Sakura woke up to a chime and opened her eyes. Nobody was there to greet her. No Haruki-senpai, no Rin, or the women who treated her. She was alone on Haruki’s bed.
Her words received no response. She had expected Haruki to be waiting here to shower her with kisses. After gaining freedom from her ‘fate’, she felt empty from the inside.
‘Where is everyone?’
She got out of the bed and stumbled toward the door.
The door, however, opened to a bright forest. The sun shone brighter, and a flock of parrots sang a pleasant tune as if welcoming Sakura into the ethereal garden.
She almost squealed in joy, thinking about it as a present from her lover.
“Shut up,” an unfamiliar voice, brimming with annoyance, reached her. “Come here, girl.”
Sakura noticed the numerous lotus flowers floating on the river, and a giant cherry blossom tree near the river. Only one little girl got to enjoy the cherry blossoms.
Sakura cautiously approached the girl but froze midway. The little girl had short white hair and red eyes. Other than her distinct features, the girl had the same appearance as her younger self.
The little girl caught a drifting petal and chuckled. “Cherry blossoms are beautiful. We both can agree on that.”
“Who are you?”
Anyone would be creeped out to see their younger self.
“I’m Kama, the God of Love.” Kama leaned her back against the tree. “This is Swarga, the resting place for kind souls.”
Sakura stared at Kama with wide eyes as though she was unable to process Kama’s words.
Kama turned her head with a smile. “You don’t get it, do you? Or you just don’t wish to accept this cruel, dreadful reality?”
Kama got up and approached Sakura. Taking Sakura’s hand, she pulled Sakura off her feet. Kama cupped Sakura’s face in her little hands.
“You died in that surgery.”
Kama patted Sakura’s head. “Your love had enough power to summon a god of love by your side. Regrettably, that very love took your life. Had you not gone through that surgery, you would have been alive and well.”
A tear escaped Sakura’s eye as she closed her eyes. “You’re lying…”
“Oh, dear.” Kama wiped Sakura’s tears with her thumb. “I’m sad to inform you it’s not.”
“I don’t get it.” Kama tilted her head. “How can you love him so much? He didn’t save you. He certainly didn’t fight for your existence. You were treated like a friend until he found out that you had a servant.”
The god of love failed to comprehend her undying affection for Haruki.
“Senpai…” Sakura muttered and clenched her fists. “He was there for me. Always there for me. My only warmth in this world… he never betrayed me. He stood up for me…”
“The love that kept you alive also took you away from your beloved. Your poor child.” Despite her consoling words, her smile was twisted and cruel. A smile that derived pleasure from others’ pain and misery. “How tragic… How fascinating…”
Unbeknownst to Kama, her smile reminded Sakura of the old man who tormented her every day. Sakura peeled Kama’s hands before she shoved Kama with one hand.
“It’s you, Zouken.” Sakura’s eyes were blank as she dragged the stick through the rustling grass. “You couldn’t get me, so you’re using this hallucination to break me.”
The god of love scrambled, shivering all the while. Sakura lumbered toward Kama like an undead.
“I’ll kill you.”
“Sorry. I’m sorry. It was a joke!”
The god of love sprinted towards the tree. She clumsily climbed the tree and pulled herself on a high branch.
Sakura looked up at Kama. “Come, let’s finish this once and for all.”
Even Shiva’s flames weren’t enough to make the god of love cry. Yet, the dead look in Sakura’s eyes made Kama tear up in fear.
“Sakura, listen. You’re alive, this is a dream! I repeat this is a dream!”
Sakura didn’t listen, standing still like a zombie. Kama manipulated the river water with a wave of her hand and splashed Sakura’s face.
“Dream?” Sakura regained some light in her eyes. “But I’m wet...”
Seeing Sakura lost in another delusion, Kama slowly crept down the tree and tugged at Sakura’s sleeve. “It’s your mindscape. Your mind world. You’re just sleeping, not dead.”
Sakura heaved a sigh of relief. “Kama, I must return… Haruki-senpai is waiting for me.”
“Yes, you can return. Just sit down and listen to me first.”
Sakura nodded her head and sat in a seiza position. The god of love fell in a daze, so Sakura shook her shoulder. “Kama?”
“Yes, yes. It’s Kama’s fault.”
“Nothing. As you know, I’m Kama, the God of Love. Don’t come to me for love advice.”
Sakura frowned. “Stop being so random. I want to know why I’m here.”
“Your world will be destroyed.”
“Huh?” Sakura didn’t know how to react to the revelation, so she just tilted her head. “How?”
“Someone possessed your body recently,” Kama said with a serious expression unfitting for her young, cute face. “That person is a Beast Candidate.”
“Beast Candidate? I don’t understand you.”
“Beasts are the Evils of Humanity. Think of them as the Demon Lords who will bring various calamities until humanity is no more.”
Sakura put a finger on her lips, trying to recall anything related to these so-called Beasts. She couldn't find anything in her memory. Well, most of her attention was on Haruki. How could she have time to care about a Demon Lord or whatnot?
“I know everything you know. No one you ever met is a Beast; their aura would have made a poor girl like you piss your pants. I do find this person strangely familiar. I wonder why?”
“So, this Beast Candidate will destroy the world?”
Kama shook her head. “Their appearance is merely a message. Like me, the other Evils of Humanity will manifest. It’s always been this way.”
Sakura was unsurprised at Kama’s confession. “You do seem like an evil we should kill.”
“We are one and the same.” Kama sighed. “Your heart stopped beating during the surgery. A moment of death brought you to me.”
Kama had no memories after Shiva erased her existence. The next moment she was in deep slumber inside Sakura’s mindscape. Kama would always be idle if it weren’t for the Beast Candidate possessing Sakura for a moment. Even after regaining full consciousness, Kama couldn’t communicate with Sakura. That is until Sakura’s heart stopped beating under extreme stress.
Today, they finally met each other.
Sakura didn’t freak out, rather she was completely composed. She could feel Kama wasn’t lying this time. “I don’t want to think about it now.”
She didn’t have the leisure to care about these Beasts, or the rest of the world.
‘Senpai will be worried about me.’
“You may go but keep one thing in your mind.” Kama waved her hand, and the world began crumbling. Sakura’s consciousness turned hazy. Before Sakura fully faded, Kama cupped Sakura’s face and gave a sadistic grin. “Now that I have awoken, I shall manifest from time to time.”
Kama’s warning was the last thing Sakura heard before she woke up for real.