Forty seventh place. Someone was behind me, impossibilities of impossibilities. I felt my heart just stop as my place in the world had vanished. Looking quickly over my shoulder, my fears growing, I saw the last thing in the world I wanted to see.

Akari Kanzaki was behind me, not even trying. I felt the tears burn harder as the only place in the world was taken from me. No, I did not hate Akari for this. I felt pain. She was Tomoe Midou's daughter, the only person who has ever been behind me in previous races. I had saw her talent bloom with Ichino's help and I felt pain as she took my place when she belongs in a better place. I was the earthworm, slowly crawling through the soil, and she an angel in the heavens. I did not resent her - yes, I envied her and my heart would always be with her when she finally claimed her place - but I did not hate her for this.

" Akari Kanzaki... " I said under my breath, " You are doing heaven and earth a grave injustice being here, elevating those who did not earn their place higher... "

Yes, the other girls always thought of Akari as a stupid runt of Tomoe's progeny, but I didn't see that. This girl was far greater than I and I would not allow her to take my place... But alas, to turn around and try to get her to move or to follow behind her would not be my place either. To turn your head from the finish line was a sin in itself. I had no choice, my breath caught up, I began to run again, the grounded angel moving farther and farther from my sight.

I was forty seventh. A while later, I found myself at the edge of the water... No one here either. Either they all had moved on or Ling Pha had pulled another scam. It did not matter to me as I greeted the water. Dog paddling the triathalon was almost a sin as well, but I did not care. I didn't know any better nor was I meant to know any better. I had my place as the last, or at least I should have. I still paddled as hard as I could, my lungs once again burning. After what had felt like a long time, I saw shore. The people in nearby stands were mumbling something about Ayla, but I did not care... Not until I had heard someone shout that Ayla had left.

Forty sixth place now. I felt my only connection to the world slip farther now as I approached the bike and took deep breaths. Numbers were only numbers, and I still was the second to last place. At least I had that. I peddled as far as I could, breathing harder and harder, my asthma burning every breath I take into nothing. I had no choice but to dismount and walk, like so many other times. As I walked, I saw a bed of spikes in the road. Ling Pha had definately been here. I picked up the bike and treaded through the bushes around the spikes.

That damn Ling Pha. All she was doing was slowing down destiny.

I peddled onward, feeling another wind. I put the pedal to the metal until I felt my own gasps overtake me followed by my awkward foot flying off. I felt myself fall over and crash, the familiar ground rushing up to meet me. I coughed and the tears came again. It began to rain as I picked up the bike and pressed onwards... The beginning of the last part was ahead, and no doubt that everyone except poor Akari was already past there.

I stretched my legs as I noticed claw imprints on the ground. Tanya had been here. I knelt before them and stroked them gingerly. Here I was, feeling the very tracks of a possible Cosmo Beauty. Tears mixed with the rain as I sobbed harder than I ever had in my life. This touch with her prints had linked me with the future. Now more than ever, I could be with them in spirit. I felt a prayer coming on as the hair on the back of my neck had stood up. I felt something greater than me approach. My heart beat faster and faster, my skin turning to marble as destiny itself seem to grab me with it's cold, pulsating hand.

I looked behind me to see the impossible. An angel powered by wings beyond wings was approaching, leaving me in the destiny's wake. It was less than a second, but it felt like minutes had passed. Her determined eyes reflected the thunder far above and her breath spoke the wind. Her eyes came and locked with mine for that fraction of a second as she took my soul, ripped it out of my body and sent it to the only home it's ever known. The gentle Akari had, in a split second, saved me.

I was in last place. She was gone before words escaped my lips, but I had realized that my place was now last. I was again the worst, and again the person that all would forget about. I knew that in only a couple of days, I would be sent back home to live alone as Akari had tried to pursue herself. No one would remember my name, for I was the daughter of no one. I had no name, nor did I ever earn the right to one. I knew Akari would rise to the greatness she surely deserved and my life would not change. I heard cheers in her name not long afterwards. She had done it...

" Akari... you did it... " I said, smiling, " I may not ever see University Satellite, or have you ever know my name... But my spirit will always be with you and I will see you as the next Cosmo Beauty. "

Once again I was invisible. Invisible to the great angel and invisible to the world. I felt spring in my step as I had crossed the finish line and a beep had recorded my failure. I stumbled over to the side of the gate and sat down directly in the mud as the cheering continued. Not once did anyone look at the girl sitting by herself in the rain, but that was fine. I knew the nurse's robots would find me here and she'd yell my ear off about catching pneumonia, but I didn't care.

I bent over my head and rested it on my knees. I had done it after all of this.

I had earned last place.