Tomoko comes from a small town in the far east that contained all kinds of hardship. Due to a recent war there are constant outbreaks of violence between a neighboring town, the absence of authority, the scarcity of resources, and the high rate of crime; Tomoko was largely isolated from her surroundings in a sub-par household. Due to break ins, there wasn't much of value left in the house that wasn't too heavy to lift, but even that much wore down from neglect, and anything unnecessary was sold to try to keep a steady supply of food. However, despite how hard things got, there was one last treasure in the family that they simply couldn't part with.
The family piano, has been passed down for quite some time now, left untouched only because it is magically protected by a barrier with a combination lock. It was enchanted to remain in top condition despite the passage of time and use, as well as summon the emotions of the tune it carries into whoever plays it. If it were sold, they could easily become rich, as this particular enchantment has been lost to the passage of time. However to Tomoko's dad, all it took to destroy any second thoughts of holding onto it was playing just one song.
Although he spent most of the days away from the house, returning only to give Tomoko food, on holidays when he wasn't allowed to work, he spent quality time with Tomoko. He made sure she was reading all her books, and practicing language while he was away. He told her wonderful stories of the original users of magic, and told her how a magical champion would come into this town one day, bringing happiness joy and prosperity to everyone. Then, till the beginning of the next day, he would play his piano with Tomoko listening with interest until finally falling asleep.
She treasured her dad's visits, and most of all, the wonderful feeling of listening to him play. While he was gone, she would sit looking out the window, trying to recall the tunes. As she got older, she started drawing a flip book that matched her favorite song, "Perfect Rainbow". She finished it when she turned 8, and for her age, it was quite awe inspiring. It was a story about the magical champion, riding into the town, and everything he rode past became wonderful. The terrible, run-down hellhole of a town transformed into a beautiful city with children aimlessly playing in the streets.
After she showed it to her father, during his next visit, he saw the precious talent in her lines. He played the song, watching her flipping pages as the song progressed, watching the melody come to life. The next time he came, she wrote words to go along with each page. Soon it became a regularly expected event, her book improving with each visit, even recording the song to play without the piano, and automating the page turning.
However at age 14, Tomoko's frail body couldn't hold out with the lack of food, and she become incredibly sick. Her father didn't know for four days, so when he came to drop food off for her, he found her in bad shape. She had a bad fever, she was dehydrated, and she didn't even have the energy to get up. But that wasn't on her mind, because the first thing she told him, was she wanted to hear him play the piano again, but couldn't stay awake long enough for him to even comply with the request. In her hands, she was holding onto her flip book, now a masterful work of art, playing the song.
The father was plagued with guilt, that he chose his piano, over his precious gifted child. She had a talent that could get her far in the world, and it was trapped in this sorry excuse of a house. Although it felt like selling his soul, he gave up the piano to a very wealthy individual for a tragical tiny sum of its value, so he could move far away, take Tomoko to a doctor, and have enough in reserve to keep her healthy. However, she didn't react well to the change.
Even despite now living in a good neighborhood with plenty to eat everyday and getting to see her father everyday, that special bond they had shattered. The time they spent together was awkward, and Tomoko stopped showing him her artwork. She spent the time away from him listening fondly to her flip book, still playing the sweet sound of the piano. Not taking the separation well, the dad worked endlessly again, and after a year's work, got a new piano. It tore his hopes apart, when Tomoko wouldn't listen to him with that same amazement in her eyes, it just couldn't replace it. That special piano, it was worth more than he could ever make in a lifetime, and in giving it up, thought he could secure his daughter's happiness.
With educational opportunities presenting themselves, his last hope was that he could give her new inspiration. The dad offered her a number of very prestigious schools to improve her writing and artistic talents, it would cost him everything he owned, but he was willing to pay that price. To his dismay, she turned them all down, and instead presented the Red Star Academy flyer. It puzzled him to no end, how she would so suddenly take an interest in magic, despite having such a gift with drawing and writing. She wouldn't learn anything about that at a magic academy.
It felt to him, almost like a betrayal. For the first time in his life, he resented Tomoko. He traded his prized piano, for the sake of allowing her skills to shine, and now she was giving up on them. Filled with rage and indignation, he slapped Tomoko, "Why are you giving up your chance to make something of your life? I sacrificed everything for you, and now you are giving up on yourself? I can live with you giving up on me, but if you give up on writing, then what did I trade my piano for?"
For quite some time, it was silent, however Tomoko actually broke her calm, delivering words with a incredible soft passion, "You traded more than a piano." Holding up her flip book, the song plays, revealing the story about the magical champion, however the words are unreadable, because Tomoko's arms are shaking, tears coming out in a torrent down her face, "Why did you break your promise with mom?"
Tomoko speaks so rarely, even with such a short reply, her words were immeasurably powerful. Stories of a wonderful past move by, a story about a man who spent his night preforming at nightclubs on the piano, while his beautiful wife taught during the day. They weren't very good paying jobs, and they didn't always have the nicest things, but they were happy. What little spare money they had, they spent going on dates all throughout a town with nothing to offer, and of course saving for the child they planned to have together. It is unfortunate, that they would have that child just as war cut its way through, tearing apart the town. Without a doctor to assist the delivery, this poor wife found herself saying her last thoughts far too early. This man held this wife in his arm, listening to a dying wish: to never let the evils of war take away the loving feelings, the stories, the heartfelt memories permanently withheld in the town.
Suddenly the father became aware of the absolute enormity of the statement, completely overtaking him. It wasn't the piano, it was the memories of the mom she never got to meet; the song of a person who could make the world beautiful wherever they went. Tomoko, saw so much more than just music those days she listened to the piano. The father walked to the piano, and remembered what it felt like, to be in love. And Tomoko sat at his side, listening with the look in her eyes the dad prayed to see again. The music took grip of the room, and as the song finish, it was decided without so much as word or definite reason; Tomoko would be attending Red Star.