„What do you want from me?“
„She's chasing after you, you know.“
„My prettier half, Ren-chan.“
„You're part of the same club, you're her friend.“
„Is she a Symbol or a Prime?“
„Then maybe I should have a little taste of her Mana“
„What are you saying? You have a partner already.“
„Yes, Nagi-chan, a cute brown-haired girl.“
„I don't want her. She is just a basic napkin thief.“
„I want Utari. Utari? Are you there?“
„Stop messing around with me, I know you're in there.“
„And you know that how?“
„Because I wished to be with you forever.“
„But I was too afraid to see you hurt.“
„You were lying on a sidewalk...“
„Your parent's cry was the most dreadful sound I've ever heard. It haunts me still.“
„Your guilt is haunting you, not my parents, not me.“
„Yes. I feel the guilt of not being there for you.“
„No. You feel guilty for taking my freedom from me.“
„My smile from me.“
„And in the end you tore Myself from Me.“
„Are you not satisfied?“
„Shut up, you're not real.“
„I bet Cyn and that doctor planted you inside my head so I would succumb to this pressure. I'm the victim 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.“
„Say hello to Nagi-chan from me, would you?“
Kappa- The Prime Shard.
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.
But the coin always comes bearing two sides.
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.
In absence of a stable matter, people tend to create one. He will stabilize itself by creating worlds that do not exist.
Those worlds will mask themselves as Love, but in truth they are nothing but fool's excuse of a [Devouring Core].
Kappa will devour everything in it's reach into it's Love. Even the shard carrier himself.
They can devour other people by making excuses.
It's an unsupervised baby that invites other kids in their castle made out of fickle glass.
Such a troublesome shard.
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.
„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.
„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.
„Are you making fun of me?“ Omi asked.
„Me? Pfff, never,“ Nana waved off.
„Ok so what does that look like to you?“ Omi sighed while covering his face with a palm.
„It seems like he's writing letters?“ Nana tapped on her bottom lip, „ no, no, he's erasing them, definitely.“
Omi looked around. Huge piles of letters around him were poorly erased as if it was a job done by a kid.
„Now this means I have to rewrite his love letters for him? I'll pass,“ Omi complained.
„No Sherlock, he's erasing the letters using his bare fingers. That's mental!“
„Cause everything shades are doing is normal right?“ Omi rolled his eyes.
„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.
„Why are you talking about that thing like it's a puppy?“ Omi gripped the hand of his sword.
„I have a dog at home just like you, but mine is a bulldog named Hyde,“ Nana smiled.
„You really are a horror fanatic, are you?“
„No, he likes to HIDE a lot,“ Nana explained.
Omi blurted out a laugh.
„That is actually amazing,“ Omi concluded.
„Meanie!“ Nana pouted by turning her back.
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.
„Oh! It's working!“ Omi shouted happily, „U..me...ko?“ cold sweat bathed his face.
„What are you saying?“ asked Nana.
„No, nothing, I think I'm reading the characters wrong,“ Omi couldn't resist the temptation to stare at the letter.
He waited till the shadow grabs another one.
And another one.
And every letter after that one said the same.
„Umeko is your former partner, right?“ Nana leaned against his back.
„Mhm“ Omi shook his head in confirmation.
„I see the name of my former boyfriend, you know,“ she said quietly.
„But me and Umeko weren't...“
„Shhh Mr. Omes,“ Nana wrapped her arms around him tightly, „I'm gifting you this hug, you better appreciate it.“
They stood there for a couple of minutes, observing the letters that gave them a numb pain in the chest.
The Mana from the blade made of concentrated blue gas kept dripping, creating the words that repeated over and over again. It seemed unending.
„I can't be stuck in this moment, I have to stabilize him,“ concluded Omi as he stretched his hands.
„Good boy,“ Nana moved away from him.
„Let me guess, the trick is to put exactly seven drops on the parchment?“ Omi put his sword up up in the air.
„Tsk Tsk, using other people's tricks,“ Nana smiled at him, „go ahead, it should do the trick.“
Omi counted to seven and put his sword down.
Letters emerged from the letter.
It spelled „Daichi.“
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.
„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.
„Such is the art of letting go,“ said Nana and closed her eyes.
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.
„And we're back,“ Nana said while checking on Omi that slept soundly in another chair.
„Oh, oh my, I feel like you gave me an epic massage, darling“ Eden said.
„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.
„Oh wow, lioness brought out her claws, rawr,“ Eden pretended to be a wild cat.
„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.
Butler stood in silence for all this time but decided to intervene just now.
„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.
„Where, what...?“ Omi looked around him confused.
„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.
Eden sipped the fresh batch of tea his butler had prepared for him and watched them leave.
„What on earth was that?“ Omi tried to catch his breath.
„Just some good old advice sharing,“ Nana responded.
„That was kind of hot,“ he muttered.
„Thank you!“ smiled Nana as they walked towards the exit of a manor.
Sunbar waited for them in a main hall. He waved his fluffy tail happily when he saw Omi.
„Let's go home,“ he petted him and they walked out together.
They left the menacing manor behind them and entered Nana's car.
„By the way congrats Omes, you've officially passed the test,“ Nana grabbed some papers from the bottom compartment inside her car.
„You carry the paperwork with you? Nerd.“ Omi jested.
„Hey, calm down there, if you sign here, you will become my partner,“ Nana marked the line with a small „x“.
„What does that mean, exactly?“ he asked.
„That means your life will never be the same,“ she smiled.
Omi finally felt ready to start something in his life that didn't involve Ume.
As the nights grew colder and days ever shorter, the day of the school festival has arrived in Bohr Academy.
Each class preformed some sort of activity. Shiki and Umeko's class was stated in the school gardens, managing a special picnic area.
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.
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.
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.
When he wasn't helping prepare food or bringing groceries he would stare at the giant old tree in the distance.
That annoyed her quiet a bit which in result made her even more clingy and outgoing with male customers.
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.
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.
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.
After few hours she decided to face the expressionless boy.
„We have lots of people comin' aye?“ her accent was even stronger than usual. She wanted to lure a smile on his face.
„Guess so,“ he kept his focus onto the tree.
„What's so special about that one?“ she put her hands behind her back.
„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.
Nonetheless, she was glad that he was thinking about their adventure together.
„We really kicked some shadow butts haven't we,“ she grazed his arm.“
It was solid-cold as if he was sleeping in a cold cellar for days.
„What the hell, are you all right Shiki?“ she jumped in front of him and grabbed his frostbitten hands.
Shiki didn't drop the look down on her. He followed the direction of bare branches with his eyes.
„She's cold and alone too, you know,“ said Shiki.
„Wh...who?“ Ume seemed confused.
„?!“ The frostbite from Shiki's arms violently transferred into her own body and shackled around her heart.
„Let her out so we can play together,“ he peaked deep into her eyes and made her shiver from the absence of warmth.
Tears were dripping down her cheeks that have numbed from the cold. She distanced herself from Shiki and ran straight towards the school.
Shiki just stood there immovable, staring at the tree.
Umeko pulled the back door of the school so hard she almost tore it off.
Without a knock she burst into the infirmary.
„What have you done to him, witch?!“ she yelled at Cyn that was sitting on a desk, filling out some paperwork.
„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.
„Coffee? I'm not here to bond over a cup of coffee, now spit it out, witch!“
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.
„My my, you're worried about your partner are you? He is fine, I assure you,“ Cyn said while sipping the coffee.
„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.
„Astounding! That means he's probably living within the World for days now and freely communicate with the inhabitants of [Cryptic Umbra].
„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.
„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.“
„That means I can go in there too, after all I devoured Nagisa for you!“ tears came crashing down like dominoes.
„It's different. You devoured part of yourself,“ Cyn sighed.
„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.
„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.“
Cyn tried her best to put up a scientific front, but was still hurting seeing Umeko so helpless.
„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.
„No, honey, you wouldn't do it, please, you know I did that to save you,“ Cyn tried to reach her but failed.
„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.
„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.
„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.“
Umeko declared her intent. She left the infirmary furiously.„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.