Hello dear readers,
Once again I would like to apologize for not being to release more chapters. My day job has been very hectic this past week so I did not have enough time to write once again. Sorry.
Here is the weekly release. Enjoy.
PS: Please tell me immediately for any typos, grammar errors, wrong names, etc. Thank you for your support.
CHAPTER 8: Oshima Revisited
I was not able to sleep after that.
'Why is it that Da'at already knows?'
'What is their true goal?'
Haruka also tried not to sleep but failed and ended up sleeping in her arms on the side of my bed.
'I should warn Ayase and Tsugumi when morning comes. Da'at could be watching them and they should not do anything related to the apocalypse virus.'
There are only two that I could think off that could be the source of the apocalypse virus I came in contact with. It's either one of those who attacked me or it could be the girl who came to my aid.
'Was it really Inori?' If it is her then Da'at is after her once again.
'Are they planning to resurrect Mana once again?'
'Why is it that they want to end the world so much?'
These are the questions that were repeating over and over again in my head until morning came.
"Mom… mom wake up. Let me borrow your phone." I gently shake Haruka.
She stirs, gives me her phone, and then goes back to slumber. I smile at her.
I access her phone and try to find the numbers of Ayase and Tsugumi. Luckily, Ayase's number is the first on the received calls list. I hesitated before punching the dial button.
'That's odd. Why did I hesitate?'
"Hello? Haruka what is it? Did something happen to Shu?" Ayase's questions comes one after another.
"Ayase it's me. I'm ok." I hear her gasps as she hears my voice.
"Shu what are you doing up so early in the morning? I was just starting to make ready for work." I can hear her worry clearly.
"Don't worry, don't worry I'm fine." Should I bother her with this information on her first day of work?
"Is that so? Then what's on your mind calling this early in the morning?" The worry was replaced by shyness.
"Well…" 'I don't want to lie to you…' Ayase said something like this to me, "the truth is Da'at visited me last night." I felt that I also don't want to lie to Ayase.
"What!? Where are you now? Did they do something to you?" Ayase's panic is clearly conveyed even if she's far away. "Tsugumi! Tsugumi get up! We're going to Shu."
"Oi, oi, oi! Wait Ayase!" I hear from the other line that she complied because there were no more sounds of movement. "I'm alright; they didn't do anything to me or Haruka. They just want to find out who or what is the source I came in contact with is."
I hear Ayase sigh with relief. "They moved too soon. Tsugumi and I were just discussing this last night when we got home." A hint of sadness is now in her voice. "I'm sorry Shu I told you I don't want to lie to you but Haruka begged us not to tell you about the other 'Kings' and their wars."
"I know mom can be forceful at times so don't worry about it." I tell Ayase. "More importantly, I want you and Tsugumi to not do anything related to the apocalypse virus or Da'at might target you."
"We have not done anything like that this last six years Shu." Ayase answers calmly. "I'm glad that you are this concerned about m… us."
"Of course I'm concerned about you." I hear her gasps. "Umm… Ayase?"
"Yes?" The shyness is back in her voice.
"What time do you get out of work?" I think that I have something I must do now that I regained my vision and I feel that I must bring Ayase along.
"I get off at around 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Why do you ask?"
"I'll meet you at your station. What is the nearest station to your work?" I answer.
"Eh?" I can hear her surprise clearly. "Why?"
"I have some places I want to go to now that my sight is back and I was hoping you could accompany me."
"Umm… Ok, I'll accompany you Shu, wait for me at Shinagawa Station." Ayase agrees. "I also think that we need to continue with our talks if that is fine with you?"
"Eh? Of course Ayase we are continuing with the talks. That's one of the reasons I invited you."
"I thought… never mind. So see you at the station later ok?" I know that she's smiling like I'm smiling right now.
"Ok. Good luck with your first day of work. Just be yourself and you'll be fine." I encourage her.
"Thank you. See you later…" The shyness is there again.
"Un, see you later…" I wait to hear the disconnection click.
"Are you still there Shu?" Ayase suddenly asks.
"Yeah, I was waiting for the disconnection click. Ha ha ha." I laugh at my foolishness.
"No way, you hang up first."
'Eh? Why don't you want to hang up first? Wait… do I want her to hang up first?' The last time I received Ayase's call I was able to hang up immediately.
"Ok, I'm hanging up. See you later Ayase."
"…ki…" I hear Ayase say something but I have already pushed the end talk button. 'Ki…? What was she trying to say? Oh well, I'll just ask her later.'
The doctor and his wife nurse came to check on me once again and when he was satisfied that all my vital signs are ok he signed the release form. Haruka wasted no time and got me out of the hospital quickly because she has already done most of the needed release processes.
"Shu we're making a detour ok?" Haruka tells me when we are already on the highway.
"Ok, where are we going mom?" I realized that she has taken the turn for the ferry to Oshima. "Are we visiting father's grave?"
"Yes, and the secret laboratory of GHQ there also." Haruka answers.
We spent the ferry ride in silence each of us thinking what life would have been if dad is still alive. I leave Haruka to her thoughts as I know there are a lot of regrets and issues with dad's death. I drifted to sleep just as the ferry was easing out of the dock.
"Hi dad, how are you doing up there?" I say to my father's gravestone after pouring water on it. The duration of the travel seems short because I fell asleep.
"Dear, it's been a long time." Haruka says beside me.
"Bet you're regretting now that you died early after seeing mom got this pretty huh?" I grin at Haruka. "Ouch!"
"Don't tease me in front of your father Shu." Haruka says as she continues pinching my cheeks.
I remember Ayase doing exactly the same thing to me when I teased her. "You and Ayase do the same thing when teased." I tell Haruka as I massage my cheeks after she released it.
"Is that so? Fu fu fu." Haruka's mysterious laugh again. "Did you hear that dear? Our son is popular with the ladies."
"I did not say any such thing!"
"He's still as dense as ever though. Please dear make him outgrow this or he'll hurt someone precious to him." Haruka suddenly prays.
"Dad, mom is bullying me." We spent another three minutes teasing each other and praying.
After saying our farewells to dad we Haruka led the way to the former GHQ secret laboratory. It has abandoned due to it being compromised when me together with the Undertakers forced our way in to steal the apocalypse virus meteorite. Apparently they have not changed the security system as Haruka's pass was accepted without any problems. We walked without talking each absorbed in our thoughts. I remember the things that happened here; Inori, Gai, Ayase, and everyone were here with me.
"What are we doing here mom?" I ask Haruka as we entered the storage vault for the apocalypse virus meteorite.
"We're here to test if you can draw out your void or my void." Haruka answers matter-of-factly.
"Oh… but is it safe here? Da'at might be watching right now."
"Da'at will still know wherever we conduct this. I don't know how but they can detect a void activation anywhere in the world. Who we don't want to know about the result of this are the other 'Kings'." Haruka is right of course.
"Ok I'll try to draw out my void." I declare while placing my left hand to my chest. I feel my heart hammering against my ribcage as if it wants to jump out already to my hand and become my void. Light slowly start to gather around my hand as I focus my will in activating the Void Genome sleeping inside me.
"Here I go!" I yell as I push my hand to reach my own heart, my void, but as my hand makes contact with my skin the light of the Void Genome suddenly vanished. Bewildered, I do it again but with the same results.
"Looks like I can't draw out my own void." I tell the obvious to Haruka. I don't know whether to feel disappointed or relieved.
"Ok, now try to draw out my void." Haruka says as she steps closer to me.
I nod at her and look her in the eye while I position my hand over her heart. Standing this close and face to face with each other, I suddenly notice that I am now taller than Haruka. I have not examined myself in the mirror at the hospital as I assumed I have not changed in appearance.
'This is not the time to be thinking about your looks.' I scold myself.
"Hold on to my arm mom so that you will not lose consciousness." I tell Haruka and she reaches with both hands to hold on to my arm. She then nods at me.
I return her nod and then reach out for her void but still the same result happen.
"Looks like I still can't use the Void Genome." I grin at Haruka although I realize that I was hoping that I will be able to. Yes, I don't want to experience all those things again but I also want to protect the people I care about and the power of the Void Genome is the only thing that I can use against Da'at and the other 'Kings'.
"You don't know how relieved I am right now Shu." Haruka exhales her breath which she was holding. "I don't want you to be involved in the apocalypse virus again. I just want you to experience life normally."
"Thanks mom. That's also my dream."
"Now that's done," Haruka actually extends her arm upward to pat my head, "let's go home."
The ferry ride and the travel to our house were uneventful. We ate lunch at a restaurant when lunch time came and we reached the house at around three in the afternoon.
"Shu I'm going to sleep because I have to work tomorrow. I believe we can postpone the other tests until the day after tomorrow now that we know you haven't regained the power of the Void Genome." Haruka says while she yawns widely. She must be tired taking care of me in the hospital and still going to work.
"Take your rest mom. I'll just take a shower then head back out." Haruka looks at me questioningly. "I'm going to visit some places now that I have my eyes back." I don't dare tell her that Ayase will be with me or I won't hear the end of this.
"Ok, take care and don't be so late coming back. I'll prepare dinner."
"Thanks for taking care of me mom. I'm glad that dad chose you to be my mother." Haruka hugs me tightly when she hears this then runs to her room crying with joy.
Now that I'm alone I look around at this house full of memories. Haruka has not changed the layout because I lost my eyesight. There is the chair that Inori always used when she stayed here; she always stayed at that spot while she's folding the clothes. Seeing the places is still different from just knowing that they are there.
'Get a hold of yourself.' I tell myself as I wipe away my tears. 'What will you do if Haruka sees you like this? She will worry more.'
I quickly go to my room to get my change of clothes and then entered the bathroom. I stop at my tracks as I see myself in the mirror. My hair has gone a bit on the long side, almost shoulder-length, which frames my face; the blond streak in my hair is more noticeable when it's this long also. I am definitely taller as I have already noticed earlier and thanks to my continuous training my body also looks great as I now have a fit slightly-built body although the scar covering my right shoulder is as ugly as ever.
I showered and soaked for 30 minutes after my self-inspection all the while thinking how this day's 'talk' with Ayase will turn out. Despite my initial opposition of the idea I find out now that I'm looking forward to it.
'I feel relieved that I can tell and show someone how I really feel and what worries me. I must also make sure that Ayase feels the same so I must listen to her today also.'
I dressed in a white long-sleeve turtleneck sweater and jeans and matched it with my old brown coat which I now notice looks small for me. 'I have to buy a new one before the university entrance examinations or I will be the laughingstock of all the students taking it.'
"Mom I'm going now." I say as I knock on Haruka's room door.
I hear movement indicating that she has gotten up so I wait in front of her door. After a few moments the door opens to reveal Haruka dressed only in her underwear.
"What do you think you're wearing!?" I say as I look away. "Did you forget that I can see again!?"
"Fu fu fu. You have already seen me like this before Shu. Let me hug you before you go." Haruka teases me. "Hmm… that coat is a little small for you. Why don't you wear the coat that Ayase gave you on your last birthday?"
"Eh? Ayase gave me a coat on my last birthday?" I almost don't remember my last six birthdays. I have always celebrated and smiled with everybody but I'm always thinking that another year is added to my life while Inori had died already.
"Yes she did. You don't remember? Jeez… look at your second cabinet." She pushes me back to my room.
Sure enough I found another brown coat that looks just like the one I'm wearing. I took off the old one and put on the new one.
'How did Ayase know my size? It's a perfect fit.'
"Mom I'm going now." I didn't let her hug me.
"Take care and say hello to Ayase for me." Haruka shouts from inside her room.
'Huh? How did she know I'm meeting Ayase today? I guess I'll have to ask Ayase. And if Haruka already knows then why didn't she teased me more?'
The train ride was a weird one as I can now see the reaction of the people around me. There were still looks of pity but I'm sure not as much as before, some people looked at me with anger and fright written on their faces, and there are always the curious stares.
"Ayase! Over here!" I call out to her when I see her enter the station.