Though, what else would one expect from a land as pale and lifeless as this?
When you got right down to it, everything here looked the same. Endless stretches of white rock, infinite deserts of chalky sand, limitless expanses of undyed surfaces, and so on and so forth and ad infinitum. No variation to be found.
So it was, that with these thoughts floating in his restless skull, he observed what might have been the passing of a new day, in the wheeling axles of glittering stars, and sighed.
He remembered walks. He used to do them all the time, probably. A good walk tended to clear the mind, better to keep it away from unpleasant thoughts. Maybe he could use one right about now.
At the present moment, he was standing on the top of his wreck, which was where he spent most of his time. It wasn’t exactly his favorite pastime or anything, it was just that the old shuttle made for a good vantage point. Using it like this at least gave it some kind of surviving functionality. He liked to think he was giving it a second chance.
His empty eyes drifted from the stars above and towards the rocky lunar surface below. In a blink, his heavy boots were on the ground. That was one of the few perks of his condition, he technically didn’t have to move to get anywhere. But popping in and out of thin air quickly becomes taxing, in his experience it was best to get around the more conventional way.
He was going on a walk anyway, to clear his head. Distract himself from the boredom. So, on he marched, one foot before another, leaving no prints behind. The whole lunar world surrounded him, unbound, miles of atmosphere-less soil stretching over the horizon to loop back around and catch up with itself.
How long had he been stranded here? It was impossible to tell, day and night couldn’t really be discerned on the moon. At least, not by him. He grew to stop thinking about it, about days or nights, and decided to look at everything through the lens of a moment. For example, in the last moment he was in his usual hang-out spot, bored out of his skull. Now, in this moment, he was enjoying the forgotten novelty of a walk, still bored out of his skull, but at least not as much.
Then he stopped walking.
One or two craters away from him, there were rabbits. Immediately, he vanished.
He didn’t know where they came from, only that they appeared every now and again. They resembled young women, but they had these long ears which looked identical to ones on the little fluffy animals back home. It was surreal to see them at first, but nowadays they appeared frequently enough for him to grow quite accustomed to them.
How it usually went was that a few of them, sometimes four but mostly three, would turn up from someplace and seem to purposefully wander around any general area, often while talking out loud amongst themselves. Their conversations were brief, and all revolved around observing their surroundings and noting that nothing was out of the ordinary. For however long he’d been stranded, they had never found his wreck.
They must be soldiers, reconnaissance of some kind. The underlying mysteries of these rabbits didn’t mean much of anything to him. All that really mattered was the entertainment they provided.
During the first few sightings, he just watched them under the privacy of invisibility. This became boring very quickly, so he decided to shake things up with a little extra-terrestrial contact. He approached one that had separated from her group and introduced himself with a friendly greeting. She was surprised to see him. So surprised, that she took off screaming in the opposite direction. He got a good kick out of that. When he went back to greet the others, they were all gone. That was the last sighting.
Now there were more of them, maybe ten or so, but they didn’t appear any more on guard than the last groups he had observed. Which meant, completely lax and barely on guard at all, they weren’t expecting any danger out here.
After all, it was only the moon. What kind of excitement could you possibly get on the moon?
To be clear, Lyra hated most things. All her bunkmates back at base recognized her as a very disagreeable rabbit. It took a laughable lack of effort to have your name marked under her mental hit list. Of course, you wouldn’t know right away, Lyra wasn’t inclined to show any direct aggression. The taciturn, withdrawn Lyra handled her grudges through subtler and much pettier means.
However, of all the things she loathed, Lyra could assure that horror stories ranked somewhere in the upper echelons of her list.
She pushed her spectacles up the bridge of her nose. Lyra made an effort to hover just near enough to the others so as to feel secure yet far enough away as not to associate with them. Her lunar rifle held securely in presentation across her chest.
From lord to rabbit, every lunarian knew that nothing really happened outside the Capital’s barrier, which was why the Outer Patrol was such a sought-after assignment among the soldiers. The most exciting thing that ever happened outside the barrier was when those Apollo assassins touched down how many cycles ago, that had shaken lunar society up quite a bit.
However, that was also old history. Nowadays, if you were lucky, you might see an earthen probe, but even those lost their magic pretty quickly (they didn't really do anything).
Outer Patrol was, in essence, glorified free time.
And to Lyra, that was fine.
It was fine until she had an encounter with the vengeful spirit.
Her fellow soldiers may not have believed her. The whole squad may have gone back to base early out of pity. They may have voiced concerns about things like “fatigue” and, “stress” and, “mental illness”. Some condescending bastard may even have theorized that more soldiers were enlisted into today’s patrol solely to give “that gloomy-looking recruit over there” some simple peace of mind. What really mattered was that the impure spirit of one of those fabled Apollo assassins was now roaming around on their soil! Their pure lunar soil! No one was treating this situation with nearly the right amount gravity it warranted!
She fiddled with her rifle. She wasn’t going to slip up again, she would be ready this time. It was up in the air if the spirit would actually appear again, but on the chance that it did…
Her tense gaze shifted back to the others, and a sudden weight fell on her left shoulder.
Her heart felt like it had stopped.
She could feel it behind her. An existence as immaterial as a falling star. She could feel it, it reeked of death.
Out of the aether echoed the impression of a voice, “…The stars are nice, aren’t they?”
Lyla didn’t respond. She couldn’t move.
“It’s rude to ignore someone when they approach you.”
The others were so far away...
“Would you kindly, please turn around for me?”
She held the rifle against her chest.
“Come on, rabbit.”
Slowly, the weight lifted from her shoulder. She felt her heart racing.
The rifle was already aimed at the spirit before it could finish. Lyra’s chest heaved as she stared it down. It wore the same armor as the Apollo assassins, pale white with a clear dome surrounding the head, there were rudimentary apparatuses wrapped around the armor that presumably ensured the wearer was protected from the harsh environment, it stood at twice her size with its arms limp. The moon’s pale surface reflected in its dark visor; she couldn’t make out a face.
Lyra couldn’t find her voice. Her fingers were trembling, she had no way of knowing weather a shot from her gun would actually do anything to it, but she had to try didn’t she? Only cowards ran from their enemies, and Lyra didn’t want to be a coward.
The pale rifle was aimed right at the center of the apparition’s smooth, reflective dome. She pulled some mechanism and the lunar tech quickly thrummed to life.
Dredging a minute fraction of something courage-like from her sea of tense, frayed nerves, Lyra gave her iciest glare to the even icier enemy before her.
“This,” she squeaked, “this is not your land. You do not belong here, and I will not let your filth taint our soil any longer.”
The spirit was impassive.
Lyra held her breath. Her fear quelled. Her mind, like a razor edge, focused on one singular point:
Impure things were the enemies of the moon, and the moon’s enemies were her enemies.
She would crush her enemy with everything she had. It was so simple.
Her fingers wrapped around the trigger.
And then there was a skull, rising from the perfect blackness of the spirit’s visor, there was the grim grin of a human skull.
Her fear ran up her spine in a cold, nauseating flame. She recoiled instinctively, her heart beat thunderously, the rifle slipped from her fingers and stirred up moondust as it landed.
Of course. It would have to be a skull, wouldn’t it?
That was what most vengeful spirits purportedly looked like, right? They all had skulls for faces; Lyra believed it was a testament to their corruption, their stifling hatred. Actually, most things on earth looked like that, once they finally gave in to its curse, once they finally succumbed to their own impurity. She couldn’t even dream of being sheltered, she knew what skulls looked like, she had seen plenty of illustrations. And yet, seeing one with her own eyes, for herself, it felt different. It scared her.
The skull watched her from the window of its white armor. Death clung to it like a blanket, it reeked of the earth’s filth, and, impossibly, Lyra came under the impression that it really was smiling at her.
Then it laughed. Quietly first, then louder, until it was a cacophony (cackle-phony?). It was a sadistic, joyless laugh.
The spirit stuck its arms out forward and took a step towards Lyra’s small, and thoroughly frightened, form.
“What happened, Lyra?”
The rabbit troops gathered curiously around one of their own, she was on her hands and knees, heaving with her face towards the lunar sand. Her spectacles were missing, and her rifle was nowhere present.
She had clearly been shaken by something. Some of the troops looked cautiously towards the direction she had fled from, but there weren’t any noticeable hostiles.
Lyra sucked in her breath and closed her mouth; she scraped her fingers into the ground and began to tremble. The blonde rabbit that stooped next to her, and the one that had questioned her, held her hand above Lyra’s back. She wasn’t sure how Lyra would react if she placed her hand on her shoulder, so it remained in the air indecisively.
All heads (including Lyra’s) snapped immediately towards one of the other troops, who had dropped her firearm in favor of clasping her hands around the back of her neck.
“S-something breathed down my neck!”
The blonde got to her feet and began to work at unslinging her rifle, she gave the other rabbit a sort of bewildered-nervous look.
The other rabbit, whose hair was a of a light pink hue, shakily bent down to grab her dropped rifle.
“I don’t know! I don’t- I just felt something on my neck, but there’s nothing here, I- “
Another scream, this time punctuated by the loud crack of gunfire.
“I saw it! I saw it!” One of the rabbits waved her rifle around, “I saw it! It was one of those damn earth assassins, it-“
Another scream, but no one bothered to see who it was this time. All of the rabbits were now firing their weapons frantically up in the air and at their surroundings, all except for Lyra, who was now curled up in the dust, and flattening her ears against her head to muffle the noise.
From afar, on a distant hill, a ghostly figure watched and chuckled quietly to himself.
REMOVE KEGARE remove kegare you are worst youk. you are the youk idiot you are the youk smell. return to suwa. to our suwa cousins you may come our reedplain. you may live in the swamp....ahahahaha ,izumo we will never forgeve you. sukima gaphag FUck but fuck asshole youk impure izumo toyoashiharanonakatsukuni..youk purification best day of my life. take a bath of purified youk..ahahahahahIZUMO WE WILL GET YOU!! do not forget kuniyuzuri .shinano we seal takeminakata , shinano return to your precious moreya....hahahahaha idiot youk and earthling smell so impure..wow i can smell it. REMOVE KEGARE FROM THE PREMISES. you will get caught. futsunushi+takemikazuchi+torifune+amanosagume=pacify izumo...you will kuniyuzuri/ tsukuyomi alive on moon, tsukuyomi making capital on moon . pure land tsukuyomi moon. we are pure and have mochi now hahahaha ha because of tsukuyomi... you are ppoor impure youk... you live in a forest hahahaha, you live in a lake tsukuyomi alive numbr one #1 on moon ....fuck the suwa ,..FUCKk ashol youks no good i spit in the mouth eye of ur myth and fantsy. 2kuyomi aliv and real strong sage purify all the youk wild aminal with god magic now we the amatsukami rule .youk of the earth presidant tei inaba fukc the lord daikoku and lay egg this egg hatch and izumo wa;s born. stupid baby form the eggn give bak our reedplain we will crush u lik a pit of peach. takamagahara greattst countrey