Chapter 14: Shizuma’s First Love
As soon as Jaden had run across Nagisa just as she collapsed, she was taken to her room at the Strawberry Dorms. The school doctor dropped by the dorms to check on Nagisa. She had only collapsed from exhaustion. Nagisa woke up later that day to find Miyuki sitting near her bed.
“I see you’re finally awake.” Miyuki said with her usual stern expression.
“Where am I?” Nagisa asked as she slowly sat up.
“You’re in your room at the dorms.” Miyuki answered. “Mr. Yuki was fortunate enough to run across you just before you collapsed. He helped to bring you here.”
“Why are you here?” Nagisa asked.
“I felt that I owed you an explanation.” Miyuki replied. “First, how much did Shizuma tell you about her Etoile partner?”
Nagisa looked down sadly. She took a moment to compose herself before she spoke.
“She told me that her name was Kaori and that she was her first love.” Nagisa finally answered.
“I see… That will save us some time.” Miyuki replied as she turned to face the window. “Let me start by saying that I never approved of Shizuma’s relationship with you, nor did I really approve of her relationship with Kaori. It was for different reasons though. The reason that I never really approved of Shizuma’s relationship with Kaori was because I knew that Shizuma would only be hurt in the end. It turned out that I was right. As for why I didn’t approve of you having a relationship with Shizuma, it was because I was afraid of you getting hurt. I’m sorry to say that I was right again.”
“…What do you know about Shizuma and Kaori?” Nagisa asked hesitantly. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to know anymore about it, but a part of her felt that she had to know.
“I’ve been Shizuma’s friend since I started attending Miator.” Miyuki replied. “I was there when Shizuma first met Kaori, and I was also there when Kaori died. Because you are now involved, you have the right to know the whole story…”
* * *
Miyuki’s tale took place a few years before Nagisa started attending Miator. Even before Miyuki had become Miator’s Student Council President. It all started on what might be considered by most as an ordinary day. But for Miyuki and Shizuma, the day wasn’t quite that ordinary, because they had been given a very special assignment.
“I can’t believe that we have to look after some sick first-year student.” Shizuma complained.
“This order came from the head mistress of the three academies herself.” Miyuki reminded. “This student has an illness that makes hard for her to do certain things. The head mistress wants us to help this girl get the full benefit of attending Miator.”
“But why us?” Shizuma asked sounding a little irritated. “Surely there are others who can do the job.”
“The head mistress chose us because we’re two of the best students here.” Miyuki replied. “Now stop complaining about it!”
“If she’s so sick, how can she duel?” Shizuma asked with her arms crossed as she sat on her bed. “This isn’t exactly a low contact sport you know. It can get a little intense.”
“That isn’t our business Shizuma.” Miyuki replied. “Our only concern is to do the job we’ve been given.”
“You can be way too serious sometimes Miyuki.” Shizuma said as she got off the bed and walked closer to her roommate. Shizuma got behind Miyuki and leaned close enough to whisper in her ear. “You need to learn to loosen up.”
Shizuma suddenly started to kiss Miyuki’s neck, causing her to blush and push the silver haired girl off of her. Shizuma got up from the floor laughing.
“You can be such a child!” a flustered Miyuki exclaimed. “Now come on! We have to go meet this new student.”
Shizuma and Miyuki left their room and went to the room of the student that they were assigned to look after. Miyuki knocked on the door.
“Come in.” said a voice from inside the room. Miyuki opened the door.
“Shizuma, this is Kaori Sakuragi.” Miyuki introduced as she stepped out of the way so Shizuma could get a better look at this student they were charged to take care of.
Shizuma’s breath was taken away when she saw the girl in the room. She had short, black hair adorned with a large pink bow in the back. Her skin was almost as pale as snow. Shizuma thought that she was the prettiest girl that she had ever seen. She was like a living doll, and her Miator uniform only accentuated that look.
“Hello…” was that Shizuma could manage to say as she entered the room. Kaori replied by smiling back at her. That smile caused Shizuma to blush a little.
As time went on, and as Shizuma spent more and more time with Kaori, the two became closer and closer. The summer came, and Shizuma, Kaori, and Miyuki all went to Shizuma’s villa together. One evening that, the three went to a nearby hill to do some stargazing. It was not that far a walk from the house. Once there, Kaori started running up the hill, but lost her breath about half way up. It was not a very steep hill, though it was a high one. There were times when Shizuma would forget just how frail Kaori’s illness made her.
“Are you all right?” Shizuma asked in a worried tone.
“I’m fine.” Kaori said as she caught her breath. “I just overexerted myself. I was so excited about coming here that I couldn’t help but run some of the way up.”
Miyuki finished laying out the blanket. Shizuma and Kaori sat down on it while Miyuki went back down the hill to grab the cooler, which was left back at the house, leaving the two alone.
“It’s so beautiful up here.” Kaori exclaimed.
“I thought you’d like it.” Shizuma replied with a smile.
“…There’s something that I want to show you.” Kaori said a little nervously.
“What is it?” Shizuma asked, her full attention on the black haired girl sitting beside her.
“Promise you won’t think I’m silly?” Kaori asked.
“I could never think that.” Shizuma replied as she put her hand over Kaori’s.
Kaori removed her hand, took out her deck, which was in a small bag that she had brought with her, and pulled out a card that she handed to Shizuma. The silver haired girl took a close look at the card. It was a monster card called Athena. The monster it depicted was a woman with long silver hair wearing white robes and a silver helmet. In one arm the woman carried a spear, and in the other a shield.
“I got this card a few days before the trip.” Kaori explained. “It’s sort of become my favorite card.”
“Why is that?” Shizuma asked.
“It reminds me of you.” Kaori replied.
“Because we have the same color hair?” Shizuma asked with an amused smile.
“That’s part of the reason I guess.” Kaori answered. “But the main reason is because it’s strong and beautiful like you.”
Shizuma blushed, then handed the card back to Kaori and put her arm around the younger girl’s shoulder. Miyuki returned and looked at the couple with concerned eyes. She chose not to say anything however, and the three spent the rest of the night watching the stars.
More time passed, and Shizuma and Kaori’s relationship grew stronger. During that time, Miyuki was elected Student Council President, and the reign of the Etoile from that time was coming to a close. A new Tournament was about to be held. Miyuki was going over some paperwork that her duties as president required her to do, when she came across the list of participants in the tournament. She recognized two of the names right away, and decided to have a little talk with Shizuma.
“What is the meaning of this?” Miyuki demanded as she showed the list of participants to Shizuma.
“I think it’s pretty obvious.” Shizuma replied with an innocent smile. “Kaori and I have entered the Etoile Tournament.”
“I think this is a mistake Shizuma.” Miyuki said with a disapproving tone.
“Why? I think Kaori and I will make a good team.” Shizuma responded. “I’m sure that we can beat anyone who enters that tournament.”
“That’s not why I don’t think that you should enter.” Miyuki replied. “It’s just… Kaori’s health isn’t getting any better. I don’t want to think about what might happen if…”
“…Don’t you think that I know all that?” Shizuma asked her friend with sad eyes. “I know that Kaori isn’t getting any better. Kaori knows that too. That’s why we both want to enter. No matter what happens, we won’t have any regrets.”
Miyuki’s expression softened after hearing what Shizuma had said. She knew that she couldn’t stand in her friend’s way.
“I just don’t want to see you get hurt.” Miyuki said as she put her hand on her friend’s shoulder.
“You’re a good friend Miyuki.” Shizuma said with a smile that reflected a hint of sadness.
The tournament finally came, and Shizuma and Kaori had made it to the final round. Their opponent’s were a pair of students from Spica. The life points of Shizuma and Kaori were at 3000, mostly thanks to the defensive Traps that Kaori had been playing. They also had four cards on their side of the field. Shizuma had Elemental Hero Ocean and Elemental Hero Woodsman, which looked like a man that was part tree. Kaori meanwhile had Athena, along with a facedown card. Their opponents, on the other hand, were on the ropes with only 1800 life points. They also had no monsters, but they did have a card that was facedown. It was Shizuma’s turn.
“I activate Polymerization!” Shizuma announced. “I fuse Elemental Hero Ocean and Elemental Hero Woodsman into Elemental Hero Terra Firma!”
The two heroes jumped into the small vortex that had appeared in the sky. A moment later, a large warrior that looked like he was made of polished white stone dropped onto the field. He had a red gemstone on his chest, along with a larger blue gemstone on each shoulder. Terra Firma had 2500 ATK points, which was more than enough to finish the duel.
“Terra Firma, attack them directly!” Shizuma commanded. “Terra Firma Impact!”
The white hero of Earth charged at the two Spica students, preparing to deliver the finishing blow.
“I activate my Trap, Mirror Force!” one of the students announced. “Say goodbye to your victory!”
“Not so fast, I activate Trap Jammer!” Kaori announced. “The effect of your Mirror Force is canceled!”
Terra Firma’s attack hit dead on, reducing the life points of the two Spica students to zero. Shizuma and Kaori were declared the winners. Later that day, there was a ceremony at the church on the island, where Shizuma and Kaori were awarded two small pendants that signified their position as Etoile. Kaori received a red pendant while Shizuma received a blue one. The crowed applauded once the two girls were crowned champions.
A little more time passed. At first, Kaori was able to perform most of her Etoile duties with Shizuma. Their favorite duty was tending to the flowers in the Etoile greenhouse. After awhile though, Kaori’s health took a turn for the worse. It got to a point where she couldn’t really get out of bed. Shizuma spent every spare moment that she had by Kaori’s bedside. The doctors did everything that they could, but in the end there was nothing they could do. Kaori died three months after she and Shizuma had become Etoile.
Not long after the funeral, Shizuma stood in Kaori’s empty room. Miyuki joined her after awhile.
“As long as we have the positions that we do, we can keep this room from being occupied.” Miyuki told her friend.
“I’d like that…” Shizuma replied calmly.
“…Are you okay?” Miyuki asked, though she knew what the answer was.
“I have no regrets about how it all turned out.” Shizuma replied, not turning to look at her friend.
“That wasn’t what I meant.” Miyuki responded as she looked down at the floor with sad eyes. She knew what the real answer was. “…I’ll leave you alone for awhile.”
Miyuki left the room, closing the door behind her. Moments after Miyuki left, Shizuma, overcome by grief, screamed and dropped to the floor sobbing.
* * *
Back in the present, Miyuki was finishing her tale. Nagisa had taken in every word.
“…Shizuma was never the same after that.” Miyuki continued. “Her heart had become cold. It was as if she stopped living. It seemed, however, that Shizuma had started to become her old self when she met you. I did have hopes that you could help Shizuma forget about Kaori and start living again. As I feared though, those hopes were foolish. I’m sorry that you’ve been hurt by all this.”
After a moment, Nagisa started crying, partly because of the sad story that she heard, and partly because it seemed that Shizuma never really loved her.
* * *
Just outside of Nagisa’s room, Jaden stood listening to Miyuki’s story. The door was carelessly left open a crack, so he could hear every word. Jaden knew that it wasn’t really his business. In fact he wasn’t really supposed to be in the Strawberry Dorms, but Jaden felt that he had to hear that story. He wanted to know why Shizuma, a strong duelist that he respected, had lost passion for everything. He also wanted to know why Nagisa, a girl who had become his friend, ended up being hurt. Satisfied that he had heard the whole story, Jaden left the Strawberry Dorms. Outside, Yubel appeared to talk with Jaden.
“Eavesdropping is a bad habit to get into you know.” Yubel said half jokingly.
“…I just had to hear to hear that story Yubel.” Jaden replied as he stopped walking.
“I guess I had to hear it too.” Yubel replied back. “You know that there isn’t anything we can do. This is something between Shizuma and Nagisa.”
“I know.” Jaden replied as he looked down at the ground. “There’s something that Miyuki said that I don’t get. How can Shizuma ever forget Kaori?”
“She can’t.” Yubel replied. “Kaori will always be Shizuma’s first love. She’ll never forget her. But Shizuma does have to move on and except Kaori’s death. Otherwise she’ll never find happiness.”
“…Do you think that Shizuma is really in love with Nagisa?” Jaden asked. Yubel shrugged.
“Maybe she is.” Yubel replied. “But she’ll never realize it until she moves on. She’s still clinging to Kaori’s memeory.”
“How did you get to be so wise?” Jaden asked with a half smile.
“I’ve been around awhile.” Yubel shrugged. “Granted I went a little nuts after a few years, but I’ve seen a few things.”
“…I wish that there was something we could do.” Jaden said sadly.
“I know, but this is out of our hands.” Yubel replied. “The only thing we can do is hope that it all works out for the best somehow. In the meantime, we have some dangerous cards to find.”
“…I guess you’re right.” Jaden responded. “But let’s work on finding those cards tomorrow. I don’t really feel up to it today.”
“Whatever you say Jaden.” Yubel replied, and Jaden started walking back to the headmistress’ mansion.