Page 165 of 165 FirstFirst ... 65115155160163164165
Results 3,281 to 3,296 of 3296

Thread: Ga Rei: Exodus Nine (IC)

  1. #3281
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Age
    22
    Posts
    2,115
    Blog Entries
    8
    Jacques Dussault
    Beyond Heart and Mind





    The sun has set.

    The sun has set, and with its setting the night is long, and cold, and dark.

    Where he lies, beyond all sight and thought, Jacques Dussault rests.



    Body battered, hair shortened and burned, eyes forever closed, he hears a voice speak to him within his dreamless slumber. It doesn’t say very much, because it knows him. It knows that he isn’t stirred by overdramatic speeches, by indulgent fanfare, by the sound of pomp and circumstance. It knows him... and it knows that for something as simple as the sound of tears, he would listen.

    The voice is familiar.

    Her voice is familiar.

    For something as simple as four words, he would listen.

    Four words that resonate with his very being.

    “Do the right thing,” she says.

    He remembers...

    It had snowed that morning, so long ago.

    Someone had come to knock on his door, and they had gone to explore. They'd... they'd ended up in a library, with half of a goddess, and a wraith, and his best friend, looking at the countless books. There had been so many of them, beyond all imagining, and he had passed them all to look at the comics of his childhood.


    But now, in his memory, something changes.

    He takes a different path; his fingers trace a dusty spine.

    He takes it off the shelf, and opens it, and reads.

    It is a dialogue between two people, old and young, and he hears it in that voice so familiar yet so far away that it cannot be placed.

    Two voices intertwine, one questioning, one answering, in a chain that stretches without end.

    What is the heart?

    The bearer of life.


    Something begins to stir.

    Something he had long forgotten for all the time he had spent here, beyond the reach of the stars, listening to the silence of the void.

    He turns another page.

    What is life?

    Waiting for death.


    He frowns in displeasure, and at once he is alone. There is no library anymore, no memory, nothing. He starts, looking around in the dark for something, anything, but nothing calls. All that is left is the man, and the book, and yet...

    Somehow he is not afraid.

    He turns another page.

    What is death?

    The thief of man.


    This book is depressing, but it's been so long - so long - since he has dreamed anything that he is loathe to put it down. As it is with all dreams, he can't remember when he fell asleep. That memory, too, has been consigned to the dark, a sleep from which he cannot rise.

    But in the back of his brain, he remembers a voice screaming in rebellion, howling alongside the souls of millions of others.

    He hears her voice again.

    Do the right thing.

    His fingers pause along the page, hesitant as they wait at the corners; but he turns the page because he is beginning to realize that he cannot stop.

    Every dreamer must one day wake.

    What is man?

    A passing traveler.


    Yes.

    Nothing lasts forever.

    He knew that, didn't he? Wasn't that why he, above anyone else, had met her? Had made a contract with-

    "______"



    "Do the right thing."

    Who was he?

    Why was he here?

    What was he doing?

    In the millennia, in the years without end that he had drifted here, he had never asked. He had slumbered without pause, without cease - he had been nothing more than a shadow on the wall of a cave. A phantom of better times.

    A ghost, adrift from the 'real'.

    In the distance he sees a light. It is small, and pale, nothing more than a point on some false horizon, but as he stares it begins to rise. He - his name, the fact that he had a name was so close to his tongue - turned the page again, and again, something driving him to get to the end, to continue the story-

    What is a traveler?

    A bearer of the past; the language of the lost.


    It reverberates in his skull like an evening bell, and he puts a hand to his head out of habit more than anything. In this world, he feels no pain or sorrow, but-

    Why had he winced?

    Why did he tremble so?

    Wasn't he supposed to be doing something?

    Wasn't someone calling his name?

    What is language?

    The herald of the soul.


    Do the right thing.

    What is the soul?

    A candle in the wind.


    A candle?

    He begins to shudder, and surely, light was spreading, burning golden as it left the darkness in its wake-

    A spark long dormant is brought to kindle once more.

    Was his flame so weak that it could never rise again?

    Was his heart so broken that it could no longer be mended?

    Didn't he - didn't I - didn't we promise her that our bond would last forever?

    He speaks into that onrush of light, the advent of the dawn, the purging of the self-

    The voice of his companion.

    "I am-"



    The sun has set.

    And it is time for it to rise again.

    An unbreakable bond, a trust that could never be unfulfilled, a faith that could not be shattered…

    He carries it with him, into a new age.




    Jacques Dussault
    A New Dawn Rises
    Final Battle


    "Did you miss me?"

    The world burns black and gold, and I laugh with it, the light of day lifting me to my feet. Even my horrid luck has to throw me a bone sometimes, right?

    I open my eyes, and with the rising of the sun severed hair grows back, wounds disappear, and... I flex the fingers of my shattered arm, whole again.

    It feels good.

    "We don't need that world to crush you! WE WON'T LET YOU ALL DO AS YOU'D PLEASE! DIE, FOR THE SAKE OF EVERYTHING!"



    "Sorry to crush your dreams, but I'm back for good."

    Isn't that right?

    "And I'm not leaving."

    Naglfar doesn't exist anymore. I can feel its absence, but it doesn't matter - the light of the dawn is still at my back, carrying me forward. I take a step, feeling what it means to walk again, and then another, and another, settling into a rhythm.

    I remember it all now.

    Every memory of my friends, of my loved ones, of my family. The bad, the good, the ugly, the mundane - I remember everything, coming back in one burst like the waves of the sea.

    I instinctively know that I won't be pulling out any black holes, won't be using the shadows of the universe, won't be ripping apart the fabric of the world to strike at the Devourer.

    And that's fine.

    Because I've got Hel, right?

    And everyone else who's at my side, present or not, dead or alive.

    Kenji.

    Maiya.

    Kusumi.

    Gisela.

    Tomoya.

    Mina.

    They're here, running with me, and...

    I remember the truth that I saw in my dream, even now, in Hel's voice as she spoke to me.

    Nothing lasts forever.

    I'm not gonna be around until the end of days, ESPer or not, champion or not, hero or not, but hell, did that ever matter to begin with?

    I've been so afraid of death for so long that, somewhere along the way, I forgot about it entirely. That's why Hel races by my side, the Queen of the Dead herself.

    Maybe that's what you need, to face death.

    To accept that it'll never go away.

    A name comes into my head, a name I never, ever would have called before. I knew it wouldn't have listened. I knew it wouldn't have cared. But now... Hel laughs with me, of one mind, and I can't resist.

    I shout into the heart of the world.

    I call upon thee!

    Azrael-



    -Angel of Death!

    Last edited by Mooncake; January 13th, 2019 at 02:18 AM.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  2. #3282
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    SPACE.
    Age
    23
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    2,363
    Blog Entries
    5
    Hitoshira Nagi
    A Soul That Can't Be Cut


    No --

    Please --



    I...

    I don't want to go.

    Even as I vanish, I don't want to go.

    Even as everything ends, I don't want to go.

    I see them.

    Everyone.

    The smiles of all the people I'm leaving behind -- the dreams that I've left shattered in my path -- the hopes that I've destroyed with my own demise --

    I watch as the gates to the Sea of Souls seal shut, and I can see Hitoshira Kae smiling brightly at me from just past the wall.

    "I'll take care of this one, so please, get some rest."

    The words leave my mouth automatically, even though I'm dying. Even though everything's ended, and it's nobody's fault but my own. Lilith's soft hand gently finds mine as the night closes around us and...

    I can't believe it.

    So when my eyes open, I'm naturally surprised.

    When I look once more upon the Devourer, I'm naturally confused. But somehow... In spite of it...




    I'm smiling.

    I'm so, so very happy that I get this last chance.

    I'm so, so incredibly grateful that everyone let me have this one last shot.

    So I have to make the most of it. This time... This place... It's really the end, isn't it? There's no second chances. No objections. No qualifiers.

    "Hey..."

    "In this time, in this place... There's no way that we'll just fall down and die," as my body reforms, as my arm reforms, as an ax that masquerades itself as Death's own weapons cackles in my mind, "There's no possible world where we'll just allow you a victory."

    Everything's gone. It's just us. It's just these sole few Espers, and as I look around, a brilliant smile forms on my face. So once more, for the last time, I carve open a hole between realities, and open the Shadow Vortex, staring deep into it.

    "I don't have anything to offer you but a solemn offer of friendship, you know. One that I've offered many times before. So... would you mind so terribly if I asked for your help, this one last time?"

    No objections.

    No qualifiers.

    No more words.

    I hoist my ax on my back, feeling it's everpresent weight as power starts to coalesce around me. After all, I am nothing more then a vessel for everyone's emotions, so even if I don't have access to that incredible, raw, pure power that I held previously, that's fine. Because...

    I'm the Queen of Demons.

    I'm the Hero of Tokyo.

    I, Hitoshira Nagi...

    Am alive.

    Hitoshira Nagi
    Alive

    I can't reach into the Sea of Souls. I can't claim ownership over this world like I did Nobody's. But even so --!!!

    I still have something nobody else here has.

    A bond that can't be broken. A soul that can't be destroyed.

    "Ne ne, Yagami-san, let's do it one more time, yeah? That technique that can't be defeated, the one you showed me the very first time we met."

    Lilith rises from my soul, drifting past me with a wink as she prepares something I've never seen before, a swirl of unstoppable, incredible power that she holds in her veins, her very core. This is what she is, the Mother of Humanity.

    This is my demon.

    The world twists around me as her power grows and grows, a tapestry of light and darkness that surrounds the woman next to me, a complete and total force that I've never seen her use before. Even though Lilith has always stood by me in times of trouble, in my own strife, she's never been the type of person to throw her entire being into an attack. Although, to be fair...

    That's the sort of person I am, as well. We're a perfect match.

    I adjust the grip on my ax, a wide, wide grin covering my face. "So let's show it to her, this Devourer of Time. The power of an unbreakable bond, y'know?"

    Light breaks.

    I'm no longer a member of this place.

    Invisibility is a concept that has rarely been discussed among the rational body of the world. It's ridiculous; the idea that anyone can 'simply disappear'. But the power of Yagami's absolute illusions is as such.

    I am not here.

    It's a trick of the mind, to use Yagami's illusions - the ability to delude yourself so deeply that reality itself is deluded alongside you. But that's the kind of person I am. The kind of delusional maniac who wields an axe that carries the weight of all those who came before it, with a demon who lied her name into slumber.

    Movement.

    It's a dash.

    Absolutely rebellious, even as I feel the emotions of everyone pouring into me.

    Absolutely insane, even as I feel the weight of everyone's hopes on my back.

    But that's who I am. That's Hitoshira Nagi.

    So even when I approach --




    It's an unstoppable sort of blow.

    A blow from someone who isn't part of this world.

    A blow from someone who only re-enters this world for a moment, vanishing into the shadows shortly after.

    There's always been more to my ESP then simply emotions and strength. I've just never had reason to use it. I lived a shadowed existence for so long --

    Is it any wonder that I can drape them around me like a cloak?
    Last edited by Frantic Author; January 12th, 2019 at 09:21 PM.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it
    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  3. #3283
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Road's End, Washington
    Posts
    5,711
    Blog Entries
    71
    Medrod Pendragon
    First
    Last
    Dream
    Sword



    So... this was it.

    Their last, their final, chance.

    It was all thanks to the one God of Time who had sacrificed his everything for the sake of the girl he loved. In a way, the Knight felt both bitter and slightly proud of his decision. Not because he had decided to sacrifice his life in order to end the dream, not because he had merged with the Administrator in order to bring them to the actual reality... but because he had done what he believed was right. Might for right. To use the power given to you for the sake of those who had no power. To the Knight, that truly was a deed he could respect. Respect... and mourn. Once this was over, and if he still existed after it... he would raise a glass of his own, in the dead of the night, for the God of Time.

    Because he deserved his respect more than anything.

    He, if anyone, had wanted to save Chiyoko. He, if anyone, had wanted to see the girl smile. He, if anyone, had wanted to save her dream.

    ------------- To the point of sacrificing himself for it.

    And that's why the Knight felt bitter.

    Chronos deserved more. He deserved a happy ending with the girl he loved.

    He deserved to see the new tomorrow with Chiyoko.

    "Yours was a star shining so bright, tomorrow will feel your soft light," The Knight quietly spoke. "Your sacrifice is not in vain, I promise to carry your pain. We have heard your whispered wish, the chance for morn we shall not miss."

    All around them, the world was becoming whole. Those who had been lost were returning. Those who had been denied of their chance to fight were given another lease in battle. Those who had sacrificed themselves for nothing could now try again. It was not a reality of mud and curses, but one that shone with Xanadu's light --- the sword once again being its own self again. The Knight stared at the sword, an unreadable expression with his blue-and-red eye. The helmet hid his expression, and it was impossible to tell what went through his head... but it was clear that he came to some sort of decision. Some sort of answer.

    Because as the world began to move again... as those defeated ran forward once more... so too did the Knight begin to move.

    But not in a way that anybody could have expected.

    "I see this is thy final choice, you shall walk away from this voice. Even this dream must come to end, for the waking world to be mend," The Knight spoke solemnly. "Dream or not we art one and same, in the myth we share more than name. I applaud you O' Son of Naught, for the battle that you have fought."

    As the reality of the Time Devourer faded away... so too did their powers.

    But even before that could truly take place, or rather, before that could register in the mind of the Knight... he did something unthinkable. Within his silvered, hornet helmet, a smile appeared on his face. A smile that was slightly sad, slightly melancholic, slightly happy... and nothing if not hopeful. It was the smile of someone who knew that he had reached his end. He had nothing after this. Indeed, for he was the Son of Naught. From the beginning he had nothing. No power, no ability, no legend. Everything he got he had to take with his own hands.

    Like a white dragon of a myth.

    Thus, as the army of opponents faced the Administrator and stared it down, as they shot it down, as they struck it down, as they ran forward to oppose it from here to eternity... The Knight relaxed his hands.

    First...

    ----------- He cast aside his Factors.

    Even if they no longer worked, they were a memory from a reality, a dream that he wished not to return to. They were a power copied from an enemy he wished not to mimic. It was a gift that was not his own, and thus, the Knight let go of the power that had been granted to him, even if it was truly gone by the time he did. In the end, it was more of a symbolical expression.

    Second.

    ----------- He cast aside his Eclipse State.

    The sea of souls was not the same, it no longer held the vast amount of wishes and dreams that it once had. This was a new world and he could no longer rely on it. From now on, he would have to search for new wishes and dreams. He would have to look forward to the future and listen to the children of the tomorrow for what they wished with all their heart.

    Third.

    ----------- He cast aside his Grail Sword.

    The largest star of the reality, power made real by one Saki Ryuumonbuchi, was thrown aside with clear intent. The blade of starlight flickered and faded away, becoming nothing. In that moment as the Knight let go of the handle, the sword ceased to truly be. He was thankful for it. It was responsible for him being able to make it so far. Without Saki, the Knight would have fallen long ago.

    Fourth.

    ----------- He cast aside his Magatsuhi.

    Red energy, strands of godhood itself and purpose that could remake the world, flowed out of him. They became simple red strings that were eventually erased by the world itself. He had no more use of them. They had served him well so far, but the Knight knew that they would only get in the way. After all, this sort of power, this selfish desire to remake the world... he no longer cared none for it. It was time for that power to go.

    Fifth.

    ----------- He cast aside his Chrysaor.

    Without a second glance he threw the sword to the side, allowing it to turn into pure lightning that it was always meant to be. His brother's soul was not meant to exist in such way, trapped within a will of a blade aimed at his enemies. That soul was meant to be free, just a soul of any human. The sword and the will had served their purpose. They had helped him more than he could ever thank them for. Thus, this was the time to say goodbye.

    Sixth.

    ----------- He cast aside his Armor.

    The silver-horned helmet melted away, as did the crimson finery adorning the mithril plate that covered him from head to toe. What was revealed from behind was the form of a young man, the one he had always been. Lithe, strong, muscular... the body of a fighter. The body he had trusted so far. The armor had been the form of the knight. But now that dream had come to an end. He needed to wake up in the reality. In other words... he needed to shed his outer shell.

    Seventh.

    ----------- He cast aside his Knighthood.

    The nameless knight he had been was no more. The legend he had been was no more. The union of two myths that were so similar to each other that they had become indistinguishable had ended. What waited behind all that legend was naught but the same youth that was revealed behind the armor. There was nothing legendary about him. There was nothing mythical about him. He was just someone who had ended up all the way in here, someone that had happened to be right person to this job. He no longer pretended to be anything else than what he was.

    Eight.

    ----------- He cast aside his scales.

    That white glory beneath his skin floated away, becoming petals that filled the air. Poison that could take down gods had finally been given the order to rest. The scales of the argent dragon had served their purpose, and no longer would they be needed. They had protected their wearer this far, they had helped him stay alive, they had kept him safe. What more reason was there to keep them here, in this moment? The platinum scales that they were, they had deserved their rest.

    Ninth.

    ----------- He cast aside his ESP.

    The power to wound and hurt anyone who came in touch with him, to bring poison within those that wishes to be close to him... he had no need for it. He was no longer afraid of others. He had learned that in this life, one needed others as much as they needed him. Even if he got hurt, he could grin and bear it. If he wanted to be one worthy of the words he had said to the God of Chaos, he needed to learn how to let people close. Thus, he ill-needed a power that only served to keep a distance between him and other people. If for nothing else than for the sake of a red dragon.

    And.

    Tenth.

    Finally.

    ----------- He cast aside his Xanadu.

    Tossing aside the sword like it had been a toy he had grown tired of, decidedly casually and with an expression that told while he was grateful, he had also made a decision... he let go of the sword of dreams. He understood it now. It was a sword of dreams, capable of actualizing them... but that was not a power that could be even called special. No. Every single being in this world had the power to actualize their dreams if they put their everything to it. And as that was what he was doing right now... he had no need for the sword.

    No, there was more to it than that.

    He simply...

    ... Didn't want to do this with the hand-me-downs of a Messiah he so despised.

    Not because he himself was not a Messiah.

    No, it was because while he was not a Messiah, he was someone who dedicated his everything to saving people.

    And he finally understood the difference of a savior and a Messiah.






    "... For the sake of everything?"

    A small smile floated to his lips.

    "Unfortunately... we, too, are part of that everything."




    A person looking at this from the sidelines could have wondered, could have asked, why he had put aside his everything, even if only for a moment. Even if all that he cast aside would one day return, like a tiger unable to shed its stripes... why had he gotten rid of it all at this moment, this last possible moment? Wasn't this the exact moment that he needed all the power he could get?

    No.

    That was slightly wrong.

    Everyone was capable of actualizing dreams, either ones coming from themselves or ones coming from others.

    They just had to put their minds to it.

    In other words.

    For what was about to happen, he needed all the empty space within himself that he could find. For the moment, he needed to make himself into an absolute void so that it could be filled to the brim. Because he knew what was coming. He heard it. He heard those wishes. He heard it all. Every single last dream that had been uttered within those 46 billion years of looping time.

    He took in all those dreams so that he could make them real.


    Mikagura Mika.

    Jacques Dussault.

    Saki Ryuumonbuchi.

    Zerah Meir.

    Adala Lagerkvist.

    Liane Cross.

    Tony Redgrave.

    Yamuna.

    Ryuichi.

    Dr. Matsuda.

    Noriko.

    Aleph.

    Yuka.

    Kazuya.

    Red.


    Fifteen Wishes.


    Add to that the 46 billion years that their tale had looped.

    Every single soul within that twisting, spiraling tale... and every single dream and wish they had made, all for the sake of reaching this moment when they could finally break free of the fate reserved for them. This was the moment that they had all been waiting for... and this was their one and only chance. In other words, all those that he knew... and all those that wanted the same thing as they did. Those innumerable times that had been lived for the sake of this moment.

    Every single one of the people he loved.

    And every single one of the people he wished to protect.

    All across the 46 billion years.

    He took in their wishes.

    Every single wish.


    32,397,839,000,000,000,000


    That was the number of wishes made. Over 30 quintillion.

    And he became conduit for them all.

    Not because of Xanadu.

    But because there was one more sword left.

    The final sword.




    Medrod Pendragon
    EXCALIBUR



    In the end, it was very simple.

    He was someone who wanted to make the dreams, hopes and wishes of others come true. Therefore, something like a Xanadu was a crutch to him from the very beginning. It was something that Zerah had wielded a long time ago, a weapon of destruction that would make dreams through with its blade, an instrument of death. So, if he wanted to do this his own way, without bringing death into the mix... Medrod had to find his own path. This was the path he had found. This was the path he would walk down.

    "You heard me the first time, right?" He asked from the Administrator, staring it down without fear.

    "I'm just a simple man..." He said, but then, a crooked smile appeared on his voice. "... And I'm just a simple sword."

    He had finally found what he really was.

    Here.

    At the end of everything.

    No, at the beginning of everything.

    It was here, powered by over 30 quintillion wishes, that Medrod finally realized his own dream.

    His first dream. His first wish. His first hope.

    ---------------- To save everyone.

    "And you know what else?"

    With a confident step, the young man set forward, heading straight to the Mass of Humanity that had masqueraded as a God, trying to set their rules upon this reality after the tragic ending they had reached. He hesitated none, walking calmly but surely towards his target. Medrod knew that this was the time that all of them would have to give it their all, and as blows from another side of the world were delivered, as angels of death were called, as giants of flame were summoned, as the humanity as a whole set forward to rebuke the Time Devourer... Medrod made his move as well.


    First, he was walking.

    "This time... this one time..."

    Then, he was running.

    "Everybody... and this includes every single one of you, Another Humanity..."

    Finally, he was right in front of it.

    A punch of
    32,397,839,000,000,000,000 wishes
    flew straight towards Time Devourer's face.

    "Just this once!"





    Last edited by Verg Avesta; January 12th, 2019 at 09:46 AM.

  4. #3284
    …That’s problematic. Katie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Policing the Grancypher.
    Gender
    Female
    Posts
    4,345
    Blog Entries
    1
    Mikagura Mika
    ???


    Darkness.

    Feeling.

    Painful.

    Burning, agony, despair. Shreds at my skin. Lungs sear, no air. Drowning, uselessly, pointlessly, unable to escape. Freedom is acceptance.

    Freedom is descending, sinking, falling even further “in.” Letting pain blur into an indistinguishable feeling of sensation at the loss of self. It would be easy to let it all happen. I brought this upon myself.

    I thought I was strongest alone. Losing others hurt. Being connected with others hurt. To spare myself from pain, I cut myself off from everyone else. An isolated island, relying on the strength of one’s conviction to carry themselves throughout life.

    But the self is only one amongst many. It is weak alone.

    This is what I deserve for rejecting the gifts offered to me.

    “Don’t tell me you’re really thinking of scooping now.”

    A voice.

    Familiar, yet not. Her voice has a cool tone, but it’s comforting, like the breeze of a fan on a hot summer’s day. The sound of someone reliable, who could protect you from the world’s ills.

    A protector, perhaps?

    She says some more things, but I can’t hear them at all, drowned out underneath the haze of hatred and disgust, despair and revulsion, envy and rage. But despite all of this endless, incomprehensible noise, those sounds reach out to me nonetheless.

    Make me remember.

    Of a dream that lasted for eons, of endless hardship and toil. An abyss of time where I’ve failed and suffered beyond compare. They always die, and I struggle to find the truth, make amends, for so many times it all blurs into indistinguishable fact. I repeat many mistakes over and over, repeat them until I drive myself to ruin. In that dream, I spend many moments like this, adrift in hell.

    Yet, despite all those things, at the end of that dream, I am not alone. There are people I’ve slighted, I’ve hurt, but they stand by my side all the same. There are enemies I’ve once hated that I grudgingly respect. There is a family waiting for me.

    In that dream, I am happy.

    That fleeting dream… is something I want to hold on to above all else.

    I drag my hand through thick tar, resisting the urge to go limp and descend, trying to reach out for something beyond my grasp.

    But just because I can’t reach it on my own

    —hands grab mine, tight with worry and care—

    doesn’t mean I can’t get there with a little help.

    “I told you I would find you.”

    In the depths of humanity’s worst emotions, I can’t help but laugh in relief.

    She truly is a guardian deity.

    Mikagura Mika
    The Final Battle


    Genbu drags me out of the concentration of curses, unrelenting in her determination, and I surface, feeling as if I’ve been cleansed of over a thousand burdens. I may feel tired and exhausted but none of it is comparable to the distinct, exhilarating feeling that I am alive, that I exist, and that most importantly, I still have a chance to reclaim that dream. That at the end of it all, reality has been kind enough to give me an opportunity where I can dictate the future. In this reality, flawed as it may be—

    Fate has no meaning. Destiny is ours to take.

    Those thoughts are enough to force me up on my feet, only for my demon to hand me a blade, forged within a falsehood, yet all too real. As I grasp Beacon it all comes flooding back, strength I thought I had lost, the understanding of what Chronos did. In the end, what I had prepared was unneeded and returned to me in the hopes I could do something useful.

    While I can’t say I liked that God of Time, or if I’d ever forgive him… I certainly don’t hate him.


    [Oracle Think Tank restored.]

    [Akashic Record access denied.]

    [Utilizing data from previous backup… Estimated loss of data based off of broken connections is roughly between 20% to 35%.]

    [Akashic Record storage accessed.]

    “Find the others… I have something I need to do first.” Nami and Sora, of course, but Liane would work too. I’d like for her to see I still have her gift. Three bullets, never fired, chambered in Beacon. My COMP seamlessly transitions from blade to gun in my hands, because there’s no longer a need for a godslaying blade. The opponent is the pinnacle of human, emotionally driven when the odds are against them. And, as bitter as it is to say, there’s only one reason why firearms were invented.

    I take careful aim. Not to miss, but to make sure this attack in particular intersects them all. So that everyone’s efforts could be pulled together into one, uniform whole.

    Three.

    Two.

    One.

    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  5. #3285
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Vritra's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Distraction land
    Age
    27
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,204
    Makoto Fujioka
    Ends and Beginnings

    [………………………………………………………………………………………..……………..]

    Roaring, the sound of a flame I can no longer hear. Red and hungry it strips away everything, my life, my mind, this is my defeat. This is my death.

    [H…………….…Lose……………………………………………...…………Defeated.….]

    Grasping, the sensation of the mud that drags everything to its doom. The flame roars the mud grasps and we drown ourselves.

    I’ve died.

    I’ve died.

    I’ve died.

    I’ve died

    The registration of the vestigial sensation plays over and over in what is left of my mind. My defeat, my death. Give in, give in, give in, there’s no point to trying. After all, when have my efforts ever paid off?

    [How………….…Lose………………to……something………you…Defeated….]

    I wonder… If I had a mouth would I laugh at it all?

    As I slip deeper and deeper into this forsaken sea a part of me pulls me downward faster, all to embrace oblivion all the soon. Yet a part of me resists, this hell is what I choose and what I deserve isn’t it. Red Flames of hatred, black Ichor of resentment our poisoned cup filled to the brim and overflowing.


    The futility of a life flashing before my eyes in burnt out cinematography washes over me like an acid tide. Bitter and strong it picks apart the false phantasms of hope and carries them away to their abyssal grave. Where once my dreams took root, spread their arms and grew to embrace the sky only blighted defeat lingers. Why wouldn’t others curse this hollow self of mine? I gave up on them after all. The home I abandoned, the people I pushed away and the feelings I couldn’t give up on. Accursed stubbornness, twisted pride. I would scream until my throat rents itself bloody and raw or maybe I would rampage until my body broke under the weight of my cowardly self.

    [How can …….lose to something like ………………..you just defeated it]

    How infuriating I can almost hear voice full of warmth.

    How beguiling I can almost see a face smiling at me.

    How maddening I can almost feel a warm hand holding mine.

    Ha haha ha… No peace granted even in death how… truly fitting. Dreams of swords piercing my flesh dreams of happy days I’ve never seen. Perched on the edge of oblivion an ephemeral dying dream haunts what little Is left of me in the mud. Things I’ve never seen, happy ends I can never reach hover over me like a taunting reaper.

    Its like I can almost hear a voice.

    As if I can almost hear a voice…

    [How can you lose to something like this, when you just defeated it]

    “Mmm five more minutes meanie Sensei.”

    .

    ..



    Strange…

    Strange, strange, strange…

    A voice I shouldn’t be able to hear, a voice I shouldn’t know is answered by a response I can’t give and one I can’t understand.

    Who…

    Who are you and… why, why can I see this?

    Makoto Fujioka, it is the name of a worthless person. Discontent with life yet never able to provide a better answer. He chose pride and his inability to push past his stubbornness drove everyone around him away. In the end, he was never able to speak his true feelings and reach out to the hands that were offered and so he died a worthless death when he had no choice but to march to a battle he could win alone.

    Makoto Fujioka, it is an almost ironic name for a worthless person, it is my name and yet…

    Why is it also his?

    Spilling out before me is a world I can’t understand. There is a boy stubborn and idiotic yet honest and despite all the mistakes and missteps, he reaches out towards others who respond in kind. A dream of swords, sincerity, brilliant feelings and happy endings which I could never realize.

    Impossible. Everything I’ve known tells me the brilliant world that fills my soul is a beguiling falsehood yet I hunger for it all the same. I could never, I perhaps should never grasp such a thing yet my hesitations are mocked as a hand forcefully grasps mine and drags me forward.

    “How cruel Sensei, making a dying person get to his feet. A real slave driver you know…”

    If you had asked me before about if a soul could cry, I’d laugh and dismiss it as idiotic but… I’m crying right now, aren’t I?

    Mmm I think I’ll just pretend it’s the rain.

    Perched on the edge of oblivion, witnessing a dream I could never attain and facing an opponent I can’t even imagine myself beating who would love nothing more than to see us all return to nothing.

    “I can’t say that I ever saw this stupid joke of a situation coming.”

    I don’t believe in myself and I’m sure I don’t deserve it but some part of me still wants to reach that happy ending and, well…

    Sensei, Kyoto, Ane-san.

    With my hands being grasped this tightly I don’t think I’m going to have much choice in the matter.

    “Thank you.”

    My voice is weak and unsteady as I turn away to hide the faint blush staining my cheeks.

    This is one of those times where its best to just give in and go with the flow isn’t it.

    Maybe it’s the influence of that other self-staining me but force once I manage to push past that thoughtless stubbornness and imprisoning pride to accept the hands offered and the self-indulgence laid before me.

    A bright and blue world full of smiling faces.

    An impossible paradise of happy endings.

    “So nothing left to do but win huh?”

    What a strange sense of invigorating calm. I want to fight and yet I don’t even have a wea-

    Ah…

    Ah ha ha ha actually on second thought Nah, I think I’ve had enough dreams full of swords for now. I still have two perfectly working fists after all.

    “My sleepiness seems to have made us late huh but I despite all the mistakes I’ve made in this world and that I want to ask two things of you. One, please follow my lead and two… I want… Mmm this is a bit embarrassing but Sensei, Kyoto, and Ane-san I’m sure I’ll make plenty of mistakes in the future but I don’t want to let go.”

    Closing my eyes for a moment I can feel the hesitation and fear of my old self mingle with the feelings of my new. Even in that dream, I was afraid, afraid of being hurt, of being denied. Yet in that very dream, I found an answer, things will end, things will hurt but even then endings are just beginnings to grasp what I want I first need to extend my hand.

    “So please don’t let go of my hand even if it was a dream, I want to make it a reality. That world and my feelings.”

    I love you… I love you all. You all, the Nakamura’s, Aika, everyone. I love you like family and I love you like a beloved. I want to laugh, smile, joke and bathe in your brilliant radiance. It was so warm in that dream. Friendship and affection caressed my cheek like a gentle wind while rivalry and desire burned my chest like a red-hot glowing sword ready to be quenched.

    Ah…

    Truly, truly, truly, I truly love you. My heart feels like it will burst. My skull feels like it will overflow these tempestuous emotions are as wicked as they are wonderful. The form of a perfect curse, now that I’ve come to know what its like it eats away at me with a maddening frenzy and yet in the same heartbeat that gives these desires life I know peace. It might not be quick, it might not be elegant, it might not be perfect but these bonds will not break until we have all wasted away into nothingness.

    Sorry, you found an answer that I can’t call wrong and maybe time will even prove ours to be foolish and wrong but-

    Analyzing the battlefield, I skirt the edges and prepare.

    Extending my open hand I curl my thumb inward.

    -But I will not turn my back on the answer we found thanks to you. Acceptance, understanding, empathy, connection. These things may yet still drive us to ruin but I will entrust my self to them with no reservations.

    Remember that dream, realize its answer.

    I curl my index finger inwards.

    The maddening desire stained by malice was a curse. It drove me to do things I can’t forgive it countless times. It reduced me to a monster unable to recognize or interact with the world around me unless it was on the edge of a sword. Yet it has saved me all the same.

    It taught me that as long as I don’t abandon my faith even my worthless self can be refined.

    My soul is a crucible for my mind and body, embrace the furnace and hammer the blade. Gather my strength, strain my body to its limits. My limits are born of the doubts and weaknesses within me, hammer it until nothing remains.

    I curl my middle finger inwards.

    Opening myself to the opponent before me I must embrace them, understand everything about it. Create, destroy, recreate again and again no matter how long it takes I must continue following the path this faith creates. My opponent is a human dredge up every last memory and intake every sight before me. Focus, focus, focus this desire. The emotions swirling in my heart will be my engine to soar beyond the horizon. My mind will be the whetstone that grinds away the shackles that bind me. My body will be the sword that cleaves those who would destroy our dreams.

    I curl my ring finger inwards.

    The stars feel as distant as they look but I remain undaunted by the singleness of my existence. I am no longer alone, I am no longer lost. Even if they are invisible, I know the bonds we share are still there. Even though I am nothing more than a human I have learned just how far we can go. Even though I am the same fool I’ve always been I have learned just what my faith and determination can give birth to.

    I curl my pinky inwards and clench my now compete fist.

    Despise me, curse me, rend me to pieces all you want but I will not stop and I will not let this dream go.

    Sorry but this me is just a bit less kind than the me that you knew.

    Within the whirling storm that our defiance creates I spy the chance that I've been seeking from this blind spot.

    A sad fool who dreamt that he could cut down his weakness.

    A girl who dreamt that she could outrun the suffering of the world.

    A scientist who would ignore herself to chase the truth.

    A goddess who chose to live as a human.

    Even though our souls are no longer connected the bonds of our heart still exist and so we choose to fight. For our dreams, for the world, we once knew.

    Charging the enemy, we must beat at all costs I can feel myself smile. I wonder how long has it been since I’ve smiled from the bottom of my heart. Years at least. Trapped in a prison of my own making I strangled my dreams and consigned myself to hopelessness.

    That ends now.

    Dreams are powerless insubstantial products of our imaginations but through them, we learn just how and why we should act and actions are the methodology for how we change the reality around us. I dreamt of a sword that was free from the weaknesses that plagued me, a sword that could cut down everything that I desire, a sword that could realize the happiness that I’ve always craved yet could never find. In this fist, that dream will be made a reality.

    In my fist burns the deepest crimson of every scrap of power I can gather and then some.

    In my fist burns the drowning azure of all 46 billion years worth of dreams and resolve that I found.

    In my fist burns the silver steel of the bonds that have become intertwined with my soul.

    This sword will cut down our fate, this hand will grasp the tomorrow that we imagine.

    In age-old synchronization I, Kyoto, Ane-san and Sensei execute our attack straight into the Devourers blindspot. Rile yourself up all you want but these bodies of ours have so many weaknesses so to live another day we’re going to sucker punch yours.

    Kenῡndo: Acta est fabula, et ibimus in vitam.

    The story might be done but we will make sure our lives continue SO TAKE A GODDAMN NAP. You can judge us when you wake up you goddamn workaholic.

    Heh what do you know I still remember some of those dumb latin lessons.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Makoto Fujioka
    Ends and Beginnings

    [………………………………………………………………………………………..……………..]

    Roaring, the sound of a flame I can no longer hear. Red and hungry it strips away everything, my life, my mind, this is my defeat. This is my death.

    [H…………….…Lose……………………………………………...…………Defeated.….]

    Grasping, the sensation of the mud that drags everything to its doom. The flame roars the mud grasps and we drown ourselves.

    I’ve died.

    I’ve died.

    I’ve died.

    I’ve died

    The registration of the vestigial sensation plays over and over in what is left of my mind. My defeat, my death. Give in, give in, give in, there’s no point to trying. After all, when have my efforts ever paid off?

    [How………….…Lose………………to……something………you…Defeated….]

    I wonder… If I had a mouth would I laugh at it all?

    As I slip deeper and deeper into this forsaken sea a part of me pulls me downward faster, all to embrace oblivion all the soon. Yet a part of me resists, this hell is what I choose and what I deserve isn’t it. Red Flames of hatred, black Ichor of resentment our poisoned cup filled to the brim and overflowing.


    The futility of a life flashing before my eyes in burnt out cinematography washes over me like an acid tide. Bitter and strong it picks apart the false phantasms of hope and carries them away to their abyssal grave. Where once my dreams took root, spread their arms and grew to embrace the sky only blighted defeat lingers. Why wouldn’t others curse this hollow self of mine? I gave up on them after all. The home I abandoned, the people I pushed away and the feelings I couldn’t give up on. Accursed stubbornness, twisted pride. I would scream until my throat rents itself bloody and raw or maybe I would rampage until my body broke under the weight of my cowardly self.

    [How can …….lose to something like ………………..you just defeated it]

    How infuriating I can almost hear voice full of warmth.

    How beguiling I can almost see a face smiling at me.

    How maddening I can almost feel a warm hand holding mine.

    Ha haha ha… No peace granted even in death how… truly fitting. Dreams of swords piercing my flesh dreams of happy days I’ve never seen. Perched on the edge of oblivion an ephemeral dying dream haunts what little Is left of me in the mud. Things I’ve never seen, happy ends I can never reach hover over me like a taunting reaper.

    Its like I can almost hear a voice.

    As if I can almost hear a voice…

    [How can you lose to something like this, when you just defeated it]

    “Mmm five more minutes meanie Sensei.”

    .

    ..



    Strange…

    Strange, strange, strange…

    A voice I shouldn’t be able to hear, a voice I shouldn’t know is answered by a response I can’t give and one I can’t understand.

    Who…

    Who are you and… why, why can I see this?

    Makoto Fujioka, it is the name of a worthless person. Discontent with life yet never able to provide a better answer. He chose pride and his inability to push past his stubbornness drove everyone around him away. In the end, he was never able to speak his true feelings and reach out to the hands that were offered and so he died a worthless death when he had no choice but to march to a battle he could win alone.

    Makoto Fujioka, it is an almost ironic name for a worthless person, it is my name and yet…

    Why is it also his?

    Spilling out before me is a world I can’t understand. There is a boy stubborn and idiotic yet honest and despite all the mistakes and missteps, he reaches out towards others who respond in kind. A dream of swords, sincerity, brilliant feelings and happy endings which I could never realize.

    Impossible. Everything I’ve known tells me the brilliant world that fills my soul is a beguiling falsehood yet I hunger for it all the same. I could never, I perhaps should never grasp such a thing yet my hesitations are mocked as a hand forcefully grasps mine and drags me forward.

    “How cruel Sensei, making a dying person get to his feet. A real slave driver you know…”

    If you had asked me before about if a soul could cry, I’d laugh and dismiss it as idiotic but… I’m crying right now, aren’t I?

    Mmm I think I’ll just pretend it’s the rain.

    Perched on the edge of oblivion, witnessing a dream I could never attain and facing an opponent I can’t even imagine myself beating who would love nothing more than to see us all return to nothing.

    “I can’t say that I ever saw this stupid joke of a situation coming.”

    I don’t believe in myself and I’m sure I don’t deserve it but some part of me still wants to reach that happy ending and, well…

    Sensei, Kyoto, Ane-san.

    With my hands being grasped this tightly I don’t think I’m going to have much choice in the matter.

    “Thank you.”

    My voice is weak and unsteady as I turn away to hide the faint blush staining my cheeks.

    This is one of those times where its best to just give in and go with the flow isn’t it.

    Maybe it’s the influence of that other self-staining me but force once I manage to push past that thoughtless stubbornness and imprisoning pride to accept the hands offered and the self-indulgence laid before me.

    A bright and blue world full of smiling faces.

    An impossible paradise of happy endings.

    “So nothing left to do but win huh?”

    What a strange sense of invigorating calm. I want to fight and yet I don’t even have a wea-

    Ah…

    Ah ha ha ha actually on second thought Nah, I think I’ve had enough dreams full of swords for now. I still have two perfectly working fists after all.

    “My sleepiness seems to have made us late huh but I despite all the mistakes I’ve made in this world and that I want to ask two things of you. One, please follow my lead and two… I want… Mmm this is a bit embarrassing but Sensei, Kyoto, and Ane-san I’m sure I’ll make plenty of mistakes in the future but I don’t want to let go.”

    Closing my eyes for a moment I can feel the hesitation and fear of my old self mingle with the feelings of my new. Even in that dream, I was afraid, afraid of being hurt, of being denied. Yet in that very dream, I found an answer, things will end, things will hurt but even then endings are just beginnings to grasp what I want I first need to extend my hand.

    “So please don’t let go of my hand even if it was a dream, I want to make it a reality. That world and my feelings.”

    I love you… I love you all. You all, the Nakamura’s, Aika, everyone. I love you like family and I love you like a beloved. I want to laugh, smile, joke and bathe in your brilliant radiance. It was so warm in that dream. Friendship and affection caressed my cheek like a gentle wind while rivalry and desire burned my chest like a red-hot glowing sword ready to be quenched.

    Ah…

    Truly, truly, truly, I truly love you. My heart feels like it will burst. My skull feels like it will overflow these tempestuous emotions are as wicked as they are wonderful. The form of a perfect curse, now that I’ve come to know what its like it eats away at me with a maddening frenzy and yet in the same heartbeat that gives these desires life I know peace. It might not be quick, it might not be elegant, it might not be perfect but these bonds will not break until we have all wasted away into nothingness.

    Sorry, you found an answer that I can’t call wrong and maybe time will even prove ours to be foolish and wrong but-

    Analyzing the battlefield, I skirt the edges and prepare.

    Extending my open hand I curl my thumb inward.

    -But I will not turn my back on the answer we found thanks to you. Acceptance, understanding, empathy, connection. These things may yet still drive us to ruin but I will entrust my self to them with no reservations.

    Remember that dream, realize its answer.

    I curl my index finger inwards.

    The maddening desire stained by malice was a curse. It drove me to do things I can’t forgive it countless times. It reduced me to a monster unable to recognize or interact with the world around me unless it was on the edge of a sword. Yet it has saved me all the same.

    It taught me that as long as I don’t abandon my faith even my worthless self can be refined.

    My soul is a crucible for my mind and body, embrace the furnace and hammer the blade. Gather my strength, strain my body to its limits. My limits are born of the doubts and weaknesses within me, hammer it until nothing remains.

    I curl my middle finger inwards.

    Opening myself to the opponent before me I must embrace them, understand everything about it. Create, destroy, recreate again and again no matter how long it takes I must continue following the path this faith creates. My opponent is a human dredge up every last memory and intake every sight before me. Focus, focus, focus this desire. The emotions swirling in my heart will be my engine to soar beyond the horizon. My mind will be the whetstone that grinds away the shackles that bind me. My body will be the sword that cleaves those who would destroy our dreams.

    I curl my ring finger inwards.

    The stars feel as distant as they look but I remain undaunted by the singleness of my existence. I am no longer alone, I am no longer lost. Even if they are invisible, I know the bonds we share are still there. Even though I am nothing more than a human I have learned just how far we can go. Even though I am the same fool I’ve always been I have learned just what my faith and determination can give birth to.

    I curl my pinky inwards and clench my now compete fist.

    Despise me, curse me, rend me to pieces all you want but I will not stop and I will not let this dream go.

    Sorry but this me is just a bit less kind than the me that you knew.

    Within the whirling storm that our defiance creates I spy the chance that I've been seeking from this blind spot.

    A sad fool who dreamt that he could cut down his weakness.

    A girl who dreamt that she could outrun the suffering of the world.

    A scientist who would ignore herself to chase the truth.

    A goddess who chose to live as a human.

    Even though our souls are no longer connected the bonds of our heart still exist and so we choose to fight. For our dreams, for the world, we once knew.

    Charging the enemy, we must beat at all costs I can feel myself smile. I wonder how long has it been since I’ve smiled from the bottom of my heart. Years at least. Trapped in a prison of my own making I strangled my dreams and consigned myself to hopelessness.

    That ends now.

    Dreams are powerless insubstantial products of our imaginations but through them, we learn just how and why we should act and actions are the methodology for how we change the reality around us. I dreamt of a sword that was free from the weaknesses that plagued me, a sword that could cut down everything that I desire, a sword that could realize the happiness that I’ve always craved yet could never find. In this fist, that dream will be made a reality.

    In my fist burns the deepest crimson of every scrap of power I can gather and then some.

    In my fist burns the drowning azure of all 46 billion years worth of dreams and resolve that I found.

    In my fist burns the silver steel of the bonds that have become intertwined with my soul.

    This sword will cut down our fate, this hand will grasp the tomorrow that we imagine.

    In age-old synchronization I, Kyoto, Ane-san and Sensei execute our attack straight into the Devourers blindspot. Rile yourself up all you want but these bodies of ours have so many weaknesses so to live another day we’re going to sucker punch yours.

    Kenῡndo: Acta est fabula, et ibimus in vitam.

    The story might be done but we will make sure our lives continue SO TAKE A GODDAMN NAP. You can judge us when you wake up you goddamn workaholic.

    Heh what do you know I still remember some of those dumb latin lessons.

  6. #3286
    Gläubig müssen die nicht sein, daran glauben müssen sie I3uster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Age
    25
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    35,383
    Blog Entries
    12
    Suzume AOGAMI
    The End

    "Ah..."

    There wasn't anything she could still say. She simply had been caught up in her own hubris. To think that she could match something that had discarded its weakness like this, to create a border that would exclude anybody that chose the same path...
    It might have been a beautiful dream. The consensus between a woman that was not quite a human and a god that was not quite that...a vision that could've made them all happy.

    But a dream remains a dream. If it does not inspire action, then this is as far as she could take it.

    Sometimes you try your hardest and your hardest will not be enough. That was the cruelty of reality that she had felt all her life. To do something that went beyond your own limits and then still did not achieve what you set out to do, was in the end still a failure. An admirable one perhaps, but the consequences remained the same.

    There was no way for her to make out Chronos' mumbling in the assault of information that she had been under permanently since opening the gate.

    All she knew was that this wasn't enough.

    As if to accentuate her failure, the last thing the girl felt as the world around her finally ceased to be was the choir of billions in disharmony.

    Maybe the weakness that the Devourer discarded had been a weakness after all. Its supposed strengths not as amazing as she had hoped.

    As her very own paradise was extinguished in an instant, Suzume felt nothing but regret.
    There was but a single light shining in all of this darkness.

    "You're being purretty hard on yourself."

    Something that she had thought unbreakable snapped.

    -----

    "It's a passing grade. D-. You just think of everything that doesn't go your way to be a failure right? I think that might be the the other side of being such a loser all your life..."

    A voice that seemed strangely chipper, even taunting.

    "...so accustomed to losing that you get a mixed bag of success and failure and all you see are the terrible, terrible bits that tell you what you already know about yourself...but it's not too as long as you keep it in here. After all this is but a dream. And a dream only matters when it inspires action, right?"

    -----

    Aogami
    Mostly Hungry

    It was an awe inspiring sight. Of all the ranks of demons, the highest exalted and the lowest of the low, all of them reached out to the ones that had bonded to them. Out of a sense of obligation, of duty, to follow those that put them in their place as well as those that showed them the beauty of an unfettered existence...

    Their motives did not matter. They all reached out, dug through the dirt and rabble that they had accumulated. It was no longer a pure consideration of their value as it might have once been. They weren't cattle...nor where they exactly "equals" either, but there was a sense of a bond regardless, even among the most unfazed and cruel of them.

    It was a concept that to her was a lot more intuitive than to most other demons, perhaps because of her nature.

    An affectionate relationship of amusing irony.

    A blue-coated cat with split tails disturbed the ground of curses.

    It didn't matter how insignificant she was in comparison to all the others that started a similar search.

    From generals of hosts of demons to manifested concepts, she was after all just a tale made manifest. A thieving cat that stole much more power than it should have to have its small moment in the limelight. A beautiful little trick, and there was no point in showing off that you tricked anyone. The entertainment of it was all in the fact that nobody noticed.

    So she was content being overlooked and ignored by those around her that saw her as but a tiny kindling next to infernos walking.

    She didn't really want to start anything with any of them anyway. She was much more interested in something else. An amusing creature that accepted her. Someone stuck in destructive cycles just like she was. A hatred to all that faced her had been stilled by this creature...and so she had tried her best to still the hatred that that thing turned inward.

    It is said that demons and humans pulled each other closer. But in their case, this would simply mean the creation of something utterly miserable, something that didn't find peace in any aspect of existence.

    And yet she never felt that way in her presence. Her biggest reason for holding on to the belief that these beings really could change the order of all that is and was. The fact that these two flawed souls genuinely could heal each other...that had been the greatest display of power she had seen.

    So she didn't need to gloat. She didn't need to show those higher on the rungs of the ladder how much she had grown from such a simple weakling.

    All she needed right now was to find her beloved pet.

    ----

    A familiar feeling.

    She had been in touch with this before.

    It almost felt...comfortable at this point. She had experienced its source and its eternal continuity.

    This...too was a part of humanity. Something she had decided to shoulder in that moment of delusions of grandeur.

    All of its curses.

    There was no way for her to move.

    She heard every muffled scream of the ones lacking consciousness.

    This was it.

    The rueful dawn at the end of the day. The penance for her hubris.

    The scratching of a paw.

    "I know you are tired, but you'll embarrass me in front of the whole family if you aren't going to move."

    Light touched her eyes. Even as the choir still seemed to drag her into the abyss...

    She rose from it.

    It had been a while since she had seen her in this "form". It seemed the impact didn't pass her by without any scratches either...was she stuck like this? No, shape had always just been an afterthought to her...so why did she choose to be like this?

    Skrrrr

    Skrrrr

    "Come on, everyones waiting."

    There were two things that would obviously be more comfortable in this form.

    One, digging.

    And two, digging paws into a jacket worn by a human.

    "...that's...you know, you kind of have a terrible attitude behind all that cutesy stuff."

    These were the first words uttered by the failed savior upon entering...or perhaps returning...to the real world.

    "It seems everyone is getting ready...there's someone I need to find first."

    The girl rummaged through her jacket. If she wanted to face her, there's something she had to take care of first.

    A small rectangular carton package, wrapped in foil, still having the same writing on it as the rest of her little "collection".

    These will kill you.

    "You know what dad, nah. I won't let them. Or anyone else for that matter."

    As she searched for the one person she desired to see the most, she threw the packet over her shoulder.

    The sky lit up. She knew that there was little time left. But it didn't matter.
    [04:55] Lianru: i3uster is actuallly quite cute

  7. #3287
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Velvet Room
    Age
    26
    Posts
    5,328
    Blog Entries
    5
    Guardians of the Future VS The Administrator
    "Towards Tomorrow"


    "...Very well, we will crush all of you once more."

    If you wish to scratch it, then at least bring everyone with you. It is a taunt that the Administrator has used again and again in it's battles with the people of this world, the promise of something impossible, something to demonstrate exactly how impossible their ultimate victory was, and yet the situation that it finds itself in is one in which the world in it's entirety is moving in an insane charge towards it's defeat. Neither Demon-Kind or Humanity are at their best anymore, with both having emptied themselves of almost everything they had for the purpose of creating the miracle that had let them get even this far, and yet-

    Without hesitation, the moment they are able to do so once more, a number of them start running right towards it.

    It's so much slower than the battles that had existed before, but the determination in that charge has also never been higher than it is right now; demons flare to existence in the cosmos, drawn out by the wishes of once-upon-a-time summoners, and the sheer number of opponents has thrown it's mind even further into overdrive, fists rising as it glares into the storm of wills-!

    Who will attack first?

    While it had been stunned by these sudden developments, of humanity proving one of it's 'certain predictions' wrong with nothing more than the connections they had made with others, it's mind still steels itself to face the sudden onslaught, the weight of the real world not nearly as crippling to it as to the humans-!


    "It does not matter how many of you appear-! You challenge me with a half-dead humanity and the hollow shells of demons?! Nothing here has changed, nothing is waiting for you, your chances are zero-!"

    That's right.

    While humanity has revived itself, their method of doing so has not left anyone in a particularly potent position; the entire enemy side is on something akin to their last legs, frantically gathering the last dregs of their spiritual power to mount an offense. At the speed they're moving it would be simple to simply wipe them all out at once with it's Almighty Magic, but-



    -Fast and unseen.

    "...?!"

    It is a trick that it would have never fallen for when fighting seriously inside of it's own world, but one that comes crashing against it's body now that 'the world' belongs to a more neutral party, something that extends beyond both itself and the humans. But it is not the invisibility that gets the God, rather, it is the speed with which Hitoshira Nagi had moved in spite of the scenario; converting it's newfound emotions into her own power even with a body that is almost dead, it is it's own power that propels her across the depths of space, interrupting it's casting of Armageddon and throwing it entirely off balance-!

    "Tch, damn girl, give up already-!"

    But in terms of durability, even in the "Real World," it is on an entirely different level. It's life force is equivalent to that of an entire world and then some, if one wishes to destroy it, then bring a power that can tear a world itself asunder-! For them it is impossible, they cannot do so without abandoning their selves as humans or submitting their wishes entirely to that of the Gods-!

    While she intends to disappear in the aftermath of the blow, the God will not allow her to do so; reaching out to grasp her throat with it's hands once more, a repeat of the death it had already given her inside the false world, the God is interrupted yet again, not just by the sudden influx of power as Lilith's Magic Circle appears beneath it's feet, but the slamming of Auron and Yagami's fists against it's face, and-



    A different power, one that reeked of the stench of death-!



    "Hearken, twisted children of Man. The knell hath tolled thy names."

    When it's name is called, it comes.

    It is the fulfillment of a contract, not with Jacques Dussault, or even the Goddess it acknowledges with the tilt of a hooded face cloaked in shadow, but to a human once lost, one that it had protected in a world rent asunder.

    Over those 46 billions years, many such friendships had been formed on the world's edge, and that unspoken promise with a nameless human, yes...


    The flash of a blade rends the God before it's eyes.

    ---

    "...I see. So it calls itself the Ancient of Days, huh?"

    An ironic name, for something that had proven only to be a destroyer. It is a name that should belong to a benevolent creator, something different from the hostile demon-kind that they had clashed with since the beginning of human history, but no...

    That which claims to take the name of God, had instead set about completely destroying everything it came across; whether the target was a human or demon stronghold, the entity from the sky simply rended everything to absolutely nothing with it's light. It did not try to understand anyone, nor did it listen to pleas or cries of mercy, killing so completely that they were sure nothing would be left behind in the end, because...

    It had certainly spoken once, just once, upon it's descent, and:

    "Old mankind whom steeps itself in sin, thou art wickedness which violates the dispensation of the universe. The dispensation of the universe is collective. There must exist nothing that standeth in violation. I shall commence purifying the land."

    Of course, it is certainly an avatar of that thing called "God."

    They knew enough about reality to understand that, much like the demons, the "Creator" is an entity that can be affected by the thoughts of humans throughout the infinite worlds. It has many forms, some of which are benevolent, but most, as records of their predecessors showed...

    Were not...


    ---

    Death rends the body of the Devourer.

    A single blow from something that had been born from perception, a concept that had taken life, and gone on to grow on it's own. It is one of many Azraels, if you wanted to be specific, it was the Azrael that had been born from the people in this world, a fragment of the "Akashic Azrael" that would exist within the true heart of creation as an embodiment of every world's thoughts rather than just one, a fragment of it's true self, much like all of the other demons that had come to heed humanity's call in this moment.

    It is because they exist as these fragments that they can act this way, it is because they are fragments that every world's version of them can differ in both power and temperament, but-

    Even so, it is one of many incarnations of Death, born as a representation of the inevitable, but-



    "...Thy knell means nothing; disappear, angel of the hollows."

    -In the end, even if it has been forced to recover some of it's human weaknesses, it is still an existence far superior to that of a Demon. It is a unified Sea of Souls attacking as a single entity, while concepts such as "Death," are certainly powerful against individual targets, the sheer amount of "Will" that exists within their hearts is enough to overwrite it through Observation-!

    'We will endure every attack.'

    While the possibility for cracks to appear in that belief now exists, the few in the collective that doubt are overrun by those who hold strong, they do not have the right to lose here, thus they won't-! While their movements had stopped for a moment in order to fight their way through that concept, the fist that launches in the direction of the Angel of Death is easily enough to reduce it's physical matter to nothing, along with that of an entire legion of lower angels, however-

    That does not matter, and it chides itself as it impulsively launches the blow in retaliation; there is no point to destroying the demons here, as they do not bear a proper concept of death themselves; so long as their humans continue to exist, they will return to life again and again, brought back into existence not just by the 'idea' that had first birthed them, but the memories of their old summoners-! Even so, scattering the Angel with a single enraged blow, the God tries to calm it's rapidly spinning mind and regain some semblance of it's old impossible composure, but-

    The few seconds bought by the first wave are more than enough for a second wave to appear-!



    "I'll leave watching our back to you Suzume-! Let's go, Joan-!

    Naturally, the one who treats that request as something casual and non-absurd, is a certain ESPer who is better known by her alias of "Golden Witch." While there are many other things she could say here at the end, the instincts born from fighting and surviving two different supernatural wars are screaming at her to attack, to attack now with everything she has at her disposal, and thus she was amongst the first to stride forth without fear-!

    But those words themselves carry enough weight; regardless of how Suzume feels about her own self, that woman has entrusted not just her own back, but the back of her younger sister to her without a single ounce of hesitation. Even here, on a battlefield where everyone continues to exist only because others are around to protect them, such a trusting sentiment could also be called amongst the highest of praises-!

    Even so, while she would certainly be a formidable opponent under most circumstances due to forcibly increasing her own potential by reintegrating all her previous selves, the God knows that she more than anyone else must be out of spiritual power. It had drained her of everything she had inside of the dream, and even then, she had gone on to do the impossible and summon up more power to defend against Ain Soph Aur... While one miracle is something it can expect, the idea that she can do it a second time is impossible-!

    And it's true, she cannot do so a second time. While willpower can certainly augment human supernatural abilities, there is a limit to the spirit power one can generate within a certain span of time, and abused as her body and soul are, there is no way for her to create any more in these few instants; the sheer fact that she is attempting to use her fists rather than spells in this moment is more than enough proof of that-!

    But that doesn't matter.



    "Wh-"


    The running speed of an exhausted but determined Liane is replaced by the blinding speed of her full potential, and her right fist comes crashing against it's instinctively raised arms, the sheer power behind the blow so much that it's body skids back on it's own spiritual platform, a hail of bullets from Hakkero following along in it's wake.

    The power used to do so does not belong to Liane Cross, rather it belongs to Joanna Cross; when she had called for her sister's assistance, it was not in the form of a simple dual-charge towards a fist fight. No, taking a page from what she had seen Suzume do with Aogami, the younger of the Cross siblings had converted her entire form into spiritual power temporarily, before infusing herself into her older sister's body, effectively turning herself into a temporary generator of spiritual power for her sister's use-!

    While such things would normally lead to a rejection by the body without the use of eclipse, these two were not just sisters, but also a "Demon and Summoner," respectively, the bond that ties them together at the souls has existed for as long as Joan has been alive, and that bond easily shatters the expectations of the highest God-!


    That first haymaker is followed by a swift kick to the face, chains of light grasping at it's limbs and dragging it's body back towards her, and then a storm of punches at all points in the body.

    Of course, none of them connect cleanly with the form of the God. While the surprising rush of power and speed had surpassed it's expectations, it is not the sort that will fall to any opponent's surprise attack more than a single time; Liane Cross has already proven herself capable of utilizing the akashic arts, thus it's instincts take her seriously, and each and every strike is parried with a grace that no longer seems quite so fitting for the enraged deity, and-

    "Idiotic humans-! Vanish along with all of your worthless hopes, you have no future worth believing in-!"

    Inevitably, it shatters her guard with it's fist. 46 billions years worth of combat experience or not, there are none who can keep up with this God for more than a few seconds, and the reality of that is proved to her as it draws back it's fist, intent on outright erasing her from existence with overwhelming force, but-

    "Got you-!"

    -In that instant, another girl attacks from behind; Ayanama Nami, throwing out a kick at the legs of her opponent, her spiritual power roaring into the same shape as a Lion's Head-!

    While she has a background in martial arts, this is not a technique that was taught to her by such things; no, having inherited many of the memories of her previous self, the technique used by Yamuna's Knights all those years ago is one that just seems to spring to mind of it's own accord, the teachings of a Goddess throwing an overwhelming God off balance in the same moment as two more attacks close in on it's body, after all-!



    One had been entrusted with her teacher's back.



    Another seeks to unify the attacks of the others with her own blow.

    One to protect, another to keep the chain of strikes going strong, to keep the God off balance so that it can never mount a more proper defense-!



    "Ugh-! This energy, where are you-?!"

    It never gets a true answer.

    The Golden Witch capitalizes on the efforts of the others, grasping it's shoulder with one hand and pulling it towards her, as she throws out a blow of her own with all the power she and her sister have left, trusting the others to carry it on towards victory-!



    Last Spark
    ==STARLIGHT BREAKER==




    This time...

    The detonation covers everything in a light of many colors.

    ---

    Of course, the theory of why malevolent manifestations of the Creator existed were plentiful, but the reality was likely the same origin as that of the demons.

    Ideas given form, or perceptions altering the natures of that which had already existed.

    Those that suffer will often blame their creator for it. How often is it that one feels betrayed by the heavens? That intangible force called fate? The many worlds were filled with suffering of all sorts, evils borne from humanity, evils borne from outside of humanity, things that had been created by the original humans, and things that had only appeared to 'a humanity' now.

    Sadness. Pain. Despair. Anger.

    Such things surround everything, come from everything, and twist everything.

    That 'evil' creator must have been borne from such things. Blaming those that reign above for every misfortune, will create something that reigns above and causes every misfortune; that too is a form of 'faith,' even if it ironically exists in rebellion, even so...

    While it is the most powerful opponent that exists, it is not the only one.

    Many things are born from humanity's hypocrisy and twistedness, and it is not uncommon for humanity itself to be the 'monster' in scenarios all around the many worlds. At it's root everything about 'reality' is twisted, so long as humans that can't bear their own weaknesses exist anywhere, there can never really be true peace, the worlds are so broken that it can't be fixed by anything less, yet...

    At that time, they hadn't really accepted that sort of logic as absolute.

    To them, their world was simply being razed to the ground by a being they could not defeat, and not only that, burdened with the knowledge that their world is simply one of many, they had to carry the burden of understanding that if they lost...

    It would go on and keep destroying other things.

    ---But that was only if they tried to fight it as they had been; the doctor that had showed them the truth had made them aware of another possibility, human fusion on a world-wide scale, and strategic use of their inborn traits as humans to remove their doubts and limitations, and change themselves into an entity 'similar' in nature to the Creator.

    Something that could beat the twisted form, and stop it's endless rampage and tyranny.

    Protect the universe.

    Not just once, but perpetually.

    With the choice of between or complete oblivion, it is only natural they had chosen to do something that would allow them to persist; a choice filled with nobility and revenge in equal measure...

    Thus, it had begun.

    ----But it had taken them awhile to understand how truly broken everything was; the goal had been to make a perfect world without pain, but all it saw was pain, everywhere it looked, humans were determined to bring harm to themselves and others.

    Even so, it had wanted to believe, perhaps because of a lingering sentiment for their own origin.

    ---But humanity is fundamentally broken, just like everything else.

    For the sake of a perfect universe, many of them had to be removed permanently, like tumors from the body; even so, it did not have the desire to destroy them completely, thus it kept their souls as records.

    ---

    As the depths of space become covered in smoke and light from the full power strike of the Golden Witch, the one who emerges first from that cloud of smoke is that same Golden Witch, arms raised up in front of her body as a last-ditch defense from it's relentless counter-attack. It is a strike so heavy that it had managed to knock her off her feet even without touching her body, as the God too goes flying backwards from the force a mere instant later, their clash of point blank magics causing an explosion that burns critical wounds into both their bodies.

    ---But for it, 'critical wounds' are still not nearly enough to take it out, while she will lose her ability to fight for more than a minute.

    The Administrator will not lose until it gives up. It might sound insane, but their ability to fight was directly tied to that willpower; so long as they do not relent, this body will keep piecing itself together again in order to continue the battle-!

    That strength is that which had carried them this far-!

    Even so, from the moment Chronos had forced their re-fusion, the damage that had wracked it's body had proven to be far more serious than it had first assumed it would be; was it's movements slowing because of the flames devouring it's spiritual power? Was Chronos's presence still something tangible, or were the humans simply proving more effective within the confines of their own old world even without the use of Eclipse?

    --Regardless of the answer, it doesn't really matter to it.

    From the start, it was a force that had to invade the worlds of others in order to put them to rest. Even if the world is subtly supporting it's occupants, and even if these flames continue to whisper doubt into it's ears, it will crush those efforts all the same-! That thought gives birth to a power that stops it's momentum in place, body rising to face the still oncoming onslaught with but a single-raised hand, and yet-



    "I see, your power isn't bad boy."

    An intense cold shoots up from it's legs.

    Or rather, the sound of a voice forces it to realize that it has already been frozen from the body up for a single heartbeat already.

    The cause are two from the Ryuumonbuchi House that have snuck up from below; because the battle is taking place in the depths of space, a variety of movement is possible now that would ordinarily be impractical on the planet. Tunneling beneath the earth and attacking your opponent from there is one of those many impractical moves, but the act of simply 'descending' while the others remain on this plane and charge it is a remarkably simple one.

    One that a certain maid had guessed would be possible due to those black flames distorting it's senses, even so, her command had been for Sho to freeze over as much of it's body as he could 'instantly.' Normally he would not have the spiritual power left to do such things, but a certain eye-patch had built up a personal store that was akin to a few weeks worth-!

    While it will hold it for but a single second, it is not a result it can truly complain about; where a butler grasps the ankles, a cackling maid reaches up to grasp the face of the God, and puts all of it's strength into it's arms.

    "...?!"

    The result is a scene that could be described as "dragging the opponent to hell," not in the sense of a fire and brimstone afterlife, but rather by dragging it into a "sea of demons."

    Because down below, just as above, a 'sea' of those called by humanity await their opponent. They are not all of the fire and brimstone kind, Demon as a term is a simple moniker for any supernatural being born from a crystallization of ideas; many of them have no loyalty to each other, and are simply here to help a former contractor; but Phenex is also a Marquis of Hell, one who commands twenty legions of demons, a Demon who bears the capability of leading others, and thus-

    A frozen body leads it to fall away from it's hundred armed protector, and into a storm of swirling crimson fire and bodies.

    "..."

    Even so, it is ultimately meaningless. Even ants that gather are still ants. While a number of demon-kind are certainly powerful enough to damage it, the reality of it all is that the majority of them cannot; demon-kind has been lingering in the vortex all this time, watching over 'their' humanity for a span of 46 billion years without being provided more than the barest minimum of sustenance. Even if they have been reunited with the souls of their former summoners, those summoners themselves were on their last legs-!

    That is why this strange show of loyalty is meaningless; not only would one side inevitably betray the other in the end, a single blow from even it's weakest magic would be enough to banish hundreds of them by itself.

    Yes.

    Whatever 'fake' feelings were tying them to their former summoners, all it had done was send the demons to their graves early, their fates sealed forever the moment it finished off humanity once more-!

    And yet, even as it throws Phenex violently from it's form, fist drawing back to erase nuisances where they have appeared, a hand grasps it's shoulder as it plummets, a fist slamming into it's spine as it's owner makes a quiet observation, not just to herself, but to the other humans that have hid themselves amidst this storm of demonic fire.


    "That fire seems to make you quite blind. It's a shame, your responses were perfect before."


    "That's not something to complain about."


    "Well, that's Rosenkreuz for you. Battle hungry just like the reports say... Ready Kazuno?"

    "..."

    Appearing one after another inside the sea of demons, those warriors who were trained in the art of concealing their presence had gathered fearlessly in the abyss. It is not that Phenex had told them of it's plans, rather, their presence here had been what had caused the demon to take those actions in the first place.

    Against weaker opponents, the Devourer does not even bother to give it's best effort. It is arrogant, so used to being completely and utterly invincible that it does not give it's all, and with the reintroduction of it's feelings and the constant agony of the black flames, it's starting to get flustered as well, even if it doesn't realize it quite yet itself. That is why those that had been lying in wait are able to get this close without it noticing them, spiritual signatures hiding amongst other signatures, and-



    Striking with all they had-!

    While they are somewhat basic attacks, both weapon and wielder remain exceptional in all cases. For Sora, it is the blade her friends left behind to cleave a path towards the future; for Gisela, a Sword of Dreams that had fallen into her hands from above, and for Elizabeth, fists that had been blessed by a Goddess in her prime-!

    Even so, the God moves to intercede; it has allowed it's opponents to dictate the pace of the fight for too long... While it had sought to conserve energy now that it is outside of it's own realm, it's anger and frustration at being pushed into this humiliating chain is one that drags out more and more of it's suppressed powers...! Reinforcing it's body to the max allows it to intercept and shatter each opponent in a single blow, scattering them and all the surrounding demons to dust in a single shot and yet-


    "...This is for throwing me across space."

    -those illusions fall away with the swipe of a single sword.

    While she had not spoken or revealed herself when she had been spoken to, Ryuumonbuchi Kazuno was very present in this moment; it is the same tactic as last time, a blade that reaps the luck of a target and sabotages their efforts, and indeed, the blade shows it something that is not real, letting the flames and illusions of the demons pierce through it's superior observation abilities, and forcing it to absorb each and every attack before it can even realize it's eyes are lying to it-!



    The collaborating spiritual powers lead to a detonation, as flames swirl in to fill a new vacuum.

    ---

    Of course, it didn't rampage as meaninglessly as the Creator.

    Well aware that they had failed to find a concrete answer themselves, they had simply set upon patrolling the worlds to find a different answer from another humanity. Darkness must be removed from everything for the purification to truly take root, but they had wanted to find a humanity that could reach that sort of purity on it's own... Because it did not wish to be exactly the same as the Tyrant.

    It could force them to be what it wants them to be, but that would complete it's transformation into a tyrant.

    It is only when a world becomes a danger to the collective worlds that it removes it. When a good future no longer exists, they erase it from reality.

    The hypocrisy certainly exists, but that is their distortion.

    They are the guardian, if a humanity is capable of defeating them, then they would be fine with giving this role to them; if they were defeated by a humanity, then those humans will have proven their way to be the better way.

    But none ever have.

    Whether it be a curse born from their dark hearts, greed that comes with discovering and dominating demons, or other sins... Worlds that would go out of their way to threaten others, or whose existence would feed the "malevolent creator," must all be removed if it is to be defeated once and for all, but...

    It had been lenient.

    It had watched and waited, hoping that some other sort of answer would appear; however, humanity is broken, everything is broken, it all happens in a cycle, and everything comes to an end even without it's interference.

    Humans can't help it.

    And because they can't, nothing else can either.

    Destruction is in their nature, just like the demons, just like the angels, everyone always has a reason to wreak destruction on everyone else. Fear, ideals, greed, revenge, sometimes it's 'justified,' other times they do it simply because they decide they want to; and yet...

    When it had come to this world -one of the last within this Sea of Amala- a girl had proposed an idea to it's other self...

    That self that it had kept as a 'conscience' of sorts, a reassuring voice that this was certainly the path towards the greatest possible peace.

    That self had spoken to that girl, and she had said...

    Simply remove the negativity from humans entirely. If that happens, then they will be incapable of harming anything or anyone else; everything will be fine, a happy ending, of a sort.

    ---But such beings are not humans at all.

    That is what the humans of this place had said, something that she had eventually come to agree with as well, that happiness only has value because it's opposite exists; that forcing that peace through magic would be a far greater crime than that borne of free will... And those wielding that logic had managed to defeat a God born of their own shadows.

    ---But that's a logic only humans would be okay with, and yet...

    Demons had, of their own free will, come to help them without expecting anything in return for it.

    All because they had each happened to 'befriend' a human inside of the dream, and were intent on keeping long-forgotten promises...

    ---How insane.

    Who could believe that sort of logic?

    A betrayal from one side or the other would be inevitable, even if such a farce was the truth.

    This world can only end in death, it had proven that over and over again, for a time of 46 billion years.

    There are certain things that cannot be allowed to remain for it's perfect universe to exist.

    It knew what those things were, why was it hesitating?

    Disappear.

    It is a cancer on existence.


    ---

    "Enough! I WON'T LET DO AS YOU PLEASE!"

    A scream that bears all the power of a spell by itself, a voice that bellows almost as loudly as that possessed by "God." It is a voice that blasts away all opposition -literally- tossing aside the humans that have buried their blades in it's body, even as it takes aim at the gathered humans above-!



    "Aur Ain Soph-!"

    Tinted crimson by the flames of a hell that has dispersed at it's mere roar, the spell that has become that God's signature erupts onto the battlefield to crush all opposition.

    Without the Four Factors, there should be no chance of overcoming it; this is a spell they mimicked from the creator, something that holds the power of 'infinity' regardless of the world it is used in, yet-!



    "Ah. It seems it's time to get involved myself. Are you prepared Belial?"

    The only response the King of Demons gets from it's 'brother' is a bestial roar of defiance towards that heavenly light, but that sound is a confirmation all the same-!



    ==Morning Star==

    If the opponent decides to use God's Infinite Light, then it is only fitting that the Light of the Morning Star shine to oppose it-! Cast not alone, but rather alongside the 'brother' it has loaned some of it's power too, the resulting light burns with the living flames that had devoured Gomorrah, changed slightly from their use under Saki Ryuumonbuchi, they become flames that devour spiritual power, eating infinite light in an attempt to overwhelm it, however-

    "Haaaaaaaaaaah-!"

    -for the first time, the Devourer elicits a purely human sound as it roars in victory; no longer holding back on it's spiritual stores, intent on defeating it's opponents once and for all, and indeed, the light of the morning star -of rebellion- begins to be overwhelmed instead, pushed back towards Saki and the others as an absolute blow, Death itself, but-



    "...I will help too."

    "You huh? This world really is a practical joke..."

    Putting her hand behind the hand of this world's Lucifer, and adding her own spiritual power to the spell's composition, a woman who herself is a fragment of the Creator chooses to lend her strength to this world's plight. She does not like to fight, her constitution is poor, and having self-identified herself as a "human being," her powers as a splinter of the shattered Creator are nothing like what they could have been, even so-!

    While she can tell the Demon King's identity as such at a glance, she does not see it as automatically evil; certainly the "True Lucifer" that existed at the heart of all worlds was not something that could be reasoned with, but such beings are beyond her, she can only observe that which exists right in front of her eyes, thus-

    While the Demon King certainly has a number of reasons for helping humanity -not all of which are noble- she does not see it as an "absolute evil," rather-

    "..."

    -It is just another ally.

    One that she is sure she will be able to understand -in time- at least a little bit.

    And it is that irony, of those that should be absolute enemies simply pushing that aside when they recognize the other is "not what they had expected," and had been "changed by exposure to humans," that the morning star pushes aside the light that had been overrunning it, slamming into the God with it's own power as well as their own, burning it with the light of dawn-!

    "Gah... You... You...! Salvation-!"

    The built up damage to the vessel finally becoming too much to just ignore without losing combat efficiency, the God begins the process of healing it all with a single spell, but-

    -In that instant, someone -or rather many someones- come roaring out of the darkness from behind at godspeed.

    It is not that they have hidden away stores of power for this very moment, no, just like the others this group is exhausted from the battle up until now, but in spite of lacking the Eclipse, the little they do have left swirls together into a cohesive sort of whole, one in which a girl taps into her natural speed, and a certain pink-haired teacher speeds up their flow of time as much as she is able, the group as a whole swinging forward with but a single fist-!

    While attacking the body is important to stop it's spell-casting, that is not the real target in this instance; brazenly speaking, the enemy does not have what one would call traditional vitality... In video game terms, they are not something with a 'life bar' that can be depleted completely, at least not by the people of this world, there is always a point for them where that imaginary number will stop, because their determination will not allow it to ever hit zero, however-

    -While they have not completely returned to being a human, they do have an 'obvious weak point,' something simple that just might strip away that last layer of immortality...



    After all, don't they react 'oddly' to emotional stimuli?

    Pouring everything you had remembered into that fist, it-

    ---

    "You know, you're a lot more emotional nowadays."

    On the second loop, she had told him that with a laugh.

    "It's a byproduct of Observation."

    And he had answered her in a matter of fact way, because it had both noticed and analyzed such things by itself. This was before it had accepted it's name as Chronos, when it had simply been a nameless aspect of the Devourer, a physical manifestation of their emotions, something they had kept close to it in order to be "reassured" when necessary.

    Even so, it had not been overly emotional at the start either; it had saved the world out of a strange empathy, but many of it's actions were still 'robot-like' in nature...

    After all it had to be detached, it had seen -and given the okay- for too many people die to really want to connect with anything anymore.

    "The Soul Sea can see me, after witnessing the rewind, they seem to have decided that I must fit the designation of Chronos. Things born from humans will always show some aspects of them, so it seems my form has been both altered and stabilized due to their perceptions of me. It is likely a conscious act on their part. If I have an identity, it is easier for me to suppress 'myself.'"

    While the Devourer itself has a higher "Observation Value" than Humanity does and cannot be truly affected by them as of now, the secondary personality, the manifest emotions, could be changed slightly by human perception, and that secondary personality held affinity against the first.

    It was the Soul Sea's -the Counter Force's- subtle way of keeping the false world going perpetually most likely, but-

    "Oh I see, well, I just thought you looked like you were having a bit more fun than normal..."

    Still more innocent, not yet broken by the truth of this world's corrupt core; that girl had simply wanted it to enjoy itself inside of the world, rather than simply stand by her as a stoic protector, and...

    "Fun? I suppose I am. Humans are interesting enough, I don't hate them."

    ...It had admitted to such things early on.


    ---

    ---Why?

    The fist that crashes into it's body, is countered by an instinctively driven swinging arm, spirit power doing their master's will as it 'drags' them away from it, the sheer force and density of the substance too much for them to overcome quickly. Ordinarily it would be a bind that is quickly followed by a killing spell of some sort, but mind swimming in a sudden memory that does not belong to 'it,' the entity has to take a heartbeat to reorient itself before it can strike true...

    It is not a moment that would ordinarily matter, killing those opponents 1 second later rather than half of a second later, but in this moment-



    "I won't let you-!"

    ---Another miracle manifests itself, catching the God in a full body lock.

    Another guardian of the future, one who had been thought lost in the transition from one world to the next, even if she was acting in a body that wasn't exactly her own-!

    "Sorry I'm late everyone!"

    Voice fearless, the one that has caught it in a grip is this humanity's Artificial Goddess.

    "What-?!"

    She shouldn't be here, or at least, she shouldn't be here in any body that was not her own.

    Ultimately artificial, the weakness of that Goddess was that she required her body to exist. Her soul was unstable, and liable to fall to pieces without a proper special container; that was why Matsuda had warned her against pushing it too hard with the factors, as she might die a 'true death' as a result, however she had survived the use of Universal Law by limiting herself to a single multi-layered use, but...

    Even then, her body should still be comatose; while the factors are gone, the personal seal she had cast had carried over from the dream to reality, she should not be able to move, and yet-

    "Everyone here believes in the future... You might see nothing but inevitable death, but I won't let you force that on us-! It might be a miracle, but we're willing to see how far that miracle goes-!"

    -This body suited her just fine.

    But that's only natural, it is a body that belonged to one of her knights, one of her closest friends. Linked to her for centuries, it had slowly been changed by her influence into becoming something similar to her own body, and with the original soul having both moved on and given her her blessing to keep it, the Goddess returns to the battle to protect the future-!

    However, while the body is similar in capacity to her own, it should be much weaker overall; while her full powered self might have been able to bind it for a time, it should be able to break the grip of a make-shift body easily.

    And it's true, alone, she could not do it.

    However, her name as a Goddess was Yamuna. She was "She-Who-Reigns-Sovereign-Over-The-Pitrs," a Goddess of Life-! While it is bending the rules somewhat, her presence gives shape to those wraiths that wish to see this through to the end, those that had taken this final journey alongside those that still lived, but hadn't been present inside of the 'image' humanity had returned to-!

    Their deaths had paved the way towards that image after all, so undoing it would be a hindrance to the future. Even so, that logic is surely something they as the dead cannot be okay with, it just means humanity abandoned them and continued on, so why-?!


    "Isn't it obvious?"


    "It's something you might have forgotten."


    "The ending might not be perfect for us, but-"


    "-We had things we needed to protect, that's all."

    They don't see it that way.

    Even being able to appear here at the end -even if only for a few seconds- is already more than they could have ever asked for, and they use that time to help a Goddess bind a God completely-!



    And the reason why, reveals itself soon enough-!

    A punch filled with all the hopes, memories, and dreams a youth had found, not just inside of a long-gone dream, but even now it continues to gather them as it comes, fragments of every attack that they have let loose since in defense of the future, all of it...

    An emotional beacon, something so massive, that there's no way the Goddess and the wraiths also won't be blown away by it, but-

    "Don't be foolish. Did you not hear what he said?"

    A Goddess quietly reprimands it.

    She is good at speaking to humans.

    "That is not death. It is a strike meant to save you."

    ---Ah.

    It finally understands.

    ---How foolish.

    They were trying to connect to it, just like they had done with demon-kind.

    The final strike connects, and all wraiths run out of energy and disappear as their final act finally brings itself to a close.

    ---

    The world is not painted white, rather, it becomes a canvas of many colors.

    While the attack pales in scope to those that had been assisted by the Four Factors, it makes up for that in 'purity,' shining far more potently than any other strike that has come before, even if it happens to be smaller than they are... It is an attack filled to the brim with emotions and experiences, everything that the world had felt while inside of that replica and then some...

    It is an attack that will likely never appear again, a miracle of sorts borne from the surge of feelings that had come with "reawakening," but it is also an attack that will likely never be needed again, because it's one and only use would be against this particular opponent.

    Ultimately, it's nature is discovered to be a twisted form of that of a human's. Against a truly merciless and relentless God, the 'feelings' of a world shouldn't mean anything, it would kill them regardless, but this God had shown strange amounts of mercy, expectation, and hesitation, even more so after absorbing Chronos, and there is an easy reason for that, namely:

    ---Just like all of you, it had lived inside of that world for a time.

    While it may disassociate itself with Chronos, ultimately, they are the same being, and what the strike had lacked in actual killing potency, it more than made up for by serving as a 'reminder' of everything it had felt and experienced inside of that world as a 'resident.'

    In many ways, it's a 'shock' to the system.

    An influx of memories and emotions that completely shut down all primary functions:

    Meaningless things: Lying in the grass together, watching television shows they had both seen literally millions of times, observing the growth of the humans, seeing how they changed if 'pushed in certain ways.'

    Intense things: Battles against Gods, Mental Struggles against the Self, reawakening of one's emotions and the changes that come as a result of them, it-

    ---As a collective, they've been this way for too long to really go back to being 'individual souls,' if they were to leave the main collective, they would likely do so as a number of other collectives, and-

    "..."

    -it is just for a moment, a fraction of a second, but a number of them finally lose the will to go through with all of this, and in that same moment, the collective loses cohesion with itself.

    A scythe strikes it a single time, as a girl tries to re-free a certain entity that had bound itself willingly to the enemy, but the results, if any, will only become apparent to the girl that was it's contractor, one who hears his voice in her ears even as the battle continues on without her...

    Like rays of light erupting from a fractured container, souls explode out from the body of the Devourer and into the depths of space, dislodging the Goddess from it's back as they go. By losing their will to fight, they lose their ability to resist the call of a certain seal, and are drawn out of the weakened body as a collective of lights, lights that are drawn 'to a certain place' and disappear from this plane of existence entirely, as a 'civil war' or sorts erupts within their once perfectly unified whole.

    ---In many ways it feels like a final blow.

    Like watching the opponent implode from their own contradicting feelings, but you are soon to realize that this is not the case, indeed... While it is certainly a major blow, caused by everyone's efforts opening up a crack for a more decisive strike to sink in, they are still a mass of humans, and there is a certain inevitability amongst all of this that once again sends the fear of death creeping down your spine, namely:

    ---Just because some of them have given up, and thus have lost, does not mean that this is the case for all of them.

    Light gathers even amidst the storm of retreating souls. This is the second betrayal of their own selves that has appeared within the depths of this fight, but there is a certain 'heart' to the Devourer that will not relent in spite of whatever memories it is shown, regardless of how it had once 'felt.'

    "I already said... Enough... All of you... Disappear-!"

    Because it's all lies, all pointless, a pretty face put on something that will ultimately corrode into an ultimate ugliness. Who cares if the world was happy for a time? It is a place that is destined to become an embodiment of suffering, they had seen it again and again, and again, and they would not fall for whatever petty fluke this was-

    If the others wish to leave then fine, but they are those that will not be swayed by such insignificant memories-!



    "It's still attacking! Everyone, put up a barrier! Lieutenant, run our own shields at max! Divert all unnecessary power! DO IT NOW!"

    This is the part of them that won't give up.

    What they are attacking with is not a spell per say... Simply gathering all of their spiritual power, every drop they have left from those souls that had stayed strong in the face of their own memories, the scream that comes with the sudden rushing wall of white light is one that's filled with their own feelings as they finally absorb and convert what remains of the black flames, the sense of betrayal, pain, and resolve that have reached them here in this moment, where they are betrayed by 'themselves' once more-!

    Because it is not a spell, it is fast, unbelievably fast; so fast that no spell can appear to counter it. A sudden release of spiritual power can only be countered by another release of spiritual power, and having realized this even before the Admiral had screamed it at you through the depths of space, both the humans, demons, and angels present are already putting everything they have into a wall that will keep that expanding light out, and-





    Everyone endured the attack.

    ---

    ---For awhile, you lose consciousness.

    Somehow, through everyone's efforts, a shield that could preserve everyone's lives in the face of the Devourer's last ditch strike had managed to do it's job... But not only had some of the light still come through the cracks to blast you back like an explosion, the sheer amount of energy you had had to scrape together to manage it even as a collective has left you drained to basically nothing, even the Demons and Angels gave so much that they can no longer hold their physical forms, and have retreated to their summoners or the 'new world' that was created along with this one...

    It's not even a matter of having outside sources at this point, even if they still existed, your body would no longer be able to channel them in any meaningful way... The stresses of the battle up until now are finally taking their toll, you have gone beyond your limits again and again and again in pursuit of the Devourer who had always seemed to be just a little bit beyond you, and now, you're so tired that the distinction between you and a normal person isn't anything meaningful, however...

    Unlike you -who are lying on the ground- the Devourer -or rather what is left of it- remains standing defiantly, it's heart still following the path it believed to be just...

    At it's core it had certainly been more powerful, it had maximized the powers it could get out of it's traits as a human, and removed every weakness but one to ensure it was truly invincible. A number of sacrifices had had to exist for you to even get as far as you had gotten, it certainly had the power of an Almighty God, and even now continues to power forward in spite of everything, standing tall even after it had looked like it was finally going to fall in the face of the world's combined determination, but...

    "We can't... Allow the curse to escape... Humans... Don't change. Neither do demons... You have to be removed... So we can bring peace..."

    While it starts walking towards you with it's hands raised and balled into fists, it is a stumbling walk, that of someone who barely has the stamina to be moving around anymore...

    In comparison to you it seems slightly better off, it is not quite at the point of slowly pushing itself off the ground, but it is far less than what it had once been, because...

    Outside of it's world, it's power was not infinite.

    It was great, it was certainly the amount of power a Soul Sea should possess, but just like your own... There was a limit, and it seems that, even if only for a time before it recovers... It has reached it's own...

    That's why... As it stumbles towards you, intent on finishing you off...

    ---You realize it's not that much stronger than you. Maybe a little bit individually, but there were more of you here than there were of it...

    Yes.

    Rather than the level of an Almighty God versus a human...

    It is the level of a human versus a human...

    "Hah...Hah..."

    With the sounds of everyone's strained breathing around you increasing in frequency and pitch as they attempt to stand...

    It starts running right at you.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  8. #3288
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Age
    22
    Posts
    2,115
    Blog Entries
    8
    Jacques Dussault
    "Have I Been Living The Life I Wanted?"



    It's nothing I haven't seen before.

    I've been abandoned by my father, by my mother, by Hauviette, by Tomoya, by Arya, by the friends I made on the Paris streets. It's nothing new, but -

    Was it my fault, instead of theirs?

    That's what I've started to ask myself.

    I've... been working and living under the assumption I was the only one I could count on, no matter what. There was even a part of me that thought I could take the Devourer on by myself, when it came to it.

    Of course, that didn't last long, but I...

    I couldn't stop my father from leaving. I wasn't even born - I had no control over his morals, and, frankly, I didn't really care when I learned about it.

    My mother... I wish I'd been able to do something. I was only a child - what was I supposed to do? I didn't have any powers, or any real agency; I was out on the streets without even a memento to take with me, aside from faded memories.

    I miss her.

    Hauviette is a name I haven't thought about in a long time, but I still remember sneaking around her father and brothers when we wanted to meet. Did she remember me?

    A little, if I was being honest; back then I was an idiot kid. An idiot kid with no parents, or way to live. That's no recipe for romance, not for her.

    It didn't last forever, and maybe that's for the best. If it had, I'm sure I would be one of the multitude buried under mud and death, waiting to be saved without even knowing it.

    Sure, first loves are painful - and growing older, and remembering just how stupid I was then keeps me up late some nights... but I've let it go.

    I can't change the past.

    Only the present.

    I met Tomoya after coming back - back to Aoyama once again - thinking I could face my fears in a few days and be done for the rest of my life.

    Turns out if you're an idiot as a kid, you're still an idiot as an adult.

    But Tomoya... sure, he wasn't that older than me or anything, but he had his life more together than I ever did. Maybe that's why our powers picked these forms; shadows for me, to hide away, to pretend things were fine - and a burning fist for him, to face every threat that came barreling down his path.

    I envied that. I still do.

    And Arya...

    Well...

    "One more time, I will remove an obstacle from your path."

    What more is there to say?

    I was so convinced of it, that I had to always count on myself above anyone else, that I started hunting for evidence to justify it to myself. And yet here I stand, having ridden a ship of the dead all the way to the Devourer, fighting with everyone else against it -

    I even came back from the dead, myself.

    Why?

    Because I put some trust in Hel, and she paid it back with interest.

    So raising my hand to the sky, calling out to the world, hoping against hope, relying on something else once again... I don't think it's weakness.

    It can be a crutch, if I let it, like so many other things, but - if my will is strong - it works out for the best.

    And it is strong.

    Strong enough to stare down God.

    "Hark, ye guilty and damned."



    "The bell hath tolled thy name."


    I won't lose again.

    I swear it.





    It's not enough.

    Even Death itself - albeit a fraction of the Reaper, the embodiment of Finality - isn't enough to take down the Devourer.

    And that's just fine.

    I never wanted it to.














    Blow after blow after blow slams into the Devourer, and I send my shadows where I can, each new attack chaining into a network of final blows, humanity sending everything they have at the Devourer's flailing form-

    I'm among them, too, screaming with the light of rebellion.

    And someone hears it.

    That one-eyed man, that white-haired kid I've seen running around, the one who I saw make the near fatal-mistake of playing with the hearts of maidens, the one Gisela, Mina, and I left to fend for himself - he's listening to each and every one of us, and he's on another plane entirely.

    No...

    He's no white-haired kid.

    His name is Medrod.





    And everyone-

    "Arya!"

    -moves with it.





    Jacques Dussault
    "The Dawn of the Heart"



    Where was I...?

    I manage to crack open an eye, with effort, making out the stars overhead. It's just like my fight with Kenji, when we hit each other so hard we ended up with our backs in the sand.

    It takes a moment.

    It feels uncomfortably similar to when Kusumi slammed my head straight through concrete, a dull ache that reverberates in my skull and all over my body. I twitch a finger - it's all I can muster - to pull the shadows up to help me, but nothing comes.

    Nothing except the sudden rush of memory.

    That's right, the Devourer had retaliated, and... it feels like an eternity, but I manage to turn my head and see the rest of us, Saki, Liane, Medrod, Suzume - that girl Liane introduced me to, back when I never envisioned any of this could happen.

    Mina.

    Tomoya.

    Gisela.

    Everyone I've so much as caught a glimpse of is laid about me, in varying states of unconsciousness. I'm one of the first awake, but not by much - and the only reason for that is because I've gotten real used to being knocked out, nowadays.

    That's not a good thought.

    I manage to get an elbow under myself, slowly propping myself up. When I see the Devourer still standing, I can't describe the noise that comes out of my mouth.

    It's not heroic, even by the loosest standards.

    It just makes me want to give up.

    Arya's gone. I can't rely on his focus for this, or his help - the help he gave me when I cast off the Bane Stone's possession, when I broke the unbreakable in my hands and survived. When I called together every one of the Devourer's victims, when I fought it one on one...

    There's nothing wrong with relying on other people, but I can't let it be a crutch.

    I can't say it was thanks to everyone else.

    Because my will - that flame I saw, down in the dark - was there too.

    And I won't let it go out.

    I turn over, my back to the Devourer as I get my hands under me, then my knees, then, just like on the deck of Naglfar, push myself to my feet. Graceful, it is not, and I waver a little, casting my hand out for the shadows to support me.

    They don't come, of course, and my knee slams down with a noise that makes me wince, gritting my teeth.

    I finally manage to stagger upright, turning to the Devourer. It's screaming with a twisted face, and running, and... it looks a little like a petulant child.

    It looks scared.

    In that moment, I can't hate it anymore.

    We fought each other, hammering fist after fist into each other's bodies inside a world of absolute darkness, but I... now it just makes me sad. Not sad enough to let it do what it wants, but... I understand why calling on Death wasn't the right move, earlier. I get it.

    I finally, truly get it.

    I've got no energy for grand speeches, not after Nagalfar, and to be honest my throat's not in the best condition, either. Even if it was, what am I supposed to do - tell everyone what's already obvious?

    No thanks.

    There's only one thing that Jacques Dussault, at the end of the day, is suited for, and as I see others slowly getting up, I start walking forward, each step a lance of pain that I stubbornly ignore, one foot after the other until I'm matching the Devourer's final charge, rearing my left hand back.

    I can only say one thing, because, heroics aside, all stakes aside, cut off from my ESP...

    I'm just a normal person.

    And there's a part of me that hasn't changed.



    "Get some!"



    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  9. #3289
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    SPACE.
    Age
    23
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    2,363
    Blog Entries
    5
    Hitoshira Nagi
    To Save Another

    I jump backwards, watching as the Devourer starts to move, as Auron and Yagami block it's path to me. I've been saved again, by people who are so close to my heart.

    "Hey Lilith... What does it mean, to save someone?"

    It's a simple question. One with no answer that I have ever gained. Because in the end...

    I'm an empty person. A 'vessel for other's feelings', that's never really truly saved anyone by themselves. There's a memory, in my mind, of a younger girl with green hair and red eyes, staring blankly at a Mafioso who took her away from her home.


    "Giovanni. What does it mean to save someone?"
    We're surrounded by books, in a library that touches the sky itself, and I'm holding a book in my hands, one that's filled with words and pages that I can't even begin to understand, because it's simply not in my soul to comprehend them.


    "My, Nagi-chan, that's a difficult question. Why on earth do you ask that?"

    I tap the pages, my lips pursed as I stare at them. The words don't make sense to me, even as I comprehend their meaning, they really don't seem accurate at all.


    "In this book. The hero, he says that he must sacrifice one to save ten. Why? Why not save eleven?"

    It's a question that's hard for him to answer, obviously. Even looking at his adopted daughter, with her blank eyes and empty soul, he struggles to find an answer that can make everyone happy.

    "Sometimes, Nagi-chan, people can't be saved."

    Naturally, I dislike it.

    "Why? Did they something wrong? There is no reason not to save them all."

    Naturally, I respond.

    "Nagi-chan..."

    Every second is a trial. Every moment tears me in half. This is the sort of person I am, the kind of person who can't give up, even when everything is hopeless.

    "This lesson is difficult to learn, especially for someone as young as you, but..."

    I can't bear to let someone die. To sacrifice one to save ten. To sacrifice one hundred to save one thousand.

    "Sometimes, you meet people who simply cannot be saved. Not because they're bad people, or because they've done something wrong, but because in order to save them, you would have to sacrifice everything."

    And right now...

    "That is simple. I can do that without effort."

    I think I get it, Giovanni.



    "Nagi-chan, not everyone can be saved. Not even a superhero could save everyone. You would have to be a god."

    I can't sacrifice myself to save the Devourer. Even if I desperately want to.

    "Then I'll become a god."

    Even if it hurts, I can't do it. There are too many people who won't let me. Confidence is fine, but suicidal recklessness is unacceptable to everyone I know.

    "Ah, but Nagi-chan..."



    "Not even God can bear the weight of all the souls that would be lost."

    I can't save the Devourer of Time, even if I want to. No matter how desperately I care for all the world's evils, I cannot prevent the Devourer's demise in this instance, because nobody can bear the weight of one hundred million souls. This is a fact I know all too well. So I have to give it up, that desperate, hopeless desire to save everyone.

    But--!!!

    Can't I try?

    Can't I try to save everyone?

    Even Chiyoko. Even Yamuna. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? Even if we've repeated these events one hundred thousand times, isn't there just the slightest chance that the Devourer can be saved?

    I...

    I can't do it, though.

    I'll just have to settle for waiting.

    Ten. One hundred. One thousand. One hundred thousand. It doesn't matter. I'll wait for a time where the Devourer can understand that there's a happy ending for everyone, even for it. That's what it means to be human, after all. And I'm the
    best
    worst
    human in the history of time itself.

    My eyes glance towards my weapon, and a small smile appears on my face.

    "I can feel you, you know. You're not really all that indiscreet."

    I lazily toss my ax into the air, letting it float.

    "It's been a while hasn't it? since you've really let loose."

    "So come, axe of Hitoshira Nagi. Let's go out with a bang."

    I raise my right arm, and absorb it.

    "Hah...."

    1,000 strikes a day. That was what I did with this weapon. For eight years, I struck one thousand times a day. And if my form was off, I added another five. It's a weapon that is truly a part of me, in a way that no other weapon could possibly be.

    "Hah--!!"

    3,000,000 strikes. That's the total summation of Hitoshira Nagi's training with her ax.

    It isn't enough. I already know it isn't enough. I know that there's no realistic way for us to fight back here but--!!!



    I have to try.

    I won't do it. Even if it's an unacceptable answer, I have to try.

    To sacrifice one to save one million, that's--!!!

    Something that Hitoshira Nagi can never do.

    No objections, right?

    No qualifiers, right?

    I have to save the Great Devourer. Even if its impossible. Even if it can't be done. Even if there's no possible way to do it --




    "Devourer..."

    The words slip from my lips without meaning to. I can't help it. I point at the Devourer of Time, with a smile on my face as I drop my weapon, and begin to move.

    "I--!!!"

    Faster.

    Faster.

    I have to be faster. I have to be faster. Fast enough to save everyone. Fast enough to make an ending where everyone can be happy.

    "I will definitely save you!"

    Faster-!!!




    Even without my ESP, I'm ridiculously strong.

    It's true.


    I raise my ax above my head, and pour myself into it. Every emotion. Every memory. Every fragment of history that we've ever shared together, I throw into that blade. Because as a part of me, it has to follow my wishes. My desires. My hopes, my dreams, my fears--



    They all reside in this weapon. Every part of it is a part of me.

    I've always been empty, so... it's easy for me to do something like this.

    I shove the ax into the Devourer--!!

    No.

    I shove part of me into the Devourer.

    I shove that shining spark known as 'humanity' into the Devourer.

    To save everyone, to make that perfectly happy ending -- I have to try to save even the villain. That's what it means to be a hero, even if it's just for a little while. To be kind to the unkind. To be just to the unjust. To be noble to the ignoble.

    I throw everything into that blow.

    Every part of me is a part of my weapon. Even when it cackles in my mind, its true -- this is
    a person who saves others
    a weapon to save others
    .




    So I'll do it.

    I'll save the Devourer.

    Because that's what heroes do.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it
    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  10. #3290
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Road's End, Washington
    Posts
    5,711
    Blog Entries
    71
    Medrod Pendragon
    Leaving Our Nevereverland





    His breathing had grown ragged and his body hurt all over.


    Never in his life had Medrod Pendragon been this tired, this exhausted, this ready to just let it all and give up on everything.

    Every cell in his body was screaming that it was over, that he had given it his all, and that he should be satisfied that he had gotten this far.

    They had almost defeated the Time Devourer. They had almost connected with The Administrator. They had almost reached it with their voices, shown it that things didn't have to be this way. That the way it saw as right and justified was not the right path. That it did not need to kill itself, the whole of another humanity, their own reflection, to right the wrongs of the universe in a desperate attempt to find true happiness. If only they could have made it see what they had all seen --- that no happiness could exist without sorrow, that no light could exist without the dark. It was just a fact of life, and there was beauty in existence that required both. Without one you could not appreciate the other. They had been so close bringing down the God that refused to accept this truth of the universe... and it still hadn't been enough.

    That is why Medrod Pendragon almost let himself fade away, why he almost let himself to give up.

    Almost.

    ... Until he heard the painful sounds and grunts of other people around him, in this stage of battle to the last, climbing up to their knees and to their feet to oppose the screaming god once more.

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

    The red eye flickered open. Around him, Medrod saw a human after another standing tall despite their pain, despite their fatigue, despite their wounds. That sight, that vision that was burned within that retina of his... it shook him to his core. Within his blind eye, Medrod would always see nothing but the red spear that had been the start of this all, the last sight that set him down upon his hateful and bloody path. But now, with his working eye, he saw where that had path had led to. Where all that pain and suffering he had endured, where all that pain and suffering he had made others go through, where a young boy screaming at the world because he could not do anything else finally found himself in.

    It was at the very end of a long and arduous path of 46 billion years.

    ---------- The possibility of a happy ending.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacques Dussault
    "Get some!"
    He could hear it, the voice of someone he shouldn't have known... but whose courage in the face of this final obstacle to their freedom gave him enough strength to rise to a sitting position. Medrod coughed up blood, barely able to stop his body from shivering out of pain. It had been a while since he felt true pain. Horrifyingly slowly, Medrod shifted his position so that he squatted down on his feet and began standing upwards, driving any power within his muscles to at least be able to stand.

    It felt hopeless. It felt meaningless.

    It felt like there was no point to this anymore.

    Time Devourer refused to listen, no matter how much they tried to reach out to it. Only parts of it had seen the truth they were fighting for and their attempts to bring salvation to a humanity that had sunk into their own despair.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nagi Hitoshira
    "I will definitely save you!"
    "-------------!"

    That belief... that headstrong emotion and conviction that could not be broken, even stronger than his own had been... Medrod felt his body grow hot with momentary burst of pure adrenaline as he heard that. A voice of someone he shouldn't have known, but now helped him see light in that moment of despair that had assailed him. As he saw person after another charge towards Time Devourer, the Another Humanity, the whole scenery seemed to warp and distort in his field of view.

    The path to the opponent stretched.

    The way to the one they had to overcome grew longer.

    But as Medrod's red eye found itself naturally drawn to those of the Administrator... he realized that it wasn't the path he should have walked.

    He had already found his path, hadn't he?

    The road to defeat their opponent was impossibly long.

    Yet at the same time... they were all at the last stretch of the road to save another human, one who, despite everything, deserved to be saved.

    Medrod Pendragon knew it better than anyone else, having felt just how beautiful forgiveness was, how purifying it could feel when someone lifted you from the darkness you had sank into and saved you from yourself and what you had done. And if someone like him deserved such privilege... so too did Time Devourer.

    "........................... Hah," Medrod grunted as his legs started to move, slowly but surely towards the charging god, picking up speed with every step.

    It was an ironic thing, what he realized.

    Each and every being here, in this fight, had already moved on from that repeating world without end. They were stepping into a new world, both beautiful and ugly, as any life should be. They had understood that this was the way of life and it was what made life worth living for. But not the Devourer of Time. It was still trapped within that loop, searching for an answer that probably did not exist. It was chained by time itself into an never-ending struggle that refused to let go.



    They all had left their childhood behind.

    But Time Devourer was still trapped within its Nevereverland.

    And they needed to help him escape.



    "... Bring peace...?" Medrod quietly asked as he accelerated into run, spurred on by all the people around him. He threw the god's words back to its face. "...... Yeah, if that's what you want. But we're gonna do what we want too. And that's to help you find peace as well."

    As the last vestiges of energy burned within Medrod Pendragon's body, his body coiled up like a spring and every muscle fiber within his body stretched to their utmost. The red eye was trained at the cosmic blue ones of the god, and refused to look away. Medrod's gaze was one that promised the god that no matter what would happen, this would be it. And that, just like before, Medrod refused to try to defeat it. Having found his calling when he thought it lost, Medrod's mind steeled itself and renewed that promise of saving those in need.

    ---- And the humanity before them needed to be saved from itself.

    "No matter how many of you still deny the truth of this world, the happy ending we will make real... it doesn't mattter!" Medrod growled as he sprinted with all the power within himself. "Just like you, none of us is alone! All those who helped us reach this far are still with us, and they are shouting together with us, joining their voices with us! And if you still refuse to listen and stubbornly plug your ears---!"

    Suddenly, Medrod's legs left the ground. With a gigantic leap he turned into one last arrow through the new world, headed straight towards the humanity that needed to be made to listen.

    A childish grin floated to the one-eyed man's lips.





    Just like the story had started, so did the story come to a close with Medrod Pendragon.

    With a knee aimed straight to the Time Devourer's face.




    "You're gonna get your fucking head kicked in!"

  11. #3291
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Vritra's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Distraction land
    Age
    27
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,204
    Makoto Fujioka
    Ends and Beginnings

    Why.

    Why?

    Why, why, whywhywhy whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???

    Moving hurts, breathing hurts, honestly even just trying to process things hurts and I know that bastard isn’t doing much better. Why can’t you just let it end? Why can’t you just understand?

    Unable to feel my body much at all anymore I’m forced to rely on mental imaging and muscle memory of what should be happening then I try to do and action and prayers that my broken body can follow them.

    First slide the right arm in towards my torso, then repeat with the left left. Next put strength into both arms before sliding them under my torso. Slide left leg inwards and maneuver it to allow the knee to become a brace point before putting my weight on it, repeat with the right.

    Heh.

    How ridiculous I’ve somewhat managed to drag this broken wreck of a body even further I wonder if maybe that dream is affecting me more than I thought.

    Forward, forward, forward.

    That subtle magnetism, a persistent echoing remnant even after the rest of those dreams have fallen away. Heh thanks you annoying, childish, nonsensical other me that impulse, that ‘madness’ is one of the few things saving me as I stand here.

    An insidious impulse, a craving, a foolish dream that once consumed me now acts to save me. A catalyst for my willpower that makes me realize that even if dreams have no substance by embracing them, they can make one realize that their strength isn’t as small as the world might make it seem.

    I still have something I need to do so forward, forward, FORWARD I MARCH.

    Advancing step by step as the others continued their dogged resistance. Guess I’ll be last huh? Well I think I’ll just throw this under ‘fashionably late’ and pretend everything is cool. Heh cool, language is nonsensical when you think about it. Always the little things that creep into after you’ve been stretched to thin.

    Their lives burn like stars and their blows fall with the force of mountains but…

    That’s not going to stop you is it you stubborn bastard?

    Even after everything you’ve got the same affliction as me, don’t you?

    That inability to stop, that yearning that drives a person forward even if must destroy their body to do so. I bet you couldn’t even stop yourself even if you wanted to.

    Well, luck for you I’m here.

    Drawing out what little strength my body can still manage I rush forward as dragon fetish boy’s kick smashes him backwards. Arms clamp around it before it can fully recover and gritting my teeth to push through the pain that accompanies my movements, I drag it to the ground.

    Leverage, position, circumstance and more there’s a whole lot more that goes into a fight than just a test of raw strength and spiritual power and there’s plenty of methods to defeat an opponent who outmatches you. Here you annoying workaholic allow me to demonstrate.

    Draw the sword called my body and place it against the whetstone called my dreams. Even if I’ve used up all my spiritual energy, even if my body is on the ropes, I still have something left, something I can use, something I can burn.

    My life.

    My soul.

    It’s a struggle without glory or glamour. Just two people pushing themselves even after the embers of power have burned themselves out. I’m sure it could recover from this state, given time but that’s hardly something it’ll ever get.

    “You really are an infuriating person you know that.”

    Submerging myself into the sea of those what if lifetimes that echo with a cacophony of impulse. This body is a sword, this mind is a sword, this soul is a sword, it is all that I am and all that I need to be. A blade to sever this twisted fate that has so entangled us.

    “Tell me why are you fighting?”

    Crack.

    Within the shifting dance of restraint, chokehold and bare fisted struggle I throw my head back and smash it into its face with everything I have. A hammer fall sounds in time with my words.

    “Why are you trying so hard to destroy all of this?”

    Crack.

    “Remind again why all of this start in the first place.”

    Crack.

    “Not the fight over this world but the reason you first began to fight in the first place?”

    Crack.

    “Did you want to destroy everything around you? Did you want to indulge in pleasure or gratification born of strength?”

    Crack. Crack.

    “Did you rule of distant horizons? Did you want to hold the whole world within your grasp and laugh as it squirmed?”

    Crack.

    “Tell. Me. Why. Do. You. Fight!”

    Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack.

    “Because despite the way you act, I don’t think its any of those things! No, I think its something far more simple, something born of tears and the desire to never let everyone have to suffer through them again.”

    Crack. Blood stains the world around me red, my body creeks and splinters yet I refuse to allow this death grip to loosen an inch.

    “What were those words you said? "We can't... Allow the curse to escape, We have to bring peace? So let me ask you something… WHERE THE HELL IS THE ENEMY YOUR FIGHTING? WHERE IS THE DARKNESS THAT TORMENTS YOU SO? Its not here anymore we, YOU MANAGED THAT! Yes it isn’t how you though it would go and it might not look like you wanted it to look BUT OPEN YOUR EYES THIS IS WHAT YOU’VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR!”

    Maybe it was an unnoticed wish of my original self that so detested the darkness I found in everything and everyone around me. A wish to be able to cut everything down in this twisted world, a wish to be able to cut down this painful darkness. I am what I wish to be, I all that I am, I am a blade and I am no longer powerless to act. Taking this body, these feelings, this pure essence of myself, my very soul I relentlessly hammer it down with everything I have, until that dead ended future changes, until it pierces this heart that has suffered so much it built a fortress around itself.

    “SO WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO HARD TO DESTROY THE VERY MIRACLE YOU’VE SOUGHT FOR WHO KNOWS HOW LONG? Why are you trying to cull those who haven’t fallen to darkness? Why are you trying to shun the world that you helped survive?”

    Crack.

    How did that old phrase go, humanities greatest strength was their ability to connect and emphasize? Well you annoying stubborn annoyance from one person who was lost to sorrow to another I’m going to shove this goddamn empathy right down your throat whether you like it or not.

    “Yes, no doubt the darkness will return and people will be consumed with their feelings without being able to see the pain its causing those around them. Yes, demons and humans might once again come into conflict with each other and themselves but, BUT THAT’S NOT A REASON TO GIVE UP ON EVERYTHING BEFORE ITS EVEN STARTED! Did you think the world you dreamed of would just spring into place fully formed and capable? No like everything else the world we dream of is built up piece by piece through our actions. Just because someone might falter in their path down the road is no reason not to let them walk it! No that just means when that person stumbles you should be there to offer a helping hand and guide them back. SO. WHY. ARE. YOU. TRYING. SO. HARD. TO. DESTROY. EVERYTHING.

    WHY ARE YOU TRYING SO HARD TO GIVE UP ON EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER DONE?! WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!?

    Open your eyes and bury your self-destructive yearning there is a difference between determination and delusion and you have fully crossed into the latter. The dream you granted us allowed us to see past our negativity and reach to what lies beyond so save your judgements of worth for later. I don’t care if you take a nap, a vacation, you could take up painting in a cottage by a lake for all I care.”

    Crack.

    Blood mingles with tears spurred by the prismatic emotions gushing forth as I force my soul deeper and deeper. A final nail in the coffin of our nightmare, a final blade born of myself. Unrelenting, unyielding, sorry but if you want me to stop your going to have to obliterate me completely cuz even if you manage to kill me nyahahaha, then I’m just going to haunt you until you take the hint.

    Ah its so funny I used to be so scared of ending it impaired my ability to start new beginnings but now… Now I’ve realized just how cyclical this world is, death is not a finale, goodbyes are not the end. Although we might look different, we will one day meet and laugh together again. Ah…

    Its such a nice…

    World isn’t it…

    “If your so scared of everything falling to pieces then rather than erasing it you should be offering a helping hand to support and mend it all. Please… Please, please just open your eyes and see this world for what it is. The miracle you helped create, the happy end nobody would believe in a story because its just so contrived, the life we all wish was real. This is the starting point of the dreams we’ve all carried so long, so take that vacation and relax. The world isn’t always as bad as you make it to be, we’re, this all is proof that dreams can be turned into reality. Our dreams and yours.

    Please…

    Just please…

    Stop fighting?

    Its long past time we all stopped fighting don’t you think?”

  12. #3292
    Gläubig müssen die nicht sein, daran glauben müssen sie I3uster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Age
    25
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    35,383
    Blog Entries
    12
    Suzume Oshino
    Love and Peace

    All she could do was pant. The words didn't form, no matter how hard she tried. Searing pain rushed over her entire body, but it was not comparable to an injury or anything like that. No...this was closer to the end of a sprint that took her all. A simple sign that the body fed the mind: "No more. This is enough. Stop it."

    It was an instinct, plain and simple.

    However, was it not the ability to ignore those instincts that differentiated humans from animals?

    So she kept walking.

    It was closer to stumbling than any proper form of movement. There was no dignity in her movement, nor coordination. Aimlessly, she went closer and closer to the final opponent.

    She saw them outpace her. They had to. Otherwise she would simply hold them back. Would she be able to be of any use, with her body in this shape? She had never been a good hand to hand fighter in the first place...

    But there was something she could still give.

    Something that differentiated her from the others. A contract with something that might not be too powerful, but still granted her the ability to perform a simple, little trick. Compared to what she had done earlier this was nothing more than a distraction.

    Maybe that was all they needed. She would hope it was. No longer forming words to do so, she let her companion know what her plan was.

    "You know Suzume..."

    It was a strangely somber tone from the usually cheerful creature.

    "...there's no need for you to keep doing things like this. It's not...necessary for you to push yourself this hard. I believe in your...our friends! You need to rest."

    That wasn't right.

    Until this point, until the very end, who had done the most for her?

    It was Aya that helped her out when she was all alone.

    It was Saki who lent her her power, allowing her to persist in the face of certain doom.

    And it was all of humanity that allowed her to push back the tides for an instant.

    What had she really done?

    Had she not been careless with what was entrusted to her? It wasn't simply some kind of random mystical energy. People devoted their very souls for her to achieve victory.

    What hypocrisy would it be to expect others to do so, unwilling to risk the same?

    So this was her wish. And while her companion lacked the supernatural insight into other peoples emotions, this had become clear.

    There was nothing that would stop her.

    "...you really are stupid sometimes. This will cost you. There's barely anything left in this body. It really is a 'deal with the devil'. But if you want me to take that role I suppose I have no choice, nya~"

    There was something of value that she still posessed.

    The very soul in her body.

    On her last legs the feline opened her maw, biting "through" the existence that is Suzume Oshino. There was no wound, no scar, nor even a tiny scratch. What the thieving cat devoured was not something material after all.

    [Used: Spirit Eater]


    And then the sharp pain became numbness.

    The conduits of spiritual power in her body, already overheated, gave out. The presence of others that she had felt like a "sense" had become more and more fading to the point of barely being noticeable. A necessary component of her "aim" had been disabled. So she had to compensate.

    Her eyes locked, just for a second, with the entity.

    They were of great spiritual significance. The window to the soul, as they say. This should be enough. What would she do with this momentary connection? Show it the hatred of humanity? No, the curse already did that. Appeal to the last pieces of sentiment it carried? No. Chronos had shown it the way in that regard.

    It was a complicated feeling. Her ability eschewed the need to name emotions as humans did, she could simply read and transfer what she truly felt.

    So she chose the feeling that accompanied her this entire arduous journey.

    Something that it had left behind when it had made its choice between two simple options.

    The essence of humanities struggle. The sentiment of picking the third option when offered two. The wish to risk it all on something illogical. The feeling that made her heart pound as she overcame what she previously thought impossible.

    Hope.

    Her vision darkened. Not yet. It wasn't complete. She had to concentrate. She had to make it understand what it faced.

    But she would not lose.

    All around her the same sentiment was expressed after all.

    The one thing shared by everyone fighting in this place.

    She tried blinking. Her lids no longer moved.But even as total darkness enveloped her...

    "This didn't come cheap...I told you...you really are an idiot."

    ...
    all she felt...no, saw were the beautiful lights of the souls around her.

    Perfection was in many ways a curse. It was impossible to attain, and in the end something perfect was something immeasurably fragile too...it only took a drop of color to stain a clear ocean. She had to exploit that very fragility.

    With the last bit of spiritual power that was granted to her, she located the center of what used to be the "Devourer" and showed it what it once had. The root of the determination that pushed it towards this path.

    "...it might not be all bad. In a way you always 'saw' better than most people ever will. But now its time to rest, Suzume."

    "Yeah...Blues...you know... you might be right."

    Her limp body was caught by a rapidly shapeshifting cat.

    I'm sorry guys, but this is as far as I can go.

    Take care.

    [Used: Love and Peace]
    [04:55] Lianru: i3uster is actuallly quite cute

  13. #3293
    …That’s problematic. Katie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Policing the Grancypher.
    Gender
    Female
    Posts
    4,345
    Blog Entries
    1
    Mikagura Mika
    The Right Moment

    She waits.

    Perhaps, if she was the first to rise, she already would have made her move. Mikagura Mika simply watches from her position on her knees in rapt attention. The rest all come at the Devourer one after the other, to the point where it looks like an unappealing slugfest. Everyone scraping by with what little they have, hoping that this tiny amount of effort will help secure humanity’s future.

    She finds it admirable, she really does, but it also comes across to her as somewhat pointless. Jacques Dussault was always someone who relied on his ESP, and it shows, for his blows are rough and untrained. Hitoshira Nagi swings her axe and puts everything into that blow, but the Devourer is already understands what humanity is. No matter how many swings Medrod Pendragon takes, he already traded away his strength, and glancing blows will do naught. Fujioka Makoto rants as he swings, but the Devourer will refuse to listen to his words, because it has fought this far with no signs of relenting. And even despite this, Oshino Suzume sacrifices everything for one last act of reaching out to the Devourer’s heart.

    Mika finds this final display to be quite miserable. Throwing away your life for no reason is something she can’t ever take joy in. The enemy is simply not a being that can be reasoned with, and she has no idea why anyone would go so far to try.

    To listen is to betray itself. For the Devourer, who is an embodiment of what could be called a pinnacle of humanity, it already knows the messages being imparted upon it. It merely ignores what it is being told, buried in self-righteousness. It has already gone through so many trials and tribulations, crushed so many fledgling humanities that have succumbed, that to go back now is to admit it has made a catastrophic mistake. Even if one were to show it the struggle this world had went through, it wouldn’t matter.

    There were many worlds that had resisted the fate the Devourer had placed upon it, and for this to be an exception would be admitting that none of them had been saved.

    People will do what they believe is right. The Devourer is no different. And it is the winners who dictate which version of “right” shall be made into reality.

    Still, she admires their efforts in trying to lecture a force that will not hear. It may not have use, but it was certainly cathartic, watching it get pummeled by blow after blow after blow.

    But Mika doesn’t believe they’ll ever convince their foe of their righteousness, so she waits.

    Though everyone may be tired and on their last legs, running on fumes of fumes, this does not apply to her trusty ally, Beacon, which hums with power. Nor does it apply to the bullets within, storing Liane’s concentrated strength and undamaged by the previous assault. In her hands is a blow far more powerful than what anyone else could muster at this moment.

    Out of the corner of her eye, Mika sees Ryuumonbuchi Saki slowly get up, eyes watching for the right moment. She doesn’t know what opportunity the Yakuza heiress is waiting for, but Mika knows she cannot be beat in this department. Waiting for the right time and acting upon it… that is a skill she has honed her entire lifetime.

    An opportunity presents itself. The Devourer finally shakes its assailants off, sending them flying just far enough.

    Mika takes the shot.

    A blast of pure strength stretches across the battlefield, overwhelming its target with ease.

    Not enough, she thinks, and she goes to load the fateful third bullet, but another glance at Saki makes her hesitate.

    It’s unfair she didn’t get her share, seeing as Mika had taken the chance without any hesitation. So the girl who believes the enemy has no chance of redemption feels a little pity, and opens her mouth.

    “I’ve got one more shot,” she says, but the look on her face screams “Hurry up and do what you want.”
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  14. #3294
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Age
    25
    Posts
    15,068
    Blog Entries
    3
    "Good Evening Tokyo~ Here is tonight's news~"
    "Blackouts will continue to spread throughout the Yamanote Loop throughout the day. Because it is suspected that poisonous gas has escaped from underground pockets, all exits from the Yamanote Circle will be closed by 6:00. It is unknown when this blockade will be removed, but power should be restored by tomorrow night."
    "Most of Aoyoma's citizens will escape the neighborhood because of the remnants of former SDCD, as well as some assistance from the Order of Eden, however, those spirits will not be able to leave this city, and the members of the order will be attacked by a demon at sunrise."

    "At 2:00, a localized blizzard will occur in the outskirts of Aoyoma. And sometime after 4:00, four people, Liane Cross, Nakamura Megumi, Ryuumonbuchi Saki and Oshino Suzume will be murdered by a snowman! That's it for today! Have a great day!"

    The butterfly effect. A theory that a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado in another part of the world. It’s brought up in discussions about time travel, the ramifications of small actions and the vast changes they can bring about in the future. That future being, the time traveler’s present.

    Just how many times did the butterfly have to flap its wings to change what should be unchangeable? Tangled up in a chamber of webs, surrounded by others of its kind tangled in caskets of spider silk, unable to fly anywhere, but always beating its wings. Trying to alter the unavoidable end that it would meet. Praying for the tornados to find their way here, to blow away the web of fate and free it.

    That butterfly, Fujimoto Chiyoko. We all owe it to her that we have this chance. Her wings beat with the rhythm of eternity, trying to find a way to free us. Although the only way out she saw was another prison, she never gave up, and through her we found the strength to pry our wings free of that web.



    "Greetings, Child of Hope born from Despair. I have never met you, and yet, you have found your way here..."

    "But for what reason?"

    Another imprisoned one once asked that question of me. At that time, I believe I said, “power.” I came to that butterfly seeking power. I sought strength to change not only myself, but the world around me. To make it different. To make me different.

    I felt like my world was under attack by the passage of time. I wanted a way to fight back, and that was the route I found to preserve my freedom. My way of life. My little piece of heaven. The world was gray, and I wished to paint it in my color. Perhaps I was selfish. Perhaps I was just afraid. Running away from responsibility creeping closer with every passing day, that I couldn’t live carefree as a student, wasting time playing at exorcism with Suzume for much longer.

    I understand the willingness to throw away sense to preserve things.

    I see in the spider who spun this web a piece of me, and perhaps it too sees in me a piece of it. We are one and the same, though separated by time and space, humans nonetheless.


    “A world that is completely red is no different from a world that is completely gray. If you wish to bring color back to your world...

    Perhaps the best way to do that is by mixing your red with the colors others hold... That is a limitless power in it's own right."

    Perhaps those words are as well suited for that spider as they are for me. It cast a stroke of gray over all opposition, making with its almighty brush the mistake I very well would have made.


    A lonesome existence that never saw or heard the color of another. From it was spun a gray web weaved across the universe. Binding our fates to its will. The butterfly who called out to me that night called itself an observer, thinking itself as one that cannot truly understand the woes of we butterflies, unaware that its silken prison was merely a cocoon of its own making. That it would emerge as a butterfly as beautiful as the rest, with wings that cast a blue light.

    That blue light is a gift she shared with me as well.

    I still remember how it felt when I first began to truly understand the meaning of those words Yamuna shared with me. It was the night I met him. The night my eyes were opened by the cruelest awakening the world can offer; pain.

    The night I first used that blue, the night I fought Belial.

    The ash left in his wake was the gray I feared. But it was the fire that he wielded that I coveted. Yet it was in that moment that the seed of doubt began to become something more. The fire and pain nourished it, and it began to take root. At first I wanted to reject it, but I understood. I was wrong. It was hard to face, so I ignored it. The budding knowledge in my heart that I pushed away, yet kept coming back stronger time and time again.

    If only that was the only truth I had to confront that night

    How satisfied Belial must be, for us to face you. Your existence proves his words true. That without his kind, our destiny is to fight ourselves. You are our sin, and we are yours.


    Humanity needs monsters to fight against, you all took the roles of monsters yourselves, you copied our shapes and your sinful became youkai.

    … But I won’t give him the pleasure of being entirely right. He predicted the next world would be one where we exist as little more than cattle, a world that belongs solely to Gods or Demons.

    It’s that kind of world that you feared, isn’t it, Devourer of Worlds?


    It’s why you banished them and took this form of divine humanity. But doing so birthed the curse that threatens us all, and so you resolved to wipe us from existence entirely. Preserving a record of us as an act of mercy, granting eternal peace to the universe itself.

    Maybe that would be better than a world where we live as slaves to them.

    It would be better than the misguided salvation Chronos and Chiyoko thought to give us.

    You thought of us. You took a path we couldn’t take. You acquired the strength to save us in your own way. It was to save us.

    But…

    What about you?

    Forever alone in an empty, cold, dead universe. You might be all as one, but that is still only one. Now even your other half has been taken into you, returning those emotions you had severed to you. There would be nobody to share your newly discovered joy or sorrow with. In stillness you would lie forever.

    That’s too sad a fate for you to deserve.

    I wonder.

    Suzume, Makoto, Nagi, Jacques, Medrod, Mika, and everyone else standing here alongside me in this final moment. Everyone rising up to challenge your authority.

    Do they also want to save you from that sacrifice you drive yourself obsessively toward?

    I can’t say. I wouldn’t blame anyone for having less kind feelings for you.


    Recently, memories that aren’t mine, but are certainly my own, have begun to return to me. How many times have I seen it? The Gods falling, brave ESPers dying in vain. My world burning around me of my own will. Those I know and love perishing, and your abyssal maw swallowing our world whole.

    When the Sesshouseki left my chest, I discarded that despair and hatred. I cast off that grudge. I cast off the old world. I cast off the old me.


    "This is the final assignment I will give to you and the others; I call it by the code-name: Exodus Nine. It goes as follows: Once you leave here, do not worry about me. Move ahead and achieve a perfect victory against the Devourer, and after that a shining future."

    But I won’t cast off the people I cared for, or the memories for those who were lost on the way here. That wouldn’t be a perfect victory against you.

    That would mean failing.

    I can’t tell where the strength to stand is coming from.

    I was never this strong before. Now I’m even weaker than ever. Without my shard, I’m not fit to fight on this battlefield. The others who lack those shards have endured years of training to be able to stand here and fight against your kind. I have none of that.

    From the beginning, Saki Ryuumonbuchi has been one who has inherited and received. I inherited my position and title, family name and power. I received the shard of the Fox, I gained power that set me apart. I honed that power, I dove into it with all that I am. When it wasn’t enough, I dove into it again. I received power from those who slept within and found the strength to fight. Now I have none of that. They’re gone. Only those here beside me remain.

    So maybe it hasn’t changed. This is what I’ve received from them. Mother, Phenex, Sho-kun, Kimiko, Belial, Suzume, Yoko-sensei.


    "-We had things we needed to protect, that's all."
    Yes, you too.

    I guess I didn’t discard it all.

    But that’s fine. I don’t think it’s wrong. An isolated, solitary strength like yours isn’t what’s right for me.

    Makoto-kun… On his feet before me, and running his mouth again. But this time, he makes more sense than anyone has so far. Does nobody else understand? Are his words falling on deaf ears? This fight… it should already be over.

    But, Mikagura Mika.

    My Haitei and Jigokumachi, they both relied heavily on the Soul Sea. With that gift from Suzume, Suzume the Demon Slayer, I was able to feel it. I touched 46 billion years of suffering, opening my eyes and witnessing the despair of every single human who had lived that long nightmare we call a ‘dream.’ There were those who were betrayed, those who never had anyone to betray them, and those who were fated to always lose those close to them.

    The nightmare was especially cruel to her.

    I can’t blame her for taking the shot when the opportunity came before her, but.

    “I’ve got one more shot.”

    But the look in her eyes tells another story. Somehow the girl who nobody would blame for offering this being no mercy, finds it in her heart to give it a tiny moment of pity.

    If we don’t do something in that moment, she’ll end it.

    Spiritual reserves that are empty somehow form a foothold for me. The step that comes without thought finds a foothold, one of blue, not red. Paving a walkway through the darkness of space, in the leftover trail of Mikagura’s gunshot.

    Where that path leads, the Devourer lays waiting.

    “I’m done fighting.” Standing before it, I no longer feel so small. Nor do I feel that it’s an enemy I must struggle with until the very last. “Makoto-kun is right. There’s no reason to continue this.”

    That’s because…

    “You’ve lost.”

    Perhaps it just can’t see that.

    “There is no perfect world without pain and now, there never will be. Even if you win here and destroy us all, reduce us all to nothing, seal the Demons and Gods forever, you won’t succeed. There will be pain. Your pain.”

    The blue beneath me begins to shrink. Becoming a blue circle closing in.

    “The emotions you regained when Chronos returned to you will haunt you forever, an unending reminder that you’ve turned the universe itself into a jail cell.”

    I had decided talking to it is a waste of effort, but here and now, there must be a chance. Because now we have proof that our decision is another path.

    “But you won’t defeat us anyway. We woke from that dream as a mature humanity. For billions of years you nurtured us in that world, and now with our emergence we’ve banished away that Curse you thought we could never defeat. Those Demons you thought were our eternal enemies, that we are doomed to struggle against, are fighting alongside us.”

    Soon, this blue gift will fade and I’ll fall back into the dark. The fighting may continue then, but I have faith in everyone here. I touched their despair, and in it I saw their resolve. And unlike it, we aren’t alone.

    “We’ve toppled fate, made allies of our absolute enemy, and emerged to stand before you alongside them. Again and again we’ve done the impossible. The world you fought to create can never be. The Curse you eradicated us in the name of has already lost to us, and if it ever returns it will lose again. You have nothing left to fight for.”

    Maybe it’ll fall onto deaf ears, but I have to say this anyway. Before it ends.

    “So stop here. You’re human too, aren’t you? Just… let it be over. Trust us, and let us protect tomorrow. We didn’t learn nothing in that dream. So have faith in us.”

    The last of the solid, blue light fades. It’s a strange feeling, to fall in space, but in a way it’s comforting. As if all of the universe is pulling me in. Yet it isn’t truly falling. It is merely drifting. Floating at the whims of gravity.

    And yet, for all the comfort, my hand rises up to grab hold of something that isn’t there, and the Devourer becomes smaller as I fall.

    “We humans.”



  15. #3295
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Velvet Room
    Age
    26
    Posts
    5,328
    Blog Entries
    5
    Guardians of the Future VS The Administrator
    "Last Seal"


    "..."

    Even on the edge of destruction, beaten down to a point where it is showing true fatigue for the first time, the Devourer can say little else to those that continue to oppose it. While it would have called such sentiments foolish at the start of the battle, the fact that they have not abandoned it even now is one that finally forces the once-divine humanity to acknowledge the answer of it's opponents as "worthy."

    They truly believe they can do it.

    Even so, even if it can understand and respect that answer, it cannot take a step back itself. While this humanity may believe in their own answer, they are ones who have seen "the truth," and have already acted countless times defiance of reality's fate. Even if it may seem meaningless to the humans, they cannot give up no matter what... They do not have the right to do so, as acting in such a way would be admitting that all of this had been pointless, for the sake of everything they had destroyed up until now, in pursuit of a perfect future... They cannot give up...

    Even so, that distortion too is called out and acknowledged by it's opponents.

    Even if it wanted to stop, it is no longer capable of doing so; their entire existence is devoted to their task, and it will continue to struggle towards it's goal no matter what gets in it's way-!

    "..."

    Still, though it is battered by fists and kicks, attacked with words, and even blasted by the lights of hidden weapons and sacrificial bursts of 'emotion,' it is not something that can stop itself, it will have to be stopped... Even if only for this humanity's sake, it cannot leave the future in the hands of such naive souls; even if they defeat it here, that will only be because it hadn't managed to completely abandon it's humanity.

    It's own weakness rather than their strength...

    ---Others would not be so lenient.

    If they are too foolish to destroy it now while they have the chance, then they would never survive on the outside anyway.

    ---But why was it thinking like that now?

    While the light of their hope has been forced upon it by one girl's last act, that should not be a reason for it to acknowledge the possibility of it's defeat.

    It must win.

    It must win.

    For the sake of everything, it has to win.

    Even so, while it throws off those that pile on again and again with surprising amounts of force, that is the limit of it's resistance; much as it has no real answer to their questions, it sees no need to waste it's dwindling power on punches and kicks... No, it will simply endure the blows and wait to recover it's power. While it is blasted by the light of a girl's final trump cards, the distortion that exists within the Devourer's heart makes such a plan a possibility.

    They are on their last legs, but as humans themselves, that means they are also at their most dangerous in this moment.

    It will wait for an opening to destroy them.

    Yes.

    That is the strategy it has decided to employ, and yet-

    "..."

    -They continue to plead, to point out it's distortions, it's own sad fate, even as it continues to plan their extinction. They have to be stopped. They will not stop themselves. They do not have the capacity to stop themselves. Yet-

    As a girl falls, plunging down through space as if drawn to the earth below, the Devourer grips her wrist.

    It is a surprising action that lacks true malice, one done subconsciously, as if it recognized the extension of a hand as a "cry for help," and had automatically moved to respond to it accordingly...

    ---Even it is surprised at this motion.

    Even at the end it is wise enough to recognize the intentions of it's opponents. If it does anything strange here now, if it's answer is anything other than accepting their pleas, then it will likely be blasted again with all the strength left in a weapon that had been meant to destroy it's other self.

    "..."

    For a moment it does nothing other than hold her up, as if considering the meaning behind it's own actions.

    But even if it is a strange reaction, nothing here has really changed... There is only one thing it can do now, and it has no intention of losing, even if it's body is finally destroyed by their efforts.

    It doesn't matter.

    It had planned to trade away that body regardless... Even if only to reclaim the power that made up it's composition, it would reduce itself to light once more to claim victory-!

    Yes.

    It plans to do just that, because it cannot give up until it is decisively beaten...

    It has already lost?

    It begs to differ.

    If it uses all the power it has recovered here to defeat the gathered warriors, it will have time to recover it's strength before dealing with the rest of the Earth... While it's power is low, much much lower than it had been mere hours before, it's origins lie with humans, it if seeks it out, it will find a way to win in spite of how impossible it might seem to others, yes-!

    "...!"

    It will fight until it loses, and if it loses...

    Then that will be a final lesson, that to be too forgiving is also a mistake-!

    It is true.

    All of this had started from a desire to protect it's fellow humans.

    While it's actions have gotten more extreme over time, it has never truly deviated from that path, it had simply walked the darker roads that existed along it's course. If it must lose, then it will remind them of reality, of the fact that some opponents will have to be destroyed no matter what, and that not everyone can be saved, nor should some entities be saved by others.

    This too is a distortion.

    If another humanity had a better answer than it, then it would allow them to pass.

    However, they would have to walk over it's corpse to do so; only a humanity that is superior to it is allowed to continue on after being found lacking.

    Out of it's love for everything, it cannot back down on this point.

    One will destroy the other.

    It will destroy it's enemies-!

    Light gathers around it's form, pushing away all opposition for the final time. In comparison to all of you, it's ability to regenerate from both physical and spiritual damage is on a whole other level... Even the short period of time it has spent simply accepting your blows with gritted teeth is enough to restore some of it's divine majesty-!

    The girl whose wrist it has caught remains in hand, and a barrier goes up to intercept that which should be fired now that it has made it's intention to fight until the end clear. If it is proven wrong, then it is something that needs to disappear, because it's crimes number in a realm close to infinity.

    But it will not lose, it will not be proven wrong; even it's thoughts are clouded, it will pull through as it always has... That is what it thinks as it raises it's gaze, and yet-

    "What-"

    There is no final bullet.

    It is not that Mikagura Mika's mercy extends that far. Out of all of those gathered here, she is one that retains her connection to the 'reality' of the situation, understanding that the enemy might just have to be blown to oblivion to keep it from harming others.

    No, if the opening had remained the same... She certainly would have fired that last shot, and yet-

    "Stop it, Chronos-!"

    Someone had gotten in the way, throwing her body at that of the resolved God; putting herself not just between it and her old friends, but between her old friends and it.

    For Fujimoto Chiyoko, it is the first action she has truly taken as herself in this battle. For a long time she had been a puppet and then a damsel, someone who had had to be rescued due to her own foolishness, and whose heart had begun to wither from the sight of the 'tragedy' repeating itself again right in front of her eyes.

    In comparison to her old friends... She lacked that spring of seemingly limitless resolve. The ability to stand back up and fight even when it seems to be impossible, for her, that sort of illogical path was difficult for her to believe in, even so...

    Now that it has come to this, perhaps her weakness will prove to be a boon for the future. She had not truly fought up until now because she had lacked both a body capable of movement and a steadfast will, but now that she has recovered enough to finally take a stand due to everyone else's actions, the power she holds might just be great enough to tip the scales in favor of her old friends.

    In terms of power, she is not far off from what Chronos had been; it was certainly possible that she could hold the power necessary to tip the battle decisively in humanity's favor if she strikes to kill while it does not see her as a threat, and yet-

    "A seal? Are you a fool? I am not Chronos! Do you really think such a half-measure would work on me?!"

    -That is not what she does.

    Many things had driven her to her feet in this moment. The shame of a prior weakness, the voice of a lover now lost, the sight of old friends still trying to push their way towards tomorrow, and...

    Someone using up her life force in exchange for a last miracle.

    ---It is the approach of death on both sides that drives her back to her feet.

    Or perhaps her rejection of such things. It is a simple thought, to not want anyone else to die... From the start, both her journey and the Devourer's had been similar, and that was perhaps, why they had been destined to become partners inside of this world...

    Yes.

    Where a blow with all of her power might have scattered the enemy before it could brace itself and endure, instead, she goes for the same 'idealism' that seems to have infected the others, attempting to bind it -save it from itself- rather than destroy it.

    ---Because what everyone wants is a happy ending.

    No.

    Not just that, she...

    "Shut up! I'm going to make you stop, and then I'm going to drag you home!"

    ---For her -much like the others- it won't feel right.

    The voice of her old partner is telling her to strike without mercy or lose the ending she has almost secured... The Devourer cannot be convinced in this instance, in this moment, in this time, it is impossible. It has seen people just like those of this world fall to ruin by their own hands, and while it may hold a personal attachment to this place, it cannot treat any of them as exceptions without contradicting it's own existence.

    Those that could be swayed have already left the collective, drawn back into the Goddess's lost body to sleep until someone awakens them.

    This heart would take far more than fleeting words and transient actions to tame, it is something that has seen far more than the people of this world could ever comprehend; it will not stop of it's own accord because it cannot stop of it's own accord; it exists to do this task, and will follow that path until it is no longer capable of doing so...

    That is why it must be destroyed completely.

    That is the logic of Chronos itself, but if she wasn't capable of rejecting that logic then she wouldn't have stood up in the first place.

    Inside of this world, the Summoner can slowly gain the abilities of their Summon. Those that are tied at the soul will slowly but steadily move closer to each other in nature, and in that regard, she had the same ability to absorb other beings as Chronos, nevertheless-

    "Guh... Ah..."

    -She cannot do it alone.

    It is foolish for her to try. Reaching out to grasp it's 'soul' with her own, the only reality that awaits her is having her soul's power drained by it instead... If it is a spiritual connection she is unwilling to sever, then it is one that they will take advantage of to see their task through to the end, and yet-

    "...I'm sorry guys, but I want to ask for your help... Just one more time."

    -Even though it hurts.

    Even though it pushes a critically damaged body to it's limit.

    She refuses to give up.

    If it will only give up after being defeated, then she will hand it that defeat...

    And force it to continue on carrying that burden... That was their shared burden.

    A sin that they would both continue to carry forever-!

    Once more, she awakens as a user of the Eclipse. It is not that such things are impossible to use in the real world, it is simply more difficult, a miracle possible only because of her nature as one that had walked the world of dreams from it's beginning to it's end in an unbroken loop...

    Even then, the ones she seeks the aid of are not just nameless souls, no...

    For the first time, you can feel the knocking of someone else on the door to your 'gate.' Rather than receiving power from others, it is being asked from you, and while there is little you can offer in that regard, there is also little reason to decline.

    Because what that hand asks of you is something that you are already willing to do...

    Accept the burden of protecting the future.

    Until they can show that shining future to it, Humanity itself will be the seal that allows them to finally rest after a long journey. It will not be the action of a single messiah, or even a group of heroes...

    The future was everyone's responsibility, so the burden of protecting it, yes...

    Even if it's unbearably heavy, they will accept it.

    That is... The least they could do for the entity that had allowed them to reach this point.

    To show it that it might be wrong, just as it had secretly wished for someone to do.

    "...!"

    Where once the highest God had been pulling on her soul, the girl that has given her all to reactivate a lost power, grips the entity's arms with all the weight of the world behind her, even as an intense light threatens to scatter her body.

    ---Along with that light, it's own form begins to flicker from existence.

    Where once they would have been unable to do so, the weakened form of the Devourer is a burden that humanity can carry so long as they work together; just as they have bound Nyarlathotep within their Sea, the many 'hands' that emerge from the final gate are those of the world's occupants. It is a manifestation of their willingness to help someone who has simply asked, a burden that not many will consciously know about, but one that will certainly put things to a sort of 'end' that far surpasses any individual seal.

    They do not fear the future.

    The Administrator's fears, worries, and regrets... In response to those things they can only show it their hope and ask it to sleep; it is a bit of irony, for humanity to absorb another collective entity that had been meaning to absorb them, but by that same token, it is as kind as they can be while still protecting themselves from it.

    For those that had been 'alone' for a long time, the depths of a distant Sea finally wash over their struggling form, as 'humanity' wins the last struggle, and pulls the souls of that other humanity into themselves.

    It is foreign but familiar, cold, but also unfailingly warm.

    Out in the depths of space, a blinding light erupts amidst the struggle between the last remnants of a God, as well as the girl that had served as a conduit for the "happy ending" everyone had wished for, and both disappear along with that same light.

    Of course, it is only natural for that woman.

    To convince it to stop, and to bring a 'certain aspect' of it home... Of course she would have to follow it into it's seal, because for her, for Fujimoto Chiyoko...

    Her Happy Ending, has always... Had those sorts of absurdly high standards.

    "..."

    Having gone silent, those that had given everything they had and then some during the course of the final battle... Drift quietly amongst the stars as dreamers, even as a new weight settles in the chest of every human on the planet.

    Demon-kind watches over the sleeping ones in silence, for a time.

    Eventually...

    They arrive once more... To take them home.


    Next Time:
    Final Episode - Return to Aoyama
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  16. #3296
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Velvet Room
    Age
    26
    Posts
    5,328
    Blog Entries
    5
    Final Episode

    One Year Later
    Return to Aoyama

    No matter how much time passes, I still know which stop on the subway is ours.

    It's a knowledge that comes alongside unbreakable habits, a series of turns programmed into the body of someone that had once been an impressionable college student; call it a side-effect of sheer repetition if you must, but I can recognize when I'm back 'home' even with my eyes closed to the world around me.

    The door opens with a ding, and a feeling of nostalgia washes over me, everything feeling the same in spite of the obvious differences.

    Namely, that there are not just humans on this train line. That's not as surprising as one would think after a year, but to the me that had just wandered back recently, the sight of a tiny little snowman, a Jack-Frost, jumping up next to me on the train and declaring that I needed to prove myself by crushing a rock with my bare hands...

    Strange creatures, demons.

    But I had played along with it for a little while -until it's own stop had arrived- and it had sauntered off alongside another human without causing much more of a fuss than that... It was strangely pleasant, a bizarre exchange to be sure, but one that hadn't ended with anyone getting hurt, and one that the people around me had barely flickered their eyes at, as if the sight of it was completely and utterly normal.

    ---After about a year, it probably was, I think with something close to a laugh.

    Outside the train and up the stairs, one hand dragging another someone behind me, the sight of a restored Aoyama keeps the smile on my face intact. While it had taken eight years to recover from the original Kyuubi Incident, it seems that both the second one, and the encounter with the Administrator that had happened shortly afterwards, had been far easier to clean up in comparison due to one single change.

    The appearance of magic at the war's end, something that the Governments of the World had finally been unable to keep under wraps, and had been able to openly display amongst the public as a result. I heard that it was ultimately the decision of the Rothschild's leader to repair Aoyama so fast however, putting her teams on it as soon as the last mission to space had concluded, she was amongst the first of the people I had seen on my way back here, planning to head on over in a 'smaller' ship for some sort of 'reunion,' and asking me if I had wanted to tag along with her.

    While it may have been faster that way, speed wasn't what I was after here, and so I had turned down her friendly request with a smile.

    She was not someone I knew well, far from it, Adala Lagerkvist had remained an enigma to most even during the course of the many incidents; but she had shown a glimpse of her heart near the end of the last war, and it was a heart that certainly went out of it's way to protect those around her, even if she purposefully acted so aloof and distant that it was difficult to see at times.

    ---But I suppose she was called back as well in spite of her brief role in things.

    But that is not too surprising, even if many things have become hazy, and much of our power had faded near the end of it, the connections formed with those that had participated in the last battle were difficult to crack.

    She will probably stand near the back, away from everyone else, but the fact that she will show up at all hinted at a warmth that one would not think ordinarily exists.

    Even so, while I could have arrived early if I had taken her offer, what I'm after is the sight of the world around me; thus, I had decided to make my way there with my own two feet.

    It'll be a long walk.

    But one well worth taking... Even if in some ways...

    This all still feels a little awkward for me, let alone for the one who was with me.

    Even so, we stride forward all the same, towards the city that had become a true 'home' for many people.

    ---
    (Nagi)

    One year ago, the world had fought against two 'Gods' in succession. A God of Darkness, and then a much more powerful one of Light, and she had returned to her island to watch over them from afar.

    She was a girl of gradient hair, one whose body radiated light like the sun, and whose presence was akin to a comforting -but forgotten- Goddess for the humans of the world. She was not powerful like Yamuna, she was simply wise and somewhat lonely, a long-lost daughter of the many worlds that had been stranded here a long time ago, left with nothing but the ability to watch over others.

    Even so, she cannot say she is not happy. It had taken a long time, but the world she had watched over for so long had finally continued past the final page in the book that was their existence... The fate that had bound them had been shattered, as the God of Light had allowed itself to be pulled into the Sea and put to sleep... Of course, there is a possibility of it's return, in the end it had proven itself to be a 'curse' all it's own, but for now it was sleeping, and the world had continued on past it's self-proclaimed day of judgement.

    That is why she was happy.

    It had been a year now, and everyone was still doing just fine.

    While she can only see them through the pages of the book, through the drawings her own hand makes, she is fine with simply knowing that they are alright... Even so, three-hundred and sixty five days after the end, the drawing her hand makes is something that surprises even her, the sight of a group of people on a boat, making their way to an island in the distance.



    "..."

    ---Recognizing those on-board, as well as her own self in the distance of that image, her gaze rises to meet those that should not have been able to make their way here, to a world that should not be connected to their own.

    "Hah... Well, I guess taking a row boat was fine. But wouldn't magic have been way more convenient?"

    Asking a question that he already knows the answer to, Ryota Yagami pushes their ship up onto the shore alongside three others; one other man -his best friend-, a demon whose hair shone black like the night sky, and a girl with hair like the earth, but whose spirit burned like a self-proclaimed sun.

    "Those sorts of things wouldn't work for this. Don't you know charms? If we were actually gonna get here, it would have to be with our own efforts. Subconscious magic rather than conscious magic, after all, the power of Observation works best if it is not forced, forcing ourselves into desperation is a phenomena akin to hypnosis-"

    "..."

    While the two men argue amongst themselves, watched over by a Demon who can only shake her head quietly at their light banter, the girl that had traveled this far alongside them runs across the beach to the Goddess's side, who can do nothing but stare in disbelief in response.

    ...How did they get here?

    From the start that should have been impossible. Only the Devourer's power had allowed it to happen the first time around, the boundaries of a dream far easier to cross than the boundary of a "real world," but-

    "..."

    While she is wise, she also has a tendency to overthink things. The question that she should be asking herself is not how they had gotten here, but rather why, and even then...

    That is a question with an easy answer.

    After all, for Hitoshira Nagi, this was always a place she had a connection too, and would she had always intended to reach with her own body. Even if it is simply a new copy created after the Devourer destroyed the old one, this girl will always have an island with which to watch over others, thus, there was no need to break the promise she had made...

    Even if it had taken her and the others a year, hadn't they decided to bring this person back 'home?' For Nagi that had always been an endgame of sorts, but for Yagami and Auron, it was the last task they needed to accomplish before they can give themselves back up to the authorities at home.

    ---A discussion about whether or not they will has certainly taken place more than once on that boat, but for now, that question is thrust aside as irrelevant.

    Because they had found her just in time.

    One year later, when the feeling that they should return 'home' erupts in everyone's heart. Only the other Goddess had ever said it aloud, made a desire to meet with everyone again one year from now, but-

    It's something that everyone can feel, even if their direct connection to the Soul Sea is far murkier than it has ever been; even if only for a day, those that fought in that case feel they should go back to Aoyama.

    ---Because it truly is 'home.'

    Even so, for you, for Hitoshira Nagi, that is only the first stop of a grand trip.

    The world has changed a lot, and there are plenty of things she wants to see; it is not a dream that exists entirely for her own sake, after all-

    "Hey, we've come to pick you up."

    That is a dream that this Goddess, 'Nobody,' had made clear in spite of it being impossible.

    A desire to see the world, or rather, to live in the world that she had watched over for an eternity.

    If that's all it is, then it's an easy wish to grant. Impossible or not, those that have unknowingly forced their way to this island through a number of dimensional barriers, have no intention of returning to it again after that, because they are taking the one that exists here...

    And bringing her back 'home.'

    That is their purpose, and from that moment on...

    A new journey will begin.

    "...!"

    Shock.

    In response to that outstretched hand, and the expectant smiles, she-

    "...I see."

    -smiles a smile ever brighter than their own, as she takes the hand that is offered to her.

    "Let's go then, we don't want to be late."

    The sky is blue.

    Winter had already passed once to give way to spring, but the inner warmth of the days that had followed that battle had yet to go out. Even on an island that is always summer, the warmth that can be found amongst others is different from what she had experienced on her own. It is a feeling that the two of them have come to understand well, after starting off their journey all alone, here at the end of one story, the girl closes her book and steps into the care of those that had come to rescue her.

    For one of the few who had known the ending that could not be avoided, the lack of clarity that exists in the future is both frightening and exhilarating; weighing what was lost and what was gained, the path taken now is one that will never again turn back towards the past-

    "Alright, mission accomplished. Now, Nakamura, kindly explain how you actually expect us to get back home. If we drown at sea carrying her, then we are literally the worst-"

    -But that is fine.

    Laughing amongst the warmth of others, a boat pushes off of a lonely island for the last time.

    ---
    (Jacques)



    "Good work today. I'll be back to pick up Mina-chan at six."

    It felt rather odd to receive a compliment from Gisela, even more so now that she had become something close to what one would think of as an assistant. Having turned herself in at the end of the battle to the authorities for her part in the earlier portions of the second Kyuubi Incident, her sentencing had ultimately been a bit of a slap on the wrist, being ordered to assist with the restoration of the town, but also as an official employee of the now reinstated SDCD. The leniency of the punishment was likely a result of Liane's current status as the current head of the organization, but seeing how she had ultimately not harmed anyone in any way that was permanent, you can't think of it as being too easy on her either.

    ---Still, that doesn't explain how she had become your bodyguard, does it?

    Just as she had turned herself in after the war, Kenji had moved to become a major part of the organization's reconstruction, heading for a place at the top with his connections, and had asked you to come along with him as an employee of sorts. It felt rather weird to have a boss that was younger than you, but putting some thought into it had led to you accepting the offer on a part time basis, and upon Gisela's assignment to his group, he had immediately assigned her to you at what was apparently her own request.

    You had saved her life once after all, and she had promised to repay you for that... But to go so far as to be both a bodyguard and a chauffeur?

    Well... She is a Knight, so this is probably just how she sees these sorts of things.

    ---Even so, in many ways it is rough.

    Not really in a bad way per say... But in the sort of way that kicks down the door in certain aspects of your life.

    Yes.

    As her current 'boss,' it seems she has decided that your diet is far too poor, and that you do not exercise in the proper ways. She has already made diet plans and exercise schedules galore for both you and Mina, and since Mina seems to idolize her as a "senpai," it has put you in the sort of place where it is difficult to really deflect the changes she was trying to make in your life-style-!

    Still...

    As she drives off, her last line comes off as a bit strange.

    Pick up Mina? Just her? What about you?

    ---It makes you feel like you're forgetting something, but then again, she likely misspoke; as great as she is at combat and military strategy, you can't really think of her as being perfect. You had seen her when she was tired, that was when all the little flaws in her personality and ability slipped out of the cracks in her knight persona, and with today's assignment being investigation into a strange Red Meteor that had fallen into Tokyo Bay, you can't really blame her for being tired.

    The thing hadn't been there when you had arrived, and chasing it's trail all over town had not only taken all day, but had revealed that it wasn't anything dangerous at all...

    Mentally, it was kinda exhausting.

    Keys in a lock, open the door to an apartment brimming with pictures. Not just of you and Mina, but of all of your other friends, some who had fallen, others who had only become so after the course of the Time Devourer incident. It's a bit cheesy, to hang this sort of thing up on the wall where everyone can see it, but at the same time...

    It's a reminder that time is not infinite.

    To treasure one's connections while they have them... That is one of the many lessons you had been taught over the course of all of this...

    While it had used to be a solo venture, Mina had taken residence in a room down the hall, one without the windows. While her condition was doing better nowadays, and she was slowly overcoming her weaknesses thanks to a certain form of energy she was receiving from you, she wasn't quite at the level where she could just go out and about in the daylight with everyone else... At least not while the sun was at it's highest point.

    That was why the party was being held in the evening, so that everyone had the chance to attend; not just those that couldn't handle the sun well, but also those that had wandered out of the city shortly after the battle... Knowing some of them, they'd roll back into town with only an hour or so to spare.

    Karma will get their poor planning however, while humanity as a whole does not exactly remember the final battle well, and even your own memories of it are kinda hazy at best, it's still turned into a holiday with many different names. The streets are going to be lined with vendors, and they'll have a hell of a time getting through the traffic...

    Staying in the city rather than wandering off had probably been a boon, at least in that aspect.

    A body collapses on the bed, it's your own, one lit by the light of the evening sun.

    You hadn't seen Hel in awhile, normally you go to visit her on your off days, messing around with her ship even though she repeatedly claimed that it was not a toy; but this time around, she'll be coming back to visit you, so you hadn't felt it necessary to make your way down there this week.

    ---For now, perhaps a nap.

    There are four hours until you needed to head out, and while it had turned out to be something of a wild-goose chase, the events of the day had certainly drilled themselves into your brain.

    A bit of peace and quiet might be nice before you hit the reunion.

    Yes.

    A bit of peace and quiet is what you might just want, as you reflect on events that have already become the 'past,' but...

    *BAM*

    You will get no more than two hours of such a thing, as a certain other employer has burst through an -unlocked- door with his usual blunt 'grace.'

    "Here huh?! You were supposed to be at work an hour ago! We have prep work to do now! Catering demons isn't easy!"

    ...Wait.

    Wait, wait, wait-

    What?!

    The second half of the ESPers party was at the bar sure... But did he intend for you to work today?!

    That's just not fair! This is a holiday that Aoyama celebrates! Wait... Had Gisela known about your other work schedule? Why hadn't she warned you?! What kind of twisted secretary move is that?! Had she just assumed you wouldn't forget?!

    It's an interruption that brings with it a number of thoughts, a number of feelings...

    But a smile of connections all the same.

    ...Looks like you'd be heading out early after all.

    "Oh? Bar work tonight? Do you need some help?"

    ...Alongside someone stubborn, who you had intended to let rest-!

    ---
    (Suzume)



    "...I see. It's a rather bizarre report, but inform the Jacks that they are not allowed to emotionally manipulate others into buying things by threatening to kill themselves if they don't. We cannot allow that kind of behavior to persist. If it becomes the usual, it will be hard to change their minds on it, best to nip it in the bud now."

    ---Truly, being in the upper ranks of the SDCD was a lot more reports and paperwork than you had expected their to be; as one of the last remaining of the senior agents, the position of director of the SDCD had been placed on your teacher's shoulders shortly after the war, along with the reigns of the city's orphanage. As someone you had first met running a simple coffee shop, a simple cafe, the authority with which she appears now is a remarkable contrast, sitting behind her desk with her fingers knit together, accepting report after report from suited figures dressed in black.

    While she had 'reawakened' all of her previous selves during the end of the war, she had put a 'seal' on herself again shortly afterwards, claiming that it made her head feel 'hazy.'

    Of course, you are still there... Although one could say it was certainly a close call, as evidenced by the wheeled chair that sits beneath your body.

    In the end you had allowed your soul to be damaged for the purpose of creating a miracle, and you had done so at a point where you had already been critically weakened. Those that had taken part in the battle against the Devourer had all spent over a month recuperating inside of the Rothschild facilities; it's not just the damage that was taken, but rather that the abilities of the ESPers had dropped for a time afterwards. There are a number of theories as to why, from the Soul Sea needing time to rebuild it's strength before it can go back to lending it out, to the real world simply being less hospitable to their powers and everything in between, but...

    While the others are slowly but steadily recovering, you are doing so at a much slower rate.

    Rather than damage to the body, damage to the integrity of the soul was much slower to heal...

    "Honestly... Why is there so much paperwork...? I always thought those stacks of papers you'd see on television is a joke..."

    As Liane herself could certainly attest to. Perhaps you were lucky? Becoming apprenticed to someone who had had to live with her own fractured soul for over eight years, but your case wasn't hopeless; Liane was experienced in this sort of thing after all, and had her "pride as an alchemist" to fall back on... So it was a slow recovery filled with a lot of bitter medicine, but you were getting there, bit by bit.

    ---In a way, it had also kept you from having to learn how to throw a punch. You were sure that was one of the things Liane really wanted to teach you, but with her current job, and your own current circumstances...

    You were both doing a lot more theoretical and magical work nowadays. It was a job that paid quite a bit of money all things considered, and it was a government position so you could kinda brag about it to your parents, but...

    Well, now you were stuck doing paperwork too.

    You couldn't really call it a core strength of yours, but you managed to do well enough to not feel like a burden; normally Joanna was here as well as another assistant, or as the head of the "Brighter Days" Orphanage, having decided to forgo her employment with the church to stay in Japan with her sister, but she was out wandering with a dark-haired friend of hers. Knowing the tastes of the big sister, the idea that the younger one was secretly similar had struck you more than a few times, but...

    Regardless, life goes on... In a strange way perhaps, but it does keep going on...

    Of course, humanity as a whole getting its hands on magic through the use of science, as well as the fact that no one was quite sure what sort of 'rules' remained present in the world complicated some things... Humanity's summoning spell had brought a lot of beings back into this world, and while they were oddly calm and cooperative for beings called 'demons,' they still had an... Odd... Way of thinking about things...

    The world was heading towards a complicated age. Now that they knew about it, it was only a matter of time until humanity fully integrated the supernatural into society; there was no stopping the train now that it has moved, but...

    ---Maybe that's alright.

    If nothing else, it's probably too early to say one way or another...

    The weight of the cat on your lap is testament to this as well, still...

    "Still, I think I can get us out of here for the day."

    It is, after all, a sort of holiday.

    "Everyone's been planning to meet at the bay. It's no fun to be in a chair at the beach, so I've done a bit of alchemical work on some different uniforms... It's a temporary fix, will drain a bit of my power to use, but it should let you move around more freely for a bit."

    ...Well, that was a surprising admittance.

    She had certainly been working on something in her spare time... But magical clothes? The idea of her making something like that almost seemed... Off... Or was the word you were looking for surprisingly cute?

    "Of course, it is a beach, so the usual government suits won't do while we're there, so I made a bonus swimsuit-! And as your teacher, I must insist that we match~"

    Ah...

    There was the catch now, wasn't it? As far as swimsuits went, she was way more willing to show off skin than you were-! Of course, she was someone that radiated confidence, so that revelation wasn't particularly surprising, and the smile on her face made it clear this was some form of confidence testing, but wasn't this a kinda twisted way to break you out of your own shell?! And just because the weather could be controlled now, that didn't mean people shouldn't respect the old order of the seasons, it was barely spring-!

    ---You'll have to refuse.

    You'll have to find some way to avoid this, and yet-

    ...It's probably not possible. But...

    If she could still joke around like that...

    It really was the same old Sensei inside after all.

    ---
    (Makoto)

    Of course, it is perhaps only natural for the students to head to the beach first.

    Ever since the second Kyuubi Incident, the waters of Tokyo Bay had begun to swell within their depths, pushing outward towards the world around it that could be easily monitored by eye alone... It was still something of a precious spring, a sort of secret that belonged to the people of Tokyo... Shining waters that were purified by exposure to a 'different' sea, water that perhaps, exists to cover up a 'gate' that exists somewhere within it's depths.

    No one looks for it.

    Or rather, those that know where it is... Have already ensured that it would be impossible for anyone malevolent to find it again...

    As humans that is one of their many duties.

    ---Still, it's not like you're really thinking about any of that.

    "Hah-!"

    A volleyball strike that sends your body flying backwards through sand and into the arms of a certain Kyoko, the result of opposing the stalwart figure of Tachibana Kimiko. In the end, you and Kyoko's plan to get her into a swimsuit had ultimately proven to be successful... But rather than showing any signs of bashfulness or hesitation, Aoyama Gakuen's designated anti-bully was exactly the same as she had always been, an invincible warrior who stood stalwart atop a castle of sand like some sort of war queen.

    ---Out of all the things that had gone on to adopt the use of magic over the past twelve months, recreational businesses had been amongst the first to apply basic magic theory to their business models. Rather than shutting down and losing revenue at certain times of the year due to the passing of seasons, it was becoming more and more common (at least in Aoyama) to simply change the temperature and humidity of certain areas through the use of magical formulas.

    As far as the researchers were concerned it was a good test-case for long term spells, and with both your foster mother and Megumi jumping up to business prominence with their already existing magi-tech, this city was rapidly growing into one that wouldn't have seemed out of place in what you had once thought would be the future.

    But Aoyama was a place like that... Ever since the first Kyuubi Incident...

    It hadn't really been a place you could call 'normal.'

    Still, with the school shut down for the day, you had seized the opportunity that had presented itself to you, and suggested that you head to the beach in the morning, before the others arrive in the afternoon-! It was something of a masterstroke plan, a way to get that particularly stubborn senpai out here without resistance, as 'everyone was just going to come here later' anyway, but-!

    No good reactions-!

    Was it a confidence born from having well-toned muscles? Or simply the usual mentality overriding what you and Kyoko had hoped would be a rare place of weakness?

    Regardless...



    "Geez Tachibana... Haven't you ever heard of holding back? We're playing a game you know?"

    "So what? Why would I do that? You should go all out in everything that you do, even games."

    She's just the same as always.

    Having brought along a grill that can only be described as monstrous, Kimiko's normal duty of forcibly taking over the cooking duties of others was being held by a combination of Claire and Megumi... Leaving the quantity of food to a Nakamura is normally a wise decision, as the family as a whole takes food seriously to the point of actual fights breaking out over it occasionally, but in this instance, it is more the fact that the grill in question looks absurdly magi-tech... That has everyone leaving it in the hands of the scientists.

    Likely, there was no real reason for not using a normal grill... But inventors will always feel the need to invent, even if it is likely pointless; looking at it, it certainly seems to be a form of steam grill, likely designed for speed-!

    But why the computer screens? What possible purpose could they serve...? If it was about ensuring the meat was 100% pink free, this sort of thing was probably a bit overkill-!

    "Don't zone out-!"

    "...?!"

    Had they kept playing?!

    Another volleyball spike, seemingly destined to impact with your solar plexus a second time, but-!

    "Hah-!"

    A deflection, by the Nakamura youth-!

    "She's being a team by herself, statistically speaking, we should be able to win-!"

    Voice chipper as always, Hitomi observes her adopted sister with silver eyes, even as Akio goes sliding across the sands as a result of his own dive.

    ---It's nice.

    To be able to play around like this, normal days...

    While someone that should be here is missing, and hasn't been seen since the final moments of that battle, somehow...

    ---Her situation doesn't appear hopeless.

    She more than anyone else, had wanted this sort of happy ending... The idea that she would perish herself at the end of it... Was both laughable and unlikely...

    "Alright Akio-kun, Hitomi-chan, Delta formation-! Use magic if you have to-! I'll play defense, Makoto, you got this?"

    That's why these days are fine.

    Eventually, she will reach this place herself...

    Of that you have no doubt.

    ---
    (Mika)

    Your godmother certainly had an expensive sort of taste in vehicles.

    There was supposed to only be a single Testarossa Spider in the world, and yet the black convertible that goes blazing down the highway, parallel to a shining sea, is certainly a copy of that supposedly one-of-a-kind vehicle. In some ways it is showing off, using a blatantly expensive car for the purposes of a "family trip," but at the same time, prior experience with her taste in this sort of thing...

    Also hinted that she simply liked vehicles that would destroy most people's wallets. She hadn't had it when you and the others had arrived at the airport from Europe, no, she had had it waiting for her outside, ready to go back to the city that everyone called home. While wandering around had been interesting enough in it's own right, especially because it was clear Sora was making an effort to do some family bonding, the call of university was beginning to burn a hole in your pocket...

    Of course, it is not like you really need to attend such a place. Out of all of the ESPers that remained after the Incidents, your powers were easily suited for making a living through analyzation of stocks and market patterns, but...

    Somehow, it feels like you should finish it regardless. Perhaps it's simply because you want your knowledge to be considered credible; there is no harm in having a doctorate or two after all, but...



    "Everyone doing alright?"

    For now, you're still on vacation with everyone. This car's destination isn't the house, it's the beach, and then a certain bar... You're not really the party type all things considered, but well...

    An anniversary reunion is an anniversary reunion.

    Even if only a few would ever remember it completely, your lives were certainly tied to that of the others in a way that couldn't ever really be severed by outside forces.

    Still...

    Hair lighter than ever, and sporting an outfit reminiscent to that of Liane (who she seemed to spend a lot of time with nowadays), Sora's hourly check on the car's occupants is met with mostly cheery affirmations. While Genbu being present along with your girlfriend had made parts of the trip rather embarrassing due to it's apparent innate ability to catch you in compromising situations, the two of them were still getting along as great as they always had; huddled over a phone broadcasting a certain idol performance by a certain Goddess of Humanity.

    ...That's right.

    It's kind of unfair for an actual divine idol to exist, but at the same time, it's also not really hard to believe. Even with the different body she was using, that woman's features were perfect to a degree that was blatantly supernatural; combine that with the earnest 'Kind Goddess' personality, the type that not only walked around with people, but did sincere things like showing up to a kid's soccer game to cheer them on just because they asked her too, and you have a recipe for popularity with the masses that can't really fail given enough time...

    Still...

    For Nami it must be kinda strange, seeing her previous body move and dance around on stage... But the sight must also be nostalgic.

    After all, that Goddess already came with her own bodyguards.

    Knights that had woken up after hundreds of years, only to continue on where they had left off... In a world that had finally used the time they had granted them, and thrown off the shadow of the curse.

    "Well, it seems the princess got her wish in the end."

    It ends with an applause, audible even over the gentle hum of the car's engine.

    Of course. Being with the humans was probably also her wish. Not just to have her friends returned to her, but to have the same right to walk atop the planet as any other human, rather than spend her days listlessly with little more than the sleeping dead...

    It's easy to be happy for her.

    Still, since the reunion was supposed to just be the old group from back then... How was she planning on not dragging her fans along with her? Had she even thought that far ahead? Having everyone from back then together again was already a bit more of a crowd than you liked if you were to be honest, still...

    "...Something wrong?"

    Catching you staring, and perhaps reading a bit too into it, Nami squeezes your hand in a reassuring way, smiling in that way that only she could, as the car slows to a roll, a line of traffic leading into Tokyo that seemed to stretch on for miles.

    "..."

    Of course... That's not great for a number of different reasons.

    Delays in your flight had already put you all behind schedule, and while there was a certain science to arriving fashionably late, the idea of being the last ones isn't very appealing... Nor is the idea of being stuck in a car for the next four hours, as traffic crawls along at a snails pace due to poor management.

    "...Alright. Time to cheat, then; it's a good thing I got Cross to work on this while we were away."

    Your godmother seems to agree with the car's sudden sentiment, as her hands move around the dashboard with a clear purpose, as if searching for some sort of switch that would make the problem simply cease to be a problem. If Liane had worked on this car, than there was a number of things you would expect it to do, from being able to function underwater to outright taking off like a plane, and while such a thing would have been against the law a year ago, now that everyone knows about magic well-

    It's clearly going to be the second, no doubt in your mind about it.

    "Hold on tight. You know how she is about strapping jet engines to things."


    ---
    (Medrod)



    "Hey guys, I'm back~! Woah-!"

    After a little over half a year's absence from Aoyama, the first bit of Noriko's voice you can hear comes during a time of trial that truly surpasses the stress you had felt during the battle with the Devourer.

    Rush hour at the soba shop, in a world in which demons are not only capable of showing up for dinner, but are even the most likely of the customers to appear. It's a realization that almost leads to Noriko being run over by accident, the sheer crowds of people lining the floor almost completely unaware of her newfound presence, but a light spin and leap puts her out of harm's way, and closer to a family that has truly met an almost indomitable challenge-



    "Excellent timing Nori-chan, grab an apron please~"

    "O-Okay?!"

    -And, unfortunately for her, puts herself right in the center of the growing chaos as well.

    Because that is not the voice of a Yuka that is asking, no no no, that's the subtle voice of a Yuka that is asserting her mother-like authority over others-!

    Of course, it's not the first time Noriko has been an employee. She had been trained right along with you and Red after the final battle with the Devourer, but the influx of demons, and more importantly, demonic appetites...

    She had been gone for that, going on a temporary journey in pursuit of rumors about a certain vampire... But she had chosen a poor time to come striding back in, because now she was being hit with it full force.

    "Keep up~"

    A full force that only Red seems to take without flinching, a teasing smile aimed your way as a former police officer joins a somewhat less dramatic battle.

    ---Normal days.

    In spite of the absurdity of the situation, of how crazy the you from over a year ago would have called it... These days could be called precious, normal days.

    In comparison to the time as the Knight of the World, these actions cannot be called glamorous. While you split your time between this shop, and working along with Liane and the SDCD for keeping the peace out in the city, your position cannot be called quite as noble as those attained by some of the others. As expected Liane had become the big boss, but some of the others had turned into technology tycoons...

    Heck, even the doctor, who had -oddly enough- been simply waiting back at the shop when you had all returned home, had stopped being subtle with the fact that he was a magi-tech genius, and had joined the countermeasures department as a technician that was slowly becoming known world-wide.

    There were plenty of rumors about the group as a whole due to the battle with Nyarlathotep, but still... Your life had returned to being something relatively simple. You lived in the attic above the shop alongside Red and the others, were taught proper Japanese by Yuka, and were paid for your work by both Liane and the Doctor...

    The amount you and Red got from the Doc was actually rather staggering... While you knew Matsuda had to be much more wealthy than this little cafe had let on due to him owning most of the buildings that surrounded the shop as well, it still felt like he was paying you three times as much as your efforts inside of the shop were worth... Of course, it was the same sort of pay Kazuya and Yuka got as well, so a part of you had initially assumed it was simply a family thing you were treading on, and had felt rather bad about it, even though the two of them had seemed happy for you, and had even offered to help you find a separate place once you had enough saved up...

    But the doctor -seemingly reading your mind as usual- had called it a "Saving the World" raise, and had refused to take any of it back.

    ---To him, the money likely didn't have much tangible worth; it was rather bizarre to know someone of that nature well, someone who was set for life in a way that truly seemed invincible, but the words saving the world had brought back some memories.

    Had you really done so, in the end?

    The happy ending... Had it been achieved?

    Waking up after the fact had revealed a certain 'truth,' about the final battle, and it was one that had been difficult for you to accept... In many ways it felt like you had broken a promise, that even after everyone's efforts, in the end, more lives had had to be sacrificed for the world to grant a 'happier ending' to you.

    Even so...

    "You should believe in her."

    Those had been Red's words. In the end, Chiyoko had not run out to die, she had claimed she would drag the one she loved back regardless of what fate had in store for him, and had then disappeared into the darkness.

    ---Knowing the power of the enemy she had seemingly dragged down with her, it is a difficult statement to believe.

    Even so, they were the words of your Red Queen... And you had done your best to take them to heart.

    She was normally right after all... That too was a thing that was becoming more and more clear with the passing of time.

    Eventually the early dinner rush ends, and the store that had once been packed was now full of those that more or less lived there; including Noriko, who was here every morning when she was in town, even the ever-absent doctor shows his face at an odd early, wheeling his way into the store with the ring of a bell at five in the afternoon.

    "Go ahead and run out for the day. There's a reunion in an hour right? I'll close up early for the night."

    Noting Noriko's presence with just a nod, the authority of this family's 'grandfather' automatically releases her from the iron grip of the 'Mom' along with the others.

    ...It's true enough, there was a 'party' of sorts happening later on tonight.

    But the older man had been invited to it as well; it was supposed to be a gathering of the ESPers and their 'extended family,' a bit of an off-shoot party in comparison to the festival the civilians were throwing off on their own. Many of the Demons had retreated to a 'data world' after the battle, one that was apparently a part of the human world now -at least according to Liane- but those that had done that for whatever reasons were certainly appearing again to visit their old summoners, so it was a party that would even have demons present...

    Even so, while you kind of want to question why he doesn't seem to plan to leave alongside the rest of you, the look in his amused eyes says he'll catch up, that he's likely meeting with someone that just might ruin today for you, and thus-

    "...The Nakamura are cooking. We should go early."

    Red drags you outside the moment she is released, sensing the camaraderie of others that also hold seemingly limitless stomachs.

    ---The others follow along a moment later.

    ---
    (Saki)

    Traffic jams are always caused by something, and in this case, the root cause was a limousine and the servants of a Yakuza Family that had moved to clear a path for it through the already heavy traffic.

    Compared to a year ago, it was a vehicle whose sheer size was finally being put to a more proper use; rather than simply carrying the family and the head butler, there were a number of demons, a lesser butler, a nun, and even prospective adoptees aboard the vehicle ultimately bound for the encroaching waters of Tokyo Bay, the true destination for Sho and Phenex, who were plotting to use some sort of "latest technology grill," that was waiting at your ultimate destination.

    Alice and Alice were bouncing around in spite of any seat belt laws. While you hadn't really expected it to happen, it seems that your mother had seen Alice as a demon powerful enough to 'keep a personal eye on,' and as a result, there was a very real possibility that the younger girl would become a member of the Ryuumonbuchi Family soon, at least for a little while...

    But for now, this car was planning to drop her back off at Brighter Days for a little while; there was a young man that had appeared there a week ago that she wished to see, a certain "William," that she called her "Big Brother." Her situation made it clear that it wasn't a blood relation of any sort, but seeing as how she also had a red-haired "Big Sis," it seemed that the girl just made powerful connections with others...

    But that is a blessing of youth, a power that is strongest during one's early years.

    Mary -the nun- was planning to leave along with Alice at the orphanage, with the both of them heading on to Tokyo Bay after that; while Belial's words after the battle had made it clear that the girl was an "abnormality," a possible divine being in human flesh, she had never been anything other than pleasant... With eyes that could pierce through any facade to the truth perhaps, but someone whose aura remained pleasant in spite of that power, as if in assurance that she wouldn't use it in an improper way.

    ---At least that is what you believe, Belial himself remains somewhat more unconvinced, stuck in his bias as he is...

    There are many things that the Demon Prince was correct about, so you clung to those things that he was decisively wrong about as an equalizer of sorts, a way to keep the verbal struggles alive on your end...

    Contrary to your expectations, the Demon Prince had not returned perpetually to his people within the Other World in spite of the completion of his objective. He had never bothered to explain why he had decided to return and stay without any signs of an ending point other than your death; he had certainly had his chance at the end of the battle, but while he had been gone for a day, it had simply been for a day, long enough to 'give a report.'

    So even a year later, the relationship felt about the same as it always had; the Demon was a sort of sarcastic guardian, explaining oddities to you with the same tone of voice as always, and listening to your complaints with insight that was at times thoughtful, insightful to how you might actually be feeling...

    With your mother driving for once, that is why he is the only one that gets out of the car when you arrive at your first destination, a school building that didn't have anyone in it today.

    ---More than anyone else, you could feel the beat of the Devourer's 'soul' inside of your own... It was small, a fragment of a fragment, but it was something present in everyone now, as humanity itself was serving as a quite literal seal on one of it's more destructive counterparts. A shared burden that was split between the living, in order to 'show' the Devourer the world it had planned to deny until the very end... There weren't any notable negative effects from humanity serving as such a seal, indeed, from what your mother and Belial had said about it, it seems the strain of binding that weakened God while alive had actually drawn out the 'dormant power' inside of most of humanity.

    One of their specialties was adapting in order to survive after all, still...



    "...I'll wait at the gate. Call if you wish me to join you."

    ---Was it a perfect victory?

    While you would never be sure that this was what Sensei had meant by those words... You had followed along with what you had believed he had meant, because he had continued to believe in you right up until the very last moments.

    It was probably correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nakahara
    "...I told you. I came here to "Rescue" everyone. As my friend... God or not... He's not excluded."

    ---He had wanted to save everyone, that much was clear.

    That is why your final approach had been what it had been... And the extension of a hand had led to the sealing of an entity, rather than one side managing to destroy the other.

    But was that the correct choice?

    ...For now, it is difficult to say. In a way, the Devourer had become another 'curse' of sorts, a slumbering destruction that persisted inside of everyone's hearts, a sin of 'salvation' that comes with taking the light far too far.

    In a way, it is this question that has drawn you back to the school building... While no one is here today, your senses declare that today is a day that you might just want to stop by it regardless... With the second Kyuubi Incident, school had been canceled for awhile due to the necessity of completing repairs within the city. Winter vacation had gone on to last a good half a year or so, and while you had spent that half a year going through Kuzunoha training with your mother (which was, unsurprisingly, rather physically spartan in nature) you had still remembered the assignment your fallen teacher had asked for...

    As had the rest of the class.

    ---You're simply coming here to see the results of that.

    Of course, the promise has already been broken... Too much time has passed, and he has missed the deadline he had set for himself by an entire year. The miracle of Nakahara Katsuro simply reappearing in class one day -even as a ghost- is one that has not come to pass, Yoko-Sensei still grieves in her own way, stopping by the park to visit a grave without a body, and there is even a replacement teacher coming in soon, a Mr. "Miyagawa Hitoshi," who will apparently teach both English and "Spirit Culture Studies" and yet...

    ---You still want to see.

    You were the "Favorite Student" after all, so it is only right that you get to look first.

    A flash of flame passes both gate and building entirely, depositing you in the hallways that still bear the scent of new material... While you were no longer an ESPer, and even the ESPers had weakened somewhat as a whole after the final battle, training with the powers you had inherited from Belial made it possible for you to perform some of your old tricks in a 'different' way... It wasn't quite as instinctual anymore, and the fire itself was more naturally violent, but the small explosion that appears with your entrance is kept in check through precision alone, harming nothing, and leaving no real sign that you had snuck into a temporarily empty building...

    The door to the classroom was unlocked, and just as it had been when you had left it, there were a number of papers strewn across the different desks.

    Everyone had heard about the last assignment, the report over what they had done over vacation, and even the problematic students couldn't help but follow after their fallen teacher's last request.

    ---Seeing everything he had done for them, it would have been impossible to refuse.

    But...

    Different from the student's writing... There are marks in bright red ink, shining brightly in the light of the evening sun.

    "..."

    There were signs of the new teacher's belongings everywhere, so the rational mind is disappointed immediately, but...

    But...

    But...

    There is one thing... That brings you up after pushing you back down.

    While the grades could certainly be from the new teacher at a glance, the photo that has been taped lightly to the board is not something that a new teacher would use.

    ...It's the same class photo from before, a copy of the one that had saved you from the core of the world's black flames.

    ---Just like before, you flip it, looking for writing on the back.

    And just like before...

    '...Sorry I was late everyone. But some things came up, so it took me awhile to keep my promise.'



    "..."

    A presence at the door that won't be there when you turn around, it's the smile of a teacher that has continued to appear from time to time, but one that will only watch over everyone from afar from now on, to see the way the future goes.

    'You all did very well, perfect scores. Please keep up this work in the future.'

    ...

    'No matter what happens from now on, I know you can handle it.'

    You turn around.

    As expected...

    Rather than a visual, only the warmth of a teacher remains.


    ---
    (???)

    Why am I moving so slowly?

    I suppose a part of me is afraid to face them. While I know I have to, and while I know I want to... There's a difficulty to all of this that has me taking my time more than I probably should...

    Because much of what has gone wrong was my fault.

    If I hadn't gotten caught up in my own uncertainties, if I had used the power I had from the start... Then the perfect ending I had envisioned may have actually become the reality... The mistake of waiting so long was one that had cost me dearly, but at the same time...

    It was that flawed world that had beaten back both "corruption" and perfection," so perhaps...

    This ending was the best possible one.

    ---Even so, it won't change the guilt that I feel over all of it.

    The graveyard that existed in the park was no longer tainted with the curse, and while the first Kyuubi Incident was still responsible for the majority of the markers you would find there, there are still a handful of names present of people that I had wanted to save... Ryuichi, Ayra, Aya, Mika's parents, and Nakahara Sensei...

    If I could... I had wanted to save everyone... But in the end that was impossible.

    Humans can't exist in a perfect world, it's a cruel truth, but one that we cannot escape, even so...

    I'll keep walking forward carrying those failures, because it is my responsibility to do so.

    ---That's what a certain white-haired boy had told me, and... I can't say I don't agree with the sentiment.

    The thought of 'I hate this world,' had proven to be a dangerous curse to the world. It was a thought that couldn't be banished entirely from human hearts, and thus, the curse itself is something that cannot be banished from human hearts. It will always be there, and it will rise again and again no matter what, maybe not as black flames or mud, but certainly as a reminder that humans are not perfect, and that we have to reaffirm our better natures over and over again...

    It's a struggle, but it's an important struggle.

    Without being reminded of our darkness on occasion, we cannot rise above it.

    Hopefully it'll never get that bad again...

    An abyss of darkness or the overwhelming light... Both of which had proven to have similar goals in the end.

    ---Humans are probably meant to exist somewhere in the center.

    That is what I believe now anyway. But that is something for the future to test.

    It's exciting, being able to walk down the streets of a festival I have never experienced... It is something 'new,' and I enjoy it as such, wandering down the streets, spotting faces familiar and unfamiliar, as they move towards my destination faster than I myself move...

    Jacques escapes a bar with Mina after being forced to help prepare for the night's events, a car flies by overhead, the Golden Witch and her student walk together with long strides past booth after booth, a boat emerging from a bay in spite of a lack of physical connection, and many others are simply already there, a Goddess arriving in spirit form halfway through a volleyball game, serving as a 'secret assist' for a group that was being beaten single-handedly by a single persistent ESPer.

    They all rush to get back together... But my footsteps remain slow up until I am able to see the bay for myself.

    Like them, I have lost much of my power... A dive into the Sea after a certain someone had taken most of the strength I had built up over all of those years. I can't make any problems simply disappear anymore, in reality, I am no more powerful than any of them are now... Even the power that had been used to seal the Devourer had been humanity's, not just my own...

    I don't know what I will say, nor do I know what they will say...

    Even so, up ahead is a bay that linked to the sea that connects us all... While to many people it is simply a beach, for us, the 'true nature' of it is a little more apparent, and thus it was probably chosen subconsciously for that reason.

    It is a fitting meeting ground, because it is connected to the final meeting ground... And hand in hand, unable and unwilling to avoid it any longer, now that eyes have seen me, and hands have raised in my direction...

    "Hey, Chiyo-chan-!"

    "Took you long enough, what was keeping you Mom?"

    "No paper bag disguise today?"

    I run forward, pulling a now-human Chronos along with me.

    They do not remember, but this reunion, even if not perfect, is still a real representation of my dreams.

    It's a meeting that was supposed to never happen again, but that exists on the other side of a new fate.

    I run, and he follows me.

    We both have a lot to answer for, but towards a future that is no longer set in stone... I will run harder than I have ever run before...

    And see what "tomorrow" has in store for all of us.

    "---Sorry I'm late, but I've never been very good at swimming."


    True Ending
    Exodus Nine
    The Limitless Ocean of Life



    FIN.


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

    ----

    "Oh, I just remembered! We never took that picture together! I wanted to be in one with you guys!"

    "Well, if the Goddess wants it, I guess we have to do it? But we probably dodged a bullet by taking it afterwards, that's a heck of a death flag we would have had..."

    "No such things as Death Flags Liane-chan~ Come on everyone gather around, the camera's on a timer~"

    "Here it comes!"


    It's a photo with a lot of meaning, and the girl that sees it first, the butterfly that had shred the web of fate with everyone's help, can't help but cry when she sees it.

    It is a photo with 'everyone.'

    Living and the dead, a last picture that couldn't be taken this time around normally... But on the shore of a certain sea... Was possible for just an instant.

    Posing as they always had, there even though their bodies were not.

    Once again she cries.

    She had never been good at not crying, and-

    "Chiyo-chan? Are you alright?"

    "Thanks... Everyone..."

    Last edited by Airen; February 19th, 2019 at 05:41 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •