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Chapter 265


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"Seiji..." She was on the verge of tears. "I'm so scared!"

I reached out for her,
but she was so far away.
Far away in the darkness all around us.
I could barely make out her face.

"Seiji? Doko ni?"

"I'm here, Aoi!"

All I could see was the blur of city lights on the other side.
It faded off into the night sky,
like a purple gradient dissolving into tiny stars.

"Where are you??"

I shouted for her, louder this time. But she didn't hear me. Could she not hear me?

*~ Doko - Where?

Chapter 266


I stepped forward towards where I thought she was and realized I was climbing a steep hill.

Somehow everything was blurry and alien to me.
The sudden inclination threw me off balance and I nearly slipped.
But there was no way I could let myself slip
because I had an uncanny feeling
I would tumble down the hill
forever and ever into eternity.

If I lost my foothold here, I would never see her again.

Chapter 267


Once I regained my sense of balance, Aoi was nowhere to be seen.

"Aoi!" I shouted. There was no reply.

But I knew she was on top of the huge hill.

I took a heavy step forward,
sweat building at my forehead.
Why did climbing this hill seem so tough?

I tried to move faster, taking running steps but the distance didn't grow any smaller.
It seemed like I was only capable of doing the moonwalk,
staying in one spot or even slipping backwards as I tried.
Before long, I had to stop to catch my breath.
I was panting.

Wait for me Aoi! I'm coming! I'll come to where you are!

Chapter 268


I now realized why the night sky was like a gradient now;
there were city lights on the other side of the hill.
What I saw stretched out before me wasn't the horizon but the top of a hill.

Where am I?

Where was Aoi-chan?

There was no answer.

I knew I had to climb the hill one step at a time to find my answers. To grow stronger. I will stand at the top of this hill with Aoi.

I promise.

Then I felt a searing pain inside my head and darkness fell.

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Chapter 269


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next moment, my eyes opened wide but I couldn't see anything. Not even my own hands.

There was a slight trace of the headache I felt.
But I was no longer climbing the hill.
Everything felt cold and lifeless all around.
I appeared to be barefeet,
standing on a flat surface,
but it was so cold it ate its way up from the soles of my feet,
up through my calfs and thighs.
It was so cold, my legs were turning numb.
But I wasn't shivering.

Where was I? Where was she?

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