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Notes on the 13th Maria-sama ga Miteru Novel - Part 3

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  • atheniag
    Groping Inside the Fog 1 They walk through the woods. Sachiko is naming all the trees. She knows all the flora in the area, and even the faintest birdcall she
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2005
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      Groping Inside the Fog

      1

      They walk through the woods. Sachiko is naming all the trees. She
      knows all the flora in the area, and even the faintest birdcall she
      can identify.


      Wednesday


      Unusually, Sachiko was up early and asked Yumi to take a walk with her
      before breakfast.

      There's a thick fog – they are hidden in a white world. As long as
      they walk straight, they won't lose their way. The thick fog surrounds
      them and hides the surrounding area. Even walking on the road they
      grow less confident. They may have changed course since now the ferns
      are covered in dew.

      Yumi says that she loves fog too. It sharpens her senses. Yumi can
      understand why Sachiko loves this area. The guide book mentions shops
      and art galleries, but not things this far outside town – and the
      other things don't even exist for Sachiko.

      Every morning Gensuke bikes out for fresh bread. Kyo gets meat and
      vegetables locally. A local woman makes jam. A retired man makes honey
      from the bees he keeps. A little removed from the swamp, fresh wasabi
      is grown. All these things Sachiko loves, but she doesn't go to see
      them. While she is here, she is bothered by nothing.

      This place is like a peaceful child's room. Yumi has been invited inot
      a place where Sachiko usually plays by herself.

      Yumi takes Sachiko's arm. She feels a little emotional pain, and her
      chest has become hot, she doesn't want to have to chase after Sachiko
      a second time.

      Sachiko asks if she's afraid of the fog.

      Yumi shakes her head and says that she doesn't want mischievous
      fairies separating them.

      They hold hands as they walk. Eventually they see Gensuke's bicyle
      light and follow it home.


      2


      Just after 10 o'clock, Ayanokouji Kiku-sama comes to visit. Kiku is
      the same age as Touko. Her summer home is only about 500 meters from
      Sachiko's. She comes up to the terrace and aasks for help with her
      homework. She drops an English version of Genji Monogatari, a
      dictionary and b5 paper on the table. Her homework is to translate
      "Mauve" back into Japanese. Translating into a modern language is
      understandably difficult. Surely Murasaki Shinobu would be astonished.
      Sachiko chides Kiku – she should do her homework herself.

      Sachiko closes her book – she's done with her homework and has moved
      onto Shakespeare.

      Kiku implores her to help her. She says that she wants to do homework
      by Sachiko's side. Kiku throws Yumi a cold glance. It clearly says,
      not that *she's* here, I'm all of a sudden chopped liver…

      Yumi sis surprised honestly, that kiku is making her the issue. She's
      only here by chance.

      Sachiko says that Yumi has nothing to do with this.

      Kiku starts to have a tantrum, saying that it's not fair, Yumi's
      monopolizing Sachiko morning and night. Let me have her for a little
      while. Then Kiku goes on to say that Sachiko will now say that she's
      being willful with her scary face. But, she thinks its all Yumi's
      fault. She burst into tears and throws herself on the table.

      Sachiko pats her on the back and tells her not to cry. Kiku, tears
      rolling down her face launches herself into Sachiko's arms calling out
      "onee-sama" over and over.

      Yumi picks up her book and says she'll read upstairs. Sachiko
      apologizes, but Yumi insists that it's no problem. She fakes a smile
      and runs away. "I'm not the bad guy here" she thinks to herself. Even
      though Kiku is the criminal here, Yumi understands what she said about
      it being Yumi's fault. When Yumi leaves, Kiku gets to be the little
      sister.

      The people who knew Sachiko first weren't interesting enough...Sachiko
      took "no mark" Yumi, turned her into a Cinderella. But, Yumi wonders,
      did Cinderella live "happily ever after"? Running off to live at the
      Prince's palace, she'd find little comfort, but no nostalgia over her
      harsh former life.

      Yumi goes back to her room. Although she has ten pages to go in
      "Kokoro" (the book she's reading for school), she doesn't open it.

      She loves Sachiko.

      However, she doesn't think that the same love returned is bringing her
      happiness. When one is by the side of the person one loves, then other
      people may be made unhappy. A person is made up of fragments of other
      people, almost like a company is. Being here is not like the two of
      them being on a deserted island.

      Yumi stares at the ceiling, shuts her eyes. But, when you come to love
      a person, they are important to you. Yumi says an Ave for herself, is
      her own supporter and tells herself to "gambare" in encouragement.


      3

      Afternoon came and so did Kyougoku Kieko. Sachiko studied with Kiku
      for an hour after she cried, then the girl went home in a bitter mood.

      Sachiko is like a Princess, receiving courtiers, Yumi imagines. Inside
      and outside, public and private, people wanted to be near her.

      Kieko is here to invite Sachiko to tea at her summer home. Her mother
      isn't feeling well so please visit. Sachiko feels bad because she had
      neglected to stay in contact with Kieko's mother, so she isn't sure
      what to do. She doesn't want to trouble Yumi, especially on the tail
      of the Kiku incident.

      Yumi tells her to go ahead. She says that she'll stay here and house-
      sit and finish her book. In truth she had finished the book. She
      thought it would be expedient to lie to save Sachiko's feelings. She
      didn't think that it was wrong to tell this lie.

      Kieko says that of course yumi could come too. Yumi says that she
      thinks it would be bad for her to have to deal with a stranger in her
      condition.

      Kieko says that that's too bad, but her face clearly says "refuse."
      And its definitely not Yumi's imagination.

      At 3 o'clock Sachiko takes a pound cake Kyo had made and goes with
      Kieko to her summer home.

      After Yumi sees them off, she comes back to the main room, Kyo comes
      up to her with an uneasy face and asks for a moment of Yumi's time.
      Kyo looks around carefully - but, what was she looking for? There was
      nowhere to hide in that room. Kyo asks what happened with Kyougoku-
      ojousama. Then she explains that she was asked a bunch of questions
      about Yumi.

      About me? Yumi asks.

      The girls were secretly investigating her - but what on earth was it
      about? She didn't even know how to feel about it.

      The questions made Kyo mad - all about Yumi's family, her grades at
      school, etc. Kyo of course didn't know the answers so she didn't say
      anything, but...

      Kyo drops her head and apologizes, then warns Yumi to be careful.

      Yumi thinks that she's been there for three days and there are three
      more to go, how bad could this be? She tells Kyo that it's not
      important, but she thanks the woman for telling her.

      Kyo says that the girls are of good breeding, high lineage...and Yumi
      should be careful of them.

      Yumi just doesn't see what she has to be careful of.


      4

      When Sachiko returns from the Kyoukogu home, she is not in a good
      mood. She doesn't go into the room, or out onto the terrace, but
      without a word, goes right upstairs.

      Yumi is writing her thoughts on "kokoro" on the terrace. She sees
      Sachiko's profile, sees the strange look on her face, and follows her
      upstairs.

      She asks what happened - Sachiko says nothing.

      Sachiko goes into her room, takes the hat from her head and throws it
      on the bed. "What was I thinking going there? Her siblings and
      relatives were there having a garden party."

      Yumi asks how Kieko's mother - Sachiko says that she was in the pink
      of health, sucking down champagne and eating BBQ.

      Yumi asks if they said...if they asked about her It had been a while
      since Sachiko had been hysterical. Yumi doesn't know if she should
      take Sachiko's hand, but she decides to wait until the storm passes.
      Just as she makes this decision, the wave recedes and the anger
      disappears. Sachiko seems to deflate.

      Sachiko apologizes for transferring her anger onto Yumi. Yumi says
      it's not a problem.

      Yumi notes that they are both being a little familiar in their
      language - maybe it was time to let their guards down a little

      But Sachiko is a "lion at home and a mouse abroad" - as a younger
      sister, Yumi is bound to follow her.

      Sachiko suggests going home now quite suddenly.

      Yumi asks what happened.

      Sachiko says nothing. I was just disgusted. It was a farce. She
      topples onto the bed. "I just wanted to relax together with Yumi." She
      says, her voice trembling.

      Yumi asks why she didn't just leave.

      Sachiko admits that sometimes the Ogasawara name becomes oppressive.
      She looks at Yumi as if challenging her to tell Sachiko to stop. She
      says that she loves her family and is appreciative of everything
      they've done for her, but sometimes she has a dream of just living in
      a house about the size of this one, just the four of them - it would
      be lovely.

      She goes on to say that ever since she was a child, they would come
      here for summer vacation, her parents and grandfather - and the men
      wouldn't have any other women with them.

      Yui says, "so you came to love this place."

      Sachiko gives a tiny nod. In a very small voice, she says, "I couldn't
      protect you."

      Yumi asks what she meant. Sachiko says that at the Kyougoku home they
      were talking about Yumi.

      Yumi is not surprised. She asks what was said.

      Ridiculous things, Sachiko says. Just remembering it makes her get
      upset all over again. They were talking about a foolish unwritten
      article for the school newspaper.

      Now what, think Yumi, and asks Sachiko to tell her. Outwardly, Yumi
      seems cool, but inside she's uneasy.

      Sachiko finally admits that it was about the rice. It's not even worth
      mentioning.

      Ah, Yumi thinks, it was the rice. Well, that would make a funny story.
      Yumi apologizes for embarrassing Sachiko.

      Sachiko says that that's not it. She's sorry for embarrassing Yumi.
      Don't you understand, she asks. I didn't notice your discomfort, or
      the pain in your eyes. That's the worst.

      Sachiko isn't good at conveying her feelings. Like an irritable child,
      Sachiko lifts her palms up to the ceiling and kicks her feet. She
      makes fists and brings her arms down. Yumi, she says, I wanted you to
      think of our time together as fun.

      Yumi says emphatically that it is fun. Sachiko calls her a liar. Yumi
      insists - no, really, hard times, painful times, they are all fun.
      Sachiko starts to relax her fists.

      Yumi goes on to say that just being together with Sachiko is happiness
      and asks Sachiko "Can't you understand?" If Sachiko wants to go home,
      then of course, she will go with her. If Sachiko decides to stay,
      we'll be together. Yumi smiles, and she can see that Sachiko's
      expression has softened, so she sighs.

      Sachiko says that she does understand, and if Yumi's willing, she'd
      like to stay through Monday. Yumi can tell that Sachiko is thinking
      that she really hates to run away.


      5

      Friday morning they receive an invitation to a party from Saionji
      Yukari for Saturday evening. It is addressed to both of them.
      Yesterday two of them came bay, tomorrow the next trouble. They talk
      about what to do.


      "It's obvious what you should do. Don't go." Says a girl with braided
      hair.

      A fluffy cotton-candy haired western doll mutters, "This is so
      infantile - like grade school teasing." Sitting next to the western
      doll is a Japanese doll.

      At first glance, looking like a boy, the last sits and sips her tea,
      but says nothing.

      It's just after noon on Saturday.

      This intimate scene is in the Rose Mansion...not. Wrong, it's the
      Ogawasara summer home. Not a dream, or a prayer by a hopeless Yumi,
      either. These are the real thing.

      It's not chance, either.

      On Wednesday Yumi had sent out postcards. Thursday they arrived at the
      Shiazu and Toudou households. Yoshino and Shimako conferred and
      decided to go to Sachiko's summer house. Since Rei and Yoshino's plans
      were for Friday, they decided they could visit Saturday.

      Yoshino tells Yumi that her postcard sounded grown up and bored. So,
      she talked to Shimako about it. Since the house's address was written
      on the card, they both got the feeling that they were being asked to
      come. Yoshino apologizes if they jumped to a conclusion - and is
      surprised that Sachiko was the one who wrote the address.

      Shimako looks a little ashamed, but Noriko says that if the address
      was on a postcard, it meant that Rosa Chinensis wanted them to come.

      Yumi thinks that Sachiko did it for her.

      But, back to the party. Sachiko hasn't sent an answer to the
      invitation - there hardly seems any point in doing so this close to
      the party. Yumi says that Sachiko is perplexed about what to do.

      Sachiko is currently at Touko's family's home. She was reluctant to
      leave, but Touko's grandfather is there - he was Sachiko's deceased
      grandmother's attending physician and she feels she ought to visit.

      Rei says that she understands Sachiko. Yoshino says, "Understand what?
      " Rei explains - Sachiko is very upset . It's hard to not take up the
      challenge when its provoked. And if she retreats, it wouldn't drive
      the attackers away.

      Yumi thinks that Rei understands Sachiko well - and she says she
      understands, somehow.

      Rei goes on to say that the challenge is to Yumi, too. Sachiko's
      afraid of being shunned socially, but more than that, she's afraid
      that Yumi will return her rosary.

      They all understand the weightyness of this threat.

      If it were just Sachiko, Rei explains, she'd go to the party. An angry
      Sachiko doesn't show mercy - she'd wade in, find their weak points and
      attack.

      Noriko points out that this time Yumi is with Sachiko...

      Rei agrees and says that that is why Sachiko is perplexed, since Yumi
      is the target.

      Yoshino asks Yumi what she wants to do. Yumi doesn't know which route
      to choose. If they go, it'll be bad, if they don't, it's running away.

      So, you're likely to go, Yoshino asks.

      Yumi says yes. Yoshino nods and calls her a baka.

      Shimako also says that it's a foolish (baka) idea. It's a trap. Go
      home - in fact, come home with us. We'll all take the Shinkansen.

      Yumi shakes her head - no, she'll go home with oneesama.

      Sachiko returns home - she meets their eyes and says that she's glad
      that they've come.

      Yoshino apologizes for their impertinence. Shimako says that if
      Sachiko hadn't written the address on the card, they'd have never
      found the house in this labyrinth.

      Sachiko boastfully agrees. Noriko says that it's like a safe
      combination. Rei laughs and calls this Sachiko's secret base. Sachiko
      agrees - yes, her secret base.

      Sachiko looks happy, and asks Yoshino and Rei how their walk up Mt.
      Fuji went.

      Rei complains. They had to sleep in a hut 1/2way up. There were lots
      of people moving around, snoring, a big old lady nearby who ground her
      teeth...It was awful.

      Sachiko inquires how the rising sun was.

      Rei says that they worshipped it and Yoshino makes a peace sign.

      This is the first time Yumi has ever heard the rising sun from Fuji
      called "raikou". It's certainly worth being worshipped, but since she
      didn't know their religious affiliation, and school is Catholic, Yumi
      just assumed that Rei and Yoshino weren't interested.

      Lots of blisters - Rei says that the walk back down was like an onsen.
      Rei shows them the blisters on one foot and tells them that Yoshino
      rode a horse on the way down. Yoshino shouts "You said you wouldn't
      tell!" and pushes Rei. With one foot up, and off balance, Rei ends up
      falling off her chair.

      Sachiko asks Shimako how their vacation has been and she says it was
      just day trips.


      6


      Happy times pass too fast.

      The hand on the clock points to 4. The guests all prepare to leave,
      Sachiko asks them to stay over.

      They ask her to return to Tokyo with them.

      They part with "See you at school."

      In the middle of her beloved woods, Sachiko waves at them with big
      motions.

      Yumi and Sachiko turn back to the quiet of the house.

      "Yumi?" Sachiko asks.

      "Yes," Yumi answers.

      "Is it okay?"

      Yumi gives a big nod. Sachiko has decided, she can tell. "I'll
      accompany you to the Saionji residence."

      ***

      By the way.

      Mami and Tsutako find themselves unexpectedly running into each other,
      far away, in the middle of the woods.

      Tsutako asks how Mami did following the White Rose sisters. Mami
      replies that she lost them midway - I missed the bus they took.
      Tsutako understands - you don't want to lose them, but you don't want
      to be seen. Mami tried to follow them on the next bus, but couldn't
      find them.

      Tsutako was waiting for the Yellow Roses at the bottom of Mt. Fuji,
      but they didn't come down the way they went up and she missed them.

      Pathetic, says Mami.

      Serves us right, laughs Tsutako.

      At the same time, they ask, so what brings you here?

      They had both thought that since they lost their original target,
      they'd go look for the Red Rose sisters. Neither has found them, so
      they decide to work together.

      The come to a low stone wall. It doesn't feel like ther's a mansion
      there - no high walls, no security, no sleeping beauty castle, no
      impenetrable thorns.

      They puzzle over the nameplate that says "Sawa", and walk on. The next
      house is more like their preconception, with high walls. But the name
      plate clearly reads - in Romaji - "Kyougoku."

      They can hardly walk up and down, knocking on doors asking for the
      Ogasawara house, so when the sun starts setting, they give up. As they
      turn towards the station, they see a mirage - the yellow and white
      rose sisters, like a fairytale vision.

      Maybe its really winter and we're freezing todeath and this is just a
      dream of a summer day, Mami says.

      Tsutako says that if it's a dream that's fine, as long as I can press
      the shutter.

      Mami says, right, it is a dream, we can still run after them and get a
      surprise interview.

      The dream of a Lillian Kawaraban super special Summer holiday
      supplement, extra large format - a good place to display their skills.

      ***

      Concluded in Part 4
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