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MrTags
March 14th, 2011, 06:33 PM
Welcome all back to Mr.Tags theater. I'll be posting Crossings back from the beginning so that everybody who was traveling with me can recap and anyone new can follow it.

Thanks for your patience, I'll get back up to where I was as quickly as I can, but only 10000 words might make the posts a little small.

Crossings - Begins

The golden king traveled. He traveled not in fanfare, for out beyond his great city, the city of all man, that was not his way. He traveled without his companion of many years, for that companion had been taken from him. He moved through the land as a peasant, as a ghost, robes the color of the sand around him, dusty and dirty from the long untracked path he forged in the desolate wilderness.

He traveled, long and hard across the sun baked land, far to the west, always to the west. The west was where the answers lay, where the dead lay, and where the ancient places, the gates to the netherworld lay.

He traveled, and when he did, all knew of him. They looked upon him and spoke.

"Ah Gilgamesh, lord of Uruk, king of man" they said one and all, "Why are your cheeks emaciated, your expression desolate! Why is your heart so wretched, your features so haggard? Why is there such sadness deep within you! Why do you look like one who has been traveling a long distance so that ice and heat have seared your face! Why do you roam the wilderness!"

And the king of all replied to them in length!

"Should not my cheeks be emaciated, my expression desolate! Should my heart not be wretched, my features not haggard Should there not be sadness deep within me? Should I not look like one who has been traveling a long distance, and should ice and heat not have seared my face! ... should I not roam the wilderness? My friend who chased wild asses in the mountain, the panther of the wilderness, Enkidu, my friend, who chased wild asses in the mountain, the panther of the wilderness, we joined together, and went up into the mountain. We grappled with and killed the Bull of Heaven, we destroyed Humbaba who dwelled in the Cedar Forest, we slew lions in the mountain passes! My friend, whom I love deeply, who went through every hard- ship with me, Enkidu, my friend, whom I love deeply, who went through every hardship with me, the fate of mankind has overtaken him. Six days and seven nights I mourned over him and would not allow him to be buried until a maggot fell out of his nose. I was terrified by his appearance! I began to fear death, and so roam the wilderness. The issue of my friend oppresses me, so I have been roaming long trails through the wilderness. The issue of Enkidu, my friend, oppresses me, so 1 have been roaming long roads through the wilderness. How can I stay silent, how can I be still! My friend whom I love has turned to clay; Enkidu, my friend whom I love, has turned to clay! Am I not like him! Will I lie down, never to get up again!"

For he had lost Enkidu, the one who fought him, the one who was most like him.

And onward he traveled, killing the great lions of the valleys, onward to the land of the scorpion beings.

Again and again was he asked.

"Ah Gilgamesh, lord of Uruk, king of man" they said one and all, "Why are your cheeks emaciated, your expression desolate! Why is your heart so wretched, your features so haggard? Why is there such sadness deep within you! Why do you look like one who has been traveling a long distance so that ice and heat have seared your face! Why do you roam the wilderness!"

And he did answer them one and all with the self same phrase as before. Till that time when he climbed to the edge of the great mountains called Mashu, that reached from their tops to the sky, and their bottoms the netherworld. The mountains, guarded by the scorpion beings.

And the beings did see him, and called him what he was, called to he who was flesh of the gods. And they asked of him why he had come so long and hard and he did tell them that he needed the knowledge of immortality.

The scorpion beings, terrible as they were, beings it is said that the mere sight of to mortals is death, they listened to his words. He entreated them, he called upon them, he asked and demanded in ways only the great king of all men could.

The beings of scorpion listened, great were the words Gilgamesh did use, great was his need, and his plea. They, great in their wisdom as beings of the scorpion, men and women alike, did put forth to him great challenges, wars of words and of spirit.

And Gilgamesh passed one and all, until there was only one last thing, one last being who needed convinced to convince them all.

But this one they said would only be convinced of worth in battle. In grasp and reach equal and proven by the language of body, hand, soul and combat. They put forth this ultimate test and the unbeaten one Gilgamesh stood forth, the golden king, clad in rags made of slain lions stood forth as the great gate into the outer darkness opened and the last test came.

From before the darkness strode a tall man, of a height nigh the great king if not taller. His short, dark hair pressed back, conformed more to his feral head. He was a broad foreigner of the northern wastes, evinced by his lighter color skin and grey green eyes. Swathed from neck to foot in shining golden armor he walked towards the king, easy in his manner. With a massive greatsword, black as pitch, held loosely in a hand so it laid across his shoulders he grinned broadly in a well worn, thin lipped smile, showing teeth clean like those of royalty.

For a second the king of Uruk had thought it was him that stood in the gateway, he who had been lost, yet now, in this new one's lazy but refined posture, relaxed but trained air, Gilgamesh could tell the thought had been in error. This one was not the same.

He stepped forth before the disheveled king, looking down upon the lordly one's almost shrunken demeanor. A look of puzzlement and mirth graced the man's foreign features.

"Ah Gilgamesh, lord of Uruk, king of man." he began as all the other's before him, then switched tone as his brows furrowed in some concern, "What happened to you? You look like shit."

Section 1 End.

MrTags
March 14th, 2011, 06:38 PM
Heh, have to reformat this for forums from it's original non spaced and indented form, then reset the other formatting like indents and such.

Crossings Section 2

He sits in a dark place... lit barely, a place with an up and down indicated only by his position. No ceiling, no floor, no walls... only the lines. Thousand upon thousand of lines, spaced in three dimensions, in front behind each other, angling touching, effecting. Here and there new lines start, here and there, other lines end. Some converge, bounce off, or stay together. Some that were close part ways, some that were bright, blink out as another line crosses. He sits in this place, a place of no space but time he sits in this place and softly weeps.

Where he sits, to him, there is no line, though by all rights there should be, must be. There, and there, and there, behind him, lines twist and turn with no apparent reason. In his wake the lines change, sometimes like a ripple, sometimes like a hurricane, and each one glows with an aura of brighter blue, no matter it's original color.

Where he sits, next to him, and a little before him three lines meet, one red, ancient, stretching back as far as can be seen, two blue, each sparkling with golden motes, but one of those, half red, twirled betwixt another old line of dark vicious colors. His hand sets upon the clear red line, running its length softly, reticently, caressing it like the shoulder of an old, pained friend. Before him, mere seconds down the path, the lines meet, crashing cataclysmically. Two end in the flash, only the blue, drained and weaker for it, continues it's path.

With a furrowed brow, he concentrates. The land shifts, the lines change. Time and again minute details or major factors change behind him, time and again the lines crash, time and again, the way it plays out changes, yet the ending, one line moving forward, a different one each time, but pained, faded, cracked and crumbling, remains the same.

He cries softly, helplessly. His tears pool over his eyes in a place with no up or down to fall to. With a flick of his hand he sends them away thoughtlessly, hitting other lines, sending them spinning to new places. He watches wistfully, sadly, feeling the person behind each... caring for one and all. As a wisp of smoke a line, it's jet blackness nigh invisible without the glowing green cracks within it twirls up from behind him, changing for a moment, passing the other lines, leaving them ever so slightly different. He looks at the lines and sees something he hasn't before. His senses extended he isn't in the least bit surprised when he hears the words.

Who else would be here? Who else would come around him when he's like this? The darkness behind him congeals, not as well formed in time as he, but a black silhouette of a familiar outline anyway.

"And look at you now, moping and all" voiced the shade in a feminine drawl, sitting behind him to his left, running a finger over the converging lines, "You really care for these, and who's this? A her? Should I be jealous?"

He laughed slightly, still looking down. A little faux Celt accent, once she hadn't had in, what was it now? fifteen hundred years? And a little bit of faux jealousy added on to stir the pot, had gotten him to smile in seconds when he felt like he hadn't in centuries. He looks back at her, his sad eyes still managing a sarcastic knowing sparkle. It should be impossible, considering who she was, even back then it should have been, and yet here she was, she still cared for him. He supposed it just another one of the ridiculous paradoxes that defined his existence.

"Oh no, of course not." the female presence says, sighing slightly as her black wings droop a bit, "A moment here, a love there, all we can really have are trysts isn't it? Love them and watch them leave, or hold on and be the death of them... The ability to make a difference in everyone else’s life but our own."

"It's the price we pay Morg." he says softly, "Fleeting glimpses of life, touches of love, happiness for a second only in the grappling for life with one disastrous thing or another. No contentment, just the endless battle."

He looks back down to the red line, eyes half closed. He pets it for a moment, runs his finger over the all too short tangle where it and the blue line become as if one before separating again, a tiny island of peace along the string of things. Then his eyes move up, he watches the lines with red, both pure and mixed start to collide, the pure blue streaking along, breaking away to find another, a greenish oddity with sparkles of red, before being directed right back into it... then pain... collision... and always one line, cracked and fading, leading away.

A hand falls upon his, in his light it reflects a dove soft, light sheen, with it her voice calls out, "You know... you really can't save them all."

As he tenses the female form looks away. His hand falls back from the lines and clenches. His teeth grit together, mouth opened into a maddened sneer. His eyes fill with something other than tears as unimaginable power leaks through him, his emotions breaking his abilities to restrain it. His shaking fist begins to spark, the space around them actually contorting slightly as it and time are drawn thinner. His growl seems to effect everything around him, as if time itself is afraid.

"But I WANT too." he spits through clenched teeth, "This is wrong, they deserve more."

"Not all stories have happy endings." the woman replies sadly, wings twitching on her back and head, she slumps forward, pulling her knees to her chest and hugging them close to her, "Not even ours did... we couldn't even save ourselves."

"For us, only things end, attachment, closeness... no matter what, we keep going." there was a desperation in his voice now, a longing, he opened his hand and looked deeply into it, "This isn't right, we don't end, we never have, they never had a chance to truly start, never admitted anything."

As he fumed the form behind him became clearer, possibly because he fumed. She crawled in behind him, hugging him, a tress of green hair falling over his shoulder. Without even thinking he reached behind him, rubbing her head with the same fist that had been clenched. Time fell back into place around them, energies stopped leaking away. The woman let out a soft, satisfied little coo that had him smiling all over again. A peaceful moment passed.

"Well." she says softly, standing, "Isn't it time?"

"Is that a joke? Time?"

"No!" she says, throwing her arms wide, spinning round, "Isn't it time you do something about it!? Well?"

He turns, looking back at the threads, his eyes narrowing.

"Come on!" she goads, crossing her arms under her chest, a hand coming up so one of her fingers falls on her cheek while her wings spread as if she was floating, "Do it! You know you want to, you know you're the only one who can. Pull one of your insane little stunts. Do one of those impossible things you're always doing, those heart stopping, jaw dropping things like only you can."

"Heh," he laughs, "And if I'm not supposed to..."

"Like that's ever stopped you before." she remarks, leaning over him with a smile, "We both know it, once you get started... nothing stops you."

Light crackles through the nothingness, a smile spreads across his features. Thoughts flow through his brain, how's, what's, why's complex plans scheming across time. With an insane laugh he throws his arms wide, lightning dancing off of him, then brings his hands back together, blue energy sparkling and swirling between his palms. His face cracks in a knowing, lop sided grin and he is gone.

Alone in the dark place a single figure stands. A woman of incomparable beauty. In her eyes burn a fire of victorious evil. Glancing back over her shoulder, as if to something, someplace different, she breaks the silence only once before disappearing.

"Oh father, I think this should solve your little Zelretch problem."

And in a fit of dark laughter and a swirl of bats...

She is gone.

Crossings Section 2 End

Hrmm, the board colors are a little off and it's hard to see some stuff. I hope that gets worked on soon hint hint ^_^

MrTags
March 14th, 2011, 06:50 PM
Man 10000 characters is SHORT! I'm gonna fill up a lot of posts with this story. The song is Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely by Backstreet Boys.

Crossings Section 3a Begin

Blue Blue Glass Moon Under the Crimson Air

The airless void of space. The heat of the sun bears down without mercy on the surface of the bright side of the moon. The grey, pockmarked lunar landscape extends out to the edges of the lunar horizon. Above, looking all too close, hangs the bright blue orb of the Earth, basking in the light of eternity.

In the void there is nothing but quiet. Peaceful nothingness, emotionally null. The grey unmoving lunar dust sits calmly, untouched by air, moved not by the solar winds and light that beat down upon them. It is serene. It is cold. It is nearly beautiful.

Sitting with his legs crossed in meditative repose, he reaches down and touches the deceptively hot lunar surface, picks up a bit of dust in his hand and lets it slide through his fingers. It hits the ground without sound or debris, dully, lifelessly. Sitting back he lets the sun scour his austere features. Dark hair, medium nose, strong chin and cheekbones, they all take in radiation that would kill a normal person, not that the nigh absolute vacuum of the place wouldn't have earlier. His more than six foot height seems small out in the middle of nothing, his physical build completely unable to fill the vastness of the empty space a round him. He opens his blue/green eyes and looks to the Earth. At the corner of his eyes, streamers of moisture form as his tears vaporize in the unforgiving conditions.

Blue Blue Glass Moon Under the Crimson Air

With eyes wide open his powers stretch out, break the boundaries of time and space. In his minds eye he scans through dimension after dimension, watching the sad scenes unfold. His brow furrows. His eyes dart from side to side, looking for what he needs. Sadness fills him. He reaches out with his heart to the core of the pain that rests in the souls of two, so sadly denied their love.

Show me the meaning of being lonely
In pain Shiki Tohno looks down at the broken form of his lover, Arcueid Brunestud, and offers her his life. With sad eyes she refuses to take it, denies herself life for the sake of the one she loves.

After she fades to nothing, life lost to the ages, Tohno faces down his foe one last time.

So many words for the broken heart
The battle is short and bittersweet. Shiki breaches the death dot of the suspended hallway in which they fight. As it crumbles both reach out with their blades, protecting themselves from the falling debris, loosing each other for a critical moment in the confusion.

It's hard to see in a crimson love
With sad eyes Shiki Tohno kills his adoptive brother. Piercing his point of death he sends Roa on his way to whatever fate awaits him beyond the veil. As other eyes turn away he finds himself unable to hold out any longer, falling to his knees he finds he somehow cannot weep for his lost love. With glasses found and back in place he heads back.

So hard to breathe
For a moment on the way he spots a friend, Ciel sempai. She says nothing, standing atop an overhead lamp as if it were made for such abuse. Without a sound she turns and leaps away. Shiki swears he sees tears on her cheeks.

Walk with me, and maybe
At the park he imagines Arcueid there, unable to stop himself from seeing her in her favorite places.

Nights of light so soon become
He steels himself and walks on, past places once happy.

Wild and free I could feel the sun
He tries not to think of Arcueid, or the times they had together... or the pitiful death of such a strong woman.

Your every wish will be done
He tries, for now, to banish the memory of the woman he loves.

They tell me...
The redhead sisters greet him when he returns home, it seems a sullen affair. He goes to Akiha's door. He announces his return as softly as he can, and behind the door he hears the wail he expected, and a fit of crying.

Show me the meaning of being lonely
Even through it all, Shiki Tohno stays with his adoptive family.

He goes to school, does his work.

Is this the feeling I need to walk with?
The ghostly image of his love plagues his mind.

Tell me why I can't be there where you are
Sadly he turns down the affections of Satsuki. She runs from him in tears.

There's something missing in my heart
His life continues into the lonely future. His survival without Arcueid making him all the lesser for it. Slowly down the lines of fate, his line cracks, fading into a miserable nothingness.

Crossings Section 3a End

MrTags
March 14th, 2011, 07:00 PM
To the next universe

Crossings Section 3b Begin

Brow furrowing more he looks over to his choice of the next reality. Behind him, in the lunar dust, a pattern begins to form. Moving lazily slow and so far indistinct it weaves a way in slow curling arcs, brushing up the soil into swirls of grey, something massive is starting to take shape.

In his minds eye, a new, different version of events appears.

Sight flies down the streets of Misaki, over the school, over the alleys. It hovers above a young girl, sitting, crying in a pool of blood, a familiar face in an unfamiliar location, before slipping away up the great hill and past the gates.

In a high room of the Tohno mansion a blonde woman sits, staring down at the desk, to the number of pictures spread upon it. Arcueid Brunestud, sits within Shiki's old room, staring at his pictures, looking down as coldly as she can manage.

Life goes on as it never ends
The door to the room opens, Arcueid looks up to Kohaku, entering quietly. The maid smiles and lays a cup of tea from her tray on the desk, speaking words though none can be heard. Arcueid smiles back and takes the tea, sipping it, then making an odd face. She looks over at Kohaku before the maid leaves, and pretends to choke on something in the tea. The redhead just winks at her. Arcueid smiles back, apparently part of some personal joke.

Eyes of stone observe the trends
The moment Kohaku leaves Arcueid's veneer of happiness breaks down. Softly placing the cup back on the desk amid the drops of her tears she lays her head forward on her arms and sobs. Outside the door, Kohaku stops for a moment to wipe away a tear from her own cheek.

They never say forever gaze... if only
Sliding past the focus shifts, moving down the halls. It slips through a door at the end, following down a stairwell. Within the room at the end of the stairs sits a nigh identical maid to Kohaku in European dress. She reclines on the floor against the wall in the midst of a veritable sea of red.

Guilty roads to an endless love
Hisui looks up sullenly, doing her duty to her mistress. Past the hair, past the bars, in the far cell sits the unmoving form of Akiha Tohno, eyes wide open yet not seeing. Only an occasional rocking motion, and the twitching of her unearthly hair show signs she still retains life.

There's no control
Written around her in blood, using the same style as her late brother's writing, the words "Kill Me" repeat, seeming to echo off each other on the walls.

Are you with me now?
Kohaku comes in. Hisui accepts a drink from her tray before her sister walks on, directly into the waves of Akiha's hair. Opening the door for a moment, she says something softly, then lays a last cup of deep red blood on the ground behind her mistress. In the clear light both she and Akiha look far more gaunt then before.

Your every wish will be done
The eyes return to Arcueid, in fitful sleep. The events of the past haunting her yet again.

They tell me
In a hall, in a school, high off the ground, the battle rages. Arcueid Brunestud, Princess of the True Ancestors throws her most powerful attack at her opponent. He staggers, reduced almost to nothing, yet in moments he is back up. Arcueid looks towards him, her eyes wide, in her shock she looses her hold on Shiki behind her. One Shiki calls out to her, while the other approaches from in front.

Show me the meaning of being lonely
The darkly bandaged figure before her attacks, his hand streaking straight for her gut. Arcueid tries to dodge, to her horror she isn't fast enough... to her eternal shame, someone else is. Roa's eyes open in horror and regret as he finds his hand buried within the belly of his brother. Shiki grasps his hand, holding it tight for but a moment before his eyes glaze.

Is this the feeling I need to walk with?
Arcueid screams soundlessly as she and Shiki fall backwards to the ground. She hugs him to her, helpless tears flowing down the sides of her head. Roa looks to his hand... sees the blood all over it... he staggers, unable to comprehend it. His brother has done it to him yet again, took the blow, yet again. He looks surprised, not only by the actions, but by a pain in his back, he feels more than sees Shiki's knife lodged in his dot of death, just shallow of killing depth.

Before him Arcueid pushes Shiki's dead form off of her. On her abdomen, there is a wound, it pools with blood, Shiki's blood... almost all of it. Roa had stabbed through Shiki right into her... and in doing so, he forced his brother's blood into the princess... poisoning her yet again.

Tell me why I can't be there where you are
Arcueid's tears are now blood. Roa manages to take one step back before she is on him. His fear, the realization that his life's dream is now ending in failure, both written on his face. Arcueid grabs the knife in his back and shoves it in. Even as the real Shiki Tohno and Roa die, even before they begin to fade she rips them apart into a bloody spray. Her eyes filled with blood, her features reddened, her body coated from head to toe she turns back and stalks towards the still form lying on the ground.

There's something missing in my heart
As she reaches for it, as her teeth, sharp as knives, spread apart, something catches within her. Her eyes fall upon Shiki's face. For a moment there is nothing... then something snaps deep within Arcueid Brunestud. Her eyes clear. Her teeth return to normal. Her face goes from a mask of hunger to disbelief. She cradles Shiki to her breast and screams... the force of her outburst bringing the suspended hallway crashing down around them.

There's nowhere to run
The twin redheaded sisters wait patiently behind the front doors of the Tohno mansion. Each looks around worried, glancing to each other.

The doors swing open... Arcueid, bloody, crying, walks into the room, carrying Shiki.

I have no place to go
Hisui's eyes go wide, then blank. Her knees buckle under her and she falls to them, in a moment her body's stance changing from that of a living girl to that of a lifeless doll, head cocked to the side... mind dead to the world.

Kohaku makes no noise... tears splash from her eyes as she closes them and runs back into the mansion.

Surrender my heart' body and soul
Kohaku breaks into Akiha's room, screaming. Shiki's younger sister turns around... in seconds Kohaku has told her. The stately young woman's eyes go blank... there are no tears, there is no expression. She screams to the heavens, her hair changing color, whipping around.

Kohaku falls to her knees, slams the floor with her tiny fists, calling out to her mistress. With words silenced by the space of time she begs, pleads with Akiha. In plaintive wails she confesses her sins, tries to take all the blame, screaming out her pain. As Akiha's eyes turn towards Kohaku the maid rises, lowering her head and holding her arms out to the side. The hair reaches for her, lifts her up.

How can it be you're asking me to feel
In an instant tears break free from Akiha's cold, dead eyes. Kohaku is thrown to the wall, barely scratched. Akiha's rage turns inward, and as she screams Kohaku can do little but hold her own ears.

Through a veil of tears Kohaku draws a knife from within her robes and looks to it. Before she can act a hand falls on her shoulder. Arcueid looks down at the maid, shakes her head no and Kohaku drops the knife before the princess steps forward into the agonized swirl around the head of the Tohno family.

the things you never show?
The vampire princess takes hold of Akiha and holds her tight, accepting the brunt of the punishment dealt out by the flying red hair. Kohaku watches the display, Arcueid refusing to let go, pain or no, in awe. As the furor dies down the young maid finally feels the full weight of her own emotions on her. She curls up on the ground and bawls.

Section 3b End

MrTags
March 14th, 2011, 07:09 PM
Going on till here. Let's see who's around.

Crossings Section 4 Begin

Forward, into the future of fate, five lines proceed, each diminished.

His hand clenches before him... the corners of his eyes boil with tears. The surface of the moon swirls as if suddenly given air. He looks forward, his jaw tight, his face stern, angry. Even here, in airless space, were one here, they would hear his growl, a low rumbling that stirs the rocks, shakes the dust.

"I will not... I will not... I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS!!" he cries out to the heavens, his voice loud, his demeanor resolute, the shout making a ripple through the dust around him as if an impact. He stands and without pause, looking to something far away, past thought and seeing he declares his resolve, "I will not forget or forgive, I WILL NOT back down, nor turn away, I have seen what fate has decreed and TO HELL WITH IT! Do you hear me?! And to hell with ever whom or whatsoever shall stand in my way!"


There was a snapping noise... a cracking, something in misalignment.

The wizened old mage opens his eyes to the heavens, to the jewels, brings them to focus as portals, as mirrors. He interrupts his studies, looking aghast at the energies flowing over him. Something is horribly wrong, balance has lost it's way. Energy coalesces, a little pulling from each reality, focusing on the nexus. Someone else was using a power such as his.

With panicked heart the wizard stands, looking through the sea of mirrors. Two such, on the opposite ends of the spectrum, on the opposite sides of the room are shifting, distances are decreasing, fate's hand is being denied.

You are missing in my heart
"TRUTH! LOVE! JOY! SORROW! HATRED! FURY! HEAR MY PLEA!"

The symbol on the moon becomes clearer. The extent of pinions, hundreds of miles across stretch across the cold dusty surface. In the midst of a storm that can not possibly be he stretches out his hands in both directions, reaching out, his back arched, his muscles taught. He basks in the energies, drawing a tiny bit of the emotions, a tiny bit of the suffering from each Arcueid, each Shiki. His body is wracked with pain, phantom electricity plays across the lunar surface. It is too much, to much for him to do, he can't do this, this is beyond what has been set, but it doesn't matter. He has sworn it, there is no other choice.

In the skies above Misaki, the moon begins to glow.


Tell me why can't I be there where you are
The mage pushes himself hard, then pushes himself beyond that. Things are shaking now... there is an energy bleed from the source. Life is being pulled into the rip.

Even Zelretch has to avert his gaze.


Show me the meaning of being lonely
The pain is so much. The sorrow, the hurt, so pervasive. Spread, floating in space above the moon, facing the Earth, he pulls his arms in, crosses them over his chest. There is no question, there never was. There is only hope.

Is this the feeling I need to walk with?
He jams his eyes shut against the misery, against the anguish. His arms, held across his chest, crossed in the pose of the dead, shake as they hold the energy to him.

Opening to slits, they loose one final tear.

Under his breath, so softly nothing should hear, yet everything can he whispers...

"Please?"

Tell me why I can't be there where you are
His eyes, the irises now glowing a blue that spills out into the white to spark and crack in the corona of energy around them, look on seeing nothing yet everything. Hundreds of different versions of events twist and turn around the common focus. Time for a moment stands still.

A single, white hot point of light appears on the moon. Spreading out like a star five points reach out, bridging the Earth and moon. At the instant they touch, the star bursts. A storm of a thousand times a thousand smaller lights swirl out, whirling like fireflies caught in a hurricane. Soon a quarter, than fully a half of the moon's bright side is under their swirling radiance.


There's something missing in my heart
Zelretch is forced to duck down, he covers his wizened frame with cloak of night and shields of iron as the light becomes so bright. The sky sounds as if it's full of falling shards of glass.


Show me the meaning of being lonely
With clenched fists he lets his arms slide back. He grits his teeth. Everything is a world of sparks and lighting. His eyes now show only light. His body burns with an intense inner fire.

"Now..." he calls, "shine, Shine! SHHIIIIIIII YAAAAAAIIIIII!!!"

Is this the feeling I need to walk with?
People are forced to avert their eyes as the moon flares, the sky lighting bright as the sun for a split second. Some swear the wind just afterwards was a shockwave, but those can't pass through space... right?

The sky cracks, the thrones shake. Eyes open. Heroes wake.

The lines of fate twirl and bend, dozens of phantoms appear, vanish, and dance through time. As one most slam together and continue, unchanged as they absorb their doubles. In the darkness, change comes.


Tell me why I can't be there where you are
Even through the shell around him, Zelretch can see the twin mirrors collide.

The fire dies down, the energies begin to dissipate. Before his surprised eyes, he finds no destruction, no broken mirrors. He sweeps his eyes around, seeking the moved ones, those who had been misplaced. He takes half a step back, looking further up and find them, finds it.

There, on the wall of continuities, two frames, buckled and bent, now surround one expanded, cracked mirror.

There's something missing in my heart
He hits the ground hard. Falling from height to his knees. Blood boils into space, forming little fast dissipating clouds of red froth. Something more than blood begins to leak from breaks in his skin, through his clothes, from his ears. A thick, glowing liquid, sky blue in color, this type not vanishing into space falls from him to the grey landscape, burning it charred black. As he kneels there, unmoving, the great shape that formed from before begins to fill. Bluish white liquid escapes cracks in the fabric of space itself, falling to the ground, filling the furrows, burning them black. A massive black symbol appears on the surface of the moon.

Unable to move, he holds his place. His eyes are gone, replaced with that same blue glow, weaker now. At the corners of those blank orbs, cracks have formed through to the glow under his skin, leaking energy like blood.

With a strange sizzling the energies are slowly absorbed into the lunar surface. On the moon, now is shed a new kind of tear.

Section 4 End

Kieran
March 14th, 2011, 07:34 PM
*Sigh* - and so the wait begins again. But someday, I WILL see the end of this! :)

MrTags
March 15th, 2011, 08:42 PM
Crossings Section 5a Begin

Across an endless tunnel of black they floated. Bodiless phantoms they slid deeper and deeper into the depths, out of sight and perception. Familiar figures, familiar faces. Falling away voices their voices floated past.


But my faith? Where is my faith?
What? Who was that?

Kohaku NO! Hisui stop her! It's poison!
But wasn't that Kohaku?

Hey Tohno? You still livin?
Arihiko? Where are you?

Why? Why didn't he protect me?
No, Yumizuka... I'm so sorry...

Do you really want that monster back?!
I... I...

But master Shiki is the master
Hisui... why?

Will you take responsibility for killing me? Again?
ARCUEID!!!!

-------

Ugh, what the hell is all that damn noise?

CLANK! CRACK!

He looked down into his cup of wine... wondering if it had actually been there a second ago. In his confusion he watched the surface ripple as the cup was refilled. He couldn't understand if the world was continuing on from what had just happened, or if he had only moments ago appeared in this place, and was just now realizing it.

The fine drink pouring into his cup took his attention away for a moment and he looked up to the servant girl. He knew, for some reason that there were two more lovelies just behind him to the left and right, waiting to fulfill his every desire, as was only right for someone of his prestige. Still, even though he knew everything around him, the girls, the wine, the wide open fields and small copses of trees and bush spread out before his small, luxurious pavilion, he had to wonder...

Had it all been there a second ago?

CRACK! SNAP SNAP!

A small knot of muscles tightened on his forehead in exasperation. Out there on the hill a man in red and a woman in blue were battling it out not quite far enough away for his tastes. At least the idiots on horseback were at a respectable distance so he didn't have to listen to them. Looking over he thought he recognized them, at least the annoying trollop with the hair as bright blonde as his. He shook a fog off his head for a moment. Of course he knew that one, the pain in the ass that had... wait... had...

"Is milord alright?"

Gilgamesh's attention shot over to the speaker, his face now a broad smile for one of the pretty girls, one of *his* pretty girls.

"Of course I am." he spoke confidently, "Nothing but a minor..."

He stopped, wondering what he was going to say. This was so unlike him, so pensive, what was bothering him? He shifted his golden silk shirt, trying to get more comfortable. He waved the servant back to her place, no need to even furnish her a reason, she'd just been someone to speak to, and he felt as if he needed to use his voice.

CLANK! CHING! CRACK!

"Dammit Saber... did you HAVE to start that so close?" he growled, then stopped himself. That was right, it was Saber... and for the life of him he couldn't tell why that was a surprise. He sipped at his wine, looking up and to the right, past the derided duo to the clear blue sky.

The cup fell to the ground away from his lips through his twitching nerveless fingers. One of the servants zipped in and scooped it away from his feet as he stood and stepped forward, jaw agape. There was a twitch at his eyelids where they edged the wide open orbs of his eyes. One would think therein, was a tiny spark of something, maybe fear.

Out there, before him and opposite the sun in the still lit sky, the moon was up. Even though it's outline had been tinged a light shade of pure blue, even at the great spatial distance between there and where he was, a black pattern on the moon filled his perceptions.

"The five wings..." he whispered softly under his breath, "It's him."

Steeling his resolve the golden warrior Gilgamesh turned back to his pavilion. In quick order he called his bright golden armor, switching from his comfortable silk to something more appropriate, in another second he headed off towards the moon. The one he was looking for would be that way.


They clashed lances again, sparks flying as combat was joined. Lancer grinned, having some fun finally, and turned back towards the big brown Berserker for another pass. The day was bright, the air was perfect, and the little valkyrie watching the both of them was darn cute, almost the match of Rider who was cuddling her winged horse not to far away. With two girls out there to impress Lancer couldn't figure how to make this a better day. He spurred his horse on and into the next charge.

The big fellow held up his hand, "Hold."

Lancer's eyes bugged out, "Whu... ah, GAAHHHH!" he started, then let out a cry as in his surprise he'd let the tip of gae bolg hit the ground and was now flying through the air, accidentally vaulting off his horse. He curled up into a ball, tumbling over his competitors head to make a perfect, low, three point landing behind him.

"Gyahh..." Lancer grumbled, rubbing the back of his head, "I wish y'd warn me 'fore you do that! I'm still not used to ya talking!"

The big fellow just brought his horse around and shrugged. Lancer should have been well aware that the class types they used in the war held little sway here, but Hercules had to admit he wasn't saying much lately, while his voice recovered from disuse. The big fellow just dismounted his horse, apparently to it's whinnied relief. He barely lost a few inches in height as he stepped down.

Lancer composed himself for a second, taking a seat on the ground. He brushed himself off and rested on his lance before continuing, "Ay? So what is it that has you interrupting us?"

Looking around, the giant stood, almost confused for a second, making Lancer think the answer should be obvious. Looking left and right the ex Berserker put his fist in front of his mouth and coughed a bit trying to clear his throat. Not having much luck he spread his arms wide and said, almost as a question, "Feel?"

"Uh? Feel..." Lancer looked about, an eyebrow twitching, "Huh, something is..." he stopped a second, picking something up he didn't recognize, "Wait, what is that? Do you know what it is?"

Hercules simply pointed at the moon. Lancer glanced over his shoulder. He didn't know what to make of the symbol.

"Hey, what are you two doing?" a feminine voice called from above as Caster floated down, "Other than the two on the hill you guys were the only action around. Can't a girl have some fun watching sweating men pummel each other?"

"Wouldn't think you were into that." Lancer mumbled, then turned, figuring the cunning girl had probably been spying on them from up above for less forthright reasons.

Berserker managed a broad smile at Caster, whether he meant it or not, then raised his arm to point at the moon again, saying simply, "Slayer."

Caster floated low, slipping over the surface as if her feet were too good for the bare ground. With a rather elegant air she tipped her hood back slightly to look and spoke, "Hmm? Five wings," she remarked, turning her head to the giant, "A mortal?"

Hercules gave her a dour nod. His eyes, now a bit haunted, continued to stare at the moon. There was the sound of hooves on dirt.

"Problem?" Rider asked, her pegasus trotting up.

"Some big thing up there in the moon has got our large friend upset." Lancer pointed out. Rider turned and flipped up her mask for just a second to get the best look at the moon, stargazing being about the most harmless pastime for her eyes, then covered her strange and deadly vision again.

"Interesting." she said blandly, "What does it mean?"

"Trouble." Berserker managed another one word response, beginning to stride in the direction of the moon, "Come."

As he strode off, Rider just shrugged, "I don't see what it has to do with me." she remarked, not spurring her pegasus on.

"Nor me." Caster said, resting her staff lazily on her shoulder.

"Well I'm always up for trouble." Lancer said, his grin widening, he bolted up from the ground and jogged off after the walking giant, "Ya can count me in."

Rider leaned herself forward and rested her arms on the back of pegasus's neck. Caster scratched her hooded head. The both of them shared a glance, then looked back at the leaving pair.

"Wonder what that's all about?" Rider mumbled, then to Caster, "Curious?"

"Not really." Caster replied, turning away.

"Didn't think so." Rider finished with a sigh.

Crossings Section 5a End

MrTags
March 15th, 2011, 08:47 PM
Crossings Section 5b Begin

Shirou Emiya, Archer extraordinaire, smiled as he deflected another few blows from his love Saber. Ducking a long range slash he teased her with a few quick cuts of his own, sending her wheeling back, loving the jesting look she gave him as he showed off how much better he'd gotten. While this wasn't exactly the reunion he'd had in mind when he'd envisioned it so long ago, it certainly was a fun way for a heroic spirit to kill some time. As he rolled himself out of the way of her counter he wondered to himself how she felt about being a heroic spirit yet again, this time in death. With a laid back grin he caught her sword between his and pushed himself forward.

"Happy to be back Saber?"

"Maybe." she said, smiling.

"Eh?" Shirou said a bit irked that his company might not be enough, "Depending on?"

"How fast you can duck."

Shirou proved he could do so, FAST, for he had very little time. Saber's counter, sliding her sword so the cross guard hooked his blades, pushing them aside, then slashing back across at neck height came so quickly Shirou had to pull himself down low, gravity not being nearly enough. Smiling broadly he rolled away from her, zigzagging side to side to avoid her overhead swings then blocking and forcing her back with his free sword as he came to his feet. In the clash of steels the two of them pushed off, landing a few feet from each other with flashy flourishes. Before they could start up again the sensation of someone approaching brought them to a halt.

"Odd." Saber said, her voice monotone, turning, "Who would interrupt... oh not him."

Shirou stepped to the side to look past Saber, seeing a familiar gold armored figure briskly striding towards them he slapped his head in his hand, "Damn, well... I suppose we were going to have to deal with this some time."

"He looks angry." Saber said as Archer came up to her side, "Can you still use Avalon?"

"If I have to." Shirou replied. Gilgamesh looked towards them, clearly irked.

"And what are you two whispering about?!" he growled, not slowing, his shining armor glinting in the sunlight, "Be useful little serfs and get out of my way!"

Shirou and Saber exchanged glances, not quite knowing what to make of it. Without hesitation Shirou stepped forward, right into Gilgamesh's path. Disturbed the golden warrior stopped short, one eye twitching.

"Not a good listener are you?" he grumbled, "And who stands before the king of heroes?"

Archer held a blade forward, "You don't remember? My name is Emiya Shirou."

Gilgamesh took a glance up and down the warrior in front of him, "Emiya? Oh, you. Now I see it, your hair and shirt exchanged colors. Whatever, get out of my way."

"I won't let you get to Saber." Shirou growled. Gilgamesh just laughed.

"If I was headed towards Saber there would be nothing you could do about it anyway." the golden one said with no hint of boast in his voice, "You're lucky enough I don't want to bother wasting my time teaching a boy like you his place."

"Not me?" Saber whispered under her breath.

"Then what do you want here?" Shirou asked, still holding one of his swords out. Gilgamesh crossed his arms, shifting his weight to one leg. His facial expression showed barely contained disgust and a lack of patience.

"You can't sense it can you? I suppose being part god helps." he said, more to himself than anyone, "I don't want anything at this spot. I want to pass and as your King I don't expect to have to change my path just to walk around the likes of you. Haven't you even looked at the moon lately?"

"Eh?" Shirou looked at Gilgamesh somewhat askance, wondering what he meant. Not one to turn his back on someone so deadly he kept his gaze locked on the one before him. Saber however was free to turn back, wondering what the golden king was talking about. Her shocked gasp almost made Shirou turn.

"Oh God." she said in barely a whisper, "He's in trouble, we have to go."

"Uh? Wha?" the red Archer grumbled, taking a step back and to the side so he could turn his head enough to get both Gilgamesh and the moon in sight, "What's going on Saber."

Shirou's surprise turned to annoyance as Gilgamesh dismissively slapped his sword aside and strode past, almost knocking him over. Stumbling slightly Shirou still managed to catch himself, having realized he was obviously not even considered enough of a threat for Gilgamesh to keep an eye on. Saber glowered at Gilgamesh in disgust as he passed her as well. She kept her sword in between them cautiously, taking a step back away from him. Even while he was unarmed neither doubted just how deadly the golden warrior could be.

Shirou came up behind Saber, looking at the both of them. "Saber, really, is there a problem?" he asked.

"The moon." she said, "Look at the moon."

Archer glanced up, putting his swords away, and took a look. He scratched his head as he cocked it to the side, wondering what to make of the symbol up there. Five black marks scarred the moon, each must have been hundreds of miles long to show so well. They were arrayed similarly to an inverted pentagram, however the second set of marks down was out of position, being too high up and at the same angle as the top two.

"Huh? What's that?" Shirou asked, still scratching his head, "Looks like Kami swatted a bug."

Saber smiled softly, shaking her head as she turned her sword Caliburn down and stuck it's tip into the ground, "No Shirou, it's the sign of five wings."

"Sure it's not more four wings and a tail?" Shirou quipped, looking at the symbol. Gilgamesh actually stifled a laugh.

"It's five wings Shirou." Saber replied, "The symbol of a friend of mine from my days in Camelot."

Gilgamesh stopped and turned, looking back at Saber, "He was there too was he?" he remarked as a matter of fact, "I shouldn't be surprised, he did get around."

Saber pulled up her weapon, starting forward. In a commanding voice she stated, "We have to go."

Archer stood there, looking at the two with an odd smile on his face, then pointed out, "Hey, I hate to break it to you... but are you two going to try to walk to the moon?"

Saber stopped, a tad embarrassed. Gilgamesh just looked mad, typical when someone pointed out a problem in what he was doing. Shirou just kept talking.

"Unless you've got an american Saturn 5 shoved behind that gate of yours goldie, you're in for a really useless walk." Shriou berated Gilgamesh blatantly. Insulted or not, Gilgamesh, who brought a hand up to his forehead, covering the tightening stress marks, looked more mad at himself than at the other Archer.

"Then I'll have to be summoned!" he growled, looking back at Shirou with rage filled red eyes.

"Uh yeah, sure." Shirou laughed, still looking a bit laid back, even with Gilgamesh staring daggers at him, "And with no war going on, no spare mages around, and no way to even tell them you want to come out, how are you expecting to pull of this minor miracle?"

Gilgamesh gritted his teeth, nearly shouting now as he stepped back towards the pair, "It's none of your concern you obseq..."

FSHAKK! Shhhooommmppp

Archer and Saber looked on in shock as Gilgamesh vanished with a shower of sparks and a mighty blue light, right in mid word. Shirou stepped forward, watching the glow fade.

"Wow, somehow I liked the good old days better, when the summoners actually let you finish a sentence." he pointed out. There was a chill wind behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and his eyes bugged out a second before he jumped left, hitting the dirt.

"EXCALIBUR!!!!" Saber screamed out, bringing the enchanted blade down in an overhead slash. A bright beam of power flashed past the flailing Archer to strike the point where Gilgamesh had vanished, igniting a firestorm of clashing energies. Saber held onto the attack as long as she could stand to, the backwash singeing both of them. In the swirling burst of power at the end of her attack space itself began cracking asunder, opening like a zipper. She dropped to one knee, breathing heavily.

Shirou waved his arms around frantically, roaring back at Saber, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?!!! KILL ME?!"

Saber just smiled at him as he started to compose himself. She looked up to the rip and was disheartened to note it was still pretty small. Even a powerful weapon like Excalibur wasn't really meant for cutting holes in reality. She stood, then felt the approach of more people behind them.

"Owww..." Shirou grunted, standing up and dusting himself off, "It didn't work well?" he held a sword towards the rift, "Maybe if I..."

THUM THUM THUM THUM

"Eh?" Shirou managed to say before a dark shape thundered past him. Hercules rocketed into the energy storm, slamming into the rift with a shoulder block and pushing his upper arm into it slightly. Growling with an effort that would have done his berserker self proud he grabbed onto each shrinking edge of the cleft and pulled. The light grew intense. In a few moments he managed to get the edges of the rip to widen enough for himself to squeeze through.

"Well?" he said simply in a deep bass voice, turning to look over his shoulder, "Coming?"

"Ah, demigods get all the good tricks." Shirou muttered, not sure in any way if he wanted to trust that damned Berserker. Just the broad smile on the dark skinned warrior's face was making Archer a bit queasy. While Saber was a friend to him, too many of the other Servants just brought up bad memories. To his right Shirou could feel Lancer out there too, walking up over the hill.

"Hey! Is that the door?" Lancer shouted as Saber started over quickly, "And everybody just got here too."

"There's someone we need to help." Saber called back, "Are you up for it?"

"Wherever there's a party." Lancer replied. Archer didn't look a bit appreciative.

Saber slowed as she came in through the shifting energies to Berserker. He looked down at her and smiled as she lightly glided under his arm. She looked to the gate, then up to the dark skinned giant, blushing slightly then giving him a shy nod.

"Coming Shirou?" she called, then stepped through, not waiting for an answer. She faded from sight quickly past the threshold of the gateway. Lancer came up next, besides gae bolg held comfortably over one shoulder he was almost camouflaged by all the blue he wore.

"Ha ha! On to the next battle." he chimed just a bit too happily and jogged into the gate.

Shirou stepped cautiously over to where Berserker held the gate open, looking in. Hercules noticed how reluctant he was to come closer.

"Damn, everyone just runs through." Archer grumbled, looking over to Berserker. He wondered if he could afford to be so trusting about the exit to this gateway. Clearing his throat the big man tried to help with a few more words.

"Uh, hi." he got out slowly, "Uh, sorry a... bout the whole death thing."

Shirou sighed, shaking his head, if even Berserker was being nice he couldn't let himself be the odd man out. As he walked through the gate he replied, "Ah, happens. Don't worry yourself about it, let's catch up."

Grinning broadly Hercules shifted his arms, threading himself side first before moving through the gate. With a tug he pulled his fingers through last. Sparks flew and lightning arched for a moment, then as if no one had ever been there, the gate and heroes were gone.

Past the space, left vacant by the leaving, in the slightly darkening sky, the moon changed. Vast tracks of black scalded dust began to run inwards towards the center. Far in the distance the image on the moon started to loose it's edges in a slow swirl. The pieces were in place, it was time to stir.

Section 5b end

MrTags
March 15th, 2011, 08:56 PM
Well let's hope the new forums don't mind moderately adult content.

Crossings Section 6 Begin

Soft sheets of white. Pale skin on pale skin. The world of dreams and remembrances makes its dance through the past. For a moment of time the emptiness abates. The loneliness is not quite so bad.


So close, so close, oh we're so close.

I can feel breathing.

Trembling

Trembling

Which of us is trembling?

Is it me? It's got to be, I've never done this. I'm so scared, I've never felt so vulnerable, or so strong.

I don't want to live without this new other half of me.

That skin, that closeness, it's so different, so much contact, I love all the contact, is it always like this?

Tell me I won't ever get used to this.

So much skin, so much closeness, chest to chest. I'm feeling self concious.

That look, that sweet soulful look. I'm accepted for what I am.

Closer, I want closer.

A kiss now, so tender, holding tight, oh so tender.

Don't get it wrong, just soft, not too much pressure.

Am I doing it right? Tell me I'm doing it right.

A breast, squeezing... so nice.

Closer, closer. This new part of me must never go.

So cute, dueling tongues.

How old am I to be doing this for the first time?

Is it time yet? I feel it's time. So close, have to get clo...

*GASP*

It's inside...

So deep, this is what it's like.

I am more complete.

It's started, the thrusting... can't think... can...

Oh yes.

Words fail in the language of dreams. Far more primal sounds, utterances of the earliest passions, take over. Gravity fails for two. Concentration becomes absolute. Love is all. Separation, of selves, of bodies, of soul, no longer exists. Time has no meaning. Forever in the duration, all too short in the remembering. Two bodies intertwine in the most intimate way possible. There is nothing other than their lover.

Please! It's so much! It's building!

Don't stop! Don't ever stop!

There is no stopping now! The end nears, the best nears!

Yes! Thrust! Push back! Take and be taken!

That light!

Explode!

ARCUEID!! SHIKI!!

The dream is so much the explosion so great the cry reaches the real world around them. A moment of remembered locked, shuddering passions. The remembrance of a hand in a hand. The sad feeling of wakefulness, knowing it was just a dream. That shuddering breath heard from the other, with just a bit of wind blowing past the face.

Wait... HOW?!

Their eyes fly open, look into the night, into reality. Their eyes look into another's, laying with nose barely an inch away. A spectral figure of colorless greys, but recognizable none the less. There is a common, sudden bolt.


"AAAAHHH!!!!" Shiki manages to cry out, springing back out of his bed. He lands badly on his ass, his eyes wide, his breath ragged in fright. The covers come with him and his legs are tangled for a second. He looks to the empty spot on his bed, where there was, where there was the impossible.

"GHOST?!" he gasps in disbelief, pulling himself upright, looking back and forth. He sees nothing. The room is dark, empty.

Shiki rushes back to the bed, grabbing the linens in his fists, his eyes wide, his voice small, "Arcueid?"

"Master Shiki?" a voice calls from the door, breaking Shiki out of his shock. Hisui's concern and reaction speed are as usual extraordinary. There's a small thud as Shiki sits back on the floor, wrapping his bottom half discretely with the sheet. The door opens and Hisui enters partially. Shiki is almost surprised by her ragged hair, glossy eyes and bedclothes. He finds himself realizing how rarely he sees her outside of her maids outfit.

Hisui peers in through the night, seeing the mess. Her look, while dazed from sleep, imperceivably switches to concern as her eyes fall on Shiki sitting in a pile of bedding in the middle of his room. Shiki reaches over and snatches up his glasses... looking into them.

"I even saw lines..." he whispers softly, "What was that."

"Master Shiki." Hisui moves forward, not entering out of modesty but still wanting to be closer and help, "Are you all right?"

Shiki puts his glasses on and turns to Hisui. His eyes show as much concern for her, out in this cold wearing so little, as she shows concern for his outburst. He rubs the back of his head, rather embarrassed along with his confusion. He can't really figure out when he'd become naked, sleeping like that wasn't his style, even in the currently warm weather. His mind quickly picked up the second thing out of place. He could see breath.

"Hisui." he said, adding in a little ugh as his rear ached, "I'm ok, I'm ok."

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yeah, thanks for your concern, it was just a dream."

"Very well Master Shiki." Hisui replied with a bow, looking to turn back before something thin and red floated across her vision. The room got very very cold.

Shiki was confused for a moment, why was there a glowing red line here with his glasses on? What was making it cold at this time of year? The thought struck him as he lost sight of the first line, yet saw more out of the corner of his eye. Akiha?! Was Akiha in trouble? He stood up, holding his sheet of protection tight. Shiki was out of the room quickly, brushing past a flushed Hisui as he headed for his sister's room. Ghostly trails of fog floated in the hallway, yet while those could be seen, it seemed the red lines causing them rarely ever showed.

Kohaku, a fully dressed and awake Kohaku, met them at Akiha's door. She had it opened half way and was looking over expectantly towards Shiki when he came into view. Shiki took it as a good sign and peeked in, only to find his sister resting, dead to the world and with her silken black hair unblemished by red, still in bed.

"Tales again?" Hisui whispered accusingly to her still dressed sister who blushed and shrugged.

"I wanted to see how they handled things." Kohaku giggled. She apparently hadn't been to sleep yet, doing something else.

Shiki closed his sisters door, looking to the maids, "I don't get it." he said softly, "There's no sign of red hair... what have we been seeing?"


There was a soft weeping coming from the door. From the sudden surprised shout that had come earlier Kohaku had almost expected this. The maid leaned against the wall, listening to it for a moment, she would have been sad if she could have. She pressed forward and opened the door.

"Miss Arcueid." the amber eyed maid called without raising her voice as her head entered the room. Kohaku was almost taken aback by the blonde woman's state. The room was a bit of a mess, the sheet laying inexplicably spread across the floor, but it wasn't as unusual as Arcueid.

"Shiki..." the blond woman managed to whisper between her sobs.

Kohaku again found herself wondering if this beautiful woman was really some sort of monster, some blonde haired vampire, instead of the fully grown child she saw in front of her. As Kohaku walked into the room, she had to avoid looking enviously at miss Arcueid's nude form, curled on the bed. Picking up the sheet the maid closed her eyes and covered the weeping woman.

"Uh?" Arcueid mumbled, looking over through tears, "Kohaku?"

Kohaku gave Arcueid her best smile, nodding. Arcueid shuddered, a cold wind slipping past the both of them.

"You seemed distressed miss Arcueid." Kohaku said, spreading the sheet more, "It is a bad time to be like that, Lady Akiha is having a bad night. I think something is bothering her."

Arcueid stretched, noticing a blush on Kohaku's cheeks, "Like wha?" she started before noticing that sheet the maid was wrapping her in also was the only thing she was wearing. With a little mmph noise Arcueid pulled the sheet around her. It was odd for her to sleep at night like she was, and sleeping naked? If only the memory of Shiki... the ghost of Shiki wasn't so strong in her mind, maybe she could think more clearly. The tingle of cold on a warm summer night confirmed what Kohaku was saying about Akiha at least. The broken sister was at it again.

"I'll be out in a minute Kohaku." Arcueid remarked, sitting up, "I need to get dressed."

"Very well miss Arcueid." Kohaku said with her usual smile, stepping away from a sliding line of red hair "I'll be right outside."

Arcueid's head hit her hands the second Kohaku closed the door. She squeezed the last of the tears from her eyes, wiping them away with her sheet. It took her only a second to spot her clothes all over the floor, in a strangely familiar pattern she couldn't quite catch. There was something about they way they were spread out that she'd have to think about later. Picking them up she tossed the bare essentials of her underwear blouse and skirt before heading to the door.

My brother...

The ghostly sound of Akiha's disembodied voice made Arcueid jump. She glanced around, sure she was alone, alone but for the few strands of Akiha's floating red hair.

Brother...

The hair spiraled around the room if searching.

Where? Where?

The dramatic way Arcueid wrenched open her door and blew past Kohaku almost had the maid's heart jump out of her throat. She'd been trying to keep warm as Akiha's wretched hairs were leeching the heat out of the hallway, wrapping her arms around herself and hunching slightly. Seeing her breath and the slight fog around wasn't helping though, so she'd been so wrapped up in keeping warm that Arcueid's sudden arrival had caught her off guard. The maid smoothed on her best face quickly and followed after the vampiress as best her kimono would allow.

Section 6 end

MrTags
March 15th, 2011, 09:01 PM
Crossings Section 7 Begin

There was a sharp cracking noise, the spreading dust broken free from the lunar surface carrying it further and further out beyond hearing. Five trails of black soot, burned into the ravines and plains of the moon, pulled themselves sharply upward. Cracking in the middle they rained debris on the landscape, raising like massive polygons before curling about into a swirl.

In a burst of blue white light five shapes split away from the moon. Wheeling around each other once they made for the Earth.


"NO NO! GET AWAY FROM ME! GET AWAY!!"

Her eyes open wide, tears streaming down her cheeks Satsuki Yumiduka sat straight up in bed, screaming. She could still see the teeth, feel the breath of her pursuer from the dream. There was a burning agony in her neck... a tearing feeling... familiar, painful, yet nothing she'd ever felt before. As she panted for breath she could hear fumbling and footsteps outside her door. Her family coming to her aid.

Satsuki sat there, with wide disbelieving eyes. The pain was so real... the images, the feelings. Being chased, failing, no one to protect her. She found she couldn't even blink, didn't want to blink, for behind her eyelids every time they closed was the image of a sad, despondent girl who looked frighteningly like her, still wearing her school uniform, sitting and weeping in some back alley, covered in blood.

"Why Shiki?" she gasped, "Why didn't you save me?"


The clouds rippled and rolled. It began to rain, drops en masse falling from the waterlogged sky. A bolt of lightning, then another, and another, flashed from cloud to cloud, electrical energy trading between them as they tried to reach equilibrium. Above Misaki the skies were cold enough, the air wet enough that this rain might never end.

Then it did. Not a drop reached the ground. Each sizzled away in midair as there was a sudden shift, the air warming from an incredible heat. The clouds themselves were reabsorbed into the atmosphere, vanishing in a outward ripple, as if something had smashed them away out from a central point.

In the crack of air being displaced a spiral of five brightly glowing objects cut through the space left by the clouds. The sonic wake flowed out over Misaki, yet the noise never reached out of the sky. Visible only as a distortion it settled and spread outwards as the bright forms that created it slowed to a crawl over a particular spot. Seeming to loose the ability to fly, they shrunk into a tiny mote of light and landed hard in the Nature Park, burning a small hole into the concrete before the benches, not even ten meters away from the swings. There was a slight shaking to the ground, a crack formed in the cement, then all was silent.


With a slight smile Satsuki Yumikuda looked up to the clearing sky. For some great fortunate reason this was going to be a warm night, and one which she wouldn't get rained on. She thanked something, whatever it was that she still had heart left to believe in, for small favors. Stretching she wiped the trail of fresh blood from the corner of her mouth. Looking to her now bloody finger she licked the precious blood away, hoping that it would make her hunger abate for just a little longer, hoping no one else would have to die tonight.

Sitting alone, not counting the corpse of a poor boy for company, she sighed gently, trying not to close her eyes. For some reason tonight, whenever she did, she saw to her sorrow the way things might have been, if she hadn't become a vampire. On this night she wouldn't be closing her eyes, but nor would she need rain to get wet. She could still cry well enough with her eyes open.


"Gyaahhh... wha..?" Arihiko Inui gasped, sitting up in bed. He shook his head in confusion. Something was really wrong out there tonight, he just knew it.

For a moment he ducked back down as his house rattled. The windows shook as if something massive had just passed close overhead. Arihiko jumped up and looked out. The sound had been heading towards the park but whatever it was he couldn't see a thing. Looking up to the sky he found it surprisingly clear.

"Huh? Weren't we supposed to get rain?" he thought aloud, holding his hand out, "Oh well, I've had enough weird dreams tonight. I don't need to get off on any other trips."

He glanced back to the clock, it was 3:15 am, "And man, too late to sneak out and do anything."

With a shrug, he sat down in bed and grabbed a random book from the stack of manga on his desk. If he wasn't going to get any sleep tonight he figured he might as well make some use of it.


They were deadly, but they were so soft, gentle. Even down here, in the very deepest dark, doing her duty, something was left that cared for her. The coldness had not pierced here yet, even at the heart of the maelstrom. Instead it seemed a soft, questing, questioning cradle of red had been made for her. She sat in the midst of it on her mat, head down, knees up, arms wrapped around herself, the same position she held, she had held almost every day since it happened. It didn't matter that it wasn't the most active thing she'd ever done, it was her duty, her responsibility, and she always kept up with her responsibilities. It was Hisui's honor to serve her master, even in this state.

"B... b... b... roth... er..?" there was a whisper from the red mass deep within the cell, Akiha was sitting in there, almost in the same pose as Hisui, her usually vacant eyes showing a tiny sliver of life. The glowing red strands, filing up the stairs, flexed once more, the shape changing, reacting. Hisui heard it as well, the sound of footsteps on the stairs.

Arcueid threaded her feet through the waves of red on the stairs, her preternatural sense of balance keeping her upright even in the most awkward of positions. Kohaku was falling further behind her, the poor maid clinging to the walls and railing as she tried to keep her footing in the weaving strands. Arcueid slowed as she approached Hisui, looking the younger twin over. Akiha's hair was, as usual, being slightly protective of her silent watcher, cradling her, and not sapping the heat out of this already cold lower room. Seeing this was at least the same as usual Arcueid crouched down beside Hisui, looking in at the obscured form of the house's mistress.

"Are you alright?" Arcueid whispered.

"Yes miss Arcueid." Hisui replied, not looking over, keeping her vigil.

"Akiha?"

"She seems..." Hisui started, then paused, thinking, "Almost, better than usual. She is more awake."

"Hmm?" Arcueid looked up, hearing Kohaku make it down the stairs behind her, "That's odd, I thought she was in a panic or something."

"Oh my." Kohaku gasped, looking in, "Poor Lady Akiha. Don't worry, I'll calm her down."

With professional grace, the kimono clad maid slipped into the room, sliding a small packet from her sleeve. Pressing her shoulder against the metal cell door to open it against the weight of Akiha's hair Kohaku entered and worked her way around in front of Akiha. Kneeling down she opened the package, tipping Akiha's head back slightly and pressing it to her lips.

"Lady Akiha please take this." she whispered soothingly, opening Akiha's mouth with practiced ease and slipping the packets contents of herbs in. With a touch on Akiha's throat, the maid's soft fingers brushing downwards, she got the distraught master of the house to swallow.

"She'll be alright now." Kohaku said reassuringly with a slight nod as Akiha slumped, "Everything will be back to normal in the morning."

Hisui nodded from her seat, giving Kohaku a slight smile. Kohaku barely noticed though. Someone was missing. Kohaku wondered where miss Arcueid had gone.


The Princess of White. The Princess of True Ancestors. The most likely being to succeed as Crimson Moon. The most powerful vampire known to the world, and even with all that, she felt so small, weak and helpless. She was so empty, so alone. How had one human been able to make her feel that way? Why had she let it happen, and why did it feel like the pain would truly have been even worse if she hadn't?

Arcueid looked up from where she knelt. All the titles and powers in the world seemed so pointless, so useless in this one hallowed place. Here, the final resting place of all her hoped for, imaginary things.

In a secluded hollow, a small clear vale on the Tohno estate, out behind Kohaku's herb garden, Arcueid knelt before the lonely grave of her Tohno Shiki. Her hand reached out to touch the engraved headstone, the visible marker to where her love rested beneath the earth. Arcueid herself had picked this spot, visible from the window of Shiki's room, now her room, so that she could look down and check on him whenever she wanted, as if she expected something to happen, for there to be some reason to watch for a sign, to need to dig up the dirt under which he rested and save him from that sad box they'd insisted he be put in. She remembered vividly the fight she and the maid's had gone through with Shiki's other family, the Arimas, in having him buried here, instead of being put through a traditional japanese internment. That the Arimas will had been thwarted had proven fortunate. The bereaved family did not need the extra mysteries of why Shiki body would neither burn nor decay, the mixing of the Tohno's demonic energy from Akiha and the bit of Arcueid's own blood that had seeped into his body from their combined wound leaving him so ironically more immune to the effects of damage and time after his death than before. No, that little bit of information was only for Arcueid to know and feel some measure of hope from. No matter how long into the future she needed to feel near him, he would always be right here. He always could be found... right here, in the outfit she first met him in, with that knife that had started things off beside him.

But now... after all this time. What had happened to make such a sudden change? Why this?

"Shiki." the shinso choked, running her hand over the two copies of his name, one in japanese one in western, "Are you there?"

Slowly she crawled behind the gravestone and draped her arms over it, resting her chest and cheek on the grey slab of granite in a way she'd done all too many times before when she wanted to feel near him. She ran her finger over the glasses, set into the slab, another one of her indulgences, the red haired mage child or her sister be damned.

"What is it?" she asked sadly, a tear running down his name in stone, "Was there something you wanted to tell me..?"

Section 7 End

Is it just me or do we have more character count now?

MrTags
March 15th, 2011, 09:10 PM
Crossings Section 8 Begin

It was dark, still quite dark. The night had fallen, the curtains had been drawn, the lights shut off, darkness abounded, and still, no sleep. This was an atypically bad night. The bed creaked and groaned slightly as it's lone occupant sat up and rubbed her bleary eyes.

"Mmmph..." she grumbled, rubbing her forehead, trying to figure out what was keeping her awake, "This is bad, maybe I should just skip my cover tomorrow and make some sort of excuse."

Running her hand through her blue hair, Ciel decided that she would need to take more drastic measures. She slowly hauled herself out to the small living room an took a seat. Her most powerful secret weapon for sleep lay hidden in the bowels of her lower cabinet. Into her hands slipped the time honored traditionalist japanese tea ceremony set.

With a practiced hand Ciel sleepily began setting up the ceremony, laying all the pieces out before her. She considered the pros and cons of actually drinking the tea. It might just give her the kick she needed, wake her up just enough to go to sleep, or it might just make sure she stayed up all night.

Step by bleary step Ciel's hands went through the tea creation. A bit setting the water to heat on one side. A bit of doling out the right amount of tea here. A bit of placing the cups and items in proper order there. Ciel actually managed to wonder exactly what it would be like if she collapsed face down in a cup of green tea. In all to short a time, maybe the it had passed quickly, maybe she'd rushed things, to asleep to give them their proper care, she was brushing the tea around in its cup. Absentmindedly she pushed it forward, offering it to the blank space on the other side of the ceremony. Giving her hand made tea to the no one that was there.

CLINK!

Ciel looked up in surprise, and right into her own eyes. In front of her, as shocked as she was, and definitely more awake now for the coincidence, was, for all intents and purposes, her. She was on both sides of her own tea ceremony. The clink had come from her own cup, hitting its identical opposite as it was presented. Glancing the situation, and her counterpart up and down she took the scene in. Her opposite was in greyscale, almost some sort of vision, but nearly identical except that it wore a bit more ornate upper class nightgown, the kind she only wore when someone else did all the cleaning for her. The look of the room behind her was definitely different though. It looked far more like a convent cell at the burial agency offices proper.

Taking the initiative she cunningly spoke the one thing that would assuredly prove the intruder's identity, "Red curry mixed with yellow curry then a slice of curry bread and some curry mixed milk on the side for dipping!"


Her brows furrowing Ciel leaned backwards on her hands as the phantom image of herself vanished. She mulled the words spouted in stereo by herself and her duplicate over cautiously looking for any hint of mistake. Shaking her head and standing up in her cloister room she could find none.

"Nope... that's breakfast alright." she mumbled, "That was definitely me."

Ciel began cleaning up the tea ceremony setting. The reason why she had started it in the middle of the day starting to make a little more sense. Something was up, and by the look of the room her alternate had been in it wasn't a hard guess where that "something" was.

Her train of thought was broken as a note was slipped in under the door. Silent, anonymous delivery as usual, no surprise. She went over and picked it up. Therein between the folds was the confirmation of her suspicions. Something big had happened not even an hour ago in Japan, back in Misaki. She'd already been assigned to it. Tickets ready and in order. Massive jet lag to follow.

"Oh well, I'm not that much for vacation anyway." she quipped. It was time to get packing.


The ground that Misaki's nature part sat on began to shake for a moment. There was a bit of a crumbling noise as something small and box shaped slipped out of the hole in the midst of the cracked concrete. With a clatter the almost iconicly out of place form of an active cell phone flopped down onto the ground. Numbers dialed onto the screen. There was a ringing.

"Hello?" *crackle*

"I need a horizon."

"By the crystal... do you know what damn time it is?"

"I didn't bring my cross universe time conversion chart, no. Will you just make it?"

"You got me out of bed, with my wife, at one thirty in the damn morning, for THIS?! Why don't you make it?"

"I'm a bit under the weather... wait? You finally got married?"

"It was a big wedding."

"Was I there?"

"Being the groom's father, we hope so, but we honestly don't know."

"I'll tell you when I find out."

"... *grumble* well then, what do you need? How big, what where and when?"

"Mirrored co-location, a few miles, here, around now."

"Task master." *click*

The cellphone disconnected, the end of the call showing on the screen. There was a burst of light from above. The cell phone shattered. The ground itself seemed to be pressed down by the light.

"AUCK!" a disembodied voice grunted, "Ass..."


His hands slowly finished dancing through the intricate weaves of light. The magics blared and flashed angrily as they were strained, the counterforce stretching against the bounds, attacking in dozens of ways both brute and subtle at once. Sadly Zelretch was aware that his efforts had only gained him a few moments of peace with the power trapped, nothing more.

"I can't believe he actually spoke it." the ancient mage said, shoulders slumping. He stood back from the weave of prismatic light beams dancing through his chamber of realities. With a glance over to the place where two realities stood on the brink of collapsing each other, signified by the creation of a dual mirror on the side wall. Zelretch cursed fortune, fate and everything else he knew. It was all to common, but he didn't want to believe he was going to have to go against the wishes of those he loved.

"The third word of creation reversed, the third name of the creator spoken backwards." Zelretch gripped his forehead, "I can't believe he would even give thought to such lunacy."

"The way you're talking, you certainly haven't put much effort into studying him."

If the wizened old mage had any reaction at all to the comment, he didn't let it show. The voice was from a total newcomer to his room, to his little stage where all the universe's plays could be watched in their dance, yet it was expected. It had only been a matter of time before he arrived.

"You're late." Zelretch grumbled with little care for the other's attempt at a dramatic entrance, "I've already sent out the other that came. You might have been able to help."

"Bah!" the newcomer said grandly, walking down to the center of the room "I see the legends speak right of you wizard. To believe you're not even impressed by the King of Kings!"

Zelretch looked up, his gaze haggard from efforts, his reply was simple, "I have seen kings come and kings go, I've seen you live and seen you die a thousand times a thousand times, there is little left in time that impresses me. I've met and befriended or bested far stronger than you in my span of age godling."

As Gilgamesh approached the aged mage proudly stepping in from the accumulated nowhere outside the rays of crystal light the grandeur of his entrance, his golden armor glinting and shining, his massive shoulder guards throwing off their own small cacophony of lightshows and reflections, his blonde hair, pristine features and bright red pupils testament to his part godly heritage, now only seemed to reinforce the notion of just how much Zelretch had seen. In this dark place, outlined by the shining rays and images of parallel worlds Gilgamesh seemed at his most Kingly, most extraordinary. In comparison the mage, with his dark robes, proud but lined features and grey hair didn't seem the match.

"I see..." the King of Kings remarked with a nigh visible wince, "You sound a lot like him."

This actually creased the mage's face with a smile, "Remarkable, I hadn't heard you'd taken to such a skilled way of complimenting and insulting a person at the same time." he said seeming a bit brighter in mood as he waved an image away from his sight with a brisk hand motion, "So, you're who the Alaya chose to guard Order... a rather unique idea if I've ever heard one. The guardian of Chaos made at least more sense."

"Who better to guard Order than the King of Kings?!" Gilgamesh replied with a huff, holding his hand out in front of him and clenching it to a tight fist, "Ruler of all, owner of all, lord of all he surveys! I am order!"

"Well." Zelretch mumbled to no one in particular, "Remarkably full of himself at least."

Gilgamesh's eyebrow cocked in a mix of annoyance and disbelief, "If I didn't have better things to do I'd have run you through by now..." he said, not really in a threatening manner, just as a matter of fact. He circled around the plinth of light at the center of the room taking it all in with his gaze.

"So how do you read this silly little bauble of yours? What is going on? I demand to know!" he called to the mage, then dropping his rather regal stance and slouching for a moment he asked in totally different tone, "And what has the bastard done this time?"

"Done prancing and showing off?" Zelretch asked, not bothering to look over at the warrior.

Gilgamesh crossed his arms and grunted, "For now."

"Good."

In another wave of his hand Zelretch pulled a stream of images into the room from beyond. They flew past far to quickly for the human eye but Gilgamesh caught each almost lazilly.

"You know the balancer at least, so I won't have to explain that part to you unlike the last." Zelretch spoke mostly to himself, busy with getting the right images. He held up a hand and a swirl of moving pictures formed a ring around them. For all the world it looked as if Zelretch had pulled up an array of infinitely thin television screens, the clarity and movement within each, along with the rather active happenings therein built up an almost cinematic feel. In each the same or at least an eerily similar being was fighting tooth and nail against a procession of powerful foes. With practiced eye Gilgamesh recognized more than half of them. Marduk, himself, Ra, Akenesh, Hercules, Mars, Corvatine, Fenris... He had to smile. The views shifted to different areas in the present time, and slightly in the past. Some of the screens blanked and flashed, only showing fragments as they began to leak energy. Gilgamesh actually felt himself gaining strength from the waste mana pouring through the screens.

"So we know the who of the problem." Zelretch continued, waving a hand at the various images, "As for the what, it has to do with a mix of a sad story, a soul rather intolerant of fate, and creation mythos of all things."

"Do plot exposition much?" Gilgamesh asked dryly.

"It's a hobby." Zelretch replied with a shrug.

Images, little panes of vision, flew past the pair, till the entire space was illuminated. Confusing combinations of energies and pictures spilled forth from the screens. By this point it was unclear to all but the most trained eye exactly what was being shown.

"The exact nature and processes behind creation are as of yet beyond mortal and immortal comprehension." Zelretch explained, looking at the passing images with a researcher's eye and a little dismay, "The best living kind has come up with yet are a number of broad generalizations in the form of myths and legends. Creation mythos is common to all standard religions, it's one of the things that religion is responsible for answering, where everything came from."

Gilgamesh sighed almost bored, "Should I remind you I'm part of one, and mostly destroyed it?" he pointed out.

Zelretch looked over at him more concerned that his lecture was being ignored, "There are however a number of similar ideas running current through each and all. One of the pivotal parts of creation is the definition of certain concepts that are required to put everyone and everything in context. The order is different, but the first five or so of those are the important ones. Existence, of course usually considered the start of space and time, light which is a generality for energy, separation which differentiates and defines all things, life can't really have someone in the creation without it, and thought so that something other than the creator can actually take independent action. When these are defined by a religion a piece of the very concept they serve is invested within certain ultimate objects, such as your sword Air, an artifact of separation."

"All typical." Gilgamesh grumbled.

"Well, therein lies the problem, balance in his duty was afforded an access to a number of those concepts. Zoa-austrian in nature, specifically nine hundred and ninety eight of the nine hundred ninety nine names of god." Zelretch added, a bit concerned.

Gilgamesh's head hit his hand, "Of course..." he groaned, "Give a mortal, a raving emotional lunatic mortal, the keys to creation. I hope no one's actually wondering WHY this happened? Please tell me the one he doesn't have is the..."

"First one... yes. Even he knew enough not to hunt out the word which if spoken backwards ends all of creation." confirmed the mage, looking over at Gilgamesh warily, "The other ones are linked to the first so the damage that can be done should have been limited, he decided to use the third one, backwards, break the separation between two things that should have been apart. The problem is, the two things he decided to merge..." he motioned towards the combined mirrors floating above, "... were realities, two different timelines separated by distinct events and personae. The mismatch between them is sending shockwaves through each and all."

"He got mad, threw a tantrum, the whole universe threatens to shake itself apart." Gilgamesh put it succinctly.

"Well it's not quite that simple..." the mage started before Gilgamesh glared at him, "... buuuut for what you need to know it's alright if you think that."

Confident he had things under his proper, orderly, control, the King of Kings gave the mage a nod.

"Good." he said, "We keep it simple, now how soon is the creature scouting for us going to find the target?"

Zelretch gave that a thought, "If you mean how soon the guardian should be able to cross into the troubled realities and take on balance..." he mused, "Give it a day, the attack should start tomorrow night."

Section 8 End

Kieran
March 15th, 2011, 09:29 PM
You're really moving - looks like I might not have long to wait. :)

MrTags
March 16th, 2011, 04:10 PM
Character Focus, Arihiko's Story: One Dual Day


"By all the ancestors in heaven above, what are YOU doing going to school on a Monday?!"

---

Three little birds hopped about on the ground, picking on bits of bread. They chirped happily pecking at each other for the best bits. In a flurry of little wings the trio of puffballs zipped around and past their benefactor as he lazily made his way down the street towards the empty corner.

"Hey hey! I gave you what you asked for!" he laughed as they landed on a sign nearby and chirped, "Go get your own breakfast!"

Ugh, he couldn't actually believe he was using that word. What was he running on? Three hours of sleep maybe? It wasn't his fault but did his sister really have to yell in shock like that? It wasn't like he knew exactly why he was up and awake at this ungodly time. It's not like he had as many friends waiting at school as he used to. It was just... well, he felt something was different today then had been last Saturday.

It had all started last night, when something big like a jumbo jet had flown right over his house. Sure, he hadn't seen it, hadn't been able to find it, but he'd heard a couple of rumblings about it on the street from passers by. That had started it alright, or maybe about seven hours earlier when the night had lit up like day for a minute, that had been weird to. He even thought he'd heard voices, his own, people he didn't know, people he did, and a couple of lost friends. Man, if he'd been drinkin the night before he'd have quit whatever he was using cold turkey.

And now here he was, following some flash of vision he'd had at sunup of himself heading to school. What a weirdass day. This was the kind of thing he'd have to bug Ciel-sempai about. Weird stuff was her specialty, heck that and obvious late nights, something else endearing about the upperclassman-babe.

He heard the school bell ring out. Only two blocks to go now. All the other students were probably scattering around being good, rushing to classes and desks. He'd take things a little bit easier. Wasn't anyone waitin on him out there anyway.

He made the school grounds just after things were starting. He clucked to himself a bit as he entered the front doors and headed for homeroom. Wouldn't be anyone looking at him for coming in late, they'd be all so damn amazed about him actually being here on a Monday that he'd breeze by any reprimand. Still he liked it better when Tohno had been around. Nothing better than a guy who passed out on any given day to take the heat off himself.

No Arihiko Inui wouldn't have minded Tohno being around at all. Or Yumizuka, or the other dozen or so night owls that had disappeared last October. It was almost bad enough around for him not to bother with school anymore. Cept for someone with big glasses, short blue hair and a bod. He just *had* to stifle that grin.

---

UGH?! What was the problem with these teachers? Could they make crap any more boring without using a slide projector and downers? He banked a note off the guy next to him, then almost panicked as the note stuck in the poor sleepy doofus's hair and stayed there for a few seconds before the guy grabbed it down. The teacher had luckily not seen.

Good lord, could Tohno be any *MORE* off in space? Not that he should complain, what was he running on himself? Maybe three hours of sleep? It'd taken him a lot to get off his butt and get in this morning, he'd half a mind not to, but heck with watching the soap opera of Yumizuka trying to get Tohno's attention on her and off some girl he hadn't seen in months on the schedule, how could he resist.

It's not that he wished bad luck on anyone. Of course not. But now that Yumizuka was taking it more of her mission to either get Tohno or get him back for brushing her off, he of course had to be there as the mutual friend. If the whole thing happened to be uproariously funny at times, oh how could he help it?

Shiki = Mr. Dense

Satsuki = Miss Cutely Persistent

Himself(Arihiko) = Innocent *cough* bystander

Yep, that's how things stood. Perfect equation. Too bad he hadn't caught up with anyone this morning, but he had been late. Heh, that wasn't anything too unusual either. Chalk it up to another late night. It wasn't even his fault this time either! Damn low flying airplanes.

---

He sighed, bored as anything as the class let out. Wasn't much goin on today, that was for certain. Why had he even come in? It all seemed such a blur to him. He watched the class file out the door as he sat there, lounging for a few moments before heading out. Nothing better to do.

The class had been so boring he felt half asleep already. He might have passed out on the spot but he felt oddly cold sitting in his chair, or was it warm? The way things had been going lately it would probably take him a few minutes to get everything sorted in his head.

At least he might be able to get a hold of Ciel-Sempai.

---

"Whoa whoa whoa." Arihiko called out, draping himself over Yumizuka and Tohno's shoulders as the girl popped up beside sleepyhead outside class, "And what do we have here? Ok, who's got notes?"

"GAH! Stoppit Arihiko!" Shiki groaned, "I've been having a weird enough day as it is, and last night..."

"You too?" Yumizuka and Arihiko choired as Shiki's head hit his hand, signifying his normal weakened headache. The three of them looked at each other askance, eyebrows raised. Arihiko dropped back off of everyone's shoulders and shrugged. He didn't like the sound of that one bit.

"Hey hey!" he called out, "More bad nights eh? I'm sure there's a rational explanation for all of this. Did you guys have a problem with the light show, or the low flying jet?"

"Light show?" Yumizuka asked softly, rubbing her neck.

"Low flying jet?" Shiki grumbled, confused. Arihiko looked at them, trying to be as happy as he could, and shrugged. Shiki looked over his shoulder, went stiff with surprise and lurched past Arihiko. He'd spotted a strangely familiar pair of glasses and blue haircut.

"Wha..." Shiki gasped quietly, "Ciel??"

"Huh? Seal?" Arihiko turned, "What are you talking about?"

Yumizuka walked up next to him, "Do you get the impression today is even weirder than usual?"

"Yeah." Arihiko agreed, "I wonder what that's all about."

---

Arihiko's hand hit his chest as he fell back against the wall right outside the classroom door. His eyes were wide, his forehead beaded with sweat. He was breathing unsteadily.

There was no way, no way he'd seen... what... how? He couldn't put the thoughts together. Had he just seen that? Why wasn't anyone else even noticing. Was he going totally out of his mind?

How else could he explain seeing a perfectly clear greyed image of himself talking to a living Tohno and Yumizuka?! Touching them, talking to them, having a perfectly normal absolutely nonsensical conversation with the two of them! He couldn't understand it! The people in the hallway had even split for them like they were there. No tv-like half joke people passing through people stuff. People seemed to have reacted... but then.

But then where did they go? How did they fade out like that? Was the universe going mad or was it just him? Did too many late nights mean that much? It's not like he hadn't gone to school on only three hours of sleep before... hell no! Quite the opposite, but dead and vanished friends never appeared before him before! HE never appeared before him before!!

"What the HELL is this?" he gasped, eyes wide.

---

Arihiko slowed for a second before catching up with Tohno. Who was that against the wall? Had that been... well... HIM? Couldn't have been, must have been seeing things. Seeing things like leaving a copy of himself behind when he got up from his desk. Seeing things like catching glimpses of him following himself to school.

Oh yeah, today was a weird one alright. He looked to find Tohno standing in the hall, eyes darting this way and that. Well, at least Tohno was acting more normal. Was it a bad thing he was happy Tohno was acting more weird than depressed? Err, that one he'd have to figure out later.

"What are you doing Tohno?" he grumbled, coming up behind his friend, "Anemia getting to you again?"

"Ugh, what?" Shiki said, hand covering half his face, looking back to Arihiko, "Oh no, it's not that... I just thought I saw Ciel-sempai."

"Huh? That name again." Arihiko groaned, "I told you if we'd had a girl like that in our school, I'd be the first one to notice! And what's with constantly ignoring Yumizuka? Come on Tohno, she's cute, you know she likes you... she actually exists."

Shiki's expression turned rather sad as usual, almost whistful, "I'm just not interested Arihiko, you should know that by now."

"Yeah, but it doesn't make it feel any better ya know?" Arihiko replied with a resigned nod.

"Look, I know how you feel." Shiki remarked, head hanging as he turned and walked the other way, "I'd like for her sake to feel something for her, she's a good friend, but I just don't. The sooner she gets that..."

"Yeah yeah." Arihiko droned, glumly. This was definitely not going to be easy. Why'd Tohno have to be such a downer? Man and today of all days. A girl brushed past him hurriedly. He looked over to say something, but realized there wasn't anyone there. He thought for a second... maybe...

---

Ok, ok, logical explanation...

Going mad? Early senility? Ichigo spiked his cereal with LSD...

Well, he was thinking to clearly to believe himself mad. That was out, so far... He could remember everything, well most everything, homework didn't count. Anyway, where would Ichigo get drugs... this time. Nah, that was just to mean a way to think of her, she'd never do anything to cause him harm, just aggravation. Arihiko would have to come up with something else.

Ok ok, seriously...

What if he'd caught Tohno's weirdness.

No way, too scary to contemplate. Weird crap like this was only supposed to happen to Shiki Tohno, not Arihiko Inui. The walking aura of strangeness had disappeared a while ago, right?

"There you are Inui!"

Oh wait... not quite all of it had.

"Good morning Ciel-sempai." Arihiko called, rubbing the back of his head. He must look a little nutz standing just outside the door to his last class, eyes wide open and kinda shocked. At least he wasn't drooling or something, oh wait, Ciel was here! At least he wasn't drooling or something, yet.

Smiling so broadly her eyes were shut Ciel gave him a cursory bow. He returned a nod seeing the sempai give him a quick once over with her now open, sparkling eyes. It took him a second to get beyond the wonder of her striking foreign features to notice that even she was looking a little haggard this morning.

"Wow Inui, you are looking a little tense this morning." Ciel noted after the look, "This day must be getting to you."

Arihiko closed his eyes and nodded, trying to relax some of the tension out of his frame. The girl was perceptive as usu... He caught himself in mid thought. He hadn't told her anything about his day yet. Perceptive or not what was she doing down here looking for him. She didn't usually seem to pay him much attention until lunch.

"Uh? Ciel-sempai." he croaked, a bit unsure, "Is there something about this day I should be aware of? You sound a little..."

"Oh? Oh! No no, there's nothing to be worried about." Ciel almost sputtered, which had him doing the mental equivalent of rolling his eyes, "I was just wondering where you were, you didn't meet me between classes upstairs as usual."

Hrmm, he didn't peek in at her heading to class and she noticed it? He knew the blue haired sempai's senses were unusually good, but her noticing him not ogling her when he had a chance? That sounded fishy.

"I guess I was just out of it." he said, rubbing the back of his head, "Though could you tell me something?"

"What's that Inui?"

Arihiko looked up with perfect honesty in his eyes, "Have you been seeing ghosts today?"

Ciel looked like he had just told her someone ran over her parents with a dump truck. A big bead of sweat rolled down the side of her forehead. The look itself told him most of what he needed to know. He was about to press when the bell rang.

"ACK!" Ciel stammered, "Got to get to class!"

"Huh?" Arihiko called after her as she blew down the hallway, "Hey wait! Damn."

There'd be more chances as the day went on to ask her. He was sure of it.

---

"Spaghetti and stew today?"

"It's not like you come on Mondays to check the menu often."

"Heh... you're right there."

Arihiko made a face and shrugged, taking Tohno's comment in stride. The food wasn't great but at least the company was good enough. He twirled the pile of noodles around his fork looking over at Tohno warily. Yumizuka had planted herself next to him and was merrily munching away on her tray of varied slop without a care in the world. The seating arrangement wasn't quite the normal one, but he couldn't complain about it.

The tv news droned away in the background.

"...on to our top story of the day, the spectacular impact of an as yet unknown celestial body into the moon last night could be seen from points as far away as Moscow and Cairo in the West, Chicago and Lima in the East, and clear across the poles. The Melborne astronomical center, responisble for keeping track of orbiting objects such as the Space Shuttle when in flight, reported the first direct observance of impact related spatial distortion by mankind outside a particle collider. Experts put the yeild at near seven point nine gigatons of TNT the largest explosion seen in the solar system since Shumaker Leavy 9 collided with Jupiter some..."

"Hey yeah? Did you guys see that?"

Arihiko jumped a little, having zoned out in thought. Spatial distortion... hmm. Uh... He turned his attention back to Yumizuka as she cleared her throat.

"Well guys?" she asked, head hovering low and spookily over her spaghetti, "Did you? And have you heard the rumors of strange things happening around town."

"Strange stuff always happens around this town." Arihiko remarked with a shrug, "Haven't you noticed?"

"Well in second period the buzz was all about aaaa-liens." the girl said in a spooky whisper. Shiki and Arihiko shared a laugh.

"Oh come on Yumizuka, it's a good joke and all!" Arihiko chuckled.

"Yeah, last thing we need in this town in aliens!" Tohno added, "The vampires would eat them all!"

At that their little group all broke out laughing. Arihiko added to it by grabbing his chest and pretending to be a vampire with alien heartburn. Even a couple of tables over the jokes and fun were going on. In the midst of it, Arihiko stopped cold, looking oddly morose.

"Hey Arihiko." Shiki gasped, holding his chest in laughter, "You alright?"

"Yeah... yeah." he said, shoulders slumping, "It's just funny, I got really lonely all of a sudden."

"Huh?" Yumizuka looked up at him, "That's odd. Any reason why?"

Arihiko looked one way, then another. With a nod he stood up, leaving his meal mostly untouched. He wasn't very hungry anyway. The other two at the table looked concerned.

"Don't worry about me guys, it's nothing." he said, heading for the door, "I just have something I need to look into."

---

Arihiko Inui sighed as he let the wind blow through his stiff, colored hair. He looked down to his lunch, a bagged mix he'd tossed together himself. The ramen was bland, the soda was flat, and the paisties looked like something a few steps beyond day old. He reasoned to himself that it could easily be worse though. He might be stuck, all alone that lunchroom crowd, listening to everyone else have too good a time. He was missing Ciel-sempai though, but that didn't mean to much to him right now. He wasn't as interested in seeing her as much as usual. He'd have to put it to the fact he was missing others more.

"Why'd all you guys have to up and split out on me eh?" he wondered aloud, gazing up into the sky, "Tohno, you're probably up there with dozens of women at your beck and call, leavin me out of the fun as usual. And Yumizuka, hope you're happy wherever you wound up, why'd you guys have to leave me all alone?"

Arihiko sighed, looking around from where he was sitting. Leaning on the brick enclosure over the stairwell as he was he could see the whole, fenced in, roof. Beyond it he gazed out over the distant Misaki city like something that had been cut off from him for all to long.

The ramen bubbled a bit. Weird instant cup'o'stuff. Arihiko looked down at it, distracted and poked at some of the noodles with his chopsticks. This wasn't fun one bit.

Something in his heart told him he wasn't quite alone, before he even heard the words.

"Hey, mind some company?" a voice asked from around the corner, "I hate eating alone."

"Heh, might as well." he replied, nodding, "Even if it is just a bit on the weird side."

"So you are here." was the response, "I knew without even looking, I'd always sit right there when Tohno was out and Yumizuka wasn't being very promising company."

"And you knew to sit around the corner so you wouldn't sit on top of me." he chuckled, "How clever of me."

"You know me! Always thoughtful!"

"I try!"

Sitting around the corner from each other a pair of Arihiko Inui's laughed at their own joke. One took a moment out to suck up some ramen while the other gazed in repose at the sky.

"So isn't this just the weirdest."

"I swear *slurp* I'm catching Tohnoitis."

"I think everything was weird before Tohno started acting up, I just didn't really notice as much back then."

"Maybe, maybe..." Arihiko mumbled looking down at his cup, "Not that it matters much."

"It sounds lonely over there." Inui remarked, looking towards the corner, "No others huh?"

"For about six months." he returned to himself, "Satsuki after some weirdness at the Century hotel, she vanished with all the guests."

"Mine caught a cold and didn't go." Arihiko chuckled back.

"Auugghh... that's just her luck isn't it?" Inui laughed, playing with the noodles, "The kind you don't really know if it's good or bad."

"Yeah."

"Then Tohno... he wasn't long after. The night the causeway between one and two blew up." he added, sighing and slumping, "They said it was his anemia that finaly did him in, but his family wouldn't even have a public funeral."

Around the corner Arihiko slumped hearing the news "Oh man, I'm sorry. That's so harsh. You've got no one?"

Inui looked back towards the corner, "Well there is Ciel-sempai, you could call her a bright spot."

"Uh? Ciel who?"

"Hmm? You don't know Ciel-sempai?" Inui sounded taken slightly aback, "How could I forget that sweet blue hair, cute glasses and killer body?"

"Auugghh, you're kiddin me!" Arihiko laughed, "You mean that girl Tohno is always going on about actually exists?! Oh man I'm gonna haveta eat my words if he hears about this, along with a couple of shoes! You'd think I'd remember a hot girl with such a weird sounding name."

"Weird... hmm." Inui put some thought into it, "You know I never questioned that. It is kinda foreign isn't it."

The both of them sat back against the wall, looking up at the sky. They wouldn't know that they were in the exact same pose, even if they could have seen each other, yet they were. Rubbing a hand across his forehead one Arihiko kneeled and leaned forward around the corner.

"Hey..." he said, looking at his counterpart, finally able to see him clearly, if in greyscale.

"Yeah?" the other replied, putting down the cup.

"I don't know if you can, but well..." the kneeling Arihiko thought a second, "If you want to come over here for a while you're welcome to."

"Heh? You'd do that?" the other asked, looking a bit wary.

"Hey yeah! I'd get a crack at your hot blue haired girl right!"

"Oh... *chuckle* I knew there was some reason!"

The kneeling Arihiko smiled, mirrored in his opposite, he nodded once, "Hey it's no problem really, you know what it's for."

"Yeah, I think I do." Inui said. They both reached out to each other, one started to speak and the other followed as they shook hands, "It's..."

For My Friends

---

"Inui! You're going to be late again!"

Jogging down the hall Arihiko blushed a bit rubbing the back of his head. The blue haired sempai stood with her arms crossed glaring at him scoldingly.

"Lunch go over late huh?" she asked as he hurred past.

"Yeah yeah! See ya Ciel-sempai!" Arihiko called back, dashing down the hall. He hit his classroom at a quick pace, smiling and chatting to his classmates as he threaded his way between the seats. Without warning he jumped over and draped his chest across the shoulders of one spaced out spectacled fellow, causing him to jump and curse in shock. Arihiko was just all smiles as Shiki grumbled.

With a grin Arihiko asked, "Hey Tohno! You still livin?"


Arihiko's Dual Day, Finish

MrTags
March 16th, 2011, 04:19 PM
Least replies and views of any active story thread... this isn't making me feel very good. It's not like this is a convo between me and Kieran. I'd love other input. Come now, speak up. I know you're out there.

Crossings Section 9 Begin

She stood out, yet was not noticed. She was in plain sight, yet was not seen. As eye-catching as she was, standing where she was, if she willed no mortal to see her, none would. Closing her eyes she let the breeze flow through her hair, smelling the wind. There was a tiny scent of Shiki on it.

Standing atop one of the posts that held up the chain link fence surrounding the roof of Shiki's school Arcueid Brunestud was quite sure that somewhere out there she could sense him. She smiled, running her hand under her hair as her purple skirt blew in the wind. It was actually quite a nice day, all except for one nagging thing.

"So you're here are you?" an unfriendly female voice growled at her. She just smiled, wheeling with nary a great movement of her feet, and looked down on her old annoyance, or maybe unlikely friend.

"Isn't it such a pretty day?" Arcueid asked, watching Ciel, who was standing at the threshold to the stairs, push her glasses back up a bit by force of annoyed habit. The shinso hid any sign of a grin. Her usual happy self was as grating on Ciel's nerves as it ever had been. Bright red eyes stared into bright blue.

"It's a maddening day!" Ciel almost shouted, grinding her teeth, "And you out and about is just the damnable cherry on top shinso!"

Arcueid's wide smile, less innocent then usual, but more knowing, caught Ciel off guard. The Princess of True Ancestors reached up and brushed her hair back by her ear, smiling that odd way.

"That's just what I was hoping to hear." the blonde said with a grin, hopping off the fence away from the angered burier and disappearing from sight, "See you around!"

Confused, Ciel took a step back, still fuming a bit. She couldn't understand what was with her perennial target. What was possibly making her so happy? Ciel turned back and started down the stairs. There was no point going to look and see where Arcueid landed, she wouldn't be in sight anyway.

"Curry..." the blue haired burier droned, "Curry, must calm nerves... need curry..."


"I want it removed, NOW!!"

Kohaku flinched under Akiha's enraged gaze. The way the end of her lady's hair was almost lighting on fire, she knew someone would be needing her blood refreshed all too soon. Akiha's voice was almost horse from the first yell she'd made, now it was even sounding a little painful. Loud noises definitely did not agree with her.

"I DON'T CARE HOW IT GOT HERE! I DON'T CARE WHERE IT GOES! GET RID OF IT!!!" the enraged Tohno roared, her fist slamming onto the top of the granite headstone. Kohaku flexed her fingers around her broom, taking a step back.

"Yes yes lady Akiha." the maid said with a nod, "I can have someone up for it by morning! Please calm down lady Akiha, this cannot be good for you."

The raven haired lady of the Tohno clan fumed about for a few more seconds then with a small haughty noise forcibly reclaimed her composure. Kohaku let out a audible sigh of relief, letting her tightly held shoulders slump a bit. The maid glanced back up at the house, spotting Hisui looking down at them through one of the windows, but she disappeared as Akiha stepped around to her.

"But seriously Kohaku." she mused, rubbing her chin as she looked down at the offending item, "How could this have gotten here? And what could it possibly mean."

Kohaku looked at the subject of debate, a large granite headstone that had as best as she could tell materialized behind her garden since yesterday. The disturbing nature of it's appearance only matched the disturbing nature of it's script. It was dedicated apparently to the still living Shiki Tohno.

"Could it be a dedication to Master Shiki, not Shiki?" she asked, pointing out the two different Shiki in the family, "The death date is the right one, even if it doesn't match the official records."

"The birth date is wrong." Akiha corrected, her face a scowl, "And who would know of either anyway? This was done as a masterwork, very expensive, that it could be here makes no sense. Where is the billing? The shipping? I should have seen something in the family finances. Are you sure this is the first you've seen of it?"

"Yes lady Akiha." Kohaku reassured her, lowering her gaze, "It was not here yesterday when I came out to tend the garden, yet today, it is here. I informed you of it as you know at the very moment you arrived home."

"Very well, at least have it covered." Akiha grumbled, checking the time, "It would have to be right outside my brother's window, if we're lucky he won't have to see it and..."

"See what Akiha?" Shiki asked, making his sister jump as he came up behind her from the forest, he was still carrying his school bag, making it likely he'd just gotten home, "I saw you guys out here on my way around, what's going on? Is that a grave marker?"

"Uh..." Akiha gasped.

"It's nothing Shi... err... Master Shiki!" Kohaku tried to divert him, noting a little put off that even when Akiha was startled she still gave the maid quite a look when she didn't formally address Shiki in her presence.

"That bad huh?" Shiki walked around, looking as Akiha waved her hands uselessly trying to dissuade him, "Err? Me? MY Headstone?"

The girls could only nod. Shiki crouched down and looked at the offending object closer. He felt his finger around the letters, noticing something that stood out to his sight.

"It's a little premature." he joked lightly, not bothering to take it as badly as the girls had feared, softly to himself he added as he checked the cut of the design, "The letters, it's careful, but they were carved, I think by claws..."


"Boarding, Boarding, last call for flight 328 from Hong Kong boarding at gate 12. Boarding, Boarding..."

Fighting evil hoards of undead and monsters of all sizes, Fine.

Fighting the loathsome machinations of ancient shito and beasts, Fine.

Fighting off a nearly eleven hour jetlag... now that sucked.

Her blue hair a little more ragged then usual, her stance a bit leaned to one side Ciel slowly waited for the escalator to bring her down to the main Terminal floor. Her arrival in Japan as innocuous and inconspicuous as possible. Most of her luggage either in her hands, or supposedly already picked up by her current minder wherever he happened to be.

Barely stifling a yawn and holding back a much needed stretch Ciel stepped off the escalator. Customs as usual had been such a bore but her Vatican credentials had gotten her past the worst of it, and none of her weapons would ever show up in a check. All that was left was to meet up with her contact and get going. Rubbing her temples she absentmindedly headed off towards the swarm of signs being held up announcing rides and calling to never seen relatives or businessmen.

Ciel made her way over to the lines of people and searched the signs. It occurred to her that her contact would probably be more covert than to announce for a burier in such an obvious way but it never hurt to... She stopped herself, a large sweatdrop on one side of her head, along with a little sign of horrid rage that scared some people into hurriedly backing away from the blue haired woman.

Within the throng of sign holders, back and out of sight, someone was holding up a big bright sign...

For a Curry Hag.

Almost hurling full grown men aside Ciel burst through the crowd of sign holders, growling grabbing and shoving. Letting the sudden tirade of retorts and curses from thrown people go she dug through to the holder of that sign.

Bright lavender hair, bright red eyes, currently closed in a big smile. Face like an angel, one she wanted to strangle.

"Oh there you are miss Ciel!" Merm Solomon said in a happy chirp, his enormous smile all the more infuriating, "And here I thought someone had let loose the bulls from Pamplona."

"You little..." the blue haired burrier growled, her blue eyes boring into his red. Merm's smile changed to a look of genuine upset and he pouted at her.

"Oh my miss Ciel, it's almost as if you aren't happy to see me!" he gasped in shock.

Ciel's finger shot out towards his, still held up, sign, "AND WHAT IS THAT?!" she cried.

"Uhm... highly effective I think." Merm said, pulling the sign down so quickly out of sight it may as well have been a slight of hand trick, "Wait... sign? What sign?"

Ciel slumped at the shoulders, letting out an exasperated, if resigned, sigh. The annoying little senior burrier was in true form today. It could have been said that there wasn't any stronger an agent Narbarek could have sent for her, but what a little asshole.

"Can we get going?" Ciel groaned, putting on her false glasses as she lowered her head. Merm held up her other suitcase and a ring of keys.

"Oh, you can go." he said, "Just take these."

"Uh?" Ciel grumbled, pocketing the keys and taking the second suitcase.

"I've called a cab for you, he'll be waiting, you can be sure of it." Merm added with a glowing smile that said the cab driver would be waiting till the end of time if he had to.

"You're not coming?" Ciel asked.

"Oh, I don't think I should be intruding, and I have other things to do." Merm said, making a bit of a sweeping gesture and resting his arms behind his head, almost as if he was the little schoolboy he looked like, "You have such reunions to make don't you? Wouldn't want me getting in the way of you and Mr Shiki eh?"

Ciel's eyes opened wide and she blushed.

"Thanks." she gasped out, turning and zipping away, leaving the words "I'm glad you understand!"

Grinning the little Dead Apostle Ancestor watched her go with great satisfaction. He kept an indirect eye on her up to the point she loaded the cab, got in and it sped off.

The pace of the world around him slowed, the shadows deepened. In naught but an extended moment he seemed to be all alone in the shadows. The sort of smile he was wearing changed to something a bit more conspiratorial. Something in the darkness beyond, of the darkness beyond looked in on him.

"Well she's here, as you asked." Merm said, grinning, "All alone too! I tell you that wasn't easy. It was hard to convince Narbarek not to send half the entire burial section down here after you."

"Should I be honored?" the darkness laughed back.

"Heh honored? They're still pissed about that little mess you orchestrated in Florence in the fifteen hundreds!" Merm remarked in chastising tone, "They really don't take to those burnings of Rome either."

"Augh, they still remember that?" the darkness grumbled in mirthful tone, "And here I'd think they'd have better things to do."

Merm crossed his arms, tapping his foot, "So?" he prodded.

"Oh that." the shape of the darkness shifted ever so slightly, as if in annoyance.

"You owe me!" Merm called out with a grin.

There was another shift in the dark. The shadows retreated slightly and the terminal was almost visible around him. Merm growled, flexing an arm but then there was something. A tiny voice started to whisper in his ear. Merm cocked his lead, listening, his face changing again and again, happier and happier each second.

The ancient Shito grabbed something out of his pocket, a small pad and a pen. He listened, listened some more. The whispering stopped. Merm's eyes glistened. He suddenly let out a little joyous shriek like a tiny schoolchild seeing the gifts under the Christmas tree.

"WOOOO!!! MINE!! MINE!! IT SHALL BE MINE!!!!!" he cried joyously then skipped off. The darkness around him slid away. Within the swirl of featureless darkness there was the idea of a smile.

Section 9 End

MrTags
March 17th, 2011, 07:41 PM
Argh my eyes, I can't seeeee anything. I hope the background on the typing box lightens up a bit soon. Come on people, someone's gotta have SOMETHING to say. People do read this. We gotta find some people eh?

Hopefully it'll get interesting enough soon for some comments.



Character Focus, Hisui's Story: Duty Above All

Earlier...

The clock clicked to one pm. That the clock was upstairs didn't matter. The time was one. Lunch was over. Big sister would be finishing in the kitchen. Miss Arcueid was out. Lady Akiha showed no change in condition. Things were as they were.

The small redheaded servant, dressed in finely fitted and pressed european maid attire, stood and bowed to the formless red mass that swallowed the cell before her.

"Excuse me Lady Akiha." Hisui said, with no true knowledge if the person in the cell had heard her, had ever heard her since the breakdown. That was entirely beside the point in any case, decorum was to be maintained.

It was one o’clock, time for the early afternoon touch up dusting. Hisui walked up the stairs in silence and flitted down the hall to the carefully hidden away cleaning closet. She picked up the cleanest feather duster from the rack of them, careful to knock off any dust that had clung to it unbidden since the last dusting in which she'd used that particular one. A good pass by a magnet over the debris pail temporarily negated the static hold of the feathers and the dust simply fell off.

In addition she tucked away a trio of cleansing cloths, a small spray bottle, and some perfuming solution. Convinced all proper gear was in hand for the task of making Tohno Mansion spotless, the blue eyed maid swiftly padded out of the closet, closing the door behind her, careful that it made the proper closed click.

The top half of her body nearly motionless she moved off down the hall, entering the first room for dusting.

---

Earlier...

"Sister... no, no, try the... not that, ah... oh well..."

Hisui hid a bit of a blush as the seasoning, apparently the wrong seasoning, splashed into her latest attempt to make soup. She sniffed it, but unlike her big sister, she could not tell in any way wether the soup had improved or been damaged by her inappropriate spice.

"Was that not the correct spice big sister?"

"Uhm, I don't know Hisui..." Kohaku looked into the pot, smelling demurely, "I've never really tried celery salt and nutmeg in miso..."

The blue eyed maid sighed and slumped, almost dropping her ribbon into the sauce.

"This is not working then..." she said, feeling disappointed. How would she ever help master Shiki to be happy if she could not take proper care of him? She felt the addition of some heartfelt cooking could possibly improve the situation, possibly between herself and master Shiki, or between master Shiki and lady Akiha. There was the unfortunate fact, however, that she didn't seem to have a knack for getting master Shiki's tastes right.

"It's only a matter of time sister, and a little less tobasco." Kohaku assured her. Hisui picked up a ladle and tried her concoction.

"I don't taste a problem." Hisui stated plainly. She didn't miss the fact, though, that her big sister was currently turning a few strange colors in sympathetic pain. Hisui's head cocked, noticing the time.

"I'll see if there's something I can do with it." Kohaku remarked, shooing Hisui away, "Isn't it time for you to dust now?"

"Yes, it is." the blue eyed maid said with a nod, turning and walking on. Kohaku looked back at the soup, wiping her brow in ill disguised relief. Hisui padded over to the maid's closet, picking up and cleaning one of the feather dusters therein, then tucking three cleaning cloths, a small spray bottle and some perfuming solution in the hidden pockets of her uniform.

With a dutiful air the maid slipped out of the kitchen. Looking down she noted some dust on the feather duster, she had been too hasty in leaving. Wheeling about Hisui padded back.

"Sister I..." Hisui started... then her expression went blank. On the other side of the room, at the stove Kohaku was standing over her soup, stabbing it over and over with a butcher knife in a robotic motion. With that picture in mind Hisui decided it much better to have a little dust on her feathers. She turned and quickly sped out of the kitchen.

Hurrying along Hisui looked up the stairs. To her surprise for a moment she caught sight of a greyed version of Kohaku walking down the stairs, holding a tray of untouched food. The both of them stopped, looked at each other, then the image faded. Hisui cocked her head.

"Ok, right..." she monotoned, "No more nutmeg and tabasco."

She then went right back on her way.

---

Slightly later...

Dust, dust, spritz, dust, repeat

Hisui finished with the back living room in good order. Things were going near to schedule as was right. The house must be kept clean, even if only herself, her big sister and miss Arcueid were to see it.

She paid special attention to the curio cabinets, keeping the collections neat and tidy. The house was showing some odd inconsistencies today that she had yet to be able to place. The things she was noting kept her mind busy while her body moved in similar patterns as it did every other day. It was of course the little things she noted and kept track of in her mind that made things worth doing.

The place settings in the dining room had been used. She found that unusual since only the Tohno's had ever used the dining room. Miss Arcueid always ate up in her room, while the maids always ate in their own areas. The dining room, with its large table had been used however this morning, and she hadn't noted it. This was the first inconsistency.

Lady Akiha's original room was also inconsistent. The make up and personal items on her desk had been moved. Hisui had of course fixed them as always, however it was reminiscent of when Lady Akiha had been using her own room instead of the downstairs cell. As the maid working the indoors, Hisui had noted each thing out of alignment in her master's room. The door was slightly ajar, the bed somewhat rumpled, the vanity adjusted to take advantage of the natural lighting. This, while reminding Hisui of the times Lady Akiha had stayed there, also confused her, as there was no one to do such things.

It was a mystery. Hisui's eyes began to sparkle. She hid her smile, even though no one was around to see it.

Maybe the next room would prove inconsistent too. Padding along she headed for Arcueid's. Mulling things over she walked up to the door and opened it.

Something was very inconsistent. Her thoughts jumbled, scanning the rest of the day's events as she entered the room. This was not quite right. She touched the desk... there was dust. She could have sworn the room had been already dusted. Warily she began doing the desk. Things weren't quite right, the bed was too well kept, all the drawers were closed. Arcueids little pile of pictures were all in order. It was as if Hisui had already done this room, yet she hadn't been here...

Glancing across the table she let out a little surprised noise. Master Shiki's knife was there. That could not be, it was buried with him, she'd seen to that herself. Was it a replica? Stepping over she reached her hand down, and passed right through it.

Hopping away in shock Hisui stared at the recalcitrant object. She leveled a finger at it, pointing its way with an accusatory stare. The image faded from her sight.

"Ghost knife." she said, thinking. What a mystery indeed.

---

Slightly later...

Had Kohaku been playing tricks on her? The mansion definitely was full of some odd inconsistencies today. While Hisui's pace and actions were the same as any day of dusting, her mind was racing through the possibilities of an enticing mystery. Had Master Shiki broken from his depressed mood enough to play games, stage little tricks for her? Were the mysterious red hairs of last night, which were from, yet not from, Lady Akiha to blame?

There had been pictures she would have sworn had never been taken in Master Shiki's room. She had arranged them, since they were spread across his desk, yet they made her feel decidedly uncomfortable. She was in a few of them, yet had never remembered posing. Of course the night of that one party she wouldn't have truly known if she had or not, too much alcohol.

Besides that however there was a hint of a woman in Master Shiki's room. It wasn't quite the sights, but possibly the smells. Something simply told her that a woman had been staying there. Such was impossible of course, there wasn't a woman staying in Master Shiki's room, and any that did would have had to face the full on wrath of Lady Akiha each and every day. The very thought made her shudder.

In addition, halfway through the house, things simply looked dusted. They weren't of course, she hadn't reached there yet, and no one else in the house would lift a duster, that she knew of, maybe Master Shiki, but she could have sworn without touching the surfaces that the dust had already been removed. That was quite an inconsistency.

Hisui padded down the hall, looking to the more unused rooms of the house when something made her stop short. The door to the underground chamber... Why was this door open? Hisui wore a concerned look, glancing through the darkened threshold. The stairs seemed freshly trodden. She would have expected more dirt to have accumulated in such a totally unkempt chamber.

Her eye for mysteries gripping her Hisui found her way slowly down the stairs. The lights were lit, another oddity. There had been no need to keep this place lit for a long time. She caught herself dusting a bit of the wall in force of habit. Hiding the duster behind her with a little hmph she steeled herself and padded down the stairs.

The first thing that struck Hisui about the small underground chamber was the strange softness there was to it. Usually the place was all solid iron bars and stone walls, yet it seemed as if something was softening the hard lines of the place. The light was on, which was unusual, but the others down the way had been as well. The red haired maid felt the stone, cold as ever, hardly mysterious but maybe a little disappointing.

Looking around Hisui picked up a slight movement on the floor. Fixing up her skirt to let her crouch properly she bent down and looked. There was a slight reddish tint. She reached down and touched the floor, and something moved.

"Eep!" she let out a tiny gasp, hopping a little and almost toppling over. The little maid waddled around, encumbered by her skirt for a second before righting herself again. Peeking down warily she saw the faintest glimmer of red thread on the floor. It was somewhat translucent, in fact immaterial, as her hand had passed through it, so she'd only noted it as a red glow before. The oddity of Hisui's situation started to settle in on her, the red hairs of the previous night made a little sense. Reluctantly she gazed into the cell and squinted her eyes, concentrating hard.

...and found herself in a sea of red.

With a gasp Hisui bounced up and tried to hide herself at the foot of the stairs. While the image wasn't of good quality she could see a formless mass of red swirling out from a pile in the center of the cell, just behind the bars before her. While not being the most member of the household to all the oddities residing therein, it took her barely any time at all to consider the possibilities and decide on a conclusion.

There were two Akiha's in Tohno Mansion today. More than that, there had been a second Kohaku. Hisui decided to ignore common sense as the mystery demanded. The least probable reasoning had become the only one possible. In that case, there would be one person to ask, in order to find everything out.

---

A few moments ago...

"..........."

"Gah!" Hisui gasped slightly as a small black cat hopped up and crossed her path, small bells chiming softly. She should have expected it, but still... it had caught her by surprise again. With a speedy zip and a flick of it's tail the little creature left the room.

Hisui held onto her chest, breathing deeply, "Just miss Arcueid's cat..." she whispered, still a little scared. She hated this room, there was no doubt about it. She should get back to what she was doing... yes...

Dusting, there was dusting. Dusting and waiting, waiting and dusting. This would be the place. The signs were right, unusual though they were. Now all there was to do was wait and dust.

Hisui padded slowly around the old master's office. She had always done Makihisa Tohno's study last of all the rooms in the house. Possibly because she had the least experience doing it, possibly because of the things that happened in here. This place still sent chills down her spine every time she entered it. It had been the last room in the house she'd been allowed to tidy, the last room in the house she'd ever want to enter, the most uncomfortable room.

Given that, who she waited for in here was probably fitting. Only one person alive that she knew of often, and willingly, entered this room.

Padding around to the far bookshelf she dusted the oddly dual locked box, then did a few of the books. Looking out the window she allowed herself a indulgent sigh. As she walked over to check on the far windows she looked down slightly. This would be ever so difficult. There was a panting behind her.

"So, you are here." a female voice pointed out, plainly but a little out of breath.

Hisui turned, looking over her shoulder, "You're late." she scolded, "If you are to take any longer it will be difficult to get back to the front and wait for Master Shiki."

There was an uncomfortable noise from the other figure in the room. With a short motion she pulled her duster out from behind her and started to work on the tables across from her aggravator. Hisui was certainly not used to being told her business by anyone. Still, she looked across near the window, if there was anyone who could do it, it would have to be herself.

"You've realized then." the newcomer Hiusi said with a nod, neither of them had deigned look at the other, "You put together the clues."

"Yes, it was difficult for me, you most likely had a simpler task." the first Hisui also nodded, working at the windows, "I deduced it partially from Master Shiki's belongings, and a few of the foods in the pantry, but mostly from your own pattern of cleaning. Mine changed, I had to rework it for Lady Akiha's current needs."

"Mine hasn't changed for a while, since there has been no drastic change in the household." the second Hisui pointed out, agreeing, "Which you correctly reasoned would mean there was no change in the people in my household."

The two Hisui pointed a swirling finger at each other, never breaking composure.

"You the girl."

"Thanx."

"So," the Hisui at the window remarked, cleaning a spot with a towel, "Your Master Shiki, is he well?"

"He is... physically well." the other replied, brushing up some dust on the far dresser, "But he has lost miss Arcueid, I fear he is... deeply wounded, inside..."

Breathing softly on the window and rubbing with elbow grease to get a particularly stubborn spot the far Hisui looked down, lost in thought. The way her counterpart had said that... It was very likely that she had cause for concern over Master Shiki's well being. All was not right, on either side of the divide.

"It sounds, unfortunate..." the Hisui at the window said, as she moved across to the next set of panes, "That would likely mean that Lady Akiha is alright."

"Yes." the other Hisui said with a nod, straightening the pillow of the far chair, "It is most unfortunate about your Lady Akiha though. I am interested in finding what happened to her, she is very distressed. I am confused on why any of us would let someone like the distant miss Arcueid move in with Master Shiki though. Do you not think their closeness would upset Lady Akiha even more?"

The breath caught in Hisui's throat as she tried to dust the sill of the window before her. She found her lower jaw shaking. She could feel the tear break loose and slide down her cheek. Such a simple misconception... oh how she wished...

"I'm sorry..." the Hisui at the window said, her voice itself nigh breaking the other Hisui's heart before she even heard the rest of the statement, "You do not understand... miss Arcueid... Master Shiki, it is not what you think... miss Arcueid moved in to help, in case we can't handle things... you see, Master Shiki... is... dead."

There was a quick, strangled cry from the other side of the room. Hisui's hand clutched her chest as she bent over, holding herself up against the bookshelf. Her blue eyes were wide, staring yet not seeing anything. She didn't know where the tear on her cheek had come from, how it had gotten there so quickly. It was such a simple assumption... how wrong...

"No..." she gasped hoarsely, Lady Akiha's condition made all to much sense now, especially if... she had to know, "Then both?"

The Hisui near the window nodded slowly as she moved to the other side of the back bookshelf, "Both of Lady Akiha's brothers are dead."

"So... sad..." Hisui said slowly, her eyes clenched shut as she brought her duster back up to the books, "You are holding up?"

The other Hisui sighed and closed her eyes as well, her hand returning to her duster, "It is not easy."

"I see now." Hisui remarked with a nod, "The ghosts we see, they are not the ghosts of the dead."

"No, they are ghosts of chance." the first said, "Ghosts of the way things may have been, had things been different."

"I will help then." the second Hisui replied, her face determined, "I have not been through as much, you need my strength."

"I don't know what can be done." the first mentioned, thinking it over as she absentmindedly dusted, "You cannot touch those on my side, or apparently important objects that are in different locations."

"The pictures in Master Shiki's room, they are miss Arcueid's?"

"Yes, those are miss Arcueid's remembrances."

"I could touch them."

The first Hisui looked up towards the bookshelf as she made her way down towards the second. She was deep in thought for a second, then came out of it, her eyes a little brighter.

"Then there are some things we can do." she said with a nod, "It is our duty to take care of Lady Akiha."

"And Master Shiki." the other added. They both nodded.

"Then we shall care for them both." the first said confidently, "It is our duty."

"Yes it is." the other pointed out. The two Hisui's together finally reached to dust the final book on the shelf. As they stood together, the same thought occurred to them. They said it at once.

For My Family


Hisui glanced out the window, catching Kohaku's concerned look. Lady Akiha's enraged shout had brought the blue eyed maid's gaze out past her big sister's garden. She saw them there. Lady Akiha was in a rare mood glowering at the granite slab standing on the ground between them. Her anger could be felt, even from the office window.

"Hmm." Hisui said softly looking out to them. She would have to handle that later. Miss Arcueid would be very upset if Master Shiki's grave disappeared. With a gasp Hisui realized she was late. She headed quickly out the door, not noting Kohaku looking up in confusion at the window, wondering where she'd gone to. It was not that important.

Not important at all, compared to missing her usual greeting of Master Shiki at the front door.

With concern she padded off to catch him.


Hisui, Duty Above All, Finish

Kieran
March 17th, 2011, 08:50 PM
I always did like Hisui. :)

MrTags
March 18th, 2011, 02:15 PM
Still going. SACCHINx2 TIME!


Character Focus, Satsuki's Story,
Part One: Irreconcilable Differences

"Why me?"

It was the one question she'd hoped he wouldn't ask. Not that it was a question she didn't have the answer to, but maybe it was one she didn't want to admit the answer to. Such a simple thing, that question, yet so hard to explain.

"Well... I... I..."

Satsuki Yumizuka rubbed the back of her head, bemoaning her fate in yet another outing. She looked around the school grounds, trying to find an out to the situation she was in. She'd stopped Arihiko on the way out of class, catching him before he went home. She had a request of him, an odd one admittedly, but nothing too hard. Ever since the dream she'd had last night, the young girl had a strange but pressing need to go and check something out. It was like she wanted desperately to go someplace and dispell any notion that the dream was anything but. Now though, a snag had appeared, the traditional one in the name of Shiki Tohno.

"Uhm really Yumizuka." Arihiko pressed on slightly, shifting from foot to foot and looking at her, "Why me? Isn't this more of something Tohno would handle?"

Satsuki's shoulders slumped. He'd caught on to the biggest annoyance about this little problem. As she believed him to be Tohno was a far more logical choice to ask help her than Inui. She really didn't want to have to explain this, but oh well...

"It's just that it's gotten so complicated with him Inui." she said, blushing with a slight sigh, "I really need this done, but if I asked him, well he could look at it as some way to get closer to him, or as a sneaky kind of date, or... or... well, It'd just be so hard to make him say yes, that it's not even worth trying. He hasn't seemed to be very reliable lately has he?"

Arihiko sighed, nodding in understanding, "Yeah, he's gotten that way lately hasn't he?" he managed back, "Then I can't say I blame you for not asking him, but jeeze Yumizuka, thinking of all that's gone on down there, it's not like I'd be of much use!"

With a beaming smile Satsuki giggled at Arihiko's bemused look. He was so funny being honest like that. She hadn't even thought about him fighting off some monster for her! Is that what he thought this might come to... yikes! She had to set him straight.

"No no no!" she gasped, relieved, "If we go now it'll be daytime! No big bad monsters! I just need, ya know, to feel a little looked after when I'm there... It's still kinda scary!"

Arihiko grinned widely, lifting an arm and flexing it, "Well then, I'm your big strong man!" he laughed. Satsuki giggled again.

"My hero!" she cried, grinning back. The two of them shared the laugh as they headed out under the afternoon sun.

A simple little quest. Go down to the back alleys of town, check around and proove Satsuki was just dreaming things, then split up and head home. Nothing easier, right?


The sun was still gracing the sky when Satsuki and Arihiko reached downtown. They had a decent number of back alleys to cover so they went right to it. Starting at the first block they came to they began walking the alleys. To keep their minds occupied the pair chatted away.

"Hmm." Arihiko mumbled, holding his nose to stave off the worst effects of something rank in a dumpster they'd just passed, "I don't think we'll really be able to do this all today Yumizuka."

The brown haired girl looked back at him and shrugged, "Ah, it shouldn't really matter." she said happily, "We'll just check what we can, that should do right?"

"Heh, well it's your dream." Arihiko replied as they turned down another side alley. Satsuki smiled broadly, looking around. The alleys were dank, but not as cold as she would have thought, the tight walls trapped a lot of heat in the area. It was so, depressing and foul down here though, someone could almost get lost forever if they wanted to, if they avoided the main streets and stuck to the smaller lanes between them. She thought of something and figured there'd be no better time to ask.

"Arihiko?" she queried in a voice that made him cringe a little, the sad sound behind it telling him there'd be only one thing she was asking about. He looked like he'd try to hide behind some crates.

"Arihiko..." she said again, then went on, "Is it, well do you know... is there something wrong with me?"

"Gaahhhh..." Inui twitched, rubbing the back of his head, "That a loaded question if I've ever heard one."

"No really," she said looking back at him, eyes a bit sad. The way opened up into a main street and the two fell silent as they crossed it and headed into the next set of alleys. These were just a little darker, turned mostly North and South or at angles, the sun wasn't filtering in as well.

"So, do you think, maybe it's me?" Satsuki asked again, sighing slightly, then looking around, "Or maybe is it Tohno?"

"Ahhhh... Yumizuka, ya know you're really putting me in a spot here." Arihiko replied, hand practically affixed to the back of his head, "You're both my friends, it might not be right to interfere."

"Oh like that would really stop you Inui." Yumizuka remarked with a big knowing smile, "Remember who was all, 'you better go after him' earlier?"

Arihiko blushed a bit. Satsuki noticed but didn't mention it. The boy was falling a little bit behind her. She figured she oughta slow down or she'd loose him all together in these dark places.

"Well yeah, but he wasn't that sad back then." Arihiko mentioned, "Come to think of it, maybe he's just really really out of it you know? I wouldn't put it past him... this is Tohno we're talking about here."

Satsuki giggled, hiding her mouth behind a hand, "Yup!" she called, "It is."

Arihiko practically had his eyes closed he was smiling so broadly. He looked as if he was hoping for all the world that exchange was over. Satsuki giggled again. Energetic as ever she was pulling ahead a bit. As Arihiko sped up to catch her he tripped over something hidden in the shadows.

Something that made a little mmph as he did.

"Gaahhhh! Satsuki." he grunted, regaining his balance.

"What?" came a stereo reply.

Arihiko turned back to what he'd tripped over in shock. Sitting against the wall, hidden in the deepest shadows, her legs, sticking into the alley, having tripped him, was another Satsuki. She looked around drowsily, just waking up from sleep. The first Satsuki must have walked right by her, it was so dark there. Arihiko bent down, grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking.

"Yumizuka! Yumizuka! Wake up! Where have you been!?" he cried, "Everyone's been so worried!!"

"Huh?" the first Satsuki said, walking back, "Worried? What are you talking about? You're talking like I've been gone."

"Mmmmph... Inui... just a few more minutes... the teacher can't care that much..." the sleepy Satsuki grumbled, sobbing slightly "...school sucks."

"Ack!" Arihiko shook his head, "We're not in school Yumizuka! Wake up!"

Satsuki wondered exactly what Inui was on about. He'd stopped so suddenly and now, well wasn't he talking to thin air? She straightened her pleated skirt and crouched down making sure she didn't flash anyone to get a better look at the dark area Inui was so interested in. The schoolgirl gasped as something odd started to blur in and out of her vision. It couldn't be!! Looking harder she could see what had to be another girl from their school, wearing the same school uniform she was, just in greys not yellow and blue. The sight confused her... if only the image would focus down. What was Inui doing?

"Nyaaahhh..." the sitting Satsuki stretched and yawned, inadvertently flashing Inui once or twice before she blinked her large eyes open and tried to figure out what the commotion was, night was still a ways off and she didn't like wasting energy. Groggily she noticed someone had her by the shoulders and was shaking off and on. Someone must have had a death wish or something. Who was it? She looked up and almost lost her cool in shock.

"You ok?" Arihiko Inui, just about the last person she'd ever expected to see in the back alleys, asked. Her eyes flashed wide as she reached up and grabbed his arms back.

"ARIHIKO?!" she gasped, "What are you doing here?! How did you find... wha... where... how is..."

Dozens of questions flew through the sitting Satsuki's mind. She could find out about everything! It was wonderful! Then something started nagging at her from the back of her mind. With a start she realized she was hungry... the sound of Arihiko's blood was rushing in her ears. The painful truth of still being cursed as a monster hit her. He couldn't possibly stay here... not even long enough for questions. She couldn't stand the thought of hurting a friend.

"Hey hey! Waittaminute!" Arihiko was laughing, "One question at a tiiiiii..."

"NO!" Satsuki shouted, tossing Arihiko back across the alley into the far wall with all the effort of lifting a paper clip, "Leave me alone!! Arihiko! Leave me alone! Run away! RUN! NOW!"

Satsuki's eyes widened to saucer size as Arihiko went flying across the alleyway to land with a thud against the far wall. How the hell had that happened? At least Inui seemed to be alright. He picked himself up from where he'd landed, only slightly winded. He looked more concerned than hurt. What was going on?

Arihiko's eyes almost teared as the missing Satsuki curled herself into a little sobbing ball in front of him. Laying on her side she pulled her knees into her chest and hugged them tight as she cried softly. She saw him get up and was at least happy she hadn't hurt him, but still he wasn't leaving. Her big red, tearing, eyes looked over at him in fear. She didn't need the problems someone knowing she was still alive was going to bring, she didn't want to be hurt again.

"Hey!" another girls voice called to her, shocking her out of her thoughts, "That was mean! You shouldn't have done that. He was only trying to help!"

The crying Satsuki looked up in shock. She'd sensed no one else in the alley with her, and to a vampire that meant a lot. There was no way someone should have been able to sneak up so close. There was another girl there, crouched only a few feet away, looking at her sadly. She squinted her eyes, as the other girl was, trying hard to bring the vision into clarity. It seemed that this girl was greyed out somehow, lacking any sign of color. They both put some effort into looking... and both were shocked to the core by what they saw.

Satsuki let out a little eek, falling back on her bum with a thud as she finally realized who she was looking at. The fact it couldn't possibly be true not able to outweigh the evidence before her. There was another version of her curled there! Sure she was a bit dirty, kinda crudded up looking. Her uniform had some stains on it, and he socks and shoes were scratched up, and her hair was a little bit of a mess, but that was her! She scrambled back up to a crouch as the other her uncurled and looking at her with a facial expression that suggested horrified fright began pulling herself away across the dirty ground, legs seeming to be almost paralyzed.

"No no..." the other her whimpered, "That's too cruel, that's just too cruel..."

Crossing her arms Satsuki growled at the rather pathetic, unkempt version of herself, "Hey! what are you doing?! Cruel? I'll say." she grumbled, looking at how messy the other her was, "Get up! And for the love of fanservice close your legs and COVER YOURSELF!!"

The crawling Satsuki let out a little strangled noise, then an eep as she took note of how she was arrayed on the ground. Scuttling over back to the wall she fixed up her small skirt and pushed it down more. She wasn't used to having to watch her amount of coverage lately, most of the boys she saw ended up dead anyway. To her surprise the other Satsuki was right beside her before she even noticed the movement, reaching up to fix one of her disheveled pony tails. The hand passed right through, hair and head.

"EEE!" both stereo gasped, "Freaky!"

The pair of strangely mismatched twin girls started giggling. Arihiko pulled himself back to his feet on the other side of the alley, sporting a lump on the back of his head. He looked at the pair in a kind of aghast way.

"Owww, did you have to be so rough?" he grumbled.

"You knew!" the Satsuki he'd walked with turned to look at him and said accusingly, surprising her twin, "You knew there was another me out here, one that had been missing! How did you know!?"

"Huh, well..." Arihiko stammered, not quite sure of himself, "Maybe I should have..."

"That's not an answer Inui." the first Satsuki harrumphed, crossing her arms sternly.

"Well, there were two of me too this morning..." Arihiko admitted to the girls shock, "One who'd been at school with Shiki and you Yumizuka..." he motioned to the one he'd come with, "...and the other who was missing Shiki and hadn't heard from Yumizuka since she disappeared."

"And there's only one now?" the girls chimed together, interested. They didn't even seem to notice the stereo. Arihiko blanched, rubbing the bump on his head.

"Well, we kinda got together on it, decided to work together ya know..." he explained like he didn't quite get it himself, "And well, here I am all of a sudden, with two sets of memories."

"So you combined?!" the first Satsuki said with her eyes wide, "So cooooool..."

She looked over at her other to find that Satsuki slowly sneaking away from her, looking scared. The reaction really confused her, she didn't spend any time thinking over it though, it was coolness.

"Wait!" she called, stopping her other in her tracks, "What are you doing?!"

"No, no no!" the other Satsuki cried, seeming to be scared, "You don't want anything to do with me! Stay away! Don't come near me!"

"Huh... wha?" the first Satsuki looked confused... then noticed Arihiko was similarly edging down the alleyway, "And where are you going?!"

"Well, now that you two are together," he pointed out, backing off and turning down the alley, "You don't ne-eeed me anymore, so I'm just gonna go..."

The twin Satsuki noticed themselves starting to flicker a bit when he walked off. Worried they turned to Arihiko. He must stay! He was making it easier for them to see themselves! Err... them other selves... whatever...

Arihiko had almost thought he'd made it away before he felt the powerful evil force catch up with him. He felt it boring a painful hole into his back... it was too much! Far to much for any male to bear!! NOOO!!! He peeked back over his shoulder...

And saw two sets of tear-stained, saucer-sized, massive female doe eyes in twin side-by-side pose tearing away at his conscience. He wheeled around and looked back in horror, his ability to do anything against the wishes of the two Satsuki's melting in a pained flash. He cried the pained cry of japanese males throughout anime eternity.

"Aaaahhh!!! Ok ok! I'll stay!" Inui wept pitifully, unable to resist the sheer mass of teary red/brown cute.

The Satsuki he came with just had to giggle, holding her hands up to her lips, "Heehee, boys." she laughed. The other Satsuki just returned to the wall, sulking. Arihiko sat down over by the other wall, keeping his distance from super strong Satsuki model two.

"Hmph, yeah... boys." the other Satsuki grumbled, sitting down and stretching her legs, "I don't know why I did that, I must need company or something."

The first Satsuki sat facing her, fixing up her skirt demurely, then looked over and spoke, "It's ok." she said with a giggle, "I'm here."

Sadly the second Satsuki ducked her head, sighing, "What do you think?" she asked, "I'm going to be some friend or something? You must have seen the dream... you shouldn't be near me, it hurts... I can't deny what a monster I am with you around."

"You don't look like a monst..." the first Satsuki started. With a growl the second rammed her fist into the pavement. It went in an inch making a small crater. The first's eyes went wide.

"Coooooooollllll." she gasped. The second just couldn't believe it, she started to cry.

"Is it COOL that I can't go out in the sun, is it COOL that I kill people?! Is it COOL that I saw mom and dad ripped apart in front of my eyes! IS IT COOL THAT I'M A MONSTER?!!" she nearly screamed, her fangs glinting even in the shadowy light, "What the hell does cool mean then?!"

The human Satsuki almost choked. She'd nearly forgotten the pain of the dream... the horror... the fear. Now here it was in front of her and all she could think about was how cool all the powers were. She had to know...

"Could you... uhm... tell me?"

Arihiko looked up, shaking his head, "Satsuki, maybe it's better if you don't..."

"I wanna know... please." the first Satsuki rebuked her friend, looking straight at the second, "Tell me what happened."

The vampiric Satsuki glowered at her counterpart, "It's not all fun and coolness, it's not some happy shallow little game like your life is, like mine was..." she warned, growling with her fangs out, "You might get scared."

"Please?" the human Satsuki repeated, sadly, crossing her arms and pushing her chin down into them. The vampiric Satsuki grumbled, closing her eyes and resting her head against the wall.

"You're going to make me remember aren't you..." she said sadly, "I try to forget."

"She has a point." Arihiko mentioned, "Getting it off your chest might help."

Satsuki the vampire slumped into a sigh, bringing her hand up to absentmindedly rub her fangs while she thought about it. She shook her head slowly, sadly, not wanting to. Why ruin a peaceful life with her horror story. The look in her former self's eyes told her she wouldn't be easily denied though, as most overly optimistic girls her age she felt everything could be solved by talking. Oh for the days in which she could afford that kind of naiveté. She sighed one more time, looking to the sky.

"Oh well... if I must." she remarked, laying her hands by her sides, "I'd better make it somewhat quick though, finish before the sun goes down."

"I don't mind the dark!" the human Satsuki scoffed.

"No, no..." the other almost laughed, "It's for your own good. You won't like me very much when the sun goes down."

"Cranky without enough sleep eh?" Arihiko joked, knowing full well what was meant, "Ichigo gets like that too... ooh can she go off on a rant."

The vampiric Satsuki laughed a little. Her real laugh was a bit more of a dark chuckle, less of the girlish giggle her human version used. She did appreciate the attempt at humor. Her eyes glanced up to the sky, maybe because she missed seeing the blue up there more often, maybe just to check how much time was left before there was more monster and less Satsuki in that dark alley. Her eyes fell back to her feet just staring there, not really looking or seeing, but staring off.

"It was that night, that night at the hotel. That night after I'd told Shiki I believed he would be the one that always saved me." she started, slowly, her eyes falling into shadow, even the alley seeming a little darker, "I was feeling a little queasy earlier that afternoon, but I got over it in time to go. Dad was so happy, it was his party, and everybody was so happy for him. It was his birthday, but you know that... of course you do. The party was great, kinda european and american. We had a yummy dinner, that italian place was great, and then cake... lots and lots of cake. It was almost a perfect night. I was so happy for Mom and Dad, I stayed out of their way a little, let them get closer."

The human Satsuki coughed, knowing where that part of the night was going. She'd been sad her sickness had prevented her parents from making the most of her father's birthday. Arihiko just crossed his arms and looked down the alley.

"It was all ok you know? I stayed out for a while, then went back to our room, we had one like halfway up. The place was pretty back then, I don't think they let anybody see what it looked like after..." the vampiric Satsuki spoke almost wistfully, her story starting to darken like the alley, "I was almost up to the room when the lights went out, it was scary. The place got soooo dark, and you could almost feel this like... I guess pressure, or presence or something. I got so scared I ran back to the room. I think I heard the first screams then, my heart was pounding so hard... I figure there weren't many people on our floor, cause no one else was out. I almost made it in the room too, had the door all open. Mom and Dad were in there, looking concerned. I thought I was gonna be ok, as long as I was with them everything would be ok right? It wasn't though... I must have blanked out because I was already way into the room with Mom yelling something the next thing I knew, and my shoulder really hurt. Something hit me I guess, one of the things... they were really really bad, worse than scary. Scary was what I knew back then. Scary things just stayed in the dark, in my imagination, they didn't come out, they didn't leave big claw marks on my back. And then there was the screaming..."

"S-ss-s-s-screaming..." the human Satsuki stuttered like a hissing air hose, holding both hands balled in front of her face and cringing, "People were screaming?"

The vampiric Satsuki looked at her counterpart sadly. She turned away, looking out into space, focusing somewhere past the walls of the alley, far far away. Taking a deep breath she shook her head and averted her eyes. She looked sad enough to start crying.

"It... it wasn't so far away anymore." she said, a shudder in her voice, she shook her head even harder as if trying to dispel the image, shake it off like a dream, one that clearly wasn't going to go away, "It was on us, it was us... it was me, it seemed so distant, but it was my voice. I could hear my own voice shout in pain. I could hear Mom and Dad cry out, running to me. Mom was stooping down, screaming about blood. I felt wet, maybe it was blood. I don't know... really I don't. Dad was gonna too, but I guess he saw something. I really didn't hear much after that, feel much. It was all so slow. It didn't hurt, I wasn't feeling anything, I mean nothing. It was like it wasn't me ya know? But it was, why did it have to be? Dad moved past me. There was a funny noise, tearing kinda, and there was blood, so much blood. Mom's mouth was moving, she was screaming too I think, and she was a funny color. Was she turning red? Or was it blood? There was so much blood I think, it was so thick, moving so slow... Then Dad was there, falling past me with something black, something black there, and Mom was falling to. I think I started to blank out cause I was getting up the next thing I remember. I remember Mom... Mommy was coated with black, or was it red, something big and black, or red... She was reaching out to me, pushing me. I don't know I didn't hear her tell me to run, but I knew she was telling me too... and I think I heard Dad say it too... but his eyes were so blank... I don't know... was it one eye... or two... were they both there? It's so... That noise, that tearing noise was so loud..."

"Shhh... shhh... Satsuki, hold on." Arihiko moved forward a bit, holding his hands toward the vampire, "You're gonna give Yumizuka a heart attack. I think she knows all she needs to about that part."

The vampire Satsuki broke out of her thoughs with a start. She saw the other poor Satsuki cringing on her rear, sliding away slowly, her eyes full of tears. Reaching out for her double fearfully the vampiric Satsuki realized and pulled her hand back. Arihiko started sliding away himself.

"I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking." the vampire said, looking down. Arihiko smiled and backed off a little more.

"It sounds like you're alright." he remarked, "You really don't need me for this..."

Arihiko was starting to sneak down the alley, trying to get away. He thought he could have made it until he realized he was looking straight into vampiric Satsuki's blood red eyes. She gazed deeply back into his eyes.

"Stay." she commanded.

"Yes master." Arihiko droned, dropping cross legged on his butt. The human Satsuki was awed.

"That could be useful." she whispered. Arihiko just shook his head with a grin.

"I was kidding about the master stuff." he said chuckling and rubbing the back of his head, "Pretty nasty force of will you've got there though, I couldn't stop myself."

Satsuki shrugged, "It's no big thing." she said, then pulled her knees up to her chest, hugging them to her as she rested her head on them, "Where was I."

"Being scaa-aa-aa-ry." the human Satsuki offered.

"At the running part I'd think." Arihiko responded.

"Yeah, running." the vampire continued, "I really don't know how I got out of the room. The things, they were these black animals, they were all over. I rushed out of the room, pushed past one that was... well it was eating something, I don't even want to think about it, and headed for the stairs. I ran and ran, it was all still kinda a dream, numb, moving slow, my vision kinda went all tunnel. I hit the door and was gonna go down, but there was just a wall of them below me, so I headed up. I just wanted to get away. I remember thinking a lot of weird thoughts. It's strange what went through my head. Well, maybe not too strange. I knew I didn't wanna get eaten. I didn't wanna die. I wondered how I looked for some reason, how I could face him. Urr, yeah and him. I kept thinking, kept asking where he was. Why wasn't Shiki there? Why wasn't he saving me? I was so naive back then, he'd shown up to help me once and I figured some way he'd always show up... kinda silly huh?"

A glance from the vampire Satsuki to the human one showed all to clearly the human was still a believer. The vampire rolled her eyes as the human glared at her angrily. She'd have to learn that lesson on her own someday then. It wasn't the vampire's problem.

"Never mind..." she grumbled, sinking a little lower, "It didn't happen anyway, no saving, no savior, no super Shiki to the rescue. Just little me running blind as far as I could. I think I got to the top floor before they got to close to stay on the stairs. It was all such a blur. I ran through the doors, there wasn't anyone else up there I guess, cause I didn't see any monsters. But I wasn't gonna get anywhere either... I kinda cornered myself I guess. So I ran, and when I ran out of space to run, I hid in the deepest darkest corner I could find. Heh, seems really funny to think about it. I was probably the only one that couldn't see in the dark... I was just breathing real hard, and panting and all out of breath. I couldn't stop myself from crying, I didn't even remember why, I just was crying. So I hid in the dark, away from the bad animals, the killing monsters. I didn't know the worst monster there wasn't an animal at all... he found me up there... it... that damn thing. It should have just let me die, die like everyone else, die like I knew everyone else was dead. That thing, that grey haired boy didn't though. I was so hopeful when I saw him... saw someone, anyone, someone alive. I didn't notice anything unusual about him, I was such a mess, I suppose a few bandages on him didn't mean anything to me. I just knew there was someone there, he even held out a hand to me and I took it... I could scream at myself now, to not go near him, not take that hand, not get so close... but I didn't know monsters came looking like humans too, the worst ones always look like humans... and then... and then... that pain... the teeth... I was so shocked, it hurt so much... all I could do was cry, I wasn't strong enough any more, I wasn't in any control any more... and he did it... he did it... that thing..."

Arihiko started to reach out for the dark, huddling Satsuki across the alley from him. Even the human Satsuki looked so distraught, her eyes had grown so wide. It was probably for the best that the vampire's shriek stopped Inui from going to her.

"HE ATE ME! IT ATE MEEEEE!!!" she shrieked, slamming her head back against the wall and wailing to the skies, "It didn't eat skin, or bone or body, it ate ME... it took me away! It killed me! Killed everything I was, killed everything I ever wanted to be, love, hate, feelings, life, it didn't matter... I WAS FOOD..."

The human Satsuki made a little choked noise, holding a hand over her mouth. She remembered vividly that pain at her neck, the pain of soul as well as flesh. She had felt it, remembered it, and it hurt all the worse knowing what it was.

"And then, even worse... I woke up... not me, nothing like me..." the vampire groaned, her eyes wide and glistening, "So hungry, so much pain... I wish I hadn't woken back up, I always wish that. Cause I guess for the first time I was the prodigy, I was really really good at something, and it was killing. I wanted so much to be warm again, to be me again, and I just felt blood would do it... bring me back, so I had to have it... had to have blood! I took it, took a lot of it, lots and lots, so much blood, so much red deep red thick, tangy pumping hot blood, right out of people... so much of it..."

Satsuki and Arihiko cringed at the strange tone in the vampire’s voice. It was like she was enjoying remembering the blood, savoring it in her own mind. They backed off just a little.

"And the worst thing, the worst damn thing, he found me like that! HE had to find me like that... to see me... to recognize this thing that was wearing me. Shiki found me!" the vampire cried into her hands, gripping her forehead, "But I wasn't ready, wasn't ready to see him. I killed so many, so many more cause I had to be ready... had to be ready to see him! I was gonna be strong enough! I'd force him to save me!"

Satsuki and Arihiko exchanged a worried glance. Neither of them liked where this part was heading. To the best of Arihiko's knowledge no one had seen Yumizuka since the hotel. To hear he'd seen her. If she was like this though, maybe it was better he'd not been told. Satsuki, the human one, looked at his pained expression. Shiki, uh... one Shiki... Well she was fast enough to catch on.

"I saw him the next night. This time I was supposed to be ready... but he found me at my weakest, when I'd come to my senses and seen what I'd done. It hurt so much worse, the more me I got the more it hurt... and I was lonely, so lonely when he found me. I think I was in a pool of blood... another person I'd killed, so many... I can't even begin to understand how so many people could just vanish from what I did without something happening, some police or something, but I didn't get them, not their punishment for what I'd done, I got Shiki for that. I was so out of it I attacked him too... I so wanted him to be there, I wanted him so much, wanted to keep him, but he got me off of him, something I hadn't been able to do and chased me down." Satsuki recounted the events almost as a fond memory, so strange from what she was describing, "It's kinda funny... instead of fighting he talked, we talked. He actually felt it, felt guilty... was sorry he couldn't protect me... to believe it!! He actually cared... felt sorry, wanted to protect me. I thought it had been a dream promise, one I dreamed up, but he felt it too, I hadn't known... He was so sorry for letting me get hurt... but I was so twisted then, so new at being this, I didn't think. I just wanted what I wanted, so I tried to make him like me... and he let me try... he actually did that for me, let me try to make him a monster... I shouldn't have wanted it, I shouldn't have wanted to condemn him too! I was so lonely... and well, I felt the killer in him, but I didn't know it was so strong... he was too powerful for me... he stopped it somehow... stopped from changing... stopped it all... then... well he tried to save me the only way he could... he... he turned his killer on me... that killer, the power I'd felt that pulled me to him... and he did it. He did his best job of it, saving me... by killing me, running me through with that that killing thing he does."

Arihiko's ass hit the floor almost as fast as his jaw. He scrambled back to the far wall... choking on something not there. He couldn't handle the idea. The human Satsuki just managed to cock an eyebrow.

"No way, no way Shiki wouldn't do something! Couldn't do something like that!" Inui gasped out loud. The look he got from the vampiric Yumizuka said something different. It was a sad, but almost happy resignation. She shook her head slowly. No wonder he'd never ever told.

"He saved me... it was what needed done... I'm so sorry Inui." she said slowly, shaking her head, "I was so happy it was him, so happy he'd saved so many lives by stopping me."

"You're still here." the human pointed out. The vampire's shoulders slumped impossibly low.

"It didn't work..." she said between crying sobs, "I floated free... so free for a while. I was happy, free of it all. Then something tugged me back... I woke up again, felt the pain again... the hunger again. If I could have died from disappointment I would've. It all started right back up again, and for some reason Shiki wasn't around anymore. Maybe he could have done it better... but he was, well just gone."

"Yeah, I know." Arihiko said sadly, looking down. The human Satsuki just glanced around confused.

"I tried to, ya know, limit what I did... but it was hard, and someone was working against me." the vampire confessed, "When she found me, that blue haired pain... I almost laughed at her." she shook her head with a sigh, "Still can't believe it was Ciel-sempai who came after me next. She killed me too... not that it did anything."

"Cie... err? Wait..." the human Satsuki broke in, "You mean that weird sempai Shiki talked about, the one he swears was here but I never heard of?"

"Never heard of?" the vampire gasped, "How never heard of? We ate lunch together, well for a little while... I thought it was longer but... oh... yeah, makes kinda sense."

The vampire looked over to Arihiko. He nodded and pointed at his eyes knowingly. She smiled back and shrugged.

"So now you're back again." the human Satsuki said, deep in thought, "Wow... so sca-a-a-rie. I never realized, I don't know what to think..."

"WHAT TO THINK?!" the vampire almost roared, leaning towards her human double with blood in her eyes. She growled deeply at the care in her other's features, and let her own switch on to full monster.

The human Satsuki blushed as her other, person... err... her leaned closer. She felt so sorry, felt so sad... wanted to help so much. Then she got her first real good look at a monster. Her other's face had contorted, it almost glowed darkness. Her large glowing red eyes stood out, throwing strange ruddy shadows across her nose and forehead, and her teeth... The vampire Satsuki's evil pointy teeth grew over her lower lip for just a moment before she opened her mouth and showed off her evil sharp fangs. Satsuki's heart almost stopped as she was caught in her own glare. She had the horrifying feeling of being prey, of an evil, hungry thing coming at her, coming at her and looking at her not like a person, like like... She fell back on her rear, her eyes wide, her expression a mix of broken denial and the helpless look of someone who knew they were cornered by something they could never handle or escape.

The human Satsuki let out a shriek, a shriek that was matched by the sound of metal parting air and slashing into cement. Both Satsuki's eyes went wide, distracted by the black gripped sword now sticking out of the ground between them. Arihiko bolted down the alley, having already seen to much. The vampire Satsuki snarled and wheeled about, looking above where Inui had raced, up to the form of another girl standing atop a fire escape. The human Satsuki looked up too, not recognizing the new, blue haired arrival.

"Get away from her!" Ciel ordered in her most commanding, mighty tone. Which, if either, Yumizuka the words were directed at wasn't clear, but nor was it a concern. The vampire Satsuki stood, her legs spread, her arms held out with hands balled into fists. She growled darkly at the cursed figure standing there. The human Satsuki just let out a horrified eep, scrambling backwards, even faster as the sword vanished in a burst of light. The clattering of it's crossguard to the ground seemed to break the spell the human was under and she clambered to her feet and shot out of the alley in the opposite direction as Arihiko.

"Damn you!" the vampire growled. Another black key flashed through the air towards her, and Satsuki directed her strength against it. The air around the key sparked, but it didn't stop. With a surprised noise the key blasted past her powers and flashed right through her like a trick of the light. The sound it made when it hit the ground was real enough and the vampiric Satsuki cursed out loud when she realized this Ciel was colored in greyscale to her eyes.

The phantom image of Ciel began to flicker, but for a moment she looked so sad, "Yumizuka I..." she started, almost choking the words, but then she was gone.

"Whatever..." the vampire grumbled with a shrug, "Kinda what I was trying to do anyway."

She no longer felt comfortable where she was, and the sun was low in the sky. With an audible "hupp" Satsuki Yumizuka the Dark Apostle hurled herself upwards, grabbed hold of the wall of the building beside her and with a push she was soaring away through the darkening sky.


Arihiko came around the corner of the alley at a full tilt run, his legs taking him as fast as they could go. The alleys were getting dark and this was really not a good place to be at night. He didn't even see the figure standing around the corner before she reached out and snatched him.

"GAHHH!" Arihiko gasped, looking over with dread, not quite liking what he saw, though a little less afraid for it, "Ciel-sempai!! What are you doing here? Weren't you jus... oh, wait. Crap..."

The blue haired girl, decked out in her full burier habit scowled at him, then looked down the alley.

"Damn, I'm late." she grumbled, shaking her head. She looked back at Arihiko and he waved his hands in front of her face.

"Late for what?" he spouted quickly, trying to find an out, "Hey, it's getting dark back here? Should you be here? Uh, nice outfit... err, maybe I should walk you home?"


Ciel sighed, but didn't relax her grip. Arihiko was finding the slight girl to be uncomfortably strong. Her blue eyes turned to him, looking more weary then he'd ever seen them. It almost felt like it wasn't quite her without her glasses.

"It looks like you're going to have to forget a few things Arihiko." she said solemnly. He turned away fast, holding his hands out.

"No way! Not the eyes!" he choked, "Not again!!"

Ciel's face for a moment betrayed her shock, then she scowled, "Oh yes, definitely forget a few things..."


Satsuki grabbed her chest, she was breathing so hard, her heart was gonna burst. She fell forwards, leaning on a storefront for support. She had to catch her breath, there was no way, just no way. This was a hard one, she'd have to think up a good excuse for being out so late, and that wouldn't be easy with everything going through her head. She glanced around, trying to get her bearings, then felt something and looked up.

Her other, was up there, she just knew it. She was over the city somewhere, in some big leap. Places to go she figured. Catching her breath she tried to straighten out her thoughts about all of this. It was so horrible, she could never understand. Then another annoying thought struck her... her double was up high, in the air...

great...

just great...

And in some other reality she was flashing the whole damn city...


Satsuki, Part One: Irreconcilable Differences, Finish


Somehow I'm remembering

"We are Satsuki's if you please."
"We are Satsuki's if you don't please."

But not where it came from.

ItsaRandomUsername
March 19th, 2011, 01:43 AM
http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs37/f/2008/284/8/b/DOUBLE_K___pardon_our_dust_by_captainosaka.jpg

MrTags
March 19th, 2011, 07:35 PM
O_o, Uhm thanx?

I appreciate it ^_^

BTW, I've parsed down the segment after the next some and I need a few people that remember something of the old Nero/Balance Fight to look it over and see if it's less what was it called? God Mode Mary Sue? Fodder for the Aristotle's Quest? Something like that?

Oh and before I forget Thu'Bain alert!

Thu'Bain States:
I'm more worried about the possibility of two Rens. Does that mean we get double White Rens as well? Quadruplets? Black and White Dream Force?

O MA KE! O MA KE!

The four Rens hold a meeting in the deepest bowels of the Tohno Mansion, the dungeon. One of the ones wearing white yawned and wiped a tear out of her eye. 'Twas the result of a night-long plotting for their Holy Grail.

Her twin-in-white shot her a bemused look before turning back to the diagram on the dungeon floor. "Okay", she said. "Sis and I will take care of the two maids. You two originals will split up; the first one will take care of the Master's sister by trapping her in a dream. Be creative; have her in an illusionary violin concert or something. The other one will lure-"

The two black Rens shot her a venomous look.

". . .Guide him here. To the dungeon. Then we'll all come back and the fun finally starts. All clear?"

The second White Ren held her hand in the air.

"Which Master should we take?"

One of the black Rens held up a sign that said "The one that's still alive."

The first White Ren, who was nominatively the leader, grinned. "Alright! Now let's do this before-"

"Umm. . ."

The four Rens turned to the source of the sound.

"What about me?" Nanako asked weakly.

The quadruplets exchanged glances before the aforementioned White Ren spoke up.

"You make sure we have enough supplies here to last a long while."

"Supplies?"

"Y'know, the usual. Canned food, drinks, catnip, curry, lace, handcuffs, whips, lemons, ballgags, cream, and so on. And don't forget the Chiyo-chan costume."

"I'll do my best!" Nanako vowed in her shaky voice. "I'll get my sisters to help if neccessary."

"Sisters?" Two voices asked, echoed by two signs.

"Yes, my sisters." Nanako said thoughtfully. "Ichiko could get the foodstuffs we need. Niko could keep Master Ciel busy. Sanko would keep a lookout. . ."

MrTags
March 21st, 2011, 04:18 PM
The Song in this part for those that don't recognize is The Offspring: Gone Away As usual I put no claims on writing it or any such thing. We're going along well here and I hope to get back to new stuff by next week. That would be to give me time to WRITE new stuff.

Crossings Section 10 Begin:

Night was falling. The powers of darkness were waxing as the light waned. The Princess of True Ancestors breathed in the elemental power of the dark, feeling as near to her full strength as she ever had been past Shiki Tohno's little misdeed. Standing out front of the Tohno manse, she spread her arms to the darkness. For the first time in a long while this promised to be a good night, or at least an interesting one.

"You will be careful won't you miss Arcueid?"

Arcueid Brunestud smiled happily at the naiveté of that simple question. She turned her broad smile back to Hisui who was standing with an almost frightened air just outside the mansion door.

"I'll be just fine!" she called out to the maid happily, "It's a fine night."

"Then best of luck to you miss Arcueid." Hisui replied with a bow, turning and retreating back within the mansion.

"Hmm?" Arcueid made a questioning noise, but Hisui was already gone. With a spry shrug the shinso pushed open the Tohno manor gates and strode out. Her pace light but forceful, purposeful, she headed down the hill towards the city.

Not far away Hisui stood on the balcony, watching Shiki take his normal path out the back of the mansion. She felt happy that he was finally of doing something other than moping, that he had found purpose again. Even though he couldn't see her, she bowed.

In a soft whisper Hisui intoned her wishes, "Best of luck to you both, Master Shiki, miss Arcueid."

---

Distant from the Tohno manor compound, far atop the outer wall, a small black cat made its way along the stones. With a soft clinking of bells it sat. Licking a paw the cat started cleaning itself.

There was a noise and it looked up. Someone had left the compound from an unusual gate.

"........."

There was no noise from the cat as it watched Shiki head out into the night. It showed no signs of concern or worry, it simply stood back up on it's four feet and headed along the wall in the same direction. There was no betrayed hint of emotion, nor any sign the cat was anything but.

There was a little jingle from below. The cat stopped and looked down. A small bell rolled across the ground. Intrigued in the way of cats it hopped down and sniffed around towards the ball. The ball jingled again and rolled away. The cat swatted the ball but missed as the offending object rolled into the bushes. Looking a bit mad the cat pounced into the bushes. There was a rather extravagant scuffle as the bush shook with a great tumult of hissing and angry fighting cat noises.

Looking a little scuffed a black cat stepped out of the bush. With a bit of a prissy huff it fixed up it's little bells and bow, turning them over since they were on backwards. Having done that, though still a little ragged looking, the cat hopped out into the night in the direction Shiki had gone.

---

Would she see a movie? Would she shop? Would she get something to eat?

Six months... six whole months now...

What would she do when she saw him? What would she say when she found him? It was dizzying! The rush of emotions, the feelings, the need, desire! She practically spun down the streets, prancing through the entertainment district. The looks she got, some of lust, some of confusion, some of concern, some just expressionless, bounced off her. Nothing was going to disturb her tonight.

She just had to have her Shiki.

Maybe in another life
For a second she stopped and looked at the movie theater. That quaint little vampire hunter movie wasn't playing anymore. They'd seen it already anyway hadn't they? She held a finger to her chin.

She smiled and looked up as the lights came on. She so missed Shiki, so missed being with him. So missed having to goad him. Where was he now? What was he doing?

I could find you there
A spring in her step she strode on down the brightly lit street. Only the night would tell.

---

Six months, six months now...

Had it really been that long since he'd seen her? Had it been that long since he'd lost her? Shiki walked the city streets in a daze. He couldn't really tell why he was out here, why he was haunting the streets for the first night in months.

No... that was wrong.

Pulled away before your time
The pain was back. The hurt he'd pushed down was back. Arcueid, something of Arcueid was back. He'd felt it all day. There'd been a nagging something in the back of his mind. Had it been that dream? Had it been a dream he saw, with his eyes open, a dream with lines?

I can't deal it's so unfair
Shiki looked down the steps to the park. He looked at the bench, the swings. It was too early. He walked on.

---

And it feels
Yeah it feels like
heaven's so far away

This was so boring without him...

Arcueid swatted one of the vampiric dead like a bug. It just wasn't the same. She'd done this before. She'd done this for a long time, yet her time with Shiki... Had it changed her so much?

Absentmindedly she slapped another dead into the alley wall behind her. It just wasn't the same.

---

And it feels
Yeah it feels like
the world has grown cold
Now that you've gone away

Shiki looked up at the clock. The animated puppets had just begun playing their short seven thirty performance. He hadn't bothered to watch this since... oh well.

He hadn't bothered to come to the square since he'd been up there on the other side, at the fast food restaurant with Arcueid. He wondered what he was really doing out tonight. There could have been plenty of reasons.

He might just be trying to spend some time away from Akiha. That wasn't fair though, she'd been good to him since he'd stayed. There hadn't been an incident in the house, nothing up until the last night. The strange red hair that had flitted through the mansion, the hair that didn't seem to come from Akiha.

Taking the thought he switched track with it. Instead, he might be trying to get away from the Mansion. Kohaku and Hisui were nice, but... they'd been a little distant. Hisui was always attentive, not really obtrusive, and better than an alarm clock, but she'd yet to stop calling him master. Kohaku on the other hand, well she seemed a bit more moody. Something more had happened that night he'd fought Shiki, more than he was aware of. Maybe it was the ribbon he'd returned to her...

Shiki looked around. There wasn't any sign of Arcueid, yet why did he feel like he was looking for her? He might just be loosing his mind. He laughed to himself, figuring he'd have to have had it in the first place for that.

Even if he hadn't been walking absentmindedly, he would have probably missed the small black animal darting from hiding place to hiding place behind him.

---

Leaving flowers on your grave
Show that I still care
The school grounds. Around the back only a group of discarded caution signs, and a pair of boarded up walls high on the two school buildings were all that was left of the debris from that fateful night. Soon there would be scaffolding here... soon a new walkway would be put in. Soon, nothing would be left to tell of her failure.

Sadly a dark figure in black dress knelt beside that place she'd killed the heart she'd found so recently before. With solemn grace Ciel stood from praying, her habit shifting around her, pulling back into place as she rose.

Turning back, she headed again into the night.

---

But black roses and hail marys
Can't bring back what's taken from me
Ciel crouched atop a fire escape, looking down into the street below. She'd found him, finally. He was there, so close. She reached out, held her hand towards him... and yet couldn't call to him. She couldn't bring herself to step back into a life she'd come so close to ending.

A tear ran down her cheek as she grasped towards Shiki and he walked, oblivious to her presence, away from her yet again. What was it that was stopping her? She'd been so excited at the prospect of finding him, renewing her acquaintance, now it seemed like the whole weight of reality had landed on her shoulders at once. If she came back, she would have to deal with his loss. If she came back, she would have to deal with his family. If she came back, she would have to deal with her own grief. If she came back... she would have to realize, how she felt for him... and she would have to realize, what he didn't feel for her.

Maybe she would have to leave that thrown black key... that distraction that helped Shiki defeat Roa, as the last good act between them.

How could she face him. After all, while it was his knife, his power, it was her hand that killed his brother.

---

I reach to the sky
He couldn't believe he was back here. He couldn't believe he was back here at night.

And call out your name
Shiki gazed at the sky. The stars were out brightly tonight again. The sun had set, and he was here. How could he be here? He remembered so sadly. The fight here...

Standing in the strangely hollow space under what had once been a school walkway, Shiki Tohno lost himself in his memories. He remembered... he remembered... Damn it how he'd wanted to forget so many times.

He remembered racing along the hallways. He remembered the flying glass. He remembered finding them. He remembered how she stopped him...

and if I could trade
He remembered his helplessness as she was hurt... He remembered her dying.

I would
Shiki ran off the school grounds.


And it feels
And it feels like
Heaven's so far away
A cool wind blew past the balcony and she was suddenly lonely. The way things were, the way things are, was it really meant to be so complicated? The night sky held no answers.

Fingers danced across strings, changing notes with soft pressure. The bow held firmly in her other hand, it's back and forth motion under her control brought forth a strong melody of chords and pure notes. With chin laid firmly on rest she gripped the violin with desperate power, making it, and it's music her own, uncompromising in her terms. It was the way things should be.

Halting her musical tirade Akiha Tohno lowered her violin and bow, allowing her arms to rest. Kohaku was coming up behind her, looking apologetic. There was no doubt to what she would say.

The maid bowed daintily, waiting for acknowledgement from her mistress before speaking, "You are right Lady Akiha." she intoned, "Master Shiki has left, he is no longer within the compound."

And it stings
Akiha turned back to Kohaku with a bemused look on her face. She glanced around, then let free a sigh.

Yeah it stings now
"I'd thought so." she replied, "Though I am at a loss to know whether I should be cross with him for leaving after curfew or happy that he's starting to get back on his feet."

"If I may suppose..." Kohaku asked to put forth her opinion.

"Yes?"

"The day has been especially hard on him." the red haired maid pointed out, "The odd events of the last night, the tombstone, his remembrances of... that woman..."

The world is so cold
Now that you've gone away
Akiha's shoulders slumped, she turned away from the maid then spoke, "Very well then." the lady of the manor said, "I suppose we will just have to give him his space for tonight."

Kohaku bowed politely.

"As you wish ma'am"


Gone away, gone away, yeah
Shiki stepped out onto the street and hurried across it. The other park was over this way, maybe he'd find her there. Had he actually been feeling her? It seemed strange, but she was supposed to be immortal right? Maybe she was coming back, but why hadn't she shown up?

Shiki looked around the park, walking in circles. There were people here and there, lots of couples too, which kind of hurt. He stepped around the low hedges, heading for the ice cream stand. This was at the very least a happy place, with happy memories. His spirits felt just a little lighter...

*THUMP* MEAACCKKK!!

Shiki looked down in shock. He'd kicked something, something that made a funny noise. It was pretty dark by his feet but he made out the shape of a black cat twitching down there.

"Whoops!" Shiki cried, kneeling down, "Sorry kitty... are you alright?"

Shiki reached down and tried to see if the cat was hurt. It didn't feel like anything was wrong. He guessed he'd just surprised it. The poor black cat's eyes stopped swirling and it looked at him. Shiki tried to pet it.

With a hiss the little creature struck out at his hand. He got a little knick on his finger before he could get it away.

"Yack!" Shiki yelped, "Sorry!"

Doing it's best feline growl the cat shot off into the bushes. Shiki just shook his head.

"Darn, that was weird." he though aloud, "It must have been right behind me, was it following me?"

Shiki stood up looking around. The strange cat had vanished. He was thinking of finding out if it was alright before the bells at the square rang out eight thirty. With a start he realized he was running behind. With destination firmly in mind he headed off.

Behind him a small black shape once again darted out, looked around carefully, then followed.

----

Try as she might, she couldn't beat the damn thing. What a pain...

Arcueid's shoulders slumped as the arcade game ate another one of her coins. It just wasn't fair. She'd gone into the video arcade to get her mind off her worries, and now was getting trounced by the games. She had to admit it, she just wasn't all that good.

I reach to the sky
Stepping out of the arcade the worry caught her again. What if she was wrong? What if he wasn't out there? Could she take the thought of that? What would she do?

And call out your name
The clock on the wall read eight thirty. It was time to go. She held her head down, almost as a little prayer.

"Shiki." she said softly, "Please, wait for me, I'm coming."

oh please let me trade
I would
In a ruffle of purple skirt and white blouse the Princess of True Ancestors dashed off down the street. She had a date with destiny to attend.

---

This was the place... this was the time...

Of all the things he couldn't believe about this night, this struck Shiki Tohno as the most impossible one. He was actually walking into the nature park at night. How many bad things had happened to him here?

The count started at killing Arcueid. Something that set up a chain of events that led to her death. It continued though her finding him and confronting him for the first time. That was scary as anything, and then the fight with Nero. He'd fought and killed that monster in the park.

And it feels
And it feels like
Shiki walked past the nature park sign, past the small outbuilding. The place was as dark as ever. He headed for the fateful stairs, for the playground.

Heaven's so far away
Then there was at least one fight with the dead here. Arcueid had almost bitten him here. He'd confronted Ciel-sempai in this place. You'd think he'd avoid it like the plague. He had so far.

So what was different about tonight? He had to know.

He walked, slowly down the stairs. There was a crack in the playground cement he didn't remember, but other than that, the swings, the jungle gym, the benches, it was all the same.

Shiki crossed the cement area cautiously. He slid his hand into his pocket, reassuring himself that his knife was indeed there, ready to be used. It proved there, as ready as when he'd taken it. That was good, he couldn't be sure what had drawn him here.

He looked around, slowly walking past each part of the playground. He'd almost had himself convinced he'd find Arcueid here. It wasn't too different from the time he thought he'd killed her and she just popped up, was it? That was a long time ago though. Remaining cautious he made his rounds.

And it feels
There was nothing. No sign. There was no wind, no noise. Not even that cat. Not a creature was stirring. The clock was already at five past nine. He made sure, double checked everything. No one at the benches. No one at the swings.

Yeah it feels like
Shiki let out a sigh, wiping his brow. Looking up at the sky he laughed at himself. The wind through the trees was the only reply.

"Heh, I had myself so worried." he said, chuckling. He shook his head slowly, drawing out his knife and looking at it. He wouldn't need it tonight after all. For a moment, the loneliness was there. He gripped the knife tightly.

One word parted his lips, one word spoken softly, spoken sadly.

The world is so cold
There was a slight creaking noise...

"Arcueid."

It creaked again...

The noise caught Shiki's attention. The swings must have been blowing... but the wind...

The wind had stopped...

Shiki slowly turned, looking over his shoulder...

"Shiki."

A voice, like the wind... a female voice. She was... she was...

Now that you've gone away
And to Shiki's startled eyes, the vision, the feeling, became truth. The swing creaked again, as she pushed herself lazily with a soft kick. Colored in only shades of grey, almost a ghost, but unfathomably solid. It was there to him... for him... she was...

Before Shiki's startled eyes Arcueid Brunestud, her head held low, hands gripping the chains, slowly drifted back and forth on the last seat of the swing. She was here. She was back...

Section 10 End

MrTags
March 28th, 2011, 05:22 PM
Have to go over the next part with a few people before things heat up but I figure you guys at least deserve this part before I have to go into deep conversation about the next. Odd though, this seems so long in the text editor but it doesn't show up on the forum pages. I know there's an odd extra indent on my editor but I'd think 129 pages would look longer. Enjoy.

Crossings Section 11 Begin:

"A...a... ARCUEID!" Shiki called out, taking a step forward. Her head snapped up, eyes wide, a tear on her cheek. Those normally red eyes, now grey, locked onto Shiki like a bolt. She was on her feet in an instant.

"YAHOOOOO!!" she cried back, hurling herself at him, "Shikiiiiiiiii... yahhoo...aawwwkkkk!!"

To the surprise of both Arcueid's dramatic leap connected on nothing. She passed right through Shiki. The mighty Princess of True Ancestors landed on her face behind her love with a rather pratfallish thud. Shiki let out a quiet whew.

Scratching his cheek softly and turning back to her with what could only be described as a classic Shiki expression he responded in characteristic understatement, "Uh, nice to see you too Arcueid."

He took a step back and turned about. Well she didn't look too badly off, if he did say so himself. She was supposed to be some immortal creature anyway. It was natural for her to be back right? Resurrection, reincarnation? Shiki scratched his cheek a little more as the grayscale princess bounced up on her hands and knees, then shot up to her feet. In a flurry of motion she started circling him, looking up and down, not trying to touch this time, her hands held behind her. Shiki followed her with his eyes as she darted this way and that looking here and there, giving him such a thorough looking over he started getting self conscious.

"You look good." Shiki mentioned as she made her third circuit around him, head ducking to look at some other part of him, "I... well I..."

Shiki stopped as he noticed Arcueid was mumbling a blur of words in her excitement. The stream was so quick he had to take a few seconds to sort it out. She was really fussing over him... odd for her being the one who died.

"Oh good good!" the shinso said quietly, "Hmm, and here, and here... oh no wound, good good, that's much better, and there, there, yeah... color's off, have I seen this before? Uh, no... don't think so, no grey people, err... maybe gramps, err... if only I wasn't out of it so much, uh what to do, what to..."

"Hell-O Arcueid!" Shiki interrupted, crossing his arms, "I might want a part of this conversation myself."

Arcueid looked up as if shocked, even jumping a little. When she stopped Shiki got a better look at her. She was her perennial self, in the same white and purple outfit, a new one he supposed, since the one he remembered had to be a mess. Her quizzical stare almost had him break out laughing she looked so out of place. Through it all this time he picked up on her beauty quicker. This time looking into her eyes she took his breath away. His eyes trailed over finer points of her anatomy. Catching himself quickly he stepped back, blushing and rubbing the back of his head. What a time to think about THAT!

Arcueid managed to regain her composure with her usual speed. She was being so inconsiderate! Her excitement at seeing Shiki had her acting as if he was some long lost pet or treasure instead of a person. Not that he wasn't, the treasure part, that was... Merrily the princess of True Ancestors cocked her head to the side, putting on her biggest broadest smile while keeping her hands tucked away behind her. She had her Shiki!

"HI!" she blurted, "Uh, hi Shiki!" and almost flinched, since when did she start sounding like some flustered child? Maybe she'd always sounded that way and hadn't known about it before.

There was a soft sizzling. A tiny noise, across the expanse of park. Running against the pull of gravity a drop of something milky blue rolled out of the tiny crack in the concrete not ten meters away.

"Are you, uhm are you ok Arcueid?" Shiki asked with a concerned smile, his hand on the nape of his neck, "Are you feeling alright? How did you... well..."

"I'm fine! I'm fine!" Arcueid blurted, this meeting stuff was turning out to be a lot harder than she'd thought it'd be, not being able to just tell Shiki with touch was a real pain, words of this sort weren't her strong suit, "Oh and you, look at you... you're looking good, uhm not hurt... you got better!"

One of Shiki's eyebrows twitched. He'd gotten better? Whaaa..?

The crack was a little larger. The concrete chipped slightly again, then again. Something else as well, something hovered at the outside of sensing, just beyond reach. Darkness and deeper darkness.

"Oh it's been so long Shiki... I never thought..." Arcueid reached out, then turned her head away, realizing she couldn't touch, "You, you're doing well? I don't, I don't know how to deal with ghosts Shiki..."

"Like I do Arcueid? but wait..." Shiki started.

"Oh I so missed you! It's been so hard! How did you do it? How did you come back?! Since you died..."

"I DIED?!" Shiki cried out, stopping Arcueid in her tracks, "Wait! Wait! Hold on! Arcueid, I died?!"

The forest shifted slightly. The shadows seemed to have a life of their own for a moment, be nothing but shadows in the next. The lights around the outside of the playground flickered slightly. The clock at the end of the park stopped. The shadows lengthened.

"Huh..." Arcueid looked at Shiki, surprise clear in her features, "You don't remember?"

"No, no Arcueid... you died." Shiki called back, looking deep into her eyes. There was nothing of guile, nothing of deceit. She believed what she was saying totally.

"What? No, that's not right." Arcueid returned.

Their mouths opened as one, the same words came out.

"I held you, as you slipped away, you were in my arms." they both said in unison, "You died in my arms."

The separated lovers turned away from each other for a second. Even though neither was looking, their expressions were the same as they tried to work the dilemma out in their minds.

There was a slight, almost imperceptible crackling, a nigh silent sizzle as two points of color began to roll across the concrete, leaving lines of black in their wake. Each moved from a separate place, in a separate direction. On the ground a shape began to form.

"Wai... what happ..." the two turned and said together, startling each other, "I was..."

Arcueid and Shiki broke off laughing. They were saying the same things to each other, at the same time. Arcueid held her gut as she giggled. Shiki shook his head chuckling.

"Great minds think alike I guess." he laughed, leaning forward as Arcueid looked up at him, "Ok, me first is that ok?"

She nodded.

"It was the night we finally faced Roa, after we... uhm..." Shiki started, the matching blush from Arcueid was a thankful signal she remembered that little part of their adventure, "You left to fight him, I had to chase after you. I found you at school, already fighting him. I was going to help but you used your power and held me back... then Roa, Roa... I couldn't do anything..."

"It was that night!" Arcueid chimed in with a nod, "I'd thought I'd left you behind so I could face Roa alone, though you found us, but with me... well he came for me and you must have broken my hold, because you took the shot for me..."

"Oh, I see..." Shiki blanched slightly, looking away.

"I got him." Arcueid called to Shiki, turning him back to her, to her enchanting smile, "I got him for you."

"Yeah, Roa." Shiki said with a nod, "I killed him for what he did to you."

"Not coming back?" Arcueid asked, concerned.

Shiki shook his head, "Never coming back."

Arcueid nodded, "Mine too."

Shiki smiled, his hands dropping into his pockets. Arcueid smiled back, clasping her hands behind her.

"Two different series of events." Shiki pointed out, his hand, his left this time, rubbing the back of his head as he thought, his right hand still hung in his pocket.

"Two different versions of us." Arcueid added, flexing her fingers behind her, nodding, "Both brought together, specifically here."

"This is the place it would make sense for us to meet." Shiki continued.

"At right about this time too." Arcueid thought aloud. She reached out with her mind, there was a familiar presence out there. She picked it up and identified it. Ciel had just entered the park. Something confusing though, there was another image of her, like a reflection, moving in from the opposite direction.

The sizzling stopped. The two points had ended where their counterpart had started, completing a pattern on the ground. Etched into the concrete, the symbol of five wings was now formed. Grey fluid, the thickness of blood poured out from the wound in the ground.

Shiki looked at Arcuied and nodded. It was so like putting on an old glove. There wasn't a bit of doubt. He smiled at her, an act not in keeping with the way his hand slid out of his pocket, knife at the ready.

Arcueid smiled at Shiki. It was so good to have him back, have him here. Right or wrong this was the way it should be. Her hands slipped to her sides, reformed into bladed claws.

"It's here." Shiki said with a nod.

"Took it's time." Arcueid, crossing her arms, replied almost bored, "Let's see what this is about."

Shiki peered over his shoulder. Their rambling conversation had moved them slowly to the steps and halfway up them. In the beginning the movements had been natural, all the walking around and looking at each other had taken them that direction. Subtly things had changed halfway through talking, as the both of them had sensed the presence nearby. Whatever was coming, it had taken few steps to hide itself, the etching and motion in the center of the playground had caught the pair's attention early on. Arcueid, who'd been looking inward most of the time had even picked up the outline of the etchings moving across the concrete out of the corner of her eye. After that the rather abstract relationship between the pair of hunters had taken over. Barely perceivable head gestures and body language were slipped in under the normal conversation. Even though the two of them hadn't practiced such things together, a few weeks of hunting together had given the natural killers somewhat of a repore.

Arcueid stepped confidently past Shiki towards the playground as Shiki slowly turned, taking in the situation. Past them a fluid viscous pool of liquid, almost like gelatin, was pulling itself from the ground, surrounded by a blue, iridescent fog. The colorless mass bobbed up, pulling itself higher in the middle, then began to reform and change shape, texturing itself. The general shape of a kneeling person, looking away at an angle, first then from the center outward it solidified, chest, torso, arms then legs and head hardening until instead of a mass, a person knelt low on the ground. The symbol had already faded by the time the figure fully formed, still surrounded by the strange mist that clung to him at chest height. Tiny drops of fluid splashed down, burning their way into the concrete like acid. The figure, a male, slumped almost anticlimactically.

Shiki slid his glasses off his face. Arcueid looked over at him for a second then back to the person in the playground. Something... something about him reminded her of some... her mind fought in fits and starts to try to piece together something she knew she should know. Shiki took a look at the figure and made a slight gasp, stepping back a bit. Arcueid was looking to find what happened when something in her mind clicked, maybe it had been there, maybe it had been rewritten in the instant she saw this person, but in a moment things made sense. She turned back to the figure kneeling and realized it was someone she knew. Concern on her face she walked quickly out towards him. Shiki looked at her with surprise.

"No, David..." Arcueid said softly, moving as quickly as caution would allow, "He's hurt."

Kneeling down beside him Arcueid tried to access the extent of the injuries. The form was in grey, so she figured she couldn't touch him, but she got plenty of information just from looking at him, and feeling the fractured aura. There were cracks in his very being, rents that drove through physical flesh, through spiritual form. These were wounds that leaked raw spirit energy, raw life force. It dripped from his ragged frame, burning what it touched before dissipating back to the ether. What worried Arcueid most though were the eyes, he had no eyes. Liquid energy filled and glowed out from two empty sockets. She'd never seen him hurt this badly, even when she'd... Oh no... had she?

"Slayer..." Arcueid said almost in a whisper, stooping low trying to catch his... well, vision as it were, "Slayer, are you awake? It's me, Brunestud."

It almost surprised her when he turned his head and gave her that warm smile she remembered, speaking softly, "Hi Princess, excuse my not bowing, I'm kinda a mess..."

Shiki was concerned. Obviously Arcueid thought she knew this person, though Shiki'd never seen him. It was of course quite possible this was someone she'd met in her long life before he'd ever known her, but still. He'd wished Arcueid hadn't decided to get so close, so close to someone that in Shiki's own better than normal senses simply radiated danger. Having looked the stranger over Shiki was filled with a number of concerns. It wasn't just his build, though that was one thing. The surprisingly ordinary clothes, a collared grey t-shirt and probably blue jeans, the stranger was wearing did little to hide his well muscled middle of the road build. There was little doubt he'd have one hell of a combination of speed and power, by Shiki's assessment. The stranger's height, maybe an inch or two over six feet with a bit more leg length than torso, would give him a reach advantage, another danger, yet it wasn't even this that was Shiki's number one concern. No, Shiki realized as he walked over closer, staying cautiously outside what he considered this person's easy reach, that wasn't the big thing about this guy at all. There was something about him, something he'd only ever seen approached by Arcueid, and then only this late at night.

"Lines..." Shiki said with force behind his voice, a little confused, "Arcueid, this guy has no lines."

"Hmm?" Arcueid remarked looking up. The person kneeling turned so one eye, at least what was left of it, was facing Shiki. Blinking for a second he gave Shiki a knowing smile.

"Doesn't surprise me kid." he said with that knowing grin, "Death and I parted ways a long long time ago."

Shiki shook his head, looking at Arcueid, "You know this person?"

"Uh yeah," Arcueid said almost unsure, with a small nod, "Back a long time ago. He worked with the other shinso. In fact, before I was born he was the guy who hunted the fallen."

"With the shinso..." Shiki mimicked Arcueid's words, thinking, "Does that mean when you..."

"Oh..." Arcueid stopped that sentence right in mid stream, "Yeah, when Roa changed me... I killed him." she said sadly, then looked to the man, "But but but... this damage, this isn't what I did is it?!"

"No, no... I've healed and gotten beaten on a few times since then." he reassured her, sitting back and giving them that smile. Shiki found himself getting annoyed at such a carefree, out of place look. Strangely he couldn't figure out why that was so getting on his nerves. It's not as if he hadn't seen it on Arihiko almost every day, and on Arcueid now and again, why would it be so quickly getting to him this time?

"Name?" Shiki grumbled, looking dourly at the guy on the ground.

"Heh, got so many, trouble usually works." the guy replied with a smirk, but finding no yield in Shiki's eyes he averted his gaze and rethought it, "But I guess it would be in keeping if you called me Balance right now."

Out in the distance towards the forest a small black shape moved. Taking things slowly it circled around, outside the park playground. There was a slight jingle of bells.

Shiki scowled, giving this Balance a closer look over. He found while his eyes didn't pick up the normal death lines, they did pick up things he usually found harder to see. With almost no concentration he could make out that this person was strangely hollow. He could see through rents in his surface like giant wounds that didn't show up in the mundane world. Behind those rents he could see clean through to the other side. It was as if he wasn't filled with organs, but some bright light, and his body was more or less a shell. What he could see with surprising ease was the flow of this person's mana, it was even spilling out around him in a bluish fog. Looking at the ground Shiki picked out another surprise. Not only didn't Balance have any lines, but the lines of the things he was touching, namely the ground now, seemed to avoid him, or maybe just avoid the energy he was leaking. Shiki's mind tried to wrap around the concept of a being like this, someone who seemed to such a pure life, of such pure life, that it strengthened the things around it. Arcueid apparently knew some damn unusual people. He almost had to laugh at that, realizing in turn what an unusual bunch he knew himself.

"And you're responsible for this?" Shiki asked, breaking himself out of his thoughts and motioning towards Arcueid. He knew he was being a little vague, but if this was the person who's arranged this situation he'd be more likely to add some much needed explanation in, or conversely offer more rope to hang himself with.

"Hmm? This eh?" Balance said with a smile, leaning back on his arms and sitting cross legged, then he looked over to Arcueid and started again, "Well, heh... I guess you could say I..."

For a moment Balance paused looking at the princess. A slight sense of something amiss struck him. Taking it as a sign Shiki would rather hear this from her, Arcueid picked up where he left off.

"This is just like him." she pointed out smiling to Shiki, "If I'd known he was alive I guess I should have known. Really if it's realities and possibilities were dealing with, there's only him and one other that could be responsible."

"So this is your doing." Shiki said to the sitting man, not as a question, but trying to confirm it. Cocking his head to the side Balance looked out into the night.

"Yes... but..." he replied, his attention fixed somewhere distant, before Shiki or Arcueid could respond he held up a hand in a rather classic call for silence, "You were followed."

"Huh? Followed?" Arcueid gasped, "Come on, you know no one would dare follo... oh... wait..."

With a look of sarcastic irony on her face Arcueid glared at Shiki. He held his hands up defensively.

"Hey hey!" he shot back, "I didn't even know I was going to be meeting somebody tonight, but heck even then I'd... oh wait... that black cat with the bow..."

"Black cat?" Arcueid's eyebrows perked up and she started looking around, "Ren? Where?"

Balance closed his eyes, slowly, quietly he began to laugh. It was just a small, cloying chuckle. He dipped his head, finding amusement in something.

In the not to far distance, atop the stairs, silhouetted against the lights of the city and moon, a small black creature walked into view. Tentatively it took a few steps one way and the other, then as if noticing them for the first time, it turned the way of the three people on the playground.

"Oh there you are." Arcueid said with a broad smile, then stopped, looking closer, "Wait... that's not..."

At the top of the steps the small cat's eyes locked onto them. Its hair stood on end and it let loose a piercing cat growl filled with unnatural malice. As it did, it's eyes changed, now visible even thought it was backlit, visible because they glowed a bright eerie red.

And Balance broke out laughing. The other two looked at him, startled as his little chuckle turned into a loud deep laughter. In between fits he started to say something. Merrily his eyes sparkled vicious glee as he began a slow but accelerating chant.

"Heh, heh... haaaahaahaahaa... fifty, two hundred, heh...heh... six, fifty, one hundred, haahaa... sixty, two hundred..." Balance called laughing, "Fifty! Two hundred! Six! Fifty! One Hundred! Sixty! Two hundred! HAHA! I know you're there, you can't hide from me! Come on out... CHAOS!!"

And in that instant, they knew they were surrounded

Section 11 End

RanmaBushiko
March 28th, 2011, 05:40 PM
Nice. I'm looking forwards to seeing more, too.

MrTags
April 6th, 2011, 12:14 AM
Well Inu never showed up but I've gone over it with the help of a few of the writers. Thanx, IRUN, Cascade, Elf. The reviews were mixed, but I got a merely "annoying" from Elf so I'll count that as a sucess ^_^,

This was the least favorite part by the readers last time it was posted. Let's hope that cutting it down and altering it slightly improves the response.

Crossings Section 12:


"So it begins."

Zelretch glanced over to his guest. Gilgamesh was practically gleaming with glee, an ear to ear grin splitting his face. His golden armor sparkled, catching the reflected light of the mirrors even more now, quite like it was responding to it's wearer's merriment.

With a look into the image before them Zelretch's eyebrows knitted. He picked out how damaged the target looked. So great was the mana leaking from his damaged energy circuits that it was actually reflected by a glowing fog in the physical world. He shook his head. The fight before him may end up more of a slaughter than an actual contest, if only he'd more accurately gauged the balancer's strength before this.

"It may end just as quickly." Zelretch pointed out, frowning in thought.

The king of kings laughed out loud, pulling the mage's gaze to him as he spoke, "Bah, your spatial travels have left you with no sense of drama." he retorted, crossing his arms in his most haughty and all knowing air, "Something, however, that our current entertainer has in abundance."

"I fail to see..." the mage began his response, only to be cut off by a curt nod towards the image by Gilgamesh.

"Come now." the golden king said with a wry smile, "Let us just watch and learn. I tell you with no reservation, this little 'chaos'... he doesn't have a prayer."

Zelretch raised his eyebrows at the familiar's statement. He looked back to the image, this time more warily. He couldn't see what his guest was talking about... just yet.


Outside the lights of the playground, the shadows boiled and heaved. The woods around them seemed full, but of what it wasn't clear. Hundreds of shapes and forms all indistinct moved just outside range of being seen. In the distance, up past the stairs, there was the sound of boots clacking against cement as someone approached.

"What the hell?" Shiki glanced around, not understanding the situation as much as he would like.

Arcueid growled lightly, her hands curling into claws as her eyes darted this way and that.

Balance just shifted his weight back to a crouch and smiled. He stretched slightly, working the malaise out of his joints as the glow in his eyes strengthened just a bit.

Shiki glanced back to Balance as he moved. There was something in his form that hadn't been there before. Looking the strange newcomer over Shiki took a step back as he realized the man was now wearing a sword. Balance's hand went down to it, fixing the way the sheath sat upon his belt. Shiki wracked his brains to figure if he'd missed it, or it hadn't been there before. It wasn't as if he'd miss a rather large weapon like that, even sheathed. To his credit he realized he'd be well within range of a quickly drawn blade, but there was something wrong with the way Balance wore it. Earlier on Arcueid had approached Balance and knelt on his left, so Shiki had moved to his right... and now there was a sword, worn to his side. This Balance wore his sword on the right, he was left handed. Noting this information in the back of his head Shiki picked up a glimpse of someone moving at the top of the stairs. He looked up... and his heart froze.

Arcueid's eyes almost bulged from their sockets. It couldn't be him! There was no way, she'd seen him die!

Taking his last step at the top of the stairs the figure stalking them finally came into full view. His thick black coat blew in a spectral wind as he turned and came slowly, menacingly down the stairs. The cat beside him stepped away respectfully as the tall, heavily built man strode past. Hands held in his pockets like someone out for a simple walk the man's features were plain to see. White hair, matching a face pale past albino white, a face lined with deep scars and deeper set eyes that seemed to radiate malice and evil. Behind his jacket something, things, swirled as if he was made of water, a deep dark sea of chaos. As his foot hit the playground the forests around them cleared back to normal, it was far too late to run anyway.

Arcueid's face contorted in anger, teeth bared, her hands now as claws, the surprise freeing her more primal side even in her voice as she growled at the newcomer, "CHAOS! Damn you! What are you doing here?!"

The figure stopped, his head cocked to the side in nonchalant arrogance. Finishing the effect, the dead fully returning from the grave, he spoke, "Ah, princess of True Ancestors, how fitting to make your acquaintance again."

The words dripped malice and sarcasm. The cold, precise inflection, the perfect enunciation, it finished the horrid effect that just seeing him had begun. Nrvnqsr Chaos was back.

"Oh, but it must be a surprise." he continued coldly, "Seeing as you somehow managed to defeat me in this, stunted, version of reality. In mine however, you and I managed little more than a useless tie."

"So I open the doors a little and look what filth comes flooding through." Balance quipped angrily, standing up behind Arcueid, "The great Dark Apostle Ancestor, scion of Chaos, you've found your way into another reality, and I'm quite sure it's no coincidence."

Chaos smiled, looking straight at Balance as he spoke "Ah, how true." Chaos said, "He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred and sixty and six."

Balance smiled back, cocking his head and returning the phrase, "Hic sapientia est qui habet intellectum conputet numerum bestiae numerus enim hominis est et numerus eius est sescenti sexaginta sex." he replied in Latin, "That little speech always sounded a bit, stilted, in Japanese. I find the earliest Latin translation to suit it the best."

The response actually got Nero to raise an eyebrow, "A fellow intellectual." he said, maybe a little impressed, "I wasn't expecting one, given the image you portray."

"One picks up a few things here and there." Balance said with a shrug, "I suppose I should have paid a bit more attention to you though, I like to know a little more about someone before I fight them, but well... we never have run in similar circles eh?"

"Verily." Chaos agreed, "It would serve you well to realize I, however, have been given a detailed analysis of your capabilities. Given them, I can without reservation tell you that it would be in your best interests to surrender this incongruous course of action. You have no chance against me."

Balance stepped around Arcueid, a vicious glee sparkling in the grin he was wearing as he quipped back, "Oh, we'll just see about that."

"Wait!" Arcueid called, reaching up to him, "You're in no condition, let us!"

"We've handled him before." Shiki pointed out, stepping forwards. Balance glanced back and chuckled.

"Sorry kid, thanks for the offer." he replied, then looked over to Arcueid, "You know I can handle myself, I did this kind of thing for a while. Even if you want to, neither of you are in much of a position to help out."

"Ah yes!" Nero Chaos called, spreading his arms wide, "They are separated from our little game." he pointed out in explanation, "This realm you've created, suspended between the two realities on threads of ether provides us with a forum for us to resolve our differences, separate and untouchable by those on either side."

"He's in some kind of realm, between us?" Shiki mimed, thinking it over, "Yet visible to both."

"Well you have a firm grasp on the obvious Nvrnqsr." Balance remarked, crossing his arms and walking forward, "Keeping the results of any battle between myself an another guardian from trashing the superimposed realities was more or less the point."

The two combatants locked eyes. Chaos and Balance stared into each other. Chaos shifted himself back slightly, keeping a good distance between them, at least twenty feet so he could react to any hostile moves.

Looking Chaos up and down, Balance sized him up and spoke again, "Well you don't look like the kind that would respond to psychological manipulation, so I'll skip the usual spiel." Balance turned himself to the side and took up a fighting stance.

"I see." Chaos muttered.

"You ready?" Balance growled. Arcueid reached out, but then shrunk back.

"I hate not being able to do anything." she said, softly, looking down. Shiki walked up beside her.

"So do I." he remarked, but then whispered softly under his breath, "I'm not sure, but I'm seeing lines on Nero, if things turn out badly, I'll try to help."

"Good." Arcueid whispered back, giving Shiki a smile, “They might be acting confident, but at best this is a draw.”

Nero stood his ground defiantly, taking Balance's challenge in stride. Looking his most looming and dangerous he waited a moment to respond.

"Of course!" he said loudly, spreading his arms and letting the chaos within him swirl and swell, "But know this, I am far more than just steeled against your words. I am well aware of your situation. I know for a fact that you are at barely one fifth your maximum strength, so damaged were you by the melding of these realities. You cannot hurt me, you cannot stop me."

Balance let his stance drop slightly, raising an eyebrow. Nero slipped his hands back to his coat pockets in arrogance.

"You would be best served by giving up here and now." Nero explained, "I am far more than you can handle in your current condition. It would be no shame to yield, this course of action was unlikely to succeed at best. You've simply run into an opponent that was beyond yo..."

CRACK!

Nero was stopped in mid word by a foot smashing into the side of his face. Without a hint of prior motion Balance vanished and reappeared in mid kick, having already hit. His massive, leaping, inside crescent kick smashed Nero's head down and to the side, almost toppling him over before he caught himself. Shiki and Arcueid pulled their arms up to cover themselves as a burst of wind blew past them, the shockwave from the impact carrying over to both worlds.

Nero's eyes widened in shock, his face was barely six inches from the ground, his cheek flattened to the bone. He gasped despite himself, feeling the chaos inside him boil and shift. This was wrong...

"Impossible!" he spouted, not moving, "THAT was one fifth normal power?! The energy behind that attack had a minor effect on the cohesiveness of my chaotic form. Five times that amount would be a serious threat! I have underestimated the brute force element of this... err..."

Balance, looking irked, lit to his feet as Nero spoke, stepped his right foot around his left, pulling with the remaining force of his previous kick, and lifted his left leg up as he twisted. With a similar shock to the first time he completed a spinning axe kick, bringing his foot down on the back of Nero's neck.

"You talk too much." Balance growled down at his foe fiercely, but took note that this time his kick had little effect, "Ready for it now eh?"

Balance slid his foot away from Nero in a smooth quick move. Nero growled up at him, staring angrily, his shape shifting. In a sudden motion part of Nero's jacket stretched towards Balance, it's end forming into the head of a snarling rottweiler dog. Balance grabbed the head between his hands before it reached him, the bestial face spewing spit as it chomped at him.

"Whoa! Nasty puppy!" Balance quipped in surprise. The shock was doubled as the rottweiler's mouth opened impossibly wide, it's form seeming to rip inside out as a full sized wolf leapt out from between it's jaws.

"GAAAHHHH!!" Balance shouted, switching his grip to catch the wolf and falling back. Never truly loosing composure he kicked up into the wolf, flipping them both once end over end and landing atop it. Cocking his fist back he growled out, "SIT UBU SIT!"

Balance's fist struck down on the dog. His eyebrows raised as his fist unexpectedly pulped the beast and smashed into the concrete. Reduced to a pool of blackness the chaos creature streamed back into Nero's form while the dark apostle ancestor laughed. In the depths of shadow around them, dozens more chaos creatures lurked, atop the stairs, in the woods, past the clock. His empty eyes narrowing Balance took stock of the situation.

"Interesting fighting strategy." he mused, "Let loose the zoo did you?"

"You don't understand!" Arcueid called out.

Balance shot an angry glance back at her, "Don't interfere."

The energy leaking from his form began to swirl around the balancer as he took up stance again, glowering at the confident Nero. Some movement behind Chaos caught the eye. At the top of the stairs a smaller black cat had walked up to the bow wearing chaos feline. The dark cat swatted the small one away... only to be suddenly engulfed in a slice of cheesecake. As the others in the play yard looked on aghast the cake was pierced over and over by dozens of mystically conjured knives and forks. With a huff the small cat dug into the cake remains, pulled out the little grey bow and trotted off with it.

"Kay..." Balance said, confused, "That's not something you see every day."

"Well, at least Ren is all right." Arcueid mentioned with a nonchalant shrug.


This was impossible! This can not be!

A blur of blue and keys of black piercing the darkness, skirting in between trees at breakneck speed. Shockwaves buffeted her as a mighty clash continued beyond.

Razor sharp blades pierce...

Raven, Wolf, Bear Hawk, Panther, Stag

Ceil's eyes stood out, wide in shock as they were, as she bounced from tree to tree, richocheting off the ground and limbs. She made short work of the creatures that crowded her. Still disbelief clouded her mind.

It can't be him! He's dead!

The black beasts?! Who else could it be?

With a growl of redoubled effort the executioner blurred in through the forest, trying to pierce the wall of creatures before her.


"You cannot move me."

"Is that a bet? You're on!"

Balance barely touched the ground, sliding this way and that with quick stabbing taps as he moved just above the surface. Nero's coat rippled and a pair of beasts burst forth, roaring their malice, but Balance avoided them, slipping through the almost nonexistent space between them. A grin of glee formed as the cloud of mist congealed around his fist.

"SPIRAL BLAZER!" he growled his fist lighting with energy as he threw it forth, the force of the attack pulling him along after it. With a crack the attack buried itself in Nero's face, but his dark form still refused to budge. Grimacing Balance pulled his arm back, weaving his torso this way and that as various heads and blades struck forth from Nero's body, trying to rip him in two.

"Damn you!" Balance shouted, vanishing from Nero's left and appearing on his right, "YOU WILL MOVE!"

A slight hiss sounded out as Balance’s own motions sent a spray of energy like blood spilling off his injured form. He didn’t seem to mind too much, but Nero caught that the amount was increased from before.

"Irksome." Nero grumbled to himself as Balance slipped away from yet another chaos beast, "Wastrels, they can't even finish this wounded thing?"

Standing in toe to toe with Nero Chaos was no easy feat, Shiki had seen that earlier when Arcueid fought him, but this Nero, he was a hundred times worse. Shiki just knew if Nero had been able to throw so many creatures so quickly against him in their encounter his anemic frame would never been able to handle that much stress. Still, there was something unnervingly familiar about Balances style of combat, in between the bouts of showboating, the basics were... were grating on the edge of his psyche.

With a shouted kiai Balance lashed his leg out against Nero. Catching the ancestor across the temple with his kick this time he managed to turn his head. It still wasn't enough, and with a dark growl Balance slashed his other leg up and cut loose twice as much force, this time rocking Nero's head back. Carrying the kick through Balance stepped on Nero's shoulder and rammed an even harder kick down on the apostle's head from above, driving Chaos's shocked looking face straight into the concrete.

Arcueid wobbled a bit as the ground shook under her. The irony of the two before her fighting like this, well if it hadn't been Balance she wouldn't have believed it. Taking account of the last fight she'd seen Nero in, and the severe beating she'd gotten during it, things were probably going to go poorly from here on out unless she or Shiki could intervene. Against Balance's insistence the princess had already tried a few less noticeable tricks with her marble phantasm, and as she'd suspected there wasn't a way to hurt Nero directly with it. As far as the power went, she was pretty much back to where she was before Shiki had killed her, maybe if she could manage full strength, or someone could explain to her a trick that would let her cut across. This stuff was so different than fighting Roa, she hated the roundabout way Balance handled things. She shared a glance with Shiki.

"I'm not having any luck." the princess whispered, "I hope you're ready with your Nanaya side if we need it."

Shiki looked at Arcueid oddly, "Nanaya?" he asked, unsure of what she meant, "My old clan?"

"Eh..." Arcueid's eyes widened slightly, a sweatdrop forming on the side of her head, "Uh oh..."

Before them, within the space in between, Balance spun in midair, fast handwork cutting apart a trio of chaos beasts that had worked around to buy their master time. A multitude of limbs had already sprouted from Nero's dark flesh and lifted him to his feet before Balance could cross the distance. Unwilling to go toe to toe again, the fighter darted to the side, skimming past a swarm of converging beasts so quickly he almost seemed to phase.

"It seems that typical measures will not be enough against one of your capacity." Nero noted, a few flakes of cement falling from his hair, "A situation I've rarely come upon, and one only Arcueid has ever managed to survive."

Lowering his head and ducking to one knee Balance knelt low, gaining power to strike, speaking as he went, "I'll see if I can't meet or exceed her performance." he retorted with a sneer.

"Unlikely." was the only reply from Nero as he held his arms out to the side, and with no preamble Balance charged straight at Nero.

At that moment a number of things happened at once. In the distance both Arcueid and Shiki managed a shout of warning. Arcueid even stepped forward trying to force the issue with her currently ineffective will. In the continuity between them dozens of pinpricks of red light appeared across Nero's form, resolving quickly to more and more glowing eyes. Balance seeing this had already stopped his charge, coming up short and looking at the changing mass of chaos, perplexed. Time seemed to crawl for a moment, then Nero's chest lost all shape and form. A wall of solid blackness, dark as pitch and faster than fire on oil burst forth from Nvrnqsr. Fluid in form the wave crested over Balance and he disappeared.

"NO! Dammit!" Arcueid growled, "He should have listened."

"Not that stuff again." Shiki muttered.

"To late does the fool realize the magnitude of his folly." Nero exclaimed, laughing to himself, "This, my Soil of Genesis, created from nigh five hundred of my contained forms shall break him down in mere... eh..."

There was someone standing behind Nero, looking over his shoulder.

"Oooh, that looks like it hurts." the shape spoke whimsically, letting loose an appreciative whistle, "So? Did ya get him? I think ya got him, whadda you think?"

While never be it said that Nvrnqsr Chaos is one to get overly emotional, the sudden blaze of fire in his eyes, matching the sizzling waves of enraged heat coming off his head was probably the closest he ever come to it in his long existence. The form behind him took a wary step back as Nero began to snarl, his form wavering.

"Sheesh," Balance quipped at the reaction, "There's a heckler in every audience."

Shiki grabbed his head. How, when had it started to hurt? A headache blossomed out from behind his eyes. The stabbing pain was so great it almost felt as if the bones were cracking. He staggered drunkenly. What was doing this? Something in the style of that fighter, hidden in amongst the wasted movement and too high kicks, it was pulling at his brain, forcing something out. Shiki blinked as he caught himself. Wasted movement? Kicks, too high, and too many? It was the truth, but since when did he know that?

Arcueid look back at Shiki, sadly. She'd seen that reaction before. The choices before her tore at her soul. Which way would Shiki go this time? Did she have a say in it? Would she want a say? Most importantly, would the choice she wanted in her heart be one they would, or could, live through.

"Well." Balance quipped with a shrug, "I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to surrender."

"Never." Nero spat back, eyes burning with venom as he looked back up... to find Balance wasn't there.

"Good."

With a start Nero realized Balance's voice was coming from below him! He looked down to see Balance coiled on the ground before his feet. The damn bastard was still fast enough to approach without his beasts being able to react.

"Wouldn't want this to get boring." the other combatant said with a smile, springing up.

This time Shiki caught the movement. His eyes were adjusting to the sudden changes in speed Balance was using. Catching the arc of Balance's rising leg Shiki held it in his vision. The effect was like nothing he'd ever seen. Halfway through the motion an sheen of air appeared around Balance's foot which pushed forward past it, looking like it had broken through a wall of suddenly appearing mist. Following that Shiki could barely make out a distorted ring expanding from where Balance's kick had passed through the barrier. Beyond that Shiki lost track as a strong impact blew the wind past his eyes. Blinking may have ruined his view but nothing could have made him miss the resounding CRACK that shook the courtyard.

Nero's head spun back and away, his feet leaving the ground for a moment as he rocked away from the force of the kick that had just flattened the side of his face. Even as he slid Balance shifted from foot to foot, bringing a cold air swirling around him.

"TATSUMAKI!" Balance shouted, the hopped up into a spinning kick. His foot whipped around and smashed Nero in the face again, then kept going through, catching the wind as it held him aloft through another pair of rotations, each one turning into a kick that kept battering Nero back. His opponent staggering Balance landed. Adjusting his body at an angle to the ground Balance kicked out in both directions, hard. One leg hit the ground and pushed the other forward with such force Nero was slammed skyward, but Balance wasn't nearly done with him yet.

With no hint of prior motion Balance shot skyward, catching Nero in the air and ramming his fist into the swirling mass of Chaos's gut. Clearly trying to give Nero no chance to counter or recover Balance rained nigh a dozen spinning and twisting punches and kicks into the now churning chaos before him, then broke away, his fist starting to glow as he readied a stronger attack. Nero was made of sterner stuff than Balance expected though, as before he could continue he caught a fluke in the face, the entire tail of a whale forming out of Nero's body in mid swing and smashing him to the ground.

Balance caught himself in midair, the direction of his fall changing slightly to allow him a safe landing on his feet. Nero himself managed a respectably graceful feet first crash to the ground which passed apparently as a safe fall in his eyes. The two glared at each other across the distance.

"Tough bastard." Balance spat. Nero glared back at him. The dark apostle eyed the power leaking from Balance. It was a little more now than before. His calculation of the increase still showed a considerable amount of work ahead.

"You don't understand!" Arcueid called out, starting forward, "Shiki! we have to help."

"Uh? oh! Ok." Shiki managed to agree, heading after her. Something about that launching kick and juggle in the air had brought another twinge of pain from behind his eyes.

"Maybe if you can cut enough of Nero's line's you'll give Balance an advantage." Arcueid instructed quickly, before Balance looked back at her angrily.

"STAY OUT OF IT!" he roared back, shaking Arcueid out of her thoughts and freezing Shiki on the spot, "Come on guys, I'm doing this for you. It would all be pretty pointless if one of you got hurt."

Behind him something from those words caught in Nero's mind. He lowered his head slightly and smiled. A new plan was forming. As Balance was looking away Nero never noticed him glance back without turning, nor saw Balance was wearing a slighter, but matching grin.

Arcueid seemed torn, hesitating and shifting from foot to foot, "But you don't understand, you can't kill him normally."

"Fall." Balance's voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. Nero slumped, his eyes widening as a strong force gripped him from within. In a black spray Nero's body was ripped in two straight down the middle, Balance appearing out of thin air in his place. Grinning the warrior caught himself as he stumbled, slightly spent, before the broken pieces of Nero chaos's form burst into a swarm of black tendrils, snakes and arms, forcing him to leap away.

Rolling off and too his feet Balance's eyebrows knitted as his foe stood, in two pieces, the waving black tendrils of his being catching each other and pulling him back together. Shaking his head wearily Balance fixed his hair and gave Nero a halfhearted grin.

"Yeah, yeah..." he grumbled, "I know I know, I suppose I should have done my homework on you earlier."

"You can't hurt him with physical means." Arcueid explained, almost scolding in her impatience.

Balance shot her an irreverent look over his shoulder, "Ya think?" he quipped.

Nero's form wavered a bit as his more human body parts reknitted themselves. Flexing his hands he grimaced for a moment, getting his face to move to his command before looking up to those talking.

"Hmm, True Ancestor..." the pale faced man spoke while thinking, "You seem to be more communicative this time, something has changed you relative to the current reality."

"What of it Nero?" Arcueid spat back at him, shifting from foot to foot, her claws out.

"Such anomalies intrigue me." the ancestral dark apostle remarked, dropping his hands to his pockets, "Given those variances, I could conceive, with work, of a reality where my personae was in no danger of being subsumed by my inherent condition. I find the possibility laudable at least."

Nero cracked his neck and pulled back his lips into a sneer, looking at Balance, adding, "And all I need to accomplish for leverage in brokering such a windfall is to defeat one self deluding spirit that has a unconscionable aversion for doing away with his useless humanity. I should be so lucky all the time."


"For a peon who lacks the merit of a good voice, this one certainly loves to hear himself talk."

Standing with arms crossed in full lordly repose the golden king stared down at the image before him, undisguised disdain creasing his features.

"He seems in no hurry to get on with this." Gilgamesh grumbled, "And after I was so hoping to at least get the barest glimmer of effort from the Slayer, some idea of his remaining capacity. This *Nero* had best not disappoint me for too much longer."

"I am beginning to comprehend."

A slight sidewards cocking of his head was all the reaction Gilgamesh deemed necessary for such an unexpected remark. It was still enough for him to glance at the mage standing off to the side. Obviously the old fool was deep in some lackluster train of thought. The golden king rolled his eyes and decided he should at least find out what the seer was up to.

"Explain yourself." he commanded. While it was probably not the most common way for a person to talk to the master mage, Zelretch either let it slide or was too deep in thought to notice the inflection. Speaking in low tones the mage began to think out loud.

"It's all in the paradoxes." he pointed out, "I'm finally starting to understand the choices that Gaia and Alaya made to reign in the wayward one, how they chose at least their first counter guardian."

"From Paradoxes you say?" Gilgamesh repeated, looking closer into the image.

"Yes, it seems some fundamental conservation principal is at work. The Balancer has begun a series of reactions and counter reactions, brought forth in the creation by balance, of imbalance." Zelretch mused, rubbing his beard, "As in nature, reality abhors imbalance, it reacts to it, often violently, in things such as earthquakes, and storms."

"So you believe the Slayer has engendered his own little storm eh?" Gilgamesh remarked, somewhat uncaring.

"Yes, one of paradoxes. A paradox storm, one that is reacting to paradox, with paradox." said the mage, shifting his hand over the image, bringing up a closer, more in depth view of Nvrnqsr, "This dark apostle ancestor for instance, supposedly a scion of chaos. Constructed of the delineated randomness that defines chaos, and yet in opposition to that, he possesses a very precise, logical, orderly mind."

"So the Imbalancing Balancer has been paired off against Orderly Chaos." Gilgamesh said in a sigh, wondering why he was even bothering to feed the old man's ruminations, "And thus we discover another bit of useless information that doesn't help me in the least."

"Still... if this is the case..." Zelretch continued, "It would suggest that the choice for an order guardian is also based on some sort of chaotic nature... yet I've heard of no such legends involving the King of Uruk."

Gilgamesh leaned back where he stood, put his arms behind his head and, glancing away from Zelretch mumbled from the corner of his mouth, "You haven't seen behind my Gate of Babylon lately have you?"

"Eh? What was that?" Zelretch said, breaking from his reverie, "I didn't quite catch it."

Gilgamesh looked back over, "Nothing, nothing." he replied, a little too quickly. Not bothering to press the issue Zelretch turned back to the image. Projected therein Balance had opened some distance between himself and Nero, but was acting oddly. The human looking warrior had his head in his hand, cupping his fingers across the blue glow on his face.

"Hmm, it looks like he's finally going to use the abilities of his eyes." Zelretch stated, more for himself, "Let's see how the truth will effect this encounter."


For the first time in a few minutes everyone seemed content to catch their breath. The speed of the conflict so far had been hectic and just watching it was wearing on Shiki. Balance too looked a little worse for wear, his head bowed, his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. Even Nero was a little more ragged then usual, the faux form of the jacket he always created around himself looking even more worn then usual. Between all of them only Arcueid seemed hopping to go, shifting from foot to foot, eyes darting about looking for an edge or an answer.

The new silence was deafening. There was simply no noise being made around them. The few remaining chaos beasts outside Nero, both large cats, padded noiselessly at a distance, just mulling about. The sound of breathing was muted by the distance of dimension that deadened background noise. For a hanging moment there was simply no sound.

It ended not with a word, or the sound of an action, but a slight sizzle. Tears of blue energy dripped from the pools that made up Balance's ruined eyes to the concrete, burning their way into the ground yet again. It was only a small noise, but it was enough to get things started.

"It pains me to admit." Balance started, no looking up, "That Nero at the time was right about my inability to hurt him."

"A wise admission." Nero pointed out.

"I have obviously been more than hampered by a lack of information about my opponent." Balance continued, "I suppose I'll have to rectify that."

"Well at least your seeing reason now!" Arcueid called out, "I can tell you what you need to know quick! You see Nero..."

A waved hand from Balance and a soft smile towards her brought the Princess of True Ancestors up short. He closed his eyelids, shutting off the glow from beyond them and cocked his head at her.

"I appreciate the offer Arcueid." he remarked in a kindly but somewhat authoritative manner, "But I'd rather do this my own way."

Arcueid crossed her arms and grumbled back, "Oh whatever, do what you will." and quietly shaking her head, "Smug jerk."

Shiki was caught a little off guard by Arcueid's rebuke, and his own reaction to it. Why was it when Arcueid acted angrily towards Balance that Shiki didn't mind him as much? He put the thought out of his mind as the warrior turned back towards Nero.

Shaking his head, Balance explained, "I didn't want to do this you know... my current condition makes it hard for me to keep such sensitive objects functional without a great deal of concentration."

"Hmm? Sensitive equipment?" Nero mused. Balance looked up at him, the glowing pools where his eyes should be lit the dark apostle ancestor in an off blue light.

"Hasn't something been missing?" the warrior quipped, running a hand downward over his brow, "My eyes, they aren't here are they?"

With a thought the energy drained from Balance's face, leaving a pair of darkened holes where his eyes should be. Nero gasped and stepped back.

"What? Your eyes aren't there?" he said with a shock, "I thought they'd just been hidden... you mean to tell me you've been doing all the things you've done so far, completely blind?!"

"Heh, not so blind I'll admit." Balance returned with a smile, "I long ago increased the power of my notice to bring my other senses up to a point that I can actually get more information from them than a normal person gets using only their eyes."

"Hmm... then a three dimensional omnisense." Nero remarked with a nod, "An ability noted in the most capable of human warriors, and those that have for a time lost their sight. It would follow someone with such skill may possess it."

Balance smiled and shrugged, "I get by." he replied, "See I don't really need my eyes for sight, in fact they see so well sometimes they get in the way. I hadn't thought I'd need them, but you've proved me wrong."

"Your eyes are special in some way?" Nero grumbled, not liking the sound of that, he took a second to think of it, "If your energies are burning out your eyes it seems likely they possess more than the average number of magical circuits and an abnormally large flow pattern, so what particular mystic ability do you speak of?"

"Oh it'll become clear enough." his sightless foe said cryptically, clutching at his eyes.

Nero thought to take a step forward, but the flow of energy around his target had shifted enough he realized that such a display of inattentiveness could easily be a trap, especially since this balancer could sense him no matter what direction was approached. The was a slight ripple in the air, the wind picking up. It flowed inwards, towards Balance's clenched hands, even darkening slightly, the suspended water and minerals within normal air condensing enough to see. As Balance looked up a tear of blue fell down his cheek to burn the ground. He glanced over, as if seeing it for the first time, for now he could truly see it. His eyes, each a slightly different shade of hazel that seemed to shift color when one tried to look into them, turned back towards Nero, just preceding a knowing smirk from their owner. His own eyes narrowing Nero looked back down their stare and into Balance's new eyes. For a moment he saw nothing all too odd about them, but then he caught it, there was a slight difference about the iris on each eye, they were changing. In a moment they turned a dark glowing blue, that slowly shifted upwards in tone, until they mimicked the rest of the sky blue energy floating around their owner. In those eyes Nero could see just a hint of precise formed crystal.

"Dragon's eyes." Nero gasped, "Also known as Eyes of Perfect Crystal, Or Eyes of True Sight."

"Got it in one." Balance said cocking his head and sporting an equally sidelong grin.

"A legendary ability, fitting one of your status." Nero continued to explain, "The eyes of a dragon, reputed to be able to see the truth of all things clearly, even in some cases an object's past, present and future can be reflected in them. In fact the name dragon itself comes from the effect of their eyes, based of the greek word drac which means clear sighted."

Nero stopped when he noticed everyone was looking at him in a way that could only be described as less than impressed. Even Balance's shoulders were slumping a bit.

"Okaayyy, someone's been digging a bit to much into the World Book." he remarked somewhat exasperated.

"As you've already commented, knowledge is important." Nero pointed out defensively.

"I've heard some people call him the professor." Arcueid whispered.

"It fits." Balance said back, under his breath, then looked back at Nero and began to chuckle.

"Is something funny?" the dark apostle growled.

"Well, it just figures... someone else practically immune to physical damage." Balance said, shaking his head, "I can see you now Nrvnqsr, I can see what you are. If the single word *you* is all that appropriate anymore."

"So the mystic dragon's eyes can even make out my chaotic existence."

"A single entity composed of six hundred and sixty seven pieces." Balance remarked, then added when Nero looked at him oddly, "No, I'm right, six hundred and sixty six inducted beasts, and one original being, the remnants of your original form, imposed on top."

"That is a way to see it."

"Man, to think I've been getting beaten on by someone with the name Fabro... Oh the shame."

Nero bristled, "It was and still is an honorable name thank you, even if I don't use it anymore."

"Ok ok, don't be so melodramatic." Balance said with a smirk, closing one eye and looking at Nero slyly out of the corner of the other, "But what is thiiissss eh? Our good Mr. Chaos isn't all here today. Only a bit more than five hundred beasts in you? Seeing you've been throwing up about fifty playmates a piece to keep our persistent nuns out there busy that still leaves you with around sixty missing parts."

"You can see all that?" Nero said, his eyebrows knitting.

"Oh I bet I can even figure why." the other said with smug confidence, "Seeing as you've come between a pair of continuities, of which you were killed in both, someone's hedging their bets, not playing their entire hand so they have something left to run with if things go south."

"Clever." Nero growled, his voice at a threatening depth. Balance just held up a hand, palm forward, towards Nero. The dark apostle ancestor blinked. The hand began to glow.

"Well let's see what I can do about the rest."

The burst of light caught people's attention half a city away. Up close Arcueid and Shiki sunk back, covering their eyes as Nero Chaos was speared with first dozens, then hundreds of separate finger thick beams. The air around Balance whirled in a spectral tempest as he literally burned with energy, scorching the ground on which he stood. Nero, taken aback was lit by a similar effect as the blazing beams cut into him, burning their way out his back.

Holding his arms up in an instinctual protective posture Nero quickly took stock of the attack. The chaos he was made of boiled and rolled as the abuse continued.

"Incredible!" he shouted over the roar, "He must be able to see individuals out of the chaos within me! His attacks actually decrease the number of my available familiars, even though I haven't sent them forth!"

With a look of annoyance on his face Balance cut the barrage. The wind returned to normal, and with it the lighting. Shiki and Arcueid were able too look up. The brilliant glow dissipated across the city and by trick or chance was quickly forgotten.

Clutching his fist Balance cursed, "Damn, I can't pull it off like this." he grumbled, "Without more energy backing me I can only split my focus about two hundred fifty ways, nowhere near enough to pull Nvrnqsr down."

"Only two hundred fifty..." Nero looked on in shock, "He blew half the chaos beasts out of my body and he's complaining... no one has ever... it's time I took this more seriously."

Balance nodded, thinking, "It'll have to go to plan then I guess." he remarked to himself then looked up at Nero, "So, let's see what I can see."

Balance nodded with a grin, then started tapping a foot on the ground. As he caught a beat the air around his foot swirled slightly and he kicked off into it, sliding across the ground without touching it. Smiling Balance tapped the ground here and there, touching down only to make sudden changes in direction as he slid backwards to Nero's right. Spotting something he let on a burst of speed, blurring a bit as he cut the distance between himself and Nero.

"His speed is slowed, possibly because of concentration to maintain his eyes." Nero noted, backing up as Balance rushed in at him. It was true, Balance was moving noticeably slower. This time Nero managed to force half a dozen beasts in between them. Balance picked out the bull at the front of the pack for an entrance, leaping onto it's back and pouncing towards Nero.

"A mistake in your condition!" Nero growled, his form rippling. An lance of blackest pitch burst forth from Nero's body, a dark menagerie of claws, fangs, mouths and blades, streaking straight at Balance. Given his newly reduced speed, and being in midair, there appeared no way to dodge the attack. Balance didn't even try, for he could see now, see the truth. He looked into the arm, saw into the chaos, and knew once the chaos left Nero's physical form it gained definition as both strength, and weakness. He could see the lines where one beast stopped and the next began. Balance's hands moved together, forwards towards Nero's outspread arm, his fingers at first cupped then spreading out like a flower touching safe spots in the midst of a sea of death. He pushed ahead and curled his fingers outward.

Nero's jaw nearly hit the floor as his mighty arm of chaos burst apart, splattering like fluid against Balance's hands. For a moment he lost the sight of his foe amongst the outpouring of his own uncontrolled chaos, then Balance burst through, one arm cocked back. Nero almost managed a backwards step before the fist collided with his face with a resounding boom. As fast as a flash the hand's positioning changed to a palm heel and there was another powerful crack, this one setting loose a swirling shockwave across the courtyard.

"Come on!" Balance roared, touching down before Nero and smashing him with the strange two part punch again and again, "Is that it? A couple of little gnats? Is that all you can manage against a lowly human?!"

Balance drew a fist back low, pulling a weave of energy around it before letting it blast up and forward, smashing Nero into the air. Landing quickly from the flying uppercut Balance darted under Nero and jumped up at him, aiming another punch to his face. Nero snarled back at him and before Balance could reach he was hit with a scything blow from a crocodile tail, smashing him back to the ground.

"Better bastard!" Balance jeered, looking up, "But is that all you ca... oooh shit..."

In all the world, even Balance couldn't figure out exactly how and where the fully grown African bull elephant had managed to pull itself from Nero's much smaller form, neither did he really care. Most of what he was caring about was how much it hurt when eight tons of elephant landed, back first, smack dab on his face and drove him a good couple of yards into the concrete.

"Gyaahh... oww." Shiki gasped, eyes wide, "I guess an Elephant is fine too?"

And Arcueid just lost it.

Shiki was left scratching his head.

"I didn't think it was that funny." he mumbled. The ground started to shake.

As a guttural roar sounded from beneath the feebly twitching, rather confused looking elephant the beast was lifted, slowly back into the air. His teeth gritted, jaw clenched Balance managed to stand with the weight of the beast across his shoulders. Growling he sneered back up at Nero.

"Sorry, not my type. You can have it back." he growled, heaving the beast skyward. The fated midair collision was much less dire than it appeared. The elephant's shape melted around Nero then absorbed back into him, with no regards to the force it had been thrown.

The two fighters met again across the battlefield, Nero landing as Balance pulled himself up from the crater. Both looked less than happy.

"Feeble." Balance chided, "Feeble feeble, still feeble, all your attempts and you can do little more than surprise me? I'd expected better."

The chaotic space within Nero's body boiled and rolled, nearly a thousand red eyes glaring out of him in rage. Nero's own form wavered as he stood, jaw clenched, fists tight. The two opponents looked at each other, one smiling, one glowering. Even through his rage Nero noticed the energy leaking out of Balance had left a trail of burnt concrete in his wake. There had been even more in the bottom of the crater. Judging by the severity of the leak it shouldn’t take much more, not all that much more.

"I will rip you apart for this indignity." Nero threatened, his bolstered confidence not showing through his dour demeanor. Balance smiled back, hunching over and spreading his stance. Holding his arms outward and his legs wide apart the warrior nearly touched the ground with his chin, his stance so low, yet didn't waver a bit. A look of feral glee spread across his features.

He who makes a beast out of himself
"Oh that sounds like the attitude I'm looking for." Balance replied with his feral smirk almost bisecting his face, "You're ready to start, come on."

Gets rid of the pain of being a man
The space between the two opponents seemed to lengthen, stretch to hold the animosity between them. Chaos snarled. Balance grinned. Arcueid and Shiki took a step back. The air held tight to one last pregnant pause.

"Lets play this game."

Ready at last, they cut loose

Section 12 End

Kieran
April 6th, 2011, 07:04 AM
Oh good - we're getting closer to catching up. :)

MrTags
April 6th, 2011, 07:10 PM
I was hoping you'd at least read it Kieran and give me your opinion on if it turned out better. I know Inugami is our resident wise acher for this kind of thing but anyone who read the original I hope can see the work that went into improving this section.

Oh that and we'll be caught up after the next post that's coming soon.

Kieran
April 7th, 2011, 07:46 AM
This does seem to flow a lot better than I remember - can't quite put my finger on why, though. Too early in the morning, I guess. :)

I will say that the coloured text is a lot easier to read than it usually is. The cyan's an improvement over the blue you used to use.

MrTags
April 7th, 2011, 04:29 PM
The last of the already seen chapters arrives. Not many people may have seen this one so I hope you enjoy. The real fireworks start now.

BTW, the song interspersed is Avenged Sevenfold, Bat Country. Hope you like it. I think it fits.


Crossings Section 13, unlucky for one, Begin

Feet slid effortlessly across concrete, making no sound and feeling no friction.

He who makes a beast out of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man

Edges of a cloak billowed out spreading. The shadows around became encompassed by a further blackness. They too spat forth their filth of ripe chaos. Eyes, red in the mass became the only factor by which one could even hope to delimit a number, if one could count that high that quickly. From one came tens, hundreds, a living tide of black. Bodies began to take form as Nero Chaos filled his entire half of the playing field with a mighty swarm of blackest evil. His face seemed the one white point in a sea of black that spread out from him like ripples on a pond of oil. All facing one direction. All baring at breakneck speed forward.

Objectives, travel speeds, relative velocities. More information than normal eyes could take in and pass to the brain. The truth about all things, that is a very wide concept, limited by the capacity of the brain to process. His eyes opened to the truth. Perfect count in a microsecond. Vectors, distance, the precise where’s, where they were going, and where they would be, and what’s of every single beast in his line of sight.
Two gigantic egos slipped towards each other. Two beings to whom the concept of failure meant as nothing for it didn’t happen. The primeval scream wordless between the both of them.

YOU DARE?!

One beast, the fastest, a great cat broke free of the pack. It flashed across the distance, making a mockery space between figure and sea. A hand reached out, picked it up and casually spiked it into the ground. The beast’s own momentum carrying it, skidding on its ruined face, between the star crossed lovers standing in attendance of the spectacle.

Caught here in a fiery blaze, wont lose my will to stay

To surround the many moved. Beasts of all kinds and numbers. Rending tooth and claw on the low. Piercing wall of spiked chitin and antlers on high. Mass and momentum up the middle.

Into the press the one dove. A foot caught purchase on the ground, while the other spun out, smashing a skull. The victim spun into the wave it’s change of velocity forcing all coherence from it as it plowed through chaotic flesh, sinew and bone. On into the breach the one leapt, kicking and punching here and there, so precise the strikes that animals hit would tumble into their fellows. This way attacks yet unmade came truly undone. Prescience trumped ferocity again and again.

I try-yai-yaied to drive all through the night

To rend, tear and claw the many moved. Weapons of all kinds and numbers. Their prey was surrounded, but elusive. The will commanded their victory, so they charged in. Beast upon beast upon beast. So many that the sky turned black under their numbers.

Wheeling and spinning the one strove. Over one beast, a shoulder roll across a deer type, under a great cat. Hands sliced into vulnerable spots, feet smashed crushing blows that blasted foes into others. A great bovine came forth and was slipped away from then grabbed by the horns. One spin and the beast smashed into the ground.

The heat stroke ridden weather, the barren empty sights

To overpower the many moved. Great beasts of all types and numbers. Their prey was in their midst and strong. Larger and larger beasts charged into the press. So many that the ground trembled under their tread.

Demonically grinning the one raged. Up a beast and down another, straight through one and betwixt the others. A great bear loomed, all full of power and rage. Its head was grabbed, the one’s body whipping into the sky then down between the beasts legs. A surge of strength lent the bear a perfect view inside it’s own rectum, twisted forward over on itself.

No oasis here to see

To ensnare the many moved. A swirl there came of all the types and many numbers. Forward they pressed, towards the great crater left before. There would be advantage there. Limit the movement. Go for the kill. The scent of the one suggested weakness, wounding. The beasts moved to close.

Over the one went into the pit, grinning all the way. Atop dove beast after beast. Masses of blackness interspersed with dots of red. Clawing and biting out of sight in the crater. A hand lashed out against, then a leg. A beast went flying outside of it’s volition, then another and another. Now from the crater screams did issue as the blackness was beaten back with aplomb. Flying they went in their masses and multitudes and turn they did. Only the great tiger made it before a hand reached out over him and pulled him back in.

the sand is singing deathless words to me

A pummeled feline soared through the air, landing so hard at Arcueid’s feet it cracked the pavement and she found herself raised slightly on the broken pieces of concrete. She smiled and looked at Shiki. He was both trying to watch the fight and taking swings at the chaos beasts that strayed too close. His speed was awful though and he barely managed to get close to anything, no less hit it.

Arcueid nodded and stretched her hands out in claws. His headaches looked like they were getting worse. She’d have to end this soon. Fortunately the circumstances lent her just the ability to do that. Her golden eyes began to glow.

Can't you help me as I'm starting to burn

Arcueid stood a second, getting Balance’s position down. It wasn’t as hard as Nero was having it. He was leaving an obvious rhythm but apparently Nero was tone deaf . Maybe it was just that she was supposed to know, it didn’t really matter. Just as long as she could do this…

With a strange omnipresent whine the entire battlefield started to shake. Arcueid’s power flowed around her. If she knew exactly how she was doing what she was doing could have been up for debate, but such things would have been at best rhetorical. With one quick swipe the land obeyed her command.

All alone

“Damn!” Nero grunted, his footing shaken along with the scene, “Zelretch, you better be watching this.”

And with one flexing of her will the land burst forth a swarm of chains. Arcueid pulled forth the bindings that held even her tight from the very earth. With glee the Princess of the True Ancestors joined the fray as it had become obvious to her that the ground in each dimension was connected to the rest,. Shadow beasts were skewered and smashed in their dozens as spike tipped chains rammed into them.

Too many doses and I'm starting to get an attraction

“Not so sure of yourself now are you Nero?” Arcueid laughed as he chains wrapped his unmoving form.

A living maelstrom of chaos as he may be even Nero was suddenly concerned. The spike tipped chains began to pierce into his blackness trying their best to find something, anything to gain traction on. The chaos slid out of the way of every attempt, so far. Even without that Balance was now handily cleaning up his chaos beasts backed by an army of flailing chains.

My confidence is leaving me on my own

“Zelretch do something!” Nero roared.


Weaving his hands quickly across his crystal kaleidoscope the Wizard Martial fought quickly against time. He had delayed preventing Arcueid access to the horizon world between dimensions for too long. While he could have done so at any time, he was limited to barring access to only one of the two worlds with his current power.

Zelretch cursed himself. The choice should have been obvious between some rouge human and the Princess of True Ancestors, but he just hadn’t the heart to tear Arcueid away from this so easily. His weakness must not stop him.

With a quick weave he finished the spell.


All alone

It seemed the words of panic had barely left Nero’s mouth before their request saw fruit. As Arcueid’s chains ripped across the landscape a eerie force rippled back against them. Before her confused eyes the Princess watched her attacks begin to pass through the chaos beasts instead of rending into them. She wailed as her wrapping around Nero broke apart and fell away.

“No!” she cried, punching the ground so hard it broke, yet remained untouched as a phantom before her, “Grandfather no…”

No one can save me and you know I don't want the attention

Eyes focused Balance tore through the chaos beasts twice as fast. Growling in rage he struck out at three, even four chaos beasts at a time, swinging through one to get to another behind it, or sending kicks around their apparent target to surprise a lagging beast. The effect was shocking. Just as quickly as it had seemed things were going to turn for Nero Balance started to snowplow through his beasts so hard he was making a bow wave.

“He’s stronger than I’d anticipated in his condition.” Nero grudgingly admitted, breaking off another splash of chaos for a different tact, “Yet he wears his weakness on his sleeve, he’ll regret his words.”

Shiki grimaced. His headache was getting worse. Maybe if he hadn’t shed his glasses so early. Seeing the death lines was starting to wear on him. Besides that Arcueid had confused him when she’d asked about lines or dots. How many dots was he supposed to be seeing, and where?

As I-yaii-yai adjust to my new sights

He reached out with his knife at a passing creature, one he didn’t exactly recognize, and scored a hit on a line. The grey chaos beast parted like water and splashed down on the ground. With a smile Shiki turned to Arcueid a moment before the pool of blackness grabbed his leg and knocked him over.

“Whaaaaa?” Shiki blurted out, catching himself. Looking back a swarm of black snakes was gripping his leg. With a quick motion that surprised even him Shiki chopped the offending serpents off and stood. A strange feeling overtook the youth and he turned to see Arcueid looking at him almost sadly.

“Shiki I…” she started before noticing a shift in Nero’s Beasts, “Wait! Watch out!”

The rarely tired lights

Barely warned Shiki dodged out of the way of an oncoming paw strike. He staggered through and just past an eagle that missed him by inches. The force of the impact of bird with earth pushed Shiki off his feet and he rolled aside.

“No you didn’t…” Arcueid gasped, looking towards Balance, “You, you…”

In the press of monsters Balance looked back over his shoulder… and smiled.

Will take me to new heights

Shiki tried to run from the beasts, but there were so many he couldn’t help but fight. Out his blade slashed and took the head off a great cat. Down his blade cut and glanced off the side of a mighty crocodile. Dancing past he rolled by the monsters trying to get some distance as Arcueid futilely slashed her claws at the grayed out beasts.

The teen assassin dodged over and over, his actions getting a little more sure of themselves but still not enough. A claw slashed his side, doubling him over and a bestial fist almost felled him. He managed to escape only through wild luck and Arcueid’s warnings. His knife took the arm of the beast coming after him but it broke down into a chaos sludge that started slowing his movements.

My hand is on the trigger I'm ready to ignite

Nero grinned wordlessly. The young mortal would make a good snack for his beasts. How foolish the Balancer had been pointing out that his plan hinged on the Princess and her… lesser companion. His beasts, slipped cunningly into the boys reality, would soon end this slight mess, and hopefully leave his real foe open to defeat.

It was so simple indeed.

Shiki pulled himself free of the black ooze only to be grabbed by another creature. He chopped it’s head off with a quick slash and freed his leg finally. There were dozens of these damn things. Why were they attacking him now? If that was Nero’s new tactic he was in a lot of trouble. How could he protect Arcueid in his condition? The anemia was beginning to wear.

Tomorrow might not make it but everything's all right

“Shiki look out!”

Arcueid’s warning reached him at the very same moment Nero’s second wave came in. Shiki was bowled over. He slashed out again and again, cutting half a dozen monsters to pieces. Slashes against slashes and blade against fang he fought. The wall of beasts tore at him.

If only he could do more. If only he could see more.

Mental fiction follows me

Arcueid gasped as the beasts around Shiki leapt in on him. Tears filled her eyes. It was going to happen again. She could do nothing about it.

Shiki railed internally against the indignity of it all. He’d died before, but could he afford to die now? There was only what he could see.. Only these things he could see with his eyes.

The beasts landed on Shiki, and there was an explosion of blood, gore and sinew.

Show me what it's like to be set free

There was a figure in the rain of blood. A figure smiling as he was washed over by the gone. It ran down his features, through his grinning teeth, matting his hair.

“No…” Arcueid whispered, “Shiki…”

He could only see… these… dots…

Wiping his hair out of his glowing blue eyes Shiki turned his glare at Nero.

“You want to kill me do you monster?” he growled, “Very well, let’s die together Nero Chaos!”

Can't you help me as I'm starting to burn
All alone

Another wall of monsters raised above the young assassin’s head. He just blurred, totally uncaring, his knife describing a corkscrew arc, and they came apart en masse. It was nothing to him.

A great bovine charged in. One flick of his wrist and knife met dot. The chaos beast exploded into nothingness.

Nero’s eyes widened as the boy stepped forward. The child had the gall to challenge HIM?! He swept wave after wave of monsters at the boy only to have them beaten! This was impossible!

Too many doses and I'm starting to get an attraction

As Shiki attacked so too did Balance turn on Nero’s beasts and begin thrashing. Leaping a bear with it’s head shoved up it’s ass he drove forward. The both of them struck and black goo began to fly in abundance. The two were like a pair of twin blenders boring their way through the endless waves of black. The sea of chaos swirled around them. The beasts of chaos reached for them. The touch of chaos was thrown back, shattered, again and again.

My confidence is leaving me on my own
All alone

“This cannot be!” Nero gasped, “Even the Princess couldn’t destroy us, yet now we’re disappearing one after another?!”

Shiki dot stabbed a saber tooth tiger that charged him. It vanished in a mighty puff. He smiled but the emotion didn’t reach his cold blue eyes.

No one can save me and you know I don't want the attention

Nero took a wary step back, almost an onlooker in the carnage before him. Two whirling dervishes of destruction blending their way through his beasts, making of them less than cannon fodder. He growled and pulled back his attack from the boys universe. He would have to make due wearing the Balancer down. This little duet would have to stop now.

The beasts around Shiki began to waver and grey. He didn’t care in the least. This was no longer a battle of physicality, but perception. His arm slipped out and his knife carved the lines. Nothing would change that. Nero belonged to him.

So sorry you're not here

Shiki broke into a run amidst the beasts. He swung out to the left while the monsters passed him unawares as they were. An alligator flew in two. Again he attacked, switching his grip on the knife and carving ahead, his hand a blur. The beasts came apart on the lines and Shiki ducked low to dot stab a tiger in the flank. The beast exploded into nothingness.

Nero’s eyes widened, his mouth agape as he gasped, “What? What is this? He can’t do that!”

White, bloodless face aghast in a blank stare of horror the dead apostle ancestor watched Shiki. The boy didn’t slow down a bit in his attacks. It couldn’t be.

I've been sane too long my visions so unclear


Zelretch blinked…

It wasn’t often something surprised even him, but here this boy had managed to. Even separated by dimensional barriers the youth could attack and kill. Even more remarkably he could destroy elements of chaos that could not under normal circumstances be ended in any means short of annihilation.

“Clever child.” Zelretch grumbled, rubbing his chin as he watched, “We’ve been played. That technique, a magan, effects anything in his perception. I can only block one fighter or the other by bending that dimension closer to one of theirs. Now what do I do?”

Drawing his view in closer to Shiki Zelretch stared into his blue glowing eyes. Realization dawned over him.

“Mystic Eyes of Death Perception… how did he know…” the Wizard Marshal scowled at the image, then spun his back on it. With a wave of his hand he dismissed that failed experiment to the ether. The Balancer had proven a bit more cunning than was planned for. Could he actually do it?

That could, should and must not be possible.


Now take a trip with me

Balance grinned merrily. Leaping through the air he rained punches down on the milling throng below him, then ended with a flourish on landing. He dashed a cougar against the ground so hard it splattered. His grin shifting more wicked he bent backwards almost over on himself and slipped away from the punches of a great gorilla, leaving the beast with nothing but a bear with it’s cranium stuck up it’s anus to look at.

Running low across the ground the warrior cleared a path for himself with lashing punches then rolling kicks. Smashing his way through he had time to gaze in wonder at all the creatures Nero had. Ibex, antelope, panther, elephant, fox… lions and tigers and bears oh my. He ended up wondering if there was anything Nero hadn’t eaten into himself at one time or another.

Catching Nero’s eye Balance smiled and waved him a merry salute before laying into the press of beasts.

but don't be surprised when things aren't what they seem

Shiki and Balance both ignored the dead apostle in the middle of his swarm for the moment. They concentrated on his beasts, almost as if not wanting the fun to end. The vented their anger on creature after creature, sometimes half a dozen at a time.

He simply couldn’t believe it. His beasts… his precious familiars were taking an horrendous pounding. Never before had Nero seen a battle in which even those parts of himself all but bereft of will were hesitant to join.

Caught here in a fiery blaze, won't lose my will to stay

Shiki drove his knife into an ancient cat right out of the history books, kicked off a snarling dog beast and took it up a notch. Chopping a hawk in two before it even landed he blazed a trail through the monsters before him. This time, this time there was no screaming, no fumbling, no accidental falling and killing Nero with a ill aimed slash. This time he would kill Nero the right way. Take the monster out! He would do it, no one else. This Balance would have to take a back seat. It was bad enough he was ahead on killing monsters., but there were always more of them… at least till after he was done.

Balance ripped off the gorillas arms with raw power then beat it to death with the wet ends. Twisting the arms like multi piece staves he beat through the mess of creatures around him. The creatures were beginning to loathe coming close so he lengthened his range. In seconds he had monsters flying through the air like baseballs. Flailing back with such force the creatures cracked trees, impaled themselves on branches and bounced off the ground. Shiki was getting better, he’d have to take it up another notch or so to keep up with the new competition.

These eyes won't see the same, after I flip today

“They’re having FUN.” Nero gasped with inestimable horror, “I strike at them with a sea of familiars, send hundreds to overwhelm them, and they’re having FUN!”

Nero took a step back. The insanity of the place was gripping him so badly he couldn’t tell the depth of it. Were these two fighters insane to take him on, to dive into the depths of a chaos maelstrom? Maybe he was insane. Surely standing in the midst of this calamity did nothing to advance his goals. It was as if he, a dark apostle ancestor, was transfixed by the vicious beauty of the dance going on before him. It was all to much.

Balance punched a springbok up into the air, caught it with a high kick then axed the beast horns first into an unidentified feline creature. Reaching out to each side he caught a pair of beasts and pile drove the both of them into the concrete, flipped off the impact and landed on a surprised ox with enough force to splatter it’s head.

Shiki blended a wolf into paste, chopped the limbs off a elk and left it flopping on the ground then minced a vulture down to a feather duster. Hopping off a horse he eviscerated a dog, reindeer, owl and wildebeest. After that it was off with the heads of a dozen monsters, and he wasn’t even breathing hard yet.

He turned to leave. There was no point in all this. Nero had decided to call it quits. With a rippling of his coat hundreds more creatures swarmed into the park. He would have to cover his escape using them, possibly expending their very existences. The swirl of battle shifted as Balance plowed around him.

“Going somewhere?” the warrior quipped, setting his battle right in Nero’s path. With a snarl Nero’s body reacted, forcing Balance to dodge an impossible appendage of claws, teeth and talon.

“I’ve had enough of you!” Nero roared, his form shifting and roiling as limb after pseudo pod burst from his blackness. The balancer danced through it, slipping out of the way of each mass of dubious form.

“Your feet!” Arcueid warned in a shout, “Don’t stand in his shadow!”

“To late.” Nero said with his own jagged tooth grin. The shadows at Nero’s feet burst up and grabbed the balancer tight. Startled for a moment he barely caught the shark’s mouth that tried to bite him and threw it back. Nero formed a mass of blackness above them and dropped it on both him and his enemy.

“Now die!” the chaos creature roared, smashing Balance into himself. The fighter seemed to vanish into the ground, pulled down into Nero’s glop.

“I wouldn’t count on that.” Arcueid remarked, looking at the scene with a discerning eye.

Shiki dodged in through the vastly cut numbers of beasts, calling back “I’ll get him!” to Arcueid. The Princess just shrugged. It wouldn’t mean much in any case. To form a soil of genesis like Nero was took so many of his inherent forms he would have nowhere near enough beasts to deal with Shiki. She’d seen that before.

A strange arm the size of a tree trunk split from Nero’s form straight at Shiki. The Nanaya simply slipped to the side and chopped it off, but before he could close he too had to avoid the dark shadows at his feet. Nero had sprouted a mighty dragon who’s wings attempted to block off all light near the dodging and bounding opponent.

“This one is tough as expected.” Nero growled, his body undulating, “But even he will break down eventually.”

Racing from side to side Shiki lopped off one of the dragon’s wings and dodged away from the monstrosity’s claws. He hit the ground and rolled away as it’s head smashed right where he had been a second before.

From within Nero his absorbed victim mused. Looking around with golden hued eyes the darkness surrounding him was nigh transparent but he wasn’t seeing what he was looking for. Arms and legs crossed Balance dripped burning blue into Nero’s innards but was unable to find any core from within the lair of the king beast. He was a bit disappointed, but such things weren’t that much of a concern.

With a mighty puff Nero’s dragon vanished into nothingness. The ancestor scowled at his young foe. Shiki simply followed up by dicing Nero’s lines of defense and charging in towards him. Without their master showing any noticeable concern the beasts within Nero reacted. The mouth of a crocodile which at full length must have rivaled a city bus burst from the chaotic form straight at Shiki who slashed it in to, both neutralizing it’s threat and taking off Nero’s shoulder.

The Dead Apostle Ancestor looked aghast at his wound as the whirling limbs sprouting from his body held the assassin boy at bay. Disbelief clouded his features.

“I can’t regenerate it!?” he spouted, “What is this, how can I be destroyed by being cut?”

“Shiki!” Arcueid called, “Watch for fireworks!”

His only real response a backwards glance the Nanaya assassin leapt away from Nero. Only seconds later parts of Nero started to crackle and glow. Beams of blue light started cutting their way out and around him and Chaos grunted with the exertion of holding himself together.

“You’re not leaving.” Nero spoke with authority, “No one can escape my Soil of Genesis once so thoroughly ensconced.”

Even with this he could almost feel the force inside him smile. With a shuddering crack a first glowing blue form split from Nero’s chest, then another and another. In an inverted star pattern five glowing polygonal shapes ripped free of Nero then spread. From their core Balance leapt free then wheeled about in midair and blasted his jailer in the face with an energy bolt.

Sometimes I don't know why we'd rather live than die

Landing back to back with Shiki, Balance raised a hand and made a few quick motions. Catching them over his shoulder Shiki nodded and crouched lower. The pair waited a split second as Nero’s shadow shifted back to it’s normal formlessness and his beasts burst free en masse again. The pair leapt away from each other at the same time, breaking into runs they sliced through the creatures in their way.

“What? What are you..?” Nero remarked haltingly as he tried to keep an eye on both fighters at once. The two ran in a dizzying spiral around him. Each moving in a different direction they circled the dark apostle, keeping at least one of them out of his sight as best they could by ducking back and forth or hiding one behind the other.

We look up towards the sky for answers to our lives

Roaring in rage Nero focused his anger on Shiki. The boy had hurt him before, and that made him target number one. With a gesture a murder of crows burst from Nero’s coat and tried to surround the youth. Shiki darted left and right as Balance leapt in punching down the flying beasts. Putting himself in front of the danger the warrior smacked away crow after crow.

As the number of fliers abated Shiki and Balance took off in different directions. The dark apostle scowled at the two, letting loose a more standard assortment of creatures. He was starting to read the movements of those pitting themselves against him.

We may get some solutions but most just pass us by

With a slight quiver from his body a wall of blackness roiled forth from Nero again at Shiki. Beast converged on the younger fighter from the sides. The attack seemed total, but Balance slipped into it and pushed Shiki aside. Taking the brunt the fighter kicked out tripping the beasts into each others way then slid past and out.

Nero let loose a vicious grin, his jagged teeth blazing white against his pale form. Fully assured he would succeed he sprung a third attack on Shiki. This time his form blurred and an enormous creature, almost larger than the concrete clearing could hold burst forth from him. The mantis like beast leaned forward and attacked Shiki with it’s huge blades while Nero followed in, turning his arm into a mass of limbs that circled around aiming to strike Balance when he appeared.

Don't want your absolution cause I can't make it right

The first hint of a flaw in his plan appeared when Shiki, instead of dodging ran right between the mantis’s claws and stabbed it in the gut. The creature disappeared in a burst of dust. The dark apostle turned his second attack just a moment to late and Nanaya caught it with a sideward slash, lopping it and Nero’s arm right off.

“No I…OOMPH!” Nero managed to let out his cry of dismay was cut short by a glowing blue fist to the back of his head.

Balance skidded in from behind, under the dark apostle’s remaining arm and cracked him in the face with another punch.

I'll make a beast out of myself

“Damn you!” Nero nearly shrieked, his composure breaking. Again and again his form rippled and sent waves of razor edged death at his provocateur. Again and again Balance slipped aside and rained just as many punches on the dark apostle.

“Get him Shiki.” the fighter said with a smirk and Nero turned in shock, but Shiki was no where near him. The assassin was fighting back dozens of familiars, not apparently attacking Nero at all.

And Nero got punched in the back of the head AGAIN.

gets rid of all the pain of being a man

“You damn…” Nero started, taking a brutal flurry of attacks to the back, but stopped talking with a sudden realization. He’d been looking to escape before, what was he thinking fighting these people up close and personal after that? They’d tricked and corralled him… and they were still doing it! Gathering his wits Nero began looking for a way out.

Leveling heavy attack after heavy attack into Nero Balance forced himself into his opponents face. The dark apostle let out a roar and slashed an enormous arm back at him but Balance fell back and rolled away from it.

Can't you help me as I'm starting to burn
all alone

“I’ll destroy you both!” Nero growled, nodding to himself, “This has drug on long enough. This is the end of you!”

Pulling his darkness into himself Nero let loose with six hundred beasts. He had to get some distance, no matter what he claimed.

The two warriors sprinted around their foe. The air grew thick with monsters and they seemed to be loving it. Even the dark apostle seemed impressed at the speed they dealt with what he was throwing at them.

Too many doses and I'm starting to get an attraction

Balance turned straight into Nero, plowing through beasts to get there. Again he stood toe to toe with the master of monsters and again the courtyard rocked with the force of their blows against each other.

“You will not defeat me.” Nero ranted, trying like mad to land a blow on his attacker.

“You won’t be living through this.” Balance replied with a smile, “Get him Shiki.”

My confidence is leaving me on my own
all alone

This time Nero didn’t even bother to look. He just kept raining attacks down on Balance. If this “Shiki” came in behind him his beasts would handle it, as always.

He hardly even noticed the shape ghost in from behind, slip in under his arm and all but appear, low but between the two fighters.

It seemed odd that a small noise, one little “TAKK” hardly in the range of hearing, could denote the end of a battle of such ferocity. Still and all, with Nero looking down, aghast at the knife sticking out of his gut, that’s what it was.

No one can save me and you know I don't want the attention

A pall of silence fell over the battlefield. Shiki stood back as Nero vanished in a puff, smiling. He slipped his knife back in a pocket and scowled.

“Something’s wrong.” he and Balance said simultaneously. They looked at each other with a small bit of surprise. Glowing blue eyes met glowing blue.

“He vanished too quickly…” Shiki pointed out, his gaze scanning the area.

“That wasn’t all of him.” Balance remarked with a shrug, “He must have hidden his main body elsewhere just before you struck, cut it really close too.”

So sorry you're not here I've been sane too long my visions so unclear

Across the courtyard the wind blew solemnly. It seemed to resonate with a strange disappointment. Either a plan unstopped or vengeance denied. The lights flickered back on, and for the life of the people there no one could remember when they had gone out.

Slowly the form of Nero slipped along underground. He had indeed realized what was transpiring. He had been led into a trap and used. At the very end even the slowness he had noted in Balance had disappeared, just another ruse. Setting his feet he had burrowed his main body underground, 40 spare beasts in a secondary body that he had switched to at the very moment the full measure of trap had sprung.

“What are we going to do?” Arcueid called, as she jogged over excitedly.

Shiki rubbed his eyes, then pointed out “We have to get him.”

“I don’t see why.”

The pair stopped in their tracks and looked at Balance aghast.

“Really it’s not my problem.” he remarked shrugging broadly, “Just let the thing go, he’s easy enough to handle later. It’s not like I started this to kill one dead apostle.”

Now take a trip with me but don't be surprised when things aren't what they seem

“We can’t do that!” Arcuied pleaded, looking back and forth from Balance to Shiki, “He could come back.”

“And do what? To which of us?” Balance remarked off-handedly, “Any of us can take him.”

“And the people he kills to recharge?” Shiki Nanaya growled stepping around in front of Balance and grabbing a handful of Nero’s remaining oily goop, “What of them?”

The wince was there, almost unperceivable, hidden in Balances composure. A normal person would have never noticed it, but Shiki wasn’t at the moment anything near a normal person.

“Leave it alone kid…” Balance started then Shiki brought his handful of blackness up to eye level.

I've known it from the start all these good ideas will tear your brain apart

“See for yourself with those damned eyes of yours.” Shiki shot back, making sure that lump of Nero caught Balance’s eye, “Tell me what truth you see, about last October 23rd just after it became fully dark, past 9:30, what is the truth??”

“No…” Balance gasped, his eyes shifting from a blue to golden hue. He turned away quickly, covering his eyes but the image was already there. All the closing, all the blocking of his vision could do little to stop a vision forming within his own eyes.

“No!” Balance yelped with more fervor this time.

There in the blackness…

Two children…

“Daddy… Mommy…”

“Sis…”

A foot lands next to them. Something slips free, a crunch can be heard around the room.

“NOOOO!” this time Balance screamed it out. Lightning arced around his form as he twitched and convulsed under the strain of his own power. His eyes melted out of their sockets as the nimbus of light around him built.

“DAMMIT!”

Shoving his hands on the ground Balance all but burst. A blue tinged shockwave crashed out of his kneeling form, washing over Shiki and Arcueid yet doing no damage. The explosion was massive yet seemed to touch nothing until the ground itself began to heave and crack.

“Well you asked for it.” Arcueid grumbled, just keeping her footing.

Scared but you can follow me I'm too weird to live but much too rare to die

Shiki couldn’t even manage a response as his world tumbled. He was suddenly feeling all to tired as his eyes began to hurt badly. Rolling on the ground he watched as the dome of energy, held back at the beginning was suddenly released, expanding to cover the entire of Misaki. Under the ground the effect was even more disastrous, to one particular being. The energy burst, transparent to most matter, hit Nero at full effect. With no mouth he could not scream as he burned, each and every bit of him. All the black matter on the ground burned away, all the beasts hidden in the air, all the beasts underground. They all burned…

The pain was getting intense. Shiki rose groggily off the ground and looked to Arcueid. Her grey form began to waver.

“Shiki I…” she started. Then vanished.

“What? Wait Arcueid!”

Shiki landed hard on his rear, the pain was getting to migraine levels. He reached into his pocked and slipped his glasses back on. It took a few moments for the after image of death lines to recede from his thoughts and his muscles and brain to finally revive to the point he could stand.

Balance was there still, somewhat grey in appearance, slowly dragging himself off the ground. Blue burning tears ran down his cheeks once again from the newly reformed holes where his eyes should have been. He looked sad, and angry. Turning quickly away from Shiki something seemed to grab him. His collar twisted and pulled up. His body followed it and in the end he was hovering a foot off the ground.

“I’m sorry, I was trying…” he blurted, his throat seemingly impaired .

“Where is Arcueid?” Shiki asked, wobbling on his feet.

“They’re still here, you’re both still here.” Balance explained, more to someone Shiki couldn’t see but knew without a second’s thought, “Usually different people can’t see each other when separated by dimension, I was holding you together with what was left of my power… but that outburst, destroying Nero… I just can’t anymore.”

Balance held up an hand and dropped to the ground. Hitting hard he rolled up to a sitting position and started coughing. Little flecks of blue energy, driven by his fit, flew from him to make holes in the abused concrete. He looked a mess.

“So what do we do now?” Shiki said. He headed towards the sitting warrior but found he could only do so in a slow sway. Balance looked at him and someone else he couldn’t see sadly,

“Find the differences.” he replied, “Find the people in each world that are different from each other, they must reconcile for this to work, all of them.”

“Wha?” Shiki blurted, “But that could be thousands.”

“This revolves around you two, only people you know are changed, only eight and one other.” Balance explained, his body seeming to crack under it’s own weight, “You know all but the one, that I’ll have to handle myself.”

“But wait! Who?” Shiki started. He got no answer. With a shudder and a sigh Balance’s form cracked and rippled. Shattering the warrior fell to dust that blew away in a whirl.

The courtyard was empty. So very empty. Even knowing Arcueid was near Shiki had never felt so alone. Without a word he headed back to the mansion.

Section 13 End

Well that's the last of the old. Time to get to the new. Hope you've liked the travel to the past. The future lays ahead.

Next up, Character Focus, Ciel...

Kieran
April 7th, 2011, 07:38 PM
You do have a gift for fight scenes - and this works a lot better as one piece.

MrTags
April 9th, 2011, 09:55 PM
*Rubs his hands together*

Ok, now I've been chatting with the Dwaggies, and we're looking around at some ideas. I've finished the last of the old Crossings and I'd like to know what you think. I see at least 30 reads per story post so I know somebody's out there reading this, and regularly. I'd like to know your opinions guys.

Primarily:

How you think I'm doing?
How do you like the characterization? Am I doing anything wrong?
What do you think a good pace would be. I have stuff to do IRL so I can't keep up with some people *cough cough kieran typist of cough doom cough* but I can keep up pretty well once or twice a week. What do you guys think?
Anybody willing to unlurk and sign into the boards to help out will win my undying respect, and a phantom non existant interwebs cookie. Not the kind that tells the government how to buy your soul either, the good kind.
Would anybody mind if I gave Inugami a poodle haircu... wait, nix that one...
Who thinks this story is worth continuing? It's a legitimate question if no one's paying attention.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Oh and as an extra, the omake I wrote when people started downing my first, long winded try at the fight scene.


O MA KE! O MA KE!


>_<

I really should omake your asses with this long winded group therapy session between Nero Arcueid Shiki Balance and some other people thrown in for no apparent reason being held by kotomine for no apparent reason other than he never gets anywhere.

The king of kings looks down at his chair... and looks down upon his chair

"Do you really want me to sit on this? It is beneath me."

"How do you think I feel..." Nero grumbles, "And there are far too few of them."

"No Nero, you don't get a chair for every beast." Kotomine scolds, "Some of them will have to sit."

A chorus of barks, mews, caws, shrieks and random chaos beast #458 #611 and #253 noises all make their displeasure known.

And somewhere far away Ren was giving Akiha some *REALY* happy dreams of Shiki.

"Oh nee-san! Not there! Ooooooohhhh!!"

Shiki blushes muttering, "Did we really have to hear that?"

"It's important for your therapy." Kotomine finally advises, after listening a while longer and writing notes, "How a person handles embarrassment..."

"Wait! You're a priest!" Shiki cries in retaliation, "Why are you writing all this down!"

"Because, I'm a CATHOLIC Priest." Kotomine points out.

"Oh... yeah..." Shiki agrees with a nod.

"I am too pretty to deal with all of you." Gilgamesh admits, "Be dazzled by my golden armor."

"Hey! What happened to my fight!?" Balance roars, "I was just having fun??!"

"It wasn't appreciated." Nero says, dropping his head into his hands, "The pacifistic, oh please don't pull out any new powers, easily bored by intense battle, let's all work things out, set of forum goers here has decided we should all sit down and talk."

And Nanako starts trying to hand out drinks... but she has no hands, so it doesn't go over well.

"Look at me!!! I'm pretty!" Gilgamesh gloats.

"My name means pretty." Kotomine admits.

"Uh... it's going to suck when these people find out the fight's only half over and the scribe isn't going to change anything because he stays true to his vision." Balance says, dropping his forehead into his palm.

"Nothing that can be done about it." Nero mumbles.

"No really, how do you feeeeeeeeeeeeel." Kotomine doesn't seem to be paying attention.

"Hey! I was introduced months ago! And I haven't done anything yet!" Archer protests.

"I feel neglected, and dirty." Lancer says with a slump.

"Tea, good." Berserker, pinky rigidly extended, admits after his fifth sip.

"I'm so happy!" Nanako cries out.

Balance shares a look with Nero.

"We're screwed." they say at the same time, slumping.

"Is it supper yet?" Saber asks.

"And what are your thoughts on this miss Arcueid?" Kotomine, ever the attentive host, inquires.

... only to find that there's only a Neco-arc plushie on Arcueid's seat, and no Arcueid anywhere around.

"They installed a Shinji bop a mole down at the arcade." Shiki explains. Half the cast's ears perk up.

"I'm there." Archer says, heading out.

"Not before me!" Rin calls.

"You aren't even in this fic!"

"And I'm gonna skip a chance to beat on Shinji??!"

"Point taken..."

Most of the cast, all now packing real, hammerspace 16t model (tm), sledgehammers, storms off into the sunset, not really noticing it's already been night for a while.

"I wonder if anyone else liked my Tea?" Nanako chirped.

"I am too pretty for bop a mole." Gilgamesh admitted.

Balance shares another look with Nero.

"We're screwed." they say at the same time, slumping.

Kotomine, to no one particular, drones on... "No, but how do you feeeeeeeeeel?"

Kieran
April 9th, 2011, 10:07 PM
Shinji bop-a-mole? I'm in!

In all honesty - I've been in a holding pattern for a resolution on this thing for so long, I almost don't care what you do, or how you decide to do it, as long as it eventually gets done. I mean, this was started - what, back in '05? Six years of waiting makes a man crraaaaazy . . .

. . . Of course, I already was, so I suppose it doesn't matter. :D

Seriously, though - do what you think you ought to do. If I gripe, I gripe, but you'd have to screw this up pretty badly to get me to stop reading it altogether.

MrTags
April 14th, 2011, 08:46 PM
The response to my questions has been overwhelming. Well never let it be said I've done nothing for no one, even though no one's asking.

A slightly sadder piece this time.


Character Focus: Ciel, A Conversation

Getting started is simple, it’s all about getting started. It was then far too bad that Ciel didn’t know in the least bit where to begin. Or more specifically it was far too bad that the person she’d usually begin with wasn’t exactly the most available. Being almost, kind of, somewhat dead at least partially now. Why did she so need to start with talking to Shiki, and why was it her luck that all she had was Arcueid? She sighed to herself, it all didn’t make sense.

The night sky sprawled out above her, the disheveled ground below, Ciel darted this way and that through the trees. If the world going mad and making copies of people hadn’t been bad enough, it had just decided to throw a copy of Nero Chaos into the milieu. Insanity just didn’t cover that level of wrong. At least her stay in this God forsaken country was proving more than just a princess babysitting job now. The contents of her report back however were yet to be decided. She would need more information.

Stopping atop a light pole she let her senses sweep out, mapping the supernatural currents near to her. Arcueid shone like a beacon, almost blinding her senses in one direction. Off to the side she sensed an echo, something of herself. Her grey twin then, offset in dimension now more than distance. She tracked that sense until she lost it in Arcueid’s glare. Her other half had some business in the direction of the Tohno mansion apparently. With more concentration the remnants of the shockwave that destroyed Nero appeared.

Ciel bent down slightly and felt for the power. The energy burst had come from an unknown participant in the Shiki/Arcueid/Nero tussle. Someone she hadn’t quite seen but knew was there none the less. She shuddered at the thought of what could make that kind of power burst on almost no notice. Definitely someone on the “get rid of” list. Though who or what she was loathe to find out.

In truth the burier was far more concerned with the presence of Shiki. Tohno’s loss had been a constant thorn in her side for the last six months. She’d seen death before, dealt with an unnatural amount of it and yet that one loss, her fault had caught her the hardest of any. It was, they were, all her fault anyway, weren’t they?

Now she had nothing but vampires and the remnants of the Tohno family to remind her of it. All of it. She caught herself thinking it wasn’t fair. That was a total crock. It was her burden to bear.

Her self flagellation was cut short by a spark of awareness. Someone was watching her. There were definitely eyes out there, eyes that had fallen upon the burier. Ciel quickly scanned her surroundings. In the air? No there wasn’t anyone else high up. On the ground then. She darted this way and that, trying to find the source of the unsettling feeling.

It took her a few moments to find someone, a man in jeans and a t-shirt, sitting on a park bench in her path. He looked back over his shoulder as her eyes fell upon him and waved curtly. His smile was so broad his eyes were closed and it looked as if he was expecting her. While the man didn’t look like anything much, someone probably just out of his teens with a decent but unremarkable build, the fact he had spotted Ciel made him obviously more than normal. No one had managed to do that when she wanted to be unseen even since her first arrival here. Another power in the area, someone new, was worth a bit of investigation.

The fellow leaned back on his bench, looking forward again. He didn’t seem the least bit surprised when Ciel landed before him in a ruffle of habit and clack of boots. The man simply spread his arms along the top of the bench and nodded to her in greeting. Ciel turned toward him, her eyes open, her hands ready to hold black keys.

“So who might you be?” she asked in her best authoritative voice. Remaining alert for an ambush she watched him flex his neck back and forth and smile at her, his eyes still closed.

“Who might I be?” he asked back, looking a bit put out, “Well for the sake of brevity I’ll avoid some smug answer and be straight. I’m a fellow that’s worried about you.”

“About me?” Ciel looked at the man a bit surprised, holding a hand to her chest, “Who are you, and what do you know about me?”

“Well, I’m the fellow in charge of getting two people back together. You know who by now.” the man pointed out, “If you need my name, it’s David and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“Ciel, charmed.” the burrier nodded back then thought a second and pressed on, “You’re the one working with Arcueid and Shiki, the one fighting Nero.”

“I helped.” David replied with a smile.

Ciel raised an eyebrow, “Helped? You nearly blew me out of a tree.”

“Pardon, pardon.” the man said with a bow on his chair, “Someone took me by surprise there, I’m usually much more… contained.”

Ciel crossed her arms in a huff, “And because you show up here, not apparently armed, but still holding your intentions to yourself, I’m supposed to bend over backwards and suddenly trust you?”

“While I don’t believe in complicating things by lying, I don’t remember ever asking you to trust me.” the main replied, leaning forward and resting his head in his hands, “I’m just here to help. I’ll fill you in on the happenings if you like.”

Ciel looked towards him, then away, thinking. With a sigh her shoulders slumped and she nodded. “I think you’d better. Anything to lessen the complication of this mess. I have a feeling I’ve really stepped in it this time.”

“Wonderful.” David replied, tenting his hands, “Would you like a seat?”

“I’d rather stand.”

“Then so shall I.” he remarked getting up and starting to walk around the small clearing they were in.

Ciel eyed the man warily, following his motion but not moving. He took a long breath, his back to her and paused a moment. Tilting his head he thought up what exactly what he needed to say.

“It wasn’t fair was it?” he asked, looking over his shoulder at Ciel.

‘What?” Ciel remarked, then looked down, realizing what he’d said, “No, none of it was fair.”

“Arcueid and Shiki, one you hate, one you admired. Both loving each other, yet star-crossed from the outset.” David added to her words, “Well like many I didn’t like it, but unlike most I had a promise, a very old promise to keep.”

“To what end?” Ciel asked.

“To see them together, and happy.” he responded, looking away again, “The flare of light at the moon, that was me keeping my word, and now all this is too.”

Ciel tried to hide her reaction but still even the trained Executioner had to take a step back. That kind of power was nothing to trifle with, and very few had it. She gritted her teeth and formed black keys behind her.

“You’re Trouble aren’t you.” escaped her mouth in a growl. It was a statement of fact, spoken as a name, not the usual vague generality.

“In every language ever spoken by man.” David returned with a smile, then looked back, “I’m not your Trouble at the moment though, you won’t need those.”

“You’re everybody’s Trouble.” Ciel spat, but still brought out her black keys and looking at them, dispelled the handful with a flick of her wrist, “How could you be following a promise to Arcueid and Shiki, you’re far older than both combined.”

“And their souls are far older than you know.” David pointed out, “Though Christianity has always had some trouble with cycles of rebirth. The gist of the situation is all simple enough in practice though. I took a universe where Arcueid died, and a universe where Shiki died, and pushed them together.”

Ciel’s eyes grew wide, “Are you even listening to yourself, what gives you the right… aargh what would that even do?”

“Gave them a new chance together, if everything works out right.” he replied, looking to the stars, “The universes were so similar most of them folded neatly into each other, only the people truly changed by the circumstances are any different between the worlds.”

“And that means?”

“Well, it means that as long as the people in the universes can get together with their doubles and agree on it, even if they don’t quite know what they’re agreeing on, then Shiki and Arcueid will have their chance.”

“So you’re going to bring back Shiki.” Ciel said pondering, “You picked one hell of a way. I suppose you talking to me means I’m one of the differences.”

Ciel looked out over the city beyond and thought about the grey version of herself roaming around, then added, “No I guess it’s obvious I’m one of the differences. So then why are you making these grand explanations to me?”

“Eh?” David remarked.

“Why me? Why aren’t you talking to the other Ciel, she’d be the logical one to get to.” the current Ciel pointed out, “I’d just be getting Shiki back. She on the other hand would have to agree to let Arcueid back into her world.”

“That is the truth I know.” the man remarked, nodding, “Yet with all that’s going on, I feel I need to be here. Feel you need my help more than she would. It seems odd to me, but while I know why, you feel less inclined to let Shiki back into your life than another Ciel would be to let Arcueid return. That’s quite a shock.”

“Really. I don’t see it.” Ciel said looking down, “Why would that be?”

“I don’t know Ciel.” David responded, adding some impact by using her name the first time, “Why is it that you don’t think you deserve it.”

“WHAT?” Ciel, who had been turning away almost rounded on David, “Why don’t I? What kind of person do you take me for. This is about Shiki and Arcueid.”

“And yet all our personal battles revolve around one person and one person only, ourselves.” David pointed out, “No matter who this whole thing is magically ‘about’ the way each of us takes it is by whatever impact is has on our selves. We might try to gloss it over, not want to be selfish or some other nonsense but we have to accept that to truly accept is a personal matter which has as much to do with our own faults and merits as much as it does with those we see in others.”

“So you think that for some personal reason I won’t want Shiki and Arcueid back together.” Ciel growled back, “Even if it meant bringing back Shiki to do it.”

“I never said that.” David remarked, shaking his head, “I said you don’t think you deserve it, and I need to help you with the why. Understanding ourselves and our motives is rather vital.”

Ciel shook her head angrily, glaring at the troublemaker with stern eyes, “What I’m not understanding is what you’re talking about. If this is about Shiki… Shiki… deserve… oh.” she ground to a slow halt, looking down and away, “Maybe I shouldn’t talk about this.”

“Really.” David said softly, “Odd then that it’s what I’m here to talk about.”

“It doesn’t matter!” Ciel cried out, her demeanor changing suddenly as she threw out her arms, “None of it matters, it’s all the same, always the same.”

“So change it.” the man replied in an impossibly matter of fact way.

“Change it? Change it?” Ciel spun about and stormed towards him, “How can I change the fact that Shiki died because of me?! How can I change the fact that I’m a CURSE. That everybody dies because of me.”

“By realizing it’s not true.” David said softly, tilting his head and smiling, “Facts change by perspective, and I must say your’s seem a tad off.”

“I killed them all.” Ciel growled, “My family, my friends, my whole town, and now Shiki too. People I cared about, people I didn’t know, everyone. I was cursed for the first part, killed over and over for doing it, cleansed again and again though I can never be, and now I make the mistake again and get another person killed. Tell me great old troublemaker, maybe you know what I deserve.”

“Ah the plight of the Immortal, living out years and years in grief about the ones they couldn’t save.” David almost laughed, "Bah what, have you been alive a dozen extra years? That's barely an extension. I'll bet some of those you knew are still kicking about. You might still have recognizable family."

“And how could I face them?” Ciel cried. The look in her eyes for the first time truly honest. A look of horrible pain and dread.

“You think yourself a curse, a curse on those you care about.” David remarked shaking his head, "I know, when I was changing, becoming this... I tried to kill all of my friends, managed to kill most of my friends... I know that look, that feeling, but I can tell you, it wasn't your fault."

"How would you know? You don't know my situation.”

"I don't need to, I can see it in your eyes.” the elder admonished, “The ones that really did it, they never take the blame, they deny it, resist it, they don't accept it. It's the ones like you, the guilt ridden ones, those with that look, those are the ones who would have never done it in the first place. The ones that blame themselves.”

“You can use pretty words David but you can’t change the facts.” Ciel shot back, tears in her eyes, “How can I accept Shiki back knowing what I did to him, knowing what will happen to him. To leave him to that monster.”

“Forgiveness is important.”

Ciel looked down and fell to her knees, words, her own and his defeating her more than a weapon ever could “So why can’t I?” she said, “Why can’t I trust why can’t I believe why is it that I can’t find it in me to even give them a chance to be happy?”

“You have to find it in yourself Ciel.”

"But my faith" she said, looking up from her knees, "Where is my faith?"

Sadly he walked over to her, putting a hand on her shoulder, "You know Ciel, sometimes it must be lost, sometimes to have something you must loose it, and when it comes back to you, only then do you know it was actually yours in the first place."

"Love." Ciel spoke the word blandly, "They say that about love."

She was surprised when she saw him walking away, laughing, and his remark in passing, "Heh, Well Ciel? What do you think faith is?"

The burrier looked down again. Her eyes on the ground. The troublemaker all but forgotten. Tiny drops of water splashed off the cement below her. For the first time she realized she was crying.

Giving in to it the mighty Executioner put her head in her hands and bawled.


Character Focus: Ciel, A Conversation, Finish

Kieran
April 14th, 2011, 09:07 PM
Intriguing - like Ciel, I would've assumed that the other was the holdout, and I never would've thought that Ciel would hold out for the reason she is. But then again, the expected things are the most fun to mess with, aren't they? :)

MrTags
May 5th, 2011, 09:18 PM
Crossings Section 15 Begin:


Skip, Skip, Hop, Skip

It was dreadfully dark that night. Even the stars didn’t seem to want to shine as brightly as usual. The only normal light came from the occasional street lamp along the path. For most people the path up to the Tohno manor would have seemed horribly gloomy, but then there was that one spot of brightness.

Dressed in her normal breezy manner, light colored shirt and mane of blonde hair waving around her Arcueid Brunestud skipped happily up the lane. Eyes almost closed in happy squints from a broad smile her steps came one after the other followed by an occasional hop. There was no meandering this time, no hunting around for something to do. This Arcueid was a happy Arcueid.

“Shiki Shiki Shiki,” she repeated, still grinning. Her heart swooned. Her happiness reblossomed. This was a good good day.

The Tohno manner started to appear atop the hill before her. She hadn’t been so happy in a while. She was going to get her Shiki back, no matter what. The place, while horribly dreary before, seemed to look newer and happier now.

Arcueid’s supernatural senses picked up on a figure above her, moving quickly along the side of the road. A sidewards glance picked up a grey image of Ciel darting along the tops of power lines. She didn’t matter though. Even two Ciels didn’t matter. They’d never be able to get between her and Shiki. It wasn’t a bit of a problem. All thanks to…

Argh, why did she have to remember him? That smug jerk. Oh she cheered his helping out, no doubts or misconceptions there, just plenty of misgivings. Mr. Ulterior Motive could always make her cringe when he turned up. This wasn’t like the old days when there were Demon Lords to fight and you could count on him to stay on task… no he was already being troublesome as usual.

Just look at what he’d done to Shiki. He might as well have stuck a “Nero Please Kick Me” sign on his back. Oh no Nero I‘ll fight you, just watch out for my “WEAKNESS” over here. You fight fair right? Riiightt? Oh please don’t attack the one person here that if pushed far enough could kill you, that might hurt me if you dooooo…

“ARGH!” Arcueid growled to no one in particular, her face falling. That had certainly taken a chunk out of her good mood. She had to think about Shiki. Must think about more Shiki.

Shiki was coming back! Yaaayy!

On that thought Arcueid merrily skipped down the road.

---

This was bad! This was really bad.

Ciel darted across the power lines, dashing along at a screaming pace towards the Tohno Manor. Her following Shiki had gotten her a good look at something she probably wasn’t supposed to see. A battle, a major one.

Oh the preceding days work since she’d gotten here hadn’t been uneventful either. She’d had to track down the scent of a vampire in the middle of the city only to find TWO Yumizukas in a back alley having a conversation. That might have been weird. The fact that one of them, which she couldn’t even see clearly, was a vampire hadn’t made much sense either. Of course seeing the redheaded boy with them had added more to her to do, or to forget list.

Trying to fix that problem had been just that, trying. She’d found Arihiko soon after, but his memory had already been erased by someone. That hadn’t made sense, since it felt like she did it, and Yumizuka… well she’d gotten horribly resistant all of a sudden. It was all Ciel had been able to do to just make the blubbering girl re-forget the blue haired burrier. Her vampire other self was apparently off limits for forgetting. That meant she’d even have more work later.

But now THIS?! Following Shiki she’d stumbled onto a fight between the boy, the supposedly dead Arcueid and the even DEADER Nero Chaos of all people. They’d been ripping their meeting place apart into little bits and chunks of pieces. Shiki himself was unlike Ciel had ever seen him. Since when did Tohno’s eyes glow blue, and since when could he move like that. It’d been like watching a blender set to puree monsters.

Things simply did not make any sense whatsoever. Even worse she could still feel Arcueid walking down the street towards the Manor. How was that even possible. She’d looked and there was no one there, well maybe a shimmering something. This was getting intolerable. Listening in on the Tohnos looked like it was going to be the course of the day, or at least the night.

She kept up her pace and leapt from pole to pole. This was bad, and it looked like it wouldn’t be getting better any time soon.


Shiki loped slowly up the street. He’d just gotten out of the park, up to the road back home, a few minutes before and the idea of climbing that hill was looking more and more like wishful thinking. Damn was he tired. What had he been doing?

The sad thing is he knew exactly why he was this way, but he couldn’t figure out for the life of him how it had happened. He was trying to fend off Nero’s beasts and all of a sudden things had slowed down to a crawl and his body had started to burn. Really what was he thinking moving around like that with his anemia? His body now felt like it was going to cook, not just burn. It was all so stupid. At least it had done the job. Nero had been sent back to the nothingness that decided to respawn him. Arcueid had been contacted, from whatever alternate something or other she was still alive in, and that weird guy had given them clues on getting back together.

He focused on the problems to get past the aches in his body. Keep the mind busy. Arcueid was coming back, just play some matching puzzle game with people and they’d be together again. The puzzle though, ugh, that didn’t sound good. Find eight differences and make them match. Who would be different?

First off Shiki and Arcueid themselves. That was pretty obvious. Certainly brought things down to six pretty quickly.

People close to them would be effected the most. Family, maybe friends? If he hadn’t come back home Akiha would have been inconsolable, she puts on a strong front but it wasn’t too hard to see her worry. She had to be one. What about the maids? Would they be all too different? They would have different duties of course, but how much emotional involvement they really had with the family he didn’t quite know. Hisui cared but she was a bit of a cold fish at times. Kohaku, well Kohaku was Kohaku… she’d probably be different, but she was already kind of different anyway.

He wracked his brain, trying to think up the people most touched by the events six months ago. Arihiko maybe? He was a good friend it’s true. He’d have concerns about loosing me. What about Satsuki? It’s unlikely she would be much different with or without but he’d probably be best off checking. There were so few definites and so many maybes. Could it be Ciel? Her involvement in events had pretty much stopped right after Roa died but maybe she might be effected by them. Wasn’t she off somewhere else in the world though? Did that mean he’d have to go FIND some of these people to make Arcueid come back? It was all a lot of pain.

Speaking of pain… come on… up the hill. One foot after the other.


“It seems to have stopped lady Akiha.” Kohaku remarked, padding onto the balcony, “Would you like some more tea?”

Akiha frowned and looked down at her empty cup. It seemed like forever since it had been filled, but it may have been as little as five minutes. Her senses were so occluded at the moment, including her sense of time, that she would have believed almost any length if told. A tear fell down her cheek into her cup. She had been so happy when Shiki had gone out for the first time in a while, concerned, but happy…

Though now…

Not again damn it, not again.

With an easy motion she set down her cup and looked back to Kohaku, giving the maid a silent shake of her head no. The redheaded maid bowed politely and slipped back into the house, leaving Akiha alone with her thoughts again.

It had been so long, had felt like so long, since last October, since the war of her brothers, since Shiki had come home almost nightly with some wound or another. Something in that war had so saddened her brother, but he never truly told her what it was. He had lost friends and family in that battle. The two new women, one blue haired, one blonde, had disappeared that last night and one of them had taken Shiki’s heart with her. After meeting them at the amusment park in the days before the battle Akiha had an idea which one he missed more, but still, that her brother wouldn’t let her in, let her help, hurt her deeply.

And now it had come to this. More wars, more battles, different powers this time, but somehow all the same. She could only hope brother came back at least somewhat intact from this one. That wasn’t too much to ask was it?

With a sigh the lady of the house put on her sternest face. Brother should be coming home any time now. If he wasn’t she’d have to send Kohaku out to bring him back yet again. Slipping back into the house she rested her head in a slightly shaking hand. Why did brother have to be so complicated?


Shiki carried himself slowly up the hill back towards home. As he passed the coffee vending machine on the way he felt eyes on him. Too tired to bother with anything but a direct threat he continued on his way.

From the alley beside the vending machine two sets of eyes were watching, and one pair of something else. Tiny droplets of blue fell from glowing blue pits as their owner shook his head lightly to control their build up. The second set of eyes, from a figure further back in the darkness turned to the first with concern.

“Don’t” Balance said quietly, holding a hand up, “I’ll be fine, for now.”

“You don’t look it.” a deep voice responded from the shadows,.

“I’ll hold together.”

“Well then, the plan?” the deep voice queried.

“Do I really ever have one?” Balance quipped back.

“I’m not certain if you have one for yourself.” the deep voice returned, but there was a soft sound of leather moving, as if someone was shifting his weight, “But I’m sure you have one for us.”

Balance glanced back and smirked “It’s ok, I just need you to watch for anything unexpected.”

“We should keep an eye on the players then.” the deep voice said, in understanding, “And you, we really should stand by you in the next battle.”

“Oh hell no.” the injured warrior said with emphasis, “I need you guys alive, even hurt I’m probably the only one that could stand up in the first fight, and I’m the only one I’ll have fight the second.”

“Still we should stand by to help.”

“Do what you want, but don’t follow me down south.”

With a nod the hidden figure leapt away in a blur of red and black. Looking back Balance smirked at the third figure in the alley. A small blond boy with red eyes smiled back at him.

“And what do you want?” Balance jibed at the kid.

“So you’re really going to do it eh?”

“Yeah, it’s about time isn’t it?”

The boy smiled, turning his back and walking away, “You better put on a good show, I’ll be watching too you know.”

Balance smiled, “Oh that older fellow will get all the fight he wants and more.” he replied as the youth disappeared, “Wasn’t expecting another one of you around, wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Section 15 End,


Well this took a while to work out, but it seems to have gone well enough. I'm hoping I start to pick up some interest sooner or later.

The next part will take some work and I have to speak with some people about it. Especially Inugami which might take a while cause he's not answering my PM's. On and off a lot lately eh? I'll have to chat on a few other projects as well, but that's for another time.

Satsuki's 2nd Focus Arc comes next.

Kieran
May 5th, 2011, 09:36 PM
All right - I wonder who he's talking to . . .?

MrTags
May 8th, 2011, 09:09 PM
Wow, that was a LOT of reads(since last I looked). Or at least pageviews.

And yet nobody has the foggiest idea who was in that conversation? Perish the thought. Someone must know. Anybody got a guess? Clue? Idea?

Still waiting on Inugami. Oughta switch his name from tornado wolf to glacial wolf lately. ^_^ he must be really busy. Hope he's alright.

Kieran
May 8th, 2011, 09:44 PM
One of them, I'd guess, is Merm - but no idea who the others are or might be.

MrTags
May 20th, 2011, 11:19 PM
Just blazed out twice this much tonight. Let's see how well this is recieved. We've got fanfic alert.

This focus arc is split into three parts since it's a rather long one. The itilicized portions are excerpted from Elton John and Eric Clapton's Runaway Train.

Let's get down to it. Like it or not nothing is going to stop this.



Character Focus, Satsuki's Story,
Part Two A: Past and Future

I’ve poured it out

I’ve dealt with it

So why does it always seem a shotguns chance?

Nothing hits harder…

Today for all,

It started with a dream, a dream that ended in a scream. She didn’t know how or when she’d gotten her clothes on. Why she was in her school clothes. It didn’t matter, she had to flee. Get away from it. Get away from the nightmare, get away from the sights. Get away from all that death.

She was screaming and crying as she ran out the door. Someone tried to catch her, reach for her, but wasn’t fast enough to grab the small terrified girl. As fast as she was running, the possibility of anyone normal catching her was in doubt anyway.

Even running the vision was before her brown eyes.

------

Six months ago, yet for some, tomorrow,

The crumbled bodies littered the floor. All were coated, the walls with them, in blackened stains. The interior was splashed and covered with slowly dripping blood. None of the bodies were in the least bit whole. A few of the dead groaned lowly as they were torn away. Death as a certainty as life an impossibility. The black forms wove in amongst them, biting, tearing, feeding. In the darkness, the all encompassing darkness, everything was shades of grey and black. Black blood, grey walls, black beasts, nothing but shades of black and death.

A scream rang out as someone tried to dash for the front door but didn’t make it, pulled down in a tide of darkness. The shadows bearing fangs to tear them limb from limb. The hotel lobby was filled with the dead and soon to be.

A single standing figure strode through the blackened death like it was a perfectly clear, normal day. His pale face and hands, the only things visible through his thick, floor length coat, were also the only things coming close to white in the entire shadowed menagerie.

The first floor of the Century Hotel was his. The rest would soon follow. There was nothing to stop him. Nero Chaos was pleased. He fed well, and more food was ready and waiting.

There in the blackness hiding around a corner, two children. A tiny boy and a tiny girl. They were huddled together, making themselves as small as possible. Eyes closed and trying to hold out the horror around them they tried for all the world to wish away what lay beyond their sealed tight eyelids.

“Daddy… Mommy…”

“Sis…”

A foot lands next to them, and from it something was freed. A crunch can be heard around the room. A section of floor and wall vanish into nothingness, as if crushed into a tiny mote then absorbed by the black beast above them.

Nero Chaos cocked an eyebrow as he looked down to where the children were. From his throat he utters the first part of a word he has given voice to in the entire approach to his quarry…

“Eh?”

-----

Her scream reaches its peak. Her feet race along the street towards town. Not again, she didn’t want to see that again. The images in her mind, right behind her eyes, drive her to the brink of madness. She doesn’t even notice where she’s running or how fast.

She has to go, she has to get away from the pain.

But something changes in her waking dream. She slows a second… her eyes blink. What is it, what is happening?

The past bends to a new will.

-----

He heard the hiss first. A vicious angry hiss, yet there was something in it. There was something human, a roar of quiet, incensed rage, hidden in there. The hiss itself wouldn’t have sounded out of place rising from the throat of a hell beast, yet that roar behind it. Something was here, something human but more.

Nero Chaos wheeled about and found the shadows were raging at him. Before the dead apostles surprised eyes the two children he had just missed sat, unconscious, in a pair of arms extending from a otherwise formless mass of shadow blacker then the night itself. A pair of eyes opened, then a mouth smiled at him through clenched teeth. It was a wicked, frightful grin, that looked so out of place resting as it was near the peacefully sleeping children.

Chaos’s eyebrow peaked again. Some of his meals were gone. Every human with even a spark of life left had vanished into the shadows, pulled away from one maw into the depths of a darker night. Someone was warping the shadows here. Someone had come.

“You have a job to do.” the mouth in the shadows scolded in an enraged hiss, “And this isn’t part of it.”

It was if the words themselves gave the body form. Like some fiendish Cheshire cat a human blended out of the shadows, spread low, his chin almost on the ground, a babe in each arm. The darkness clothing him in black the man stared up at Nero with undisguised contempt.

“You??” Nero gasped, “What are you doing here?”

“My job, to protect, unlike you.” the man spit back.

“Are you here to protect the princess?”

The human shot a feral grin at the vampire, “She can well handle herself, these people aren’t her problem, they’re mine.” he said, “But I warn you, stray from your mission and nothing will keep me from getting involved, and not even you could stand against that.”

“You can not blame those of my body for being hungry.” Nero retorted defensively, “They will attack anyone near them.”

“I’ll deal with what I need to deal with.” the man growled, his eyes glowing blue, “But if I see you directing your… parts… to the uninvolved again, it will be, ugly.”

The dead apostle anscestor turned and headed for the stairs, “Do what you must then.” he growled unapologetically, “And so will I.”

With a hiss the deepest shadows receeded taking the living with them.

----

The splash of water against her legs woke her for a second. She could feel a pull on her, directing her into the city. It was powerful, inexorable…

What was this, what were these changes. What hand had reached in. Was it safe? Why did it feel even darker than what surrounded her already. She couldn’t stand it, not again, not the dream and not anything worse.

She’d heard all this, heard it described. Was this her pennance for being flippant. Was the result of her not taking pity on her other side.

Oh no… were those fangs?

----

“Daddy no, the lights went out.” the little schoolgirl called out, looking back in the room, “I ran all the way back here!”

Satsuki Yumizuka glanced around, trying to fix that uncomfortable feeling she had in the back of her mind. There was something out there, something scary, and it wasn’t just the darkness. Her family was back in the room. She’d let her parents get closer without her around but now without the lights and all that…

Was that a scream?

“I thought I heard something?” Satsuki whimpered, holding her hands up under her chin and instinctively making herself smaller, “Did you hear that?”

Where was Tohno? Where was Shiki. Was this a pinch? Her heart was pounding out of her chest. She looked up and down the hall. There was no one there in the darkness.

“Hey, what are you doing out here?”

Satsuki almost jumped out of her loafers as someone came up behind her. Quickly she wheeled around. There was no way anyone was there. She’d just looked in that direction and her room was in the middle of the hall. How had… Hmm, not bad…

There glowering at her, his hands on his hips was a young fellow just barely older than she was, dressed casually like he was just going out or something. He was tallish, slightly foreign looking, with dark hair and a light complexion. Caucasian maybe? It was hard to tell since he was just outside the emergency lighting.

“DOWN!” the boy’s shout scared her. He moved so fast. There was a growling behind her. The shadows were tinged with a little red, or was it little red dots… eyes? He reached for her, so fast… she was tossed into her room like a doll. He was strong, wow was he strong. There was a roar… and did her Mom scream something.

Satsuki turned back. She could hear her father moving in the dark… and under the emergency light in the hall was the boy….

Wrestling with a monster. A dog, but what a dog some big black wolf thing with… were those glowing red eyes. What was that? What could that be? What was that big what was that…

SMASH…

Ok, she had the answer to what was that strong at least. The boy had gotten his hand on the beasts muzzle and crushed the thing against the wall so hard the plaster cratered.

Then there was another one. It hit him in the back. Was that a cat? When did they make cats that big with teeth that big. The boy wheeled on it and cracked its skull with an elbow. At least she thought he cracked it’s skull. Heads didn’t just kind fold in on themselves like that right?

“IN THERE CLOSE THE DOOR NOW!” he roared. Satsuki reached out for him. She could hardly understand what was going on. What was he doing. Why did he want to be out there with all that death?? All that screaming. Satsuki realized there was screaming, there was a lot of screaming and horrible noises.

“Daddy I’m scared.” she managed to croak. Her mother, hardly visible in the dark, wrapped her arms around her. Satsuki clung like a baby. To her surprise her father stepped into the light. There was a moment she could swear he was looking into the boys eyes, there was such a pleading look there. More beasts were at the door, on the boy. Daddy couldn’t… he couldn’t…

And the door was slammed shut. That’s when it really started. The roaring the crying out, the mewling and screaming and smashing and crunching and and and… and all of it. It was a war. It was a war out there.

Was her new savior, her new Tohno going to die in that dark mess. Under the light of an emergency lamp? Was that even possible?


-----

She screamed as she ran. Her hands were held over her ears. It wasn’t just alleys anymore. She ran down sidewalks, streets. She ran past people, shoved them aside. Some seemed to go oddly further than others. Some slumped down, were they hurt?

What was happening in her head. What was it? Her parents? Were they hurt? No she’d just left them home. It had been just a few moments ago she’d run out hadn’t she? Why did it feel like hours? Maybe she’d been out longer than she thought? She couldn’t tell anything anymore. She just couldn’t tell.

The roaring, the screaming was in her head. The pain and battle and rage and fear were all mixing together. It was so hard to keep any focus. She was scared. She was scared for herself? Maybe she was scared for someone? She couldn’t tell anymore.

Screaming along she ran back into the alleys.


-----

Is it out of control?

Out of my hands?

How do I get a grip?

Nothing hits harder

It was impossible, but she could feel the pressure from those beasts now. The hate and the anger. She looked to her parents. They couldn’t feel it, she knew they couldn’t. There was something new in her. Something felt different, being near those beasts. Had one touched her. A tiny drop of blood had run down her face but no one else had seen it.

Yes she could feel it out there. She could feel the tide and feel it turning. She could almost see him, leaping, killing, contorting. An entire war fought a hall not ten feet across. There was nothing… nothing beyond this one. She felt it. She could feel it.

“Wha…” Satsuki stammered, looking over her shoulder, “Something… close that window!”

Her parents looked back. The balcony window was open. It was such a little thing. Such a small thing. Why would it matter now. There was nothing out there but the darkness, and a piece of deeper black.

Red eyes opened in the night as a bird the size of a hang glider ripped into their room. Satsuki screamed. Her mother pulled her down tighter. Her father tried to leap out of the way.

The door to the room burst open. Satsuki looked up and saw it. It was a tiger. It was all black. It was flying.

The two beasts met each other in midair. The greater mass of the great cat barreled into the giant bird and both of them went smashing back through the balcony. They tumbled together, a mass of black fur and feathers before breaking the guardrail and screeching over and out of sight.

“Oh yeah! Got it in one!” the boy’s voice called out from behind them then changed timbre as he started getting piled on, “AH SHIT! Close the door! Close the door!”

The door got slammed in his face again.

----

She stopped her run. She felt clearer inside calmer. The call was there and she could somewhat locate it. Nothing was driving her now though. No fear… no pain… The anguish was gone.

Something had changed. It was going right again. Wasn’t it?

----

to be continued

Kieran
May 21st, 2011, 07:51 AM
. . . O - K . . . Not quite sure I grasp it all. I'll wait and see what the next one does.

MrTags
May 22nd, 2011, 08:30 PM
Yeah I can see that. This was easier for me to write, but... Well handling Crossings switching between two versions of events constantly might prove confusing for some, but this part also jumps back in forth in time as well.

Not only that but it's coming from the mind's eye view of a confused, scared, panicking sixteen year old girl(older in some versions) which adds on to the difficulty level. She's repeating things and focusing oddly trying to hold on to something in a situation going downhill and getting more frightening by the moment.

I can see where you're having problems, but it gets easier taking it from whence it comes.

Inugami
May 22nd, 2011, 09:03 PM
Finally made the time to read this.

Arc was really cute. Ciel's part was cool. Everything else is confusing.

Kieran
May 23rd, 2011, 11:29 PM
What he said. :)

MrTags
May 23rd, 2011, 11:40 PM
Character Focus, Satsuki's Story,
Part 2 B: Explosion of Rage

“Are you alright?”

“Are you alright?” the voice pressed.

Satsuki looked up dazed. For a moment the boy was there, asking her a question, but then the image resolved into just another emergency worker. The lights flashing everywhere were bothering her. Someone was yelling. She just sat on the concrete and didn’t answer. The blanket over her shoulders felt heavy.

Where was her mother? Where was her father. She’d gotten separated in the rush out of the building. When the sirens had started the halls had cleared. Someone had called something and now they were all over.

Sitting on the sidewalk across the street from the hotel she looked up dazedly. It was such a mess. Something had taken off part of the top floor since last time she saw it, and left a big scratch on the wall all the way down to the bottom.

She waved off the person above her annoyed. Couldn’t they mind their own business. It was so sad, so sad. She was in her pinch again and Tohno hadn’t been there to help her. She had to rely on a stranger. She just bet Tohno could have done a better job.

“Maybe a Tohno could…”

She looked up. Something wasn’t right. Was that pressure, that horrible pressure back? No, something was there, but it was different this time. Someone was calling her?

“Hey, over here.”

Her eyes were drawn to a figure in the doorway of the hotel. Someone was there, by the men rushing in and out. Someone who went completely unnoticed. Someone with grey hair. She got such a familiar feeling. Was that like Shiki? The figure beaconed her. She just had to follow.

Getting up she crossed back over the street. She passed the police. They didn’t even seem to see her. She just had to follow.

----

There's a hungry road I can only hope's
Gonna eat me up inside.
There's a drifting spirit coming clean
In the eye of a lifelong fire.

NO! No don’t!

Something in her mind was screaming. The pain was back. Something bad, something bad was going to happen. It was too much for her.

The draw was stronger now and she shambled along the wall. Stumbling almost like a drunk she weaved her way out past the sidewalk. She’d have to cross the street to get where she was going. The street was so bright. It bothered her eyes.

----

Something small in Satsuki’s head called out to her. It pointed out something was wrong. She ignored it. Something in her had such hope. That boy smelled like Shiki. He felt like Shiki. Had her Shiki come for her at last.

Up the stairs she went. Past the cordons and past the police. She went up and passed dead bodies, in pieces and parts. None of it seemed to concern her. The little wound on her head throbbed. Why was it hurting her now for some reason? Something in her had felt its like and wanted to come out.

She found the floor, went in. The boy slipped into a room down the hall. She followed as closely as she could, but he felt like a ghost, always beyond her reach.

Then he was there. He’d chosen a distant room, a conference room high up in the hotel. The back wall was gone, letting in the starlight. Wisplike curtains floated in spectral splendor from the walls and in the middle of all this grey was the most beautiful of all. The boy was there, grey hair and clothes. He smiled, flexing his bandages slightly and reached out his arms for her.

Satsuki smiled. It was like coming home. A hand was offered and she almost floated across the room to take it.

Tell monday I'll be around next week;
I'm running ahead of my days.
In the shotgun chance that scattered us,
I've seen the error of my ways.

----

No! Stay away! Stay away from him.

She almost screamed it out loud as she wobbled on her feet. The pain was so intense. Something was splitting in her head. One thing, one thing. An image appeared. A lonely desolate place. What was that? What is it?

There was something behind her. Bright lights.

Well we've wrapped ourselves in golden crowns
Like sun gods spitting rain.
Found a way home written on this map
Like red dye in my veins.

-----

His mouth was opening. Satsuki smiled. Was he going to say something? Why were his teeth so big? Why were they so sharp.

The boys eyes were red. Were they supposed to be like that.

The pain spiked in her brain. A lonely vista flashed across her sight for just a moment before the picture of the boy returned, but it wasn’t a boy anymore. Oh he was still as young but… but… His teeth… his teeth.

His mouth was open. His teeth, fangs were out. They closed around her neck.

No no no no no no no no… this wasn’t happening no!

Why? Why didn't he protect me?

In the hardest times that come around,
The fear of losing grows.
I've lost and seen the world shut down;
It's a darkness no one knows.

----

She wheeled around. It was a car. A sports car was closing on her. The speed was too much. She could barely see through the pain in her head.

She knew she was going to die.

The driver hadn’t seen her. He was swerving around. Totally drunk. He was bombed out of his mind.

How could this happen?

How could this happen to her?

Was this all there was for her?

Why? Why didn't he protect me?

----

The fangs pierced her neck. The pain, she didn’t want to feel the pain.

----

The car bore down on her

-
This wasn’t it. This wasn’t how it would end.

TO HELL WITH IT!

Brown Eyes turned red...
-

The pain in her mind burst. There was fire. There was fire.

And I've poured out the pleasure! and dealt with the pain!
I'm standing in a station waiting in the rain!

The vampire’s eyes opened wide reflecting the huge wall of flame that had burst from the first drop of his victims blood.

I'm starting to feel a little muscle again,

He fled from the impossibility he knew was to come.

But love is lost like a runaway train.

----

The small fingers of a tiny hand curled into a little fist.

I'm out of control and out of my hands.
I'm tearing like a demon through no man's land.

That little fist came smashing down, half in resentment half in rage. The front of the car couldn’t take it, buckling inwards. The ground couldn’t take it, smashing into a crater.

I'm trying to get a grip on my life again.

That small girl straightened up slightly. She stood tall in a crater of her own making, eyes shut, head down. There was a scream of metal under stress. The car, flipping end over end as it soared through the air landed in a heap of twisted wreckage behind her.

Nothing hits harder than a runaway train.

To be Continued...

Kieran
May 23rd, 2011, 11:46 PM
So Vampire Satsuki can take out cars?

MrTags
May 23rd, 2011, 11:48 PM
Oddly enough that was HUMAN Satsuki... but not for much longer.

Erlkonig
May 24th, 2011, 06:21 AM
*Reads Chapter 1*

AWESOME-

...Wait, what does Gil have to do with Sacchin?

Anyway, I liked the first chapter (I like pretty much everything), but I can't help but notice that you repeated many sentences several times in the same paragraph. Why is that?

MrTags
May 24th, 2011, 03:16 PM
Oh the first chapter is a recreation of I think the 9th and 10th tablet of the epic of gilgamesh. They wrote like that back then. Every single damm person repeated the same line in length. I was making small jokes about it thought the piece. The last person's line is a joke on the whole epic, a bit of a "why don't you just come out and say what you mean" thing.

I admit it's a little deeper(and more confusing) than I'd have liked to have started, that first chapter was added on about halfway through, but that interaction between Gilgamesh and the person he met on that date is important later in the story.

As for what Gilgamesh has to do with Satsuki... Well I'm using a lot of characters from both Fate and Tsukihime through this. The roster of players is pretty damm long. Arc, Shiki, Archer, Saber, Gil, KoGil(already showed up if you look deep), Zelretch, Satsuki, Akiha, the maids, hell even Guitar Angel showed up once in the "ancient past" skit that I'm saving for closer to the end.

BTW, here's the 9th and 10th tablet to compare the writing type. (http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab9.htm)

Erlkonig
May 25th, 2011, 05:23 PM
Oh the first chapter is a recreation of I think the 9th and 10th tablet of the epic of gilgamesh. They wrote like that back then. Every single damm person repeated the same line in length. I was making small jokes about it thought the piece. The last person's line is a joke on the whole epic, a bit of a "why don't you just come out and say what you mean" thing.

I admit it's a little deeper(and more confusing) than I'd have liked to have started, that first chapter was added on about halfway through, but that interaction between Gilgamesh and the person he met on that date is important later in the story.

As for what Gilgamesh has to do with Satsuki... Well I'm using a lot of characters from both Fate and Tsukihime through this. The roster of players is pretty damm long. Arc, Shiki, Archer, Saber, Gil, KoGil(already showed up if you look deep), Zelretch, Satsuki, Akiha, the maids, hell even Guitar Angel showed up once in the "ancient past" skit that I'm saving for closer to the end.

BTW, here's the 9th and 10th tablet to compare the writing type. (http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab9.htm)

Oh, I see. That's good; you made an effort in order to manage to make the writing close to the tablets. I think that's nice.

MrTags
May 25th, 2011, 05:31 PM
Thanx Erik. Heh, there's a lot of in deep jokes like that. I probably should stop making so many injokes, not a lot of people are in and have read stuff like the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Woot, 1000 views. Thanx much my adoring public. Just for you guys Fic alert!



Character Focus, Satsuki's Story,
Part 2 Final: Finding One's Self


----

The wind howled. It was whipping around him violently, threatening to pull his grip away from the wall. Roa/SHIKI could care less. That had been close, too close.

He couldn’t be blamed for surprise of course. None of his victims before had ever awoken to a reality marble in the midst of his feeding. The girl’s contact with Nrvnqsr’s soil of genesis marble may have primed her. His own introducing of vampiric power to her veins had definitely awakened it.

Holding tight to the wall just above the room he’d just hurriedly vacated the vampire gazed down onto the blazing edge of the girls reality marble. The area where the power contacted the universe was a broiling sea of flame. He couldn’t see into the room at all. Whatever it was, the whole situation was ripe with possibility.

With a flick of his wrist SHIKI/Roa sailed off across the city, laughing manically.


The fear was receding. She could control herself again. Satsuki sadly looked up to the forlorn landscape of her own creation. Nothing but darkness and desolation as far as the eyes could see. Her own depletion garden left her feeling chilled to the soul as a spectral wind blew dead leaves past her shivering body.

With a sigh she let go of her fear, and the landscape that went with it. The edge of the blaze fell inward, sucking back into her young soul, and with that Satsuki fell to her knees, head in her hands. Tears fell to the ground along with a slight drip of blood. She moved a hand from her face to clasp the bleeding. It wasn’t much but it bothered her.

A rain of dust began to drift through the air and she looked up. The room itself was coated with a thick layer of ash. Satsuki shook her head sadly as it flitted down. She couldn’t explain what had happened. She didn’t even think she wanted to.

Standing wearily the young girl staggered out of the room and back into her life.

----

The hissing woke her back up. She shook off the remnants of that dream that had been bothering her like the last bits of morning dew. Looking around she blanched as she found some parts of what she’d seen were real.

The hissing… That hissing was coming from the remains of a wrecked mini-sports car. The crumpled ruin sat behind her, and she found herself waist deep in a crater. The whole scene was covered in a layer of ash. For a moment she wondered where that had come from.

The panicked girl looked around. There was some commotion on the street. If it hadn’t been so late there would have probably been a lot more attention paid to her. As it was a small group of people were gathered on the sidewalk whispering to one another.

Satsuki gasped. With a panicked little shriek she climbed out of the hole and ran away from all the people. This was definitely not the place to be anymore.

----

Yawning lazily the vampire Satsuki Yumizuka cracked her neck and stretched. It was odd for her to sleep away any part of the night. As a creature of darkness such frivolity didn’t really fit. She was getting hungry already and it didn’t make sense to waste the late hours dozing. Shifting over she slid herself out of the light coming from over a wall mounted payphone she’d been using as a lure to hunt the unwary.

The dream she had was also something of a bother. A few times she’d just recalled the events of her becoming a vampire, but that last time. The last dream was something different entirely. She couldn’t explain it, and the parts of it she’d seen that she hadn’t even been there to watch. Licking her fangs the young vampire pondered what she’d seen and tried to figure out what it meant. Nothing like that had ever happened before, but it was just one more unexplained event in her continuously spiraling life. She decided to put the whole thing to the back of her mind.

Expanding her senses over the local area she got an earful of horns and traffic snarling. Some idiots must have gotten into an accident nearby. The smell of fear and sound of whispering assailed her senses. It must have been a rather odd accident. Maybe she could pick off an onlooker or two.

There was another sound that perked her interest. The sound of running feet. Someone was coming towards her, quickly, and rather deliberately.

Standing up the vampire prepared to greet her guest. Fangs glistened in the light as she slipped back into the shadows, only her red eyes showing. The sound of running came down the alley and stopped just at the edge of sight. The vampire blinked in surprise.

Before her, gasping and out of breath, was a grey figure of her, with one exception, one with her own red eyes…

“There you are.” the human said, gasping for breath, “I can feel you, in my heart.”

“Hrmm?” the vampire remarked, slipping out of the shadows, “You’re back again? What do you want?”

The human Satsuki kicked a small rock and rubbed the back of her head, “I was led here.” she admitted, “Something’s happening with me, I think I’m becoming something.”

“Something?” the vampire had little time for vagueness, she crossed her arms, “Like what?”

“Like you!” the human blurted out, waving her arms in a panic, “I think I just killed somebody!”

“Pfft, I just killed somebody.” the vampiric Satsuki said with a grin, lowering herself to all fours and flashing her fangs, “He was yummie.”

“Hmm?”

The human glanced around, looking almost embarrassed, “You’re lying.” she replied, “You were asleep, having a dream. I saw it.”

“Aww you’re no fun.” vampire Yumizuka grumbled, standing up, “You’re too hard to scare away.”

“But… but… but….” human Satsuki blurted, running up to her counterpart and grabbing her hands, “You can’t want rid of me, I need you!”

“What are you talking about?!”

The vampire ripped her hands out of her opposite’s oddly strong grasp, growling “You can’t need me, I’m just a monster.”

“You’re me as a monster, and and look at me.” the human wailed, pointing at her eyes, “You’re bleeding into me. I can run real fast, I’ve got fangs sometimes, and I wrecked a car with a punch.”

“You what?”

“It was cool, kinda… don’t think the people in the car liked it much.” the human admitted like she was giving up a secret. The vampire looked like she could cry.

“Aww no, no no no no no no…” she groaned, “This isn’t right, why does it have to go this way?”

“What’s wrong?”

“YOU! You are. Damn, DAMN!” the vampire raged, “Another hope spoiled, why me why always me.”

“Uhm, me too you know.” the human side pointed out.

“But no, you had it all, the friends, the family… you weren’t a monster. You had everything I wanted. It was great knowing there was a me out there that made it, and now look at you.”

The human Satsuki looked herself over on reflex. She was a little dirty to be sure, but that dust had gotten in everything earlier at the car wreck. It’s not like she could be blamed for being a bit disheveled. Hell she was sure she looked better than some people would have in the same situation!

“I don’t think I look all that bad.”

“You’re eyes are red.”

“Well your’s are too… you’ve got major Visine eyes there!” the human chided, “I wasn’t gonna say anything but whew.”

The bloodsucking side glared at her human half, getting uncomfortably close, “It’s because I’m a vampire!” she growled, pointing at her eyes to mark each word.

“Oh I see… does that make me a vampire too?” the human Satsuki sounded rather sheepish.

“I hope not but probably.” the vampire grumbled, turning away from her human side.

“Maybe we’re merging!” the human cried out like it was some realization.

“Merging? Like we’re cars on a highway.” the vampire grumbled, turning again, “Like fu-shun-HA merging, like we’re gonna go whoop-die and become one person all of a sudden.”

“It might be cool… look at Arihiko.”

“No no, don’t look at Arihiko, whatever happened to him was just freaky, and half of him wasn’t a vampire.”

“Like we’re not kinda freaky already?” human Satsuki pointed out, “Look, maybe that dream…”

“Dreams are dreams, they stay dreams.”

“Not all of them.”

“Really you’re bumming me out.”

“I’m sorry.” the human Satsuki looked defeated, “But who knows what would happen if we did merge like Arihiko…”

“Not my problem.” the vampire side grunted.

“But that boy…”

“There are no damn heroes.”

“That boy saved us!”

“And yet look at me, I’m still a vampire.”

“But I’m not totally human anymore. Maybe this is what’s supposed to happen.” the human said, grasping at straws.

“Just get away from me.” the vampire retorted, “Go back home to your happy house with your happy mommy and happy daddy and just get away from me. Hell maybe if you get far enough away your eyes will go back to normal.”

“Oh NO!” Satsuki’s human side gasped, “Mommy, Daddy! I ran out on them!”

“Over there.” the vampire motioned to the phone on the alley wall, “Go give them a ring or they’ll be worried sick about you.”

“Oh no, oh no…” the human Satsuki mumbled worriedly as she hurried over to the phone and dropped some coins into it, “I’m gonna get killed, I’m gonna get so totally killed.”

“Shouldn’ta come looking for trouble.” the vampire said with a shrug, leaning against the opposite alley wall.

“Mom!” the human shouted into the receiver, “Yeah Yeah! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I know! I know! I’m sorry for scaring you, I just got so scared. Of what? Uhm.. Uhm…”

The vampire Satsuki grimaced. There was something, she heard something. Her vampire senses were so sharp, so attuned. What was bothering her?

“Bad dreams! Bad dreams! Yeah that’s it!”

A tear rolled down the vampire’s cheek. What was it? What was causing her such trouble? There was something, it was filtering in and out of her senses. There was something she hadn’t heard in so long.

“Oh… oh my…” the vampire whispered to herself. Was that? Was that even possible. She hadn’t heard anything at first. Could she? Was it possible?! Could she really!!?

The human Satsuki let out a little eep as her vampire side grabbed her and pushed her out of the way, yanking the phone out of her hand in the process. Confused the girl looked up at her grey counterpart as the vampire brought the phone up to her ear. She couldn’t believe it. The vampire was shaking.

“M-m-moommmmmyyy??!” the vampire spouted out, barely holding in her emotion. The call must have really confused her mother. There was an odd noise over the phone. Her mother must have really said something loud.

“Hey!” the human Satsuki called out, getting back up, “What are you doing? Why did you do that?”

“I lost you, I miss you! Is that really you?”

Human Satsuki stopped short. The vampire had fallen to her knees and was looking at her through the widest most soulful eyes she’d ever seen her other half manage. She looked so sad. In an instant the vampire’s story ran back through her mind. She’d seen her mother die right in front of her and had barely registered it till afterwards. That she could speak to her now…

"My mommy!!!!" the vampire side cried, "I can hear my mommy!!"

Tears ran down human Satsuki's cheeks, matching her vampire self. She closed her eyes, seeing bits and pieces of what she had thought was a dream. Somehow, he'd changed it... somehow it would all work out. She knew what she had to do. She wasn’t damning herself like her other half thought. She was saving them both.

"Thank you." she whispered silently to no one in particular, then knelt down before her vampire self and held out a hand. The crying self styled monster, looking more like a sad little girl than the human side ever thought she'd felt, brought her gaze up to meet that little girl she never thought she would be again. She panted, out of breath, unable to cry any more.

"Come on." the human called softly, "Let's go out, maybe take a walk in the sun, maybe get a date, or get something yummy to eat. Let's go home."

"It's alright... if the maybes don't all come true?" the vampire questioned back, "If maybe we can't go out, if maybe mom and dad aren't there..."

"Hope is better right?" Satsuki asked, her cheeks still slick with tears, "It's all for tomorrow, hope for tomorrow."

"Yeah..." the vampire reached out and took her hand.

For a Brighter Tomorrow

----

A hand reached up and grabbed the phone.

“Mommy?” a small voice called out. There was a commotion on the other end of the line.

“Yeah, I’m sorry…” she said, “I was a bit confused, it’s been an odd night, but a good one.”

The voice on the other end of the line was still just as concerned.

“I’ll be coming home soon, I’m still really close by.” Satsuki remarked into the phone, “I’m sorry to have worried you! And mommy, thanks for being there for me.”

With parting words the little girl set the receiver back down. Taking a deep breath she sampled the night air. It was time to go home. In a bounding leap she cleared the alley and the next street. She’d been far from home for a long time, but now, now she couldn’t, wouldn’t ever be that far again.


Satsuki, Part Two: Finish


Oh the next part... Shudder... this is gonna hurt. There's stuff that needs to be done and I don't like the writing of any of it. Given that everyone's gonna love it.

Erlkonig
May 25th, 2011, 05:39 PM
I don't what just happened (Haven't read the rest of the fic), all I know is that this was heart-warming.

Paean
May 26th, 2011, 07:10 AM
Self-talk is a good thing. Excellent work, Tags. ^_^b

Kieran
May 26th, 2011, 07:29 AM
That was sweet, in a semi-disturbing way. :)

Inugami
May 26th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Dammit to hell.

I finally look at and answer Tag's email asking me for advice about this scene, and today I look at see he's already written it while I kept him waiting.

I am a heel.


*sigh* Well, let's read this and see what he came up.

Inugami
May 27th, 2011, 03:55 PM
Yeah, that worked out just fine.

And the ideas in my reply might still be in time.


When did v-Satsuki's parents die, though?

MrTags
May 27th, 2011, 04:40 PM
Vampire Satsuki's parents originally died by Nero Chaos's beasts in his attack on Century hotel. At least that's how I'm portraying it. I'm working with a lack of information on how things went down in the VN for her parents, they didn't seem to even be mentioned there, while in both manga and anime realities they did just fine save a bit of illness.

If one notes it, the entire effect of the timeline alter was actually to make sure they'd be there for Satsuki, since she'd have "lived" through the attack anyway.

I like your ideas on the Depletion Garden subject, and though Satsuki's role in this story is just about done... at least as a major player, there's plenty of other stuff she's slated to do in the next one. I just have to get my timeline for Tatari's appearence in Misaki down. I don't know if I have time to do everything I need to before the @#$% hits the fan. Though I suppose a TV vs. HV Sacchin showdown would be something of interest.

Ergh, my head hurts trying to figure out the events of the next day. The rest of this night and the next are pretty much set out, but this day is causing me effing headaches.

Erlkonig
May 27th, 2011, 04:43 PM
Good luck, Tags, may you recieve inspiration by Divine providence or elsehow.

MrTags
May 29th, 2011, 08:53 PM
I just whipped up this little segment to finish up the night and get myself on to the tougher problems that tomorrow brings. Short and sweet this time guys.


Crossings, Section 16 Begin:

There was a dragging noise. Akiha scowled down the walk to the main gate, her look of displeasure easily bridging the gap between herself and the people who had just appeared there.

Shiki, having just pulled up inside the gate with Kohaku supporting him, simply smiled at her and rubbed the back of his head with embarrassment. Hisui padded out the door to help her sister.

“Uhm… I’m home.” he called lamely with that small smile.

Akiha crossed her arms and let out a harrumph, turning her head away angrily while speaking, “That’s all you can say for yourself brother? I would think you’d have some more explaining to do.”

Shiki drooped a little in his pained step as he got to the end of the walk with the maids and started up the stairs. He didn’t seem to be in much mood for conversation, that much was apparent. The way he slouched made Akiha look him over a bit closer.

“What happened to you?” she gasped. Shiki just shrugged.

Kohaku lifted a hand to Akiha, showing her just what she’d picked up by only helping Shiki along so far. Her fingers and palm were slicked with black ichors and blood.

“Lady Akiha, I’m sorry, I’m not sure this is the time to press…” the maid started. She was cut short by Akiha charging up to them and taking Shiki’s weight for herself.

“What the hell have you been doing brother?!” Akiha choked out, finding Shiki’s open jacket coated with rips, tears and all manor of foul black ooze, “ Kohaku, first aid quickly.”

“I’ll be alright Akiha.” Shiki assured his sister. The oriental dressed maid bowed and slipped inside as Akiha and Hisui pulled Shiki in behind her.

“You’ll be alright when I say you’re alright.” Akiha shot back, “You look like you’ve been through another war. Who did you find that you shouldn’t be handling alone this time brother? I swear I have to keep a closer eye on you.
.
Shiki slumped again, “It’s not as bad as it looks, not much of it is my blood this time.”

“How could you let him go out like this again Hisui.” Akiha shot a look to the maid.

“But Master Shiki is the Master.” Hisui returned. Akiha just shook her head. Shiki grinned slightly, the act wasn’t fooling him. Akiha was sure to know he’d left.

“Hisui, get brother’s bedclothes!” Akiha ordered as Kohaku hurried back with the first aid kit. The three lowered Shiki into a chair before Hisui padded away up the main stair to get Shiki’s garments.

Kohaku went to work quickly, peeling away Shiki’s blood soaked top and jacket, then dabbing at his cuts with a cotton swab of alcohol. Shiki winced at her but avoided being anything but a good patient. Akiha looked over the wounds as they were cleaned and nodded occasionally.

“See I told you.” Shiki muttered, leaning back into the chair from exhaustion.

“You shouldn’t press yourself with your anemia.” Akiha scolded, “Getting into life or death fights like this will do nothing but worry me.”

The stern sister looked towards the door as Shiki started to respond, and shushed him with a curt finger to the lips. Shiki didn’t seem able to continue so he lay back as Kohaku continued to treat his wounds. Akiha however stormed out the door and onto the front path where she met a familiar figure.

“What do you want?” the sister growled at the person standing there.

Out on the walk another woman waited, her arms crossed, face stern, “Is Tohno alright?” Ciel questioned, her burrier’s garb fluttering around her in the night breeze.

“So you’re back.” Akiha grumbled, ignoring the question, “You’re not welcome here trespasser.”

“Oh my, how unfriendly.” Ciel sing song’d, her arms held behind her as she shifted from one foot to the other, “I’m just here to check on Shiki, is that such a bad thing?”

“You could have asked him while he was out.” Akiha growled, glaring at the blue haired woman, “You got here before he did. You’re not fooling anyone.”

“I’m just here to see Shiki, not argue with his little sister.” Ciel retorted, trying to weave past Akiha. A quick burst of flame held the burrier short.

“He’s not taking visitors.” Akiha said with malice in her eyes and red in her hair, “You’ll be leaving now.”

“Hrmph, not the friendliest welcome.” Ciel grumbled with a grimace. She was still smart enough to leave it alone, turning around and leaping off into the night.

-----

Hisui padded up to Shiki’s room and opened the door. Bowing quickly to the occupant she slipped into the closet and grabbed a set of nightclothes.

“So Shiki’s home?”

The maid jumped slightly. With wide eyes she turned around and looked at Miss Arcueid. The True Ancestor was wearing one of Shiki’s bed tops and little else as she lazed on her bed.

“Uhm, you… well…” Hisui started awkwardly but then returned to her monotone best, “Yes Miss Arcueid, Master Shiki has just returned.”

“Goody!” Arcueid chirped happily. Hisui quickly took her leave.

-----

“What was that Akiha?” Shiki mumbled as his sister came back through the door and slammed it behind her.

“Solicitation.” Akiha brushed the question off brusquely.

“At this time of night huh?” even tired Shiki’s eyes still kept a knowing sparkle. Akiha just turned up her nose, crossed her arms and advanced on her brother.

“And so exactly what is it this time brother?” Akiha asked, her tone allowing no dissent or questioning.

“I really don’t feel up to this Akiha.” Shiki responded with a wince as Kohaku pulled something small and sharp from his side.

“And when will you feel, up to it?” Akiha returned in a with a scowl as she bent down to look at what Kohaku had pulled free from her brother, “Claws? Shiki we’ll not have much time to talk tomorrow morning, you know my schedule is busy now. You owe some explanation to the head of this household.”

Shiki turned his face downward, laying his head in a hand, “When I can figure it out in my head I’ll be sure to tell you.” he said solemnly, “All I know now is it’s about crossings.”

With a quick motion Kohaku finished placing a few sparse bandages over Shiki’s wounds. It took her only a few short moments to tape them up and she was done. She stood and smiled, looking over her expert handiwork.

“Crossings?” Akiha didn’t quite know what to make of it. Hisui had just reached the bottom of the stairs, coming up on everyone silently as usual. She handed Shiki his bedclothes and the wounded youth thanked her as he pulled himself up off the chair.

“Like I said, I’ll tell you when I figure it out.” Shiki remarked then headed up the stairs. His only thoughts at the moment were full of sleep. Kohaku turned and helped him.

“Come back to me when you’re done there Kohaku.” Akiha commanded, “I’ll need to have a word with you.”

“As you wish Lady Akiha.” the maid responded with a nod.

It didn’t take long for Kohaku to help Shiki into his room and close the door behind him. Thoughts and ideas rolled through Shiki’s head as he stood there changing into his bedclothes. He’d hated not telling Akiha everything, but at the moment he just hurt all over. With a sigh he collapsed on the bed.

-----

Arcueid rolled around on the bed, not fitfully but happily.

Where would he be??? Where would he be??? She tried one position, rethought it then tried another. Again and again she changed spots.

It was so hard cuddling up next to her Shiki without being able to see him…


At the same time, yet so far away it is just past noon.

He trundled through the bush, brushing the fronds of mutiple types of plant out of his way. The heat here was overwhelming, the sun beating down mercilessly. He took it all in stride. Such things were on his mind but had slipped into the background a while ago, replaced by the information he needed to track something, and his sense of location to help him keep on that track.

Balance scolwed as he looked at the scenery. It seemed a tad bit wrong Something was off in this forest. He smiled, that meant his quary was closer than he’d reconned . These feotid jungles weren’t exactly his favorite place to haunt but they weren’t the most horrible place he could think of… No that was coming up soon enough.

He noticed his sense of distance was off. That matched his expectations. A hundred yards could have been mistaken for miles the way he was going, and it wasn’t just the harsh conditions and forbidding foliage. No this was something completely different. The jungle was silent here, deathly silent.

He knelt down and pulled up a shoot from the ground. It felt wrong. With a movement of his fingers he cracked open what should have been a soft young plant. It was full of something that looked like glass to the naked eye.

Yep… that was just about right.

With a nod Balance stood up. Before him the jungle fell away, into a wide, distorted valley. The trees before him were deforned, sprouting at angles and with materials that were far from anything earthly. Their patterns and rows, mixed with spikes shooting from the ground, formed a number of concentric rings around a massive center many miles across.

The owner of the place, as if sensing a force other than it’s own, scuttled out of a secluded nook in the center of it’s vast palace. Standing up to it’s full height even such a large creature seemed tiny at such a distance.

Balance nodded, drawing his sword. He pulled it up and patted the flat of the blade against his shoulder a couple of times as he nodded. Here was the problem he was having. Something in the world too different from everything else to naturally fold into the newly created order, even though it was exactly the same creature on both sides of the rift.

Oh well, he’d have to handle that.

“Damn overgrown nexus spider.” he grumbled under his breath. His target chattered a response, as if it could hear him across the distance.

With nothing too it but to do it, Balance broke into a run straight into the Crystal Valley.

To be continued


Well that's that. Now off to the jungles might make more sense. Argh this is gonna hurt.

Kieran
May 29th, 2011, 10:25 PM
Well, good luck - and that last scene gave me flashbacks to the Silent Hill film.

MrTags
May 30th, 2011, 11:02 PM
That previous bit wasn't quite long enough, so I added the teaser to the next.

The earlier story post is just a bit longer. I think we all know why I said the jungle was gonna hurt.

Kieran
May 30th, 2011, 11:07 PM
Oh God - THAT?!

. . . Owwww.

Inugami
June 1st, 2011, 06:58 PM
Well, good luck - and that last scene gave me flashbacks to the Silent Hill film.
I know what you mean.

also, "It was so hard cuddling up next to her Shiki without being able to see him…"

Is just so damn cute.


Ouch. Taking on ORT?

TWICE?

MrTags
June 1st, 2011, 08:02 PM
More story time. You'll get it as I write enough to post. Hopefully I'll manage this day without too many problems, and Balance/David without too many broken bones.

Crossings, Section 17 Begin:


He crashed through the crystalline trees, batted aside the shards of webbing and spikes in his path, and made his way straight to the center of the vale. Blazing at full speed he readied his sword. In seconds he was near the lair, his last few steps taking him to open ground.

Glancing about Balance tried to figure out where he would find the creature he was hunting. He’d heard it was powerful, but not directly confrontational unless pressed. Size reports varied and he hadn’t been able to get a good look at it from up on the ridge outside the vale. Something in the area of thirteen to twenty feet long was the general agreement on the beasts dimension.

“Went back underground did it?” he wondered aloud. He hadn’t quite made it to the very middle of the web but he should be able to see it by now, or at least he thought so.

Then he heard the first crash. The ground began to shake under him and a flat silverfish disk bulged it’s way to the surface. Balance licked his lips, rubbed his hands and readied himself. Something was wrong though. The disk pushed its way out of the ground… and kept getting bigger. Soon he had to back up to keep off the thing. Whatever it was had to be larger than twenty feet.

With a terrible rending sound the disk stopped rising and righted itself before Balance. The warrior’s empty eyes almost swelled past their sockets as the monstrous, blue green and silver, many armed beast rose fully into sight.

“Oh… fuck me…”

He had found ORT, rather obviously. There was one slight problem though… Type Mercury wasn’t four meters long…

It was forty...



A little later,,,

SMACK!

Skid…skidskidskidskidskid… tumble… CRASH!

Balance looked up. He was on his back, resting spread eagle against the ruins of a tree in the midst of the jungle. Peeling himself off the ground he glanced back into the trail of dust and debris he’d left. Gathering himself he leapt up and ran back down into the massive crystal depression. No arachnid the size of a strip mall was going to get the better of him.

ORT hardly even turned. One giant appendage, wreathed with smoking green flame, whipped out.

SMACK!

Skid…skidskidskidskidskid…

Away from ORT’s body another long straight trail of dust and debris formed, joining the half dozen others still filtering down through the thick humid jungle air.

tumble… CRASH!

As the trail of debris made its way out of the crystal valley it hit the more solid forms of mighty jungle trees with a deafening smash. Balance looked up from his newly formed devestation. Blue glowing fluid leaked from his eyes and small rents in his body. With a motion of his hand those wounds closed and he stood again.

Ok… it was time to go over this.

Breaking into a run Balance leapt again into the valley.

He just had to hit it. One solid hit on the body with his sword. That was all he had to do.

He crossed the depression like a bolt of lightning. Holding his sword up higher this time.

ORT wasn’t an Earth creature so it wouldn’t cross over naturally. That could be handled though. If he could hit it hard enough in the body with his sword, a conceptual weapon, that ORT was forced, even slightly to reset it’s own concept…

ORT swung at him with an arm that seemed a mile long. Balance ducked it and continued inward.

…and if he could do that to ORT on both sides of the universal divide…

The giant beast set two arms after him this time, coming in at different directions and angles, strange directions impossible for any terrestrial creature to imagine, no less pull off.

…then ORT would fold into itself and stop holding the universes apart. He was certain of it, the effect would work. He just had to be able to DO it.

Leaping up Balance dodged over one arm and planted his feet into the ground before the other got to him. Bringing up his sword he barely managed to interpose it’s edge between him and the oncoming, tree trunk sized appendage. With a mighty clang the two edges met. Balance was pushed back, his feet furroughing the ground. ORT applied a huge amount of pressure onto it’s opponent. There was a squeal of strange materials under stress, ORT’s arm actually beginning to deform around the edge of the blade for a moment. Then Balance’s sword began to cut through.

With a wrenching maneuver that would have broken the back of a normal person Balance actually managed to dodge two of the three massive arms that suddenly swung in on him in retaliation. The third though…

SMACK!

Skid…skidskidskidskidskid… tumble… CRASH!

Balance pulled himself out of a pile of tree trunks and debris. Spinning his sword around in his hand he grinned.

Far in the center of the valley ORT pulled it’s one forshortened arm up to head height and observed it closely. The flesh at the edges was cracked and broken, but the cut itself was clean and sharp. Type-Mercury turned towards the far edge of it’s valley, towards the foe it had sent flying away. Something in it’s mind clicked. It’s expression almost looked like a scowl. Warped lightning began to flicker around it’s web.

Balance was speeding into ORT’s area when he was caught up short. His sword growled at him, the jewel in the center of it’s cross guard turning changing from blood red to an ugly green. The entrie crystal valley began to shake.

Looking at his sword Balance nodded. The normally invisible bounded field around him, a sphere slightly taller than he was, began to spark and shiver. He could feel ORT’s power spread around it. The sky began to shift and distort, some of it running like liquid, other parts of it hardening into cracked crystal. The ground outside his sphere seemed to stretch and compress randomly. His Absolute Matrix would hold it out, but he was going to be the only thing around him unaffected.

“She’s corroding the reality around her.” Balance grumbled, “Damn overgrown nexus spider.”

This had just gotten tougher.


-----


Hours later in Japan,

Shiki Tohno was noticing something. He was having severe trouble opening his eyes. The light from the morning sun was streaming in the windows. The early morning air was filling his lungs.

And he felt like total shit.

With a groan Shiki got the flesh coverings over his recalcitrant orbs to finally give way. The light streamed in, pulling another moan from his lips. For the life of him he couldn’t figure out why he did things that made him feel like such shit. That thought he set aside quickly though.

Arcueid was so worth it.

“Master Shiki.”

“Ugh.” Shiki put an arm over his head to keep out the annoying light as he responded to the familiar voice, “Good morning Hisui.”

“Good morning Master Shiki.” Hisui said with a bow, “I have placed out a change of clothes. Lady Akiha will be expecting you at breakfast.”

“Thanks Hisui.” Shiki said as the maid padded out. Sitting up Shiki looked around his bed. It was quite a mess and he could have sworn he didn’t toss and turn that much, He slowly pulled himself out of bed and dressed quietly, then headed downstairs. Hisui surprised him as she passed by him back into his bedroom, but he decided to think nothing of it. She was a busy girl afterall.

-----

“Master Shiki has left for breakfast Lady Arcueid.” Hisui announced with a bow. Sprawled all over the bed, her blankets in a horrible mess, the True Ancestor looked over at Hisui with a smile.

“Then I’d better get going to.” she chirped merrily. With a quick hupp she hopped out of bed and started getting dressed.

Hisui, blushing at the unabashed immodesty turned and scooted out of the room.

-----

Slowly sauntering down the stairs Skiki glanced around. He had to wonder where Akiha was eating breakfast today. Maybe the main room? Maybe under the balcony by the flowers? He headed to the former and found her in her usual spot at the head of the table.

“Welcome brother.” Akiha spoke formally as Shiki took his seat, “I hope the rest has given you time to clear your head and think about last nights… unusual interaction.”

Shiki nodded, he’d known this was coming, “Oh that.” he muttered, hoping Akiha wouldn’t have brought it up so soon, “It’s pretty complicated Akiha, I was hoping for more time to deal with it.”

Akiha looked up at him from her breakfast with the slightest hint of an annoyed tick in her forehead. “Then when will you be ready to tell me brother, just in time to get yourself killed?”

Shiki blanched at that suggestion. He ran his hand through his hair and looked down, all but ashamed he couldn’t really get out what he wanted to tell her. Akiha simply stared at him waiting for an answer.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any more fighting.” Shiki said sullenly, “At least there wasn’t any more mentioned.”

“So there are more people involved in this?” Akiha said pulling inference out of his words, “The blue haired girl from your school maybe?”

“Huh?” Shiki looked up, “Blue haired?”

“I believe her name was Ciel, we met at the amusement part.” Akiha pointed out, “She arrived looking for you yesterday, just before you got home.”

“I didn’t even know she was around.” Shiki said almost in a gasp, “News must travel fast.”

“Until it reaches my doorstep apparently.” Akiha accused, “Then it slows to a crawl.”

“I’m really sorry Akiha, if I understood it all I would tell you.” Shiki pleaded his case, “I have to check out some things at school today. The whole thing is confusing and I really don’t want to jump the gun and get you worried without need.”

Akiha crossed her arms, “Hmph, you put it on me then.” she said, then picked up her utensils and returned her gaze to her food, “You presume much on my trust of you Shiki.”

“Thank you Akiha.” Shiki said with a polite bow knowing what she was going to say.

“But you remain at least somewhat trustworthy brother.” Akiha finished, “So I’ll give you till you get home before a proper questioning.”

Shiki smiled and bowed slighty in his chair again. Kohaku, now that the conversation was over, pulled up a tray at Shiki’s side.

“Isn’t it a nice day though?” she said with her usual smile, “Would you like an English or Japanese breakfast this morning?”

-----

“English please Kohaku.”

The maid stopped short, holding onto her tray of foods as Arcueid answered her unasked question before she had even gotten there. It was odd though, she could have sworn she heard her own voice asking the question a second earlier.

Shaking her head the maid began laying out Arcueid’s preferred dishes.

“Is everything alright Miss Arcueid?” Kohaku asked, “You were out late last night, and I could have sworn I smelled the scent of blood on the air this morning.”

“Oh no, it’s fine Kohaku.” Arcueid replied into her folded hands, then continued to muse, “Yeah, she’d have to be too… wouldn’t she?”

Kohaku looked at the blonde foreigner a bit oddly as she headed away. Maybe the additives to her meals were actually effecting her now? She just didn’t see it as likely.

“And the sister too…” Arcueid continued, “Wow, how are we going to get the sister out of her hole?”

-----

Section 17 End

Alulim
June 1st, 2011, 08:04 PM
Meep~

Kieran
June 1st, 2011, 08:11 PM
For those unfamiliar with metric, forty metres is roughly 131 feet . . . So I repeat: owwww. My worst arachnophobic nightmare. *shudder*

I like the idea that Kohaku is drugging Arc - wonder how long it'll take Arc to realise that the dishes are being added to? Or will she complain that the unaltered ones don't taste as good?

Alulim
June 1st, 2011, 08:12 PM
Or will she complain that the unaltered ones don't taste as good?

This.

MrTags
June 2nd, 2011, 04:32 PM
Hi guys, more story coming your way.

This one's going to be in two parts. I'll put the first part now and the second part as I get done with it, both in this post.


Crossings, Section 18 Begin:


The main gates of the Tohno Mansion slowly swung open. Behind them a pair of figures stood, waiting for the metal bars to pass out of the way. Shiki smiled at Hisui and she offered him his school bag. Taking it up Shiki nodded and headed on his way.

“Have a good day at school today Master Shiki.” Hisui prompted as the teen walked down the lane.

“I’ll do my best thanx.” he said with a nod. Shiki quickly glanced around while the gates closed behind him. His senses were sharper then they’d been since he’d lost control the night before. He picked up a few strange figures at the edges of his perception. It wasn’t hard to figure out he was being watched, but were they his tails, or his guard?


He’d been spotted. The boy was pretty good. The youth’s eyes shouldn’t have been able to pick up an object at the selected distance, but his supernatural senses were keener then expected.

The man flexed his neck and ran a hand through his grey hair. He guessed it just couldn’t be helped. Any further away and he couldn’t be assured of the ability to intercept any threats that headed in the youth’s direction. His job to keep an eye on the boy and protect him from harm came first, before any thoughts of regular stealth.

He still would have preferred to be helping the boss in South America, there were plenty of people that could do general guard duty. Still though, this was the assignment he was given, this was the task he would do.

Steel colored eyes twitched slightly as a form, gliding over the tops of telephone poles, shifted it’s direction and began to come at him from behind. This meeting was inevitable, and thoroughly expected, but still he didn’t look forward to it. Dealing with these people was always a general pain. Of course his sour relationship with the first of their ilk he had the misforturne of meeting never did help his impression of them.


There was someone else out here. She just knew it. Tohno was being watched. A vauge feeling of power was crackling through the air. Strong forces, a number of them, were in Misaki. She didn’t like that, it added extra problems on top of her assignment.

With a series of quick hops Ciel made her way at treetop level. The blue shrouded burrier’s dress flapped in the wind as her combat boots took purchase atop pole and roof, allowing her to skirt her way above the normal line of sight of people on the ground.

Her senses picked one up, at a long distance to Tohno, but almost assuredly spying on him. The range was pretty great but she had enough time to wheel around behind him and approach from his blind side. Within moments she’d gotten above and behind her target.

A glance up and down the strange man revealed a young spry looking fellow just a bit older than she was, wearing a red mantle and black body suit. He was very dark skinned for an asian with a rather outlandish spiked mop of grey hair. Nothing about this fellow looked normal, and her senses were screaming at her in agreement. This was some sort of spirit she hadn’t encountered before.

Reaching under her robe she pulled out an array of knives and with a flick of her wrist she flung them to the ground behind the man. As the blades pierced the ground they began moving of their own volition, cutting into the pavement and circling the offender at a distance.

The man reacted casually. He raised a hand and a sword appeared from nowhere above him to spear out and strike the prime blade of her attempted seal. With a crack the broken knife flipped back up into her hand. The other sealing blades followed their useless route around and stopped below her.

“A ad hoc seal won’t work eh?” she grumbled, staring at the broken knife.

The man shifted his shoulders and turned to look back at Ciel with a nonchalant aire about him. One of his grey eyebrows cocked over a steel irised eye as he looked back at her.

“Hello burrier.” he called out in a quiet but deep voice.

Ciel tossed aside the broken blade and rose to her full height. That and her higher perch allowed her to look down on the outlandishly tall man. Crossing her arms she put on her best scowl.

“And who might you be?” the woman asked.

The man simply turned away from her, going back to watching Shiki before answering in no great hurry, “My name is Shirou Emiya, pleased to make your aquaintance.”

“I’ve never heard of you.” Ciel admitted, “You’re a spirit, do you work for the Troublemaker?”

“Probably.” Shirou replied in a noncommittal fashion. Ciel shifted her weight and took on a more annoyed posture at this rather recalcitrant talker.

“I thought only Counter Guardians worked for the Troublemaker.” Ciel said through gritted teeth.

“That is my usual job.” the man replied with a nod. The burrier gasped and lowered herself to a fighting position. An array of black keys appeared between her outstretched fingers.

“Then what are you doing here?!” Ciel growled, “If you try to hurt Tohno…”

“Calm down.” the man replied, glancing over his shoulder, “If I was one right now we wouldn’t be having this conversation, and it would take far more than just you to stop me anyway.”

“You never know.” Ciel returned through clenched teeth. Her black keys twitched in her hand.

“You’re going to be a bother aren’t you?” Shirou said with a sigh, “Fine, I’ll take my vigil elsewhere.”

And with that Emiya vanished from sight. Ciel’s eyes went wide as she looked to and fro trying to find him. Standing up she grimaced and dismissed her black keys.

“Damn, he can dematerialize.” she noted sullenly. Noticing a bit of commotion on the street below her she went down to pick up her sealing instruments.


-----


With a happy hop in her step Arcueid leapt up to the top of the wall surrounding the Tohno estate. She smiled, holding a hand over her eyes and gazing intently into the distance towards Shiki’s school.

“You could just leave through the gate like most people Lady Arcueid.” a young woman’s voice monotoned below her, showing no hint of reprimand in it’s blasé’ delivery.

“Oh why make such a fuss Hisui.” Arcueid said without looking down, “I’ll be leaving for a while.”

“I shall await your return.” Hisui said, turning and heading back to the mansion.

Arcueid smiled as she watched the little maid head back into her home. Today was going to be a good day.


-----

A few hours earlier,

Today was quite officially and as put down in the record books, the total suck.

Balance screamed through the air at enormous speeds. He was finally getting back into range to attack ORT, it had only taken him an hour to get across the valley. Normally in an hour he could have crossed the entire continental United States with some distance to spare, but no not today and not right here.

Type Mercury’s powers were completely and horribly screwing up the space around her. Whatever reality the beast was channeling had a rather… loose… interpretation of spatial relationships. He’d noticed it before ORT had turned up her power, and now it was pretty much an inconsistent constant.

Drawing an arm back Balance let loose with one bolt of energy after another. Some fizzled right outside his shield, some slowed down so quickly he had to make sharp turns to dodge them, others flew straight and true until almost reaching ORT where they turned in random directions and flew off into the ground, trees, sky or whatever happened to end up in their path.

“This is just not happening.” Balance groaned. Just outside the shield his words echoed back so scrambled they could have been a recipie for do it yourself lime jello. Clenching his fists around his sword’s grip Balance dove straight at the monster before him, only to end up flying sideways. Catching himself he tried again, and ended up plowing straight into the ground.

Chewing grass and spitting leaves the warrior stared daggers up at the towering creature above him. With a great leap he took off again and got halfway to ORT before finding to his dismay that the planet was now apparently moving with him, or at least some similar effect. Whatever it was he couldn’t fly anymore.

Again he plowed straight down into the ground.

ORT twitched a leg.

SMACK!

Skid…skidskidskidskidskid… tumble… CRASH!

Peeling himself painfully off the ground Balance sighed and started back into the valley. He was fraxxoring WALKING this time.


Back in Japan with a slight change in time,

The red clad warrior brought himself back into reality far away from his burrier annoyance. He’d seen enough of that kind in his life to keep him very leery of them.

Setting his sights back on target he checked the boys general vicinity. There was someone coming up from a side street, someone incredibly powerful. Shirou took stock of the approaching threat…

This one sure didn’t look like much…


Shiki glanced about. His path was attracting an awful lot of attention today. He tried to spot Ciel again but wasn’t able to.

Pulling his briefcase up to his shoulder he shrugged and settled back into routine.

There was a patter of feet behind him. With the streets somewhat deserted and everybody seeming to be watching him anyway Shiki wondered who it could be this time.

“Shiiiikiiii!” a familiar voice called out from behind.


She had to find him. Where was he. Which was he? Would he remember? What would he remember? So many questions.

She flew down the street hoping both that she didn’t miss him and that she wasn’t too early to catch him. Her luck had held out. As she came around the corner and headed onto their shared path she found what she was looking for.

“Shiiiikiiii!” Satsuki called out, waving her book bag over her head. Catching up to him quickly she pulled along side her friend.

Shiki glanced over his shoulder at her, his head held in one hand. A blue glowing eye looked up at her for a second and Satsuki jumped back in shock.

“Eh? Wha?” Shiki mumbled, “Yumizuka? Hi.”

The blue color in Shiki’s eye faded and Satsuki took a deep breath. No she wasn’t going to die horribly and that was at least the start of a good thing. Running around in front of Shiki she leaned over towards him while walking backwards.

“Hi Shiki.” she said back in sing song, “You going to school?”

“Eh? Where else would I be going?”

“Mind if I walk with you?” Satsuki asked giving him her cutest little look. A flare of hope crossed her mind.

“Sure, why not?” Shiki responded. Satsuki almost cheered. He didn’t remember a thing about it! No killing, no nightmares, no death, just semi normal, happy to see her, Tohno. Her little girl heart swelled. She had a shot.

“Uhm Satsuki.” Shiki added, looking at the girl with her fists clenched and her eyes closed tight, “Are you alright?”

“Oh?! Oh yeah.” she repiled, smiling.

“Your eyes look a bit red.” Shiki pointed out. Satsuki almost tripped over herself walking backwards.

“Uhm, uhm I didn’t have much sleep last night.” Satsuki said with all honesty, rubbing the back of her head. Shiki smiled and nodded.

“Yeah that’s been going around lately.” he agreed. Satsuki wondered how late Shiki had been up. He looked a bit worn himself. He needed a little pick me up of some kind, and she needed to feel a bit closer to him. Part of her missed him dearly.

“Hey… auck…” Shiki called out as Satsuki slipped around and latched herself on his free arm. Laying her head against his shoulder she cooed softly.

“We’re just all beat up aren’t we Tohno?” the little girl asked, holding him closer. She knew she didn’t have the big chest that some of the other girls Shiki liked had, but she wasn’t completely flat either. She pressed herself against his arm with more than a little pride that she could still fluster him a bit, even with her… shortcomings. Though hell, even she seemed stacked compared to that damn brother loving sister of his.

“Yeah, I guess…” Shiki said, rubbing the back of his head with his book bag hand.

-----

Skipping up the road towards the school Arcueid hummed a happy tune. Her smile spread ear to ear she knew she was following her Shiki and that’s all she needed at the moment.

But if she was too fast she’d beat him to school…

Bonking herself on the head with a playful fist Arcueid slowed down and instead enjoyed the scenery around her. There were a lot of minor players running around town today, and she wondered what was up. Really it was almost a crowd by comparison to usual.

Arcueid glanced ahead and noticed someone else odd. A closer look picked out someone she recognized. One of her eyebrows twitched as she realized it was Roa’s little spawn. Another slight drain on her powers, not that it really occurred to her. The girls posture was odd though. She seemed to be leaning on somebody.

Intrigued the True Ancestor looked closer. Nope, there was nobody there, yet the little vampire was definitely off balance the way she looked. There had to be someone there, but who? Who would be walk…

Walking along this street…

Towards the school…

Someone she couldn’t see…

SIZZZZZZLLLEEEEEEE!


-----


Shiki looked down on Yumizuka clinging to his arm with concern. He knew she liked him, even before she’d asked him out last year, but it wasn’t like her to be so boldly forward about it. The reaction he’d felt when she’d come up on him confused him as well. It wasn’t really that strong, but it was just like what he’d felt for nero in the fight the night before.

That didn’t make sense. It wasn’t like Yumizuka was some evil monster or beast from beyond right? That couldn’t be.

Shiki laughed that thought off and looked down at Yumizuka again.

The feeling of unbridled malice hit him like a brick wall being thrown from behind. He almost staggered. Yumizuka’s eyes shot back behind them. That feeling, whatever it was, didn’t seem directed at him, but he was certainly in the general direction.

What was that?

“Uhm Shiki… I think I better…” Yumizuka started, then unclasped herself from him in a panic and with a scream started running down the sidewalk in a cloud of dust shrieking “I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY!”

“Eh?” Shiki eeked out. A fell wind blew past him, something moving at speed he couldn’t see. Looking around he scratched his head. Something in him shuddered slightly.

Just what was that all about?

Section 18 Finish


Isn't it Sad Sacchin? See Sacchin run. RUN SACCHIN RUN!

Alulim
June 2nd, 2011, 04:44 PM
Yay~ more story!

Kieran
June 2nd, 2011, 09:36 PM
You want "spatial" relationships. And it's nice to see Arcueid retains her innocence about human customs, like the use of doors. :)

MrTags
June 2nd, 2011, 09:37 PM
Well more story has been added. I got it done early.

Happiness abounds. I'm getting through the day somewhat well.

Kieran
June 2nd, 2011, 10:04 PM
I hate when you do that - it's hard to keep track of updates that way.

That said, that was hilarious. :)

MrTags
June 8th, 2011, 02:51 PM
A bit more general living and impromptu comedy for today. There's fanfic alert.
Hope this turns out ok.


Crossings, Section 19 Begin:


Blowing the wafting steam off his hot cup of tea in gentlemanly fashion he brought the piping beverage up to his lips and took a sip. It was a good brew, a touch sour but not tart, fine for a drink in the earliest of mornings.

It was too bad his surroundings didn’t match his upper crust choice of tea. No, sitting on this, what was it? A garbage can, in this… what did they call them now? Back alley, was certainly not the place to be drinking tea. Still he would have to make due, for the time being.

Now if his newly arriving company would be kind and not bother his enjoyment of the tea. He watched a young spectacled fellow walk past the end of the alley not even noticing him. A lot of ado about nothing he figured, but whatever. Since the boy was here one of his ersatz defenders would be on his or her way momentarily.

There was the sound of booted feet landing in the alley. A figure clad in red and black was now blocking the exit onto the street.

“Ah, Emiya Shirou is it?”

Standing at the ready, his eyes narrowed, his stance wide, the counter guardian turned archer stood his ground solemnly. A dozen possible outcomes of a battle in this space flashed through his mind, none of them went particularly well, but not all of them ended in loss either. It was enough to know where the enemy was at least. He ducked his head lower, calling Kansho and Bakuya to his hands.

Down the alley, dressed in black and white garb, the King of Kings eyed him intently. Shriou couldn’t quite believe he was sitting on a trash can, sipping a cup of fine tea, but the man had never impressed him as the most stable of people.

“Ohhh.” Gilgamesh crooned, looking at Emiya’s paired swords, “A faker are you?”

“What are you doing here Gilgamesh.” the red clad servant wasn’t having any of Gilgamesh’s lip.

“Just seeing what all the fuss is about.” the king of kings replied with a weary nonchalance, sipping his tea again in a slow, languid motion, “Can’t say I’m very impressed about what all this fighting is over.”

Emiya shook his head, holding Bakuya forward, “Not your concern.”

“Oh don’t get your panties in a bunch.” Gilgamesh laughed, “I’m here for a real battle, not to spank some child.”

“Forgive me if I don’t trust your kind.” Emiya put it bluntly.

“Do what you like, it’s no concern of mine.” the golden haired one replied with a shrug, then put down his tea, “And I was so enjoying that, meh… whatever.”

Hopping off his trash can throne the king of kings loped down the alley, retreating under the watchful eye of Emiya. With a smile and a wave he dematerialized.

“See you later Feeeiiikkaaaa!”

Emiya cocked his head to one side, his eyebrows knitting. He certainly hoped Gilgamesh would get over that pet name quickly. He couldn’t stand being called that for too long.

-----


The fresh morning breeze blew through the school grounds. The bright morning sun was still low in the sky. Students milled too and fro outside the school, gathering in little groups and talking amongst themselves. School hadn’t started and nothing interesting was happening yet.

All and all it was making Arihiko rather sleepy. The redhead barely stifled a yawn once, then gave in to it the second time and had to hide his wide open mouth behind a hand. It wasn’t to say he was bad at this early morning stuff… but who was he kidding, he was horrible at it.

His sister had almost dropped her food when Arihiko had passed her on the way out. Something about miricles not happening on consecutive days. He’d ignored her jab, but now he was finding himself alone at school. Not used to being on time he’d made it to school earlier than any of his friends.

Given how the previous day had gone this day had best be VERY interesting. Still, he would sure like to remember how he’d ended up in the middle of town that afternoon.

“AAAHHHHHHHH!!!!”

The shout brought Inui’s eyes over towards the gate. In a cloud of dust Satsuki Yumizuka appeared, rounding the corner at high speed. She blurred through the courtyard and over towards him. Catching herself nearby she leaned forwards, hands on her knees panting.

“Is she still there?” the girl mumbled numbly, “Is she still back there?”

“Yumizuka?” Arihiko called out questioningly, half to get her attention, half as a what the fark.

“Oh Arihiko!” Satsuki eeked, jumping up. She looked back behind her warily, studying the scenery back by the gate with a cautious eye.

“Uh, hi there.” the redhead said, a bit confused, “You looking for someone.”

“No, nobody…” Satsuki replied with a smile, “But if a tall blonde pops up at the gate I’m gonna run like hell so be warned.”

Arihiko rubbed the back of his head absentmindedly, “Uh yeah… that’s nice.” he remarked, “Did you get much sleep last night Yumizuka? You seem different.”

“Nah, I’m fine.” Satsuki said, smiling with a bit of fang, and walking past Arihiko into the school, “Shiki’s coming soon, oh and have you seen Ciel-sempai yet?”

“Like I’d miss that bod?” Arihiko said with a smirk, “No foreign hotties on the radar yet today.”

“That’s good, I’m not exactly looking forward to talking to her today.” Satsuki admitted, then spotting somebody at the gate she waved, “Oh look, a Shiki.”

“Did you screw up on a homework assignment she helped you with or something?” Arihiko mused, “As far as I remember you two haven’t been around each other much lately.”

“It’s a mystery.” Satsuki replied, wiggling her fingers at Arihiko mysteriously. The guy laughed it off, still rubbing the back of his head.

“No, not very weird today.” he said sarcastically He saw Ciel turn up at the gate and hurry past Shiki like she didn’t even notice him. Turning to point that out to Yumizuka he found that the girl was already gone.

“Arihiko!” Ciel called out, jogging up to the redhead in a way he noticed made her uniform skirt sway rather enticingly, “Pardon me if I’m asking something odd, but have you seen Shiki lately?”

“Shiki?” Arihiko responded, cocking an eyebrow and pointing behind her, “How did you miss him, you just ran right past him.”

“Really.” the blue haried girl said, straightening her glasses, “Thanks much.”

With that she jogged past Arihiko into the school. He just looked at her in a state of odd shock.

“Weren’t you gonna talk to him or something?” the redhead said now all to himself.


-----


At about the same time in South America the sky was dying. That’s how it looked at least. Great pieces of the early stars were melting and running along the ground in a thick ooze. Crystal sprouts poked from the ground at impossible angles, some up, some down, not that the two directions meant much anymore.

Balance raced at high speed through the mess, his shield an actinic flare blazing around him. ORT’s power corroded reality more and more as he approached. Straight lines weren’t. Turns weren’t necessarily turns. Very little could be taken for granted.

With dogged determination Balance pulled into combat range of the raging Type. Leaping at it he nearly smashed himself into the ground as up turned to down. As usual the changes around him couldn’t pierce his shield but just outside of it the situation changed so fast that he couldn’t be sure of anything.

A towering leg thicker than a car came smashing down on him but he sidestepped it without difficulty. Another one came at him in a jab and he went to block it but instead of hitting him from the front the corroded reality outside his shield brought it in from the right. Metal and rock solid flesh clashed in a shower of ichors and bits, the skin of ORT actually sparking off his blade as Balance turned his block to the side just in time to stop the attack. Even with his blade in the way the warrior was thrown back and had to right himself in midair before landing softly on the ground.

“Not good.” he growled, then quirked up an eyebrow as his view changed. There was a suddden shift in angle as ORT began to tower further and further above him, but it wasn’t just ORT. In seconds the grass he was standing in was half as tall as he was.

Waving his chibi arms angrily and spouting nothing intelligible as more than a string of mightily pissed off chirps Balance vented his anger at the now even bigger looking beast before him. With that he took off in a tiny sprint towards Type Mercury yet again. To his surprise two steps took him past ORT and face first into the far valley wall.

Falling on his butt, yet again normal sized Balance shook off the cobwebs and reaffirmed that this day was absolutely and completely the total suck.


Back in Japan things weren’t going that well for a certain Church Executioner either.

Her view of the school was quite good, but it didn’t help much with classes having started. Ciel mused in annoyance as she crouched on the fence that protected those on the school roof. Her blue burrier’s uniform fluttered fitfully in the breeze, matching Ciel’s mood. The day was simply making no sense.

She had contacted the school authorities in an attempt to sneak herself back in as a student, only to be told she was already enrolled here and should be in class. The burrier certainly didn’t expect that and even a firm push from her eyes hadn’t been able to change anybody’s minds. At best she’d made people forget she’d been there. It was all so annoying, even her apartment was, while empty, still in her name and being lived in. She couldn’t figure it out but it was seemingly all there to annoy her. Hell someone would probably come up and tell her it was dangerous to stand up here on the fence of all things.

“Hi there!” a happy voice chirped behind her.

It wasn’t just the surprise of being snuck up on that did it. No that, while unusual wouldn’t have caused much problem. The fact that the voice was one chirpy, happy, incredibly annoying and grating voice that she never EVER thought she would hear again had far more to do with what happened then just mere surprise.

“WAAAAA?!” Ciel called out, jumping up in the air. The total shock ruined her balance. Instead of catching herself on the fence again as usual she tripped up and went over it.

Screaming all the way down Ciel rocketed turf ward like a comet in a perfect face first dive. With nothing to stop her, nothing to hold her back the final outcome was assured. In an almighty crash the burrier ended up in an untidy pile of mixed up blue clad limbs, legs and undees.

There was a quick reaction and scramble inside the school.

“Teacher I think somebody just fell off the building.” a voice rang out.

An older face peeked out the window above her. Eyes wide he questioned what he was seeing, an ass first conglomeration of thighs, combat boots and blue cloak. The shock of blue hair sticking out of the mess gave him his only hint at an identity.

“Is that you Ciel?”

“NO! It ISN’T!” the burrier roared, flipping herself over and giving the teacher a full shot of her mystic eyes.

“No, nobody’s down there.” the teacher monotoned, turning back into the class, “Nothing to see here.”

Gathering up her things, her dress, along with what was left of her pride Ciel kept herself low under the windows and doing her best church ninja act sped around the school out of sight.

-----

Far above on the edge of the school a bright blonde peeked down on the burrier as she scurried away. One finger held tightly against her lips she blushed brightly in embarasment.

“Oooops.” was all Arcueid could manage to say.

Section 19 End


Oh btw, if anyone picks up spelling mistakes or other foibles please bring them to my attention. I'm not sure if my spell checker is working right.

Edit: Doh' Had 1337 views, a guest popped up and I lost it... LOL

Kieran
June 8th, 2011, 08:51 PM
Arihiko is asking to be smacked, if Ciel hears him talking like that - and that last bit's still funny. :)

Elf
June 8th, 2011, 11:24 PM
No no, it has to be, "Faaayyykkkeeerrr" if you're going to write it how Gil calls Archer that.

Inugami
June 9th, 2011, 01:33 PM
Shiki waking up to find his bedsheets messed up from Arcueid's tossing and turning? And Arcueid puzzling out that Satsuki was leaning on Shiki?

Priceless.

MrTags
June 14th, 2011, 11:16 PM
The "ordinary" day continues. Thanks to my devoted commenters and critics. I write to please. Now who I don't know.

Continuing on we have fanfic alert.


Crossings, Section 20 Begin:


-----

Shiki glanced out the window. The teacher’s droning wasn’t holding his interest at the moment. He had more important things to think about. At least the school day had been quiet so far, nothing out of the ordinary going on… for the most part.

“Now for this part.” the teacher said in a low monotone, “Yumizuka, please help out.”

“Yes sir!” the girl jumped up in surprise, her hands banging down on the desk in front of her.

A sharp crack to one side of the room reminded him at least one person was having worse luck than him today. Glancing over his eyes fell on Yumizuka who was blushing her fiercest and raising a hand.

“Oh Yumizuka…” the teacher groaned, “Another desk??”

“I’m sorry sir.” the girl said sheepishly, “I seem to be having bad luck with them.”

The teacher leaned down and looked at the offending pile of rubble, “So strange.” he mumbled, “To think, a second faulty desk in one class for the same person.”

Not bothering to note the rest of the conversation Shiki lazed back in his chair. It was getting hard to think around here. He wondered what it was, maybe the atmosphere?

Glancing back out the window he returned to solemnly wondering just what he was going to say to Akiha when he got home from school.

-----

The class bell had rung. Students were scurrying to and fro throughout the hallways, dashing to their lockers, or hurrying to one class or another.

One blue haired girl, dressed like all the others, ghosted through the halls. With her eyes strangely vacant no one seemed to notice her and the other students without thinking parted from her way. She seemed on a mission, and wasn’t letting anything impede her path.

“Hi Ciel Sempai!” a male voice called out catching her by surprise. She turned to see Arihiko smiling and waving at her.

“Oh hello Inui.” the blue haired girl replied, slipping over to him, “Things have been going ok today, everybody’s been around that’s supposed to be?”

Arihiko raised an eyebrow at his confusing sempai and looked at her warily rubbing the back of his neck, “Well yeah, everybody’s in today.” he replied, “Does this mean you’re surprised to see me here, or have you maybe been keeping an eye on me?”

Ciel smiled with a finger to her lips and gave the boy a shushing, “Now it’s not nice to mention such things to a young lady Arihiko.”

With that Ciel was on her way, leaving the confused Inui scratching his head. She couldn’t be bothered, there was something far more dangerous in school today. Catching the offender in her sights the blue haired burrier closed in.

“Miss Yumizuka.” Ciel called out, smiling so broadly her eyes were closed as she slipped up to the other girl, “We have something we need to talk about.”

“Ack!” the other surprised student chirped out, “Ciel Sempai, so nice to seeeeeeee,,,”

Satsuki did find it hard to continue with Ciel grabbing her arm and dragging her off into a less populated area at a breakneck speed. Trying to keep up the smaller student tripped and staggered along under the constant pressure. With a hard tug Ciel tossed Satsuki into a corner and the burrier’s expression darkened.

“What are you doing here vampire.” the blue haired woman growled. Satsuki eeped and shrank back, trying to look as small as possible.

“Don’t play coy with me you little bloodsucker.” Ciel pulled Satsuki back up, “Did you get used to the sun enough to come out in the day? What have you done to the others that they haven’t noticed you’re back.”

“Ack Ciel Sempai! I’m just going to school as usual.” Satsuki sputtered, tripping over her own words, “I’m not doing anything bad! Honest! I’ve been here every day!”

The aggravated look that the blue haired sempai before her gave Satsuki second thoughts. She quickly realized that her vampire half hadn’t been to school in months and this Ciel must have only remembered that version of her.

“Really!” she said, scared for her life, “I’m not the person you remember, not even from yesterday when there were two of me!”

“Two of…” Ciel started then looked closer, “Wait, Yumizuka… you didn’t…”

With the burrier’s moment of confusion Satsuki saw her chance. Glancing over Ciel’s shoulder she called out, “Oh! Hi Tohno! What are you doing here?”

“Wha? Tohno?” Ciel stepped back and looked over to find nobody where Satsuki had been facing. Turning back quickly she found the little girl disappearing in a cloud of dust already some ways away

The burrier’s head fell into her hand, “I can’t believe I fell for THAT.” she groaned.


Satsuki raced through the corridors looking for a place that her nutball sempai wouldn’t find her. Getting close to the church loony was bad for her health.

She found the stairs quickly and rushed up them. Maybe the roof would be a better place to go to. It couldn’t be as bad as the rest of the school so she headed up there.

Taking two steps out onto the roof she caught herself and hid back behind the door. Another presence was up here too, a strong one. With a glance she caught sight of the blonde woman who was hung up on Tohno. The lady was crouched on the safety fence, looking out away from the school wistfully, her purple skirt fluttering in the breeze around her.

Every vampire instinct in Satsuki yelled at her to run. Every nerve in her body called out for her to leave. Yet there was a little voice in her, the one from last night. That new little voice that told her she had to save herself, and do things for herself. She decided to listen to that voice instead, no matter the consequences.

Slipping her hand into her book bag she picked out an appropriate weapon, her only chance against this horrible monster. She would battle for her Shiki Tohno! Stomping over to where the blonde woman was crouched she did nothing to hide her presence.

“You!” she called out, trying to remember everything she’d learned about the blonde from meeting her at the amusement park, “Arcee… no… err.. Arkoo… uhm, getting close… Aircew… no that’s not it.”

The little girl jumped as the woman turned slightly and fixed her red eyes on her. Those red eyes seemed so scary and unnatural. She just couldn’t believe… oh wait… she had them too now… duh…

“Hello?” the blonde asked, her hand resting on her cheek, her brows twisted in puzzlement, “Do I know you, oh… it’s little Satsuki.”

The little part bugged her but wasn’t far off. A momentary flash of panic went through the smaller girl as she wondered if the blonde had remembered chasing her away from Shiki that morning, but passed as no malice crossed the woman’s features, just confusion.

“And you’re… you’re…” Satsuki wracked her brain.

“Arcueid.” the true ancestor pointed out.

“Yeah! That’s it.” the little girl called out, for some reason sounding pleased.

“Hey, you’re out in the day.” Arcueid cooed looking Satsuki over, “You get stronger quick… but there’s something really different about you.”

“Never mind that!” Satsuki shouted, holding forward her chosen weapon, “I have come to challenge you for the affections of Shiki Tohno!”

“Uh… Shiki loves me.” Arcueid said nonchalantly, turning back to her vigil, “So no.”

“So I’ll challenge you for his time at school!” Satsuki responded.

“No.”

“His time not at school.”

“Still no.”

“Afternoons!”

“No.”

“Days ending in Day!”

“Way no…”

“Weekday mornings.”

“Completely no.”

“Weekends.”

“More no.”

“Every other weekend.”

“You’re getting closer to never.”

“School Holidays.”

“Just no.”

“Every third weekend on odd numbered months!”

Arcueid almost faceplanted off the school like Ciel before her. The girl was persistent, obviously enough.

“Listen girl you’re just a little Dark Apostle.” Arcueid remarked, turning and pointing at Satsuki, “What makes you think you can even challenge me for such a thing, you can’t defeat me in a fight.”

“A fight!” Satsuki croaked, almost blanching whiter, “I’d never do that.”

“Huh?” Arcueid quirked her head to the side, “Then what did you think you were going to challenge me in?”

Satsuki beamed holding up her chosen weapon, a clear coated stack of small paper pieces as she called out “Mystical Mainly Maligned Mostly Naked Markedly Moving Major Magical Maidens Card Game!”

“Wha??” Arcueid looked like she’d swallowed something rather bitter and sour at the same time.

“Don’t you know it?! It’s the latest super popular card playing game.”

“Is that like poker?”

“Different cards.” Satsuki pointed out. A hand whipped out and grabbed the deck from her. Before Satsuki knew it the true ancestor had her nose in the deck of cards and was studying them intently.

“Wow, they don’t wear a lot of clothes do they?” she chirped looking from one to the other, “What’s all this text down here mean, is it like a spell?”

“Something like that, you’ll have to read them all to be sure.” Satsuki said, smiling yet slowly backing away.

Arcueid dug into the cards before her while Satsuki snickered and started sneaking off.

“That deck is so huge she’ll be there for a week trying to figure it out.” the girl whispered to herself, “By that time Tohno shall be mine.”

As Satsuki approached the roof exit the door flew open and a visibly winded Ciel stepped out.

“Aww crud…” Satsuki grumbled as the blue haired woman grabbed her and shoved her into the shaded corner beside the entrance.

“True Ancestor!” Ciel shouted at Arcueid. The blonde didn’t even turn, so engrossed was she in the cards before her. Not getting a response Ciel pointed at Satsuki and shouted again, “Is this your doing?!”

“No, that’s Roa’s kid.” Arcueid replied, nose still in the cards.

“Then what is it doing here?” the blue haired retorted.

“Going to school?” Arcueid pointed out.

“In broad daylight.” Ciel said in a huff, “Why haven’t you done anything about this?”

“She’s Shiki’s friend.” Arcueid sighed, “If I hurt her it will make Shiki angry with me, I don’t want Shiki mad at me when he comes back. You better not hurt her either, Shiki will be mad.”

“So he is coming back.” Ciel said with a nod, “That doesn’t mean I can just let a Dead Apostle run around though.”

“Haven’t you sensed her yet?” Arcueid turned and asked quizzically, “She’s not all vampire anymore.”

Ciel looked at Satsuki and let out a little, “Eh?”

“That must be half the Satsuki from our side.” Arcueid commented, “Half another one from where Shiki is.”

“Strange.” Ciel muttered. The little brown haired girl muttered something about more challenges for Tohno’s affection.

“She hasn’t changed much though.” Ciel grumbled, “So you’ve heard about the merger too have you Arcueid?”

“It was obvious yesterday!” Arcueid chirped, her nose stuck back into the cards.

Satsuki cowered in her shaded corner. Ciel had yet to let her go so she couldn’t do anything about it right now. As the two women argued Yumizuka looked back and forth from one to the other. Her eyes started to fall on particular areas of the anatomy above others.

Grimacing Satsuki pulled her shirt forward and glanced down. Letting the blouse snap back she mumbled something sarcastic under her breath.

“What was that Satsuki?” Ciel asked looking over.

“404 objects not found.” the girl mumbled again, just loud enough to hear.

“Well we can’t all be endowed.” Ciel said simling broadly, pushing her own chest out, “And Tohno does like them sizable.”

“Doesn’t he now!” Arcueid added, her own chest pressed forwards.

Satsuki just sank into her corner some more. The competition for Tohno was really heating up. Her powers were to be sorely tested!

-----

The sky cracked. The ground heaved. Up was no longer up. Down was no longer down. Things seemed to be in the wrong positions as the light around them made S-curves instead of going straight.

Balance plodded slowly through it all. His shield crackled and fizzed under the constant pressure as he moved slowly towards the giant in the center of it all. That beast, the creature named ORT stood proudly as ever, not moving a muscle in the midst of it’s own maelstrom.

Giant crystals ripped their way out of the ground in his path. Balance smashed through them. The wind howled at hurricane, then tornado force. He continued walking. The light shifted and changed. The sky above flexed and curved, twisting the light above like a dozen magnifying glasses. Beams of heat like lasers crisscrossed the vale. With a flick of his wrist each beam that got close was reflected away.

ORT reared up, smashing the ground and holing itself up in the crater. Balance climbed it and still came on. The giant beast let loose a chittering roar of contempt, it’s sharp edged limbs striking out. Throwing his full force into a shoulder block Balance checked one attack and flipped over the next.

More limbs appeared out of nowhere. Balance grimaced, his sword twisting in the air as he blocked two with successive strikes then danced out of the way of the others. The rain of attacks continued. Legs in twos and threes strove to knock the Balancer away. Standing his ground the warrior unleashed his own storm of blocks and attacks. The two locked in combat, the space between them seeming to fill with the dozens of strikes passing through it.

As soon as it started the trading of blows was going in ORT’s favor. The sheer mass of the beast came to bear and Balance was slowly pushed back from his position. It still wasn’t enough for ORT to only push it’s foe back. Unused to having this long a fight the beast was angry. It’s wounded limb came sailing through the melee unopposed and smashed directly into Balance’s chest.

TWACK!

The warrior bounced and skidded back. The beast chattered in triumph. A small area before it began to radiate black. The body of the Balancer crashed through the debris heading back towards the edge of the valley wall. Then it vanished, splitting apart as if it were a nothing but a hazy aftereffect itself.

Before ORT that one piece of blackness threw itself at the beast. Ripping through an invisible pocket of reality where light couldn’t enter Balance roared his defiance and swung his black flame wreathed sword. ORT’s limbs tried to come up for a stop but it was too late. The ravening energys of the blade cut into its torso and sliced a dozen foot cut deep into it’s flesh.

Type Mercury let loose a pained wail, falling back. Flailing it’s limbs seeking a moment away from it’s foe the mighty creature took mystic hold of it’s conceptually damaged flesh and wrenched it. In moments the black ooze leaking from it’s torso was staunched. In seconds more it’s stunted limb was reformed. A hunk of black, corrupted flesh fell from ORT’s body and crashed to the ground. Back to full strength the Type shieked it’s rage and opened it’s guard to look for the one that had hurt it.

But of it’s foe… there was nothing.

Chittering angrily the beast glanced about. With no enemy to vent it’s frustration on the giant thing did the only thing left to it. Whipping out it’s webbing the giant began to re-lay it’s web. Things had become far to much of a mess.

-----

Satsuki shifted uncomfortably as the two older women let loose a lot of old resentments and argued above her. It was bad enough she couldn’t move, but now these two apparently old bitties were growling and yelling about things that had happened maybe decades ago right over her head. She was definitely sooooo late for class.

Ciel growled at the annoying true ancestor. She couldn’t believe the nonchalance of this faux woman. Not only did she have the biggest target in the world painted on her back, but she was willing to drag Tohno into that world and make him as much of a target for being her boyfriend. Nobody was thinking clearly these days.

Arcueid shuffled forward another card and started reading it. Too bad it was so hard to read the damn things with Ciel shouting in her ear about every little bad thing she’d ever done.

With no one else around Ciel materialized some of her black keys. She might have to force the true ancestor’s hand about the entire issue. While it wouldn’t make Shiki very happy it would definitely be better for him. Remembering Satsuki was in the area, in fact still in her other hand she turned towards the cowering girl. It was better to tell the little half apostle to head out. She’d have to find out about her later.

Satsuki saw the black keys and her eyes went wide. It would be bad if she got hit by those again. Maybe coming up here wasn’t such a good idea. Then Ciel turned towards her with a bad look on her face. That clinched it, coming up here was DEFINITELY a bad idea.

“Satsuki you…” Ciel started. The little girl screamed and jumped up, shocking the burrier.

“Noooo not the keeeeeeyyyysss!” she shrieked, pushing Ciel away hard, in fact tossing her into the fence on the other side of the roof. With a wailing scream Satsuki blasted down the stairs at full speed. The crying sound she let out trailed away.

“I think she’s still screaming… and running.” Ciel said, surprised.

“You should be careful.” Arcueid scolded, “You’re not immortal anymore…” then listening to Satsuki’s continuing scream added, “That one seems to have a lot of spunk.”

Ciel nodded, looking towards the stairs, “Yeah.” she said.

-----

Shiki slumbered at his desk, sighing to himself. There was no easy was he was going to be able to tell Akiha that he needed her to do something for him. Especially if by doing that something she stood a good chance of loosing him to “that damn blonde foreigner”. He wracked his brain over the topic.

“AHHHHH!”

Glancing out the window Shiki almost coughed a fit as he saw Satsuki blow through the courtyard out towards the gate as if she was rocket propelled. His eyes widened as he noticed she’d blown past some of the track runners who were going at full tilt to do so.

“AHHHH! WAIT WHAT AM I DOING?” catching herself before she ran right of school grounds Satsuki looped around in her cloud of dust and made her way back to the school at the same fast run.

Shiki just dropped his head into his hands and asked to go see the nurse. He wasn’t feeling well, and obviously seeing things.


Satsuki caught herself just before she got off the school grounds. This day was going so bad she’d almost run away from school. She couldn’t do that. She’d be leaving Tohno to those older beasts!

Running at breakneck speeds through the halls, too fast for the sound of anyone telling her to slow down to catch up with her, the little girl stopped outside her classroom. Looking down she noticed her shoes were smoking. With a squeal of dismay she stomped them out quickly and headed inside.

Trying to sneak in the little girl put her finger to her lips and kept low, slipping over towards her desk. The teacher’s back was turned and a number of students waved her on. She sat down quietly.

The day was so sucky, and now she’d missed half of class. The teacher turned and smiled.

“Nice of you to join us today Miss Yumizuka.” he quipped. Satsuki grumbled under her breath, but stopped when the teacher added, “How about you come up to the front and help me with what I’m working with on the board.”

Oh this day was the total suckage. Satsuki couldn’t believe her bad luck. What else could happen today? She pounded a small fist on her desk as she got up to head for the front.

And the desk collapsed under her strength. The little girl’s eyes grew wide.

“AWW THIS SUCKS!”


Section 20 End

One down, one to go. The school day keeps rolling on, and we aren't even to lunch yet. The next part may be painful for... other... reasons.

Kieran
June 15th, 2011, 07:50 AM
OK, that was funny. I like the trouble Satsuki had remembering Arc's name - and the desk gag. :)

MrTags
June 22nd, 2011, 11:25 PM
ARGH! The newly revamped system erased all my spacing and I had to put it in one at a time. I hope I got them all. Time for a bit more pain. Or as someone soon will say, I can't believe I'm doing this.

Fanfic Alert!

Crossings, Section 21: Begin


Ciel held her head in her hands. The blue garbed burrier just couldn’t stand it anymore. The world had gone insane. From Arcueid’s phantom voice appearing out of nowhere, through a second one of her running around, to a Satsuki that could run like the wind and set her vampire senses off, her sanity had definitely started to crack.

“Are you ok old lady?”

Ciel jumped up, the voice surprising her. She looked around. There weren’t supposed to be any kids where she was hiding just outside the school wall so what exactly was that voice? Her eyes fell down on a small smiling blonde boy.

“Uh hi there.” Ciel quipped quickly, a mark of stress appearing on her forehead from the old lady crack, “Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“Hah, why should I do that? I own it.” the boy said, his red eyes opening up, “I’m just here for the entertainment.”

Ciel looked at the little kid confused, why did he remind her so much of Arcueid? “Entertainment?” she blurted out, surprised.

The boy laughed merrily and looked straight at Ciel, the burrier got shakes down her spine from the sense of power that small boy was able to convey with just a look, “There’s gonna be a war tonight.” he said happily, “One a long time coming, I just couldn’t miss watching it. You should catch it too. Another like you might be there!”

“Eh?” Ciel looked at the kid with an eyebrow cocked, he certainly wasn’t human whatever he was. The school bell rang out and teenagers began running about outside the school. The noise took her attention away for just a second. When she looked back the small blonde boy was gone.
“Just what was he going on about?” Ciel wondered aloud.


-----


The stars were out. The sky stretched far so far in every direction the horizon seemed a circle below. Up so high, past the atmosphere, one could see to the edges of the planet and still see space beyond it. Airless, lifeless space. A sattilite passed, unknowing, unseeing. The silence of the void was deafening.

One figure, coiled into a ball, hunkered down In that airless void. He stared intently down. Below him, hundreds of miles below, the Earth rolled past. Specifically the northern part of South America was directly under him as he sat silent vigil. The planet was beautiful. Stretches of dark, vibrant green and the shine of reflectant blue were in stark contrast to the void behind him.

David took a long breath of the aether and shook his head. ORT was too powerful to take head on twice, at least if he could help it. That didn’t leave a lot of options though. In fact it left only a daring few. To get a jump on a creature that could sense it’s own area so well, it had to be something quick from an unexpected angle. He had little like that left in his current condition.

Twin streams of blue fire flamed from his empty eye sockets. The energy and plasma being pulled away hungrily by the void around him. The cracks and rents in his body steamed. None of it mattered to him. There was no pain, no regret, not anymore, or for a long time yet.

A war raged in his head. A war that wouldn’t stay in. Doing something impossible in the void, he spoke aloud.

“I can’t believe I’m going to do this.” he moaned, “Oh it’s not tooooo bad, I must admit, but I can’t believe I’m going to do this.”

He shook his head and continued, trying to convince himself, “Sure, this universe is different from that one. Matter is stronger here. There is no risk of blowing up the whole planet, or even that much more than the target, but still… to use that here. It’s so embarrassing. I must be desperate.”

“Argh… do I have to?” he griped, looking down at his hands, “So many techniques, so much learned, and yet after all that with the condition I’m in I could never pull in enough power to use them. After all that I’m reduced to this of all things. I just can’t believe it.”

“Oh what the hell, there’s nothing to it but to do it afterall.” he said shaking his head again.

Looking down to the planet he targeted. The thing he was aiming for was well hidden under a thin layer of un-reality, but to his senses it shone out like a beacon. That wasn’t going to be a problem to hit. It wouldn’t be a problem at all. With a last pang of feeling silly he started.

Twisting his body he pulled his hands to one side and cupped them together. His fingers formed a cage around a single point. With a tiny pull of his will a ball of rippling blue energy formed in his hands. He still cursed himself inwardly, but there was no stopping it now.

“KAH” he started. The energy ball danced in his hands as tiny motes of light began to seep into his grip and empower it further.

“MEE” he continued. A drop of sweat formed on his head as the rents in his form began to spill even more energy. The ball in his hands shook as he fought to keep control of the titanic energy he was pouring into it.

“HAH” he added. The tiny motes being drawn to the energy ball began to grow to the point that each of them as they added themselves to the larger was as big as the original. The power grew and grew.

“MEE!” he shouted. The energy in his hands lit. Blazing beams of light shone from between his fingers as that energy ball burst into blue flame and demanded release.

“HAAAAAAAAA!”

David’s hands whipped forward.
 

Back on Earth, in the Amazonian rain forest, specifically just below where David was, a mighty beast looked around.

Standing to it’s full height the great monster ORT observed it’s domain. The crystal web of it’s home shone out, reflecting the dying sunlight. The warped and twisted trees stood in neat but unrecognizable patterns. It’s den was hidden well in the center of it’s sprawl.

To the creatures practiced eye, all was well.

At least for five seconds more. Just until the sky fell.

A blue beam of amazing intensity split the sky, coming straight down. ORT didn’t see it coming, had no time to react. The blazing beam struck down, crowning the beast on the head, then exploded.

ORT’s lair dissappeard under a massive dome of blue which expanded to swallow the entire crystal valley. The wind whipped around. The shockwave bent trees for miles, blew off branches and leaves. The rare forest dweller, too close to the Type’s valley for comfort anyway, was picked up and thrown by the mighty wind. A broiling hemisphere of destruction swallowed everything, chewed it up, and spit it out.

Screaming down to Earth, trailing the last bits of reentry burn with him, David followed closely in the wake of the destruction. Hitting the ground hard enough to make a small crater he jumped up and looked about. ORT was nowhere to be seen. Gritting his teeth he extended his senses through the boiling waves of energy, trying to find the beast even before they dissipated.

The dust cleared, the night fell. Eyes narrowed David searched the remains of the valley for his foe. In a moment his gaze struck upon a bulge in the ground.
Heaving and cracking ORT stretched back up into the air, dirt and debris dropping off it’s form. Looking from side to side and then up the beast extended one clawed limb to the sky in puzzlement. The image was an obvious one.

Apparently the gesture for “is it raining?” was universal.

David wound up and smacked himself with an epic face palm.
 

Back in Japan the lunch bell had rung. Ciel snatched up her curry, rice and mystery meat, then headed over to where Yumizuka and Arihiko were sitting. The smaller girl blanched, seeing her coming but Arihiko just smiled and waved her over.

Taking one of the two empty seats at the table and fixing her glasses slightly Ciel smiled at the pair.

“Hello Ciel sempai.” Arihiko said with a wide grin, “How are you doing today.”

“I’m fine, I’m fine.” she replied almost in a rush, looking down at her curry and drooling, “How are you two today?”

“Two?” Arihiko shared a glance with Satsuki, who shrugged.

Ciel poked at the curry with her spoon, “And have you seen Tohno yet Arihiko?”

“Eh? Ciel Sempai…” Arihiko looked at her as if she’d gone a little loopy, “You’re sitting next to him…”

-----

Shiki almost dropped his head into his noodles. That’s JUST what he needed. He wasn’t having enough problems without an INVISIBLE person at the table, one he couldn’t hear either. As level headed as he could be considered, this stuff was starting to get to him. He had a feeling half the things he couldn’t understand today were because of invisible people running around.

Not that THAT didn’t sound particularly silly… or paranoid… or just a little cracked.

“She’s just in a daze today Arihiko.” Shiki pointed out to his friend, “Of course she noticed me, she just didn’t think about it.”

-----

Ciel caught herself and coughed on her curry. She hated it when the good stuff went down the wrong pipe.

“Oh wait, I’m sorry.” she remarked, coughing a bit more, “Of course I noticed you there Shiki, sorry about that.”

Smiling broadly at nothing Ciel grumbled to herself. How exactly was she going to hold a normal conversation with anybody here when she could only see two thirds of the other people. Maybe she could figure it out from what the others were saying… though only Arihiko looked about to help. Satsuki was trying her best to hide behind her juice box and giving her one hell of a deer in the headlights impression. Not good, very not good.

-----

“By the way, are you ok today Satsuki?” Shiki asked, poking a noodle with his fork, “You look a little scared.”

“Oh Oh!” Yumizuka chirped, bouncing up. She started rubbing the back of her head and continued, “Yeah I’m fine, just having an off day.”

“And how is Ciel doing?” he asked looking at Satsuki while he asked it.

“Huh?” the little girl spouted, “Why ask me? Ciel’s right there!”

“You two alright with each other?” Arihiko asked, looking from Ciel to Shiki and back.

-----

“Oh good call Tohno.” Ciel whispered with a grin, “Yes, I’m just fine… uhm, we’re kind of playing a game.”

Arihiko’s eyes fell back on the girl in glasses, “A game eh? Which one’s that?”

“Can’t see or hear each other?” Ciel replied, ducking her head slightly and blushing.

“That’s really juvenile you two.” Satsuki said, crossing her arms in a huff, “I thought that game went out of style in preschool.”

-----

“Huh? Which game?” Shiki asked, looking at Yumizuka and feeling slightly confused.

“You know, she just said.” Arihiko replied with a grimace, “Aren’t you taking it a little far Shiki, pretending you can’t see or hear each other to that level.”

“We’re pretending…” Shiki said under his breath, then shrugged, a sweat drop forming on his brow, “Well I guess we all have to do things silly once in a while.”

“Sounds really stupid to me.” Arihiko grumbled, stuffing his mouth, “But if you two are going to go on that way…”

Glancing at Ciel Arihiko seemed taken aback for a second. He looked at her closely but couldn’t figure out why he was feeling scared of her. It’s almost as if he was forgetting something important.

-----

“Is there a problem Inui?” Ciel asked the redhead as he stared at her for an uncomfortable moment.

“I guess not.” Arihiko replied, rubbing the back of his head, “It’s just like I’ve gotten this feeling ya know, like I’m forgetting something.”

“Happens to all of us I guess.” Ciel said with a smile so broad her eyes closed.

“So what brought on this mess with you two not talking to each other?” Arihiko queried.

“Not seeing each other for a while?” Ciel put forth.

-----

“General sillyness and a headache.” Shiki said, conveniently at the exact second Ciel had spoken so their words blurred into each other.

“Oh come on.” Arihiko groaned, “Can’t you two even agree on something?”

“Maybe we worked it out this morning?” Shiki tried.

-----

“He screwed up the tea ceremony.” Ciel said deadpan. Yet again they spoke at exactly the same time.

“Gahh.” Satsuki blurted, “You two are good at this, I can’t understand either one of you.”

“You two must have been really practicing.” Arihiko said, his eyebrows raised.

“For a while.” Ciel replied.

-----

“No not really.” Shiki responded. Arihiko’s head fell into his hand.

“Perfect timing.” Satsuki said with her eyebrows following Arihiko’s.

“I guess we worked on it?” Shiki remarked.

-----

“It’s just luck.” Ciel pointed out. Arihiko started beating his head on the table.

“That looks like it hurts Inui.” Satsuki said, reaching out to stop her friend from beating his head in.

“Maybe I should put more of a pause in.” Ciel said out loud.

-----

“I’ve got to give Ciel time to talk don’t I.” Shiki remarked then looked up, “But what if she pauses too?”

“Can we just quit this game?” Arihiko bawled.

-----

“But if Tohno pauses and I pause…” Ciel mumbled to herself, leaning her head on a hand and toying with her curry.

“Uh guys I think you’re hurting Arihiko’s head.” Satsuki said, trying to stem the blood flow.

“Oh I give up why don’t we just eat?” Ciel said.

-----

“Oh I give up why don’t we just eat?” Shiki remarked, exactly at the same time as Ciel.

Arihiko let out a cry of agony, jumped up, ran around the table babbling nonsense twice, then dashed out of the room shouting something about his brain dribbling out of his ears.

“Well that was something I haven’t seen before.” Shiki said surprised.

-----

“That’s not something you see everyday.” Ciel pointed out at the same time as Shiki.

“ARGH!” Satsuki cried out, slamming her head down on the lunch table.

There was a crash… everyone’s lunch flew about as the table broke in two.

“OH THIS SUCKS!” Satsuki howled.


Section 21 End

Bloble
June 23rd, 2011, 12:03 AM
That...
That was... amazing. I don't think that one's ever been done before. You must have some kind of talent when it comes to writing humour because that double person unable to see each other gag was just insane. And Balance makes a great Son Goku.
Are you a wizard?

Kieran
June 23rd, 2011, 09:17 PM
Yes, yes he is - and now I see why he was saying he was having trouble with the scene. Trying to write it certainly would've given me a headache.

Still, that was awesome! I even liked the Dragonball reference - especially the griping about how ridiculous it was to use it! And that conversation - wow! You even included poor Sacchin's running gag!

This, I think, was your finest work to date. :)

Inugami
June 24th, 2011, 06:09 PM
It's beautiful.

Also, no one's yet mentioned ORT's gesture.

MrTags
September 24th, 2011, 01:42 PM
Sorry this is taking so long.

I've had a convention, my mmo has reopened, a cold, and a dozen other useless excuses. The problem is I don't know how to write the next segment. Sadly it's been so long since I've been in school I'm forgetting what classes I could add, hijinks I could pull and other nonsense I can put on a plate and deliver. I've got 1 short skit in my head and another forming, but I use sets of 5 or more skits to make a segment. So far it's just not congealing.

Any help would be appreciated... any japanese school meme's I've missed so far?

Kieran
September 24th, 2011, 07:51 PM
Offhand, I can think of gym class with water sports (and the requisite pool cleaning), sports festival day (track and field events, individual and team), and the bane of schoolgirls everywhere - body measuring day! (Usually involving the boys' efforts to get their hands on said measurements for public broadcasting.)

ItsaRandomUsername
September 24th, 2011, 08:21 PM
I forgot how awesome this is.

lethum
September 24th, 2011, 10:53 PM
Hm...Arashi or someone else may know better, but I don't think that you choose your classes in Japanese schools. What with being assigned to a classroom and waiting for your teachers to finish commuting for class. Home Ec, or the equivalent, may be elective, or may not. In any case elective classes are not the norm.

Of course, they will study some iteration of Math (Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Calculus), History, local language/Japanese, foreign language/English, Biology, Geography, PE...or you can check a school's web page to see what classes they teach.

MrTags
May 30th, 2012, 10:49 PM
Gahh, took me forever to find this burried as it was. I'm so snowed under with Shadowrun and Rogue Trader I haven't been able to do much of anything. I'm still getting stuck on the details so I'll just put out one skit at a time instead of four or five.

Crossings, Section 22a: Begin

It took a few minutes but Shiki managed to excuse himself from the table and head after the incensed Arihiko. Trying to excuse himself was of course, a bit of a hassle, but nothing compared to what had been going on before.

Hoping Ciel would calm Satsuki who was gibbering incoherently at the moment, he stepped out of the lunchroom and looked around. There was a bit of muttering from the people on the way towards the stairs, and a few people slow to pick themselves up, so Shiki considered that the most likely path his friend took. He headed up the stairs when he got there, knowing Arihiko to be a creature of habit when upset at lunch time.

Peering out of the doorway he glanced from side to side, then stepped out onto the roof. He missed Arihiko at first, then noticed him in an odd position. The redhead was crouched low, slowly making his way across the roof, in high sneaky mode.

One eyebrow cocked Shiki sauntered over to his friend and looked at him. If this was another way of showing upset over his and Ciel’s little improvization, it was a unique one.

“What are you doing?” Shiki asked, a little exhasperation in his voice. Arihiko almost jumped out of his shoes.

Whipping around the redhead he put a finger up to his lips and angrily whispered, “Shhh Shhhhh Don’t ruin it.”

“What?” Shiki asked, grimacing.

“Hottie alert, up on the fence!” Arihiko remarked, going back to his low sneaking crouch, “You don’t see that blonde in purple and white?”

Shiki cocked his head. He took a second to think about it. That sounded very familiar. It would probably make sense for Arcueid to be around here. She liked it up high. So she was on the fence, looking probably out, and he couldn’t see her for the… weirdness… He shrugged and looked down at Arihiko who was still sneaking and wondered why he was staying so low and trying to creep up on her. What would he really see if… he was down there… and she was up there… in her usual clothes…. A big anger mark popped up on Shiki’s brow.

YANK!

“Aaack!” Arihiko yelped as Shiki grabbed him by the ear and started dragging him away, “What are you doing.”

“Have some respect Arihiko.” Shiki growled dragging his friend across the roof, “There will be no free peeking up women’s skirts.”

“Oww oww, crud, oww, you’re suddenly no fun do you know that?” Arihiko queried in between yelps.


-----


Arcueid looked over lazily to where all the noise was coming from. It was distracting her from figuring these weird card things out.

Her head cocked to the side when she noticed a boy, one of Shiki’s friends she thought, sliding across the ground backwards on his rear.

“Wonder where he learned that trick?” she said mostly to herself, then went back to her reading.

Kieran
May 31st, 2012, 07:30 AM
Tease. :)

MrTags
October 4th, 2012, 10:14 PM
After all that time a one word answer...

Then how about a one word story post?

"OUCH!"