15: Light's Final Destination

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Qualia the Purple

Arc 2: 1/1,000,000,000th of a Kiss

Chapter 15: Light's Final Destination

I leapt up from within the darkness.

Completely caught off guard by a sudden feeling of disorientation, I looked around and tried to figure out exactly where I was right now.

But before I could figure that out, I saw my left hand dimly glow.

And I was attacked by a sudden, unshakable feeling.

... Ugh, this was bad.

In the end, nothing had changed.

Controlled entirely by my panic, I put my left hand to my ear and dialed out, not even checking who I was calling. Tears leaked from my eyes as I begged the person on the other end.

"... Please... Yukari will die like this..."

I heard the person on the other end gasp.

But before she could respond to me, I ended the call.

My heart was racing at a feverish pace.

I needed someone to depend on. I wanted to ask the other me's for help. If this went on, someday Yukari would...

"... No. Don't run away, me."

Stop it. Was I just going to let everything repeat again?

I took a few quick, shallow breaths, and managed to calm myself down.

I stopped myself from shaking and looked around my room to get my bearings.

This was certainly my room.

The date showing on the digital calendar atop my desk matched the date when I had first received a phone call from myself.

Just to be sure, I turned on my television.

I saw my reflection dimly on the TV screen, and gave a forced smile at seeing a face I had not seen in a long time.

Ahh, so today was that night.

The night right before I told Yukari that she should transfer away from our school.

... So I guess in the end, this day had been the divergence point.

This was where I was supposed to retry things from.

No, wait. I wasn't retrying anything. After all, nothing had begun yet.

I couldn't hope to change Yukari's destiny; I didn't have the right qualifications to do that job.

The only person who could change Yukari's fate was Yukari herself.

If I could do anything here... it would be to support and help Yukari as her friend.

I wouldn't be able to do anything more than that... no matter how painful it might be.

I also had my own personal destiny that I had to face. And just like Yukari...

I wouldn't run away anymore.

Even if I needed to depend on someone else a bit, I wouldn't run.

I would move forwards.

... I took a long, deep breath, and then...

I struck my left hand against my window.

A loud snap echoed through my room as a radial fissure formed through the glass.

A spider web of cracks spiraled outwards from the place of impact, and the window shattered.

A violent heat rushed through my senses as I restrained myself from crying out, looking at my hand that was now covered in red.

I could feel my heartbeat through my bloodied left hand, almost as if it had become a second heart... and no matter what I tried, that hand never lit up.

And that was fine.

I heard my mother shouting outside my door.

"Manabu?! What was that sound?!"

I tried to yell right back, but it was almost as if I hadn't used my voice in many, many years. I could only manage a dry, hoarse response.

"... S-Sorry. I tripped and broke my window."

"What? What are you doing in there? Are you hurt anywhere? Is everything alright?"

"Yeah. I'm fine."

Although, that really was a lot of blood...

Maybe I should go to the hospital.

Or maybe go over to Yukari's place?

Either way, I had to have Yukari do something about this cell phone. She had to make it so I could never use it so easily again.

This power was just too great a responsibility.

I felt dizzy and plopped myself down on my bed.

I put a hand to my head. Before I knew it, I could feel my memories slipping away one after the other.

Of course they would. It's not like a single person could maintain the memories from an infinite number of worlds.

Up until now, I was able to use my cell phone to keep all those memories, using the infinite minds of those infinite me's. But now that that cell phone had ceased to function - now that I had deliberately broken it - my ability to quantumly interfere with the universe had reverted back to that of a normal human. So, of course, any memories that couldn't be managed by my single human brain would disappear. Hmm... maybe it would be better to say that the surplus parts of me had been cut away? I admit I felt a bit lonely - there were some fond memories mixed in there after all - but maybe if I fixed this cell phone I would be able to connect to all those memories again? No, wait wait wait...

"Manabu? Are you listening to me?"

I felt exhausted, as if I had just come back from a long, long journey.

And... I felt a bit cold.

Maybe I should sleep...?

That sounded like a good idea. Yeah, I'll sleep. And then I'll pretend everything had been a dream.

When I woke up, I'd be myself again, good as new.

So I'll just close my eyes...

"Hey, Manabu? I'm opening the door... hyah?! Manabu? Manabu!!"

"Shut up, mom... do you know what time it is? I just want to sleep..."

"Idiot! Dear! Call an ambulance! An ambulance-"

I did end up getting taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

I was still in my girl's pajamas. And yes, that was a bit embarrassing.

Ahh... wouldn't it be nice if all of this had just been a dream...

And so, allow me to draw our story to a close in exactly the way I had promised I would.

Everything had just been a long, long dream.

But, I had to wake up now.

If I had to make a fairy tale metaphor, I would say that the princess (even though that was completely out of character for me) had finally received her prince's kiss.

Dozing off had felt quite nice indeed, but I couldn't just stay sleeping forever.

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