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That sounds... pleasantly suspicious.
I did not know anything could be "pleasantly suspicious," but hey, there it is.
I'm okay with that.
"All right, then," I say, and start to head back into the living room when I pause, and go back the other way.
She notices this, and chuckles ruefully.
"Kurumi really got you into that, huh?" She shakes her head.
"Actually..." I pause and think about it.
Orange continues to work at the stove, but seems to be waiting.
"...I dunno, yet," I finally conclude.
She snorts in amusement, and waves me off. "I'll be done in about twenty minutes, so don't get too wrapped up in that."
I go around the corner, and am faced with the split path, again. Well, not really a split.
All right, door-thing. What's behind you?
I go up to the door. Even before I peer in the window, I can feel how cold it is. Not middle-of-winter, but the temperature definitely takes a small yet noticeable drop.
I tip-tap-toe up to the door (I have no black paint and this makes me sad) and stand up on tip-top-toes, peering through the glass.
's kinda frosty.
But I can make out... more frost? Lots of white in there, and numerous packages and boxes along one wall. Big chunks of animal are hanging on hooks, too.
It's some sort of super-winterbox, then? Only.. a winter room? Well, that seems like a sensible enough thing to have, especially given her line of work. Although maybe more of a hobby than a line of work.
I walk away from the door, and go through the Hall of Pantryosity once again. Hell of a hobby. Damn if she isn't good at it.
Food, food everywhere, and all the...
No, my syllable count is way off.
Another poem lost to apathy.
Woe is me unless I am a bad actor, in which case whoa is me.
I still don't get it, but I remember White Opening saying it, and she laughed her head off afterwards.
...I wonder how she and the other ghosts are doing and this stops me as I open the door to the far-back room.
They haven't come after me As far as I can tell but I have been here so I know nothing, but this does not upset me. It is what I asked for, and Little Red does not seem like the type to ignore such a request.
I hope Extra Bird doesn't think badly of me for —what must seem like— skipping out at the end of the job.
As I open the door the rest of the way, I think that if she knew what I saved her from, she would not be unhappy with me.
That will have to be what I take solace in.
The room is as it was before. Quiet and casual and patient.
I kick off my slippers before going in.
I place one bare foot on the carpet as I take a
And I keep on walking.
It is a floor worth walking barefoot on, too. Nice, thick carpet.
I wiggle my toes about in the fibers, delighting in the feel of the soft upholstery. I scrunch my feet a little, curling the toes in, like I was trying to pick something up with them.
I smile a little.
Going over to the spear rack, I select the one I used before, and sscrp, sscrp with the chalk block.
If it breaks, it's an amazing hit.
What to play, though? Bigwings showed me how to play a few other versions.
Okay, so that bit where I said I would make up for it in the next update? Well, I was going to, but then I ran into this. Vote harder, better, faster —and if you can manage it, stronger would definitely be appreciated— and I can get cracking that much sooner on the next one to bring you what I promised.
In the mean time, have some Youko. If only Marimite were this cool.Or as cool as Badass Manly Anime Reviewer made it out to be.
>Vote harder, better, faster —and if you can manage it, stronger would definitely be appreciated I pasted faster than ever, voted on pure instinct, hit the enter button with my fist and clicked on reply with the face of an angry god.
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Normal aytball will do, I guess.
I find the lever thing that Bigwings pulled, and do so, as well.
Ka-chunk, and clatter clatter roll as the balls all come down the chute.
Chute, but no bang. Only clickity-clackity.
I gather the balls up, and try to put them in the order the vampire showed me. One-two-three and so on up to bizarre Chinese 13, Normal 14 and Normal 15. I don't know why they had to make that so complicated. Wait, not like that. it was stripe-solid-stripe and so on, wasn't it? Damn.
After a few tries, it occurs to me I might be able to keep them in place better with the triangle.
That's probably why she used it. Well, I kinda feel silly, now.
The wooden triangle makes the process much more efficient, especially when I try mimicking everything she did. There was that funny little squeeze, too, which seems to make no sense until I realize it packs the balls tighter together. Aha~
That done, I carefully lift away the triangle, place the cue ball on the dot, and assume the position.
Clack, roll, clatter, and ka-thump. Oh, perfect! I get to go first!
A quick count of the balls reveals that the twelve-ball is missing. I guess that means I am stripes, and therefore, I am solids.
Good to know where things stand, you see.
I line up the next shot, going for Funny Chinese Thirteen, next. Flash those smug obscure numbers at me, will you? Take THAT!
...Or... don't. Damn. I barely grazed it, and sure as hell didn't sink it. That means it is my turn, now.
Okay, plenty of shots to take... how about the one ball? Straight shot riiiight in
and in it goes! Just the right shot to take, too, as it sets up an easy bank shot for the five....
...and of course, it goes in.
I am on a roll, here. I am definitely going to win, at this rate.
Sadly, things do not go so well. I make a surprise comeback six turns later, and hit on an amazing streak of luck, allowing me to emerge victorious!
...Or it would have been victorious if Orange hadn't told me dinner was ready just as I took the shot at the aytball and missed horribly, sending it into the wrong pocket and the cue ball into the pocket the aytball should have gone into. That makes it some kind of double-loss, doesn't it? I think I lost.
But that's not important; dinner is ready!
I put the spear back on the rack, and head out after her.
Arriving in the living room, I see everything we made laid out on plates and dishes... But I don't see anything much more.
What was that extra wait for, then..."
"Sorry there's no hummus and pita," she says, sitting down. "I usually try to make those in advance, and this was sort of spur-of-the-moment."
I have no idea what either of those things are, but I shrug and smile. "Maybe next, time, then," I tell her.
We dig in, and the food is very good, as expected. The "La-Majun" is an odd taste, but certainly delicious, and the meat-and-vegetables-on-skewers ("Those are kebabs.") are very, very good, especially with how the meat has this just-grilled taste and oh I love it so~
Isn't it said somewhere that good looks are fleeting, but good cooking is forever?
I think the person saying that was probably a jerk of one or another kind, but when it comes to humans, I suppose I can sort of see the point.
When you're a youkai, though...
My eyes travel over Orange, who sits there, happily eating her night's labor.
...Not so fleeting, at all.
"What are you smiling about, Kabuki?"
"Just thinking about some things."
"Eh? How unspecific of you."
"I'm mysterious like that."
Orange rolls her eyes, and we go back to eating.
Afterwards, I finally find out what she spent all that time on: some kind of flaky, sweet dessert pastry thing called "baklava." She made sure I could pronounce it before I ate it. I must be mangling one of the names of those other dishes.
It's well worth the diction lesson.
Sweet, sticky, and crunchy, with finely chopped nuts all over it.
"Mmm... You know," I tell her, as I finish mine, "you're going to have to tell me how you do all this."
"All this?" She looks at the empty plates. "...The cooking?"
"Mainly." I grab a few final flakes from the little dish they came on. "But everything else, too."
"Hmmm," she says.
"You're not taking the position of Mysterious Lady away from me so easily. I paid good bribe money for those votes, you know!" I pound the table in mock anger.
"Hoho~" Orange puts a finger to her lips, and grins. The grin bespeaks much sneakiness. "Little do you know, though: it was always my position to begin with."
She laughs like a storybook villain and I shake my head, chuckling.
We clean up and wash the dishes. After the last plate is put in the drainboard to dry, we head back down the hall. Moonlight shines in from the skylight at the other end.
"Good ni—" I start to tell her, as I go to open the guest room door... and am stopped by a tug on the hem of my shirt.
I look back.
Orange is looking at me kind of strangely. "You know..." she starts then pauses, and seems to gain some confidence.
She starts over again. "That is, you don't have to sleep in there."
I'm momentarily at a loss. Not quite so much as to think she's suggesting I sack out on the couch, but...
"—Oh. Um." I look over at her room. "You have a futon I could roll out on the floor, then?"
"I wasn't talking about a futon."
I'm now at a loss for words, rather than meaning.
All hail the Crimson Queen.
I try speaking a few times, and fail. My face heats up despite myself. I'm not exactly embarrassed, just... caught off-guard, is all.
"I, uh." Well, it's not like we haven't done this before, but in her house, it takes on a different sort of meaning. Or feeling. Or something. Or oh god I feel fluttery.
A funny little smile forms on her lips. "I'm talking about sleeping. Nothing else..." Her words seems to trail off, and she says something very quietly. Only one word, but I can't quite make it out.
"All right," I finally manage. "I'd like that. A lot."
She seems to visibly relax at that, and her smile turns much warmer and only causes those goddamn butterflies Flittering little bastards stop making me feel like this I need my focus damn you to act up.
She takes my hand in hers, and together, we enter her bedroom.
It's kind of dark, but there's enough light from the moon coming in through the window to make out where things are and give a shade of dark color to things.
Orange takes off her bathrobe and hangs it up, revealing some kind of dark, sleek fancy underwear (panties and breast-cupping top together; they seem to be a matched set, so they're both underwear, I would think), and long legs covered in dark, smooth-looking stockings.
i would like to take the opportunity to say i am very glad i ever met you
i'm glad i met me, too
don't stop staring just yet; i want to savor this
it's a shame the light isn't better
ah, such hardships
"I was going to ask for your opinion, but I think I have a fair idea of what it might be," she says, amusement evident in her tone as she climbs into bed. Propping herself up on one elbow, she holds open the covers and looks at me in silent invitation.
I shake myself out of my daze, and climb in beside her.
My citrus princess seems very happy, in a calm, content sort of way. She gives me a kiss on the lips as I slip under the covers with her, and our arms wrap around each other.
Breaking the kiss, we lie there, for a moment.
We're probably both smiling like fools right now. I can see she is, and I can feel myself doing so, as well.
She giggles quietly, and pulls me closer to her as she closes her eyes.
"Good night, Kabuki," she says.
I almost think about telling her that isn't my name.
I'm actually looking forward to the morning even more than before, nowadays.
I even smi
You will do what you have to. But consider others before you do.
...where did that come from?
For some reason, this phrase is ringing in my head.
It's an odd revelation to have in the morning.
I would ponder this more, but it suddenly occurs to me that it seems easier to move.
I blink, sitting up, and look over next to me.
The morning light coming in through the windows shows that Orange isn't there, and has presumably gotten up already. My clothes are set out on the corner of the bed, though, clean and neatly folded. Next to them is a black skirt, which must go with the funny outsider tunic I have on. I decide to wear what my citrus princess bestowed has upon me, instead, and set my usual clothes on the nightstand.
Orange and black?
It's a change from what I normally wear, but... It looks good, I think.
The mirror agrees, because I am in the mirror.
I put on the indoor slippers, and set forth on my journey to find my lovely caretaker.
>>109504 Oops. *Kanojo (not Shoujo) ...Interestingly, if I had seen it before I started writing, I would have at least had somebody to use as an example when describing to someone how the green girl acts.
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[☉] Clean air
She is certainly not in this room.
I peer in the bathroom, but no, no morning soak.
She could be cooking, but I can't tell right yet.
So, I go about, searching and looking and seeking.
Not in the guest bedroom. ...Not in the normal bathroom, either.
I almost pass the dojo before I remember how she was there other day. Sweaty and glowing, like she'd been working out?
I step back over to the dojo and crack the doors open. Don't want to interrupt her if she's busy, after all.
...Nope, not here.
My eyes flick over to the door.
How about outside, though..."
I walk softly and quietly through the dojo, over the polished wooden floor, over to the little side door.
I push it open, and set foot outside for the first time in a very long time as I take a
and I keep on walking.
The outside of Orange's house seems fairly normal. It's got a slight Chinese feel to its architecture, but the materials and appearance seem kind of typical of modern outside houses.
It's on a slight hillside, looking out over a large valley, surrounded by mountains in the distance. There's some fog that the morning sun hasn't gotten around to dispelling yet.
I make a slow circuit of the house, looking at it from the outside. Nothing seems too far out of the ordinary. I have to cut around the outer edge of what must be the large garden outside of her bathroom. Everything else seems normal for what I've seen so far. That isn't to say it's not a nice-looking place; it certainly is. But it's not amazing wonder of (or horrific crime against) building design.
The shape of the house more or less matches the shapes of what I have seen so far, which is a little disappointing. I'd hoped for maybe a secret room, or something. ...Although, I guess the room at the end of the pantry-hall is as close to that as she's likely to get.
I complete my circuit, passing the front door, and rounding the corner of the dojo, which almost seems to have been added after the fact.
No sight of my citrus princess at all. How disappointing...
Oh, wait a minute.
I smell something good.
Does that mean I missed her already?
I hurry back inside, only now realizing I've gotten dirt all over my slippers. Maybe wearing them outside wasn't so smart. I'll clean them off later. For now, I kick the dirt off them as best I can, then head in through the front door and leave them by the outdoor shoes. Then I head for the kitchen, and prepare to greet my dear, dear host.
Sorry this is short... Updates will continue to be a dicey thing, as I may not have frequent/guaranteed access to a computer for a little while. I'll do my darndest to make sure I at least try to get them out anyway, though.
>Sorry this is short... Updates will continue to be a dicey thing, as I may not have frequent/guaranteed access to a computer for a little while. I'll do my darndest to make sure I at least try to get them out anyway, though. Get a pen, get some paper. Write. Once internet is back up, copy to pc.
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I sneak quietly down the hall, making not a sound.
Or I hope not a sound.
I wonder if a box would make less sound.
No, that is a silly thought. Ver-eye.
Peeeeek around the wall. Nope. Not in the living room.
Unsurprising, as I can hear her in the kitchen, singing in Chinese as she cooks away.
I smell frying potatoes. I wonder if it's more of that hay-shredded potato mass stuff? That was good.
But then again, I don't think she can make bad food.
It just isn't in her ability to do it.
What a wonderful disability, one might think. One would probably be right, except I am one and one better than one and that makes four. Or three.
It's all about perspective.
I dart into the living room, flattening myself up against a wall.
I tmp-tmp-tmp into the kitchen on quiet light footsteps.
I spot my target working at the pan, singing to herself as she shuffles something around and tends to some pancakes; the thicker kind, that she told me about last time that the last ones weren't.
She's wearing that grey workout outfit again.
I could enjoy waking up to find this sight busy at work.
I wonder if it's a crime to watch someone's rear swing and bob in time to music.
Somebody lock me up; I'm dangerous.
But all good things must come to an end.
Okay, okay. Serious time.
I use all my tricksification and sneakatizing to inch up behind Orange, one careful, soundless, precisely measured step at a time.
All is going well. Not the slightest break or change in her posture or movements; no momentary pause, nothing to give away that I've been given away.
Ever so closer.
Juuuust behind her.
My arms sneak forward to hug her from behind
there appear to be a few bugs in the system
Orange just as silently leaps up from a standing position, tossing food-flipping-thing and stirring-spoon into the air
curls herself into a ball, spinning backwards
suddenly straightens out, hooking her feet into the pan-holding racks above her
grins at me, upside-down, with an energetic and, sneaky expression
and pulls me into a kiss, happy and giggling, mirth bubbling up from inside of her.
I'm startled out of my awestruck trance as both cooking utensils land neatly into my still outstretched hands.
She hops back down, unable to keep the smile off her face or the amusement out of her voice.
I look at the food-flipping-thing and the spoon in wonder.
"And a wonderful morning to you as well, Kabuki," she says.
She bows. "I'll take that as a compliment."
I look back up, putting on an angry, haughty front. "You realize, of course, that this means war."
She pats me on the head, still fighting back the giggles. "Love is war."
"I thought childcare was war."
"Mmm... it is."
"...You've had children?"
"No," she says, shaking her head. "But I've watched children for people before."
I try to picture a bunch of kids around her in a semicircle as she reads them a bedtime story.
I think my teeth are going to rot.
"What are you making for breakfast, O Warrior?"
I feel arms slip around mine, and her body pressing close against my back.
"I don't know. You're the one who's making it, it seems."
I look again at the utensils, still grasped in my hands.
She got me good.
So this is the power to amaze, huh..."
...It's really something.
No time to sit around and gawk, though.
"Well, then, you're the experienced cook," I say. "Perhaps you'd care to guess what I'm making?"
"If I had to guess..." She adopts a thoughtful tone, and hums in my ear. One might think it an unpleasant sensation, but it's not.
"...I would say it's pancakes and some kind of mix of potatoes, peppers, eggs, corn, and bacon. Oh, and sprinkled with shredded cheese after it's done."
"As expected from a master chef. And yet, it feels like you didn't even look. Tell us how you did this, O Warrior."
"Why, the same way I knew you were sneaking up behind me." She reaches up, and gives my nose a playful tap. "It's one of a cook's greatest assets."
I can feel my friend snickering, and I almost start to do so as well before I wipe the grin off my face and serious back up.
"I see," I say aloud.
"Remember how I didn't know it was you, at first, when you showed up? Couldn't smell you then, either. Of course, you smelled an awful lot like dirt and blood and grass when you landed, so that kind of covered it, back then."
"Ohhh..." That does seem to make a little more sense.
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"Those pancakes are done, Apprentice."
I take them off the pan, and flip them onto a plate that seems to be waiting for pancakes. The stack already there is a clue.
If there are are others there waiting to be eaten, does that make it a clueue?
"And how much longer would you guess this potato thing has left to go?" I ask, gesturing at it as I give it a slight stirring-around.
"Oh, about two minutes."
"Ah, all right. Does it have a name, by the way?"
"It's yours, isn't it? I thought you would know." She gives me a little squeeze.
"Well, it was clearly made up just now. But I was thinking about naming it after you, beca—"
She is cut off by a thump outside, as of fireworks going off, and a flash of light from the windows.
Orange stiffens slightly, and lets go of me. This is familiar to her, it seems, as she is already moving back towards the living room, giving only a momentary look out the window before hustling out into the hall, towards her room.
I find the stove controls, and set the only one with a dial adjusted differently than the others, and turn it to match the mark all the others are on, assuming that must be the setting that restores the stove to a state of equilibrium, settling the electric outsider technology into restful dormancy. Or maybe it shuts it off. I'm no technologician.
Stepping over to the window, I peer out, and see a bright red star hanging in the sky, like some sort of singular, long-lasting festival fireworks.
I look back to where Orange disappeared, and step out into the hall, only to nearly be bowled over by her coming back the other way.
"Ah! Sorry, Kabuki, didn't mean to run you over. In a bit of a hurry."
"What's going on?"
I follow her out to the doorstep where she kicks off her indoor slippers, and slides her feet into long black boots, which she begins rapidly lacing up, hands moving with the ease of routine.
"There's an emergency of some sort down at the village a ways further down the valley. They sent up the signal for help, because it's faster to do that than send a runner. It's a system we devised, and it's my turn this week. I'll probably be back in a few hours. Depends on how bad it is."
Boots on and tied, she slips into a green vest filled with pockets and pouches.
"Oh. Could I come along and help?"
She shakes her head. "As much as I'd love to have another pair of hands backing me up, I'd prefer experience. These are medical in nature, most of the time, and even worse, people will notice somebody like you in a hurry. And they'll talk." She shoots me a look. "You're trying to stay hidden, right? These are farm folk. They love their gossip, and if anybody comes asking around..." She gives a little shiver.
"...I don't like thinking about what'll happen, if half of what you said is true," she finishes.
I look down at the floor, nodding uncomfortably. She's absolutely right. Maybe it's a good thing that I didn't think about being caught, though. Technically, and from a broader point of view.
Not so much the short-term view, though.
She stands up, and grasps a large white metal case that has a what looks like short, stubby red "ten" on the side before turning back to me.
"Go ahead and eat without me. Save half, though. I should be back this afternoon, or evening at worst. You can watch anything you want, and there's leftovers from the last few nights in the fridge, if it comes to that. I trust you enough not to burn the place down, so don't worry too much."
I nod in acknowledgment. She turns back to the door and is just about to step out.
"Oh, hold on a moment!" I cry out suddenly. She pauses and looks back.
I pull her into a tight hug, and kiss her deeply.
Long and slow and lovely.
We pull apart, and I wink at her. "For good luck," I tell her.
She winks back, blushing, and heads out the door, taking off in the direction of the 'flare.'
I see the issue with keeping Orange as company, as opposed to the Prismrivers, is that she's too powerful. Kogasa won't be able to surprise her, leaving her relatively powerless in the long run as an individual. Still, given that Kogasa has been brought down by Sanae in a consistent fashion over a large number of cycles, I'll venture that it is a small price for the immense value of being under Orange's protection.
>She shoots me a look. "You're trying to stay hidden, right? These are farm folk. They love their gossip, and if anybody comes asking around..." She gives a little shiver.
This indicates Orange would prefer it if Kogasa weren't seen by anyone as yet, so going outside is probably unwise, as is anything that signals 'I don't need to be protected.' Maybe after time has consummated their relationship should we begin to take the steps that lead toward a favorable confrontation with the villain, and from that Kogasa's ultimate, more personal growth.
I think what would make the difference isn't so much gathering power, but getting help dealing with this issue as opposed to Kogasa trying to take it on solo. Even taking on a second string shrine maiden alone might prove hard for Orange, let alone Kogasa.
>Still, given that Kogasa has been brought down by Sanae in a consistent fashion over a large number of cycles, I'll venture that it is a small price for the immense value of being under Orange's protection.
That and it's a sign that going about things alone isn't working.
That and perhaps Orange will show us people that can be surprised.
But I get the impression that at this point Orange would take on Sanae if she butted in, regardless of what Kogasa says.
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[✇] FREE HBO / SHOWTIME
She said movies were okay, so it can't hurt to go have a look. I don't think I'll break anything.
I hope not.
That would be extremely embarrassing and then I would have to kill myself and when she saw my dead body I would die of shame.
No, that just won't do at all.
Therefore, screwing up must be avoided.
With that mandate in mind, I finish up in the kitchen, and head back into the living room.
There is quite a selection, but a lot of these I can't understand.
It takes me a while, but I select some with interesting-seeming pictures on them, and set them aside. At least one of these should be from this giant set of acrobatics-and-stuff videos she has, so I grab a couple of them, as well.
I laboriously study the manuals, which are thankfully in Japanese. I think I might have managed from the pictures in it, but I'm better informed, this way.
At last, I am ready.
...And then, there is a knock at the door.
It can't be Orange. She wouldn't knock, would she?
It can't be Bigwings. Or maybe it is. But isn't she inactive during the day? It's still midmorning.
It could be the green girl, too.
Or it could be somebody else.
Sitting here will solve nothing. I need to go answer the door... or at least, go see who it is.
I think this is one of the more chickenshit/total cop-out updates I have ever written, and I am terribly sorry, especially after that last update. Today is going kind of shitty, and I'm not feeling the vibe right yet.
Maybe more later; I don't know. For now, please vote, and let's keep this thing rolling.
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[⇉ ⇇] Flanking maneuver
Okay, okay. It'll be easy to do that.
I'm wary about whoever it is, so no answering the door all normal-like.
Plus, where's the fun in that?
Nowhere, because it isn't part of the word.
Whoever thought that joke up should be stabbed.
One day, when I'm in charge, things will be different. Oh yes.
In the mean time, though, I have a visitor to spy on.
I get up, and leave the living room, heading for the dojo. I need to take them by surprise, so I'll hit 'em from the side. Plus, it'll give me a good angle from which to look at them and stay undetected.
I am a master tacticarian, I am.
I take a few steps into the dojo, then duck back around and head to the front door again, snatching up my slightly dirty indoor slippers. Might as well wear them, as I'm getting nothing on them that there isn't already more of. Right?
The knocking sounds again as I leave the entryway, and scamper over to and then through the dojo.
Soft thimp-thimp-thimping is the sound I make as I hustle over the smoothed wooden floor. I wonder if Orange uses this or the outdoors for her morning exercises.
I quietly open the door that leads outside, and put on the slippers.
Pressed against the walls, I proceed to creep along them, inching a bit at a time.
I reach the corner, and take a quick glance around it.
...That is maybe not good at all.
A huge, misshapen, ungainly figure covered in a thick black cloak stands at the doorstep.
What the hell is that thing?
I'm kind of worried, now.
I hear it knocking again, so it's either screwing with me, or more likely, it isn't aware of my presence, yet.
Slow, careful steps, that is key.
I'm not a ninja or anything, so a silent sprint is out of the question.
Regardless, sneakatizing ensues.
I draw closer to the figure, determined not to be noticed like earlier this morning.
It's hard to hide my smell, though, unless I crammed some cloves or peppermint in the other person's nose, first, and then you'd have all kinds of questions to answer, like, "What the hell are you doing?" and so on, and it'd just be a mess.
So, I focus on being quiet.
It seems to be working, as I'm a few paces behind the large, grotesquely shaped, becloaked figure when they knock again. It's a bit more insistent this time. Urgent, maybe.
Just a tiny bit closer, so I'm right behind them.
There seems to be an odd symmetry to the shapes bulging underneath that cloak.
A familiar odd symmetry, at that.
First things first, though.
Just as they are about to knock yet again— definitely urgent, now —I shout in an outraged voice:
"WHAT'S THE MEANING OF THIS RUCKUS?!"
I feel a definite rush Mission accomplished~ immediately after, but the person, or possibly creature, does not flinch. Neither do they jump, stumble, or whirl around.
Someone veeeery relaxed and low-key, or highly-trained, then. I don't know how relaxed you'd have to be to not show some outward sign of surprise, though, but opium might help that a lot.
The closest noticeable sign is that their hand freezes in mid pre-knock, fist drawn back to begin rapping on the door.
"If you are home, then open the damn door already," says the voice.
Calm, and level, it is.
What the hell is she doing here at this hour?
I start to pull back the robe to confirm my suspicion when her hand shoots out, lightning fast, and seizes my wrist in a steel grip.
"Do. Not. Touch. My. Robe."
Each word is clear and heavy, filled with the unspoken threat of things unknown, which are often the worst kinds of things. Still calm and level, but carrying deadly intent.
The figure holds my arm in that painful grip for a moment longer, then lets go, and scoots into the shadow of the overhang of the front porch.
Facing away from the sun, the hood is parted slightly, allowing me to make out the features of Bigwings within, her golden eyes looking back at me.
"...What the hell are you doing here?" I ask her, finally.
She looks to the side for a moment, then back at me. "I cannot sleep."
Huh. A vampire with insomnia? That's got to be rough.
"So you came here to... what?"
"Be entertained until I am tired."
She doesn't bullshit around, that's for sure.
I was hoping to watch those movies. Then again, I suppose company is good.
Although, I'm not sure if this company is the kind of company that is generally included when people think of 'company.'
Wouldn't she be better than me and I and mine alone?
[ ] The Cheese Stands Alone [ ] Let's Get Together
Feeling sort of good today. I could almost see myself updating again today. I don't think it'll happen, but at worst, I can get part of it done before I sleep. Starting early seems to help with both of those things.
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[ʧ] Let's Get Together
Whatever. Letting her bake out here isn't in my thing of things that I could do, I guess.
Damn, what's the word for that, again?
"Sure, fine. Come on in." I step past her and open the door.
As expected, no thank-you. She simply steps in behind me.
I close the door, and kick off my slippers. Still need to clean them off at some point.
Bigwings takes off her robe, and hangs it up on a hook next to a variety of coats and jackets I am only now noticing. Those must be Orange's other outside clothes, then. Can't imagine they'd be anyone else's, after all.
"So, are we playing what we played yesterday?" I ask her.
"We are watching movies," she replies, taking out a satchel from within the robe.
"You— we are? Well, that's lucky, then. I was just about to do exactly that, already."
This sort of works, I suppose.
We over to the living room, although she has to inch along the walls at the bend in the hall, where the skylight lets the sun in. Once in the living room, she pauses, bending down to look at the movies I'd picked out.
"Hmm," is all she says.
"Is that good or bad?" I ask, warily.
"You do not know what any of these are about, do you?"
"Not really. I didn't look too closely at them, just for the Japanese language marking."
"That explains it." Bigwings nods to herself in understanding.
I feel slightly insulted, but I'm really not sure.
"We will take the two most depressing ones from yours—" She points to my stack.
"—in between these." She taps her satchel. "You will need them."
Somehow, this selection process does not strike me as very unusual for the vampire girl.
Bigwings pops open one of the cases, and removes the rainbow circle from within. Walking over to the electronics beneath the television, she opens it up, and places the circle inside. It cheers me up a little to see that she does exactly what I had learned from the steps I was supposed to follow, meaning I wouldn't have screwed it up. I think.
I curl up under the kotatsu to watch. The other girl pulls the shades shut on the windows, and walks back over to the couch. She stretches out on it; not just her body but her wings, as well. They must have been cramped close under that cloak.
The movie is depressing. It takes place in some kind of huge, wide scrubland. Or at least, it starts there. There is a pale, hollow-eyed man who pokes something that pops into another man's head, and then another man finds a lot of dead people in outsider vehicles and doesn't give one of them water. It looks like they were playing outsider danmaku, too.
I'm beginning to get the impression that danmaku on the Outside is sort of the opposite of the generally nonlethal thing it is in Gensokyo.
The rest of the movie gets worse and worse. Not badly done, but bad for the people in it.
...Especially bad for me, because I know what it is like to be hunted. The person that made this movie captures the feeling well, although it does not send me into a shivering panic, because a few things set it apart from my situation. First, there is a lot more place-ness on the Outside, it seems. Far, far, far beyond even the entirety of the size of Gensokyo. It's easier to hide when there are many more places to hide in. Second, he fi—
maybe kind of, it
but of course that thought is that thought and it is in fact that thought and do not stare at it to long they will ask to see what you are carrying under there may i have a look please no you may not
i have not had—
...What was I talking about?
I blink, and shake my head.
But in the end, it does not seem to do the running-away man any good. Or perhaps it does. After all, he was not killed by Hollow Eyed Oddtalk at all, and might have stood a chance if he hadn't talked to the woman.
And the rest of the movie goes downhill from there as Hollow Eyed Oddtalk kills everyone except the old weather-beaten lawman.
I smile with grim satisfaction at the very end as Hollow Eyed Oddtalk gets smashed out of nowhere by the vehicle.
...But it didn't kill him. That's a pity. But at least the—
Why are they showing names?
It can't be over! The killer got away! The main character died! Fucking near everybody died!
I am not only depressed; I am angry, now, as well.
I look over at Bigwings to see if she is just as pissed as I am.
...She's actually smiling, ever so slightly.
I can't say this surprises, me, really.
"A favorite of yours?" I ask. I don't sound bitter, do I?
"It screws with the audience every way it can, and in the very end, reminds them that life is indeed miserable, no matter who you are."
I'm beginning to wonder if she lives in isolation because she was chased there.
"So, what's next?"
The vampire doesn't answer, but rolls off the couch, and plucks another movie from her satchel as she walks past it. She ejects the last one, puts in the new one, and replaces the first rainbow circle into its case while the second movie starts up.
It is a far, far better movie.
People shoot up a building, and then steal what I learned from the last movie is a lot of outsider money. At the end there is only a smiling man, who apparently made them all kill each other. Then some man in a cape with a voice he must have acquired from a steady diet of gravel and coarse sand beats up people, and smiling man tries to get some other people to kill him.
Smiling Man is kind of an asshole, but I kind of admire his loose sort of style. He's sort of crazy. No, kind of a lot of crazy. I'm not too hot about his whole penchant for casual murder, though. Entertaining, but not a role model.
He kind of makes me think of the green girl, but if she were a genius hobo or something.
The thought makes me laugh out loud, and I quickly stifle my laughs.
—Ow. Right onto the pencil?
I wonder why those people have such dark skin. They seem like darkness youkai, but I'm pretty sure they don't have very many youkai on the outside anymore.
The movie is very, very compelling, even if it's a little hard to follow sometimes because of my limited comprehension and recognition of technology from outside. Bigwings provides short, brief answers when I ask about a few of them, so I am able to keep up with it, for the most part.
The ending is sad, but... it gets to me.
Sometimes it is time to do what has to be done for the greater good.
I'm not sure I'd do the same thing, though. I understand the necessity, but maybe it's my pride as a youkai talking.
I'd like to think I wouldn't have fucked things up to make it so that the bad guy still sort of wins, but I'm pretty sure it's more difficult than that.
Either way, I'd have let Smiling Man drop, I think.
The screen turning blue interrupts my thoughts as the other girl takes out the movie, and puts in the other one from my choices. If I knew what I was grabbing, I would probably be a little more angry about her deciding what gets watched, but it seems she definitely does have more experience in these matters, so I'm content with letting her do it. I'd probably have gone by the pictures shown on the outside of the box, anyway.
It's not the most distinguished of criteria.
Or maybe it is? I don't know how they do it outside, but it can't be that simple.
I'm pleasantly surprised to find that the next movie is actually Japanese, so it has proper actors and needs no subtitles.
It's kind of a slow-paced thing, unlike the last one.
A policeman finds out his wife is terminally ill, and so he decides to rob a bank to take her on a vacation.
There are lots of flashbacks involving his partner, who got crippled by a man with a gun in some kind of ...something. It's hard to tell.
There are a lot of long scenes showing the careful, quiet preparations for the robbery. Much attention seems to be paid to detail, but that's from my perspective. It could be horribly slapdash, but I don't think so.
The robbery, too, is careful and quiet.
The vacation itself ends in a rather bittersweet way.
It's somewhat touching.
"I'm going to go get something to eat," she announces, and stands up.
It doesn't sound like a bad idea.
[ ] Something old [ ] Something new [ ] Something bold [ ] Something moo
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[x] Something bold
I hang my head and laugh, low and hollow. Determination surges through my veins, and screams at my muscles, telling them to move, and to do ...things.
Something bold? Oh, I'll give you something bold, all right.
I leap up from the kotatsu, flinging it away. It smashes against the wall, and falls to the floor with a thud and a clang. I tackle Bigwings, getting a slightly startled "Wha?" from her for my efforts before I shove her up against the center table/island in the kitchen.
"You bitch," I tell her. "You smug, annoying bitch. Always being weird, being an asshole, being a goddamn pain in everyone's ass. I can't take anymore of this from you."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Playing the innocent? Ha! Don't make me laugh!"
She cries out again as I rip her shirt off, and flip up her dress. Bending her over the table, I pull her panties aside, and shove my large, hard, throbb
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[ß] Something bold
What to get, though?
There's all manner of food ready in the chillybox. Orange said as much and I saw as much when putting away this morning's breakfast.
I could even make something, but who knows how that would turn out?
If I was really desperate, I could gnaw on some of the beef on hooks in the winter room, but.... Yeah. I'm not that hard up.
In fact, come to think of it, I'm not really hungry at all. I just ate a little while ago. If anything, I'd like something to drink.
I open up the chillybox, and have a second look, focusing on what there is in the way of beverages.
Milk, orange juice I think I'll skip the obvious cannibalism joke and several cans of Kappa Cola. Huh. I wasn't aware she actually liked that stuff.
I'm looking for something a little stronger, though.
I close the chillybox, and resume my search, checking cabinet after cabinet.
I become more familiarly acquainted with where half the things are in the kitchen before I find what I'm looking for.
I select a bottle with some kind of elaborately dressed man in red propping one leg up on a barrel, for some reason. He seems trustworthy, or at least so amusingly wicked that it can't be too bad. Besides, I'm looking for something strong, fresh, and interesting. It's not sake, which means it automatically qualifies as all of those.
I'll give foreigners this much: They get really, really, really creative when it comes to making alcohol out of things. Japan made sake from rice, and pretty much stopped right there. Not the rest of the world, oh no. I don't know what this is, but it's going to be good.
I hear a 'clank,' and a few moments later, Bigwings comes back around the corner, into the kitchen. She's holding some kind of clear-ish bag that's giving off a lot of steam. The bag seems to be filled with something red. Maybe it's tomato j—
Probably not tomato juice at all, then.
She notices my staring, and follows my gaze to the bag in her hands.
"Why does—" I begin, but am cut off in the next breath.
"She does not; it is from my stash. I keep a small supply here for times like this. It is a bad idea to let guests go hungry, after all."
The blonde girl taps the top of the bag, poking a small hole in the corner. She takes a thin tube from somewhere, and spears it into the bag, through the hole. Placing the other end of the tube into her mouth, she sucks on it for a few seconds before letting go.
"Here and there," she eventually replies, waving a hand around vaguely. "Perhaps a quarter is from Outside, where they collect bags of this stuff for medical reasons. I do not get as big a share of the shipment as Remilia does, but that is because of what makes up the other three quarters of my supply."
I nod for her to go on.
After another momentary sip, she adds, "Livestock during slaughtering time."
How surprisingly... efficient.
"You don't get it fresh from the source?" I set the bottle, full of some kind of amber alcohol, onto the table and lean against the counter.
"Hmm-mm," she says in mid-sip, shaking her head. Finishing it, she licks her lips with a tongue that seems awfully red. It's not really surprising, and I wasn't exactly examining the color of it beforehand, but it still seems to stand out. "I am bound by the terms of the fight I had with—"
Screaming, searing, gut-wrenching PAIN.
I give out out a strangled shriek as my world goes white with agony.
My teeth clench together hard enough that I think a couple of my molars crack.
I tumble to a heap on the floor, twitching, my back arching reflexively from the triggered reaction.
Pain, hot as the sun and stabbing like a thousand knives into my body blossoms out in waves from my back as I writhe in torment on the cold tile floor.
The world returns
In black and white at first it comes back,
Or rather, blacks and greys begin to appear out of the blinding whiteness, and the world begins to acquire texture and shade once more.
I'm too busy making incomprehensible sounds of distress to really appreciate it for about a minute or two. Maybe an hour. Maybe several days.
By the time color begins to reappear, the pain is down to merely "intense, screaming discomfort." It's made rather worse by the fact that my vision is still spinning.
Another couple brief forevers pass, and the world slows down, and refocuses. My hearing begins to return as well, and I slowly stop feeling like I want to vomit so badly from vertigo.
Finally, depth perception comes back, and the pain recedes to the point where I feel like I can properly think once more.
I blink several times, and tilt my head slightly up to see Bigwings peering down at me, still wearing that inexpressive expression.
"dont" I start to say, weakly and quietly. "dont say her name round me please"
"Are you allergic to names?"
"some but mainly hers" I reply in a feeble, raspy croak.
"Mm," she says thoughtfully. "It is actually rather funny, but I might not be allowed back if I keep doing it, so I will try to avoid it if I remember to do so."
"bless your benevolent fucking heart"
The vampire gives a gracious nod, and a quiet smile.
These floor tiles are kind of cold. And hard. My head doesn't hurt that kind of specific, throbbing hurt, so I must not have banged it on the floor. I slowly and dimly realize it's because it's resting on my friend.
I silently thank him for the quick save..
"mind if—" I pause, gather my strength, and clear my throat.
"...Mind if you help me up?" I ask, in a scratchy-ish, but somewhat more together-sounding voice. My left hand raises weakly as I make this request.
"Must I?" She frowns a little.
"I'd appreciate it," I say, and cough. My cheeks feel kind of cool. Probably from the tears while I was twisting about.
"But I do not want to."
"Fuck you do it now and help me the hell up." She tries my patience, this one.
Sighing, Bigwings opens up a cupboard, and takes out a tall, tall glass. She sets the bag in the glass. I guess that's so it won't fall over. Then she kneels down, and scoops me up with surprising gentleness and care. With smooth, soft steps, she carries me into the living room, and sets me down onto the couch.
Hello again, couch. You always catch me at my worst.
Please don't try eating me this time?
The couch does not listen, but I try not to move around too much, which will only send me deeper into it. This ass-devouring couch is a strange beast.
After laying me out here, the other girl returns to the kitchen, where I can hear some clanks and clinks, and then the hummmmm of the electric hotbox. I think White Opening called it a microwave.
I know from experience that the pain will be all gone in another ten minutes or so. For now, I am content to lie down here and relax, holding my friend close, waiting it out.
After a few minutes, my blonde film-watching companion comes back, holding a plate of reheated La-Majun. "You can still eat, yes?"
"Yeah, in a bit."
"Good." She sets it down on the table atop the kotatsu, and then takes a seat next to me on the couch. "If you died I would probably be in trouble and I do not need that headache."
We sit there quietly for a bit.
"...Aren't you going to start the next movie?" I finally ask.
"I am waiting until you are strong enough to sit up and watch."
I blink. "That's ...nice of you. Thank you."
yeah, i'm waiting for the rest of it, too
"It has nothing to do with nice. These movies are best appreciated while fully conscious, unlike certain others."
"There are movies you should watch... not fully conscious?"
"Yes. Being intoxicated while watching Soylent Green makes it a vastly more enjoyable film."
She falls silent afterwards, and I just kind of stare strangely at her for a while. It doesn't seem to faze her.
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Finally, I feel well enough to sit upright, and begin eating. Bigwings takes this as her cue and puts in the next movie.
"These next three are a trilogy," she tells me.
Oh. I thought... wait, next three?
I don't think that counts as one movie, but I'm willing to let it slide.
The box art is interesting, you see.
And from what I can see, and comparing it with her last Or rather first movie, she seems to be a fan of the running-around-and-causing-violence sort of movies. I wonder if they have a name for that category.
It starts in some kind of bleak desert, or wasteland. Apparently there is some kind of tiny prison there or something. Some people come to ambush a man who is set up rather suspiciously nicely in his cell, but then he turns the tables quite neatly on them.
Then it cuts to a man who wanders along and finds a town. Apparently he is some kind of musician.
The entire film is in a different language than the other foreign films I've heard so far. It sounds a lot more smooth, and I kind of like the sound of it.
There is a bunch of confusion and a lot of fighting over some mixed-up guitar cases. One holds a guitar, and one... does not.
Ah, If only I had a guitar case like that. I could surprise people pretty darned hard.
But like the other movie shows, the fighting only leads to sadness. It is a good thing I have no such guitar.
At least he plays good music.
It is sad to see the man forced into a mission he never chose.
I can sympathize, somewhat.
The second movie starts off very interestingly. A scrawny, ratlike man wanders into a bar, and begins talking it up about an enormous man with a guitar case much like the one in the first movie.
I notice the language has changed back to the normal common foreign one.
He's very careful to both insult everyone around him, take back the insult in the most halfassed manner possible, and yet somehow still keep them listening intently. That is a very tricky thing to do, but neat if you can pull it off and not get killed over it.
I wonder if Bigwings would slap me if I referred to her as "a real class act fella."
There is much shooting, then the man finishes his tale, and leaves.
It is one hell of a way to open a movie.
Suddenly, it features a different man who is the same character as in the last movie, but a different actor. This one seems older and more suave and manly and whatnot. An odd thing to do, but okay.
He, too, sings well and plays well. That language from before is back, for a little while.
Apparently he is fighting drug dealers. The girl beside me tells me that this sort of thing is a big problem in the Outside country where this is set. It certainly isn't that big a problem in Gensokyo. Sure, there's an opium den or two, but that's about it, really.
Granted, I do not know the entire land in and out, but most of the big problems here come from people screwing with nature or the weather or something in one manner or another. Sometimes they just cause a big ruckus, like those people who landed a big ship of some sort and made it look like a bunch of ruined buildings, and then held some sort of elimination contest. Seriously, what kind of assholes do that?
There is a long joke about peeing in a bar.
Lots of people get shot, and dear god, that is an ugly, ugly bathroom.
The rest of the movie shows the man's fight against this particular drug dealer, and his minions. He seems tougher, now. More experienced, more ready to fight. I suppose this actor was a better choice after all; the first one seemed young and unsure. And scrawny, too.
So when he shows up as one of the main character's friends, I laugh my ass off. It is some kind of twisted joke the movie maker is playing on the audience, I think.
This movie ends on a far more upbeat tone than the first. I say as much to Bigwings, who snickers in response.
...That is not a good sign.
The third movie begins, and it is easy to see that this one had much more put into it.
...What the hell, does he ever have a girlfriend that doesn't die on him? I glare at Bigwings, who actually giggles. What an unsettling woman.
The movie is somewhat more complicated to follow, but the vampire keeps me informed, though she occasionally has to pause the movie to explain things about the different government agencies of the countries involved. Apparently there is a lot of spying and political screwing-over and screwing-about. Once I grasp it all, though, I can appreciate the plot a lot more. It feels like much more than a generic running-around-and-causing-violence movie.
I like it, a lot.
They seem to have fleshed out side characters a bit more in this one, which makes the movie all that much more enjoyable.
Holy fuck, his eyes.
I am surprised they let him go after that.
I look over at one point, for some reason, and notice Bigwings silently mouthing along all the dialogue. ...And in the original language, too.
Very unsettling woman, but good movies.
The third movie finishes, and it feels good, somehow. He has lost almost everything, but the guitar player seems sort of at peace.
I also really, really want a motorcycle.
"How are you doing now?"
I look back over at her, startled. "Huh? Oh, um..." I stand up and stretch a few joints experimentally. "Better, actually. A lot better."
"Good." She gets up and ejects the rainbow circle, and puts it into its case. Then she turns and faces me, with a very odd look on her face.
"Would you like to play pool," she asks me, "Or would you like to fight?"
"...What do you mean, fight? A danmaku duel?"
The vampire sniffs disdainfully. "If you want. I was thinking about a real fight, though. I promise to keep it non-lethal, though," she adds, solemnly holding up her right hand.
Originally, I was going to have the heroine get hammered and then watch the movies, but then that whole name thing happened in the conversation, so that sort of killed that notion. This isn't any kind of punishment for choosing that option, so don't feel bad about having picked it. It's just a natural consequence of how things played out, and likely would have happened regardless. It's a bit of a pity, as I kind of wanted Kurumi to make a comment about Bacardi being better.
So you know: Like >>109843 & >>109844 , these are not split out of necessity, but rather because the topic/focus changed, and I wanted to change pictures part of the way through, as well.
>>110096 >>110098 >>110101 Maybe after the story is done, I'll write a full-fledged version as a one shot in a thread full of Q&As and one-shots. I'll call the thread "The Minigame," or something.
Why not? Kogasa has yet to really do such a thing in a while and perhaps training with Kurumi might give some surprising new angles to Sanae (I doubt she's familiar with how the PC-98 cast does things.
[x] Rock 'em, sock 'em >Maybe after the story is done, I'll write a full-fledged version as a one shot in a thread full of Q&A Is there a Sanae Route? I know it is crazy but that question is always in the back of my head.
[x] Rack 'em, clack 'em >Maybe after the story is done, I'll write a full-fledged version as a one shot in a thread full of Q&As and one-shots. I would love to see that too, as well as other earlier routes. Damn I love this story.
>You will not need any help for the next three, I am fairly sure. If you do, then you need to (re)watch them. ...Well, I guess I'm just one uncultured son of a bitch, because I'm drawing a blank. Please advise.
>>110202 >>110205 Sorry about that, I thought you were making a reference to Assassin's Creed while trying to make the line into some kind of cat pun. This would be a result of me playing the game far too much lately, along with the fact that Penny Arcade already did a similar joke, pic relevant. Turns out I'm the horrible person for seeing such morbid humor where there is none.
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Minor edit to fix tags. ____________________________________
[๛] Rock 'em, sock 'em
It's the look of being excited, that's what's odd.
I've seen her smirk and I've seen her mock and I've seen her flat. More that than anything else.
Never seen her really eager for anything.
Then again, I've only known her for a few days, so maybe this is all an elaborate act she puts on for guests, and the rest of the time, she's as bouncy and excitable as they come.
Orange's comments seem to disagree with this theory, though, so probably not.
I have to admit, I haven't had a good danmaku duel in a long, long time...
...but I've not had a truly decent fight in even longer.
"A fight sounds good."
I stretch a bit more, a little thankful my citrus princess isn't here. I'd probably be more of a showoff about this if she were, but the truth is that I have no idea at all about what Bigwings' fighting skills are or how good she is.
Maybe this wasn't such a hot idea after all.
...Eh, whatever. I'll mend.
The blond girl grins outright. "Wonderful," is all she says, sounding pleased.
After changing back into my normal clothes so as to keep the ones I'd been wearing safe, I follow her over to the dojo. She opens the door, and steps inside.
It's a very big room, bigger than any other room in the house, I think. It doesn't look very different than any other dojo might, inside, but something feels different.
It feels ...quieter, almost.
Except in a sense that has nothing to do with sound or peacefulness or anything. It's the closest word I have that describes it.
We take our places across from each other, a good bit distance between us. Not far enough that we have to yell to each other, but just enough space to maneuver or sprint forward in.
"There are things to discuss, first," she tells me. "Beginning with a safeword. 'Yield,' 'Stop,' or 'Uncle', or whatever works for you may be said at any time. The other opponent must immediately back off and cease attacking."
"I suppose," I say. "Although I don't know why you need something so formal. My safeword is more likely to be 'Get the hell off of me right now or I'm going to throw you into the wall and attack you with a chunk of the broken masonry.'"
She raises an eyebrow in response.
I shrug. "Just saying, I tend to improvise with these sorts of things."
"Very well, then." She nods. "Next would be the matter of powers. Would you like to use them?"
You know, I don't think I really know what she ...does. Besides the whole vampire thing, anyway.
"Depends. What are yours? ...But wait, hold on. Wouldn't slinging around a bunch of stuff tear this place up?"
"Ha-ha. It is very, very, very ...sturdy, you could say." She sounds amused when she says that. How unsettling.
But it's her, so it's sort of expected.
"My power," she goes on to say, "is the magical manipulation of blood. Specifically, I can apply blood as a medium and a material to many of of the major arcane disciplines. It is mostly limited to only my own blood except in a few certain cases."
That explained so much, and yet, so little.
"So... you... do things with blood...?"
She smiles. Why do I know so many people with whom smiling is a bad sign? It seems unfair.
"If you had my blood on you, I could track you and see where you were. I can solidify, liquefy, shape, harden, soften, form, and project it. I can move it about wherever I choose. I can break it down into or extract component chemicals and minerals, and then put it back together again. I can use it as a ritual medium, and as a marking and inscription medium for enchantments. With some of your blood, I could learn what you were thinking when it was spilled, find out who you are, or —if I had the time, the inclination, and the supplies— I could even make you my puppet for a time. Do not worry about those last few. I shall refrain from using them, as they make it far too easy."
A big, confident smile.
...Well, at least Orange's smiles are good things.
Still, that she is the exception and not the rule makes me more than a little unhappy.
It'll be an interesting challenge.
"Sure, sounds good."
"Not so fast." She wags a finger at me. "I have disclosed mine to you. Kindly return the favor. I have yet to agree to them, as well."
Oops. Getting a little ahead of myself, it seems.
"I can create and use surprise. It's also what I draw my power from."
The vampire is silent for awhile, perhaps lost in thought. I wait patiently.
Several minutes later, she looks at me and speaks in tones of curious inquiry. "...As a youkai of surprise, what is it like to live in a culture that traditionally values psychological horror and suspense over cheap shock tactics?"
does element of surprise mean nothing to her?
it ought to; remember the front door?
nobody to blame but herself for this, then; you gonna need me to help out, by the way?
i think so
ready when you are, then; you know the drill
I return her wide smile, happy to be the smug one, for a change. "If it's valued or not isn't too important to me. I don't care if surprise is respected or appreciated. What matters to me is if it was pulled off well, and if it worked the way it was supposed to. Besides, people will always be spook-able; it's not like they can become impervious to shock, no matter how prepared they are. Even a satori or an amanojaku can be surprised, done right."
My blonde opponent listens with unexpected solemnity, and nods. "Hmm," is all she offers by way of a reply.
That's as good as a victory, in my eyes.
"Very well, then. I agree to the use of powers, as well," she says. "If you wish to use a weapon, the time to draw it is now."
With that, she pulls back both both shirtsleeves to her elbows. Holding her left hand out and upturned, she draws the first two fingers of her right over the veins there. Blood begins pouring out, faster than it should normally flow. She clamps her right hand over it, as if to stem the cut. Then her hand curls about above her wrist, as if wrapping her fingers about something. She pulls, and with a wet, yet somehow metallic scraping sound, begins to draw something out. Black dust begins to pour out from her fingers and from the wound.
Finally, I am able to see what she is doing: grasped in her right hand is a dirty, yet very clearly iron blade. She pulls it out steadily from her wrist, not a single drop of blood falling to the floor. At last, the blade made of what must be her own blood comes free. She shakes it a few times, flicking off some more of the black dust, then brings it in front of her, point straight down, touching the floor. It is a western blade of some sort, and her right hand rests on the butt of the handle. The sword itself looks flawless and perfectly wrought. The color is what makes it look strange. Dark, dark red, approaching black, but still possessed of a slight metallic sheen.
That, I have to admit, is one hell of a trick.
She lifts her left hand to her mouth, and presses the tip of each finger in turn to a rather long canine. Blood wells up on each, but neither runs nor drips. Whatever keeps it in a position of waiting readiness must also be working on her wrist, as none comes down from there, either. Letting her hand fall back to her side, she looks at me, expectantly.
I would almost feel a little embarrassed by my own preparations, as I have nothing nearly so neat and magical.
hey fuck you i am plenty magical
yeah, but not technical-magical; you are mysterious-magical
is that a good thing?
it is you
well then it must be a good thing
flawless logic as always
thank you, thank you, please, i can only kiss one baby at a time and i cannot shake your hands
i am ready
I grasp my friend, and slowly, slowly, pull him away from himself.
The there are two of him.
One is a very real, very plain him. The him that was him before he became even him.
And before we and I and me and all together.
The other him, in the hand pulling him away, is also him. It is a very unreal him.
Being not real makes him much more helpful for this sort of situation.
you all right?
<as all right as i can be>
<i am ready to kick some ass>
did you bring any paper to take names?
<man, i always forget something>
i'll bet you don't even have something write down the names that you take
<that was supposed to be your job, wasn't it?>
<i guess we'll have to make do>
sometimes i wonder how we manage to keep this operation afloat with such lousy employees
I set him point-down in a fashion similar to Bigwings, and look back at her.
True, I have nothing so nearly magical or crazy or showy as making a sword from my own blood.
The better trick, of course, is to save one's other tricks for the fight.
After all, how else can surprise be ensured?
I give momentary soft giggle to myself, then serious right back up.
"Are you ready?" she says to me.
[ ] WRITE-IN PART 1: Well, is she? Write in any last questions you think the heroine should ask, if any. All will be considered, regardless of number of votes. Not all may make it, however. Maybe even none. I'll have to see what you folks come up with.
[ ] WRITE-IN PART 2: How will she fight? Give me strategies, tactics, ideas, phrases, suggestions, plans, techniques, attacks, Secret Killing Moves, styles, whatever. I will sift through it all and combine what I like and/or what sounds good or reasonable into the method and approach the heroine takes towards combat. Powers, items, weapons, whatever. It's all good. Keep in mind that this is going to form the basis for how she may fight in the future, should she happen to need to do so after this, so Kurumi-specific things and overall general ways are equally appreciated.
======================================================= Der Inventorinsteinenschlagenbergilheim: =======================================================
- A knife.
- The spirit of her friend, made as a weapon that possesses the strength and durability of a youkai who has been around for a few hundred years. foreign types). Now, give it the lasting power and hardness of rebar-reinforced concrete (not cement, because cement is a powder or a sludgy liquid. Concrete is the end result. Know the difference.). She can still lift it and heft it quite easily, however. Youkai, and all that, you know?
- The bag of tricks. (last examined in >>99726 in thread 2) Who knows what kind of fun and merrymaking is in there now?
- The clothes on her back. She has changed into her usual clothing for the duration of the fight, so not only are wear and tear from battle not a permanent problem, but this way, the clothes Orange lent to her will not get damaged, either.
-I will leave this open for a full day or two, so as to make sure everybody that wants to has a chance to offer input and knowledge. I will check back occasionally and answer any questions you might have regarding the design of the heroine's Game-play style as best I can.
-Kurumi's blade more or less resembles a bastard sword. Not masterwork-quality, however, because I'm sick of all that bullshit that's going around in the chan system right now. Her sword deserves better than that. Much, much better than that.
-Originally, the other contender for Kurumi's choice of trilogies was the Mad Max trilogy, but I decided to go with the Mariachi (Or 'Mexico,' if you wish) trilogy.
-If one receives a yukkuri modeled after them by exceeding a certain personal limit, then one has indeed gotten a little 'head of themselves.
>- The bag of tricks. (last examined in >>99726 in thread 2) This is actually >>99276, with an addendum in >>99293.
>thank you, thank you, please, i can only kiss one baby at a time and i cannot shake your hands Holy shit, you are the best semi-animate object ever. I burst out laughing multiple times during this conversation.
[X] There's nothing left to say. Attack first.
HEAVEN OR HELL LET'S ROCK
Now, to consider our fighting style: we're probably not particularly strong or fast; maybe a bit better than the average youkai due to our age, but nothing to write home about. We are, however, somewhat small and maneuverable, and think on our feet rather well, especially if we can still communicate with our friend as a free action. Consequently, fighting a battle of attrition, taking a punch in order to land a punch, would be a bad idea, as would taking every little opening just to deliver a wimpy little '5A' punch. Our core strategy should be:
[X] Dodge and parry, with the aim of opening holes in the opponent's defense; when they finally make a big mistake, beat the ever-loving shit out of them. Aim to end the fight in a single combo.
Of course, no disciplined opponent would have a lapse of this magnitude of their own accord, so we'll have to do something other than prancing around like a capoeirista on speed:
[X] Feint. Make the opponent believe we're packing a bigger punch than we are, if possible, and try to trick them into going off-balance (physically and psychologically) with a well-timed fake-out.
Now, that's not a sure thing, and it's pretty likely to fail when/if we fight Sanae, so let's also use the:
[X] Bag of tricks. Reach in, pull something out, and do something clever with it before the opponent figures out what's going on.
Baseless hypothesis: Kogasa's will has some effect on the contents of the bag of tricks; if we use it during a fight, we'll be able to pull out something we can use. (Baseless, insane reasoning: the bag of tricks is the third voice we started hearing recently, and it's another portion of Kogasa/another being Kogasa made a contract with/another one of whatever the hell our friend is.) Even if that's not true, we had caltrops and hand grenades last time we checked; surely something in there will prove useful.
And just for good measure, a few tricks:
[X] Weapon feint: When the opponent is in the inner portion of our weapon's range, thrust our weapon hand out to the side as though preparing for a big horizontal sweep. If the opponent moves inside the weapon's range to take advantage of our openness, pivot sideways and punch them in the face with our free hand.
The principle here is that when you're fighting an opponent who has a weapon, the natural tendency is to expect them to attack with the weapon. When our opponent thinks we're committing to a poor attack that they can get inside of, they'll get overconfident and take the offensive, forgetting that we've still got our bare hand to fight with.
[X] Open the umbrella.
So much potential here: surprise the opponent by opening it in their face, hook it around the opponent and pull them off balance, use it as a shield; consult a Jackie Chan movie for more. Of course, our friend still hasn't been confirmed to be an umbrella or umbrella-shaped being yet, but I think it's a safe assumption.
[x] WRITE-IN PART 1: Where does she get all that hemeyglobin from? -[x] Warn her that surrendering or admitting loss on your part does not mean surrendering your blood supply. [x] WRITE-IN PART 2: Her impression of you certainly can't get any worse, so don't be afraid of making a fool of yourself. -[x] Pre-fight banter: Tell Kurumi there's no possibility of you losing now; you're a black belt in whack-a-mole. -[x] Spare the rod, spoil the vampire. Spare the knife, and you give her less blood to play with. So don't use the knife; blunt objects are the way to go. -[x] You've got the heavier weapon, so be aggressive: You might break her grip or shatter her blade temporarily. If it works (and doesn't reform instantly), continue to attack her weapon; she'll lose when she runs out of blood. -[x] Singing-sword: '♫~It's witchcraft...' -[x] Toss random props that have made their way into you bag--each is an object that will do its best to impress so that its brave sacrifice might be remembered: 'I am a marble. I tripped a vampire. I existed.' --[x] Who knows? You might find some garlic or even some religious icons. -[x] Consider striking with the rubber chicken instead of the mallet: It's not how much pain you inflict, but the way you inflict it. -[x] Your other friend, while not so effective as a weapon, can serve as a shield against any blood she might flick on you. -[x] Nothing surprises like standing on the walls or ceilings; if you can swing it. -[x] You're wearing your own clothes, so don't be afraid to tear something off if her blood gets on it; you don't want it 'projecting' into you like little barbs or fish hooks. -[x] Be mindful of blood falling on the floors, walls, and ceiling. She might be able to use it for traps. -[x] Mid-fight banter: Tell her a vampire shouldn't go out into the sun without an umbrella. -[x] She said these walls were sound, but how sound? If she starts demolishing things, that's your cue to start demolishing things too; try opening a spot on the ceiling or a wall to get sunlight in. You can always repay the damages with your body. -[x] When the going gets tough, like if things look so bad that there's no way you're going to make it, then you got to get mean--plumb mad dog mean. Imagine it as if the Green Girl or the Silver Dog were right in front of you, daring you to take their lungs.
Her sword is made of blood. Structurally it should be as strong as iron if concentrated enough, and concrete has much higher compressive strength than iron, so breaking her weapon multiple times might be the way to go.
[x] WRITE-IN PART 1 "Has anyone really been far as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"
[x] WRITE-IN PART 2
Although I do sure love me some theatrics I think we should really take advantage of the many elements of surprise we have on our side. The only thing we have to do is prevent blood from going everywhere, our victory here will be through submission not KO.
First of all though; DEPLOY NINJA SMOKE SCREEN from the surprise bag. We then have about half a nanosecond to sidestep the oncomming bullrush attack she'll likely unleash on us. Then we can play around, toss those two packets of firecrackers about the room. Then all we have to do is tip-toe around behind her and either put our Manhunt face on and use the 'sheets of plastic wrap' to suffocate her into submission OR put our Agent 47 on and attempt to strangulate her with the 'spool of clear wire'
Reiterating my earlier point i think we should our cement cone as just that, its lance shape should be good for sliding her strikes away from us.
Plan B: Smokescreen + Firecrackers, then just whack the shit out of her with the damn cone of concrete.
>>110391 >CIRNO IS FIGHTING YOUMU It took me a good while before I realized what you meant, and then I was grinning like a maniac.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. That is exactly what I had in mind while writing up the options. You caught exactly the same vibe I have been trying to think of while writing, and that makes me feel so good to see that someone out there felt it, too.
>>110389 >>110391 These are both good examples of different parts of the spectrum of what I am after: specific actions in one, and overall style ideas in the other.
Keep it coming, people. This sort of thing and beyond is about what I'm after.
>-[x] You're wearing your own clothes, so don't be afraid to tear something off if her blood gets on it; you don't want it 'projecting' into you like little barbs or fish hooks. Indeed, in this regard, her clothing helps us... soak up damage.
>CIRNO IS FIGHTING YOUMU >It took me a good while before I realized what you meant, and then I was grinning like a maniac. What does he mean?
[x]Take out something that will do absolutely nothing lob it gently towards her. Then wait. She might get surprised when nothing happens. [x]Then attack her, but don't. [x]Spend a little... [x]RUN AWAY! [x]Turn around and rush.
[x] "Has anyone really been far as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"
Refuge in absurdity.
[x] Fighting style: Misdirection and trickery before applying the big blow. -[x] Save the knife for a quick last resort defense against her sword. -[x] Use your bag of tricks to keep her off balance enough to sneak up and lay into her with the umbrella-lance, in a swinging motion as to reduce bloodshed. If she's damaged by what we throw out, nice but our main goal is to distract and confuse her. --[x] After the first lance blow, do not aim for the same area twice in a row.
While we might have enough punch to beat stronger foes in a fight, but we don't have what it takes to slug it out or overpower them, so trickery and unpredictability is the way to go. A bewildered enemy is an easy one, no matter how strong they are. This would be also a good way to fight Sanae when the day comes.
>but we don't have what it takes to slug it out or overpower them
Kogasa goes round-after-round in a torture chamber on a biweekly basis. If she's already dissociated to the point where she's got n number of other voices in her head, she should have far higher pain tolerance than Kurumi could expect. Hell, we were even given a choice (though we turned it down) to ignore and forget the pain during her last session. That is some seriously mental shit.
You ever hear those horror stories of criminals high on angel dust (PCP), taking multiple rounds in vital organ and yet still standing? Those are just dissociated humans. Kogasa is a dissociated youkai.
>>110429 True, we can probably take more punishment than most, but we still don't have any reason to believe that we're any stronger than the average youkai, and dissociation doesn't turn you into the Hulk. In a pinch, we could probably go toe-to-toe with Kurumi for a while, but I think we're better off saving our tenacity up for when we've already got an advantage in the fight.
Also, 'suspect on PCP' tales are the law enforcement officer version of 'big fish' tales. Take them with a grain of salt.
>>110429 >>110434 Thing is even if those tales were true, they were human against human, not lesser youkai against shrine maiden with divine support. And Kogasa is tough enough to take a stray blow, but that's it. And trickery and unpredictbility suit her best being a Surprise Youkai and all. I also found Kurumi's remark on Japan being more about psychological thrills than cheap shocks. Would that mean Kogasa would be stronger IN AMERICA?
Want to know what they give burn victims when intrathecal morphine fails? They give them intrathecal ketamine, a PCP derivative. It isn't as potent as PCP, but its behavioral & subjective effects are the same damn thing, mediated through the same receptors, in the same manner.
>>110470 I did not recognize this trip at first, though it did seem familiar.
Then I checked it against the archives and began hyperventilating; I was breathless, delighted, and giddy.
I have missed you so, so, much. This is a dream come true and a huge honor.
I can't follow that advice too closely though, because the reason I asked for ideas in the first place was that I had no real idea how to proceed (I know how Kurumi would fight, though), I needed a breakpoint, and I knew that there were people with decent ideas in the audience who could offer some help and advice, much like you did.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go squeal like a lovestruck schoolgirl.
File 126404164188.jpg - (868.78KB, 800x1000 , This song title is wicked cool and totally edgy.jpg) [iqdb]
"You know you don't get to drink my blood or anything or if I lose, right?"
She makes a face. "I believe I said I promised not to vampire you, already."
"That wasn't today, though."
"This is true."
She doesn't say anything more. I really don't know if she was planning to anyway, unless I'd said something, or... Eh, the hell with it.
"Then I guess I'm ready," I reply.
She digs out that red coin from her pocket, again, and prepares to flip it. "When it lands, we begin."
I nod back to her, and wait.
"Are you going to flip the damn thing already?" I finally say, irritated.
"Eighteen seconds," she says calmly. "The record is still unbroken."
With that, she flips the coin.
I assume something like a fighting stance, though it's more of a "Standing like this, I can move faster more quickly if shit starts coming this way, or at least be ready to smack it" kind of stance. Maybe I should ask Orange about helping shape that up.
But I will ask later.
Bigwings' coin-flipping hand— her left —still with the thumb upraised, lifts a little more as holds her arm straight out. I highly doubt that this is really a gesture of approval, seeing as how I've not done anything yet.
A moment later, I am proven right as her index finger pops out, pointing at me. The bead of blood on the tip of her finger grows and swells rapidly, and begins stretching out, as if straining away from her finger, but held back from going much further than a handspan away.
From beginning to end, the entire process lasts about a second or two, and with that whispered word that carries clearly through the air, she fires, sending a bolt of blood streaking towards me.
Towards where I am no longer.
I had already started moving, and I leap into the air, flipping over bolt and vampire alike, landing with a loud thud right behind her.
I drop down, and feel the whistle of air as her sword swings overhead, missing me, but not by much. Scrambling around, I turn to face her— and am now staring at her back, right hand flung out behind her to catch me with the sword before I had a chance to recover.
The notion that she is not unused to personal combat begins to occur to me, and it is displeasing, to say the least.
Whipping around to her right, she turns about and face me as well, a little smirk on her features. Said smirk disappears as I lunge upwards at her, stabbing with the point of my weapon.
She skips back a step, and then another as I take a swing, aiming at her center of mass. She hops away out of range, and I get properly to my feet once more, assuming my ready position.
Who the hell in Gensokyo teaches how to fight with a lance? Or at least lance-y weapons. Short ones. I should find someone like that, but I don't know anyone who does.
It's all about powers, nowadays. Powers and danmaku. Proper weapon training seems to be more of a hobby or a personal habit than the more common discipline it used to be.
I guess that means I'm stuck with a trial-and-error approach, but even so, I don't get many opportunities to put it to use.
What a pisser.
On the upside though, as a youkai, I get to learn from the fatal errors I make.
The girl across from me relaxes her own stance slightly— but only to snap off a pair of those blood-bolt balls at me. Cursing, I throw myself to the floor just in time, and go into a forward roll, popping out of it in front of the vampire. I take the opportunity to spring at her, swinging my weapon in a wide arc. She leans back out of the way, but brings her sword back up just in time to meet my attack on the return swing, coming back the other way. The two weapons crash with an odd sound, much like the sound made when a silver handbell is neatly dunked into a bucket of water while in mid-ring.
The director was very, very, very unamused by that, I remember.
But he was surprised, and that was the important part.
I pull back, but just enough to begin going for a series of short, quick stabs with the point.
poke, poke, shove
She dodges each each one, weaving and ducking.
But while she's focused on dodging, my hand dips into the bag at my side, and closes on something long and cylindrical.
I press the attack, driving her back further and further. She looks more irritated than worried.
With a shout, I stab especially hard at her, and dart forward, punching her in the chest with my other hand, earning a yelp from her for my efforts. Then I bash at her chin with the wider base of the conical shape of my weapon, sending her staggering back a few steps, looking at me in a mix of anger and surprise.
"Nice," is all she says, before sprinting forward and returning the charge, swinging and slashing at me.
Ah, not good.
Not, not, not good.
This flurry of blows is a bit much, I think, and so over and up I go, flippity hip hop and twirl and spin and down neatly onto the floor with a splash.
I look down and oh so far below me, cawling and winding up my legs followed by a squeezy pressurey hug from them are red twisty lines and rivers. Up they travel, over the geta I'd put on earlier along with the rest of my normal clothes.
oh right, she moved the blood pool from the bolts while you were in mid-air
Time for the next surprise.
Where, where, where is something useful? Why, it is right there in my hand.
My fingers close about something, and carefully, slowly draw it out.
They are holding me tight and close and no, they do not seem open to letting me go. This is excessively rude treatment, and I will definitely consider writing an angry missive to their employer. I do not think it will do much good as she is strolling over to me, sweet as you please, smiling unpleasantly.
Close to me she gets, and looks me over up down sniff in disdain. Seems right, somehow, maybe?
Holding her sword out at arm's-length, pointing it at me, she gently pokes it in my direction.
Careful one-handed lid-unscrewing is done and not a moment too soon. It is a bitch and a half to do, and even harder when trying to do it surreptitiously.
I bring my left hand up and out flies the white-yellow grainy powder—
...white-yellow? That's not pepper. That's not pepper at all.
For a split second, Bigwings is confused. As the powder lands on her, she lets out an amazing shriek, and scrambles backward, frantically brushing it away and batting at .
[ ] My work is not finished [ ] What is this I see before me?
I really wonder if Zun just picked a random 80s metal song for her theme title. It sounds like that "piss off uptight religious people" sort of thing that every metal band seemed to do, back then, you know. Sort of like people who like to use the "God is dead" quote from Nietzsche.
Also, Darrell K. Sweet is one of the shittiest and laziest book-cover artists ever. Every male character he draws looks exactly the goddamn same, regardless of what the character who it's supposed to be actually looks like. Why hasn't somebody chopped off his drawing hand, yet?
If it were someone else, I might consider holding back, but Kurumi certainly didn't show much concern for us after hitting our weak point by saying Sanae's name, so I doubt she's expecting any concern from us (and I don't feel particularly compelled to give it, even if she is). Besides, even if we did just hit her with garlic, it's not like she's going to die from it. We have a fight to finish. And the events of >>110092 to reenact.
Hopefully, since Kurumi isn't quite Remilia grade as far as vampires go, and I doubt anyone wants an accidental fatality. But the real question is how would she respond to the gestures? On a separate note, she never once abused our weakness to Sanae's name in the fight.
I look down at the bottle in my hands. Wasn't this pepper? Or "pepper"?
Two labels are on it; a red one on the neck and a green one about the bottle body. Botty? Bodle? Both bear white foreign lettering:
...And a little picture of something that looks like garlic.
Well, I bet it sure came as a surprise.
"Um..." I walk slowly closer to her. She's still frantically brushing the stuff off of her, but looks for all the world like someone put ants in her clothes. "You wanna call the fight, or—"
"If you stop the fight now, I will end you."
That's a no, then.
Her voice is low and ragged. She gives a final shake of her clothes, before straightening up.
Bigwings' face and neck are covered in painful-looking red welts. They also cover her hands, though the damage is far less concentrated, there.
She flicks back her hair, and raises her sword once more. "You are a resourceful, wretched, underhanded woman."
Silence reigns for a moment, and then is deposed in a bloody coup d'etat by the revolutionary forces of resumed speech.
"...I admire that."
She looks very serious when she says this.
It's one of the stranger compliments I've received in my day ("Nice insteps, baby," "This meal has a very good lack of rat; many fortunes for you," and "How in god's name do you breathe like that?! It's amazing! I've never seen such superb breathing skill in my life!" being some of the others), to be sure.
I bow graciously, but say nothing.
After all, I let my hands do the talking.
...Or in this case, perhaps, the walking: I reach into my bag and grab something... It's another bottle, but this one is glass. Also tiny.
that's the tiny bottle of alcohol, 'one-hundred-and-fifty-one' or something; you nicked it from that guy's store
what guy's store?
oh, silverman? calling it a junkyard isn't exactly accurate
you just don't like seeing things lie about, unused
indeed i do not
somebody needs a hug~
s-stupid, i hang out with you because i have to! it's not like i like you or something, jeez!
damn, stop that; if i start laughing she's going to get pissed
i helped you because you looked so pathetic! d-don't get the wrong idea
I have to bite my tongue and actively fight to keep from giggling. It comes out as kind of a strangled snicker. To distract myself, I unscrew the little bottle with my teeth, and take a swig—
—And take only the one, as a burst of red zips by my eyes, shattering the bottle in my hand. I glare at her, hurt. She only smirks back at me.
I charge, weapon held high, breathing hard through my nose, and leap at her, swinging my weapon down like an ax.
She snorts in derision, and flicks her sword up to block my attack, our weapons making that same weird bell-in-water sound, again. In the next second, she follows it up with a punch to my gut, which I've carelessly left wide open.
It hurts a very much lot.
The wind is literally knocked out of me, and the mouthful of potent alcohol I'd been hold in my mouth sprays all over her as the breath is expelled from my lungs. It covers her face and neck, and soaks the front of her shirt. There's a bit of rush, followed by a bit more as reacts to the sudden shower of liquor, and then cries out as the alcohol hits the wounds caused by the powdered garlic.
I land on the floor, hard. Bigwings takes a few awkward steps back, swearing in some language I don't recognize.
As I slowly get to my knees, stomach hurting like three kinds of fuck, I hear her litany of vitriol find its way back to comprehensibility: "...and your head should grow in the ground like an onion."
Wiping her face one last time, she looks down at her shirt, angrily, and then back at me.
"A low, low blow. Very good, indeed. I may ask you for lessons when we are concluded here."
...I don't think I'll ever understand this woman.
I find my way to my feet, my breathing resuming something like a steady rhythm. Maybe that guy was right. Maybe it's just from being a youkai. I give a mental shrug.
She launches into a series of quick strikes, slashes and swings; all coming at me from different angles and vectors. I'm forced to dodge and block in equally rapid procession.
the time is now
As I lift my weapon up to fend off a slash coming in from high and to the left,
Throwing a bit of flair into it, I begin to weave and twist with each parried blow. As I find the rhythm, I start to turn a little with each one, swing a little wide. It begins to resemble a western ballroom dance after a while.
I begin spinning in a circle, blocking each attack, spending a small but constant trickle to keep this up. One, and two turns, and on the third...
My hand reaches into my bag as I have that side turned away from her, and as I come back around, the clicky-stick-fire-wand is in my outstretched hand. Ducking under the expected attack, I squeeze the clicky bit, and drag the flame along the front of her shirt.
Halfway through, it catches. Flame blossoms on her chest, and she screeches in unholy surprise, yet again. A good, strong rush flows through me, far in excess of what I've spent so far. I spin away as she frantically puts out the fire on her clothing, using her wings like a blanket and batting Ha! at it.
I just wasted three hours of valuable writing time watching the other two Dusk till Dawn movies, and I am pissed. These must have been straight-to-video things. They at least put in a bit more effort (or budget) on the third one, I think, but damn, it was like something a few notches better than a Sci-Fi channel movie. So terrible.
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"Are you all right?"
Bigwings is frantically smothering the flames with her wings, and after a few moments, succeeds in putting them out.
She looks up at me with a venom-filled glare.
"You just look a little hot under the collar, is all."
She barks a short laugh, lips curling into an unpleasant smile.
"Simply amazing. Is this how you always fight? I believe I am beginning to understand you. I wish I was not, but it is an unfortunately necessary part of combat... A necessary part of surviving it, as well."
Clothing still smoldering, she advances on me like a beast from the darkest pits of hell, large, leathery wings spread slightly.
"I have long since known myself. All that has been left to me for years, then, is to know my enemy."
Speaking these words, she stops and lifts up her left hand.
"...And now I will know how fast you can run."
With an odd, dragging sort of motion, she holds out her fingers I never noticed the claws on the end before, or maybe they weren't there? and moves them through the air. Short, careful moves, as if she was ...guiding something..."
Diving off to the side, I throw myself into a roll and come back up in a crouched position, weapon held up before me. What was all that ab—
Three... no, five dark red slivers hang in the air right about where I'd been standing. They look unpleasantly pointy.
Looking over at me, the other girl sighs a little, and waves her hand in my direction. The spikes of blood immediately turn, and race towards me.
It's my turn to make a startled sound of surprise as I leap to my feet, and begin running from them. She'll be able to keep me on the run indefinitely like this, meaning I won't be able to land another hit on her unt—
I duck in mid-run, and stumble a little as I keep moving. Three small lines of sharp pain open up on top of my shoulders and the back of my head as I hear the spikes whistle by overhead.
that is why i said 'down,' and not 'duck'
I risk a look back at Bigwings. She's still standing there, looking relaxed, though likely she's anything but. This is payback, I think.
I'm getting close to the wall, now, and I can't run forever.
Wait, the wall. I can use this.
The spikes pause, flip around, and adjust direction, and come back towards where I stand in the corner... cornered.
Situations like this really make you appreciate the meaning behind a phrase when you are experiencing the origin of them.
The miniature spears of blood don't speed down at all, and any moment I'm going to be impal—
With a shout, I spring up and away from the wall just as they get close enough that I can smell the coppery scent of the blood they're made of. Leaping over them, I land on the floor again just in time to hear the last one plant itself firmly into the wall of the dojo with a solid thwunk.
I look back at the vampire, who looks mildly annoyed. I'm about to say something truly devastatingly clever, when she makes a curious pulling motion, and pre-emptively one-ups me before I can even do it in the first place: "Talking is death. Gloating is suicide. Silence is murder."
I falter, not expecting to be pre-interrupted— which is a very strange and somewhat disconcerting thing to experience —and manage to get out a very intelligent-sounding "Wha?" before a certain scraping sound reaches my ears.
I look back toward the penetrated wall, and much to my dismay, I see the spikes pulling themselves out, dusted white by the drywall.
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This is something of a setback.
It's strange to watch, though. Very strange.
After all, the wall shouldn't be clinging to the spears and twisting at them like that. Should it?
I'm pretty sure that's not standard wall behavior.
As the last of them starts to come loose, it occurs to me that there are far more pressing matters than the wall. Namely, the things coming out of them.
I book it in the other direction, back towards Bigwings' general direction.
I only have ti(-i-i-i)me, and it does not seem to be on my side, no it does not.
Only running is left and that is not good. Only maybe it isn't because that's all I've been doing for a long time now but metaphors do not count as meaning-filled tender in all places and situations in the real world and that sucks.
Maybe it is necessary because then that one country would have no paving blocks left since everyone would pry them up for the gold. It must be a very tough job, administering reality like that.
Oh well. It's not mine, at least, and that is a good thing. The pressure would not be good for me because I do not work well under pressure. Nobody can work with a huge thing on them, can they? The thing would keep you from moving and I think I liked to move around even before I was being hunted so I would not like that at all.
Except I don't even work.
Maybe that's good, then.
Where are those blood-slivers, anywhoa, there they go; thanks be to my friends.
It is not yet time for the fashion industry to embrace hemoglobin chic, you see. Plus puncture wounds are bad.
Time, time, time. Is it time yet?
It may be time to lose.
Slivers return and zippity-quickity here they come, and maybe if I use Bigwings as a shield, then—
A bang, a puff, a scream, a splat:
The exploding cigar I lit with the flames of shirt-burnitude and which I placed in her breast pocket oh so long ago though it was just a few minutes ago because time is relative and that means that we are all children or sisters or parents or nieces or cousins of time which is pretty trippy,
The smoke from the cigar, billowing into her face,
Her voice, raised in a shout of surprise— and bringing with it even more of the rush —as she is caught off guard yet again, which means I am doing something right or she is doing something wrong or perhaps she is letting me win which would be disappointing,
The blood spears, decoherihesifyintegratisomethinging and falling to the floor in long, disturbing-looking spattered shapes as they impact the floor because she can't concentrate on them anymore or something, I guess.
And the predatory, savage grin that makes no sound as it forms on my lips as I lunge at her as I swing my weapon in both hands as it hits her as I feel the force of striking as I feel the weight of impact.
I laugh with glee as she goes flying, and slams into the wall. Falling down limply into a cheerful pile of freely shared knowledge on the floor, she lets out a moan of pain, and doesn't move.
Ah, spoke too soon. She's still mobile.
Propping herself up on shaky arms, she looks at me, before slumping back down onto the floor again.
Another enemy, crushed and beaten.
It is very satisying to know that no matter what I've been through, I've still got it.
[ ] This consort of the Devil is most resilient. 'Twould be prudent to check the body, first. [ ] They shan't see my shadow darken this door again. I tipped my bowler and bid her good day.
I saw a car with a vanity plate that read "POOKA." It was unfortunately not a Volkswagen Rabbit (It was a Subaru, but I don't remember the model), which is about the only kind of car I would dream of putting it on. I wanted to leave a note that said "You're doing it wrong" under their wiper, but I was pressed for time.
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[ℒ] This consort of the Devil is most resilient. 'Twould be prudent to check the body, first.
Humming a song from the ghosts' first concert, the one with all the horns, I stroll on over to take a gander at my fallen opponenty sort of person.
click clack click clack
Geta talk a lot like that as I walk across the floor and come to a halt in front of the downed vampire.
She doesn't move much.
I poke her with my weapon.
I poke again. Oh, that one did it.
She looks up at me, hair falling across her half-lidded eyes.
"Soooo... You're one behind me, now," I announce cheerfully.
The voice is suddenly free of the pained strain one would think it should carry in her situation, and I am immediately struck with the sense that something is wrong.
"Well played," she continues. "...But it is you who are behind me." She grins a grin full of teeth. Most grins are, but this one disconcertingly so.
I feel some thing poke me in the back.
A few somethings.
...About five of them, I'll bet.
I slowly turn my head, looking over my shoulder. Sure enough, sitting right behind me in mid-air are those damn blood spears, newly reformed and ready to go.
My remark seems to be some kind of trigger for Bigwings, as in that instant, she grabs my weapon, yanking it out of my hands, and flings it across the large room.
I react to slowly to prevent it from happening, grasping at empty air for a second. No. I need to level the playing field.
I slam my left foot down over the blade of the vampire's sword, still in her hands, pinning it to the floor between the blocks of the geta. Twisting my foot over the blade sharply, the handle gets yanked out of her hand. I spend a little, and with some impossibly fancy footwork, hook the sword into the gap between the blocks, and kick it up into my hand.
With a strong throw, I send the blade whirling across the room, cleanly sinking it a good way into the wall.
Her sword's made of her blood; she can probably call it back to her hand (or make a new one out of the spears in our back) faster than we can get to our weapon. More importantly, even if she was feigning defeat just now, she's got to be feeling the last hit we gave her; it's time to press our advantage while she's still on the ground.
>The exploding cigar I lit with the flames of shirt-burnitude and which I placed in her breast pocket oh so long ago though it was just a few minutes ago because time is relative and that means that we are all children or sisters or parents or nieces or cousins of time which is pretty trippy, >The smoke from the cigar, billowing into her face,
No update today, because I'm planning to work on finishing the fight tomorrow or so in one large update. I'm headed down to Oregon to attend somebody's funeral, so I should have a lot of time to work on it on the way down and back.
>>110814 >Only now noticing I put sage in the subject field and not the email field ...Oh goddammit.
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[ ※ ※ ι ₊ ▸ ▸ ✈] Commence bombing raid
Now is the time for all good youkai to haul ass.
I do so with alacrity and fervor.
She gets up quickly, as well, and I charge her. Leaping into the air, I aim a flying kick squarely at her midsection.
Bigwings' big wings wrap around her, though, shielding her protectively. My geta hit tough, leathery skin instead of unprotected torso.
It's a clever move on her part, and I really should have seen it coming. Tsking in irritation, I backflip off the wing and onto the ground.
All right, then...
Dropping down almost into a sitting position, I hold myself up by my hands, and begin turning and twisting in place as I hammer kicks at her legs, occasionally flipping myself over in place. It's like some sort of bizarre dance, with the footwork replaced by handwork as I turn about and spin, lashing out and striking and sweeping, even spinning on my head at one point.
This unusual tactic takes the vampire by surprise, and she topples over as I deliver a kick at her ankles. Down she goes with an angry shout, sprawling face-first onto the floor.
Not bad at all for something I made up on the spot.
I waste no time capitalizing on the sudden advantage, and jump high into the air, stabbing one leg down as I plummet back down, and land with the wooden blocks of the extended, be-geta'd foot planted hard and firmly into the back of her midsection.
it all sort of goes
not as planned.
Or worse than not as planned, because that isn't what happens at all.
At the top of my arc, she gets to her feet again, sooner than expected. She takes a step, then two, to where she would be standing directly in front of me when I landed.
Then with a strange shrugging of her shoulders, she arcs up and backwards, as if to meet me halfway.
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I'm still surprised that she recovered so quick, so thinking to do something smart doesn't occur to me.
Something smart, like, say... be anywhere else other than where I was going to land if gravity had its way with me.
It is vile, gravity is.
Gravity has its way with nearly everyone in the outside world. They call the Earth a mother, but she is in fact a rapist and a tyrant, using gravity on them mercilessly and making them stay on the ground, forcing them to bend to her will. Sure, some of them use the flying tubes and whirlytwirls and rockets, and I hear that it was when people ran away from her that they ran into moon people instead and fought with them, but I can't remember if that happened or not.
So I instead watch her coming up to meet me, and soaring over me, no further than a handspan of space between us.
Perhaps now would be the time to do something smart.
I can't salvage this situation, so maybe I can do something about what comes after.
...And if I screw that up, at least I went down trying. Right?
I hope so.
Dipping a hand into the bag at my side, I grab for something useful just as I feel the vampire grab the shoulders of my tunic with inhuman Well, duh strength moments before I land.
The second my foot touches the floor, I am somehow abruptly yanked back off them again and the world spins and up is down and down is up and here comes the floor as Bigwings flips me over and hello floor I hate you
White pain and dancing stars and a quickly growing throbbing ache in my head make recovering from that a right pain in the ass. I have the presence of mind, somehow, to quietly scatter beneath me the contents of the thing I'd grabbed in the last second of my original descent.
My vision returns, spinning and unsteady, and I desperately get back to my feet as I hear the other girl land again, somewhere nearby. Where?
...Where's anywhere, for that matter? It's all dammit over the place.
My head hurts.
Whoops. I stumble again, and falter, still unsteady as a drunk. The drunk that drank. And he drank too much drink.
I sound like a monk.
My vision is not unspinning fast enough but my ears hears quite wells and there is trouble afoot because the feet are pound pound pounding closer and I am still on my hands and knees. Where the hell is it coming frohhhhh, heeeyyyy. That charging thing might be her.
I nimbly and gracefully sidestep my oncoming opponent, although to the uneducated casual observer, it would maybe seem more like I stumbled out of the way at the last moment by sheer dumb luck.
It totally wasn't that, though.
yes, dammit, and how dare you suggest otherwise
Elegance of movement aside, I manage to not be in the way of Bigwings as she delivers a forceful kick to the space where I was just a moment before. I think it was a kick, anyway. My vision is still not entirely clearly resolved or stable, so it might very well have been that a slender badger flew out from under her dress to bite me.
The next step she takes towards me after missing me with that kick, however, takes her right over where I'd landed on the floor—
—and right where I'd placed my next trap.
With a cry of mixed rage and surprise, she slips and lands on her back. Laughing in unsteady triumph, I reach over to hear, and grab for her shirt collar, to pull her up.
I grab wing instead, but screw it, that'll have to do. Spending some, I effortlessly yank the bewinged bloodsucker off the floor by the end of that limb, and spin in circle twice to build up momentum before swinging her up, and then bringing her crashing back down in a two-handed grip, like a woodcutter chopping firewood with an ax.
The floor must have been built by a god, because it damn for sure should have splintered from the impact. Her body bounces up a little, and slips out of my hands, rolling away a short distance.
My vision is starting to recohere... cohese..."It's getting better, is the point. Not wanting to let up, I chase after her, only to receive a shock of sudden pain from my chest and up across my face: her other wing strikes out at me, slicing a deep furrow into my body and sending me reeling. Blood begins welling up, adding a line of warmth over the line of pain.
The vampire doesn't waste any time, either, and gets up as soon as she can coming right after me. Her first punch misses, but she connects with a nasty left hook to my jaw, adding another item to my growing List of Painful Ouchies and sending me back another few steps.
I really don't like how she recovers so fast. it seems unfair, but she's certainly paid a large price for that ability, so I suppose she's entitled to it.
Still don't like it.
I duck under the next swing, and block the second, slowly retreating as I do. Bigwings continues to press the attack, and nails me on the side of the head with a spinning backfist that brings those dancy little stars and spots of light back for an encore.
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I can't keep this up. A constant retreat will get me nowhere but cornered again, and I don't have the time to add something fun and painful to the mix from my bag.
Enticement shall be my strategy. I deliberately leave my side open as I block her next hit. Her eyes dart over ever so briefly before snapping back to me again, but I know she's seen it, now.
She's still wary, but she's watching.
I don't leave it open every single time; that marks it too obviously as a feint. I do it only when she takes a swipe at me and follows it up with a right and a lunge. Niiice and open as I lean back from her.
I see her watching it a second time, and if the way she's deliberately keeping her eyes on me and not on this hole in my defenses is any indication, she'll be going for it soon.
I skip backwards out of the range of an upwards swipe of the claws, followed by two stabs. She grazes my arm on the last, earning me a fresh line of scratches.
And here comes the river, folks
No thanks, I'm stuffed.
I leave my side still exposed just momentarily, long enough for her to take the chance and change the lunge into a downwards swipe.
Down comes her hand, sharp claws extended, seeking to rend my body and lay me open from hip to head.
...And forward I go, darting closer in, feeling the rush already begin.
I seize that slashing hand, and yank hard on it, pulling her close to me in a sudden, violent movement. In the same instant, I shift my body slightly, and lift my other arm up, tucking it in and poking my elbow out sharply right in time for her face to be pulled directly onto it.
Letting go of her as she cries out in pain, clutching her now-bleeding face, I spin and kick her away, sending her further across the room. She doesn't go over, though, not this time.
Well, you can't win them all, I guess.
Still, I've got a good thing going, so...
I run after her while her guard is stil down, and deliver a solid, crushing blow to her windpipe before springing away once more.
The fight is mine.
She stands there, stock-still. I wait, wary and panting.
"You know," she finally manages in a raspy sort of croak. "I mainly breathe for show."
And then she is upon me, delivering a fierce backhanded blow that sends me sprawling.
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I sort of fucked up big time, this time.
...This is still a non-lethal match, I hope. Right?
Dazed, I try getting to my feet, but a firm weight pins me to the ground. Bigwings' heel makes very sure I'm not going anywhere.
now is the time for all good youkai to come to the aid of the party
this means you
dammit, woman, pick one already
wait, but shake your ass when i tell you to
that is humiliating and degrading and i won't stand for such lewd requests!
shake your ass, hustle, move; you know what i mean, and if you knew how unamused i was right now it would kill you
it will take more than threats to ease my damaged pride, madam
it would kill you in the teeth
but i don't have teeth, i think
that's because my unamusement killed them before they ever existed
you always cheat like this! i thought we agreed; 'no time travel'!
just do it
"You have not been the most difficult person I have ever fought; not by a long shot," the blonde girl tells me, grinding her foot on my chest.
That sort of hurts.
"...But you have been the single most unholy pain in my ass during a fight that I have ever encountered. I wish I had not agreed to a non-lethal duel, because at this moment I would like nothing more in this world than to end you completely."
With her left hand, she gestures in a come-here sort of motion, and the five blood spikes from earlier— oh, six now; probably from accumulated blood loss —hover next to her, pointed straight at my body. Oh, even her sword, too.
"As it is, you'll recover from this eventually. Good match, and good riddance."
now goddammit, now!
The vampire pauses in the act of throwing her hand down.
A sound can be heard in the sudden silence as I stare at the dark red spikes, paused in their descent, hanging right in front of me.
The sound of rustling, like heavy paper.
A purple blur streaks by, and blossoms for a fraction of a second before shrinking back in on itself and disappearing again.
Crimson sand from 6 shattered spears of blood rains down on me, and a vibrating rattle can be heard coming up from the ceiling.
Bigwings blinks, once.
"What the shit."
She speaks this calmly, and levelly, like normal.
More rustling, and getting louder.
I find myself smiling with great cheer as I form my reply.
"What good is a trump card that you don't use until the end?"
She stares down at me, and sighs once, in a manner that would in anyone else be called "testy," but with no impatience. Just extreme, reserved irritation.
The purple streak slams into her, sending her literally flying.
I don't even bother looking at this point.
Silence for a moment, and then rustling again.
I hold up my hand, and open it—
—and suddenly my friend is in it. Not my weapon, and not his material body.
Just my friend.
what's a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?
getting the shit kicked out of me, but i think that's over
glad to hear it, babycakes; we ready to roll?
sho' thang, daddy-o
With his help, I get up, noticing the no-longer-quivering sword stuck in the ceiling.
He can do nice work when he's motivated.
Nodding in approval, I stroll over to where Bigwings lies sprawled, face-down, in an untidy heap.
I regard her in silence for a while before finally speaking
"So, I'm ahead of you now, right?"
She makes no verbal reply, but her hand turns over, raises slightly, and raises its middle finger at me.
"Neat," I say.
I'm silent a few moments longer.
"Want some help up?"
I lean down, and help her to her feet. Damn, but the girl is heavy.
She hangs off of me, limply, head lolling down. Raising her left hand weakly, she snaps her fingers.
Black and red and metallic dust begins to flow from everywhere in the room, all the streams converging on her. Powdery and dusty-looking at the outside fringes, the streams of dust begin to take on a slightly more liquid appearance as they join up with one another, gradually turning redder and redder.
At the the very center, they all come together in a twisting, sinuous red stream of blood which dances around her hand before pouring back into the cuts and punctures that they came from.
One even streams back into her shattered nose.
Once the last of the blood is re-absorbed, she looks up at me with half-lidded eyes.
"I think I am finally tired now. It is time to sleep. Good day."
And with that, she slumps against me, not even holding herself up at all.
> You have not been the most difficult person I have ever fought; not by a long shot.
Not what I was aiming for though...
> But you have been the single most unholy pain in my ass during a fight that I have ever encountered. I wish I had not agreed to a non-lethal duel, because at this moment I would like nothing more in this world than to end you completely.
...I'll take what I can.
...Ahhhhhh...crap...ifwhen we do this with Sanae, she defiantly will end us, with both her gods as well, as painfully and as brutal as possible. But that will come later. Sakuya however, also later, but sooner than Sanae.
Also Sanae can use the two god's power in addition to what she has. If not for that things would be more even. Still, going one on one isn't a very favorable situation for Kogasa just due to the curses Sanae's placed on her. Kogasa isn't really combative by nature that combined with her loner nature made her easy pickings. Had Kogasa been in touch with that fighting instinct the first time around, perhaps this cycle would have been averted.
>>110869 That reminds me: Why is she singling Kogasa out, I'd think that'd be the big question.
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[❅] And miles to go before I sleep
After pondering on it for some time, I conclude the following:
Existing hard makes me hungry.
Or maybe I was just hungry in the first place.
I think maybe I'm not thinking clearly but this not alarming. On the contrary, it is familiar territory. Welcome back to Crazy, please enjoy your stay.
I've been crazy in bad places and tight spots and tense times, but never in somewhere nice. A return to the usual place is a welcome change. Probably.
Maybe I should get something to eat, then. Walking back down the hallway, I slip through the living room and pass on through to the kitchen. I poke through the chillybox and find something appropriately food-ish.
My search yields a takeout box containing what looks like— and, after a bite, is found to taste like and is thus most likely —grilled chicken. There's no name on the box, but there is a cute little drawing of a phoenix popping out of a hatch in the ground of some kind. Odd, but whatever. Maybe they're so well-known that they don't need to bother with a name?
Well, they know their way around a chicken, certainly.
After finishing a few pieces off— and large pieces, at that —I put the rest back into the chillybox, and then go get changed back into the clothing I was wearing earlier this morning; putting back on the teesh-urt and the skirt, and then take a short nap in the living room.
Or at least, I try to, before a wooden-sounding 'thunk' comes from nearby.
A little alarmed, I look around, but see no obvious source. Nothing outside, either.
I run down the hall and check on Bigwings, but no, she's still asleep. And in the most curious position, too: flat on her back, wings tucked to her side, arms folded over her chest. I wonder what kind of bed she must have to have gotten used to such an uncomfortable-looking pose.
Discarding further ruminations on sleeping posture, I race back down the hall, towards the front door, when I hear another 'thunk' from the dojo, just as I pass it. It catches me unawares, and I barely avoid tripping over my own bare feet in my rush to suddenly stop.
That's right, I should really go wash my slippers.
I slam open the door, and stop dead.
What the hell?
Sections of the wall have apparently pulled away from... the wall, and stand here and there about the dojo floor. Nothing moves, and I somehow have the distinct impression I'm being stared at.
Saying 'Is somebody there?' or 'Who's there?' means I die within the next 5 minutes or so. 'Hello?' is even worse. The books with all those ghost stories in them made that pretty clear.
"What do you want?" Straight and to the point. No screwing around, no uncertainty, and it bypasses the needless killing of teenagers.
I should do ghost mediation for a living.
My eyes flick around the room, and I notice for the first time that there's a small, dark-skinned creature crouched on the floor off to one side, right around where the vampire and I were doing some particularly rough smacking-around. It seems to be wearing a tool belt, and has a little cart with several pieces of polished wood slats that look just like the ones here in the dojo.
Its head is held down low, where it is frozen in the middle of licking at a long gap in the floor with the second longest tongue I've ever seen in my life.
Its eyes are on me, and there is a very, very long silence.
"So, uh..." I begin, and pause, trying to think of something to get my brain working again.
My eyes rove around the room out of passing nervousness, and as I do so, I notice that the only pieces of wall that are standing around are those with some kind of hole or damage in them. Furthermore, the dark-skinned little creature licking the floor has one of the new slats from the cart in his hand, and it seems to about match the size of the gap beneath him.
Over by to the cart of wood slats is a bucket filled with broken pieces of flooring.
And now that I give those those wall sections a second glance, they seem to not be as badly torn up as I remember them being.
Some of them moved, too. I think.
"...You're the... uh. Person... with the fixing, and stuff?"
"Eh-hehh." It nods slightly, tongue still in mid-lick.
I'm starting to notice a weird, chemical sort of smell that makes my head swim.
"I see. Um. Keep up the good work."
I shut the door.
what the fuck did i just witness
an akaname repairing the floor and nurikabe standing around regenerating?
i know, but what the hell
i guess that's how it stays "sturdy"
so she's never seen them at work?
hell if i know
i'm bored, now
we could play pool
by taking turns?
i promise not to do anything like last time
i wonder if the bounty on my head in Aichi prefecture ever got rescinded
he had it coming to him
true, but you didn't let go until we made you
aww, it's just pool! please?
fine, but if you so much as think funny, i'm ending it
and don't think i won't know when you think
loud and clear
I head to the entryway and grab my slippers, then head to the main bathroom to wash them off. They're not as dirty as I feared they might be, so it takes only a quick shaking and brushing off, about 7 seconds total of actual washing, and a short rinse before they're as good as new.
I dry off the soles, and then walk down the hall and through the kitchen and the pantry-hall to the back room, squeak-squeak-squeaking half the way.
The next shot is lined up, and a satisfied smirk crosses my features. My right arm thrusts forward, slamming the spear into the cue ball.
The little white bullet caroms off the edge of the pocket, bouncing back at a bizarre angle, and clacks into the aytball, knocking it for a loop and depositing it into the middle left pocket.
Standing upright, my arms are thrust behind my back in a brief but loud, popping-noise-filled stretch. Knuckles are cracked, and a giggle escapes my throat.
The spear passes from my right hand to my left, and all is back to normal again.
I apply more chalk to the tip of the spear, trying not to growl.
you were planning this, weren't you
do you think i was a pro at this before i met you or something? please; i'd have let you known all i could when you came in here for the first time
then how the hell do you explain a score of four to one in your favor?
i was watching how whatsherfang played
you watched her playing style
that's all you did?
well, there was also some ass-watching, and careful observation of her legs during the handful of times you happened to be looking down that way that morning; one or two attempts at breast-study as well, but those were few and far between
and during the boring in-between parts i just paid close attention to how she played
i don't think i have words for this
how does 'why the hell didn't you say something; i would have let you play back then' sound?
surprisingly well, now that you mention it
the same reason you didn't use powers: she would have caught on
yeah, i probably shouldn't have tipped my hand so early, but she kind of had it coming, too.
I pause, suddenly. I hear something faintly.
Cocking my head, I listen, focusing on that sound.
[ ] Greetings and good tidings! [ ] Stealth and suspicion... [ ] Patience and placidity
>one or two attempts at breast-study as well, but those were few and far between Just how breasts are supposed to be. More than the usual number ruins the appeal.
[X] Patience and placidity My guess is that it's Orange, but with people from the village (possibly transporting whoever was injured). Best to stay somewhere out of the way, where we could hide if need be.