Part 120: The Past and Present
07/21 (SAT), Morning
Saturday morning. My original plan was to open the store, but that won't be happening now. Mainly because we need to show Dianna around modern-day Tokyo. Lethe's still recuperating on a cushion and I've made sure it has plenty of water and food nearby. I'd rather not leave it alone, but it seems more concerned with us and Dianna than itself. It's not the first time that we've had to show someone who doesn't know much about the world around.
It helped that Sofiya had a number of places in mind when we showed her around. Is there anywhere specific you want to go, Na- Dianna?
The subway may tickle my fancy.
Er... Just the regular old subway?
Oh, right. It wasn't until 1927 that the Ginza line became available. Even then, it ran only between Asakusa and Ueno.
According to the diary, Dianna died somewhere around 1910. It makes sense that she'd find mystique in things we take for granted. She seemed pretty amazed by everything when we met up here, now that I think about it. The automatic gates, vending machines, the number of trains, and even the building itself. Her ability to buy tickets and make her way around town must be due to being in Naomi's body.
May as well head to Asakusa if we're using the subway. There's plenty of new stuff there, like the Skytree.
Tokyo Tower may be better in that case. Both have observatories and were built after her time, but Tokyo Tower is probably the ideal way to get a look at modern Tokyo.
Well... You're not wrong, I guess.
I don't have particularly fond memories of that place thanks to what happened last month. Not like Yu's attack on it even happened in this world. Maybe I'm just overthinking things.
I appreciate this. I'll leave the decision to the both of you. I must admit, the very notion of walking around in an era after my time is exciting in and of itself.
She flashes us a lovely, carefree smile. She's in Naomi's body, but I'm reminded more of Parca. I'm sure she'd be able to smile like this as well if you erased that malicious side of her.
BGM: The Memory Remains
07/22 (SAT), Noon
After we wrap up the Asakusa tour, we make our way to Tokyo Tower. Both areas are packed, of course. The Skytree and Sensoji Temple were our main destinations in Asakusa. We stopped by a local market to grab some melon bread, too.
I'm reminded of the fact that they built the arc here during my younger days.
Her statement strikes me as odd at first. The Kaminarimon was built in the Heian period, from what I remember. I looked into it later, though. Turns out it burned down in 1865 and then they spent some time after that building a new one. Miharu wasn't aware of this either, but then Dianna surprises us even more by telling us the arc was built toward the end of the Russo-Japanese war. I dunno if Naomi knows all this or not, but it feels like something worth telling her when she's back.
The height certainly lacks something in comparison to the Skytree.
Dianna makes her opinion clear while looking down at the city from the observatory. While I agree that doing things in the reverse order would've been better, I'm not sure how to feel about being told that after paying the hefty entrance fee.
There's a certain scene you should remember, though. That of Tokyo after being bombed during World War II. I've only seen pictures myself, but... I'm sure there's meaning behind the construction of a massive red tower in the middle of all the devastation.
Hmm... The events of previous Divine Selections are unknown to me, but I must assume that countless were held during that time. Though anyone who survived them wouldn't last much longer after doing so. The only thing fate has in store for soldiers on the battlefield is death, after all...
Dianna's eyes narrow as she stares out the window. We're currently participating in the twelfth Divine Selection. The fact that we've reached that number despite it being only a hundred-ish years since Dianna's death isn't normal. That'd make one Divine Selection every ten years. Discomforting as it is, it'd make sense if what she said is true.
People must never become accustomed to sights such as that. What we see now is the result of countles people's efforts.
Cities aren't born out of thin air. Dianna's soft tone reminds us of that.
07/21 (SAT), Evening
Our final destination for the day is the national park in Shinjuku.
The final destination, in more ways than one.
It's also where everything began for me.
Naomi seems to have no memories of that, so allow me to pretend that I heard nothing.
I tilt my head in confusion, to which Dianna responds with a sigh.
This place opened in 1906, if I remember. Did you ever come here before?
Alas, common citizens such as myself weren't permitted entry at the time. Having this opportunity to enter has me rather giddy. Traditional Japanese gardens offer quite a different experience from the style seen in English and French ones. In an ideal world, I would have the opportunity to witness how this place changes with the seasons.
Saying that, she attempts to flip her hair out into the wind. She quickly realizes that Naomi's hair isn't long enough, leading her to place her hand behind her ear instead.
Oh goodness. I shouldn't even exist in this time period, yet here I am thinking of this as my own body.
I take a moment to come up with a good response.
I'd say it's fate that you're here at this moment.
Neither say anything in turn. Can't blame them. No one can say that with certainty. The same might even apply for Lethe and Parca. We spend a while walking around the park until closing time after that.
BGM: Rinka's Room
07/21 (SAT), Night
My body makes sure to remind me just how much I've walked today when I get back to my room. It was a pretty busy day, all things considered. We took practically the same route as we did with Sonya, but that didn't make it any easier. Especially with so many people around.
Miharu's working tomorrow, which means I'll be taking Dianna over there. Obviously. I've been there with Naomi before, but never with Dianna. Seems like she's taken an interest in the... eccentric side of modern Japan's culture. I'd rather stay as far from there as possible, but I've got little choice now that she wants to go. No point in staying up any longer, so I set my alarm and get ready to sleep.
As for Lethe, it still doesn't look good.
BGM: Welcome Back, my Master E
07/22 (SUN), Noon
Having met up with Dianna at Akihabara station, we make our way to the maid cafe. It's kind of amazing that someone from a hundred years ago can even find their way to the station. The streets are as busy as expected. This used to be a pretty big pedestrian zone back in the day, but that ended after a certain tragic accident.
Each and every person we pass has their own lives. Their own stories. Dianna reminds me of this fact, one that's easy to forget, on our way.
Welcome home, milady. I don't need to remind you which menu item is ABSOLUTELY off-limits, do I, Rinka?
Oh? My curiosity is piqued.
No, we really shouldn't. Just... watch the other maids instead. That should suffice.
Well, if you say so...
There will be no repeats of what happened when I was here with Sonya. Never again will I subject myself to such an awkward situation. Well, I mean, what Miharu was doing was really cute. But everything afterwards was too much.
I order a coffee for myself and some hot chocolate for Dianna. Maid cafes are, of course, all about the maids. And when you think of proper maids, England comes to mind. That leads me to ask Dianna about something.
Did you have maids in your house back then?
We did indeed. My father was rather wealthy, so we lived in a western-style house. Some came to Japan along with my parents, while others were hired after our arrival. Their outfits weren't quite as... bold as Miharu's however.
A number of them passed away before my own death, alas.
I nod in silent response. There's no need to apologize for it, so instead I change the subject.
Oh yeah, I meant to ask. How was it at Naomi's place? What with you speaking nothing like her and all.
Worry not. I make every effort to imitate her whilst at home.
Her response is so out of left field that I'm left staring at her in surprise. She seems to have been hoping for as much, judging by her mischievous giggle.
Doing so is rather exhasuting, though. So please, allow me to be myself for now.
I'd rather she do that. I can only imagine how weird it'd be to hear her talk like Naomi despite the huge personality gap. I mean, it's weird enough already.
One coffee and one hot chocolate.
Miharu, clearly in work mode, brings us our order. After thanking her, we stick around until her shift's over.