|Chapters 68 - 78|
Without his mother, Punpun continues to live alone in their apartment. Leaving his part-time job one day, he sees Aiko at the train station and rents an apartment in that town to pursue her. He befriends the landlord who takes him to a bar one night, where Punpun's reunited with an old acquaintance who wants to buy his creative talents.
Chapter 68 Edit
Papa gets out of his taxi and walks the rest of the way to calm his nerves. Midori observes Punpun and gives him a letter found in Mama's purse: the monthly letter from his father, but this time without a stamp or address. In it, Mama apologizes that writing fake letters was the only meddlesome thing she could do as a mother and hopes Punpun can forgive her. In the end, Punpun still could not love his mother. Papa comes to the door and has coffee with Punpun and Midori, anxiety strung in his voice and actions. Papa is the same as ever, so Punpun wonders what feels so different about this scene. He realizes it is himself. Here, Papa invites Punpun to come live with him in Fukushima.
Chapter 69 Edit
Punpun wonders what Papa means by saying they can "start over". The conversation feels too surreal, and Punpun instead says he wants to live by himself. Papa sheds some tears after he leaves, and Punpun punches the door. Yuuichi takes Punpun on a walk and says that although he knows what happened between him and Midori, he is not angry at Punpun. He tells Punpun that freedom is about taking responsibility for whoever he becomes, so he should seek to be himself and blame no one.
|“||The cigarette smoke helplessly dispersed in the air and soon dissolved in the night sky. As if affirming that things would never return to the way they were, Punpun breathed in the smoke slowly and deeply.||”|
Chapter 70 Edit
Punpun wakes up at exactly 7:10 AM and goes about his normal day. School, train, arcade. People, people, people. Solitude. Freedom. He comes home, and a note tells him Midori dropped off some food. He eats, watches the news, sets his alarm clock for 7:10 AM. Punpun is... just fine again today.
Chapter 71 Edit
Numata attends her first meeting of the Pegasus Ensemble, with Pegasus and his nine other strangely-named followers, including White Pig, Ass Hamburger, and Sweet Lonely Heart Fluffybro. She introduces herself and explains that she was feeling depressed after a breakup, when she was surrounded by amazing white light, and the next day, she met the god Pegasus. Pegasus denies being a god but gives her the honorary name Pussy Princess, and he and his ensemble perform a song for her. He asks his ensemble to stay with him until they gain two more members, so on that fated day in two years, they can travel to the moon.
Chapter 72 Edit
Punpun goes to his part-time job with Mimura, who he hasn't seen since graduation. Today, they must press clickers to record how many people walk through the train station. It's a boring job, but it fits him. He looks at the large crowd and feels as if he's looking for someone. After he clocks out, he entertains stepping onto the tracks, but he's too small of a person even for that. He boards his train home, and he turns around in time to see a now-grown Aiko step onto the platform, just as the train doors slide shut.
Chapter 73 Edit
When the train stops, Punpun runs out in high spirits, but Aiko is nowhere to be found. Thrilled to know that Aiko really exists, that she's living her life somewhere in this city, he decides he should finally start a life, too. Here, in this city. He checks out a map and goes to see an apartment for sale.
Chapter 74 Edit
Punpun visits the cafe to tell Midori and Yuuichi that he's moving and to give them Mama's savings account since he's determined to make it on his own. He signs his contract for the discounted room, which an old man died in years before. This is where he and Aiko will live together happily. He sits down in the empty place and listens to the couple next door yell pointlessly until they make love, and he hopes that's not what romance is supposed to look like. He wonders what the man who lived here before him thought about as he died and decides that if his life doesn't change when it's time to renew his contract in two years, he'll kill himself.
|“||Even though his motives were selfish and impure, he was surprised at how active he was being at carrying out his goal. Even if someone were to talk behind his back, he wasn't about to give them any attention. Whether they called him immature, creepy, or mentally imbalanced, it wouldn't matter because he already knew that best.||”|
Chapter 75 Edit
Mimura's bedroom is filled with white light, and Pegasus appears, asking him to join his cause. Mimura sleepily tells him that he's busy, and Pegasus vanishes. He picks Punpun up from his new job at a convenience store, and over some burgers and fries, Mimura stresses about his life plans and asks how Punpun stays so carefree and confident. Punpun looks around the town for Aiko and fails again to find her. Midori leaves a message telling him not to push himself.
Chapter 76 Edit
Punpun goes to his clicker job with Mimura, who spews philosophy, then his store job where his older coworker urges him to invite him to any mixers. He fails to find Aiko and goes home, passing by cute, happy children who only make him feel numb. A new cell phone is waiting for him, paid for by Midori. Punpun watches TV until it turns to static and feels himself slowly coming undone.
|“||In times like these, he would chant, "Dear God, Dear God, tinkle-tinkle hoy," and... I'm such an idiot. ...You reap what you sow. Ah...||”|
Chapter 77 Edit
Punpun wakes up in the shape of a tetrahedron, feeling just fine again today. The apartment manager sees Punpun's mailbox stuffed and unchecked and stops by to see how he's doing. He invites him to his office for a snack, reminiscing about the old man who lived in Punpun's room. Punpun has the same lonely, stubborn eyes. Manager tells him to open his heart a bit more — have the people in his life really been that terrible? Punpun thinks of Midori and her tears, Kanie and her judgment, his mother's dying words, and Aiko whom he hurt. Manager takes him to a small bar, but Punpun declines a drink. A woman runs inside from the rain and greets Manager. She introduces herself as Sachi before saying Punpun looks familiar.
Chapter 78 Edit
Sachi slowly remembers that she met Punpun at the art exhibit he went to with Kanie. He pretends not to remember Kanie, but Sachi distinctly remembers his gelled hair and brand name shirt and how virginal he and Kanie acted together. She also remembers how Kanie was depressed for a time after their date apparently turned sour but has a boyfriend to bang her now. She stops and notes Punpun still seems hung up on her. Punpun gets up to leave, but Sachi grabs his wrist and asks if he remembers her art notebook; his story about a boy and a girl on an alien planet is something she's been wanting to illustrate as a children's book. Punpun immediately perks up and orders a drink. However, this is his first time drinking, and he's wasted in one go. Sachi calls out to ask Manager where Punpun lives, while he rambles on and slips into a dream about Aiko, who once promised to kill him. He wakes up in someone else's house and finds Sachi asleep in the living room.