Chapter 54: "Echoes".
Long Summary Edit
For the past month, the narrator, who is believed to be the Black Hood, has been observing the journey of the boy and the old woman. He says that Pyoran is nearing 90 years of age and that she is skilled at catching fish. Fushi has passed his animalistic phase and his spirit now changes in response to all he has acquired. The Black Hood guesses Fushi's mental age to be about 14 years old and that he has seemed to fully acquired self-consciousness.
To live safely with Pyoran, Fushi has made up three rules that he must follow: 1.) if the Knockers come, they need to run away immediately. If they engage in a fight, it will be even more dangerous. 2.) Fushi must avoid turning into any animal he doesn't understand. If he isn't able to maintain himself, he won't be able to swiftly respond to a Knocker attack. 3.) Sleep later than Pyoran and wake up earlier than her.
After writing these rules down, he burns the paper. Pyoran asks Fushi why he's burning everything he wrote, but he says it's okay because he can always get it back later.
Fushi asks Pyoran if there is anything she wishes for and Pyoran says her wish would be to be young again. If she was young, she could move better, eat hard food, and she'd be popular with the boys. Fushi is surprised at this and Pyoran says she used to be as pretty as Rynn. They laugh and Fushi says that sounds like an unlikely wish. Pyoran tells him that she has done everything she wanted to do. She was used to being worked like a mule back then, but she has been blessed with grandchildren and now she is living freely. She says she is satisfied with her life.
The Black Hood says Fushi saw something noble in the old woman and that it seemed he dreamed of one day achieving 'satisfaction' himself. The Black Hood goes on to say that that 'noble something' would not last long.
It is revealed that, slowly, Pyoran's mind seems to be leaving her. She often forgets things and has sudden outbursts.
In one scene, Fushi turns around to see that Pyoran has fallen off of the donkey. He rushes to help her and says she needs to hang on tightly, but Pyoran yells at him that her back hurts and calls him an idiot. In another, Pyoran asks Fushi if he has cooked the potatoes for breakfast yet, but he tells her she just got done eating them. Pyoran angrily denies this and Fushi cooks more potatoes.
Fushi is seen carry Pyoran on his back and Pyoran begins yelling at him, believing that Fushi sees her as useless and that he should leave her on the side of the road. Fushi says he won't do that. That night, Pyoran is seen running away and Fushi asks where she is going. She says if they stay here, the Yanome is going to catch them, but he tries to explain that the Yanome aren't following them.
The Black Hood says that Fushi didn't understand why this was happening. Fushi couldn't accept his explanation of what was going to happen and now he's left to taking care of her. To Fushi, the person he knew as Pyoran was gradually changing, but that he too was changing in response to the situation. He began to frequently smile. The Black Hood suggests this might have been a marker of the emotion stirred by a new experience, or that that is was his greatest show of resistance against that inevitable waning.
Randomly, Pyoran tells Fushi that she is happy to have met him. Fushi is surprised and confused by this and, after a while, Pyoran asks Fushi to collect the potatoes and fish they left to dry because it was going to rain soon. Fushi leaves and tells Pyoran not to leave her bed because it's cold.
Pyoran, lying in bed, beings trying to talk to the Black Hood. She asks him to take her away and, if possible, to turn her into something that would be helpful to Fushi. She says if you value him, to do as she says.
Suddenly, the Black Hood appears, looking down at Pyoran. He tells her that her soul is only given form by her physical body. If her body changes, so will her soul. He asks if she is willing to accept that and Pyoran says yes. The Black Hood tells her to close her eyes and imagine what she wants to become. He says before she can be captured by Heaven, he will come for her.
Pyoran, significantly younger than before, is seen standing on the beach. She turns around to see the Black Hood holding a sphere in his hand. She walks towards him, touches the sphere, and beings to change shape.
Fushi returns to Pyoran's bed to see she has died. In shock, he drops the bowl of fish and potatoes, falls on his hands and knees, and begins to cry.
After burying Pyoran's body, Fushi is seen sitting in front of a fire pit wondering what he should do now. He says that he needs to make sure he doesn't forget about this day or about Pyoran and begins to write. However, when he looks at the paper, he sees that Pyoran has left a message for him that says "Fushi, what is your dream? Do like me and do whatever you want!" He thanks Pyoran and says that he was happy too.
After an unknown number of years have passed, we see Fushi winning in a fight with a Knocker and laughing.