Chapter 40:

Heaven is Where You Are (END)

Cupid's BLAME!

Morning arrived.

The bus was preparing itself to leave as soon as everyone was packed and ready.

Every student was lazily dragging their feet to gather their stuff, leaving the doors to all their cabins open, yelling at each other from end to end.

It was a friendly atmosphere, mostly because everyone was tired - physically and emotionally, and any tension they had with one another seemed to have dissipated along with the fireworks.

Away from the morning bustle and behind one of the cabins, six teengers stood in a circle.

One of them was holding a golden ticket in his hands.

“Are you sure it’s gonna work?” Yusei asked.

Ren nodded.

“He gave it to me himself, so it should.”

“Hmph. If he’s trolling us, I’m gonna rip that halo off his head and use it to choke him with it.”

Airi covered her mouth daintily to laugh.


“Shut up!” Yusei snapped. “You’re always so gross!”


“I presume no one has any objections, then?” Julius looked at them one by one.

“Nope,” Rika said, stifling a yawn.

“None at all,” Airi agreed.

“Let it rip, man,” Yusei sneered at Ren.

Emma raised her hand high up.

“I wanna see the white kitty!”

Ren smiled wryly.

“There’s no guarantee he’ll be in that form, though…”

“...Dahl,” Julius addressed Ren suddenly. “May I say one thing, first?”

“What is it?”

There was a short pause before Julius continued.

“..........I’m sorry.”

“Eeeh?” Rika acted surprised. “The princess apologized out of his own free will?”

Julius ignored her, looking at Dahl apologetically.

“As soon as we’re back at school, I’ll talk to the rest of the Student Council about abolishing this camp.”

Ren’s eyes opened wide.


Finally, he heard the words he’d never thought he’d hear from someone in the Student Council.

His main objective - the reason he came on this trip in the first place… it was no longer an impossible dream.

Julius was offering to make it happen, after all.

But before he could celebrate, Emma made a tiny whimpering noise.

“Uuuuu… Does it have to be canceled?”

She looked like a puppy whose ball had been taken from them.

Rika snorted.

“Emma… you had fun? Despite everything that happened to you? Despite being the goddamn janitor, or almost falling to your second death?”

Emma beamed her a bright smile.

“I did! And if there’s other kids like me out there who wanna come, I think they should!”

Rika and Yusei covered their faces with their arms as if blinded by her answer.

“Geh, so positive…”

“A camp simply for recreational purposes?” Julius rubbed his chin.

He seemed to be considering it.

Airi tapped her lips as she thought about it from Emma’s perspective.

“Not as a punishment or a prize…”

Rika patted Emma hard on the back.

“Haha. Bro, sometimes your brain does get rock hard!”

“Ugh,” Yusei recoiled. “That’s gross and makes no fucking sense.”

“Bleh.” Rika stuck her tongue at him. “You’re much more of a prude than I thought, Mr. Delinquent.”

“Shut up!”

“Oof,” Rika elbowed Airi. “Put a leash on your dog, Airi.”

“I-I’m not her dog!”

Airi touched Yusei’s shoulder.

“Stay, Yusei. Good boy.”

They all laughed at Yusei’s expense.

Julius was lost in thought for a moment as he considered what Emma suggested, crossing his arms and smiling genuinely, for once.

“...You know, that’s not a bad idea at all, Miss Lovecraft. We could turn this trip into something positive.”

He shifted on his heel to look at Ren.

“Ren Dahl.”

Ren blinked.

To his surprise, Julius extended a hand to him.

“How would you like to help me write a petition to the school board to change the purpose of the camping trip?”

Ren looked at him incredulous for a moment… then he smiled.

He shook his hand.


Ren and Julius both wanted to bring change to the school, and this was their golden opportunity.

The Student Council was there for everyone, and only someone in their position could ever protect the most vulnerable students, like Emma or Adam.

Julius had forgotten along the way, but thanks to this trip, he remembered the reason he joined the stuco in the first place.

Rika clapped her hands a few times.

“All right, all right, very touching. We’re getting off track, here. Ren, do you even know how to do it?”

Ren looked at her, frowning.

“Of course not.”

He lifted the summoning ticket again, this time high up, turning it around, bending it, wobbling it…

Nothing happened.

Airi tilted her head.

“Maybe you have to tear it up?”

“I’ll do it!” Yusei immediately volunteered, rolling up his sleeves.

“I think Ren has to do it,” Julius said. “Cupid gave it to him, after all.”

Ren sighed, holding the shiny summoning ticket in both hands.

“...Fine, here goes—”

The moment his hands were about to tear the ticket in half, a blinding white light burst out of it, forcing them all to turn away.

But just as fast as it appeared, the light began to slowly fade.

It lingered for a moment on their skin, warm and pleasant, but incredibly annoying to their eyes at the same time.

…Kind of like the cherub that materialized with a vein popping out of his head.

“You were really going to tear apart the ticket I wrote with heavenly ink in my own beautiful calligraphy!?”

“Cupid!!” Airi gasped.

“There you are, you sick bastard,” Yusei cracked his knuckles.

“Boo!” Rika pointed her thumb downwards.

“Eeh!? What kind of reception is this!? Shouldn’t you be more mystified with my presence!?”

Julius scoffed.

“You sorry excuse for an angel put us through hell and back on this trip.”

Cupid put a hand on his chest dramatically.

“Moi? I did no such thing.”

“You fucked with our heads!” Yusei’s feet had been glued to the ground by Cupid’s magic, but that didn’t stop him from yelling. “You made us all hate each other for no damn reason!”

Cupid looked at him for a moment.

Then he sneered, fixing his heart-shaped sunglasses over his eyes.


“What’s so funny?” Ren scowled.

Cupid poofed a handheld fan in his hand, covering half of his face with it.

“Do you, now? Do you truly hate each other?”


They all looked at him cautiously, clearly considering his words.

Cupid was savoring this.

“If I could venture a guess, I’d say the results were quite the opposite.”


Yusei tried to say something, but it’s not like he could disagree.


Ren stepped forward.

“Yeeees, Mr. Voice of the People?”

Ren looked at Cupid with a determined look unlike anything he’d ever shown before.

The five behind him had an equally imposing aura.

“We brought you here to tell you something.”

Cupid was secretly proud of them as he waited to hear them speak - even though he already knew what they were going to say.

Ren kept his eyes glued on Cupid as he spoke.

“None of us will play your game anymore.”


Cupid looked at them all, blinking.

Rika rubbed the back of her neck.

“We know we’re all super shitty as people, but…”

“Turns out we’re not damaged enough to play with someone else’s feelings just like that,” Julius finished her thought.

“Yeah! We wanna live however we want, not dictated by some arbitrary rules,” Yusei clenched his fist at him.

“If that means giving up our own lives, that’s fine,” Airi smiled.

“I made lots of new friends during this trip, and I’ll treasure them forever!” Emma said with her hand raised up high.

Ren smiled without turning back to look at them.

“In the end… even if we end up gone… we’d rather live our lives free to love whoever we want.”

Cupid looked at all of them, one by one.

“You all feel this way, then? Even though you know the consequences?”

They nodded.


Cupid looked into Ren’s eyes, reminded of the conversation he had with him in the cabin.

Back then, even if Ren himself hadn’t realized it, he had already made up his mind.

Now here he was, voicing his thoughts out in the open.

Cupid grinned.

“Aah, I see. You broke the rules after all, didn’t you? All of you. Haha.”


None of them replied.

Cupid covered his face with the fan again to laugh, then snapped it closed as his voice got louder and louder.

“Hahaha… Hahahahaha!!!!!”

“What’s so funny, perv!?” Yusei growled.

“Ahhh, I knew it, I knew it! I knew my method would work yet again!”

All of them looked at him with a confused look.

Cupid opened his arms, extending his long wings along with them.

“You all… pass!



They all looked at him, confused.

Cupid floated above the ground, materializing a cushion in midair to sit on.

“Oh, my little tadpoles. You think you’re my first experiment of this kind?”

“What?” Julius gasped.

“Experiment?” Airi recoiled.

Cupid shrugged.

“I’ve done this before countless times, you see. In the distant past, in the present, in the distant future… The method is always different, the circumstances have slight variations, but—”

“Wait, what do you mean you’ve done this before!? I don’t get it!” Yusei raised his voice, trying to aggressively pull his leg from the place it had been magically stuck to.

“What is there not to get?” Cupid waved his hand to undo his spell, making Yusei hit his own face with his knee. “I’m saying your little group is one of many I’ve worked with throughout humanity’s lifespan.”

“Eeeh? There’s others like us?” Emma approached him, excited.

Cupid reached over to pet her head, smiling fondly.

A stark contrast to how he had treated her when they first met.

“People have raw emotions bubbling on the inside 24/7, and sometimes they need a little help to figure out what those emotions are and what to do with them. As you get older, you let your life experiences get in the way of your dreams and desires, but loving and being loved are as fundamental as water is to every living creature.”

Airi helped Yusei up while Cupid spoke.

Cupid waved his hand and healed Yusei’s bloody nose as he continued.

“When you died, you were robbed of those moments - of an intrinsic part of you that makes you human. When a kid assigned to us is supposed to die without ever knowing what that’s like, us cupids regard them as failures. We’re supposed to simply move on and accept reality - that’s the divine plan the Creator decided for them, after all.”

They all looked a little somber.

Cupid smiled helplessly.

“…But I just can’t accept something so cruel, you know?”

“Cupid…” Ren said softly.

“I might not be able to change the fate of every person in the world, but I can at least do something for those assigned to me. Going against God and reviving someone is already frowned upon, and those who do cannot receive His heavenly blessing for their actions, which means they’ll never get to stand by His side - the greatest honor for a cherub.”

He folded his wings away, leaning back on his cushion with a frown.

“If you do it enough times, you get branded as a rogue. But what’s so wrong about that? Having a bad reputation means I get to do whatever I want, and if they want me to be a bad guy so much, then fine, I’ll revive more than one at a time, and pit them against each other for my own entertainment! What’s so wrong with wanting my kids to have a chance at love? I shouldn’t be considered a bad guy for it. If I do it enough times and it helps all my kids realize their faults and find love in the end… isn’t that a good thing?”

They all looked at him speechless.

“If I succeed enough times with my method, proving even failures could be fixed, God will finally see that what I do definitely deserves His heavenly blessing.”

He flapped his wings.

“Whoa…” was the only thing Yusei could verbalize.

They were all quiet for a moment, then Rika scoffed, holding back laughter.

“What’s so funny!?” Cupid pouted.

“Hahaha, nothing, dude. It just sounds like you’re also a failure.”

The other kids laughed.

“Cupid zipped Rika’s lips with a mad blush on his face.

“Oh, hush! As if I hadn’t heard that before!”

“So…” Ren interrupted. “What now?”

Cupid looked at him, lifting his glasses above his head.

“What now, indeed.”

He stepped gracefully back onto the ground, disappearing the floating cushion.

“You’re free to live your life as you wish and love whoever you want, my cupils. As you all know by now, life isn’t guaranteed, so live it without regrets until you live no more. I’ll still be watching over you, but this is the last time I’ll ever talk to you face to face like this. You’re hereby released from my evil clutches.”

“Oh no…” Emma got teary just hearing that.

Cupid looked at her fondly.

“Don’t worry, you have a great future in love ahead of you, Emma Lovecraft—”

He raised his gaze to look at Ren.

“...Isn’t that right, Ren Dahl?”

Ren blushed, but didn’t look away.

Cupid smiled, straightening up as he placed his hands on his hips.

“Well, then, children. It’s been a blast, and I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did, but I have to go rub this victory on the face of a certain overly serious angel back in Heaven.”

“You’re so annoying,” Yusei scoffed. “.......But… you’re okay, I guess.”

“Thanks for everything, Mr. Cupid,” Airi bowed in a curtsy.

“Take care of our dead pets up in Heaven,” Rika waved her hand at him.

“You really gave us just the push we needed, I suppose,” Julius shrugged. “You have my gratitude as well.”

“...I promise this time I won’t let you down,” Ren said, as Cupid started to glow with a slowly increasing intensity.

“Goodbye Cupid!” Emma sniffled, waving at him. “I’ll miss you!”

Cupid felt a little tear form on the corner of his eye.

“I’ll miss you too, little jaybirds. Don’t make me regret helping you, you hear?”

They all said goodbye in overlapping voices as Cupid disappeared in another flash of warm light.


When they first arrived at the campsite, they were all scattered across different seats and sitting on their own, but the way back home was a different story.

Yusei and Airi sat next to each other, and Rika and Julius sat on the two seats in front of them.

They were alternating between laughing and bickering, sharing stories about the fireworks they watched together last night and subtly trying to get their hands to touch from time to time with the person sitting next to them.

On the very back of the bus, Agatha was talking Adam’s ear off about her original characters while Adam tried to sketch them following her instructions.

He cracked little smiles whenever she made a big deal about how perfect his art showed her vision.

It seemed like everyone was on a path that would lead them somewhere they could never have ventured before...

Or so Ren thought, as he looked back from his seat on the first row to see how Adam was faring, realizing he had nothing to worry about.

So if Adam wasn’t the reason he felt nervous, then it had to be…

…The girl sitting next to him.

Emma Lovecraft.

She was looking at the window filled with wonder, watching every tree along the narrow road down the mountain.

Ren was burying his hands over his knees, wrinkling the fabric of his uniform.

For years and years he had felt the same for a single person and never did anything about it.

The worst thing is, before this whole thing happened, he didn’t even know why he was holding back.

Fear of rejection? Feeling like he wasn’t good enough?

The truth is, the reason didn’t matter anymore.

In the end, his feelings were his own, whether he liked it or not.

And there was nothing wrong with that.

Slowly, he eased the grip on his uniform, taking a deep breath - a breath he was allowed to take because he was alive.

He smiled, thinking of what he said to Cupid in the end:

I promise this time I won’t let you down.

…That was it.

He knew exactly what he had to do.

It was a good few seconds before he finally got the courage to speak.


“Hm?” She looked at him, happy as ever.

He took in a shaky breath.

“...There’s something… I wanted to tell you, for the longest, longest time.”

A moment later, he heard himself say those three words he’d never had the courage to say before.

He saw Emma’s eyes light up in surprise, then beam with the brightest smile of all as she said them back to him.

It felt as if time had stopped.

The rest of their ride home marked the beginning of their true second chance at life - all made possible by one not-so-selfish, incredibly fabulous cherub.


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