I'm glad you liked the end of the last chapter. I wasn't sure how you guys would take it...
But I'm sorry for the wait I had a bit of a blank moment as to how I supposed to continue after that... I had a few ideas, but they seem so... well.. It took a lot of trying but I think this is the right way of doing it. Considering I don't really know exactly what my characters are feeling anymore (Well, I never mysteriously forget my parents, so I don't know what I would think if I found out that I had...) So I hope you don't mind the way I have worked it out from here on...
Also! Once I finish this story and the other one I'm working on now, I will be changing my user name. See my profile, right at the very bottom... I ramble about it there.
Also- We get into more details of the curse in this chapter. Its all made up. I decided these things ages ago in my beat up little note book, and it doesn't really exist, hokay?
So Anyway. Thank you for reading this much. Without further ado...
Disclaimer: In chapter 1
After some careful instruction and a bit of practice, Mai was in the kitchen making a pot of tea. This was the third time she was doing it on her own, so she wasn't quite sure if she had gotten it right.
She looked at the list her mother had written out of all the steps necessary. She hadn't missed one except delivering it, without spilling any. Smiling proudly, she moved back into the main room where everyone else was still working their way through the piles on the floor.
The first cup was given to her mother, Ayako who was the farthest from the kitchen door.
She gave a smile, as well as the second cup to her father, Houshou, who sat next to her mother. "Thanks Mai-chan." he took a sip. "Its just right!"
Her mother smiled after taking a sip. "You got it perfect this time."
"Thanks!" She said, smiling sincerely. Mai continued to give the next cup to her friend Masako.
Masako wasn't even thirsty, but she accepted it and even took a sip. It wasn't quite like the tea Mai normally made, but it tasted okay. "Thank-you Mai, Its good."
Mai bobbed her head in reply, her smile fixed in place. "Glad to help when you're all studying."
The next cup was given to her Aunt Madoka, who didn't look up from the sheet she had in her hand.
Another cup was placed next to an important family friend, Lin-san. "Here you are, Lin-san!" Mai said cheerfully, thinking that Lin was a neat name, only saying it to get a chance to use it.
The final person, another friend of the family sat without a cup of tea. Kazuya, or as everyone knew him, Naru. Mai wondered how he could be the boss of the company that employed her parents. Although her parents did tell her that she would help with odd jobs around the office before she started loosing her memory, which was the only reason she was getting the tea for him. Although she probably would have been forced by her parents even if she had tried not to give him any, because being impolite to bosses results in no job.
She didn't bother to say anything, but put the tray she had used back into the kitchen, and went to sit quietly beside her parents.
"When is my brother going to be back?" Mai asked her mother. "How long will he be at the library anyway? Isn't there enough stuff here to study?"
Her mother leaned back to her. "Its a group thing, the more all of us know, together, the better chance we have." of helping you.
"Oh. Well, good luck!" Mai said, resuming her silence, wishing that she could have had music playing in the background.
Mai faded in and out of consciousness, barely able to stay awake. After what seemed like no time at all, she was nudged. Her mother was standing in front of. The mess on the floor was a bit better, and the number of sheets left to be studied had decreased by quite a bit. "Your brother showed up a while ago, and most of us are taking a break to discuss stuff over lunch. Do you want to come listen to all that boring stuff? Or we can leave you here."
Mai figured boring was pointless when all she felt like doing was sleeping. "No, thanks for the warning. I'm so tired. I'll just lie down on the couch if its okay."
Her mother nodded. "Alright then. We'll see you later. I may have to wake you up when we get back so that We can move you off the couch should we need the couch again."
Mai stood up, and nearly toppled over at her own lack of strength. Her mother grabbed her shoulders and steadied her before helping her to the couch.
"There you are... get some rest." She said, as Mai immediately fell asleep.
Ayako turned to Takigawa. "For some reason, her falling asleep that fast makes me worry that it may be a lot worse than we had thought it would be by this point."
Takigawa frowned. "Yeah... Even if everyone of those sheets has to do with paranormal memory loss, I don't know if we'll be able to get enough to do anything. Yasuhara seemed to have something, so lets go."
"What do you mean brother? Couldn't you have introduced me as her boyfriend?" Yasuhara said, as soon as he heard about what they had chosen as his 'part'.
"Right, just so you could give her a kiss and not feel awkward about it at all. Just... no. Once we get back be a good older brother." Takigawa said burying his head in his palm. "Now tell us what you found."
All trace of his earlier discontent about being an older brother was replaced with a more serious discontent with what he had found.
"This is a bit sketchy, but its supposed to be 'the only way' to shield yourself from the curse." He ripped one page of notes out of the binder he had pulled out of his bag by his laptop, and set it on the table. "This is a bit of a weird thing though, because it has an example of a time that it actually worked, and the story it refers to is about someone named Mai Tsukiyara." He paused here as he flipped some more pages in his coil bound.
"Now I figured that it would be useless to bother with this process outlined here because, we're not trying to shield someone, we're trying to save someone. But her name was Mai, and I don't believe in coincidences." he continued to shuffle through his pages until he found one that he also ripped out.
"So I found this." He placed it on the table. "Medical record for Tsukiyara-san. She appeared to be injured frequently, and usually not be able to give very good reasons why. The files were quite dated, so I had a bit of difficulty discerning things. But Tsukiyara-san was 1 year older than Mai when the records started showing symptoms described by the article Matsuzaki-san had in her position. 3 Months afterwards was when 'the only way' to shield the curse was enacted."
"The idea being that it prevented the curse from getting any worse, or at least slowed it, allowing more time to be used. To discern the cause. Because according to vague notes in the doctors notes, the way to remove the curse was in a book that Tsukiyara-san always carried around on her person, and it had something to do with knowing the exact cause of the curse."
"So, I looked for a copy of the book, and wasn't able to find anything in whole, however, I found a selection from the part of the book that relates to the curse. Which was called by both the book and the records as 'The Curse of Disintegration'. However, looking up The Curse of Disintegration brought up a curse which caused great damage to a person by attaching them to an object, then the person's health would disintegrate at the rate that the object should have, but the object would not break down until the 'energy' that had gone from the person to the object ran out."
"I really don't think that this is exactly that, but I found something listed as 'The old Curse of Disintegration'. I believe that this is the curse we are dealing with, however, it uses the same principles, of attaching someone to something. Except that this is when a spirit attaches the person to their spirit. This in turn takes things from them, like their memories, as well as.. 'life force' for lack of better term, and tranfers it to the spirit."
"I'm not sure what kind of effect the curse has when the spirit that set it has already passed on but..." Yasuhara continued along with his speech.
"Oh!" Ayako said. "I read something about that!" Shocked faces turned to Ayako. "What? I was reading stuff too..."
"One of the sheets I had was talking about a curse of disintegration, and it was only speculation, saying that there were no cases that had been recorded of 'it', which it never said, although now that you talk about it, I begin to understand what 'it' was, but that the 'energy' would most likely be transferred to the spirit, giving it power or calling it back to our world should it have passed on. So in that case, If Serra had attached herself to Mai while she was still angry at us, then she would be dragged back into this world even if she passed on later, meanwhile Mai fades away."
"That... sounds right..." Takigawa said. Madoka nodded, and surveyed the table. Even though they had been talking for a while, and everyone had a plate of food in front of them, except Yasuhara who had shoved his aside to make room for his sheets.
"Continue." Naru said, speaking for the first time in a long time. It was directed at Yasuhara.
"Right. Well... With this Tsukiyara-san, they were saying that they needed more time because in order to get rid of the curse, they needed to find whatever it was that she was attached to, and detach it. Its not a simple process, to detach it takes a lot power, not something that anyone here could do."
Lin's eyes flicked to Naru briefly, before returning his gaze to Yasuhara. It didn't go unnoticed by Madoka, nor by Yasuhara. Ayako and Takigawa had their eyes trained on Yasuhara. Masako stared at Naru carefully for a moment, before returning her gaze to Yasuhara.
Yasuhara finished. "And while Tsukiyara-san lived for three years normally after having the shield put up, this was only with intensive protective measures. However, it was noted that she never did find the item, and slept in without taking care of a ritual she was supposed to do every morning with the sunrise, which caused the shield to break, and she began to decline at several times the speed as before, and died in a week."
There was silence as no one was sure what to say. The small restaurant that they sat in was unnaturally quiet, and it seemed that even if they had their voices quiet enough that the empty tables nearby would have to be silent silent to hear, the sadness and discontent that radiated from them in a manner that put a damper on even the best of moods.
"One last thing." Yasuhara said.
"The method that requires so much power requires that much for something like a twig. We can assume that the two more recent cases of this, that Mai's doctor had more detailed info on were curses that the spirits had used that attached them to other objects, making it much slower, and not related to age. I believe that Mai's rate of... deterioration stems from the fact that she is attached to something that no longer exists. Even if we were able to locate Serra, it would take much more power than would have been necessary for removing the connection from an object that existed at the level of matter. The method does not involve destroying the object, because the connection between the object and the person means that the person would also be destroyed simultaneously. It's surrounding it with enough power to sever a connection that can not be seen by any measures, nor can it be sensed, felt, or anything of the like."
Yasuhara placed a final sheet of paper on table. "This is what I found was necessary in order to eliminate the attachment."
"Theres nothing else."
When they got back to the SPR offices, Madoka immediately called the hotel that they had stayed at a while ago, to talk to Noon. "Noon speaking."
"Noon Hope? This Is Madoka Mori. I'm with SPR. Through reinvestigation, we have discovered that there may have been something that wasn't quite ironed out in out visit to your inn when we were there. As of recently, has there been any signs of anything happening that can not be explained as normal or regular? Has there been any sign of new Paranormal activity?" Madoka asked kindly through the phone, in a tone that did not betray any sign of the current situation.
"Hmm..." Noon responded. "I'm not exactly sure if it counts, but some people have been complaining that the top floor is unnaturally cold, and there doesn't appear to be any issues with the air conditioning, but I don't know if that would be..."
"No, Thats enough. Would it be possible for three members of our team to head over to your location in order to ascertain the situation?" Madoka said, sending Naru a look while Noon replied that it was fine. Naru looked back at Madoka. "Make that a larger number that has not been determined."
"Oh yes thats fine. Will Mai-san be present?" noon asked.
"I don't think that would be in her best interests right now." Madoka said, not wanting to tell Noon about everything.
"Ah okay. I don't remember anyone named Mori... Are you a recent addition?"
"Returning member actually." Madoka said. "All right then, thank you for everything. We will see you in a matter of hours."
Madoka hung up, and everyone save Lin (Who was collecting up all the remaining sheets, as they now had enough information to do something, and making it so the organized mess took up less than a third of the floor, and was generally out of the way.) gathered in front of Naru to ascertain who was going to the Inn.
"Madoka, Takigawa-san, Matsuzaki-san, Hara-san, Yasuhara-san as well as Lin will go. Lin will return alone immediately."
Orders were given, and there was a sense of direction.
Now that they knew where they were going, everyone was ready to get into action. They had a direction, and the sooner they acted upon this, the sooner they might be able to give Mai a chance to be the only one who survived.
There was a rustling sound as said girl sat up. Yasuhara saw the girl moving for the first time that day, and made his way over.
"Osamu-nii-san right?" Mai asked, checking. Yasuhara nodded and pulled her into a hug.
"We'll be going out for a bit, but you have to stay here. You won't be alone though." He said, letting her go. "Naru-chan will be here to watch over you, so make sure you do what he says you must do. He is older than you."
Mai nodded but frowned. "When will you all be back? I don't remember where we live..." Mai said downcast.
Yasuhara smiled. "Depending, you may end up joining us where we are, but other than that, there is always Naru's place..."
Mai shook her head. "I want to stay with my family, no matter where they are."
Yasuhara nodded. "We'll see. Bye for now, Mai-chan"
Mai waved, and the party left through the front door, leaving Mai leaning sleepily against the arm of the couch, and Naru still standing where he stood when he gave out his orders.
Mai turned over and fell back asleep. She at first felt uncomfortable that Naru was there, but she was tired, and in the end, sleep claimed her.