A Clockwork Romance II
Part 4


Rino returned, the following afternoon, wearing black. She approached Kanade, who was broken, inside a huge crate, lying down on some soft cushions. Her spring suddenly gave out and broke down, causing her to die. Rino then placed a picture of her, Kanade, and Pucchan having dinner together. She placed the photo in her right hand and placed it on her chest.

Actually, it's a small photo of them, during the whole PAYAPAYA fiasco.

Seina went to Rino and hugged her.

"Rino… I'm so sorry," she whispered.

Rino then sobbed, "Why? Why did she have to die?"

Seina said, "It was time. Kanade had days left, before she could be upgraded. However, something went wrong with her heart. She finally had faith in herself, but… all the romance… all the tension… all the drama… her clockwork heart gave out."

Rino then sniffled, "Kanade… it's my fault, Seina. Kanade was my only pillow. My only friend. And I lost her forever."

Seina then exclaimed, "Rino. Listen to me. Kanade Jinguji lived a full life. I know it wasn't your fault. But… while she was a doll, her heart ached a lot. She wanted to find true love… and she did, in the form of a girl, who was a descendant of a Jinguji."

Rino blushed and smiled, "She did. I loved her so much."

Seina giggled, "Good for you. By the way, the whole marriage thing was real. Besides, Kanade cannot die, without a happy life. I suppose it cannot be helped anymore…"

Rino smiled, and held her key, "This was all I got left of her, Miss Seina. Miss Kanade's golden key. Why should it help her now? Her key is beautiful, but surely it won't help her, like you said yesterday."

Seina explained, "Oh, it's going to, real soon. Kanade's key is very special. Once you use it on a certain doll, she move and talk like in her old body. But… you will have to use it once, for only thirty minutes. After that, you'll never see Kanade again. But her key will remain with you… forever."

Rino then cheered, "YAY! I GET TO SEE HER AGAIN! I think I know what to say!"

She then grew sad and asked, "But… where can I find a doll like Kanade? She's one of a kind."

Seina said, "No. She's not."

She took off her lab coat and requested, "If you want, you can try it on another wind-up doll."

"Who?"

"You don't have to, of course… but if you want to do it now, I will assist you."

"Oh, I want to see her one more time. But where can I find one like her?"

Seina then closed her eyes and turned around. She looked away and bowed her head.

"There's always… … … …me."

Rino was shocked, seeing a sliver key in Seina's back. Seina then explained her story:
Rino, you know that my father created Kanade, but he also created me. Before Kanade was created, my parents decided to have a kid. And when Minamo was born, she was happy to have a family with her. However, she was sick with a terminal disease. She was sent to the hospital and was in a coma. Realizing that they would lose their only child, they wanted to have another kid. However, they couldn't plan to produce another child. And that was when… that was when he created me. I was like my parents, in the looks and personality, but only because I wanted to be like their child. When they created me, they treated me like I was the perfect child. And when Minamo returned, I acted as her big sister. But before they could introduce me as the sister, they made me into a fully bloomed woman, around 11 years old. Minamo never knew about me, even though I am a robot, or doll, if you say.

"But… what does that have to do with Kanade?" Rino asked.

Seina replied, "That's because… because I was originally built to be the leader of the Jinguji."

Rino thought, "Oh, right. She used to be Seina Jinguji…"

Seina continued:

Right after I was built, Kanade was built, also. Our production lasted only one month apart, making me the eldest Jinguji, in which father created. However, they chose me to be the leader of the Jinguji, so I can help the family. However, I didn't the power that Kanade had. She was built with the powers of the Jinguji, after I was introduced. When they noticed her, they chose HER, instead of me. I said to myself, "That should've been me!"

But then I realized that Kanade was chosen for something, since she was very lonely. And I said to myself, "Thank god it wasn't me…"

To be honest, I didn't really want to lead. But after father created such a beauty, even though he and mother cannot have babies anymore, and even though Minamo-Chan was sick, I thought that maybe Kanade will be like that.

"Wait!" Rino asked, "Does that mean… that you and Kanade… are sisters?"

"No," Seina responded, "Father created her as a favor for another Jinguji member. He created her, just as a perfect woman. Kanade wanted to live her life, even though she became head of the Jinguji camp. Her entire secret was under wraps, of course. She's not my sister, well, sort of, but she was the second of two Jinguji dolls."

"Only two?"

"Yes. After he created Kanade, he swore that he never build another person again. So, he left me in charge of Kanade, when she and I left together to Miyagami. Of course, it was after she and Nanaho founded the school."

"And you held onto that secret for ten years…"

"Yes. I am ten years old, too, but I have the body of a 20-year old woman. That's twice my age, or date of creation."

Rino then smiled, "I never knew that. I always wondered about you, since you had magical powers."

"I learned all of it myself, Rino," Seina said, "After I was created, I had special magical powers, to make everyone feel like it's a fantasy. However, it doesn't match the Jinguji powers, per se."

Rino then held up the key and asked, "Did your father created this key?"

"Yes."

"And it, too, has magic, like you?"

"Yes."

"But why? Why did it have to be magical, all of a sudden?"

"Because… every key we are wound by, we have the magic to move by. That's why Kanade lived her life to its fullest… and that's why I am… what I am… today."

"Oh… so that's why you were tired out, the other day…" Rino thought.

She clutched her key and thought aloud, "Kanade… I wanted to say this to you for a long time, since you left me… please… just once… I miss you… I miss you…"

Seina then asked, "Be a dear and turn my key counter-clockwise? That helps detach it from my body. Don't worry; it'll fit. These keys are like skeleton keys for dolls."

Rino then asked, "I'll do it, but what about you? Won't you leave, altogether?"

Seina smiled, "My spring will unwind soon. When I stop working, you can wind me up with her key. When I awaken, my personality and my mannerism will disappear, but only for thirty minutes. It's just a temporary spell, so whatever you want to say, say it now. You got one shot, after all."

Rino then said, "Okay. But I don't know… I'm used to seeing Kanade herself. But… but Kanade in you? This is so ridiculous!"

Seina smiled and closed her eyes, "Believe me… Rino… she'll use me… for the half-hour. You'll get used to it. After that, she'll be… with… you… forever… in spirit…"

Rino was worried, "Seina, are you okay?"

CLANG!

Rino cried, "SEINA!"

Seina wound down, "Rino… believe… me…"

She collapsed down on her knees. Rino approached her and unhitched her key from her back. Rino installed Kanade's key onto her back and started to turn it clockwise.

"Here goes…" she whispered.

"Kanade…" she thought, after every turn.

After ten turns, Seina started to move. She stood up and saw Rino, who was nervous.

"Rino…" she said in Kanade's voice, "You came for me."

"I only got 30 minutes. We need to talk!" Rino barked.

"Go ahead."

"Seina told me about you! She even told me about her, as well. I would've asked, but I remember that you two wind each other, just to stay alive, since you're Jinguji dolls."

"Yes, that's true."

"Miss Kanade, I know it feels weird, since you're in Seina's body-."

"I know. I don't have much time. You can tell me, since I get to see you for one last time."

"Well, okay… here goes…"

Rino then bit her lip and cried, "KANADE! HOW COULD YOU?"

She held Seina/Kanade tight and yelled, "How could you leave me? It's bad enough that I am married to you… BUT! But I cannot believe you'll leave me, because you have died! Kanade Jinguji… I love you! I love you! I… I hate it when you'd die. I hate your death! I cannot lose you, like I lost Mom!"

Seina/Kanade then replied, "It's okay, Rino. I know that it was tough, but I wanted to see what I wrote, before I die. I never intended to leave you, my small dumpling."

Rino then cried, "But… Kanade Jinguji, you're the only one that I think of every day! I… I cannot lose you again!"

She then stepped away from her and started to tear up. She continued, "Do you know what the worst part was, Miss Kanade?"

"No, what?" Seina/Kanade asked.

Rino wept tears from her eyes and sobbed, "I… I never got to say goodbye to you… If you were gonna leave me, you should've told me. Kanade Jinguji… if you left me… then where would that lead me?"

She cried, "I hate you, Miss Kanade! You should've told me so. I hate you!"

She continued to cry, as Seina/Kanade held her shoulders.

"Rino," she said, "I was gonna tell you sooner, but my old body gave away. I'd tell you about it, but I guess my body isn't what it was. Rino… I'm so sorry. Please don't be mad at me. What I did was my last wish. And my final wish now is for you to have faith in yourself. You've become braver, but a bit clumsier. But in my heart and my gears, I know that it was for the best. Believe me."

"Miss Kanade… I'm sorry… but I can't say goodbye to you… at least, not in Miss Seina's body."

"Do it. Say it now. I want you to move on… for me. I only wish that Seina and her father can fix me. But… my entire body is now unfixable."

"Miss… Kanade…" she sniffled, "No… don't go…"

Seina/Kanade wiped her tears and said, "Rino… I'll always love you… always…"

She kissed her, as Rino embraced it for the remainder of Kanade's visit.

Rino stopped kissing and said, with three minutes left, "Goodbye… Miss Kanade… I'll miss you."

She then said in a French accent, "Je t'aime. Je fais toujours. Soyons ensemble pour toujours."

"Merci…" Seina/Kanade whispered.

They shared one final kiss, as Seina's spring wound down. After that… Kanade was gone from her. Rino said her goodbyes to her. Rino took the key out from her and placed it in her pocket. She placed Seina's old key back on and wound her up. Seina started to bend up slightly, on each turn. Seina turned to Rino and asked her what happened. Rino hugged her and said, "Oh, thank you, Seina. I got to see Kanade… one last time."

Seina smiled, "Oh, it's no problem. I'm sorry that she's gone."

Rino smiled and said, "Well, at least she'll be inside me… and not you; uh, well, you were right about the key."

She then got pumped up and started to boast, "Even though Kanade Jinguji is gone, I'll live my life to its fullest. I'm going to become braver than ever. I'll even fight for myself."

Seina then saluted and cheered, "That's the spirit, Rino! You'll dedicate your life for Miss Kanade Jinguji! I'm proud of you!"

Rino then left, with the key in her hand. Seina halted her and called out, "WAIT! Rino! There's something I forgot to tell you!"

She stopped by the doorway, as Seina declared, "Rino… never tell anyone about Kanade or me."

"Right," Rino said, "I'll make sure that-, WAIT! WHAT?"

Seina explained, "Well, Rino… I hate to say it to you, but… I'm leaving, too. I was created for a purpose, but now, I have to leave. I hope one day that I'll find true love."

She set up an egg timer to ten minutes. She placed a piece of rope on it and tightened it.

"This will close our box for the both of us…" she added, "After that, Kanade and I will sleep forever."

Rino then asked, "WHY? You're leaving, too?"

Seina frowned and said, "Yes… but it's okay. I'm still in working condition, but one day, they'll find me and reawaken me once more. And when that day comes… I'll find myself true love… like you."

Rino then nodded and smiled, "Seina, good luck. And I hope you'll succeed, and I will make sure that your secret is safe with me."

She then thought of something and said, "OH! What about Pucchan? You had him last!"

Seina replied, "He should return by tomorrow. I asked Kotoha to pick him up. You'll see him again soon."

Rino then ran towards Seina and hugged her tight. She whispered, "Seina, thank you. I'm gonna miss you."

Seina saluted and said, "Rino, I'll miss you, too…"

Rino ran off, with a cheer in her heart.

Seina waved goodbye to her, as she went in the box. She detached her own key from her back and put it in her pocket. She lied right beside Kanade and held her left hand. She then whispered in her final words:

Rino… thank you for giving me and Kanade our lives. Kanade Jinguji will be missed… but one day… one day… I'll be back… someday. I wonder… if I'll find a love for me… Who knows? I'm happy to be alive…

She was laid straight and rigid, with her hand holding Kanade's. The timer went off and the box slowly closed.

She spoke again, "Daddy… thank you. I hope it's my time soon. Kanade…"

Seina's eyes began to close, the same time the box closed. Her eyes clicked closed, as her spring unwound. Everything was all black from inside. Kanade is dead, Seina is gone, and Rino had a huge heart.

XXXXXX

In her room, the following hour, Rino was lying in bed. She started to feel happy, remembering all the times she shared with Kanade, including the days that they first met.

"Suki… Yaki… Suki… Yaki…" She whispered, "Suki… Yaki…"

"I can almost feel Kanade's presence inside me, after all these years…" Rino thought, "The blue sky, the green grass, the smell of orange osmanthus, and even the wind blow across my hair… they all reminded me of Kanade Jinguji. And now, she's gone."

She dozed off and was asleep.

"Miss Kanade… I… love… you…"

A tear fell from her eye.


The next morning, Rino was being smacked around by a small doll.

"Hey, kiddo! Wake up! You'll be late!" He cried out.

Rino woke up and saw Pucchan in her hand. She mumbled, "Right… right… I better get dressed for school."

She stopped with her eyes wide open and turned to Pucchan. She was shrieking in joy. She hugged Pucchan and cried out, "PUCCHAN! You came back!"

"Easy, Rino! I've been gone for a long time!" He cried, "Please… stop it. You're squeezing out my plush cotton."

"Sorry." She stopped.

Pucchan looked at Rino and complimented, "My, my, you have grown a lot. You look like Miss Kanade, but a little more hubba-hubba!"

Rino giggled, "Shut up, Pucchan…"

"Sorry, kiddo."

"Anyway, you wait here. I have to go freshen up for school."

She took off Pucchan and went to go take a shower.

XXXXX

At the pathway, Kaori and Ayumu were waiting for Rino. Rino was running to school, with Pucchan leading the way.

"Rino! She's coming!" Ayumu said.

Kaori scoffed, "She's running late again…"

She then noticed Rino's right hand, which is Pucchan.

"NO WAY! THAT PUPPET RETURNED?" She cried out.

Rino panted and said, "Sorry, Kaori… Ayu-Chan… I have been running late again…"

Pucchan added, "She's just bummed out."

"Incidentally," Ayumu asked, "How was your time with Kanade Jinguji? Did you tie the knot?"

Rino gasped, "GAH! NO! It was just pretend!"

Kaori sighed, knowing that it was just play, "I'm glad you're okay."

Ayumu asked, "Rino… I heard Kanade and Seina had left Miyagami."

Rino explained, "They wanted to spend some time together. I thought maybe they'd leave me, since I decided to resume my life, even for them. I'm feeling very happy, now that I am brave again."

Ayumu grinned, "That's the spirit!"

Kaori then scowled, "Wait a minute… they left, but you have been with them. Something about you is very fishy."

Rino shivered, as Pucchan exclaimed, "Rino's just lonely, but have been happy again. Kanade and Seina decided to have time together."

"Pucchan… let me tell them," Rino whispered to him.

She then said, "I'm not gonna lie to you guys… Kanade…"

She took a breath and cried out, "Kanade and Seina have left me! But… but they'll live on in my heart."

Rino then added, in a very confident mode, "Kanade Jinguji had stuck to me as a friend… and now… now I'm going to make our memories strong! The Best Student Council will continue on, for Miss Kanade and Miss Katsura!"

Ayumu and Kaori were astonished and confused. Rino giggled and said meekly, "Of course, Kanade and Seina will return someday. They won't leave us."

Pucchan then smiled, "Kiddo, you do love her, don't you?"

She gasped, "Pucchan, shut up! I'm not a lesbian! I am not into it, alright? Kanade is my friend!"

"Sure she is," Pucchan laughed.

"OH! You're so incorrigible!" Rino shouted.

As they continued on to school, Kaori sighed, as Ayumu giggled, all while Rino and Pucchan continued to argue.


No one ever saw Kanade Jinguji or Seina Katsura again. But their memory will live on, inside Rino. Rino continued her role as Secretary of the Best Student Council. She lived her life to its fullest, as she still remembered Kanade… and the love that they had.

She held her key, which was tied in a black string around her neck, and whispered, "Kanade… thank you… I love you so much…"

Pucchan eavesdropped and asked, "Say… did Kanade gave you that thing? What is it?"

Rino then replied, "Oh, it's simply a key to her heart. Of course, it's nothing now."

Pucchan then smiled, "You do love her, right? Admit it…"

Rino blushed, "Well… I'll never tell!"

She winked at Pucchan and added, "This is between me and her. If I told you, you'd understand, since you're pretty much like her."

"Oh? You mean the hot ex-president is a puppet like me?" He cried.

Rino then flushed red and responded, "Oh… well… no. But… you, Kanade, and I are special people. And I love you and Kanade. She's gone now… and I'll be brave, just for her and Seina."

Pucchan then said to himself, "Kiddo… you'll be all right… for someone who hates being a woman who loves another, you have moxie."

Rino held her key and imagined Kanade's image. She then closed her eyes and breathed slowly.

"Kanade…"

Kanade's voice echoed into her head:

"Rino… I love you… enjoy your life without me… and thank you."

Rino was lost in thought. She whispered, as she held the key in her left hand, while her right hand had Pucchan:

"Miss Kanade… goodbye…"


The End


Pucchan looked on, in confusion, as Rino was still lost in a trance.

"Hey, kiddo, are you okay?"


Thanks for reading…