And that's a wrap on Mew Mew!, the second book in the Etsusa Bridge series. The next two books cover the 2-part story Garuguru! -Dancing Beast Night-, which is the big finale of the series involving the cast from the first two books(and more). I will start working on it in late November.
Epilogue: Making a Mountain out of a Mousehole
In the VIP room below the casino sat a man and a woman.
It was a perfectly private place, with no guards posted inside.
Holding playing cards in their hands, they held a personal conversation.
“It looks like he got away.”
“I suppose so. Corpses don’t rot that quickly.”
Not meeting each other’s eyes, they spoke with their gazes locked on their hands.
“Say, were you actually hoping he would get away?”
“What are you suggesting?”
“I mean, you’re the one who decided where to dump the kid.”
“But did I have a reason to let him go?”
Rather than reply, the man gave a meaningful smile and moved on to a different topic.
“About your ex-boyfriend—looks like they’re not going to prosecute. Are you hoping he’ll come back to the island?”
“I do think he might be a useful subordinate.”
“Maybe you thought the same about li’l Nejiro. If he survived, you’d take him in.”
Instead of responding, the woman silently scrutinized her own cards.
“Just a thought. It does bug me that my friends were killed, though. And… even if you and I forgive him, none of the other executives will.”
“I haven’t forgiven him, and I have no intention of doing so.”
“…Do you intend to search for him?”
“Their hell has just begun. But there’s nothing those children can do about that. They turned their world into that hell themselves.” The woman noted, and revealed her hand.
A straight flush, one of the cards a Joker.
“Time means nothing to us. We will make them suffer as long as they can in their limited time—”
“You think the island’s gonna last that long?”
“That’s really up to your people, isn’t it?”
The man chuckled instead of replying, and dealt himself another hand.
The woman put a long pipe to her lips and replied with a puff of smoke.
“What do you plan to do with those rodents? You wouldn’t let them go for no reason.”
“Does it really matter? They’re Rats. They were born—no, created—to be experiments. I’m happy as long as they serve as tests subjects that show how the island’s future—the children born and raised on this island—will turn out.”
The woman shot him a disgusted look.
“…You really are a despicable man.”
“Which is why I love the island so much.”
Slowly, the man laid out his cards and flipped them over one at a time.
An astoundingly flawless no pair.
“…Because there’s nowhere else I can exist.”
It was business as usual in the Eastern District that day.
‘I knew it I knew it I knew it! I was born under an unlucky star.’
A thug held a knife to Misaki’s throat and demanded the casino’s profits.
It was a ‘peaceful’ sight common anywhere on the island.
For them, things were returning to normal.
Meanwhile at the theme park office, Guard Team members with too much time on their hands were engaged in a heated debate.
“So Jun, who’d you admire most?”
“Umm! I admire the boss, but… Oh! Tom Comet, no question.”
“…Who?” Carlos wondered. Jun sounded exasperated.
“…Well, umm… he’s a really cool man who can juggle three chainsaws… and he can shave people with a chainsaw, too…”
“What kinda creep shaves people with chainsaws? And what kinda creep agrees to get shaved like that?” Zhang sighed.
“Jun. That attitude of yours is why you lost Kanashima.”
Ultimately, Jun was unable to finish Kanashima.
She had cut him from prosthetic arm to neck, landing a chest wound, but it was not a lethal blow.
Throwing his own spurting blood at Jun to blind her, Kanashima had run off into the underground space without even pausing to pick up his hand or his gun.
“I told you, you don’t need to apologize about that one.” Zhang grumbled. At that moment, the phone rang.
The woman in bondage gear picked up the receiver, and paled as she turned to Jun.
“This is bad! A man with a knife barged into the casino—”
“Leave it to the casino people. Inamine’s got a gun.” Zhang waved off the alarm, but the woman shook her head.
“No! It turned out Amagiri was at the casino too, and he slaughtered the man and now he’s trying to kidnap Misaki! Some of the Guard Corps happened to be there, so they’re buying us time!”
“Amagiri… Yakumo Amagiri?”
The legendary killer.
Zhang was on his feet before he knew it, and Carlos whistled at the name as he took out his gun. The office was instantly abuzz.
“Jun, take command and—”
But by the time Zhang turned, she was already gone.
The office door was wide open, and Jun’s chainsaws were no longer on her desk.
Preparing her chainsaws, Jun sprinted for the casino.
Diving headlong into mortal peril to save her friend, she steeled herself.
It was not only Misaki. She would rush over anywhere to save anyone she could save.
As she headed underground, Kanashima’s words echoed in her head.
“So you think of the engine as your father?
‘No. The soul can’t answer for itself if it exists or not.
‘Only the humans who live in reality can give meaning to souls.
‘That’s why… I’m going to stake my pride on protecting this island.’
Driving resolve into her heart, she slammed open the casino doors.
‘I’ll make sure that the engine—this island—one day has a soul!’
Without a second thought, she started the chains.
The howls of the engines and the cat shook the island.
Under the endlessly blue sky, the howl echoed into the distance.
As though blessing the island’s growth with the piercing roar.
Snake Legs: The Man Playing Tricks
“Mr. Inui, was it?”
The Japanese-looking man asked his new rainbow-haired acquaintance, who was going on at length about legends.
“Have you ever heard of the legend over all legends?”
“Sounds interesting. What is it?”
“The legend of the one who ends a legend. You know how legends about dragons are overshadowed by legends of the knights who slay them? The more legends you finish off, the more legendary you become. Like Hercules, for example.”
Rainbow-head thought for a moment. He soon nodded and took another sip.
“Ah, true. …Anyway, what’re you doing here in Thailand?”
The Japanese man did not seem irritated at the sudden change of topic.
“I happened to lose all my wares and came back to restock.”
“Huh… You a soldier or something? Those badass scars on your neck and arm, I mean. And you got a prosthetic right hand, too.”
The Japanese man smiled affably.
“Hah hah. I toyed with a cat and got scratched.”
“Hah! What kinda Smilodon did you tussle with?”
They spoke for some time at length afterwards, but eventually the Japanese man rose to leave.
“Oh, right. Let me give you a bit of info to thank you for the stories.”
He left an unusual comment as he departed.
“It’d be best if you stayed away from that island this winter.”
“Say what now?”
“This time, I plan to wrestle a dog. No more holding back like with the kitten.”
The sky in Thailand that summer day was endlessly blue.
The man with the rainbow-colored hair remembered the nostalgic blue sky he used to see from the island.
Certain that the Japanese man was not a law-abiding one, Rainbow-head quietly emptied his glass.
“Damn. Now he’s makin’ me wanna go.”
And, unable to contain his excitement, he muttered to himself.
“No. Now I have to go… right?”
His gaze fell on the blue sea.
And he clearly sensed the island that could not possibly have been on that horizon.