"Bring that table over here…"
"Hm? This table?"
"Yes. Any table will work."
With a grunt, Miki dragged the table halfway across the hall, Tsuki taking it and resting it against the wall before climbing up.
He swayed a bit on top of the table, and then reached up and pushed aside a ceiling tile, revealing… pretty much what Miki had been expecting, an ugly mess of engineering only lit by Tsuki's flashlight.
"Yes, this has to be it. Come here."
Miki took a step forwards, looking up into the hole, and was about to ask a question when Tsuki swept her off the ground, one arm under her legs and the other under her shoulders. She made a strange squeaking sound in surprise.
"Wh-what are you-"
"Don't move," he said, and with a quick, deft motion he jumped up cleanly through the hole, Miki gasping against the air whooshing into her face. He set her down on the cold metal tile and took her by the wrist, leading her weaving through a whirring and humming metal maze.
"J-jeez… is the Heartbreak Spirit really in he-kya!" She stumbled over a set of pipes running along the floor. "Oww…"
"Not precisely. This is the only way to reach her," he said, leading her around a thick white cylinder that was radiating cold air. "In just a moment…"
He stopped, on the other side of the cylinder, and she tripped over herself stopping next to him.
"I… believe we're here," he said.
Miki tilted her head to one side, and then the other, casting her gaze around the area – there was absolutely nothing notable about the place where they had stopped.
He ignored her, instead kneeling down and putting his hands on the floor. "Aria told me these precise steps… so now this should be…"
Tsuki grabbed a panel off the floor, lifting it up off. Light streamed out from below, dim and dirty light, but it was light. Miki put a hand up to shield her eyes.
"Yes… this is it. The Heartbreak Spirit is down below."
He set the panel aside and put his hands on either side of the gap, swinging himself down into the opening below.
"Ah – wait just a second!" Miki shouted down after him, taking a deep breath and jumping down.
It was chill, the light was dim, and it was a room without doors, only one window that was boarded over, no way in or out except the gap in the ceiling.
It looked like a dorm room, with a bed that had a thick layer of dust on it, looking like it had been made years ago and never touched since then; it had a dresser, also completely untouched.
The strangest part of all, though, were the papers.
There were hundreds of them, crumpled papers on the floor, and they piled up higher and higher towards the desk at the far end of the room.
In the seat at the desk at the far end of the room was a girl.
She had her back to them, but Miki could see long, wavy blonde hair, and a wide dress that looked like she should have been in a Victorian play, blue and red and white with a high collar, a wide and frilly bottom.
And she was writing. She was scratching at a piece of paper, the same yellowish as the rest of them in the mountain.
She didn't even seem to notice the two of them at all.
"Sh-she…" Miki just barely managed to whisper, and then she noticed Tsuki was bent over, picking one of the papers up off the floor.
"It's…" he mumbled as he unfolded it. "It's… poetry?"
"You're haunting my dreams, my waking mind's eye, your every truth and your every lie…" Miki mumbled out the lines. "I know that you're gone, I know that you've died, but as long as I live then I know that I'll cry…?"
Tsuki let the paper flutter out of his hands, down to the floor, swinging his gaze up to the girl, the poetry-writing Heartbreak Spirit.
"Miki… do you know the real story of the Heartbreak Spirit?"
"N-no…" Her voice quivered.
"Three hundred years ago, an ordinary girl, an ordinary Central Academy student, had her heart broken by a half-demon named Vexan. She went into legend as having died of grief and become the Heartbreak Spirit."
Before Miki could say anything, the girl, the Heartbreak Spirit, threw her pen down and crumpled up the paper, spinning around in her chair and throwing it onto the floor, a tear escaping from her eye in the process.
She stopped, noticing the two of them, and stared like a trapped animal, wary, defensive, scared.
Tsuki closed his eyes and thought back to Aria's words from before – there was a certain person who could bring her back, and it wasn't him or Aria.
In that case, he figured, it must have been Miki.
"Sorry for intruding, miss Heartbreak Spirit!" Miki bowed. "I'm Miki!"
The girl had red eyes lined with long eyelashes, a face set in a hopeless and miserable expression. She opened her mouth, and-
"Go away." Her voice was high, melodious, and sweet, but it didn't do much to make what she was saying seem nicer.
"Eh?" Miki looked stunned. "Th-that's a terrible thing to say! I was looking all over for you! I wanted to meet you! Didn't you say you wanted me?"
"I don't want anybody…"
Her eyes quivered, on the edge of tears. Miki took a step forwards, brushing papers aside with her foot to clear a space.
"That's not true! Everybody needs-"
"Go away," the Heartbreak Spirit said, mechanically. "Go away…"
"Miki," Tsuki said from behind her, "the Heartbreak Spirit's mind is… damaged…"
The girl put her head down, and then put her hands up over her head, like she was shielding herself from falling rain.
"No… go away… please just go," she said. "I can't take it… anymore…"
A/N: Chapter 42... anybody remember the poetry girl?
Surprise! She's the Heartbreak Spirit, nya cx
The biggest revelation of all of this arc is still coming, though, nya, so don't stop yet~! Look forward eagerly to next week's installment, nya x3
Hope you liked the chapter~! Until next time, Kisho, out~! /salute