Ritsuka was so deeply wrapped in darkness that the entire rest of the world may as well have disappeared when he started to feel it. The wet raking of a tiny tongue across his face, slowly pulling him up from the depths of unconsciousness. The light whines close to his ear aided in the slow climb back to awareness. As Ritsuka twitched slightly, and his heavy eyelids opened a crack to see what was disturbing his oblivion, he heard a quiet voice say, in Japanese, “Umm. Since it’s neither morning nor night, please wake up.”
Ritsuka could only muster a light, “Who are you” in response.
“That’s a hard question to answer suddenly. Maybe I’m not important enough for you to know my name? No, I do have a name. I have a proper name. But I never really had a chance to use it… I’m afraid I don’t leave a good first impression…”
Ritsuka thought that she was right, she really doesn’t leave a good first impression.
* * * * *
“Oh, thank you for the drink,” said Ritsuka as he took the proffered bottle of vending machine water from the girl with the lavender hair before she sat down on the padded bench next to him. She had been meek and unassuming almost to a fault, but that kind of gentleness was what Ritsuka had been in desperate need of at that moment.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing.”
After taking the initial swallow of liquid, Ritsuka felt alive enough to let a question that had been rattling around in his brain out. “Um, so you’re speaking to me in Japanese.”
“Well, everything up to now led me to believe the primary language of the Chaldea facility was English. How is it that you’re speaking my native language?”
The girl tilted her head slightly, and looked upwards in thought, her gaze going beyond the rim of her glasses and seeing nothing but the inside of her own mind. Then after deciding on something she looked at Ritsuka and asked, “Are you asking how I know Japanese, or how I know we can have a conversation in Japanese?”
“I suppose… both,” replied Ritsuka as he gently rubbed the head of Fou, the mysterious life form that was a cross between an albino bunny and a squirrel that had one-sidedly decided Ritsuka was it’s second caretaker.
“Well, since the simple answer should come first,” the lavender haired girl pointed at the left side of Ritsuka’s chest where an ID badge was hanging off the black decorative strap of the uniform Ritsuka was wearing. “Your name is shown in the alphabets of both English and your home nation. Well, both of your nation’s alphabets, I presume. I don’t know much kanji, but I can recognize the shapes to a small degree.”
True to the girl’s words, Ritsuka’s name was written in both kanji and katakana on his name tag in smaller print than the bold English spelled font. As Ritsuka smiled that smile that people only showed when they received an answer that was painfully obvious in hindsight, the girl continued on.
“As for how I speak Japanese, well, as a part of my function in the Chaldea Security Organization, I need to be fluent in a few languages at least. And since Japan is an important link to the far eastern nations, it’s language was included in my education. One of the staff also helped me with reaching conversational fluency as well. Is… my Japanese perhaps, somewhat strange,” asked the girl, growing timid and uncertain again.
Ritsuka smiled gently as he said, “Not at all. Rather, I’m extremely grateful to you.”
“Today has been… extremely draining. So much so that I even passed out earlier. Even now, I feel like my own body is weighing me down. But, despite being in this strange place, in the middle of nowhere… being able to talk to you in Japanese is reassuring. I feel like I can keep going a while longer, thanks to you.”
“Eh? Ah! No, I haven’t done anything to be thanked for, though.”
“That’s not true. You’ve really helped me out. Thank you.”
The lavender haired girl was silent for a moment as she seemed to go from having her attention pointed towards Ritsuka and looking inside her own mind before seemingly having decided on something and quietly saying, “You’re welcome… Senpai.”
“Ah, there you are Mash,” said a deep and sonorous voice in English from down the hall. The approaching figure was of a man garbed all in green, in clothing tailored like a fur trimmed English gentleman’s garb complete with a green top hat over his flowing long brown hair that blended with the fur. His voice and his tone were gentle, but somehow… there was an indefinable confidence in the man’s very core that gave Ritsuka the feeling, the certainty, that this was a man who had earned power.
“That won’t do, you know, wandering about without permission… Oh, somebody’s already with you? You’re… I see… The rookie who just got assigned here.”
The man gave a gentlemanly flourish as he slightly bent a knee with one hand to his abdomen and the other to the side as he introduced himself as “Lev Lainur, one of the technicians employed here.”
A technician that wasn’t wearing clothing resembling a uniform like Ritsuka and Mash was wearing… The man was definitely not someone of minor importance.
“And your name is,” asked the man in green.
“Ah, sorry for not introducing myself earlier. I’m Fujimaru Ritsuka. Umm, my family name is Fujimaru,” supplemented Ritsuka after remembering the different naming conventions of the western world. Then, for simplicity’s sake, decided to add, “But my friends all call me Gudao.”