Part 82: Confession
So! You have to make the choice to call Miharu immediately here, or else Scale calls her first and she severs all ties with Rinka after he essentially gaslights her into taking Rinka out. The choice isn't as obvious without knowing what happens in the bad ending (because with no context giving her space to sort herself out could be the right choice! ), but now that we have that context, it's time to make the definitive right choice.
BGM: Rinka's Room
-Get in touch with her.
-Leave her be for now.
Yeah... I can't just sit here after seeing that.
She may be staying with family, but she's still alone, in a way. No one in her own home is truly there for her. She might be beating herself up as I sit here and think. I'd much rather hear her voice right now, so I opt to call rather than text her. She answers before the first ring ends.
Miharu says she wants to see me the moment she picks up the phone. We decide to meet by Zojoji Temple. The very same place we brought Sofiya. Tokyo Tower shines as brightly as ever. I'm not sure why she chose this place, but there's no denying that pleasant scenery can cleanse the heart. This place definitely fits the bill.
Sorry to make you wait, Rinka. Not to mention asking you out at this time of night.
It's fine. I was worried about you, so I'd much rather talk to you face to face.
Miharu is wearing casual attire, much like me. Chances are we'd be stopped by the police if we were out in our school uniforms at this hour. Granted, one could easily assume we were delinquents, being out this late with no proper excuse.
I regret letting my emotions get the better of me earlier, especially what I said to Naomi.
You don't need to worry about that. Naomi doesn't hold it against you.
Miharu stares into my eyes as she whispers my name. I feel a strange relief knowing that she's here with me. It's proof that we're both still alive.
BGM: He Reveals me the Answer
I only told you both about my being the survivor of the previous Divine Selection and the goddess' vessel, right? There's more I need to tell you, though. It's what Parca said during our conversations...
The previous Divine Selection was held seventeen years ago, beginning July 23rd. Not only was I a participant, but your parents were, as well.
Wh-What...? Both of my parents were participants...?
I barely know anything about my parents. And it turns out that they were participants in Divine Selection, much like myself...? I'd say it was surprising, but I'm more concerned about how to process this revelation in the first place.
H-Hold on a minute. Both of my parents were participants? Along with you?
But that doesn't add up. Miharu's birthday is later on in the year. December 12th, to be precise. Noticing my confusion, Miharu goes on to clarify.
I actually took a year off while in middle school, so that makes me a year older than you and Mao.
Whoa, you're older than us?! Sorry, I'm having trouble processing all of this.
I do my best to organize my thoughts really quick. Both of my parents were Divine Selection participants in the past. Miharu was a participant then as well, but it turns out she's one year older than me. That would make her... seven months old at the time. Following that line of thought, I come to a certain revelation.
So... I was born during the previous Divine Selection...?
That's right. July 27th, your birthday and the most precious day of the year to me, came about after Divine Selection started.
If July 23rd was the juncture of causality, that'd mean my parents died before I was born... so how was I even born in the first place?
At what point is someone considered a living being? I don't have the answer, but if you are considered alive while still in the womb, then it'd make sense for you to have survived.
Some believe life begins the moment the mother becomes pregnant. Others believe that it begins the moment you're born into the world. Maybe it depends on when the mother considers her child to be alive. Basically, July 23rd was the day my parents would die, but not me. That must be why I was able to survive the fire and be born during Divine Selection.
Hang on. That means my gran found me on July 23rd, right? Why would she say my birthday's on the 27th?
My name's become something of a mystery, too. Rinka... She said it was my mom who named me. And that she did so after my birth. The process of overwriting people's memories isn't perfect. But is that enough to justify this...?
Naomi mentioned that she saw visions of what was undone in her dreams, right? The same might apply here. Both are reality, but your grandmother opted to believe the one most important to her.
Yeah. She seemed positive when she told me that it was my mom who gave me my name. I doubt she ever questioned whether that was true or not.
And that's good enough, isn't it? Sometimes you don't need a reason to back your beliefs. Parca's done a good job of not explaining everything, too.
It'll take far too long for me to fully accept all these new revelations. Miharu looks as though she has more to say as well, so I should focus on hearing her out for now. Still, there's something I want to ask her before letting her continue.
You were just a baby during the previous Divine Selection, right? Do you mind if I ask how you were able to survive?
Allow me to answer your question with a question: what would you do if there were a baby among the participants?
It basically answers itself. There's no doubt that I'd do everything in my power to protect that baby. At the very least, I wouldn't be able to convince myself to gather information on it, let alone elect it.
My parents helped you, didn't they?
Apparently, there was another among them. Parca stated that those three protected me all the way to the end and then elected one another. Scale seems to have figured out that someone helped me, but I doubt he knows it was your parents.
With four people left, three were eliminated. That left Miharu as the sole survivor, and thus the winner. I understand all too well why they made that choice. If there's anything that would prove my relation to my parents, it'd be this.
That's why I was scared when you first came to me about Sofiya. I thought you'd do the same for her that your parents did for me, but her foresight and meeting with Odette prevented that.
Sofiya was wise beyond her years. She knew that she wouldn't live long, even if she did survive, due to her illness. She understood the reason why Odette threatened her, too. What if she was just your average kid, though? As Miharu said, I might have given my own life to save her. Of course, we're talking about things that aren't possible anymore.
Did my parents' actions play a part in your desire to keep doing things for my sake, then?
I ask this without a second thought. Her claim that she would give her life for me might be her way of making things up to my parents. Miharu wastes no time in replying. The tone of her voice is far more intense than normal.
No, Rinka. In fact, that misunderstanding is the one thing I feared more than you coming to hate me after I had revealed all this.
Urgh... You're as dense as a black hole...
She covers her face with one hand, her voice somewhat distressed. I can only assume there's something else she meant to get across.
It's okay. Tell me everything. I promise things won't change, no matter what you say.
I approach her, gazing into the eyes she's trying to keep covered behind her right hand. There's about an eight inch height difference between us, so this is the only way for me to get a proper look at her face.
Why... are you so... so cu-
She casts her eyes away and steps back before mumbling the rest of the sentence to herself.
Her eyes fall back on me, though she refuses to face me head-on. Silence ensues as we stare at one another. The light of the nightscape causes her eyelashes to shimmer.
Fine. So be it. J-Just give me a minute to prepare for this, okay? I need a deep breath or three.
Saying that, she really does start to take deep breaths. I guess it's something big if it requires this much courage for her. So I make sure to remain quiet until she finishes taking her... sixth breath.
She speaks my name before falling silent again. I won't rush her. This has to be a revelation even more shocking than that of my parents being participants in the previous Divine Selection.
I love you.
Huh? Well, I love you too, but...
BGM: A Dot on a Piece of Paper
While not what I expect at first, it doesn't take too long for me to understand exactly in what way she means her words. Anyway, I answer her right away on reflex.
The short time between that and my total comprehension of her words feels like an eternity. We're in a nice place at night with no one else around. She had to find the courage to say what would otherwise be a simple saying between friends. We've spent so much time together discussing Divine Selection, a matter of life or death, that I figured she just wanted to be more direct for once. And knowing her, I figured she'd said it that way on purpose.
But now it all makes sense.
She never, ever meant it the way I thought she did.
I can't believe how dense I've been! No wonder she made that black hole comment!
H-Hold on... Assuming I'm understanding the situation, then... I-I'm the one who isn't ready for this...
BGM: Two Crossing Paths -S/I V/S-
I mean, we're both girls, y'know?
That's irrelevant. Perhaps now you'll realize how hard I've been trying to appeal to you all this time. Let me say it once more. I love you, Rinka. Not as a friend, but as a woman.
I love the expressions you make. I love the gold streaks in your beautiful hair. I love your soft skin. I love that you're short, because it only makes you cuter. Not to mention your complete lack of fashion sense. I love how kind you are and how much of a busybody you can be. I love how intense you can be, as well as how reckless. I love absolutely everything about you, Rinka.
Er... Uh... Ah...
I've lost the ability to speak. Never before have I been this shocked by something Miharu had to say. She has the advantage while I'm in this state, too. She continues to stare at me, her entire face having exploded into a bright shade of red. This is a new sensation for me. I never knew just how much one's heart could flutter when faced with the love of another.
Err, uh.. I... Ah, well... Um... Uh...
I shoot glances all around my surroundings in a panicked search for words. I desperately need help, but there's no one around. I guess that means I need to face this situation all on my own.
I cut myself off right away. Apologizing now would mean I've turned her down. I don't think I'm ready to do that yet. Not while my brain feels ready to burst at any given moment.
I've, uh... never experienced this kind of thing before, so... I think I've lost my ability to communicate effectively...
Ahaha. You really are adorable, you know that? Hard to believe you can look so fierce when staring down the other participants.
I feel my capacity for speech diminish by the second as she stares into my eyes. She's completely different from how she was ten minutes ago. I can't see her as the same Mishima Miharu I knew before. I always thought she was pretty, but the nightscape only serves to exacerbate that truth. That being said, I... I don't...
The fact that you didn't shoot me down right away is plenty for now. I'm feeling pretty relieved now that I got it out.
Oh... Well, that's good...
I can feel my breathing becoming more ragged. Miharu's next line yanks me right back to reality, though.
Just make sure to give me an answer before I die.
I won't avoid it. I'll give her an answer, no matter what. It's my turn to show the same resolve that she showed me, after all. How I'll go about it has to remain a mystery for now. That's nothing new, though. I've faced these kinds of obstacles many times before. It's up to me to decide for myself. It's my life, after all.
I promise. You'll get an answer, no matter what. Just... uh, give me some time to think it through! Um, please?
Miharu nods, a smile on her face.
We head home next. While I may have bought myself some time to give her an answer, our walk back is awkward considering we're alone together.