Chapter 39:

Breaking Point

Cupid's BLAME!

At first, Adam was following the path Agatha left behind with her red yarn, but it came to a point where they could see the cave from where they were, which meant the tree they found Gregor on was long behind them.

Even Emma noticed this when she looked back, concerned, holding onto the beetle in her hands.

“Adam… I think we already passed the tree where I rescued him from… and it’s gonna get dark soon…”


“Are you sure this is the right way?”

Adam said nothing.

He kept making his way forward until they reached the cave.

Then, instead of going in, he went to its side, where the hill went on steeply all the way to the top of the mountain.

Emma followed him closely behind, her shoes sometimes slipping on the rocks, struggling to keep her balance because of her dress and the beetle nestled in her hands that she refused to let go.

Eventually, they reached the highest point of the mountain - a rocky hill that overlooked the nearby town where the fireworks were going to be set up from.

The fear she felt walking up there was quickly overwritten by the beautiful view.

“Uwah… we’re so high up…”

Both her and Adam looked at the forest and the city, then something sparkly reflected onto Emma’s eyes and made her turn around.

Behind them and to the side, there was a big crater where something sparkled from within.

Emma rushed over to look at it, curiously.

“Nn? What’s this giant hole here— ah!”

The giant crystals, the reflective ground, the mysterious lights… There was no mistake.

“It’s the cave! Down there, that’s where I met my bat friend!”

“...This is the highest point in the mountain.”

Adam said, slowly walking behind her.

“Eeeh? Really?”


Emma was unsettled by how little Adam had spoken on the way there.

She caressed Gregor’s back with her fingers, looking a little sad.

“Adam… What are we doing here?”



“We’re going to see the fireworks.”

Emma’s face immediately lit up again.

“Ah! Right! The fireworks! I bet they’ll look so good from here! We need to go back and ask Agatha to come here before it gets dark!”

As usual, Emma prepared herself to run down and go do exactly that, but Adam stood in front of her, staring at her.




“...You can’t go.”

“Eh? But if I don’t go, how will Agatha find me? I promised we would watch them together…”

Emma thought explaining would be enough, so she quickly moved to circle around him, but he stepped to the side just as fast and Emma ended up crashing into him, tumbling to the ground thanks to her dress, right next to the crater.

Gregor flew away.

Emma reached her arm towards the beetle, but Adam’s cold voice cut through the air.

“You can’t go.”

He was looking down at her with nothing in his eyes.

The red sun was behind him, giving him an ominous aura.

“Adam… you’re a little scary…”

He flinched, then looked away, scoffing.

“You… Are you really trying to be my friend?”

Emma sat up slightly, happy to answer his question.

“Of course!”



He turned to look at her with a painful expression.

“...I… I know all about your game. I know you’re only trying to get close to me so you can win.”


Emma wasn’t sure what he meant.

Her puzzled expression gave Adam mixed feelings.

He gripped his arm and looked away from her.

“...You must’ve heard the rumors about me. You must know what kind of person I am.”

“Rumors…? Ah, about the person you pushed down a window?”

She answered earnestly, and it seemed to trigger something inside Adam.


Emma saw him struggling to find the right words.

Eventually, he opened his mouth, muttering quietly.

“I didn’t do it.”


“Some kids shoved me inside the utility locker at the back of the classroom, and I was trapped there after hours. A student from a different class came after he heard me rattling the door, and when he opened it I tumbled out. He was startled, tripped on a broom, and fell out the window.”

Emma’s eyes opened widely.

“...I caught him just on time, but the kids from the soccer team who were training outside saw him dangling and me holding his arm. They told the teachers, and even though the other guy cleared the misunderstanding with them, he looked so scared nobody believed him. They thought I threatened him to not turn me in.”

He paused to take in a shaky breath.

She sat up, looking at him sorrowfully.

“That’s horrible…”

Adam scoffed.

“...It’s fine.”

He took another step forward towards her.

“It’s fine, because—”

Emma reached up, thinking he was going to offer his hand to help her up.

“—If they already think that I’m capable of something like that, then I should just embrace it.”

Instead, he stomped on the cracked ground next to Emma, and the entire rim around the crater started to crumble and fall into the cave.

“Kya! Th-the ground is breaking!?”

Emma stayed on the ground, trying to get on all fours, but the more she moved, the more rocks fell inside, crashing into the pointy crystals coating the walls with a loud thud.

Adam didn’t move.

“The fence around the camp is there not just to make sure we stay in one place, but also to keep us from coming here. It’s pretty well-known that the top of this mountain is unstable. That’s probably where the boulder that hit the bus came from, too.”

He stomped on the ground again.

This time, a larger piece of the ground broke down, falling and crashing, breaking a portion of the surface right where Emma’s leg was.

Her dress got torn and her shoe fell down.

She was terrified of moving at all, trembling in fear.

“I-I-m gonna fall…!”

Adam looked at her coldly.

“I’m going to ask you again. Are we friends, Emma Lovecraft?”

Another piece of the ground crumbled down, close to her arms this time.

The cracks on the ground were forming all the way to Adam’s feet, who didn’t seem to mind.

He stomped on the ground again.


She was holding onto the ground with her nails, her entire body shaking; she could barely see through her watery eyes.

Suddenly, a fast rustling sound came from the trees right below the hill at the top at full speed.


It was Ren, with Agatha following closely behind.

Adam glared daggers at both of them.

Emma raised her head as much as she could to look over.


“Emma!” Agatha yelped after seeing where she was.

“...So they found us.”

Adam said calmly to himself.

He expected it since he followed Agatha’s red yarn and there was no other marked path along the woods, after all. He just didn’t expect them so soon.

Ren started making his way out of the forest at the bottom of the hill and towards the rocky top.

“What are you doing, Stoker!? You’re both going to get hurt!!”

Agatha quickly grabbed his arm to stop him.

“Don’t, Ren! The ground at the top of the mountain is unstable! Didn’t you read the brochure!?”

“I don’t care! I can’t just stay here and do nothing!”

He yanked his arm away from her.


Agatha pleaded as Ren left her behind, rushing up the steep hill as fast as he could.

It was only a few yards away, but the unstable, rocky territory made it hard to climb, especially with dress shoes, so his pace was forcefully slowed down until he made it to the top where the other two were.

The closer he got, the angrier Adam looked.

His face showed emotion like never before.

“Why!?” he turned to look at Ren, distressed. “Why do you care so much!? Because you’re friends!? Because you like her!?”

“Why are you doing this, Stoker!?” Ren gestured for him to stop moving with his hands. “She’s gonna get hurt!”

Adam pointed at him sharply.

“This is your fault, Ren Dahl!”


Ren looked at him, shocked.

Adam was fighting back tears.

“I knew I’d never have friends… but you gave me hope… I thought you really were my friend…then you reminded me no one would ever want to be close to me on their own…”

“....S-Stoker, hey…”

Ren lowered his hands slowly.

Adam snapped again, his voice louder than it’s ever been.

“So why should you!? Why should you be close to anyone!? Why should you have friends!? If she were gone, would things be different!? Would you want to be with me!?”

Ren gasped.

He was speechless.

It took him a moment but he finally realized what he had done.

This wasn’t about Emma, after all.

It was about Adam feeling used by the one person he was ready to consider a friend, only to be tossed aside and pushed onto a friendly girl as if being told hey, be her friend instead of mine.

Ren grimaced, clenching his fists.

Adam lifted his leg again, and Ren quickly reacted, stretching his arm towards him and quickly shortening their distance in a panic.


Adam was in tears, towering over Emma as he looked at her fearful eyes.

“All I wanted… All I wanted was to be loved!!”


He stomped on the ground as hard as he could.

The ground cracked completely open near Adam’s feet, taking down more rocks around the crater than ever before.

Instead of breaking near Emma, the ground broke directly from below, where Adam was standing, and he came tumbling down into the cave in her place.

Ren saw this happen in slow motion, running full speed to try and save him, but he was ultimately too far.

All he saw was how he disappeared right in front of his eyes.

But there was someone closer to him and quicker to react.


Emma was on her stomach, her dress all dirty and ripped from the sleeves.

Her top half was leaning down the crater, holding onto Adam’s arm with both hands and all her might; his body dangled over the center of the cave.

He looked up at her in shock.


She grinned at him with pain.

The glistening lights from the cave reflected onto her eyes like precious jewels.


Agatha cried, making her way over with her dress bunched up in her fists.

Emma laughed wearily, wincing.

“I-It’s okay! Emma Lovecraft, h-hero of justice… is here!”

Adam was overcome with emotion.

He couldn’t comprehend her actions at all.

“.......Why… After I tried to hurt you like that…”

Emma, struggling with her little arms, laughed as if this was any other ordinary situation.

“Ehehe… B-Because we’re friends!”

Adam’s eyes began to well with tears.


Ren had carefully made his way over, getting down on his stomach as well to help tug Adam back onto solid ground.

It wasn’t an easy feat, but they managed to do it together.

Once all three were on a more solid section of land indicated by Agatha, they sat down to catch their breath, away from the crater.

Adam was crying softly, holding his knees while Emma, on all fours, comforted him by petting his head.

Ren was the only one on his feet, a few steps away from them wiping his brow, still trying to get his heart to calm down.

He looked at the horizon where the sun was almost completely set.

A couple of meek steps approached him from behind.

“A-Are you okay, Dahl…?”

Agatha looked at him, worried.


He nodded, but couldn’t muster a smile of any sort.

It’s not like he condoned what Adam did in the slightest, but part of him understood.

Being told that anyone that gets close to you isn’t doing it because they like you, but because they want something from you… frankly, not just a lonely boy like Adam, but anyone that gets told that would be paranoid.

The worst part is, it felt as if all of his wavering when it came to Emma and the game had finally caught up to Ren, but in the end, he still didn’t know what was the right thing to do.

“Um… Dahl…”

Agatha stepped closer, playing with the end of her braids.

Ren looked at her.

She looked away and took a moment to find the right words.

“Stoker… told me everything yesterday. About Cupid, and about the situation you’re trapped in….”

Ren’s eyes went wide.

“I wasn’t sure if I believed it at first, but… i-if it’s true… if that’s why Adam is so distressed… then, um… I’ll— I’ll go out with you, Dahl!”

She shut her eyes close; her face flaring up.


Ren was absolutely shocked.

Agatha started fumbling her words, moving her hands quickly in every which way.

“I- I know I’m nothing special, but! All you need is to make me fall for you, right? I-I’m… I’m easy to impress, and… you’re a great guy, too! I’m sure if we went out, I could help you win!”


He didn’t know what to say.

Out of nowhere, victory offered itself on a platter to him.

The last trace of daylight sank in the horizon, beautifully reflected on Agatha’s glasses.

She was right; if he took her offer now, he wouldn’t have to worry about this stressful game anymore.

But he was never in it to win.

Still, he couldn’t help but be touched by Agatha’s earnestness, huffing a helpless smile.

“...You’re pretty cool, you know that.”

Agatha almost tripped backwards hearing his praise, holding her face in her hands.

“E-Eeeh? I am!?”

He snorted.

“But… I think you deserve better than to force yourself to love someone.”

Agatha blinked, still holding her face.


Ren continued, looking over at Adam and Emma, who was trying to make him laugh with silly faces.

She had succeeded in making him stop crying, at least.

…Yes. There was no question about it.

If they were to play this game honestly…

Emma would win by a mile.

She was very pure and cared for everyone equally, and when someone cares for you so genuinely, it’s hard to not feel something back, too.

Ren could see it in Adam’s eyes, as well.

If Adam spent just a little more time with Emma, then maybe, he, too…


Ren sighed, smiling, never taking his eyes away from Emma.

“Besides… I’m hopelessly in love with someone else.”

He admitted out loud for the first time.


Agatha looked in the direction he was facing.

Her eyes went wide.

Then, she smiled.



“Uwah!” Emma suddenly lifted her head, looking at the sky. “The fireworks started!”

Adam was startled by the noise, holding his knees tight onto himself.

Emma ran over to the edge of the cliff to look at them more closely.

“H-Hey, Emma, don’t get too close to the edge!”

Ren ran after her, afraid she was going to carelessly slip again, what with only one shoe and everything.

Emma seemed as happy as ever, imitating the sound the fireworks made on the horizon and lifting her arms up when they burst at the end.

Behind them, Agatha slowly approached Adam, kneeling down next to him.

She placed her hands carefully around his ears to cover the noise, and offered him a wry smile.

“I-I think they’re kinda scary, too,” she laughed awkwardly.

Adam looked at her, surprised.

He couldn’t hear what she said, but he could feel that her hands were trembling.

She was also scared, yet she chose to cover his ears instead.


He averted his eyes, embarrassed.

Whoosh, whoosh!


“Uwah! That one looked like a rainbow! Did you see!?”

Emma was hopping in place filled with excitement, as if the last few terrifying, heart-pounding moments hadn’t happened at all.

Ren was standing right beside her, completely ignoring the colorful display in the dark sky.

His eyes were hopelessly glued to her.


He said between explosions.


She looked at him with a smile.

He took a deep breath.

“...Thanks… for being you.”

She tilted her head to the side.

Another burst of color rained from the sky.

Ren clenched his fist.

“...No matter what happens, and… no matter the consequences… my feelings for you won’t ever change.”

She looked at him, confused.

Ren smiled at her.

“You’re the most important person in my life, Emma.”

Another colorful explosion.

Emma only heard half of what he said.

She laughed either way.


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