Usually past clients of his come and go, but with Noël it seems different at least. Hiruko can partially understand why the musician comes to the tucked in tea house- it hasn’t caught the ears of the mainstream media yet. It's also pretty quiet which gives him a chance to be able to do certain tasks without distraction. Noël previously came to him concerning a nightmare about his mother. It was rather vague nightmare, filled with faded photographs and a trip down memory lane for him. And they still haven't gotten to the bottom of discovering the hidden truth of his nightmare. This is also partially why the musician visits him, to try to solve the hidden truth from his nightmare.
He's become more or less someone Hiruko would consider a friend, a friendship that slowly grew on him alike Hifumi. Speaking of Hifumi, Hiruko hates to admit it, but he misses that knucklehead and the company they shared. Noël in comparison was entirely different, he could be a little hot headed, was rather observant– unlike Hifumi to a point, and could be very passionate from time to time.
The waitress comes to the back table, and placed the saucer and cup filled with hot coffee in front of Noël who bids her thanks. He lets the coffee be, and waits for it to cool to the right temperature. His concentration was focused a pair of black tinted sunglasses in his hands. His fingers trace the grooves on the sides, and he’s quite careful of how he handles them.
Hiruko lazily eyes the glasses, raising a brow, "Where did you get those?"
Noël doesn't meet eye contact with him, nor does he answer him immediately. The Baku watches Noël turn the pair of sunglasses over in his hands. The musician puffs out a sigh, placing them to the sunglasses aside.
"I have no fucking clue," Noël grumbles, "I don't even know how I got there in the first place."
"Tell me what happened then? I've probably seen stranger."
Noël rolls his eyes, and goes onto to explain. "I was supposed to meet my manager somewhere, but I got lost and his cell was dying. I was left up to my own devices ultimately, and I happened to stop in front of this shop called: The Attic Shop of Western Antiquities. I was compelled to take a look, it was weird." He glances toward the pair of sunglasses and then to Hiruko again. " Anyway, I went up and met with the shopkeeper." He frowns, "When I got to the top it was like one of those nightmares you've told me about and I couldn't process half of what she told me."
"Really? Maybe I could accompany you next time you go to this shop.” Hiruko suggests; he was somewhat interested in what this shopkeeper had to offer. He’s almost disappointed when Noël shakes his head.
"No thanks Hiruko, I rather not see that again honestly. The Shopkeeper-- she was really strange, she... she... Ugh. It's really complicated to talk about; you would need to be there to see what happened. It felt like a one time thing too since when I left the sign changed to Flower Asato."
"A flower shop?"
"Something like that,” Noël shrugs his shoulders, taking a sip of his coffee, “ anyway– like hell I’m gonna go there again."
Hiruko childishly pouts, but it vanishes quick, "What are the sun glasses for anyway?"
"The shopkeeper told me these sunglasses will chooses her own partner to become one with." Noël taps the glass on the black frames, "No idea what that means, kinda sounds foreboding the way she worded it. Sounds like the damn thing is possessed or something but I didn’t have to pay anything for it, I may have to pay later?” Noel decides for now to pocket the glasses; before they were put away, Hiruko notices a tiny pulse of electronic blip shine on the glass, which sort of looked like how a heart monitor would record a heartbeat (Noël had to explain this to him for about two hours because he never got his heart checked out prior); how peculiar.
"Perhaps you should keep them here instead, if you don't want them?" Hiruko offers, watching as Noël raises a brow at him. "Common sense would be to throw them away, right? Or at least keep them in the hands of someone else to keep an eye on them."
Noël frowns, looking at the black shades and slides them over to Hiruko alike how someone would slide their money across the table. In that same motion, he grabs at his cup of coffee and takes a swig of it.
"If they give you any trouble, give me a ca- actually no, scratch that, you don't a cell phone or anything do you?"
"Besides the land lines they have here, no, I do not. I doubt you would respond quickly to letters either." He heard Noel mumble something about getting up with the times, you god damn old timer but Hiruko deliberately ignores him. "And if you'd like to chat again, then by all means come to the tea shop again preferably without any paparazzi." He pauses, with an afterthought, "you could bring your bandmates or guests with you, they're always welcome."
"Huh, okay, didn't you know were so generous." It must be because of how old he's been feeling. "But sure, sure I'll take you up on your offer- there's one guy you gotta meet that I'll bring over next time. He's someone you may like."
Hiruko raises a brow, " And who is this someone?"
"A fellow musician. His name is Revo, he helped me out when I was on the the verge of giving up my career; he gave me inspiration.."
“Is that right…” Hiruko said, “seems like a thoughtful man, huh?”
“Yeah, yeah he really is.” Noel wears a fond and rare smile on his face, “I don’t know, there is just something about him that makes you look up toward him. He’s a real nice guy and he has a unique way to making music too. He could probably tell you all about it.”
Hiruko smirks, why wouldn’t he want to meet such a person– seemed like a once in a life time chance.
When Noel leaves and Hiruko is left up to his own devices, the Baku decides to search out this shady shop that the young musician entered. He kicks back on Formalin, weaving through the air and searching the shop out. He had the pair of black sunglasses on hand, scrutinizing it in the remaining light that remain overhead. The glasses themselves felt warm and otherworldly; he felt a chilling sensation of it pulsating. When he stops to look around again, something compels him for him to land. He dives down into the street that he’s above, lowering himself at a gradual pace. When his feet touch the concrete, he looks up to see an intriguing shop–– The Attic Shop of Western Antiquities. It really did look strange between two Eastern buildings.
With Formalin in one hand, and the glasses in the other he approaches the doorway and ascends the staircase. They almost feel endless, like he's ascending into the high heavens. Not like he knew what heaven looked like but I digress. There isn't a doorway that a greets him, instead it leads into an opening. The moment he steps through the stairs- he gets the feeling that he isn't exactly alone. Different objects are displayed throughout the room and at the far end of it is a counter. More items are displayed behind it, but he could only see some of it – curse his height. He notes of the suit of armor with blood off to the left. A marionette dangles off the ledge of the counter, looking rather melancholy. He purses his lips together, taking in the sight of the room.
“Welcome, to the Attic Shop of Western Antiquities!”
He nearly jumps at the sound of a voice which sounded like it belonged to an old woman. Whoever it was – wasn’t by the counter, nor did he hear this person in particular come in. How could that be possible? If she wasn’t at the counter then where? At that moment he glances behind him to see a older woman with greying hair and a crooked smile.
“My, my, quite an unexpected guest we have tonight.” The older woman muses to herself, raising one of her gnarled hands to stroke at her chin, “now what may I assist you with, young man?"
“Oh, I came to browse,” He notes how her eyes are scrutinizing Formalin and the black sunglasses, “and to ask a few questions, actually.
“Is that right?” She asks, raising a brow, “well perhaps I can acquaint you with my current wares...”
Hiruko observes her as she walks, it’s very slow and she’s hunched over. The older woman is favoring her left leg over her right– probably had difficulty with walking. Once she rounded the corner, she disappeared behind it. He thought she went into a back room– yet that wasn’t the case.
“I was rather surprised to see someone like you here,” A new, high pitched voice comments from behind the counter. Hiruko stays firmly in place; for some reason he knew something unusual was going to happen, “No one is supposed to find my shop, unless you’re particularly special.”
Instead of an older woman, a little girl dressed in a violet dress emerges from behind the counter. Her silky brown hair is pulled back into a high ponytail, with a butterfly shaped ribbon to keep it in place. She begins to giggle to herself, “Well now, I suppose I’ll introduce wares first, fufu, questions later!”
The shopkeeper then emerges from behind the counter, still childlike in appearance and takes youthful skips unlike how she was before. She presents the suit of armor, then the marionette and the genie jar and green mask displayed on the counter. Hiruko watches her prattle on about each item cryptically, with a look of glee on her small features. When she moves onto the red jewel, he raises a brow.
“Leaving death’s trace on every neck she graced
She’s the miracle of the century, a regular of the cemetery, this crimson jewel––”
From the corner of his eye, he noticed the red jewel shine despite there not being another light source directed on it.
Before he could even make a snarky comment, she already moved on into the back of the shop. But when she emerged, the little girl– no the shopkeeper metamorphosed into a young woman who towered over him. Noël was right– this visit, it it was really hard to put into words. But for now, he keeps quiet and his poker face is presently in place. The Giant Scythes that are hung up give the Baku an ominous feeling as well, but the icing on the cake is the spinning wheel and the description given along with it.
“One of the wise-women was a witch who cast a curse
When it pricks the princess’s finger it beckons dreams, this rose spindle...”
Of course, he shouldn’t be making accusations outright. The story had sounded oddly familiar, a rose spindle was usually associated with the Nobarahime, or Sleeping Beauty. He vaguely recalled his long time friend – which he uses loosely, detailing how he came across a client who was cursed for one hundred years who unfortunately pricked her finger on a spindle. This couldn't be some weird coincidence right?
"I also have some more wares too, if you're interested~" She tells him, now leaning against the top of the counter. The more he looks at her, the more she unsettles him.
"...And what else do you have to show?" Hiruko questions her carefully, "I have all the time in the world."
"We also have a collection of old books, if you’re interested in those.” She states, and there is something about the smile she wears makes him feel slightly uncomfortable, “ Should I go get them?”
Hiruko nods, bracing himself for everything and anything, “If you wouldn’t mind, miss.”
She nods toward him, then proceeds to turn around into the back room–– was that a back room? He couldn’t quite tell. When she emerged, she brought a stack of books along with her.
“I apologize in advance, none of these are in Japanese, but I can give you some… rough translations if you’d like.”
Hiruko approaches the counter, still while holding onto Formalin and the black glasses. He watches as she lays each book out toward him. One of the books catch his eye, Märchen– a name he was familiar with. There are about seven books in total, each in different seven Western languages.
“This is Chronicle,” She introduces, “It holds a collection of different vignettes.” The book she introduces has a black cover with a bright red title which is written in calligraphy. She then proceeds onto various other books. They all have unique covers, and yet the edges of these next three book seem almost worn with age. The titles that come later are called Thanatos, Lost, Elysion and when she introduces the fifth book, the shopkeeper gently caresses the spine fondly “This book is titled Roman, containing various French inspired short stories.”
When she moves onto the sixth and seventh book, he can’t help to feel vaguely uncomfortable. The sixth book, is labeled The Epic of Elefseya. “This Epic focuses on a young man and woman, who go through various tragedies in their young lives.”
When she finally gets onto the seventh, he feels his palms begin to sweat. “This is, as you can see, is titled Märchen. It is based on Germanic fairy tales, with it’s own twist of course. Focusing on the themes of Love and Hatred, and also revenge.”
“Can you tell me more about this twist?” Hiruko asks.
“You would need to read to find out, I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending.” She said with a wink, “Unfortunately, these aren’t for sale– nevertheless, you’re welcome to come and look through them.”
The Baku nods his head when the explanation, and the room falls eerily silent. He watches as the books are silently collected and placed back underneath the counter. When he meets her eyes, it was hard for him to continue to look back at her. It isn’t long till she leans across the counter from him, forcing him to look at her.
“It appears you’ve gone through struggles as well, hm?” She asks him, which jolts him out of his thoughts.
“I can see it, in your eyes, sir.” She proceeds to explain, with an annoyingly all knowing smile, “ you’ve forgotten some things, haven’t you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” He responds calmly, it appeared she was trying to agitate him. “But are we done? I have some questions.”
She pouts at him childishly, then straightens her back, with her arms folded across her chest. “I hope you don’t mind if I inquire some things from you too?”
“Yes, now to start off? May I ask more about these black sunglasses?” He presents them to her, however he keeps away from her reach, “a friend of mine got them from here, the first and last time he came here.
"Ah, yes, the R.E.V.O.–" wasn't that the name inspiration man that inspired Noël?– "Or the Remarkable, Evolutional and Valuable Optical-device. I believe I know who you're speaking of." The Shopkeeper then gestures toward the black sunglasses, "They are the only item I haven't told you about, correct? Since they already have left my shop."
"And may I have your very lovely and cryptic description of them?"
She tuts him lightly, wagging a finger toward the Baku, "Patience, patience– my dear Hiruko, I was just about to explain you greedy little boy~"
The discomfort that Hiruko was feeling began to gnaw at his sides even more. She knew the name he went by, which was something he hadn't even told her yet. He wondered if she knew Noël by his name too? It was hard to maintain a straight face anymore, because he was so bothered by this, not only by this strange shop but by this anomaly of a woman as well.
“The potential of the horizon is infinite parallel worlds
Crossing space and time to reflect the possibilities, the sunglass-type information terminal of the future!”
"Parallel worlds?" He repeats the two word aloud, and he watches as a smirk forms on her red ruby lips.
"As I've already explained," She says, and begins to explain, "when looking through those, an alternate, happier outcome is formed, which would run simultaneously with this world. When looking at something with them, a new future is created for someone." The way she looks at him grows even more unnerving, "–perhaps someone has done the same to save you, dear Hiruko."
Hiruko feels himself grow cold– he wasn't supposed to feel that. The anxious feeling that was gradually building up inside him began to coil around his small body and tighten around his neck. The words she says throw him off, but he manages to keep his mask from slipping. "I'm going to assume you have your reasons for knowing?"
She begins to laugh, "Oh– aren't you a sharp one, and rude too if I may add; always desiring more and more, fufu~"
Hiruko ignores her comment, trying to regain his focus and remember why he came to this place, "Anyway– you said you knew my friend? Why did you sell these to him?" He paused, and with an afterthought said, "I suppose you also have reasoning you aren't wishing to divulge that information with me."
"He's going to do great things with them." She says with omniscience, "I believe it's time for me to ask my question, you've asked me so many already. Don't you agree? Anyway, Hiruko– have you ever felt that something feels off?" The Shopkeeper tilts her head to the side, "Like there is a strange uncomfortable feeling that you've tucked in the deepest part of your mind, telling you this life feels absolutely wrong?"
Before Hiruko could answer her with some snarky response, she beats him from answering her question, "Think about it." She said, and then says with an afterthought, "Perhaps you can ask your friend to look through the sunglasses at the possibilities that could have happened to you? It may lead to some interesting results fufu~"
Hiruko nods slowly toward the Shopkeeper, and he notes how he may have overstayed his welcome.
"...My, my, I must thank you for entertaining me for awhile," She begins to giggle to herself, "but I will be closing up shop for the night, so I must ask for you to leave."
"And thank you, for answering my questions, " Hiruko replied, and the Baku wastes no time to descend the mountainous staircase.
During his trek back, he noted how he somehow lost those damned black sunglasses. So much for keeping an eye on them, Hiruko thinks as he opens the door.
When he returns back to the Silver Star Teahouse, he wasn't quite sure what to expect when seeing the over sized cat sitting at one of the tables. And from the looks of it, none of the remaining workers paid him any mind. When he approaches the other, he watches as the grey eyes atop his head perk up to the sound. He turns to face him, yet what Hiruko sees is not what he expected.
The person wears the R.E.V.O. and uncannily shares his appearance with Noël. The Baku sits down across from the individual in silence, his blue eyes focused on this stranger.The stranger says nothing, and he doesn't have too, because of what is reflected on the left frame. Hiruko's eyes widen at the sight– too stunned to utter a single word.
It was him, slumped in a wooden chair– or someone who looked like him anyway, bloody and bruised in one of the rooms of the Delirium.
"Is this world not ideal?" The voice sounds robotic, yet he can hears Noël's voice too, "perhaps you would prefer to turn a blind eye of acknowledging the tragedy that has befallen you in a separate life?"
Hiruko chooses not to answer, which prompts for the stranger to move his hand toward him. Hiruko swats the man's hand with Formalin, possibly bruising it– but after tonight, he really didn't care. "Don't even think about trying anything, I'm too tired of dealing with all of this."
The stranger stiffens, yet retracts his hand, "Very well..." He mumbles, then rising from his chair.
Hiruko manages to catch him mumble, the data has been corrupted – a new solution must be found to fix it as he leaves the tea house. When the strange cat Noël look alike is finally gone, the Baku slumps in his chair and runs his hand through his hair.
He had a lot to think about tonight.