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> The Schoolkids Saga : The Nature Of The Game, Minor Characters Need Love Too!
Philweasel
Posted: Feb 3 2006, 02:36 PM
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The Schoolkids Saga : The Nature Of The Game
Minor Characters Need Love Too.

With Ping and Aiko both hotly pursued and such a powerful warrior as Jumpei protecting the class it is all too tempting to draw their enemies to them and beat them once and for all. But is Junko really willing to so shamelessly use two members of the class as bait in such a risky plan and indeed, what predators will this bait reel in?

With such foes as Kusanagi and Edna backing up the Sony Side and Haruki Agano and his thugs intent on retrieving Ping by any means necessary is even Jumpei enough to protect the class? Still, with such wild card players as the Girl in Glasses and Brinja waiting on the sidelines this plan will if nothing less define the board a little…

But how will the odds be stacked when the pieces have been placed?


The Cast

The good
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Junko, the L33T schoolgirl, stubborn, protective and argumentative protector of the class.

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Makoto, practical joker, former boyfriend of Junko… trainee ninja and a clever and confident watcher over his friends.

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Aiko, hyperactive, hedonistic and cheerful former occupier of Junko’s position, seemingly unconcerned with her rather… immoral reputation.

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Takami, big fluffy teddy bear by day, dark jealous and violent by night. Basically a good girl but stung by her inability to control her emotions Takami was formally Junko’s lover, now alone and bitter over what she sees as a betrayal by the woman she had always protected.

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Miho, darkly cute and the most mysterious member of the class, what secrets does she hide?

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Ping, the innocent and highly powerful android, searching for love in all the wrong places.

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Hiratai, stoic warrior, a cold and dangerous man of deep honour.

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“Jumpei powerful Ninja!”

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Midori, a strange and vague autistic girl, seemingly an airheaded innocent…


The bad
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Enda, like Ed with less calm dedication and more nervous energy and just as dangerous.

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Kusanagi, Sony chief executive, almost a century of experience and phenomenal cosmic power in a childlike body.

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Haruki, spoiled rich kid and elitist, he has realized that Ping is in danger and figures the best way to save her is to kidnap her from the kids and protect her himself.

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 3 2006, 04:38 PM
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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 3 2006, 02:40 PM
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Last time on The Schoolkids Saga

The Schoolkids Saga - Music of Youth
After the drama of the fanboy riot various members of the class, including Junko and Ping decided to take an day out at a music festival to celebrate the opening of a new shopping centre. The day was soon interrupted however by a meeting with the son of the buildings owner, the ruthless and debonair Haruki Agano, the man making several inappropriate suggestions before humiliating Junko in front of everyone. This led to an argument between Ping and Junko, leading to the latter stalking off to sulk in private.

And worse, the appearance of Edna on the scene, determined to succeed where her brother failed. To make matters even more complicated Haruki decided his fun wasn't finished yet and decided to try and kidnap Ping with the help of his combat android Ryoko-Chan. Ping was quickly isolated by Ryoko's trickery and she was captured, only for Junko to come to the rescue, looking for Ping so she could apologise. To save Ping she confronted the group alone... and was firmly beaten.

Meanwhile Edna tried to get to Ping through her friends, trying to pry information out of twins Midori and Hiroshi, the two only saved when Makoto intervened, however the boy's skills were unable to stop him from being badly injured, Edna pursuing Midori and Hiroshi through the service corridors of the building.

Two more of the kids, Ryu and Aiko were searching for Junko so she could help with Edna, eventually finding her and Ping and heading into battle against Haruki's allies. Ping escaped from Ryoko's grapple and joined the fray, them and the late entry of Takami defeating his two allies and leaving only Ryoko and Haruki standing... the latter promptly taken out by a excellent throw from Junko that knocked him unconscious. Ryoko took offence at this and although Ping tried to protect the others she was knocked through a wall...

...straight into Edna, who was just about to unload a clip into Midori and Hiroshi. Before Ryoko could do any more damage she was taken out with an EMP gun by the TPCD and her and Haruki were taken into custody, Ping repaired and the kids patched up.


The Schoolkids Saga - Lonely Skies
Taiya-san was shopping the next day when she met up with her old headmaster, Kuri Hutcher and was convinced to have coffee with him, going into her long and dramatic history with Junko...

Taiya was always bigger, stronger, tougher and faster than the other kids, becoming shy and nervous as she knew she possessed both the ability to do serious damage and a bad temper that had caused her to hurt people before. Entering a new school she came across a troop of bad girls, the nice but dim mechanical genius Kasami, the thuggish and bitchy Erika... and their leader Liah, a beautiful and stylish philosopher queen and Junko, the group's silent, intense muscle.

Soon becoming infatuated with Junko Taiya continued to make a fool out of herself, admiring the girl from afar until the day where Junko finally cracked after a death in her family, picking a fight with one of Taiya's friends and inviting a confrontation with Taiya herself. Junko lost. Badly. And as Junko looked around she realised Erika and Kasami were laughing a jeering with the rest and Liah had departed in disgust.

Abandoned by her friends she was surprised to see Takami at the gates the next morning, the girl instantly trying to apologise. While initially dismissive Junko did grow closer to Taiya in the end, the lonely girl taking comfort in the companionship and eventually, drunk and desperate for a bit of love submitting to her advances and ending up in bed with her.

Liah and Taiya quickly came to confrontation over Junko, Liah first describing how both Taiya and her were one and the same, warriors and killers, destined to violence. The second confrontation came later when Taiya tried to solve Junko's problems through said violence, Liah blocking her crude methods. They came to blows and Taiya was defeated easily, Liah noting that they would undoubtedly meet again in battle and that battle would not be so easily decided.

Junko and Taiya stayed together for almost another year before the cracks started to show. Junko's behaviour grew strange and eventually cracked completely, it being revealed that Junko had fallen in with a bad crowd in the first place before she had been afflicted with Schizophrenia as a child. Now she was having a relapse and she couldn't stay at school anymore. Taiya decided to leave with her and take care of the girl.

It soon began to wear at Taiya's patience and good will, the girl almost totally enslaved to Junko's care and soon coming to resent her, becoming physically abusive and sullen. She fell into fighting and vigilantism, her temper and pride causing one her allies, Ferret to be killed. But an old friend was back...

Liah kidnapped Junko and kept her safe for two weeks, eventually telling Taiya where to find them. Another confrontation sparked between the two girls and they almost came to blows before Junko stopped them, revealing that she had in fact been getting better for weeks and that Liah's taking her away from civilisation had given her time to clear her head. Liah and Taiya accepted a shaky truce and Junko returned to school.

Shiritzu Daitou, where Junko soon showed her desire not to continue how she had before, as one of the bad girls. She soon became popular and well liked, Taiya struggling on behind with the numerous issues that the last year had left her with. Eventually becoming jealous and resentful of Junko's independence she confronted her girlfriend over them... only for Junko to declare that she was breaking up with her. Taiya hurt her in response, losing her temper and near killing her before stopping herself at the last minute.

She descended into depression at herself and at her situation, even Junko's forgiveness of her actions and attempt to blame herself did nothing to alleviate her shame at her realisation that she was no better than any other woman beater. Junko moved on to romance other boys and Taiya continued to grow more resentful, both hating and unable to forget her former lover.


The Schoolkids Saga - Reflections
In the depths of Sony labs the Chairman, Howard Stringer tried to work out the reason for their failure to capture Ping, eventually being convinced by the CEO of the paranormal division Kusanagi that someone was blocking their efforts. Sending out Kusanagi herself and the newly recovered Edna, the two tried to follow this mysterious foes trail, going back to the scene of the battle in 'Music of youth' and confirming that someone had deliberately turned the battle in favour of the schoolkids with fate manipulation. Meanwhile Haruki Agano spotted the two Sony employees and connected them with Ping, deciding that his duty as a noble and a gentleman was to kidnap Ping for her own good, so he could protect her from Sony.

Meanwhile, one of Junko's classmates Ryu came to drag her out of her dark pit of doom (her room) and they went shopping together, Taiya (With Mr Hutcher and fresh from 'Lonely Skies') spotting them and coming to the conclusion that they were out on a date, this only making her more jealous. Eventually fate took a turn and following narrative inevitability Junko did bump into the two people that she had on the same day in the MT comic proper, the old man she was going to go on date with if she hadn't been too tired after the day before and Largo, who muttered something about his confrontation with Miho being spoiled and his fears that he had missed some important plot related dialogue before assuring Junko that the 'Sword girl's plans approach completion'.

Ryu and Junko went back to Ryu's apartment where a flashback of Ryu's past was shown, it being revealed that Ryu came to Japan when he was six with his teenage mother Ferret, the boy having grown up fast in his desire to please his mother. Eventually though his great weakness asserted itself, Ryu eventually stealing from his school, joining a gang and lying to his mother... to get close to a girl he had a bit of a crush on.

The events from 'Lonely Skies' played out, Taiya and Ferret attacking the gang and Ryu watching as his mother was gunned down. He ran away from home, turned to crime and lost all hope.
Until he was arrested and a man called Logan (Actually Mr Hutcher under a false name) told him that he could go free, set him up with an apartment and sent him to Shiritzu Daitou High School.

He didn't see much point in trying here either but eventually (Through... interesting methods) Junko convinced him to try. It didn't help, the teacher mocked him and his work, Ryu going to mock Junko for her misplaced faith before noticing that she was out of her chair and asking the teacher to step out of the room, delivering a verbal beatdown that could have curdled milk. Ryu grew to idolise Junko, working hard so that he wouldn't let her down more than anything else.

Back in the present Ryu confronted Junko over her having sex with older men, Junko revealing that she did it because she couldn't trust herself not to stray in a relationship, revealing that she had cheated on Takami several times. Ryu sympathised, pointing out that he wasn't exactly a saint either, avoiding relationships for much the same reason, he just encouraged her to have more respect for herself and left it at that.

Taiya was at a club with Mr Hutcher, being chatted up inexpertly by idiots who seemed obsessed with the fact that she was a little taller than everyone else. Depressed and convinced that she was ugly and possessed of an unattractive self pitying personality she resigned herself to never finding love, distracted from her thoughts by a blond bombshell who sat down next to her and informed Taiya that her name was Brinja and did she want a drink?
Quickly growing to like the woman a lot Brinya tried to convince Taiya that her bad mood stemmed from the fact that she was knowingly constraining herself, making herself subject to her friends because she was scared of her own strength. Gently, she informed Taiya that she wasn't scared of it and that she found it very attractive indeed...

Junko and Ryu met up with two other students, Aiko and Makoto at the same club, Makoto confronting Ryu over his attraction to Junko. Ryu for his part denied it, claiming that she liked her better as a friend and knowing that attempting to carry it further would just mess everything up. Makoto declared his inability to work out why two people who liked each other so much wouldn't see sense and get together but decided to leave the subject for now.

Junko and Aiko were outside, Junko helping Aiko to throw up in a back alley, keeping the girl company as she tried to get over the results of the cocktail of drink and drugs she had taken. Eventually Aiko's brother showed up and asked his sister to go with him on a job, Junko was adamant against her going but Aiko didn't like being told what to do and disabled Junko with a quick nerve strike, telling her that when she got back she would share the cash with the rest of the class. Junko wasn't convinced, recalling how her brothers plans tended to get her shot and all.

Edna and Kusanagi eventually caught up with the person who was helping Ping and the class, a strange and enigmatic little girl in glasses who was often seen observing events during Lonely Skies, appearing the edge of perception, appearing to Kusnangi and Liah and mocking them for their frailties... Kusnangi and her fought, Kusanagi proving the greater fighter with her immense power and skill.
But in a incredible display of trickery and deception the girl escaped, leaving Kusanagi humiliated. As she fumed Edna got a call from Stringer, tell her that he had a job for her, retrieving an important piece of technology...



Of course this isn't everything, I've missed out most of the character development stuff (Aiko-Midori-Hiroshi, Liah's side story, Shizuka's side story, Junko becoming class rep, Edna's past, the Christmas Side story, Yoshi's whole role and lots of other stuff. Read the story proper damnit)

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 3 2006, 02:55 PM
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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 4 2006, 04:44 AM
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Chapter 1 – 40. and 50¢

The sun hung just on the edge of rising, the weather crisp and dry and a pleasant hush about the sleeping city that appealed somehow, everyone sleeping quietly under Morpheus' gentle hand… well, almost everybody, the tall blond woman standing at the balcony in jeans and t-shirt smiling and looking back across at Taiya-Chan sprawled out across her bed. Heh, she looked so darn cute, like a sleeping lion. And speaking of little tigresseses… Brinya took a playing card out of her jean pocket and smiled down at it, the Ace of Wands balanced between her fingers “Stay safe sweetheart”
She let the card free and it was caught up in the breeze, tumbling over and over through the blood red sky.

~

Aiko leant against the wall of the abandoned office she was in, one of the Lei Wong safe houses that Kasuro had managed to blag, a set of interconnected smaller rooms for managers with corridors running inbetween them, it was one of the bigger ones that she was in now.
“Feeling lonely Kasuro-San?”
“Ah, being in this job makes you paranoid, no offence man”
Aiko took out a cloth and wiped down the feed tube, noting that the whole thing was getting a bit worn down, she would have to replace it sooner or later. Shame, she liked this gun, it had served her well over the years “Hey Kasuro, my gun’s getting really old, can you ask Santai-San for a new one?”
Kasuro shook his head in amusement and turned back to an impressively jowled Japanese gangster type in a rather scruffy suit, giving him a grin “Hey, think you could throw in a Glock 23c man? The sister unit’s whining again”
Santai laughed at his request, clicking his fingers at one of the men to his side “It won’t be new but it will serve until I pick up a new shipment” He gave a bow, his gut quivering at the movement “Be assured, I’m not looking to try anything, think of it as a gift. We are friends Kasuro-San, I like that I can trust you”
Aiko caught the pistol that was thrown to her, opening it up and inspecting the parts “Oooh, much better” She nodded towards the heavy case in the corner “So… what’s in the case anyway? We went to all that trouble to get it…”
Santai just gave a laugh and a knowing look “I don’t remember”
Kasuro looked over at it and placed his hand on his chin, inspecting the plain silver case, the only marking a Sony logo on one side “It’s an Ivalas, they make cases to order don’t they? More than your mortgage type cash?” He smiled up at Santai “Must be something nice, I hope you use it responsibly Santai-San”
“Oh I wi…”

“…”
“…”
“I am the world’s must unlucky person…” Kasuro’s gun flicked into his hand, followed by the other men in the office, Santai moving over the door with a Desert Eagle clutched in his chubby fist “Who’s are the gunshots Kasuro-San my friend?”
“I haven’t a fucking clue” He waved his hands wildly, backing off a little and flipping off the safety “Honestly, I don’t know. Sony? Fuck, you handled the heist, I just did the equipment!”
Aiko noted his stance and got to her feet, feeding a clip into her pistol and lining up so they had Santai and his men surrounded on two directions. He looked at them both before signalling his two bodyguards “Stay here. I’ll go see what’s going on”

He exited the room, Aiko moving over to her brothers side “It’s not you is it?”
He gave her a frightened look before whapping her on the head lightly “No! Hell no, I haven’t even been paid yet!”
Aiko nodded and readied her pistol, a horrible sense of déjà vu coming over her “Just checking…”

~

Santai crept through the offices, his eyes looking left and right as he counted up his dead men. Three so far, all good guys, they had all taken repeated shots to the chest but there was hardly a mark on the walls, they had all be taken out really quickly. This was a pro.
He spun round and got off a shot, the bullet slicing into the wooden panelling of one of the offices and shattering it across the corridor, another shot shattering through several windows and flying for the sun. That done he staggered back around a corner and cupped the bullet wound to the chest, silently wondering where that came from… he had felt someone there and someone had shot him but all Santai was shooting at was air, was this guy invisible?
Five bullets burst through the wall behind him and hit Santai in the back, the man staggering forwards and hitting the ground hard. His hand reached, reached ever so slowly for his pistol but it was too far away, the pain from his wounds so strong… he got a look a pair of women’s boots as his killer rounded the corner, looking up at her face before she angled her weapon down and finished him off with a shot to the head.

~

“To hell with this!” Aiko panicked, waving to the two guards and moving towards the door “Look, that was Santai’s scream, we can’t just stand here and wait to be shot!”
Kasuro waved to her, Aiko was freaking out and he didn’t blame her, still it was never a good thing “Aiko calm down… look, she’s right, we have to get out of here. We’ll be safe moving in a group”

The four of them spread out as they exited the room, the two bodyguards swinging their guns to cover the corridors either side of them and Kasuro preparing himself to back up whoever saw action first. Aiko was just about to step out herself when the head of one of the bodyguards exploded.
"Shit!" The blood hit Kasuro in the face and blinded him, he swung himself round but he knew that he wouldn't have a hope of hitting anything and the shooter wasn't about to give him time to wipe himself clean... he thought quickly, his left hand smacking Aiko in the chest and sending her flying back into the room as his right grabbed the dead man and used him as a shield.

Aiko widened her eyes in shock as she staggered backwards, watching the dead bodyguard take bullet after bullet as her brother struggled to wipe his eyes clean, knowing that he would be hit eventually. Well not on her watch! She darted forward and leaned through the doorway, the remaining bodyguard dodging around Kasuro and joining her into blasting apart the dead body of Sentai and lots of empty corridor.

"Where they go?"
"Don't just stand there!" Kasuro dropped the dead body and wiped his eyes clean, giving a succession of quick military signals indicating Aiko should stay where she was and the remaining bodyguard should join him in heading down the corridor in the opposite direction to the gunfire.
They crouched and ran, making it into a large open plan office, smaller windowed offices all down three sides with desks and tables arranged in some sort of order on the fourth. There were bodies, here, two more of Santai's men dead on the ground.
The bodyguard dropped into position of the edge of one of the offices, looking back down the way they came while Kasuro sprinted for the far edge, ducking behind some tables and covering the area to the side of him. The assassin knew where they were now and there was a lot of places he could hide, he hoped and prayed their opponent would suddenly get stupid and run into their fire...

The grenade hit the ground, rolled and went under a desk to his side, disappearing out of sight just as he desperately tried to kick it. Stubbing his toe on the hard wooden surface he only had a second to shout "DOWN!"

“Bro!” Aiko abandoned her position, sprinting towards the explosion and avoiding a flying bit of shrapnel by inches. She had just reached the shocked looking bodyguard when he hit the ground with two bulletholes in his chest, the briefcase he was carrying thudding to the floor. As another bullet struck the edge of the office she was rounding she ducked back under the window, quickly checking her gun and mentally readying herself for what she was about to do.

Aiko kicked upwards, her pistol pressing against the window of the office and firing several times, filing cabinets and office furniture crashing to the ground as she sprayed the place. Her attacker quickly responded, the window frame exploding as a bullet ripped through in and she dived to the floor, quickly rolling into the cover of a nearby sheet of modular walling. It wouldn’t stop a bullet but maybe she hadn’t been seen…

Bullets tore through the thin construction material and Aiko instantly somersaulted back in the direction she came, metal zinging past her head as she brought her weapon up and did a full John Woo leap, vaulting the width the corridor with her pistol firing and going straight through the window of the office she had fired across. She landed expertly, rolling and up again, diving backwards through the next window with her pistol still blazing. She wouldn’t hit shit but DAMN she must have looked good!

She hit a desk at an angle and bounced off it, her gun flying out of her hand as she hit the floor with a crack and the arching of her damaged back. Ahg, didn’t look before she leapt, that hadn’t done any real damage but it had really hurt, she would be bruising badly in a few seconds. But she couldn’t go down, no no… she got back up and ran for her gun, only a few feet away from it when two bullets hit her in the side and she crashed into a bookcase, manuals raining down on her.

"Hmhmmhmm..." Edna span her gun, adopting a lazy gait and scanning the room careful "Well, at my count that's all of them..."


The office door behind her burst open, expelling a cloud of smoke from the earlier explosion and stinging her eyes as she span... Kasuro strode through with his clothes ragged and blood streaming down his face, lifting his gun and shooting Edna four times in the chest, the girls eyes widening in surprise before she toppled. Kasuro spat a bit of blood onto the floor beside her “I don't like getting blown up..." He staggered a little and tore a bit of splintered wood out of his side with a grunt, moving over to the dead bodyguard and taking the suitcase "Sorry mate, not any good to you. Aiko! Where are you?"
"Uhh..."
A little figure extracted herself from under a stack of broken shelving and books, wincing and holding her side before waving to her brother. As he approached he noticed she was limping, nodding at her injury "Are you hurt?"
"I got shot!" She gave him a whiny pair of eyes, taking her hand off her side and revealing two holes in her t-shirt, the bulletproof vest underneath damaged but intact "Twice... it really hurts..."
Kasuro couldn't help smiling despite the situation, taking her head and guiding her towards the door as quickly as possible "How many times is that now?"
"Nine..."
"Well that settles it, you're officially luckier than 50 cent"
"Meany..."
She had hit those filing cabinets hard, though she didn't seem to notice there was blood all down her scalp and she was swaying a little, still he had to get her out of here quickly before anyone else came in. She looked up at him as they moved towards the doors “Are they dead… guy shooting at us?”
“It was a girl, and yes”
“Sure?”
Kasuro nodded with a smile, lifting his pistol “Teflon coated bullets, shot her in the liver and kidney and two shots to the heart. She’s dead” He kicked open the door and quickly guided her to the exit, elbowing the stairway door open and starting to make his way down.

~

"Ow... I haven't been shot... in a while..." Edna opened her eyes and looked down at her chest, tracing out the damage before sitting up and pulling a mobile phone out of her pocket "The two Lei Wongs are exiting the target zone, should I pursue?"
"And the case?"
She looked around, damn she couldn't believe someone had got the drop on her, that would teach her to get overconfident "Not sure. I don't see it"
"Stay in the target zone, do not pursue”
“Really? I’m fine, just momentarily stunned”
“I repeat, leave them alone”
Ok, not her job to question orders and all, still she was a little annoyed. She liked clean jobs and was pretty sure Dom or Ed would have taken the two of them down, that pissed her off just a tad it had to be said. Still, an odd order, did they have someone waiting for them downstairs or something?

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 4 2006, 04:55 AM
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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 8 2006, 12:59 PM
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Chapter 2 - Mini games

Peaceful mind, peaceful body... the energies of life flowing, balance in all things, body and mind as one. She released a breath, a cool, controlled expulsion of air, feeling it disperse throughout the house, feeling the weight of the physical lift off her shoulders...

Was this crush really serious?
No! Focus, stop worrying about Yuki and think about your own life instead of interfering with everyone else's!
...
Of course that only worked until Yuki got hurt because her friends weren't watching out for her...
...but Yuki was a big girl... and it wasn't like she was any better at relationships, though she could give some excellent tips on how to mess them up in increasingly horrible ways...
...but she really didn't want Yuki to feel like that, she couldn't let her heart get broken...
...plus she was quite aware that Yuki getting together with a guy would make her nothing more than insanely jealous, of both parties.

"Uuh..." Mami opened her eyes and decided to give up with the meditation, moving straight into her stretches and trying to think about something else besides the love lives of her friends. For one thing she was sure it wasn't healthy to spend so long obsessing about other girls, she was a Kansatsu after all. Although Takami had snuck in at some ridiculous time Mami had definitely heard another woman speaking and though she wasn't... she corrected herself reluctantly... though she tried not to be homophobic, for once in her life she wished one of her family would be normal for just five minutes, even Aki was fast acquiring the mental hang ups and weird perversions that would easily mark him as a member of this family once he reached puberty.

Mami sighed once more and finished her exercises, quickly making for the bathroom. She couldn't spend all day runing in mental circles, Asako would be here soon and Mami prefered to let her friends occupy her house as little as possible, lest her mother say something perverted or Takami stare at Yuki a little too long.
Oh... there she was again, making fun of the flaws of others to hide her own. Mami chastised herself and entered the bathroom, turning on the shower and struggling out of her nightgown as she berated herself for her endless facination with the lives of everyone around her... possibly so to ignore the crapness of her own. She treated Yuki and Asako like toys, bossing and sheparding them into what she thought was the right course of action and she had literally felt a little thrill when she learned Yuki had a crush on an older boy simply for the fact that it would be interesting to watch how it devoloped.

She stood under the shower and felt the warm water on her skin, considering how terrible that sounded as she washed herself down. She was a backseat driver... and worse, one who had never really passed her own lesson, she hadn't once managed to keep a boyfriend for more than two months.

But Yuki did need someone, she tended to keep her feelings bottled up inside and though Mami dearly wished she could help she knew getting too close would be self indulgent on her part. However much she wanted to be she wasn't Yuki's mom, or her consience or guardian angel for that matter.

Oh, Asako had never given her this much trouble.

~

"Takami, bathrooms free!" Mami gave a yawn and came down the stairs, ajusting her school uniform and busily fiddling with her tie as she moved into the living room and... there was a strange woman brousing the bookshelf.
The strange guest turned and Mami instantly took a little breath, something jumping in her chest as the woman gave a powerful smile and brushed her short blond hair out of her eyes "Hello"
"H..hello..." She was amazing attractive, no one looked that good at this time in the morning, or dressed in a simple T-Shirt and jeans combo. Mami would have to ask what her trick was later, first though... who the hell was she and why was she in her house? "Can I help you?"

The woman smiled cheekily and looked Mami up and down before settling on her eyes "Hmm, possibly..." She held up a manga she had taken from the bookshelf and adopted a friendly expression "Your mom's Yaniki Kansatsu? That explains last night... you're Taiya-San's sister?"
Mami blinked. Twice. This wasn't... quite what she had expected.


"You're not... where on earth did she find you?" Mami couldn't help feeling a little dazed, this woman was way out of her sisters league, like somewhere in the stratosphere "I'm... I'm jumping to the wrong conclusion aren't I?"
"Oh so jealous!" The woman grinned at the girl and walked over to the table, picking up an apple from the fruit basket "Sorry, but she found me first... I'm Brynja"
" Mami..." She hesitated slightly... nah... this was some kind of joke...
"Hehe, you're as cute as your sister" Brynja chuckled and threw her an apple "Here, if your mouth is going to continue hanging open you might as well fill it with something. Keeps Alzheimer's away you know, apples"
Mami looked down at the fruit before giving Brynja a sulky look and biting into it, surprised at how nice it tasted, this must have been a really good batch or something because this woman was right about it making her feel heathier.

Brynja chuckled as she watched Mami eat before bitting into the apple herself with rather... disturbing sexuality, Mami feeling slightly nervous in her presence. Brynja ate apples like Sharon Stone crossed her legs and Mami couldn't pull her eyes away, the woman noticing her interest and giving a cheeky grin "The greeks also considered them a symbol of love, to give someone an apple was considered an invitation to sexual intercourse" Mami paused mid chew at this, blushing hard as Brynja shot her a cute little smile "Those crazy greeks huh?"
Mami was getting tired of being played with, watching as Brynja spun the apple on the tip of her finger. This woman's carefully studied arrogance was indeed annoying, something Mami felt was totally intentional as she was now certain this girl was TRYING to wind her up. The words 'self absorbed, dumb American' floated to mind and her brain's subtle racism just annoyed her more, self awareness was overrated. Anyway, being a dumb Gaijin was hardly relevant next to the slightly larger factor of her certainly not being a schoolgirl "You're a little old for my sister aren't you?"

Brynja looked a little surprised for a moment, throwing the apple into the air and catching it in her hand "I wouldn't know, I never asked. How old do you think I am?"
Mami didn't pause "Mid twenties, about. Takami's just a schoolgirl, only a year and a half older than me"
Brynja got up off the table and shrugged her shoulders, Mami couldn't help feeling a little intimidated by how tall the woman was, almost flinching away as she placed a hand above Mami's head with a confused expression. Mami didn't take long to work out what she was doing, batting it away "Yes, my sister's a little bit taller than me. Doesn't make any difference, she's still just a little girl" Mami narrowed her eyes "You do anything to hurt her..."

"Woah..." Brynja stepped off a little, shaking her head "I had no idea how old she was, I honestly haven't met many Japanese schoolgirls who are taller than me" She held up a finger in defence, chuckling at the amusing situation "The club WAS eighteen and up after all. Oh well, I prefer them older but sexy is sexy, no matter what age they are..."
"Don't even start" Mami continued to fix her with a distrustful glare, the effect only slightly dimmed by their respective heights "My sister is not that attractive and you look like a model, you could find so much better. I know you're up to something"


Brinya seemed to find this funny, leaning back against the table and taking another bite out of the apple "Well then, that's the way is it?" She placed the object back down with a very deliberate silkiness and sank down to her knees so her and Mami were face to face "Heh, add a few years..."
Mami blushed almost as brightly as the discarded apple as Brynja shone the prettiest smile she had ever seen, her sapphire blue eyes twinkling like twin gemstones as looked the girl over, Mami felt a hot flush travel all the way through her as Brynja spoke in a quiet, seductive little voice that, against all her will, struck her a rather nice blow to her nethers "You are an attractive girl I admit, those sweet little eyes, that nose..."
Mami shuddered like someone electrified as Brynja touched a finger to her cheek, running her hand across the girls face in a gentle arc that left Mami frozen on the spot. Brynja gave a satisfied grin and moved closer, their lips within a thoughts distance of each other "Would you like a kiss Mami-Chan?"
"...wa... ah..."
Brynja smiled as she tried to answer, placing a finger against her forehead and pushing her away with casual ease "Take your jealousy somewhere else, it's not nice to insult people, especially your family"
At those words Mami finally came to her senses, her eyes wild as she stepped forward "What?! No, I..."

"What's going on here?"
Both girls looked towards the door, Taiya standing their in her school uniform and looking a little confused at why Mami was currently bright red. Mami was still frozen to the spot with her heart rate something ridiculous, allowing Brynja to rise to her feet and answer for her "Taiya-San" she walked over to the door and gave the girl a big smile, moving to her ear and whispering "Your sister is a little jealous of you"

Taiya looked round at Mami, who for her part instantly shoot Brynja a look of death at her accusation. The blond haired woman seemed to find this amusing "See?"
Taiya looked impressed, nodding to herself in satisfaction "Mami-Chan? Are you sure? Wow..."

Mami gave up, fine, Brynja was good at this, it didn't make her trust the girl any more! And Mami wasn't a lesbian, she was only blushing because she was embarrassed! Anyone else would do the same after that little performance! "I am not!"
Both Brynja and Taiya burst out in laughter at her sulky response, Brynja biting her lip to calm herself before tapping the other girl on the arm "I've got to get to work Taiya-San... we should do this again sometime" Brynja clutched Takami's hand, giving a seductive grin "I could fit that into my busy schedule I think"
Taiya was quick to respond, giving a nervous stammer as she turned "Y..yeah! I mean, sure, yeah..." She blushed at her rather idiotic sounding response and tried to salvage it with an admittedly nervous smile "I have to get to scho... I ah... I have places to go to as well"
Work? For the first time Taiya had to wonder just how old Brynja was. And... it was a stupid little thing but she supposed she should mention it "Ah... and you can call me Takami if you want"
Brynja looked interested "You consider your real name more familiar than your nickname?"
"Some of my friends don't even know my real name" Taiya shrugged softly before linking her hands together, looking expectant "I really like you..."

Brynja allowed herself a chuckle at Taiya's expression before leaning in and kissing her tenderly, keeping a hand cupped against Taiya's cheek as she drew away "Don't look so desperate, it doesn't suit you" She gave a cheeky grin "And ah... trying to pretend you're not a school girl isn't going to be easy as the only job I can think of requiring that outfit is a prostitute"
Taiya's eyes instantly shot down to look at her uniform "Oh..."
"Hehe... later Takami-San" Brynja gave her another kiss before moving out of the door with a wave, proceeding down the path with a cute little wiggle of her behind.


Silence reigned for a little while before Taiya turned to her sister, a wry look on her face "Hey, trying to steal my woman Mami-Chan?"
"What?!" Mami went to shout out a denial before pausing and considering her words more carefully, speaking with barely concealed venom "I don't like her, she's too old for you and I don't trust her for a second. She's creepy"
Taiya smirked at her sister's words, holding up her fingers "One, I don't care. Two, that's why I like her. Three, creepy having someone who can stand up to your interfering for once maybe" She paused for a moment before holding up another "Fourth, mind your own business"
Mami looked angry but slightly chastised all the same, sighing gently and looking up at her sister "I'm just worried about you"
Taiya grinned at her statement, deciding not to point out Mami's initial dislike of Junko... oh no, she couldn't help it "And this differs from your attempt to make Junko as embarrassed as possible during your first meeting? Or calling her a big headed elitist? Or a geek... bah..." Taiya relented, this was no fun "You don't have to be worried about me Mami-Chan"
"Oh please, this is what I mean, the very scent of a pretty girl and you're putty" Mami seemed to grow tired of the conversation and waved her off with a irritated click of her tongue "Oh do whatever you want, if you excuse me I'm off to imagine Takeshi Kaneshiro naked for a little while... I hate this family..."

Taiya sighed and shook her head, her sister took things way too seriously sometimes.

_________________________________
Minigames... though Brynja cheated just a little.

Full points to anyone who works out when, though it’s fairly obvious. Brynja even half admits it.

Aki is currently two years old.

Brynja is 5'9", an inch shorter than Takami. And a good ten inches taller than Mami.

Yes, Takami has to sit down before Mami can comfortably talk to her.

Ironically, her mother’s influence has made Mami almost the opposite of her, prudent, logical, reserved, spiritual (In her own way) and a little xenophobic.

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 8 2006, 01:40 PM
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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 12 2006, 05:44 AM
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Chapter 3 – Flame of Youth

Edna stood in the operative changing room, a bright and luxurious looking place befitting Sony's elite with gold leaf taps and soft carpets, most of it lost on the sort of people who used it of course but still welcome after a hard day of butchery. At present one of the ivory sinks was stained red with blood as Edna gently levered each bullet from where it was imbedded in her skin, wincing with each one.
"You could just use the medical units"
"I don't like them" She turned and looked at Ed, dressed in the bottom layer of his uniform, a outfit which was designed to allow the electronics stored within the fabric maximum contact with the users flesh... and it looked like a leotard. Fortunately Edna had long since got used to it "I thought you were vaporised"
He gave his patented Edgrin™ and leaned against the locker with easy nonchalance, shrugging his shoulders "Ah, they put me back together yesterday. I'd say... 4.5?"
"Nah, 6.7 at least, looks like she put a few pounds of muscle on your chest, gave you more upper body strength. What about me?"
Ed studied her for a moment, placing his hand on his chin and running his eyes up and down her body "7.2"
Edna gave a horsey laugh at his score, finishing with the bullets and applying an antiseptic wipe to her wounds "Flatterer. My boobs are smaller"
"I like them. They sit better on your chest, like little cream buns...” He paused at this statement and angled his head up in thought before raising a finger “I'm hungry"
Ed opened a locker and pulled out a cheese sandwich, munching on it as he watched her and marvelled at the placement of the bullets, that would have killed anyone who didn’t have subcutaneous armour instantly. After a second he decided he was in the mood for conversation and decided to ask Edna about her latest mission, always nice to keep up to date with the progress of his little mini mes… "You're working for Kusanagi?"
"You know her?"
"She taught my magical defence class. Scary woman, taught me to respect those who use it…" He paused “Use it well anyway. Most mages are just good fun, see how good their incantations are when you blow their elbows off”
Edna laughed at his point, she had never even had a magical defence course, she had learned how wimpy most magic users were first hand and maybe that had given her a certain lack of respect for the less physical arts. Credit where it was due, Kusanagi was very powerful “Have you ever fought a proper spoonbender? Like a Magical girl or the like?”
Ed sighed wistfully “Oh, I wish… magical girls are quite rare, only so many magical books and wands and magical enchanted anime DVD’s to go around after all. There’s this big rumour that guns aren’t very effective against them so people like us don’t tend to see them much” He lazily took a pistol from the side desk and span it about his finger “One day… hey, try pissing off Kusanagi. When you get out of the regeneration tank you can tell me what it was like”

"Heh, not likely…" Edna finished up and pulled on a t-shirt, leaning into the mirror and attempting to do something with her hair "She's a class A bitch. Snobby little European who thinks she's better than everyone else because she listens to Beethoven"
Ed took a deep breath at this, letting the tune sink into his soul for a moment before giving another Edgrin "I like Ode to Joy. I play the ninth symphony sometimes when I'm killing people. I find it calming"
Edna laughed at his assertion, trying to think "I like... you know... that one..."
"Pathétique" Ed nodded knowingly "All gunplay should be set to music, it's respectful. You have to have respect, it's what seperates the professionals from the artists"
"I like these calm little moments before the storm. Overtures like that get my... juices flowing. So powerful. But after his openings, to be honest, he does tend to get a little fucking boring! Ahahaha!" Edna erupted in laughter, shaking her head and sighing deep and hard before explaining "Leon. I fucking love that film, you know, it's like someone filmed me. My life, you know? A love story where the protagonists aren't twenty something white middle class fucking jerkoffs, I can dig that"
Ed smiled at the excitable girl, as the youngest of all the Angels she was a nice counterpoint to the cynicism of the others, him and Dom had taken her under their wing and although she couldn't keep up with them yet she was better than many of the other Corporate agents and learned fast. She was keen, a brat to be sure but enthusiastic and good fun, resenting her betters and doing all she could to undercut them while responding like a kitten to praise from those very same people, apart from the fact that she made him feel old she was definitely his favourite among his fellow enforcers "Heh, don't you worry about Kusanagi, she lost it a long time ago"
"Lost what?"
Ed reached into a locker and took out a slim, shiny silver pistol, spinning it in his hand before stroking the metal lovingly "It's beautiful isn't it? The greatest of all human arts, the ability to take life in one smooth, perfectly tuned masterpiece of human engineering... it makes me sad when I see people use them as tools, they're so much more..." He smiled at her, soft, beautiful eyes torn away from the weapon with a lingering sense of regret "You once talked about having children"
She couldn't help blushing, moment of weakness a long time ago, did they really have to go into that? "I... well... one day..."
"You love him don't you?" Ed obviously didn't expect a response, looking back at his gun "I love these, I love the satisfaction of a job well done, I love my targets and the sweetness of their death..."

He flicked a bullet over to Edna with elegant smoothness, the girl catching it wordlessly as he continued "Kusanagi doesn't love anyone or anything, people like her are so scared of death that they grow to despise life. Have you seen her room? Feels like a tomb..." He chuckled and gave her a lazy salute "Keep what you love close to your heart or you're just like that android we're hunting, dead and pointless. There's a reason we use biological operatives instead of machines, no AI program can duplicate the depths of human emotion" He grinned and waved as he moved away "And no human soul can survive near a century without family or friends to tie her down. Say hello to the hag for me"

Edna watched him go, her eyes following him as he exited the door before looking down at the bullet in her hands, the word 'Ping' inscribed on it "Heh, thanks..." She pocketed it with a grin, her face becoming grimmer as her phone went off and she saw the message on it, pulling on her jacket and moving out into the corridor.

~

Edna made her way through the upper corridors of the Sony building, she had been up here far too much lately and it was already getting old, still filled with the kind of people who had bullied her at school, yeah, like she would ever have taken their life of mediocrity over being able to shoot people for a living. Ha, joke was on them really, she was probably paid more than them too, ahaha.
She stopped suddenly, her eyes focusing on a young girl standing in the middle of the corridor dressed in a school uniform, complete with lime green hair and a pair of earblades. Edna pulled up next to her with a surprised expression "Tracer? You picking up boys or something?" It was a rhetorical question, she knew Tracer wouldn't answer and ruffling the android's short hair she looked around for her master, giving a big grin as a tall dark haired man in a leather jacket turned the corner and started towards her "Yoshi! What are you doing here?"
The big, shaggy looking man gave Edna a cheerful nod of his head "Snooping. Do you ever get the feeling something doesn't add up?"
Edna snorted at his question, that was rich "All the time. No one tells me anything... I not supposed to be told anything, I'm supposed to do my job. Ed doesn't care"
Yoshi gave an odd half smile and took her wrist with quite a firm grasp, turning his head to look towards Stringers door "You're not Ed. Don't trust Stringer, he knows more than he's letting on and that Kusanagi..."

He gave a nasty look as Tracer opened her mouth and very quietly muttered in Kusanagi's distinctive voice, though the soundproofing on Springers office made exactly what she was saying inaudible even for Tracer's equipment. Edna’s eyes darkened at the sound “Yeah, she’s in a meeting with the boss, that’s not too suspicious… you know, I’m actually more worried about her than I am about myself, something’s very wrong about this mission…”
“You’re worried about her?”
“Uh? Well, not worried…”

Yoshi snapped his fingers at the android and turned back to Edna, slightly disapproving maybe as he carried on with his earlier point "She's in there right now plotting something. Kusanagi requested you specially, she's a level 16 physic, you're just a level 7 operative, she's skilled in premonition and bonds of fate... you work it out"
Edna already had, she had been thinking on the reasons for Kusanagi taking her along for quite some time "I'm going to do something important"
"Like taking a bullet for the bitch"
Edna chuckled, Yoshi actually looked worried for some reason. Heh, Ed had taken an orbital cannon and survived so she doubted she was in too much trouble "I'm connected to the FPS system, I can't die. If someone takes me out they'll just put me back together..."
Yoshi fixed her with a harsh look, cutting her off "There are some things you can't reload from, Kusanagi could make sure she kills you for good without even trying" He softened his expression, looking almost kindly as he brushed her short red hair across her scalp "And you're not Ed, I don't think Ed even knows what pain is anymore. You still do"
Edna gently removed his hand, clutching it in hers "Are you worried about me?"
He chuckled and moved closer "I'd be mighty sad if you got yourself killed"

"You just like the free sex you bastard" She giggled and drew him close, both of them moving further into the shadows as they kissed, Yoshi gently cradling her head in his hand as she ran her fingers through his hair. Is this what Ed meant back there? More to the point, is this what he felt when he was cleaning his guns or something? Weird guy...

"Ahem" Both of them split apart, Sir Stringer's secretary regarding them with amused eyes "In private please, people have to work here"
"Hell girl, no need to be jealous, plenty for both of you" Yoshi gave her a friendly wave and instantly started to flirt, Edna on the other hand giving a simple wrinkle of her nose. She couldn't help it, with her smart suit and glasses and long hair done up in a bun the prissy woman reminded Edna of her mother. Yoshi didn't seem to notice her discomfort, still chattering away "Hey, any chance you could tell us what Stringer is up to?"
Stringer's secretary just gave Yoshi a mock surprised look at his question "Sir Howard Stringer cares about his employees, he would never let them come to harm" She smiled brightly, it was hard to tell whether she was joking or not and she certainly didn't answer the question, however before they could analyse her verbal slip she clicked her fingers sharply and gave Yoshi an amused glare over the rim of her spectacles "Now Yoshi, you've got better things to do and your girlfriend has a meeting. You wouldn't want to make her late now would you?"
"Spoilsport" Yoshi leaned down a planted a kiss on Edna's cheek "Put a bullet in someone's head for me darling"
"Sure..." She watched him regretfully as he turned and walked back down the corridor with Tracer falling into step beside him, after a moment she looked back at Stringers secretary and grimaced "What are you looking at?"
The woman chuckled lightly, holding a pen to her lips "Nothing... now come on, the bosses are waiting for you"
"Yeah... steam your head pencil pusher..."

________________________________

Tracer last appeared in 2:27 (In a less advanced body). I like EDSes and she’s much more fun than just putting in random muscle or scanning equipment.

Though of course, she isn't an EDS, she just looks like one. The not being able to speak thing would limit her ability as an EDS.

Edna's actually a level 7 Storm-Operative, which basically means she's good at short range against lots of low class thugs.

Categorisation is fun!

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 12 2006, 08:18 AM
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Wave Master
Posted: Feb 12 2006, 08:05 AM
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QUOTE (Chapter 2)
Minigames... though Brynja cheated just a little.

Full points to anyone who works out when, though it’s fairly obvious. Brynja even half admits it.


Not more pheromones!!! ohmy.gif

Seriously, I don't think it's as obvious as you seem to imply. Either you mean something as simple as she knew about Mami's... tendencies before hand, or something as complicated as a poisoned apple. (Cinderella complex?)

As for the recent Chapter, your characterization of Ed feels a bit more like Dom than Ed to me, but Ed as he is in the comic is probably a lot less interesting to write and read about.

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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 12 2006, 10:54 AM
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QUOTE (Wave Master @ Feb 12 2006, 08:05 AM)

Seriously, I don't think it's as obvious as you seem to imply.  Either you mean something as simple as she knew about Mami's... tendencies before hand, or something as complicated as a poisoned apple.  (Cinderella complex?)

Think more... genesis (Though Brynja is a student of Judaism and so knows it wasn't an apple, still she's not above fitting the facts to the point she wishes to make. Like Mami was going to know anything about Genesis)

Mami notes that the apple tastes suprisingly nice and Brinja goes on to note the Apple's long assocation with sexuality. I though it was obvious enough.

user posted image
“The Apple? What the hell did you put in it, date rape drugs?!”

user posted image
“Oh so dramatic… it was a gift, you were having trouble meditating so I decided to help you out”

user posted image
“Help me out? By seducing me? Well, by trying to seduce me, I’m not…”

user posted image
“Can’t bring anything out that’s not already there” happy.gif

user posted image
“What! I… you don’t know what you’re talking about! I am not…!”

user posted image
“I’m not. I am. I will… do you enjoy dealing in absolutes?”

Mami
“Things are either one thing or the other. Something can’t be something it’s not”

Brynja
“You’re a schoolgirl. Which means you can’t be a friend, a sister…”

Mami
“What? That’s a terrible analogy!”

Brynja
“Oh sorry, it’s just that you were having so much fun misinterpreting the question that I wanted to join in”

Mami
“Don’t be smart…and what has this got to do with my meditating?”

Brynja
“It’s not just wearing orange robes and sitting cross legged you know? Absolutes in a Buddhist? No wonder you can’t meditate, you sleep on a bed of concrete, the windows in your room papered over so only the most pleasant view is visible”

Mami
“Because I’m not a whore like you! I… I… no, I didn’t mean that…”

Brynja
“That’s ok, fear is one of the more primal emotions. And you are full of fear… you are terrified of the dark places of your mind. Understandable, so are most people, few wish to believe that they are not a walking cliché, some character archetype that they saw off the TV, cemented by the expectations of the people around them. What is the route of all suffering Mami-San?”

Mami
“Ignorance…”

Brynja
“Exactly. You must die, free yourself”

Mami
“What?”

Brynja
“Let ‘Mami’ die, this ridiculous straightjacket of influences and conditioning, where is ‘Mami’? Can you find her? Is she truly anything more than a set of arbitrary personality traits that you’re trying to fit to yourself?”

Mami
“The human mind needs a straight jacket. Hedonism isn’t happiness either”

Brynja
“You fear your mind finds happiness in indulgence of its lusts?”

Mami
“I… know it does. Everyone’s does”

Brynja
“And how would you know? Do you know why you were attracted to me?”

Mami
“I wasn’t attracted to you”

Brynja
“I felt your heart speed up, your breaths quicken…”

Mami
“That doesn’t…”

Brynja
“A noticeable rise in your blood pressure, Vasocongestion of the skin…”

Mami
“Look, I was embarrassed!”

Brynja
“Noticeable hardening of the nipples, a 2% increase in breast size, the The labia…”

Mami
“Ok, ok, shut up! You’re enjoying this aren’t you? Yes, I was attracted to you, I… what did you just say?”

Brynja
“Heh heh heh…” happy.gif

Mami
“You noticed all that?”

Brynja
“I’m very observant. So the question is restated, do you know why?”

Mami
“I don’t want to know…”

user posted image
“Oh the drama… wake up, you weren’t the least bit attracted to me before I touched you! Newsflash, sex is fun! Unless you’ve shorted out your nerve endings me touching you like that is going to feel nice”

user posted image
“So I’m not a lesbian?”

user posted image
“Do you know anything about Buddhism or did you just like the feeling of superiority being one inferred? Things aren’t concrete, beyond the physical the differences between women and men are hardly more substantial than the differences between you and me”

user posted image
“So bisexuality is the way to go?”

user posted image
“Well physical attraction still counts for something. Or maybe it doesn’t, that’s up to you to decide. All you have to do is challenge your perceptions, if you’re constantly called to defend them then maybe they was never built on very strong foundations in the first place”

user posted image
“…”

user posted image
“You’re allowed to continue being a ultra conservative harridan if you want, just know the parts of yourself you’re reigning in, explore them in mediation if you don’t want to show those part of yourself to other people. You know the second you got to university you were going to sleep with the first woman you found and angst about it for days…”

user posted image
“What?!”

user posted image
“Oh you were, everyone does. Work it out now, please. The world could do with less teenage angst”
QUOTE
As for the recent Chapter, your characterization of Ed feels a bit more like Dom than Ed to me, but Ed as he is in the comic is probably a lot less interesting to write and read about.

http://www.megatokyo.com/index.php?strip_id=560
I loved the idea of Ed talking about Humanity.

That was kind of the point in the way, to show an odd side of Ed. When MT characters appear I tend to put them in strange situations, Ed chilling with a younger protégé, Mami off balance and out of her depth…

Dom is cynical, manipulative, scheming and cold. Ed on the other hand loves life, the passion, the joy… he’s hyperactive, totally mental (He makes… odd connections), and very emotional. Your everyday caring, nice, friendly gamer geek.

He’s kind of based on seeing someone having a long conversation on love before jumping on the computer and loudly proclaiming “Woo! Headshot!”

He’s also a little bit more loony when he’s on the hunt. Adrenalin does odd things to his brain. Ed’s more than a little unstable, he’s totally bloodthirsty one moment and a goddamn philosopher the next. Dom prefers the harder sciences.


Am I going too far up my own ass yet? happy.gif

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 12 2006, 11:12 AM
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Wave Master
Posted: Feb 12 2006, 11:17 AM
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QUOTE (Philweasel @ Feb 12 2006, 11:54 AM)
Am I going too far up my own ass yet? happy.gif

Well, actually, by the end there you were on your way back out. tongue.gif

You were being very profound right up to about...

QUOTE
Noticeable hardening of the nipples, a 2% increase in breast size, the The labia…


...there, at which point I expected Mami to break the fourth wall and add a little emphasais to her previous statement:

QUOTE
The human mind needs a straight jacket. Hedonism isn’t happiness either


But, she just yelled at Brynja, and that was the turning point. happy.gif
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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 12 2006, 01:09 PM
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QUOTE (Wave Master @ Feb 12 2006, 11:17 AM)
Well, actually, by the end there you were on your way back out.   tongue.gif

You were being very profound right up to about...



...there, at which point I expected Mami to break the fourth wall and add a little emphasais to her previous statement:



But, she just yelled at Brynja, and that was the turning point.    happy.gif

Well, Mami was being stubborn. How do you strike a nerve on a straight laced girl like Mami? Start getting Gynaecological (Her mother knows this well) happy.gif

Brynja has a wierd ass sense of humour.

She could be accused of Hedonism, though she has reasons for it and she'll reveal them later in the series. She certainly isn't perfect and the problems behind her philosophy will be quite evident later on. Mami’s right, from a certain point of view it is an excuse for some really unpleasant behaviour, Brynja picking on Mami is a bit unfair as she isn’t really mature enough to argue effectively. I’m sure you guys can pick holes, it kind of relies on a optimistic view of human nature for a start.


And come on, did you know girls breasts enlarged when they're aroused? That's so weird... you learn something every day happy.gif

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 12 2006, 02:16 PM
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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 19 2006, 02:00 AM
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Joined: 30-April 04



Chapter 4 : Creepy Little Girls

Junko had mostly recovered from the night before, amazingly she was actually quite bright and alert though she had slept in a little late. Junko had to admit that her body wasn't all hormone deficiencies and unwanted body hair, it could certainly put itself back together with impressive speed when it wanted to and though she was still unable to lay on her side all her bruises had mostly faded and nothing was providing any serious discomfort. Makoto was right, it was something she had to be thankful for after the beating she had taken, most people would have been hospitalised. Heh heh, and what’s more, she was actually in a good mood! How about that? Miracles did happen... "<Mmm, mmhh hhhmm, mmii, ahem... Ring them bells ye heathen from the city that dreams... ring them bells from the sanctuaries, 'cross the valleys and streams. For they're deep and they're wide, and the world's on its side, and ah time is runnen' backwards and so is the br...>" She paused in her singing as she heard footsteps nearby and sheepishly wondered if they had heard her, Junko really had to stop singing to herself.

It had sounded like the footsteps came from behind her. Junko looked backwards and linked eyes with the young girl, her eyes turning to Junko as she came out of a side street, recognition on her face.

"Mami-San?" Junko smiled as she recognised the girl in turn, falling back a little bit to draw alongside her "You're a bit late aren't you?"
"Oh don't start with me..." Mami paused halfway through her snappy response, looking apologetic as she angled her head at the older girl "Sorry"
"That's ok" Junko chuckled, Mami looked frazzled, her cheeks were flushed and her normally perfect hair was askew, Junko couldn't help a vague suspicion of boy trouble. Mami was smart and no nonsense but it was a notable weakness of hers and the signs were definitely there, still she wouldn't appreciate being second guessed "Are you ok?"
The girl sighed and straightened out, trying to put a little more vigour back in her step as she calmed her mood "I'm just having a difficult morning. Takami's girlfriend is... no, never mind..."
Junko turned, now she was interested "Takami-San has a new girlfriend?"
Mami nodded "She's creepy, and weird... and I think she enjoys it" The girl shook her head, straightening out her back "I shouldn't let it get to me so much, she can date who she wants"
Junko nodded at her but didn't reply, already thinking on this new information. She certainly was happy that Takami had found someone, maybe now she wouldn't be quite so depressing...

"What on earth..."
Junko looked round as Mami muttered under her breath, following her eyes to the two figures ahead and repeating her assertion "Oh... well that's different. Ping-Chan!"
The Android turned round, quickly finding Junko and giving her a little bow before demurely trotting over and opening up in a big smile "Good morning Junko-Sempai"
Mami wasn't listening, too busy being distracted by the other figure, her eyes just staring blankly as she appeared to suffer something close to total mental breakdown. After a few moments of this Yuki finally cracked "What?" She touched her hair lightly, her eyes faintly hostile "I think it's nice"
Mami blinked again before speaking, her voice carefully diplomatic "Yuki. You have blond hair"
Junko looked across at the girl before turning her eyes back to Ping, her eyes moving up to the mane of bright pink that crowned her head. Unlike Mami she decided not to ask "You know Yuki-chan Ping?"
Ping nodded cheerfully "Yuki is my new friend, she saved me from the fat man yesterday. Do you know Yuki-Chan as well Junko-Sempai?"
"We've..."
"...met" Yuki finished the sentence, quickly turning back to Mami "What's wrong with my hair?"
"I haven't said anything yet, it's just... new. I'm sure I'll get used to it" Mami expression belied her true thoughts and Junko couldn't help but agree with her, still Mami decided to leave that alone for now and focus on other, less dangerous topics "Fat man?"
Yuki looked faintly apologetic "It's a long story"

~

The group had split at the gates, Junko unable to help noticing that Ping was standing up straighter as they walked together, it also made her notice that Ping had actually stolen the title of second tallest girl in the class from her, seemingly overnight. It was interesting to see, she wondered what she had been doing the other day "Fat man? Not that guy at the music festival?"
Ping quickly worked out what Junko was referring to, nodding emphatically "Yes, he was following me around, trying to spy on me and Yuki when we were in the baths" Ping gave a huge, adorable smile "Yuki beat him up"
Junko grinned, the image was a good one to be sure "Yuki beat him up? Aiko barely managed a win, how did Yuki-Chan manage that?" Junko had always though Yuki a spoiled rich kid who couldn't throw a punch without breaking a nail, she had a light suspicion that Ping might have helped a bit...
"Oh she was wonderful, she..."
Ping paused and looked past Junko's shoulder, Junko only just realising that someone was behind her before Shizuka breezed past with her normal grace and took Ping's arm "I need to borrow Ping for a moment. I'll bring her right back"
"Bye Junko!"
"Um... ok..."

Shizuka dragged the girl off down the corridor and into a side room, the newly Pingless Junko just deciding to just continue on to class on her own and leave the poor girl to whatever horrible fate their lady and master had concocted. She supposed that someone had told Shizuka about Ping's display on Saturday, in Junko's estimation it made her the second most powerful fighter in the school after Takami and it made sense that Shizuka wanted to sign the required documents for her soul. Junko wasn't too worried, she had learned first hand that the fringe benefits were generally worth it and another member of her class gaining political clout wasn't objectionable either.

Uh, she had spent too much time around Shizuka, she was becoming a politician.


"Good morning Junko-Sempai"
Junko was jolted out of her thoughts by the unexpected greeting, looking around for the source of the voice and finding nothing "Where..."

Someone grabbed her shoulder and Junko whipped round to find Miho standing right next to her, Junko's mouth curling up into a frown "Ha ha, because acting like a cocky bitch is fun"
"Aren't we venomous today?" Miho tried to look friendly, backing away and adopting an open stance "<Someone appears to have misappropriated your hired muscle in an arrangement of sexual congress. You should keep a closer watch on your minions>"
Junko snorted at her, and people said SHE was pretentious "<And I hear your cheerful little sycophant had some trouble with obese voyeurs yesterday. Maybe you should keep better watch on yours>"
Miho seemed to look at something behind her for a moment before turning those unsettling yellow eyes back on Junko, her wry smile sharper than any knife "Not satisfied with insulting just me Junko-Sempai?" She placed a finger on her chin "And Ping speaks so highly of you. Poor girl, damned just for being my friend"
Junko was momentarily abashed by Miho's attack but certainly not in the mood to back down against the girl anytime soon, nor let Miho use Ping against her "Ok, lets amuse your ego for a moment. So someone in the class is having sex, and I should care why? Big fucking deal, I know four people in the class who are in sexual relationships already, it's none of my business"
Miho looked amused at her words, a cunning little wrinkle of the nose as she softly berated her "Oh Junko-Sempai, there are impressionable youths about. You should watch your mouth"
Junko leaned forward, her face cold "And that doesn't include you or Ping. I don't even want to know what you get up to. Now get out of my way"


Junko shoved past her and continued into the classroom with a foul expression, Miho watching her go before crossing her arms as Ping walked over to her side. She turned a friendly eye to the android "What did Shizuka-Sempai want?"
"She just wanted to welcome me to the school. She was very nice, she gave me some sweets" Ping looked faintly upset, pausing for a moment before speaking in a much softer voice "Why do you and Junko-Sempai fight so much? You're both so nice to me, it makes me sad..."
Miho seemed to become slightly depressed at Ping's observation, gently lowering herself against the wall as Ping quickly moved to her side, taking her arm and lowering her eyes in concentration. Miho just watched for a moment before fixing Ping with a pair of intense eyes, her expression filled with regret "It's not her fault Ping, Junko merely likes everything in it's rightful place, she dislikes individuality. However hard I try it appears I will never fit into her well oiled little machine. I think she's afraid I will break it"
Ping nodded in understanding "That's what she said to me..." She stepped away and clenched her fists, looking surprisingly angry as her head came up with a powerful flash of her silver eyes "Do you hate Junko-Sempai?"
"No. There's not much point" Miho looked away "But Junko hates me. She is good at hating people, look at Largo-Sensai. She even insulted you back there, I think the chances of her becoming my friend are rather poor"
"Then I'll make her, I... I don't think Junko is a bad person. Is Junko a bad person? It's not nice to hate people" Ping looked hopefully at Miho but the girl said nothing, her face inscrutable.

Ping sighed, looking firmly defeated as he let her head fall... squeaking as she was enveloped in a massive hug "Hey Ping-Chan, what's with the sad face! And with that colourful hair and all..."
Ping looked upwards, a smile returning to her face and all worries fading in an instant "Good morning Taiya-Chan, did you have a nice weekend?"
"Very nice, thank you" Taiya let go of the girl and moved round her, eyes turning to Miho now "And what about you Miho-San, what pleasant activities did you get up to?"
Miho gave an enigmatic look "I was keeping our great teacher Largo company. He's in a bit of a mix, poor child" She waved a hand to Taiya "You look like you slept well. Bright and invigorated for the days events?"
Taiya couldn't help giggling, she WAS in a good mood it seemed, even appreciating the company of Miho "Insomnia is no fun at all" She ran her eyes across Miho's body and smirked slightly "Not that you would know anything about that, I doubt you have any trouble finding a comfortable place to sleep"
Miho gave a half smile at Takami's veiled complement "You'd be surprised"
"See!" Ping waved at the two of them, looking sweetly hopeful all of a sudden "See, you two are being nice to each other, that's a great start!"
Taiya shot Miho a grin "What do you know, we are. Enjoy this good mood while it lasts"
"I intend to"

~

"Well, the Ivalases reputation is well deserved"
"There must be a way to open it without breaking whatever's inside"
"With a diamond drill maybe but I, ah, don't have one on me" Kasuro drew away from the briefcase, Aiko pouting as she sat on a sofa with her hair down. This was one of their safehouses, one of the more secure ones even if its creature comforts were a little lacking, now they sat here and tried to work out how to get into the briefcase that they had near got shot for "We're not going to be able to open this"
Aiko rolled her eyes "So we just leave it? None of your ideas ever work, I got shot for that!”
“Hey hey!” Kasuro quickly waved her down, he didn’t need her ragging on him too “Look, I’m not going to abandon it, even more so now. Judging by the amount of heat we’re getting it must be worth a lot…”
“So how are we going to get it open?”

Kasuro thought to himself, none of the options he had in mind really avoided the basic problem of people shooting at them. Sony didn’t hold grudges generally but as long as he had something of theirs he was a target “We can’t go through the family, Yul Kaitaro would kill us for this stunt…”
Aiko pouted “He’s going to kill us anyway! At least it won’t be literal!”
Kasuro paled, not being entirely sure of that. They had so many enemies that it wouldn’t be hard to have them quietly shot to death and have it blamed on someone else “No… no. I know a guy, who could get this thing open. Look, he hangs around Ameyoko market, if we can just get there…”
Aiko stood up and looked down at her pistol “Um… getting all the way to Ueno? Can I have a bigger gun?” She gave a doubtful look “Like a anti-tank rifle?”
Kasuro sighed, she always had to cause a fuss… “Look… I’ll see if I can call up some backup…” He took out his phone and sighed “If we don’t want to go through the family our options are kinda limited…”

Aiko suddenly started to laugh, Kasuro looking at her in amazement as she chuckled madly and banged her gun against her leg. Finally she straightened out, flicking out her phone and punching in a number “Have no fear, Aiko-Chan has a great idea…”

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 19 2006, 06:35 AM
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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 25 2006, 06:52 AM
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Not a Pedophile
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Joined: 30-April 04



Chapter 5 : The Mother of all Fuckups

This might be the best part of the day for her, the one uplifting moment when she entered the classroom at the start of the day and felt even her irritation over Miho fade, powerless before the sheer peaceful thrill of belonging. They bustled, they fought and Junko felt an overwhelming maternal affection towards them all, it appears Ryu had been on the money when he mentioned that she would make a good mother. She already was one.

And speaking of Ryu...
"Hey Izumi-San!" The boy launched himself across the classroom and grabbed at a pile of papers their class administrator was carrying, just stopping it from toppling over. As he steadied the pile he smiled at Izumi, currently looking amusingly tiny compared to the towering stack she was trying to carry "That pile is bigger than you, you're going to kill yourself carrying it around on your own"
Junko had to laugh at Izumi's expression, Ryu was pressed against her and true to form she was blushing from head to toe, looking around for rescue "Yoko should be here soon..."
"Oh come on, do a guy a favour"
She blinked, confused at Ryu's statement "A favour?"
Makoto grinned from across the room, heartily amused by the scene "He wants to carry your books. He's a dumb heterosexual male, he gets off on that stuff"

Izumi looked at him for a second before nodding and letting him take some of the papers off the stack, Ryu balancing them in his hands before leaning in "See, was that so... ow!"
Izumi kicked him hard in the shin, pouting hard for a moment before waving him on with a sulky expression and a heavy blush. Ryu shrugged and started after her before noticing Junko, giving her a sheepish grin "Hey Junko!"
She smirked at the boy "Do you ever stop flirting?"
"Heh, don't listen to Makoto-San, I'm just making myself useful"
"Right. It's on your head if you cause yourself trouble Ryu-san" Junko had to chuckle, still Ryu needed a beating down sometimes. He really didn't learn from his mistakes with Takami, he had flirted with her once too often and she had thought he really liked her, Izumi falling into the same trap was the last thing she needed. I mean, Ryu was her best friend and all but she wouldn't hold back for a moment if he hurt Izumi-San, considering her boy-phobia it was possible that she would never look at one again.
"Come on, we're going to be late!"
"Oh... coming Izumi-San. See you later Junko"
She just sighed and tapped him on the shoulder as he went past "Be good Ryu, don't make me kick your ass"

"And the wanderer returns!"
Ah, Junko was waiting for this. She knew she deserved it though "Yeah, I'm sorry"
Makoto walked over and slapped her over the back of the head with a quick jerk of his arm "You wander off without a word to your friends and you don't even have the decency to turn on your phone. Aiko had no idea where you were either, she said she left you at the club"
"Sorry"
His face fell at her repeated apologies and Junko did feel a little sorry for him, she had been very selfish to just go off and leave them without any word. In truth she had been scared something would slip out about Aiko if she had spoken to them, she didn't want to have worried Makoto "My phone was out of batteries"
"Liar" Makoto gave a soft, sad sigh and inclined his eyes up at her "Did we annoy you that much?"
Junko felt really bad now, she sounded like a right bitch and felt a little like one to boot "I... just wasn't feeling very sociable" She sighed, well that was true at least... "Midori took me home"
"Midori? What was she doing there?"
"No idea. She said she was taking a walk"
"Midori, doing exercise?"

Junko shook her head and shrugged, Midori was indeed slow as lead and a little bulky around the waist, however after tasting their mother's cooking she wasn't surprised. The woman was from the Yanaki school of mothers, her constant provision of large amounts of good healthy food breeding people who were forced to exercise and who were generally built like tanks "Just because you're metabolically conditioned to be a skinny runt"
"Hey, that hurts Junko . Look at me, my psyche has been deeply scarred, I don't know how I'll recover"
Junko smiled softly at him before turning as Takami came in, swiftly followed by Ping and Miho. The three appeared to be chatting amiably, she wished she could hear what they were saying but they were a little too far away and the class was too noisy, still Takami appeared to be in a VERY good mood. Rather friendly with Miho too, didn't they hate each other? Junko was under the impression that Takami hated the girl even more than Junko did, still there they were, Takami leaning down at Miho with a wry look, Miho responding with one of her usual seductive flourishes... wait a second...

Takami had mentioned Miho as a possible romantic partner for Junko on Saturday, Ping too come to think about it, she had been getting rather friendly with the girl the other day. Her social circle was hardly extensive, she didn't think Takami had made arrangements to go out with anyone from the class yesterday and who else was there? She didn't go out to clubs or anywhere like that without external influence so where had she managed to pick up a girlfriend? "Makoto...?"
"Hmm?"
"I think Takami's sleeping with Miho"
"Wha... ah... ahahahahahaha!"
"Stop that! I'm serious!"
"Aha, aha, ahahahahahaha!"
"Makoto!"

~

Junko cheerlessly flicked the soccer ball upwards with her foot, bouncing it off her knee before striking it up again with a flip of her ankle, using her boobs to lever the ball onto her head with impressive skill, especially since she didn't really seem to be concentrating. She was trying to concentrate as it took her mind off the game currently in progress upon the sports field a short distance away, wincing as she watched the opponent scoring yet another goal. Her class was getting massacred and here she was playing keepy uppy, it just wasn't fair. She was doing fine, it was more painful to watch that it would ever be to play.
Needing something to burn off her frustration she knocked the ball into the sky with a quick header and took it in her hands as it came down, running at the basketball hoop on the wall and leaping up. Her hand moved to slam the ball straight into the hoop, a perfect slam dunk... "Acheh!"
The ball bounced away, Junko falling against the wall cradling her side and right arm, biting her lip at the pain. Ok… ouch… that didn't prove anything, just a stitch...

"You ok Junko?"
She looked across at Makoto as he rounded the wall, nodding limply as she continued to hold herself "I... just pulled a muscle, that's all. Should have stretched my arms before reaching like that..."
He chuckled at her but didn't comment, just looking out across the pitch as another roar sounded out "You do know Izumi would kill for exemption from sports don't you?"
"I'm not Izumi..." Junko shot him a nasty look "And it's rather strange how they know about my broken rib isn't it?"
"Hey it's nothing to do with me! It wasn't Ryu either, Midori must have said something" Makoto shrugged before squinting at the pitch "Where's Yoko?"
"Sent off. Again. Karate kicking other players isn't really fair play"
Makoto winced "The girls of our class are having a soccer match against Class B, nastiest and most deadly class in the school... without you, Aiko or Yoko?"
"..."
"What's the score?"
"I don't even want to know"
"Oh don’t be so pessmistic, Takami and Ping are still out there..."
Junko nodded in frustration "Midori's in goal and Hikaru's in defence, that should make you pause before we've even started... goddamnit" Call it another instance of her pride bubbling up but she did have a hefty competitive streak and though her doctors had told her to hold off the exercise sports was still her favourite lesson. She hated losing…

Makoto smiled and walked over to her side, moving behind the woman and embracing her "Well, it's not Aiko healing hand but..." He moved his hand under her gym shirt and gently massaged the injured area, Junko wincing for a second before submitting gratefully to his ministrations. After a second she couldn’t help but smile "Come on Makoto-San, get on with it"
Makoto chuckled “Am I that obvious? Guess so…” He took a deep breath and placed both hands against her stomach, moving to her ear "Sorry Junko, it's actually about Aiko-Chan. You see after she left you last night she went off with her brother..."
Junko listened quietly, not mentioning that Junko had basically let her go. Better that he believed she didn't know anything about it, even if Junko had been powerless to stop her leaving she had a suspicion that Makoto would be angry about her not telling him immediately "Let me guess, she got shot at?"
"Yeah..."
"She's ok?"
Makoto nodded, wry affection in his voice "Skippy does get in trouble a lot doesn't she? Her little stunt last night has complicated things but I think it actually works for us in the long run..."
Junko was getting annoyed now, she hated being left in the dark and Makoto was obviously hiding something "What stunt? Makoto, you're not helping my mood so if you want me to give you my blessing or something..."
He let her go, bowing his head and moving away as he tried to explain "Ok, sorry... Aiko's brother stole something important from Sony, she's got hold of it now. She called to ask if I would like to go with her to the Ameyoko market after school to do some shopping, maybe taking Taiya-Chan and Ping?"
Junko's eyes narrowed, typical Aiko. She would have led them straight into trouble to protect her own skin, not even telling them what they were getting into "She's got some sort of fence there and she's hoping Takami and Ping will protect her"
"Exactly" Makoto fixed her with a look, a slight smile on his face "Let's spring this trap"

Junko took a deep breath, so this was it was it? From the first moment that someone had taken a shot at Ping she had been wondering when someone would grow an ego and propose taking the battle to their aggressors, figuring it would be one of the boys "No. Sony is a company, sooner or later the profit to cost ratio on hurting Ping will go in the other direction and they'll lose interest" She crossed her arms firmly across her chest "Doing something to piss them off further would not be wise. What, you're going to take the whole company down?"


Makoto took a deep breath as he looked Junko over, he knew she would argue. Junko took advice like a bitter poison and was too afraid of failing and getting someone hurt to take any risks at all... with the lives of other people anyway. Her stunt back at the music festival had said it all, given the opportunity she would rather go in alone than take any of her far better qualified friends with her "Junko, this is a way to speed up that cost profit slide, plus if we capture one of the assassins I know my sister would love to speak with them. They're already wanted for reckless endangerment of civilians after the plasma cannon stunt"
"Oh yes, lets capture one of the highly trained, heavily armed assassins! What's your plan, getting Takami to punch them in the face? They're armed to take down Ping!"

"<Jumpei understand L33T disciple's misgivings>" Junko jumped a mile as the deep voice sounded out behind her, turning to look up at the towering form of their teacher’s pet ninja "<Should trust L33T master's wisdom. Knows there danger, still, more danger to sit and wait>"
"<Hmm, it's dangerous to send you into battle alone before I have taught you the proper skills, still I have analysed the enemies tactics and they clearly rely too much upon brute force>"
"Oh god no..."
Great teacher Largo strode across the sports field with his hands in his pockets, the right arm of his t-shirt burned off and a big bandage winding it's way from his shoulder to his elbow, he also sported a rather fetching field dressing about his head "<Because you are young they presume you n00bs and fail to prepare proper tactics. If you form a strike team of the most experienced warriors and hit them hard...>"
Makoto smiled and struck a pose at Junko "High scores and mad points"
Junko looked at them each in turn, what was this? Testosterone addicts anonymous? "<And what 'L33T' strike team is this? Captain America here, skippy the drug addict and Ping nice but dim? They'll have murdered each other before you get within three miles of any opponents>"

Makoto had to frown now, moving closer to Junko so they could talk more privately "Hey Junko, you on your period or something? I'm offering a suggestion..."
"Oh yeah, I believe you" She waved at Jumpei and Largo "You've already fucking organised this thing, I knew that self doubt yesterday was too much to ask, you... wait a second..."
"Junko..."
Her expression became accusatory, placing her hands on her hips and glaring at the boy "Is this about that test you were talking about? Is this part of your test?"
Makoko wavered for a second before carefully nudging her accusation aside "Look, Largo-Sensai is right, we have the perfect advantage. Taiya-chan, Hiratai-San, Ping-Chan... they're all schoolkids, yet well capable of taking down that woman yesterday. We take along Aiko's brother and Jumpei and any opponents are going to concentrate on them, it will give us the perfect opportunity to open up a sneak attack"
"Makoto, you're talking about sending schoolkids into battle against trained assassins!"
"And you know they can handle it!" Makoto shouted out, getting noticeably angry now "Taiya-Chan and Hiratai-San are top of their field, take those three guys yesterday! Jumpei can easily handle Haruki, me and Aiko are a match for his goon squad and Taiya and Ping could flatten Ryoko without so much as breaking a sweat. That's not even including Hiratai or Aiko's brother"
Junko's face didn't soften "<No, this is ridiculous>"
"Junko!"
"NO!" She swept her hand down "You think I'm going to let you take members of MY class out on some damn fool raid on an unknown opponent in unknown conditions, not mentioning they have absolutely no experience in this sort of thing?!"
"Oh, is that it? Your class huh?" Makoto got up in her face, Junko going to push him away before he clutched her wrists tight enough to hurt, holding them in place "I already asked the people I'm intending to send, they all said yes. But I suppose their opinions don't well matter to you do they? Face it, the only reason you're opposing this is because you'll feel bad if someone got hurt, if it was you with the ability to make a difference you would be in there already, alone, getting yourself killed without a thought to how that would make us feel"

Jumpei had stopped translating some time ago and deciding this had gone on long enough he took hold of the students shoulders and forced them apart, a long soulful stare discouraging any further confrontation "Jumpei feel there worthier enemies to fight"


Junko was seemingly glad for his intervention, backing away and falling into a more submissive stance, her face emotional as she turned her head aside "I'm going..."
Makoto also regretted his anger, though he was loath to show it. Was this her price then? He knew better than to think she would budge, still... "Junko, you're hurt"
She chuckled, her whole body shaking as she wiped her hand across her eyes "Afraid I'm going to take on three men twice my size again? No thanks, been there, done that... got the broken ribs" She looked up and smiled, one of those heart-warmingly genuine flashes that came far too rarely to the girl "I'm not a fighter, I'm a thinker. No offence but muscle squad X might need one"
Makoto couldn't help being dubious, Junko was tough but she had simply been a liability on Saturday, she had neither the training nor the natural talent for him to be confident in her suitability to enter what could well be a deadly situation "Junko, please. No one would ever forgive me if I got you hurt"
She bowed cheekily "<"Still, I know of no higher fortitude than stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds">" Her green eyes flashed "In other words, suck it"
He couldn't help smiling "Fine. I'll..." He paused, one last trace of regret crossing his face before he walked over to her side and touched her arm "Look, I… we'll talk later ok?"
"Sure Makoto"

He walked away and Junko just stood for a few moments before turning to her great teacher Largo, the man regarding her right back. This went on for a few seconds before Junko broke their wordless exchange "Are you willing to take the blame if someone gets hurt?"

Largo looked down at her, their green eyes matched against each other for a couple of moments before he smirked and turned his head upwards "<And if they succeed I take the credit for that too?>"
"<You wish, if they do succeed it will be down to them, I...>" Junko paused, ok, that was a fair point... becoming even grimmer and fixing him with a glare "<You're supposed to be the responsible adult you know? You've done nothing but get us into trouble since you got here>"
Largo walked over to the side of the track, scuffing one of the chalk boundaries with his toe "<Hmph, how much can you truly learn from lines?>"
Junko snorted "<We're not going to learn much by being killed either. At least lines don't pull your heart through your chest if you cross them>" Junko was being sarcastic but still, the comment hit home. Was she over protective? Makoto seemed to think so, to be honest Junko probably would have gone off alone if she thought she had a good chance of succeeding "<Tell a secret? I honestly don't think they can handle it, I think that to a man they're arrogant, childish and only half as skilled as they think they are>"

Largo gave her a big grin, a rather mocking one but Junko felt that in some strange way it implied a measure of respect that represented quite an achievement. He kept it for a moment, another of his pauses lingering in the air before he spoke "<This class has an impressive variety of high starting attributes; it would be wasteful to deny them the chance to level up to their full potential>"
"<Oh shut up...>"
He placed his hands in his pockets and turned away, seeming to be obeying her order for a moment before speaking, a strong element of mockery in his voice "<No one likes an experience hog... or a muchkin>" He smirked "<You take games far too seriously, takes all the fun out. You always play to be the best, forget to enjoy yourself>"

Junko sighed. Jerk, he didn’t know what he was talking about… "<What happened with your girl trouble anyway? Out of interest>"
Largo paused... for a while... before adopting an arrogant look "<I just needed to study them for weaknesses, Piro keeps making them all weepy and I needed to know to counter those sort of attacks>"
"<Oh. Why would you want to know that?>"
"<Dude, it's irritating>" He considered for a second before adding further "<And wet>"

Junko chuckled, she couldn't imagine what sort of girl would get all weepy over Largo but at the very least she could say goodbye to the position of 'person with the worst taste in men ever' "<You're not very good at relationships are you?>"
"<Relationships are for losers like Piro. Girls are dangerous>"
"<Uhuh. What about me?>"
"<Nah, you're cool. You're just like a guy>"
"<Thanks>" Junko accepted the complement with a smile, looking over his bandaged arm "How did you hurt your arm anyway? Is this girl really that scary?"
Largo looked dismissively at his bandaged arm "<Hmm? Oh, took a glancing hit with a plasma cannon, nothing major>"
"<Nothing...>" Junko blinked in confusion before turning on him angrily "<A plasma cannon shot would have taken your arm off and cooked the rest of your body instantly!>"
"<No way>" He struck a pose and nodded firmly to her "<I have mad hitpoints>"
"<You have severe emotional problems>"

Largo looked to the left for a moment before nodding to Junko “<Duck>” She was just about to question him before a football thudded into her head and knocked her flying “<Told you>”
“Aiya! Are you ok Junko-Sempai!”
“<Begone evil construction of darkness, I am full aware of your cunning plan to assassinate my lieutenants>”
“Oh Largo-Sensai, I think I’ve killed Junko-Sempai!”
“Nah don’t worry, she’s got a very hard head”
__________________________________

Ok, I think that’s it for the random gratuitous cameos. For now

Junko exists for pain

Writing Largo is incredibly intimidating

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 25 2006, 07:18 AM
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Philweasel
Posted: Feb 26 2006, 02:23 PM
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I will never mock Fred for leaving out brackets again happy.gif


This could have done with quite a bit of clean up actually but... eh... giant infodump chapter that never really came together properly. The next one should be much easier, I can start moving the plot now.

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Feb 26 2006, 02:26 PM
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Philweasel
Posted: Mar 4 2006, 08:34 AM
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Sorry for how long this chapter is...


Chapter 6 : Setting out the Pieces

And so finally Taiya realised what Junko was talking about. She had never realised she could do this, feel this, maybe because she had been scared of other people for so long that she had never allowed herself to. But now she couldn’t get enough, Junko’s arrogance was about to get a wake up call, lets see her do this! “Come on, we’ve got them on the run!”
There was a roar and the girls of the class charged, Taiya flicking the ball away from the captain of the opposing team and sprinting down the soccer pitch, striking the ball hard to the left as three players closed on her, the ball thudding down in front of Hikaru. Taiya’s concentration was tight but she was still managing it, willing Hikaru as much of her strength as she could spare while studying the other teams movements, feeding them to the rest of the team along with her plan to cut them off, amazed as they actually followed her non-verbal commands. Guess she was more powerful than she thought…
Hikaru kicked at the ball and it flew straight into the feet of another of Class B’s players, the girl looking amused for a tiny second before Ping took it out from under her and struck it away, Miho coming forward and taking the ball as it arced gracefully into her path. Taiya was impressed as the girl weaved and dodged, Miho was actually quite good… and then Miho kicked out and the ball was flying again, Taiya sprinting forward…

The ball hit the back of the net with a supersonic crack, the goalkeeper not even realising Taiya had moved.


“That was incredible, I’ve never seen them play that well!” Junko was the first to greet Taiya as she came off the pitch, her mouth still hanging open in raw amazement “I’ve never got Miho and Izumi to do so much as move, Miho was actually playing well…”
Taiya grinned arrogantly, now this was going to be fun “Looks like you were right Junko, all I had to do was try. Guess I’m quite good at this sport stuff huh?”
“Oh please, don’t be so arrogant” Junko waved at the other girls in the class, currently laying half dead upon the grass having complete asthmatic collapse “It’s easy for you, they’re the real heroes today. They must have put everything they had into that match…”

Taiya’s face quickly soured, typical Junko, even in her moment of glory… yeah, it was easy for Taiya, so big and powerful that she didn’t deserve praise for her victories. Was praise preserved for the weak then? “You always moan at me for being hard on myself, now I’m arrogant?”


“No, it’s just…” Junko paused, she hadn’t meant to insult Taiya, for all the girl’s new confidence her ego was still as fragile as ever “I’m sorry Takami-san, you did very well”
Taiya didn’t answer, just shoving Junko out of the way and continuing towards the changing rooms, Junko catching her balance and rubbing her bruised arm “Dear Christ, all I said was…” She turned to look at Miho as the girl came up behind her “I didn’t know you could even play”
Miho smiled cutely, straightening out her hair “Guess I like Taiya-San more”
“I bet…”

~

“As you can see, they have rather a long rap sheet”
The view screen flickered and changed, Springer looking through the holographic image that filled most of his office and observing the girls reactions as she studied the various different photographs that were spread across it’s surface “Penny for your thoughts?”
Kusanagi nodded and the screen changed again, showing pictures of Aiko the other night, in the hospital after her shooting, pictures from her surgery, her with the other members of her family… all swinging up around that main image as Kusanagi pointed out her medical records “Look at this. Lame in one leg, almost blind in one eye, history of illness when she was younger… and she’s a freaking pro athlete and martial arts master. Ha, and she didn’t make things easy, she shot herself in the leg when she was nine and then just a few years ago, six more bullet wounds. And look at that… we have something in common” Kusanagi paused for a moment, her face growing slightly sad as she placed a hand on her stomach “Not much of a woman any more… not that you would understand”
She gave Springer an ugly look, getting a smile in return as Stringer’s mouth curled upwards “I hope you’re not looking to bond. You should hate her all the more, what you never had she squandered, look further at her medical notes”
Kusanagi did, soon seeing what he had meant, “Stupid little jap slut... no, I’m not looking to bond, actually she’s managed to piss me off. But why don’t you just send Ed, as fun as it would be I have got much better things to do than murder Aiko the wonderwhore here”

Stringer smiled and zoomed out one of the images to reveal a picture of the class, pointing out two of the other students “Hiroshi and Midori Jomon, they were the ones young Junko was chasing”
Kusanagi looked up “Junko?”
“The operative you were with? Red hair, attitude problem?”
Kusanagi nodded and looked back at the picture “She told me her name was Edna…” She seemed to go dead for a second, just staring into space “I detect something strong around this class… a tug… a tearing… they are apart from their destiny, they have been torn from their rightful path by someone” Her lip rose in a sneer as her eyes refocused “But why?”
“Well that’s what you’re going to find out” Stringer smiled “You’re to get back the device Lei Wong and her brother stole from us. She’ll be bringing it to the market to fence, taking members of her class with her for protection and simply telling them it’s a day out. They will know however and they will be counting on Aiko and the android to draw us out of hiding”
Kusanagi didn’t bother to ask where he had got this information “I can handle some schoolkids”

Springer laughed at her show of arrogance “You won’t need to hopefully, just whoever is guarding the case. And no killing…” He nodded knowingly “…unless a certain someone turns up to protect her brood”
“You think she will?” Kusnangi crossed her arms, it seemed like too simple a plan and she didn’t trust Stringer. He was playing something, some kind of angle and she didn’t like the feeling that she was being manipulated here. The fact that his mind was as ironwalled as ever didn’t help either, she liked to know what other people were thinking and with him she just got that enigmatic smile to go on “It’s an obvious trap and personally I’m not too keen on walking alone into a playing field where all the pieces are my opponents’”
Stringer shook his head quickly “Oh no, don’t worry about that” He smiled and waved his hand in her direction “You’ll have a full team backing you up, they’ll take care of the class and leave you to do your thing, you’ll also have young Edna providing cover as before. In fact I have to give said operative her own, slightly less information intense briefing so if you would like to go and prepare, I doubt you would find it very interesting”
Why not, she could just cull it from Edna’s mind later on “Fine. But don’t cross me Springer, you might be the Chairman but I have a lot more friends in high places”
He just nodded as she turned and strode towards the door, suddenly calling out as she was just about to exit the room “Don’t let your power blind you Diana, things are rarely what they seem”
Kusanagi snarled under her breath “Likewise you arrogant old bastard…”

~

Ping took the blade in her hands and admired her reflection for a moment, her grey eyes staring right back at her from its steely surface. She looked up at the bathroom mirror and saw the same eyes, her unbuttoned jacket on the sink beside her, the arm of her shirt pulled up to her elbow, her expression wavering and unsure... she brought the blade down and slashed a line through her arm, wincing as a little trickle of blood dripped out "Ow..."
She stared at the blood, admiring how real it looked before dropping the blade into the sink with a clatter and turning to look at the girl who had just entered the bathroom, now frozen at the door. She was a first year and looked clearly terrified, her gaze flashing between the knife and the wound before looking up into Ping's glassy, confused eyes "Are you ok?"
Ping nodded and turned back to the sink, turning on the tap and washing the blood off the knife before pushing her finger across the wound, leaving just a thin red line. Completely ignoring the other girl she then proceeded to role down her sleeve and rebutton her jacket, sweeping out of the bathroom without even acknowledging she was there. The girl could only stare in amazement.

Ping had only moved down the corridor for a little way before a smile returned to her face, her whole countenance warming up and her body moving back into the trademark Ping saunter, totally casual as she took the knife out of her pocket "I should take this back..."
"Ping-Chan!"
Ping turned and gave a regal little bow as she recognised the woman "Hello Taiya-San"
Taiya paused at Ping's very formal and restrained language before shaking it off and getting back to the point, repeating what she had just heard from Makoto "Did you agree to Ko-ko-Chan's plan?"
"Makoto-San? Yes. Ping won't stand around" At these words Ping instantly moved out of her demure stance, taking a far more aggressive one and stabbing her finger at Taiya's chest aggressively. Taiya had to step backwards as Ping's voice moved into a shout "I'm not going to let any of my friends get hurt! Those nasty men hurt Junko to get at me, I'm not going to let that happen anymore!"
Taiya-San looked about the corridor for some sense of normalcy to cling to in the face of Ping's odd behaviour, deciding in the end just to confront it "Wow, winning that game really went to your head... or is Pink hair shorthand for 'Determined Warrior Ping-Chan?'"

Ping's body flopped and her eyes lost their steely glare, the girl looking a little sad as she walked over to the window, placing her hands against the wall and looking out at the city "Junko defended me, you all did. I'm going to make everything right again, I'm going to stop the people who are trying to hurt my friends and I'm going to make Junko-Sempai's class whole again"
Taiya paused once again, the cogs in her head slowly turning. Wow, she liked this new Ping, she was cool, she was... well, she was certainly enjoying her company on a number of levels "Well... good for you" Taiya mused for a moment about how lame that sounded before continuing with a grin "I think we're going to make a pretty good team Ping-Chan, I mean let's see what opponent can stop both of us" Taiya banged her hands together and gestured at the girl "Hey, we've still got a little time, what do you say we skip the last class and get in some training"
Ping blinked "Training?"
Taiya nodded "Yeah, I saw you yesterday. You're strong and tough but you don't flow, you just react to your opponent. You have to get your opponent to react to you, it's kind of like a game of chess"
"It is?"
Taiya sent her fist shooting out, Ping grabbing her wrist and stopping it just short of her target... before looking down at the knife hand strike paused just before her eyes. Taiya smiled and brought her hand back "The individual moves don't matter, it's all about positioning yourself for the final blow. Do you want me to teach you?"
Ping looked up at Taiya with milky eyes and a black expression for a moment before nodding firmly and looking determined “Ping-Chan want’s to be strong like Taiya-Sensai! I want to learn all you can teach me!”
“Uh… yeah…” Taiya thought Ping should really lay off the LSD but hey, Taiya-Sensai… it certainly had a ring to it…

~

Edna carefully checked each of the straps on her combat gear in turn, gently tapping each section of her armour to make sure the plates were in alignment and making minor changes as necessary. Apparently she would only be running interference on this mission, backing up the 'combat elements'. Missions where she wasn't a combat element made her nervous "Hey, whitey. What's a combat element if not me?"
Kusanagi seemed as worried as her, pacing the floor nervously as she read over the mission briefing "It wouldn't be a SPMRD operative or I would know, that means it's either one of Dr Chubachi's androids, one of Springer's personal goons or an outside contractor"
"Which is more scary?"
Kusnanagi placed the mission briefing down and took a pistol off the shelf, twirling it absentmindedly "Stringer collects strange individuals, bound to him through personal loyalty. The truly powerful generally have little use for money but loyalty is a commodity that is always in great demand. It affords him some powerful men"
"More powerful than you?"
"Don't be ridiculous" She snarled out the retort before placing a hand against her chin "Still, more equal than most"

Edna took in the information and looked Kusanagi up and down, she was one again dressed in a baggy T-shirt and jeans with her panda skin coat over the top, for someone who hated Americans she sure dressed like one "Why do you wear stuff like that?"
Kusanagi looked up in surprise before an angry look took her face, proceeding to ignore the girl with a wave of her hand. Oooh, looks like she had hit a sore spot, cry me a river... Edna couldn't help noticing said hand however, it was marked with obvious blue vanes and discoloured skin, the flesh wrinkling and cracked. Kusanagi noticed her attention and looked down herself, gritting her teeth and taking a white glove out of the pocket of her fur coat, slipping it over her fingers. Edna gave a questioning eye "You ok?"
"Just get on with your preparations doggy"
"Fine..." Edna decided to leave it, going into choosing her guns instead. A twin pair of Heckler & Koch MP7 machine pistols, two Springfield Armory XD-9 pistols as back up and her customised AutoMag 'Ping killer'. She slipped the clip out and replaced the first bullet with the one Ed had given her, reloading the weapon and placing it in her side holster. Yeah, she wasn't supposed to engage Ping but just in case the girl wandered into her sights...
"What are you going to do with all that weaponry, conqure asia?"
"We can't all kill people with our brains..."

~

Hiratai stood in the gardens, balanced on rows of wooden blocks, his bokken clutched in his hands.
Patience. The way of the true warrior. All things reveal their cracks in time and a battle is a thing of life or death. Waiting for that moment where your foe loses control of his destiny to you, giving you the right over his very existence. And as it is in battle, so is it in life. Patience, for the answer to all things comes in time.
He struck the air in front of him, tap tap, slash, strike! The bokken blurring, his feet nimble dancing across the wooden blocks as one of them toppled over and nearly dropped him before he regained his balance. But he couldn't pause, sending a backwards stab flying out before somersaulting through the air...

Landing cleanly on the blocks, only wobbling for a moment.
"Are you sure you should be tiring yourself out Master Katashi?"
Hiratai placed the bokken back into his belt and took a deep breath to centre himself, stepping down off the wooden blocks "Making sure the techniques are fresh in my mind" He turned and looked down at the man who had spoken, about twenty years of age with long brown hair and a nervous, slightly feminine face "You were quick"
The man smiled and presented Hiratai's Katana, watching as his master drew the steel from it scabbard and inspected the blade with his harsh eye "Are you planning on using that?"
"Possibly"
"You will be careful won't you Master Katashi?" The man gave him a reproachful look "You have been reckless of late"
Hiratai nodded at the sword, flawless as always. He might well be facing some of Ping's brothers and sisters today so he had to be sure it would cut. "I don't have time to show off, I'm looking after the children today" He kicked one of the wooden blocks into the air and swept his blade round, carving it in two. Good, clean cut, continuing to talk as he placed the blade away again "Plus I'm running blind. Any further information Naoki?"
The man gave a soft nod of his head before taking out a personal computer and dancing his fingers across the buttons, calling up the information required before offering it to Hiratai "Look at those figures, Sony have expanded a lot of effort on finding young Ping-chan, Sir Howard Springer himself is in charge of the operation and both Dr Chubachi and Miss Kusanagi have donated resources"
"So why haven't they come down on us hard? Why only singular operatives?"

"Rats in a maze?"
Hiratai’s hands tightened on the datapad "Would require a research team, not three senior managers" He shook his head, he couldn't help feeling something on the horizon, something huge and dangerous and just beyond his vision, something shadowed and coming from unexpected directions. And it carried his death with it, he could smell its stench "What is it about Ping? Is she a vital piece in a larger game or a game itself?"
Naoki had been waiting for this question “Master Katashi, there's something else. I looked and looked but I can't find anything concrete on Ping's construction at all, the adverts in the industry magazines are obvious lies..."
"She has an aura"
"What?"

Hiratai locked his assistants gaze with a pair of intense eyes before turning away and wandering through the paths of the garden, stroking his hand across the rose bush that stood beside and feeling its thorns slide harmlessly across his fingers "She has an aura, water aspected"
Naoki couldn't hide his surprise at this revelation "She's alive?"
"Either there's a human brain in there or Sony have some new tricks" Hiratai brought his hand back, a tiny sliver of blood on the tip of his thumb "I think she's suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, knowing more than she's letting on but blocking it out to spare her sanity. But ultimately I am unsure, as I noted before I am flying blind"
Naoki digested this new data before bowing apologetically "I apologise for my lack of concrete information, I have recently discovered that her owner before Largo-San was a man named Tubusa, I am currently attempting to track him down. In the meantime..." He smiled gently at Hiratai and walked over, taking his hand and giving it a squeeze "Be careful. This could get very dangerous"
Hiratai couldn't help giving an arrogant grin, placing his hand against Naoki’s cheek and caressing it gently "They tried to hurt someone under my protection, it is them who should worry"
Naoki could only sigh, giving his young master a wry smile "You never change do you? Always showing off…”

~

"Ryoko-Chan! Power up!"
"Command accepted, welcome user Lee, Choshin. Starting system check... no errors detected. Energy levels at 100%, structural integrity at 100%... I am ready for combat operation"
"Woo! I did it, that was so cool! Good morning Ryoko-Chan!"
"Good morning Miss Lee, you're looking very beautiful today"
"Ahaha, thank you! Come on Ryoko-Chan, lets braid each other's hair!"
"As you wish Miss Lee"

Haruki left his girlfriend to play with Ryoko and moved across the limo to sit beside his two thugs, Kogo and Kojai, shining a smile at the rather large bruise across Kogo's eye "So... tell me again about the part where you're beaten up by a fifteen year old girl"
"Boss..." Kogo looked sulky, waving a chubby arm in the air "She cheated..."
"Don't mind me, I'm just curious about your continued tendency to get knocked unconscious by vertically challenged schoolgirls" Haruki chuckled a little further at his henchman's expense before turning to the boy’s brother "You know the plan?"
Kojai nodded, though there was a slight hesitancy to it “I… don’t see why she would accept. We are hardly on the best of terms”
“True” Haruki leant against the seat and gently placed his fingers together, punching the wall and collecting the glass of cognac that slid out of a little drawer “But we have something in common I think… pride” He took a sip and continued “She challenged us with bravery and determination and she didn’t back down even when her friends were winning the battle for her. Neither was she coldly efficient about it, all heroic challenges and bluster. She will accept, I think she enjoys a good game as much as me”
Kojai silently considered this, descending into thought over Haruki’s words. After a few seconds the boy had to laugh at him “You think too much Kojai. What is going on in that head of yours I wonder?”
Kojai still remained quiet, looking about the limo before settling once more on Haruki, a slight hesitancy to his speech “If we do win I think we should accept the same terms as them”
“Compassion Kojai?”
“Yes sir”

Haruki laughed and gave a sympathetic nod of his head “Very well, it is noted that the big girl and the chinese slip are very good, having them on our side would be a worthwhile expenditure… what are you doing to Ryoko’s hair Cho-Chan?”
“Ohoh, she’s not done yet, still doesn’t she look cute!”
The android gave an adorable smile, placing her hands on the beehive like construction adorning her head “Ryoko-Chan feels pretty…”

~

Makoto sighed as he walked the paths in front of the school, his eyes creeping up to the powerful form of Jumpei looming above him. To say he wasn’t much of a conservationist was an understatement “Am I doing the right thing?”
“Ninja mustn’t hesitate”
“In battle sure, but surely you should question your actions and why you’re doing them, I mean Junko makes a lot of sense…”
“Makoto-San going in circles. Question already asked many times”
Makoto had to agree with that, he had been going over these questions in his head since Ping first turned up without a great deal of success. Not to mention his arguments were now tainted with guilt over upsetting Junko, why was it that every time then discussed anything important they had to argue? So she had flaws, didn’t mean he had to call attention to them every time they spoke, it wasn’t like he didn’t have plenty of his own.

“Etchi! Taiya Etchi!”
“Yee… hey…”

Makoto was awoken from his thoughts, watching the little procession and just staring in amazement for a few moments before looking up at Jumpei “Did Taiya-Chan just run past pursued by a broom wielding Ping?”
“Jumpei think so”
“What is wrong with that girl today?” He couldn’t help smiling, placing a finger on his lips “Maybe Junko’s right…”

~

Hiroshi closed the door and fell back against it, lowering his head and taking off his glasses as he took refuge in the quiet confines of the empty classroom. No wonder everyone had been avoiding him all day, so that was what Makoto was planning… it made sense that they hadn’t told him, they all knew his weakness for a certain small Chinese member of the class after all.
They were using her as bait huh? Good, she deserved it.
"Hiroshi-Chan? You ok?"

Hiroshi looked up, Midori sitting at a table in front of him doodling on a sheet of paper. Where had she come from? This room was empty... he had long since grown used to his sister's oddness however "No, I'm not"
"Do you need a hug Hiroshi-Chan?"
Hiroshi sighed "No, that's ok Midori-Chan" She meant well, still the only way to get over this was to get over with it. It was silly, why was he still getting worried over Aiko? Why wasn’t she long since dead to him?
Midori looked up from her picture, her face sad as she threaded a pencil through her hair "Do you like her Hiroshi-San?"

Hiroshi looked down at his sister, she looked so earnest and he felt unable to lie to her. Still, that was only if he knew the answer himself "I... no. Certainly not"
Midori giggled at his response, placing a hand against her mouth with a cute little gesture and flashing her eyes at him over the top of her glasses "No like then… hmm… do you think about Aiko-Chan naked?"
"Midori!"
"...not that there's much there. I've seen her in the changing rooms, just a load of ugly scars and she's short and she has man boobs..." She paused, smirking at her brother "What? She does... these are boobs!" She pointed her fingers down at her chest with a proud expression.

Hiroshi couldn't help smiling, typical Midori "I… It's different to what I feel about Junko. Junko I want to like me, I want to notice and admire me. Aiko..." His face soured "My feelings for her are less innocent. Maybe it's because I hate her, I want to see her... never mind" He couldn't help feeling uncomfortable about it, it wasn't a pleasant image... or wasn't pleasant because it WAS pleasant. He wanted to have sex with Aiko. That on it’s own wasn’t so bad of course, he wanted to have sex with lots of people but what made it worse with Aiko was that he wanted it to hurt. He wanted to show her how much of a slut he thought she was, do horrible things to her because... he thought she deserved it. Seemed everyone had darkness in them and she was the source of his. Figures.

“You should tell her how you feel, she’ll understand”
He widened his eyes at his sisters suggestion “I don’t think so…”
Midori went back to drawing, her pencil skimming across the paper “Aiko-chan deserves to know what you think of her”
Hiroshi had to wonder what quite his sister had meant by that “If she doesn’t get herself killed…”
Midori rose, smiling gently and taking his shoulder in her hand “Don’t worry oniisan, I’ll look after her for you”

“Mido…”
His words were cut off as she leaned in and kissed him ever so gently on the lips, a warm, ethereal sensiation spreading through his body that caught him off guard, his hand moving up to push her away “Midori, what…?”

His hand touched nothing.

She was gone. He didn’t even hear her use the door.
Hiroshi looked around for a moment, a very creepy feeling coming over him as he walked over to the desk where she had been drawing, picking up the piece of paper lying there. A drawing of a Chrysanthemum at the top of the paper, below it two girls of about ten wearing extremely formal Kimono’s and between them a sword shaped like calamus, the Kanji above one of the girls reading 'leiko no miya daian naishinnō' and the other 'kohana no miya naomi naishinnō'.

It was quite a good picture.
“Midori… I’m more worried about you…”

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Mar 4 2006, 12:09 PM
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Wave Master
Posted: Mar 4 2006, 11:31 AM
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Firstly, I've been holding back a question I've had for a while because its probably something that I wasn't here for or didn't pick up on in past chapters or MT strips, but why do you call him "Jumpei??"

As for the chapter, trust me, it hasn't gotten so long yet that it's failed to hold my interest. Midori most of all, as it's near impossible to tell how old the Midori we're dealing with at anyone time actually is, or whether it's even the one who exists in this timeline.

As dangerous as the idea is, I hope Makoto sticks with it. Though it's risky, their enemies are only going to get stronger the longer they wait. Here's to hoping there's enough time for the SK to prepare happy.gif
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Philweasel
Posted: Mar 4 2006, 11:49 AM
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QUOTE (Wave Master @ Mar 4 2006, 11:31 AM)
Firstly, I've been holding back a question I've had for a while because its probably something that I wasn't here for or didn't pick up on in past chapters or MT strips, but why do you call him "Jumpei??"

I missspell my own characters names so often (Hello Kasami! I mean Kasumi... whatever) I thought the MT characters would feel left out happy.gif
QUOTE
Too late. Blast! 
Okay, so it was just a typo. Now I know  .

No it was actually a good explanation. Me being able to spell is a very recent occurrence, I still tend to spell phonetically. I pronounce it Jumpei because it rolls off the tongue easier
QUOTE
Kojai nodded, though there was a slight hesitancy to it “I… don’t see why should would accept. We are hardly on the best of terms”

She... another example of my strange ass spelling habits.

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Mar 4 2006, 12:10 PM
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sigvard
Posted: Mar 4 2006, 11:50 AM
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QUOTE (Wave Master @ Mar 4 2006, 11:31 AM)
Firstly, I've been holding back a question I've had for a while because its probably something that I wasn't here for or didn't pick up on in past chapters or MT strips, but why do you call him "Jumpei??"
...

My guess is, it's because the 'n' in de Junpei is followed by the syllable 'pe', which is one occasion where the 'n' is pronounced as 'm'.

QUOTE
As for the n that may end a syllable, there is only one final consonant in Japanese, and that is n. However, if, in the middle of a word, where the following syllable begins with a b, h, p or m, it is pronounced m. The word, tempura, for example, is written in hiragana as tenpura.
For those studying the language who have progressed to hiragana and its alphabetical order, the rule is that if the following syllable is from ha gyou (ha hi fu he ho, ba, bi, bu, be bo, pa, pi, pu, pe, po) or ma gyou, (ma mi mu me mo) the n becomes an m in pronuncation.


source: http://home.nyc.rr.com/computertaijutsu/dictfaq.html [ emot-eng101.gif ]

At least, that was my explanation when I first noticed that 'm'.

In other news, I like this fanfic, and am still reading it happy.gif.

---edit---
Too late. Blast! mad.gif
Okay, so it was just a typo. Now I know laugh.gif .

This post has been edited by sigvard on Mar 4 2006, 11:54 AM
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Philweasel
Posted: Mar 12 2006, 02:27 AM
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Not a Pedophile
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Joined: 30-April 04



Chapter 7 : Ameyoko

School had ended some time ago, the light in the sky already starting to dim rapidly, shedding the train station in a mosaic of shadows and soft warming light as the group made their way towards the platform.

As normal Junko led from the front, striding forward dressed in a strappy top and mini skirt covered by a warm looking black jacket, the others flanking her as Hiratai's stony face scanned the building for danger. He was clad in a simple shirt and pants that clung against his powerful form, his katana hanging at his side and Taiya and Ping walked together, they could hardly be more different with Ping's pink hair and clearly Miho inspired purple mesh dress, Taiya on the other hand wearing nothing more than a orange hoody and jeans. Makoto just wore his school uniform, as normal making it look better than the rest of them combined.

They fanned out around Junko as she stopped, scanning the area for signs of their quarry “Where are you…”
"Junko-Sempai!" Aiko appeared from inside the waiting room, striding quickly towards them and grinning happily as she saw the group. As she approached she quickly put on the ‘I did something stupid and now by laughing about it I exempt myself from all blame’ face "Sorry I wasn't at school today, I had some things to do! Hahaha!"
Makoto just smiled off her horribly fake greeting, looking the girl over. She appeared basically ok, though the china dress she was wearing was a little too small for her and their was a big sticking plaster across her temple "What did you do to your head?"
The girl brushed her hand across the injury "Oh? Um... bumped it on...” She racked her brains for a second before simply shrugging “…a thing"

Her brother appeared behind her with his hands in his pockets, his eyes disinterestedly sweeping across the scene as he came forward, breathing a few quiet little words to himself "I see what Aiko meant, it's the damn cast of DBZ... bet all of them are gay..."
The look Aiko gave suggested she had heard her brother, still she quickly caught herself and tried to look innocent, if a little suspicious "So are we ready to go... um, rather a larger group than I anticipated..."
Hiratai smiled grimly, his muscles flexing "We're here to shop"
Aiko nodded and looked down at his sword "I hear the crowds can get pretty nasty ..."

~

They all now sat on the train, preparing themselves for the possible action ahead... or flirting incessantly with each other, depending on the person. Junko had sat herself next to Makoto so she could talk their plans over with him, counting on Aiko and her brother being too distracted by the others to listen in "So why are we keeping Aiko in the dark anyway? Ping knows"
Makoto shrugged at Junko's question "This is Aiko we're talking about, the less she knows the better. She might well take offence and do something stupid"
Junko nodded, fair point she supposed, even if Aiko doing something stupid was near given either way "And Ping?"
"She cottoned on to what was going on. Told me she wanted to protect us, make up for Saturday" Makoto's lips narrowed with worry "Her and Taiya-Chan... if they were anything less than the best fighters in the school…"
Junko sighed, another fair point. Ping had been acting erratically all day and was Miho's agent through and through, Taiya on the other hand was so testosterone addled that Junko was surprised she hadn't grown a penis yet "I'll keep them straight, I'm pretty sure I can handle the both of them if they try anything disadvantageous"
Makoto nodded "Yeah, I think you should Junko. I'm actually planning on splitting the team, one group watching Aiko and the other watching Ping" He waved her down as she tried to protest "Yeah, safety in numbers. The thing is there's too many of us and not a one knows how to work in a team, in the event of an attack we would be too disorganised to do anything"
Junko almost argued but after a second she realised he was right, she certainly couldn't handle all of them at once and all of them were much more used to working individually "My group, Ping and Takami. Yours Hiratai, Aiko and sibling"
Makoto grinned "Me and Hiratai can handle skippy just fine. Junpei will be watching the both of us and he'll alert the other group if anything happens, get us a free flank attack"
"And Largo?"
"Oh no" Makoto gave an egotistical smirk "This is my mission. Largo's investigating Sony itself, they definitely know something we don't and that ignorance could be deadly"

"Yeah..." Junko's face fell, the girl just letting herself sink for a moment before speaking in a quiet little whisper "I know I'm selfish Makoto, I want everyone to look up to me so I constantly think up ways to do things for you. I didn't like the plan because I didn't come up with it..."
Makoto tottered for a moment, surprised at her admission of weakness. Then the guilt came "Junko... that's not fair, you're..." He blinked suddenly before smiling "…trying to guilt trip me"
Junko stuck her tongue out cheekily "No I'm not. Really, just about everyone has called me a busybody today, I think it's fair to say that I can occasionally be a little overprotective"
Makoto took a deep breath, ideally he would have told her that he only said what he did out of arrogance but he had a feeling that she would see straight through him if he tried. Instead he decided just to tell the truth "You need to learn to be a woman Junko, stop worrying about what we think of you for five minutes and be selfish for once" He looked a little sad as he turned his eyes to her, touching her fingers lightly "You're going to break one day"
Junko smiled slightly and leaned back against the chair, taking a peak at her watch "I do have a social life outside school you know. I last had sex... seventy three hours ago" Her smile widened, her eyes shining with a sad sort of humour "He paid for the room"
Makoto’s face said it all, Junko unable to help being amused by the look of disapproval as he spoke “Doesn’t casual sex make baby Jesus cry?”
“I assure you…” Junko brushed her hair out of her face, feeling the now familiar cold hate fill her heart “I’m nothing if not professional about it”
His face became even more telling, a note of disgust passing across his eyes before he turned his head aside “I could care not to hear Junko. Keep it to yourself”

“Junko and Makoto-San don’t like us?”
Junko let the hate fall and looked up at Ping with a smile, glad for the distraction “I am being sociable, with Makoto-san” The boy kept quite but nodded all the same, Junko continuing without him “Ping, you understand that we can’t mess around don’t you? You have to do what I say, no trying to prove yourself, running off alone?”
Makoto’s grim look faded “Now who does that remind me of?”
Junko bit her lip and smirked, nodding at Ping “Yes, I gave a good demonstration of what happens if you try and be a hero. Always be aware that one rash move could get you killed”
Ping looked a little worried at this but nodded all the same, sitting down next to her and leaning in conspiratorly. It wasn’t quite what Junko expected “Taiya-San touched my bum…”
“Ahaha!”

Makoto gave a big grin and placed his hand against his lips before noticing the long strands coming down around his eyes, a questioning look on his face as he ran his hand across it "I think my hair's too long, it’s getting in my eyes. Hey hand me that butterknife Hiratai"
Hiratai was sitting across the way trading quips with Aiko, at the sound of Makoto’s voice he instantly placed a hand against his Katana, shooting a nasty look at the boy and speaking in dangerously calm tones "It is not for cutting hair"
"Oh come on!"
Junko sighed and reached into her hand bag, she had been careful enough to pack a first aid kit and it included a pair of scissors, locating them and moving to Makoto's side "Ok, do you just want the fringe shor..."
She paused as the scissors were snatched from her hand, Ping smiling warmly and leaning down "I'll do that Junko!"
"Um, ok..." She watched Ping dive into the task and had to admit that the girl went about it rather effectively, clipping away and quickly clearing the hair out of Makoto's eyes. Junko was impressed "That's a pretty good hair cut..."
Ping nodded happily and admired her work, "Have you a mirror in there Junko-Sempai?"
"Uh, yeah I..."
Ping snatched up her bag before Junko could touch it, taking out a mirror and showing Makoto his reflection. Makoto nodded, a little taken aback at the scary level of swiftness Ping had used in swinging those blades about his face and her slightly ADD behaviour while she had done it "Uh... thanks Ping, you are pretty good"
Ping smiled at the complement and sat down again, continuing to go through Junko's bag as they all watched. Finally she looked up "Just checking we have enough medical supplies"
Junko was honestly a little creeped, at first thinking that Ping had been replaced by an evil pink haired impostor before noticing what she was doing, though it didn't give her any more clues as to quite what Ping's deal was. The bag was finally handed back and Junko confirmed her suspicions, needles, scalpel, Swiss army knife and scissors had all been stolen "All there Ping?"
"Yes Junko-sempai. I just had to check"
"Yeah, good thinking Ping"

Aiko suddenly butted into the conversation with gusto, actually sounding a little angry "Medical supplies? What is this?"
Everyone looked a little sheepish at her question, looking at each other for an answer. Everyone except Hiratai, the boy just smirking "Aiko, people shoot at you three times a day, a medical kit is always a valid expense"
"Hey!"

~

Ameyoko market stretched before them, a mass of banners, people, smells and noise, hundreds of little shops selling everything one could buy flanking the road, people from a grand variety of cultures either selling or buying with infectious rigor, tourists chatting happily… Junko liked it here, she was a shameless xenophile and the huge variety of languages spoken in the place was a good place to brush up, plus she loved to cook and the huge variety of smells conjured up no ends of uses she could put the ingredients to “So what are we here for Aiko?” She couldn’t help the enthusiasm out of her voice, at one level she could hardly care for their real reason for being here.

Aiko looked up at her brother “My brother has something to drop off…”
Hirano was on his mobile, a look of annoyance crossing his face for a moment before he placed it away “We have some time, an hour and a half to kill”
“A wha…” Aiko looked at the others and quickly checked herself, smiling out at all of them “Um… I’m fine, I’ll just wander with you guys”
Junko grinned, Aiko was so predicable “Well I’m going food shopping, you want to come Ping-Chan?” She looked across at the little android, currently staring off into space “I’ll teach you how to cook”
Ping instantly livened up, bouncing slightly and proclaiming proudly “I know how to cook!”
“Can you cook Biryani?”
“What’s a Biryani?”
“Exactly”
Makoto chuckled and looked across at Hiratai “How much do you want to spend your day walking through smelly spice merchants?”
“Noted”
Aiko looked between the two groups before deciding, walking over to Makoto’s side and waving at the others “Looks like you’re with them Taiya-Chan, have fun!”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got used to it”

~

And so the two groups separated, Aiko, her brother, Makoto and Hiroshi heading off down a street selling what appeared to be at a first glance, tacky junk. This didn’t seem to bother Makoto much “Look at this, it’s so cute!” He held up a little bobble head Darth Sidious and pointed it at Aiko “<Unlimmited powwaah!>”
Aiko snorted, placing her hands on her hips and smirking at him “Makoto! You’re being geeky again, stop it, we’re in public!”
Hiratai dispassionately observed the scene before continuing to run his eye over the crap that was liberally displayed everywhere he looked, wondering how anyone could… hey. Hiratai checked no one was looking before picking up the photograph, looking on the back and nodding “Hmm…”
The shopkeeper came over, lifting his glasses before extending his hand “The signed Jean Claude Van Damme picture is 3000yen”
“No so loud… here…”

"When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master"
“Makoto, go away”
Makoto grinned wildly, throwing the lightsaber to Hiratai and bringing his up in a form three Soresu stance, the red fibreglass blade clasped his both his hands and his feet apart “Silence! Now you shall face the true power of the darkside!”
Hiratai’s blade sprung outwards and he swept past Makoto, a blue streak of light in the air before he stopped and retracted the blade once more. Makoto’s lightsaber toppled, cut cleanly in two “Ok, now that wasn’t fair…”
Aiko chuckled, typical boys…

“Would you like your fortune read?”
“AGH!” Aiko whipped round, her hand clumsily pawing against the pistol shoved into her pants as she found herself face to face with a young woman in black robes, blond hair spilling out around a pretty face “Wh… what do you want?”
“Would you like your fortune read?” The woman repeated the question, bowing low and not seeming to notice Aiko’s hand on her weapon “My uncle taught me, it’s my first day so I’m not charging”

Aiko looked about the place, everyone passing by without a care in the world. Her brother was looking grim and staring at the woman intently, Hiratai and Makoto both busily arguing… she looked across at the girls hands, noting that they were as smooth as silk, maybe she really was just a fortune teller “You don’t look like a Gipsy”
The woman bowed again, pointing at the silver amulet around her neck, a six pointed star “I’m not an occultist miss, I use the Kabbalah. It gives insight into your self, determining your future from your past”
Oooh, Aiko knew this one! “Kabbalah? Like Madonna!”
“Haha… yes miss”
Aiko was inclined to believe her, with her height and nervousness the woman reminded her a little of Taiya and she did need something fun to calm her nerves “I’m a little busy… hey, why don’t you tell me if I’m going to die today? Just out of interest?”
The woman smiled and took Aiko’s hand “I can try miss” The others twitched slightly at her movement but didn’t do anything, Makoto and Hiratai watching more noticeably this time. Aiko just went with the woman’s touch, intrigued to find out what she would say.

“You probably shouldn’t have eaten that hotdog so quickly”
Aiko blushed, she was feeling a bit sick “Yeah… hehe…”
The woman smiled affectionately and continued, tracing invisible marks on Aiko’s palm and mumbling under her breath in a language Aiko didn’t understand. Finally the woman looked up “Do you feel better?”
Aiko thought for a second, she did actually… “Yeah… wow, is that like pressure points? I use that”
“There are many ways to reorientate someone’s energies…” The fortune teller smiled ever so slightly before leaning in and whispering in Aiko’s ear “Master of nothing but yourself magician, you have learned to impose your will on this world but remain ignorant of greater purpose. You are here today to reveal truths, the nature of the game…” The woman’s breath was hot on Aiko’s face, her flawless hand still clasped upon her wrist “Are you so lucky as to realise your sin before the end?”
Aiko felt like someone had walked over her grave, feeling like a tiny, insignificant sense of this woman had entered her soul and was burning her up from the inside. Her mouth couldn’t put it into words, only giving a woefully insufficient “What?”
“Adonai is merciful…” The fortune teller just smiled at Aiko, drawing away and releasing her wrist “You will die, but not today. Soon, as much as soon is a viable measurement of time… you should try not to waste it”
“Ok…”

~

"I have a shot, let me take it"
Kusanagi gave Edna a crack about the buttocks that almost knocked her off the roof they were standing on, Edna rubbing the bruised area sulkily as she rumpled her nose and waved her arm at the kids "Oh come on! Look at them, just walking down the street!"
"I know"
"Just let me pick off the little one with pigtails"
"No"
Edna growled and put her gun away, crossing her arms sulkily "So when CAN we do something? What is everyone waiting for?"
Kusanagi was beginning to approach the end of her temper now, Edna would be living hell in a long car journey, she was just about the most impatient person in the universe. Honestly Kusanagi wasn't wildly happy with just standing around either but you didn't see her moan about it constantly "Look, this is all strategy ok! You understand strategy?"
Edna snorted unhappily "I understand you could have nuked that train and killed them all. This is getting political isn't it?"
Kusanagi couldn't gather the energy to answer that one.


The fortune teller smiled and angled an eye up at the two figures in the distance, removing her hood and chuckling.

~

And a short distance away, other things were unfolding…
This was a most amusing show, he had to admit that before he went out today he hadn’t dreamed about just how much shōjo-ai content and dirty talk he would be forced to watch, chuckling as he remembered watching a very similar scene just a few days ago, though he hadn’t been close enough to hear what they were saying before. What dirty little things schoolgirls were, maybe he had been overly hasty in his generalisations before… but no time for that, this was busness “Kogo, Kojai, time to go”
A twig cracked and both Ping and Junko instantly broke their conversation as Haruki strode across the garden, his eyes twinkling with anticipation.

_________________________________

I had to have THE WALK at some point. it's one of my favorate cliches happy.gif

This chapter was somewhat difficult. The next should be much easier though, as the end of this one hinted, lots of nice Ping/Junko stuff.

They bounce off each other well.

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Mar 12 2006, 02:36 AM
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Philweasel
Posted: Mar 18 2006, 03:57 AM
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Not a Pedophile
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Group: Active Members
Posts: 7778
Member No.: 27356
Joined: 30-April 04



Warning, the chapter contains a glance into Junko’s psyche. It’s a scary place.


Chapter 8 – Passion

"<Junko-San, haven't been seeing you in too long!>"
Junko took in the deep sent of spices that suffused the pokey little shop, colourful powders and strange looking vegetables everywhere you looked. Sometimes in her more whimsical moments she dreamed of owning a little shop like this, flashing a genuine smile towards the large Indian lady standing at the counter "<I've been a little busy Rashmika-Sama, haven't had nearly enough time to cook>" She waved at the girl behind her, Ping looking around with faint bemusement "This is Ping-Chan, she's a friend from school"
Ping looked across at the sound of Junko's voice, giving a big cheerful bow and squeaking out a greeting. Rashmika responded instantly "Awh, she's so cute! Welcome to my shop Ping-Chan, Junko teaching girl to cook?"
"I surely am. Come over here Ping, I’ll introduce you to some of the primary spices …”

~

"You finished?" Taiya greeted them as they came outside, her hands shoved into her pockets and a bored expression on her face "You know, I can't understand the skill involved in cooking, you're just throwing a bunch of stuff in a pan and throwing it in an oven"
Junko snorted and fell into step alongside her, reasoning that it was easy to take cooking for granted when your mother was so damn good at it. She should try living with Junko's mother, she might be able to do long multiplication in her head and build death rays but she still couldn't help overcooking everything "Getting the times and amounts right is harder than it looks Takami-San" Ah, good a time as any she supposed... "You have a new girlfriend?"
Taiya looked surprised at Junko’s change of tact before grinning, not moving to deny "News travels fast... feeling weird yet?"
"Surprisingly not" Junko thought for a moment before qualifying the statement "Maybe a little. Still, I'm happy for you..." She checked behind her, Ping distracted by a stall selling flowers "So what's the deal with the skirt chasing Takami-San?"

Taiya looked round at the android, blushing a little "I... I was just helping her up, she read too much into it"
"I hope so. I doubt your new girlfriend would appreciate your groping other women" Junko gave a snort and motioned backwards with her head "I doubt Ping's too thrilled either"
Taiya gave an odd look, not embarrassment so much as anger, the girl radiating a strong hostility towards Junko that caught her off guard "Well not all of us are pretty enough to have people pay us for the privilege..."
Junko frowned. Ok, where did that come from? "Do you have a problem with me Takami-San?"
"Junko-Sempai, look at this!" Ping burst in unexpectedly, cutting off their argument with incredibly precise timing and waving a black rose in her face with a little too much enthusiasm "I didn't know black roses really existed! It's really cool isn't it Junko-Sempai?"
Junko wasn't convinced by the display, just how long had Ping been listening for? Well she was grateful for the save at least, this was not a good time for an argument "It's not real, someone's put that colour on it somehow. Black roses don't exist in nature"
"Because Junko has to remind us how she's so much more intelligent than us every opportunity she gets"
"Look, what's your..."
Ping interjected again, a bit more aggressively this time "Come on Junko-Sempai, lets look at that shop over there!" She forcibly dragged Junko away by her arm, leaving Taiya standing there looking angry, though she made no move to pursue.
“Damnit… why do you have to provoke me Junko…?”

~

"Ping! Off!"
Junko shoved the android away as they entered the shop, rubbing her arm as she looked around. It appeared to be selling decommissioned military surplus, the sight of a couple of things she wouldn’t mind owning not going far to abate her irritation "If Takami-San has a problem with me..."
"Why does everyone have to argue!" Ping cut Junko off again, looking pained and pathetic as she rounded on the girl, seeming just about ready to cry "Ping wants you to all be friends!"
Junko softened a little at the girls adorable expression, even if the statement had a strong wiff of Miho about it "Being friends isn't mutually incompatible with challenging them when they start getting surly and perverted you know?" She watched Ping's face fall and cursed the girl for her incredible cuteness, wishing and hoping that the girl wasn’t going to start crying in the middle of the shop or something "I was trying to look out for you Ping. Obviously Takami-san is fiercely protective of her freedom to grope you when she thinks she can get away with it. I can just let her if you like?"

Ping just wavered pathetically and Junko finally lost her temper, firmly annoyed at the both of them. So Takami and Ping wanted to play silly buggers did they? "You know what Ping, I think I'm going to buy something" She walked over to a display and took a big knife off the display, waving it at her "What do you think?"
Ping's response was immediate, her eyes widening in horror "No, you... it's dangerous Junko-San, why do you need a knife?"
"To kill things" She turned around and walked towards the counter, honestly wondering how Ping was going to get this off her. Whatever reasons she had for trying to keep Junko unarmed Junko wasn't in the mood to let her get away with her little ploy "I'd like to buy this please"
"Price is on the hilt lady"
"Of course, I..." She groped for her skirt pocket for a moment before her eyes narrowed and she turned, fixing Ping with a harsh eye. Her gaze was quickly drawn to the unsightly bulge in the stomach area of her dress "Give me back my wallet"

Ping tried to look innocent, placing her hand over the bulge in an attempt to hide it.

"Give it back!" Junko discarded the knife and grabbed Ping's arm, struggling with the girl for a few moments as she tried to retrieve the item, quickly realising the slight problem with this plan...
"Ai, you're going to rip it Junko-Sempai!"
"Hold still... goddamnit..." She turned to look at a the interested looking shopkeeper, realising that Ping must have just dropped the wallet into her cleavage and that was the only way it was coming back out again, bar ripping the dress open "Come with me!"


Junko grabbed Ping's shoulder and virtually dragged the girl out of the shop, Ping resisting for a few moments before just giving up and going along with her, stumbling slightly as Junko elbowed open the door and looked around. No Taiya, Junko's face darkening yet further as she realised just how much she had mucked this all up. Whatever, let her sulk and cry, they would probably be better off without her!
She knew this area well, moving down through the back alleys and through a gate to emerge into a small but rather nicely planned garden of serenity, shoving Ping through the entrance before closing the gate behind her. Ping rubbed her body down before quickly trying to explain "Junko-Sempai, don't be ang..."
Junko ignored her, just walking over and grabbing at the ribbon about her waist "Junko! Eee!"

She pulled it away and watched the dress drift outwards, her wallet dropping down onto the floor. Ping looked down at it for a second "I..."
"I don't appreciate you stealing from me Ping" Junko's voice was low and cold, Junko desperately trying to control herself "My other things"
Ping wavered for a moment, her hands pressed tightly against her chest... before she gave a sulky look and a shake of her head "No"
Junko failed in her task, feeling the dams of her mind break before the flood and her anger flow free "What the hell is wrong with you! Give me back my things now or God help me I will report you for stealing!"

"I saw you naked!"

Uh... Oooh, nice one Ping, take her off guard with a completely nonsensical statement, like that would ever... no wait, it had. I mean what COULD you say to that? "I... what? And seeing me naked precludes the desire to steal my things how?"
Ping's face pained, she looked on the edge of tears, combined with outright terror. Finally however she managed to find her words, motioning towards Junko's arm "You hurt yourself Junko... it's in my programming, I have to do it..." She looked away, unable to face her anymore "One of my core protocols is to protect people from harm..."
The realisation swept across Junko like a beam of light, burning away the confusion and the barriers "How... dare you!" Junko advanced forward "How dare you! I am sick and tired of your crap, butting into everything and trying to pass yourself as some kind of saint instead of the irritating little busybody that you are! I do NOT need your help, butting into my personal life like you have any ownership over me! I... I... I help you out because I enjoy it, I am under no obligation to submit to this damn cult of celebrity you've built up around me!" Junko snarled, just letting herself self indulgently rant, she could hardly care to stop herself "You have class head Junko, that's it! You have no right to any other part of me and I don't appreciate you prying into my personal life!"

*Smack*

Junko blinked in surprise before clutching her cheek.

Ping had just hit her...
"Wha..."

She was still looking stunned when Ping grabbed her shoulder and slammed Junko into a big oak tree, her voice rising as she got right in the girls face "How can you be so selfish! We're your friends Junko, when you hurt yourself you hurt us, we like that you make us happy and we want you to be happy as well! If you're sad I want to know why... so I can make you happy..."
Junko's look of shock faded into simple fear before dropping into confusion, her voice shaking as she looked around fruitlessly "I... I'm sorry... I..."
"Why do you want to kill yourself Junko? I don't understand..."
"Kill myself?" Junko face became etched with great sadness, all traces of her previous anger lost "Ping... I would never try to take my own life. I... I have never attempted to take my own life... I promise"
Ping's pouted slightly, her hand reaching down and taking Junko's, tracing a finger across her wrist. Junko smiled at her observation "That's very old, when I was ten I accidentally placed my hand through a plate glass window" She noticed Ping's eyes on her and shrugged "Don't ask, shoddy glassmanship"
Ping's eyes seemed dubious but she appeared to accept her explanation, looking deep into Junko's eyes "Never?"
"Well..." Junko felt the energy flee her body, she didn't want to answer, she just wanted to fall against Ping, let the girl take care of her... Junko had to laugh at how quickly Ping had disabled her, from mother to child... "Once... I tried to... throw myself through a window. It didn't work, it really wasn't very well planned..." Junko paused for a second before throwing in an explanation "I wasn't thinking straight, it was drugs... I... I don't take them anymore..."
"Really?"
Junko's heart broke, she couldn't do this, not anymore "No... I'm lying. It wasn't drugs... I was just too cowardly to face up to the future" She gulped down a sob, trying desperately to keep herself from crying "I'm sorry..."
Ping looked like she wanted to hug Junko but she built up all the strength in her little body and held firm, reaching forward and removing the jacket Junko was wearing and placing it on a nearby branch. Junko shivered slightly from the cold before biting her lip as Ping slid her finger along her bare arms, running across three consecutive lines that could be seen very faintly upon her flesh "These are knife wounds"
"Yeah..." Junko smiled, surprisingly "You wouldn't understand..."
Ping's fists clenched, her lips thinning in frustration "I want to understand Junko"
"No... no you don't" Junko reared up, her eyes cold "You don't want to understand me, you don't want me. It's a lie Ping, the me you've seen... all a lie. You want to understand how all this fits into the good little girl, class head, top student devout Junko, it doesn't!"

Junko let her head fall back against the tree and looked up at the sky, the moon standing firm against the crimson sunset. Must be getting late... "I hate it, what you think of me... I’m not a good person, I’m not who you think I am. I pretend to be this… authority figure out of nothing more than shame…"
"Junko?"
Junko looked back at Ping's questioning face, the two girls just staring at each other for long, gentle moments, the air still and cold. Ping’s eyes reflected the light in strange ways, it was hard to tell if it was pretty or disturbing. Rainbows of expertly cut crystal and perfect white without a hint of sleeplessness or any other damage, Junko wondered what they were made of.
Ping stepped away and allowed Junko to step away from the tree, the girl gaving a gentle sigh before looking across the koi pond, the deep ache in her chest growing stronger "You see very little of me Ping... you haven't seen me talking to the walls, or praying, or... I write and draw, quite a bit actually I…” She chuckled lightly, a slight blush on her face “Don’t tell anyone this but I’m the famous J.I, ghost writer for Yaniki Kansatsu’s erotic manga Crimson Angels and frequent poster of Ero-guro artwork and writing. Some pretty nasty stuff... heh, some people on a forum I go on a certain I'm a guy, they think I'm a misogynistic woman hater. Maybe I am. Most of my friends are boys"
Amazingly Ping seemed to be following her rant, thinking for a moment before opening up with a question "I'm a girl, do you hate me Junko-Sempai?"
Junko paused for but a second before grinning "No Ping… it’s complicated. And probably physiological” She gave Ping a wry look “I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of reversed Oedipus complex or something, I wouldn’t look that closely”
Ping digested this for a moment before smiling softly, folding her hands together “You’re… weird Junko-San. You still haven’t told me why you hurt yourself”
“Good point…” Junko noted Ping’s good memory and excellent skills in observation, she was smarter than she sometimes seemed. She could tell she was taking it all in, in fact Ping was one of the best listeners she had ever seen. You said things to fill in her silences, she had gotten Junko to open up with apparent ease. Made friends with Miho too “Ping… I would think you would understand. Don’t you ever feel… maybe you’re just a brain in a jar somewhere, that everything around you is an illusion? I mean, how do you know all that information you’re receiving from your nervous system is real?”
“My system checks and compares all data for inconsistencies, so I can tell if I’m being hacked” Ping didn’t seem entirely satisfied with her own response, muttering almost inaudibly “…is this body really mine?”
Junko bit her lip and gulped back a gasp of emotion before regaining control of herself, dipping the edge of her foot into the water “Exactly… sometimes you just feel like your mind’s been disconnected somehow, like you… going to lose your grip on reality. When everyone seems fake… like a waking dream, like everything you are is an illusion” She smiled as she felt Ping’s hands on her shoulders “I feel like I’m losing my personality, my feelings. Pain brings me back, reminds me of who I am”
Ping sighed gently, her breath on Junko’s neck as she placed her arms around the girl “Junko-sempai, hurting yourself isn’t good, if you feel like that often then I think you should go to a doctor”
“Hahaha!”
“Junko-Sempai?”
“Is that you saying that or your programming Ping?” Junko snorted and gently pushed the girl away, turning round to face her “I’ve been on medication since I was three years old, a billon doctors have poked and prodded me. I’m either a statistic or a curiosity and when someone can explain to me how cutting myself on the arm occasionally is worse that loading up with half a dozen different antipsychotics and giving myself tardive dyskinesia I’ll listen to what they have to say” She paused before shrugging appologeticlly “I’m sorry… don’t listen to me Ping, I’ve had bad experiences. Anyway, with Takami’s cigarette and cannabis addiction, half the rest of the class on amphetamines and Aiko on ever kind of drug known to man I would like to be the only person in the class not medicating myself to an early grave”

Ping frowned but didn't comment, just taking Junko’s wrist and narrowing her eyes in concentration for a moment "It’s not just that Junko… these aren't all self inflicted” She looked honestly worried, her eyes moving up to study her face “Is someone hurting you?"
Junko looked up in surprise "Yeah, those three guys yesterday, I..."
"Older, but not that old" Ping once more looked to her wrist "Friction burns on your wrists and ankles, lacerations to your back…”

"Lacerations on my..." Junko instantly seemed to cheer up, chuckling lightly to herself and grinning puckishly as her face went bright red "I'm an active girl Ping, my body tells a thousand stories" Her expression became a smirk "Don't look too closely"
Ping looked confused at her words and Junko smiled again, helpless before her ultimate power of cute "Oh Ping... I've got no business insulting you, you really are a sweetheart. I'm fine, honest, this is how I relax" Junko chuckled, drawing a little bit closer than was necessary "Maybe I'll show you sometime..."

*Snap*

Both of them broke apart, Junko pushing Ping aside and moving to protect her "You..."
Haruki stared at her for a moment before scanning their surroundings, eventually just raising a quizzical eyebrow "Me" His lips gentle flexed into a wry smile "Do you know Sony is after your friend?"
Junko tried her best not to look scared, realising they had got her buffaloed. Figures that these guys would be working for Sony "Your employers will have to take her over my dead body..."
"Child, the world is not so black and white" Haruki looked honestly amused, giving a pleasant wave of his hand and a dignified bow "I, Haruki Agano would never lower myself to working for such ruffians. I am a gentleman, dedicated to protecting young maidens from their kind"
Junko bristled at the child comment but kept her temper "Like yesterday?"
"A most unfortunate misunderstanding. We realised she was a unrealised model and assumed that she was the android rumoured to have escaped from the Sony labs a couple of months back" He looked apologetic "We thought she was dangerous"
Junko was dubious, she knew he was planning something. Still, no harm in going along with him for the moment "So you're here to help us?"
Haruki's expression became less friendly at her question "Looks like you need it"

Kojai stepped past them, rifle in hand as he scouted out the rooftops, Kogo locking the entrance to the guardian and joining his brother in patrolling the grounds. A flash of dreadlocked blue hair behind a tree announced the arrival of Ryoko, the android flashing a shy smile at Ping and moving into position alongside her master, standing firm. Haruki smiled down at her before giving Junko a slightly less friendly appraisal "You know Sony are after young Ping-Chan? I must say, your plans for defending her from enemies are less than impressive" He paused before shaking his hands, a look of mock concern on his face "Oh, I'm well aware of what a highly skilled and powerful individual you are, still..."
Junko blushed at his sarcasm, feeling the heat come to her face and her stomach knot. She had no answer to that, without Takami this little band wasn't really worth much... and she couldn't blame Takami, this was Junko's fault, she was in charge... "I have people nearby..."
"And they can get here in time? I could disable you and Ping-Chan pretty quickly you know"
"You could tr..."

A young woman came out, an extremely slim and attractive Korean girl of about seventeen, the dress she was wearing drawing attention to every curve. It almost distracted attention from the EMP rifle she was carrying, Haruki smiling at the device "A good hit from a KZ-433 EMP rifle can take down an EDS instantly, in fact it's a little overpowered... tends to damage their memory circuits if used incorrectly" He looked in Junko's eyes, relishing the uncertainty there "I would prefer not to use it"
"What do you want?"
Haruki opened his arms, his face friendly and open "Oh sweet girl, we are on the same side! I just feel that children are not best placed to protect such a worthy prize and wish to take that burden from your shoulders! I assure you, she will be well cared for"

"I don't want to go!" Ping spoke out, looking at Junko "Don't let him..."
Junko nodded "You're not taking her. Protect her all you want but she's going nowhere she doesn't want to go"
Haruki seemed to expect this answer, though he tried to hide it under a fiction of reasonable behaviour "Of course, I have no intention of taking you anywhere, all that will change is your choice of residence and some extra security procedures. I am only thinking in your best interests, do you really think Junko could protect you?" He smiled, cloyingly genial "I've seen your band of little children, they're already messing things up"
Ping looked at Junko once more, her face falling as she noticed the pained expression across the girls face. After a seconds consideration her hand moved to Junko’s arm "I trust you Junko-Sempai"
"I..." Junko looked into those big silvery eyes, full of expectation and hope... she... didn't think she was strong enough. She was scared she would fail. She would be glad to give Ping over to Haruki and escape her responsibilities... "Play to win huh Ping-Chan?"
Ping nodded with a smile.
"Always shoot for the moon, cause even if you miss you're still ahead of the competition" Junko turned back to Haruki, her face set "You can't have her"
"You will protect her from all threats?"
"Yes"
Haruki nodded, a satisfied look on his face "Again, you don't disappoint. Very well, then you won't have any objections to a little contest? A match of skills?"
Junko crossed her arms, knowing she should just walk away but finding the idea somewhat appealing "And what would we get if we win?"
"What do you want? You would have us, free to order around" He shrugged "I have money, equipment..."

"You have the sudden desire to leave. Now"

~

Makoto and Hiratai stood together at one of the stalls, both of them looking grim as they studied the fortune teller currently speaking to Aiko. Neither seemed ready to confront her but neither seemed happy about it either, Makoto speaking first "I don't think she's carrying any weapons... hard to see what her build is under those robes"
Hiratai nodded "She's... strange..."
"How so?"
He motioned ever so slightly towards her, his eyebrows narrowing "Her aura is... uncomfortable with her body, like there's something there that shouldn't be" He noticed Makoto's confusion and explained "There are techniques in Shinto that allow a priest to accept a spirit into his body to increase his power, that would produce that effect on someone's aura. I am uncertain if Judaism has similar techniques"
"I wish Junko was here, she would probably know. Don't you get that effect with Ping too?"
"Yes, for obvious reasons. This woman's aura is incredibly strong however, and it's not entirely human. I'm going with her either lying about her religion or having undergone a ritual to bind some sort of... Angel or sorts to her soul" Hiratai nodded to himself at his conclusion before confidently explaining it to Makoto "It would make sense, that was real magic, and it wasn't of a type I'm familiar with. Powerful, and well controlled. Mage, most definitely"
Makoto nodded, Hiratai had a tendency to jump to conclusions a little too quickly but his observations were normally accurate. Now all the had to do was hope this powerful uber-mage Angel hybrid didn't have designs on kicking their asses...

"Students should come quickly"
Both Hiratai and Makoto jumped in alarm before looking embarrassed and turning to Jumpei, the big man standing tall behind them. He didn't mess around with words "Junko-san in trouble, students should move"

~

Haruki did a quick hopskip backwards, Ryoko moving to protect him as the huge figure loomed against the sun, her shadow spreading across the garden ominously. Ping actually took a second or two to recognise her "Taiya-San!"
Haruki smiled as he did too, tapping his finger against his nose "Ah, the tall girl. I was hoping we would run into each other, your skills are quite impressive"
"We've met. Now, leave"
Junko couldn't help sighing, she had this under control. Did she dare tell Takami to back off? Bah, she wasn't scared of her... "Takami-San, don't worry. I'm dealing with this"
Taiya's eyes, as expected, narrowed dangerously "Ping. Do you want this guy here?"
"N..no..."
Junko cursed, Takami’s wilful intent to screw up everything she touched was really starting to get to her now. The last thing they needed was for two people who claimed to be protecting Ping… despite recent evidence to the contrary on both counts… beating each other to a pulp while their real enemies laughed heartily “Takami-san! I warn you…”
“No, hold that Junko-San” Haruki smiled in expectation “This will make a great test, the two greatest fighters of each of our respective groups, yes, excellent. What are your terms?”

“Try not to die”
Taiya launched herself forward.

_______________________________________

It’s slightly confusing thinking what to call Takami in Junko’s thoughts. Takami (As that’s what Junko calls her) or Taiya (As it’s not dialogue)

And again, too much information! Mheheheheh laugh.gif

I’ll just leave Junko’s last comment to Ping in your imagination. And what a mental image that is happy.gif

Junko’s sexuality scares me.

What do you expect? She’s a Roman Catholic, have you seen Passion of the Christ?

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Mar 18 2006, 04:00 AM
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Philweasel
Posted: Mar 25 2006, 11:37 AM
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Chapter 8 – The Lightning’s Fall

The sound of fighting echoed across the garden, the leaves gently floating down as the two combatants gracefully danced across the soft earth, never once tripping or stumbling even as the sky darkened. The sun dipped yet further over the horizon and the crimson light stretched out across the scene, Taiya and Haruki gently testing each other with cautious and precisely controlled attacks, proding and feigning.

Finally Haruki lined up against the girl, his outfit fluttering in the breeze “Come then Kansatsu-San, I saw you fight last time and I must admit you have me intrigued”
Taiya snorted, he was thin and agile looking, lot of strength in those muscles but nothing she couldn’t take. Without any meat to cushion him he should go down with one good punch and she had several to show him “Fine, this shouldn’t take long”

“TAKAMI-SAN!” Junko growled and grabbed hold of her arm “Is no one listening to me anymore…”
“No” Taiya threw her off and squared off against Haruki, Junko could take her control freak issues elsewhere. This… this she could do. This she could do well, and that made her feel good for the first time in a while, a real bad guy to place herself against, a damsel in distress… she shot a arrogant look at Ping and the girl blushed… and a audience to watch her. Watch her fight and watch her win. Watch her being something other than a big ugly, self pitying lump.

Haruki smiled, bringing his hand up to his face in a foppish gesture “Kojai isn’t even a black belt, lets not look too confident”
He didn’t know what confidence was.

Her fist blurred outwards, meant to sweep just a few inches from his face and leave him open, helpless before the kick she would move straight into. However to her amazement he didn’t even try to block and simply moved his hand sideways across his chest to unbuckle his Cheongsam, the outfit whipping out before she had even begun to close the distance, wrapping itself around her wrist and straining tight .
How did he get it off so quickly?
He tugged her arm outwards and moved into a quick snap kick to her shoulder, instantly darting backwards as she retaliated and giving another kick to her abdomen as she tried to punch him. Taiya quickly realised what was happing, he was using the sticking manoeuvre, reading her actions through physical contact or in this case, through the Cheongsam, that was a pretty advanced trick.
“HA!” She grabbed the outfit and he tried to snap it out of her hands, Taiya holding on tight and tugging as hard as she could. She got more than a little bit of satisfaction as he was thrown towards her, it was all elbows and knees at close range and somewhere where strength and toughness was the decided factor, something she had a lot of.

He span, flipping in midair and using the Cheongsam to guide himself as he descended towards her in a powerful kick, still it was clumsy and easy to counter. Indeed she grabbed his foot with ease as he came down, just about to throw him against the ground when his other foot met her shoulder and he flipped over, giving her a nice sting about the cheek with his heel as he struck the ground behind her.
Ow… that had hurt. Her muscles bunched and she tore the Cheongsam in two, flinging the garment to the ground and leaving just a short band about her arm.

“HAAIIIIIIIII!” She screamed out a battle cry and kicked off from the ground, going in for the kill with all the power she could muster. Fists and legs were a blur as she struck at his blocks and guards again and again, she could see him weaken… he knocked away once of her punches and struck her in a nerve cluster in her side but Taiya tensed her muscles and the blow just bounced off, moving straight into a right hook that snapped his head to the side “EAYAHH!”
He used the force of the impact to spin him into a powerful elbow to her right breast, the force of the blow knocking the air out of her lungs and allowing him to extend his hand into a ki strike that sent her staggering… crunch, his foot found her stomach and a spin kick struck at her clumsy block, skinning her knuckles and knocking her off balance.
Another upwards palm strike found her chin before she managed to ward him off with a very lucky kick that gave him nothing more than a close shave.

~

“Is Taiya-San losing?”
Junko turned, Makoto and the others standing behind her along with Jumpei, she hadn’t even seen them arrive. Largo’s pet ninja was pretty good at this, Junko sniffed slightly before returning her eyes to the circling fighters “She can take much more than that but… I’ve never seen her take more hits that she gives out”
Aiko nodded to herself “She’s too aggressive, can’t she realise that she’s letting him control this fight?
Makoto shook his head, not looking confident “He’s good. Taiya’s got the advantage in strength, toughness, speed, both of reactions and footwork… and she knows it. She’s too simple, she’s fighting like a brawler, no strategy” He bit his lip “You can’t win this with brute strength…”

~

“AAIIIIIIIIIIIIIYAH!”
“You Bruce Lee wannbes are so damn noisy…” Haruki swept out of the way of her first punch and saw it was a feint for her elbow an instant before it flew at his head, an instant he used to duck it and deliver another punch to one of the muscles in her side. He was impressed, he had given bruising blows to dozens of important areas now and she was still moving just as fast as before, maybe even faster, didn’t she feel pain?

And she was good.
The blow shuddered against his whole body, the girl shoulder barging him and flipping through the air to land behind, he had just enough time to turn slightly before she was upon him, those powerful fists grazing his face by inches and a shuddering hit finding his breast bone. He had met pro boxers who didn’t hit as hard and he had to double up against the sheer force of it, fortunately she went for the most obvious strike she could have made and by sheer luck he had already prepared for that and avoided it with but a moment to spare.

He wasn’t going to get many other lucky escapes like that, time to get serious.

Haruki moved into an uppercut that split the air around him, completely missing Taiya and leaving his chest totally exposed. Just as he expected she moved in to attack and he pivoted, kicking out and giving a strike to her block that left her staggering for a second, enough time to dart in and deliver a ki palm strike to her temple that sent her flying. He figured she had a hard head and felt no need to mess about, he gave the hardest strike he could and Taiya thumped into a metal support pole with enough force to rip it from the concrete and send the awning above the door way crashing down around her, the kids gasping at the force of the impact.

“Taiya-Chan?”
The kids looked on in horror for a second before Taiya’s eyes snapped open, their smiles quickly fading as she got up trailing the metal pole, still connected to a big slab of the concrete and a section of the wooden awning as she yanked it free. She swung it round three times before letting go with a piercing yell, the missile shooting out of her hands with a screeching whistle of rushing air.
“Shit!” Haruki dodged just in time, that would have crushed his chest instantly, how on earth did she find enough strength to throw something that heavy with that speed? Indeed… that was going to carry on for quite a way…

“Junko-Chan!” Ping moved like lightning, the concrete exploding against her hand and the pole bouncing away across the grass, Haruki could only sigh in relief before Taiya was on him again.

~

Bang, Taiya got in an easy hit, Haruki catching her first swing but leaving the right side of his chest open to a vicious punch that drove into his vitals, that was going to hurt. Taiya smirked, not a good idea to lose your concentration in the middle of a fight, now to win this! “HAI…”
“Shouryuuken!” Haruki caught her off guard, leaping into the air with a powerful flaming upper cut that sending her realing, everything turning to red and yellow as she span through the air and crashed to the ground hard, the dirt exploding around her. It was only sheer force of will that kept her from blacking out and her body felt like it had turned to powder. That had hurt. A lot.
She heard Junko’s voice, cutting through the ringing in her ears “Ok, that’s enough, she’s down!”
“Like hell I am…” Though sincerely touched by Junko’s faith in her combat skills she was certainly not down, this was nothing. She had never lost a fight and she certainly wasn’t going to loose to this idiot, getting back to her feet and wiping the blood off her chin “Come on”

Haruki watched her for a second before laughing, a honest and powerful belly laugh that shook his whole body and caused him to wince in pain at his injuries “You are… aha… you are what? Sixteen, seventeen?”
“Seventeen…”
Haruki nodded respectfully to her at this information, obviously impressed “I competed in the world martial arts championships you know, some of the fighters there weren’t much better than you, masters of their arts”
If Taiya was touched by his praise she didn’t show it, her face still fixed in a glare “I’m better than you”
He chuckled and moved into a martial arts stance once again, nodding at her “Then fight Black Tiger then, student of the mighty Black Messiah, former number one fighter in the world. Beat me and you’ll be a legend” He gave her a lopsided smile “But you would have to beat me… no more kid gloves?”
“I can take anything you can throw at me” Taiya paused, where had she heard that name before?

“Baby tiger shouldn’t show off”
Haruki looked to the left, chuckling lightly as he saw the man standing there “Jumpei! Still fighting the good fight my man? I presume you trained this one?”
Jumpei shook his head, his expression stoic as normal “Taiya-San have many teachers. I not one of them”
“Oh really?” He looked surprised, shrugging to himself “You should, she’s pretty good”
Aiko’s eyes opened wide at this infomation and she was insantly moving, running over to get within shouting distance and screaming as loud as she could “Taiya-Chan, stop! I recognise him now, this guy is Black Tiger!”
Taiya wasn’t impressed “So?”
“Black Tiger is the number 18th ranked fighter in the WORLD!” Aiko could only watch as Taiya kicked off from the ground with a grunt “Oh god, she’s going to get murdered…”

“AHGH!” Taiya’s fists blurred, a barrage of raw destructive power that Haruki avoided by more luck than anything. He looked to be on the ropes for a moment before seeing his opening and striking at her throat, hitting her hard and distracting her for moment, his knee moving up in a powerful crack to the groin. Stars danced in front of her eyes and time seemed to slow down as his fist lanced forward, all she could do was ready herself for the impact…

~

Junko shied backwards as Taiya took the punishment, the others just looking on in rapt amazement. Koji was the only one to speak “My, the young master must be struggling, he is not normally so brutal…”
Again and again and again, a torrent of lightning fast punches, both hands swapping and changing as they delivered a never ending stream of vicious punches to the abdomen and head, still she would not fall. Blood streamed from open wounds but she just let out a yell and struck out with a wild blow, Haruki dodging it with ease and opening up with a powerful Ki strike that sent a shock wave rustling past, Junko squeaking as Taiya flew back and hit the ground with a final sounding thump.

~

“Ha…ha…ha…ha…” Haruki was actually tired, he wasn’t badly hurt but the girl was near invincible, still he had to wonder just how invincible. He had felt something go on that last strike, he had struck her just above the eye socket and he though he might have caved it in accidentally, the last thing he wanted was to blind her “Is she… ok…?”
“I’m… aha… fine…”
“Takami!”
Taiya pushed herself up, a cold and grim expression on her broken face. Her eye socket was a weird shape and her eye was red with blood, her nose broken and numerous cuts sending blood dripping down her cheeks, her knuckles were cut raw and she had shed fingernails but still she rose, getting to her feet and facing off against Haruki. What was this woman?! No one could take this much damage! “This fight is over. Stand down”
“You’re hurting” Taiya’s voice was low and steady, “Give up”
Haruki was getting worried, the truth was that he was rapidly running out of energy and she was still moving, he should have gone for the kill from the outset… plus, if he continued he was going to KILL her “Look, you’re seriously wounded, we fight any further and one of us is going to get hurt…”
“You”
“Look you silly girl…!” He waved to his two men “Kogo, Kojai, hold her. This fight is over”
Kogo and Kojai looked at each other before charging in, Taiya blocking Kojai’s clumsy kick and giving him a knife hand to the chest, twisting into a kick into Kojo’s gut and jumping up to slam her heel into his face. Even before Haruki’s obese follower hit the floor Taiya was moving, slamming her elbow into the remaining brothers face and throwing him over her shoulder to slam into the oak tree with a shuddering crash.

Junko looked to the left, she agreed with the idea if not the execution “Ping! Don’t hurt her!”
Haruki nodded “Ryoko…”
Taiya’s eyes narrowed, inhuman and cold and powerful, even behind the injuries that marked her. Even before they started Haruki knew what would happen.
“Taiya-Chan, I… agh!”
Ping went to grab her, a foolish and fatal mistake as Taiya instantly delivered a powerful elbow to her nose and went to meet Ryoko, turning her fist away and sending it smashing into Ping’s cheek with a simple sweep of her hand. Ping fell and Taiya moved in, a blow finding Ryoko’s gut before moving into an uppercut that floored the powerful android, moving past her with death in her eyes “Anything else?”
“I don’t want to hurt you…”
”You’re not the one going to do the hurting!” Taiya sent into a run, charging at the boy and raising her fist…



No further messing around, Haruki dropped into a crouch and cupped his hands “Hai!!”

Boom. Taiya fist met his open hands, straining against the swirling wall of force and crackling electricity that tore and bit at her body… her hoody tore down the side and her bare arm ruptured in several places, at least one of her fingers snapping in an odd direction before she lost her footing. The rest flew past like a dream, flying backwards and going straight through the wall of the shop and only stopping when she hit a refrigerator in the kitchen she had flown into, shattering the thing and sending food and broken plastic crashing down over her prone body, along with masonry from the rather badly punished building.


“Oh my god! Takami-San!”
Junko ran, vaulting through the hole, Takami was just lying there cold and still and it scared Junko, to her very core. She had never ever seen her seriously hurt, she had never seen her lose a fight, about the only thing she could do was try and help her and not think about it too much. Oh, why did she have to... and… stopping, as Takami rose, dust and debris falling around her.
She looked pathetic, her right arm burnt, blistered and obviously broken, her face an almost unrecognisable mess… still, she stepped forward, snapping her shoulder back into place with a sickening crack “Not done… yet… come on…”
Junko’s eyes widened, she couldn’t think of anything to say “Takami… please…”
Taiya looked down at her, confused for a moment before coughing and noticing the taste of blood on her lips, taking another step forward… and stumbling… and falling.
Junko caught her heart in her mouth as the girl struck the floor.

And then, praying with all her heart she moved down, placing her hands at Taiya’s neck. She still had a pulse, Junko was frankly a little surprised after that beating “Takami-San…”
“Help…” She was still conscious, Taiya’s eyes finding her… or eye at least, the other buried beneath a mass of blood “…me up… I can take him…”
Junko narrowed her lips “That’s ten seconds Takami-san, you’re counted out”
“Really?”
“Yeah…”
Ping took that opportunity to run over to the injured girl, Haruki falling back against the tree breathing heavily. Makoto gave him a glance before looking up at Jumpei “Why didn’t you stop her?”
“It was Taiya-san’s fight” Hiratai answered for him, his arms crossed and his face even grimmer than normal “I have honestly never seen anything match the limits of her strength, that was an interesting demonstration”
“Interesting! I though she was your friend…!”
“Makoto-San” Jumpei stopped him with a word, looking across at Haruki. The man noticed the glance and offered a nod in return, Jumpei turning back to Makoto “Girl picking fights. Defeat good for her”
Makoto’s expression became dark and troubled, his eyes darting to Taiya “Is that why you never taught her? I must admit, if we end up having to amputate and fit her a set of black armour I’m starting to run…”
Jumpei looked between the two boys before lowering his voice so they couldn’t be heard “Not know of girl’s strength. Power should have been noticed, someone have reasons for hiding girl. Jumpei understand why…”
Makoto nodded and looked to Hiratai “Is she really so powerful?”
Hiratai didn’t answer, just lowering his head and looking worried. Makoto decided not to ask again.

~

Ping leant down to help Taiya into a sitting position but the girl waved her off and pushed herself up with a grunt of pain, straightening out and looking down at her bare arm “That… I can bleed…”
Junko smiled at her observation “I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. You’re a mess Taka…” Taiya’s hand shot out and grabbed her by the throat, her words dying in her mouth “Ta…”
“Taiya-San!” Ping grabbed at her hand and levered her fingers away, leaving Junko to collapse back against the wall. Taiya was quick to turn her attentions to the android, her eyes fixing her with a grim, far away look that made Ping shiver “Taiya-San…”
She shook with frustration before letting Ping go, stepping away and sweeping through the door without another word. After a second Jumpei spoke “Jumpei find her”
Junko massaged her neck, coughing slightly. She almost crushed her neck there, it was a badly performed chokehold but it was a powerful one, any harder and she would have simply snapped her neck in two “No… me… Ta..kami-san… is my friend…”
“Jumpei prefer do it alone. Kids stay safe”
“Right…” Junko watched him leap onto the roof, still in shock over what just happened. Why had Takami done that? Was… she had never lost a fight before, Junko knew that much, was her pride so delicate? Quite possibly, getting a girlfriend had caused it to swell to an impossible size but it had all the structural integrity of a balloon, one pin… and Takami seemed to know it, considering how quick she was to identify any possible hint of criticism. Damn that girl…

She looked back at Haruki, suddenly wishing the two most powerful members of her group hadn’t just gone AWOL “So… you won”
Ping looked like she had just been slapped “No…”
Haruki looked at the group in what seemed like surprise for a moment before chuckling lightly and flexing his neck “That was the best fight I’ve had in ages, truly that girl is even stronger than Ryoko, no offence my girl”
“None taken sir”
He laughed at her response before straightening out with a grunt, looking like he was really starting to enjoy himself “Since you’re new at this I’m going to change the rules slightly, best of two, you winning in the case of a draw”
Makoto instantly looked suspicious “You’re being very generous”
“Of course!” He gave a big grin “You guys are the best fun I’ve had in ages, I’m really starting to enjoy myself. But of course, before we continue you have to name your prize, if I win I get Ping, if you win… what do you want?”

Junko considered, what DID she want? Money? She had enough… nice things? Possibly, but this wasn’t just for her, it was for the class. Weapons? Certainly not, however useful they could be, images of Yoko and Midori with plasma cannons came to mind.
“I want Ryoko-Chan”
Junko turned, surprised by the voice “Ping?”
The android nodded firmly, stepping forward and looking up at Haruki with a determined expression “If we win you let Ryoko-Chan go”
Haruki looked as surprised as everyone else but he recovered quickly, placing a finger against his chin and leaning against the oak tree with a look of wry amusement “I think you misunderstand Ryoko, she needs to be owned, she would have no idea what to do if she was set free. But indeed if you want her she’s yours. I would find it most ironic to see her in your ownership young Ping-Chan”

Ryoko’s face twitched unreadably but she remained quiet.

“So what’s your second test? Polish linedancing?” Junko advanced on him, her hands on her waist “I’m kind of sick of violence”
Haruki laughed and waved to the girl behind him “Me too. This is Cho Lee, she’ll be your opponent this time” He clicked his fingers and Kojii handed him a leaflet which he passed to Junko with a short flourish “A masterful contest of skill, talent and ingenuity I think you’ll find”
She looked. Her face did cartwheels “You’ve GOT to be kidding me”

Makoto leaned in “Beauty contest, singing, acting… swimsuits required” He looked at Cho Lee and then back at Junko, rubbing his head thoughtfully “Well… that’s going to be interesting”

_________________________________

Makoto’s black armour comment was a realisation that only just occurred to me. Amazingly.

user posted image “You're not all-powerful, Takami”
user posted image ”Well, I should be”

And completing the comparison, she’s a whiny little shit.

The next few will be interesting, see if I can get this all to work. Side story next, detailing what’s happening to Largo, then a connected main chapter, then the conclusion to the side story. Along side this, hopefully I’ll have Shades of Grey ready, which slots neatly into all of this.

SKS, the RETURN. WyndhamHeart my have cleverly pushed me off the first page but I have CUNNING TRICKS!

I.e, deleting and reposting the chapter happy.gif
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Wave Master
Posted: Mar 25 2006, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (Philweasel @ Mar 25 2006, 12:37 PM)
SKS, the RETURN. WyndhamHeart my have cleverly pushed me off the first page but I have CUNNING TRICKS!

I.e, deleting and reposting the chapter happy.gif

OK, I didn't think anything could top WH posting spree, but this joke beats it out in turns of humor. MT really is great way to get your spirits up...

QUOTE

Makoto’s black armour comment was a realisation that only just occurred to me. Amazingly.
And completing the comparison, she’s a whiny little shit.


Ok, but how does Junko competing in a beuaty contest fit in? ...use the force...

Yeesh, I'm done with corny jokes. This chapter was exciting, your fighting choreography is definitely unsurpassed. In the meantime, I find it hard to believe that Jumpei hasn't noticed Takami's strength, I mean Takami doesn't make any effort to hide it, and others like Liah haven't had any trouble sensing her. I can only guess that it would be Midori trying to sheild the class, I can't imagine anyone else besides Midori or Kusanagi with the power to hide someones ability from a ninja, and Kusanagi doesn't seem likely.

Oh, and there you go again, making me run to Wikipedia to find out what a Chenogsam is. It's a little scary how much trivia I'm learning about other culture's thanks to this fic. I guess you do a lot of research. smile.gif

Poor Takami too, it's always difficult to be beat at what you're best at, really bruises the ego, or in her case pops it. Though her strangling Junko was a little surprising. I had no idea Haruki was so powerful, he certainly didn't seem it when we first met it. Anyways, it seems Takami really has little purpose of her own but to be the sword of someone else. I predict her death before the end. Ooooo, pessimism tongue.gif

CUNNING TRICK #2: Replying.
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Philweasel
Posted: Mar 25 2006, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE (Wave Master @ Mar 25 2006, 01:39 PM)
Though her strangling Junko was a little surprising.

Takami's attack on Junko surprised me as well, but it's what the voice of the character told me. Remember, Takami blames Junko for just about everything that happens to her, has hurt her in fits of rage several times before and really REALLY isn't in the mood for patronising sympathy.

Plus she's got a fractured skull of course, she certainly isn't thinking too clearly.
QUOTE
I find it hard to believe that Jumpei hasn't noticed Takami's strength, I mean Takami doesn't make any effort to hide it, and others like Liah haven't had any trouble sensing her.

Takami's aura only emerges when she's fighting for real, ie, when angry. Liah saw it when she was fighting Junko, Jumpei has never seen Takami fight like that. In terms of strength her muscles ect, are only half of it, no one could take that much damage and still remain standing. Takami is, totally untrained, able to use the same hardening techniques as shaolin monks to resist blows and uses similar techniques to boost her other physical attributes.

But someone should have noticed by now, she doesn't go trolling the docks every night but she's certainly had her fair share of fights. That they haven't suggests either incredible coincidence, or a guardian angel of some sort.
You won't have to wait long to find out who it is.
QUOTE
Oh, and there you go again, making me run to Wikipedia to find out what a Chenogsam is.  It's a little scary how much trivia I'm learning about other culture's thanks to this fic.  I guess you do a lot of research.

You obviously weren't there for the arguments over whether a Chenogsam is a female garment in the original SKS happy.gif
QUOTE
I had no idea Haruki was so powerful, he certainly didn't seem it when we first met it.

Haha, he never got a chance. Junko is a very good shot, and it was a bit of a lucky hit. Notice he never looked particularly worried during the fight, even when Takami flung his henchman across the room.
QUOTE
Ok, but how does Junko competing in a beuaty contest fit in?

Well, it's just character arcatypes, either subliminal in my brain or just so common that similarities are bound to crop up. Brynja reminds me of Number Six from Battlestar Galactica. Hiratai reminds me of Mace Windu from Shatterpoint. Junko is a clear Byronic Hero. There are others but I forget.
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Philweasel
Posted: Apr 7 2006, 01:24 AM
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Side Story : Shades of Grey - Awakenings
Shades of Grey - Awakenings

Anyone who want's a bigger, higher quality version can e-mail me, I'm sure we can work something out. The later ones would benefit more though, this isn't too exiting. Awakenings will be up for about a week before I move on to Shades of Grey - Belly of the Beast.




Side Story - Fire and Ice

She had a nightmare once. She had many, her sleep was rarely anything less than a fraught kaleidoscope of fears and half truths but this one was real, unfolding before her naked eyes.
The dream was about the false her. The raven haired one.
She had defiled, broken things that should be beautiful. She loomed, ugly across all her faces, sin and darkness… why couldn’t she see that?
Broken, evil, disgusting false her.
She didn’t deserve what she had. Didn’t deserve her.
Finally understood, and told false her that she could no longer touch and hold and… no long. False her broke, and… defiled…

And then false her sat beneath the branches of the trees in her mind and ranted and raged and she would punish false her for her crimes, she would redeem through blood and fire and God would follow her blade…
And false her showed her the truth.
False her was stronger, tougher, faster, more powerful. God did not follow her blade, in flowed with the sword of the false her.

She might have felt better if she heard God laughing. At least then she would know she was betrayed.


“Liah-San?”
She opened her eyes, a young teen with long raven hair standing above her “Mmm…”
“You were having a nightmare”
Liah looked about the room, she was in Meimi’s house, the spare bedroom… her head hurt… “Are you watching me as I sleep now?”
The boy looked slightly sheepish at her question, pointing at the door “I was passing by, I heard you moaning” He stepped away and let Liah sit up rubbing her eyes, not able to help a smile as he scanned the contours of her body under the nightgown, though he instantly looked up to as he saw her staring “Um, do you want some hot chocolate Liah-San?
“That would be nice, thank you Yuuji-San”

She watched him go before slipping out of her bed, walking up to the mirror. It said it all, how could something so weak, thin and pretty ever have a hope of winning against them? Oh if not for the false blessing of comeliness, a porcelain doll of a body that was neither functional nor needed… pretty little blond girl.

~

“Welcome to Sony Head Offices, I hope you enjoy your stay!”
Kimiko winced at the overly cheerful female voice that chirped through the tanoy before moving through several sets of scanners, looking increasingly nervous as the voice continued “Please be aware that Sony employs weapon recognition systems for your safety and convenience! Remember, waving a weapon or weapon like object in a threatening way will result in disintegration by the many security turrets! As always, your safety is a priority for us!”
Kimiko quickly checked herself for any weapons she might have unintentionally picked up before turning to the man beside her, for some strange reason she was suddenly a little worried… “Did you hear that Largo-San, make sure you don’t have any weapons on you”
Largo looked down at her suspiciously for a few seconds before turning back to the entrance, crossing his arms arrogantly “<Do not worry. I’ve seen the Matrix, if any guards get in the way I’ve got more than enough weapons under this coat>” He unzipped the garment and took out a submachine gun, waving it at the girl in an aggressive manner “<Take it, if anything goes down aim for the one on the left, he’s a large enough target>”
Kimiko ducked, looking about for a second before realising they weren’t being shot just yet “Ano… that’s…” Kimiko tried to draw on her high school English before giving up, just pushing the weapon back under his clothes “That’s great Largo-san, just put that away and… ah… don’t make any sudden movements”
“<Fine, just hide under the counter then. I can only see ten of them, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge>”

The lobby was fairly impressive, using lots of glass and quite obviously sheer hell in the summer, hanging gardens everywhere and lots of official looking blocks of obsidian. She swore some of the guards where carrying large plasma weapons and they certainly looked tough, the reception staffed by identical and unreasonably attractive women. She looked about in awe for a moment before gently waving down Largo, the boy currently twitching dangerously and muttering about 'the heart of evil' "Ok, Largo-San, I'm going to ask about Ping-Chan, you stay right here. Ok? Good"
She patted him gently on the arm before moving away, walking over to the reception desk and engaging one of the receptionists. Largo observed for a few moments before moving away.

~

It was hard to sense anything here, the stink of evil was everywhere, cloying and oppressive, still something told him to move down this corridor. His arrogant stride did it's job, everyone presumed he was supposed to be here and the route he was taking now was oddly free of guards. This would be the maze, he hated mazes, especially ones as dull and featureless as this. Every turn, another blank corridor leading past empty offices.
*Crack*
“Ugh!”
He turned at the sound, that of a man being forcibly rendered unconscious. He wasn't the only one here. Pulling out a pistol and knife from his jacket he placed them together and dodged round the corner, straithing and ready to fire...

A foot kicked his gun into the air and a knee whistled through the area where he once stood, his knife swing out to cut at it... it met blade and his slash was turned away in a cascade of sparks, his elbow crushing into his opponents face... a foot slammed into his stomach and he hit the wall, looking straight into the barrel of a gun "Stay!"
Blue eyes observed him, staring from a Japanese looking face with long blond hair tied in a ponytail, a slim little body clad in white, fashionable clothes. His attention was quickly caught by something else "<Is that a Colt Peacemaker? Cool!>"
The girl looked surprised for a moment before going to pistol whip him, Largo catching her arm, ramming the palm of his hand into her jaw and taking the gun with one smooth movement, pushing her away and turning the gun back on her "<You're using a Colt Peacemaker as a club?! Dude, these things are priceless... sw33t, look at the wacked engravings!>"
The girl just stared, taken aback by the speed of her neutralisation "Uh..."
"Down! Put the gun down!" A boy emerged from the inside of one of the offices, long black hair hanging about his face and a pistol in his hands "Liah, you ok?"
"Of course I am you idiot!" The girl, Liah it seemed answered with a snarl before turning back to Largo "Who are you?"

"He's no one! He's going!" Kimiko ran up and grabbed at Largo's arm, freezing as she saw the gun pointed at them and going pale "I... we're leaving... it's... we're just here about a friend of ours. Please, can we all put the guns down?"
The long haired boy paused, wavering for a moment before Kimiko looked to Liah "Could you translate that? For Largo-San?"
She seemed to see something in Kimiko, looking up and nodding "<She says to put down the gun, that everything's fine>" She looked back at the boy "You too Yuuji"

Yuuji didn't appear to be listening, his mouth hanging open in shock. Finally he answered, in an unusually exited little voice "Great teacher Largo? What are you doing here?"
"Who?"
Yuuji looked at Liah, smiling broadly "It's great teacher Largo, from my school!" He looked across at Kimiko "Who are you, his girlfriend?"
"Rhehh!" She blushed, shaking her head violently "Nono, we... we don't even speak the same language! I'm just here to look for information on our friend Ping-Chan and... ahem... look after Largo-San"

Liah silently considered the situation, eventually giving a wry smile and looking up at the tall boy in front of her "An English teacher in Japan who doesn't speak Japanese, how does that work?"
"I hear he's surprisingly effective..."
She chuckled "<Well Great Teacher Largo, it seems we are on the same side, we too are in search of information in these dark halls. My name is Liah, this is my associate Yuuji">"
Yuuji watched them talk for a moment before moving over to Kimiko "You certainly don't look like you belong here. How do you know Largo-Sensai?"
The blush came back to Kimiko's cheeks, her expression becoming wistful "He... helped me out. I wanted to help him back, I thought it would be better than just sitting at home feeling sorry for myself" She pursed her lips unhappily "Guess I'm just getting in the way"
"No! You..." He paused, nodding over to Liah and Largo "They appreciate it... I think. Liah could flatten me by breathing too hard but she still takes me along, there's gotta be a reason right?"
Kimiko nodded, a cute little smile returning to her face as she looked up at him "So why are you here?"
"Ugh, Liah wouldn't want me to say..."

Liah looked over at the two of them before turning back to Largo, smiling seductively “<Well brave knight, looks like we’re riding together for the moment>”
He handed her back the Peacemaker with a grunt “<For the moment>”

~

The door opened with a 'bing', revealing long dark corridors of steel and pipes, two routes leading into darkness. Yuuji stepped out first, swinging a torch about "These floors were all decommissioned a long time ago, they'll offer us a safe route to our destination"
Liah offered a translation and Largo stepped out himself, watching for danger as he asked the obvious question "<Which is?>"
"<The place where Ping was built>" Liah chuckled "<Thought that would catch your attention. Yes, she was built here, certainly not a mass produced item>"
"Ping was built here, that's where we're going" Yuuji translated for Kimiko before looking back towards the dark corridor, walking a little too quickly though the blackness, fiddling nervously with his torch "Come on, it's not that far..."
"You're here about her too?" Kimiko ran over to his side, showing no fear of the darkness as she questioned him “You’re not going to hurt her are you?”
Yuuji smiled nervously “I don’t think so… I mean, no. We just want to know what Sony’s up to”
Kimiko wasn’t convinced, he was obviously hiding something. Still she didn’t want to get him in trouble “Why don’t we just use one of the computers here?”
“The system is segregated, unless you’re at one of the central hubs you can only access the information relevant to that section, I…” Yuuji paused and looked around “Wait…”

A burst of energy passed overhead and exploded against the wall, sending shards of melted steel and broken cables crashing down, Kimiko stumbling and trying to clear her stinging eyes. When she opened them again she was alone.
The man stepped out of the gloom, dressed in combat leather and carrying a powerful looking sniper rifle, Kimiko couldn't help noticing another girl standing a little way away, very serious looking with little pigtails and carrying a large fat looking sci-fi thing, both of them had red hair and looked like they knew how to use their weapons. She suspected she was in trouble, wondering where the others had disappeared too and if they were going to save her anytime soon. Very soon, if possible.

The man smiled as he saw her "Hello little girl"
"Hello..."
"Have you seen a man in glasses? Big jacket?"
"Um, no" She gave a little smile, offering what was in retrospect a rather silly question "Are you looking for him?"
The man nodded enthusiastically and lifted the sniper rifle "Trying to shoot him through the head. Hey Alice, think this little gr3l is him in disguise?"
The woman shrugged "Too short"
"Hmm, maybe" He casually pointed the rifle at Kimiko's head "Think I should shoot her anyway?"
"Maybe. Be quick about it"
Kimiko froze, her whole body locking up and her life flashing before her eyes, how was she getting out of this one? They didn’t look like nice reasonable people… "I... please don't. I'm a scientist here, I'm really late for a meeting and... oh god, I didn't realise how scary it would be down here!" She looked up at Ed with big blue eyes, tears at the corners "Please don't shoot me..."
The man backed away like he had been struck, terror marked across his face "Alice, help! Get rid of it before those eyes devour my soul!"
"You have a soul?" Alice waved her gun at Kimiko "Git, you're scaring my associate. You're lucky we're not allowed to shoot the scientists anymore..."

Kimiko nodded quickly and darted off, Largo grabbing her arm and pulling her round a corner “<Yet again her power is demonstrated, to make Ed recoil in fear…>”
“<Power? What, bullshitting?>” Liah smirked before waving them on, continuing down the corridor “<Come on, it’s not much further>”

~

The door opened, long white corridors of moulded plastic facing them. Liah as normal led the charge, striding toward the door with concealed watchfulness as the others followed her. Kimiko looked around nervously "Where is everyone? This whole building is so empty"
"You have to wonder don't you?" Yuuji peered about a bit before shrugging "Sony's security protocols do seem to be lacking. I haven't had to hack a single keypad and the only guards we've seen were those guys on the first floor and those two operatives in the tunnels"
Liah nodded to herself "Someone else is in the building, that guy in glasses the two operatives mentioned. He's obviously a little more noisy" She waved them on "Lets not waste the opportunity"
The door slipped open and they stepped into a small lab, irregularly shaped with control consoles liberally scattered around the walls, it looked like a medical bay from star trek. Five tanks stood in a corner, four of them empty and the fifth containing a young woman of very familiar appearance, with marble pale skin and long grey hair, her eyes closed. Kimiko couldn’t help staring, this felt wrong somehow, the girl was more or less identical to Ping save the hair and skin colour and there she was floating naked in front of them “Mmm… it… it looks like Ping isn’t unique, there’s three more of them… beside this one I mean”
“Well, we don’t know they were all full. Or they could have each been used several times” Yuuji walked up to the tank, a smile gracing his face “Look at her, the skin and hair. Must put the dye in later, maybe she’s capable of any skin colour she wants…”
Kimiko looked between Largo and Yuuji before placing her hands on her hips and frowning at the both of them “Hey, stop staring, it’s not nice”
Liah sneered at them, walking over to the controller “Not she, it. There’s real women in this room, staring at that thing is just pathetic”
“Yeah, but you’re not naked” Yuuji laughed to himself before blushing at Liah’s less than amused expression and quieting down “So… ah, what are you guys here for?”

Largo was already at a computer, clicking around the screen “<I can’t read any of this>”
“<Yuuji will upload all data files. What specifically did you want to know>”
Largo flared his nostrils, continuing to poke around the lab “<The android is being hunted by Sony, putting my class in danger. I need more information on their motives if I am to stop them>” He blinked and prodded at something inside one of the drawers, lifting out a block of what looked like mud “<Someone’s been at the wacky backy>”
Liah smiled and extended her hand “<In exchange for the information you want? A fair deal>”
“<Sure, that stuff makes you all weird in the head>”
He handed it over and she laughed, turning back to the computer “<Indeed. Well… interesting. Ping was unique, or at least she was supposed to be, the other chambers housed prototypes and test models that were never meant to be activated. Apparently there’s something special about her… damn>” She pursed her lips “<I’m being locked out. Yuuji?>”
He nodded, standing at another console “These are just workstations, you can’t access anything more than schematics from here. We need to go further, to the core for this section”
Liah sighed, looking around the room before her eyes settled on the android floating in the tank “We should destroy it”

“What?!” Kimiko jumped in front o her “No! Why? What did she do to you, to anyone? She’s just sleeping”
Liah’s face was a picture, her brow ruffling in annoyance “How… foolish little girl, this is not a real woman, she’s a machine, a toaster! She has no more value than a electric appliance” She glared for emphasis “A dangerous electric appliance! She could be used against us, it would be safer to destroy her”
Kimiko’s eyes didn’t betray a drop of fear, only concern “Ping has emotions, she’s real. No different for this girl”
Liah’s face grew nastier, her hand fingering the knife strapped against her hip “She is far from real you silly little girl, God created us with souls and in his image. This thing is an abomination, just like your little friend”
Kimiko shied away a little but still kept her defiant face “I don’t believe in God…”
Liah brought the knife out with a flick of her wrist and swung it upwards at Kimiko’s throat, stopping just inches from her soft flesh “All the more reason to hurt you if you don’t get out of my way”

She suddenly drew the blade away and punched her other hand outwards to strike Largo in the throat, ramming the hilt into his hand and making him drop the knife he was going for her with. He grabbed his injured fingers in pain before Liah kneed him to the ground, sweeping round imperiously “<Nice try but you already got me once, I’m not stupid>” She brought out her gun and pointed it down at him “<Are we going to get unfriendly? Because I’m fine with that>”
A bar came down and sent the gun spinning, Liah grabbing her hand in pain and sweeping round to stare down Kimiko, wavering nervously with a carbon rod in her hands “That hurt you little brat…” She grinned and nodded at the weapon in her hands “So, the picture postcard has some guts. Are you going to use that?”
“I…”
Liah’s hand shot out and grabbed the bar, kicking out and sending Kimiko crashing into a wall, slumping down with a little whimper as Liah rubbed her injured hand tenderly “Seems not. Damnit, if you feel so strongly about it… we should get moving”
Largo picked himself up and dusted down his coat, fixing Liah with a wary eye as she went to move through the far door “<Brave warrior and brother in arms you may be, I still don’t trust you. You have the stench of evil about you>”
“Oh ho ho!” Liah snorted in laughter before smiling sweetly “<Rich. Do you say that to all the girls?>”
He continued the wary gaze “<Your girly whiles are ineffective against me, I have seen your type>” He moved past her and pushed through into the corridor ahead.

“<I’ve seen yours>” Liah looked back at Kimiko, chuckling lightly and taking Largo’s arm “<Mighty warrior, protecting the fair princess? They are not as weak as they seem, there is nothing ‘fair’ about them>” He shrugged her off, Liah backing against the wall and lowering her eyes seductively “<Just what does a girl have to do to have you face a knife for them?>”
Largo’s expression didn’t shift one centimetre “<You remind me of someone else. They must breed you in Tokyo>”
“<And you not even speaking the same language. Ether it’s a bond that transcends language or you’re attracted to her stunning looks and body>” Liah took a peak and grinned bitchily “<Well what do you know, I’ve suddenly become a believer in the unifying power of love…>”

Largo continued to glare for a short moment more before shaking his head and flashing an arrogant grin “<N00b>”

“<What?>”
Largo just grinned and walked away.
“<What did you call me?>” Liah’s mouth hung open dumfounded for a second before changing to one of anger “<What do you mean by that!? Come back!>”
She went to run after him but Yuuji placed a hand on her shoulder, gently massaging the skin beneath her shirt “Calm down Liah-San, he’s not worth the effort”
”No… no…” Liah shook her head clear, her expression descending into an angry sneer “I don’t like that man…”
“I know Liah-San”

Kimiko crept along as quietly as she could, now feeling certain that Yuuji was the only sane person here and beginning to have second thoughts about moving yet further into the heart of Sony, her eyes moving up to a video camera.

She wondered who was watching.

______________________________________

Why did I try and make Kimiko a viewpoint character? She's horrendously difficult to write (FRED has trouble)

The other operative is Alice, sociopathic, cold, eternally bored.

She’s not important, though she gets a couple of cameo’s in Shades of Grey

Liah isn’t Miho, as Junko noted Liah has very little empathy and cannot feel for people at all.

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Apr 7 2006, 01:24 AM
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Philweasel
Posted: Apr 9 2006, 01:23 PM
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Chapter 9 – Feral

Taiya had lost. Did she have a problem with that?
Yes.
She despised being strong, being stronger than everyone else, being able to beat everyone and everything... except of course, herself. Herself, her own arrogance and self pity... and now she didn't even have that. She had been made a laughing stock in front of the whole class, how could they ever respect her again after that debatical? She wished Brinja was here...

"Sooner or later it catches up with you"
Not her. Oh god, anyone but her.
"But then, I would have assumed that you were used to losing by now"
Taiya let her head rise, her lips peeling back in a sneer as the purple haired schoolgirl made her way through the trees and towards the park bench, if Miho thought she could mock her she was quite mistaken "I can still break you in half you know..."
Miho just smiled in response "You would lose that battle too. Pain is generous, and loves to share Takami-san"
"Don't call me that" Taiya already felt the depression set in at the thought of having to spend any more time with the arrogant little riddler, Miho wasn't cool, she was a creep "Yes I lost, guess I'm not as strong as everyone thinks. Now go away"
"You know I've always wondered why she didn't choose you" Miho's yellow eyes looked Taiya up and down, that familiar amusement in her face... "Samael. People love placing funny names and clever categories on perfectly random things" Her mouth suddenly moved into a nasty little sneer "Or is blood off limits to them?"

Taiya was confused, behind that calm façade Miho was angry and she didn't understand why "Whose blood?"
"Don't you ever get tired of being the good girl Takami-San?" Miho ignored her question and posed her own, giving a creepy little smile as she leaned forward and placed her hands behind her back "That pacifistic streak is very unconvincing. Should I tell Ping what kind of thrill you get from fighting with someone?"
Taiya's grimace was not pleasant but she didn't seem overly put out by Miho's accusation, retaliating with a calm, cruel tone that seemed quite unlike her "What about telling her what kind of thrill you get with your little mind games?" She attempted a smile, though it wasn't very comforting "Fucking with peoples brains, sad little attempts to get attention, so weak and cowardly you will only interact with people from behind lies and bullshit"
Miho smiled, though something sad was behind it "There you are..."
"Don't toy with me. Yeah, I'm not a saint, no one is. I have to live with my desires every day, so does Junko and everyone else"
Miho laughed, unpleasantly. Taiya couldn't help but notice the one thing she always hated about the girl, like Midori Miho seemed to be impossible to read on any sort of regular basis and it made conversation difficult, her facial expressions seemed... hollow. Like an inanimate object, a soulless automaton, Taiya avoided Midori for that very reason and Miho wasn't any less disturbing. But yet, as Miho spoke a strong sense of hate washed over her, Taiya getting a small glimpse into the girls soul... "Is that what Junko likes, is that the kind of mentality she likes in her pets?"
"Pets?"
"Is that what you tell yourself when they're all off indulging their desires, living out their little perversions and wallowing in their weaknesses?" Miho grinned nastily, keeping her yellow eyes fixed on Taiya "Is that what you tell yourself when they're all laughing behind your back, laughing at the big ugly stupid girl before setting her against their enemies?" Miho leered at Taiya, waves of sickness radiating off her "Giving your life to an ungrateful, stuck up little girl... simply for the memory of that sweet warm flesh. Flesh that she will never again let you touch? It’s really kind of sad when you think about it"

Taiya took a step forward, her eyes burning and the pain from her previous fight leaving her body "Watch your mouth"
Miho's face became a mask of defiance before Taiya's advance "You could break me in two, oh yes. But look at you, a beaten dog, a serving bitch for friends who bare her neither respect nor love. Quiet little schoolgirl, hair hacked mercilessly short" She sneered "You're on a leash. Better be careful, Junko would be angry if you hurt me"
The thought passed straight through Taiya's brain before she could stop it, just to shut her up... her hand cut out, hard and powerful.
Miho's own hand moved to meet it, a perfect Tai Chi move that struck the incoming attack dead on, deflecting and absorbing the anger in Taiya's move and skewing her fist the side.

Takami recovered quickly, slapping Miho round the face with her other hand and sending the girl staggering to the side with a surprised look on her face. Taiya advanced on her with darkness in her eyes "I know that move..."
Miho clutched her face, a hint of amusement in her face as she tasted blood on her lip "Oh you do don't you? Junko-san's girl, flesh of angels…" She looked up, her face was reddening from the blow but Miho still looked unafraid "You know that she was the one who advised her to break up with you don't you?"
So it was true, Miho did know Liah. Taiya had to wonder how, whatever their interaction Miho's voice did not sound fond "No… I drove her away… with my own paranoia…”
"Hmm, you should know by now, Junko likes a bastard. Why do you think she whores herself out like..."
Miho didn't have a chance to react, indeed Taiya didn't even seem to move as she took her neck and hauled Miho up, suspending her in midair and slamming her against a tree hard... twice. The stars had only just cleared from Miho's eyes when Taiya leaned in and whispered in her ear "Is this what you wanted..." Taiya smiled self indulgently and let her breath fall against the girls cheek, noting the curve of her neck, her pale skin, her cute little breasts clearly visible from this vantage point... uh, she couldn't... but it would be so easy and so very much wanted to, it would be so satisfying to see Miho like that, see her moan... and who would for a second believe Miho over her? Who would care...?
Taiya let go of Miho instantly and darted backwards with smooth grace, watching in slow motion as Miho used purchase on the tree to flip herself over and send her foot slashing through where Taiya’s chin used to be.

Nice try...

She grabbed Miho's leg and swung her to the left, letting go and sending the girl flying into the ground, Miho curling on impact and managing to break her fall, though she still ended up skidding rather ungracefully through the mud and it still looked like it had hurt rather badly.

"Mmm..." Miho moved slightly, licking her damaged lip before shifting her bruised limbs to determine if anything was broken "Hmm... was that satisfying Taiya-san?"
"Yes. I'm thinking of doing it again"
Miho gave a very subtle little smile, pushing herself to her feet with a surprising swiftness consider the punishment Taiya had just handed out and casually brushing down her dress "That is the choice isn't it? Pathetic little guard dog or feral monster?"
The question struck Taiya hard, the girl stopping dead and looking down at her hands "I... I just want people to respect me..."
"I've noticed" Miho turned her back on the girl but peaked out ever so slightly as she spoke in quiet and slightly mocking tones "Respect me, respect me... it's sad how it doesn't really work isn't it? Everyone else seems to find it so easy but no matter how hard you shout..."
"Am I so weak?" Taiya collapsed upon a bench, trying to blink away the headache moving through her skull and noting with detached interest that she couldn't see out of her injured eye anymore "To... have this much power and still have nothing?"
"Perhaps you misunderstood the rules of the game"
Taiya looked down at her hand, the flesh had been stripped off from the knuckles to the wrist and it was now just an ugly mass of blood and possibly a bit of muscle, her middle finger hanging uncomfortably limp and a solid pain working it's way across her arm, competing with a welcome numbness in her shoulder. She hadn’t even known what colour her blood was…

Now it seemed it was about the same as everyone else's.

"They lied to me... I'm not special, I'm just another loser with no friends and one of the lowest grade point averages in the school..." She got up suddenly, turning and giving the bench a kick that shattered it in half and sent shards of broken wood raining down, turning and splintering the bark of a tree with a blow from her fist. The pain only made her angrier "I tried harder than ANYONE! No one deserves happiness more than me! Why do I always lose!?"
Miho didn’t say anything but she didn’t smirk either, a grim and enigmatic look on her face. Regardless of her reaction Taiya continued her rant, sweeping round and advancing on the girl “It’s like Junko said, I’m so damn special, people think I don’t need help! Don’t need emotional support, yeah, lean on Taiya-san!” She flung her hand to the side, her feet trampling the grass underfoot as she rambled about aimlessly. Miho noting the slurring in her voice as she continued “You’re right Miho, you’re actually right… hahaha! Look at that, I tried to protect Ping, shedding my BLOOD for it and what do I get? Grief! They don’t appreciate me, those ungrateful bastards can just go and die! I…”

Something strange happened… Taiya found herself face down on the grass. She wasn’t really sure how she got there.
Miho was next to her, amazing how… close… she tried to speak, the words seeming to come from far away “I can’t move my legs… ow… my head really really… hurts” Taiya pushed herself up, Miho was talking but she couldn’t understand what she was saying, the words just coming too fast “Shut up… be quiet…”
Miho actually looked concerned, that cheered Taiya up no end. It was nice somehow, it made her feel much better, even Miho’s voice was filled with that concern “You’re really badly hurt Taiya-San”
“You sound… like Ping…” Taiya chuckled and grabbed Miho by the shoulder, forcing her down into… of all things… a hug. Tears dropped against Miho’s ear as she was squeezed tight, Taiya whispering to her in a husky voice “You know… I always hated you because you annoyed Junko… heh heh, flesh you will never… uh…” She lost track of what she was trying to say and got to her feet, pulling Miho up with her and staggering slightly “You… keep on that…”

In some vague part of her brain she was actually aware that she was dying. She let go of the soft little girl in front of her and staggered off into the trees to do it.


Miho looked on for a while, her face now calm and emotionless but seemingly unwilling to move. Her eyes suddenly darted to the left, the new arrival on the scene pausing at her stare “Well done, I’ve snuck up on some pretty alert people” The fortune teller grinned, throwing back her hood and brushing her fingers through her hair, the golden locks instantly straightening and falling in silky tresses “You’re stealing my lines little girl”
“Doesn’t seem like it matters anymore”
The fortune teller chuckled and delicately picked up a piece of broken bench, running it through her fingers as she approached “Oh Takami dear has just got a bit of a headache, she’ll be fine… why, isn’t this interesting” She placed a finger to her lips “Miho. How are you?”
Miho didn’t answer her question, simply smiling in a self indulgent sort of way “Are you really willing to risk so much on her?”
“I could ask much the same”
Miho lazily angled her head, a gentle smile on her face “The thing about losing is sooner or later you run out of things they can take from you…”
The fortune teller nodded in understanding “Well I think I’m reversing the old maxim, the older I get the more I like taking risks”
“You’ve survived so much that it’s all become a game to you. Which one are you playing today?” Miho peered darkly from under her hair “Chess?”
“Please” The woman laughed “Musty old men in cardigans. I play poker, I played poker in Vegas. I won someone’s soul once”
“Hiding your face?”
“No one wins poker by hiding their face” The fortune teller gave a confident grin before flinging her robe aside, revealing a pair of designer jeans and short sleeved shirt, tattoos down her arms. With another flick of her hand her hair fell around her, leaving a short crop.
Miho nodded at the display “That’s my line…”
Brinja laughed and flung the Star of David amulet into the air, the silver medallion sinking into her hand and turning into a complex looking tattoo that flowed down her arm to disappear under her shirt, flicking a match out of her sleeve and flinging it down upon the discarded robe and hair, a blue flame reducing it to nothing in mere seconds “Indeed, I liked your hair before. Still, Kusanagi didn’t recognise you, I swear it’s amazing just how unobservant some people are sometimes” Her face became more serious, a cold glare “Resist your Meimi given urge to meddle, you are right you know? Takami could snap you in two”

Miho stood silently for a moment before nodding “And you would know all about that wouldn’t you Brinja-Sama?”
The woman looked surprised at this comment but her expression was impressed, offering a sharp nod to the girl “Keekeekee… do you think his being here is a coincidence? Just sit back and watch little girl, I’ll show you how to repay a good deed…”

__________________________________

Taiya and Miho are developing a complex relationship.
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shadowrider
Posted: Apr 9 2006, 08:04 PM
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l33t One
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Yikes! I have a lot of catching up to do.

~shadowrider
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Philweasel
Posted: Apr 9 2006, 11:20 PM
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Not a Pedophile
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QUOTE (shadowrider @ Apr 9 2006, 08:04 PM)
Yikes! I have a lot of catching up to do.

~shadowrider

Sorry, two at once. Darn forum death.

Note: Anyone who wants to download Shades of Grey : Awakenings should do so before wednesday, when the next (Very long) chapter will be going up.

This post has been edited by Philweasel on Apr 10 2006, 03:00 AM
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