My attack stat… – V10 Chap 318 – Memory Lane

“This robot you found, it’s quite intricate,” Katalina muttered as she fiddled with the broken torso of ‘Rika-chan’. Various holographic windows hovered around her as she stared at the blueprints, using magic to forge the components needed to do the repairs.

“More intricate than a mobile suit?” I replied in jest.

“Of course! A mobile suit is just ‘big’. Not much difference from the armored suits that Macali engineers created before. But this! There are so many precise components! I feel like if I’m not careful, I will have ruined the original artwork of a national treasure!”

“Despite that, you’re still going to do it, right? Restore that robot’s operation.”

“If we are going to learn the truth of this place, then there’s no other choice….”


After the conference with everyone, we immediately headed over to Site 304, the ruins of Tokyo. Skipping a tour of the area this time, we went straight for the terminal, hoping that Saki’s touch would unlock its secrets.

“Welcome, Apostle of Attack. What can I do for you today?”

In response, Saki immediately called up all information about herself, or rather, the apostle that looked so much like her. As she scoured through the records, tears brimmed from her eyes.

“No… this is exactly what I remember… but it can’t be? Can it? How could…?”

The images that were displayed on the screens showed glimpses of her life before, matching the things that she had told me. And as it recounted the time that she spent with her friend, Rika, she slowly started to back away.

The scenes of her last moments, killing the bullies that had taken advantage of them before falling to her own death – that should have been the end. At least, that was what Saki thought initially, but the terminal interrupted us with a notification.

“Records after this point have been redacted.”

“Redacted? What is that supposed to mean?” I asked the terminal.

Saki looked up in confusion too, as a spark of interest returned to her. The allure of knowing what lay after her death brought her out of her shell.

But no matter what we did, the terminal continued to give us a giant red text of ‘Access Denied.’ The only other hope lay in ‘Rika-chan’, Saki’s friend who turned out to be some intricate robot sent to monitor her.

The truth of that relationship hurt Saki deeply, as it would anyone to find out that someone close was possibly a fake with a hidden agenda. Running away from the terminal afterward, we left Saki with some peace to dwell upon things. The rest of us continued to digest this new information and look around the city for more clues. Katalina pulled up the design specs of the Rika-chan robot and went to work repairing it. Hopefully, its memory was still intact.


“In any case, this will take me some time to complete. Instead of wasting your time here, as much as I enjoy your company, I think there’s someone else that could use a few encouraging words.”

I nodded, heaving a sigh at what must be done. More than anything, Saki needed a good friend by her side. The memories of her closest one were now tainted, and it was my duty as an otaku-in-arms to stand by her at this moment.

I portaled back to Site 304 and started hitting up the places where I thought she would head to. As the records made it obvious that this was where Saki lived, I went to her home first. A simple two-story home in a quaint neighborhood was where I ended up. The buildings looked faded and long abandoned but were still standing firmly after hundreds of years. They looked like people could still be living in them, if not for the fact that there was a complete absence of green where yards and trees should have been. That alone gave it an overbearing sense of death that pervaded the city.

I walked up to the front door of Saki’s home, noticing that it was left ajar. My steps were hesitant as I was walking into someone else’s home, even knowing it had been empty for so long. My eyes darted around in hopes of finding the long black hair of that girl, but all I saw were remnants of a normal home.

Down the hallway and toward the bedrooms, one door was left open, as if someone had come here recently. One peek into it gave off a sense of how much Saki was into her interests. The faded, but still colorful, designs of figurines gracing her shelves were recognizable. I picked up some crumbled remains at the base of the walls, what looked like paper that had lost its shape with age. Staring at the wall, I could imagine that cutesy posters once decorated the space.

Looking around the rest of the room, the furniture itself was rather plain, showing how little interest Saki took in things that pertained to herself. Perhaps, that was why she rarely wore any nice clothes instead of her armor. She found other things to be cute, and never looked at herself in such a manner. The absence of a mirror further cemented that.

In any case, she wasn’t here, so I exited the house.

I ticked off the locations that she would visit, one by one – her school, the fan goods shops of her shows and idols, and the local hangouts – all the places that I could recall in the records. Until finally, there was only one place left to go.

I stared up at a dilapidated building, surprised that it was still standing after so many years. The modern marvels of architecture withheld the test of time, like a buried capsule that was left undisturbed by all life.


The hard concrete fragments rested uncomfortably against Saki’s back. But even if she took off her armor, it wouldn’t feel the slightest bit better.

She was not sprawled upon a pile of debris for the sake of any rest. But rather, to jog the memories that she had learned to let go.

A large hole greeted her above, the place where she fell from, moments before her death. Sharp metal bars jutted out of the pile, an unsavory reminder of what she had landed on. Altogether, it was what she remembered of her last moments.

But there was no Rika, not even a skeleton as remains.

That was because she didn’t die here. She was a robot, programmed to be her one and only friend. And that made her question everything about her past life. She wanted to be bitter, but her eyes swam vacantly around.

Saki found herself here after running all throughout Tokyo, unsure of what she would do from this point on. She was afraid to discover some unknown past that she didn’t recall at all. Her memories shone with her love for Rika, and even the bittersweet parting was something that she learned to forgive herself for.

But as she ran and ran, it became quite obvious. Her memories of Rika were already tainted. The poison – of a secret that was never revealed until now – seeped into her core. Eventually, she returned to the scene of her last moments, as if making the journey here would restore any remaining will to endure it all.

Saki had a lingering feeling in her chest.

‘I survived that fall… somehow… but then what? What happened between us? Why was Rika-chan so torn up?’

The distress video from the other ruins had shown her rampaging through her hometown. The sight of Rika-chan’s body parts torn from her robotic body suggested a struggle. They were not injuries that came from a simple fall, and she was found all the way over at Tokyo Tower, halfway across the city. Someone had purposefully led her to such a location. Someone had torn her limb from limb. And all conclusions led to the same thing.

“It was ‘me’. But I can’t fathom why!”

After all, Saki had given up everything in an attempt to keep Rika safe. In a fit of rage, she had slain her oppressors, only to back her right into a hole. She dove down as well, hoping to break her fall. But even failing that, all she did was regret that she couldn’t save her friend in the end.

Saki continued to stare at the hole above, as if the answer would return to her if she stayed long enough. But before long, a set of footsteps echoed in the distance.

“Yo, if only I thought to come here first, rather than take the scenic route through all of Tokyo.”

The soft voice of Claude eased her for a moment, before she hastily sat up and verbally pushed him away.

“Don’t come any closer. I-I just want to be alone to think.”

But Claude didn’t retreat. He kept walking forward, coming into the light that shone from the hole above.

“Hey! I asked you to not come! Back off, or I’ll, I’ll-”

“Hit me with your best shot? I’ve long prepared for you to do so. I accepted you as a friend knowing that. And besides, I already got a little taste of it before.”

Saki blinked at Claude’s words before turning to see her raised fist. Sheepishly, she brought her hand down and behind her back.

“Well, sorry for being forceful all the time,” Saki said with a blush.

“We’re both monsters, you and me. If we didn’t come with some heroic title along with our powers, then surely people would misunderstand and push us away. Some would seek to take advantage or befriend us for their own plans. Hidden agendas for the sake of self-centered gain.”

“What’s your point, Claude? It’s not to suggest that monsters like us should cling to each other, I suppose.”

“No.” Claude shook his head. “It’s simply to say that even if people take special interest in us, that doesn’t mean that this alone should define our ties with them. I know of your power, I request for it in times of need, and I am grateful to call you a companion and friend. But I also know that you are much more than just that.

“You are headstrong to a fault. So dreamy-eyed for the things you like that I can’t help but find it cute. There are times when I wonder why you won’t simply try something on and look at yourself in the mirror, because I personally think that what you’ll find there won’t fall short to what you are seeking.”

Saki turned away, her face feeling warm. Yet, Claude circled around her and pressed on.

“I enjoy talking to you. I enjoy spending time with you. You are a friend because I decided that you warrant such a place in my heart. And no one reason clearly tells me that ‘this is exactly why I befriended you’.”

Saki looked up at the extended hand from Claude. His eyes had a clear sense of determination. That had cut through her doubts before, and once again, they shone like a beacon of security.

“And if I somehow am an android too, then hopefully, you won’t wreck me quite as badly for acting nice to you for my own aspirations.”

Saki froze for a moment before spitting out a laugh.

“Pfftt! Ahhh, ‘muri muri’. There’s no way you could be an android. And even if you were, I don’t think I could win in a fight against you.”

“Alright then, an arm-wrestling duel it is! Have to level the playing field somewhat to make things fair!”

Saki stood up, pointing at Claude. “No, an arcade battle instead! It should be a cinch for our magic engineers to restore such things to operation. Then, we can taiko or DDR it up!”

“Oohhh! I’m down for that! Imagine being able to play such things once again!”

Saki smiled at Claude’s enthusiasm as she took his hand. All of a sudden, she realized that a huge pressure had lifted from her. The need to search for the answers to Rika’s intentions no longer mattered so much. She had simply enjoyed spending time with her, just like how she found Claude to be comfortable.

And that extended to the others around him. Everyone had become dear friends that would support her, no matter what. Unlike her past world, she was blessed with plenty of people to care about.

But for a moment, Saki felt like being greedy. As he turned around to make for the exit, she embraced him from behind, not caring that he might shrug off her request.

“Can I have you for an entire day then? Let’s play our hearts out so I can make up for all the time I missed worrying about stupid things.”

But that seemed like hardly a difficult thing for Claude to turn down.

“Of course. I’ll clear it with my calendar and Katalina, but how can I say no to being young again?”

Saki squeezed a bit tighter and placed her head on his back. Just like what Claude had said, there was no one thing that made her comfortable around Claude, the only guy that she would open her heart to. She gave him space in her heart, however he planned to make himself fit. She was just happy to have him around.

Perhaps, that was what Rika was to her as well. Regardless of her intentions, the fun she had with her didn’t change. How much she loved her didn’t lessen, even if she realized that she was fawning over an android, ‘much to her chagrin’.

And even if one piece faded or was lost, the others would fill in that hole. Her heart wasn’t frozen; it was ever-changing.

Claude’s communicator started beeping, to which he answered.

“What’s up, Katalina?”

“Did you find Saki yet?”

“Yep, she’s right here, clinging onto me. Asking me for a play date once the game centers here can be restored.”

“Oh? Then you better reward me too for a job well done.”

“Wait, did you…”

“Not fully, but Rika-chan is conscious now. And she wants to see her friend.”

Saki, silent during the exchange, tensed up at the news. But then, Claude gripped the hands that were wrapped around him and rubbed them warmly.

“Sure, we’ll head back. And call the others as well. We’ll have to give our guest a proper welcome, whether it be open arms or knuckle sandwiches from everyone.”

My attack stat… – V10 Chap 317 - Tokyo from Future Past
My attack stat… – V10 Chap 319 - What Rika Saw