Hana Awase 「姫空木編」 ~ Himeutsugi ~

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Himeutsugi (姫空木)
CV: Tachibana Shinnosuke (立花 慎之介)

Himeutsugi is a second year Kaei of the Gekkougumi. Everyone thinks of him to be a kind, deeply considerate, and sympathetic person. In fact, he is frequently called “Hime-sama” which is a play on his name and means “Princess”. But he’s actually known to be a playboy in his own right, at least among his minamo; though he gets along well with men too. He was a scholarship student whose talents brought him to Kaen, where he quickly became one of the 5 Brights and close friends with Mizuchi.

DAY 20. Mikoto heads to the auditorium where the 5 Brights (actually only Iroha and Karakurenai) are supposed to propose to her. WE’RE DETOURING TO GET A BAD END.

(Full view pictures to see them in 850 x 595).

Nothing goes according to plan though and Iroha and Karakurenai reveal that the recent utsurohi incidences are because of Kagami’s TV crew. Her TV crew consists of an adabana who has been using electromagnetic waves and electricity to bring in utsurohi. Everything becomes a huge mess and everyone in the auditorium is in danger when tainted electricity starts to flow through the water on the ground, until Himeutsugi reveals his ability to absorb water from anyone and anything.

Himeutsugi apologizes for not being able to finish his fairy tale to Mikoto and tells her goodbye. He was glad to have seen this dream with her… while he was still himself.

IF YOU CHOOSE “WHY” (BAD END). Mikoto wakes up in her dormitory room. Kagami is there; she tells Mikoto to stay lying down, since it’ll hurt her body to move. Mikoto asks why she’s here. Kagami explains that Mikoto was exhausted after the battle in the auditorium and fell unconscious. It’s not unreasonable, since there’s no one who would be okay in that taint.

Mikoto asks how long she was unconscious for. Kagami answers about a week. Mikoto gapes, before quickly asking about Himeutsugi. Is he okay!? He looked to be in pain after gathering all the electricity! Kagami has a conflicted look on her face. Mikoto stares, unsettled. It can’t be that… Mikoto leaps out of bed, calling out Himeutsugi’s name. Kagami yells at her to stop. But Mikoto runs out of the room, leaving Kagami to wonder what the matter is with her.

Mikoto runs through the halls and into the greenhouse, yelling for Himeutsugi. She bumps into Momotose, who asks her what the matter is. Mikoto hurriedly asks her if Himeutsugi is okay? Momotose stiffens. Mikoto calls out her name, worried.

And then Iroha appears, noting her presence. Mikoto asks him where Himeutsugi is. He asks her if she wants to meet Himeutsugi? She nods. Iroha tells her to come with him then. Momotose snaps at him and asks what he’s saying! Iroha tells her without emotion that it should be fine; he is just showing Mikoto the truth. Mikoto finds Momotose’s attitude to be strange.

They head to one of the 5 Brights’ rooms. Mizuchi answers the door and is shocked to see Mikoto. Mikoto is also surprised to see him. And then Mizuchi asks Iroha if this is really okay. It’s not something she should see– Iroha doesn’t care and tells Mikoto to look into the room. She does so warily and sees Himeutsugi giggling.

Hime cackles before asking her who she is? She calls out his name, stunned. He repeats his name curiously before bursting into laughter. Who is that? Is that him? Him? Mikoto hesitantly asks him what happened to him and why he’s so strange. Just what happened? Mizuchi averts his eyes and tells Mikoto that she shouldn’t stay here any longer. For Hime’s sake too. Mikoto doesn’t understand.

Iroha explains that Himeutsugi has gone insane; after he was flooded with the tainted electricity in the auditorium, his mind became abnormal. He won’t be able to return to normal. Mikoto can’t believe it. Mizuchi adds that, on that day, all the students who remained in the auditorium died. Mikoto was barely rescued by Kagami. If Hime hadn’t stopped the taint then it would have spread throughout the school; he bravely volunteered his body to protect everyone.

Mikoto starts to cry in denial at this. Himeutsugi just cackles in the background. And then Iroha tells Mizuchi that permission has been given by the chairmen. He will now carry it out. Mizuchi grits his teeth but inclines his head; he will help. Mikoto looks at the two of them in confusion. Permission? Iroha orders her to move, unless she is going to help.

Mizuchi disagrees though and thinks she should withdraw. It is cruel to her otherwise. He asks Mikoto to come with him. She asks him what they’re talking about. What will be cruel to her? But he sends her out the door and then closes it in her face. She yells out their names. And then she hears strange noises. Like something being cut. And blood spilling.

Mikoto asks them what that noise was. They couldn’t possibly have… Iroha opens the door. He reports that the purge of Himeutsugi has been completed, and then orders Mizuchi to deal with the disposal. Mizuchi exhales tightly. Mikoto can’t believe this though; it’s just a lie, right? She runs into the room but Himeutsugi is silent. She is horrified by the blood. And then screams.

Himeutsugi had been killed by Iroha and Mizuchi’s hands. Apparently, his body which had been broken mentally was immediately corrupted by the taint and had turned into an adabana. He, who had sacrificed his body to protect the school, was killed by the school.

Mikoto dropped out of Kaen after that. She couldn’t accept this incident and the laws of the school. Maybe, if she had more power as a minamo, if she had the power to stop the blow… she could have protected Himeutsugi. But everything is over now. She wants to forget this. Everything that happened at Kaen… that person too… everything.

CHOOSE TO SCREAM HIMEUTSUGI’S NAME. Everything continues as in the common route, with Mikoto falling unconscious and meeting the crying boy. The chairmen have sealed the auditorium and Iroha wants to blow it up to clear the taint and everything. Karakurenai disagrees though. Mikoto decides to choose her own fate.

DAY 21. Mikoto heads to the lecture room and runs into Karakuri, Onosada’s helper, who speaks some eerie words to her. He also talks about Goto, his relationship with the emperor, and his plan that involves capturing and tainting her, the senki candidate. Anyway, she is to be expelled in three days and Onosada tells her to speak to everyone so that she doesn’t have regrets.

Instead though, Mikoto thinks on how Kagami was together with her in the auditorium and so she would know the details of the situation. Mikoto might be able to find a clue to save Himeutsugi. She heard that Kagami was in Himeutsugi’s room, and so she starts to head there. But then she hears strange noises coming from Himeutsugi’s room.

There are minamo from Gekkougumi who are crying about how gentle Hime is to sacrifice himself for their sake. But they don’t want this. They want him to return home. They want to see him smile warmly at them again. They will believe that Hime will come back. They won’t believe that he is going to be purged. They’ll come by and clean his room every day until the day he returns. So, please, come home safely.

Mikoto is silent. And then Kagami appears and asks her to come with her quietly. They move out to the courtyard where Kagami explains quietly that the imperial maids have been cleaning Hime’s room every day like that; and it’s not just them, the lunch box and tennis maids have been going about their duties as well. They don’t want their every day of Hime being here to crumble. Kagami shakes her head at how cruel Hime was.

Mikoto looks away and admits that she understands their feelings. Because everyone in Gekkougumi adores Himeutsugi. Kagami says that this is why Hime is a cruel man. Mikoto blinks at Kagami in surprise.

Kagami tells her that, at his core, Hime was a playboy and though it looks like he treasures girls, those are just appearances. He doesn’t get deeply involved, he plays with their love, and everything is a game. Everyone has just been deceived by his smile. Men are like that. WOAH KAGAMI IS ANGRY. Kagami smiles wryly though and admits that the girls demand Hime to show his “princess” side too, so the feeling is mutual.

Mikoto is shocked to hear this. And then Kagami tells her she heard from Momo that Mikoto likes Hime? Mikoto turns red and denies this because she still doesn’t know. Kagami hums before advising Mikoto to give up on him. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Kagami admits that, in truth, she’s relieved at the incident right now. It’s good that Hime will just disappear like this. Mikoto stares at Kagami, stunned.

Kagami asks wryly if Mikoto thinks she’s the worst? But these are her honest feelings. Kagami explains that Hime was specially admitted to this school by the recommendation of his guardians; his guardians are Kagami’s company. Mikoto asks her if she means Jinja TV? Kagami goes on to say that the top brass heard that Hime has a special power, which is also why the school accepted him when he was recommended.

Kagami confirms that his power is the one they all saw personally, in these past few days, and Kagami doesn’t think this is proper. That power is dangerous. It will bring misfortune to people. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Kagami points out that Hime accepted the electricity around him, the utsurohi, and the taint, and yet he didn’t turn into an adabana. Does Mikoto understand the meaning of that?

It means that Himeutsugi is one of Goto’s people. Mikoto gapes at her. Kagami admits that she hasn’t told anyone but the thing that is strangest to her in all this uproar is the intermediary. A small camera can’t spawn all those utsurohi that they saw. The utsurohi disturbance this time had all the usual people. And if Hime used this time to “put up” an intermediary then…

Kagami goes on to admit that she doesn’t have proof that he did it. But it’s strange to be able to manipulate that much power. The adabana could have cooperated with him at that time. Mikoto protests that the adabana didn’t seem like he knew Himeutsugi. Moreover, Himeutsugi saved them! There’s no way he could be cooperating with them– Kagami counters that Hime could be acting so that they can’t see underneath it all.

Mikoto has nothing to say. Kagami smiles wryly again and asks if she’s being cruel? But, honestly, she doesn’t understand Hime. Kagami then confesses that she isn’t the real child of Jinja TV’s company president. She’s an adopted child and a lamely calm person who is often mistaken to be a male. She should have been returned to the children’s institution but remained because the company president didn’t care that she was a girl. But the successor is usually a male, right? That’s how things normally are. Kagami laughs weakly.

Mikoto calls out her name, sympathetic. Kagami then goes on to say that, when Hime came to Kaen, she was told to keep watch on him by the top brass at Jinja TV. She didn’t understand why at first but now she does. She falls silent before confessing that, because of her debt of gratitude to the company president, she can’t defy the top brass. To say nothing of doing something if she does learn that Jinja TV is connected to Goto.

At any rate, she leaves how Mikoto will accept her words up to Mikoto, and then excuses herself to leave. Mikoto can’t believe Kagami would say these things. Himeutsugi is one of Goto’s people? That can’t possibly… Mikoto doesn’t think it’s possible. But if everything Kagami said was the truth then…

Scene skip! At night, Mikoto is in Himeutsugi’s room and sees that no one is here. It’s night though, so everyone must have returned home. She notices that the desk is clean; same with the floor, the bed, and even the tennis rackets. All the imperial maids did this for Himeutsugi. Those girls believe that he’ll come home. Even though they should have already heard the talks about the purge, they still believe.

Does she believe in Himeutsugi? Even if he is one of Goto’s allies, or if he holds a power that brings misfortune onto people… She approaches his windows and sees the moon. It’s so pretty. It reminds her of that night and how the moon was also pretty then.

On that night, she embraced Himeutsugi at her house. They both felt each other’s warmth. That… feeling. No, it wasn’t just that either. It was like that after the tennis match too. He has constantly been facing her with just one emotion. But what is that emotion? What is it that has her attention? And then she realizes that she can see a human shadow in the rear garden outside the window. It’s Gekkougumi minamo!?

Mikoto sees that they are facing the moon and praying. It’s midnight too… are they doing it for Himeutsugi? Mikoto is silent before she calls out to Himeutsugi in her mind and tells him that his minamo adore him. Is it because, like Kagami said, they seek the princess side of him? And is he tricking them with his outward appearance? Mikoto shakes her head. She doesn’t think the truth is there. For her there is only… one truth.

Mikoto walks to the greenhouse and can see light around the doors to the auditorium. Is this the barrier? It must be the barrier that the chairmen have placed and kept up, without sleeping, in order to protect the school. Mikoto thinks about following her truth. And how the only thing that she can do is…

Mikoto knocks on the door to the auditorium and calls out to Himeutsugi, asking him if he’s there? She knocks some more and yells out his name. Himeutsugi says her name, surprised. Mikoto is also surprised to hear him. Himeutsugi!? He confirms in a weak voice that it’s him… in some way or other. It appears that he’s still alive. Mikoto is glad and quickly asks him if things are okay inside? What about the taint? What about everyone else? She tells him to wait because she’ll open the doors!

Himeutsugi tells her that she can’t though, because then she’ll be tainted. He tells her that the inside is still full of taint; the electric currents are running through him without pause. He grunts. He doesn’t really have any freedom, and it’s taking everything for him to hold onto sanity. If she opens the door then it’ll be the end. Mikoto grits her teeth.

Himeutsugi comments on how she is alone, right? She must have come here recklessly. She replies that she’s not alone. She thought that he’d be here. She also knows that if she opens the door then disastrous things will happen. But Himeutsugi is inside. She came because the person who she did Hana Awase together with, and her partner in protecting the school, is here!

He laughs weakly at a girl like her. She asks if it’s strange? He replies that she is, considerably. She winces. Himeutsugi then tells her that Mizuchi came a while ago, and they spoke through the door. He heard about the explosion talk. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Himeutsugi tells her that he agreed because he won’t be able to hold back the taint soon. If he relaxes even the slightest bit then the barrier will break, so he thinks it’s about time. He can die like this… holding back the taint.

Mikoto protests loudly because he can’t! She asks him to open the door! No, wait, she’ll open it! He tells her that he’s keeping it shut from the inside, so she can’t open it. Mikoto winces. Himeutsugi laughs softly and then asks if she won’t ask him anything? About what he’s doing inside. About how he’s taken in the taint but hasn’t become an adabana. About what he is? Mikoto doesn’t say anything.

Himeutsugi confesses that the perpetrator is him. Like Karakurenai said, the intermediary that called in the taint to this school was created by him. He tainted this school. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Himeutsugi whispers weakly that he’s a demon. A demon that brings misfortune to people. As long as he has this power, he will never be forgiven for his entire life. But it’s funny because, thanks to this power, he was able to protect everyone and her until the very end. Like a prince of the fairy tales.

He goes on to say weakly that he’s happy; that he, the decorative princess who was just kind to everyone, could die like a prince. He’s… happy… and that’s why… Mikoto calls out his name, tears in her eyes. He doesn’t respond. She pounds on the door, asking him to respond. She even tries the handles before begging him to open the door. She then screams out that she doesn’t want this! She still doesn’t know anything about him! Hime doesn’t respond.

Mikoto tells him that she saw it! How he stretched out his hand to her on that night! She wants him to tell her what that meant! She knocks weakly on the door. She tells him that she wants to know his real feelings. Please open the door. Please tell her. She sobs out his name. He doesn’t respond. But she hears something collapse. Mikoto screams in denial.

A bell rings.

Mikoto is stunned because she can hear something ringing deep in her head? Huh? Words? Words are flowing into her! These words are…! Her onifuda starts to glow brightly. And then something shatters and the auditorium doors open. Himeutsugi stares at her, stunned, before calling out her name.

But Mikoto starts to recite words 「・・・ひと、ふた、み、よ・・・。いつ、む、なな、や、ここの、たり・・・。ふるべ、ゆらゆらと、ふるべ・・・。ゆらゆらと、ふるべ・・・!!」(… One, two, three, four… Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten… Furube, yurayura to, furube… yurayura to, furube…!!). REMEMBER THE HIFUMI NO HARAEKOTOBA? AGAIN!

Himeutsugi is shocked when the auditorium disappears. Where is he? What is this? And then he feels the taint come out of his body. Water is also coming out of his body. It can’t be… Mikoto murmurs his name. He calls out her name in surprise. She tells him that she’s glad to have found him. He gapes at her before noticing that everything is pure white. He can’t believe it. Did she do this?

Mikoto admits that she doesn’t know; but she did make a wish. She asks for his hand. When he gives it to her, she tells him cheekily that she caught him. And then she says that she wished to be able to hold his hand like this. And then strange words appeared. He stares at her, eyes wide. She asks him to tell her about himself. She’ll accept it. She’ll accept everything of his.

Himeutsugi laughs weakly and points out that this is strange. They aren’t even partners and so it’s weird for her to go this far. It’s like… Mikoto tells him that she chose. Her partner is Himeutsugi. Even if the onifuda doesn’t choose, it’s still him. And that’s why it’s not strange to be like this. He asks her quietly if that’s a confession. Mikoto turns red. She stutters out that it might be one.

He bursts out laughing and asks what that means. Does she not know? She averts her eyes nervously and mumbles that she only made a decision right now. He sounds amused and confirms again that she likes him? Mikoto turns even redder but admits it. M-Maybe she likes him!? Her words are cut off when he kisses her quickly.

And then Himeutsugi tells her softly that she’s an idiot. Coming here alone and then opening the door for his sake… did she not think about what would happen to the school? She admits that she was too busy thinking about him. He lists how even though he told her that he was fine, she didn’t listen to him. She’s reckless, has no plans, and is haphazard. Mikoto apologizes.

He sighs before commenting on how he can’t leave a girl like her alone. Someone will have to protect her… right? She blinks up at him. He just kisses her again, and then tells her that he’ll let her choose him. He also explains that the person who becomes her partner has to kiss the senki candidate. It’s a ceremony. It’s their ceremony. She turns red. He whispers at her not to move. HOLY SHIT BEAST!HIME APPEARANCE.

Mikoto squeaks when he touches her breast. He breathes in deeply before admitting that he’s always wanted to touch them, because they were big. She continues to stay red. And then he sighs again before telling her that she’s in trouble, for choosing someone like him to be her partner.

She realizes out loud that he seems to change his personality, from time to time. He points out that she’ll accept that too though, right? She has no response to that. He tells her softly that he’s already decided though. And kisses her again.

He murmurs 「僕は、運命に逆らってみる。僕は、おとぎ話の続きを君と作る。・・・何があっても。」(I am going to defy fate. I will create a continuation to that fairy tale with you… no matter what happens). She whispers his name before nodding and placing herself in his care.

And then Himeutsugi teasingly asks if they should continue until the very end here. Mikoto becomes flustered and stutters. He chuckles and asks if it’s too fast. She pouts at his teasing.

Himeutsugi is laughing without worry. He holds her strongly with a child-like teasing light in his eyes, instead of the usual calm. Somewhere in those eyes there is a sadness but she is too absorbed into him. Her heart has been pounding ever since she confessed that she liked him. Each time they kiss, her mind blanks. Is this love? No, she still doesn’t know. But it’s certain that she’s having feelings inside of her that she’s never had before. She wants to stay beside Himeutsugi. She wants to hold hands with him. No matter what kind of person he is.

「我が待ちし 秋萩咲きぬ 今だにも
にほひに行かな 彼方人に」 – Himeutsugi
(The Japanese clovers which I had waited on, bloomed,
and now I move to those colors,
to meet that person
on the other side of the river). – Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (Manyoshu, #2014)

Scene skip! Himeutsugi can’t stop laughing about how funny everything was. Each time he remembers it, he laughs. Because she had such a frantic expression on her face and when he had wondered what she would say, she told him that she “might like” him. She’s too honest. Haa, she is cute. Mikoto really is cute. He falls silent before admitting seriously that it’s strange because he had thought it would be okay for him to die, but now he really wants to live.

That bright white water. Her water… she gave him the water of life. He recalls her words about accepting him and decides that he’ll let himself be accepted then. But it’s going to be difficult for her to accept him. She better be prepared. Himeutsugi chuckles.

Scene skip! Half Moon notes that she’s decided on a moon. He doesn’t know what will happen with the moon this time. He can only stay here, and protect her. The first time was determination, and the second time is confusion. It was like that then before too. She is lost. Mikoto asks him what he means, and who he is. Why can she only hear his voice? What did he mean by those words just now?

Half Moon tells her that the full moon is close. When the moon fills, fate greatly changes. But that is her trial. What she should believe in… but there is only one answer. He urges her to find it… her half of the moon.

DAY 22. Mikoto wakes up in her room. She had that dream about him again… and she’s seen this many days now. But today was a little different. What did he mean by her being lost? She’s strangely caught by those words. And then Momotose knocks on her door. Kintokihana has awoken and she suggests they head to the meeting together. Mikoto agrees and gets changed.

As they start to walk past the school’s courtyard, Momotose comments on how the school has completely returned to normal. Mikoto is also relieved that the chairmen seem to be doing better too. Momotose points out that it was thanks to her angel and Himeutsugi, who saved the students from the auditorium and purified the school. Mikoto smiles gently and says that it was thanks to Himeutsugi who protected everyone in the auditorium from the taint.

Momotose heard about that, and how Himeutsugi took in the auditorium’s taint into his own body. He doesn’t have ordinary emotional strength if he took in that amount of taint and didn’t become an adabana. Momotose remarks on how Himeutsugi, among the 5 Brights, has always seemed restrained and one step behind. But during critical moments it appears that he is someone who can be relied on.

Mikoto grins and agrees wholeheartedly. Momotose is delighted by her angel’s happy expression. And then asks if Mikoto is in love with Himeutsugi. Mikoto turns red and doesn’t know how to respond to the teasing. Momotose just giggles and encourages Mikoto to keep going. And, speak of the devil…

Mikoto greets Himeutsugi cheerily. He returns the greeting and tells her that he was waiting. Because they’re partners, right? He suggests they walk together. Mikoto nods and includes Momotose with them. But Momotose smiles and tells them that she’ll go on ahead first. Right, Himeutsugi? Himeutsugi replies that he’d be much obliged.

Mikoto blinks in confusion as Momotose walks away. Himeutsugi smiles as he comments on how Momotose took in the situation and made a smart move. Mikoto realizes what he means when he takes her hand. He just continues smiling and suggests that they go, while calling her his princess. Mikoto turns red, but she smiles and nods.

As they walk though, she continues to stay red. Himeutsugi asks if she’s embarrassed since she keeps looking at the ground. She admits that she’s never walked like this apart from with friends, so it’s a bit embarrassing. Hime repeats her words lightly and then notes that she does this with friends, huh. A man? She blinks at him. He recalls out loud that, before, when they returned to her house… she had a childhood friend by the name of Shou. Does she do this with him? HOLY CRAP JEALOUSY ALREADY.

Mikoto blurts out quickly that she doesn’t do this with Shou! He’s not that kind of type. Um, Shou is… Hime’s brows furrow as he tells her that even if Shou isn’t that type, he doesn’t want to hear her talk about other men. She stares at him, surprised. He tells her lightly to stop that from now on. Because she likes him, right? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. HOLY SHIT. Mikoto looks away and nods weakly. Right now, Himeutsugi is acting a little scary.

Anyway, they reach the chairmen’s room and Mikoto knocks on the door, excusing them. In the room, Kintotki tells Awa that it should be fine, right!? Don’t be stingy! Awa tells Kintoki to shut up and he’s not being stingy. It would be idiotic for them to become absent at a time like this for the school. Mikoto wonders if the chairmen are fighting.

Momotose sighs. Kagami looks equally unimpressed beside her. Mikoto asks Momotose what the chairmen are talking about? Momotose invites her to look at this written invitation they received. Mikoto reads that it is an Jinja TV sponsored National Kasen Convention. Kagami explains that the National Kasen Convention is sponsored every year by Jinja TV, and it is a convention for Hana Utsushi. It’s a huge event where students from schools all over the world come to meet.

Mikoto knows of this event, and recalls that it is done around this time every year. Kagami goes on to say that it is the Koshien of Kasen! The champion gets to go overseas and receives a huge trophy. Every year, Kintoki is invited as a VIP.

Iroha states that the source that called the taint into the school was from a Jinja TV camera; the fact is that they might get mixed up with the television staff, who are adabana, again. It is dangerous to go to this convention while the relationship between Jinja TV and Goto is unconfirmed. He requests the chairmen to turn down this invitation.

Awa agrees with Iroha and reminds Kintoki that, from the start, they aren’t people who should step outside of Kaen. Kintoki should give up this year and just watch the television. Kintoki protests Awa’s use of words. He refuses to let his annual enjoyment get taken away and points out that Awa, who always refuses this invitation, should step outside and take in the air before he withers.

Mikoto thinks on how she was engrossed in watching the Hana Utsushi convention, back when she was in elementary school. It’s nostalgic. At any rate, Onosada interrupts and points out that the senki candidate came and so they should get on topic. Kintoki growls but acknowledges this. He tells Mikoto that he heard she chose Himeutsugi as her partner. Is this the truth? Mikoto confirms this.

And then she shows them the onifuda. Kagami is shocked to see it glowing. Mikoto explains that, ever since she chose Himeutsugi as her partner, it’s been releasing this light. Awa muses on how, according to the legends of the onifuda, it releases a light when a partner is decided upon. But what does it mean when it doesn’t stop glowing?

Iroha explains that the onifuda hasn’t accepted Himeutsugi yet. In other words, the official ceremony hasn’t ended. He then addresses Himeutsugi about how he took in the taint that was in the auditorium but didn’t become an adabana. Why is that? Explain.

Himeutsugi exhales before saying that he won’t answer. Mikoto is stunned. Iroha goes on to ask if Himeutsugi has a connection to Goto. Himeutsugi answers that they are mistaken; he understands it might be difficult to believe him in this situation, but he is not one of Goto’s men. Iroha says, without emotion, that he ordered Himeutsugi to explain it to him. Himeutsugi grits his teeth.

Momotose interrupts to say that Himeutsugi, like Kagami, was used. She points out that he protected the students who were in the auditorium and purified the taint with her angel. Those actions aren’t of someone who is with Goto. Iroha declares that, as long as Himeutsugi keeps silent, then the possibility of his participation in these events won’t disappear. Momotose frowns in exasperation and asks Kagami to help her speak some sense into him.

Kagami just smiles awkwardly though and admits that she’s a suspect too, so she won’t say anything. She’s going to rely on silence too. LMFAO CUTE. Onosada scolds her and tells her not to fool around at this time. Kagami laughs and winks, asking for forgiveness from him.

Awa states that Himeutsugi’s abilities served the purpose of rescuing everyone. The senki candidate chose him, and the onifuda has shown the way. That is everything, no? And then Awa tells Mikoto that this is the crucial moment, now that she’s decided on a partner. She and Himeutsugi must awaken her as the senki. Awa then addresses Himeutsugi and notes that he’s familiar with how to treat women. He must do well and awaken Mikoto.

Hime smiles and nods. Now that he’s not a temporary partner, he will work hard to lead her to an awakening. OH MY GOD LOOK AT IROHA AND MIZUCHI’S FACE. I DON’T THINK THEY COULD LOOK MORE DISPLEASED IF THEY TRIED. Iroha is silent. Mizuchi is also silent. Mikoto is taken aback because, for a second, Iroha and Mizuchi’s expressions were…

Suddenly, Karakurenai wonders on that since this Himeutsugi might screw her carelessly. He greets Himeutsugi with a sneer and points out that he’s made a lot of Gekkoua girls cry, right? It’s no wonder that many of his women have dropped out of school. Mikoto is shocked to hear this. Himeutsugi tells Kurenai calmly not to say such disreputable things. Kurenai tells him that he’s just stating the facts.

And then Karakurenai tells Mikoto to be careful of this shitty princess. If she carelessly lets him do things to her then, instead of awakening, she’ll be expelled for having sex. Momotose tells Himeutsugi not to be concerned about Karakurenai’s words, because it wasn’t his fault that Gekkou girls dropped out of school. Hime is quiet. Mikoto wonders what they’re all talking about. Gekkougumi minamo have dropped out!?

Kintoki directs them back to the topic on how an awakening requires the two partners to deepen their relationship. Just in time, they have received reports that there are utsurohi appearing in Goto-gai. He orders Himeutsugi and the senki candidate to do Kabatsu and cut down these utsurohi, as well as the mastermind behind the recent incidents. Mikoto repeats the word “Kabatsu” in confusion. Onosada explains that it means to cut down flowers… in other words, using Hana Awase to wither adabana. Mikoto’s eyes widen.

Kintoki points out that, if Himeutsugi is part of Goto’s men, then he wouldn’t be able to cut down fellow adabana, right? Iroha asks if this is a test of allegiance? WOW LOOK AT THE IDIOM HE USED HERE. HARDCORE. Kintoki just smirks and asks Himeutsugi how he feels about this. Himeutsugi acknowledges these orders calmly and declares that he will do Kabatsu and awaken the senki candidate by his hands.

Kintoki then orders Iroha and Mizuchi to work with Onosada to find the mastermind behind the recent events. Mizuchi acknowledges this. Kintoki gives them a time period of two weeks. Until two weeks has gone past, they are to do Kabatsu and identify the mastermind! Mikoto acknowledges this, and then excuses herself. Everyone leaves.

Left behind, Kintoki giggles at how if everything can be cleaned up by this time then he can go to to the National Convention. Awa realizes that this was Kintoki’s goal. Kintoki lists how the senki candidate will be awakened, Himeutsugi’s innocent will be proven, Goto’s men will be exterminated, and he can go to the National Convention. Four birds with one stone. Awa doesn’t think it’ll go that swimmingly. Right, Ruri? There is something that niggles at him.

Scene skip! In the halls, Mikoto thinks on Kabatsu and how this means they will be destroying adabana with Hana Awase. Can she do it properly when she still doesn’t have the knowledge or power of a minamo yet? Himeutsugi asks her if she is insecure? Mikoto startles before telling him that she’s okay! She’ll work hard! He looks at her with a complicated expression. Mikoto tells herself that she needs to not be a burden, for the sake of proving Himeutsugi’s innocence too.

Mizuchi then appears and tells Hime that, starting from today, he and Aoi will often be absent from the school in order to conduct an investigation on the mastermind. So… he averts his eye and breathes out. Mikoto is puzzled. Aoi explains that her brother is worried, because Himeutsugi is kind to girls. Mizuchi flinches and then excuses himself curtly. Both of them leave. Mikoto stares at his back in confusion.

And then Kagami greets them. She is standing down as Hime’s minamo since he and Mikoto have been decided as official partners. Mikoto is surprised to hear this. Kagami explains that the 5 Brights only have one partner; she tells Mikoto not to worry though because she’s busy with her TV job and couldn’t mind Hime well enough anyway. She sighs because in her absence Hime played around with a lot of girls, having sexual relationships here and there.

Himeutsugi can’t believe even Kagami is saying this. Kagami reminds him sternly that he needs to keep hold of his sense when interacting with the senki candidate. She then waves goodbye and leaves. Mikoto is also wincing at how even Kagami has given her warnings.

But she remembers that Kagami defended Himeutsugi against the chairmen. Is it because it would have caused an uproar if she spoke about what she knew…? Furthermore, she knew that Himeutsugi was kind to women but to have sexual relationships… he couldn’t possibly have made girls drop out, right? Himeutsugi suddenly asks Mikoto if she’s curious about what just happened? Mikoto smiles awkwardly and shakes her head. She’s fine. She accepts Himeutsugi, so everything is fine. WOW I AM GONNA HAVE TRAUMA WITH THOSE WORDS.

Himeutsugi’s eyes widen. This girl… And then he kisses her. Mikoto startles. He tells her quietly that the continuation to the fairy tale has already begun. Mikoto is confused. He tells her 「王子様は、お姫様を幸せにしないとね。そう、君を・・・」(The prince has to make the princess happy, right? Yes, for you…). Mikoto notices that he’s staring directly at her. Her heart feels tight when he looks at her like this, and…

Mikoto turns red and pushes him away. She blurts out that she needs to return to classes! Himeutsugi calls out her name questioningly. She just smiles and tells him that she looks forward to working with him for Kabatsu. He watches her leave in silence.

In her mind, Mikoto wonders what to do. Her body feels strange, even though she needs to do things properly. Is Himeutsugi wearing cologne? He has a sweet and gentle flowery smell. Every time she is close to him she becomes interested in that smell. It distracts her and makes concentrating hard. Haa… will she be able to do things well like this?

Scene skip! Mikoto finishes her classes, but she didn’t pass the quiz at all. It’s all red. Her practical skill with Hana Utsushi is also pathetic. She can’t synchronize her breathing with her player and she can’t read her opponent’s moves. Even though Kabatsu is a battle that risks their lives, she won’t be able to become Himeutsugi’s strength.

Yoshino comes up to her and asks if she is available. Mikoto turns to look at her and is shocked when Gekkougumi minamo crowd around her. One exclaims that this girl is the one in Himeutsugi’s “partner role”, right? A second notes that she’s cute and fits perfectly as Hime’s partner; she’ll be a good maid. A third remarks on how they’ll have to teach Mikoto how to please Hime.

The second points out that this is the first time there’s been a “partner role” though, and so how are they to go about this? Another minamo claims that they’ll be the ones to teach Mikoto; they need to work hard for Hime’s sake, teehee. Mikoto just stares at all of them. Yoshino explains that Himeutsugi spoke to the Gekkougumi minamo about what happened at the auditorium the other day. And then the imperial maids became terribly pleased…

One of the minamo confirm that she is Mikoto, right? She introduces herself as someone who manages the Gekkougumi imperial maids. She is the head maid. On this occasion, when she heard that Mikoto became Hime’s official “partner role” she hastened here to join them. The head maid calls for everyone to line up.

And then she tells Mikoto that the imperial maids have a motto of “Freedom, Equality, and Benevolence”. Mikoto, who will also be an imperial maid, will be diligent in working with everyone to be friendly and let themselves be loved equally by Hime, right? Mikoto looks at them in confusion. The head maid, along with the others, then appoints Mikoto to the position of an imperial maid. Mikoto will swear this vow with them, right?

One of the minamo squeal about how this means that they’ll have a “Jeu de Paume” party. Mikoto doesn’t understand. The head maid declares that the sooner the better; they will also celebrate Hime’s return at the same time. They will carry this out tonight at the tennis courts. The head maid then curtsies and leaves.

Yoshino congratulates her for being accepted by the head maid. Mikoto asks her what just happened. Yoshino explains that the imperial maids are people who excel in classes, etiquette, and abilities as a minamo. They are the elites within the Gekkougumi minamo, and Mikoto has become one of them. Mikoto gapes because she isn’t an elite at all! Yoshino adds that being accepted by the head maid also means that every Gekkou minamo has accepted her. Having a “partner role” must have been something Hime decided; he really treats her specially.

Mikoto just stares at her. Yoshino goes on to talk about how it’s been a while since they had a party. That’s nice! She is thinking about sneaking in so that she can protect Mikoto! Yoshino runs off. Meanwhile, Mikoto is amazed by the imperial maids, though it seems to be just a system within the Gekkougumi. She then thinks about “friendliness” and “equality” and how it’s just like Himeutsugi to enforce that. But, amongst them all, she also has this “partner role”.

The party is at night, so she still has time to study. Maybe she should go to the Kasen lecture room… UP TO YOU TO TRAIN.

Scene skip! At night, in her room, Mikoto wonders what it means to have a “Jea de Paume” party. IT’S PRETTY MUCH TENNIS WITH PALMS BUT… I HOPE THEY DON’T MEAN TO BEAT HER UP LOL. Yoshino knocks on her door and informs her that it’s almost time for the party; her heart is pounding. Mikoto answers her door. Yoshino asks if she isn’t going to dress up? She’s the party’s leading part.

Mikoto didn’t bring a dress and, since it’s happening in the school, she thought a uniform would be okay. Yoshino remarks that she’s being modest, huh. But she kind of wanted to see Mikoto in a dress… kidding… Yoshino then derides herself for her own wicked thoughts and starts smacking her head against the wall. Mikoto hurriedly tries to stop her.

At any rate, they head out, and Mikoto notes that the school is a bit scary at night. Yoshino is silent. Mikoto turns to look at her and realizes that she’s gone. Yoshino replies that she’s hiding herself. Mikoto asks where she is, since she can only hear her voice. Yoshino tells her that if Mikoto can see her then that means she fails at hiding! She asks Mikoto not to search for her! But Mikoto can hear that her voice is close. Could she be underground!? She’s not going to pursue the topic.

The head maid greets Mikoto in the halls. Everyone has already gathered, and the party has already started. Today is also an event to welcome Mikoto, so she should please enjoy herself. Mikoto heads to the tennis court only to be amazed at the amount of Gekkougumi people. Everyone is gathered at the tennis courts and dressed up, just like Yoshino said.

Yoshino reassures Mikoto that the armor of her body is already fine, even if she isn’t wearing a dress. She shouldn’t worry! Mikoto repeats her words with a strained smile. Armor? But she thanks Yoshino. Suddenly, the Gekkougumi minamo squeal about how Hime has arrived! Mikoto turns to look at him with wide eyes.

Himeutsugi greets them all with a calm smile. They all scream in delight. They are so glad their princess is safe! THE SAD THING IN THESE GEKKOUGUMI + HIME INTERACTIONS IS THAT… I NEVER KNOW IF THEY’RE CALLING HIM “HIME” OR “PRINCESS”. THE POWER OF JAPANESE AMBIGUITY LMAO.

They would do anything for him! They love him! Himeutsugi chuckles and replies that he’s happy, and he loves them too. They squeal. Mikoto averts her eyes. One minamo brings Hime something to drink. A second one tells him that they prepared a French meal course. She also directs him to the amuse-bouche. Himeutsugi thanks her and then notes that she’s in the serving group, right? He gives her his thanks by kissing her.

Mikoto’s eyes widen. A third minamo hurriedly tells Himeutsugi that she brought him a blanket! Please give her a kiss too! Himeutsugi identifies her role and where to kiss her, and then gives her one. She squeals. Mikoto is stunned.

Suddenly, Karakurenai scoffs and comments on how Hime is the same as usual. Mikoto turns to look at him, surprised. For once, Kurenai came back early and decided to drop by only to see how loud and show all the girls are since Hime neglected them. He orders Mikoto to come with him and grabs her arm. She yelps. Himeutsugi’s eyes widen when he spots Karakurenai and Mikoto.

But Mikoto is soon dragged away to the courtyard, where she asks Karakurenai why he did that. He tilts his head and points out that she wanted to run away, right? She blinks at him. He smirks and tells her that she was making a face saying that she didn’t want to be there. She glares at him because the “Jea de Paume” party was something the Gekkougumi people set up for her, so to claim that she doesn’t want to be there is false!

His eyes crinkle in amusement as he notes that it’s a hypocritical party using Mikoto as an excuse to cozy up to that shitty princess though. Mikoto freezes. He repeats the “Jea de Paume” and quotes their pledge of “Freedom, Equality, and Benevolence”. It sounds nice but it essentially means not to steal a march on anyone else. Don’t put on airs. They attach duties to everything but they aren’t allowed to cross that line.

Karakurenai comments on how she’s been given the “partner role”, right? Hah. Mikoto pleads with him not to say such cruel things. The Gekkou people faithfully adore Himeutsugi, and so… Karakurenai repeats her words. Faithfully? He wonders about that. He tells her to come and hide with him. She squeaks when he yanks her into a spot and covers her mouth. He hisses at her to keep silent or else they’ll be heard, and then directs her to look over there.

Mikoto does so and sees Himeutsugi. Why is he here? Suddenly, someone calls out his name. He turns to look at them. An imperial maid introduces herself as the one who makes his bed. He smiles gently at her and thanks her for always doing that. The maid catches her breath and then tells Hime that, while she was making his bed the other day, something fell. He sees that it’s his cellphone.

The imperial maid notes and points out that usually he’s always carrying it and so she became anxious. Moreover, she felt like she needed to hurry because there were emails that had arrived. He narrows his eyes and asks her if she looked at his emails. She quickly denies it; she just happened to glance at it when she touched it. But then she apologizes and admits that, because it was his email, she took a look at the contents but they were strange.

He calmly asks if she is the only one who knows this? She confirms this. He smiles gently and tells her that he’ll give her a reward for picking it up. Come. She does so eagerly and calls out his name in pleasure. Mikoto startles at how tightly Himeutsugi is embracing that maid. Karakurenai tells her to look at how Hime gives excuses to act intimately. Is that the face of a man of noble character? Mikoto has no reply.

The imperial maid confesses that she’s always adored Himeutsugi. She gave up because she didn’t think it’d ever be granted but, as she thought, there’s no one but Hime for her! She’ll do anything for him! As long as he’s pleased, she can do anything! He calls her a cute girl for doing things for his sake. He likes girls like her.

His voice drops to a whisper as he then asks if she can give him everything? She turns red. D-Does he mean…? Himeutsugi whispers that he wants her body. Mikoto stiffens. The imperial maid tells him that she will! She’ll give her body – and everything – to Hime!

Mikoto is frozen. Karakurenai asks if she understands now. That is the shitty princess’ true nature. Last year, there was an excessive amount of Gekkou minamo who dropped out. On the surface, it was said that they had circumstances at home but those aren’t enough to cause a problem. They were done in like that and lost their qualifications to be a minamo. Mikoto can’t believe this.

Kurenai smirks and asks if she still believes in Hime after seeing that? That’s naive. Once they have sex, that is the end of a minamo. Hime puts on a gentle face, but breaks the one rule that players are to protect. It’s a riot. Mikoto protests because Himeutsugi isn’t that kind of person–!

He points out that the onifuda, which is still releasing light, means that it hasn’t accepted Hime, right? Of course it hasn’t, because the one who kissed her and did the ceremony with her was him, Kurenai-sama. Mikoto stiffens. He whispers that he’s good at opening her body up too. He leans in to grab her but she struggles violently and slaps him.

Himeutsugi startles because he hears them. Karakurenai snarls and asks what she’s doing. She snaps back that it was because he was doing something weird. He snarls out that she didn’t have to hit him. But before he can do anything, the imperial maid screams about how embarrassed she is and runs away. Mikoto startles as well, realizing they have an audience. Himeutsugi asks what the two of them are doing over there. Mikoto doesn’t know how to respond.

Karakurenai smirks and answers that they were doing the same thing Himeutsugi was doing. Don’t interrupt their fun. Hime’s brows furrow. The same thing? He asks Mikoto for an explanation. Mikoto stutters out that he’s mistaken and– Himeutsugi interrupts and says that there was a party for her and him, and yet she’s here with Karakurenai in a place where there’s no one around. Why?

She has no answer. Kurenai scoffs and tells Hime not to play innocent and give an arrogant lecture. Himeutsugi echoes his words. Playing innocent? He was just giving a reward to a girl of the Gekkougumi. He is different from Karakurenai who immediately makes moves on a girl. His voice drops as he warns his senior not to approach his partner… because she’s his. If he acts towards her like he did before then… Hime won’t forgive him. I’M NOT HAPPY WITH YOU THOUGH HIME :(.

Mikoto is taken aback by his tone. Himeutsugi then warns her that it’s dangerous and orders her to return to him. Quickly. She doesn’t move. He smiles and asks her what the matter is? She nods weakly and goes to obey when a strong wind picks up, startling her.

Suddenly, Gekkougumi minamo are heard screaming. Mikoto realizes the screams are coming from the tennis courts! Yoshino then appears and tells Mikoto that there is a big problem! Utsurohi have appeared in large amounts at the party area. Mikoto is shocked at that. Yoshino confirms this and adds that they’re also strange utsurohi… the Gekkougumi minamo are in pain.

Karakurenai smirks because now it’s finally become a party. Let’s go! Mikoto shouts out Karakurenai’s name when he runs off. Himeutsugi calls Mikoto to him and suggests that they head there too! She nods.

At the tennis courts, the Gekkougumi minamo are screaming. Electric currents are causing them pain. Mikoto is alarmed when she sees the black electric currents coiling around their bodies. She points them out to Himeutsugi, who realizes that the electric currents and utsurohi have mixed. This is the same thing they saw in the auditorium. If they touch the electricity then they’ll be tainted. They can’t drop their guard! Mikoto acknowledges this.

One of the minamo brokenly calls out Hime’s name and asks to be the only one loved by him. Both Mikoto and Himeutsugi’s eyes widen. Another minamo asks the first what she’s saying; she’s the one who should be loved, and the first one is in the way! Another one shouts at those two to shut up because she could care less about either of them, and they should all die!

They scream and Mikoto startles when the darkness condenses. Countless minamo have bent and overlapped and become swallowed by the utsurohi. The minamo start to giggle crazily about how they want Hime! Their Hime! They won’t hand him over to anyone else! HE IS THEIRS! Mikoto is stunned by the hatred coming from them. Did this all come from the Gekkougumi minamo?

Himeutsugi declares that they have only just been touched by the utsurohi and if they can rip the girls away from the utsurohi then they will return to normal. They need to Hana Awase. Mikoto nods and so Himeutsugi sets up his field and does his field call.

They win and Mikoto quickly checks on everyone. The minamo seem confused as to what happened to them. And then they scream at how dirty their dresses are. Mikoto is glad that the utsurohi have disappeared and everyone has gone back to normal. The head maid winces in pain and asks what happened. Himeutsugi smiles and informs them that the bell has rung twelve times, signaling that the party is over. The head maid calls out his name.

But Hime just smiles and thanks everyone for today. He also suggests that they clean up together. The head maid instantly protests that they cannot allow Hime to do that. She calls for everyone to band together and clean everything up. The rest of the minamo agree in chorus.

DAY 23. It is morning by the time they finish. Mikoto notes that, because they had to clean the entire tennis court, the time slipped away from them. Yoshino is panting and tells Mikoto that it’s already morning. Mikoto is worried when she sees Yoshino’s body sway. Yoshino denies it, but she’s at her limit and collapses. The other minamo agree and just fall asleep there. Mikoto yelps and tells everyone to return to the dormitory.

She manages to escort everyone back to their dormitory and looks around in the halls to make sure that was everyone. Suddenly, she hears a strange noise and looks around. It sounds like it’s coming from the tennis courts? Mikoto is surprised to see Himeutsugi in his tennis clothes. He greets her with a smile. She asks him what he’s doing. He tilts his head and answers that he’s doing his morning practice for tennis.

Mikoto points out in concern that he had also been here cleaning up the party. He hasn’t slept at all. He smiles and reassures her that he’s fine, even if he doesn’t sleep. She stares at him before frowning and telling him that it’s not fine. He blinks in surprise. She tells him that he also did Hana Awase and so there’s no way he’s fine. She asks him not to strain himself and to rest a little. Please.

Himeutsugi smiles awkwardly as he realizes she’s seen through him. He then asks her to come to him. She does so, only to yelp when he suddenly grabs her by the waist. He sighs at what a pleasant view this is, to look up and see her. She tells him that this pose is a bit embarrassing. If someone were to come… He tells her that there isn’t a morning practice today, so no one will come. She blinks in surprise.

He admits that he couldn’t sleep or something so he thought to take his mind off his worries by himself. But then she returned. Her mouth parts. He tells her softly 「僕が・・・誰か傍にいて欲しいと思う時に、君がいる。」(Just when I… thought about wanting someone by my side, you are here).

Up to now, whenever he thought about this no one was there. No, more like he didn’t request it of anyone. He couldn’t request this. But he really wanted this. He always wished for this. He wished for someone to be there when he wanted them. She says his name. Himeutsugi says wryly that it’s funny; he intended to live for other people’s sake but… before he noticed it, he became greedy.

He did something bad to the Gekkougumi girls. He let them get possessed by the utsurohi. Mikoto tells him that everyone loves him. Himeutsugi tells her that she’s mistaken; those utsurohi weren’t born from those girls. She pauses and asks him what he means. He explains that utsurohi act in concert to the darkness in one’s own heart and corrodes it; they can take hold of another person’s darkness. The girls were the latter, which is why the two of them could tear the utsurohi off from the girls.

Mikoto asks him where those utsurohi came from then? He answers quietly that they must have come from the darkness of someone’s heart. She echoes his words. Someone…? He nods and admits that he was stabbed in a place that hurt quite a bit… by that scream. Mikoto’s eyes widen. And then he kisses her.

And then he tells her softly 「君にとって、僕が一番でありたい。僕を好きなら、僕だけを見て。僕以外の男を気にしないで。」(To you, I want to be the most important. If you love me, then only look at me. Don’t concern yourself with men other than me). Mikoto is silent. He calls out her name questioningly.

She tells him that he’s being unfair, putting it all on her. She also wants that. She wants him to look just at her. She doesn’t want him to concern himself with anyone apart from her either. Himeutsugi’s eyes widen. He is speechless. But she knows this isn’t possible because everyone is equal in the Gekkougumi. She knows he can’t just treat her specially–

He kisses her again, interrupting her, before admitting breathlessly that he wanted to hear those words. She is surprised. He asks her if she loves him? She hesitates and tells him that she doesn’t know yet but… Himeutsugi is surprised when she embraces him. She tells him that she’s wanted to do this. She wants to warm him up, over and over again. He repeats her words, confused. Warm him up?

She tells him that she still doesn’t know everything about him, and that’s why she wants to learn about him slowly. Every side of him. She might be scared when she learns about him, thinking that he might be different from how she envisioned him. But she wants to accept everything about him. She feels like she wants to find him. He breathes out. She tells him that she must be strange, huh.

His voice is amused 「・・・そうだね。僕ら、案外似てるのかもしれない。変人同士。・・・好きを素直に言えない。好きという感情に怯える同士。」(… that’s right. Surprisingly, we might be similar. A strange couple… a couple where one can’t say honestly that they love the other. The other that is afraid of this feeling called love).

He confesses to her that he was scared to become her partner. She is surprised. He tells her that he was lost on whether it would be okay to step forward into these feelings. If he really stepped forward then he’d surely become strange. He’d… get her involved. But will she still accompany him? Mikoto murmurs his name before saying that she will come with him. He thanks her and then exhales slowly.

Himeutsugi tells her that she has a very nice smell. Mikoto turns embarrassed. He hums in pleasure and wonders what it is; it’s a smell that makes him feel happy deep in his heart. It’s sweet and soft. She tells him that he’s tickling her when he moves like that. But he just burrows his nose deeper into her neck and murmurs that he feels sleepy like this. She startles at that and tells him to wait, yelping.

「恋ひ恋ひて 逢へる時だに うるはしき
こと尽くしてよ 長くと思はば」 – Himeutsugi
(At least while we are finally meeting
after days of intense yearning,
pray pour out your sweet words of love for me
if you want this relationship to be long-lasting.) – Lady Otomo of Sakanoue (Manyoshu, Book 4, #661)

Scene skip! Himeutsugi muses on how he’s obtained her and she’s kind; but why is he so uneasy? If she’s become his partner and likes him then… he wants her to want him to spoil her. He wants her to desire him. He wants her to look at no one but him. He becomes terribly irritated when she shows concern for another man. He didn’t think he was such a narrow-minded man.

Even though he’s filled with water, and even though he can be filled with water at any time, his heart is always thirsty. Please. He wants more of her water. He wants proof that she loves him and that she is looking at no one but him.

DAY 24. Karakuri is making noises. Bang, crash. Bang, crash. Beep, beep. This is Kaen. Kaen. Beep, beep. Is he mistaken? This isn’t Kaen? Huh.

Iroha suddenly appears and asks him what he’s doing here. Karakuri greets Iroha and literally states the noise indicative of lowering his head. He does the same to another person. Iroha is puzzled because there is no one else here. Karakuri makes some rustling noises before informing Iroha that there is a girl right in front of them. It’s a small girl wearing a kimono that has put up the “color” throughout the school.

Karakuri states 「おんなのこ・・・ずっと、らせんのうえでまってる。あおいこどもがくるのを。」(The girl… has been waiting forever on top of the spiral. Waiting for the blue child to come). INTERESTING BECAUSE THE TEXT SAYS “ABOVE THE SPIRAL” BUT THE VOICE SAYS “BELOW” SO EITHER A MISTAKE OR… Iroha narrows his eyes and repeats his words questioningly. Young child?

Karakuri goes on to say 「ずっとまってる。かわりはもういやっていってる。はやくほしい・・・はやく・・・はや・・・ぴぴぴ、ぴぴ。”わたしは、はーと。はーとにはうつわ・・・”。”ふるべ・・・ゆらゆらと・・・ふるべ・・・”。”ねえ・・・チャリス。私の体は・・・どこ?”。」(She’s been waiting forever. She says she’s done with the replacement. She wants him now… Quickly… Quic–… beep, beep, beep. “I am the heart. The heart needs a container…” “Furube… yurayura to… furube…” “Hey… Chalice. Where is my… body?”).

Iroha’s eyes widen. Karakuri suddenly releases a lot of steam and states that he has overheated. Iroha repeats his words quietly in confusion. Chalice?

Scene skip! Mikoto is sleeping in her room. But then Kagami is heard shouting about how they can’t shoot like that! The next editing section will be packed! She points out vehemently that disappearing things are just their match against time. This isn’t the time to say that they’re anxious! Are they men or not!? Have some balls and do the shot! Mikoto wakes up and realizes, groggily, that this is Kagami’s voice.

Kagami ends her phone call and then realizes that she woke up Mikoto. Mikoto asks what she was doing. Kagami explains that when she came to Mikoto she also received a call from her people, by her people she means Jinja TV. They are complaining about not being able to do the shoot well. Apparently everything’s a mess and the new AD that came in doesn’t know their right from left. AD STANDS FOR ASSISTANT DIRECTOR.

If only Tama and Suzu were there… they were clumsy but at least they could do light footwork. Ah, why did they have to be adabana!? Mikoto realizes that Tama and Suzu must have been Kagami’s previous ADs. Kagami grumbles about she also has to prepare for the National Convention and so, thanks to this, she’s in a whirl of busyness. It looks like she’ll be absent from the school again and so she came to say her goodbyes to Mikoto.

Mikoto is startled to hear this. Kagami grins as she tells Mikoto that she heard about the Gekkou girls. Mikoto destroyed the utsurohi that appeared at the tennis courts and was accepted by the head maid? As expected! Mikoto demurs. But Kagami goes on to say that she might be able to leave Hime safely to Mikoto then; Hime has lots of problems but she can’t abandon him.

Mikoto is touched by her words but then requests to ask about one thing. It’s something she’s always been curious about. It’s about what they spoke about when the auditorium incident happened. Kagami becomes quiet. Mikoto recalls that Kagami spoke about how Himeutsugi was one of Goto’s men, and yet she didn’t say that when they reported to the chairmen the other day. Why?

Mikoto doesn’t believe that Himeutsugi is with Goto! But she’s curious about why Kagami hasn’t said anything despite thinking that. Kagami winces because she remembers that she spoke about it carelessly. Oops, it’s her bad. She admits that it might be because she’s a girl.

Kagami tells her that, fundamentally, women are liars. In order to protect something they hide their true natures and accidentally coat things with lies. Even if they realize that they shouldn’t do that. Mikoto asks if Kagami is admitting that she didn’t say anything for Himeutsugi’s sake? Kagami laughs softly and repeats again that she’s a woman. Unmistakably a woman. Even when she becomes as much of a man like this, she can’t change her core.

And then Kagami steps closer to Mikoto before declaring that Mikoto isn’t a woman yet though. Mikoto blinks in confusion. Kagami tells her that she’ll know when she becomes one. That day doesn’t seem too far off though. And, at that time, they’ll talk again. Mikoto is still confused but agrees.

Kagami smiles and tells Mikoto that she’s a good kid. Kagami likes her, to the point where she thinks Mikoto is wasted on Hime. Won’t Mikoto become her bride? Mikoto just smiles sheepishly at Kagami’s joke. And then Kagami tells her that they’ll be separating for a short while. She gives Mikoto her address and tells her that she’ll fly back to scold Hime if he does anything bad to Mikoto.

Mikoto goes to take the paper and thank her when– Kagami kisses her. Mikoto squeaks when she realizes that she’s just been kissed. And then Kagami tells her 「オルボワール、マドモアゼル!」(Au revoir, mademoiselle!). GOODBYE IN FRENCH LMFAO. Mikoto only has time to blurt out Kagami’s name before she disappears quickly out the door. Furthermore, just what did Kagami’s words mean?

And then Mikoto realizes the time. Oh no, she needs to head to school! But she suddenly receives an email from Himeutsugi. He greets her good morning and wonders if she’s sleeping in today? He’s waiting at the school gates. Mikoto winces at having made Himeutsugi wait and thinks on how she needs to hurry. Ever since the first time, Himeutsugi has continued to walk together with her to school. He also always sends her an email. He’s kind.

Scene skip! In a classroom, Yoshino is frozen. Himeutsugi notices her and realizes that she’s Mikoto’s friend. He asks her where Mikoto is. Yoshino continues to be unresponsive. He tilts his head in confusion. And then Yoshino suddenly screams and then crashes into something in her attempt to get away from him. He gapes at her and asks her if she’s injured. But she just shrieks again and apologizes for being unable to talk to him. It’s impossible!! So, in that case, GOODBYE! She dashes away.

Himeutsugi just stares after her with wide eyes. Another Gekkougumi minamo apologizes to Hime and explains that Yoshino has stranger anxiety. She tells him that Mikoto is in the courtyard. He asks if she’s alone there? The Gekkou minamo confirms this but adds that she seemed to have received a call from her friends at her previous school; she looked extremely happy. Himeutsugi’s brows furrow. DON’T YOU DARE BOY.

Scene skip! In the courtyard, Mikoto is giggling at Ai. Ai tells her that she broke up with some guy after kicking him between the legs when he suddenly wanted to head to a hotel. It was their first day dating! Even someone like her would dump him. Mikoto agrees seriously; she thinks Ai did the right thing. Ai complains about how her school has absolutely no good men! She’s not asking to live in luxury!

Mikoto points out that Shou is there though? Ai shivers audibly through the phone and asks why Mikoto brought him up. Give her a break. Shou is noisy, he only talks about soccer… and just by looking at him one can see that he has no redeeming features. SO MEAN AI LMAO. Mikoto smiles awkwardly and wonders about that. Ai adds that Shou is always asking her if she’s spoken to Mikoto and to investigate if Mikoto has been caught by any strange men. Is she a spy or something!?

Mikoto smiles gently and remarks on how Shou is the same as always, worrying about her. Ai hums and points out that his worry might be a feint. At any rate, onto the real topic, has Mikoto gotten a lover? Mikoto turns red and stutters. Ai realizes that she has! Mikoto splutters that rather than having one… it’s more like she’s interested in one? Ai is amazed that a Kasen otaku like her who doesn’t even know the “r” in romance has found a man! She wouldn’t be surprised if it rained!

Mikoto splutters at her friend. Ai quickly asks how far Mikoto has gone with her man. Mikoto repeats her words. How far? Ai tells her that she’s not going to let Mikoto, who is in high school now, to say that she doesn’t understand! She had to have kissed, right?! Mikoto turns red and admits that she has a few times. Ai startles and then compliments Mikoto for getting some, even though she’s such a late bloomer.

But then Ai pauses because Mikoto has told her that they aren’t lovers. Mikoto admits awkwardly that they aren’t lovers because they aren’t dating. Ai makes a noise of exclamation and asks Mikoto if she’s okay? She’s not being played with is she?! Mikoto immediately denies that. Ai tells her that she can’t know though, and there could be people aiming for her body. It’d be easy to trick Mikoto who has no experience.

Ai asks her if her man is kind to everyone, likes everyone, and has a nice personality? Because if so, then Mikoto absolutely can’t trust those people. LMFAO THIS IS LIKE KURENAI AND HIME BOTH. Mikoto can’t respond to that. Ai realizes that this is the case and admits that it’ll be bad if Shou hears this. They need a family meeting. Mikoto echoes her words questioningly. Family meeting?

Ai orders her to return home this weekend. Mikoto needs to tell her and Shou everything about this man. Mikoto gapes and then tells her to hold on because this is sudden! But Ai hangs up on her, leaving her to wince and wonder what to do. She has to do Kabatsu this weekend.

Suddenly, Himeutsugi says that he’s found her. Mikoto startles in surprise and calls out his name. He asks her what she was doing. She replies that she was speaking with her friend. He asks her what she spoke about. She turns red and stutters out that it wasn’t anything important. He asks her if it’s something she can’t tell him, who is her partner. BOY DON’T DO THIS. I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THIS!!

Mikoto looks away and shakes her head, but… He asks her lightly if this is because they’re neither loves nor dating? Mikoto’s eyes widen. She stutters for something to say. He asks her quietly if she’ll tell him everything if they became lovers? He steps closer to her and pulls her into him. She yelps and then tells him that he’s holding her a bit tightly and she can’t breathe.

But Himeutsugi just lowers his voice and suggests that they become lovers then. She loves him, right? Mikoto stiffens. He comments on how the more partners and minamo touch the more power is created. But the difference between lovers is… whether or not their body is connected. Here… and here. She understands, right? Mikoto startles when she feels him touch her waist.

Himeutsugi admits to her that he could care less about the senki candidate thing. Mikoto is frozen. He points out that she was forcibly taken here. She must dislike having suddenly become the senki candidate and having to decide on a partner, right? She is a victim of fate. FUCK OFF MAN. Mikoto has no response.

He whispers to her 「僕は全部捨てていいんだ。君がいればいい。僕は・・・君の体が欲しい。そうしたら・・・はぁっ・・・ねえ、エッチ・・・しよ?いいだろ?僕は君と・・・っ。」(I’m okay with throwing away everything. I can do with just you. I… want your body. And then… haa… hey, shall we have… sex? It’s okay, right? Me and you…). Mikoto grits her teeth and then shoves him away.

Himeutsugi is stunned and calls out her name. Mikoto apologizes and tells him that she likes him, but she is a minamo. She wants to study and become strong so she can be his strength. He stares at her. She points out that if their relationship becomes more than being partners then she’ll lose her minamo powers. And so… she asks him to please wait… for that still. She looks back at him sadly.

He straightens and tells her flatly that he understands. She calls out his name in worry. He tells her that it looks like their thoughts about being together are different. Her eyes widen. He tells her without emotion that, as she wishes, he’ll act towards her as one of the 5 Bights… and her partner. He won’t touch her, because it’d be bad if she lost her abilities as a minamo. Mikoto is stunned before she asks him to wait. He’s mistaken! Wait! But he walks off, leaving her to call out his name sadly.

Scene skip! Mizuchi walks into Himeutsugi’s room, looking for him. Himeutsugi exhales. Mizuchi turns on the light and tells him to respond if he is here. What is he doing without any lights on? Hime replies testily that anything is fine, right? Mizuchi’s brows furrow and he stares at Hime.

And then he tells Hime that he wants to talk about the investigation reports regarding the Kabatsu. Hime sighs. Mizuchi continues on to say that, from his and Iroha’s investigation, the utsurohi subspecies that have appeared lately have spread in the center of three other locations apart from Kaen. First is Goto-gai. The second is JJ amusement park. And the last is beyond the southern district, the island where Jinja TV is. Hime remains silent.

Mizuchi’s brow furrows again but he goes on to say that, from these results, the connection between Goto and Jinja TV has increased. But now the concern is about what they should do with Jinja TV. There is a component to the geographic location, but it being a TV station also means the security is strict and normal people are strictly forbidden from entering. No matter what kind of relationship Kagami has with Jinja TV, they won’t allow the rest of them to enter without permission. And so Iroha suggested that…

Himeutsugi breathes out. Mizuchi sighs and smiles wryly before pointing out that it looks like Hime has something to say more than he does. He’ll listen. Himeutsugi remarks on how this is as expected of the honor student. Mizuchi is much more considerate than him. Mizuchi asks if he should pour some tea? Himeutsugi declines because he feels full. He then admits to Mizuchi that he fought with Mikoto… no, he thrust her away.

He tells Mizuchi that he was denied by her claiming that they weren’t lovers, and that they weren’t dating either. It hurt quite a bit. Mizuchi points out that she said that since she’s the senki candidate. Himeutsugi denies that and points out that Mikoto loves him; they’ve kissed, so why can’t they become lovers? He adds that when he told her to have sex, she replied that she wanted to stay as a minamo. Even though he could care less if she was a minamo or the senki candidate.

Oh, saying this is bad isn’t it? Hime laughs weakly. Mizuchi exhales. Hime narrows his eyes and asks him what’s wrong with that? They’re men so it’s natural! Mizuchi gives him that but points out that, if Hime was acting normally, he wouldn’t say those current words, right?

Himeutsugi smiles viciously 「お姫様らしくないって?他人のことばっかり考える姫空木は、確かに言わないだろうね。・・・そういうのにも疲れたんだ。何かのために生きるのをやめたい。逆らうって決めたんだ。なのに、全然うまくいかない。やっぱり欲張りだったのかな。」(Are you saying it’s not princess-like? Yes, it’s true that Himeutsugi, who only ever thinks about others, wouldn’t say that…. but I’m tired of that. I want to stop living for someone else’s sake. I decided to go against that. And yet, nothing is going well. Maybe it really was just my greed).

Mizuchi asks Hime calmly if he remembers the first day they met. Himeutsugi looks at him curiously but nods; it was the spring of first year by the incinerator in the back yard. He was throwing away the lunch box he was given by the Gekkougumi minamo when Mizuchi saw him. Mizuchi breathes out. Hime goes on to say that he thought he’d be completely despised and yet Mizuchi, without any rebuke, helped him throw it away. He, who had thought he wouldn’t get along at all with Mizuchi, was surprised.

Mizuchi tells him that he saw Hime before then. Hime had been vomiting beside the lunch boxes burning in the incinerator. Himeutsugi’s eyes widen. Mizuchi comments on how Hime had the resolve to bear both his faults and his pain. And so Mizuchi wanted to share in that resolve just a little bit… no, that’s a lie. He thinks he might have wanted to know Hime’s faults. Just that. Himeutsugi stares at him.

Mizuchi notes that Hime has always been living for other people. Even though he is a man he is called a princess. He thought that Hime had that resolve and accepted that social position. Himeutsugi’s eyes widen as he realizes that this is why Mizuchi has been calling him “Hime”. ONCE AGAIN THE WORD PLAY ON HIS NAME. I THINK MIZUCHI USES IT MORE AS A SHORTENED NICKNAME BUT SINCE IT ALSO MEANS PRINCESS…

Mizuchi averts his eye and exhales. Himeutsugi thanks him with a strained smile. Mizuchi tells him that he held onto his bravery and now it’s his turn, “Himeutsugi”. He thinks Himeutsugi knows Mikoto’s feelings about wanting to stay as a minamo. Himeutsugi points out that this is because he has a mission that is greater than him, right? He doesn’t have the composure to accept that.

Mizuchi smiles and comments on how even though Himeutsugi is a considerate man, he is not at all considerate to himself. Himeutsugi blinks. And then Mizuchi declares that he doesn’t remember backing out for a pathetic man who complains. If Himeutsugi isn’t going to make a move then he will. Is that okay with him? OH SHIT!! I LOVE MIZUCHI AND THIS ENTIRE PEP TALK AND THEIR PAST TOGETHER SCREAMS.

Himeutsugi stiffens. Mizuchi tells him 「己と向き合ってる。・・・弱虫。」(Face yourself… coward). Himeutsugi bursts out laughing and praises Mizuchi for saying these things. Mizuchi huffs in amusement and then tells Himeutsugi that he’s going to pour the tea now. Himeutsugi grins and tells him that he’s expecting the best.

DAY 25. At night, in the greenhouse, Mikoto thinks on how she is going to begin Kabatsu starting tomorrow. She hasn’t spoken to Himeutsugi since that time. They didn’t meet in the morning and he didn’t send her an email. She sighs. I’VE BEEN GUESSING ON ALL THE DAYS IN THE ROUTES BUT THIS IS THE HARDEST ONE YET.

And then she hears Onosada drinking something before sighing in pleasure at how refined it is to view the moon and drink sake. This is the box seat to see the moon. Mikoto startles and calls out his name. He greets her back and asks if she wants to drink one cup and look at the moon too? She declines. He comments on how she’s as stuffy as always, but then he invites her to eat some of his side dishes. He thinks it’d taste nice if they just heat it up a little.

Mikoto looks at his canned oil sardines. He tells her they’ll be delicious when they’re grilled lightly on this portable cooking stove. She asks him worriedly if it’s okay to set a fire in the greenhouse. He just tells her that if anything happens they can use this hose and spray it with water. Mikoto gapes at him because one doesn’t use water on a grease fire! He tells her that it’ll be alright, but drinks another cup of sake first. Ah, it’s so sad to have to pour one’s own drink!

She finds this entire thing sketchy… Onosada looks through a bag to find the next food item, only to sigh at how he asked Aoi to get him a pinch of food but she only brought him things like herb salad or other refined foods. Is this what the female students are eating recently? Mikoto glares at him because she can’t believe he asked Aoi to buy him things!

Onosada just smiles and tells her that Aoi enjoys taking care of people. She complained but she still went ahead and bought things. He takes another drink and then asks if she wants to eat the cheese? Mikoto declines only to pause as she notices the cheese, herb salad, and crackers… Oh, she knows! She asks to borrow them. He looks at her questioningly.

Mikoto explains that she’s going to put in the oiled sardines into the stove, along with the basil and eggs from the salad cup. Once those cook, she’ll dice up the cheese to place on it, drizzle some Italian dressing from the salad, and then finish it up by placing the lemon like so… Lastly, she’ll put the crackers on it. Done! She invites Onosada to eat it. He takes a bite and then praises how delicious it is. It’s not too rich in taste either.

She explains that the herbs and dressing gives it the taste, while the eggs and lemon neutralize the oily taste from the oil. He’s impressed by her and then tells her that she’ll make a good wife. Mikoto turns red and then startles when he pats her head.

And then Onosada recalls how he first met her here too, huh. At that time, she had an excessively insecure look on her face. She asks him what she looks like now? He immediately replies that she looks interesting. She doesn’t know how to take that. Onosada takes another bite of his food before remarking on how he’s not sure how to explain it, but it’s a face that verges on being a woman and being a young girl.

Mikoto blinks. He tells her that it’s a nice look, and he wouldn’t be able to leave her alone if he was twenty years younger. Well, it looks like she’s graduated after liking someone and falling in love. Mikoto just stares at him. And then tells him that she would like to ask one question. What is love? He tilts his head.

She turns red and apologizes for being so sudden, but she doesn’t understand. Has he ever been in love? His eyes narrow in amusement at how she’s asking him that. She’s going to regret that. Mikoto’s eyes widen. But then Onosada tells her that he’s kidding. He’s always been someone who was engrossed in researching Kasen; so he didn’t study romance. At the most, he just had a nibble here and there. He then recalls how there was a poem about this, a long time ago.

「うつせみし 神に堪へねば
離れ居て 朝嘆く君 放り居て 我が恋ふる君
玉ならば 手に巻き持ちて 衣ならば 脱く時もなく
我が恋ふる 君ぞ昨夜の夜 夢に見えつる」 – Onosada
(As a flesh-and-blood person, I an powerless against the will of the gods.
Separated from you, I grieve for you in the morning.
Kept away, I yearn for you.
If you were a jewel, I would wrap you around my wrist.
If you were a robe, I would never take you off.
Lord whom I long for so much, last night I saw you in my dream.) – Lady of the Court upon Death of Emperor Tenji (Manyoshu, Book 2, #150)

He tells her that these are words from the Manyoushuu. Does she understand their meaning? Mikoto doesn’t. Onosada explains that it isn’t easy to continue loving a woman who is gone from this world. Even though he loves her, he can only meet her in his dreams. Onosada muses out loud and wonders why he didn’t tell this woman his feelings when she was alive. After he lost her, he started to love her more. He regrets it every day.

Mikoto asks if he’s explaining the meaning of the poem. Onosada just smiles and shrugs. Who knows. Their ancestors made this poem and then left it for the future. These become kotodama for carving bonds about how one’s feelings will not be forgotten, even after the other’s soul has disappeared.

Onosada then looks at her seriously and tells her that kids like her are lacking in words; they think they can understand one another even when they’re silent. But the soul isn’t eternal. It disappears when someone dies. The pain and regret of living after being an idiot is more than the regret of having lost a soul. Does she understand? Mikoto nods, expression pained. And then Onosada smiles and muses on how the thing beyond love might be the real stage. It’s painful… to the point of madness.

Mikoto says his name questioningly. But Onosada just yawns and tells her that he’s sleepy after he’s eaten and drank sake. He’s gonna close up shop now and go to sleep. He tells her to go home too. Mikoto nods and apologizes for intruding on him. But then she gapes when he just topples over. He mustn’t sleep here! There is a sound of the auditorium doors opening.

Scene skip! Onosada chuckles at how cute love is. During the auditorium explosion uproar, he didn’t think Mikoto would stick out her body for Himeutsugi’s sake. She even purified all of the taint. He then comments 「泉姫候補サマ、か。もし、本当に姫空木のよって泉姫に覚醒したら・・・五斗のヤツは地団太踏むだろうよ。ははっ。」(The senki candidate, huh. If she really does awaken because of Himeutsugi then… Goto would stamp his feet in frustration. Haha). Ah, what a nice moon. It should be full soon.

「——心にも あらでうき世に ながらへば
恋しかるべき 夜半の月かな・・・。」 – Onosada
(Though it is not what’s in my heart,
if in this world of pain
I should linger, then
no doubt I shall remember fondly
the bright moon of this dark night!) – Emperor Sanjo (Hyakunin Isshu, #68)

DAY 26. Mikoto is at the school gates and thinking on how today is the practical use of Kabatsu. She still has a lot of time before the promised meeting time with Himeutsugi. Will she really be of use? TRAINING OPTIONS AGAIN.

Mikoto decides not to head to the Kasen lecture room and just breathes out deeply. She’s practiced this much… there’s nothing else to do but to actually do it. Himeutsugi suddenly appears and notes that they’ll be starting Kabatsu from today; he looks forward to working with her. She returns the customary phrase. He looks at her, hesitant. She looks back, a sad look on her face.

He then suggests that they move out. Mikoto startles and agrees. It looks like Himeutsugi is the same as always. She’s a bit relieved. They head into the city and Himeutsugi remarks on how, according to what he heard, the utsurohi are around here. She should be careful. Mikoto nods. And then her phone rings, startling her. Himeutsugi’s eyes also widen in surprise. She quickly apologizes for it ringing at this time. It’s Shou!? Hime smiles and tells her that it’s fine to answer it.

She apologizes again and then answers the phone. Shou immediately asks angrily where she is. Mikoto exclaims his name in surprise. He tells her that he heard Ai tell her to return home; he’s been waiting and he demands her to come now. Mikoto tells him that she told Ai she had something to do and so couldn’t return home. Shou snaps back that he could care less! More importantly, is it true that she’s been playing around with a man at Kaen!?

Mikoto glares and replies that he’s mistaken! It’s a misunderstanding! Shou tells her to be quiet and growls out that he knew the Kaen people were the worst. He shouldn’t have taken his eyes off of Mikoto. He then asks her where she is so that he can go over. Mikoto protests immediately and tells him to stop. He can’t. He doesn’t have to come, really.

Himeutsugi suddenly asks her to hand the phone to him. Mikoto’s eyes widen as he takes her phone. Himeutsugi informs Shou that they’ve changed speakers and that they’re currently in Goto-gai. Mikoto stiffens. She can only listen to Himeutsugi as he agrees and answers that it is him. He understand and they’ll wait. Himeutsugi then ends the call. Mikoto gapes at him and asks him if he possibly…

Hime just smiles at her and tells her that they have time until Shou arrives. They should do the Kabatsu. Just in time too, because it looks like visitors have preceded them. Mikoto stiffens when she sees an utsurohi appear. It giggles before commenting on how it stinks… this smell is unmistakably that of the senki candidate! Senki! Senki!! It’s caught her! Goto-sama will be happy!!

Mikoto startles at its words but then Himeutsugi directs her to stand behind him. She looks at him in surprise. Himeutsugi comments on how it seems what Mizuchi said was true and the utsurohi subspecies have corrupted this place too. It has become strong after fusing with an adabana. They should fight carefully. Mikoto nods.

Himeutsugi walks her through how he’s going to set up a field. This is her first time doing Kabatsu, right? First, she can calm down because the people around them can’t see the utsurohi. Mikoto acknowledges this.

So that their surroundings don’t get dragged in, he needs to put up a field that is stronger than normal. It’ll become hard to maintain if the battle drags on and so they should defeat their enemy quickly. Mikoto promises to do her best! He smirks and tells her that he’s looking forward to her water. Mikoto’s eyes widen and then she smiles and nods.

Mikoto is panting by the time they win. Is this Kabatsu…? The water in her body has lessened by a lot. Himeutsugi was using up a lot to place up the field. But she gave him all the water that she had. It’s probably not the amount that Kagami has but she gave it her all. Himeutsugi exhales and she calls out his name in concern. She notices that his expression looks strained and isn’t his usual calm impression.

She thought this when he played tennis but, from time to time, Himeutsugi can have an extremely masculine expression. Because she normally doesn’t see it, her heart has skipped a beat. And, when they were doing Kabatsu, he had absolutely no hesitation. Kagami said all those things but Mikoto really can’t think of Himeutsugi as having a connection with Goto. Himeutsugi tells her that he can see the next utsurohi. It’ll be a consecutive battle. Can she handle that? Mikoto tells him determinedly that she can, of course. He nods tersely.

They win that battle too. Mikoto thinks on how withering the adabana really is painful… even though they aren’t human anymore. And then she staggers to the ground. Himeutsugi calls out to her in worry. She pants but reassures him that she’s okay; she’s just a little weakened but still fine. She also apologizes for not reading the flow of the last battle very well. She’ll study more. He sighs at a girl like her.

And then Shou runs up to them, yelling out Mikoto’s name. She startles. Shou asks her angrily if the man who tricked her was this one!? Mikoto gapes before telling him he’s mistaken! She also can’t believe he just blurted that out suddenly. Geez, Shou. He just grits his teeth. Himeutsugi is quiet.

Suddenly, Shou calls Himeutsugi a bastard and knocks him down before punching him in the face. Mikoto screams and then yells at him to stop! Shou snarls out that he’s never wanted to hand Mikoto over to a man like him, and so he’s protected her all this time! And yet…! He punches Hime again. Mikoto shouts at him to stop. Shou yells out that he’ll never forgive Hime for raising a hand to Mikoto! Mikoto wants him to stop!

Himeutsugi just bears it, grunting. Mikoto tells Shou that he’s being cruel and Himeutsugi hasn’t done a thing! To hit him arbitrarily like this! Shou snaps back that things have happened which gave her a guilty conscience, right!? That’s why he opposed it! Kaen has nothing but rich bastards and she went through terrible experiences! He accuses Himeutsugi of only thinking about Mikoto as someone to play around with. For her to be with someone like that… SHIT! Who is he!? A man like him… Shou won’t let him do anything to Mikoto!

Mikoto is startled when she hears a menacing noise. Shou suddenly winces in pain. She calls out his name in concern. Shou grunts in pain and then wonders why his chest hurts. His body feels paralyzed and it hurts. He screams and is drowned in utsurohi. Mikoto screams out his name. Shou suddenly groans out that he won’t… hand her… over. To a bastard like Himeutsugi… his… someone he’s always…! THIS GIRL BELONGS TO HIM! HE’S NOT GOING TO LET HIMEUTSUGI TAKE HER AWAY!

Shou snarls at Himeutsugi to come at him. He’s one of them. And Himeutsugi knows what will happen if he doesn’t come. Mikoto shakes her head in denial. She can’t believe this is happening to Shou. Himeutsugi gets back to his feet and tells Mikoto to pull herself together. She looks at him with wide eyes.

He points out that she’s a minamo; if she loses self-control then she won’t be able to bring out her water and Shou will be completely possessed and become an adabana. Mikoto is horrified. Himeutsugi tells her that they’ll save him. She becomes determined and nods. Himeutsugi creates his field and does his field call.

They defeat the adabana and Shou grunts as they disappear from him. Mikoto yells out his name. Shou blinks tiredly and wonders why he’s here. No, wait, why is he so sleepy? He collapses onto the ground. She yelps out his name in concern. Himeutsugi reassures her that the utsurohi that had been ravaging his heart have dissipated. Because Shou isn’t a player or a minamo, he became oversensitive to the taint. Mikoto is relieved and then she collapses. Himeutsugi’s eyes widen and he calls out her name repeatedly.

Scene skip! Mikoto groans and opens her eyes, wondering where she is. She’s sleeping on a bed? And why does her body feel cool? Her vision is dim. Suddenly, Himeutsugi asks her quietly if she’s awake? She blinks and then asks him hesitantly why he’s in his current state. H O L Y SMOKES. HIME WHY ARE YOU NAKED. He answers lightly that he’s matching her, which finally makes her realize her own state of undress. She screams.

He stops her before she can move and tells her to stay like that. He’s in the middle of treating her from drying up and it’s more effective when they’re naked. Mikoto is bright red as she points out that their skin is… uh…!! He breathes out and tells her calmly that he can’t circulate her water when she’s moving. He asks her to stay still obediently. But she finds it embarrassing.

More importantly, is Shou alright!? Himeutsugi reassures her that he’s unharmed. After what happened, Mikoto’s friend ran over and called a taxi to take him home. She asks him if he’s talking about Ai? He tells her that it was an energetic girl with a ponytail. She was so worried about the collapsed Shou that she was crying. She must be a gentle girl. Mikoto is relieved to hear that.

And then Himeutsugi admits that Ai wanted to take Mikoto along too, but he refused. She blinks at him. He ended up telling Ai about everything, but she accepted it… because he explained properly. Mikoto latches onto that word. Properly? His brows come together and he sighs.

He then confesses that he thought about things since the last time they spoke… He thought a lot. About her. Like why she wanted to stay a minamo. Like why she refused to be connected to him. The other girls want him to be gentle to them and they want kisses, which is why they give him water. And so they touch and he gets water. He thought of it as just a give and take. He treated everyone preciously with impartiality, because everything went well like that.

But then he became her partner and, for the first time, he wanted to stop those relationships. He thought about how it was fine that he didn’t need to treat her like that. But he was rejected. It was a shock. Mikoto is silent. He said horrible things to her and yet… during Kabatsu she gave him water; warm water that felt like it wrapped around him. She continued to give it to him.

He was afraid of that water though. He wondered why she gave him water. He wondered if she was going this far just for the sake of her duty as the senki candidate. But it’s unfair because he knew why all along. From the start… from the day they first met… when he even wished for it. He just didn’t believe in her. She calls out his name questioningly.

Himeutsugi tells her that he’s a coward. He didn’t want to become serious and so continued to run. Before facing her, he didn’t face himself. He breathes in and then confesses that he loves her. Mikoto turns red. He loves her. He loves her. He loves her. He loves her, helplessly. OH MAN HIS VOICE HGKJSFLHJ. She chokes out his name. He starts to breathe heavily and admits that he doesn’t want to just be her partner… he doesn’t want to be unable to touch her. He loves her so he wants to touch her more like this. To do things like this to her body.

He kisses her. She asks him to wait, because at this rate–! He tells her quietly that they won’t do the last act, because he loves her… as a minamo. Mikoto’s eyes widen. He tells her that she exhausted her body for his sake. He wants her, the minamo who has these feelings. Her water feels so nice. She asks, in wonder, to confirm that he likes her… as a minamo? Himeutsugi confirms it and then kisses her again. Everything about her, including the sweet and gentle smell of her water. He loves everything. He wants to become a man who suits her water.

Mikoto turns red and admits shyly that she’s also thought about things. That if Himeutsugi really wished it then… she’ll give her body… Everything is still impossible, but she wants to be touched by him. Not because she’s his partner or the senki candidate, but something more different. She wants to be touched by him more. She wants to be his lover. H O L Y SHIT THIS CONVERSATION. Himeutsugi is speechless.

She knows she’s being selfish but these are her feelings. She doesn’t want to regret anything and so she thought to tell him this properly– He interrupts her with a kiss and breathes out that he’s happy. She is too.

He tells her in a strained voice that he wants to convey all of this to her body. How happy he is. All of his feelings. He wants to engrave it into her body. He kisses her again. And then Mikoto yelps because the place he is touching is– but Himeutsugi just keeps kissing her. Mikoto whimpers.

He leans his head against hers and murmurs that he’s placed it… a mark that shows that she belongs to him. Mikoto stiffens. And then Himeutsugi asks her to let him kiss her until it becomes morning. Please. She murmurs his name.

Himeutsugi, while looking at her, places countless of kisses on her body. H O LY SMOKES??? He caresses her gently… slowly laying kisses down. One by one, as if he is making certain with her. Each time he kisses her, her heart becomes inflamed. Her heart pounds like mad, and she feels driven to the point of helplessness, all she can do is call out Himeutsugi’s name over and over again. Each time she calls his name, he kisses her more intensely. Inside her, Himeutsugi’s name gradually becomes more precious.

Something is overflowing in her heart. It fills her. She’s happy about it but also a bit scared. Just what is she scared about though? I AM DEAD. BLOWN AWAY BY THIS SCENE. WOW.

「高麗錦 紐解き放けて 寝るが上に
何ど為るとかも あやに愛しき」 – Himeutsugi
(Though we sleep together,
with your fine brocade untied,
you are so excessively lovely
that I am at a loss as to what to do.) – Anonymous (Manyoshu, Book 14, #3465)

Scene skip! Himeutsugi notes that his dear has fallen asleep. He exhales before admitting that he’s been thinking countless of times about doing things he shouldn’t right now. But it’s because he’s looking at what a seductive sight she makes. He kisses her. At any rate, it was the first time he saw her with such a red face and desiring him, though in embarrassment.

He wants to touch her more. He wants to carve into her the fact that she belongs to him. He wants to leave more marks on her. He wants to give her a wound that won’t disappear. He wants to monopolize her. Himeutsugi laughs because he knows she’d be scared if she heard this, huh. He likes her as a minamo. But if, one day, she desires him… and tells him that she wants him… then he’ll continue from here. At that time, he’ll surely hurt her in a way that it won’t disappear. He’ll make it so that she won’t forget his body inside of her. H O L Y SHIT.

DAY 27. Mikoto wakes up in the hotel room. It’s morning? Where is she? Himeutsugi greets her, fully dressed. She greets him and then recalls that she’s still– she turns red and screams, frantically looking for her clothes. He starts to laugh and admits that he thought she’d act like that; he hands over her clothes. She thanks him, bright red, and apologizes for falling asleep at some point. He saw that… right?

He continues to smile and nods, but reassures her that he kept it in moderation. She repeats his words, becoming even more embarrassed. She yelps when he steps closer to her and tells her that, while she was sleeping, he counted how many times he kissed her. Look, they all became marks and so it made counting easy. One… two… Mikoto squeaks at him not to trace them because it tickles!

Himeutsugi laughs again and apologizes. He’s also already counted them so it’s fine. From her actions, it looks like she’s also not dried up. He tells her to take a shower and then change. She protests and tells him to go first. But he tells her that he already finished. At times like these, there are a few things men have to do. It would have been bad if she saw him. OH MY GOD IS HE IMPLYING… She blinks at him in confusion but accepts his suggestion and heads into the shower.

In the shower, Mikoto heaves a sigh. Her chest feels strange from how embarrassed she is. He had been watching her the whole time while she had been naked. And then she notices red spots on her body, here and there. She looks around for a mirror and then yelps. There are tons of red marks on her body: her neck, her arms, her chest… even her legs! When Himeutsugi spoke about them becoming marks, was this what he meant? Which means that Himeutsugi kissed these places, huh. Here on her. Mikoto is stunned.

And then Himeutsugi calls out to her, telling her that it’s about time they checked out. Mikoto apologizes and replies that she’ll come out now! She wonders why she just spaced out right now and chides herself. She needs to pull herself together!

In the streets, Himeutsugi talks about how glad he is that today is a day off. It’s already lunch. Shall they have brunch? Does she have a shop she likes? Mikoto is silent. He blinks and calls out her name. She startles and then blurts out that she’s okay, only to wince and then apologize before asking him to repeat himself once more. In her head, she calls herself an idiot for not listening. Himeutsugi smiles and suggests that they head to this cafe he recommends, their galette is delicious. If they just take this corner…

But then they’re both interrupted by the voice of a television reporter who calls out to them to stop them. She has big news for Hana Utsushi fans! Mikoto pauses, especially when sees that the voice comes from an electronic billboard. The reporter announces that next week, at the Hana Utsushi National Convention which will be starting, the appearance of the preeminent young genius Iroha and the anticipated rookie, Mizuchi, has been decided.

Mikoto exclaims in surprise. The reporter asks the two of them to come closer and then Iroha appears. Mikoto chokes out his name in surprise. The reporter squeals at Iroha and tells him that his usual beauty makes her want to swoon. Iroha is unresponsive. She exclaims in delight when Mizuchi appears too and compliments how he is also super handsome! His style is outstanding and he carries an air of a samurai with an eyepatch. Mizuchi exhales.

The reporter continues on to say that these two are the unique Kaeis of Kaen, being part of the 5 Brights. By nature, Kaei are not supposed to participate in the National Convention and so the 5 Brights are unknown entities. But it looks like this time they were granted special permission to participate. However, their battles will be on a different seed and they will battle the champion.

In other words, they will have an exhibition match with the winner. For all the players in the country, this is a never again chance to battle one of the 5 Brights! And then she tells Iroha and Mizuchi to please be enthusiastic about the National Convention! Iroha is unresponsive. Mizuchi is also quiet. She comments on how these men are silent, huh. As expected of the 5 Brights, their dignity is very different. At any rate, the convention next week will be too good to pass up, in a lot of different meanings. Bye bye!

Mikoto quotes the reporter’s words about the exhibition match. Himeutsugi tells her that he heard the National Convention sponsor was Jinja TV. He believes the two of them are using the convention to enter the company, and surely they will settle the problem by the appointed day. Mikoto is shocked to hear the two are entering Jinja TV! She starts to ask Himeutsugi what they are doing.

Himeutsugi tells her that Kabatsu and her awakening come first; they can leave the convention to those two. She blinks at him. He starts to frown and says quietly that he doesn’t want to take her to that place. That island is… Mikoto calls out his name in concern when he trails off. But then he smiles and suggests that they continue Kabatsu after eating, okay? She returns his smile and agrees.

It is evening by the time they return to the school. Mikoto thanks him for his hard work today. He returns the praise, especially since she worked hard when they had successive battles. Mikoto smiles brightly and shakes her head, also praising him for that. She studied hard these past two days and she still isn’t used to Kabatsu but… she understands the deeper meaning behind “Awase”.

GODDAMN THESE WORD PLAYS. OKAY, SO THEY DO HANA AWASE RIGHT? THEY WRITE AWASE IN KATAKANA BUT I’M SURE IT’S REFERRING TO THE VERB “あわせる” WHICH MEANS JOINING TOGETHER, OR MATCHING SOMEONE. DEEP STUFF EH?

More importantly, she thanks him deeply for supporting an inexperienced minamo like her. She will study more about Kasen and being a minamo in order to become his strength. Himeutsugi stares at her, and then steps closer to her. She looks up at him, surprised. And then she’s startled when he embraces her. He gives her a quiet goodnight, which she acknowledges with a stutter. And then he leaves.

At night, in her room, Mikoto thinks on how the place Himeutsugi touched is like a pulse. It’s hot. For some reason she can’t calm down. What should she do? Her mind is full of Himeutsugi and she can’t think about anything else. It feels like her heart and body aren’t hers anymore. Is this love? But she still doesn’t know much about Himeutsugi. His so-called connection with Goto… and yet–

Her phone starts to ring. Mikoto answers it and is surprised to hear that it’s Shou! He asks her flatly if she has time right now. She tells him that she does, and then apologizes for yesterday. She was relieved when she got an email from Ai saying that he was unhurt. He grunts and confirms that Ai sent him back. Mikoto asks him hesitantly if he’s angry? He answers that he is, of course. Even though Ai told him that it was okay, he absolutely won’t accept this. He won’t hand her over to a man who lays his hands on her when they aren’t even dating.

Mikoto tells him that she’s sorry. He makes a noise of confusion. Mikoto explains that it was because she didn’t speak to Himeutsugi; she didn’t tell him her feelings or that she wanted to date him. Shou sighs angrily. Mikoto tells him that they’ve faced each other properly now though! To Himeutsugi… no, to her own feelings. She likes Himeutsugi, and she wants to know more about him.

Shou snaps back that he can’t possibly trust the people of Kaen. Himeutsugi might hurt her. Mikoto smiles sadly and agrees. Shou goes on to say that there might be other women! Mikoto agrees. He lashes out, saying that she might be played with and then thrown away when she becomes ruined. Is she okay even with that!? Mikoto tells him that she is, smiling.

He yells in wordless frustration before talking about how she’s stubborn. Since they were children, no matter what he said, once she decided on something she wouldn’t bend. He knew that. He knows that much about her. He always has. And then he tells her to listen up. She can’t regret this even if she’s made to cry, because she decided on this. She can’t run away no matter what happens.

Mikoto’s eyes widen. Shou curses because he can’t believe she got caught by such a effeminate man. And then he tells her that the only way Himeutsugi can cross the threshold of her house is when he (and Ai) accept him! If they don’t, then he can’t enter even one step! Mikoto grins and agrees before thanking him.

Their call ends and Mikoto thanks Shou again in her mind. Once she’s decided on something, she won’t run away no matter what happens. She believes in Himeutsugi.

Suddenly, her phone rings again and Mikoto wonders if Shou called again? She answers the phone but there is only static. And then a young girl’s voice whispers something. Mikoto makes a confused noise.

The girls says 「ちょう・・・だい・・・。わた・・・し・・・ザザ!ねえ・・・ザザッ!ザザザ・・・合わない・・・の・・・か・・・ら、だ・・・。わたしの・・・からだ・・・。」(Ple… ase… my… *static*! Hey… *static*! *static*… bo… dy… that… doesn’t fit… my… body…). MY FUCKING PHONE WENT OFF HERE AND I SCREAMED LIKE A GIRL. IT’S ALSO 3AM AND THIS IS LIKE STRAIGHT UP HORROR.

The call ends and Mikoto is left feeling confused. Was that a mistaken call right now? There was a lot of noise in the background, but the song that was playing in the background is something she feels like she’s heard somewhere before…?

DAY 27. Mikoto exhales as classes end. For the first time she managed to get 90 points on today’s quiz! She’s so happy! The dorm leader tells her that she saw the ranks that were posted out in the hallway. Mikoto smiles at her. The dorm leader compliments her; Mikoto has improved by 50 points from before. Mikoto still can’t compare to her though but the dorm leader acknowledges that she worked hard. Mikoto giggles and admits that she tried her best at studying.

The dorm leader knows because, these past few days, whenever she turns off the lights Mikoto continues to use her electric one. Mikoto winces and apologizes, though she was tried to hide the light so that she wouldn’t be found out. The dorm leader doesn’t mind, so long as it doesn’t become noisy. Lately, Mikoto’s approval with the other girls has been doing well, not just with the Gekkougumi, but the other groups too.

Mikoto is surprised to hear this. The dorm leader tells her that there was the incident with the auditorium, but they also heard that Mikoto supported Himeutsugi splendidly during the utsurohi disturbance on the tennis courts. It’s not bad for someone who just became a minamo. Moreover, Aoi praised her too. Mikoto is shocked to hear that.

The dorm leader explains that Aoi has a strong attitude towards minamo in particular, even in Kaen. She is enthusiastic in studying and has data on all the minamo. Mikoto is amazed. The dorm leader goes on to say that THAT Aoi has acknowledged Mikoto; the dorm leader admits that she is still dubious but it looks like the title senki candidate isn’t altogether wrong. Mikoto thinks that’s good.

And then she receives an email from Himeutsugi. She apologizes to the dorm leader but Himeutsugi is calling for her. The dorm leader blinks. Again? Lately, she’s been seeing the two of them together often. Mikoto smiles and answers that they eat lunch together. The dorm leader comments on the thought of eating lunch with one of the 5 Brights… in their group, it’d be like the chances of stone raining. As expected of the princess.

Mikoto turns red and smiles awkwardly. Is that so? The dorm leader tells her that it is! If she were to have lunch with Mizuchi… j-j-just thinking about it… she doesn’t know what she’d say… Suddenly, the dorm leader shouts at Mikoto to hurry up and leave! Mikoto obeys but wonders if the dorm leader wants to have lunch with Mizuchi?

Scene skip! Mikoto realizes that she made Himeutsugi wait. He confirms that he had been waiting and that he’s famished. What’s for today? She informs him that today is onigiris; the ingredients are salmon, tuna, small fish, and umeboshi. Some over here have finely chopped katsuobushi and cheese. NO OFFENSE BUT THE UMEBOSHI WITH THOSE FISH SOUNDS DISGUSTING.

Himeutsugi is excited about that. On his side, he has pork fried with ginger, omelets, and various vegetables cooked onto one dish. Mikoto thinks it looks delicious! Did the Gekkou minamo make that? Himeutsugi nods and says that one of the imperial maids said that this was her first time making these; Mikoto gets a portion too. Mikoto thanks him happily and takes him up on his offer.

Meanwhile, Himeutsugi starts eating her food and praises how delicious it is. He loves onigiris. She tells him that the pork fried with ginger is also tasty; the cabbage, which is soaked in the flavor, is great. The omelets have also been cooked prettily. Himeutsugi recalls with a strained smile how she told him she practiced countlessly. Her fingers were covered in band-aids and he could tell she worked hard.

He then admits that he’s glad when he told her before that he wanted the imperial maids to be abolished, she stopped him. He recalls that Mikoto was the one who suggested him to tell them that they didn’t need to call in chefs to do high-class cooking and that they should try making homemade food. Mikoto nods. Himeutsugi talks about how, when he declared that he was going to stay with Mikoto, he thought the Gekkou girls wouldn’t make anything anymore. But, every day, they make these side dishes.

Mikoto tells him with a smile that everyone wants Himeutsugi to eat delicious food and to be pleased. Up to now, they might just not have known the way. She then tells him that, at home, she often cooked for her family and friends. She’s happy when someone eats her homemade food and finds it delicious. So, she thought everyone in Gekkou would be the same.

Himeutsugi ponders that because he doesn’t have a family, and so he didn’t know that. Mikoto stares at him, eyes wide. Himeutsugi tells her that he came from Hokkaido when he was around three years old. He was separated from his parents. Mikoto looks at him sadly. He’s been estranged ever since. All communication has stopped and he doesn’t know where they are or what they’re doing. He also stopped asking.

He admits he wants to talk about it. Will she listen? Mikoto nods, expression distressed. He reminds her that he has a strange power, right? His guardians, who found out about it, brought him to this town. It’s a strange power. The incident at the auditorium… no, even before then, he used it during the Katou with Iroha. He can freely manipulate the “water” in Kasen.

Mikoto’s eyes widen. He calls it manipulating but there’s various things about it. It’s not a holy thing like what the minamo do. It’s more… like a demon’s curse. Mikoto repeats his words. Curse?

Himeutsugi explains 「僕の名前の空木は、中が空洞なうつろな木。その名の通り、僕の体はいつも空っぽで・・・水を求めているんだ。きっとこの力は・・・僕の心そのものなんだろう。」(My name, Utsugi, means an empty tree, that the insides are hollow. Just like how it sounds, my body is always empty… and seeking water. I’m sure this power… is showing how my heart is such a thing).

She murmurs his name. Hime goes on to say that because he is in debt to his guardians for raising him, he’s lived up to now by listening to them. Whether that was right or not, he doesn’t know even now. She asks him if he’s talking about the president of the Kagami’s company when he refers to his guardians? Himeutsugi’s eyes widen. Mikoto apologizes and reveals that she heard about this from Kagami.

He gives her a strained smile and agrees that, yes, if that’s what Kagami said then that is how it is. UH SUSPICIOUS? Mikoto blinks. And then Himeutsugi tells her that he has a request. If he were to disappear from this place, would she still continue to love him?

Mikoto startles, eyes wide. W-What does he mean? Saying this all of a sudden… She shakes her head and asks him not to say strange things, like disappearing. Mikoto starts to cry and Himeutsugi is shocked. She calls him cruel. Why did he talk about him disappearing? He’s cruel. He stutters before apologizing because that wasn’t his intention. OH MY GOD FLUSTERED HIME IS A FIRST.

Suddenly, Iroha asks them what they’re doing. OH SHIT. Mikoto looks at him in surprise, tears still in her eyes. Iroha’s brows furrow and he asks if Himeutsugi caused harm to the senki candidate? Mikoto denies this but doesn’t know how to explain. Iroha then declares to Himeutsugi that his charge of being one of Goto’s companions hasn’t been cleared and so, naturally, he needs to put distance between himself and the senki candidate.

Mikoto freezes. Himeutsugi is quiet. Iroha goes on to say that, also, the subject of what he said to the people in Gekkou about his relationship with Mikoto is invalid. To the end, the senki candidate is just his partner. He will not permit a relationship that is any more than that. Himeutsugi acknowledges this. Mikoto cries out his name, shocked.

But then Iroha addresses her and tells her to think carefully on the situation that she is in. If she doesn’t awaken, then she won’t be able to stay here in this school. Mikoto winces but acknowledges that. Iroha pauses. She looks at him in confusion. He exhales. And then she notices that he’s staring at the lunch boxes.

Mikoto hesitantly asks if he’s looking at this? The dessert savarin? Iroha repeats her words. Savarin… Mikoto explains that she arranged it with a lot of fruits soaked in brandy; it’s topped off with whipped cream to be eaten with. Iroha continues to stare. Mikoto doesn’t know what to say. Himeutsugi suddenly asks if Iroha wants to eat his portion. Iroha remains silent, but nods!

Himeutsugi and Mikoto watch with wide eyes as Iroha eats it, mutely. Mikoto wonders if Iroha likes sweets, and so she hesitantly asks if Iroha wants to eat hers too? He eats that silently as well. And then he starts to look in one of her bags. Mikoto quickly tells him that those are for the Gekkou minamo who made side dishes. But he ignores her and eats them. Mikoto realizes that he’s eaten all of them now. And then she realizes in alarm that their lunch break is ending! She needs to clean up! Iroha continues eating.

At any rate, Mikoto is surprised by Himeutsugi’s story. By guardian, he means Kagami’s adoptive father, huh. She wonders what kind of person he is. And if that person could possibly be someone with Goto then… No, she won’t think that! She needs to do her best at Kabatsu together with Himeutsugi right now!

Scene skip! At the school gates, static crackles. It crackles through the hallways and a young girl asks where her body is. Hey, where is… Chalice? She heads to the Kasen lecture room and says that she won’t wait. She doesn’t want to anymore. In the greenhouse, she smells something. Is it here? She gets zapped by something.

The girl is silent for a beat before deciding that it’s here and she won’t wait anymore. If that person won’t come then she’ll give them a call. She asks someone to make the phone call and to call him… to call Hime… Numbers are pressed on a phone. The girl giggles and thanks them… for listening to anything she says. She loves them. She’s going to get her body back. It’s fine now, right? Because they’ve come back.

Scene skip! It is evening by the time Mikoto notes that they’ve finished today’s Kabatsu. She thanks Himeutsugi for his hard work. He is quiet. She asks him if something is the matter? He startles and then apologizes for spacing out. She asks if he’s okay? They’ve been doing Kabatsu every day and so she suggests they rest on a bench. He protests and tries to tell her that he’s fine but Mikoto disagrees forcefully and tells him that they’re going to rest. She orders him to come over here.

He does so, stunned. And then she tells him that she’ll buy some warm tea and he can continue sitting here on this bench. He chuckles at how assertive she’s being. Mikoto winces and asks if she was being forceful? He shakes his head and tells her that he was just thinking about how she’d become a good wife. Mikoto turns red. And then he asks her to play with him. She looks at him in confusion. Play? Himeutsugi?

Himeutsugi tells her that they’re going to play as a make-believe prince and princess. She is the princess, and he is the prince. Mikoto blinks at him. He notes out loud that he never told her the continuation of the fairy tale. But before that, he has a confession. Mikoto echoes his words. Confession? Hime tells her that he lied; the fairy tale that he told her… has no continuation. The next page about what happened to the cursed prince was ripped out. It was a book he read when he was young and he doesn’t have it on hand anymore.

It was the only thing he received from his parents. How sad his younger self was, huh. He didn’t have a continuation to that story. Mikoto asks him what his game about acting as a prince and princess is about then? Her eyes widen when he smiles brilliantly at her.

Himeutsugi recalls the story about how “the prince, when he looked at the pure princess, fell in love at first sight”. Hime muses on how, honestly, he doesn’t believe in love at first sight. Normally, one can’t fall in love with a girl they just met, right? So, he didn’t understand the prince’s feelings. But even so, he wanted to become a prince. And so he cast a suggestion on himself, about how a prince is someone who falls in love at first sight.

How comical, right? He fell in love at first sight to everyone… and, before he knew it, he wasn’t a prince but instead became a “princess” who loved everyone equally. He fell in love at first so much that he didn’t understand it anymore. What it meant to actually love someone. And then, at that time, he met Mikoto. She was pure like the princess in the fairy tale… and somewhat nostalgic… he was drawn to her like he was guided by the pull of the moon.

Mikoto realizes that, at that time, when he kissed her on the chest then it was– Himeutsugi tells her that he did it unconsciously. It wasn’t planned. He did it because he wanted to. She is his princess. Someone he wants to be with together to create the continuation of the story that was torn.

But he’s scared. Mikoto repeats his words. Scared? He nods. He is scared that a day has come when he feels so much for someone. If he loses her then he’ll… break. If the conclusion of the fairy tale is a tragedy then… Mikoto reassures him weakly that it’ll be okay. It won’t be sad. He just gives her a strained smile. And then he thanks her; this is more than enough.

She says his name questioningly. He continues to smile though and asks if she can buy him one more drink. His throat is dry after that large speech. Mikoto is startled by the change in subject but agrees to buy another one from the nearby vending machine. She wants him to rest on the bench. Himeutsugi watches her leave and then murmurs that the continuation of the fairy tale… stops here. Goodbye, Mikoto.

Scene skip! At night, Mikoto is walking through the town with a distressed expression. What happened to Himeutsugi? After they spoke, he disappeared from the park and while she was searching for him it became this late. Her calls don’t connect either. Maybe he returned to school first? But he’s not the type of person to do that. Why does her chest hurt. A bunch of terrible feelings are welling up inside of her.

Suddenly, her phone rings and she answers quickly. Is this Himeutsugi!? But it’s Momotose who is relieved that her angel is unharmed. Mikoto is confused. Momotose then asks if Himeutsugi is there? Mikoto blurts out that he isn’t and they became separated. She can’t contact him either! Momotose is glad that they aren’t together though. Mikoto asks her what she means.

Momotose tells her to listen to this calmly but, right now in the greenhouse, the minamo of Gekkougumi who had dropped out of school… their bodies have been found. Mikoto repeats her words in shock. Bodies… they were killed!? Momotose explains that they were sliced with a blade and in a cruel state. Also, at the same time, a Gekkougumi minamo and Awahana have gone missing. The offender is… Himeutsugi. Mikoto exclaims in surprise.

「命あらば 逢ふこともあらむ わが故に
はだな思ひそ 命だに経ば」 – Himeutsugi
(As long as we live, we can meet again,
please do not worry terribly for me,
so long as we continue to live,
one day we can meet again). – Sano no Otogami/Chigami no Otome (Manyoshu, Book 15, #3745)

SANO NO OTOGAMI IS A FEMALE POET (ALSO PRIESTESS) WHO SECRETLY MARRIED NAKATOMI YAKAMORI, WHO WAS EXILED. THEY EXCHANGED LOTS OF LOVE POEMS.

Scene skip! He knew the end would come one day. It just came quicker than he would have thought. No matter how much he runs he will be caught. This is his fate, his inescapable sin… But even then he wanted to spend time with Mikoto, until the very end. He wanted to create a fairy tale with her. He won’t forget this: the days he spent with her, the water she gave him, and her feelings. One day they might meet again. But right now he wants her to forget him. So that she won’t be in pain. Because he wants her to be happy.

Scene skip! Mikoto runs back to the school. It is still night. She bursts into the greenhouse and yells out Momotose’s name. But then she freezes when she realizes the greenhouse is covered in blood. Momotose appears and tells Mikoto that the bodies have been collected by Iroha and the others; they were terrible looking… and the act was merciless. Mikoto can tell that this amount of blood isn’t normal. Just how terrible was it!?

Onosada then appears and greets Mikoto, noting that she is safe. She had been in a dangerous position. Mikoto blurts out his name in surprise and then looks at what he hands her. A cellphone? He tells her that this belonged to one of the dead minamo, and he wants her to look at the last received message. Mikoto does so and is shocked to see that the sender is Himeutsugi!

In his message, he tells the girl that he wants to get to know her better. Please come to the park after school. Keep this a secret from everyone. Mikoto is frozen. Momotose tells her that the same message was confirmed to be on every one of the dead minamos’ cellphones. The date of the message is the day before they all dropped out of school.

Onosada continues from here saying that, last year, there were 5 Gekkougumi minamo who dropped out of school. In the case of these drop outs, they disappeared suddenly from the school, and their families accepted their intentions to drop out of school. In Kaen, they have quite a few minamo who lose their qualifications and drop out of school on their own. But only those in Gekkougumi quit, like clockwork, due to the same event.

Iroha states that the girls didn’t drop out of school, but were kidnapped because of Himeutsugi. Mikoto gapes at him. He points out that they answered the summons from Himeutsugi’s email and were kidnapped at that location. And then, this evening, they were murdered at Kaen.

Mikoto latches onto the word “today” and points out that it’s strange! Himeutsugi was with her the entire day while they were doing Kabatsu. He couldn’t have done it! Iroha tells her that there is another perpetrator. She blinks at him. He tells her that it is Himeutsugi’s minamo, Kagami. Mikoto is in shock and asks him what he means.

It is Onosada who answers that he saw it. He saw Kagami stab these girls and then run. Mikoto turns to him in surprise. Momotose adds that the sword cuts on the dead bodies were done by the long sword that Kagami possesses. She cut down these Gekkougumi minamo and then kidnapped the chairman and a student. Mikoto can’t believe this because Kagami told her that she wouldn’t be coming to the school due to her television job.

Iroha asks her without emotion if she believes in those words? Mikoto doesn’t know what to say. Iroha explains that, after school, the entrance to the greenhouse is locked so that students can’t enter. Only teachers and Mizuchi, who is in charge of managing the greenhouse, can open it. As Kagami was committing murder in the greenhouse, Onosada came by on his rounds. If they didn’t have a witness then Kagami could arrange an alibi about not being in the school.

At the same time as this event, Awahana and one Gekkougumi minamo have gone missing. It is hard to think that these incidents are not connected. He believes they should consider Himeutsugi and Kagami to have committed these crimes. Onosada comments on how Kagami is the daughter of the president of Jinja TV; Himeutsugi’s guardian is that company. But even from looking at the utsurohi disturbance of the auditorium it points at those two being part of Goto’s people.

Mikoto denies this loudly; she thinks they’re mistaken and asks them not to say such cruel things about those two. Iroha repeats her words. Cruel? What is, senki candidate. He points out that she did Kabatsu with Himeutsugi; she was used as a tool to create an alibi, which Himeutsugi didn’t need to dirty his hands for. Mikoto stares at him with wide eyes. Iroha goes on to say that Kagami was seen by Onosada, and so Himeutsugi ran away after receiving that report.

Mikoto protests. Himeutsugi isn’t that kind of person. Moreover, at that time Himeutsugi– Iroha steps closer to her and tells her coldly to be silent. No one is asking for her opinion. Mikoto closes her mouth and flinches. Onosada tells them that, on top of this spilled blood, the chairman and a student have gone missing. In this situation, it is dangerous if they can’t make calm decisions. He wants everyone to think only with the facts. Mikoto shuts her eyes.

Suddenly, Kintoki appears and says that he can’t hear Awa’s voice. Mikoto turns to him, startled. Kintoki goes on to say that even when he uses Ruri, he can’t hear Awa. Ruri acts in concert with Awa’s soul and he thought the butterfly would be able to hear something but… Ruri starts to make static noises. Mikoto can hear something through the noise; it sounds like music is playing faintly in the back too.

The voice through Ruri is choppy but seems to be talking about a cup of something. Mikoto thinks she recognizes the music. Suddenly, the voice becomes clear as it declares that they are done! They’ve finished their refreshing and delicious mimosa cake, perfect for this season! And now this ends today’s baking show. Mm, teacher, it is delicious. The green of the pistachio is lovely on the eyes.

The voice encourages everyone to try making this. And this ends “Jinja 15 Minutes Cooking”! Until next time! The static returns as Mikoto realizes out loud that it was a television program! And then the voice returns from Ruri, announcing that they will now talk about the evening news.

Today, this early morning, the dead bodies of students enrolled at the National Kasen Academy have been found! Mikoto stiffens. Upon investigation, it looks like the students had been caught in the window glass repairs of the greenhouse. It is the opinion of the police that it was an accident. The static returns. Momotose asks what that news was, just now. Window glass? Accident?

Suddenly, an unknown person appears and chuckles at how interesting this all is. He came here after hearing the news about an accident at Kaen, and this looks to be a festival. Onosada asks him if he’s an adabana. The stranger confirms that they are and thanks them for taking care of Tama. He is the adabana Suzumushi. Mikoto rears back. Suzumushi takes a look around and notes how the windows aren’t broken and so it doesn’t look to be an accident. And yet that’s what the world and society is ruling it as.

He also sarcastically compliments the police for not mentioning anything about what happened with the people of Kaen. Ah, what a nice sight. It smells like the blood of people who died in agony. It’s the smell of ugliness that he loves! Suzumushi giggles. Mikoto realizes that utsurohi are appearing. Suzumushi then wonders out loud if these minamo were killed because they had been mistaken for the senki candidate? It looks like he (and his people) aren’t the only ones targeting the senki candidate.

Mikoto’s eyes widen at that. But then Suzumushi notes that his older sister’s honor is on the line; he’s going to enjoy himself with Mikoto before capturing her! Mikoto steps back, yelping. Momotose warns her that it’s dangerous! Suzumushi cackles at her reaction and then says he’s going to pay her back in ample for the love she gave Tama! Mikoto flinches.

And then Iroha calmly asks her what she’s doing. She looks up at him in surprise. He tells her to do Hana Awase. Prepare. She blinks. With him? He notices her hesitation and asks if she wants to die instead? Mikoto quickly shakes her head and then nods firmly. She’ll do it! Iroha creates his field and does his field call.

They defeat Suzumushi and Mikoto is breathing heavily from the strain. She notices how strong Iroha is and how she wasn’t of any help at all. Suzumushi curses and snaps out that he’ll remember this! He then disappears, startling Mikoto.

Momotose immediately brings up how the adabana said something strange, about how he (and his people) weren’t the only ones targeting the senki candidate. Onosada points out that there are mountains of people in a lower position than Goto. Isn’t it just those people struggling for power? Iroha is silent. And then he orders Mikoto to come with him. Mikoto yelps when he takes her by the arm and leaves. Momotose blinks in surprise and then calls out for him to stop.

In the halls, Mikoto asks him where they’re going. He doesn’t respond and just opens a door. Mikoto blinks when she’s led into Iroha’s room; she’s especially shocked when she sees how untidy it is. She flinches when he suddenly kicks off the things on top of his bed. He exhales. Mikoto wonders what’s wrong because he’s acting differently from usual.

Mikoto goes to call out his name but then yelps when she’s suddenly thrust onto the bed. IROHA DARLING PLEASE USE YOUR WORDS. He is still quiet. She asks him what’s gotten into him all of a sudden. Her eyes widen when she sees rope. Iroha’s breathing is tight. Mikoto has an unsettling feeling about the rope. And then she winces when her wrists are tied. Mikoto yelps and tells him that it hurts. Please untie the rope. Why is he–

Iroha tells her quietly that he won’t undo them. She stares. He tells her that she has no self-awareness of how she’s being targeted by Goto. And so he’s making sure she can’t run. Her eyes widen. He goes on to say that doesn’t understand anything about the importance of the existence of the senki candidate. As the senki, she has too many doubts. No doubt that is why the onifuda has not led her to the right path.

Mikoto tries to protest but Iroha takes out her onifuda and asks her what this light is. If it was the right path then, after it guided her, the light should have disappeared. And yet, it is still releasing light. The onifuda is saying… that this fate is a mistake. Mikoto repeats his words in shock. A mistake!? Iroha declares that, while being her partner, Himeutsugi has caused harm to the students of this school. That is the mistake. Mikoto can’t say anything in response to that.

Iroha tells her that she will never again see Himeutsugi. No, he will kill Himeutsugi. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Iroha thinks out loud that, once he kills Himeutsugi, the onifuda should guide her to the truth. Mikoto says that he’s lying, right? Iroha isn’t really going to kill… Iroha informs her that Himeutsugi’s actions are more than enough to make him a target for elimination. Mikoto struggles and protests loudly. She is absolutely against that! Let her go!

He tells her that Himeutsugi was just her partner; something she can find in another person. HOLY SHIT COLD. Mikoto glares and denies that. Her partner is Himeutsugi, because he is her… Iroha echoes her words lowly. Her…? Mikoto freezes. He asks her what she was going to say. Her what? Mikoto shakes her head and apologizes. It was nothing. Iroha shouts at her to say it! OH NO NO NO NO.

Mikoto flinches. Iroha has a terrifying expression on his face, and she knows if she says something here he will get angry. But… but she’s not going to hesitate anymore. She won’t run. Not from these feelings! Mikoto shouts out that Himeutsugi is the person she loves! She loves Himeutsugi, and it doesn’t matter if the onifuda hasn’t guided her. Iroha is silent. Mikoto continues on to say that she will still properly awaken as the senki candidate. Together with Himeutsugi.

That person wouldn’t kill his precious Gekkougumi minamo. She believes in him. Iroha is still silent, and then he says quietly that, as he thought, it was a mistake for Himeutsugi to be her partner. What’s wrong with her? She’s not sane to warp the truth like this… He suddenly notices something. Mikoto can see that he’s staring intently at her neck. And then he asks her what that red mark is.

She repeats his words in confusion and then stiffens. Oh. Iroha’s eyes widen. It can’t be… He starts to rip at her clothes. She screams and asks him what he’s doing. Iroha notices that she has them here and there too. She shouts for him to stop.

Iroha asks her dangerously if Himeutsugi did this. Mikoto doesn’t answer. Iroha mutters that there’s so many. Himeutsugi touched her… so much. He then addresses her as the senki candidate and asks her if she’s lost her qualifications?

Mikoto quickly tells him that he’s mistaken and she hasn’t! Himeutsugi protected that! Iroha repeats her words in that quiet and dangerous voice. Protect? He placed so many marks on the senki candidate’s body, just what did he protect? Mikoto doesn’t understand Iroha. Iroha then growls out that it’s unbelievable for the senki candidate to be tainted. Mikoto yelps and asks him not to rub at her skin so hard.

But Iroha just starts muttering 「こっちも・・・こっちも。・・・ありえない、ありえない・・・ありえ・・・ない!君は穢れてはいけない。何もないままで・・・そう・・・誰にも染まらないまま、泉姫にならなければ・・・ならない。なのに・・・っ!これはなんだ!」(Here… and here too… unbelievable. Unbelievable… unbel… ievable! You should not be tainted. Nothing should have happened to you… yes… remaining untainted by anyone, you must become… the senki. And yet…! WHAT IS THIS!). SOBS.

Mikoto wonders what’s wrong with him because this is the first time she’s seen him reveal his emotions so openly. And then Iroha asks lowly if Himeutsugi tainted this place too? Mikoto protests immediately and asks him not to pull her skirt up. Please stop! Iroha declares that he’s going to remove the taint. Mikoto is terrified by the strange look in his eyes.

She screams and then something hits Iroha. His eyes widen and then he slumps over. Behind him, Momotose glares and calls him shameless. What was he doing to her angel!? Mikoto blurts out Momotose’s name in surprise. Iroha is unresponsive. Momotose asks him if he’s listening. Iroha? Iroha!? Iroha starts to breathe evenly; he even hiccups. Mikoto just stares. Is he sleeping?

Momotose tells him that she won’t let him stay like that! He still needs to be slapped 100 times! Wake up! And then she notices something. She takes a sniff and then realizes out loud that his breath smells like alcohol. It also looks like something white is at the corner of his lips. Is that whipped cream?

Mikoto realizes something and tells Momotose that Iroha could have gotten drunk from the rum in the savarin. ARE YOU SERIOUS? THIS BABY. She goes on to say that a savarin has rum in its brioche. And not only was the fruits inside soaked in sugar but also in rum. It would have been okay for one piece, but Iroha ate around ten pieces and so it might have affected him. Momotose can’t believe Iroha became like this from cooking alcohol… but she won’t forgive him for being violent with her angel while drunk.

Mikoto smiles weakly and reassures Momotose that she’s fine. Momotose disagrees, especially since Iroha is still clinging onto Mikoto; she tries to tear him off. Tane and Kasu appear to tell Momotose to leave it to them. They’ll pull Iroha off with all their strength. Momotose nods and orders them to pull Iroha completely off. Then she tells Mikoto that she’ll bring her a change of uniform. Momotose grumbles about how Iroha knows nothing about how to treat a lady.

Scene skip! In the halls, Mikoto sighs at how she can finally return to the dormitory. After what happened, Iroha didn’t wake the entire time, though it was a problem when Iroha still wouldn’t move despite Tane and Kasu pulling him. But even after being pulled off, Iroha still didn’t wake. And then Momotose tied him up with the rope. Momotose told Iroha to reflect but Mikoto wonders if this is okay. He’ll be surprised when he wakes.

Iroha was scary though. She thinks it was because he was drunk but he was too different from his usual composed self. But she did say all those things, and so it can’t be helped that he looked down on her. But she…

Mikoto looks up at the moon and sees that the full moon is close. It’s a beautiful moon, which reminds her of the time she met Onosada in the greenhouse. The moon had also been beautiful then. She walks over to the greenhouse and pauses when she sees that it’s open.

She heads in and is shocked to see the greenhouse back to normal, when even the leaves had been stained with blood. Mikoto startles when she sees Mizuchi. He greets her. She asks him what he’s doing in the middle of the night here. He turns the question on her because, by nature, this place is forbidden from having outsiders enter. Moreover, there was that incident that happened here. He looks away and sighs. And then suggests that they talk. Mikoto blinks but accepts.

Scene skip! Mikoto hears about how Mizuchi cleansed the greenhouse alone. Mizuchi inclines his head and explains that, due to security reasons at Kaen, the management of the greenhouse is limited to people inside the school so that outsiders can’t enter. Because he likes plants, the chairmen entrusted a key to him. Mikoto is impressed by how the greenhouse has returned to normal even though not much time passed.

He tells her that the blood of people who were killed creates malice easily. It is best to purify these things immediately so that they don’t become a breeding ground for utsurohi. It would not be a recompense to those who died unexpectedly if, in the end, their regret where to remain on this land and hurt others. Mikoto murmurs his name.

Mizuchi goes on to say that they, as the 5 Brights, are to cut down those who become their enemies without hesitation. For the sake of not having victims like these appear. He pauses and then breathes in deeply. That is… what he thought. But right now he is shaken. Not long ago, Kintoki laid down the order for them to officially eliminate Hime and Kagami. Mikoto’s eyes widen.

To kill the minamo of one’s own group and to kidnap Awahana and a student is not sane conduct. If they don’t kill them, then even more tragedy will be born. Mizuchi pauses. And then he closes his eye before telling her, the senki candidate, that he has something he would like to ask. Does she still believe in Hime, even after hearing this?

Mikoto is surprised to hear this question but then answers without hesitation that she does. She believes in him. She believes that Himeutsugi is not the criminal. Mizuchi averts his eye but there’s a small smile on his face. He comments on how her answer was without doubt. A person like her… Mikoto calls out his name questioningly. But then Mizuchi tells her that he has made up his mind, and thanks her. He is going to head to Jinja TV together with Iroha. Mikoto is surprised to her that. To Jinja TV?

Mizuchi explains that, from the report Kintoki gave, the thing that Ruri emitted was a program from Jinja TV. They have confirmed that there is a recording studio at the company. He goes on to say that Ruri resonates with Awahana, and so what they heard was the nearby situation. In other words, the chairman is there but not in a state where he can speak. Mikoto catches on.

Mizuchi is worried for the chairman’s state. They need to hurry. But Jinja TV is on an island and, unless on rare occasions, outsiders are not permitted in. On the other hand, this means the possibility of two people being hidden there is high. He and Iroha, as Kaen people, can enter. They will use the only option available to them in order to infiltrate them. Mikoto asks if he’s talking about the National Kasen Convention on the weekend?

He inclines his head. He and Iroha have feigned ignorance in order to enter that place. There, they will rescue the chairman when they find him, and eliminate Hime and the others. Mikoto looks at him, distressed. He tells her 「自分は五光だ。己に預けられた使命をまっとうする。君のように、自分も迷わない。・・・失礼。」(I am one of the 5 Brights. This one will carry out the mission entrusted to him. Like you, I will not hesitate… Excuse me).

Mikoto watches him as he leaves and thinks on how his eye was fierce. Like he had made a resolution… in order to eliminate Himeutsugi. In order to not have any more victims. In order to not have any unexpected deaths. Mikoto has a look of determination. But even so, she has no regrets. Even if Himeutsugi is the perpetrator, she will… believe in him to the end. She believes.

Suddenly, Karakurenai huffs and remarks on what a fervent speech that was from that damn young lord. Mikoto shrieks out Karakurenai’s name in surprise. Kurenai tells her that he heard from Sadakurou about how the shitty princess and the mannish woman showed their true nature and killed everyone. Mikoto glares at him and tells him that he’s wrong; the two wouldn’t do that!

He tells her not to defend them without any evidence. Did she become obsessed with only thoughts of sex after being done by Hime? She snaps at him not to say such rude things! He’s so rude! She goes to stomp away but then Karakurenai stops her and tells her that he has just the right information for her. She pauses, looking at him in surprise. Kurenai tells her that this incident is suspicious; there’s a strange smell around here. She echoes his words. Strange smell?

Kurenai talks to her first about the relationship between Hime and the adabana. They aren’t in gear with each other, and have completely different opinions. Goto’s goal is Mikoto. So, the moment she became Hime’s partner he could have just brought her there. Same with Kagami; it’d be easy since they’re both minamo, right? Mikoto realizes he has a point.

He adds that, furthermore, the people kidnapped were Awahana and a Gekkou minamo. If the culprit had mistaken those two for Mikoto then that’s just stupidity. Finally, the adabana didn’t know that people had been killed here. So, what is the answer she can force out of this? She blinks at him in confusion. He asks if she doesn’t understand? Mikoto stutters as she tries to think of one.

Kurenai smirks and calls her an idiot. He’ll tell her the answer then, but he has a condition. She eyes him warily. He tells her to come with him to Jinja TV. Mikoto gapes at him. What did he just say right now? He tells her that they’re going to make an appearance at the National Convention, as a normal player and minamo. Mikoto continues to stare at him in shock. Karakurenai laughs because he wants to win, destroy Iroha and Mizuchi, and then wreck the television company.

Mikoto hesitates because this is a convention and she… Kurenai tells her not to worry because with him it’ll be an easy victory. Mikoto gives in and believes that they’ll be okay. Karakurenai grins, excited, and takes her along.

Scene skip! Half Moon whispers Mikoto’s name. Mikoto comes to consciousness, recognizing the voice. Half Moon? He perks up and confirms that it is him, and then thanks her for remembering. And then he winces because his head hurts. Mikoto asks him why. Half Moon admits that it might be a hangover. WOW SO BLATANT LMAO. She repeats his words and then asks if he drank alcohol. Half Moon denies this and then grumbles about “someone” being a glutton.

Mikoto repeats his words. “Someone”? Half Moon quickly tells her, flustered, that he’s just talking to himself! More importantly, she’s… become pretty. Mikoto is taken aback by these sudden words. Half Moon fumbles and then explains that he’s always watching her and he’s been thinking she’s fallen in love. Mikoto repeats his words. Love…

Half Moon asks her if it’s a painful love? Mikoto denies this but then admits that she was just thinking on how love can be hard. Half Moon laughs and then asks what she means by that. She asks if he’ll listen to her without laughing. Half Moon tells her to go ahead because this is a dream, and so she can say whatever she wants. This isn’t reality. It’s just his and her secret. She thanks him.

And then Mikoto tells him that this is the first time she’s liked someone and fallen in love. And so she doesn’t know if it’s actually the right thing. Love… is a little scary. Half Moon echoes her words. Scary? Mikoto tells him that she doesn’t know if she should grow to like this person even more. Is it okay to only think about that person and have her mind full of them? It feels like everything inside her has changed. She can’t think of anything but that person. And she’s scared of that.

Half Moon is quiet. Then Mikoto admits that she told a lie. He prompts her to continue. A lie? Mikoto admits that, somewhere in her heart, she does have the feelings of wondering if Himeutsugi is actually the criminal, but she didn’t say this to Mizuchi. Because if she said it then it felt like Himeutsugi would be lost. Half Moon is silent. Mikoto admits that no matter what horrible things Himeutsugi does, she is still scared of losing him… and so she said she believes in him.

Half Moon hums and comments on how Mikoto looks like an angel to the eye and in her heart, but right now she seems a bit like a devil. Mikoto startles but then thinks he may have a point. But she’s not an angel either. She’s just someone who wants to be seen as good by other people. She doesn’t trouble others because she doesn’t want them to be hurt because of her. That’s all she thinks about.

He tells her that she always steels herself, huh. She’s often seen as the honors student type. Mikoto winces because Ai has said the same thing. She doesn’t want to be disliked, so she’s a coward. Shou knows this and so he’s always protected her. He tells her that he’s beside her and he won’t let her say weird things. But she’s hurt that precious friend, because she’s fallen in love. Half Moon is quiet.

Mikoto wonders out loud if she can love Himeutsugi. She’s scared. Half Moon tells her he understands; there is a large monster in her heart. Mikoto is confused. He tells her that there is large monster that rumbles and growls like the wind. It is cold to the point of making her tremble from cold. OH GOD HE’S ECHOING THE THINGS CHILD!HIME SAYS. Half Moon asks if she’s going to continue raising that monster? Is she just going to be like a princess and continue waiting for someone to come and save her?

She denies this loudly. Half Moon tells her to become the prince then. Mikoto repeats his words, stunned. Become the prince? Half Moon nods and tells her that she is a strong prince; a gallant prince going to save the one she loves. And then he tells her that he’ll teach her the words for defeating the monster. These words will surely save her.

He tells her something inaudible. Mikoto seems to recognize these words though. He tells her that if it’s her then he is certain that she will have even more power than before. He feels a bit bad for “that person” but he is Mikoto’s ally. He doesn’t want to see her sad face. He is always praying for her happiness. And then he says goodbye. Mikoto shouts at him to wait.

DAY 28. Mikoto wakes up slowly, calling out for someone to wait. She notices that she’s on a train and tries to recall why she’s here. But then she realizes that she’s holding hands with someone and looks over, dreading to see– Mikoto screams. Karakurenai, who is beside her, glares and asks her why she’s screaming when she’s the one who grabbed his hand!? She turns red but protests because she would never do that!

Kurenai ignores her though and grins before telling her that, thanks to her being asleep, he was able to fondle her breasts as much as he liked. Mikoto stares at him in horror and tells him that he did something awful. How can one of the 5 Brights do that. Kurenai hisses at her to be quiet because people around them can hear. He’s trying to be a layman. Mikoto startles but nods.

He then huffs and grumbles about how she has it nice, being an unknown minamo. He has to hide his face by using an uncool disguise. Mikoto smiles and tells him that those glasses suit him though because it gives him an intellectual air– She’s interrupted when he snaps at her to be quiet and eat some gum, shoving it into her mouth. She chews obediently and apologizes.

But then she tells him that she has a question. He asks her what she wants, because he doesn’t have any more gum. She shakes her head and asks if she’s good enough to be his partner to go to the National Convention with? He sighs heavily. Mikoto corrects herself and basically says that she’s a Gekkou minamo and wouldn’t an Oukagumi minamo have been better?

He tells her the answer is simple: the National Convention has a rule that there can only be one player and one minamo. All of the Ouka women are his minamo, and he couldn’t pick just one. Mikoto smiles because he’s saying that she isn’t his woman then, righ– Karakurenai tells her loudly that, oh look, he still has gum. She can have the entire box! Mikoto chews with wide eyes. He snorts and tells her that it serves her right. Mikoto doesn’t understand.

And then the train announces to all the passengers on the train that they are arriving at Jinja TV. People who don’t have the authorization to enter must change trains. Mikoto repeats those words in surprise. Authorization? Kurenai tells her that he has them, and hands her a paper. She takes a look at it and compliments Kurenai for obtaining these just before the National Convention, which requires participant authorization.

Karakurenai smirks and tells her that he relied on a young man from a well-to-do family in Ouka; his family is a sponsor of Jinja TV, and it was very fast when Kurenai asked him. Mikoto realizes that there are males in Oukagumi and then thinks that it must be difficult to be there.

Kurenai then tells her to take a look because the monstrous TV company has appeared. Mikoto takes a look outside and is shocked by the change in scenery. That’s a TV company!? It’s different from her image. Moreover, this place looks like… Karakurenai informs her that this place seemed to be a building built in the history of Kasen. He doesn’t know what for though.

Mikoto falls into a daze and murmurs 「・・・ただいま。」(… I’m home). HOLY SHIT??? Karakurenai gapes and then asks if this place is her house or something? Mikoto snaps out of her daze and is confused. What did she just say? But then Karakurenai notes that they’ve arrived and orders her to come with him. She quickly hurries after him, calling for him to wait.

In an unknown place, a young girl giggles.

Scene skip! A guide speaks to all the participants of the National Convention and explains that they must pass the reception desk inside and then head to the Katou location. Mikoto and Karakurenai head in, and then Mikoto gasps in pleasure. What a lovely place! It’s so radiant and pressure. She wouldn’t have thought this was a television company! The Katou that she watched on TV only showed the stage so she didn’t know, but being able to see the entire set is… so…

Mikoto is surprised that she is crying. Karakurenai stares at her and says that she isn’t seized with fear at this point, right? Mikoto quickly tells him that she’s not and, for some reason, looking at this place has made her cry. He grumbles in exasperation at what a troublesome woman is, before shoving something at her. Mikoto sees that it’s a handkerchief. He then tells her that he hates crying women.

She winces and asks him not to rub at her face. It hurts. He tells her to hurry and stop crying then. She quickly nods and then hisses at the pain. He huffs and then says that he’s going to make them an entry; she can wait here. Mikoto agrees and, when he leaves, thinks on how he might have been showing concern for her. But, even more, why did she cry?

Some time passes and Mikoto finally calms down. She looks around and sees how lively it is. People are lined up on the spiral staircase, and she wonders if they’re all participants. They wear something like Kaen’s uniforms, but the design is a bit different. Maybe schools from different areas? She heard that there were Kaens in every area but when she looks around, there is a large amount of people. Mikoto then manages to find a participant pamphlet.

It has the National Kasen Convention rules. The preliminary matches consist of teams participating in separated blocks. If one has one point over their opponent than they win. The person who wins through to the very end is the champion. Mikoto wonders if she should just do it the same as a Katou. But she’s nervous with all the television cameras set up around. It feels like they’re being observed. These won’t take photos, right?

She notices that there are ones on the ceiling too… and then sees something above her. Beyond the continuous and thinning spiral staircase, at what looks like the top of the tower, is something white. Is that a monument? THE MOON? It looks like a statue but it’s so far away she can’t see it. But it looks like it’s protecting this stage… watching over… watching… Oh!

Mikoto realizes that it’d be bad if she was seen by Kagami and the others here. It looks like Karakurenai is still in the lineup and so he’s fine, but she should move to a place without people. She heads to a side room and then hears a strange sound coming from the corner of the hall. A woman is complaining about how rough it is to direct people around; she is scarfing down food. But then she starts to choke.

Mikoto panics and asks her if she’s okay. The woman gestures frantically at something. Mikoto asks her if she wants the milk? The woman nods vehemently. Mikoto opens it and hands it over to the woman, who guzzles it down and then breathes out in relief. The woman remarks on how she nearly asphyxiated from her anpan and she was saved by Mikoto. Mikoto smiles awkwardly and replies that she’s glad the woman is safe.

The woman complains about how she has to report on the matches but the rehearsal went on for so long that she didn’t have time to eat, which is why she was eating her food in a rush. Mikoto asks if she’s talking about the National Convention matches? The woman nods and asks if Mikoto is participating too? Mikoto confirms this. The woman informs her that this year has veterans but, well, they are all representatives of their school. However to her, Arabuki, they all look like students that are just young chicks.

Arabuki, the woman, sighs and comments about the young people and how, putting aside her job, they don’t give her much confidence. Youth is a nice thing though. And she also had a time when she was like that. Mikoto is surprised and asks if Arabuki is a minamo. Arabuki gives a vague answer before saying that she’s also a television reporter, because she didn’t earn very much. So she’s holding two jobs.

Mikoto tells Arabuki that she sees her often on the television, and they actually met before at the amusement park. Arabuki is surprised to hear that; she apologizes because she has so many jobs that she doesn’t remember. Mikoto doesn’t mind and then tells her that, at that time, she thought Arabuki was very adult-like and beautiful. And that she was different from most television people.

Arabuki becomes flustered and thanks her; she comments on Mikoto saying such nice things. And then tells Mikoto that she is also quite cute, though a bit brazen because her breasts are too large. If she had those then maybe she would be more loved. Mikoto blinks in confusion.

Suddenly, the producer appears and exclaims that he’s found his Arabuki! Yay! Arabuki stiffens. The producer pouts about how Arabuki disappeared after the meeting and he thought they could finally have some juice together. He gropes Arabuki’s butt. Mikoto just stares.

Arabuki then giggles coyly and tells the producer not to be mischievous. Later… okay? The producer agrees quickly and says that later, at a hotel, they’ll drench her in love. The matches are about to start so they should go there together! Arabuki agrees in a high voice and then says goodbye to Mikoto. Mikoto hurriedly replies.

As they leave, she can hear the producer talk about the 5 Brights, Iroha and Mizuchi, and how they’re devastating. Next time he’s thinking of producing music with them. LOL I SEE WHAT YOU DID HERE GAME. Arabuki tells the producer that he has a weakness for handsome men, huh. The producer goes on to say that the unit name would be “Iroha and Mizuchi”, and it’ll be a danceable number where they sing and dance and then do Hana Utsushi! How about it?

Mikoto just stares at their retreating backs. That producer continued to touch Arabuki’s butt. And then she realizes that she needs to return to the arena too.

Suddenly, static is heard and a young girl whispers something about a body. Mikoto pauses. Huh? The young girl giggles 「ふふ・・・っ・・・ザザッ・・・器・・・やっと・・・きた・・・。ふるの・・・でん・・・しょう・・・ザザッ!」(Fufu… *static*… the vessel… has finally… come… the old… leg.. end… *static*). Mikoto can clearly hear something and it sounds like it’s coming from above her. But nothing is there. It’s nothing, right?

Scene skip! Mikoto runs back to the arena and gasps for air. She made it! And then she looks for Karakurenai, who appears and asks her angrily what she was doing by disappearing all of a sudden. Mikoto yelps and apologizes. He grumbles about how she’s a woman who makes him angry, and then points out that their first match is starting. Mikoto calls for him to wait as he walks off.

An announcer reports that the National Kasen Convention has started! They are broadcasting live from Jinja TV! The area has filled with the top standing people of Hana Utsushi in the country and it’s very lively with these players. Ah, the enthusiasm is unbearable. He is Yoshida Hisanori, a Jinja TV announcer, and he will be reporting their heated battles live. He would also like to introduce a special guest: the given chairman of the local Kasen Academy, Kintokihana. He greets Kintokihana. Kintoki stutters but returns the greeting.

Mikoto gapes. Karakurenai angrily asks what that person is thinking by coming here at this time. Mikoto asks if he could be here searching for Awahana? Kurenai snaps out that he could care less; the chairmen look like children but inside they are 60 year old grandpas. Not people who can come to a dangerous place like this. Moreover, his plan has been ruined. Mikoto blinks at him. Plan?

Karakurenai says that he’s talking about the shitty princess and the mannish woman. He wants to lure them out here. Mikoto is shocked that he wants to lure them here. He grunts and explains that, even if they are both murderers involved with the police, they can’t show their true natures in front of a live broadcast. So, Mikoto is safe here. At any rate, he tells her to come with him as they beat their opponent in loudly.

The announcer goes on to ask Kintokihana, the chairman, if he has a guess as to the champion of this tournament and the possibility of it being someone from their school, in the city Kure, which is under the protection of the emperor. Kintoki impatiently asks him what guess? Because he doesn’t know either!

The announcer covers this up by commenting on how Kintoki is saying that the champion will be decided by fate and they won’t know until they see the battles. It is true that recently the school at Kantou has been placed second among the Kasen Academies, much to everyone’s surprise. They look forward to seeing what kind of battles happen. Now, both sides have appeared in the stadium so let the first match start!

Mikoto and Karakurenai win their first match. Everyone applauds and Arabuki compliments Mikoto before tossing her an anpan. Mikoto startles upon seeing her. Arabuki addresses her unspoken question by saying that the anpan isn’t much, and it’s thanks for before. But then she giggles and asks what is with their stage name. Mikoto winces and admits that it’d be bad if their real names were used and so, on the spur of the moment, they used what they last ate.

At any rate, Mikoto then asks if Arabuki is well. Arabuki realizes Mikoto is talking about the perverted old man; she shrugs and says that it’s the usual thing. The entertainment world is difficult. Mikoto doesn’t know what to say.

Suddenly, something pads over and Mikoto is startled to see a giant plush toy. Arabuki explains that this is the JJ amusement park’s mascot character, Jar-Jean. She has a… job after this event so she brought it along. Arabuki asks sternly who it is. Who decided to get into it and play? Is it Tama? Mikoto repeats that name questioningly. Arabuki quickly tells her that it’s nothing and then shoos the mascot away. This isn’t a place for them! The plush walks away and waves it hands.

Arabuki sighs at how she has to manage everything. And then she tells Mikoto that her next opponent is Maizuru. They use large combos; she advises Mikoto to go forward with all her strength!

They win their second match. The announcer, Yoshida, is amazed by their straight wins. Just who are those two!? It looks like these players are from the Kure Kasen, a third year Kurenai-sama and Anko-chan as the minamo… what a strange name. Kintoki’s eyes widen and he asks what they are doing! The announcer notes that these two are students from the chairman’s school then, huh. It also looks like there has been no rumors about these two. They don’t seem like the average pair!

Kintoki agrees that they aren’t average and that they’re idiots! He can’t believe that girl is here… and growls out Kurenai’s name. At any rate, the announcer continues on with their next match which is against the Kasen Academy of Hokkaido. If this pair continues to win then it will be interesting. Onwards with the match!

They win their third match. The crowd goes wild and the announcer yells out that they won by a large amount! Kurenai-sama and Anko-chan are strong! Intensely strong! The player is unbelievable; he is surprised that a high school student would use such radiant techniques.

Karakurenai sneers; it’s natural because he’s a genius. He then compliments Mikoto for being pretty good too. Mikoto is surprised to hear that. He nods and points out that the way she read the last move isn’t normal. It’s something only someone who thinks about it while their whole body can do. Mikoto smiles and returns the compliment; his strategy of charging in ahead surprised her a lot but she’s finally managed to keep up.

He tells her to stop being in Gekkou, because being an Ouka woman suits her. Mikoto blinks. Kurenai points out that the shitty princess won’t come back, so it’s perfect, right? Mikoto looks sad and then shakes her head. She is a Gekkou minamo. And Himeutsugi’s partner. So, she won’t become an Ouka. Karakurenai sighs, and then clicks his tongue because there’s no more gum. He then tells her that she’s going to regret her impudent mouth for the rest of her life. Mikoto blinks at him, confused.

Anyway, the announcer reports that it is now the final bout. He tells the chairman that these two just need one more win to be the champions! And then the match with the 5 Brights will await them; what does the chairmen think about this?

Kintoki just closes his eyes and exhales shakily. The announcer asks him what the matter is? Kintoki mutters that he can hear it. The announcer asks him what he can hear? Kintoki mutters that he can hear rumbling and growling… the sound of wind. This sound that is blowing through… It’s overhead! Mikoto startles when all the lights in the area shatter and disappear.

Suddenly, players start to scream. They are scared! The announcer calls for everyone to remain calm. The lights have broken and so there is fragments everywhere and it is dangerous. Please remain calm! Mikoto turns to look at Karakurenai. This is–! He is silent. She calls out to him questioningly. The announcer goes on to call for everyone to be calm and to head to the emergency exits quickly. Please do not push and follow their turn!

And then Arabuki grumbles at all this noise and shouts at everyone to be quiet. The announcer tries to tell everyone not to push but his voice sounds strangled. Arabuki also collapses midway through her words. Mikoto startles. She turns to Karakurenai again and asks him why everyone is suddenly– but then he falls over too. She screams his name. He is unresponsive. She shakes him and asks him what’s wrong.

There is static, and then a young girl murmurs that there is still a voice. She tells Utsugi to hurry and suck it up. Hey, hurry! Because they are in the way! These vessels don’t suit her. They don’t suit. Everyone should just die! Mikoto is frightened upon hearing this voice.

And then she hears footsteps. She turns to see Himeutsugi, whose name she yells out. He is quiet. Mikoto tells him that she’s glad. She… but then her eyes widen. Himeutsugi remains silent. Mikoto feels that her body is extremely heavy. Himeutsugi breathes out. Mikoto whimpers out his name and then… falls unconscious.

Scene skip! Mikoto wakes in an unfamiliar room and wonders where this place is. It looks like an… inn? No, it can’t be because she recalls being at Jinja TV. Suddenly, Himeutsugi murmurs her name. He asks her why she came. To this place. She wasn’t supposed to come here. Mikoto gasps out Himeutsugi’s name in her mind, but then realizes strangely that she can’t use her voice. And so Mikoto remains there unresponsive.

Himeutsugi closes his eyes in pain. Ah, she won’t ever move again… he absorbed her. She can’t return and he can’t return her. That was his promise with “that girl”. He didn’t want to do this to her, and to everyone else. This is the end.

In her mind, Mikoto asks him what he means by this being the end! Himeutsugi!! But her body is unresponsive. Himeutsugi tells her that he wanted to talk to her no matter what. Even if she can’t hear him… he wanted to confess to her. He explains that this place is a waiting room inside the company and the only place that is not under surveillance. It is a place where he can say his true thoughts.

Himeutsugi admits that he was the one who kidnapped Awahana and the Gekkougumi students. He lured them out and Kagami carried it out. He tells Mikoto that, when he was small, he inflicted a sad fate on a girl due to his abilities. He told her that he can manipulate water, right? Their water is their… life force. In other words, he takes away people’s souls. He talks about how, when he was young, he was too small to control his absorbing powers and so he cut loose a girl’s soul from her body.

He tried to return her to her body but, at that time, her body was already lost. And so she just remained as a soul. This soul, which couldn’t return, didn’t disappear and so wandered for many years. Her soul soon became stained with hate. Why can’t she return to her body? Why does only he get to live without a care? Why does only he… get to be happy? It is a sin that, no matter how much he repents, he can never stop repenting. He needs to atone to that girl for his entire life.

Himeutsugi tells Mikoto that the girl has just one wish… she wants to find a body, a vessel, that her soul can enter. A man, who called himself the Chalice of the Suits, noticed the existence of the girl’s soul and taught her a way to return to her body. Himeutsugi and Kagami have been acting under this man’s orders. OOPS I REALIZE I’VE BEEN TRANSLATING THESE GUYS WRONG THE WHOLE TIME. SUUTO = SUITS. AS IN TAROT CARD SUITS.

He hasn’t met Chalice but, like what Iroha said, he is indirectly a conspirator with Goto. Mikoto murmurs his name in her mind. This man told them to bring Awahana to be the vessel for the girl’s soul. Rebirth. To return the girl’s soul they have to use the former senki legend with the “sealed keys” inside the chairmen, and the “vessel” that is Awahana to drop into. Mikoto is confused.

Himeutsugi goes on to say 「金時花理事長が”紅の流転の鍵”、阿波花理事長が”瑠璃の蘇生の器”の鍵。女の子の魂を、彼の器に入れようとしたんだ。」(Chairman Kintokihana is the “Crimson Key of Transmigration” and Chairman Awahana is the key of the “Lapis Lazuli Vessel of Rebirth”. The girl’s soul has entered into his vessel).

In order to carry out the act of rebirth, Awahana had to be out of the school. But he never came out of Kaen and instead made the barrier stronger. That’s why, in order for Himeutsugi to kidnap Awahana, he put up a “water color” to break the barrier. He took his time and did it slowly so that he wouldn’t be found out. He had to use a lot of power too, which is why he slowly absorbed the power of everyone in the school. WOW WHAT THE FUCK HIME.

The incident at the auditorium was unexpected though. He didn’t think the adabana would use the “water color” that he created, no, more importantly, Himeutsugi was shocked by Mikoto’s power. She erased his color and purified everything. His voice becomes pained as he admits to Mikoto that, at that time, he saw a miracle in her. And he saw a dream. He thought that maybe she could cleanse his sin.

She knows nothing about taint and is serious… his complete opposite. But even so he wanted her, and he acted out for that… he said selfish things… But that’s because he wanted her. She is a princess that he fell in love with for the first time. He cries. The vessel that is Awahana didn’t suit the girl and so, this time, he is offering up everyone here. Including her. W H Y!? OH MY GOD MAN WHY!!??

Just when he brought his last hope along with him. When he thought everything would end with this. Everything is destroyed. For everything he did… he failed at the very end. All the unknown vessels he’s offered up to this point. Under his smile, he has become a demon… but he can do nothing but continue to atone. And sacrifice Mikoto. He chokes on a sob.

Himeutsugi is sobbing as he says that he wants to stop. He doesn’t want to do this anymore. He doesn’t want to kill her… her, who occupies so much inside of him, and who has filled his heart. WHAT ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE’S LIVES YOU RUINED. FFS. To continue living with sins and atonement piling on top of one another. He’s done. He can’t… he can’t be saved anymore.

He’s scared. He’s scared. He doesn’t want to lose her. He doesn’t want her to disappear from him. In her mind, Mikoto is stunned and then calls out his name. Himeutsugi. Please… Himeutsugi!!

Suddenly, a bell rings. Himeutsugi pauses. And then the onifuda appears on top of Mikoto’s body. Himeutsugi is confused. Why is it here? Mikoto is mumbling words. Himeutsugi breathes in sharply. Mikoto opens her eyes slightly and repeats 「ふるべ、ゆらゆらと・・・ふる・・・べ・・・。」(Furube, yurayura to… furu… be…). I THINK YOU ALL KNOW WHAT THIS IS BY NOW.

Himeutsugi chokes out her name. This is impossible. He should have absorbed everything from her. For her to be able to return to consciousness… Tears slide down Mikoto’s face as she tells him that she came. She returned. To accept him. He repeats her words, in shock. She will accept him? Mikoto tells him that she will accept everything… his sins and his feelings. He gasps.

And then Mikoto says that she’s finally found him. He, who she is always trying to catch but is unable to catch… on that day, since the time she saw his hand in the back yard, she has finally found him. He was here, huh. And now she won’t let him go. Even if he runs… she will come to catch him. In order to accept him. Himeutsugi starts to cry loudly.

Mikoto just looks at him, still with tears in her eyes, and tells him that she is his partner. So, please, don’t disappear ever again. He continues to cry. Mikoto asks him not to let her go. He sobs. She asks him to want her. At this point, Himeutsugi interrupts her words and kisses her. He is kissing her desperately, through his tears, and repeating her name. She gasps out his name too. I AM SO EMBARRASSED. TACHIBANA IS GOING FULL OUT ON ALL THE SOUNDS. CRYING + KISSING WOW.

He tells her that he can’t stop, and then asks her not to look down at how he is right now. He is breathing harshly as he kisses her again. Mikoto reassures him that she won’t, between kisses, and tells him that she too– Himeutsugi tells her that he can’t suppress this. He wants her. More. Mikoto gasps. Hime doesn’t know what to do because he can’t hold on anymore.

Mikoto calls out his name and then realizes that she feels a bulge in his clothes. I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP LMAO UMMM. Mikoto hesitates before she tells Himeutsugi that she accepts him. He says her name in surprise. She asks him to, please, come. Himeutsugi rears back and asks her what she’s going to do about her qualifications as a minamo. And as the senki!?

Mikoto tells him that, even if she loses these, she will be by his side. And she will pour something, other than water, into him. Minamo don’t just give water. She wants to offer up everything of herself to Himeutsugi. He just gapes at her. Honestly, a girl like her… He starts to laugh. She blinks at him in confusion.

Himeutsugi calls her his cute princess and tells her that this won’t do. Because he is a prince. And the only time they can connect is when they are finished at their happy end. Mikoto repeats his words, puzzled. Happy end? Himeutsugi then asks his princess for her hand. Once they leave this place, a fight awaits them. A very painful and hard fight.

He tells her 「でも、おとぎ話に続きはあった。これは、運命を切り開く勇敢な王子様と、誰よりも強いお姫様の物語だ。」(But there is a continuation to this fairy tale. This is a story of a brave prince, cutting through fate, and the princess, who is stronger than anyone else). Mikoto’s eyes widen. He smiles tightly and asks her to come with him. She smiles back and nods.

「君が行く 道の長手を 繰りたたね
焼き滅ぼさむ 天の火もがも」 – Himeutsugi
(I wish I had the fire of heaven
with which I could haul in, fold up,
and burn away the long road
that you must go.) – Sano no Otogami no Otome (Manyoshu, Book 15, #3724)

Scene skip! Himeutsugi comments on how, while he holds Mikoto’s hand, he is trembling. Ah, even though he is so weak and fragile, she is… by his side. He’s not cool at all. He’s just a pathetic man who puts on a show and decorated gaudily. And yet she… accepts him. Her hand, which is holding his, and her eyes, which are looking at him, are as hot as flames. As long as he has this heat, he will move forward. He will plunge into the middle of that hell fire of hate. For her, he can even face the fires of heaven.

Scene skip! Mikoto and Himeutsugi come out into the tower and Mikoto is shocked to see that everything is different from before. Electricity is sparking and something zaps Mikoto. She winces. Himeutsugi tells her to be careful because everything inside this company is under the girl’s control. Mikoto asks if he means the girl from his story. He nods and then tells her to look up.

Mikoto does so and realizes that she’s looking at the thing she saw from the assembly hall. It’s close. That white monument… it looks like it’s in the shape of a female. Could it be? Himeutsugi confirms that what Mikoto is looking at is the girl’s “body”. Mikoto repeats his words, shocked. Body!? Himeutsugi explains that his guardian, Chalice, created that. Jinja TV is also his.

Mikoto turns to him, stunned, and asks if this means Kagami’s father is Chalice!? Himeutsugi explains that Kagami was called here just like him and given the role of being the daughter of the company president. She hasn’t met Chalice either. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Himeutsugi reveals that Kagami has also been acting, her role as the president’s daughter… and as his partner. Mikoto asks him what he means.

Himeutsugi elaborates and says that they are liars. And as they continued to lie, one day it became something like the truth. But to him that is their bond. Mikoto echoes his words. Bond? Himeutsugi tells her that he wants to hear the truth from Kagami; he won’t run. Mikoto looks at him sadly.

And then his phone rings. Himeutsugi answers it curtly. A young girl giggles and tells him, Utsugi, that she’s found him! Mikoto stiffens because the voice isn’t coming from the phone. She can hear this voice from around them! The young girl talks about how Utsugi has given her lots of “vessels” and she’s so happy! Marika can return with this, right?

Marika, the young girl, adds that even if she doesn’t have them as “vessels” she won’t return them. She’ll kill them all, haha! Because it’s hateful, isn’t it? For Marika not to have a “vessel” but everyone else has one… She absolutely won’t allow that. She won’t forgive just her being unhappy. If she’s unhappy then everyone has to be unhappy. Right, Utsugi? Himeutsugi is silent.

Marika goes on to say that everyone should die. Everyone should lose their bodies and taste the same pain she has! Himeutsugi interrupts and addresses her as Matsurika, asking if they can go and meet her right now? Matsurika giggles and agrees; they can play together. Mikoto startles when she hears the noise of utsurohi. Matsurika giggles and suggests they play tag! Utsugi is the demon and Marika will run! If they find her then they can talk. She giggles and then disappears.

Mikoto’s eyes widen when she sees utsurohi appear. Himeutsugi tells her quietly that Matsurika has created these. Her name is Matsurika and her soul is sleeping in the monument at the very top of this company’s radio tower. Matsurika is full of anger and hate at not finding her own body… or “vessel”. And if there are no “vessels” among the people Himeutsugi has absorbed then she will kill everyone here.

He goes on to explain that the water he absorbed from everyone fills the inside of this company. They have been cut loose from their bodies and, if left alone, they will be tainted by the utsurohi. Mikoto realizes that they need to purify this taint then. Himeutsugi nods and asks if she can do it? Mikoto tells him determinedly that she will. He thanks her.

And then he creates his field and does his field call 「我が姫空木の名において、フィールドを生成する。脆き魂たち、君の罪を聞かせて。僕が・・・赦してあげる。」(Under my name, Himeutsugi, I create this field. You brittle souls, let me hear your sins. I shall… grant you forgiveness).

They defeat the utsurohi. But Mikoto notices that they are exceptionally tougher than the ones she’s fought up to now. Moreover, she can feel a strong taint from them; a hatred that stabs at her… and one more thing. Himeutsugi explains that Matsurika is using the electricity to release the hatred in her body. However, this is the first time she’s given birth to utsurohi and he realizes something has happened in her. They need to hurry. Mikoto nods.

As they run up the stairs, Mikoto thinks on how the utsurohi created from Matsurika are steeped in darkness. But there’s a different feeling deep inside. It’s…

By now, Mikoto is panting and wondering how many floors this building has. They climb and climb but there’s no end. Utsurohi are also appearing as they climb and she can feel the utsurohi becoming stronger in each fight. Also, each time they defeat the utsurohi, she can hear Matsurika’s screams.

Suddenly, Mikoto hears someone call out Hime’s name. She looks over to see an utsurohi sniff the air and then tell Hime that it hurts. Mikoto is shocked that it is speaking. Himeutsugi is speechless too. The utsurohi tells Hime that he told her he wanted her and embraced her at the party. Was that a lie? Himeutsugi realizes who this utsurohi is. It goes on to ask him if he deceived her? Didn’t he call her out with an email? Doesn’t he love her? It hurts. It hurts. She has no body. Where is her body?

The utsurohi starts to scream. It hurts it hurts it hurts. She HATES! He crushed her heart with his foot! She screams at him not to be attached to that woman beside him! SHE HATES! She’ll kill them. She’ll kill them!! Mikoto screams when electricity snaps at her. Himeutsugi chokes. Mikoto looks over at him in concern, only to see him sob out apologies. No. He’s not– no! Mikoto realizes that Himeutsugi is losing his composure.

Himeutsugi cries out at them not to attack him, because this hatred is too much! Mikoto suddenly slaps him and he snaps out of it, looking to her in surprise. She tells him firmly that what they’re seeing isn’t the girl; it’s an utsurohi! She asks him to believe in his minamo. Himeutsugi’s eyes widen. She tells him that the girl’s soul is in pain because she’s been possessed by an utsurohi and they should cleanse her! Her taint and her pain… Himeutsugi can save her with his hands!

His breathing hitches before he nods, determination rising. He will fulfill his duties. They defeat the utsurohi, and it disappears while calling out Hime’s name. Mikoto is surprised to see someone collapse onto the ground though. The imperial maid, who is now revealed, continues to call out Hime’s name. Mikoto recognizes her as a Gekkougumi person, the one who was with Himeutsugi at that time during the party!

Himeutsugi also recognizes her. And then the imperial maid tells him that she’s glad. She had been called to the park by him and then she wanted to return here. She tells him that she saw everything while she had been separated from her body. It was strange; she couldn’t return and yet she could still see. It was like she was dissolved into the air. But she had something she wanted to say to him and so she wanted to return no matter what. However, she had been consumed by an utsurohi.

Hime apologizes for making her suffer through this. The imperial maid shakes her head and tells him that what she wanted to say… was that she was okay. She is an imperial maid who will do anything for him. She loves him and so she wants to give him everything. She is happy… to have returned… to his hands… The imperial maid falls silent. Himeutsugi exhales shakily and then grits his teeth.

Mikoto realizes that, even after this girl’s soul had been separated from her body, she had continued to watch Himeutsugi. Utsurohi are things that shake the darkness of one’s heart. It could have been that the things this girl said while she had been possessed were words that had been sleeping deep inside of her. But the words she said now were the truth. Women become liars. She feels like she can understand Kagami’s words a little more. I STILL DON’T LMAO. EVERYONE LIES.

Mikoto then asks Himeutsugi to please, somehow, forgive himself. He breathes shakily. She tells him that this is what that girl wishes. They should continue. But Himeutsugi yanks her into him and chokes out that he’s scared. He’s scared. Because of his sins, everyone is… it hurts. It hurts. Mikoto’s eyes widen before she smiles gently at him and tells him that she’s here. He asks her desperately if she really is. Her smile widens and she nods.

Himeutsugi tells her shakily that just for now… He’ll return to being a prince soon but… just for now let him be weak. Mikoto nods, smiling softly. She can see his heart. Something seems to have been bared and is running into her. It is fragile and weak. It’s not the Himeutsugi that she has seen up to now. And this gives her a strange feeling that is welling up inside of her heart like a spring. What is this? She doesn’t want to let him go. She wants to continue holding him like this. She wants to support this person. Everything about him.

In the dark, Matsurika giggles and wonders where the demon is.

Scene skip! Kagami calls out Matsurika. HER NAME IS WRITTEN TO MEAN “ARABIAN JASMINE”. Matsurika calls Kagami her older sister and tilts her head questioningly. Kagami reports that Hime and the young lady are coming here. Matsurika knows because she called them here! And then she tells Kagami that soon she will have her “vessel”, heehee. Is her sister happy? Because her sister loves Marika, right? Kagami tells Matsurika that she does.

Matsurika notes that Kagami loves her… in a more different meaning, right? Kagami is quiet. Matsurika tells her that she knows, which is why Kagami has always looked at her with those eyes. That’s why… on that day… Kagami did what she did, right? Kagami gasps. Matsurika giggles and asks Kagami if she thought she had been sleeping? Nope! But it’s fine, Marika will forgive her. BY THE WAY MATSURIKA CALLS HERSELF MARIKA. Kagami is speechless.

Matsurika goes on to talk about how Kagami and her are two sisters. Haa, she wants to hurry and have a human body just like her sister! Kagami asks hesitantly if that body will really suit her… Awahana’s “vessel”. Matsurika confirms this because she’s given that blue person to Chalice. Kagami stiffens and asks if the ceremony has been done then? Matsurika tells her that even if it hadn’t been done, she knows it’ll fit. But it’s fine because Matsurika doesn’t need that person. She has the “vessel” that she wants. Yes, Marika wants the vessel of the senki!

Kagami is stunned. Matsurika also tells her something Chalice said, which was that this TV company has been built on the house of the former senki. He told her that there was a meaning behind having Matsurika, Kagami, and Utsugi gathered to live here. Kagami quotes her words. Meaning? That’s the first time she’s heard this. Matsurika replies that Chalice told her it failed so they don’t need to be told about it. Heehee, Chalice is weird. She hasn’t seen his face but it seems like he knows her, and them, well.

Kagami remarks on how he’s a Suit and so he’s using them. Matsurika doesn’t care though because anyone is fine so long as they’ll return her to a body. People who listen to her wishes… she loves them all. And then Matsurika tells Kagami softly that once she returns to being a human, she’ll let Kagami hold her like she did on that day. OKAY… UM SO THE VERB SHE USES CAN EITHER MEAN HUG… OR SEX. LMAO. SO UH. Kagami’s breath hitches. Matsurika laughs.

Scene skip! Back with Mikoto and Himeutsugi, Mikoto can see that the monument is gradually becoming closer. She couldn’t see it as anything but a white female but now that she’s looking at it from here her impression is different. It’s a young girl wearing a kimono and seems to resemble someone… It must have been modeled after Matsurika, right?

Mikoto asks Himeutsugi what kind of girl Matsurika was. Himeutsugi tenses. Mikoto quickly tells him that he doesn’t need to say anything if it’s too hard to talk about. But he tells her that Matsurika is Kagami’s little sister. Kagami and Matsurika lived separately due to family circumstances, but were then called together. It’s something that happened ten years ago. They were childhood friends.

Himeutsugi heard that Matsurika had a similar power to him. By nature, they should have been able to understand each other… but they were too young. One day, Matsurika changed. She became selfish and messed up everything around Kagami. And then a tragedy occurred. Mikoto hesitantly asks him what the tragedy was. Himeutsugi tells her that there seemed to be cause for that situation, but he doesn’t remember. His memories there are gone.

It was Kagami who told him later. Apparently, he fell in love with a girl and his interest in that girl was the impetus. Mikoto blinks. A girl? Himeutsugi tells her that it was someone he knew when he slipped out from the island; Matsurika didn’t forgive him for take interest in another girl though. Mikoto asks if this means that Matsurika loves Himeutsugi? Himeutsugi shakes his head. Matsurika just doesn’t want him to be happy; she hates him. Mikoto blinks.

Himeutsugi admits that was constantly bombarded by her hate. And so, actually, he is bad with girls… no, he’s scared of them. WOW WHAT!? Mikoto’s eyes widen. He tells her that he’s always been acting. The version of him that isn’t hated by girls. But as he did that it somehow became the truth. Like what happened before, he becomes terrified when he’s bombarded with hate. He remembers the past.

Mikoto looks away. He asks if she scorns him now? She denies that immediately. He smiles painfully and calls her a strange girl. He can’t become a brave prince at all, and only shows her how pathetic he is. And yet, she accepts him. Mikoto smiles and tells him that it’s because he accepted her; he allowed her to be by his side as his partner.

Honestly, she’s the one who is weak. She’s always insecure and lost. She’s someone who can’t accept people from her heart. She can’t rely on people and allow herself to be spoiled. On the contrary, believing in someone and allowing herself to be spoiled and then betrayed is what she is afraid of. She thinks about doing everything by herself. But she wants to be accepted by Himeutsugi. She wants him to pamper her. And she wants to spoil him. She wants to continue forward together with him. Himeutsugi utters her name, stunned.

And then Mizuchi orders Himeutsugi to step away from the senki candidate. OH SHIT! Mikoto looks over to him in shock. Mizuchi!? Mizuchi notes that Himeutsugi is the mastermind behind this incident, huh. Himeutsugi is silent. Mizuchi remarks on how ironic it is that just when he and Iroha stepped outside the TV company – due to an emergency call from Onosada – this situation occurred. He saw the situation in the Katou hall where crows of people have fallen and are not moving.

Mikoto’s eyes widen progressively. Himeutsugi snorts because, to the end, he cannot follow through. Mizuchi and Iroha were the two people that he needed to absorb their powers. Mikoto yelps out Himeutsugi’s name. Mizuchi realizes that the power Hime has been hiding is the ability to steal other’s energies. Hime is quiet. Mizuchi then tells Mikoto that the Oukagumi students have confessed about how Karakurenai took her here. Onosada will guarantee her safety and so she should come to him.

She refuses though. Mizuchi exhales, and then declares that he will purge Hime. Mikoto shakes her head to this as well because she will protect him. Mizuchi tells her that this is a situation which they cannot recover from. She is the senki candidate; she cannot remain by Hime’s side. Mikoto declares that she will stay by his side. Mizuchi asks her loudly if she will obey a man covered in sins. Mikoto tells him firmly that Himeutsugi’s sins are her sins.

Mizuchi closes his eye and breathes out slowly. And then acknowledges her words. In that case, he will redeem them both. He tells Hime that he is serious. Himeutsugi nods and tells him that he will fight at his full strength.

They win against Mizuchi, who ends up covered in blood. Mikoto calls out his name in worry, but Mizuchi snaps at her not to come close. Mikoto stops, stunned. And then Mizuchi tells Hime that he should have been able to take his power… so why didn’t Hime do that. The time that he was out at the TV company was a short time and, even now, Hime could have taken his power.

Himeutsugi reminds him that he said it already; he can’t follow through. Mizuchi’s eye widens before he recalls that Hime did. And then he glares and calls Hime a liar because he stopped just before taking Mizuchi’s life. That isn’t going at full strength. Himeutsugi points out that he did the same. Mizuchi huffs in amusement. He closes his eye and breathes in deeply before telling them that Iroha is securing Kintoki, but he will be here soon. To head to the top floor and purge Kagami.

Mikoto is shocked to hear that. Himeutsugi is tense. Mizuchi then comments on how the utsurohi along his way was easy enough for him to defeat on his own. It was too easy, as if someone was guiding him. He asks if Hime was willing to die? Hime replies that he was at first. Mikoto’s eyes widen.

Himeutsugi admits that he might have wanted them all to find him. He wanted people to come and put an end to this cursed power. But… he was found by Mikoto first. And so he’s given up on his plan. He wants to live! For her sake. He is going to try and struggle along, once more.

Mizuchi huffs and calls him a troublesome man. And then he tells Hime 「行け。心のままに、生きて来い。」(Go. And live, following your heart). SHIT SHIT SHIT THIS IS MIZUCHI’S TRADEMARK IF YOU REMEMBER HIS ROUTE. BAWLING AT THIS FULL CIRCLE.

Scene skip! Kagami muses out loud on how one can see the moon well tonight. Let’s look at it together… princesses.

Mikoto murmurs Kagami’s name, a distressed look on her face. Kagami points out calmly that it’s a reunion where they haven’t seen each other in a while, and she won’t even smile? Mikoto looks away. Kagami tells her that this won’t do, because women are supposed to be charming. Mikoto just tells her that she heard everything about Kagami. Kagami sighs; she was going to ask how much Mikoto heard, but that’s unrefined, huh.

And then Kagami asks Mikoto if she knows the “Sea of Fertility“. Mikoto repeats the name, confused. Kagami just tells Mikoto to look up because there is a beautiful moon. There is a sea on that moon… the great moon’s sea. It is a far, far away sea. One that they cannot do anything but look at like this. It’s not something that people can want, a noble moon’s sea. But she desired the moon. And thus a nightmare started.

Kagami sighs. Even though she knew she could not obtain it, she still struggled and floundered. As a result, she committed a sin that she would regret her entire life. To atone for that sin she would listen to anything that was said. Anything. Even taking the hand of a wicked person, and murdering people. Kagami laughs self-deprecatingly.

Mikoto asks if the moon is Matsurika. Kagami confirms this fanatically. Yes, yes! Matsurika, Matsurika! Her beloved little sister… more beautiful than anyone else, who holds a soul more noble than anyone else, her pure little sister! And this man took that from her! HER SOUL! Himeutsugi’s breath catches. Kagami snarls out that she isn’t ever able to touch that skin again, and does he understand that pain!? No, a man like him could never understand! HOW SUBLIME MATSURIKA IS!

Matsurika, who became a soul, told her to become a man. To live as a “male” who she hates more than anything. This sin! This disgrace! But for her beloved sister, she became a man. Every day was like hell. But even still, she endured it for her Matsurika… as someone who worships the moon. For her Kagami would do… anything. Yes, ANYTHING! She is different from a “man” like Himeutsugi and his resolution! Himeutsugi tenses.

Kagami tells him that he’s always screaming. Even as he creates a smile, deep in his heart he is calling for help and to be saved. How offensive! Ah, it’s disgusting. It’s repulsive. Is he not embarrassed to live like that!? Kagami doesn’t want anything from Matsurika. She will only grant Matsurika things… offer things to her. She will only do what Matsurika wishes.

Mikoto’s eyes widen when electricity sparks. And then Kagami informs Mikoto that Matsurika desires her body. They are done with the time it takes for Hime to absorb things, so Kagami will just kill her… and cut loose her soul. Mikoto flinches away. Kagami comments on how if they immediately do the ceremony then they’ll make it in time… right? Matsurika is pleased. She is so happy. Kagami starts to giggle and then bursts into cackles.

Kagami starts to laugh in glee as power enters and fills her body. Ah, it feels good. IT FEELS GOOD. The woman inside of her is writhing in madness. Mikoto notices shadows and electricity start to curl around Kagami. Kagami moans in pleasure because she can feel Matsurika and the power she’s being given. Her soul! Mikoto looks at Himeutsugi in worry. Himeutsugi notes that Kagami’s body is full of utsurohi and she is massively tainted. She is an enemy much different from the ones they’ve faced up to now.

Mikoto is scared. But Hime tells her firmly that it’ll be okay and he’ll protect her. Mikoto nods, becoming determined. And then Hime does a field call 「我が姫空木の名において、フィールドを生成する。聖なる月よ。全ての罪を赦したまえ・・・そして、彼らに救いを!」(Under my name, Himeutsugi, I create this field. Oh, holy moon, pardon all these sins… and forgive those people!). HEY IT’S DIFFERENT!

They defeat Kagami and Mikoto wonders if they’ve won. Kagami coughs out blood and is panting, but she still snarls out that she can’t believe she lost to a man! She slams her fist into the ground because, no, this isn’t her! She’s stronger! It’s not possible for her, who worships Matsurika, to be weak! Mikoto is stunned.

Kagami starts to cry and asks plaintively what she should do. Suddenly, Matsurika tells her sister not to cry. Mikoto whips her head to the statue because it’s talking!? Matsurika tells Kagami that she’ll give her power; she will make her stronger… so that she is suitable for Marika, okay? Kagami stutters out Matsurika’s name. And then she screams when electricity rips through her. She can’t breathe!

Matsurika asks Kagami if she remembers? In the past, she crushed Kagami’s throat just like this. WHAT KIND OF KINKY–. Matsurika tells her that it was because Kagami sounded like a girl, which is strange since she became a guy. And that’s why… she DID THIS! Kagami chokes. Mikoto shouts out Kagami’s name in horror. Matsurika croons at how sad her sister is. It’s painful, right? It hurts, right? She hurts too, hahaha!

And then Matsurika tells her that she is pouring more and more power into Kagami’s throat. Look, she’s becoming a man. She’s becoming stronger. Kagami screams. Mikoto also screams when the ground beneath them starts to crumble. Himeutsugi yells out to Mikoto that it’s dangerous and tries to get her to come to him. But something slices him. Mikoto’s eyes widen.

Himeutsugi grunts out that his back feels like it’s on fire. This heat is… Kagami chuckles darkly. Mikoto looks at her in shock. Kagami murmurs to God to take Himeutsugi’s tainted soul through sublimation and turn it into a noble mind and heart. Amen. She slices down with her sword again. Himeutsugi spits out blood. Mikoto screams.

Kagami says calmly that the time has come; she will kill the senki candidate and move Matsurika’s soul into her. Mizuchi suddenly runs up the stairs and calls out to Hime and Mikoto, asking them if they’re okay. Mikoto calls out to Mizuchi desperately. And then Kagami snarls at them, who are supposed to die, to all just fall! The only one to be saved is Matsurika, as a human! Now, for the ceremony!! The ceremony of a soul and its vessel!

Mikoto sees that her eyes are strange, deranged. Kagami cackles loudly. Mikoto screams. And then Himeutsugi whispers weakly for her to hurry and run, along with Mizuchi. She refuses. Himeutsugi tells her that he’s already dead and he can’t take her along with him. He wants her to live, in his place. Mikoto protests and shouts out that they can still make it in time if they treat him. Please don’t say that he will die! Didn’t they say they were going to live together!? And now he’s going to leave her behind!?

Himeutsugi laughs weakly. Ah, yes. A prince can’t leave her behind. A brave prince… he throws Mikoto into Mizuchi’s arms, startling both of them. And then Himeutsugi tells Mizuchi that he is putting Mikoto in Mizuchi’s care. He must save her, absolutely. Himeutsugi then smiles sadly and says goodbye to his princess.

Everything seems to slow as he slumps over and falls off the tower. Mikoto screams. Her heartbeat is loud. Mizuchi yells at her to stop and to look at the ground. If Hime has fallen from this height… it’s too late. Mikoto shakes in denial. No. NO! NOOOOOO!! She screams out Himeutsugi’s name and jumps off. Mizuchi yells out her name in shock. Kagami also screams because they’ve both fallen!?

As Mikoto falls she calls out for Himeutsugi in her mind. She will absolutely save him. From this taint. From death! She starts to recite the chant. Furube, yurayura to. Furube, yurayura to, furube! And then the onifuda appears in front of her and glows bright white before disappearing.

Scene skip! Himeutsugi groans. What is this? His body feels light? Mikoto calls out his name repeatedly. He can hear her voice. It’s coming from a far away place… and a close place. Mikoto tells them that she’s right here and then asks him to stretch out his hand. He repeats her words, confused. Hand? She tells him that she came to find him. No matter what happens, she will find him over and over again. Even if that place is hell! Now, she asks for his hand again. Himeutsugi!

He opens his eyes and gasps. This is…! Mikoto tells him that she found him. Her precious him. He stutters out her name. He’s alive? But he had been cut down. He realizes in shock that his wounds are gone. Was she the one!? Mikoto replies that she doesn’t know but she thought about wanting to save him and wanting him to live. Himeutsugi is stunned at this strange feeling; water is filling his entire body and it feels nice. He, who had absorbed so many people’s water, is now feeling this water for the first time. He didn’t know it was like this.

This water that fills his heart. This water that heals him. Mikoto tells him that she feels it too; in her heart his flower has bloomed. Himeutsugi repeats her words, confused. His flower? She tells him that there is a pure white and untainted… deutzia. HOLY SHIT FULL CIRCLE AGAIN. REMEMBER THE MEANING OF HIS NAME? He echoes her words. Deutzia?

Mikoto tells him that power is overflowing in her now that the flower has bloomed. A power that has forgiven all the taint and pain. Himeutsugi tells her breathlessly that she is beautiful; she is a real princess. Ah, she’s lovely. She really is amazing. Mikoto says his name lovingly.

Scene skip! In the assembly hall, the students start to stir. The announcer snaps away when water is thrown on him. Is this a flood!? Mikoto and Himeutsugi exchange looks. The students are confused too and ask what happened. What is this water? Did a water pipe burst? And what about the matches!? Mikoto realizes that everyone has awoken. Himeutsugi is shocked because he had absorbed everyone’s water.

And then the announcer tells everyone to head to look at the center stage. This is an unbelievable surprise! The minamo, Anko-chan, has changed into a kimono in an instant! Mikoto yelps. The announcer goes on to describe how she’s embracing a handsome man too and this is… uh… a scandal! Himeutsugi smiles sheepishly. Mikoto tries to tell everyone that they’re mistaken and this is, uh…

At any rate, they are running out of broadcasting time and the stage is submerged in water. He has no idea what just happened! He turns to ask the chairman what he thinks about this, only to realize the chairman is not there. He has disappeared! In other news, the curtains fall on the National Kasen Convention with this! He thanks everyone for their kind attention.

Scene skip! On the rooftop, Jinja TV concludes their broadcast for today. Beep. Static happens. Matsurika finds this boring. So boring! SO BORING! Everyone went home too. Is no one going to play with Marika? Marika is lonely. Marika is always alone. She’s alone right here. Someone play with her. Play…

Suddenly, Tamamushi yells at their sister to come over here. Arabuki hisses at Tama not to speak so loudly. What will they do if someone hears? The only people who come here are people of high status. Moreover, she isn’t his older sister here. He has to properly call her by name. Tamamushi apologizes. At any rate, Arabuki asks if their boss really told them to come here?

Tamamushi confirms that their boss gave him a personal call and was very excited, which he hasn’t been for a long time. Usually, he only gets calls from that brazen producer– Tamamushi decides not to finish that sentence. Suzumushi notes that this place is very broken and confirms that it’s a radio tower, right? This can project things onto the TV? Arabuki shrugs but says that the people in their company said it is fine so long as “this person” is unharmed.

Suzumushi asks if she’s talking about the white statue of the girl? He thought it was just a decoration. Tamamushi comments on how creepy it is; it feels like it’s filled with malice. Arabuki is silent. And then she huffs at this statue lacking in cuteness. Something about it displeases her because it’s too pretty. Suzumushi echoes her words. Too pretty?

Arabuki explains that she can’t trust things that are pretty. Look, this body is pure white. As long as one is living in this world, they will be dirtied by something. There is no such thing as an untainted existence. The most troubling thing is people like this. They act like they are untainted but their insides are muddied and black. Hmph, all of the emperor’s people are like this.

Suzumushi asks if she knows the emperor? Arabuki tells him not to say such a joke. Does he think a weed like her is an opponent for the emperor? People like that have interest in nothing except for gods. Suzumushi realizes she’s talking about the senki. Arabuki huffs but confirms that she’s talking about the woman that the emperor is always searching for. Suzumushi points out that Goto is also searching for the senki candidate too, which is why they were ordered to go to Kaen.

Tamamushi explains that 「あれなんスよね、帝が唯一愛した女性の生まれ変わりだとかなんとか。となると、帝の血を引く五斗様も・・・。」(That’s, you know, something about the only woman that the emperor loved being reincarnated. And where Goto, who is descended from the emperor, is concerned he also…). Arabuki is quiet.

Suzumushi quickly chides Tamamushi and tells him that he’s wrong; Goto is different from the emperor and searching for the senki candidate for a different reason. Arabuki tells them that Goto has no taste for pure white women like the senki. Tamamushi is surprised to hear that because Goto has given strange orders like them having to bring the senki candidate to him as a virgin, and not letting other men touch her–. GOTO-HEN AND EMPEROR-HEN WHERE LMAO.

Suzumushi interrupts and shushes Tamamushi. Why doesn’t he understand a woman’s heart? Arabuki repeats again that Goto isn’t like that. Tamamushi blinks. Arabuki explains that Goto picked her up when she became tainted and fell. A tainted minamo is similar to trash to the emperor and his ilk. She asks them if they know that when a priestess, who serves the emperor, loses her virginity she is branded by a mark of adultery and then driven out of that place.

And there is no one who will take an interest in a priestess who is branded. Suzumushi hesitantly asks if Arabuki… Arabuki just answers 「男と女が愛し合い、命を生む尊い行為を穢れとみなすのは、命を否定することと同じ。五斗様は、アタシにそれを教えてくれた。あの方こそが帝にふさわしいよ。」(To call the love between a man and woman, and the revered act of creating life, unclean is the same as denying life itself. Goto-sama taught me that. He is much more suited to be emperor).

An unknown voice asks if that is so? Arabuki startles. She turns to see Karakuri and asks who he is. But Karakuri just sneers at how Goto is quite good at handling his underlings; he has three dancing dolls here. But they’re a bunch that can’t be used. Suzumushi and Tamamushi, who received the orders to plunder the senki candidate, have failed, and Arabuki has wasted her second chance. HOLY SHIT HIS VOICE IS NORMAL AND IT’S SO SCORNFUL.

Suzumushi repeats those words. Wasted their chance? What does that mean!? Karakuri is disappointed at how they are idiots who didn’t notice their prey when it was right in front of them… they can’t be used as pieces anymore. So, die.

Karakuri throws something at Arabuki and she chokes on blood. But as she dies she says that she’s seen that face from somewhere. She saw him in Goto-gai… as one of the Suits… Arabuki collapses and dies. Suzumushi screams her name, but he’s cut down too. Tamamushi yells out Suzumushi’s name. Suzumushi collapses. Tamamushi whimpers, then yells for anyone to save him.

Suddenly, Karakuri pauses and tilts his head. He states mechanically that his output has declined. And then he collapses. Tamamushi is puzzled but then stiffens when he sees someone else. He shrieks when the new unknown person throws Karakuri off the building. Tamamushi asks them in a terrified voice why they’re here. They are… they are…!!

Matsurika calls out to Chalice. Tamamushi’s eyes widen. Matsurika recognizes this person as Chalice because of their “water”. Tamamushi stutters out Chalice’s name. No, wait. What is this? Where is that girl’s voice coming from!? Matsurika giggles at finally meeting him, the Suit of Chalice. So, it was him. She didn’t know! Chalice is silent.

Matsurika then tells him that the man (robot) from before seemed to be connected to and knew the Suit of Swords. Tamamushi can’t believe that. And then he yells out and asks where Chalice is! He doesn’t know who he is but the Suit of Swords is their boss! And if that man (robot) had been connected to them then they would have been told! Plus, he wouldn’t have killed them!

Matsurika asks him why he thinks that. Why does Tamamushi believe that? That lie. Tamamushi is stunned. Lie? Matsurika giggles because that woman from before was funny; saying that Goto was a nice person and suited to be emperor. It made her laugh! Tamamushi growls and asks her what she said just now. He won’t forgive her for making fun of his sister! Matsurika giggles again at how happy they seem to be. How strange. It’s so strange… she kind of hates them.

Tamamushi stiffens when utsurohi start to appear at the edges. Matsurika asks him to become like her, believing in no one and loving no one. Tamamushi starts to choke. Matsurika asks if it hurts? Does he want to be saved? Hate then. Hate this body and this fate. Tamamushi screams and is consumed by shadows. Chalice is silent.

Matsurika tells Chalice that she knows the reason as to why he came here. He came to make her disappear, right? Haha! Did he think she didn’t know? She knows that his goal is this “vessel” of hers. She knows he wants to do a simple ceremony on that blue child and have his soul enter here. Because he’s so old, right? He’s going to die soon. And Chalice intends to move that person’s soul to Marika’s “vessel” so that he will have an eternal and undying body. That was why he created this statue from the start, right?

Chalice is silent. Matsurika tells him that she wants to leave this “vessel”, and he wants her “vessel”. A relationship that is consistently beneficial to them both. But, no, she won’t disappear. She wants to enter a human “vessel”… she wants the senki’s body! She wants that hateful body that is loved by both the emperor and Goto.

Matsurika tells Chalice that the girl has become the senki; she is completed. And so Matsurika absolutely wants that! Chalice is unresponsive. Matsurika tells him that just having her sister isn’t enough! Hey, he must help her. Will he give her the senki’s body?

DAY 29. In Momotose’s room, Momotose asks Mikoto if she is awake? Mikoto blinks open her eyes slowly, and calls out Momotose’s name slowly. Momotose smiles gently and welcomes her back home, princess. Mikoto blinks in surprise. Momotose giggles and admits that she just wanted to try saying that; she then compliments Mikoto on her lovely kimono.

Mikoto recalls how surprised she was when her uniform suddenly changed into these clothes. Momotose thinks these are a gift from her holy power, because Mikoto has now become the senki. Mikoto gapes at that. Momotose giggles and notes that she must not realize it herself yet, huh, but Momotose can feel it from Mikoto’s body… the overflowing pure water. Mikoto looks down on her body in thought.

And then Momotose offers her to switch into normal clothes if she wants. Mikoto nods and then remembers to ask how long she slept after yesterday’s events. Momotose answers that she slept only for a few hours; it is almost dawn. Mikoto can see faint light from the windows. She recalls coming back from Jinja TV with Himeutsugi and then falling asleep.

Momotose comments on how Mikoto took care to rest in Momotose’s room and it looks like the color in her face has gotten better. She should be okay now. Mikoto nods and then apologizes for making her worry. Momotose waves that off and then tells her that Himeutsugi came here a while ago. Mikoto blinks. Momotose giggles because he told her that he was worried for Mikoto, but she is sure that he just wanted to be by Mikoto’s side. Mikoto turns red.

Momotose admits that she was surprised to see them return together. But then Himeutsugi explained everything to them. He has sinned. But he awakened her as the senki and saved many people in the TV company. Mizuchi, who had met with Himeutsugi, also spoke and so Kintokihana pardoned everything. Mikoto is surprised to hear that Mizuchi spoke. Momotose reveals that Mizuchi entreated the chairman to believe in Himeutsugi. Mikoto is touched.

Momotose informs her that everyone has forgiven Himeutsugi… except one person. HMM I WONDER WHO THAT IS… LMAO. Mikoto asks if that is Iroha? Momotose sighs and nods; he isn’t here and when she called him and asked where he was, he wouldn’t confess. Then, when she spoke about Mikoto and Himeutsugi, he ended the call. Mikoto thinks he’s mad. Momotose disagrees and says that he is just jealous.

Momotose talks about how there is only one person for Mikoto; of course, there is also just one person that she is bonded to. And so Iroha needs to give up. Mikoto blinks in confusion. Momotose smiles and tells Mikoto that she knows Mikoto is not lost anymore. They have the eyes of solid lovers. Mikoto turns red.

And then Momotose asks Mikoto if she knows that she has moons in her eyes? Mikoto is surprised. Momotose explains 「水妹の中には、稀に瞳に月を宿す者がいるといいます。月はツキ・・・とても強い力と運命を持った者でございます。」(Among minamo, there are the rare ones who have moons resting in their eyes. The moon is the moon… and it holds an incredible power and fate). Now that Mikoto has become the senki, both of her eyes have a full moon.

She adds 「望月は満月・・・満ちる心。きっと、みことさんは恋から、愛を・・・得られたのですね。」(The full moon is a filled moon… a filled heart. I am sure it is because you have obtained… passion and love). TOO MANY WORD PLAYS I’M SCREAMING. BOTH WORDS MEAN FULL MOON BUT THE KANJI IN ONE OF THEM IS THE ONE FOR “FULL”. Momotose then smiles but it seems a bit sad. Mikoto calls out her name questioningly.

Momotose tells her that she is someone who wishes for Mikoto’s happiness. In order to meet her, she will love her however many times, and continue to offer up her prayers. To love requires courage. She is able to do it and so Iroha should be able to as well. And then Momotose tells Mikoto to tell her love that she was woken up. Mikoto smiles brightly and nods.

Mikoto starts to run out of the room but then pauses and turns back to thank Momotose deeply for believing in her and Himeutsugi. She loves Momotose! She gives Momotose her brightest smile. Momotose gasps. And then Mikoto leaves. Alone in her room, Momotose smiles gently and replies that she also loves Mikoto. Yes, from the bottom of her heart.

「玉の緒よ 絶えなば絶えね ながらへば
忍ぶることの よわりもぞする——」 – Momotose
(O, jeweled thread of life!
if you are to break, then break now!
For, if I live on,
my ability to hide my love
will most surely weaken!) – Shokushi Naishinnou (Hyakunin Isshu, #89)

Scene skip! Mikoto runs down the halls with an embarrassed smile and then opens Himeutsugi’s door. His eyes widen in surprise. She catches her breath and then greets him. He is still struck speechless. She asks him hesitantly if something is strange. He shakes his head before stuttering out that her clothes aren’t her usual things so, it’s a bit… He starts to laugh. Mikoto turns red and mumbles that she couldn’t bring herself to change of all a sudden.

He nods and reassures her that she is fine like that. Then he calls her closer and embraces her. He doesn’t care whoever she is; he just wants her by his side. Mikoto is bright red but she replies the same. She wants to touch him, like this. Himeutsugi murmurs that she’s cute. When Mikoto looks up in surprise, he kisses her. She responds. He murmurs repeatedly that she’s cute. Ah, so cute. His Mikoto.

And then Himeutsugi tells her that he wants to touch her more. Can he take her clothes off? Mikoto’s eyes widen and then realization occurs to her. She stares at him. He looks back. And then she averts her eyes and nods. And so he does.

As they lie on the ground, Himeutsugi whispers that she’s beautiful. *CHOKES* THIS CG!? Mikoto tells him that she’s embarrassed and asks him not to stare too much. He asks her why? Because it’s a waste to hide such a pretty body… and he saw it already at the hotel before. Mikoto points out that he was treating her for having dried up, so…

Himeutsugi smiles teasingly and asks if she really thought that was treatment. Mikoto blinks at him. He reveals that he could have done the treatment for her symptoms without becoming naked. Mikoto asks him what he means! He answers that he just wanted to see her naked. Mikoto shuts her eyes and calls him a pervert. He laughs gaily and tells her that men are like that. They want to see everything of the girl they like and they want to make her theirs. That’s why, right now, he…

He kisses her, and then whispers for her to return the kiss. She kisses him back and asks if it’s done like this? He breathes in shakily. She calls out his name worriedly. He tells her lowly that he worries, because she is too obedient. She blinks. He points out that she took him seriously when he said they needed to be naked to treat her drying up, and she let him take her clothes off immediately. When he asked for kiss, she gave him one. She mustn’t be so defenseless to a man.

Mikoto’s eyes widen and she protests that it’s because– He finishes her sentence. Because it’s him? Mikoto nods and tells him that it would be impossible with another person. Especially this… she kisses him deeply. Himeutsugi is taken aback. She can’t be sweet on people like this. It’s only because it’s him, Himeutsugi. She can only do this to him. Himeutsugi is silent before he murmurs that this is bad; he didn’t predict this.

Mikoto doesn’t understand. And so Himeutsugi asks her what she’s going to do… with “this”. Mikoto freezes. Himeutsugi smiles with strain and says that, relatively, he has a lot of patience but… he’s about to lose it. Mikoto stutters and then tells him that she understands. He can go ahead. Himeutsugi is the one to freeze now. Mikoto is also silent.

And then Himeutsugi bursts into laughter. He can’t believe she said “go ahead”. She doesn’t understand. Himeutsugi points out in amusement that she must not understand what is going to be done to her, huh. Mikoto retorts that she does, tentatively. She’s not a kid! He is doubtful and asks her to lend him her ear. He whispers something to her. Mikoto’s eyes grow progressively wider.

Himeutsugi finishes by saying that that is what he is going to do. Mikoto stutters out that it’s a bit different from what she read in the books, huh. He tells her teasingly that it’s the same as Kasen; studying and actual practice are different. Mikoto winces. He asks her if she can do it. She replies slowly that maybe half… no, if they do it slowly… Himeutsugi tells her that they should practice then. He’ll teach her… slowly. He kisses her deeply. She returns his kiss.

As they start to breathe heavily, Himeutsugi asks her to look at him. She does so. He asks her what she feels. She answers honestly that she can’t calm down; her heart is pounding. He kisses her again before telling her that he’s the same. And then he asks her to touch him. Her eyes widen. He points out how quickly his heart is pounding too. He has no composure. And he’s scared.

Mikoto repeats his words in surprise. Scared? He tells her that he’s scared he loves her too much. He is overflowing with his feelings of love for her… he feels like it’ll spill. She murmurs his name, only to be interrupted by another kiss. Then he notes that she’ll accept him, right? Everything of him. Mikoto answers that she will.

Himeutsugi tells her that he has a request then. It might not be something he should say here but… they don’t have time. He wants to save Matsurika. Mikoto is shocked. Himeutsugi tells her that he wants to confront Matsurika… and end this curse. The world that is the “color of water” that he put up is where all the souls he has absorbed are placed. In other words, Matsurika is there too.

He tells her that all the people he absorbed at the TV company were released by Mikoto. So, the soul that is in that place is… Mikoto finishes his sentence. Just Matsurika? Hime nods and says that he also wants to find Kagami. Mikoto recalls how she didn’t see Kagami after that either. If she fell from that place then someone would have found her.

Himeutsugi thinks that if they purify Matsurika then Kagami might be able to be saved; she might not wish for this but… he wants to find her and tell her this. He won’t run anymore. He will accept the hatred from both girls. Mikoto murmurs his name and then kisses him. He says her name in surprise. Mikoto tells him that she will accept it too; she will accept the girls’ feelings together with him. Himeutsugi is touched and then nods. Yes. They will accept it together. The two of them are one.

Scene skip! Onosada yawns and asks them not to call him out so early. He had been sleeping. Mikoto apologizes but she had been told by Momotose to report to Onosada before they headed to Jinja TV. Onosada grunts but he realizes she has a point. Kintoki asleep out of sheer exhaustion, and there are no other important teachers to overlook things other than him.

But he refuses to be silent and send off Mikoto, who became the senki, into a dangerous situation. Furthermore, they are going to use Himeutsugi’s power and cut loose the senki’s soul from her body. What will they do if they fail and the senki of the legends becomes a husk? He doesn’t approve of this. Mikoto stares at him in distress. Onosada also tells her that the senki belongs to the emperor. A partner is temporary and one day they may be separated. It’s not decent for her to develop too many feelings.

Mikoto mumbles something. Onosada asks her to repeat it again. Mikoto states firmly that, no matter what happens, she won’t leave Himeutsugi. Onosada sighs and tells her that he’s just stating the facts. Mikoto continues to glare at him. He eyes her back. And then sighs before grumbling at how because both of them are young kids they won’t listen to an adult’s reasoning.

But he wants them to remember just one thing. If the two of them disappear then there are people who will mourn for them. They need to act so that those people won’t have to live in an embarrassing state. Mikoto promises with a smile. Onosada snorts but comments on how Mikoto has a nice look on her face now; she’s completely become a woman. Mikoto blinks at him. He smirks and reminds her that if he was twenty years younger…

Himeutsugi interrupts at this point and tells him that he can’t say that, even if it is a joke. Onosada tells Himeutsugi, the jealous boyfriend, that he understands. And then he tells them to hurry and go because he wants to go back to sleep. Mikoto thanks him and says that she and Himeutsugi will leave now.

But, before they go, Onosada comments on how Hime has quite the amazing technique. He was able to put a “water color” in the school and then, in one stroke, get everyone at the TV company. Also, one more thing, “that person” may be there. Mikoto asks him who he’s talking about. Onosada is talking about his assistant; he went missing from this place and had been trying to repeatedly call Jinja TV, so he may have went there.

Mikoto realizes he’s talking about Karakuri. Onosada nods and then points out that there’s the white statue of the girl, right? His assistant is strange and may have wanted to approach it to look at it. Mikoto realizes he means Matsurika. Onosada doesn’t know the name of the statue but Karakuri, maybe because he had been in Goto-gai before he came here, has some strange knowledge. He adds that Karakuri was muttering something about Sword or someone. Maybe someone tampered with the program– oops!

Onosada shrugs but asks them to tell Karakuri to hurry and come home, if he is there. Mikoto nods and then thanks him again for everything. He dismisses her thanks because this was nothing and then asks them to come back healthy. Himeutsugi turns to Mikoto and suggests they head out. She nods.

And then Himeutsugi opens up a distortion. WOW WHAT LMAO HAX. Onosada startles because there is a light… in the middle of the air… and he can see something. Mikoto can see the TV company through the distortion and Matsurika and Kagami. Himeutsugi tells her that they’re going. Mikoto nods again. And then they jump in.

Momotose runs over to them at this time. Onosada blinks in surprise. Momotose? Momotose apologizes to him and then also jumps in. Onosada gapes and then sighs at how they all can’t be helped. He looks up at the sky and sighs again.

Scene skip! Mikoto appears in the assembly hall at the TV company and notices that the atmosphere is completely different from yesterday. Himeutsugi explains that this world is one that is different from the real world. It is a “water color” world. Like the scenery reflected on a lake’s surface, this is a mirrored world put up in water. The only things here are the souls that he absorbed. Mikoto echoes his words. A mirrored world.

It is a strange world. It looks like reality, and yet it isn’t. And there’s no noise. There’s no noise of anything… living. Has Matsurika always been in this world? A world where there is no one but her?

Suddenly, she hears someone saying something right now was no good! Another person apologizes, saying that they’re nervous. The first tell them that it’s okay and they can redo this over and over again.

Mikoto realizes that she’s hearing voice from the other side of the distortion. The voices continue on to say that they’re going to do the real thing now! Mikoto can see a similar world being projected in the distortion. Himeutsugi explains that this distortion can display the same world and Matsurika is able to speak from this distortion. Only her voice can reach the real world; she doesn’t have a “vessel” like them to return to. In the real world, she only has the white statue that can’t move, an object that her spirit is connected to.

Himeutsugi confesses that he did this to Matsurika; she has spent many years here alone and in pain… screaming. Even when he brought souls here… they disappear when their vessels disappear. Kagami killed all the vessels that weren’t worthy of Matsurika. Mikoto realizes that this means there are no souls remaining here, huh. He nods.

He tells her that, originally, Matsurika was a lovable, honest, and innocent child. But she was too honest and often clashed with others. She also knew that she had an ability to charm other people and, occasionally, would use this to toy with and lead around adults. HOW DOES THAT MAKE HER LOVABLE!? SHE’S STRAIGHT UP CRUEL. She was an uninhibited child. She was happy to be alive and was always smiling brightly.

After the tragedy, she came to this world, and remained an innocent young girl… unable to become an adult, she slowly went mad. Mikoto is saddened. Himeutsugi murmurs that the girl will no longer smile like she did on those days. Everything is his fault. His.

They are interrupted by someone clapping. Kagami then thanks them for that fine story. Mikoto is shocked to see Kagami and asks why she’s here. Kagami tells them that Matsurika called her here. Mikoto is startled. Kagami reminds her that she was told Matsurika has similar powers to Hime, right? Kagami, who had lost her body, had her soul called here.

Mikoto latches onto her words. Lost her body!? Kagami confirms this and says that she no longer has a body; she fell from the building. Mikoto points out that they couldn’t find Kagami’s body! Kagami tells her that it’s natural, since her body was cleaned up well by Chalice. At that time when she felt Mikoto’s power – the power of the senki – she rejected that and threw away her body. Mikoto’s eyes widen.

Kagami explains that Mikoto’s power is the power of happiness. If she were to become covered in that then Matsurika would be sad, right? Mikoto’s mouth drops open. Kagami tells them with pleasure that she, who refused happiness, was saved by Matsurika. Ah, she’s glad she died! Matsurika has finally accepted her! She is so happy!

Mikoto looks at her sadly and chokes out Kagami’s name. Kagami asks her why she’s crying, she wants Mikoto to rejoice. And then she tells Mikoto that Matsurika has just one request; she wants Kagami to kill Mikoto so that she can obtain the senki’s body! That they came here is fate. OH GOD MORE WORD PLAYS. SO SHE USES A PHRASE THAT SOUNDS LIKE “OUT OF LUCK” TO HAVE COME HERE. BUT SHE COULD ALSO BE REFERRING TO THIS BEING THE FATE OF/FROM THE MOON.

Kagami smiles and tells her to relax, because the souls that she destroys with her hands undergo sublimation to the heights of sublimity. She then tells Hime in a light voice that she’ll let him live though and leave him in the hell fire of pain and hate of having lost Mikoto!!

Himeutsugi is silent. Mikoto looks at him in worry. He breathes out heavily and reassures her that he’s okay; he can accept this. He will save Kagami with this fight! Mikoto agrees in determination! He does his field call 「我が姫空木の名において、フィールドを生成する。長き悔恨と罪を浄化し、彼女たちに祝福を・・・!」(Under my name, Himeutsugi, I create this field. Purify these longstanding regrets and sins, and bless these women…!). ANOTHER DIFFERENT ONE!

They defeat Kagami, who screams in pain. Mikoto yells out her name, but Kagami snaps at her not to get close. Mikoto freezes. Kagami snarls out that she lost and she doesn’t want any more pity! Mikoto looks away, flinching.

Kagami suddenly says that she can see it. She can see it! A pure white world. It’s so beautiful… look, right there… is her beloved little sister.She’s smiling and she’s so cute. As she was on that day… Kagami asks to be called older sister. Matsurika’s flower is a small and white flower. One that no one is allowed to pluck. An innocent and untainted white flower…

Kagami winces and murmurs that she tainted that flower. Because she opened a door and stepped forward when she shouldn’t have… the white flower became stained in black. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Kagami opens her eyes and smiles. It’s over now. Her sins end here.

Mikoto quickly tells Kagami that she wanted to ask something, something that always pulled at her. Kagami looks at her. Mikoto tells her that it was the time at the auditorium; Kagami told her about her relationship with Himeutsugi. Kagami smiles wryly and asks if Mikoto is talking about that lie. It was done well, right? Mikoto shakes her head; she’s talking about something later.

After the incident, Kagami told her that in order to protect something one hid their hearts and said lies. Kagami is silent. Mikoto tells her that, just now during their fight, Kagami told a lie. Kagami grits her teeth. Mikoto says that Kagami’s lie was about wishing for them to remain here, so that she can go to Matsurika. Kagami breathes shakily.

Mikoto knows that Kagami wants to stop this; she wants Matsurika to be saved from this darkness. That’s why she lost… on purpose, right? Kagami starts to laugh. She then comments on how Mikoto has become a woman… and Kagami is no match for her. She’ll tell Mikoto the correct answer though, and it is NO. Mikoto’s eyes widen.

Kagami unsheathes her sword and snarls that her soul, her life, everything was devoted to her little sister. To that sublime idea! There is no way that she would lose on purpose! She yells out 「奔馬のごとく駆け抜けた長き日々よ、さらば。いざ逝かん!この心の誠のままに!」(Farewell, these longstanding days that dashed by like galloping horses. Now, death! Following my heart and its truth!). Kagami drives her sword into her own body. Mikoto screams.

Kagami speaks, through a mouthful of blood, that she will carry all of Matsurika’s sins. Mikoto yells out her name. And then she looks up at Hime and tells him to treasure Mikoto because she is too good for him. Ah, she can see blood. Even though she is nothing but a soul… there is life here. There is also pain and suffering here.

And then someone comes up from behind Kagami and slices her down. Mikoto screams out Iroha’s name in shock. Kagami chokes out more blood.

「益荒男が たばさむ太刀の 鞘鳴りに
幾とせ耐へて 今日の初霜・・・」 – Kagami
(The sheaths of swords rattle
As after years of endurance
Brave men set out
To tread upon the first frost of the year). – Yukio Mishima (His First Death Poem).

Iroha states that the purge has been completed. Mikoto sobs out Kagami’s name. Kagami is unresponsive. Mikoto screams out Kagami’s name in denial.

Scene skip! Kintoki sees Beni floating and calls it over to him. He pets Beni and comments on how it is gloomy, huh. Mizuchi then knocks on the door and excuses himself in. Kintoki asks him how everything went; did it go as expected? Mizuchi narrows his eye and looks away. Kintoki asks him what that expression is; does he not agree? Mizuchi admits that he is confused and just why…

Kintoki tells him that it is simple; this world is practically all lies. Lies are the top layers of a liquid, and only in the depths does the truth remain. Exposing a lie is the greatest lie. Mizuchi understands, right? Mizuchi protests because Mikoto and Hime are unrelated, so why have even they been involved.

Kintoki sighs and remarks on how honest people must have a lot on their shoulders. In fooling the enemy first deceive one’s allies, right? Mizuchi inhales sharply. Kintoki then addresses Ruri, who he noticed has come. Static emits from Ruri before a voice calls out Kintoki’s name. Mizuchi gasps. Kintoki notes that the actors have all gathered in their places. Now they should see this with their own eyes… their grand stage.

Scene skip! Kagami is dead. Mikoto murmurs Kagami’s name, stunned. And then she is shocked when Kagami’s body becomes pale. In her mind, Mikoto wishes for Kagami to pass peacefully.

Iroha explains that Kagami, who has already lost her body, will vanish like that; she will dissolve into the air and head to hell. Mikoto is shocked to hear that. Hell? Meanwhile, Himeutsugi asks Iroha why and how he is here. Iroha tells them that at the National Convention, after Himeutsugi absorbed everyone’s souls, he remained there. Mikoto blinks and points out that this place is the “water color” that Himeutsugi created. Wasn’t Iroha together with Mizuchi? Iroha doesn’t answer.

Mikoto recalls that Mizuchi told her he was together with Iroha when they stepped out of the TV company, and were safe. Iroha finally tells her that Mizuchi only told them what Iroha wanted them to know about his movements. Mikoto gapes at him. Iroha tells her that, at that time, he was in the same place as her… at the stage inside the TV company. Mikoto exclaims that she didn’t meet anyone like Iroha though. THE BUNNY OMFG.

Iroha waves goodbye with his hands. Mikoto realizes that the gesture he just did right now… No! He was in that cartoon-character costume?! He nods. Mikoto recalls that the reporter said she brought that costume but… he was in there!? Iroha tells her that no one was inside and so he wore it. She just stares at him. She is having a hard time believing that the person inside the cartoon character was Iroha.

Mizuchi, who had been moving alongside him, secured Kintoki’s safety and handed over the body of Iroha, which had lost its soul. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Himeutsugi is also surprised that Mizuchi spoke a lie. Iroha nods. Mikoto asks why? She doesn’t understand the reason for him to lie! Iroha is silent.

But then he tells them that, when they returned to Kaen, they didn’t seem to know that Iroha was here. And then Iroha tells Himeutsugi that he had experienced once the “water color” world that Himeutsugi created. Himeutsugi recalls that it was during the Katou battle. Iroha inclines his head and then talks about how this “water color” is a mirrored world that resembles the real world but is not. But, it also allows someone to peek into the real world from a faint distortion without anyone knowing.

And with that he was able to determine… the whereabouts of Awahana. Mikoto blinks. Iroha tells them to look up. Mikoto does so and sees Matsurika’s monument. Iroha explains that, due to the previous destruction, the monument has crumbled a bit. And, thanks to that, he was able to find the chairman. He tells Mikoto to listen with her ears. She focuses. Someone is calling out for Kintokihana.

Mikoto realizes she can hear a faint voice at the base of the statue. It is Awahana!? And then Matsurika giggles. Mikoto stiffens. Matsurika tells them that she’s been found, and so their game of tag ends with this. Now, it’s her turn to be the demon. She’ll chase them so she’ll… go over there, okay? Matsurika starts to yell and then bursts out laughing.

Her statue crashes down on the stage in front of them, making Mikoto scream. And then Mikoto is shocked to see blue butterflies appear. Matsurika tells them that sleeping in the pedestal beneath her is the blue child. The blue child is a vessel and in the vessel is a soul. And Marika wants HER vessel! If they win then she’ll return their blue child to them, but if they lose then Mikoto belongs to her!

Iroha tells them to step aside and he’ll do this; he won’t hand over the senki. Himeutsugi calls for him to wait, because he is the one who will defeat Matsurika. Iroha will not permit this, because one misstep and Mikoto will lose her life. Himeutsugi declares that he’ll exchange his life to protect her. Iroha refuses. But then Mikoto interrupts and says she’ll protect him! Iroha stiffens.

Mikoto goes on to say that she’ll protect Himeutsugi. If she protects Himeutsugi, then her body is safe too. She is Himeutsugi’s senki. As long as she has Himeutsugi, she won’t lose to anyone! Iroha stares at her.

And then he says that if he sees that they’re losing, even the slightest bit, he is going to kill Himeutsugi and make Mikoto his partner. She is absolutely not allowed to be lost. OH MY GOD LMAO. YOU COULD JUST… YOU KNOW… HELP THEM?? Mikoto has a determined smile on her face as she accepts this condition. Himeutsugi is smiling confidently too.

Himeutsugi and Mikoto defeat Matsurika, who screams loudly. Mikoto asks if they’ve won? She can’t hear anything from the monument. Mikoto murmurs Matsurika’s name, but before she can do anything Hime tells her not to move because Matsurika is hiding her breathing. Mikoto freezes. He can hear her voice. But then Mikoto yelps when the ground rumbles.

Matsurika starts to yell again. AHHHHHHHHHH!! Mikoto asks what is happening. Matsurika snarls at them to die! Die DIE DIE! She wants everyone to die! These TRASH that have gotten in her way! EVERYONE DIE! Himeutsugi grits his teeth and then asks if Mikoto can still fight? Mikoto nods.

The two of them defeat Matsurika again. Mikoto yelps though as she’s blown back. Matsurika just laughs. Mikoto’s eyes widen; they still haven’t defeated her!? Matsurika growls at them to give her back her body! Return her body! UTSUGI! Because of him she has lived in this HELL! She will never forgive him!

Himeutsugi’s breath hitches. Matsurika yells at him, calling him a murderer! Himeutsugi’s eyes widen. Mikoto looks at him in worry. And then Hime chokes out that it’s impossible. It’s impossible… Matsurika’s hatred will never disappear for an eternity even if they defeat her. This indelible sin… no matter how much he atones, what has been done cannot be brought back. Mikoto shouts at him not to give up!

But Himeutsugi starts to shake and gasps out that he’s done. He wants to run away… from here. It hurts. His heart is breaking. Mikoto sobs out his name. He is acting strange!? Iroha comments calmly on how Himeutsugi has lost the will to fight. Mikoto turns to him in shock. He then orders Mikoto to come to him; he will defeat Matsurika with her.

Mikoto is conflicted and then asks Iroha to wait before turning to Himeutsugi again to ask him to fight. Together with her… Himeutsugi has his eyes closed though and is breathing shakily. She shouts out his name. And then her surroundings grow dark suddenly. Where is this place?

And then Half Moon calls out her name. Mikoto, she is here, right? Mikoto is shocked to hear him. He tells her to come, because if it’s her then she can do this. Mikoto is confused. He explains that she can save him… the boy who cannot move from the sin on that day.

Mikoto recognizes the place she is brought to when she sees a crying boy. The boy is crying about how Matsurika can’t move and it is his fault. His. Mikoto realizes that this boy is–! The same child as the one she saw in the image at the auditorium! The boy cries out that he killed someone and so can’t be a prince anymore. He can’t be a prince that saves the princess. Mikoto realizes that this boy is Himeutsugi.

The boy goes on about how a curse has been cast; he can no longer be a prince. He can’t save the princess. But he doesn’t want to become himself… he hates himself. The story has already been decided. The princess died because of him. He murmurs that the wind is rumbling and growling. It is crying. The wind in his heart. The wind of despair. It is his fault. Everything about him is bad and that’s why he… he… RECOGNIZE THIS BIT FROM THE COMMON ROUTE?

Mikoto smiles gently and tells him that he is a prince. The boy turns around in shock and asks her who she is. Mikoto tells him that she is his princess. He repeats her words with a stutter. Prin… cess? Mikoto continues to smile and nods. Yes, his princess that he will meet far into the future. The princess is waiting for her prince to come and save her. She believes in the prince and is… always waiting. No matter what hardships happen, the prince will overcome them. In order to save the princess.

The boy echoes her words. In order to save… her. Mikoto asks if he can hear the wind? The boy shakes his head. Mikoto extends her hand and asks him to make a vow to the princess then. That he will protect her. Him, her brave prince. The boy gasps.

Mikoto then returns to the Half Moon, where he congratulates her quietly. So, this is the conclusion to the story of the prince and princess, huh. Mikoto calls out his name in surprise. Half Moon goes on to tell her that the boy called “Hime” has always been here. He has been here… constantly in pain. And she saved him. Everything is going to be okay now. He has obtained a real heart. He isn’t “Hime” or “Utsugi” or “Himeutsugi”… he is a new man, one that has received her feelings.

And then Half Moon quotes 「”ひめたる空木に、想い咲く―—”。」(“The hidden deutzia, blooms from feelings–“). THIS GAME. I’M LITERALLY SCREAMING. FULL CIRCLES EVERYWHERE. I FEEL LIKE THIS IS A PLAY ON HIS NAME BECAUSE “HIME(TARU)UTSUGI” BUT IT MIGHT BE A STRETCH. ANYWAY, UTSUGI = DEUTZIA REMEMBER.

Half Moon tells her to stretch out her hand… and to grasp the hand that is there. And then recite these words. Mikoto asks him what words. Half Moon whispers the chant: furube, yurayura to, furube… He tells her that these are words to return a soul; and these are kotodama to heal people with love. Mikoto repeats the chant. Half Moon tells her that he is waiting. Her prince. Goodbye, Mikoto. Goodbye. I’M CRYING. HALF MOON!!

Mikoto returns back to the present, squinting her eyes. This is…! Himeutsugi opens his eyes slowly too, surprised. He tells her slowly that he saw… her hand. Inside a dark room, he who had been crying… saw her hand as if it were guiding him. Mikoto’s eyes widen before she smiles brightly at him and tells him that it happened, prince. His eyes widen. Mikoto remarks on how he came for her, huh. Himeutsugi realizes that, she’s right, he is a prince. And this is where he starts anew.

Matsurika is still growling in the background. But then Himeutsugi glares at her and says that he won’t save her anymore. He will accept this. Everything. And they will return. To that day! A bell tinkles and they engage Matsurika in another battle.

Himeutsugi and Mikoto defeat her again. Matsurika screams and then her statue crumbles more. Suddenly, she asks Utsugi in a childish voice where she is. Mikoto’s eyes widen when a bright line shines.

And then Matsurika appears, amongst a flock of blue butterflies, and she exclaims how they are all flying. Glittering, shimmering. It’s pretty. Himeutsugi murmurs her name. Matsurika wonders out loud that, if she catches those butterflies, will she be able to move on? To where her older sister is. They had become separated.

Matsurika says 「マリカ、ウツギを追いかけて儀式を見に行ったんだ。そしたら・・・男の子がいたの。その子、豕の子、豕の子・・・って、ずっと言っているの。マリカ、怖くなって逃げたら・・・あなたがいたの。」(Marika followed Utsugi and went to see the ceremony. And then… there was a boy. That boy kept on saying “Inoko, Inoko”. Marika grew scared and ran… and then you were there). FUUUUUCK. REMEMBER MY BLURB ON IROHA’S POEM AT THE BEGINNING OF THE COMMON ROUTE ABOUT THE “BABY BOAR FESTIVAL” OR “INOKO MATSURI”? HERE AGAIN IS HIS MAGAZINE POEM AND A BLURB ON THE FESTIVAL.

Mikoto’s eyes widen because Matsurika is talking about her. Matsurika goes on 「そう、いた。あなたを豕の子が探してた。だから、隠したの。あの場所に・・・儀式の、大事な・・・剣を。・・・・・・・。」(Yes, you were there. You were searching for the boy. And so, I hid. At that place… the ceremony’s… precious sword…). Matsurika starts to giggle. MANY MEANINGS HERE. I DON’T KNOW IF SHE IS REFERRING TO THE BOY AS THE “BOAR BOY” BECAUSE HE KEPT ON SAYING “INOKO”. OR IF SHE MEANS MIKOTO WAS LOOKING FOR AN ACTUAL BABY BOAR. OR IF SHE’S CALLING THE BOY WHAT HE KEPT ON MUMBLING LMAO.

Mikoto prompts her by calling out her name. Matsurika just mumbles out loud that she understands now; the meaning of that ceremony. Mikoto blinks, confused. And then Matsurika asks Utsugi if he loves this girl? Himeutsugi answers that he does.

Matsurika sticks out her tongue and decides 「じゃあ、教えてあげない。あなたに教えたら悔しいもの。あなたばっかり、手に入れて・・・。だから、マリカだけの秘密にする。」(Then, I won’t tell you. If I tell you I’ll just be annoyed. It’s always you who gets everything… so, this is going to be a secret just for Marika). I THINK SHE’S TALKING TO MIKOTO BECAUSE SHE REFERS TO HIME AS “UTSUGI” AND HAS USED “ANATA” BEFORE FOR MIKOTO… BUT GDI I WANT TO KNOW THE CEREMONY. Mikoto doesn’t know what to say to that.

Himeutsugi tries to tell Matsurika that he– but Matsurika tells him that she won’t forgive him. If she forgives him, then this is her loss! And she doesn’t want that. Marika is cuter than anyone else, and more loved than anyone else… there’s no way she can lose to anyone else. So, she won’t forgive him. Marika is strong! Even if she’s stepped on, and stepped on… she is an Arabian jasmine that will bloom, dignified.

Mikoto murmurs her name. And then Matsurika says that she’s caught the butterflies. She tells her older sister that she’s going over there now. They can play together. The rest of the monument then crumbles into pieces. Himeutsugi whispers out Matsurika’s name. Mikoto is silent.

And then Awahana gasps. Mikoto startles and calls out his name. Iroha asks if he is unharmed. Awa reassures them that he just couldn’t move his body for a little while. He should return to normal soon, and then confirms if his body is on the other side? Now, it’s about time. Mikoto repeats his words in confusion. About time?

Awa tells Himeutsugi that he has a question. This “water color” world is something he created. So, everything that entered here was his doing then? Himeutsugi confirms this, but there is a way to enter from a distortion. That’s how he and Mikoto came here. Awa hums in thought and then asks where his body is. Himeutsugi explains that when the chairman’s body and soul were separated, he placed the chairman’s body in a place with a distortion. To move to that body, he needs a large amount of water and so needs the power of a strong minamo.

Awa then asks where Iroha’s body is. Iroha answers that it’s inside Jar-Jean. He asked Mizuchi to leave it beside the stage in the TV company. Awa asks about Himeutsugi and Mikoto’s bodies. Hime answers that they came through a distortion and so they’re in Kaen. Awa confirms that, if they lose their bodies here, then their souls can’t return, right? Himeutsugi confirms that if they don’t have a “vessel” then they can’t return. They will soon lose their water and then vanish.

Awa hums and then points out to Momotose that this is the situation. Mikoto turns around to see her and yelps. Momotose!? Why is she here?! Momotose answers that she followed them and entered through the distortion. Mikoto echoes her words. From the distortion? Momotose nods and then declares that she will work as their host for this stage. Now, they shall raise the curtains on this stage.

Mikoto is surprised to see her pull out a phone and call someone. Momotose greets the person on the other line and introduces herself as Momotose. Why is she calling? They themselves should know best why she is calling. By chance, the adabana attacked on that day in the auditorium. They were targeting her angel, the senki candidate. At that time, she and the others didn’t notice that there was one more expectation there.

These two expectations were at a cross, and there is the possibility that they were both using each other. Without the other party knowing. She doesn’t know if this was by coincidence or intentional, but it was thought that “Himeutsugi and Kagami are part of Goto” and there was more than enough suspicious eyes cast on them. If they were with Goto though, then they would kidnap the senki candidate. But the ones who were taken were Awahana and a Gekkougumi minamo. Strange, right?

Obviously. Himeutsugi and Kagami were not acting for Goto but for Matsurika. Their objective was not the senki. Iroha and Karakurenai noticed a feeling out of place with the adabana and Himeutsugi, and realized that underneath these events there was another shadow… Yes, they found him.

Momotose continues to address the person in the phone and compliments his skill in hiding. They didn’t notice him at all, which is how he could skillfully use them, huh. Himeutsugi moved according to his plan and he obtained Awahana. But, he started to panic. About the time limit of the “vessel”… Awahana is elderly and even if he is a necessary “vessel” for their ceremony, he could break from being unable to endure it.

And so he zeroed in on this white statue. Matsurika’s soul was in it but he wanted to put the “soul” of his objective in there. Momotose finally understands the meaning of why he started working with Matsurika to find a “vessel”. But he made a mistake when Matsurika aimed for her angel’s body. Why? He knows about Iroha’s personality, right? Iroha will never allow anyone to jeopardize the senki candidate. Of course, this includes her.

If Iroha was in the “water color” world then he could peek into the real world, which is what they learned when Iroha had been hospitalized. That’s why Iroha allowed his soul to be absorbed at the convention. Iroha had Mizuchi lie, and continued to look at the events in the real world. He saw everything about their talk on the “vessel” and “soul” ceremony that Himeutsugi told Mikoto.

Momotose tells the other person on the phone that she, and the others, aimed for a do-or-die game. In order to grab the last piece of evidence… and to entice him here. The other person is silent.

And then Momotose asks Mikoto where the monument of Jinja TV’s Matsurika was first seen? Mikoto blinks and explains that it used to be straight above the stage. Momotose asks her what her impression was at that time? Mikoto recalls that she didn’t know why but… it was far away and she couldn’t see anything but white… She blinks in confusion. Momotose confirms that no one knew what that monument was here. More like, the only people who knew, were authorized people of Jinja TV.

Furthermore, Mizuchi that to see the face of the statue one would have to be close to the top floor. At this company, with tight security, there is only a handful of people who could go there. And so, could he tell Momotose why he knew that statue was of a girl?… Onosada. Mikoto chokes. What?! I TRUSTED YOU SOBS.

Onosada complains about how that was quite prolonged. Is she giving him a requiem’s stage passage? Mikoto exclaims his name. Onosada just smirks and compliments Momotose for being an impressive actress. Because she said that she had evidence from here, he was lured here. Momotose says lightly that it is an honor to receive such a high opinion.

He goes on to say that, if Momotose was here, then no matter how hard Matsurika braced herself the plan would have been ruined. Momotose agrees; it would be all too easy for her to return Awahana’s soul back, and to break Matsurika’s statue. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Onosada huffs and says that he saw Himeutsugi in the middle of destroying it though, which meant that he just miscalculated more.

Mikoto finally asks him what he’s doing here. He tells her that it’s dumb to ask, right? He came to erase… them. Mikoto freezes. Onosada comments on how he’s been waiting for this “time”. Until it came, it has been a preposterously long time. Long enough for him to have had enough, and yet short enough to be forgotten.

He murmurs 「後悔の月は数えきれない程見た。だが、もう終わりだ。俺は、この”二回目”に賭けていた。この計画には邪魔なんだよ、アンタらは。」(I’ve seen countless moons of regret. But now it ends. I gambled on this “second time”. You guys are in the way of this plan). Mikoto doesn’t understand but then she’s shocked when she hears utsurohi.

Onosada then asks for their attention, please. Ladies and gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen. He then announces to a hidden audience that he welcomes them and he shall introduce everyone here. In the back of the 5 Brights is Iroha, then there is Himeutsugi, who has the same standpoint as one of the 5 Brights and the senki. Awahana, who is watching protectively. And Momotose. And then there’s the enemy man: his surname is Ono, his name Sadakurou. He also has one more name, the Suit of Chalice.

Will it be the flowers that lead? Or the waters of spring? Even the moon doesn’t know who it will shine on. Now, for the decisive battle! Ladies and gentlemen. Attention, please! This is going to be Onosada-sensei’s special enjoyable short course. Those who get red marks… will die. Himeutsugi shouts for Mikoto to come to him. It’s Hana Awase time! Mikoto nods, determinedly.

Himeutsugi and Mikoto win. Chalice just smirks though. Mikoto is shocked because he didn’t receive any damage!? They definitely won though…! Chalice praises the princess for properly obeying what he taught them. NO IDEA WHO HE IS TALKING TO LOL. After all, he was the one who taught them Kasen. Mikoto’s eyes widen. Chalice adds that, furthermore, it would be problematic if he used his full strength here. A Suit is much stronger and cunning than they could imagine.

Coin, who attacks the mind, and the Brutal Sword… these men who have sworn loyalty to Goto will always be after them. Chalice tells them that they are too weak to defeat those men. Himeutsugi tells Mikoto that Onosada has spoken the truth; their fight just now, Onosada wasn’t even being serious. He didn’t use any power at all. Mikoto can’t believe this because he doesn’t even have a minamo, and yet he’s able to bring out that much power without being serious!?

Chalice asks them calmly if they’ve gotten their taste of victory? Now he’s ending the gentle fundamentals volume. Next is the practical application volume… this time they will lose their lives. Mikoto flinches, shutting her eyes.

But then Awa declares that the one who will lose their life is him, Onosada. Mikoto looks over at Awa in surprise. Awa tells Onosada to look beyond the distortion to his “body”. He does so curiously and then snarls. Karakurenai is there at Kasen and huffs in displeasure at this inconceivable farce. He also complains about being given a boring role like house-sitting, and tells them to give it to Iroha and Momotose next. He’ll remember this!

Mikoto calls out his name in surprise. Momotose explains that, after the convention finished, Karakurenai heard about these events from Mizuchi and returned, and then was told everything by Momotose. She told him that, after Onosada leaped into the portal, he was to secure Onosada’s “body”. Chalice grits his teeth. Momotose tells him firmly that he understands the meaning, right? If anything were to happen here then… Karakurenai is to make it so that he can’t return to his body.

Chalice exhales. And then starts to laugh. He compliments Momotose again because she really is an actress. Alright, he understands. Now then, why don’t they talk here? He knows they must have questions for him, Chalice.

Awahana comments on how Onosada ended up being a Suit, huh. Putting aside the fact that he is the best researcher of Kasen… his origins are unknown. There was no way they wouldn’t have found him out. But even going back ten years, he didn’t give himself away. He did this quite thoroughly. Chalice compliments the chairman too for not blundering. But yes, the fact that he didn’t give himself away might be because he has a different goal from Goto.

Mikoto repeats his words. Goal? Chalice tells them that he has no interest in Goto and the emperor’s dispute. This includes the senki. He states 「俺が求めるのは・・・ただひとつの月。今生でも、まだ月にかかった雲は晴れない。それでも儀式さえすれば、きっと出会えると信じている。」(What I seek is… just one moon. Even in this life, the clouds covering the moon have not cleared yet. But even so, if I do the ceremony, then I believe I will surely meet them).

Momotose tells him that it’s a shame because that person won’t return to him anymore. Chalice narrows his eyes and asks where what she means. Momotose points out 「チャリス・・・あなたでしたのね、あの日の罪のひとりは。あなたが求める月は、この運命にはもうありません。何故なら・・・月が姫空木を選んだから。もう、おわかりでしょう?」(Chalice… you did it, didn’t you, one of the sins on that day. The moon you desire is no longer in this fate. Because… the moon has chosen Himeutsugi. You understand now, right?).

Chalice’s breath hitches before he murmurs that it couldn’t be… no, it’s not possible. His moon is different. He is sure that on that day… Mikoto startles when she sees Onosada looking at her. !!!! OH MY GOD. Chalice shuts his eyes and breathes in. And then he accepts it. So, that’s how it was.

And then he declares that he has no business here then. This moon in this “second time” is already finished. He declares that “the third time is honesty”… and no one knows what will happen in this last chance. Both he and Goto will come at them seriously. The fate of the soul and vessel are… largely moving in the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. And it’s not just the princes, but Chalice and those others too.

Mikoto gasps when a new distortion opens behind Chalice. And then Chalice calls out for their attention, please. Ladies and gentlemen! He then announces to a hidden audience that the fate (or destiny) created by the flower and water– the curtains have closed on this second time. Until the next occasion of the moon, they will return to the main subject for a little while.

Next time he, the Suit of Chalice, will participate. Until then, if it pleases the audience, he requests that they continue to be a regular customer and support to some degree. 4TH WALL MUCH? From every nook and corner, may they continue to pray and offer up worship.

Mikoto is blinded by a white light and then Chalice disappears. The ground starts to shake. Momotose tells them that the “water color” world is disappearing! Mikoto gapes. Iroha tells the chairman that they should leave. Himeutsugi calls Mikoto over to him to head to the distortion. She hurriedly obeys but the building is collapsing. The world that Himeutsugi created is disappearing… Himeutsugi urges her to be quick before they get caught in this. Mikoto nods and they jump through.

Scene skip! The announcer, Yoshida, talks about the next news. Yesterday, a delay had happened to the final match and exhibition matches of the Jinja TV sponsored National Kasen Convention. Due to a sudden electrical impediment on that day, the broadcast had been interrupted and a disturbance happened. But, at this time, they have safely been able to reopen it.

The ones that had advanced into the final match were the Kantou Kasen Academy pair, Shuuryuu and Kurisu. The other side was the local Kure Kasen Academy pair, Kurenai-sama and Anko-chan. The winner was the Kurenai-sama and Anko-chan pair; they were to continue to an awaited exhibition match with two of the 5 Brights, the third year of Kaen, Iroha, and the second year, Mizuchi. But…

Back at Mikoto’s home, Ai bursts into laughter at that name. Mikoto turns red and tells Ai not to turn on the television! Ai waves her off and teasingly calls her Anko-chan~! Mikoto asks her not to call her by that name because it’s embarrassing. Ai comments on how, thanks to this program, Mikoto has become famous in one bound though. Even when they buy things in the city, everyone stares at her.

Mikoto admits that she was surprised when strangers talked to her. The television is amazing… Ai then points out that Mikoto has become pretty though; they could just be noticing her beauty. Mikoto smiles awkwardly and tells Ai that even if she flatters her she has nothing to give. Ai snickers and tells her that she’s just saying the truth. Mikoto has really changed.

It’s like, hm, she seems soft, or calm, or like she’s floating! Ah, she feels like a white flower blooming! Mikoto echoes her words. White flower? Ai nods and then says that it’s strange; Mikoto is still Mikoto, but it also seems like she’s not. Like there’s someone beside her… Ai suddenly exclaims that it’s that! Mikoto’s entire body is speaking fondly of her lover. Mikoto turns red.

Ai suddenly hugs her and tells her to confess! How far has she gone with that boyfriend of hers!? Mikoto yelps and tells her to stop and not to hug her; she’s using a kitchen knife and it’s dangerous. Suddenly, the doorbell rings and Ai jokes about speaking of the devil. She tells Mikoto to go. Mikoto nods quickly but she turns even redder.

When she opens the door, Himeutsugi greets her awkwardly. She returns the greeting. He smiles, but it’s strained. She asks him if something is the matter. Himeutsugi’s eyes widen but then he nods and admits that he’s a bit… nervous. She repeats his words in surprise. Nervous? He tells her that he’s wondering if it’s really okay to step in… to her house. Mikoto smiles gently and tells him that it is, of course. Come in. Himeutsugi continues to have a strained smile but he nods and excuses himself inside.

They walk in and then Ai greets him as Mikoto’s boyfriend. As usual, he looks extremely like a noble youth. But then she tilts her head because the boyfriend has changed too. Himeutsugi tilts his head. Is that so? She nods and answers that it feels like something which has haunted him has fallen. When she met him before, his eyes seemed glazed. But then again, with the situation being what it was, it might not have been able to be helped.

Mikoto chides Ai. Himeutsugi just chuckles and calls Ai an honest girl. Certainly, what she said might be true though. He recalls that they met on the day she called a taxi for their other friend, right? Ai nods and complains that it was so hard. She had to console Shou after that and he was so rough and rude. It was a problem! Mikoto apologizes. Ai just shrugs though because it’s about time for Shou to have to separate from Mikoto. It was a good thing.

And then Ai asks Himeutsugi if he’s had sex with Mikoto. Hime’s eyes widen. LMFAO GURL. Mikoto shouts out Ai’s name, turning red. Ai points out that they kissed before they dated though, right? So, isn’t he the type to attack fast? Once they’ve become lovers she would have thought they’d do it immediately– Shou appears and snarls out that he wouldn’t allow that to happen!

Mikoto yelps out Shou’s name. Shou grumbles before declaring that he only gave permission for Himeutsugi to cross the threshold of the house, but everything any more than that is not allowed! Ai asks him in an annoyed voice what he’s saying. Is he Mikoto’s brother-in-law or something?! Shou remains firm on his stance; he made a promise to Mikoto’s parents, so he needs to put things in order. And this man has…

Himeutsugi is quiet. Shou suddenly winces and snaps at Hime not to look at him so intently with such a feminine face. It destroys his composure. Geez, if he’s a man then he should have a more manly expression! Ai comments on how the inferiority complex of men is ugly; Shou is very much unlike a man. THAT’S SAVAGE. Shou angrily asks her what she just said. Mikoto stops the two of them there, and then apologizes to Himeutsugi for all the noise.

Hime smiles and tells her that it’s fine. Besides, he’s happy… to be able to be here together with them. Everyone stares at him. And then Hime tells her that he bought the ingredients she asked of him and he’ll help her make dinner. Mikoto smiles brightly and nods. Ai comments lightly on their reaction and how Himeutsugi has so much composure. Shou vibrates in anger.

Scene skip! Kintoki is chuckling in his room. Awa asks him what that creepy laugh right now was. Kintoki displays his radiantly shining championship trophy. Awa sighs. Kintoki goes on to say that Karakurenai and the senki, who won the National Convention, gave it to him saying they didn’t want it. It’s gilded in gold and looks expensive. Awa comments sarcastically on Kintoki’s nice hobby of snatching others’ prestige.

Kintoki denies this. This prestige belongs to their school. Karakurenai and the senki fought as representatives of their school. He wonders if they can take the one next year too. Awa sighs again at how Kintoki doesn’t seem to feel bad at all. They told the emperor that they wouldn’t go outside of this place. Kintoki thinks going out for just a little bit is okay! Moreover, if they continue to stay in the school until they grow tired they won’t be able to eat anything delicious.

Awa tells him to do whatever he wants; he himself has had a bitter experience. Kintoki remarks on how, not only Matsurika, but Chalice also targeted Awa. Being a “vessel” is hard work. Awa thinks it should be him, the “Transmigration”. Kintoki just shrugs because he’s devoted himself to it and, soon, until the moon of the end comes he will protect it here. They promised that “grandpa” didn’t they, to live… and to meet again. Awa points out that they’ve met already, right?

Kintoki tells him “that person” didn’t notice. Them, or the promise. Awa asks him if he’s talking about the “Return Device”? Kintoki nods and says that, the other day, he thought to take pictures of the National Convention and so pointed the camera around. And then, look. Awa hums and points out that this is the senki and Karakurenai. But he takes a closer look and sees something strange, because it’s different from the view he saw on the television.

Kintoki directs him to look in the back because there’s one more person. Awa gasps. This person! Kintoki explains that this “Return” projects the past memories of the person whose picture was taken. But this… isn’t the past. It’s one more… moon. Awa says this means that this person could be… Kintoki goes on to say that Onosada’s assistant, who made this device, went missing. Rumors say that he was mistaken for rubbish and was disposed, but that’s just a rumor.

Awa realizes that this means the one who would know about this device is no longer here. Kintoki shrugs because there’s no reason to know about this moon though, right? Because the senki has chosen Himeutsugi. Kintoki goes on to say that they watch over the others, with this moon. Isn’t that good enough? Now, the moon tonight is beautiful.

Awa looks up and sees Ruri and says 「蒼き命、舞う宵の月。次ならは流転の紅・・・。」(This young fate, a dancing night moon. Next is the rebirth of crimson). UH GOD THIS IS TOO POETIC AND ONCE AGAIN WORD PLAYS. HE SAYS “MIKOTO” FOR FATE AND “KURENAI” FOR CRIMSON. HINT HINT 3RD GAME.

Scene skip! Momotose finds Karakurenai in the greenhouse. He sighs harshly. She congratulates him on winning the National Convention. He just scoffs and calls Momotose a shitty bitch and to move away. Momotose tells him lightly that she had thought he would thank her too. Kurenai glares and asks him what he’d thank her for? She set him up. She asks if he’s still angry for that time?

Karakurenai snaps out that he obviously is! If he had jumped into the distortion then he could have done in Sadakurou with one hit. They’re all idiots! Momotose admits that it was her plan to have him house-sit. Kurenai narrows his eyes and accuses her of not having thought about it at all. She says innocently that she did. He snarls at her to shut up! In the first place, it would have been better to give Mizuchi such a worthless role!

Momotose answers that Mizuchi couldn’t have done it; he speaks honestly and so if he lied then Onosada would have seen through it. Karakurenai grits his teeth and growls. SAVAGE LMAO THE GIRLS IN THIS GAME. Momotose goes on to say that Onosada is someone who hid his true nature from them all this time. Mizuchi’s play wouldn’t have tricked him.

Karakurenai snaps out that she’s good at talking like she seems to know things. But she really pisses him off! Boob monster! THE IRONY OF THIS INSULT. Momotose gasps and tells him that he just said some sexually harassing words! He doesn’t know how to choose his words with a lady! Come back here, Karakurenai! Karakurenai!!

Scene skip! In Goto-gai, Iroha is silent. Mizuchi reports to him that their inspection of Goto-gai has finished and, presently, the presence of utsurohi is exceedingly low. It is a case where they can almost call this place pure. Iroha narrows his eyes. Mizuchi muses out loud on how, normally, it is unusual for there to be so little taint. It really might have something to do with the senki awakening. Iroha’s eyes become even more narrow. Mizuchi calls out his name questioningly.

Iroha suddenly asks Mizuchi where the senki is. Mizuchi reports that, as recognition of her services of winning the National Convention the other day, the chairmen have given her a holiday at home. Iroha’s face twists unhappily. Mizuchi adds that this is, of course, together with her partner. Iroha becomes emotionless again.

Mizuchi nervously tells Iroha that Hime is good; he will no longer commit a wrong. As that is how it is, to continue pursuing is… Iroha states that it doesn’t concern him. Only that if the senki’s body were to have something done to her that would taint her, he will purge Himeutsugi in person. Mizuchi averts his eye and stiffens. Iroha goes on to say that the senki has no self-awareness, to have immediately accepted Himeutsugi’s deeds.

Mizuchi’s eye widens. What? Just now… Iroha says that he saw it twice from the “water color” world. Any more, no, any less and it’s still unbelievable. Mizuchi asks him what he’s talking about when he says “twice”. Iroha’s eyes narrow but he keeps quiet, and then walks off. Mizuchi’s eye widens again and he calls out to Iroha.

But then he looks away too and sighs. Mizuchi admits to himself that he is jealous of Iroha. He closes his eye. He is a coward… if he had courage then to that girl he… Mizuchi breathes in deeply. No, it’s okay. This is… good. He speaks into the night, addressing the senki, and wishing her happiness. OH GOD. I FORGOT HOW SAD IT IS FOR THE OTHER GUYS.

Scene skip! Back at Mikoto’s house, Shou tells Ai to wake up. She can’t just lie down in someone’s living room. Ai mumbles in her sleep that her stomach is full and she can’t eat anymore. Shou sighs and snaps at her not to cause trouble; the last train is coming. Come on! Ai continues to snore. Shou thinks he has no choice but to carry her on his back. Himeutsugi asks if he needs help. Shou refuses because he alone is more than enough.

He hoists Ai onto his back and then tells Mikoto goodbye, before reminding her to properly lock the door. Mikoto nods and smiles. But then Shou asks how long Himeutsugi is going to continue staying here. Mikoto stutters out that it’s already late today so… Shou snarls out that he is forbidden from staying over! Mikoto winces. Himeutsugi apologizes but says, unrepentant, that he’s staying over. Shou chokes.

Mikoto looks over at Himeutsugi with wide eyes. Himeutsugi tells Shou that he wants to be together with her today. Shou snaps out that he’s not going to allow this! Hime nods and say that, even so, he loves Mikoto. Shou glares. Himeutsugi looks at him seriously and promises to treat her preciously. Shou grits his teeth and says that he doesn’t believe in words. If Mikoto isn’t always smiling and happy then Shou, for his entire life, will not forgive Himeutsugi. Himeutsugi tells him he understands.

Shou exhales and then shouts that he’s going home! Mikoto calls out Shou’s name. He smiles at her and tells her to smile, properly. If Himeutsugi makes her cry then she has to call Shou right away, and he’ll punch Himeutsugi. Mikoto’s eyes widen but then she smiles and thanks him. As he leaves, in her mind Mikoto thanks him again, truly.

And then Himeutsugi says her name. She turns to look at him, suddenly nervous, before informing him that, because she received his email today about staying over, she dried the futon for guests; it should be soft and fluffy. Her house isn’t very big so she has to spread out the futon in the living room– Himeutsugi keeps on smiling. Mikoto blurts out that she bought things for him to use to wash up too. The pajamas are her dad’s but they seem to be of similar size, so…

Himeutsugi says her name again, soft. She gasps when he steps closer to hold her. He asks if she’s possibly hoping for something? Mikoto turns red and stutters out that she isn’t! It’s not that! This… ah… Himeutsugi’s smile widens as he points out that she was expecting something. Mikoto turns even more red and admits quietly that she did. She wanted to be together with Himeutsugi. She thought about how, if he was here, then he’d hug her like this and be sweet on her.

He asks if she wants him to spoil her? Mikoto smiles shyly and says that she does. A lot. He smiles, strained, and admits that he feels the same. He’s being spoiled by her like this, and wants to continue holding her. For the entire night. She murmurs his name. He then asks if she’ll listen to a request of his? She echoes his words. Request? He nods and says that it was a request he wanted to do… if he ever came here again.

Himeutsugi walks across the room and opens a window. Mikoto recognizes that window. He asks her if she remembers? The first time she met him. Mikoto nods. Himeutsugi recalls how she had been attacked by utsurohi and he came in through the window to save her. That was the beginning. Next, after the Katou, was the time Mikoto returned home and ate dinner with her friends.

The space between her garden and her house was, to him, the distance between her heart and his. He didn’t know if it was okay for him to enter here. What kind of expression should he have… if he were to tell her everything. He kept on thinking about that. But, today, she greeted him at the entranceway, he spoke to Shou, and now he’s made his decision. He is glad he met her. By her water… by her heart… he is able to be here.

He is weak. From here on, he still might become crushed countless of times. But even so, she will surely be here. At this house, she will show him in over and over again. Mikoto smiles and confirms this. She tells him that she won’t let go of this hand. If they were ever to become separated, she will look for him over and over again… she will find this hand. And then she tells him that, when he came to her house, she thought about something she should say.

Mikoto tells him that, in this garden, she planted Arabian jasmine seedlings. Himeutsugi’s eyes widen. Arabian jasmines? WORD PLAYS GDI. ARABIAN JASMINE IS MATSURIKA IN JAPANESE IF YOU REMEMBER. Mikoto nods; they bloom into pretty and white flowers. Once they bloom, she wants to give them to Matsurika, Kagami, and him. The monument of Matsurika was very beautiful; she was dignified, yet sweet, and like a white Arabian jasmine.

Each time these flowers bloom, over and over again, she wants to remember: Matsurika’s beauty and Kagami, who loved her. She wants to do this with him. Himeutsugi echoes her words. With him… Mikoto smiles and tells him that his heart is her heart. They can offer those flowers together. Himeutsugi breathes in shakily and admits that he doesn’t know what to say to her, but there are feelings spreading through his chest.

He loves her. She is his everything. Mikoto replies that she loves him. And he is her everything. He kisses her and whispers that he’s home. She is quiet for a beat before welcoming him home. NOOOO DAMMIT HOW COULD YOU USE MY WEAKNESS. THE “TADAIMA” AND “OKAERI” EXCHANGE.

And then Himeutsugi tells her that he understands now; the fairy tale… isn’t a story of a prince and princess. It’s his and her story. It’ll always continue, this story with her. From now and on, he wants to continue weaving it with her. Forever. Eternally.

「天地と いふ名の絶えて あらばこそ
汝と我と 逢ふこと止まめ」 – Himeutsugi
(Should the time come
When the names of heaven and earth perish,
Then, then alone we should cease to meet!) – Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (Manyoshu, Book 11, #2419)

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