Being alone is no big deal. She’s used to being alone-- prefers it, she’d be the first to tell anyone who asked (if anyone inquired, but no one ever has and Karna had simply stood watchfully over her and never asked for the excuses she gustily gave).
No one else can pull this off but her, anyway. What a funny thought, leaving this one big and important bit to the shut-in. She can get through this precisely because she is a shut-in and the prospect of no longer having to run around and fight monsters while trying to survive all-powerful Gods and not thinking about how he is gone… honestly, it sounds pretty damned ideal. She can hole herself up with her games and her solitude and peacefully wait for thousands upon thousands of years to pass and that should do the trick.
Even if she feels a little uneasy-- no, Jinako tells herself, rolling her eyes. She’s just bored. But that’s fine, she’ll play a different game and see how long it takes to beat it. It’s only been… what, thirteen days?
She’ll be fine.
But maybe she’ll track her own progress, just for the hell of it. Her own save files, to look back on.
Your name is Jinako Carigiri, known as Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles, and you are twenty-nine years old. This is easy. You can do this.
Being a god is kind of amazing. So what if she has to stay conscious for (hours, days, months, years, ever) a while? Maintaining two Noble Phantasms is important work but it’s nothing that would make her break into a sweat. In fact, she doesn’t have to move if she doesn’t have to. She can make her own games to pass the time, something she never could have done when she’d been just a human avoiding fighting on the moon.
The current one, she’s imposed restrictions to make it more interesting. Her character can’t level up past 1. She can’t use more than one healing item per dungeon. She won’t recruit any party members, which has nothing to do with the last game, where seeing a group of seven characters running around, having banter, fighting together, talking to each other had made her quit.
It just hadn’t been interesting, Jinako tells herself. She’s not lonely. It’s better like this, a one-player game. With the distant support of a sleeping… what’s-her-face. Right. Lakshmibai.
She frowns; certain faces are a little blurry. She’ll have to make more save files.
Ritsuka. Mash. Asha-chan. Rama. Angry, Angry Ash-chan-san, that’s his name now. Pepper… oni? Heh. Lakshmi. The chubby old guy… eh, he’s not important.
… I guess he’s important.
Jinako sighs, guiding her character through what looks like a never-ending maze.
But the maze will end. It has to. The game can’t progress if the maze never ends.
And this, too, will end one day.
Your name is Jinako Carigiri, also Ganesha, and you are twenty-nine years old plus sixty years and two hundred and eighty-one days. You can do this.
There’s no one here. No one but her. And she can’t keep talking to herself, because the more she hears her own voice, the more she feels like fragmenting. She’s sick of this. Sick of pretending like this is fine when it’s not. Sick of herself. Sick of being here. Sick sick sick sick sick.
But she has to… she has to. What she has to do is a goal growing dimmer in her mind, but she knows she has to do it, and the way to do it is to keep doing what she’s been doing.
Your name is Jinako… seven hundred years and three hundred and twelve days. You have to do this.
Your name is Jinako… ninety-six thousand years… you have to…
Your name is… right, Jinako… don’t forget your own name. Papa gave it to you. It’s been years and years and years and years and WHY ISN’T ANYONE COMING WHY JUST ME WHY AM I DOING THIS WHY WHY WHY but I… have to. Do this.
Your name is…
… What is my name? You… you… are...
She doesn’t want to move, so she doesn’t.
The scream is all around her, inside of her, squeezing her tightly in a sound that no one will ever hear. Unending. Just like this darkness-- all of this.
She wants to die. She wants to be saved. But she can’t do either of those things on her own, and there’s no one here to do it for her, no one who had answered her pleading and begging until there were no longer any words. There’s something else she has to do, something that isn’t calling out in the hopes that someone will respond, when they never have.
There’s… a promise, she has to keep. To… “meet again”.
Someone wants to meet her. Again. She can’t die before then. She can’t sleep, she has to keep doing “this”. Whatever “this” is, it means she’ll meet that someone at the end of eternity.
It means… eternity has to have an end.
She will do “this”. They promised.
And they would never lie.
They don’t have time for much (ironic, she still has to stop herself from counting every second), but Karna cups her tear-streaked face in his hands and gently brushes his thumbs under her swollen eyes and quietly (proudly) repeats that she, Jinako Carigiri, did a splendid job.
And Jinako Carigiri sobs unapologetically while beaming because she did.
She kept their promise and so did he.