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Brick patio stretches in every direction. Scorching sun, blinding heat, lawn chair.

One man.

Naked. Sunglasses.

The sliding door is opened at one end, and a graceful figure walks over.

And walks.

And walks some more.

For it is almost 200 feet from that end of the patio to where the man is.

One couldn't ask for a stranger gathering. On one hand there was a naked man in plain view. On the other hand, a dressed-to-the-part French maid. In plain view. Granted, there was no one around for miles, but were one to witness this exchange they might question who had the least shame.

"What do we have this week, Ayame?"

"Dresden, Alberta, Grozny, and Kyoto."

The man peeked out from behind his sunglasses before sitting up and taking an array of folders from her.

"Let's see? Esper, boring. Probably just reads people. UFO, boring. Probably just military. Time traveler. Mmm, slightly better, but Russia's a bit far."

"Grozny is part of the Chechen Republic, Master."

Master takes his sunglasses off, setting them next to the pile of folders.

"All the same to me, all the same to me."

"How would you prefer if I called you American, sir?"

"How would you prefer I called you Japanese?"

"But I am-"


He retorts, jumping up and poking her repeatedly in the chest with both his index fingers.


"You missed a file."


He turns and checks the missing file.

"Ooh, interdimensional portals. Get the plane."

He says, closing the folder and tossing it into her arms. He gets all the way across the patio, and back into the house before coming back out not 30 seconds later.

?And my clothes!?
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"This? this was not what I expected."

As if on cue, a roofing tile slides off the depreciated top of the shrine, crashing down upon the ground. The only thing there younger than 400 years old seemed to be the two of them and the lonely figure sweeping at the stop of the stairs, oblivious to the newcomers? presence.

"You're sure?"

Master voiced aloud, turning an eye towards his ?maid?.

"It came from the usual sources?"

"Well, then.

Hey! Wench!?

The maiden stops sweeping, turns, and proceeds to sweep with her back turned.

"Did she just- She just ignored me! Ayame!"

She exchanges a sigh, immediately back into perfect character, grace and all. She raises her voice just barely to project it across the courtyard.

"Ah, excuse us."



"Maybe she doesn't speak English."

"You mean a Japanese shrine maiden, in Japan, at a Shinto shrine, doesn't speak English?"

"Yes, yes? that could be it."

Master nodding knowingly. Ayame could do nothing but sigh and shake her head. While the two were bickering, the shrine maiden moved ever further away. Headed right for the shrine building's entrance.

Master stopped his self-appreciating nodding just long enough to notice.

"Ah, quick! Ayame, use your Japanese skills!"

"You think just because I'm Japanese I know the language?!"

"You don't? Why did I hire you?!?

"I didn't say th-"

"What are you waiting for? Yell something to her!"

"Chotto matte-kudasai!"

Click. The sound a sliding door locking back into place.

"Nice job! Now you pissed her off, Ayame!"

"You called her a wench!"

"She doesn't know that!"

"And that makes it okay?!"


The two continued to bicker as the sun set, oblivious to the passing of time. Eventually they decided to follow her into the shrine.
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"She's not here."


Master mused, poking his head through.

"Well shit, where'd she go?"

The room was empty save for a futon, basket of preserved food, and a small table. The entrance they stood in appeared to be the only entrance? or exit.

"Oooh wait I know. it's ninja. I bet it's ninjas. You know, with the false walls, and the uh, water passages. Do you see any water floors?! Check the walls!"

With just a moment's hesitation, Ayame jumped into action, quickly checking under carpet and knocking on walls to no avail. She even checked under the table. The shrine maiden was nowhere to be found.

"Y?know she's got nothing to steal if that's what you're looking for."

The duo quickly turned to this new voice at their back, a half drunken midget already on what seems to be her tenth gourd of.. some foul smelling alcohol.

"Ah! A midget woman! I- HOLY SHIT HORNS?

"Uh, these things?"

She seems suitably confused, trying to both drink the gourd and look up while at the same time touching the two growths upon her head. She doesn't do a good job, serving only to pour most of the sake down her chin and shirt as she does a circle, failing to touch their tips.

?Are you an Oni??

Master asked, a severe look creeping across his face.

"Well? yeah."

"Master, do you want me to"-"


With a lightning kick, he sends the midget flying, tumbling end over end with its gourd.


I could have shot her. Besides, I think she's just drunk."

"Remember last time we tangled with drunk midgets?"

Both freeze at the unpleasant memory, shuddering to themselves.

"Never again."

"Wait just a moment, Ayame. You know I sleep through all the plane trips, but did we not land in the early afternoon?! The sun rises from the East!"

He yells, pointing at the sun barely poking up over the trees.

"That's the North."

"Exactly! The sun is never to the North! Besides, weren't we in Kyoto? Kyoto sure got a lot of trees while I wasn't looking."

"Now? that is odd. I don't see any buildings at all."


Master says, raising his hand.

"I hear the ambulance service. Perhaps we are not so far removed."


A flurry of red comes crashing around the corner, tipping over at the attempted turn only to flip end over end, person and wheelbarrow. They get a good 15 feet before the person lands on their feet, as if nothing had happened. She quickly run over to the drunken midget, picking them up like dead weight and dropping them unceremoniously into the wheelbarrow. Just as quickly, she runs off, repeating the fake siren sound as two tails flick around behind her.

"Are you staring at her ass?"

"No. The wheelbarrow is of very fine construction."

"So you were staring at her ass."

"I like this place! We must see more."
You're not supposed to see the other posts from here.
You're not supposed to see the other posts from here.
You're not supposed to see the other posts from here.
Weird. So what happens next?

You'll see. I'm writing soon?
>Rows and rows of dialogue without descriptions.
That's not how a story works. This is comic book style writing without the pretty pictures.
>Gimmicky in-joke shit.
Whatever happend to people posting stories instead of gimmicks?

Protip: readers drifting off and snoring is not a sign of success. You could write good stuff before, what the hell happened to you?

Life is raping me, vividly. Also, I have always experimented with wordplay, so thank you for your opinion on the dialogue, but I and my proofreader found it sufficiently intricate and fun. I do hope to finish this within a few days, and write something more in line with my usual descriptory paragraphs complete with violence and guns and maybe a Sanae or two, depending on how much I hate myself. Might be playing phone tag for the next few days, too, so there's that.

But enough about me. If you can elaborate on why you disliked the dialogue I'll see what I can do in this next part. To be clearer, or perhaps guide you, do you simply find their characterizations lousy (Good news! More touhous incoming!), or perhaps you do not fancy their chemistry. Option C, of your own choosing, is always valid.
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"Do you think she'll mind that we took all her food?"

The more sensible of the two openly questions

"Or these backpacks, you mean?"

Master replies, seeming to relish the idea of stealing even more things.

"Well? yes."


"So what do you think a shrine maiden uses backpacks and preserved food for?"

"Camping, of course!"

Master shouts back, doing a twirl as he solidifies his position in front while evading a few small objects on the ground.

"Uh? perhaps. I am leery of going too far. However we have no water source. Must we indulge your insane camping fantasy today?"

Everything grinds to a halt as Master very slowly turns around, staring her right in the face.

"No. That's stupid. Camping here is insane! I mean, Yellowstone has bears! This place looks like it'll have tigers! It might have tigerbears!

Ayame steps past him, already losing his train of thought as he waxes on about the various threats hybrid species would create.

"Ayame! Stop!"

A glut of tension fills the air as Master springs towards his assistant, grabbing her shoulder and pointing viciously at a pile of bushes. The bushes twitched slightly.

"There! Our savior or doom!"

The pair stood frozen, unsure of what to do until Ayame produced a pistol.

"I'll take care of this, Master."

"Oh, right. That was in your r?sum?."

She gets two feet before a small furry creature skitters out, a mouse. It runs around in circles for a few seconds before taking off in the other direction. The tension clears as both visibly deflate.

"Ah? it was just a mouse."

"My spidey sense must not be working today."

"There's no such thing, Master."

"Excuse me?"

A small voice calls out from behind them, bumping past and doing the same circle. She has a pair of dowsing rods, a most insane set of mickey-mouse ears, and a basket affixed to a tail. Also a cape. A capelet, even. She is certainly no bat, nor man.

She digs her rods into the ground an inch, and shaves off a layer of dirt revealing an object. She grabs it, places it inside her dress, and walks off.

"That was a Pagoda!"

"That was a very odd mouse."

"That was a person, Master."

"A person with mouse ears!?

"I thought that was a hallucination!"

"There is a pattern!"

Master screams, making a huge, sweeping movement with his arms so as to indicate the whole place. He spins and spins doing so, leaping up onto a fallen tree.

"Don't you see? A cat! A mouse! INSECTS! HAHAHAHA!- oh shit?

A most terrible buzzing arises from the forest as thousands of black cicadas appear from nowhere. The pair are quickly overwhelmed as the cicadas form a new layer of forest covering directly over their heads. Master leaps off the log as Ayame empties futile shots into the air only to give a scream as she's lifted off the ground, onto his shoulders.

"Let's go, Ayame! I shall make good our escape!"

"I'm beinghrghghphhph- You're lifting me right into the middle of the insects!"

"Hiya! Here I go!?
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The duo arrived (mostly) unscathed in front of a towering wooden wall, extending in both directions as far as the eye could see, while still maintaining an impressive 30 feet into the air. A small door was built into the wall directly ahead of them.

"Aha! Civilization!"

Master seemed proud of himself as he lowered the poor assistant off his shoulders, who was spitting out bits of cicada from her mouth and removing them from her hair the entire time.

"You just ran in the opposite direction of the swarm?"

"No, I found them. Just like that mickey-mouse character found her thing. Divination!"

"I thought we debunked that one-"

"Nonsense. Look, we're obviously in an alternate dimension. We may have disproved all existing paranormal theories in our dimension, earth-dimension-of-the-humans-of-sol trademark-pending, but this is new ground! Who knows! I might have gained telekinetic powers! Behold, as I rend the door from its wooden frame!"

He stormed up to the door, sizing it up like some sort of sumo wrestler. He snorted, stamping his foot and doing a spin before resting both hands on the door. Psyching himself up, he began to chant, yelling as he lifted his arms up, preparing for the attack and then suddenly bringing them down in one swift motion, a series of quick wrist movements following.

"Shave a haircut? Really, Master? You think people who are going to build a wooden wall know that one?"

"Shut up and give me two bits back."

She sighed and shook her head, delivering the reply knock. It was a bit silly, given that they were both on the same side of the door and all. The door creaked, and an eye at almost knee-level peeked out.

"Are you the substitute teachers?"

"Aha, a child! Why no, but I will tell you what we are. We are travelers from afar. Heroes from another land. I am a great noble, and this is my maid-"


"-assistant, Ayame. We have come through another dimension to meet you. In fact, that makes us travelers from really far. That's like? the length of the universe twice over, right? So that's a few hundred billion light years and considering that Tokyo to Houston is considered ?far?, we-"

"Keeeeeine! The teachers are here!"

The small voice croaks, throwing open the door. A bustling array of positively medieval township awaited them. An open-air market, the people dressed mostly in Kimonos, and the faint smell of something dead.

"Are they? smoking meat?"

Ayame mused, her nose twitching.

"I like this place already."

"You said that already."

The child lead them past a series of increasing archaic shops, culminating in housing, a smithy (with hand tools!), and a square schoolhouse. The child pointed at the doorway and Master took the lead, kicking the door right off its hinges.


"-I'll start them a tab."

"Thanks, Ayame. Teacher! What was his name? Cain? Boy, I hope we're not some long-lost blood brothers."

"Your name isn't Abel."

"No, but I am able! Hahaha! Geddit, because? yeah you got it I'm sure."

"What's all this racket?"

A head peeks out from a room down the hall, one hand upon a stacked hat bigger than the head it on, to prevent it from falling off.

"Aha! The secretariat!"


"Pay her no mind!"

Master announces, moving to shake her hand. She steps out in her bright blue dress, shaking his hand, propping her hat up, rubbing her bright red nose, adjusting her hat, and shaking his hand again.

"We are looking for this? Cain person. We suspect him of being a brother murder, and possibly a teacher, although reports are unsure on the latter."

"Keine. Also, you're just making up the first part."

"Yes, that's me."

She replies, nodding, and having to adjust her hat again.

"What? No. We are looking for Keine. C-A-I-N."


"Like I said. We are looking for a male brother murderer who? Why are we doing this again?"

"The child confused us for teachers, master."

"You're not the teachers?"

Keine asks out loud, trying to get a word in.

"Well that's absurd. I flatly stated that we are not teachers. We do not even have credentials!"

"Yes, but he clearly called us teachers and called for his own teacher. They appear to be expecting teachers. We must inform this teacher that we are not them."

Keine looked back and forth between the two, completely oblivious to her and on their own level.

"You're not teachers?"

"Yes, yes! That is why, Ayame, yes, you are correct. Well then, we must find this Cain person and?"


"Right. Keine. We must find him, and tell him. Who is this person?"

Master asked, suddenly aware there was a very real person standing beside him besides the usual assistant.

"I think that is Keine, actually."

"Yes, I'm Keine! Are you two teachers or not?! You don't seem to be listening."

Master turned aside, shaking his head.

"If she had been listening, she would have known we are not teachers. It seems she does not know where this ?Keine? is, however. This is a small schoolhouse, we should keep searching."


The building shook and the two stared at the bereaved schoolteacher, her dress now a lighter green. Two horns grew out of her head, straight through her silly hat. At least she wasn't having any difficulty keeping it on her head, now.

"My? are those bull horns?"

?A minotaur!?

Master screeched, practically grappling her as he took hold of both horns, pressing up against her.


He quickly rattles off, rocking back and forth and trying to dislodge them, serving only to give her neck pains. She slapped Master's hands off, and pointed threateningly at Ayame.

"Enough! You are not the teachers, so I do not know who you are! Out!"

"But, but, mom... Minotaurs!"

She picked him up, all the while he was yelling like a little kid.

"We flying now. Alley-oop!"

He yells right before he's tossed over Ayame's head, through the schoolhouse's flimsy wooden wall. She takes a step back, shaking.

"Now, hey, I'll just- Eek!"

She quickly joins her employer in the open air.


The door to the village slams shut behind them as they rub their sore parts, butts and joints and heads where they were unceremoniously tossed out.

"Jackass. Look what you've done."

"I think they found out we weren't teachers!"

Ayame sighed, much too accustomed to her master's insane dealings. Didn't help, though.

"I don't even know if this is the same exit we came in through."

"It could not be! See the slender stalks, the bamboo stilts!"

"I? that's the most sensible thing you've said all day. Okay, if we follow the wall it should eventually lead back to the trees, or some trees, and then hell maybe we might get lucky."

Master springs up, pointing at the bamboo.

"Trees! Bamboo! What does this say to you, Ayame?"

"-We're in a forest?"

"A bamboo and tree forest!"

"-We're in Japan?"

"An anomaly, you fool. We must investigate."

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