Hello everyone, my name is Jett. This is the first chapter of Forgotten Harmony of Germane Errant, a story of a certain young man and his travels through the wonderful realm we all know as Gensokyo. Though it does play into a typical Touhou Fanfiction cliché, I can assure you all that you will not regret reading this tale. Should you feel inclined to, feel free to leave a review or two. It would be greatly appreciated.
With that said, I hope you all enjoy the story.
Forgotten Harmony of Germane Errant
Chapter One: "Descending"
Every morning I stare at the ceiling.
It had already been a month of the same routine. A month of waking up, and lying still in my bed, staring at the plain white ceiling. As for why I developed the habit, I can assure you that it was just a childish reason. I would lie there, waiting for someone to come into my room and greet me, to brighten my day with a smile, to give me the motivation to begin my day.
Of course, I knew, back then, that it would never happen.
Sitting up, I observed the emptiness of my room, and then half-heartily removed the bed sheet from my person. A few groggy minutes later, I was dressed in my school's uniform, and making my way out the door. I didn't stop to say good-bye to anyone.
There was no one to say it to.
I was alone. My parents were both successful American business people, the two completely dedicated to their work. More so than me. In time, I, their son, had become a distraction to them. To remedy that, they sent me across the ocean to Japan, to complete my studies as far away from them as financially possible. All that, merely a month ago.
Locking the door to the apartment my parents so graciously paid for, I lifted my school bag and began to walk down the stairs, aiming for the convenience store next door. As I proceeded down the steps, I went by a single crow that was sitting peacefully on the railing. Not at all reacting when I walked near it, I glanced at it briefly and continued on my way.
When first I arrived on Japanese soil, a man in a black suit was at the airport waiting for me. Identifying himself as an employee of my parent's many Japanese partners, he stated that he was to be my guide. After we climbed into his car, he explained to me where I would be living from there on and what school I would be attending. He also told me the essentials of living in the country as well as the fact that everything I would need was already at my new home. Once we reached our destination, he drove me to the small and simple apartment complex I was to stay at, handed me the keys, and drove off, wishing me luck. He never gave me his name, and I have not seen him since.
Entering the convenience store, I casually walked into the snack aisle, ignoring the wide selection of trans fats and grabbing two rice balls from the shelf. Making sure they were the ones filled with synthetic pickled plums, I then went over to the register counter, where an elderly Japanese woman greeted me with a blank look, a muted TV behind her broadcasting the weather. I remember reading 'Clear Skies' on the screen.
"That will be 200 yen, please." The old lady said to me without any emotion, her words hollow. She did not even look at what I had picked out. Makes one wonder how many items had left the store for only that amount of yen.
"Here you go." I responded back simply, pulling out some coins from my pants' pocket. Placing them on the fingerprint-covered glass countertop, I waited for some reaction from the elderly woman, having put in front of her a mild inconvenience. The desired effect never occurred.
"Thank you… have a good day." The old lady recited to me before waving me off, returning to her state of stillness. As I retrieved my lunch for the day and began to walked away, I looked at the TV one last time, catching a glimpse of what appeared to be a reporter at the scene of a crime.
Before we continue, I must fix an obvious contradiction to this story. For example, how did I communicate with the locals when I did not know any Japanese? And why were they responding in perfect English?
As absurd as this may sound, ever since I was a kid, I was always able to understand other people's words despite language.
Back then, I thought it was nothing special. If someone were to talk to me in another language, my mind would automatically translate his or her words to English. It was only recently that I found out that when I spoke back, they would also know what I was saying. I didn't know how or why I had that ability, but frankly, I didn't give much thought about it. It was helping me survive in that country, so why ask questions?
Walking out of the convenience store, I proceeded to the train station, a nice short walk away. Before I knew it, I found myself standing in an overcrowded train after waiting on the platform with multiple irritated office workers and students: all wanting to reach their destinations in peace. As the steel vehicle sped along the tracks, I let out a small yawn and slumped back into the wall, closing my eyes and lowering my head to rest for a bit.
I will always thank the Japanese for their unspoken rule of not speaking loudly in public. With the only sounds around me being the actual train and the occasional whispering, I spent the time I was there often questioning myself and my situation.
Why was I even making the effort to attend school? I had no obligation to. It was not like I was learning anything anyway. Everything they were teaching me I had already learned, except for the topics in history class. I was not in any clubs or after school activities, and no one at school seemed to remember me long enough to nominate me for clean-up duty. I was just scenery, a foreigner no one wanted to talk to. Why should I waste my time doing something worthless?
Unfortunately, as an American in Japan, I was to forever be an outsider. The first week I spent living there was all it took to drive that cold fact into my brain. Walking down the street, attending class, even buying groceries. People went out of their way to ignore me. Because of that treatment, I had developed a sort of inferiority complex, always calling myself unimportant.
Looking back, I fear what I would have done to myself if the following events had never happened.
Suddenly, a yelp removed me from my thoughts and caused me raise my head back up, wondering what was going on. In front of me, there was a girl who was visibly shaking, her eyes shut with tears threatening to fall from the corners. Sensing something was not right, I unconsciously looked around, and saw a middle age man in a suit staring off to his far right, his face also red. However, the mere proximity of the man and the girl and their respective reactions lead me to put two and two together.
"Sir, I would stop that if I were you." I said to the man after talking a step forward, causing both the girl and him to look at me in surprise.
"What are you talking about?" the man asked in false confusion after hesitating a moment, acting as if he was doing nothing wrong. The girl blinked a few times, amazed that someone had come to her rescue. Of course, I wasn't saving her because I was this defender of justice or some crap like that. Actually, even I did not know why I was stepping in.
"Sir, you wouldn't want me to announce to everyone what you are doing, do you?" I whispered to the man as I took another step forward, causing the girl to move aside. Despite being surrounded by people, no one seemed to be paying attention to us. A sad reality of the world. No one seemed to care anymore.
"Listen boy. I have no idea what you are talking about, but don't you go accusing me of something I didn't do." The man said to me with malice now leaking from his eyes. He was trying to use the authority he automatically had by being older than me. I, however, did not back down. Though I was younger and usually passive, I still had my morals and I was far from letting such perversions occur right in front of me. So I only looked back at him with a determined expression.
"Really? So you were not feeling this girl up just now?" I responded back a little louder, jerking my thumb over in the girl's direction.
"Of course not! She can even say I wasn't! Ask her!"
Glancing over to the girl, I did just what the man requested.
"Hey, you. Was this man touching you in any weird way?" I asked the flushed girl next to me, who jumped a little when I spoke to her. Gazing at me with embarrassment, she did not say anything. That gave the man some confidence.
"See! I told you! I'm innocent!" the man shouted to me with a look of relief, unaware that he had spoken too loudly that time. All around us, people seemed to have begun paying attention to the conversation, curiosity influencing their thoughts. Realizing what had occurred, I decided to take advantage.
"But sir! The girl is clearly uncomfortable! You can tell just by looking at her face! How can you say that you are innocent when it is obvious that you were molesting her!" I cried out, acting the part of a concerned citizen. The minute I finished speaking, the man's face grew pale, reality catching up to him. At the same time, the people around us in the train cart changed drastically. Having be a docile scene moments ago, the place was now filled with hostile passengers. All I had to do thereon was take a step back, and watched on as the flood came crashing down on the man.
"How could you do that to a poor innocent girl?"
"You should be ashamed of yourself!"
"N-no, that's no-!"
"Someone call the Police!"
"Quick! Grab him!"
The mob did not even give the man any chance to defend himself. Immediately, they had begun to yell out insults and orders against him, their minds riled up. Soon enough, the man was detained by a group of angry males, and could not do anything more. By then I had stopped paying attention and was back to leaning on the wall of the train, since the matter was now resolved. Almost conveniently, the train then came to a smooth stop at the next station, causing a single crow to fly past my window from the platform.
Stepping out of the cart before anyone else, I calmly commenced my usual route to the school, not bothering to check what time it was. Proceeding through the waiting platform, I ignored the shouts of the accused man as he was basically dragged to the nearest police officer. By then, I had already placed the whole situation behind me. As I walked away, I came into believing that no one from the mob would to be interested in the piece of scenery that stood up for the victim, which was fine by me. Unfortunately, I was wrong, for one person was.
"Umm… excuse me."
Already outside the train station building, I looked remotely over my shoulder to see who had spoken out. Standing there was the girl from the train, the one the man had allegedly mistreated. At first, I thought that she was calling out to someone else, but after looking around quickly, I found that I was the only one in front of her. I did not know why she wanted to speak to me again. Granted, I did stand up for her, but surely she would have wanted to give her testimony against the man. So why had she gone out to speak to me?
"Yeah?" I answered as I turned a little to glance at the girl better.
"Oh! W-well, I just… wanted to thank you for what you did back there." The girl timidly said back to me as she slightly bowed her head, loose blonde hair swaying forward beneath her white mobcap as she did.
"It was nothing. Really." I replied back truthfully, not at all sure on how to react to a bow. Thanks to the awkwardness I felt, an uncomfortable feeling manifested in my chest. Despite the sudden discomfort, I still took the time to observe her properly, having not done so back in the train. Though she had blonde hair, she did not seem to be a foreigner like I was. She appeared around my age, but was not wearing any school uniform. A university student, perhaps? Telling myself that it was pointless to think about, I turned around fully to leave, thinking the conversation was over.
Having taken a step forward, the girl's voice showed me otherwise.
"Yeah?" I said again simply, growing more and more uncomfortable by the second. I was not one for conversations. The girl, as if sensing my discomfort, hesitated a little before speaking again.
"Your uniform. You're a student at Gaidai Nishi High, right?" she asked quickly, referring to the black school clothes I was wearing.
"Is that all?" I answered back, looking at her over my shoulder again, this time noticing her plum-colored dress, which complimented her figure rather nicely. I immediately scolded myself mentally for having such thoughts.
"Well… yes." The girl said in a puzzled tone. I kept on observing her for a second, wondering why she would ask that of me. Seeing nothing that screamed wicked intentions, I decided to go ahead and answer.
"Yes. I'm a student there," I told the girl stoically, continuing as I began to walk away, "I'm also going to be late… Are you okay? I mean, that guy was abusing you, right?" I asked the girl as I stopped, wondering how she was handling the whole situation. It had to be somewhat traumatic.
"Oh! Well, you see… that man kinda just bumped into me, and his hand only grabbed my hip, but for all we know he could've done that on purpose, right?" the girl answered with a puzzled frown, bringing her hand up to her mouth to think.
As she contemplated her question, I stood there dazed. It was possible that I had unknowingly condemned an innocent man to a reputation of a pervert. Great.
"Uh… yeah. Anyways, I have to go. Don't let anyone take advantage of you again, okay?" With that, I left, not even giving her a chance to respond back. For some reason, I noticed another crow near me as I quickly paced away, this one eyeing me from on top of a streetlamp.
Ignoring the bird and reflecting over the whole matter as I proceeded down the busy sidewalk, I realized that the girl was the first person who had spoken to me with genuine kindness since I first moved there. In fact, she was probably the first person to hold a conversation with me in a long time. Did she even introduce herself?
Stopping in my tracks, I found that I kept referring back to the girl. Attempting to push any thought of her to the back of my mind, I continued on my way to school, but slowly those same thoughts resurfaced. Becoming more and more frustrated for some reason, I looked around for something to distract myself with, and found that I was at the main entrance of a park. Pausing, I stared at the entrance for a few moments, the people on the sidewalk just sidestepping around me, as if I was not even there. Slowly, I began walking into the public area.
That was not my first time there. I had discovered Maruyama Park on the fourth day after I had arrived in Japan. I was just exploring the city then, and had accidentally stumbled upon it. It was a beautiful place, especially now that it was spring and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Though there were many cherry trees in the park, there was one tree, a massive one that stood over the others in the center of the park that I really grew fond of. Whenever I sat at its base, my mind would become blank, and all of my worries would fade away so long as I remained there. The tree turned into my haven, and I try to visit it every afternoon. Without it, I do not believe that I would have survived as long as I have in this world where everyone shared the same strand of dejection.
Out of habit, I set my bag against the massive tree before placing myself down among its roots; unaware and uncaring of the time. Thankfully there were no rules against being on the grass, so I knew I would not be bothered. Instantly, my body relaxed as well as my mind as I fell into the base's calming embrace. However, the thoughts of the girl remained.
"I guess she must've made a bigger impression on me than I thought." I muttered to myself before feeling my eyelids grow heavy; sleep threatening to overtake me. After a weak effort to maintain awareness, I shut my eyes from the world, fading into the depths of subconscious.
The next thing I knew, I was awake. Or at least I thought I was. I found myself standing in an open field with tall blades of grey grass all around me, a cloud-ridden melancholic sky overhead. I didn't know where I was, nor did I know why I was there. All I knew was that I was alone again, but this time in a cold and desolate world: where there was no one to see me, no one to care for me, no one to even talk to me. That was my cruel reality, and I had to accept it.
"Are you sure?"
The words were said by a minute, childlike voice from behind me. For whatever reason, I did not bother to turn around to see who was speaking. I was sure that I had recognized my current world, a world where I was invisible.
"But that girl talked to you."
So what if the girl had talked to me? I was nothing to her. I was nothing to everyone, including my parents.
"You defended her."
I was… bored, and the man may have not intended to touch her in the first place.
"Are you sure?"
About the man, no, but about why I did it, yes.
"She seemed really grateful."
I do not care.
"Are you sure?"
"Are you sure?"
"Are you sure?"
"Are you sure?"
"Are you sure?"
"Are you su-?"
"No, I'm not sure! Stop asking me that! I don't know why I helped her out! I don't know why she would even thank me! I don't know and I don't care!" I exploded at the voice behind me, frustration taking the best of me. After snapping, I quickly turned around to see who I was yelling at. There was no one there.
Confused beyond belief, my knees suddenly felt weak, and I dropped down onto the dark-grey ground, panting. Around me, the world remained the same. The grass, the sky, the dirt. Everything remained grey. Trying to recover, a chill ran down my spine right as the voice returned to speak to me again, inches from my ear.
"Are you sure?"
Thrashing, I came out of my dream and returned to reality, detaching myself quickly from the cherry tree. Sweat covering my forehead, I gasped for air, suddenly feeling like I had ran miles without stopping once. Immediately, questions about what had occurred began to manifest in my head, overcoming any other thought. Grasping my face desperately, I felt back into the tree, trying to maintain my fading sanity. No one seemed to notice. Even in angst, I was alone.
And then, my mind went blank.
I remained how I was, frozen, for some time. After minutes passed, I looked up at the cherry tree, a single blossom landing on my forehead. Empty of emotion, I sighed, and got up. There was another crow there, staring down at me from one of the tree's branches, studying me like the last one. I did not bother wondering why.
I had arrived at school an hour late, and was given an appropriate punishment, since it was not my first tardy. As the school day went by, I allowed everything to blur past me, not paying attention to anything around me. Though some thoughts about my bizarre dream surfaced during that time, I would just remember the cherry tree, and then I would go back to being vacant. Before I knew it, the day was done.
While my fellow classmates rushed out the door towards their homes, clubs, or part-time jobs, I remained seated at my desk, my homework spread out in front of me unfinished. Though I had my pencil in my hand, I did not even bother to lift it to write. I was too busy staring out of the window at the students in the main courtyard below, making use of my window-side seat, watching how they met up with their friends and left. Witnessing that, I felt myself slipping into melancholy again. Even back in America, the only people who would wait for me afterschool were the drivers my parents hired when I was young. Never any friends.
Tilting back into my seat, I continued to watch from the second floor, observing how two students were laughing with one another, probably from an inside joke. As they passed the main gate, my eyes caught sight of something odd, instinct making me look to see what it was. There, standing in the same violet dress and wearing the same white mobcap, was the girl from the train. This time, she had a companion; a girl of almost equal height who had a white-collared button-up shirt on with a black skirt, a black hat hiding her facial features from my eye's perspective.
What was she doing there? By the looks of it, it seemed as if they were waiting for someone. Who would they hang around for? As I tried to come up with a reason for why they were there, the girl in the violet dress just so happened to look up in my direction, and was able to somehow see that I was on the other side of the panel of glass. Almost instantly, a smile formed on her face, which made me feel uncomfortable again. Raising her arm up, she waved at me, a greeting that I returned by just lifting my hand up to shoulder-height before realizing what I was doing. By then, the other girl realized what her companion was looking at, but kept her arms crossed. Just by looking at both of them, I knew that they wanted me to go down to them. To tell the truth, I did feel a warm feeling in my chest along with the uncomfortable sensation at that moment, but I quickly suppressed it. There was no telling what the reason was for the girl to come looking for me. Gathering my homework, I kept glancing back at the girls, wondering what they wanted. A minute later, I was already out of the classroom.
Once I reached the two in the courtyard, it was the girl with the black hat who spoke first.
"Hey! Are you the one who helped out my friend here?" stated the girl with an expression that made me wonder whether she was furious or not. When she spoke I stopped, my mind yelling at me to run away, leaving me speechless. Before I could do anything, the girl in the purple dress stepped forward, placing her hand on her companion's shoulder.
"Renko, relax. That's him." The girl muttered calmly before approaching me again. Pausing in front of me, she continued to talk, her blonde hair flowing slightly in the breeze.
"Sorry about that. My friend is just angry that she wasn't there to help me on the train. Anyways, you must be wondering why we are even here, huh?" Looking at me after asking the question, I discovered that she had serene eyes, colored a light shade of lavender by the sunlight. Once again the uncomfortable feeling from before gripped my chest, causing my idea to flee to spread throughout my mind. What was happening to me? Becoming aware of the fact that I was creating an awkward moment of silence, I quickly cleared my throat, replying back to the girl.
"Um… yeah. What are you here for?" I responded plainly, adding a distant tone to my voice in hopes to bore her and make them walk away. I did not want them to waste their time talking to someone as unimportant as me.
"Well, I felt bad after you left the station for not introducing myself, so I talked my friend into helping me find you. Thankfully we knew about this school, and when classes would be finished for the day. So we came in hopes of catching you before you left. And here you are! So without further adieu…" blushing slightly, the girl bowed her head to me for the second time that day, her eyes looking down at the weather-beaten stone the courtyard path was made of. Taking a deep breath, she jerked her face back up, saying her name with determination.
"My name is Han Maribel. Pleased to meet you!" she exclaimed, still a little flustered. Overhead, a single raven flew through the clear blue skies.
An awkward silence did manifest this time, no one knowing how to continue the conversation after the girl's self-introduction. However, knowing her name lessened the uncomfortable feeling, but only by a small margin. As I stood there like an idiot, Maribel's friend sighed loudly before stepping forward, standing in the space next to the purple-dressed girl, breaking the silence.
"And I'm Usami Renko, university student and Maribel's best friend. Now, aren't you going to tell us your name, oh great hero?" the tie-wearing girl named Renko stated calmly, including the question with a tone that was faintly lined with irritation. As she talked, a single strand of dark hair landed over her face, and she casually moved it behind her ear. Blinking once, I managed to maintain a stoic persona, but it took me a few moments to reply back.
"My name? My name is… Emil. Emil Blanc." I mumbled hesitantly and quietly under my breath, hoping that the two girls would not hear it fully. I hated my name, since Emil meant 'emulating' and Blanc translated to 'white' in French. If you put the two words together, you get a phrase that did not define me at all. Thankfully the girls, who heard me despite my mild attempts, were more interested in another fact other than the meaning of my name.
"Blan-k? Your first name is Blank?" Maribel asked me with a puzzled expression, which served only to confuse me as well along with her question. Opening my mouth to correct the girl, I was interrupted by Renko, who seemed to already know the answer.
"No, Mary. Can't you see that he is a foreigner? People like him say their surnames after their first names, unlike us, who say it the other way around. Isn't that right, Emil-kun?" the girl with the black hat stated before turning to me, a stoic demeanor now over her face.
"Uh… right, and it's Blanc, with a 'c'. You pronounce it with more emphasis on the last part." I said carefully, the look on Renko's face creating suspicion in my mind. And why did she address me as Emil-kun? I had just met her, and such a casual greeting was distrustful. Taking a step back, I decided it was time to leave. "Sorry, but it's getting late. I should be headin-…" I began to say as I took another step back, before the blonde-haired girl cut me off.
"Would you like to help us out with something, Blanc-san?" she asked swiftly, the question appearing out of nowhere. In fact, it was so sudden that I was rendered speechless once more, and Renko (again) beat me to saying anything.
"Mary, what are you doing? I thought you only wanted to introduce yourself, not-…"
"Renko, don't you see? He's perfect for the Occult Studies Club! He would be a great addition, I just know it!" Maribel smiled to her friend, eagerness radiating off of her.
"But Mary, I don-…"
"Come on, Renko! It will be fun! Trust me!"
"Mary, we don't even know him well enou-…"
"He stopped that man on that train, and that says a lot about his character, right?"
"Mary… Oh, alright. Go ahead. Don't cry if he refuses."
"Renko!" Maribel shouted to her friend before returning her attention to me, a little flushed from being teased. "Sorry about that. So what do you say? Wanna help us out?" she smiled at me, her hands now behind her as she leaned forward a little, expecting an answer. During the whole conversation she was having with Renko, I only stood there as silent as a pole. I had even amazed myself for not trying to run away as they were discussing with each other. Now placed on the spot, I looked at Maribel, then at Renko, and then back to Maribel, not knowing how to answer her. I could have just told her a lie. I could have made some excuse about being overloaded with homework, or having to go to a part-time job. I could have done that, and I should have done that, but…
"Sure." I answered quietly, making Maribel smile greater and Renko frown more. If someone were to ask me now why I had agreed to help them, I would not know how to answer. The only possible way to explain it was as if my body was reacting on its own, without my consciousness, but even that explanation is sketchy. However, that one word would come to change my life. Forever.
Walking down the familiar sidewalk, I turned and walked into the entrance of Maruyama Park once again that day, the two tall lampposts on each side of the gate illuminating the kanji on the sign that hung overhead. Stopping to check my wristwatch, I noted that I was ten minutes early, and continued to walk to the nearest bench to wait. Reaching it, I placed my school bag in the spot next to me before actually sitting down myself, checking my watch again. Nine minutes. As I waited, I once again went over what Renko and Maribel had told me to do in my mind, and wondered why I was even following their orders at all.
After I had agreed, Maribel went on to explain what it was that I would be helping them out in. Apparently, she and Renko were the creators and the only members of the Occult Studies Club at their university, and their main goal was to discover another world, one that was hidden inside this one. To find that world, they searched many places in and around Kyoto, but did not encounter any evidence of its existence. Maruyama Park was the only place in that part of the city that they had not searched, so they planned to look around it that night. It was Renko's idea originally, since Maribel said that she was the person that initiated most of their activities, but thinking that three set of eyes were better than two, the girl in the white mobcap had thought about inviting me to assist them after we had talked to each other outside of the train station. However, she had not told Renko about her intentions, which explained her behavior in the school courtyard. Or at least I think.
That was how I became an honorary member of the Occult Studies Club.
Resting back into the polished brown wood of the bench, I looked up at the night sky, gazing at the heavy clouds that were visible even in the darkness. What was I doing? I was to look for another world. Why did I agree to do something that was impossible? I should have refused them on the spot. Instead, I was alone at the park at 8:51 PM, waiting for two girls who may in fact be insane, to look for a fairy tale world. I could have been at home, doing… nothing. I guess that was my reason. I wanted to do something for a change, to be known. I was trying to become something more than just scenery, even though I did not realize it at that time.
Checking my watch again, I took note that it was still seven minutes till the time Renko and Maribel had told me to meet up with them. Looking up once more, I opened my mouth to say something, and ended up standing up, grabbing my school bag seconds later. I was still dressed in my school clothes, only with the top two buttons of my jacket unbuttoned. Normally, I had them all fastened during classes. Walking off in a familiar direction, I passed a hand through my short black hair, and looked forward as I approached my favorite cherry tree, expecting to see its base empty, like always.
However, this time, there was already someone among the blossom-covered bark roots.
Stopping in my tracks, I felt my bag fall only the grass, and a sense of invasion grip my body. Who was that person, and why were they sitting there? As I stood there, I felt a raindrop fall onto my head, and before I knew it, it began to downpour everywhere. I did not care about the rain. There was something else more important to me at the time than being drenched. Approaching the person and leaving my bag behind, I noticed that they were holding a parasol over their person, keeping me from seeing their face and the rain away. As I got closer still, I realized that the person was wearing a dress that looked like it was from China, but at the same time looked as if it came from some country in Europe, which led me to believe that the person was a woman. Or, a cross-dressing man. All my hopes were with the former.
Before I knew it, I stood right in front of the lady, my clothes wet from the falling rain and my hair matted to my head. Oddly enough, I did not know what to say to the woman, and I remained there, planted for a good minute trying to think of something to declare. Suddenly, I felt my mouth open, and two words left it quickly before I could stop them.
"Excuse me." I uttered softly to the woman, not knowing how she would react. A moment after I spoke, the parasol tilted a little, and the woman's hand moved up underneath it, a yawn appearing a second later. It was then that the parasol was raised, and I finally caught sight of the woman's face.
"Maribel-san?" I whispered under my breath, my eyes pools of puzzlement. However, somehow I knew that the woman in front of me was not the white mobcap-wearing girl. Though their faces looked familiar, there was something about that woman that set her apart. Her face seemed more mature, and her eyes, which were the same lavender shade as Maribel's, appeared to be less innocent, and more cunning, almost… manipulative. I could not help but stare at the woman. She was beautiful.
As I gazed at the woman in the rain, she rubbed her eye sleepily before noticing that I was even there, her eyes widening at the sight of me looking at her. Recognizing that fact that staring was both rude and slightly unnerving, I quickly looked away, spurring out multiple statements at the same time.
"Ah! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to… I mean, I was just curious as to why… You shouldn't be sitting there in the rain like that, you could… I'm sorry if I woke you… Ummmm…." I stuttered on, embarrassed, my first notion of telling her off forever gone from the moment on. As I spoke, the woman seemed to be observing me with interest, before smiling coyly and standing up, elegant even at that. She seemed to be around my height, if not an inch taller. The action caused me to stop stammering, and made me aware of the same uncomfortable feeling from before being present in my chest. Taking a step towards me, the woman continued to smile, and she moved her parasol over me, keeping any more rain from falling on me.
"H-hey! You'll get we-!" I began to say before realizing something about the woman that was oddly peculiar. Despite being in the rain, she seemed completely dry, not a drop landing on her. Trying to make sense on how that was possible, my train of thought was broken up by the woman's voice, as she spoke to me in a friendly manner.
"Well now, you seem interesting enough. I guess you will do." She said plainly, taking another step forward, which landed her to be under the parasol with me. My face heating up, I was rendered speechless, as I stared into the woman's eyes, which were narrowed slightly as she placed a hand on my chest, bringing her face closer to mine. Entering a state of shock, I remained still, confused beyond comprehension. Once her lips were centimeters from mine, she stopped, and muttered something to me quietly, the heat of her breath adding onto the increasing warmth my face was radiating.
"Become something greater for me, okay?"
Before I could even think about replying, the woman pushed me away from her, and I fell back, losing my balance on the wet grass. As I fell, I caught a glimpse of the woman again, and saw that she was still smiling. Feeling the blood rushing from my head, I braced myself for the impact with the drenched ground.
The impact never came.
Instead, I continued to fall, right through an eye-shaped opening in the ground. As I descended into what appeared to be eternity, I was greeted by an infinite number of red eyes, all of them staring at me as I went deeper and deeper into their world of crimson. The last thing I saw, before entering that hole into which I had presumed to be Hell, was the same crow from before, sitting on the same branch as before, watching me as I fell to my fate.
Every morning I stare at the ceiling. That night, I did not think I would partake in another morning ever again.