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Forever White translated by Jey Kama

HopeForlorn mod notes: Jey Kama alludes to the fact that this is a partial translation. Could someone tell me if that is indeed true? If it is, does anyone have a full copy that they would like to share?

Jey Kama's notes: I don't have much to say about Forever White until I physically translate more, either about the entire story (though I have a vague idea) or its making. Ken'ichi Kanemaki is responsible for the Dramatic Image Album I & II story, the lyrics for "Truth" and "White Flames", Hiro Yuuki's maxisingle drama & lyrics, et cetera. Kyouko Tsuchiya is... well... Kyouko Tsuchiya.

As for the story so far, there are a few differences in character personalities and story details which I ought to mention in comparison to say, the CD dramas and manga. One of which is Aya-chan.

In the manga/anime/dramas, Aya-chan is in a sleeping coma. In Forever White, she seems more in a vegetative coma, where her eyes are open, but with no other apparent mental function. Though the effect is the same - either way, they're unconscious with no idea whether they can recover. I just think it sucks more because it looks like she's conscious.

Another difference is Aya's attitude and thought process, but as that's a very complicated thing to describe, I won't go into it. Needless to say, he's somewhat cold(er) and more prone to following his instincts, and also, Omi is much more genki and bubbly.


Forever White
Written by: Ken'ichi Kanemaki
Illustrated by: Kyouko Tsuchiya

Chapter 1

The sunlight of winter carried a different radiance from the summer's.

It shone as the ceiling panes silently slid away, and lost in thought, Aya narrowed his eyes from the rays piercing through the skylight into the bare room.

Whenever he came here, he always felt rather strange.

He didn't remember how long his fists were clenched - though he should have forgotten all about last night's "job", his senses still recalled the memories. The resistance cutting into flesh, the agonized screams of death, recalled him back to the scene, of only a few hours before.

It was only when he came here that these strange sensations assaulted him.

Maybe it was guilt. The remnants of humanity that he, for the one he loved most, to have become a member of Weiß, the remorseless sweepers through the darkness, should have forgotten.

Feelings of guilt did not suit him as he was now. He had chosen this blood-stained path entirely on his own.

Driving away the ghostly prickles in his body, he let out a long sigh and moved closer to the bed by the window, his slender shoulders turned almost to cut through the wind.

The room was expansive, the interior lined with timber in log house fashion. It was a place where the heart could feel at ease. The room temperature and humidity were set in pleasant emulation of early spring, and once again, he could hear New Age music quietly playing in the ambiance.

And finally, the wooden semi-double bed facing to the side, the centerpiece of the room, monitored 24 hours a day by cameras mounted on the walls. The limp body did not detract from the scrupulous interior.

"Aya..."

Stooping his long, lean form over the bed, he struck a conversation with the girl in the blue-polka-dotted pajamas she had liked so much.

Aya - After this had happened to her, he no longer used his real name Ran Fujimiya anymore, but took hers, Aya... so that she could continue living as well.

The girl seemed to watch him patiently with those large and beautiful eyes, but those eyes, from that time two years ago, only glittered with a cold light, like glass.

"It's a really nice day out."

She was listening and understanding, so he believed, or wanted to believe, but like a lifeless doll she never moved. However, he kept on talking to her, who had lost all feelings of joy, anger, sorrow, and laughter.

"Do you want to look outside?" He pressed a control button on the bedside, and the bed quietly propped the girl halfway up.

From the window taking up the entire south wall, the city in miniature spread out before them, not a bad view from ten stories up. Underneath the vast blue sky, the city seemed very peaceful.

A quiet chime murmured behind him, apparently someone coming up the express elevator. A knock later, and a young nurse entered.

"Please excuse me. It's time to open the IV."

Moving briskly past the unresponsive Aya, the nurse rolled a stark metal stand to the bedside, and with practiced hands, prepared the IV.

This was Falke Foundation Memorial Hospital's rooftop floor, a penthouse-style sanatorium with leased rooms for private individuals with the best care and equipment money can buy. This hospital was a special institution geared towards the needs of the Japanese executive class.

All this technology could only be purchased at exorbitant cost, but the truth was that he owed it to his "work."

"I'll return when the IV drip is finished."

When she had made sure that the drip was properly filling the IV tube, the nurse left the room without another word.

"So this is dinner...?" he murmured, while watching the yellow liquid drip into the girl's arm.

He felt the passing of time looking at those flimsy arms.

"I need to go on a diet" ... Only mere minutes before that horrible car accident, she had joked about that while eating one of her favorite chocolate mint pies...

Gently, he touched that arm, which so many painful needles and syringes must have pierced. The swollen white skin had become stiff like stone.

Unable to say anything else, Aya gazed up through the skylight. The sky was clear and bright. It was really a nice day outside.

He closed his eyes, but not because of the brilliance of the sun.

Chapter 2

That girl was thrown by the black-suited guards onto the lobby's floor.

She seemed about twenty, wearing worn-out jeans and some sort of plain beige sweater.

"Why? Why won't you let me see him?!"

She wildly grabbed at her glossy long black hair as if to pull it out, and stood against the two guards to shout at the middle-aged man in a suit.

"We should go, sir."

"Yes..."

Ignoring her shouts, the middle-aged man nodded at the guard who had thrown her, and calmly walked towards the elevator hall.

"Wait! Please wait, Mr. Gondou!" She chased after them as soon as she could stand, but as soon as she tried, the remaining guard stood in her path.

"Get out of my way! Don't interfere!"

Swiftly, the guard slapped her hard across the cheek, and she collapsed once again onto the hard linoleum floor. Giving her one last look, that guard also left for the elevator hall. She didn't get up again, but sobbed heartfelt tears.

It was then when someone quietly dropped her shoulder bag in front of her. It had flown from her when she had first been thrown to the ground.

"It's yours, isn't it?" Aya said in a cold voice, devoid of any particular inflection.

-

It was nice outside, but winter's icy breath was present in the air, so they saw few patients as they walked around the hospital's courtyard.

"That guy was Keisuke's father, the Reformist Party's leader, Ryouzou Gondou. He goes on TV a lot, so you've probably seen him before." Her name was Mikage Hokujou.

She seemed to have calmed down a bit while walking with him. She didn't ask anything, but instead talked about her problems one by one. Talking seemed to ease her worries somewhat.

This morning, Mikage's boyfriend, Keisuke Gondou, encounted some sort of traffic accident, and lay near death from his injuries somewhere inside this hospital. An out-of-control car had hit him while he was jogging.

"A nurse told me that the surgeries were successful for now... so... he must be in the ICU," she said while eyeing the hospital, the 8th floor where the surgical Intensive Care Unit was located.

Aya followed her line of sight, but while he did, wondered what he was doing. He usually wouldn't do things like this. Things like compassion and kindness were for normal people with normal lives. Especially considering his "work", he had lost the ability to communicate his feelings to others. But then, why hadn't he just left Mikage to herself?

They probably hadn't worn off yet, those strange memories he had felt in Aya's room. At any rate, he hadn't left Mikage yet.

"I can understand why he'd hate me..." she said sadly. "My parents both died when I was very young... I went from relative to relative... Actually, they had both committed suicide, though it was a while before I was told that. So, no matter where I went, I was a parasite who needed to be taken care of...

"When I was a sophomore in high school, I ran away... I really did some stupid things... but that was when I met Keisuke. He talked like an idiot, but he was really a serious person... that red-headed Yankee'd tell me that it doesn't matter if you forget the past, but if you work hard, then 'You can do anything' or... he'd say 'don't be discouraged'... he really was... a hard worker." Her voice wavered as tears slid down her cheeks.

"I know I'm no good for them... I couldn't have given him a good life, I had a horrid family life, I would have been a scandal for such a famous family of politicians... but... but he could at least have just let me see him! He's important person to me... so important to me..."

An important person. When he heard her say that, Aya finally understood why he hadn't just left the girl at the start. Just like him, Mikage lived for her own important person. He had felt that the instant he saw her in the lobby.

"Snowdrop..." he said to her, as she valiantly resisted from crying.

"What...?"she asked curiously, not understanding. In answer, he looked at the ground before his feet at a small flowerbed. There, grew white flowers which braved the harsh wintry breeze. The long and slender petals hung down like earrings on display.

"Snowpine flowers..."

"In the West, they're called Snowdrops."

"Snowdrop..."

This topic distracted her from her troubles. Wiping her eyes, she even let out a laugh.

"So, you like flowers?"

"Not necessarily, but I have to remember these things for my job."

"Job? Aya... it was Aya, right? So Aya, you must work at a flower shop? What's it called?"

"It's not a job I do because I want to," he answered bluntly.

Sounding as if she were hurt, Mikage lowered her eyes sadly. "I'm sorry. I was being nosy..."

"Not really."

He had lost any particular desire to be with her at this point. It was somewhat rude, but perhaps this was a good time to part as any. Turning his back on her, he started to walk away.

When he did, she said, "Thanks for listening to me..."

To those words, Aya stopped without thinking. Though he could have stayed with her a bit longer, he couldn't make himself, so he thought. So he threw out a few words.

"The flower word for Snowdrops is... 'Hope'." and with that, he left that place behind.

Mikage watched him go, not noticing the soft smile on her own face, but only the cold wind cutting like a knife.

Chapter 3

"Ah, Aya-kun! Heeeeeey!" A boy in a navy-blue high-school uniform shouted at him while running. With a body so delicate it might have broken if someone hugged him, he really could have passed for middle-school age. With a grin and cherubic face, he went and stood next to Aya, who had been waiting for the stoplight at a street corner in the commercial district.

He was Omi Tsukiyono, a kid with all the good things about humankind, from appearances. Nonetheless, he was also a member of Weiß. With his high IQ and detailed planning of their missions, even Aya trusted his skills without reserve.

"Isn't this a neat pocket watch?" Omi showed him a well-made silver pocket watch, probably antique.

"I met an old man with a cane at the train station. He couldn't make it all the way up the stairs to the ticket booth, so I helped him up. He was pretty heavy, so we kept missing out footing, but somehow we both made it to the counter, and when I said 'Bye bye, grandpa!', he gave this to me as a present. It looked expensive and important to him, so I refused, but he told me to take it anyhow. He said it was made entirely out of silver... I'll have to keep it close, heh heh!"

While listening to him talking, he couldn't picture Omi as one of those who work in the darkness. Really, Omi appeared as just a very friendly boy.

-

When they passed through the commercial district into the developing residential area, Aya having to hear Omi's childish prattle all the way, they arrived at a concrete four-story building. On its top floor was there the members of Weiß lived, and on its ground floor, the flower shop "Kitten in the House" where they worked as a cover for their other "work".

"We're bac-... AAaaaa!!"

Just as Omi had stopped to face the store, a soccer ball came flying at his face. Too stunned to get out of the way, the ball planted itself in his face, and not thinking straight, fell on the sidewalk and caught the ball.

"Erg... that hurt..."

"You okay?" of course, Aya asked, standing at his side. That aside, it really was a well-placed hit.
A bunch of kids came running out of the flower shop, running into Omi, to disperse among the houses.

"See you tomorrow~!" A brash young man shoved his way out of the shop, trying to get the kids home.

Wearing the apron with the kitten emblem, the man looked at Omi once again on the ground with a teasing smile. "You're getting slow, Omi. Absolutely zero reflex response."

"What's that supposed to mean?! You can't avoid something coming at you that fast!"

"But I can."

"Ken-kun!"

Ken - this guy, of course, was also a member of Weiß. His full name was Ken Hidaka. And then, the last of the group appeared.

Accompanied by blasting music, he stopped his car - a classic race car-style Super 7 - and casually waved while pushing his long hair from his eyes. He was the fourth member of Weiß. Somewhat foppish and nonchalant, his name was Youji Kudou.

"Huh? What're you three all doing together in front of the store?"

"So you're here finally, Youji? She's waiting inside."

"Yeah, I figured."

Looking inside the store, a woman about college age lounged sulkily on the couch, wearing a -very- miniskirt and a face just a bit too stern.

"You're late, Youji!"

"Sorry sorry, the roads near the station were congested t'all hell." His soft voice mixed with a smile, Youji apologized his way through Omi and the others, picking his way towards the woman.

"Don't tell people to wait at the store, this ain't a place to play." Ken muttered, but Omi eyed him unamused.

"I could easily use those words against you, Ken-kun."

"Eeh?"

This was how they usually were seen. Watching them with cold eyes, Aya thought to return to his own room in the building, but then, he noticed the seasonal flowers decorating the interior of the store.

Pure white... Snowdrops.


Chapter 4

"His condition... just changed...?"

Listening from behind the corner of the corridor as the doctors and nurses passed by, without taking time to think, Mikage Houjou asked Ryouzou Gondou's three guards who blocked the way.

"Please let me see him! Please let me see Keisuke!"

"Get out," one of the black-suited men muttered without emotion. "It's the boss's orders. Leave the hospital now, and don't come back."

Suddenly, she made a break for the ICU past the guards, but such a fragile girl as she couldn't get far from the men, built like wrestlers. One quickly grabbed her by the hair and flung her back, twisting to impact the wall with a sob. Entire body throbbing dully in pain, she moaned softly.

"Kei... Keisuke..." Mumbling, she yet attempted to crawl towards the ICU. Clucking his lips in annoyance, the guard hefted her by the nape with one hand, and with the other, picked her up as if she weighed nothing.

"Let... let me go! Lemme go, you jerk!!" She screamed piercingly, but without changing expression, the guard merely hefted her towards the elevator hall.

"What's all this noise about?" In his path appeared a single man, a somewhat short-statured middle-aged doctor. He was the Chief of Surgery, Seiji Miyatake. An innocent smile was on his face, but under his voice was something hidden.

"Are you all right, miss?"

-

From then, that man became Mikage's saviour. However, inside of her saviour's heart stirred the disease called madness, and at this point in time, Mikage had no way of knowing all the crimes it had, and was, committing.


Chapter 5


A briskly chill breeze, harbinger of winter, rushed in as he lifted the shutter.

"Waaah, it’s so cold!" Omi muttered absently, an elaborate expression of displeasure on his face while he shrugged his shoulders. The air control that heated the store’s cramped interior had just been turned on, so it wasn’t much help yet.

Today was Sunday, the one day a week that Omi was in charge of opening the store. He couldn’t have the morning shift the other six days because of school. Naturally, he wished he could sleep on his only day off, but there was no point disagreeing with what had already been decided between the four of them. And anyhow, he felt most relaxed when he opened up the shop by himself, thinking only about store matters.

It was great if the other three came to help open the store, but they didn’t understand much about how to best display the merchandise for sale, and even though they kept accounts, didn’t have much concept about what and how much was bought and sold. Although their real work lay ‘in the darkness, they had to manage the flower shop scrupulously, in order to ward off people’s suspicions. It was a trivial, but effective cloak of invisibility, that no one would suspect them of taking lives.

Aya, Ken, and Youji all understood that, but even when they gave their best effort, there were just some things they couldn’t do well. Thus every once in a while, Omi wondered if Persia, their boss, missed the mark when he had chosen the flower shop as their cover.

"Hey, Ken-kun! Good morning!"

Ken appeared at the entrance of the store with a soccer ball tucked into the crook of an arm, still looking half-asleep. "Yo, Omi. Ya look way too hyper to’ve woken up in the morning."

"You’re the one holding a ball, Ken-kun. Aren’t you the more active one?"

"I shouldn’ta made that promise to the kids... I’m so frickin’ tired. Speaking a’which, where’s Youji? Isn’t he in the morning shift today?"

"Well, actually ..." Face momentarily bunched in annoyance, Omi pointed a finger skywards. Following the finger, Ken looked up at the building, where on the balcony of the fourth floor, a young woman was languidly tapping the end of a cigarette. Youji’s room.

"I se~~~e."

"Just a little while ago, she came down here to ring the call bell, wearing a man’s shirt..."

"Oh, so they’re sleeping together?"

"Excuse me."

"What, you’re not interested in girls?"

"Ken-kun!"

He laughed. "Don’t blush so much. So what happened then?"

"Well, she was sleepy, said ‘Youji... kinda said he’d be down in five,’ but now it’s been almost twenty minutes, like he doesn’t care to come down at all!"

"Looks like a different girl from yesterday."

"You think I’d care?!" Omi, face set in an expression of absolute disgust, threw himself at the storefront displays.

"Don’t get s’mad, Omi, else ya just look jealous."

"Who’d think that!? I’m just..."

Omi stopped talking all the sudden, his eyes fixated on some flower.

"... Huh? What is it, Omi?"

"This flower’s... dead..."

So saying, Omi gently snipped off a single white blossom, a Snowdrop.

Chapter 6

There was a tiny garden in the hospital courtyard. Mikage Hokujou was squatting in front of it, silently whispering a prayer to the white flowers blossoming there. She probably hadn’t slept much since yesterday, her glossy hair in disarray and her face deathly pale without the use of cosmetics, losing the will to live.

She wheeled around, startled to find Aya next to her, but upon recognizing him, her eyes returned once again to the white flowers. He had just returned from his daily visit to the penthouse sanatorium, but for some reason found his path naturally leading towards the courtyard and had found Mikage there, as he had expected.

"The flower word for Snowdrops is... ‘Hope.’ You told me that yesterday, Aya, so I’ve been praying here to it," Mikage said, her voice shaking from exhaustion. "Yesterday evening, his condition had suddenly complicated... I may seem rather calm right now, but... I heard from Dr. Miyatake that Keisuke was born with some kind of immune deficiency..."

"Immune deficiency?"

"Yes. I don’t know the details, but that’s what Dr. Miyatake told me..."

Normally in these circumstances, one would offer some words of consolation or regret. However, Aya was not able to, or more accurately, he did not feel the need to. For some reason, his heart refused to.

Mikage, however, found consolation merely in having him to talk to. With a little sigh, she stood up.

"Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. Yesterday, when I met Dr. Miyatake, I explained everything to him and he agreed to help me... He promised that he’d distract Keisuke’s father and let me see him."

For the first time, he saw Mikage smile. In the midst of all the anxiety, was a strong little smile. When Aya saw it, he unexpectedly murmured a few words.

" ‘Kitten in the House’..."

"Huh?"

"It’s the name of the store. I didn’t tell you yesterday, so..."

" ‘Kitten in the House’?" Her face softened as she giggled. "What a cute name for a store. It doesn’t suit you very much, does it?" As soon as she’d said it, her face crumpled in embarrassment. "I’m sorry, I said too much. Please forgive me!" But Aya still remembered her expression in that split second it had opened in laughter, a face his beloved Aya often showed him whenever she talked on, who now lived in the penthouse sanatorium.

Oh no!! You buttoned your shirt all wrong, how embarrassing! ... Er, did I hurt your feelings? So--rry. But... it -is- embarrassing. Ahahahah!! Soooowwrry! Oh, don’t make that face, you always take things so seriously! Com’on, laugh! Laugh for me!!

Aya’s cheerful laughter echoed in his ears, but would he ever see that smiling face again? Ever again...
"Aya...? Um, are you all right?" She looked at Aya, who had suddenly fallen into gloomy silence, her face laden with worry. Then...

"Oh, Ms. Hokujou, you’ve been here?"

His voice soft as he spoke, a short-statured man in a white lab coat approached them.

"Dr. Takemiya!" Mikage’s eyes flashed in joy at the doctor in charge of Keisuke Gondou, Dr. Seiji Miyatake, now become the saviour of Mikage’s life. Miyatake smiled gently, also briefly greeting Aya.

"I remember you from the penthouse’s... is everything well there?"

"Well enough..." he answered curtly.

However, Miyatake seemed not to mind his attitude, and turned once again to Mikage. "Ms. Hokujou, please some with me."

"Th... then, you’ve...!"

"Your Keisuke is waiting for you."

At those words, tears filled her eyes, and her composure broke into sobs. Miyatake placed a gentle hand upon her shoulder. A scene filled with love, and warmth. However for some reason, as he watched, Aya’s expression grew cold.

Chapter 7


Though the glass observation window facing one wall of the large sterile hospital room, he could barely see Keisuke sleeping in his normal clothes. Behind that glass window stood Ryouzou Gondou, a man reaching his middle years, a gentle mask on his face and a long and graceful figure cut from a flattering romance gray. He was the leader of the liberal Reformist party, a charismatic and daring political leader of inciting words that belied his modest appearance.

Despite his looks and appearance, he was free of all scandals, no news headlines of tax evasions or marriage affairs, nor gossip of marriage difficulties or rumors of divorce. His wife was a college classmate, whom he married a year after becoming a member of the Diet. He was, "The Man of Steadfast Honesty," and it was that image which formed the source of his popularity.

Though his youngest child, Keisuke was his eldest son of his three children. He had expected his successor Keisuke to follow in his footsteps. "Mr. Gondou, please excuse me..." He suspiciously turned around at the voice from his back.

It was Dr. Miyatake.

Not far away, Mikage and Aya waited in the shadows of the locker room. Supposedly, only one escort would remain to guard the hospital room until Gondou’s return. Upon that, Miyatake would send that guard some errand that should last an hour or so, so that they could get in to see Keisuke.

But why was Aya there? Only because Mikage had pleaded him to come with her. Normally, Aya would simply refuse right off, but because she was in similar straits as he, he couldn’t. Mikage waited patiently for the right time, holding in her breath and hopes until when she could meet her beloved. He returned his gaze from her face back towards Gondou’s party. Actually, it was some time ago that he first noticed the look on Gondou’s face.

What a cold, ruthless face...

All the while Aya watched him, he could not imagine any sort of love for his son from the man’s eyes. Nor distress, nor concern, nor encouraged hope. If anything... it was hate. Aya could see the loathing of having seen something disgusting lodged into the man’s eyes.

And then, there was Miyatake, beside him. Ever since he first met Miyataku in the courtyard, he had sensed something odd about him, something the exact opposite of his outwardly friendly and gentle demeanor, something somewhere dark and foul. He could feel it even now, as the man talked with Gondou, but what or why it was, he didn’t have a clue.

"Aah!!" Mikage let out a tiny little gasp, as Gondou, Miyatake, and one of the guards left. A little while later, Miyatake returned, exchanged a few words with the guard remaining, and the two of them left the hospital room behind. Which finally left the glass observation window with no one standing before it.

"Keisuke!!" Mikage scrambled towards the form behind the window, her feet haphazardly slipping on the linoleum. Aya followed her at his leisure. On the other side of the glass, they could see Keisuke on a bed with its side towards them, a pitiable figure. His head and both arms were bandaged. They couldn’t see much else because the bed covers, but from the bulges underneath, they could guess that both legs were wrapped in bandages as well. No doubt his entire body was injured.

His face was drained of life, or perhaps it was only because his eyes were closed, but he looked like one of the dead.

"Keisuke! Keisuke! It’s me, Mikage! Are you all right? You’re not dead?! Please be alive! Please live, Keisuke!!" she cried out, her face pressed against the glass. "Keisuke!! Keisuke!! Please..."

She desperately wiped off the tears welling up her eyes. "I can’t see... No, I’m crying too much... Please stop, I can’t see Keisuke... I’ve only got a little time, so please... stop... stop crying..." Again she pressed herself against the glass, and as if he could hear her thoughts, from the bed, Keisuke’s eyelids slowly lifted.

"Keisuke!!" When Mikage shouted again, he slowly turned his head their way and gave a weak smile. He had heard her voice. "You’re okay! He said you were okay" are you? You’ll be fine, Keisuke! You’re the strong one, so much much stronger than me! So you’re gonna be all right, right?" In response, he showed her a small nod of his head.

Mikage’s spirits lifted, her words spilling out, but as much as she wanted to answer Keisuke, she could only nod and shake her head as the words stopped up. Seeing this, Keisuke smiled once again, and across a glass barrier, Mikage and Keisuke found their love again.

Aya turned his back on them, his eyes looking down the corridor. It was just a silent, empty place, as far as the eye could see. Just like, how his own heart felt.

Chapter 8

He took a roundabout way back to the flower shop, arriving for his shift barely on time, to find some woman he didn’t recognize sitting on the couch inside. Her longish permed hair was streaked with faint gradations of brown and fastened behind her head, wearing a light brown blouse that camouflaged as white, a long dark brown skirt and low boots of the same material. Her adult fashion sensibilities matched with a slender face.

At first, he thought she was Youji’s new girlfriend, but when he noticed the tension brewing amidst the other three, he discerned the woman’s nature.

"Birman..." Aya murmured the beautiful messenger’s code name.

She changed her appearance every time she met them; outside of Persia, no one really knew her true appearance. No, probably not even Persia knew who the real her was. It was true this time as well; she knew herself to well to disguise herself, that it was difficult to even begin piercing her numerous disguise.

Perhaps she was about twenty running onto twenty-one, but Aya wouldn’t have been surprised if she were older, or even younger. There was only one thing he knew for certain, that she picked looks that enhanced her beauty. Nonetheless, there was something a little cold-blooded about her. She was a complicated woman.

"From Persia, your next job."

Speaking in demure tones, Birman pulled a video tape out from her file.

Chapter 9


She couldn’t believe this was happening. Her entire body was shaking, held erect only because she clung to the handles of the window frame. Across the window something so bizarre happened so suddenly, that even Gondou’s guard beside her forgot about restraining Mikage, and the hospital staff who also had run in because of her scream were at a complete loss for words at the scene.

"Ke... Keisuke!!"

On his bed, he gazed down at his new transfiguration, his heart pounding fast. The blood vessels through his entire body, all the sudden, began to distend abnormally. His body stiffened in conjunction with paralyzing fear, forgetting to blink and breathe.

The doctors and nurses surrounding Keisuke stood and did nothing.

"What... what happened... What just happened?! Keisuke? Keisuke!!" Mikage screamed, pounding at the glass. Then on Keisuke’s arm, bloated like a football, the distended blood vessels exploded.

The doctors and nurses surrounding him didn’t even flinch, while Mikage’s eyes widened, sucking in her breath.

Keisuke’s body didn’t stop expanding, just like rising bread placed into an oven.
"Keisuke... no, Keisuke!!"

At the sound of Mikage’s voice, Keisuke precariously turned his head upon his distended neck, and somehow managed to face her, then... a sad kind of smile appeared on his face.

A moment...

His enormous body popped in several places all at once, and spatters of fresh blood dyed the window red, and from amidst the hospital staff, a shrill shriek was heard, as Mikage collapsed unconscious on the floor.

It was all she could do, because this surely had to be a nightmare.

An ominous silence spread out in its wake, entrapping the still standing people in an oppressive gloom. Everyone, worked so hard, had no words, couldn’t move. Everyone save one man, who with a sigh that became the sound of footsteps, and quickly walked away, Doctor Seiji Miyatake.


Animage, September 1997
Animage, October 1997
Animage, November 1997
Animage, December 1997

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