Part 75: To End the Fight
Things start to wrap up after another thirty minutes. Neither are moving as well as they were before. In fact, they're both so exhausted that even I might be able to outrun them. As if the fight wasn't spectacular enough already, it ends with a cross-counter, of all things. I can't tell if Alan is out cold or not. His eyes are completely blank. As for Odette, her eyes are closed, but she has a big grin on her face.
I'd have been happy if I got to go out like this.
With that said, she lets herself fall unconscious.
Alan watches as she does so. It's hard to tell what he's thinking. ...And then he collapses, too.
I rush over to them both. They're out cold, but they're still breathing. I guess exhaustion has finally forced their bodies to shut down. I'm... not too sure if they've managed to settle things with this. But what I do know is that Alan was the last to fall unconscious.
Still, there was nothing 'settled' by this. They just pummeled each other until they passed out. I'd be the winner here were I to have a gun on me.
But I mean... why did I need to be here...?
I probably have to tend to their wounds now that it's ended like this.
Crap. My phone's battery died.
I end up having to rely on my memory to find the nearest convenience store.
Once I do, I grab a first-aid kit, some food, and some water to bring back. The journey there and back takes around an hour. Odette's gone by the time I get back. She must have left the moment she woke up, despite having no energy whatsoever. She's crazy. There's one thing I can say for sure, though. That moment when she collapsed is probably the last time I'll see her in the real world. She really was a free spirit, right till the end.
Unlike Odette, someone else is still collapsed on the ground.
Is he sleeping...?
Alan still hasn't come to.
Ugh. I should just go home...
After I say that, I wipe off Alan's sweat and place a cooling pad on his forehead. Then I put another towel under his head as a makeshift pillow.
This guy's just as crazy as Odette.
His profuse sweating and bright red face worry me. I know what he wants to get out of me, but I just can't bring myself to leave him in this state. Seeing him laid out like this makes him look younger than usual, probably due to his height and build when standing. I can't even tell the time, since my phone's dead. I can tell that I'm hungry though, so I make my way to a corner of the storehouse to eat the food I picked up.
I wonder how people would react if they saw this...
I take a moment to consider the fact that I've become anything but a normal person before chowing on my food.
BGM: The Memory Remains
Alan finds himself dreaming. It is the first time he's had a dream unrelated to the Court of Fate in a long time.
You're always so reckless, you know that?
It is a dream entwined with his past. A past of great importance.
Alan wakes up just as I finish my food. The fact that he sits up so quickly surprises me a bit. I'm not quite sure what he was saying, but it sounded like he was calling out to someone. Of course, questioning him about it wouldn't be a smart decision.
Oh, it's you...
He comes to grips with the situation after noticing the sheet on his forehead and towel under his head.
You could have just left me here.
I was going to leave after I finished eating.
Hmph... I meant long before that.
I place my trash inside the convenience store plastic bag, and then take a bottle of water over to Alan.
Did I lose...?
You were the last to collapse, though only by a few seconds.
I can hardly consider it a victory if I don't remember it.
Saying that, he takes a deep swig of the water I've just handed to him. When he stands up afterwards, it serves to remind me just how big he actually is. I'm not sure where to take the conversation now. After a bit of deliberation, I come up with a certain proposal.
So, hey... You tell me everything you've found out about Scale Jones so far, and I'll tell you what's written on his regret card in exchange.
There's no immediate response, so I can only assume that he's taken by surprise. It feels like the best option for me, though. Especially when Alan and Odette's conversation hinted toward Alan knowing plenty about Scale. I'm not sure if I'll end up electing him myself or not, but it's a fact that he'll come across my own information at some point. Knowing his cause of death will allow me to protect myself should he decide to elect me, at the very least. That's why it's best if I get what I can out of Alan now.
Once Alan has finished telling me what he'd discovered about Scale, I reveal the contents of his regret card... Gold medal. I feel like there's something that links to his regret in the info Alan told me. No new card seems to have formed on his end, but I'm sure he'll be able to put the pieces together quickly enough.
All right. I should go.
Tomorrow's Sunday, but I'd rather open the store if I can. I'm a bit paranoid when my phone's dead, but right now the sheer exhaustion is my biggest issue.
What is true strength...?
He doesn't respond, so I give up and leave. I'm about half an hour's walk from the closest station. The idea of having to walk the same path already has me reeling.
BGM: Two Crossing Paths -S/I V/S-
It's 1 a.m. Shinjuku may be a major stop in Tokyo, but the last trains don't run much later than this. Meanwhile, Naomi and Miharu are still waiting in front of Lion House for Rinka's return.
She's... taking her time, isn't she? At this point, I'm more willing to consider that she may be out with a b-boyfriend or something... It's Saturday after all, and I never did ask if she was dating anyone...
Do us both a favor and shut off the part of your brain that creates those ridiculous thoughts.
Naomi feels a chill run down her spine. While it wasn't exactly a joke, she swears not to bring that topic up ever again.
At this rate, we're going to have an officer or two question why we're here. I'm not quite sure what to do now that we've missed the last train. Granted, now that it's Sunday, it technically doesn't matter what I do if I'm going to be eliminated anyway. Perhaps I'm best off writing a will for Rinka.
Naomi fails to find the right response to match how deadly serious Miharu seems. It doesn't help that she feels responsible for this situation, too. Miharu could have used the time to possibly find new information about Scale had she not suggested relying on Rinka. Those memories may disappear should Miharu be eliminated, though. Even if they don't vanish completely, they will become far too blurry to recall. Moreso than even her earliest childhood memories. This even applies to when the two of them let their feelings clash. The idea of losing that experience scares her.
D-Don't worry. I'm sure Rinka will be here...
Naomi's voice is audibly quivering. Both know her faith is entirely unfounded.
You really are a crybaby, aren't you? Still, I do feel envious about how honest you can be sometimes.
Miharu feels at peace for reasons she cannot understand. If what she's currently feeling toward Naomi is similar to how Rinka feels, then she might just-
The sudden voice takes Naomi and Miharu by surprise.
Why are you two hanging around outside my house at this hour?
Naomi dashes over to Rinka without a second thought.
Rather, she attempts to before tripping over her own feet.
Allow me to pose a similar question. You weren't engaging in certain activities with a man, were you...?
Hmm... Well, I guess I was with a guy for the most part. How'd you know?
A-Anyway, let's head inside. You two were really waiting for me?
Naomi is obviously flustered, whereas Miharu looks like she's just seen a ghost, and Rinka has no idea what's going on, but she takes them inside the store anyway.
Following that, it takes an entire hour for everything to be cleared up.