Anonymous 2010/04/04 (Sun) 23:46 No. 116086 ▼
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Last minute entry!
It's morning, dear. Time for good girls to wake up.
Mother's voice. I grumbled wordlessly in response, yawning sleepily and pulling myself up to a sitting position, and gave my eyes one last rub before putting on my best smile and squinting out against the light of day at... nobody.
Oh, well. Mother was normally too busy to wake me in person in the mornings, anyway; her voice was all I heard of her until lunchtime. I would just have to smile that much brighter when I actually did see her, then!
I covered my mouth to hide another yawn and turned to step onto the floor, bouncing off the bed and into a stretch so big that all my joints made crackling noises. Another new day! I smiled to myself as I let my arms fall to my sides and spun in place, ending up facing back towards...
...not my bed. Oh, dear; today was going to be just full of surprises, wasn't it?
"...don't want her. You take her." The sound of muffled conversation echoed through the wall behind me, and I spun back to my previous position, taking a closer look at my surroundings this time. Nope, this definitely wasn't my room; the door was in the wrong place, the furniture was all different, none of my stuffed animals were here...
"C'mon. You're the one who brought her back here, right?" A different voice, a bit lower-pitched than the first. Where was I? The last thing I could remember was... dinner with Mother, right? Yep; she made Chinese fried rice, and laughed when I asked if she had to go to China to learn how, and told me that she would have to teach me how to cook someday, too, and... then what? I... couldn't remember. Why couldn't I remember?
Don't worry your little head, dear. Everything will work itself out.
...Oh, well. Everybody forgets things sometimes, right? I would just have to get myself back home and make sure Mother knew I was safe before I got scolded! Nodding to myself resolutely, I spun around once more and got to work making the bed. Chores were chores, after all, even if it wasn't my bed.
"At that time, I wanted her. Now, I do not." The conversation in the room next to mine continued to progress as I worked. That voice... reminded me a little of Mother's, actually; a slow, even tone, just as a lady ought to speak, and never raising her voice or stumbling over her words. Where Mother was gentle and kind, though, this person sounded... angry, or at least not very happy. Did she sound like that all the time? I would have to be extra polite to her, I thought to myself as I smoothed out the bed sheet one last time before tucking the corner I was holding under the mattress.
"Listen, it won't take more than a few days, alright?" This woman, on the other hand... it was a woman, right? Yes, definitely, even if one could barely tell from the way she spoke. "I can take care of everything, but I won't be able to talk to her if we have to fight off wild youkai from the forest. All you need to do is keep her here."
"Is that right?" Oh, now she sounded happy! "Tell me again what I need to do, would you kindly?"
"Uh, t-that's not what I--"
You know it's not polite to eavesdrop, dearest.
I felt myself flush as I focused my attention on my chores again. As happy as it made me to hear Mother's voice, I knew that it when I did, it meant I was behaving improperly. Mother herself wouldn't know unless I told her, of course, but that was no excuse; I would just have to try harder to behave myself.
I was still trying to mind my own business, fluffing up my pillow to place it at the head of the newly made bed, as the conversation came to a close and the door to my room opened behind me.
Green... hair. Beautiful, silky, green hair, just a little above shoulder length, framing a face with unsmiling red lips and even redder eyes. I didn't have to think twice before I knew that this was the owner of that ladylike voice; everything about her, from the cut of her dress (just below the knee, with a matching vest and a tasteful yellow ribbon under her collar) to the way she carried herself (a light pink umbrella in one hand, even indoors, but she wasn't leaning on it or waving it about unnecessarily) confirmed it.
No matter how long I looked, though, my eye was drawn back to that hair. "In the olden days, a woman's hair was her crowning glory" is what Mother would say as she brushed my hair; maybe it was because of how closely this woman's style matched my own that I liked it so much. In place of my own blonde, though, was that lovely green, and on top of that, it just looked so soft...
Surely she would take it as a compliment if I liked it so much that I couldn't help but reach out and touch it? And everybody likes being complimented!
"C'mon, don't be like that, Yuuka!" Before I could make it even halfway to my goal, though, my hands were interrupted by... more green hair! How lucky! This hair wasn't quite as soft, though. It was also attached to a very different person; a girl, slightly shorter than me, with a worried scowl on her face as she grabbed by the middle and lightly pushed me back, away from my original target. "I'm sure this girl won't be any trouble at all!" she said, giving me a sharp look as she emphasized those last few words. Was she trying to tell me something? It was sort of hard to take her seriously when she looked even younger than I did. And that outfit! Short pants, like a boy would wear, and -- was that a cape?
Mind your manners, dear. Prejudice is unbecoming of a lady.
"Ah!" I gasped aloud, blushing at being reproached twice in one day. Really, where was my head? Taking a step away from the shorter girl, I reached down and grabbed the hem of my dress, bending my legs slightly in a curtsy. "How do you do? My name is--"
"I don't care." Before I could finish, the taller woman -- Yuuka, was it? -- turned on her heel and left through the same door she had just come through. "You have one day, Wriggle," she called out without turning around before shutting the door behind her, leaving me alone in the room with the other girl.
"Yeah, yeah," she muttered, too quietly for Yuuka to have heard her, before looking up at me with an uneasy grin. "Well, I was gonna stay and talk for a bit, but it looks like I'm gonna have to be quick."
"You're gonna need a place to live, right?" the other girl -- Wriggle? Such a cute name! -- asked. "I'm gonna have to go to the village and--"
"But I have a place to live," I said plaintively. "I just need to know where I am, and I'll be able to go back to Mother's house."
"...Oh. Oh, geez." Wriggle slumped in place, bringing a hand to her forehead. "Yeah, that's... okay, yeah, we're gonna need to talk when I get back. Just... geez. Just stay here for now, okay?" Wriggle said, making for the door herself. "Whatever you do, don't bother Yuuka, got it?"
And, with that, she was gone, slamming the door behind her.
Well, how rude. Just what did she think I was going to do? And what was it that we 'needed to talk about'? I didn't even get her to tell me where I was!
Don't hold a grudge, dear.
Oh, well. Mother was right; it wasn't as though there was anything to be gained from staying mad. I would just have to show her just how wrong she was by getting along swimmingly with this 'Yuuka', wouldn't I?
After smoothing out the bed one last time, I walked to the door myself, stepping out into... a kitchen? My, this was a small house, wasn't it? Standing in the doorway like this, I could see from end to end!
And there was Yuuka, standing by the windowsill, watering a small planter full of flowers. "Hello, Miss Yuuka!" I called happily, closing the door to the bedroom behind me and stepping into the kitchen.
To no response. There was no sign that she had heard me at all as she continued to tend to her flowers. "Hello, Miss Yuuka!" I repeated, stepping closer.
Still nothing. Perhaps she was hard of hearing? "Hello, M--"
Oh. Well, she certainly wasn't in a good mood.
Well, I would just have to be even nicer, wouldn't I? "Those flowers you're watering are simply lovely, Miss Yuuka!"
Ah, progress! "I really like flowers!" I said brightly, taking a step around to try to catch a glimpse of her face. As if in response, she turned away from me, moving further down the planter with her watering can without a response. "My mother likes flowers, too!" I continued, trying to strike a chord of familiarity with her.
"Your mother?" Another response! "You really are quite deluded, aren't you?"
Hmm... what did that mean, I wonder? "Why do you say th--"
"Huh?" I jumped at the sudden sound; a hoarse whisper, just within the range of my hearing, not like Mother's voice at all. "Did you hear that?"
No response. Maybe I had imagined it?
"There it was again!" That same whisper, fading in and out, from no particular source. Something about it... Even without words, it made me uneasy, brought thoughts of Mother to the top of my mind. Maybe I really did need to go find her.
"Miss Yuuka, are you sure you didn't hear anything?" I asked, my voice wavering.
"Miss Yuuka... Can't you hear it? There's a voice..."
"No, there is n--" Finally, Yuuka stopped in place, seeming to give attention to my complaints at last. "Ah. That was quite quick." She turned around to look at me directly, smirking slightly. "It seems Wriggle will be too late, after all."
Too late..."I didn't understand, but her words just added to the discomfort I already felt. I needed to move, to run, to leave--
It was the house, wasn't it? Something about the house was doing this to me! "Miss Yuuka..." I moaned uneasily, rising to my feet; I felt sick to my stomach, and every second I spent here made me feel worse. "I think I need my mother..."
"Well, I suppose Wriggle will be unhappy if I don't put up a token resistance." Placing her watering can on the floor, Yuuka turned her back to me and walked to the front door, crossing her arms behind her back and scooping up her umbrella. "You may not leave," she said with a bored expression.
It's not ladylike to disregard your host's instructions, dear.
Mother's voice, echoing above that other voice, made me pause, and for an instant, my nausea receded. That's right; Yuuka was my host, wasn't she? If she said I needed to stay, I would just have to--
come back come back come back come back come back
I bent double over the table, wracked with pain as the voice returned more forcefully than ever.
"Miss Yuuka, I'm sorry, but I need to leave." Every step towards the door held the promise of this uneasy feeling disappearing, and I felt like I had almost returned to normal by the time I was standing next to Yuuka. "Please move."
"What?! I can't--"
she's in your way
I had to leave. I had to leave now. Ducking my head, I shot under Yuuka's outstretched arm, shoving her out of the doorway as I ran out into the night.
What are you--
"I'm sorry, Mother!" I cried out as I ran, not looking back as I made my way into the forest. I didn't know where I was, didn't know where I was going anymore, just that I had to get away, couldn't spend another second in that house with that voice and--
What are you doing, child?! Go back and--
"Aaaahhh!" I screamed, clapping my hands over my ears as I went. Why?! Why was it still there?!
I had to find Mother. She would know what to do, she could fix me when strange things started to happen, just like she always did. But if I couldn't find my way--
Wait...! This path... that's right! My run gained some direction as I rounded a tree into a cleared path, making my way down the forest, past the landmarks I remember on the way back home. A smile rising to my face, I turned the last corner, dashing out from under the canopy of the forest into...
...flowers. A whole field of bright white flowers, extending almost as far as I could see.
This... wasn't right! Where was everything? The house was supposed to be here, our house, and Mother would be outside, sweeping the porch or something, and I would run up and give her a big hug and she would pat my head and scold me for getting lost and where was she?
"Mother?" Maybe it was just another one of Mother's spells, and the house really was here, after all. "Mother?!" Yes, and if I just called out loud enough, she'd hear me from wherever she was and come get me, and then I could go back home and get away from these youkai and voices and everything would still be fine! "Mo--"
"You really still don't understand, do you?" My heart swelled at the sound of a response to my cries, only to wither a moment later as I recognized Yuuka's voice.
"Where...?" I spun around, surveying the landscape for something, anything, but all I saw was Yuuka, walking closer.
"There is no house here. There never has been."
But... I remembered...
that was me
Apologize for running away.
"I'm sorry, Miss Yuuka!" I babbled, just as Mother ordered, the fear in the pit of my stomach tearing its way out in the form of words. "I'm sorry I ran away! Just... please help me find my mother...!"
"...Very well. Perhaps I should do something, after all." For the first time, that anger wasn't in her voice, and she extended a hand towards me, beckoning me forward gently. "Take my hand."
Trembling, I followed her direction, reaching out to her outstretched hand and laying my own atop it. As I did, she rotated her hand below mine, slipping her dainty fingers between my own, and for a moment, I didn't move, simply feeling the warmth of her hand as it wrapped around mine. Breathing out slowly, I gathered the resolve to hold back my tears and looked up at Yuuka's face to find... a smile, a real, genuinely happy smile, the first one I had ever seen her wear. Faced with that expression, I couldn't help but try to return it, my face twitching erratically as I forced my lips up into a weak smile of relief.
And then, with all the ease of someone crushing a bug, her hand formed a fist around mine, snapping each of my fingers at the joint with a sickening crunch.
"You are not human." She was still smiling that same pleasant smile, even as she continued to tighten her grip on my mangled hand. "You are a crude facsimile, created by a middling magician. A body given a false history and a small memory of commands to make you act like a living being."
"..." There was... no pain. The only thing that told me that my hand was broken was my own eyes.
"It would seem that, for whatever reason, that magician no longer had any use for you, and chose to simply abandon you here, rather than dispelling your enchantments and destroying you properly." Another crack, and my middle finger was broken away from my hand entirely, turned at an impossible angle; where there should have been flesh and blood, all I could see was empty air and cracked porcelain, molded into the shape of a finger. "At first, I had intended to give you a grace period of sorts before destroying you, but that seems to have become more trouble than it would be worth."
No. No no no no no NO NO NO
"M... Mother! Help me!" I screamed. "Save me!"
Your finger is broken. You should be screaming right now.
"'Why'?" I heard Yuuka's voice echo through the fog of my own thoughts. "Well, youkai born from human actions tend to make trouble for the rest of us."And then, a brilliant smile, not so much seen as it was felt. "But mostly, it's because I enjoy killing."
scream you useless little doll do something right for once in your miserable existence what good are you if you can't take alicia's place
"While I have no patience for overly complex magic, destroying your physical form should prove moderately enjoyable."
And, like that, Mother's voice went silent.
"I'm not..." Vaguely, I felt myself drop to my knees, the will to hold myself up gone. "...not human...?"
"Ah, has it begun to sink in?" I felt Yuuka's hand grab my hair roughly, pulling my face up to look at that horrible smile of hers. "Don't worry. It'll all be over soon."
"Mother... didn't want me..."
I felt a small twang as the remainder of my ruined hand was torn away, crumbling like ash under Yuuka's heel.
"Then, I'm... not wanted by anyone..."
"Ah." Suddenly, the hand grabbing my hair released me, and I caught a fleeting glimpse of Yuuka, coughing and clutching her chest, before I fell to the ground, my face buried in the dirt.
"...Let me... die..."
"Ahahahaha...!" Yuuka cackled gleefully, all pretense of civility gone. "For a newborn to have this much power... Interesting...!"
"If Mother doesn't love me... why should I live...?"
I was dimly aware of being lifted, grabbed by my collar and raised until my feet dangled off the ground.
Just as I had risen off the ground, now I fell, dropped onto my back, my body supported by the flowers. Looking ahead of me, I saw Yuuka, enveloped in a strange, iridescent purple mist, staggering backwards, stumbling, dropping to one knee, unsteadily rising from the ground, flying away.
"...Who... are you...?"
Now the purple mist was around me, swirling, sparkling, drawing ever closer. A feeling that wasn't the same as a warm body drew close to me, pulling me in; a sensation not quite like a pair of arms wrapped itself around me, shielding me from the world.
just rest for now
I opened my mouth once more, only to find that I really had nothing to say, after all. The last thing I felt as my eyes closed was a droplet of condensation from the mist that surrounded me, starting in the corner of my eye and trailing its way down my face, and then unconsciousness took me.
"It's her, isn't it?"
and a really big bug
i can get rid of them
The two of us watched as Yuuka and Wriggle drew closer in flight, then angled downward to land before me in silence. Wriggle, for all the boisterousness she had shown before, seemed to hide in Yuuka's shadow as the taller woman stepped forward, heaving the small carrying case she held into both hands.
"I'll have you know that I had to call in a very old favor to get you this," she said, snapping open the case and reaching inside, "and that it was not my decision to do so. Show some gratitude."
It was... very close. The skin tone was an exact match, and the measurements were close enough to the other one that it wouldn't be too difficult to use. As Yuuka extended the hand to me, I grasped my own broken one by the wrist and pulled, watching the space between the joint widen until the entire thing was separated from my arm. Dropping it down to my friend, I took the hand proffered to me and popped it into the place of the old one.
"Thank you, Yuuka," Wriggle said quietly as I wiggled my new fingers. Everything seemed to be working well.
"You're not the one I want to hear that from," she said, staring at me.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, very weakly, I heard a voice telling me that it wasn't very ladylike to let a gift pass without a show of appreciation. I ignored it, scowling back at Yuuka, and after a silent moment, she turned away without a word, lifting off into the air and flying away.
"So, uh..." Wriggle was still there, though. "I guess you two really don't get along, after all."
A moment of silence.
"Well, Yuuka doesn't really get along with most people. I don't think she'd bother with me if it wasn't for the help I gave her with the flowers."
"And you haven't been around for very long, either. She'll probably get used to you after you've been around for a while longer."
"...Did you really nearly poison her to death?"
"My friend did," I said, gesturing down at the flowers below us.
"Wow... Yuuka's really strong, you know. You should be proud, if you're capable of fighting at her level at your age."
Another moment of silence.
"Uh, so me and some of my friends have this place where we get together and hang out, so I was wondering..." Wriggle's words came out all at once, accompanied by a slight blush. "Would you, maybe you would like to, uh, come? With me? Er, us?"
i think he likes you
"She's a girl," I whispered, too quietly for Wriggle to hear.
i think she likes you, then
"I mean, if you don't want to, that's fine, I just thought maybe I'd ask, you know."
go on, go
"Really?!" Almost immediately, Wriggle, bobbed up into flight. "I'll show you the way, then!"
"I'll be back by daytime," I told my friend.
I allowed myself a small smile, rising into the air after Wriggle.
"Love you too, Su-san."