The Let's Play Archive

Fatal Twelve

by Mix

Part 3: The Morning After a Nightmare

BGM: Powerless

05/03 (THU), Morning

I wake up from my uncontrollable scream. What an awful nightmare... I was engulfed by flames and died.

Hahh... Hahh...

I'm drenched in sweat; my breathing's beyond ragged. Even worse, I notice a strange black blob on my stomach, all the while wondering why I even had such a dream.

Oh, it's just you...


This is our cat, Lethe. I'm still not sure if my gran got it, or if it was originally a stray, but it's made Lion House its home. It's been here as long as I can remember, but it's still pretty lively despite its age. Maybe I was struggling to breathe because it's lying on my stomach. Is that why I dreamt what I did?

It jumps from the bed and skitters off when it realizes I'm about to get up.

Must be nice to do whatever you want.

They say cats are free spirits, and Lethe's a perfect example. I dunno where it usually goes to hang out, but it doesn't cause any trouble here, and it knows where to do its business. My gran always said that trying to keep a cat caged is about as pointless as trying to catch clouds. In other words, she's had her fair share of trouble with it, as well.


I have myself a good stretch before I get ready to open the store. Today's a holiday, so it needs to be open nice and early.

BGM: Silence

Just as I think I can relax a bit after the morning customers have left, the bell on the door chimes.

Welco- Oh, hey Miharu.

BGM: Miharu

Good morning, Rinka.
Miharu's VA is Yuri Komagata; most of her other roles are unnamed or single episode characters in stuff like Kirakira Precure a la Mode, Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, or Digimon Appli Monsters, but she also voices Sayako Takayama in one of the iDOLM@STER mobile games. She also has performed the theme song for several anime like Crossing Time, Mangirl!, and Kirakira Precure a la Mode :eng101:

In trots a tall and stylish girl with matching looks. The sun reflects off her long, silky hair- enough to make it seem like she's generating her own light with each and every step. That's Mishima Miharu, for you. She's a classmate of mine and part of our “to be avoided” group. But in her case, it's more because she's practically perfect in every regard, so people find it hard to approach her.

Are you off work today?

Nah. My shift starts soon.

Ah, I should've figured, considering she's wearing her school uniform. She normally wears her own clothes when we're out in public, but I guess she can't be bothered to pick something out to wear for work. Helps her to avoid getting hit on by guys on the way home, too. Not sure how that works, exactly, but hey.

Thing is, she works way out in Akihabara. This is by Shinjuku- pretty much the opposite side of town- so why'd she go out of her way to come here? Does she need something?

Just popping by to see your face. We didn't get to talk much yesterday, and since we're off for the next few days, I wanted to talk to you before vacation stuff.

R-Right... Thanks.

I have to admit, there are certain facets of Miharu that I just don't get. I'm pretty confident she has some other business out here, yet here she is teasing me. It's hard to find the right response sometimes.

Anywho, I'd hate to distract the other customers, so I should be on my way. Time really slipped by as I waited for the opportunity to be with you alone.

Why wait? It's all regulars here, so they wouldn't have cared.

The weather's so pleasant today. I kinda enjoyed taking in all the greenery, so.

Okay. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

There's a park across from here that's famous all over the country. Apparently it was an old samurai's garden that became a park after being used as a zone for experimental agriculture projects. Not only does it have alls orts of flowers from here, England, and France, but there's also plenty of tourists who come by to see it.

Unfortunately, we're a bit out of the way to draw them in as customers, but a couple of foreigners do find us and stop by every now and again. We have a good view of it from here, although I don't think it's the kind of thing you can enjoy for long. Miharu has some peculiar tastes though, so who knows? Maybe she can.

BGM: Lion House Cafe

Well, my apologies for intruding. Do be sure to get some rest, will you?

Sure thing. Good luck with work, yourself.

Oh, before I go... You haven't forgotten our promise to go to Stardust Kingdom on the 5th, have you? Be sure to tell everyone that the cafe will be closed that day.

Come on, as if I'd forget.

Stardust Kingdom's a famous theme park out in the Chiba prefecture. We've made plans to go there at the end of Golden Week, fully aware that it'd be at its busiest.

Heh. Just making sure, considering your past record. Anyway, see you then.

Yeah, bye- Er, see you later.

Miharu leaves with a smile on her face. I had to stop myself from saying “bye” because Miharu isn't fond of people saying that whenever they part ways. I get where she's coming from; it sounds like what you'd say for a long-term parting, but I think she's going a little overboard. Either way, I try to keep myself from using it when I can.

Just as I'm planning to brew some coffee for myself, someone else makes their way through the door.

Welco- Oh, Naomi.

In comes another friend. Can't say I'm surprised by her cute outfit choice.

Oh... Good morning.

Morning. Come on in.

The fact that she didn't mention Miharu must mean they didn't cross paths. Naomi seems a little down, though. Not only that, but I can tell she had second thoughts about coming inside. Either because there weren't any other customers, or because she's conscious of the fact that I'm trying to run a business.

What's up?

I still haven't asked my gran about an easy way for beginners to make some relatively good coffee, so hopefully she hasn't come to ask about that. I have the option of teaching her myself, but... I'd rather not do that with my own relative lack of knowledge.

Yesterday, um, I think I might've left something here...

A book, by any chance? A thick, expensive-looking one with golden gears on the back and front?

No... I'm fairly certain I didn't leave a book here.

Ahh... Figures.

Not sure why I asked when she never set foot in my room, so obviously she wouldn't have left anything there. Turns out it is her pencil case. She could've just sent me a message about it last night, but apparently she only noticed it was gone this morning. She lives here in the Shinjuku area, so she decided to take a walk and drop by to pick it up.

Oh, my mom just messaged me... Guess I left it on the kitchen table. Sorry about this...

Well, that settles that. It's so Naomi to do something like this, though.

Since you mentioned it, what kind of book were you talking about earlier?

She jumps back to a topic I'm not expecting.

Oh? Did I pique your interest?

You certainly did! I'm curious because you said it seems expensive.

Makes sense, considering you're into books. Gimme a sec and I'll bring it down.

Not like I have any customers right now, and the street's fairly empty. I make my way up the stairs to get it.

Here you go.

An auburn cover with gold leaf decorations. I can tell Naomi's impressed, judging by the hushed noises she's making while examining the cover.

This trumps what I had imagined. It seems really old, but it doesn't have the smell that other old books do. Um, do you mind if I open it?

Go ahead, but it's pretty weird.

How so?

Her inquisitive look shifts to a confused expression upon opening it. Can't blame her. There aren't any real pages- just a big rectangular hole in the middle.

BGM: A Dot on a Piece of Paper

You're right, this is weird. It reminds me of those old magical card books that were popular back in the day.

Card books?

Did you ever watch that one show where a girl would transform using cards and fight things?

Hmm... Maybe I did, maybe I didn't...

The book is just a glorified box for you to store the cards in, so... Wait a minute! Aren't these cards at the bottom? I didn't notice at first because they're so thin, but...

Oh, you're right. They share the same pattern as the cover, so I never noticed.

Can I take them out?

Hmm... we probably shouldn't mess with it anymore. It might be my gran's. Lemme ask her about it first.

It's no regular book, at least. I'd feel bad if we uncover something she's been wanting to keep secret. That's why it's best to ask before we pry any further. Naomi's hands fly off the book almost immediately after I say that.

S-S-Sorry! I always get so carried away when it comes to books... I shouldn't have been fiddling with it so much...

Don't worry about it. I'm the one who brought it down.

You could tell she was entranced by it. I guess a book like this would fascinate anyone who's as into books as her.

BGM: Silence
Okay, I should probably put it back upstairs.

BGM: Lion House Cafe

As soon as those words fall out of my mouth, someone new walks through the door. An actual customer. Not one of the regulars, though... A woman with a suitcase; likely a tourist from abroad.

She ends up asking where her hotel is, which is apparently closer to Shinjuku. I end up telling her that she's come a bit too far out. Apparently, she's come to Japan alone to tour all the famous temples, but is in a bit of a pinch since she can't understand the language. Once I tell her where to go, she thanks me and goes on her way. She doesn't order anything, but she is kind enough that I can forgive her.

Wow! I had no idea you were that good at English!

Naomi can't contain her excitement after the woman leaves.

What do you mean? I'm awful at it.

Are you... trying to be humble? You were speaking fluent English to that lady.

BGM: Silence


BGM: A Dot on a Piece of Paper
Now I'm the one who's surprised. We were speaking English...? It felt as natural as any other conversation to me... Then again, she did mention that she didn't understand Japanese... There's no way she'd say that if we had such a fluent conversation.

What's going on here?

I-I hope you don't expect an answer from me...

After putting the book upstairs, I return with one of my English textbooks.

Throw some questions at me.

Okay. How about basic vocab? Let's see...

She throws some questions at me like I ask, and lo and behold, I can barely answer them.

See? Bad doesn't begin to describe my English skills.

I understand that, but... now I'm concerned for a different reason.

She tries to be as polite as possible when pointing out my inadequacy. Funnily enough, she didn't even have to look back to the textbook for the last few questions. It's worth noting that, while studying isn't exactly my forte, English is a subject I struggle with more than others.

That makes the fact you were talking with her all the more strange, then...

It felt like I was having a regular conversation, so if anything, I'm more dubious about whether or not Naomi's right. I doubt anything'll come from thinking it over for now, so I'll pay more attention the next time a foreigner comes along.

BGM: Lion House Cafe

W-Well, now that I'm here, could I order a coffee, please? N-Not for free, of course!

I don't mind, but...

Don't worry! I meant it when I said I really like the coffee you make!

The smile on her face is almost blinding as she speaks. I can feel my cheeks warming to a bright red. It's hard to describe the happiness those words instill me with. It might actually be the first time anyone's said that to me, considering I mainly serve regulars. They typically compare me to my gran, which isn't all bad, but they've never praised me as an individual. That's why I can't help but be taken aback by what she's said. Enough so that I struggle to give her a proper response, let alone thank her for it.

I make some coffee for her, and she sips on it while reading a book. As she does that, I either handle orders for customers or clear up the tableware. Once an hour has passed, Naomi gets her things together and comes over to the register. I feel bad taking money from a junior, but she seems satisfied enough.

Oh yeah, you got any plans for the last day of Golden Week? Sunday, I mean.

Umm... No, I don't. Why?

Me, Mao, and Miharu plan on going to Stardust Kingdom, but we'd rather have an even number so no one ends up on a ride alone. Wanna come?

Stardust Kingdom... I'd love to go!

Good. I'll tell the others, and we'll get a group chat set up for it.

Actually... will Miharu be okay with this?

Huh? Do you two not get along? Well, no need to worry about that. So long as you're up for it and your purse permits it, you're welcome to come.

O-Okay... If you say so.

I'm not quite sure why she's acting so reserved in regards to Miharu, but at least she's willing to join us. I get back to work after seeing her off.

BGM: Rinka's Room

05/03 (THU), Night
The first thing I do once I return to my room at the end of the day is message my gran. Seems like she's willing to think up a recipe for us. The book doesn't ring any bells for her, though. Seems like there are several books here with similar bindings, but they're just plain ol' books. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious about them, but that isn't enough to make me want to search through my gran's room.

Now I need to figure out what to do with this one.

I think it's pretty obvious which of these is the wrong choice. :v:

-Might as well sell it.
-Let's take a look inside.

Actually, Naomi did mention that there are some cards inside. Might as well have a look.

I flip the book over, dropping the cards out. Four in total. All have a pattern similar to the book's cover. Turning them over to their fronts, I notice something written on their white background. The writing itself is in English, but I can read it perfectly fine for some reason.

BGM: Silence
I – Name – Shishimai Rinka

III – Name – Federico Carminati

IV – Cause of Death – Fire

IX – Regret – Gold Medal

BGM: A Dot on a Piece of Paper
Why's my name written here?

I can't help but ask out loud. I'm not too sure what the other cards are about, but it's easy to imagine that it's nothing good when a cause of death and regrets are mentioned. There's probably a whole bunch of them, considering the numbers. Enough to fill up the entire hole in the book, I'd guess. When did all the other cards disappear, though? More importantly, why was this book on my desk in the first place? I scour the Internet as well, but nothing relevant comes up.

Whatever the case, these cards have personal information on them. Doubt it's someone who just so happens to have the same name as me, either.

Selling the book isn't an option now. I put the cards back inside before placing the book on my bookshelf. It's probably worth showing Naomi whenever she's here next. Two pairs of eyes are better than one, after all.

I should message Mao, actually.

I whip my phone out and send her a message about Naomi joining us for Stardust Kingdom, to which she replies almost immediately.

Really? Like, really really? Geez... Don't get me wrong, I wanna go with Naorin, but... Eh, whatever. Lemme tell Miharun about it.

While a bit odd for a response, she has said that there's no issue with Naomi joining us. She emphasizes that I shouldn't get in touch with Miharu, though. While a bit suspicious, Mao's usually the one who gets stuff sorted out, so I don't pay it much mind. I'd rather think about the fun theme park experience waiting for us in a few days.

The store will be open tomorrow, as per usual, so I make my way to bed nice and early.