We will leave London still and heading to New York soon. I dread to think about that time. Once we reach New York, it’s over. He and Akira-kun will leave me. I won’t know how to handle it. I drew my knees to my cheek and rolled over onto my side. I tried not to think about it, but the thought is always there. I could hear it breathing down my neck.
“Shut up!” I yelled. I threw another pillow at the wall. I felt crying again. So stupid. Akira-kun was still sound asleep beside me. Lucky kid. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen once we reach New York. Or rather, he knew and doesn’t say anything. I moved my hand to my chest. Did my master have to be such an asshole at time?
I sat in the bar in limbo. I stared down at my drink. No amount of alcohol in world can get me drunk. I don’t even like the taste. It’s too bitter. I just order it keep warm. I notice that I am not alone anymore.
“Good evening, Maria-san,” I said. The bar owner gave him a rare small smile.
“Did you tell her?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“She didn’t take it so well?” Maria-san asked. I shook my head.
“You did the right thing,” she said. I looked down at my drink.
“Look, you had to do it,” Maria-san told me. “You’re a tadpole and she’s a normal. It just wouldn’t work that way.” I shook my head.
“It’s not that,” I said.
“What is it?” she asked.
“I saw Hecate-san again,” I said. “She gave me this.” I reached into my coat and pulled out the key. Maria-san frowned at me.
“Mikado,” she said.
“I know, I know,” I said.
“You can’t trust her.”
Maria-san took the key and looked at it. “What is this a key to?”
“I have no idea,” I said. “I’ve tried to see its history, but I come up with nothing. It’s probably warded.”
“Don’t do it,” Maria-san said. “She could be tricking you again.”
“Perhaps, but I would do anything to undo all of this,” I said. Tears welled up in my eyes. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m too tired. My friends have long been gone and I can’t stand it.”
“You don’t even know if you can pull it off,” she said in a low voice. I gripped my glass.
“I am going to try it,” I said. Maria-san looked worried for a minute, but then toughened up.
“Just don’t do anything stupid,” she said. “Be very careful.”
“Thank you,” I said. I took that drink and reeled at the taste.
I sat up and looked out the window. I’m still mad at him. We haven’t been talking much to each other lately. Okay, we don’t really talk that much to each other. But it’s gotten worse since earlier last month. In truth, I am scared of losing my master. That’s always what I have been afraid of. I’ve survived so far because of him. He saved me. I owe him my life. Now, he wants me to let go of all of that.
“That isn’t true,” he told me last night. “You can survive on your own.”
“But…” I said.
“You have to stop relying on me so much,” Mikado told me. “You are a strong woman. I know you will grow to survive on your own.” Every one of his words felt like getting stabbed in the chest. The more I think about, the angrier I get.
“Papa’s not trying to be mean about it,” I heard behind me. I rolled over and saw Akira-kun said asleep beside me. Or, I think he was asleep. I lifted my head.
“He cares so much about you,” the child mumbled. “That’s why he has to let you go. He’s been through so much pain. If he watches you grow old and die, he won’t know how to take it. He just wants the pain to stop.” I gave that little boy a strange look.
“Are you asleep or are you pretending?” I asked.
“I’m sleeping,” Akira-kun said. He turned over in his bed. I looked at that child rather suspect. Who was this little boy really?
I began aware of someone sitting next to me. I turned to my left to see a black-haired young woman sitting next to me. She looked like a cosplay idol in her shortened miko outfit. I’ve seen her before.
“Hello, Isako-chan,” I said. She broke into a huge smile.
“Good evening,” she said.
“I’m fine,” I said. “Shouldn’t you be working right now?”
“I am working,” Isako said. “You just look so lonely.” She leaned onto my shoulder. That’s what everyone says about me. I looked down at my drink.
“I’m fine, thank you,” I said. “Really I am.”
“Mikado-sama,” she said. “Why do you keep lying to yourself? We all know you are in pain. You deserve so much better than this. You keep coming here to dull away your misery. Is that really working for you?”
“Please don’t,” I said.
“No!” Isako said. “You have to listen! This is not good for you! You do not belong here in limbo or up there in Purgatory. You’ve found a bond in that girl with you and now you want to chase her away?” I clutched the glass tightly in my hand.
“Enough!” I snapped. “I am so sick of hearing this crap! Jessie can’t stay with me. I’m leaving her after we reach New York.” Isako titled her head.
“And why is that?” she asked. I sighed and looked up at the deep brown ceiling.
“She will grow old and die,” I said. “I can’t have another death on my shoulders.”
“Isako!” we heard Maria shout. “Leave him alone and get back to work!” The petite bar maid jumped to her feet.
“Yes!” she shouted. Isako hurried back to her corner of the bar. I turned to see Maria setting down a glass she had just finished drying.
“Thank you,” I mouthed at her.
“She is right, you know,” Maria said. I rolled my eyes.
“Not you too,” I said.
“I won’t lecture you,” she said. “You are free to do as you like. Just know that what happens afterwards will be on you. Enjoy your drink.” Maria walked down to the bar to tend to her other patrons. I looked at my drink and sighed.
I hate when she’s right.
I woke up to see my master sitting on the bed opposite of mine.
“Good morning,” he said in low voice. I blinked at him and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes.
“Where did you go last night?” I asked.
“Just out,” Mikado said. “Would you like to stay in London for one more day?” My jaw dropped.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“S-S-Sure,” I said. Mikado walked over and kissed his son on the forehead. I’m still a little mad at my master, but he’s trying to offer an olive branch for now. I guess I could accept for now.
We already know how this journey will end. But, it won’t hurt just to delay it one more day.