The Longing Of Shiina Ryo:Bonus Disc Red Orchestra Chapter 2 – First note
Part 1 - Puppets
The scene hadn’t changed.
Waitresses were restlessly walking to and fro between tables trying to raise more money than their fellow workers.
Clients were sitting on their seats, spending their precious free time by discussing topics which caught their eyes or ears today.
Weather remained the same; enormous grayish-white clouds could be seen on the sky under warm sun.
The only thing that changed was time.
A moment ago Shin-tsu had a sad look on his face knowing that we had reached dead end.
Hours later he was standing in the café, stealing all possible spotlights to him with his strange shout.
I casually walked past him to my seat and sighed, knowing that even small difference in my reaction won’t be left unnoticed by him and this chaotic world. And it wasn’t.
“Have you jumped?” Shin-tsu simply asked me, waving off the waitress. His fingers knocked on the table in simple rhythm while he lightly sat on his seat.
I slowly nodded my head, making mental note about his lack of surprise.
“Yeah. You just got to the part where you opened some website.” I slightly leaned forward with light frown. “And then your paranoia put its foot in it.”
“I see.” Shin-tsu didn’t even bat his eyelash taking in my remark. His behavior was intriguing, making me wonder just how prepared he was. “I’ll continue from that point onwards, then. Any question?”
“Shin-tsu, you once said that you were traveling with your parents until now, right?”
“Just a guess, you heard about it from Ryo?”
“Not important. But my question remains the same.”
“Okay, I did. So?”
“And your story implied that you were in Sicily on your own, without parents.”
“Did it really?” Shin-tsu tilted his head to the side. His eyes closed for a moment before focusing on me. “Let’s think that it did.”
“Don’t you think that it’s contradictory? At first you said that you were alone for the first time, and now you admitted that you weren’t in anyone’s care in Sicily. What’s the truth?”
“Can’t it be both? Not that it matters anyway. Besides you could have asked Ryo for details.” On his face appeared infuriating smirk of someone who knows how to use someone’s soft points.
I gritted my teeth knowing that I had nothing to answer. “I couldn’t.”
“Really? If you want to regain trust, you need to take initiative in your own hands. You weren’t afraid of psycho but now you fear to lose your best friend due to distrust? I thought that with your power you knew better how to take risks.”
“Shin-tsu.” My voice turned into growl at some point and my irritation leaked in it. He sighed and shook his head.
“Alright. I won’t push my luck further.” He paused and watched me taking a sip from my cup. When my cup returned to the saucer, Shin-tsu closed his eyes.
The story continued.
Part 2 – Son et Lumiere.
The site certainly was eerie. On the dark blue opening page was a scarlet sign of enormous snake swallowing its own tail with two capital letters D written in Gothic font under it. And there was nothing else beside it. No self-advertisement, no welcoming words. It only added to the feeling of repulsion some negative points.
So what will you do, o brave warrior of light? Will you choose the light of purification or will you prefer the darkness of succumbing to your fears?
I do recall that the author never wrote about warrior of light fighting without thinking. He even noted that if you feel that the battle couldn’t be won you should retreat and regroup. So don’t you make references if you don’t even know what was said in the book!
Yeah, yeah. Our kid is so weak-willed that he cannot even admit that he’s coward.
Listen, are you sure that you’re not a female? Your logic is incomprehensible.
Since when you started wondering about my gender? Aren’t you a feminist?
So that’s how it is. Oh dear, your reaction completely gives you away-
I didn’t know that you’re as crazy as to actually try to fool something in your mind.
…What a pity, I was so close. It was worth a shot, I guess. By the way, I have the right to know what exactly is in the back of my head, don’t you agree? Besides, if you’re female then it could even enhance my theory that you’re something that completes me. Something like Yin and Yang in Oriental philosophy.
You know that odd silence emphasized by such combination of symbols looks even stranger that it already was?
Eh, what’s with your reaction? Why you sounded like I made the biggest revelation in my life jumping out of bath and crying out “Eureka!” from the top of my lungs? Never mind, though. I think I wouldn’t like what you’ll say now.
Whatever you want. Enjoy yourself in silence.
The voice disappeared leaving me one-on-one with page of the website. I intently looked at the display as if trying to open next page via non-direct means without any hope that I’ll succeed. Yet, my efforts ended up being awarded, much to my surprise.
On the page appeared white blank space which most likely required password to pass through it. I glanced at the sheet of paper on the table but there was nothing except for the list of websites. That could only mean one thing. I needed to seriously wreck my brains.
Obviously, hints must be understandable enough to let people pass through that barrier but it shouldn't be too easy to be solved. I closed my eyes and let my thoughts fill my mind.
The sign of snake could be only Ouroboros since that must’ve been heard by most people. That symbol was associated with reincarnation circle which was linking life, death and the borderline between them. Most likely, that was where first key word was lying.
My fingers typed down the word ‘Death’ without waiting for my command.
Yet, the number of letters implies that there must be second part. The snake as mystic symbol had two opposite meanings – death and life. Countless men were saved by crucifix with snake on it in Bible. The exuviation made people think of snake as symbol of rebirth. So what was linking these meanings?
My fingers left keyboard and rested on the flat and shining surface of the desk. That thought seemed to be fruitless but I didn’t intend to give up at that point.
Returning back to Ouroboros, I do recall that in certain anime several characters had that sign on various parts of their bodies. If I’m not mistaken then their names were seven deadly sins which were establishing their characters. By the way, that sign was kind of ironic taking into account the fact that they were being killed over and over again. A pity that anime didn’t quite follow its original source.
I suddenly shivered. There was a certain feeling that I was close to solving the riddle behind that sign which sent chills down my spine. My trembling fingers lay on the keyboard, ready to type down next word.
It’s unlikely that my body reacted on the word anime since I’m not otaku and certainly not anime-hater. So what was it? Multiple deaths of characters? Nah, I don’t think that the key words would be as ridiculous as Death Decimals. Parts of body? Unlikely. Or, maybe, was it linked to cardinal sins that played as driving force which led them…?
My eyes immediately opened and my fingers finally let the final piece of the riddle appear on the blank place. Light click of the Enter button sent the password for confirmation and the page started its change.
The contents of new page made me really question the sanity of my doctors.
And it in brutal way explained why the creator of the site had chosen these key words.
After all, the death was everything for that site.
Part 3 – Darts
Stopping to take a little breather for his lungs Shin-tsu slowly opened his eyes and looked at me. His gaze wasn’t tender nor it was piercing, it gave out only tiredness with triumph. I decided to wash it away in my own manner.
“You know, that site was working on invite system.”
His eyes betrayed his shock against his will. “So I spent that time on coming up with ideas which made me sound like a certain protagonist of some light novel with light in his hand when I could have just searched for keywords in giggle.com!?”
Shin-tsu clutched his head with his hands. The silence between us would be filled with chatter of clients and other sounds of environment if not for us shutting out the entire world except for our small table. Finally, he lifted his head and suppressed his silent rage. I could see in his eyes how Shin-tsu was planning to torture that psycho in all ways possible. Death Drive was certainly lucky to be truly dead at this moment.
“I wouldn’t have felt this miserable if you hadn’t wished to give me a cold shoulder.”
“You dug yourself a grave with your own hands. Or should I say, with your own tongue and brains?”
“Alright, you won this round, I admit it. Let’s continue then?”
Part 4 – DDevil
First video was relatively normal. The man was hanging around on the rope and then he magically was revived by the creator of site who most likely used the make-up to hide his identity.
Second video was already cruel. Young girl was being drowned in the bath for five minutes until she lost consciousness, and then she was returned back to life after Death Drive’s light touch to girl’s bare skin.
And third video was over the top, since featured creator, who had such terrible taste in making up nicknames, underwent twisted kind of masochistic massage by being pierced by dozen of forks, knives and other pointy objects over and over again. The performance wasn’t for normal teenagers who didn’t like horrors. After all, bald pale male, who looked like he came from iconic film which should’ve been another adaptation of Dracula’s story originally, wasn’t the best man to look at before going to bed.
I took it in my stride; I’ve seen worse things in my life, after all. But there were two things that I couldn’t overlook.
First of all, he was unbelievably good with filming these videos. Every scene was terrifyingly close to cruel reality and I, of all people, never felt that something was fake. That peculiar fact made me wonder if so-called and self-proclaimed Death Drive was such genius in acting that he could easily be the star of Hollywood’s horrors. But then, while his ideas were old and used, the execution was way too good for someone who only watched films and never had any practice with real prototypes. It might’ve been just me simply reading too much in banal video, but I ticked my suspicions in my mind. Also, just to make sure that everything was alright, I’ve written an e-mail to one of my contacts from Japanese police; it appeared that while site was for international use, most part of it was in Japanese. Creating myself convenient back-up never could be a bad idea when you have a tendency to put your foot in others’ business with sad aftermath, after all.
And the second and the worst part of my simple, yet twisted reasoning was people’s reaction. It varied from revolting due to his cruel and immoral deeds to respecting him for his ‘brave’ step against stereotypes. Yet, they all had one point in which they were united; they all seemed to believe that his tricks were mystical, not knowing how to pull off such magic with their own hands. Granted, I was exaggerating. There still were some of them who were skeptical and didn’t accept such foolish explanation with illogical reasoning. However, their standing was unstable and not convincing either, since they couldn’t give any other theories with only one particular exception.
And I didn’t like that. If I was involved because of my blood or my misfortune, then be it, I don’t really care. But I won’t let it slide if someone else will get into that damned darkness just because of some idiot who was careless enough to be mysterious in the world where Mystery and darkness was reigning.
How noble. Where was the last time when you opened your comics about these superheroes?
And I just thought that you’d let me enjoy my time while you’re absent.
I changed my heart. I guess, I need to get used to your uncanny ability to overlook obvious signs and momentarily notice unneeded details.
Don’t be. I’ll make sure to contaminate your mind with my pleasant, cold, loud and annoying presence.
…Your words just don’t make sense. Are you really female? Your logic…
It won’t work this time.
Bear with me. You’ll run away anyway. Just make sure to be in white.
…Huh? Oh well, I don’t care. I still have my own business.
Not letting mysterious voice reach my ears, – absurd idea, if the voice was in the back of my head, I know – I opened registration form and smirked. The plan was already in my mind, so I simply needed someone who’ll spark discussions.
And I already knew who was a suitable person.
After all, that person’s nickname was plotovercharacter.
Part 5 – Know Why The Nightingale Sings?
When Shin-tsu finished telling this part of story, his eyes slowly opened, taking in weak sunlight. Slight smile was playing on his lips as if he was enjoying his little prank. Why he did it purposefully was still escaping my mind, though. He knew that I’ll notice that detail right away, after all.
“Shin-tsu.” His smile was childish, much like Ryo’s.
“I’m not flattered.”
“You really see through me.” His smile grew wider, turning itself from amused to apologetic. “Sorry for my little joke.”
“I may be willing to forgive but the time isn’t.”
“Oh, right. I won’t stop you then, Chaeremon.” With a smug smirk which didn’t fit him, Shin-tsu crossed his arms on his chest.
My fingers lightly touched my cup of tea.
And the time began anew.