Fell !eU97cKEiBQ 2010/03/04 (Thu) 23:15 No. 113826 ▼
File 126774451424.jpg - (12.92KB, 295x310 , Workers throw off your shackles and arise.jpg)
[⁂] It is that time.
...Hell with it.
If it's a trap, I am screwed.
If it isn't, and I don't get out of here, I am screwed.
If it isn't, and I do get out, then... well, I'll be better off than I would be otherwise.
I work feverishly on the straps holding my neck down, but soon figure out that there's no knots or anything. It's some kind of tightening-system thing, but ...fuck it.
I don't care about subtlety at the minute, and I damn for sure don't have any interest in keeping this wretched table intact and usable.
A brief pause, and a reflexive action, and the ends of my fingers lengthen, sharpen, harden.
Pretty much any youkai worthy of the term has claws. Putting them away so's you don't scare off Or as some might look at it, tip off humans is a trick we all eventually learn to master, sooner or later. Assuming one wants to be able to socialize with Or pass undetected amongst them, at least.
I haven't brought these things out in a long time. They still look just as good as they did back then, though.
Or wait. Maybe I did while fighting with Bigwings. I know she did. But did I?
Eh, not important right now.
I've got escaping to do.
I systematically shred every strap and belt to ribbons, and then slowly, carefully get to my feet.
I hurt all over, still, but it's a dull ache. I'll probably be fine in a good few hours.
...Assuming I live that long.
I look around the place, taking a good look at the entire thing for the first time.
It's still an hour or two before dawn. Almost time for her to come down, so I've got to work fast.
Our clothes lie heaped in an untidy pile, next to my friend, who is turned away, as usual. Hope he doesn't spook when I wake him up.
Orange comes first, though.
I go over to where she again lies suspended between floor and ceiling. Also out of the way of the light coming in through that vent thing. Odd, but I'm assuming the green girl had her reasons. Maybe it's something to do with chi or feng shui, or any of a number of crazy Chinese things.
Those chains are going to be a problem, though.
I gently nudge her awake.
"...mmmwhaa?" she mumbles, eyes slowly opening.
The unusual position she's in works pretty well as a wake-up call, though, and she looks around, worried.
"What... how did you get out?"
"She got careless and stupid," I say, looking the chains over. "She doesn't do that often at all, and I intend to capitalize on this. Can you break out of these?"
She closes her eyes, and pulls, hard.
The creaking sounds of straining metal on metal and grating noises of metal on stone echo off the walls of the otherwise-quiet room as she fiercely tugs on her shackles.
Muscles shift under her skin, and the chains make some unpleasant noises, but nothing breaks free before she sags, panting.
"Jus...Just give me a minute...!"
After a few moments, I recall something, and feel stupid for not having thought of it sooner.
"Wait, hold on," I tell her. "Don't push yourself further; I'll have you out in a second."
I run over to the beautifully-crafted cabinet, and fling it open. Inside are a few more bottles of that same foreign wine, that black box, more than a few unsavory tools, a first-aid kit, several outsider things I don't recognize, and there, on a little metal hook, the ring of keys.
Snatching it, I dash back over to my chained princess, and look for where the hell these things are supposed to go. There's got to be a keyhole somewhere...
Aha, there! Up by the shackle-clamps themselves. Seems obvious now that I think about it, but I haven't really had a chance to do in-depth studies of these sort of things.
I undo the ones on her arms, first. After I open the one holding her left wrist, her arm flops down onto my shoulders, and holds me. The same again with her other arm, and we pause briefly while she lies against me.
It's as much for comfort and closeness as it is for physical stability.
Finally, she gives a nod, and I go to work on the leg irons. She kicks free of the first one as soon as I have it opened, and repeats the process with the second.
Naked and still grimy from last night's excursion, we sit there in silence, holding one another.
We are free, but only in the most literal sense.
Something tells me that complete freedom will not be as simple as running out and flying away.
After a while, we part. I gather our clothes up, but they are torn, shredded, and tattered.
Normally, they're fine by the time I wake up, after landing, but there is a shortcut. At least, for me.
Hopefully it will work for her, as well.
"Not to sound ungrateful, but wouldn't we be better off going naked, given the state of these?"
She gestures to the shirt she holds up, which has more than a few holes and slashes, plus a good number of burn marks.
I slip my vest on, which isn't in much better condition. "Put it on, anyway. Trust me on this one. You've had that outfit for a long time, right?"
She nods, slowly, and begins putting her yellow and green ensemble on, or at least, what's left of it.
"A few hundred years or so. I mean, I've replaced parts, and sewn together new pieces, but I've always carried over at least one part. One time, it was only just a few buttons I was able to salvage."
I nod, smiling. It's an odd youkai habit, but most find themselves compelled to do it, when it comes to clothes. Even if they can't sew, they'll either find someone who can, or sometimes even scrap the entire old outfit and go for a new look entirely, unless they're well-off enough to have a few separate ones. Even then, they will have some piece, or some aspect of the old worked into the new, and it is in that way that even if all the parts are replaced over a hundred years, it is still the same clothing, in a spiritual sense.
This is why the regeneration of clothing is possible, and why a youkai can wear what seems to be the same outfit for years on end.
Or maybe that's just how I do it, and by some coincidence, it happens to be her method as well.
I'm no youkaiologisticianyst, for sure, but this is what makes my trick work.
There's a chance I'm not wrong, at least.
We finish clothing ourselves in tatters, although she give me a dubious glance.
"You packing a fairy godmother in that bag, somewhere?"
I have no idea what a godmother is, or why she mentions it, but I shrug.
"Kind of?" I say. "I'll have to go get it, first."
I walk over to my friend.
hey, wake up
oh god, no, she's finally come for— oh, you aren't the shrine maiden; this is a pleasant surprise
of course i'm not; you can tell by how i try not to flash my armpits at everyone
true, true; so hey, i see you're not tied down and in horrific pain, for once
i know; i'm rather fond of the not-being-tortured look, myself; thinking of taking on it for the long term
It takes a few moments for my meaning to sink in. When my friend replies, it is in a much more serious tone.
so, we're doing it today, huh?
bitch got careless, and i mean to make her regret it
wow, damn; we're really going through with it, then?
i'm ready to rock, then; whatcha need?
i'll need my bag, my knife, and a touch-up for the two of us
whoa, wait, you're seriously going to let me tou—? ohhhh, oh; your clothes; right, i get it
There is a soft thump as my friend drops my bag onto the stone floor, and a quieter thump as my knife lands atop it. I have no idea where he carries all this stuff, but he does, and I am grateful for it.
I tie the bag to my hip, and put the knife away where it can be drawn easily. Scooping up my friend in my arms, I walk back over to my scrappy-looking princess.
I guide her to sit down on that hateful table, the only wide place to sit in here. I have a seat next to her, and put my hand on her shoulder.
"Just follow everything I say," I tell her, "And don't ask questions. It just throws the whole thing off. Just believe in me, and that I know what I'm doing."
She gives me an odd look, but nods.
"First, close your eyes," I tell her in a smooth, calm tone, making sure to follow my own directions as well.
"Imagine, really imagine your clothes. Not as they are right now, but as they were when you first wore them. As they were last night. As they were ten years ago. As they were a hundred years ago. As they were always, and as you may have wanted them to be.
"Visualize every single part of them. Every seam, every stitch, every button, every strip and piece of fabric. Remember any and every detail that you can. Every part of it that you liked, every annoying thing that got in the way, every part of it that you found odd.
"Remember your clothing and how it felt when you wore it. How it touches you, how it moves with you, how it covers you, how it feels on your skin. Remember how it makes you feel to wear it, how it feels when you put it on, how it feels when you take it off, how you move your body in each of these.
"Consider the purpose of your clothing. Consider that it protects you, that it warms you, that it covers you, that it defines a great deal of your very appearance, that it was made for you, that it does all of this every day that you wear it, that it has always done so, and that it will continue to do so for as long as you wear it.
"Imagine them, now. Visualize them, complete. Remember them, comfortable. Consider them, protecting. Your clothing is and has always been a part of you."
I take a breath, and through my friend, spend a little in a different sort of way.
"...Now, open your eyes."
I open mine and look immediately to Orange.
Her eyes open, and she looks at me, as well.
I grin, and point down, at her chest.
Following the gesture, she glances down. There is a short rush, and her breath catches slightly.
My clothes and her own have both returned to their former intact state. Better than intact, really, but not quite new enough that they still feel strange.
They are at that perfect point where they still look new and fresh, but their owner has gotten used to them, and takes pride in wearing them. It is this point when clothing most enjoys itself.
That's what my friend tells me, anyway.
"How... How exactly did you do that?" she asks, curious. She gets up, looking over herself, situation momentarily forgotten in the amidst this.
I pat my friend, and smile gently. "Things like being appreciated. When they've been with you for that long, and you take care of them, they're willing to help."
She nods to herself, and continues examining for a few moments more before she looks back at me, satisfied.
"What are we going to do, now?"
I open my mouth to reply, but a sound cuts off what I'd been about to say.
Footsteps, coming down.
She draws near.
[ ] Apoplexy
[ ] Back Fire
I think I stretched my credibility just a little.
Also "Back Fire" is not the same thing as "Backfire."