Just as you've come to expect of her.
- Solis: So you're not going again?
- Kotori: Aaah!
- Kotori: What the... Solis!?
- Kotori: You scared me!
- Solis: Oh. I didn't mean to.
- Solis: I guess you weren't expecting to see me.
- Kotori: O-of course not!
- Kotori: Do you have any idea how late it is?
- Kotori: Wait, uh... did you... run all the way here?
- Solis: Uhm.
- Solis: Maybe a little.
- Kotori: Do you... need a glass of water?
- Solis: Guh, no.
- Kotori: You look exhausted, though...
- Solis: I'm fine, I'm fine, I was just rushing a bit.
- Solis: I hoped I'd make it in time, in case you were leaving for the celebrations in the marshes... but it looks like I didn't need to rush at all.
- Kotori: Oh...
- Kotori: No, I'm not going anywhere.
- Kotori: And if you're going to ask to go together, then I refuse.
- Solis: What!? I wasn't, no!
- Kotori: Okay then...
- Kotori: We're seriously not a thing anymore, though!
- Solis: I know. I don't give a damn about that!
- Solis: And I don't know why you think it's all I care about, somehow.
- Kotori: That's not what I meant to imply...
- Kotori: Um. It's just...
- Kotori: Why would you be in front of my place this late.
- Kotori: Please don't think I'm going to let you in, either.
- Solis: Whoa, no need to get so accusatory!
- Kotori: M-maybe you should get some self awareness, first!
- Solis: Kotori, can't I just be here as...
- Solis: ...A friend?
- Kotori: Past midnight is way too late to visit any friends.
- Kotori: And it's not like we're still...
- Kotori: ...
- Kotori: Mmmh... never mind, whatever.
- Kotori: I feel bad that you cut this much of a distance to just ignore you.
- Solis: Gee, thanks for sparing me some of your valuable time.
- Kotori: Hmph, then you'd better not waste any more of it.
- Kotori: What did you want, friend?
- Solis: Why aren't you going to the celebration party this time?
- Kotori: I don't feel like telling you.
- Solis: Is it an unspecified emergency, again?
- Kotori: ...
- Kotori: Sure. It is.
- Solis: I see.
- Solis: So, listen...
- Solis: I took a round around Red Tulip before stopping here.
- Solis: It was peaceful, quiet, and entirely empty.
- Solis: Seems that nearly every resident has left to attend the prince's birthday celebrations.
- Kotori: Ah... yeah, they did.
- Kotori: What about it?
- Solis: Well.
- Solis: It means there's nothing here that could cause an emergency for you.
- Solis: So thanks for confirming that you lied.
- Kotori: What...! Y-you...
- Kotori: How dare you!
- Kotori: Mind your own business! This is MY area!
- Kotori: Don't be so nosey, when you're not the one in charge...
- Solis: Oh, also, let me say one more thing
- Solis: I don't think you'd be casually retiring for the night if there was an emergency, either.
- Kotori: ...!
- Solis: Yes, I am calling you a liar again.
- Solis: In case you wanted me to spell it out.
- Kotori: Ugh, fine, Solis!
- Kotori: There's no emergencies, I just... don't feel like going.
- Kotori: Isn't that fine? It's just my personal choice.
- Solis: Did you lie last year about unspecified emergencies on this same day, too?
- Solis: The year before, as well...
- Kotori: W-what?
- Kotori: Why are you keeping records, weirdo!
- Solis: You know, two's a coincidence, three's a pattern.
- Solis: And a hundred makes for a god damn overplayed scene that leaves the deepest imprint imaginable on people's memories.
- Solis: Kotori, you've been acting this way for long enough.
- Solis: It's not my fault that you give unspecified emergencies and vague excuses to everything nowadays. So yeah...
- Solis: I'm going to say that it's not weird at all to notice it.
- Kotori: ...
- Kotori: W-well, I...
- Kotori: I don't understand what you want out of me right now.
- Kotori: What's it to you, anyway... acting all stubborn like that.
- Solis: I want honesty, just for once.
- Solis: And I mean, not only about your excuse for not attending specifically.
- Solis: But... just in general.
- Solis: You know, if you're always so vague and keeping to yourself, then no one will be able to trust you anymore.
- Kotori: ...Huh...?
- Solis: At least, speaking for myself, I'm at a point where I DO need assurance that you're trustworthy.
- Solis: I want to know whether you're really worth this much trouble.
- Kotori: W-where did all of this come from...?
- Solis: Kotori...
- Solis: You dared to do something rather audacious, didn't you?
- Solis: Something that directly goes against our very basic duty as monsters.
- Solis: You were allying with a human for years in secret.
- Solis: Isn't it a given that we'd be more seriously concerned than ever before?
- Solis: Well, at least... I am.
- Kotori: ...But, I...
- Kotori: I-I thought everything was resolved with his highness.
- Solis: ...That may be, but with me, it's not.
- Solis: Since I know the full truth.
- Kotori: ...
- Solis: Do you think his highness' trust in us isn't that important, Kotori?
- Solis: You can't just deceive the prince about this kind of thing.
- Kotori: Then... are you going to tell on me?
- Solis: ...No.
- Solis: But I won't be comfortable about you anymore, unless I hear an honest explanation for your daring actions.
- Solis: If you want his highness to trust you...
- Solis: Then prove to me that you can live up to it. No more lies.
- Solis: If I see that his trust is misplaced, then of course, I'm going to want to correct that.
- Kotori: ...
- Solis: Not... that I'd do it in a way that causes you any harm, but, I mean...
- Solis: Uh...
- Solis: ...God dammit, I worded that badly, didn't I.
- Solis: Kotori, can you just assure me that I can trust you, for real?
- Solis: It's not like I want anything bad to happen to you...
- Solis: Sorry, I, uh... I didn't mean to scare you.
- Kotori: ...Scare me?
- Solis: Uh. Yeah. Sorry.
- Solis: I may have gotten a bit too serious again.
- Solis: I figured that being headstrong would get the best results, but...
- Kotori: Oh, no.
- Kotori: You're not scary at all, Solis.
- Solis: ...Wha... really?
- Kotori: Yeah... you're the last person that I could be afraid of.
- Kotori: Someone who wants the best for others isn't scary.
Hell, she knows nothing about the REAL you.
Though you deny it, you're just burning up with jealousy on the inside, an awful desire to take the place of another.
It's a revolting feeling, one that is hard to reconcile with.
Thank god she does not know what goes inside your mind.
If she knew, she'd be scared. She'd rightfully detest you, as you deserve.
- Solis: Then... why do you seem so nervous? Are you really alright?
- Kotori: ...I'm okay. It's not that I'm scared.
- Kotori: I just... feel like you're really putting me on the spot.
- Kotori: But I guess it's fair for you to be suspicious of me this time around.
- Solis: You speak like you never considered it a possible consequence of your actions.
- Kotori: Haha, aaah, um... I guess not.
- Solis: Please, get some awareness about the impressions you leave on others...
- Kotori: Look, I-I just didn't have the time to think about it!
- Kotori: But, alright... a human, was it?
- Kotori: Yes, I already knew that it was wrong to help that human girl.
- Kotori: Because, to you guys, that's an enemy...
- Kotori: ...But to me, that person was my friend.
- Kotori: Solis, would you believe me if I told you...
- Kotori: That I planned to kill her with my own hands the moment I found her here?
- Solis: I... cannot believe that you'd be capable of killing.
- Solis: Much less... to even think of doing it.
- Kotori: Aha, I didn't think of myself that way either.
- Kotori: But it's the truth. There wasn't any other choice.
- Kotori: Do you remember... when you were questioning her and I took over your work?
- Kotori: When I saw her, I already knew that she wasn't a monster.
- Kotori: But being all alone, as a non-monster living in a sea of monsters...
- Kotori: It makes one lonely, when they're so out of place like that.
- Solis: So you sympathized with her, even though she's a human.
- Kotori: ...I pitied her a lot.
- Kotori: But ultimately, I still... wanted her death.
- Solis: Kotori, in that case...
- Solis: You do realize that we could've ended everything back then, right?
- Solis: If I had continued the questioning, surely, her cover would've been blown.
- Kotori: I know... that's exactly why I interrupted your scrutinizing questions!
- Kotori: I wanted my friend's death more than anyone else, but I also wanted to be merciful about it.
- Kotori: Well... as merciful as you can be while intending to take someone's life.
- Kotori: Because I don't believe that her crime called for suffering in death.
- Kotori: Since humans aren't killed mercifully here, I wanted to save her from that...
- Kotori: And so, later on, I'd secretly handle everything myself.
- Kotori: Quickly and painlessly.
- Kotori: But...
- Kotori: But, but, that girl is...
- Kotori: Aria, is...
- Solis: She's what?
- Kotori: Augh, man...
- Kotori: You won't get it, but...
- Kotori: Solis...
- Kotori: She is such a good girl.
- Kotori: She's got to be the goodest, bestest, nicest person in this world.
- Kotori: No, in the whole universe.
- Solis: ........Uh......?
- Kotori: She's really so good, WAY too good,
- Kotori: And frankly, it's ridiculous.
- Kotori: I swear, I'm not even exaggerating here!
- Solis: O... okay...
- Kotori: I've never been treated so well by anyone before I befriended her!
- Kotori: So, so, even though I knew I had to do it...
- Kotori: Every time I tried, I...
- Kotori: I couldn't do it.
- Kotori: There's just no way I can hurt someone like that.
- Solis: You... really tried your best to go against your nature, huh.
- Kotori: Yeah... but I failed.
- Kotori: I failed again, and again, and again.
- Kotori: And she got away again, and again.
- Kotori: But this time, I won't get any more chances to try.
- Kotori: Really, I'm such a weakling.
- Kotori: Even though I knew Aria's future here held nothing but misfortune,
- Kotori: And that, by killing her, I'd save her from an even worse misfortune,
- Kotori: I was too weak to do anything, every time I tried.
- Kotori: And it only got harder, because, as time passes...
- Kotori: Friendship only grows stronger.
- Kotori: She truly thought of me as a friend until the end.
- Kotori: I was thinking of doing the worst to her, but she only thought the best of me.
- Kotori: Being met with such kindness broke my heart.
- Kotori: I never found enough resolve to decisively deal with her...
- Kotori: Until his highness called us to his court and demanded it.
- Kotori: Right then, I was determined that I could finally stop hesitating.
- Kotori: But... well.
- Kotori: As you saw, she's escaped my grasp yet again.
- Kotori: Who knows if that has set her free,
- Kotori: Or if she's fallen into worse misfortune by now.
- Kotori: All I know, is that...
- Kotori: For once, I could have prevented the worst possibility,
- Kotori: But I failed and missed my chances yet again.
- Kotori: And now, there's nothing I can really do about it anymore.
- Kotori: I often wondered... why did her freedom have to be so costly?
- Kotori: Why did the circumstances necessitate the death of someone so harmless?
- Kotori: I really didn't like that.
- Kotori: When she disappeared from that prison cell, I wondered this same thing again.
- Kotori: Really, was there no way for you monsters and those humans to not be at each others' throats? If not for this conflict, then...
- Kotori: ...
- Solis: ...Kotori.
- Solis: It's fine if you briefly think about such hypothetical questions.
- Solis: But don't let yourself get carried away.
- Kotori: ...Yeah, you wouldn't be concerned with this kind of idea, huh.
- Kotori: I understand, though...
- Kotori: That is just the kind of reality we live in.
- Kotori: I'm not about to defy it.
- Solis: That's how we must act, indeed...
- Solis: But it's not like I can't understand where you're coming from.
- Solis: I told you about this before, right?
- Solis: That, back when we were at peace with humankind...
- Solis: I used to have human friends, too.
- Solis: I really trusted in those friendship, but...
- Solis: In the end, all I received for it was a very calculated betrayal.
- Solis: It does not end well to trust them at all.
- Solis: Either their loyalty to their kind triumphs, and they end up betraying you...
- Solis: Or your loyalty as a monster turns you into a traitor to them.
- Solis: Kotori, this kind of friendship is simply irreconcilable with your duty.
- Kotori: ...I know...
- Solis: You either do what you should, as a monster...
- Solis: Or you go against his highness by sympathizing with a human.
- Solis: So you'd better not tread a territory that dangerous.
- Kotori: Ha... you're much better at this than I am.
- Kotori: You are a very proper monster, aren't you, Solis?
- Solis: Even though you say that...
- Solis: His highness still does trust you a lot.
- Solis: Please don't let him down.
- Kotori: Um... I won't.
- Kotori: Or at least, I'll try... even if I'm full of failures.
- Solis: I think, as long as you don't get distracted from what's right...
- Solis: Then you're a proper monster too.
- Kotori: ...Sorry, I entertained some unacceptable thoughts there, huh.
- Kotori: Well, from now on, I'll only talk business with you.
Kotori: Explain resolve.
Yet she also seems to be very ineffective, unfortunately.
Does his highness realize that part too, and simply chooses to forgive it?
It is as if her failures are forgivable, but yours aren't.
How annoying it is that you cannot stop comparing.
Still, you'll choose to forgive her.
Just this once.
Even though, supporting a human is the worst act one could commit in this world... is Kotori's reasoning sound enough that the prince would forgive her?
Not that you'd ever tell him.
But, right now, Kotori is being rather honest for the first time in years.
You shouldn't let this opportunity slip by.
Otherwise, you won't understand why the prince trusts her, despite her failures.
And uh, maybe, some part of you is concerned as a former friend, but... ugh.
Look, Kotori is a very isolated person.
Who does she go to whenever she's feeling conflicted? For you, there's no need to seek anyone beyond your own family, or even his highness, if appropriate.
However, Kotori has no family, and has driven away every friend of hers by now.
As things stand, there's only you.
Somehow, you still bother to check up on her.
And that's because...
Because, god dammit. Does she really not realize that by deliberately isolating herself, and then looking so obviously sad about it, it becomes so annoying to you, that it makes you physically unable to leave her alone - even if she asks you to do that?
Not that you're going to say any of this out loud.
- Solis: Look, you don't have to face me if you're uncomfortable.
- Solis: Maybe it'll be easier for you if we talk like this.
- Kotori: Whoa...
- Solis: Now, why do I bother, huh.
- Solis: Sometimes when people go through something alone, they turn into self-contradictory idiots. They push others away, put on a fake smile and say they're fine, or start asking to be ignored...
- Solis: ...All while hoping for the total opposite of that.
- Solis: Maybe they want someone to tell them that it's not fine?
- Solis: Maybe, all this time, you were waiting for someone to reach out and say something, instead of complying with the endless requests to totally ignore you.
- Solis: As if I wouldn't be the biggest asshole in the world if I did just that.
- Solis: So, I'm... reaching out, I guess.
- Solis: If you have any kind of worries, even about the stupidest things, and you don't have anyone to tell them to...
- Solis: Then I'll listen as a friend.
- Solis: If you're willing, you can accept the offer.
- Kotori: ...Won't that be a bother to you?
- Solis: Hey, I'll decide what's a bother and what isn't for myself.
- Solis: I'll give you one hour of uninterrupted broadcast directly to my ears.
- Solis: And I'll judge only after you fully let out everything on your mind.
- Solis: That's a rare limited-time offer, you know.
- Kotori: ...
- Solis: So... what will it be, Kotori?
- Kotori: ...Ha!
- Kotori: Hahaha!
- Kotori: You never change, oh my gosh.
- Kotori: You'd never ever change, not in a hundred years, Solis!
- Kotori: That's seriously amazing.
So she can still laugh like that.
You wish you could turn around to see it.
And, wait, what? "You never change"?
Isn't that the same thing his highness said about you?
- Kotori: I bet you were thinking about your wording all the way here, weren't you?
- Solis: H-hey, what! I wasn't!
- Solis: I wasn't... but...
- Solis: ...Okay, maybe just a little bit, but...
- Solis: Well, fine, yes I was, but not that deeply, so...
- Kotori: Hahahahaha!
- Solis: Don't laugh! It's not funny!
- Solis: I just...
- Solis: Thought that I shouldn't be too harsh and push you away instead, okay!?
- Solis: Ugh, half of what I said definitely sounds stupid though, doesn't it.
- Kotori: No, no, Solis...
- Kotori: Not half.
- Kotori: All of it does!
- Kotori: Hahahahaha!
- Solis: Oh.
- Kotori: But it sounds stupid in a very Solis-way, so it's fine.
- Solis: What does that even mean?
- Kotori: It's not an insult, so don't worry, haha!
- Kotori: Solis... you always put the wellbeing of others before your own, huh.
- Solis: W-what? That's not true at all.
- Solis: I'm... a very self-centered person.
- Kotori: Haha! In no world was that ever the case!
- Solis: I swear on it!
- Solis: In fact, I came all the way here purely for personal, selfish reasons!
- Kotori: ...But you still ended up worrying about my wellbeing?
- Solis: Uh. Well. That's just...
- Solis: Because I'd be an asshole if I didn't, plain and simple.
- Kotori: Seems like even when I do nothing, I end up roping you into my troubles.
- Solis: It's not like that, come on.
- Solis: It was me who asked you to bring this up.
- Solis: I mean... it's just my choice to do the right thing here.
- Kotori: Hahahaha, wow!
- Kotori: You really would never abandon me, even if I say it a hundred times...
- Kotori: Well... okay.
- Kotori: Maybe this once, I'll try taking you up on that offer.
That's miles better than shutting you out again, even though you definitely said some really embarrassing things. You might've even made a few daringly wrong assumptions on your own, as well. Who knows...
She hasn't laughed like that in so long, though. How nostalgic.
- Kotori: I don't have any other options.
- Solis: Do you mean that you have no one to talk to about your worries?
- Kotori: Umm... yeah, I don't really do.
That means she currently stands before the one person who could provide her some sort of support. You definitely wouldn't want to let her down, then.
Kotori: Examine self-induced injury.
- Kotori: What I'm worried about is not an easy thing to say.
- Kotori: It is always on my mind, making me so anxious about what to do next.
- Kotori: But I know that if I try sharing it with anyone, it would be like putting a burden nobody else can understand on somebody.
- Kotori: So I've always kept it to myself.
- Kotori: Solis, you said you'd listen...
- Kotori: Would you really?
- Solis: You know that I don't go back on my words.
- Kotori: Well, I mean...
- Kotori: Even if it's something nonsensical to the very logical Solis-brain in there?
- Solis: ...Hey.
- Solis: Whether it's nonsensical or not, that's also for me to decide after hearing it.
- Solis: I'll listen to anything, no matter what.
- Solis: So don't think of it as a burden, since I'm the one who offered to listen.
- Solis: You are simply accepting an offer, so you can say whatever you want.
- Solis: So, go on... really, it's fine with me.
- Kotori: ...Alright.
- Kotori: Um, I'm not sure how to say this.
- Kotori: I think I have to begin with some kind of preface first.
- Kotori: Let's say... that there are two kinds of people in the world.
- Kotori: The first are those who believe in what's likely to be seen as superstition.
- Kotori: Such as omens, or gut feelings...
- Kotori: They're the kind who say, "I did this just because I felt I should have"... that sort of person.
- Kotori: And the other kind of person is like you, Solis.
- Kotori: You'd never act on unfounded ideas.
- Kotori: You don't do what's deemed unreasonable.
- Kotori: Like trusting someone's words without any tangible proof.
- Solis: Uh...
- Kotori: Oh, don't worry, that wasn't criticism!
- Solis: Then what is it, if not that?
- Kotori: Um... a warning, I guess!
- Kotori: Right now, what I am worrying about is something that will sound extremely unreasonable to you.
Jeez, are you really that unapproachable, or did she forget the entire year you two spent in a relationship?
Or... hey, maybe you've just changed too, without noticing it.
Even though she and the prince both said otherwise...
- Solis: Sorry if I came off this unapproachable all along.
- Solis: But as I said, I will listen to anything.
- Solis: So you can continue without any worries.
- Kotori: Alright... well.
- Kotori: I will be direct, then.
- Kotori: Solis, I believe that something terrible will happen soon.
- Kotori: Something that will change everything for the worse.
- Kotori: And I mean, way worse.
- Solis: ...How do you know that "something terrible" is coming?
- Kotori: It's a hunch.
- Solis: For a hunch, you don't seem any bit uncertain about it.
- Kotori: I... I trust my hunches very much!
- Solis: Uh, does your hunch also tell you what this terrible something is, then?
- Kotori: Yes.
- Kotori: I know what it is.
- Kotori: But... not in enough detail to do much about it.
- Solis: Alright, then...
- Solis: What is it that you think will happen exactly?
- Kotori: As the festivities in the Royal Marshes are ongoing, someone will sneak in.
- Kotori: They will attempt to assassinate his highness.
- Kotori: And they could really succeed.
I haven't posted on any of these before because I've been to busy being COMPLETELY INVESTED in this story (despite my horrible memory causing me to forget past lore).. but I can't help but post a completely unsubstantiated theory.
I believe Nino is a winged. There are a lot of inconsistencies in this belief, such as his appearance and seemingly human limitations but from what we've learned of the Winged and how they act, he fits a lot of these bills.
The way his color is used to emphasize the word 'misfortune', while a bit too obvious, also leads me to believe he's based around Misfortune. The way he seems to call to Aria in what might be Kotori's POV leads me to believe he causes misfortune, tragedies on the downlow, then comes in (perhaps even unknowingly?) to help them, which would grant him this 'appreciation' the Winged so desire. Off paper, this seems so far from the truth but I can't help but think that, aside from all the other details, Nino might very well be a Winged?
“Considering “you monsters” and “those humans” you might be closer to the mark than expected.
Oh man, I can't say anything about theories here, but I want to thank you for leaving a comment regardless! Super glad you found the story enjoyable.
Haha! No worries. I've actually been super immersed and into this story ever since I've found it. Thanks to Drakengard, Nier, etc, i've always heavily appreciated a well written story, and this just hits so many marks. Thank you for continuing this and putting so much damn effort into making the story and characters feel truly alive.
There's also the fact that when he was healing himself while falling into the caverns, he says that friends would only hold him back, and he also says he'd only have them if they could be "used".
You may have just cracked the code to Nino's origins.
It's been a year, or nearly so, since I read those pages.. I don't even remember that.
If that's the case, I lowkey can't believe I somehow hit so close to home. Though I will admit, a lot of these things could also be chalked up to human selfishness and such, but I feel that sometimes Nino takes it a step further. He and Kaji are also the only ones we've seen affected by such a specific amnesia.
I do wonder what caused his? I remember we saw a flashback of sorts to what I assumed was a human village (when he was 'killed'??). There's also his sword, which Reed immediately recognizes as belonging to the Human Royal Guard. Interesting.
Solis/Kotori: Why aren't you spending your moments out with your people, after all, even if its between monsters and humans, you can always try to do something about it. After all, "celebration" is at least going to be used tiding horrible misfortunes. So why sneak around about things and not just be on your guard protecting from any forms of recruits, or devious technologies from humans. Why let one small person ruin everything. And why wouldn't his highness somehow notice this person and avoid that disarraying destiny?... and are you sure that your attempts at resolving the human encounter aren't going to contribute to it?
What a spectacular update. I love seeing these sorts of moments between characters, especially as we're really starting to get into the part of the story where things start all coming together.
Thank you, I'm overjoyed to hear it!
I really enjoyed writing the conversations Solis has been having with his totally-not-buddy-pals here. Takes me back to chapter 1 days, though I had little writing experience compared to now. Hope the upcoming updates will be engaging to read as well. ^^
The stakes are definitely rising from here on out.
Kotori: Explain all that you can. The Prince may be safer with Solis knowing.
Sounds like a reason to attend those festivities to try to prevent it from happening... or a reason to stay far, far away from them if you're convinced an assassination attempt will not only occur but succeed.
Solis: What exactly does she mean by that? Ask her to elaborate.
Now, the question is, how did Kotori discover this in the first place? The injury described as "self induced" is reverted to pink and stops bleeding like it closed up when Kotori did something that MIGHT be capable of predicting the future. There seems to be a similar wound or left over wound on Kotori's hand, and Kotori is a guard, perhaps it was simply an accident. That being said, it seems like there's a specific gesture Kotori has to do (not to mention pointing their arm at the moon), meaning it's hard to think Kotori just discovered this on accident (or even intentionally without some knowledge that the people reading this webcomic like me don't know). Given "They push others away, put on a fake smile and say they're fine, or start asking to be ignored...", and "self induced injury", there's a bit of a darker implication. But even then, there's clearly some correlation to the moon.
https://oceanfalls.net/p/9152 On one of the panels, Kaji stabs his own eye with ice, and it seems to place similar emphasis on the moon. Kaji's eye that Kaji shows to Nino seemed rather intact, despite seemingly having a rather long icicle rammed straight into it in the past. "my correct future" was in royal gold on that page. , but I noticed this page https://oceanfalls.net/p/4646 where Kaji looks up to the moon while his eye's are bleeding. But Kaji looks pretty young there, in comparison to https://oceanfalls.net/p/9152 here, but at the same time in one of those panels Kaji still looks fairly young. But then again Kaji doesn't have the best memory and at https://oceanfalls.net/p/4646 Kaji is literally drunk.
Edit: Where's the page with the tombstones on the moon. My brain didn't just make that image up right?
I have an issue with drawing the characters sometimes that they appear younger than intended, I apologize for that causing any confusion!
The day that Kaji left the moon and started living in the human world was 6 years before the current point of the story, in the time before the barrier & dome were created. Kaji is currently 29 years old as he has told Nino, and as Nino noted, the Winged don't appear to age the same way humans do over the course of their 300 years long lifespan.
I'm hoping this clarifies that Kaji was not a child at the time of losing his eye & his departure from the moon, even though he appears youthful due to being a winged.
Kaji cannot heal. His eyes appear intact because his injuries were medically fixed with human help, since the human royalty had decided to look after him. Ruit, Lune, and Selene certainly did all that they could for the lil' guy. But that sort of thing can't make his eyes *functional* again, so it only dealt with the wounds in order to have that side of his face appear as normal as possible.
Kotori did something to stop her own bleeding herself.