She was already leaving. The same time, every day. Her schedule had been mapped out in advance. There were no details left unchecked. Seven days a week, every morning an hour after sunrise. Like a faithful dog, she left her companions in the quaint home, returned at the same time every day, did not deviate from her schedule.
Today, there would be a slight interruption.
Your fingers probe the glock's muzzle, feeling the machine-carved barrel. It was almost orgasmic, the way the Austrians manufactured them. And the iron sights! At only 60 meters, you could fire right into that window, kill that crow? But that would make it difficult to confirm the kill, wouldn't it? No, better to get in close, where it's better. More enjoyable.
Besides, you don't want to waste the ammo. One extended magazine, that's all you have. Thirty-three rounds. Thirty-three rounds to kill god knows how many Tengu. This will require the use of your fists, your knife.
You always did prefer the knife.
You've waited long enough. You lower yourself out of the tree used as your safe spot, bottles clinking together on the back of your belt, handgun swaying on its line.
Your hands tremble as you rush across the field in plain sight, towards the house. Despite your anxiety, you still manage to get the lighter out of your pocket while in full stride. A few strikes, and the flame goes up easily.
One final sprint and you skid to a halt next to the window. The girl inside looks up from her typewriter, surprised. You heave the first cocktail with all your strength, smashing through the window and breaking on her typewriter. You hear screams emanate from inside as you rush to the door.
"Hatate! Fire! Get out!"
The second one lights just in time. The door is bashed open from the inside, occupants trying to exit. You spring forward, delivering a devastating blow with your molotov. It smashes against her face, alcohol and glass spraying her. She screams and convulses as you knock her burning body out of the way, pulling your glock. The other tengu only gets off two words before she gets an equivalent number of 9mm into her chest.
9mm isn't the strongest round in the world, but at this range it's sufficient to drop her.
Your attention turns back to the crow writhing on the ground, desperately screaming for help as she tries to extinguish the flames covering her head and upper body.
?It burns, it burns! Dragon, please, help me! Somebody, help me!!?
One bullet to the forehead is all the mercy you afford her. Thirty left. Someone yelling in the distance turns you back to business.
Damn, that wolf tengu must've heard. Screw their sense of hearing! You slide into the burning home, stepping over the second victim's body and pressing yourself up to the wall, next to the door. This is risky, as the house will soon be fully ablaze, but this gives you the element of surprise. You slide your knife from its sheath, awaiting the beast.
The pitter-patter of feet against ground tells you she's close. It stops, then resumes, accelerates. You eye the first body's legs, did they move? They did. She's checking the body, or trying to smother it. It matters not.
You leap out, slashing at her head. A yelling gurgle and her backpedal indicates she didn't take the full of it. Damn, it was only her cheek!
She gets out of your reach, grabbing her discarded, over-sized sword off the ground and slashing at you. You easily dodge backwards out of her first blow, a hectic swing meant only to protect herself. She pays for her incompetence with her life.
You jump at her as she's trying to bring the over weighted blade back at you. it's knocked out of her hand as the two of you collide, your 200lb mass on top. You use your weight to your advantage, forcing the knife ever further down.
?Who are you?! What the fuck are you doing?! GET OFF, GET OF-!
The rest is made unintelligible by her gurgling and spitting, blood spattering your face. She keeps screaming at you, even as the knife enters her jugular. Her resistance finally gives as her body gives out, and the knife finishes going through her neck with a shlick.
You stand up, wiping the blood onto your pants? leg. Several white specks are already visible far, far past the tree line. they're coming.
[ ] Ambush the damn Tengu. Retreat to the tree line and open up fully automatic when they foolishly expose themselves. Your firepower will win the day.
[ ] There is no need to continue this fight. Their guard numbers are spread wide. Retreat, circle around, and agitate the feral youkai. it's time to unleash hell, and not just on combatants.
[ ] This was satisfying, but unnecessary. Circle around to the underground. The fusion reactor awaits your interference.
Honestly? I can't say I like it either! Aya is my favorite character, and writing her face being burned off before being executed is... difficult. However, I feel that it's necessary to be able to write both the most gruesome scenes (Choo choo! Nitori torture scene, anyone?) and the most heartwarming. Context and contrast are vital.
[x] There is no need to continue this fight. Their guard numbers are spread wide. Retreat, circle around, and agitate the feral youkai. it's time to unleash hell, and not just on combatants.
This distraction is not enough.
I got asked about this on IRC so I'm just popping in to say that it's not dead! I just need to get back into the proper mood to right this, so I'm just chilling for a bit updating my main story while waiting for ~inspiration~ to strike. I'll get another update in here... eventually.
[X] This was satisfying, but unnecessary. Circle around to the underground. The fusion reactor awaits your interference.
There is no time to waste.
About face; forward retreat. You'd love to kill them, murder them, maim them. But not now. Now, you must finish what you're started.
You can hear them, their belated tracking. They don't even bother to mask their own sound as they follow your scent.
This will work, because it must.
Your hands shake, clutching the knife flat against your chest, pressed barely into the hillside in a small hole on a downward slope. You hadn't meant to cut that deep, just a small incision to draw some blood, but your excitement got the best of you. But now the trap was prepared, and the chance to kill was upon you again.
So were the tengu.
Excitedly they follow the trail, like bloodhounds to the kill, they think! The smell of blood excites them, enrages them, draws them. Hurriedly they come, rushing down the hill, oblivious to your hiding spot. The first one jumps right over your hiding spot instinctually. The second one does not get so far.
You grab upwards with one hand as he jumps over, latching right on to his leg and bringing him down hard onto the ground. You drag him backwards and lurch forward in one swift movement, bringing your knife down into his back. Savagely, you tear it out and stab, again piercing his back like a sieve, blood flowing down the mountain.
His partner wheels around, drawing his comically oversized sword and swiping at you.
At least, it would be comical if he didn't nearly take your head off with it.
You're forced to duck as he swings it horizontally, missing your head by inches. You press down so far as to lay down on top of the body. He misses his strike, and you scramble up and tackle him, practically punching the sword out of his grasp. The two of you hit the ground, hard. You strangle him, depressing his throat with your left arm as you bash at his face with your right.
He doesn't lie there and take it, however. He slashes you in the face. You punch him in the face. He slashes you again, nearly taking your ear off. You jab again, pushing two fingers into his eyes, a squishy mass. He lets out a roar, choked out midway by you continuing to crush his windpipe. With sheer rage he manages to slap his arms against you long enough to find your chest, giving you a tremendous push.
It takes you a few seconds to regain your senses after that impact. You roll over only to see the tengu whipping around wildly, trying to get some indication of your position.
it's clear why he is so frantic; blood streams from his eye sockets. You have to chuckle to yourself as you stand up, wiping the vitreous from your fingers. Quite sticky, it is. He hears you, and whips his head directly at you, staring - or would be if he had eyes - right at you. You silently unholster your glock and point it at him, then flick the safety on and back off.
He scrambles off his knees, rushing for you, only to drop again and slide to a halt as you put bullets into his legs. He curses you in his own language, doubtlessly piling on oaths and swears as he tries to crawl towards you using only his arms. You simply back up a few steps, aim well, and put another bullet into one of his arms. He howls wildly, again throwing all his strength into intimidation. Or perhaps it's a call for help?
It doesn't matter. The rest of the tengu are too far behind already. One more bullet finishes this one, and you wander over to retrieve your knife from the first one's back, reviewing how many bullets you've used so far. Twenty-six.
You're caught unaware, but not surprised, by the Oni suddenly appearing and wrapping her arm around you, practically crushing you against her side. You make careful not to resist too much and throw off the deception, however.
"Hey hey, whatsa human doing down here? Dontcha know it's off-limits to you topsiders?"
You almost shoot her a deadly glare, but you catch yourself and only lazily roll your eyes over to her. You ask as innocently as possible,
"Is it? My apologies, I'm? new around here."
She says, shaking you violently in what you can only describe as the unfriendliest friendly pat on the back/ruffle combination you've ever seen or experienced. She continues,
"Welcome to Gensokyo!"
A dubious pleasure.
"So what happened to you? Ya look like you got beat up by a pack of youkai!"
"Oh, this? I killed half a dozen tengu."
There's dead silence for a moment before she bursts into laughter and hits you on the back several more times.
"A human! Killing tengu! You're funny!"
And back to the hitting you on the back thing. She's complacent.
"Hey? You seem like a good friend. Would you like a drink?"
She raises an eyebrow and you quickly explain yourself.
"Would I ever!"
You simply give her a toothy grin and unhook the canteen from the back of your belt. She takes it out of your hands and releases you, using both hands to chug its entire contents. You step back and simply smile at her as she finishes its contents and drops it, the canteen clattering across the rock floor.
"Tasted kind of?"
"Yeah that's what I was gonna- What's so funny?"
You don't respond, your laughter starting to echo throughout the cavern.
Voices emanating from every direction. Throat burning. She tries to relieve the pressure, the pain, putting her hands to her throat. She collapses to her knees, world spinning. Retches. Crimson staining the ground, slicking the floor. On all fours now, retching again. Bile and blood staining her arms. Tries to push herself up, slips on the blood. Collapses in a pool of her own fluids.
You swagger over to where she lay, wheezing for breath. She's not dead - yet. Merely paralyzed. A swift kick to the face forces her to blink dazedly, all she's capable of, really. You squat and observe as she tries to move her facial muscles, get some sort of word off to you. Perhaps she's confused? Perhaps she's angry? Oh, she'll be angry.
You stand back up and place your foot on her horn, using her head as leverage to push down on it. You smile and look down at her. The only response is one of her eyes rolling over, making her cross-eyed. Oh well, you weren't expecting much of a fight once the poison kicked in. You lift up your left leg, putting all your weight onto your right, which quickly snaps the horn off. A muffled cry from the Oni is but gurgling. She attempts to cough several times, but red bubbles start to foam over her mouth. She continues gurgling for almost a minute before falling completely silent.
A shame, you could've dragged that out much longer.
You continue. Large, multiple story brick and earthen houses pass by, either carved out of the rock or intricately put together so as to seem but one extension of the cavern, now long abandoned. The artificial sun glows sickly above, casting magnificent reflections off the shells of former glory.
The bridge lay ahead of you now, its petulant guard sitting on the wall that serves to forms both sides. She looks up from biting her nails and gives you a scowl before jumping to her feet and yelling at you,
"Hey! No one passes!"
You simply put a bullet through her throat and she flops over the wall, crashing loudly into the water below.
The blood's starting to flow?
A set of marble stairs stood in front of him now. Almost 2 feet high each, they led up several stories to a large wooden double door flanked on both sides by equally oversized columns of, similarly, marble. Hm? you believe the word for this was? portico? Regardless, a fitting grandiosity for the final act.
Master knows all, master sees all. If I think it, she knows it! Master protects, master nurses, master cares.
That was why I was confused when she said that. She so suddenly looked up from me into the distance and muttered those words!
I? I don't know why she did that. She got up so fearfully, summoning those spirits around her, and went off by herself towards what she was looking at.
What was she looking at, I wonder?
What are these sounds I hear? they're yelling now?
I want to help, but she told me to run!
"So, the girl that even spirits fear comes out to play!"
How nice of her to meet you. You didn't even have to look. It was, however, like a bad Hollywood piece. She chose to make herself known at the other end of long corridor. Perhaps she thought she could keep range? Regardless, you'll get what you need. You let your hand rest on your glock; you'll see if words can get through, though since she knows what you plan to do? You doubt it.
"Why have you slaughtered so?"
"You should know that already."
She shakes her head and resigns herself, before curtsying.
"I welcome you to the underworld, mortal. My pets will carry off your soul."
Those sounds like fighting words to you! Apparitions phase into existence around her, but you won't give her a chance for that. You draw quickly and squeeze off a round, right at her stomach. There's no way that could've missed! You got her!
?Except that she seems unphased. A sly smile across her face. Is she..."
Knocked aside! You lose hold of your gun, it clattering to the floor. She plants one of her legs squarely on your chest, squeezing the air out of your lungs with inhuman strength. A trap! An illusion! Damn her! You grab for her skirt, but she grabs your hand. Sickeningly she twists it, straining the bone to its breaking point. You want to scream, yell out, curse her for this, but to do so would waste your last bit of breath. Your eyes appraise every bit of her. There must be some way to win, some way to kill her. There is always a-
The third eye.
Staring right at you. Bemused, maybe? Dead, soon.
You spit right into it. It blinks, her grip eases for a second, her actions freeze. You draw; stabbing, slashing! Its blood blinds you, but you feel her release you, see her shove her hands into her own eyes, scream and buckle. You stab again, right in her ankle. She falls off you, somewhere ahead of you.
Sheer instinct drives you, you lunge forward, body slam right on to her. Feel quickly, grasp the third eye. Mutilate, filet, destroy it. A quick roll off, a struggle to your knees, wiping the blood out of your eyes.
She lay, gasping for breath, clutching her chest where the eye had been attached. Right over her heart. That's funny? Funny for some reason. You don't know why, but it drives you to laughter. In between the laughs, you get out one of your taunts,
"Just lay right there missy, let me get my gun!"
You mean that only half-seriously, but she doesn't move as you get up. Nor as you walk over to your gun. Nor when you pick it up, check it over to make sure it won't blow up in your hand, and point it at her.
"Where is she?"
You know she can hear you. She just chooses not to answer. A bullet put a few feet away from her, ricocheting off the rock, down the corridor, gives her a reason to rethink her stance.
She weakly answers,
"I won't give you what you seek."
Fair enough. A bullet into her other ankle gets you a scream and her weak answer,
"I? won't do it."
Hmm? Tough one. What is more valuable than her life? You're obviously going to kill her, but?
Ah. Right. Family.
"No, not Koishi!"
Ah yes, that's nice scene. The sister finds the mind reader girl, much to her own horror. A silent gunman comes from the shadows?
"Below us! In the hell of blaz- blazing fires!"
She chokes up, sobbing as she gives up her own pet for her sister.
"Just please don't?"
"Please don't hurt her."
"Your wish is my command."
You have her now.
Two of your best!
Killed, murdered, taken by a mere human!
How dare he. How could he? They should've easily overpowered a human! And yet this human had gotten past your patrols, killed several, and escaped! And now he was headed towards the Oni's underground city for dragon knows what reason.
Your men obviously did not die to a rookie. The dead Oni, the missing gate guard, the lack of local youkai? Something had gone very wrong here.
And now, the palace's lady. Wounded multiple times and with her third eye removed. It must have been a fierce struggle.
If he was still here?
There was only one place he would be going.
Dragon: you pray you are wrong.
And now they are here. Too late.
They gasped at your choice of a seat, but does it really matter any more? Her body was infinitely more comfortable than the ground, anyhow. They would not approach. If not for the fires, for the fact that you held your gun in your hands, trembling as they were.
The flames roared, the ceiling cracked, the reactor howled. Its control rod, no more.
Well? this is odd. Death, eh? Is darkness they worst they can throw at you?
Wait? darkness? You can? remember what that is.
adjective, -er, -est, noun, verb
having very little or no light
Darkness.. the lack of light! But to lack, to not exist, there must also be existence.
There must also be existence.
You are moving. Reaching, grasping, pushing, pulling, desperately motioning to your front. There is a front, there is direction, there is darkness, there must be light. There must be light.
A single strand. Infinitely narrow. Taunting you, dangling in front of your face.
In order, the scenes for the last update are:
I apologize if the break confused you. This update (probably) should have gone through another proofreader, but I was very pleased with how it came out, so I elected to bypass most of the normal quality checks.
Hey man I don't cast the votes I just count them and have my internet go out for a few hours while "writing".
[X] Grasp with all of your strength.
No? you won't stop now. Not if there's another chance. Something. Anything.
You grab hold of the thread, aware of your arms? existence now. Next your feet, planted against an invisible wall. Your muscles, arms, shoulders, working in concert. Your lungs, pumping air (that exists!) as you howl with effort. Your back, as it strains to support your pulling.
You exist. And you will not go gently into that good night.
It gives. A few feet, then a few yards. You keep pulling, piling up threads of light. The more you pull, the brighter it gets. First it's just a faint light, enough to see that something is moving. And then it is a sun, burning bright enough to blind you.
Choking, the heat almost overwhelms you. You collapse forward, ramming your head into the ground. The dirty, cool ground of a morning dew.
That shouldn't exist. You snap up, back on to your knees. You scan quickly, the trees, the birds singing, the faint cottage in the distance.
With the tengu visible in the window, clacking away on her typewriter. The one that you killed. She turns and mouths something unheard to someone, another tengu, now also visible. Her plaid skirt allowing you to identify her easily.
You gingerly check for your weapons. Your blade, your glock, the molotovs? all there. Even the poison.
The sun is the same. Just starting its morning rise.
Your mouth contorts into a smile. A wicked smile, born only out of malice.
A thousand times you could do this.
[ ] Again.
-[ ] Ambush the damn Tengu. Retreat to the tree line and open up fully automatic when they foolishly expose themselves. Your firepower will win the day.
-[ ] There is no need to continue this fight. Their guard numbers are spread wide. Retreat, circle around, and agitate the feral youkai. it's time to unleash hell, and not just on combatants.
-[ ] Revel in your kills.
[ ] Something? different? (Write-in. I'll take practically anything.)
[x] Ask yourself why do they need to die.
-[x] There is no need to continue this fight. Their guard numbers are spread wide. Retreat, circle around, and agitate the feral youkai. it's time to unleash hell, and not just on combatants.
>Even the poison.
This guy gets to take something with him each time he loops. He made it from Yamame the last time, right? He still has to meet her...
This all could have some sort of massive hidden purpose. Or not, given that the writefag agreed to write about anything, but I can hope. I would say, loot as much as you can, folks. When he gets to keep it, who knows what we could cause.
[X] This is a sneaking mission. Get in there, steal Lord Tenmas' best, most destructive artifact. Use it or save it for later.
Five bucks says its a Davy Crockett nuke, for the heck of it.
Continuity wise, he killed Yamame before the story started. That holds true for last time you came through. It does not hold true now (for reasons that will very soon become apparent). Holding on to a few things will certainly aid you in your coming struggle, however.
>>35153 is here.
>>35154 Alright, let me get this straight...
Then: he goes to Yamame, kills her, does whatever necessary to get that poison, fucks up Tengu Village, then heads to the Underground, poisons someone, then causes a meltdown.
Now: he starts out with weapon and poison full, although he had already expended them before.
Also, timeloops. Or possibly alternate universes, and he takes whatever he needs with him out of the last? Or Reisen-lunacy induced delusions and everything is just in his head? (you can ingore the last one since it would be a massive dick move to pull off) If this goes the way I think it will go, we will RP a completely cleptomanic backstabbing hoarder of lethal implements. And I would love to see that.
Arrival > Preparation (Gathering of weapons, killing yamame) > first update (Expended bullets + molotovs) > second update (Expended bullets + poison) > now (Ammunition still there, as well as molotovs, poison. No injuries visible or felt.)
[x] Ask yourself why do they need to die.
-[x] There is no need to continue this fight. Their guard numbers are spread wide. Retreat, circle around, and agitate the feral youkai. it's time to unleash hell, and not just on combatants.
[x] Ask yourself why do they need to die.
-[x] There is no need to continue this fight. Their guard numbers are spread wide. Retreat, circle around, and agitate the feral youkai. it's time to unleash hell, and not just on combatants.
Nope! Possibly. Truth be told this is little more than a one-off and a way to see if I can write visceral, close combat (Quite well, apparently!). I had intended to end at at our... hero's death, but decided to give you guys an in-universe excuse to see some of the other ways this would've resolved. Then I strung along some more plot. By then we had gotten to 'groundhog day' and I realized there was no way in hell I could conceivably write the plot I'd wanted to, and it had quite a few holes anyway. I have (mostly) addressed them in my internal notes, but I don't believe I can give the story proper flow and feel, especially how (un)often I update this, as it's merely a side project.
[x] Ask yourself why do they need to die.
-[x] There is no need to continue this fight. Their guard numbers are spread wide. Retreat, circle around, and agitate the feral youkai. it's time to unleash hell, and not just on combatants.
The fear in their eyes, the desperation in their voice, the frantic actions of their attempts for survival.
Those damn tengu deserve no better. They lie, they cheat, they steal, they murder. No more, no more, no more! You came here to die, to kill, to destroy! The tengu must die, the tengu must die! No matter how many times it takes, you'll savor every moment!
No hesitation, no fear. Single minded concentration. You've done this, you've done it already. You know what's coming, you know what's happening. They were condemned before, they're doomed now. Again, the window. Thirty meters. Twenty.
The molotov. Lighted and tossed, the crashing of glass. The screaming of the occupants. You'll make her suffer this time. Suffer. Burning to death just isn't enough.
This time, a pistol whip. You waylay her hard enough that her nose makes an audible crunch as you catch her exiting. You steady your glock and swing around, glancing the fear in the second girl's eyes. She barely has time to raise her hands and scream before you shoot. Right in the gut, not the chest. Such a slight deviation, yet such a satisfying death it will be. She yells and kicks and screams and cries and pleads, clutching her stomach, but you don't mind that small distraction. The fear she shows in her look is all you need.
You plant your boot right on her hands, clutching the folds of her shirt where her blood now stains the dress, soaking down her plaid skirt.
You say with a wicked smile, pressing down on the wound. She stops screaming, her attention fixating on your foot. Slowly pressing down, harder and harder. Smiling, smiling so malignantly.
Her voice breaks, her eyes tear up, she jerks back and forth under your foot, trying to wiggle out from your clutch. She openly breaks into sobs, begging you, pleading with you.
You let up. Completely stop. End it. Her eyes go wide, they dart between your foot and your fiendish grin. Terrified. You can see it in her, the way she looks. She's confused, afraid, and looking for an escape.
She thinks you've given her one.
"Thank you! T-Thank you so much! I won't forget this! Thank you-"
You stamp down upon the wound, grinding in with your heel. Her piercing screams are punctuated only by your laughter as you grate the bullet against her internal organs. She grasps feverishly at your leg, trying to throw you off, but she's overwhelmed by the pain of her injuries. A shake runs down her spine. Her eyes roll back into her head and her entire body lapses into convulsions.
She stops resisting.
Pitiful. Just pitiful. You give her a few good kicks, but she's thoroughly out of it. You turn your attention back to your favorite crow tengu, attempting to crawl away from the house. No, no you don't.
Get back here. You'll g-
On the floor?
What is an inkwell doing on the floor? What is"...
Everything's been moved. Everything is wrong. Everything is so very, very wrong. it's as if someone took the place down and put it all back from memory. Things are moved, ever so slightly. A camera, now resting on the edge of a dresser. The typewriter, so slightly out of line with the window. The floor?
How the fuck is it level? You're on a mountain!
it's the tengu. it's got to be the tengu. it's got to be those bastards. You look at your plaything.
Ah, yes. Convulsing in shock. She won't do. The other one, however?
Crawl, little thing. it's entertaining how she tries. Even with you standing right behind her, still she crawls. No more.
A quick step around her and you detour her with a kick to the side of the head. She screeches in pain, raising her hands to defend her face. You rear back and punt her in the ribs, with an audible for your effort. Her screams only intensify as you let loose with a flurry of kicks to the ribs and head. Alternating whenever she guards one too much.
Her screams of pain are like ecstasy to your ears. Her desperate begging. Her futile attempts to block your steel-toed boots. She's not even trying! Again, again! In the face, the ribs! Another crack, another broken rib. Gasping for breath, this is no challenge! Again to the face!
No, she hadn't been trying. You realize her arms had been limp for several minutes now as you punished her. Her body's bruised and broken. You can barely see her eyes amongst the large bruises and contortions forming on her face. Her shirt is bloodied and ruined, evidence of just how severe a beating you gave her. The only evidence that she's still alive at all is the rasping noise of her breathing, and her chest moving ever so slightly. She may as well be in a coma.
She still has answers to give. You will not let her rest.
The slightest pressure, at first. Just as her body gets used to it, the push.
She awakens, coughing blood, choking for breath. She alternates between spitting blood all over your boot, and rasping louder than you thought possible for breath. Satisfied she's awake, you release your foot's chokehold, wiping the blood off on the grass. You cock your glock and remove the inkwell from your pocket.
Very calmly, you ask.
"Why? Why was there an inkwell on the floor?"
You coolly display the inkwell, holding it above her with your left hand. Her eyes flick back and forth between the inkwell, your gun, and your face. Wildly they try to find what answer you're looking for, trying to discern what manner of trick question this is. Dissapointing.
"I see. Well, goodbye."
Her eyes go wide as you squat, putting the glock closer and closer to her face, smiling the whole time. You just can't resist one last snappy remark.
"Don't worry, you'll be with your ancestors soo-"
You deflect the next blow with your pistol, sending the white wolf sprawling back, struggling to control her weapon. Her mistake.
You coolly display your glock, the distance too far for her to quickly disarm you. She freezes up, trembling. She knows who's in control.
You say, waving the glock around. She snarls, baring her teeth at you. Don't want to play, doggy? Fine. You lower your aim, at the figure on the ground. She freaks out, yelling and trying to step towards you and plead with you. You remind her of her place by quickly flicking back to her, staring dead down the ironsights at her center mass. You can see the wheels turning in her head as she thinks, and quickly comes to a conclusion. She hangs her head in shame.
She squats, slowly placing her shield and sword upon the ground. As she removes her hands, you can see she's balled her fist, and they tremble. In fear or anger, you do not know, but it matters little.
You direct her, advancing on her equipment as you force her to take steps back, waving your gun all the time. You wait until you reach the weapons, then kick them away, putting them even further from her, and separating the two.
"Get on your knees."
She snarls again, unhappy with the demands. Heh, unhappy. You'll give her something to be unhappy about.
You turn, and assault the crow tengu. Another kick, another punt. Her screams are muffled by the sound of your ferocious attack, deafened as you again assail her ribcage, boot thudding as you repeatedly slam it into the side of her. You snap back just in time to stop the white wolf in her tracks. Glaring at the gun, her entire body trembles. Helpless as she is, all she can do is curse under her breath and mutter oaths. A trickle of blood streams from her clenched fists. Anger it is.
You motion at her with the pistol. Reluctantly, she stoops, dropping to her knees. You smirk to yourself at her obedience, and circle around her so she can't see you, keeping the glock pointed at her head the entire time. A quick glance at their quaint home, nearly consumed by flames, only serves to excite you further.
"Now, who is responsible for this?"
You can hear her speaking through grated teeth, choking back the urge to scream and yell. Even when faced with death. Admirable loyalty. Misplaced, however.
You kick the inkwell from where it landed. You can see her ears twitch as it rolls past her. Perhaps she knows something.
She delays, pondering her answer for a moment.
"I don't know what that is."
Of course she doesn't. She just needs a reminder. You step forward and deliver a pistol whip to the back of her skull. She cringes and shrinks forward. You give her another. And another. Another and anotherand another until she's left laying on the ground covering her bloodied head and faintly whimpering.
You breathe deeply, stepping away for the moment and ridding yourself of the urge to kill. Not yet, not yet.
"I'm going to ask one more time. What is it?"
She bites back tears and yells the answer.
"I don't know!"
A pity. You raise your glock and pull the trigger.
Her ears twitch where she lay, catching the faint noise.
Click. Click click click.Click.
She springs forward, rolling on impact and bounces back up, sword in hand. Her entire body shakes with anger, her hands barely holding on to her sword. A crazy look gleamed from her eyes. A wicked smile crossed her mouth.
?I'm gonna fucking kill you!?
She breaks out into a headlong charge right at you. A quick appraisal of the situation and you know exactly how to get at her.
You put your hand up and drop to one knee. A pitiful sight, maybe, but it's one way to easily get her attention. She slows to a trot before stopping completely, her eyes still full of rage. You wait, but it seems she doesn't want to talk. Listen, perhaps, but not talk?
You pause tactfully, watching her ears strain for you to finish the sentence.
"-is still in there."
You say, mentioning to the burning house, now engulfed completely in flames.
It takes her a second to process the information. Her eyes go wide and she looks left and right, searching the ground for the second body. it's not there, of course. A realization, and one silent gasp escapes her lips.
You chuckle to yourself as her attention is completely taken off you. Frantically, she looks around, praying and hoping you're lying. She screams a cry of piercing anguish, dropping her sword and rushing towards the burning house.
You continue your laughter, standing up and brushing yourself off. Almost too easy, really. Whilst she's distracted, you'll step out. There's more important matters to attend to.
Like your glock. Why didn't it fire, hrm? A quick check reveals a large gash where you parried the white wolf's blade with it. The action's been completely destroyed. Won't fire shot of bashing it until the primer. Tch, useless. You discard it and continue on. A quick glance over your shoulder sees the white wolf carrying her friend out of the now collapsing house. You interrogated all three, but? none of them knew anything.
So it wasn't the tengu? how disappointing. At least not those tengu. No, no? she has a habit of listening. Listening and talking. If the tengu knew, she would've told. Someone is screwing with you, but who? Or what, rather?
You must hurry the plan. Before they can interfere.
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The rustle of leaves, the snapping of twigs. The most minor sounds in this boisterous forest. they're surrounding you. Moving in from every direction. Reinforcing their lines. Intent on nabbing you. it's not like you made any effort to disguise your route of ?escape?.
The fire crackles, bringing you back to the here and now. You still have roughly twenty minutes before they envelop you. You could run, but they'd chase you? Besides, that's not what you came here to do.
The old storage crate you were using as a makeshift seat creaks as you lean forward and retrieve your beans, the last of the food you had stored here. It would be a shame to leave it for those damn tengu when all is said and done. Besides, your several day long stakeout presented you no opportunities to eat. Which was - Sometime? yesterday. Or today. You're not sure which. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you are hungry, for the moment, and the tengu are not yet assembled for the slaughter.
You eat your beans. Slowly, deliberately. With one eye watching the surrounding forest. It wasn't movement you were looking for - It was the lack of it. The tengu do not disappoint. Slowly, the forest around you falls silent as their lines are bolstered. Dozens, maybe hundreds of them surround you. they're out for blood. They brought everyone.
Slowly. Patiently. Another bite, another scoop. The can is half full, then a quarter. The seconds tick by as you wait for them to close in, slowly strangling the encampment in the noose's grip.
Your spoon only meets the bottom of the tin. Time to go.
?Ladies and gentlemen!?
You scream at the top of your lungs, disturbing what little wildlife there was left in the vicinity. It seems you unnerved a few tengu as well, as you notice movement in several directions.
"There are two things that attract youkai:
One, fear! They will literally smell the sweat off your brow for miles!
You chuckle to yourself, standing up.
?Two is blood!Human blood!?
With one mighty kick, you smash your former seat open. A sickening procession of blood and human intestines pours out, staining the ground and filling the air with the stench of human remains. The sickening odor almost chokes you, but you remain standing long enough to hear it.
The shrill cries for blood, the crashing of entire trees, the shouts from the tengu. they're not even interested in you anymore. They break from their formation, running for their lives as the shrieks grow closer. Several run right past you in sheer terror. All you can do is laugh. A deep laugh, emanating from your gut. It bellows out, haunting the tengu as it bounces through the forest. It sounds as if the entire forest were laughing at them, treading upon its ground.
And now they would pay.
You fall backwards into the leaves, the earthen ground. As the voices grow louder you close your eyes and simply listen. Listen and smell. First, they'll cut you down. They won't stop there, oh no. A group that large will not be satiated by one human. They'll chase down to the tengu, butcher them without regards for age or disability or combatants. They probably won't stop until they've devoured half the mountain.
All that's left to do is lay back and? relax.
The screams, the shouts, the voices? The gloriousness of it all. It overwhelms you, lifts you up, gives you something to focus on.
Blinds you, deafens you, smothers you. All you can feel is the earth beneath you, and the faint taste of pine. The smell of the forest.
Pine and quiet. Silence.
You open your eyes.
Not red, nor magenta, nor Prussian blue. Just the green sway of trees in the wind. The faint wisp of light blue skies, hidden by the canopy.
Not tengu, dead nor alive. Nor youkai, nor wildlife. All was still.
Son of a bitch.
Son of a bitch!
They got it before you. Just like the tengus? home. They set it up. They changed something. The fire's smoldering, your supplies exactly as you left them. Was it merely time? Merely, time. No, no? You double check. Triple check.
The crate's still closed, but you can tell. it's too light. it's empty.
You slam your fist down hard enough to put it through the rotting top of the crate. You think. Putting your fist through it. Again. And again.
You turn your attention to the intruding voice. A peculiar sight it is, indeed.
A bushy old man, walking with a hunch and walking stick. White, matted hair, and a unibrow to match. A plaid shirt, and worn khakis. He couldn't be more than four feet fully erect. Here he was, however, on this forsaken mountain. Not a scratch on him, either.
Must be an eccentric. You scoff at the pitiful sight.
"Get out of here, old man. There's dangerous youkai about."
"I know. I took care of them."
What he says strikes right at your heart. it's not what he said, but rather how he said it. You have no doubt that he's not lying - He really did take care of those youkai.
?You don't see any bodies. This guy's up to something.
You draw your knife, waving it in his general direction. Free your hand from the crate, too.
"Well, well, old man. Just who the hell are you?"
He steps forward, cane striking the ground. You could've sworn it shook, just a little bit.
??Is really none of your business.?
He glares at you, specifically at your knife.
"You will work for me. You will obey me. You will serve me."
It takes you a moment to register what he just said. Then you burst out laughing. This guy's a crazy coot. You move towards him, twirling your knife.
"Get the fuck out of here, old man. Don't make me cut you up."
He furrows his brow.
"You challenge me?"
Your response is a mocking, whistling tune and you close, twirling that knife. Gonna cut him up?
The sudden outburst nearly knocks you over. Somehow, this crow snuck up on you. This-
This crow tengu. The one you killed. Twice! Twice, damnit! You killed her, didn't you?! He she stands, perfectly fine! Not a scratch on her!
She cocks her head at you as you choke back a gasp.
"I'm sorry, did I surprise you? I really do apologize, you see! However, I'm running an article on the human village, you understand? I'm looking for eyewitness testimony!"
She smiles, pushing her hair back behind her ears.
T-This tengu! This damned crow tengu! How is she here? Is she mocking you?
"That will be all, Aya. Thank you."
She looks at the old man, and cocks her head again.
"Huh? Okay, then! See you, human!"
She closes her notebook and turns around, flying off.
You're left a twitching wreck. Half of you wanting to simply chase her down, shoot her out of the air, rip those wings off. Half in awe of what you just saw. Some sort of quick healing - And perhaps great arrogance. You were just treated like an ant, whose actions meant nothing. Everything you had just done, erased. Made null in an instant.
"Just who the fuck are you?!"
You yell, brandishing your knife.
He ignores you.
"Do you see my power now? You will work for me."
Arrogance... What arrogance. Hahahaha. How do you deal with arrogance? You kill them.
Just like the tengu.
"And if I refuse?"
A wicked smile crossing your face, a wild twitch across the hand with your knife.
The world behind him warps, reality fades away. The heinous portal bitch and her servant stand behind him, spell cards and a shortsword at the ready.
"There is no refusal."
Your eyes appraise the pair. they're no fakes, nor illusions. Yukari twirls her umbrella. Her servant, Ran, wields a sword in her right, a spell card in her left.
That first part made me sad, but the second made me laugh. That trick with the box of blood and guts made no sense whatsoever.
Why the fuck would an army of tengu be so scared of regular youkai? How would those youkai "devour half the mountain?" Am I expected to believe that that one box is going to attract enough youkai to overrun the tengu? And even ignoring all that, youkai don't eat other youkai.
I thought it was something along the lines of; "Massive amounts of blood and gore send nearby Youkai into killing frenzy, Tengu are understandably demoralized by prospect of frenzied murder machines on their flanks, and retreat."
Also, I'm pretty sure the whole; "Devour half the mountain" was an exaggeration.
>>36771 >However, I believe that's more than a good reason. It was the equivalent of a slaughter.
Assuming I'm not misinterpreting this sentence, sorry, I'm not buying it. I was willing to meet you half way with the the guy easily killing youkai with pretty conventional means, because you sort of need to do that to write a snuff story, but that last part was just plain silly.
Both of them ready. Unflinching. Unwavering. Only the fox's ears flutter, the only sign of any jitters amongst the three. Yukari's cold, dead eyes stay firmly locked on you. You cannot even see the old man?s. A dozen plans cross your mind - Use one of your molotovs, use the fire to cover your retreat - Go on the offensive, attack the fox, go for the weakest link - Throw the knife at the old man, run, go for distance.
None of these will work against Yukari. Their effectiveness is dubious even against the scheming fox.
You release your knife and raise your hands in a half-hearted gesture of surrender. The old man nods.
"Yukarin, if you please."
Whisked away. Reality melts, humanity dies. Up is down, down is up, left and right are but words, and colors have feeling. Your senses scream a thousand different things at you - You're dying, you're alive, you're burning, you're freezing.
Your stomach lurches and knees buckle as the floor rights itself, your internal sense of balance returning. You grab the nearest wall and lean against it, the only thing keeping you up. Your three ?companions? seem to have suffered no ill effects, even the old man?
Damn him. What is he, what is he?
"I shall prepare a refreshment."
The fox departs, leaving you alone with miss portal and the old man. You release your hold of the wall and crack your knuckles, sense returning to all your extremities.
You sneer at him.
"I said sit down."
The old man isn't joking. Yukari flicks her umbrella, causing a resounding snap, and for it to fold back up into its stowed position. You're pretty sure she intends to break your kneecaps with that. Or try. Not that you would let her.
You reluctantly take a seat, plopping your ass down just about anywhere on the floor. Not like there's anything to sit on besides a paper-thin mat. The old man nods at Yukari, and she takes a seat across from you.
"You role is very? simple. You will retrieve three rare ingredients. That is all. You will return them here, we shall safeguard them, and when you are finished, you shall return to your world."
Hah! Return. That's a fucking good one. Your business is not finished here.
"Yeah? And if I don't like part of that agreement?"
Tch. Not a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Makes you wonder why he hasn't carried out that threat yet.
"And why do you need these three magical things so bad that you had to enlist me?"
They simply glare at you. Of course they do. Why would they tell you?
Right, then. That's all you're going to get out of them. Bastards. it's probably a trap, just a way to see you suffer.
Fortunately, you are very good at exceeding expectations and ambushing your ambushers.
You stand, shrugging.
"Right. Where do I go?"
Yukari speaks for the first time since you saw her, cold as ice. She is obviously not pleased by your presence.
"Hakugyokurou. It is something even you, human, should be able to handle. There won't be anyone there to hurt you, all you have to do is get there, pick it up, and come back. Do you think you can handle that, huh?!"
She nearly flies out of her seat, were she to be sitting in one. She ended her sentence spitting, quite literally, at you, as well as shaking her fist. The old man touches her on the shoulder, and she shuts up, retaking her seat. She still sends more than one dirty look your way.
Besides her tirade, though? That place. That place.
Tsk, the netherworld. Maybe they're just too lazy to send you to Hell so they're having you walk there. Bastards. What next, they'll send you unarmed?
"Am I going to get some weapons? Because if you remember very carefully, you had me disarm."
Yukari looked at the man and he nodded, again.
She snapped her fingers, large U.S., NATO, CIS, and Chinese marked crates appearing behind her.
That's much more like it.
[ ] Select weaponry and equipment.
-[ ] Up to two primary weapons (rifles, shotguns, light machineguns, etc?).
-[ ] One secondary weapon (Pistol/machine pistol/similarly short barreled weapon).
-[ ] Up to three pieces of equipment (Ballistic knife, thermal binoculars, frag grenades, specialized stun/flash/gas grenades, flare pistol, parachute, body armor, etc.).
-[ ] A knife will be on your person regardless. You may choose serrated or straight-edge, if you so wish.
[X] Semi-Automatic Silenced Assault Rifle.
-[X] Trusty Backup Pistol.
-[X] Body Armor, Thermal Goggles, Stun grenades.
-[X] Knife with one straight edge and one serrated edge.
[X] The path to our objective should be quick, and only slightly filled with sudden arbitrary violence. As such, we shall take a route less traveled, to lower the possibility of us encountering resistance or being discovered. Ask your...employers for a map, to ensure you know the way.
It's a little later than promised but, eh, nothing like a good 10 hours' sleep.
[x] SOPMOD M4 Carbine (Capable of single shot or three-round burst fire)
-4x Day Optical Scope
-Night Vision sight (carried in case of need)
[x] XM25 CDTE grenade launcher
-Can't really decide about ammunition types.
[x] Beretta 93R (Single or 3RB w/)
-Comes with shoulder stock for recoil control
[x] Body Armor
[x] Thermal Goggles
[x] Stun Grenades
[x] Plain/Straight edge
[x] The path to our objective should be quick, and only slightly filled with sudden arbitrary violence. As such, we shall take a route less traveled, to lower the possibility of us encountering resistance or being discovered. Ask your...employers for a map, to ensure you know the way.
[X] Selective fire HK416 modified for single, burst, and automatic fire.
-4x optical scope.
-Bipod for accurate fire at range.
-1 magazine loaded in rifle, 7 carried, for a total of 240 rounds.
[X] XM25 CDTE grenade launcher
[X] Beretta 93R w/ front grip
-1 magazine loaded in pistol, 2 carried, for a total of 60 rounds.
[X] Body armor
-IMTV, ESAPI plated to help against slashing, as well as gunshot and projectile damage.
-No helmet. The likeliness of return gunfire and/or striking the head is considered minimal enough to safely leave it.
[X] Thermal goggles
- TIG-7 modified to attach to headband.
[X] Stun grenades.
-2 flash & bang type.
-2 sting (i.e. pellet) burst type.
[X] Dual sided differential knife.
[X] The path to our objective should be quick, and only slightly filled with sudden arbitrary violence. As such, we shall take a route less traveled, to lower the possibility of us encountering resistance or being discovered. Ask your...employers for a map, to ensure you know the way.
You dig through the crates, discarding cheap Chinese knock-offs and going for the real deals. When money isn't a problem?
You'd prefer an AK, truth be told. However, no one around here is wearing body armor. No one you've seen. 5.56 will do. You cannibalize an M4 fitted with a night vision scope and dig out a 4x optical for the picatinny rail. A quick snap-on, and it's like it was built with the fucking thing. A bipod for additional accuracy, and you've got both short and long range shooting covered? but how much shooting?
This won't do. This won't do at all. The M4 won't cut it.
"Tch, look at him. Look at him drool over those weapons. Disgusting, how much he idolizes them."
You barely hear as a whisper. Doubtless, the gap bitch talking to the man. You swing around, using the rifle as a club, savagely smashing the table, the center point of the room. She jumps back in shock at your assault as you beat the table as if it tried to kill you. Laughing like a maniac, you can't help but swing it wildly side to side, golfing objects off the table with reckless abandon. A vase, a plate, some sort of stupid wooden statue. Left the vase goes, in pieces. Then right, the plate, similarly in pieces. You simply beat the statue into a bloodless pulp. The old man stares coldly at your display.
"I need a G36."
You say. The old man stares, Yukari looks shocked. Perhaps they don't understand. You'll have to give them an incentive to understand. Reaching across the remains of the table, you grab Yukari by her dress.
"Bundeswehr! KSK! Kommandos! German, you stupid bitch! German!I need German weapons!?
You scream, shaking her by the very frills of her dress. You're about to resort to bashing her against the opposite wall when you feel cold steel upon your neck. Her assistant is back. You slowly release your grip, placing your hands at a non-threatening position at your side. You remind her, though, just in case?
"German. German weapons."
She shudders in the moment you're allowed to look at her. You are roughly pulled away, the blade still at throat-point. She orientates you towards the crates and shoves you towards them.
"Get what you need and get out."
Her voice bolstered by the fact that she's holding a weapon and you aren't. Silly woman? a few steps closer and you'll relieve her of that sword. And most of her blood.
"I was just? explaining that to your master. I need a different weapon, you see?"
The anger boils in you again.
"Maybe you don't understand?"
You half calmly explain, rummaging through a NATO crate to find another M4. You display it.
"What use is a sword made of wood? What use is a rifle made of inferior parts?"
The answer is clear.
You throw it hard enough to shatter the stock clear into three pieces. Ran brandishes the sword at you, at full length, keeping you at arm and sword's length.
"Come on, come on!"
"I need guns and blood, but I'll settle for just one today!"
Circling each other, practically drooling. You keep trying to advance to either get her out of the way of Yukari & co., or get too close and suffer a nasty cut. You almost have her?
The standoff is interrupted by the old man.
?Yukarin, if you please.?
She turns her head to him, poised and about to jump into the fight, visibly aghast.
"You can't be-"
She tries to sputter out a refusal, but merely shakes her head and snaps her fingers. A thud sounds as a german marked crate appears near the door. She turns away and retreats into the other room, muttering the whole way. You spit in her direction, but that neither satisfies you, nor dissuades your shadow. Ran remains fixed, in between you and the old man, and your crate. Ugh.. what a bother.
"Hey? old man. You got some sway, tell the dumb fox to get out of the way."
You snicker, twisting your head. She doesn't flinch.
"Come on, come on? You want your stupid magic shit, you get her out of the way."
Seconds pass? Too many seconds. He taps his cane against the ground twice, and Ran lowers her sword arm, backing up.
You sneer as you go to check the crate. You can feel them staring at your back, but you don't care. You ravage the crate for its contents, discarding items whilst you search. Grenades, rifles, equipment? You pick up a MG36 and your heart flutters for a moment. What a beautiful gun? It is a shame it does not suit what you need to do today. You discard it and find its brother, the G36, your desired object. Feverishly, you throw it to the ground next to where you dropped your modified M4. Your fingers tingle as you disassemble both, your hair stands on end. Your hands shake as you remove the receiver and barrel from the G36, replacing their equivalents in the M4. The parts are a bit larger, and not meant to be interchanged, so it's a difficult fit, but one that is entirely possible?
With a click, the barrel locks and a giggle escapes your lips. You brandish your new HK416, swinging it about to test its weight and usability. The results are quite pleasing.
"Enough. You have had more than enough time. Finish and leave."
Oh? that fox is getting uppity again. She must think she's in charge or something, with her master out of the room. You'd beat her, but? Ah, the guns, the guns! Those are more important. More important. You wave her off and return to hunting for equipment, selecting several items that complement your loadout. A dedicated grenade launcher, a machine pistol, the finest body armor, thermal goggles, stun grenades, and a new knife. And ammunition. Lots of ammunition. And a mix! Tracer, AP, hollow point? You get it all equipped and stand up, various pieces clinking together.
"Well? You look ready. Get out. I'll give you directions to Hakugyokurou if you need it, but that's it."
Tsk? Naughty, naughty fox. You are now on the shit list.
"I know where Hakugyokurou is. I don't need you telling me how to get myself killed."
"Good, then. Get out.?
One last flex? Nothing restricting movement.
"I'm ready, I'm ready! Bye dear!"
You say viciously, vindictively, and sarcastically as you ready yourself. You are about to step out when the old man speaks behind you.
?No killing. We will be watching.?
You flip him off over your shoulder, only for the door to slam shut in your face by its own volition. Twitch.
?Perhaps you did not understand me, human. If you kill a single sentient being, youkai, tengu, human, or otherwise, I will personally drag you before the yama for your crimes. She deals a fate far worse than the hell you will be going to.?
Who does he?
Who the fuck does he think he is?
Just as you are about to turn around and strangle him, the door swings wide open, and you are pushed out, by what seems like a particularly powerful gust of wind. By the time you turn around, the door slams shut again.
You'll kill him.
You will kill him.
And you will enjoy it.
"Take it and take it and take it and take it and take it all..."
You begin to sing.
The old man tapped his cane against the wall.
?You may come out now. He is gone.?
"I am well aware. I was awaiting permission."
Satori says as the false wall is pushed aside. She brushes off her dress and covers her third eye with her hand, blocking the view of the eye rapidly darting across the room.
"I believe it is as you said. Almost exactly, unfortunately."
The man said, deep in thought.
?You may leave.?
She nodded her head.
"I must return to my pets. You are welcome any time, the esteemed."
He waited for her to depart and Ran to vacate to clean up the mess. He shook his head but once.
?A most troubling development??
The old man said, limping over to where you had broken the M4. He examined the pieces, shaking his head.
?You must not let him intimidate you, Yukarin.?
"Smash it and crash it and thrash it and thrash it?
they're only toys."
You continue, your eyes glazing past the numerous humans flooding through the village. You are searching for one, one to use? That one. To see if he is still there. Some of their eyes waver in your direction, but you ignore them. You're only searching for one? One. That one.
The cut, the break, the snap. Down like a sack of bricks he went, he went! Nobody heard, oh no. Not even his wife. The cutting was the worst part, really. That awful cutting. It was sawing, more like. Bone is such a hard material to get through. Oh how many teeth were broken trying to cut through his spine. And the bags! The water- and blood- tight bags. Oh those were so hard to find. Then, piece by piece. Shepherded out, up half a mountain, carefully packed away. Oh, the whole night that took! And no rest in the morning. No, no, nobody must know. The man must have been taken in the night by youkai. Surely a human could not be so dastardly?
But is your work undone? Has the bastard erased all your deeds? The tengu? now this mongrel, too?
You arrive at his residence, the wife on the front porch, unfazed. Knitting away. It is undone. It must be undone.
With barely two steps you are up the porch. The wife barely has time to ask what you are doing before you put your foot right through the front door. The man comes running from the back of the house, a beaten-up frying pan in his hand.
Your voice booms throughout the house.
The man waves the frying pan threateningly at you.
"Who the hell are you?!"
?The yama demands your soul. You will pay for your crimes. Come with me.?
He sputters in horror.
"W-What?! I'm not dead! I'm not dead! I've done nothing!"
He drops the frying pan in terror and starts to back away. Before he gets out of sight, you advance and surprise him with the ferocity of your assault. He lays unconscious before you in moments.
He didn't respond, too busy wetting himself for the third time. This time in the boat. "In the boat.
You weren't told anything about maiming.
Another round of pistol whipping. Hitting and hitting and hitting until he bleeds from his head, left a sniveling wreck on the bottom of the boat, barely containing his snot.
He does nothing but sob some more. Frustrated, you hoist him by his hair, pulling him up to eye level. He screams and protests that you'll rip his hair out, but all you can focus on in his eyes. His eyes, so terrified, so rapidly moving back and forth, looking for a solution.
He doesn't need those, does he?
Your thumb finds its way beneath his left eye. His pupil dilates, his breathing quickens. He pleads, he begs, but there is no recourse left. You jam it into his eye socket, mutilating the eye as if it were jello. He thrashes violently as you twist and turn your thumb, rubbing against the back of the socket, scraping against bone. His thrashings falter, and there is little left to mangle. You remove your thumb with a sick slurping sound, and drop him back to the boat. Sclera and blood pools below the man as he silently weeps, covering his eye.
"I can see that."
The boat rocks gently as it runs up on the shore of the opposite side of the river Sanzu. You inhale sharply and smell, the most wonderful smell.
It smells just like death.
"This is where you and me part ways."
The man explodes, leaping out of the boat.
"Y-You can't! You can't make me face the yama alone! You don't know what I've done! I can't!"
"On the other hand, Jacob. I can, I do, and I think you've misunderstood the situation here."
You turn, pulling your beretta from its holster. His eyes light up as he finally recognizes the situation.
"You? you're not with the yama?"
His hands tremble as he reaches for his missing eye. His mouth gapes open, a terrible wail emanating as he realizes his fate is exactly what you've proscribed - And you're the express.
Everywhere but him. The ground, past him into the river, into the air. Twenty rounds go by in a flash as he topples over backwards in sheer terror - Wetting himself for the fourth time. Your hands tremble and your joints ache as a cold wind runs through the air.
Quickly putting on a front, you laugh wildly at the sight and place the gun to your head, repeatedly pulling the trigger. Click. Click. Click.
"We will meet again, Jacob."
You turn, walking away from the river, further into the netherworld, swaying like a drunk man. Subconsciously, you replace the beretta's magazine. Fourty left.
The path is long and hazed. The fog closes in the further you get towards your destination. It winds and winds, seemingly looping back on itself a dozen times. You cannot see back far enough to tell. What you can see through the haze is spirits. Hundreds of them. White, floating spirits. All heading in the same direction as you.
A cold wind sweeps over the flat road as you hear the sound of a blade being unsheathed. Appearing out of the fog is none other than the resident gardener, Hakurouken in hand. She has a determined look on her face? One could almost call it her murderous, were she so predisposed.
"I will not let you past, you evil being!"
She raised her sword, preparing for the kill. Guess she's serious?
[ ] Battle strategy?
Keep in mind that MC has previously resided in Gensokyo for a period of time. He knows the bigwigs, and knows what they are capable of, if not their specific spellcards. Furthermore, danmaku can and will kill. Please see >>/th/146635 for a detailed explanation of the system, should you not read my other work.
She must have little to no idea of modern warfare. Also, she is approaching us with her sword, not danmaku. Therefore, I would say that we first put some distance between us and her, keeping her away with covering fire, then smoke the area and equip the thermal goggles, then keep moving in random directions to throw her off, then, when we're about a hundred meters or more away from her, go for disabling shots to legs and arms while she's still stumbling about blindly.
I am not sure, but are military-grade smoke grenades not at the same time more or less tear gas? Won't it be hard to breathe in there?
[x] Keep her on distance with covering fire while moving away.
-[x] Smoke the area, use thermal goggles.
--[x] Disable her through crippling of limbs.
This fight should be like the scene in Black Lagoon where Balalaika got H?nsel killed by snipers.
Read it, pal. Basic groundworks to modern warfare. Lesson one: if you see a machinegun you are already dead, you just don't know it yet.
If you want it gone, tough luck. It took the fuckers four years to figure that one would need mobile bulletproof cover to properly get rid of them.
Four years. And more than ten million soldiers dead.
Hrm, whilst doing research for this update, it appears the XM25 is actually magazine fed, not allowing a quick switch of grenade types. For the purposes of this story, it is to be assumed that the XM25 is actually a break-action and/or single-shot grenade launcher.
[x] Keep her on distance with covering fire while moving away.
-[x] Smoke the area, use thermal goggles.
--[x] Disable her through crippling of limbs.
Right, sword at a gunfight and all that. Foolish girl. You barely raise your rifle and fire a burst at her legs. The crack of metal-on-metal resounds as she-
She's dual-wielding. She wasn't doing that a moment ago. She's not hurt, either. You heard she was fast, but-
She moves to advance.
All restraint is thrown to the wind. You aim for the center mass, switching to automatic. She takes another step right as you begin firing.
Clank clank clank, the bullets accumulate at her feet as you continue firing.
Click. The sound of an empty magazine sings your defenselessness to the winds. She crouches to assault you, and you have only time to draw your pistol and fire two shots before she's upon you. You dodge the first and absorb the second with your pistol as you try to duck away. She slices at you again and you're forced to block it with your already damaged pistol. You fight her sword to a draw, and step back before violently moving forward, unbalancing her for a moment in the clash. Just enough to step inside sword length, you throw yourself against her. it's incredibly awkward for her to slash at you at point-blank range, but more so for you to aim. Grappling her with your left hand, you end up using your inoperative pistol to bludgeon her. You bring it across her head in one swift motion, staggering her back and giving you a chance to rebound away from her. You quickly discard your pistol and reload your rifle as she finally stops to rest on one knee, both swords planted in the ground.
"Not bad, not bad?"
She murmurs below her breath, blood trickling down the side of her head from where you struck her. She looks up from the ground to see you having loaded flechette into your grenade launcher.
It gives off a loud thump as it fires, hundreds of tiny projectiles fired in a shotgun pattern. Youmu has her swords blocking in moments, but the sheer amount of projectiles is too many. A flurry of sword activity happens as you fire, but you still hear her cry in pain. She's back on her feet just as you load in a HE round. Blood flows from several lacerations on her arms and legs, but she seems to have protected her torso above all else. Oh well.
Thump. A single slash and-
?It didn't explode. The detonating fuse speared upon her sword, the rest of the explosive uselessly rolling across the ground. Shit.
You break open the launcher, quickly replacing your lost grenade with the first one you can grab. Youmu starts to run, quickly closing the distance. You have just enough time to snap it closed and raise it, firing again at point-blank rage. She brings her sword up-
Striking the grenade. It erupts, shooting smoke from where it was cleaved apart, spewing noxious smoke in a great cloud all around you. You throw your arm up as you instinctively begin to cough, smoke filling your lungs. You hear Youmu coughing as well, opposite you, obscured by the smoke. You re-stow your grenade launcher as quickly as possible, choosing a direction and breaking into a run for the quickest straight-line speed, gaining distance. The further you go, the thicker the fog closes in, concealing your opponent and yourself. You stop almost 70 meters away, doing a quick 180 and lowering your thermals.
White. Completely white. The entire area reads white, except the ground, a cold blue. Is it the fog? You remove your goggles.
it's not the fog. it's not your enemy playing tricks on you. it's thousands of spirits, pouring around you like a rock in a stream. Each one renders your thermal equipment useless, leaving you with only your own senses to guide you. Somewhere off in the distance, you hear the sound of a sword being dragged across the ground. Somewhere.
>>37814 Weaboo fightan magic and d20 katanas. Well, awesome.
Also: since when do souls have heat signatures? Would have made all those theological debates a lot easier.
If they had any, they should be cold, making spotting the warm girl much easier.
I guess the spirits are actually literally surrounding him, and Youmu is farther away, so even though the spirits are kinda see-through, to an heat sensing goggles they'd appear solid [whatever color "cold" is]. More unlikely is that youmu's halfghost nature makes her less visible.
Hey, just wondering how you anons feel about the updates and update speed. I squeeze them out when I can, but this story is very low priority. Are you happy with this? Is the story compelling? Is there anything I could do better besides putting in more effort and time? Let me know!
>>38036 That question is hard to answer. Your technicals (grammar, vocab etc.) are good, and the story is alright on it's own at the moment. The only thing that is a little bother (and could be a lot more later on) is how this guy seems to be completely alone and totally ok with it. I know that this looks like it's a cental part of his character, but there should be some intersocial that does not consist of threats and violence. Would make him a more three-dimensional person. No one is all killer or all nice guy, but many people are both. Maybe it would help to show him show some emotion from time to time, and I do not mean blind rage or fear or general insanity.
Compare ddyk's story Friction About Ground which really started kicking in for me when insano-protagonists love relation and dark backstory with Yorihime got revealed and started influencing the happenings.
I am specifically shying away from giving him even the darkest shade of gray for reasons which I can explain... far into the future, when I've completed my stories. He does have a backstory, but one that I am working through how to explain and/or fit in. I can probably twist it into an appropriately dark explanation, or even... show a little love. I'm just not sure how to do it, quite!
The spell card burns itself into your mind as they are want to do. This one you are unfamiliar with? But the name suggests a silent attack. You raise your rifle to hip level, waiting for her to come. And waiting. And waiting. The silence is eerie. Palpable almost. Even as the spirits dissipate, you find yourself waiting for an invisible foe.
Your eyes are useless anyway. You close them, focusing on the one thing that matters.
Straining your eyes. Trying to pick out a singular sound against the deafening silence.
Nothing. The complete lack of noise.
Not even your own breath. Not even your own breath.
You turn, screaming at the top of your lungs as you empty a magazine into the void. She's anywhere. Everywhere. You can't hear a thing.
One magazine turns into three as your circle, laying down fire at waist level across the whole of the damned field. You glance around wildly, looking for the slightest flicker in temperature. it's only as you turn around to deliver another volley when she appears within feet. Your offhand reaches for your pistol, finding its holster empty. In desperation you grab the closest item to it and throw it at the oncoming assailant.
She pauses for a split second as she bats your knife out of the air, prompting you to kick forward, hitting her square in the chest and sending her tumbling backwards as you stagger backwards from the uncoordinated strike. Even as you flail, you fire off your entire magazine towards her, now acutely aware of the return of sound. Your shots pound your eardrums as you can hear each successive round being deflected. it's only when you take a final step back as your magazine runs empty that you manage to glimpse her.
Having fallen onto her behind, she awkwardly holds her swords up as to protect herself from your attacks. Such a situation is difficult to defend yourself in, and you don't let up. With one fluid motion you eject your magazine and have another in before the first hits the ground. A horrendous burst of fire erupts from your rifle as 30 more rounds assault her, her motions growing more frantic as you wane towards empty. With the last 6 rounds, you see her eyes dilate in pain as a red mist shoots past her body from her hip.
Mechanically, frantically, you hammer in another magazine, stepping forward as you hose her down with fire. She screeches as you blow away her right cheek, falling onto her back even as you continue to fire. Feverishly, you reload with your next to last magazine, seeing her weakened state. You fire in bursts, the gun burping as it rains death upon her. She can barely deflect, her body tired, weakened, and on the verge of collapse. She swats your first burst out of the air, then the second. The third misses on account of your frenzied state. Four and five meet a similar fate as the first. Sixth tears her right arm apart. She desperately swings at you with her remaining swordhand, barely out of reach, and manages to block seven, eight, and nine. Your weapon jams at ten.
Her arm collapses as you stop firing, spent. Her body barely twitches as she looks up with fear in her eyes. Utter terror as she knows she's going to die. You simply shrug and clear the jam, putting in the last magazine.
"Time to die."
Your ears ring out as you pull the trigger, an onrush of sounds deafening you. You're swept up into a wave. A sudden wave, with no clear form. You barely right yourself in the air as your feet touch the ground again, beautiful ethereal butterflies blinding and swarming you. You swat the mass, breaking the entire mass apart in front of you. Their conjurer, the Queen of the Dead, already at her gardener's side. Guess you won't get to finish what you started.
"Enough is enough."
She says, as if to lecture you. You can't help but sneer at the thought. She ignores you, gently probing Youmu's wounds. You're about to speak up yourself before she does so for you.
"Come. I've been expecting you."
She stands up, leaving the gardener where she lay, now completely unconscious. The scene makes you giddy, almost estatic. You don't take the few seconds to dwell on it, however. There's little reason hanging around this dead place. Within moments you seem to have traversed kilometers, the walls of a great mansion coming out of the mist. She merely swings her arms and the gates creak apart to reveal its open courtyard, a single table in the center. Two places are set; One towards the castle, one towards the gate. She takes her seat at the former.
"No. You know what I want. Give me it, I leave, I don't have to take a shit in your teacup."
She looks up from her place, her eyebrows cross. Maybe she didn't hear you.
"My bowels are full."
She says, lowering her gaze and picking up her tea, taking a sip. Seems she prefers it without the excrement.
"You see, there are many things in this world. Many things beyond your understanding. Terrible things. Horrible things. Things born of blood and fire, rage and despair. Perhaps even grim determination. They are there before you know them. Growing inside of you, becoming you. Or perhaps you become them. I have never understood such a thing. Such a terrible thing.
You clear your throat, doing your best impression of politeness you can think of.
"Nobody wants to hear a speech."
"Very well. I need you to perform a service for me. A simple thing, really. it's something you are well skilled in and oddly appropriate for. It should not take you long."
You grow tired of her ranting, yelling at her.
?Spit it out!?
She pauses, closing her eyes.
"it's simple. I would like you to destroy Saigyou."
You say, eagerly raising your rifle. One mag left, but who cares, really? it's a fucking tree.
"You'll need this."
The deathly princess places an ornate, sheathed dagger onto the table. Could always use a backup? Tsk, you're not even sure where your other knife went. You grab the dagger and unsheathe it, looking it over. It has gems and engravings studded into the handle, transitioning seamlessly into its sheath when put away. The blade itself is little more than that. Sharpened, pointed, lethal. You tuck it away on your belt.
Yuyuko motions away from the courtyard's entrance, deeper into the castle. Your cue to get to it. You glance back at the ethereal. Her eyes remain closed as she dwells on her tea. She better enjoy it, because she doesn't have much time left.
The castle folds into the earth around you as you proceed further in. A gate, an archway, a bridge over a swollen riverbed. Reality warps the further you go, the architecture contorting into odd, strange, and downright impossible shapes as you walk for several kilometers. The deeper you go, the stronger the scent of cherry blossoms become. Insufferable it becomes until you reach the final keep. Grandiose stone walls oppose you, towering sixty feet high. The wrought iron gate itself stands a full 40 feet above you, fashioned to protect the secrets of the damned. At your presence it retracts, the very earth shaking as humongous gears pull away all protection. With one final click, the gate locks itself into an open position, and the world changes. Where there was once the sweet whistle of the wind, there is nothing. Where there was once a whiff of cherry blossoms, there is nothing. Where there was once blackness, there is something.
The youkai tree Saigyou Ayakashi stands before you in all its infamy. It is in full bloom.
"Hello, old friend."
You announce as you walk up to its magnificent blackened trunk. You can feel its presence, its power, its hatred. It holds only contempt. You can't help but remember these feelings, this rage. So very familiar?
Taste the blood.
Tears of pain.
Memories overtake you. Ideas and concepts blink into existence, forcing themselves upon you, consuming your attention. A dozen memories burn themselves into you, forcing you to remember, to remember your training.
"Alpha group, go!"
No time to think, you slam open the lock on your rope and jump backwards off the building. It catches automatically 10 meters down and brings you crashing through one of the top floor's windows, catching an armed gunman in the chest. At the apex of your swing you detach your harness, stopping in a roll several feet away. You barely have time to get up as you notice movement from the gunman. A quick pistol draw puts three in him, still on the ground. You look up as the rest of your team crashes in through the adjacent windows. A quick nod and a breaching charge is put on the door to the stairwell, three taking position on the left, you at the front of two others on the right.
The charge explodes, blowing away the door. With one turn, you swing into the stairwell, scanning for targets below you. You're greeted by a wave of green gas exploding from the floors below you. Before you can step back out of the stairwell, it overtakes you. Blinding, caustic, it fills your mask as it pours out over your comrades. You hear them scream as the entire group is blinded, then ravaged by gunfire.
?it's an ambush! it's an ambush! The Chechens are everywhere!"
You flail, batting at the gas as you try to gain your bearings, deafened by the radio chatter.
"they're in masks! The Chechens have masks! Shoot the ones with masks!"
You strike an object, something that flinches. Striking at it again, you get your face close enough to butt heads with another masked gunman. Quickly, you bash at him, trying to gain distance. He bounces to the edge of your view, just barely visible amongst the gas. With a quick motion, you pull up your pistol and put two into his facemask, blood spattering the inside cover. You quickly disengage as he drops, trying to put your back to a wall. You back up into another, and you turn around just as he does with his rifle. You shoot low, blowing apart his groin, then both thighs. You try backing up in the other direction, waylaid by another gunman to your left. Your pistol clicks empty as he is taken by surprise, turning to shoot at you. You raise your rifle and fire from the hip, your gun burping as you unleash a burst. Chunks of the man fly away even through his body armor. Before you can register the third enemy's death, you hear bullets whiz past you from two directions. Dropping to your knees amongst the gas, you unleash half your remaining magazine in the first direction, then the rest in the second. You hear two bodies accompany your fire, and you quickly scuttle around on the floor until you reach the stairway again.
Taking a moment to clear your breath, you look to see that the gas has largely dissipated. You can still hardly see more than 3 meters, but what you can see is horrifying. The rest of your team is laid out, struck down even as you fought around them. You take off down the stairs, your boots resounding as the metal stairs creak under your fury.
"Alpha needs backup, top floor! Everyone's dead, I'm the only one left!"
You quickly say into the radio as you round the stairs and come down another floor.
"Say again?! What's going on up there? Where's captain-? "Communications are compromised! Proceed with the mission!"
As if listening in, a man emerges on the floor beneath you on cue. You stop and aim at him through the floor grate, and he immediately raises his hands above his head, face obscured by his shirt wrapped around it as an improvised gasmask.
"If you can't see their face, they're Chechens! Shoot them all!"
Without so much as a flinch, you open up on the man on orders from headquarters. He spins from the impact of the bullets, crashing over the guardrail and falling in a heap on the bottom floor. You storm after him to confirm the kill. As you reach halfway between the second and ground floor, the door to the main auditorium opens, an armed gunman with a gasmask and rags checking to see what the commotion was. Without even stopping, you put three through his chest and grab his body as he falls, using him as a human shield and slotting your rifle under his left shoulder.
The whole auditorium turns to look at you. Dozens, maybe hundreds of Chechens, their faces hidden by rags and gasmasks and all sorts of things as the gas rolls lazily over the floor. Some are crying, some are yelling. All will die.
You yell as you start unloading, not caring particularly for who you hit first. With the targets so densely packed, your random fire still strikes down a dozen. Several turn and fire at you, rounds ricochet off the nearby wall and tear apart your shield as you advance, fumbling to reload your magazine.
Suddenly, the main steel doors explode, a huge wave of fire and shrapnel engulfing your enemies. Even more appear as they storm in through the front, armored and trained, clad with gasmasks. You see the unarmed ones scatter as they all start shooting wildly, and you are shooting, and they are shooting, everyone is shooting. they're escaping. Too many people are escaping. Nobody's paying attention to you, but you are paying attention to them. You've got to get them.
You release your shield, now a mangled corpse. You quickly trace some of the fleeing masses and squawk your radio.
"Alpha going after fleeing enemy forces!"
"Spetsnaz! Get out of the way!"
You yelled, throwing a man out of the way and throwing yourself against the door to an apartment complex. It'd been a hell of a chase, but you had them, you had them! You take half a second to scan the lobby and identify the stairwell. Upstairs?
You quickly enter, leaping up three stairs at a time. You identify her trail, pausing for a moment outside the door, pressing your back against the wall. One? Two?
You pivot, kicking open the door and brandishing your rifle. A dozen women screech in the confusion as things fly and your vision is obscured. You swat a bed sheet out of the air to see a woman with her arms raised running at you. There's a large extrusion underneath her shirt, a clear mark of the suicide bomber.
Without even thinking, you step forward into her rush, pulling your knife. It sinks easily into her gut as you catch her with your shoulder. You look down to see her dress soaking with red as blood pours out.
You can feel it overtaking you.
Sirens roared as half a dozen cars of the internal security services arrived at the scene. A perimeter was established within minutes after witnesses stated they had seen an armored commando matching his description entering the building. Several officers took position near the entrance to the building as a meeting was quickly drawn up between the local FSB director and law enforcement head. They looked over the building's plans as the perimeter was secured.
"Don't know, but we're missing some?"
"Chechens. it's a convent."
"One of ?em's pregnant."
"Think they're ready to go."
"I hope so?"
The signal was given, and the lobby doors were battered down again. There was shouting for several minutes as buildings and floors were cleared, but no gunshots, a good sign. The directors waited tensely for news. Eventually, a single man emerged, one of their agents. His face was pale, and his hands shook. He seemed to look blankly toward the horizon. They motioned for him, and he cautiously made his way to them.
"Well, is he in there?"
He shakes his head, eyes barely moving as if frozen in horror.
"it's a massacre.."
You blink, the blood coming down in huge globs now. The silence is broken by the groan of creaking wood, as if Saigyou was crying out for its loss. You can't help but run a hand over its trunk as the blood stains its roots. Looking up, you can see its withered, dead branches.
The deed is done.
You blink, and recognize the familiar smell of herbs. Glancing down, your seat still prepared, the other guest laying dead on the ground, her dress stained with blood with no visible wound.
That's fucking annoying. She never told you where the ingredient was. You squat over her, giving her a quick frisk and discovering her left hand grasping shut, something in her palm. You try to pry her fingers apart, but they're pretty well stuck. Still, not your problem for long. You unsheathe the dagger she gave you from your belt, aiming carefully, and bring it down upon her wrist. With a few more hacks, you take her hand off. Careful to let the blood drain, you wait for it to finish then place it inside your vest pocket.
You stand up, turning to leave when you see the gardener barely standing in the entrance. She has a bandage around her hips and one of her arms is completely lame, hanging at her side. Furthermore, where you hit her in the face is completely missing, an ugly scarring across her cheek that shows her teeth as she grinds them against the object in her mouth, the handle of one of her swords. In her good hand she holds the other.
You can't help but laugh. it's an incredulous sight. She can barely stand. You briskly walk over to her, intending to brush right past. As you get close, she tries to awkwardly swing at you, missing as you easily sidestep her. You strike her in the side of her right knee as she passes you, causing her to cry out in pain and collapse, the sword in her mouth clattering across the ground. Even as you prepare to truly leave, she struggles to get on to her feet, using her good hand and the sword therein to push herself up off the ground.
You can imagine a few things she might still be useful for.
You take a step back towards her, rearing up and giving her a good kick across the ribs, sending her flopping about a few feet away, gasping for breath. You pick up her first sword where she dropped it from her mouth and look it over, holding it up to the immortal Gensokyoan sun.
A brilliant piece, really. Its edge is sharp and gleams brilliantly, while the blade itself shows no obvious damage despite the fact that it must've deflected dozens of your shots. You bring it down in a slicing motion, the action making a soothing whoosh through the air. It truly is a fine piece, but you've no use for it. You doubt the girl could hold her own against more than one opponent armed with an automatic weapon with even minimal training, and it is not exactly hard to train people to fire blindly towards the enemy on full automatic.
It sure is a good thing it's Gensokyo, then. There aren't many guns around here, and you could probably count the ones that Yukari hasn't brought in on one hand. She still might have a use.
You plant the sword firmly in the ground and take the two steps to reach Youmu, still lying on the ground. You squat and disarm her easily as she lay face up, barely following you with her eyes. You put her second sword in the ground next to the first one and appraise her situation.
Her clothes are matted with blood where she's been wounded, the right side of her skirt soaked in with a stream of half dried blood running all the way down to her sock. However, the wound doesn't seem to have hit anything vital.
Her arm has been ravaged, and you can clearly see tendon where the wound openly festers. it's likely that her arm is shot, no pun intended. Without proper medical attention it's very likely to get infected. That is if she doesn't die of blood loss first, as small dribbles of blood still ooze from the wound. It is by far the most serious injury.
Her face is ruined, but mostly fine. There is a large patch of skin missing where you hit her in the cheek, but blood has caked around the wound and on the side of her teeth. It presents the same risks as any open wound, but isn't serious.
Her condition seems to be mostly the result of blood loss, rather than physical wounds. A transfusion is unlikely, given that you're neither a doctor nor a willing blood donor. Thankfully, the body naturally produces blood. Or so you've been told. Basically, if she stops bleeding, she'll live. Probably. Now, where does the tactical vest carry its medical supplies?
Ah, yes. You retrieve it from one of the front pockets, unwrapping the contents and splaying them across her chest. You put your hand over each one, repeating its use, although it is not much.
"Disinfectant. Sutures. ACE bandages."
You hesitate on the fourth one, then pick it up and toss it away. She doesn't really need the anesthetic. She did try to kill you, after all. It was only enough to take the edge off, anyway.
You take a seat next to her swords and wait. Her head turns toward you and you can tell she's trying to figure out just what the hell you're doing. Minutes pass, and without an answer she turns away. An hour. Two.
Her hand reaches up and takes the disinfectant.
You gleefully watch as she fumbles with one hand, trying to suture her hip. Eventually, she's forced to rip away most of her skirt and take 20 laborious minutes to do the deed, wincing with every stitch she makes. She takes a few minutes to rest, then works on her arm with similar results, bandaging it up as well. Finally, she moves to her face and you can see her wince in full as her facial muscles twitch and simply hurt her more. Still, she mostly closes that wound up. What was once an ugly opening in her face is now merely a bloodied, cleaned wound.
You can't help but clap in a sarcastic, admonishing manner. The fact that she is still moving is, frankly, astounding.
You proposition, standing and moving over her. Her eyes defiantly stare back at you now, even from where she lay.
"What makes you continue to fight?"
She does not respond.
"Is it something simple? Is it revenge? Is it vengeance? Your lady lies dead. I beat you. Your body is failing. Why do you fight?"
Her face contorts into a snarl, defiant even now.
"Maybe it's pride, honor, courage? Some noble vision, some irrational compulsion to do good? I tell you, I'll take those things from you. I'll take every one, and grind them up into dust."
You continue, squatting over her. You run your hand over her lackluster breasts, taunting her as she lay there. You mean every word, however. If she reigns against her leash, you won't hesitate to come down on her hard.
"Maybe I need to take those from you now, before you get any stupid ideas."
You say, suddenly groping her breasts. She gasps and you barely duck backwards to avoid her swing, catching it as it passes you, useless in the attack. You straddle her chest, using one hand to hold her arm down and the other to choke her. You got her.
"Is that it?! Rage, anger? Do you have to kill me? No matter what you do, you can't stop fighting until you kill me, right?!"
You say the last bit as you laugh, your own such feelings clear in your blackened heart. You make sure to push her head down into the dirt to emphasize your point.
"That's good, girl. I want you to feel that. I want you to hate me. You're going to use that fury for me. You're going to kill for me. You'll slaughter at my command without so much as a blink. You will be my instrument, even if I am unable to kill so myself. And in exchange? When this is all over?"
You lean down, whispering in her ear.
"I'll let you kill me."
You release your hold, leaning back even as you continue to straddle her. This way, you're still in an advantageous position even if she tries to strike. She grabs your collar with her good arm, pulling you back down. Barely, she makes out a few words.
Not unexpected, but this makes getting across the river a little difficult. You can swim, but this is a supernatural river. That dinghy would be nice about now?
You glance back to make sure the girl is still following you, and sure enough, she is. You're surprised she hasn't tried to stab you in the back yet. That's the first thing you would've done.
Still, there's got to be a boat around here somewhere?
You turn left, and walk along the bank. The clank of sword sheathes follows behind you steadily. Step. Clank. Pause. Pause. Step. Clank. Limping. it's annoying, but just not worth dealing right now.
Still, miles along the Sanzu could be mere feet. You do not dwell on how long or how far you walk. You merely walk, knowing you will find something eventually.
Your knowledge of the Sanzu is rewarded when you spy a dinghy on the horizon, opposite a sleeping figure on the bank. Within seconds, you're in clear sight. it's the yama's tender, of course. You wished it had been someone else, but the Sanzu is not exactly a place friendly to humans. Thus, really the only people you could've found on this side? were youkai and this girl. At least this one is asleep and friendly? to living humans.
You step over her into the boat, it rocking gently on the waves as you enter. You look back to see Youmu uncertainly waiting several steps away, apparently unwilling to chance waking the ferrywoman. You motion for her to hurry the fuck up and sit down. Reluctantly, she sneaks past and gets on the boat opposite you. You kick the pole over to her, and untie the boat from where it is moored. When you've turned back around, she's already begun punting, moving you both out into the river.
An hour passes. Two. You have heard of such a phenomena on this river. Without the ability to control distance, it varies at random. What might be ten feet is compressed to ten inches, or upwards to an entire mile. You have even heard of a group being stuck on the river for more than a week, although it seems likely to you that they panicked and got turned around. The entire river is clouded in a permanent fog, so it is impossible to measure without advanced tools. Tools which, conveniently, have never fallen into Gensokyo. What you would do for a laser rangefinder?
Regardless, so long as you proceed in a straight line?
Youmu trembles now. What used to be a weak grip by both hands is only one laboriously pushing away with great awkwardness. Ah, well. If she collapses you'll just toss her overboard.
Almost annoyingly, the shore appears now. A mile, a step away, and then 30 meters. It settles on the last, seemingly the true distance. It takes another minute, but you reach the shore. As soon as you collide with the sandy shore, Youmu drops the pole, panting heavily. You ignore her, getting out and stretching your legs. A quick exercise assures you that you still have full control of all your limbs, especially your trigger finger.
You remark back at the boat. The girl gets up, following as loyal as a dog. She's impressive, almost. She must hate you greatly. Slit your throat, maybe. You wonder if she'll try that next time you go to sleep. Or maybe poison. Poison is the typical woman's tool for murder. they're not the rage type. But maybe she is. After all, she was quite-
You turn around to look as the girl tries to pull herself up with one hand. She can only do it by rolling over and propping herself up with her good arm. You shrug, chalk it up to her being a moron, and continue, only to have her crash again but a second later.
You turn around again, and she sits on one knee, panting. She is clearly too tired to continue, likely owing her state to your boat ride.
She doesn't respond, staring at the ground as her breath comes rapid and ragged. You nudge her with your foot, but she does not respond. Grr?
You check the sky, the sun quickly descending towards the horizon. Given the distance between the Sanzu and where Yukari likes to hide her residence, you'll barely make it there in time at a brisk walk. You do not have time to wait around for her.
She continues panting, catching her breath for a moment to plead.
"Allow me a few minutes."
You deliver a swift kick to her standing knee, sending her sprawling on to her ass.
She doesn't even bother looking at you. For christ's sake?
You have better things to do, and you will not waste your investment on this little problem.
You reach down and grab her, forcibly hoisting her off the ground and onto your back. You let her lock her arms around your neck, then grab her legs and hoist those. You're forced to let your rifle dangle in your front of you, connected to your vest by the operator cable.
She sighs in relief as you set off, cargo in tow. She rests her head against your back and you make a mental note to force her to make up for this threefold later.
The forest comes into sight soon enough, although the sun is still dangerously burning for the horizon. You'd consider this more than a few minutes, so you eject your passenger. She lets out a yelp as she is unceremoniously dumped on to her ass.
"Come on, it's youkai from here on out."
You do not wait for her this time. You simply move quickly into the forest, assured she is behind you by the clink of swords.
The first indication you are on the right path is the flicker in your peripheral vision. Too fast for a normal youkai. You keep your eyes peeled and soon enough you come upon the first marking, a rune carved into the opposite side of a tree. Many such runes are scattered throughout this forest, but only some show the true path. Most are simply magical traps set to explode upon examination.
The boundary youkai was far too prideful to merely make a path from the settlement or even the Hakurei Shrine to her residence. Instead she relied on this archaic method of indication and trick, with a healthy dose of shadowing by her shikigami. As long as you were being watched, you could be sure you were headed the right way.
Eventually, you do exit the forest again. Although, really, it is not so much an exit as it is come to a less dense patch of the forest with a small building sequestered square in the middle of it. The tree in its immediate vicinity have been cleared, but that doesn't stop the nearest remaining trees from encroaching from above. From what you can still see of the sun, you made it just in time. The youkai come out in numbers at night?
The fox shikigami appears far to your side, shadowing your movements at a measured distance. She seems more interested in the girl than you, however. Still, she does not say anything.
You take the steps up to the shack and fumble with the silly folding door system. It locks up, jamming an inch open. Decidedly tired of this shit, you put your hand straight through the flimsy fabric covering and grab the interior frame of the door. With one hand on the inside, and one on the outside, you lift it right out and toss it overhead, much to the dismay of a shikigami scrambling for cover.
Turning back, you see Yukari dumbfounded at her lack of a door. She looks you over, then turns her eyes to Youmu, whom she appraises much more excitedly.
"What the hell happened to you?"
You don't give either party a chance to talk, taking the hand out of your vest and tossing it onto the table.
"Job's done, bitch."
She looks aghast for a second before she realizes just what she's looking at. Horror crosses her face and she jumps out of her seat, waving her fan. You can hear two swords unsheathe themselves behind you. You know Ran uses one, and Youmu has a damaged arm, so? Well, there's always the possibility of Youmu quite literally stabbing you in the back. You quickly check for the easiest way to dodge and mentally psyche yourself up for it, drumming your fingers across your rifle as you ready for a hell of a fight.
The old man emerges from further inside the house, the sound of his cane tapping on the wooden flooring. He takes one look around and waves Yukari down.
Her eyes glance at him, then at you, then back firmly on him.
She exasperatedly says, pointing at the hand on the table. The old man simply nods.
"She chose her fate."
Yukari screeches back at him, practically screaming as spittle flies out of her mouth.
"He killed her?! We should kill the human where he stands!"
The old man turns to you, calmly speaking despite the hag screeching at him like the banshee.
"You should get some rest. I will have need of your skills again tomorrow."
Hmph. Good enough for you?
You turn around as Yukari gravely stares at you, wishing the world to kill you right now, you're sure. Your follower and the shikigami have their weapons drawn. Each one sword. So you weren't off. You can't be sure you were right, either, though. Had this turned into a battle?
You nod at the girl, and she sheathes her sword. You step to leave, but the shikigami blocks your way. She does for only a second, however, and swiftly moves a few inches to the side, staring daggers at you. You pay her no heed, stepping out and concentrating on a much more important facet.
She didn't know?
Again the false wall came down. Again the girl of underground fantasy emerged. She cracked her neck, stretched her arms, and generally fidgeted from being cooped up. Lastly, she closed her third eye out of respect.
"How is it?"
"Worse, if anything."
She replied as politely as she could manage.
The old man looked down, grimacing as he went deep into thought. The girl helped herself to a rice cracker from the table position that had been abandoned but minutes ago.
She said, mouth half full.
"Is it really as bad as you keep saying it is?"
The old man nodded, barely acknowledging her.
"So, uh? what'd happen if he killed me?"
"He already has once."
She choked on what rice cracker was in her throat, coughing, then silently excusing herself.
The forest crackled now with the signs of nocturnal life. Beasts great and weak wakened from their slumbers, intent on stalking prey and slaughtering many again tonight. You had just barely made it to the camp before the local nasties were fully awake, glad you had not tarried at the border. Fires higher up the mountain are extinguished the tengu abandon their guard posts for the night. It would be another great opportunity to infiltrate, were you so predisposed and willing to take on a few dozen ferals if things went south. Perhaps another time?
You quickly reorganized your former camp, bringing two of the storage crates together as another improvised bedding. A few quick strikes and the fire is back on, too. A glance around the perimeter shows no signs of youkai, and you are content to stay at rest. You look back to the crates and see the girl sitting on them, almost nodding off. Does she think she gets a free ride?
You strike the back of her head with your open palm and she staggers out of the seat and away.
"Night watch. All night."
You order her, detaching your rifle from the vest, then taking that off as well. You set them aside neatly in case you need to get them back on quickly in the morning. One more glance at the girl sees her staring into the woods, rubbing the back of her head, saying something silently under her own breath. You pay it no heed, laying down and pretending to sleep, waiting for the strike.
It does not come, and you eventually find yourself in actual sleep.
You awaken to the crunch of leaves many hours later. It is morning. You sit up, putting a hand to your rifle, and listening, looking. The old man is still far off, approaching slowly given his state. You glance at your guard, barely conscious and wobbling. Even if a youkai had attacked, she wouldn't be much use now.
You pick up your rifle and get up, tapping her on the back as you pass her. She immediately plops down where you had been sleeping, gone in a wink. You check your rifle quickly before you get too close to the old man, making sure what little ammo you have will still fire. It chambers perfectly, so you assume it'll have to.
You end up stopping a few feet away. He stops as well, and you stand off.
"You will find your weapons amongst the bushes from whence I came."
You nodded, mocking.
"You will head to Eientei today, and retrieve the second."
Something like that, maybe.
He turns and begins to leave, slowly trotting away with his cane.
You've no doubt that there weapons where he said. The question is whether they'll be what you want. If not, well? Yukari will be getting another visit. There's a few more things you'll have to attend to first, anyway. Eientei is well defended, and the main rabbit there is known to possess an arsenal of guns. Plans must be made.
?And you'll have to do something about that girl.
[ ] Loadout?
[ ] Route?
[ ] Half rations for the girl. She needs to function, but she has yet to prove herself useful. Goodness knows you slept a dozen nights in this forest without any night guard.
[ ] Full rations for the girl. On the stipulation that she make up for it. You've heard Eientei has a nice stockpile of fanciful things, and between your gear and the objective you've little extra weight to spare for carrying anything else.
[ ] Full rations for the girl. On the stipulation that she make up for it. You've heard Eientei has a nice stockpile of fanciful things, and between your gear and the objective you've little extra weight to spare for carrying anything else.
[X] Full rations for the girl. On the stipulation that she make up for it. You've heard Eientei has a nice stockpile of fanciful things, and between your gear and the objective you've little extra weight to spare for carrying anything else.
[X] Go to Eientei MGS3 style
I'll vote the weapons option when a military expert comes here since I don't know a crap about weapons
[X] Full rations for the girl. On the stipulation that she make up for it. You've heard Eientei has a nice stockpile of fanciful things, and between your gear and the objective you've little extra weight to spare for carrying anything else.
[X] Loadout: Restock on another one of those modded G36s. Plus the AA12, just in case. (We can tote two primaries, can't we?)
[X] Full rations for the girl. On the stipulation that she make up for it. You've heard Eientei has a nice stockpile of fanciful things, and between your gear and the objective you've little extra weight to spare for carrying anything else.
[X] Loadout: Restock on another one of those modded G36s. Plus the AA12, just in case. (We can tote two primaries, can't we?)
-[X] Switch out for less-than-lethal ammo.
[X] Route: There's a Yukari supplying us weapons. What's stopping her from just deep striking us in?
You wait for the old man to completely leave the vicinity. Satisfied he's gone, you take one look back at the girl. She's still sleeping, of course. You're not quite sure what you expected out of her. You shift hands on your rifle and trudge towards the man's path of retreat.
Surely enough, you find the same selection of weaponry as before hidden amongst the trees. Curiously, they've been scattered in a random pattern across the area, with little regard for placement. You end up having to climb halfway up a tree to retrieve a box of what turns out to be 9x19mm. Similarly another box is placed inside the trunk of a tree the width of a large car. The box seems to have been placed impossibly far in, almost an entire meter inside of a burrowed hole. This doesn't seem like something Yukari would do. Her hatred is outright malice. Deservedly so. This is almost frustrating, but of no real difficulty. It almost seems like? a psych op campaign.
So he moved them, did he? Curious? he doesn't seem to be able to move such a thing. Very curious. Just how far do his powers extend?
You mull over the possibZU-57-2ilities in your mind as CHAPARRAL you assemble a set of gear suiteTOKAREVd to the unique terrain of the bamboo forest, careMAKAROVful to employ anti-interrogation thought processes as you work. YouINTERCEPTOR?ve no idea what kind of tactics or resources he can scrounge up, and given that YukariF-1 is in his pocket, you will not take any chances.
Having laid out a suitable selection of equipment, you quickly move through it and finalize the important bits. Something that packs a nice punch, something that fires quick, something with a lot of versatility? the AA-12.
Weighing in at 7 kilos, the thing is hefty, for sure. it's a shotgun though, gauge. The real beauty, however, lies in the fact that is fully automatic. Equipped with 32-round drum magazines, and the thing can put down a herd of elephants in a few seconds. Your favorite part, though, is the wide range of shells available. SABOT, HE, slug, shot, even less-lethal, if the situation demands it. You even heard of pepperball and rubber shot being issued to the FSB before you left, but the former requires a direct hit. Still, the possibilities are endless.
You carefully prepare a selection of drums, although due to their weight you'll only be able to carry a few. The first is loaded simply. 3 shot to suppress, then 6 slugs to tear through whatever they've got, 1 SABOT just in case, and the rest loaded up with pyrotechnic, colloquially known as Dragon's Breath. The second you load up with a combination of slug and SABOT, just in case you get through the entire first. Two more you load up with less-lethal in case the mission gets tricky.
The rest of the gear is easy. 93R, two extra mags. Frag grenade, 3. Smoke grenade, two. Thermite, one. A new vest, smugly fit. Stun grenade, just in case. Replacement knife. Helmet?
She'll probably have guns.
She will have guns.
You go for the full kit. Kevlar for the head, ballistic mask for the face. Doubtful it'll stop a bullet, but shrapnel won't get through. Hell, if a bullet does hit it, maybe it'll throw it off enough to graze you.
You finish kitting up, checking to make sure everything is smooth and your movement is unrestricted as possible. Satisfied, you turn to the other task waiting for you this morning. You trek a bit down the mountain, following several small markers you had prepared whilst setting up the camp. Soon enough you come to the place you buried your cache. You set the shotgun aside and dig, but not very far. There is only an inch or so of soil before you reach the tattered sack. Quickly, you pull it out of the ground, cans jingling inside of it as you do. You appraise the stock and note that the youkai did not get to it. What luck, you think to yourself, remembering the last batch of semi-breached, rotten cans.
You rebury the hole yet leave the markers, serving to confuse anyone picking up on such symbols. You tie the bag off above your waist and begin trekking back to camp, stopping on the outskirts as you realize something was wrong. Very wrong.
The fire that had been smoldering was now quiet. There was the slightest sound of movement inside, although you were sure the girl wasn't up yet. The scent of bitches is in the air.
You drop into a low crouch, quickly cutting away your cargo. You edge forward, cautiously advancing into what very well may be an ambush. It takes you almost two edges, but you work your way into the middle of a bush without so much as making a sound. You peer out, and the sight astounds you.
The girl is asleep, of course. The fire is out, as you knew. What you did not expect was your unlikely visitor. A female white wolf tengu, crouching over the girl. She seems to have mistaken the situation. A fatal mistake.
You rise, bringing up your weapon and aiming perfectly. She barely has time to react as the first wave of shot rips through her. She stumbles forward onto the sleeping girl as red flashes between the two of them. Doubtlessly you have hit both, but it does not matter. The tengu barely has time to rear her shield as the next round cycles, spraying forth death even as her shield clangs with the resounding of ricocheted rounds. Again, you see the flash of red as some hit home. She bellows as she nearly collapses, pushed aside by the rising figure. Youmu has come to, swinging her sword wildly with little regard for enemies or the situation. She immediately identifies you as the attacker, advancing on you as she wildly attacks the air, trying to close the distance.
You scream for her to get down, trying to level a shot past her at the tengu, watching it scramble to its feet. You're thrown off balance again as you have to dodge back, avoiding a swipe.
"Get out of the damned way!"
You yell, smashing her across the face with your shotgun, staggering her. You glance up at the tengu, just starting to take off with her shield on her back. Your blood boils as you realize you won't be able to catch her at this rate. You don't even let Youmu recover from her stagger. You strike her again, splaying her out over her previous bed. With a kick, you disarm her, then put in her a hold with your heel against her throat, leveling your weapon towards her face. Her rapid eye movement tells you she is not only pumped full of adrenaline, but surprised and terrified.
"You stupid girl."
She tries to choke out a few words, but you just crouch and force the barrel of your weapon into her mouth.
"You stupid girl."
"She was going to kill you. She was going to kill me."
You cant, lying through your teeth, twisting the truth and her, even as you threaten her.
"And I saved you. You damnded fool, this is how you repay me."
You remove the obstruction from her mouth, pulling back slightly.
You smack her before she even has a chance to finish the statement. Damn right she didn't. You let up on her and retrieve the bag, tossing its contents all over the ground, cans rattling as they spread out.
"You'll eat cold today. This is your fault."
You walk over and pick up her sword, tossing it over to her. You give her one last wayward glance as she tries to open a can, then begin tracking the tengu. it's quite easy, given the excited state she left in, plus the blood loss. it's not a lot, owing to the shot, but it is very clear markings where it is.
You continue to track her for almost a kilometer up the mountain as the trees spread out and the shrubbery becomes non-existent. Eventually you reach the vital line the demarcates the Tengu's territory. Charms are clearly placed along the trees, along with carved markings. You notice something off with one of the carvings and investigate, striking your finger across the ingrained reddened wood.
Blood. So she must've paused here. You wouldn't have noticed it against the trunk unless it had been for this marking. This means she's quite wounded. It would be an easy finish, but venturing any further means incurring the wrath of the Tengu. And Yukari.
[ ] Pursue her. Intruders will not be tolerated.
[ ] Eh... you have things to attend to, and complications are not necessary.
No sir, that's just JAM-TASTIC. Or suicidal. Those shells have a very varying amount of recoil to engage the automatic action (and if they would manage to get it to cycle, it would end up throwing out a still-burning shell halfway through the fireblast which would end very badly for the shooter).
Retcon it to FRAG rounds, seriously. With that in mind,
[x] Pursue her. Intruders will not be tolerated.
You press a finger to the blood stain, wiping it off onto your hand and bringing it to your nose. You're no beast like them, but you can certainly enjoy the smell of blood. You give it a moment, soaking in the essence before you resolutely cross the border. The border into Tengu territory.
A chill runs down your spine as it seems the very air changes. You'd be convinced they were watching you, were you not familiar with their guard patterns. Again, you fall into a low crouch and pick up her trail, following your prize.
Cautiously you continue to follow it, even as it tracks up the mountain, even as it skirts what are patrol routes that may be active at any moment, even as you stalk further into Tengu territory. An hour in, you're forced to stop as the trail again doubles back on itself, blood pooled in a small fashion where she had stopped. You dodge aside, convinced she's waiting for you. However, an attack does not come. In fact, you hear nothing at all except the vague call of birds overhead. Yet the trail would suggest that she is not more than a few meters away at best.
Slowly you rise from your position, circling. Outer and outer, slowly searching the area, waiting tensely for a surprise, an ambush, or something. On your third time around you hit a slight snag.
Between the thick brush you could not see her even at this point blank range. Your hand finds her throat by sheer instinct in seconds, but not a pulse. It takes you a few seconds of belated strangling for you to realize she is, in fact, already dead. You drop her, and she collapses like a sack of bricks, splaying out over her hiding place. Her sword remains upright next to her, stuck in the ground where she had been waiting for your arrival. It seems she bled out before you could get here, the limbs of her traditional tengu garbing stained with blood that similarly runs along the ground. A quick inspection shows that her shield absorbed most of the second round, and barely any of the first got her. Consequently, it's only her arms and legs that were ripped apart. You're a bit surprised she made it this far before? dying. Killed. Dead. Murdered.
"No killing. We will be watching."
She's here. She's got to be here. You crouch low over the body, waiting, watching. Preparing. Psyching. Your breath comes fast, heart beating, ready to move at the slightest show. She'll be here. She'll be here. You wait. Wait. Wait.
You would be waiting for a while. She does not appear. She does not come. She does not shout, vow revenge, curse your name and attack you. There is only silence. You almost expect the old man to appear in her stead after a time, but neither does he. It is simply you. You and a body. A dead female tengu.
You've never had wolf meat before.
-nd the arms, and the hair and the head and the hips and the breasts
stab stab stab stab stab stab stab stab stab
Feverishly you cut, working your way through her sternum's cartilage, intent on your task. Finally, your blade rings as it dulls against hard bone. You rear back and bring your hand down, crushing her ribs and reaching the interior. You quickly scrape at her inner chest, tossing away bone and fat and undesirable, off into the rest of her discarded parts. You find what you wanted, what you craved.
You bring her liver to your mouth, fanatically ripping at it, tearing off entire chunks and swallowing them just as fast. The stench of blood fills your nostrils as the sweetbread fills your belly. Hungerly you continue until the entire thing is devoured, blood dripping from your chin onto the hollow shell of a torso. You look up into the bright blue sky, the sun shining. You blink as your mind rattles.
If only she could see you now.
You find your apprentice still struggling with cans, what must be her fourth or fifth. A stack of discarded, now-empty ones sit next to her, and she's restarted the fire.
She stops, barely looking back to acknowledge you. She silently sets the can aside and grabs her sword.
"We're headed to Eientei."
You think it might be prudent to grab a new knife first, though. Your ?new? one is a bit dull.
Writing for the next part has begun. Honestly, I am focusing most of my effort here for the time being, as we're about halfway to finishing this story assuming no wild write-in twists (that I don't reject out of hand).
The trek to the bamboo forest is a long one. Initially, you had planned to head straight through the human village, but seeing it still on alert you decided to bypass, lest you waste ammo. At the least, the girl stays quiet the entire trip and you are thankful that you do not have to silence her manually. Her limp is gone too, so you will have to see how that plays out. Regardless, you don't dwell on her condition too long, mentally preparing for the bunny's tricks. You know she'll be the first, and probably only, line of defense for the hidden mansion. She's well versed in gunmanship, is well equipped, and has those deadly eyes?
Should you come in contact with those eyes, you have something prepared. Something very simple. One clear mental image, perfectly shaped, intimately detailed. The concept is very similar to some anti-interrogation methods. You simply focus on one concept to the point of perfection and latch on, locking down your head. You hope it will work here, too.
It is of little concern as you approach the bamboo forest. It will either work, or will not. Things might be bad, but there's only two outcomes, and you will do everything in your power to swing it your way. With a single deep breath, you proceed into the forest. A chill runs down your spine as it seems the very air changes. You shake it off as a psychological thing.
As the bamboo stalks close in overhead, you welcome the shade, already beginning to sweat under your facemask. Still, you'd prefer as much armor as you could get coming into this situation, rather than without. You drop into a low crouch and generally indicate for Youmu to do the same and follow. This forest is hellish, but the key is not to give up hope. Were one to believe he would never find his way out, he would not. This twisted maze would be best left forgotten, stricken from the annals of history and human, or even inhuman, memory, and killed brutally in a back alley. Yet here you are.
You don't know what the fuck you're doing here, either. crick
That came from ahead of you? That's not Youmu! You motion back at Youmu, waving for her to flank left, hoping she gets it. You yourself take the proverbial right flank, being difficult to maneuver in any certainty in this forest. You've barely gotten 3 steps when again you hear the soft movement of sneaking through the forest directly ahead of you. You think you see an opening, and jump for it. You crash through bamboo to land firmly on solid ground, a small clearing. You immediately bring up your weapon, but nothing's there. crick
You swing around to the new sound and immediately regret your decision, there's no cover here. You take a step back, considering bolting outright, until another sound forces you to snap there. Then another! Youmu sheepishly raises her one good hand, sword in it.
You mutter curses under your breath. They couldn't all have been her.
"Which way did you hear it from?"
You say, segueing out of caution-mode and standing up. She points, perhaps paradoxically, to the way you thought you came from. Both of you turn that way, but you ask to be sure.
"You were cer-"
You hit the ground before you even know what you're doing, two puffs of bamboo exploding in front of you. You roll over just in time to see Youmu swat three out of the air destined for her. Shoulda shot her first, bunny. You raise your shotgun from your laying position and return fire at a much easier source of sound to track, gunfire. The first shot rattles the entire spread of bamboo in front of you as dozens of small shot ricochet off stalks. The next two punch fist sized holes in the brush, causing several to fall. You scramble to your feet as there is no return fire, glancing at Youmu and where the shots destined for you hit. Two stalks cleanly cut at chest height, she went for the double tap. it's a small wonder she missed.
You scream at your apprentice, waving your hand in her direction. You're a few steps behind her as you get up, following in turn. Without orders, the two of you manage to rig up a workable system as Youmu bats down the incoming fire and you pause to punch holes in the forest in return. Shot. Stop. Shot. Stop.
Enraged at your failure to catch her, you break into a flat out run, outpacing your own apprentice. You crash through the brush, surprising her as she reloads a magazine to a handgun. You raise yours before she can raise hers, blowing away two parts of the forest as she dodges and rolls left. She brings her handgun up before you can reorient, just in time for Youmu to catch up, barely stopping the first bullet. She slides to a stop in front of you, knocking them down one at a time.
You can't help but giggle as the next round cycles and you bring it up just over Youmu's shoulder. Reisen's eyes go wide for a moment before her entire body is thrown back, half from trying to run, half from the round. She rolls partway, then scrambles away into the forest.
"Out of the way."
You'll not chase a rabbit into her hole. You'll smoke her out. The next round is Dragon's Breath. You bring it up and fire, a glorious spread of flames and pyrotechnics engulfing the entire front of your view. You're so pleased by this you don't even notice the next round cycle, exploding out of your barrel and coating the forest in even more spark and flame without a trigger press. You barely have time to comprehend as the third cycles, and the fourth, cooking off in the barrel.
You brace yourself as your entire drum begins a controlled explosion in the barrel, unable to stop each sequential round going off. The entire forest bursts into flame around you as you continue shooting flames even as you're surrounded by the byproduct of your own weaponry. As the last round cycles, you can barely hold your weapon, hands shaking. Flames sputter out of the barrel and ejector, although the forest around you is certainly more of a threat. You drop your shotgun and begin to unhook the extra drums from your vest, even as Youmu darts back and forth, terrified and trying to find a way out. You rip off your helmet, then face mask, dropping them aside as sweat runs down your chin. You take one look around at the raging inferno and smile. She'll certainly be running now.
"What do we do?!"
Youmu cries, turning to the only thing she knows can help her. You just keep standing there, grinning dumbly. She shakes you the best she can, panicking at such a simple thing.
She has no time to respond as you take off after the bunny, leaping through the fire at the last second. You make sure to tuck and roll, barely escaping the flames as you come crashing out the other side. You wait a few seconds and Youmu also comes through, although clutching at most of her exposed skin. She doesn't have as much protection as you.
You take off quickly, identifying the quickest path straight away. As expected, you quickly pick up on a blood trail from where you hit her. You didn't get a good look, but you're pretty sure she had a vest on, so she may not be that wounded. Still, you proceed briskly, quickly gaining on her if the trail is anything to go by. She tries to staunch it here, lets it go here, breaks out into a run here? Stops here.
You move to the side and pull out your pistol, chambering the first round with an audible click. There's a period of silence for a moment before a voice emanates from in front of you.
"All right, you got me."
"I'm gonna kill you, bunny."
"There's no need for that?"
She tries to expend, groaning.
"Then throw out your gun."
There's a period of silence for a moment and you consider just running and gunning in. Then a colt .45 crashes through the bush, coming to a rest at your feet. You indicate to Youmu to grab it and break the slide off, which she does after some difficulty.
She groans again, another .45 colt coming through. Similarly you disable that one.
"And the knife."
Everyone's favorite, the KA-BAR.
Given the volume and strength of the fire, you doubt she's got anything left. Still?
"Youmu, go pat her down."
You make it a point of pointing your pistol at her. She grumbles for a second, and proceeds through the brush. You hear the two shuffle for a few moments before Youmu calls you through. You holster your pistol and crack your knuckles, heading through.
Reisen lay wounded from the lower torso, vest aside as she laid back against a long overgrown tree, now reduced to a mere stump. Her thighs were punctured with needle marks, several of the sort laying on both sides of her. You can barely make out the label on one, "EpiPen?. Adrenaline.
She says in between gasps, somewhere between shock, too big an adrenaline rush, and an adrenaline crash.
"Why didn't you shoot me?"
She smirks, reaching over for her vest. You draw your pistol in an instant, but she raises one of her hands in a surrender posture, gently rooting through for a cigarette, lighting up and looking up.
"Helps to take the edge off, you know?"
Now, you'll have none of her self-serving. You crouch down and rip the cigarette right out of her mouth, tossing it aside.
"You didn't answer my question."
She rolls her eyes.
"I did. Put two in your back, you bastard! Ugh? check your vest. They must not've penetrated."
Now, you know for a fact they didn't. Still, you check the back of your vest, and there's nothing there. You even show it to her. She looks at it and just shakes her head, muttering to herself.
"You must've missed, bunny."
"At 10 meters?"
You shrug. She was probably tripping to hell on adrenaline, anyway. Should've gone with a LMG or something. Should've had more armor too, or at least a piece for her upper legs. The skirt just doesn't stop bullets.
Her loss, though.
"We need to get to Eientei."
"Go to hell."
She smirks. You turn around and give her a kick to the wound, causing her to halfway lurch forward and deliver a blood cough over your leg. You strut away, taking your time to ?think?.
"Now, I'd like to not ask again."
You turn around to see her reaching for her vest, pulling out another dose of adrenaline. You step forward quickly, crushing it and her hand under your boot. As Reisen bites back a scream of pain, you chide Youmu. You turn your attention back to the bunny and apply pressure to her hand.
"How do we get to Eientei, rabbit?"
She mumbles the last bit, rolling her head back and around as she clearly starts to lose it. You step off her hand and deliver another kick to her chest. You're sure the steel tips must hurt.
As she leans forward, clutching her wound, you see her mumbling something. You motion for Youmu to see what she's saying. The girl crouches down, putting her ear next to the rabbit and stroking her hair gently. What an act of kindness, you think to yourself. Youmu looks up, confused.
There's little she can do that we can't already do better, combat-wise. Danmaku and insanity eyes are exceptions, but unlike Youmu, we can't goad her with a promise of "I'll let you be the one to kill me."
Since we have a tie and I'm pretty sure even the dregs have voted, I am deciding thus:
[ ] You may have a use for her yet?
Shall be the vote. However, I will be incorporating rabbit stew later on (so as to appease the majority of opponent voters!). If anyone's got a problem with that... speak up before I write this thing.
You take one step forward and swat Youmu out of the way, drawing your knife and squatting down in front of the wounded. You grab her hair with your left, putting the tip against her throat.
"I'm not done with you."
You press the knife so far a small trickle of blood begins to prick out from her neck as you nearly tear her hair out. You slam her head back, bringing the knife up to her eyes. Before you begin, however, there's a small precaution?
You motion to the girl, twirling the knife around in front of Reisen's eyes as they roll over and back, completely separated from what is going on. She is clearly beginning to go into shock.
"Oh, okay then. You get her vagina, and I'll get her ass, and we'll get a proper double team going."
You smirk, lifting up her skirt. Youmu's eyes go wide and she turns away, bringing a hand up to her mouth.
"I?I don't need to see this."
You smirk, but call out to her as she walks away.
"Make sure I'm not interrupted."
You wait for her to skirt the edges of hearing range, keeping watch, and gauge her reaction to be genuine. Quickly you reach to her vest and retrieve one of the autoinjectors, bringing it to her leg and giving her half the dose before tossing it away. As she rouses, you bring your knife back up to her throat. Her vision blurred, pupils wide, she rolls her view over you, trying to make you out.
"What are you??"
"Now, now, you've lost a lot of blood. I'd hate for you to die before I get what I want. How do I get to Eientei?"
"I told you? believe?"
"Well all right then, glad we could come to an understanding. Listen, when the fire gets you, could you scream really loudly?"
You lean in close, sure to breathe on her face.
"I'd hate for the fire to drown you out."
You prepare to stand up, only for her to grab your shirt sleeve, trembling though she is. You lean back in, smirking as you have her.
"Don't kill? Master Eirin."
"You'll have to do something for me, first."
Her hand drops to her side in submission. The small glance you allow at her eyes show that she is prepared to serve you.
You can only smirk.
You call her back in, nearly finished with your business. She pokes her head in moments later, confusedly glancing between the bandaged Reisen and yourself.
"What, you thought I would?"
You ask, questioning as sincerely as possible.
She turns away, lost for words. She can only shake her head.
You address, motioning at her.
"Yes, yes. Come over here."
You nod at Youmu, indicating for her to take a seat or laying position, as Reisen is till confined to laying there. She hesitates at first, but squats, then lays next to her.
"Hip, left arm, face. I'm sure you noticed the last one."
Reisen nods as she examines her, carefully pulling out the existing sutures and bandages. She apologizes silently to the girl not having anesthetic, and you watch as she rebandages and properly treats the wounds you inflicted before, starting with the face. As soon as her face is sutured, looking almost completely normal by Reisen's skilled hand, she starts talking incessantly.
"I really? I don't know what to say. I thought you were something else. I'm sorry, I think we just misunderstood you. You're not fighting for pleasure, you just throw up that fa?ade, trying to shield yourself. You're fighting because we're your enemies, because we tried to stop you. I didn't want to, but Lady Yuyuko told me to, she was so dire, and then I felt your overwhelming evil presence and I just couldn't?"
Oh for fuck?s?
You motion at your throat, indicating for Reisen to advance the timetable of your plans to the immediate future.
"I just thought you were another-"
Reisen grabs her head, twisting it towards herself and forcing both eyes open. The two's eyes lock for just a moment. Youmu's words trail off as her eyes go wide in shock of the betrayal, her mouth hanging on the last word for a minute before Reisen turns away.
She screams. Furiously she flails out of the grasp of the rabbit, crashing past you as you barely sidestep out of the way. She crazily grasps her head as if trying to rip it off her own body, throwing herself about all over the surroundings.
"You kill her?"
You openly ask to Reisen, already disinterested in the results if she's not going to be anymore use to her.
"No, I did exactly as you asked."
You watch for a few more minutes as Youmu flails around on the ground, clawing at her own head and face and, invariably, ripping the stitches out for her face. She finally stops, the faint smell of urine in the air.
You keep watch on her as you wander over to Reisen, snatching up the pack of cigarettes from her vest right as she grabs for them.
"Come on, I did everything?"
She whines. You hum as you crush the pack between your hands, tossing it away.
"You're a real bastard, you know that?"
You ignore her as Youmu stands back up, both hands at the ready. It seems she's physically healed, at least. You snap your fingers in front of her face, surprised for a second by the sheer deadness of her eyes. Despite your snapping, she does nothing. You rear back and backhand her, sending her sprawling, but otherwise unaffected. She stands back up as quick as she can, like a perfectly disciplined little soldier. For added measure, you even grope her again. She doesn't even flinch. Reisen sure did do a good job, but there's just one last test to make sure she is now truly your slave in every respect?
You unsheathe your knife again, handing it to her. You motion back at the bunny.
You smirk as the screams and blood start. Your words drowned out by the bunny railing against a god that doesn't exist, a homeland she'll never see again, and a master that has abandoned her.
As you near the mansion of the bamboo forest, your stalk through the woods allows you to observe its residents. The earth rabbits are mobilized, headed away from the walled courtyard in great numbers with the trickster at their head. They appear to be headed to combat that little fire you started? It matters not to you. One less person you'll have to fight.
You wait for the party to leave, and easily scale the wall with Youmu in tow. She seems to have picked up awfully well on sneaking within the last hour, although you suspect that it's because she has no other things to think about. After all, she really can't.
You clear the immediate area and enter the mansion, taken in by a maze of shifting doors and rooms. Again, you apply the lessons taught to you by Gensokyo.
The rooms fall apart around you, leaving but your goal in front of you. You smirk, opening the sliding door to? an empty room. You have to blink for a few seconds before the silence catches you. So quiet? you can hear the notch of an arrow.
Youmu is past you in a second, and she swats the arrow out of the air with her bare hand before drawing both swords. You give a cry and rush right past her at the unseen assailant, falling on her in a second. She seems to morph out of the very wall to appear, faltering at your shout until the last moment. The good doctor raises her bow to defend against your blow, but you pistol whip right through it into the side of her head, and she collapses like a sack of bricks. You raise your pistol for another strike, but pause when she fails to get up. A quick session of kicking assures you that she's out good.
"That was easy."
Youmu does not respond, as expected. As if a spell were broken, the room begins to fill. Objects appear, things materialize. The entire world seems to dazzle as hundreds of magical items glimmer, calling out for you to only touch them and take an interest. To be honest to yourself, you don't even know what you're looking for. But you know where it'll be. Your eyes scan the room, ignoring the pedestals and displays, searching for it. A safe. A single, small safe. You raise your pistol and put a burst into its lock, crouching like an idiot when they ricochet off. Off course the one safe would be well protected.
You look it over, considering whether you could just carry the damn thing out yourself. An idea hits you. You step aside and motion to it.
"Youmu, open it."
She squats, freezing for a second before the faintest flick through the air. The safe clicks, the bolt falling out, cleaved clean in two. You can't help but whitle, opening the safe to a single vial in a padded container. You throw aside the container, holding up the vial to examine it. Red. Liquid. Blood, maybe. it's corked with, well, cork. You could examine it, but? your ?masters? may not be pleased. Maybe for the third one.
You put it into a pocket in your vest and give one last look over the collection. A disgust fills you.
"Destroy it all."
Youmu obliges, slashing apart a stack of glass bottles and potions next to your head, then kicking over a display of an ancient ship. She continues her rampage, destroying the entire room with methodical precision. You simply smirk and step past her.
"Catch up when you're done. I'll be headed back to camp."
You barely get two steps before the door opens to a robed princess, looking just as surprised as you.
"Now just what-"
She spits the last bit as blood, three new holes adorning her chest. Almost instinctually you put a burst into her before she or you could react. She slumps over, bleeding out over the soon-to-be-ruined carpet. You simply shrug, stepping over the everliving corpse and leave Youmu to finish her orders.
Youmu surprises you almost an hour later as you are making your way back out of the bamboo forest. She simply appears behind you without a single whisper, falling into step instantly. It took you a few seconds of synchronized marching to even realize she was there. You pat your vest pocket to make sure the item is still there, and shrug. Job's done, anyway.
Which is why it's even more suspicious that both of your? employers stand ready, waiting for you as you exit the bamboo forest. You can't help but notice that the sky appears to be a covered in a huge reddened fog.
"What took so long? We've been waiting for you!"
Yukari disparages, in her usual bad mood.
"Weren't you watching? I was finishing up some business."
You test her, prodding at her knowledge.
"Of course, but you took far too long."
She quickly snaps back.
"Really? I had my assistant clean up?"
You approach her, getting uncomfortable close for her.
"Although she made such a mess out of that bunny. Did you watch all of that? "Oh Eirin, oh Eirin!?, as she forcibly took her. I didn't know a knife could cause that kind of injury inside a woman's genitals."
You make a special point to stretch out the last point, making it sound as unbelievable as possible. You make no mistake though. That knifeplay really was interesting, if not downright sadistic on Youmu's part. You were quite pleased.
Yukari bites her tongue, trying to stare you down. The old man lobbies for attention, tapping his cane on the ground.
?The item. Do you have it??
You smirk, drawing away from Yukari and pulling it out. Yukari snatches for it, and you draw it back too quick for her.
"Now, now, let's remember the deal. Three, and I go home."
Yukari motions to Youmu, scowling.
"Let her rot, for all I care."
You say, taunting with the vial.
"Can't you see what he is? Why do you continue to follow him, Konpaku? Don't you know what he's doing?"
She doesn't get it. She really doesn't get it. Amazing. Yukari pleads with her, trying to convince her. Youmu can't answer you dear, she's dead. This Youmu is just a shell implanted with a blank consciousness and an overriding desire to listen to your orders. You wonder? did she really see what happened on the mountain? She didn't see what happened here?
"Take it. I've got things to do."
You hand over the vial, intent on spending some time planning and thinking over this. Before you've even taken two steps the old man taps his cane, and you have to stop to balance yourself. It was as if the earth below you just experienced a miniature earthquake in the space of half a second. You can't help but clench your fists.
"Can I help you, old man?"
?You have a new task.?
"Uh shit lemme think about it? ah, nope."
You wave him off. You take another step and nearly fall off a cliff that used to be flat, solid ground. You turn around scowling.
?There are newcomers here, and they are causing trouble. You'll stop this.?
"Oh yeah, why would I do that?"
?You can kill them.?
You begin to laugh.
"I'll need some guns."
[ ] Loadout? Lethal weaponry and usage is permitted.
So yeah sorry people I'll stop making the dumb loadout votes and try to make some real votes so the complete lack of votes doesn't sap my will to update anymore. Hint, though, we'll be fighting vampires. Picture related.
>>43651 I was going to make a loadout vote, I was just wondering what our primary long-range weapon ought to be, at which point I completely forgot what I was looking for.
I'll just second>>43638because I'm too lazy to research my ownbecause I'm busy.
>>43651 I like the loadout votes as well, so unless you're doing it for a reason other than trying to get more votes I'd say leave them in. I myself was looking up infantry mortars, but then I found they were crew-served and couldn't think of anything interesting other than a bionic arm, arm graft, or limb regrowth potion for Youmu.
There are apparently two other models of the 110-BA, which are lighter, but I don't know how they differ otherwise, as the text is gibberish to be. Likewise, I don't know anything about rifle ammo.
The plan with this is to take out the sentries with the rifle, leave it there, and infiltrate the camp at night, plant C4 and blow it all up. The Applegate-Fairbairn is an improved version of the Fairbairn-Sykes, a dagger designed to strike the enemy's vital organs and kill quickly. There's a list of vital points and how long it takes to die. The average time is something like 10 seconds. The silenced Glock will be for when cover hasn't been blown, but the knife won't work. It's still of course loud, but not as loud as the AA-12 which will be used in case the entire camp is bearing down on us.
[x] Savage 110 BA sniper rifle, w/ adjustible telescopic sights, hex wrench for adjusting grip, and ammo.
[x] AA-12 (32 round drum magazine loaded, 2 32-round spare, 2 8-round spare.)
[x] Glock 19 (33 rounds loaded, 4 spare clips, silencer).
[x] Body armor (night camo).
[x] Gas mask.
[x] 6 pounds of C4 with timed/radio detonator.
[x] Backpack (for C4/bulky spare ammo).
[x] Applegate-Fairbairn fighting knife.
[x] Arm graft for Youmu.
>>43683 THANK YOU! This is exactly what I was thinking of!
Changing my vote to:
[x] Savage 110 BA sniper rifle, w/ adjustible telescopic sights, hex wrench for adjusting grip, and for ammunition: .300 Winchester Magnum (1 6-round box magazine loaded, 3 spares)
Reasoning: I really doubt we will need the extra 400 meters effective range, so I chose the slightly lighter ammunition that has an additional round per magazine.
[x] AA-12 (32 round drum magazine loaded, 2 32-round spare, 2 8-round spare.)
[x] Glock 19 (33 rounds loaded, 4 spare clips, silencer).
[x] Body armor (night camo).
[x] Gas mask.
[x] 6 pounds of C4 with timed/radio detonator.
[x] Backpack (for C4/bulky spare ammo).
[x] Applegate-Fairbairn fighting knife.
[x] Arm graft for Youmu.
>>43683 here, I just noticed the bit about vampires.
If the following could be added to my vote, I'd appreciate it. Unless we're not supposed to know we're fighting vampires and thus are supposed to improvise with conventional weapons.
[x] Body armor (urban camo)
[x] Garlic, which will be crushed onto the bullets before mission start.
[x] A solution of garlic juices and holy water, which the knifes will be soaked before mission start.
[x] Wooden Applegate-Fairbairn (buloke)
-[x] If shaped wood can't be provided, get a large block of buloke and some woodworking equipment. Stakes are simply unacceptable in a real combat situation.
[x] High-powered UV lamp, plus batteries.
Buloke can really be any tough wood, but it's by far the hardest wood I could find a source for, with a Jenka hardness of 5060.
The A-F and it's predecesor the F-S are designed to be stuck into people's innards. Stakes are designed to be stuck into the ground. The shape you want when fighting vampires is clear.
Should keep the conventional A-F in case we need to cut something.
Reisen fixed her up before her... unfortunate accident. This plus her new personality means she'll be able to take her body to the limits, pain or hardships be damned. Obviously she won't be able to use a limb if it's lopped off, but she's not afraid of doing more damage to it by continuing her attack. You don't need to worry about any more medical care for Youmu, unless she is grievously wounded.
As far as mortars go...
AFAIK, the Japanese developed a mortar shortly before WW2 (and fielded it) which was able to be fired and operated by a single man. It was nicknamed something like the "Knee-Shooter", but attempting to actually fire it from your knee would result in shattering those bones, so yeah don't try that. The caliber was small though (<80mm from what I remember), and the entire thing was basically a tube w/ firing pin attached to a solid metal plate meant to be braced against the ground. You may keep this in mind for future votes, and I'll try to find the model designation...
Dragon has some hints to give in regards to their lineage (i.e. confirmed for vampires.) He will not, however, have any advice for how to deal with them. Obviously military cartridges are not made with silver bullets, though. The rest of your vote is interesting, and I'll have to see how it meshes with what I have planned.
Never heard of the A-F before now, probably because it never saw combat. Learn something new every day.
>>43693 >Military cartridges are not made with silver bullets
That's fine, the rifle isn't intended for the vampires anyway, except maybe to weaken them or distract them.
Besides if we can make silver bullets (and if we can mill them to the correct tolerances) can't we just re-purpose some of the .300 Winchester magnum cartridges and powder for the silver bullets? Or would that be beyond the technology the dragon is willing to provide us with?
You clap your hands together, already shedding the gear you've got on now.
"Come on, come on. I don't have all night. I assume you don't, either."
Yukari only rubs her temples as she summons her concentration, pulling forth a dozen or more crates from beyond the border. You finish shedding your gear and open the first crate, piling through a hundred M4s in a vain search for something else.
"So, tell me all about these newcomers."
?They created the fog, it is toxic to you? humans.?
You pull out a M4, field stripping it for shits and giggles and expend the virtue of clarity as you toss the receiver, then barrel, then stock in their general direction.
"Wow, the newcomers are responsible for the new thing that showed up at the same time! Fascinating, old man. Why don't you tell me something useful, like where the enemy is?"
?Do you know of the Misty Lake?
"I assume it's a very foggy lake, now, but do go on. Don't let me interrupt your rhetoric!"
You retort, scrounging through the second crate.
?An island appeared within it. On the island is a single mansion. A vampire and her servants reside there. She is known as The Scarlet Devil.?
Ah, devils. Your favorite.
"When you say ?island? I assume you mean ?island?, right? There is still a lake of some sort?"
?That is what I said, human.?
You close up the crate and turn around, leaning back on its top.
"Then I have a wishlist. I need sniper rifles. Something light. Hell, maybe I can just bring down the whole mansion. Explosives, too. You know what C4 is? it's kind of playdough, except it explodes. Toxic fog? gas mask. Don't bother with a respirator system, just the filters. Something snubbed and shooty too, oh kind of like what I just had. Another AA-12. You know what, just get those for now."
You close your eyes and lean back even further, almost kicking with your feet as you relax for a brief second. You peek one eye open to see Yukari still standing there defiant.
"Quickly unto the breech, girl. I don't think your master will be very pleased if you don't help me kill his enemies."
You close your eyes, content to hear the sounds of metal clanking into existence around you.
"So, what kills a vampire?"
"That wasn't a rhetorical question."
You snap out of your downtime-induced laze and come up off the crate, squatting down to the old man's level, getting in his face.
"What kills a vampire?"
?You'll have to figure that out on your own.?
You almost growl, but hold yourself back. Similarly, he gives you nothing else. You leave him alone, attending to your new toys. Magazines have to be loaded, sights calibrated, stocks adjusted. Shot and slug, shot and slug. .338 for the savage. 9mm parabellum for the glock, and filters for the mask. None of that secondhand 90 year old WW2 vintage shit, but recent NATO ones. Sad that the Russian military hasn't produced any in a while, but if the enemy has ammo and you don't?
Per usual, you have a nice selection of knives and pick something particularly pointy. You don't want to have to tangle with a vampire for an extended period. Just thrust, kill, and disengage. Of course, a vampire might need some extra precautions.
"How "bout something for the vampire?"
Yukari says, strained as always. She is either wildly impatient, or hates your guts. Wait, it's the definitely the latter.
"Garlic. Holy water. A UV lamp. Get me a block of wood, too. Hardest on earth."
She puts a hand to her temple.
"Would that be? bull-oak?"
"Do I look like a fucking biologist to you?"
A tree crashes from the sky, neatly missing the group of you and your weaponry.
"That wasn't so hard. Don't forget the rest of those things."
You turn to the tree as objects begin materializing, per your request. Of course, you could just saw up the tree. That is, if you wanted to take a few hours and a lot of wasted effort.
"Youmu. Use your swords and turn that tree into a cross and a uh? nah, fuck the stake. Something similar to a knife. Go with the grain of the wood, or whatever that carpenter bullshit is."
With Youmu suitably engaged, you begin to truly assemble your equipment, laying it out and methodically checking and suiting. You scrounge up a new, darker shaded vest and a suitable backpack. You chamber your guns, making sure the actions and safeties work, tethering them to your vest and suitably placing the spare magazines in quick-release grips. Drum magazines are, unfortunately, always hard to carry and relegated to your belt per usual. Your backpack goes on, and you attach the AA-12 vaguely to its right, so you can rip it off and have it on your hip in a second. Your glock goes on the left, in a crossdraw, so as not to impede the quicker draw of your shotgun. Your Savage is, of course, carried. Knives on the front of your belt as soon as Youmu finishes the one, and the UV lamp carried on the back left, for when you find your deadly vampire. Youmu produces the things you asked, and you tuck the knife in with the other, cross going in a front pocket. All that after loading the magazines, inspecting each piece of equipment, and adjusting their positions until the weight is nicely evened out.
"Watch how your trained killer works, dearie."
You say to Yukari before slipping the gas mask over your face, the world suddenly becoming a darker, more cramped place, the air thick. At least you'll live.
You yell, banging your rifle against your chest as if to psyche yourself up.
You end up walking a dozen or more kilometers, the sky growing darker with every passing minute. As you get closer, the very sky seems to descended upon the earth and you are suddenly very, very glad for the mask. It is then that you realize, perhaps very stupidly, that you forgot a mask for your companion. She doesn't seem worse for wear, however. It becomes a very stark comparison when you come upon an entire flock of crows that are simply strewn across the ground, very dead. It occurs to you that, in fact, you have heard no animal life since you got close.
Seeing is a different matter. As you reach the outskirts of the lake, you can see the fog exploding in great flashes of light. There appears to be a danmaku battle going on, and you've just arrived in time to tip the balance. Or kill everyone. You'll probably do the latter, just because.
You find a nice spot of a hard ground so as not to kick up dust. You instruct Youmu to watch for anyone trying to sneak up on you and go prone, sighting in and adjust magnification to see just what is unfolding. Now, who would be already attacking your target"...
Marisa yells, stopping her broom short and pulling out her mini-hakkero.
"Want me to toast them?!"
She can barely finish her sentence before the lead fairy's ?wingman? explodes, quickly losing altitude and splattering against the shore of the lake. The rest of the fairies stop in midair, suitably confused and chirping amongst themselves like birds.
The miko. You bring your sights up to her head, wavering on the finger. She had never helped you. Didn't they say you were allowed to kill. They were in the way, oh in the way, yes? In the way. They tried to stop you. Those fools wouldn't know the difference between a high-velocity rifle wound and a shotgun slug. They wouldn't be able to tellllllllllllllll-
"Hey mister, you wanna play?"
You immediately drop out of the scope mindset, drawing your pistol across to your right at head level with the fairy intruder. Between her blue hair and icy wings, she doesn't seem particularly threatened or threatening, but perhaps a little upset.
"Aww I didn't mean to upset you. it's just there nothing else to play with!"
Furious at the interruption, you push away from the rifle and stand up, still aiming down the sights at the fairy.
"Youmu, I thought I told you not to let anyone sneak up on me."
"She wasn't sneaking."
Youmu replies bluntly. Idiot.
"Come on, mister. Let's play! Everybody else is asleep or at that smelly mansion!"
You reply, in no mood for shenanigans nor fairies right now. You reholster the glock, confident that the fairy is neither trying nor able to threaten you.
"But even the squirrels are asleep! Cmooooon!"
She yells, pointing at the forest. The squirrels are not so much asleep as just plain dead. Fairies don't understand death. They do, however, understand pain.
Your eyes wander to the lake, difficult to surmount without flying or a boat. There was a human fishing shack somewhere on the lake, but you have a better idea.
"Say, what if I wake up your friends for you?"
You say, squatting down and looking the girl in the face the best you can through your mask.
"Whaaaa? Can you do that? Can you really do that? Yes, do that!"
You motion at the lake.
"Sure, but I'll need you to freeze that lake for me so I can walk over."
She rolls her head, seemingly confused, and for just a moment, you think she might be clinically retarded.
She points at the lake, a blue beam emanating from her hand. Very rapidly, the entire surface of the lake turns to solid ice. You nod, standing up.
You discard the savage, scattering it in pieces across the ice as you walk. It'll be little use inside the courtyard walls, and you'd rather not have anyone else have it. Its barrel plunks into the water, reminding you that ice melts rather quickly in warmer water, and to hurry up. You skitter across the last of it, reaching the sandy shoreline of a new island. A hip and a skop later and you run straight into the wall that now protects the mansion. At almost 12 feet tall, you have to wonder just what it was meant to keep out.
You stab at it a few times with your knife to give yourself a starting handhold, and begin to climb, pausing to create new holds every few feet. You wish you had brought a utility knife, rather than one meant to stab somebody's heart through their rib cage. Walls, unfortunately, have neither rib cages nor hearts. When you reach the top, you barely lift yourself up and plant your ass on the tiled top, staring down at the 12 foot drop. The pack has fragile stuff, so-
A crash and a thud as your legs, then your should and ribs absorb the impact. Never doing that again. On the way out, you're blowing the wall or going under, but not over. Certainly not over.
Maybe it's the pain, maybe you've cracked your gasmask, but something is definitely different inside the walls. Youmu lands gracefully next to you with a roll, and you can't help but wonder aloud. Something is?
"Something is different."
"We've entered the vampire's domain.."
You stare Youmu down, incensed by her ?insightful? comment.
A quick scan of the courtyard shows no further activity, and you spare no time scaling the much easier brick wall of the mansion to a second floor entry. The room you enter seems to be one of a series of bedrooms, judging by the repeating pattern of the exterior and the fact there's beds in all the rooms you could see in. Yes, that would make a lot of sense.
You unholster your glock, careful to check the silencer's fitted correctly after it being in a holster. It is, and you peek out to see what appears to be a normal fairy? dressed in a maid's outfit, carrying a pile of dishes. A French maid's outfit. Revolting, that is. You peek down the other end of the corridor, and seeing nobody else, pop out and put one into her back. The plates crash all around her, causing a hell of a sound. Normally you'd care, but all you can think is-
Wow. That is a really nice silencer.
it's so good, it appears nobody else even heard it. Two more fairies come around the corner, chattering idly until they freeze at the sight of you. Two more go down, and you put a fourth round into the first fairy for good measure. The burst and subsequent execution shot are silent enough to let you hear the movement in the surrounding bedrooms.
This is a really nice silencer.
You go down the corridor, checking all the rooms in sequence as Youmu emerges, watching idly. Fairy. Plink plink. Fairy. Plink. Empty. Empty. Fairy. Plink. Plink. Fairies. Hrm. Plink plink plink. A few more rooms, and then you switch over to the other side of the corridor to do the exact same thing in reverse order. Magazine emptied, you press the release to insert a new one. The entire building seems to chime as it bounces off the tiled floor, a thousand clocks resounding as midnight hits. You know it's more than just a coincidence.
You turn around and Youmu already has hand on her swords, ready to strike as she scans the corridor. Leave her to guard you and make sure the job's done, you turn to make sure the fairy is-
A wonderful domed marble room, hundreds of feet wide in every direction. What was the corridor you were standing in is now a perfectly flat, tiled and white, sanitized room in every direction except in front of you. Two women stand there, although they seem a little less confused than you.
"I told you they came in over the wall!"
Exclaims the red-haired servant, dressed in Chinese garb. The other seems to be a more mature, non-fairy head of the other maids with a slick, silver braided hairstyle to match.
"they're just Humans, Meiling. You should've handled them there. I'll deal with this."
She dismisses the two of you instantly with a kind of cool air that only comes from sheer ignorance or complete confidence. In an instant she retrieves a knife from her sleeve, advancing towards you.
You quickly snap your reloaded glock to attention and aim dead center to her chest. In an instant she's-
Close. Deflect away. Graze. Twist left, dodge her thrust into your abdomen. Grapple, drop to one knee and-
You toss her up and over, catching a glance just in time to see her clashing knives against Youmu's swords in midair. She recovers not half a second later, landing gracefully on her feet and skidding to a stop after a meter.
"My, my. A challenge."
She smirks, drawing more unseen knives.
"Youmu take that bitch!"
You snap, turning your attention back to the front just long enough to be disarmed by a roundhouse kick that barely misses your chest. You stagger back onto your ass for the moment it takes her to bring her leg fully up, and you roll out of the way just in time to see it crush the tiles you were sitting on into dust. You scramble to your feet and gain distance, almost distracted by the sight and sound of your two counterparts going at it in full swing. The girl seems to have ceased her attack for the moment, crouching into a fighting position, although you're unfamiliar with the style. Your hand reaches back, and you consider just blasting her for a moment, but? where would the fun be in that?
Instead it reaches for your backpack's strap, and you quickly discard it along with holster, drum magazines, and cross. You draw your knife in a reverse grip and match her. She just smirks.
"Let's go, then."
You trade punches, with most of the kicks coming from her. She refuses to let you get close enough to grapple properly, keeping you at the very edge of her striking range before retreating after a flurry of blows, only to force you back with a new wave of attacks moments later. The closest you get is when you duck under a roundhouse kick, coming up to graze against her back and past her. Your knife didn't even get through her clothing with that maneuever.
She exclaims, again putting distance between the two of you.
"You're pretty good! Sambo? I didn't figure you for a Russian!"
"Krav Maga, too. Your style, on the other hand, was evident. Tai chi."
"Plus some Japanese Judo. You think I'd let you grapple with me? I'm no fool."
Maybe, maybe, but!...
You toss your knife far into the air, rushing her. You take the full brunt of a kick as she tries to deflect you, holding on for dear life and tackling her with all your weight. She fumbles, desperately trying to get out from under you as you pin her with one arm and throw the other one up, reaching into the air. You grab your knife as it comes down, pausing for only a moment as you bring it down between her sixth and seventh pair of ribs, eliciting a pained shock from her as she coughs out the last bit of her air, now bloodied. She continues to struggle for a moment against your weight as you pin her, pressing the knife in as far as it'll go. It takes her a moment but she finally stops twitching, accepting her fate. She tries to mouth one last will and testament.
"Sakuya? Sakuya I'm so--!"
You cut her off, quite literally cutting off the oxygen as you root around in between her ribs, twisting your knife around. She lays still, and let go of her now limp limbs and quickly withdraw the knife from the wound, blood pooling down her dress and across the otherwise unblemished tile flooring.
You pay the corpse no further mind, humming to yourself an insane tune following the strike and blow of metal on metal as it rings out through the air. No no, maybe it should be ride of the valkyries. You debate the pros and cons in your head, retrieving your glock and following the maid as she twists and twirls and generally outmaneuvers Youmu. Eh.
She freezes in place at the unfamiliar voice, turning long enough only to get winged by a round. She clutches her throat as blood pours out and she falls over, straining fruitlessly to stop the bleeding.
That was really a hell of a shot at that range. This is a really nice silencer?
Youmu quickly jogs over, breathing hard and sweating but otherwise not looking any worse for wear.
"Nice job, for once."
You say approvingly, moving to grab your equipment. You re-suit, taking the time to balance everything out again. Even as you strap on the backpack, the room starts to collapse back into reality. The white tiled floor becomes a dull reddish carpet, and oaken walls close in. By the time the transformation back is complete, you're standing in the what used to be a lobby, now little more than a destroyed ruin. Sometime during your fight the four of you managed to rip off all the wallpaper, put several sizable holes in the wall, knock over a grandfather clock, stain the walls with blood, and upturn all the furniture. Just the way you'd prefer it.
You finish surveying your destruction, pleased with your own work. You turn around, proceeding up the looping stairs back to the upper floor where you entered. Carefully, you clear the huge mansion, now bereft of shapeshifting. Aside from the bedrooms, there appears to have been little habitation for most of the mansion. Dozens of rooms have been boarded up, locked (and now forcibly unlocked), and abandoned or used for storage. This mansion may have housed a thousand people at one time, but now it is basically a run-down shack. The only surprising thing about this mansion is the cleanliness. The entire residence must be dedicated to maintenance to keep it clean. An odd thing, too, given how sparse their man? fairypower is already.
It is while checking one of these rooms that you hear the faintest sound of running water. It only grows louder as you proceed through the wing, checking each hallway and subsection in turn. You finally identify the door it's coming from, noticeably placed at the very end of the corridor, with no other rooms. You motion for Youmu to take the other side of the door and take up a breaching position, planning to take any occupants by surprise. Youmu takes the handle and you psyche yourself for one last moment before giving the signal.
She throws the door open, and you ru
She giggles softly as she takes a handful of water from the fountain, lifting it up and pouring it down her chest, the very light refracting gloriously off her chest in stark view for the entire world.
She looks at you, into your eyes and down into your very soul. She raises one hand and silently motions with her finger to join her, be with her, serve her.
You don't need this. Or the glock. Or the cross. Or the vest?
You take huge lung-fulls of toxic air as you crawl across the library floor, trying desperately to reach your beloved. She has to- No, Youmu has to. Stop her. Kill her. Distract her. Youmu, you need to?
You pull yourself over the edge of the fountain, flopping in like a fish, barely able to stay on your knees and above the water barely a few inches high. Yet when you reach her, when you reach her, it seems all the weight is lifted off your shoulders. With a single touch you can stand, you can fly. Her laughter seems to echo around the mansion as she easily helps you up. Up to her chest, to her being. She gazes upon you, and she approves. Mother, lover, benefactor.
You place your lips to her breast, sucking at her sweet milk as she strokes your hair, reassuring you, whispering unheard lullabies as the toxic air chokes your lungs. You have to fight, you have to focus.
She continues to caress you, running a hand over your throat as if appraising a pig for the slaughter. Focus, focus?
You can feel her grabbing at your manhood, intent on continuing the ritual, moving in for the kill even now. Focus, just play, focus, focus. Raising your head to her ear, whispering gently. One thing, just one small thing. Just a window, all you need.
The entire illusion seems to freeze for a moment.
You reach around her, grabbing her hair and pinning her against you with your entire arm as you nearly rip her hair out. You just as quickly unsheathe your knife from your belt, stabbing her repeatedly at point blank. She screams as she thrashes, clawing at your face and trying to shake you off. Furiously you stab at her, ripping out entire chunks of her as the two of you collapse into the water, rolling in an attempt to each drown the other as the entire fountain begins to spray blood. You keep stabbing at her as you wrestle, right until the point shatters in her spine. You quickly throw aside the useless tool, punching her in the throat and forcing her to gasp for breath as you roll on top of her and use your now free hand to pin her head under the slick mixture of blood and water. She throws you off just as quick, and tries to leap out of the fountain only for you to punch her in the back of the head in time for her to crash over the edge. You haul her up just as quick and with a great roar throw her into the center of the fountain, right through the jet and off the other side of the edge. Wasting no time you scoop up a piece of the now broken fountain and jump off the edge after her, putting her down with one savage blow to the head before rearing back and going at her with the full force of both of your arms.
?DIE you goddamned vampire! Die!?
You scream as you pound her body into little more than a bloody pulp. You pause only after dozens of hits to breathe. Feeling the toxic air still invading your lungs, you hunch over and vomit, dropping your improvised weapon and leaving the dead whore where she lay. Your body temporarily cleansed and the vomiting having subsided for the moment, you scramble over to your gear and quickly put your mask back on, gulping down the filtered air as fast as your lungs can pull it in.
"That was a succubus, not a vampire."
You look up at an idle Youmu, almost astounded at her audacity after failing to assist.
"That was a succubus."
You backhand her for good measure.
Now, you take a moment to appraise the room you entered. Impossibly large judging by where it must be in the mansion, it is a huge library spanning an enormous amount of space. The ceiling raises a clear 30 to 40 meters above you, and it seems to be almost a kilometer long ahead of you, although obscured by enormous bookcases. As if the bookcases weren't enough, individual books are piled up in huge heaps and stacks in various places. It is there you spot a frilly purple hat sticking up from behind a small stack. Your shotgun is in your hands aiming down the ironsights in a moment.
Two white hands come up, a person slowly coming up with them. Before you can even see her, she starts to speak.
"Now hold on, I'm a scholar-"
You open fire, tearing away huge chunks of person and book and carpet floor as slugs rip through the position. 2/3 through the magazine you stop as she's fallen behind what's left of the books.
"Wait wait wait, did she say something?"
You ask, turning to Youmu. She simply shrugs, and you return the shrug, emptying the rest of the magazine in the resident's direction. You replace the magazine and jog over to check the body, thoroughly chunky. You take your sweet time getting back, scanning the library aisles for anyone else, but none show up. You put your gear back on for the second time today, irritated at the succubus spiting you even in death. It is as you re-affix your pack that the room resounds with the sound of the clock tower. Bats screech, seeming to appear from every nook and cranny, forming a great mass as they stream out of the library up the round stairs.
As you scale the infinite clocktower, ascending yet another floor in a seemingly endless parade of stairs, you can hear the wind crashing against the walls in a great fury. You can only imagine that this tower must be high indeed.
And it is as you exit onto the wind-torn ramparts that she is there, a solitary figure no physically older than 13. Even as you step out onto the roof, the wind buckles against your pack and clothes as if conspiring to throw you off. Yet the table she sits at, umbrella overhead as if protecting from some unseen star, refuses even quiver. It is an odd sight.
"Youmu? stay in the stairwell. I'll handle this."
You can barely hear the door shut behind you as your eyes meet hers, the first phase to a momentous clash as you appraise each other for the first time. She's definitely older than she looks, considering her vampiric status, but her gaze betrays something even more, ancient, perhaps.
"I killed your subordinates."
No flinch. Not even recognition. Cold bitch.
"Well then, shall we begin?!"
You yell, throwing your arms wide as if to invite her in to your own house. As if on your command, the wind dies, a dreadful silence arising.
"How does one such as you exist, hrm?"
She stands, twirling her cup of tea in between her fingers, the tea remaining firmly inside the cup even as it is held upside down.
"Did you, in your great anger, simply will yourself to continue? Or did he bind your soul? Why are you still working with him?"
She knows more than she lets on.
"These are the questions you should have asked yourself, before you foolishly wandered into this encounter."
Oh, you will. You will. Your hand reaches for your vest pocket, ready to grab the cross.
"But enough talk? Let us begin, human!?
She roars as she tosses aside the entire table setup with one hand, flaming spear appearing in the other. You draw the cross just as quick, your other hand bringing up the glock.
"Begone, foul beast!"
She seems to pause for a moment, as if entranced? or confused.
"That doesn't work on m-"
"How about bullets?!"
You yell in between pings as you put half a magazine into her chest. You quickly toss aside the useless religious symbol, bringing your second hand up to provide accuracy and stability in between shots.
By the third round she seems to have recognized the impact. By the tenth she's faltering, and by the fifteenth she's on her back. A vampire she may be, but kinetic energy is a bitch. You quickly scurry over to her, ready to put another bullet in her if she even twitches. Yet she does not. You stand over her, watching for any sign of movement amongst her bloodstained dress and limbs.
You put two more into her chest to make sure. Still, you should make sure of this. Getting attacked from behind is bad. Getting attacked from behind by a vampire is your death. You reach around and grab the UV light off your back, flicking it on and holding it over her face. Her skin begins to bubble.
Well that seems to be work-
She jerks violently and bites your hand.
Son of a bitch! You recoil a second too late, pulling her entire body off the ground as her mouth continues its deathgrip. You manage to switch hands on the UV light and smash it over her head, beating her off even as its metal spine bends from the strikes.
She gives a low laugh as you stumble away, clutching your hand as blood gushes out. You redraw your pistol, turning around as she wipes the blood from her chin. You're forced to clutch your wounded hand against your chest as she smirks.
"Did you really think your sister hellspawn would be so easy to kill?"
You've still got enough rounds to kill an entire company of soldiers. You'll see. You draw the remaining, wooden knife with your wounded hand.
"I was hoping for nothing less."
You put two more in her chest, bringing the knife upwards as you charge her, slashing downwards. She deftly sidesteps, unfazed by your attack. You have to duck and roll to avoid her horizontal swing, and right yourself in time to blow away a chunk of her arm. She recoils long enough for you to jump up, slashing across her face. She screams, and you come around to run her through.
You have to choke back spittle as her fist digs into your stomach. She rolls out a laugh before pummeling you, throwing you back across the rooftop. You roll over and scramble to your feet, spitting out a mix of blood and saliva even as you notice she had no intention of advancing on you. it's going to be one of those fights.
With only your knife left, you stand tall against a vampire with razor sharp claws, inhuman strength, and a vile cunning. Well, you do have one more weapon.
You bring the shotgun down from your pack, smiling in glee as you cycle shot into the chamber.
You open up as she explodes into a mist of fine black particulate, quickly spreading out as a hundred vampire bats. Despite firing into the crowd of them, not a single drops as they come around from both sides. You dodge through the center of the mass, smashing right through several of them and rolling for extra distance before bringing your weapon back up, shooting out chunks of them as they try to reform. It only delays them as they again explode into a writhing mass, a dozen imperceptible targets zigzagging left and right. Your weapon clicks, indicating your lack of ammunition and even as you go for another drum magazine they form opposite you.
You quickly grab the magazine loaded with slugs, and home in on one of the last bats to mold back into her shape, selecting a single one. As it tries to fall into place you let off a single round, seemingly obliterating it. The vampire clutches her arm. That one is working.
Just as quick she's summoned her spear. You leap left, much to the destruction of tile and plaster behind you. You think to attack as she's lost her weapon, but she's replaced it just as quick, necessitating another dodge back to your original position. You do not allow her to summon a third spear, catching her right arm and thigh with two rounds which disperse into bats at the hit. You take aim and put an end to several more bats as she screeches, trying to reform.
You soon run dry, necessitating another drum magazine. Despite another shot and a litany of dead flying pieces of shit, there seems to be no end to the number of bats she can summon. You pause halfway through the magazine to gauge the effect. Her body takes the chance to full reform. Although she seems fatigued, and stands with a slight hunch, her dress remains frilly, bright, colorful, untorn. Even the ribbon upon her head seems to sit perfectly.
You open up on full automatic as she summons and raises a spear above her head. She does not disperse to avoid them this time, merely cringing as she gets hit. You scramble back to avoid the strike as the spear grows to ungodly portions, crashing through the roof and several levels below the battlefield. The entire mansion seems to shake at the strike. Still, you've now a large hole in the ground between the two of you and you waste no time putting it to good use, moving back to a crouching position and lining her up.
Click. Magazine change. Eject and- No drum. Box. It falls out. You insert it again, and it refuses to lock. You quickly glance at it.
10 RND BOX?
Realization sets in that you're now completely out of ammunition as the vampire seems to glide across the floor, first metaphorically, then literally as she floats past the gap at an alarming speed. You draw back and fling the magazine at her, slowing her down momentarily as it strikes her in the head. She crashes into you, and you try to improvise the shotgun as a club, swinging across as she grabs at you and successfully countering her grab. You quickly lose the shotgun and as she tries again you side step her, grabbing her right arm and bringing it up as you crossover with your own onto her shoulder, snapping it like a twig. You push her away as her arm hangs limp, although she appears unfazed. With one motion she seizes the limb and gives it a great push back into its socket, with a corresponding crack. How are you supposed to fight that? Break both her arms so she can't snap one back into place?
That sounds like a fine plan to you. You motion with her hands, inviting her to attack you. She bares her fangs - a monstrous pair, all in all, now shown in their full glory. With a leap she flies into the air, and comes down just as fast as you barely scramble out of the way. Your face almost meets pavement as she claws into your leg, tripping you and trying to drag you back. You give a tug and only succeed in gashing your ankle some more. You quickly roll to loosen her grip and yank again, pulling her off her feet. You immediately go at her, bringing down your closed fist upon her head and driving it into the ground. You bring it down again, and she releases her grip. You scurry away and grab a piece of destroyed tile as she recovers, coming at you on all fours as blood streams from her eyes, from her nose, from her mouth. It crumbles from the first strike, with little effect. She leaps on to you, tearing at your armor with both hands as her jaw snaps at your face. You bring your foot up under her chest and kick her off, grabbing for a piece of tile, one that almost cuts your hand. You go after her as soon as you have it, plunging it down into her heart.
She brings her arm up, slapping you off and through the air like you were nothing. That bitch. That wench.
"You should be dead!"
You roar, springing back up. She, too, has risen, although she appears noticeably weaker.
"You're a vampire! UV rays! A stake! And now, through and through your heart! Die! Die! Die, you goddamned vampire!"
You scream at her, berating her very existence. Demanding she die as if your insistence makes it so. She slackens, slouching, and without even thinking it you attack her in your rage. You bat aside her feeble arms, grabbing through her mouth and forcing her jaw open with your knuckles. With your other hand, you grasp the tile, forcing it deeper as it ragged edges run your grip raw.
With a yell, you simultaneously force the tile straight through her as her jaw breaks loose. She slumps onto you, now little but dead weight. Her jaw hangs at an impossible angle, clear stretching the skin - now the only thing attaching it to her skull. Her chest gapes, a large portion but blood and guts on the ground, shredded by your improvised weapon.
You release your death grip and bring your hand back through the hole in her chest, sidestepping and allowing her to fall face-first past you. You take a moment to flick the blood off your hands before realizing that doing so just creates more from the open gash where she bit you before. You curse and pat through the shredded pockets of your vest before noticing the corpse right next to you. Still a perfectly fine ribbon adorned upon her head, undamaged. A smirk breaks out upon your lips as you squat next to the defeated.
Like a war trophy you carefully unwrap it, touching the smooth fabric before applying it to your hand, it instantly losing its glow as it is stained a dark, blackish red. You wrap it around thrice, and thread the end under itself so as to secure it. There is no item, no valuable to collect here. Your ?mission? is complete.
You wipe the sweat from your brow, aware of the pounding heat that comes from fatigue - or the sun. Because as you take away your hand, you can see the glittering, ruined fabric in its entirety as it shines a dull shim, empowered by the sun. You turn around and are greeted by the sky itself opening, clearing away the dark miasma that had blanketed the world. The sun shines in all its brightness, all its annoyingness, and all its squinty glareness. The motherfucking sun. Sure, according to your internal clock it's like ? 3 AM. But who gives a shit. Killed the vampire. Saved the world. Have a fucking sun. You should've let it burn.
You make a mental note to destroy the deity that controls the weather.
You shift pack weight as you search for your pistol. Again as you dig through the first pile of rubble, sure it had slid that way. At the third pile, you simply set the pack aside, waiting until you finally do find the glock, still functioning, albeit with a large dent in the slide. You test it a few times, and it still actions without any undue force, so you assume it to be working. You pick up your pack with one hand as you stroll past, back towards the door to the clocktower.
You open it to the girl idly standing about halfway down the first flight. She yelps in surprise as the pack knocks her off her feet and down two flights of stairs, regrettably without any bone crunching snaps. Stupid bitch.
You mouth as you step over her, still struggling under the weight of the pack and her own awkward movements to unpin herself. You pass down the flights of stairs at a reasonable pace, although having to steady yourself with your bandaged hand, due the lack of a handhold. It leaves a funny trail, a little smear here, a little dab there? One could follow the blood like that of a victim fleeing from his murderer. The difference being that the victim marks his path with his own blood. You mark it with that of your enemies.
You continue to scale downwards. Past the library. Past the floors of bedrooms infinite. You go until the stairs go no more, until you can feel that the very floor you stand on resides on firm ground. Youmu is a few flights behind you, unaccustomed to walking down stairs at such a brisk pace with a load on her back. You exit the staircase, ignoring the open empty bedrooms, devoid of furniture or life. Had there been any fairy maids left, they have scattered now, along with what was left of this mansion.
Yet curiously, you pass one large iron door, closed. You give it no thought at first, beelining for one side of the mansion so you may make good your exit. Yet, you stop. Your mind reels back what you saw. You double back to confirm, passing a confused Youmu.
The door is not just iron inlaid on wood. Only barely can you see, but carefully examining the surroundings of the door confirms your suspicions. The door had been further reinforced from that. In between the gaps you eye small bars of steel, a portcullis that itself locks into the door. A later reinforcement as it became available. Further still, there is no handle, no visible means of opening it. Yet you place your hand upon the right side of the door, at waist height, and trace along the iron plane. You cannot make out the symbol, but is a very subtle, very slight glyph of magic, masterfully inlaid with the slightest touch so as not only to be inscrutable to the unaware, but also deadly to any seeking to open the door. Yet, with the death you have inflicted today, you know it to be inoperable.
You stand back, marveling at the magnificent inlaid construction. Something that must not have taken only decades to construct, but must protect something of mighty importance.
"Cut through its supports."
Youmu looks at you.
"Cut around the door, dipshit."
She nods, and with a flash you hear her sword click back into its sheath. You walk back up to the door, which seems just as strong as it was the moment before. You almost think Youmu's assault to have failed. You place a hand upon it, and jump back as it begins to shudder.
With a tremendous crash that seems to rock the very mansion to its foundation, the door falls inward. All is still for a moment before air rushes from the darkened depths. A putrid, stale air of ancient eternities. So rotten is it that it seeps through the very filters of your mask, designed to filter out everything from nerve to tear gas.
You find yourself choking before the atmosphere equalizes. Not a sound comes from the pitch black catacombs. You brace yourself, and readying your pistol, venture inwards.
As you walk down the dilapidated stairs, you slowly adjust to both the sight and darkness. It almost reminds you of Chernobyl. Furniture a hundred years too old. Eaten not by any recognizable animal, but torn into all the same. Rotting bookcases and overturned tables, strewn between trash of all varieties. The very air hangs with death and loneliness. No person inhabits this place.
It is one of those overturned bookcases that suddenly moves, shifting ever so slightly. You are instantly alert and focused on it as the small girl crawls out from underneath. Tattered, in what must have been a royal dress at one point. She speaks oddly and slowly, opening her mouth in big gapes, giving you plenty of chance to notice the two huge fangs adorning the bottom row of her teeth.
"Are you? Papa?"
Are you what?
"Are you Papa?"
Hell. Why not.
"Yeah? Yeah, hehe."
You giggle at the thought.
"I'm your daddy."
You add, just throwing on a phrase for sheer amusement.
"They said- said Papa would come. Come. That was a? long ago. He didn't. Now he did. Are you going to take me to the heavenly place?"
Oh, you might. You just might.
"Who told you that?"
She meekly points her finger past you, into the darkness. You squint, at first, not realizing what you're seeing.
Then it hits you.
People. Maybe half a dozen people. Strung up. Taken apart. Contorted into ropes, bits and pieces, innards separated from skin from skeleton. Their cloaks - hung about them - seemingly Jesuit, or some form of missionary, far too old to have been recent deaths. Their organs have not rotted from insect nor vermin, but from sheer disintegration over what must have been years. Thankfully, the smell seems to have taken its course before you got here.
"Are you going to take me away, Papa? Are we going to go to the heavenly place?"
Ah, yes a fun note. Spoilers for the last post, so I am shielding it for the benefit of those who haven't read yet:
The original concept for the Remilia fight was much different from what I ended up writing. She would've been basically passive, allowing you to waste your ammunition and strength as she abused her vampire regeneration. Only as she counterattacked when you were weakened would the fight really heat up. You would lay down a flurry of attacks, grapples, and specifically breaks on her bones, but she would continue to regenerate. At one point you were to toss her around by her leg, using her to de-tile a good portion of the roof before breaking her spine over your knee. Yet still she would fight. You'd have finished her with a 'curbstomp', turning her head to a mushy pastry and ensuring a victory.
A vampire. An invincible demon of the night. All she needs is someone to point her in the right direction.
You reach down with your hand, inviting her to join you. She grabs at it, clawing into your hands, then your arm, as she scrambles up your arm onto your shoulders. She wraps herself around the back of your head. Uncomfortable, but it's not like she'll fall off. You let her bring her legs out to either side of your neck, so she's less straddling you, and more riding you.
At this point, not even her claws digging into the side of your skull bothers you. Between the putrid air, the fogging eye windows, and your aching body, you've barely any senses left.
"Come on, Youmu. We're headed- Well, we're headed up."
You barely give her a nod, but trust her imprinted personality to respond to you by now. You can barely follow her movement as you pass her. You just need to get out of this godforsaken mansion. One step, and another. Up the stairs, past the iron gate, down the hall. All with an annoying itch at the back of your head.
But then you burst into the courtyard. Every step a little greener. Every inch a little softer. Hardwood floor gives way to gravel which gives way to grass, and finally sand as you reach the edge of the lake. You tap the girl upon your shoulders, and she inches down your back, sliding down your leg.
Your fingers pick at the straps to your mask, tenderly removing the digging lines which seem to have become a second skin. As you break the seal, you can smell the fresh air rushing in as you lower the mask from your face. You take huge gulps of air, no longer burdened by shot filters, nor diseased air.
The air swirls around you as all sense of balance fades away. You find yourself on your back, unable to go on without rest. There's nothing but dainty fog, scarce trees, and an ugly mansion. The two girls mill around as well. One, emotionless, empty, scanning endlessly. The other shaking, unsure, tenderly stepping on ground unfamiliar.
The mansion is so ugly.
So very ugly. It is a construction of vampires. Killers of men. Assassins of the night. Murders and brigands who slay for blood, regardless of creed nor coming. And they are not you, and that is why it must be destroyed.
You reach out with one hand towards the mansion as if to crush it in your grasp.
There is a bewildering flash. The mansion itself seems to shape and distort its very being, throwing light in every direction. As it increases in intensity until it is blinding, you are forced to turn your head away, able only to see the faint silhouette of your newest apprentice. Her arms wide open, she seems to be controlling the maelstrom. Before you're forced to shut your eyes entirely, you see her throw her head back in maniacal laughter.
Everything is quiet. It takes several moments before you realize that a light no longer assaults your eyelids. Tentatively you glance out, instinctively shielding your eyes. You see no mansion. Or rather, very little mansion. A gaping hole extends from the center of where it was in every direction, a perfect sphere. Only the very fringes of the mansion escaped destruction.
The sheer oddity of the sight astounds you for a moment before a growing pattering arouses your interest. Small bits of the mansion begin to fall around you, growing bigger with every passing second. You glance skyward in time to see an entire floor headed for you, and hear the faint click of a scabbard.
Just as quickly as it became a threat, the floor disappears into a thousand harmless pieces. You hear Youmu land softly next to you, and sheath her swords. Your attention then turns to the shaking, rocking thing that precipitated the whole thing. You excitedly scramble over her, and then simply falter. Whatever. You pat her on the head. She can have this one, because you have her, and she is going to be very useful, indeed.
"I think you and me are going to get along just fine."
A second sun arose on the horizon. Powerful, indeed. Raw. Unconcentrated. Chaotic. But it was controlled. It was shaped. What can be directed can be turned against others.
And then the mansion disappeared.
A deathly silence came over the outcropping before the man shook his head.
?The mansion burns. Our plot has failed.?
He turned, and chose not to look any more.
One. Two. Three. Four. Don't you hate the Marine Corps?
You approach the meeting point. You don't know how, but you know, it's here. they're here. they're waiting. Your loving employers will want a status update, and what an update you have. it's shocking. it's exciting. it's something they won't expect.
The sparse shrubbery of the adjoining lowlands gives out as you approach. You imagine they selected this location for the lack of cover. No matter. Nobody looks up. Nobody.
Still they managed to hide in the smallest inclines. You'd say barely inches, but terrain is deceptive. it's all good cover for infantrymen. You don't see them until you're on top of them.
And from there, it is a very sordid affair. You stare. They stare. Yukari is upset. When is she not?
"they're both dead."
You let this fact roll off your lips, still shaping up Yukari. She's always been the weaker link. The old man is? nothing to be concerned about.
She responds with the slightest inflection. But this is no check of your work. No, she's fishing. Her eyes carefully appraise you. Her body language gives her away.
"In fact, they're all dead."
All of them. All of them.
"The fairies, the witch, the demon, the vampire, the bodyguard, the maid."
You crack your neck.
"I killed them all."
She recoils. Disgust. Distaste.
"I didn't tell you to-"
"I wanted to."
You lean in uncomfortably close to her. Pressing the point. The old man watches, as he does.
"Even the fairies. The little fairy maids. You should have seen them scurry. Pop pop. Two in the back. Check for vitals. Pop. One in the head to be sure."
She's still angry. Still upset. No matter how a vindictive bitch she is, she can't do that all day. Wouldn't she be angry about this before? Wouldn't she? Angry again, now, Yukari, still?
Or is this new, to you?
"And then, when there was one left?"
You lean in until your nose presses against hers and you can see the hatred in her eyes. She stands there, shaking although she holds back with all her willpower. You relish it, letting your breathe wash over her.
"I violated her. Not because she was the prettiest. Not because she was the smallest or most fetish worthy. But because I could. Because she was the one that hid in the back while her friends died. Pop. She's dead too. How sad."
You spring back, barely avoiding an uppercut. You're instantly forced to dodge another attack, a horizontal swing which materializes from her borders. Youmu springs into action in front of you, getting her blade above her head to swing downwards and cut off the arm before you are interrupted.
You take the second's pause to extricate yourself, getting some distance between you and her. It might not save you from her border abuse, but it will prevent her from taking direct swings.
Youmu glances between you and her. Unsure of how to proceed before taking your defensive cue and sheathing. It seems you'll be at a standstill without more fighting. You're not yet prepared to do that. But you did prepare something else, just for this.
"You know, Yukari, I lied!"
She steels herself, now seriously engaging the idea of attacking you, despite what the old man thinks. You can see her plotting attacks just by the glances she throws. A portal there, a swing here, a grab there. Let her be engaged. She'll just lose it more.
"I didn't kill both of them.!"
Cue. Start the show.
A dazzling angel. Wings substantial. An array of colors.
A bloodthirsty vampire.
She swoops through the sun's rays, catching a hold of your shirt and clinging to your back, peeking over your shoulder.
Yukari shrieks. Even the man is visibly upset.
"And she's with me."
You laugh. And you laugh harder, and harder. They simply get more scared.
"The job's done, Yukari. Your enemies - gone. I have fulfilled the terms of my contract to date."
She stands there in now-stunned silence. The man barely recomposes himself, grating by pounding his cane into the ground.
"I look forward to hearing what the third and final job is. You can contact me in two days. Consider tomorrow a? personal day. I need to housetrain my new pet."
You bring two fingers to your forehead in a false salute.
"I so look forward to working with you two in the future."
The sun is setting as you enter your camp. The vampire flies all around you, now. Sniffing, poking, touching, eating. Trying to eat, rather. Your body is sore. You are fatigued. Yet you cannot rest yet. You have more to do. So much more.
Yukari does not know. She does not watch. Yet you know she has watched. Why? Where? When? She does not watch on missions. It is not a when. The mission was important. It is not a where. The only other factor is where.
The mansion is destroyed. There can be no testing there. But you know of a place where you have committed crimes, where she did not watch, before. You got away with them. So you must do it again. But this time, you'll do it for information.
You get up, taking a moment to stretch your aching muscles before turning away and calling back.
"Youmu, go get her some food."
A murmur. She tries to say something that is not mindless acceptance. The first inklings of a new personality, or a shadow of her former self?
"Where are you going?"
Well, that's a simple one.
"Where else? The mountain. I'm going to interrogate a Tengu."
There are still some weapon crates around.
[ ] Tactics, loadout. Some equipment will be carried regardless.
[X] Chat with Youmu a bit before leaving,her "personality" has caught your interest.
[X] LOADOUT:Silenced Glock,with the AA12 for backup.
[X] Hatate seems like a good person to target for interrogation.
I'd also like to hear about Tengu Killer's past a bit more.
[x] Silenced glock with six spare clips.
[x] AA12 with two spare drums.
[x] Four flash grenades.
[x] Plain combat knife.
[x] Light flak armor: vest and helmet.
[x] Night vision device.
[x] Climbing gear.
There's not much left, and nothing specialized for a silent operation, but it's not like you can ask for more. You could, but you figure Yukari might not be so pleased to hand over a pile of guns for whatever purpose. Nor might someone be pleased to discover another storage room of missing weaponry. You really have to wonder where this stuff comes from, whether it be some long forgotten East German bunker, or from the ready rooms under the American Fort Knox. Perhaps it even comes from the motherland. Some of these weapons for sure have not been exported.
A poor Abakan. You run your hand down its side. Assault rifles are not suitable for this kind of work, unfortunately. Had you had one a week ago, you would have gladly carried it to the end, but now there are better alternatives. Yet it remains here, unused and discarded, having little purpose. It has so few brothers, it is a shame to leave it here. You won't shy from its cousins though. If only you could find a Saiga.
You wrangle out a AA-12. It will do. It will do?
A dependable pistol. A glock. A silencer, even. More than you expected to find.
A knife. A vest. Take out the ceramics, there shall be no bullets today.
Flash grenades and third generation night vision. Not to be used at the same time, of course.
And finally, a harness. Suitable rope is procured. Rope has a number of purposes, especially in interrogation.
The moon is already darting to the top of the sky by the time you have all of your equipment laid out in front of you, but it matters little. You still must take the time to pack and load magazines.
Drum magazines must be partially disassembled, springs calibrated, ammo loaded in a careful order.
Weight must be distributed. Left upper back. Right lower. Waist. Flexibility on the legs is paramount. Freedom of movement for the upper torso is important.
Harnesses must be taut. Improperly worn, it may result in pain and rashes at the worst of times.
The locations of the knife and ammo must be standardized or carefully studied and remembered. Grenades must freely slip from their holsters, but only when tugged on.
You glance at the sky. There is a fantastic amount of moonlight peeking from behind dark clouds. It shall suffice for a night operation.
The trip up the mountain takes longer than you would prefer, but is otherwise safe. You almost thought yourself lost when a Tengu patrol doubled back thrice, each time almost discovering you. However you kept your nerve, and were able to evade them. It would do you no good to be discovered so early.
You crawl along on your hands to the edge of the bushes. Your target sits directly ahead, the only structure for at least a mile on either side. A curious little hut, built in a clearing with wide open view in every direction. You're not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that the house isn't in their village.
Of course there is another problem. There are three of them. You only want one. They must be separated.
Your eyes scan the terrain for an idea before an object catches the bottom of your view. You take out a flash grenade, looking it over and thinking through the possibilities. Genius.
A dark, quiet night. Somebody call for thunder? And where there's thunder, there's lightning. Fortunately, you have both in one nice package.
You stand, gauging distance and steadying yourself. You pull the pin, and toss the first with a great overhand throw.
A flash of light and a roaring boom proceed a few seconds later. You quickly crouch and flip on the night vision, watching the house for any sign of activity. Not a creature was stirring, not even a wolf. That's just fine. You have more, and lightning does strike twice - A little closer each time!
You let a few minutes burn away for authenticity. You stand, and chuck another even farther. This time, you think you can see one vaguely rolling over in their bed. That's fine, too.
A third is thrown, and if you strain your ears through the ringing, you can hear movement in the silent night. You take off your pack, setting it aside. The only thing you keep on your person is a bundle of rope and the last grenade.
You crawl along the barren, grassy ground. Closer, closer. It must be perfect. Just close enough to throw it inside, but far enough not to be spotted. Your arms tire as you crawl, making you wish you had a grenade launcher right about now. Perhaps the Abakan could have served, today. Still, you don't have one now, so it must be forgotten.
You are in position. Pull. Hold. Hold. Throw!
It arcs perfectly, coming right through the upper half of the window and exploding a second later. You press yourself against the ground, barely peeking up as the door to the hut bursts outward and figures come scrambling out.
She looks around. You can see those two ears twitch. Those beastly features.
She looks right over you. She cannot see you. Her eyes are not acclimated. You almost hesitate to activate the night vision, wary of even the slightest sound or buzz, but you must. You can see her clearly now. She scans the treeline, not the ground right in front of her.
They chatter at length, although you can't pick it up. Their excitement dies down, but yours only grows. A final look around, and one goes inside. There are two. One wanders around the house, and the other stares at the sky. That one goes inside. There is one.
You barely inch towards the house, making only the slightest moves as the last one tarries outside. You start to gather a length of rope in your hand between crawls. Just enough to fit around her head?
She walks closer to you as you remain perfectly still. You must strike now, or her eyes will adjust.
A flash, and you are up in a second. She turns, bewildered, but ignorant of fear or danger. You smack her hard enough to spin her around, quickly jumping on her and throwing the rope around her neck. She balks upward, trying to kick, but unable to scream. You tighten the rope, forcing her onto her knees and bring her down. You bash her face against the ground - Once, twice, until she stops moving. A quick check of the pulse. She's alive, but barely breathing. You remove the rope.
A quick look around tells you that nobody heard, or at least nobody came to check. You unbutton her shirt, rolling it up and gagging her. A quick fasten of the rope around her legs, and you engage in a dead heat, pulling with all your strength until the two of you are out of the clearing. You check your prisoner for a pulse, and satisfied with the results, you re-don your pack. You carry her now much gently. Not out of caring, but necessity. If she dies now, you can't beat an answer out of her!
Your search for a suitable interrogation point leads you further up the mountain. Trees become sparse, the ground uneven. Tengu structures are more frequent here, although few are manned. You come upon a small mountain spring, and decide it will do. You set your prisoner at the pool's edge and shed your pack, cracking your knuckles. It reminds you of Chechnya.
Of course, the prisoner must be awakened before interrogations can take place. You can stab them when they're unconscious, but if they're not just asleep they tend not to wake up. You pat down the vest for the mandatory suture kit, and find smelling salts instead. They will work, but first?
Ah? yes. That's good. Sharp. Vivid. Strong. Your fatigue is gone. These salts will only last for so long, however. You take a second and break it under her nose, quickly working to remove the gag.
Her eyelids flutter as she moans, slurring words through her bloodied mouth.
You plunge her head into the water, holding it there as she begins to thrash. Fifteen. Fourteen?
You pull her up as the thrashing stops. You punch her in the diaphragm, and she comes back to life, spitting up a mix of green bile. You allow her barely two huge gasps before you plunge her back in. Ten. Nine.
Up again. She spits outs whole mouthfuls of water, choking as she gets as much air as she can.
"I want to know something."
Down again. No need to ask the question, yet. She needs to understand that there will be pain regardless. The pain is lesser if she answers, though.
"Are you listening? You must listen."
Her eyes roll around in her head, but she is able to mouth off a faint ?yes?. That's good, good. Cognitive functions still exist. Too much oxygen deprivation and well? there goes the brain. You allow her a precious few moments to grab a breath before asking succinctly while tightening your grip on the back of her head.
"Now answer me: How do you protect from Yukari? How does she not spy, and sneak, and trod upon your realm?"
Her mouth forms words. You lighten your grip for just a moment, easing her on. You put your ear close.
You dunk her back down in the water. Holding. Holding. Ah, it won't do any good if she decomposes. You let her up. As you throw her aside, you notice she can barely move, barely breathe. Airways checked. The gag is reapplied. Limbs are bound. It takes three days for a human to die of dehydration. You suspect it will take longer for a Youkai.
Another interrogation awaits you. You might have to get creative. Time is burning. You must be off this godforsaken mountain by sunrise.
You must head further up the mountain, before you may come down.
Double quick, now. Don't tarry. Over that ridge. Down that crevice. Moonlight is burning. Legs are aching.
The largest building on the mountain. Not two stories tall, but a vast eastern-style mansion. Servants dart in and out of structure, so how are you to know which is a ?seer?" it's quite simple, really. It always is. The best well dressed are the ones best off. This is true for the businessman, at the top of his glass tower in a prim suit. It is true for the rebel, lurking in his cave in a military dress uniform. It shall be true here, as well.
To enter the house is madness. To ignore it, impossible. The target must be flushed out.
With a sigh, you again untie your pack. You select a length of rope, check your harness, and ensure your knife comes out smoothly. Then you begin to circle. Once around the house at 100m. No features. Again at 150. Nothing. 200. 250. 300. Something clinks as your foot snags an object. Your steel-toed boots have caught a protrusion of pipe. You unearth it a bit more, flicking on your night vision and gauging its running direction. Back to the house, yes? and the other end goes further down.
You follow it.
As you reach the end, a brown muck barely showing a metal pipe, you become aware of how insane this situation is. You have just followed the septic line for the house of a Tengu who is much too well off, who really deserves to be raided with high explosive and a generous helping of fireteams. Yet you are running around, vainly searching for where their shit ends up in order to get them to leave a structure.
You must devise a better way of tackling structures.
The thought consumes you as you automatically survey the situation. Tear gas. No, too obviously you unless you hid the canisters. Hrm, lots of flow. Back it up maybe. Incendiaries - No, too much commotion. You might as well tell them all ?Come here!?. A rock? No, a rock won't snugly fit the exit. Is this the main drain? A secondary force, the anvil to your hammer, or sickle, perhaps. But no. The Youkai may be able to be vaguely controlled, corralled, and directed, but the Tengu are experienced against them, the humans have the wall, and Yukari wouldn't blink an eye. Dirt. Simple pressure should suffice. Then again, waste is designed to seep into dirt.
Well you must do something. If you had a hammer?
With a hammer you can strike anything and everything to death. With your hands alone, you could. But not metal. Metal is not so easy to destroy as people. A strike. You use the butt of your rifle, but you must be gentle. It is not a Saiga, it was not born from Kalashnikov's family. A rock must do. Pounding metal into metal. This is a job for the ?eleznodoro men. It is said, though: If support can reach you, you must not need it. If you need support, it must not be able to reach you. You have found this to be true.
The pipe is destroyed. Crushed, blocked, rendered unusable. You use your knife to loosen earth uphill, and cover the end for added measure. You lug a few larger boulder chunks after that, and decide that must do without equipment. You are no plumber. You hope none of them are, either.
Moonlight fading. Always with the deadlines. Grozny by 0640? Be there at 0600. Trenches by morning? We had foxholes in 5. Kill 10? 100.
Back up the mountain.
Time burning. Tick. Tick. Tick. You wish it were a clocked explosive, but it's just inside your head.
A shriek of timid confusion. The bottom rung, the servants. Then angry yelling. The authority is not pleased. A mistake has been made, but not theirs, you know the truth. A call for calm. The moderate.
Evacuation. Running from wastewater. You sneer to think of the things you've charged straight at.
Circling. Confusion. Disagreement. You identify several that could be leaders, or seers as it's been put. You shift weight on the branch you sit on, careful not to disturb the entire tree. Your eyes follow the prey below, ignorant of your presence. You lurk like the Amur tiger, and the striking similarity nearly causes you to blow your cover with an audible laugh. it's true, you're stalking an inferior prey with night vision superior to a normal human. Just the perks of equipment, is all.
they're moving. One of the important ones coming your way. Alone.
You silently lower yourself through the tree, quickly retrieving your pack and gauging her path. You make yourself a suitable lead, and hang the pack on a tree at chest level. Backtrack a few meters, and up you go. A leap, catch the next branch, and you perch yourself with not a sound.
Up, up. Out of sight, not in mind! You quickly screw a bolt in, checking to ensure its grip and then threading rope through and back into your harness. You carefully appraise the length, estimating the distance to the ground with the relevant issues factored in. Check the harness. No give, just some chafing on your legs. This is why you were never a mountain troop.
You sit there, clinging to the side of the tree's trunk. Waiting. Watching.
Borrow a cup of sugar, neighbor? Aww sure my little pumpkin! Borrow a toilet?! Come right in! Stupid Americans. Stupid Tengu. So comfortable in your homes, so ignorant of the truths. A security action? Bah! You know nothing of war. Win the hearts and minds, lose the countryside. We know that lesson too well. Now you are the ones ensnared. We can build road and rail for a thousand miles, and have. From Smolensk to K?nigsberg. Moskva to Grozny in more recent times. You cannot even build an electrical grid! Pull up your generators and field kitchens and ignore the trees and ditches. You're 70 years behind us when you face the Motti. You know nothing, and so we will bury you.
She draws close.
Breathe. Lean back into position, visualize the maneuver. It must be done with utmost precision. Know exactly how you will move and twist. You must be ready. You must be perfect.
The crack of a branch below. You let go.
You fall backwards through the air, identifying her figure in a split second. Your body twists, righting out as you lose those last few feet of air. Your arms strike forward, grabbing her under her head right as the line goes taut, snapping back up half an inch with a jolt. In the same instant you flex upward, lifting her up just another inch.
She lets out a gurgle as you hold her in a deathly chokehold, held up by your arms and her tiptoes. Her legs buckle as she tries to hold on, swatting at your arms with her hands in a futile attempt to drive you off.
You lift up a bit, just enough to raise her off the ground completely for half a second. Her arms stop and give a twitch as all airflow stops. You lower her back down, still forcing her to stand on her tiptoes - A stress position. You ease up on the hold, just enough to allow her to get some air.
"Understand? Resist again, I'll pull up with all my strength."
You make a cracking sound like her neck would, to emphasize your point. She tries to nod, and then has to gasp at the pain. You can't help but giggle. She mouths a ?yes?, instead, having learned her lesson.
"Simple, now. What keeps Yukari out?"
Silence. No response. You apply more pressure, and she chokes out part of an answer. You let up so she can talk.
Pressure, and ease up a bit?
"Posted? around the treeline and structures. Magically im-"
She loses her words in a cough before starting to choke on her own spit. You let up quite a bit, letting her rest on her feet as well. Your back receives no such relief, as you continue to hang upside down.
"Magically imbued. We mark our domain. She cannot trespass with her powers."
"Similar to the shrine maiden's ofuda?"
You ask quickly, driving it along to get yourself out of the situation so you can get down.
Breathing. Breathing. Shut up and catch you breath, you bitch.
"Completely, but we are specific in our desire to keep her out."
Choke. A babble as you apply strength to her throat, lifting her back up. Hold? and she's out. You release her limp body, quickly leveling yourself out. You bounce off the tree before securing a proper foothold, but from there you're able to easily use your harness and rope the way you're supposed to - To climb up. You remove the bolt you had placed earlier, intent on leaving no trace you were here. From there, it's a simple drop back down through the branches.
Again, you tie your victim. Arms together, legs together, arms run to legs, placed on belly. Gag. Grab the pack, and think? about the pain. The chafing. The stinging around your crotch. Your back feels like you pulled out a vertebrae. Your head's foggy from the blood pressure of being upside down. And it still feels better than when a thermobaric landed next to you.
Maybe you can grab an hour's sleep when you get back to camp. Or sit down, take off the gear. Maybe there's food. Or water. Or food and water.
"You didn't have any food when you left.
You stagger into the camp as the sun starts to blaze over the horizon. No time for sleep. This is your one off day. You grasped it from the jaws of the beast, barely. Barely. Preparations? must be made, today! There is no time for sleep. There is no time for- Eh, food can be eaten on the move. Where is it, where is the food? That is the Youmu. The?
You blink through fatigued eyes. Youmu is in a sleeping bag. With the vampire. They are asleep. Youmu. Is in a sleeping bag. With the vampire.
Where the fuck did she get a sleeping bag.
And more importantly, why is she sleeping with the vampire. You wonder also, perhaps, why the vampire is sleeping. But you can't dwell on questions like that. No, no. You will ask later. Later.
You let your pack fall where it may, and take a seat upon those old crates. Your vest comes off along with the night vision. You just sit there, faintly staring at the woods. You rub your legs, your back. You urge up the effort and sit up long enough to remove the harness, too.
Your hands find their way together. You glance at them and see the ribbon in between smears of dirt, sweat, and blood that have come to cake your skin. There is no feeling from the hand that it bandages. You carefully unwrap it. There's nothing under it.
Not anything. Nothing. Calluses, maybe, but the wound is gone.
Heh, well. That's just fine by you. Maybe while you're finding some magic you can find the magic that explains that, too.
Where the fuck are you going to find magic, charms, and some meaningful ability to use them?
[ ] Reimu. Friendly to humans. Friendly to you, surely.
[ ] Byakuren. Friend to all peoples is a bigger step, huh? She might ask why, but you can lie.
[ ] The world of the dead has-- had spiritual charms.
Some writing in progress. No idea when it'll be done. I must say... I really enjoy this Yuyuko as a character. Perhaps I should write her a short. She's refined. World weary. Troubled. She'd almost be a good romantic interest if she wasn't so opposed to our main character, or he wasn't so bloody insane. Oh well. I'll simply take pleasure in writing her, for the moment. Do say something if a part of an update strikes you particularly well. I might be able to knock out another scene or two, strictly non-canonical, of course.
That's all, really. Spoilers are for the coming update. Read at your own risk.
[X] The world of the dead has-- had spiritual charms.
There's a reason you brought her. More than a pack animal. Not very much, but still.
Sleep soundly, Youmu.
You take a moment to collect yourself and re-gather your pack and weapons. You exchange the night vision for thermals, though. They spot spirits just fine.
A few exercises to work out the kinks - in full battle dress, no less. Then you're off. Blazing west for the Sanzu.
Through forests and across rolling hills. Past a shrine, then another, and a village, too. Two good sources of charms, and one of bodies, and you pass it all up. For a godforsaken river. The mist is rolling in quite nicely. Yet at the river's edge, right on the bank, rests a small rowboat. Eerily familiar. The faint smell of gunpowder and cordite fills your nostrils. Something strains your ears in the distance.
You feel that you've found yourself a little closer to the underworld than you thought you were.
You step onto the boat, and observe as its mooring melts away. The current turns the boat towards the other edge of the river, and off you go.
it's just that little feeling, that little nagging. Maybe it's the mist closing in. Maybe it's the river that you can't see below the surface in. Maybe it's the boat that is driving itself across the river. Something definitely seems off.
You're brought to your senses by the sound of skidding as you run aground. It takes you a second to realize that the abyss in front of you is actually ground, and not the ?water? that proceeded it. You can barely tell where the shore starts, and the river ends. A tentative step out, and you are now in the realm of the dead. The irony of your former disability does not evade you.
You scan, searching for any sort of landmark or difference in ground or terrain. Everything ahead of you looks? normal. Empty. Forgone.
You down the thermal goggles, and turn them on.
Wandering. Aimless. Scattered. You swat one out of the air right in front of you. Curious how that works. Interacting with a spirit, and all that.
You press on, searching for the highest concentration of them. It seems easy enough. Straight ahead, away from the river. You glance left to appraise various groupings, and see the boat, a full 90 degrees off of where it should be. You glance back to where the boat should be, and it is there, too. When you try to look between the two appearances of the boat, it is in neither. The only way out, now? is forward.
So you go. Ignoring the path back. Towards more and more and more spirits. Great oval, circular, shrubby clumpings of thermal readings. And then. A lot of nothing. Not a blank, white reading. Blank, blue readings. A temperature of SOMETHING.
You flick off the thermals. Before you stands the dilapidated walls of the former courtyard of the underworld. What was once a sort of very impressive gateway is now one door? if you put both the pieces together.
You stroll right in through the opening. The courtyard's no better? although the body is gone. And any sort of bloodstain. You don't remember a lot of blood. She was already dead. That may have contributed to the lack of blood. Curiously, the furniture is gone too. Of course, with a thousand spirits around, one or two must be a true poltergeist.
Yet you can't tarry here. You know that you need to head deeper into the structures. it's audible now. Barely. Yelling, screaming? ricochets and breaks. Bouncing off the interior walls, doubling back over itself, increasing in frequency and decibels. it's a drop in the metaphorical bucket, but the bucket's empty. it's the only sound. So you strain to hear it, but you can hear it just fine.
A gate, an archway, a bridge over a swollen riverbed. You approach those final gates, looking for the interior keep. Where are you, Saigyou?
"Can you taste the blood? Can't you feel the tears of pain?"
You turn at the voice. Yuyuko Saigyouji. Queen of the dead. She's seated, cup of tea in hand. One eyebrow raised.
"No rest for the wicked, huh?"
You're not sure just who she's referring to at that.
Of course, you allow little time for formalities. If she's here? you're deeper in than you thought. You swipe with your arm, as if pushing aside any sort of issue or uncertainty.
"I'd assume you know why I'm here?"
"The underworld sees a great many things, when time is infinite and where change is not forthcoming."
A deflection or misdirection. Word games. Nobody cares for word games, especially not you.
You pull the glock and point it right at her head. She, of course, doesn't even twitch. The intent is clear, though.
"You'll help. Won't you?"
?We have no power to determine the course of things. It is only you."
"I don't tolerate opposition."
Her head warps as the bullet streaks through it. Fading away, whipping out in every direction. You can barely make out a sad frown among her dissipating figure.
"I am but your memories."
And then she was gone. Something's still off. A rather rancid smell?
You bend down to sniff the ground where she lay, trying to figure it out. It is when you stand back up that you notice it in the corner of your eye. A fresh cup of herbal tea situated on the table. That was not there before.
"Looking for something, Human?"
A chill runs down your spine. The voice can't be?
Options, options- Shit! Go for it!
You spin and aim, and she's gone.
"I don't tolerate opposition!"
Her mocking voice rings out. You spin, and again she's gone. There's a flash on the periphery, and this time you waste no time. A triple tap to the chest? and she stands unfazed. No wounds, no recognition.
"So that was your plan, huh? Wander into my domain and get what you want? I'll take a toll from you!"
Fuck the bullets, then! You draw your knife with your offhand and throw it right through her as she explodes into a puff of smoke. You fill the smoke with a few bullets, just for some added security, but you're sure you didn't kill her. She's on to you.
You run the possibilities through your head and falter for a moment. You move to return to the boat. Where was once open courtyard is now a solid stone wall in front of your face. A glance back, and there's stone walls there too. You seem to be trapped on three sides, with the only obvious solution to go forward.
You take one step, and the very Earth shakes. The walls waver as a faint dot in the distance grows larger. Larger and larger, headed right at you down the labyrinth.
A trap? No, an illusion. An illusion cannot harm you. An illusion cannot defeat you. Smoke and mirrors are no match for training and weaponry!
You stand your ground as it gets closer and closer, faster with every moment. One hand out as if to signal it to stop. Commanding, demanding. You will it.
The boulders shatters as it strikes your hand.
The boulder melts away. The walls melt away. An illusion cannot harm you. An illusion cannot defeat you. Smoke and mirrors are no match for training and weaponry!
"My, my. You've bested one trap."
You turn to look, not drawing your weapon. You know its futility. This battle will be resolved differently than that.
She floats across the air, seated in a bench. Wobbling on its axes, it mocks reality as she mocks you.
"I have bested more. Hundreds, even. You think you can compare to even one of them?"
She tilts her head, smiling vaguely.
"The number is more like thousands, dear. Do you think you can compare to all of them?"
She just smiles harder. That godawful evil smile. She keeps smiling as the bench flips over, twisting and distorting. Thousands of groans arising from the earth, each succinctly different from the next. An orchestra of the dead.
"I am them! They are me! Come and see, what's to be!"
Her figure disappears amongst the rising spirits. Brief outlines of people, furious and trembling. Hundreds? No, she was right. Thousands. A quick glance confirms that you are surrounded. So that's how it will be.
You release your glock's magazine and insert a fresh one, holstering it for the AA-12. You check the slide and confirm all is in order. One glance up, and they're still standing off at a distance.
"Well? Come on then!"
You fire indiscriminately into the mass. Shot rips through their ranks, spirits dissipate, and they fall upon you. Thrashing, striking, blocking. You elbow one while swinging to mow down another dozen, tearing through one with your teeth while kicking down another. They swarm you, forcing you down, forcing themselves upon you as you tear at them.
The world going dark. All you can do is fight.
A thrusting uppercut, you tear away the strap of his rifle as he stumbles back. You follow with one step, flipping the knife in your hand as you fall upon him. No longer thrusting, stabbing. You tear down and through his bowels in half a second. The rapport of Kalashnikovs ring out as they all get to work. Turn, kick, and you've disarmed another in a whole of two seconds. He goes for his pistol. You go for the ballistic knife. Offhand draw, quick aim. It plugs him right in the throat, and he too goes down.
You level your weapon- No threats. Lower again. Breathe the fumes. Scan the floor. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. No cleanup required.
"Should've hit with the thermobarics, first."
You give no answer, content to inhale the scent of battle. Inwardly, you agree. There is nothing to disagree with. It would have been the better plan. But this? this is so much more appeasing.
"We should move. We are supposed to be in position above Grozny in two hours."
That you can agree with.
Brilliant streaks of white and red across the night sky. Like so many rays of light. One and another, and another, and another. One for each little tank. it's just like Christmas.
The buzz of rotor blades whips you as your support egresses. You? You will walk out. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in a few weeks. Till it is done.
Little did you know that it would take three years and 850 hostages.
The hostages, yes. The hostage takers. Your responsibility. Your burden. The blood from the womb, the knife in your hands.
All fall before you. There is nothing that can stop you. Nothing.
You reach out and press your hand against the bloodstained wall. it's so cold. It is?
It is clear now. The walls wash away. The bodies wash away. The blood washes away.
Yukari was never here. It was an illusion. It was all an illusion.
You run your hand down Saigyou's decaying trunk and remember a line from an American film.
"We must stop meeting like this."
Yes. You must.
You draw your knife and thrust. Stab, rend, destroy.
There is nothing that can stop you. Nothing.
You find the charms, and stuff an entire sack full of them. The walls begin to crumble as prepare to leave. Stone cracks. Gates crash. The dilapidated state it had been in earlier turns to wholly ruin. The few structures that exist collapse in upon themselves. As you leave the ethereal underworld, you know that its destruction is complete.
So you march.
Across the Sanzu. Past the Human Village. To the base of that mountain of Youkai.
You struggle into camp some time nearing midnight. You jump at the first sight of movement, almost quickdrawing a few rounds into Youmu's chest. She seems oblivious.
She doesn't say anything, though. She just stares for a moment. Looks.
Then she comes over to you, and takes your pack. Struggles to hold it under the weight, but she marches next to you. If you can call that a march. Back at training she'd be taken aside and beaten, but today? not today.
The two of you deposit your gear all over. You open the sack of charms and sort them into equally numbered piles. Of course they're blank. You're not actually sure what you're supposed to do with the-
One shines in Youmu's hand as she holds it. You snatch it from her.
Japanese. Domain of Youmu Konpaku.
You flash it in front of her face.
"Firstly, don't waste them. Secondly, tell me how to do that."
She seems confused.
"Tell me. How to do that."
You say, a bit more assertively. She picks one up and looks at it.
It shines in her hand. You take it. Domain of Youmu Konpaku.
It irks you. She just stares at you like it's obvious. You should hit her. You should break a limb or two to make her understand. But you don't exactly have the energy to fight if she decides to resist.
So you pick up a charm. Think. Think? Think.
It shines, it glows, it fucking works. Your domain. Yours! All yours!
You still have no clue what the hell this even does. But apparently it keeps Yukari out. And if it doesn't, you have to kill a few Tengu. Who are you kidding? You're gonna kill them all anyway. In a bit of black irony, you figure you might as well make them traceable back to the Tengu. If they kill each other, all the better.
But doing it one at a time isn't going to work. You place your hand on the whole stack. One little thought, and it all shines metaphorical gold.
You check them, but they are all correct. All of them.
You grin like an idiot.
You say, putting your hand on her head.
"Go put these everywhere. I want one inside every bathroom. I want them on the tree trunks from the border to the mountain to the Humans? walls."
She picks them up, bows, and is off in a flash. Some of her famous speed. She is useful?
You glance over at the sleeping bag? and the sleeping vampire. She has not been useful yet. She must prove herself soon, or your patience - and your time - will run out.
But all that, perhaps, is thoughts for another day. You must sleep now. Your body is straining, and your mind is fatigued.
So you sit down with the crates to your back, staring at a fire that hasn't been lit in days.
A branch snaps.
You draw your pistol, the only weapon still on you. Another twig snaps. You glance left - Youmu's sleeping. Shit.
You quickly determine the general direction of the intruder and put yourself on the other side of the crates. Aiming, scanning. Waiting.
Yukari pokes her head through. She's trying to be stealthy. She's not doing very well. The old man a step behind her, much quiet, but more alert. If it's just those two? Time to put on a show. You holster the glock and stand up, revealing yourself.
"Morning to you too, assholes."
Both of them freeze, but rather predictably only Yukari seems surprised. She also seems rather pissed. That's either your special quality, or something's working.
"The day after."
Yukari declares, not caring to add on to the statement.
You just stand there for a moment. The usual staredown. This is not your concern, this time. However it is useful for pretending there is a normalcy. There is not.
You flex your neck and stroll over to the two fast asleep, yelling on the way.
"Up you two! Come on!"
You put a on a great show there, yelling. Anger, rage. In reality you're gauging them. A careful eye on Yukari. The man tells you nothing. But Yukari is the weak one.
You kick through the sleeping bag, missing Youmu's head by half an inch. That, along with the yelling, manages to get the two partially assembled. The vampire clings to the side of your other apprentice, but you're all there.
You loosen your arm.
"Lucky number three, huh? Who do we need to kill, where do we need to go?"
Now it is her turn to laugh. She sneers.
The other two idiots do, but you think you get her meaning.
"There's things in those clouds!"
Youmu blurts, confirming your suspicions. Heaven. Celestials.
"Now this may come as a surprise to someone as stupid as you, Yukari, but I cannot fly."
"Then bring them down to you."
She mocks back. False confidence, or has she discovered your plot? Still you have to roll with it for now.
You nod your head. Yes. Yes you can bring them down to you. Oh you will. But you'll need something different. Something grand for their supposed final act.
"I want a gun. I want a really big gun. A rifle, even. A barrel, a twin mount. The Germans have a word for that, you know. A fine word. Zwilling - Twin. A dual mount."
She cocks her head, sneers.
"You really expect me to give you something like that?"
You silence her with a wave of the hand. Thinking, nodding. You say nothing, turn around and fish through your pack. You grab your pistol, audibly chamber a round, and hold it up next to your head.
"I expect you to stay out of my way."
This'll do. You snap to action.
You bark, brushing past Yukari and getting down to business.
"A weapon! A weapon! Let's get started now, come on!"
You command an authority you didn't know you had. it's more than just the slavery, as Youmu jumps to attention. She tosses you a rifle as soon as you spout the words. The vampire hovers behind you, and you glance to see Yukari bowing to your will. What other reality can there be?
You demand, and with a wave of your arm, an expanse of the forest disintegrates. You nod to the eager vampire, and, not missing a step, slip your first rifle around your shoulder. Your hand scoops a Mauser right off the ground, and the 128 falls in around you.
The world pauses for a moment as you swing the rifle around, looking for the duo that's not there. They cleared out while you weren't looking, but no matter. A smile comes to your lips. This will be? fun.
"Man battery! Prepare for ranging fire!"
You yell, focused only on the mission now. No Yukari, no old man, no distractions, and nothing to stop you. Heaven is in front of you. But soon, it will be beneath your heel.
"Elevation Sixty! Load HE!"
The mount swivels, loading and aiming. You listen to the wonderful creak of machinery as you focus on a single spot on the sky. Right where you should hit. You know not why, just that it should be there.
"Clear the sky."
An Earth-shaking round goes off. Leaves rain down upon you. A solitary round streaks high into the air, seemingly hanging in midair before it goes off. The clouds part, tumultuous winds parting the Heavens. That's it!
The words don't leave your mouth before a bolt of lightning streaks past you, singing the side of your face as it tears apart the mount in a fireball. There's a visible movement in the sky. You throw aside the useless bolt-action, and take the first rifle from your shoulder.
"Youmu! Keep me supplied!"
You yell, motioning to the mount, visually scanning for her.
You hear back from the other side. The other side. The one without the mount.
You don't get a chance to think about it. Thunder cracks. Lightning roars. they're coming.
You scream, spraying into the approaching tempest. The squall zigs and zags randomly through the air towards your group. It tears through the tops of a dozen trees, smashes into the ground and rips in between you and Youmu before circling around to miss the vampire girl. You change magazines to a new one that Youmu throws you, and jump after it.
A pause at the ridge above it. It takes half a second to level your rifle, but less time for it to split in two, going different directions. You curse, swing your rifle to track, and stare into the cold eyes of a celestial.
Tenshi Hinanawi. Spoiled brat of the heavens. Today, she's made a mistake.
"You shouldn't have brought a sword to a gun fight!"
You loose a few rounds, and she brings her sword up to absorb them. You'd almost expect that, by now. She raises it overhead-
You leap aside as she creates a crevice for a mile back, right along where you had been standing. The force also breaks up the three-girl tango further back in the camp. Flandre finds herself separated from Youmu, still trying to hit the other celestial, to no avail.
You snap back to Tenshi, just in time to dodge a second swipe. This one, horizontal, brings down a hundred trees all up the mountain. it's becoming clear that this isn't your kind of fight.
"Youmu! Take her!"
You barely believe what you're saying, but swing around just as quick. Youmu speeds past you, as she goes to fight Tenshi, and you go back to fight the other. There's a thunderous clap behind you as you go into the attack.
Flandre streaks in from the left, and this other celestial deflects her. Again, it seems, as a growl reaches your ear along with Flandre's rag-dolling body. You duck past it and bring the rifle up. This one flourishes, shades of her dress circling her. You watch your bullets disappear into them. Damnable things.
You toss your rifle aside and continue to point blank with a knife draw. Down thrust, she inflects. Horizontal slash, she ducks. Inward, she bats your arm up and kicks you in the gut.
You stagger just long enough to be out of range as Flandre comes in again. The two tangle in an awesome fight for half a second before again, the celestial bats her away. In that same moment, however, she latches onto the celestial's arm.
You see your opportunity, and spring right back in. You abandon the knife, and go at her with your fists. You crush her nose with your first hit, incapacitating her with a throat hit to the second, and sending her spinning with a third.
You glance aside to see Youmu and Tenshi deadlocked, trading near-blows with their swords in an incredible display.
You shout. A mistake. Youmu looks in your direction. She's distracted for a moment. There's a loud rattle as Tenshi takes this moment to disarm her foe.
You're too far to help. Youmu's helpless, at the mercy of an enemy. Tenshi senses this too. You all do. Everything stops. Except for that growling. A low growling, besides Flandre?s. She's staring at something though, and you look too. The bloodied face of the second celestial, having crawled out of its clothes, transforming into a grotesque sight. A Chinese dragon, or at least a gross attempt at one, in imitation of the gods she serves.
Well they've surrounded you, or so. Parity at two to two? Tch? fools.
"Take her alone, Vampire. It'll be good practice."
You turn, and again go in the opposite direction as one of your slaves goes into the fight. Flandre passes you as you spring back towards Tenshi and Youmu. Youmu dives to you, and you down to her sword, Tenshi a step behind your follower.
You immediately move to block with the sword, barely stopping a blow from the celestial. The force of the attack forces you on to one knee, and you brace your second hand on its back to better weather it. You cringe as she raises her magic sword and brings it down again, almost breaking your block. She raises for a third, and you think, for a moment, that you will be bested.
Youmu returns just in time, shielding above you with her second sword. You quickly back out and right yourself, securely wielding your weapon and coming in from the side. it's a glorious sight. You and Youmu going in with a sword each. Tenshi is forced back, repeatedly. You swing, she blocks. Youmu swings, and she blocks again, but barely. You're on her again, and she has to concede ground. You continue attacking her, relentlessly, turning the tables completely. You continue until she's on her knee, trying to stop both of you.
This time it is you who disarms her. Defiance flashes across her face before you bring your sword down to her face. Stopping, barely, just an inch above her forehead.
She gasps. You smirk, and then kick her head aside. You grind your boot into the side of her head, making her eat ground.
You turn to see the false dragon and your vampire going at it. Its curling body struggles as the vampire darts in and out, but fails to inflict any serious damage. Youmu watches too. She moves to help, but you grab her by the shoulder.
"If she cannot even best this small one, I do not want her. She will handle it alone."
The dirt beneath your boots dares to resist a bit, so you crush it with a sneer. That lets you draw your full attention back to the battle at hand.
You hand a sword back to Youmu, who gingerly resheathes her weaponry. You stand next to her, watching the two duke it out. The dragon's body flips, slamming through trees and boulders. The little vampire deftly dodges, goes in and tears through a side's scales. But draws no blood. They spiral together into the air, trying to outmaneuver each other. You have to sidestep as a good chunk of mountain debris passes you, but otherwise they fail to do anything. And again. And again they come together, and neither is worse for it. Nothing at all. Except that wistful vampire flips around? and sees both you just watching.
She pauses. An odd look on her face. She's confused. Upset, clearly. Excited and lusting for blood.
And then the dragon's jaws close around her. She's drawn up into the air, then smashed into the ground in between the dragon's jaws. She's shaken back and forth, almost in a death roll. For good measure, the dragon smashes up and down a few more times. You wait. Wait. It seems it's over. How disappointing.
The dragon emits an audible groan. Its jaw explodes in a shower of body parts, raining blood down upon both of you. A horrible little ball of hate streaks out. You can only grin and nod your head as she goes to work, tearing at its eyes. It roars, shaking and trying to roll away. But there is a huge hole in its jaw, and the wounds only grow with every passing second. She whizzes around, and blood spurts from a new gash. You watch those vampiric teeth go to work, and she takes entire chunks from its body.
It thrashes. Up and down, around and around. It takes flight.
And it flies away.
You don't realize for a moment, but it's running scared. it's simply bolted, heading for its heaven sanctuary in a beeline. The vampire remains attacking it, nearly pulling it out of the sky, but you remain grounded.
You yell, springing to action. You grab Tenshi's sword, and bring a whole section of the mountain down as a bridge to follow. Youmu runs around you, trying to help but succeeding only at being useless. Boulders scream down the mountain past you as a huge new mountain piles up to follow them. In between the weapon crates flying past your face you, somehow, manage to grab a parachute out of the air.
And you simply break out into a dead run, following those two. The battle continues right into the clouds. You don't even think, you just continue on after them, and they hold your weight just fine. Youmu rejoins you, deftly landing next to you in a great leap from the ground below. The celestial dragon, now almost dead, barely struggles to fight towards a pair of structures. A large shrine, and a gate.
The vampire takes all pleasure in its kill, content to walk alongside the beast and tear chunks at leisure. It nudges further, just a bit. Just a little bit. You realize, perhaps a bit too late, how desperate it is.
Its nose barely touches the gate, which flies open to a blinding light.
You throw your arm up to shield your eyes, ducking behind parts of the dragon's tail for cover. Your view is filled with an infinite number of small, darting things.
They swarm for the vampire, intent on revenge. All you can do is shoot into the mass, each bullet bringing down an increasing pile of small dragons. But there's more. A lot more. Youmu cuts into the air as they seem to enclose you, getting ever closer and closer. You just keep shooting.
"it's a slaughter!"
You yell, bringing them down in scores.
But you can't kill them all. You find yourself on your feet. Swinging left and right, shooting more. They bump you from behind, and skirt your side. And as the mass closes into you, you find yourself lifted up, off the ?ground?.
The heavens disappear. The clouds disappear. The ground, however, is quite clearly down there.
And they let you go. And it's getting closer, now.
A dozen more curses are lost in the wind. You try in vain to give a few parting shots into the air, clutching your parachute closely to your chest. Options depleted, outlook bleak. You pull the ripcord.
A drone chute opens. Just a drone chute. You slow down a bit, but the ground is still awful fast. You grasp for another cord, barely holding on to the pack as is. The full chute nearly tears your arm off, but you hold. You hold, and grit back any pain, and brace, because you're still quite speedy.
You smash through trees, and fly sideways for a moment as a gust of wind picks you up. Then it's time to fight the ground, and the ground always wins. But you're alive.
You stare up at blank, blue sky, in between green leaves. One hand grasps for the heavens, but the other holds tight, a small vial grasped between torn fingers. You had grabbed it from the celestial right before she was ended, but? you're not sure what it is. You know what it is. it's what they want. That is known to you. You just do not know what it is. it's #3, and it's unknown.
You stand, and orientate yourself. You're on the far side of the village, near Kourindou. it's a long way to the camp. And the heaven? You don't know what happened.
All you know is that something has come to an end. Something. You hold the vial up to the sky, letting light shine through it. Clear liquid. The only concern you have is what to do with it.
[ ] The shopkeeper at Kourindou is reputed to be able to determine the purpose and name of any object? and here you have just such a mysterious object.
[ ] Destroy it. In such a battle, who's to say what really happened to such a small thing? And taking one piece of a puzzle? what better way to cripple your overlords?
Is there any way you could tell me what other stuff you have written? Both of the stories of yours that I have read (this one and the Aya collab with Moral) have been utterly fantastic, and I am dying to read more.
Oh, as far as stuff I would have liked to see more of, more sniper rifle stuff would have been about it. Not too sure how good of an idea that is though.
Check /shorts/ for recent stuff. Also one over in /eientei/. Of course the storylist is available at the top of the page (link: http://www.touhou-project.com/storylist.php ). Just ctrl+f for Treia. I don't use any other names.
I don't think we have any more sniper rifle portions lined up. Honestly... there's not too much left, not too much at all.
I think I said it before, but this was a oneshot. A thing to be done, savored and sat on as a single stroke. Oh but I came back. And again, and again, and we drew it out a bit more. Ah... I can tell you all about the writing process soon. When I do the Q&A. I think we'll only have 2 or 3 more updates until this is done.
>>48580 I am angry.
Angry that this story is unhidden for some reason, angry at you for bumping it, and angry about being told about/you liking brainwashed Youmu.
You can learn from one of these things.
[X] The shopkeeper at Kourindou is reputed to be able to determine the purpose and name of any object? and here you have just such a mysterious object.
You take a moment to work out a few cramps. A twist there, a limber here.
A quick check for weapons on hand comes up empty. You lost everything during the fight or the way down. Better be quick moving. Don't want to attract some feral Youkai and wind up their dinner.
You crouch low, moving between trees. Sure, it might seem silly to someone who hasn't been through these woods. Someone who hasn't seen a man torn in half by a berserk animal.
You slip quietly out into the meager clearing surrounding the shop. it's but practically two strides and you are at the door, junk piled on either side. You open and close it in half a second, setting it back with the slightest click. The Youkai? the half-Youkai has not noticed your presence. He remains at his counter, boredly resting his chin on one hand and holding a book open with another, eyes lazily scanning the page. You hold up the vial and take a step forward, the floor creaking.
"What is in this vial, shopkeeper?"
You carefully watch his expression, ready to pounce over the counter at a moment's notice. If this truly is something extraordinary? who knows what half a beast will do for it? He shows no interest, though, barely noting your silent entry.
"I don't deal in breakables. Buy something or leave."
You snatch the book out of his hand and toss it behind you. He remains perfectly still, as if frozen. Only his nose twitching into a sneer gives any response at all.
"Let's not ask twice."
You wave it in front of his face, snatching it away as he grabs for it. Only carefully do you extend it to him, watching his movement. He takes it, holds it in the air, looks carefully. And grunts.
"Water. Have you more of my time to waste?"
Water. Yes. Water. Water it could be. Yes, yes you are in agreement. You nod.
He, on the other hand, merely stares, thoroughly unamused.
"I'll take that."
You snatch the vial, and place it back into your outer jacket.
Then it is. Water.
Then your captors have played you. They have not worked for their own gain. They have worked for your loss. They have played you against foes to see you destroyed. They have conspired and schemed and wrought, but you have persevered. You have murdered, killed, and obliterated all before you. And now you shall do the same to them.
You'll need a gun.
"It is dangerous to go it alone."
As if it called to you. A pistol upon the shelves, the single reality of this untrue world.
You seize it, cock it. It shall serve you well.
"Thank you, shopkeeper."
You turn, but he is gone. So is that half of the store. You turn again, and it is all gone. But you have the gun.
This world is truly a hellish place.
A shrill cry rings from the forest. You drop, scanning, but see nothing.
Can't stay here. You keep posture for a moment, staying alert for sounds, but there's nothing. You can feel them, though. Moving around you. Probing for any weakness.
You're being watched.
Break. You go flat out in the direction of the village. The forest screams behind you, trees bending in odd directions as the villains chase after you. They won't catch up in time, though, you've reckoned in half a second. Just break through the underbrush, a dead heat to the perimeter and-
You skid to a stop amongst the flat, grassy outskirts of the village.
Where was once a wooden palisade is now a towering cliff, extending far up into the heavens. Perfectly uniform, stretching in both directions as far as you can see. The village should be here, but it is not. And this? this should not be here.
A crash in the brush brings back your attention. You leap away from the forest, scanning the trees for your pursuers. Your back to the wall, at least they'll have to overrun you, now.
You snap your pistol at every rustle, every brush. It seems the entire forest has come alive for this occasion. What are they expecting, a bloodbath? You'll give them one.
Rays of light break through the forest line, followed by a lantern suspended at the end of a long pole. A very long pole. You wait for its other end to appear, scanning left and right in case it's a distraction.
Spot. Double tap. You put two into a chest. The figure continues unmolested. You balk, but go right back to your instincts. Slide check. Third one's not a blank. Aim, and another through the chest.
Right through. With no effect.
You lower your weapon, now obvious that even if you want to shoot to kill, you cannot.
You keep careful watch of the figure, which has not reacted in any manner to your shooting. It simply shuffles forward mindlessly. The figure is at once an old man and a hooded figure, wavering between ethereal inexistence and a vague outline of a person.
And it is not alone. A half-dozen figures follow the first, a ghastly procession of what is supposed to be a funeral, as the third and fourth shuffle along carrying a coffin above their heads. A burial procession of the dead. For the dead.
They bare you no heed, and you sidestep out of the way of the very slowly moving procession. But they continue towards the wall. For a moment, you think they will go up the wall, but at once they disappear in a faint puff of smoke as the figure in the front reaches the wall.
In that same moment, a bell begins to ring in the distance.
You are called. They have sent an invitation, and you have received it.
You fear no man, beast, spirit, dragon, celestial, or any of the other things you've killed lately. If they seek your death, they will receive death.
Besides, it's not like you see any other way out of this godforsaken forest. This cliff-face is new, and so it seems that you've already been drawn to the forest's illusions. You'll have to fight your way out.
You take a moment to check your ammunition count - deplorable - and become a bit more familiar with your weapon's ergonomics. With this done, you should be able to snap to any incoming threats easier. Not that you'll get too many of them with a single magazine, but the ones you do hit will be dead.
There is little else to do, though. You must enter the forest.
You focus on the sound of the bell, persistent as ever. Orient yourself, scan the treeline.
Into the maelstrom.
The bell tolls, and it tolls for thee.
On your left, then your right. Above and behind you. It makes no sense, but you're aware not to listen to it past the first ring. It is trying to trick you, confuse you, mislead you.
This forest will turn you in circles until you collapse, then eagerly wait to devour your famished corpse.
It is not the only danger. Shadows flicker at the edge of your site. The slightest movement or crash. But turning to look is futile. It is always accompanied by a feminine giggle, echoing through the trees and lapping at just the edge of your hearing. It is at once many, and at the same time a single mocking laugh.
The Fae are out tonight. Pray they do not choose to play.
The bell tolls, and it tolls for thee.
It does not mislead now, and simply signals for you straight ahead.
The closer you get, the more the forest whines. Wind whistling between the trees. The trees themselves grow sparse, ugly, and dying. Gnarled and twisted branches that stretch in every direction block your path with increasing frequency. You push through them at first, then realize that they are moving as well. They move with your presence, pulling away as you move towards those who have summoned you.
You are stopped by a solid mass of branches. You place your hand on them, but they will let you proceed no further.
It will let you proceed no further. It is curious. It has called you.
What is it?
This is it.
This branch is no branch at all. It is a root. Although it is several feet in width. And it extends far.
You turn, following it around. One hand on it, it guides you in.
The remaining trees are all dead. Barren, their bark stripped. Tops gone. The soil itself seems to have shriveled into waste, an ugly black visage of mockery.
Then you come upon the actual waste. Garbage which seems to have proliferated, migrated to this area. Plastics, trash, and litter ingrained into the landscape. The area seems to have been corrupted for no point but corruption.
You've seen enough. You look ahead for an opening, and scurry under the monstrous roots that form a barrier.
A gust of wind forces you to throw your arm up to block your face. That voice tickles your ears. You brace yourself as the wind dies, and you glance past your arm.
It is magnificent. It is familiar. It is just like you.
Stretching upwards against blackened sky. It is a dying tree, reminiscent of what Saigyou should have been. Great branches stretch in every direction. Its roots flay the earth, creating a mountainous landscape inside the grotto. And upon its branches sit not one, not a dozen, but a hundred Fae.
Horrible beasts, they are. They take the form of young children, male and female. Nude, serene, they think themselves nymphs. Their mouths open in a perpetual laugh, their eyes gone - replaced only by the bloody sockets of what should be.
?We? welcome a brother."
The voice arises not from the Fae, nor the tree, but from all around you. It does come from the tree, you suppose. But this tree is everything, and nothing. It is the forest.
"I got this thing against evil trees, y?know?"
This is going to be a hell of a fight when it turns ugly. You've already identified the ten closest Fae, but you're not sure what the tree is going to do.
"We seek the same goal, brother."
Last time you worked with an evil tree, it just didn't turn out so great. You had to stab someone, and all. Not that you don't enjoy that, but you were doing so well shooting them.
"What goal would that be?"
As far as you're concerned, your goals are your own. There are those who are subordinate to you, and there are those that oppose you. There is no middle ground.
The grotto shakes as roots uproot themselves and the tree visibly shifts. Touchy, touchy.
Of course it's better that he gets ready. You have no intention of ceding anything to him, or anyone.
"You know what the problem with control is? There can only be one person at the top. That's gonna be me."
The shaking stops. The Fae all turn to stare directly at you. All is quiet.
"Then you reject our alliance."
"Sucks to be you."
A roar explodes from all around you. You have only moments to jump aside before the tree begins its assault, crushing the area you were just standing on.
In seconds it has become a running battle. You scramble up a root as the forest shifts around you, stopping only to shoot down two Fae. Holding on with one hand, shooting with the other, the root goes through the air, twisting wildly in an attempt to throw you off.
You see through the furor clearly, and quickly leap across to another root even as the tree seems to implode around you. it's becoming quite clear that your handicap is only going to grow the longer the fight lasts. You're down to a few bullets, and there is no end to the Fae, nor the fury of the forest. A drastic move is necessary.
?We will devour you!?
From under the rooted masses of the Forest's essence appears a blackened pit. Fashioned like a child's crude imitation of a demon's mouth, it is splayed out like the abyss itself. But it is said: as you gaze into the abyss, so too does it gaze into you.
Let it watch, for it shall be powerless to resist you.
You let go, kicking right off your support and intending to head straight in. One on one in the belly of the beast is an infinitely better proposition than a million to one.
It knows what you intend. The demon's mouth begins to shut as you hurtle toward the ground at terminal velocity, but it will not close in time. The Fae speed ahead of you, intending to delay you. But you shall not be stopped, pulling off an incredible display of aerial marksmanship as you speed downwards. You tag half a dozen, and crash through the remnants of the rest.
Nothing else stands before you.
There is yourself, and there is darkness. A hundred feet and two seconds separate you.
?I am the monster!?
It is black, and then it is blacker still. You did not die then, and you will not die now. You will not die today, and you will not die forever.
You strike out in every direction, tearing at the walls of your confines. You rail against these walls.
It thinks it has you. The poor fool.
"I'm not trapped in here with you! You're trapped in here with me!"
It pushes, you push back harder. Here, within the belly of the beast, there is no other consideration. You must fight. You will fight.
?You are nothing, compared to me.?
Who does he think he is? What does he think he is?
"I live! I breathe! Soon even your charade will be destroyed!"
?Breathe? We do not breathe!?
You tear down the sort of wall in front of you, to reveal more of the same. It seems an endless abyss, but you know there's something there. You're searching for it. Its heart, maybe. Something it needs. Something you will take.
"You won't, soon! You'll die, today!"
?Die? I am not afraid of death. I have died before, and become the thousand souls of this forest. I have learned much since then. Should I die again I will be immortal, eternal! I invite you, bear me to greater heights! Allow me to stand upon your corpse, as I stand upon dozens other before you!?
The walls that hem you in retract to show what you were looking for. It is indeed a heart. A thoroughly blackened, corrupted thing. An insane representation of this perversion of nature and man.
All you hear is ?Kill me." You shall be happy to oblige. You raise to fire. You will kill it. You will destroy it, end it, erase it from existence. Burn the records, sow salt across its lands, deny it.
In that moment you are focused to a knifepoint. Vehemently eager to kill.
In that moment you are focused to a knifepoint. Deathly afraid to die.
It shall be destroyed. We shall be destroyed. The will makes it so. There is not death, but obliteration. Our heart shall be destroyed, but it is oblivion we fear.
You are falling. The forest is burning.
You are burning. The mountain is exploding.
A bullet tears through your heart.
Flames lick at your skull.
There is nothing.
There is You.
Howling against the abyss.
Clawing your way out of obliteration. Bleeding out, strength fading into oblivion.
You grab hold of the thread. You grab hold of the tree.
Your back pumping, as supports your pulling. Your blood spilling, as you paint your canvas.
We shall live; We shall be reborn.
You shall find yourself anew among the mountain.
You shall be interred inside this tree.
You are reborn, and you set upon your unfinished task.
You are forcing them to their knees, committing the cruelest of atrocities.
You are bringing them your cruelty, spreading your roots through the forest.
It is possible, you make it possible.
You are many, uncountable and legion.
You are one, unstoppable and all-being.
You fly through the forest, raining death on those who intrude.
How could you be stopped?
It is impossible; you make it impossible.
You stalk through the bamboo, intruding to rain death.
How could you be missed?
It is possible; we make it possible.
You clawed your way out of death, so sure were you that you could not be killed.
She shot right through you, so sure were you that you could not be stopped.
You beat them all, so sure were you that you were the strongest.
"Did you really think your sister hellspawn would be so easy to kill?" She is speaking to you.
You are speaking to him, ?We? welcome a brother."
We are evil spirits. Man, once, perhaps. Through your unstoppable mania you have bent reality to your will, denied your own death, and brought yourself to immense power. You have consumed many already in your quest to the top, and the list is only going to grow.
That is to say, your list shall grow. You, not we, not he, nor him, nor another. He is finished.
"There can only be one person at the top. That's gonna be me."
You punch through the wood collapsed on top of you, now knowing that you may sweep it or anything else aside like a mere playtoy. You pull yourself out of the remains of your kin as scorched bits of him crash around you. He was right, in a way. He was not afraid of death. Not at the last moment, as you held him below the water, staring into him and he into you, for you are the monster and he was the abyss.
You shall not be, either. How could you be? You are invincible. Immortal, eternal. You stand upon his corpse, as you stand upon dozens of others. You could make it zero, or infinite, or any number of whoever you please. You could bring them back to life, erase their existence, or anything in between. All you need do is will it. Hard enough, long enough, and what you desire is what shall transpire.
You look up at the sky, choked out by a thousand blackened stacks of smoke combining to suffocate the world in its entirety. Flaming bits of tree and debris rain down among you like meteors from the unseen heavens. All that is not burning lay dying, and those that do not lay dying lie already dead.
You wave a hand and clear away the smokescreen. Your business - all your unfinished business - lay upon the mountain. Nearly a quarter of it is gone from your previous fight upon its slopes. But you have another fight to finish there, and either during or after it, you shall ensure that the entire mountain is gone.
You holster your weapon and begin to whistle, stepping over Fae and tree alike.
"Oh, oh, I am-a? comin? home. Tell the world, for I am-a? comin? home."
Snap, a branch cracks.
You can hear them swarming around you. You can see them.
You are walking into their trap, and they are walking into your trap.
It comes as no surprise when the voice rings out, lined with archers on both sides.
A large body of Wolf Tengu stand in front of you, the Crows on both flanks with arrows drawn. You must be outnumbered 100:1 or more.
"Stand down, Human. We want what your employer has sent you to fetch. We know you have it.
Hrmph. Of course. Your pitting of the Tengu against Yukari inevitably led to conflict while you weren't looking. And now, they seek what she seeks, doubtlessly an immortality-imbuing absolutely normal vial of water. She fooled them much more than she fooled you, it seems.
You jingle the vial in your coat.
Their leader seems taken aback for a moment. Nonetheless he recovers and draws his sword.
"I command the Demon of the East, and the Guardian of Souls. I have killed all of you - twice over - but a life ago. I am the very incarnation of your destruction. And you intend to stand against me?"
He raises his hand, they draw their bows.
A slice and a scream stop the whole procession. They look, but you need not.
"H-Help? help me!..."
He tries to speak through the gaping chest wound, slowly sliding down the spear holding him through the air. He stares at it in wide-eyed amazement, only half aware that he is dying, likely divorced from reality as much as the bloodflow is now cut from his brain.
With a flick of the wrist she sends the body hurling through tree tops, reducing it and the trees to little more than shreds. It is, of course, your newest slave. A spectacular entrance, really. As she steps through the lines the tengu next to her scatter in panic at the ragged site. Torn clothes and soaked in blood. Would you have her any other way?
"Are we playing with master? I want to play. Too."
The lines tremble. The leader shakes. They are such bad soldiers. Such ignorant folk. Hated creatures. They need to die. They need to be exterminated.
He does get one thing down, though. Between the screaming and the panic he points straight at you, commanding and demanding and mandating.
"Archers! Archers, kill him now!"
They just don't get it, do they?
A hundred or more arrows fill the sky. they're coming right for you. They will never arrive. In those few seconds, you know it. The crack of a distant branch. The sound of distant running. The whispers of power. She will arrive, just in time.
?200 Yojana in a Slash!?
Like a bat out of hell.
The arrows flitter to the ground in little pieces, in between your muscle and the flabbergasted enemy. Her sheathes click as she puts away her swords and looks over her shoulder for guidance. Looking at you. Such a good girl.
You nod and motion at the whole lote of them.
"Go ahead. Kill them. Kill them all."
The click of sword sheaths.
The tune of screams.
The sound of blade cutting bone.
Ah, such a good girl.
She hovers next to you. The vampire. She watches, mouth agape, fangs showing, fascination beaming. It seems she cannot decide if the order is for her to help or to protect you. Hrmph. She will, eventually, fall in. The other has. They all do.
"They are just toys. I'll have a real opponent for you soon."
You mention, watching her reaction. Every twitch, every motion. A facsimile smile across her face.
"I don't mind if you break them."
She immediately breaks from you, bolting after one of the many fleeing masses. She swoops into their ranks like her primeval brethren, snatching him out of the crowd and into the sky. He is torn to pieces even before she comes bombing down, smashing the remnants into little more than a skidmark across the land.
All this while the girl corrals them. Like cows, beasts for the slaughter. She appears, cuts them down, disappears and reappears again! First they run this way, then that way, all to your whim.
It is decided. They must die. Oh, the tengu must die. All of them. Indiscriminately. Painfully, brutally. Spectacularly, perhaps. But it is uncouth to leave the killing to your subordinates.
You reach into your jacket and pull out a pistol. Ready. Loaded. A weapon that should not exist. It was not there. But it is, now. It was. You have made it so. A simple fact of reality brushed aside by your conviction, and a touch of necessity.
Such a convenient thing, all this power.
How far can you take it? Leaping like the banshee into their midst, crushing ribcages. Felling the whole crowd with a wave of your arm. Choking the life out of him, their leader or maybe not. You're not even sure. Does it matter? Drool glistening as you crush his windpipe. Not a single muscle in your body strains as you lift him off the ground, a man - a beast - larger than yourself, even.
And he is gone. There is only death.
Somewhere in that maelstrom you lose yourself. It is not you, your body, working in concert to achieve a goal. There is only the method, the killing. Is it just the one you strike down? A dozen? A hundred? How many were there in the first place? Does it matter? There are more. That is what matters. There should be none.
You pause to search for another. Listening. Hearing the whole mountain. It is neither your eyes nor your ears that do this, but yourself. You have cast your net over the mountain. Where are you? Where is he? There he is. There you are. You step out of the shadows. Was it the shadows? It was something more ephemeral.
The last wolf tengu. Disgusting vermin. He puts on a brave face. Tries to. Does it matter? Nobody will remember what he looks like. Nobody cares what he acts like.
"Is it my turn to die?"
He opens his mouth to speak, only to convulse in agony. Blood pours from his orifices, jaw contorting as the pressure inside his body grows and forces it apart. His head swells grotesquely for a moment, twice its normal size. Pop! He explodes! Bit of brain, bloodied giblets. Bits of him rain down upon you, against you. Streak down your warped face between bloodshot eyes and a berserk grin.
Such a convenient thing, all this power.
"Yes it is."
You raise your hands to your face. Inhaling, breathing in the smell. Rotten. Purely rotten. Your nose sniffs at your dirtied palms. Fingers run down cheeks, smearing blood mixed with sweat against scars and grizzly stubbles of hair.
it's done. It really is. Your mission is complete. You can rest. You can feel your body weaken. You fall to one knee. Your head may hang low. Your fingers grasp the dirt of this world, and soon, hope prevailing, so shall your body in the eternal rest.
Rest? Rest? This world is ugly. This world is rotten! It is not fit for a slave to rest here. Does this world think it can take someone of your magnitude? It shall be changed! It shall be reshaped! It shall be molded into an image of your liking!
Oh, you can feel the rising hatred. The feel in your chest. Burning, clawing to escape! You feel like you could breath fire! And what stops you? Nothing!