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File 12765737558.jpg - (107.90KB , 763x354 , The Long Night.jpg ) [iqdb]
118985 No. 118985

>> No. 118986
File 127657384170.jpg - (25.28KB , 600x405 , Not Even If You Were.jpg ) [iqdb]
118986
The snow crunches underfoot as the man hauls the welding rig down the ramp into the large, open-air work area. Turning the cart onto one of the layers of scaffolding, he brings it around to the eastern face of the weird, bizarre structure that squats in the middle of the chamber, surrounded by ramps and walkways. His project is nearing completion, at long last.

...Far, far too long last.

Wheeling it over to the section where he'll work today, he brings it to a halt, propping it upright. Slipping dark goggles over his eyes, he sparks the torch to life, and sets to work. Eagerness fills every part of his being, but he keeps himself under control. Only a few support struts remain. It would be a horrible, probably unrecoverable loss if he were to screw up now.

He snorts to himself. What would be one more on top of a thousand others?

The torch pauses in its work as he thinks about that for a moment. His eyes flick momentarily back up to the close-to-full moon up above in the night sky.

...It'd be unforgivable, that's what.

With that sobering reminder, his work resumes.

Technically, there's no need for haste, but he doesn't feel like waiting another month in this cold, vacant estate. Far too many bad memories of this place linger in his head. Too many ghosts from the past.

The deadline draws ever nearer, second by second, minute by minute. The man has confidence that he'll finish, though. Anything else is out of the question, after all.

All throughout the night, the sounds of work echo throughout the dense, snow-covered bamboo forest, flickering light illuminating the pit in the middle of the western courtyard of the large, empty house.

________________________________________________________________________________

There are no choices. Only the story.

I pray I get all the details right.
>> No. 118988
(reposted due to THP's host being bastards)
>> No. 118991
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118991
Bamboo forest? Full moon? Color me intrigued.

Also, thank goodness the site is back up.
>> No. 118998
>>118991

Lunar nigger?

Not having THP to read made me sad too.
>> No. 119006
File 127658453174.jpg - (175.69KB , 500x386 , This should be bamboo and there should be more.jpg ) [iqdb]
119006
Hour after hour

As the night passes

Until

It's done.

With the final pieces of touch-up work finished at last, he is truly, wonderfully, done.

The large silver sphere is clearly the main focus of the whole affair. It's large, about 15 feet wide... or tall, or long, whatever. It sits enclosed in a cage of sorts, bars and supports clasping it tight. Atop the cage appears to be some sort of small but wide hut that squats there, as if taken from a garden or a tiny stretch of land somewhere.

The man grins like a moron as it all sinks in. He turns off the torch, replaces it on its hook, and sits back on his haunches for a few minutes, looking over the bizarre joining of two worlds, in a sense, fused together into a ludicrous attempt at achieving one of mankind's greatest dreams.

Of course, he reflects, there probably isn't much of mankind left aside from himself. So that makes it pretty much his dream, too. Well, that isn't far off from the mark at all anyway, so it works out in the end.

His eyes travel from the thing in front of him to the moon above. It's getting close to what passes for daylight. A few more days is all he has left, but a few more days is about all he'll need.

It's definitely all he'll need.

Whistling to himself, he gets up, and wheels the welding rig back along the ramp, into the main garage and maintenance bay. He spends a few more minutes afterwards making sure everything else is put away for the day. Once everything has been put back in place, he presses a button that closes the roof over the pit, and slides the garage doors shut.

Heading into the estate proper, he strolls through the empty hallways and corridors, humming a cheerful tune to himself. Usually, the end of a night of work puts him in a depressed mood, but this last week or so has seen him almost looking forward to it. Not because he hates the work, but because another day coming to a close means another day closer to his goal.

Deeper into the house he goes until he comes upon the infirmary. The sterile white rooms seem even more empty and lifeless than the rest of the house. Perhaps it's all the empty beds that drive home the reminder that he is alone here.

Today, he's able to shake off that sudden surge of loneliness he gets when coming through either here or the main dining hall.

There's planning to be done.

________________________________________________________________________________

>>118998
No.
>> No. 119073
Oh, that's what I thought this might be about. Glad to see my suspicions confirmed.

Hope it'll feel right.
>> No. 119078
And so the stage is being set for the last and quite possibly greatest Misadventure in Gensokyo

I spoilered that just in case someone might want to figure it out themselves (though it should be damn obvious by now)
>> No. 119080
Anything that involves arson can't go too badly.
>> No. 119088
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119088
>burnburnmaru
You make Aya cry. Please don't make Aya cry.
>> No. 119099
>>119088

> You make Aya cry. Please make Aya cry more.

Fixed that for you.
>> No. 119104
>>119099
That's not fixing it at all. That is making it worse.
>> No. 119525
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119525
Stepping into the study at the end of the hall, he hangs up his heavy coat, and removes his work gloves. Kicking on the heater, the man drops into the chair by the desk, and waits for the room to warm up.

The office is small and basic. A desk, a chair, a cabinet, a table...

And lots and lots of paper. Charts, plans, maps, diagrams, marked out with little arrows all over them, numbers and comments scribbled here and there. On the walls, on the desk, on the table, and even on the ceiling, where a large map was painted onto the ceiling, many years ago. It's split into two large grey circles, with spots and areas of note marked out, and every little part named.

It's only useful for a small part of what he needs, but it was made for— or possibly by? —the office's original owner, so that can't be helped. It still helps to remind him of his undertaking, and what yet lies ahead.

The room has gotten a bit less chilly now. The man gets up, and pulls out a few lists and a couple of diagrams off the table to the side of the desk. He's studied them to no end, and memorized them. He sees them in his sleep, now, and knows the buildings they detail as well as someone who has worked there for years. There are notes on the back of each, describing each building in detail, outlining the employee detail, and followed by several paragraphs of speculation.

But given who wrote it, he figures that the information is pretty spot on. She didn't earn her title by sending in box tops, after all.

The man goes over the building blueprints again, then flips them over, and reads the notes on the back. He knows them already, but it can't hurt to be prepared.

There's one section of the building circled with red ink. After several minutes, he realizes that he's been doing nothing but staring at this part of the schematics. Chuckling to himself, he folds them back up. Nothing more can be gotten out of going over this.

And besides, he's just putting off the part he really needs to go over.

Not out of fear, or worry, or anything. Not even out of a reluctance to see it.

There's a strange sort of apprehension one feels before taking in something that they're looking forward to. You find yourself doing anything and everything else first. "Just to be prepared," you tell yourself. It's as if you were delaying the inevitable, something that you want to avoid... but you aren't wanting to avoid it.

It must be out of equal parts worry and anticipation, the man surmises as he looks over at the large, curled-up chart on the corner of the desk. Your heart wants to plunge right in, but your mind is rightfully worried about it. It's taking into account the things about it that you're trying to ignore or not consider, all the uncertainties and possible pitfalls.

He stares at it for a while longer.

What kind of person would I be if I always worried about the consequences? he thinks.

His expression darkens after a few moments.

"Exactly the person I became," he mutters to himself, a trace of disgust in his voice.

So —he figures — Fuck that.

The man snatches the chart, and unfolds it over the desk.
>> No. 119526
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119526
On the paper is a complicated sketch. A path is drawn between two circles in many different frames. Each one shows a different method of achieving the same goal— his goal.

The method used all comes down to travel time in the end. The problem is that he isn't using any particular single method. Only one of them are available, in totality, to him, and he wouldn't survive the journey using that one method alone.

So, he had decided a few years ago, why not combine everything he possibly could? As stupid and suicidal as it seemed, there was actually something going in his favor for that method (or two things, if you counted his occasional fondness for stupid and suicidal maneuvers).

It had been a colder than usual night, and he'd come across a small cabin in the lowlands. While wandering through the house looking for something to help keep a flame going, he came upon an unused storage room filled stacks and stacks of old issues of the lousy, almost tabloid-esque newspaper that had been what passed for the free press around here.

He'd been in luck, he thought, to find such a fantastic supply of firestarting material. Whether it was luck, fate, or pure chance, he didn't know. But it helped spark not only the fire for that night, but a fire in his mind.

Propped up against a wall in the house's main room in the remains of a chair, he had taken to idly reading some of the back issues. Any reading material he could find these days, he eagerly devoured. Anything to help keep him alive, keep him sane. He had to stay sharp, if only because he knew he couldn't die yet.

Finishing with the one in his hands, he set it down and picked up the next one.

And froze.

The huge, front-page article was about something the aristocrat girl (and a few other people he had had the bad fortune to meet) had done. Something amazing, something ridiculous, something absurd. He stared at the article, then at the picture, and ideas began to run through his head.

Foremost among them was the blazing, white-hot thought:
'There might be a way after all.'

He read the article five times, beginning to end, and then over again. Afterwards, he had carefully clipped it out and sealed it in an airtight pouch. It contained hope and inspiration, and perhaps the very thing he'd been looking for all along.

Over the next week or two, he made his way to the shattered mansion in the middle of the lake, and combed through the ruins. While there, he found the remains of the library. Not nearly as great as it once was, but still impressive, the place offered him all he could ever want to read. In any other circumstances, he'd have lived out his days there, satisfied with this.

But now that he had something driving him, he couldn't spare the time.

Eventually he found what he was looking for. A volume, written by the librarian herself, on what she had learned during the unique undertaking the girl noble had set her to.

He'd read it thoroughly, and discovered this: It wasn't necessarily just down to how you did it, it was about how you believed it would work, and from this, it could be implied that you needed simply to believe that it would work, and that this was what helped shape the success of the librarian's project.

The man had laughed in joy at that point.

Belief?

Oh yes, he had belief.

And at that moment, he had proof.

In the slowly-warming little office in the empty estate among the bamboo, the man grins.

It is going to be the most terribly-constructed, ungainly, bizarre combination of wildly varying pieces and components, he muses, but goddammit, it is going to work. Fucking this up simply cannot be permitted to exist as a possibility.

After several hours, the man retires for the day, curling up in a bed in a small room adjacent to the doctor's office. This was probably her own room, once upon a time.

He gazes at the moon in the dull grey sky, and smiles before closing his eyes.

Just a little longer, okay?

It feels good to have something to aim for.

________________________________________________________________________________

Reposted because I forgot to label it, before.

>>119073
So do I.

>>119088
...Now I feel terrible.

Aya being concerned with her paper's image is a new concept to me.
>> No. 119527
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119527
The man wakes up with a sense of energy and excitement that he hasn't felt for a good long while, now. The only time like this was the first day he began the project in earnest.

Tonight is a night for preparations.

He begins by hauling out all the things he'll need for the trip. It fills up about a single packing crate, but only because there are a few bulky things and a few delicate items. There's some food, extra ammunition, water, and so on. He doesn't expect to be where he's going for very long, ideally.

...He suspects that thinking this means he will be there for a very long time, but gives the finger to such pessimistic thoughts, and continues packing. Can't let the fuck-ups of the past bog you down, right?

Theoretically, that's sound advice. It breaks apart pretty quick, though.

Well, that's what the trip is about, though, so... it's okay, right? Making something better? Probably the one, single thing he can make better, too. If that's the case, there's no sense in not doing your damndest and giving your all in order to make sure it goes well.

He pauses while carting the container into the open hatch on the side of the sphere, and thumps his head against its silvery, reflective side.

"Ow!"

Rubbing his forehead and grumbling, he picks up the cart again and pushes it inside. Too damn much internal monologuing, too much indecisiveness. That's what got him into this mess, after all. Lots of messes.

That, and the suicidal decisions.

But hey, he thinks as he deposits the small cargo container in the room inside the sphere and begins to fasten it securely to the floor, at least this suicidal decision was carefully thought out and planned.

And that makes it much better.
>> No. 119528
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119528
After the packing, the man spends the next several hours clearing away the work area, putting away tools, closing up the work sheds, dismantling machines he'd worked with, and placing them back in the garage.

Piles of wood, metal, and other raw materials are scooted far to the side and covered over with tarps. Garbage and scrap piles are loaded up and disposed of.

It's more part of the process than any expectation that this facility will see re-use: You put stuff away after you're done with it. It's the polite thing to do, even if your hosts and benefactors have long since fled or disappeared.

To put the mind at ease, one must follow through with their duties and tasks, and leave no lingering worries behind. This applies to all living things.

Once the construction area is cleaned up and squared away, the man spends a few hours going over very inch of his creation, starting with the topmost unit, the little hut-like section. Every single paper slip and square on the upper structure is in place and as it should be. The aristocrat would of course demand nothing less than complete perfection for the replica of one of her greatest achievements, after all.

And being the devious sort that she was— like most of the women who had held power here, long ago —she wanted it completely functional.

'Just in case,' was the reason she was quoted as giving in the librarian's book. It never helped her one bit, though. She'd grown bored with it and most likely forgotten about it.

It was sort of funny. The one woman who'd not directly toyed with him in any significant way back then was now turning out to be his biggest benefactor.

"If you're not part of the problem, you're part of the solution, I guess," mutters the man to himself.

After exhaustive and thorough checking, he determines that it's as safe, well-built, and ready as it can be, given the circumstances.

He's already tested the second part, the metal cage that holds the sphere. Each step along the way during its construction, he'd subjected it to rigorous examination, and made sure it would hold fast. He has no doubts about its durability.

Precisely because of this, he checks it over with a fine-tooth comb. Things have had a way of going wrong around him before.

It passes, as he knew it would. Probably only because he checked it, he thinks, a sour look on his face.

The third and final module needs little visual inspection. it's a great big silver sphere. Anything would either stand out like a sore thumb or be far too small to be noticed. Luckily, it's also the most technologically advanced part of his creation, and can check itself. Entering the sphere, a little screen lights up. Typing in a few commands, he orders it to run a complete, strict, and painstakingly thorough self-diagnostic.

It hums and chirps, then begins the procedure.

A few seconds later, it's done.

There's nothing quite like absurdly advanced technology to simplify the day.

Everything reads all-clear. Or at least, he's pretty sure it means all clear. He's had to teach himself the language, using the sphere as a learning device of sorts. As long as he didn't need to stray into 4th-person perspective, one of the six formal dialects, or attempt to address any governmental official higher than regional governor, or attempt to use any verb in the rectilinear subjunctive form, he'd probably be fine.

Still, the thing made what sounded like a positive-seeming chime, and nothing was unpleasantly glaring, blaring, honking, or blinking. That was likely as good a sign as he was going to get.

Exiting the sphere, he sighs in relief. Everything was done on this end.

Now to find that paint cart, the line-marker nozzle attachment, and the drum of Solid Cherry Red.
>> No. 119529
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119529
That day, he dreamed of things that were.

Things that could have been.

Things that should have been.

Things he will make happen, with his own two hands.

Things that will be.
>> No. 119530
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119530
Tonight is the last night, and that means it is the most critical night. The most important parts of the process are what comes now, and not a single step can be performed incorrectly.

He begins by shaving.

The beard he's let grow hasn't gotten to the 'crazy mountain ascetic,' but it's getting unpleasantly close to 'hobo.' That's just a bad plan all the way around, so off it goes. It feels better once it's off, though. The mustache too; that wasn't working out. Awful and scraggly, like the beard, only worse.

Once all the terrible facial hair is shorn, he looks in the mirror, checking this way and that, getting a few extra spots.

...Lookin' good.

And he didn't nick himself with the razor this time, either. Huh. Maybe that's a good omen, then? Might as well be. Signs and portents have been looked for in far stupider things, so why not?

Next, he uses the toilet, then has a bath. He's needed one for a few days, now, but been far, far too focused on his work, not wanting to sacrifice a single minute. He has that time now... in a way. Cleansing and purification aren't necessarily required, but it's better for one's mental state to be in a decent physical state as well.

So, he bathes. The furnaces of the estate still work, even crippled as they are. One little bathtub is not beyond their power.

He scrubs, he cleans, he washes.

He emerges at last from the bathroom, clean clear through and deodorized, too. Well, there's a faint smell of lilacs. That shampoo was really good stuff, but it smelled all... flowery. He'd found it in the doctor's super-super-secret stash. He wasn't sure why, but it wasn't one of her own products, so... yeah.

Even genius doctors like to feel pretty every now and then, even if they don't want to let anyone else know that they do. That was his guess, at any rate.

At least it got him clean. The thawing-out later would probably kill the smell.

Finally, breakfast. Or dinner. The first meal of the day at any rate, and probably the last one he's likely to have for a while. This consists of a makeshift sort of stew created by combining several cans of canned food, and reheating them all in a pot. The result is actually quite delicious, and he happily has seconds.

There's a lot more than he'd planned to make, so the rest is sealed up in a large thermos-like container, enhanced specially by the mansion's former owner. It was originally for preserving large sample specimens of something indefinitely, but it doubled as a damn fine replacement for Tupperware.

After cleaning up, he brushes his teeth, packs the last of his supplies into a backpack, and heads out of the estate for the last time.
>> No. 119531
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119531
Inside the sphere, he prays.

He isn't of the faith, and he certainly isn't anything like a member of the clergy.

Nevertheless, he sits in front of a shrine, a bowl of incense slowly burning, and offers his silent prayers to the gods responsible for this journey.

Perhaps they aren't even around anymore.

Perhaps his prayers mean nothing, and this is wasted time.

Perhaps he is angering the gods by performing this incorrectly.

Regardless of all this, he continues to pray. It is all he can do for them, and dammit, they're going to have to take what they can get. His cause is a noble one, if perhaps a bit selfish. But he aims to do nothing but good with this project.

He is bound and determined to pave a road to Hell with his good intentions, and god help those that get in his way.

That thought alone puts him further at ease.
>> No. 119532
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119532
The patch of luminous fabric stands out on the steel cage. It's a small, small little square, but it glows with some sort of strange inner light.

It's definitely the most critical part of the whole bizarre assembly. That's what the book said, at least.

It's a tiny little scrap, maybe about an inch square. That's why it's under thick, heat-resistant glass and bolted down securely to the frame, then welded absolutely tight. Any and every piece that gets him closer to what the book said will do.

It's not going anywhere but with him.

Hefting the wine bottle over his shoulder, he looks at his ungainly creation.

Names, names. The thing has to have the right name.

He'd already christened the individual parts with appropriate names earlier, but this... this was the one most important to him.

What to call it? Not the sum of the parts, but the whole that they represented. It needed something good.

Something representing not only his goal, but the absurdly impossible, one-in-a-million chance that this will all go off correctly.

Looking around in thought, his eyes come to rest on the pale, quiet orb shining overhead.

He grins. With a swing, he smashes the bottle against the metal cage.

"I hereby dub this lovechild of science, faith and bullshit Shoot The Moon."

He laughs. Yeah, it definitely feels right.

After a while of looking at his handiwork, he turns and calls out to the dark bamboo forest.

"You can come out, now."

________________________________________________________________________________

School has started again, so more writing time (long bus rides.)
>> No. 119536
>>119532
I'm excited. Very excited. The kind of excited you get when skydiving. One part fear, one part joy, and three parts 'fuck everything visible from here'. Which is a lot, given that you're up in the air. Plus, rockets are sexy.
>> No. 119825
File 127759949166.jpg - (188.38KB , 500x375 , la Blue girl.jpg ) [iqdb]
119825
Nobody replies.

The man does not move, still looking at the shadow-filled wall of trees.

After a few long moments, a girl in her late teens with long blue hair steps out of the wall of night and wood. Her dress swishes softly, and six bluish-clear diamond-shaped wings sticking out the back make the softest of light glassy sounds in the air as she moves. It's hard to read the expression on her face, but it certainly isn't a smile.

The man smiles, though. He'd assumed she would have been along before now. But like all things, better late than never, right?

"You're really going to do it, then?" she asks, finally, looking up at the structure in the middle of the pit. Still no emotion readable in her voice.

He flashes her a smile. "Was there ever any doubt in your mind?"

"A little, I guess," she says, after a moment of thought.

"Really? Jeez, that's awful cold of you."

Her expression goes from unreadable to unamused. She sighs as the man laughs, then turns to look back at him.

"Do you think you'll be coming back?" she asks. For the first time, there's a bit of worry in her voice.

His smile slowly disappears. "If I'm unlucky, no. If I am lucky, then... not for very long," he tells the girl. This doesn't seem to make her any happier.

She's quiet for a lot longer.

All of a sudden, she's next to him, face buried against his chest.

She's crying.

He wraps his arms around her, holding the tearful girl.

After several long minutes, when she pulls away, he holds out a handkerchief, pulled from somewhere in his coat. She wipes away her tears, and looks back at him with red eyes.

"Y-you're not allowed to screw up or die, you know? You're not that incompetent, I'm sure of it!" She grins, and claps him on the shoulder. The image of confidence is ruined by an errant sniffle.

"Well, you know me. I'll do my damndest," he says, and ruffles her hair. "And if my damndest isn't enough, I'll be sure I'm doing it to someone."

She squeaks in surprise at the gesture, and then sighs a little, cheeks turning red. They turn redder still as she realizes her own reaction, and mutters under her breath.

"What was that?" he asks innocently.

"Nothing!" She hasn't moved away at all. If anything, she's leaned into it, ever so slightly.

At last he withdraws his hand. "Are the others with you?" he asks the girl, looking back into the dark of the bamboo.

She looks back at the forest. "Well... kind of. One's too proud to show up, and the other one's getting ready for... for something," finishes the girl lamely. Her expression seems a bit apologetic as she looks back at the man.

He looks over there as well. "Well, at least I got to talk to one of you one last time," he says. "And I really wanted to thank you all for keeping me alive. Pass that along to the others, too, would you?"

The girl in blue turns white, then flushes red. "Ah ha ha... you knew, then?" she asks, laughing nervously, suddenly unable to meet his gaze.

He snorts. "I'm, what, the last, almost-last human around? If I didn't have someone watching out for my stupid ass these last however many years, my life expectancy would be measured in seconds."

"I guess that's true..."

"The occasional pile of bodies was another tip-off."

"Well, you make a lot of noise sometimes and attract things!"

"That I do."

A silence falls over the pit.

"Well... goodbye, then," she says.

"Goodbye."

"And... thanks for everything you did, even if you didn't do it on purpose."

He doesn't respond to this.

"Be sure to watch over there before you go, okay?" she says, suddenly, pointing off to a certain section of the forest. "If you miss it, she's never going to forgive you!"

"...'it'?" he asks.

"Just watch, okay?" Saying this, the girl in blue flits off, fluttering over the wall.

The man watches the woods bemusedly for a few more moments, then shrugs, and begins the last of his preparations.
>> No. 119826
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119826
There isn't much left to do.

Walking down the gantry to the main access hatch on the silver sphere, the man pauses before getting in. Turning around, he looks back towards where the girl gestured.

...Nothing but darkness and bamboo.

And of course, the snow, gently falling once again. The silent white flakes drift down through the air, producing that certain sound of almost-no-noise unique to the weather.

Cupping his hands to his mouth, he calls out, "If you're going to do something, now's the time!"

There's a cry of surprise, and then a bit of rustling among the bamboo.

The man grins inwardly and waits.

Suddenly, silently, the air lights up in large soft green lettering. It forms words, easily readable from where he stands.


WE'LL MISS YOU


The words coalesce into being, coming into a proper shape. Each letter seems to be made of hundreds of tiny little green lights, blinking and flickering. They linger for a few minutes before darkening. A few seconds later, new words form:


DO YOUR BEST


Again, they linger, disappear, and re-form.


WE'LL BE ROOTING FOR YOU!


AND THANK YOU


for everything.


This last message is written smaller and forms slowly, as if the writer of the lights was reluctant to say it. He sighs, and smiles, giving the woods a farewell wave before heading inside the sphere.

He takes his seat in the pilot's chair, and straps himself in. With a flick of a switch, the door slides shut, hissing as it seals into place and leaving neither trace nor seam nor sign of any door on the outside.
>> No. 119827
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119827
"He saw it! He saw it! Do you think he liked it?"

A curvy, well-formed young woman with long flowing green hair frets nervously. It really ruins the image she more reserved, regal bearing she normally carries herself with, in public. Fingers nervously twirl and squeeze the fabric of the cape she wears about her shoulders.

"Of course he did," assures her companion, the blue-haired girl. The antennae on sprouting from the cape-wearing girl's head bounce slightly as her friend pats her shoulder gently.

The two stand near the edge of the bamboo thicket, watching the man's creation, even if it isn't doing anything yet. Fireflies flicker and dance, wheeling around gently in the air, seemingly unbothered by the snow.

Back in the pit, the structure begins to make a soft noise, now. It's somewhere between a hum and a whine. The sound is felt more than heard, at this range.

"Do you really think he'll find her?" asks the green-haired girl, suddenly.

"Of course he will," says her friend with a confident smirk. "Now, whether he makes it out alive, that's going to be something else entirely. But I'll be plenty surprised if he isn't able to pull off the first thing."

"...Yeah."

Neither of them have looked away from the structure, which now rumbles quietly. A faint glow has begun to shine from the pit.

"...It's kind of a shame the last of our little group never showed up," comments the blue girl after a while. "I think he'd have liked to s—"

"But I've been here all along."

The two girls jump in surprise. Their unmoving gazes are broken as they look around for the source of the voice. They know the who, certainly, but not the where.

"Hey, come on! That wasn't funny!" cries one of them.

"Is that so~?"

Up a little hill and behind them, a darkened section of the already-dimly lit bamboo forest seems to take on light, slowly. To the girls, it seems more like the shadows recede slowly as yet another girl seems to take form. It is as though she was there all along, but that the shadows were always just in such a way that she would always be cloaked in their darkness.

The newcomer looks older than the other two by about 10 years. A more mature woman, she's smartly dressed in a black skirt and blouse, with a white dress shirt beneath. She floats down from the hill, hands outspread as she lands, as if to maintain her balance.

"Where have you been?" asks the green-haired girl, upset. "You missed your chance to say goodbye!"

The woman looks past her. "He's still here, though," she points out.

"Not for much longer."

"Is that so~? I came, though, and that's what's important, right?"

The blue-haired girl shrugs. "I guess so. It's your loss."

The three friends turn back to watch. The rumbling grows louder and louder, slowly building into a dull roar, and the glow gets brighter.

"...I'm still amazed he was able to do this," says the older woman, after a while. She's forced to speak up over the ever-increasing noise.

"Whaddya expect?" calls back the young woman in blue. "She was pretty important to him. If someone means enough to you, you're likely to do all kinds of crazy things for them!"

The roaring cuts out all of a sudden, to be replaced by a throbbing, heavy hum. The glow has turned into a bright, bright glare as the structure begins to rise up off the ground, silent blue jets coming from the bottom propelling it up.

"Oh, I agree completely. I'm just saying that building a rocket to go find someone you last saw fifty years ago..."























The other two young women are forced to shield their eyes at the intensity of the light, but the late arrival takes out a pair of old, beaten, but still-intact sunglasses.

She cracks a slight smile as she regards them fondly for a moment, remembering simpler days and happier times.

Then she slips them on and looks up, following the man's creation as it takes flight.

"...You'd have to be a lunatic to go through with it," she finishes, and gives a little wave to the ascending vessel.

"Yeah..." agrees the girl in blue, mostly preoccupied with her own thoughts as she watches it fly away.

________________________________________________________________________________

I know I've been repeating some stuff. I'm sorry about that. With any luck, I'll be past most of that, now.

It occurred to me that parts of this story may not have made/might not make sense if you haven't read Silent Sinner in Blue.

...Or the other important story.

>> No. 119830
Mary Sues in blue more like
>> No. 119845
> A Gibbson...
> ...One liner.
> YEEEEEEEAAAH!!!
>> No. 119867
>>119865

It's not finished.
>> No. 119869
>>119867
...
Oh.
Deleting.
>> No. 119916
>>"...Bang."

You're gonna carry that weight.
>> No. 120059
Discreet math, again?
>> No. 120091
File 127831373443.jpg - (231.93KB , 1920x1080 , Unrelated to story but kinda similar holopanels.jpg ) [iqdb]
120091
The man straps himself into the chair inside the sphere. Maybe the technology is advanced and superior so far beyond his understanding that his brain would rather eat itself than try to understand the absurd physics involved, and because of all that, it's perfectly safe. All the same, he'd prefer not to take chances. Not vague, unclear ones, at least.

Suicidal, reckless choices, though; those are fine.

As he reaches out to the console in front of him, a glowing panel manifests itself in the air beneath his fingers. He taps a few of the panels, pausing a little each time, double-checking that he remembers how this goes. If he screws up here, it won't be pretty. At best, he'll have wasted the last few years for nothing.

Not an acceptable outcome.

Not even close.

Once done, he settles back in and waits.

The chair begins to tremble, ever so slightly, ever so gently. Almost relaxingly, really. Were he in anything less than peak physical shape or wakefulness, it might have made him start nodding off. At least, until the distant roar began to build.

It never gets too loud, but it's always just loud enough to be noticeable. Distracting, if you were tired.

Another little panel pops up off to his side. It's clearly meant to display, rather than provide controls of any sort. It shows some kind of character that changes, exactly once every second.

Slowly, steadily, the characters diminish. And at last, they finally wink out.

Beeeeep

The sphere trembles a little harder, then... stops.

There's no feeling of sudden weight, no sudden surge upwards, no powerful bitchslap of gravitic force. It's very gentle, like proceeding forward from a stoplight.

He lets out a breath, and looks up at the projected flight path.

In this way, the man's rocket launches.

"On my way at last," he says quietly to himself, and flicks the image. It flickers briefly, then re-assumes its shape.
>> No. 120093
File 12783138518.jpg - (54.48KB , 500x667 , Big Blue.jpg ) [iqdb]
120093
He's a little disappointed at the anticlimactic feel of it all.

Spaceflight was something amazing and rigorous and impossible and awesome and always thought of as a child's fantasy for the average person. He'd grown up on images of the shuttle crew strapped in and braving the stresses of launch, flipping switches, making constant checks and corrections and everything.

But with the technology at his disposal, the journey is incredible simple and easy. Really, it's almost a letdown.

Almost.

The other, more rational parts of him are quite happy to have avoided such a classic, rigorous process. The less work there is to do, the better.

...Still.

Sighing a little, the man unstraps himself once the display has indicated he's reached the safe point. Or as he liked to think of it, the 'you are now free to move about the cabin' notification.

Four days in space, he thinks, stretching. Better than the two weeks the librarian's book quoted, certainly. The builders of the sphere had much faster ways of getting to and from Earth, but he didn't have that option completely available to him. Only in part, unfortunately. Using the sphere's own considerable propulsion systems plus the power of the gods imbued in the shrine in the hut on the upper portion put him, then, at four days, more or less.

At least they wouldn't all be spent awake.

After locking in the course and flight path, he gets out of his seat.
>> No. 120094
File 127831397586.jpg - (1.86KB , 100x100 , Squiggly bits! Design also unrelated.jpg ) [iqdb]
120094
The man gets naked.

He shucks his clothes and folds them up, then moves to the rear of the sphere. There, he sets them in a little lit square on the floor, and steps onto a similar, although larger, lit circle. Yet another floating display pops out of thin air into existence, and displays several lines of dialogue.

He's already gone through this before, but he still runs his eyes down the list, making very certain the option he wants is on there.

It's there, of course.

tap

It chimes, then springs up a few other options. A few more taps, a few mores screens.

Finally, there is a low pinging sound, and a wall of shimmering light lides out of nowhere around him

Soft, calming music plays. Or at least, it's meant to be calming. Honestly, it's irritating as hell. All the enlightened culture in the universe still can't produce anything decent. If he'd known how, he'd have had it play some Zeppelin, for god's sake.

Maybe it sounds better when you've lived for a few thousand years. He doubts it, though.

The music goes on, and he closes his eyes.

Suddenly, everything starts to fe
>> No. 120096
File 127831404417.jpg - (16.17KB , 495x389 , Are these things really all that efficient.jpg ) [iqdb]
120096







































el strange for a minute.

...Wait, no it doesn't.

All right, except for the being submerged in liquid. That feels strange.

He very nearly freaks the fuck out.

"Hrmbbllbmlgglglml!"

No, he definitely freaks out.

There's a muted, warped tone, distorted by the liquid, and then all of the liquid disappears, leaving him drenched, wet, and cold.

Suddenly, he's buffeted by warm, dry winds, rushing by at high speed. It's almost exactly like being crammed under God's own hand dryer.

This goes on for several long, long seconds, coming to a stop just before the shimmering wall around him fades away. A series of helpful little instructional panels pop up, telling him what to do and what steps to follow. He doesn't bother reading them, as he's already committed the damn things to memory.

He made very sure of that after the first time, when he'd made the mistake of leaving his clothes on.
>> No. 120098
File 127831428472.png - (16.93KB , 400x300 , May need to download it to see it on white BG.png ) [iqdb]
120098
They say you don't dream in stasis.

And as it turns out, the man thinks, they're completely right. Take that, science fiction.

Hopping a little as he pulls his jeans back, he leans on the back of the chair. Looking over his shoulder, he sees that the stasis worked like a charm: The projected route path shows he's within a few hours of his destination.

Time to get saddled up and ready, then.

After putting the rest of his clothes on— minus his coat, for the moment —he walks over to the large cargo container he'd dragged aboard. Opening the lid, he first checks the two most important pieces stored within.

Two zero-stasis fragile-equipment containers, made by the same people who made the sphere. Their contents, are of course, intact.

...That's good. If they weren't, he'd have wasted the entire trip. Of course, the armored containers could keep their contents safe in the most insanely unstable, shaky, and abusive of environments. That was sort of the whole point, after all.

Still. Just in case, you know?

Pulling out his backpack, he stuffs those two canisters into it. Next is a first-aid pack, followed by a few sealed meals. He had no idea how long it would take to find a ride back. Hopefully quickly, but if he needed to hole up somewhere, he wanted to be prepared.

Next were several magazines of the special-purpose ammunition created by the doctor and her assistant. It was tailor-made to non-lethally put down any sort of people sent after them when they'd fled. Of course, they'd never needed it. If they'd made it to deal with humans, though, they might have fared better against the shrine maiden during either of her rampages through the estate, and would have seen some use.

Surprisingly short-sighted of one so long-lived.

Loading those into the the assistant's ceremonial but still quite-functional sidearm (inscribed on the barrel was something about graduation), he places it into a holster, then sets it aside.

Grunting a bit, he pulls the largest, heaviest piece of cargo out: a weighty, bulky vest; lumpy and irregular with bumps, bulges, and other strange bits. It weighs a good thirty or so pounds. Maybe more? It was carefully designed to serve two seemingly-opposite purposes, but he has faith in its durability and efficiency. Having kept himself in good shape over the years, it's making him slower, definitely, but still manageable.

A thought suddenly occurs to him: He'll be working in a much lighter environment, in terms of gravity. A grin spreads across his face. That means that all that time he'd spent keeping himself in shape would pay off in spades. It wasn't any hyperbolic time chamber, but it was the next best goddamn thing. What was the gravity difference again? Half as much? A quarter?

He snickers. He'd be harder, better, faster, AND stronger than these jackasses, right? ...Then again, he considers, the aristocrat and her companions were soundly defeated by the locals. his grin disappears as he thinks about this.

Wait, though. Didn't they go up against two of the biggest damn big cheeses here, though? He wouldn't be fighting them, just the grunts, and maybe some of their immediate superiors. Trying to duke it out with the big damn boss ladies themselves was sheer suicide on a level far beyond the kind of retarded suicidal measure he himself occasionally opted for.

Well, either way, he figures, it'll let him haul around his equipment a lot easier. That's an advantage all its own.

Slipping on the vest, he puts on his jacket over it, and stuffs the various pockets with extra magazines and supplies. A little cord trailing off the vest is slipped into an easily-reached pocket. After that, he slips the belt with the holster on around his waist, and arranges it for quick and easy access.

He moves around a little, flexing various limbs, trying out certain ranges of movement and motion. After making adustments here and there to allow himself a little more freedom, he's satisfied with the results.

Leaning over the chair again, he calls up the main display, seeing how much time he has left. Almost another hour or so before landing, it seems. Enough time to think up what to say... or at least, how to say it.

That's going to be a pretty critical part of this, saying the right things at the right time. Getting it wrong could be disastrous.

So it comes to him as no surprise that alarms choose that damned minute to start going off.


________________________________________________________________________________

>>120059
No, I left that fucker behind, and I am gleefully happy to have done so.

The more important note:
To clarify for those that somehow have failed to get the point: If for some bizarre reason you haven't read "Misadventures in Gensokyo," then either:
a) put this down, get MiG from the archives (see the stickied post in /gensokyo/ ) and go read that in its entirety before reading any further, or else
b) drop this story completely, because you won't get anything out of it and it will make no sense.


The less important note:
Long blank sections are the new black. Or pink. Or whatever.
Totally.
>> No. 120101
File 127831904543.jpg - (3.94KB , 114x119 , 1278136807090.jpg ) [iqdb]
120101
>>120098

>My face when I haven't read MiG since I came to this site four months ago and heard how rage-inducing it is.

fuck
>> No. 120115
>Spoilered section
Are you implying what I think you're implying? Are you? Is this...? Did you get permi-oh what the heck. I'll just say that I'm looking forward to the next update. And by forward I mean waiting in absolute glee like a kid in a candy store or a guy on crack in the house of mirrors
>> No. 120119
>>120115
Kira's... dead.

irl
>> No. 120121
>>120115

see

>>114415
>> No. 120143
Baaaah. I'm not reading some massive story just so I can understand this little one-shot...
>> No. 120144
>>120143
It's not really massive, though.

Remember, this was essentially the second-ever CYOA. Updates were generally short, there were tons of votes after each, and the maximum post limit before autosage was lower by like 50 or 100 or something.

It'll take you about 2-3 hours. Maybe 4-5 if you read slow.
>> No. 120169
>>120143
You shouldn't be reading it just to understand a one-shot. You should be reading it because it's fucking historic. This site was founded on its early stories because they were loved so dearly by so many people. By refusing to read them, you're depriving yourself and degrading the community.

Maybe I take it too seriously. Maybe I'm an oldfag. Maybe I feel like I'm the only one who's been watching the site clutching at air for dear life and failing.
>> No. 120179
>>120169
Damn right. I am with you brother.
>> No. 120188
File 127854448555.png - (190.60KB , 410x307 , Marisa.png ) [iqdb]
120188
>>120169
>> No. 120209
>>120169
I could argue against these points, but eh, it's not worth it.

Fine. I'll read it.
>> No. 120231
File 127862781955.png - (131.15KB , 498x270 , did you know radar spelled backwards is radar.png ) [iqdb]
120231
There are three of them.

And they're mauve.

Three ugly little blinking dots on the display. The creators of the sphere apparently saw mauve as an all-purpose "this is a bad thing" sort of color.

Drawing nearer and nearer, they steadily move closer to the blue dot representing the vessel on the holographic panel.

Too precisely grouped to be asteroids.

Too fast to be ships.

Too big to be debris.

Too eerily intent on following him to be accidental.

Apparently the locals had set up defensive weaponry, then; probably after the aristocrat's incursion and the border woman's successfully unsuccessful deceptive secondary strike. It was all kind of silly anyway, seeing as how the only two groups that had ever made any moves on their borders were now either
  a) scattered and often unorganized, or
  b) Currently mostly non-existent.

Maybe it was semi-justified paranoia. Maybe it was the advanced, enlightened version of "I've had enough of you goddamn kids; stay the hell off my lawn!" Maybe they'd met some real aliens. Who knows?

The man neither knows nor cares, and expresses this by swearing. His options are somewhat limited. With the hut on top, the vessel handles like a fucking trash dumpster, since it's following a pre-programmed course charted and created by actual gods. "Evasive maneuvers" are a distant dream.

Without the hut, maneuvering would be as sensitive as a bat's ears. Part of the problem then would be that he would then have to use manual control, which when applied to such hyper-responsive controls, would be like stapling be bat to an amplifier, ears-first. And even if that weren't the case, losing the hut would mean he'd then have no way of getting to his destination.

What's left, then?

He glares at the display, tapping his fingers irritatedly on the side of the chair.

That's pretty obvious. There's only one thing that can be done: gas it and haul hard to one side.

The course correction would eventually kick in, but he just needed to get far enough ahead of them and then find a nice flat spot to land at. Or all over. This vehicle was made to be a one-way-trip, after all. Reusability of any of the modules was never part of the plan.
>> No. 120232
File 127862794254.jpg - (65.86KB , 768x1024 , vroom.jpg ) [iqdb]
120232
"Close" only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and space travel.

..."Close enough," at least.

He floors it, and leans his arm, bent at the elbow, forward onto the control stick.

The vessel surges forward, and eeeever so slightly angles down. He keeps an eye on the screen, making sure not to lose sight of the evil mauve dots.

He waits.

...They're falling behind. Rapidly, too.

Well, this is unexpected. Pleasant, however. Maybe the builders hadn't counted on being weaponry fast enough to keep up with their own craft?

No, that's wishful thinking. Stupid wishful thinking. It's got to be a trap of some sort, a trick, deception, something. Maybe the weapons are hacking his systems, and feeding it false tracking data. Maybe it's jamming him. Maybe it's really working. Maybe they were never there. Fucking defense systems, how do they work?

He slaps himself. "Calm the fuck down, dammit!" he yells.

It's silent inside the craft for a minute, and he suddenly feels very stupid. Okay, okay. Got to figure out what's happening, but it's better to approach this with a cool head, right? Of course.

He's close to the entry point along the border between the real, where he is, and the unreal, where they all are. Or at least, close enough. He'll be there within a few minutes. Now, if—

Some very loud, insistent chimes and hums suddenly make themselves very, very, very audible. Worryingly so. "We're all gonna die!"-type worry.

He looks to the tracking display panel and where the fuck did those five mauve bastards come from oh fuck he was heading right into the thi

----

Horseshoes and hand grenades.

Definitely not space travel.
>> No. 120233
File 127862810386.jpg - (491.05KB , 1024x681 , needs more sphere.jpg ) [iqdb]
120233
Fwmmmp!

A soft, thudding sound, like a pillow upside the head, but extended.

       ...kkkkkrreeeeennnk

A long, long pause, then from all around, the muted sound of scraping, bending, twisting metal.

He looks at the display, nervously. No more mauve dots.

...Not losing oxygen, either.

The sphere is starting to jitter a little, though. That's probably not good, but maybe it's tolerable. Maybe.

He lets out a breath, slowly. Well, they weren't missiles, whatever they were. Reports are starting to come in, saying that the integrity of "unknown external attachments" has been severely compromised. Looks like the basic structural network he'd added on was working as planned, at least. He couldn't code in the modules themselves, but he COULD run unnecessary wiring all over to various pointless little devices on the hull, giving him a sort of crude "awareness" of the state of non-sphere portions of the craft by checking how many and which of the devices were online and functioning.

It didn't explode, apparently, so... maybe some kind of energy weapon? The man considers this. It doesn't seem to have hurt the sphere, which seems odd. All it did was... what? Tear the midsection up a little? That seems kind of silly.

Checking external cameras, the man sees that several large sections of the steel cage holding the sphere have been punched apart in some places, or simply vaporized in others. The hut has several huge, gaping holes, but is holding together. The sphere itself has a number of ugly streaks on it, but those are slowly fading.

All in all, kind of a crappy defense system.

...But what if it had been another rocket that came along, intended to deposit astronauts at its destination? Or another wooden rocket, like the aristocrat girl had had built?

"Bang, boom... straight to the moon," says the man, and gives a hollow chuckle. It doesn't feel very funny.

Maybe not so crappy after all.

After the vessel finally penetrates the border between real and unreal, and the whole thing begins shaking and shuddering like an addict in withdrawal viewed at 10x film speed, he admits that it's definitely a well-built system, after swearing up a streak bluer than most oceans.

The hurt bursts apart, but that's okay. He got through, and that's all it needed to do. But that meant that the maneuvering was back under the sphere's complete control.

He eyes the control stick warily, amidst the shaking and juddering, and general all-around plummeting.

"Maybe if I blow on it just a tiny bit," he muses.

...

Pfff

The ship accelerates.

"Oh, for fuck's sake!"

-------------

The sphere races off, covering ground at an insanely rapid clip.

Luckily, he notes, it's still fixed on it's intended destination. Hopefully he'll stop seeing double from all this goddamn shaking by then.

-------------

Five minutes, several hundred miles, and two cities later, the Third District Imperial Prison in the Capitol was sporting a huge, torn-up furrow in the ground, a number of smashed walls, and a big shiny, pretty ball that was now lodged firmly in Shipping and Receiving, and in pretty terrible shape.

Somehow, despite all this, the death toll remained at zero. People would marvel at this fact, later, but it was one of the less-regarded facts about what would occur that day, by comparison.

________________________________________________________________________________

This update could have been written better, I think. I apologize for that.

In a pleasant change from the normal trend of finding unexpected porn with image searches, I instead found lego-related entries for many of the search terms.

>>120169
Truth so hard it hurts.
>> No. 120249
>>120209
here.
Hate to bring this up right after Fell's writing, but >>120169?
Why
DID YOU MAKE
ME READ THIS!?
I need to get up early tomorrow, but I'm not going to be able to sleep, because I can't reading and I CAN'T STOP RAGING.
>> No. 120256
>>120249
You're welcome.
>> No. 120257
>>120256
Har har. I'm never taking any advice from you people again.
I think I'm off CYOAs for a while. That was just horrible.
>> No. 120263
>>120257
You seem to have missed the point. We recommended it because that story is an integral part of what shaped this site and the stories on it.

It's not that it was -good-. Far from it. But it is -important-.

Look at it this way, it's literally a history lesson: Long, irritating, and full of terrible decisions. But at the end of it, you're smarter, more informed, you have some insight into how the current situation came to be, and you can look at the young and the ignorant with disgust when they ask about this critical event in the past with cluelessmess in their tone.

Like it or not, believe it or not, you are better off now than you were before. Maybe not happier, but better.
>> No. 120264
>>120263
Oh, I got the point, and I don't care. I read the stuff around here to enjoy myself, not crush the ignorant with my unmatched knowledge CYOAology. I could have done without this "lesson," thanks.

Kira, you trolling bastard, come back to life so I don't feel like shit for wanting to strangle you...
>> No. 120265
>>120264
When (if?) I go, I want to leave something behind that'll produce a similar amount of emotion. Not necessarily rage, but Kira's set a fine bar.
>> No. 120271
>>120264
>I read the stuff around here to enjoy myself,
I think we all do that. I hope we all do.

>not crush the ignorant with my unmatched knowledge CYOAology.
...That part about looking at the clueless people with disgust was only (mostly) an extra joke added on to the other, more serious points-- the most important even though the experience wasn't fun, you now have some insight into what has shaped how people on this site create, write, and read these stories. Newcomers don't really have that until they start reading the archives.

You've also gained a sense of scale: if anything, you should be enjoying other stories more because of this, since you can see how far we've come from back then. Or how low we've sunk, a few people will darkly mutter.

Now, I'm not saying you should be grateful for the experience. I understand how you feel. After all, I (and many other oldfags like me) had that forced upon us, because we were all reading the 3-5 different stories that existed at that point.

Do you think we liked it either? Hell no. At least you went into it by choice. Persuaded, maybe, but still. We aren't laughing at you, or giggling about torturing the newfag, or whatever. This isn't some kind of bullshit hazing ritual. We did this because the way you spoke/acted was --to use a /v/-esque analogy-- like looking at a kid born in the late 90s who grew up playing a PS2 and who thinks the NES and the SNES were shitty consoles because they have pixel graphics and "boring games."

Do you understand how we might not like seeing that sort of mindset becoming prevalent here? Maybe you weren't thinking like that at all, but I'd wager that that's close to what a lot of people were picking up on.

The upside:
I think that same feeling of rage (well, the parts directed at Kira) you're experiencing is what this story is being written to help finally put at ease.

A lot of us have been carrying around that lingering anger and irritation for a few years now. We've all been where you are.

tl;dr, You're angry? Join the club. At least you won't have to wait as long to feel better.



...And out of curiosity, what stories do you read?
>> No. 120275
with every trainwreck come a few lessons.

Kira didn't intend on that to be a troll, but just a quick way to end a trainwrecked run as to start fresh. It's amazing how many people seem to think of the intent to be greater than the real reason.
>> No. 120298
>>120271
So, I read MiG so I could better appreciate what we have today? I can't agree with that logic. It sounds to me like eating McDonalds before thanksgiving dinner. Nor do I see the necessity of understanding what shapes the writing around here.
...but that's probably because I'm not an oldfag.
Thanks. Maybe.

>Maybe you weren't thinking like that at all, but I'd wager that that's close to what a lot of people were picking up on.
Duly noted. Elaboration would be appreciated.

>>120275
Maybe it WAS just supposed to wipe the slate clean, but considering the rest of the story, unless Kira actually said that was his intention, I can't believe that. Sorry.
>> No. 120301
>>120298
He did say that in IRC, I wouldn't just put words in his mouth. Though we all know how effect can easily differ from intent.
>> No. 120303
>>120301
Ah, all right.
>> No. 120340
File 127891239776.jpg - (1.45MB , 900x1271 , visions in red that are dancing in my head.jpg ) [iqdb]
120340
So this week is going to be kind of busy. I really hope I can have something out, sooner or later.

>The "Go read MiG"/"You bastards" thing
...On one hand, I'm right behind the oldfags (since I am one) in their outlook on this.
But on the other, I can only shudder when I imagine taking in all the FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF of MiG in the space of a single day. I do not envy you
(but thank you for doing it).
>> No. 120429
File 127917263555.jpg - (53.46KB , 314x480 , the bastard child of art and SCIENCE.jpg ) [iqdb]
120429
Head pounding, body aching slightly, the man regains consciousness. He struggles to get free of the straps holding him to the seat, and pauses as he notices how easy the movement is.

Oh.

He made it, then. And in one piece, he determines, after giving each limb a wiggle.

Laughing quietly to himself, he finds renewed energy in the realization of his situation and quickly frees himself from the seat. He activates the locator display, calling up a map of his current location as he climbs out of the chair.

Once completely free, he looks back at the display, blinks, then laughs even harder.

Perfect.

He'd arrived right where he'd wanted to. All that was left now was to break through the containment team, and then break into the prison itself.

Fumbling about the pockets on his coat, he pulls out a little silver tube, not much bigger than a AA battery. Holding it in one hand, he calls up a motion-detector display. Instantly, several little blue dots appear around the silver circle in the center, accompanied by a scattering of peach-colored dots. They're clearly in formation, and arrayed around the sphere. One cluster is moving in closer.

One cluster is almost on top of the circle already.

He walks over to the where the hatch is, and lays his hand against the release controls, which light up and hover underneath his palm.

The man takes a moment to reflect. Shouldn't he say something dramatic or catchy, about now?

"Leroy Jenkins"? No, that didn't end well. "It's time to kick ass and take names, and I'm all out of paper"? Too long; he'd be shot before he finished. "I'm back, bitches"? But he'd never been here before. The Genocide Song? Too slow, and again, he'd get shot well before completion. "It is a good day to do what has to be done by me"? Good god, no.

How about not saying anything?

...That's just fucking retarded.

His bout of sudden indecision is rudely interrupted by a loud, painful, teeth-rattling, ultra-low-pitched buzzing, like Barry White's voice turned into a very lethargic vuvuzela played at 1/20th speed over hell's most powerful subwoofer. His vision dulls for a second from the sheer force of the sound, and it drops him to his knees.

In desperation, he slaps at the controls, but instead of hitting the normal door release, the system interprets his flailing as being indicative of an emergency situation. Activating its catastrophe protocols, the hatch's explosive bolts blast the door open, taking with it the three rabbits that had been cutting it open with a supersubsonic saw (the closest approximate translation for the tool's name).

Blinking at the daylight pouring in, the man grins madly. He pops the top off the silver tube, and dumps the contents —one small black sphere, no bigger than a pea— into his mouth. Biting down on it, he feels coldness flood his mouth, a chill so cold that it burns.

Absolutely nothing visibly changes, and that's how he knows it's working.

Running toward the open hatch, he decks a rabbit just then poking its head in. He blows past it, vaulting out of the open doorway, and emerges into the courtyard.
>> No. 120430
File 127917272257.jpg - (63.39KB , 600x450 , if the door`s locked; break a window.jpg ) [iqdb]
120430
Oh, it's definitely working.

Before the hapless hatch-peeking rabbit has fallen to the ground, the man has already devised a plan for taking care of the next three squads bearing down on him. By the time the rabbit lands, he's worked where to go and what to do next.

Thoughts seem to come in a steady, solid flow. The rabbits around him and their commanding officers aren't moving slower, but they just aren't moving as fast as they should. They were all moving at normal speed, he and them both, but he just seems so much faster and so much more ready. It's as though one's sense of "everything seemed to happen in slow motion" was applied not inside his head, but outside of it, forcing this perception upon the world instead of himself.

That would of course be because that was more or less exactly what had happened.

He really wasn't clear on the origin of the pill, but from what he could tell, it involved the doctor, the princess, the border woman, a gambling bet, a desire to experiment, a lot of philosophical musing, a collaboration of the abilities of all three parties, and copious amounts of alcohol. On recovering from her hangover, the doctor deemed it a technical success but a practical waste of time.

Happily, the man thinks, easily sidestepping a rabbit lunging at him with her rifle, it seemed to be working. He delivers a chop to the back of her neck, dropping her. Yanking her rifle away, he turns and bashes the squad leader in the face with the butt of the stock, and kicks her right into the path of another rabbit, sending them sprawling.

With rapid, efficient moves and turns, the man makes his way across the courtyard, and kicks open one of the doors to the shipping docks that hangs askew as a result of his brutal landing.

The effects wear off a handful of seconds later, and not a moment too soon. Jailbreak alarms are going off, and shimmering fields spring into place over the doorways.

He's now locked in, but this doesn't bother him, as it means most of the guards are locked out.

With a snicker, he makes his way up through the halls.

Everything is clean and white, but not like a hospital. It's more like bleached bone. The shadows here and there in odd corners gave parts of the walls a certain, unusual, unsettling depth, as if they once had texture, but had been sanded smooth. There had been a very minimalistic design sense at work, but since this was a prison for political and military criminals, he figured they figured that there was no point in making them feel good about where they were, so fuck 'em.

It's very good at making one think about what one has done, and feeling bad about it.

Jogging through deserted corridors, he finally finds himself nearing the central hub of the prison. He can see tiers of prison cells rising up and above, like a hollowed-out layer cake, just above the end of the corridor.

He also finds himself in the middle of an ambush.

________________________________________________________________________________

I am learning so much and living so little.

Haven't been keeping up with stories as rigorously as I used to, because of it. I feel like I'm letting this site down, and that feels terrible. I like writing, I like reading, I like voting, and I hate the fuck out of being kept from doing all of them as often as I used to.
>> No. 120457
As long as you don't give up... that's enough for me, really.
>> No. 120640
...now that I think about it, it must be pretty demoralizing to only have one response to your lamentations.

Keep at it, Fell.
>> No. 120680
Been a while. Kinda missed reading what you wrote.
>> No. 120681
>>120640
I don't think he's overly concerned with that. He just wanted to tell us how much he doesn't like the delays. Unlike some writers who are prone to using such things as a excuse to slack off.
>> No. 120705
>>120640
It wasn't demoralizing, but it does feel good to see that you --and the others after you!-- took the time to say something about it anyway.
>>120457
>>120640
>>120680
>>120681
Thank you all.
I love you guys.

As for progress: Just finished the first half-quarter class (packs a full quarter's class time into 4 weeks), so I've got a little breathing room, now. Going to be working out the details of the upcoming scene in between finishing some overdue homework. This week's been a bitch because of everything being due at once for the aforementioned half-quarter class, but that's over with, so... yeah. I don't have an estimation on when, but I sure as fuck had better have something out before the end of the week, or at worst, the start of the next.
>> No. 121201
File 128052811768.jpg - (15.30KB , 320x215 , A wild submarine fallen victim to a pit trap.jpg ) [iqdb]
121201
Calling it an ambush is being a little generous. The truth is that it's inattentiveness, pure and simple. However, it happens quickly enough that it feels like one to the man.

As he nears the end of the tunnel leading to the central hub, a trio of rabbit guards exit a side passage, walking out right in front of him. They're moving in close formation, weapons out and ready. One covers the passage while the other two come up from behind, and it's this first rabbit that he starts with.

They'd been moving quietly, but in a tunnel that echoes, it's hard to maintain absolute silence. The assistant's gun is already out and drawn. The moment the rabbit on point emerges, checking the passage, he fires. Despite the clearly dated-looking design of the gun, it makes an odd, brief sizzling sound followed by a low thrumming as it fires the bullet with little recoil, if any. His shot is dead on, striking her on the right side of her neck.

Instead of creating a bloody mess, the light blue projectile bursts apart on impact, splattering all over the side of her head, covering it in a thin gel. She reels from the force of the shot, falling sideways before barely catching herself. She goes to yell the alarm, blinks, and topples over, twitching once or twice before falling still.

He's already in motion before she hits the ground.

Dashing forward, angling into the hallway, he leaps at the opposite wall and rebounds off of it, turning it into an accelerated and unexpected lunge at a rabbit girl whose eyes have gone wide as saucers. She lets out a squeak of surprise, but has enough presence of mind to hold up her rifle in front of her so as to fend off the mysterious intruder.

Unfortunately for her, this works out well for him.

He plows into her, grabbing onto the rifle stock and easily bearing her to the ground. Fear lends her limbs strength, enough to try and slash at him with the bayonet on the end. He twists with the motion and the movement, tugging up on the rifle and carrying it through the rest of its arc, which has the butt swing up and clip her on the jaw, putting her out of the fight. He then sprawls out on top of her, flattening himself just in time to avoid the blade of the third rabbit's bayonet as it whistles by.

She yells at him something he can't understand. The language instruction protocol hadn't included much in the way of obscenities, and it sounded like she was dropping a few choice words his way, just from the angry tone and the way she spits each of them out. She looks furious, too, as he rolls off of her companion, snatching up the unconscious girl's rifle out of lifeless fingers, holding it near the end of the barrel like a club.

Leaning out of the way of her next slash, he moves in a little closer and swings the rifle like a baseball bat. It makes a terrific whack! as it connects with the side of her helmet and sends her flying from the sheer force of impact. Not very far or very high, but her feet most certainly leave the ground. She bangs into the wall of the main hall he'd been coming through (and that they had been about to enter), and collapses into an unmoving heap.

He stands there for a few seconds, breathing. Not that hard, though. It was ridiculously easy to move around in this gravity. Maybe a little too easy; he'd have to make sure he didn't overextend his movements or otherwise throw himself off. Kneeling by the third rabbit, he checks to make sure she's still alive. He'd hit her pretty hard. The man finds her to be okay, and breathes a sigh of relief. Then he pulls one of the little black discs from the base of her ear, and attaches it to his own.

Immediately, voices filter into his head, worried and confused. Some voices bark orders, some ask for them, and others seem plain bewildered. It's clear that while this was a high-security facility, nobody had really ever expected a need to put that security to the test.

As expected.

He stands up, and dusts himself off, listening to orders being shouted, heavy things being moved around, feet pounding, and over them all, a regular, repeated tone. High-high-low-low. The alarm had been raised for this section of the prison, and they were getting ready for him.
>> No. 121202
File 128052821445.jpg - (17.63KB , 504x255 , Toot your own horn (and others` too).jpg ) [iqdb]
121202
Well, that was okay, sort of. This had never been a sneaking mission. The use of stealth had been a distant, laughable dream from the plan's very inception.

So if they knew he was coming, and were preparing for him, then he had time to counter-prepare.

One can be prepared, and this is good. But often underestimated and even completely forgotten is the art of counter-preparing. You'd need to squint hard to tell the difference between the two, but it was there.

The man pulls out what looks like a knobbly silver cigarette on a chain, and wraps the links around the fingers of his left hand. Holstering his sidearm for the moment, he pulls out a pair of dark, dark welding goggles, and slips them on his head. He doesn't put them fully on just yet; they rest on his head for the moment, nestled amongst his hair. Finally, he pulls out a pair of dark grey balls from inside his coat, slips one into a front pocket, and palms the other. Each one is about half the size of his fist, and covered with little flat surfaces. A thick white stripe goes around the middle of the ball in his hand, and a dotted red band goes around the middle of the one in his pocket.

That ought to be enough.

Breaking into a run, the man sprints the rest of the way down the hall. About fifteen feet from the end of the hall, he squeezes down tightly on the white stripe. It begins to tremble ever so gently in his hand.

Seven feet before exiting the hall, he pitches the trembling ball forward, out into the central hub. Immediately, he pulls the welding goggles down, and pulls out the second ball. But not before he's seen what lies ahead.

The central hub of the prison is a tall room, with four tiers rising upwards. There were three halls on each level, each one sprouting off at a point equidistant from the other two, making for a triple-spoked sort of layout.

Here on the ground floor, the guards had set up a three-walled barricade, using thick, heavy portable barriers. Two larger ones stood to either side of a smaller, lower one. Rabbits and Lunarian officers were positioned strategically behind them, guns mounted over the top, all pointed at the hall he was coming down. The wall of barricades guarded not only the other two hallways, but also what lay between them: the antigrav lift used to access the other floors. On the second tier, to either side, rabbit snipers had taken up positions.

All had been instructed to find out who the intruder was, and then to shoot him (unless it was something especially important). They were all about a second or two away from pulling the trigger on him.

It was too bad for them, then, that he didn't need that long.
>> No. 121204
File 128052837830.jpg - (277.82KB , 1600x1200 , This little light of miiiiine~.jpg ) [iqdb]
121204
The grey ball gives a twitch as it reaches the peak of its arc, then with a faint click, turns into a miniature sun. Blossoming into a stationary ball of pure, blinding light, it brightens any and every corner of the room to with retina-searing intensity. Cries of surprise and confusion go up from rabbits and Lunarians alike.

Some of the guards below and the snipers above had been smart enough to snap down their helmets' visors the moment the ball had come flying into the room, and were even now trying to locate the intruder. The rest were stumbling around, cursing, or rubbing frantically at their eyes.

Ball #2 is already out of pocket and in the man's hand. With a tight squeeze on the line of red dashes encircling it, he throws this one into the air as he runs into the room. It's angled a bit higher than the other one, as he slings it upward with an underhand toss. The moment it's in the air, he unholsters the gun at his side and takes hold of the little silver rod with the other, its chain clinking with each pounding footstep.

There's a muted whump!, and suddenly the air in the hub is filled with little fluttery, shiny, metal flakes. Sounds of confused irritation come from above. It seems the chaff is successfully mucking up whatever the snipers are using, but that cover will only last as long as it stays in the air. The flashbomb will stay for a lot longer, but right now the rabbits are a bigger danger than their Lunarian comrades: there's more of them, and they're faster on their feet. Time to remove them from the equation.

He places the little silver rod to his lips, and blows into into it, hard.



...As far as he can tell, it doesn't make a sound.



The rabbits, on the other hand, react differently.

The ones still up on their feet drop to their knees, clutching frantically at their ears, grabbing at them, clawing at them, crumpling them, crying out in pain. The ones already on the ground twitch and moan, curling up into a ball or simply writhing in agony.

In another time and another place, he'd have felt horrible for inflicting such a horrible thing on relatively innocent people who were just doing their jobs. However, that was then. Now, they're in his way, and he doesn't have the time or the leisure to do this the careful way. He apologizes silently, and gets on with his work.
>> No. 121206
File 128052842793.jpg - (529.40KB , 1971x1903 , behind the scenes.jpg ) [iqdb]
121206
Barreling into the leftmost barricade, he simply smashes into it, bowling the entire thing over with what must seem like super-strength in this gravity, and pinning several hapless guards beneath it. Springing away, he moves to the smaller, middle barricade, and puts down a pair of Lunarian guards with a round between the eyes for one and a fist to the gut of the other.

After they collapse to the floor, he pauses at last, catching his breath. Still not too winded. Good. That's good.

Buzzing and chatter sound in his ear. He listens for a moment, and hears orders for reinforcements. That's ...not as good.

Looking around for a moment, his eyes settle on the two still-upright barricades.

That'll do nicely.

After first shoving the larger, heavier one onto the lift, he goes back for the second, and pauses. The smaller one is made of long, overlapping, detachable metal plates that apparently serve as some kind of heavy riot shield. Unhooking one from the rest, he fastens it to one arm, lengthwise.

A little awkward, but it'll work, and he'll need the protection. Hustling back to the lift, he activates the controls to send it to the third floor. It rises quickly enough, but slower than he'd like. He takes the time to quickly reload the gun during this short reprieve, sliding in a fresh magazine.

He's just rising past the second floor when the reinforcements arrive, a squad from below and a squad from above. The ones on the ground floor immediately catch sight of him ascending— really, it'd be hard not to —and take flight, falling into formation as they approach. Up above, the second squad splits up, most of them getting ready for him on the third floor, and a small detachment flitting across the open space to the fourth-floor walkways on the opposite side, taking up sniping positions.

Swearing grimly, he waits a few unbearable seconds for the ground squad, waiting until they're about thirty feet away. One of the Lunarians is calling out to him on the local equivalent of a bullhorn. There's no visible device, but he's holding a few fingers to the side of his throat. Either he's an opera singer in his spare time or he's got something the man can't see that's amplifying his voice for him.

The man isn't really listening to him. He gives the first group a friendly wave, then with a grunt of effort, kicks the barricade off the platform, sending it plowing into the guards, slapping them out of the air and generally clearing the space below him like a bowling lane being swept clear by the automated machinery.

"Strike!" he shouts with a grin, and then takes up a kneeling position behind his borrowed riot shield, using it for cover as the guards on the fourth floor begin to open fire on him. "...Okay, spoke too soon," he mumbles irritatedly.

He raises the whistle to his lips again and blows hard into it once again. Taking careful aim in between blowing hard on the whistle, he puts the rabbits across the way down and out before shooting each of them. He's just finished taking out the last one when a kick from the side sends him sprawling, the whistle flying out of his lips.

Recovering quickly, he looks up to see three Lunarian guards bearing down on him, looking positively furious. Behind them are several rabbit guards, in various states of pain and distress. It seems the lift had stopped at its destination without him even noticing. Very smooth machinery, this.
>> No. 121207
File 128052856729.jpg - (11.04KB , 480x360 , Never say `He`s only one man; you can take him!`.jpg ) [iqdb]
121207
However, he figures, compliments to the makers of the elevator will have to wait until approximately never to be delivered, or at least until after the three guards looking to send some ass-kicking his way have been dealt with.

He shoots the nearest guard twice in the leg. The effectiveness of the biochemical agents in the special rounds the doctor helped make is lessened somewhat when penetrating clothing, though not horribly so. Hitting armor of almost any kind renders it useless unless the gel contained within splashes onto skin after impact.

All this means that the guard stumbles, swaying for a moment, blinking furiously before getting a hold of himself once more. Within that short timespan, the man has rolled forward, sprung upwards, and leapt at the guard, delivering a vicious left hook. The edge of the shield connects, and painfully. The guard, knocked for a loop and heading groundwards, is relieved of his rifle by the man, who hurls it butt-first like a spear at his second companion. It hits him between the eyes and lays him out on the spot.

Lunging backwards, the man jabs his left elbow back, slamming the rear end of the shield into the chest of the last guard coming up from behind him. The guard doubles over, putting him in the perfect position to be pistol whipped across the back of the head, which the man proceeds to do. His final opponent drops like a sack of potatoes, and all is relatively silent for a few moments, save for the man's heavy breathing and the sound of the alarm still chiming away.

The man backs away from the rails lining the walkways of the upper tiers, just taking a moment to take it all in. His face contorts into a scowl.

"I'll bet Armstrong and Aldrin didn't have to deal with this shit," he mutters, looking over the chaos he'd wrought.

Reloading once more, he starts walking down along the third floor hall at a brisk pace, heading deeper into the prison.

He still had somebody to meet, after all, and time was a-wasting.

________________________________________________________________________________

The moment that (most all of) you've been waiting for since that day is coming up, soon. I pray I'll do it justice.

I'd like to take this moment to thank the author of the highly misleadingly named "Don't Read This" in /gensokyo/. The ideas for this story would never have taken root in my head if he hadn't written some of the things he did.
And on top of that, he's doing what I did before but currently cannot: providing good, amusing, interesting story updates damn near daily. I don't know if you know how much you're helping this site, man, but you're fighting the good fight, and I respect the fuck out of you for it.

I'd also like to give a shameless plug for Nine's story in /border/, as it's recently been completely restarted, and looks promising. If you took issue with it before, try giving it another shot now.

And lastly, I'd like to apologize for this ludicrously long delay.
...Again.
>> No. 121214
God damn, good that you are still at it and haven't forgotten this place. If this place is still up when the next holidays are close i hope we get daily updates again.
>> No. 121215
This made my day.
>> No. 121217
Awesome. With The Game's and this, I have to say, I really, really love your fight scenes; you're brilliant at action.
>> No. 121420
I'm really looking forward to the next update.So I can discover that I've totally missed the point of this and the protagonist has been aiming for something/someone else entirely.
>> No. 121436
>>121420
There's only one person he could be aiming to save, no one else. There's no other way for the Last Misadventure to end.
>> No. 121443
>>121436
Yeah, I know. But I kinda feel like we could very well be busting in here just to ask someone what the fuck was going on way back when. Maybe I'm just keeping my guard up.
I can't imagine why.

>> No. 121504
File 128107442573.jpg - (17.60KB , 465x269 , draw or die or worse.jpg ) [iqdb]
121504
A woman in the traditional muted gold garb of a prisoner's uniform crouches on the floor of her cell, tense and alert. Her long, slightly crinkled ears twitch now and then whenever there's a particularly loud noise in the distance. Pressed up against the solid metal door, she brushes a wisp of dark lavender hair away from her eyes and tries to listen harder. If she were any closer to the door she'd be inside of it.

Everyone in the prison had heard— and felt; not strong enough to jar the teeth but enough to make you lose balance for a second— that first distant boom of impact. Then the alarms had started going off, and she was sure that everyone else in her block, every last one of the bastard scum, was listening closely. It was the first serious thing to have happened nearby in ages.

There wasn't much to do in this particular prison, so everyone had to invent their own ways of keeping sane. The Lunarian across from her (convicted of orchestrating two public officials' assassinations and attempting a third) was writing a book on how the government would systematically murder its own citizens within the next twenty years. So far it spanned three volumes. Two cells down from her, a one-eared rabbit composed music. She was an ex-quartermaster that was in for selling alarming amounts of military supplies on the black market, including a number of weapons she shouldn't have even had access to. The cell to her right was occupied by a Lunarian who did standup comedy, or at least, wrote it. They'd silenced his vocal cords on account of the magic he'd put in his voice and used to cheerfully convince others that perhaps killing the next military officer they saw would be a fine idea.

As for the woman herself, she drew. She had no talent for it in the beginning, but 50 years had given her a bit of skill. Not very much, but it was something to do, and it kept her busy. She mostly preferred small, simplistic drawings. The walls and ceiling of the cell itself had actually been papered almost entirely over with a rendition of whatever had been underneath. The white paper made the place a little brighter, at least. But most of her drawings for the past fifty years had been of whatever she took in from the other prisoners.

They were cruel, dishonest, untrustworthy people, and criminals to the bone, to be sure. Nobody liked anybody else down here; the several dozen clashing ideologies and political schools of thought represented among the population of her cell block ensured that there would be no working together among prisoners to escape. But despite the fact that everyone hated everyone's guts on a personal level, they more than appreciated one another's talents. Everyone's material made its way around the cells, since they were allowed access to a shared data repository that each prisoner could submit their work to, during their morning and evening meal breaks. It was the closest thing to camaraderie that they had, twisted though it was.

She had wanted to contribute, so she kept herself busy with drawing something for what everyone else created. She doodled the little scenes, she showed her impressions of the music, she made illustrations for the books, she gave form to the characters in the plays, she sketched the clothing designs of the fashion designer, and drew, and drew, and drew, and drew.

It was something to do.

It was a way to keep busy.

If you didn't stay busy, you'd go mad.

She knew about going mad, but only from the supply side, not the consumer side.

She thought maybe she felt it creeping up on her sometimes, at night.

It was very quiet and very simple. A little voice, questioning questioning poking prodding asking asserting demanding all the time and neverstoppednotoncenotevernevernevernevernever

It said:

None of this happened. Your life never happened.

This wasn't true, she knew this. She had been alive for a few hundred years already. Fifty in a quiet prison cell wasn't going to make a dent in it.

And yet she felt very, maybe, very dented.

Maybe.

It was hard to tell.

The little quiet uncertain voice said that maybe none of it ever happened, maybe, maybe.

Uncertainty was its name and its game and was to blame.

Were you ever a soldier? Maybe, maybe not.

Were you ever a favored assistant to the Sisters? Maybe, maybe not

Were you ever a deserter? Maybe, maybe not (Yes, yes you were and that is why you are here until the day you die or so she'd been told so perhaps this one was true)

Were you ever the doctor-sage-woman's apprentice? Maybe, maybe not.

Were you ever part of the revolutionary movement against the miko of the sealed land? Maybe, maybe not (she believes that this one may be true; it may be true and she must believe in this and even if she can't then something someone somehow will believe in her for her of her and this seems important somehow because nobody had told her this before but why she had to believe in this she no longer knew)

Were you ever at a point where you decided that a life in prison was preferable to an increasingly dangerous, unstable, uncertain (there was that word again) living situation in the sealed land and in fact anywhere on the planet in general? Maybe, maybe not.

Were you ever not in this little cell?

...Maybe?

She hoped this was the case.
>> No. 121505
File 128107453036.jpg - (17.90KB , 300x225 , I said gimme yo shoes.jpg ) [iqdb]
121505
It was rare, rare things like this explosion that brought her out of the daze she inevitably found herself settling into, things that reminded her of life outside these walls, things that reminded her that other things existed.

So it was understandable then, that she was interested.

After a while, she realized she began hearing gunshots. Her heart skipped a beat. Was someone breaking out, or at least trying? Who was it? What section? Was it more than one person?

Would they be successful?

What was going on?

She didn't budge from her position against the door. This was the most excitement she'd experienced in years, ever since the actor three cells down from her had managed to escape his cell, kill two people in the next block with whom he'd had several violent private arguments, and then calmly return to his cell as if nothing had happened. It wasn't something she'd enjoyed; not in the slightest. It had broken up the normal flow of daily life for a little while, though, so it qualified (technically) as excitement.

...Wait a second.

Her ears flick slightly, picking up on something.

The commotion is coming closer.

Occasionally, there's the barely-caught edge of some sound that makes her cringe slightly.

For the first time, she draws away from the door, looking perhaps at it, or perhaps through it, in her imagination, at what lay beyond.

Who would be escaping this way? Down here, there were only two tightly controlled exits, and both of those led to other sections of the prison, not directly outside. What kind of madman would come this way? Someone who been here long enough to be driven that mad would have burned the prison's layout into their mind, had they wanted to escape, and someone stupid enough to not know even that much was not someone smart enough to cause this much chaos for this long.

She's at a loss to explain it.

And all the while, the sounds of fighting and shooting, punctuated by the occasional explosion, grow louder, nearer.

She scoots away from the door unconsciously, pressing herself against her cot. Whatever's going on, she wants no part of it. That was why she (maybe, maybe not) came here, wasn't it? To stay safe? Stay alive?

Her thoughts are interrupted by a sudden cacophony nearby as a loud explosion resounds down the hall. Some of the papers on the ceiling are shaken loose, hanging partly off, peeling away from the hard stone surface.

It was unable to be denied anymore. Someone had business here.
>> No. 121506
File 128107457525.jpg - (149.23KB , 1048x1092 , I will kill you with my teacup.jpg ) [iqdb]
121506
There's shouting, and booted feet pound past her cell.

Shouting, then shooting.

Cries of dismay, of pain. Hard, heavy sounds of impact. The frequent report of a rifle.

...And sometimes of what sounded oddly like a Fox-Eater handgun. How had a prisoner gotten his hands on one of those?

Occasionally, one of the loose papers drifts down to the floor, making a quiet rustling amidst the chaos.

After a while, there is only silence.

...Silence, but for solitary footfalls of booted feet. Strong, sure, solid steps. Burning curiosity gets the better of her, and she crawls back to the door, listening closely.

To her shock, she could faintly hear a voice muttering to itself. Male, it sounded like, but that wasn't what surprised her.

It was speaking in English.

Once more she drew back from the door, staring at it as if it had suddenly turned into a dancing troupe of trained badgers. There was only a small handful of people on the moon that actually spoke the dead language (But aside from Japanese spoken amongst the youkai down there, what Earth-based language wasn't?). Most likely all of them were academic types, though, so who...? Maybe some egghead that the government hadn't liked?

The footsteps stopped outside her door.

Her heart in her throat, she threw herself back against the wall by her cot, looking for something, anything to use as a weapon. Nothing presented itself in any obvious way. Her pen? Too blunt. The tray? Too thin. The spoon? It could be bent, but into what?

The muttering was now interspersed with irritated grumbling and the soft chiming tones of the door lock interface being accessed. They appeared to be having trouble figuring out the combination.

Why would they even be coming after her, anyway?! Her mind is tinged with confusion as much as it's saturated with panic, right now. Even though everybody hated everyone else, she was probably the one person who didn't hate the others in any personal or ideological way. Well, except the anarchists in the next section over, but they were simply obnoxious thugs she hated on principle. Everyone else, though, she didn't have any problem with, and unlike most of the rest of the prisoners, she didn't harbor dreams of killing a number of fellow inmates who had made it to her shitlist.

Her eyes alight on the cup. Yes, that'll do. It'll have to.

Taking it in her hand, she smashes it against the rim of the toilet in the corner. No good. Tucking it against her side, she drops her weight on it, forcing the rim to crumple in. Finally! Her hip hurts a little, but there'll be time for worrying about that later. Again, to flatten the next section of the cup. Good, good.

Still more beeping and chiming outside, but it didn't sound like he was having much trouble anymore. She could hear the voice of the computer telling the person about basic safety practices to remember when dealing with prisoners, and over that, the voice of the escapee muttering to himself, telling it to hurry up. Only a few seconds were left, then.

With a panicked cry, she smashes the last part flat, creating a crude metal claw. It wouldn't cut, but it would certainly have no problem piercing. Taking it in hand, she presses herself against the wall next to the door, and prepares to take him out the instant he steps inside.
>> No. 121508
File 128107479188.jpg - (12.17KB , 225x300 , A one-room one-woman world.jpg ) [iqdb]
121508
The door slides open with the gentlest of hissing sounds.

Blood pounds in her ears, and for a rabbit like her, this is truly something. Her hands tremble in terrified anticipation. She doesn't particularly want to kill any of the other prisoners, but she won't hesitate to off any crazed son of a bitch that's gunning for her. Such as the one that's about to walk in.

She holds her breath, listening.

...Nobody comes in.

"...Oh for... No, this is bullshit. She can't be gone." A voice comes from the doorway, sounding somewhere between alarmed and angry. It's a slightly rough-sounding voice, not the smooth, rich tones of the average Lunarian, or the slightly higher, perkier tones of your everyday moon rabbit.

...In fact, they weren't speaking with a Lunarian accent at all.

Her brain processes all these thoughts in a flash, and arrives at a bizarre conclusion.

This person is not from the moon.

Rigid discipline keeps her from faltering, from asking who it is, from letting her guard down, even though the curiosity is overwhelming, and the voice seems somehow familiar and her—

...Familiar?

(Maybe, maybe not)

No, wait!

That thought is something that absolutely must not be lost.

The voice seems

familiar

(Maybe or more likely it is not and you are imagining again imagining a world where this was not your world becauseyou'regoingmadmadmadmadmadmadmadstoptryingtopretendthepastexisted)

No, it happened.

Right?

It did, and she knows it did didn't did didn't did didn't did didn't FUCK YOU SHUT UP IT HAPPENED IT HAPPENED I KNOW IT DID

(All right, fine, then. What was it that happened that you're so sure about?)

...

(I thought so. You don't really know anything, do you?)

...Shut up.

(You lied~)

Shut up.


She hears her name being called.
>> No. 121509
File 128107491212.jpg - (78.77KB , 698x680 , The soft drink that`s unbelievably delicious.jpg ) [iqdb]
121509
That simple collection of syllables is enough to shake her out of the world of madness building up behind her eyes.

She almost replies, but holds her tongue at the last minute.

The speaker of the name identifies itself



                                  and she remembers.



The man steps into the room.

He doesn't see her yet, and she only sees him from the side, but now that she's put a face to the name, she knows it's him.

"...You died," she whispers to herself, voice hollow, eyes flat.

It seems it's not spoken as quietly as she thought, because he whips around, expression lighting up. "Oh, you are here! Than—"

"You died." she says, voice almost as emotionless as her eyes, but for the accusation that tinges it.

"...what?" says the man, momentarily taken aback, even as he looks upon her for the first time in several years (fifty for her; far fewer for him).

"You died!" she shouts, swiping the makeshift shiv at him.

He ducks the swing, and scoots back a step. "Wait, hold on. I think there was some ki—"

She advances on him, anger beginning to show in her eyes and voice, now. "Fine, whatever! You disappeared, then!"

She takes another swipe at him, and he dodges again, though the tip nicks his coat.

"I didn't disappear!" he protests, backing away from her. Things are not going quite as he'd planned or envisioned them going, to say the least. And this little prison cell was not a good place for a close-quarters fight. Not tiny enough to be cramped or claustrophobic, but not roomy enough to have much in the way of space to maneuver.

"LIAR!" screams the woman, tears starting to fall from her crimson eyes. "You left me alone, you left all of us alone, you left the whole world alone, and took our only hope at fixing the problem with you!"

"Well, okay, I guess from your—... it wasn't on purpose, though!" he protests, weakly, taking another step back. The back of his feet bump up against her bed, and he scoots to the side to keep from tripping over.

She thrusts the cup-turned-shiv at him again, narrowly missing his left cheek. "Oh, really?!" she retorts. "Then by all means, elaborate!" Punctuating her last statement are a pair of short thrusts that back him into the corner.

"Look, I didn't want to do that!" he replies, defensively. "If I'd known the blonde bitch was going to trap me in a gap for fifty fucking years, I'd have never grabbed for the shrine maiden in the first place!"

She stops dead, shiv-wielding hand drawn back for one last stab. Her eyes regard him with a look of incredulity that lasts for several achingly long seconds. At last, her shoulders sag, and a hollow, defeated-sounding laugh escapes her lips.
>> No. 121512
File 128107525032.jpg - (370.76KB , 800x1100 , step by step the world unravels until I am gone.jpg ) [iqdb]
121512
It's not a laugh of amusement. Rather, it's the kind of laugh you make when everything is going wrong in every possible way, and you have to laugh when you're hit with the magnitude of the sheer clusterfuck that things have turned into, because anything else would hurt too much. She tosses the deadly ex-cup aside with a careless gesture, and walks over to her bed, where she flops down on it, chuckling weakly.

"...Um..." says the man, who has no idea what the hell is going on. "What?"

She throws a hand over her eyes, feeling emotionally drained. With the other, she gestures in his direction. "Eheh... hee hee... Trapped in a gap. Wow. I'm... I'm not even trying, am I?"

This doesn't help shed any light on the situation for the man, so he repeats his question. "...[/i]What?[/i]"

The woman giggles, then sighs. "Ahaha... haaa. It's just... a gap? I mean, come on. I finally snap, I finally go mad, I imagine him coming back... and that's the only thing I can come up with for his disappearance? I can't imagine anything more creative than the gap hag's very own number-one cliché? I'm so damn pathetic..."

Her amused-defeated tone has lost most of its joyless mirth by the time she finishes her lament, and now just sounds plain defeated, broken, and depressed.

No longer in immediate danger of being shanked by the distraught rabbit, the man has comes out of the corner, finally having understood what's going on. His own expression resembles hers from a few moments before.

"...You think I'm a hallucination?" he asks. He almost wants to smile at the situation, but it's really not as funny since he's involved in it.

"Of course you are," she replies, not looking up. "He's dead and gone. This is an amazing illusion."

"...Are we seriously doing this?"

"Imagining things? Yes."

"You aren't imagining anything. It's really me."

"Sure. I probably looked into a mirror from a bad angle or something."

"...You don't have a mirror in here, though."

"Maybe it was the back of a spoon, then."

"Your spoon's ceramic."

"Then the heat's getting to me."

"It's gotta be 50 or 60 degrees in here."

"See? Practically aflame."

"Fahrenheit."

"A likely excuse."

"...Look, we're pissing away what little time we have before reinforcements come. What can I say that'll convince you I'm real?"

"...Tell me something I don't know that you would know that I would know that would let me know it's really you."

"...Um. Well, uh, okay..." The man thinks for a second. "You graduated third from the top of your class."

She knew that.

"...The princess gave you your third name..."

Obviously, she knew that, too.

"...The mansion had 149 rabbits on staff the month before I arrived..."

She didn't know that, but the number could have been made up off the top of her head.

"...The doctor would sometimes sneak out to go on dates with men from the village when she told you she was actually visiting sick patients..."

For the first time since lying back down on her bed, the woman looks over at him. She definitely didn't know that, but a number of things in the past suddenly made much more sense. That could just be put down to unconscious intuition, but...

"...And..." He trails off, unable to immediately think of anything else from the mansion's records or the doctor's journal. The man gets a sense that this is the wrong approach to take. Honesty would just be best at this point, even if it wasn't what she asked for.

"...And I came to rescue you from a prison on the moon to take you back to a bleak and sparsely inhabited planet purely because I was lonely, you were the most decent person I ever met, and I thought that sharing the company of someone who cared for you while in hell would be better than suffering up here in... well, I'd hardly call it heaven, but... yeah," he finishes, lamely.

Looking at the floor and feeling like an embarrassed schoolboy, he doesn't see her gaze riveted on him. Her ruby-red eyes are wide, and there's an expression of shock on her face that speaks of the dawning revelation occurring inside her head.

"...Oh god," she whispers in awe. "It really is you." It had to be. Nobody else could be so stupid, driven, and earnestly thoughtful.

The man doesn't hear her, though, and continues, feeling more and more awkward with every passing word. "I kind of wanted to, you know... deliver it better than that. Like, a snappy one-liner, or something good and dramatic-sounding. But then there was that whole fight, and now I don't even know if you're really processing any of this."

He sighs, and walks dejectedly to the door. Before he leaves, he pauses, and half-turns back. "...I guess what I wanted to say is ...I can't be sorry enough about what happened back then. I really, really missed you... and I was hoping to spring you from here, because I—"

The woman springs up off of her bed and tackles him, screaming (with a smile on her lips, even if she doesn't know about it) "Yes, dammit! Get me out of here!"


________________________________________________________________________________

I hope it was as good as some of you hoped it might be.

And if not, well. There's still about another two-fifths to a third of this story left.
>> No. 121513
File 128107531377.jpg - (884.34KB , 1024x921 , if you`ll have me.jpg ) [iqdb]
121513
And now, some Hina spacers.
>> No. 121514
File 128107539371.jpg - (155.75KB , 800x648 , follow the hina.jpg ) [iqdb]
121514
I don't want the update bits to be seen since some will ruin others, but I DO want it to be known that it's updated.

By the way, this updated.
>> No. 121515
File 128107547079.png - (238.68KB , 750x665 , surprisingly modern.png ) [iqdb]
121515
One more.

I'll delete these later, maybe. I'm not yet hard-pressed for space.
>> No. 121517
YES.
>> No. 121518
I looked for an image to express my joy, but I couldn't find one.
>> No. 121521
Leave it to Yukari to screw everything up.

Looks like it finally bit her in the ass.
>> No. 121522
Now that I've calmed down a bit...
...just how much did the barrier collapsing effect the outside world? Gensokyo seemed pretty fucked up from what we saw, but...
>> No. 121525
I can't stop smiling after reading this.
I think that's a good sign.
>> No. 121532
I finally read this in it's entirety, and I must say: Good job.

That's... really, honestly, all I can say.

Good job.
>> No. 121533
And holy fuck, it's not over yet?

A+ reading comprehension, you know?
>> No. 121544
>>121533
Of course it's not over. We still need to make our flawless, heroic escape in which absolutely nothing will go wrong. And maybe punch Eirin in the face on the way out.
>> No. 121987
File 128208817328.jpg - (87.68KB , 338x450 , sometimes abstract is good.jpg ) [iqdb]
121987
The next thing she does after that is kiss him. Once again, she catches him off guard, but at least this time, he's got his eyes open, and no matter how close the other prisoners in her block are leaning up against their doors, there's no risk of them falling into the hall and ruining the moment.

It's a good moment, well worth keeping from being ruined.

After the shock wears off, he responds, pulling her closer.

...

When they come apart, breathing heavily, both of them have tears running down their cheeks, and they both giggle like a pair of teenagers.

"You're really real, aren't you..." she says, grinning like a madman.

"Last I checked," the man confirms.

"How did you even... No before that, where have you been?"

"Since when?"

"Since... that night. When we attacked the miko's shrine."

"Ah." The man's cheer slowly fades away. "I don't really know. You know as much as I do, maybe more. I had the miko with me, and was trying to attack the princess. But before I could do it, boom, just like that, gap shows up; next thing I remember, it's year 45."

The woman looks at him, clearly wanting to believe him, but still a little unsure.

"That's about it. I seem to recall eyes and the miko being taken from me, which fits what I read about what happened, but... That's all there is to it. I ended up in the snow outside the Golden Bitch's house, and she filled me in on what happened, just before ...dying, I think." He takes her hands in his, squeezing them gently.

"After that, I wandered around the place. Made my way down the mountains into what used to be civilization. Stayed in some empty city for a year or two before coming back with a truck full of supplies. Started looking around for any sign of what happened to you, but I found some house where they'd been keeping back issues of the tengu's paper, and found an article on the... well, the rocket, I guess you could call it; the one the vampire had made for her."

The woman cracks a little smile. "...I remember that," she says. "My master and I snuck in during the naming party and looked at it." She lets out a snicker. "It looked like a joke, that poor little thing. I couldn't help it after even a minute of looking at it, and started laughing. I said that this shit would never work."

Shaking her head, the woman leans back a little. "But she told me it'd work perfectly, and even gave them a little help to m—"

She cuts off abruptly, and turns to stare at the man. "...Wait. You didn't seriously make a... No. There's no way you could have—"

"...Kinda. I didn't make it myself, but..." The man trails off, looking a little embarrassed.

"You seriously came here in one of those?!" she asks in disbelief. "How... but you're no Shinto priest; there's no way you could have powered that wooden deathtrap. And wasn't it destroyed?"

"The vampire had a second one made up, fully functional. She mostly kept it as sort of a trophy or museum piece. Some combination of the two. And as for powering it... well, that's where I improvised."

"...Improvised?"

"Did you ever go down to where the princess' emergency defense system was located?"

"A couple times, but... Hold on, you came here in that? It's just a control module; it's only got maneuvering thrusters! And what about the deathtrap?!" She looks completely befuddled, now.

He grins. "Turns out the princess made more than a few modifications to it over the years. And yeah, the deathtrap was in there, too. I welded them together, see. Big metal cage for the sphere underneath the topmost part of the deathtrap." He makes a motion with his hands as if screwing a lid onto a jar. "Put 'em together, flew it from the control module."

He's grinning at her, enjoying the incredulous expression on her face.

"...You're kidding me," she says.

"Nope!" he replies, cheerfully.

She shakes her head, wearily. "So we're going back home on a jury-rigged mutation of human faith and Lunarian science? I'm not ungrateful, but I have to admit, I'm a little worried."

"Um..."

"What?"

"Well, I kinda crashed it."

"...No offense to you, but I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner."

"Well, I'd probably have been fine for the most part except for the automated defense systems I ran into on approach."

"They have something in place, now? Who would they be worrying about?"

"Dunno," he says, shrugging. "But the deathtrap is in shambles, and the control module's torn up pretty bad."

Her expression has gone from disbelieving to worried. "...You have a plan to get us back, though, right?"

He nods. "Of course."

"...And one to get us out of here?"

"Of sorts."

"Will we be alive at the end of it?"

"Huh?"

"I mean, even with me backing you up, you don't have the element of surprise anymore," she points out. "They'll be ready for us. I'm not sure we can actually do this."

The man gets up. "Don't you remember what I said to you that night on the mountain?" He holds out a hand to her. "'Don't believe in yourself'..."

She looks at him, and then at his hand, before reaching out with her own and clasping it tightly.

"'...Believe in me, who believes in you,'" she finishes, hauling herself up without waiting for him to help her up. "...Maybe it's time I start believing in myself, then?"

"Could be."

"...Yeah. All right, I'm good with that," she replies with a grin. "Now give me back my damn gun."

He snorts in amusement, and unhooks the pistol belt, handing it over to her along with several spare magazines. He keeps a few for himself, and reloads a handgun procured from one of the unconscious Lunarian guards in the hall with the doctor's special rounds, which (suspiciously, or perhaps very sensibly) use the same size ammunition as the pistol.

Time is ticking.
>> No. 121988
File 128208833426.jpg - (26.99KB , 600x400 , suddenly everything just clicked.jpg ) [iqdb]
121988
They're both mostly finished preparing when shouting and general commotion starts to come from down the hall after a security door slams open.

Rather than looking up in surprise, the first reaction of both the man and the woman is to look at one another, pause, and then smile a little as each realizes that the other has done the same thing as well.

"Ready to rock?" he asks.

She pauses.

Maybe it's something in the way he asks it, or the nature of the situation striking her in an odd way, or unconsciously considering her situation, but a revelation chooses that moment to dawn inside her head. All this time— almost her entire life, in fact —everything she's done has been for another, in service to another, or in some way relying on another to take care of her.

Service to the lunar military.

Being the Sisters' pet.

Being apprenticed to the doctor.

Helping the man fight against people he was otherwise powerless against.

Seeking asylum and throwing herself on the mercy of the lunar government.

Illustrating anything and everything for her fellow prisoners.

This, though... she wasn't just doing this because of what he'd gone through to get to her. No, she was at last doing something for herself.

And goddamn if the realization didn't make her feel good.

"You're damn right I'm ready," she says, baring her teeth in a fierce grin as she loads a fresh magazine into the gun with a satisfying click. It's a Hollywood-worthy moment.

"...Everything okay?"

"Just thinking I'm long overdue on the 'believing in myself' part."

"Well, you're doing it now, and that's what counts," he says. "An—"

She shuts him up with another sudden, unexpected kiss. It's less frantic, and more energetic. The difference would seem hard to describe if he'd had to do so, but it's quite easily felt.

They break it off, both breathing hard, as the shouts and thudding sounds of feet pounding draw close.

"Now I'm ready," she declares.

________________________________________________________________________________

I'd meant to release this one earlier, but I was so sure that the next one wouldn't take that long to write.

You see how well that went.
>> No. 121989
File 128208860898.jpg - (27.61KB , 640x480 , `CHECK POINT!`.jpg ) [iqdb]
121989
The door of the security checkpoint slides open, releasing a cloud of smoke. After a moment, the man and the woman exit the checkpoint in a hurry, gunshots and shouts coming from behind them.

The woman slaps the door controls closed, then takes a stun baton lifted from a fallen guard and smashes the panel with the butt. Flipping it around, she flicks the power slider to its highest setting, then jams the baton into the now-exposed inner workings of the panel. There's a sizzle and a pop as she yanks her hand back, then a muffled bang.

Yelling and muttering comes from the other side after footsteps are heard catching up. They slowly turn into cries of frustration, cut short by a shout from somebody. After that, the footsteps retreat the way they came.

<Is that the last one?> the man asks silently. She doesn't seem to respond, so he fiddles a little with the black disc by the base of his ear. <You getting this, now?> The woman suddenly looks up at him, instinctively reaches up to touch an identical black button-like disc at the base of her right ear, and then nods. <So, is that the last one?> he repeats.

She shrugs, flicking purple hair back out of her eyes. <I think so. I didn't really get much of a chance to come down this way very often.>

<Just double-checking,> the man replies.

<...'Double'? When did you have a chance to check a first time? Guard presence here would be much stronger if you'd come this way once already.>

<Heh. I studied the blueprints and security dossier for this prison enough times to see them in my sleep. I was just making sure nothing had changed since they were written.>

The woman has stopped, and is looking at him, wide-eyed. <...How...?>

<The doctor,> he replies simply. <Who else?>

<...She was planning to break me out?>

<I think so, but the place looked pretty abandoned. I think she went with the princess, wherever she decided to go.>

The rabbit woman sighs, looking a little dejected. <So she left me on my own, in the end... I don't need her, now, but still...>

Walking closer to her as they continue down the hall, he pats her on the back. <I wouldn't put it like that. You should have seen the level of detail that went into these plans. I think she was pretty serious about it. The way her journal said it, though, she was getting weary of the situation there, and was beginning to understand your decision.>

She looks over at him. <...Really?>

<Mm-hmm.>

<Thank you for picking up where she left off, then,> she tells him, finally smiling. She reaches out and squeezes his hand in hers.

It's quiet for a while after that as the pair make their way down the hall. Relatively quiet, at least, as the alarms are still going off.

They reach the antigrav lift, and take it down to the ground level. After it begins moving, the woman speaks up,

<I imagine most of the mansion is in pretty bad shape,> she says, as if ruminating.

<About six of the inner rooms, the garage, and some of the underground rooms are all that's in even halfway-decent condition,> he confirms with a nod. <Everything else is toast.>

She laughs, but it sounds a little empty. <...I thought I'd feel worse about that, but... it's weird. I don't. Maybe I've just got too much on my mind right now to feel as bad as I should?> The woman turns to him, crinkled ears bouncing gently. <Is that weird of me?>

The man squeezes her hand back. <Sorry. I suck at psychology.>

He receives a glare in return, followed by a punch in the shoulder. <Mood-killer.>

<Ow, damn. Sorry, sorry. Really, though, I don't know. I over-analyze this kind of stuff a lot, so any answer I gave would probably be all over the map.>

There's only a quiet "Hmph," given in response.
>> No. 121990
File 128208876073.jpg - (118.52KB , 500x375 , prisons do not have ice cream trucks.jpg ) [iqdb]
121990
After that, it's quiet between them for a bit longer, until her curiosity prompts her to ask, <...So how is the rest of it?>

<Well,> he starts, giving an audible sigh as he thinks back onto the state of the formerly sealed land, <Like pretty much anywhere on the planet, it's okay if you're a youkai. Most of them have cut back on the general savagery, and there's really nowhere left to rampage, so they've kind of calmed down. I still wouldn't go near most of them without a tank, a flamethrower, and a baseball bat carved out of a shrine's timbers, just to be sure. Most of the larger groups are still where they were before. The ghosts are safe in the Netherworld. Tengu still live on the mountain. Kappa still live in the streams. There's just a lot fewer humans, and a lot more snow.>

The woman nods slowly, taking this in. Finally, she asks him, <...And you have a place to live safely, there? I'm not really sure I want to go back to all that; in the middle of all that.>

He pauses a moment before answering. <Yes, sort of.>

<Sort of?>

<Well, it's not back there, exactly. But it's definitely safe. Almost certainly safe.>

<There's something you're not telling me,> she says, as they round another corner, entering the rear of that wing of the prison.

<No, it's a great place!> he tells her. <Seriously, you don't have anything to worry about.>

<Out with it already.> She slams a hand on the controls of the door at the end of the corridor they're walking down, keeping him from opening it.

Fidgeting, the man looks nervous for a moment before (mostly) meeting her eyes. <I kind of had to make a deal with the devil to get it.>

She blinks, seeming alarmed. <You what?>

<Not literally!> he protests, putting his hands up. <You'll see when we get there. There isn't a thing to worry about. Please, just trust me on this.>

The rabbit woman regards him for a long time before sighing, and smiling a little, letting go of the controls. <...All right,> she tells him. <I believe you.>

Re-adjusting his coat, the man smiles back, opening the door. <You won't regret it.>

The two of them walk through, into a large room. The distinct smell of a garage fills the air. Even on the moon, where maintenance happens less and lasts longer, it still carries the aroma of "vehicle," even though the selection of chemicals making up that smell are different than those of common vehicle-related scents on earth. It's something universal.

Of course, the several types of light passenger and cargo craft along the walls are a tip-off, too.

A look of surprise crosses the woman's face. <You really do know this place well. This is the auxiliary motor pool; they don't use it often, because—>

<—the government granted them a special budget for a specialized vehicle fleet, and this was too small to fit all of the newer ones?>

She grins, a little sadly. <...She really did her research, didn't she...> muses the woman. The man nods, gently patting her back.

Going over to the line of vehicles, she walks down the row, looking each one over critically, making "hmm" and "oh?" sounds occasionally. As she reaches the third vehicle from the end, her eyes light up. <Aha!> she cries. <Found one!>

<One what?>

<A car I can hotwire! Well, it's not really hotwiring, not in the sense you'd think of it; it's a lot more electronic and tricky. But this is an older Wave-class, and if you know the trick, they're easy to break into and get running. Corporal Jidai showed us how to start them up them once, using nothing more than your fingers, a slipjoiner, and the wiring from a codec. Here, lend me yours and go find me a slipjoiner. It's a tool shaped... kinda like this,> she says, holding her fingers together to make a sort of insect-like shape. <There should be one in any of these toolboxes. Make sure it's the thin kind, not the fat kind, though.>

Rather taken aback by her sudden burst of excited energy, the man complies, taking off the black button-like device off the base of his ear and handing it to her as she pops a panel open on the side of the passenger craft.

"...This won't take too long, will it?" he asks, speaking aloud for the first time in a while. "I mean, There are probably... keys around here, right? ...Or whatever you all use for keys..."

"Nope, they're all gene-locked; encoded to only allow access to the guards and prison staff," she calls back, already at work. "Basic security measure. You find that on any vehicle made in the last five hundred years." She laughs, sounding a little amused. "It's such an obvious, simple, easy-to-implement feature, really; I'm surprised that it wasn't standard long before then."

"Ah."

"Find that slipjoiner yet?"

"Getting right on that."

True to her word, there's one just inside the first toolbox he comes across. Once he brings it back, she does some cursing, muttering, and a couple minutes worth of fiddling, before a low, steady hum begins to come from what passes for a hood on the low, angular vessel. The woman lets out a whoop of success, slams the panel, closed, and yanks open the door.

"All right! Operation Bunny Breakout is go!" she declares cheerfully. Laughing, the man climbs in after her.

Under her expert hand, the craft makes its way towards the motor pool's front doors, which slowly begin to open, revealing bright daylight.

"Oh, nice job," she comments, sounding slightly surprised.

"On what?"

She turns to look at him. "For activating the proximity-trigger door release. Otherwise one of us would have to open it manually and wait for the other to get back before heading out."

"...I didn't activate anything," he tells her.

Something feels wrong.

"...Well, I didn't either," she says.

The woman feels it, too.

With a gentle clang, the metal doors stop, having opened all the way. The sound draws their attention back in front of them.

Outside the motor pool is a courtyard of sorts, leading down a long, secure path that allows for access to other parts of prison as well as off the prison grounds.

Down that road lies freedom for the man and the woman.

However the courtyard's current contents are of a very freedom-unfriendly mindset.

Roughly sixty moon rabbits occupy the area. It's clear, from their uniforms, their bearing, and their armaments that these are not simply prison guards, but genuine soldiers, well-equipped to deal with a situation that the guards could not handle.

The majority of them have taken up kneeling positions or sought cover behind the thick, heavy, barricades, their rifles trained on the now-exposed vehicle. Some of the others are manning mounted heavy weaponry of some sort, also pointed their way.

The woman is too shocked to actually be shocked. She just sits there, still, hands frozen over the vessel's controls, staring at the welcoming party. Her face isn't any picture of dread, despair, anger, anguish, sadness, or fury. It's as if it's locked into a perpetual state of just-suddenly-noticing-something, when one's eyes have caught sight of and acknowledged an object's existence, but the mind has yet to process the meaning and implication of the object's presence.

It's pretty much what's happened inside her head, as well.

Next to her, the man closes his eyes, leans forward, and thumps his head on the glass.

"...Just once; just for goddamn once," he says, leaning against the cool transparent surface, "I'd like to have a plan that doesn't go horribly wrong in the worst possible way at the worst possible time."

thump

"Just once."

thump

"It'd be almost quaint."

Beside him, the woman nods, slowly.

________________________________________________________________________________

Got about 95% of the fight scene planned out, then decided not to use it. I'll save parts of it for Resentment.

But yeah, seriously, this one should/would have gone quicker except that I've just started finals week of Summer Quarter.

Also, I am so looking forward to writing the next part.
>> No. 122025
Pffft. We've gotten through worse.
>> No. 122085
I don't mind telling you I'm on the edge of your seat.
>> No. 122191
This is one badass rollercoaster ride of an adventure! Im haveing a load of fun reading it! Keep up the good work Fell.
>> No. 122271
File 12827838566.jpg - (62.33KB , 292x339 , This must mean GOOD TIMES AHEAD.jpg ) [iqdb]
122271
"Can we make a break for it?" asks the man, after a moment, turning his head against the glass (or super amazing moon glass; whatever it is) to look at her.

"...Not enough room to accelerate," she says dully, still staring at the crowd before them.

"How about ramming them?"

"...No armor. Get shot apart."

Outside, one of the Lunarians is calling out to them on that same voice-amplification thing. Even if he didn't have a rough understanding of the language, he could still guess at what was being shouted.

Reaching into his pack, he takes out an old, ancient-looking camera. The man hangs it around his neck by a strap, letting the camera itself sit against his chest. Then, he reaches into a pocket, and tucks something from it up into the sleeve of his coat.

"All right, then," he says evenly. "Time to face the music, I suppose."

The woman looks at him, and for the first time in the last minute, some emotion shows in her eyes. It's hope and panic, mixed together, a terrible combination that does terrible things to the mind of the person wearing it. Her red eyes flick down to the camera, noting it with confusion, then back up to him.

"...I'm guessing," she says, sounding worried, "that you have a plan."

He grins. "Calling it that would be an insult to planning. When I start talking, can you translate for me? I can sort of read the language, and I get by at listening comprehension; spoken, I'm rusty as hell."

Outside, the soldier speaking to them begins to count down.

"I can, yes... Are we going to be alive at the end of this, too?"

"I hope so."

"Well. You know just how to reassure a girl."

"It's all part of my magnificent charm."

"You have charm?"

"Ouch."

"I'm kidding."

"Really?"

"Mostly."

"I can live with that."

They kiss once, briefly. Then slowly, carefully, the pair open the doors of the vehicle.
>> No. 122272
File 128278397031.jpg - (17.62KB , 200x443 , Everyone loves surprises.jpg ) [iqdb]
122272
The voice stops counting as the two fugitives emerge from the vehicle. It's about the only thing that's let up, though. Every soldier in the courtyard has their weapons trained intently upon the two, or at least their vehicle.

The man and the woman get out, making very sure not to make any sudden, fast movements. No sense in giving the already-tense soldiers a reason to fire. Their hands are raised, and they do their best to appear non-threatening.

Once more, the voice calls out, asking them to throw down their weapons, and step away from the vehicle. It's merely part of the procedure, since the two appear to have nothing in their hands, but it doesn't hurt to be safe, figures the officer to whom the voice belongs.

After the human and the rabbit have moved sufficiently far enough from the doors of the craft to satisfy him, he makes a short gesture. Two teams of one rabbit and one Lunarian each move forward; one for each of the two captives. On reaching them, each Lunarian begins to frisk them down while their rabbit partner keeps, somewhat unnecessarily in the face of all the others pointed their way, a gun trained on them. The Lunarian on the team assigned to the woman begins patting her down, while the one tasked with disarming and capturing the man begins to unbutton his heavy coat.

And then freezes.

The Lunarian's partner hears her make a panicked choking noise. Having already seen her cease moving, the rabbit immediately brings his gun up to bear on him, and shouts at the man to not make a move.

The man grins widely. Having had it happen to him numerous times, it feels so very good to dash asunder the plans of an adversary.

["Um,"] says the Lunarian woman to her partner, voice shaking slightly, hand still on the man's coat, about to open the fourth button from the top. ["Please don't shoot him."]

Behind them, the officer asks what, exactly, the problem is, and why haven't they begun disarming the prisoners? At this, the soldiers taking care of the rabbit woman look over across the nose of the vehicle at their comrades. Then they, too, go still, right in the middle of preparing to put the woman in restraints.

"Actually," begins the man, conversationally, "I'm going to have to ask all of you folks to lay down your weapons." Across the vehicle from him, the woman begins speaking loudly and clearly, relaying his words for him. Rather than acting as a mere mouthpiece, her words instead come out with confidence and strength, magnifying the man's original tone. What sounded simple, friendly, and casual is now heard as that tone of casual used by those who already know that they have won.

The officer blinks a few times, and asks why, exactly, they should even listen to a criminal's ludicrous request?

Rather than answer directly, the man looks pleasantly to the Lunarian woman in front of him. "Go ahead and unbutton the rest of my coat," he tells her, quietly. His fellow fugitive continues to translate for him, her voice dropping to a suitable level to be heard by the Lunarian woman. "If you don't try anything, the only way you'll end up hurt is if one of your friends back there has an itchy trigger finger. Oh, and try not to jostle me too much."

The woman looks between him and his smile, and the rabbit woman in the golden prison uniform and her confident not-a-smirk-but-working-its-way-there. Then she complies with the man's request, carefully and quickly opening up his coat. Her fingers spend only the barest amount of time working on each button before being yanked away, as if the metal of them were burning hot to the touch. When she is done, she scoots back, wanting to get away from the human. Her partner, finally able to see past her, gets a glimpse of what the Lunarian saw. He blanches at the sight.

Still smiling cheerfully, the man at last responds to the officer. "Why, because of the absurd amounts of explosives I'm carrying!" he replies, tone creepily jovial. His fellow fugitive translates his words before their meaning clicks in her head. Her head whips around, and her eyes bug out at the sight of the two dozen or so thick, heavy brick-like packets seated in pouches connected by straps and buckles, each one connected by wires.

"What the hell?" she says, clearly alarmed and upset. The sight of the explosives had alarmed the rest of the soldiers in the courtyard, and the rabbit woman's obviously genuine surprise was making matters worse. More than a few of them began to edge back.

"Remember about the believing in me and the believing in yourself talk we had?" mutters the man. "Trust me, and don't stop with the translating."

She's incredibly furious, but forces it momentarily aside as he resumes speaking.

"I'd like to ask you again," says the man, now speaking levelly, "to put down your weapons. Those of you at the cannons, step away from them. In fact, why don't you have a seat? Preferably on your hands. Ah, and those of you taking aim on my head, or maybe you've got snipers rushing into position on the towers, I don't know; I'm gonna have to ask you not to pull the trigger on me, for the good of everyone here."

Once the woman is done translating, the officer, voice now cold with fury, asks him to elaborate.

"Well, see," says the man, "in my hands, I have a detonator." The man wiggles the little black tube that had emerged from his sleeve at some point. "Fail to kill me in the first shot, and I activate it. Shoot off my hand, and I'll use the detonator in my boot." He taps his left foot once. "If you shoot off my foot and my hand simultaneously, I use the one in my teeth." He grins, wide. "Shoot off my head, and the deadman's switch on here activates, setting them off. Shoot her—" he points to the rabbit woman "—and I detonate them. Use an EMP to disable them, and I hit the manual switch. Not telling you where that one is. And if you try to paralyze me, gas me, shield me, isolate me, teleport me, crush me, or seal me off..." The man, pauses, shaking his head with a chuckle. "...Well, you would suddenly find yourself having a lot more problems than just a single explosion going off to deal with. Don't even try them."

It's quiet for a long, long while.

The rabbit woman is staring at him. "Are you fucking serious?" she asks quietly.

"There's a school of thought that says one should not over-prepare for a given situation." He pauses reflectively. "...I like to think I've burned that school to the ground and pissed on the ashes."

She snorts, half-amused, but still furious with him. "So, you'd blow me up along with all of them? After going to all this, just to break me out?"

He shrugs. "I'd hate to, but that's what it means to be convicted in your goals."

She continues to stare, before turning back to address the officer and the crowd of now-quietly murmuring soldiers. ["For what it's worth,"] she says in Lunarian, ["I'll vouch for him being absolutely serious. This... it's the kind of incredibly stupid, well-meaning thing he'd do."]

The officer grunts in response, and says nothing. It could almost be thought to be one of amusement.

"What'd you tell him?" hisses the man.

"I said that in my estimation, you probably weren't screwing around," she replies.

"Oh. Thanks."

"Don't mention it."

The officer is silent for while longer. Then he asks, each word sounding as if it had to be forcibly pulled out of his throat, if the man and his friend were planning on using this to bargain for an escape.

"Oh, not at all." says the man. "I'd like something else."

Which, the officer asks, would be...?

"Bring me the sisters that lead the Lunar Defense Corps. I've got a little something to ask them."


________________________________________________________________________________

I have no school anymore, so the only thing holding me back from updating more often is lots and lots of Fairy Wars. Does anyone know how life-percentage-loss is calculated? I swear it seems to be 50%-60% sometimes, and closer to 90%-100% at others.
>> No. 122483
File 128323176020.jpg - (43.10KB , 640x480 , time to rethink.jpg ) [iqdb]
122483
The officer is silent yet again before asking, or perhaps barking, though he tries to cover up the amused disbelief, if the man is genuinely serious.

"Never been this serious in my life," says the man. It's probably quite true, or at least bordering on it.

The officer puts forth the suggestion that this is a bluff.

In return, the man laughs cheerfully. "Oh, man. You wish. I think I'm not making the situation clear."

Oh, replies the officer, looking around the courtyard (as if to reassure himself that yes, said situation is still roughly "sixty-on-two and hilariously outgunned"), is that so, and what is he missing?

The man knocks the craft's hood. "Well, for one, the timer I set when I got out of the car, here. I'd say we've got about five minutes left? Maybe four. Possibly even three."

The officer goes still after the woman finishes translating this most recent statement.

"But more than that," continues the man, not letting him get in a reply, "is the state of the situation here. If you do as I ask, I'll shut the timer off, you bring the sisters here, you guys get to leave, my companion and I have a little chat with the sisters, then everybody goes home safe and sound. Nobody dies, nobody blows up, nobody gets shot, nobody gets killed. You have my sincere word on that. And if not, then we can all sit around and wait for the timer to run out."

The woman's translation speed has picked up a little, betraying her nervousness. The officer, too, feels distinctly uneasy. Nevertheless, he scoffs at this, telling the man that the word of a human means nothing at all, and that he'd rather die than allow such a transparent assassination plot to be carried out and executed on his watch.

The woman's ears droop a little as she hears the reply, and she looks over to see the man bury his face in his palm, shaking his head slowly. At last, he looks up.

"Assassination...? Aside from the fact that I'm going to do no such thing, I'll admit you're one dedicated man. You want to die to protect your commanders? Great. That's a nice gesture, I'm sure. But I'm just wondering, are your troops as willing to die for them as you are? I mean, you join the military, fine. Part of joining up is accepting the inherent risk of dying for your country... or your government, or the moon, or whatever the hell you have here. Okay. But are you seriously willing to throw away their lives, as well?"

The man turns, and gestures to the soldiers all pointing guns at him. "And you all... Maybe you're all willing to die for the greater glory of the moon, but how many of you are ready to die for your CO's dumb decisions? Pretty sure most of you have got families, or at least people you'd like to see again. Is this really worth abandoning them for?"

He lets that sink in for a moment, seeing the unease build. It's not a nice job, being a demagogue, but it's the one that needs doing, right now.

...Or was it pedagogue? It's definitely not synagogue. Well, whichever one means "being loud, disruptive, and eager to start shit with people," then that's the hat he'll wear.

Outwardly, he shrugs, and lets his voice drop back down to 'amiably casual.' "But, hey, if you are, that's cool, too. If you're all really ready to die because you're told to, just to preserve the safety of the people, then I guess we'll just sit and wait."

The man suddenly stops, and snaps his fingers —which makes more than a few soldiers jump slightly, because he does it with the hand holding the detonator— as if he'd just remembered something. Then he gestures beyond them and behind him, indicating the prison proper.

"...Ahhh, but that's no good either, see. Your noble sacrifice will still end up hurting the local populace, because the size of this blast will take out not just the outer walls, but a good portion of the inner walls, too. And that means at least one entire wing of the prison or so will have a free ticket out of here on a road paved by fire, bad choices, and good intentions. And unless things have changed recently, this particular wing is not full of the friendliest people."

...Oh, they're definitely upset, now. He has to keep from smiling.

"Or you can just take my word on it. Got about a minute or so left, by the way. Maybe thirty seconds."

The woman looks around the courtyard, sweating bullets. This isn't really how she'd planned on leaving, at all. If by some miracle they make it planetside intact after all this, the very first thing she's going to do is deck him. This moved well beyond a slapping offense quite some time ago.

The man begins to whistle to himself, apparently unconcerned.

Finally, the officer, voice thick with suppressed rage, yells at him an agreement to the terms.

Smiling beatifically, the man taps a button on the side of the detonator twice, but doesn't put it away. "Oh, don't look so grim. You've avoided staining your hands with the blood of innocents, and having the ghosts of your soldiers haunt your family line for generations to come. Cheer up, you're doing something good!" He flashes a thumbs-up at the officer.

The collected fury and resentment felt towards the man by everyone in the courtyard is almost palpable. Luckily, he doesn't care, and merely watches in silent approval as the officer calls up a communications interface.
>> No. 122485
File 128323201719.jpg - (46.30KB , 364x500 , ancient history.jpg ) [iqdb]
122485
It doesn't take too long. There is some short, terse, conversation, some waiting, frantic conversation, another short wait, then extremely deferential, careful conversation, followed by what sounds like surprise.

At last, the officer looks up, and tells him that not only are they on the way, they were already coming here.

The man is surprised, and a bit alarmed. He steadies his breathing, tells himself to calm down, and collects his thoughts. Feeling that way is normal. It's the nervousness that comes with the anticipation of a situation you know needs to happen, but which you don't want to go through, like a dentist's appointment, or a court hearing.

Carefully, after reassuring the guards through smiling, cautious gestures, and a few broken phrases in Lunarian, he goes over to stand next to his companion. She frowns at him, then sighs, and together, they sit down on the hood of the briefly-borrowed craft.

"Do you have any idea what you're doing?" she asks, quietly. The capture teams have since withdrawn, but she still keeps her voice down.

"...Somewhat," he answers, after a short pause. "I know what I've read about them from the account of the vampire's rocket trip, which had interviews with the border woman and the ghost princess on their participation in the whole affair. There was also a detailed writeup in the good doctor's journal."

She nods, thinking to herself. "I'd go more with hers, then. The other is probably a little more biased."

"They both seemed pretty even, to me."

The rabbit woman snorts at this. "Winners rewrite history to make themselves look better."

"From what I read, I'd barely call what happened back then a victory," says the man. "I mean, I guess it was, but only just."

Her eyes darken, and her voice takes on a slightly bitter tone. "The whole thing was a confusing clusterfuck from beginning to end, honestly. At least, from my perspective. I literally lost track of who was manipulating who during that incident, and how much each faction knew, and whether or not they knew the others knew, and if the others knew that they knew, and... ugh. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm just glad we stayed out of it once more or less everything was in motion."

He looks at her, surprised by the sudden outburst. Silently, he takes her hand in his. She resists, for a moment, still angry with him. Then, as if changing her mind, she grasps his hand in return.

...Angry, but accepting that they're in this together.

And like this, they wait.


________________________________________________________________________________

Finished Fairy Wars, so that won't be eating my spare time anymore. Go and read the various 3 Fairies manga if you haven't, already. You could do a lot worse than reading the silly adventures of a pack of adorable alcoholics. So not joking about that.
>> No. 122618
File 128370691016.jpg - (564.72KB , 1121x1600 , 09.jpg ) [iqdb]
122618
Yes. Delicious Fairies, just too delicious.
Anyway, i read this even if i don't comment, and i am probably not the only one. Just to let you know so you don't lose motivation.
>> No. 122620
>>122618

You are not the only one

Very good read
>> No. 122671
>>122618
>Fairy getting tentacle raped

You fool, fairies are for tenderly loving only.
>> No. 122702
File 128382259089.jpg - (15.18KB , 400x258 , fear and hydrodynamics.jpg ) [iqdb]
122702
They arrive in fairly short order.

It's not obvious at first, because they aren't anywhere in sight. But one of the officer's men comes hurrying up to him, and whispers something. The officer nods, then turns and makes a gesture to his men. Row by row, they pull out, withdrawing from the courtyard.

This is it, then.

By the car, the man and the woman try not to appear tense. They simply go from seemingly relaxed to... less seemingly relaxed. It's more for their own benefit than that of anyone watching, really. To control fear, one must show confidence. To show confidence, one must first feel confident, or be able to bluff it well enough.

Murmurs arise as the soldiers depart: just at the edge of the road leading out, two fashionably dressed figures approach, walking casually.

The officer stares at them, still surprised that they actually showed up. Perhaps they're merely doubles, he thinks. It's not unusual for high-ranking government officials to keep highly-trained actors on staff to imitate them in case of danger, distraction, or sneaky political maneuvering.

Last to leave is the officer himself. He stops in front of the two women, going down to one knee. He apologizes profusely, and offers to them his worthless head for daring to put them in such danger, but—

["We have it under control,"] says the blue-haired woman, cutting him off without malice. Glancing up in surprise, he looks at the women before him, taking in first the one who spoke.

Her eyes are not cold, but bordering on it. Sharpness without aloofness, presence without terror. Her hand rests on the hilt of a sword, bespeaking a readiness that her body does not radiate. She is a woman in charge of herself as much as she is of others, though she feels no need to make this clear.

Why make clear something that is already an unalterable, universal fact?

Next to her, dressed less conservatively, is a blonde woman. She, unlike her sister, appears completely unconcerned; thoughtfully eating a peach while her eyes roam around the place.

The officer feels a tiny bit irritated at this casualness. Shouldn't she be carrying herself with the bearing of someone of her rank? He has no trouble believing that the first woman is the real thing. This second one, though, seems... well. He's not sure what she seems like. Not like a proper commander, should, certainly, but it's something beyond that.

Realizing he's been looking at them without permission, he drops his gaze once more, cheeks heating up in shame. Forcing it down, he asks if perhaps he should leave a small detachment with them in order to ensure their safety.

["Absolutely not,"] says the blue-haired one, sharply. He almost flinches from the steel in her tone. ["Did you not say that this human wished to speak to us alone?"]

He freezes, internally cursing himself for somehow forgetting this most basic premise of the human's demands. It sickens him to be caving in to threats from a human, of all things, but to then suggest something that would potentially endanger his superiors?

["Today simply isn't your day, is it?"] A new voice; not that of the first woman. ["Oh, yes. You may rise. I always forget that part."]

The officer rises to his feet, and feels, to his surprise, and hand reaching out and patting him on the head, like a favored animal. He slowly raises his eyes, and sees the blonde woman in front of him, smiling gently, hand outstretched as she pat-pat-pats. ["Called out to deal with a prison break-in, which turned into a break-out, which turned into terrorist negotiations, which turned into an un-winnable situation that resulted in a total, humiliating loss."]

Her voice has been slowly turning into something more unfriendly-seeming as she speaks. If he were the sort of man that thought less of his superiors, he would call it almost sinister. However, he is not that sort of man, and accepts it merely as growing proof that she, too, is the genuine article. Both conclusions would be accurate, however.

["And then,"] she continues, ["not only do you overstay your time here once we arrive, you proceed to suggest something highly dangerous in a terrible, thoughtless way."] Her voice holds no kindness, now. It is a hollow, empty, incredibly furious thing.

...And yet, her smile and her closed eyes are still full of seeming warmth.

The patting stops, suddenly, and a grip like the hand of a god seizes his head, iron-hard fingernails digging into his scalp. She lifts him up into the air, slowly. ["They used to kill men for stupidity such as yours."]

Terrified out of his mind, the officer is nevertheless accepting of the punishment that he knows he deserves. He shudders, trembles, but does not cry out. He merely looks back at the blonde woman with the smiling eyes, and awaits his fate.

The blue-haired woman, who has been looking on, finally steps in, admonishing her sister. ["We do not have the time for this right now. As you say, he has suffered much misfortune today. As a result, an error in judgment was bound to happen sooner or later; especially one made with good intentions."]

In the quiet of the following moment, the officer suddenly realizes, in one of those moments of inanity-focused clarity brought forth by pain, that the second woman has been tapping her fingers against the partially-eaten peach from the instant that her hand stopped petting him. It's as if movement never ceased, but simply transferred itself to another part of the body.

After considering her sibling's words, the woman nods, and her kind smile grows wider. The cold, harsh voice that turns the apparent kindness into a terrible lie once again issues forth from it. ["...As she says, time is of the essence, and your blunders are perhaps understandable. You may go."]

And with that, she abruptly lets him go, dropping him to the ground. He only falls about half a foot, but only barely keeps himself from dropping flat on his ass. As it is, his recovery is not the most dignified one, but he nevertheless bows deeply, blood trickling here and there from his scalp. He offers his gravest apologies to them both.

["We have heard enough,"] says the blonde. She once again sounds casual and unconcerned, her previous fury abruptly gone. That lying expression of care and kindness, too is gone. Once more, her eyes return to looking around the area, flicking back and forth. She frowns and adds, ["...And withdraw your snipers, too, the hidden ones in the building opposite."]

Not even bothering to mask his surprise, the officer's eyes go wide. She knew about those? He'd dispatched them himself, in secret. Furthermore, they were concealed absurdly well; he knew exactly where they were and what to look for, but even so, he couldn't see them.

Next to the blonde, the blue-haired woman sighs. ["I believe we would be fine with those. Neither the human's senses nor the rabbit's eyes would have picked them out."]

["I don't care. We don't know what the human's capabilities are or what other tools he has at his disposal. Given the battle reports, and the initial findings of the crashed sphere, it seems like he's got no small number of nasty little toys,"] says the blonde.

As she takes another bite of the peach still held in her other hand, the officer has another revelation: She is not looking over the place because she is bored. She is searching, watching, scanning; always aware of what is going on around her. It is the awareness of a life-long predator, ready to attack at all times. In order to be always ready, the predator must be ever-watchful over all that occurs.

...Any doubts he had about the authenticity of this woman's identity have obviously been long since blown away, but this makes it blindingly clear.

She continues speaking: ["As for her, consider the people whose company she has kept over the last few centuries. Maybe she was outmaneuvered here, but I think that between them, they still have a good idea of exactly what is going on. Withdraw the snipers, and begone with you, already."]

Suddenly aware that this last was directed at him, he hastens to obey, and tells the concealed units to pull out. Yes, he said pull out, and yes, he is sure; furthermore, the order comes from up top, so move it.. He doesn't need to tell them that "up top" is standing right next to him. They can see that quite well.

When the last of them confirms she has withdrawn, the officer bows deeply, turns, and leaves the courtyard in as quick a manner as his dignity and bearing will allow.

The area is empty but for the four individuals; one pair at either end. As the women at last make their way through the gate at the far end of the courtyard opposite the motor pool's still-open door, the man folds his arms across his chest, and waits.

________________________________________________________________________________

If you haven't read Silent Sinner in Blue, yet, despite my earlier urging, now is the time to do so. Yes, Aki Eda is horrible, and Zun should never have chosen her. However, it's going to be especially necessary that you have read it, soon.

I'm sorry about the continuing slow pace despite school having ended. An important thing has cropped up and further eaten away at my free time.

...it also doesn't help that I recently decided to actually play Melty Blood: ReACT. I want to strangle the person who decided against (or perhaps never fucking considered) allowing D-pad input for gamepads with that game, and hug the one who said "okay, maybe we should add support for that" for Act Cadenza.

>>122618
>>122620
Thank you both. It is impossible for me to lose motivation to write, however. True, I may not want to write, now and then, but I'm usually over that by the next day, at worst. The motivation never dies.
That said, I really appreciate that you said as much. Most commentary and feedback comes along with votes, and since this is a voteless story, it's often quiet. That's just the nature of the format, though, so it's okay.
As for the gift of (impending) fairy smut, I am conflicted. On one hand, Luna iz best mischievous fairy. On the other hand, I'm sort of with >>122671: Tentacles seem a bit much for this sort of thing.
>> No. 122730
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122730
You fool!
She is the best Fairy. That fang and that personality, there is just no other way.
>> No. 122747
Instead of making people read something horrible why don't you just tell us what happened
>> No. 122754
>>122747
Still unhappy about being made to read MiG, huh?

In before that wasn't you.
Also in before you use the line above as an excuse to claim it wasn't you, even though it really was.
>> No. 122756
>>122747

Because that completely destroys the impact and significance.

Consider it a history lesson.
>> No. 122761
>>122754
No, that wasn't me. I'm well past the MiG rage.

Why would you think that was me specifically?
>> No. 122766
>>122747
SSiB isn't horrible, but Aki Eda is. It's not the most gripping plot either, but when has any official Touhou plot been gripping?

>I'm well past the MiG rage.
Probably because that part wasn't known.
>> No. 122769
>>122766
>Probably because that part wasn't known.
Pardon?
>> No. 122773
>>122766
It could have been written much much better than it was.

>>122730
Why not all three?
>> No. 122775
>>122702
If it makes you feel any better, the monster in that comic is a tsuchinoko magically modified by Marisa to pleasure women, and it's downright gentlemanly about the entire affair. (Relatively speaking, of course.)
>> No. 123356
File 128467948174.jpg - (81.25KB , 551x480 , tengu harassment-causing device.jpg ) [iqdb]
123356
The two women walk through the courtyard, watching the troublemakers at the end, by the building.

So when the man's hands suddenly drop down from being folded across his chest to seize the camera and aim it, they are quick to react.

The blue-haired one leaps in front of the blonde, sword somehow going from sheathed to out and ready without having passed through the steps of being grabbed and drawn. She begins chanting something which sounds like an invocation, though the man knows he's only imagining it sounds like one; the dialect is older than what he's familiar with and he can't make any of the words out. He just happens to know that's exactly what it is—

—and power coalesces around her, beginning to take on shape, though the man would know it was there even if it was invisible, since even an un-magical person like himself could feel energy of this magnitude building up—

—and his companion is slowly turning to look at him, wondering what the hell he's doing, suddenly terrified that he's gone for the detonator switch—

—and he presses the button—

click

flash

—and the mounting energy disappears, just like that.

It is absurdly silent in the courtyard for a single second, while the three women blink, realize they are not dead, and then come to a number of individual realizations, each of them different, but all of them ending up with anger directed towards the man.

There is a sound like air burring, rushing, and he quickly pulls the camera off to one side, just before the blade of the blue-haired woman's sword slices up in front of his chest, passing through the space where the camera would have been a millisecond before, and comes to a halt just under his chin, angled tip positioned less than an inch from his throat.

To his left, there's that feeling you get when something is brought too close to your face. Not brought quickly, but slow enough that you have time to register it, and feel uncomfortable about it. That strange sensation under your skin, almost like a warning to watch yourself. There's also a noise he can hear; a quiet, faint rustling, shuffling noise, like that of a newspaper page being turned two rooms away. But constant, and somehow slightly more dry. Almost like a crackling.

To his right is the pressure of a furious gaze, full of his partner's ire.

A cacophony of angry voices, all at once:

"What did you just do to me?"
"And what did that little toy do?"
"What the hell did you do that for?!"

They all stop, though each seems to wish to continue. In that moment of awkward quiet right before each person tries to simultaneously apologize for and react to the verbal crash, there is a mechanical whirring, and the camera spits out a photo.

Everyone's eyes are drawn to it as it drops through the air. The sisters do not budge, and the man is quite justifiably concerned that any further movement on his part will result in something painful or more likely, lethal.

The rabbit woman grabs it, and glares at it. It's actually a surprisingly decent shot of the blue-haired woman as she defends the blonde, chanting her invocation. There's a little "A-" printed in the corner.

The picture's subject is the first to speak up (and in English, the man and the rabbit woman realize with detached curiosity) again: "What did you just do to my powers, human?" Her expression is cold, calm, and barely able to restrain her surprise and fury.

It takes every ounce of willpower for the man not to laugh. His efforts are assisted by the threat of immediate death in front of him, and the premonition that whatever is making that quiet rustling, crackling noise by his left ear is also something capable of ending him in fairly short order. And while he does not sense death, per se, from his right, he has no doubt that she would very much like to cause him grave harm at the moment.

He can't really fault any of them.

...Well, then. Time to work some magic.

After all, keeping that image of confidence going just a bit longer in this situation might as well be magic.
>> No. 123358
File 128467970568.jpg - (266.01KB , 779x516 , threats on every side.jpg ) [iqdb]
123358
"To be honest? Like, genuinely, seriously honest? I don't know. But—" he adds, forestalling the sudden surge of murderous intent from all around him, "—if I understand correctly, it temporarily seals the power of the target."

"What?" Cold. Quiet. No longer surprised, but still furious. Inquisitive, like an interrogation room.

"The tengu whom it belonged to used it to dispel danmaku and disable her opponents for a time. I think one time I was somehow able to use that sealed power, myself, but —whoa, ow, ow, stop— really, I wouldn't even know where to start with god-summoning. You were the biggest threat to us, but this worked out a lot bet— ah, ah, careful there." The man breaks off again as the swordswoman presses her weapon in closer, piercing his throat ever so slightly as her growing rage fights to get the better of her.

"I don't need the power of the gods to cut you down where you stand, human." she says, voice low and hate-filled.

["Settle yourself, sister,"] remarks the blonde, from his left. She speaks in Lunarian, perhaps in order to grab the other woman's attention more effectively. ["Need I remind you that this human explodes when he is killed?"]

The man takes a moment to flick his gaze over to the source of the voice. There's something white and paper-y blocking his peripheral vision, folded in an accordion-like shape and sandwiched between something dark on either end. ...A fan? It would explain the paper noise, but it's being held absolutely still, and there's no wind. Yet, that distant-sounding crackling, rustling noise persists.

...Oh. The fan.

Right.

Yes, that's definitely immediate death on his left, then.

And to his right...

The rabbit woman sighs. "I'm not sure what surprises me more," she says anger now dissolving into mixed scorn and relief. "That you brought that damned camera all this way, or that you finally got a chance to use it again."

"Well, it's about damn time I was able to," he replies, a tad defensively. "I've been waiting for this chance since I got a hold of it again."

His companion stares at him, realizes he is serious, and buries her face into her palm.

The other two women trade glances with each other.

"Need I remind you of the blade I hold at your throat, human? I am not finished. When will my powers return?" That voice draws him back to his rather unpleasant situation.

"You know, I really don't know, but uh, at least in an hour or so? Ow, ow, ow, maybe less! Probably less! There would have been a huge stink raised if the tengu could lock away people's powers for any significant length of time!"

The word-wielding woman considers his words for a few minutes before drawing her blade back slightly, allowing him (literal) breathing room.

"I will take you at your word, human," she tells him, stepping back and sheathing her sword. The sensation of uncomfortably close presence to his left fades, and that crackling sound grows more quiet, but still remains, just on the edge of hearing.

"...After all, it's not like we couldn't still destroy you and our former pet here before you could blink."

She smirks.

He tries not to gulp.

"However~..."

A face tilts over into his vision. A white sunhat adorns a head of blonde hair and a smile.

The smile seems friendly, but purely in terms of appearance.

"...Let us get to the interesting part where you tell us things, shall we?" it asks.



Just staring at this person, the man feels from deep within a sense of growing, purely instinctive terror.


________________________________________________________________________________

There is a reason for this, actually.
>> No. 123360
File 12846798211.png - (47.77KB , 363x210 , asking asking everywhere and not a sec to think.png ) [iqdb]
123360
The words die on his lips as he stares at this predator woman. All that he'd read never mentioned anything about her presence, her being. Maybe the border woman and her shikigami were so used to this kind of monster wearing flesh person that they hadn't even blinked.

That smile, so cheerful-looking, is deadly.

She begins to slowly circle the man and the rabbit woman, her eyes never once leaving them.

The swordswoman speaks up, drawing his attention back to her. "You wanted to talk with us, human. Then waste no further time, and talk. To call us out in such a despicable, underhanded way is a grave offense that merits nothing less than your immediate death. Even then, such a punishment does not even begin to compensate for the absurd amount of other crimes you have committed today, and it is only out of sheer stupefied fascination with the effort you have invested in this venture that I am refraining from cutting the two of you down where you stand." Her eyes narrow further still. "So: speak."

"Perhaps he simply called us out in order to gaze upon our fascinating, unearthly beauty, sister," comments the constantly circling devouring beast blonde, before the man can utter a word. Her voice comes from somewhere behind the rabbit woman, but he doesn't dare look away from the one holding her blade to his throat. "We used to have visitors like that."

"...I doubt that very much," replies her sister, dryly.

"True, true~ Besides, we're both married, so we wouldn't honor such a request. It wasn't that, was it?"

He shakes his head.

"Hmmm... Then perhaps our old pet wished to see us once more, after so long?"

The man's companion suddenly feels all eyes upon her.

After a moment, she snorts. "Please. You showed up at my trial and didn't say a word. I saw all I wanted of you two then, and that was too much. Neither of you spoke up for me, anyway. I feel sorry for your new little toy if this is what awaits her when she finally grows sick of this."

"Awww..." Arms are wrapped around the rabbit woman's neck, and the hunter of all things hat-wearing commander rubs her cheek against that of her victim. "Are you jealous?" she asks, in a playful, hideous way.

The rabbit woman shudders at the close contact, but manages a sneer. "Are you serious?" she shoots back, scoffing at the idea. "If I still thought well enough of you two that I wanted to see you again, let alone get back in your good graces, I would never have deserted in the first place. To hell with you both."

She lets out a small hiss of pain as the blonde's grasp tightens significantly. "Oh dear... She seems to have grown rather distant, sister. That's a terrible shame, but I suppose there's no helping it. What else does that leave us with?"
>> No. 123361
File 128468006339.png - (210.00KB , 274x412 , the Weight which he is Gonna Carry.png ) [iqdb]
123361
"Negotiations," says the man, trying to get things back on track.

Everyone's attention shifts back to him. The blonde slowly, almost reluctantly, lets go of the rabbit woman in order to resume her circling of the pair. Her former victim strains herself to keep from rubbing at the red marks on her skin out of equal parts stubborn pride and raging spite.

Amusement touches the lips of the blue-haired woman. "You wish to negotiate? Whatever for, human?"

The man gestures to his companion. "Her freedom, plus guaranteed safe passage from here."

Pausing, the circling cold thing that consumes woman freezes. The swordswoman cocks an eyebrow.

Both commanders stare at him.

And stare.

...And stare.

...And staaaaaaaare.

"I can't imagine that I'm asking for much, here," he adds, after the silence gets uncomfortable. He shouldn't say anything; it makes him look weaker. But he can't help it with that sword still at his throat.

"I am simply wondering if the journey here has driven you mad. Certainly, your actions today bear out this theory," comments the blue-haired woman, eyeing him thoughtfully. "I do not know what mystifies me more: that you believe you have the slightest chance of success in this endeavor, or what you could possibly have that you believe represents a sufficient bargaining chip. You may continue."

He allows himself a small smile. The first substantial hurdle has been cleared. "Thank you," he tells her. "By now, I am fairly certain that you are aware that humanity is finished. It's not completely and absolutely gone, but I would put the number at around a hundred thousand, very roughly. Between the youkai and the climate, I give the species about ten years, tops, before it's gone. The youkai will last longer, probably another fifty years. A lot more if they can adapt to the weather."

The woman in front of him nods. "We had gathered as much. It is not public knowledge, however, and we aim to keep it that way."

From the side, and moving: "We are not grieving deeply over the matter, to be honest."

Quickly continuing after this remark, the man further elaborates. "Yes, that's about what I'd heard, but I wasn't sure. From what I gather, the Lunar stance towards humanity is something between contempt, disgust, disdain, and pity. Is that about right?"

"A-ha~ That is broadly true, yes. But why do you bring it up, I wonder?" Behind him, the ancient hunter devoid of mercy woman in the white hat giggles, and at last finishes off her peach, having finally gotten time to finish it. Despite her word, he knows that she knows where this is going. That thing has a literal instinct for the shedding of blood.

"Because you're looking at the person responsible for it," he proclaims. Not proudly, but with quiet force in his words. It is nothing at all to take pride in; definitely not. He spent most of a year wracked with guilt over that simple fact. But if he can do this one act of good by revealing his sin, then so be it.

The two Lunarian women trade glances. There whole hell of a lot of non-verbal communication going on there under the guise of what looks simple eye contact. It's hardly surprising, considering their position.

Sneaking a quick peek to his right, he sees his companion staring at him, looking troubled and disappointed.

He knows he deserves it.

"...Are you really?" asks the swordswoman, finally.

That blade at his throat shifts ever so slightly closer. Were it a person, it would have just now cleared its throat, pointedly reminding all present that it was still here, and to not forget about it, lest it be forced to do things. Were it at an interrogation, it would be the quiet voice that only spoke up once in a while, leaning closer and asking, 'Are you certain that is really what happened?'

In other words: Lie to us and not only will we know, we will also kill you.

"I'm largely responsible, yes. I took the shrine maiden, whom I'm sure you remember—"

He looks the swordswoman in the eyes for a moment, before the sheer pressure of her gaze sends his own darting up and into her hair, staring at that yellow ribbon tying the blueness back.

"—with me in an assault upon the exiled princess, who was playing some sort of elaborate, twisted game. The border youkai, allied with the princess, dropped us into a gap before I could land the blow, and distanced us from the normal flow of time. From what I read and heard, by the time she realized her mistake and pulled the shrine maiden out, the youkai were already in open rebellion, and beyond the miko's ability to contain. They slew her and in doing so, broke the great barrier in place around the land. After that, they quickly spread out, rampaging all across the globe. Their sheer power instilled terror that gave rise to belief wherever they went, raising up old spirits and fears in their wake, bringing back to life creatures out of legend in whatever land they visited. This fear-based belief skyrocketed, and they became nigh-invincible. The entire planet became a hunting ground for about a decade or two before the human population became insufficient to maintain the belief in all these things. The only ones left now are the natives of the sealed land, and a number of particularly ancient legendary creatures that had the foresight to see the upcoming bubble-burst, and took measures to stay alive. Something happened to the climate, too, and winter now lasts about twice as long.

"Maybe I was only one ingredient in my species' downfall, but if I hadn't done what I did, the humans you despise or dislike or whatever so much wouldn't be gone. Unless the youkai learn to build spacecraft or the human race makes a dramatic return, I am the last human you're ever likely to see on the moon, and it is I who made that happen. I think that's worth at least a little something."

Both commanders listen to his story without speaking. Even the constantly-circling civility-mask-wearing prey-eating liar Lunarian has ceased motion again, listening to his story with a small smile.

And after several minutes, they decide.


________________________________________________________________________________

Dear god, so many new stories. And even better than that, old favorites updating!

I've already recommended Idea of Alice in /sdm/ before, but it deserves another mention just because. A Fairy's Tale just finished, recently, and if you haven't read it, you should. Deeply Ingrained Greed in /underground/ is also very good, in a strange and wonderful way. Average Joe in /border/ is one-third facepalm, one-third WTF, and one-third fucking hilarious. It might not be for everyone, though.
>> No. 123374
>Average Joe in /border/
Will check it out.
>> No. 123853
File 128555762233.jpg - (136.46KB , 500x334 , time for chit-chat.jpg ) [iqdb]
123853
They both withdraw in order to confer.

Or... sort of withdraw. The blue-haired woman pivots, turning the rest of her body to face away from the man, but leaving her sword arm still outstretched. The blade in her hands remains perfectly motionless throughout this, continuing to stay pointed at the man's throat.

Her fellow commander completes another circuit of the man and the rabbit woman, and comes to stand by her. Her feet stop moving as she falls into quiet, murmured, barely-audible conversation—an interesting trick to pull off, the man thinks, considering they're both only about three or four feet away from him— but the instant the beast which takes your breath and blood she ceases walking, her fingers start to move, tapping at her thigh as she discusses the human's offer with her compatriot. Not impatiently, but even and regular.

The man looks away from them, and speaks to the woman beside him. "...Are you doing okay?"

Initially, she seems all right. She opens her mouth to answer, but after giving it a moment's thought, her face darkens. "Aside from not telling me about your genius suicide-bomber-threat idea? Just dandy." More glaring.

...The man correctly guesses she is going to be venting her displeasure at him over that, later.

"If you had known about it, would you have let me pull it off?"

"...Probably not."

"And would we still be alive right now if you had?"

"..........Being right doesn't mean a damn thing," she says, sulking a little.

He wisely chooses to not grin, wanting to avoid angering her further. He waits a few seconds, then comments, "Any idea why they're not holding weapons at your head?"

Red eyes shift to the sword at his neck. Over to the women. Long pause, then back to him. "Arrogant bitches probably don't see me as a threat. Also, you're the one with the bomb, and one of the guards got my gun."

["We can hear you, you know,"] remarks the blue-haired woman without looking back.

["Why else do you think I said it?"]

["Jealousy doesn't become an old pet, dear."]

["Blow me."]

After delivering this barb, the rabbit woman turns back to see the man to looking worriedly at her. "...What?"

"Were you always this angry?" There's actual concern in his voice, she notes.

With a sigh, she shrugs and gives a bitter smile. "Not when you knew me, I guess. Life was easier back then. Do keep in mind I've been in fucking prison for over a good few decades." It feels good, she thinks. Not the being rude to him, or to them, but to truly express once more, without worrying about her position, or whether she'll anger her superiors, or the people watching over her, or whatever.

What bound her before was not a mask, or a fake personality, but worry caused by an awareness of her situation. There was always someone to avoid offending. She doesn't particularly want to be offensive, and it isn't that she doesn't care. It's more that she feels no fear of lasting retribution. Whether by death, imprisonment, or escape, she's never going to have to see these two women ever again, and sees no reason why she shouldn't be honest with them.

It definitely feels good.

The woman with the sword turns back around. The two have evidently made up their mind. Without ceremony or preamble, she delivers their decision directly.

"Your proposal is rejected."
>> No. 123854
File 128555776541.jpg - (104.14KB , 500x609 , fffffff.jpg ) [iqdb]
123854
The women say nothing further, clearly expecting a response from him.

The red-eyed woman's stomach drops.

The man swears quietly.










...but inside, fights down a mad, childlike grin.

Is it from what he expects to follow?

Or is it simply from the sheer joy of being able to reveal a trump card at the best possible moment for maximum dramatic effect? He's a sucker for that sort of thing, and he's only rarely had an occasion to pull off such a trick. At least, with any degree of success.

Aloud, he sighs, frustrated. That much isn't faked; he was hoping it would be quicker. "Rejected, huh?" he says.

"Yes," says the yellow nightmare that stalks other Lunarian. She adjusts her hat, and also turns to face the escapees. With a bright smile, she extends her arm in a motion mirroring her sister, holding out that fan at the two of them. Her thumb rests on the edge of one lacquered wooden end panels, mere seconds away from snapping it open. That rustling, shuffling noise of crackling paper intensifies, revealing what it truly is: the sound of burning, of fire, of that which cleanses with great finality.

"...And," she continues, "as you have no further business with us, we shall punish you for your crimes today in the name of the M—"

"Hold up just a moment!"

The man grins now, and holds up his hands in the placating, "perhaps-I've-been-a-bit-hasty" way of furious backpedalers everywhere. His interruption has given the commanders pause, although they, too, were expecting such a thing. They expect him to beg for his life, to try and plead with them, appealing to their sense of reason, or perhaps explaining again the danger of killing him, as if they hadn't already figured out a way around his deadly but poorly-made trap.

They do not plan to grant these requests.

"I was thinking you wouldn't agree to it based on something like that, so I brought a little something else."

"...Something else?" The younger sister speaks carefully, watching the man for anything like a move to attack. He does not give any apparent sign that he is preparing to attack them. None of his motions or mannerisms seem hostile or threatening. "Such as?"

"Plan B," he replies, with a wink.

Three sets of eyes stare at him. Again.
>> No. 123855
File 128555800461.jpg - (137.18KB , 400x615 , glug.jpg ) [iqdb]
123855
"I'm going to get something out of this backpack. Please don't kill me, all right?"

The man makes this offer in a calm, reasonable tone, looking at both of the Lunar Emissaries while gesturing at the pack on his shoulders.

"Do you have something in there for us, human?" asks the relentless hunter of the deep one still holding her fan pointed at him and the rabbit woman. "Let us see, then. And if it's a trick, I'll obliterate you both~" She gives a grin that makes one think, for a fraction of a second, of things perfect, jagged, sharp, and numerous.

But then it is a normal smile again.

Suppressing a shudder, he nods, and starts to slip it off, but the swordswoman speaks up. "No, she gets it out. You stay put."

She's not suspicious so much as cautious and able to read the situation well. The rabbit clearly had no idea this breakout was coming, and seems to know even less about what this human is planning, so there's no way they've planned anything before he came to free her. And they were kept busy enough after escaping that there wasn't too much that could be discussed after. She's walking into this just about as blind as they are.

Looking over at his companion, the man shrugs and then nods, turning slightly to offer up the backpack to her. She glances at the women, then at him, and sighs irritatedly. Walking over, she opens up the pack, and gingerly pokes around in it. "...What am I looking for, exactly? I see ammo... first aid kits... wait, is that one of my old spellcards?"

The man looks surprised. "I swore I had that in a pocket, here..." He begins to rifle through his coat, but is stopped with a deadly glare from the women in front of him. "...Right, sorry. Staying put."

The rabbit woman pockets the spellcard she'd lent him oh so long ago, unable to keep from smiling a little. She doesn't dare use it right now; the distraction would only last a third of a minute, at best, and would probably not even last that long in the face of the swift and unpleasantly final counterattack that would come in response. Digging into the bag again, she discovers two large containers in the back. "...How the hell did you get your hands on a pair of crashboxes?" she asks, surprised.

He seems mystified by the term. "A pair of whats? ...Wait, you mean the zero-stasis containers? That's it, grab them."

She pulls out the fragile-equipment containers, remarking, "We called them crashboxes in the service, since the joke was that if your ship crashed, that'd be the only thing you could be sure would stay intact." Looking up at the Emissaries, her eyes narrow a little. "Okay, now what?"

"Open the smaller one, first. Key code is 7448789 for both of them. That tell you where I got it?"

The rabbit woman sets the larger one down while she opens the keycode panel on the side of the smaller container. Halfway through entering the code, she realizes where she'd heard that combination before, and snorts. "The princess' treasure room, huh?"

He nods, and tries not to grin like a moron as it hisses open. Holding out a hand to keep her from withdrawing its contents right away, he looks at the sisters. "I thought long and hard about what would be the best thing I could give you two. I wanted something that the both of you, and nobody else, would personally wish for." Motioning for the woman at his side to continue, he finally allows himself a small smile, the charming quiet grin of a gracious benefactor. "My first gift to you is nothing less than an erasure of the past."

Red eyes are rolled, but the rabbit woman opens up the container anyway. Reaching in, she pulls out... "Are you serious? It's an old sake jug. What's so spe..." her voice trails off after she scowls at the man, to which he merely nods his head towards the commanders. Looking over at them, she sees they have both gone deathly still. Their eyes are locked onto the simple clay jug with an intensity that would put a any bird of prey to shame.

Their gaze could only be described as 'hungry,' but 'hungry' would not convey the mixture of sheer surprise, glee, and desire found within it as well.

"...How did you get this?" asks the fascinated terror which follows behind blonde Lunarian. Her voice is dry, almost cracking. The peach held in her hand, which had been on its way to being brought up to her mouth is being crushed in her frozen hand, juice running down her hand, down her wrist, and dripping on the ground.

"Found it in the gap youkai's house," he says, casually.

"Really, now..."

"Yep."

"...You've done your research, human." The swordswoman's words almost sound like a compliment, in that there's less scorn in her tone than usual when saying that last word.

"I'd like to think I did. However..." They're staring at it awfully hard. He hadn't expected them to take it this well, so he'll have to be quick about dropping the next bomb, and recovering from it.

"...It's empty, though."
>> No. 123856
File 12855581321.jpg - (602.10KB , 1417x1394 , EVERY TIME IS TIME TO HATE.jpg ) [iqdb]
123856
With a ferocity that he swears is almost audible, their gaze snaps from the jug to him, and he tries not to wither under the sudden intensity.

"Empty...?" The word is almost painfully dragged from the blue-haired woman's lips. A sneer mars her features, and she bows her head, as if shamefully acknowledging that she's been beaten. Her grip upon the sword in her hands colors her knuckles with searing whiteness. "..."They drank it all, then. As expected of the bitch."

Looking at him once again, she ponders something for awhile before speaking again. "We are not so ungrateful as to misunderstand your intent, human. Even plundered, the return of this treasure is not without meaning, both personal and political. But it is not enough. What lies within the second container, I wonder...?"

Is it greed? Is it fury at having been cheated of the full glory of the full cancellation of the mark left behind from the last conflict? Is it curiosity?

The man doesn't know, and doesn't care. He knows that he has them hooked, and that's all he needs to know. With a flourish, he gestures to his companion, whose irritated mood has been replaced by her enjoyment of the sisters' distress, and to no small degree. "If you'd do the honors?"

"Certainly!" she chirps, humming as she punches in the same code as before.

"In the second container lie the ability to rewrite the past, and the decisive victory that changes the present," remarks the man as she opens the top of the longer container.

The first thing removed is a large, long glass bottle, dusty and ancient. He takes the clay jug and the glass bottle, and hands them both to the Emissaries. "Two thousand year-old sake from the Pure Land. I won it in a bet after gambling with Death."

He doesn't bother telling them that the ferrywoman had been half-asleep at the time, was a miserable poker player, and that his winning request had involved a ridiculous chain reaction of favors being called in up and down along the various levels of existence, and that by the time it was finally given to him, eight months later, she had been so pissed at him that she nearly smashed it over his head. Apparently it had gotten the attention of a number of beings, and word eventually trickled down to her boss. Said boss had been irritated by the ferrywoman's slovenly performance for a while now, but this was the last straw, and would be assigning her a partner to keep an eye on her.

...Yeah, better to keep some awe and mystique about the whole affair.

The Lunarian women are impressed, though they try to hide it. The peach-devouring pretender-to-civility blonde adjusts her hat, which seems to remain stain-free despite being grasped by the hand dripping with pale juice. "While a despicable, wretched, crawling beast you may be, human," she says, an actual hint of honest cheer lurking amongst the predatory smile, "you certainly know how to manipulate. Now, what is this la—"

"The hell's an arrow doing in here? ...Hey, isn't this one of M— hers?" The lavender-haired woman has reached into the long container, and withdrawn a simple-lookng arrow with a bow tied a few inches behind the pointed head. She stops herself from referring to her teacher by the old term in time, but that simple decoration reveals to all present the identity of the one to whom it belonged.

"Her very first, in fact. Made by hand, ages ago. She kept it in a display case in her office." The man eyes the sisters, whose eyes have gone wide. "I understand you two still think highly of her despite what she did, even after all this time. I hope this simple memento of her is acceptable to you two." No hint of a smile, now, he attempts an air of pure gracious giving.

Wordlessly, the commanders look at one another, and then back at the two escapees. They don't even need to confer; they already had their answer ever since the sake was presented. But now...

"...Human." The terrible golden one older sister at last puts down the fan she was holding out, and speaks slowly, coldly. "...Answer a question for me, if you would."

It's important not to look smug. It's important not to look smug. It's important not to look smug. It's important not to look smug. It's important not to look smug. The man furiously repeats this mantra inside his head. "Yes?"

"I do not care about your reasons for invading anymore. They are self-evident, now, and ridiculously simplistic. Speaking personally, I will be thrilled and delighted to be rid of you both as soon as possible. But tell me this..."

She leans in close to him, and that voice becomes dead, merciless, and vicious, managing to compress unspeakable malice and a thirst for the blood of those who would dare to defile the moon into a simple, quiet whisper only heard by the two of them that nevertheless conveys the full depth of her emotion and conviction. The force of this hatred for him, his entire species, and the very concept of his existence almost physically knocks him over, and he barely keeps from screaming in utter fear.



"What is stopping us from erasing you both from this world, and taking your ill-gotten gifts anyway?"




He is silent for several moments. Not because he's trying to think of a response, but because he is frantically, desperately trying to cling to his sanity in the face of this raw malevolence. The first thing in his mind that is at last able to form a coherent response is that which is least connected to his careful, thoughtful mind. Replying without thinking of the consequences, this unpleasant part of his brain stretches his lips into a nasty smirk as the reply flows forth from them.




"Why, because that's what a greedy human would do."




He dares to meet her eyes, and the fury in them makes the rage in her voice seem weak and impotent by comparison. But he is bolstered now by sheer testosterone-fueled arrogance and stupidity, keeping him sane in the face of the magnitude of sheer hate roaring down upon him.

"And as a Lunarian, you're better than that," he continues, just as softly. "...Aren't you?"



________________________________________________________________________________

You can thank Minecraft and a very out of whack sleeping schedule for these delays. Especially Minecraft. What normal people experience with TVTropes, I experienced with that evil, time-consuming bastard of a game. I say normal because I am immune to TVT.

I also a little because I got into a VN-ing binge lately, since I also finally finished Fate/stay night, after drifting away from it near the high point of UBW in March '09, for whatever reason. Damn good stuff (minus most of the lolNasu sex scenes), and I'm sorry to see it finally over.

So, with an English translation of F/ha still being a zillion years away, I started hunting down other things to read late at night when I just want to sit back and consume something. Went and got my hands on Saya no Uta, Ever 17, and Sengoku Rance, on the recommendations of others.
Finished SnU in a day or three. Are all Nitro+ games this neat (aside from the DVD-format butcherings I've heard about which evidently suck big-time)? I'm no gurofag or Lovecraft lover (Yes, I know this was only barely slightly Lovecrafty, but still), and I still liked this. Sensible writing, crazy shit, good music, and a much-welcomed dash of action at the end.

Actual spoiler (for the handful of people who haven't played SnU yet): ...Was I the only person who was delighted to see Saya's ticket finally get punched? Properly, I mean; fuck that flowering wings seeding-time tragic death bullshit.
Also, Ryouko was deliciously ruthless and vicious. She was easily my favorite character in that game, I think.

>> No. 123859
File 128555982639.jpg - (40.40KB , 450x340 , 1253734360963.jpg ) [iqdb]
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>>123856
>spoiler
But at least you have taste and know a good game from a bad one.
You should play Big Bang Age next. It is a bit harder than Rance but good.
>> No. 123890
For some reason, those Watatsukis are pissing me off. But MC isn't really in the best position right now.
>> No. 123892
>>123890

There's a reason they're nicknames in fanon is 'moon bitches'.
>> No. 124537
File 128624488335.jpg - (53.00KB , 600x450 , ancient terror; not spy thriller.jpg ) [iqdb]
124537
After those words leave his mouth, he realizes that he should not have looked into her eyes.

Flowing unbidden into his mind come several turns of phrase and little sayings: a piercing gaze, glaring daggers, if looks could kill...

All these and so many more, he thinks, must have at one point or another been about her.

She stares at him, and the full force of her restrained fury shows itself only in her eyes. Even in his mad, idiocy-fueled confidence overdrive, he respects and fears this power. He is suddenly very aware of the fact that her entire being is brimming with sheer hatred right now. He knew before, felt it, but had not seen it as he sees it now.

It hammers inside of her, banging, thrashing, pounding, rampaging. for release. It screams until its throat is raw and ragged, demanding with white-hot fury that she crush this sickening abomination of life in front of her, remove its filthy stain from the pure soil of the moon, and cleanse the entire prison in a purifying torrent of destruction. His blasphemous trespass demands no less.

Some of the oldest, deepest parts of her being suggest simply ripping into him, and devouring him where he stands. He certainly wouldn't see it coming—

Nobody ever does

(and for a nanosecond or few, there is a thought of smiling)

—but that was very long ago that she did those kinds of things, and even though the idea sounds somewhat appealing, the her from more recent times would rather devour herself than touch this tainted meat, so she'll simply sett—

A touch on her shoulder disrupts her train of thought, and the ancient blood-seeking beast Lunarian woman whips around, bringing one hand up to eviscerate the underhanded cur that presumed to attack her from behind—

—and that limb moves around so fast it literally blurs and peach juice scatters in an arc, flying off like the trail of a lopsided comet—

["No."]

—and stops dead in the air because it is sister, the one whom she burdened with her problems oh so long ago and does not deserve her anger. She knows what she knows and she knows that she knows that she knows what she was thinking and what she was planning and... she says no.

The blonde looks at the blue-haired woman another second, then two, then nods.

Turns back.

Abomination and ex-toy are still there. Not dead yet, either.

Shame.

But her sister knows better, and she admits she is right. Looking at it that way, she can appreciate the nature of this whole travesty.

"All right, human. You win."

It is important to let go of things quickly if you want them gone.



The man only keeps from shuddering through absurd, superhuman effort, and settles instead for sagging in relief.

He turns and grins winningly to the rabbit woman. She can't help but smile as well.

He's still going to get it from her but good when they get back, though.
>> No. 124539
File 128624516771.png - (201.61KB , 400x321 , oh wait shit where is the back button.png ) [iqdb]
124539
A thought occurs to her, then. A very important one.

"So," she says, "How are we getting out of here, again?"

His grin freezes, for a moment.

She imagines she can hear the sound of screeching brakes. If she had been exposed to more foreign media during her stay on the planet, she would have imagined hearing a comedic record scratch.

That grin continues to stay frozen for a second longer, before he turns around to face the sisters. "She brings up a rather decent point, you know," he tells them. "The terms were for safe passage from here. But I think we all know there's nowhere on the moon that's 'safe passage' for us."

All eyes drift back to the woman wearing the hat. She, in turn, glares back at the man and the woman before her, shaking her head slightly in amazement.

"...I am appalled at the lengths to which you believe you can push me, human," she finally manages to utter in a tone that's only laced with simmering rage, rather than tightly bound up in rampant fury. "Yes, I can arrange for you to return to the wretched, empty hell you've made. And with considerable ease, as well. I dearly wish I could meet the fiend that informed you of us so well."

He shrugs. "We never talked much."

"It is not so simple as that." The other Lunar Emissary speaks up once more, frowning in thought. "There is the matter of your transgressions today, human. Even if you bring us the ability to erase the record of our loss to the gap demon, it is the the promise of our win this time that is not so easily brought about by mere gifts and trophies. How can you possibly deliver on that promise? You have defiled the Lunar Capital with your presence, wrought a trail of unbelievable destruction, assaulted the citizens and servants of the Moon, broken a political prisoner out of jail, threatened a battalion of soldiers with instant death if they did not comply with your selfish demands, and now presume to order us about?"

The man feels very cold inside. He wondered if they would get to this. It made sense, of course; he'd done all that, no doubt about it. How could he have assumed a few gifts would make up for all ...that?

"What do you propose we do, human?" continues the swordswoman. She is not unkind, but neither is she warm about it. It is a serious question, and one that must be satisfactorily answered if they are to conclude this distasteful business.

There is a dreadful silence as the man scrambles to think of something good, some way to make all he's done go away.

That kind of thing doesn't exist, however.
>> No. 124541
File 128624557145.jpg - (117.21KB , 800x494 , IT IS DISLOYAL TO TRUST YOUR GOVERNMENT.jpg ) [iqdb]
124541















...Not to the mind of an honest (relatively) man, at least.

"...You guys are kidding, right?"

The rabbit woman's voice sounds a mix of cynical and unsure, perfectly expressing in tone what she just expressed in words.

"Did you all get shook up by all the BS you're all slinging around?" The rabbit is openly grinning, somewhat mischievously. "None of you can honestly figure a way out of this? I'm the only one that sees it?"

Blue hair is flicked back as the swordswoman turns her narrowing gaze on her former pet. ["Arrogance does not become you, dear. If you have something of value to contribute, speak it."]

["No, really,"] replies the woman in gold prisoner's clothing. ["I'm trying to figure out if you two are... Oh, there's no way you aren't. Ah ha ha ha haaa! This is too much! Do you know how long I've waited to show you two whores up like this, after all those boring-ass hours of strategy meetings and political rambling, back then? Any suggestion I tried to make you two would completely rip apart, showing every last goddamn flaw in it? Oh, it's too much!"]

She's laughing now, genuine, happy giggling. The sisters just stare at her, obviously unamused. The man does, as well, but he's sort of secondary for the moment, in the face of long-awaited petty revenge.

...Not cruel, just honest. And the 'awaiting' has definitely been long.

["Just cover it the hell up!"] says the man's companion, brushing lavender hair out of her eyes. Still grinning, she spreads her hands. ["You two did that plenty often before, what's the trouble now?"]

The commanders share a glance.

["It's not that sim—"]

["Of COURSE it is!"] explodes the rabbit woman, surprising even the man with her vehemence. ["Make some kind of huge explosion while you drop us back planetside!"] She gestures grandly, envisioning headlines. ["The glorious commanders of the Lunar Defense Corps bravely destroy an invading human terrorist and his accomplice informant! The enemy is obliterated so thoroughly that there's no trace of him or the traitorous she-devil left! Come on, you two! This is basic beginner stuff!"]

The shared glance is much longer this time.

Sheepish looks are not allowed, of course, so she gets no satisfaction from seeing any such thing. Neither do they look stiff, as if to deny that they were just bested in an incredibly humiliating way. There is not even a hint of acceptance of their ex-pet's suggestion. The Emissaries are far, far too proud for anything like that. Rather, they go from listening straight into implementation, as though it had been planned all along.

The swordswoman's eyes narrow, and she begins to chant in what must be some obscure dialect, because the man doesn't recognize more than a few words. Her power must have returned, though.

Clutching her hat, the other sister brings out her fan, again, and

fwiiipclack!

snaps it open.



w h u m p h

...The temperature is unbearable, for a moment, and although it disappears quickly, the man stumbles in the sudden, sweltering, oppressive blanket of heat that billows forth from the opened fan for that brief second (and again, the crackling, hungry roar of flames).

["Not today~"] says its wielder under her breath, as if speaking to the fan. Raising her voice, she calls back to her partner. ["Ready?"]

Her only response is the rising pitch of her sister's chant, which at last ends in the declaration of seems to be some long, complicated name.

The sword thrusts forward.

The fan sweeps.

A thin white line rises up from the ground, and widens, forming a doorway of sorts.

["Go forth, foolish children. Never again return. Defy this at the cost of your life."]

And unceremoniously, they are flung through the door.

________________________________________________________________________________

>>123892
>they're nicknames
You make me sad.

>>123859
All right, fine: Saya was still a decent person/thing/being up to the brain-fixing choice, and Asylum End. After that? She deserves the miserable death she gets. Seriously, she had it coming, and Fuminori had it coming even harder. Ryouko is still the best. (...And as I've discovered, terribly underappreciated. Although, you could say that of any of the characters in that game who are not Saya. Go compare the number of pictures for the SnU characters. The ratio is sickening).

On that subject, though, are there any other Nitro+ games in English that haven't been raped by craptacular localization?

...And on that subject: If a syphilitic ferret and a broken toaster had been in charge of editing/proofreading for Ever17's translation, they still would have created something better than what's there. "Naturally I knows the hacker" is the least of the problems with the dialogue, and isn't even a good example of the more frequently occurring types of problems that plague it.
>> No. 125013
Finally, he ran away. What now?
>> No. 125015
>other Nitro+ games
Chaos Head but that is hard to find because lol Support JAST USA's official localizations of Nitro+ games!. The other projects died pretty much with that from what i know. I am not one to follow that whole drama over IRC or the site(s). Or that Forum.
>> No. 125016
>>125015
Stuff like that is why official localization of VNs is a uphill struggle. That and being so used to it being free, etc.
>> No. 125018
File 128675016694.jpg - (26.13KB , 150x149 , 1250837586533.jpg ) [iqdb]
125018
>>125016
>> No. 125084
>Go compare the number of pictures for the SnU characters. The ratio is sickening
I decided to look this up on Danbooru while the update is being written.
>saya no uta 296
>saya 289
>sakisaka fuminori 17
>suzumi yousuke 1
>takahata oumi 2
>tanbo ryouko 3
>tonoo kouji 5
>tsukuba you 5
...
>> No. 125088
>>125084

That's some wierd math.
>> No. 125090
>>125088
What's weird about it? A picture can contain more than one person.
>> No. 125110
>>125090

Oh, right, I forgot that.
>> No. 125391
File 128719164071.jpg - (192.93KB , 636x790 , 3082349.jpg ) [iqdb]
125391
>>124541
Sounds like someone doesn't appreciate Lovecraft Moe~
Also, it kinda seems like you missed the whole damn point of the story, but that's not surprising given your track record.
>> No. 125796
File 128752952455.gif - (548.83KB , 249x246 , Hello yellowness my old friend.gif ) [iqdb]
125796
There is a sensation of falling, if falling was accelerated by a rocket engine.

And yet, it's absolutely still.

The man and the rabbit woman are moved forcefully along/through/past/through again the border between the moon above and the planet below. This method of travel is the fastest known currently-available method of making the journey, beating out the use of the Veil by a comfortable margin, Lunar spacecraft by a luxurious margin, and human space vehicles by a margin so absurd that "palatial" would only start to cover it.

All in all, it will take about 7 minutes.

For the two people experiencing the trip in this way for the first time, however, those seven minutes seem like an eternity.

In the man's case, a strange, bizarre eternity.

For one, the blurring scenery resembled something like a kaleidoscope on an acid trip. But streaking by, and not visible. It didn't resemble that at all, in fact. But he was sure it did. Probably? It didn't really matter if it was or wasn't, though. It was all background noise. Lots of noise.

His head felt very, very strange, though not in a bad way at all. Everything felt strange, really, and it made him feel restless, like he wanted to move around. Like he wanted to dance.

Unfortunately, he couldn't move around as freely as he liked. The walrus was far too heavy to move out of the way, and was currently engaged in a staring contest with the banana on his shoulder.

It was a harrowing ordeal, what with the miniature pirates waging a fierce battle in the sea of tapioca around them. A cannonball shot by his ear, and exploded into individually wrapped fun-size Abba Zabba bars. But that was impossible, since they were in Halloween colors, and Halloween had been outlawed by the King of Cheese.

That's what the walrus had said, at least. The man suspected the walrus of being a liar.

The banana told a joke that sounded like orange and tasted of green. The walrus quacked in defeat, and flew off into the air, leaving behind a treasure box. There was something amazing in the box! It kept changing color. Never mind, that box sucked.

With a glare, the man turns angrily away from the box. After a minute, though, the banana tells him another joke, and the man bursts out laughing. He can't stay angry after hearing something as funny as that! It reminds him of the other joke the banana told oh so long ago. He'd forgotten what it was, for some reason, though he can't recall why. The banana obliges him, telling the joke again, and this time, even the grumpy hippos laugh. They never laugh. The man tries writing it down, but all the pens and pencils of the world turned into dwarves, who had dropped a mountain on top of the pirates, and decided to name their new fortress after this momentous occasion.

The man thinks "Shipkilled" is kind of a stupid name.

Tap tap tap!

The banana pokes him, getting his attention. He turns, and the banana jumps away and disappears into the rapidly approaching sea, telling him one last joke as it spins around in circles. But wait, when did all that tapioca turn into snow?

Well, darn.
>> No. 125797
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There is a shout of surprise, then another shout close behind the first, from a different throat, as two figures pop out of the sky about 30 feet above the ground.

...


A couple hundred thousand miles or so further above the ground, there is the sound of a fan clicking shut. A smile forms on a pair of lips that then utter forth a word, devoid of any apologetic tone.

["...Oops~."]

Next to her, eyes are rolled.
>> No. 125798
File 128752972428.jpg - (123.99KB , 1600x1200 , but the snow does not stop for several years.jpg ) [iqdb]
125798
"Wait, come back! I didn't catch the punchli—"

FWUMPF

"Oh, that peach-loving cu—"

PWAMPF

The falling bodies land rather unceremoniously in the snow, cutting off their words with frigid, chilly softness. Still, two feet of snow can only cushion so much, and the landing is not a pleasant one for either of them.

After a few moments of silence, the man raises himself up, blinking slowly, with bleary eyes. Between the nighttime darkness, falling snow, dazedness from the shock of landing, and residual traces of delirium from the trip down to Earth, he is not at all in top form.

Putting a hand out to steady himself, he grabs nothing at all, overbalances, and flops over onto his side, falling into the snow and disappearing from view again. He curses quietly.

After another couple of minutes trying to muster enough of his faculties into something like working shape, he props himself up again. This time, he has a bit more success at staying upright. Rubbing his eyes with the back of one gloved hand, he looks around.

Judging by the surroundings, it appears they landed in some kind of rocky, hilly region. Probably still in Japan, going by what vegetation he can make out in the moonlight, though it's hard to tell between the snow cover and the darkness. Where in Japan, though, is the question.

Then he turns around, and looks up.

Oh.

This place.

His face darkens as ugly memories come flooding back. This was where everything had really, really started going wrong, oh so long ago.

The mountain shrine. Both of the major shrines in the sealed land had been in close proximity to mountains, but there was only one planted right atop one. When you mentioned "the mountain shrine," nobody needed to ask which one you meant.

The shrine, or what he can see of it from here, is still in decent shape... for a building from before the breaking of the Barrier. The shrine maiden still lived, he heard, but was barely anything like her former self. She had made horrible sacrifices in order to avoid being hunted down, and somehow managed to establish herself and her gods as the major deities of the area. They couldn't keep the Barrier intact, let alone restore it, but they were able to make life possible in the area. Between earth and sky, the powers of the goddesses covered most of the angles of climate control on the mountain.

If they value their lives, the man thinks, then they absolutely must not come into contact with the other shrine maiden or her gods. Perhaps if they were the people he knew before, even with the sky goddess' betrayal, he would be able to talk to her, at least.

Fleeing the mountain is their absolute top priority at the moment.

The man turns back, looking around for his companion. The sudden movement makes him woozy, and the world around him gets too wobbly for his liking. Casting his gaze about, he finds no trace of her.





He calls out for the woman.
































Instantly, six black-winged figures drop silently out of the nearby trees without shaking loose the snow from a single branch. They all wear dark, close-fitting black garb. Face masks hide their features, but each wears upon their feet the tall, single-blocked geta that clearly identifies their race.

They are arranged in a half-circle in front of him, cutting off the rest of the clearing. Behind him lies only a couple hundred feet of relatively open terrain before the ground disappears, giving way to a sheer cliff dropping a long ways down.

The man blinks. For a brief second, he is startled. Then his expression turns to recognition, comprehension, and finally settles on a mix of disbelief and disgust.

"Oh, this is some fucking bullshit right here," he remarks, shaking his head slightly.

He cannot believe that this is happening a-goddammit-gain.

Snow crunches underfoot behind him, and the six figures pause, ceasing the advance they had just barely begun.

The man risks a look behind him, and is incredibly relieved to meet that familiar, glittering ruby-eyed gaze. "Oh thank god, you heard me?" he exclaims. "Listen, we can't let these guys take us i—"

CRACK

"You asshole!"

She at last makes good on the earlier promise to herself, and slugs her savior, shouting furiously at him. The uppercut sends him sprawling back, flat on his ass.

"How in hell could you play with my life like that, you jerk?! What the kind of rescue mission involves endangering the... person..."

Perhaps sensing something amiss through the red haze of anger, the rabbit woman jerks her head up, bent ears bouncing slightly with the movement. Her eyes narrow as she takes note of their present company, gaze flicking back and forth over each of them.

Said company has also taken a moment to evaluate this new arrival. A consensus is quickly and wordlessly reached, and the silent black-clothed group closes in on the fallen man and the angry rabbit.

Her lips curl back in an ugly, unpleasant grin. Teeth are bared in anticipation of violence. It is a visage that belongs to the wrathful and those that seek blood. Those ruby-red eyes seem to glow brighter, somehow, and the body in that golden prisoner's uniform shifts naturally into a position of readiness, coiling up somehow, and preparing to strike.

The people in black make their move.



________________________________________________________________________________

If you liked Airplane or the first two Naked Gun movies, do yourself a favor and get a hold of Police Squad. Leslie Nielsen is the best.

>>125391
...right, whatever that's supposed to mean. What'd I ever do to you, anyway?

Don't you worry, though, I got the point. I just thought it was too forced, and a bit stupid, though hating the characters I was apparently supposed to like/feel sympathy for probably helped contribute to that. So come on down off that high horse, already.
You are right about me and Lovecraft, though (But I've made that known long before now, so no big shock there). I think I just dislike it because of all the people who think Lovecraft is so awesome/freaky/deep/cuh-ray-zy/etc., more than anything.


That said, I definitely enjoyed reading SnU, and am glad I did. Read the glorified Equilibrium fanfic too, and liked that okay. Going to be reading Kikokugai next. ...And after that, I plan to get irritated about the SUPPORT THE OFFICIAL RELEASE faggotry surrounding Nitro+, bitch a little, and then unhappily move on to Sengoku Rance.

But hey! Since you have such refined, discerning taste, how about putting it to good use: how's Liarsoft stuff (Besides "pretty")? Aren't only one or two of their titles translated, too? I was thinking of checking some of them out if they're any good.
>> No. 125829
Even in this dark era, there's still Tengu Fucking Ninjas.
>> No. 125838
>Create a strange machine.
>Reach for the moon.
>Get Reisen out of the prison.
>Negociate with 2 bitches.
>Go back to Earth.

>Get knocked out by Reisen.
How unexpected.
>> No. 125847
Excuse me, but didn't Sanae die in MiG? In front of us? Like, wasn't that start of the whole "it got worse" curve?
>> No. 125849
>>125847
If I recall correctly, she was attacked by the Eirin impostor and bleed to death, but we then went back a few choices and she barely survived, though she and Suwako still left the party.
>> No. 125854
File 128759624573.png - (193.98KB , 413x400 , d98811e36d4d91791b033e9862776852.png ) [iqdb]
125854
>>125798
>Kikokugai
Haha, holy shit. I will enjoy seeing your reaction to that one.
It's great though, enjoy.
Also, I phrased my statement poorly. On the internet, it is easy to forget that there is a human on the other end of a disagreeable comment, and thus respond with a visceral YOUR FEELINGS ARE UGLY AND WRONG; which although satisfying, is not conducive to civilized interaction.
I suppose it works both ways. I can't really see the appeal of Hina, honestly. Diff'rent strokes, diff'rent folks, and whatnot.
>> No. 125889
>>125849
Good times. And by 'good times' I mean hard, claustrophobic bad times. We didn't make it in time because we had to choose the right option twice in a row...!
>> No. 126205
File 128797029530.png - (110.39KB , 500x333 , when lunar eyes are smiling.png ) [iqdb]
126205
















She snaps her fingers, and points to her left, drawing the attention of the two approaching from that direction. They both break off, splitting apart to avoid the incoming attack...

...which never comes.

They look at each other. Then at the space they'd occupied. And finally, back at her.

Where the attack has been waiting for them.

The rabbit-woman's crimson eyes gleam momentarily, and her grin takes on an almost ghastly appearance. ["Be lost, and wander in the fog,"] she intones.

Her victims don't know Lunarian, but it's not the words that matter so much as the intent and meaning behind them. She could have spoken in Pig Latin, had she wanted to (or even known of it), but she'd used Lunarian when honing her abilities, oh so very, very long ago. It just came more easily.

The effect is immediate. The two attackers stumble, slow down, and lose their sure footing. They cry out in alarm and confusion, fumbling about, clutching at their ears and rubbing at their eyes.

She had assumed that these tengu, not exactly being the average chumps out on mountain patrol, would be trained to keep their cool in combat even if, for whatever reason, they suddenly lost the ability to see. But being hit with vertigo, disorientation, dizziness, blurred vision, a migraine, tinnitus, and intermittent blinding, flashing lights all at once, for as long as she wanted them to suffer those... Well. That would be a tad more difficult to overcome.

It was a shame that only two of them could be caught in this; they were spread out too wide to catch a third in her field of vision. And speaking of those others...

Focusing her attention back on the other four currently-combat-capable fighters, she notes that they've already adjusted their tactics. There had been two to her left, two ahead of her, and two on her right, spread out evenly. She'd taken out the first two on her left, so the third and sixth had gone wide so as to flank her while numbers Four and Five came straight at her, their paths intersecting right about where she was standing.

And —unsurprisingly, given their species— they were fast.

Blurring across the snow, barely even touching it, Four and Five close in on her with frightening speed. She waits the space of a breath

-inhale-

before leaping up at what must be the last possible moment and twisting her body around as she lashes out with a foot, catching Four right in the throat. The figure in black lets out a strangled-sounding "Arghrk!" of surprise and pain as he's sent flying.

Number Five passes the spot where the rabbit had been a moment ago. Already adjusting his course and turning, he draws a shortsword and slashes in a wide arc to his right. She twists out of the way, turning the movement into a sort of pirouette. Not stopping there, she continues to twirl like this, making another full turn that brings her around again to the currently-unmoving form of the man. As this loop completes, she brings a foot low and sweeping, kicking the Fox-Eater handgun up out of the holster at his side and knocking it out into the air. Yet another tight spin, and she avoids a harsh downward slash of the sword. And at the end of this final turn, she holds out her left hand, into which her gun falls neatly.

...Leveled at the head of Number Five, no less, who draws up short, not expecting such a development, and frantically tries to dodge.

She grins, and pulls the trigger.

Just as planned.

The gun discharges, hitting Five at point-blank range. With a scream, he stumbles back a couple steps, dropping his sword in the process as he claws at his face. The Doctor's specialty rounds only worked on Lunarian-based physiology, but that didn't mean that anyone else getting shot with them experienced it as a gentle puff of the afternoon breeze. As the fifth attacker was learning, it instead caused excruciating pain, from the force of impact if not from the chemicals involved.

She launches forward as though shot from a cannon, body twisting in a physics-defying corkscrew spin as she hurls herself after the howling tengu. Not to finish him off —not yet— but to secure his still-falling blade.

Her right arm swoops down and grabs the shortsword, a fairly unremarkable wakizashi. Still turning in midair as she flies forward, back now facing the ground, her right arm continues the arc uninterrupted and parries a throwing knife streaking in from the side. There's a sharp clang and a brief scattering of sparks as she bats it forcefully away. In the same moment, she flings her left arm out, gun held parallel to her body just in time to block a pair of shuriken whirring in from the opposite side that land with a solid thunk in the wooden stock of the weapon.

Well, thinks the rabbit woman. It was about time they made their move.

She'd timed their attack slightly off, and jumped to avoid a moment too early, but made up for it on the interception. Or maybe they'd paused at the last moment, and adjusted once they thought she was committed to the movement. Either way, Three and Six had entered the fray, and would likely be closing in a matter of seconds.

Tucking her feet up in close, she completes the roll, and shifts her hips sharply down, using another physics-defying maneuver to bring herself abruptly out of the arc she'd been flying in. Her feet stab down, then spring off the snow, making only a slight dent in it, again augmenting her movements with brief bursts of flight magic. Those black-winged bastards were barely touching it when in motion, so she would have to do about the same —no, better than same— to stay on top of the situation. She couldn't keep this up forever, though, so she would need to end it quickly, and with absolute finality.

That was no problem.

One step, then two, and a leap: she springs upward and forward toward the figure of number Five, still stumbling, but appearing to be getting himself under control. He was clearly still in pain, but seemed to be gritting his teeth and bearing the stress in order to get himself back in fighting shape, and fast.

Not fast enough, unfortunately.

A short, slightly damp krnch is the only sound the wakizashi makes as it penetrates his skull from the back, entering high and angling low. The rabbit woman, with only a quiet hup of effort, hoists herself up one-handed, using the handle of the blade lodged in the still-standing tengu's head as a lever in one fluid movement, and performs the splits in midair, legs snapping out to either side and perfectly striking assailants Three and Six as they dart in for the kill. This ridiculous display of acrobatics catches each of them in the jaw, sending stars through their vision and deterring them for a few precious seconds.

The woman brings her legs together and crouches on Five's shoulder for a moment, long enough to yank the sword out of his head, sending a spatter of dark red spurting out into the snow and onto her face. Wasting no time, she kicks off from his left shoulder into a backflip, lavender hair tracing a crescent through the night air behind her. Soaring over the stunned Three, the rabbit brings her Fox-Eater to bear and fires at her hapless victim, putting 3 rounds into his body before flinging the gun up into the air an instant before she lands. Something minor nags at her for the briefest of seconds.

The snow makes a gentle sound as she touches down behind the now-thrashing Three; not even a 'crunch' so much as a 'crisp'. No, everything's still going perfectly.

Both hands take a firm grip on the wakizashi's handle, and her feet plant themselves firmly —and impossibly— upon the snow, bracing her as she lunges forward, swiftly thrusting the blade low and upward into the back of the tengu. The sword pierces Three, sinking to the hilt. He probably isn't immediately aware that he'll soon be dead.

Several feet away, the body of Five topples, at last, to the ground. It seems to get Three's attention, because he pauses, makes a single grunt of confusion, and then drops to his knees. Life quickly flees his body as blood runs down the guard and handle of the sword resting inside him.

His killer has no time to sit and appreciate her work, however. The moment assailant number Three started to fall, she took a step behind him onto a patch of already-flattened snow, and raised her arm, hand shooting up into the air as if begging to be called upon. Rather than catching a teacher's attention, she catches the gun that comes quietly whirling down out of the night, handle-first. Again, something nags at her mind, but it's still not very important.

It looks like a good trick in movies, but the truth of the matter is that one would have to somehow judge the right angle and the right time at which to throw it, calculate likely courses of action; both one's own and that of all opponents one was facing, how to effectively deal with them, determine where one would be after all was said and done as well as keep track of elapsed time, and then re-factor all of that yet again into the force, direction, and angle of the toss. All while in the midst of combat, and in the space of a few seconds.

It is absurdly difficult to pull off, and most regard it as an impossible luxury that exists purely for the sake of dramatic timing and offers extremely little benefit for the effort involved.

However, one does not get chosen to be the personal pet of the Lunar Emissaries and the apprentice of the Genius of the Moon simply because of one's sex appeal. Such a useless individual would never be selected for such a powerful position. Not by a long shot.

Twisting her body around, she spins about while falling into a crouch. Sticking out two fingers, she inserts them into the holes in the center of the shuriken lodged in her gun, and yanks them out. Then, with the force of the spin aiding her, and her crouched position offering stability and a lower profile, she slings the two throwing stars directly over the body of Three, just as his face impacts the ground.

Six lets out a surprised gurgle, falters slightly, and gets his eyes crossed trying to look at the sharp, pointed bit of metal buried in his forehead. And there's that warm, burning pain in his throat, and it feels like there's something there, too...

And then there are no more thoughts as he joins his companions in death, slumping over gracelessly onto his side.

The rabbit woman stays absolutely still for a full second; an eternity against opponents like these. And then, out of the moonlit night air, there is the barest, faintest hint of sound, only barely audible even to her own impressive hearing—

Without looking, her arm whirls back behind her, gun pointing at the stealthily advancing Four, all but forgotten in the last few hectic moments. He freezes in shock, unable to believe that he'd been noticed. And now it was all over.

She smirks, and squeezes the trigger.



CLICK



...Her smirk disappears.

That little nagging worry finally has worked up the courage to come to the forefront of her mind, where it nervously informs her in sort of an embarrassed tone, that she'd been out of ammo ever since putting the final shot into Three.

["Fuck!"]

She spits out a curse, tosses the gun aside, and flings herself out of harm's way. And harm does indeed come her way, with swift and unforgiving strokes: Four, having made a good guess about what that sound signified, immediately began to press the attack. His sword makes no noise as it clears his sheath with lightning speed, and only the softest of whooshing sounds mark its passage through the space where the rabbit woman was standing but a moment before.

The woman in gold, thrown off her game by the most obvious of errors, curses herself relentlessly as she hops backward, dodging each rapid strike of the blade. The tengu is in his element, finally; able to put his race's speed to extremely effective use. She's only just barely avoiding each swing and thrust, staying mere inches ahead of them. It won't last forever, she knows, and any maneuver she makes has to be perfectly executed, or else he'll simply close the distance to wherever she moves and cut her apart.

But what can she do? She's weaponless, on the defensive, on the retreat, in unfamiliar territory, without a single means of offense at hand...

...Ah.

At hand?

Well, that's been available to her the moment she broke out of prison, hasn't it? They took measures to prevent it there, and she hadn't considered it even after returning to the familiar remnants of the formerly sealed land, where it had been the standard for so long...

The flat, unemotional face of calculation and concentration turns into a wild look of confidence. She dodges left, low, feints to the right, and the moment he swings wide, she does a backflip that turns into a somersault. Tucking herself into a ball, she rolls backwards, and comes up in a crouch, arms extended, hands clasped together, index finger and thumb extended in a gesture that comes more naturally than natural to her, pointed right at the black-clothed figure of Four bearing down on her, sword already descending to remove her head.

She grins.

["Bang."]

A brilliant red flash of light illuminates the clearing as a large, bullet-shaped blast of danmaku slams into the tengu, blowing him back several yards, and leaving a steaming trough through the snow in its wake. With the amount of juice she put into that, he won't be moving for a long, long time.

She sits there, still in the firing position, and finally allows herself to relax. Letting out a quiet sigh, she drops her hands and stands up, a little unsteadily at first. Cracking her neck slightly, she lets her gaze idly wander over the place.

Movement in the distance catches her eye, and she snaps to attention, focusing on this new threat. Reinforcements?

...But after a moment, she sags in relief, and giggles slightly. It's just One and Two, still swaying, stumbling, and moaning in distress. With a thought, she changes the wavelength of their madness, and watches them stiffen, twitch violently, and fall over. By the time those two can present a threat once more, she and the man will be long gone.

As she surveys the now-silent clearing, she feels the satisfaction of a job well done. Should have kept better track of the ammunition, but aside from that slip-up...

She nods happily, collects her weapons, and goes to wipe off the blood spattered on her golden prisoner's uniform.
>> No. 126206
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126206
Once she's suitably clean and re-armed— making sure that the Fox-Eater is fully loaded, this time —she slaps the man awake.

"Hey."

Whack.

"Hey, jackass. Wake up."

Whack.

It would normally seem unkind, ungrateful, and uncharacteristic of her to be that cold with him, but she doesn't have any malice behind the words. It's more like an insult that becomes a friendly, casual greeting between friends, robbed of all ill meaning by frequent use.

Well... there might be a little irritation in it. But at that moment, most of her anger has dissipated after being vented upon the tengu lying here and there about the clearing.

Off in the distance, there's a soft rustling noise and a thump, as snow finally falls off the branches of a tree, and lands on the ground.

"C'moooon."

Whack.

"...Hwrnggh."

"Morning, darling." She says it matter-of-factly, without sweetness, but also without unpleasantness. It still seems wrong for her smile. Or their location.

"...M' jaw hurts," he mumbles, accusation and grogginess mixing together.

She pats him on the shoulder. "It's not broken or dislocated; you'll get over it. Let's go." Saying this, she helps him to his feet.

He blinks, and shakes the dizziness out of his head. His mouth begins to form a reply, but stops as something else occurs to him, and he looks around in a panic.

"Wait, shit! The tengu! We have to go, they'll take us back to..." He trails off as he spots the unmoving forms in black here and there, and the darkly-stained snow around some of them.

"...Jesus." he finishes, uttering this in a tone of fear and awe. He turns back to face her. "You did this? ...How long was I out?"

She thinks for a moment, and then shrugs. "...I'd say it's been about six or seven minutes? If that. It all seemed a lot quicker when it was happening. Probably wasn't that long. But yeah, it was me. You were out cold, after all, so I had to cover for you." Her ears bob slightly as she bounces on her feet, trying not to look smug, and failing.

He nods slowly, and makes a note to never get in a fight with her. Although if threatening her life only results in being decked where he stands...

"Oh, right."

To her confusion, he slips off his coat, and sets it down. She picks it up before he can, and holds onto it instead. Underneath, he wears the bomb-vest that had been instrumental in both her release and her ire. Unfastening a number of clips and buckles, he wriggles free of the whole mess of straps, pouches, and wires, letting it fall to the ground.

"...You're just going to leave that here?" she asks, raising an eyebrow as she returns his coat.

The man chuckles as he slips back into the warm, heavy coat once more. "Why not? I don't think it'll be a problem."

"It just seems that leaving a few dozen kilos of explosives around for the tengu to snatch up would be... Stupid, honestly." The rabbit woman still eyes the mass of packages and wires warily.

"Oh, it's no problem. There was never any explosive material in that to begin with. Besides, it's weighing me down a hell of a lot now that we're back in normal gravity."

"What."

"...'Normal gravity'?"

"Before that."

"...'Never any explosive material in that'?"

She folds her arms and gives him a glare that could kill. "Kindly elaborate."

"I packed them with brown sugar; the clumpy kind so it'd stay together and pack more densely. There isn't much sand lying around in Gensokyo, and besides, sand or dirt would have been too fine. If it leaked out at some point, it'd have given me away."

"...There were never any bombs or explosives?" A raised eyebrow again, but this time, it's one of skepticism.

"Nope. Well, aside from the grenades, but I used those up when I was breaking in."

"You gambled on my life with a vest full of brown fucking sugar."

He has the courage to look a little irritated at this, in the face of her cross tone, demeanor, posture, and... well, everything.

"I thought it'd look convincing enough, weigh about right, and I treated the packets to fool any chemical sensors. And besides, I thought you were angry that I'd put your life in danger. Which is it?"

That crimson glare, overshadowed by lavender locks, does not let up for several moments.

At length, her anger fades away again, and she throws up her hands. "...All right, fine. It worked out in the end, and didn't go terribly wrong." She sighs, and then frowns. "You could've told me, though."

"Would you have looked half as convincing if you'd known the truth?"

Another short silence.

"I'll get you back for this someday, you know," she says, finally.

He grins. "I don't doubt it for a minute."

She strides past him, out of the clearing, and towards the old path that leads down from the shrine to the base of the mountain. "Where are we headed, now? ...And if you say 'Back to where it all began,' I'm going to hit you."

"...Back to where it all ended, actually," he replies.

She pauses, and her eyes wander out into the dark. During what passed for daytime —and probably was actual daytime, here on the mountain— this place would have a fantastic view of the land beyond and below. She focuses on another, smaller range of mountains that she knows lie many, many miles in that direction.

"The shrine, huh..."

He nods. "Right around there."

They both stare at the darkness for a few moments more before another load of snow slides off distant tree branches, and floompfs to the ground, breaking the silence.

Together, they leave the mountain.

________________________________________________________________________________

Just finished Ever17 recently, and I've got to say, I feel good. It was so worth it to go through all four prerequisite routes just to punch causality and grim fate in the motherfucking face.

Kikokugai time next! Magically, I predict that this will be one hell of a lot less happy.
Edit: Aaaaand it begins right off the bat with good old-fashioned rape. Literally, the very first thing. Classy. Still, I'm quite liking it so far. Beginning my FUCK YOU JAST rage a little early, in fact.
Related: Does all Nitro+ music have that... despondent is the word, I guess-- sort of feel to it? ...Makes me think a lot of the music that played in Tristram in Diablo 1.

>Reisen's gun
"But wait, didn't that gun get taken away earlier? How'd she get it back?" You might as well ask how Luke got a hold of Obi-Wan's lightsaber after they just left his stuff lying there. ...No, the man probably got it back from the guards while they were waiting (on the logic of "Hey, I don't NEED a gun to take you all out, so just give it back."). But if anyone knows the lightsaber thing, feel free to share. That's bugged me for ages.

>>125854
I think that just about construes an apology, so consider it accepted.

For me, Hina's appeal comes straight from Tetrominon's rendition of her in YMLA (plus a well-chosen picture) combined with finding intelligence and refinement/elegance/etc. in women to be attractive. Vodka also helped nurture it with the then-growing focus on Hina in SHaG. Also I really just like her design and appearance, though my appreciation for that was no doubt spurred on even further by the the people just mentioned.
>> No. 126208
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126208
About one or two more updates left, so you all know.
>> No. 126244
File 128799107036.png - (6.51KB , 200x200 , no clever caption.png ) [iqdb]
126244
A little late, but:

Lightsaber issue cleared up. Even before I posted it, actually; I just forgot to remove it.
>> No. 126788
File 128840875091.jpg - (130.14KB , 750x1000 , hell`s chance in a snowball.jpg ) [iqdb]
126788
The journey is a long one, although the going is surprisingly easy, from a technical standpoint. The terrain is simple enough to navigate once they reach the bottom of the mountain, and set across the relatively flat expanse between the two ranges.

It's a little sad for the woman, seeing the wondrous land she had come to call home being blanketed by this semi-permanent winter. All the old comforts, the familiar terrain, scenery; almost nothing was spared the touch of snowfall. The sadness is light compared to what it might have been, however, due to her long stay in prison. She had seen the land collapsing, and chosen to return to the moon, rather than continue to watch its descent into ruin. At least this way, she had been spared the worst of it.

And besides, there was something else to keep her occupied. Namely, the promise of a new home, somewhere to start anew with someone very close to her. This thought makes the journey feel like something much more positive in her mind, something greater and better. So in this way, she is able to remain upbeat, despite the slow pace.

There are occasional accidents caused by the snow deceptively covering the land in certain ways, but nothing major. The interruptions are relatively few in number, as well: only one or two minor attacks from feral youkai which were easily fended off by the both of them.

Only two things make the journey slower than it would have been in the days before the collapse of the Barrier. The first is the snow covering the area, which reduces both familiarity with the landscape and traveling speed. They stick to already-trodden animal paths, or areas where the snow has fallen lighter.

The other thing is the cold and the wet brought on by constant travel through the snow. Oftentimes, they go out of their way in order to find some still-standing structure or natural shelter to sleep in. Other times, they have no such option, and must make do with what is available to them, and construct something workable.

As the man had done for years now, they sleep during the day and travel at night, sparing themselves from sleeping in shifts so as to keep watch. The woman is a light sleeper as well, and her hearing alerts them on the few occasions that something does pass nearby.

During one such time when they found no suitable preexisting shelter, they assemble a sort of wooden tent, positioning and bending branches into a rough dome shape. Afterwards, they cover it with smaller and bushier branches to provide some means of actual cover. It isn't perfect, but it will suffice.

The man and the woman share a sleeping bag at night. Every night, actually. It isn't the first time they've done so, after all, and it's done not only out of necessity, but closeness, intimacy, and peace of mind as well. Nothing overly physical occurs, however; they're both aware they don't have the time to spare for that at the moment.

"More importantly," she mused thoughtfully during breakfast, a few days in, "the noise would be a problem."

The man's fork stops halfway to his mouth and does not move for several seconds. When it resumes its course, his face is red.

"I get loud," she explains helpfully, after a moment.

This time, he almost chokes on his meal. The woman laughs long and hard.

Teasing and suggestions aside, they always spend the daylight hours that way: arms wrapped around one another, bodies nestled close together in the sleeping bag, heads resting atop a pillow fashioned out of their bundled-up clothing, they doze off to sleep in the dull grey daylight amidst the snowy remains of the sealed land.
>> No. 126789
File 128840882420.jpg - (161.29KB , 680x452 , the earth has not swallowed me yet.jpg ) [iqdb]
126789
After about a week, they reach the cave.

When they began taking the familiar path that led to the shrine, she notes that the youkai activity in the area had fallen to almost nothing. He nodded at this, face looking a little sad.

"Nobody comes around here anymore. I know you must have been around when tensions were getting pretty high, so I wouldn't blame you for expecting that they'd trash the place once they'd... overpowered her." The man's tone goes somewhat hollow, for he still feels the guilt arising from the consequences of his abduction of the miko. "They did, at first. Not for very long, because the Barrier went down pretty soon afterwards. And after they'd had their fun with the rest of the world and came back, they were in pretty high spirits."

He's silent for a minute. "...But?" she prompts.

"But then the snow started falling. And falling. And falls even now." With a bitter smirk, he gestures at the gently falling flakes around them. It's comparatively light, but it illustrates his point all the same. "No idea why it does, or what caused it. Maybe some panicking scientists started thinking too much about a youkai of climate change?" He laughs, again in that hollow tone. "There's a few other theories, but they're all ridiculous, and nobody knows why. Besides, there's not many people left to do much wondering. ...Anyway, after a few years of this, I think the youkai that came back started to question themselves. Not much, and not enough to bother them too much. But nobody's gone near the shrine since the collapse."

Nothing but the nearly-not-a-sound of falling snow fills the air for several minutes as the two trudge along the forest path.

"...Maybe it's like a haunted house," says the woman after a while. "They were all so scared of her back then. Almost everybody was, in their own way. But even though they're all so powerful now, I think they grew up too fast. Somewhere back in their minds, they're still afraid of the miko. You know? 'I know she's gone and all, but maybe we'd better not go around there, just in case.' Something like that."

The man 'Hmmm's thoughtfully but says nothing further in reply.

An hour or so later, when they're fairly close to the shrine, he motions for her to follow him off the path, suddenly. They plunge into the snowy underbrush lining the path, which makes for rather slow going for a while until it slowly thins out, leaving just the forest covered in white, and the gentle slopes of the land.

Gentle slopes give way to less-gentle ones, and then to foothills as they start into the mountains behind the shrine. They continue along the hilly terrain for a while longer until they come smack up alongside a rather steep cliff. He flashes her a grin as they come upon it. "There we go! Only about ten minutes' walk from here."

She's more than a little curious about this place to live he's found, and tries to recall his words from back then. They aren't coming immediately to mind, although something faintly, faintly nags at her mind. None of this seems familiar, and she's never been here before, but something she'd heard at one point, maybe? Try as she might, she can't recall what it is that's nagging at her. It must be something tangential to this that somehow seems relevant.

Sure enough, however, nine and a half minutes later, they come upon a cave. Old seals and shimenawa are placed around the entrance, but they are old and faded. Clearly, they'd fallen victim to the elements after the seal was broken. And yet, there's no sense of malevolent energy around the place. If anything, it seems like it's still being kept hidden: The entrance was at a weird angle, and hidden from view in such a way that you would not even know it was there until you were right on top of it.

They hop down into the mouth of the cave, and wander in. He pulls a flashlight out of his pack, and clicks it on. Without a word spoken between them, their hands find each other at the same time, eliciting a smile from them both. So together, hand-in-hand, they walk down through the dark, chilly cave.

It's mostly level ground, surprisingly. Almost, thinks the woman, as if it were a path. Perhaps it leads to the Underground City that she'd heard about? It didn't quite match up with the stories she'd been told of that area, though. Something just seemed off about that hypothesis, although on the surface, it seemed like a reasonable idea.

The man had left the flashlight on as they descended the gently sloping path. There was no need to worry about battery life— the Lunarian power cells he'd wired up to it would let it shine brightly even if he left it switched on for days on end —and there was no real worry about it ruining night vision. After all, for night vision to work, there had to be some form of weak background light coming in. Such was not the case here, as the cave was pitch-black without anything to illuminate it.

About half a mile in, he clicked it off. It surprises her for a moment, and she's about to ask why when she sees that not all the light went away after he'd extinguished it. Up ahead, faint illumination a ways off revealed the shape of a curve in the tunnel.

After they round the curve, the growing light reveals a twisty series of turns and paths. He puts the flashlight away, and motions to the ground. "Ground's going to get a little more rough from here on, but the lighting will be better," he tells her. "They started from the opposite end when they were trying to improve the road, which seems really backwards, but I gather that wasn't the only screwy thing about this doomed venture back then."

"...They?" she asks.

"The place we're headed," he responds. Waving his free hand as he sees something up ahead, he adds, "Ah, here's customs."

Just ahead, the cave opens up onto a wide chamber, where the illumination seems to come from glowing crystals set in little brackets set here and there. A little ways beyond the chamber, she can see that they line the tunnel at regular intervals, about every 100 feet or so. The crystals don't flicker or waver like candles, but provide solid, steady light as though from a just-slightly dim incandescent bulb.

The woman would wonder further on that, but it's the little shack and the striped crossing guard barring further travel beyond the path that has her attention at the moment.

thock

Something flits across her field of vision, moving from the left about 20 feet ahead, and makes a solid sound of impact on the rightmost wall of the chamber. Instantly going alert, she lets go of the man's hand, pushes him behind her, draws the Fox-Eater from its holster, and goes into a half-crouch, scanning the area.

On the left, near the shack, a bored-looking with hair similar to hers, but a couple shades too pink to be the same sits reclined in a chair, by the wall next to a folding card table. Feet clad in simple red shoes are kicked up on a stool that's tilted back a little. This position reveals her otherwise bare legs as the long red skirt she's wearing has fallen back a little. She doesn't wear any sort of uniform, merely a shirt— also red —and long, dark fingerless gloves. One hand holds a dart up in front of her, ready to throw, squinting as she sights along it to a dartboard on the end of the chamber opposite her.

Anyone else might have written her off as an inattentive watchman keeping herself entertained out in the middle of nowhere, too used to there rarely, if ever, being anyone coming through here to bother with noticing new arrivals. The rabbit woman knows better.

The gatekeeper's limbs are muscular— not grotesquely so, but she clearly works out to keep that form —while still being attractively lean, and her posture seems almost too relaxed. There is a tension in her body like that of a trap waiting to spring shut. Her left hand, the one not holding the dart, is out of sight, probably ready to activate some kind of defensive measure. Her eyes, while appearing to gauge the next dart toss, have flicked off to the side where they stand a few times, and the card table next to her holds several more darts, a pair of throwing knives, a combat knife, and a hatchet, all within easy reach.

"Hold oooon..." she says, focusing on the dart in hand. "Let me juuuust..." Her voice trails off, and her right hand snaps forward, launching the dart across the chamber, where it lands—

thock

—in the second ring out from the center. She frowns, then picks herself up out of the chair, and regards the newcomers for the first time. "You can put away the gun, lady. You're with him, you're fi—" Her bored drawl is cut short as a light goes on behind her eyes. "Oh! You're with him? Right, just wait here a second!" The woman in red darts into her shack.

The rabbit woman looks perplexed for a moment, before easing up, and returning to a standing position. Holstering her gun, she gives him an odd look. "...You famous down here, too?"

He seems just as confused. "I didn't think I was, but—"

The woman in red bursts out of the shack carrying what seems like a large, thin square cabinet. She looks around for somewhere to set it down, but there's only one spot: namely, the card table occupied by various bits of weaponry. Unperturbed, she shifts the cabinet to one arm, while picking up every weapon there in the other hand. Clutching all the darts, knives, and even the hatchet in one complicated looking handful, she hauls back, and hurls the entire mess at the dartboard. It rattles under the sudden assault, as every last item finds a mark on the painted wooden disc. She pauses for a moment, shielding her eyes with one hand and peering at it, then nods, and makes an appreciative grunt. "Better than last week's," she mutters in a pleased sort of tone as she sets the cabinet down onto the table.

She opens it up to reveal a large number of what appear to be necklaces on hooks, each with a little nameplate by them. The woman in red peers at the man's companion, then looks back through the rows of nameplates, mumbling quietly to herself. "...Rabbit... rabbit, rabbit, rabbit... know it's in here somewhere. Not oni... not vampire... not— dammit, did she take the last of the ghost ones? Got off lucky, I guess. ...Rabbit, rabbit... c'mon, where are y— Ah!"

With a cry of triumph, she snatches at one necklace, then freezes. She looks up at the rabbit woman, frowns, looks back down, frowns harder, and looks up again, squinting.

"...Earth rabbit or Lunarian?"

"Lunarian," replies the lavender-haired woman, after glancing at the man.

"Oh. You'll want this one, then." The woman in red pulls her hand away from the hook full of necklaces she had been reaching for, and pulls one from a hook just next to it. "Wear it at all times past the gate until you get a permanent seal on, like this big boy here." She winks, and slaps the man good-naturedly on the shoulder. He winces slightly, but smiles. "And I do mean at all times. Think of it like a passport that keeps you from rotting and choking to death or something else freaky."

She slaps closed the cabinet, and sticks out her hand cheerfully. "Other than that, welcome to our lovely little world. It's seen better days, but hopefully it'll see some more soon."

The rabbit shakes her hand, after slipping on the necklace. The man has a few words with the woman in red, to which she shrugs, and mutters something back. After that, the woman in red lets them on through, lifting the striped crossing gate out of their way.

After she watches them go, the gatekeeper lowers the gate, humming a little tune to herself. Afterwards, she takes out a little notebook, jots something down in one section, turns several pages, makes a few more notes, then closes it and puts it away. After carrying the cabinet back inside, she, goes over to the dartboard, and removes all the projectiles stuck in it, brings them back over to the card table, and lays them out once more. Hopping back into her chair, she kicks back, resting her feet on the stool again, and picks up another dart, sighting down its length.

"Bullseye."
>> No. 126790
File 128840891370.jpg - (323.29KB , 1782x1188 , The low road.jpg ) [iqdb]
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The red-eyed woman in gold fingers the tip of one of her ears as she quietly examines the necklace. She'd been quiet for several minutes now as they walked on.

Just as he'd said, the tunnel path began to get more rough and uneven. The lighting has continued all the way down ever since the wide chamber. It feels a little friendlier, that way.

The woman has been thinking.

She has been thinking about what the woman back there said about the necklace.

She has been thinking about the old seals placed at the entrance to the cave.

She has been thinking about the how this path does not seem to lead to the Underground City.

She has been thinking about that newer nagging feeling about their destination.

And she has also been thinking about...

"...You said this involved a deal with the devil, back then."

He glances over at her. They're holding hands again as they walk through a turn in the tunnel. There's a slightly warm breeze coming from up ahead. It comes as a welcome change from the chill air of the world above—

That is, she figures, if it's really above them anymore at all.

"Not literally," he replies. She can hear it now, that slightly guarded tone in his voice. Back then, she must have just written it off as a joke, or something. She doesn't quite remember, since they were busy trying to get the hell out of the prison, back then.

She looks up, meeting his eyes suddenly. Her gaze is quite serious.

"How 'not literally'?"

He is saved having to reply by the sudden appearance of the city, around the corner.
>> No. 126791
File 128840902226.jpg - (15.22KB , 300x225 , the city of nights.jpg ) [iqdb]
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As they round the turn in the cave, they come upon its exit at last, and the land it overlooks.

A carpet of darkness stretches out below them. Not blackness, but almost: it's actually a deep, dark red, with most of the light removed, making it seem black. Lights dot the darkness, here, there, and all over. One would think it looked like any human city at night, back in the days before the collapse, but none of the lights are clustered so close together, or so regularly. There is nothing like a city center, either, save for the palace of crystal, visible some ways off. Even from here, it is clearly cracked and broken, having seen better days.

The sun is just now coming up over the horizon, giving the sky a deep orange-red hue, almost like a sunset back home.

The man and the rabbit woman stand on the ledge just outside of the cave through which they'd been walking, captivated by the sight. The woman takes it all in, and looks down at the necklace she's wearing.

She's beginning to put it all together.

"What do you think?"

She turns to the man. He asked the question in a part-casual, part-confident tone, but she can see a slight bit of nervousness in his demeanor, even though he tries to hide it. Somehow, she can tell it's the nervousness and worry of a boy presenting a gift to a girl he's sweet on, not the subdued panic of one selling out his comrades.

That's what she wants to believe, anyway.

Letting go of the necklace, she gives him a mysterious look, and takes his hand. "We'll see," she tells him, and then gestures with a nod of her head to the path leading down from the ledge. "Shall we?"

Flustered, still worried, and a little confused, he nods, and they continue their trek through this new land.

The path is cut into the side of a huge cliff, which itself is part of a small mountain. It appears to lead down and down along the mountain for a long while before switching back and continuing to descend. As they make their way down, the sun continues to slowly rise, further illuminating the city below.

The early light reveals that once upon a time, the city must have been much, much larger, and much more prosperous. Signs of extensive damage from years long past still mar the land and the structures that once covered it. Remnants of blackened, burnt houses and fallen buildings are all over.

She is beginning to have second thoughts, but they are interrupted by the appearance of gold and silver.

At one of the switchbacks is a tiny little field of blue-toned grass, and dotted with bright green flowers. A huge boulder sits next to the turn in the road, and sitting next to the boulder is yet another woman in red. Rather than a more casual outfit like that of the guard at the crossing, this one sits in much more dignified position, although she, too, is relaxing. There is a quiet smile on her face that radiates a measure of motherly warmth as she watches the sun slowly rise. Her hair is long, and flows down her back, its color a calm, even silver-grey; it's almost similar to that of the Doctor's silver locks, albeit unbraided.

And the Doctor never would have tied off a lock and let it hang to the side, as this woman has done.



and everything begins to slowly click into place in the rabbit woman's head



Next to her stands a slightly tall woman, quiet, unmoving, and steady. As seems to be popular in this place, notes the rabbit woman, this other lady is also dressed in red. However, it's a shorter skirt, much of it is covered by an apron, the effect as a whole is offset by her wavy blonde hair, and atop her head is a frilly little headband. And she was glaring.

"...it's like the reverse of that vampire's maid," murmurs the rabbit woman, bemused by the appearance of something unexpected. Probably not the last strange sight she'd see here, either.

"Try not to look threatening," he says very quietly. "That one's a little jum—"

"Oh my, you actually made it!"

The silver-haired woman had looked up just then, and with a cry of surprise and delight, she came bounding out of her chair to meet the man and the woman. Her smile is wide and bright as she runs up to them and clasps the man's free hand in her own.

"Was it difficult? Oh, but it must have been! You'll have to tell me all about it later..." She seems to notice the lavender-haired woman holding his hand, and her eyes light up even more as a little blush rises to the enthusiastic woman's cheeks. The dark wings with curly, twisted red lines glowing in them that protrude from her back begin to call attention to themselves as the smallest, uppermost set begin to begin to flutter rapidly.

"And this must be the girl of whom you spoke," she continues in an excited voice, looking her up and down. "...I can see why you did this all for her."

It is at that point that the rabbit woman finally speaks up. "Who are you, and where is this? Can you tell me what's going on, now? I think you're more than overdue for an explanation." She's a little exasperated and a lot of confused, although more and more things are beginning to make sense. She already has a few ideas of what's happening, but she just wants to make sure.

The silver-haired woman's sidetail swishes as she turns to look at the man in surprise, then begins scolding him. "You didn't tell her? For shame! This isn't the time to be clever, young man! You have to let a girl know these sorts of things! Cryptic answers aren't how we do things around here." She flicks him on the forehead, and then turns to the rabbit woman again with an apologetic expression. "I hope he didn't mislead you too much, dear. This is the Demon Realm of Makai, and I am its goddess... though I'm afraid it's not quite so amazing and terrible a place these days as it once was."

Her eyes turn sad for a minute, and the little wings seems to slow, and droop.

In reply, the rabbit woman can only manage: "...Oh."

Followed by: "...I've heard of you. A little."

The woman in red gives her a smile, and takes the golden-clothed woman's hand in hers, as she had for the man. "Well, it's good to see they still spoke of me back then... I gather there aren't many people to do much speaking in the other world though, nowadays." Receiving a nod in reply, she goes on: "Your charming young man here came to me some time ago, and told me he was seeking a new life in a new world, somewhere apart from the empty ball of ice you've come from."

Her eyes take on a dark, troubled sort of look for a moment. "After he told me his story, I was more than willing to grant him asylum here. I have endless sympathy for those who have been wronged or crossed by the Golden Sunshower and her pawns." Her gaze wanders off in the direction of the city— her city —for a moment before turning back to the rabbit woman. "He told me, however, that before he settled down, there was somebody he wanted to bring here." She gives the man a little smile. "Somebody dear to him."

Squeezing the lavender-haired woman's hand slightly, she gives her a smile, and steps back to take in the sight of the two of them together, holding hands. "...Seeing you now, I think he did the right thing. You are both hereby my honored guests for so long as you choose to live here. You will be under my protection, and not a hand shall be lifted against you. I hope you will find happiness and long life here."

With a final smile, she and her grim-looking maid— whose face had smoothed over into neutrality, which was practically bursting with welcome and good cheer, for her —bow to the two newcomers, and take flight, leaving them alone on the road.

________________________________________________________________________________
>> No. 126793
File 128840942121.jpg - (324.94KB , 800x650 , forever and always.jpg ) [iqdb]
126793
They stand there and watch the pair fly off in the slowly-brightening morning, before turning to look at one another. Not a word is exchanged as they just sort of gaze at the other. The man breaks eye contact first, looking somewhat embarrassed. His words come out a little haltingly.

"So, um... what do you think? Are you ...okay with it, I guess?"

She doesn't immediately respond, and instead looks back over at the vista below, where the light of dawn has illuminated the landscape below a little more. She notices, with a bit of surprise, the shining forests both in the distance, across the land, and clustered at the base of the mountain. And down in the city, she sees, are what must unmistakably be cleanup operations by some of the more notable areas of destruction, and the frames and foundations of new ones being built, all over.

She closes her eyes for a moment, and breathes in deeply. There's a certain richness to the air, a sort of ambient background power.

It's life.

Life, growing anew amidst the wreckage of the past. Determined to stay where it is, and to bring something good and whole to that which had been blackened and destroyed before.

This was a land of demons, yes, but they cared as much for their world as anyone else. That much was evident.

"Definitely," she says, and gives him a warm smile.

They embrace on that quiet road, holding each other close and tight.

"...I love you, you know," he tells her, softly.

She giggles quietly, and nods. "I love you, too." Pulling back slightly, she gives him a strange sort of look. "...You know, I don't think you ever actually came out and said that until now."

He looks surprised. "...I didn't?"

"I don't think so. But even if you didn't, I think I'd have figured that out. The prison breakout was a bit of a hint." She snickers a little, and kisses him. "...I don't think I ever thanked you for that, either. I guess we're both terrible and ungrateful people."

He finally grins at that. "Well... we've got a new life ahead of us to make up for these grave injustices. How does that sound?"

"I couldn't imagine anything better."

There's a long silence.

"...Together?"

"Together."




-Together-
>> No. 126794
File 128840945632.jpg - (181.48KB , 440x337 , So many ways to say.jpg ) [iqdb]
126794
>> No. 126795
File 128840964580.jpg - (397.14KB , 900x900 , The perfect balance.jpg ) [iqdb]
126795
This is for you, Kira.

This is for everyone else, too, but this first and foremost for you. I have made good on my word, and feel proud to have done so. Doing nothing just wasn't an option.

Thank you for everything you did for us. This site would not be what it is today, good things and bad things alike, if not for you. No matter the details, I thank you for all the heartache and all the good times.

We'll miss you.

Rest in peace, friend.
>> No. 126797
File 128840985853.jpg - (883.34KB , 1500x1500 , guided by the river.jpg ) [iqdb]
126797
I hope you've all enjoyed, or at least tolerated this. I liked writing it, but I'm not happy about the reason that I needed to write it.

I'm open to any questions or comments or whatevers. And before you ask, I'll be getting back to writing Resentment soon enough. I apologize for this taking a bit longer than the originally-projected "a few weeks."
>> No. 126801
Pretty good story.
>> No. 126802
I enjoyed it.

Nice job Fell
>> No. 126810
...I'm smiling like some kind of idiot right now you can't even imagine.

I'm smiling and at the same time I feel like I'm about to cry.
>> No. 126823
File 128842889068.jpg - (41.91KB , 450x600 , carrot huge.jpg ) [iqdb]
126823
I teared up.
>> No. 126826
Thank you Fell.
>> No. 126848
I always hated post-apocalypse stories. A phenomenal story could be ruined by the rust and dust of a dead world. But with this...

...ok, with this it still lost some serious points in my book and made me hate snow end even more, but The Dragon showing up and plot-devicing everything back to normal would be beyond stupid, so I can't complain, but...what was I talking about?

Right. Still a satisfying ending to a good story. Good job, Fell.

>spoiler
Damn right you will.
>> No. 126849
Perfect. A happy end at last!
>> No. 126871
>>122618
Don't suppose I can get a name?

And I loved the story, Fell. Bravo.
>> No. 126872
It's over? It's over! I can finally read it!
>> No. 126898
Despite initial misgivings, I'm very glad I decided to read this in full.

I guess Reimu didn't kill Alice's mom after all.
>> No. 126900
So...
Anyone want to write a sequel?
>> No. 126928
>>126900

Are you NUTS!
>> No. 126933
File 128855319840.jpg - (205.12KB , 850x850 , sample-149b4d43437cbf27310891c636ab0a76.jpg ) [iqdb]
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>>126928
YES!
>> No. 127010
>>126900
No.

If I could even come close to Ran's awesomeness, I'd consider writing an end for Retrospective and Astronomical Narration. But I have no idea how that'd go, and I wouldn't be able to do that story justice.
>> No. 127012
>>127010

The story was far from over when it stopped. How about instead of writing an ending, take a side character and write something from their point of view? Like a day in the life of Letty, Youmu, or Meiling.
>> No. 127016
>>127012
That would be the other problem with it.

But I couldn't write slice, either, for about the same reason I couldn't even begin to write a conclusion, most notably that I don't know enough behind-the-scenes stuff (which there was a ton of) or personal history.
>> No. 127042
Retrospective and Astronomical Narration

Grrrrr it taunts me. Its supposedly the best story ever written here...and I cant read it.

God damn drama why do you ruin all good things.
>> No. 127044
>>127042
See >>/gensokyo/5556. I wish I knew what was going through Blankfag's head; anyone with half a brain knows you can't remove anything this good from the Internet permanently.
>> No. 127048
Drama, it is the brain killer.
(well politics is almost as bad, but then again thats just formalized drama)
>> No. 127074
>>127044
I don't think he really thought that he could remove it personally. He's smarter than that. I do, however, know that he well and truly hates this place. Perhaps making it more difficult is simply a last act of rebellion, like spitting on your attacker's shoes when you lay awaiting death.

I'd prefer, though, that we move on from this subject.
>> No. 127116
>I do, however, know that he well and truly hates this place. Perhaps making it more difficult is simply a last act of rebellion, like spitting on your attacker's shoes when you lay awaiting death.

So what the fuck happened? There was minimal faggotry in the threads themselves.

>>I'd prefer, though, that we move on from this subject.

Sorry..but I guess not sorry enough.
>> No. 127121
>>127116

He had serious mental issues in real life. YAF's faggotry really got to him.
>> No. 127123
>> YAF's faggotry

*sigh* that doesn't surprise me that much.
>> No. 127137
>>127123
I's pretty pointless to blame YAF for ranmilias leaving, not only was YAFs faggotry pretty minimal, it was definitely within the confines of what anybody using the internet should not only be able to tolerate, but be used to already.
>> No. 127142
>>127137

I agree that YAF's bullshit should have been tolerable, but as I said, Ran was a bit screwy.
>> No. 127156
>>127044
Before I read it, what was the general premise?


And regarding this story, I really don't have any questions to this end, I would ask if he ever met Cirno and the others again, but I doubt it.
>> No. 127162
File 128870188448.jpg - (199.55KB , 900x1200 , Hina - ide.jpg ) [iqdb]
127162
>>126898
Of course not. Shinki was just lying low, and Alice was playing along so Reimu didn't storm back and finish the job. Alice eventually returned to Makai after things got too hairy on Earth, anyway.

>>127156
It's set in a sort of modern day Gensokyo, in a city. A fairy who really, really, really resembles Cirno works for the Saigyouji family Mafia while political unrest slowly begins to build.

Or something.

Also, motherfucking Gun Kata.

Thank you for being the first person to actually ask a question. I'm honestly quite surprised that there haven't been more. And he might have seen those three again. That's what he was talking about with Sara before they left, special permission for them in case they followed behind, one day in the future.

>>127137
Until you learn how to type a sentence that doesn't look as though someone was chasing you with an axe while you wrote it, stop goddammit posting. It hurts to read, and this isn't the first time you've slopped such a post onto the boards.

>>127142
Not really. I was pretty sick of it, too.