Thanks whwsms-kun, Mr.X for your reviews. It makes me glad^^

Yup Mr.X... I m the one who once wrote A Certain Afterstory, the post-Element Arc dystopian fantasy you're speaking of. Sadly, I had to take it down... Perhaps, I'll continue that story one day. As for the Touma x Harem story I once planned to write, I think I'll pen it sometime when I get the time. But for the time being, this is my principal work. Last time too many stories at once, didn't work well at all lol.

Still I'm glad you remembered me, and my story. Thank you!

That being said... without furthur ado... Enjoy the chapter. (Btw: this seems like an awesome track for this chapter watch?v=nYGOHeMC98Q .)


rin(at-the-rate)memphis .com

"..." (Ren)

"What's wrong?" (Rinko)

"Why haven't you blocked the sender?" (Ren)

"Huh? Why would there be a need to do that?" (Rinko)

"That's..." (Ren)

Because I've been averting my eyes from the truth up until now.

"More importantly, have you checked this address?" (Ren)

"'Address'... Y-Yeah. It's been kinda bothering me." (Rinko)

"I see..." (Ren)

So Rinko noticed it too.

"The messages from this address are kinda confusing, aren't they?" (Rinko)

"Confusing?" (Ren)

"Yeah. There are times where it simply sends direct messages, and there are times like now where it sends voice-mails." (Rinko)

"...Was this really from Rin?" (Ren)

"It's bothering me. Ren, have you gotten something like this on your phone?" (Rinko)

"My phone?" (Ren)

Like last time, all I'm able to do is parrot Rinko's words like an idiot.

"My phone..." (Ren)

"Oh, you blocked the sender, didn't you?" (Rinko)

"..." (Ren)

"How pathetic." (Rinko)

"You're right." (Ren)

"..." (Rinko)

"What's wrong?" (Ren)

"This is odd." (Rinko)

"What is?" (Ren)

"You're way too honest today. You've been giving off that feeling a lot recently..." (Rinko)

"Is it bad?" (Ren)

"No. Actually, I think it's for the best." (Rinko)

"Huh?" (Ren)

"You haven't been forcing yourself or acting so stubborn..." (Rinko)

"I've been... forcing myself?" (Ren)

"Yeah. How do I put it... you've been forcing yourself to try to grow up?" (Rinko)

"..." (Ren)

But I've been too childish.

That's why I always thought I had to grow up.

That's why I told Saten-sensei "when I grow up"...

"I think that acting your own age is something a real adult would do, no?"

"Act my age?" (Ren)

"Even if you force yourself to act like an adult, all it does is make your childishness stick out even more." (Rinko)

"So what it really means to grow up is..." (Ren)

"What is it that you really want to do, the things that you've kept locked at the bottom of your heart?" (Rinko)

I don't know.

I've been trying hard to figure that out myself.

"Then what do you want to do, Rinko?" (Ren)

"Me...? Nothing really." (Rinko)

"That can't be right." (Ren)

"Well, to begin with... I'm already doing what I want to do." (Rinko)

Rinko's tone drops as she says something.

"Huh? I can't hear you." (Ren)

"That's fine. I said it in such a way so that you couldn't hear it." (Rinko)

"What's up with that? How selfish..." (Ren)

"You think a woman's heart is a clear autumn sky?!" (Rinko)

Well, I don't really get it, but I'm pretty sure she's got her facial expression all wrong for what I asked.

"More importantly, this is a good chance. I've decided to do all I can during this break." (Rinko)

"Huh? What do you mean by 'do all I can'?" (Ren)

"Oh geez, why do you get so dense when it comes to everything around you? You're doing it on purpose, right? You have to be!" (Rinko)

"Huh? What's wrong? Why are you angry?" (Ren)

"I'm not angry!" (Rinko)

"You know, you're not very persuasive when you say that with a furrowed brow and squinty eyes." (Ren)

I grumbled.

"Well excuuuuuuse me, then. I was born with them." (Rinko)

"Oops, didn't mean for you to hear that." (Ren)

"Anyway, we'll look for Rin-chan this time." (Rinko)

"But why do you want to help out?" (Ren)

"Because you're gonna keep putting it off no matter how much time passes, right?!" (Rinko)

"I'm putting it off...?!" (Ren)

"Listen up. To me, Rin-chan, like you, is also one of my childhood friends... no, she's my best friend. So I'm going to look for her during this break." (Rinko)

"Even if you declare that out of the blue... how do you plan on doing so?" (Ren)

"By whatever means necessary! In this situation, the ends justify the means!" (Rinko)

"Your face is scary..." (Ren)

"Don't be a scaredy-cat. Anyway, I've made up my mind, so you're going to help me out too, right? Oh, but of course you will, given that you're her beloved 'Onii-chan', right? Thank you so much!" (Rinko)

"Uh, but, umm..." (Ren)

"Well, that's that. Mmm, I'm looking forward to this! I'm getting so excited. My heart is pounding!" (Rinko)

Normally, she'd be giving me such a headache right now.

But right now...

"Oh, it's clearing up." (Rinko)

The sun peeps through a rift in the clouds, shining brightly on Rinko's face, revealing her girlish features that match her age so well.

Her expression is far too radiant for me.


I take the bus to school in the morning, attend classes (or not, depending on my mood), go to the infirmary, and then go home to pass the remaining time.

Today has marked the end of those days.

How will I spend the five days of my long break?

I'm sure I'll be fine. Up until now, I've been able to get through long vacations, even through summer and winter breaks. And besides...

"Be brave, boy." (Ruiko)

I've never seen her look so serious or say something so important. Saten-sensei may indeed fool around with me, but she's always been genuinely concerned about me.

"If it's you, you can do it. No, only you can do it. All humans are born for a purpose. That's fate. Fulfill your own destiny!" (Ruiko)

Why did she get so serious when she said that?

Do I really have as much passion as she suggested? There's something I want to do as well.

I need to do that. If I don't...

"You just want to indulge yourself in your current moratorium, right?" (Rin)

Rin will scold me like that again.

I'll lose all right to call myself her older brother.

That's why I need to do something so that it actually feels like I'm living.

But what? And how do I do it?

"By whatever means necessary! In this situation, the ends justify the means!" (Rinko)

By whatever means necessary... now that I think about it, I might not have had that assertiveness. Rather, I was looking for a reason not to go seeking Rin.

I'm sure that's why I ended up like this.

I need to face reality. And at the very least, I must make it clear whether Rin is alive or dead. For this purpose...

I must act.

I go to her room.

This was my sister's personal space.

She reached the point where she started secluding herself in this room four years ago, and then two years ago, she suddenly vanished into thin air.

Unable to bear my feelings of guilt, I forcibly falsified my memories, making myself firmly believe that "my sister is dead".

I realized that over the last several days.

But 'Moon Bunny' has been waiting in this room the whole time.

However, what if this is a sign from her that means "I left something very important behind, so look for me"?

This rabbit has suddenly overlapped with Rin's existence.

Is it a white rabbit guiding me to Wonderland?

If that's true, then that would make me "late", wouldn't it...

Whirrr Tck Whirrrrrrr

"Huh?" (Ren)

I haven't done anything.

Even so, Rin's computer is suddenly starting up. It's like it'd just been sleeping up until now, and awoke at this instant...

I instinctively turn around, the desire to run away building up in me.

But at the same time, the scene before me is bewitching.

Is the world where my sister is sleeping on the other side of those monitors?

[Welcome to EDEN]

Presented by IED-Mirage.

IED, huh? That's a company I hear a lot lately.

Was it called 'Imaginary Expansion District'? Who in the right mind gives such a weird name to their company?

As I was wondering this...

...something that appears to be a fairy with fluttering wings appear in the central monitor.

She would have looked perfectly home in a fantasy, if only there wasn't a crude-looking clunky device hanging from her neck.

An old communicator of sorts, perhaps.

"Hello, hello. Welcome to [Eden]." (Fairy)

Is this a hologram projector? To think Rin had installed something so expensive.

Come to think of it, I have never seen my card get a payment declined.

No matter what we purchase, it always gets through.

I m sure there's a limit, but I haven't seen it, and the card never shows remaining balance either.

So, Rin was perhaps a bit more bold with her expenditure than me.

"So you're finally here, Onii-chan. It was so mean of you to block me!" (Fairy)

What did she mean by that?!

"An account's been prepared for you so that you can dive in at any time!" (Fairy)

Speaking of which, Mom was fairly normal before Rin's disappearance.

But after that, we started avoiding each other as much as possible.

"Remember it well, Onii-chan. The account is Isis, spelled I-S-I-S." (Fairy)

The fairy-which looks like something straight out of a fairytale- scatters particles of light while frolicking around in the confined space of the monitor's light.

"Onii-chan! Are you listening?" (Fairy)

'Onii-chan'... don't try to be overfamiliar with me by using that term.

Although I think that, I ask her something else instead.

"Who... are you?" (Ren)

"Huh? En-chan is En-chan, the fairy." (En)

"En..." (Ren)

It's not Rin?

"That's right. You forgot, huh?" (En)

"I didn't forget anything..." (Ren)

No, I think I've heard her name somewhere before.

Come to think of it...

"Oh geez, Onii-chan, what are you doing being all lovey-dovey with Lovely Rabbit in a place like this?! En-chan is tired of waiting for you!" (En)

It was from that voicemail Rinko received.

And also...

"Whoa! Ya just joined [Eden] yesterday! How d'ya know such a deep topic?" (Saito)

"Well, when I was wandering around, I stumbled into a back alley. A PK targetted me, and I got scared, but... then I came across this, uh fairy, I think?" (Yukimura)

"En-chan spotting, CONFIRMED!" (Saito)

En-chan... I think they said her name was Enshuu or something.

"Ah..." (Ren)

Which means that this might be the kind of encounter they were talking about.

"Yay, you remembered! What a relief." (En)

I can't stomach the idea that the hologram projected from the monitor can read my expressions and mind. When I look closely, I notice there's a camera attached to the top of the central screen.

"Take this!" (Ren)

As I say this, I immediately move out of the camera's line of sight.

"Huh? Onii-chan, where'd you go? En can't see you." (En)

So the fairy's area of activity is really limited to area brightly lit by the monitor's light. Also, it would seem that the camera is a stationary model and can't follow my movements.

This also means En's field of vision is limited.

"I see now." (Ren)

As I say this, I go back to where I was standing so I'm back in front of the monitors.

"Ah, there you are!" (En)

"I didn't go anywhere. I've been here the whole time." (Ren)

Well, I'm twisting the definition of "here" right now.

"Oh geez! Riko went through all that trouble to send En and everything so En can tell you something important, but here you are fooling around!" (En)

"Riko?" (Ren)

"That was really mean of you, Onii-chan." (En)

"I wasn't trying to tease you. I just wanted to gauge your physical traits, that's all." (Ren)

"Well, okay. anyway, don't forget that your account is Isis. Isis. And now you know!" (En)

"Ah, hey..." (Ren)

That dazzling, noisy being vanishes with a sparkle, like an animated Tinker Bell.

At the same time, all monitors turn off simultaneously.

My surroundings turn creepily silent.

"...What was all that about?" (Ren)

Recently, I've been caught in so many incidents that have left me baffled at the end.

Riko? Rin-ko? {as in Young Rin} Was she talking about Rin? It can't be Rinko, at all.

Was that fairy program a messenger from Rin?

If that's the case, then what's the connection between Rin and that fairy named Enshuu?

By the way, didn't Saito and Yukimura say that she was someone very rare to find.

Even those who try to find her apparently have a lot of trouble doing so.

En hides herself. Isn't she kind off like Rin herself?

But she appeared before Yukimura and I...

I wouldn't like it if I became like Saito, but the next time I see Yukimura at school, I need to ask him for details.

The reason why is because I swore to find Rin.

"Whew." (Ren)

For some reason, I sit on Rin's bed.

The impact causes Moon Bunny to launch up, and fall on my knees.

Are those rotund eyes looking at me?

"Then I might be hiding, like the rabbits on the moon, right?" (Rin)

Rabbits on the moon...

En...

Rin.

"Onii-chan? Are there rabbits on the moon?" (Rin)

"I know, Rin. There are rabbits on the moon... At the very least, in your worldview." (Ren)

I will properly face the truth I've been averting my eyes from until now.

If I do that, I might be able to even see rabbits on the moon.

I decide to look from Rin's viewpoint.


"Wow, what a great view, huh?!" (Rinko)

"Yeah." (Ren)

"Look, look, you can see so far away from here!" (Rinko)

"You're right." (Ren)

"What, are you not having fun?" (Rinko)

"No, that's not it. It's just... doesn't this kinda feel wrong?" (Ren)

"It's fine, it's fine. It's not like we do this all the time." (Rinko)

"That may be true, but..." (Ren)

"In the past, we used to play together all the time, right?" (Rinko)

"But that was a different kind of playing we did back then..." (Ren)

"Oh geez, why can't you just get into the mood? The way you're stalling is like you're leaving me to rot. It's making me kinda depressed." (Rinko)

"Oh, sorry." (Ren)

"Oh my..." (Rinko)

To be honest, I'm not interested.

Recently, I've been building up my own courage and I've finally gained the determination to look for Rin. So what are we doing in a place like this?

"I think you've gotten a tad too honest..." (Rinko)

"Huh? Really?" (Ren)

"I don't think I'm really liking that..." (Rinko)

Geez, she's so selfish. This is why I can't deal with girls...

"Huh? You say something?" (Rinko)

"...Um. No." (Ren)

Hey, she's an electrokinetic esper not a clairvoyant.

So, how did she know?

Does Rinko also have some sort of mind-reading ability, too?!

Come to think of it Rin was like that too, but that was just her Level 1 Telepathy I guess.

"What's wrong? Did something happen?" (Rinko)

"Well, you see..." (Ren)


After what happened with En. I tried logging into Rin's computer.

I kinda felt guilty about peeking into someone else's-or rather, my sister's stash of personal information.

Enter Password.

Hint: What do you see?

"Huh? 'What do you see'?" (Ren)

It was a sanctuary we allowed no one other than Mom to tread upon, a private room for my sister thorough and thorough and no one else.

What I could see were electronics, the bed, the rabbit, and the curtains...

Enter Password.

Hint: What do you see?

-r-a-b-b-i-t-

INCORRECT PASSWORD!

So that wasn't it?

Enter Password.

Hint: What do you see?

-b-u-n-n-y-

INCORRECT PASSWORD!

That one was wrong too. Maybe if I try its name in Japanese...

Enter Password.

Hint: What do you see?

-u-s-a-g-i-

INCORRECT PASSWORD!

And like that, I spent a little while grappling with the password.

But all of Rin's electronics had similar protection on them.

I continued my weak attempt at cracking for two more hours, but...

In the end, there was nothing I could do but finally give up.

I didn't know the keyword, just like I didn't know the name of Kihara Gensei's most crowning achievement.


"I see, so that's what happened." (Rinko)

I told Rinko the whole story from beginning to end. Strange, considering how until now I would have never told her something like that even if I was being held at gunpoint.

There really is a certain change going on within me.

"Then how about I head to your house tonight and try to figure out the password?" (Rinko)

"Why do you need to do it at night, and why bother?" (Ren)

"That's obvious, isn't it? We should at least spend the morning of our first day of break hanging around soaking up the sun, right?" (Rinko)

"...Come to think of it, Rinko, didn't you say something like that two days ago, when we went out to the family restaurant?"

"Y-You're imagining things..." (Rinko)

As soon as she says that, I feel shivers run down my spine.

I instinctively stop in place, turn around, and glance at my surroundings.

"What's wrong?" (Rinko)

There's someone that's been stalking me lately.

Don't tell me that they've decided to make an appearance today as well?

"..." (Ren)

For now, I don't see anyone suspicious anywhere.

"Nothing, it must have been my imagination." (Ren)

"Huh? A-Ah, right. Just your imagination... imagination." (Rinko)

Huh?

I have a feeling that we're talking about two totally different 'imaginations' here.

"So, where should we go this time?" (Rinko)

"Hold on. Before that, let me finish what I was saying earlier. Yesterday, I spent hours wrestling with that password. You coming over to help won't make a difference." (Ren)

"Hey, you don't know that until I've tried, right? I might notice something you didn't." (Rinko)

"Huh?" (Ren)

"Even though you're smart, you're also quite inattentive, you know." (Rinko)

"Leave me alone." (Ren)


My dream last night...

I really am having dreams about Rin every night.

But there was something different about it this time...

"O. i...n...rr..u...nd..av...e!" (Rin)

"What's wrong, Rin?" (Ren)

".ni..ha..yo...an.t...ar.m.?" (Rin)

"I can't hear you." (Ren)

"Y.u...ed..o..ma...it..n...me." (Rin)

"Speak up a bit, Rin. I can't understand." (Ren)

"Sa... ve... m...e..." (Rin)

"What was that?!" (Ren)

I woke up screaming.

A dream, huh...?

That might have been another kind of nightmare.

But I had no headache. Up until a little while ago, it felt like Rin was just a short distance away. Of course, that was just a baseless assumption.


What was that?!

"Then should we eat lunch somewhere? We got so absorbed that we didn't notice how late, it'd gotten, huh?" (Rinko)

That voice abruptly brings me back to reality.

"We had tea in between, didn't we? Eating out seems to be one of your hobbies, doesn't it?" (Ren)

"Well, why not? After all, if I don't eat anything but the food I cook all the time, I won't be able to stand it soon, wouldn't I?" (Rinko)

"Maybe that's why I'm tired of the taste of the food they serve at family restaurants." (Ren)

"Mmmph. you are really narrow-minded and uncooperative, y'know that?" (Rinko)

"No, I'm fine with wherever you want to go." (Ren)

"Oh geez, be a bit more independent, will ya? Why don't you act like a guy sometime?" (Rinko)

What, are you saying that girls shouldn't have to be independent?

That's a very bizarre opinion to have in these times.

But the place we go in the end is...

"Joseph's, really?" (Ren)


"Wow, that was so delicious... the absolute best there is~" (Rinko)

"Still I didn't think you had it in you to finish that huge parfait." (Ren)

"Like they say, there's always a spare stomach for desserts and sweets." (Rinko)

I m pretty sure that only a sweet-tooth would say something like that.

Still, even I have to admit I liked that parfait.

In the end, I didn't know time passing by when I was with Rinko this time.

Definitely, something's changing within me.

"Now that that's over with... we should get back, right?" (Rinko)

"You're right. It's already getting pretty late." (Ren)

While I had fun, just as I expected, I've gotten pretty exhausted simply from being around so many people all day.

"Then let's make haste to Shokuchou Apartment Complex!" (Rinko)

"..." (Ren)

"Hey, where's your cheering?" (Rinko)

"Well, I was really thinking about how really energetic you're." (Ren)

"Well, that's my only redeeming feature." (Rinko)

"True." (Ren)

She's got practically unlimited stamina...

Is it because she's an electrokinetic esper?! They might function like cyborgs or something...

Perhaps, I feel that was because I've got such a low physical ability.

I wonder if it's my genetic makeup at fault, or the fact I simply don't do much exercise.

If the former's the case, I dunno... was my Dad weaker than a cat or something?

It can't be Mom, right?

"..." (Rinko)

"Huh? What's wrong?" (Ren)

Rinko's looking at me with a strange expression again.

And one second later...

"...O-Owowowowow..." (Ren)

"That's the part where you shake your head and say 'That's not true', right? Would it kill you to say something like, 'You're cute' or 'You're a good cook', or some other compliment?" (Rinko)

"Owowowow... I get it, let me go, let me go, please let me go..." (Ren)

"I'm such an idiot for thinking you'd actually do it. You really don't have a single speck of delicacy." (Rinko)

"It hurts... you're going to tear it off... I told you to stop tugging my ears, right? How many times do I have to tell you until you get it..." (Ren)


"Pardon the intrusion!" (Rinko)

"Like I said, there's no one else here." (Ren)

"But it'd feel kinda wrong not to say it..." (Rinko)

"?" (Ren)

What does she mean, "right"?

A greeting is something you say to another party to start a conversation.

If there's no "other party", then it's nothing more than talking to yourself.

"Hmmmmm... It feels like it's been so long since I was last in this room." (Rinko)

She stretches her body as she says this.

"You say that, and yet here you're feeling right at home. Like you don't even know whose house it is." (Ren)

"It's fine, it's fine. It's not like I dunno who owns this place. I'm fully aware that it's not a stranger's house." (Rinko)

"Well, not that I mind it." (Ren)

"Oho, how thoughtful of you. Thank you!" (Rinko)

"Yeah." (Ren)

In our hands are cold, carbonated drinks, with drops of water condensing on the glass.

I hear the pleasant sound of ice shifting.

I feel that this moment is very precious, in a way.

"So, the computer's in Rin-chan's room, right?" (Rinko)

"Yeah. There's one in my room too." (Ren)

"That's not relevant to tonight's mission, right?" (Rinko)

"...Oh, duh." (Ren)

I was spacing out a bit hust now, so I didn't realize that by "computer", she meant "the computer", and not some random computer.

"Shall we go now?" (Ren)

"Well, that's the reason I came here, but... is there something else we can do?" (Rinko)

"'Something else'... not that I can think of." (Ren)

"I see. I should have known better than to get my hopes up. Well, I knew that, but... *grumble grumble*" (Rinko)

"I-I know, I've got some interesting CDs. This one's a masterpiece..." (Ren)

"Ren?" (Rinko)

"Or how about some of the newest jokes I've learned. Like, who's stronger, Penrose or Saber? The answer is 'the pen is mightier than sword', so Penrose wins!" (Ren)

"U-Uh, hey..." (Rinko)

"Oh, right, I found this interesting shop at the shopping district in front of the Mizuta Shotengai. Kudryavka Orden, it's name was... I think. Pretty strange name, right? Seems to be Russian in origin. However, it was the store owner that was a much more bizarre sight. She was the size of a teddy-bear, and she was already older than most adults, and she wasn't a dwarf at all. Makes me wonder if they managed to stop cellular degradation and halt the aging process." (Ren)

"Haah... Normally, I'd be glad that you're talking this much, but..." (Rinko)

"E-Euh?" (Ren)

"Do you have a fever?" (Rinko)

"...H-Hmm. W-Why do you ask? Ah-" (Ren)

When I come to my senses, Rinko's face is right in front of me.

"Hmmmm..." (Rinko)

She presses her forehead against mine.

"..." (Ren)

I don't know how to respond, so we remain standing like that next to each other.

Rinko moves her forehead away, and begins to compare the temperature of my forehead to hers with her palm.

"It feels a bit off. You might have a slight fever." (Rinko)

"I-I'm all right." (Ren)

"Hmm... Then why were you so jittery just now?" (Rinko)

"Huh? J-J-Just who is j-j-jitter-" (Ren)

I cut myself off halfway through.

Damn, this isn't working at all.

But if I wasn't jittery, then why was I stuttering so much?

"*sigh." (Rinko)

"What? Will it be a problem if I go into Rin-chan's room or something?" (Rinko)

"That's not it. It's just, uh..." (Ren)

"You don't have the courage to face the truth?" (Rinko)

"...Maybe that's it." (Ren)

"*siiiigh." (Rinko)

It seems like I'm hesitating.

But what else can I do?

In the end, it turns out that this is just the kind of person I really am...

"It's okay, I'm here for you." (Rinko)

"Huh?" (Ren)

"Let's look for Rin-chan together." (Rinko)

"...Yeah." (Ren)

Rinko takes my hand, and starts advancing as if she's guiding me.

Men are simple, violent, vain, and weak.

Women are elegant, mysterious, very jealous, and strong.

I walk alongside Rinko, as if she's leading the way with a lantern in deep darkness.

Even if what lies ahead is a road that leads to Hell itself...


"Wow, didn't think it'd be so clean." (Rinko)

"It really is. Mom was really precise in leaving it exactly as it was two years ago, as if she thought Rin were still here." (Ren)

"I... see..." (Rinko)

"I also think that way is more calming." (Ren)

"But it's kinda sad." (Rinko)

"You think so?" (Ren)

"It's been chained down to the past. I wonder if Rin-chan's in the past?" (Rinko)

"Huh?" (Ren)

"Like, maybe she left home in order to clear a path for her own future." (Rinko)

"That's..." (Ren)

That was something I hadn't even tried thinking about. That she was somewhat unhappy, and so felt she had to run away from home to escape that.

If she didn't, how could she move herself forward?

"...That's right, she had one of these too." (Rinko)

"Huh?" (Ren)

When I look towards Rinko, I see her sitting on Rin's bed, petting Moon Bunny.

"Oh, sorry. Back then, I..." (Ren)

"...*hug*" (Rinko)

"Whoa." (Ren)

Rinko suddenly embraces Moon Bunny with all her might. The way she does so is the exact same way as she hugged Nene when I first gave it to her ten years ago.

"Ehee~ hee~ who's a good bunny, good bunny~..." (Rinko)

"You're not mad anymore?" (Ren)

"Of course I am. I won't forgive you for the rest of my life." (Rinko)

How can someone say that really, with a smile that wide on your face?

"I just don't get you..." (Ren)

"But besides all that, I'm kinda touched. It feels like it's been waiting here for its owner all this time, right?" (Rinko)

"..." (Ren)

In an attempt to shake off the complex feelings rising within me, I head towards Rin's computer.

There're various patterns being displayed on the three monitors.

Of course, everything's working because the power's on. The issue is trying to get past the login screen.

Enter Password.

Hint: What do you see?

But when I think about it carefully, the machine started on its own before I did anything, and displayed that fairy hologram.

Doesn't that mean there's someone on the Cloud who authorized its usage? Someone with knowledge of "the" password?

Was that Rin herself?

No, now that I think of it, the fairy En was a very indirect representative.

Did Rin send her, then?

"So... this is the impenetrable password screen." (Rinko)

"Yeah." (Ren)

Enter Password.

Hint: What do you see?

-n-e-n-e-

INCORRECT PASSWORD!

"Didn't think so..." (Rinko)

"Why did you type in the name of your rabbit?" (Ren)

"Well, I thought this hint might be directed at someone very specific." (Rinko)

"What, you mean this whole 'What do you see' bit?" (Ren)

"Yeah. Normally, when you don't want other people getting into your computer, you don't write hints like this." (Rinko)

"Ah..." (Ren)

"Rin-chan wanted someone specific to solve this hint and access the data on this computer. Don't you think so?" (Rinko)

That's logical, something that's rare coming from Rinko.

"...I can't find a basis to deny that logic." (Ren)

"What's with the negative answer?" (Rinko)

"Could Rin really have wanted -me- to solve it...?" (Ren)

"Who else would it be? I don't think even she would want her Mom snooping into her personal files." (Rinko)

"No way, that's just..." (Ren)

"Wh-What's wrong...?" (Rinko)

My sister left her computer for me?

Just like a memento, or something you bequeath in a will.

Despite that, I didn't even realize it for two effing years...

"...I'm such an idiot." (Ren)

"..." (Rinko)

"...I-I'm such an idiot. I have no right to call myself her brother. It's only natural that Rin abandoned someone as pathetic as me..." (Ren)

"Ren..." (Rinko)

"Even though she left so many signs behind, I didn't even try to look for any of them. What the hell have I been doing for these last two years...?" (Ren)

"Ren." (Rinko)

Rinko firmly grips my hand once again.

My tears, which I'm trying so hard to hold back, fall onto her hands.

"It's all right, it's all in the past. Just give it all you've got from this point on. Right?" (Rinko)

"Yeah... Yeah..." (Ren)

"You've suffered so much until now, but there's no longer any need for that, right?" (Rinko)

"..." (Ren)

Have I come across some kind of space-time rift?

It feels like a miracle that I got acquainted with Rinko and had her accompany me all this time as my childhood friend.

"Geez, it's so dark in here. These blackout curtains are making you depressed." (Rinko)

"Huh? But that's..." (Ren)

Mom and I have left this room as it was. That's why we've never opened the curtains once. Despite that, Rinko yanked them open like it was nothing...

I wonder if I should've tried to stop her.

But my voice doesn't come out.

I want to open the way to the futures of both this room and myself.

"Yeah, that's much better. Oh, look, the moon is really beautiful!" (Rinko)

"Huh?" (Ren)

I instinctively look back at the login screen.

Enter Password.

Hint: What do you see?

What do I see? That would be...

Enter Password.

Hint: What do you see?

-m-o-o-n-

PASSWORD ACCEPTED!

.

.

.

[Welcome to EDEN]

Presented by IED-Mirage.

"Huh? Could this be..." (Rinko)

"It accepted the password!" (Ren)

Rinko was completely right.

I wasn't seeing anything at all.

"Huh? That's amazing. How'd you do it?" (Rinko)

"That's..." (Ren)

Because Rinko, you were with me. That's the only reason I was able to solve everything.

Suddenly, I feel strange. Like I'm dizzy all of a sudden.

I look at Rinko, she's already collapsed on Rin's bed.

I see...

So this is the AIM transmigration they keep talking about lately. The omnipresent and all-encompassing influence of the Cloud.

It was Eden, after all. The first virtual reality they created using the Cloud, an amalgamation of all esper powers and everything scientific.

Pretty weird, feeling it first hand, that is.

My consciousness slips away.

And the thing that awaits us up ahead in our future is...


Author Notes:

Sorry, guys for the late chapter, I was a but busy with some stuff irl, and I think I ll be on a short hiatus due to the same.

That being said I ll be seeing you all guys with a chapter, the next Sunday after this one.

Until then.

Sayonara~

Lex.