Part 22: The White Visitor
05/21 (MON), Morning
I wake up feeling refreshed. I must've gotten a good night's sleep for the first time in a while. Keiko has been eliminated, but I don't feel sad about it. Just... empty. My eyes wander over to my table. The letter I received from Keiko and the one I had written are both there. However, when I get up and take a closer look at Keiko's letter, its contents have vanished. Her actions during Divine Selection, as well as their effects, have been erased...
I next check my transcription of her letter and confirm that it remains intact. This proves that those eliminated will be remembered by other participants, but their actions at large will be undone. However...
Not all traces of her actions have been erased.
The letter she gave me still being here proves that much. Had I been eliminated, chances are that my letter wouldn't have disappeared, either. Just what I had written on it. In other words, that goddess can't rewrite the world's events completely. That might explain why Naomi has a faint recollection of an event that is supposed to have been undone. Speaking of Naomi, I'm curious to learn how much she remembers about Keiko. I can't bring myself to ask her, though. I'd rather she remains as uninvolved as possible.
I end up shouting their names without thinking. I can't help myself, considering the circumstances. I grit my teeth and rush to get ready for school.
BGM: At Amecha Girls' University High School
I come across Naomi right as I arrive at the school gate. It's a bit awkward seeing her now, after what happened last week. Regardless, I try to act as I usually would, and say good morning to her.
Good morning. I'm going to start preparing for the culture festival today, so I have to come up with ideas for our signboard and decorations. Of course, I also plan on teaching everyone how to brew coffee. I can't say I'm too confident, but I'll do my best to teach them as well as you taught me. Promise me that you'll visit our room during the festival.
Of course I will.
I notice a remarkable difference she's made between Saturday and now. She seems to have changed her hairstyle, as well.
Did you switch to contact lenses?
I did. I actually wanted to make the switch for a while now, so my glasses breaking gave me a great excuse to do so.
After that exchange, we both make our way into the building separately. I can tell she's tiptoeing around what happened last week...
BGM: Intel Investigation Underway
05/21 (MON), Evening
Something else is on my mind all throughout the day at school. Has Keiko's son been born following her elimination? That's why I make my way to the hospital, figuring they will at least tell me that much. As it turns out, he has indeed been born. But at the same time, they inform me that Keiko passed away three weeks ago. With that knowledge gained, I take a seat in the lounge to collect myself. It's not easy to deal with learning that someone's died.
When I sit down, a man wearing a suit and carrying a baby passes by. He must have just gotten it examined.
Turns out, it's Keiko's husband. I've never spoken to him before, but I summon the courage to do so now.
I don't want to keep him for too long, so the conversation only lasts around five minutes. His mother lives close by, he claims, so she's currently taking care of the baby. He left work early today since it needed an examination, though. He said he wants to do as much for the baby as he can. I was worried, considering what Keiko had said about her mother-in-law wanting to give the baby a more trendy name, but she actually sounds like a nice lady. The baby's name, however, really takes me by surprise.
Through some miracle, he's ended up being given the name that Keiko wanted him to have. Keiko must have told her husband about the reason behind her naming choice while she was still alive. The Kei in Keiko represents a type of olive plant in China, as well as Japan's katsura trees. Her name is in reference to how pleasant smells are associated with sincerity. Not only that, but also because her parents wanted her to be as healthy and sturdy as a katsura tree.
Having remembered that after Keiko's death, her husband told his mother that he wanted to decide on the baby's name himself. He wanted to give the child a name linked to trees- like his mother- but couldn't think of anything appropriate. Because he wanted his son to be straightforward and earnest, he decided to use a kanji for tree and then added haru at the beginning, since the child was born in spring. Thus, Haruki.
I think back to what Keiko had written in her letter.
I never was as healthy and sturdy as they'd hoped, but the desire to be so remained in my heart until the very end. Names represent a parent's hopes and dreams for their child. So please, treasure the name you've been given.
I make my way back to Lion House once our conversation ends. I can't sit and twiddle my thumbs anymore. From here on out, I need to act with dignity.
BGM: Lion House Cafe
05/24 (THU), Evening
Three days have now passed since Keiko's elimination. In terms of information, I'm at a bit of a standstill. I planned on doing more research on Alan, but finding the time has proven difficult, considering I can't just close the store. Time isn't the only issue, either. There's also the fact that I just plain suck at doing proper research. I'm aware that I can't let things go on like this.
I decide to close the store and head to the library for a bit today. I can look for business reports and interviews that involve him, maybe. I have to force myself not to consider how much easier it would be if Naomi were with me.
BGM: A Dot on a Piece of Paper
After closing up the store and before going to the library, I come across an unexpected scenario. A lone girl is lying on the pavement. Looks like she's passed out.
We can't leave this suspiciously familiar girl just lying on the sidewalk, we're a responsible teenager!
-Talk to her.
-Leave her be.
I tap on her shoulder and call out to her with concern in my voice.
She reacted to my voice, so I know she's conscious, at least. At first I thought I'd have to call an ambulance, but it looks like there's no need.
After a while, she turns to look at me. I feel myself turn pale as her face is revealed by the sunlight.
I've seen her three times. Not just anywhere, but in the dream world. At the Court of Fate. This is Numeral X.
Why are you here...? Don't tell me you know my name, as well...!
If that's the case, this is bad. It would mean I've spent too much time on things other than Divine Selection. I was so caught up in investigating Alan that I forgot about all the other participants.
My name is Sofiya Priessnitz Alexeievna. Way too long, so call me Sonya.
Her VA is listed as simply 'Rinne'; as a result, I couldn't find anything out about her VA.
She doesn't even stand up to introduce herself.
Are you all right? Like, in the head?
I insult her almost out of instinct. But can you blame me? No participant should just introduce themselves like that!
I have a request.
I say nothing, so she keeps on going.
I must ask that you please give me food, for I cannot move in my current state.
She asks for a meal in a very stilted manner of speaking. Based on the blonde hair and blue eyes, I presume she's from Russia or somewhere else in northern Europe. She shouldn't be able to understand or speak Japanese without the aid of her card book, either. However, unlike Alan, there are noticeable flaws in her language fluency. I don't even have my book on me right now, which must mean...
Do you... understand Japanese?
Yes. I love Japan lots. I'm sorry, but my hunger is almost at its limit. I will lose my ability to speak in approximately five seconds.
Whoa, hold on!
She shuts her mouth after dropping that bombshell, as if her battery has run out of juice.