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Stories
Mouikkai Musume Mohitotsu
After weeks of strange dreams about another life, Madoka has a series of encounters with supernatural beings that will change his life.
Author(s): Rellawing | Editor(s): Trismegistus Shandy | 3 Warnings!
Content Keywords | Status: Completed | To Disqus!
MyReviews: 0
Preface
Tatsuo and Emi go together on their special date in Akihabara!



Chapter Seventeen : The Day Hearts Moved Closer To Each Other
Posted: 2018-09-07 16:49:59 | Updated: 2018-09-07 17:52:33
Words: 5787


“Emi-chan!!! Are you here?” Tatsuo calls out, hand raised up, a big grin on his face. He pulls his cell phone from his pocket, checking the time, noting that it is 15:12. Ugh, I’m late!

He looks around the plaza before Akihabara Station, noticing the tall glass buildings around, but doesn’t see Emi around. Where could she be? He runs his free fingers through his greased up hairstyle. He wipes his hand surreptitiously in his pants pocket on a kerchief wadded up inside. He runs his finger across his smartphone screen, and scowls when it leaves a trail of grease despite his effort to wipe his hand clean. His habit of running his fingers through his hair is annoying at times like this. He wears a black leather jacket over a white shirt with a vee neck that is already looking wet in places from sweating from the day’s heat. He wears matching black pants that are shredded in places with black semi-polished shoes.

He ignores the heat for a moment, as he opens up a reminder that he set the other day to remind him of the date with Emi in Akihabara. It was set for 15:00 on the dot, and he knows that Emi will be militant about his being late. He frowns, wondering if Emi has left already.

Emi-chan wouldn’t give me her phone number. How else can I get her attention? Am I waiting at the wrong place? Was she fed up with me? he wonders, sighing. He looks around again as the humid heat wilts him little by little as time passes. He notes that there are no unoccupied seats in the plaza that might get him out of the sun which continually hammers his head like a massive jackhammer.

He grimaces and sucks it up, shrugging. Emi-chan… Where are you? he gripes internally as he waits, it being all he can do at the moment.

He stands at attention as cute girls walk past him to and from shops in the plaza and the station, usually in groups; he grins and winks at them, making eye contact by default. That is his best strategy to draw the interest of a girl, but he recalls that at the moment he isn’t here searching for a new date, he’s waiting for Emi-chan. He checks his phone again and sighs, noting that it is 15:14, only two minutes later than the last time he checked. Ugh…

He forcibly pockets his smartphone and takes a masculine pose, hands in his pockets, one leg’s knee bent. He smooths his annoyed expression and shrugs, looking as cool as can. I wonder how long I should stand here and wait for her. If she doesn’t show up, I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest of my day. Where is she? What is she doing? he muses for the upteenth time.

“EHHHH MEEEEEEEE CHAAAAAAANNN!” he suddenly yells loudly, throwing his head back, and opening his mouth up widely as he calls out.

As he lowers his head to look around him. He notices groups of girls, grinning as they gesture together, obviously not looking in his direction. I know they’re talking about me. Are they saying good things? Are they saying I’m handsome and cool or annoying?

He reflexively runs his fingers through his hair as he suppresses a scowl, his fingers layered with a new coating of grease. He sighs and stuffs his hand into his pocket again to rub his fingers over the kerchief in it once again. He feels a nearly irresistible need to check the time again, but he forces the desire down. To stay cool, he closes his eyes and tunes out everything around him. He is sweating profusely by now, particularly in his armpits, mostly due to the heat, but largely due to his anxiety increasing as the seconds pass by.

Finally, he hears another laugh, this time right in front of him. He blinks his eyes open, and puts on an extra cool expression. As his eyes open, he spots Emi wearing a cute tan-colored hat over her curled stylish hair that frames her face. She wears a lacy-looking light jacket-like thing. He doesn’t know the term for the kind of garment, but it’s really cute and goes very well with the light blue dress she wears. She wears necklaces and bracelets. He looks at her, his eyes panning up and down, and he notices that she’s wearing these strappy-looking blue and tan sandals on platforms that make her look somewhat taller, but the raised heels on them make her legs look amazing under the hem of the dress. She wears lacy little socks with them.

“Yanagi-san.” Emi smiles. “I’m sorry that I was late.” She nods to him.

Tatsuo grins and shakes his head. “I didn’t expect that from you… apologizing or being late.” He chuckles.

“Oh, do I seem like a cruel and thoughtless person?” she asks with another twist of her lips.

“Not at all!” He waves his hands and laughs aloud, rushing to correct the miscommunication. “You don’t seem that way to me, I really think that you’re so cool and stylish.”

“Oh? Well, that’s good.” She blushes faintly. “You don’t look like you’re doing well standing here, Yanagi-san,” Emi points out, noticing the sweat patches showing on his white shirt under his black jacket. “You probably should have worn something that wouldn’t give you a case of heat stroke,” she criticises him gently.

“That’s true, but don’t I look cool, Emi-chan?” he asks, suppressing a habitual instinct to reflexively run his fingers through his hair again as he takes another cool pose in front of her, his back arched.

“You look like a greasy preening crow.” Emi smiles playfully at him.

“Oh, Kami… not this again. Can you drop this youk… this strange joke about my appearance?” Tatsuo begs her.

“But I like the joke.” Emi giggles, shaking her head. Tatsuo looks at her with a sigh and a rolling up of his eyes. Emi notices it and rolls hers, giggling. “Alright, fine. You look kind of cool. At least you make an effort to be stylish.”

“An effort? I’m totally styling here, girl.” Tatsuo grins. Emi smiles slightly and shifts on her feet.

She looks around. “As for what we’re going to do on this date, do you have something in mind, Yanagi-san?” she asks, pursing her lips as though wanting to add something further to that.

Tatsuo looks her over again and grins. “Well, honestly, mostly I’m curious about why you decided on Akihabara for our date? There aren’t that many things to do, except taking in a maid cafe, going into an arcade, getting a bowl of ramen, shopping for computer parts, what did you have in mind, Emi-chan?” he inquires.

“You’re going too fast for me, Yanagi-san. Hasegawa-san,” she corrects him, and blanches. “No maid cafes! Why would I want to do that?” She chews her lip, looking suddenly frustrated.

Tatsuo blinks at the expression on Emi’s face and raises an eyebrow. “Ah, I can’t blame you for not being interested in that, but it looks like that might be traumatizing,” he comments.

“I don’t want to talk about it, Yanagi-san.” Emi shoulders her white leather purse. “Of what you suggested, I think I would prefer the ramen, though I think I would rather have a nicer meal. My dinner was really nice last night, but my lunch was pretty mediocre.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Tatsuo smiles. “I’m sorry that I didn’t have the forethought to call into a restaurant to make a reservation. I should have considered that, knowing you’re such a classy girl.”

“I’m stunned that you didn’t make any pre-plans for a date? Do you ever plan anything out?” she asks, sighing.

“Well, in my defense, you were later than I was to our date, Hasegawa-san,” Tatsuo points out.

“That’s true. I apologized, you know.” Emi scowls. “I can’t help that I was stuck in a previous obligation.”

“Previous obligation? Are you referring to Madoka? You spent all day with hi-her… all day today and last night? What did you do, exactly?” he asks, feeling jealous.

“Why is that your business? You know that she wanted to train.” Her volume starts normal and she steps closer, lowering her volume. “You know that she has a lot that she’s dealing with. She needed the support of a friend.”

“Oh, really. Maybe I should have… oh, but I can’t anymore.” Tatsuo chuckles. “If I’d asked to stay, I bet Madoka’s mother would have reamed me for it.”

“She probably would have.” Emi grins. “The best thing you can do for her is be there for her whatever way you can be. Not to change the subject, but I’d like to move on and get you out of the sun.” Emi eyes Tatsuo with a concerned expression. She notes that Tatsuo is looking even more wilted. Her own head is shaded by her hat.

“You look cool,” Tatsuo responds, wiping a sheen of sweat from his forehead, mixed with hair grease. He grimaces, and Emi reaches into her purse to offer him a pink and white kerchief. He stares at it, hesitating. I bet it smells really nice like she does… I want to take it, but I’d ruin it!

“Nah, I’ve got one. Thanks, Hasegawa-chan!” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his grungy kerchief and cleans his hand and mops his forehead with it.

Emi hesitates, seeming to be slightly annoyed; despite that she giggles slightly, and more importantly to him, she doesn’t correct him.

Tatsuo smiles, realizing that she has just accepted a degree of familiarity with her. “Well, we’re not getting into a fancy place like Marugo at this point, so I’ll lead you to the best ramen place I know. C’mon, girl!” He gestures as coolly as he can manage and she follows, her stride as classy as always.

Tatsuo leads the way, but then drops back by her side, placing himself between her and the street after they reach the boulevard. She smiles at him as the wind whips up for a moment, reaching quickly to keep her hat in place. While she’s distracted, he takes her free hand, as he admires her Her eyes widen slightly and she smiles, blushing very faintly. “Your hand is greasy, crow-boy,” she teases playfully.

“Ah, sorry about that.” He laughs. “Can you stop calling me a crow?” he implores.

“Denied. It’s a nickname that you’re stuck with.” She laughs.

“Ugh… can’t I be a cool raven, at least?” he asks. “Ravens travel in pairs, you know.” He winks at Emi. “Plus, their calls are more manly. Crows are loud and they squawk.”

“You sure know a lot about birds, don’t you, Yanagi-kun?” Emi asks, amused. “Are you a bird watcher?”

“Nah… I’m a girl watcher.” Tatsuo grins lopsidedly.

“I didn’t need you to tell me that.” Emi rolls her eyes and frowns. “Aren’t you the kind of boy who would date multiple girls at the same time?” she asks.

“No, not at all. I’m an honorable guy. I’ll definitely look and appreciate the cute girls around me, but making a move on them, definitely not,” Tatsuo responds suavely.

“And you didn’t make a move on Madoka?” Emi asks.

“You know that Madoka isn’t… well, you know.” Tatsuo waves his free hand, shaking his head. He realizes that Emi hasn’t moved to pull her hand away from him.

“Madoka is a girl through and through. Get used to the idea. But don’t get any ideas about her.” Emi smiles.

“It’s hard to imagine that, but then I guess not. I tried to be a good role model for my buddy, but it just wasn’t meant to be, I guess.” Tatsuo shrugs.

“I can understand that, but I can’t imagine what Madoka would have been like if she had ended up like you.” She laughs.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Tatsuo complains as he pulls Emi up to a door to a ramen shop with a glass front full of crafted artworks made to look like their food, the way most shops have. Tatsuo slides the door open, and just inside he directs Emi’s attention to the vending machine for tickets for meals. A boy around the same age as Tatsuo hesitates as he examines the menu on the machine and makes his choice. Eventually, he slides a card against the magnetic reader and presses the buttons, making his selections. He looks at Tatsuo and Emi and nods to them, taking his ticket as he steps into the shop.

“Welcome!” The staff shout as he enters, walking past a series of stools in front of a long counter with privacy walls between seating areas at a long bar table. He takes a seat, setting his backpack to the side by the stool he selects.

Tatsuo gestures to the vending machine, indicating that Emi should choose first. She smiles at him warmly and nods; after just a moment of studying the menu on the vending machine, she chooses a cold chicken somen, with a ginger shoyu salad, and selects a Calpico mango water. She moves to slide her card over the magnetic reader, but Tatsuo quickly intercepts her, and swipes his before she can.

Emi laughs softly as she sees the machine spit out her ticket. She shakes her head and smiles. “You look like you couldn’t afford it. I would not expect that kind of courtesy, Yanagi-kun,” she points out to him.

“I’m not doing too badly. I can afford to pay for my cute date.” He smiles coolly.

Emi blushes more than usual as he takes her ticket. “Thank you,” she responds, eyeing him coquettishly.

“Call me Tatsuo, really. I want to be closer to you, Hasegawa-chan,” he says as he selects a tonkotsu ramen bowl with a roasted green tea and a side of gyoza. The door behind them opens as a queue forms behind them.

“If you aren’t careful, you’ll have sodium issues, T-Tatsuo-kun,” Emi comments, looking away and stammering suddenly.

“Oh! I’ll be alright! You don’t need to worry for me!” Tatsuo grins, looking pleased as he impulsively pulls her into the restaurant by her hand.

“Welcome!” the staff yell out together as he backs into the restaurant proper.

“Oh! My ticket…” Tatsuo exclaims and darts back to the machine, finally relinquishing her hand. Emi watches him dart back and covers her mouth as she laughs softly.

Tatsuo slides his pass over the magnetic reader before his order times out, and it spits out his ticket. He takes it and dashes over to an open table on the side, one of a very few in this restaurant whose seating available is mostly at the bar angled around the kitchen area in the shop. Tatsuo smiles eagerly as he pulls a seat out for Emi at the small table for couples. Emi looks at the seat, smiling. She settles down into the seat, smoothing the skirt of her dress. She sits with her legs tightly closed, her knees looking rosy just under her dress’ skirt hem. Tatsuo pushes her seat forward and slides around the table. Behind him, the staff yells again. “Welcome!”, this time for the next customers entering after them.



Madoka and Kozuke return to her home, and as they pass into the house via the path in front of it through its tiny little garden, Madoka slips her clogs off in the family genkan and sets them neatly to the side.

Kozuke walks in after her, and slides off his dapper shoes, setting them next to hers as she walks in.

Madoka calls out as she steps from the small genkan into the hall of the home. “I’m home!”

Her mother walks around the corner after a few moments and up the hall to the genkan and grins at them, spreading her hands in welcome. “Welcome home!” She smiles.

“Thanks, Mom.” Madoka smiles warmly at her mother.

“How did the training go?” her mother asks with a wide smile.

“It went well, I guess,” Madoka responds with a little laugh.

“But what do you mean by, ‘you guess’?” her mother inquires. “That sounds like you have concerns about it.”

“It was productive, mistress,” Kozuke states on behalf of Madoka. “She worked very hard, and became stronger. I would have liked to have the rest of the day to train her, but under the circumstances, she is out of spiritual energy and needs to recover.” Kozuke smiles, his lips twisting wryly.

“Oh! I’m sorry to hear that you’re drained, Madoka-chan, but I’m very happy that you excelled in your training!” her mother enthuses. “My daughter is amazing, isn’t she? I’ll spoil you tonight, Madoka-chan. How does my hotpot sound tonight?” she asks cheerily.

“Ooooh, hotpot!” Madoka practically drools at the suggestion. “That sounds wonderful, Mama!” she exclaims. “It’s Mama’s best dish, Kozuke-san!”

“It sounds absolutely amazing, mistress. I’m certain that your specialty dish will be incredible,” Kozuke compliments.

“Oh, I’m not so certain that it would be up to your standards.” Mana blushes profusely at Kozuke’s comment.

“Mama’s hotpot is wonderful, Kozuke-san!” Madoka flashes an eager smile.

“If you don’t mind, I would like to review your recipe. There are elements that we should add to Mistress’ meals to boost the recovery of her spiritual power.

“What sorts of additions would you propose?” she asks Kozuke, looking concerned at his suggestion.

“We won’t know until after I review your recipe, Mistress. Let’s retire to the kitchen, where we can discuss it,” Kozuke murmurs, gesturing down the hallway.

Mana nods and looks at Madoka. “Perhaps you should come along as well, Madoka-chan. Now that you’re a lovely young woman, perhaps you should show an interest in cooking. There are many recipes that I should pass on to you.” She smiles brightly at Madoka.

Madoka blinks and looks at her, dazed.

“Um… oh, Mama. I think I’d like to relax for a while, maybe I’ll take a nap,” Madoka murmurs.

“Really? How old do you think you are, young lady?” Mana laughs, hands on hips. “Naps at age sixteen, really?” she asks with a titter.

“Using your spiritual power up can be very exhausting, even at a young age,” Kozuke supplies. “The best thing she can do to recharge it is to sleep and eat. Honestly, I think we could have done with an extended training time, and staying at the onsen would have been greatly beneficial for Mistress.” He gestures to Madoka.

Madoka blinks as Mana’s eyes widen and she gasps.

“An onsen, and I didn’t get to go? How much more coldly could you treat me, Kozuke-san?” she pouts.

“You wouldn’t have wanted to go, Mama… it was a Youkai onsen,” Madoka explains quickly.

“Why wouldn’t I have wanted to go to an onsen?” Mana asks, frowning.

“Ah, well, there were some really creepy-looking ones, Mama. Like one was all tentacles,” Madoka adds, biting her lip. “And there was a savage water goblin, and…” she trails off.

“What? Oh, Kami!” Mana exclaims. “That sounds frightening!” she exclaims. “Are you alright, Madoka-chan?” she asks, placing a hand comfortingly on Madoka’s shoulder.

“I’m fine, Mama. I think I’ll take a bath before I take a nap,” Madoka responds with a yawn that she stifles with her hand.

“A fine idea, Mistress!” Kozuke smiles supportively. “As a matter of fact, I have a further suggestion.” He reaches into his coat, removes a package, and offers it to Madoka.

Madoka looks at the offered package with a puzzled expression. “What is this?” She looks at the wrapping and notes that it looks like something that could be purchased from a store’s shelf. She reads the labeling on it and notes the brand on the product. Seimei Spring Essence... She reads further. Contains a mixture of highly concentrated minerals, herbs, reishi and supplemental reiryoku. Madoka blinks after having read it.

“Just open it and pour it into your bath tonight. Soak for as long as you are able, and it should recharge you almost as well as the onsen itself did.” Kozuke smiles.

“Oh, thank you, Kozuke-san!” Madoka exclaims.

“Ara, how luxurious!” Mana grins. “I hope you enjoy your bath, sweetie. Don’t drain the water from the bath afterwards, and please leave the bath heater on, and I’ll see if I can enjoy it as well later tonight.” She grins. “Your papa might enjoy it too.” She smiles, pleased.

“There are elements that would linger in the bath afterwards, so I can state with a reasonable amount of confidence that it would do you two some good as well,” Kozuke suggests. “Now, might we be able to move along?” he inquires again.

Mana nods and grins eagerly. “Let’s do, Kozuke-san.” She leads the way up the hallway around the corner to the kitchen. Madoka watches them walk further into the house and continues on her way to the bathroom upstairs, studying the package idly as she gingerly pads forward.



Tatsuo lifts his ramen bowl and gulps the tonkotsu broth inside.

“Oh, you should not do that, Tatsuo-kun. It’s unhealthy to finish the broth! You don’t want to develop heart problems when you’re older.” Emi gathers somen noodles with her chopsticks and dips them into the thick cold chicken somen broth provided with it. Emi quietly slurps up the flavored somen noodles.

“How can you stand to eat that? It’s so boring,” Tatsuo comments as he sets his bowl down and grins broadly. “Kami, I love the ramen here. I guess the cold ramen and somen might be alright, but I love a hot piping bowl of tonkotsu.” He chuckles.

“Try it sometime, Tatsuo-kun. You might find that you like it.” She shakes her head.

“I might, since you suggested it, Emi-chan. If you say it’s good, maybe I’ll order the somen before we leave,” he suggests.

“You shouldn’t overeat. You’ll end up obese and you’ll develop other diseases.” She waggles a finger at Tatsuo as she moves onto eating the sliced cucumbers, shredded radish, cabbage, mushroom and the deliciously marinated chicken served with it sliced for dipping. “Mmm…” she comments as she crunches and chews the vegetables. After finishes, she continues. “I wonder if you would mind going to a shop?”

“Where? What do you have in mind?” Tatsuo asks, wondering. “Cosplay? Animate?” he suggests.

“Why don’t we go where they have everything?” Emi suggests with a grin. “Don Ki!” She winks.

“Oh! That’s a good idea. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there. Is there something specific that you’re shopping for?” Tatsuo inquires.

“Nothing specific. We could spend some time in the arcade there, and I would not mind window shopping in the cosplay sections, but as a matter of fact, there is this…” Emi trails off and reaches into her purse and removes paper slips with a distinctive logo on them. When Tatsuo’s eyes fall on them, his eyes widen and his jaw drops.

“N-no way! Are those what I think they are?” Tatsuo asks, shaken. Emi grins mischievously in response to his expression. Oh, Kami! They’re all so beautiful! The way the girls in AKB48 dance and sing are amazing, they warm my heart when I hear their energetic music! I can’t help it but to cheer for them!

“Yes. I wasn’t certain I would have time for it today, but it seems we’ll make it if we hurry.” She holds up her cellphone and indicates the time, reading that it’s 16:42. He looks at the tickets and he leaps to his feet when he realizes that the time stamp on them is 17:00.

“Let’s go right now!” he exclaims, leaving half of his tonkotsu broth unconsumed, shifting from foot to foot impatiently.

Emi giggles as she stands serenely, and turns towards the kitchen staff to bow. “Please excuse us, it was delicious!” She smiles and eyes Tatsuo as they respond.

“Have a wonderful day, customers!” The chef beams at Emi.

“I’m surprised that you’re an AKB fan, Tatsuo-kun.” She giggles.

“That’s an understatement, Emi-chan! Who are you, exactly? You’re sitting on these tickets and it’s nothing to you that you have them! Please, let’s hurry! Riko-chan! I’m going to see her finally in person!” He grins excitedly. Not just AKB48 but Team A performing! This is tremendous!

“You like Okamoto-san? Is she your type of girl?” Emi’s eyes narrow.

“N-no… my eyes are only on you! You’re so amazing, Emi-chan! How did you get these?” Tatsuo reassures Emi quickly and runs around the table and takes her hand, pulling her away.

Emi blushes profusely, looking around as he pulls her along.



Clothes off, Madoka sighs as she tears open the package Kozuke handed her, and upends its contents into the hot bath water. Strong scents waft from the container, and she coughs in reaction, turning her face away as the contents fall in and dissolve quickly. Madoka sighs as the air fills with the familiar scent that she smelled when at the onsen. She chews her lip, sitting down on the nearby bath stool and turning on the water to the shower head. She waits for it to heat up, and then picks it up and runs the water over her body. She runs her hands over her body, wondering how things are going for Tatsuo and Emi-chan on their date.

She sighs and scrubs her body with a loofah and soaps it up. The scent of the soap momentarily overpowers the scent coming from the bath. When finished, she reaches for the shampoo and dispenses a small amount to wash her hair. She sighs contentedly as she lathers it, making sure that every inch of it is covered by the pleasant smelling shampoo. She idly notices that it smells different from her usual shampoo. She opens her eyes blearily and winces as soap runs into her eyes. She chews her lip as she rinses her eyes. She thinks of Aoi, suddenly feeling lonely, missing the companionship of everyone on the trip to the spiritual world. She sighs softly, deciding that she might even miss Kiyomi a little. She blinks as she feels a presence behind her suddenly, and continues to run the water over her face to rinse her eyes.

While clearing out of her eyes, Madoka feels a loofah on her back. She gasps and shrieks. Who is in here with me? She panics, blinking her eyes to clear them of the suds faster.

Goshujinsama. I felt your need.” Madoka hears a voice, feeling slightly more drained. She looks over her shoulder and gasps when she sees that it’s Aoi, and she is entirely nude. She scrubs Madoka’s back with the loofah she somehow got hold of while Madoka’s eyes were closed. Madoka stares at Aoi, stunned at her appearance. Her body’s response to seeing her in the nude with her beautiful blue hair framing her face is powerful and instantaneous. Her nipples stand erect.

“Please don’t mistake my intent, Goshujinsama. I’m here to comfort you this time, as your life is not in danger. Kanna would have liked to come along as well, but you don’t have the energy to summon two shikigami, even though your abilities have improved somewhat in the last day,” Aoi comments with a small smile.

“Kanna-chan as well?” Madoka gasps. Standing and turning, she impulsively embraces Aoi as the shock fades from her face. “Oh, Aoi-chan… thank you so much for coming!” she murmurs softly, hugging Aoi.

Aoi gasps and pats Madoka’s head with a little laugh. “I sense that there is reiryoku in your bath, Goshujinsama. Let us step into the bath. Your energy reservoirs as they are can’t hold me in the world for much longer. In the bath it will be easier.” After finishing scrubbing her back, she pulls away and takes Madoka’s hand, drawing her to the bath.

Madoka blinks and is unable to avoid examining Aoi’s body in detail; in particular, her eyes fasten upon her beautiful backside as she steps into the bath and pulls her after. As she steps into the bath, there is a spark at the point where her foot contacts the water, and she sits down into the water gracefully, pulling Madoka in and down. When Madoka steps in, a similar spark flashes, and she feels suddenly somewhat more energetic, as before in the onsen. It seems to be an effect similar to that of standing in the leyline in the spiritual world.

“You can feel the reiryoku, can’t you Goshujinsama?” Aoi murmurs as they relax side by side, squeezing together. Madoka looks into Aoi’s eyes wonderingly.

“You’re bathing with me because of the reiryoku? Because it empowers us?” Madoka asks.

“Think of this as being something like a charging unit. While the bath is enriched with energy, I may remain with you. It may be wiser to dismiss me so that you can absorb it all and store it for tomorrow. Are you feeling better, Goshujinsama?” Aoi asks gently, touching Madoka’s cheek. “Do you have the courage to face tomorrow now?”

“I do… a girl’s high school. I still can’t believe it.” Madoka shakes her head and chews her lip. “I’m still very nervous about it.”

“Don’t be embarrassed, and don’t be nervous. You will do well, Goshujinsama,” she encourages Madoka. “May I go, and leave you to charge your energies?” she asks again, pressing Madoka.

“No! Don’t go!” Madoka gasps, turning awkwardly as she gazes into Aoi’s eyes. “Don’t leave me alone yet… I want you to enjoy this bath with me. You deserve to live.”

“Oh, foolish Goshujinsama,” Aoi says softly, and suddenly the water in the bath roils and a fountain under Madoka lifts her up above the bath. She gasps and shrieks as she falls back into the bath, grunting as her bottom contacts the soft flesh of Aoi’s body as she falls. She looks over her shoulder, realizing that she is now in Aoi’s lap. Aoi wraps an arm around her middle and holds her gently.

Madoka blushes from head to toes as Aoi holds her and presses her body against hers, feeling oh so warm. “You’re such an incorrigible baka, you know. Don’t seek love with one who is dead, one who is a nonentity,” she murmurs.

Madoka chews back her response, wanting to tell her that she is not an nonentity again. She cries softly as Aoi holds her.

“Gather your strength, Goshujinsama. Quiet yourself and still your tears.” Aoi reaches up and strokes her cheeks, wiping her tears away. She holds Madoka gently for a long moment holding her. She abruptly disappears, and Madoka’s bottom drops to hit the bottom of the bathtub. Her eyes open and a bubble floats up from the bath, and in the bubble she can see the face of Aoi.

Stay strong, everything will go well for you. We watch over you. Be confident.



Tatsuo-kun pulls Emi into the large building with a signage above that reads “Don Quijote.” She laughs softly as the perky sound of the catchy Don Ki theme song plays in the background. They rush past rows of products, varying from bicycles, to stationery for animation and art, to candy and keychains and cosplay costume components.

He rushes her to the escalator, urging her to rush through each of the floors, past the arcade with its mixture of classic arcade machines and claw machines to the escalator to the eighth floor. There’s a crowd on this floor. They follow the crowd as it gradually trickles into the theatre proper. Emi examines Tatsuo, noticing that his excitement is fever high pitched. I never expected that he might be a rabid fan of AKB48… She giggles softly at the thought.

Tatsuo-kun sweats as they wait their turn to enter the theatre, and he constantly checks his cell phone to mark the time. It makes sense that he would be so excited, since for most, luck plays an extremely large part in whether or not one can get a ticket. At a booth, he pauses to purchase glow sticks for them.

She gazes at his enthusiastic expression, and feels her stomach flutter at seeing this side of Tatsuo-kun. After what seems a long time, they pass into the theatre and she checks the tickets again as he looks at her in the loud crowd.

“Where are we sitting?” he asks her, waiting.

Emi checks the tickets and smiles. “A11 and A12,” she responds, winking.

“No way! Is that the front row?” he yells.

Emi giggles as Tatsuo pulls her enthusiastically again. “T-Tatsuo-kun!” she gasps.

“Oh, Kami, how I love you, Emi-chan!” Tatsuo yells ebulliently. Emi gasps and blushes redly.



Tatsuo watches raptly as AKB48’s team A dance and sing right before his eyes, and from time to time their eyes make contact with his, drawing him in. Whenever it happens, he yells and enthusiastically flails his glow stick in the gloom of the seating area, though the shining of the lights from the stage bathe them with their light, and the luminosity of the idols shining on the stage lights him up inside. They sing “High Tension,” dancing as they sing their hearts out to the audience.

Emi waves her glowstick less enthusiastically, but still grins at Tatsuo and taps her seat armrest in time to the music. She meets the eyes of Okamoto; their eyes meet and she smiles.


Postface
Glossary

AKB48 -- They are groups of Japanese girl idols. The styles of the music varies, but a lot of the music is energetic. They dance together on stage with great professional choreography. The subjects of the music can vary. I can’t listen to it now to describe it, but check it out if you’re interested. Note that they differ from K-pop groups in that they’re not entirely about sexual appeal as K-pop idols seem to be. There is an element of cuteness that is a cultural value that many places around the world don’t have as strongly.

ara -- a term that Japanese girls might use to say “oh,” or to exclaim. Perhaps you may have noticed that I use it myself? *blushes*

baka -- idiot. It can be used in the same way that you might call someone a moron or a fool, but frequently it is used affectionately.

Calpico -- a Japanese brand of beverage which typically contains yogurt.

Don Ki -- a brand of store in Japan that sells tax free merchandise; they sell just about everything from appliances, clothes, food, snacks, and stunningly adult toys. They also sell anime, and the Akihabara store also has an exclusive cosplay selection, being as Akihabara is a mecca of otaku and technology fans.

gyoza -- dumplings like potstickers, but they differ a little from their Chinese counterparts. The dipping sauce is typically a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce and other components.

reiryoku -- spiritual energy. In the case of this chapter, it was like a supplemental, much akin to vitamins. Reiryoku-enriched food or baths can serve to charge your energy. Spiritual beings can benefit directly from it.

reishi -- a variety of herbal mushroom with health-beneficial effects.

somen -- they’re ramen noodles, but instead of being a bowl of soup, it is healthier in that you have fresh vegetables sliced to be eaten with chopsticks along with protein, and it is served with a special broth that you dip your noodles and other platter items in to add additional flavor like a condiment.

tonkotsu -- some may think of it as pork cutlets that are breaded. That is tonkatsu (note the a in that word instead of an o). Ton is a term for pork/pig. Tonkotsu is a broth that is produced when vegetables and pork bones are boiled to the point where the bones are dissolved and the broth becomes thick and rich. It tends to be milky in coloration and absolutely delicious, albeit frequently it is not good for your health.


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