Over the mountains,
far to travel, people say,
Alas, and I went,
in the crowd of the others,
and returned with a tear-stained face. *
A small girl plays alone in a narrow park facing the parking lot of the massive general hospital.
°»That girl is Diana, isn°«t she?°…
Kula asked the tall woman at her side. The girl was always here at the designated time and remained here for a certain amount of time. Pale and slight, her play, if one can call it that, consists solely of a short-lived sit on the swing.
°»Would you like to be her friend, Kula?°…
I°«ll try to talk to her tomorrow.
She looks like she°«s so alone.
She must be about three years younger than I am.
She always comes out of the hospital, but I wonder if there°«s anything wrong with her.
I got it. I°«ll introduce her to Candy, too, if things work out.
I°«m sure she°«d hit it off with Candy, too.
The following day the girl never came to the park even though it was her usual time.
Kula sat on the swing all by herself and gently swang back and forth.
She looked up at the square of sky visible above the buildings.
The puffy white line of a jet stream floated in the high, high sky
The white trail drawn in the sky faded slowly as time passed.
°»It seems she died yesterday, Kula.°…
°»Uh, huh°ń. I thought so.°…
Diana leaned her back up against the support bars of the swing.
°»She had a series of surgeries, but she couldn°«t pull through. They were able to extend her life through certain procedures, but she just gave up.
°»They attached various machines to make her heart and things move.°…
°»°ńThat girl didn°«t want to go on living, did she?°…
°»Oh, heavens no. Why do you say that?°…
But I°«d do anything to keep on living Kula said to herself.
This body, too, isn°«t normal. I wouldn°«t mind ending up like Candy. If I can go on living. Or°ń
°»Or maybe there°«s something different between me and that girl.°…
Diana was dumbfounded by Kula gazing fixedly into her eyes
°»Uh, Diana. What°«s the difference between that girl and me?°…
°»I°«ll return your memories to you.°…
I°«m sure that°«s just what he said.
But my memory that was supposed to have been restored is nothing but vague images and fragments.
Just how many memories were planted, and how many are actually mine?
Why do I continue to fight?
K°« had the feeling he had seen this small town he was supposedly visiting for the first time somewhere before.
As he walked around, he recalled a variety of memories.
But these were not memories that man had promised to restore but memories he himself never had superimposed over his own.N.E.S.T.S., KOF, Maxima, Kula, Kyo Kusanagi, Ash Crimson°ńMukai°ń.
If the true memories of my past ever return, just what will happen to those memories I°«ve made up till now?
°»°ńHmph. I°«m definitely not myself.°…
I°«ll leave worrying about things like that to Maxima and the others.
The only worries I should have are how I°«m going to settle my accounts with the likes of Ash, Kyo Kusanagi, and Mukai°Ĺeach and every one of them.
Looking up at the sky in this unfamiliar town, he sees a single jet trail.
I°«ve seen this cloud somewhere before.
That is, I think I have.
(Whose recollection is this?)
Maxima stepped on to the veranda off his room just as the mandarin orange of early morning yields to ultramarine. He craves his first cigarette in a long while and pokes around his chest pocket, then he finally remembers: he°«d given up smoking years ago.
He can spy K°« as he looks down on the street from his veranda.
He looks as if he has spent the day wandering around and is on his back home.
Maxima took some time to consider his sidekick.
K°«, with the transplanted strengths of Kyo Kusanagi.
The supernatural being, Orochi.
And the Mukai who seek that power.
If people could change their own fated lot. Against the laws of nature, to survive on their own terms.
That once unimaginable °»Second Flame of Kusanagi°… it very self°ń
°»Well this is a change of pace. Is something wrong?°…
Fresh from his journey, K°« returns to find Maxima gazing up at the sky from his veranda.
°»No, nothing important.°…
Maxima scratches his head.
°»°∆Over the mountains, far to travel, people say, Happiness dwells.°«°ńI guess.°…
°»What are you talking about?°…
°»Happiness lies far beyond that jet trail up there, I suppose.°…
*Poem fragment: Carl Hermann Busse, °»Over the Mountains°…