Originally posted on 17 September 2014
A Curse Affecting Only Girls: Chapter 9, Part 1

Aya awaited the time when she would become Ophelia inside the tank. She cried in the water. They turned to bubbles, floating in the rolling water.

Someone help me...

It's okay. Feeling a presence, Aya turned around. A girl with a face identical to hers floated there. Aya knew who she was. She called her name."Maya..."

Michi and Mary stood before the silver tank.

"Alright, break the curse with your own strength," Mary said to Michi.

Michi looked up at the tank with both eyes - and then she saw "it". It looked like Maya. Maya was pointing into the tank. Maya doesn't hate Aya, she understood. She wants everyone's curses to be broken.

"Thanks for telling me," Michi said softly. "I'm coming to save you, Aya."

Michi resolutely climbed the steps. When she reached the top, her view suddenly opened out. She could see the entire town from there. It looked different to how it looked from St. Loudun's. From there, she could only see part of the town. From here, she could see the whole, small thing. What a small world, she thought as she looked at the garden-like scenery, feeling foolish for having felt so powerless trapped in such a small world.

Michi opened the rusty door. Aya floated in the water.


Aya's eyes were blank. She looked to Michi like she was unconscious. And beside her was a girl identical to her - Maya. Two Ophelias. Their hair had flowers in it, like a crown. For a moment, the beauty of it made her wonder if they should be left like that forever. But no. The curse had to be lifted.

"Aya..." Michi called again.

Aya's eyes fluttered open. Michi leaned over, grabbing onto the hand of Aya's that Maya wasn't gripping, and trying to pull her up, but the second she started to pull, Maya's eyes opened. She could sense "it". It wasn't the Maya she had sensed before.

"You can't have Aya. She's mine. Aya is half of me, and together we are one."

As Maya proclaimed the cursed words, her face changed into that of the ribbon girl on the first page of the album - the girl who had first cast the curse after being betrayed by the headmistress. She was possessing Maya, and the possessed Maya was trying to drag Aya into the water as a sacrifice.

"Give Aya back!" Michi shouted.

"Aya is the one who cursed herself. It was Aya who wished to come to me," the girl possessed Maya said, as if ridiculing Michi. And then, in the water, Maya began to sing.

How should I your true love know,
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.

He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone,
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.

White his shroud as the mountain snow
Larded all with sweet flowers,
Which bewept to the ground did not go
With true-love showers.

It was Ophelia's Song - the song of Ophelia's lover, mourning her death. The song of a young woman who threw herself into the water and died, and it seemed like it was being sung about Maya; like it was being sung about the dead Maya and the curse of the girl possessing her, seeking sacrifices. A love song coloured with death, beckoning one's lover to the land of the dead as they stand, hopeless, before their grave.

Michi wouldn't let go of her hand, but Aya kept sinking. She couldn't save her. Was Aya just going to go like that? The next moment, Aya's lips moved, and she began to sang, as if in response to Maya's Ophelia's Song. Ophelia's Song had a second part. It was a part not in Ogai's song, that was only told of at St. Loudun's. The solo part that Aya was supposed to sing was at the end of the second part. That was what the two girls had decided when the curse began, as they had submerged themselves in the lake. The girls of the academy repeated this every year at the graduation ceremony. Perhaps even that was part of the curse ritual, as Aya began to recite the second part as if responding to Maya's song.

"Stop... Don't sing that song..." Maya shouted from the bottom of the water, but Aya didn't stop singing. The second part of Ophelia's Song was paired with the first. If someone sang the first part, the other would sing the second. It was a love song.

Dazzling light and summer's darkness
A painting of a revered maiden at a manor
You float in the waters of the spring
Oh, my beloved sister

Deep in the night, the moon is a wave
A single pearl atop a coffin
Kiss me and I shall lead you to the Underworld
You should turn back, my love

Yomotsu Hegui gives you form
Lighting a single flame
Fleeting dreams become not love
Leave for the real world and do not turn back

Then, as Aya sang, she stared at Michi as if trying to say something. Finally, Aya reached the part she had meant to sing solo.

"Don't sing it!" the girl possessing Maya screamed again, but Aya continued.

Cast off the comb from thine hair
Your flower garland into the water
White fingers on stones that line the path to the Underworld
We are parted, but I remember you

Why was Maya afraid of her singing the song? When Aya was done, she silently closed her eyes as if accepting her fate, then began to slowly sink. Aya and Michi's hands separated. Michi reached over further, holding out her hand. Her fingertips brushed against the hair ornament just above her ear. Right then, Michi thought back on the solo verse - the one about the garland in the water.

"...What are you doing?" Maya said angrily from the bottom of the water.

"I know... how to lift the curse."

As if Michi's voice had reached her, Aya slowly began to float upwards in the water.

"Aya!" Michi shouted.

She had loudly shouted the name of someone trying to go to the land of the dead. She didn't know that it had long been a method of calling back the soul.

Aya's eyes opened. This time, though faintly, she could see that her vitality was returning. Michi could tell that Aya saw her. Aya is alive, she thought with a smile.


Michi reached out her hand. Aya slowly reached up towards her. Michi grabbed her hand tightly. I'll never let go, she vowed.

"Michi?" Aya said.

"Aya... Hey?" Michi said, not taking her eyes off Aya's and speaking slowly. "We're going to lift the curse. Listen to what I say, okay?"

"The curse?"

"Yeah. The curse you're under. You're the only one who can break it."

Aya seemed hesitant for a while, but looked into Michi's serious eyes and nodded.

"Your hair ornament... Take off your hair ornament, don't turn back, and throw it into the water," Michi said.

"But this... it's the only memory I have of Maya. She gave it to me, back then. She told me not to forget her..."

"That's why we need it to break the curse. Trust me. You have to do the same thing as in the song when it says, 'Cast off the comb from thine hair'. If you do that, the curse will be broken."

Aya hesitated. Maya was at the bottom of the water - Maya, who had sacrificed herself for Aya. Was it okay to betray her? But Michi had told her that she was the only one who could lift the curse. She looked back into Michi's serious eyes, and made her mind up. She would trust Michi, who was alive. Aya took the white camellia hair ornament out of her hair and threw it into the water. It sank slowly, heading for Maya. The flowers fluttered from Aya's hair into the water.

It's just like in Ophelia's Song, like Michi said, thought Aya. I threw away my hair ornament, and now my garland of flowers is sinking into the water.

Cast off the comb from thine hair
Your flower garland into the water

Michi reached out to Aya, gripping onto her wrist and pulling her up. Maya reached out her white hands from the bottom of the water, trying to stop her.

White fingers on stones that line the path to the Underworld
We are parted, but I remember you

"Stop! Aya... You're leaving me again. I'm so lonely all by myself. Please, stay here with me, Aya. Be with me. Won't you?" Maya called sadly, and Aya tried to turn back.

"You can't look back," Michi said, not taking her eyes off Aya's. "Don't turn around; just loko at me. Kasumi, Itsuki, and lots of other girls have been cursed and died, so you can't!"

Michi looked into Aya's eyes, gripping her hand tightly. Choose me, she thought deep down. Aya nodded slowly, squeezing Michi's hand back. Her strength trying to pull Aya out weakened. She tugged. Then, Michi caught a glimpse of something shining pale blue at the bottom of the water. It looked like a pearl. That was when Aya lost consciousness.