Bringing you new stories for the ages

Latest

Image

May 2018 PPGD Update 1

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics

Advertisements

Tiger & Might – Chapter 6

Tiger & Might – Chapter 6: Divergence

NNNRRRRAAAHH!!” A roar that shook the nearby windows was how Izuku’s day started.

He’d been walking the path he’d taken nearly every day to school when it reached his ears. Something that grabbed his attention and left him taking notice of the full situation far ahead. The direction of the roar was the same as the build-up of traffic and the cacophony honking, cause and effect bundled into one. The roads must’ve been closed further ahead, forcing the cars to be diverted, yet there were piles of people on the sidewalks heading in that direction.

“Excuse me! Sorry! Coming through!” Those words flowed out of Izuku’s mouth like a river as he wove through the swelling crowd. There were few things Izuku could think of that would get this many people to assemble. But the primary reason he suspected was more than enough to draw him in too.

Eyes fixed ahead, he maneuvered around the eel-like tail of one person while reaching into his pocket for his phone. He pulled it out and then squeezed his lean frame past a couple to reach the barrier had been put into place to keep them from going any further. It was there he could see what was happening clearly.

There was someone under the effects of a gigantification quirk smashing the side of overhead train passage, tearing out chunks of concrete and glass and steel in the process of trying to apprehend a smaller figure that flipped agilely out of his reach. The wanton level of destruction left Izuku to assume that he was a villain… well, that and the fact that he recognized the hero facing him.

Dressed in a minimalistic design that was deep shade of blui, reminiscent of shinobi of the past, and a mask, helmet, belt, and near-shoulder length gloves made of wood, Kamui Woods deftly landed on roof of the train station.  His movements were quite polished from what Izuku noticed, someone skilled at navigating the air through the use of his quirk in a manner similar to grappling lines. Izuku had been studying to do the same, so he was a great reference point.

And he’d done all that while keeping the villain’s attention on him. He’d constantly placed himself to where, even if the villain lashed out, it would likely be focused in a direction where the debris wouldn’t be hurdled towards the civilians nearby. However, before the damage escalated further, he needed to finish this up soon.

Before that happened, Izuku began recording to with his phone. “Morning, 7:55 AM. A battle between an unknown villain and hero Kamui Woods is underway. His acrobatic motions without signs of nausea or disorientation are in line with previous video clips. It’s likely he has some level of zero-g training to compensate for his fighting style. Also of note, he has used his Quirk to latch onto surfaces even after they’ve left his field of view, likely indicating that he’s able to perceive his surroundings intuitively even if his position changes—”

“What are you, some kind of hero fanboy?” asked a man standing next to him, cutting off his ramble.

“Ah, sorry,” Izuku told the man. “I’m an aspiring hero, so I’m taking notes.”

“Well then, aspiring hero, what do you think’ll happen next?” he asked as Kamui Woods began to announce the villain’s crimes and then ask him to stand down.

“He’ll used his Lacquered Chains Prison technique to stop his movements and bind him.” Izuku pointed to Kamui Wood’s arm that had begun to swell to the point of rattling as the sylvian bindings began to form. “For people with quirks that enlarge their sizes to that extent, they usually need to maintain their focus since it’s not their natural form and the strength of his wood can easily support several thousand pounds, so he’ll be forced to return to his normal size and then be restrained—”

CANYON CANNON!!” His words died when a large figure came crashing in to deliver a drop kick that caught the unaware villain in the face with an impact hard enough Izuku could feel it. His flew off the train platform, through the wall behind him, and fell down to the other side of the street.

“—or that,” Izuku finished, unable to keep the surprised look off his face at the appearance of new heroine clad in a tight bodysuit that managed to account for her larger size. Then he found himself being crushed by several other men who produced cameras of their own and began snapping photos of the heroine as she introduced herself as Mt. Lady.

He squeezed himself out of the crowd and then he stuck around for a bit longer to see the police arriving and getting restraints onto the villain. Then he noticed the time and realized he would be late if he didn’t hurry. That was unacceptable as things stood. It was his final year in Junior High after all.

So he raced all the way to Aldera to get Homeroom in time, coming to a sliding stop through the doorway and fixing his gaze up at the clock to see that he made it just in time. Good. Breathing a sigh of relief as he took his seat near the back, he then pulled out one his notebooks to add the new entry to it as the teacher spoke.

“…You’re all at the point where you should be thinking about what you want to do with your lives…”

Mt. Lady—Gigantification Quirk. A New Heroine. Quirk strong but useless in narrow spaces if no intermediate stage or forced into confrontation on surface that can’t support her weight. A bit reckless…

He erased that last part over the cheering of his classmates as the teacher brought up how everyone wanted to be a hero when he considered how she had kicked the villain through the side of the train passage and onto the road below that had been kept evacuated. It was true that it was a bit excessive in terms of property damage, especially when Kamui Woods was able to capture him without it. And, if that hit hadn’t been enough to knock him out, two people with Gigantification Quirks fighting could cause some real damage to their surroundings.

But, if she had gone through hero training and had an agency employing her, then she had to know that specific kind of quirk was difficult to use as a hero. She was stronger and larger in that state, but her weight and size increase meant that she absolutely couldn’t operate in closed spaces without damaging the buildings and the people within it. That was way it was among the flashiest when used by a villain in combat.

“…I’m the real deal. These losers will be lucky enough to end up as a side-kick to some busted D-Lister. Heh!”

D-Lister… of course. Bakugo’s words clicked with Izuku, a missing link in a chain he hadn’t considered as his former friend went on about being more popular than All Might. Most likely it was all calculated to ensure that she gained the most amount of attention for her debut. In fact, given her size, the fact that no one heard her footsteps meant she had likely been waiting for an opportunity while Kamui Woods was acting as a distraction.

He had thought that the age of heroes undercutting one another for the sake of getting ahead had died during Mister Kaburagi’s time, given the chaos that followed before the new age settled in. But, when he thought about it, that was exactly what she did. By undercutting Kamui Woods the moment that she was in the right position, she got around the difficulties of her quirk while getting the most benefits for the least amount of work. Not to mention her outfit and mannerisms could grab a lot of attention for the sake of merchandising.

Izuku wasn’t sure how he felt about that as he finished entering that into his journal. He wanted to be a hero like All Might, who brought comfort to people with a smile and saved them. The thought of doing so for money never really crossed his mind, but not everyone had that same mindset and heroes had to make a living as well. Then again, I may just be making assumptions—

“Midoriya.” His head snapped up at hearing his named being called. “You wanted to go to U.A. High School too, right?”

“That’s right,” he said, closing his notebook. He would get back to it after class. “The Hero Track, specifically. I figured there wasn’t any harm in applying for the chance to go and they repealed that rule against needing a quirk, so it’d establish a precedence.”

His admission was met with laughter by most of the class. The exception was Bakugo, who took offense to that instead. He leapt out of his seat to slam his hand on Izuku’s desk.

“You think you can get into the same school as me!” he said, insulted. “You’re even worse than the rest of these losers, you quirkless wannabe! You’d die during the exams like the helpless lamb you are!”

“I don’t think they’d actually let students die during the exams, but I still want to at least say that I tried so that I don’t have any regrets,” Izuku said in turn, meeting his gaze. “There’s no shame in that.”

“Now, now. Settle down,” the teacher said before anything could happen as the two began to leer at one another, neither backing down. “Midoriya, I would suggest applying for the General Education track. It’s more realistic given your circumstances and grades.”

“…I’ll consider it,” Izuku told the teacher as Bakugo gave him a final, dismissive glare before going back to his seat. If only to move things along before they escalated.

The rest of Izuku’s day at school was marred by that morning. The laughter gnawed at him on the inside even as the hours passed to some extent, even if he didn’t show it. No one liked having their dream laughed at, much less because he was born lacking something that they had.

For that reason, he wasn’t exactly eager to stick around when class was over. The only reason he didn’t run out the door was because his phone abruptly began to vibrate, indicating that he had a text. He pulled out his phone and checked to see that it was Mei.

[-I put the finishing touches on my new baby! I need you to try it on, so I’ll be coming over to your house today, Partner!-]

Oh, she’s already managed to finish. He shouldn’t be surprised. Since she was going to try for U.A. High School’s Support Department this year, it was natural that she would put in as much effort as possible. It was only fair that he’d help her with it, so he sent a message back stating he’d be on the way when Bakugo made himself known by plucking for his notebook right out from underneath him. “Give that back, Katsuki!”

“Hero Analysis Journal #13. Looks like you didn’t learn from the last time.” He looked at it, then out the window. Then he placed it between his palms and then let loose his quirk, a localized explosion tearing through it before he flicked over the balcony and into the koi pond with perfect accuracy. “You—”

Izuku didn’t bother listening to whatever he had to say, instead going for the door to get down to it. The longer he waited the more time the water had to soak into the notebook. Unfortunately, by the time he’d gotten there the water had soaked the pages enough that they sloughed in his hand as Izuku made for the school’s gate, where Bakugo stood with the other two he hung around with.

“Are you going to go crying to your Mommy this time too?” he asked, mockingly.

Izuku’s response was to meet his eyes and say, “You’ll never be a Hero with an attitude like this.”

Bakugo’s response was swift. He grabbed Izuku by the collar with one hand, and then brought their faces close enough that he could smell the nitroglycerin. “Say that again. I dare you.”

Izuku looked over Bakugo’s shoulder to the two hang-ons watching with grins. Then he sighed and said in a strained voice, “Let me go, Katsuki.”

“That’s what I thought.” He dropped Izuku like a garbage bag on the curve. “You talk big, but a coward like you freezes up the moment you get in over your head and all that bravado goes with it. Weaklings and cowards like you are the ones who will never be heroes.”

Izuku got to his feet and dusted himself off before turning and walking away. Because, whether he liked it or not, he knew Bakugo well enough to guess how he’d respond to overt resistance. His pride would end up costing not only him, but their mothers more than a notebook’s worth of damage.

“Listen here, you’d better not bother applying to U.A. at all!” Bakugo said as he kept walking away. “I don’t care if it’s the General Track or not. After this year is done, I don’t want to see your face ever again. And you’d better keep your mouth shut about today, or else!”

One of these days he’ll learn the world doesn’t revolve around him, Izuku thought to himself as he walked while looking down at the ruined notebook. More proof that the Kacchan he knew was long gone.

Bakugo was blessed with a Quirk that was great for offense and was enamored with All Might’s power and prowess, so he failed to see being a hero was more than that. Heroes had to be role models and save the weak. Not use them as the foundation for the pedestal he stood on.

Not that Izuku wasn’t to blame as well. If he’d said something earlier, then maybe things wouldn’t have gotten that far, and their parents wouldn’t have gotten involved. Maybe they both would have been able to salvage what friendship they’d had before, but…

No. Last year made it clear that wasn’t going to happen. Bakugo’s dream came first and anyone who opposed that was an enemy or an irritant. He’d just gone from the latter to the former since then and only the threat of losing his chances at U.A. High School stopped him from going further when Izuku didn’t directly challenge him.

Sluurrrpp…gloop…glupp…

Lost in thought, Izuku only came out of it when he heard a slippery, goopy sound coming from behind him and a rancid scent reached his nose. He turned to find there was now a wall of slime behind him, a stemming from the openings in a manhole cover. Then he met the eyes of the one who it belonged to, staring down at him.

What luck,” it said, despite lacking a mouth. Sapient. A mutant-type quirk. “You’ll make a perfect skinsuit for me to hide in, kid!

That last line Izuku’s mind caught and registered the underlying threat, but his body wouldn’t move. Fear had nailed down his feet to the asphalt as he tried to reason out why and how a villain was attacking him here and now, of all times. Unfortunately, fight or flight only kicked in when it lunged for him, and he made the biggest mistake he could by turning his back on the villain.

All at once he was buried in the sludge that was viscous enough that he couldn’t escape. He could only hold his breath as the villain then tried to force itself into his mouth and nose. Thee rancid and sewer-tainted mass squirmed to get inside of the orifices and smother him from the inside out.

I have to get out of here! Izuku wriggled to try and get himself free, grasping with his free hand to try and pull it off. But, being a mutant-type quirk able to control the viscosity of itself, Izuku’s fingers couldn’t pull it away from sticking to him and he couldn’t get leverage while he was hoisted off the ground. If I could reach my backpack, then maybe…

Don’t make this harder than it needs to be,” the mass of sludge vibrated to imitate speech as the force bearing down on him grew tighter. It was compacted tighter, crushing the middle-schooler in its grasp to try. “Open wide and it’ll be over!

Somebody… help… were Izuku’s final thoughts as the villain went on about someone being here before his mouth opened involuntarily when the squeeze became too much. The goop plunged its way into his throat while he flailed about, worming itself down his esophagus. “Khgnngghhh!?

There we go.” The sludge tainted his mouth with a nauseating, torrid goop that made its way into his lungs. “It’ll be a bit of a tight squeeze, but—

DONG!!

The mass of sludge froze in place as the sound of metal hitting the ceiling of the underpass rang out. Even the sludge that had been squirming its way down his narrow windpipe stalled as a presence made itself known with familiar words that reverberated even as Izuku’s consciousness flittered on the edge of darkness. “Have no fear. You are safe, now that I am here!”

H-Hey!” the slimy mass vibrated. “I’ve got a hostage, so—

TEXAS SMASH!!

There was a great force of pressure and wind that followed. Ripping away the mass that kept him bound its in disgusting and torrid embrace. His tear-stained eyes strained against the great force to see the silhouette of a figure he recognized. Ah… is that…All Might…

Though his body was weak, and his consciousness was fleeting, the thought of the hero of his childhood being right in front of him was enough to move it involuntarily. His hand reached out as thought to grab that of his hero. Like he’d done for those people and with a smile on his face, All Might had had come to save him…

You talk big, but a coward like you freezes up the moment you get in over your head and all that bravado goes with it. Weaklings and cowards like you are the ones who will never be heroes.

Yet, he could only feel a sense of shame when his thoughts trailed to that. He’d been training to be a hero for almost two years now. And yet, he froze up in the end. How could he save others when he couldn’t even save himself?

He felt the hot streak of tears running down the side of his face as he then he lost consciousness…

 [-TM-]

Inko Midoriya had tears in her eyes as she hugged her son, sitting in a hospital bed. When Izuku woke up again, he was already in the hospital. There was mask was fixed over his face, an intravenous drop to his arm, and a heart monitor measuring his vitals.

They were all done out of precaution, according to what the doctor told her when she arrived. Apparently, the police had an ambulance bring him there after he was dropped off by All Might when he delivered the villain to the police. Given the nature of the villain’s quirk and the fact that he’d traveled through a sewer, they were taking precautions. So, on top of the medicine, they were set to do a bronchoalveolar lavage later on to detect any life-threatening bacteria that needed to be treated.

Izuku just stared at the ceiling while deep in thought, listening to his mother talk with monitor’s beeping as background noise. He felt tired, but he didn’t dare close his eyes since if he did he would recall the pressing, vicious hold and how he struggled to no avail. Waking up to his mother hugging him had nearly left him on the verge of tearing out the intravenous drip until he recognized her voice, so he was afraid to let that happen again.

A little while ago, a police detective named Tsukauchi came by and told them that the Sludge Villain who had attempted to… to kill him, in order to use his body, would be processed to the fullest extent of the law. He didn’t say it outright while his mother was there and already looking like she was on the verge of having a panic attack, but Izuku knew there had to have been others who that had happened to. There were some things you could only do if you had experience with, and the villain was too methodical and deliberate in his actions, immediately trying to smother him and confident he could use his body to escape.

Some mutant-type quirks provided malformations that made them difficult to deal with. By virtue of the composition of the villain’s body, there was no way Izuku would have be able to escape him under his own power. If he had his grappling watch on, then he could have pulled himself free, but it was in his backpack at the time and so there was nothing he could’ve done.

He could accept that he’d been caught off-guard and thus rendered helpless. But what he couldn’t accept was that he froze up right before the attack. That Bakugo had been right. That he froze up in fear and it left him helpless, unable to do anything, until All Might had arrived.

If the positions had been reversed, if he’d frozen up like that when he was the one who was supposed to be the hero, then someone would have died.  That thought hurt more than anything else. Despite everything he’d been working towards, despite all the knowledge he’d gained, despite all the effort and time others had given him, he froze up and made everything they’d done meaningless in the end.

A shuddering breath left his mouth and he felt tears prickling the corners of his eyes when there was a light knock on the door. “Pardon me, but is this Izuku Midoriya’s room?

“It is.” Inko stated.

Ah, good…” The door opened to reveal a rather thin man with sunken eyes, blond hair, and angular features on his face. He wore a shirt that seemed to hang off his frame loosely and was carrying an arrangement of flowers. “These are for the young Midoriya.”

Inko accepted them on Izuku’s behalf since he was still in bed. “Thank you very much. But who sent them?”

“They’re part of our condolences and reparations for this incident.” He reached into his pocket and then pulled free a business card that he extended to her with both hands. “My name is Toshinori Yagi. I’m part of The Might’s Productions Second Secretarial Office in the Roppongi district of the Minato Ward, which handles All Might’s personal affairs.”

“Really?” She looked at the card incredulously, unable to fathom a hero like All Might would be involved.

Toshinori nodded. “Yes. Given the nature of the incident, he felt that he should extend his apology for the circumstances in which the young man here was targeted. To that end, we will cover any expenses related to the hospitalization and provide whatever is needed to ensure that he recovers.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful,” Inko said. “Izuku’s been a big fan of All Might since he was a little boy. He’s watched the video of his first appearance so many times he has it memorized, and he even decided to attend U.A. in hopes of being a hero like him. I’m sure knowing that he cares even now will help Izuku get right back on his feet.”

The man smiled slightly. “Well, he can’t be here personally due to other affairs right now. However, it might be possible to arrange a visit before his hospitalization—”

“…Please don’t,” Izuku said, looking down at his hands. He couldn’t bear the thought of his hero seeing him in this state, after failing to even keep to up with the dream he’d sought to fulfill. “I don’t have the right to face All Might right now. Or claim to try and be a hero after I froze up like that.”

Izuku…” His mother’s lips pulled down into a sad frown before she tried to smile. “It’s okay. You didn’t have any way of knowing that you’d be in trouble. It was just bad luck.”

“But I always told myself I would be able to do something when the time came if I was going to be a hero,” Izuku said, curling his hands into fists. “Yet, I froze up the moment I was in danger. What kind of hero would do that?”

“…In this age of peace, people don’t expect to be attacked because of the security that the heroes provide,” Mister Yagi said, drawing their attention to him. “Every hero strives for that feeling of security, so that people can live without fear in their day-to-day lives. So they condition themselves and gain the mindset required to be able to act in a crisis through practical experience. The fact that you experienced such a thing today is a failure on our part, and for that you have my apology, young man.”

“Ah… that’s…” His mind froze and his eyes widened as a realization washed over him while those words resonated within him. “I see… I see now…

“Izuku…” He looked to his mother, staring at him with those eyes of worry that weighed on his heart. “Are you okay? You got quiet.”

“I’m fine, Mom.” He put on a smile for her and then turned to Mister Yagi. “Thank you, Yagi-san. Those words, they put me at ease and helped me realize something I wouldn’t have before. Thank you.”

“Is that so…” He lightly coughed into his hand. “Ah, forgive me. I should be going, but if you need anything, feel free to call that number.”

“We will,” Inko said. “Thank you very much, Yagi-san.”

As he left, Izuku’s revelation was complete.  Knowledge and training wasn’t enough without the mindset to put it to use. The mindset could only be obtained by practical experience. Practical experience could only be obtained by acting. It was like that time when he first jumped off a building with Mei’s equipment. The fear of death and terror that came with it lessened the moment after he’d taken that first jump.

This had been a lesson. He couldn’t truly understand the depths of helplessness that came from being the victim of a villain, or the abruptness at which one’s life could be so easily interrupted and cruelly shortened. He couldn’t even fathom the thought that he would be attacked before he obtained his Hero License or attended U.A.

He’d been fooling himself and thinking that he was getting closer to his goal, applauding himself when he was still only at the starting line. But it was now all clear on how naïve he’d been because of this cruel lesson that nearly cost him his life. It was the price he had to pay for that hubris, but now he had learned from it.

All of the things he was lacking could be gained through practical experience. But he couldn’t wait until he was going to enter into U.A. High School to get it. After all, villains could attack at any time and if it happened again when someone else was next to him, they would suffer for his weakness of heart and lack of preparation.

[-TM-]

Toshinori Yagi left the mother and son to their business with a frown on his face. He had been too slow to catch that villain, allowing him to escape long enough to find a youngster to use as a hostage. His time had nearly run out in the process, meaning that if he had been a few seconds late that mother would be left to grieve the young life that had been snuffed out.

He had seen eyes like Midoriya’s before. Of people who became victims and were shaken because of it. As the Symbol of Peace that opposed Ouroboros and the one behind the organization, he wore a smile as he fought so that people would feel reassured and safe.

But the fact that the boy felt ashamed of his own weakness and dream of being a hero to where he didn’t want to meet someone he considered his idol weighed on Toshinori’s shoulders heavily. Because if he was in his prime it wouldn’t have happened. He would’ve caught that villain before he managed to get into the sewer to begin with if not for his injuries.

He couldn’t delay what he had come to this city to do any longer.

He had to find his successor.

 

Image

May 2018 Grim Tales Update 1

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics

Fanfic Recommendation 68

My Fanfics :

Calling Card 18


Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:

 


Ashes of the Past 263

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime.  So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving…  Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.


A Thousand Shattered Mirrors  1 (Alternative Link)

A Certain Magical Index Fanfiction

Summary: AU, sequel to In Memoriam. “No more secrets.” The Level Plus incident has ended, but rumors abound of battles between Accelerator, the most powerful esper in Academy City, and a mysterious female opponent wearing military AR glasses. What is the black project known only as RADIO NOISE, and what does it have to do with Mikoto?


Path of the King 43
A FSN Fanfic

Summary: “With swords that aren’t yours, with skills that aren’t yours, for dreams that aren’t yours. Your entire existence is a lie!” – “Then I’ll show you that even fake dreams can become reality.” A different choice, a different path, a different FATE. Shirou/Multi.


Promises of a Wandering Hero 22

A FSN/ Love Hina Fanfic

Summary: He promised to be a Hero capable of saving everyone. But before that he made other promises he can’t remember under a different name. How will Shirou react when he finds his lost past? – Shirou/Multi Mature Contents.

A Young Justice Fanfic

Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.

 

April 2018 PPGD Update 1

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics

April 2018 Grim Tales Update 2

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics

Image

April 2018 Grim Tales Update 1

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics

Calling Card (Psyren x FSN -Nasuverse): Arc 4 – Chapter 18

Chapter 18

“Are you really okay, Nii-san?”

The question coming from Sakura grates on my mind. Part of it stems from not wanting to repeat myself for the third time today. But the other part stems from the fact that walking such a short distance shouldn’t be so difficult.

Ayako brought Sakura to pick me up yesterday after school. She had been told we were hashing out the final details of the Training Camp for the Archery Club when I’d taken a bad fall on the mountain and they were keeping me to see if there was any serious damage done, since I insisted that I didn’t want to go to the hospital. The shoddy lie meant that I couldn’t stay any longer without drawing suspicion, so we went home.

Now it was the day afterwards and, while I can move better than before, walking fast just isn’t happening.

Sakura’s slowing herself down to keep pace with me. Another form of pity that I’m not fond of and she knows it. But it’s like she just can’t help it, so here we were.

“The lingering pain will pass in a few days and I’ll be able to move fine again, so stop worrying,” I tell her.

“But you shouldn’t be putting this kind of stress on yourself just to attend a half-day.”

She’s right. Or she would be under normal circumstances where I wouldn’t have made the effort. But, because the rest of the active Drifters in Fuyuki are attending school today, it makes for the most convenient meeting place for us. And, once school ended, I could head right back home to focus on finding a means of dealing with the more important issues—like finding the Einzberns.

I don’t know what why they played a part in the end of the world, but those were their homunculi. Since they’ve been involved with the Holy Grail War from the beginning, there’s no way the Old Worm didn’t have ample information on them. Once I pinned down a location, I’d send the Veterans to go deal with them.

And once we killed them in this time period, they’d cease to be a problem in the future.  If we were lucky, it would be just the thing to save the world—breaking our contracts and setting us free.

The thought of being done with all of this was enough to make me smile until I noticed Sakura still staring at me.

“Sakura, you should be more worried about yourself. Arranging this Training Camp is the last thing Mitsuzuri and I will do as the leaders of the Archery Club. The rest is on your shoulders like it should have been, so you’ll have to assert yourself. You can do that much by now, right?”

Her expression falters at having the discussion become about her instead of me. But she schools her features and nods resolutely. “Yes. I’ll do my best, so please don’t worry about me.”

The talking tapers off there until we make it to the school minutes later. Out of all of the students walking about, Ayako stands out. She’s waiting against the wall next to the entrance with her eyes closed and her head leaning back. Did she fall asleep on her feet?

You shouldn’t sleep in front of the school.

Her eyes snap open at the wake-up call and she addresses us. “Morning, Sakura. Shinji. Are you both doing well?”

“Nii-san is still having a little trouble moving his body, but other than that we’re both well,” Sakura says, giving her a slight bow in greeting. “Thank you for watching after him until now, Mitsuzuri-senpai.”

“If I’d been a little more careful it wouldn’t have come to that, so it was the least I could do for him.” Her eyes shift to me and a telepathic message follows. ‘I was speaking with Issei about something important. Head to the rooftop and I’ll explain it later with the others.

Got it.’ I turn to Sakura briefly as I walk past them. “I’m not doing anything physical today, so you two’ll have to handle opening up the club.”

“Have a good day, Nii-san.”

Shinji… about Gai…

I stop and look over my shoulder in Ayako’s direction. ‘What about him?

He’s been a lot more reserved after what happened. To save you, he ended up having to kill one of the Soldier Taboo and he took it pretty badly.

From what I heard, he developed a Burst that caused a layer of crystalline material to jut up from the bones in his arms and form a shell around them as he crushed the Homunculus’ skull. It was desperation act. He wanted to accomplish something, and his PSI just filled in the blanks.

He does realize they would have killed us if he didn’t, right?

…It’s easy to say that, but….’ There’s an undercurrent of melancholy as she trails off. ‘Look, I’m just letting you know so that you don’t set him off by accident. We talked to him about it when we got back from the future, and he said he just needs to have some time to come to terms with it.

Fine. I won’t say anything to him.’ I wouldn’t really be able to relate to him on the problem anyways since I had no issue with killing anything that tried to kill me. Better to leave it to the people who can do that. ‘Anything else?

The Trio will be coming back after missing school yesterday, so—

Right. Right. Be nice to them too.’ I start to walk again into the building and climb the stairs until I get to the rooftop entrance. Past the door I find six chairs and desks facing one another, arranged for us to take a seat and converse. Energy bars and canned drinks on top of each of them makes for a poor substitute for breakfast, but it’s better than nothing to start the day.

I take a seat on the left side and lean against the backrest while staring up at the sky, trying to get my thoughts together. We have a reprieve for now, during which we needed to train the Track Trio. But I also need some way of dealing with that body-snatcher before we get called to the future again.

Last time she managed to connect directly to my central nervous system, taking over my body and tampering with my memories without me knowing. I can’t presume that I’d be able to detect her the next time. And I can’t just rely on my PSI to reject the connection like before.

It was pure luck I made it back in time to be healed when the damage was linked to my brain. The brain acts as the anchor-point of the soul. I don’t know how our souls get shunted into the future, but if the brain gets severely damaged then it’s over.

Likewise, I didn’t understand enough about the method she used to develop a countermeasure. If it was a Trance or Mental Interference ability, I could probably find some way to shield myself from it. But only if I could detect it coming.

I raise my hand to the sky and just look at it. I can still feel some of that energy permeating me like in the future. Thrumming beneath my skin mildly compared to when in the future. If this is what they meant by PSI getting stronger over multiple trips, then it’ll be less strenuous to come up with something to help me out for the next time.

No one will make a puppet out of me. Never again.

THUMP!!

The door to the rooftop opens with a loud sound. It causes me to fall out of my seat in surprise, leaving me to hit the rooftop with a painful crash. I suck in a sharp breath before glaring daggers at the one responsible.

Makidera’s face cringes for a moment before she looks away, rubbing the back of her head sheepishly. “Ah, sorry about that.”

Remembering Ayako’s request, I force myself to breath out slowly and vent my agitation harmlessly as I get back to my feet. “Just take a seat.”

She hurries over to the other side, wisely putting distance between us while Saegusa comes out next. Her soft, brown eyes pass on a silent apology as she follows the first one to the other side of the table. Himuro is the last, giving me a slight nod in greeting as she takes her place between the two.

I return to my seat opposite Saegusa and grab the can of coffee on the desk. I need the caffeine to deal with the loud-mouth this early in the morning. Unfortunately, the milky taste ruins the coffee entirely and leaves me even more agitated as the uptight one starts a conversation.

“First, let me offer my gratitude for aiding us in that situation,” she states. “Had you and the others not been there, it’s very likely none of us would have woken up in the hospital. There is likely nothing we can do to repay that debt, but we shall make an effort if it is reasonably possible.”

“I’ll just ask you take this matter seriously so that you can keep surviving from here on. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been any different than if we left you to die there. Aside from that, I trust there weren’t any complications when you woke in the hospital, were there?”

“There were minor tests to try and grasp what happened to us after we all denied having done anything other than attend our club before we fell unconscious. Ultimately, the doctors labeled exhaustion as the likely cause since there were no more physical changes and made rather generic recommendations to prevent it in the future.”

“Those hacks even suggested that we quit,” Makidera loudly complains amid tearing open an energy bar. “Like that’s going to solve anything when it isn’t even the problem.”

“You know you’ll still probably be asked to sit on the sidelines. If not retire, right?”

I thought it was obvious, but it seems she didn’t expect it from the look of surprise that blossomed on her face. “Wait, what?”

“You passed out after a practice in the locker room on the same day that more than a few hundred died from similar cases around the whole of Japan, and people who have recovered from said passing out in the past have either committed suicide or died at a later date, despite not having any sort of commonality between them. The fact that the cause is still unknown has left people scrambling for answers, and since we can’t give them the truth without dying they’re not going to get them.”

“So the school will have to attempt to avoid accountability by minimizing the risk of it happening again.” Himuro nods in agreement. “Yes, I suspect before the day is done our club sponsor will be having words with us. Even if they didn’t, the matter of our survival means that we’d have to cut down or retire from the club in order to properly train our abilities.”

Indignant at having to give up something she’s worked hard for over the last few years, Makidera leaps up and points to me. “But that’s not fair! He and Mitsuzuri get to remain in their club, so why should we get benched when they don’t?”

“Our circumstances are different enough that it doesn’t even apply.” I’d been suffering from sleep deprivation and was manhandled by Ayako’s brother, while she wasn’t even on the school grounds when it happened. “If it’s any consolation, Mitsuzuri and I have basically retired from leading the Archery Club as of today under the excuse that my deteriorating health and her studies have been piling up. So, we’re in the same situation.”

She visibly looks somewhat relieved until Himuro gives her a subtle tap with her elbow that passes along the message that it’s not a good thing. She then clears her throat and tries to play it off. “Y-Yeah, it sucks for all of us.”

I tamper down on my urge call her out on being petulant. Partly because Ayako ask that I play nice today and partly because I had the feeling this was her way of trying to cope. After all, she was the closest of these three to dying and one of her ties to normalcy was taken away from her. Misery loves company.

So I move the conversation away from her and turn my attention to the last of the three. “Were you able to put your family’s worries at ease, Saegusa?”

“Oh… umm… I think so.” She fidgets a bit while gathering her thoughts. “I was actually surprised when I woke up to find my brothers all around me crying. Kouta said he was more upset about dinner and now I owed him a double day on both that and breakfast, but his eyes were the reddest.”

“Well, a child wouldn’t be honest with their feelings. But why were you surprised to find that they’d be worried? You basically take care of them when your parents can’t, so isn’t it natural that they would be happy to see you’re doing well now?”

“I was always worried about them, so I didn’t really take the time to think about how they’d feel if something happened to me. Just that I wouldn’t be able to take care of them if I was gone.” She looks to the desk while wearing a somewhat soft frown. “But… there’s still a chance that’ll happen the next time, isn’t there?”

I don’t sugarcoat my answer. “Until we change the future, or we reduce our count to zero, we’ll have to go when we’re called. The best we can do is make it so that you have the best chance possible of returning so that they don’t have to experience that sort of worry or pain anytime soon. It’s unfair, but there’s nothing we can do about it right now.”

There’s a lull of silence at that. What happened before can happen again, and if they’re not up to the challenge then they’ll die. I won’t try to soften that fact because it’s the reality of the situation.

In an effort to raise the mood that I’d intentionally crushed down, Makidera puffs out her chest and says, “Don’t worry so much, Yukicchi. Just leave all the fighting to me and we’ll clear it in no time. I mean, if even Matou can become so tough after only one trip, then imagine just how much stronger we’ll be too?”

I’m pretty sure those words were just meant to be for Saegusa’s sake rather than insulting me, but that’s three strikes in less than five minutes. If I don’t get back at her somehow now it’d rankle me for the rest of the day. “Then you can take my place fighting the next time we get there.”

A short-lived look of pure shock dawns on her face. “Huh?”

“I’m not suited for the frontlines to begin with, so if someone more qualified steps up then I can focus more on a supporting role and handle the logistics to make sure everything goes smoothly. Mitsuzuri will probably be a bit harsh in her training to get you up to par in short order, but anything short of death can be healed away by the Student President easily enough.”

The way her body stiffens despite her effort to hide her nervousness gives away her façade, but her pride won’t let her back out so easily. “S-sure, leave it to me!”

“Excellent.” The way I see it, either she’ll fulfill the role suitable enough or die trying.

Himuro politely clears her throat before I can savor the moment though and pulls out her calling card out. “Can you show us how many points were deducted now?”

I pull out my own from my pocket and press it to my forehead. “Do like this and that’ll be enough.”

The other two pull their cards out to copy Himuro as she does so. Her eyes slightly broaden before she pulls it away from her head, no doubt experiencing the same sensation I did my first time. Then her brows compress as she bears witness to the corner of the card eroding into black and the number appears.

“Mine’s Forty-nine,” Makidera states with a frown while looking over to the other two. No doubt they had the same count. Then she looks over to me with an expectant glance, wordlessly pressing me for an answer.

“Forty-two. I lost five in this trip and three in my first trip.”

If I had to guess, losing five points was probably because of the nature of the mission. It started out as a Recruitment Mission, or at least it appeared to before it turned into an Extermination Mission. Not to mention we learned of Atlasia, who likely has the key to unraveling what brought that future about.

If anything, I think that we should have lost more points given everything that happened. But, for now, I’ll take what I can get.

Unfortunately, Makidera’s petulant side rears its ugly head again in the wake of the information. “Why did you lose more than us for your first trip?”

“Because Gotou and I had been given the task of escorting Mitsuzuri to the checkpoint after she ended up too exhausted to fight our first trip, whereas you three only barely managed to survive until we found you. It couldn’t be helped given how you and the other survivors didn’t know anything and weren’t capable of fighting back, but that difference between our circumstances still applies.”

She doesn’t look all that pleased at the explanation, but it’s the reality of the situation in the end.

Gai’s here now, so we’re coming up.’

The telepathic message from Ayako rings in my head. Theirs too judging from the reactions it caused. They’re not exactly used to having a voice other than their own in their heads, despite the explanation that I gave them in the future, so they’re a lot less calm about it and it takes them a minute to settle down.

That’s when the door opens and Gai steps out of the entrance first. He takes in the sight of all of us until his eyes meet mine. It makes him pause in place for a moment. Then he takes a breath and steps over towards my side of the table.

Ayako follows behind him, sparing him a sympathetic look before her expression shifts to one more amicable as she meets the gazes of the Track Trio and shuts the door. “Sorry for taking up your morning like this, but it’s important that we meet up when we can now. More so considering the circumstances aren’t better to start your training this afternoon.”

I… don’t like the sound of that. “Did something come up?”

“Issei and his brother will be heading up further north once school ends to discuss things with the Veteran I mentioned having worked Tatsumi’s group in the past. That means we won’t be able to use the temple or have someone who can heal us until they get back, while Neko’s place is on the other side of the city.”

Oh, come on. I could understand the Monk leaving, but the other had more use to us here since he provided us with a place to train, a method of getting there discreetly, and the ability to heal if any of us got injured. “Do both need to go right now?”

“If the circumstances were a bit different, no. But some of the people we saved got in contact with us, and we can’t have a situation like with Tatsumi and the others dying without any of us being aware. So Issei is going to use his power to set up a network and try to keep the peace between his brother and Ryougi-san, since the talk yesterday over the phone didn’t go so well.”

I can only see a handful of the people we saved following up with the training, so I don’t have much hope for a new wave of Drifters to help us out. But, if there’s an issue between the Veterans then that’ll be problematic. They’re the most experienced ones and the most important assets we have to deal with external threats.

“Do you suspect it’ll turn violent?” Himuro asks, inserting herself into the conversation in an effort to mine for more information.

Ayako crosses her arms and closes her eyes in thought for a moment. “Mmm… I don’t think it’ll get that far with Issei there. Supposedly the two have an easier time understanding one another and he has a level head. But if she’s the one there instead, it’ll be troublesome.”

“There are two of them?”

“No, I mean his other half,” she clarifies. “I never witnessed the change myself but from how Neko put it, Kaname Ryougi is two people in a single body and their specialty with PSI changes depending on which personality is in charge. The male personality specializes in Rise and Burst but is incapable of using Trance. The female personality specializes in Trance and Burst but is incapable of using Rise.”

“A split-personality?” Himuro brings her hand to her chin in thought. “From what you’ve told the three of us in the future about PSI, the power uses the brain in order to process and manifest the abilities. If there’s a preexisting mental disorder, I suppose it shouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility that such things could also affect how their power is expressed.”

I don’t discount the possibility either. Some magi do develop dual personalities to help them blend into society better or use magecraft in different ways. But that’s usually a form of self-hypnosis, not an actual disorder.

Ayako continues on regardless. “Whether he had it before he got there or suffered a breakdown afterwards isn’t something I know, but the male personality is the one they interact with the most and he doesn’t really help past teaching basics.”

It sounds to me like he’s apathetic to the situation of others because they’re not his problem, which is understandable under normal circumstances. But, since we need the survivors to pad out our numbers or these trips to the future will keep happening more frequently for our group, that’s going to have to be dealt with. “And what about the other one?”

“Terrifying enough that they feel the need to send two Veterans instead of just one,” she states. “Through a combination of Trance and Burst, she basically makes whatever illusions she projects into the target happen in real life. So, in theory, she can pretty much kill anyone she wants to with a thought.”

I don’t buy it. You can’t just wish someone dead and make it happen. There’s a system to these things, even if we can’t see it. Most likely this Ryougi person lied about her PSI’s true nature in order to conceal its weakness.

Even so, Himuro seems intrigued by the prospect. “Could it be some form of psychosomatic hallucination?”

Makidera holds up her hand to stall her from going further. “Hold on. A psycho-what now?”

“It’s when the brain believes something is happening to the body and that gets reflected. I’ve heard about an experiment where something similar happened with people who were allergic to poison ivy being blindfolded. One arm was rubbed with an ordinary leaf and told it was the poison ivy, while the other arm was rubbed with the actual plant and told it was harmless. Most of them ended up breaking out in rashes on the arm that was rubbed with the harmless leaf instead.”

“Maybe,” Ayako states. “Maybe, but the mechanics of her PSI is secondary to how she uses it. According to the others, when the male personality does the fighting he uses Rise to raise his physical abilities while wielding a sword and then Burst to fire it off as an extension of his swing, hitting their cores for a clean kill. But when they faced the Soldier Taboo, she’d come out and use that her PSI to torture them slowly with a smile on her face, rather than destroying them off right off the bat.”

The information unsettles the others to an extent, but I can think of a pragmatic reason for the torture while they stew on it. Most likely it’s conditional on using Trance to project the hallucination and using the brain’s response to have the Burst make it a reality. That limits it to the Homunculus, since they’re capable of actual thought and human understanding, and the act of building up is a means of strengthening the effect of her PSI until she can kill with a thought.

Or she could just like relishing the act of killing something that looks humans. Or both. They’re not mutually-exclusive.

Either way, Himuro doesn’t accept the information without scrutiny and makes it known. “Are you certain that information isn’t being exaggerated by biases?”

“Well, there might be some, since its clear Neko and the others don’t exactly like how hands-off he is,” Ayako concedes. “But I don’t think they’d lie given the seriousness of the situation, so I’m taking the warning seriously and passing it along.”

“Umm… c-can we change the subject?” Saegusa asks, a slight tremor in her voice. This is clearly not how she saw this morning’s discussion going and now she’s uncomfortable.

“I guess we did get a little off-topic in how it directly affects us,” Ayako admits. “Anyway, since they’re gone we need to address the issue of where we’re going to be teaching you until they get back on Monday evening, so…”

Her eyes turn to me as she trails off. Then she smiles in a way that tells me I won’t like what’s coming next.

“Shinji, you don’t mind if we use your place this afternoon, do you?”

Fanfic Recommendation 67

My Fanfics :

Rabbit of the Moon 11


Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:

Cissnei’s Path 75  (Tv Tropes)

A Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic

Summary:  Cissnei wanted to save Zack that night, only to find that it was too late. Though she couldn’t bring him back to life, she could keep his legacy alive. That was why she refused to abandon Cloud on his journey, despite going against her former friends and colleagues.


Whirlpool Among the Eddies 54

A Naruto Fanfic

Summary: A/U: Leaves spiral in the soft eddy as Naruto meets Karin in the Forest of Death. From that moment on, the two bearing the Clan name carried with them the fate of the Uzumaki and would be forever entwined.


Ashes of the Past 258 – 262

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime.  So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving…  Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.


Murphy’s Law 9

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: She becomes a trainer because it’s better than being homeless, even though she knows nothing about Pokémon. The Meowth fights for her because it’s better than starving, even though it doesn’t have claws. Both of them just want a better life. Even though they’ll be dragged kicking and screaming into something much bigger than they bargained for. (An OC-centric love letter to Hoenn.)


Intrepid: 18-01 Sophia
A Worm Fanfiction
Summary: In the wake of the Locker Incident, Taylor goes comatose. Wracked with guilt, Emma and Madison trigger. Things spiral from there as they quickly go different routes, both seeking redemption in a different way


In Memoriam Epilogue (Complete)

A Certain Magical Index Fanfiction

Summary: AU/Rewrite. In a city where science has made the impossible mundane, a young man meets a very strange girl, who speaks to him of things yet stranger. Meanwhile, four friends stumble into a conspiracy that threatens to overturn everything they thought they knew about their home.

 


Path of the King 42
A FSN Fanfic

Summary: “With swords that aren’t yours, with skills that aren’t yours, for dreams that aren’t yours. Your entire existence is a lie!” – “Then I’ll show you that even fake dreams can become reality.” A different choice, a different path, a different FATE. Shirou/Multi.


Fate Reach Out 35: Fallen

A FSN/ Persona 4 Fanfic

Summary: A chance decision leads to an unlikely discovery. The mention of a rumor leads to an unbelievable mystery. And the connection to a long forgotten family leads to an unforgettable experience. Welcome to Inaba, Yu Narukami… or should I say Shirou Emiya? (Co-Authored by Nameless Flame Wielder up to Ch.21)

A Young Justice Fanfic

Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.

 

Image

March 2018 Grim Tales Update 2

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics