Part 34: That Day
BGM: Rinka's Room
05/29 (TUE), Night
After a long day, I finally have some time to relax in my room. Nothing noteworthy has happened beyond this morning's events. Although, I guess the fact that my class has finally gotten around to prepping for the culture festival counts as noteworthy. Sounds like they've moved forward with the fortune teller idea. The one in charge will essentially prepare a bunch of fortune telling methods and use them on whoever stops by. They've gone with this plan because the one in charge wants to test out these so-called methods.
Fortune telling... Reading one's fate... Funny how they've ended up with that after the things I've experienced. At least I'm not involved in the plans or being asked for my opinion. They're just gonna ask me and Miharu to help the day of. Mao, on the other hand, seems fascinated by the whole thing. She'll be helping to prep it as well as work longer than we will during the festival.
All I gotta do is act serious and mutter some cryptic stuff. That's right up my alley.
Just what you'd expect to hear from her. I wonder if they'll manage to finish everything on time, since the culture festival's in two weeks. I bet we're the only class this far behind schedule.
I already feel exhausted and it's barely 10 p.m. Well, it makes sense, considering I left the house so early this morning. Ushizuka Shigetsugu... I repeat the elderly man's name in my head to make sure I don't forget it. Now I have to find out his cause of death and regret, but I'm not quite sure how to go about it. I'm still curious about that girl staying with him, too. While I do have her cause of death card, all I know is that a fire is involved. Nothing else. That's probably the biggest issue with the cards dealt to us at the beginning.
First things first, I gotta plan what to do going forward.
As if things aren't difficult enough, I've got Federico and Numeral XI to worry about as well. Things may have gone well enough yesterday and today, but that doesn't mean I'm a pro when it comes to tailing people and such. It's entirely possible that I'll mess up at some point and get myself stuck in a tight spot. Regardless, I can't sit back and let those two get the upper hand. One option is to throw caution to the wind and approach Ushizuka directly, but... that's too risky. Numeral XI would likely end up adding me to her list of targets alongside him and the girl if I did that. I try searching Ushizuka Shigetsugu on the Internet, but I don't get any relevant results. Getting info on him without putting myself out there seems tricky. I can't just waltz over to City Hall and ask for his family register when I'm completely unrelated to him, either. That's why I'm going to approach things from a different angle.
I do have an advantage over that duo. A majority of the participants, myself included, are from Japan- plus, most are located near Shinjuku, an area rich with schoolgirls just like me. It keeps me from standing out in most situations, which is advantageous. The only issue is that the sole approach I can think of involves questioning the locals near his residence. Actually, that might not be too bad of an idea. I did shuffle over there pretty early this morning, so there weren't many people around. It's probably why those two showed up when they did, too. They aimed for a time when few people would be around.
But as for me, I don't need to worry about standing out...
It's hardly normal to ask questions about some random old man, but hey. I'll still seem less suspicious than either of those two doing the same. If I really need to, I can even pretend to be the granddaughter of an ex-wife or something. I just need to act like Naomi did at the hospital where Keiko was. I'll try going in the evening. Everyone's running around shopping around then. Not only does it give me more people to question, but I can also blend into the crowds if need be.
With that sorted, I should sleep as much as possible so I'll be ready to take action. But just as I'm about to turn out the lights, I hear a distinct meow coming from down by my feet. It's none other than Lethe, our friendly little freeloading cat.
Oh. What is it, Lethe?
I always make sure to feed it and have water out, so I doubt it's hungry. It doesn't respond to my question, of course. It'd be pretty freaky if it did.
Sorry, but I'm gonna go to sleep.
I want to give it some attention, but I'm a bit too tired tonight. I flick the light off and clamber into bed. Lethe follows suit, which is rare. It prefers to sleep atop the covers, not under them. This little rascal has the habit of using my stomach as its pillow, too. I stroke its head for a moment before shutting my eyes and focusing on sleep. It's amazing how warm something with such a tiny little body can be.
BGM: The Sacred Large Hall
05/29 (TUE), Midnight
There's a term for when one realizes they're dreaming- lucid dreaming. Ever since Divine Selection began, I've experienced it at least once per week. Granted, I'm not quite sure that you can call what goes on in the Court of Fate a dream. Whatever. I find myself once again in a strange place, despite knowing for a fact that I went to sleep not long ago.
Hey there. I'd say 'been a while', but I'm not sure if it actually has been or not. Don't comprehend you humans' perception of time too well.
I've seen this man once before. It's only now that I remember having met him in my dreams before, though.
I take it you remember me? Or remembered me just now? Like how you've lost some of your precious memories, it's a foregone conclusion that you'll forget everything that occurs in this dream.
I want to say something, but I find myself unable to speak. He dominates the conversation.
It may be a bit rude to say this when you run a coffee shop, but I'm actually a lot more interested in tea. In fact, I've been aching for some good afternoon tea for a while. Alas. Not only do I have no one to talk to here, there aren't any tea sets to use, either. Such a shame.
This man knows who I am. I'm not sure how important that realization is when I'm likely to forget everything he says, though.
Well, enough pleasantries for now. There's no time to waste on those when one of your lost memories has made its way back to you. It's precisely for that reason that I made the effort to bring you here and offer my congratulations.
Which memory, you ask? Ah, it seems I appeared before you actually recovered the memory by mistake. Understanding your concept of time is truly a difficult task. Its flow may be linear, but the rate at which it moves always throws me off.
Anyway, do take this opportunity to recall some prior events before morning comes.
I'm standing alone in the Court of Fate. I'm on the same platform as usual, but for some reason, none of the other participants are here.
Good evening, you poor lost lamb. I'm afraid to inform you that you have become a slave to fate.
A girl dressed in all white addresses me. It's Parca. She stands in front of me, despite the fact that there's no solid surface beneath her feet. I watch from a distance as both of us face one another. I conclude that this is one of my memories, since I'm able to watch myself as though I am a third party.
Your spirit has found itself roaming the corridors of fate after your passing. Fear not. Fate has changed its course, and thus, you will become a participant in Divine Selection.
She begins to tell me about Divine Selection. She explains all the rules... I watch myself try to get a word in every now and then, but she ignores each attempt. Everything she's explaining here is the exact same as what she told us during the first election. Memories of an explanation I had heard before... This must've taken place right after I died, then. Considering the in-depth explanation she's giving, it's no wonder she was unimpressed with me when I asked her about it again. Well, remembering this explanation of rules I already know is more pointless than one would expect, too.
However, do keep in mind one thing. Fate initially foretold that all twelve participants would gather in the same place, at the same time, twelve weeks from now. It is a place that bears significance to all involved, even if that future has now been lost. It is what will be referred to as the final destination for your individual fates.
Should you find yourself as the last remaining participant, please make your way to this place. Reaching the final destination will serve as proof that you are alive and will thus overwrite your death for good. As for what will happen should you fail to reach it... Well, I would hate to spoil the surprise should that come to pass.
She didn't mention a specific time or place. Instead, she placed her finger on my brow. She closed her eyes and then her finger began to glow. She didn't need words for this part. With that touch, Parca etched the final destination into our minds...
05/30 (WED), Morning
My eyes jolt open after a night of sleep. I remember exactly what I saw in my dream. Immediately after my death, I was taken to the Court of Fate and met with Parca. She explained all the rules that I had heard during the first election. No wonder she was so unimpressed when I asked again. I'm fairly sure she told me my cause of death and regret as well, but I can't remember any of that... I remember something far more important, though.
The final destination of our individual fates...
This was the first time I'd heard of it. Becoming the final participant alone isn't enough. I will need to get to this place afterwards. It's a place I know quite well.
It's the same park where I talked things out with Naomi...
It's a huge park located in Shinjuku. A plaza from which you can see a clock tower-esque building in the distance is there. It's one of my favorite spots. That's where all twelve of us are meant to gather. The final destination of our individual fates.
I can't... believe it...
It's hard not to be surprised. That park is pretty close to my home. Twelve weeks after Divine Selection begins, or seven weeks from now. The weather will likely be nice, so I can't say that I wouldn't have gone for a walk there. Besides, it's also a popular tourist spot. Sonya mentioned that she had planned on coming to Japan with her family in the first place. It wouldn't be surprising if she would've gone there with them. As for the others, I'm not sure why they'd go there. But the fact remains that it's a popular spot. There are plenty of reasons to check it out.
It also explains the deja vu I felt there when talking to Naomi. Parca had shown me that scenery once before. I'm not sure how to describe the sensation I experienced when she did so. I guess it'd be similar to the feeling you get when you're dreaming.
Now it all makes sense...
I can finally answer a number of questions that I've been asking myself. It explains why most participants are Japanese, as well as why those who aren't have gathered in Japan. Parca never did explain why that place is our final destination. Much like how she never discussed how or why Divine Selection exists, she probably deemed it to be unnecessary information. Either way, I've managed to regain an important memory regarding the whole process.
By the time I finish processing this revelation, I notice that a certain feline isn't beside me anymore. Guess it slinked off at some point while I was asleep.
That cat sure knows how to pull off a disapurrance ac- Oh, no.
I let slip an awful cat pun without even thinking about it. At least there's no one at the door... I might've gone ahead and elected myself for elimination if someone caught me saying that.
Just as I start to get ready for school, I check the time and my heart nearly jumps out of my throat. I must've been in a pretty deep sleep. I woke up half an hour later than usual.