Part 97: Vestiges
07/08 (SUN), Morning
Federico returns to Japan from India on Sunday morning.
Dammit... Can't believe I only managed to find his cause of death...
Once in India, he visited both Alan's company and his family. According to his company, Alan was out on private business that wasn't to be divulged to anyone. As a result, he kept all contact with the company to a minimum. In exchange, the vice president was in charge of all important decisions for the time being. This led to Federico's discovery of an anti-Alan faction within said company. Not to mention their connection to a certain competing company. Putting two and two together with what Miharu had told him, he was able to deduce the background behind Alan's death and materialize the card.
The big issue was with learning his regret, since no one there had any valuable information related to it. His visit to Alan's home proved to be entirely meaningless, too.
Never expected to come across someone like her...
A girl there realized what Federico was up to. Her name was Amrita. Their surnames might be different, but she was apparently Alan's sister. She showed no reservation in telling Federico to leave the moment she saw him. Federico knew that Alan had plenty of enemies. He never would have been poisoned if that weren't the case. What's more, those enemies of his would visit his home in order to uncover any potential weakness. Federico used this knowledge in an attempt to threaten her.
It was to no avail, however. She did nothing but glare at him in response. Federico realized right then and there that she was a stranger to the concept of fear. She was undoubtedly aware of her brother's bad side. His merciless attitude toward others, his valuing of skill and competence above all else, and how many had lost their jobs due to both of those traits. Even then, she was wise enough to prevent his potential enemies from learning anything about him. Her situation was full of contradictions, and yet she stood resolute before Federico and his threats.
Federico himself likely would have resorted to a number of horrible means to force information out of her back in his mafia days. But this time, he gave in. The lack of both any backing from the organization and confidence that she knew anything about his regret caused him to do so. More importantly, the look in her eyes made it clear that she wouldn't budge through normal means.
Man, who did that girl remind me of? Not Odette, that's for sure...
There was something familiar about that look. Federico's inability to remember who it reminded him of bothered him.
Well, whatever. She may have been a looker, but she's just a kid. Gotta admit that I don't see her faring too well in the future with a personality like that.
Apart from that, the fact remained that Federico was unable to obtain Alan's regret. He gave himself a set time to return to Japan for two reasons. One was to prevent himself from losing his resolve, and the other was to ensure he had enough time for one last ditch effort. The only thing left for him at this point is to find and question Alan directly.
Finding that asshole is the main issue.
The train rocks as he tries to discern Alan's location.
Guess I fell asleep at some point...
Waking up only to remember my outburst last night feels anything but good. On the bright side, it proves just how much of a toll this whole thing has taken on me. I open my window and take a deep breath of fresh air to collect myself.
BGM: Two Crossing Paths -S/I V/S-
07/08 (SUN), Night
Aw, man... Guess it makes sense for me to go out like this.
Federico chalks up his current situation as one befitting a loser like himself. He is unable to get in touch with Alan now that Scale's gone. He's visited a number of places in the hopes of finding him, but to no avail. He wasn't even at the warehouse where he met with Odette and that other girl. In the end, he finds himself at the national park in Shinjuku. The final destination. He doesn't know why this park has such a fancy name, but he doesn't care. What he does care about is the fact that Alan's not here, either.
Just means our fates aren't linked. That I even need to say such a thing makes me sick.
His pace may seem leisurely, but he's spent the day running around on foot. Time simply won't allow him to slow down. He's running so hard that he's gotten covered in sweat despite his level of fitness. He has done all he can to triumph over Alan. It's a level of effort that he'd long forgotten. That's why he feels an odd sense of satisfaction despite having nothing to show for it.
Might as well grab some booze and drink until I pass out.
His decision made, he walks off into the night of his final day.
One hour later, Federico returns to an area close by. In doing so, he notices a certain cafe.
Guess I wouldn't mind some coffee first...
He hasn't had any espresso during his whole trip. It won't quite match the taste of what he's used to back home, but he finds himself wanting some after so long. The lights are still on, leading him to believe the shop's still open. Thus, he struts over to its entrance.
After day turns to night, I sit down at my usual table with the diary. I've got some coffee with me as well, but I'm being extra careful not to spill it on the book. I didn't spend the whole day studying thanks to having to take care of some chores, but hey, it's nice to finally sit down and relax. I don't get to do that often these days. At first I was reading through this diary to find information related to Divine Selection, but somewhere along the way I found myself simply enjoying it. I can see why Naomi loves to read so much now.
After taking a sip of coffee, I open up to the page I have bookmarked. Soon after, I hear someone shouting outside the store.
The hell?! Why's it closed when the light's still on?! Way to ruin my impression of the place!
The door is closed, but I can hear them loud and clear. What's more, the voice sounds familiar. I close the diary and duck behind the counter to better scout out what's going on. Standing outside is none other than Federico Carminati.
Why's he here...?
Didn't he settle things after his discussion with Miharu? I prepare myself for the worst, though something feels off. He isn't addressing me directly, now that I think about it. In fact, it may be safe to assume he's here by coincidence, judging by what he said. He's just upset that the store's closed. There's no need to overthink things in this situation.
Wh-What the...? You...
Seems like he's noticed me. I bet he never expected me to be running a cafe, much less the fact that I'm simply trying to read a book. He stands there and stares at me, mouth agape. I decide to not say anything to shatter his silence. Shortly after, he grins ear to ear before erupting in laughter. The way he's laughing- it's a familiar sound.
Federico can't hide his surprise at this turn of events. Inside the cafe he's about to visit stands none other than Shishimai Rinka. It's the first time they have met one-on-one in the real world. Fate must be up to something for this to happen on his last day. Her presence within the closed cafe could mean she works there, but Federico is more inclined to believe that she lives inside.
That doesn't matter to him, though. Instead, he finds himself excited about a certain revelation.
That's who she reminded me of...!
Rinka is staring Federico down, clearly wary of him. The look in her eyes brings someone else to mind. Amrita... Alan's sister. They both share that resolute gaze. He had always wondered why Alan seemed so concerned with Rinka, but he figured it had nothing to do with his regret. But he was wrong. This chance discovery seals the deal for him.
Alan's regret is related to her.
His excitement turns into a sense of joy he has never experienced before. He has won. At the last minute, he finally possesses all of Alan's cards. He has succeeded in outdoing someone he wants to beat.
Cheers to you, kid.
Federico then takes his leave without bothering to enter Lion House. Rinka stands there, alone and puzzled over what has just happened.
What was that all about?
Federico randomly decided to wander off while I was giving him a silent stare. I'm not even sure what he wanted. He looked incredibly happy for some reason, though.
That sure was frightening. In more ways than one...
I'm not sure why, but there was something unsettling about the way his expression switched from anger, to surprise, and then to joy. It didn't seem like he was rejoicing over obtaining my information, at the very least.
Maybe I'll take a break from reading today...
Perhaps it's for the best, since he might try to come back. Sucks when I'm almost done with it, but... oh well. After returning to my bedroom, I focus on preparing myself for tonight's election.