Approximately 50 years ago.
“You’re tired of reality.”
“You can’t reduce your stress.”
“You’re feeling down.”
“At times like these, why don’t you try taking some Star?”
- Successfully relax
- Reduce your stress
- Raise your spirits
“Have pleasant dreams with Star.”
“It doesn’t contain any components of sleeping medicine.”
“It isn’t a drug; it’s a candy-like snack you can enjoy.”
“Here’s to you having sweet dreams this evening.”
Grotesque incidents began to pile up from those who used Star called ‘Stardust’, and Cloud fell into turmoil.
For the sake of keeping the peace, a volunteer organization called the Public Order Department tried to fight against their crimes. However, the Stardust were consumed by madness and opposed them so strongly that they were unsuccessful.
Abandoned by foreign countries, Cloud continued in its current state both orphaned and helpless.
The ‘Angels’ working for this organization clean up individuals involved with Star, and are helping to reorganize the country but-
Star didn’t cease to exist. Star was an invented object, but it could not be erased from people’s hearts.
The day it began—
The sky was clear. I had a small bag by my feet.
In my hand was a testing results notification letter from the Heavens Institution I had received a month prior.
Dear Miss Fuu Sorano,
We hope this letter finds you in good health. We are writing to inform you of your success in passing the Angel Certification Exam held recently.
Your assignment is Akatsuki Town. In line with this, the Angels of Akatsuki will be carrying out an ‘Angels Banquet’ at which we request your attendance.
Please see the enclosure for details.
Additionally, if there are any inconveniences in regards to your schedule, please contact the Heavens Information Bureau Personnel Section for an adjustment.
I’ve lived in Akatsuki Town since I was born, so I was relieved to be assigned here.
Rina, who came along to see me off after I told her what was happening, shook my shoulder.
RINA: “I mean, does it really even come to this bus stop!?”
FUU: “Geez, it does stop here. It’ll be here in about 10 more minutes. You don’t have to check every minute.”
This woman is Rina. She took custody of me after my parents passed away.
RINA: “Just call me Rina. I’ll knock you down if you call me ‘auntie’!”
I first met her when I was 7 and Rina was 30.
RINA: “Hah… So you’re finally leaving the nest. It’s going to be so boring~And to think you’re really going to become an Angel…”
She gently combed her fingers through my hair with a kind smile on her face.
Her gaze was warm and the gesture felt nice… My desire to not part from her repeated again in my mind.
RINA: “You’ve already come this far by overcoming my opposition to it, so do your best! …And you absolutely mustn’t die.”
FUU: “Yeah… Thanks.”
FUU: (I can’t worry about it now. After all, I’ve been waiting for this day forever…)
Ever since that day 13 years ago-
That day, just like always, after gazing at the twinkling stars in the night sky and the moon rabbits, I went to sleep after kissing Mama and Papa goodnight.
I believed it would be another peaceful day when I woke up, just as usual. But–
FUU: “Nnn… What was that sound…?”
A loud sound from the first floor pulled me from my dream back to reality.
The damaged room and the silhouettes of unknown people captured my field of vision. And-
The figures of my parents collapsed on top of blood spreading across the floor.
That was my final memory of seeing my parents.
The next time I opened my eyes, I was on a bed in an unfamiliar room-
I happened to see an unknown man loitering in my line of sight, staring off into space…
I let out a small cry as I rose from the bed and the man’s gaze shifted to me.
I was scared by the incomprehensible situation, but more so than that, I was worried about my parents.
FUU: “P-Papa and Mama are…?”
???: “They’re- I’ll tell you now…”
The nervous man sighed heavily and began to speak in a trembling voice.
???: “Your Papa and Mama committed a huge crime and because of that…”
???: “…They lost their lives.”
For a moment, I had no idea what he said. Lost their lives… Only those words rang in my ears.
FUU: “L-lost their lives… You mean, they’re not here anymore? …You don’t mean-”
The words caught in my chest before I could say them. I felt like I was suffocating.
???: “…That’s right. They’re… gone.”
Huge tears began to spill from my eyes as I spoke…
Instead of nodding, the man dropped his gaze to the floor. Even my 7 year old self could sense that was an affirmation.
FUU: “That’s a lie… They’re not dead…”
???: “It’s not a lie. Your Papa and Mama committed a- they did something bad and because of that-”
FUU: “What sort of bad thing!? Something so bad that they had to die!?”
???: “No! That’s not it!”
FUU: “Then what!? Tell me! Tell me! *sob*”
???: “…Because she’s a child they said, but this is a mistake…”
After saying something to himself, the man grasped both my shoulders, met my gaze and spoke clearly.
???: “There’s not much I can say to you, but I’ll tell you the truth as far as I can…”
???: “You might not understand at first, but I’ll tell you however many times you need to understand so-”
FUU: “You’re a liar! Papa and Mama are still alive!”
???: “…Listen to-”
FUU: “They gave me a kiss before bed and said ‘see you tomorrow’! Papa and Mama are waiting for me so I’m going home!”
Large hands embraced me as I tried to get down from the bed.
FUU: “Let me go! Let me go home! Papa and Mama are waiting-”
FUU: “Liar! They’re definitely there! Because they wouldn’t leave me like this!”
FUU: “They said they love me, they’ll always love me… They said they’d always be with me-!”
FUU: “So they can’t die… I can’t see them if they die, so they can’t!”
???: “Death isn’t the end! Just because you can’t meet them doesn’t mean it’s over! Because they’ve left something behind, right!?”
???: “Your Papa and Mama left you their love… They’re not in this world anymore, but their love will never disappear.”
FUU: “*sob* …I don’t understand… I can’t understand… I want to see Papa and Mama…”
???: “If you miss them, look up at the sky. People who die become stars and watch over their loved ones who are left behind.”
After that, I was forced to live at that place for several days.
That man came to visit me a number of times and explained the same things to me when I wouldn’t accept the truth. As a result:
“Star” “Dealers” “Angels”
Those 3 words were deeply etched into my heart.
And thus, my parents were stained completely black in my mind.
When Rina came to get me, I harbored a grudge against my parents.
FUU: “…I don’t want to be like my mom. I don’t want to do bad things.”
???: “…I’m sorry, I did a poor job at explaining-”
FUU: “Papa and Mama were dealers that sold Star and then they got into a fight with other dealers and were killed.”
FUU: “Star is a bad thing and those bad people sell Star for money-”
FUU: “I don’t want to be like those people! I don’t do bad things!”
Rina’s face distorted at my hatred filled words and—
She smacked me hard enough to make me fall down.
RINA: “Don’t you dare talk like that! Just who do you have to thank for living happily until now!?”
RINA: “It may be true that your Papa and Mama did bad things, like you said.”
RINA: “But those two worked wholeheartedly for your happiness.”
RINA: “I’m not trying to say it’s your fault, but what you can see and hear isn’t everything.”
RINA: “Even when they were out of your sight, your Papa and Mama poured their love for you into every minute, every second, always.”
RINA: “Even now after they’ve passed away, that won’t change. Their love will continue forever, for eternity…”
After speaking, Rina pulled a small box from the bag she was holding and presented it to me.
FUU: “What is this…?”
Rina turned her gaze toward the man. After looking a little at a loss, the man slowly started to talk.
???: “…Sorry. When I was investigating at your house I just sort of found it.”
I took it with trembling hands and opened the small box—
‘Happy 8th birthday. With love to our dear Fuu, Papa and Mama’
I burst into tears and my chest felt tight. The feelings of love, happiness, sadness all at once grew stronger and stirred up inside my heart.
I still felt bitter and blamed them. But it isn’t simple to completely change how you feel about the people you love.
Even if my parents committed a crime and left me behind.
FUU: “Papa, Mama. I love you, too… I love you…”
???: “Fuu, listen up, okay? …This is the last time I’ll be able to speak to you, so I want you to listen carefully.”
I took a good look at the man’s face for the first time. He’d come to visit me many times before but…
Because my mind was somewhere else, I hadn’t really noticed what was right in front of me.
???: “No matter how much you hate them or resent them… The love of theirs that blossomed for you will never disappear. That’s the bond between family.”
???: “So I really want you to face your emotions. Do you really hate them? Or is your love for them unchanged?”
I couldn’t reply with anything other than that and followed Rina out of the room.
But that man — those final words given to me from that Angel have always remained in my heart.
The reason my parents committed a crime was for money. From what I heard from Rina, the company they managed was apparently declining.
All I did was resent them, but I couldn’t understand the real reason they used the money for back then.
The money was apparently used for our living expenses. And—
FUU’S MAMA: “Mama’s wish is for you to be happy. No matter what happens, I’ll protect your smile.”
FUU: (I want to protect them how they protected me…)
FUU: (By atoning for their crimes, I hope they can sleep peacefully—)
I can atone for their crime by retrieving as much Star as possible.
I don’t intend on telling anyone that they sold it but…
I’m certain that the way to atone for it is by nipping the source of the rampant evil in our country right in the bud.
I convinced Rina I should become part of the organization cracking down on Star, the Heavens Institution…
I enrolled in an Angel School after graduating from middle school for my goal of becoming an Angel, one of those who can directly reclaim Star.