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The only path, as it turns out, is one of introspection. Introspection followed by important decision making.
You think, even as you move quickly through the forest, ignoring the fact that it's getting dark, the fact that you don't really have any food, and the fact that you're not even 100% confident in your beliefs. But still you think. You reflect up on your time here. While it's easy to claim everything is everyone else's fault or fate has it out for you, you realize that you are to blame for a lot of things. It's not a sudden realization, hell it's been in the back of your mind for quite some time. It's just not easy to put aside your ego and find fault
The people you've met have been all treated nicely with only one or two exceptions. You've had fun. You've enjoyed yourself. Thinking along these lines, it's hard not to thank Kaguya for bringing you over. Your buddy, your friend. Yeah, she's been all that and more. Sure, you haven't spent nearly as much time with her as you should have, all things considered, but that doesn't mean you don't care about her. She's put up with a lot of your selfish desires. Part of you says that she should have to, since you're not her pet, but you know that's just transient bitterness. Hell, everyone at Eientei has been nice, perhaps in a quirky way, but nice nonetheless.
Thoughts of other people are a bit more riddled with guilt. And you'll deal with that as you go. Right now it's time to try to make amends somehow.
You've run all of the way to Keine's home. It was what was nearest, and you also hoped to catch Mokou here. It's late in the afternoon, so you think that Keine is already home. You knock, waiting to see if she's around.
As luck would have it, she's in. She opens the door, and her surprise at seeing you is unmistakable. You seize the initiative and do what you came to do.
“I'm sorry for appearing out of the blue,” You start, “especially given how I've behaved as of late.”
“Is anything the matter?” She looks at you a bit concerned.
“No, nothing is the matter. Well, actually yes. What the matter is how I've treated you and repaid your generosity. I've been a jackass, lousy at holding any responsibility and a complete mess. And for that I want to apologize.”
You bow your head, to the point of straining yourself.
“Eh-? Well, this is certainly surprising!” She exclaims without any malice nor sarcasm. “What's brought this on?”
“Things... progressing the way the were. I know apologizing doesn't make up for everything, but I figure it's a start. Especially considering just how kind you were to me.”
“Oh, not at all.” She tries to get you to stop bowing by nudging you with her hand. “I understand from where you're coming from, so it's okay if you just make your feelings known.”
“But you shouldn't have to understand!” Gah, she's too kind, prompting you to try to desperately dehumanize yourself. “I was a jerk, inconsiderate and rude. You gave me more chances than you should have and treated me with a level of trust and respect that I wasn't entitled to!”
“None of that matters.” She smiles, something which almost paralyzes your heart with guilt. “The past is the past, as long as you realize where you went wrong and make sure to improve yourself, it's fine.”
You continue this little tirade for a while yet – slowly yielding to her kindness. It's only when she invites you in for tea that you remember that you're on a mission.
“I'm sorry – but I can't accept your most generous invitation.” You stop short of coming into her house.
“Why not? You can talk to me if you're still troubled. It'll be my pleasure.”
“It's not that-”
“Is it because you think I'm not good at giving counsel?” She pouts, making her look childish. “I knew I failed earlier at helping you, but you've got to give me another chance. I would love to-”
“It's not that at all! I appreciate your counsel and your kindness!” You try to smile to show your sincerity, something that's not very easy given your swirling feelings. “I just.. have to tell everyone that I've let down how I realize it now. And apologize. I'm sorry, but I hope you can understand.”
Keine lets out a sigh.
“If that's the reason, then I guess I can't monopolize your time.”
“Thank you for understanding.”
Before parting however, you inquire about Mokou. Keine hasn't seen her all day. You leave a message, just in case you can't find her later.
“Could you please tell her that I've thought about it and that I'd like to say that I'm sorry. And if possible for her not to be mad at me?” You scratch your head, “I know she's hard-headed, but I'd like to talk to her if possible in person again. I don't want to leave things as they are.”
And with that, you leave Keine. She tells you to come see her some other time and waves to you until you're out of sight.
One down, many to go.
The next logical place to go would be the village. You've got to apologize to certain barflies.
The tavern is only just now receiving its afternoon regulars; men who spent all day working in the fields and doing other manual labor. When you come in, you're offered free drinks from some of the buddies you've made, some of them inviting you to play games and hear the latest gossip. Your target, however, isn't them.
At the back of the tavern, a small group of men are chatting amongst themselves. The tavernmaster is standing, idling about with them. You step up to them and say your piece.
“Guys, I came here for one simple reason: I wanted to apologize. I've been sort of an ass lately. I'm sure you know that.” You turn to a man in a tight undershirt, “Vic, I'm sorry for coming between you and your special someone. I knew he was tied to you, but I still accepted his invitation for drinks and to maybe go back to his place. I'm sorry about that.” The big man nods, and you turn to another guy, “I'm sorry about inciting you to bet all of your profits on me, it was wrong and I was just looking for a free drink – as you know the games late at night here can be rough and I was just looking out for myself.”
You turn to the last person you have to apologize to...
“You know why I'm apologizing. And I'm sure you'll appreciate it if I don't go into detail about what happened in that alley between us the other night. What can I say? I was too drunk to restrain myself.”
Falling into silence, you expect them to all shout at you. Instead, they all seem to be... touched? Oh man, even clawhand is tearing up. But why? As you stand there stunned, you hear all of these guys start apologizing to each other. Oh man, you've triggered some sort of mass apology session.
After a couple of good cries, sweaty embraces, and brotherly toasts, you've all made peace with one another. The mood is celebratory, and the whole tavern is inundated by off-key singing. They invite you to stick around, but you've got to be places today. Time flies by when you're not paying attention.
Right now, there's just one last place outside of Eientei that you ought to visit. It's in the Forest of Magic, and you should hurry up, lest it get dark.
You can't help but sigh when you think about what you're going to say. Truth be told, you have no idea. You have no idea if she'll even want to see you. You can't put into words the torture and ill-ease that's strangling your heart. It's no better on an intellectual level – betrayal, disappointment, they all seem like foreign concepts ill-suited for this talk. Your mind's a blank.
Still, you know deep down that it would be like this even if you spent a thousand hours reflecting. It's not going to get any easier. It's never easy to go into the unknown, but you've take this decision and you plan to see things to the end.
Part one. I'll be writing the rest ASAP I've willed myself to finish as soon as possible.