Part 25: Famous Last WordsUpdate 22: Famous Last Words
I'm greeted by the twin specters of Shizune and Misha, looking like they mean business. Well, Shizune looks like she means business, anyway. Misha just looks like she's about to start laughing at any minute.
Katawa Shoujo OST - The Student Council (Shizunes Theme)
MISHA: "Up on the roof again, Hicchan? You know that's dangerous, don't you~?"
MISHA: "That's right~! The school cannot be held responsible for any injury that comes from being up there, you know! Furthermore, we could report you for breaking the rules~!"
Misha leans in and whispers conspiratorially.
MISHA: You three are too cute together~!
She straightens up again, laughing at my sudden blush.
MISHA: "Wahahaha~! You're too easy to tease, Hicchan~!"
HISAO: "Hey, come on. I'm still new here, sort of. Isn't it mean to pick on the newcomer like this?"
MISHA: "Nope~! It's to help you get acclimated to your new surroundings!"
HISAO: "Ah, I see. Well...do you have to be so overzealous about it?"
MISHA: "Yep! Ah! That aside, Hicchan, we were looking for you this morning, but you weren't in your room!"
HISAO: "Of course I wasn't. I was out for my morning exercise, or here in class, bright and early. Unlike you."
Shizune looks peeved, and a beat later, so does Misha. Or she tries to, at any rate.
MISHA: "That was because of student council business! You should be grateful that we work so hard for you~!"
HISAO: "Oh, I am, I am. So what did you need me for?"
Not another attempt to rope me in to do their dirty work, I hope.
MISHA: "We had to give you something~ but since you weren't around, we dropped it off in your room!"
HISAO: "Something? Like what?"
MISHA: "Oh, you'll find out when you get back, Hicchan~! Wahahaha~!"
Mutou entering the room ends our conversation, and we all head to our seats. It's only after I've settled down at my desk and the teacher's started talking about something or other that something odd strikes me. What did Rin mean, You two seem to? Was Emi staring at something too?
For a brief moment, I consider the possibility that Emi was staring at me the way I was staring at her. Of course, that's ridiculous.
Still, I can't deny that I wouldn't mind if it were true.
But it's best not to think of that. No need to get my hopes up. Come to think of it, when did I start having hopes like that anyway? I shake my head in an attempt to clear it, and focus on the lesson.
After class, I make my way to my room. Mutou really piled on the homework today. Before I can open my door, however, I am suddenly intercepted by Kenji, who has just exploded out of his own room in a flurry of papers.
KENJI: "Hey, we need to talk.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Out of the Loop
KENJI: These rooftop shenanigans of yours, man. They've gotta stop."
KENJI: "Your running around on the rooftop with the limbless wonders! They're women, man! You'll get yourself killed running around like that!"
HISAO: "I don't follow."
Kenji sighs and adjusts his glasses, before what could be understood as an attempt at explaining himself patiently.
KENJI: "Look, we're friends so I'm telling you this for your own good. But if I were going to kill someone, I'd do it by throwing them off the roof and making it look like an accident. And if I've thought of it, you can be sure they've thought of it too. They're crafty - almost as crafty as I am."
HISAO: "I see."
KENJI: "Good! I'm glad we had this chat. Loan me 500 yen."
HISAO: "...I'm sorry?"
KENJI: "I need to get a drink, man! I've been inside all day and the tap water's been compromised, as I'm sure you know. So I need to stock up on something canned, got it? But to do that, I need 500 yen. And since I've just saved your life with my timely advice, you can at least spare me 500 yen."
You know, if it'll make him go away, 500 yen is a bargain. I hand the money over to Kenji, who nods in thanks and dashes off down the hallway, but not before he locks his door. What an exhausting person. I'd better go, in case he changes his mind.
Still used as comic relief, still incredibly uncomfortable. But at least he isnt as invasive a presence as he was earlier. He will keep showing up, but he will never get the spotlight he did in Act 1.
Hm? As I close the door, my heel taps against something lying on the floor. It's a brightly-colored rectangle of paper. Ah, this must be the something Misha mentioned before. Probably a student council leaflet she slid under the door. However, when I pick it up, I find that I couldn't have been more wrong. Someone actually wrote me an old-fashioned, hand-written paper letter. Who bothers doing something like that in this day and age, anyway? Yet, as unlikely as the prospect of receiving one sounds, this is definitely a letter I have in my hands. I was planning on finishing my homework, getting some dinner, and going to bed in order to be ready for tomorrow morning's run. However, the letter has naturally caught my interest. I sit at my desk to examine it properly.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Caged Heart
It's the first piece of mail I've received here at Yamaku, so it'd feel special even if it wasn't something as rare as a handwritten letter. What causes me even more trepidation is the name of the sender, written neatly on the back of the envelope.
I have no idea why she would write to me. I haven't been in contact with anyone from my old school since I transferred, and Iwanako is the last person I'd expect to want to write me a letter.
The last time I saw Iwanako was terribly awkward; embarrassingly so. She came to my hospital room, peeled me an apple out of courtesy and then we practically sat in silence for half an hour. She said goodbye and didn't look me in the eye when she closed the door. It might've been a natural end to the series of visits that were probably pretty painful for both of us. Every time she visited me in the hospital I wanted to talk to her, but something stopped me every time. Every time that I didn't speak made the next time even harder. She looked so guilty that I didn't want to say anything that might upset her, and I never could figure out the right words to say.
I think Iwanako blamed herself for my heart attack. That's ridiculous, of course, but knowing it and believing it are two very different things. I told her that it wasn't her fault, she nodded and I really think she understood that if it hadn't been that, then sooner or later something else would've made my heart give out. Yet she looked so hopelessly sad every time she opened that door and entered my room. So I never managed to say the things I wanted to say. In the end, that might've hurt her even more.
Carefully, I open the envelope and draw out the folded letter from within.
Iwanakos Letter posted:
How are you? I hope you are well and happy at your new school. Everyone here misses you. Almost all of our second-year class got put together in class 3-1 for the final year, so we are pretty comfortable right from the beginning of the year. I'm sure you would've been assigned to this class as well.
The mood among the third-years seems to be very anxious about the final exams, even though they are so far away. The teachers are badgering us about it all the time - even old Mr. Tachibana who is, by the way, our homeroom teacher this year. Would you believe it? I was sure that he'd retire after our second year, but here he is, nagging everyone about studying for exams.
I think things like that are the main reason why the mood among the third-years is so nervous. I must admit that I'm somehow losing confidence in myself as well, even though I've always fared reasonably well in exams.
It's so weird to think we are already seniors, isn't it? Time has really flown past. I wonder where it went. The new first-years seem so young and somehow really innocent. I keep wondering if I was like them in my first year. I've been feeling nostalgic like this for the whole first trimester.
There are other things I want to say. I'm writing to you because I felt that there are things I should've said after the incident back in winter. I really regret that I wasn't able to say them in person, and I have no excuse for it...
Yeah, I think I have had quite enough of this. I crumple up the sheet of paper and toss it across the room. My aim is off, so the letter rolls under my nightstand instead of going into my wastebasket. That was an apology for abandoning me. Except I don't know that I really need it any more, at this point. The hospital seems like a lifetime ago, and here, now, I've got other things on my mind. Emi, for starters. It wasn't great to be abandoned during my stay, but it's not something I'm worried about any more.
In fact, I hadn't even thought about the hospital in what feels like forever until this letter came in. It's almost annoying to have received it. I've got exams to study for, myself. I have no time for the past. Now, about that homework...
Thats pretty cold, Hisao. But then, I guess I cant blame you for not wanting to remember the darkest time of your life so far. As you can probably guess, theres a lot more to Iwanakos letter; it shows up around this point in all five routes, and sometimes his reaction to it is very different.
Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time
HISAO: "So what's the plan for today anyway?"
Katawa Shoujo OST - Daylight
I'm waiting patiently in the hallway of the girls' dormitory just outside of Emi and Rin's rooms. Emi is apparently helping Rin with getting dressed. I suppose that makes perfect sense, as I've no idea how Rin would get dressed otherwise.
EMI: "That's what I said!"
HISAO: "Sounds pretty exciting."
EMI: "I know, right?"
Rin chooses this moment to make an observation.
RIN: "The sky seems threatening today."
Actually, I noticed that, too, on my way over. Despite the sunshine of the early morning, the afternoon seems to have taken a turn for the gloomy. There's a heaviness to the air as well that usually heralds a rainstorm. I wonder if I should have brought my umbrella...
HISAO: "She's got a point. Emi, you sure that you still want to risk getting caught in the rain?"
I don't even know why I bothered asking.
Emi pops out of Rin's room into the hallway looking shocked that I'd even suggest canceling our plans.
EMI: "Of course! What, the threat of rain's supposed to stop me?"
I can't help but grin at her belligerent response. It's almost like she's daring the rain to come. If Mother Nature were walking down the street, I think Emi would probably start a fight with her. Or at the least challenge her to a race. In fact, Emi seems almost aggressively cheerful today.
Rin wanders out into the hallway, looking her usual self.
HISAO: "Well then, are we all ready to go?"
EMI: "I'm ready!"
Rin nods and says a single word.
HISAO: "Beg pardon?"
RIN: "The basket. In Emi's room. You should carry it."
Emi claps a hand to her mouth, embarrassed.
EMI: "Omigosh! I almost forgot all about it! Nice save, Rin!"
Emi darts into her room and emerges with what looks like a very well-stocked picnic basket. As she hands it over to me, I note that it feels heavy enough to be one, too. Good Lord, how much food did she pack? ...More to the point, where'd she get the money for all of this?
HISAO: "So, are we set to head out?"
Rin gives another nod, and we head out of the dormitory.
I can't help but frown when I notice how gray the sky's gotten in the ten minutes I was inside. Still, Emi does not seem concerned by such petty concerns as the color of the sky. She's positively skipping as we walk. Which reminds me...
HISAO: "Where are we going?"
This brings Emi up short and she shoots me an embarrassed look.
EMI: "You know, I hadn't really thought of that. What do you think, Hisao?"
Well, there's the spot where we ate during the festival, but it might be nice to leave the campus for a while. However, I'm not sure if there's any good places to do that in town. Just as I'm about to open my mouth, Rin unexpectedly interjects with a suggestion.
RIN: "There's a park in town near the art shop."
EMI: "Great idea, Rin! I totally forgot all about that place!"
HISAO: "Do you know how to get there, Rin?"
RIN: "It's pretty likely."
EMI: "Good enough for me!"
I would prefer knowing for sure... but, what the hell.
HISAO: "Lead on, Rin."
The three of us quickly make our way off campus and take the road down into town. This basket's a bit heavy. I hope that the park is close by.
We pass the art supply store, Rin slowing her pace slightly as we go by. Emi notices Rin's change of pace and stops.
EMI: "You wanna go in, Rin?"
RIN: "Nothing I need."
EMI: "Are you suuure?"
There's the slightest flutter of a smile on Rin's face, quickly replaced with her usual expression.
RIN: "Life's uncertain, but on this at least I am pretty sure. Nice of you to offer."
EMI: "Well it's not like I'm the one carrying the basket. But I'll bet Hisao wouldn't have minded anyway, right?"
HISAO: "Oh, of course not. This is hardly a heavy load."
I flex for emphasis. Emi stifles a snort of laughter by pointing to the park at which we've suddenly arrived.
EMI: "Oh, I remember this place! I ran into you here that one time, didn't I, Rin?"
Rin's eyebrow raises slightly.
RIN: "Maybe. I'm unwilling to say for certain one way or the other. Memory's a tricky thing, you know."
Well I'll be. We made it in one piece after all. The sun's still nowhere to be seen, but neither Emi nor Rin seem to mind.
We find a spot to sit on the grass and I set the basket down gratefully. There's a surprising amount of food prepared. Maybe we were supposed to be joined by some of Emi's teammates or something?
EMI: "I'm starving! Dig in!"
She attacks the food as if she's had nothing to eat for years.
(Sudden Silence, Lightning Flashes, Rain Sound Effect)
I love the art in this game
I'm just reaching for the food myself when I feel the first drop of rain land on the back of my hand.
HISAO: "Uh oh. Looks like the weather's not going to cooperate with us after all."
Emi glares at the sky as if that alone will hold back the rain. I very nearly believe she can do it. It's one heck of a glare.
EMI: "It had better cooperate. You hear me sky? You stop that raining right this instant!"
The sky doesn't seem inclined to listen to her, despite the commanding tone she's taken with it. Instead, the rain seems to increase. Rin wrinkles her nose in distaste at this turn of events.
EMI: "What do you mean?"
RIN: "I could paint this if I weren't out here. Shame to miss it, is all."
She doesn't seem angry or annoyed about it, just a little disappointed. Emi laughs in response to Rin's comment.
EMI: "Guess we should have stopped in that art supply store after all, huh?"
The rain increases a little more, offended that we haven't fled yet. Despite the warm temperatures we've been enjoying, the rain is rather cold. I wish I'd brought my umbrella.
HISAO: "Hey, we should probably head inside to keep dry."
EMI: "We're already pretty wet, Hisao."
HISAO: "Yeah, but we can dry off this way and maybe wait out the storm. You don't want to catch a cold or anything, do you?"
Emi considers this for a moment. I can tell that part of her wants to stay out in the rain just to spite the weather. Unfortunately for her, the weather hardly cares about what we do.
EMI: "I suppose you're right. Where could we go?"
I don't have an answer for her. The area's still pretty new to me. Though I guess I'm slowly getting used to the school itself, the surrounding town remains a mystery. All I know is the art supply store, and that's only because we've just passed it. Fortunately, Emi soon snaps her fingers in triumph.
EMI: "That's it! There's a tea shop nearby!
EMI: "We could have some tea and dry out, no problem!"
That doesn't sound like a bad idea.
HISAO: "Great! You know where it is?"
Emi nods, looking fairly confident.
EMI: "Sure do! I think. But it'll be an adventure either way, right?"
HISAO: "Adventure, huh? Well, I suppose we could use a little adventure."
I think as long as we get out of the rain I'll be happy. The picnic basket is a little lighter now, at least.
HISAO: "Lead on!"
Rin and I follow Emi as she weaves through the streets with something approaching confidence.
EMI: "Now, a left here...
EMI: There! The Shanghai!"
Emi beams triumphantly as she points to the tea shop. It seems fairly crowded inside; a symptom of the sudden rain, I'm sure.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Red Velvet
(Rain Effect Stops, Chattering Crowd Sound Effect)
YUUKO: "Welcome! Can I"
I'm surprised to find out that our waitress is none other than Yuuko. She sure looks the part in her uniform. It's hard to believe this is the same librarian from our school. Does she work two jobs? I guess that must be it.
YUUKO: "Oh, it's you."
Yuuko seems to know Emi. Emi grins brightly, pleased to be remembered.
EMI: "Hey Yuuko!"
HISAO: "Hi, Yuuko. I didn't know you worked here too."
YUUKO: "Do I know you? You seem awfully familiar, but I don't think I've ever seen you in here."
HISAO: "Er, we met at your other job. At the Yamaku library. Remember?"
Her eyes widen in memory.
YUUKO: "Yeah, that's it! Nice to see you again... Oh no, this is bad! I should have remembered a customer's face! I'm sorry... I'm terribly sorry!"
Yuuko goes from realization to panic in a split second, performing a series of high-speed bows. I narrowly avoid getting headbutted in the process.
HISAO: "Whoa, hey, calm down! Listen, I wasn't a customer when we first met, in fact I hadn't ever been to the Shanghai, so it's all right."
Not the best display of logic, but it seems to relax her a little.
YUUKO: "Do you really think so?"
HISAO: "Uh, yeah, I'm sure. Positive. Isn't that right, girls?"
Emi has been watching this little drama unfold with considerable bemusement.
EMI: "Yep, it sure is!"
YUUKO: "Well, okay..."
EMI: "So Yuuko, got room to seat us?"
Yuuko nods and leads us to a corner booth, providing us with some small towels before taking our order.
YUUKO: "What will you have?"
EMI: "Cake! And some tea too, I guess."
YUUKO: "What kind of cake?"
EMI: "Surprise me!"
Yuuko looks uncomfortable at the thought of surprising anyone, but she gives a nod and turns to Rin.
YUUKO: "And for you?"
RIN: "I'll take a straw. My feet are all wet."
RIN: "The drinking kind of straw. One, please."
Yuuko is obviously uncertain of what to think about this. She fiddles with her pen and stationery for a moment, looking like she's about to cry, before turning in my direction.
YUUKO: "And you, sir?"
HISAO: "Just tea, I think."
Emi would probably yell at me if I ordered cake.
EMI: "Aw, come on Hisao! Don't let me be the only one with food, I'll feel like a pig!"
HISAO: "Just trying to eat healthy. Your orders, after all."
EMI: "Well... today is your day off! You can be healthy tomorrow!"
HISAO: "Well then, I suppose I will have some cake after all."
Yuuko seems slightly irritated that I'm changing my mind.
YUUKO: "What kind?"
I glance at Emi and grin.
HISAO: "Surprise me."
Yuuko sighs and nods.
YUUKO: "Very well. Your order will be out soon."
Despite the crowd, our order does indeed arrive quickly.
EMI: "Thanks, Yuuko!"
Yuuko nods in appreciation.
YUUKO: "This is a different guy than usual, isn't it?"
What? Different guy? Emi must notice my confusion, because she seems a little embarrassed.
EMI: "W-what? Oh, yeah, I guess he is. This is my friend Hisao."
HISAO: "We've met."
YUUKO: "Huh. Small world. Well, let me know if you need anything."
With that, Yuuko takes off like a shot to wait on some other tables, leaving me to ponder her comment. Different guy, huh? I guess it makes sense, right? Emi's pretty popular, or so I've been told. It's probably that kid from the track team. This is stupid. I can just ask Emi.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Katawa Shoujo OST - Generic Happy Music
HISAO: "So who's this other guy, huh? You got a secret lover or something?"
Emi laughs again, only I get the feeling it's from nervousness as much as anything else.
EMI: "It's just the track team captain. He likes coming down here after practice sometimes. So if we have anything to discuss I tag along."
Hmm, sounds mighty suspicious to me...
HISAO: "Oh, I see."
I could let the matter drop, but I can't resist at least getting another dig in.
HISAO: "So it is a secret lover! I knew it!"
Rin watches our play, seeming mildly amused before muttering something that I don't quite catch.
RIN: "... y'anyway"
EMI: "What?" HISAO: "Huh?"
Rin jerks back from wherever her mind wandered off to.
HISAO: "What did you just say?"
HISAO: "No, before that."
RIN: "No idea."
HISAO: "Oh. Well. Okay."
I let the matter drop, but I can't help notice that Emi seems relieved that Rin interrupted the conversation. Maybe I went a little too far... Conversation dies down for a moment as Emi and I busy ourselves with cake. Mine is strawberry, and surprisingly good. Emi seems to think so too, as she suddenly reaches over with her fork and steals a bit.
EMI: "Pirate. There's a difference."
HISAO: "We're not on water!"
EMI: "Well, no. But there's a lot of water outside, so it still works, right? Besides, you can have some of mine. I think it's cranberry or something. I should have asked for the strawberry. I like strawberries."
HISAO: "Feel free to help yourself to mine, if you really must."
For some reason, I feel compelled to add:
HISAO: "Seeing as how you've already done it once, and all."
Emi sticks her tongue out at me, but that doesn't stop her from appropriating my cake. I try some of hers, as well. It's raspberry, and pretty good.
RIN: "The rain's let up."
It would appear that Rin is correct. Good timing, too. I've finished my food, and it looks like Emi has as well.
HISAO: "Well, we'd better pay and get a move on before it starts raining again."
It takes a few minutes to get Yuuko's attention, but we pay and get out pretty quickly.
Like Iwanakos letter, the Shanghai is a constant between all routes but unlike the letter, it shows up frequently. Like, if we made different choices in Act 1, we couldve visited it earlier and missed out on Yuuko going here.
EMI: "So, do you want to return to the park?"
My jaw nearly drops.
HISAO: "Are you kidding? It's probably going to rain again!"
In fact, I think I just felt some raindrops.
EMI: "Hmm... you may be right. Well okay, I'll let you off the hook this time, but you owe me a picnic now. Got it?"
I don't know if she's addressing me, Rin, or the both of us.
HISAO: "Fine, fine."
EMI: "Now hurry up! I wanted to get some laps in at the track, and it would be nice to do it without the rain."
HISAO: "I thought this was your day off!"
Emi suddenly seems reluctant to explain herself.
EMI: "I need the practice. And I need to burn off that cake, anyway."
Why do I get the feeling that she's leaving something out?
HISAO: "Are you sure? It wasn't that much cake..."
EMI: "No, it wasn't that much cake for you. I ate most of it."
She's got a point there.
Still, I feel like I should at least offer to run with her...
>Offer to run with Emi.
This isnt a real choice, Ill be making it for you to forward the LP. Its just a convenient stopping point for an overlong update.