Man, the rain has been on and off all day long. Seriously, last night… or should I say morning? At 3 am, it started to pour randomly. And then the thunder was really, really loud, and the lightning was super bright. Every time the lightning hit, it would light up the whole house. Then, it stopped. A few minutes ago it started again. And now it stopped. One of my poor cats has been hiding under the bed all day in fear. When it thunders, he gets down to the ground really low and walks really slowly. Huh, I wonder how Mion would feel in that situation? (L-Lol…)
Enough of that! I'm going to save the rest for the final Crimso's Corner, but I will say now, if you haven't reviewed the last chapter, please do so now.
Around Seventeen Years Later…
A young woman panted as she ran about the area as quick as she could, looking behind her shoulder every once and a while. She let out a gulp as she tried to pick up her pace, knowing that she could not fall behind. If her speed were to hinder even in the slightest, surely she'd be caught. And she could not allow herself to be caught! She dashed through the trees, avoiding the low branches as well as the thick trees that were constantly getting in the way of her path.
Furude Rika, age twenty-seven, ducked as a branch came in the way of her path. She quickly looked behind her to find that they were still on her trail, following her as she ran through the woods. She clicked her tongue in annoyance as she turned to look at the path ahead of her, knowing that she could not be distracted by the constant image of them following her. The fear of being caught was strong, and the determination to make it out safe was high. She couldn't allow them to catch her!
She gasped as she just barely turned away to avoid crashing into an unsuspected tree, as she wondered to herself why in the world the forests had to have so many trees. It had been the same way for years, hadn't it? No, right now was no time for her to think about such silly matters. She had to run, and run fast, otherwise…
She didn't want to think about what would happen if she were to be caught. It would be terrible if she were. Noticing that they were catching up, Rika decided to use all her strength to run even faster, though she took note of the fact that her poor legs were aching from running so much. She tried to forget about the pain in her feet as she tried to run faster, faster, finding that she couldn't possible run at a higher speed. She gulped as she realized that the speed she was at now probably had to do for now
Hopefully, they weren't that fast. All she could do now was run, run fast enough and hope for the best. She knew the forests of Hinamizawa well, so it was possible that she could try to lose them. But right now, she couldn't think with them right behind her. She just had to keep running and hope that she landed in some area where she could possibly shake them off.
Rika took a breath of fresh air as she saw an opening in the trees, an opening where she could probably shake them off from her trail. She grinned as she sprinted forward, though she was finding it hard to keep going. It wouldn't be long before she wore out, before she succumbed to her pain and allowed them to catch her.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, she broke through the endless trees, meeting the rays of the hot sun unblocked by the trees that had been looming over her. She smiled as she looked behind her once again; barely able to make out figures running through the exit. She had quite a distance between them, so it would surely be okay. Surely she'd make it away alive.
A huge smile was on her face as she ran, knowing that it was impossible to be caught now. She would surely live. She looked behind her once again, smirking at the figures that were desperately chasing her, as if to tell them that there was no way for them to possible get her now. She simply stared at them for a good while, not saying anything to them. She loved seeing the anger and frustration on their faces.
When she turned around, however, she gasped. Ahead of her was a giant Cliffside, curved like the letter U. She looked around, finding that the only way to escape was by turning around. However, if she did so, she would surely be left in the enemy's hands. They would get her for sure. There was no way she could live. She let out a gulp as she stopped, staring at the wide cliff in front of her. There was no more she can do.
With a sigh, she decided to accept her fate. They would surely not be kind to her, but what was there to do now? She heard their footsteps behind her, slowly approaching her with large grins on their faces. They knew that they had caught their prey, and that there was nowhere for her to run anymore. Rika stood there with her back to them, not wanting to see the glint of victory in their eyes.
This was the end for her.
She felt a hand reach out to touch her shirt, gently tugging on the fabric. She closed her eyes, accepting what fate she had. It was all over. The hand moved to tap her on the back a few times, before she felt another one violently shove her.
"GOT YOU!" cried a voice. "You're a zombie now, Furude-san!" a young girl spoke, grinning as she tugged violently on the woman's shirt.
"Alright!" she cried out, rubbing her sore back. "You guys win!"
"YAY!" all three of them cried out at once, jumping up and down in happiness. They gave each other a high-five, giggling as they did so.
Rika sighed and placed her hands on her hips as she watched the three children celebrate their victory. Now that she was a zombie, the game was over. All four participants were zombies. She smiled sadly as she remembered her childhood, wishing it was as peaceful and happy as theirs. However, now was not the time to dwell on the past. She had decided that she would move on, and that was exactly what she did.
"Miss Rika," a young boy with dark orange hair and purple eyes spoke, walking up closer to the woman. "Did you enjoy yourself?"
Rika nodded. "Well, Daichi, I wouldn't play with you if it wasn't fun, hm?" she spoke, winking at them. "Playing with you children is a whole bunch of fun," she spoke, smiling. "I'm glad that the three of you had fun."
The young boy named Daichi smiled. "I had loads of fun!" he spoke, throwing his hands up in the air to emphasis his point. "In fact, I had THIS much fun!" he spoke, moving his arms as far apart as they could go.
Rika laughed. "Zombie tag was one of my favorites when I was a kid, you see?" she spoke, sitting down on the ground. "I used to play it with your parents as well as Satoko. We had a whole bunch of fun each time," she explained to the kids.
Daichi sat down next to her, along with two girls. Both of the girls looked very similar, both of them having green hair of slightly different shades, though one of them had green eyes while the other had blue. They looked up at the blue-haired Furude curiously; all of them knowing well that she was about to tell them one of her stories.
"Well, you see, a long, long time ago, when I was just nine years old, we played Zombie Tag in the yard of our school. You see, Satoko was the zombie," she explained to them, a smile on her face as she looked at the curious children. "Your father, Akemi, tricked her into wasting a lot of her time by giving her a math problem that seemed hard, though the answer was truly easy."
The green-haired girl with blue eyes grinned proudly. "Well, that certainly sounds like something my dad would do!" she laughed.
Rika nodded. "In any case, I soon became a zombie, along with your mother, Akemi, and your mother, Akira, and then-"
"Wait a moment!" cried the green-haired girl with matching green eyes, "my mom wouldn't become a zombie that easily! It doesn't make any sense! You must be lying!"
Rika let out a large sigh. "Now, now, Akira, I'm not done with my story here. Just you wait and see what happens," she spoke, patting the green-haired girl on the head gently.
The girl named Akira tilted her head to the side, curiosity in her green eyes. She fidgeted a little and sat up straight, eager to hear what was to happen in this story.
"I'm sure I've told you multiple times that no one truly played fair in our club, yes? Well, that's exactly what happened this time, just like all the other times we played games. Now, what happened this time was that there was quite a bit more dirty tricks being used. Usually, there was only one person per game who decided to play a trick. This time, several people did," she spoke, a smile on her face as she recalled one of the few pleasant memories from her early childhood. "It was very, very confusing. But in any case, in the very end, your mother, Daichi, managed to avoid being caught by just a few seconds!"
Daichi's eyes widened. "Mom never wins!" he gasped.
Rika laughed. "Yeah, I must say, your mother wasn't too great at games, compared to the others. However, unfortunately for her, this victory was shared," she said to the children, causing them to gasp out in shock. She chuckled at their behavior. She always loved seeing their shocked reactions when she revealed a twist in her stories, even when it wasn't that big of a twist.
"Tell us, tell us!" shouted the girl with the darker green hair and blue eyes. "I want to know, I want to know sooo badly!"
Rika couldn't help but laugh again. "Akemi, you are always the most eager to hear my stories, aren't you?" she commented.
Akemi frowned. "Are you insulting me?"
The blue-haired woman giggled. "Oh, not at all. I think that wanting to hear my stories is a good thing, Akemi. I love telling stories," she spoke. "And I love seeing how happy you are to listen to my stories. It makes me feel very happy on the inside."
Rika often told the kids stories of the happy times of her childhood to the kids, and she also spent a lot of time playing with them. When Akemi, who was just a little older than Akira and quite a bit older than Daichi was born, she had vowed to make their lives better than hers. Surely, telling stories of happy times and playing with them would be a good way to make their lives a little better. Besides, whenever she told a story of a happy time, she felt warm on the inside, and felt as if she was reliving it. It reminded her that there truly were happy times in her childhood, despite how twisted it had been.
"Well, Miss Rika, please continue," spoke Daichi with a grin on his face. "I want to know what happened!"
She nodded. "Well, it turned out that the twins were just pretending to be zombies. They had tricked us all!" she finished.
Daichi gasped, while Akira and Akemi simply grinned at each other. It certainly sounded like something that would happen to them. Both Akemi and Akira broke out into a fit of laughter, practically falling over. Poor Daichi, on the other hand, looked horribly confused as to why they were laughing. He pleaded for them to answer, but they both continued to laugh like maniacs, showing no sign of answering.
Rika grinned at the three of them. Recently, she had decided that telling stories to the children was her new favorite thing to do. She couldn't help at times feel a little envious of how their childhood was better than hers, though. The three children sitting before her were the children she often told stories too, though she often did stop by the classroom to tell a story or two to the young children that went there.
The first of the children was Sonozaki Akemi, who was the proud daughter of Sonozaki Mion and Sonozaki Keiichi. She was older than the other two children, which was a fact that she took great pride in. She was like her mother in several ways, which made Rika feel nostalgic. She was by far the most interested in her stories, as she loved to hear about what her parents like when they were younger, though she was happy to listen to whatever Rika had to tell her.
The second one was Sonozaki Akira, who was Shion's daughter. She had been born only a few months after her cousin. Due to this, they became quite close, acting a little more like sisters than cousins. They were similar in personality since they had grown up in similar environments, though they had their differences, as no two people were ever exactly the same.
The third one was Ryuga Daichi, son of Ryuga Ryota and Ryuga Rena. He was two years younger than Akira and Akemi, and since the cousins had such a strong bond with each other, he often couldn't help but feel left out. Right now was one of those times, as he wondered to himself why Akira and Akemi were laughing so hard. He tended to keep quiet about those thoughts, however, and while no one else seemed to notice them, Rika knew very well that he felt excluded.
"So, did you have fun today, children?" she asked them all.
Akemi and Akira stopped laughing and nodded their heads, following Daichi a few seconds before.
"I'm glad you enjoy playing with me so much, children. Now, don't you think you should be heading home?" she asked them.
They all looked at each other and nodded. It was around lunchtime, and surely they were all looking forward to eating something. Rika stood up with the three of them, grinning as she scanned the group of children. "Alright, shall I lead the three of you home, or do you want to go to Okinomiya and get a snack over at one of the shops? I can take you to Angel Mort to get the Special Dessert Platter if that's okay with your parents," she spoke. "And when we are there… I'll tell you a very special story."
All of the children's smiles suddenly grew much, much larger. "Yes!" they all cried at once, jumping up into the air in excitement. All of them wondered what exactly she meant by a special story. All of her stories were special in some way, weren't they? Well, that's what she told them, anyways.
Rika laughed. "All right. Let's get going, shall we? I'll walk you guys to your house so you can spend a little time there while I go get some money from my house," she said.
Akemi shook her head. "No! I'm ten years old now, so I can walk through the scary woods all by myself and be okay!" she cried out, puffing out her chest with great pride. Daichi looked unsure, but as he looked to Akira, who had an equally as determined expression, he decided to keep his mouth shut. He supposed he'd go along with them, just as always.
"Okay then, children," she spoke. "I suppose that's fine with me, as long as you promise not to get lost. I guess it works better for me anyways, as I have something to do very quickly first."
Akira looked curious. "And what would that be, Miss Rika?"
"It's a secret," she simply responded.
All of them were rather curious, but they decided to leave her alone to do her work. Akira dashed into the woods, crying out about how the forest was no match for her, while Akemi decided to race her. Daichi frowned and shook his head as he ran after them, not really in the mood for running after chasing Rika through the entire woods.
Rika let out a large sigh as she looked into the distance, listening to the fading cries of the excited children. She too stepped into the forest, but turned around to take a different path. She wandered through the seemingly endless forest, wondering to herself what it would be like if her childhood was like that. She would surely be a different person now. She shook her head, deciding that she should leave those thoughts for later. She pushed her way through the trees until she reached her house, opening the door instantly.
She walked inside, instantly moving towards a desk that she had bought specially for herself. She sat down on the chair in front and sighed as she flicked on the lamp, illuminating her workspace. A bag hung down from the chair, looking like it was rather full of objects. She unzipped the bag and took a look. Inside of the bag was nothing but an endless amount of books. Rika gently picked up the book that was on top of the others and set it down on the desk. She instantly flipped the book open, scanning through the many pages until she came to a blank one. She grabbed a pen from a cup set out on the desk before positioning it over the book.
Then, she brought the pen down.
Year, 2001. Date, August 8th.
Today was pretty much a normal day. Well, so far, anyways. I played Zombie Tag with the kids and promptly lost. It was close, I tell you. I came to a dead end and got eaten for it. Oh well, there's always another time to beat them. I'm going to take them out to Angel Mort in a little, but first, I find it necessary to write a bit. I have way too much on my mind right now. First of all, I've written this about a million times, but I cannot help but wonder… what would it be like if I had a life like the kids? When I was ten years old, I was busy fighting off a crazed Mion. They have done nothing like that. I envy them. Isn't envy a terrible feeling, Sonozaki Mion?
I feel it is my duty to take care of these children. After all, Hanyuu said she wanted me to grow independent as a person. Telling the kids stories makes me feel more responsible, more dependent on myself. It's just as Hanyuu wished for. It's sad, but I can't go a day without thinking about Hanyuu. I wonder… is she still alive? Perhaps I just can't see her. Perhaps her spirit is still there, unable to be seen by anyone. If so, Hanyuu, are you watching me now? Are you proud of what I've become?
No, I must not think that way. I must not cling on to Hanyuu like that. She would hate me for it. I must accept the fact that her spirit is dead, and that she is no more. She wanted me to move on, so I will do so. However, I can't help but think about her every once in a while. It's only natural. I've known her since I was born. I also can't help but wonder if I've truly moved on, if I've truly done what she wanted.
-Furude Rika, 2001.
With a sigh, she closed the book and set the pen back down. Rika had been keeping a journal ever since the incident in 1984, where she had first started writing. She had a book for each year, and a page for each day in that year so she'd never forget what happened on each day of each year. She would never forget how she felt on that day, and what she had done on that day.
She stuffed the book containing the number 2001 on it into her bag before she took out another one and placed it in a smaller bag. Then, she zipped it back up before she put the pen back in the cup. Now, she had to go pick up the kids and take them to Angel Mort, just as she had promised them.
Thirty-four year old Sonozaki Mion found herself lying on her futon without too much to do. She let out a sigh as she turned over, observing the Sonozaki Manor from her side. She now looked a lot more mature, though her appearance at the same time was still similar to how she had looked when she was seventeen. Her green hair was now a little longer, though she still kept it in her signature ponytail. She blinked a few times, fiddling with the sheets as she went over how life had been for her in the last few years.
Since she had left the Green-Eyed Demon in the sword, she had shown no signs of turning back into her true form or even coming close to transforming at all. Life had been peaceful since the incident, and there was no reason for her to go berserk at all. For once, she was genuinely happy with herself. Never had there been a more peaceful time in her life.
The door opened, causing Mion to sit up. Keiichi walked in, a smile on his face as he spotted his wife. "Hey, Mion," he greeted her, moving to sit down next to her.
Mion smiled at him, scooting herself a little closer. "Hey, Keiichi. How was your trip to Okinomiya?" she asked him.
"It was fine, for the most part," he yawned, rubbing his eyes. "I'm just a little tired now, since I was up all last night."
Mion blinked at him, gently touching his cheek as she did so. "You were, Keiichi? I didn't notice. I thought that you were already asleep," she spoke, looking into his tired blue eyes.
Keiichi shook his head. "No sleep at all. And now, I'm dead tired," he said, collapsing backwards on the soft sheets of the futon before rolling himself to his side.
Mion smiled, lying herself down next to him and staring at his shut eyes. She pulled herself closer to him, wrapping her arms around his chest. "Mm, I'm a little tired myself," she murmured, nuzzling her head into the crook of his neck. "
The man grinned and stroked his wife's back while his blue eyes remained tightly closed. He let out another yawn as he pulled Mion a little closer to his body. He could still remember the first time they had slept side by side, back when she was partially transformed into her demon form. He gulped a little when he recalled the memory, though he knew that her demon form was now long gone and there was no reason to fear the woman next to him.
Mion was also recalling the same event, though she kept trying to forget about it. She didn't want to remember those awful times now that she was enjoying a nice, peaceful life. It was just too painful to remember, even if it had been a little bit of a warm memory. The part about her having the horns and claws was just too much for her to forget.
After just thirty minutes, however, the door was violently opened, revealing the figure of the couple's daughter. She looked at her parents, worried that she had disturbed their sleep once again. She had been scolded many times after wandering into her parent's room while they were peacefully sleeping. She gulped. It shouldn't be too bad to wake them up. After all, it was the middle of the day and they shouldn't be asleep.
"Mom, Dad?" she called out to them.
There was some shifting within the futon coming from Mion, who sat herself up and looked at her daughter with drowsy eyes. "Er… Akemi? Weren't you outside with your friends?" she spoke before letting out a large yawn. "I thought I told you to go to someone else's house and have lunch or something…"
Akemi looked ashamed of herself. "Well, Miss Rika was going to take us to Angel Mort, but she said I had to ask you guys for permission."
Mion stood up, looking down at her husband who was still trying to pull himself up. "Well, that's fine with me," she spoke.
Akemi grinned. "Yay!" she cried out, throwing her hands up in the air.
"But," Mion spoke, causing Akemi's good mood to instantly fall. "I will only allow you to go, under one condition..."
The green-haired woman walked out of the door, leaving behind her husband who was still struggling to get himself up. Akemi followed her mother down the hallway with a gulp, as she knew exactly what her mother was going to get her to do. Mion stopped walking when she came to a door in the hallway that was tightly shut. She placed her hand on the sliding door, opening it.
"Do I really have to?" complained Akemi.
"It's only fair," Mion spoke, stepping into the room.
Akemi rolled her eyes and crossed her arms as she looked away from the room, not wanting to go inside of there. It was only a few seconds later when Mion came back, dragging a young boy with dark brown hair behind her. He was yelling something about how he didn't care about going and how he had planned to go play baseball in an hour or two, but Akemi tried her best to ignore him.
"Take him with you," she ordered her.
The boy looked up at Mion. "But I don't want to go to a stupid restaurant with her stupid friends! That's boring!" he complained.
Mion sighed, patting the boy on the head. "Yes you do, stop pretending that you don't want to go, Minoru. Now, Akemi, go take your brother. I'm assuming that Akira and Daichi will go with you?" she spoke, glancing over to her daughter.
Akemi nodded, giving her brother, Minoru, a hateful look. "Fine then, I'll take him. He doesn't seem to willing to go, though," she mumbled.
Her brother looked quite angry, as all he really wanted to do right now was stay in his room until it was time for him to practice playing baseball, a sport he was very fond of. Minoru often said that he didn't have any other hobbies, but Mion knew better. When he thought that no one was watching, he'd go off and play with his stuffed toys in his room, which was exactly what he had been doing when Mion entered.
"Oh, Minoru wants to go all right, don't you?" she spoke, looking down at her son.
Minoru quickly shook his head. "Why would I want to go to a dumb, girly place with her stupid friends?" he growled, glaring up at his mother with emerald green eyes.
"You really do want to go, don't you?" sighed Mion as she patted her son's brown hair.
He blushed, looking away. "Maybe," he grumbled.
Mion burst out laughing. "You see here, Akemi? Your brother really does want to go. He's just acting like he doesn't, see?" she said, patting her son on the back gently. Minoru averted his eyes, not wanting either of them to see how embarrassed he was. "Oh Minoru, you don't have to act like a man just yet. You're still a kid…"
"I am not a kid!" Minoru denied, stamping his foot on the ground. "I am a man! Don't you see? I play baseball!"
Mion laughed once again. "Oh gosh, Minoru. You're six. You're certainly not a man yet."
Minoru could find nothing to say in response, so he decided that he'd keep his mouth shut for the next few minutes.
"Alright then. I think you should go find Akira and then go pick up Daichi. Rika should be here anytime soon," she spoke. Mion scooped Minoru up in her arms and held him to her chest, causing him to yell out about how he was too old to be picked up. "My gosh, you're getting a little heavy Minoru. I'm sorry, but I know for a fact that you won't move from the spot you are in unless I carry you to Rika myself."
Akemi followed her mother down the hallway as Minoru tried to struggle out of his mother's grip to no avail. Mion placed him down on the ground when they reached the front of the house, where Akira and Rika greeted them.
"Man, what took you so long, Akemi?" Akira spoke, a grin on her face as she ran up to greet her cousin.
"Sorry, Akira, but mom made me drag along this," she said, pointing to Minoru, who was currently looking up at Rika with a very confused face.
Akira grinned as she walked up to Minoru. "Aw, why do you act like that towards your little brother?" she asked, poking a startled Minoru on the shoulder. "You see? He's not that bad."
Rika smiled down at them, finding the sight of all the children warm. She never imagined that she'd ever get to the point where her friends would have children and spend their lives together peacefully. Now, here she was, taking care of the children to prove to herself that she was indeed independent. She needed to go follow Hanyuu's wishes.
"All right then, children, shall we go?" she spoke, finding it rather strange to call them children. She had been a child for over a thousand years of her life, after all.
They all nodded, causing Rika to smile. She led them out the door, ready to take them out on another journey.
Mion watched with a smile as her daughter and son left her. They were sure to have a good time, even if Minoru was constantly denying the fact that he was still a child. She chuckled at the thought as she watched them disappear into the distance, chattering to one another. She could still remember when she was like that.
"Doesn't it remind you of the times when we were little, sis?" Shion spoke, startling Mion. She had had no idea that she was standing there.
"Sh-Shion!" she stammered, unable to wipe the shock off her face. "When did you get here, Shion?"
Shion, who still looked exactly like her twin in every way, laughed at her sister's shock, glad that her plan to surprise her had worked. "I was just watching my daughter leave with her cousins, that's all. It reminds me of when I was little, hanging around with you. Although back then, it was really just you and me, wasn't it?" she spoke, walking over to her twin.
Mion nodded. "Yeah. I remember those times very well, Shion. The memories never fade. I'm glad that we got to meet other friends, though," she spoke, placing her hand on the wall as the figures of Rika, her children, and her niece disappeared from her sight completely. "Luckily, none of them will ever turn into demons and try to kill anyone. Those times are long gone," she joked.
Shion couldn't help but giggle. "Oh, I know, I know."
The sound of footsteps could be heard from behind them. They turned around in surprise, meeting the drowsy figure of Keiichi walked down the hallway. He rubbed his eyes as he looked at the two of them, murmuring something about how he had hardly gotten any sleep.
"Oh, Keiichi, you don't need to be up!" cried Mion as she ran over to him. "I was just getting Akemi and Minoru over to Rika, that's all!"
Keiichi frowned. "Well, you could have told me that!" he cried out.
Mion laughed, slapping her husband on the back. "Sorry about that, Keiichi. Next time, this old man will tell you," she spoke.
Keiichi sighed. "Didn't we agree to stop with the old man thing?" he commented. "I mean, you said that you didn't like saying it yourself!"
The green-haired woman grinned. "Sorry about that. Shion and I here were just reflecting a little on the past and all that stuff. I guess the past just kind of got to me and I started to speak like that again," she laughed, rubbing the back of her head.
The younger one of the twins walked up to her sister and the brown-haired man, grinning. She too was reflecting on the past, remembering the good times Mion and her had shared as young children. She also thought back to the time where she had transferred into the school of Hinamizawa and became closer friends with everyone. Before then, she had only been with them every once in a while. And now…
"I'm glad we're finally happy," Shion spoke. "I don't know how things would have gone without you."
Keiichi laughed. "I know. I wonder how things would have been if I never moved here. I would have never met my friends, and I would have never met the love of my life," he said before turning to give Mion a quick peck on the cheek.
Mion smiled. "I'm glad that in the end, we finally were able to achieve our happiness."
All of them nodded in agreement. Indeed, they were now happy. There were no more villains that would try to kill them all, there were no more demons that would try to rip their happiness into pieces, and there were no more obstacles. They had finally achieved happiness for real.
Rika led the children down the dusty paths of Hinamizawa, listening to their happy chattering. If only she had been able to be that way when she was little, too. Well, it didn't matter now. She had happiness now, and she had long ago decided to just be happy with that. She looked about the area as she took a turn, looking out for Rena and Ryota's house. Daichi was not yet with them, and they were currently on their way to pick him up before they were to go to Angel Mort.
Finally, they arrived at the residence of the Ryuga family. Rika knocked on the door, taking a few steps back to allow it to open. In front of them was Ryuga Rena, who stood there was a giant smile on her face. "Oh, Rika-chan! And look, it's Akemi-chan, Akira-chan, and Minoru-kun! Daichi will be with you in a little bit, so hang on."
Rena disappeared from sight, only to reappear once more with her son. She smiled down at him as she gave him a little push, telling him to go on with his friends. Daichi seemed a little hesitant, wondering to himself if the cousins were going to make him feel left out again. He wandered over to Rika, standing behind her as he looked over to the three other children.
The next figure to appear at the door was Ryota, who instantly grinned when he saw Rika. "Hey, Rika-chan. Thanks for taking care of my son. He says he really enjoys the stories that you tell him."
Rika grinned, looking down at the little boy who was trying to hide himself. "It's no problem. I love knowing that they're enjoying the tales I tell them."
Rika waved a quick goodbye to the two of them before setting off down the long paths once again. It would take a little while for them to reach Okinomiya, she knew, but it would definitely be worth it. Rika smiled as she unzipped her bag a little, looking at the single book she had brought with her.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, they reached Angel Mort. They were greeted by a waitress with fiery red hair, and as usual, wearing a very skimpy outfit. Once again, the place was crowded with a bunch of perverts, but that never stopped Rika from taking the kids there. They sold extravagant and exciting desserts enough to make any small child go crazy for them. Besides, she went there when she was their age, and Satoko did as well.
They were sat down at a table for six. Akemi, Akira, and Minoru decided to sit across from Rika and Daichi, and all of them took a good look at the menu. Minoru was trying to pretend like he didn't care much about the desserts, but he was failing miserably. Rika could see the desire for that ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce and chocolate chips in his eyes. Akemi was having a hard time deciding what she wanted, though Akira was already set on the strawberry shortcake.
"Man, should I get the chocolate cake, or should I go for some ice cream?" Akemi said, scratching her head as she read the menu.
Rika laughed. "Well, I'm ordering the Special Dessert Platter for all of you, which includes Strawberry Short Cake as well as ice cream and chocolate cake. Oh, and that sundae you have your eyes on, Minoru," she spoke, glancing over to the brown-haired boy who instantly looked away in embarrassment.
"I'm good with that, then," Akemi spoke with a grin.
Daichi looked over to his side, gazing at the purple eyes of Furude Rika. "Miss Rika, what are you going to get? The Dessert Platter has so much stuff on it…"
Rika simply grinned. "Creampuffs."
Akira looked very confused. "Creampuffs?" she repeated.
Rika nodded. "Creampuffs."
"But why creampuffs?" Akemi asked.
"It's a very long story, but I will put it like this for now. You see, one of my very close friends loved creampuffs. I never really let her have them, but she really did love them. Eating them… it's a reminder of her, since she passed in 1984," she spoke while all the children listened intently, aside from Minoru, whose attention was divided between Rika and the picture of the sundae on the menu.
"Wow," whispered Daichi. "That's so sad…"
Akemi nodded in agreement. "That is very sad. I hope that your friend is in a better place now, Miss Rika," she said.
Rika smiled. "Thank you, Akemi. I'm sure she'd appreciate it," she whispered, but at the same time knowing that Hanyuu was not in a better place. She was gone. Her spirit had died after she had used up so much power in reviving Mion. There was no way she was watching over them, and there was no way she was happy in some place Rika didn't know. She was gone, and that was the bottom line.
A waitress walked up to them, and Rika ordered the Special Dessert Platter for all of them. The waitress told them it might be a little while, as there was so much on the Dessert Platter, but that she shouldn't worry. When she walked away, Rika stuffed her hand into her bag and pulled out the book, blowing on it to get rid of any dust that may have gotten on it.
She brushed the remaining bits of dust off the cover as the children watched curiously. She smiled as she gazed at the title and at the cover itself. It reminded her of so many times, even if it was so plain. There, right on the cover, were two words.
And that was it. There was nothing else on the cover, no decorations, no drawings, no other words, nothing. All of the children wondered why the book had such an ominous name, and why it looked so old. Was this another one of Rika's stories? They had never seen her read one of her stories out of a book before.
"I told you I'd read you a special story, didn't I?" she said, winking at them.
Daichi blinked at her. "Miss Rika, did you write this story?" he asked her.
Rika nodded. "Yup. I wrote it all myself. It takes place all the way back in 1984, and it might be a little scary, but I want to read it to you."
The children looked at each other, wondering what she meant by scary. Hopefully, it wouldn't be too scary, right? They then all looked over at Rika with curious expressions, eager to know what story she had brought for them. She grinned at all of them as she opened the book to the front page, scanning the words she had written so many years ago.
"My name is Furude Rika. Today is June 1984, Showa 59. I am physically the youngest head of the Furude Family ever. However, at the same time, I am the oldest one in Hinamizawa. I have experienced many things that have been seen to the human eye never before. If you don't believe in demons or anything supernatural, turn back now. I will let you know that everything I write here in this book is the complete and utter truth. That I can promise to all of you," she read to all of them.
Akemi looked a little confused. "So… it's a true story?"
Rika grinned. "It's exactly what it says here."
She flipped the page over, looking at the words written on it. This was not the same book she had written in back in 1984. She had bought another journal and added a few things to the beginning, the middle, and the end. The other book was still sitting in that box in the Saiguden for the rest of her ancestors to stumble upon. "I remember it very clearly. It was a night in May. Since the Watanagashi was coming up, I was feeling a little worried. I asked Hanyuu, my close companion, if she felt the same. It turns out that she had some bad news for me. She didn't have enough power to keep herself in physical form due to the belief in Oyashiro-sama dying. In fact, I will tell you right here that Hanyuu is Oyashiro-sama herself. It's hard to believe, I know, but I promised that I would not tell lies."
All four of the children gasped. "Is it really true, Miss Rika?" asked Akira, her eyes wide.
"Just remember what I said in the beginning of the book," she spoke, winking at them.
And so, she continued to tell them the story of 1984. She told them about the day where Hanyuu disappeared and the day they had spent in Angel Mort before that, she told them all about the Camping Trip, she told them all about the Green-Eyed Demon with details she had heard from Mion herself upon asking, she told them about the time where they saw Mion's eyes glow, she told them about Watanagashi along with how Mion had given into the Green-Eyed Demon, she told them about her pressuring Keiichi to confess, she told them about what happened when they found Mion, she told them about her death, and finally, she told them about her revival, and her loss of Hanyuu. Of course, she cut out the graphic descriptions she had written of Etsuko's dead body and skipped the fighting.
"Wait a moment!" cried Akemi. "Mom can't be a demon! That's just too weird!"
"Yeah, aunt isn't a demon! She really isn't! Is she?" Akira spoke.
Minoru sat there with his wide eyes, shocked. Of course, he quickly wiped away the expression from his face. "Mommy is not a demon!" he protested. "Mommy is a good person!"
"You can believe this story, or you can call it a fake," she told them. "But no, Mion is not a demon. As I said in the story, she left the demon behind."
All of them looked at each other, all of them thinking the same exact thing. Rika probably just wanted to excite them by telling them a very suspenseful story, and it really did work. They enjoyed it a lot, but they did not believe it. The idea that Mion was a demon was just a little too unrealistic for them to take in.
"Well, that was a good story, anyways," spoke Akemi, grinning. "It was very different from the usual."
"Yeah," agreed Akira, "it was very good!"
Rika laughed at them. "I'm glad you enjoyed it."
And just then, the waitress came, apologizing for the delay. She placed a giant plate down on the table, containing all sorts of cakes and sundaes. Minoru instantly grabbed the largest sundae and began to dig into it with his spoon, not letting anyone else have a taste of it. Rika simply smiled as she took all the creampuffs away from the plate, looking down at them. If Hanyuu was really still there, and if Hanyuu still hand a link with her, could she taste this creampuff? Curiously, Rika bit into it, finding the sweet taste a little sickening. She was never really a fan of sweets, but she always ate creampuffs to honor Hanyuu's spirit.
No, she couldn't think that way. She knew for a fact that Hanyuu was gone. Yet, at the same time, she had to wonder if she had moved on from Hanyuu. Was she still dependant on the idea that Hanyuu was still following her, supporting her? Come to think of it, she always had thoughts that Hanyuu was watching her whenever she was alone at her house, or when she was talking to her friends.
But not when she was telling stories to the children.
When she was with the children, telling them stories, she always felt different. She felt responsible for them, responsible for a part of their happiness. If she had never told them those stories, surely their lives would be a little different. Listening to Rika's stories was a highlight in their life, and something they enjoyed doing quite a bit. And when she was alone with the children, she had full responsibility. She was the one looking after them. And she was succeeding in doing that.
"I wonder if that story is real," wondered Akemi as she swallowed her chocolate cake. "I wonder if Miss Rika was really telling the truth."
"I don't think it was real," Minoru mumbled as he swallowed a spoonful of ice cream. "Mommy isn't a demon..."
Akira nodded in agreement. "It wasn't real, I don't think, but it was an amazing story anyways!"
Daichi smiled. "I love hearing Miss Rika's stories! They're so great!"
Rika grinned widely as she listened to their comments. They were truly enjoying her stories, even if she knew from the beginning that they would never believe in the tale of the Green-Eyed Demon. That was exactly why she had told it to them, because they wouldn't believe in it. They would enjoy it for sure, however. She felt warm on the inside as they spoke more and more about her stories, and which part of the story she had just told them was their favorite. Yes, I am responsible for that part in their life. And I'm doing a good job of taking care of them.
That's when she realized it. She truly was independent now. She could take care of these kids all by herself without any trouble, and she could now walk all by herself without talking to Hanyuu. She no longer was asking for other people's help, and she could figure things out by herself. So why did she think otherwise in the first place? Surely Hanyuu would be proud if she saw Rika.
Yes, she thought, watching the children discuss the tale of the Green-Eyed Demon; I have fulfilled your wish, Hanyuu. I'm really independent now.
Finally, she could move on in life without worrying about that. She knew for a fact now that she was truly an independent person, not relying on someone else all the time like she used to. She had finally fulfilled Hanyuu's last wish. And now, she could become a new Furude Rika, just like Hanyuu wanted.
August 8th, 2001.
I have fulfilled her last wish. And now, I will move on and become a new Furude Rika.
That is all I must say.
Yup, guys, it's really the end now. There's no more of Green-Eyed Demon left. It is truly the end. You guys may have noticed that Satoshi was not in the epilogue. No, he wasn't. Why? Because I felt it would be awkward to include him when he never awoke in this fanfiction and was only mentioned like… three times. Listen, I was really planning on adding him in, I thought for hours about how I could add him to the end, but I couldn't come up with a way without ruining the mood. They would be sooo happy about Satoshi returning and stuff, but the point was that they were sad about Mion's disappearance and that nothing could lighten their mood. Satoshi couldn't be added. Sorry! Draw your own conclusions about who Akira's father is. It could be Satoshi… it could be someone else. I'm leaving that up to you guys to decide. So, now, as I promised, I will say my final words here. I'm glad that I could get this up, by the way, and on the Watanagashi Festival, just as I had planed.
All right, let's start this off.
THANK YOU for reading this, everyone! Thank you if you've followed this story from the beginning to the end, and thank you even if you started reading in the middle or at the end, or even when this fanfiction was already completed! Unfortunately, I cannot thank you properly if you haven't review until now, but I can thank these people…
Thank you to…
Sergeant Daniel for being a constant reviewer and always sparking my spirit!
xXemmaliesXx for being with this fanfiction since the beginning and reviewing all the way back then, and now! Seriously, I tried to put Satoshi in, but I couldn't in the end. I hope you understand : ).
Sentinel Proxima for reviewing, and for presenting me with helpful criticism that really helped this story. I'm going to go back and fix it like you said! Seriously, thank you for that.
Unknown137 for being so constant with reviewing!
Hikari, who gave me a review towards the end that made me feel all happy on the inside as well as other reviews~.
Uryuu-Nipa/Devi for being such a constant reviewer! Honestly, I cannot thank you enough! I'm glad you made an account, by the way.
Triple Baka for the reviews they have left! They made me very happy, seriously!
The Minister of Silly Walks for leaving me such amazing reviews that were great to read. Seriously, they always cheered me up and made me feel better about my writing. He has also been reviewing since chapter one, which is amazing! He's also an amazing writer, so you should seriously check out The Champion Trilogy and leave him a review, because he deserves more!
Phew, I'm forgetting a few, I know, but I don't have much time. I must add that since polls are not working, please add your choice of the next fanfiction in your review. It would be very nice if you told me why, too, though you do not have to. I'm leaning towards #1, because it's the most developed so far though #2 is close. #2 is just an extreme AU and VERY similar to GED in multiple ways. Also, in your review, please tell me what you thought of the epilogue and of the whole story. Also, fill out the form before if you have not already!My gosh… this is heartbreaking. I cannot believe I'm leaving GED behind. Moving this fic from "in progress" to "complete" will be very tough. Man, I think I'm crying already! *sniff sniff*. Well, anyways, I hope you all enjoyed Green-Eyed Demon, and I hope you're all looking forward to my next work!
And finally, happy Watanagashi! I hope you're all celebrating! I know I am.
~For the very last time, Crimso.