Disclaimer: Does anyone want popcorn?
Note: the end is near. Thank you for everyone who supported this story. And I would just like to thank Midnight Shadows Starlight for motivating me to write faster. I definitely owe you one.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: REVELATIONS
The three of them discussed for so long. I didn't hear most of it for I've been injected by sedatives.
After a long wait, I could feel the sedatives weakening. That's when I heard aniki dismiss Persona and called for Ms. Higurashi.
"Call her. We need her help right now."
"But Headmaster! She is not our ally! How could you be so sure that she would tell the truth?" Otou-san demanded.
"We're talking of Mikan here. Of course she'll help. Besides, didn't you love her in the past? If you still love her now, then you will not doubt whatever she reasons out."
It was all a total puzzle to me. But from what I could perceive, otou-san love Ms. Higurashi? So, they knew each other for a long time now. What joy. Note: that was supposed to be sardonic.
But I guess you're all curious to what happened in the Dance that brought me to my current status. It's so funny. I can't remember either. Fine, I remember what happened, save for, it's so horrible I just want to forget it altogether. But I guess I have no choice.
We were having a great time and there had been no trouble at first. That is, until Natsume started teasing me.
"Hey, do you have your period now?"
"Shut up. I don't need your useless talk, Natsume." I defended, while getting some water for Youichi. "Besides, what made you think that I'm having my oh-so-awaited period?"
"Hn. Your dancing sucks. Maybe your legs are in pain because of all that blood you release." He said. I just frowned, unaware of what will happen next. So when he extended his foot to trip me, he didn't fail in his ruse. "Guess I was right." He smirked.
I admit that what he saw was humiliating. And to top that, was that the dress was pure white. Good thing the viscous fluid didn't emerge to the outside. Yes, Natsume's right. I'm having it now. And I hate it more than anything else.
Guess you couldn't wait for what he saw, ne? He saw my underwear with a tiny patch of that cursed red fluid. Yep, it's embarrassing. So when I shouted for him to shut up and let me go, I was surprised by what happened next.
"Shut up, Natsume! How dare you intimidate someone who has not wronged you! I'll shut you up for good. The gates of Hell are waiting for you. May you rest in peace!" That was what I said. But what took me by revelation is that it was not my voice that spoke that. I told you before: I felt that there was someone inside of me.
After what I did, some people gathered to watch what happened next. And what happened next was the biggest mistake I ever did. I tried to kill Natsume. I didn't do it on purpose. Suddenly, I produced a big fire, capable of giving someone the chance to see the persona of death. You know: the one with the big sickle thingie. Actually, it's called a scythe. Anyway, if you're lucky, you could just get a third degree burn. That is, if you're lucky, I repeat.
I fainted after that. But before I reached the ground and find myself in this sticky situation, I saw the surprised faces of the people gathering. It was Ms. Higurashi's face that intrigued me above all. She was smirking and laughing silently. I read her mind for the last time and that left me so confused… and betrayed.
"At long last, it happened."
That was what I read from her. I presume the event she expected is the emotional turmoil I was experiencing… and the effect it did to other people.
Right now, I don't know if she's really my friend or my enemy. I hope it's not the latter part.
Adjusting my consciousness to the conversation happening between aniki and otou-san, I tried stopping the flow of tears that started to produce in the peripheral part of my eyes. Hotaru's blindfold might be useful for me because I need not use my other alices in finding my way in this school, but it's not equipped with diverting my tears to someplace else.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
It was Hotaru.
"Where's Mikan?" she asked.
Nobody answered her. It's not necessary. She found my position without any help needed.
There was silence. And then…
"I thought she was abducted by that mysterious teacher." It was again, Hotaru. I noticed she was catching her breath. It seems like she ran to get here. Where did that duck transportation paraphernalia go?
"Mysterious teacher?" otou-san asked. "Oh. You mean Ms. Higurashi, right?"
A nod confirmed his query.
"We called for her." Aniki followed.
"She won't come." Came Hotaru's dull reply. "The Z Organization is in the border of the school. She's escaping."
"WHAT?!" Aniki and Otou-san hollered out. It was deafening. I, myself was surprised. Ms. Higurashi's a spy?
That's when I noticed that the two men were gone from the room. They were trying to catch the traitor: Ms. Higurashi. The only persons left were me and Hotaru.
"Mikan, are you awake? I'll untie you then go catch up with them. I'll call for the rest of the gang." Even though I was still confused because of the sedatives, I ran from the room once I was untied. There was no time to lose. I need to talk to Ms. Higurashi.
But that's not just it. I felt like something would be uncovered in this series of events. And in my subconscious mind, I knew that it clearly involves me.
Alice Academy: near the Main Gate
"Ms.Higurashi! Stop!" I could hear aniki shout. There was no reply. The gap between us is still far-off.
Transportation: Aniki and Otou-san.
And suddenly, I was beside Ms. Higurashi. The heck with that! I was supposed to be beside aniki and otou-san not beside Ms. Higurashi! My alices are really in jeopardy these days. What's happening?
"Hah. You made my job easier." It was Ms. Higurashi. But it was not her accustomed voice I was hearing. I didn't have time to dwell on that for I heard a shout.
"Mikan! Get away from her!" It was aniki. And his face is contorted with pain.
I started to transport myself somewhere far from her when I noticed my alices were once again, gone. Reverting to running, I failed too. It was that damned barrier alice of her. Now I'm trapped in this hellhole of a cage.
I tried shouting for aniki to save me but it was useless. "Your shouting's useless. They won't hear you. But they… will hear us." It was her again. I've never felt this insurmountable fear inside me. Turning around, I saw her twisted, sadistic smile. It was clearly frightening.
"What do you want?" I asked, trying to stop my legs from shaking. I felt like a mouse cornered by a cat.
"Simple." She answered. "You."
"Your alice will be a great help to the Z Organization. Now, will you come with your freewill or do I need to force myself on you?"
The voice I was accustomed to… it was replaced by this coarse voice. Then it snapped. It was similar to the voice I've used during the Dance. Not thinking of what I was going to say next, I placed a large amount of gap between us.
"DISPERSE!" I shouted. I was using Youichi's alice. I figured out, someone or something is controlling Ms. Higurashi. Looking back at the said figure, I watched as her face showed the look of pure surprise. Then, it became tranquil.
"Thank you." It was Ms. Higurashi again… the normal one, mind you.
"You're welcome." I answered. "Tell me. Tell me the secret." I uttered. It was just a presumption. I'm not sure if there really is a secret.
"Your secondary alices are disappearing because of the Atonement Day. Once that day comes, it will be decided if you are worthy to live exclusively inside that body or share the same body with another spirit. The spirit will be in control. You, then," she pointed at me, "will be the slave."
"Is that what happened to you?" I asked. The silence answered the question. Yes. "Why?" I followed up the question.
"Do you think an alice so powerful like yours, which defies the four classifications of alices, have no boundaries of its own?" she smirked. "Then if you're thinking like how I guessed it, then, you're a fool."
"So I presume this Atonement Day is my boundary?" I asked. "What will happen if I succeed? What will I do there?"
"It's your boundary. If you succeed, then you'll have that damned body of yours and your secondary alices. In short, your life will go on like before… before your alices had it's abnormalities. What you'll do there… you'll fight someone."
Before I asked who it was, a loud explosion was heard. It rattled the school grounds. Or so I thought. I looked at Ms. Higurashi. She was clearly frightened. And she was advancing on me.
"Come with me. Quick." It was the coarse voice again.
"Leave me alone!" I shouted. In my peripheral view, I could see some men entering the school. They were all looking at us. Reo was one of them.
"Then you leave me with no choice." And suddenly, she was in front of me: transportation alice… and her hair became a very dangerous weapon: hair alice.
(A/N: the hair alice: the ability to use one's hair according to his/her accordance. It changes its form and structure to accommodate the user's wish. It could be used as a lethal weapon, like a scythe. The imitated weapon acts and could be used the same way as the form it copied. I did not invent this. The anime itself showed one or two people having this although it was just a short clip. So please don't sue me.)
"I'm sorry." She whispered. Ms. Higurashi was back. I felt something cold pierce my stomach. And then, I felt something hot spilling. It was blood… my blood. Looking down, I saw that she penetrated my flesh with her hair that copied the form of a knife. There was no time to shout a cry of pain.
"Goodbye, Mikan." Using the last of my energy, I looked up to see Ms. Higurashi's crying face. I couldn't help but feel alone and deceived.
And just like that, she started leaving… leaving me in my dismal position.
"Oh, and I forgot. Don't be too sure that it was her that really spoke to you. I could clearly imitate her voice."
And then, my body fell to the ground. Everything went black.
The barrier alice was gone.
"Headmaster! Assist Mikan!" I shouted. She was lying on the ground, swimming in a pool of blood… her own blood.
Not wasting any time, I chased for the traitor. She was taking her time walking. "WAIT!" I shouted.
She turned and I saw pain written all over her face. Seeing me, I saw her putting up her façade. She did it again, like many years ago.
"Why?" I asked. "She is your own daughter! How could you---?"
"It was destined." She said. Her face was devoid of any emotions. "Before she could kill me, I'll kill her first. It's a simple, logical game."
I stood there, speechless.
"I remember… Atonement. What does that mean?" I asked.
She looked surprised. "You remembered our conversation?"
"No. I found the words in my pocket."
"Narumi… you're so sly." She smiled. Then she asked something that left me speechless again. "Narumi, do you remember my name?"
A long silence and then I answered. "Ms. Higurashi?" It's not that. It was her pretended name. I racked my brain for her name. Heck! We were best friends with Reo and now, I can't remember the name of Mikan's mom.
"It's Yuka." She answered her own question. "The Being erased it from your memory. Names are a powerful weapon. It could bring back memories that were hidden in the soles of your brain."
Then I felt memories flooding in. The hidden memories… the talk with her in the lounge. It was all present here in my brain again. Atonement was not the word that would trigger the memories to return. It was the person whose name was erased from the recesses of your mind. Or better yet, the name of the person who took it from you.
"Yuka…" The name rolled from my mouth smoothly… like I was habituated to say it.
Looking at her, her face seemed frightened again. Finally, I noticed Reo standing behind her. He was starting to intertwine his fingers with Yuka.
"Sakura-sama, we need to go. It now happened. You need to get ready. That Mikan will come to us on our own once she loses."
Glancing at me for the last time, she nodded. And then, they were gone. One thing was left from my mind.
Mikan will join the Z Organization on her own accord.
It happened before… with Yuka.
Now it will happen to Mikan too.
I failed to stop Yuka from going but it doesn't mean I would fail with Mikan too.
I won't allow history to repeat itself.
Never will I allow it.
We were under the sakura tree once more. It was such a boring day that all we could do is mop around.
"Hey, Natsume. You're playing anagrams again?" Yuu asked. I nodded in reply. "Why're you writing Kisara's name?"
I looked down. And there it was. The name of the girl who nearly killed me last night. "Nothing." I replied. Continuing with my work, I started scrambling the cursed girl's name. At first, it was just an idle game. But suddenly, I caught a certain pattern from her name.
"NATSUME!" I heard a shout. I was just finishing up my cross-examination when Hotaru arrived. And unusually, her cold, emotionless, face was gone.
"What're you doing here?" I asked. "But before you answered that, are you involved to this cruel scheme?" I asked again. I was pointing to the anagrams I've made. The name Kisara have transformed to something I'm all too familiar with… Mikan. "I now I've always bullied her. But this… playing with one's heart is way too inhumane for a payback." I realized that I've indirectly admitted that I love Mikan. But who cares? In this situation, I definitely don't.
"I've only learned that a few days ago so please don't label me the devil." Came the reply. "But if you really love Mikan, then, you must go to her now. She needs you more than you know."
Deafening sounds reached our ears. That's what urged me to run… to run to Mikan.
"NOBODY FOLLOWS!" I shouted behind my back. Hotaru was already at my side directing me to the right place.
A few seconds later and I realized a multitude of footsteps following us.
So much for my barked instructions.
"Headmaster! Assist Mikan!"
I heard Mr. Narumi shout. So I was damn right.
But enough for that. What I saw stopped the flow of ideas in my brain. There was Mikan in the Headmaster's arms with blood dripping from her stomach.
"What happened?" I asked. What I received was not much for an answer.
"That traitor… to hurt her own flesh. I shouldn't have let her penetrate this school."
"Will she die?" Anna asked.
"A wound from the stomach is not life-threatening. I think, with Hotaru's brother, she will survive." Yuu explained.
"What will happen now?" Kokoroyomi asked.
"We'll bring her to her room, and then cure her. After that, the fog will finally be lifted and the mirrors will be cleared." Was the Headmaster's reply. He seemed absentminded.
"I began suspecting her when she called me Ruka-pyon." I heard Ruka said.
"There was once that I called her Mikan by mistake. Normally, a person would correct someone that called her by a wrong name. But Mikan didn't. So I figured out that she was used to being called Mikan… not to mention the fact that she looks a lot like Mikan – even with the blindfold on.
"I already knew she was Mikan!" Was Kokoroyomi's boastful reply. Everybody laughed. Who would believe what he said when I'm utterly sure he himself was also surprised when Natsume voiced his thoughts about my double life?
"You're awake." I saw Youichi's face near mine. The noses were almost touching and I couldn't help but rub noses with him… just like what a dog would do to its friends. "Stop it. It's embarrassing." Youichi said, pushing me away. I just laughed. It's really funny considering that I can pretend no more.
"So how're you feeling?" Otou-san asked. "Any better?"
I nodded a few times. The wound's healing very fast. I guess this was because Hotaru's brother cured me… and maybe, my alices helped as well.
"Do they all know?" I asked.
"Yes. I hope you're not angry. It's not like I desperately wanted to inform them. It's just that they caught with the flow. Besides, don't you think your pretension has gone a long way?" Otou-san chuckled lightly. "You know Mikan, you have a great set of friends. I think you should think about them more now – rather than recapitulating strategies on how to annihilate your mother."
"Yes. We totally agree with Mr. Narumi. As the elders say, doesn't violence only breed violence? What's the point of killing your mom?" Nonoko inquired.
"The point is: she's a threat. If she continues to breathe, are you really prepared for her next actions? Don't bother answering. I know you're not. So, she needs to die – and for me, it should be done as soon as possible." I replied. All of them turned white, except for Natsume. He's just looking at me blankly. It's no surprise that the majority's reaction was like that. The sweet Mikan they knew metamorphose to a blood-thirsty bat… and an ugly one, at that. Turning to Otou-san, I asked, "When will training resume? I need to strengthen up again."
"Tomorrow, you're training starts." A new voice piped up. It was Aniki. I smiled. It's really rare that someone understands your feelings completely. "Anyway, Ms. Sakura needs to have her rest. So if all of you don't mind, then please exit this room."
Almost everybody obeyed. Except, of course, for Natsume. Why aren't I surprised?
"I need to talk to Mikan. It's urgent."
"Fine. But please make it quick." The Headmaster finally agreed after a few minutes of silence. "And don't engage in arduous activities – like making-out."
And with that he was gone, leaving me and Natsume alone and blushing.
An hour has passed and still no one talked. Just the breathing of the two of us can be heard. And when I say two of us, that still indicates to Natsume and me.
"Don't you have anything to say?" I finally asked.
"Nothing that levels to a life-and-death situation." He replied nonchalantly.
I sighed. So all this damned silence was for nothing. I thought he was going to ask permission for him to be my partner in my mission. Or better yet, be his partner for the rest of our lives.
"Mikan… wanna be my girlfriend?"
"WHAT?!" I sputtered.
He rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean. Be my special someone. Do I have to spell it out to you? Or to make things easier, how about I give you a dictionary?"
"Uh, sure." I replied, somewhat in a daze. "Be your girlfriend huh. I thought your proposal would be really romantic. So much for that." Well, this is Natsume we're talking about. Of course being romantic is not in his vocabulary.
But suddenly he smirked.
"By romantic, you mean like this?" he asked, as he slowly leaned towards me and headed straight for my lips.
What happened next was unnecessary to tell.
Aniki's warning was set aside.
After "one week" of training
"Well, that was fast." Otou-san commented.
"Time traveling for the purpose of acquiring more stamina and lessening the timeframe for training… that is ingenious." Hotaru commented.
I've thought of this for a long time. And this is what I concluded: although I really hate using time traveling, I needed it now. My plan was this: I'll start training supposedly on Monday. I'll train the whole day without any rest. And then, I'll travel in the past and rewind Monday. This time, I'll use it to gain some rest and burn away fatigue. I'll do the same process for the remaining days. And if I need to extend my practice hours, I just need to go back in time and practice some more. That way, four months of intensive training can be accomplished for only one week. Am I a genius or what?
"But don't you think you're overdoing it a little?" Yuu asked. "It's not like you will meet Yuka so early this year."
I just smiled at him. "We can never be too sure of how things will turn out. It's still better to be safe than to be sorry."
The truth is I feel worse than before. The disappearance of my alices have been very active lately. Sometimes, I find myself stuck between some day I don't know about. This happens when I started time traveling and then suddenly, my alices vanish.
"Well anyway, go take some rest now. The day's almost over." It was Otou-san again.
I nodded. I haven't seen Natsume the whole day. I wonder where he went.
Reaching Natsume's room, I stopped when I heard footsteps inside. Opening the door warily, I peeked inside. There was Natsume inside, talking to Persona. He was very angry.
"What do you mean dispatch Mikan?" I heard him say hotly.
"The Z Organization's constant movements have been noted. It seems like they are preparing a battlefield for the two."
"A battlefield?" I couldn't help but ask. "I didn't know that my Atonement day have been awaited by many people."
"Oh, so you heard?" Persona asked.
"Not much. But I would really appreciate it if you would tell me first before anyone else." I haughtily replied. "It's not like my life is at stake here." I sarcastically added.
Persona didn't bother replying. He just walked out of the door pretending that I didn't even open my mouth to speak.
A few moments of silence when suddenly Natsume spoke, "What do you think you're doing here?"
"I was only looking for you." I answered straight to the point. So what did Persona told you?"
"…That he still doesn't know who you will be fighting against."
"Why would he do a research about the person I'm supposed to fight? He doesn't gain anything by helping me. Unless…" I looked at Natsume rather accusingly. "You offered to do more missions, didn't you?"
He didn't answer me. Or maybe that was, in itself, his answer.
"It's hard when you're preparing yourself to a fight without knowing who you're contending with, in the first place." He said, after some time.
"Isn't that what you're always doing?" I answered angrily. "In the first place, isn't that just normal?"
"Why are you so accusatory? I'm only thinking about your good." I noticed that I made him angry. "Then have it your way. As if I'd care if you die."
That stung me.
"… I was only thinking that you shouldn't shorten your life because of me… because I don't deserve any inch of your life." I finally broke down.
"I'm… sorry. I didn't mean it."
And suddenly I felt a warm pair of arms encircling my body. Ecstasy overflowed within me. And for the first time since these past few days, my mission to kill mom dispersed. For me, what matter now is me and Natsume.
"Me too." I finally mumbled. "I'm so sorry."
The moment of tranquility was destroyed by Youichi.
"Having sex without condoms is quite dangerous."
"Who said we're gonna have sex?" I asked, blushing heavily, although I already have an inkling of an idea who told Youichi that perverted line.
"Hotaru did. And she told me to tell you to keep it low so as not to disturb many people." And with that, Youichi indiscreetly left the room.
"That Hotaru! One of these days, I'm really going to kill her." I heard Natsume mumble.
And surprisingly, I didn't have anything to argue about that.
Note: I'm rushing the story since I don't have any time to do this anymore. The spontaneous activities happening in our school left me with no choice but to speed up things here. I'm really sorry.
To end questions pertaining to this line the fog will finally be lifted and the mirrors will be cleared I'll explain it here. Of course, you all know that fogs obscure our view. The "mirrors" here pertain to our eyes. I got this idea since our CLE teacher reminded us that our eyes are the mirror of our soul. Thus, to make a long explanation short, this line only delivers the message that the Headmaster and Mr. Narumi will finally reveal the truth, which leads to the mirrors (eyes) being cleared since all doubts present (which the fog symbolizes) within the gang will be answered.
Got it? If you still don't, look for someone who can explain this better than I can. :P
I know that coherence is missing in this chapter but please forgive me. I don't have any time to edit.
Anyway, the end is very near. After one or two more chapters, I'm ready to wrap this story up (and throw it in the trash bin). Just kidding!