A day passed ever since students learned about the kidnapping of Chisa Yukizome. The same four that were in Chiaki's house before had a bit of a sleepover there. Wasn't exactly the most pleasant night of them all, considering that their minds could not stop thinking about the whole situation. Their beloved teacher, at the mercy of a criminal syndicate. Not a comforting thought after all.

Hajime was the first one who awakened from a rather poor slumber. Eye bags were slightly present on his face. His whole body felt like a log, barely able to get up without feeling a great amount of weight inside. He would have preferred if he could just sleep over the entire situation, as it seemed much easier, but he knew that wasn't an option. He had to face living in such reality, yet all he could do at that moment was to rub his own eye.

Soon after, Ibuki woke up, but in a way that wasn't like her at all. Instead, she just did it normally. None of her usual quirks were present at all. After he noticed her waking up with a squint, he could immediately tell that even Ibuki Mioda out of all people was not exactly in the brightest mood. Just like with him, there was a notable presence of eye bags on her face. Ibuki slowly turned her head towards him and with such simple movement, she already knew what was going on.

"...You too?" groggily asked Ibuki, assuming that Hajime did not have the best night as well. He didn't really have to answer it, the eye bags told everything.

"...Yeah. Not a good night at all." quietly answered Hajime as he scratched his head. Despite them talking, they could feel silence through out the entire house. It felt like something was physically missing from them. Even the morning itself felt dimmer than usual, although the explanation for that was because there was a storm going outside. The rain kept falling down on windows at fierce rate, making the only notable sound nearby.

"I'm surprised I could even sleep today...granted, not for much likely. Should probably check out." murmured Ibuki before she pulled out her phone, noting that the time they woke up was 6:00 AM. A worrisome time to wake up on a Saturday. "...It was two hours, at least."

"I don't even remember when I fell asleep, to be honest." added Hajime in a similarly exhausted tone. Through out all the night, their thoughts were focused dead on what situation were they in. Their beloved teacher under the mercy of the enemy, their friend completely catatonic due to not only what happened, but how she got to know in the first place and their entire group was in complete disarray. To them, it felt like there was no light at the end of a tunnel, only a dead end.

Not too long after, Mayuri, who chose to be there instead of returning to Future Gadget Lab, slowly woke up as well, her movements being all stiff. Even though she seemed like she was the only one who got decent sleep at all, she seemed rather shaken. Although they could tell how she felt just by her frown and weary eyes, her state of emotions was still rather puzzling. What caused her to become awake with such feelings?

"Hey, Mayuri….Sorry if we awoke you just now…." apologized Hajime, worrying that the noise he and Ibuki caused, which was surprisingly little, managed to disrupt her sleep.

"It's okay….Mayushii just got a bad dream, that's all. A dream that felt….real….but there's more important things going on…." reassured Mayuri with her gentle, yet shaken voice. Both Hajime and Ibuki couldn't shake off a feeling that there was more to it than just a "nightmare". The physical reaction was slightly too severe than one would had when it came to dealing with a nightmare. However, even though they wanted to console her deep down, their friend reminded them not to be concerned for her. An act similar to what their another close friend would do.

"Goddamn…" uttered Hajime, aware that he had to respect her wishes, but he still wanted to reach out to her. Something was up, but the timing for address it was just not right. Soon after, Chihiro woke up as well, in a same not so well state as other three did. While not as shaken as Mayuri, it was still obvious that the night he had was not of a good kind.

"….Hey." Chihiro wearily rubbed his eye to regain clearer vision, with his whole bode feeling like a log. None than less, he got up, despite the weight he felt.

"Morning, Chihiro….you didn't sleep good either, did you?" Hajime assumed that he went through the same as they all did. It didn't took much time to confirm it.

"Yeah...it was….I couldn't stop….thinking about it." Chihiro expressed his concerns regarding not just for the whole situation, but for well being of Chiaki and Chisa. The image of his friend in a such unimaginable state was forever ingrained in his mind. It wouldn't disappear even when all of that was going to be over. Not to mention he could hardly imagine what was Chisa going through.

"We should check how's Chiaki doing. I doubt that she could sleep well after that happened…" suggested Mayuri, just to be sure how was their friend doing. All of them quietly nodded as they stood up, slowly approaching her bedroom. They weren't sure if she was asleep or not, so they opened the door as silently as possible.

What they saw was something that caused immediate concerns.

Immediately, they saw Chiaki just laying in the bed, blankly staring at the ceiling. Her eye bags were even more pronounced than of others, with her eyes looking almost burnt out. All of her energy, all of her cheerfulness was gone. Completely gone.

Everyone around her realized what she went through the night and they were taken aback.

"C-Chiaki?! Y-you did not...sleep at all, did you?!" stammered Hajime upon seeing her like that. Chiaki just looked at them without saying anything, still in the same catatonic position as before. Only one who answered was Mayuri, not with words, but with a head shake. Then, she stepped closer to her friend, unable to bear anything other than a somber expression on her face.

"Hey, Chiaki? How are you?" quietly asked Mayuri, just to see how would she respond. Chiaki then just looked at her, with the same lifeless expression she had through out the entire time.

"...I'm fine…" murmured Chiaki, still hiding her true self from everyone. It wasn't an unexpected response, but Mayuri's heart started to feel heavier. Every single downplaying of hers, every single deflection of worries started to feel like prolonged stabs to her heart. Despite that, she still kept her feelings inside there, although her eyes started to display how she truly felt.

"What? You don't look fine at all, Chiaki!" Ibuki countered out of concern, just saying what her entire group felt out loud. However, the barrier was still not broken. In fact, Chiaki only dug herself further.

"...It's...okay….you don't have to worry…." Chiaki forced a smile, just to make her friend group calm down. The effect, however, was the exact opposite. It only made it worse. All of that was slowly building up anguish Mayuri held inside from seeing her friend like that. Her behavior did not go unnoticed by others too.

"Chiaki, we're just letting you know that we're ready to help at any time, okay? If there's something bothering you, we'll be there." Hajime was one to overtly offer her help. He, just like others, genuinely wanted to reach out for her. They all wanted to pull her out of it.

"Hajime is right...We'll be always there for you, no matter what." added Mayuri, hoping that it would at least reassure her that everything was going to be okay, no matter what.

But it didn't.

"There's...nothing to worry about now…" Chiaki kept repeating the same uttering as she tried to get up from her bed, but everyone else noticed how she was trembling the entire time, almost hitting herself on the bed due to losing grip. After few attempts, she did get out of the bed successfully, but it was enough for everyone to see how she's truly like. Only thing needed was for her to no longer hide it and they had to make her realize that, sooner or later.

"...She can't go on like this anymore…" thought Mayuri to herself as she was starting to be visibly distressed by the amount of anguish Chiaki held to herself. Only reason why Mayuri kept holding back was she wasn't exactly sure when to say it, but she knew it had to be that day. If it went on for too long, Chiaki might have truly break.

For a start of the day and as an attempt for to give her some energy, they prepared themselves for a breakfast. At least, they tried to, but such plan fell quickly apart the moment Chiaki sat behind the table. Immediately, she rested her head on the table, covering her eyes with her hands. That was enough for everyone to stop.

"Uh, Chiaki?" Hajime tried to ask her, but before he could truly reach out for her, she already deflected.

"...Just not hungry, that's all. You guys can eat in peace…" mumbled Chiaki while still hiding her face from everyone else. What Mayuri felt through out the entirety of it was soon more overtly shared by others as well. They couldn't really bear to see her constantly putting herself down for the sake of others. Just from their worrisome grimaces, they couldn't no longer hide it.

"Goddamnit, she just keep closing herself from us!...But we can't be rash here...considering what she's going through...but she can't keep doing this to herself…" Hajime thought to himself, aware that she shouldn't be pushed too much, but at the same time, they couldn't do nothing about her. The time was passing quickly before the situation got worse.

Suddenly, one of them got an idea.

"Hey, Chiaki? Are you up to a video game? You always love those, right?" Ibuki offered an activity that Chiaki always loved to do. Even just mentioning games always cheered her up.

That was not the case, it seemed.

"...Sure…" Chiaki just quietly mumbled, with her eyes being weary as before. Ibuki flinched from such unexpected response, with her hope being shut down over her cheering up even just a bit. It took her a while to process what had to be done to bring Chiaki to such levels.

"Huh? The lack of enthusiasm in her voice….they...what have they done to her?" Ibuki thought to herself as she started to bite her nails. Something about Nanami being devoid of energy kept knocking her mind, even she couldn't really relax about it. Their reactions did not gone unnoticed by the girl herself.

"Guys...please….don't worry about me...I'll be...fine….but Miss Yukizome…" Chiaki tried to reassure them with a forced smile, but at one point, her breathing became heavier. Anxiety was weighing down on, but she barely managed to hide it. She really tried to smile, but her eyes were betraying her. "No...nevermind…it's going to be...okay...in the end..."

She only made them even more concerned.

"We can't let her do that to herself...we have to make her talk….even if it will…." Chihiro thought to himself, but then he accidentally glanced at Mayuri. From her eyes and a frown alone, she was nothing but utterly miserable. In a way, very similar to how Chiaki was feeling, except that Mayuri did not bother to hide it anymore.

Instead of breakfast, they decided to hop on a couch to play some game. Something co-op, anything that would just cheer up Chiaki just a little. Maybe then she would be honest about it. As for the game, what they chose didn't matter much, they were kind of too desperate to think about it. Once they started to play the game, problems were immediately noticed.

Chiaki, an avid player of games, was playing it with nothing short of lethargy. Her movements were rather delayed as she just blankly stared at the screen, not even following her own character. As such, she was lagging behind others. To them, it felt incredibly unnatural. Not even once in their time did she ever play with such lack of enthusiasm before.

"C-Chiaki-" Chihiro really desperately tried to reach out for her. He really did try his best, but to no avail.

"I-it's fine, really! Please, guys…" Chiaki begged them to believe her that despite how she was acting through out the entire morning, that everything was okay with her. That there was nothing to worry about at all.

In that moment, something snapped inside Mayuri.

"….I can't watch this anymore." Mayuri spoke with a shaken, yet furious voice as she suddenly stood up and just placed herself right in front of Chiaki, glaring at her. Everyone around her, including Chiaki herself, flinched from such sudden yet strong reaction from a usually docile girl like Mayuri. Just from her anguished glare alone could Chiaki tell that Mayuri needed her for something. She was trembling, since she never saw Mayuri be like that before. She didn't even know what will Mayuri do to her.

"Me and Chiaki will need some time alone. We'll be back when we're done with this, okay?" Mayuri sternly warned everyone, but other friends could already imagine what was she going to do with Chiaki. She was the one who took first leap to reach it, regardless of method. Without saying a word, Mayuri guided Chiaki, who meekly followed her, to her bedroom. After gently closing the door, Chiaki just sat on the bed out of instinct, trying her best to maintain eye contact with Mayuri, who still had stern glare directed right at her.

"Is...is there something wrong, Mayuri?" timidly asked Chiaki, still trembling as she did not know what will Mayuri do to her. However, knowing how utterly scared she is, Mayuri had some major hesitation regarding confronting her. It wasn't the first time Mayuri had to pull someone out of dark. It was never easy either.

"...There is, Chiaki….I just...don't know how to begin…I really don't wanna scare you right now….but we need to talk about a thing you're doing." Mayuri promised her that she will do nothing terrifying to her, instead opting for just a talk for what Chiaki has been doing for not only entirety of their time they've known each other, but for years. Immediately, Chiaki started to feel guilt about it.

"...I'm doing something wrong, right?" murmured Chiaki, assuming so, but she wasn't exactly sure what was the problem. She wanted to know as quickly as possible.

"...Yes...yes you are. What you're doing to yourself is very wrong." Mayuri immediately told her what was her wrongdoing. For a moment, Chiaki was surprised, since she did not expect that someone would call her out for how she treats herself.

"...It's not that important..there's other things-" Chiaki just looked down and tried to deflect any worry about her. It were always others who were more important than her, that's what she thought.

Such response was the tipping point.

"...How much longer are you gonna do this to yourself?!" Mayuri snapped at her with nothing but sheer anguish in her voice. For all the anger she had inside her, it was nothing to (genuine anguish in her voice)

"H-huh?!" Chiaki flinched as she covered her face, making herself smaller to protect herself. But despite the shock, Mayuri had no intention to hurt her.

"How much longer will you constantly put yourself down?! Do you realize how much it hurts to watch a friend constantly tear herself apart?!" Mayuri stopped hesitating what she truly felt when Chiaki kept constantly doing that, even placing her own hands on her chest to further emphasize how much it was genuinely painful for her.

With that, Chiaki gasped as she covered her mouth out of shock. She finally realized something she never did before.

All of that hiding, all of that deflecting, was doing the exact opposite as she intended.

"I...hurt you? I...hurt my...friends…?" murmured Chiaki, still hardly believing that for such long time, her own lack of self-treatment could be felt by others. She felt that as a friend, she completely failed. All she wanted them to be happy, to be free of anxieties and pain she felt every day.

"You're hurting yourself, Chiaki! Don't get me wrong, you're an amazing friend, one of the best I have….You do so much for us….but you're horrible to yourself. You're destroying yourself and I'm not sure if you're even aware of it…" clarified Mayuri, with a quieter, yet even more broken voice than before. Chiaki could hear her voice crack. At that point, Chiaki remained silent, but her vision was getting blurry. She felt something on her eyes as her heart was feeling ever so heavier. Although she spoke with her emotions forefront, Mayuri felt like she was too harsh on her.

"Chiaki...you have to be upfront with this. Don't hide it anymore...Please...just be-" Mayuri pleaded her to address it, but something unexpected happened to her. Chiaki couldn't hold her tears back anymore, it was her true self breaking through the barrier she set up to protect herself from everyone.

The facade she had was truly gone.

Chiaki couldn't do anything but to bawl. All of those emotions she held back, all the pain she went through, it was just too much for her. She couldn't even say anything anymore. Mayuri was the first one to experience her true self and she was just as shocked. However, Mayuri tried to do what she thought was a right thing to do. She slowly and gently embraced her arms around her, giving her a comforting hug. As he tears kept falling, Chiaki returned her hug with shaken arms as she tightly held a grip on her friend. She needed someone to comfort her through out it.

"...I understand now….you are afraid of losing people, right?" Mayuri started to reassure her, giving her gentle pats on her back. Without saying a word, Chiaki just confirmed with a nod. Those tears just couldn't stop falling from her cheeks. Upon realization, Mayuri's own grip became tighter.

"We promise you that no one will go away….No one will leave you behind...We all love you for who you are, Chiaki." Mayuri continued to reassure her, guaranteeing her that they'll be always there for her, no matter what. Nothing short of genuine sincerity was had when Mayuri told her that despite everything, they still love her for who she is.

Despite everything, they'll always be there for her. For the first time ever, Chiaki was truly proven that there will be people there for her...and there will be people that love her.

It was something she needed to hear for a very long time.

"...I'm...sorry….I'm...really sorry…" Chiaki kept apologizing, realizing how much pain she caused around her simply by not treating herself well. She couldn't stop feeling guilty about it, she was more than enough willing to take the blame for it all.

"It's alright, Chiaki. What you're doing right now is taking a step in right direction. No one should carry so much burden by themselves….Don't be afraid to ask for help, Chiaki. We will always have your back." Mayuri comforted her, reassuring her that she's doing a right thing. She'll be pulled out of the darkness that followed her for the entirety of her life. Even though she kept crying, her heart began to feel lighter. All that pain could finally be expressed to someone. At the same time, Mayuri's smile returned.

"Hey...about Miss Yukizome...you want her back, don't you?" Mayuri kept patting her on the back as she wanted to hear what Chiaki truly felt about it.

"...Y-yeah...bring her...back...please…." begged Chiaki, desperate to have her beloved teacher back. She couldn't bear to know that the person she loved was not only under the claws of their enemy, but also abused by them.

"We all do...we'll bring her back...that will happen, Chiaki. It's like what happened with Faris before...I was really scared too when I first heard it….but eventually, we saved her. We will save Miss Yukizome as well...and everything will turn out to be alright." Mayuri promised her with a gentle smile, relating how she felt when her friend was kidnapped. She went through similar experience as before, but deep down, she felt like that they'll manage to overcome it. Chisa will be back.

Even though tears still fell, Chiaki felt like most of it was out. Somehow, her heart felt much lighter, more free from chains of her own emotional repression. Both of them looked each other in the eye as Mayuri noticed that she still had that weary expression on her face. Those feelings were there for a very long time.

"...You had so much in you...how could you just hold it for years by yourself alone?" Mayuri asked her out of concern, she suspected that there was far more going on that Chiaki let on.

"...I'm just used to it, really...Didn't really have anyone before…" murmured Chiaki. Upon hearing those words, a thought appeared in Mayuri's mind. Something that disturbed her to the core.

"...Not even Papa or Mama?" Mayuri really wanted to know if that anyone was truly absolute.

The response Chiaki gave to her told her everything.

"...I haven't seen them since I was young…".

Nothing short of horror was the reaction that Mayuri had. She realized that having to live without anyone's support for such a long time was something her close friend went through. It explained absolutely everything about her.

"You were...all by yourself...for that long?" Mayuri's voice became shaken as she could barely hold her own tears from just imagining how alone Chiaki was for most of the life.

"Mhm…" Chiaki just quietly nodded, knowing that was her reality.

"...Oh god, Chiaki…." Mayuri gave her a hug out of instinct as tears began falling down her cheeks. Her grip became tighter than before, really not wanting to let go off Chiaki.

"You didn't deserve to be alone...You really didn't….We'll always be here for you...Always…." Mayuri kept promising her that they'll always be there, her friends would never even think about abandoning her. Chiaki returned the hug as well, still letting her tears fall.

"...T-thanks…You guys are...the best…." Chiaki didn't know what to express other than utmost gratitude. For once, she was aware that there will be friends for her. She would never forget what Mayuri did for her, what everyone else did for her and she wanted to express it back as well.

"You should let others know it too...Others need to hear it…" suggested Mayuri as she felt like others will make her sure that they will be there for her. Unlike before, where she would just deflect it, Chiaki accepted it.

"If you think it's the right thing to do….then...I will…" Chiaki promised that she'll do it, she'll finally show her friends what she truly felt.

"Don't do it for me, Chiaki. Do it for yourself." Mayuri cautioned her that she should do it for her own sake, not for anyone else's sake. She had to understand that she was important as well. Chiaki remained quiet, but she went through with it, but not before making a motion with her hand, asking Mayuri to hold her hand. She was still afraid how would anyone else react. Mayuri did not hesitate and held her hand as both of them slowly approached the door.

Once they opened it, they saw that rest of her friends were listening too. They knew it all what was happening with her and they were just as shocked as Mayuri was. But just like Mayuri, none of them hesitated to support her. Ibuki was the first one to give her a hug, with Hajime and Chihiro following after. Mayuri joined in as well, all giving her a comforting hug. Chiaki was taken aback at first, but slowly she embraced them all. She could feel warmth that she desired for so long.

"We'll be always here for you, Chiaki. Nothing will change that." promised Hajime as his voice was also shaken. He fully grasped who Chiaki truly was, but it wouldn't make him leave her.

"Y-yeah! There will be nothing that will separate us! Nothing at all!" Ibuki's voice could be heard cracking as her hug became even tighter. She really didn't want to let go off Chiaki. In a way, there was something to relate to her.

"We'll help as much as possible too! You are our best friend, Chiaki." promised Chihiro as well, teary eyed, but his voice was filled with nothing but pure determination. All those reassurances, all such warmth made Chiaki smile again, that time it was a genuine one. She couldn't help but shed few more tears, she just wasn't used to such warmth.

"...T-thank you….thank you, everyone...You are all so….amazing…." Chiaki expressed eternal gratitude for her friends as she enjoyed every moment of the hug. She didn't want that moment to go away. Even in such times, there was hope.

Hope that everything will turn out to be okay.

The rest of the day passed as the moon was shining through out the cloudless sky. Everyone present in Chiaki's house was beyond exhausted just from the morning alone. Most of them went to sleep, trying to relax themselves even during such times. Only two who were still awake were Mayuri and Chiaki. Neither of them could sleep, there were still things that were needed to be done. Mayuri was standing near her bed, where as Chiaki was lying on it, still blankly staring at the ceiling.

"Hey, Chiaki? If I was too harsh on you before, I'm sorry…" apologized Mayuri as she felt guilty over it. Despite her best intentions, she could never forget how fierce of a reaction did her friend had. So much was stored inside her.

"It's alright, Mayuri. It's something….I needed. Never thought it would be like that." Chiaki turned towards her as she looked her in the eyes, reassuring her that she didn't do anything wrong. In fact, what she did was right, she really needed to hear it.

"Well...how do you feel now?" asked Mayuri, still curious how would Chiaki respond. It took her a while, but how she responded was a sign that her actions did have an impact.

"….Terrible. You didn't deserve to go through this…" Chiaki expressed it with all honesty, while also revealing that she felt guilty over it as well.

"But it had to happen. Carrying burdens of ourselves goes two ways, you know." smiled Mayuri, feeling relieved that Chiaki was able to be honest with her feelings.

"...I wish it wasn't like that. It would have been much easier if I could just carry everyone's burden...I think." murmured Chiaki, wishing that everyone else was free of pain, regardless of what she went through.

"That's not a right thing to do, Chiaki. You can't neglect yourself like that. Doing that will just further weigh upon you until one day, you completely break. Friends will always help each other equally." assured Mayuri that such mindset was not healthy at all. She even gave her a pat, just to comfort her further. For a moment, Chiaki was stuck. She didn't know how to respond.

"...I guess you are right. After...going through that, my heart feels easier, I think. It's like as a whole is easier...slightly." admitted Chiaki as she placed her hands on chest, noting that it did feel lighter. Perhaps Mayuri was right after all.

"You had a chance to expose your true self after all. Mayushii is glad that we are able to help….although, if I had to admit, Mayushii wishes that we could have seen each other before. I was looking for you for years and years…" Mayuri suddenly revealed that she never gave up on her. For all those years, she kept searching for her. Chiaki gasped a little upon hearing the truth.

"...You were?" murmured Chiaki, still taken aback that someone would care that much for. So much so that they would never truly leave them.

"Yeah…but bad things happened….Some that I can't tell were real or not….but I'm really glad we are able to see each other again." further revealed Mayuri as some of the events were similar to how she felt in the morning. She definitely felt it, she definitely went through it, but what was just a bad dream or undisputed reality.

"...Me too...I was looking for you too...but if I can ask...what happened?" Chiaki confirmed that she was also looking for her before she asked what exactly happened to her. She already hinted that something went wrong before.

"...I can talk about one thing, because I remember it very clearly. Others memories are...not as clear." Mayuri gave a heads up that only one event was truly certain. None than less, Chiaki listened.

"Well, when Mayushii was young, there was one person that Mayushii really loved. A person that Mayuri was looked up to…it was my granny. She always took care of me, even when the times seemed dark. Mayushii always happily listened to what granny had to say…" Mayuri began talking about her own grandmother with a relaxed smile on her face. Just from how highly did she spoke of her grandmother was something Chiaki loved to listen to. Something about great parental figures was always up to Chiaki's alley.

"Shortly after we met for the first time, I told my granny about you. She said that you seemed like a wonderful gal and that she would have loved to meet you in person." giggled Mayuri about the fact that she was more than ready to introduce Chiaki to her. Even Chiaki smiled a little, but that smile was quickly gone when she realized that Mayuri said "would have". She already had a good guess on what happened to Mayuri's grandmother.

"...Did she…" lamented Chiaki as her heart started to become heavier. She did not even like thinking about that happening, let alone that someone would have to experience it.

"...Yeah. Granny didn't have much time anymore. When she passed away, so it felt like Mayushii was gone too. Mayushii's heart fell into...dark places. Only thing I could do was look up to the heavens, where Granny was. Mayushii tried to reach for her, but…her fate was sealed." Mayuri's smile disappeared when she mentioned what happened to her. It was a complete gut punch for Chiaki, just thinking about someone so wonderful being gone was enough to engulf her in sadness. For a moment, neither of them spoke.

"I was in...a dark place...but I was pulled out by Okarin. Thanks to him, Mayushii came back." Mayuri's smile returned when she brought up the moment when a certain someone she loved saved her. "Hey, do you know why he becomes Hououin Kyouma?"

"...I'm not sure…" Chiaki shook her head. She didn't even think about it in the first place, she thought that it was like with certain classmate of hers, that he did it for fun.

"Because he knows that makes Mayushii happy. Thanks to that, Mayushii is now in a happier place. It's why we are able to see each other again." revealed Mayuri with a smile on her face. She still fondly remembered how Rintaro was hugging her amid the rain, reassuring her that he'll do anything to bring Mayuri back. Needless to say, Chiaki was quite surprised to learn the truth, but it was the best kind of truth. The one that comforts a person.

"Rintaro is a beyond amazing person...He did so much good with this…" Chiaki smiled as well, feeling proud for her mad scientist friend. As each day passed, she wanted to be more like him. A person that could always bring happiness to their friends.

"I know, right? Now, Miss Yukizome pulled out of a dark place too, right?" Mayuri assumed that Chisa has as similar value as Rintaro does, even though there were a differences. Rintaro was Mayuri's childhood friend, almost family, where as Chisa was like a mother figure to Chiaki, the one she needed for most of her life.

"...Yeah...she did….she showed me that even this world can be a wonderful place…" nodded Chiaki while still happily reminiscing that moment when she met Chisa for the first time. Just thinking about that moment made her feel more relaxed.

"Heh...she truly did…" chuckled Mayuri. However, Chiaki's thought was brief, since she was too aware that reality of the present was significantly different than the one of past.

"...but….I can't sleep because of what happened….and what are they doing to her…" Chiaki became honest with her feelings again, telling Mayuri that the whole situation was just kicking her anxiety more and more.

"Mayushii knows Miss Yukizome will come back….We will bring her back, like we did with Faris….but you need rest too. Maybe a little song will help….Mayushii knows one." reassured Mayuri before she came up with a little suggestion.

"Hm? Is it a lullaby?" Chiaki tilted her head, curious about it. Even though she relied on music boxes for her sleep in the past, she was very intrigued by the idea of someone singing a lullaby to her.

"Hmm...not too sure but you could see it as one. It's a song that always stuck in Mayushii's mind...Do you wanna hear it?" asked Mayuri one more time, just to be sure.

"Of course, Mayuri. Anything for you." Chiaki gently smiled, letting her know that she's ready to do anything for her.

"Alright, heh…" chuckled Mayuri before she began singing with her ever gentle voice.

"There's one thing I'm searching for,

The laughter of the stars,

Shining on the wind,

You can grab it if you reach out your hand."

With a soothing song of the stars, Chiaki managed to close her eyes and fall asleep. She tightly grabbed her Usami plushie, the very one that Mayuri gave her. There was still sadness felt in her, a great amount, but Mayuri knew that what happened to her was directing her to a brighter future.

"Good night, Chiaki. You are on the right path now. It's something Mayushii is glad was able to do..." thought Mayuri herself, giving Chiaki a pat before she stepped away, letting the girl sleep at peace. Then she stepped towards the window, standing right in front of her. She looked towards the starry night sky as she reached with her arm. Pretending to have grabbed a star and placed it near her chest, having a little smile on her face.

Mayushii is glad that she's finally useful…."