「蒼い薔薇」 (Aoi Bara)
Tired of tea parties? Well then, let’s have a masquerade instead!
It seems I was off about Yogi after all… sort of. Though he’s not a true Varuga, Akari-sensei explains (reluctantly) that members of Circus who have high contact levels with the Varuga have an “allergic reaction” over time. It’s something like a slow poisoning process, where the victim, as in Yogi’s case, is affected and changed over time, and it’s only his bandage that keeps his alternate personality in check. Yet as Gareki notes, something is not quite right about this whole thing; Akari is definitely keeping something hidden from him and Nai, and I suspect this isn’t quite as simple as an “allergic reaction”.
Unfortunately Yogi isn’t the only member of the second ship who’s in dire circumstances. During the struggle, Tsukumo is kidnapped by the attacking Varuga, where she finds herself right in the clutches of Khafka, during a mysterious party no less. Khafka as an organization continues to puzzle me somewhat; Circus knows they’re behind the Varuga (whatever the goals are), but for whatever reason it seems that Khafka enjoys some government protection. At the very least, Circus can’t openly act against Khafka until there’s evidence they can show the government about their Varuga experiments. Central to all of this are people like Karoku, who seems to share an intimate link to Nai (more than even Nai suspects), and its clear he’s not someone to mess with. Among all of this, Tsukumo faces a dilemma; either escape unnoticed or commit suicide and remove all traces of her body so it cannot be used for experimentation. Unfortunately, however, when she decides to do her utmost to escape, Karoku gets the best of her. Though I suspect she’s been poisoned, I have a horrible feeling that she may be dead rather than just paralyzed. I truly hope this is not the case because though she hasn’t been in the spotlight much, I really appreciate Tsukumo’s presence in this series.
Then there’s Nai, who finally seems to be getting the character growth he’s been lacking for most of the run. Though not as complex as Gareki, Nai is really defined by his interactions with the former and with the other members of Circus. He truly cares for his friends, animal though he is, and he’s slowly coming to understand their pain and suffering as human beings. His link to Karoku is certainly going to prove pivotal to the Circus and Khafka confrontation, but it definitely brings up the question of whether or not he’s actually dangerous because of this link.