Daiki thought it was horrible, too. Funny as well. It was many things, actually. Funny, horrible, frustrating, depressing, shocking, gentle, brutal... And so on, the list was too big for her to remember everything.
But with everything that had happened, the way her life would end is what really brought anger, and it simply that she died from either being a little sad one day or accidentally dropping her gem. Or suicide of course. At the same time, though, she was already dead, or at least the girl she was at the beginning was.
'I hope we can all be friends together'
As far as she knew, that girl had died the day Daivor entered the labyrinth. Crushed brutally... Everyone shocked. That shock was what she felt both when the event happened and when she came to realize how her fate truly was before crying herself to sleep. Again.
And again, it was kind of funny how much of blur it was. The blonde could laugh now for a few seconds before crying, and that would be awkward, so she stayed silent. Her mind was fragile, doing one little thing could make it break down with her heart for maybe the hundreth time since she made a contract.
She really had separated from her past self, and the other girl was dead... Murdered. Murdered by witches, by that evil group, by Inky. By fate itself. If not that, then she was trapped somewhere.
In fact, the blonde was that 'somewhere' was Heaven.
Daiki hadn't said anything in response. She didn't exactly know how to, but inside she was screaming in agreement.
Daiki figured it was safe to spill out a couple inner thoughts. If he really was like her, and had been around long enough, he should understand. A little, at least. Plus, it wasn't like she was giving more person information. "I just... Wanted to save people. Not any of this..."
Maybe she was the one who needed to be saved.
Daiki looked at him. "Sorry... I don't mean to make you awkward or anything." The blonde quickly looked back down at her feet. "I'm just... Having problems. I really want that group to go away."
Maybe in that regard, Aaron could felt himself a bit luckier than the other Magi. The price of a life was steep. Carrying not only your fate, but the fate of you family and friends along with you was just terrible; he had no family anymore to worry with, no friend, nothing that would cry for him if he just dropped dead on the very next day. He would go as he wished: as a ghost. Just another death, just another pair of eyes closing forever; nothing would change. But for people like Daiki Masaru, dying would bring just so much grief. To a mother who would blame herself for not being attentive enough, to a father who would weep over the loss of a child, to brothers or sisters who would never get to see their relatives again. To friend who would have an empty desk at their classroom...
Just about how many desks, dinner tables, beds were empty by that time?
Wasn't that just sad?
And meanwhile, weren't those murderers just enjoying their sweet lives, laughing at their pain and having everything for themselves? Weren't they taught that justice would win in the end? Does that seemed like winning? Like justice? What even was wrong and what was a lie? Destiny was just as much of a human creation as God himself - and in the end, they were nothing, and no one would help them, and nothing would smile at them? Those were thoughts that crossed Aaron's mind a lot lately, and he felt like sinking on a dark, dark ocean.
He wasn't bothered that she was talking like that to him. Not at all: if he could be of some help, he would just hear her words, nod at her tears.
He was far too empty to cry, but that girl... Those kids... Maybe they still had what to live for.
He wanted to believe that, at least.
"That is hope." He whispers, and it felt so dirty to tell her that. Hope felt dirty and treacherous. He wanted to kill the thing who even let him do that contract, but still was so grateful to it for that very reason.
"Don't worry, we are here for long enough to understand that," the boy nods again, and looks at the city. So many lights, and yet, they were feeling so dark there. So cold. "Daiki, right? You have your heart on the right place. And that's why you suffer. We want justice, we want them to stop... But justice won't come to save us; maybe justice doesn't even exist. We must be the ones to raise ourselves against this and make it stop. But talking is so easy. So easy. In the end, we're still here, hiding like dirty rats."
If Daiki had friends and family to go to, most of them were gone now. She still had her mom and dad, she still had her dog, she still had Lastien and Arisa, but that was it. Maybe she should be thankful, maybe Aaron didn't have anything? Still, it was painful to have so many people by your side and just watch as they were all killed off one by one.
She also noticed the empty seats at school, all the people that had gone 'missing' and how many teachers and regular, human students talked about this town being cursed.
It really was, to be honest.
Sometimes, she wanted to just lay back and let herself drift off in the ocean, and let herself be brought somewhere else. Get away from this bloodstained town.
Daiki knew that simply killing herself off would also cause grief to the people still around, and with that added on to the whole my-dead-friends-want-me-to-live thing, she just couldn't do it until she did something, /something/ productive or heroic, even if it was small. Until she had absolutely no purpose left, or not a good enough reason to stay.
All because those witches and that group of murderers got some sick enjoyment out of ending lives while they sat back and laughed. That's why the blonde wanted to fight against them so much, to show them that it isn't right, and that maybe... They deserved the same treatment.
Or was that too brutal?
Why was it so hard to have everyone just be happy and friendly together? Why did it have to be like this? Those were her most frequent thoughts as she sat alone in her bedroom. She didn't have any siblings to relate to, she had two cousins, but they were both babies who lived far away.
"Why do we have to lose hope?" She asked him. "Having something good handed to us, and then ripped away like /we/ did something wrong?" It was horrible, trying to hard to do something good, and then backstabbed and treated like you were the one who betrayed everyone.
"Like... Rats?" She pondered this. "We shouldn't hide anymore, then. We should... Do something. If justice won't come to us, then we'll be the ones to find it. Prove that it does exist." Daiki looked back up at him. "Funny how we just met and we're already talking like we've known each other for a while..."
Did this mean they were on good terms, then?
Maybe they could even become allies. Who knew anymore, enough had happened that it didn't seem strange for two strangers to become quick friends.
No... Don't get your hopes up. There was very little room for that kind of term anymore.
For a Magi, who knew the truth, the way those normal people whispered about curses and disappearances could be either painful hilarious or bitterly terrible. He thought it was the second: so many families were torn, were falling apart because of that. So many friends were crying, so many boyfriends and girlfriends would carry a scar for life because of the acts of some twisted villains. It was so cartoonish to think of them as villains, but Aaron didn't really had another word in mind.
He could understand her desire, if she voiced it, of going with a bang, though. He... Did wanted to go doing something heroic too. Or at least, doing something selfishly good. That would bring him some comfort. He wanted... He wanted so many things. But he knew that it was impossible now, and he couldn't let himself die, and that only meant he would had to keep living like trash. Like some forgotten human, like a phantom.
That was what they were, after all.
A phantom of their past lives.
A shell, pale imitation of teenagers.
It was sick.
The raven-haired boy wasn't naive anymore, and didn't really wanted people getting happy, a good ending for everyone. He just wanted that do end. It was modest enough; if that terrible killing could be stoped, then the things would find their own way. Bu he could only hope, for he was just one guy, and those evil forces were too many. It was like the power corrupted all of them, and he could only observe from afar.
Was that girl like that too?
"Right?", he gave to her a tiny, almost not visible smile. He found her incredibly naive, but respected her for that aura of a seasoned human - or rather, a broken child that saw too much already. "But we are just two, and they are so many. They could be plotting to take us down right now. We could only have a chance if... We were a group. If more people could see what they were, and had the courage to step aside to fight against it."
But no one would be dumb enough.
Bravery was a rarity there.
"We can only be rats."
Yes, there were so many torn, ripped up memories due to selfish and cruel desires, by the evil magi and witches that licked their lips at the thought of bashing someone's skull in and giving them messy deaths. People like that... Shouldn't be allowed to exist.
They shouldn't be here.
People who were so happy with taking other lives... Don't deserve to own one themselves. Or maybe that too was always cruel and selfish of her to think or say. Daiki couldn't help it at this point, vicious thoughts were beginning to spill out from the far, far back of her mind, the darkest point. Her sanity was slowly beginning to crack and it wasn't good.
She wanted to laugh.
She wanted to cry.
She wanted to do... So many things. Not all of them were good.
In fact, for a split second, a small laugh escaped her lips before frowning again, whoops. "It really is too late for things to be happy rainbows again."
Daiki wanted her old life back, that's all she wanted. The blonde wanted to revive the girl that died inside, but that would be a miracle, just like her wish was. Her father shouldn't have lived that day, he shouldn't have been cured of that illness, but her wish granted a miracle.
Unfortunately, Daiki had no more chances to bring things back, and could only cry at the long lost memories that she still held dear to her. Aaron was right, the girl was broken from seeing too much.
When the dark-haired teen spoke again...
She came up with an idea.
"That's not true." the blonde responded. "Maybe we can't bring everything back... But I'm going to try to fulfill some kind of purpose. I'm going to do something heroic, even if I die." She didn't even care if she died anymore, Daiki just needed something... Something.
"A rat does nothing, right? We don't have to do nothing, we can at the very least try. This world isn't able to be saved, that's true, but we have to get something out of it before we pass on."
She looked at him.
"I'm sure some people can see what they are. Not everyone, but some." Daiki smiled a little bit. The girl would never be like them, she would never grin at the idea of death. "We have to try... At least once, we have to try, even if we're tired. I couldn't forgive myself if I died not even putting an effort in." The blonde looked away. "I know I sound naive and stupid, but I don't care. If you don't think the same way, that's fine, but... I'm not a rat, Aaron." She smiled again, "and I'm sure you aren't, either. We're more than that."
Aaron felt something warm creeping all the way to his heart, like a worm. It was hope. Hearing that girl talking like that was like a sparkling light on that cold, dark ocean he had been thrown in. He looked at her, if not with admiration, at least with a newfound respect. He still thought Daiki Masaru was naive and dreamy, way too much to be a healthy thing, but still felt admiration for her wish of doing the best for that city.
He couldn't say the same. He just wanted to prevent his own death. He was saddened by what was happening, and did wanted punishment upon those horrible people, but wouldn't do that himself.
And that very detail was what made him and that blonde so different.
"You are talking like a true harbinger of hope, miss," he found that title so stupid and so laughable, but it fitted. She was like a messiah, talking about hopes and about fighting. But by that time, would someone that could oppose them was alive? She would die soon, if she kept talking about that. And such a girl who lived so much already couldn't die. It would be a waste. "We had a Veteran like that once. He talked just like you. Vincent Blanchett was his name."
That guy was now a memory.
And before that, a rotting corpse on that warehouse.
Aaron really thought that maybe, just maybe, that girl could become a corpse like them if she wasn't careful with her words and her wish. That evil was far too great to be defeated by just a dreamy girl.
"I think... If things were different, we could had gathered enough people to face them. That Veteran would had helped us."
Perhaps that was her true wish. Yes, she wanted her father to live of course, but in the end, her true purpose to become a magical girl was to be a hero. To make up for not being able to save someone important to her, too. Akio... Daiki wouldn't let him down and let herself die out with nothing but despair. Yes, she knew that she would die eventually, but then again, everyone did at some point in their life. But dammit, no matter how much Daiki wanted to simply disappear from these nightmares, and no matter how much she wanted to just jump off this cliff and see her friends, there was no way that was going to happen without something that was... Worth at least a little bit.
Daiki was going to be a hero. She would do it somehow in some way, even if she wasn't that cool looking hero that lived on for ages, fighting for justice, getting rid of the bad guys... Daiki Masaru wasn't going down without a fight. She would stay and prove her worth at least once. Then, at least then she could tell her friends in Heaven that she tried.
But, how would she face that group of evil?
"...I just, don't want to go down with nothing to back me up. I don't want to become the villain or be that person that simply gave up when things got tough. Even if I die soon in the process, or end up in that warehouse like... Them... I'm going to at least try. That really is all I want anymore, to do at least one thing heroic."
Yes, there was that old saying, you either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain. Death was imminent, sooo... Daiki was going to die a hero. She didn't care anymore, she really, really didn't. Of course, it'd be nice to defeat the evil group and come out alive, but you can't really depend on that anymore.
"I... Know of Vincent." The blonde replied grimly. She may be determined, but remembering the bodies still struck fear into her. Then again, who wouldn't feel upset about stuff like that? The fact that it had to happen that way was horrible, and it brought up natural thoughts of 'why did things have to be like this'.
Vincent was still a role model to her, even if he was dead. He was like her once, too. He wanted everyone to fight together...
Did Vincent feel as depressed as she did at one point, too? Feeling hopeless... Seeing so much... Daiki really did admire that man. He was resting in peace now. With everyone.
"I know he would've helped us... But..." She choked a bit on her words, shaking her head. "He's gone now. But that doesn't mean this is over. We can't just give up. If we give up hope, we also give up any chance of anything getting better, even just a little bit." Daiki stood up from the bench and looked at Aaron.
"I'm sorry... I'm being a little awkward, aren't I?" She rubbed the back of her neck nervously, chuckling a bit. "I don't mean to get so... Philosophical or anything." She lowered her hand. "But... You seem like a good person. Does this mean we're... Allies at least?"
He looks at her, both with admiration and surprise on his amber eyes.
"No." Shaking his head, Aaron even feels that impulse of smiling. Was a happy smile? Was a sad one? He couldn't tell. But he missed those feeling that made him want to do that. "Not at all. You're not awkward, miss Masaru."
If someone told him that today he would help - even if just a bit - a girl to find a purpose on her life, he would had just laughed at that person. A phantom like Aaron Galvin could help no one. He was just something forgotten that tried to find his place somewhere, just to be reminded that he had no place anymore. But right there, listening to her rambling, that naive and silly way of talking, as if she was truly going to live to face that evil, he felt... Good. He felt as if he did something of worth.
At the beginning, he too had those thoughts of dying making the good, but now he had lived too much and while not a villain, he wasn't also a hero. He was just a mass of nothingness.
"And don't worry. I understand." And the blonde didn't seemed like the depressing thing he saw at first. She had a light on her eyes now. It was amazing to see that, he thought. "So I suppose I should warn you that they are hunting the strongest and the long-living ones, since these are the people that could pose a threat to their plans. And they have a healer. And they are 'they' - meaning, it is much more than one. At least three. Maybe four or more. I can tell with certainty that both Abhaya Aghnashini and William Hudson are involved on this. She is petite and wears a red outfit, with a big mace as a weapon, It's a blunt weapon and it killed the veteran Vincent. Hudson is tall and ginger, with green eyes; he is probably her protector, I think, so you should think about taking him down first. He's awfully fake, don't trust on his words."
And that was him selling out his best friend to death?
...Yes, that was him selling out his best friend to death. That William wasn't the William Hudson he knew - and Aaron wouldn't feel pity for him just because he was wearing the face of the ginger.
That girl was just one, but he felt hope. For the first time, just for a bit, he felt hope.
"Of course, I would advise you to keep your mouth shut. Don't mention my name at all to anyone. I mean it; not even to your boyfriend, if you have one, or your best friend, or your future allies." He even puts his finger on his mouth, as if reminding her of the importance of that. "If you do that, I can keep myself alive more and I can provide more information in the future, hopefully. I am, after all, a ghost."
(Did that meant he would help her?)
(Were they allies?)
(He didn't knew. But he wanted to help... If she really was about facing them, he wanted to help that.)
"...You should, though, find some allies. People to fight by your side." He looks at the sky while saying that. "Although, don't go trusting just about anyone. I know it's weird coming from me, but really. Keep this close to your heart. This is but a dangerous time, and one word can get you killed in the act."
"Oh, that's good." Daiki replied. Oh Aaron, if only she could read your thoughts. The blonde would give an even larger speech about how he can be more than that, how he wasn't nothing. But... Was there a light in her eyes again? How was that possible? But it was true, there was a small gleam there. Who knew all it took was a few words with someone she just met. Time really does heal wounds.
But that light wasn't the same as the one from before, it wasn't the old girl that had died. It was a new girl, a new her that was slowly getting rid of her current, depressed self. Needless to say, she was still broken enough to not enjoy living like she did before, but now...
Daiki finally found a true purpose to fulfill while she was still alive, and it was to at least try to face them, try to do something heroic, like she originally intended. Maybe this new girl inside her can find the old one. One day.
But that girl before this, the one that wanted to jump off this cliff and crush her gem on the way down, that girl had existed. Aaron wasn't wrong about her, she was just trying to recover before facing /them/.
The girl listened closely to what he was saying, the part about hunting the longest-living and strongest ones, the number of people in the group, having a protector of some sort, the description on Abhaya Aghanashini...
Aghanashini. She would remember that too. Her full name.
Willaim? Tall, ginger, green eyes... It couldn't be.
"W... William?" Daiki asked, shocked at this. He was a magi too? In the evil group, too!? No, that... That couldn't be.
Was that really all he was? A fake? Could she really believe this? "William... Is one of them?"
To be honest, Daiki really shouldn't be trusting all this information Aaron was giving her, even though they became quick allies and seemed to trust each other, they met moments ago. But, for some reason, she felt like... He wouldn't lie to her. Besides, this information was better than nothing at all.
Daiki nodded at his requests. "I won't tell anyone." Heh, boyfriend. She certainly had one.
/Little did she know./
"I'll remember that, too." Allies. Find allies, people to fight with... That was already in her plans. "But promise me that... You won't lie to me." It was the best she could do right now.
His eyes are locked on hers, and he looks as if he was just scanning through her very soul. The boy always had a penetrating gaze, and it became even worse since he became a Magi. After all, he HAD to know when people were lying.
And right now, he did felt as if Daiki was caressing that name in the most interesting of the ways.
"You know him." It wasn't a question.
He... Had to guess if that girl wasn't a student of Bellingham. It seemed like that. That was the only explanation he could find for her to know him.
"Well, that makes things easier. Be careful from now on, he can tell her about you if you do something wrong and this will get you killed."
As he was telling her that - probably in a way one worried big brother would advise his younger sister, although that girl, if he could know, was more of a Veteran than him -, the boy was also thinking. He wasn't as hopeful as her, even if her positiveness touched him in a sense.
He would had to be very careful from now on, though.
Leaving William alive meant that the evil group was probably aware about the existence of an invisible guy. He would also have to be careful to not let this poor girl to get caught because of him.
"...Good. I am counting on you to not tell a soul about our meeting or my existence."
It was for her own good as well, not only for him.
But as he looked down to that cursed city, a thought came to his mind.
"...This is just a thought, but." Aaron sighs. Damn. Should he tell her? Wouldn't that make her know too much to be safe? "I do believe that the person who killed the other corpse, Veronica, that idol... Is someone who owns a sword, a knife, anything with a sharp blade." Well, he would have to bet, and hope that she would be stronger than that. "Those cuts? They are not from a blunt weapon. A mace couldn't do that. She was murdered by a blade. Keep that on mind when you find someone with such weapon. They may be working for Abhaya."
Little they knew the murderer was so close.
(And William was out of question. He wasn't a Magi when that happened.)
"And don't worry, I'm not lying. It was already dangerous enough to appear to you, miss Masaru," he nods, but his face wasn't on of seriousness, at least. "I can only hope you'll keep yourself alive for a bit more. You seem promising."
Yes, the girl knew about... /Willy/. How could he side with them? He seemed so nice, he just didn't seem like someone who could agree with people who bashed in innocent people who did nothing without feeling even a little upset? There had to be more to that, but then again she... Only ever met him once, and the word 'fake' echoed through her head, and always would when she thought about the man now.
Hudson... Aghanashini... Yes, the blonde was caressing those two names as Aaron could already tell.
"I... Know him." She repeated. "I'll definitely be careful around him. And won't mention you to anyone, at least not without your consent first."
Someone with a sharp blade... The only people she saw with those types of weapons were Mayu, Rika, and... Lastien...
Rika couldn't had done that, she was way too nice and cheery, Daiki just didn't see that kind of crime coming from such a girl. But... You never knew. That blonde girl could be a suspect, though. She had /two/ daggers, in fact, and she wasn't as cheery as Rika, but Daiki didn't really know her too well to be sure. Still.
Lastien, he... No, she refused to believe that he would do something like that. He couldn't! Wasn't he friends with Roni, too? There's no way... But then her thoughts drifted back to when they were in her bedroom, after that bee witch fight, and he acted a little... Unusual. In fact, she noticed he was acting a little strange lately, like on their date the other day. Lastien looked really uncomfortable for a second and insisted that it was nothing, but she knew he wasn't okay.
But... No... He... He couldn't have.
"I'll... Remember that." She finally said. The murderer really was too close. "Oh, that's good to hear..." Daiki said, relieved a bit. Promising? That made her feel warm and fuzzy inside. "I'll definitely try to stay alive a little longer at least."
'I'll remember that.'
And like a spell which was broken, he woke up from that sweet dream.
Because that was what was happening: just a sweet dream made of hopes and a girl with bright hair. Aaron knew better than that, dreams were just dreams, ashes were just ashes. He couldn't believe on her that easily, and gave to her far too much already. (Although he wanted to believe, deep inside, that she would be able to survive a little longer. Ashes were just ashes, though.)
He stands up without a warning, and was so sure that it probably had startled her.
"I need to go," he says, and he truly had to. He couldn't stay much longer on a same place, especially one with a Magi. He was a Phantom now, a true phantom now that he wasn't working on the Café. "I hope you can keep yourself alive then. And I hope that there are people out there who will listen to your words."
He really hoped that the good seeds weren't all dead by that moment.
"Maybe we'll meet again, if the odds are on our favor."
(But they weren't.)
(They never were.)
He wasn't naive to believe that the girl would definitely make it, although he wanted to believe she would. He told her too much and sometimes, this is what kills people. But he hoped that she would be smarter than that and would use said knowledge to keep herself alive.
But not everyone is lucky enough to be a Phantom, a shame.
"Well, miss Masaru," Aaron takes his backpack and looks at her a last time. He would have to go if he wanted to be invisible to her again. "Until we meet again. I hope you can find peace of mind here... I mean, at least, the sight is lovely."
...And he wanted, looking at her brown eyes, to say just one thing.
One more thing, as if he could avoid that destiny by saying that.
(Was he tired of seeing people dying?)
"Oh yeah, don't stay too long here." The tall boy shakes his head. "It's really dangerous to stay outside. Bye."
She was filled with too much hope. Daiki Masaru was still just too naive. But she also knew that she would die, and somehow could still say that things can turn out okay.
Was that even possible...? Well, if it wasn't before, she was definitely proving otherwise. Right now, no matter what happened, it truly seemed that nothing would change her mind. You can never be completely sure, though.
Hopefully... Those hopes wouldn't crash and burn as she was killed off like everyone else. No, that wouldn't happen... Even if the girl died the most pathetic of all deaths, she was sure she can fulfill this new found purpose in what was left of her hollow life.
She was so tired of seeing everyone die meaningless deaths. It shattered her heart a long time ago, and you know what they say about that. You can fix the wounds, but it'll never be the same.
She would never be the same.
But despite that, the girl standing in front of him wasn't a rat. She really did want to believe that things could change, and everyone can be happy again. But you can't bring people back from the dead.
Death was still death, that peaceful, relaxing sleep that many probably longed for at this point.
Daiki was a bit surprised when he suddenly stood up, announcing that he had to leave, but she didn't question it. "I hope so too." the girl replied. Allies were needed, there had to be good magi still out there... There had to be.
'Maybe we'll meet again, if the odds are on our favor.'
That made her think... How many times had the odds been in her favor? What about Aaron? It wasn't often, she could say that. But Daiki could still hope.
Yes, they would meet again.
It was good of Aaron to not be as naive as her, though. He would get his expectation and hopes up, leaving them vulnerable to be destroyed by others. Daiki already suffered from that, and she was doing it again. Only for a different reason this time.
That girl was so dumb.
But she was optimistic. Optimism was rare in the world of magi.
"Thank you, I hope I can relax here a bit more often, though I should try doing that during the day a bit more..." she laughed a bit awkwardly but also bitterly. She knew that magi would attack at night more often.
The blonde hadn't cared at first. Maybe before, in a twisted way, she would've been hoping for that. But not anymore, she had finally started getting her mind back on track lately... Somehow.
"Ah--" at his last comment, she was taken off guard a bit, even though she- again- knew that bad magi attacked at night. And just like that, the teen was gone, like a ghost.
Like a ghost...
And once again, Daiki found herself alone.