You wake up to a numb pain, inside a dimly lit room, lying on soft bedding. Weakly, you try to get up, but the most you can accomplish is twitch your fingers a bit. You exhale, slowly, gently, as you try to move your head, rolling it to the side. This is… the tengu infirmary. You roll your head again, looking back up at the dark ceiling. You wait a few minutes, before attempting to rise again. You’re more successful this time, picking yourself up halfway before collapsing back d own again.
As you do, you catch a glimpse of your body. There are bandages wrapped around your torso, with deep, large spots of red blood staining through the gray cloth. Your wounds are having trouble healing, even though before, they were healing almost instantly, Breathing heavily, you struggle to rise again, using your wobbling arms as support as you push yourself up out of the bed. A dizziness spell comes over you as you sit up, and you bring a hand to your head, wincing.
You look up, and see a pair of hands pushing you back, trying to get you to lie back down. It’s Miss Momizi, her face lit by the light of the lamp hanging from the ceiling.
“Don’t get up,” she says, sternly, “You need rest.”
You murmur several times before anything resembling protest escapes from your mouth, “No. No, I’m fine, I… what about, what about Rouga? Is he alright—”
“He’s fine,” she says, still trying to get you to lie down again, “His pride was more hurt than anything. He went back to his den a while ago.”
“He’s okay, too,” she says impatiently. “That demon wasn’t lying when she said he’d be fine. But Mikio, you’re the one who’s worst off, so you should worry more about…”
“It’s fine,” you interrupt her, smiling, “It’s fine. It doesn’t matter what happens to me, so—”
She slaps you. You stare at her, feeling your cheek reddening as it grows warm with pain. Her teeth are grit, and her canines are showing. She’s absolutely furious with you.
“Do you think you’re being selfless by saying that?” she asks, keeping her voice down to a snarl, “No, far from it. You’re doing the complete opposite. You’re being selfish. Do you think that as long as everyone else are all fine except you, that it’s okay like that?”
You give no reply, staring down at the ground.
“I really am fortunate,” you say, barely above a whisper. You look up to Miss Momizi, slipping on a smile as naturally as breathing is, “Hey, you know, Miss Momizi. I really… I really hate the rain.”
“It’s true,” you say, nodding slightly. “I… really hate the rain. I hate it.”
“Mikio…” she says, her voice tinged with the beginnings of suspicion. She looks at you, not saying a word, staring into your eyes, like she’s trying to get a glimpse of what’s going on inside your head. “…Mikio, you should lie back down again. You need rest. You lost a lot of blood. You’re not thinking clearly right now.”
Finally you allow her to gently push you down onto the bed. She reaches behind your head and readjusts your pillow, before pulling your blanket back up. It’s almost as if you were a child again, being treated like this. You have… so many happy memories, of things like this, back when everything seemed so bright and radiant…
“Good night, Mikio.”
Standing up, she gives you one final glance as you nod, before turning away, and exiting the infirmary. You lie there for a few minutes, just staring up at the ceiling. There’s no doubt about it. The time you have spent here, every moment of your life here – some sad, others painful – you don’t regret them. Yes, that’s the conclusion you’ve arrived at. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t a mistake for you to exist. It wasn’t a mistake at all. After all, you were – you were so happy…
You get up, and push the blanket aside. You reach for your mask, sitting to the side of your bedding, and quietly slip it on.
When you exit the hallway, you hear hushed voices. Turning in that direction, you see Miss Momizi, speaking to someone in a whisper. Twisting your head, you see that someone to be Miss Aya; the moment you notice her is the moment she notices you, and she quickly breaks away from her conversation with Miss Momiji, hurrying over in your direction.
“MikI!” she says, half-surprised, half-angry, “What are you doing up!? You should be in bed!”
“There’s somewhere I have to go,” you reply, mechanically, “something that I have to do now.”
Yes… that’s right. I have to
[ ] I have to set things right.