The Side Story for [Entwined by Time] will not be done chronologically with the main story and will attempt to provide more depth to the characters/world. In this particular chapter "The Dawn of Dreams," a meeting acquainted them for the first time and initiated Ai's change in career. Like [Rising Stars] it'll probably be shorter than the main chapters or so I plan.
(Note: -- = ー its just my way of being lazy before I use a dash probably incorrectly if you see it appear in my chapters)
I recall it was after a photoshoot--though I'm an idol, I'm also involved in this type of work. The cameramen and agency-associated people were packing up to leave. I, bored after finishing the odd job of modeling for my own products, decided to wander for a bit. Just a bit, no one would even know I was gone. After changing into some more covert clothing, I shuffled out of the taped-out area to breathe in the natural fresh scenery. I frolicked around like a 5-year-old, but that's okay with me.
As I walked, I saw a single beautiful girl reading on a shaded bench. Her atmosphere was drenched in cold unapproachable elegance and her freed black hair flowed deeply in the summer wind. The book had a cover and I couldn't see it. Well, I wasn't too curious about the contents. Ignoring it, I went on forward...until a young boy tripped on a pebble.
With my newly found [Magical Girl] powers, I could rush over quickly. But, the given physical enhancement doesn't affect reaction time. So, it's possible for someone else to catch that boy before I could. And there was, the girl reading on the bench earlier. Was she that panicked to save the boy who fell, to the point where she would immediately try to cover his fall? At any rate, the result is the same: the boy is safe. I gave her some mental recognition.
"Thanks, Nee-chan! You go to XXX high school right?" (Not his actual sister, he's just saying it to the kind stranger)
High school. Two words everyone around my age but I probably know all too well. I glance over shyly.
"That's right, do you want to know about it?"
"Well you see, there's a building for--"
She went ahead and blabbed on and on about her school. Is the institution that amazing? I heard that the funding most receive is low.
"You'll get there eventually. You have to go to high school when you get older!"
I smile inwards to myself.
"Alright, good talk Nee-chan! See ya and thanks!"
This girl with a cold exterior seems to have a soft spot for kids.
I sat down next to her. At first, she was visibly uncomfortable and tried not to notice. But, I guess my constant glances caught her attention. Well, of course, they would.
"Can I do something for you?"
"Is high school really such a wonderful place?"
"Aren't you the same age as me...wait aren't you that famous Nakano Ai!?"
I made a mischievous 'shh!' gesture.
"So is it?"
"Well, if you're talking about what I said to that kid earlier...of course I glorified it, it isn't that great. There are worthless arguments and rumors thrown around day and night, the teaching system is broken, and bullying is unfortunately common. It really...isn't that great a place."
"That boy, as long as he has dreams of it being great--he can strive to eventually make it great. Personally, I found bliss in reading books like these and finding friends for example. I also learned that I adore stories. I might've set up his heart to be crushed, it's possible. But, I still think dreams are important to make the world. Even if he does grow to hate school, he'll have other dreams and continue."
I latch onto her words. Friends--I have a few, like my idol group crew. My attention is drawn more to the girl.
"That book you're reading..."
I try to look over at the lines,
「I look on to the war-stricken battlefield. Blood and bodies are strewn in the damp winds; my comrades tore by swords and seared by magics. If only it hadn't come to this, was this the result of my actions? Was it he who betrayed me? What am I left fighting for, is this the price to save the country?」
"Ah! Don't look."
She put in a cutesy anime-themed bookmark and shut the book tightly as if sealing something dangerous.
"I didn't see anything."
"So, high school isn't a great place--far from perfect."
"It's also a place where you can learn to express yourself, a place to discover yourself, a place for like-minded individuals to rely on each other. A place to cultivate your future, and a place to make a story worth writing. Well, most people just end up lazing around and going with the flow."
In the flow of life's rushing tides, to not sweep away you must cling to certain constants.
"Do you think that I'd fit in at high school?"
"That depends on you."
I am subconsciously looking for an answer. This answer is unrelated to her (the bench girl's) thoughts.
"Can I live alongside other high schoolers as a high schooler?"
"That depends on you."
"If you're asking all these questions about it, you have to be interested. Nakano-san, why don't you try it? High school."
Why don't you try it? High School.
"I'm not sure."
If I go there, I could perhaps become like everybody else. I could be normal. Then...
I warm and tuck the idea into the back of my mind. It's absurd after all, who would throw away my current life? Then, what is this longing I feel?
"This may be sudden but, it's fitting since you're a newly announced [Magical Girl]. Let me tell you about Joseph Campbell's monomyth, The Hero's Journey. It's a common story pattern in epic mythology."
"The [Hero] is taken from their original world of normalcy, the status quo. They are then given a 'Call to Action' to the unknown, a new world, to the cause of change. After the change, they find a new resolution and learn to grow as a [Hero]. This was grossly oversimplified, but nonetheless, this may be your 'Call to Action' Nakano-san. Or perhaps, being an idol is already what suits you best..."
"Isn't that all just a story?"
"Indeed, it's all a story. A journey, The Hero's Journey."
"So, you're informed about these things too. I see you're passionate."
She gives a fluttering grin.
"What is your name?"
"Saegusa Yui, I'll keep it in mind. But, after all, I don't think high school is for me."
Though the seeds have already been planted. Wavering away...
I stood up and briefly stretched. It was time to return to the previous scene before anyone found out about my absence.
The Hero's Journey always has the same steps that come after the "Call to Action."
That is the "Refusal of the Call" and their inevitable launch into change.
Well, this is all just a story structure with little to do with reality.
A reality with heroes, those faraway dreams to strive for.
It's really just that.
A great story told over the entwines of endless time.