Madoka and Hikaru got out of the car as soon as they arrived at the Teotihuacan ruins.
The rays of the full moon were beaming everywhere. Using this light, the two women found their way into the pyramid area.
Built in the second century B.C. by a race of people called Teotihuacans, this was the largest religious city in Latin America. The priests had ruled the city then, creating a society in which all events centered around their religious leaders, with warrior and merchant classes under their complete control.
In order for the religious leaders to carry out the necessary religious rituals with accuracy, they had created these three pyramids using a great deal of mathematical and astronomical knowledge, so that there was not the slightest bit of error in their construction.
But this civilization met with destruction in the seventh century, very much like the legend of Atlantis, and disappeared. The Aztecs, who came to this region later, protected the city.
In the middle of the ruins was a main street which was four kilometers in length, which the Aztecs called the Road of the Dead.
The pyramids were placed at precise locations with the Road of the Dead in between them. The pyramid on the south edge was called the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl; north from there you get to the Pyramid of the Sun; and at the end of the road, the Pyramid of the Moon. Quetzalcoatl means "winged snake."
"So that's the Pyramid of the Sun."
Hikaru stepped onto the Road of the Dead and walked to the museum in front of the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl. She looked at the Pyramid of the Sun, which appeared to be several kilometers tall, and gasped.
There were still many enigmas surrounding the lost civilization of Atlantis, and many theories among scholars. Some postulated that the Teotihuacans had been influenced by the culture of Atlantis.
To Hikaru, here at last, it truly seemed to be the land in which the god Atlas, who fell in love with a maiden, dwelt.
Madoka touched the sleeve of her friend, who had wandered down the Road of the Dead, and pulled her back near the museum.
If Anita Brussel was looking down from the pyramid above, nothing, not even a small animal like a cat could escape being seen.
There was no sign of anyone near the museum.
But on the receptionist desk in the front of the museum, a computer had been left on. This was probably so that the research information can be sent through the Internet, even at night.
On the screen, Donald Duck was painting the background. It was an anime (38) screen saver.
When a monitor displays the same image for a long time, that image can burn itself into the monitor itself. For this reason, various screen savers had become popular in recent years.
"I guess the ghosts of people from a long time ago would be surprised to see Donald Duck," Madoka said playfully.
"Oh, come on, Madoka-san."
The two women laughed as quietly as they could, followed the museum towards the Pyramid of the Sun.
According to Monica, Anita had completely lost her sanity, and would be waiting here alone. But it was also possible that she had henchmen ready in case Shuri and Kyosuke tried to run away.
For this reason, Hikaru and Madoka had considered going to the police before coming here. But on the other hand, the Mexican police might be in her employ, too.
So there had been nothing for them to do but just come to the Pyramid of the Sun themselves.
Past the museum, there was only a small wall, and nothing else. Nothing to hide behind.
Hikaru took the Baretta out of her hip pocket.
"...Hikaru..." Madoka started.
"Madoka-san, there's one thing I've learned from living in New York."
"Get them before they get you...and if they get you, get them back," Hikaru said, then laughed self-consciously. "You said that to me once, Madoka-san."
"I don't remember that..."
"No, you said it, I'm sure of it. What's wrong with me, remembering something like that at a time like this?"
Hikaru checked her hold on the gun.
"I don't want to use this, but...but I might have to."
"But I'm so clumsy. Madoka-san, will you carry it instead?"
"Okay. I'll take care of it, Hikaru."
But just then, the voice of the ancient ghosts who slept in the old city sounded:
_"Oh blessed Era!"_
Hikaru was about to shriek with fright.
Madoka's eyes moved to where the voice came from. On the steps of the Pyramid was what looked like a tiny doll.
"What's that?" Madoka questioned.
"Madoka-san, it's...its Shuri."
The pyramid was 65 meters tall. There are 248 stone steps to the peak. Shuri Anzai was standing about half way up them.
She had just uttered the one line from the musical, the words that she, like Hikaru, had practiced again and again.
_"Blessed Era, please forgive me. I have committed a sin so great that, even if I were to bury myself for all eternity in the soil of this beautiful country, it would not be erased. And yet I continue to commit this sin every day. Even if it meant I would turn into the seaweed that washes onto the shore..."_
As if to herself, Hikaru spoke the rest of the line with Shuri: "_...I could not stop loving Atlas._"
"Hikaru?" Madoka eyes were wide with puzzlement.
Hikaru shot a half-worried, half-embarrassed smile at Madoka. "It's a line from the musical."
But just then, Madoka, who had been looking towards the pyramid, opened her eyes in shock. A figure had appeared at the top of the pyramid, looking down at Shuri.
It was a woman, wearing a stage costume like that of a goddess. Her shape caught the moonbeams, and it seemed as if she had just descended from heaven.
The two women uttered the name to themselves.
"Anita! I'm here!" Shuri called, looking up the pyramid. "I won't run anymore. If you want to make a sacrifice out of me, go ahead and do it. I wrote down everything about you and sent copies to the American President and the Japanese Embassy. They'll catch you."
From where Shuri stood, she couldn't see Anita's facial expression because of the reflection.
But she could see that Anita held some kind of black, metal object in her hand. She climbed a few more steps. She then saw that the weapon Anita was holding was a scythe for reaping grain. So it was true, Anita had lost her mind.
Being careful not to let Anita notice, Shuri put her hand in her jacket pocket. She took out a derringer small enough to hide in your hand, and held it.
A derringer holds just two bullets. She had bought it at a small antique shop on the way to the pyramid ruins. She had wanted a larger pistol, but on the other hand, this small weapon made it easier to approach Anita.
In any event, this was the first time she'd tried to use a gun. There was no alternative for Shuri than to try to take out her opponent first, if she hoped to survive.
Anita stared at Shuri come up to her, like a wild animal watching its prey.
To her, it didn't matter what this girl said.
Inside Anita's mind, scenes from hundreds of musical were playing. These were all scenes in which she had acted gloriously.
Suddenly an image caused the wonderful feelings of ecstasy in which she was floating to come to an end. And for some time after that event, she was assaulted by pain and irritation.
She didn't know what the pain had come to her. But she knew that the agony would be washed away forever with the blood of a living human sacrifice.
With her beautiful voice, Anita Brussel said the line she had practiced again and again in the mirror over the past few days:
"Maiden! Bring your purified head to me."
Anita raised the scythe she had been holding. At the same time, Shuri brought her derringer up and aimed it at Anita.
Just then, Shuri sensed something ferocious in Anita. This caused her to pause for a second.
The bullet from the derringer missed Anita's face by just a few inches. Anita's scythe came down and cut into Shuri's neck.
Shuri was aware of someone calling her name somewhere behind her, but she didn't think it was real. She wasn't even aware that the geyser of blood that rose from her neck was her own.
The owner of the voice that was calling hers now held her body in its arms. Shuri wondered who it was.
"Shuri, hang on!"
Shuri labored to recall the name.
But just then, she fell into the white void.
Madoka and Hikaru had run up the stone steps and were trying to help Shuri, all while enduring the cold gaze of Anita Brussel.
But just then, something even more shocking happened.
Anita stood up, her eyes looking like those of a dead person's. Then, from behind her, three ferocious tigers appeared!
Hikaru gently lay Shuri's body down on the stone steps, and took the Baretta into her shaking hands.
As if to stop Hikaru's own shaking, Madoka held Hikaru's hands with her own. Then, she said in a desperate voice, "Hikaru, how many bullets are left?"
Just at that moment, I was in the middle of teleporting (that is to say, I was flying into another dimension just then).
I had begun to feel fear.
It had to be the special powers of the Kasuga Clan, warning me that Madoka and Hikaru were in danger someplace.
Do something! my flesh shouted.
But in reality, I didn't know what I could possibly do.
I had the nice Mexican family take me to the village, and that's when I noticed that they had taken me farther away from the ruins of Teotihuacan.
I panicked, and tried to use my teleportation to take me to the ruins again.
But I knew I would use my power up before reaching the pyramids.
There was nothing left to do but go to someone's house and steal a car.
That's the only way!
I gave up trying to teleport, and returned to the road.
Up the road a ways there was a house with lights on. I decided to borrow or steal a car.
I had nothing with me but the notebook Mac I had borrowed from Mr. Chiru Chiru Michiru. I had dropped my bag containing clean clothes a long time ago, but had kept the computer with me, unwilling to throw away something that didn't belong to me.
I know, I'll offer to trade a car for the computer!
Just then, something occurred to me.
I looked at the Mac again, suddenly getting an idea that might have come from a science fiction movie.
The report of the Beretta echoed again and again around the three pyramids.
But the three tigers didn't falter at the sound a bit. Almost as if they knew the shot Madoka had fired into the air was just a threat, they climbed up onto a nearby stone wall and waited for a chance to attack Madoka and Hikaru.
Anita Brussel was once again looking at the two women with an expression of ecstasy on her face.
"Ah, hello?" she said. "Are you Star-chan? How nice. I'll cut your head off, too."
Hikaru pointed the pistol at Anita with her still-shaking hands.
"Anita! I know all about you. You like hold people's destinies in your hands!"
"What?" Anita said.
"You like interfering with people's lives.That's why the same thing happened to you!"
"Your musical was cancelled...by Japanese!"
"Why, you..." Anita held the scythe high and descended one step towards Hikaru.
"Hikaru!" Madoka warned, moving behind her friend.
"I'm going to...shoot her."
"This kind of person...she can't be forgiven for what she's done. So, I'm going to kill her."
Hikaru started to pull the trigger. But Madoka suddenly moved forward, as if to embrace Hikaru, and put her hand in Hikaru's so that both women's fingers now held the trigger.
"Hikaru...Kyosuke went to Bosnia, and saw many people killed. Kyosuke told me once, you can only kill someone when you're insane. Otherwise, you'll be tormented by the emotions you felt the moment you pulled that trigger...all your life."
"That's just like...Kasuga-senpai."
"Hikaru. If you're going to do this, then I'll do it with you."
But just then one of the tigers got ready to pounce. The third report from the gun sounded.
The two women tried to dodge the tiger's attack. But Hikaru's foot slipped, and she fell down the stone steps. Madoka followed Hikaru and grabbed her hand, stopping her friend's fall down the pyramid.
But Monica's gun came free of the two girls' hands, and was gone, clattering down to the bottom.
Anita looked down at the two women. She prepared to bring judgement on them.
It was a first experience for me.
Kyosuke Kasuga, age twenty-two. I have been to the past, I have been to the future, I have been to many places.
But this was the first time I had been to the World of Electrons.
Yes, I was trapped inside the Mac itself.
I thought of it just as I was about to go to the house and ask to borrow a car. I went to the house, asked to borrow the telephone instead, and hooked up the Mac. Then I teleported into the computer.
I screamed. There was really nothing else for me to do.
People who have never been inside a computer won't know (of course!), but the World of Electrons is an amazing other world of pure imagination.
One moment, I was seeing bright, many-colored fireworks, then I was hearing the music of the electrons themselves.
I then realized I was traveling at an unbelievable speed.
I knew I had no way to check where I was. So I decided to close my eyes and think of Madoka.
I want to see Madoka!
I want to see her!
It's usually very effective if I think of various faces she makes...and of various aspects of her body.
As those faces cycled through my mind, changing like the ajisai (39) flower, I suddenly saw something very strange in front of my face.
It was a...a high school girl? Wearing something like a sailor suit. No, not a high school girl.
It was wearing a sailor suit, but it wasn't human. It was a duck! And he was painting back and forth.
It was Donald Duck!
Then, in the next instant, I left the world of electrons.
With an incredible noise, I was thrown back into the real world. I smashed right into a thick wall.
The place I was in seemed to be the entrance to a museum of some kind. The picture of Donald Duck I had seen was displayed on a computer that was on the front desk.
"Where the hell is this?" I said aloud. As I spoke, I noticed saw three miniature models.
It looked to be a representation of three pyramids. I had seen them before. It had been in a guidebook of Mexico. They seemed to be the same as the pyramids in the Teotihuacan ruins.
"So, this is where the Pyramid of the Sun is...?"
That was when I saw it. On one of the pyramid models--could it be real?--the image of Madoka and Hikaru-chan, and also Anita Brussel, controlling three giant tigers against them.
Just then, with more power than I could ever imagine started to course through my body.
_Whack!_ Madoka kicked out at the front leg of one of the tigers.
But the wild animals just growled back angrily, and didn't retreat any. Instead, they continued to surround Madoka and Hikaru, coming in from three directions.
Anita continued to command her three obedient underlings:
"Remember, you have to eat them slowly. Here, I'll cut their heads off to make it easier for you."
She brought the scythe around again, and it glinted with the light of the moon.
But just then, a great blast of energy knocked her down, as if the light of the moon had turned into a huge whirlpool instead.
At the same moment Hikaru and Madoka heard Anita scream, they lost consciousness.
I reappeared about halfway down the stairs on the Pyramid of the Sun. After checking that Madoka and Hikaru-chan were safe, I turned back to Anita and her three tigers.
Having taken the full force of my energy, Anita was sitting on the stone stairs, looking at me as if in shock. Those eyes were very different from a normal person's.
Even if she not been insane, I had had no intention of hiding from her the secret of my powers.
I don't care what she finds out!
The person who could do these kinds of things to Hikaru-chan...to Madoka...can never be forgiven!
Just then, there was a deep sound, like the sound a snake would make in its throat if it could.
It was a strange sound. The sound of an animal about to pounce. I looked at the three tigers, trying to guess which would attack first.
But this sound wasn't coming from them.
It was Anita, the queen of Broadway, now a wild animal herself. She was making the sound in her throat as she readied her scythe once again.
Trained dancer that she was, she had assumed a ready stance. She had become the fourth wild creature around me.
She said something to me, then suddenly attacked me.
I was one or two seconds in understanding what she had said to me.
You should......! (40)
That is to say, she commanded me to: "Die!" But just as I heard her
words, the energy inside me exploded.
It became a soul of pure light, and shot out at her. Anita Brussel's body fell back from the shock. It was sort of beautiful, as if she had been acting it.
I caught her, but she had passed out, unconscious.
Now it was time to deal with the three tigers. I looked at the main street known as the Road of the Dead.
These dangerous animals needed a cage of some sort. Now where should I teleport them to...?