lose my sense of reality. A bottomless fear crept up from the bit of my stomach and threatened to leap out of my throat. My head started to ache. And then -
Video: Coco Mark of Original Sin I
I glanced as I put my hand on my temple.
Sara stood in front of us, tilting her head quizzically.
"Actually, I had a question for you, Mayo."
"What is it?"
"The Kid's name. Will you tell me his real name?"
You put her hand over my shoulder. I knew her hand was touching my shoulder, but I couldn't feel it. I was dizzy and about to faint. I thought to myself 'This'll probably be a lot easier if I just faint.' But both my feet stood soundly on the floor and I braced myself. I looked at Sara. Sara's mouth opened up like an empty hollow.
" ! , ?"
I couldn't hear her voice. I saw Sara's lips were moving, but I couldn't hear her voice for some reason.
" , "
" , ... , ' ' "
I couldn't hear You's voice, either. All I could hear was just the sound of my blood flowing through my ears...In that moment, my sight crashed into pieces. The scenery before me was stripped of all color...
A voice...a voice ...
A voice...I could heard a voice from far...From far away darkness...Somebody whispering to me...
"Who am I?"
"Your name is Hokuto!"
"So that's what he's called...Now that you mention it, he does look kind of look like a 'Hokuto' to me."
"That's right, brother."
I repeated it aloud over and over again.
My hunch had been right. I had never heard the name 'Hokuto' before. 'Hokuto'....That couldn't possibly be my name. It didn't feel real to me at all. But Sara wouldn't lie to me. So I figured 'Hokuto' must be my name.
You's name is Yubiseiakikana. My name is Hokuto.
There was too much to think about. I felt I was close to my mental limit. I was dizzy. My head ached. I looked at my palm. I had five fingers...Everything seemed out of place to me. I still couldn't regain the 'real' me.
(Is this me who's looking at my palm? Or is it somebody that isn't me? Is Hokuto really me? Or is it me who's not Hokuto?)
"Hokuto...Hokuto...Hokuto...Is it really...?"
Tsugumi slightly nodded her head. Her face was all red.
"So you're Chami. Because you're charming. That's cute. What a good name!"
How....cute. That was what I thought. I did my best to stifle my laughter.
"I'm not laughing!"
I tried to keep a straight face...but the corners of my mouth started to twitch. I could just imagine Tsugumi baby-talking to it.
'Chami-poo, Chami-poo it's din-din time.'
"Aaaargh! That's why I didn't want to tell you!"
Sullen, Tsugumi was red-faced...but she held out the bath towel she had behind her back.
I took the towel and wiped myself down.
I breathed deeply, feeling reborn, as I glanced at Tsugumi's profile.
She looked so happy...It was the first time I'd ever seen her smile like she meant it.
Tsugumi said it in a whisper without looking at my face.
Since we were in the area with the Generator Room, we had to take one of the egg-like elevators to get back. I felt excited, maybe from the feeling of accomplishment of rescuing Chami.
But...my feet were heavy. My body just couldn't keep up. I was exhausted. Five hours earlier, I had been running with You on my back, who had started suffering from something all of a sudden. And with this to rescue Chami, I swam over 300 feet from underwater ...
(Is this really just fatigue? This heaviness...I feel a bit feverish, too. I have a slight headache...Maybe I caught a cold?)
Tsugumi must have noticed my slow steps, and looked at my face, worried.
"I'm just tired."
"Are you alright?"
"Ha-ha, yeah, I'm fine. I'm just tired is all."
Tsugumi was worried about me. It was a funny feeling.
"By the way, how about yourself?"
"Your leg...you know, your injury."
Tsugumi was dragging her right foot.
"Are you really? The wound didn't open up or anything, did it?"
"Do you wanna see?"
Tsugumi stopped walking. She quickly flipped up her skirt with her hands.
"C-cut it out!"
In shock, I slapped Tsugumi's hand and stopped her.
"Ha, ha, ha, ha..."
Tsugumi chuckled gleefully. My feet felt much lighter all of the sudden.
It turned out she wasn't as bad as I thought. After resting for about an hour in the infirmary, You regained a surprising amount of her strength.
'But why did you start suffering like that all the sudden?'
I asked You, but she changed the subject and didn't tell me anything. I also asked Sora, but her answer was the same.Sora must have known something, since she had examined You with the repaired L-MRI. That thought still bothered me.
Tsugumi went up first. I rode up shortly after. The egg zipped upward, quickly arriving at Zweite stock.
Video: Coco Mark of Original Sin II
Chami was sitting on her hand. Tsugumi stuck out both of her arms to the side. Chami walked from one hand to the other crossing Tsugumi's arms. Tsugumi had such a happy smile on her face...That I couldn't help from smiling, too...For no particular reason, Tsugumi and I stared at each other for a while.
"Do you want to try?"
Saying so, Tsugumi put Chami on my shoulder. I stretched out my arms...And suddenly Chami charged onto my arms. It tickled so much that I couldn't help but wriggle my body.
"Ha, ha, ha."
Chami looked hesitant when he got to the end, which was the tip of my hand. I held Chami gently in my palm and looked at him closely.
"Chami, huh...? Are you Chami? Well are you? C'mon answer me!!"
Of course, Chami didn't answer. Maybe he was frightened I would eat him.
"Yeah...he sure is charming. He's Chami because he's so darn charming."
Curious, I decided to ask Tsugumi a question.
"Why are you called Tsugumi?"
"Your name, I mean. Does it come from Chinese character for the bird, the redwing?"
"If I remember correct, they migrate, right?"
"Oh, redwings? Not to disappoint you, but...Nope, my name has nothing to do with birds."
"Then what does your name mean?"
As I asked Tsugumi, I passed Chami back into her hand. Tsugumi picked up Chami, and told me.
"'Satellite of the earth' and 'where we are at.'"
"What's the one satellite this earth has?"
"And where are we right now?"
"What's all around us here at LeMU?"
"Uh...around us....the ocean?"
"Yup. In Japanese you write it 'moon' and then 'ocean,' and read it 'Tsugumi.'"
"Oh, I see. Come to think of it, I didn't know which Chinese characters your name used. 'Moon' and 'ocean', huh...? Hmm, that's a really pretty name."
Tsugumi's cheeks turned pink. And then...
Coco and Pipi came rushing in.
"I told you NOT to call me mommy!"
Tsugumi and I looked at each other.
"Coco's been calling you mommy, Tsugumi?"
"And she's calling you daddy, Takeshi?"
"She keeps doing it no matter what I say!"
"Hey, daddy? Mommy? Let's play!"
Tsugumi and I had begged Coco 'not to call us daddy or mommy.' It took us about three hours to finally convince her. It was three times more exhausting to convince Coco than to dash with You on my back, AND swim underwater 102 meters. By the way, Coco's reason for calling Tsugumi 'mommy' was...
"A girl who doesn't have a mommy can call somebody who reminds her of mommy 'mommy.' It's written in the Naacal Tablet, wasn't it?"
... So she said.
Needless to say, Coco already had a real mother.
Even before I had gone to rescue Chami, You had seemed to be recovering her strength. But the way she looked when she had first started feeling pain, didn't seem normal. I was still concerned about her even though she looked better. So I decided to make sure You was alright. Sora told me I could find You in the Security Office.
You was sitting in front of the console, staring blankly at the screen.
I called out a greeting as I sat down in the seat next to her. You grabbed a coffee cup, took big a gulp, and said...
"I didn't have a chance to say it earlier, right? So, thank you."
You's eyes were fixed on the display.
"Are you talking about when I carried you to the infirmary, earlier?"
"You don't have to thank me. I just want to ask you a question."
"What caused it, anyway?"
"Cause? What are you talking about?"
You still wouldn't look at me.
"A normal, healthy person wouldn't just suddenly clutch their chest in pain, you know? And besides...You said 'It happens all the time'. What is it all about?"
"Hey Takeshi? Do you remember why I came to LeMU?"
You changed the subject all of the sudden. I didn't understand why she was asking the question, but I answered her anyway.
"Yeah, I do. You came to get a part-time job for the holidays...But it was just an excuse to search for your father who's been missing for 17 years, right?"
I remembered the story You told me in front of the merry-go-round the first day..
"But you know? I believe! I know that my dad is still alive somewhere! He's got to be! He just went missing. They never found his body."
"If he was alive...or...dead...If he's alive, of course I want to see him...And if he's dead, I wanted to find some kind of evidence. Otherwise I won't give up...I just can't accept it."
Just like that time, I didn't know what to say to her. The story of the 800-year-old nun came to my mind. You believed that 'the 800 year-old nun' actually existed. How in the story, the sound of the bell had stopped one day, but nobody actually found her body. When I came to think of it then, I realized that was probably You's wish. She was probably mixing her feelings about her father's situation with the story of the nun. It occurred to me that way.
"And so that's what I was researching just now."
"...And...did you...find out anything?"
"Nothing. I can't figure out the password...I give up."
I looked at the monitor. An authentication window was being displayed. The cursor was flashing without a sound.
Biting her lip, You glanced down, dejectedly. She was wrapped in a hazy blue light from the display. I picked up the cup from the table and sipped some of You's leftover coffee. It was cold.
"It's alright. I know you'll...see him again..."
I looked down into the cup. The black coffee hid the bottom of the cup from my view.
"Thank you...But...I don't think I'll ever see him again..."
I looked up in surprise. You was forcing herself to smile. She squinted her eyes and looked off into the distance.
"I came here because I thought I wanted to find out about my dad...But...I realize actually that wasn't it at all ...
"I'm running out of time. I've gone way past my limit. So that's why...Before the time comes...I had to know...The truth..."
(She's running out of time? She doesn't think she'll ever see him again...?)
'It happens all the time.'
(She'd been suffering with her hand on her chest.)
No, it can't be...I didn't even want to think about it. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and tried to shake bad thoughts from my mind.
"Hey, You? What do you mean by that...?"
You crossed her arms behind her back and started walking slowly away, head down. She stopped in front of the wall, turned around and walked back in front of me. The sound of her shoes echoed on the hard floor...The cursor silently flashing on the display...The cold coffee in my hand...I looked into the cup again. The glossy liquid was rippling with small waves.
"I can't tell you."
The sound of her shoes stopped abruptly.
She raised her face quietly and said.
"If I start telling you now, I might talk about things I don't want to talk about."
You interrupted my words and went on.
"Have you ever...done something wrong or sinned, Takeshi?"
"Yes...A massive sin...I don't care whether you believe in god or not. I'm asking you if you ever committed a sin that was morally wrong and there was nothing you could do to mend it."
Welcome to the last choice on Coco's route.