The First and the Last Gift
"The First and the Last Gift" is a short prologue preceding Hotarubi no Tomoru Koro ni. It tells the story of Lambdadelta as she visits the village of Hirasaka for the first time. It is the last chapter in the Umineko no Naku Koro ni: The First and the Last Gift book.
Lambdadelta is given a letter from Bernkastel, containing a fragment. In the letter, Bernkastel offers the fragment as a gift as well as a way of alleviating boredom. Bernkastel proceeds to explain the victory condition for this particular fragment: survival. Unlike other fragments, this fragment can be won simply by making it out alive. After reading the letter, Lambdadelta touches the fragment and enters it. She sees the location this fragment takes place in: a remote village in the Japanese countryside reminiscent of Hinamizawa. Lamdadelta chooses "her other self" as her piece with which to play the game.
Miyoko Takano approaches the village of Hirasaka. Though she had been researching this village for some time, this was the first time she had entered it. Miyoko describes herself as a carefree occult researcher and bachelorette. When her grandfather died, he left her a significant fortune, enough to "buy her a mansion anywhere in Japan." As such, Miyoko doesn't have to work for living expenses, she can instead devote herself to her own projects. Miyoko claims that her immense luck occurred shortly after she finished collecting twenty miniature country flags from kid's meals as a child.
Miyoko goes on to describe the "rules" of Hirasaka. She notes that, if the rules are not strictly followed, the villagers of Hirasaka harass the rule-breaker until they are driven out of the village. No one is exempt from following these rules. The first rule involves washing your hands at a nearby basin. Miyoko approaches the basin and picks up the ladle meant to scoop up the basin's water. In clear rebellion of the rules, Miyoko intentionally drops the ladle onto the ground and continues on.
Chiharu Nakamura, a recent high school graduate, had moved to Hirasaka one year prior. Her parents had become infatuated with a particular fortune teller and, as per his prophecy, had decided to move the whole family to Hirasaka. Chiharu has broken the rules of the village before on accident, but eventually she started to ignore the villagers' harassment. Once they saw the harassment was ineffective, the villagers stopped harassing her completely. One day, Chiharu wakes up and discovers there are suddenly two suns in the sky. Miyoko also stares up at the two suns.
Shortly afterwards, Miyoko hears Chiharu scream. Miyoko initially confronts her with a shotgun but lowers her weapon when she sees Chiharu fall to the ground. Chiharu says that she is relieved to find someone else is around. According to Chiharu, all of her neighbors except for a man named Suzuki had disappeared. The pair begin to search nearby houses for signs of other villagers but to no avail. Chiharu invites Miyoko back to the Nakamura household as she believes it is best that the two stick together in this situation. To document the occassion, Miyoko takes out a notebook and describes her day so far. After brief consideration, Miyoko decides to title this notebook "Hotarubi no Tomoru Koro ni".
- The fact that Miyoko has collected all 20 miniature flags implies that, in this fragment, Miyoko's parents don't die in a train crash. However, Miyoko's last name is Takano, not Tanashi, implying that Hifumi Takano eventually adopted her anyway. Furthermore, in this fragment, Hifumi isn't a disgraced researcher seeing as he was very wealthy when he died.