A Trip for Two, Plus Baggage -Kazusa and Setsuna Visit Strasbourg and Vienna-



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Title:                                  A Trip for Two, Plus Baggage

-Kazusa and Setsuna Visit Strasbourg and Vienna-

 

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Title:                                  A Trip for Two, Plus Baggage

-Kazusa and Setsuna Visit Strasbourg and Vienna-

An after-story for Kazusa’s Ending in White Album 2

Credits:                             Text:                  Ushineko

Illustration:       Ena

Editing:                            Rurou no gakushidan

Note:                                 *This short story follows Kazusa Touma’s Ending from White Album 2. If you have not played the game, be aware that this story may contain spoilers.

Map caption:                   Strasbourg Sightseeing Map (Source: https://www.plandutouriste.eu)

 

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Text:                                  1

Strasbourg

December 20th, 2018

 

“And, what do you know, here we are in Strasbourg! Applause, applause!”

“What do you mean, ‘what do you know’? It’s been like fourteen hours since you left Narita.”

“I’ve dreamed about coming here with you, Kazusa. Wow, though, look at all these people!”

“This Christmas Market is the most famous one in the whole EU. There are tourists here from all over the world. You’ve been here in the winter before, you should know… that…”

“…Yes, I suppose so.”

“I, um… Ah…”

“Hee hee. And you were here, too. I believe you spotted a certain someone in front of the station, chased after the taxi that certain someone was riding, tripped, broke the heel on one of your shoes, twisted your ankle, almost got frostbite, and kept following it anyway, was that right?”

“…”

“And then…”

“Putting that aside. Let’s head to our hotel first.”

“Good point.”

“We could get there pretty quick by tram, but since we came all this way to be here, why don’t we walk?”

“Let’s see. Right in front of the station is Rue du Maire Kuss, which turns into Rue du Vingt-Deux Novembre, so if we go straight along there…”

“That guy I know took a taxi, but all he really needed to do was cross the Ill and cut through the Old Town. Like two kilometers. What kind of wimpy-ass legs…”

“…Now, I believe you just said something about putting that aside?”

“Oh, uh. Yeah, I did.”

“Why are you looking away?”

“Oh, no, I’m, uh… Setsuna, over here!”

“Yeek!”

“Are you okay?”

“Whew, that was scary. What a reckless bicyclist!”

“People go crazy on their bikes here. Be careful.”

“I was wondering why your eyes were darting around. You were keeping an eye out.”

“It’d be no laughing matter if you got hit by one of those things and hurt the tools of your trade. If that pretty face of yours got a scratch on it, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.”

“Th-Thank you… You’re so dashing, Kazusa.”

“I know, I know.”

“By the way, you’re dressed awfully light, aren’t you? Your trunk is on the small side, too.”

“Well, I’m pretty used to traveling with all the performing I do. I’ve stopped wearing higher heels, too. I don’t want to twist my ankle again. I feel like you packed light too, though, for you.”

 

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Text:                                  “I did a lot of thinking about how to fit everything into one trunk. Europe has cobblestones everywhere. If it was too heavy, it wouldn’t be able to roll very well.”

“Call it a ‘suitcase’ like a normal person, you old lady. Oop, gotta go through inspection.”

“Oh, because of that terrorist attack on the eleventh?”

“Probably.”

“Is that a submachine gun that the police officer is holding?”

“Yeah.”

“You never see those in Japan. It’s kind of scary.”

“Yeah. Ahhhh…”

“Whoa, are you okay? Kazusa…”

“Oh, no, no, no, fine. I’m fine.”

“Bonsoir.”

                                           “Bonsoir, mademoiselle. Please show me your passport and the inside of your bag.”

                                           “Oui. Here, Kazusa, get yours out, too.”

                                           “O-Oui.”

                                           “…Merci.”

                                           “Merci beaucoup.”

                                           “M-M-Merci.”

                                           “Whew, that was nerve-racking!”

“Phew… What? What’s with that look?”

“I’m just surprised you got so jittery while we were doing that.”

“Shut up. That stuff is terrifying and you know it.”

“Well, not that there’s a problem with it. Wow, so this is Rue du Vingt-Deux Novembre. Oh, that church over to the right must be St. Pierre-le-Vieux.”

“You’ve done your research, I see. It’s a Catholic church, but Protestants can worship there, too.”

“You know even more than I do, Kazusa.”

“I’ve performed in churches a lot. I always make a point of checking both denomination and reverb.”

“All the pretty display windows in the old buildings along this street are really nice.”

“They must be overflowing with shoppers during the day. Cars don’t drive on this street, but there are trams and bicycles, so be careful anyway.”

Left caption:                     Les Églises St. Pierre-le-Vieux (Old Saint Peter’s Church)

Right caption:                  Tram that runs along Rue du Vingt-Deux Novembre

 

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Text:                                  “Okay.”

***

“Now, we can see Place Kléber coming up here.”

“This was originally a military drilling ground, around the end of the First French Empire, right?”

“Very nice. Did you read about that in a book?”

“I read the Tales series from Chukoshinsho before I came.”

“Oh, those. Yeah, I read those a long time ago.”

“So, Kléber was a hero in the French Revolution, who was born in Strasbourg.”

“I don’t know whether he was a ‘hero,’ exactly. The revolution started in 1789, and in the midst of that chaos a ton of people were sacrificed over differences in class, status, faith, and race. Kléber was a soldier who allied himself with the French Republic after the revolution, and served in the suppression of the so-called ‘Vendée Revolt,’ which was a counter-revolution by the Catholic and Royal Army.”

“Right, right.”

“They say somewhere between three hundred and four hundred thousand people died in the Vendée Revolt, and most of them were peasants who were devout Catholics.”

“Oh…”

“These people who had suffered and struggled to overthrow the tyrannical House of Bourbon turned and started killing each other over tiny differences in their ways of life… I can’t understand it, and I don’t want to.”

“…I can see why.”

“…Yeah. Although, to modern French people, he’s one of the central figures in the establishment of the Republic, so I guess he’s a hero in the same way Napoleon is. He was assassinated in Cairo, which is a suitably tragic end.”

“Assassinated… There are a lot of flowers and candles here.”

“That’d be because it was right here in this square that the terrorist attack happened.”

“Oh, wow, really?”

“Five people were killed, they said.”

“I remember. And thirteen were injured.”

“I just can’t comprehend it. No matter what kind of hatred or resentment might be burning me up, I would never think, ‘I’m going to kill people indiscriminately over this.’ That’s a pointless way to live, and a pointless way to die, and I don’t want either.”

“Yes, I definitely agree.”

Caption:                            Statue of Kléber (front)

 

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Text:                                  “So, really, regardless of what kind of guy Kléber was, people are gathering here in his square, offering flowers and candles for those who were lost, and I think there’s something wonderful about that.”

“There is. Do you want to stop and say a prayer or something while we’re here?”

“Sure.”

“By the way, didn’t you run into Haruki-kun here?”

“…”

“Sorry, that was a tacky thing to ask.”

“You’re right. He was sitting on this stone in this flowerbed behind the statue of Kléber, looking at the Aubette.”

“Right here…”

“…Over there.”

“What?”

“That’s where I was standing.”

“Ah.”

“I had a feeling this might happen, but as I’m looking at you here at this spot, it’s really kind of shaking me up.”

“I’m sorry. I promise I didn’t come here just to get some kind of revenge on you, Kazusa. Please don’t think about it that hard… Well, I guess that’s asking the impossible, but.”

“I get it. Let’s head toward the cathedral now.”

“Yeah.”

“Here, turn around and walk toward the Aubette a little.”

“Hm?”

“Now turn around again, and look toward the Christmas tree on the left.

“Oh, is that the cathedral? That steeple, visible above the buildings at the corner of the square?”

Top caption:                     The Aubette (built from the remnants of a royal military garrison) as viewed from behind the Kléber statue

Bottom caption:              Looking at the cathedral with the Aubette at one’s back

 

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Text:                                  “That’s the one. Let’s go. You get the showiest view of it by going down Rue des Grandes Arcades, passing in front of Gutenberg Square, and entering from Rue Mercière, but right now, I say we head down Rue des Dominicains, pass by Temple Neuf, and take Rue des Orfèvres the rest of the way.”

“Wow, this church is pretty big.”

“Temple Neuf is a Protestant church. It was originally a Catholic church built by Dominicans, but there was a dispute during the Revolution and it wound up becoming Lutheran.”

“You’ve really got a whole encyclopedia in your head for this stuff.”

“Well, all of it’s interesting. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the heart of Strasbourg that has as many churches clustered together as this area bounded in by the Ill River. To say nothing of the fact that you’ve got Catholic and Protestant churches coexisting in such close proximity.”

“A lot had to happen before they reached the point of ‘coexisting,’ though.”

“True.”

“A bit like us.”

“…Is there something you’re trying to imply?”

“No, no.”

“Whatever… Rue des Orfèvres is pretty busy, too.”

“All the Christmas decorations are so beautiful.”

Top caption:                     Temple Neuf viewed from Rue des Dominicains

Bottom caption:              Key visual from the menu screen. Follow Rue des Orfèvres from Place Kléber to the cathedral, then turn around in front of the chocolate shop, Jeff de Bruges.

 

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Caption:                            Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg

Text:                                  “Right? I had a feeling you would like this street. If you turn around in front of this chocolate shop, the view is really nice.”

“It really is… I must not have come down this street when I was here the last time. I think I entered the cathedral square from a street with these lovely illuminated angels. I saw the cathedral face-on.”

“That’d be from Rue Mercière. …Now, we just cross Rue des Hallebardes, and here we are.”

“Look at that… It’s got such an imposing presence.”

“I guess.”

“Last time… I must not have been looking very closely at it.”

“You were here Christmas Eve of 2012, right?”

“Haruki-kun and I were here that day to attend the Christmas Mass at the cathedral. We had to come here separately because of work schedules. His train from Paris ran late because of the snow. My plane landed at the Strasbourg Airport three hours late for the same reason. Neither of us was able to make it to the Family Mass at five-thirty that evening, so we planned to go to the late-night Mass together at eleven.”

“Plans which were disrupted by a foolish woman who decided to run through the streets of Strasbourg in heels in the middle of winter, tripped on the cobblestones, twisted her ankle all to hell, then got rid of the heels and kept running barefoot, nearly getting frostbite as a result.”

“Indeed.”

“Did you… go to the Mass alone?”

 

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Text:                                  “No. I couldn’t exactly wander around in an unfamiliar city alone, that late at night.”

“Oh…”

“I’m sorry to ask this now, after all this time, but did you know Haruki-kun was going to be here?”

“Heh! You’re right, this is a hell of a time to ask that… I didn’t know.”

“Did Youko-san know?”

“Beats me. She told me, ‘Believe me, this time I had no idea,’ but who knows. All she should have known was that the one interviewing me was from Kaiou.”

“Ah… Destiny, maybe.”

“I don’t believe in destiny or miracles or any of that stuff.”

“…”

“The only thing in my head was that I’d been pulled along on Mom’s winter vacation, and… the plan was to go to that Mass that you two wanted to go to. I didn’t find out about the interview the next day until I was already on the train.”

“Oh, wow.”

“When Haruki got to the station, I coincidentally happened to be there too. That’s all. I just spotted him getting into a taxi, and started chasing after him before I really knew what I was doing. It was a mistake to wear those heels, low as they were. I wasn’t used to them.”

“A mistake… huh.”

“After losing sight of him once, I happened to find him again in Place Kléber.”

“Happened to…”

“What, are you going to argue that it wasn’t a coincidence?”

“…Say, are you hungry at all?”

“…Yeah.”

“Why don’t we eat something? There’s a famous restaurant around here, the Gurtlerhoft.”

“Copout. That place basically exists for tourists.”

“And what’s wrong with that? We are tourists.”

“Fair enough.”

***

“I’m amazed to see a space like this underground.”

“Apparently this building has been around since the twelfth century. It must have been where the clergy who worked in the cathedral lived, or maybe a vault, or a wine cellar. By the way, if you order choucroute… I’m going to laugh at you for being a tourist.”

Caption:                            Restaurant Gurtlerhoft

 

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Text:                                  “Look, I want to eat as much local food as I can! I’m going to have some beer. What about you, Kazusa?”

“…Don’t drink too much. It’ll go to your gut.”

“Hmph. But, with a menu like this, you’ve got to have beer.”

“Do as you like. I’m going with white wine. Also, just so we’re clear, I’m not eating one bite of that sour cabbage.”

“There sure are a lot of couples here, though.”

“Meanwhile, here we are, a pair of women with baggage.”

“What do you mean, ‘baggage’?”

“…Sorry. Maybe didn’t need to say that one out loud.”

“Actually, though, this could be a perfect opportunity. Why don’t we have a lesbian fling while we’re here?”

“Nein. I’m gonna shut that line of discussion down right now.”

                                           “There’s a pretty high demand for it, actually.”

“No getting meta, either.”

“Hee hee. All right, then, let’s just get to the eating part, like proper Japanese people.”

“Right.”

“By the way, Kazusa, do you know where our hotel is?”

“Let’s see. If we go east from the northern side of the cathedral, go straight down Rue des Frères, and cross the Pont Saint-Etienne, that should get us there.”

***

Top caption:                     General store display window in the cathedral square

Bottom caption:              Hôtel Régent Contades

 

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Text:                                  “This hotel is called the Régent Contades? I feel like it used to be called the Cour-du-something.”

“Really? It sure does have a cute exterior.”

“The interior’s cute, too.”

“Look how big that church is, the one we can see right in front of us.”

“St. Paul’s Church, I believe. A Protestant one. I think it’s the next-biggest church in the city after the cathedral. It’s got a huge pipe organ. Three tiers of keyboards, and lots of different tones. Though I’ve never played it myself. Hey, though, what’s with the double bed?”

“I don’t see anything wrong with it.”

“…You’d better not come after me, I swear.”

“Are you trying to set a flag?”

“Like hell!”

Top caption:                     Église Saint-Paul (St. Paul’s Church)

Unfortunately was not able to get photos of the inside.

Bottom caption:              Breakfast buffet at the Régent Contades

 

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Text:                                  2

Strasbourg

December 21st, 2018

 

“Kazusa… Kazusa, wake up.”

“…’m sleeby.”

“Let’s go eat breakfast.”

“…It’s still like six in the morning.”

“I want to get there first and take pictures.”

“Hwugh…”

***

“That was so tasty! The bread here is amazing.”

“That was hellish. And now you’re making me go out…”

“Well, I don’t want to waste any time!”

“All right. Why don’t we head south of the Ill?”

“Sure.”

“We’ll need to cross the Pont d’Auvergne.”

“That’s the University of Strasbourg right in front of us, right?”

“This is the main building, which is the oldest one. It’s called the Palais.”

“Sheesh…”

“…What? Why are you staring at me?”

“Oh, it’s just the same thing I was thinking yesterday. You’re so familiar with this city.”

“Uh-huh. …I’ve been here a few times during my tours of the EU. He talks about this stuff every time we go out walking, so I’ve memorized a lot of it.”

“I had a feeling. You don’t have to keep taking my feelings into account, you know. Hey, is there any chance we could sightsee along the Ill from that red boat?”

Caption 1:                         Université de Strasbourg (main building)

Caption 2:                         East of the Old Town, viewed from across the Ill River at Le Rafiot, a bar located on a boat

Caption 3:                         Buildings to the south of the Old Town. Close to Église Sainte-Madeleine

Caption 4:                         St. Paul’s Church, viewed from Pont Saint-Guillaume

 

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Top right caption:           Église Saint-Guillaume (St. Guillaume’s Church)

Top middle caption:       Église Sainte-Madeleine (St. Madeleine’s Church)

Top left caption:              Rue de l’Arc-en-Ciel

Text:                                  “That’s not where you go for sightseeing boats. That’s behind the Palais Rohan. That boat there is a bar.”

“Oh, I had no idea.”

“If we go west along the Quai des Pécheurs, we’ll reach the Église Saint-Guillaume, which has public restrooms in front of it. This is a convenient spot to remember.”

“It’s important to check where the public restrooms are in advance when you’re traveling, I guess.”

“Let’s take a look at Saint Guillaume and Église Sainte-Madeleine, then cross Pont Saint-Guillaume back into the old town. We can take Rue de l’Arc-en-Ciel to Republic Square.”

***

“Outside of the Old Town, around Avenue de la Liberté to the east, there are a bunch of buildings from the time of the German Empire, between 1871 and 1918. See how Germanic the streets look?”

“And this is the Palais Rohan?”

“The building is from the 1880s. The CCNR is there now, it says.”

“What’s that?”

“Beats me. Try Googling it.”

“Oh, fine… The ‘Central Commission for Navigating the Rhine.’”

“Huh.”

“Doesn’t sound super interesting.”

“Not really. Which would explain why I don’t remember it.”

“So this square was originally constructed as the Imperial Square, with a statue of Wilhelm I on horseback right in the middle.”

“It was taken down pretty shortly thereafter, though.”

“As ownership shifted between France and Germany, it was called Republic Square, then Bismarck Square under Nazi occupation, and now it’s the Place de la République. The statue of the emperor on horseback was removed after World War I, when it became French territory, and in 1936, a war memorial was installed in its place, it says.”

Bottom caption:              At Place de la République. Above is Palais Rohan, below is the war memorial.

 

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Text:                                  “Right.”

“It’s a mother, embracing two dying sons in her lap. The mother represents Strasbourg, the west-facing son represents France, and the east-facing son represents Germany.”

“But, four years later, in 1940, the Nazis took possession.”

“They apparently raised the Hakenkreuz on the steeple of the cathedral.”

“Still, even the Nazis couldn’t touch the memorial.”

“…”

“You could even see these flowers as a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack in Place Kléber.”

“You certainly could.”

“…(This statue seems like a fitting image of us, too, really.)”

“What’s wrong?”

“Never mind. If we head toward Avenue de la Liberté from Republic Square, there are two big buildings facing the square.”

“The left one is the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg, and the right one is the Théâtre National de Strasbourg.”

“And, if we go straight south along Avenue de la Liberté…”

“We’ll see the front of the main university building.”

“That’s right. In other words, the Régent Contades where we’re staying faces Avenue de la Liberté.”

***

“I didn’t think we’d be coming back to the hotel to take a break.”

Top caption:                     Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire (National and University Library)

Middle caption:               Théâtre National (National Theater)

Bottom caption:              Rue des Orfèvres by day

 

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Top caption:                     Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg by day. The tympanum above the central portal is divided into four sections that depict the life of Christ. The gable above the doors is decorated with a famous statue of Mary and Jesus, but I wasn’t able to photograph it.

Bottom left caption:       Looking at the rose window, facing away from the altar. The stained glass of the clerestory window that lights the nave is stunning.

Bottom right caption:    Upon entering. Looking at the apse, facing away from the rose window. Organ can be seen to the upper left.

 

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Text:                                  “I want to sleep a bit more…”

“Oh, no you don’t. We’re going to the cathedral.”

“Aww…”

***

“Look at that… It’s got such an imposing presence.”

“Wait, did you just copy and paste your reaction from yesterday?”

“That reddish-brown color almost looks pink. It’s very distinctive.”

“They built it with local sandstone from the Vosges Mountains.”

“Construction started in 1179, and it was finished in 1439… It took three centuries.”

“It’s 142 meters high at the tip of the steeple. Apparently it’s still the sixth-tallest church in the world. All right, let’s go in.”

“Is there an entrance fee?”

“Nope.”

“All right.”

“Instead, they want you to give an offering if you attend Mass.”

“Got it. Whoa, the ceilings are so high!”

“I think the nave was… forty meters high?”

“Um… What’s the ‘nave’?”

“There were these principles when cathedrals were built in Western Europe in medieval times…”

“Uh-huh.”

“Working along the east-west axis, you would set up the apse—that’s the semicircular section to the rear—to the east of the nave, and the front entrance to the west of it. This cathedral follows that same principle. Now, as a cathedral is the authority of the church itself, it’s seen as a building where Christ Himself descends, so for the sections in front of the apse, it goes like this: ‘The chancel is the head of Christ, the nave is His body, the transepts are His arms, and the main altar is His heart.’ In other words, the floor of the cathedral is laid out in the shape of the Cross, modeled on the form of Christ standing with His arms outspread.

Top caption:                     Chancel (main altar) and apse. The stained glass depicts the Virgin Mary with arms outspread.

Bottom caption:              Statue of the crucified Christ placed between the south hall and the nave. Perhaps positioned here because the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary?

 

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Text:                                  The façade, which is to say the front part of the structure, is Christ’s feet, and the hem of His garment.”

“Which would mean the nave is the main body of the cathedral.”

“Right. It refers to the central path from the entrance to the main altar, up to the transepts in front of the chancel.”

“Wait a second. The front door of the cathedral is the soles of Christ’s feet?”

“…Yeah, I guess so.”

“But at other cathedrals, like Notre-Dame or Cologne, you have the two high steeples showing the soles of Christ’s feet to the believers, with the tips of His toes pointing up toward the heavens, like boom. Right?”

“Huh. With you pointing that out, I feel like the refinement of my commentary up to this point is getting rained on a bit… No, hang on. Really? Mrrr…”

“Don’t think about it too much. Please, carry on with your hand-me-down explanation from Haruki-kun.”

“I swear to God… Well, you’re not wrong, though. Anyway. Believers of this church proceed through the nave, look up at the apse, bask in the mystery of the stained glass of the Virgin Mary as light shines through it from the east, and are thereby uplifted.”

“So, cathedrals are Catholic, right?”

“Right.”

“I thought that Catholic churches had a statue of Christ on the cross at the main altar, while Protestant churches only had the cross. Why does this altar only have a cross?”

“No idea. …Maybe because the main altar is dedicated to God, so it’s got relics and stuff decorating it. In the case of a cathedral like this, believers offer their prayers at the other altars in the side halls, so that’s where you’d find idols.”

“Oh, don’t call them ‘idols.’”

“Plus, the full name of this cathedral is ‘Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg.’ In French, ‘Notre-Dame’ means ‘Our Lady,’ meaning this church worships the Virgin Mary.”

“Aha.”

“The gold statue of Mary in the northern hall is also quite famous.”

“It’s so bright and showy.”

Top caption:                     Gold Virgin Mary statue

Bottom caption:              Stained glass of the Virgin Mary in the apse (from official guidebook)

 

Page 18

Top left caption:              Cathedral viewed from Rue Mercière. The angels are lit beautifully at night.

Top right caption:           The famous astronomical clock located in the south transept. It was undergoing maintenance at the time.

Text:                                  “Embellishing the statue with gold is the easiest way to make it look more dazzling and sublime.”

“…Still, her features are elegant, and looking at her is very calming.”

“…If you say so. All right, why don’t we have a look at the astronomical clock before we leave?”

“It was built in 1843, and it’s eighteen meters high.”

“Well, look at you.”

“I bought one of the official booklets earlier.”

“Just call it a guidebook…”

***

“Ohhh, I see. Yes, I definitely came from this angle last time.”

“Coming at it from Rue Mercière does give it more of an impact.”

“The angel lights are so cute.”

“All I see there is a waste of electricity, personally.

Bottom caption:              Église Saint-Thomas de Strasbourg (St. Thomas’ Church)

 

Page 19

Top left caption:              Mozart is said to have praised the organ in St. Thomas’ Church.

Top right caption:           The apse of St. Thomas’ Church serves as the mausoleum of Marshal Maurice de Saxe.

Text:                                  Why don’t we have a look at St. Thomas’s Church next?”

“…Why do I feel like all we’re looking at is churches?”

“Well, churches… It’s free to just walk in. That penny-pincher is all about historical buildings and works of art that you can see for free.”

“Aha, now it all makes sense. Well, the atmosphere is nice, too. Let’s see, construction began in 1196, and it was finished in 1521, in the late Gothic style…”

“It’s Protestant church. Lutheran, specifically.”

“The apse is really impressive. There’s something kind of valiant about it, actually.”

“The apse is apparently a mausoleum for a French soldier.”

“Why?”

“Don’t ask me. It didn’t interest me, so it went right out the other ear.”

“Hmmm… It says it’s the mausoleum of Hermann Maurice de Saxe, Marshal of France, who died in 1750.”

“You don’t say. The organ in this church is particularly famous. Oh, listen to that. They’re rehearsing for the Christmas Mass.”

“It does have a very nice sound… Something seems a little off, though.”

“They tune it lower. A is set at 404 hertz. It’s called ‘ton français,’ or ‘ton moyen de Paris.’”

                                           “No, I get that, but… It doesn’t sound like they’re playing very well.”

“Well, it’s the Christmas Mass. It’s probably a believer.”

“Why don’t you play it?”

“Hmm. For an audience this size, I’d take fifty thousand yen per seat.”

“That’s rather high.”

“It’s a perfectly reasonable fee. You have to use your feet when you’re playing an organ. It’s a lot of work.”

“With the way you walk, it should be easy for you.”

“Oh, shut up… Granted, I’ve done it before, so I know I can.”

 

Page 20

Text:                                  “Hey, can we go to Petite France now?”

“Sure, let’s do that.”

***

“The colombages are particularly pretty around here.”

“German-style wood-frame construction… They’ve got wooden posts and beams making up the framework, then they build the walls between the frames with plaster or something. It’s a construction method that came from a German sense of practicality, but the aesthetical attention to the exterior was cultivated during the medieval merge with France.”

“With the name ‘Petite France’ and the look of the buildings now, you’d think the place was built as a sort of nostalgic recollection of France during the German annexation, but I guess that’s not really it.”

“Apparently it originated as a hospice for those suffering from the so-called ‘French disease,’ which is to say syphilis.”

Top caption:                     Looking north from the canal. Visible at center right is the famous restaurant, Maison des Tanneurs.

Bottom caption:              Key visual from the PS3 edition, Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes, next to Maison des Tanneurs. Could have eaten here.

 

Page 21

Text:                                  “Why would syphilis be called ‘the French disease’?”

“Well, Columbus brought it back from the New World, and it spread in Spain, then east from there into France, and then into Germany. I, uh, think we can drop the topic there, though.”

“Fair enough.”

“After that, it became a place where tanners, millers, fishermen, and aquatic traders lived. But, well, most of those kinds of professions died out in the nineteenth century, and now it’s a colombage sightseeing area. This restaurant here, the ‘Maison de Tanneurs,’ used to be a tanner’s home, as the name suggests. The food’s nice.”

“Really? Why don’t we make dinner reservations?”

“Yeah, sounds good.”

“Reservations are made. We’ve still got some time.”

“All right… Let’s do some more walking.”

“Hey, this corner right here…”

“Hm?”

“Isn’t this where you had your picture taken to go with your interview, the day after you-know-when?”

“…Good memory.”

“Well, I did buy that magazine. I pulled it back out before I came here, and read it again.”

“Yeah?”

“You didn’t look like you were having much fun in the photo.”

“…You think?”

“After your return performance had been confirmed, when I heard from Haruki-kun that you were the one he’d been with on December 24th and 25th of 2012, I couldn’t really get my thoughts in order. I mean… Haruki-kun had been hugely depressed. His feelings for you were so strong that he couldn’t think about anything else.

Top caption:                     The corner turning from Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes onto Rue Adolphe Seyboth, where Kazusa was photographed for her interview.

 

Page 22

Text:                                  And, so, I decided to spend some time thinking it over on my own.”

“…Yeah?”

“But I ran away from your first performance, and when Haruki-kun came to Osaka to find me while I was on a business trip there, we slept together. And while it was going on, I wished that he would pierce through all the lies that were plastered over him… and, ultimately, I lost him. Maybe if I had turned him away that night in Osaka, if I’d trusted him, kept watching over him as he supported you, waited for him to come and ask for my help, not to save the two of us, but to save you, maybe then fate could have played out differently. Not that there’s… really any point in talking about that now, I know.”

“…I don’t believe in fate.”

“I know, I know that. I’m sorry for making things heavy all of a sudden.”

“…It’s okay. Isn’t the point of this trip to talk about him in a place where he isn’t around? Let’s head for the Ponts Couverts.”

                                          

“That bridge with the buildings all around it is cute, too.”

“The Barrage Vauban was built in the seventeenth century as a stronghold against attacks from further up the River Ill.”

“Oh, wow.”

“The Ponts Couverts were originally covered with wooden roofs, too.

Top caption:                     Barrage Vauban (Vauban Dam) as viewed from the Ponts Couverts. A bridge built for defense on the River Ill.

Bottom caption:              Three of the four strongholds along the Ponts Couverts (covered bridges). Heinrichsturm is in front.

 

Page 23

Text:                                  The four towers along the bridges are also strongholds. After the Barrage Vauban was built, the roofs were removed.”

“You know so much about all this. I’m impressed.”

“Apart from his hand-me-down info, my knowledge is pretty shallow. Stuff I learned from that Tales series you read, or other books, or online.”

“Hmm.”

“…Setsuna… Is it okay if I bring up something kind of heavy, too?”

“…Go ahead.”

“Strasbourg was a city built on wetlands where the Ill met the Rhine. The Romans called the land ‘Argentoratum,’ and used it as a military outpost. The Alsace region, which has Strasbourg as its heart, is a frontier land, which borders with Germany to the east, on the opposite shore of the Rhine, and Switzerland to the west. Its land area is only about the size of Hyogo prefecture.

“However, it was a strategic point from a geopolitical perspective, and an object of territorial contention between France and Germany. Compared with the German side of the Rhine, the right bank, the left bank—Alsace—had loess for agriculture, and was enormously blessed with sunlight. That, and as the Rhine flows up from the south, above Strasbourg, the current becomes swift, so merchants who did business from boats without engines would use the Ill as a bypass. A few kilometers east of the Old Town, Strasbourg’s harbor from the Rhine is still used as an entryway for water transportation in France. The harbor is lined with factories.

“Land routes, also, have converged in this city and radiated out from it since the days of the Romans. They had a fort built in the spot where the cathedral stands today. The name ‘Strasbourg’ came from those who settled there, after it was raided and burned by Attila the Hun, and was a pairing of ‘Strat,’ which means ‘road paved with stone,’ and ‘Burg,’ which meant ‘fortress’ and later came to mean ‘town.’ In other words, ‘Strasbourg’ means ‘fortress on the road,’ or ‘town on the road.’”

“Huh. That’s not very romantic, is it?”

“The fact is, this town, with the Ill bounding it on two sides, could be called a naturally fortified city. Plus, there’s no such thing as an old European city without a bloody history, and this one was particularly so. ‘This border town, as its name suggests, is a highway linking Rome, Gaul, and Germania, a key point, where since time immemorial, various peoples have met and passed by one another. Above all, a “soldiers’ route.” It has been the stage of much strife, beginning with the conflict between the Celtic, Roman, and Germanic peoples, on through medieval conflicts, conflict with its bishop, the Peasants’ War, the Thirty Years’ War, the French Revolution and the period of Napoleon’s rule, the Franco-Prussian War, and the first and second World Wars.’ That’s the kind of tragic history this city has…”

“…On the other hand, with the quiet support of the Holy Roman Empire, ‘the twelfth century saw development and expansion for the city, and the drafting of municipal regulations, which progressed to a citizens’ covenant charter in the fourteenth century.’ ‘Around this time, an imperial city alliance had been established in Alsace, but Strasbourg was in its own class as a “free imperial city,” and in the fifteenth century it was recognized even by the minting of currency, a so-called “small republic.”’”

“…You’ve been reading along, too.”

“It’s an excerpt from the ‘Encyclopedia of the World’s Peoples and Problems’ in Strasbourg: a Crossroads of European Civilizations.

                                          

Page 24

Text:                                  “Right. Strasbourg is ‘a point where Latin and Germanic civilizations clashed,’ ‘a “crossroads” where two of Europe’s great civilizations have continually been in contact, mingling together, deeply involved in the formation of the Western European world’…”

“Thank you for the commentary. Now, what are you getting at?”

“You already know, Setsuna. Strasbourg, itself, is Haruki.”

                                           “…Mph.”

“Strasbourg, as ‘a fortress along the road,’ fostered its own autonomy with the quiet support of the Holy Roman Empire, and prospered as an important point in both aquatic transportation and land travel. With an exchange of cultures from all four directions, as a place where Catholics and Protestants existed alongside one another, it raced to the top of its region in terms of culture. Substitute him into the picture, and…”

“Haruki-kun, who was raised by his mother, fostered his own autonomy within his mother’s lack of interference, though it made his stubborn, inflexible personality worse. He carried out his central role in all things, and meddled with a lot of different people, but guided them all with understanding.”

“Strasbourg was conquered by Louis XIV in 1681, and became part of France. In 1871, it became part of the German Empire through the Treaty of Frankfurt, then was restored to France in 1918 after World War I, seized by Nazi Germany in 1940, and returned again to France in 1945 by unconditional surrender from Germany…”

“…Mm-mm. I’m not going to say it. I’m not saying which one of us is France and which one is Germany. Nope.”

“The fact remains that we fought over him.”

“…”

“And, while Strasbourg keeps its highly valued autonomy as its root, it possesses both the French spirit and the German spirit… making them coexist as inseparable elements.”

“The same way that Haruki-kun loves you… and me, at the same time, and always has. Whenever one of us took him away, it hurt him, causing his scars to open up and bleed endlessly…”

“That’s right. Kind of like the mother from the war memorial in Republic Square.”

“…”

“And when the European Union was founded by the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, France and Germany, which to that point had been ‘sworn enemies,’ were now in a position in which they had to become ‘best friends for life.’ And, now, Strasbourg is the seat of the European Parliament. This city is the capital of the EU now, independent from both France and Germany.”

“Meaning the leader of the EU is our leader.”

“That’s right… I got to know this city on a deeper level because I started thinking of it that way. I’m sure you must have been thinking the same thing, Setsuna.”

“Yep. You’re exactly right. I was projecting Haruki-kun onto this city. Which is why I wanted this to be the place where he decided… to choose me.”

“Ah… Yeah, I understand now. Thanks, Setsuna. For telling me right out… And, I’m sorry.”

“…You’re still my ‘sworn enemy,’ I guess.”

“And your best friend for life.”

“…Sheesh. I’m no match for you.”

“I have one more thing to ask you, though.”

“…Oh, what.”

 

Page 25

Text:                                  “Is it all right if I ask once we get to Vienna?”

“Fine, fine. Why don’t we head to dinner now? I’m having Baeckeoffe today.”

“…You know that’s just salty pork and potato stew?”

“Oh, really? Are there konjac noodles in it?”

“Uh, no. Anyway, at least make it a full course meal. If I get bloated up from potatoes alone, I’ll feel like I lost out somehow.”

***

“Well? To Vienna, then?”

“Hey, you sure you’re okay with not going to the Christmas Mass at the cathedral here?”

“…After this trip is over, I think all three of us should come to this city, somewhere along the line.”

“Setsuna…”

“And the three of us can attend the Mass together. That’s what I want.”

“…Yeah. Let’s do that.”

Caption:                            Strasbourg Station

Bottom box:                     Miscellaneous Notes

-Why did the author not enter the EU from Vienna, then take a sleeper car to Strasbourg? Well, long story short, I accidentally got the order backwards when making my request to the travel agent. I flew briefly to Amsterdam, and then to Vienna. But, from a writing standpoint, I’m fine with having gone in this order.

-Works cited with regard to Strasbourg: Tales: The History of Strasbourg: a Border Between Nations, the Core of Europe by Hidemi Uchida, Chukoshinsho, October 25th, 2009; and Strasbourg: a Crossroads of European Civilizations by Raizo Ukyo, March 31st, 2009. Without these two books, I could never have written this text. Absolutely required reading. My wife asked me, exasperated, why I didn’t read them before I went.

-Make sure to get the sightseeing map entitled “Plan du Touriste Strasbourg.” With this, your pilgrimage will be easy. Seriously, Japan doesn’t have any publications that match up to this one.

-I did three days and two nights in Strasbourg, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I wasn’t able to visit all of the churches, or ride any sightseeing boats, and I wasn’t able to see the European Parliament, the Rhine, the harbor, or the Parc de la Citadelle. Colmar, which is holy land for Is the Order a Rabbit?, is nearby, so be sure to stop by there, too. I want to ask for a week next time. Also, one must go to the Musée Historique de la Ville de Strasbourg, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in the Palais Rohan, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg.

                                           -I think it’s possible to go up to the roof of the cathedral. Reception is on the Palais Rohan side. I also regret not doing this.

-For food, if you just search something like “Strasbourg lunch dinner” online, you should be able to find plenty. The places I stayed had breakfast included, so I played it stingy for breakfast and lunch and didn’t eat out, but I regretted it later. The breakfast buffet at Régent Contades is excellent, but for the cheaper lodgings I took, I should have skipped out on the breakfast and gone to a café in town.

-The Christmas Eve Mass at the cathedral starts at 11:30 p.m. I am determined to attend next time!

 

Page 26

Text:                                  3

Vienna

December 23rd, 2018

 

“And, what do you know, here we are in Vienna!”

“Applause, applause… Wait, you’re just following the same script!”

“Now, now, let’s go see St. Stephen’s Cathedral.”

“Another church…”

***

“Look at that… It’s got such an imposing presence.”

“That’s your third time saying that exact phrase!”

“Well, go ahead.”

“…Go ahead and do what?”

“Aren’t you going to give me Haruki-kun’s hand-me-down commentary?”

“Nope!”

“Tch. Boring! Fine, fine, I’ll just wiki it…”

“St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or Stephansdom in German, is a Catholic church with a history stretching back to the year 1137. The first church was completed in 1147, and the western façade, constructed in the late Romanesque style, was completed by 1245. It possesses two towers in the heathen style. By 1340, the Gothic-style Albertine choir, chancel, and High Altar had been built. The 136.7-meter south tower was completed in 1359, and still boasts the title of third highest in the world. The Habsburg coat of arms, a double-headed eagle, bearing a Heiligenkreuz, or holy cross, glares down from the tip of the tower. Construction on the north tower continued until 1511, but was halted.

“The High Altar is considered a masterpiece of the early baroque style, and was constructed by 1645. In the center is an altarpiece done by Tobias Pock, depicting the sufferings of Saint Stephen.

“The catacombs underground hold the bones of around two thousand victims of the black plague, which spread in 1679, as well as bishops of Vienna, and the hearts and viscera of members of the Habsburg dynasty.

“There are other altars apart from the High Altar, including a baroque-style stone altar bearing a painting of Saints Peter and Paul done by Tobias Pock in 1677. Next is the Wiener Neustadt Altar, a typical Gothic-style covered altar depicting the life of the Virgin Mary, which was built in 1447, and was originally in a monastery in Wiener Neustadt, before being brought to the cathedral in 1883. Then…”

“Oh, stop. I get it. I get it already. You don’t have to keep rambling on with that little smile and that dead look in your eyes.”

Caption:                            Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral)

 

Page 27

Top left caption:              Masses are held frequently, during which the nave is blocked off by an iron fence, keeping tourists from entering.

Top right caption:           The western façade (front entrance). People selling concert tickets gather around here.

Text:                                  “Oh, wow, I guess I just went on autopilot for a bit there.”

“Yes, I can see how many times Haruki-kun must have gleefully repeated this same commentary to you. By the way, I feel like this iron fence was at the… choir? Chancel? Anyway, I feel like it was further back before.”

“They probably moved it in front of the nave so there wouldn’t be too many tourists disrupting the Mass.”

“Ah… I guess we won’t be able to see ‘The Stoning of St. Stephen’ today, then.”

“I imagine they’d let us in if we told them we were here for the Mass.”

“Hey, let’s go to another church.”

“Another church…?”

                                           ***

“You seriously want to go?”

“Oh, are you tired of churches?”

“It’s not that. I mean the Christmas Concert tonight at the cathedral.”

“I do want to go. It’s the last day. There are going to be players from the Vienna Philharmonic there, right?”

“That’s my point… What if they find out that I’m there? I don’t want that.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“It’ll be embarrassing.”

“…Where are we going, by the way?”

“We’re heading for… the town hall? That’d be the Votivkirche, then.”

“Let’s see… The Votivkirche is a Roman Catholic church, built in the neo-Gothic style. It was completed in 1879. It says it was built to thank God after Franz Joseph I survived an assassination attempt.”

 

Page 28

Text:                                  “He’s the emperor who started World War I by declaring war on Serbia after the heir to the throne was assassinated in the Sarajevo Incident.”

“…You know a lot about this.”

“That idiot is always telling me, ‘If you want to make it in Europe, you need to know at least an outline of each country’s history.”

“Oh, my. Such a faraway look in your eyes… He really must have drilled all of this into you.”

“You should experience it for yourself, Setsuna, just once.”

“If Haruki-kun will make it one-on-one.”

“…I’m… going to shut this topic down now. Oh, looks like it’s still undergoing construction.”

“Ah, those advertisements and scaffolding really spoil the two steeples of the front façade.”

Top caption:                     Votivkirche (Votive Church)

Bottom left caption:       The Chapel of the Cross. The wall painting depicts worship of the body of Christ, while the altar depicts the Virgin Mary, John the Apostle, and the crucified Christ.

Bottom right caption:    The High Altar at the back of the choir. Maybe the choir and the chancel were integrated in churches from around this period?

 

Page 29

Caption:                            Vienna’s bustling Christmas Market. At right is the city hall, while the left and center photos show Maria-Theresien-Platz.

Text:                                  “So it goes. Let’s go in.”

“The stained glass is so pretty…”

“This is a more recent church, so it doesn’t have much historical value. But it has a lot of stained glass windows, and modern-day manufacturing techniques are better, so the coloring and expressiveness are high-quality.”

“Aha.”

“This church was built for the last real emperor of the Austrian Empire. They must have dumped a lot of cash into it.”

“You sound so jaded.”

“There are other famous altars besides the High Altar… You can pray plenty. Christianity is wild, you’ve got the Virgin Mary and all these saints apart from Christ so you can choose your favorite. All eight million of them.”

“You’d better be careful what you say in the capital of a country whose history advocates for the Catholic Church.”

“Then, why don’t we go say our prayers to that terrifying empress, the ‘Pope’s witch,’ who brought that terrifying country into its prime?”

***

“The Christmas Market in front of City Hall is busy as ever this year.”

“This crowd is really something. Oh, look, they’re selling mulled wine here, too! The mugs are so cute. They’ll give you the mug if you drink it, right? I’m getting one.”

“Hang on, Setsuna… Ah, never mind.”

“Huh? This tastes different from wine.”

“It’s punsch. I think it’s made with a mix of schnapps and fruit juice, rather than a wine base.”

“…It’s not bad, but I don’t love it.”

“Heh. Well, you’ll never be a true Viennese, then. Granted, it’s not my favorite, either. When it comes to warm drinks, spiced wine is really the best.”

“The vin chaud in Strasbourg was so good… The sweet wine, the citrus fruit aroma and sourness… I miss it.”

“I’ll help you drink, like, a third of it. Now, if we follow the tramway south from City Hall, we’ll see…”

“Maria-Theresien-Platz, which is between the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.”

“Her popularity is absolutely crazy. She once said, ‘While other nations do battle, you, lucky Austria, you wed,’ and the House of Habsburg, which is to say Austria, made its way through political marriages, which left its military forces weak.

                                          

Page 30

Text:                                  The line of direct male descent for the Habsburg monarchy had come to an end, and Maria Theresa inherited it, drawing dissent from surrounding countries, in particular Prussia and France, who intervened and set off the War of the Austrian Succession, which lasted from 1740 to 1748 and put them at an even greater disadvantage. Even so, she was crowned the Queen of Hungary, negotiated with the Diet, gave one of her characteristic speeches in Latin, and made them pledge their blood and lives to their queen. Ultimately, she wasn’t able to recapture Silesia, but her husband, Duke Francis Stephen of Lorraine, took the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor.”

“All the men must have been terrified, scorning her as some ignorant, pampered little girl and trying to meddle with her, only to provoke the ferocious backlash of a mother with guts.”

“Heheh. Maria Theresa got fired up over reclaiming Silesia from Prussia, so she centralized authority through internal reforms, established a military academy through military reforms, and introduced conscription. In terms of diplomacy, she approached her old enemy, France, and with Louis XV’s mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, who was really the one in control of France at the time, as well as Elizabeth, Empress of Russia, she encircled Prussia in 1756.”

“I knew about that. They called it ‘the League of the Three Petticoats.’”

“Right, right. During the Seven Years’ War, which lasted from 1754 to 1763, they repeatedly hounded down Frederick II of Prussia. Elizabeth died, and Peter III, who was a foolish devotee of Frederick’s, withdrew Russia’s troops, which led Prussia to a victory right at the brink; but had Frederick died during the Seven Years’ War, and had Prussia fallen to ruin, I think European history would look very different.”

“France lost colonial territory in the New World and India to England during the Seven Years’ War, and on top of that they didn’t gain anything in Europe, which left them with an enormous debt that I believe was part of what brought about their revolution.”

“Marie Antoinette was Maria Theresa’s daughter, in fact. Come to think of it, in later years, Frederick apparently ridiculed Maria Theresa by saying, ‘The House of Habsburg now is ruled by a man who is rarely seen. However, this man is a woman.’”

“…He sounds like he has a pretty serious disdain for women.”

“Maybe it’s retaliation against the suffering he went through, but it is a pretty rash remark.”

“Wasn’t there talk about the two of them getting married?”

“It fell by the wayside. Maria Theresa was smitten with Francis, surrounding countries expected that if the Habsburgs joined with Prussia they would become entirely too powerful, and there were some religious differences, too.”

Caption:                            Statue of Empress Maria Theresa

 

Page 31

Text:                                  “It’s fascinating to see royalty from that era prioritizing marriage for love.”

“Yeah. Maria Theresa was a devout Catholic, and gave birth to sixteen children with her husband alone. She imposed a severe penalty for adultery to keep her husband in check, and after his death, she apparently remained in mourning dress for the rest of her life.

“Meanwhile, Catherine II, the Empress of Russia, who lived at the same time, was the daughter of a Prussian soldier with no blood connection to the Romanovs, but by marrying the nephew of Empress Elizabeth, who did have the right connection, she integrated into the royal court, dethroned her fool of a husband in a coup d’état, and usurped the crown for herself. She ought to have converted from Protestantism to the Eastern Orthodox Church, but she enjoyed rampant affairs with countless lovers. They were both powerful women, but their ways of life were so thoroughly different. It really is fascinating.”

***

“So, what did you think of the Christmas Concert at the Cathedral?”

“Well, I have to say the audience behavior was terrible. I didn’t think there would be so many people with their phones out, recording it. No one was actually properly listening.”

“That’s what you get with a bunch of out-of-towners.”

“I’m sorry, Kazusa. I can definitely see how you would be embarrassed to have a member of the Vienna Philharmonic see you surrounded by a crowd like that.”

“They must have been aware of the kind of crowd they were playing to, so maybe they were embarrassed themselves.”

“Mrrr. Can’t say I’m happy with that, considering the forty euros it cost to get in.”

“But we managed to get inside the nave of the cathedral, right?”

“Good point.”

“We don’t have a lot of time, but let’s go take a look.”

Left caption:                     The statue of Christ on the cross suspended at the midpoint of the nave is interesting.

Right caption:                  The High Altar, with a painting of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity. (From official guidebook)

 

Page 32

Top left caption:              The Katharinen-Altar, below the south tower

Top right caption:           Wiener Neustadt Altar seen on a Sunday. In the “Women’s Choir.”

Text:                                  “No matter how many times I look at it, that High Altar is seriously impressive.”

“Apparently it’s painted on a copper plate, rather than canvas, since it’s fifteen meters high.”

“Now that I’m looking at it closer, even these pillars have altars.”

“For the eight million saints, you know.”

“Stop.”

“The most famous one is probably the Wiener Neustadt altar, which is at the back of the “Women’s Choir” in the north nave. Though it’s not a Sunday, so the panels are shut.”

“Then, if we come for Christmas Mass, we’ll be able to see it.”

“You… You’re serious about coming back?”

“Excuse me! You came here with Haruki-kun, but you don’t want to with me? Is that it?”

“If you keep visiting like that, they’ll start thinking you’re a legit believer.”

“I think it’s okay to act like a ‘legit believer’ just for the Christmas season.”

“…Fine, whatever, I’ll come with you.”

“We are now closing the gates. Please leave promptly.”

                                           “Oh, sounds like they’re closing up. Let’s go.”

“Let’s continue our church rounds tomorrow!”

“Even more churches? I need something sweet…”

Bottom caption:              Capistran Chancel sculpture, affixed above the outdoor pulpit by the entrance to the northern catacombs.

 

Page 33

Text:                                  4

Vienna

December 24th, 2018

 

“Phew… ‘m tired. The Christmas Eve Mass doesn’t start until 4:30, so I can sleep a little more, yeah?”

“I’m not going to argue with you on this. Now, go take a shower.”

“Man…”

***

“Ah, the hotel breakfast was great!”

“…”

“Four-star hotels really know how to do breakfast.”

“…I guess.”

“Hey, will you buck up already?”

“Augh. I should have sent Haruki-kun a reminder. I never imagined you’d forget the key to your own house in Vienna, Kazusa.”

“It’s a good thing the hotel we stayed in yesterday allows for multiple-night stays.”

“Don’t tell me you forgot your key deliberately.”

                                           “No, I seriously plumb forgot. I’m sorry.”

“Uh-huh… What about the management office?”

“Closed today.”

“…Well, that’s fine. You can just buy me a Sacher-Torte later to make it up to me.”

***

“So, where are we going?”

“Good question.”

“How about Schloss Belvedere? They’ve got Klimt’s The Kiss on display right now. I think they’re also doing a special exhibition of Egon Schiele’s work.”

“Sounds good. We could take the tram, but let’s walk. We’ll get there quick if we cut through the City Park.”

Caption:                            Statues of Johann Strauss II (L) and Anton Bruckner (R) in the City Park. It seems not many people go to see the Bruckner statue. But his Ninth Symphony is one of humanity’s greatest treasures.

 

Page 34

Text:                                  “So, this bronze statue of this old guy is…”

“Bruckner.”

“And this gilded bronze statue is…”

“Johann Strauss.”

“I… feel a little bit like there’s a disparity in treatment here…”

“Oh, no, there’d be no point gilding the statue of a twisted old pedophile like Bruckner.”

“…”

“Anyway, look, there’s the Soviet War Memorial. Schloss Belvedere is past that.”

“…I didn’t know monuments like this still existed.”

“…You probably shouldn’t ask about how it wound up here.”

“I guess when it comes to memorializing the war dead, positions and principles aren’t all that important.”

“I wouldn’t know… But maybe.”

“It’s a little wild. In Japan, there’d be graffiti all over something like this.”

“Yeah, you probably wouldn’t see this.”

“Ah, here we are. Oh, Kazusa, tickets are over here.”

“Wait. Actually, over here is the house that Emperor Franz Joseph I gave Bruckner in his later years. He lived here until he died.”

“Um, do you like him?”

“Hm? Like who?”

“Bruckner. Do you like Bruckner.”

“I just thought I’d stop by since we were on our way to the palace. That’s all!”

“He’s not quite my type, I must say. Kind of like a big stone tumbling down onto your head from above. He doesn’t really have much in the way of piano stuff, anyway…”

“Well, there aren’t a lot of women who like Bruckner…”

“Hrmph. Something in your tone is grating on me, but yes, I guess he wouldn’t be that popular with female listeners.”

“But I’m sure he never imagined that, far in the future, Christmas markets would be held at the palace, and there’d be a little train running right in front of his house.”

“Hee hee.”

“Now, let’s go see The Kiss.”

                                           ***

“That was certainly worth seeing.”

“I haven’t seen that much Schiele in one place in a while.”

“You don’t get a lot of opportunities to see so many Austrian paintings past the nineteenth century at once. I’m glad we came.”

“Ready for that Sacher-Torte?”

Top caption:                     Bruckner’s last house

Bottom caption:              Old Vienna viewed from the Upper Palace. Supposedly, Marie Antoinette spent some time in this palace, and Mozart went there to give a performance.

 

Page 35

Top caption:                     Karlskirche (Saint Charles’ Church)

Text:                                  “Now, Karlskirche.”

“Another church… Why…”

“It’s right by the Lower Palace, and it’s along the way we’re going.”

“…Karlskirche is Catholic. Its exterior construction is between Roman and Byzantine. The interior is baroque. It was completed in the first half of the eighteenth century. It construction was commissioned by Charles VI, the father of Maria Theresa. The fresco painted on the twenty-five-meter dome above the hall is particularly famous.”

“The scaffolding for repairs kind of gets in the way.”

“Right now, the scaffolding is being used so visitors can climb up and look at it more closely… though it does get some mixed reviews.”

“I feel like this is the kind of thing where you’re supposed to look up at it from below like ‘Wowww, that’s amazing!’ Right?”

“Maybe.”

“The altar really leaps out at you, too.”

“It’s dedicated to Charles Borromeo, whom the Roman Catholic Church reveres as a saint.”

Bottom caption:              Statue of Borromeo (L) and High Altar (R). A saint who, in 1576, when the plague was raging in Milan, made efforts toward accommodating the afflicted and burying the dead, with no concern for danger or expense.

 

Page 36

Text:                                  “Who?”

“Don’t ask me… Sure is flashy, though.”

***

“So, there’s a statue of Brahms in the park just in front of the Karlskirche.”

“Why does he look so grumpy, I wonder?”

“It’s like, even in death, he’s glaring across the street at the Musikverein.”

“Eek, that’s scary.”

“Heheh. The Musikverein’s Brahms Hall is pretty good.”

“You’ve played there, right?”

“Yeah, some solo stuff, some stuff with the Vienna Philharmonic.”

“When it comes to Brahms’s piano pieces, I’m fond of his Intermezzi.”

                                           “Glenn Gould’s performance of those is excellent. Maybe I should do a recording of them myself.”

***

…At this point, the two of them were supposed to pass in front of the Hotel Imperial, and Kazusa would start to turn right, saying, “The Imperial Torte at the Café Imperial is great,” but Setsuna grabs the cuff of Kazusa’s coat and pulls her, turning left (east) on Kärntner Ring and right (north) onto Kärntner Strasse, to the Café Sacher, where they would eat the Original Sacher-Torte… but I was forced, in tears, to omit it (author has not been there and so cannot write about it).

                                           ***

“Yeah, I guess the Original has its own special taste.”

“It was so sweet! Now, I think it’s just about time to head to the Mass.”

“Right. …Hey, Setsuna, do you want to go to the Mass tomorrow morning, too?”

“Yes.”

“Once it’s over, why don’t we rest for a bit and then go climb up the Kahlenberg?”

Top caption:                     Brahms (L) and the home of the Vienna Philharmonic, the Musikverein (R)

Middle caption:               The Original Sacher-Torte (from official website)

Bottom caption:              Mass schedule posted at the cathedral

 

Page 37

Text:                                  5

Vienna

December 25th, 2018

 

“That was astounding. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

“You’re pretty wild about it for someone who isn’t even a believer.”

“Hearing Mozart’s Missa Solemnis at Christmas Mass in a cathedral? There’s nothing better!”

“I guess. Now we’re going to take the U4 from Stephansplatz to Heiligenstadt, and we can have lunch at a heuriger near the Beethoven Museum.”

***

…At this point, the two of them were supposed to find a heuriger (a homemade wine tavern) somewhere that was open during the day, and spend a mellow hour sipping wine… but I was forced, in tears, to omit it (author has not… etc.).

                                           ***

“Looks like the Beethoven Museum is closed for Christmas. Hey, take me to the Beethovengang.”

“Sure. If we go north up Eroikagasse, it’ll be right there.”

“It’s so nice and quiet here. Have you walked here with Haruki-kun, too?”

“I… have, yeah. The house is just at the end of it.”

“…Ah.”

Top caption:                     Beethoven Statue along the Beethovengang. It’s just a head, which makes it a little scary.

Bottom caption:              The Beethovengang (Beethoven’s walkway). North along Eroikagasse from the Beethoven Museum, and traveling up the Schreiber River. Surrounded by a high-class residential area.

 

Page 38

Text:                                  “Hey, Setsuna, can I talk to you about something?”

“…Sure.”

“The fact that Mom brought me to Strasbourg on Christmas Eve of 2012, that Haruki’s train from Paris to Strasbourg ran behind because of snow, that your flight’s arrival at the Strasbourg Airport was delayed for the same reason… and the fact that I spotted Haruki in front of Strasbourg Station, lost sight of him, and found him again in Place Kléber. All of that was coincidence. But, even if it was all the product of coincidence, it feels just a little too perfect.”

“…”

“Without the right feelings, you won’t be able to meet the person you want to see. If you don’t act, you’ll never see them. But, even if we suppose my own intentions got in there and led to this course of things, the coincidence is still too perfect.”

“…”

“In those five years after I left him at Narita, I was always thinking of him… thinking of Haruki, as I played the piano. As a result of that—thanks to that—I was able to place in an international piano competition for the second time.”

“…”

“Thanks to that, I got an interview with a Japanese publishing company. And I found… Haruki, from Kaiou.”

“It was fate!”

“No, Setsuna. Why are you…”

“…What.”

“…Why don’t we take the bus up the mountain? The sun’s gonna set soon.”

“It’s cold up here.”

“Well, this hill is 484 meters high.”

“The view is gorgeous, though.”

“Yeah.”

“…”

“Do you want to go to the restaurant on the right, or the self-service café on the left?”

“Just a second.”

“The restaurant’s full.”

“Thanks for checking. The café, then.”

“It’s lucky there was a table open by the window.”

“Yeah, thank god.”

“Kazusa, are you good with red wine?”

“I’ll buy it myself.”

“You stay right there with your fancy fake glasses on, Miss International Celebrity.”

“Cheers!”

“Yeah, cheers.”

“Our trip zipped right by, huh.”

“Yeah.”

“I had a lot of fun.”

“…Yeah?”

“What’s wrong with you? You’re mumbling.”

“…”

Caption:                            Vienna cityscape viewed from the observation deck at the top of the Kahlenberg. The Danube is visible at the left.

 

Page 39

Text:                                  “…Just say it already. We’re leaving tomorrow, it’s your last chance.”

“Setsuna… Why did you bring Haruki to Strasbourg six years ago?”

“I followed Haruki-kun, that’s all.”

“No… You must have known. You were the PR person for Knights Record.”

“…I’m surprised you know that.”

“My schedule was being leaked to you.”

“I didn’t know anything about the artists I wasn’t in charge of.”

“…I don’t know how you wound up with information about an artist you weren’t in charge of, but you knew. You knew I would be coming to Strasbourg that day.”

“…”

“…”

“…Keep going.”

“Why?”

“Why not?”

“You must have known… That, while I was playing the piano, Haruki was constantly on my mind.”

“I’ve asked this before, but… what’s with this middle school confession?”

“Stop throwing up smoke screens. This is about you and me.”

“…”

“If Haruki and I saw each other like that, something was going to happen. And something was going to stick around in both our hearts.”

“…Well, it was snowing that day. When snow falls, things tend to happen between us.”

“Why are you dodging me like this?”

“…Hmph.”

“That day, that moment, you knew. You knew the ‘traveler with a sprained ankle’ Haruki was looking after was me. You knew that your rival and your boyfriend were with each other. You knew, so why didn’t you intervene?”

“That day, that moment… I had no idea that Haruki-kun was looking after you, Kazusa.”

“…Liar.”

“…”

“…All you ever do is lie to me.”

“I’m not lying… Hey, don’t start crying in a place like this.”

“Shut up…! It’s because you just keep spouting lies.”

“Hang on… That’s not fair. You’re being unfair, Kazusa.”

“Shut up… Not as unfair as you…”

“You’re way more unfair. Augh… If only you’d been a boy, Kazusa!”

-smooch-

                                           “Gyack! Wh… What did you just do.”

“I just kissed you on the cheek.”

“I-I’ve told you so many times not to do that…”

“You’re so cute that I can’t help myself. You know that?”

“C-Cute?”

“There’s not a woman in the world who’s cuter than you are, Kazusa.”

“Wh-What are you talking about…”

 

Page 40

Text:                                  “You win. I knew. I knew all along.”

“Setsuna…”

“That you ran into Haruki-kun, that day, that moment, and that you were together.”

“…Why didn’t you do anything? Why didn’t you interrupt? All you had to do was grill him over the phone.”

“Kazusa… You’re so straightforward, and such a dummy.”

“Sh-Shut up.”

“I spent so much time thinking about it. About what the best path was, so I could be with Haruki-kun for real.”

“How does that figure in. You could have just done everything in your power to avoid me. If you knew what my schedule was, down to the day of the interview, why didn’t you work in advance to eliminate that possibility? Sure, it was his job, but you could have found a way to make him turn it down.”

“I didn’t want to interfere in such an underhanded way.”

“…Setsuna…”

“If Haruki-kun was going to commit himself to me permanently, I wanted him to see you before that. I wanted him to face himself, and the feelings he still had lingering for you. Otherwise, I’d end up having to check up on who he was going to be meeting with in his next job for the rest of my life. I’d have to love Haruki-kun for the rest of my life with the fear that, the moment he saw you, he would want you more than he wanted me. I couldn’t deal with that dread any more.

“Nor could I deal with my own feelings after having run away from you for so long, or the indebtedness I felt for having claimed Haruki-kun after you’d left Japan. So, I let him take that business trip. I pretended not to know who he was going to be interviewing.”

“…”

“…As I’ve said, the fact that you and Haruki-kun met up in Strasbourg… was fate.”

“…I don’t believe in fate. I don’t want to believe that some path you produced was fate.”

“You don’t have to believe it. I played the game on my own terms. I made war on my ‘sworn enemy.’ That… is all there is to it.”

“But… But—“

“Ugh, be quiet already!”

“…Sor—ggh!”

“Quiet.”

“Mgh, mgph…”

“Don’t you dare apologize. If you apologize to me here, I will slap you. There could be people in this café who know that you are Kazusa Touma, and I am Setsuna Ogiso. You never know who might be behind us, recording this whole exchange.”

“…”

“And if you try to apologize anyway, I’m going to stop your lips this time, instead of just pecking your cheek.”

“…”

“Understand?”

“…I get it. Please back up. This is embarrassing.”

“Promise you won’t apologize.”

 

Page 41

Text:                                  “Fine… I promise.”

“…I started this war, and in the end, I lost. Strasbourg was recaptured. Six years ago, you apologized to me, over and over again, for ‘stealing my Haruki from me.’ And, after all of that, you said you would give up the piano in exchange, and nearly destroyed your own hand with a broken glass. At that moment… The moment I swiped that broken glass out of your hand, I thought about my own cowardice, how I ran away and lost control of myself just because I wanted his love and hadn’t been able to win it, and it made me shudder.

“And it hit me then. That, this time, I had well and truly lost. That I wasn’t prepared to drop everything in the name of claiming him, like you were. And, if I had just sat and watched as you abandoned the piano, I think I genuinely would have lost my mind.”

“…”

“I was always thinking of Haruki-kun, but in the depths of my heart, I’ve been thinking of you. The fact that Haruki-kun was taken from me is still a deep gouge that hasn’t healed yet. But, the fact I saved my best friend by taking that broken glass out of your hand… That I was able to acknowledge that I’d been unfair… That I hid that accident so that you two wouldn’t worry… those are all medals in my heart, small, but precious. So, I don’t ever want you apologizing to me again.”

“…Thank you, Setsuna.”

“…Of course. That said, as I’ve mentioned before, if I spot any gaps, I may well wage war again.”

“I know that.”

“…The sun’s set all the way now.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s been about eleven years since that school festival show, hasn’t it?”

“Yeah, I think that’s right. And it’s been a hell of a ride in the meantime.”

“Am I seriously going to turn thirty in February of 2020…? It might be time for me to drop the ‘Number-one idol in Japan’ title, before it gets embarrassing.”

“You think? Well, you can turn thirty if you must. As for me, I’ll be eighteen forever.”

“Taking a leaf from Kikuko Inoue’s book?”

“No, no, I’m more modest. By one year.”

“I’ll grant, your chest and butt are just as perky as they were when you were eighteen.”

“Whoa, no groping!”

“Ahh, that was refreshing.”

“…Shut up.”

“Now, why don’t we head back into the city and drink a little more?”

Caption:                            The Vienna nightscape, viewed from the hotel-side observation deck at the back of the café. Doesn’t it look a bit like the view of Vienna from the window of Kazusa’s house, in the last scene of Kazusa’s Ending?

 

Page 42

Text:                                  ***

“And, what do you know, here we are at Zwölf-Apostelkeller!”

“You know this pub is also super duper touristy.”

“Look, it’s our last day here, and up to yesterday we’ve been having dinner in four-star restaurants. I’m ordering beer, white wine, and the local specialty plate.”

“Oh, hang on.”

“Huh? What?”

“…Never mind.”

“This is… sausage, processed meat, and warm sauerkraut.”

“In other words, choucroute.”

“Yugh…”

“’Just so we’re clear, I’m not eating one bite of that sour cabbage.’”

“Now you’re copying me?!”

                                           “Hee hee hee…”

“Ahaha!”

(FIN)

Caption:                            The house plate at Zwölf Apostelkeller (“The Twelfth Apostle’s Celler). …A laughable mistake.

Bottom box:                     Miscellaneous Notes

-Your author is hardcore Team Kazusa, and as my followers know, I’ve published a long-form (424 A5 pages) story that starts with Setsuna visiting Kazusa in Vienna following Kazusa’s Ending, entitled It’s Not Love (available for ¥1,000—check it out!). From the time I began writing, I’ve been curious about Kazusa and Haruki’s life in Vienna. I’ve spent so much time tooling around with Google Maps, trying to figure out where I can see the Vienna nightscape that we see from the window of Kazusa’s house, and I ran across a view from the Kahlenberg that resembled it, so I decided Kazusa’s house must be at the foot of it, in Heiligenstadt. But it’s a pretty seriously high-class neighborhood, and I don’t know whether that view would be visible at that elevation. Ah well. It remains a mystery.

-And I decided that the two of them would go to the Christmas Mass at St. Stephen’s Cathedral for sure. As I finally learned when I went there for myself, the late-night Christmas Concert held at the cathedral goes from 8:30 pm to 10 pm every night from December 1st to December 23rd, and is completely unrelated to the Christmas Mass. You can buy tickets from the ticket seller to the right of the cathedral entrance. Inside the nave costs 40 euros (that’s expensive). As for the performance and all that, the audience was full of out-of-towners, and their etiquette during the performance was terrible. There were loads of people outside the cathedral selling tickets to Christmas concerts at other venues, so maybe it would be a good idea to take look at other place’s concert programs and go to whichever one appeals to you the most.

-For the Christmas Mass, I told a slightly intimidating young man by the iron fence that I wanted to take part, and he said, “It’s an hour and a half. Are you sure?” and I said I was, and they let me participate for free (an offering is expected) even though I wasn’t a believer. It starts at 4:30 pm on the 24th, and 10:15 am on the 25th. Do take care not to disrupt the believers there, though. Pray along with them, even if it’s just by imitation.

-As I sang the hymns in faltering German, a beautiful genuine believer who was seated next to me said, “Gut!” (“Good!”) and it made me feel very floaty and happy.

 

Page 43

Text:                                  Afterward

To all of you who picked up this story, all of you who read it, thank you. I am very grateful. This story is a derivative work of, and pilgrimage guide for, White Album 2, an 18+ romance adventure game for Windows produced and sold by Leaf and Aquaplus.

Holy land for WA2 fans… Strasbourg, the city of reunion, and Vienna, where Kazusa and Haruki made their home.

I was determined that I had to go for myself, so I invited my wife along, and she bluntly refused. I was nervous about traveling on my own. The reason is simple: I cannot speak English.

On top of that, work got very busy before the trip, and my preparations and daily conversation studies were inadequate.

Even so, I’m deeply glad I went. They were wonderful towns, Strasbourg and Vienna both.

And I was touched by the kindness of so many people.

Now, I have to tell this story because of how expensive it was. At first, I went, “Ohoho, I want to do something like @dejimacom-san’s masterpiece, We’ll eat frozen mandarins as we go., but I realized shortly after I began writing that this was impossible. I only took pictures with my iPhone 7, for one thing.

So, everything is a little half-baked, but I arranged the text in order to resolve my own questions, and the pictures in order to pin down my own memories.

This spring, as Kazusa and Haruki turn 30, I feel like I’ve managed to bring this story to my own sort of stopping point. That said, I have no intention of running off or switching islands.

Finally, to Ena-san, thank you for yet another beautiful illustration.

Well, everyone, let us meet again in Onjuku. My heart is always with Kazusa.

May 20th, 2019 Ushineko

Publishing info:               A Trip for Two, Plus Baggage

-Kazusa and Setsuna Visit Strasbourg and Vienna-

Text & photos:               Ushineko (@ushigara_neko6 on Twitter) with iPhone 7 Plus

(https://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=15334174)

Illustration & cover design: Ena (@ena686 on Twitter)

(https:www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=3816598)

Date published:             June 9th, 2019

Editing/publishing:        Rurou no gakushidan

Printer:                            POPLS

 

Page 44

Publisher:                         Roving Masters of Music

 

Page 45

Text:                                  illustration by ena

Roving Masters of Music