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Volume 13
Chapters 135 - 147
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You reap what you sow. As Tanabata draws near, Punpun, Seki, and Yuuichi must reconcile with endings and new beginnings, while Harumi witnesses life repeat itself.

Chapter 135 Edit

Seki runs to the scene, where firefighters and onlookers have already gathered, and is eerily reminded of the day Shimizu was caught in the miso factory explosion. His hands tremble. Aiko hears her name on the newscast and panics. Punpun comforts her, and they leave the phone shop. The clerk runs after them, recognizing Aiko from her gravure modeling and asks for an autograph. They harshly turn him away. Seki climbs the side of the building and breaks a window open. He calls for Shimizu through the smoke and heat, and passes other Pegasus Ensemble members, both alive and dead. He climbs over fallen cabinets and finds Shimizu, unconscious and bleeding from his head, and carries him out on his back.

Believing or not believing in someone... None of that matters. Just look at me. Just with my own will, I can do anything I set my mind to. ...Shimizu. Time to go home.

-Seki


Chapter 136 Edit

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Seki carries Shimizu and comes eye-to-eye with an aflame Pegasus. He makes it to the exit, and firefighters rush to help him and Shimizu onto stretchers. Seki looks up and sees the dead Ensemble members in the God of Poop's spaceship, along with Shimizu. As it flies into the distance, Seki loses consciousness. Punpun and Aiko get off their bus, and she collapses. He checks her injuries, and her entire back is bruising, and she has a high fever. He tells her they need to go to a hospital, and Aiko says he must want her to get caught. They grab a taxi, and Aiko suggests that her uncle in Kagoshima is a doctor. The same newscast comes over the radio, and the driver pulls into a convenience store. Paranoid that the driver is calling the police, Punpun gets out of the car and helps Aiko limp down the night roads.

Chapter 137 Edit

They see a car down the road and decide it's safer to travel out-of-sight. They tread the dark woods, and Aiko stops. She realized just in time, she says; Punpun's real plan is to kill her and bury her in the wilderness. She gets a knife out of her purse, and when he nears, she shoves it in his chest. Punpun pulls it out and tells her to trust him. He turns her around, and they have sex until the sun peeks through the leaves.

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Believe in me.

-Punpun


Chapter 138 Edit

They reach the end of the woods, and Aiko recognizes her uncle's village. They find his hospital, and taped to the door is a relocation notice. The entire river town has been abandoned for quite some time, it appears, after a dam was constructed. Aiko wonders why, despite Punpun's strength, she's beginning to feel lonelier as time passes. He finds a tattered straw hat in the fields for her, and she smiles. She tells him instead of a hospital, she will look for a police station soon. Punpun says he will take the fall for everything, and when asks if Aiko was being honest when she claimed it was her who killed Mitsuko, she says yes. They find an abandoned house to rest in, and Aiko recalls the Tanabata they spent at the miso factory, when she wished on a star that they'd fall in love. She says should anything separate them, they should always remember each other on Tanabata. Punpun promises, and Aiko closes her eyes, smiling.

My wish came true. It's amazing how such a happiness could possibly exist...

-Aiko


Chapter 139 Edit

July 1, 2PM. Punpun wakes up alone and picks up Aiko's hat. It's a short walk until he spots Aiko in the shed, hanging from a rope. He stares. He releases her body and sees she muffled her mouth with her underwear. He stares some more, then tells her it's time to go. He carries Aiko's body on his back through the hot village and tells stories of how he imagined their life together playing out. What he wanted most was for her to keep her promise to kill him.

Chapter 140 Edit

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Punpun stops at a public well and cleans Aiko's face. He changes her into a clean dress and continues on. He uses the phone booth to dial the emergency number, and when the operator asks whether he needs a fire department or ambulance, he hangs up. He sits outside an empty house and strokes Aiko's hair. Two schoolchildren round the corner, and Punpun tells them he and his friend came from far away and need to rest. They notice he is empty-handed, and he realizes he left their things in the phone booth. The children tell him of a shortcut through the shrine and agree not to disturb his sleeping friend. Punpun retrieves their bags and gets drinks from the vending machine, but trips and twists his ankle. A piece of paper tumbles out of Aiko's purse. Her Tanabata wish: "May you never forget me." He reaches the house, but the children and Aiko are gone. On Punpunia, the God of Poop's spaceship has landed. Pegasus tells his four ascended warriors, Shimizu among them, that their plight was victorious. The time for a new world has come. God-shaped meteors begin to fall through the sky.

The new world is, in other words, a test to the Lovers.

-Pegasus


Chapter 141 Edit

July 7, Tokyo. People, people, people. Past the his old apartment, past the dull scenery, Punpun knows where he must go. Just once more. The miso factory. He wanders inside, through flashes of the past. The ghostly figure he saw that day as a child, it was the him of today. The stronger version of himself. God asks him if he will return to his dull life now, and Punpun answers no. God tells him to die, then. No, Punpun says, it is God who shall die. He takes the knife from Aiko's purse and rips out the eye where God resides.

Chapter 142 Edit

At the bus stop, Miyuki watches the video of Pegasus on her phone and scoffs. She enters Sachi's apartment and sees her old Milky Way painting and yearbook in the garbage. Gesumi is helping her clean up the place for when her manga assistant arrives. Gesumi finds a manga Sachi drew as a kid, and Sachi tells her to throw it out. The three go out, and Gesumi drinks away her relationship woes. She says Sachi would never break a promise like Mimura. Sachi tells her she's wrong, and recalls that when she was a kid, she promised a boy, Seki, that she'd show him her finished manga someday. She saw him at the factory years later on Tanabata, but he didn't seem to recognize her. Gesumi gushes that today is Tanabata, so wouldn't it be amazing if he were reading her new manga somewhere right now? Sachi says it wouldn't matter. She's turning over a new leaf. Walking home with Miyuki, she admits she only pretended to see the Milky Way as a kid - too much pollution in this city. What future did she see for herself back then? Outside the hospital, Seki puts down Sachi's magazine when he sees Shimizu exit, nose clean and head bandaged. Seki takes Shimizu's bag and begins to walk him home. Shimizu pauses and asks who Seki is.

Chapter 143 Edit

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Seki realizes Shimizu isn't kidding and kneels down to collect himself. The details don't matter, he says. Who is he? A friend. Mimura asks some old friends if they've heard from Punpun, but no luck. He checks his phone and sees a ton of missed calls from Gesumi. He calls her back, and when the stars start falling one by one above them, he's inspired to tell her he loves her. Wada refreshes Pegasus' webvideo, which doesn't even have 2,000 views. Punpun lays in the dirt and watches the sky, wishing he could burn away like those stars. God and Aiko are dead, and he's simply tired. Goodnight — Sachi interrupts him and tugs his bloody hand. She smiles. "Caught'cha."

You're mine and mine alone.

-Sachi


Chapter 144 Edit

Punpun wakes up in a hospital room, and Sachi informs him he just had eye surgery. She shows him her new manga protagonist: a bird doodle. She smiles at her joke. She gets up to leave and tells Punpun that she won't pry, but whenever he's ready to talk, she'll listen. She rests in the waiting room, when some policemen enter. One approaches her and informs her that her friend is a murder suspect, so they'd like to ask her a few questions. Sachi claps a hand to her mouth and begins to weep. Midori rests in her own hospital bed while Yuuichi watches their new baby from the window. He weeps, frightened and hopeful. In the baby's eye, a tiny God smiles back.

Chapter 145 Edit

Tanabata is soon. Punpun relays the past year to Aiko. His probation is over, and he now has a boring job at a real estate agency. Mimura and Gesumi are getting married, and Sachi collaborated with Punpun on her newest manga. Her daughter has grown close to Punpun. He's comfortable living this simple, wayward life like a ghost. He aims to live and die quietly. After all, Aiko can't be the one to kill him. Although he promised to remember her, it's already hard to recall what she was really like. Surely, it will rain this Tanabata, and all future Tanabatas will keep the stars apart. "I'm sorry, Aiko. Goodbye." It's time to wake up.

Aiko, I've been thinking... about whether or not we really saw that Milky Way during that one time in our childhood. Could it be that what we saw was just glorified by our imaginations...? That's what I wonder these days. These days, your voice is a little faint, Aiko... But perhaps your voice was always that way.
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Chapter 146 Edit

It's the end of Harumi's first semester as an elementary teacher, and his class bids farewell to a female student. He makes friendly in the teacher's lounge and goes home with his fiance. In the throw-out pile, he finds a notebook with a photo of his old girlfriend before their car accident. At his elementary school reunion, he sees Sonoda, Komatsu who's tall as ever, and Seki without Shimizu for once. How quiant to pretend that nothing's changed. While his fiance gets fitted for her wedding dress, she begins having second thoughts and asks Harumi to take a walk. He does. Surely, this is what they call "normal." So normal he feels he could just snap. He's pulled out of his thoughts by a bump into someone he recognizes.

Chapter 147 Edit

Harumi and Punpun chat, but conversation is awkward after the years apart. They eventually only have the weather to discuss. Punpun admits he was lonely after Harumi transferred schools, and Harumi realizes the same is true for him, as well. A small girl approaches them, and Punpun greets her warmly. Sachi tails close behind and scolds Punpun for disappearing so suddenly. When he realizes the two are not married, Harumi decides not to ask further questions, about his relastionships nor left eye. He crosses the street and waves goodbye, knowing this is the last time. Punpun stands in his niche beside Sachi, her daughter, Mimura, Gesumi, Miyuki, and Manager. Harumi never does recall his name. Harumi goes to school, pointlessly bickering with his fiance. He introduces the female transfer student to the class. A boy in the middle row sits mesmerized. Harumi smiles. Somewhere on the way home, a little girl tells a little boy, "Humanity's going to go ustinct."

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