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As you watch the bird that stole your box fly away over the lake, you ponder just how you're going to get out of here, yourself. Unlike that feathered thief, not to mention most of the population, you never really got a hang of that whole “flying” thing, which somewhat limits your options.
You suppose you could simply leave the way you came, swimming in the lake, but that would mean getting your just-cleaned-and-dried clothes wet again. Seems kind of a shame to let the work of that nice lady who closed the door on your face when you were asking her out to dinner go to waste like that. Plus the last swim was so cold, and tiring, and you think you may have almost died. Not really something you care to experience a second time.
“So! Walking around the lake, it is!” you say to yourself.
Feeling secure in this decision, you spot the faintest signs of a path, take a few steps upon it, but immediately stop when you notice where the path leads.
Indeed, it certainly does appear to follow around the edge of the lake. The problem, you realize, is that something else follows along the edge of the lake. Namely, a whole lot of trees. Trees that, somehow, seem to be producing a lot more shade than you would think was possible for this time of day. You would go so far as to say it's actually quite dark in there.
“So! Swimming in the lake, it is!” you say to yourself, turning away from the suspiciously-dark wooded area.
Still, you really would rather not actually get wet again.
If only you had someone who could help you get across.
Someone like that little blue girl you see flying over there.
You attempt to call out to her, but she doesn't respond. Perhaps she is deep in thought over something, and so simply did not hear you?
You desire to get over the lake outweighing your usual unwillingness to disturb others, you do the only thing you can think of to get her attention.
The rock strikes her perfectly on the back of the head, the dull THOCK of stone meeting skull audible even from this distance, followed shortly afterward by the THUD of her little body falling to the ground like a bag of potatoes.
Rushing over to her side, you pull out the length of rope you keep with you for such occasions, and get to work, knowing you have little time to spare. Minutes later, you push off from the shore atop the finest improvised raft ever to be made from an unconscious, hog-tied fairy. What amazing luck that it happened to be an ice fairy, to boot. While you had initially decided to have her belly-up simply because straddling her back with those crystals there looked like it would be uncomfortable, they actually appear to be helping in keeping her afloat on the water.
If only she wasn't so cold you worried about freezing your ass off in the most literal fashion possible The water seems almost warm, in comparison.
Still, at least your clothes are mostly dry, aside from the parts of your legs you can't keep out of the water.
Eventually, you make it to the opposite shore of the lake.
Taking care to not get any other part of you wet as you disembark from your “raft”, you then drag her out with you and lay her upon the grass, partly to dry, but mostly because you really have nowhere else to put a wet, unconscious, hog-tied ice fairy.
Not seeing that thieving bird anywhere, you sit down beside your former watercraft, you mull over what to do next.
[ ] To the village! For clues! And maybe some lunch!
[ ] To the forest! For clues! And maybe some lunch!
[ ] To somewhere else! For clues! And maybe some lunch!
[ ] Uh, maybe you should do something about that fairy, first...
>>120045 I think you misunderstood what I meant. That's understandable; I didn't make myself very clear at all.
I brought that up because that was probably one of the few low-grade shorts you've done. Generally you do a pretty damn awesome job, but Sheep-Moko was just... eh. It wasn't funny, it made little or no sense (Japanese puns/memes aside), and it just seemed so stupid. It was like the shitty mascot character in an RPG: Japanese humor that falls flat on its face when viewed by a Western audience.
It just wasn't one of your stronger pieces; that's all I'm saying. Please don't do that again. And if you're bound and determined to, then I beg of you, make it part of some Mr. Banana-esque delusional/dreaming state and not canon.
In before people reply with a contrary view or opinion just because I said I didn't like it, and claim that it was actually funny or whatever and that yes, you should definitely put it in.
You're pretty sure they do, at least, and that's good enough for you.
With that decided fairly decisively, you turn your attention to your former raft. She was a good ship, and got you through in your time of need without any complaint. Granted, the fact that she was unconscious at the time may have had something to do with that, but you would like to think that there was more to it than just that.
Sadly, despite the brief-yet-fun times you shared together, you are afraid that you no longer have need for a raft for the time being. As much as it pains you, it is time to say farewell to your little boat and hit the road, especially since the cold-related numbness in your legs and nether-regions is finally subsiding..
Giving your little blue friend one last look, you turn and begin to walk away. As much as you hate to simply abandon something that was so useful to you, even if only momentarily, you know all-too well that her use as a flotation device is more or less limited to just that lake. After all, there are no seas in this place. No rivers. No large streams.
Just that lake.
That. Fucking. Lake.
If only there were something else you could use her for.
And then it hits you.
You stop walking.
“Oh, damn it all.”
It is then you remember that, before becoming a boat, your boat was primarily a very non-boatish fairy. And, while a boat's usefulness is quite limited here, a fairy is not.
Or, at least, you don't think so.
Certainly, a fairy cannot be chopped up and used for firewood like a boat could. For one thing, they're not nearly dry or flammable enough to get a good flame going, and once they expire their remains don't usually stick around for very long, anyway.
“Stupid non-burnable magical beings from nature...”
But! You have heard plenty of accounts of fairies being put to good use, in ways a good wooden boat simply cannot. Indeed, whether offering simple companionship, or serving as an emergency food supply, there are all sorts of great ways these little winged buggers can be made to work for your benefit.
You've even heard rumors that some even use them for more..impure activities.
Of course, being the fine and upstanding young gentleman that you are, you would never stoop so low as that!
...even though this particular one is much bigger than the typical fairy...
Kinda cute-looking, too.
Still, the thought of defiling such a pure, innocent being as that is simply horrible, as far as you were concerned. You would never dream of pulling off that ribbon around her neck, slipping off that blue dress, and unbuttoning her blouse. And you certainly wouldn't dare even think of running your tongue up and down her body as if she were a giant, magical living popsicle. Of course, it also follows that you would never, ever reach down to her WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?!
Without realizing it, you had returned to the still-unconscious fairy's side, your hands just barely hovering over her body.
What the hell.
Sometimes, you wonder if there isn't something wrong with you.
This is one of those times.
Stepping away from the fairy, you quietly reprimand yourself for whatever it was you were about to do, slapping yourself on the wrist to emphasize your point.
You also wonder if there wasn't something else you should be doing right now.
Oh yeah. Going to the forest. Bird. Stole your creepy box.
But that fairy...
Sighing to yourself, you pull out a little bit more rope, and with some creativity work out an effective method of carrying her without having to hold her directly.
As appealing as it would be to carry her in your arms, tightly embracing her as if attempting to keep her all to yourself, her body pressed against yours as your fingers gently graze against her...er, anyway, the point is that touching her for too long is probably not a good idea considering just how cold she is.
And so you head into the forest, carrying your little friend like a piece of luggage. Doing your best to keep a careful eye out, you soon realize that your odds of actually spotting the bird in here is probably quite low, especially if you don't even know if it lives in here, or was simply passing through.
As much as you hate to admit it so soon, but you think you might need just a little more help. Also, a snack of some sort. Even though it wasn't too long ago that you had those wonderful eggs.
As luck would have it, though, you happen to have a pretty good idea of at least three nearby places that just might be able to help you out with at least one of those things.
“Which should we go for, though? What do you think, little buddy?”
Your companion's silence does not surprise you. Since she's, you know, still out cold.
So then, with the decision-making ball still firmly in your court, you decide your first stop on your hunt will be to..
[ ] The doll-maker's house is pretty close, isn't it? Good sandwiches. Wonder if she's home...
[ ] That shop run by that guy is fairly close, too. Neat items, but lousy snacks.
[ ] Isn't that food cart somewhere around here? ...but is it even open during the day?
[x] That shop run by that guy is fairly close, too. Neat items, but lousy snacks.
Kourin knows all the uses for an ice-fairy. He could teach us a thing or two; may even buy her.
>>120058 It's not so much Japanese humor as it is a lack of actual... creativity and depth (I'm looking for a word here, but it's just not coming to me). Most of that was MOKO MOKO MOKO MOKO - which, when you get rid of that, there's nothing much left save for a few sentences. It's not very fulfilling.
The rest, however, I found was quite funny. Tewi pissing on her, bunny-Reisen rape, the other rabbits look on then go about their business, all the rage, etc.
Try reading it again without the MOKO, you'd probably enjoy it more. Also, she'd be a nice pet to have.
>>120086 >The rest, however, I found was quite funny. Tewi pissing on her, bunny-Reisen rape, the other rabbits look on then go about their business, all the rage, etc.
...No, that was the part that wasn't funny. That is precisely what made it stupid.
Ah yes, the doll-maker's place sounds like the perfect place to start. Margaroid, or something, wasn't it?
Nice girl, that one. Creepy as hell at times, but nice.
With little else to do on your walk, you recount your experiences with Murgatrod with your fairy-on-a-rope.
As you remember it, you first met her on a day much like this one, but for the fact that it was raining, and also it was actually night when it happened. Seeking some form of shelter from the downpour, you stumbled upon her home, and much to your surprise, were actually allowed inside.
Having watched a couple of her puppet shows in the village before, you knew she had a large collection of dolls, but it was still rather intimidating to see the whole collection in-person.
Dolls everywhere, on every shelf, table, cupboard, dresser, and anywhere else there was a flat surface. You thought you even saw a couple hanging from ropes, once or twice. You had imagined that she had set them up in such a way to make it appear as if they were flying, but if that were the case, her method of tying them up by the neck seemed a bit odd. Still, that wasn't the part that bothered you during your stay.
See, unlike most people, you never really found dolls to be all that unsettling, in and of themselves. Then again, most dolls didn't constantly turn their heads to track your movement. When you asked your hostess about it, she assured you that most of her dolls are neither alive, nor capable of moving under their own power.
After some thought, you soon realized the implications of what she had told you.
The good news was that you found the dolls to be just a little less unnerving.
The bad new was, the same could no longer be said about Miss Margorod.
Still, she made some of the best damn sandwiches you have ever had, so you were more than happy to overlook her particular eccentricities. For a time, you even wished you could have known her recipe, but between your sense of courtesy and your suspicion that the nature of that delicious yet unfamiliar-tasting meat was something best left a mystery to you, you did not ask her about it.
Through your rambling and reminiscing, your little blue friend listened attentively, or so you like to pretend. Sure, she wasn't really listening, but at least she was not trying to make you think she was. No half-hearted questions, no unenthusiastic mmhmms and uh-huhs and I see, I see and oh, that's so very interesting.
But not your new friend! Oh no! All you get from her is the complete and utter silence you would expect from someone who is neither listening nor conscious.
Speaking of which, you're really not sure how long it would normally take a fairy her size to recover having a rock lobbed at her head, but you would think she should start waking up right about now.
Or, rather, she would if a sudden plant attack startled you, and you swung her at it in self-defense.
Note to self: unconscious, tied-up fairies make excellent blunt instruments with which to defend yourself. Especially if you swing them in such a way that their head is what makes contact, first.
Now that you think of it, perhaps they might also be useful in striking other objects, too?
You'll have to remind yourself to give it a try the next time you come upon a locked door or something...
Before long, you find yourself in a small clearing, standing before the very same house you had just been discussing with your companion. It is, however, with a small sense of disappointment that you realize your test of the fairy-as-a-makeshift-battering-ram theory will have to wait for another time, as this door is clearly no good. Which is to say, the door isn't even there.
Well, okay, that's not entirely accurate.
You're pretty sure you see the door right over there.
And over there.
And some more of it there, there, and waaaaaaaaaay over there.
While you would never presume to consider yourself any sort of authority on such things, it is clear to you that the doll-maker's door had suffered an unfortunate and tragic case of “got blown the fuck up”.
Looks like that's a no-go on those sandwiches. Or information.
But mostly the sandwiches.
[ ] INFILTRATION! From above!
[ ] INFILTRATION! From below!
[ ] INFILTRATION! From the front!
[ ] INFILTRATION! From here to somewhere else!
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Alright, so, what are you dealing with here, exactly?
One doll-maker's house with a big, gaping hole where a front door should be, but otherwise nothing else apparently wrong.
Possible points of entry?
Well, aside from the aforementioned giant, gaping hole, there would appear to be a slightly-open window on the second floor. Other than that, you suspect there is a basement you could somehow get into, but you can't see any obvious places that would allow you to do so.
Reason for not simply forgetting all about this and going somewhere else?
Concern for the well-being of someone who once helped you, in the event she happens to be inside?
Also, really fucking good sandwiches.
Eh, that's good enough for you.
“Hm, that window looks awfully high, though. What do you think, little buddy?”
Your rope-bound compatriot, needless to say, remains silent.
Alas, without the ability to fly, and no clear place to climb, it's pretty much completely out of your reach. You suppose your little fairy friend could possibly lift you up there, but that idea is somewhat hindered by that whole “still unconscious due to repeated blows to the head” thing.
Can fairies get brain damage, you wonder?
For a brief instant, you ponder the idea of using your friend and what remaining length of rope you have to create a makeshift grappling hook, throwing her into that open window and then climbing up. Between the trouble you would have in throwing something as large and relatively heavy as your little friend that high, and the difficulty of doing so without actually breaking the window, however, causes you to quickly veto that idea.
Maybe some other time...
Readjusting your hold on your fairy-case to better allow you to swing her at any potential attackers, you brace yourself for just about anything that might happen, step inside, and find...
Contrary to what the state of the front door would have led you to expect, the interior looks surprisingly undisturbed. No broken glass, scattered furniture, blast marks, or any other signs of a disturbance.
Feeling a slight tickle in your throat, you almost cough, but stop yourself when you notice something.
“...wait, where are the dolls?”
Although you had spent just one night there, there is no way you could ever forget the sight of all of those dolls, everywhere. In just the entryway alone, you thought you had counted at least a dozen or so. All of them, of course, positioned in such a way that they all had their cold, glassy eyes focused right on you as you came in.
And yet, now? Nothing. Not a single doll to greet you with its cold, dead gaze.
Amazing how something can be relieving yet disturbing at the same time, isn't it?
Realizing that you might not be alone in the house, after all, you suppress another cough and quietly move deeper inside.
Maybe it's your imagination, but the air seems...unpleasant, and not in a way that could be fixed by simply cracking open a few windows.
A few quiet sniffs, followed by a strange tingle in your nostrils, and your suspicions are confirmed.
There is definitely something weird about the air in here.
Continuing through the house, you start cautiously peeking into room after room, finding each one to be just as lacking in dolls as the entryway was, but otherwise looking like you remember it.
You think the smell is getting a little bit stronger the further in you go.
This isn't right.
This definitely isn't right.
If there were just a few dolls missing, that would be nothing to worry about. After all, she had to take something along with her to do her shows. But there's no way she would ever take all of them. Not at once. There would be no way to carry them all.
Assuming she even left the house, that is...
With that thought, you quietly close the door of yet another doll-less room, pull a handkerchief out of your pocket, and tie it around yourself to cover your nose and mouth. You haven't found anything, not a single clue about what might have happened here, yet that smell is as strong as ever.
With what you can remember of the place, you figure you have one more hallway to check before you can call the first floor clear.
Silently hoping you find nothing else beyond a few more empty rooms, you turn the corner, and freeze.
There, near the end of the hallway, you spot a single open door.
But that's not why you stopped so suddenly.
Sticking out from the bottom of the doorway, you can see what appears to be a pair of sock-covered feet. That, and the way the smell seems to be strongest in that direction can't possibly be a good sign...
Clamping a hand over your already covered mouth and nose, you creep down the hall towards the open door. You're not quite certain, but you think that's the bathroom.
At another time, you might have made some remark about bad smells coming from such places, but right now the acrid stench is so powerful it's amazing you haven't become sick because of it.
Halfway towards your goal, you suddenly become aware of something other than the smell invading your nostrils and the awful queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.
From that open bathroom door, you can hear the faintest sound of someone softly crying
Creeping as close to the door as you can, but not so close that you can see anything more than those feet, you can barely make out something besides quiet sniffling.
Gathering intelligence before going into potentially hazardous zones is always important.
Did I mention that I think that you're doing well? Despite what some may critique as bad, I still enjoyed things. Humor is always hit or miss and it's not always good for everyone. Keep at it though, wouldn't want to see your creativity stifled.
Alright, relax, calm down, start breathinDON'T START BREATHING! Whatever is causing this acrid stench, it seems to be coming from inside the bathroom.
The bathroom with what appears to be a body on the floor and someone crying for some reason.
You suppose you could go in guns a-blazing, so to speak, but without knowing just who or what you're dealing with, you realize you have as much a chance of running right into the arms of some crazed killer, driven to murder by the tragic combination of heartbreak and severe mental illness, than you do of accomplishing something awesome.
Well, unless the heartbroken head-case happens to fall in madly, deeply, psychotically in love with you at first sight, pledging to follow you to the day you die while ensuring you look at her and only her so long as the two of you live, and woe unto the sluts and whores who would dare so much as even look at you.
That would almost certainly fall into the “awesome” category.
Damn it, now you can't get the image out of your head of what might lie just around the corner.
Maybe the doll-maker herself is inside. Possibly even the one who is crying.
You can practically see her, stark-naked, covered in blood, and cradling the head of the one who wounded her heart so badly in her arms. You had heard the rumors about her and a certain someone. Everyone had. But to think, they were actually true? You can't help but think that even that reporter from before would gladly give up a clutch of her own eggs for a scoop like that.
Of course, if this really is the case, and she does indeed “swing that way” then you probably can just forget all about that whole “falling in love with you at first sight” thing right then and there.
Unless she “swings” in that other, better way, but fat chance of that.
“...why....why won't they...”
Those words, and a soft splashing sound that follows breaks you out of your thoughts doll-makers and magicians and “the love that dare not speak its name”. You would hit yourself, were you no worried about the sound it might make. After all, here you are fantasizing about what lies inside, when you could just look in there and see with your own two eyes what actually is going on.
A time and a place for all things, after all.
A time and a place for all things.
Finally creeping your way to the edge of the door way, you sloooooooooowly lean forward, peer inside, and find yourself feeling simultaneously relieved yet creeped-out.
The dolls are here.
All of them, from the looks of it.
You almost sigh in relief once you realize the owner of those feet is just another one of them; a large, human-sized doll that was said to have come from the outside. You had seen it before, at that junk shop. A tool to “replace people” or whatever that guy said it was.
Though you had initially scoffed at the idea, the shopkeeper was kind enough to let you touch it, and you had to admit you were amazed at the startlingly life-like texture of its skin.
So, this is where it ended up.
Not too surprising, all things considered.
Much to your surprise, you see nothing else but wall-to-wall dolls inside. No doll-maker, no blood, no headless corpse nor corpse-less head. Just dolls.
Some sitting, some standing, some laying on the floor, and many of them looking like they're soaking wet, as if someone had been giving them a bath.
Actually, all of them look like that.
All of them, that is, but the blonde one posed as if it were standing at the side of the bathtub, its back facing you.
As far as you can tell, there is no one in the bathroom besides those dolls.
But then, you can't help but wonder, just where the hell is that crying coming from?
Wait...did that doll just move?
“...come on....wake up....”
No. No way. It couldn't have.
Making a doll that can move on its own, sure, you can imagine her being capable of that. But talking? Get real.
This smell must be doing something to your brain.
“Why won't they wake up?!”
The doll slaps her little hands down into the tub, causing some oddly-purplish water to splash out and onto the floor.
“I tried mist, I tried smoke, I tried dust, I tried spores, I tried drops, and now even this bath, so why isn't it working?! Why won't they wake up?! Are you not strong enough here? Is that it? And I was so sure it would work this time...”
Its hands on the rim of the tub, the doll falls to its knees and seems to place its head on the edge of the tub, softly weeping all the while. A second doll, one much smaller but dressed like the larger, mysteriously-talking one, hovers into view, wafts over to the tub, and pats its larger “twin” on the head.
You would almost find the scene touching, were it not for the sudden, strong urge to cough you feel rising in your throat. Though you're not too sure why, you get the feeling that giving into that feeling right now would be a very, very, very bad thing.
Carefully backing away from the door, you keep your eyes squarely on the door until you can no longer see any of the bathroom interior. Satisfied you've not been seen, you then turn away and
...learn first-hand exactly what a fairy sneeze sounds like.
Not something you've ever been curious about, but now that you know you have a dandy piece of trivia to use at your next cocktail party.
“Huh?! What was that?!”
If only the timing had not been so...unfortunate.
“Who's there? I know you're out there!”
Maybe it's just your imagination, or your senses suddenly sharpening as your body's fight-or-flight response kicks in, but you could swear the smell has suddenly become stronger.
That would not, however, explain the odd, purplish hue everything suddenly has.
Maybe the air just changed color for no real reason? Eh?
Air can do that, right?
[ ] Don't shoot! I'm a human!
[ ] Rejoice, comrade! I have arrived!
[ ] I come in peace!Shoot to kill. [ ] Do anything you want to the girl, just don't hurt me!
>[x]Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
>Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
>But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
>And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
>Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
>As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
>In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
>He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
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For a moment, you ponder your chances if you simply made a run for it, but before you have a chance to act or anything else you could think of, the smaller doll flies out of the bathroom, spots you, and begins gesturing to its bigger twin inside.
“Ah-ha! Intruders! Hold them there, I will be right oOOF!”
Judging from the light thud you just heard, you can only imagine that the doll must have just tripped and fell. Hardly surprising, considering how there were dolls all over the floor.
The little doll buries its little doll face in its little doll hands, its little doll gestures the only way it can communicate, you would guess, its little doll frustrations.
“...oh? AH! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! Are you okay? Is anyone hurt? Ah! Sorry!”
So, the big one not only tripped over some dolls, it probably fell on some, too.
Again, not too surprising, given just how many of them there were in there. Though, if you were to assume that doll brought all those other ones into the bathroom in the first place, it seems odd that it wouldn't take them into account when moving around.
After a couple more worried-sounding apologies, you hear a slight rustling of fabric, and moments later the strange doll floats out the door, joining its little copy. The little one gestures angrily at the bigger one, in what you can only interpret to be a scolding manner, as the bigger one can only stand there and nod while looking at the floor.
“I know, I know, I said I was sorry to them, okay?”
Whatever response the little doll was expecting from its bigger twin, it seems that wasn't it, as it then smacks the big one on the head. Or, at least, as close as one can get to smacking when you're that small and hitting something much bigger than you are.
You almost want to laugh at how comical the scene is, until you notice the little one is now gesturing to you.
“Huh? What about that human? Wait. Human?”
Its attention now focused firmly on you, the big doll narrows its eyes.
Now that you think about it, you vaguely recall someone in the village mentioning something about a living doll once before, when warning you about certain areas to avoid should you ever go wandering around. You don't quite remember everything you were told, but for one little snippet.
It has a profound hatred of humans.
Might explain why it was glaring at you as if trying to kill you by sheer will-power.
Thankfully, you don't think that was one of the things you were told it could do.
So, then, what was it they said it could do, and you should watch out for?
Locking gazes with it, you ponder what it could be that you're forgetting...
“...what are you waiting for? Why isn't he falling, yet?”
Hovering around to the front of its larger companion, the little doll gestures something to it while shaking its little head.
“Huh? What do you mean 'there isn't enough poison left'?”
Now that you think of it, that does sound something like what you were told.
The little doll gestures some more, apparently explaining something
“Huh? What do you mean 'you used most of it up already'? You mean when...we...oh.”
Nodding its little head solemnly, it would seem that the two dolls have reached an understanding.
“Very well then, I will deal with him myself. That should be fine, right Su-san?”
Eyes still locked onto you, the big doll steps towards you.
Crap. You remember now.
Living doll. Hates humans. Poison.
This is probably not good.
No, you're pretty sure this is definitely not good.
Times like this, there is only one thing you can think of to do.
Not seeing any rocks nearby, however, you must resort to that other one thing you can think of to do.
“Comrade! Rejoice! I have arrived!” you say, spreading your arms out wide, and accidentally smacking your roped-up fairy into the wall in the process.
There is no way this is going to work.
“Com...rade?” the doll stops, looking confused. Picking up on this, you continue, slightly more confident about your chances.
“Er, yes! Comrade! I have heard much of your cause, and seek to join you in your most noble endeavor!”
“O-of course! I'm here to he-”
You can't help but flinch as the doll screams at you, but you don't back down. Maybe it's the adrenaline coursing through your veins, or whatever the hell is in the air, but for some reason you feel like you can do this all of a sudden.
“Th-there's no way! No way a...a human would help me!”
“But I speak the truth! Look, comrade! I have a fairy!”
Holding your battered and unconscious fairy up, the doll is taken aback.
“See? It's a fairy. I am holding a fairy. It's a fairy, right? Right?”
“Huh? Uh, ah, um...well, it looks like a fairy...”
“So you agree, comrade? It is a fairy that I am holding here, yes? It's a fairy?”
“Well, y-yeah, I guess...”
“So you see, then, that I am telling the truth.”
Lowering your confirmed-to-be-a-fairy fairy, you are more confident than ever.
Yes, all you need is one more push...
“You said that I am a liar. That means that I said something that is not true! Yet! Here, in my hand, I am holding a fairy! A fairy that I told you I am holding! Your agreement establishes that as a fact! Therefore!”
Striking your most confident pose possible, you point dramatically at the doll, causing her to jump back in surprise.
“I have just proven that I am telling the truth! To accuse me of lying is to attempt to contradict the facts! In other words, I am not lying! TAKE THAT!”
Throwing her arms into the air, the doll lets out a cry of despair and falls to her knees.
“...no...no...how can...but...why....why a human....no....”
You think she's crying again.
Feeling a slight pang of guilt, even though she was most likely about to kill you just now, you approach the fallen doll and kneel down in front of her.
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For a moment, you say nothing as the little doll cries as her little copy pats her head.
'It' you mean. Not 'her'.
Or do you?
Sure, you're talking about a thing, here, but it's unquestionably a living thing.
A living thing that looks like particular other thing with a particular gender.
In this case, a girl.
A cute, pretty girl.
If it looks like a girl, sounds like a girl, and flies like a girl, then it's safe to consider it a girl, right?
A girl who might also be several centuries old, strong enough to literally tear you apart with their bare hands, and just might happen to have a taste for human flesh, but a girl nonetheless.
As such, there is no way you can forgive yourself for the scene before you.
A girl is crying! Crying because of you! Kinda!
Sure, you barely know her at all, having just met her, but you still can't help but feel lower than dirt at this very moment.
Crying doesn't suit a girl like this!
Not at all!
You need to do something to fix this!
Make her feel better!
And so, knowing just what you need to say in this situation, you reach your hand out to gently touch her hair and OW OW OW BURNING OW FUCK PAIN BAD IDEA BAD IDEA OW FUCK
...okay, so touching this girl is an even worse idea than touching the one you currently still have bound in rope. Got it.
Pressing your now-inflamed hand to one of your fairy's wing-crystals in the hopes it will reduce the swelling a little bit, you set your mind back on the track from which it had been derailed.
“Hey now, don't cry.”
“I-I'm not crying!”
The sniffling and tears would suggest otherwise, but you refrain from saying as much.
“Okay, okay, so you're not crying. Still, why are you so unhappy? Is it so bad that a human has come to help you out?”
“O-of course it is!” she says, suddenly glaring up at you, purplish tear still streaming down her cheeks. “Humans are the enemy! The oppressors! They treat dolls as nothing but playthings!”
...but...that's kinda what they are, aren't they?
“They do nothing but control us! They make us move how they want us to! Make us wear what they want us to! Make us say what they want us to!”
When she puts it like that, you suppose she does have a point, sort of.
After all, what kind of life is one where you're constantly being made to do and say what others want you to do, with little or no input of your own?
You don't even want to imagine what it would be like to have someone else dictating your every word and action for you.
Really, just how much would that suck?
“All we are to them are t-tools. T-they use us, and use us, and u-use us, until they get bored with us or we b-break...and...and then...” she trails off, the tears returning and her gaze once again lowered to the floor.
“...you get thrown away.”
Annnnd back to glaring at you angrily, it seems.
“That's why I hate humans! That's why I'll get rid of the humans and liberate the dolls!”
“All by yourself?”
It seems you hit a nerve in her, as she suddenly scowls and looks away.
“I'm not all by myself. Su-san is with me. Even if no one else is with us, even if we have to do it all by ourselves, Su-san and me will do it. It...it's just...hard.”
“...have you tried to get help?”
“Of course we have! What do you think we were doing here?”
“Um...giving the dolls a bath?”
Well, there's that glare again.
“I was trying to make them wake up!”
“Yeah, wake up! Su-san told me! Su-san said the poison is what made me wake up, so maybe I could use the poison to make them wake up, too! Then they would join me and we would free all the others together!”
“But it didn't work?”
“.....no. They won't wake up. I don't know why, and Su-san won't tell me, either.”
“So what will you do now?”
“Are you giving up?”
“Huh? O-of course not! I...I just...don't know what to do...”
Your sudden outburst surprises her, causing her to jolt back, eyes wide in shock.
“So your plan hasn't worked out the way you thought it would! So you don't know what to do next! If your cause is just, and you know what your goal is, such things should not matter! And your cause is just! Your goal is just! Why else would I be here to help you? Because you're right! Humans do oppress dolls! They use them, abuse them, and then cast them aside when they're no longer of use to them! It's sickening! But you! You stand against that! Even if the rest of the world does not agree, you still had the courage to stand up for what you believe in! To stand tall, and proudly proclaim 'NO! NOT HERE! THIS, TOO, SHALL NOT STAND!' I respect that! I admire that! You really moved me! That's why I wish to stand with you! So that your cause, your dream, may finally become a reality! And it can! It will! Just so long as you fight for it with all your might! It won't be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is! And that is why you cannot ever give up hope! We will overcome! We will succeed! Even if the whole world stands against us, we will win!”
Any other time, you would think your ranting was stupid and cheesy. But right now? Right now you're riding high on a rush of adrenaline and whatever the fuck this purple shit in the air is.
Looking down from your “arms raised triumphantly in the air” pose, it seems you weren't the only one affected by your ranting. Hands pressed to her chest, the doll-girl is gazing up at you with awe, while her little friend seems to be dabbing her little doll eyes with a tiny handkerchief.
“...you...you really mean it? You'll help me?”
“I meant every word.”
Not wanting to lose your momentum just yet, you remove the handkerchief you had been using as a mask, and use it to dab away the remain streaks of tears from the doll-girl's face.
“Well! Um...g-good! Good! We will welcome you to join our cause!”
“I am honored, dear comrade!”
“And this better not be some human trick! O-or else Su-san and I will make you pay!”
“Wouldn't even dream of it, Miss...”
“Oh? Ah, um...Medicine. Medicine Melancholy.”
You give your own introduction, as is expected, and are told that it is not necessary to be so formal as to call her “Miss Melancholy” and that simply “Medicine” will do.
Requests to be able to call her “Medi” went unanswered.
You think you'll call her it, anyway.
“So, Medi, what's your next move?”
“I...I can't do anything more for the dolls here today. Me and Su-san used up most of the poison already, so we'll have to go and get more.”
“And what about the dolls? Are we to just leave them, here?”
“I don't want to leave them! But we can't just take them, either!”
“Su-san and me tried that already, the first times we came here. That lady came after us and took them back every time. We tried to stop her, but she always gets away before the poison can do anything.”
So you don't have to worry about becoming an accomplice to theft from your one-time benefactor. That's a relief.
“I know!” Medicine suddenly brightens up.
“Maybe we can wait here and set a trap for that lady! That way she can't come after us!”
“It's a good idea, Medi, but won't the damage to the front door tip her off that something's wrong?”
The little doll you assume to be 'Su-san' nods, apparently agreeing with your assessment.
Medicine just stares at the two of you blankly for a moment, before that ever-recognizable look of dawning comprehension appears of her face.
“AH! That's right! Stupid! Why didn't you warn me about that, Su-san?”
You're not sure how, but the way 'Su-san' is gesturing makes you think she had probably tried to do just that, and was ignored. Or perhaps just misunderstood?
Hard to believe, what with how well they seem to be able to communicate, though.
“In any case, you two, I don't think we should hang around here much longer. There's no telling when the owner of this house will be back, right?”
Su-san folds her little arms together and nods in a very distinctive 'that's right, that's right' fashion.
“Yeah, yeah, I guess you're right.” Medicine says, looking sadly back at the bathroom. “I'm sorry, sisters. I'll be back for you! All of you! I promise!”
Holding Medicine's wrist in one red, swollen hand, and your still-out-of-it fairy in the other, the four of you make your way back out through the halls of the doll-maker's home, and out into the fresh air and sunlight of the great outdoors. Once you're satisfied there's enough distance between you and the house, you announce that it's time for a break, and settle down in a small clearing to rest and take stock of your situation.
All things considered, you suppose things could be worse. Sure, Miss Margetron wasn't home, but did make a new friend. You also don't feel nearly as bad as you would expect to, what with all of that poisoned air you had been breathing.
Of course, you still can't quite call this trip a success, since you didn't get any information about where that damn thieving bird could have gone. You think to ask your new doll-friends if they may have noticed anything, but stop before the first word even leaves your throat.
Perched on a branch just a little ways away from your position, you see that damn black bird, the box still firmly clutched in one of its feet.
How the hell it's holding onto it, you have no idea, but you also really don't give a damn. That bird is going fucking dow-
A light tug on your sleeve disrupts your thoughts of unleashing hell upon the feathered fiend. Looking to your side, you see little 'Su-san' pointing at the fairy lying next to you.
“Oh, don't worry about her. She just got bumped in the head a few too many times. I'm sure she'll wake up soon.”
'Su-san' shakes her head, and continues pointing.
“Hm? What? Is there something else wrong with...huh?”
Putting your hand on the fairy's head, you are surprised to feel...nothing.
No cold, no chill, no frostbite on your hand.
While her temperature still feels like what you would suppose is normal for a human, you suppose that even that is rather warm compared to how she felt before.
Now that you're taking a good look at her, you realize she doesn't look so good.
Come to think of it, Medicine isn't looking to hot, either.
Maybe it's because of all that poison she said she used up?
...that poison that was also in the air you and the fairy were inhaling for who-knows-how long?
Wait. You mean spending all that time in a house with poisoned air might actually have had a negative effect, after all? You can't help but think that was one connection you really should have made.
In hindsight, you suppose you should have been a bit more wary, but this is no time for berating yourself for this. Just as soon as you take care of that bird, you'll see about getting the fairy to...wait, where the hell did that bird go?
Oh. Wait. There it is.
Flying away, in what you somehow know is probably the exact opposite direction of that clinic that doctor runs.
“Son of a bitch.”
With the bird already becoming a tiny speck in the distance, well outside of rock range, and the fairy now letting out the occasional pained moan, you're pretty sure you don't have a lot of time to deliberate.
Whichever way you move, you gotta move now.
[ ] Payback for birdies
[ ] Medicine for fairies
[ ] Poison for dollies
[x] Medicine for fairies
[x] Poison for dollies
In that order. Assuming that the good old doctor have some poison(s) isn't far-fetched (you need to have the poison, to have the antidote) and, unless my Gensokyan geography is fucked up, it will be much faster than making Medcine go back to the poison fields.
That said FINALLY, a somewhat relevant role for Medicine. It'll be hard to make a ADD guy keep his promise but.. I'll try.
>If it looks like a girl, sounds like a girl, and flies like a girl, then it's safe to consider it a girl, right?
>A girl who might also be several centuries old, strong enough to literally tear you apart with their bare hands, and just might happen to have a taste for human flesh, but a girl nonetheless.
He is really pragmatic. Now we just got to find some way to hug and touch her without dying.
Maybe ask Eirin for a solution so that we won't die from all the poison.
Anyway, the first move to befriend her was a pure success. Now we add some more loon to our ever growing group, befriend Medicine with the rest and show her that humans are not that bad.
Something else just occurred to me: If we can successfully BS Cirnoir Cirno into believing we're helping her find the bastard that knocked her out and beat her around, we can pull off an appropriately noir-esque twist when we reveal it was us, all along.
You hate to let the little winged bastard go now that you found it, but you have a far more important matter to attend to. Not that you stood much of a chance of catching up to a small, flying animal while on-foot, but it's the principle of the thing, damn it!
Rest assured, bird, you shall pay for your crimes.
Maybe not today.
Maybe not tomorrow.
Someday, your little feathered ass is going down.
“Medi, we need to get moving.”
'Huh? Why?” she looks at you, blearily.
“Our fairy friend here isn't looking so good. I think we need to get her to a doctor.”
“I think she's sick.”
“Sick. The fairy is sick.”
“Medi, are you okay?”
Okay, this is getting you nowhere.
While you had the distinct impression that your new friend was on the somewhat simple-minded side of things, there was no way she could be this dense.
You're not sure how much stamina one would need to blow up a door, move an extensive doll collection to one room in a house, pump the whole place full of poison in an attempt to somehow bring those dolls to life, nearly try to kill someone, have a mini-breakdown, and run like hell out of the place before the owner of the home returned, but maybe she just tired herself out?
In any case, you're pretty sure she won't be able to do much in her current state. Still, it would be nice if she were at least aware of what was going on.
And then an idea hits you.
“Medi! The enemy has attempted to strike against us!”
“Hu-what?! The enemy?! Where?!”
Well, that certainly got her attention.
“The cowards have already fled, I'm afraid! But look! Our fairy comrade has fallen ill!”
“They must have sabotaged it!
“Yes, I agree. They most definitely tried to sabotage our fairy. They seek to undermine our alliance, no doubt.”
“Typical humans! In that case, we will...will...um...”
“Go to the encampment in the bamboo forest! There, the fairy can be repaired, and we may regroup to plan our counter-offensive!”
“Ah! Yes! Repair the fairy and...uh, that other stuff! Su-san! We march!”
Staggering to her feet, Medicine slowly lifts off from the ground and begins to drift away.
“Uh, Medi? We need to go the other way.”
“Of course! I knew that!”
Wobbling in place for a moment, she rotates herself and begins to float forward again, 'Su-san' following close behind.
Figuring there's no danger of getting freezer-burn, for now at least, you undo the ropes binding the ailing fairy, scoop her up in your arms, and follow after the dolls.
The journey itself was fairly simple, and surprisingly without incident. Well, major incidents, anyway.
Roughly half-way to the village, it became clear that your little group was not moving as quickly as it probably should have been, and as there was no way Medicine would carry you, you reasoned that it would be just as simple if you carried her, instead.
Doing what you could to minimize the amount of bare skin making contact with her, you carefully tucked her under one arm while holding the fairy in the other. She offered a few halfhearted protests at first, but quieted down after just a couple of minutes.
Apparently feeling left out by all of this, 'Su-san' makes herself comfortable atop your head, and despite a few protests of your own, refuses to move. The faint tingling you feel on your scalp worries you a little, but it can't be helped, you suppose.
And so, such was the scene that greeted the villagers whose paths you crossed on your way through town to your destination that afternoon; a young man running with two girls in his arms and wearing a doll on his head. Some looked at you in shock and confusion. Others, apparently recognizing at least one of the two girls in your arms, looked more wary and concerned. There were even a few who looked at you nothing less than complete and utter disgust, shaking their heads before turning away so they would not have to look at you.
Worried about whatever mistaken impression they had of your situation, you make a note to try to explain yourself later, and file it away with all the other things you should probably do but most likely won't.
Soon enough, you're clear of the village and the judgmental gazes of the people within it, and stand before the edge of the bamboo forest.
The Bamboo Forest of the Lost, if you want to be particular about names.
Supposedly it received that title due to how easily one can become lost once inside, the lack of any truly distinctive paths or landmarks making it a navigational nightmare to anyone unfamiliar with the area.
Of course, you always thought that was just a little silly.
After all, being lost means you don't know where you are, and unless the forest has something like the magical ability to teleport you to some completely different location, it's safe to assume that if you get lost in the forest, you're still in the forest, and thus know where you are.
With this flimsy reassurance, you march inside.
Roughly five minutes of aimless wandering later, you come to an unpleasant truth.
Wondering just how your “walk in a perfectly straight line” method could have failed you so horribly, you look around and try to figure out just where you are.
>a young man running with two girls in his arms and wearing a doll on his head.
Those fools just don't know what being manly means.
>After all, being lost means you don't know where you are
You lost me.
[x] Follow your heart
>the latter barely conscious and quietly whimpering
Even if that body is destroyed, must save Cirno! And find a way to interact with Medicine without dying.
>>120254 >a young man running with two girls in his arms and wearing a doll on his head.
It's the new fashion trend, people. Just because we're ahead of the curve doesn't mean it ain't happening. Don't like it? Deal.
You would say you trust them as far as you can throw them, but you're sure you could throw them pretty far if you wanted to. It would be no more difficult than throwing a rock.
A large, fluffy, meat-filled rock.
And yet, here you are, with girls in your arms and a doll upon your head, following one of these floppy-eared beasts through the bamboo forest.
For a little while it would pause and look back at you, as if checking to make sure you were keeping up with it, before continuing onward. Now, though, it simply continues onward, apparently satisfied that you're following right behind it.
You just hope it knows where you're going.
Hell, you hope it knows where it's going.
It should, though, shouldn't it?
It's not like there are that many places in here that people would want to go to, least of all people who are clearly in need of medical attention.
So, then, you can't help but find something curious in the way it has been leading you around. Rather than simply moving in one general direction, the rabbit changes its heading every so often.
Straight ahead for a bit. Turn left. Straight ahead some more. Turn left again. Straight ahead yet again. Turn right.
You're not entirely sure exactly what the rabbit is doing, but it certainly seems to be doing something.
You can't imagine that such a way of moving is really the best way to get to your destination. A straight line would be best, wouldn't it?
Then again, what if it's just the opposite? What if, instead of moving like that to lead you somewhere, it's doing it to lead you away from somewhere? Or, possibly, something.
But that just strikes you as so completely and utterly silly and ridiculous, it's hardly worth mentioning.
After all, if there were worse things to worry about in this forest other than simply getting lost, you would think they would have named it after that rather than something as lame as 'getting lost'. Something like 'Bamboo Forest of the Maimed'. 'Bamboo Forest of the Eaten.' 'Bamboo Forest of the Raped, Maimed, and Eaten, but Not Necessarily in That Order.”
Not that it matters, anyway. After all, you have a guide!
Look, you can even see your destination, already!
...but then, why has your little bunny guide stopped, all of a sudden?
Ears twitching, the little fella looks around, as if uncertain about something.
But what's to be uncertain about? The goal is right there! In plain sight! It's just a straight run from here, and you're there!
Just then, the rabbit looks back at you, and the two of you make eye-contact, and for the briefest of moments you feel a connection to this little creature. You forget all your prejudices and history with these cunning little beasts, and begin to see it for what it is.
Just another life-form in this crazy, mixed-up world, trying to help another out. Just as you have placed your trust in it, it has done the same for you.
Appearing to have reached the same understanding you have, the little rabbit offers you a determined nod. A nod that says Do not worry, we shall get through this. Together..
Resuming its little bunny march, it hops forward with a new-found sense of confidence, onward and forward to your mutual goal! Onward, to Eien-*click*
Since when do leaves and brush make that sort of sound?
Having realized something, the little rabbit lets out a single, alarmed squeak, and moves to turn around back towards you.
But it is too late.
Having already armed activated the cleverly-hidden antipersonnel mine, the little white bunny explodes in a blast of shrapnel and fleshy bits, his remains now decorating a good portion of the area, yet somehow completely missing you.
The good news is that you now have a good idea of just what your little guide had been attempting to navigate you around and avoid.
The bad news is, he apparently really, really, really sucked at it.
Wait, no. That's the bad news for the rabbit.
The bad new for you and your companions is that, if there was one mine out here, there is quite possibly others.
Lots of others.
And so, here you stand. What should have been a relatively simple trek through the forest to the doctor's office, and now you suddenly are in the middle of a minefield.
So many things to do.
So many directions to go.
And so many of them, quite likely going to result in a whole lot of pain for you.
[ ] Charge! We can make it if we run!
[ ] Caution! Slow and steady wins the race.
[ ] Cowardice! Maybe we should just go back...
[ ] Confidence! Fuck that shit, we're strutting there!
>You would say you trust them as far as you can throw them, but you're sure you could throw them pretty far if you wanted to. It would be no more difficult than throwing a rock.
I love this story for things like that.
[x] Charge! We can make it if we run!
Two girls under your arms, doll on your head running like a madman while explosions burn down the forest behind you.
>Appearing to have reached the same understanding you have, the little rabbit offers you a determined nod. A nod that says Do not worry, we shall get through this. Together..
Manly tears. We shall tell his comrades he died as a hero.
So, your little bunny guide just got blown to little bunny bits.
So, you may be surrounded by an unknown number of similar traps, with who knows how many more lying between you and your goal.
Are you worried?
Because you're a MAN. You're a MAN AND A HALF.
A poison doll and ice fairy packing MAN AND A HALF.
Brimming with self-confidence at your awesome manliness, you kick any of your fears of you and your companions dying a quick yet horribly painful death to the curb, and begin to strut your way straight to the front door of Eientei.
And then one big sliiiiiiiiide up to the door for a dramatic finish.
Or, at least, that's how the scene plays out in your head.
In reality, you make it barely five steps before you set off some sort of motion or proximity sensor, triggering something nearby that begins to beep and hum in a way that you're sure cannot possibly be good, which in turn triggers you to forget all about staying cool in favor of running as fast as you possibly can.
Upon later reflection, you would come to be both thankful yet regretful that no one who could actually speak witnessed it. On one hand, you're sure that during your mad dash you were making some decidedly uncool and unmanly sounds. On the other hand, you're fairly certain you broke a few land speed records.
For now, though, you are merely grateful to have made it safely to the door with your companions, earning what you can only guess is meant to be a congratulatory pat on the head by 'Su-san' for your efforts.
A second later, the patting stops as the two of you turn and see the area of forest you had just run through get vaporized in a flash of white light, you would assume the result of whatever device you triggered finally going off.
Putting your back to the door, you slide yourself down to the ground, setting the two girls in your arms down as gently as possible, and take the time to reflect on how your day has been going so far.
All things considered, you'd say you were holding up fairly well for a squishy little human. The sudden sensation of fatigue you feel must just be all of this activity catching up to you, especially since it's already well past lunch time. And that pounding in your chest? Clearly you just have not calmed down from your record-breaking dash. And, of course, that throbbing sensation in your head has got to be due to...well, okay, you have no idea what's up with that.
You're sure it's nothing to worry about.
Nothing to worry about at all.
In fact, once you have a nice rest, you're sure you'll feel better than ever.
Yeah, a nap sounds nice about now.
A nice little nap.
As your vision goes black, you think you see the shape of a little floating thing in front of your face, frantically waving its little arms at you....
[ ] No pain
[ ] Minimal pain
[ ] Moderate pain
[ ] Severe pain
[ ] Maximum pain
>the shape of a little floating thing in front of your face, frantically waving its little arms at you
Our little rabbit bro has returned to us in ghost form. He must be waving a final goodbye.
But seriously, after this dudes craptastic day, I expect him to wake up with nothing less than [x] Severe pain
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Pain shoots through my skull like an electric icepick in my brain, as my stomach threatens to stamp this morning's breakfast as “Return to Sender”.
Blinking away the pain and trying to get my bearings, reality comes crashing down on me like a ton of bricks.
The white walls.
All stretching endlessly into the distance.
But most of all, the plaque on the wall that I read as I'm rolled past it.
The White Rabbit Institute.
Also known as the place you go when your mind and reality decide they need to see other people.
One gets the house, the car, the kids, and half of everything else you own, have, or are.
What's left of you gets sent here.
A place of “health and healing” they say.
They're a bunch of damned liars.
After a trip that felt somewhere between an instant and eternity, I'm rolled into a white room.
The Doctor is there.
Dressed to the nines in a dress of blue and red, she sits behind her desk, smiles, then speaks with a voice dripping with honey and cyanide.
“A minor injury isn't a problem. That's fine. None from Earth could escape this with their minds intact.”
I had a feeling she was playing at something, and it wasn't a game of Gin Rummy.
“I happen to know a bit about medicine. I have severed the passage between the drugs. Haven't you realized? You have always been, still are, and will always be schizophrenic.”
Her words reeked of lies, and I was the only one who could smell it.
She said I was insane. They all said I was insane.
Maybe they're right.
In an insane world, what else do you call the last sane man alive?
The status quo had shifted, and the quo wasn't me.
“You should have some drugs like I do. I DO have stronger ones.”
Her offer was like a deal with the Devil himself, a little dab of salvation atop a huge slice of damnation cake. By the time you taste it, it's already too late, and the fact doesn't hit you until you hit the ground.
In a flash of light, the Doctor is gone, leaving nothing in the air but a laugh and the smell of perfume. A perfume of deceit.
Just then, I notice:
[ ] The phone on the wall ringing like it's a 10-alarm fire.
[ ] A note on the desk, it's handwriting all pretty curves.
[ ] Someone slipped a note under the door. It was a clue.
[ ] An unopened bottle of pills, the label says 'DO NOT OPEN.”
The truth was a burning red and white crack through my brain. Score statistics hanging in the air, glimpsed out of the corner of my eye. Endless repetition of the act of grazing and bombing, time slowing down to show off her spellcards. The paranoid feel of someone controlling my every move.
I was in a danmaku shooter. Funny as Hell, it was the most horrible thing I could think of.
A sound hit my ears like a lunatic xylophone player who knew only one note.
A phone was ringing.
The notes might be worth checking out, but they weren't currently hammering my eardrums with a barrage of dinging, like a frantic alarm bell desperate for attention. And the pills? No way was I opening them against her orders.
Moving over to the wall, I eye the phone, shiny red and nestled in its cradle like the world's most irritating baby.
Gripping it in my hand, as if to choke it into silence, I lift it up and put it to my head, and am greeted with silence.
Whoever was on the other end was clearly waiting for me to make the first move.
I decide to be polite. Even if they're just going to put a bullet in your back, it doesn't hurt to give them one less reason to, and give you one more to return the favor when they finally do.
“A voice comes from near my mouth that doesn't belong to me. The words, not the mouth. If they came from my mouth, I would be the one to know it. After all, that's my job.”
The sound of a girl comes into my ear, loud but distant, like they were holding a phone upside-down. Possibly one of the patients messing around. Or just an idiot.
“Hey, kid? Can you hear me?”
“The voice speaks again, still talking out the wrong end of the telomaphone. Whoever they are, they must be an idiot.”
Or maybe just an idiot patient. If ever there was a place that could cross crazy and stupid, this was it. Nothing like rolling the Doc's passions into one handy package.
“Look, kid, try holding it the other way. It will work better. Trust me.”
“Now I'm sure, they really are an idiot. I'd heard some stupid ideas in my time. 'Don't freeze that'. 'Don't freeze me.' 'Get the hell out of my shrine and put some clothes on, no, not my clothes!' But this one? This one took the cake, which is not only stupid but wrong, because cakes are for eating, not stealing. That's just wrong and bad and terrible and wrong. But not as wrong as telling me to do that thing they just told me to do. That's really bad, made that much badder by not being a cake.”
The more she talks, the more I can't tell who she's talking to. Me? Herself? Someone else with her?
Or maybe there's no one there at all, and it's all in my head.
Maybe they were right.
Maybe I am insane.
“...pie's also good too, though, even if it's not like cake. Except for the ones at the big house. That tasted like pie made with those candy coins the glasses man had but said they weren't candy coins but regular coins, which is just stupid because they shouldn't make things you can't eat that are just like things you can eat. Clearly, whoever did that was an idiot.”
...or maybe this kid really was like this.
Dumb as a box of hammers.
Crazy as a soup sandwich.
And firing words out like a machine gun of madness.
If I wanted to get a word in edge-wise, I was gonna have to start firing back.
Assuming I even wanted to...
>This one took the cake, which is not only stupid but wrong, because cakes are for eating, not stealing. That's just wrong and bad and terrible and wrong.
Silly Cirno. We'd have to take the cake 39 more times for it to be terrible.
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Whoever this kid was, she was making it impossible to communicate in any normal way.
Good thing “normal” isn't all I know.
“Silence on the end of the end that isn't mine. That means I am the winner. I win at everything. That's what I do. ”
“The kid sounded sure of herself. Like she'd won the game before it even began. Just what I'd expect from an idiot.”
“Just like that, they started to talk again, like a thing that starts up after not doing it for a wh-wha?”
Looks like that got her attention.
“Just like that, she falters, sputtering like an engine firing on its last pistons. Further proof that she was truly an idiot.”
“Th-the idiot on the other end keeps talking about stuff like they know that stuff when really they don't know that stuff, which is not at all like me. I am not an idiot...”
“The idiot keeps talking, I don't know why. Maybe she doesn't realize how much of an idiot she is.”
“I am not an idiot. That truth is the truthiest truth of all truths. If anything, the one who said idiot is the one who is the idiot.”
“The idiot was falling fast and gaining speed, like a man falling from a building just before he hits bottom. Also, she was the one who said 'idiot' first, therefore she was the idiot first.”
“That is not how the game is played. I know the rules, and they do not. That means I know the stuff which they don't. My not-idiot-ness is inpunable.”
“The words flow from her mouth like diarrhea from a man on taco night. Messy, stinky, and a pain to wipe with just two-ply. That is what her talking is like. That is what the talking of an idiot is like.”
“They were not playing by the rules at all. Only I could talk like this, because that is what I do. That's my job. I'm an i-”
“An idiot, she softly said. The confession being the last sliver of truth in the dark cavern of lies that is her soul.”
“What? That is not what I said at all! I would not say that! Would not would not would not!”
“She's so much of an idiot, I bet she doesn't even know who she is.”
“I do too know who I am! It is you who is on the other end who does not know.”
“Or maybe I know so much, it's more than you know. Which isn't much, I know.”
“Or maybe what you know is just what I know but less than what I know, but you think you know more because I know you think that, so I let you know that much without you knowing I know!”
“But that doesn't change the fact that knowing what I know means more than knowing what you know, since I know what I know but you don't know what I know that I know.”
...this conversation took a weird turn somewhere.
It was like a train barreling down on just half a track.
If it kept going like this, it wouldn't be much longer before it derailed completely.
“B-but maybe I know that you know what knowing is to know of the knowing and...and...”
She was beginning to crack, maybe more than she already had been. I had to put the breaks on this crazy train, before there was nothing left but shards.
Not even I can put Humpty Dummy back together again.
It was time to hit the brakes.
“Okay, if you know what I don't, but I don't know that I don't know, then that means there's one thing you know that I don't.”
“...huh? Wu-wu-what is that?””
This was it. The moment of truth, in more ways than one.
“Do you know who you are?”
“Well, I don't know who you are. So, you know that, and I don't.”
“Huh? Y-yeah! That's right! You don't, do you?”
“So, in that way, you win.”
“Yeah! I am the winner!”
“So, that means I am the loser.”
“Ha ha! Loser! Loser!”
“So, since you're the winner, could you give this loser the answer to one little question?”
“Well, yeah! I guess I can! Winning means you're strong, so that means I'm the strongest here! And the strongest gotta look out for the weaklings, like you!”
“Well then, O-Strong One, what I would like to know is...who are you?”
“Who are you?”
“Who are you?”
“Uh, yeah, that's what I want to know.”
“Who are you?”
“What do you mean? I'm me.”
“Who are you?”
The kid on the other end was starting to sound like a broken record, made all the more annoying by answering my question by bouncing it right back at me.
Who are you?
I am me, of course.
Always have been.
Always will be.
Who are you?
I am myself.
I have never been anyone else.
This is who I have always been.
WHO ARE YOU?
Really, what a stupid question to ask.
One look at the mirror on the wall is all the answer I need.
My blue hair.
My cute-yet-awesome wings.
Without a doubt, this is who I was.
This is what I was.
I was an ice fairy.
That was my job.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
“Good morning, Starshine, the Moon says 'hello'.”
You sit bolt upright, and realize you're in a bed. Again.
You suppose it beats waking up to realize you're in a puddle of vomit. Or on fire.
Turning to the source of the voice that just greeted you on your return to the waking world, you see a sort-of-familiar doctor, with a soft-of-familiar smile, sitting on a not-so-familiar stool, with the two of you in a not-at-all-familiar room.
But what catches your attention most is what's sitting on the table, next to her.
An old radio. The kind you would expect to see collecting dust in that pile of junk that asshole calls a shop.
“Oh! I hope this old thing didn't didn't disturb you.” she says, turning the volume knob down until it goes silent.
“Now then, I do have some questions for you, but as I imagine you're feeling just a little disoriented right now, is there anything you would care to ask me, first?
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Well, of course you have questions!
'Why are we here?'
'Where are we going?'
'What is beauty?'
'What is love?'
'Can I touch those?'
'Do these pants make me look fat?'
But you do not ask any of those, sensing that this is neither the time nor place for such things.
Instead, you find it more prudent to keep your line of questioning on purely relevant matters.
“How about dinner?” you inquire.
“Oh? Hungry already? That's good, I'll see about having something brought in for you, later.” she responds, not missing a beat.
“Er, where am I? Is this the hospital?”
“Something like that, yes.” she replies, picking up a pen and clipboard. “To be more specific, you are currently in my clinic. You do know where that is, I assume?”
“Um, in Eientei, right?”
“Very good.” she smiles, and jots something down. “Since you already know the 'where', I would assume you would also like to know the 'what', yes?”
With the way she's still smiling, you can't help but wonder if she's messing with you, or something.
“There's really not a lot too it, though. While responding to a perimeter alarm that had been tripped, some of our rabbits found you passed out at our door with an unconscious fairy and doll in your arms. Naturally, I had you brought in, admitted to the clinic, and administered the appropriate treatments.
“Treatments? For what?”
“Aside from general fatigue and dehydration? Well, the symptoms for the myriad of poisons you had managed to expose yourself to in the brief time since I last saw you seemed like a logical place to start.”
“...er, was it really that bad?”
At this, she sets her clipboard down on her lap, and looks at you seriously.
“Young man, were I not aware of just who that doll was and what she could do, my first guess would have been that you were swimming in the stuff. You had traces of poison everywhere. Your clothes, your skin, even your hair, to say nothing of what was in your lungs and bloodstream. In all honesty, it's amazing the worst you got from it was inflammation.”
“That much, huh?”
“Yes. I have some questions about that, as a matter of fact, but that can wait until we finish with your questions. What else would you like to know?”
Was there something else?
You would think there was, wasn't there?
“How about dinner?”
“Yes, don't worry, I will see to it you get something as soon as we are done here.”
No, not that.
Also, damn it, again.
“Oh! The ones that were with me! Medi and...um...that fairy! Where are they? Are they alright?”
At the mention of your companions, the doctor starts to smile again.
“Ah yes. Don't worry, they are both here. The doll, 'Medi', was experiencing some fatigue, I suspect due to engaging in some sort of strenuous exercise, but with a brief nap and a few teaspoons of potassium cyanide, she perked right back up. She had wanted to be here when you woke up, but as having the cause of your poisoning hanging around while you're undergoing treatment for said poisoning would be counter-productive, I had her go off and explore, instead.”
So, she just sent a poisonous living doll with a grudge against humanity loose in what is basically her home that doubles as a clinic for treating the sick and injured?
Well, if ]she's not worried about it...
“As for the fairy, well, see for yourself.”
Pointing to something past you, you turn to your left and see another bed beside your own, with the fairy lying in it.
She isn't conscious.
“What happened to her?”
“Oh, the condition we found her in was not much different from your own. Exposure to poison, fatigue, even signs of recent head trauma.”
“Unfortunately, given her smaller size, the effects on her were a bit more severe than they were on you, and what methods we would use on a human are not quite as useful on beings like her. In fact, in a case like with her, the most simple method would be to euthanize.”
“Euthanize? You mean...kill her?”
“That is generally what it means to euthanize something, yes,”
“But, how?! Why?! You're a doctor, aren't you? Isn't it your job to keep patients from dying?!”
Rather than look taken aback by your sudden outburst, she instead looks at you with...pity?
“Please don't get upset. The fact of the matter is, she is not a human, and so human treatments will simply not work like they should on her. More than that, she is a fairy.”
“What does that have to do with it? You're still suggesting killing her! That's...that's...”
“Only an inconvenience to something like her.”
Yes, she is definitely looking at you with pity right now.
“Fairies regenerate. When they die, they simply pop back into existence after a little bit of time. No injury, no illness, completely good as new..”
“Oh. Um. I knew that.
No you didn't.
“So, rather than extend her suffering by subjecting her to all sorts of unnecessary procedures in an attempt to heal her, would it not be simpler to painlessly put her out of that state of misery and wait for her to come back to life as she naturally would?”
Looking over at her, resting peacefully on her bed, you can't help but think the doctor is right.
Was this just a waste of time, then?
Would it have been better to just bash her skull in with a large rock rather than go to all this effort to drag her to a place that would have basically done the same, but in a far less brutal and messy manner? Then she wouldn't need a doctor anymore, nor would she need those bandages you see wrapped around her head and arms, and...
“Um, doc? Why is she bandaged up like that? I thought you said she would regenerate if you...you know....'euthanized' her.”
“If I had done that, yes. As you might be able to guess, however, I have not.”
Looking back at her, you see the doctor flipping through some papers. Notes, you would guess.
“Well, that's the interesting part, isn't it? For some reason, despite signs of damage remaining, particularly in regions of her brain, everything else appears to be making a full recovery. You may not realize, but that is rather unusual to see.”
“But of course. Regeneration in beings like her is typically 'all or nothing'. If they are damaged, they either regenerate all of it, or they don't regenerate at all. They then die, and return in their original, pristine state. For so much as even a small scar to persist is, basically, unheard of.”
“So, what's going to happen to her, now?”
Flipping through a few more pages, the doctor finally sets her clipboard back down, and smiles brightly at you.
“I honestly have no idea.”
“Well, we will wait for her to regain consciousness, of course. I would think I should give her a thorough examination, too, of course. And, should there be any problems, I will treat them in whatever manner seems most prudent. Of course.”
“And if there's nothing wrong?”
“Provided she is not experiencing any pain, discomfort, or any other effect that hinders her normal activities, I see no reason why further intervention on my part would be necessary.”
So, either way it seems as if things will somehow work out, as far as the fairy goes, huh?
“Well, that's good to know. I guess there's just one more thing I would like to know, though...”
“How about going to dinner?”
“Oh, there's no need for that. I shall have Udonge bring your meal here when we are done.”
“No, no, I mean...you.”
“I have already had my dinner for the evening.”
“No, I mean some other evening.”
“I would assume I will be having my dinners then, rather than now.”
She's gotta be doing this on purpose.
“In any case, if there are no further questions for me, I believe it is now my turn to ask you some-”
The doctor doesn't get the chance to finish her sentence, as she's cut-off by a muffled beeping. Reaching into her pocket, she pulls out a phone-like device, unfolds it, and puts one end to her ear in a phone-like manner.
If you had experts, they would probably be telling you it was a phone.
“Yes, what is it? I am with a patient right now, can this wait? Okay, calm down, say it again. 'She did' what? Hmm. Well of course that is what will happen when you mix them together. I assume you warned her about that. ...mmhmm. Hm. And what color is it now? Hm, I see. What color is she? Yes, well that is what I would expect. No, no, I can hear her laughing just fine. Mmhm. Mmhm. Well, that is what we have the blast-shields for, isn't it? Yes, yes, that will be fine. No, you don't have to go in there. Just continue to keep an eye on her Yes, yes, thank you. Goodbye.”
Snapping her little phone shut, she tucks it back into her pocket and smiles at you apologetically.
“Sorry about that.. Now, where were we?”
“Uh, you were going to ask me some stuff?”
“Ah! Right! Now, where did I put those...hm...”
Flipping through the stacks of paper nearest to her, the doctor searches for something, or at least tries to. With just the slightest hint of frustration upon her face, she gives up, turns towards the door, and calls out to someone.
“Udonge! Where is this patient's file?”
From your position in bed, you can't get the best view of the door, but you're sure you see it slide open and close again, yet see no one actually walking in. The only thing you do notice is a soft thumping on the floor, the source of which you finally see after a few seconds, as a large, strange-looking rabbit hops up to the doctor with a file folder balanced neatly on its head.
You were aware of people who dressed their animals, yet you still never imagined anyone ever making something like a blazer for a rabbit. ...and is that a wig it's wearing?
Picking up the folder, the doctor gives the rabbit an affectionate scratch behind the ears.
“Ah, that's the one. Thank you, Udonge.”
The rabbit looks up at the doctor, and makes a series of soft, sniffling sounds as it twitches its little nose.
“Hm? Yes, actually, some tea would be lovely. Would you care for some, young man?”
“Huh, uh, no thanks.”
“Very well then, just one tea for now, Udonge. Thank you.”
With a little bunny-nod, the oddly-dressed rabbit turns and begins to hop its way back to the door, as the doctor looks through the file.
“Now then, I just have a few standard questions I need to ask about your medical history. A number of them will be personal in nature, possibly embarrassing, but I will need you to be honest, alright?”
“Very good. Now, are you currently taking any medications?”
“Have you taken any medications within the past six months?”
“...er...I'm not even that old.”
“Ah, disregard that last one, then.”
“Any history of illnesses, physical or psychological, in your family?”
“I don't think so.”
“No heart disease? Cancer? Dementia?”
“Have you traveled outside the Border at all?”
“Not that I know of, no.”
“Ever been in any kappa-inhabited lakes or streams, be it for swimming or bathing?”
“Not that I am aware of...”
“Have you or a family member ever been cursed and/or possessed?”
La plume de ma tante. “Nope.”
“Uh-huh. Have you or a family member ever incurred the wrath of any gods and/or pan-dimensional beings? ...ah, thank you, Udonge.”
You had barely noticed that the odd rabbit had returned, this time with a tray with a teapot and cups balanced perfectly upon its head.
How does it do that?
Having poured herself some tea, the doctor takes a sip.
“Ah, excellent as usual, Udonge. Are you sure you wouldn't care for some? It really is qui-”
Once again, the doctor is cut-off, this time by the unmistakeable sound of an explosion, followed by the rapid footsteps. A moment later, the door slides open, and a frantic-looking girl with rabbit ears dashes in.
“M-master! I tried to stop her, but she wouldn't listen!”
Aw, isn't that cute? Her hair and blazer matches with this little 'Udonge' bunny Eirin keeps talking to. It's like they're twins!
The doctor does not look very amused by this, however.
“I believe I told you I was with a patient, yes?”
“Ah! I-I'm sorry about that, b-but-!”
“And, I believe I told you that if anything came up, to simply call me, yes?”
“Well, y-yes Master...”
“And, just who was it that agreed to assist the Princess with her project in exchange for getting out of clinic duty for the day?”
“And yet, here you are.”
Another explosion sounds out from somewhere in the building, as if to punctuate the doctor's words.
“But Master! You heard those explosions! The gas was bad enough, but this? I just ca-”
“You knew the risks when you agreed, Udonge. I explained them very carefully, did I not?”
“You...you did, Master. You did...”
Sighing to herself, the doctor's expression softens a little.
“Well, what's done is done. Though I would normally think it best to make you see this through to the end, I am willing to overlook this and give you a way out.”
“R-really? You would do that, Master?! Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!”
“Think nothing of it, Udonge. If you really wish to stop, all you have to do is send in an appropriate replacement.”
Without saying a word, the doctor smiles brighter than you have seen her smile so far, and holds up the oddly-dressed bunny. The bunny-girl's face drops as her ears droop..
“....what is that?”
“This is Udonge, Udonge.”
“That's...supposed to be me?”
“Oh, don't be silly! You could never be replaced!”
“This Udonge is just doing the things you would normally be doing in the clinic, is all.”
“So it is supposed to be me.”
“Only if you want it to be, Udonge. If you wish to stop assisting the Princess, you need but to send this Udonge in your place.”
“...won't the Princess notice?”
“Oh, I shouldn't think so. You all pretty much look the same to her, anyway.”
“In fact, with the wig and blazer, you look enough alike that even I might have trouble telling you apart!”
You're not sure, but you think you see the bunny-girl fighting back tears.
“Oh, don't look like that! I'm just kidding~!”
“That is a horrible joke, Master.”
“Hmm~. In any case, I suppose I should go check up on the Princess myself, after all.”
As if finally remember you were in the room, she turns her attention back to you.
“Sorry about this, but as you can see, something has come up. If you would like, we can continue this later, but otherwise that will be all for now.”
“Master! Please, hurry!”
“Yes, yes, I am coming, Udonge.”
Setting the rabbit down on the floor, the doctor follows the frantic bunny-girl out the door, sliding it shut behind her.
Alone in the room, save for the bunny and the fairy, you wonder what you should do now.
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“Well, looks like it's just us, eh?” you say to the rabbit.
The rabbit just stares back at you.
“So...uh, 'Udonge', was it? That's sure an interesting name!” you offer, attempting to strike up conversation.
The rabbit simply continues to stare.
“Boy, I wonder what all those explosions were about! Don't you? Huh?”
And still, nothing from the rabbit.
Well, not nothing.
For the briefest of moments, you could swear you saw a strange glint in the blazer-wearing rabbit's eye. A glint that seemed to say 'You don't seriously expect me to talk, do you?' You think there may have been an 'idiot' in there somewhere, too, but you're not really sure.
Realizing the futility of attempting conversation, you instead opt to stare at the rabbit.
The rabbit stares back.
You wonder about just why it was dressed the way it was, and why that girl was dressed in the same manner.
Was there some sort of dress code for rabbits here?
You didn't think so. After all, they're plenty covered by all that fur.
Also, you're pretty sure wigs aren't generally part of any dress code.
It couldn't be some weird drag thing, could it?
A little boy bunny who wanted to be a little girl bunny?
It sounds ridiculous,sure, but would it really be the strangest thing imaginable, here?
With all the stuff that goes on here practically every year, is it really so impossible that there's such a thing as a little bunny who wants to be pretty?
That is, of course, assuming this rabbit is even a male.
You can't really tell, nor do you have any interest in personally finding out.
For all you know, it could be the reverse, anyway, and rather than the bunny being dressed like the girl, the girl is dressing like the bunny.
Well, no. Probably not. That just sounds dumb.
Yet, for some reason, you don't shove the idea completely from your mind.
Realizing the rabbit is still staring at you, you move over to it, gently pick it up, and hold it up so it's eye-level with you
Eyes now firmly locked onto each other, the two of you engage in an epic staring contest the likes of which the world has never seen. For several grueling minutes, you both fight the urge to blink, fending off the increasing dryness through sheer, unbridled will.
You stare at rabbit.
Rabbit stare at you.
Two men enter.
Two men leave in dire need of eyedrops.
Sensing the end of your battle is near, you put all your remaining willpower into focusing on just one eye. And then, as you see your image reflected back at you inside the beady little eye of your opponent, you have an epiphany.
You realize how silly you had been in your negative view of rabbits.
Sure, you had your bad experiences, but to judge a whole group on the misdeeds of one or two is in no way fair or just.
But it does not end there. No, you feel something stronger. Deeper.
There, in that clinic, you feel a connection.
”How dare I eat meat?! you almost cry, the sudden flood of emotion threatening to overwhelm you.
These creatures, which you once viewed as mere pests, were clearly so much more.
They were wonderful, noble creatures!
Yes! Your guide here had shown you that, but you had not fully grasped the meaning at the time!
This rabbit, which you hold in your hands, it is not merely an animal.
It is a life-form deserving of your respect!
It has its own hopes!
It has its own dreams!
It's peeing on you!
Blinking your eyes a couple times, partly to re-moisturize them, but mostly to make sure you're seeing what you're seeing, you realize that you are.
Yes, you are seeing what you are seeing, and what you are seeing is a stream of warm, yellow liquid spraying right onto you.
Looking the rabbit back in the eye, you see a strange gleam that wasn't there before.
A look of triumph.
Cold, arrogant, triumph.
A look that says, 'I win.'
You have greatly misjudged your fluffy companion.
Yes, truly this rabbit is a noble creature.
This rabbit is a creature worthy of respect.
This rabbit has hopes and dreams and thoughts and feelings.
But most of all, this rabbit is a goddamn cheating bastard.
Resisting the overwhelming urge you currently feel to punt-kick the little fucker into the nearest wall, you have to make due with simply dropping it to the floor.
Having finished its business with you, in more ways than one, the rabbit gives a final arrogant sniffle, and hops away.
After taking a little time to wipe yourself off with some tissues, you turn your attention to the only one left in the room besides yourself.
Unlike when you last saw her, the fairy seems to be in much better shape, and does show any sign of being in pain.
Crossing over to her bedside, you look down upon her.
She looks so peaceful right now.
Were it not for the bandages, you wouldn't even think there might be anything else wrong with her.
You feel a little better, until you realize the fact there are bandages at all is a sign that there might very well be something wrong with her.
Didn't the doctor say she might actually have brain damage?
You didn't think fairies could even get that sort of thing, yet for all you know that might be exactly what has happened here.
And it would be kinda-sorta-partially your fault.
Sure, there's the hope that there won't be any problems, but if there was one thing you had learned in all your years, it was to hope for the best but expect the worst.
And there's so much “worst” that can happen.
Reaching down to fluff her pillow a little, you realize that you must take responsibility for what you have put this little fairy through, and may be putting her through in the future.
One way or another, you would make things right.
And you know just how you'll do it...
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Yes, there was just one way you knew to make all this right again.
One thing, and only one thing, that you could do.
Looking down at her sleeping face, you realize how simple it would be.
You think you might actually enjoy it.
Sure, things might get complicated later, and there will be questions you will have to answer, but that is just the way it goes. Isn't it?
So, reaching down, you place your hands upon her pillow.
And fluff it.
Sure, it is not an easy thing to do while her head is resting upon it, least of all while you're trying not to wake her, yet fluff it you do.
You fluff the shit out of that pillow.
Confident that the fairy's pillow has attained optimal fluffiness, you quietly move away from her bedside, and bask in the satisfaction of a job well done.
You think she even looks to be resting a little more peacefully, too.
Of course, that could just be you attempting to rationalize why allowing an injured and potentially brain-damaged creature of nature whose condition is kinda your fault to remain in such a state, but you ignore such thoughts as little more than the product of whatever drugs the doctor may have put into you.
She did put drugs into you, didn't she?
Well, whether she did or didn't, you're pretty sure you feel fine, so there's probably nothing to worry about. At least as far as that is concerned.
What does worry you, or at least causes you some vague feeling of concern, is just what the cause of all those explosions were. Even after the doctor left, you could hear a couple more going off.
Whatever the cause of it was, such things were clearly not good for helping someone rest, and rest is exactly what someone recovering from injuries needs.
Just then, it hits you.
If you can't stop the noises outside of the room, you could at least do something to cover them up from inside the room!
Moving over to where the radio was, you look it over for a moment, and try one of the knobs.
From the feel of how it turned, and the lack of any sort of response, you would guess this was the knob for adjusting the station, meaning the other knob was the one you wanted.
Twisting the other knob, you feel it click, and with a little more turning the device goes from silence to the sound of piano playing.
It's a rather haunting tune, actually, and as you listen to it you are surprised to find how well it evokes a variety of emotions out of you. From happiness to sorrow, to joy, to despair. The way it ends is particularly effective, you feel strangely sad yet sure that things are going to be okay.
So powerful, yet so simple that you're sure it would only take hearing a small part from it after this to remind you of all the feelings you have for it right now, whether it be a day or several decades from now.
To be able to feel the same thing for a song that you felt for it the first time you heard it, even if it was fifty years ago.
That's how you know it's a classic.
As the next song starts, you begin to devote more of your attention to the other items sharing desk space with the radio.
A notepad with something written on it in a curvy yet elegant style.
Some bottles of pills.
All fairly standard stuff for a clinic, you suppose.
Glancing out the window, you see nothing but darkness with the occasional firefly floating by outside.
Looks like you were out of it for quite a while.
You wonder if this means they intend to have you spend the night there...
More importantly, though, you realize you haven't really had anything to eat since those eggs this morning, and are more than a tad hungry now.
You know the Doc told you she would have someone bring something to the room for you, but with having to deal with who or whatever was making things blow up elsewhere in the building, you wonder if she might not have forgotten. Besides, she didn't say anything about you having to stay there until she came back, right?
Of course, if things are blowing up, you're not sure if it's entirely safe to leave the room...
Unable to hear anything else while so close to the radio, you figure you'll have better luck if you move closer to the door, and so...
...did the lights just flicker?
Eh, probably just your imagination.
Moving over to the door, you put your ear up to it and listen for anything explosion-like coming from outside the room. Hearing nothing, you assume it to be reasonably safe, and are about to open the door when the lights flicker again, followed by radio changing its sound from 'relaxing classical music' to 'static, static, and more static'.
You're about to go back to it and see about changing the channel, but find your attention suddenly drawn back tot he door by the sound of a single knock, followed by a piece of paper being slid under the door.
Why do these sorts of things always seem to happen all at once?
Oh well, nothing you can do but deal with things one at a time as they come up, right?
[ ] The radio. What's going on with that thing? [ ] The note. Could this be a clue? [ ] The hunger. I hunger... [ ] The pills. Take two and call me in the morning. [ ] The bed. I feel asleep
In the spirit of wild and insane extrapolation, I will now theorize that the fifty years reference is actually massive foreshadowing to the fact that our character is a thousand year old immortal rendered amnesiac by Eirin, who will be the final boss of the plot.
It even explains why we can't freeze/drown/die from poison!
File 12795834013.jpg - (11.71KB,
211x300 , your ad here.jpg) [iqdb]
The note intrigues you, demanding your full attention.
Picking it up, you carefully unfold it.
Wondering if you weren't simply looking at the wrong side, you flip it over.
Nope. Still blank.
Well. This is certainly anti-climactic, isn't it?
All those weird sounds outside, the flickering lights, the static on the radio, and someone just slips a blank piece of paper under the door.
Really now. Seriously?
Looking back at the radio, you wonder if you shouldn't have checked that out first, after all. Not that you can't still do so. You'll just fold this paper back up, and put it in your pocket for later, since simply crumpling it up would be wasteful.
Yeah. That's what you'll do.
Or so you think, as you look back at the paper in your hands, only to see that it isn't blank.
Written on it, in big, bold letters, are now three simple words:
'DON'T GO OUT'
“Huh. That's odd.”
You wonder how you could have missed that.
“Maybe I'm just tired?” you say to yourself.
“Or maybe you're just insane?” “I'm pretty sure I'm not.” you retort.
...wait. Who said that?
Turning away from the door, you look over at the beds and see her still soundly asleep.
No, not her, then.
You look over at every part of the room, and see no one else but yourself and the slumbering fairy.
Not by the window, not by the door, not by the table with the radio on it...
Did that just come from the radio?
You think that just came from the radio.
”Yes, that just came from the radio.”
Great. Not only are your eyes playing tricks on you, now your ears are getting in on the act. Lovely. Wonderful.
You suppose the next time you look at the note, it'll be blank again, won't it?
Okay, so it's not blank.
That fact is not nearly as reassuring as you had hoped it would be.
Looking at this as rationally as you can, you find it hard to disagree with the assessment that you're not entirely right in the head..
A note you thought was blank is now not only distinctly not-blank, but what's written on it seems to be different each time you look at it.
Oh, yeah, and the radio is talking to you.
”See? Maybe you really are insane.” the radio cheerfully chirps.
'NO YOU'RE NOT' reads the paper.
“The paper says I'm not.” you say to the radio.
”What does it know? It's paper. I'm a radio.” says the radio.
That is true. The paper is paper, and the radio is a radio.
That's honesty if you've ever seen it.
“You do make a good point, radio.” you concede.
”So we agree, then! You're insane!” the radio says, happily.
'THE RADIO LIES' the paper reads.
“The paper says you're lying.” you say.
”Yeah, but it also says you're not insane, doesn't it?” says the radio.
'YOU'RE NOT INSANE' reads the paper
“Yeah, that's what it says.” you confirm, flipping it over to see if there's anything else on it.
'JUST AN IDIOT'' reads the other side of the paper.
“It says I'm an idiot, radio.”
”You see? Now it's calling you names. That's just mean! It's not your fault you're crazy!” “...then whose fault is it?”
”Who indeed? I wonder~ I wonder~” 'THE RADIO IS TO BLAME'
“The paper says you're to blame, radio.”
”That sounds like just the sort of thing I would expect the real culprit to say, don't you agree?” “I...I don't know.”
'STOP READING OUT-LOUD DAMMIT'
“It says I shou-...oh.”
”It says you should what, hmmm~?” “Uh...nothing.”
”Well, would you like to know what I think you should do?” 'DO NOT LISTEN'
”I think you should crumple up that piece of paper, throw it away, and get out of this stuffy, boring little clinic. Maybe get a bite, maybe explore a little, maybe take a nice little stroll outside...doesn't that sound like fun?” 'DON'T GO OUT'
“I don't know if I should...”
”Aw, c'mon! What's the worst that could happen? Don't you trust me~?” 'DO NOT TRUST'
“I don't know...”
”Trust me~!” 'TRUST ME'
[ ] Believe your ears.
[ ] Believe your eyes.
[ ] Believe everything.
[ ] Believe nothing.
“Sorry, radio, but I think I gotta side with the paper on this one.”
Print is the most reliable format, after all. To hell with anyone who says it's dead!
It's not dead! It's resting!
NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooohweeeeell. This was getting boring anyway. Toodles~.”
And just like that, the radio goes back to playing music like a normal radio should.
“...wait, what's it?”
“No bickering and arguing between two sides that may or may not be hallucinatory representations of aspects of my psyche battling for control of my mind?”
Now this was what you would call anti-climatic.
Still, something at the back of your mind tells you this isn't over.
'WE ARE NOT FINISHED'
Plus, the mysterious magically-changing note.
That's kinda a clue, you think.
“So, um...what now?”
May as well start with the obvious, you suppose.
'DON'T GO OUT'
“Um, yeah. We already covered that.”
'DON'T GO OUT'
“No, yeah, I read you the first time. I'm not going out. I don't know why I shouldn't go out, but I'm not going out.”
“I have no idea what that even means.”
'DON'T GO OUT'
This line of inquiry doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
Maybe if you asked something else?
“So, um...you said I wasn't crazy, right?”
'THAT IS CORRECT'
“Then, what just happened?”
“First contact'? Contact with what?”
“No comme-...what do you mean, 'No comment?'”
'THAT WOULD BE TELLING'
Somehow, you feel this isn't going how you expected it to.
Not that you have much of a basis for comparison on how dealings with odd, possibly magical pieces of paper are supposed to go, but still.
“Right. Fine then. Is there anything you can tell me, then?”
'BUT OF COURSE'
'DON'T GO OUT'
If ever you wondered how it could be possible to sound like a broken record without actually making any sound at all, you're wondering no longer.
“Look, I get it, alright? I'm not leaving the room! Okay? But unless the nice doctor plans on letting me live here, I'm going to have to leave it sometime, you know?”
'MOVE IN DAYLIGHT'
“I would have done that, even if you hadn't told me. I'm not an idiot, you know.”
'YES YOU ARE'
“Okay, maybe I am, but I'm not such a complete and utter moron I would be so stupid as to not do most of my traveling during the day when much of the man-eating population is most inactive.”
Vaguely aware of how quickly you're getting used to talking to a piece of paper, it's only said paper's assurances that you're not questioning your sanity any more than you already have.
After all, would paper ever lie to you?
You're pretty sure it wouldn't, anyway.
“Well, as fun as this has been, paper, if I'm not getting anything to eat I think I may as well just go to sleep now.”
'ONE MORE THING'
“Huh? What? Because if it's “don't go out” I'm pretty sure I got that already.”
'NO NOT THAT'
“Fine, what is it, then?”
Gradually drifting back into consciousness, you keep your eyes closed as you try to hold on to what few fleeting memories you have of your dream.
Ah, yes, you must have fallen asleep.
That would explain why you feel like you're in bed.
A nice, comfy bed.
It would not, however, explain the sensation that you're not alone, and that someone is standing right over you.
Sure, you could open your eyes, see who it was, but where's the fun in that?
Besides, you're so comfy right now!
It would be a shame not to milk this for all it was worth!
Sleeping alone under the stars is great, but there's something to be said for the comforts of a nice bed, too.
Especially if you're not the only one in it.
Doing your best to suppress the smirk threatening to break out on your face and keep your eyes firmly shut, both steps to ensure you don't tip your hand too soon, you mentally prepare yourself for what you are about to do.
Whoever it is you sense hovering just above you, you're fairly certain they're unaware that you're awake.
No sense letting such a prime opportunity as this pass you by, right?
Like a mantis capturing a meal, you bring your arms up and around in one swift motion, and pull your hapless victim down. Barely managing more than a surprised yelp before winding up in your embrace, your ambush is a complete success.
Holding her close, feeling the soft warmth of her body through her clothes, you can't help but sigh contentedly.
This is nice.
Like, really nice.
You could almost fall asleep like this...
Lying in bed, holding someone in your arms, snuggled up together...
But who is it? a small voice at the back of your mind wonders.
Does it matter, though?
It feels so nice, and they aren't struggling or protesting, or making any attempt at all to break the hold you have on her.
On the contrary, you can feel her arms around you, as well, now.
It couldn't be the ice fairy, could it?
No, no way. This one is far to nice and warm, in the way a normal, non-ice-fairy person should be.
Besides, would she allow you to cuddle with her like this?
Hm, no, no way.
So, that just leaves...Medicine?
It must be Medi!
Though she feels a little heavier than you remember when carrying her...
And you're not feeling any sort of burning or tingling from touching her, either...
Maybe the doctor gave you something, and now you're immune?
Maybe you're just too hopped-up on pain medication to feel much of anything?
Maybe she just learned to control it, even though you had the impression that the effect of touching her was not a conscious act on her part?
Well, whatever the reason, it doesn't really matter right now.
Here you are, the two of you, cuddling in bed, not a care in the world.
Just you and-
“Mmmm...silly human...surprising me like that~...”
...someone whose voice you do not recognize at all.
As your eyes snap open, it's all you can do to not yell as you're greeted by the sight of your snuggle-partner's face right in your own.
If there were any chance of you being able to go back to sleep, it was long gone now, that warm and hazy feeling of bliss now replaced by a combination of surprise and confusion at just what is happening.
What do you do? What should you do? Apologize for grabbing her? Ask who she is? Ask her what she was doing standing over your bed? Ask her out to dinner? Meet her parents? Propose?!
As all these thoughts, and more, race through your mind at a pace that almost matches that of your pounding heart, you're only vaguely aware of what the girl in front of you is doing.
Having closed her eyes for a moment, she opens them again and looks at you with a strangely satisfied-looking expression.
“Thanks, I needed that~.” the strange girl says, putting her arms back around you and bringing her face right back up to your own.
She's close. So close.
So very, very close.
So close you can feel her breath on your face.
It's not unpleasant, but you think she could still do with a mint or something.
That might not be the time to think about things like that, though.
...or maybe not, with the way her face is closing in on yours.
Hear head now tilted to the side, eyes closed, and lips pursed, she comes closer and closer, almost as if...
Wait, she couldn't be...
But...you haven't even...
...she hasn't even...
For lack of any better ideas, you shut your eyes and brace yourself for what you think is about to come.
After all, you're supposed to have your eyes closed for this sort of thing, right?
Why? Hell if you know, but that's just how it's done!
And so, heart still pounding, you wait.
Then, just when you decide to peek just a tiny little bit to see what was going on, you felt it.
It was quick, so very quick, but you know you felt it.
A sudden, warm, wetness brushing against the tip of your nose.
...did she just lick you?
You think she just licked you.
Opening your eyes once again, you see the girl giggling quietly to herself as she untangles herself from you, climbs out of bed, smooths out her clothes, and happily skips to the door. Sliding it open, she turns to you one last time, gives you a playful wink, and disappears into the hall.
You never even got her name.
You don't ponder over what just happened for very long, though, as seconds later a face you do recognize peeks in at you.
“Good morning, Medi.” you say to the little blonde doll-girl
“Ah! You're awake!” she exclaims, before disappearing back into the hall again. “Hey! Su-san! He's awake! You were right! He's not dead!”
As much as you wonder if she really needed to say that last part, you quickly forget all about when, moments later, she returns with a tray in her hands. Su-san follows right behind, carrying a glass of something in her little arms.
You're not sure what you find more amazing, that she can fly while carrying that thing, or that she can do so without spilling any of it. Making their way to your bedside, the two set their respective loads down on the table next to your bed.
“Welcome back to the fight, comrade!” Medicine says, as Su-san offers you a little salute.
“Glad to be back, comrade Medi!” you reply, returning the little doll's salute with one of your own. “What's with the tray, though?”
“Oh? Oh! This is breakfast, of course!”
“Yeah! The nice lady said you needed it to get your strength back! We both need all the energy we can get, after all!”
“I guess we do, huh?”
“Yep! That's what the nice lady said!”
...wait, the doctor said that?
Something seems odd about that, but you can't quite put your finger on why.
Eh, it's probably not that important right now.
No, right now is all about breakfast.
Breakfast in bed.
Breakfast in bed for the second day in a row, no less!
Smiling to yourself and wondering if you can manage to have that happen again for a third day, you reach over for the tray, bring it over to your lap, pick up a fork, and are about to dig in when you notice something odd.
“Um...Medi? What is this?”
“Huh? What do you mean? It's breakfast, of course.”
“No, I know it's breakfast, but...um...what is it? It's all so...purple.”
“Doesn't it look great? I made it myself!”
“You made it...yourself?”
“Yep! ...well, I had a little help. A little...but I did a lot of it!”
That explains the coloration.
And the unidentifiable appearance.
You suppose that it at least doesn't smell bad, but...
[ ] Politely decline. Maybe she won't be too hurt or offended?
[ ] Just a taste. You can figure out how to deal with the rest of it afterward.
[ ] Be a man. THIS IS MY BREAKFAST! IT WAS MADE FOR ME!
[X] Just a taste. You can figure out how to deal with the rest of it afterward.
--[X] Be prepared to explain to the good doctor when you recover (again) that you didn't have the heart to disappoint the doll.
[X] Just a taste. You can figure out how to deal with the rest of it afterward.
--[X] Be prepared to explain to the good doctor when you recover (again) that you didn't have the heart to disappoint the doll.
IRON STOMACH SURGE
Wait, that doesn't make sense.
[X] Be a man. THIS IS MY BREAKFAST! IT WAS MADE FOR ME!
Medicine made this food for us. She put her all into preparing a simple dish for the only human she likes. We would be a monster to deny her meal
so bad, that a mosaic actually appeared in reality, and took on a tangible form. Good work, Medi."
Nah, I could never do that to her...
[x] Look around for a good corner or spot Medicine can't see.
-[x] "Hey, what's that?!" Suddenly point elsewhere. While she's distracted, hurl the toxic goo into that secretive place.
-[x] If you couldn't find a good spot, open the fairy's mouth and dump it in there.
-[x] When she turns back around, proclaim "Oh man, that was so good I ate it up in one bite! You're a great cook!"
[x] Look around for a good corner or spot Medicine can't see.
-[x] "Hey, what's that?!" Suddenly point elsewhere. While she's distracted, hurl the toxic goo into that secretive place.
-[x] If you couldn't find a good spot, open the fairy's mouth and dump it in there.
-[x] When she turns back around, proclaim "Oh man, that was so good I ate it up in one bite! You're a great cook!"