ROUTE: ENE II
In the dead of the night when Shintaro finally went to sleep at some odd hour and his computer monitor was powered down, I would go dumpster diving for information.
No matter how many times I returned as Ene, I could never believe how overpowered Takane's ability was. After all, in the digital domain this body was the closest thing to God. Not that I let that fact get to my head, I had to constantly be aware of my every data pixel or else I would get pulled apart by various data streams and potentially lose my entire existence to the abyss that was the Internet…
Well, the first months adjusting as Ene were never fun, but the perks definitely outweighed the one detriment of monitoring my self-awareness.
As a cyber girl, I was running on non stop caffeine without any of the crashes afterwards. Sleep? Food? In cyberspace, such human necessities were useless and had no impact on the efficiency I run. Doesn't stop me from indulging in such trivialities as an outlet for relaxation or else my brain might actually overload from pent up information.
How Takane never really went crazy from all this I had no clue; maybe she had a screw loose and I just never noticed? It would explain all of Ene's exaggerated motions to channel her chaotic energy.
Have I practiced breathing today? Better do that now before I accidentally choked as someone else. Again.
Expand the lungs. Contract the lungs. Exercise of the day now in progress. Back to introspecting my process of becoming an overpowered being.
After being ejected from the Kagerou Daze, I spent my one year vacation on reacquainting myself with the Internet archive and my crash course on hacking. HTML was just as terrifying on the other side when the codes were as big, if not bigger than me.
What was probably scarier was what happened that day on August 15 and the lack of information about it. There were no news on the disappearance of Enomoto Takane or Kokonose Haruka, and Tateyama Ayano's "suicide" made the cover page for one day and disregarded the next.
To be honest, their disappearance generally varied between studying abroad, death by unfortunate accidents, and even the rare group suicide throughout the time loops. Yet, no matter who I checked up on, whether it was Takane's grandmother, Haruka's father, or even our schoolmates, they were rather blasé towards a close one's death. Almost as if our existence got swept under a rug and was left to be forgotten.
I did not dare visit Shintaro in the immediate aftermath. Common sense told me he needed time to himself to mourn without the intrusions of unwanted visitors, especially if there was no one else he could relate with. Instead, I made sure to keep track any problems that might negatively impact the future.
The terrorist group that always invaded the mall on that fateful day? Their system disabled and leaders left rotting in jail while their income was generously donated to gun safety charities.
The Kido family's will that should have left all its fortune accessible to the surviving member Tsubomi? I set it on a monthly paycheck to the Mekakushi Dan so they don't starve to death. Well, not like Tsubomi would have accepted if she knew where it came from so I had to be creative on how I send it.
The countryside bus schedule that was the only available method for Hibiya and Hiyori to travel to the city one year from now? Its schedule had long been hacked to skip August's pit stop, and if they still found a way to come here I swear I will create a traffic accident just to prevent them from danger—
Well, I have also been monitoring the city and trying to keep it as safe as I can, yet I still learned no information about the Clearing Eyes except he mainly wandered outside at night. I would be watching through surveillance cameras, blink, and then he was gone. That was why nights like today when the city was quiet and Kenjirou was at home, I would make some digital popcorn, dress in comfortable loungewear, and browse through my memory storage. The classic Movie Night.
"Look Rose, they're doing the head tilts again, that had to be like the fourth time in the episode already! But isn't Mary so adorable here? Her fish poem was so hilarious, almost as bad as your drawings!"
"Geez thanks, no handwritten card for you when you get discharged." Someone was complaining, but I couldn't identify their voice nor face yet I had laughed at their dramatics. "Just because I like pink doesn't make everyone with the color theme equivalent to a ditzy maiden. You need to stop being so stereotypical, xxxx."
Last time I marathoned some of my past experiences as Kano and Momo, and rewatched all of my interactions with Kurose. At least the quality was high definition, but that was based on what I could consciously or vaguely remember, which could only help me so much on my past knowledge about the fandom.
My memories as Rose had already been fading the more I body hopped into someone else while simultaneously working with a new set of memories. Not remembering how I originally died wasn't a surprise as I would assume anyone would block such a traumatic experience, but while I didn't bother to memorize all the little facts from each of my life, I know I guarded any personal memories furiously.
So why was I drawing a blank in specific parts?
I struggled to remember anything, maybe concentrate on my recent years in the hospital or the faces of the people, but all I got back was a migraine. Instead, the edges of my vision were starting to blur, signs that I have come to realize that I was suffering from information overload and desperately needed a timeout.
Tomorrow just like usual, I would wake up Shintaro at some ungodly hour with an annoying song and cajole some reaction out of him, and continue to do my best on gathering information. After I caught up on my latest manga.
Good night, world. Good night to you too, Takane, wherever you were. For now, I was going to take a break from breathing.
"Why are we doing this again?" Shintaro muttered from his office chair at the opposite side of the computer.
"Because it was either helping establish your online avatar or do more rhythm training with osu! and you picked the lesser evil." I smiled devilishly as Shintaro shuddered at the reminder of the music game that caused his fingers to cramp for a week.
Ah, good times. Even a pro gamer with a touch screen couldn't win over me being actually integrated into the game when it was as easy as raising my pinky finger. That was karma, Game Guru.
"Whatever, let's just get this over with."
Next to Shintaro, Momo was critically observing the progress on the computer screen and grabbed control of his mouse. "Wait Onii-chan, why are you giving her a black hoodie? We want Shin-chan to stand out, not be cast aside like a NEET!" I had to cringe with Shintaro on the model's new wardrobe change, but Momo was beaming. "There! Isn't she precious?"
If we were aiming for a dead mackerel in a banana tutu, then there was a striking resemblance.
"Maybe tone down the color to not be the outfit's main color?" I suggested. I gestured to my own (well, Ene's) iconic outfit, except it was sleeveless because I actually valued practicality. "I do like the idea of a hoodie, and extra long sleeves would add some charm."
Momo considered my suggestion before adjusting the yellow to a softer gradient shade and adding a darker outerwear. "Better?"
"Hmmm, just need a little something." I went over to the height adjustment, and extended the legs to their max length. "Sexy, long legs just the way you like them, Game Guru~" I teased with good humor.
Momo was looking at me with betrayal while Shintaro blushed and shifted his eyes away.
"W-what, that doesn't mean I want to see that on what's considered to be me!" I knew he couldn't resist peeking when his embarrassment shifted to annoyance. "Oi, we're not trying to give her legs three times the length of her body!"
"Ew! Stop adding to my brother's perverted fantasy, Ene-chan! At this rate, my company will sue you for ruining my image so change it back!"
Right, with the idea of using Momo's recently released voice bank and a female Shin-chan avatar, we were going to help Shintaro's floundering career as an Utaite producer become reality! This was after convincing Shintaro that 3D virtual reality avatars were the new trend in all the successful videos ,and surely the mention of Momo's name would promote his mediocre songs.
Well, we were still waiting on the final approval from Momo, her company, and all the technicalities beyond that worked out… Then, we would be on a fast track to instant stardom!
"Okay, now are we keeping Onii-chan's bland hair color or going for something exciting?" Momo asked while circling through the color wheel. She grimaced at the mustard yellow option and went back to black. "Just no shades of orange or else that would look too similar to me."
"There's nothing wrong with black, it would make a good contrast to the yellow," Shintaro said. He toggled with the animation sequence which left Shin-chan in a running motion with her short hair flapping along the rules of gravity. "Although, I don't see much depth between the hair strands and it makes the overall scalp seem flat."
"Red! The color of passion and high sex appeal!" Unsurprisingly, I was ignored by both siblings.
"No, we already agreed on keeping Momo's weird red eyes, and we don't want to be defined by one color."
The three of us contemplated in silence for another minute before Momo said, "What about pink? It's a lighter shade than red and it's pretty mainstream in the moe category." She set the hair to a strawberry blond that was more of a lighter pink, and it was surprisingly a nice compromise to both yellow and red present. And just because he had the power to do so, Shintaro added cat ears.
I circled Shin-chan in all her furry glory and nodded in approval. "Huh, I never thought any version of Game Guru would be considered cute, but we actually did it!"
Shintaro rolled his eyes. "Why do I even bother defending my innocence if I'm going to get attacked all the time?" Momo snickered at his dramatics and he turned to glare at her. "What are you so smiley about? This proves that if I were a girl I might actually be cuter than you!"
"Nah, we're basing on the assumption that you would look similar to me if you were a girl. So clearly me being the real deal makes me the cuter one!"
I refrained from contributing my thoughts seeing as A) I actually did not know what Shintaro would look like as a girl and B) anyone with eyes could see that the siblings share many similarities in their facial structures so the whole argument was null.
Before their cat fight could escalate, the Kisaragi matriarch called from outside, "Momo, dinner is ready!"
"Coming!" Momo yelled back. Standing up to stretch, she first looked at me then turned to Shintaro to offer a tentative truce. "Since we're mostly done with the model do you want to, um, come downstairs and eat dinner with us?"
I could literally see the inner debate he was having between having some peace and quiet or getting access to a wild assortment from a freshly cooked meal so I decided to make the decision for him.
"We could always go over your voice acting, it's not like we can always rely on Momotou-chan's voice bank," I mused aloud. Casually, I held hands with the model and from the corner of my eyes I could already see Shintaro stiffening in horror. Just need that one final push. "Got to brush up on your high pitch for Shin-chan's debuting introduction."
Shintaro stood up alarmingly fast and was moving to open the door. "Oh man, all that artistic thinking got me starving! Better go downstairs before Okaa-san thinks she needs to send my meal up."
"Bye-bye, Master~" I called out all cutesy-like as I waved Shin-chan's hand in farewell. Behind his back, Momo shot me a thumbs up which I returned back to her.
Momo and I had a really good partnership consisting of trying to get Shintaro to be less of a recluse. I would hack some time off for her idol schedule; in return, she would spend some of her time in Shintaro's room to make sure he wasn't living in heaps of trash.
Win-win for both of us in trying to make him a self-sufficient human being, although I still could not find signs of him developing any self awareness. Like seriously, I constantly name dropped my special nickname for him; I didn't bother changing Ene's physical form other than the fact that I was blue; and he still couldn't recognize me as Takane?
Either he really buried any memories associated with Ayano in deep denial or there was another force in play that I did not consider. I hoped he wasn't being pig headed for no reason because no offense to the current Game Guru, but—
In one life, I passively went along with your wishes and tried to be a good supportive friend.
In another life, I tried to be an upright, moral guide only to attend your self-induced funeral.
And here I was hoping for third time's the charm. Except, I wasn't sure how much more sympathy for the franchise protagonist when I don't even know how he was supposed to save us all.
Now that the coast was clear, I entered a new incognito tab to check on my daily agenda. Still no luck with stalking Kenjirou the Snake for suspicious behavior from his school and personal emails, and there were no new activity from his bank account unlike in the beginning of the year. However, the crime rate in the city was steadily increasing despite my best effort and I made note of the ones that I could easily solve later by hacking.
Finally, I made it to my private messaging account and the sight of a new update reminded me that today was the beginning of a new month. Below my last message containing the attachment of the recent money transfer, my penpal had responded back.
If I was reading the report correctly under all the thinly veiled insults, I had some really good news to look forward in the future.
After weeks of email correspondence, we were finally meeting the Mekakushi Dan today on August 14.
And by "we" I meant me, Momo, and a reluctant Shintaro after blackmailing the NEET and hacking the teen idol another day off for the occasion. It was better safe than sorry to have them together, but what a merry band of siblings they made as we walked to the mall.
"Ene, why do we have to meet with your penpal on today of all days, it's boiling outside!" said the one who thought wearing a red jersey was a good idea. "Haven't you heard of stranger danger?"
"Onii-chan, this is the least we could do for her! If it weren't for Ene-chan's reminder poor Tono would be starving tomorrow if you don't go out to buy his food." Momo was dressed more sensibly in her sleeveless pink hoodie (if ignoring today's moniker: Pump it Up!) with her hood already up and covering her head.
"Isn't that what you're here for then? I don't see how I got dragged into your errand—"
"Game Guru, if you say another complaint I will spoil your current song lyrics to the public," I threatened cheerfully, my finger already poised to open the first file. "How did it go again, your hair outshines the sun itself—"
"—and oh wow, today is a lovely day! Yes! I could surely use some fresh air," Shintaro said, the sheen of sweat clinging to his temple certainly not coming from the summer heat.
"Actually, I do have an ulterior motive for today." Shintaro glared at me so I continued quickly, "Well to be honest, we're actually meeting up with people who also have red eyes. I thought if I told you that in the beginning, you wouldn't want Momotou-chan to meet them alone in the first place."
"There are actually people similar to me?" Momo asked in awe. Shintaro did not share her sentiments.
"WHAT? And you didn't think that was even more suspicious? How do you know they aren't catfishing or scamming you when we couldn't even find any information about Momo?" He groaned as the goal of today's outing finally caught up to him. "Oh God, Momo. We're being tricked by a malicious artificial intelligence and are going to get extorted, I knew I should have stayed at home today."
"Wow, rude. See if I'll ever do another favor for you ever again!" While Shintaro wallowed in self pity, Momo turned hopeful eyes towards me so I softened my tone, "Look, the Net has many things that are more dangerous than me, but my info skills are no joke. Have some faith in me."
We were one crosswalk away from the mall's entrance when it was just our luck that a stranger bumped into Momo and sent her flailing onto the ground.
"Ow—Hey, watch where you're walking!"
"It's not my fault—wait, you look familiar…"
Such ominous words could only mean one thing if Momo was no longer incognito with her red eyes on full display.
"Game Guru, grab Momouto-chan and RUN!"
Because Shintaro does have common sense and could expect what was about to happen, he had already pulled Momo into a mad dash out of the gathering crowd. I couldn't see what was happening in his swaying cellphone but the screaming mass didn't leave much imagination.
"Kyaaa, it's Momo-san!"
"Momo-sama, please notice me! I love you!"
"Momo, why the hell do you have such crazy fans?" Shintaro cried, his breathing already getting heavy from the sudden sprint.
"Don't ask me! I just wanted a normal day off!" Momo wailed.
"Less talking and more escaping! Just get out of the vicinity first and we could lose the crowd!" I squealed from my safe peanut gallery.
In a rare sibling sync they yelled, "Shut up!"
By now we must have ran for five minutes and there were still no signs of a waning stampede behind us. Even I was losing hope for a miracle to appear.
"I think that's enough." Two pale hands firmly grabbed each of the Kisaragi siblings' wrists and stopped their track.
"Ahhh! A ghost!" Momo shrieked, pulling her wrist in vain from the sudden vice-like grip.
"Hey, there's no need to run anymore! You guys are safe with Kido's power."
Shintaro had stopped swaying wildly enough for me to have the clear view of Shuuya grinning. To support his claim, the accumulating mass trampled past us for all together an impressive three minutes.
Only when the last fan was out of sight did Shintaro whimpered out, "I think I'm losing blood circulation at my wrist." He almost stumbled from the sudden release while pulling me down with him, and I yelped at the sudden change in view.
I ignored Shuuya's self introductions and his explanation on how his group had been actually waiting for us until the sudden chaos because there in the flesh just inches away from my screen was Konoha.
I stared at him and he stared right back at me, his white eyelashes slowly brushing against each other in a blink, and suddenly he was smiling.
"Wow, what a surprise! I didn't expect to see an Ene here, and so life-like too."
"Game Guru, you and Momotou-chan surely must have loads of questions! Hey, why don't we go somewhere else and you can talk to their leader? I got to catch up with my penpal!" I knew Momo would talk enough for her, Shintaro, and Tsubomi so before he could stutter an excuse I had relocated myself to Shuuya's cell phone where he was walking behind at a much leisure pace next to Konoha.
"Oh hey, nice to finally meet you 'high-school-wannabe'," Shuuya greeted me cheerfully.
"Fox Eyes," I deadpanned. He must have sensed my hostility because his smile went from friendly to something a little more dangerous.
"You know, I wasn't sure how much I could trust at first when your email was both dropping our secrets like bombshells and providing us money like a sugar mama. Then again, how else was I supposed to react when a sudden message first came and started off with 'I know your sister's death wasn't a suicide'?"
"I already said sorry before, how else could I get your attention before?" I replied. Shuuya raised an eyebrow at me, and even I cringed at how weak my excuse sounded. Okay, so he was rightfully pissed at me and I definitely deserved any hostility.
"Well, good thing I had a hutch about your identity after all our weekly correspondence." He clapped his heads together and there was the side of the vengeful troll I knew. "So I bought a special guest to confirm something."
At that point, Konoha peered his head over at the screen, and he actually looked self aware unlike all the other time loops and I shouldn't keep my hopes up but—
"Haru-chan?" I desperately choked out.
Haruka/Konoha/Konoharu sheepishly waved at me. "Um, hi Takane-chan. Please call me Konoha, that's my secret alias in the Mekakushi Dan!"
Well, who was I to refuse him because he was here! On the mortal plane and not an amnesiac whose soul was stuck in the Kagerou Daze with Takane's body because of that one rule stating how only one of the two dead could come back, or how else would it explain why only halves of two people were able to come back?
As happy as I was about our reunion, this should be impossible.
"N-nice hair dye, I love your new look." How could I word this gently without putting my foot in my mouth? "Just to clarify, did you die?" Damn it.
"Yep!" Thankfully, Konoha excused my lack of mouth coordination because at least he didn't look offended.
"And you just woke up to find yourself in a new body that coincidentally matched your game avatar."
"Well I just recently woke up," Konoha shyly admitted as if he just overslept a class period instead of being in a coma for the past two years. "But you were right! The Shinigami did visit me and it was like a miracle when I was offered a new chance in life! And well, we were just planning on that sleepover of ours that I was really looking forward to so I just knew I had to see you again... The next thing I knew, I was waking up at the Mekakushi Dan's hideout."
I turned my head to Shuuya who had been silent this whole time and hissed, "Where did you find him?"
He tried to shrug casually, but I noticed the slight unease on his expression.
"Okay, so you already know about Otou-san being controlled by the snake and remember how you kept me informed about the city's crime rate?" I nodded so he continued, "While I was threatened to do some manual tasks for him, I was able to keep track of his nightly outings. Funny how most corresponded on the days when there were bankruptcies."
"Okay, he hogs money; all evil villains have a trust fund for their evil doings. So what is he doing with all that cash?" I asked.
"He built a laboratory underneath your old school building with hopes of taking control over all of our bodies while using the money to bribe people to look the other way. I know he is planning something big this time so I may have kidnapped Konoha and your body a week ago, and was kind of hoping you could help us as extra man power?"
Shuuya said this all in one breath, except Ene . exe had crashed and stopped working with all the new information.
Because, what the hell. What. The. Hell.
...Let me just backtrack and review the word vomit because, wow, where do I even start?
"Ene-chan, you cool?" Shuuya asked me with concern. As if the little terror hadn't just informed me about the body of Takane's whereabouts and turned my perspective upside down. "I know it's a lot to take in but my phone is overheating right now."
"Don't worry, Ta-errr, Ene-chan! We'll get through this together and save Sensei as well!" Konoha tried to console me on the wrong subject.
"Right, righhhht." My thought process was trudging along like slush and I contemplated on not thinking too hard at the risk of my entity dissociating into stray pixels.
"We," I emphasized the we to Shuuya, "are going to have a long talk with everyone, together, since clearly we need all the information we can get before Kenjirou comes to find us in a murdering frenzy." It was weird for Konoha to look so sad, but I had to ignore him for my own peace of mind. "I-I just need a moment to reboot."
Shintaro was debating quite animatedly in his conversation with Tsubomi about the best music when I quietly retreated back to his phone to ponder. After all, wasn't Haruka's memories stuck in the Kagerou Daze a tradeoff for Takane's body being in the Daze? Theoretically, two functioning halves of different people would more or less add up to one person, and that was the only loophole that explained both of their presences in the past.
I thought about the time when I first watched Lost Time Memory; on how Ayano sacrificed herself to stay in the Daze to prevent the reunion of her snake, only to inevitably pass on her Favoring Eyes to Shintaro so he could have the chance of returning while she remained behind. Back when I thought Summertime Records was the end of the Kagepro franchise and had cried at the lack of indication of the lost ones' return.
Maybe it was because I met with Kurose that the timeline had deviated so much from the past, but nothing special should have made Takane and Haruka outliers during their initial deaths. Either way, the ironclad rule I had been operating under had been wrong this whole time, proving that there was a way to save all the missing people.
Or maybe I was just ignoring the fact that apparently Takane and Haruka were hidden under my nose this whole time and I was just an idiot to discover this now. I could have sworn I checked the school's credibility yet how did I miss a large construction happening at my home turf?
Something just didn't add up, but this might be the best circumstances I had found myself in a long time. With the majority of the gang present including Shintaro, we might be able to leave this cursed summer and work on saving the others.
"We're here! Seto! Mary! We have visitors," Kano announced. I resurfaced from cyberspace as our group shuffled inside the hideout to see Mary watching television by herself. In the back, the sound of a faucet was turned off as footsteps approached us.
"I'm coming, just let me get the food ready!"
Konoha sniffed the air and brightened up. "I smell curry~!"
"Oh, hi everyone! Now I'm glad I cooked extra for dinner, it's always nice to have guests over!" Kousuke walked in, the model image of a loving housewife wearing his green jumper, a frilly apron, and a pot of what was identified as curry. Shuuya voiced out my exact same thought, and Kousuke grinned shyly. "Well, this does count for celebration. We're expanding the gang, and our other guest just woke up an hour ago."
Almost completely hidden behind Kousuke's towering figure, a girl with oil encrusted black twin tails donning a cardigan over her hospital gown trailed behind him. If I thought Konoha's appearance was going to shock me today, then I never expected this.
"Enomoto?" Shintaro sucked in a deep breathe, trying to appear as if two years of repressed memories weren't suddenly bulldozing him, but he helped confirm her identity.
Because there with her sleep deprived eyes shining red was Takane, but something was screaming inside me, shouting "Danger! Wrong! Get out! Get out!" and my head was pounding like whenever I get too much of an information overload.
"Oh, I guess the gang's all here." Takane smiled, and I almost believed everything was right in the world.
Then, she took out a hand pistol from her pocket and shot Kousuke point blank at the head.
"You guys go left and I'll go right."
We were running down the alley, only three of the original seven, yet Kousuke still smiled at us as if he wasn't the one risking his life.
"It's fine, I can read his mind so I'll always be one step ahead of him. Just trust me and everything will be all right."
Lies. Mary and I both knew that was a suicide mission, and we tried to tell him don't go—
"Idiots. One should always do a body check for a weapon."
Tsubomi's eyes were red, already leaping into action to hide us from the enemy, while grabbing Mary's hand and telling us all to move, move, move! Mary was screaming, her previous image of a porcelain doll destroyed along with a good chunk of her hair. Takane—no, Clearing Eyes aimed his gun, and it was with a scary precision that he almost hit Shintaro's hand. Except, he probably wasn't aiming for that, he was tracking us through me.
"Shintaro, I know you have a lot of question but I have to distract Takane. We need to split up, if I stay here she's going to be able to keep track of us when we're linked together right now."
"But Ene—" He looked between me and Takane, finally saw the physical similarities we shared, and swallowed down any protest because he knew this was the only plan.
"I'll be fine, I'm a cybergirl so there's now way I can die," I said, and this was probably the first time he could see through my lies. "I'll buy you guys some time so you guys have to get out of here before she could catch up. Do not let her touch Konoha or else it's game over." Shintaro nodded at me, and that was the last I saw him and the gang before I zapped into the abandoned television in the living room.
"Hey Takane! Pick on someone your own size who actually looks like you!" Clearing Eyes winced from the blast of full volume and turned around, providing enough of a opportunity for a chair to fly at his back and topple him down. The others had better escaped because what should have felt like victory was being offset by the dark grin on Takane's face.
"I had my suspicions two years ago, but it's good to meet you again! How are you enjoying this life?"
"It was going well until you came into my life a few minutes beforehand! Where's your usual human vessel?" I surveyed the room for any signs of Kenjirou but recoiled when I saw Kousuke's corpse.
"Who said I could only have one favorite human? Watching your memories was certainly entertaining enough and you made it easily accessible for me." I froze at the implication and Clearing Eyes laughed, twirling the gun in his dainty hands. "You still haven't realized it? All of you humans with your hopes and despair make wonderful vessels no matter who it is. The girl's empty body while you were dreaming about being a hero must have been the my easiest target ever to control her ability."
My blackouts. The increasing online crime rate. It wasn't my first life that these things happened so I never thought much about them, but it was him.
"Your effort to track me down, you didn't think I noticed?" He leaned towards the television so we were on the same eye level. "Even now you're not as sneaky as you think you are. Trying to take back this body?"
Shit, he noticed. I had been trying to wrestle my consciousness back into the original body throughout his monologue, except my vision was beginning to blur and I couldn't even move my cyber body.
"Ah this misery, this anguish, do struggle more! You have progressed nicely with your life, but this meeting has run on long enough." Helplessly, I watched as he raised his gun to his temple. "No matter, I have no more use of this body anymore and have my eyes set on my new target." Konoha.
And moments before death when my life flashed before my eyes, a fleeting memory stood out to me that was entirely so trivial yet the first time I could recall it:
"Wasn't Azami's backstory so wild here? She's like the closest being to God, yet she got bossed around by a random snake of all things! Man, I wish the things I dream about have an influence on my actual life... Any thought on that, Rose?"
"Until we meet again."
I'm trying to write this letter to you because I'm bad with my thoughts and I can guess that you would appreciate an explanation. Like, I understand you might suddenly hate me on first impressions alone and maybe feel deja-vu moments, but I can explain! Really, while we did not have the best relationship before, even if you don't remember it, I was hoping you can stay open minded and talk...? I'm not sure when all of us can meet again like this or if I will ever have the courage to send this to you beforehand, but maybe we can get a cup of tea together? Like girl time, those are pretty popular right now! Please keep everyone safe and I hope to see you soon.
A/N: I had to rearrange parts but this still turned out long, aren't drabbles suppose to be short? If you identified any inaccurate facts then congrats because Rose isn't even working from the starting line, she's literally going backwards in progress! Artistic liberties regarding ambiguous facts mainly:
Clearing Eyes can only function at night: this has been contradicted in Manga Route 2, and what defines night? Based on his first interaction with Azami I would like to propose a different explanation later on in the story.
Clearing Eyes changing hosts will kill his previous vessel: Manga!Hibiya would like to say otherwise as he got flung to the truck-kun for the infinity time. Hiyori happening to have that much blood on her hands does not scream innocence either, and this idea would be heavily explored as plot.
Clearing Eyes remembering the past routes: He's already a cunning prodigy and has been alive for ages, surely he would be bored with the same thing happening as not even Azami remembers the Routes while the world resets. It's more plausible that with his encyclopedic knowledge he can hypothesize and calculate the ideal scenarios (the usual Tragedy) based on statistics, facts, and being as old as time. His ~5 year plan is likely to be a mix of possessions, money, and pure skill, but no villain with a brain would keep his hideout in the same place every single timeline.
Regarding the VR 3D model prompt, there is a free program called VRoid Studio allowing very realistic avatars that are popular on streams. I never tried it but it looks fun. I also finished the Novel Route and was sCreAMing. Sincerely, Blooming Thistle was my oneshot focusing on Azami ft little kids summarized my thoughts on that, so please give it a try! As always I appreciate all the new and returning readers, let's keep Kagepro spirit alive with its fluff, friendships, and murders! Next chapter should be up by late March, will it be Kido or Hibiya who knows. Hope everyone have a nice day, stay safe!