Part 27: The Wideness of the World
content warning: allusion to self-harm
BGM: At Amecha Girls' University High School
05/25 (FRI), Noon
School ends up flying by somehow. Once classes are over, the three of us met up at the gate. We couldn't have Sonya infiltrate the school again, so we got her to wander around the university campus instead. Not only is it open to everyone, but there's a library there as well. I'm sure she surprised a few students there, but oh well. However, once we meet up, I realize getting her to do that was a mistake.
The university here seems like fun.
Her words pierce my heart. She'll never have the opportunity to attend a university, regardless of Divine Selection's outcome. Even if she were to win somehow, it wouldn't cure her condition. Whether or not she really would die soon after is uncertain, but at the very least, she's convinced herself that it's certain.
Don't beat yourself up, Rinka. Right?
Right! I'm happy that I got to see something new!
Okay, we should get going. There's lots for us to see today.
I can't wait to see anything and everything!
Things seem fine between the two of them. I guess they've put whatever happened last night behind them. Like Miharu said, we've got plenty to see today. We make our way toward the station.
05/25 (FRI), Night
It's hard to sum up all the places we've visited. First was Tokyo Skytree. After that, Sensoji Temple. We made sure to avoid the busy area, but we still got a good look at Kaminarimon. We saw Roppongi Hills from a distance, as well. But before that, we paid a visit to Jinbocho since it served as the setting for an old anime. Walking from place to place would have been a bit much, so we used a taxi instead. Sonya's parents must be rich, since she paid for everything with her credit card just like she did at the maid cafe. That helped a lot, especially because we also went to Odaiba. After getting on the Ferris wheel and seeing the Fuji Television building, we had to turn right around to reach our final stop.
Said last stop is Zojoji Temple. It's said to be a time-honored temple with ties to the Tokugawa family from the Edo period. That, and something about Pure Land Buddhism... Based on what we're seeing here, a lot of bands and artists use the open area for concerts. The area's name and those of its surrounding stations are based on the name of the huge gate at the entrance to the temple, so it goes without saying just how impressive it all is. It's only thirty or so minutes from the station, and yet I had no idea this place even existed.
Ugh, I'm exhausted...
I figured we'd be fine since we're on our feet most of the time when we're working, but this really has been taxing.
Meanwhile, Sonya walks ahead of us as we complain about our aching feet.
BGM: Amusement Park (Bright Night)
She blurts out an exclamation of wonder as she points at Tokyo Tower, visible off in the distance. You can see it clearly past the temple. Its huge red frame is decorated with all sorts of colored lighting. Obviously, I've seen it before. But seeing it this close and at night is a completely different experience.
It's so pretty...
Tokyo is such a nice place!
All three of us are entranced by the sight of Tokyo Tower glimmering in the night for a good while. It brings back memories of the parade and light show I saw together with Miharu at the theme park. Divine Selection wasn't even on my mind back then. Never would I have imagined that I'd wind up in a situation like this. I wonder if Sonya's reflecting on her life right now. There is a hint of sorrow on her face as she looks up at Tokyo Tower.
I'm happy I had the opportunity to see something this lovely. I'm so happy that it's... making me feel worried.
Her eyes water and reflect the light coming from the tower. She raises her gaze higher into the night sky, but it does little to keep the tears from running down her cheeks.
This has to be the happiest moment of my life.
My first time experiencing the world... And it's... it's also the last...
BGM: Two Crossing Paths -S/I V/S-
The floodgates damming her tears have broken. I understand that feeling all too well. She can't keep up the façade any longer. Her bright smile has been snuffed out by this outburst.
It's... it's all over...
Sniff... Today is... my last... waah... Waaahhhh!
I feel my own eyes start to water, but I do everything in my power to hold it in. I move to hug her, but Miharu notices and shakes her head at me.
Don't let yourself get too attached.
She says this quietly enough so that only I hear her. I can't stop myself, though. If crying together with her isn't an option, then I want her to know I'm here for her, at the very least. There's no doubt she'll crumble in front of reality otherwise.
Waaahhh! Sister! Papa! Mama! I told myself that I accepted my situation, but it's not true... Now that I know the world is full of beautiful things like this... But my time here is running out... Sniff... Waaahhh!
Time slows to a crawl while Sonya lets all her emotions out. The light from the tower reflects off her tears, causing them to shine like precious jewels.
Miharu starts to say something, but stops herself. Once Sonya finally settles down, we make our way back to Lion House.
BGM: Lion House Cafe
It's 9 p.m. by the time we get back. Going out to buy stuff for dinner, not to mention making it, would've taken even longer, so we end up ordering some pizza. Needless to say, the three of us wolf it down immediately.
Delicious! Japan's food truly is the best!
C'mon. I know for a fact that you can get pizza delivered in Russia as well.
I always had to watch what I ate before this. That's why I'm happy I can eat whatever I want now!
Her tone may be cheery, but there's a certain weight hidden behind her each and every word. Miharu manages to keep things from becoming awkward, though.
...I'm a bit upset you didn't cook, to be honest.
We have to be mindful of the time. Besides, I don't think I've had pizza delivered since I was a kid.
Well, I can't imagine you'd have much opportunity to do so while living with your grandmother.
Yeah. She was never big on getting stuff delivered in the first place, except some soba now and then. She's not against pizza itself, considering she'd make it here every so often. In fact, she'd eat pretty much anything. To the point where she'd always go on about how not being fussy about food is the secret behind her being so healthy.
She really is healthy for her age, too. She really enjoys bragging about still having all her teeth intact.
I see you take after her in that regard.
Ahaha... Yeah, I must.
Your grandmother must be a wonderful person!
Hehe. She's the one who raised Rinka, so you're right about that.
So says Miharu, who I'm pretty sure hasn't actually met my gran.
There is plenty to talk about while we eat our dinner. The topics often revolve around Sonya's family. Her grandmother in particular sounds like a nice person, and she's apparently good at sewing. In fact, she's the one who made Passazhir for Sonya.
I never had any friends, so my grandmother gifted Passazhir to me so I wouldn't be lonely while reading books and watching anime. ...It had the chance to see the world along with me today, so I'm sure it's as happy as I am.
A heavy yawn erupts from Sonya after that, almost as if to lighten the mood.
Now that I've eaten, I'm starting to feel sleepy.
We did a lot of walking today, so... get some rest, okay?
Okay! Good night!
Saying that, she makes her way upstairs. Miharu and I are now alone together downstairs. Miharu ends up being the one to strike up a conversation while we tidy everything up.
BGM: Intel Investigation Underway
I didn't notice anyone following us, so Numeral XI certainly seems to be confident. Whimsical, even.
I could tell Miharu was on edge the entire day- mainly because I was the same way when I first met Sonya. It's not far-fetched to assume that one person would keep an eye on her parents, and the other would watch Sonya, since two participants are working together. In this case, Numeral III Federico Carminati- would probably watch her parents, while Numeral XI would be in charge of Sonya because she's the one holding her cards.
I understand why she'd feel confident when she's got all three of Sonya's cards, but what makes you call her whimsical?
From what I gather, she really wanted Sonya to enjoy her final few days here. If she really wanted to make sure that Sonya wouldn't work with her parents to dig up info on them, then she'd prevent them from meeting up- even on the final day. That should go without saying.
And yet, she granted Sonya the opportunity to be with her family. It makes her seem... compassionate at a glance, but there's more to it than that. In truth, she didn't place the shackles on Sonya. She tied the hands of her parents.
I'm... not sure I follow.
Well, there's no guarantee that Sofiya's parents believe her regarding Divine Selection. They might've brought her here under the false assumption that she's made a temporary recovery.
In that case, they'd never let her have fatty foods like pizza. Bear in mind that I'm talking from an objective standpoint here, and not my personal opinion regarding pizza. I don't think she would've been able to see the world like she wanted had she stayed with her parents. Do you understand where I'm going with this yet?
I think back to Sonya's comment about having the freedom to eat what she likes. Pointing that out must mean she previously didn't have that freedom.
Sonya's definition of 'seeing the world at large' differs from ours, and Numeral XI's actions enabled her to fulfill that one desire...
Of course, I doubt she expected Sofiya to run into us. Even then, the desire for her to minimize that regret is definitely there. Two or three days likely isn't enough for her to completely remove her regret, but I think it's safe to say that her tears tonight would've held a completely different meaning had she been with her parents.
I see. That makes sense. Not sure I can say this was the correct option, but at the very least, Sonya seems to have been happy from the bottom of her heart.
This may serve as an important foundation when it comes to learning more about Numeral XI, too. That's not the main point of this discussion, though. Instead, I want you to consider joining forces with me for the remainder of Divine Selection.
She stares deep into my eyes. It takes a while, but she finally comes out with a proposition that feels long overdue. I stare right back, unable to say anything in response. My brain completely shuts down. I honestly have no idea what to say. I can hear the sound of her breathing. Noticing that her nerves are building with each and every breath, I finally answer.
...I'm sorry, but I can't. You have every intention of making me the final survivor, don't you?
I do, but you need to realize that I'd be doing it for my own sake, as well.
That doesn't change anything. It's not fair to partner up with you when I haven't resolved to do the same for your sake. I still can't decide which one of us deserves to live through this!
There's no way I'd be fine with letting one of my closest friends give their life away... And yet, I don't want to die without knowing my own regret. Without knowing why I got wrapped up in all of this to begin with. So long as I've got stuff like that on my mind, I'll only hold you back in the end.
There's no doubt I'll face situations similar to when I confronted Alan at the hospital again. I'm sure my resolve will take a hit again when that time comes.
Your regret, huh...
Miharu trails off. There's no need for her to speak when her expression screams the complicated thoughts she's having. The silence doesn't last too long, however.
I'm fairly sure that you should have an idea about my cause of death. I'm also sure that you'd be appalled by it, too. It's fine, though. I'm okay with maintaining the status quo, even if my stance on the matter hasn't changed. My fate exists for your sake, so I'll simply wait for the day when you finally clear up your own personal doubts.
Why are you so desperate to give your life for mine? Surely you have your own regret to care about... You do have your own cards, don't you?
It's because I love you.
Her exclamation throws me off at first, but naturally, she must mean in a friendly way.
Anyway, we should get some sleep ourselves. You plan on seeing Sofiya off tomorrow, don't you?
Y-Yeah, I do...
I know she's the type of person to use suggestive lines to mask her actual feelings. It doesn't stop me from getting all flustered, though. Maybe because there's the off chance that she means it. In that case, I'd have no idea how to handle the situation. That's making it even worse.
BGM: Rinka's Room
05/25 (FRI), Midnight
Getting to sleep is no easy task after going back to my room. There's way too much on my mind. Lingering in my head the most is what Miharu said- that I should have an idea about her cause of death. I didn't outright deny her claim because, well, it's true. I've just been desperately trying to avoid thinking about it because I don't want to see my thoughts regarding my friend's death get turned into a card. There's one thing I can say for sure, regardless.
There's no way I'd ever think less of you over it.
Seems she's fast asleep already, judging by her breathing. Can't help but be impressed by how good she looks, even while sleeping. It's hard not to notice the scar on her wrist peeking out from under her sleeve.