I'll confess, this is what I should have done back in 2008 and 2009, but I had a lot of difficulty in getting storylines started, and on top of that, I'm not good with words. This year, however, if everything goes well, I just might be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat for once and get a storyline in, at least for this year. Now I can't guarantee much since this is just about the time of year in which I also have to crunch down on school work in order to better my chances of a stable (though not that high of a) GPA, so it's not as if I will be able to update after every single match. I'll try to go through the story as fast as I can, and hopefully, I can end it before ISML 2012.
The first post will be edited often with a FAQ, a list of terminologies, and direct links to the story. You're welcome to comment on it anytime.
FAQ 1. I can't find the whole story. Where can I find them? ----A: I wanted to do the whole thing on one post, but believe it or not, there is a maximum character limit of 100,000 per post, and my story obviously needs to be longer than that. Direct links to the stories are provided below.
2. Why do you use avatars instead of the typical quotation marks? ----A: When I did a Soul Calibur RPG back in high school, where most of us would take a set amount of characters, this was the way we usually did it, so this is the way I'm used to writing stories. I find it to be more effective in this type of story, mainly on account that there are no OCs (original characters) in this story, or if there are OCs, they are at least kept to a minimum. So while I would try to attempt to write descriptively, that is, trying to describe every single detail, using avatars to already give a clear image of the characters in question would compensate for some of my weakness in descriptive writing. Also, it visually helps when you are trying to follow along with the story - a tl;dr text can be extremely daunting on the eyes.
2a. But wouldn't using avatars make everything too spread out? ----A: That's why all passages will be embedded within spoiler tags for the sake of convenience.
3. Will this story cover every ISML '11 contestant? / Is this story in third-person omniscient point-of-view? ----A: Covering all 50 contestants and creating individual storylines for all of them would be a huge achievement in itself, but it's also something that I'm really incapable of doing - in fact, when I was doing the Soul Calibur RPG with my buddies years back, the most I was capable of handling were three characters - and even then, two of them were used to support the other, and rarely were they used in different places at once (i.e. I would have them together in one setting, or if they were split I wouldn't have them used at all). So while most of the time you'll see one particular character more than the other, I will try to write side stories every now and then if I have extra time and I feel that they are relevant. Don't be too surprised, however, if more than half of the roster are left out entirely.
3a. So, if you're not covering every single contestant, does that mean we can be able to contribute in some parts of the story? ----A: I want to avoid plot holes and plot inconsistencies within the story, so I don't want people to just post a random excerpt that may not make sense as we continue through the story, so for this to work out, we would have to collaborate with each other in order to avoid those inconsistencies, but that would be hard to do without a subforum. I think the best thing you can do is to send me a PM of an excerpt you want to see incorporated in the storyline, and I'll either accept it or ask you to revise it so that the story can remain consistent. If the excerpt you wrote doesn't work out, I'll be happy to work things out through PM. Also, if you do decide that you want to write an excerpt or two, please keep in mind that this is not related to Ithreko's Space Opera, otherwise, this wouldn't be in the Artwork/Fan Creation Forum.
4. Will I be spoiled on certain anime titles? ----A: I will be incorporating scenarios from anime episodes to lush out the story, but I'll try to keep spoiler-heavy passages spoiler-tagged. Though it is not required that you watch certain anime titles to enjoy the story, if I have an episode marked "recommended", I highly recommend watching at least that episode before reading the respective chapter.
5. Will previously published passages be updated? ----A: I'll try to keep these at a minimum, but passages are rarely final drafts - just drafts that attempt to state the direction of the story. If someone suggests a better way to describe or explain a passage, however, then I will add stuff and edit quotes here and there. Passages won't be deleted in its entirely, however.
Terminology: Trials: In our terms, periods. Includes the Necklace Periods as well as the Double-Elimination Period. ---Elemental Trials: In our terms, Necklace Periods. Each Necklace represents a certain element. ---Trial of Light: In our terms, the Postseason period. It's the heavenly tiara we're talking about here.
Arcturus: In our terms, the codename of ISML 2011. It is also the star that protects the Fourth Tiara. Canopus: In our terms, the codename of ISML 2010. It is also the star where Akiyama Mio retrieved the Third Tiara. Sirius: In our terms, the codename of ISML 2009. It is also the star where Katsura Hinagiku retrieved the Second Tiara. Sol: In our terms, the codename of ISML 2008. It is also the Sun, the star closest to Earth, and it is where the First Tiara was retrieved by Fate Testarossa.
Universe: In our terms, the anime series in which each character originates from. In this story, the characters acknowledge the existence of anime series but consider them as universes in a parallel universe system.
Last edited by minhtam1638 on Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:48 pm, edited 14 times in total.
Prologue Pt. 1 A New Beginning Recommended: Angel Beats Ep. 13
It was a bright sunny morning, and sunlight penetrated the window panes to bring light to what seems to be a two-person dormitory bedroom. The walls were painted beige, and on the wall hung a nice painting. There was a bed in one corner near one of two windows, and one just opposite of it. In front of one bed was a bookshelf that had a handful of books and a computer. On one bed lay a young man with orange hair, aged as if he should have been in college, and as the sunlight penetrated the window panes, his eyes opened. He turned his head to the window, and then turned it the other way.
Sitting on the other bed was a young girl, short in stature with long periwinkle hair and beautiful golden eyes. Her voice was as soft as an angelic voice…
“Yuzuru… good morning.”
(softly) “… Kanade…”
Yuzuru sprang up out of his bed and repeated Kanade’s name again, this time with a more exclaimed tone. He quickly hugged her as tears quickly crept out of his eyes.
Spoiler for ”If you have seen Angel Beats Ep. 13”:
Yes, it was only just a short while ago that these two lived in another world, a world in which one could not die, despite taking fatal wounds, and in which one would only be “obliterated” from the world had one entirely let go of his or her own personal regrets. It was in that world in which those two met, where they initially fought as enemies only to become close friends. It was there that they worked with others to get out of that world, and in a happy ending gone awry, Yuzuru confessed her love to Kanade only to see her literally disappear in his arms. But now, despite the fact that the room seemed eerily familiar to Kanade’s old dorm room, he somehow senses that he has finally entered a new world, and he was just as fortunate enough to have Kanade by her side.
(in tears) “Kanade, I thought I lost you… I really thought that I lost you… I…”
“It’s okay. I'm fine. You don’t have anything to worry about anymore.”
???: “Am I interrupting something?”
Yuzuru let go of Kanade at the sight of a stunning young girl slightly younger than his age. She had black long hair; if Yuzuru were not mistaken, her hair was proportionally as long as Kanade’s. Her eyes were just a shade of dark blue, and she was wearing a dress not one as elegant as one would take to a prom, but a simple one. The dress was like the color of the morning sky, and it matched that of a necklace that she was wearing.
“ah... not so much… who are you, and where are we?”
The young girl looked intently at Yuzuru.
“Don't worry. Your questions will be answered in due time. However, I am surprised that the two of you are awake. In that case, I suggest you take a seat at the two chairs in the corner and buckle up.”
At that moment, a voice that sounded like it was coming from a sort of a PA system suddenly broke out.
PILOT: Attention, all passengers, this is the pilot speaking, we will commence liftoff from planet Earth in exactly T-minus 300 seconds. All passengers should find a secure and safe place to strap in for take-off. Repeat, all passengers should find a secure and safe place to strap in for take-off.
(as they were hurrying on to their seats) “Wait, exactly where are we again?”
“We’re on a vessel, and we’re headed for outer space.”
Actually, it may have been to no surprise at all that Kanade knew; she was awake before Yuzuru was, so she must have heard announcements going off in the PA system. In any case, however, for the young man who just got out of a battle in the previous world, everything was happening far too quickly.
PILOT: “Attention, all designated attendants, please confirm attendance of all passengers.”
VOICE 1: “Sector 1: Hayate, Index, and Tsukaima universes confirmed.”
(to a walkie-talkie) “Sector 2: Gosick and Angel universes, confirmed.” (to Yuzuru and Kanade) “I’ll have to go for now. Enjoy your flight. Oh, and don’t worry about your personal belongings. Nothing will get damaged.”
“But wait, I have so many questions to ask!”
The young girl closed the door.
It was then that Yuzuru realized exactly what was in the room. The room did look like Kanade’s own dorm room with a handful of exceptions: there was an extra bed, presumably for Yuzuru himself. The bookshelf and computer were placed in a different part of the room than he last remembered it. The closet was also positioned differently, and on top of that, there was even a bathroom with all the necessary accessories within it. However, the most notable details that distinctly made it not an ordinary dormitory room were the doors and windows: the door was a sliding metal door that slowly opened by a push of a button, and the windows had a circular shape to them, much like one would see on an airplane. It was very likely that there would be some sort of protection implemented to the windows once the vessel left the stratosphere. And it certainly didn’t sound like a dormitory either – somewhere, one could hear the engines running.
PA: “Commencing flight sequence in T minus 60 seconds.”
Yuzuru became more nervous by the second. His heart was racing with complete anxiety.
Spoiler for ”If you have seen Angel Beats Ep. 13”:
It was kind of ironic, actually. In the previous world, he did not have a heart, even though his actions back then begged to differ. It was just before he left when he found out that his heart was inside…
At that moment, he felt a hand touching his left hand. It was Kanade’s.
Are you alright?
Yuzuru lets out a small laugh.
I’m fine, I guess. I’m just a little nervous, that’s all. More importantly…
I guess this is the beginning of a new journey for us. I still wonder about this place – it doesn’t feel like we’re in heaven, and if reincarnation was true, then we wouldn’t be starting out in a new world like this… but that doesn’t matter. (looks over) I’m just glad that you’re here.
In what would be the last words spoken between the two for a while, Kanade nodded and let out a small smile.
PILOT: “Flight sequence in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…”
At the assumed count of zero, the sound of the turbulent engines immediately went on. It was a riveting experience like no other – an airplane flight could not compare to something like this. The next moment, the feeling of a spaceship or a UFO lifting from the ground came around, and as bodies began to feel heavy, outside the window, the view of the green and grassy fields slowly disappeared. Next thing one knows, they were already past the clouds and getting a view of the sun. From there, the windows were suddenly enclosed by sheet metal, but not long after that did the spaceship hit a turbulance tenfold stronger than turbulance experienced on a regular aircraft. On and on the moment went, continuing as if it wouldn’t stop for the entire day. Minutes later, the feeling gradually started to disappear, and for a moment, bodies started to feel light before an auto-gravitation mechanism activated to restore normal gravity.
When all of that was over, the pilot informed the passengers that they can remove their seat belts and are welcome to move around in the ship, and the windows were open. Outside was one of the most beautiful images one can ever see – the Earth, from the view of outer space.
It certainly feels like a new journey is really beginning.
Prologue Pt. 2 The Inner Circle
At the main cockpit of the spaceship, pilots and crewmen were going about their daily jobs. Some of them continued to gather information, monitoring each part of the spaceship to make sure there were no malfunctions, others analyzing the current flight path making note of daily obstacles, and still others checking through all of the main areas of the spaceship to ensure no one is causing a ruckus. Yes, despite the fact that it’s purpose is mainly to orbit the earth, this spaceship was big enough to board about 100,000 people at maximum. Had someone played Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope, a spaceship like this would remind them of a similar ship called EN II. Yet, the irony of this is that despite it’s large size and capacity, only about 5,000 were on board, and most of them were merely employees. Despite the fact that Earth was “just outside” the window, this spaceship could be mistaken for a world of its own.
Still, there were hidden rooms that not even employees can access. A section of the spaceship was partitioned off where only passengers who met certain conditions can access. It was impossible to tell whether there was one room or many, or whether the area was big or small, because it was pitch black on account of all of the lights being turned off. Yet there was one area that had some sort of visibility. Only two dim lights and a projection screen were turned on – one can barely see any faces because the room wasn’t bright enough – yet just by looking around, one can tell that it was a conference area. Despite this, inside the room were at least 7 or 8 young girls, almost all of which of high school age, and many of them just couldn’t stand each other.
“Are you serious? You can’t possibly think I will be able to work with an egocentric maniac like her, do you?”
“What?! Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Why don’t you figure it out yourself? This isn’t the S.O.S. Brigade, so you’re not in charge here.”
“Turnabout is fair play.”
“Huh? You’re going to take her side?”
“How can anybody not? We know exactly what you’ve tried to do last year.”
“Not that I approve of her actions last year either, but you’ve lost a little bit of your credibility this year. There isn’t a point of finishing second overall in the Elemental Trials if you can’t back it up in the final Trial of Light.”
“Haha… this coming from the one who actually finished first in the Elemental Trials and still couldn’t get the job done.”
“Actually, you haven’t won a necklace since Sol, so technically, you shouldn’t be here. Then again, neither does the shocker.”
“Okay, you don't even have the right to say that considering I flattened you during the Trial of Light last year.”
And so the negative remarks continued for who knows how long. Just from hearing this argument and the sound effects that went on with the commotion, it was impossible to determine where anybody was at the same time. One couldn’t tell if they were merely arguing with words or if there was a point where anybody could snap at any time, but it was clear that, apart from a few alliances and friendships here and there, everybody in the room hated each other.
“One of these days, I will kill you.”
???: “That’s enough, all of you.”
The commotion stopped, but the mood in the room took an awkward turn. The hatred that was directed toward each other turned to the speaker in question. If there was one person most of them couldn’t stand more than anybody, it was her. Long black hair, dark blue eyes, currently wearing a simple cyan dress, this was a girl that didn’t deserve to have something like this pan out, but it was something she achieved that everyone else couldn’t that made everything turn out like this. This girl possesses the Third Tiara, also known as the Tiara of Canopus, and she earned it on her first try.
“Sorry. Anyway, I know how you feel about each other, and I know how you feel about me, but can we all coexist for the next five minutes?”
“Not a chance.”
Judging from the responses, the dark-haired girl thought to herself: This is going to be a long year. Despite that, she tried not to show her displeasure as she motioned everyone in their room to take their seats. Each person took a seat at a semi-circular table. The dark-haired girl took the only seat positioned on the flat side.
"Okay, so right now, preparations for Arcturus are pretty much done. Every participant and supporting members have been safely transitioned to this universe, and we're all set to begin. All that is left is for us to commence the Elemental Trials and we should go on from there."
“Well, I have a question I'd like to ask.”
“There are 14 necklace bearers you could have chosen from to form the Inner Circle. Why did you pick such a combustible group, especially given the results of Canopus last year?”
At that point, one of them - it was unclear who - muttered, "Emphasis on 'combustible'."
*sigh* “I’ll admit, it’s no secret that we all hate each other around here...”
She took out a remote and pressed a button. The projection screen turned on. On the screen showed a list of names with accompanying picture identifications.
“However, of the fifty here that have been chosen to participate, there are ten necklace bearers, including the seven of us. Of those that haven’t been chosen to participate, I’ve never met Setsuna nor the Rozen Maidens, and there isn’t anybody onboard that have any connection to their particular universes, so we won’t be able to meet them anytime soon.”
“However, that still leaves Kagami, Kyou, and Tomoyo, and all three are participating this year.”
“Yeah, and what happened to Fate? She holds the First Tiara, and this is a ship from her universe, after all.”
“If we took every remaining necklace bearer, there would be too many of us, so I’ve asked the aformentioned four to form an “Outer Circle”, and their function will be different then ours. Also, if one of us is incapacitated for one reason or another, I can call on any of the four to temporarily work in her stead.”
“Yeah, but why would we need an Outer Circle?”
“Who cares? Honestly, I’m glad I won’t be seeing them as much anymore.”
“I’d rather work with them than a stuck-up like you.”
“Actually, they still have access to this area, so you’ll probably see them more than you think.”
“The bottom line is this: of the possible members I could have chosen to be part of the Inner Circle, I chose the members that came closest to earning the Tiara last time around. This means the next person chosen to hold the Fourth Tiara is most likely in this room. Can everyone at least agree to that?”
Suddenly, faces of skepticism and doubt turned to self-gratification. It seemed that everybody in the room felt that they were going to accomplish the unthinkable – to be chosen to attain the Tiara of Arcturus was not a dream but a top priority for each person present. Each of the members in this room thought that this would be the year in which they would be able to win the Fourth Tiara, for not only did it hold special powers unknown to the average person, but winning the prized item also meant that the winner would be in the same position the dark-haired girl is in now. Everyone has had their doubts removed, all except the one to the far left. She was fairly short in stature, and like the dark-haired girl, had long hair down to the waist, except the color of her hair was auburn, and her hair itself was less straight, though not necessarily curly. She was wearing a black school uniform, and like the dark-haired girl, and everyone else in the room, for that matter, she was also wearing a necklace, except that of the color of the sun. The dark-haired girl turned her attention to her.
“You don’t sound so convinced.”
“Well, it’s like this. Last year was your first year participating in the Trials, right? You won a necklace on your first try, then went on to win 41 straight one-on-one matches, and you used that momentum led to you winning the Third Tiara at the end. Wouldn’t that mean it’s just as likely that a first-time candidate would be able to do something similar to be chosen for the Fourth?”
With the exception of the dark-haired girl, all of the other members in the room let out an exclamation of rage and confusion.
“No, that cannot happen again! It definitely cannot happen again!”
“Actually, she has a –“
“No. Look around this room. All six of us competed in both Sirius and Canopus, and four of us have also competed since the beginning, and except for you, none of us have a Tiara. Do you not remember what your Tiara di-?”
“I do, but I can’t help but think she’s right.”
“Well, if that is the case, then shouldn’t we guide the new candidate on her journey?”
“What are you trying to say?”
“In this room lie the seven candidates who know the dangers of the Trials and were most prepared for it during Canopius. This doesn't guarantee that the Fourth Tiara will choose one of us to be its keeper. For us, as members of this year's Inner Circle, our role isn’t necessarily to work hard to earn the Tiara for ourselves, but to find the one who will be chosen for it and prepare her for it. Now, it could be yourself, or it could be anyone of us here, but as she pointed out earlier, it could also be somebody else, perhaps someone who hasn’t the slightest idea of what is going on, or how she came into this universe in the first place. In any case, we have the option to choose what we do from here until the end of the Diamond period. Your decisions can very well determine the end result for Arcturus. Remember that. From here on out, we may not reconvene at all. We’ll just be enemies on a common battlefield.”
Her words echoed through the room, and a moment of silence followed with glares from one person to the next. It seemed that whatever really was at stake for the next few months, they were going to do everything they can to succeed as if their lives depended on it, and they all understood it. In any case, it seemed that the apparent leader of this group was finished with what she had to say, and it was assumed that the meeting is adjourned.
“Well, then, if that's all you have to say, then I'm out of here. (to the girl with short purple hair) Let’s go find Mikuru.”
“I’m out too.”
“Hey, meet me in the simulation room later.”
One-by-one, they had all left until only two – the dark haired girl that led the conversation, and the auburn haired girl who earlier made the remark about the possibility that a first-year could win the Fourth Tiara – remained behind. It certainly felt like out of all the members of the Inner Circle, she was the only one who didn’t believe a member of the Inner Circle would be able to win the Tiara this year, but it seemed as if she felt that based on her response, the dark-haired girl might actually know something.
“You know, for the record, I still haven’t forgiven you for handing me my first loss last year.”
"Don't sweat it. You did great at the last Tiara trial. You earned that Tiara. Besides, chances are, you'll probably defeat me this year."
"Wait a second, usually you would be having more confidence right now. Is something wrong, or are you still stressed out about Shana?"
“You ran into somebody, haven’t you?”
“You met somebody just before lift off, and she probably left an impression on you. You wouldn’t be answering my question the way you did if you haven’t.”
(smiled and gave out a small chuckle) “Maybe.”
The dark-haired girl turned to the projection screen and pointed out an identification photo near the bottom right corner.
“Tachibana Kanade. Angel Universe. She and her partner woke up before the ship took off. The last person to do that was -”
“You, and Hinagiku the contest before that. Then that would mean -”
“Exactly. I don’t know how many candidates woke up early this year, but I think some of the first-year candidates have a lot of potential to pass the seven Elemental Trials this year, and Kanade may very well be one of them. If the other five are really focused on winning the Fourth Tiara themselves, they are going to have a hard time.”
“Wait, you don’t think you’ll be able to earn the Fourth Tiara?”
“Of course, I’ll give it my all, but I think there's someone from my own universe that deserves this one more than I do.”
“So, You’re playing the role of a mentor this year?”
“Technically, she isn't a first-year candidate, but yes. Just like what Tomoyo-senpai did for me last year.”
It was like an idea suddenly clicked in her mind – just like the dark-haired girl, the auburn-haired girl was mentored in her first year of participation, and that paid off in the form of a Necklace the year after, which subsequently led her to a spot in the Inner Circle. Now, even she is considered to be a senior when it comes to the inner workings of what this “Trial of Arcturus” actually entails. But "senior" has a negative connotation to it, and she knows it. There are strong candidates participating this year that she failed to defeat, and she probably won't be able to gather the strength to defeat them this year either. And in all technicality, she’s just about to graduate high school when she returns to her own Universe. Perhaps it’s time for her to pay it forward.
“Our room number is 205. Looks like it’s going to be our room from now on. Make sure you remember that, Kanade.”
It had been just about an hour since the ship has crossed the atmosphere. Everything had started to settle down since the ship went through the stratosphere, and despite the fact that they have reached outer space, gravity was still stabilized as if they had still been on Earth. They were given the notice to take off their seat belts, and up until now, they’ve used the opportunity to look around the room.
It turned out that the two chairs in the corner were attached to the floor, and they were supposed to be used in take-off situations. There was a button on top of it that when pressed, the chairs descended to a compartment below, and it was replaced with a shelf that included a television set and a DVD player. Unfortunately, there weren’t any DVDs, and every channel on television only showed a black-white-gray alternating screen – there literally wasn’t anything to watch.
The closet space was also about two-fold bigger than before. It was filled with sets of clothes and drawers beneath the hanging clothes, one side presumably for Yuzuru and the other for Kanade. The drawers were filled with underwear and pajamas and the like – Yuzuru was lucky enough to open his own drawer first and dared not to look at Kanade’s drawer.
The bathroom was not too elegant, but not too basic either. Surprisingly, there was a shower, with soap, shampoo, and towels provided. The toilet and sink are just like what you would find in an airplane: there was no toilet water – instead, if you pressed the flush button, the waste would simply be aired out, which makes Yuzuru wonder how the shower would actually function.
The bookshelf with Kanade’s computer was pretty much an exact replica – even the programs and the files on the computer were exactly the way Kanade left it in the last world. Even the program that Kanade used to develop and utilize her special powers, “Angel Player”, was installed, and the abilities that Kanade programmed were exactly the same. Kanade even tested out her Hand Sonic ability – an ability that turned Kanade’s right hand into a sword, and it actually worked. However, as proof that they weren’t actually in an alternate version of their past world, the computer also had internet access (their previous world didn’t), and Kanade accidently ran into a news article about a natural disaster that happened back on Earth that took the lives of thousands a few years ago. From what the images of that disaster imply, the survivors didn’t come back to life.
They also found ID cards – like a picture ID, it had the person’s photo, name, gender, and room number, but unlike an ID card, there wasn’t a date of birth, and on top of that, there were classifications that Yuzuru had never heard of showing up on the ID card. For example, listed on Yuzuru’s white ID card, the category “Role” was listed as “Supporter”, and also listed Kanade’s full name the next line under. Kanade’s ID card, on the other hand, had a more colorful one – the background was prism, and it looked like a number of colors gradually blending with each other, and her “Role” was listed as “Candidate”. On Kanade’s ID card, it also listed the term “1st” under the category “Year”. But what was most interesting about the ID card is that instead of “Country of Origin” as one might expect, there was a “Universe of Origin”, which according to both of their ID cards, they came from “Angel” Universe, whatever that means. The backside of the card was sort of uninteresting – there was a magnetic strip on the back, presumably used to access certain areas of the ship.
While Kanade went on a mini-computer rush, Yuzuru inspected the door. It was a automatic sliding metal door one would probably find in a sci-fi movie, but it was actually easy to open from the inside – it was button-activated. When Yuzuru went outside to check, there was a magnetic strip indicator next to the door, confirming Yuzuru’s theory that the ID cards were used to access certain areas. Above the indicator was the typical door sign that listed the room number and also the names of the room’s current residents. Like the ID cards, Kanade’s name was written on top of a “prism” background, while Yuzuru’s was written on a plain color. Speaking of what was outside, it was a basic hallway one would expect to find in hotels and dormitories, except while one side had the rooms, the other side was basically a big metal wall. At the very least, they were painted in such a color that wasn’t dull, but rather an inviting color of light blue.
Like anybody else wanting to explore a new area, Yuzuru wanted to explore the ship. He just got off asking Kanade to come along – it wouldn’t feel right to just leave her sitting in the computer if he got lost. They were already dressed in school uniform, so all they needed was to grab some necessary belongings, his wallet for Yuzuru and a purse she found in her top drawer for Kanade before leaving. Out in the hallway, they were the only two there, apart from a young boy and girl about five rooms across walking away from them.
“Yuzuru, don’t you think it’s a little to quiet?”
“Well, yeah, but the rest of the passengers are probably asleep right now.”
Two voices: “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH???!!”
“I spoke too soon.”
Just like that, two voices, one male and one female, screamed in unision in what appeared to come from Room 204, leaving Yuzuru feeling a little unfortunate that he may have to live with that for a while.
“What are you doing here?”
“What are you doing here? And what the hell is this? Where the heck are we?”
“Forget that! I want to know why we’re stuck in the same room!”
Spoiler for "If you have seen Angel Beats Ep. 10":
“Hey, you said that you would marry me, right? Well, a lovely couple sharing the same room is part of the spoils of marriage, so deal with it.”
“Yes, I did say that I’d marry you, but still, this is a little too much! I mean, one second, I’m in a graduation ceremony long after seeing you oblierated, the next, we’re sleeping in the same room?”
Back and forth the boy and girl went, and the end seemed out of sight. Yuzuru, no longer paying attention to what Kanade was doing or looking at, was standing in front of the door looking dumbfounded. Actually, it was a feeling of déjà vu. At one point during the one on one argument, you could hear sounds of the girl being strangled in a submission hold. Yuzuru felt a familiarity to both of them, but he didn’t understand why.
“Why is it that this exchange feels so familiar?”
But by the time Yuzuru answered that, Kanade already saw the names written on the nameplates for Room 204, and she was already looking at the nameplates for Room 203. She turned her head to Yuzuru to answer such an easy question.
Suddenly, the door to Room 203 slid open, and out came a teenage girl with green eyes and short magenta hair down to about her shoulder, wearing a school uniform that looked all too familiar, followed by a taller boy with green hair and green eyes wearing what looked to be a basic military uniform with a pilot’s cap. Looks like Yuzuru and Kanade didn’t make it here from the previous world alone.
“Oye, would you quiet down in ther-“
The girl paused after making eye contact with Yuzuru. Yep, there’s no mistaking it. She’s Nakamura Yuri, the first person Yuzuru met in the last world. And the boy with the pilot’s cap was Naoi Ayato, an annoying guy who kept sucking up to Yuzuru as if he was the best thing since slice bread.
Suddenly, Ayato burst into tears and immediately hugged Yuzuru, burying his face into Yuzuru’s uniform. For Yuzuru, it felt like that moment of reunion after a long time was instantaneously killed.
“Naoi, you can let go now.”
“But Otonashi-san, I never thought that I would be able to see you again!”
Yuzuru let out a forced smile, though in reality, he felt like he wanted to be somewhere else. Actually, wasn’t he and Kanade supposed be in a different area of the ship right now?
“Seriously, let go.”
The awkwardness of this moment was so intense that Yuzuru didn’t notice the door to Room 204 slide open.
“Oye, what is going on – Otonashi! And Yurippe! And that annoying Vice President guy… you’re here too?!”
It was no wonder Yuzuru felt déjà vu – the couple in the room didn’t just sound familiar, they were familiar. The boy was Hinata Hideki, who was about the same age as Yuzuru, with blue eyes and blue hair cut at about the same length as Yuzuru’s. In the past world, Hideki acted as if he were Yuzuru’s best friend, and whenever Yuri would commence operations involving a group of rebellious students, the two would almost always be partnered up with each other.
“Hinata! I could say the same abo-”
Ayato, meanwhile, let go of Yuzuru to verbally retaliate.
“Hey! Do not call me “annoying Vice President guy”. Either refer to me as Naoi-san, Ayato-san, or God. I prefer the latter.”
“Aw, come on, dude, don’t ruin the moment. This is a reunion here.”
“You’re an idiot."
“What did you say?”
As Hideki responded back to the girl that also came out of Room 204, Yuzuru recognized the girl as well. Pink eyes, pink hair with two ponytails, one on each side, and an awkward demon tail, there was no doubt about it. The girl’s name was Yui, a girl with a childish hyperactive personality that’s known for trash talking and calling other people “idiots”.
(in a slower but more emphatic tone) “You – are – an – id”
In response to Yui’s annoying tone of voice, Hideki suddenly put Yui in a submission hold once more, but to everyone’s surprise, this time around, Yui reverses the submission hold and does one of her own, much to the chagrin of Yuzuru. Then Hideki countered once more. Both of them restarted their heated conversation from earlier as they turned what should have been a quiet hallway into a wrestling ring.
“Ugh… not again. Naoi, break them up.”
Ah, it’s all coming back to him now. The rush of events that occurred in the past ten minutes or so had Yuzuru feeling very nostalgic. As Ayato attempted to break up Hideki and Yui, Yuzuru flashbacked to the memories of the previous world, from the time he woke up, to the first time he met Kanade, to his induction as a member of the Afterlife War Front (SSS – Shinda Sekai Sensen), an anti-establishment group that was led by Yuri, the operations that the group conducted as a team, etc, etc. Yes, from the moment where it was time to pass on to the next world, Yuzuru knew, or thought he knew, that he, and everyone here for that matter, would graduate to a new life, and a new beginning. Sure, it definitely feels like a new life in a new world, but he couldn’t have anticipated sharing it with Kanade, let alone a number of significant SSS members that have interacted with Yuzuru the most. In a way, the six of them lucked out; while other SSS members may or may not have passed into this world, the six of them get to start their new lives in a comfort zone.
“This brings you back, right?”
Yuzuru looked over to his left at where Yuri was standing. Yuri was just standing there, taking in the moment as he was. Surprisingly, Yuri was trying to hold back tears, which is unlike her given her personality as a strong, courageous leader. But on the other hand…
“Yuri, are you alright?”
“I’m dreaming, right? There’s no way this is possible. I mean, we were obliterated, right? But you… and them… we can’t be all here just like old times… not after…”
“It’s okay to cry in times like this.”
Yuri turned around to find Kanade standing right behind here. Immediately, she remembered her last moments with Kanade in the last world, including what she said, and how she felt about it.
Spoiler for ”If you have seen Angel Beats Ep. 13”:
That day, only five: Kanade, Yuzuru, Hideki, Yuri, and Ayato were left, and they just got off a pseudo but symbolic graduation ceremony. Ayato had just past on to another world, and Yuri decided to go next.
“I’m sorry all we did was fight. I really wonder why we couldn’t have become friends sooner.”
Yuri put her hands on Kanade’s shoulders and apologized again. Kanade shook her head acknowledging that it wasn’t anything to worry about. However…
“I was the oldest girl in the house, so I looked after my ill-behaved siblings like I was their mother. So I could have taught you so much. You looked out-of-place with the rest of this world, so I would’ve taken extra care of you. We could have done so many things, and we could have had a lot of fun. If… If only we had more time…”
That was exactly what she thought. Out of guilt for spending a whole lifetime in the world trying to put her down, she wished from her heart that she can be able to spend more time with her, but in reality, she never thought that they would never meet again. However, in this new world, it feels like life had been extended, like exploring a secret world in a computer game. For someone who had been fighting God in the past realm, Yuri never thought that she would be blessed with something as special as this.
The tears that she tried to hold back were finally let out as she quickly embraced Kanade. Yuzuru has never seen Yuri cry (nor Kanade, for that matter), so he knew it must be a special moment for her. Ayato, meanwhile, succeeded in breaking up Hideki and Yui for the three of them to witness this moment, and they had to suppress their surprise that Kanade was also here too.
“Wait, Angel’s here?”
“Well, with everyone here, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Kanade-chan is here too.”
“The War Front leader is crying? That’s not like her.”
“Let’s let them be. You didn’t get the opportunity to hear what Yuri had to say to Kanade.”
“Wait, what? I don’t understand. What is going on here?”
While both Ayato and Hideki were talking to each other quietly making sure not to ruin it, Yui was extremely confused. Hideki made sure that Yui stayed quiet for a while with a death threat and a promise to explain everything later. Yuzuru, meanwhile, realized something: why did it take so long for the other four to notice that Kanade was here? Surely, if Kanade was about to answer a question before the other four popped into the hallway, then at least one of them could have noticed that she was here too, and she wouldn’t have to speak out for them to acknowledge her presence. There were only two possible answers, Yuzuru could think of: either the four of them just flat out didn’t notice, or Kanade went further into the hallway before coming back. He’s banking on the latter.
“Kanade, do you know what’s ahead?”
(as Yuri let go) “There’s two routes ahead. One of them leads to more rooms, but I’m not sure about the other one.”
“Okay. Then, I guess if we’re all here, why don’t we - “
Kanade noticed two people walking towards them. Yuzuru caught her eye move slightly to the side and looked behind him, with the rest of the SSS members following suit. From the direction of Rooms 209 and above, a blue-haired boy and a Kanade-sized auburn-haired girl turned a corner and were walking towards them.
“Hey, are you sure about this?”
“Really, I don’t see you as a mentor at all.”
“Yeah, but no Minorin, Ami, or Kitamura on board totally changes everything around here. It’s just you and me from Toradora this year, so the least we can do is make some new friends.”
They slowly walked past Room 208, and they were headed straight towards Yuzuru, Kanade, and the rest of the War Front members.
“Yeah, but what about old friends? If you’re going to mentor somebody, wouldn’t Nagi or Louise be a better option?”
“As much as those two are enjoyable to be around, it’s a waste of time. Louise lacks the ability and potential to even come close to succeeding the Elemental Trials. Nagi, on the other hand has a lot of potential but no will or desire, plus she isn’t the listening type. Besides, both of them can take care of each other. Despite what they think, they don’t need me.”
They slowly walked past Room 207, and they were slowly getting closer. As the auburn-haired girl continued to talk about a “Nagi”, the six former members of the Afterlife War Front turned back to where they were originally facing and restarted their conversation.
“Oh, it’s just a couple. Let’s get out of the way and let them pass. So, what should we do now? Should we take a good look around?”
“Actually, I’m not so sure.”
“Wait, what do you mean?”
“I agree with Otonashi-kun. Those two look too calm for two people that have no idea of where they are.”
“Then, are they idiots?”
“Would you stop with that running gag? It’s kind of getting old.”
“Well, if this is a new world for all six of us, then it’s most likely that they must be inhabitants in this world, which means...”
“They should know--”
“Room 205, right? Well, this should be it.”
To Yuzuru’s surprise, the boy and the girl stopped walking. The boy was looking at the door to the room right next to the room they were standing. He stepped toward the door and raised his fist up as if he intended to knock on the door, but…
It was just then that both the blue-haired boy and Yuzuru realized something: Kanade had been looking straight at the auburn-haired girl ever since she caught her eye, and vice versa. Neither had averted their eyes, even when the boy was talking directly with that girl. It had been like this earlier, as well, right before liftoff when Kanade took a sudden interest in a flight attendant (so it seemed) with a necklace – she didn’t take her eyes off of that either. Yuzuru glanced from Kanade to the auburn-haired girl to find out what was similar between the two, and he ended up catching the similarity – despite the fact that she looks like any other school girl, uniform and all, she’s wearing a necklace similar to the one of that flight attendant earlier, and there was, at least in Kanade’s mind, a mystique behind necklaces like the one she is wearing. But I guess Kanade has that side of her as well, so Yuzuru thought. He had no idea she was so interested in necklaces. Or was she?
For a handful of seconds, the hallway was dead silent, and the enjoyable mood that came with the moment of reunion was quickly replaced with a mood filled with intense pressure. None of the six – well, maybe Kanade knows something, but the other five couldn’t process what just happened quickly enough. The boy and the girl were supposed to be just passing by, so what is with the uncanny interest with Yuzuru and Kanade’s room? Someone has to break the silence before somebody goes insane. But the auburn-haired girl isn’t showing any signs of talking, so…
But it was too late. Yuri suddenly outburst in frustration in confusion.
“Okay, who are you and what business do you have he – LET ME GO!”
But with Yuri suddenly walking toward the blue-haired boy as if she was going to grab him by the shirt, Hideki, Yui, and Ayato immediately went to restrain her from doing so. It didn’t seem like Yuri is interested in making friends with the couple after their unannounced entrance, but both Yuzuru and Kanade know that whenever you enter a new world or a new environment, it’s best to make allies quick.
“Hi. Sorry about Yuri – she’s a bit quick on the uptake. And you ar-“
Yuzuru stopped talking. He didn’t expect Kanade to speak at that moment, but the fact that she’s making eye contact with the auburn-haired girl probably meant that she must be really interested in her.
“… That’s a beautiful nekclace.”
Déjà vu. Yuzuru could have sworn Kanade used that same line with that flight attendant girl too. But unlike the flight attendant, the girl didn’t smile right away. Instead, she appeared to be shocked that Kanade would notice the necklace, but it didn’t take long for her to smile in the same way the last girl did. Meanwhile, the rest of the SSS members there suddenly started to think what Yuzuru thought earlier – no one had any idea Kanade was interested in jewelry. The girl let out a small laugh.
“No wonder Mio is so interested in you.”
Now, here's a new one. Yuzuru thought that maybe the couple’s unannounced interest in Kanade was the reason why they stopped in front of their room. Maybe they really did want to meet Kanade, but what was it that made her so special? Actually, Yuzuru never thought about this, but how long was he asleep in this world, and how long had it been since Kanade awoke. Was it a matter of minutes or years? Maybe Kanade had been walking around the ship for some time, fully aware of what was going on. Or, maybe Kanade woke up just before Yuzuru did. He wouldn’t know unless he asked. But before he could get his chance, the auburn-haired girl spoke up.
“The six of you must be new here. Are you lost?”
“Don’t ‘are you lost’ me –“
Quick recovery by Yuri from the last takedown, but quick reactions by the the other three to hold her back.
“Yurippe, calm down!”
“Are you an idiot?”
“Let Otonashi-san handle this!”
The blue-haired boy facepalmed, but the auburn-haired girl smiled as if she was amused. Trying his best to ignore Yuri’s reactions, Yuzuru decided to take charge of the situation.
“Well, yes and no. We just came out of our rooms and decided to check out the ship before the two of you arrived. I’d like to –“
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?”
Wait a minute...
“Oye, don’t tell me you’ve haven’t noticed.”
“What are you talking about? This isn’t a cruise. I don’t feel any traces of water…”
“We’re on a spaceship, and we’re already in outer space.”
“And unless my calculation of the trajectory of the spaceship is incorrect, we’re orbiting the Earth right now.”
Now, it consciously felt mean to do this, since Yuzuru reacted in a similar way with the flight attendant, but this was a total facepalm moment, so Yuzuru took the opportunity to do it, but when he let his hand off his face, he realized that the couple were almost as equally as shocked as the four… well… not that he used this word to describe them often, but, “idiots”.
“Hold up, she’s right?”
“I would have corrected her if she’s wrong.”
“You really are an idiot. A spaceship? This isn’t a sci-fi movie!”
“That’s ridiculous. Only God would have the power to create the possibility that people could live in space. Right, Otonashi-kun?”
The degree of necessity of the dreaded facepalm just multiplied tenfold.
“Don’t tell me that all this time, you’ve been in your rooms, and you did not look outside your windows?”
“Don’t blame me. When I woke up in this world, the first thing I did was run outside to tell those two to shut up.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault when idiot number one screams to the top of his lungs, interrupts my beauty sleep, and nearly tries to kill me.”
“Okay, I’ve had enough with you and your freakin’ –“
“Then, I will give you all about seven minutes.”
“It’s almost lunch time here, and I’m heading to the cafeteria, but I have time to kill, and you’re probably hungry too. So I am going to let you go back into your rooms and look outside, just to prove that Yuzuru isn’t lying. Oh, and by the way, somewhere in your rooms are your ID cards. Those are your most prized possessions here on this ship, since after all, they’re way more than just IDs.”
Yuzuru has already seen one example – the ID cards are also room keys. Without them, you’re locked out of your room. Luckily, the rooms to 203 and 204 were left open.
“Oh, and I recommend you get your cell phones too.”
“But we don’t have any!”
“Actually, if I recall correctly, each passenger is given one. I believe I found mine in my top drawer.”
“If you don’t get them now, we’ll just take Yuzuru and Kanade with us and leave you behind.”
“Wait a sec!”
“420, 419, 418…”
Suddenly, Hideki, Yui, Yuri, and Ayato scrambled back into their rooms to finally take a good look at what’s been going on as to where they are and to let everything sink in. Actually, come to think of it, Yuzuru never did look in his top drawer (how could he have missed?), so he took a step to the side with the intention of walking to his room, but something hit his right arm, so he stopped to look to his right. Apparently, Kanade took out an orange cell phone from her newly discovered purse and held it out to Yuzuru.
“Uh… Kanade, are you sure I can use this one? I really think it would be better for me to go get mine quickly.”
“This one is yours. I have mine right here.”
Kanade took out another phone, this one very light blue, surprisingly matching the color of her hair. Yuzuru might have guessed that Kanade took both phones out of their respective drawers just in case the two decided to split up. Now, that’s thinking ahead, so Yuzuru thought. Yet, the absentmindedness of the rest of the Afterlife War Front members led to an interesting dynamic. With the other four in their rooms frantically looking around and appropriately reacting to everything that they could find, Yuzuru and Kanade were left alone with the boy and girl. So, now what?
“Thank you, Kanade. (turning to the other girl) So, how do you know our names?”
“Actually, process of elimination. Considering how the six of you reacted compared to each other, it’s pretty easy to figure out which ones you are. Plus, Kanade isn’t a boy’s name.”
Actually, that was a white lie - the auburn-haired girl actually got her information elsewhere, but this could be considered a valid answer too.
“Taiga, more often than not, you’re full of surprises.”
The boy extended his right hand to Yuzuru, signaling a handshake.
“I’m Takasu Ryuji. Toradora Universe. You may call me Ryuji.”
Yuzuru accepted the handshake. He also introduced himself; even if they knew their names, it wouldn’t feel right not to introduce themselves.
“Otonashi Yuzuru. Angel Universe. Nice to make your aquaintance.”
“Hey, you’re referring to your Universe of origin. You’re picking things up quicker than I did the first time I was around here.”
(slightly embarassed) Oh, no, I’m just trying to fit in.”
Make no mistake about it, she was certainly impressed. Unlike Ryuji, however, the girl did not offer her hand to Yuzuru, but he was about to find out why.
“This is my fiance, Aisaka Taiga.”
“Wait, fiance? Now I'm basing this on what you're wearing, but aren't you two still in high school?”
“Yes, but the wedding is a long ways away, anyway, so you don’t have to worry about that.”
“Oh, okay, but really, I’ve never seen a couple commit this young.”
“That’s a topic for another day.”
Taiga then turned her attention to Kanade, and offered her hand to her. Kanade was startled. The last person to ever approach her voluntarily was Yuzuru, back in their previous world, and that was a long time ago.
“Tachibana Kanade, that’s a really nice name. I hope we can be good friends.”
Yuzuru said that about her name too, and the two of them became very close friends. Then could this mean that this girl, who was just about as tall as her, could be just like Yuzuru?
“Hey, don’t be shy, go ahead.”
Kanade took one glance at Yuzuru, who was smiling at her and encouraging her to accept the invitation. After all, Yuzuru knew that Kanade was somewhat interested in Taiga too, and he knew that she wondered what Taiga must have been like. It’s a funny thing, friendship. One minute, you’re shrugging her off as a passerby, the next, she’s offering to get to know you. After that glance, Kanade turned her head to face Taiga, and shook her hand.
“Tachibana Kanade. Angel Universe. I hope we can be good friends too.”
Last edited by minhtam1638 on Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:56 pm, edited 15 times in total.
Wolfnagi wrote:minhtam, You said that you are incapable of taking care of certain characters. Does that means we can actually contribute in some of their parts?
Wow... Good question. Actually, I'm not sure how to answer that question.
For a general answer, well, let's go with this. I want to avoid plot holes and plot inconsistencies within the story, so I don't want people to just post a random excerpt that may not make sense as we continue through the story. We would have to collaborate with each other in order to avoid those inconsistencies, but that would be hard to do without a subforum. I think the best thing you can do, if you want to contribute... for example, a Nagi/Mafuyu or Kuroko/Last Order storyline, or whatever rivalry or alliances you want in the story, is to send me a PM of the excerpt you want to see in the storyline, and I'll either accept it or ask you to revise it so that the story can remain consistent. If the excerpt you wrote doesn't work out, I'll be happy to work things out through PM.
I read the two parts of the prologue and I found it pretty well done ! I like how Kanade plays a major role and I wonder what will become of the other strong newcomers ! A bad point was that Yuki spoke way too much, that was weird :$
Prologue Pt. 1: Amagami SS failed to qualify, so I changed up that part of the section to include some of the Universes that did qualify
Prologue Pt. 2:
Toady wrote:I read the two parts of the prologue and I found it pretty well done ! I like how Kanade plays a major role and I wonder what will become of the other strong newcomers ! A bad point was that Yuki spoke way too much, that was weird :$
Thank you for the positive comments. As for the Yuki thing, I didn't think she talked that much, but it is kind of weird for her to be concerned about other people. I changed that part by giving two of those lines to Hinagiku instead. Also, the term "Final Trial" has been changed to "Trial of Light".
Damnit, Chapter 1, Part 2, was a freaking nightmare, but I finally got it done. And this welded in with an English paper too.
Spoiler for "other angel beats characters":
Shiina and Asami will not be part of this main group, but I will cover their respective matches when we get to that point.
If I include TK, who was a minor character to begin with, then I have to include every other SSS member as well, just to be fair. In one of the next three parts, Taiga will explain why this will not be the case. So in short, most likely we won't see TK. Hey, I just posted 4 parts and I already shafted three major Toradora characters, so expect more of these to happen.
Oh, darn it, and here I thought I was going to be able to successfully hide from you guys. The 100k character post limit has spoken otherwise. Oh well, this story is probably not going to be too popular since we're now in 2012, but now that I'm around a little bit more often and actually watching anime, I might be able to progress through this storyline every now and then. This chapter spanned 18 pages on my Word processor, so it's definitely long, and if it took me this long to write it, I doubt I will be finished by 2014, but I'm keeping myself optimistic.
It didn’t take long for Yuri, Hideki, Yui, and Ayato to pick up all the stuff that they needed in their rooms, but ever since they left “Living Quarters, Sector 2”, they exuded nothing but fear, excitement, and curiosity through their nonstop conversations. The way they had been reacting for the last ten to fifteen minutes or so, Yuzuru can relate. This is all happening way too fast to just react to the situation as calmly as possible. After all, they’re in an unfamiliar environment, assigned to rooms that look too familiar and yet not, on a spaceship that is orbiting the Earth, and on top of that, they just met two people they’ve never seen before and already Kanade’s hitting it off with a girl her size that, at least to Yuri, just doesn’t seem her type. Speaking of Ryuji and Taiga, whenever the Afterlife War Front crowd ever wanted to ask a question, whether it was something as simple as “How long have you’ve been here?” or a more serious question such as “Are any other SSS members on this ship”, both of them shot them down, with Taiga always giving the excuse “Can I eat first?” But what secretly ticked off Yuri and Hideki the most is that Yuzuru and Kanade have been keeping cool, calm, and collected throughout the whole sequence.
Random conversations aside, however, Taiga did answer one question. The universe that they are currently in right now is not the Toradora Universe, so, no, they do not live in this universe. That was, however, the only answer she offered, saying that she would explain more after lunch. Still, running through both Yuzuru’s and Kanade’s mind was that both of them seem to know the workings of this universe very well.
Actually, however, just looking at Ryuji’s body language gives away the fact that this was also Ryuji’s first time exploring the spaceship, but it seems he’s been in this situation before, so although he’s showing signs that he’s learning the ins and outs of this spaceship, he doesn’t even look close to as surprised as the members of the Afterlife War Front.
Taiga went ahead to explain the entire layout of the ship. It’s kind of like a UFO, especially viewed from above in that it has a circular shape, but from the side, it doesn’t look like a typical UFO at all. It’s hard to describe, but if you’ve ever seen the Coliseum in Rome, imagine it as if it were repaired, and expanded it so that it was probably about a half of a mile long – “I don’t know the exact dimensions of the ship itself” - then the ship would kind of look like that. It’s approximately about twenty stories high, “I guess”, but how high it actually is doesn’t really matter as much. “Just remember this: This ship is humongous. If you don’t pay attention, it’s very easy to get lost,” Taiga said casually.
There are four levels on this ship. The lowest level, Level 1, has two main sectors of interest. One of them is a huge library containing quite a handful of books from encyclopedias to research books to fan fictions, etc. In other words, if you feel like you need a little bit of quiet time and light reading, that’s the place where you would usually go. You can check out books like a regular library too, but since there’s also a bookshop somewhere, it’s not really recommended. The other sector is what Taiga likes to call a “training area”. “I’ll just leave it at that for now,” said Taiga, “but I can take you there later this week if you’re interested.” The rest of the sectors in this level consist of a handful of conference rooms and a few classrooms, just for anybody who ever needed a place to hold club meetings and such.
Level 2 consists of the “living quarters”, and it’s divided into three sub-levels A, B, and C. It’s basically the living space of all the people currently on this ship, and everybody either has their own room or is sharing a room. Since this is a large spaceship, however, it wouldn’t be surprising that there are many employees that actually work on this spaceship ranging from all aspects such as maids, mechanics, vendors, etc. However, according to Taiga, all of the ordinary flight crew members that work on this space ship are assigned living quarters to sub-levels A and B, meaning that they are off limits to the “true passengers” like the eight of them that are heading to the cafeteria at the moment. Being that you need special access to access those areas, and those areas turn out to be rather uninteresting, it’s a waste of time to try to go there. The rooms themselves surround the circumference of the ship, for the most part, while the center of the level consists of a lounge with a standard TV.
Speaking of those flight crew members, Taiga instructed the rest to treat ordinary flight crew members as NPCs, a term that the six from the Angel Universe were all too familiar with. This raised a flag in Kanade’s mind – what about that girl in that cyan dress with that light blue necklace? But a quick “But she’s not an ordinary flight crew member, is she?” from Taiga quickly resolved that issue. Level 3 has five sectors of interest; one sector in the middle of the circle, with four other sectors surrounding it like the corners of a square. The center sector is the cafeteria, and the four sectors surrounding it are recreational sectors, including a gym with a handful of exercise machines and a separate weight training room, a basketball court, a swimming pool, and a room that has a pool table, foosball, chessboards, and other things one might find in a standard recreational room. Each of those sectors are worth checking out. And as for level four…
“Let’s just say you’ll want to go to Level 4 very often.”
“What’s on Level 4?”
“It’s a surprise. Other than the fact that you’ll need those identification cards for more than just gaining access to areas, I won’t tell you anything more about it, but maybe we’ll go up there after lunch.”
“Sounds like you know the ins and outs of the ship very well.”
“Actually, not at all. I’ve only been here for about two weeks, so there’s a lot of things in this place that I don’t even know of.”
“Wait, you’ve been here for only two weeks?”
“Yep, that’s all.”
There are four main elevator areas around the ship, each of them located around the circumference. If you divided a circle into four even pieces, the elevators would be placed at where the circumference would be divided. They’re each named after a compass direction, although they’re only named for convenience since compass directions are only relative to Earth. Taiga led the rest of the crowd to the closest elevator area near their wing, the North wing, and as they boarded the elevator for Level 3, she gave them a quick tip. “If you ever get lost, find an elevator.”
They had made their way to the cafeteria on level 3, and much to all of their surprise, it is much bigger than they were accustomed to back in the Angel Universe. The walls were, of course, made of the same material as the rest of the spaceship, but the ceiling was structured like a dome, and the tables and chairs looked as if one was walking into a five-star restaurant. There were long tables and shorter ones to accustom respective needs of each customer or group. The serving stations were just like what one would find in a regular high school cafeteria, but above were electronic boards displaying the various foods that they were serving, and there were plenty of options to choose from; literally almost all types of foods one would think of on the spot were available, from salads to sushi to pastas to… even Kanade’s favorite dish, mafo dofu.
Spoiler for "Part 2: Taiga's Necklace":
After they have all been served their respective dishes, snacks, and drinks, they all made their way to a table that seated eight people, ten if one squished together. Yuzuru and Kanade did sit next to each other, but for the most part, the table was split In a way where the boys were sitting on one end and the girls were sitting on the other. As they ate, they also talked. On the boys’ side, Ryuji showed great interest in the Angel Universe and inquired about it, to which Hideki and Ayato obliged. On the girls’ side, Yuri tried to make up for her lost ground by getting to know Kanade a little better, and despite Kanade’s poor communication skills, the girls were able to actually exchange information about the lives they had before they actually met each other before conversation turned to excitement and anxiety about what they might actually experience in this new world.
One person each was missing from each side of the conversation. Yuzuru had noticed that Taiga, sitting across from Kanade, was periodically looking around as if she was keeping tabs on who was coming in and out of the cafeteria. Realizing that perhaps something more complex may be going on, Yuzuru took the habit of looking around as well, trying to figure out just who is an “NPC” and who is more likely to play a bigger role in the weeks to come. So far, he was going on instinct that anybody that wasn’t dressed to work on the ship is probably a passenger, but he couldn’t know for sure if whomever he identified as passengers were merely passengers or if they were part of a much bigger picture, perhaps “candidates” or “supporters” like Kanade and himself respectively. The only assumption that he can write off as a fact, however, is that anybody wearing a necklace is very likely to be an important factor. As of this point, Yuzuru is only aware of two: Taiga and that flight attendant that strapped him and Kanade in just before liftoff. Just ten minutes after Yuri got her first taste of mafo dofu, which caused quite a scene, Taiga finished eating, creating an opening for Yuzuru to finally get some answers.
"So… Aisaka… right?"
"Call me Taiga."
"Wait, can I call you by your given name? But you have a boyfriend…"
"Yeah, what gives? Aren’t given names usually reserved for people that are actually close to each other? We’ve just met."
"As much as I would like to have the priviledge solely to myself…"
"Unwritten rule #1: Everybody that is certified to take part in the Trials is usually referred to by their given name."
"It's a long story, but since all eight of us will have to take part in it this year, I may as well explain it to you sooner rather than later. This is very important, so please pay attention."
(mutters to Taiga) "That last phrase is so not you."
(mutters back) "Shush."
But that phrase seemed to work. Certainly, the cafeteria was still bustling with activity, but all six members from the Angel Universe had their eyes set squarely on Taiga. Taiga took one more quick glance around the cafeteria, then she took of her necklace. This is the first time that Yuri and Yui paid any close attention to Taiga’s necklace, and they looked at it with awe.
"Wow, where did you get that?"
"It’s so pretty."
"It’s just a necklace with a topaz gemstone. What’s so special about it?"
"Wow, Naoi, you’re certainly not going to get a girlfriend anytime soon."
"But that’s a good question. Yuzuru, I’ve think you’ve already noticed, so would you like to guess why this necklace is so significant?"
If Taiga really is going to be a mentor, why not make this an educational experience? Asking questions to keep the conversation going is really a great way for people to learn.
"Well, if I had to take a guess… you said you’ve been here for two weeks. If the rest of us just 'arrived here', quote unquote, and you’re not from this respective universe, then I guess anybody wearing a necklace like that must have some important role to play on this ship? Perhaps it’s a symbol of a title that you hold?"
"No way, that’s a swing and a miss."
"Yeah, anybody could wear a necklace. Even guys, though I can’t say I would know why they even would."
"That’s partially correct. Anybody who’s wearing a necklace, and they have to be certain necklaces similar to this one, should be considered as a passenger that has utmost importance. It’s not like we have a certain title, or if we did, we never refer to each other that way. However, that’s something you can only figure out based on limited observation and basic reasoning. Good try, though."
"Well done, Otonashi-kun."
"So that’s more like a base hit and a single?"
"I know how."
"Well, then. Would you like to take a guess, Kanade?"
"Sure, why not? I think you’ve noticed by now too."
This spiked Yuruzu’s interest a little bit – last he recalled, with their last world predominantly a high school setting, there certainly wouldn’t be a jewelry store anywhere. Was jewelry an interest for Kanade in her previous life, or was there something in those necklaces that set them apart from every other evenly cut gemstone?
There’s something emitting from that necklace."
"Something emitting? But I don’t feel anything."
"It’s like a certain wavelength, as if the necklace holds certain supernatural powers, and yet the pattern is irregular and almost completely random, as if the necklace has a will of it’s own."
"Are you an idiot?"
"That’s a total comparison to a god-like figure! That’s impossible!"
But Yuzuru somewhat felt that Kanade’s answer isn’t as farfetched as the others made it out to be. Although he didn’t feel that it was the necklaces themselves that emitted somethng uncanny that only Kanade would notice, he did feel some sort of aura surrounding not only Taiga when they first met in the hallway but also from that flight attendant – was she really a flight attendant? – that they met just before liftoff.
"No way, but that can’t be tru-"
As she said this, Yuri bent forward and reached for her necklace with her right hand, but at mid-sentence, as her fingers etched closer to Taiga’s topaz necklace, the jewel itself suddenly moved away from them, almost like a magnet reacting to another magnet if they both shared the same poles. Suddenly, everybody from the Angel Universe reacted in shock and astonishment. Kanade’s eyes, in particular, lit up with excitement.
"That’s so cool!"
"It has to be a trick. It just has to be."
"Actually, magnetism does have something to do with it. I'm not too fond of the sciences, but in Physics, when you try to point two magnetic north poles together, or two south poles together, they repel. But when you connect a north pole to a south pole, they attract. Like protons and electrons."
So what you’re saying is that this particular necklace repels everybody except the original bearer?
Exactly. If you think of it scientifically, if the necklace is an electron, and it recognizes every human being as an electron, it would do its best to get away from that electron in order to survive. However, if it finds a proton, it would try to cling on to it.
In Japanese, please?
Taiga took her necklace off, then attempted to put its necklace chain around Kanade's neck, but she didn't attach it. Her Topaz necklace suddenly tried to pull away from Kanade.
"Well, if I place my necklace around Kanade’s neck right now, the necklace would be floating in midair, and it might hurt her physically as it would always be pushing her back, almost as if it was rejecting her.
Then Taiga brought the necklace back around her own neck.
"But when I wear it instead, it clings on to me, wanting to get as close to my heart as possible. So in technicality, Kanade is correct: necklaces like this one do indeed have wills of their own."
"It’s like a magic trick, but it’s not a trick."
But at this point, Yuzuru became concerned, as he should be. Judging by her reactions ever since they came into this world, Kanade really wanted one of those necklaces, so to find out that they would repel her in the end is disappointing. Yuzuru took one quick glance at Kanade and confirmed what he had just thought. While everyone else at the table continued to exclaim in astonishment, Kanade had a subtle look of disappointment in her face.
"So, is there a way for one of us to get such a necklace to attract to you?"
"Why? You want to wear one?"
"Idiot, he wants to get one for Kanade."
"Well, Yuzuru, you in particular can’t get one. The one thing I've learned from seeing those Necklaces is that they prefer females over males."
"Then what about Kanade?"
"Well that’s the special event that’s starts in about a week."
Spoiler for "Part 3: The Trials":
As Taiga went into her purse to get some stuff to illustrate, Yuzuru and Kanade felt at ease to know that there is a way to get a necklace like Taiga’s. It seems like whatever event Taiga was talking about, the necklaces are actually prizes for the winners in that event. But how many necklaces are there? How many opportunities could a person have to get one? And is this what being a “candidate” means? To be a “candidate” for a necklace?
Taiga found what she was looking for and placed it on the table. It was a diagram. There was a white circle in the middle and six circles surrounding it with the colors red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and magenta respectively. Each had a marking, kind of like a rune, within that circle, and each represented a certain type of necklace one can get. As it turns out, though, there’s more to the story.
"You know how the days of the week (in Japanese) correspond to certain elements?"
"Why is that so?"
"After Sunday and Monday, which is named after the Sun and the Moon, each day represented a planet. For example, Saturday represented the Earth."
"And where did the Japanese naming system for the week derive from?"
"From the Chinese, where the days of the week were named after the Chinese classical elements of Fire, Water, Forest, Metal, and Soil."
Like most of the table, although not quite the degree of shock felt, Yuzuru had to be impressed. How is it that Kanade can answer some of Taiga’s questions so easily? Was this taught back at school? After all, the rest of the people at the table from Angel Universe worked so hard not to listen to the teachers at school, so they probably weren’t as likely to know all of this stuff. Okay, so Yuzuru did have extensive knowledge in the sciences, hence he understood electromagnetism, but Chinese classical mythology?
"How does Chinese classical mythology relate to this diagram?"
"Let me show you."
Taiga took out a pen to use as a pointer, and pointed to each rune marking on the diagram.
"Topaz, the Radiance of the Sun. Emerald, the Energy of the Forests. Aquamarine, the Adaptation of Water. Sapphire, the Foundation of Earth. Amethyst, the Luminance of the Moon. Ruby, the passion of Fire. Diamond, (points to the center) the Perseverance of Metal."
"But that’s out of order."
"Yeah, I don’t get it."
"Well, the necklaces do represent the sun, the moon, and the five elements Kanade mentioned earlier, but Ayato’s right, that is out of order."
"In many perspectives it is out of order, but I will explain that later. Anyway, each necklace can be won through an event we call a Trial. Think of it as a test or a challenge. There are eight Trials in all, but the seven in which you can win the seven necklaces, we call them Elemental Trials, since each of them represents an element of the universe."
"So, the necklace chooses a bearer based on how well they do in the Trials."
At this point, with the exception of Kanade and maybe Yuzuru, everyone is lost. Yuri is holding her head as if a migrane was about to begin. Yui has been showing signs of dizzyness. Hideki is completely confused, and Ayato is burying his face in his hands trying to convince himself that this could not be possible. This is way past what you learn in high school, or even college in that matter. Had Taiga not been wearing a physics-defying necklace, even Yuzuru would have gawked at this story. Yet while the rest are starting to feel a little overwhelmed, Kanade was sitting there taking it all in. Yuzuru had once successfully tricked Kanade into thinking that there could be three Hidekis, but either this is a huge April Fool’s joke or a fantasy fairy tale.
"No… please, stop."
"You just lost me."
"Does the necklace really choose someone for a partner, or can somebody participating in the trials bend the odds to make that more likely? How do the Elemental Trials work?"
"Well, the Elemental Trials usually consist of a series of one-on-one bouts, but it’s not like boxing or kendo or karate or anything like that. It’s so different and so hard to describe in detail that the only way you can actually understand it is if you had experienced it, but the bottom line of it is that wins do count, and although you don’t necessarily need a perfect record, I haven’t seen anybody go perfect and still be chosen."
"How many matches are we talking about?"
"Seven Necklaces, Seven Trials, Seven matches per trial. And there’s also a necklace showdown after that seventh bout too. It was then that Taiga realized that half of the table had zoned out. Maybe she said too much for one day."
"Um… should I stop here?"
Part of Yuzuru wants to hear the whole story too, but it is a little too much information to process within one lunch hour.
"Are you sure? Because everybody here is knocked out cold, and I don't mean that they're sleeping."
Yuzuru thought it might be a good idea to stop, but the look of interest and curiosity in Kanade’s eyes said otherwise. Yuzuru too tried to keep a determined look on his face.
"But continue on."
"I like your perseverance. Very perceptive and very attentive. But Taiga, try to make it as short as possible. I don’t think the other four can handle anymore."
"Okay, okay. Well, it will be a chore to say anything else about the Elemental Trials at this point, so I’ll let you know about it some other day, but there is one more thing I need to tell you. Look at the diagram again. Ayato said that it’s “out of order”, and it certainly won’t be the order of which the elemental trials to take place, but they are in an order. Can you figure out why?"
"It’s the visible-color spectrum wheel."
"Correct. After all seven Elemental Trials are complete, there comes a time when the seven necklaces that were won in those trials will become active and suddenly float in the air in the formation of this diagram. The six colored jewels would emit a ray of light pointing towards the Diamond at the center, and the Diamond would point upwards. I can’t divulge into the details, since this part would be about six or seven months away, but it opens up the eighth trial. We call it, the 'Trial of Light.' And in this trial, you don’t win a necklace, but if you make it to the end, there’s a prize waiting for you that is much more valuable than the necklaces itself."
"A tiara. And legend has it that the tiara is made from the heavens and has powers beyond the control of any human being. Like the necklaces, the tiara has a will of its own, but it also has a purpose. It’s also said that at the cost of serving the tiara until it fulfills its purpose, the eventual bearer is granted one special wish."
"That sounds like a legendary fairy tale."
"It does. But it’s true."
There was a five seconds lapse of silence. Yuzuru took a look around to find that the other four were regaining consciousness a little bit.
"Or at least, so I think… I’ve never passed the Trial of Light. All I know is that the tiara exists."
"So you don’t kno-"
"I’ve had enough."
Spoiler for "Part 4: Withdrawal":
Yuzuru was so close to finding out if there were people aboard this ship that actually was able to pass the Trial of Light, but on her outburst, everybody turned to Yuri’s direction. Yuri had already stood up with her head down. To her, everything that Taiga said in the last hour felt like total B.S. How can she expect her to believe that the seven necklaces actually had supernatural powers, or that there was a tiara that could do even more than that?
"How do you expect me to believe every single word that you said?"
"Oye, don’t you think you’re goin-"
Somehow, that felt like a startling answer. Up until now, Taiga emitted an aura of interest and excitement when she was explaining what the Elemental Trials were to Kanade, because she felt that Kanade was interested in the necklaces themselves. She was so excited to have a friendly conversation about a story that seems to good to be true. Was she lying, or did she come in prepared to explain this whole mess expecting this reaction? Now, Yuzuru is starting to think outside the box here. How many people are on this ship for the first time? How many people have heard and gawked at this story? How many times has these Elemental Trials taken place? Did Taiga herself become part of this without any knowledge of the Elemental Trials and reacted the same way that Yuri did just now? And more importantly, just what is going on here? Is this an invitation for Kanade to take part in this, or…
"But the truth is… everybody at this table… and more than 70 others, are forced to compete."
"So we don’t have a choice in the matter?"
"Maybe the boys do. If you look at your ID card, there’s a category that says “Role”. If your role is “Supporter”, and it has the name of the person you’re supporting, you do have the option to either take part alongside the person you’re supporting or watch from the sidelines. But if your role is “Candidate”, you are one of the 50 young women, many of them high school girls or even younger, that has been chosen to take part in the Elemental Trials. You won't be able to lose by forfeit, no matter the circumstance."
The silence that followed was deafening. All of a sudden, the excitement that once surrounded this group turned into fear. This cannot be a nasty joke by any means. Taiga is serious about the Elemental Trials, and if the Topaz necklace around her neck is a result of one of those trials, then she must know everything about those Trials. If there really is no choice but to participate, then there really isn’t any choice but to trust her. Yuzuru knows Kanade wants to, and Yuzuru feels he should too, but is everybody else even considering that possible?
"You said some stuff about how a tiara and several necklaces have wills and purposes of their own. Right?"
"So in other words, this tiara is supposed to be your God of the universe?"
"I don't see it that way, but it’s not wrong to look at it in that perspective."
"Is that so?"
Yuri clenched her fist. All of a sudden, Yuzuru remembered a conversation he had with Yuri in the past world.
If you have seen Angel Beats! Episode #2:
He thought about that day, when he was in the Angel Universe. He had just joined Yuri’s Afterlife War Front. Back then, Kanade was considered an enemy, and all of the battalion members went deep into an underground system where the weapons supply factory was located. Traps were activated all throughout the underground to protect themselves from Kanade, then referred to as “Angel”. Though there may have been about 10 or so members in number, almost everyone of them fell victim to a different trap, leaving only Yuzuru and Yuri to continue forward. As a result, Yuri doubted her abilities as a leader after losing nearly every one of the Afterlife War Front members. They had stopped in an alley way to rest, and Yuzuru tried to encourage her.
"I’m amazed at how you can organize that bunch. Why were you chosen as the leader?"
"Because I was the first to rebel. That’s all."
"You mean against Angel?"
Yuzuru stopped talking for a minute. He turned away to look at the hallway and was about to drift away to let time pass by, when all of a sudden, Yuri started talking again.
"I had siblings."
Yuzuru turned his head to Yuri as she told her story.
"There were four of us, including myself. I was the oldest, and had two younger sisters and a younger brother. Thanks to our parents’ successful careers, we led a very wealthy life. We lived in a house surrounded by nature, sort of like a summer home. It was during summer vacation. One afternoon when our parents wer out, some unfamiliar men entered the house. They were wearing hot-looking hats despite the scorching heat. I could tell instantly that they were up to no good. As the eldest, I felt I absolutely had to protect the little ones. Like I had a chance…
"They were obviously after money, but they couldn’t find any. They started to break windows and whatnot, only getting more irritated. And then, they came up with the worst concept ever, one that included me and my siblings. ‘You’re the oldest girl here’, they said. ‘You know where the important things are in this house, do you? Like stuff you were told to pick up to hold safe if there’s an earthquake, or to give to a robber to make ‘em leave. You got told where those things are, right?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘ I don’t know anything like that.’ Then they told me, ‘Well, go find some. Then. If we don’t like it, it’s a shame, but you’ll be saying goodbye to them one by one. We’ll wait ten minutes per person. Bring one object every ten minutes.’
"I started to search all over the house. I remember my head hurting so badly. I felt nauseous. I felt like collapsing. ‘Their lives are at stake,’ I thought. ‘I have to find something.’ But I didn’t know what they wanted. I was running out of time. I needed to hurry. I decided to bring the biggest vase, but it was so heavy that I tripped on the stairs and broke it, and when I tried to put it together again, I cut my self. The police came 30 minutes later. I was the only one left alive.
"It’s too unfair… I had done nothing wrong… Until that day, I was confident that I’ve been a good older sister, too. I had everything I wanted to protect taken from me in a matter of 30 minutes. I just can’t accept something so unreasonable. I can’t forgive being given such a life. It’s not about worring if I’ll become a water flea. If God really exists…"
"If God really exists, I want to fight against him."
There was a moment of silence, each one reminiscing in his or her own thoughts as her words echoed throughout the table. Then, Yuri looked up and made eye contact with Taiga, and with a stern voice…
"So if your “God” is saying we have to participate… I just won’t."
Yuri turned around to head back to her room. She signaled the others to follow.
"Afterlife War Front, let’s meet in my room."
One by one, "Ayato, Yui, and Hideki got up from their seats, with Ayato and Hideki apologizing to Taiga for Yuri's behavior, but thus showing that even though they might not agree with Yuri on the whole, they do agree on one thing."
"Oye, Yuri, where are you going? Naoi? Yui? Hinata?"
"Sorry, Otonashi. This is out of our league."
As Yuri began to move into the hallways and out of sight, Hideki stopped. He realized what’s going on here. Kanade hasn’t moved, and she isn’t showing signs of allying with Yuri. And knowing Yuzuru for so long, he knows Yuzuru would side with Kanade.
"But do what you want. I’d say you should stay just for Kanade’s sake. I don’t think she has any intention of leaving, anyway. I'll go take care of Yurippe. Let me know how things turned out."
Hideki didn’t say that with a smile when he usually does. Yuzuru could tell that Hideki was struggling with this too.
*sigh* alright. We’ll talk later.
Suddenly, there remained four at the table. Whatever warmth Yuzuru had felt from having more than old friends disappeared, and he was back to square one, a new life with only himself and Kanade in unfamiliar territory. Not only that, but if Taiga’s story turns out to be true, then they could be in for a challenge much more difficult then what they unceremoniously caused in their previous universe.
"If it makes you feel better, Yuzuru, I’m sorry."
Spoiler for "Part 5: How it Feels to have a Necklace":
"But I can’t say we're surprised. This whole deal of the Seven Necklaces comes off more as a myth than a scientific theory. Regardless of whether it is true or not, it’s not something one can understand via simple addition. It’s too out of the scope of reality that anybody who doesn’t believe it is in the majority."
"Then what about you? How did you react the first time you heard about this?"
"Just like Yuri did, only without the frustration and fanfare. I just didn’t want to believe it."
"What changed you?"
"Well, luckily for Taiga and I, the first time we came across this whole Trials deal, it was the second time the Trials ever took place, so we were able to watch video footage from some of the matches that happened in the First set of Trials. Just looking at the video footage of it didn’t make me believe in the divine part of it at first, but that alone confirmed that whatever they said would happen was definitely going to happen. Plus, Taiga wanted to give it a try, and it turned out that she was very good at it."
"You’re welcome. Anyway, as time went by and we continued to compete, both in the Second set of Trials and in the Third set, I became more and more of a believer, and when Taiga finally won the Topaz necklace, well, you can say that I was converted."
"Anyway, don't worry about them. Sometime this week, there will be a symposium for all candidates and respective supporters on the Trials themselves, where they would explain the whole thing, and according to Taiga, there will be footage from the previous Trials, including a full match. So they will be able to understand what they're in for."
"Not that it's mandatory."
"So, Taiga, how did you suddenly get interested in the Seven Necklaces?"
"Long story short, let’s just say a desire to compete and hanging out with the right friends. That’s what I tried to do here. I know I lost two candidates just now, but…"
Taiga then turned to Kanade. Then it just dawned on Yuzuru: What does Kanade think of all of this? Already, four people walked away from her telling her just how ludricous she was for telling a story that appears to be realistically impossible, but how does she feel about all of this?
"What about you, Kanade? Regardless of what Yuri said just now, everything I just said earlier is true. The Fourth Occurrence of the Elemental Trials are coming up in about less than a week, and you have just as much of a chance at I do in succeeding at least one of those trials and earning a necklace like mine. So what are you going to do?"
For a few seconds, Kanade didn’t move, but then her eyes turned from Taiga’s eyes to Taiga’s Topaz necklace. She could feel the vibrant wavelengths that emitted from her necklace. But then she did something that piked the interest of the other three – with her right arm, she tried to slowly reach for the necklace. Despite the option to force Kanade’s arm away from the necklace to protect it from a possible theft, Taiga did nothing about it, instead inviting Kanade to touch it. However, the more Kanade’s arm became closer, the more she can feel the magnetic fields from the necklace become stronger in trying to push her arm back, as if the Topaz necklace was clinging on to Taiga like how a toddler would cling on to his or her mother.
"Your necklace is pushing me away…"
Taiga let out a sigh of exasperation.
"So I can’t touch it?"
Faced with the realization that she can’t touch Taiga’s necklace, Kanade gave up and returned her arm back to its original position. Then after several seconds later…
"Then… if the necklaces have wills of their own, does that mean it also has feelings too?"
That’s actually a good question that Kanade pointed out. If these necklaces are different then what one would find in a jewelery store, and it can be attracted toward one particular person and repel any other living thing that tries to touch it, and it has a “will”, does that mean they have feelings too?
"I might get in trouble for this, since I’m supposed to keep that confidential, but…"
Taiga suddenly gave a warm smile.
“Have you ever fallen in love?”
So it’s like that, Yuzuru thought.
"Taiga, you’re playing the love card?"
(To Ryuji) "Like you would know." (To Kanade) "How far have you taken that love?"
"Okay, that’s confidential."
"A hug that lasted ten-to-fifteen minutes where your boyfriend confessed in tears?"
Okay, now that is scary. Yuzuru did hug Kanade after he confessed his love for her and asked her to stay,
If you have seen Angel Beats Episode #13:
but the were so many more enviromental factors that came into play. That confession and embrace was the one condition that led Kanade to no longer have any regrets, and subsequently led to Kanade’s obliteration in the last universe, leaving Yuzuru in tears.
But then again, it wasn’t just one hug. They didn’t formally start a relationship, but just about everybody from Angel Universe knew that Yuzuru and Kanade would end up together at some point. Yuzuru took one look at Kanade and found that she was just as shocked as he was. Just how much did Taiga know?
"Then how did you feel?"
This is starting to feel like a one-on-one session between girls. Had Yuri and company not left the table in such an awkward manner, Yuzuru would have left at this point, if only to allow Kanade to answer the question without the pressure of having him within her sight. But then why isn’t Ryuji leaving either?
This time, Kanade didn’t answer as quickly, but who would?
"Like I was the happiest girl in the universe."
"It’s just like that."
Taiga took her Topaz necklace around her neck and held it up to eye level.
"Once you touch a necklace like this, your whole perspective on the world drastically changes. It’s like you’re suddenly filled with a different kind of energy, a powerful one, and the supernatural abilities that was once contained within the necklace itself suddenly rushes through your body, and your body becomes a catalyst for the necklace itself. That would make it seem like you’re being turned into a tool for the necklace itself, but it’s not like that at all. With the tremendous power it brings comes a warm feeling; one that is similar to love, if it isn’t love itself. It’s this feeling of desire that comes from the necklace, a desire to be as close to you as it possibly can, for as long as you live. And there’s also that feeling of trust, trust that you will be faithful to it as much as it is faithful to you. Recall those memories you had when your boyfriend held you in his arms, and how you felt, and how he felt about you. It’s that same feeling. You create a lasting bond with the necklace, and the stronger it is, the more it reacts to you."
All of the sudden, the dynamics of the table changed. What Taiga just said registered into Yuzuru’s mind in so many ways: for one, part of him is taking Yuri’s side, that this is all but impossible. Another part of him, however, is saying that anything is possible, especially after living in a universe where it’s impossible to die for so long, and still another part of him is filled with awe and wonder about how it could feel to have a necklace like that. For Yuzuru, he will never be able to experience a feeling like that.
However, in Kanade’s mind, it’s all awe and wonder, and the option is open to her. She can be able to experience such warmth and power, that is, if she was able to get one. But it is possible for her to get one, and in her heart, her desire to have such a necklace only grew more and more as she stared at Taiga’s necklace. She wants one, and even if it turns out to be very hard, if you have to go through a Trial to get it…
"I’ll do it! I’ll try! I want to be able to have a necklace like yours!"
"I don’t really understand how the Trials work, but that feeling you described, I know it so well. If that’s what it really feels like to have one, I’ll do anything to get one!"
All of a sudden, Taiga gave out a slight chuckle.
"Why are you laughing?"
But Yuzuru knew why she would laugh. “Anything” would mean everything was fair play, including lying, cheating, stealing, and so forth. To Yuzuru’s experience, Kanade wouldn’t do anything so sinister, but then again, this is the same girl that literally killed the Afterlife War Front over and over and over again for the sole reason that she was horribly bad at communicating. Knowing that death is actually an option in this universe, Yuzuru felt that Kanade wouldn’t stoop so low to get a necklace like that, but are there competitors like that? Are there candidates for the Seven Necklaces that would do something so underhanded?
Maybe it’s the necklace, or maybe it’s her cheerful personality, but Taiga doesn’t feel like the type of person that would do something like that either, but recapping the situation, Taiga said that there were 50 candidates, right? So counting Kanade, Yuki, Yui, and Taiga, Yuzuru knows of four candidates. And that flight attendant – was she really just a flight attendant? – that would be five. So there are 45 other candidates out there. It’s so likely that there has to be at least one candidate that would resort to underhanded tactics to try to win.
Taiga was thinking of something else. Maybe “that flight attendant in that cyan dress” that Kanade referred to earlier is right. Maybe Kanade is the next girl to be destined for such a powerful tiara.
(stops laughing) "But… I’m glad."
Spoiler for "Part 6: Cover Blown":
In another corner of the cafeteria, another girl, with light brown hair that reached just to the bottom of her neck was sipping on a strawberry smoothie. She caught a glance of Taiga talking to a girl with periwinkle hair that she hadn’t seen before, and although the cafeteria was bustling with activity, she heard Taiga say the word “necklace”. Something had to be up. As Taiga’s group finished up their conversation and started cleaning up their table, the girl took out her cell phone and made a quick call.
(on phone) "Hello?"
"Hello, is this Elegant Egotist speaking?"
(on phone) *sigh*, What do you want, biribiri?
"I’m in the cafeteria."
(on phone) "So?"
"Taiga’s in the cafeteria too. She’s talking to some girl I’ve never seen before."
(on phone) "Probably just some friend of hers. What does this have to --"
"Friend? How many people from Toradora are here?"
(on phone) "Two. Wait, didn’t Taiga elect to bring Ryuji?"
"That's what I thought, and I heard her mention the word 'necklace' to this new girl. Sounds like something is up."
(on phone) "What did the other girl look like?"
"All I could tell is that she had periwinkle hair. I think she’s about as tall as Taiga too."
(on phone) "Are you sure it’s not just Index? She’s been here before."
"It can’t be. The girl is not wearing anything above her head."
(on phone) "I’ve seen Index do that before."
"It’s definitely not her. Besides, most of the non-necklace candidates shouldn’t be awake yet."
(on phone) "No, they should all be awake right now. Mikuru and Itsuki from my universe are exploring the ship as we speak. Look, I’m in the simulation room, and I’m trying to spot for Yuki versus the Flame Choker and her spotter President Irrelevant. Can you call me back like… never?"
The phone hung up.
C "Stupid… just who the hell does she think she is?"
The light-brown haired girl took a quick glance around. The girl she was just talking about just followed Taiga out of the ladies restroom, but she didn’t get a good look at her.
"And who is that girl? Tch."
Chapter 3 Inescapable Truth
Spoiler for "Part 1":
“You think she’s telling the truth?”
“Impossible. It can’t be true.”
Room 203. Yuri’s room. Four people are in it, and three are in midthought. The lone exception was Yui – thanks to a surprisingly existent internet access, Yui was too busy browsing the net, streaming popular videos that had happened to be on the front page. Hideki would have wanted Yui to be part of this important conversation, but he wouldn’t expect Yui to contribute anything useful.
After all? How messed up can this situation really be? He, Yuri, and Ayato had just arrived on this spaceship. None of them knew how – all they knew is that they just woke up in this world, found each other as well as Yuzuru and Kanade, and then all of a sudden, a girl just two centimeters shorter than Kanade shows up, invites them to lunch, and then drops a ridiculous bomb shell that defies reality. Trials that you have to compete in? Supernatural necklaces? A tiara that grants one wish to the wearer? That kind of stuff doesn’t happen. Yes, even in their previous world – “Angel Universe”, as Taiga referred to – the physics were different. It was impossible to die in their world by physical means. The only way to “die” is to let bygones be bygones and move forward without any regret. That’s how you pass on to the new world. In fact, after events too complicated to comprehend, the entire Angel crowd, sans Yui, actually “moved on” as a group together, expecting to be born into new families, given new names, living different lives, yet they show up in this world, memories intact, and although they were fortunate enough to be together in this world, nothing seems to make sense anymore.
“Then how do you explain the whole necklace thing?”
“It has to be a magic trick. It just has to be. It’s some large scale scam that she’s trying to pull.”
“I dunno. She does not look like the sort of person that would pull everyone’s leg”
“Are you trying to say we should believe her B.S.?”
“I didn’t say that.”
There was a short period of silence. This was not the type of conversation a set of friends should be having to relax. Yet everything that happened today left them with more questions than answers. If what happened in their own universe – if their own story didn’t have enough plot twists as it did, this plot twist takes the cake.
“Did you see her eyes?”
“Kanade’s. She bought the story. I took a look back at the table before I left the cafeteria. Kanade didn’t have any intention of turning her down.”
“Are you serious?”
“She definitely is. If I had to guess, I’d say that Taiga girl has given Kanade a lot more ideas. Wouldn’t surprise me if she’d try to get one of those necklaces.”
“No, Kanade wouldn’t believe that convoluted fairy tale either.”
“We’re talking about a girl that thinks that there could be three of me. I wouldn’t say it’s totally impossible.”
More silence, broken by sighs of exasperation.
“I wonder if we will run into the rest of the SSS members here. Takumatsu, Noda, Ouyama, TK, Matsushita… if only they were all here, it would feel like we never left that world.”
Suddenly, there were a few knocks at the door. Yuri got up from her chair to open the door.
The sliding metal door slid open. It was Yuzuru. Yuri went to sit back down.
It had been several hours since the breakdown at the cafeteria – in fact, it was around 6:30 PM, according to the monitor of Yuri’s computer.
“Where have you been?”
“Checking out the ship. It was great. Taiga and Ryuji, they’re not that bad of a couple at all.”
Actually, unbeknownest to Yuri’s group, Yuzuru actually split from Kanade, Taiga, and Ryuji to try to find other people that showed any sign of knowing what the Trials or necklaces were, and to his luck, they were all “NPC”s – not one of them had any clue what he was talking about, and almost all of them were here just for either money or the excitement of working in outer space. On top of that, of the NPC’s that elected to show Yuzuru their ID card, either for kicks or just so Yuzuru would leave them alone, all of the ID cards were blue (different from Yuzuru’s white or Kanade’s prism), had the category “Occupation” instead of “Role”, and omitted the category “Universe of Origin”. Yes, everyone that Yuzuru asked must have been a native inhabitant of this universe, unlike Taiga and Ryuji, and are therefore completely oblivious to the possibility that a major event was going to happen.
“With Taiga and Ryuji. I heard they went down to the Library in Level 1, just to check it out.
“So how was it?”
“The different areas that Taiga mentioned earlier, they were great. Well structured, neatly organized, well-designed, this ship pretty much has it all. But I haven’t been to Lev-“
Yuzuru was cut off. The tone of the conversation changed from casual to serious once again.
“Is it true? Did Kanade believe in everything that that girl said?”
“… I don’t know if she’s 100% certain, but she’s certain enough to learn more about what the necklaces are.”
“Then what about you? Do you believe it?”
Spoiler for "Part 2":
Yuzuru had to think for a minute to come up with the right answer. Hideki and Ayato didn’t really think about it at first, but they were now curious. Yuzuru was really the piece of the Afterlife War Front that changed the game back in their own world – His entry into the SSS suddenly allowed them to succeed in operations more often, and he is often considered to be the stronghold of the group. What did Yuzuru think about this? Does he, like Kanade, believe Taiga’s story? This was such a topic of interest that even Yui stopped streaming videos to hear his answer.
*sigh* “I can’t say for sure, but I have more reasons to believe it than not.”
“What do you mean?”
“First, let’s theoretically say that this story is made up. It would take years of practice to make up a story like that. When you’re lying, you tend to show signs that you do. You can hear it in their voices, or see it in their face, or detect it with their body motions, and so on. And it’s harder to pull off a lie if there’s a partner trying to lie with you. But Ryuji and Taiga, especially Taiga, felt way too comfortable for that. If they were lying, it would take months for them to pull of something like that without flinching. So the only two possibilities that arise from hearing a story like this are either they must be really good liars, or they’re telling the truth.”
“So... it’s like a lie detector test.”
“But there have been people that can confuse lie detector tests so easily.”
“Secondly, let’s say that they were indeed lying. Then why were there expressions on Taiga’s face when she looked at her own necklace? I can’t speak from a girl’s perspective, but only a jewel enthusiast would look at her jewelry in that way, and if Taiga were a jewel enthusiast, she would definitely be wearing a lot more jewelry. I only saw the one necklace.”
“That doesn’t prove anything either. It’s possible that Ryuji gave that necklace to Taiga as a gift from boyfriend to girlfriend. She would cherish it just as much then.”
“Even if that were true, it would only disprove part of the story, not the whole story. What she did with the necklace, trying to put it around Kanade only to see it float in mid air, what store would have a necklace like that? If that really was just a magic trick, it’s certainly an impressive one.”
“You have a point. That’s something only God can really do, and Taiga isn’t a god by any means.”
“Is there a three?”
“Third, as far as necklaces like those go, Taiga isn’t the only one that has one.”
“Wait, so there’s more than one person that has a necklace like Taiga’s?”
“Yes. If you break down Taiga’s story, there are seven necklaces in all. There is a slight possibility that Taiga has all seven necklaces, but if you can only win those necklaces through a competition, it’s not likely to have all seven. So there has to be at most seven people that have one. Also, after you left, Taiga mentioned the words “Fourth Occurrence”, so if Taiga’s story is true, then the Trials she spoke of must have happened three times before. Three times seven is twenty-one, so that means that there could be as many as twenty-one people holding a necklace.”
“But what if you can win two necklaces? It has to be very likely that one person would have at least two.”
“I agree. If Taiga's story holds true, then I would expect maybe ten people on this ship that would have a necklace like hers.”
“But it’s also possible that only one neckace exists and Taiga’s pulling our leg, not to mention she could have all twenty-one necklaces.”
“But she doesn’t.”
“Aw, this is making me more and more confused.”
“If you’re certain she doesn’t, then…”
“Yeah, there’s definitely another one.”
Yuzuru preceded to tell the other four about how he woke up in his room, how the sun was shining through his window, that Kanade was awake before he was, and that they were both strapped into chairs before takeoff by a girl that Yuzuru assumed was a flight attendant. He remembered the conversation very vividly. “If you do well in the upcoming event, you’ll have one just like it.” That was the exact words the girl said when Kanade mentioned the necklace she wore. And when Kanade asked Taiga about her before lunch, Taiga mentioned, “she’s not an ordinary flight crew member, is she?”
There were a handful of seconds of silence as realization dawned on each one of them. Yuri still doesn’t want to believe it, but everything she had been through today told her otherwise. Ayato and Hideki, they were really close to believing it too. Yui, well, this was too much information for her small body, so she was left unconscious from information overload.
“So if Taiga’s story holds true, we could be in for something a lot worse than what we just went through.”
“That’s why, even if it’s not true, as long as Kanade’s going to believe in Taiga’s story, I’ll have to see it through. Everything I’ve seen and heard so far, however, imply that whatever these Trials are, it’s going to happen.”
Yuri stayed silent. She didn’t even know what to think anymore.
“If, in these exact words, Taiga said that the girl you mentioned ‘is not an ordinary flight crew member’, wouldn’t that mean that Taiga would know who she is?”
Before Yuzuru had a chance to even think about that possibility, Yuri’s TV suddenly turned on, and instead of the black and white fuzz that signified there was nothing broadcasting, a live broadcast of a girl in long black hair, wearing a tiara and an Aquamarine necklace, standing in front of what initially looked to be a black backdrop, appeared. It’s not just any girl, it’s that girl.
(on TV) “All candidates and supporters, may I have your attention please?”
Spoiler for "Part 3 ":
“The flight attendant you were talking about? No way!”
“Look, around her neck! She’s wearing an Aquamarine Necklace too!”
At this point, the three boys had their eyes glued to the monitor to hear what this girl had to say. Yuri, too, but all of this is now feels to her like an unescapable nightmare. This whole necklace ordeal defies the laws of reality, yet it’s being constantly pushed into her subconscious like memorizing lines for a play.
(on TV) “If you’re still unsure of what role you play on this ship, please check your Identification Cards… Does everyone all have them ready? Good, now if your identification card is either prism or white, then this message is for you and you only. Everybody else can disregard this message.”
So this is being aired throughout the whole entire ship, Yuzuru thought.
(on TV) “If you have a prism identification card, you are qualified to take part in a special event called the Trials. This is a series of one-on-one battles that you, as a candidate, will experience like none before. Here, you will be facing another candidate for each battle, and there are forty-nine matches in all. You will each face all of the other candidates one-on-one exactly once, and they are divided in to seven periods. If you do well in these one-on-one matches for one of those periods, then you will be considered eligible to win one of these seven necklaces.”
The girl stepped away from the camera to reveal seven necklaces behind her - the seven necklaces that Taiga mentioned earlier. What made this even more scary was that the seven necklaces weren’t laying on a stand but floating and swirling in mid-air in the exact formation as it was on Taiga’s earlier diagram, the visible color-spectrum wheel. The six colored necklaces - Topaz, Emerald, Aquamarine, Sapphire, Amethyst, and Ruby, were rotating around the colorless Diamond necklace.
(on TV) “But even if you don’t win a necklace, if you place in the top 16 overall at the end of these Trials, you would be considered eligible to win a prize far greater than these seven necklaces.”
“Seriously? You mean like the one she’s wearing right now?”
Suddenly, everything just clicked together. Taiga mentioned that the seven Necklace Trials opened up an eighth Trial called the “Trial of Light”, a trial where you would earn an all-knowing tiara that granted you one wish, provided that you offer your services in return. If this is the fourth time the Trials are held, then there aren’t just three sets of necklaces, but also three Tiaras. This would mean that this girl is most likely the most recent candidate to complete the Trial of Light, and is now leading the next set of candidates into the next set of trials.
(on TV) “I know that so many of you are asking so many questions right now. I know how hard it is to suddenly wake up in a world that seems to unfamiliar, and it seems unfair that you’ll have to take part in an event you didn’t sign up for, but the cold reality is that we’re all in this together. That is why I am holding a seminar this Wednesday explaining what the Trials are and what you have to do in order to go through these Trials. This is optional for all Candidates and Supporters, so you don’t have to come if you don’t want to.
“However, even if you decide that you don’t want any part of this, you’re forced to take part in the Trials. It isn’t my choice. I am encouraging you to find other candidates and start gathering as much information as you possibly can. This Sunday, the Trials will begin, and if you aren’t prepared for it, it will cost you everything. Good luck.”
The broadcast suddenly cut off, and black and white pixels invaded the TV screen, like it would usually do when a television couldn’t pick up a signal. As Ayato went to turn the TV off, realization dawned on faces that didn’t want to believe. The room suddenly felt colder, not in temperature but in mood and emotion. It’s a feeling of no escape, as if you were suddenly put into solitary confinement with no way out. It didn’t matter who you were, or where you came from, or what you believed in, but the bottom line is that something big is going to happen, and you’re part of it whether you like it or not.
Yuzuru took one look at Yuri, and the image that he saw told the whole story. Her body was frozen in fear, frozen by what she couldn’t understand, and didn’t want to. She’s already rejected Taiga’s version of the story, but now that she has seen another girl claiming that the Trials exist and will happen, and seven necklaces floating in midair having that supernatural aura around them, she doesn’t know what to believe. Worst of all, she said nothing about “Supporters” being forced to take part in this – if the boys wanted to, they could just relax and hang around on the ship. She’s a candidate, and she’s in this. It was impossible to talk to Yuri in this state.
To a lesser degree, Hideki and Ayato were feeling the same way, but they were trying to process the information as quickly as possible. Finally, someone spoke.
“Wow. This is no joke.”
“I knew Kanade wanted to take part, but when Taiga said ‘you won’t be able to lose by forfeit’, I didn’t think that she meant that it was mandatory to participate.”
“Yeah, but did you notice that throughout the whole announcement that girl never once said her name?”
“You’re right! Just who is she?”
???: “Akiyama Mio.”
It seemed Yuri never closed the door, because Aisaka Taiga was leaning on the doorpost of the open doorway.
“Universe of Origin: K-On Universe. An extremely shy ordinary school girl from an ordinary universe that likes to read and just happens to be a really good bass player. Claim to fame: The survivor of the Third Trial of Light and the bearer of the Tiara of Canopus. In a perspective, she’s the defending champion of the Trials.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Her? She doesn’t look like the type of person that would go into a one-on-one battle and fight anybody.”
“Ironic, is it? Any girl can be called to participate in the trials. It didn’t matter if you could control lightning, wield a flaming sword, use magical jewels, have alien powers, or have no battle experience at all, and trust me, we’ve had our share of crazy possibilities. Yet one ordinary school girl that hates open conflict took everybody by storm. Those matches that I mentioned earlier at lunch today, she’s only lost twice.”
“A girl like her, huh?”
There was a pause for a few seconds as Taiga took one quick scan around the room. Yui was still lying on the bed unconscious from much earlier, and it is very doubtful that she even noticed, let alone heard, what Mio had to say. However, Taiga wasn’t concerned with Yui.
“How’s Yuri doing?”
Spoiler for "Part 4":
“She’s in shock.”
It’s not like she hasn’t moved, though. Yuri did notice that Taiga was standing in the doorway, but her head was turned away from it. It was clear that after seeing a girl wearing a tiara seriously talking about a supernatural phenomenon that Yuri, among others, was required to participate in, Taiga was the last person that Yuri wanted to talk to.
“Can I talk to her, alone?”
(softly) “I don’t mind…”
There was a quiver in her voice that gave away the notion that she did mind. Yet, the boys agreed via eye contact. that Yuri needed somebody that knows about the Necklaces and the Trials – that knows what the candidates will have to go through – to try to help her get through this, so they prepared to leave.
“Okay, that settles it.”
Hideki grabbed the still unconscious Yui and carried her on his back.
“Where to, Otonashi-kun?”
“Oh, right, Taiga, where’s Kanade?”
“Your room. Ryuji is analyzing Kanade’s Angel Player right now.”
“Huh? Angel Player is active here?”
“Oh, right, I didn’t tell you…”
As the boys went into the hallway and closed the door twenty seconds later – it took that long for Ayato to figure out how to close the door with his key card – suddenly, Yuri was all alone, looking not at the direction of the doorway where Taiga was standing, but out the window. She could see the Earth rotating outside her window. It was a beautiful sight, but a sight that seems all too far away. When she left that old world – that old accursed world that she was once part of, where she fought so hard not to leave only to decide that it was best to leave in the end, she was hoping to be reborn into a new world, grow up with a new family, with new memories and hopes of making new friends, and if lucky old friends. She was supposed to be crying right now as a newborn baby, carried by her new mother, and being called by a different name. Yet she’s still Nakamura Yuri, a girl that has had to go through a worst-case scenario in her childhood, in a normal universe, then sent to a world where one couldn’t truly die, and where she “died” constantly, still retaining those wretched memories of her childhood. And now this, a world where you would have to take part in something you’ve never thought possible in your entire life, and there isn’t an option.
She wanted to cry, but she wouldn’t. She tried to hold back her tears. It’s not like she hasn’t cried before, but no one has ever seen her break down before. She wouldn’t want Yuzuru, or Kanade, or any of the SSS members to see her cry her heart out; it wouldn’t do the SSS justice to see their leader cry her heart out. Why then, would she want to lose it in front of a stranger?
“How could you do this to me? After everything I’ve been through…”
“It’s okay to cry.”
“You don’t even know me! Why are you even in this room? Why are you here? Why am I here? Why am I in this world and not somewhere else? Why do I have to wake up in this world and be thrown into some event that disregards reality? Why me? Why?”
Taiga stayed silent. She was trying to wait for Yuri to finish, and when Yuri did finish venting, Taiga spoke as softly as she could.
“Then I propose a counter-question. Do you remember what you told Kanade before you were obliterated? What did you tell her?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“You’re right, that is none of my business. But… apparently, Kanade remembers. Something along the lines of, ‘if only we had more time?’”
Yuri didn’t respond back.
“Well, you have it now. You called yourselves the Afterlife War Front, right? True, not all of the members of the SSS are here. Most of them, they’re already living new lives in other worlds as you probably should have. But you’re here, and some of your closest friends are here, and most importantly, Kanade is here. Wouldn’t this be the time for you to take care of her?”
Yuri still didn’t respond back, but she knows in her heart that Taiga is right. She still is feeling regret over treating Kanade so badly in the previous world that part of her still wished that she would make it up to her somehow. But if she and Kanade ended up in another world where they both retained their memories and the world was somewhat normal and familiar, she would have done it. How could Yuri do it now, when Kanade has committed to an event that Yuri still has doubts about?
“Do you know what Kanade said to me after you left? When I told her exactly how it felt to touch one of those Necklaces for the first time, she responded, quote, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll try. I’ll do anything to have a necklace like yours,’ unquote, give or take a few words. The way I heard her say it, I knew that she wants to give it everything she’s got in the Trials, and it made me feel happy inside. But Yuri, every candidate is forced to participate, and Kanade knows that. She knows that you’re in this too, and she’s worried about you. I wouldn’t have come here if she hadn’t asked me to talk to you.”
“She told you that?”
“She did. And the Trials aren’t easy. If you’re not mentally prepared, and I can guarantee that about 30 candidates won’t be, you’re going to get hurt. It’s not like you can die in the Trials, but there are candidates out there that are so relentless that one wrong move and it could feel like you’re being killed. If you tried your hardest to succeed in the Trials, that’s one thing, but how do you think Kanade will feel if you’re standing there trying to admit this is all a dream while your opponent does everything she could to win? You’ll be letting her down.”
“But… I can’t…”
“Maybe you won’t be able to ever reach the end of the Trials. Maybe you won’t qualify for the Trial of Light. Maybe you’ll lose some matches. Maybe you’ll fly through the Trials with unparalleled success and still don’t believe that this is all for real. I don’t know. But even if you don’t have the choice to participate, and even if you don’t believe in everything about the Seven Necklaces and everything related to it, you can still choose to try. After all, if you want to do so much with Kanade as a friend, and Kanade wants to do this so badly, shouldn’t you go ahead and participate alongside her?”
“… I don’t know…”
That was a lie. Yuri does know. With the impossibility of this whole Trials thing being a joke at all, she knew that at this point, there were only two options. First, she could hold steadfast to her belief that she wouldn’t have to participate, and then for who knows how long she would be here, she would stay in her room, venturing out only to go eat or whatever, while Yuzuru and Kanade take part in something so out-of-scope from reality that it’s impossible to think that this wasn’t a dream. But by doing so, she would probably shut herself from the rest of the SSS, and that would be a lonely feeling, and there isn’t a guarantee that locking herself in her room excuses her from taking part in it anyway. The second option was to make good on her promise to Kanade and do whatever Kanade wants to do, and if Kanade really does want to do this, then she’ll have to, whether she believes the whole story or not.
“After all, isn’t that what sisters do?”
Something sparked there. Yuri never told Taiga about her past life.
“How did you know?”
Was it really just a guess? It didn’t feel like Taiga legitimately knew that Yuri was once an older sister. Then why did Taiga use the word “sisters” instead of “friends”? Did Taiga just have an uncanny sense of knowing what to say at the right time? Did she intend to use the word “friend” but decided that “sister” would be more effective in this conversation? Or was it something else? Yuri only realized it now that something felt different in the room, so different that she couldn’t describe it well. It’s like, suddenly, someone was holding her tight, telling her that everything would be okay, touching her heart with a feeling of warmth. But Taiga was standing too far away from her.
Yuri thought it was impossible for things to make even less sense, but it did. Everything felt off the scope of reality that Yuri still didn’t know what to think. However, if there’s one thing from this one-on-one talk with Taiga that made something clear, it’s that Yuri did wish to spend more time with Kanade, and that she did wish for their friendship to develop further. If it means that she has to go through something that still doesn’t understand, then…
Seconds, maybe minutes have passed, and Yuri took a deep breath.
“Taiga… what will I have to do?”
Taiga understood right away what Yuri was feeling, and she didn’t have to confirm it.
“Well, Kanade will tell you everything that I’ve told her. Over dinner. Now, if we’re done here, let’s go pick up everybody else. We’re going to Level 4 tonight, and you will love it!”
As Taiga opened the door, Yuri realized something. Maybe this new world might be interesting after all.
Last edited by minhtam1638 on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:43 am, edited 4 times in total.
Spoiler for "Chapters 4, 5, and 6 - possible directions and storyline ideas":
I'm stuck on where I want to go with Chapter 4. Based on what you've read in Chapter 3, it's implied that in Chapter 4, Taiga and Ryuji will take the Angel Beats crew to level 4 where a lot of cool stuff is going to take place. I can tell you that up there is an extravagant restaurant, so Taiga will take them all out to dinner. I can also tell you that at the end of the day, Taiga and Ryuji will take at minimum Yuzuru and Kanade to a manga/anime store, which is also up in level 4.
Now here's the thing. In both locations - some "diner" where they're having "dinner" and the "manga/anime store" lie two more curveballs, one in each location. At the diner, Taiga will spoil everything that Mio will say at her seminar with the intent that they ditch the seminar in two days to go to the simulation room. At the manga/anime store, there will be another curveball involving "DVDs" - not hard to figure the latter one out. However, I'm concerned that the story might feel like there's no variance. We know from Chapter 2 that Mikoto has noticed "a periwinkle haired girl" hanging out with Taiga, but should she be somewhere in the vicinity of the A.B. crew? Should she just spy or interfere, or should she not be there at all? Also, is this the perfect time to reveal new characters to the A.B. crew? I have plans for the Inner Circle, but there are other candidates out there as well - should they appear at all during this scene? If they do, should they just be a cameo in the diner, or should Yuzuru try to attempt to interact with them? Could one of the Inner Circle make an appearance? Of those in the inner circle, Hinagiku is the least likely to be against the idea of Taiga mentoring a newcomer - should she coincidentally be in the store when Taiga+Kanade arrive?
I will tell you that Taiga has a lot to explain to the A.B. crew, and I can also tell you that by the time it's dinner, it would be around 8 P.M. Stores close at 11 P.M., giving very little time for new character interaction. I would like to be interested in what you think I should do here.
Assuming the fourth floor is a large restaurant with some attractions and that the time is about 8 p.m., I think it would make sense if there were at least some contenders there dining as well. Most of them should be of cameo appearance, for I am assuming that the main focus is the AB! group, but I think a few should interact with Yuzuru and possibly the other A.B. cast as well, but not for too long. For example, have Yui (K-On!) play her guitar randomly and get Yui (A.B.) to converse with her since she knows how to play the guitar. Maybe have someone bump into Yuri with food, accidentally have her shirt ruined, and start arguing about it. As for Mikoto, she should act as a spy and continue to watch Taiga's actions with Kanade from afar. Maybe have her spying plan be ruined by Index making a fool of herself gorging all the food from people's plates or Kuroko finding her and act as she is around her. If possible, have Taiga catch on with Mikoto's antics, but hide it from the AB! cast. For the manga/anime store, I think it is a good idea have Hinagiku there and Taiga, Yuzuru, and Kanade bump into her there by coincidence. Maybe throw in a few more people in there as well, like Konata or Kirino.