Sakaki spent many years travelling with Fuji and Karen around Raven Heart. Gaining knowledge on how to defeat demons and occasionally having fun.
He quickly warmed up to Karen after the events of the village, being the one who was always tasked to take care of her. At two years Karen’s senior, he is like an older brother she never had.
Fuji brought them to the Karmic Harmony headquarters in the Kato Desert located at the centre of the continent. She came forward to the council to report what had happened to the village and insisted an investigation to be made immediately. She also announced that she will be taking two apprentices under her; Karen and Sakaki.
But what made Sakaki realise that his mentor is a person who does not shirk responsibilities when she announced Karen’s name – Karen Fuji. That meant his mentor had decided to adopt the adorable Karen as well as train her to be a Karma.
“Don’t call me mom. It makes me feel old.” Fuji would often say that.
Without anywhere to go, Sakaki arrived at the village he met Karen for the first time. He thought that he could take up Karen’s offer on using the home she and Fuji built to have some alone time, to calm down and to think things through.
Walking from the main road, Sakaki was expecting the ruins of an old town – dead and gloomy. Instead, he was greeted with giant house, and a vast green field. The house was nowhere near the size of a typical mansion, but it was sizeable enough to have walls around it as well as a gate.
Oh right, they probably paid someone to clear the ruins and build the house, Sakaki realised.
He entered through the gate as it was unlocked, the front door to the house is a walk away but in a corner of the premise, there are three gravestones. He assumed that there is one for each of Karen’s family, her biological parents as well as Fuyutsuki Fuji.
Apparently, Fuji made the ones for Karen’s biological parents.
On the gravestone for Karen’s mother, she wrote, “Rin Itsuki – Best Friend,” a rather short description of her mother.
And for Karen’s father, “Allen Tomach – Long-time Teammate. His body was never found.” another rather short description.
And finally, the last gravestone, which underneath, likes his mentor and Karen’s adoptive mother, Fuyutsuki Fuji.
Karen was probably the one who wrote the message on the gravestone, thought Sakaki – and he was right.
The gravestone wrote, “Fuyutsuki Fuji. Beloved mother – oops, I can’t undo that.”
Sakaki chucked at what was written. He’s not sure if that was accidental or on purpose. But it conveyed the message it needed.
He sat down in front of it and said, “so this is where you’re buried. How was your time with Karen after I left? I guess it’s going well from what Karen has told me. Me? Well… It didn’t go well. I shouldn’t have followed Elizabeth blindly. I should’ve stayed with you and Karen….”
Sakaki closed his eyes and continued, “And just a few days ago, I learned that my mom had passed away before I could return. I failed yet again. Why didn’t I return to her immediately after my task with Elizabeth? I’m not sure… Rest in peace, Fuji.”
He stood up and walked towards the front door of the house only to find that it is locked. What… The main gate isn’t locked, but the front door is?
He kicked the nearby pot and noticed that that is a metallic clang sound coming out from it. Well, nothing should surprise me at this point… I’ll spend the long night of solace here.
“Perhaps you thought that you don’t deserve to see your mother until you succeeded? I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you didn’t. She’s happy as long as you’re happy.”, a voice whispered.
Sakaki woke up to these words and chuckled to himself, “Damn it Fuji, you’re still talking to me in my dreams when you’re dead.”
For the rest of the day, he sat in front of the gravestones talking to himself. And the same for the next days after that. Soon, he came to realize that, indeed, he did not want to face his mother without at least a successful task complete. He couldn’t return empty handed after so many years.
I don’t deserve anything if I fail, he thought. I took too long, and this is all I get in the end. None of who I consider family remains.
“Ara, you don’t consider us family?” the voice in his head said.
That’s right, Sakaki spent more of his life travelling around with Fuji and Karen and in the Sakaki residence alongside his mother. And that is when Sakaki remember what his mother said to him the night before he left with Fuji.
“You might one day forget about me, which I hope you won’t. But of course, you will find a family on your travels, and I’ll be happy for you then.”
Sakaki had spent more than half of his life with Fuji and Karen.
Mother… Sakaki thought. Thank you for thinking of me and I’m very sorry I couldn’t make it back in time.
In that moment, he could hear singing coming from a short distance away. Smiling knowing who were singing, he smiled and said to Fuji’s gravestone, “Thank you for being my second family – both you and Karen.”