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[-0-] It's my fault. I let her die. A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not.
Though you re dearly afraid to let it pass your lips, you know that you must. "It's… It's my fault. I just stood there and let her die…" As you speak, you feel your voice begin to shake as your hands curl up once again. "One… One of the dolls cut off her head. I thought I could stop the doll without ending it…"
"But you didn't." Tokiko stares at you with her red eyes. "…So, that is… what happened." The ibis's wings droop as she finally looks away from you. "It's a pity. The girl seemed to have the gumption once she had one she wished to use it for. Didn't have much desire to do much on her own."
Still, you shake your head, sitting down on the chair. "It doesn't matter. If I had done something, she might still be…"
"Maybe. Maybe not." The girl slowly sits up, her wings wrapping around her body as she does. "You should not trouble yourself with it, just as I have given up worrying about my precious bookcase." As you turn to glare at her, she merely stares back. "The analogy is apt enough, should you be bothered by it. She may be gone from here, but there is somewhere else for her to go."
"So you say." Not that you have any experience with the afterlife, but it is hard to imagine. Even after all that you've seen here, and all that you've experienced. Is there anything that could be stronger than these damn Youkai that hold others in captivity? "Still wish that she was still… here."
Tokiko shakes her head while watching you. "Is being dead and free better than still living under our old master?" Well, you can hardly say anything against that.
"It still doesn't mean it's right…"
"Of course not." Tilting her head to the side, she hides behind her headwing as she watches you. "But given the choice between doing this again or just leaving her, what would you have done?"
Again, you glare at her for a few seconds. "I would have done it again, but I would have done it better." You continue to watch her for a few moments more, almost daring her to say something.
The seconds tick by, and both of you eventually relax. "Sorry. Just somewhat frustrated. With all that has happened…"
"I'd be surprised if you weren't." Tokiko shrugs as she continued to watch you. "It's fine. I just wanted to make a point. You are quite difficult at times, as you're nearly as stubborn as a an insufferably large goat that likes to dine on various bits of refuge with excessive minutiae stamped on their sides."
"…Right." Again, her acting the same as always encourages you. "Still, it doesn't matter in the end. Intentions and all that." Sighing, you look back at the door, staring towards where she rests. "I put her in the dirt a while ago. I'm not sure how long. I've been in here ever since."
"You're trying to make sure this doesn't happen again." At your nod, the girl sighs. "I'll make sure to keep an eye out while I'm awake, then. I'd hate to worry you too much." Glancing back and forth, Tokiko finally decides to break the silence. "So, where did we end up at? I'm afraid I don't know."
"Alice's house. Or what used to be hers." Shrugging, you don't even turn from your seat looking at the door. "Mystia dragged us along until we were found by the one doll that I know to be friendly." Before she asks, you shake your head. "She's currently outside the door, probably hiding. She's deathly afraid of me now, I do believe. After what I did to the doll that killed…"
The ibis is silent for a long while as you stare at the wall. Before you can realize it, you feel arms wrapping around your neck as you are pulled into a feathery embrace. "My words seem to not work, so I feel I must use other methods of calming you down."
"Heh…" There's really not much to say. Eventually, you begin to let your emotions flow free, and your head falls against her. For a long while, you remain there, just letting it all out.
Still, as much as you wanted to just stay there, you know that such a thing would be unreasonable. Once she seems ready to move, you lead her through the house. As you walk through the abode, finally taking the time to look about, you notice that there are some rough patches where the papered walls meet plain wood.
Shrugging it off as the parts that Wriggle had eaten, you peek inside other rooms until you find Amsterdam. The small doll seems to be sitting beside a window, staring out of it. After waiting for a few minutes, you clear your throat in order to get her attention. "Amsterdam…?"
The girl spins around, and you see her watch you for a moment, not saying anything. "H-hello, friend. What is it?"
"I need to get her something to wear. After the attack… Her clothes disintegrated." You're currently chalking it up as a side effect of being burnt to a crisp, but you've had more important things to worry about. "Even if it is just something simple."
"Right. I can find something…" The girl flits away for a minute or two, before returning with something for Tokiko. "That should do. Margatroid always did have a spare or two lingering about."
"Thanks, Amsterdam." You watch the jittery girl for a few seconds before sighing. "We're leaving soon. I want to get as far away from all this as I can. I don't know how to get back, but surely if we go far enough, we'll find something."
The doll tilts her head to the side, trying to hide behind the red hair as she watches you. "I don't know. But I've never been too far from here, so I couldn't tell you."
You shake your head. "I don't care what we run into. The further away we are, the better." Everything is quiet once Tokiko wrangles the dress onto her, but you eventually sigh. "I was wondering whether or not you wanted to come with or not. This might be your only chance…"
"It probably would be." The doll looks around for a few seconds before she responds with her customary alto. "I will come. There is nothing that is left here, after all. Nothing for me."
Smiling slightly, you nod to the girl. "Good. I was worried that you'd rather stay behind after what happened."
"Part of me wants to. But that would accomplish nothing. I will go with you, friend." Floating towards you, she eventually slips by. "It is better than waiting an eternity here, wondering whether I made the right decision."
Personally, you're more worried about other Youkai that might come up and bother you, but that is neither here nor there. "Understood. Well, let's get going. No time to wait." At that, the doll slips away through the halls, followed closely by Tokiko and you.
There is nothing that you say as you march through the woods, away from the house. There is nothing you want to say. You're leaving behind quite a lot, and there is nothing that will really take it off of your mind. So, instead, you walk.
Hours pass by as you wind through the forest. The trees never seen to truly thin out, no matter how far you walk. At times it seems as if you'll wind up exiting onto a clearing, but in the end it is just a trick of the light and instead you are stuck in the deep forest. For hours you wander, and it never truly ends.
The oddest thing is that the forest terrain never truly changes. There are no hills, no rivers that run through while carving a valley. As far as the eye can see, the entirety of the forest is on one single plane, a flat plain covered in the thickest of vegetation.
After a while, your stomach begins to growl. It has been quite a while since you have eaten or drunken, but you push the thoughts to the side. You can keep exploring, and will only stop once the others raise their complaints.
However, it does eventually grow to be too much. You may no longer be human, but you can get tired. With your feet weary and you heart heavy, you eventually sit down against a tree, looking at your feet. "…How far does the forest go on? Surely it has an end somewhere…"
"[I]I wouldn't know. I am sorry that I cannot be of any help." The doll looks at you, her dead eyes seemingly worried at the sight, before floating up into the branches in order to rest herself.
The ibis sits down next to you, not as tired but not complaining about the delay. "Although unlikely, it could be that the forest extends indefinitely. After all, it is magical." Blinking somewhat rapidly, she looks around. "Or we might need to know how to get out before we are allowed to escape. There might be a certain path, and unless you take it the forest would loop back on yourself like intestines that have been twisted into a poorly maintained jump rope."
Not even bothering to respond, you close your eyes and lean back. "Maybe…" Your mind drifts off, wondering what could have happened if you had gotten out. What was it that Margatroid had wanted to tell that you would never know because Mystia die? "Too bad she'll never see her home again. Couldn't even keep that…"
As you continue to torment yourself with what ifs and other thoughts, you feel a clad hand grab your arm. Looking up, you see Tokiko watching you once again. "Still being bothered, aren't you?"
"…Just a bit." Well, more than a bit, but you aren't quite going to say how much. "I'll get to sleep, eventually."
The ibis is quiet for a few seconds before she grabs your chin dearly. "Come. Lay with me, if for a bit."
Opening your eyes back up, you glare at Tokiko. "Now is hardly the time for that. Can't you wait before we finish the deal?"
"…This isn't about finishing the deal. You are hurting. You won't be able to sleep as long as you do. I am merely offering a way to chase off the demons, if even for a little bit."
Sighing, you look away from her. "If I didn't know who was speaking, that almost sounds sane. But I would rather not forget."
"Not permanently. Just… just for a little while. Might help you, if just for a little bit. …I know of nothing better."
[ ] Accept
[ ] Decline