Part 55: Justice or Evil
06/14 (THU), Morning
The rainy season continues... Just as I continue to remain a shell of my former self. I've only been eating the bare minimum I need to survive. I haven't weighed myself, but I've probably lost a couple of pounds.
I'm so sorry, Naomi...
I've been having the same nightmare lately. It starts with the day I met Naomi and ends the moment she died. Night after night, I'm forced to watch her die. I guess it's an appropriate punishment for me, though. It's my fault that she died, after all. This is the only way I can repent. The only thing I've done since then is wallow in my own regret.
We never should have met in the first place...
I can't help but think that. My thought process is nothing but an endless loop about this.
I hear my phone ring. I reach over to pick it up. As I do so, I notice the date. Thursday. Five days have already passed since Naomi died.
I have a huge number of missed calls and messages. Most are from Mao. We're still off from school, so I wish she'd leave me alone. I don't have it in me to answer any calls or look at the messages she sent. I'm practically the one who killed Naomi. She wouldn't have died if I hadn't gotten her involved. What gives me the right to speak to Mao? The responsibility I feel over all this crushes me more and more each and every day.
Oh, it's from gran...
There is one missed call from my gran. She's left a voicemail.
Come see me if things get tough.
It is a simple message. But it is one that instills in me a sense of relief. Throwing everything by the wayside and spending time with her until my eventual elimination doesn't sound too bad.
06/14 (THU), Noon
Although Miharu is cooperating with Scale and the others, she still makes sure to go about her daily life as usual. School being closed has served as a good opportunity for her to take on more shifts at work. They did warn all students to avoid going outdoors as much as possible, but she doesn't care. Hearing the jingle at the door, Miharu directs her attention toward the entrance.
BGM: Welcome Back, my Master E
Welcome back, Mas-
She finds herself at a loss for words. Who can blame her? Addressing the people who just walked in the door as master is something she would much rather not do.
Thank you for your patronage. Do be mindful of the weather on your way home.
Hold up! You can't treat customers like that!
Now now, Federico. This is a maid cafe, so it's only natural that we respond in kind.
Scale clears his throat before continuing.
I've returned home.
Goodbye. Please take care on your way home.
She's telling us to scram!
Haha! The 'tsundere' archetpe is just as entertaining as I'd heard.
Quit running your mouth, wouldja? The hell's up with this place, anyway...?
Tch... Let me find you a table so you can stop being a nuisance.
It's common for foreigners to visit a maid cafe in Akihabara, so the two of them don't stand out too much. Miharu makes sure they can hear her muttering as she directs them to their table.
Geez... What'd I do to deserve this...?
Miharu ends up being left in charge of them due to the language barrier.
I'm not sure what you two are thinking, but this place isn't for the likes of you. We only welcome masters who are sad, disgruntled excuses for people that somehow have ridiculous expectations of girls they've never once interacted with in their lives.
What're your thoughts on the 'special' pancake, Federico?
You're paying, so get whatever. Boy, do I ever feel uncomfortable here, though.
Let it be known that I'll hold a grudge against you for my entire life if you purchase anything on here, Scale.
Oh, they've got a booze menu, as well. You fine with beer?
Ugh... This can't be happening...
A full hour later, Miharu sees them off. Her face bright red with embarrassment all the while, of course. Scale showed her absolutely no mercy, even making her cast a tasty spell on his food. The last person to order it was Sofiya, but that hardly compared to the sheer humiliation she felt this time around. Scale knew what maid cafes were all about, but the bigger issue was Federico. The grin on his face as she struck that pose made her want to choke the life out of him right then and there. The fun and games only lasted till they got their bill, though. After that was sorted out, Scale quietly told her to come to the usual place. He could have just phoned or texted her, but instead he chose to come all this way. And with Federico, to boot. She couldn't help but feel there was a connection between this and both of their secrets.
BGM: Chilling With Sidekicks
06/14 (THU), Night
That's three days in a row I've come here now. Someone's going to catch on to me eventually, you know.
Federico and Scale are already there by the time Miharu arrives. As expected, Odette is nowhere to be seen.
Your sources may be handy, but your actions today were wholly inappropriate, Scale.
She may have a smile on her face, but there is nothing but hostility toward him underneath.
Hahaha! Sorry. I just wanted to experience some Japanese culture while I'm here. It'd be a waste otherwise.
I made sure to check out the other waitresses, but you are the cream of the crop, for sure. Trust me on that one.
Can I go home? I'd rather not put up with this regardless of whatever bomb you're about to drop.
Miharu makes it clear that she has no time for jokes. She refuses to order anything today. She does not even sit down before continuing.
Tagging along with Scale was your one ticket to get away from Odette, I take it? She certainly has you on a short leash.
You lookin' for a fight?!
Calm down, both of you. Judging by your attitude, Miharu, I assume you've realized why I called you over here.
Miharu freezes for an instant. She takes a moment to reflect on it. After all, she must remain one step ahead of her own expectations. Miharu's pupils widen as she reaches a conclusion.
The elimination of Odette Malencon. That's why you really brought me into this alliance, isn't it?
That keen mind of yours makes me glad I did so. You know how dangerous she is. Like I said before, people let their guard down most when they're focused on something. The more focused you are on it, the less aware you are of your surroundings.
You're the only one here capable of taking advantage of that. There's no way she'd ever let it happen around me and Scale.
Isn't it a bit early for you to reveal your master plan?
Nope. This is the perfect timing, in fact. You're probably thinking that you can't match her, right? I doubt anyone would deny both her strength and wisdom. But that's precisely why it's dangerous to resign yourself to her. She's undoubtedly wicked at heart, but there's something about her that makes you forget.
We figured it'd be best to tell you before she gets in your head. Think about it for a second: Divine Selection, but without either her or Alan. Sounds way simpler, right?
You're overestimating me far too much if you think I'm capable of gathering any information on her.
Well, us two already have a good idea of her cause of death. Give us another few days and we'll be able to get a card out of it, although we'll have to figure a way to do it without her knowing. All you need to do is find out her regret.
If you feel bad about doing so, then don't force it. Just remember that we're doing this because she's evil. That makes our actions just.
There's no hesitation in Scale's voice. Miharu casts her gaze down, presenting herself as deep in thought. As she does so, laughter begins to leak out of her mouth.
BGM: Wi H g L n (Dark Side of Hers)
Our actions are just, you say? Pfft. Sorry to break it to you, but we're just as evil as she is. Every last one of us. It's all the same to me, though. I'll embrace that fact, because my end goal will never change. Hahaha!
Part of her laughter comes from the massive collapse of tension. The wall she thought to be insurmountable has already begun to show cracks. Just as they've already gotten an idea of her cause of death, Miharu has come across clues regarding her regret. Turning those clues into a card shouldn't prove too difficult with Scale's help. What's most hilarious, however, is that Scale- who is willing to betray Odette immediately after forming an alliance- has no idea that Miharu possesses his cause of death card. Situations like this don't happen on a daily basis, and that is why Miharu finds herself laughing hysterically.
Her sudden change in attitude seems to perplex Federico.
Did she lose a few screws or something?
How rude. Surely I'm allowed to laugh when I find something funny. Anyway, I fully intend on playing my part in this alliance. Of course, only under the condition that Yu remains our first and foremost priority.
I figured you'd say that. No objections here, of course. It's all for a just cause.
He extends his right hand, hoping for Miharu to shake it. Miharu does not respond in kind, however. Instead, she turns her back to him. The dim lighting in the bar shimmers off her long, sleek hair.
I'm sure this goes without saying, but try not to mess things up for us. It'd be pathetic if this entire plan backfired on you.
Hah, no need to worry. I've been waiting for this opportunity ever since I teamed up with her. All I gotta do is go through with it now, whether or not she catches on.
Miharu exits the bar by the time Federico finishes her exclamation.
BGM: Two Crossing Paths -S/I V/S-
Miharu finds herself staring into Lion House from outside once again. The nighttime summer breeze caresses her.
The line between good and evil doesn't matter for us. Hehe... All that matters is I pull through... for your sake.
That said, she makes her way back home.