“The Black and White Picture Book.”
Once upon a time, there lived a white dove and a black dove.
The white dove loved the sunflower.
The black dove loved the sunflower, too.
What a beautiful sunflower it was.
It was as warm and bright as the sun itself.
The sunflower would go out and play with the doves all day long.
But one day, the sunflower made friends with a star.
And after that, the sunflower always went out at night.
Without the sunflower, as bright as the sun, to light them, the days became dark.
The white dove knew how nice the white star was, and became sad, and more sad, and cried.
The black dove thought the night star should turn into a shooting star and go disappear somewhere far away.
Things would be better then.
But in the end, both doves froze in the darkness and died.
Hmm… this one’s just as bad as the last one.
Not my style at all.
What did you think of it?
The King said, you have done nothing wrong.
You were the one who found the treasure first.
That doesn’t mean anything.
How I feel doesn’t matter…
…looks like he’s more interested in talking to The King than to me.
I guess I’m still just not charming enough.
The King said, that mourning dove is a bad, bad bird.
That mourning dove wants to steal something precious from The King.
And from you.
You must know already.
That the mourning dove is an evil, evil demon.
Nageki is a ghost, but he’s not evil.
…I guess he can be scary if you make a mess of the library books, but…
The King said, but you are very afraid of him. Are you not?
Because you can tell that your greatest treasure will be taken far, far away.
If you join The King, you will not be afraid of anything anymore.
The evil demon will be gone, then.
The King is waiting for you.
After a lot of smarmy babbling, the King disappears.
Salut, o troubled young pigeon.
Mind if I join you for a bit?
So you’ve ended up here, too?
I thought it was just us…
Well, I wasn’t exactly invited. You know how it is.
I’m here to rescue you all.
Blah blah blah blah, please decide to bust out of here and come home with me as soon as possible.
I see… so we’re all in the same dream, after all
So it’s… not something I’m imagining all by myself.
By all indications, yes.
The King there is the host and creator of this charade, and you’re all guests.
And I’m crashing the party.
Everyone dreaming the same dream beneath a starry night sky… very romantic.
So, are you still caught up in this dream?
I don’t… I don’t know.
I don’t know what I want anymore.
It’s… very painful.
And when I wake up it might just end up even more painful…
From what little I saw of The King’s solicitations, I can guess pretty easily what he means.
And I am a bit of a specialist in that area…
You know by now what it is that’s causing you pain, right?
…I… I haven’t done…
Talk to me, Ryouta.
I’m here for you, and I can help you.
What’s bothering you? What are you afraid of?
Once you put it into words, you’ll know exactly what you need to do.
That’s what I think, anyway. That’s why I talk so much all the time.
…seems reasonable, doesn’t it?
At this rate, you’ll rot from the inside. Quite literally at that.
Be brave, Ryouta.
…I’m… I’m afraid of —
Hiyoko not being with me, even in this dream.
I always worry too much, and at first I thought this dream was just me being scared that someday she’ll leave me behind.
But I guess that’s not it.
The Hiyoko I saw here… is the real Hiyoko.
His eyes flicker about nervously.
What he says is true: even though this is a dream, Hiyoko is acting of her own accord.
Hiyoko has been with me ever since we were children.
We’ve been together so long, I just…
Somewhere along the line, I started thinking it would stay like that forever.
But it won’t.
It never would.
It was all… just my imagination.
All of it.
His eyes glisten with tears.
Ah, how brightly his innocence shines to one as wordly and jaded as myself.
He probably hasn’t even realized that what he’s feeling is love.
I took it all for granted. I thought it would last forever.
But that’s not possible.
I know Hiyoko better than anyone.
I know what she loves, and what she hates.
What she’s good at, and what she isn’t.
I know everything about her.
But… I don’t anymore.
Nageki… Nageki knows a Hiyoko that I don’t.
And not just in this dream.
She spends more time in the library every day.
If someday I stop being special to her…
For that matter, maybe I just thought I was special to her…
All this time, to her, I’ve been nothing but…!
Well, well. What a pickle.
If I’ve been reading the signs right, Nageki and Hiyoko aren’t quite to the point where Ryouta should be worrying.
But his fears are going to get more and more likely by the day.
I need to pick my words carefully. How can I coax this young man’s heart back into the real world without breaking it?
Persuasion to maximum!
Believe in Hiyoko, Ryouta.
You’re just jumping at shadows.
What do you mean?
They aren’t really a couple.
I’ve had a thousand loves — I could tell at a glance.
I… would like to think that, but…
He looks just as troubled as before.
That wasn’t what was worrying him…
What I’m trying to say is, um… you’re clearly her favourite, Ryouta.
What do you know about Hiyoko, Yuuya?
Do you think you understand every woman in the world just because you always skip class to go around town hitting on girls?
That’s a little harsh, isn’t it?
Not that I can exactly explain myself now. It would take too long.
A casual, here today, gone tomorrow bird like you can’t even comprehend the depth of my relationship with Hiyoko.
We’ve been together… forever…
I know Hiyoko better than anyone.
And the same goes for her.
She knows me better than anyone else in the entire world.
We have always been… one in two…
And I won’t let that end now!
His Royal Highness, The King!
There is no way back to your old home.
Your home is the Holiday Star now.
Everyone’s home is the Holiday Star.
Welcome, my new friends.
My New Kings.
“Happily Ever After”
Oops! Let’s try that again.
What exactly do you mean by “special”?
I don’t really understand myself.
But, at the very least…
To me, Hiyoko is Hiyoko. And no one can ever take her place.
So that’s it? What were you ever afraid of, then?
No one can ever be replaced, Ryouta.
You will never stop being ‘special’ to Hiyoko in that respect.
It’s as simple as that.
You don’t think I’m trying to fool you or anything, do you?
That’s… true, I guess, but that’s not it.
I’m scared that I just won’t be with her as much any–
Of course not.
You can’t stay children forever.
Feel like writing me off as a heartless bastard yet?
But ignoring me won’t change anything.
Time will pass, and places will change.
The first flowers in spring, a shooting star, the rainbow right after a storm — all beautiful, and none can be captured and held forever.
No matter how fair the flower, it will rot and fall to pieces if you never let it go.
But memories will never hurt you.
The flower withers, the star falls, and the rainbow fades away, but you will always remember their beauty.
Are you telling me to… go on alone, with nothing but my memories…?
That’s a little pessimistic!
What I’m saying is… don’t let your fears tomorrow cloud the memories you’re making today.
That’s too abstract for me. I don’t think I understand.
How long is he going to keep floundering around?
I’ll have to be a little more clear.
Maybe you’ll be an unrequited lover, or maybe you’ll live and have a family with Hiyoko, or maybe you’ll go your own separate ways.
But whatever happens, all the time you’ve spent with her, all the joy you’ve had, will still be yours.
That just makes it even worse…
How could I live without the sun, now that I’m so used to its warmth and light?
I’m scared, Yuuya!
I don’t want to see everything I know collapse around me!
This is pretty bad.
I’d been taking him for a quiet metrosexual, but maybe he’s really into the total monopolization thing?
And as far as I can tell, miss Hiyoko herself hasn’t got the slightest idea all of this is going on.
What a sinfully negligent lady!
Everything changes, Ryouta.
Time is like that — inconvenient and rude to everyone.
Even if you stand still, everything else will leave you behind.
No matter how hard you try to prevent change, it will still come.
The world, and your friends, will still change.
If what you really want is undisturbed peace for the rest of your days you’ll have to cut all your ties, leave everyone behind, and become a hermit in the mountains.
No… I don’t want that!
I didn’t think you did.
Are you planning to ask someone else to stay with you, then?
That… that wouldn’t be right.
I couldn’t ask for something like that. It would be too selfish.
So you think it would be selfish?
Aren’t you wishing someone would do that for you, just a little bit, deep inside?
…I don’t know.
Maybe I am.
Or maybe you aren’t.
Aren’t you afraid, Yuuya?
Everything around us is changing, and so are we. We don’t know what’s ahead.
Doesn’t that scare you?
There are things that scare even me, yes.
Even a hero of justice has his weaknesses.
What’s waiting for me at the other end of this night?
The best day of my life?
Or the very worst?
No one knows. And that’s why–
That’s why all we, who cannot see tomorrow, can do is put on our bravest smiles and march boldly into the new day.
Isn’t that called bluffing?
Hahahaha, I suppose it is.
All this time I’ve just been trying to look cool so no one will realize what’s going on inside.
But what’s wrong with putting on a little show?
…I have a question for you.
There are only two choices.
We’re running a little low on time, you see.
What do you want to do?
You could accept the King’s invitation and stay here. Nageki would be removed. You would spend eternity celebrating the endless holiday with Hiyoko and tomorrow would never come.
Nothing would change, and nothing would hurt you ever again.
Or, you could refuse the King’s invitation and return to the real world.
Your relationship with Hiyoko will change, sooner or later, for better or worse.
And a new day will come.
I won’t try to force you either way.
You alone can decide what your salvation will be.
And in any case it won’t do any good unless he decides to break free himself.
Now, then… if I remember Nageki’s map right, I should be near the throne room.
But something’s bothering me.
I’ve been looking as hard as I can, but I still haven’t found it.
There was another star below and to the right of the room where we started.
Someone else must be here.
I went to the right. If that map is correct, there should be a route to that star here somewhere…
P.S. I love this scene and wrote a little post deconstructing it, if you’re interested.