Wonderland Carnival


Halo Six: Downfall:

Ringo grew close to the girls. Anri, Noriko, and Chiharu ended up at her house every afternoon for sweets and tea.

"Would you like more tea?" she asked Noriko.

"Okay," she replied. Ringo happily poured her more. The three girls still didn't understand her.

"Why do you like us so much?" Anri asked. Ringo looked up at her with a chipper smile on her face.

"I feel," she began. The freshman girl shook her head. "It sounds silly."

"What do you mean?" Chiharu asked.

"It's like I have known you guys for a long them," Ringo admitted. "Sounds crazy, huh?"

"It kind of does," Anri said in a low voice. Chiharu wanted to say something, but kept her mouth closed rather uncertain if she was right or not. Instead, she shrugged her shoulders.

"It might not," she said. The other three looked up at her with an odd expression on their faces. She shook her head at them.

"Just thinking out loud," she brushed off. Not everyone is okay with this odd friendship among the girls.

"You are leading them down a dangerous path," Michiko warned Ringo outside of her house last night. "What do you hope to accomplish by starting this game again?"

"I have to see my brother again!" the freshman insisted.

"When will you let that go?" the younger girl asked. "Do you even know if he's still alive?" The hopeful glint in her eyes began to die.

"He is!" she shouted. "I just know it!" Michiko shook her head at her.

"I'm starting to think otherwise," she said. "You know that Junko is a liar."

"Shut up!" Ringo cried. "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" She took in heavy breaths. "You don't know anything!"

"I know that she is stringing you along," Michiko said. "You might not survive this."

Back at her house, a doll dressed in hunter green silk fell off her dresser and landed on the floor. All four girls jerked their heads upwards at the sound.

"What was that?" Noriko asked.

"Oh," Ringo said when she found the source. She crawled over and picked up her doll. A look of disappointment came over her face when she turned it over. "Oh no," she murmured.

"What's the matter?" Anri asked.

"Her face broke," Ringo complained. She turned the black-haired doll to the girls. A jagged crack ran from her forehead to her chin. "This was my grandma's doll too," she complained.

"It doesn't look that bad," Chiharu said. "You could probably cover that up." Ringo tried to cheer up at her words.

"I guess you're right," she said. Another thought crossed her mind. "See, would you like to meet my brother tomorrow?" she asked. Her guests looked rather puzzled at that question.

"You have a brother?" Noriko asked.

"Yes," Ringo said as she perked up. "Didn't I tell you about him?"

"No, you didn't," Anri answered. Ringo gave her a funny look.

"I didn't?" she asked. "I'm so sure that I did."

"You didn't," Chiharu told her. Ringo lowered her gaze as she sat the doll back on her dresser.

"I could've sworn that I have," she mumbled to herself. The freshman girl shook her head. "Never mind," she spoke up. "It's getting late."

"Do you want to call it a night?" Chiharu asked.

"That would be a good idea, wouldn't it?" Ringo asked.

"We have a test in the morning," Anri pointed out.

"Okay," the freshman girl said. She saw her guests out the front door seconds later. "Good night, everyone!" Ringo said, waving at them from the doorway. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Good night," Anri, Chiharu, and Noriko said in unison. Once they gone, Ringo pulled the door and leaned her back against the cold metal. She looked down at her feet.

"I said something that I really shouldn't have," she muttered to herself. The freshman girl shook her head. "They don't really know much else," Ringo added. "There's still time, so it should be already. So don't worry, Fuyuki-kun. It'll all work out in the end. You'll see."

Her dark-haired doll sat on the dresser with that deep crack in her face.

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