“This won’t happen again, Queen.”
“Yes. Next time, I will make you love me, brother.”
(Ending X-02 Open 05/01 16:30)
Nevertheless, We Cannot Reconcile Our Differences
School let out for the day.
The fun part of the incomplete Golden Week – that is, the long weekend – started tomorrow, so most of the students were rushing joyfully out of the school.
Shiroyama Kyousuke, however, had a grim look on his face.
A sun shower poured from the beautiful evening sky. Glittering orange light was reflected throughout the scene outside the window, but the one boy remaining in the classroom was facing a certain individual.
It was the White Queen.
The summoner wore a school uniform and the monster was displayed on the Rainy Screen.
They faced each other through the red window, one on the classroom floor and the other in midair outside.
<Oh, dear. Oh, dear. You go unrewarded yet again, brother.>
She giggled as she spoke using the directional speakers.
<The heirs of Telomere’s End were defeated, the deathless world was rejected, human civilization was saved, and you rescued a girl’s life while you were at it. You managed to fit 101 people on a lifeboat that should have only been able to hold 100, yet no one thanks you. Isn’t it about time you gave up on the human world?>
The change to the Rainy Girl had entirely erased the deathless world incident that had followed from the previous Telomere’s End’s suicide, but the White Queen seemed to retain her memories of it.
Was that due to being an otherworldly Material or was it something only the White Queen could do?
“…Why are you here?”
<To comfort my brother as he gives himself over to sentimentality. But it looks like you might actually enjoy this sentimental mood, so am I intruding?>
“No ending could have been better. I can’t think of anything that was lost here. At the very least, I avoided falling for your trick and abandoning that girl.”
<My, my. I would expect nothing less from my brother.>
The floating White Queen truly seemed to be enjoying herself.
<When you weigh what is “right” against what is “kind”, you will mercilessly choose “kind” every time. In the extreme, you have proven you are willing to destroy the social system that supports seven billion people if it will let you save the one person before your eyes. And the very last hurdle was the idea that the distortion would occur even if the Rainy Girl was killed now…but you had no real proof of that, did you? You acted solely on your belief that that’s what I would do. No, it goes beyond that. You would have saved that girl even if there was no malice behind my actions, wouldn’t you have?>
<Yes, this is it! Yes! This is the answer I wanted most of all!! You scored a perfect 100, brother!!>
“What do you want to know?”
<You have to ask?>
The White Queen smiled as she leaned in closer.
She bent over to peer up at the boy through the window.
<If it is necessary to save the person before your eyes, you will use the “worst method”. Instead of one-sidedly accepting what is “right” and rejecting what is “wrong”, you keep more of an open mind.>
“Which is different from your close-minded acceptance of only what’s ‘pure’.”
<But I look “impure” to you, don’t I?>
He knew what she was trying to say, so he looked her in the eye and spoke.
“That is your delusion.”
<Is it, though? You never could have saved that Rainy Girl without the system built around me.>
She giggled and continued in a sweet voice.
<In other words, what if we continued doing the same thing? Didn’t I tell you before that we could solve half the world’s problems if we worked together?>
<We compromised and used a system built by someone else this time, but that’s just too much work. If you made a system with your superb technique and skill, don’t you think we could erase far more tragedies far more efficiently?>
The White Queen displayed on the Rainy Screen held her slender hand out toward Kyousuke.
<Now, brother. Let me ask the same question you did when saving that girl.>
She seemed to be asking him for a handshake.
<What if this was the last chance? What if your decision here would decide how I can be used and what if there were tragedies that could be stopped or not stopped depending on your choice? Now, brother, will you choose the right but cruel option or the kind but wrong option? What will you choose in this world that will be distorted in some way or another from the moment I appear inside it?>
Kyousuke looked down at his palm.
But he did not take the White Queen’s hand. He would never reach for the hand of that girl who floated outside the window.
“Is that how you kindly tempted Yasuzumi Hayato and Benikomichi Fuuki?”
His words seemed to freeze the entire area.
The White Queen continued smiling.
Her laugh was full of scorn.
And of satisfaction.
<Fwa ha ha. Fwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Yes! Yes, that is my brother! Even after all that, you can’t be shaken! Yes! Oh, yes! You truly are lovely!!>
“Aren’t you just imagining that?”
<No, no, no, no, no! That is not a choice just anyone can make. It’s the same with lasers, and nitroglycerin, and rockets! People tend to be very tolerant of technologies they know are useful!!>
<You can save so many more if you use me. You can erase tragedies after the fact if you join forces with me. …So give up on that grueling fight. They use that excuse and find themselves weakly sucking up to me before they know it. But – oh, honestly – but you, brother!! You look so thoughtful, but you’re really overflowing with a childish idea of justice! How can I not find that adorable!!!???>
“You failed. Can you really laugh after that?”
<Of course!! After all, this loss was nothing more than a ceremony to reconfirm that my beloved brother has what it takes to love me. Yes, yes. I believe this phrase applies: I lost the battle, but I am winning the war.>
At that point, the White Queen asked a question instead.
It was not a warning filled with sharp thorns.
She sounded like she was rolling around the most enjoyable experience on her tongue.
<It is true this ended with happiness for everyone. The Rainy Girl was not killed, the culprit did not become a murderer, and Telomere’s End did not commit suicide after failing to kill him. Yes, yes. And his ideology that killing people will guide history in the right direction fell apart after he missed a target and everything turned out okay. In other words, that assassin group stopped slaughtering people. It was the perfect happy ending.>
<But what if the opposite happened? What if your choice influenced the fate of the world, but the butterfly effect twisted the entire world in the negative direction?>
Kyousuke did not hesitate to answer.
“I would do whatever it took to take responsibility for every last thing my decision had changed.”
If the White Queen was a monster, then so was the boy who faced her.
At the very least, he showed some hints of that.
<Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Yes! Now that is my brother!! Not only do you say you would singlehandedly take responsibility for screwing up the world, you have the techniques and skill to possibly pull it off!! Just how much of a monster are you, brother!?>
Kyousuke narrowed his eyes.
The boy’s techniques and the Queen’s power.
If they worked together, who could say how much they could accomplish?
But he did not want to see where that led.
“We will never understand each other.”
<And that is why I love you.>
“I can’t join you.”
<Doesn’t that just make it all the more exciting?>
The White Queen’s outline blurred.
The deathless world plan had never even been started in this altered world, so the White Queen’s body would never have been summoned and sealed inside the abandoned civilian space station.
Then what was this here?
He had no way of proving it, but Kyousuke suspected she was using brute force to reject the changes he had made.
But even that must have reached its limit.
She would vanish soon. She would return to the other world. And she would eventually reappear somewhere in this world.
Shiroyama Kyousuke did not feel sentimental about the White Queen vanishing.
He instead threw his words at her.
“This won’t happen again, Queen.”
<Yes. Next time, I will make you love me, brother.>
And thus, the two of them parted ways.
Even after saving the world and even after rescuing a girl from unavoidable tragedy, they would still never work together.