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Stage Battle "WILL" - Part 2

[sfx: rain, footsteps]
Anne: Is this the place?
Yohei: A top-secret Alter Trigger facility, huh? Who'd have thought there'd be a place like this up here in the mountains.
Anne: Barbed wire on high walls...
Yohei: It's like a goddamn prison. Bastards.
[sfx: footsteps]
Yohei: ... ah. Looks like there's a gate over there.
Anne: You think Ryu might have gone in there?
Yohei: Yeah.
Anne: Let's go.
[sfx: gate opening, running]


[sfx: footsteps]
Yohei: Ryu? Ryu, you here? If you're here, answer me!
Anne: Ryu! We're here to pick you up, let's go back home!
Yohei: ... sorry to make you go to all this trouble.
Anne: Huh?
Yohei: I don't know. If you were able to print out the map, maybe you could have just taken a picture of it and sent it to me or something like that, right?
Anne: ... ah.
Yohei: You just realizing this now?
Anne: I was already jumping into the car before it occurred to me.
Yohei: ... seems like something you'd do.
Anne: I don't like just standing around and doing nothing, you know?
Yohei: You're not doing nothing. It's thanks to BAE that I was able to get here at all. I owe you guys one.
[sfx: footsteps]
Anne: But this place is so big and empty, with so many places to conduct experiments... it totally feels like we've wandered onto the set of a sci-fi movie.
Yohei: It's a creepy-ass place is what it is. What they did to all those kids here... just thinking about it makes my head start hurting.
[sfx: walking]
Yohei: ... maybe I was bein' too hard on Ryu, huh.
Anne: Huh?
Yohei: That guy's... you know how he is. And he says a bunch of weird shit. But I guess there must have been a reason for it. For real... never would have thought it was because he'd been experimented on by the Alter Trigger company, though.
Anne: Yeah...
Yohei: But... I guess I tried not to think too hard about it, much as I could get away with. Ryu is just Ryu. No more, no less. And don't even get me started on some shit like "feeling sorry for him", you know? ... I just accept Ryu for who he is now. So I don't go easy on him. I tell him off when he's being obnoxious. I try to teach him what's right and wrong. Is that wro--
Anne: [laughs]
Yohei: What. Did I say something funny?
Anne: It's just, Kanbayashi-san, you're acting like you're Ryu's parent.
Yohei: ...!
Anne: Heh. ... I'm a little jealous, actually.
Yohei: Mm?
Anne: Accepting someone for who they are, without reservation, without changing how you treat them... that's not a given, you know?
Yohei: I guess that's true...
Anne: It is true. It's really, really hard. There are a lot of real parents who can't even do that much for their children. Maybe the higher the expectations they have, the harder it is to accept their child when they don't meet them. That's how my mama was.
Yohei: ...
Anne: ... but, it's fine. The person you are now, Kanbayashi-san, is someone who can let Ryu be the person he is now.
Yohei: ...
Anne: Not that that's all there is to it, but I think you can tell when you listen to TCW's sound. You can hear how close you guys' bonds are. I don't think he'd be able to perform that way otherwise.
Yohei: ... heh. Maybe so.
[sfx: footsteps, very distant music]
Anne: ... hey! I hear piano!
Yohei: Ryu!
[sfx: running]


[sfx: piano being played one note at a time]
Ryu: ... there's nobody here anymore. Where'd everyone go...? The kids... the adults with white clothes... ... ... huh?
[sfx: door being kicked open]
Yohei: Ryu!
Anne: Ryu!
Ryu: ... mas...ter?
Yohei: The hell you doing somewhere like this...
[sfx: Yohei approaching]
Ryu: --!
Yohei: I'm here to pick you up. Let's go home.
Ryu: ... ... you've got the wrong guy! I have no idea who this Ryu-kun is!
Yohei: Don't be a dumbass! You think I'd mistake anyone else for you!?
Ryu: I- I'm not Ryu-kun! I'm not going anywhere with you!
Yohei: I didn't come all this way for nothing! Come on, let's go!
[sfx: Yohei grabbing Ryu]
Ryu: --!
Yohei: Seriously... you're covered in mud, did you fall down or something? Are you hurt?
Ryu: ...
[sfx: Ryu shoving Yohei]
Ryu: ... No! Ryu-kun isn't going back!! ... if he goes back, everyone will get hurt. He'll just cause trouble for everyone!
Yohei: You're already causing trouble by--
Ryu: No!! Way worse than that!! Like what happened to Brother[1]!! When Brother tried to help Ryu-kun, he--!!
[sfx: rain]
Ryu: ...!
Yohei: ... are you remembering something? About back then?
Ryu: ... ... yeah.
Yohei: This "Brother" guy. Who was that?
Ryu: ... the Brother who took care of Ryu-kun. His name was... ... ... name was... ... I don't... remember.
Yohei: Was he one of the Alter Trigger researchers?
Ryu: ... probably. But... but Brother was different from all the other adults in white clothes. He always looked sad when he was doing experiments on Ryu-kun.
Anne and Yohei: ...
Ryu: Whenever Ryu-kun had a bad dream, he'd hold Ryu-kun's hand until he could fall asleep... and sang lullabies to him. Sometimes, he'd cry while singing... and he'd say things like, "this is wrong". One night, he said... "Ryu-kun shouldn't stay here. I'll get you out of here. We're only going to have one chance, tonight. I'm going to save you." ... yeah. That night... it was raining then, too...
[sfx: rain]


[flashback begins]

Brother: Zero, you must know the truth, too, right? This is a terrible place. The doctors -- the adults in white -- the experiments they're doing on you are absolutely unforgivable.
Ryu: But... they say nice things to me.
Brother: It's... difficult to explain, you're special to them. But if they keep on experimenting, then you won't be you anymore.
Ryu: What does that mean?
Brother: ... it's probably better for you not to know. You need to get out of here anyway. Immediately. We only have one opportunity, tonight.
Ryu: ...
[sfx: door creaking open, Brother straining]
Brother: ... listen to me. Once you get out this door, run straight for the gate, okay?
Ryu: Yeah.
Brother: The gate's unlocked. Keep running, out into the woods, okay? Avoid the paved road. Just go right down the mountain.
Ryu: What about you?
Brother: ... of course, I'll be coming with you. But once you get out, no matter what happens, you can't look back. Okay?
Ryu: Got it.
Brother: Do you promise?
Ryu: Yeah. I promise.
Brother: Right, then. Let's go. One. Two. Three!
[sfx: door being forced open]
Brother: Run, Zero!
[sfx: running, heavy breathing]
Brother: Come on! Just a little bit further!
Guard: You there! What are you doing!? Halt right there!
[sfx: running, alarms buzzing]
Ryu: Brother!!
Brother: Don't look back, Zero! Look ahead and keep running!
Ryu: But--!
Brother: You promised!! Be a good kid who keeps his promises!
[sfx: Ryu running, panting]
Present Ryu: [narrating] Ryu-kun kept running. To keep his promise to Brother. He just looked forward and ran. But...
[sfx: running, splashing, stumbling]
Brother: Keep looking forward, Ryu! You can still be free!
[sfx: gunshot]
[sfx: rain]

[flashback ends]


[sfx: rain]
Ryu: [crying] Brother definitely... because he let Ryu-kun escape... because he set Ryu-kun free... because he was kind to Ryu-kun, he...!
Anne: ...
Yohei: ... Ryu. You...
Ryu: [crying] So Ryu-kun can't go back! Because if he's with everyone who's so nice to him, he's just going to be a burden to them! So Ryu-kun can't go back! He can't!!
Yohei: ... how fucking stupid are you!?!
Anne: K-Kanbayashi-san...
Yohei: The fuck are you saying!? Since the fuck when am I ever nice to you!?!
Ryu: ...?
Yohei: All I ever do is put my foot up your ass! You think you're gonna run away because you're gonna cause trouble for us!? You've been a massive pain in the ass this entire time!! You're already a burden!
Ryu: ... [crying]
Yohei: And it ain't just me! You give Saimon and especially Shiki nothing but grief too! But even with that, when the fuck did any of us tell you to leave!?
Ryu: ... you haven't...
Yohei: That's what I'm tryin' to say!
Ryu: But...
Yohei: Alter Trigger? Pfft. Look around you. All their shit's wrecked. They ain't gonna come after us now.
Ryu: ... [shuddering cry]
Yohei: And even in the unlikely event someone does come knocking, trying to put their hands on you, I ain't gonna fuckin' let that happen. Let 'em come at us with guns blazing, see how far that gets them!
Ryu: Master...
Yohei: I'm gonna protect every damn last one of you! Saimon, Shiki, and you, too, Ryu! I ain't handing over TCW or our bar that fuckin' easy! You got that, you dumbfuck!?
Ryu: [crying]
Yohei: Let's go home, Ryu.
Ryu: Maashtahahhh!!!
[sfx: Ryu throwing himself into hugging Yohei]
Yohei: --!
Ryu: [crying] I was so lonely! I was so sad! I'm so hungry!!! [crying]
Yohei: ... yeah, yeah. ... let's go home. Don't pull a stunt like this again.
Ryu: [sniffling] Ryu-kun... wants to eat master's ojiya!
Yohei: It's risotto, you know. ... yeah, I'll make it once we get back. But really, that's the first thing you're gonna ask for?
Anne: [laughs]
Yohei: What.
Anne: You're so evasive, aren't you? It looks to me like you're plenty soft on him.
Yohei: Hmph.


[sfx: door opening, bell ringing]
Anne: Evening!
Saimon: Ah, welcome.
Anne: Ooh, Saimon-sensei, you're here!
Yohei: All three of you are here today, I see.
Allen: Yeah. Our stage battle is coming up soon.
Hajun: Call it scouting out the movements of our enemy.
Anne: He says that, but he's joking.

Allen: ... so, is Ryu alright?
Saimon: Yes, things have settled down, in no small part thanks to all of you. We're going to quietly keep an eye on him until he's feeling alright again. Really, it's the least we can do.
Hajun: That may well be enough.
Saimon: I don't know about that. There's always more you can do. If that had been enough, perhaps Ryu wouldn't have run away.
[sfx: Saimon taking a drink]
Saimon: Mm... the distance between people is a difficult thing to maneuver, isn't it?
Allen: I suppose there are things that are difficult even for a mature adult like Saimon-sensei, huh.
Saimon: Well, of course there are. It's a difficult world we live in. [setting glass down] But, maybe that's what makes life worth living. There's doubt, there's pain, but even so, we're able to moving forward. We take that pain into power, and put it into song.
Allen and Hajun: Mm.
Saimon: [draining drink] How about another round of drinks? They're on the house tonight.
Allen: Sure.
Hajun: Gratefully accepted.
Yohei: What'll it be?
Anne: Aah, I want another Jack Rose!
Yohei: Got it.
[sfx: drink mixing]
Anne: It's a really nice place you've got here.
Yohei: Thanks.
Anne: TCW are a good team. You're all really different from each other, but you respect what makes you different and bring out the best in each other.
[sfx: drink mixing]
Anne: It's kind like a really good cocktail.
Yohei: Could say the same about BAE. You all accept each other. You couldn't make that sound if you didn't really trust and believe in each other.
Anne: Mm. Allen and Hajun are like that. They accept me as I am. Like... who would I even be, if not Anne Faulkner? It's hard to imagine, right?
[sfx: glass being set down]
Yohei: Here you go.
Anne: Thanks. ... I'm glad we get to have another battle against TCW. I know we lost last time, but we totally plan on winning this time around.
Yohei: Same here. We have no intentions of losing. Music's what connects people to each other. We're still working on that dream.
Anne: [laughs] To the music that connects us.
Yohei: And to our bonds with our comrades.
Anne and Yohei: Cheers.
[sfx: glass clinking]

[1] He calls this person "onii-san", which, as I've had to say a dozen times, you can call someone who is not your literal brother in Japanese. I'm translating it this way to be consistent with my translation of the TCW chapter of Memory!

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