Part 115: Feelings Go On
BGM: The Sacred Large Hall
07/16 (MON), Midnight
Yep. Looks like I was right. The fact that I find myself in the dream world, albeit one different from the Court of Fate, proves it.
Good evening. I guess there's no need for secrets now that you've uncovered my catdentity. Purrhaps you might be wondering why you can't speak here, but it's rather simple. Unlike Parca, my previous owner, I lack the ability to meownifest the Court of Fate.
Maintaining your existence on a conceptual level is simply impawsible for me. Furrtunately, I can intervene in your own dream world.
I get that he's trying to say something important, but all those cringey cat puns make it hard to care. I'll probably force myself to wake up if he doesn't stop soon.
Aw, how harsh of you, haha. This helps prove the point I wanted to make, though. You may not be able to speak here, but your thoughts still make it to me.
So what are you, exactly?
I am Lethe, the river of forgetfulness that flows through the underworld. Rather, an existence given power resembling it. The details vary from tale to tale, but we can keep it simple for your sake. Lethe is a rever that flows through the underworld and those who drink from it experience complete forgetfulness.
Nope, that doesn't explain anything.
I'm the one responsible for erasing the memories of any paradoxes created by Divine Selection. Think of me as a being that's been granted the role of interfering with people's memories, if you will.
Either way, I was right about you being Lethe. Actually, I guess you'd be Leo, considering the scar on your paw. Can you explain how and why you can take on a human form and appear in my dreams, much like Parca?
It's because I'm essentially nothing to this world. A regular cat became me, while a poor girl became a goddess. That's how the story begins.
I knew it. Parca really was Dianna all along. There's no denying it now that he's said as much.
Indeed. I knew there was every possibility you would discover this through reading Linda's diary. Of course, I would have been a tad upset if you never caught on to my own identity after all the hints I dropped.
Our position in the real world has no relation to our ability to appear within your dreams. Yet I made sure to always be near you when I did, no? Regardless, our power being transient means time is of the essence. Allow me to give a quick explanation as to how I came to be.
Time seems to be a concern for him too, just like Parca. Curious as I am, I make sure not to interrupt him.
BGM: Do You Understand?
This power of mine is one I was never meant to receive. The circumstances differ greatly from Dianna's. She lost her life soon after eleven other people. This served as the most suitable manner in which to become Parca. Whether that was by coincidence or not, I can't say for sure.
Either way, her desire to live was powerful. So much so that it reached something that may or may not exist in this world.
He adds that that thing could be what we humans refer to as gods or spirits. Along with the fact that it's something we can't perceive.
Nothing would come from that desire under regular circumstances. However, eleven lives were lost previous to this. The prospects surrounding the lives and deaths of those eleven people formed a spiral with Dianna at its center, becoming a force capable of distorting fate itself.
Their feelings and what they had experienced became fragments, which accumulated within that distortion. On a conceptual level, these fragments serve as a form of energy. Dianna's link to that something I mentioned allowed her to use that energy and cause a miracle, resulting in her becoming Parca.
The thirteenth person involved, Linda, would become her vessel. Of course, her existence wasn't perfect. Unlike that certain something, she required a vessel and ritual to exist.
This is where Leo, our cute and lovable cat, comes in. I myself was on the brink of death due to that fire. Dianna, through her desire for Leo to survive, split her power with me. She did so despite it being imperfect.
To be more accurate, I was connected with the very same something by her doing so. Having been removed from the circle of fate, death became a foreign concept to me. I was given a will and human-like features, yet I cannot be classified as one. I was no longer a mere cat, but also nothing close to a god. That's what stands before you now.
Dianna may have wished for Leo's survival, but unfortunately that never came to be. In the end, Lethe's existence remains undefined.
I only get about half of what he's saying, in all honesty. It's like how you can understand words, but not their meaning. I'm sure what he's trying to say is simple, though. Dianna's desire to live led to her becoming Parca, and her desire for Leo to survive turned it into Lethe. Now I'm even more curious. That way of thinking is the exact same as us.
He still has more to say.
Dianna is a kind girl at heart. That's why I used my power on her first and foremost- to erase almost all of her memories from her time as a human. I left just enough for Parca to retain a human-like will. Do you know why?
She must bear the burden of carrying out Divine Selection to maintain her own existence. Doing so involves giving hope to others, only to rip it away. A girl as kind as her could never live with that. Thus, I chose to do what I did.
She never once tried to interfere with our fates. Our situation seemed entertaining to her on the surface, but she never looked as though she was truly enjoying it.
Indeed. The emotions you all experience are foreign to Parca. That's why she's been able to proceed with Divine Selection thus far.
So Divine Selection is a system put in place to ensure Dianna's continued existence? It sure seems that way, at least.
With that out of the way, I have a request.
Indeed. Not as Lethe, but as a simple cat that treasured its owner.
Please save her.
That's right. She's finally awakened to a certain ambition in her current form. That is to say, she wishes to abandon her conceptual form. Not using a simple vessel, but with a full-fledged body of her own.
So Dianna's trying to revive herself, then?
Not quite. Dianna doesn't wish for this. Divine Selection has allowed her to create the personality known as Parca. This personality was born based on the few memories she retained as Dianna.
Desires and ambitions are inherently attached to one's personality. That's why Parca eventually developed this ambition of her own. All the pieces fell into place for her. This happened through her meeting someone who shares both her essence and past material form.
A direct descendant of her older sister- someone born within the confines of a twisted fate.
Dianna's older sister, Linda. Someone born during Divine Selection, whose existence wasn't undone...
Granted, that's not too difficult to figure out when only me and Miharu are left at this point.
Correct you are. Parca, having met you through your fate, influenced fate so that you would become a participant.
She opposed fate itself in doing so. Her powers remain transient all the same, thus she can never win against it. Fate, and the world itself, will do everything it can to return to its natural state.
Even should she succeed and overtake your body, all that awaits her is a cruel death.
What do you want me to do, then?
You're already just one step away from succeeding, aren't you?
So we have to elect her?
Elections are a means of reverting one's fate by making everything about them clear. You can restore Dianna back to her original fate by doing so. They may be different personalities, but both Dianna and Parca share the same existence. Both will disappear should you succeed. They'll finally be able to rest.
Dianna's done enough by this point. She has no reason to defy fate anymore.
What about us, then? We're trying to do what she did...
Your cases are inherently different. Surviving Divine Selection is a simple case of trying to influence the possibility of you still being alive into the primary flow. Dianna, on the other hand, no longer has that possibility. Over one-hundred years have passed since her birth, after all.
Her ambition is what it means to truly defy fate. Pain and suffering come hand in hand with this, however. They only continue to build up while she's unaware.
And you're fine with this?
Dianna herself is upset by all this. It's her will as much as it is mine.
Can you explain that?
Sorry, but I won't be able to maintain my connection to your dream world for much longer.
BGM: The Sacred Large Hall
Wait! We still don't know Parca's regret. There's more I want to ask, too...
Worry not. It won't be long before you come to learn the rest.
You can't rely on me any further. From here on out, you'll have to use everything you know to make it through. Find an outcome where both of you can be happy.
And allow me to make one last apology. I am the one responsible for your foggy memory at the outset of Divine Selection. I had to remove parts of your own memory to make you forget your own compatibility with Parca. I did it so she couldn't force you to win.
Hmm, perhaps I should phrase it another way. Your happiness relies on surviving with your friend, correct? I know her well through you, my current owner. As such, this is the most I can do to help you. Be warned, though. The gradual return of your memories also affects Parca's. She has her sights set on you now.
A way for both of us to survive... That's...
Things would never have played out like this had you known everything from the start. Though I should stress, it was by your own power that they did. I merely provided an opportunity.
I guess I should thank you, then.
I'm the one that should be thanking you. We spent far more time together while I was a cat, but you've been a fantastic owner. Helping you out any further would be breaking my own rules, so we won't meet again until everything is over.
Rules exist to maintain order and balance. It wouldn't be right of me to topple that balance by continuing to break them. Ah, let's not forget that you'll still have the pleasure of seeing me in my lovely cat form.
Good luck. I'm praying for your success.
My mind begins to lull once more as he stops talking. Dreams are supposed to be a way for the brain to process thoughts, but I'm leaving more confused than I came.
07/17 (TUE), Morning
Upon waking up, I notice a gorgeous black cat sleeping on my bed.
I drag myself out of bed after hearing its answer. Lethe told me that we need to make it through on our own. Through the twelfth election- the conclusion of Divine Selection. In other words, next Monday. We need to overcome all odds and reach that day.
Okay, time t-
My phone goes off just as I'm about to get ready. Looks like Mao's calling me. It's not a text- an actual call. I take a deep breath and answer it.
Rinny, come quick! Naorin's... Naorin's...!
Mao's panicked voice is the first thing I hear after picking up.
The shock of what I just heard causes me to drop my phone.