The scene of Maiko's initial entrance into the Floating World. Up until now, Ryota expresses himself to be a laid back, humorous individual, but here shows to be a more sly, mysterious character to Maiko.
“Who goes there?” Maiko asks, in the most epic, commanding voice she could muster. There is no response, and the chiming sound continues.
It is in the middle of the night – or three in the morning for all she knows – when Maiko was awoken by a peculiar noise. Although it sounded to her like wind chimes, there weren’t any in the house that she knew of!
Her heart beating wildly, Maiko leaps out of bed and searches the wall for the light switch with her hands. She finds it quickly and flips it, but to no avail - the lights are inoperable.
“Did Nana cut the power off again?” Maiko says aloud, with a slight groan. Had the noise not occurred again, she probably would have went right back to bed, and the beginning of this whole crazy adventure would have been held off for another day. As it were, though, the sound did continue and Maiko’s curiosity inevitably got the best of her fear.
So, deciding to investigate, she makes her way into the kitchen. It is pitch-black and since her eyes have yet to adjust, she feels along the countertop for a tool; a potential weapon – anything to make her feel more secure.
Suddenly, she grabs hold of a handle. Lifting the unknown object, she can immediately tell by the weight of it to be a frying pan. It was the heavy frying pan, at that! This will definitely do, she thinks to herself mischievously, experiencing a sudden rush of adrenaline.
The strange noise can be heard again; closer. It sounds to be coming from in the living room just around the corner!
“If somebody’s there, I’ve got a frying pan…the heavy frying pan, and I will use it if necessary!” She shouts. The errant noise she pursued only seems to grow more constant, though, undeterred by her challenge.
It went from the sound of a wind chime to…a choir of wind chimes? Maiko thinks, becoming nervous. Not even the mental image of an entire symphonic band of people striking against wind chimes can stifle the knot of fear growing in her throat.
That’s when she feels something furry brush against her leg.
She screams at the top of her lungs from this, and in reaction, sends the unfortunate Milo flying with a kick. Maiko probably realizes this when the response to her attack is a sharp meow. “Oh God Milo I'm so sorry, I’ll feed you extra in the morning for that, I promise!” She says, and continues on, albeit slightly less shaken up following the slapstick moment.
Maiko is at the corner of the open doorway into the living room; only a step or two away from the origin of the alien sounds which had now grown so constant that the individual instances were becoming impossible to distinguish.
“Whoever you are, even my cat isn’t afraid of you, so…” Maiko freezes mid-sentence, now glancing from around the corner to get a full look at the living room. A full look in the middle of the night with no lights turned on? Well, whereas Maiko expected an unlucky burglar awaiting his serving of kitchen hardware, the truth couldn’t be any more bizarre.
Are they…really floating in mid-air? Maiko tries to analyze the situation in her head, but it just wasn’t something she could make logical sense of. What had once been ordinary chinaware, bookends, bronze figurines and even the decorative katana from the mantle over the family shrine – they were all glowing and floating in mid-air!
Maiko collapses unto her knees, entirely mystified by it all. It’s like a scene from ‘Dance of the Floating Junk’, she thinks, and then ducks just in time as a saucer flies toward her, nearly crashing into her forehead. A bronze Buddha figure spins around her head. The saucer comes back for round two. All the while, the chiming continues, which seemed to be coming from the objects themselves.
“They’re called Tsukumogami.” A voice says from the darkness behind the confused Maiko. Turning her head, Maiko sees a familiar face…
“Ryota, what are you doing here?” She asks.
At that moment, Maiko recalls what had happened the evening before. She remembered meeting Ryota for the first time on the subway home, who had said that he recognized her and she felt like she’d seen him somewhere before as well. They went to a club together and hit it off some. The last thing she could call to memory, after that, was being at home with him and sharing drinks on her bed…from there she must have drifted off, or…
Did he slip something into my drink? The thought flashes in her mind, and she casts him a discerning glance. “Look outside the window.” He says simply as though he didn’t notice, and points toward a window. He offers to help her back unto her feet but she pushes him away, standing on her own. Then she, although still cautious of Ryota, manages to slip past the frenzied circus of flying, chiming shelf ornaments to make it to the window.
Looking through the window, Maiko faced the garden which surrounded the house, with Tokyo Babylon III looming in the distance over the bordering cherry wood high-fences. Nothing seemed ordinary, and she is about to turn and engage Ryota about her suspicions when she directs her attention to the sky.
“Where are the stars, and the moon?” Maiko, asking, turns to face Ryota, wearing a facial expression that translated to her feeling something between shock and confusion.
Without waiting for Ryota’s answer; however, Maiko dashes out of the front door of the house and through the garden gates to get a more complete view of the nighttime sky. Well then again, would you really still call it a nighttime sky without the stars and the moon? She clutches her head, evidently having acquired a headache from all of the excitement.
The two are now standing directly across from each other, in a vacant lot next to Maiko’s house. Cow reads blow in the light breeze, brushing against their legs like a field of airy, grasping hands. Crickets, as on any other night, are chirping unseen in the bush. Of course, this was not an ordinary night.
“Well, aren’t city skies supposed to be empty?” Ryota asks, approaching from behind, hands in pockets.
“What did you do to the moon, Ryota?!” Maiko says, glaring.
“Are you serious? Did you really just ask me that?” Ryota says, a grin stretched across his face. “Don’t panic, Maiko, it’ll all make sense.”
I am not panicking, Maiko thinks. The moon was there last night. Then, I met you, and it’s gone tonight? And you’re here with me! Having been lost in her mind, she doesn’t notice Ryota moving in front of her. When she does, she attempts to push him away out of surprise but instead ends up falling back unto the ground. “I want you to tell me what’s going on, right now.”
“Come, it isn’t like you to be so on edge.” Ryota says, crouching down to her level. He slowly pulls her back up to her feet. “That's three times you’ve fallen flat on your ass since being here.”
“What do you mean by ‘being here’?” She asks reluctantly, thinking,haven’t there been enough surprises yet.
“I have someplace to show you.” Before Maiko can be given the chance to protest, he takes her hand and just as soon – the two begin to levitate from off of the ground! You can probably guess on your own how Maiko reacts to this. “Shriek all you want, just don’t let go of my hand or else you’ll fall and die.” Ryota says with a deadly wink.