Part 96: Tanabata
BGM: Lion House Cafe
07/05 (THU), Midnight
Not long after he leaves, Naomi comes downstairs.
Naomi! Are you feeling better?
I-I'm fine, yes... More importantly, I have to apologize to you.
She pauses before pulling her eyes away from me.
I heard your conversation with Alan. He's so much more kind than I thought... I want to thank him for helping me, but it's too late...
...Don't worry about that.
It's all I can think to say to her.
He has to have known that Miharu collected all of Federico's cards. Now he's made sure that only you and she remain after the next round.
Yeah, I don't doubt it.
I'm going to forget everything about him once he's eliminated, aren't I? Not just about him helping me, but his kindness as well.
That's why it's my job to make sure I never forget.
In that case, please tell me about him after the fact. Make me remember what I shouldn't.
Of course... I wouldn't be able to handle it all if I didn't.
Naomi grips my hand tightly in hers. Her memories take a considerable blow since she's helping me despite not being a participant. Though that makes me question why the system that rewrites people's memories is so flawed. If Parca's the one who made it, then I want to lodge a complaint. It's far too cruel. There's more to life than the beat of one's heart. It's our experiences that make us who we are. That's why changing or making people forget those experiences is just as bad as outright killing them.
Do you mind if I stay over tonight? I'm still not feeling too well, honestly...
Sure, I don't mind. Just make sure to tell your mom first.
She's obviously faking it. Not like it matters to me, though. If anything, I don't want to spend the night alone.
BGM: Good Morning (20XX XX XX)
07/07 (SAT), Morning
Saturday, two days later. Yesterday passed without issue. The four of us studied together after school and then I did my usual diary reading at night. I told Miharu about Alan, too. Looks like I'll be electing him, while she'll be electing Federico. On a superficial level, things have gone far smoother than they have in weeks past. There weren't any huge incidents like with Yu, nor was there any need to make deals with people like Odette. Things aren't so simple deep down, though. The significance of the upcoming eliminations is all the greater now that we've gotten to know and see their development.
There's no point in being depressed until the time comes, though. Instead, I try to brighten my mood before heading to school.
BGM: At Amecha Girls' University High School
Upon my arrival, Mao greets me with an eerie grin.
Mornin'! Guess what day today is!
Um... July 7th, so... Oh, Tanabata.
Bingo! They've put up some bamboo over in the cafeteria, so let's go hang our wishes!
Hmm... It's a bit embarrassing, but okay. I'm surprised you care, though. Normally you're not interested in the stuff going on at school.
Sometimes I feel like it, y'know? You're coming too, Miharun.
...I'll write one if Rinka does.
All right! Now to rope Naorin in, as well.
There must've been a Tanabata feature on TV or something. That aside, it's relieving to see Mao act like this. Well, it'd probably be a relief if she was in her post-all nighter mode as well.
07/07 (SAT), Noon
Once we've written and hung our wishes up, we start to make our way to class. The faculty set bamboo up in the cafeteria that's shared between our and the college's campus, just like Mao said. A surprising number of people are participating, which leads to me taking a peek at some wishes. Most are relationship related.
So what'd you all write?
What happened to keeping it secret?
We make it a point to keep what we've written to ourselves. For a simple reason, too- we're shy.
Let me make one thing clear, Naomi. You might not have meant to see what I wrote, but you did nonetheless. I don't need to explain what will happen if you tell anyone, do I?
I-I'm so sorry! My lips are sealed!
Oh-ho? Caught a glimpse, did you? It's a loyal servant's duty to tell their queen everything, you know.
Sorry, but I can't. No matter what!
Miharu gives Naomi an exaggerated glare before transitioning into a smile. As for me... Well, I guess there's no point in reminding myself of something I wrote.
Just a few more nights of sleep and it'll finally be summer vacation.
I wouldn't say a few when it's over a week away, but sure.
You haven't forgotten about our promise to go see fireworks, have you, Rinny? Should be around this time next month.
Let's make sure the four of us go together.
There's a hint of gravity to her words. It's not often she sounds like that, so it leaves the rest of us speechless. Naomi ends up breaking the silence.
Yeah! I love fireworks, so I'm really excited!
Miharu and I nod in agreement.
Aight! Naorin's in charge of getting up early and grabbing us a spot, then!
I-I'll do what I can!
We'll all go there together. For sure.
...If Rinka says so, then it's the truth.
My reluctance to say it in the first place is why I force myself to make that claim. It's a much more personal wish than what I wrote earlier, but also a more earnest one.
BGM: Rinka's Room
07/07 (SAT), Night
Once the day is over, I get ready for bed. As for the diary, I'm almost done with it in terms of pages. Tomorrow's session should be my last. I couldn't find a second volume after looking around, so tomorrow marks my last look into the daily lives of Linda and Dianna. When I think about that, I recall what we talked about earlier on in the afternoon.
I talked to Miharu about it before. Back when we were alone at the theme park. Back when I was the only one who didn't know anything about Divine Selection. Oh, no... A flood of memories come back to me all at once. I must be tired... I feel my eyes begin to water up as my emotions involuntarily pour out.
I want to go! I want to go with everyone!
My thoughts turn to screams. And then I remember that it's the middle of the night, so I end up smothering my face with a pillow.
It helps to muffle my screams. It's all so sudden. The fear of losing what I have at the moment has just hit me out of nowhere. I don't want anything up till now to be undone.
I fall asleep at some point, unable to sort out my emotions.