[summary] No.6: Beyond ~ Part 4 of 4

32
November 25, 2012 // no. 6

Type: Novel Summary
Title:
No.6: Beyond
Series: No.6
Author/Circle: Asano Atsuko
Rating: PG
Language: English
Notes: The end! Be sure to look for full translations soon from 9th avenue!

 

Nezumi’s Days

Clouds move in to cover the bright sunlight, and the temperature drops, sapping away warmth. Nezumi squats down by the edge of a pond and scoops up water in his hands–it tastes delicious, and he invites the two mice stowed away in his pocket to try some as well.

After another sip, he strips off his clothes and dives into the pond–he can see a few little fish swimming lazily among the waterweed.

“I wonder if it’s always peaceful underwater.”

He distantly recalls Shion murmuring something like that some time ago with his gaze drawn to the sky.


It was back in their room in West Block, around dawn after three long, dark days of cold rain. The night before, just after sunset, Rikiga had come to visit, strangely enough, and given Shion a paper bag, saying, “I wanted you to eat this, so I brought it for you.”

It was white bread and meat–and Rikiga clarified that he had some fresh vegetables and cheese and wine as well. Shion had been thrilled with the veritable feast Rikiga had brought, “You’re really giving this to us, Rikiga-san??”

But Rikiga had shaken his head, “Not ‘to us’–‘to me’, and don’t forget that! You’re the one who’ll be eating this, Shion, got it? You’re not to share a single crumb with any uppity sly little actors.”

“We’ll eat it all together!” Shion had only returned with a bright smile, adding that he was making some soup for the kids tomorrow when they came over to have him read to them, so it would be a great lunch. Rikiga looks like he wants to protest, but his visage falls–and Nezumi has to bite back his laughter from behind his book.

“And what’s so funny over there, Eve?”

“Oh nothing–I didn’t mean to laugh. But if you’re really curious–you just looked so damn cute I couldn’t help myself, old man.” He stood and sauntered over to peek into Shion’s bag, letting out a whistle–Rikiga had really brought some high-quality stuff.

Rikiga went on to remind Shion that while he was welcome to do what he wanted with the food, Nezumi was to receive NONE of it.

Shion wasn’t listening, though, lining up the bag’s contents on the table and explaining, “Nezumi’s soup is first-rate. He hardly uses any seasoning, but it’s so delicious, so I’m sure with these ingredients, it’ll just be out of this world. Thank you so much, Rikiga-san!” Rikiga had tried to protest, but it’d been a losing battle when Shion added, “We’ll all be sure to give thanks to you before we eat, Rikiga-san! Not just a meaningless ceremoney, but one where everyone expresses their genuine gratitude to you! Right, Nezumi?”

“Oh absolutely,” Nezumi concurred, relating his intent to pledge his eternal thanks in the voice of a pure, sinless young woman. It was one of Nezumi’s many talents–that he could shift his voice to reflect the ideal form of anyone he speaks to.

Rikiga chided Nezumi for using such third-rate tricks on him, warning him not to underestimate Rikiga, but Nezumi maintained he had no such intentions, and Rikiga took his leave, plotting all the while in his mind what to bring next time for Shion that would surely make Nezumi regret his actions–maybe some butter.

Nezumi had continued his grumbling about Rikiga after the man left, but Shion had maintained that Rikiga was a kind person, bringing such wonderful things for them, and that if Nezumi continued badmouthing him, he was sure to be punished for it somehow later. Nezumi had suggested that it was just some leftovers some No.6 officials had brought for him as thanks for setting them up with whores, but Shion had countered that Rikiga could have easily kept it for himself, and instead shared it with them–and isn’t that noble?

Noble? Are you serious?”

“Am I wrong?”

Sometimes Shion’s naivete could be unpleasant, and other times downright hilarious. Rikiga had only given Shion these items out of a sense of guilt Shion inspired within him, thinking that just being in the presence of Shion’s blameless smile and excitement could give him respite. But Shion can’t see that at all. Nezumi couldn’t wrap his mind around how Shion could be this unfailingly accepting of others.

“…Nezumi? What’re you thinking?”

Nezumi had brushed off his concern, changing the subject to how best to disperse the treats Rikiga had brough–no wine for the kids, at least! They decide to boil the potatoes and share the bread and cheese together for now, and Nezumi offers to take back what he said about Rikiga before and instead gives honest thanks.

“He bought you out, huh?”

“I’m simply flexible that way.” Nezumi had gone to boil the potatoes while Shion searched for glasses–only finding bowls and mugs, hardly fit for drinking wine. Nezumi returned that mugs were fine, and if Shion had a problem with it, then he didn’t mind drinking it all by himself.

They poured themselves wine (an import from No.3, the westernmost city, according to the bottle) while enjoying the boiled potatoes, cheese, and bread–and before they knew it, they’d drained the whole bottle between the two of them.

“Damn, you can really hold your booze…”

“Think better of me now, do you?” Shion had smiled proudly, cheeks red. 

“Hardly, but I’ll admit it was unexpected. I never would’ve pegged you for a boozehound.”

“It’s my first time drinking, actually.”

“Huh?”

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had alcohol in my life. I never knew it was this delicious~”

“Eh–hey, Shion, are you all right? You drank a good half of a bottle on your own, you know? You sure you aren’t pretty drunk?”

“Mmmm, nah, I’m fine. I just feel really good, feels stupid to get worked up over details, y’know?”

“And just what sort of details were you getting worked up over?”

“Huh…what was it… Haha, I can’t r’member! It was sooooo meaningless I just forget I guess. Haha, screw you, worries! Woohoo wine!”

“Wow, Shion you…are really drunk.”

Shion stood and leaned over Nezumi, drawing so close their noses almost touched. “Maaaybe. I did have alcohol, after all. Makes sense that I’m drunk. Or is there some reason I shouldn’t be drunk??”

“Shion are you…a bad drunk?”

“Who? Me? A bad drunk? With you?”

“Who else would I be talking about, seeing as you and I and the mice are the only ones here?”

Shion straightened up again, placing his hands on his hips. “‘Who else would I be talking about, seeing as you and I and the mice are the only ones here?’ Hahaha, how d’ya like THAT? Pretty good imitation, right?”

“Of who?”

“You.”

“Not at all.”

“Liar! I sounded just like you! I’ve had an awakening! I have a true talent for impressions! Maybe I’m an impressions genius! Wait, no–I’m definitely a genius. ‘Who else would I be talking about, seeing as you and I and the mice are the only ones here?’ Hahaha, it TOTALLY sounds like you!”

“Are you having fun over there, imitating me?”

“Indeed I am.” Shion leaned down again, drawing up close to just beyond Nezumi’s nose. “It’s super fun. Everything’s always so much fun when I’m with you. Why is it so much fun when I’m with you…??”

Shion glanced away, drawing in his chin, and Nezumi tried to smile at him gently, like a mother with her child, but his cheeks were stiff, making it difficult. “I see–well that’s nice for you. A wonderful thing indeed. But are you sure you haven’t been hanging around with Inukashi and those mutts too much? We’re humans, you know–we don’t have to rub noses together to communicate.”

‘We’re humans, you know–we don’t have to rub noses together to communicate.’ Heheh~ how was THAT? Another perfect imitation, right? But y’know Nezumi…humans can’t really communicate all that easily. You’re more likely to not be able to understand, even if you want to, than to understand perfectly… A hundred, even a thousand times more likely. Thass jus’ how id is.”

“…Shion, your articulation’s going to shit.”

“And thass where dogs have it good. All the gotta do is stick their noses together and snifffff, an’ then they know all about the other dog. Sometimes they’ll even lick each other~”

“You sure as hell better not lick my face.”

“I won’t~ Buuuuut I might BITE you~”

“Hey–idiot, cut it out, you stupid drunk! Enough’s enough–get to bed. You’ll probably have a hell of a hangover in the morning. And just how old are you anyways? I can’t believe a 16-year-old doesn’t know how to hold his booze… Shion? Hey, Shion–what’s wrong?” Shion had started to list to the side, releasing a soft snore. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. Don’t sleep here! I’m not dragging your ass to bed!” Nezumi had continued to mutter a few choice words as Shion slid to the floor, and Nezumi couldn’t help the sigh that managed to escape his mouth as he sat by Shion’s side, laughing alone.


When Nezumi awoke, he could tell it was close to morning because of how chilly it was. He sat up and took a few deep breaths in, and the chill of the air in his lungs was proof he was alive. Because he was alive and warm, the air felt cold.

Living things are warm.

Shion was the one who taught him that. Living is about feeling the warmth of someone at your side, sharing your warmth with them. He learned that from Shion as well.

To Nezumi, living had been all about revenge–it had been his sole impetus to survive. He’d cared about nothing else–but he’d wavered.

No longer was a heart bent on revenge the only thing inside of him. Something completely different, something completely unrelated to No.6 had taken root. What it was…Nezumi himself couldn’t define.

And that was why he wavered.

After he wreaked his revenge on No.6, would he feel completely empty and hollow inside, utterly fulfilled, or as if some stable center still remained?

But wavering like that leads to hesitation, and hesitation opens up chinks in the armor.

Nezumi brought his hand to his back–his scar had been throbbing, but it had quieted now and would likely disappear soon.

“Ngh…” Shion groaned in his sleep from his place in bed where Nezumi had dragged him the night before.

“You are seriously…a pain in the ass. What am I gonna do with you?”

Shion just rolled over, and Nezumi slowly slipped out of bed–the stove’s flames had gone out.

“Nezumi…did you say something?”

“A simple morning greeting–‘Good morning, Your Exalted Majesty. And how are we this fine morning?'”

“A don’t…feel that bad actually.”

“Oh? So no hangover. Maybe you’ve got a knack for drinking, then. Careful you don’t wind up like that old fart.”

“Wine doesn’t induce hangovers–because it’s made from fruit. It’s easy on people.”

“Seriously?”

“I feel like I heard that somewhere before… Just feel like I maybe did, mind you.” Shion sits up in bed. “Nezumi.”

“Hm?”

“I wonder if it’s always peaceful underwater.”

“Huh?”

“Underwater. Like the sea or river or lake–I wonder if it’s always peaceful there.”

“What’re you talking about? Did you dream about something?”

“Yeah, for the first time in a while–maybe it was the wine.”

“What, was it a wine-colored dream?”

“No, but…I was swimming, underwater the whole time. I was able to breathe even, so I swam forever and ever.”

“And?”

“And that’s it. I was just swimming. It was so quiet and beautiful–it made me really happy. Made me think, ‘Wow, this sure is peaceful. No fighting, no aggression…”

“As if that could ever happen.” Shion, being an ecology student, should know fully well that there are battles even in the water, but Shion shakes his head.

“I knew that. I don’t think that underwater is some paradise or anything. But just…there are no humans there, so I wondered…”

“Wondered…?”

“…if there weren’t any meaningless battles there.”

“And that’s the kind of stuff you thought about on this swim of yours?”

“Yeah. It was…really beautiful. The floor was an endless plain of white sand, and jade-green pebbles scattered everywhere that sparkled from time to time. I reached out to pick one up at one point–but then I stopped.”

“Why?”

“I was…scared to touch it, because it was so beautiful. It felt like that world would shatter if I touched it…”

“I never would’ve pegged you for such a Romantic. You sound like some blushing virgin.”

“Yeah, it’s kind of embarrassing to even relate it. But–that’s really how it felt to me. Though if I was going to wake up anyway, I should’ve just gone ahead and taken one.”

Nezumi almost chuckles at this; maybe he’s losing his hold on his emotions. “Then just go back to sleep–maybe you’ll see the same dream again. Then you can pick up all the cash and jewels you want.”

“Guess you’re right… Hey, Nezumi?”

“Hm?”

“…We swam to escap No.6 too, didn’t we? Though I didn’t exactly have the freedomg to get lost in myself swimming then.”

“We were in the sewers. Quite a far cry from your dream.”

“But…I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things here in West Block. That’s…the truth.” His words slipped back into snores.

Nezumi could feel Shion’s warmth. With warmth like this, he could surely make it through even the coldest of winter days.

You idiot–what’re you thinking?

Those who can’t survive on their own, who can’t live their lives on their own–don’t survive. That’s how it is in West Block. He didn’t need warmth.

He poured himself some water, letting the chilly liquid slide down his throat, and Shion mumured something in his sleep.

“Did you manage to pick it up this time?” he called out, but no response came.


The waterweed sways–not the gentle wavering of before, but as if in a strong wind. It’s unnatural, and a silver fish darts out from the weeds to scoop up its prey in one bite.

Even under the water, there’s death.

He spots a blue stone at the pond’s bottom and picks it up–it’s not sparkling, not beautiful. It’s just a plain old boring rock.

It’s getting a bit painful holding his breath now–outside of dreams, people can’t live for long underwater, and he strokes through the water back toward the surface.

He drags himself out of the water–and something moves in his peripheral vision near his luggage: a man. Cravat and Hamlet advance on the attack, biting and nipping where they can, and this draws up cries of pain from the man. Nezumi clenches the stone he picked up from the pond and hurls it straight at the man’s face.

“Hey thief.” The man whirls around, covering his face with both hands, and Hamlet and Cravat scamper back to Nezumi, skittering up his hastily donned clothes to rest on his shoulder. “Yeah yeah, good work, you two.”

“You–you put my eye out!”

“I aimed for your forehead–and my control is perfect. I don’t miss. You’re lucky I held back.”

Held back?!”

“Yeah; or would you rather I buried it in your skull? Be grateful I took pity on a thief.”

“This is you holding back?”

“Of course–I didn’t crack your skull, just split your skin a bit. It’s payback for trying to steal my stuff.”

“Well thank you. I’ll be sure to get a brain-scan at the nearest hostpital. Damn that hurt. It stings!” He squats by the pond to wash off his face, working up a light purple lather from some liquid he squirts into his hand. “I’ll probably have a scar by morning…”

The man stands up again, smiling. He’s tanned and has wrinkles around his eyes, and his long hair has a few streaks of white in it, but it’s hard to tell his age from his voice and bright eyes–but regardless, he’s a thief, nothing changes that.

“Still–you’re quite the looker, you know? A nice-looking kid like you shouldn’t be skinny dipping all alone. It’s dangerous in these parts.”

“Thanks for the heads-up. Never would’ve thought I’d get lectured by a thief, old man.”

“Old man? Me?

“I certainly wasn’t talking about myself. I’m neither an old man nor a thief.”

The man blinks a few times–before bursting out laughing. “Hahah, well if that doesn’t take it! You’ve got one hell of a sharp tongue on you! Hahahaha, you’re a fun kid, haha–” But the laughter dies when Nezumi presses a knife to his throat.

“Your voice is fucking annoying. I’ll thank you to quiet down a bit–or rather, all the way.”

The man trembles, “H–hey, come on, you don’t have to pull a knife. I’ll shut up, I will. I’m sorry–if I offended you, then I’ll apologize.” Nezumi draws back and sheathes his knife, and the man rubs his neck. “Geez, you’re certainly more short-tempered than you look. I thought you’d be a bit more refined.”

“I can be a perfect gentleman before a similar partner. But you’re a thief, trying to steal someone else’s luggage. You deserve a knife to the throat more than a proper greeting.”

“And have you ever killed a man before?” The man glances up at Nezumi, judging his expression. “I’m asking you if you’ve ever killed anyone with that knife, young man.”

“I’ve no obligation to answer questions from a thief.”

“Oh–no, you’ve got it all wrong. I wasn’t trying to steal from you. You’ve gotta believe me–here, I have proof.” He empties his pockets, and it’s clear he’s better outfitted than Nezumi and therefore has no reason to steal from Nezumi.

“I really couldn’t care less how much stuff you have, old man–the fact remains that you tried to take off with my stuff, and that is stealing.”

Nezumi turns to leave, and the man stands to stop him with a question, “Wait, you’re leaving already?”

“I am. I don’t make a habit of chatting with thieves.”

“And I told you, I’m not a thief–I just wanted to check you out.”

“Check me out?”

“Yeah–to see where you’d come from.”

“What business is it of yours?”

“I just wondered if maybe…maybe you’d…come from No.6.”

The instant he hears that name, memories come flooding back, and Shion’s voice echoes deep in his ear, Nezumi, I’ll be waiting here for you. I’ll wait for you forever.

“Ooh, so I’m right, am I? You came from that city, right?”

The man steps forward and tries to grab Nezumi’s wrist, but Nezumi throws him off. “Don’t touch me.

“Please don’t react like that–there’s just so much I want to ask you about it if you used to live there!”

“And there’s not a thing I want to talk with you about it.”

“But–you know about the city, right? Was it really destroyed? I’d heard rumors, and some of the things in your pack are from No.6, so…”

The day before he’d left, Karan and Shion had packed his bag full of items–Karan with an expression like a mother sending off her son, and Shion…simply silent.

‘Oh…this really is goodbye…’

Watching Shion from the side, seeing the tight line of his pursed lips, the evident displeaure in his mien, had brought to Nezumi the raw realization that he really was leaving.

‘I’m leaving here tomorrow. I’m leaving, and Shion’s staying.’

These two lives that had been entwined almost miraculously that night four years prior would now separate and go their own ways. He hadn’t even shared a half a year with Shion–just a blip in time compared with everything before and everything that would come after. So brief…and yet so rich. He wondered if he’d ever spend so meaningful yet meagre a span if time with anyone ever again.

He shakes his head–No.6 was destroyed; he did his part. That’s all that matters.

Shion is now nothing more than a part of his past. Memories of him will never disappear, will live on, but he’s not someone Nezumi is involved with now.

He’s cut him away. If he hadn’t done so, he wouldn’t be able to move forward. You can’t live now being caught up in the past. He’s done with it all. He’s done with clinging to the past, shouldering it. He can’t stand it.

“Hey–please, answer me. I hear all sorts of rumors–that it was destroyed, that it lives on. I can’t tell what’s truth and what’s fiction.”

“Then just go find out for yourself.”

The man draws in his chin. “That’s…well, No.6 is far away, isn’t it?”

“You could make it in 6 months. That’s pretty near. You’re a traveler, aren’t you? I doubt you’re settled down in this wilderness, old man.”

“Who knows–this might be a nice place to live if you gave it a shot. How about it–want to stay at my place tonight? Then we can have a nice long chat.”

“I’ll pass.”

“Why? You’ll have a warm bed and a bath!”

“I’m not setting foot into the home of a thief.”

“And I told you–I wasn’t stealing, I was just asking about No.6–” But he stops himself, and the sound of hoofbeats and people approaching reaches their ears. “Damn, they caught up with me…”

The group charges them, raining down complaints about ‘swindler’ and ‘conman’ and ‘cure-all my ass, it was just colored water!’ It seems the man is wanted for swindling these people out of their money. Nezumi wants nothing to do with it, though, and moves to take his leave.

“Wa–wait PLEASE! SAVE ME! I’m begging you!” the man begs as Nezumi leaves.

But the group just mock his please. “For a conman, you’ve got some bad manners there–Shion.”

Nezumi freezes in place–then turns. “His name…is Shion?”

The man flings himself at Nezumi’s feet. “Y–yeah, that’s the name I go by!”

“So it’s not your real name?”

“It’s my son’s. A little baby charming as an aster blossom.”

“…Your son’s name?” No…no way, it can’t be…

“Hey, kid!” The group call out to him menacingly. “Are you sure you’re just a passerby? Give that guy to us–otherwise…”

“Otherwise?”

“Then you’ll both find yourselves buried out here–or rather, given what a looker you are…maybe we could have some fun with you.”

With a sharp whistle, the mice go on the attack, and with their help, Nezumi dispatches the three men who’ve surrounded them in short order–his victory greeted by applause from ‘Shion’, who reacts with confusion when Nezumi subsequently takes his pouch and gives it to the men whose asses he’s just kicked, urging them to take it and forget their business with ‘Shion’, and they quickly leave.

Nezumi turns back to the man. “So were you a citizen of No.6?” Silence. “Answer me. Did you live there?”

“I did. A long time ago. I’ve long since bid farewell to it, though.”

“Why?”

“Why? Because the city was fake, my boy. And illusions always come apart at the seams eventually. I couldn’t bear to live in such an environment.”

“And that’s why you escaped on your own? Leaving behind your little baby charming as an aster blossom?”

“I couldn’t convince my wife to leave. She refused to escape the city with me–she didn’t trust me.”

“I can see why. She’d probably be nothing more than a bag of bones by now hanging around with the likes of you.”

“You really do have a tongue on you. So I suppose it has been destroyed… A false city like that can’t survive in the real world forever.”

“And if it has been?”

“Then I’ll go back.”

“Go back? No.6 is pretty far away.”

“I can make it in 6 months, I hear.”

“So now you’re missing the wife and son you abandoned so long ago, huh? Pretty selfish if you ask me.”

“No that’s…not all it is. I owe you a debt now–you saved my life. So–I’ll tell you. Come over here–so no one can hear.” He beckons Nezumi around to a thicket where three brown horses are tethered. He takes out a small bag from his shirt, within which is a small nugget of gold. “There’s gold all around No.6, see? I’m not sure how much, but it’s there.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding…”

“I’m serious!” He apparently discovered it in his younger days and sat in the information. Nezumi wonders what would’ve become of the city if it had gotten its hands on such a fortune. “If it’s been destroyed, it’s probably a chaotic mess and anyone can move in and out as they want. It’s the perfect time to start mining.”

Nezumi accuses the man of this being simply another con, and the man refutes him. “I don’t swindle. I simply wait.”

“Wait?”

“Exactly–I’ve been waiting all this time, for No.6’s destruction. And now it’s finally here. I’m gonna get set to head out right away! Hey–why don’t you come with me? You’d make a great partner. How about it? Return to No.6 with me and make a fortune!”

The man’s eyes are glittering–not with brilliant sparkling light, but with the look of a predator stalking its prey. Nezumi grits his teeth–this man isn’t crazy, and he isn’t selling anything…he’s speaking the truth–or at least, the truth as he believes it.

“And what do you intend to do with this fortune you’re going to make? Wanna live your golden years out in luxury?” Not a chance, what this man wants is…

“I’m going to buy it.”

“Buy what?”

“No.6.”

Nezumi’s breath catches in his throat, and he can only stare at the man. “Buy it… what does that even mean?”

The man replaces the gold ore into the pouch and smirks. “You know, kid–if you want to rule the world, you don’t need armies or laws or authority–you need money. It’s the strongest weapon there is. That’s where No.6 tripped up–they were unlucky enough to have idiots at the top.”

“And you’re going to rule over No.6 with this money of yours?”

“Maybe. No telling how fate will unfurl. I’m not asking for that, at least.”

“Then why?”

“Because it sounds fun. I can affect people’s lives with my own two hands. It feels amazing–there’s no more enjoyable a game.”

Nezumi glares even more sharply at the man now.

He’s nothing like Shion. Shion would never have treated human life as a toy. He never would have played with it like a game.

“No.6 is being rebuilt–it’s finally on the path to a new beginning. And you want to go in and screw it all up? For fun?”

“Rebuilt? A new beginning? Impossible–no matter who’s involved, a city-state is a city-state. Authoritarian rule will rise again some day and place the citizens under its subjection. That’s what a city-state does. And if there’s an idiot at the helm, it’ll self-destruct in time, but a brash, thoughtless scholar…will try to bring everything under his own control. Those are the ones you really have to worry about.”

“Wha…”

“So what kind of people are involved in this reconstruction? Do you think they’re foolish…or wise?”

Nezumi shakes his head slowly. “Quite wise indeed; they’ve got a lot of wisdom. I can’t imagine they’d ever become the authoritarian ruler you’re thinking of.”

“Oh? You seem to have a high opinion of him. So this man–it’s a man, right?–you know him well, do you?” In some ways…Nezumi had known him better than anyone else…and in others, he hadn’t known him at all. “And you trust him?”

He trusts him. If Shion couldn’t be trusted, then Nezumi couldn’t trust anything else in the world.

The man takes a step forward when Nezumi falls silent. “How about it? You coming with me?”

…And Nezumi takes one step back from the man. “I’ll pass. I follow the path of my own choosing.”

“I see… That’s a pity.” And he truly does look like he regrets it. “I suppose it can’t be helped though. I’ll take my leave, then. Maybe I’ll take one of these horses with me–you gave them so much of my money, after all. They can’t object to my taking a horse.” He turns back to Nezumi. “I’ll leave you with this, though: people change. That man you believe in, he’ll change too. Set anyone up at the center of that city-state, and they’ll change. And if they don’t–they’ll be destroyed. You’ll do well to remember that.”

Nezumi brings a hand to the knife at his belt. If he dispatches this man right here, right now…he can probably pick off someone who’ll otherwise bring harm to Shion. His fingers twitch, and he clenches them into a fist.

I could never forgive you for harming someone–let alone killing them–just for me.

Nezumi, don’t kill him. Don’t commit a sin just for me.

Shion stays his hand, pleading with him.

Nezumi, don’t kill him.

‘Yeah…that’s what you’d tell me, huh. You’d surely say that, and stop me. You’re always such a soft touch…

Shion…’

“Well, if fate should deem it so, maybe we’ll meet again.” The man swings himself up onto the horse and kicks its sides, setting off at a gallop and quickly disappearing over a hill.

A breeze whips up, and the shrubs tremble. Clouds darken the sky, and the land is covered in a night-like darkness.

‘Shion.’

The clouds part a bit, and a violet sky appears. In it, Nezumi can see a single small star sparkling.

On the other side of this sky lies No.6.

Nezumi continues to stare unmovingly up at the twinkling star as the wind caresses his hair.

THE END

32 Comments

  1. Fast! Just fast. You guys are really awesome.

  2. I have a lot of feelings about this. Like, does Asano intend to write even more to this series because now I have infinity more questions?? I don’t understand why she’s taking it into the places she is.

    Besides the fact that I’m going to have to wrap my head around the fact that Nezumi’s (official) first meeting with Shion’s dad, he’d naked(? skinny dipping?), gets some awkward come-ons from him, how chill he is with seeing Nezumi take out some attackers via mice, and fkjfdkj wow. He’s been meeting him several times, if Shion’s dad is the musician/~wind~ traveler from before, which is something else too. I hate the whole “Nezumi is a free bird” thing they keep poking at.

    Watch there be fanfiction that pops up somewhere of these two. ugughjk skin crawling.

    But mainly, that whole speech about how a city-state always resorts to an authoritarian rule, despite everything -> Shion’s method of reprimanding Yoming. Really awful. I’ve thought about this before, and I mean, it’s possible. I can’t imagine Shion being able to reign in a new No.6 without becoming a bit of a hardass? (This is his mission from his lover boy, deceased bff, and a freaking guardian deity of the area who threatens to slay everyone if she shows up for inspection and she’s dissatisfied?? The boy is going to work hard, overstressed or not. The way Karan tries to tell him to lay off the reconstruction committee completely just floors me.)

    Speaking of Karan. Looking at Shion’s father, were the pickings in Roses so slim, /he/ was the winner out of all of the people there????????? I really hope Shion doesn’t even have to face him. WHY DOES HIS DAD EVEN NEED TO BE A THING. WHY DOES SHION SUDDENLY HAVE DADDY ISSUES HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT HIMSELF. NEZUMI, WHY ARE YOU NOT HURRYING YOUR RATTY TAIL DOWN THERE TO SCOOP UP YOUR MAN, guide him a little please with your wind magic, somethinggkn fiudgirtutrhi crying out in frustration, I don’t even know how to word anything. This series is so silly, help. ;;;;;

  3. Chayanee Erythrubrik November 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm Reply

    I am crying…. Maybe 3 parts of the book make me worry about Shion. When Shion father said

    “I’ll leave you with this, though: people change. That man you believe in, he’ll change too. Set anyone up at the center of that city-state, and they’ll change. And if they don’t—they’ll be destroyed. You’ll do well to remember that.”

    even I hate Shion father. I have to admit the truth. I know Shion could remain as himself as long as he hold dear on Nezumi. But it too painful when the one you love leave you and no whereabouts. In order not to broke apart he has to change. He might throw away his heart because its pain him too much. And that time he will turn in to a monster.

    But on the other hand Shion might accept any pain because he promise Nezumi. This pain is the only way he could stay connected with Nezumi It’s noway he could throw its away.

    Everything is up to how strong Shion heart is. And how stubborn Nezumi is.

    In the end I could feel Nezumi hesitate to go back. Not for his freedom but if he go back it’s mean “He doesn’t trust Shion anymore”

    I wise Nezumi to go back by Shion side. At least give Shion a power to clear the doubt in his heart. Being in the center of city didn’t pain Shion more than couldn’t be with Nezumi.

    My opinion after finish summary. Shion might not meet Nezumi for a while…. I wish he could stay strong and know everyone worry about him even Nezumi who think he could cut Shion out of his life… (But he couldn’t…)

    I am so worry!!!!! Wishing this book is not the end of No.6. I wanted to see Shion is Shion until meet Nezumi again….

    Thanks you very much for No.6 summary!!

  4. Thanks!

  5. thanks for the summaries. i’m kinda sad that Nezumi is like “Shion belongs to my past” even though he keeps thinking of him. It shows that he does not intend on coming back when Shion is faithfully waiting for him… I hoped that we would at least see Nezumi going back somehow after being satisfied with his “revenge free” life because he would have understood that he couldn’t live without being by Shion’s side. But no. He just stay put. kinda irritating (go back!!)

  6. momo,

    That entire bit felt much more like Nezumi convincing himself, and now that he’s encountered Shion Sr., I think he’s got some food for thought. He obviously still remembers and needs Shion to keep him ‘honest’, so I don’t necessarily know WHAT to make of him by the end of that chapter…

  7. His thought is opposite of what he said to Shion before he leave.What about his promise? This’s like he would never come back to see Shion again. I can’t understand what Asano-sensei want us to know about their relationship. It make me feel annoyed about Nezumi a little.While Shion desperately want him to come back and waiting for him till the end , He keep convincing himself to let Shion be ‘his past’. poor Shion :(

  8. katba,

    I think with time and separation, he’s been able to separate himself from his feelings and look at them with a ‘colder’ eye–so in a way he’s kind of doing this to himself, convincing himself he doesn’t need the past. But he’s also seen what he’s going to grow into in Shion-papa if he keeps this up, someone who cares only for himself and doesn’t care who gets hurt so long as he gets what he wants in the end. I think meeting Shion’s father will actually turn out for the best.

  9. This. Novel. Needs. A continuation.

    Instead of answering our questions (and wishes) for this series, sensei gave us even more questions and left us hanging. And it would be a miracle for me if she really intends to write more series of No.6. I mean, A;SLDKJFAS;LKSD, THESE FEELINGS, HALP. I NEED ANSWERS OKAY. ;;w;;

  10. I still have to read it (I’m compiling it into a word file) but it seems it caused a lot of controversy or at least more questions. Thanks so much for your work!

  11. Gaby:
    I still have to read it (I’m compiling it into a word file) but it seems it caused a lot of controversy […]

    You misspelled ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’.

  12. Ugh. The last part just opened a big bag of possibilities – (and more novels in the future?). Shion-papa words ring true – ‘power corrupts’ – and part 3 with Shion making up the evidence to arrest Youmin is a worrying glimpse of how he can potentially turn into. Will Nezumi still stay with his Machiavellian philosophy or go back? Will he be too late?

  13. THANKS SO MUCH!!!!
    Oh god…so now it’s really over? I need more!!~ T_T

  14. Thank you for finishing this summary but I also has the same impressions w/ all the comments above that the ending of this novel still left lots of questions and curiosity in our minds. Does Asano sensei has a plan to continue on this series anyway, cuz the ending of the 9th book is more fitting in my opinion than this book end, but we’ll just have to see about it. Btw, a drunk Shion is just too cuuute^^

  15. This just left lots and lots of questions. What about the real name of Nezumi?, for example. This really really needs a continuation.

    Thanks for your excelent work!

  16. I’m not sure what Asano is playing at here, although it is starting to feel to me like she’s toying with the emotions of No. 6 fan-base. (It is inconceivable that she has not seen some of the fan-art, and one wonders if she has read any of the fanfiction. If I were she, I certainly would have done so!)

    She leaves Shion lovesick and in pain, and Nezumi looking at the “fixed star” above No. 6. In “Beyond,” Nezumi never thinks about the vow he made to Shion at the end of the novel.

    Even more than the novel, “Beyond” leaves a huge aura of unfinished business in its wake. It is very easy to imagine the story’s continuing, given the complexity and difficulty of rebuilding a representative democracy from the ruins of a totalitarian government.

    If Asano stops with “Beyond,” I can only assume that her message is that “often, people fall in love, get hurt, and never get their hearts’ desires.” OK, fair enough, that’s something that happens all the time in real life. But in my opinion, her story needs a completed third act, a finale, and catharsis. She needs to take a lesson from Shakespeare and not just leave the fan-base hanging.

  17. I don’t even know anymore….
    now I’m getting mixed signals…. and ideas
    making me think that they are going to end up enemies at the end….

  18. fencer_x,

    I understand your point , also agree with you. At least Shion didn’t change that much and is still a human for two years ( for he cares about people in a cave and give them a place to live)… and still waiting for Nezumi.He is so strong and endurable :)

    So that means : Nezumi spends at least 2 years for consideration and being stubborn despite meeting Shion- papa.Maybe he already came back and stalking Shion after that , who’s know haha (I hope so)

    Feel like Asano-sensei wanna continue the story, so she made the ending like this( just my dream)

    Anyway, Thank you very much for your hard work and amazing translation. I totally agree with you : I need sweet Nezushi doujinshi right now!

  19. good lord, this “sequel” isn’t a planing on being a happy one at all is it. i’m even more curious now to read the full translations but thanks so much for your hard work! the contrast between shion’s and nezumi’s worlds is so astounding and what’s even more astounding is the fact that, in some ways, they’re both in the same rut? like you dont know if it’s a poor choice they separated but it’s what they kinda set their heart on from the start and didnt have enough time to consider other opportunities? i really dunno…i’m just rambling but just SIGHS this leaves more ends untied if the book’s gonna stop there :(

  20. The end is complete? There will be nothing on 9th Avenue? I would like an answer T_T And thank you very much for posting this! >___< ♥

  21. Naomie,

    I don’t think 9th avenue has even received their copy of the book–but we already told everyone they’ll be translating this. Was that not clear? We don’t have contact with them, just asked if they were going to translate or not so we could know if we needed to translate or just summarize. Their translations are forthcoming, but this is all of the book summarized.

  22. fencer_x,

    i understand what you mean, just that it’s a “feeling” conclusion (implied) where i would have preferred a definitive say that he’ll come back to Shion’s side (don’t know if you understand what i mean). I’m not really into open endings because i like to know what’ll happen for sure, well as long as it is what i’m looking for (in this case the two of them together). otherwise it keeps me thinking.

  23. Thank you!!

  24. Thanks for the hard work you guys! :)

    Way to go Asano-sensei, for a major cliff-hanger. :( Don’t get me wrong, I love No. 6: Beyond, heck, I even cried while reading this summary! It’s just that, as what many of you mentioned, it just leaves us lots of questions. SIGH I think Nezumi took a part of Shion when they parted ways, thus, Shion does not really know who he is anymore. I would really like to see Nezumi go back to Shion *fingers crossed*.

  25. Thanks for doing these detailed summaries!
    Took a while to finish the novels first (since I didn’t want to spoil the sequal ><) But urgh reading this just makes me more curious!! More stuff to think about and try to understand than there already is :'D

    Guess it just leaves more possibilities open? O wells, could always hope hehe

  26. Yikes!! So awesome that you got it out so quickly, thank you!! But it’s just left me wanting more, more, more. MORE!

  27. Thank you for the beautiful and detailed summaries!
    I have no doubt that Mrs Asano would like to continue this novel, which probably leads to a more “realistic” follow-up, while I really don’t want to see Nezumi and Shion being hurt anymore…

  28. I think we might see more from Asano-sensei in the future (well, at least, I hope so). There’s no way this can just be left hanging. She’s basically unravelled a few threads in the plot carpet here and the ends need to be tied off.
    Plus, y’know, the whole “reunion will come” thing. Because that’s totally not a huge loose end. e.e
    Pushing all of that aside, I still love this series though <3333

    And thank you for fueling my fangirl antics throughout the day! Your summaries are amazing as ever~

  29. Color2413,

    I don’t think I’ve ever agreed harder with someone in my entire life.

  30. How many novels are there for the sequel? Is there only one? :( I hope not.

  31. Nezumi WILL return to Shion. He promised and he can’t just ignore his feelings forever. Everything he does reminds him of Shion, memories are tied everywhere, HE SHALL RETURN. Maybe not soon, but he will one day and keep his vow (and you know how Nezumi is always hell bent on keeping his promises/repaying debts) and Shion will get a grip and everything will turn out okay. I’m probably just comforting myself here, I cannot handle this sequel. I BELIEVE THEY WILL MEET AGAIN IT’S A VOW YOU CAN’T BREAK IT A LITTLE TIME WON’T WEAKEN THEIR BOND BELIEVEEEEEE

  32. This manga/anime has been one of my first yaoi kind of mangas to read and i do not regret reading any single word.. I cried, i smiled, i laughed, and screamed but what made this different from others, was the kind of characters that were developed. I strongly agree to make a second season involved with these sequels, for everyone here would hate to give a goodbye kiss to Sion and Nezumi. I want to know if sion’s dad is the new enemy, if Nezumi breaks out of his own dumb thoughts about being scared to go back to his past. this beautiful story connot end like this, The story was too well developed to only have 11 episodes and 9 mangas.

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