Part 47: Chess and SlidesUpdate 42: Chess and Slides
Katawa Shoujo OST - The Student Council (Shizunes Theme)
MISHA: "So, how about it, Hisao?"
>"What do you think, Hanako?"
>"I've done enough work for the council already."
This choice doesnt effect ending we get, it just determines which of two scenes we get.
=>"I've done enough work for the council already."
This one takes us to a scene with the same title is this update, while the other takes us to one called Office Confessional. If you are wondering what that vote was about, this is it.
HISAO: "Hey, Shizune. I know I said I'd help, but I forgot I'd already made plans. Besides, I helped out more than my fair share last week, didn't I? I promise I'll make it up to you some other time."
Shizune and Misha release their grip on me and have a long, deep, and silent conversation.
MISHA: "Well, you have a point there. To be honest, we were only going to spend the rest of the budget on cakes. So, if you're not there, it works out better. More cake for us. Wahahaha~!"
Shizune about-faces and marches out the door, and Misha skips out after her.
HISAO: "Well, that was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Last week those two were like bloodhounds. Or prison guards. Or maybe prison guards bred from bloodhounds..."
I can't believe I just thought that, let alone saying it out loud. I think I need to move away from Kenji.
HISAO: "...Never mind. Anyway, should we go to the library?"
Hanako follows me through the still-crowded halls to the library, using me as a shield.
(Crowd Sounds End)
Katawa Shoujo OST - Fripperies
As soon as we are through the door, Hanako bolts for the counter, where Yuuko is stacking books. Before I can catch up, Hanako has whispered something to her.
YUUKO: "Um, you'd find that in non-fiction, but I don't know where, exactly. If you want I can look it up..."
HANAKO: "N-never mind."
HISAO: "Hey Yuuko, what's all this about?"
YUUKO: "Oh, Hisao... Hanako was just looking for a book on..."
HISAO: "A book on nothing? In the non-fiction section?"
HANAKO: "I... I was just..."
I shoot a glance at Yuuko. She looks like she's about to burst from the pressure of keeping Hanako's request secret.
HISAO: "Yuuko, what did..."
YUUKO: "Chess! She's looking for a chess book!"
I make a mental note to never entrust Yuuko with any important information.
YUUKO: "I'm sorry Hanako... it just slipped out..."
HISAO: "Well, it's not a secret any more. Come on, I'll give you a hand. I should really brush up on my skills, too."
HANAKO: "O... okay."
Yuuko disappears behind the counter in shame as Hanako and I wander into the depths of the non-fiction section. I know there is supposed to be a system for categorizing these books, but I don't see how anyone can decipher it without spending half of their life researching it.
That's probably why all the librarians I know are neurotic.
Towards the end of the aisle, between a book on card tricks and some book on kid's games, stands a single book bearing the title Chess Tactics for Champions."
Before I can reach for it, Hanako has the book in her hands, clutching it to her chest.
HISAO: "Well, I guess that's yours then. Mind if I borrow it when you're finished?"
HANAKO: "S-sure. I... I just haven't really played against anyone but L-Lilly before, so I thought..."
Damn. It's not like I was trying to beat Hanako deliberately or anything, but she seems to have taken it to heart. Then again, at least this means she wants to play me again. That's a plus, right?
HISAO: "Ha, well it's not like I'm a master or anything; I just played a bit before..."
It occurs to me that I haven't told Hanako about my condition. I falter for a second, deciding to cover my tracks. That is a conversation for another day.
HISAO: "...before I came here."
HANAKO: "Are... are you all right?"
HISAO: "Yeah, I was just remembering something..."
When I think about it, I shouldn't be afraid to tell Hanako about my condition and my time in the hospital. Judging by her scars, she probably spent a fair amount of time in a hospital bed. But, for some reason, I can't bring it up. At least not today, and not on short notice.
Eager to break off the conversation, I grab a random book from the shelf. It's some book on the world's fastest roller coasters... ...published in 1982. Well, not very up to date, but it should at least be interesting.
HISAO: "Well, we both got books now, should we go sit down?"
Hanako seems to accept my bluff, and we head to the reading nook in the back of the library. Neither of us says a word; we simply open our books and start reading. I try to read my book, but it would seem that in 1982 roller coasters weren't nearly as large as the ones built in the decades since. Most of the ones listed are made of wood. Something about that doesn't seem safe to me. If I'm going to ride on something potentially dangerous, I want it to be made out of steel, or some kind of space-age alloy that has big words like Titanium and Ruthenium. I quickly lose interest, and my eyes wander across the reading area to rest on Hanako.
Hanako seems absorbed in her book, flicking back and forth through the pages, as if confirming what she just read. I wonder if that's actually effective, or if she's just overloading herself. She unconsciously brushes her hair from her face, temporarily revealing her scar tissue. I'm still not sure about the protocol here. Is it right to ask her about her scars? Or her past? How long was she in the hospital? Does she still visit the doctor? These all seem like the questions that you'd ask someone who just transferred to your school, translated into the local language. But, to date, no one has directly asked me any of them.
Well, except Rin, but I don't think I should use her as a guide to proper social behavior.
For the time being, I'll just keep my mouth shut. If someone wants you to know something, then they'll tell you. Trying to force the issue might drive Hanako back into herself.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Afternoon
YUUKO: "Um... sorry to interrupt, but I have to close the library now."
I check my watch. Somehow, as I was lost in thought, nearly two hours have passed.
YUUKO: "Do you want to check out those books? I can do it on the way out..."
HISAO: "I'm done. I'll drop this one back on the way through. It wasn't as interesting as I first thought."
Hanako marks her place with a slip of paper and stands up. The girls head to the counter and I return my book to what I think is the right shelf. Yuuko scans Hanako's book with practiced precision, yet still manages to fumble it.
YUUKO: "Oh... there we go. Third time lucky. Since this is a non-fiction book, you can only have it for a week."
HANAKO: "T-that's okay."
Yuuko shuts down the library's computer and herds us out the door.
YUUKO: "Argh! I didn't think it was this late already...!"
HISAO: "But you're the one that told us you had to close..."
YUUKO: "Yes but, I know but, that was before I looked at the time! I'll see you later."
Yuuko bolts down the hall, her handbag trailing behind her like an awkward streamer.
HISAO: "I guess all librarians really are neurotic."
HISAO: "Ah, never mind. I was just thinking that I've never met a librarian that can organize their time, no matter how good they are with their books."
HANAKO: "Oh... I k-know what you mean..."
Hanako smiles in amusement. It wasn't meant to be a joke, but I must have reminded her of some other librarian... or something...
HANAKO: "I... I have to get back."
HISAO: "Yeah, me too. I didn't realize it was this late. Thanks for letting me hang out with you."
HANAKO: "N-no problem."
HISAO: "I'm going to my dormitory room now anyway, so do you mind if I tag along?"
Hanako sets off ahead of me, and I need to jog a little to reach her side. We walk through the gardens, eventually arriving in front of the dorm buildings.
HISAO: "Man, you walk pretty fast. I used to play in a soccer club, and you manage to outpace me."
I kinda regret saying that. It has less to do with her pace than with the fact that my condition has significantly worsened my fitness. Hanako's reaction is odd. I expected an awkward attempt to downplay her walking speed, but she just blushes while looking at her feet and smiling.
Silence hangs in the air between us. That happens often around Hanako, but feels slightly different than usual this time. After a few seconds, I try to break the silence.
HISAO: "Here you go. See you in class tomorrow?"
Hanako waves a short goodbye before pushing her way through the dorm's doors. I stand and look at them for a while, before making my way to my own dormitory room.
Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time
Now back to the main story.
Chirping birds. Normally, this would be a good time to reflect upon the beauty of nature. But it is 6 AM. Covering my head with the pillow, I slam my face into the mattress, hoping that the impact will send me instantly back to sleep. Futile. I toss and turn, but sleep simply won't return to me. All right nature, you've won. See? I'm getting up now...
The lack of sleep weighs my mind down, and there's only one remedy for this; a nice, hearty breakfast.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Daylight
(Muted Crowd Noises)
It would be nice to be the first person here. To be the first to dig into a piping hot pile of food, to sit wherever I desire... It would have been nice. But even my exceptionally early start has put me behind the most diligent students. I guess there are quite a few people that have early starts here, for one reason or another. A group of students in sports clothes huddle around one table, eagerly discussing game plans inbetween inhaling great gulps of food. Scattered around the hall are a number of bleary-eyed students, probably suffering from the same ailment as myself - noisy birds. And, of course, there are the people that actually enjoy getting up this early, the ones with their bags stuffed with textbooks and completed homework. It's hard not to despise people like that, even more so when you're tired yourself. Picking out a familiar face from the thin crowd, I head towards the nearest table.
Lilly sits alone, delicately feeling her way around a small plate of eggs with her fork. It's almost a shame to interrupt her and her clockwork movements. I wonder, is this how a blind person zones out? Simply moving in pre-determined patterns learned over the years, just like how a sighted person would eat while reading a newspaper.
HISAO: "Good morning, Lilly. I didn't expect you to be here this early."
LILLY: "Oh, Hisao, you startled me. I didn't know you took breakfast this early."
HISAO: "I don't. This is an exception to the rule. I'd greatly prefer to be late to school than early to breakfast."
Lilly gives a small sigh at my admitted tardiness as I begin eating my food. It doesn't take long for her to lapse back into her previous mindless nibbling. Each short motion lacks energy. I suppose this is similar to letting your eyes wander while performing any ordinary chore. But after a few repetitions of the find food/eat food cycle, Lilly puts down her fork and dabs her lips with a napkin.
LILLY: "Hisao, do you mind if I ask you a question?"
Damn. All I want is a little food and about four hours of sleep. And nobody says can I ask you a question for a simple question.
LILLY: "Do you think of Hanako as a friend?"
Huh, this seems like a leading question.
HISAO: "I... guess so. Why do you ask?"
LILLY: "No real reason. I do have another question though.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Lullaby of Open Eyes
LILLY: "Why is it that you think of her as a friend?"
This is well above my level. What is she expecting from me?"
HISAO: "I'm not really sure. I guess it's because she's a little different in the way she deals with people..."
LILLY: "Hmm. Since I've known her, she hasn't really connected with anyone. She doesn't seem interested in other people, and I think people are a little scared off by her appearance."
HISAO: "Really? I thought that kind of thing was, well, discouraged here. Discriminating and such."
LILLY: "Hmm, if I were to put it one way..."
She furrows her brow in thought, a move which makes me slightly anxious as to what she's plucking from her mind.
LILLY: "Id say that youre a little naive.
Naive? I'd be insulted if not for the slightly cynical grin on her face.
HISAO: "I... see."
LILLY: "While Yamaku has a stronger sense of community compared to other schools, it's far from being free of conflict. Rules cannot remove human nature, after all, only suppress it."
That's something I've noticed, actually. Just little things, like how certain people and cliques avoid each other in the hallways. It's no different than my old school, really. Even Lilly and Shizune could be considered bitter rivals, even though they both seem like fairly accepting people. Well, at least the Misha-tinted Shizune does; who knows what actually goes on with her fingers and behind her glasses.
HISAO: "I guess you're right. But when I first came here, everything was a bit of a shock. I kept on making mistakes, or at least thinking I was making mistakes. Like when we first met, and I said I see to you. I didn't know if that was considered rude or anything, so I tried to just put it in the back of my mind. Treating people any differently and that kinda thing. So I didn't. I told myself that Hanako and you and everyone else was just normal, and I tried to ignore the obvious. I talked to Hanako as if she were any other person, and so we became friends. At least, that's how I think it happened. But you know, I feel guilty just from saying something like that aloud. As if it took extra effort to think of Hanako, or you, or anyone here as normal people. I don't think that's right.
LILLY: "Hisao, I think you are naive, but I also think that you are a good person. It is perhaps one of your better traits."
HISAO: "I... suppose... I can take that as a compliment..."
LILLY: "Tell me, are you free tonight?"
HISAO: "If you don't count homework, then I'm as free as the breeze."
LILLY: "In that case, would you care to join myself and Hanako for tea?"
HISAO: "Er, I don't really have that much money at the moment, so going out isn't really..."
LILLY: "Oh, I didn't mean going out. Just here, this evening."
HISAO: "You can access the classrooms in the evening here?"
LILLY: "No, that's not what I meant. Hanako and I often use my room for tea parties together. Please feel free to drop by after dusk."
HISAO: "Sure, I see no problem with that. What's your room number?"
LILLY: "225; Room 25 on the second floor."
HISAO: "Okay, sure."
LILLY: "Well then, I had best be off. I have class representative duties to attend to, after all. Until this evening, Hisao."
HISAO: "Yeah, catch you later."
Hang on... was I just invited to a girl's room after hours? Is that even allowed? There is the curfew here, but I've never heard any rules about visitors in the dorm rooms. Even still, this is enough to get my sleep-deprived brain jump-started. Add that to a lukewarm breakfast and you have one hell of a pick-me-up.
I grudgingly go to class, still a little excited at the prospect of breaking the rules. I feel a little like a kid planning to sneak out of his window at night. Well, maybe that's going a little too far, but when you compare an invitation to a party to six or so hours of lectures, I know which one wins. Misha and Shizune do little to relieve my boredom either. For once, they seem determined to actually complete Mutou's assignments. Nevertheless, the day eventually winds to a close. I hurry back to my room to wash up and comb my hair. Thankfully I don't run into Kenji. Before long I am leaving the boys' dorm.
I nervously rap on the door marked 225, checking my watch once again.
LILLY: "Is that you, Hisao? The door is open, you can come in."
Lilly's voice lilts through the door and soothes my nerves. This is the first time I've been invited to a girl's room after dark. Even though I know there is no ulterior motive behind this invitation, it doesn't stop my mind running wild with possibilities. One guy. Two girls. In a dorm room. With a tea set.
When I put it like that, it sounds a little dodgy. Giving a small sigh to steady myself, I gingerly put my hand on the handle and open the door, craning my head to see inside.
Katawa Shoujo OST - To Become One
To Become One isnt ONLY the sex theme; like most tracks, the game reuses it from time to time when it fits the mood regardless of its origins.
The door opens completely and I catch my first glimpse of Lilly's room. Her furniture looks almost antique, but the bare walls and flat surfaces are barely decorated at all. In the center of the room sits a low table, where I see a small tea set at rest. It seems that everything in this room has its place, possibly excepting the several piles of books stacked up against the wall. My sense of vision isn't the only one to be stimulated; the faint smell of something can be picked up on the air. Nail polish, perfume, makeup... it's hard to describe in any way other than girly. My eyes finish their quick sweep of the room, before returning their position onto the girls.
The camera pans over Lilly and Hanako.
Lilly sits next to the small table, wearing very dark blue pajamas. Dark blue pajamas with shorts that show off plenty of her alluring pale legs. Opposite her, Hanako sits adorned in a conservative light pink gown. Her hands are firmly fixed between her legs, her shoulders forward, and her head down, as if trying to hide herself in it. It would be easy for her to do; it looks about two sizes too big for her. Waves of flannel flow from her frame, making her look like a child playing dress-up in her parents' clothes. She looks up to confirm my identity, and the beginnings of a thin smile creep across her face, before vanishing so fast that I can't be sure they ever were there.
LILLY: "There's no point in you standing in the doorway, Hisao."
I take a step into the room, closing the door behind me.
LILLY: "My my, I'm afraid this really is a small room for the three of us. Would you like to take a seat?"
I slowly walk to the table and sit down, trying my hardest not to disturb anything along the way. I also can't help but steal a quick glance into Lilly's top as I sit. To be robbed of sight would be a most terrible fate.
LILLY: "Well now, how about some tea. Hanako, could you please pour?"
HANAKO: "S... sure. Hi... sao... would... ..would you... ...would you like..."
HISAO: "I would love some tea. Do you need a hand?"
HANAKO: "N... no, I'm fine.. Thank you
Katawa Shoujo OST - Raindrops and Puddles
Lilly finds it difficult to resist a smile at her companion's nervousness, something I can't really blame her for.
HISAO: "Been a tiring day?"
HANAKO: "Y... yeah."
I relax at my place, opposite of the cabinet. To my left is the blue-clad Lilly and to my right sits the pink Hanako. The tea set on the table looks cute as well as practical; painted red with a floral motif. It looks odd when contrasted with Lilly's plain but generally sophisticated-looking furniture, which leads me to think that Hanako might have picked it out. There is a slight ting when Hanako accidentally clips the teapot on a cup as she is pouring. She breathes in sharply; she must be really nervous, as it's not the kind of thing anyone would worry about. Hanako quivers at her mistake.
LILLY: "It's okay, Hanako. There's no need to be nervous."
Hanako seems to find some confidence in Lilly's reassuringly soft-spoken words and deftly pours the next two cups.
HANAKO: "Here you are, Hisao... Lilly."
Hanako carefully places a cup and saucer in front of Lilly and myself. I could get used to service like this.
LILLY: "Thank you, Hanako."
HISAO: "Yeah, thanks."
HANAKO: "Y-you're welcome."
Lilly searches for her cup, and upon finding it, sips delicately. I do the same. This tea tastes somewhat better than the tea we usually have at school.
HISAO: "This is nice, it's so different from any tea I had before..."
LILLY: "Looks like you picked the right one, Hanako. You've done well, even if it was a bold move."
Hanako's smile returns, redoubled. Even with her blighted face, her shy smile couldn't be called anything but cute.
HANAKO: "I'm glad you like it..."
Hanako, finally beginning to relax, sips from her cup.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Raindrops and Puddles (Muted)
Something about this makes me think about Lilly's question at breakfast. Why am I friends with Hanako? Lilly seems genuinely concerned for Hanako's well being, but it's not like I can do anything to help her. As far as I can tell, her scars don't hold her back physically, and everyone I've met seems to have overcome their disabilities to some extent.
I don't have any ulterior motives to hang out with Hanako, we just share similar interests. Isn't that enough?
Katawa Shoujo OST - Raindrops and Puddles
LILLY: "So, Hisao, are you enjoying yourself?"
Lilly's words break me out of my reverie, and I take a second to reconsider where I am. I'm in a room with two girls in their bedclothes. This is something to be enjoyed.
HISAO: "Yeah, it's relaxing. Almost like I'm not in the school any more. Do you do this often?"
LILLY: "Quite often, but not as often as we take tea in the school building."
Considering they do that nearly every day, that's not a big surprise. As I move to take another sip from my teacup, I find it sadly empty.
HISAO: "That was delicious. Thank you Hanako, Lilly."
HANAKO: "You're welcome."
LILLY: "Yes, you're most welcome Hisao. It's nice to have a third person here."
HISAO: "Well, any time you need someone to fill that position, I'm always available. Always."
One must be sure to get one's point across in these circumstances.
Lilly lets loose a yawn, which she unsuccessfully hides with her hand.
LILLY: "Pardon me, I think I'm a little tired."
HANAKO: "I think we're all a little tired..."
LILLY: "My my, how astute we are tonight, Hanako. We really should head to bed; we all have class tomorrow."
HISAO: "Yeah... I should go."
LILLY: "Thank you for your presence, Hisao."
HANAKO: "Th... thanks. You'll come again?"
HISAO: "Not even a whole army could stop me."
LILLY: "I'm impressed by your determination, Hisao."
HISAO: "Either way, you're right. We'd best get going."
I stand up, and make for the door. Hanako gingerly stands up behind me. I stop and face her.
HISAO: "Are you coming with me?"
Katawa Shoujo OST - Katawa Shoujo OST - Generic Happy Music
Hanako instantly blossoms into full blush.
HANAKO: "No... I... not... this room... isn't..."
HISAO: "It's okay, I was only joking."
HANAKO: "Oh... okay... good night..."
LILLY: "Good night, Hanako. Good night, Hisao."
HISAO: "Night all."
And with that, our tea party finishes. I'm still not sure what it is that Lilly wants me to do for Hanako, but I don't want to let her down. I wait until the door has closed behind us before turning to Hanako.
HISAO: "Hey, Hanako, you know, you don't have to be nervous around me or anything. I mean, we're friends, right?"
HANAKO: "R-right. We're... friends."
HISAO: "If you ever want to hang out or anything, just let me know. We still need to have that chess rematch, remember?"
HANAKO: "S-sure... B-but I don't think you'll win..."
HISAO: "It wouldn't be any fun if it was easy."
Hanako seems to give a muted laugh, but she could have just as easily been exhaling.
HANAKO: "G-good night Hisao..."
With that, Hanako quickly retreats into her room, located next to Lilly's. I start to walk back to my dorm, but the simple act of walking seems to drain me of my energy. I barely make it to my room before I am hit by a wave of exhaustion. I kick off my shoes, fall into bed and fall asleep by the time my head hits the pillow.
Oh shit, I forgot to ask earlier: how do screenreaders deal with line breaks on SA? The two might be overkill, worth finding out before I get like 90% of the way through redoing the LP.