Just a note for all of you, the story takes place between episodes 12-15 of Witchblade, so if you haven't seen the series up to that point, please do.
Tozawa stood outside of Masane's apartment. Masane hadn't come out of her room for the last two days. Tozawa raised his hand ready to knock at the door. He knocked once, no answer. Twice, No answer. After one last try, he walked away.
Masane lay weeping in a fetal position upon her bed, knowing that she wasn't Rihoko's real mother was one thing, but having her daughter taken away by force had taken a lot out of her. She turned to look up at the pale ceiling. She flashed back to when she had awoken merely days after the great quake. Everything and everyone she had known was gone, all she had was the Witchblade, and her daughter.
And now, the one thing that meant everything to her in life was gone. She sobbed as she reached her hand up to the lights on the ceiling, and weakly uttered "Riko…"
At her room in the NSWF, Reina sat in an armchair reading a book on parent-child psychology. She thought of this as good teaching tool to help her with Rihoko through her life until it was time for Rihoko to leave the nest as wielder of the witchblade. Rihoko sat in her room, bored out of her mind as she clung to a few of Maria's stuffed animals. She looked at the mane on the stuffed lion, and imagined that Masane was holding it. Ever since she had been taken to the NSWF, Reina had hardly done anything with her. She wanted to speak up to Reina, but she also feared that she would be punished for speaking to a "proper" lady like that. Back outside, Reina checked her watch, it was 10 P.M. she got up and walked to Rihoko's room.
"It's Ten O'clock Rihoko, time for bed."
Rihoko understood Reina's orders, but decided to have a little fun.
"Awwwww Mommy, can't I stay up a little longer?"
Reina was unamused "No Rihoko, you need to rest after a long day. Come, I'll tuck you in." Rihoko, looking disappointed, changed into her pajamas, and let Reina pick her up and place her in bed, tucked the sheets over her, and kissed her goodnight. She then walked away. Rihoko turned over in bed to where Masane usually lay next to her, it wasn't the same now. She had tried to sneak into Reina's room to sleep with her, but Reina just shooed her away telling her she was "Far to old to sleep with her mother". She closed her eyes as tears rolled down her face, "Mommy" she said alone in the darkness.
In her room, Reina picked up her recorder "Day 2 with Rihoko. She seems to be a very rebellious child, unwilling to adhere to my rules or orders, I don't know how that woman raised my daughter, but she's getting harder and harder to work with. She has to understand that around here, things are different, that you're going to have to learn that your own individual acts will end up hurting others. I've got a busy day tomorrow, and I worry about bringing Rihoko with me to work, father will certainly reprimand me for bringing a natural-born child into the facility, but at the same time, I doubt any of the Neogenes would bother to watch over her." She put her recorder down, and went to bed.
The same stress filled the air in the parlor of the Natsuki building. Mr. Cho sat at the bar, his usual cheerfulness gone.
"You're hitting the liquor pretty hard Cho," Mariko said "I'm gonna have to cut you off soon, if ya don't quit your moaning"
Mr. Cho, who was drunk out of his mind yelped "I'm sorry Marry….but it's just so sad to see Melanie in a position like this…she didn't deserve to have the NSWF to take her daughter like that! We're her real family!" his voice constantly growing louder. "Not some Bureaucrat from the NSWF!"
Mariko sighed "We did all we could Cho, but that's the way this world works. Ever since she came back, Melanie hasn't spoken to us, she hasn't even come out of her room. I worry that she may be turning Suicidal." Tozawa then walked into the room with a look of dismay on his face. Mr. Cho let out one last cry before passing out, Mariko then asked Michael to take Mr. Cho to his room. As Michael left with Mr. Cho's intoxicated body over his shoulder, Tozawa sat at the counter with a look of sadness.
"Any luck?" Asked Mariko hoping for a sign.
Tozawa slumped over the counter. "Nah, I knocked several times, she still hasn't answered."
"So it's come to this huh?" Mariko said. She looked under the desk, and produced a key, and handed it to Tozawa "Desperate times call for desperate measures. This is the master key to the building. I'm sure you know what to do with it."
Tozawa Nodded and walked up the stairwell.
Morning came at the NSWF's main Building. Reina was up earlier than Rihoko, she showered, dressed up in her usual red dress shirt and skirt, and organized her handbag for a long day. Rihoko got up and scuttled out into the foyer of Reina's apartment, she saw her mother speaking into her recorder. Reina noticed Rihoko and spoke up.
"Good morning Rihoko, how did you sleep?"
"I slept okay Mom." Rihoko said in a bit of a haze.
Reina smiled, but at the same time she felt concerned as she walked toward her daughter, "Listen Rihoko, Mommy has a very busy day at work today, I won't be back for a while. Until then, you are not to leave the room until I get back, do you understand?"
Rihoko tried holding back her tears, she never had to deal with anything like this with Masane. She knew that whenever Masane went to work, she had the people within the Natsuki building to trust, but here, she was left alone. Reina didn't bother hiring a sitter, she immediately assumed that her daughter would be fine on her own given the toys that she had purchased for Rihoko. She let out a very timid "All right." As Reina leaned in to comfort her.
"Don't worry Rihoko, I promise you that Mommy won't be that long, I'll get done with today's work as fast as I can, and then we'll spend the evening together! How does that sound?"
Rihoko nodded as Reina kissed her forehead, she then walked out the doorway, securing the lock from the outside so that Rihoko wouldn't wander about the facility like mouse lost in a maze.
Rihoko walked back into her room, and closed her bedroom door behind her.
Tozawa didn't get the chance to use the key the previous night; he had way too much work to do regarding his research on the NSWF and the one called "father". He decided to use the key next morning. With a large lump in his throat, he placed the key in the keyhole, turned it, and opened the door. "please be okay" he said to himself as he walked through the door. He was relieved yet very unsettled by what he saw. Masane was indeed alive, but she was sprawled out on the bed with a blank, almost comatose look in her eyes. Her wrinkled clothes and messy hair suggested she hadn't showered in her time home. Tozawa placed his hand on Masane's wrist. Tozawa breathed a sigh of relief once he felt Masane's weak but constant pulse.
Masane tilted her head up like a ragdoll as she looked Tozawa right in the face. "Tozawa…" she said very weakly.
"hey Melanie…" Tozawa said trying to sound nonchalant "I just wanted to know how you're doing." He knew that it was stupid trying to say such a thing, but at this rate, making conversation with Masane would be one way to tap into her mind.
"I feel…weak…" Masane said as she pulled herself up from the sheets as if she was Frankenstein's monster.
It pained Tozawa to see Masane in manner like this, but knowing what she had lost, it was understandable why she felt like this. "Listen, why don't you take a shower and clean yourself up, I'll make you some coffee."
Masane then planted both feet on the ground, and stood up with an awkward wobble "okay…" she said, and limped towards the bathroom.
It was Lunch time at the NSWF, and Rihoko made some sandwiches, two to be exact. One for her, and one for Reina should she return early. She looked at the Sandwich on the other plate, tears flowed into her eyes. It was unfair that the NSWF Could wield such a power over the decisions parents made with their children. She finished her sandwich, looked inside the drawers for Cellophane wrap. She finally found some, and placed it over the sandwich, which she put in the fridge.
She looked out the window at the harbor, watching the boats going back and forth. She imagined that she was out there on a fishing boat with Masane, both of whom were looking to catch their evening's "Dinner". She imagined the whole Natsuki building in their swimsuits out on a summer's cruise on a Yacht. She kept thinking to pass the time, but it was all she could do without anyone to keep her company.
She looked at the clock. It was a quarter past one. She looked at all the animals in her room. She pushed all the others aside, and picked up the large stuffed Giraffe, and held it as if she was clinging to Masane's chest. This was not home, it was a prison. And she was being held captive on behalf of the NSWF.
She sighed in sadness, but then, an idea floated into her head, and her sadness had vanished. She was going to show her mother what she was capable of! She walked over to the kitchen area, checked the fridge that had been recently stocked. She didn't have as much to work with as she did with back home, but her face still lit up. "I'll show her!" She thought to herself.
Reina had spent most of her morning walking about, filing her logs at the NSWF, and talking with those in charge of research on the Witchblade and cloneblade projects, asking if they had made any progress. Then, at noon, she received a call to go to the office of Furumizu. She sat nervously in Father's office, she felt bad knowing that had yet another burden placed upon her with adopting Rihoko. Furumizu had his chair turned away from Reina, looking out the windows. "So, Ms. Soho, you've finally brought your daughter home. Tell me, what's she like?"
Reina searched the catacombs of her mind for words, she couldn't really describe Rihoko in a way that didn't sound awkward to Furumizu. "Well, she's rather quiet, and collected. She's a very organized child, which is more than what I could say about her adoptive mother. She seems to be homesick, but I feel that she'll grow into this place over time."
"Time…" Furumizu said, Reina's body felt cold as his gruff words echoed through her brain. Furumizu turned around to face Reina, he looked cross. "My child, why did you decide to give birth?" Reina couldn't answer the question as Furumizu's cold stare paralyzed her ability to speak. "Why did you choose to become intimate with the man from the Douji Group? Why did you choose to wield the cloneblade? Why have you made such irrational choices in your life?"
Reina started to open her mouth to speak, her words coming out very slowly. "Because…I…am…only human…"
Furumizu shook his head. "You are no human Mrs. Soho. You are a product of my own flesh and blood. You were the one chosen to steal the Witchblade from the Douji Group, but instead, you go against my wishes and decide to have a child."
Reina was honestly scared, she had never heard father speak to her like this.
"You have already witnessed what has happened to your other blade-wielding sisters. Shiori, Nora, and soon…" he pointed his finger at Reina. "For you to bring in a child is nothing short of frivolous."
Reina looked at her cloneblade, her eyes started to well up. "But, it was by order of the NSWF, My daughter was staying with-"
Furumizu spoke up again "It doesn't matter why you chose to take her under your wing again. You are living under borrowed time. Where will your daughter go once you break down? How will she feel when she learns that Mother won't be coming home from a day of 'work?'. "
Reina, now in tears, couldn't speak, as she looked at her cloneblade again, she wanted to say she had an answer for Father's questions, but she didn't. she knew she had disobeyed the Collective, and this was her punishment.
"You, a Neogene, gave birth to a human daughter. You have aged quicker than she, and you will die quicker than she. At this point, you should decide what to do with her, should you perish."
Reina sobbed as she spoke. "If I have one wish…do not put her through the same hell you have put me through! She is not your daughter; she is my child, and she deserves to be a part of any family but yours!" as she angrily pointed her finger at Furumizu.
Father sighed. "Fine. I'll make preparations to find a suitable parent or guardian for your child. Until then, you'd best make the most of what little time you have."
Reina, her mind about to break down, nodded. Father then gave her the signal to leave.
Tozawa sat at the table as Masane got out of the shower. She put on her usual yellow blouse and blue jeans, both wrinkled, and sat at the table looking downward. It hurt Tozawa to see Masane in a state like this, it was almost as if she was suffering from shock, or a Lobotomy. Tozawa decided to make a move "So…do you want to go out to get something to eat? I'm sure you're more than famished after two day of eating nothing."
Masane weakly nodded. Tozawa got up from the chair, and took Masane by the hand. "Come on." He said, and with a little more strength in her legs, she walked along with Tozawa.
They walked through the Parlor as Mariko and Naomi looked on at the two, Mariko looked concerned.
"I'm glad to see she's still alive, but I worry for her sanity, she's not the same without her daughter."
Naomi smiled, "Don't worry, the forecast says that she'll find happiness within a few days!"
Mariko scoffed "How do you know that?"
Naomi blushed "I-It's only a prediction, just take it with a grain of salt!"
Reina looked at her watch. It was 4 P.M. her head ached from her scolding by Furumizu. She walked over to the training facility, as she saw Maria angrily punching a sandbag to the point where the rear started leaking from the impact of her punches. Nishida stood in the corner with a stop-watch. Nishida gave Maria the signal to stop, but Maria kept punching until the bag fell off the chain spilling sand everywhere. A team of researchers eventually came in to stop her, as Maria stood breathing heavily. Reina shook her head as she walked down the hallway. She heard Maria screaming "Why did you stop me? I wasn't finished!" she thought about how soon, Rihoko would be on her own again, and what would happen next?
She sat on an office chair in a nearby lounge room, as she looked at a painting of Furumizu that hung ominously on the wall. He said that he would find a home for Rihoko should something happen, but she knew father would not keep his promise. She shuddered at the idea of the NSWF Using Rihoko as their own guinea pig. To take an innocent child who has a long life to live, and strip her of her freedoms and ideas, and turn her into a weapon wanted to make her vomit. "Please don't hurt her" She thought as her tears rolled down her face.
"Good afternoon Reina!" A voice rang out, it was Nishida.
Reina turned her head as Nishida started brewing a pot of Coffee, "oh…hey…" she said with her voice shaking.
"What's the matter?" Asked Nishida.
"it's my daughter…" Reina said.
Nishida perked up, "Oh, that's right, you finally brought your daughter home! So, what's she like?"
"Well, she seems very quiet, but very ambiguous. She always wants do something for me, but I think she tries to do too much for a girl her age. I just worry that…should I break down…" Tears came into her eyes again "That she'll have no one else to turn to, and she'll be just another test subject for the NSWF. She's not a neogene like me or Maria, she's a human being whose life is indispensable."
Nishida looked at Reina in an odd fashion. "You really do care for your daughter, don't you?"
Reina nodded. "Nishida…I'm dying. First Shiori, then Nora, and soon…I'll go along with the rest of them, Disposable in the eyes of Father."
Nishida sighed. "I can't help you, Reina. But I'll try and make sure that your daughter will be in hands of a suitable guardian."
"thank you." said Reina, as she walked out of the room.
The clock in Tozawa's car read 4:30 as the pulled up in front of a Café. The song playing on the radio wasn't helping the mood as Masane lay in the passenger's seat staring blankly out the window. Both he and Masane walked in, and sat at a table.
A Waitress handed them two menus, as Masane looked on with the same spaced-out look she had on all day.
"Well, come on, speak! If there's anyone here you can speak to, speak to me, I'm all ears." Tozawa said.
Masane finally broke her long silence. "It's over Tozawa."
Tozawa looked concerned. "What do you mean?"
Masane looked up, her eyes full of tears. "I have nothing else left in life. Sure, I have the Witchblade, and I can still fight, but for what purpose? I have no one to protect."
Tozawa's look of concern turned into one of rage. "That's not true! You've saved more people from those…things…than the police ever could, you're a hero in my eyes!"
Masane shook her head. "No…you don't understand…I have no one left to fight for. The only person I sought out to protect is Rihoko. Now that she's gone, I don't know where to go next."
Tozawa tried to keep his frustration to a minimum, but he couldn't help but yell at Masane. "Don't be ridiculous Melanie! I lost my family and-" Tozawa wanted to finish that sentence, but he couldn't, he didn't want to say that everything was okay with him,
Tears continued to roll down Masane's face. "You may have lost your family in the great quake, but when it hit, I lost everything."
Tozawa calmed down and asked "What do you mean everything?"
"I have no memory of who I am. All I know is that I am Masane Amaha, a Twenty-Three year old woman living in Tokyo with the one I called my daughter, and chosen wielder of this stupid thing..." She said out of anger as she held up her wrist showing off the Witchblade "Frankly, that's all I can remember."
Tozawa seemed perplexed. "Can't you remember anything else?"
"No. All I remember is waking up on a slab of cement in Tokyo bay with Rihoko in my arms, they took me in for treatment, and let me go. I don't remember anything before that. I don't even know if I really am 'Masane Amaha'"
Tozawa finally understood. "So, Rihoko really was the only thing you had in your life?"
Masane nodded as she sobbed.
"Wow…I Guess I feel your pain now…living with amnesia, and now knowing that all you've had in your life is gone. I honestly don't know what else to say…" Tozawa thought to himself
Masane tried to smile, but couldn't. "it's okay. I don't know what to say either…I just pray that Ms. Soho is taking good care of Riko. I hope someday I can see her again."
Tozawa smiled. "I hope so too." The two ordered from the menu. Tozawa ordered shrimp udon, while Masane ordered a Burger with fries. A few minutes passed and their orders arrived. After taking one bite, she said sadly "I can't taste anything…"
Tozawa's eyes widened. "What!"
"No, I can still taste it, it's just not as good as the ones Rihoko made for me…"
Tozawa sighed. "I worry for you Melanie…I really do…"
Reina came home at around Six Thirty, as she turned the key to unlock her apartment door. She was stressed out, and wanted to relax. She had thought about Rihoko all day, and wondered what a child her age had been up to.
"Rihoko, I'm home." There was no sight of Rihoko, well, not immediately anyway. She looked around worried that Rihoko might have run off, until she smelled something coming from the kitchen area. She walked over and her Jaw dropped. There, sitting on the dining table, was a large bowl of rice, two Hamburg steaks, some shrimp skewers, a salad, and two glasses of water. Reina looked at the display before her as if she had seen a ghost. She felt a tug at her skirt.
"Welcome home Mommy…" Rihoko said, her eyes full of optimism.
Reina's jaw dropped again. "R-Rihoko…d-did you?"
Rihoko nodded, "I made everything all by myself!" she said happily. "I wanted to surprise you when you got home from work!"
Reina was utterly clueless as to what to say to Rihoko. On one hand, she was somewhat mad that a child her age was working in the kitchen by herself, risking the possibility of injuries, but on the other hand, she was utterly amazed that a child Rihoko's age was able to make such a feast.
"If there is one thing I have to complain about, you don't have the Spices I use for a dish like this, so it may taste a little salty."
Reina sat herself down at the table, with Rihoko taking a seat at the Opposite end. Reina cut herself a piece of steak, and popped a piece into her mouth. Her eyes lit up in amazement, the flavor exploded in her mouth. She had never tasted anything this good in a while. She didn't want to submit to her child, but she was in such a moment of awe, that she couldn't hold back her thoughts.
"This…is Delicious! Y-You didn't have to do this for me Rihoko!" she said as Rihoko sat down and started eating her steak.
Rihoko swallowed and let out a passionate "You're welcome!" Rihoko took a few more bites, then spoke up again "You should try some of my cooking more often Mommy, I can make almost anything!"
Reina smiled…"That won't be Necessary Rihoko, I'm more than capable of feeding myself."
Rihoko looked hurt, but at the same time she had to accept that Reina was much different than Masane, she was not the peppy outgoing woman she knew, she was much more stoic and "Lady"-like.
They finished the meal, Reina enjoying every bite. When it came time to clear the table, Rihoko quickly took all the plates off table, and using the stepping stool, placed them all in the sink.
Reina was bemused at this sight. A child, not even ten years old, was dedicated to her work around the house. She walked over and asked if she could help Rihoko, Rihoko of course said yes, and the dish washing was finished in less than ten minutes.
"You really are a special child Rihoko." Reina said as she smiled.
"Thank you Mommy!" Rihoko replied finally feeling warmth within her.
Reina checked her watch, it was almost Eight O'clock. She didn't want to send Rihoko to bed so early, so instead, she sat down on the couch, holding a Parenting magazine, while Rihoko sat in an armchair as dead silence filled the room.
Reina cast a stare at an enthusiastic looking Rihoko, she remembered how earlier she promised that she'd spend the evening Rihoko, so she figured now would be a good time to strike up a conversation.
"So tell me…Rihoko...how was your day today?" she said unassumingly.
"kinda boring, But when I made dinner for you it brightened up a bit. Still, it's lonely around here without you." She didn't want to tell Reina anything about her life back at the Natsuki building, she wanted to act as if she had moved on from those days. Not once had she mentioned anything about Masane. "I Just wish you'd spend more time with me…" Rihoko sighed.
Reina walked over to Rihoko and placed her hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry Rihoko, but Mommy has to work almost every day. She can't be home all the time, but I promise you on my next day off, I'll take you out for a day. Is there any place you would like to go?"
In her mind Rihoko wanted to tell Reina that she wanted to go back to the Natsuki building to see her friends, but was afraid to tell her straightforward. "Well…I'd like to go fishing in the bay area, and then we could go shopping for clothing, your wardrobe could use some more variety! I'd also like to go to the marketplace to shop for some food; you could use a larger spice cabinet! Also, Maybe we could go to the…"
"Slow down Rihoko!" Reina said looking rather overwhelmed "I don't know if we'll have time to do everything during my days off, but I promise you we'll have a day out!"
Rihoko smiled. "Okay Mommy!"
Reina knew that this was a promise that would be hard to keep. Work at the NSWF was becoming so demanding that asking for a day off would be an arduous task. Still, she was starting to understand how much her daughter cared for her, and wanted to make a good impression upon her.
Time passed in the silent room before Rihoko decided to go to bed. Reina tucked her in and kissed her good night as usual, then went to her room and picked up her Recorder again.
"Day 3 since I have taken Rihoko in. she's not the child I thought she would be coming from such a neglectful mother. She's been very caring, and treated me to a nice dinner tonight. Even so, I start to worry what would happen if I was to leave her alone. I know that when I first found her she was all alone with no guardian to tend to her sickness. Her adoptive mother should be ashamed for ignoring a child who could catch a cold in the midst of summer. I'm thinking of having a sitter look after her on days when I have to work longer hours. Nishida along with Tobio and Yukari seem like the best candidates. Father tells me that I shouldn't have taken her in, that I'm being irrational, but she's my child, she deserves to be loved by her real mother, not some drifter who can't be there when something bad ha-"
Reina paused very briefly; she remembered the last words Masane had said to Rihoko before they parted ways. that she'd be better off without Rihoko, that it would be less stressful financially on her, and that she could have all the fun she wanted. But what did she really mean? Was she being serious, or just suppressing her true feelings? Did she really care for Rihoko that much? To Reina, Masane was nothing more than a fraud as a mother, but after her lecture by Furumizu, and how he had told her that she would die soon, it finally dawned on her that with her leaving Rihoko to herself, and being forced to tell Rihoko that she would soon part ways with her, she was no Different than Masane in terms of irrationality.
"Maybe I'm wrong…" Reina said "Maybe that woman who was taking care of Rihoko cared for her more than I thought. Maybe she wasn't being selfish, but remorseful. Maybe father is right, and that I deserve my fate for not only giving birth, but also taking on the duties of a mother when my first priority lies in seeking the Witchblade…" She said as tears flowed into her eyes yet again. "If I die…I want that woman to have her back…she deserves a second chance as a mother."
Tozawa pulled in at around Seven P.M. At this point Masane was no longer in her comatose state that she was in the morning, but she still had lingering feelings of shock over losing Rihoko.
"So…you said you don't really have any aspirations in life. But, let me ask, if you did, what could you see yourself doing?" Tozawa asked hoping to take Masane's mind off the issue at hand.
Masane looked out the window. "Well, I guess…I guess I could see myself as a nurse."
"Yeah… A Nurse" Masane said with hints of optimism in her voice. "I'd get to work with children, tell people to feel better, but I guess I'd be a nurse to take care of Rihoko when she got sick."
Tozawa tried to shake the Image of Masane as one of those "Naughty Nurses" he saw in Soap Operas and Sex comedies; he quickly decided to change the subject. "So tell me, what did this Soho Lady say to you?"
"Well, she told me that I was unfit to be Rihoko's Mother, that I wasn't there for her when she fell ill. I told Rihoko to just accept the fact that I'm not her mother, and this woman who gave birth to her will be her caretaker from now on. Me, I just said that parting ways was the best thing that could happen to me. I'm free now to do whatever I want…"
"Melanie!" Tozawa said out of anger.
"I didn't mean it the way you think I did. At this point I Couldn't run anymore, I had to face the truth that I'm not Rihoko's Mom. Now I'm just a drifter lost in a sea of hopelessness." She said still looking out the window.
Tozawa sighed "I see….So…how do you feel now Melanie?" Tozawa said as he lit up a cigarette.
"Could you not smoke? The scent makes me nauseous; besides, I haven't smoked in my life as far as I can remember. Then again, Rihoko always told me smoking was bad for my health". Masane said with a bit of a smile on her face
Tozawa dropped the cigarette on the pavement. He smiled. "Welcome home Melanie!"
Masane looked at Tozawa. "Thank you for taking me out today. I feel much better now that I got all of those bad thoughts out of my mind." She looked up at the crescent moon in the sky. "You know, I bet that right now Rihoko is thinking about me, and she's telling her new mother all the fun we had together." She said with optimism. "That she's making her a very nice dinner for her, and saying that she used to do the same for me all the time." Masane sighed "I Just hope they don't use her to advance their agenda…"
Tozawa placed his hand on Masane's shoulder. "I'm sure she's okay too." He looked at Masane giving her a reassuring look. "I'm gonna do some more investigative work tonight, I'll call Takayama and tell him what's going on, maybe he can do something for you."
Masane looked at Tozawa and smiled "Thank you…" and walked into the building straight up to her room. Tozawa took out another cigarette and lit it up as he looked up at the building. "Hang in there Melanie…" he said.
Masane went up to her room, unlocked the door, and spread herself out on the bed. She looked up at the ceiling again, then turned to face the witchblade. She clenched her fist and slammed it firmly on the mattress. She started crying again out of anger for both Rihoko and the witchblade. She was not okay; she had lied to Tozawa about how she felt. She continued to sob as the room became engulfed in darkness.
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