The redheaded girl set down her binoculars, grabbed a nearby star-shaped pillow and rolled onto her back. Clutching the pillow in such a way that it hid her mouth, she released a sigh.
“Still can’t forget about her, can you?” A voice asked from nearby.
The redhead furrowed her brow but didn’t look over at the newcomer. “I don’t want to hear that from you.” She stated flatly. “I’ve seen you watching those two.”
The approaching blonde simply laughed. “Studying some… extra-curricular material I see?”
The redhead twisted quickly to her side, grabbed the book and slammed it shut. “I was just…”
“Trying to figure it out?” the blonde interrupted.
“That too…” The redhead admitted. “But I was mainly making sure that the things she’s been doing aren’t actually, you know…”
“I don’t think so. On their own they’re harmless, but she’s been combining them in ways I’ve never seen before.”
“So, what will you do if they do end up being dangerous?” The blonde took a seat on the edge.
“… I don’t know.”
“Will you finally visit her?” She started swinging her legs back and forth
“I don’t know. Maybe?”
“Honestly, I’m surprised you haven’t visited her in all this time.”
“There’s just so many rules for those visits.” The redhead complained.
“And you’re a rule follower. What’s the problem?”
“I know I would be tempted.”
“And you might fall as well?”
“Exactly. And if I fall like her, I’ll be born into that world and be like all of them. Not only would I be years behind her, which apparently makes a big difference down there, the odds are horrifically slim that I would even end up in the same general area as her.”
“So, you’re just going to watch her until the end of her days down there and hope and pray she makes her way back up here?”
“You came back, didn’t you?”
The blonde grinned.
“Speaking of, how did you manage that?”
The blonde’s grin only grew. “I’ll go back down eventually, when the time is right.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Anyway, what if I told you there was another way?”
“Another way to fall.”
The redhead pushed herself up to a sitting position. “That’s impossible.”
“Not impossible, just not used often.” The blonde shrugged. “Most consider the cost to be too steep.”
“There is a way to fall while keeping your current form. You become part of that world as though you were always part of the world. You have a family, people know you. You remember them and they remember you.”
The redhead wrinkled her nose. “You mean it messes with people’s minds?”
“No. It changes reality itself.”
“The memories are real because everything actually happened. Reality is changed to accommodate your new existence. You get to live out your life as a real part of that world.”
“So what is the cost?”
“What do you mean?”
“An existence for an existence. You give up the eternity you’ve spent here for whatever time you have down there.”
“But I can come back, right? When I’m done down there?”
“Perhaps. That depends on a lot of factors. Life is different down there, as I’m sure you’ve seen.”
“…” The redhead returned to her position on her back.
“And even if you do come back, you’ll come here as they do. You won’t regain the existence you have now as you’ve already traded it for an existence like theirs.”
“…” The redhead pulled the pillow back over her mouth. After a long moment of silence, she finally asked. “Will I remember her?”
“No. She is a part of your current existence.”
The redhead turned towards the blonde with a questioning gaze.
“There is a chance…”
The redhead breathed in slowly.
“If your feelings are strong enough, something may make it through. But at best, it will be like remembering a dream, or a book you read long ago. You may find yourself drawn to her for reasons you don’t understand. But that’s only if your feelings are strong enough.”
“They are.” The redhead stated definitively.
The blonde smiled. “I figured you’d say that.”
“So…” The redhead lowered her gaze. “What all is involved in this?”
The blonde held out a book. “It’s all covered in here. Feel free to read up on it before you make you decision.” She stood. “Come find me when you decide.”
Riko’s eyes snapped open. What a strange dream…
Was it strange? What had it even been about? Geez, how could she forget it so quickly? A shame, perhaps it could have inspired her and helped her get past her musical slump.
Sitting up, her gaze fell on her new uniform; Uranohoshi Girls’ Academy. It looked alright, but part of her missed her Otonokizaka uniform from last year.
She glanced at her clock. Plenty of time. Wouldn’t want to be late on her first day.
She changed quickly, walked down the hall to wash her face, then headed down stairs for breakfast.