The day had arrived. There was no turning back. Those that were nervous had to suck it up and those that were brave had to be sure they didn't cave in.
Finals have arrived, and the Eternal Friendship sans Riko was on their way to prepare for the beast that awaited them. Aoi was surprisingly smiling as she was walking towards school. The reason for her smile was because she found help. Shirona's plan of last week was that she, Lina, and Shun decided to just blatantly help Aoi. Although Aoi was hesitant to accept the help at first, as the days passed, she welcomed the help.
"We're going to help you as much as we can. You're our friend, and friends stick together, no matter what."
This is what Shirona said on the first day of Aoi's help. The young girl kept the words in her mind throughout the entire previous week. She's never let the words escape ever since.
"Maybe… I should make it up to them. I've acted so rash towards them that I never really got to show my thanks. Sure, they let me in the Eternal Friendship, but I still acted like a jerk. I got it! After today, I'll do something special for them!"
The emerald eyes were shining brightly as Aoi was entering the city, but quickly turned preoccupied as the girl kept walking.
"But what could it be? Oh, this is so hard!"
From far away, there was a renegade running amok. He had stolen money from a small bank, and he had alerted police. The man pushed away any person that was in his way so that he could clean up his dirty escape.
"I just hope I can pass the finals. I don't want to repeat my sophomore year for a third time…"
Aoi was staring at the sky as she walked into the city. With doubt and hope mixed in her mind, she pressed on, hoping to face her demon once and for all.
"You'll never take me alive!"
The renegade was in Aoi's position, and the police officers were closing in on the thief. The thief collided into Aoi, but neither faltered. They were struggling to regain their balance.
"Let go of me!" Aoi yelled.
"You're in my way! Buzz off!"
The duo was trying to shake each other off, but Aoi knew that the man was a thief, so she kept a firm grip on him. The police officers took the opportunity to seize the pedestrian's assistance.
"We have no choice! We have to shoot him down!"
One police officer took out his gun, but hesitant when Aoi was in the way.
"What the hell are you doing, Harada? Shoot him!" the second police officer barked.
"I can't! The girl's in the way! I don't want to harm her!" the officer named Harada barked back.
Ngh, I got to give them an opportunity!
"Shoot him! I'll hold him down!" Aoi yelled.
"You heard the girl! Just shoot!" the third officer commanded.
All three officers took out their guns and blind-fired at the duo. Almost knowing that the bullets were going to go into the thief's body, Aoi shoved him to the right. However, the bullets bore into her body. One made its way through her stomach, another shattered her ribs, and the third pierced her heart. In a matter of seconds, she was dead. The eyes' life faded and her body couldn't balance itself and fell face-first onto the pavement. The thief, even with his ambition open due to the error, couldn't believe what he saw. The officers couldn't believe it, either. They had killed a young girl with their own hands.
Officer Harada yelled as he shot another bullet, which finally made its way into the thief's body. Still not dead yet, the other two officers shot the thief as well, putting him to an eternal rest. The bullet shells plinked as they fell onto the pavement. The deed was done, but not in the way they expected it.
"God damn it… ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
Officer Harada fell to his knees as he threw his gun onto the pavement. He grasped his hair and continued to growl.
"Harada, relax! It's not your fault!" the second officer yelled.
"It is! Don't you see, Tanaka? This is what happens with us! Even though we're told to capture any criminals, we still have to harm innocent civilians! Is this really our job? To hurt every single living person?"
The blood from Aoi and the thief's body started to blend as it continued to spill. Two of the officers continued to look at the sight, while Officer Harada stared at the concrete. He couldn't bring himself to see the damage he and his comrades committed.
"I'm so nervous, I'm so nervous!"
"Shirona, it's going to be okay. I'll be here to support you."
Shirona and Hana were closer to the school, only about 5 blocks away. The young girl has been hesitant all morning due to the idea of finals. The spirit has been trying to comfort Shirona, but it wasn't helping.
"It's like I'm slowly forgetting all of the material I learned last week! Ugh, why am I so nervous?" Shirona groaned.
"It's because you're letting the nervousness get to you. It makes you slowly forget everything you learned. So just don't be nervous," Hana consoled.
From 15 blocks away, there was a yellow car that was speeding through the streets. In the car was a young couple, and the male was talking on the phone while driving.
"Sweetie, you need to keep your eyes on the road. Please, I don't want you getting in trouble…"
"Nah, nah, it's perfectly fine! I'll be there in a few hours, okay? I'm bringing my girl with me, is that okay?"
"It's not that I'm getting nervous about the finals, Hana. It's…something else."
The soft pink eyes lowered as she crossed the street.
"Y-yeah. I, uh, have been thinking of someone…"
Seeing the eyes, Hana immediately asked, "Shun?"
Shirona gasped and turned to the spirit.
"How did you know?"
"So it is him! I knew it!"
The girl started to blush.
"Y-yeah, you're right. Ever since the first day I met him, I've started to have feelings for him. He's just…so cool and amazing. And he's such a great fighter, something that I wish I could do. I'm tired of being this weakling, and only Shun can make me stronger."
"Oh… Shiro-chan, I didn't know you've felt like that…"
"I know Shun said that he doesn't want a girlfriend, but…I want to be with him. What should I do, Hana?"
"Kaz, please stop going so fast! I swear, if you kill someone with your reckless driving, I'm dumping you!"
"Oh, let me tell you, Hina is such a babe! I can't believe I scored with her!"
The car was dangerously in the vicinity of Shirona. However, they were still about 6 blocks away.
"Well, you just have to let him know how you really feel about him at school today. Once finals are over, tell him that you love him and see how he responds."
Shirona's phone started to ring when the two were in the middle of the street, which shocked the girl. She quickly took it out and once she saw the caller ID, she gasped and dropped the phone.
"What, what? What happened?" Hana exclaimed.
"It's… It's Shun…"
Hana floated towards the phone, but Shirona's yell halted her.
"Don't answer it!"
"I can't answer him!"
"But he needs to know!"
Shirona crouched to her knees and started to push the spirit away from the phone, which continued to ring. From far away, the wild car was starting to close in on them.
"Kaz, there's a girl over there! Slow the hell down!" the girl named Hina yelled
"Huh? No, that's just Hina, saying how awesome I am!" the boy named Kaz laughed.
The car was blazing through the street, and Hina was attempting to move the wheel, but Kaz continued to hold a firm grip on it. The girls, however, were still fighting over the phone.
"Come on, Hana! You know I can't tell him! He'll get mad!" Shirona struggled.
"He needs to know now! You can't keep hiding your feelings for him!" Hana retorted.
"I can if I want to, Hana!"
The car was dangerously close to the girls, and Hina was trying her best to nudge the wheel, even a little. Kaz quickly noticed this and closed his phone, noticing that Hina was possibly trying to sabotage his driving.
"Hina, what the hell are you doing? You're going to crash into that girl!" Kaz yelled.
"Dumbass! Hit the brake, quick!" Hina yelled.
The couple screamed as Kaz hastily tried to hit the brakes. Shirona may have won the battle of the phone, but her victory would be short-lived. Hana quickly disappeared in a flash, and Shirona wondered why she left. The answer hit her like a brick. While Shirona was still on her knees, the car bumper crashed onto her skull, and the speed of the car sliced her head off in a flash. The car finally halted to a stop, but the blood that spilled created a red tire path that reached up to 20 feet. The body was still shooting blood from the skull's past location. It then flew a good 3 feet, forever losing life, and the blood died down.
"Oh my god! No, no, no!" Hina yelled as she and Kaz got out of the car.
"Oh, shit, oh shit!"
Kaz quickly ran towards the body and stared at the carnage made by the car. Hina was almost at the point of throwing up.
"Shit, shit, shit! What are we gonna do? We're murderers!
"What do you mean, we? You're the one that killed her!" Hina snapped back.
"Okay, okay! Look, we have to run away. Forget the party, forget everything! We have to run away!"
"But that'll make us convicts! You'd want that?"
"Better than staying in prison! Come on, Hina!"
Kaz grabbed Hina's hand, and the two of them ran off, possibly never to be seen again. They left the car doors open, but they didn't care. They were murderers, and like Kaz said, they didn't want to be in prison.
Hana had appeared after the two had left, but her image was becoming distorted. She saw the headless body of Shirona, and tears welled up in her eyes.
The spirit's image continued to distort.
"This can't be… If you're dead, then that means I'll be leaving as well… Those damned humans… They're all so pathetic. How dare they kill people and run away from the crime… Those cowards! There's only a few that have a kind soul like Shirona… And I'm glad to have met them. Everyone else is a fraud. Total frauds."
Hana was starting to disappear, but before her image faded, she let out a few tears that splashed onto the pool of blood.
"I'll see you on the other side, Shirona, hopefully…"
By the coast, Lina was walking calmly along a path. Below her, the waves were crashing onto the rock spires, and to her ears, it sounded as though she were swept away.
"Oh, it's been a rough couple of months… Still, I'm glad that I'm with Shu-shu. I was almost scared of the idea that he forgot me when we first met."
Lina's eyes started to gaze at the ocean.
"I wish I didn't have to show him my mark, but it had to be done. It was the only way I could make him remember me."
Lina stopped and turned her body towards the ocean.
"And Shirona… I thought she was my rival at first. To think that she became such a good friend towards Shu-shu…when I couldn't. All I could do was focus on getting Shun back. I was so blind towards love that I failed to see that Shirona was so kind…"
Lina sighed as she gripped the burned arm.
"At least Shu-shu said that he doesn't want a girlfriend." Lina then giggled. "Maybe he couldn't handle the pressure of being with a girl for eternity when there are others after him. And yet, I wonder… Who would he have chosen? Me or Shirona?"
Lina gazed at the rippling waves and sighed again. From behind, there was a boy running in a panicked manner. Blind to his surroundings, he only saw straight ahead. Unfortunately, he bumped Lina, and she started to lose balance.
"I'm sorry about that!" the boy called back.
Lina desperately tried to regain her balance, but she couldn't. She fell out of the road, but she couldn't utter a scream. All she did was leave her mouth agape as she stared at the bottom. The rock spires were closing in on her, and she didn't care. It was almost as if she wanted this to happen. Gaining speed, Lina's body gave in. The last thing Lina did was close her eyes and prayed, her back now facing the spires.
It looks like my wish of the past is being granted…
The spires collided with Lina's back, creating a gaping hole through her stomach. The girl didn't even let out a pained yell as blood and gore started to slide down the rock. It was almost as if she didn't feel a thing.
…Thank you, God…
The dead hand limped as the body started to slowly slide down the spire. Blood started to leak out of Lina's mouth and her eyes slowly lost life.
...for granting my wish…
"Huh, that's strange. Shirona didn't answer my call…"
Shun was walking along an wide intersection where there was some construction going on. The workers from high above were carefully transferring I-beams to construct a factory. However, Shun continued to look at his phone, hopefully wondering if Shirona would call back.
"I just wanted to wish her luck. I hope she got the message."
From a few feet away, Shun witnessed an attack. He saw two lowlife thugs assaulting a young woman.
"Someone, please help me!" the woman yelled.
Shun couldn't help but go after the thugs. He quickly ran towards the scene and started to fight the thugs. He caught them off guard and attacked them, which left the woman stunned.
"Go on, get out of here. I'll stop them," Shun declared as his victims were recovering from the sneak attack.
"Uh, okay! Thank you, young man!"
The woman ran off towards safety, and the thugs were starting to get up, which made Shun prepare himself.
"Hey, what the hell is your problem?" one thug yelled.
"Shut up. You have no right to assault people, and I'm going to make you two pay," Shun growled.
"Ha! I'd like to see you try!" the second thug yelled.
The thugs started to lunge towards Shun, but the boy countered the attacks. He drove one of his fists into one thug's stomach and launched a knee attack towards the other. They crashed onto the ground, and were stunned by Shun's strength. Shun couldn't believe his strength, either. Every time he fought, he could never understand why or how he gained this unknown strength. Maybe it was because of willingness to protect any person in danger.
"You little…punk! I'm gonna kill ya!" the second thug bellowed.
Shun grinned and stared slyly at them. "I'd like to see you try."
The second thug took out a knife and started to brandish it. Shun dodged the attacks, for it reminded him of Aoi. He knew how a knife was to be used, so he had no trouble dodging the attacks. He gripped the thug's hand and started to twist it, making him drop the knife and scream in pain.
"Why do you bother fighting me? You know you can't win, yet you keep telling yourself that you can," Shun warned.
"Hey, help me out, will ya? You're just gonna stand there or something?" the second thug yelled towards the first thug.
The first thug saw that his comrade was in trouble and quickly rushed to help. Shun quickly noticed it and countered the first thug's attack while keeping a firm grip on the knife thug's hand. He pushed the second thug away while stepping on the first thug's torso as he fell, which made him yell in pain.
"Ha. Such idiocy," Shun scoffed.
He then walked up to the second thug, who was still groaning from the fall. From above, the construction team was starting to have some trouble with an I-beam they were recently transferring.
"Seriously, stop trying to fight back. It's started to get annoying. Why don't I just end your life now?"
Shun reached down and picked up the knife that was next to the second thug. He quickly thrust it into the thug's heart and let him bleed to death. He took out the knife, then threw it towards the first thug, which struck his neck.
"Well, glad that's done. I have to see how Lina's doing. I have to tell her that I might be a little late."
Shun took out his phone and started to dial Lina's number. The construction team was starting to have visible problems with the I-beam, as the rope that was carrying it was starting to break. The workers quickly noticed it, but what could they do?
"Come on, pick up, Lina…"
Shun was starting to worry, but from above, the I-beam was starting to fall, which sent most of the people surrounding the construction site into a panic. Shun didn't take notice, for he was hearing the voice messaging system.
"Like Shirona… Oh, forget it, I'll just see them at school."
"Young man, get out of the way!" a pedestrian yelled.
Too late. The beam was 10 feet above him, and it crashed onto him in a second. The 100 pound vertical I-beam quickly crushed Shun's body into a pile or gore and guts. The phone suffered the same fate, for it disintegrated into wires and shards. The construction team quickly went down to observe the damage and saw that the beam was still in the vertical position. But they also saw three bodies; two that were bleeding from the knife wound, and the other that was just a pile of blood. The team felt ashamed of themselves and wished that they had fixed the problem sooner.
"Guess I should wish them good luck. I can tell they're really nervous about their finals."
Riko was nearing the school, but was still three blocks away. Smiling, she couldn't wait to wish her friends good luck. Yet, before she crossed the street, she heard radio announcements from a nearby store.
"We are following breaking news this morning. Seven people have been confirmed dead due to freak accidents," a male reporter announced.
Riko took interest of this and decided to listen in.
"One of the victims was a thief and the other was a young schoolgirl. The girl was attacked by gunfire from a few officers' guns, as was the thief. However, the girl attempted to stop the thief before she died. The two died from loss of blood. We have no name of the thief as of yet, but the young girl has been confirmed to be Mizuno Aoi, a student at Kousuko High."
Riko's eyes jolted.
"Another victim died from a freak car accident. She was decapitated by a car bumper. The drivers of the car have yet to be found, but their license is being identified and we will have information on the suspects soon. The girl has been identified as Amemiya Shirona, thanks to the phone that was found next to the body. She was also a student of Kousuko High."
"Her, too? What the hell is going on?" Riko shuddered.
"Although there were no eyewitnesses, there have been reports of a girl having been pierced by the stone spires by the shore. Our news team is heading there now to see who the girl's identity is."
"Please, don't let it be Lina…"
"Three people have been found dead near a construction site. Two people have been under attack by a weapon. The weapon has been confirmed to be a knife, with one victim stabbed in the heart, while another has had his jugular sliced. There was also a body of a boy crushed by an I-beam. One eyewitness had this to say:"
"I told the boy to run, but it was too late. He was on his phone, and before he got crushed, it appeared that he was attending school. He looked like a high school student, but I didn't really get a closer look," a male voice said.
The reporter then continued, "There was also a witness who claims to have been attacked by the two knife victims. This is what she had to say:"
"I was told by the young man that he had the situation under control. Yet, I was still worried for him. I decided to go back and thank him…but I saw him get crushed. It was so horrifying…" a female voice whimpered.
Riko gritted her teeth and grunted, "Dammit, Shun… Why did you have to go and be the hero?"
"We will continue to uncover the identities of the hero and the girl that has been killed by the stone spires. Please stay with Channel 45 for more on this breaking news."
Riko's eyes were quickly welling up with tears. She couldn't believe that her friends have died. Although she didn't know of the person who may have died by the spires, she knew of Shun, Shirona, and Aoi. Seeing as though Riko knew them personally, she decided to go to Kousuko and tell the news to her friends' teachers.
It's better that they know now than later, Riko thought.
Now arriving at Kousuko, Riko noticed that the students were piling in. Navigating through the crowd, she entered the school and tried to find the principal. She saw him going into his office, so she called out to him.
Hearing his name, Principal Takada tried to find out who called his name. Seeing Riko, he smiled jovially.
"Ah, hello, Ms. Azayaka! It's been a while since you last visited!" His voice was gruff, yet kind.
"Nice to see you as well, Mr. Takada. Um, listen, do you know which teacher has Shun, Shirona, Aoi, and Lina as students?"
"Oh… Well, I know Mr. Kitagawa, Ms. Amemiya, and Ms. Saori are in Shimamiya-sensei's classroom. Ms. Mizuno is in Hinamori-sensei's classroom. Why do you ask?"
"Uh… No reason. Thank you, Mr. Takada."
Riko quickly ran to the teachers' rooms and gave the news to the teachers. Shimamiya-sensei was stunned to hear the news and quickly asked if Riko was lying. The girl shook her head and said that she heard the news before walking to Kousuko. Shimamiya-sensei quickly ran towards the principal's office to tell him of the news.
When Riko told Hinamori-sensei of the news about Aoi, he was shocked as well. He, too, ran towards the principal's office in fright. Riko didn't want to be the bearer of bad news, but she heard it first. Her deed done, she walked out of the school, shedding a tear.
Once the principal heard of the news, he announced it throughout the school. The students were stunned, for some of them knew of the departed. Before the day of finals began, the principal asked for a moment of silence. The entire school had become silent. Even Daigo, who was scared of Shun and Shirona, contributed in the moment of silence. A part of him felt that it was partially his fault. If he had been nicer to them, this wouldn't be happening, he thought.
In reality, it wasn't his fault. It was fate's fault.
Oh, man… I can't believe they're just…gone.
Riko returned to the field where she last fought with Aoi. Staring at the possibly endless field, she sighed as her eyes lowered.
"Just when I was getting to know them, they just…die. Honestly, they would've been the best friends I'd ever have."
Fed up with herself, Riko let out a bellowing yell as tears started to fly out her eyes. Her yell echoed throughout the empty field.
"Why did they have to die? They didn't do anything wrong! Ugh, I'm so mad!"
Riko ran away from the field, unable to control her sadness. She had every reason to cry; she felt attached to her new friends. The loss of even one of them would've put her into a melancholic state. With her friends gone for eternity, Riko had to endure every single day of her life alone.
As a breeze flew past Riko, it ran its way through the field like a snake. The spirits of the departed was in the breeze. Even when they were dead, Riko could feel a faint warmth as the breeze touched her cheek. It was as if it was a sign of reassurance; to not let Riko feel too depressed. It was as if it told her directly, "We're still in your heart. Never forget us." Through Riko's distressed state, she let out a smile.
"I won't forget you guys. For as long as I live."