The Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 Continuation Fanfic Series

by P. Kristen Enos

Most of these stories take place AFTER the TV Series! So DON’T blame me if I ruin the ending for you because you read these stories first!
Lesbian/Yuri/Shoujo Ai Warning! (Non-explicit — at least in the “PG13″/”R” sort of way.) Just not written for children because they probably wouldn’t get half of it. All rights belong to JVC/AIC, ADV Films and the other creative powers that be. I just want credit for writing the story.

Chapter 15: Deep Scars

“– The original invitation promoted it as a ‘revolutionary’ product demonstration; that was only tantalizing because of the sponsor, not because it actually said what the product would be,” Reika said, continuing with her explanation. “Grandpa wanted me to go, not only because Dad had already accepted the invitation, but because we’ve never had strong ties with Genom before, either as Chang Enterprises or as Hou Bang, and he thought it would be a good opportunity to see if there would be any value there for us. And given the clout that was in that warehouse, Rosenkreuz definitely knew who his audience was as well as how much pull the Genom name has. There were characters in that place that I had already been warned about in my Clan meetings. I’m convinced that he labeled it Project: Human Target more to appeal to them than for the men who were attending for more legitimate reasons.”

“Even so,” Sylia said, obviously in business mode even though her curiosity was still evident, “My war was with Galatea, not with Genom in and of themselves. As long as there are no reports of rogue boomers, I frankly don’t care what they do.”

“Because I am very well aware of the fact that I could be overreacting only because I know what I know, would you care if they intentionally or accidentally create the circumstances for another Revolution?”

Clearly visibly stunned, Sylia was quiet for the longest time before she said, “I’m listening.”

Reika took a deep breath and then began her detailed description of the demonstration, ever aware of each change of expression on Sylia’s face, no matter how minute. The listening woman remained passive until Reika described the moment when Rosenkreuz revealed what Sylvie really was. Sylia’s eyes widened with surprise and alarm, but then the coldest look settled on her face as she continued to absorb the details. Reika finished her story by pulling out the data pad from her purse and handing it over to the other woman.

Reika felt a familiar chill at the look on Sylia’s face as she read the data pad. It was that cold-as-steel rage which looked as if it would break loose if you even breathed wrong. The first time she had ever seen that look all those years ago was what Reika considered to be the beginning of the long and torturous end of not only their romance, but also their presence in each other’s lives.

It had been in the spring time, and the teenagers were spending a quiet weekend in the privacy of Sylia’s country home, away from nosy relatives and schoolmates. Sylia had always spent her spare time on her computer, devouring information as her own form of education on subjects which were too advanced for university level classes, never mind a girl’s school, no matter how elite. Reika had been on the couch, reading one of Sylia’s English books, when she realized that Sylia hadn’t typed anything for at least an hour. She had glanced up to see her girlfriend sitting at the terminal and staring at the text on the screen, with the most unfamiliar expression on her face.


The silver haired girl hadn’t answered or moved. She had just continued to stare at the screen.

Curious and concerned, Reika rose from her seat to see what was so fascinating. She had looked over Sylia’s shoulder to see an Internet article detailing the horrors of a construction boomer that had gone berserk, killing half of its human crew and injuring the rest.

Realizing what was possibly triggering the response, Reika had wrapped her arms around the frozen girl and said softly, “Sylia, it has nothing to do with you. It is not your fault.”

In a flash, Sylia had bolted up and whipped around, the action knocked Reika so hard that she stumbled backwards on to the floor.

“You’re wrong!” Sylia had screamed, her face contorted in a wild, manic expression. “It has everything to do with me!”

Terrified and bewildered, Reika had been speechless as she stared up at this complete stranger.

The rage had disappeared in the next moment, and Sylia was on the floor the next instant with her arms around Reika, apologizing profusely for losing control like that. However, despite all of the apologies, Reika couldn’t help but wonder at this side of Sylia had never known existed.

It had all started with that same look she now saw before her as they sat at the dinner table.

Finally, Sylia closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then she opened her eyes and looked at Reika with considerably more calm than a minute before.

“Thank you for letting me see this,” Sylia said. “It’s a typical P.R. piece that has enough details to be tantalizing but not enough to tell you anything real. However, I’d still like to download its contents if you don’t mind.”

“Of course,” Reika answered. “That’s why I brought it. I admit I don’t know if I’m overreacting, but you had to see them, Sylia. They looked and acted almost as real as Mackey. I honestly thought they were human, especially the one called Sylvie. And I checked my business and Clan resources, and no one has ever heard of any boomer models being deployed that were remotely this sophisticated looking, even before the Revolution. I could understand it if these boomers were a natural progression from the last version, but this abrupt jump just seems to me that they got their hands on critical information as opposed to earning it through research.”

Sylia looked grim for a moment as she glanced over the pad’s contents again. “I thought I had taken all of the necessary precautions to make certain it would never happen again. I wiped out everything relating to Galatea or me in their databases after the Revolution since I was certain that everyone who knew about us was dead and therefore wouldn’t notice the missing files. Once that was done I considered my chapter with Genom also closed. The one time I did have to hack into their systems a couple of years ago, I had noticed their security measures were far more sophisticated than before, but I attributed it as a counter-measure against corporate espionage…. Do you mind coming down to the pit with me? I want to document what you saw at the demonstration.”

Reika’s heart tightened at the thought of going to the place that had been the scene of several fights, including their final one. “Certainly. Lead the way.”

Wordlessly, they made their way to the elevator to reach the main floor, and then through the secret passage to the second elevator leading to the laboratories below. Sylia opened a panel above the elevator buttons, which showed a small glass window. She pressed her thumb against it, triggering a red glow from the sensor on the other side of the glass. Sylia then pushed the button marked ‘L2’, which Reika noted silently was an option that hadn’t been there when she had last been in the building.

“Do you think I’m overreacting?” Reika finally asked, as the elevator descended.

“No,” Sylia admitted softly as she stared out through the glass wall. “I had sincerely hoped that this was finally over.”

The elevator finally stopped at its destination, and Reika noticed it was a lower floor than the original pit, with a very different room layout and contents. It was obviously Sylia’s hands-on workshop, with several tables in the middle, surrounding a large one that had her silver hardsuit stretched out on it. The combat armor looked strange with some of its panels opened and some parts missing or lying next to it. However, at the same time, it looked as if it would sit up and move about by itself at any moment. Reika then noticed that on one of the side tables there were unassembled pieces of what would appear to be a stylized rifle.

Against the wall were three other hardsuits, which were clearly there to be out of the way yet readily available if needed. The designs were noticeably different than what she remembered, specifically the clear abdomens, but the basic form was still recognizable.

“I thought you said you had hoped it was over,” Reika commented as she followed her into the lab.

“I don’t like being unprepared for the worst,” Sylia answered. “And in the meantime, I considered it a hobby. Like a fellow who always tinkers on a car he’ll never drive.”

Reika thought it better not to comment as she glanced again at the other suits, taking in the color schemes: red, green, blue….

“Yes?” Sylia asked when she noticed the other woman abruptly stop in her tracks.

Reika looked genuinely confused as she answered in a slight daze, “You have four hardsuits…”

Sylia blushed at the realization of what Reika meant. The latter woman knew about the original Knight Sabers team, when it had been Sylia and two other women, a martial artist and an American special operatives agent.

“Well,” Sylia began to explain hesitantly, “I had to change the entire support line up. I hadn’t planned on adding a member, but it was one of those things that just happened for the best of all involved.”

“Oh. Then what happened to Jill and Mei?”

Sylia was quiet for a moment as she continued to lead Reika to small room at the other side that contained a computer terminal with a wall of screens. As she flipped switches and pressed buttons to turn everything on, she almost acted as if she hadn’t heard the question.

Finally, she answered in a soft tone, “You were right. They were hurt.”

Reika kept quiet at the news. She didn’t feel vindicated by being told that her fears had come true eight years later. Jill and Mei’s safety were just added reasons Reika had tried to use to make Sylia give up on her obsession. Her ultimate concern had always centered around Sylia’s emotional and physical well-being. When it was clear her words were falling on deaf ears, it had become time for her to leave an insane situation before she would witness her own worst case scenario.

“Do you ever talk to them?” Reika asked, more out of curiosity to see just how much ‘hurt’ was involved.

“I sent them both letters after the Revolution, to let them know Galatea had been killed,” Sylia explained as she plugged in the data pad into a port to download its contents. “Jill called me and we chatted for a bit. I think it helped her to finally get closure, and to realize that her sacrifice truly contributed to the ultimate victory. Mei never called and I haven’t seen her since, but I do know the letter was received. And I do know that her bank account is still actively receiving my deposits.”

“And these new girls?”

“They’re all alive and well. And good friends of mine still.” Sylia said with a reassuring smile, “It ended happily after all,”

A troubled frown was still on Reika’s face as she watched at the blur of data fly over the main screen. She then took a deep breath and said, “Sylia, I really am glad you settled your matter with Galatea. And I am sorry I couldn’t be there to witness it. But I do want to let you know that leaving was the only way I could support you.”

Sylia tilted her head as she studied her for a moment. She smiled softly and said, “I’ve always known that. But thank you for telling me.”

— End Chapter 15 —

Chapter 16: Need To Know Basis

Dr. Sho Yamada couldn’t help but scratch his head as he watched the stream of ones and zeros fly across his computer screen. Even after a week, he could not make any sense of the patterns, yet he couldn’t deny that the information was there.

Frustrated and bewildered, he glanced across the otherwise empty lab at Sylvie, who was stationed at a chair and table, dressed in a white smock, quietly and methodically pouring over a French newspaper, the latest test of her language recognition and comprehension skills. As the second part to her test, he would have her verbally summarize each story in Japanese, a feat she did with such accuracy and realism that he could almost forget the fact that she wasn’t human.

While Sho admitted that he was quite proud of her, a part of him had begun to question whether or not it was a good idea to implement all of the algorithms and special wiring designs of the recovered files without truly understanding the true purpose behind them. Still, he limited his scientific curiosity to enhancing only her while maintaining stricter controls on what algorithms were deployed on her three ‘sisters’. And even with the enhancements, she was still a hybrid model since there wasn’t enough time or need to completely upgrade or remove all of her original hardware and software.

Sho made it a point to know everything about her so naturally he was stumped and disgruntled when he came across an unexpectedly large data file in her memory banks right after the demonstration. The one piece he was able to figure out was that this file was the data Sylvie had compiled on Reika. All of the other data files, one per person, in her person recognition directory were still relatively small compared to this new one, even her file on Sho himself, the person she had the most interactive experience with. The overall amount of memory used versus what was available was still minute, but the fact that it was that it was so relatively large and indecipherable was puzzling.

Sho scratched his head as he thought of his future sister-in-law and how much her appearance at the demonstration had surprised him even though it shouldn’t have.

When he had first heard the news of the deaths of Richard and Mitsune Chang, he had been stricken with the normal feelings of grief, after all he liked his future in-laws, but there were undeniable feelings of panic as well. The timing was horrible due to the fact that he was so immersed in Sylvie that he didn’t want to leave her at this point in her development, especially after the discovery of the old boomer design docs. Then there was the reality of becoming the new head of the Hou Bang Clan, which was an idea he wasn’t thrilled about to begin with but had prepared himself to accept it down the road, with a lot of preparation beforehand.

During the brief but intense dating period with Irene, he first met Richard Chang with the awareness that he was meeting his potential father-in-law who also happened to be the CEO of a multi-national corporation. He was shocked enough to find out that his fiancée, who was the physical trainer at the local gym, also happened to come from an incredibly wealthy and prestigious family, although you would never know it given her down to earth personality and simple apartment.

When he later proposed to Irene, she responded that she was thrilled but couldn’t accept until her father approved. It was in that second fateful meeting with Richard Chang that Sho found out about the Hou Bang Clan connection. Richard explained to him the situation of the lack of a suitable successor, and that this need would be fulfilled by one of his own children with Irene. There was also the strong possibility that Sho himself would have to become the successor if Richard was unable to continue before his child was old enough to take over. That was the only condition of the marriage in order to get her father’s blessing, and Sho agreed to it.

As a boy raised in the lower class area of Tokyo, Sho was aware of the fact that some of his childhood friends had become involved with some of the local Yakuza. Even though he himself was never part of their activities, the name of the Hou Bang Clan was familiar to anyone who was remotely connected to such circles. With the reputation of being “honorable enemies”, the Clan was an old-world Chinese family that was originally from Hong Kong but with the strongest presence currently in Tokyo.

Due to his Yakuza knowledge, Sho knew that while many people regarded Hou Bang as multi-national, no one really knew how extensive or powerful the Clan was until someone tried to double cross them, intentionally or otherwise. Then that person immediately got first hand knowledge of just why Hou Bang had the fearsome reputation that they had. When circumstances required, the Clan was just as capable of breaking rules along with everyone else, but much faster and far more merciless.

While he had his own doubts if he could ever be a competent leader of such an organization, he had even more misgivings when Reika told him and Irene that she would be permanently taking over the Clan instead. Irene was clearly shocked by the announcement as well but then asked Sho to leave so she could discuss the matter with her sister. His fiancée had that extremely displeased look on her face that he knew from experience to never question much less argue with. And since Reika seemed ready to meet that reaction with her own formidable determination, he thought it best to give the sisters as much privacy as soon as possible. One irate Chang sister was dangerous enough.

He never found out what was specifically discussed that night between the sisters, other than that it ended with Reika still as the head of the Clan. Irene never gave him details of the fight, and he knew better than to ask. Even though Irene made it clear that she had little direct involvement or knowledge about her family’s darker side, she was aware of enough of Clan business and knew when certain matters required discretion. Sho considered it a trade off for the fact that he could never discuss his work at Genom with her, even though he doubted that she truly cared either way.

The rescheduling of the wedding was now in limbo because no one knew when the sisters would be amicable enough for Irene to want Reika to attend, as well as the latter wanting to, which was extremely ironic now that they were living in the same city once again. And when Irene told him about Reika’s new engagement, which was quite shocking for obvious reasons, she did it in a tone that clearly said, “Don’t ask anything further!”

To Sho’s knowledge, this was the first time the sisters had ever had an argument of this magnitude. However, no one questioned their devotion to each other. Although never exactly expressed, people understood it was just a matter of time for the hard feelings to pass.

So he hadn’t heard or seen his future sister-in-law until he saw her on the camera which showed Sylvie’s visual feed at the Genom demonstration. It was just as well that he had been sitting down in the monitor booth because he was shocked at the sight of Reika, at how she clearly exuded the aura and command needed to be the head of such a powerful organization. Irene had once mentioned that her sister got into acting as a lark, but there was never any doubt about Reika’s ability to be the Clan Leader. It was just the accepted fact that she wasn’t interested in it so the doubt was really around whether or not she had the passion for the role. To see Reika on the monitor screen dispelled any major doubts Sho may have had, even though there was a nagging question of whether or not this was just an acting job to her.

However, his changed opinion of Reika was eventually overshadowed by the fact that he realized Sylvie’s visual attention almost never moved from her, even when she wasn’t supposed to be directly facing the woman. In contrast, Sylvie’s ‘sisters’ stared blankly into space while in stand by mode, only shifting their attention to quickly analyze and record any person or thing which moved into their field of vision, before going back to their passive status.

The camera monitors built into Sylvie’s eyes weren’t precise enough to show the exact details which had Sylvie’s attention but he knew there had to be a reason behind this. It couldn’t be because Reika was a woman. Ms. Madigan and some of Sho’s development staff were women, and Sylvie never had a similar reaction to them.

So why was Reika’s data file in Sylvie’s system so large and scrambled? Was there a flaw in her programming that caused Sylvie to continue to monitor Reika as some sort of threat assessment? Could this behavior be related to the extra algorithms and design tweaks he had proactively implemented in her and not in the others?

The scientist took in a deep breath and rubbed his eyes. When he had heard the sensational title of “Project: Human Target,” Dr. Yamada was quite upset that it would give the wrong impression about Sylvie and her sisters. Now, he hoped it wasn’t ironic foreshadowing. The last thing he needed was for a bodyguard boomer to attack an innocent person… Never mind the awkwardness of having to explain it to Irene, no matter how annoyed she was with her sister currently.

Just then, Sho was alerted by the electronic chirp that indicated someone had passed the appropriate safeguards to enter the maximum high security lab. He instantly changed the computer screen to show more neutral information even though there was even less of a chance that someone else could figure out the data file when he could not.

He immediately stood and straightened his tie to make himself presentable to his unexpected visitors. Upon seeing his two superiors walk in, he was glad he was proactive about the effort.

“Good evening, Dr. Yamada,” Mr. Rosenkreuz greeted with his usual smooth and friendly style.

Ms. Madigan followed right behind him, pausing in her perusal of her data pad to glance at Sylvie before returning to her reading.

“What are you having her do this time?” the CEO inquired as he came right up to the table and peered at Sylvie closely.

The boomer continued to ignore them both as she methodically turned the pages, matching the reading pace of an average human rather than taking in the information like the high speed scanner that she could be.

“Foreign language comprehension and conversion, Sir,” he answered quickly. “She’s not able to speak it because we haven’t developed the speech module for French yet. But I’m really trying to test out how efficiently she processes and understands the Japanese and French vocabulary databases we’ve loaded into her. I’ve had her do a preliminary test and she’s perfect. This one is much more extensive but I want to be as thorough as possible.”

“I have every confidence that she will pass!” Mr. Rosenkreuz exclaimed and then glanced around, as if noticing the emptiness of the lab for the first time. “Where are her sisters?”

Since Sylvie had been completed earlier than planned, the three sisters were thrown together at the last minute for a display of variety at the demonstration rather than an equal test of skills. The spotlight was clearly on Sylvie as she alone performed the tests, but the sight of more boomers there was an effective showman’s touch that Mr. Rosenkreuz had come up with. Now it was a matter of bringing them up to the same level of their oldest sister in preparation for future demonstrations.

“Dr. Yuri is leading the team in the upgrade effort,” Sho explained. “They’re all in Lab 54.”

“Ah, good! And do we have anyone working on the first order yet?”

“I have two of my staff compiling parts and materials. We should be ready to begin construction by the end of next week. May I ask, sir, is it wise to sell these models since we’re on the verge of upgrading Sylvie so dramatically and would therefore have a much more sophisticated version available as soon as three months?” the scientist asked, referring to his approved proposal for the next version of the boomer.

“As far as the public is concerned, Sylvie at that demonstration is the most advanced boomer anyone has. As long as that standard is in place, we can take our time with a newer version. But in the meantime, give the public what they want. Speaking of which — ” Mr. Rosenkreuz then reached into his jacket pocket and produced a data pad for the scientist. “ – we’ve just received noticed that a special client is extremely interested in this model, however, they have requested special enhancements in order to have a test demonstration before they will commit to buying. I’d like you to take an initial look at these and let me know if you think they’re achievable before I give the client our answer. I honestly think they’re interested even without the enhancements, but I’d like to see if we can accommodate their request.”

Intrigued, Sho took the pad and began reading. He noticed that the executives remained in the lab, clearly waiting for an immediate response to the required list.

Sho felt his stomach tighten at the first enhancement request, and by the time he reached the end it felt like a lead weight in his gut. Individually, the enhancements weren’t that noteworthy, but listed together, they definitely painted an unpleasant picture.

“Y- Yes, these are doable with the girls, sir,” the scientist reluctantly answered. “But all of these enhancements focus on making Sylvie just a paramilitary killing machine. That’s not what she’s created for.”

He noticed as soon as he made that comment that Mr. Rosenkreuz paused in his circling of Sylvie and Ms. Madigan looked up from her pad.

“How interesting you should think that, Dr. Yamada,” Mr. Rosenkreuz said as he scratched his beard, though still with a tone of amusement. “Sylvie is a top line combat boomer. She always has been a paramilitary killing machine. Just the same as she’s a top line recreational boomer, and is therefore also a glorified sex toy. She is whatever we need her to be. And right now, the requirement is to see if we can make her fit the needs of our client. And since you have confirmed that it is doable, I will give the word to our client that we will commit to the upgrades as well as the demonstration that they deem necessary. Is there anything else you wish to add, Dr. Yamada? Besides a delivery date?”

Even though his tone was quite cordial, there was an undeniable steel element in the CEO’s words.

“N – No, sir. We should have her prepared within a week.”

“Glad to hear that. And upgrade the other girls as well. I’ll give you an additional week for them. I’d like to give the client more than what they’re expecting.” Mr. Rosenkreuz than turned to leave but then paused. “One more thing, Dr. Yamada, I am fully aware of who your future sister-in-law is and that you know she was at the demonstration. I want to commend you on your discretion about company business so far. And I am certain it will continue. As you know, we consider our matters to be extremely proprietary given what we do. It would be unfortunate if we ever have unexpected competition or complications from otherwise manageable sources. Don’t you agree?”

“Y – Yes, sir,” the scientist responded with a stiff bow.

“Have a good evening, Dr. Yamada,” Mr. Rosenkreuz said with a parting bow. “And do continue the good work.”

— End Chapter 16 —

Chapter 17: Defeat

Drained and depressed, Linna remained stretched out on the futon in the privacy of her old bedroom. The clear moon was the only source of light which came in through her open window. She hadn’t even bothered to take off her kimono when she collapsed on the mattress.

The laughter and lively conversation on the other side of the farmhouse carried clearly through the night. She knew it was from the weekly party her parents threw to entertain relatives and neighbors. The noise made it easy for her to quietly slip into the house through a side door so she could retreat to her old bedroom in relative peace and quiet. By the time she originally should have come home, everyone would have been too drunk to wait up for her.

A soft tapping came from the other side of her door. Linna definitely didn’t have to be a genius to know who it was.

“Come in,” she called out, not bothering to move from her position on the futon.

The panel slid open to reveal the silhouette of her mother, also dressed in a kimono due to the festivities. “I thought I saw your shoes out there,” Nomi Yamazaki commented, the concern in her voice barely disguised. “You’re back early. Why didn’t you come join the party?”

“I just wasn’t in the mood for company, Mom. And I knew I would bring the festivities down, especially since I’m sure you and Dad told everyone where I was tonight. I wanted to spare you the embarrassment for at least one more evening.”

The older woman let out a soft sigh before entering the room and closing the panel behind her. She came over and knelt down on the edge of the futon, at which her daughter turned over and rested her head on her lap. “So, I take it that the date didn’t go well?”

“I realized three hours had passed and I hadn’t uttered one complete sentence. I thought to myself, ‘Do I honestly want to spend the rest of my life like this if I can’t handle three hours?’” her daughter explained with an exasperated sigh. “And just when I was five minutes away from strangling him with my kimono sash, he blurts out that he believes in having big families and we’d have to start right away because I was so old!… So here I am. I won’t be surprised if a cleaning bill is delivered because of the sake I dumped on him. I’ll take care of it when it arrives.”

“Oh dear. Well, I’ll find some way to explain it to your father in the morning.”

“I’m sorry, Mom. I honestly tried this time!”

“I know you tried, dear. I knew this was different because you didn’t… protest as much as you normally did when we set you up on arranged dates.”

“I just feel like such a failure right now. I can’t do anything right! I guess Dad’s right after all!”

“Hush! Don’t talk like that!” Nomi said firmly as she stroked her daughter’s short hair. “There’s a lot more to this, isn’t there? The last time I talked to you, you were so excited about moving back to Tokyo. Did something happen?”

Linna was quiet for several seconds and then said, “You remember that conversation we had a few years ago, when you tried to set me up with Masaki? When I told you I had found the thing that I wanted in Tokyo, which was why I left home in the first place?”


“Well, it’s no longer there. In fact, it’s been gone for a couple of years now, and I think it’s finally sunk in. And I don’t know what to do with myself anymore because of it.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Nomi said gently. “But you’ll find something else. You’re young. There are still many things out there for you, especially in a town like Tokyo.”

“It sure doesn’t feel like it,” Linna mumbled as she kept her eyes close and enjoyed her mother’s soothing touch.

“I don’t mean to sound like I’m prying, but are you sure there’s nothing else that’s happened? You seem more… hurt for someone who is dealing with the reality of a loss that’s years old.”

Linna’s eyes flew open as she instinctively stiffened at the words. Then she smiled sadly and realized trying to hide things from her mother was just something that couldn’t be done.

“I… I met someone a couple of months ago,” she admitted. “Someone I really, really liked. And it didn’t work out. I guess it still hurts even though I can’t figure out why. After all, we only saw each other a couple of times, before… this person dumped me for family obligations.”

“Oh. So do you think… this person felt the same way about you?”

Linna bit her lip and tried to fight back the tears that started to swell up even though she had sworn to herself she wouldn’t cry again. “I don’t know anymore, Mom. I had met another person a couple of years ago that I thought felt the same way, but it turned out that wasn’t the case. So I can’t feel like I can trust my own judgment anymore when it comes to things like this. But this time, it just felt… right for some reason. I’ve never felt this with anyone else before.”

“Well, speaking as an outsider who wasn’t there, it sounds to me as if you fell in love.”

“HUNH?!” Linna bolted upright to stare nose to nose at her mother in the moonlit darkness. “That can’t be possible! We only got together three times. Four counting when I was dumped! That’s not enough time for love to happen, is it?”

Nomi smiled gently at her and said, “I’m hardly an expert on such matters, but I have heard that love shouldn’t be explainable.”

Linna let out a groan and collapsed back on to her mother’s lap. “It hurts too much to talk about this.”

“Alright then let me ask you this: do you think this disappointment should be your cue to give up everything you fought for and come back here and live a life that isn’t one you created?”

“I told you, Mom. The reason why I originally went to Tokyo is gone. There’s really nothing there for me anymore. Other than a handful of friends… Who have very full lives without me.”

“This person you met a couple of months ago. And the person you met before. Were they… meetings you planned on?”

“No. Both times were extremely unexpected, to say the least.”

“If you did not have another reason for being in Tokyo, would they have been worth the move there?

“… Yes.”

Nomi smiled gently and caressed her daughter’s cheek. “Then I think you should only consider coming back here if you honestly feel like you won’t have another chance to meet someone else like those two… people. And since you seem to have those types of meetings only in Tokyo, I’d say you’re too young to give up so soon… If you should really give up on such things at all.”

Linna was quiet as she let her mother’s words sink. Instead of saying anything, she closed her eyes and nestled herself deeper into her mother’s lap.

— End Chapter 17 —