(Secret character time! Although I feel like it’s kind of obvious who this is from the way I have my posts organized. At any rate, please read the previous Psychedelica posts in order to understand the story in order.)
Quick summary from where this route splits.
*** CHAPTER FOUR ***
Everyone is depressed by Yamato’s disappearance but realize that they have no choice but to continue on hunting for the fragments to complete the kaleidoscope. They have collected quite a few fragments but Beniyuri only continues to feel uneasy. She partners up with Kagiha this time and they defeat a monster, which leaves her breathless and exhausted. She also has the feeling that someone is watching them.
At night, she is led outside by white butterflies and to Monshiro who leads her to the hidden greenhouse where Yamato has been hiding. She manages to turn him partially back to normal but he refuses to return to the refuge. She promises to visit him and keep this a secret from others and is led back to the refuge by Monshiro, where she wonders:
- What kind of connection does he have with Yamato?
- It’s best if she didn’t pry too much
Beniyuri wonders what kind of connection he has with Yamato. He went out of his way to introduce her and Yamato, and so he might be expecting something.
She visits Yamato every night with Monshiro and then, one day, Monshiro gives her the ribbon that he always has and tells her that it’s a protective charm. He also wants to be one of her companions and ends up popping into the room. Everyone is suspicious but Karasuba lies to help Beniyuri and so Monshiro joins the group. He ends up cuddling with her at night and whispers that he can’t stay with her forever, even though he wants to.
Yamato tells Beniyuri about a study and so she visits it with Hikage during one of their exploration and monster-hunting expeditions only to find a strange book.
- Takes it in hand
- Averts her eyes
Unintentionally, Beniyuri averts her eyes away from it. She has the feeling that this is something she shouldn’t be seeing.
In the end, she finds a photo before she and Hikage are attacked by a monster. They retreat back to the refuge and show the photo to everyone which unlocks their memories about being childhood friends, except for Monshiro. Hikage is very suspicious about this and since Monshiro is the odd man out, no one is able to defend him even though Beniyuri tries her best. In the end, Monshiro separates from everyone to hide in his room since he doesn’t want them to fight.
At night, Beniyuri realizes that everyone seems to be hiding a painful memory from her and she’s the only one who can’t remember it.
- It’s okay even if she doesn’t remember it
- She wants to remember it by any means possible
Beniyuri decides that she shouldn’t try to force herself to remember something that she can’t; though she’s a bit irritated at her own cowardice.
At any rate, she’s unable to sleep and so she heads down to the living room only to see Karasuba there too and he’s looking at the kaleidoscope. He reveals that he’s entertained the thought of breaking it because he doesn’t want to go back to the real world. But he’s only half-serious. He actually wishes he still didn’t have his memories because unhappy things happened in his childhood. Beniyuri points out that everyone has started to act strangely after regaining their memories and it feels like they’re keeping something from her.
Karasuba jokes about being her lover in the past and dodges around the issue until he finally tells her that she’ll be the one hurt by regaining her memories. Beniyuri disagrees. He also proposes that she doesn’t use his real name in this world because he’s not the same person that he was in the past. He’s not weak and unreliable anymore, he’s someone who can protect her.
And then he goes on to say 「ねえ・・・この世界で全部やり直そーよ。つらい現実じゃなくて、幸せな夢を見よう？・・・ね？」(Hey… let’s redo this entire world. And instead of looking at a painful reality, let’s see a happy dream, okay?). It’s a coaxing and sweet-like invitation. She… just what did she forget? If she takes this hand, she might be able to save something inside of him. But is there something else that she can do? On the verge of hesitance she:
- Takes his hand
- Doesn’t take his hand
Beniyuri makes him lower his hand.
She doesn’t accept his view and believes that, even if she is scared of her memories, she should confront her past. Her real name is Minato Ai and not Beniyuri. She wants to return to the real world and believes that everyone should return together too. Karasuba jokes about how he wanted to run away but instead he received a lecture from her about confronting one’s past. At any rate, he thanks her for helping him clear his mind and then the both of them return to their rooms to sleep.
*** CHAPTER FIVE ***
Usagi tells them that they have almost completed the kaleidoscope; they only need one or two more fragments. Everyone is happy except for Karasuba. He ends up disappearing the next day and everyone goes through the mansion to search for him. Beniyuri even secretly enlists the help of Yamato. She and Hikage find Karasuba injured in a room. They head back to the refuge only to see Monshiro pointing a gun at Kagiha.
Beniyuri starts to lose her patience at how everyone is keeping a secret from her. Karasuba ends up shooting Monshiro’s mask and breaks it to reveal that he has the same face as Hikage. Hikage reveals that he’s the master of the mansion. Monshiro was Kazuya, Yamato’s twin brother all along.
Hikage tries to kill Beniyuri for the last shard but Kagiha takes the shot for her. Hikage attempts to kill her again but is wounded by Yamato, who suddenly appears. Hikage retreats and uses Kagiha as a shield. Beniyuri has memories of the time everyone went to the summer camp and started to explore a mansion on a lake.
*** CHAPTER SIX ***
Yamato takes their diminished group, consisting of Beniyuri, Karasuba, himself, and Monshiro, to the greenhouse in an attempt to find somewhere to hide from Hikage and heal. They rest there until Karasuba’s wound heals. Beniyuri starts to feel isolated and hurt at how everyone is still keeping a secret from her. But then they’re approached by Usagi who reveals that Beniyuri has the last fragment and the master of the mansion wants her to come to him.
Everyone makes a plan to deal with Hikage, but this only makes Beniyuri feel more isolated since her plans are shut down and she’s not very involved apart from having the role to talk to him. In the end, she’s the one who decides when they should go though and she:
- Wants to look around
- Wants to go immediately
Beniyuri wants to head over to Hikage immediately.
*** CHAPTER SEVEN ***
Her memories still haven’t returned and Beniyuri is feeling completely isolated from her companions. She’s also depressed because it feels like everything is falling apart. She wants to cry and recalls how Kagiha encouraged her to be honest with her feelings and cry whenever she needed to so that she’d be able to smile. But then she also recalls how he’s gone now after having taken a serious injury for her and, because of how much she’s been enduring, she feels like she’s lost the ability to cry.
She tries to sleep to prepare for tomorrow but sleep doesn’t come and in the darkness her five senses sharpen. She can feel the sensation of the lawn and the cold and chilly night air; the surrounding fresh scent of flowers. But amongst all these sensations there is one that sticks out and catches her attention. It is:
- The sound of rain
- A faint light
Beniyuri thinks she sees a faint light.
She is lured out of the greenhouse by butterflies and meets Kagiha who coaxes her into giving him her ribbon. He tells her that she won’t be able to return back to life with it since she has a strong attachment to it. He also gets her to promise not to tell anyone about their meeting. Beniyuri’s accessory is also turning worryingly black.
The team confront Hikage in his throne room and it is revealed that Kagiha has been working with him. Beniyuri is forced to remember her tragic past where Kagiha, also known as Natsuki, died in the accident saving her and Kazuya. Kazuya fell into a coma from the accident. Karasuba, also known as Aki, moved away. Yamato, also known as Takuya, also moved. Basically their friendship broke and Beniyuri blames it on herself and starts to become a black butterfly in despair. Hikage takes this chance to acquire the last fragment for the kaleidoscope and completes it.
Yamato and Karasuba burn themselves trying to reach Beniyuri. Hikage has betrayed Kagiha, who is in despair at what his choices have wrought. Monshiro is angry that Kagiha took the ribbon which is a protective charm for Beniyuri, and whoever wants to injure the master of the mansion. He still tries to stop Hikage from using the completed kaleidoscope though.
Beniyuri manages to get the strength to crawl to Kagiha and they forgive each other. Kagiha had wanted to return to life with her because he loved her but he also realizes that he needs to unshackle himself from everyone. He returns the ribbon to her, which cures her from her despair and then sacrifices his life to pin Hikage down. Beniyuri shoots through both of them and kills both. Kagiha’s spirit wishes her happiness before finally disappearing.
The kaleidoscope automatically grants their wish to live again and returns Beniyuri, Yamato, Karasuba, and Monshiro back to their original world. All of them have learned a valuable lesson about moving on and friendship.
*** EPILOGUE ***
Minato Ai wakes from her coma in the hospital, and so does Aki, Takuya, and Kazuya. All of them, excluding Kazuya, had been going to the lake to hold a memorial service for Natsuki but experienced an accident that put them in a coma when their bus drove off a cliff. It’s hailed as a miracle that all of them are awake but Ai knows that they have all escaped from that strange world and their exploration from that one summer’s day has finally ended.
Scene skip! Ai wonders if she should move her hairpin higher; she’s been standing in front of a mirror for several minutes now. She touches her bangs in contemplation because she’s decided to try on the hairpin that Aki gave her, but wonders if it looks strange. She’s been discharged from the hospital several days ago after a few checkups and today is her first day, in a long time, of going to school.
Honestly, it felt like she had spent a long time in the in-between world, around months, but in truth it had only been a few weeks. But those several weeks were quite important in terms of high school. She feels nervous thinking about her relationships with her friends after her period of absence and the school material that she doesn’t know. That’s why she wanted some sort of charm but…
She could only think of this one; this solid gold glass butterfly hairpin that Aki bought for her at a street stall before they fell into the in-between world. On the day that they went to the lake, she had been holding this hairpin and the glass fragment that Natsuki had given her. And then the bus accident happened… which made them go through the strange events in the in-between world.
When she regained consciousness in the hospital, she had been holding the empty frame of the hairpin. A lot of things disappeared in that in-between world but only this remained with her. Is it because of Aki’s feelings or…? This makes her recall that Aki is still recuperating and it’s been a while since she went to school on her own. The thought makes her feel a bit lonely. In her living room, which there is no one else, she quietly whispers to no one that she’s heading out and leaves the house.
The moment she opens her door a cheerful voice greets her and compliments her for looking cute as always today. She stares at Aki who is leaning against the wall in front of her. She asks him what he’s doing here since she heard that he was still going to be absent from school! He smirks as he tells her that it’s not interesting going to school when she’s not there, so he took a break from school under the pretense of recuperating.
Ai gapes at him. He continues on to say that he heard from Haruka that Ai was going to school today though, which is why he hurriedly came here. It’s his duty to welcome the princess, after all! Ai wonders when he became such good friends with Haruka. And then she abruptly realizes that she’s wearing the hairpin he gave her! She had wanted to wear it to organize her feelings but… she feels embarrassed now and, under the cover of arranging her hair, she hides it under her hand.
Aki, who is sharp, must have noticed it but he continues to smile like nothing is wrong. At any rate, he suggests that they get moving instead of standing around here and she nods hesitantly. The two of them start to walk down the road under the warm summer sun. Aki complains about how hot it is but realizes that it’s summer. Ai asks if his body is okay and if it’s alright for him to walk around like this.
He tells her with a bright smile that he’s fine and, if she wishes it, he can even carry her princess-style and walk. Ai laughs awkwardly and declines politely. Compared to her who hasn’t gone out in a long time, his steps are light. But she can see that he’s slowed his pace to match hers out of consideration. Ai changes the subject to talk about how nice it feels under the sunlight and she can smell flowers nearby.
Aki asks what kind of flower it is. She answers that it must be jasmine and her neighbor has these white flowers that bloom every year. He thinks it’s pretty nice too though it’s very sweet and people may be particular about it. Ai confesses that she likes this scent and it reminds her of coconuts. The warm sun and the nice summer breeze… everything is nostalgic. It might be because none of these were at “that mansion”… is what she thought in her heart but she avoids the topic.
Ai comments on how it almost feels a shame to be going to a classroom with no sun; it makes her want to stop somewhere on their way to school. Aki shows surprise at her unusual words. She tells him that she’s free to say whatever she wants but she won’t really skip school. He grins and tells her that she should skip classes; he’ll come with her. They can just attend their afternoon classes. Ai falls silent and thinks about it.
Skipping… huh. Usually, it’s just something she mentions lightly but for some reason it’s very tempting right now. She slowly agrees with his idea because it sounds nice; maybe the two of them should skip! Aki laughs and starts to say that he thought she’d say that since she’s always so serious– wait, what?! His eyes go wide at her unexpected reply.
They skip classes and end up at the park. Aki tells her that he didn’t prepare any money for their date and so they should go half-and-half on ice cream. She pouts and tells him that he should have enough for just ice cream. He tells her that she doesn’t understand anything and he meant going half on everything. He found something nostalgic at the nearby cheap sweets shop. He presents to her… double ice! It’s the ice cream that they can split in half.
Ai finds it very nostalgic and also recalls that it’s difficult to split it nicely down the middle. Aki grins and says that he’s skilled so it’s not a problem for him. He snaps the soda-colored ice cream evenly down the middle and it makes a light cracking sound. She thanks him when he gives it to her and takes a lick while sitting down on a wooden bench. For some reason her heart is pounding from her first time skipping classes and this sweet and refreshing taste of ice cream.
Aki asks her what kind of turn of events has made her skip classes. Does she have classes with a terrible teacher today? She shakes her head and says that she just had the want to stop somewhere on the way to school. He’s surprised because she doesn’t even have a place she wants to go, right? She nods and tells him that she just wanted to walk outside rather than study in a classroom… although she’s definitely attend her afternoon classes!
He narrows his eyes and hums at her speculatively. She wanted to walk outside… huh. He’s looking at her with searching eyes. Even though he’s the one who suggested it to her, his suspicious expression is cute. He thinks this is out of character for her but ultimately doesn’t care since they’re able to go on a date like this. She remembers that he said that earlier but is this really a date? She thinks he’s a bit mistaken…
Aki pouts and says that they’re a man and a woman who are alone together and so there’s nothing else to call this but a date, right!? BOYS AND GIRLS CAN BE JUST FRIENDS DUDE. He tells her that if she has a different opinion then he’ll give her one second to state it. She blinks in surprise. He nods his head and confirms that she doesn’t have one, which makes this a date! She tells him that his move right now was unfair. He tells her that it wasn’t and she shouldn’t get angry over something so small. He changes the topic to how delicious the ice cream is!
Ai is exasperated at his change in topic. They’re sitting side by side on the bench and she eyes the small distance between them. It’s the perfect amount of distance between a boy and a girl.
Aki suddenly comments on how often they used to play here. Ai nods and points out that the sandbox, jungle gym, and swings haven’t changed. He recalls that his body was weak when he was young and he used to be bullied by those who lived near him. And every time Ai saw that she’d immediately fly over and chase them away. She always protected him like that. She doesn’t remember that clearly. He’s not surprised that it was probably nothing to her. To him, he was happy and mortified.
She repeats the word “mortified” questioningly. He points out that it’s obvious a guy would be mortified from being protected by a girl. And that’s why, one day, he wanted to be the one to protect her. But he acknowledges that this duty was Natsuki’s and that was another doubt for him.
Ai falls silent at that name, Natsuki. It still sends a small pain through her heart. In that in-between world, he was that important childhood friend that she was reunited with and once again parted with. He was a person who always watched over them gently. Before the accident, she always stubbornly avoided the topic of Natsuki. But now, she’s no longer going to avoid it and will remember him.
Aki recalls that, ten years ago, when everyone had been drowning he had only been able to stand on the cliff and watch. He wasn’t a related party or an outsider… just a bystander. Takuya who had been beside him and watching immediately ran for help but he could only crouch and do nothing. He did nothing but watch Ai and the others drown. In the end, Natsuki sunk to the bottom of the lake and Kazuya lost consciousness. He really hated how weak he was. Ai whispers his name.
He tells her firmly that this is why he thought to change. After the incident, when he moved to a new school he tried his best to act cheerful. He became someone who was treated as popular in his class and he thought he had finally parted with his weak self. He should have separated from his weak self but… At that time, when he reunited with her at their high school entrance ceremony… he realized how dazzling she was again. For a moment, he felt like he had returned to their childhood.
Aki was terrified that his strong exterior was just a fake and his weak self had returned. And so he thought that this might have been a chance given to him by god. He thought 「今度はオレがキミを守る。キミを大事にする。昔出来なかったことを全部叶えるんだって。・・・でも・・・」(This time I’ll protect you. I’ll treasure you and everything that I couldn’t do in the past would be granted… but…). He tightens his grip on the stick of his finished ice cream.
But he realizes that he was mistaken. In his attempts to protect her he hurt her instead. He’s always wanted to apologize for that and he apologizes now for the terrible things he said to her before the accident happened. Not just for the bus accident either but during their time in “the mansion” he unconsciously hurt her with his weakness. He averts his eyes and apologizes deeply. Ai tells him that he doesn’t need to apologize like that.
Aki thinks there is since he said a lot of things… or is she saying that none of his words even made it to her heart. She opens her mouth and hesitates… his actions, and his actions as Karasuba, float across her mind again.
She recalls the time he asked which of them was more clever, she who trusted others and was hurt or he who was suspicious of others and avoided getting hurt. She had asked him if he didn’t believe in anyone. He answered that she was correct. She asked if that included her and the others. He answered that it did and apologized.
There was another time when he wished that it’d be nice if everything terrible was just a dream, not just this world. Hasn’t she ever thought about how nice it’d be if there was nothing but happiness? She had agreed that it’d be nice to have a world with only happiness, but… they wouldn’t be able to mature if there was nothing terrible in the world. She thought they needed to face some things and that one couldn’t just run away from everything. If one isn’t emotionally strong then nothing would begin.
At that time he had called her a liar; he had accused her of not actually being that positive. Her legs had trembled when they stepped out into the hall and even now she wants to run away, no? He had said that he got irritated at seeing her act like a good person and saying nice things.
Before the bus accident occurred, he had also accused Takuya and her of being cowards. They were weaker, scared, and more cowardly than he had been when he was young. He got angry just looking at them and asked them why they acted like that! He didn’t lose nothing during that incident at the lake and he was there when everyone else had fallen in. He thought they were pathetic for licking each other’s wounds. Takuya had tried to attack him at that point but she had stopped them because nothing would be accomplished with that.
Back in the present, Aki confesses that he couldn’t believe in himself anymore after he had just watched his friends die… which is why he also couldn’t believe in anyone else. His thoughts became increasingly dark and he ran away from reality, wishing that everything was just a dream. He thought he had changed but he was just as weak as he used to be and only blamed her. He laughs weakly at how hopeless he is. He’s still bound by the past just like them.
Aki takes her ice cream stick and heads over to the trash. For a second, she sees the side of his face and even though he’s smiling she realizes that he’s also sad. She realizes in her mind that there’s something she needs to say to him. She needs to tell him this properly. As he comes back, she inhales deeply and orders her feelings. And then, as he takes a seat on the bench, she covers his hand with her own.
He startles. She confesses to him that she was never able to face him. After their reunion, they had become closer friends than they had been during their childhood. Every day he came to pick her up and they went to hang out a lot. But she was scared that he had moved on and scared that he had changed. She still hadn’t gotten over Natsuki’s death and had frantically trapped herself in a shell.
She realizes that she must have been hurting him. She took advantage of his kindness but ran away from the crucial point. But now… she’s realized her mistake. She had been trapped in the past, refused change, and stayed in the same place. She herself had been hurting people like that. Even though she kept on running there’s no way to hide from the past. There’s no choice but to overcome it by themselves. And that’s why…
Ai tells him that she won’t run away from anything anymore. She’ll also face him properly and… she touches her bangs and feels the hairpin that he gave her. She had never worn this but now she’s wearing it… this is a charm to help bring out her courage. It’s because of this that she was able to take a step forward…
Aki smiles gently and tells her that it suits her… a lot. She startles before thanking him shyly. Her heart is beating fast at his emotion-laden words. She feels like something just started.
A cool wind blows between them. With this, their tangled relationship has been undone. But she won’t run away any longer. She returns his straight gaze and notices that his amber eyes have changed color slightly. Aki asks her what she means exactly when she says she’ll face him. She blinks in surprise. He starts to smirk as he points out that she said she was going to face him properly, but what will she do specifically?
Ai stutters before realizing that he has a point. What exactly should she do? Should she talk to him? Should she walk with him to and from school? No… She ends up apologizing because she can’t think of anything. KISS KISS KISS. He sighs and jokes about how her words are just sweet-sounding as usual… She tells him that he doesn’t have to be so frank in his exasperation! He smiles wryly before denying that he was exasperated.
She feels like she’s straying from her previous decision already. But then Aki suggests something to prove that they’ve made up. When she looks at him in confusion, he suggests that they kiss. She splutters at that. K-K-Kiss!? Without thinking, her hands fly up to cover her mouth and she feels her cheeks and ears heat up. He laughs at how red her face is before telling her that he was just joking, but she immediately took it so seriously.
Ai repeats his words in amazement. He nods and tells her that it was a joke and he was just teasing her. She stares at him though because she knows that he wasn’t joking. When he’s serious, he actually fakes it by joking. She tells him slowly that she thinks something like a kiss is a bit too early but… He tells her softly that he understands. But she interrupts him and says that they can at least do this…!
He stares at her with wide eyes as she intertwines their fingers. Their hands are connected without a gap. He murmurs her name. She’s embarrassed as she tells him that she feels like she can become strong together with him. Right now, they may still be weak but if they’re together then they can encourage each other and she feels like they won’t run away from anything. And so… can they… have this kind of a relationship?
Aki gapes at her and asks her what she means by that. Her voice tapers off as she tries to explain that she’s saying… He continues to gape at her. Does she mean that… could she possibly… with him…?! OMG THEIR STUTTERING IS SO CUTE. THEY’RE LITERALLY DANCING AROUND THE TOPIC. She raises her eyes to meet his and whispers that she wants to be together with him. She thinks they still have to take this step by step and at a pace both of them can do together, but is this okay?
It’s a confession that takes all her courage. She still can’t take an entire step but she feels like she’s taken half a step. But that’s her doing her best and she becomes worried about Aki, who has remained stiff. She asks him if he’s been listening or does he not want this… after all? He returns to the present at her voice. And then… yells out that he’s really happy! She yelps when he suddenly pulls her into an embrace. Her heart is pounding terribly.
She calls out his name questioningly. He whispers that it’s good… that’s good… no, this is good! She raises her head from his chest to see that he’s smiling in pleasure. He confesses that he was moving too fast in wanting to change himself when he didn’t even know himself yet. She hadn’t taken a step from what happened 10 years ago and so wasn’t able to move forward. But he feels like the both of them, together, will be able to have a good pace.
He tells her 「キミの気持ちがオレに追いつくまで、待つから。キミはキミの速度で、昔と違う、今のオレを知って。」(I’ll wait for your feelings to catch up to mine. Go at your own pace and get to know the current me, who is different from the past). And then… he’d like it if she grew to like him… differently from a friend. She gives him a small nod. And then, after that, wraps her own arms around him.
She wants to return his feelings. Tomorrow more than today, and the days after that more than tomorrow… she wants to grow to like him more and more. She wants to be able to like him as he is right now, without deceptions or dodging it. Ai wonders if this is the feeling of falling in love with someone. Somehow it tickles her heart.
Aki suddenly asks her why she’s smiling. She shakes her head and tells him that it’s nothing. And then she asks him when he reverted back to calling her by her first name, since lately he had been calling her by her last name. He just states that they’re in high school now and even though he thought about keeping it like he did in the past… in the end, this way is much more fitting. Does she dislike being called by her name? She shakes her head and tells him that it makes her happy.
Closing her eyes, she can feel his heartbeat. It’s beating at the same pace as hers. She feels like, in this moment, both their feelings have become one. Time passes and there is nothing in this world that stays the same. The time that should have stopped is also gently flowing and sometimes, like this, great changes can happen. Her weak self could only be afraid of that though. She’ll grow to love change from now on.
Even if she loses something again, at that time, she’ll treasure her bonds and any new encounters. Together with Aki, who already thinks like that, she can take a step into the future.
Aki murmurs 「ずっとずっと、キミが好きだった。でも、きっと明日は・・・もっともっと、キミが好きだよ。」(I’ve always loved you. But I’m sure by tomorrow… I’ll love you even more).