Chapter 14:


Violet: No. 02189

Despite not having an understanding of what friendship entails, Ren wholeheartedly believed in the words he proclaimed. After all, he couldn't possibly have done what he did if his words weren't true.

During his whole life before coming to Neo-Tokyo, he learned to not trust anyone besides the ones designed to be trusted (by Violet of course). So by allowing himself to stay in a completely strange place, working with and with strangers, shows that Ren did not think of the people from Amano-oka as a group to be wary of, but as people who should be trusted, in other words, friends.

Just after entering the Shrine, Mayu tells Ren to come with her a little before going to his room and Ren agrees, while Kaede and Take go back to theirs.

"So, why did you ask me to stay here?"

"Follow me, let's go to the prayer site"

The two walk by the stone path and Mayu gleefully strolls just like a princess from a fairy tale, not because that was some special occasion or anything like that, but because that was her usual behavior inside the temple's grounds. As usual, Ren was confused by the girl's attitude but didn't question it.

Arriving at the destined place, the first thing that could be seen was a very big bell with a thick rope attached to it. Mayu drops a coin in some kind of basket and steps in front of the bell and claps two times before ringing the bell also two times, after that, she stays a little time with her two hands together.

Ren just observes Mayu’s gestures and rituals without saying a word or even moving. After a while, Mayu directs herself to him and says:

“Do you have any wish, Ren-kun?”

Taken by surprise by Mayu’s sudden question, Ren stutters a little with his response:

“E-eh? A wish…?”

“Yeah, something you wanna for yourself, or for someone you like, it can be something material or something vague like happiness for example”

“I see…”

Mayu steps away and Ren takes her place in front of the bell. He puts his hand in his pocket, and realizes he doesn’t have any coins, Mayu immediately notices it and gives a 5 N-Yene coin to him. Ren thanks the girl and repeats the same ritual she did.

Right after finishing it, Ren turns toward Mayu who was closely watching his gestures, this startles Ren a bit as he almost bumps into the girl as she was that near to him. Both of them awkwardly apologize to one another, and then, both walk away from the altar side by side.

“So, for what did you wish for?”

That was a very direct question, that Ren was worried would be asked, but was prepared to hear.

“I wished for my doubts to be cleared out”

With her hand on her chin, in a pose that could be seen as an ironic pondering, Mayu speaks back:

“That’s very uhmm… philosophical? I guess…”

“I didn’t expect something like that from you”

Ren gives an awkward laugh.

“Are you saying you expected me to be a meathead?”

Mayu looks away and points toward a tree.

“Look, isn’t that flower super pretty!?”

Is this her way of trying to change subjects? She’s pretty bad at it, but I’ll take this chance.

“Mayu-chan, I’m curious… Why did you bring me here alone?”

“Didn’t you say you considered us to be friends?”

“I’m just showing you what people normally do when they come here, since my job and yours aren’t that different, I thought it was a good idea to show you the altar”

While responding to Ren, Mayu kept her eyes fixed on the top of a tree and didn’t even peek in the young man’s direction.

“Ren-kun, what do you think about praying?”


Mayu spins her body and looks back at Ren.

“Yeah, it’s what you just did. To ask to a higher being, like a god, or God Himself, for something”

Ren makes a thoughtful face and stops for a few seconds to reflect on this subject he never really had thought about.

“To be sincere with you, I don’t know anything about this concept of ‘higher being’ like you said”

“In the place, I came from, we didn’t have the time to think about these kinds of subjects”

Mayu makes a dissatisfied face with Ren’s response but quickly changes it to a more neutral expression.

“I can’t even imagine living in the world you and the professor lived in. It’s just far too different”

“Sigh... Yeah, it is…”

“Mayu-chan, may I also ask a strange question?”

“Of course Ren-kun, I just don’t know if I have the mental fortitude to explain to you from where the babies come from… but other than that ask me anything”

“No, it’s not that, it's just…”

“From where do you think determination comes from?”

Mayu crosses her arms and tilts her head while thinking in an adequate response.

“Well… I personally think it comes from having a purpose”

“A purpose…?”

“Yeah! Me for example, I didn’t have one for a long time, but when I was adopted into this place, I found it”

“Working here at the Shrine gave me a purpose and a place to belong”

For Ren, Mayu’s words made sense on their own but weren’t exactly what he expected to hear, so he continued to ask her trying to shine more light on his doubts.

“What about someone like me? I don’t exactly have a place I belong, and I don’t have something grand like a purpose. What can explain someone like me having determination?”

Mayu once more wears a serious face, crafting her words carefully and thoughtfully:

“This may be only something coming from my personal belief but, I think everyone has a purpose, your conscience may not know yet, but your soul knows it very well”

“My soul? huh…”

Ren’s eyes gaze at the now almost pitch dark dome above their heads.

It’s so bizarre, hearing those words that I only heard in fiction being used like that… I can’t help but think it’s a little silly, but when hearing with such conviction, it’s hard to be completely skeptical.

It would really be nice if our wishes were being heard...


Some time passes and everyone goes to their respective rooms. After a good night of sleep, Ren doesn’t immediately leave his bed, he keeps there staring at the ceiling.

That game was so realistic, it hit so close to my times as a combatant, the explosion and machine gun sounds, the simulated impact on the body, I thought I’d be having nightmares, but ironically, this was the first time I didn’t have a nightmare since I first entered a battlefield. I wonder why…

Maybe it’s because I was having so much fun sharing all those feelings and experiences with everyone, despite continuing being a complete stranger in this place, and discovering I’m still held a suspicious person by the professor, I don’t feel uneasy at all. Maybe I’m being naïve, but I’ll choose to believe in these people I called friends.


It hurts! It hurts! It hurts!!!

What’s happening?!!


My vision is blurry and colored red, my ears ringing like never before, and the rest of my body is all in so much pain, I don’t know where it hurts more.


I try to roll around as I feel myself on the ground, but there are too many obstacles. I can’t open my eyes just yet, or maybe they are already open? I don’t know anymore I just see red.

I try to scream, but my voice doesn’t come out, or is it that my ears simply can’t register them anymore? I don’t know.


Ack, hack-

I begin to cough, and I feel something warm coming out of my mouth. Now that I focus on it, I feel all over my body a warm flux coming out of my body.

It’s getting cold…

I know this sensation…

I felt like this two times already before now…

“Cough, cough!!”

No! I refuse this! Not again! Not after all, I got though! Not like this! Not without even understanding! Not after that promise! Not after I’ve come this far! Not after I’m so close to that! No! No! No… no… no…

I clutch my hand into the ground.

Great! At least my arm and hand are still working.

After that I rub the back of my hand against my eyes to try to see something, and…


I see something, but I can’t believe it…

A bluish blur is all I can recognize from behind a gap in midst of debris.

No! This can’t be!

The small piece of that object I saw, with my eyes still very blurry, was enough to make me immediately find out what that was for much of my dismal.

A Blue mech.

There was no reason for that being here. Oh! I know this is just a nightmare, nothing but a nightmare, I’ll soon wake up and…

So now I’ll just relax and…


I project my body forward! I know I can’t think, I can’t let myself be overcome by that kind of thought so I’ll just keep goin’, I don’t know where I don’t know how. I just have to keep moving.

I have to keep moving!


It hurts!

It hurts so much to just move my body around but, I can’t stay here, and I can’t walk, so I’ll just endure and keep flaying my body around until I get somewhere!



Apparently, I can’t hear, but I can feel the vibrations from the ground. It seemed like a high-caliber weapon, and then, something fell…

Whatever! I just need to move!














Somehow, I open my eyes again.

I see a familiar ceiling that I don’t recognize.

I’m once again, still alive.

Before even moving my body, I hear a voice, the voice of a young man.

“You did well surviving that,”


“No. 02189!”