You step closer, ever so closer, as the pathetic and pitiful girl cowers before you, covering her ears, desperate to not hear anything that might come out of your mouth. But it’s been too long, and what you’re about to say is something that she needs to face, something that she chose to run away from, a long time ago. You’re still not sure whether it’s the right thing to do, but it’s too late to think about that now. You’ve made your decision, and what has been done can no longer be undone. So no matter how sad or heartbroken she appears, no matter how pitiable and tearful, you will finish what you’ve begun.
So, you finally utter the words that she never wished to hear.
“...and then I ___.”
She shakes her head, and clenches her ears head tighter, pressing her ears down as hard as she can, whimpering like a beaten dog. She’s still not hearing your words. She’s refusing to listen, blocking out the things you’re say from reaching her ears. She’s so desperate, so longing to cling to what she falsified within her mind. But her false truth isn’t impenetrable. She knows. She already knows what really happened.
“Sanae,” you gently begin again, “did you hear me? On that night, I ___d.”
“Stop it!” she screams, squeezing her eyes shut again as she stands up again, tearing her hands away from her ears, clenching them into fists. “Stop saying that!”
“It’s true,” you say, all emotions gone from your voice. “I died.”
She suddenly rushes forward, pulling back a hand and slapping you in the face as hard as she can manage. Her expression is in a mixture of great frustration and fear. You allow your head to be jerked back by the blow, feeling the sting of her hand. At the same time, the nigh-hysterical girl screams in your face.
“That’s a lie! You’re here, right now! You’re... you’re here with me...” she says, her eyes welled up with tears. Losing strength, her arm droops to her side again, where it grabs a fistful of her skirt. She continues to speak, her eyes wide open, afraid that if she tries to blink they might spill out. With a lump in her voice, she says, “You can’t be... you can’t have died...”
This is it.
The point where everything will become completely irreversible.
Your next few words will change everything.
“I’m not him.”
“Sanae, I’m not Hoshuu.”
Her expression of pain and loss turns to one of blank surprise, her tears still hanging onto her long eyelashes. Her mouth hangs open, and several times, she shapes her lips as if to say something, although her words always seem to die in her throat. Finally, she manages to speak, “You’re lying. You have to be lying.”
“It’s not a lie.”
“But you... your face, the things you remember,” she utters, completely confused, almost in a state of panic again, “You... you said you made a promise to me. You said you were -- you said you were Hoshuu!”
“That was a lie,” you say, quickly adding, “I’m sorry.”
“But, but--” she sputters, her breathing growing thin, her chest heaving up and down as though she was undergoing hyperventilation. “Hoshuu was-- you’re not--!? I...!”
“He’s been dead for ten years, Sanae. He won’t ever come back. He can’t ever fulfill his promise to you.”
She stops, the tears that she had been holding back finally flowing down her face. They run down her cheeks, flowing out endlessly as though the dam that had been pushing back the currents have been destroyed. She probably wanted to say that “you’re wrong,” but she must know. She must have known that because Hoshuu had died years ago, that you could not be him. She had known all this time, but chose to remain blissfully ignorant, and that’s why...
“He’s right, Sanae.”
She snaps her head to the side, where she finds the wind god standing behind her. As she does, the god reaches out and places a hand on her bare shoulder, a grave look on her face. Standing beside her, you see the earth god there as well, hiding her face with the brim of her hat, as she often does when she doesn’t want anyone to see her eyes.
“When that boy died, you were devastated,” the wind god continues, sadly. “You were so devastated, so guilty, that you chose to believe that he had simply disappeared; to blind yourself to what had happened. When I saw the state you were in, I chose to hide the truth from you. To protect your feelings--”
She abruptly stops midway, and then shakes her head, speaking with a much more guilty tone of voice.
“No, that’s not correct. I was afraid,” she says, “I was afraid that if you did not continue to believe that Kuromugi Hoshuu would return, you would abandon the shrine. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, that it was the worst thing that I could do to you at the time, but I assuaged myself by believing that it was the kind thing to do. I’m sorry, Sanae.”
Sanae stares at her, not responding until anxiously the god gives her shoulder a squeeze. She finally reacts, looking down at the hand touching her. Violently, she throws it off with a blank scream, wearing a horrified expression. She turns, facing the god and backs away, but she turns and sees you, stopping in her tracks, looking back and forth between you and the sky god. To her, right now, it must seem like everyone is her enemy. That the world is crashing down on her...
“The truth is finally out, like it should have been, ten years ago. But there’s still one truth we haven’t heard, that we haven’t spoken about,” the earth god speaks up, in a rare serious tone of voice. She finally pulls back the brim over her eyes, scowling as she directs her glare in your direction, “Who are you? You’ve already revealed quite the truth tonight, why don’t you go for one more?”
These words are enough to turn Sanae’s attention back to you, and she stares at you with blank eyes -- she stares at your face. Unblinking, she slowly turns her body to your direction again, taking a sluggish, deliberate step toward you. All of her indignation has been turned toward you, and her body shakes as she approaches, her voice barely above a whisper.
“You,” she says venomously, tears still leaking from the corners of her eyes, “Why do you have his face? Why do you have his memories? Why why why why why!? Why did you have to come? Why did you have to be here? Why did you pretend to be him!? If you weren’t here... If you didn’t -- if you didn’t...!”
She stops, and falls to the ground on her knees. Her legs spread apart as she sinks down, and she lowers her chin, beginning to sob. Her gods stand, watching her as her body shakes from every utter of sadness that escape her throat. You start forward.
“Sanae--” you start.
“No! Stop it!” she shrieks. “Just go away! Get away...! Get away from me! Get out!”
You begin to take a step to her anyway, but with a sudden metallic sound, half a dozen blades shoot up from the ground before you, blocking your path. Shifting your gaze from the rough edges of the crude blades, you look at the earth god, pointing a hand in your direction, commanding the iron blades. She looks to you with a scowl.
“You heard her. Get out of here.”
You look back to the girl, still crying on the ground. Looking back to the god, you nod, and turn your back on them all. You reach for the mask, hanging faithfully from the sash around your waist, and put it on your face once more. Not looking back, you float up into the air, up toward the night sky.
You’ve finally done it.
Now, there isn’t a single place you can return to.
I can rest.
No, not yet.
I still have
things that you have to do.
Ends that must
be tied together,
But I’m still too weak,
you still feel pain.
...I don’t really want things to end like this.
But it’s too late for that now.
I want to see them again. I want to see everyone again,
"There is always hope for you, no matter how dark things may seem to become. When the darkest hour arrives, you must fight; never to kill, but to show your conviction. Remember that well.” ~Shikieiki Yamaxanadu
>>19587 Welcome to my whole time voting. We're mostly picking whatever face down card we think looks good and hoping it's not a bad draw. All we can do is draw upon what hints were given and hope for the best.
It's not all that vague. He still has some doubts and desire to stay with how things were, whereas his inner voice (this doesn't really sound like headgames) wants to push forward and finish what's been started. Mikio, first person protagonist, "I", plain text. Voice, speaking to protagonist, "You", italicized text.
Now, the consensus here seems to be "I". Anon, if you try to fix what you don't like, you're going to end up screwing yourselves over in the end. I thought there was no more running away?
"I ended this friendship for a reason, but I'm not feeling like seeing that through to the end, so I'm going to try and make amends with the people I just hurt."
>>19594 You guys are always way too harsh on Headgames. This needs to be repeated since everyone always ignores it, but Headgames has never actually done wrong by Tayasumi/Nameless. Not once. He seems to be trying to help Mikio/Hoshuu in the same capacity, as well.
>>19596 Indeed, whatever aid it gave, it did so with its agenda in mind, not Mikio's or Tayasumi's. Though with the latter, he certainly was easily manipulated for a time. We still haven't found out how Tayasumi died his final death or what happened with Kiyone and little Keine.
>>19597 Shizuha, Hina at the very least, possibly Minoriko and Alice. I'm sure Shizuha wouldn't shun us for what happened.
>>19596 His belief in the benefits of genocide are rather well warranted though. Youkai in the past were incredibly vicious, and deserved to die. I'm not sure what caused him to change his tune to killing gods and everything else as well, but his first impression upon Tayasumi was actually rather impeccable; having promised the power to take revenge upon them, and saving his life.
I assume you are talking about Hoshuu's brief periods of psychosis when you refer to killing Sanae? It's a little unfair to pinpoint those impulses on Headgames, as before those moments, he had never had anything strange occur to him at all. Well, at least as far as I remember, it has been a while you understand.
>>19600 Sanae is part god, easily on Headgames' hit list and for whatever reason Hoshuu was easily affected by it compared to Mikio and Tayasumi.
And that line about taking revenge on youkai? That's to sucker him into agreeing to the deal. Give him a nudge towards genocide and after he gets going on the youkai part, reveal the god slaying part. He was well on his way to becoming a killing machine until he ran into Kiyone, at which point he started to slowly recover his humanity.
At this point, Kanako appears to the less hostile of the two gods, not sure if she's still sympathetic or not to Mikio's plight. Odds are she is as she tried to do the "kind" thing, same as Mikio did with his partial lie.
>>19600 >His belief in the benefits of genocide are rather well warranted though. Youkai in the past were incredibly vicious, and deserved to die. I'm not sure what caused him to change his tune to killing gods and everything else as well, but his first impression upon Tayasumi was actually rather impeccable; having promised the power to take revenge upon them, and saving his life.
Oh these views are definitely understandable, and were in the past justified; there's just no place in Gensokyo for them now. If we're hoping to provide Mikio some kind of identity after he's rejected 'Hoshuu' I'd rather it be one that's survivable.
>>19604 Before Tayasumi spurned Headgames' anti-youkai agenda, they were completely on the same page, and enjoyed a rather symbiotic relationship. Headgames didn't start his total genocide spiel until Tayasumi rebuked his friendship. It was not until that moment that he became a ruinous parasitic effect upon Tayasumi's health. All I'm saying is Headgames may not be as readily evil as everyone thinks he is.
Also, Tayasumi was never on the path to "mindless killing machine." Up until the final moment when the red faded from the world, he was always in total control of his faculties, and definitely responsible for what he did. It would be more accurate to say he was close to becoming a single-minded murder machine. A minor distinction, but it makes a world of difference.
So, let me get this straight. Because Sanae believed that he was alive but missing, an actual being with his appearance and memories was created in Gensokyo? Thank you very much you stupid, selfish gods! I would have very much preferred a tabula rasa instead of fake memories that only made him and your very fucking protegee hurt. Well, at least now I know how the other story (with loli Keine) will end: he will die, but she will believe that he somehow survived.
Now that I think about it, wouldn't that meant that without Sanae and Keine he wouldn't exist? And how did Mindgames appeared too? Oh right, he's a part of him, so if one exists, the other will too.
Really I'm pretty sure every theory that could be thrown out there has been already. Far as I know, MC could be like a Roxas, Where hearts intertwine and make a new being with conflicting memories or some shit.
I don't think it really matters if the italicized voice is Headgames or not. Either way, it's still the sentiments of "I" - regret, hesitance, wanting to 'rest' - versus the sentiments of "You" - detached reason, mixed with more than a bit of deprecation, self or otherwise.
Mikio chose to do what is right over what's kind. That's true in regards to both Sanae and himself - living out the lie would have been easier, happier, for the both of them.
So, when Mikio told Sanae? Inside, despite his hesitations, he was agreeing with "You", with the italicized inner voice.
To go back to I... would cheapen that. Mikio would be going backwards, to against the idea of doing what's right over doing what's kind.
But, just because someone is doing something that is right over something that is kind, does not mean that the latter should be flat out ignored.
Personally, I would have been all over You... as the choice, were it not for this one line.
>but you don’t deserve to.
The main 'flaw' of doing what is right over doing what is kind is that, usually, the feelings of any afflicted parties are not considered. If they are, then the end result is simply continuing with the plan of action, despite the feelings of everyone involved.
But for the italicized inner voice to simply browbeat Mikio into submission to 'do what's right' does not sit well with me.
Whether Mikio's a result of some weird soul mix, a lonely girl's desire and hope given flesh, some kind of puppet-avatar for Headgames, or anything else does not change the fact that he feels.
In the end, Mikio may choose to do what's right over what's kind, for both himself and other people. But that doesn't mean his own, personal feelings shouldn't be considered, or acknowledged.
>I have no idea what is what. I have no idea what i am even voting for. This. One of the biggest problems I've had with this story are ambiguous votes like these, especially considering how important they are.
What we need to do now is simple, though we can't really complete it yet. What we need are answers: who is Mikio, really? Where did he come from? Whats his connection to Hoshuu and the other guy? And what's with this voice?
Our best bet for answers, in my mind, is Satori, though asking Kiene about her mom may also grant some insights. After that, it depends on what we learn.
I may be over-thinking it, but is that separator implying some kind of shift in perception or character? Meaning, does Mikio 'lose' his memories or personality as Hoshuu by denying him right there? I remember that scene where Mikio accepted Hoshuu's apparition led to an increase in his influence on him.
If so I have to imagine there will come a point where Mikio comes to accept or deny the memories of Tayasumi as well. Denial would provide a possible route of escape from Headgames.
Anyways yeah, I'm going to make some more speculation and say that Suwako did something to Hoshuu that caused his soul to drift instead of actually being judged by a yama, forcing enternal damnation. Somehow his soul found its way into our main character, and thats where we woke up. At least, That's what I think.
>>19641 I think that Mikio is similar to what >>19615 got out of it - that he's a manifestation of Sanae's belief that Hoshuu was still alive somewhere. It's plausible seeing as Sanae can create miracles. Although I do think this idea is at least partially wrong, as it doesn't explain Headgames or why Mikio has Tayasumi's memories in addition to Hoshuu's.
>>19646 >Although I do think this idea is at least partially wrong, as it doesn't explain Headgames or why Mikio has Tayasumi's memories in addition to Hoshuu's.
The evil influence probably took Tayasumi's memories before he died (for real) in the same way it took Hoshuu's memories before he died. Likely it had always existed in some form, whether as the Mishaguji or Headgames, but it had been in dormancy since Tayasumi's story came to an end. Maybe it was attracted to Tayasumi's hatred or Hoshuu's bitterness, but in any case it's become a curse so large that Hina won't even attempt to purge it.
Sanae's faith (or miraculous wish) that Hoshuu survived created a vacuum that the common evil took advantage of in order to manifest Mikio. Ironic that Suwako's attempt to do the 'right' thing, getting rid of Hoshuu to prevent the evil from coalescing in the Outside, was in effect defeated by Kanako's attempt to do the 'kind' thing, which through Sanae created a carbon copy of that same host in Gensokyo.
Now that I think about it, I had started hoping Mikio really was Hoshuu, like Sanae did, even though it's simpler for him to be an aggregate personality than for him to be one 'actual' person with other people's impressions and memories somehow tacked on.
>>19646 Sadly, Sanae doesnt make miracles. She takes power from the two gods. Even then, There's some things she cant do even with both of them at full power, due to 'laws'. From what I know, the domain of the dead (aka spirits) is not under any gods influence unless they are directly related to it, i.e. a death god or something. My theory is that all three character's spirits got split up: Tayasumi, Hoshuu, And MC whos name escapes me for some reason. Tayasumi somehow contracted a curse in the form of headgames, which began to corrupt his soul. After he died, His soul could not rest in piece, And then somehow found Hoshuu. We all know what happened then. Both souls merged, and seeing as how they're both 'corrupted' with Hoshuu's original soul already gone by the corruption that is known as Headgames and Tayasumi gone as well, Now the corruptions taking over MC. Again, I'm off on a few details as I cant remember if Hoshuu or Tayasumi is still 'alive'.
The point being is that when all the pieces of soul gathered into one, in this case MC, headgames came along with them. All that we really need to know is where headgames came from, and why.
I've also got a split theory that Suwako cursed Hoshuu to die that one night, in hopes of headgames dieing as well. We know how that worked out. Maybe headgames is Tayasumis soul, Or maybe its just a part of it? It's all speculation right now.
Lion, You really should feel great about yourself. You manage to make an amazing story that causes so much speculation.
>>19656 To be exact faith was declining and Kanako moved the shrine onto Youkai Mountain, But details details.
Tell me, What defines a miracle? Something that normally isnt possible, Like a human sprouting wings that never get wet, or maybe a fish that can breathe on land and in water perfectly fine for example? Or maybe, in this case, It's the power to grant Sanae as many "wishes" as she oh so desires. I personally think of it in the latter, And in which case kinda goes against a lot of mythology. I bring back the point that not all Gods are allowed access into all realms, and if a God cant do something about soul's, what makes you think Sanae could?
>>19658 I wouldn't say Sanae's power alone made Mikio possible, but it was one of many factors. There's the nature of Gensokyo which can turn belief into power as well as incidental holes in the barrier.
>>19679 I see, sorry about that. Those were some pretty unclear intentions.
I guess that would make sense if the boards were so populated that several people got on his case all at once, but >>19666 posted quite some time before you did, and the argument looked to be laid to rest when others decided to ignore it and keep on voting. I just don't see the need for bringing it up again, especially since it holds no significance whatsoever to the thread.
>>19680 >I guess that would make sense if the boards were so populated that several people got on his case all at once, but >>19666 posted quite some time before you did, and the argument looked to be laid to rest when others decided to ignore it and keep on voting.
'Laid to rest' makes it sound like there was some form of admittance of error or that the poster had deleted his post due to it. THP is a slow site, and often there will be many days between posts, even following a very popular story. The lack of response to a post doesn't imply any kind of tacit agreement over its contents.
>I just don't see the need for bringing it up again, especially since it holds no significance whatsoever to the thread.
The same could be said for responding to any off-topic discussion--like this one. If the comment bumped the thread you would have something to quibble over, but it was appropriately saged and wasn't obstructing any actual discussion.
>>19681 'Died and people seemed to have gotten over it' then. Since he didn't respond, one might think he silently admitted defeat... or is on vacation. Sure it's slow, but it's still beating a dead horse, and contrary to what people will tell you, it may actually come back from the dead to start bucking and causing another commotion because you wouldn't leave it alone.
Even with saging, it's just adding a pile of shit to the topic you have to scroll through, and could obstruct actual discussion were it going on in between these posts.
I wanted to laugh with everyone more… talk with everyone more… and be with everyone more, but,
you shattered all that into a myriad pieces, into countless fragments that can never be put back together.
Is it… already too late?
she will never forgive you for what you did. no one will. not a single person would.
I know. I knew that all along, this peace couldn’t last. I wouldn’t allow it to last, but still, still, still, still I yearned and clinged to false hopes. I knew from the beginning that the happiness I had in that home… would be as brief and as transient as the one that boy felt. I knew that the end would be as violent as the end he suffered. After all, that was no less than what I felt myself to deserve, but… I thought, I thought I
could take his place. but in the end, you couldn’t perpetuate the lie. you couldn’t live deceiving them all forever. you couldn’t let her live in her wishful delusions. so you destroyed them, along with her happiness.
For the sake of doing the right thing, I did the cruelest thing I could do to her.
and now, you are alone again
…That’s fine. It’s always been that way.
you’re used to being alone.
_I’m_ used to being hated.
After all, you’re a being who destroys all happiness, even my own.
You don’t know how long it’s been since what happened at the shrine. It could have been hours ago, it could have been minutes. Either way, the sky is now dyed in a dark color of blue, the stars and the moon twinkling above, shining their brilliant light as always, their radiance always unaffected by what happens on the surface. You’ve always hated that. Always, they float overhead, watching over you, unchanging, uncaring of what happens below them. How despicable.
You’re sitting, leaning against the stump of a tree, your arms wrapped loosely around your knees. For the entire duration you’ve been here, you’ve stayed still like this. Completely still, with no movement at all besides some weak, shallow breathing. What are you doing? What will you do next? That is what’s occupying your mind, and although you’ve thought long and hard on those questions you haven’t got a single answer from your mind; weak and indecisive, the same as always, for you.
This is… somewhere in the mountain. You weren’t really paying attention to where you were going. You just knew that you had to get out of there. Anywhere but that place would have been fine, so you aimless drifted, and drifted, and drifted, until you stopped, and feeling so desolate and lonely, you sat down here, to numb your mind. To numb yourself to everything that has happened and will happen, to prepare yourself for… for what? For your release?
Hearing the shuffling of feet through grass, your head instinctually jerks up toward the direction of the disturbance. Seeing a familiar pair of green shoes, you slowly raise your chin, up past the long blue skirt and the shirt to the face of Kochiya Sanae. She stands there, an unfeeling expression on her face as she continues to walk toward you. Slowly, as she approaches, you push yourself up off the ground, half-curious, half-terrified. After what you did to her, she would still seek you out…?
She steps out from the shade of her tree, and illuminated against the moonlight, her shadow stretches out, a long silhouette among the patch of low grass. It might just be a trick of the moonlight, but something about her shadow looks strange to you, but before you can think any more of it, she stops in her steps, and speaking loudly and clearly, addresses you.
“Kirita Mikio,” she says, calling you by your full name, in a tone cold even for strangers. She looks away when you look up at her, avoiding looking at your mask, and continues to speak, “…There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
You open your mouth, but hesitate to speak, unable to voice any words to her. She seems to take this as an agreement, and placing her hands behind her back, she begins walking toward you again, coming closer and closer with each step.
“I wasn’t sure if this would be the right thing to do,” she says, in a trance-like whisper, almost seeming to herself more than anything, “But I’m sure of it now. You can’t leave any loose ends remaining. You can’t let the seeds of unhappiness take root again. It may be sad, it may be cruel, but it’s something that has to be done, without question…”
She’s only a step away from you now, finally looking at you. In her eyes, what do you see? You don’t know, you’re too afraid to look.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
And then she draws something from behind her back, and it glints in the moonlight as she brandishes it. She buries it into your gut. Blood splatters on her face, on the white clothes of her body. Your blood. You look down, and see her small hand gripping the base of a black kunai, embedded into your stomach by its deadly tip. You look up at her, and see the cold and unfeeling gaze from earlier. With trained movements, she quickly rips the blade through your gut, slashing your flesh as she dislodges the kunai from you.
You fall, landing on your back.
She walks to your fallen body, kneeling down over your chest. Gripping the base of the blade with both hands, she prepares to bring it down on your throat, to expertly snuff out your life with a single stroke of the knife. Limply, you stare up at her, and her unsympathetic expression appears to falter a bit, although quickly and efficiently she manages to construct it once again, putting on the face of a professional. She raises her hands, and prepares to deal the finishing strike.
>It might just be a trick of the moonlight, but something about her shadow looks strange to you, but before you can think any more of it, she stops in her steps, and speaking loudly and clearly, addresses you.
Yeah, there's some weirdness going on here. I don't trust that she's in her right mind or entirely in control of her actions.
Say what you will, I think this conflict will ultimately bring Mikio and Sanae closer together.
In order to establish an identity as 'Mikio' rather than 'Hoshuu', Mikio is going to have to do some un-Hoshuu-like things. Engaging in mortal combat with Sanae, for one. It would be far from the first time he's held his own in a defensive battle over a misunderstanding.
You look up with hollow eyes toward your assailant, your eyes staring blankly at her. Deliberating on her strike, you feel a small droplet of your own blood fall onto your face, splashing against your white mask, and running a thin trail of red down its smooth, cracked surface. Staring, staring, staring, with not a single change to your expression. It unnerves her – you know it does – her hands are shaking, and a look of hesitation is written as clear as day across her face. Without twitching your lips, or even blinking you continue to stare up at her, the blood from the tip of the kunai continuing to drip down your mask.
There is only one thing running through your mind.
This is wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong. This is all wrong. This is all so wrong. Everything about this is wrong. This isn’t right. This isn’t right. This isn’t right at all. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This isn’t how it’s supposed to end. This isn’t it at all. You won’t let it end in this way, not after everything that’s already happened. This isn’t alright. This isn’t alright. This isn’t alright. This is wrong. This is wrong, this is wrong wrong wrong wrong all so wrong and the reason why it’s wrong is because
“You’re not her,” you say quietly.
She lets out a startled gasp, instinctively drawing back. She has less than a second to react before you reach up with your hand, grasping her by the throat. She draws a pained breath as your fingers tighten around her trachea. Pulling to the side, you toss her away like a ragdoll, sending her rolling through the dirt as you stand up. You touch a hand to your wound, feeling the warm, sticky blood on the palm of your hand, keeping it there. Moving it away, the wound has vanished, and there’s not a trace of blood on your hand.
Looking away from your outstretched palm, you glance in the direction of Sanae – no, the one pretending to be her. She lies, crumpled into a tangled mess of limbs on the dirt. Sluggishly, she gets up, standing with her back turned toward you.
“…Clever,” she says without looking at you.
Smoke rises up from the ground beneath her; thick, obscuring gray smoke that covers her entire body, covering her from view. When it clears, fading away into the air, you no longer see the figure of the shrine maiden standing there. In her place, you see a tall, golden haired woman in a long, indigo dress with a number of thick fox tails sprouting from her back – nine of them. A kitsune who used her shapeshifting magic to try to deceive you.
“But you should not have struggled,” she says, turning around to face you. Her arms are folded together, the ends of her long, baggy sleeves connected together. Her expression isn’t one of anger or shame, but more solemn, even… sympathetic. Nevertheless, with a curt and impartial tone of voice, she continues to speak, “if you had just surrendered yourself to death, it would have been better. I have failed. A much crueler fate awaits you now.”
“And there’s the baton pass,” a woman’s voice comes from behind you.
You swiftly turn around, and see a tear in space for just a flash—
A piercing white light penetrates your body, burning through your flesh and bones. It bores through your heart, and rips out of your back. You gasp in pain, beginning to fall over. Mercilessly, more white lights follow, ripping holes in every limb, every inch of your body, skewering and impaling and stabbing and piercing until you finally hit the ground, looking up to the sky again. Footsteps approach, and you see another familiar face: the gap demon.
She does not look amused. She does not look even angry. And yet there is something so dangerous about her expression, as though behind those unreadable eyes she was hiding some kind of incredibly venomous thoughts. Silently, she looks down at you, using her parasol as a walking stick, placing both hands on top of the end of its handle with its point buried in the ground.
“I really have to say,” she begins, her eyes unmoving, “you have a real penchant for ruining peoples’ lives. Congratulations. I thought I had a knack for screwing around with other people, but you’re really something else. But I suppose it’s just in your nature to do so, isn’t it.”
You don’t respond, your fingers twitching.
“You haven’t changed at all since then,” she continues, as the kitsune walks to her side, standing there. “Still so simplistic. And childish. Yes… childish. That fits quite nicely. That’s what you are, after all: a stupid little child. You were a child then and you are a child now. And you know what else you are? You’re an anomaly. One that can exist neither in Gensokyo nor the outside world. A being unwanted by all.”
She begins to pace in a circle around your body.
“You’re a threat; a threat that, as much as anyone might wish for it, can’t be smoothed over in just a few rounds of tea or sake. You’re an anomaly that threatens the very structure of this little fantasy world. And no one threatens my Gensokyo. So, I’ve decided, since you’ve already gone and hosed things up with everyone else, now is as good a time as any: I’m going to wash my hands of you. I should have done it years ago, but it’s been delayed enough. Nothing personal. Well, actually, I suppose it would be personal, but that's not important now.”
She stops at your feet, and stretches her palm out in your direction. There is no malice, not in her voice nor her expression; only a sense of obligation and duty.
“Ran,” she says, without taking her eyes off you.
“Yes, Lady Yukari?”
“You can’t say I’m irresponsible now.”
A glyph appears at her outstretched palm, a runic design carving itself into the air. It begins to spin about, as several more layers of various different symbols are added on top of it, merging and flattening together, flashing colorfully as a buildup of energy is accompanied by a high-pitched whirring. You look up at the spinning glyphs, your eyes mesmerized by the light as the whirring grows higher and higher in pitch.
“Do you know what happens when I remove all borders from you?” the gap demon asks. “You will lose your identity. Your sense of self. Your name. Your face. Your memories. Everything that makes you you and not the ones that aren’t you – everything will be taken away. To put it simply, you will disappear. You will cease to exist, unable to maintain awareness or even physical form. But I suppose you know this already; you’ve been through half the process already.”
The spiraling glyphs grow in size, easily wider than the woman’s body now.
"The first things you lost were your senses; you could not see, hear, smell, taste, nor feel what was happening to you, and perhaps that was just as well. Your body had become disconnected from the world, leaving only your consciousness tightly clinging on to the edge of reality.
“And that was not something that would last for long. The next was your ability to think, and while the complete loss of your senses was so swift you had barely realized what was going on, the erosion of your consciousness was much slower, as the various knowledge of the world were ripped from your mind little by little.
“Memories of the past were torn away, and that was when you no longer became aware of your situation. It was then that you had become ‘broken’ – that is, when you became completely ignorant of the world and yourself, knowing only of the infinite nothing you were surrounded by.
“And even that awareness of existing was taken away from you in time, as you became unable to think. You were then completely swallowed up by the void, a broken shell that could neither move nor understand anything, blissfully unaware of the world, and its own, existence.
“It was, in a sense, a state of stasis beyond life or death, as you were unable to comprehend neither concept.
Because you are nothing."
She finally changes her expression, smirking. “I wasn’t able to erase you then, but what about now, I wonder?”
The whirring grows louder and louder and the glyphs grow bigger and bigger and the final stage of this woman using her terrifying powers is about to begin—
[x] Cling on. Yeah, no. What life did he ruined this time? He gave Sanae a happy time in her fantasy... she awoke because it had to be done, but it was her fault in the first place. And let's not go about the goddesses' responsibility.
Who gave her the right to decide whether he should remain or disappear? She didn't even have the courtesy to try talking to him about it beforehand. No. She just watched & waited for something like this to happen. She let it happen. The bitch.
He has always been here. He has always looked out from behind those eyes.
>>19745 Perhaps it wasn't that she wasn't powerful enough to erase him, but that she thought he, having no former thoughts, experiences, and memories, could become somebody else. Unfortunately for both of them, that doesn't seem to have been the case.
"There is always hope for you, no matter how dark things may seem to become. When the darkest hour arrives, you must fight; never to kill, but to show your conviction. Remember that well.” ~Shikieiki Yamaxanadu
So I'm busy reading your story over in /border/ and then I stumble over your notice that it's on hold so you can finish that other story in /youkai/. I say to myself, well, go and check it out, it can't be too ba-
> 28 threads
What is this I dont even. Now I have to read everything. Fuck you.
I was thinking the same thing. Normally Headgames would be telling us to kill her, as she's clearly a youkai. In Buddihst cosmology beings ascend to higher planes of existence as they lose their ego, so playing dead here could be an attempt to game the system.
Maybe this is what’s best after all. Maybe you should just disappear after all. The embrace of nothingness would be a sweet comfort, a shelter from the harsh realities of the world. Yes, it is certainly not without its appeal; to cease to exist, to cease to have any worries or doubts remaining, becoming unaware and incapable of thinking and remembering. Yes, it would be best. It would be even better if no one would remember you at all when it happened, it would—
But there are still things that you want to do. Things that you wish you could have said. Things that you wish you could have heard. Things that you wish you could have done. But all of that wouldn’t matter if you disappeared, so why worry? Because that’s wrong. After all these years, after all this time, you wouldn’t have accomplished anything if you were to disappear here. You wouldn’t have made anyone happy -- not her, not your friends, or even yourself. Everything would have been meaningless, and that thought alone scares you. It makes you want to scream in anger and frustration. If you were to disappear here like this…
There would have been no meaning in you being born.
It would have been better if you had never existed.
You hate that thought. You hate it. You cannot – absolutely cannot – allow it to be the truth.
“I—I won’t,” you managed to gasp out, your lips trembling. Slowly, weakly, you begin to lift yourself off the ground, sitting up. The burnt hole in your body, the wound that has gone straight through your heart, begins to close up on its own, a faint dark mist pouring forth from the tightening hole as new flesh fills in the gap. “I won’t disappear. Not here, not now. I can’t.”
“You will resist?” the gap demon asks, raising an eyebrow. There is no other change to her expression. Her violet eyes remain cold and unsympathetic, and even as she crosses her arms together, she looks neither sadistic nor arrogant, only calmly looking at you with the composure of someone merely doing their job. “Then do your best.”
Her arms still folded together, she gives a snap of her fingers, several distortions opening up behind her, filled with bright, intense light. Faster than your eyes can follow, sharp metal shrapnel shoot out from the openings, hurled toward you like thrown javelins. One of the metal spikes embeds itself into your shoulder with a loud, wet thump, piercing through flesh and bone in an instant, lodging itself deep into your body. Jerked back by the impact, you stumble back, right into the path of another projectile, impaling you through the stomach.
“Gah…” you gasp weakly, struggling to keep from falling back down on the dirt.
Even as you reel from the pain, mercilessly, another steel rod jam itself through your bloodied body, stabbing between two of your ribs. Coughing and gurgling blood, you drop to your knees, blood blood blood flowing freely from your mouth and all the wounds on your body. Everything looks red again, just like then. The dirt, your hands, your clothes -- all dyed in the color of blood. Your vision -- wavering between focused and unfocused -- shows you your palm. A black mark begins to appear on the surface of your skin, crawling and writhing across it like a snake, coiling around your arms and hands, a burning, searing pain accompanying its movements.
“Won’t you fight back?” the gap woman asks, standing before you. “You’re about to be killed, you know.”
You look up at her, her figure casting a shadow over you. You reach out your hand toward her. Yes, in order to survive, you must kill her. You must kill her before she kills you -- erases you. You must tear her apart, limb from limb, and destroy those limbs completely. You have to stop her. You have to kill her. You have to erode her away into nothing, so that she cannot turn you into nothing. There would be nothing wrong with that. It is self-defense, and yet--
You lower your hand, as well as your chin. You stare down at the dirt. Why? Are you scared – scared to fight? Scared, scared, scared. Coward. You are scared. Coward coward coward. Running, running, always running, never fighting, never confronting, you have forgotten what it is to bare your fangs. You are afraid.
A boot kicks you in the head.
You crumple to the side, your head bleeding now as well. You hear shuffling of grass as a pair of feet trudge through them, stopping at your body. You feel another hard kick under your body, shattering your ribs in a single blow. You don’t even cry out in pain, keeping silent. The foot draws back, and kicks you again, cracking a few more ribs. This is pain. This is painful. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.
“So you won’t resist after all. You desire for continued existence, but you’ve already lost the will to fight for it,” she says, without contempt or malice in her voice. “Then I guess this is the end.”
“Not so fast, bitch!”
A tall figure leaps out from the darkness, obscured by shadows. The figure darts toward the gap demon, attempting to pounce upon her. Having sensed the danger, the gap demon glides backward into a welcoming distortion, slipping inside it and reemerging next to her fox servant. You look up, still bleeding profusely from everywhere on your body, and gaze upon your rescuer. A lean, muscular man with wolf-like features stands slightly hunched, baring his fangs at the other pair of youkai.
“The hell’s going on here?” he demands to know, “why are you messing around in our turf, gap hag? This place is off-limits to you.”
The gap demon looks disinterestedly toward the man, then turns her face toward the other woman and asks, “Ran, who is this?”
“He appears to be the leader of Gensokyo’s population of wolves,” she answers.
“Oh, a small-fry.”
Rouga cracks his knuckles, murderous rage written on his face, his prominent canines flashing in the pale moonlight cast over his face. “I don’t give a damn if you’re protected by the Hakurei Border agreement. I’ve been itching to give you a piece of my mind ever since you put that damn thing up anyway, and now you’re invading our turf and screwing around with our friend. We ain’t gonna let this slide.”
The gap demon sighs. “Ran, subdue him.”
The wolfman leaps forward. “Bring it, you damn fox!”
You let your head fall back down again, looking up at the sky. You hear sounds of a scuffle, grunts and cries of battle, and then you hear a body falling to the ground, accompanied by a splatter of blood. You look toward Rouga again, and see him lying face down in the dirt, all four limbs pinned to the ground, large metal spikes impaled through his arms and legs and keeping him stuck to the dirt beneath him. He rages and struggles, trying to pull himself out, but either from pain or battle his strength seems to have faded.
“Damn you both…” he growls, continuing to struggle. “You won’t get away with this!”
“Who’s going to stop us?” the gap demon taunts him, almost as if she were challenging him.
In response, he lifts his head, looking toward the sky. Taking a deep breath, he lets out a long, almost mournful-sounding howl. Immediately after, you hear the shuffling of feet -- many of them, as many as a dozen, perhaps, or even two dozen. You turn your weary head toward the direction of the approaching footsteps, and see a large force of white wolf tengu there, armed with broadsided swords and spears. They all stand in a horizontal line, led by a single gray-haired commander. They look unnerved, scared. Some look to be terrified of even looking at the gap demon, their gazes held low. Some look at you, seeing how terrible of a shape you’re in, and their eyes widen. Murmurs and whispers go unchecked, as the tengu commander steps up.
“What’s this?” the gray commander asks, just as unnerved as the rest of his men. “What are you doing?”
“I’m not sure,” the woman replies sarcastically, smirking. “Why don’t you tell me.”
“Trespassing on the mountain,” he says, emboldened by his growing anger, “Assaulting one of our kinsmen. Assaulting another youkai under our protection. Are you trying to start a fight?”
“No,” she says, “I’m only trying to rid you of a nuisance. A problem. If you know what’s best for you, you’ll let me finish.”
“A problem…?” the tengu commander asks, confused momentarily -- and then, almost instinctively, he gazes toward you, lying on the ground. “You don’t mean--”
“I do mean him,” she replies coolly. “He is a problem. He’s a threat. You all must suspect that as well? It’d really be in your -- our -- best interests that he disappear. You don’t really believe by now that he’s just a human, do you, tengu? You all know that he’s something far beyond just a human. You all already know that he can be dangerous. So, I’m just taking him off your hands. Isn’t that convenient for everyone?”
The murmurs and whispers grow louder, and the gray-haired commander appears to have nothing to reply with, stunned into silence. Some of the tengu look at you again, with those same eyes they gazed at you with when they discovered that you might be far more than a human. Yes… nothing has changed since then. They are afraid of you. They fear what you may be. They hate you, they scorn you, they care nothing for you. It would be better for them if you just vanished. So why, why do you continue to cling on? No one would want you, no one would defend you…
“We won’t let you,” a single voice cuts through all the mutterings.
Everyone’s eyes turn to look at the one who said it. You recognize him as the tengu who always pushed his own tasks to you. Nervously, he steps forward out of the formation, his sword and shield held out in front of him, his voice shaking slightly, though he tries his best to maintain his composure in front of the gap demon.
“He’s one of us,” he says simply. “The tengu do not abandon their comrades.”
His words have a tremendous effect on the other. Nervously, a little fearfully, they all turn to look at one another in the face. Some of them nod, and with a look of determination, they step forward, ahead of the others, raising their weapons at the ready. When the other tengu see this, they -- at first reluctantly, then proudly -- follow in their actions. Each of them begins to step up, pointing their weapons in the direction of the feared gap demon. Finally, all but the commander have taken a stand against the women.
After a second of deliberation, the commander steps forefront of the line.
“Oh?” she seems amused, “You’re going to protect him from me? He’s not even a real tengu. Are you sure you want to do this for him?”
“He is a tengu,” the commander says. “and should you threaten any of us, including him, the whole mountain shall fall upon you, even if it’s you, gap demon.”
“Hahaha,” the gap demon laughs, her smirk growing wider, her eyes narrowing into slits, “Do you think I’d be scared of mutts and birds? You all should really reconsider standing against me. I really do hate it when people try to interfere with what I’m doing.”
They won’t back down. Their united pride is too strong. Even if they are scared of her, they would never back down.
Yukari is trying to get rid of Miki because he's a threat to Gensokyo's stability. Because of that, initiating a serious conflict with the tengu here would only be self-defeating. She will back down before things boil over irreparably, or it will turn into a spell card fight.
By making sure the tengu are fully cognizant of how big a deal Mikio is, and by re-involving them with his life, she ensures his problem will be addressed by them. It's another solution to the same problem, which is probably acceptable to her since she didn't seem entirely sure she could kill him anyway.
Ultimately, this might be serendipity for Mikio, since alone he seemed headed down the path of self-destruction.
What's with the moralfaggyness? They're one of the reasons things ended up like this. Even if one or two stand up for Mikio, it doesn't mean that the whole mountain will. Eventually things will just loop.
I'm telling you guys, attempting an iron heart surge here is not going to carry over well.
If Mikio straight up loses to Yukari in single combat, it's just game over, unless the tengu will decide to fight her against his wishes, in which case it would have been simpler to have done nothing in the first place.
If Mikio doesn't lose, if he manages to survive Yukari mutilating him and forces her into an obvious stalemate like he did Yuka, he will appear so totally monstrous in the process that none of the tengu will want to have anything to do with him ever again. Then you get your youkai-killer hobo end.
>>19843 >If Mikio straight up loses to Yukari in single combat, it's just game over >“Do you know what happens when I remove all borders from you?” the gap demon asks. “You will lose your identity. Your sense of self. Your name. Your face. Your memories. Everything that makes you you and not the ones that aren’t you – everything will be taken away. To put it simply, you will disappear. You will cease to exist, unable to maintain awareness or even physical form. But I suppose you know this already; you’ve been through half the process already.”
>>19844 >We just fought her and won. Against her gaphax.
Well that's really the problem. Imagine that Yukari continues to browbeat the tengu that Mikio is a dangerous aberration, while Mikio proves her assertion correct by removing those metal spikes from his chest through his own power.
The Tengu are our comrades. It's okay to accept the help of friends who offer it earnestly; their offer proves Mikio deserves to continue existing.
Meanwhile, Yukari ultimately will be backed into a corner. She wants Mikio gone, but the Tengu have declared support for him. If she wants to get rid of him, she has to get rid of them. The Tengu are one very big part of Gensoukyou, and Yukari loves Gensoukyou - to the point that she could even be called the mother of Gensoukyou. What mother could stand to cut pieces off of her own child?
Holy shit, Rouga makes an appearance after so damn long! Glad you remembered him, Lion. Was wondering if he'd ever show up again.
I also really liked Yukari here, Lion. She's got her signature air of flippancy (that's a word, right?) while also being genuinely pissed about something that presents a threat to what she holds dear. None of this cutesy silly crap or evil villain schtick. You done good.
>>19900 Right now, Yukari is the antag. Not because she's doing whats best, But because in her mind if there's a slight chance for something to go wrong, She has to destroy it. If anything, What she's doing right now is shooting herself in the foot. A caged animal is strongest when cornered, you know.
anyone else curious about the, "“You can’t say I’m irresponsible now.” that Yukari said to Ran earlier? Sounds like there's some dynamics and unsaid feelings in the Yakumo household that's showing it's head up in this incident. Wonder how this will play out now.
>>19906 I'm just thinking it might end up being relevant because it sounds like Ran was the one who initially wanted Mikio gone and Yukari eventually got fed up with Ran's commentary about not caring about Gensokyo enough to deal with him.
Though, that could just be me. Yukari tossing that line out just really stood out to me because of the number of implications and suggestions that are made with that line alone. It really felt like a well worded line and I was just applauding it.
You continue to lie on your side, your eyes looking up at the clouded sky above. You stare unblinkingly at the linings of the clouds, in spite of the cold night air stinging your open eyes. The red within everything gradually fades away, color returning to the world once more. Breathing shallow, you weakly reach out toward the tengu, attempting to lift your hand. But though you will it to move, you find that you can barely lift it an inch off the ground. Your fingers tremble and twitch, but give way to powerlessness.
this is fine, isn’t it?
That they… they’ve accepted you as one of their own. They want to protect you, even from a being that they know far surpasses their own power. You’ve been accepted. They accept you. They will fight to protect you. You are a being who is loved. That’s good. That’s enough. That’s what you’ve wanted for so long, always, always seeking it. This is… happiness. You finally understand now. But at the same time, you feel so sad, so sorrowful…
“I’ll give you one more chance,” the gap demon says crossly, her arms folded together, her eyes narrowed menacingly as she takes a step forward. “Give him to me. He’s too dangerous to be left alone. It would be best for him to just disappear before he can cause anymore trouble. I’m sure your elders would agree with me.”
“The council doesn’t need to be involved,” the commander of the tengu says.
She laughs. “Oh? That’s an impertinent thing to say.”
“We will not stand down.”
The amused smirk on the gap demon’s face slowly slides away, replaced with a grimace. Her eyes carry a dark and intimidating gaze, and with slow, ominous movements she begins to step forward, barely inching toward the group of tengu opposite her. In spite of their united resolve, several of them flinch, making a movement to step back in fear, but they stop themselves, and dig their feet in deeper as if to steel themselves for an attack.
“So, I guess it simply has to come down to this then,” the woman says, every word carrying a venomous and dangerous sound. “You all leave me with no choice.”
The tengu are all doubtlessly anxious now. Fearful. They re-grip their weapons, raise their shields a little higher, exchange nervous looks with one another, anything to ease their sense of fright. Even the commander in the front of the group is afraid. But not one of them breaks formation. Not one of them, for all their fear of the most feared youkai in Gensokyo, for all their uncertainties as to your identity and nature, is willing to abandon you.
“…I’m going home,” she suddenly says, turning around while shrugging her shoulders, completely losing all tension in her voice. “I warned you all about him, so I’ve done enough. What happens next isn’t my problem anymore. Oh, but it can’t look like I’m running away. I do have a reputation to maintain, so Ran…”
“Yes, Lady Yukari.”
The gap demon turns around, raises a hand, and points at the tengu who defended you first. “Him.”
The kitsune leans forward on her feet, and in the next instant, she’s disappeared. The commander’s eyes widen, and he turns to shout a warning at the young tengu -- a single second later, the gap demon’s kitsune flickers into view again. The tengu the gap demon pointed at suddenly explodes with blood, vital fluids spraying out from various parts of his body. His eyes rolling up until only the whites can be seen, he crumples to the ground, unconscious. The two tengu standing next to him immediately drop down, checking his injuries.
The commander lets out a ferocious snarl, his sharp fangs showing as he growls through clenched teeth. “You bitch!”
“Oh, he’ll live,” the gap demon says unconcernedly, waving her hand dismissively. “Just keep in mind: if the ‘problem’ grows too big for the tengu to handle, then I won’t be taking any chances. I hope you’ll be prepared for what that would mean.”
A gap tears the space behind her, and she turns back once more and strolls into it without a second look back. The kitsune remains behind just a little longer, stopping in front of the open gap. She turns to the tengu, who stare at her with eyes of anger and hatred, and offers a small, apologetic bow before stepping into the gap after her master. The tear seals itself, leaving not a trace of the two who disappeared into it behind, only the bitter sentiments left within the people here as they hurry toward the injured.
“Hey, Kirita’s bleeding pretty bad! Do we keep those spikes in or pull ‘em out!?”
“Someone check on Rouga!”
“You’re going to be alright, friend,” the wolf tengu checking on you says, hesitant to touch you. “…Hey, are you… crying?”
Your cheeks are wet.
“…are you listening?”
“Well then,” the woman in front of you says in a pouting voice, her arms full of scrolls. “at least go ‘uh-huh’ or ‘yeah’ something once in a while. If you just stand there not saying anything it just seems like you’re not listening at all.”
“Yes, really,” she says, reaching out and prodding you with her finger, loose scrolls falling out from her arm. The woman sighs, turns around, and dumps her load of scrolls onto the wooden table beside her, leaving the room in a messy state. Never exactly having cared to be neat or organized, she ignores the mess to face you again, her hands at her waist. “Today’s a big day, or so I hear! So, you could really stand to be more excited.”
“I’ll try,” you say, deadpan.
“How thrilling,” she replies, her voice equally monotone as she rolls her eyes. “…It might get a little dangerous around here for a while, if this Great Border plan really works the way it’s going to. As soon as the youkai realize this settlement’s been cut off from all others there won’t be a shortage of them coming to raid here.”
“I’ll protect the village.”
“Of course you will,” she says, smiling. “I’m not worried. I was just thinking that we won’t be bored, at least!”
With a devious laugh, she turns and picks up the fallen scrolls off the ground, sorting them on the table.
[ ] Embrace her from behind. [ ] Watch her silently.
Wow, I was wrong. The right choice WAS to do nothing. However, I'm not going to lie, These extremely vage and hard choices arent the best thing to use all the time. So I ask you this: Would both of those choices have lead to the same outcome, albeit in a different way?
Another segment of Tayasumi/Nameless. I am positively fucking giddy. It's too soon to be all lovey-dovey though. You can't just erase his previous actions and character in a fortnight like that. It'd just be downright strange for this guy to be going around doing shit like that.
“Jeez, I’m going to be so busy with all these things once the moon is out and--“
As she complains, you walk up behind her, your footsteps silent. Hesitantly, you raise your hands, though for a few moments they remain frozen there, unsure of what they’re meant to do. You manage to take a step forward, however. Your arms wrap around Kiyone’s body, around her shoulders. Wanting to embrace her, you pull her in toward you. Her back softly bumps against your chest as she falls back, drawing a soft, surprised gasp from her.
It feels like you’re holding… warmth. She is warm… and you are cold. Hers is a gentle warmth. A warmth that comforts you. A warmth that makes you feel safe. Like a flame in the middle of a snowstorm. But it is small. It is so weak and fragile, that it might go out at any second, extinguished by the harsh winds. You don’t want that. This warmth -- the warmth that you desire, this warmth that you know you will never again know if you let it go out -- you will protect it. That’s what you’ve decided. So, even though your body is so cold, you will keep her safe…
You hold her closer, gentling tightening your wrap around her shoulders. She lets out another soft gasp, though it sounds different this time. Before, it was a gasp of surprise, but now… it was something else, you’re not sure. Was it… an expression of comfort? Pleasure? You’re not sure, but you want to hear it again. You bury your face into her long, beautiful hair. Her hair carries a scent -- a scent so sweet that you can’t seem to think about anything else.
She twists around in your arms, her body brushing up against yours as your draw your face back to look at hers. There is a different look in her face. There is warmth in her cheeks, and in her face, and her eyes are half-closed, staring into yours. There are no words. You stare back into her eyes. There is no need for words. You want her to look into your eyes, and you want to continue looking into hers. The blush in her cheeks -- you want to see it more.
Kiyone reaches up, standing on the tip of her toes. You freeze as she closes her eyes, stopping even your breathing. You nearly pull away when her faces draws near, but something stops you from moving. You feel something soft brushing against your lips, your vision filled with her. It feels strange; it feels so unfamiliar and alien. It scares you. You feel afraid, but--
You close your eyes.
Your heart is beating so fast, furiously quaking, but you hold onto her. You unwrap the arms around her, only to grasp her shoulders to hold her close as you gently taste her lips. You can’t think. You don’t know what you’re doing, or why you’re even enjoying it, but you are. Again and again you feel your lips brushing against hers, savoring each taste, each moment. What is this feeling? Why does it excite you? Why does it feel so…
Kiyone pulls away, her arms around your neck, pulling you with her as she backs into the table behind her. She lifts herself up on it, sitting on the edge of the table, her face now level with yours. She looks at you with a coy smile, before closing her eyes again, thrusting herself forward. Her lips connect with yours again, but it’s different this time. Her tongue slips into your mouth, taking you by surprise. You nearly pull away again, but again, something stops you. In fact, you do the opposite. You lean forward, asserting yourself, pushing her tongue back into her mouth, wrestling against it.
“Mmm…” she lets out a small moan.
She breaks away from you, letting out a hot breath, a thin thread of saliva still connecting the two of you together. She takes a deep breath, her eyes half-opened, before closing the distance again, her lips more moist. You attack her again, more vigorously now, and she leans back, her hands sliding against the table surface. You don’t know what you’re doing at all but you seem to move through instinct alone, like a beast satiating his hunger.
Her knees are raised, her legs are close to clamping around your waist, your hands are clenching hers, fingers intertwined, eyes closed, lips smacking together, tongues dancing and wrestling and--
Thwam! The door rattles, kicked open.
“Hey, Kamishirasawa, are you done storing those…”
You look toward the door, and she does, too. You see the immortal woman standing there, frozen mid-swagger into the room. She stares at the two of you in shock for just a second, before her expression of shock turns to disinterest. She sticks out her tongue, shoving two fingers into her mouth and making gagging noises before turning around and swaggering back out, making sure to slam the door behind her. For a while, the two of you just stare at the door in silence, hands still tightly holding onto one another, but soon enough, Kiyone looks back to you with a sheepish grin.
“She always does have the worst timing,” she says, her grip on your hands relaxing a bit. Her cheeks are still flushed, rosy red in the pale moonlight that shines through the seams in the walls. She leans against you again, touching her forehead to yours. “…Really.”
You don’t know what to say to that. You don’t understand what you’ve been doing at all. What was it? Why did you… do all the things that you did? You can’t understand, there’s no way that you could understand. It was by something unknown to you. Something that both frightens and allures you. Something that feels so alien and strange and uncomfortable and yet at the same time so cozy and attractive and desirable. What was it…? Is it something you knew before, or is it something new? It was… it was…
Tayasumi is doomed to a pitiful existence, and nothing we can do will change that. Give up, there is no use blundering after a happiness he cannot achieve. There is no redemption for such a wretched being.