Chapter 16:

The Art of Letting Go

Crimson Core


„What do you want from me?“Bookmark here

„She's chasing after you, you know.“Bookmark here

„Who?“Bookmark here

„My prettier half, Ren-chan.“Bookmark here

„So?“Bookmark here

„You're part of the same club, you're her friend.“Bookmark here

„Is she a Symbol or a Prime?“Bookmark here

„Symbol.“Bookmark here

„Then maybe I should have a little taste of her Mana“Bookmark here

„What are you saying? You have a partner already.“Bookmark here

„I have?“Bookmark here

„Yes, Nagi-chan, a cute brown-haired girl.“Bookmark here

„I don't want her. She is just a basic napkin thief.“Bookmark here

„I want Utari. Utari? Are you there?“Bookmark here

„No.“Bookmark here

„Stop messing around with me, I know you're in there.“Bookmark here

„And you know that how?“Bookmark here

„Because I wished to be with you forever.“Bookmark here

„But I was too afraid to see you hurt.“Bookmark here

„You were lying on a sidewalk...“Bookmark here

„Your parent's cry was the most dreadful sound I've ever heard. It haunts me still.“Bookmark here

„No.“Bookmark here

„No?“Bookmark here

„Your guilt is haunting you, not my parents, not me.“Bookmark here

„Yes. I feel the guilt of not being there for you.“Bookmark here

„No. You feel guilty for taking my freedom from me.“Bookmark here

„My smile from me.“Bookmark here

„And in the end you tore Myself from Me.“Bookmark here

„Are you not satisfied?“Bookmark here

„Shut up, you're not real.“Bookmark here

„I bet Cyn and that doctor planted you inside my head so I would succumb to this pressure. I'm the victim here!“Bookmark here

„You're pathetic.“Bookmark here

„But at the same time, you're the pathetic guy I fell for once upon a time. Which makes me an even worse human being.“Bookmark here

„Say hello to Nagi-chan from me, would you?“Bookmark here

„ ...“Bookmark here

Kappa- The Prime Shard.Bookmark here

A jester and the prankster. It is a shard known for it's playful but often harmful nature. It toys with feelings of other people, which admittedly, gives him an advantage comparing to all other Prime shards.Bookmark here

But the coin always comes bearing two sides.Bookmark here

The price of it's nature it pays in constant doubt and uncertainty. If left unattended, he will question the very reality before his eyes. Bookmark here

In absence of a stable matter, people tend to create one. He will stabilize itself by creating worlds that do not exist.Bookmark here

Those worlds will mask themselves as Love, but in truth they are nothing but fool's excuse of a [Devouring Core].Bookmark here

Kappa will devour everything in it's reach into it's Love. Even the shard carrier himself.Bookmark here

They can devour other people by making excuses.Bookmark here

It's an unsupervised baby that invites other kids in their castle made out of fickle glass.Bookmark here

Such a troublesome shard.Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

Nana and Omi found themselves in a spacious room filled with papers and letters. It reminded Omi of his own room, and his beloved sister that is always standing by his side no matter how stubborn or selfish he may act.Bookmark here

„Let's get this over with, is that him in the middle?“ Omi pointed out a shadow behind a lone computer desk, illuminated by a couple of candles.Bookmark here

„If you replace shadow thingies with flesh and clothes, yea sure, I could see Eden,“ Nana leaned her head right and left, checking the shadow from different angles.Bookmark here

„Are you making fun of me?“ Omi asked.Bookmark here

„Me? Pfff, never,“ Nana waved off.Bookmark here

„Ok so what does that look like to you?“ Omi sighed while covering his face with a palm.Bookmark here

„It seems like he's writing letters?“ Nana tapped on her bottom lip, „ no, no, he's erasing them, definitely.“Bookmark here

Omi looked around. Huge piles of letters around him were poorly erased as if it was a job done by a kid.Bookmark here

„Now this means I have to rewrite his love letters for him? I'll pass,“ Omi complained.Bookmark here

„No Sherlock, he's erasing the letters using his bare fingers. That's mental!“Bookmark here

„Cause everything shades are doing is normal right?“ Omi rolled his eyes.Bookmark here

„I mean, he's wasting his shadowy fingers by erasing these papers, and with such a tragic expression on his face! We've got to help him!“ Nana hopped rigorously.Bookmark here

„Why are you talking about that thing like it's a puppy?“ Omi gripped the hand of his sword.Bookmark here

„I have a dog at home just like you, but mine is a bulldog named Hyde,“ Nana smiled.Bookmark here

„You really are a horror fanatic, are you?“Bookmark here

„No, he likes to HIDE a lot,“ Nana explained.Bookmark here

Omi blurted out a laugh.Bookmark here

„That is actually amazing,“ Omi concluded.Bookmark here

„Meanie!“ Nana pouted by turning her back.Bookmark here

Omi pointed a sword at the letter that shadow was desperately trying to erase. He wondered if the letters would emerge on the paper again if he drips Mana from his blade on it.Bookmark here

„Oh! It's working!“ Omi shouted happily, „U..me...ko?“ cold sweat bathed his face.Bookmark here

„What are you saying?“ asked Nana.Bookmark here

„No, nothing, I think I'm reading the characters wrong,“ Omi couldn't resist the temptation to stare at the letter.Bookmark here

He waited till the shadow grabs another one.Bookmark here

„U....me....ko“Bookmark here

And another one.Bookmark here

„U...me....ko“Bookmark here

And every letter after that one said the same.Bookmark here

„Umeko is your former partner, right?“ Nana leaned against his back.Bookmark here

„Mhm“ Omi shook his head in confirmation.Bookmark here

„I see the name of my former boyfriend, you know,“ she said quietly.Bookmark here

„But me and Umeko weren't...“Bookmark here

„Shhh Mr. Omes,“ Nana wrapped her arms around him tightly, „I'm gifting you this hug, you better appreciate it.“Bookmark here

They stood there for a couple of minutes, observing the letters that gave them a numb pain in the chest.Bookmark here

The Mana from the blade made of concentrated blue gas kept dripping, creating the words that repeated over and over again. It seemed unending.Bookmark here

„I can't be stuck in this moment, I have to stabilize him,“ concluded Omi as he stretched his hands.Bookmark here

„Good boy,“ Nana moved away from him.Bookmark here

„Let me guess, the trick is to put exactly seven drops on the parchment?“ Omi put his sword up up in the air.Bookmark here

„Tsk Tsk, using other people's tricks,“ Nana smiled at him, „go ahead, it should do the trick.“Bookmark here

Omi counted to seven and put his sword down.Bookmark here

Letters emerged from the letter.Bookmark here

It spelled „Daichi.“Bookmark here

The room around them twisted and turned like a wet towel. Tiny cracks broke the space around them like an old vase. The feeling of indifference exited their hearts and it was replaced by an indescribable acceptance. They were one with themselves.Bookmark here

„I've heard Alp describing me this feeling so many times, I never thought it would be this beautiful,“ sad Omi as he looked deep into Nana's eyes.Bookmark here

„Such is the art of letting go,“ said Nana and closed her eyes.Bookmark here

The cracks appeared all over her red wavy hair which scared Omi. He thought she would disappear into a thin air so he hugged her tightly and burrowed his face into her hair.Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

„And we're back,“ Nana said while checking on Omi that slept soundly in another chair.Bookmark here

„Oh, oh my, I feel like you gave me an epic massage, darling“ Eden said.Bookmark here

„Omi did most of the work, at the very end he used his own Mana to stop the charade that is going on inside your head,“ Nana used a serious tone.Bookmark here

„Oh wow, lioness brought out her claws, rawr,“ Eden pretended to be a wild cat.Bookmark here

„You tried to devour us, to sip the Mana from our source. You were like a vampire to everyone around you, weren't you?“ Nana spoke while avoiding an eye contact with Eden.Bookmark here

Butler stood in silence for all this time but decided to intervene just now.Bookmark here

„I appreciate what you did for my master, but now it is due time for you two to be on your merry way,“ he woke up Omi with a scent of a strange oil that he moved underneath his nose using the napkin.Bookmark here

„Where, what...?“ Omi looked around him confused.Bookmark here

„It's okay darling, our job here is done. And by the way Ed, next time I'm gonna tear out the claws of your kitty,“ she left the room with Omi.Bookmark here

Eden sipped the fresh batch of tea his butler had prepared for him and watched them leave.Bookmark here

„What on earth was that?“ Omi tried to catch his breath.Bookmark here

„Just some good old advice sharing,“ Nana responded.Bookmark here

„That was kind of hot,“ he muttered.Bookmark here

„Thank you!“ smiled Nana as they walked towards the exit of a manor.Bookmark here

Sunbar waited for them in a main hall. He waved his fluffy tail happily when he saw Omi.Bookmark here

„Let's go home,“ he petted him and they walked out together.Bookmark here

They left the menacing manor behind them and entered Nana's car.Bookmark here

„By the way congrats Omes, you've officially passed the test,“ Nana grabbed some papers from the bottom compartment inside her car.Bookmark here

„You carry the paperwork with you? Nerd.“ Omi jested.Bookmark here

„Hey, calm down there, if you sign here, you will become my partner,“ Nana marked the line with a small „x“.Bookmark here

„What does that mean, exactly?“ he asked.Bookmark here

„That means your life will never be the same,“ she smiled.Bookmark here

„Fine.“Bookmark here

Omi finally felt ready to start something in his life that didn't involve Ume.Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

As the nights grew colder and days ever shorter, the day of the school festival has arrived in Bohr Academy.Bookmark here

Each class preformed some sort of activity. Shiki and Umeko's class was stated in the school gardens, managing a special picnic area. Bookmark here

It was designated with couples in mind, so they can enjoy a specially prepared picnic just for them, but boys and their high school humor got better of them so more often than not, bunch of boys would pretend to hang out and drink tea. In the end they would enjoy themselves which led to awkward conversations afterwards.Bookmark here

Umeko served food dressed in bear apron atop her dark green dress. She donned a headkerchief so her hair doesn't get in her way while serving their customers.Bookmark here

She was extremely popular with boys which made her especially self-aware and every now and then she would spy on Shiki to catch a potentially jealous reaction. But that was wishful thinking.Bookmark here

When he wasn't helping prepare food or bringing groceries he would stare at the giant old tree in the distance.Bookmark here

That annoyed her quiet a bit which in result made her even more clingy and outgoing with male customers. Bookmark here

Their girlfriends weren't particularly fond of her behavior and in more than one occasion they would throw the picnic basket at their frowning boyfriends. Bookmark here

Shiki didn't care about that. Smile abandoned his face ever since he visited the Lotus Medical Institute. Umeko had no idea he was there, of course.Bookmark here

She even hoped that some couples would end up in a serious fight so they have to intervene as shard carriers, and a sheer thought of that made her feel bad about herself.Bookmark here

After few hours she decided to face the expressionless boy.Bookmark here

„We have lots of people comin' aye?“ her accent was even stronger than usual. She wanted to lure a smile on his face.Bookmark here

„Guess so,“ he kept his focus onto the tree.Bookmark here

„What's so special about that one?“ she put her hands behind her back.Bookmark here

„The first time I was in [World Within] with you, that tree served as an inspiration to let out my Magic,“ Shiki talked in more abrasive tone than usual. Ume tried to ignore it.Bookmark here

Nonetheless, she was glad that he was thinking about their adventure together.Bookmark here

„We really kicked some shadow butts haven't we,“ she grazed his arm.“Bookmark here

It was solid-cold as if he was sleeping in a cold cellar for days.Bookmark here

„What the hell, are you all right Shiki?“ she jumped in front of him and grabbed his frostbitten hands.Bookmark here

Shiki didn't drop the look down on her. He followed the direction of bare branches with his eyes.Bookmark here

„She's cold and alone too, you know,“ said Shiki.Bookmark here

„Wh...who?“ Ume seemed confused.Bookmark here

„Nagisa.“Bookmark here

„?!“ The frostbite from Shiki's arms violently transferred into her own body and shackled around her heart.Bookmark here

„Let her out so we can play together,“ he peaked deep into her eyes and made her shiver from the absence of warmth.Bookmark here

Tears were dripping down her cheeks that have numbed from the cold. She distanced herself from Shiki and ran straight towards the school.Bookmark here

Shiki just stood there immovable, staring at the tree.Bookmark here

Umeko pulled the back door of the school so hard she almost tore it off.Bookmark here

Without a knock she burst into the infirmary.Bookmark here

„What have you done to him, witch?!“ she yelled at Cyn that was sitting on a desk, filling out some paperwork.Bookmark here

„Enjoying the school festival, are we? Want a cup of coffee?“ she got up from chair and moved towards the coffee machine in the corner.Bookmark here

„Coffee? I'm not here to bond over a cup of coffee, now spit it out, witch!“Bookmark here

Someone knocked on the door of the infirmary and tried to get in but Ume shut the door with her leg in front of their nose. Bookmark here

„My my, you're worried about your partner are you? He is fine, I assure you,“ Cyn said while sipping the coffee.Bookmark here

„Fine? He is weird and ice cold and he even called out Nagisa!“ Umeko's shout almost turned into cry but she contained herself. She wanted truth, not a consolation.Bookmark here

„Astounding! That means he's probably living within the World for days now and freely communicate with the inhabitants of [Cryptic Umbra].Bookmark here

„Cryptic what? What the hell is that now? Oh my God, does it have something to do with Mia-chan?“ Umeko was barely holding onto her consciousness.Bookmark here

„It is a poorly studied state that only rare Prime Shard carriers can achieve,“ Cyn looked through the papers on the bottom drawer and added, „it has absolutely everything to do with Miyako.“Bookmark here

„That means I can go in there too, after all I devoured Nagisa for you!“ tears came crashing down like dominoes.Bookmark here

„It's different. You devoured part of yourself,“ Cyn sighed.Bookmark here

„I don't care! I want to help Shiki. He's in there somewhere lost and trapped, he is not cut out for this, he will die!“ Umeko's legs gave away and she crumbled onto the floor.Bookmark here

„That is where you're wrong. He is cut out for this since he devoured a person before he even met all of you. You can't reach him, I'm so sorry.“ Bookmark here

Cyn tried her best to put up a scientific front, but was still hurting seeing Umeko so helpless.Bookmark here

„Shut up, witch, maybe I can't reach him, but I bet Nagisa can, you said it yourself“ Umeko jumped from the ground and replaced her tears with anger.Bookmark here

„No, honey, you wouldn't do it, please, you know I did that to save you,“ Cyn tried to reach her but failed. Bookmark here

„I never once asked for a salvation. I wouldn't mind being an average high school girl, but naturally, you disagreed. You didn't want a daughter, you wanted an heir.“ Umeko looked at Cyn with despise.Bookmark here

„That is not true, I wanted to do what's best for you, you were meant to do such amazing things!“ Glow within Cyn's eyes only put the fuel on the raging fire.Bookmark here

„I was meant to be your puppet, an I had reconciled with my fate. But I sure as hell won't let you ruin another life. It's time to say hello to my old self. What a day for a reunion.“Bookmark here

Umeko declared her intent. She left the infirmary furiously.Bookmark here

„What a strong daughter we have, Iku, I'm starting to suspect she's not our daughter at all,“ Cyn lighted up a cigarette without bothering to go near the open window.
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