"One last chance Yuka." Renko says. "Just drop it, this doesn't have to happen.
Her entire body is tensed, ready. You can see it in the way she's standing, her footing and stance have been changing as she speaks, little by little, so slowly that you only notice it because you literally can't focus on anything else. Your mouth is dry, sweat is rolling down your back as the adrenaline and fear mounts. Renko can't stand up to Yuka! It's impossible! Yuka stopped a train with her bare hands, Renko's going to die! She's going to get killed and then it'll be just you and Yuka and oh god oh god oh god- No! You want to scream, pound on Renko's back or grab her and run, but you can't move, you just can't. You're like a mouse, watching from the ground as a pair of hawks fight over who gets to eat you.
Yuka just grins back at Renko, flicking her hair out of her eyes with a twist of her head. "You're offering me a fight, how can I refuse~?" Yuka shrugs. Renko says nothing. "Oh come on!" Yuka says. "Make this interesting, at the very least!" She shakes her head and tuts at Renko, almost laughing. "Fuck you." Renko mutters. She still hasn't shown Yuka her knife. "I know!" Yuka says, suddenly putting her hands together. "How about, I don't blast you into oblivion where you stand, if you don't use your outsider technology to put holes in me?" Yuka smiles sweetly and flutters her eyelashes. The effect is sickening. Your stomach hardens into a ball of terror as she speaks, but you still can't move, you should run, you should run now, get away, to Ran, find Orin and Utsuho, the foxes, anything, anything at all. Renko just nods, once. "Get on with it."
Yuka grins and picks up her feet, from standing to a sprint in the blink of an eye. You scream and flinch, half-ducking behind the tree-trunk. Renko doesn't move, waiting for Yuka to reach her. "Come on! Move!" Yuka shouts as she slams her fist into the space where Renko's face was moment's earlier. You blink as Renko moves again, twisting herself out of the way of Yuka's fingers, slicing through the air like razor blades. Yuka frowns as Renko moves her arms, the red patterning on her sleeves confusing Yuka's eyes as much as it did yours. "Hit me already!" Yuka screams as Renko just steps out of the way again. You catch a glimpse of Renko's face. She's breathing too fast, sweat beading on her forehead, concentrating so hard she looks like she's about to drop. The way she moves, quick darting little jerks of her body, eyes watching for Yuka's hands and then shifting herself again. You've ... you've seen that ... what's she-
Renko miscalculates, not moving in time. She's forced to bring up her arm to block Yuka's fist. You wince as you hear something snap, see Renko tumble to the ground with the sheer force of Yuka's blow. "Heh." Yuka pauses for a second, cracking her knuckles. "You are fast, aren't you? I haven't seen that in a long time." Yuka licks her lips as Renko backs up, climbing to her feet, never once taking her eyes off Yuka. "Who did it?" Yuka asks, sounding genuinely curious. Renko doesn't reply. "Oh come on! You're about to die, you can at least tell me that!" "Now I know how you move." Renko says, finally moving her hand out from inside the sleeve, holding the knife back-handed. Her other arm hangs at her side, limp, the sleeve stained red. "What?" Yuka frowns. Renko grins. It's the first expression you've seen her make while fighting Yuka.
She jumps forward, ducking under Yuka's hands and slamming her blade into Yuka's side, slipping it between the ribs. She spins on the spot, twisting the blade as she yanks it back out. Yuka screams with rage and swipes at the empty air. Renko is already behind her, she brings her arm down- And Yuka kicks her in the side, sending Renko sprawling again. "Know how I move?!" Yuka shouts down at her. "What the fuck are you?!" Renko doesn't say anything, hopping her her feet even as she spits out a mouthful of blood. She grins again.
Renko launches herself at Yuka, stabbing and twisting out of the way in front of Yuka's hands. She opens red gashes on both of Yuka's arms, jams the blade into her neck, cuts a chunk form her shoulders and finally lands a blow on Yuka's stomach, ramming the blade right to the hilt before Yuka's fist crashes into Renko's ribcage, sending her to the dirt again. "You can't beat me with a fucking knife." Yuka says, face utterly devoid of amusement. "I thought you were going to be a proper fight. Not this-" Renko manages to get to her feet again, hopping backwards, coughing up more blood. "How are you still standing?" Yuka cocks her head at Renko and puts her hands on her hips. Renko's eyes flick to you. "Ah." Yuka grins. "I thought so. Didn't think you could operate without one." Yuka turns to look at you. "So, what do I do to beat you, Renko? Rape her? Make her mine? Break her? How does this even work?" "Fuck you." Renko mutters, bringing her blade up and leaping at Yuka again.
Renko is slower this time.
[ ] Run! Get Ran! [ ] You can do something, right? You can ... you can help her, you can help Renko ... make a, make ga-, make a gap. [ ] Renko's going to protect you. That's her purpose, she's going to protect you. She wouldn't throw herself away in front of Yuka. Trust her.
Getting Ran now seems too late. We should have done that already, now it doesn't seem to be a useful option. Gapping Yuka into the sun would also gap our brain into the sun, at least that's what our 3-strikes theory is saying. That leaves only trusting in Renko's fighting skills although she's certainly going to have to explain >Renko's eyes flick to you. "Ah." Yuka grins. >"I thought so. Didn't think you could operate without one."
[x] Renko's going to protect you. That's her purpose, she's going to protect you. She wouldn't throw herself away in front of Yuka. Trust her.
>>66491 [x] You can do something, right? You can ... you can help her, you can help Renko ... make a, make ga-, make a gap. It wasn't us suggesting it the last few times, I think. In any case I have a really sour feeling regarding this.
[ ] Renko's going to protect you. That's her purpose, she's going to protect you. She wouldn't throw herself away in front of Yuka. Trust her.
Things I've noticed:
1) No funky text, remember that we've used this power before so we're somewhat familiar with it and Yukari has done something to help make the knowledge less of a burden on Ebolanon. I trust in this moment for it to work
2) >>"Who did it?" Yuka asks, sounding genuinely curious. >>"Ah." Yuka grins. "I thought so. Didn't think you could operate without one."
Renko's some kind of Shikigami in the service of Ebolanon.
>If Renko had been protecting you in order to gain personal power as your shikigami, that explains what Satori meant when she said she had to "work on" her reasons.
I thought Renko was protecting us because she thought Ebolanon was some innocent little flower that needed to be shielded from everything and wouldn't be able to protect herself, ever. I mean, that's what she told us, right? That certainly would've aroused such a comment from Satori, because that reasoning is basically denying Ebolanon any room to develop and grow as a person. We should try and prove her wrong.
Renko might not last much longer, you have to help her! You have to do something! You're so useless, letting her fight on your behalf, getting hurt for your sake. You cringe, wanting to just hide yourself behind the tree trunk completely, to screw your eyes shut and make it all go away. But you can't do that now. Renko ... Renko kissed you. A real kiss, with nothing behind it but desire. You're so confused, so overwhelmed, but whatever you feel about it, you don't want her to die, you don't want to lose her, whatever she might be to you now.
And there is something you can do? Isn't there? No, thats- Renko gets thrown to the ground again, crying out with the pain this time. She's slower to rise, only just rolling out of the way of Yuka's heel. You haven't got a choice, have you? Either you do this or Renko dies. Renko dies and then Yuka ... Yuka does unspeakable things to you. You shudder with the thought, too much adrenaline in your body to think rationally, to slow down. You have to do this.
Ran called it a 'gap'. A gap, a gap. That's it. You have a name for it, a name gives you power over the named thing. You can categorise it, make it work for you. Even as you start thinking about it, the worm shifts its endless coiled bulk, stirring up the depths of your mind, making your vision swim and your stomach heave. You take a lurching step forward as you cough blood up into your mouth. You can do this, you can. Just- The worm moves, sliding through the layers of your mind like a hot knife through butter. You bite down your your lips to stop yourself from screaming. All that information, all that power just there at the back of your thoughts, the worm breaking down all the boundaries between you and the pressure held at bay back there.
You let it inside.
Blinking the blood away from your eyes, crimson now streaming down your face, you try to focus. Try to aim, direct, try to make this work to your advantage.
You can't, the sheer weight of information pouring back into your consciousness is too much. Everything is being displaced. Reason, memory, personality. Renko? Yuka? What's this happening in front of you? What is all of this? None of it matters, the only thing that matters is the obscene language the worm pours into your mind, words that are not words, sounds that can only be made when you don't have a mouth, the endless torrent of madness pressing in behind your eyes. Now you scream, the inside of your mouth sticky with blood. You clamp your hands to the sides of your head, barely resisting the urge to claw at your own eyes. Renko turns, eyes going wide at the sight of you. "No!" She shouts. "Don-" Yuka takes the moment of distraction to slam her fist into Renko's rib-cage. You hear a wet crunch of splintering bone as she falls to the floor. "Now." Yuka says, grinning down at Renko and raising her foot. "I think we'll-"
You let the pressure out.
A point appears in the air, above Yuka. A single point, so black that it cancels out the light around itself. "Huh?" Yuka looks up. The point grows as you scream and vomit, bile and blood pooling as you fall to your knees, unable to stay standing. "Shit!" Yuka yells. You look back up again. The black dot has grown, five or six meters wide. The bottom of the hole touches the ground, cutting into the earth. The inside is pure darkness, punctuated by tiny red points of colour. Yuka scrambles back from the hole in reality, but you can't stop staring. Those red points in the darkness. They're ... they're- They're looking back at you. It's like your mind collapses in on itself. For a horrible moment you know exactly what those points of redness are. Why they're in that gap and why they're looking at you. The utter magnitude of it freezes you on the spot. The gap is different this time. It wasn't forced. You summoned it. You called it. As you stare into the darkness, there is one thing you're absolutely sure about.
Reality is looking back at you.
You finally collapse, pitching forward, your head bouncing off the ground. The gap sucks itself shut in an instant, the sound like a million grating nails, making you scream again, clamping your hands over your ears in a vain effort to drown it out. It's chewed a chunk out of the earth where it touched the ground, leaving a perfect curved hole behind.
"What the hell did you just try to do?!" Yuka shouts. "You don't get to-" She never finishes the sentence, grunting with pain and falling backwards as her chest blossoms with red. Renko's on her feet again, shaking with the effort of holding her pistol steady with one hand as she pulls the trigger a second time. The second bullet clips Yuka in the head as she tries to stand back up. She roars with the pain and tries to shake the blood out of her eyes, trying to hold the loose chunks of skull in place against the side of her head. "R-renko." You mutter through the blood, unable to think anything else. Surely Yuka's going to give up now, surely she'll- "I said no fucking machines!" Yuka screams, blood streaming down the side of her head, gritting her teeth. Renko ignores her, pumping another bullet into Yuka's chest. This time Yuka falls over and doesn't get back up again. You can see her still breathing though, twitching with the pain.
Renko's fingers uncurl, letting the gun drop to the floor with a clunk. She stumbles, eyes fluttering shut before she collapses.
All is silence.
[ ] Give in, pass out. [ ] No! Renko! [ ] Have to get up, get up get up get up. Get Ran, you need help.
[X] No! Renko! [X] Have to get up, get up get up get up. Get Ran, you need help.
I'm hoping that the "get up" option also takes Renko into account, and isn't just the "selfish" option where we only think of ourselves. I can't really tell from the wording, so I'm throwing in the Renko vote for good measure.
Up, up. Get up. Keep your eyes open, don't close them. Don't go to sleep. Not yet. Have to stay awake, have to keep going. You brace your hands against the ground, slipping in your own blood as you try to get up. It's so hard, your limbs shake with the effort. You're exhausted beyond belief. You can barely move, chest heaving with the effort of breathing. The worm twists inside your mind, curling back in on itself. The torrent of information slows to a trickle, but you still have to fight not to vomit. This was wrong, all of this was wrong. You have to avert your eyes from the space where the gap was, all you see there now is a hazy outline, reality forever bent and tarnished where you tired to force your will upon it like a fool.
It didn't even work, not really. You couldn't control it, you just let it out. All you did was make an opening so Renko could shoot Yuka. The gap ... the bubbling madness of knowledge inside of you, is not yours to control. It simply is.
Painfully, you climb to your feet, steadying yourself against the tree trunk next to you. Yuka is still breathing, lying on her back, head and chest a bloody ruin. Her fingers twitch and her face is twisted in a grimace, made all the worse by the blood caking her skin and clothes. Renko is face down in the dirt. You stumble over to her, feeling the tears starting to well up in your eyes, making tracks through the blood on your cheeks. "Renko?" You murmur, kneeling down next to her. "Are you okay ... Renko?" You can feel yourself crying now, the tears just keep falling. Her left arm is twisted at an unnatural angle, blood staining the fabric of her sleeve. There's crimson seeping out from underneath her. You can't see how badly her chest is wounded from this angle, and you're afraid to touch her, afraid of hurting her more if she's only just hanging on. You put a shaking hand on her side. Her ribcage is still moving. She's still breathing.
You need Ran. You need help now or Renko's going to bleed out and die.
The next few minutes are a blur, you can't see straight, let alone think clearly. Your legs burn with the effort as you stumble back to Mayohiga, screaming for Ran. She emerges, face white with concern when she sees you, rushing over to you and trying to catch you before you fall. "No!" You shout. "N-not me! I'm fine!" You lie. "Renko's dying!" Ran's eye's widen and you tug on her arm, insistent. "Please!" She nods at last, following you.
Renko looks so small in Ran's arms as she lays her down on the futon in the sitting room. Her face is pale, limbs hanging limp, blood leaking from her mouth. Oddly enough, her knife is still gripped in her left hand, fingers refusing to uncurl. "What happened?" Orin peeks over your shoulder, summoned by the noise and commotion. She stiffens in surprise as she sees Renko. Ran turns to you. "There should be a large metal box in the kitchen, second cupboard on the right, Orin, go fetch it, quickly." Ran's tone leaves no room for argument and Orin scurries off, returning a moment later with the box. Ran opens it up and starts pulling out bandages, syringes, splints and a large bottle of morphine.
You've no idea what to do with yourself. The tears have stopped, you just feel numb. Renko has to live, she just has to. It can't happen any other way. It just can't. "Is ..." You start, then stop again. "Is she going to be okay?" You can barely breathe the words. Ran glances at you. "I think so ... she's ... her blood clotted very fast." Ran frowns. "Are you sure you want to be in here for this?" She asks. "I can't have you getting in the way." She says as she rolls back Renko's sleeve and sticks a needle into her arm, pumping morphine into her. "Why don't you just take her to Eientei?" Orin cocks her head at Ran. Ran shakes her head. "No time ... I ... I think." Ran frowns again. "Her pulse is strong, she's breathing okay. This girl is built like a ... well, she's tough." "What ... what about Yuka?" You ask. "Let her rot." Ran says, anger in her voice. "It'll take her days to recover from that." "But-" You start. "Not now." Ran says, picking up a pair of scissors and starting to cut Renko's shirt open. "Don't distract me." Orin glances up at you and then bounds over. "Come on, lets go clean you up, relax, she'll be fiiiiine~" She says, taking your arm.
[ ] Go with Orin, get cleaned up, there's nothing more you can do here. [ ] No, you need to stay with Renko, sit by her.
I can't help but feel but that little block of text is just the Worm trying to plant another 'suggestion' in Ebolanon's head, similar to that "grovel and serve" bullshit. We DID show some improvement by not passing out instantly.
I just thought of something. Each time Ebolanon uses Yukari's powers, the worm moves and transfers all the info needed. What if, each time the power is used, the worm gains more and more influence over Ebolanon? It already put a submissive instinct when she saw Satori, and at the time the gap powers were used twice already.
I think it started when Yukari jammed her fingers in between Ebolanon's eyes. That marked phase 2 of Yukari's copypasta reincarnation plan, and cued the weird, submissive, self-loathing thoughts in Ebolanon's head(probably to make it that much easier for Yukari to eventually overwrite Ebolanon's original personality, the end-result of said plan).
However, every time Ebolanon taps into Yukari's powers, she's attacking the boundary between Yukari and Ebolanon, which gives her access to that mass of knowledge that's trying to keep itself separated from the rest of her mind, and has a side effect of eventually denying either personality dominance over the other, forcing them to coalesce into a single entity(a scenario that Yukari wants to avoid, seeing as how nearly every time it resulted in her going 'NO! STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!')
tl,dr: Harnessing Yukari's powers might actually be the key to some sort of self-preservation.
"I ... " You glance between Ran and Orin, then shake your head firmly. "No. I'd like to be here with her." You say. "I just have to stay with her." Ran looks up at you, scissors pausing. Her expression is deadly serious. "If you must." She says. "Sit there," she gestures to a spot on the floor. "Don't touch her while I work." Orin lets go of your arm and you step closer to Renko, sitting down and fixing your eyes on her face. She's so still, so pale and fragile. "Rin." Ran says. "Can you and Utsuho take care of Yuka?" "Huh?" You jerk your head up at Ran's words. Orin looks as amazed as you are. "Uh ... " Orin's mouth just hangs open. "By 'take care', I mean get the chains from the outbuilding on the left of the entrance." You swear you can see a hint of a smile in Ran's face as she speaks, no warmth there at all. "Chain Yuka to the back wall and lock the door." "That ... um ... well, y'see, Miss Ran." Orin frowns and grimaces. "That's er ... that's not going to stop her." "I know that." Ran says. "I'll deal with her later." Orin's eyes widen and she nods, backing towards the door. "Okay, sure. Yes Miss Ran, yes, okay."
You watch Ran work. Renko's shirt gets cut open without ceremony. Underneath she's wearing only a long strip of cloth wrapped tight around her chest. Guess she must need something like that to move so fast in a fight. The cloth is barely bloodied, but near the bottom of Renko's ribcage, on the right side, there is a patch of mashed flesh. Fragments of bone are sticking out, spars of rib, pulped tissue sticking to the inside of the shirt as Ran peels it away. Ran was right. It's already clotted.
Renko's left arm isn't as bad. There's blood seeping from the wound, but it looks like a clean break, or at least Ran mutters that to herself. You don't know much about medicine, all this is just horrifying. Renko shouldn't be hurt like this, she's supposed to be ... full of energy, unstoppable. She hasn't faltered once since this all started and now ... now she's unconscious, being operated on by a single old Kitsune with a box of emergency medical supplies. The severity of the situation makes your insides go cold.
Ran gets to work fast, and you have to close your eyes a few times. After donning a pair of what look like white rubber gloves, she starts picking the smallest chunks of bone from the wound on Renko's chest. "This isn't right." Ran says. "What?" You ask. "This." She gestures at Renko's chest, still slowly rising and falling. "She should have a punctured lung at the very least, her entire ribcage should have collapsed in on itself. Are you absolutely sure Yuka punched her?" You nod your head. "Yes, I saw it." "Well ... there's not much I actually need to do here." "Huh?" "It looks worse than it is, but really all Yuka managed to do was cause a great deal of surface damage." "Bu-but ... all the bone!" You say. Ran shakes her head. "Fragments from the surface of the ribs, nothing else. Now hush, please." After Ran has finished with Renko's ribcage, there is a ragged line of stitches. The flesh is still bruised and damaged, but she's not longer got an open wound on her chest.
The arm is a different matter entirely. Ran moves it a few times, making a sickening grinding noise that even she winces at. Eventually she stitches the skin shut, then wraps a splint against Renko's arm, one flat piece of wood on either side. "She could really do with a blood transfusion ... but ..." Ran trails off. "Is she going to be okay?" You ask. Ran looks up at you, a curious glint in her eyes. "I think she's going to be fine, because she's not as wounded as she was when I started." "Huh ... what?" Ran points at Renko's arm. "That bone is mending, as I was applying the splint, I felt the joining of the two halves. She's healing like I heal, a magnitude slower, but still much faster than a human." "Wh-what?" Your mouth goes dry and your head swims. "That's ... what?" But really, what other way could it be? She faced off against Yuka and lived. No human could do that. You already knew, somewhere deep down inside. Renko isn't normal. She could never have fought like that if she was just a human.
"You didn't know?" Ran says, face impassive. You shake your head, feeling a little sick and disorientated. What does this mean? You can't deal with this. Renko was supposed to be a bastion of normality! She laughs with you, she dressed up in silly clothes for you! She kissed you! "Ah." Ran says, frowning. "I should take her to a proper bed, let her rest." Her eyes flick back up to you. "You must be exhausted, you should get some rest as well." You nod, feeling numb.
While Ran takes Renko to an empty room, you walk to the bathroom in a daze and splash your face with cold water, letting the blood run back into the sink.
You look at yourself in the mirror.
[ ] Go to sleep, you can't deal with any of this, You need oblivion at the moment. [ ] Go watch over Renko while she rests. She's still Renko. [ ] You need distraction. Wander about, find someone, do something, anything.
[X] Go watch over Renko while she rests. She's still Renko.
... and the other two choices are much worse. Sleep brings the worm, wandering around brings Yuka or Orin trying to "chase" you or god knows what other horrific things. For being a safe place Mayohiga sure hasn't been very kind to us so far.
Leaving the bathroom, you wander through the halls of Mayohiga, mind moving too fast to pay attention to anything around you. Renko is ... no, don't think about it. You can't think about it, you can't deal with that now. You need to calm down, you need to relax, you need something to take your mind off everything so you can ... so you can be ready for when Renko wakes back up? You shake your head, trying to clear away those thoughts. Don't think about it, don't think about it.
You're the centre of everything happening here aren't you? In less than twenty-four hours, you've been the root cause of so much damage. All this pressure, all this guilt, you can't take it, you don't understand it any more. It's just too much. You should- One of the doors is open. The door that leads to the room where Satori is still asleep. Rin and Utsuho must have left it open when they went to deal with Yuka. "Hello?" You call quietly. There's no response. You can see the edge of Satori's hair underneath the blankets.
Should you be in here, alone with Satori like this? You worry as you cross the threshold. If her pets are off dealing with Yuka then maybe somebody should stay in here, right? You step over and look down at Satori's sleeping form. She's lying on her back, her hands just peeking over the edge of the covers, face half hidden. Her pinkish hair frames her pale face against the white pillow. Under the covers she looks even smaller than she did before.
She's so cute it makes your chest ache inside.
Why are you in here, watching her sleep? Why aren't you with Renko? Why do you feel so guilty doing this? You're too numb to think about it. You sit down, cross-legged, next to the futon, watching her chest rise and fall under the covers. Why? Why are you drawn to her like this? It is because she can see inside your head? Is it because she's ... you refuse to accept the idea even as you think it ... is it because she's the complete opposite of Renko? She smiles and mumbles something in her sleep. That's a good sign, at least she hasn't been completely traumatised by whatever she saw in your head. You really hope you haven't hurt her. Satori is so soft, so light and small and ... you don't have a word for it, she just makes you want to pat her on the head and stroke her back and feed her little pieces of chocolate and- You turn red at your own thoughts. This is utterly alien to you, you've always been passive, not like this at all. But Satori is so different.
Satori turns in her sleep, onto her side, facing you. One of her hands hangs outside the covers.
You just ...
[ ] Get up, go somewhere else. You don't need to sit here. Stop this. [ ] Just watch her sleep. [ ] Pat her on the head, she's asleep, nobody will know. [ ] Take her hand, it looks so soft.
And now for some bad news. I've basically just had a pile of very complicated shit dumped into my lap that I have to deal with right now, no stalling. I'm not really in the right frame of mind for writing at all, feeling pretty messed up here.
This means updates will be either very sporadic or non-existent until, maybe Monday night? I'll see what I can do in the meantime, but I'm not promising anything. Sorry about this, ADP will return in full hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.
>>66982 Well, it's not really like he's given up. When he started it, he said that there won't be any continues, so he's played by the rules and we can't really complain. But who would have thought that kissing Sakuya would kill us. Next time we should vote [x] Don't kiss Sakuya! Oh wait, we did that already and weren't happy with how things went either. I'm feeling trolled and I don't even know by whom. Saguya, HY in disguise or Sakuya as a character?