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Archive for September, 2016

Rabbit of the Moon: Chapter 3 [DanMachi/Bloodborne]

Chapter 3: A Hunter Must Hunt

“A shame you chose tonight to begin your first hunt. It looks to be a long one.”

Those were the words of the strangely dressed woman with a beaked mask that called herself Eileen the Crow. They were sitting in front of a hand lantern that she tossed incense into in order to give him a reprieve from the beasts that lurked about. Bell was grateful for that much tonight as he regaled her of how he shamefully stumbled across her.

His tale started simple enough. He told her of how he ended up in the Dream, met the friend of hunters called Gehrman, took his advice to pray to the gravestone, and was taken to what looked to be a medical room of some kind, albeit it disheveled and partially ransacked.

Confusion and the sense of unease that came from being in an unfamiliar place lingered until he heard the tearing of flesh and the wet sound of meat being chew coming from ahead. The sound was sickening, sending a chill up his spine and tightening his grasp on the handle of his cleaver. Yet it drew him towards it out of a morbid sense of curiosity.

That was when he saw his first beast. It was large enough to rival Bell while huddled down, a broad frame wrapped in torn cloth and mangy, untamed and coarse hair. And it was in the midst of feasting on one poor soul, tearing chunks of bloodied meat out of the corpse.

He couldn’t help but back away for a pause in revulsion at the sight that was before him so suddenly, but the floorboards splinted under his weight. He fell backwards with a loud thump and the beast’s head snapped up to lay eyes on him. He got back onto his feet just in time for it to lunge for fresh meat with claws that were longer than his fingers and yellowed fangs dyed the color of blood.

It was sluggish though, looking somewhat ill or sickly. He managed to elude it and swung his weapon around like he had been taught. The fangs of his saw bit into the thin flesh and then tore it asunder, releasing a spray of crimson that painted the aged wood beneath them and caused the beast to step back.

But it was undeterred from trying again. The beast snarled as it circled around and then swiped at what looked to be a table meant to lay a person. When he backed into the room he came from to let the frame of the door catch it, the beast closed the distance and swiped at him with more success this time.

The claws slid down the chest-piece and opened a gash in the cloth beneath it that felt like a hot brand, earning a pained sound. Blood cascaded down his stomach and stained his shirt. The pain forced a reaction and Bell swung his cleaver in a panic before it could do so again.

Back and forth, uncaring of where he cut so long as it did, blood sprayed from the beast. It painted Bell’s front as he cut and cut and cut until the beast let loose a pained shriek. That gave way to a dying breath as it collapsed in front of him and went still.

Panting, Bell stepped away from the corpse and the remaining blood that slowly flowed in streamlets from it. A hazy crimson mist wafted off of the growing puddle and slithered in the air until it sank into his body. The creeping sensation of it slipping through his pores and trickling into a void within him that he never knew existed was terrifying, with a hint of jubilation in the back of his mind.

He shuddered at it before looking around and seeing movement behind the glass of a door at the top of the stairs. The fighting had been noisy enough to draw attention from the doctor there, enough for her to inquire what he was doing. She wouldn’t let him in since it was the night of the hunt, but she was kind of enough to give him a vial of her blood.

Outside of the clinic was little better. Three crazed men with elongated arms forced him to climb a ladder to escape, and even then they gave chase until they were partway up the ladder and suddenly raised their heads, as if sniffing the air. Whatever scent they caught drove them to go back down, but he couldn’t go back that way.

Moving away from the ledge, Bell spotted an uncanny lamp that seemed out of place in the middle of the road. It gave off a strange vibe, similar to that of the Dream, and when he pressed his hand against it a pale flame suddenly sprung to life within it. Already on edge after the crazed men, Bell ended up let out a startled sound of surprise.

It caught the attention of a man resting behind a nearby window that was thick with the pungent scent of burning incense nearby. The sickly man, Gilbert, had never heard of the Dream. But he was kind of enough to tell him that his best chance to learn how to end the scourge of beasts would be to talk to the Healing Church across the great bridge, as they were the ones that led the charge against beasts and handled ministrations of blood.

With nowhere else to go, desperate to find an escape, he made his way towards it and met more of the same. More crazed people that wouldn’t talk and yelled accusations of beasthood as they stood around a pyre with a crucified beast. More feral dogs that were rabid and gave chase as he leapt down an opening in a fence to escape what looked to be a small giant. And more beasts that chased him with a ravenous thirst that made escaping hard.

It was too different from the dungeon. A different sort of madness that couldn’t be found in the heroic tales his grandpa told him of. He couldn’t stand it.

So he ran as far as he could, until somehow he stumbled upon Eileen. The woman had been alarmed when he came rushing out, stumbling as he tried to put as much distance from the others that gave chase a while ago. Her blades were ready to go until he stopped and held up his marginally clean cleaver in defense and just stood there, panting and afraid.

The scent of the moon that apparently wafted freshly off him broke the tension, leading to her asking if he was a Hunter and the subsequent talk.

“Even though you’re scared enough to tremble in your boots, you have no other choice,” she told him with a sigh. “A hunter must hunt, even one so young.”

“But these aren’t monsters or beasts I’m hunting. They’re people.” He could rationalize killing monsters; it was the job of an adventurer after all. But people were a different story.

She shook her head and laid a hand on his shoulder. “No child, those that wander the streets during the night of the hunt are no more than flesh-hungry beasts. The people are like that sickly fellow you mentioned, locked away inside and burning incense to ward them away, waiting for the night to end. And that is the duty of the Hunter connected to the Hunter’s Dream, else the night will go on and the innocent will slowly be devoured until none remain.”

Which meant it was up to him to end it. That meant going up the bridge to the Cathedral Ward to see if they knew anything about ending the scourge of the beasts, cutting through everything trying to kill him. There was no way around it… and that thought depressed him more than anything.

“Take a look here.” Eileen presented an aged parchment that had a drawing written on it in faded ink.  “Do you see something in the back of your mind becoming clearer as you stare at it?”

He nodded. “What is it?”

“That is the Hunter’s Mark, a rune that shows you are dreaming, proof of the contract.” She pressed it into his hand. “By wishing to return to the dream with it in mind, you can be pulled back to it from wherever you are. For one who still dreams, having a reminder of it to look at keeps it clear in the mind. Take it to use when you need to—from one hunter to another.”

“But don’t you need it?”

“I haven’t had any use for it now for quite some time.” She looked up into the distance for a spell. “No more dreams for me now. Better you use it when you need to.”

“Thank you.”

“You needn’t mention it.” She rose to her feet and shook off the bottom of her crow-feather cape. “Well then, I must be off. I have my own hunt to attend to, but you’ll be safe here as long as the incense burns.”

“What about your lantern?”

“I’ve got a spare, so you keep it.” She turned to leave. “And take this old woman’s advice: do what needs to be done to get home and then put it all behind you like a bad dream. But don’t let the blood get to you. It’s all too easy for the hunter to become the hunted.”

His hand rose as if to bade her to stop, but fell. Even if he wanted to avoid being alone in this place, he didn’t have the right to ask her when she had something to be done. Left behind with only the flame and lingering scent of the burning incense, Bell simply gathered his thoughts.

This place was a nightmare in itself, ripped out of the pages from a horror story. It was riddled with corpses and madness and coffins strewn about, a far cry from Orario and the life he’d live before it as a country boy. It only served to make him more determined to get back to Orario.

But that likely meant killing people that were slowly turning to beasts. While Bell had reconciled that he couldn’t be like the heroes in the tales his Grandfather told him some time ago, he never imagined that he would have to do that. Yet, to get back home, he had to find a way to end the scourge of the beasts and that meant getting past them.

He didn’t want to hurt anyone, but if he didn’t go back then what would happen? Would someone find his corpse? What about his goddess and Miss Eina? How would they react to his death?

When he thought about them, he didn’t really have a choice in the end. He had to get back to where he belonged. He had to do what he had to get through it as quickly as possible, so he could pass it all off one day as a bad dream. He had to be a hunter.

And a hunter had to hunt.


Rabbit of the Moon: Chapter 2 [DanMachi/Bloodborne]

Chapter 2: Hunter’s Dream

Bell felt heavy as he slowly regained awareness. He was resting on the cold ground, lying in a bed of flowers that were silver and luminous, like moonlight sprouting from the earth. As he regained strength in his frail body, he lifted himself up slowly to take in the world that surrounded him—an isolated speck of land made of hillside and flowers, stones and graves worn by time, with the sole building being the one perched at the top of the slope ahead of him.

Confusion floated within Bell’s mind as he struggled to recall how he had gotten there. Then the vivid memory of the Minotaur striking him down flashed into his mind. He staggered backwards a few steps, grasping where the fist had stricken to find that the pain was gone and his head was whole.

I… died,” he said in a soft whisper. Looking around at the tranquil surroundings that couldn’t be the Dungeon, a cold weight fell from his chest to his stomach. If he had died, was this was the afterlife that awaited him? He fell to his knees and started to silently sob amidst the flowers.

Miss Eina told him ‘Adventurers shouldn’t go on adventures’ so many times, by which she meant he shouldn’t go further than his level and without preparation. And then there was his goddess. Hestia had taken him into her Familia when others had refused and bestowed upon him her blessing, while he had vowed to support her. He took light of Miss Eina’s words and put his fantasies of meeting cute girls over supporting his goddess.

This was the end result of those less than pure thoughts, in a place where many died every day. Yet he could only regret it now, when it was too late.

“I’m sorry, Goddess. I’m sorry, Miss Eina.” Tears welled up in the corners of his eyes and dripped down his cheeks. “I’m so sorry!”

He sat there weeping for who knows how long, until the squeaking of metal wheels being pushed forward reached his ears. He lifted his head upwards towards it. There was an old man there that had seen many nights, looking down at him.

“Ah… the new Hunter, are you?” the older man said. “A bit young, I suppose, but welcome to the Hunter’s Dream. It will be your home, for now.”

“The Hunter’s Dream?” He wiped the tears from his face with his sleeve. “Then this isn’t Heaven?”

“I doubt such a dream could be called such.” He gestured for Bell to rise. “I am Gehrman, friend to you hunters. And you are?”

“Bell… Bell Cranel.”

“Well then, Bell. Do you remember how you arrived here?”

“I died… fighting a monster.” The boy could only imagine how his goddess would take his death once she felt the connection to his Falna vanish. “I died before I managed to do anything I set out to do and left someone behind. Now I can’t even apologize to her, or thank her for all she did for me.”

“…Do not give up hope so easily, young hunter.” Gehrman said with some hesitation. “There must a purpose that brought you here, a purpose that drove you to sign a contract. Many hunters have come and gone through this dreadful dream in exchange for something to be gained. Perhaps you too will gain what you seek by fulfilling your end.”

A fleeting hope welled up in his chest at that. If this wasn’t Heaven then maybe this was his second chance? He didn’t remember signing any contract, but if there was a chance to go back he’d take it. “How do I do that?”

“You must halt the scourge of beasts and end the night of the hunt, if you wish to leave this dream,” he said, turning the wheelchair around. “Come now. The night may be long, but there is much for you to learn.”

Bell followed the elderly man to the workshop at the top of the slope, past the doll that laid still. It was there that he was made to choose a longer weapon and a tool called a firearm, as the dagger he had at present was unsuitable for the prey that he was to hunt. The old hunter revealed how to unfurl the Saw Cleaver with a flick of the wrist, fire the pistol for a speedy response, and dye bullets with a Hunter’s blood to harm beasts.

Then he told him the value of blood, of how it could heal and strengthen both body and steel, and mentioned that while the blood that flowed through Bell’s veins was weak at the moment, it would become more potent a weapon in time. Then he sent him off to pray at the headstone and find some beasts to kill.

Bell didn’t think anything special of being told to go kill some beasts. In the last two weeks he’d been in the dungeon, facing off against monsters like Goblins and Kobolds. If beasts were just monsters, he didn’t think he’d have any trouble with learning how to deal with them.

He would learn that the Hunt was quite different than the Dungeon.


Rabbit of the Moon: Chapter 1 [DanMachi/Bloodborne]

Chapter 1: An Answered Prayer

Someone help!” Bell Cranel screamed as he stared death in the face. He had run as far as his legs could take him and resorted to crawling backwards, constantly moving out of desperation to escape, until his back was literally against the wall. “Help!”

His screams only served to further spur the monster chasing him. Towering over his small frame like an imposing giant, the mass of muscle and the head of a bull that was known as the Minotaur advanced slowly. What it was doing on the upper floors Bell had no idea, but it had given chase to Bell the moment it saw him and he had been running ever since.

H-Help…” Bell said in a whimpering voice as he cowered. It was all he could do now that he was backed into a corner and unable to escape.

The bull-headed humanoid’s red eyes glowed with rage. It frothed at the mouth after having chased him for so long. Stomping forward, it let loose a bestial roar loud enough to make Bell’s bones rattle until the shadow of death it cast washed over him.

Anyone…” he called again futilely. There would be no help. The savior that would spare him from death’s cold embrace was a minute away. The dungeon itself hindered her advance in an attempt to claim the life of a young adventurer this day and would not be denied.

I...” Time slowed in front of Bell as the chambered fist of the monster began to rocket forward. “I don’t want to die.

There was a flash of pain for a moment as the mighty fist of the Minotaur met his arms, raised in a desperate attempt to defend himself. Frail human bones snapped like hardy twigs. Flesh tore like paper. Last was a flash of pain as the blow connected to his head and his awareness ended…

I don’t want to die.

The next thing he knew, he was floating. His consciousness was in a daze and his body felt like it was being cradled by a gentle pressure. It was as though he was within the murky depths of the deep sea.

Someone, help me.

There was a distant light that seemed to start filtering in from above. Was it the Heavens? Was this it? Would he leave behind the goddess that took him in, the lone goddess that cared for him since he arrived? Would he disappear without accomplishing anything?

Not yet. I’m not ready to go yet.

He didn’t want that. But no matter how hard he struggled to move, he couldn’t. The strength just wasn’t there. All he could do was float there towards the inevitable end, praying silently for someone to give him a second chance.

Can anyone hear my prayer?

[R-M]

There was no God or Goddess that would overturn the cycle of life and death. It was an irrefutable law of nature that even they couldn’t easily interfere with. However, there was a being that was sympathetic to his plea.

It could not be defined as by the terms of the Heavens or the Earth. But rather it existed outside of them both and dwelled within the Cosmos itself. It reached for the colorless soul, cradling it tenderly against its bosom. Such a frail thing that it was… so fragile that it could likely be shattered with a hard touch. Yet, it held the potential to be tempered into an adequate Hunter that would bring the night of the Hunt to an end.

Thus it proposed a contract: An escape from death for as long as it served the will of this ‘Great One’ and a respite to the waking world for every great feat befitting a ‘Hunter’ chosen by it, until the night of the Hunt is brought to an end.

The colorless soul quivered in acceptance to escape death, yearning to return to life no matter what. So the Great One dyed the colorless soul the hue of paleblood and the contract was established, bringing the Moon-Haired Hunter to the Dream…


Fanfic Recommendation 49

My Fanfics :

Calling Card 7

Calling Card 8

 


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Calling Card (Psyren x FSN -Nasuverse): Arc 2 – Chapter 8

Chapter 8

As sweat rolls down my brow and my brain feels like it’s cooking inside of my skull, I have to admit that I didn’t expect to spend three hours tied up to a chair and gagged by duct tape when I set out this morning to the temple. Then again, since when has anything been as I expected these last few days? At least there’s no one to snap a photo or anything that can be used against me at a later date.

The Copenhagen being closed for the day meant that the four of us had it to ourselves.  The woman who runs the place is in the backroom, doing… something. Gai is next to me, tied up and gagged as well. He and I were turned to face the table that Ayako’s sitting next to, doing some kind of paperwork. A line of empty cans are on the table next to her like one of those festival shooting galleries, and our goal is simply to knock one of them down using Burst.

I get the whole ‘learning works best under pressured circumstances for the first time, so we’re imitating one’ angle that she offered as an excuse when we started, but the gags weren’t necessary. And, since every now and again she glances up and there’s a small smile on her face, I can tell she’s enjoying this on some level. I guess she’s still mad at me over her brother and Gai accidentally setting her off earlier, so this is her idea of a harmless payback.

The muffled grunting coming from next to me signals the start of Gai’s next attempt. He’s been going at it over and over without stopping, eyes narrowed on the can furthest to the right. Ayako takes notice as the air in front of his head wavers and ripples as it tries to take shape.

Then it pops. The backlash hits him as if a physical force, causing his head to rock and his eyes to flutter. It looks like he’s ready to pass out.

“That’s no good.” Ayako gets up and moves over to check and make sure he hasn’t fried his brain. “You’re getting results, but you can’t just keep throwing yourself at it like that over and over. You need to take more than a minute to visualize what you want to happen, build the energy up as much as you can, and then fire it off. Don’t forget to take into account how far you are from the can too.”

A muffled sound of compliance slips from behind his gag as he closes his eyes and tries to temper his breathing through his nose.

Then Ayako turns her attention to me. “In your case, you haven’t really been trying all that much. You have to actually make an effort, Shinji.”

I roll my eyes. It’s not that I haven’t been trying over here. It’s just that the last three times I’ve done so, spaced out over the course of dozens of minutes, it’s making my head feel like an oven. The fact that Gai can fire failure after failure and keep going probably speaks of latent talent on his part in using that particular field of PSI. So, rather than risking my health, I’ve been observing and thinking on what we were doing in between tries.

Despite the others being largely clueless when it comes to underlying mechanism, I don’t think that what we’re doing is outside of the laws of magecraft. Looking at Burst as the ability to cause a change in the world and the backlash that we experience, the world is actively attempting to reject our efforts on some level. If that’s the case, then why are our abilities strengthened in that future according to the others? Is it tied into whatever it was we were supposed to do to change it?

I think on it for several more minutes but come up with no answers. Then I push the thoughts aside to try again.

*****

Two hours pass.

I can’t help but grit my teeth behind the tape as I watch Gai’s mental construct take shape. He’s been staggering how often he tries now—the first renewed attempt being five minutes, the third done in ten, then fifteen for the fifth, and so on. Now at the twenty-minute interval between this time and the last, the result now floats before him.

Sweat rolls down his face as a big ball hovers in front of him. His eyes are fixed on it, furrowed in concentration to patch it up where it’s falling apart. It’s barely solid, evaporating over time as he strains himself to simply hold it together, but it retains its shape overall.

Ayako stands to the side of the table and observes it with appraising eyes. “Now send it forward by picturing it flying towards the table and pushing as much energy as you can into making that image a reality.”

It flies forward with a muffled roar, slowly eroding as it crosses the intervening space. There’s barely anything left by the time the remnants crashes into the line of cans and breaks apart entirely on impact. The dispersion causes him to tilt his head back and flare his nostrils as he takes deep inhales through them.

“There you go.” Ayako smiles somewhat softly as she comes over and undoes his bindings, showering him with honest praise in the process. “I’m impressed. It took me a nearly more than half the day to get it my first time, yet you managed to do it in less than five hours.”

The moment his hands get free, he tears off the tape covering his mouth and sighs. Then he rises to his feet and goes to look at the cans up-close. A grin spreads across his face at the results. “I nailed it!”

“Yeah, you’re officially a Psychicer now. How do you feel?”

“It feels like my head is on fire.” He wipes the sweat from his brow. “I think I want to lay down for a bit.”

“Well, since you’ve gotten down how to form it, I guess I can send you home early.” She looks up at the clock. “But Issei is still busy at the temple for a few more hours and won’t be able to teleport you back. You’ll have to take the bus or walk.”

“I can use the fresh air.”

“Then you’re free to go. Just don’t overdo it or tell anyone, and we’ll meet again at the temple in the morning.”

He agrees, bids us goodbye, and then walks out the door with a grin at accomplishing something that few others could.

Ayako turns to me and crosses her arms. “Your turn now.”

I exhale through my nose tensely. It rubs me the wrong way that he made more progress in a couple of hours. I can’t just let myself be upstaged like this. I close my eyes and focus on the image in my head again…

*****

Pain flashes through my head at another failed attempt. I couldn’t get it to stabilize before the backlash kicked in. The tape around my lips holds back a train of curses as a mental sledgehammer pounds away at my skull and my brain roasts within it.

Why? Why can’t I get this? It doesn’t make sense! I’m doing everything right, so it should work! So why can’t I get it!?

“We’ll call it here for now.” Ayako comes over and starts to untie me. “You’re too stressed out, and at the rate you’re going you’ll end up hurting yourself.”

My hands come free first. I slowly pull the tape from over my mouth, to avoid adding to my pain, and then I rub my temples to make the throbbing in my skull slowly ebb away.

“It doesn’t make sense. I’m doing everything right, so how did I lose to Gotou of all people?”

“Don’t start getting sore because he beat you to it. I told you that he finished even faster than I did, so it’s likely that he has a stronger affinity towards it. You have the capacity for it, if that last time counts for anything. It’s just going to take a lot more work.”

“Even if that’s the case, I can’t fall behind.” I have to get this down. I just have to—if not for the sake of my survival, then for my pride.

“Then we can practice more after you’ve unwound for a bit.” She looks at the clock again. “Let’s go to Verde for an hour or two and then come back. That way we can have Lunch and I can try to beat a record in the Game Center.”

“I left my wallet at home since I thought we’d be at the Temple.”

“Then I’ll pay this time. It’s only fair since it’s my suggestion.”

“…Fine.” It’s better than sitting around here and doing nothing in the end.

We leave out of the Copenhagen and make our way towards the Verde. The Industrial District isn’t all that far from it, maybe a twenty-minute walk at our current pace. The thought of my constant failures nag me the entire way.

I should have gotten it by now. Gai’s an idiot and he managed it. Looking at every single instance of failure and the time it took to recover, even if I don’t have a strong affinity for it, the results aren’t adding up for the amount of effort. What if… what if I never get it?

In a worst case scenario, I might be bad at all of them. The Old Worm always said I’d be a failure and I had him killed for it. But now… now I can’t help but fear he might have been telling the truth…

No. No. I’m just panicking for no reason. I’m not useless. I wouldn’t be involved in this if I was. They wouldn’t be trying to help me if I was. They’d cut me off and leave me to die since I was useless in the end…

Then again, that’s what I would probably do if I didn’t care all that much for them. Thankfully, the others are far more soft-hearted. But that doesn’t ease my growing concerns over the fact that I can’t get it.

Eventually, I just come right out and ask, “Did you send a telepathic message to him and give him some instructions I didn’t get?”

Ayako gives me an offended look. “Shinji, I wouldn’t do that given the circumstances. You just have to accept he has an edge and make up for it with hard work. And don’t antagonize Gotou just because he did better than you either. I know how you get when someone is better than you at something.”

“I’m not the one who snapped at Gotou early and then taped his mouth shut because of that, now am I?” I realize a second later that came out harsher than I meant it to when she gives me a sharp look. “I didn’t mean for that to come out so badly. I just… you get it.”

The look lingers for a moment before she relents and lets out a soft sigh. “Take some time to cool your head off… and I do kinda owe him an apology for blowing up like that. It wasn’t his fault that he pressed the wrong button.”

“So what about that did set you off?” After all, I don’t want to end up making the same mistake. That and it usually takes a lot to push her to that point.

She looks at the crowd around us and then I hear her voice in my head. ‘I don’t like it when someone or something places such a cheap value on the lives of others just to do something that benefits them. Much less something as abstract as saving the future when it won’t come out and just tell us how we’re supposed to do that. It just takes us and uses us without concern for what we’re doing at the time.

Ah, right. Should have guessed that much from what they told us earlier and that look she gave it. A part of me wonders if she would have forgiven me for what I had Rider do at both the school and to her after all of this. Probably not.

Ayako has a slight frown on her face now as we enter the mall. I suppose I’ve ruined the mood she was in by bringing that up. I should say something, but we’re in a crowded mall and she’d probably be mad if I said something aloud that leads to more people being dragged in.

I lean close to whisper in her ear instead—

“Stop right there!”

—only to pull back at the loud and annoying voice of the self-proclaimed Black Panther that normally stalks the halls of the school. And she isn’t alone. Flanking her left and right is the small and reserved, mousy-looking manager of the track team and the boring, high-jumping ace. When did they get there?

Ayako turns around to find the loud one looking incredulously at the two of us walking so close together. The mousy one looks like she’s walked in on something private and shrinks back in surprise. The third simply looks focused on her inner thoughts. “Makidera, what’s with the yelling?”

She waves her finger between Ayako and I. “You and him! Why? How?”

…I see where this is going and don’t have the patience for this. Let’s see, how did she say Telepathy worked? Visualize their face, wrap thoughts directed to the person, and send it out, right? ‘Mitsuzuri, I think they believe we’re a couple.

She glances back my way, so I guess she heard. “Is it really that strange for the Captain and Vice-Captain of the same club to be seen together discussing club matters?”

“On campus, where you have to be in the same place. But outside, I’d expect you’d try to get away from him as fast as you can. Especially after that blow-up that had you running out of the club crying, and the fight between him and your brother that left him in the infirmary and sent home early.”

Ayako looks at me accusatively. ‘Crying?

I didn’t spread those rumors. In fact, I tried to tamper down on them, but it looks bad when you look at the two next to each other.’ I address trio next. “I don’t know who spread that around, but her brother didn’t put me in the Infirmary. I just hadn’t been sleeping well and his little episode didn’t help.”

“And I didn’t run home crying because of Shinji. I just realized I had something important to do and left him to do it.” She steps forward and crosses her arm as she turns her gaze to Makidera. “In fact, I’m a little offended at the suggestion that he could make me do that.”

“It could happen,” Makidera says, though the bead of sweat on her face and reluctance in her expression tells me she doesn’t buy it herself, but she doesn’t want to back down. The smallest of the group looks… I want to say ashamed. For what, I couldn’t be certain? Did she believe in those rumors too?

Himuro sets a hand on Makidera’s shoulders and switches places with her before things could get worse. “We apologize for any accusations that may have been made. Clearly those rumors have no substance and Makinoji was too eager to jump on them. However, it is rather odd that the pair of you would walk together without any conflict, given what happened and the history of animosity between you two.”

I take that as a cue to take the reins. “I came out here on some business and ran across Mitsuzuri by chance. She heard from my sister what happened and wanted to apologize on his behalf. Then she decided since we were in the same area, we’d discuss matters for the upcoming tournament.”

Ayako picks up the excuse and runs with it. “Right, and I was here looking into a matter for the cultural festival since I’m the committee festival chief and Ryuudou’s busy with matters at his temple. Really, it’s a good thing that we met up by chance since these last two days have been disastrous for the club with both of us acting like that.”

“Then we should be on our way so that we don’t hamper your discussion. Once again, you have our apologies for the misconceptions.” She turns and forcibly leads Makidera to the store containing a bunch of dolls and stuffed animals. Saegusa gives a small bow to Ayako before she follows after them.

After fending off the self-proclaimed Black Panther, her handler, and the mouse that tagged along with them, Ayako and I take the escalator down into the Underground Food Court. Since Ayako is footing the bill and most of the stalls are to my standards, I simply grab something light before we take a table in the corner to eat. I didn’t even get halfway through my meal before Ayako sends a telepathic message.

You know they followed us right? ’ She tilts her head slightly. ‘I’m using Rise to enhance my hearing and focusing on their voices. They’re around the corner, whispering to each other while Makidera is looking.

I turn my head slightly and glance out of the corner of my eye to see that Makidera is by the stairs, peeking over the corner. ‘Then should we actually talk about the club to throw them off so that they get bored and leave.

I guess. Speak loud enough to be heard but not obvious.’ “So I was thinking we could try holding a training camp or something. Ryuudou Temple is a big place suitable for it.”

“If you think you can get the slackers into it. I don’t have that kind of time.” ‘What are they talking about now?

“We could let your sister handle it by herself. She’s ready now.” ‘Well, now they’re floating around the idea that we’re in a secret relationship and they’re looking for any clue they can get to prove it. Himuro seems to be bringing up the point that you’ve been pretty tolerable lately as evidence and believes I’m the one for that.

“If you think so then I’ll ask her when I get home. But you’re still going have to tell Ryuudou yourself. ” I can’t even say that’s wrong entirely. She’s one out of three reasons. ‘Really, don’t they have anything better to do?

“Do you two still not get along?” ‘Leaving them aside, I’m actually surprised you’ve picked up on Telepathy well enough to hold a separate conversation your first time.

“He’s too uptight for me to get along with him. Besides, you’re on the council for the upcoming festival and talk to him anyway, so it’s more convenient.” ‘You already explained how it works, so it’s not that hard.

And yet you struggled with Burst despite me giving you more precise instructions? ’ She holds up a finger and looks in their direction. ‘No, I think you might lean towards having some talent in that direction, but Trance isn’t all that well-developed barring Telepathy. Even then this is really as far as we take it.

 ‘Why’s that? ’ I look as well but can’t see them. I guess they left.

For one, some Taboo can pick it up when it’s broadcasted. For another, while it can pass through solid objects, it is affected by the atmosphere. Enough distance can cause it to get scrambled or dissipate entirely, like a cloud that breaks up over time. So unless your Trance is specifically something that can get around those limitations, like Issei’s Aura Sight, we focus on combat instead.

That seems rather short-sighted. But then again they said it themselves. They don’t know how their powers work on a mechanical-level, so making some kind of modification to get around those limitations would only matter if there was no alternative. They could just work on their Burst and Rise instead and leave things as they were with Trance since they could still operate within those limitations.

After taking a moment to drink from her cup, Ayako speaks again. “Speaking of the training camp, I was talking to Issei about it not too long ago before yesterday. He’s willing to lend us the space, but since now we’ve got to spend some time getting you and Gotou into shape, I’m thinking about letting your sister head it before handing over the reins to the club and leaving the decisions to her, barring exceptional circumstances.”

“She’s still a bit toothless, but your brother will probably keep anyone who gives her trouble in line due to his obvious crush.”

She shrugs. “He’s not exactly subtle, is he?”

“Not in the slightest.”

“Yeah, well… he could do worse for his first crush. Shame he doesn’t have a chance considering that she’s fond of Emiya.”

“And Emiya’s with Tohsaka for some reason,” I add in, a hint of disgust in my voice.

She bites back a small laugh. “Really, for you two not to get along you seem to have the same opinion as Issei. It’s because of that those other rumors are spreading around.”

I blink. “What other rumors?”

She doesn’t answer. She just shakes her head and finishes off her drink before ushering me to hurry along with my own because she wants to hit the Game Center. I make a mental note to check on those rumors at a later date, but the moment I got home I was hitting the library like I planned earlier.

If Trance is closer to Mental Manipulation like I think, I can probably find some method of use that would increase my chances of survival.


Interlude 13A – Sariel

The moment he said he was Zeus, that was when I knew he was a dick.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

Please note that there was a special commissioned mini-interlude posted yesterday that focused on Vanessa and Tristan. If you haven’t read that yet, feel free to click the ‘previous chapter’ button above and take a look. Especially since this chapter focuses on their parents’ backstory. 

March 20th, 1986

The child’s name was Larissa. She was a rather small eleven-year-old girl, whose mess of brown hair never seemed to allow itself to be tamed for long. Not that she often put much effort into attempting to do so. No, Larissa was content to let her hair do whatever it wanted. It left her time to focus on the things she actually cared about, like reading comics and playing baseball with the neighborhood boys.

It was the former hobby she was engaging in then. Seated under a tree at the park, Larissa was intently reading the final issue of DC’s Crisis on…

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Mini-Interlude 8 – Vanessa and Tristan

Leaving aside the fact that I’m not sure where she found a Tsuchinoko, we’ve learned much about Gaia this time.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

Very shortly after Gaia introduced Tristan to the school at their dinner.

Vanessa Moon was a logical person, as far as she could be. She was also a rule-abiding one. Again, as far as she could follow rules while continuing to do such little things as search for her missing family and avoid letting the authorities in charge of this school or her classmates themselves know that she was directly related to one of the so-called ‘Strangers’ that they were all supposedly training to kill.

Good student or not, she was fairly certain that such a revelation would probably result in her losing any chance at a decent report card. Also, death.

But the fact remained that as much as she could be a logical, rule-abiding student, she was. She did what she was told to do, followed every rule that she didn’t absolutely have to break, and…

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A Strange Thanksgiving 13-08

Teleportation magic. Always dropping you off into dangerous wilds…

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

“Flick, Flick, wait! Hold on!” Miranda was on her feet in front of me, stopping me from sprinting out of the room. Her eyes were wide as she held her hands up. “Where do you think you’re going?”

My mind was racing. After hearing that recording and realizing what had happened, it was all I could do not to shove the other girl out of the way to keep going. “They killed Professor Pericles,” I blurted. “Now, the person they meant to kill is right here. I helped bring Wyatt here, to Eden’s Garden.”

Miranda’s head shook back and forth. “Wyatt, that security guy? You’re not making sense. Flick, just slow down for a second. What happened? Are you saying he’s the guy that—he’s that Zedekiah guy?”

“I–” Taking a deep breath, I exhaled before nodding. “I can’t explain all of it. Like, literally can’t. I could try…

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Image

September 2016 Grim Tales Update 2

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/great-old-city/#sthash.aTLNspm7.dpuf


A Strange Thanksgiving 13-07

First day there and she’s already solving a murder mystery.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

Honestly, I’d wanted to see Eden’s Garden for awhile by that point. I’d wanted to know more about the place since I’d first heard that Avalon had been a student there, andfinding out that Miranda still was one had only increased that desire. It wasn’t that I thought they were the perfect solution to all of Crossroads’ problems, considering they let people like Trice and his groupies stick around. Plus, Miranda had made it clear that though they didn’t always kill Strangers on sight, they still weren’t exactly pals with them. They were willing to use Strangers, even work with them in some rare cases. But the non-humans were still always second class citizens at the very best, and more akin to slaves.

Still, I still wanted to know more about the ‘other Heretic school.’ The fact that they were willing to work with Strangers at all

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Mahou Tsukai No Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito (The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting A Star) OVA 1 – Review

Kvasir 369's Anime, Manga, and Game Blog

Mahou Tsukai No Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) is a story about a young woman named Chise Hatori, who has been able to see things no one else could since she was a little girl. She has been plagued by trouble and bad luck, eventually leading up to her being sold on an auction of some kind that caters to the supernatural. She is picked up by Elias Ainsworth, an inhuman magus that seeks to take her on as his apprentice and eventual bride, and whisked away to a new life.

The success of the manga series has led to the creation of a 3-part OVA prequel,  Hoshi Matsu Hito (Those Awaiting A Star), the first part of which I will be reviewing.

Story Premise

The premise of the story, or the foundation which it is built upon, is to tell us how Chise eventually ended up in Elias’…

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A Strange Thanksgiving 13-06

You’d think they’d learn not to monologue by now. I swear.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

Please note that there was a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on Ammon posted yesterday. If you haven’t read that yet and would like to, feel free to click the Previous Chapter button. 

“You know, I’d say that you’re fucking crazy,” I retorted after a few seconds of silence. “But I’m pretty sure all of this,” I gestured around the room a bit wildly, “pretty much made that a forgone conclusion.”

The grayish-green, sharp-edged face of the Fomorian simply smiled at me for a moment before speaking. “Why do you believe that, out of every species in this vast universe, humans are somehow able to form genetic bonds what you call Strangers? A trillion creatures in this unending void, and, for some unexplained reason, only your species is capable of becoming one of these… Heretics. Truly?”

He made a dismissive gesture then before tapping the table in front of…

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Mini-Interlude 7 – Ammon

Kid’s too far gone. End him.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

“Wheee!” The innocent-sounding, exuberant cry of a child filled the hospital hallway as a wheeled office chair spun and slid its way down the corridor. Its rider, mop of unruly blond hair flying wildly, gave another cheer of excitement that morphed to a groan as the chair inevitably slid to a stop.

The corridor was far from empty. Patients, doctors, nurses, and more were lined up along both walls. They stood rigid, and although it was incredibly late, past midnight even, none of them cautioned the boy to be quiet. They could no more reprimand him than they could move away from the positions that he had ordered each of them into. The boy had demanded silence, and so silence was what he received.

Once the chair had come to a complete stop, Ammon hopped off and spun back the way he had come. His eyes roved over…

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Calling Card (Psyren x FSN -Nasuverse): Arc 2 – Chapter 7

Chapter 7

The differences between our cards are made clear when we pull out ours to find that they look the same as always. They were unblemished compared to the Student President’s card. Not to mention that black patch in the corner of his.

“Now press the cards to your forehead.” He does so himself to demonstrate. “Doing so will register how many points you have left now that you’ve awakened your PSI.”

There’s something akin a heartbeat that surges through my head when I do so. I pull it away to see that my card now look similar to his. The only difference is that there’s a large number in the black patch now.

“That number represents the present value of the card. They all start at fifty and have points subtracted on each trip until they hit zero. When it does, you’ll be considered a Veteran Drifter and no longer bound to Nemesis Q’s summoning.”

Looking at the number, I see that my value is forty-seven. A quick peek shows that the same applies to Gai’s card. If that trip’s value was only three points, then does that mean I have to go through this around… sixteen more times!?

Not a chance. “Is there any way to get out of it earlier?”

His answer is frank and to the point. “No, there isn’t. While different types of missions deduct different values, you must go through it since ignoring the call will eventually result in death from what passes as a brain aneurysm. If there’s a way to break Nemesis Q’s contract or a power to do so, we haven’t found one. The best we can do is give you enough training and guidance so that you don’t die so easily.”

“Tch.” I click my tongue in annoyance and rub the back of my neck. If it can’t be helped then there’s no point of whining about it. Not that I’ll stop searching through my own methods. “Now that I think about it, Mitsuzuri’s card didn’t have a number on it when I checked the first time.”

“That’s because you didn’t have access to PSI.” Ayako comes over with the tea and coffee, setting them down in front of us. Then she pulls out her card and we see that her number is fairly lower than ours. “One of the ‘package powers’ we have is some form of Clairvoyance, allowing us to see Nemesis Q and other PSI powers.”

She points towards the bar counter, where an almost ghostly hand is grabbing a couple of energy-bars. It floats them over and drops them in the center of the table for us to grab for ourselves. Ayako smirks slightly as the hand does a little wave over her shoulder before dissipating. “To someone without the ability to see PSI, it looks like they just floated over with a thought, so it’d be basic Telekinesis.”

“Of course, that’s merely one way to do it.” I look over to the Student President to see that his tea is floating in the air, twin streamers winding around each other like a DNA helix. “It really depends on the method in general, with some being more suitable than others for different missions.”

I shelve my thoughts on the showy display to keep the questions coming. “What kind of missions are we expected to take?”

He lowers the tea back into cup, having proven his point. “We usually classify them as one of three types. Recruitment missions are when Nemesis Q drops a bunch of people into that world and then tells them to make it to a checkpoint. Extermination missions when we have to kill a certain Taboo or opposition. Exploration missions are when we simply need to arrive at a certain point by a certain time to witness an event or carry out an objective. The difficulty varies for each of them, and sometimes the missions change with the circumstances—it really depends on Nemesis Q’s whim.”

“And which ones take the most points off?”

He holds up both hands, with one having a single finger raised and the other having three. “It depends on the mission and your participation in it. You both lost three points in a recruitment mission, which is usually two more than you would normally lose for surviving a mission of that nature. If I had to make a guess, it’s because you actually managed to save Mitsuzuri-kun. Her death would cost it the most experienced active Drifter in Fuyuki, making things much more difficult for however Nemesis Q intends to change the future.”

“So that’s all our lives were worth to it, huh?” Frowning as I grab one of the bars and peel back the wrapper, I can’t help but feel that we’re getting a raw deal regardless. It’s ludicrous to expect anyone to survive in that sort of place to begin with, much less when faced with the things that Ayako killed, all for a mere one-to-three points out of fifty.

…Yet, could I really talk? I had attempted to kill everyone in the school just so that Rider could win the Heaven’s Feel. Their lives in exchange for a better ‘chance’ at victory, not a promise or even something as tangible as points. Does that make me worse than whatever Nemesis Q was?

The train of thought is broken when Gai raises his hand like we’re in school. “If it can take away points as it pleases, then what’s stopping it from adding more to them?”

The Monk rubs his chin at that in thought before shrugging. “It hasn’t happened before, but that’s certainly a possibility given that the cards remain unless we die and some of the rules on them now weren’t present when we started. We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it. It’s best to focus on what we can do now.”

They’re all making valid points, so I move on. “So, what else do these things do?”

Ayako answers the question. “They also act as a means by which we can carry items with us into the future. If we have our cards on us when we make the call to the future, our clothes and anything we’re carrying on us will be copied onto our souls when we arrive. It saves on expenses since even if we lose or break anything in the future, we still have them here. But it also means that nothing we take there will be able to be brought back.”

It makes sense if I understand everything right, at least when I compare it to what I read up on how Servant summoning worked. Somehow the card creates a record of everything that the user has in proximity to them and then reproduces it. Since our souls are being materialized or shifted into the future through that same card, it’s likely it ensures that they can interact properly. It’s still hypothetical, but it’s the only way for me to understand it in terms of what I can reference.

The Student President summarizes it all for us. “To reiterate, the cards act as proof of the contract we have with Nemesis Q first and foremost. Through them we know how many trips we have to take, a list of rules that constantly changes, and the only method by which we could bring equipment and clothes to the future. Since the call can come in at any point and time, it’s best to carry it on you unseen at all times.”

His words tack on a weight to the card between my fingers that wasn’t there before when I think further on it. The contract basically robs us of the decision to choose when we were pulled to the future and what we did there in exchange for the powers we may gain in the line of duty, which we have to use to survive. The only benefit I can see in the long run is keeping them if we survive all the way, but even then we’re still bound to the rules of the card and there’s nothing saying that it can’t add points instead of taking them away.

I set it down on the table and start to drink my coffee. The rest take that as a cue to shelve the heavy topics until everyone has food in them and time to process what we’ve learned. The first one to break the silence isn’t the idiot, the monks, or Ayako, but the door as its hinges groan with the arrival of the newcomer.

The woman in the photo enters the store, looking a few years older but unmistakable. In her hands is a box. “Sorry I’m late everyone. I had some business in Miyama.”

“What’s in the box?”

She reaches into it and pulls out… a persimmon? “Fujimura decided to offload a box of them onto me, so now I’ve got to deal with them before they go bad. Anyway, where are you with the new recruits?”

“We’ve covered the uses of the cards and were about to go into basics with Rise, Burst, and Trance PSI for them,” the younger brother explains as she grabs the drink on the counter that Ayako made and then sits down on one of the barstools. He then turns back to Gai and I. “Rise is what we classify PSI that increases the abilities of someone’s body and can be broken down further into three sub-classes itself: Strength, Sense, and Healing.”

He counts off with his fingers as he lists them. “Strength raises the body’s physical capabilities in terms of muscle strength, durability, speed, and so on. Sense raises the five senses to limits that are above what may be humanly possible, such as being able to taste the presence of metal in the air, see great distances, or hear movement well before it comes into view. Healing represents and enhances the body’s natural healing capabilities.”

“So that’s how Mitsuzuri managed to run so fast while in the future.” I make sure the fact that she carried me bridal style goes unspoken. “And how she heard Gotou’s footsteps before he came into view near the end.”

She nods to confirm. “To be honest, I’m pretty balanced when it comes to uses Strength and Sense, but just above average in terms of overall ability. And I can’t use either one when I’m using the full extent of my Burst since using two forms of PSI is difficult. The others are on another level.”

“Of the Veterans, Brother Reikan is the strongest when it comes to being able to take a hit and give one, in addition to having the ability to regenerate damage he takes mid-fight, but his ability with manipulating his five senses is comparatively lower. Hotaruzuka-san is the best at heightening her speed and senses, but lacks the durability that my brother has. In my case, I am closer to Mitsuzuri-kun’s level in terms of being balanced between Strength and Sense, despite having already finishing my run, but specialty is Healing and unlike the others, I can naturally combine it with Burst to heal others.”

From the sound of it, Rise would be Material Transmutation on a personal level. At least when looked at from a magecraft-user’s perspective. By interfering with the natural properties of the body, they enhance or alter them to superhuman levels.

“As for Burst, it is the ability to affect the world outside one’s self. Using your PSI, you change the world around you with a thought. Whether it is simply the ability to move things with your mind, create constructs or energy, or cause any sort of change, as long as they interact with the world on a physical-level it falls under Burst.”

There’s a soft sound and slight glow as the older woman flexes her fingers and energy shrouds them in the form of claws. “Of the different types of PSI, Burst is the one that’s more battle-focused. Unlike pure Rise-users like Rei-chan, we can deal with multiple threats at once including those that put an obstacle between us. My claws are an example and you’ve seen how Mitsu-chan specializes in using hers.”

Burst would probably be classified as Physical Interference then. At least in the broadest of terms, given that it only requires making changes on a physical-level. Specifics of how they functioned would probably lead to multiple subcategories like with Rise.

“Last is Trance. In general, abilities that fall into this class allow interaction with the minds of others, or alters the mind of the user to become capable of things it normally would not be. Telepathy is the most basic form of this, though my ability to perceive auras is another example.”

Meaning it would basically be Mental Interference at its simplest form. Telepathy might fall under a different category under the classifications of magecraft. Again, it would depend on the specifics of how the powers work.

“The talent for each individual varies between them, but all Drifters seem to have the ability to use them upon awakening to an extent. Other, more obscure classifications do exist, such as the ability to control a certain territory, area, domain (Zone) or the ability to combine two or more different classes (Hybrid).”

He takes a sip of his tea and then clears his throat. “That concludes a basic explanation of PSI. Are there any questions?”

The three classes basically boil down to things that affect the body, the mind, and the world at large. It was simple enough to grasp. But he left out the specifics and that makes things too broad for my tastes. “So how does it work exactly?”

He looks at me with a flat look I give Emiya on occasion. When he does something I can’t help but think he’s an idiot for. “What part did you not understand? I don’t think I can simplify it anymore than I already have, but I can attempt to the best of my ability.”

I grit my teeth at the subtle barb. “No, I understand the whole thing perfectly. You’re using an internal source of energy caused by the contract to initial supernatural phenomena. That much I picked up from Mitsuzuri on the way to the temple. It’s not that hard to wrap your head around.”

“Then I fail to see what the problem is.”

“I’m asking is how it works in detail.” I pull back the sleeve of my jacket to show my bare arm, where I had been bitten in the future. “You can heal us, but are you sapping your own body’s ability to heal to have our own regenerate damaged cells or are you replacing them with your own tissue while adapting it so that our body will accept it without rejection?”

“…Is it really that important to know how it works, rather than the fact that it does?” Gai asks, looking back and forth between us. “I mean, considering how badly we got hurt and all.”

I end up giving him the same look that I was getting a moment ago. “Not knowing how something works can cause problems in the long-run. Think about how Mitsuzuri killed that thing in the future that grabbed you.”

She arches a brow at the inquiry. “What was wrong with that?”

“They exploded when you hit them. The amount of energy needed to do that should have produced heat or a shockwave that dispersed on impact, but I didn’t feel a thing from it when you saved me. So it can’t be any type of energy that generates heat, but if it was just raw kinetic force then those shots should have gone through them and kept going.”

“Ah, I think I get it.” It seems like she’s picked up where I’m going easy enough. “If it had been something that caused an explosion or used pure force, I could have hit both of you from proximity.”

“I trust your judgment and aim, all things considered. But imagine if one of us got a similar power and tried to do the same thing. If they worked even slightly different, we could end up killing allies by accident. ”

I turn back to the Student President. “There’s also the fact that you haven’t mentioned how the internal energy source you mentioned is enacting these changes. Is Mitsuzuri converting it into whatever those shots are? Or is she pulling some new substance out of thin-air because of that energy acting as a bridge of some kind to access and shape it?”

His lips purse slightly as he tries to come up with a counter-argument. Then he sighs in defeat. It’s a sweet sound. “We aren’t certain. Usually the abilities we gain are dependent on circumstances. Namely, we usually end up in a circumstance beyond our current ability to handle it and in desperation our minds reach out for power that will offer a solution. The energy taken from the body is then used to realize that power.”

In other words, they can do things but don’t understand how it functions on a mechanical-level or the true nature of the mystery they’re invoking. It’s so unstructured. “If you don’t know how they function then how did you come up with those categories for different powers to fit in so nicely?”

“They were taught to us by Drifters who came before us, who claimed to have learned it from a Psychicer in that future. We aren’t certain how long this has been going on, but Brother Reikan and Miss Hotaruzuka were involved starting six months ago, while I became involved around a month after them, and Mitsuzuri-kun has been involved well after that point to where I was the only one left capable of assisting her. However, the classification system serves well to help us grasp the power we use best.”

Six months ago was the end of the Holy Grail War. Did it have something to do with this? No, it can’t. If they learned from another Drifter then it would have had to have been going on longer than that.

There’s a minor flash of light as Ayako materializes that same crossbow-gauntlet that she had while in the future. “It’s not like we haven’t given it some thought, Shinji. We just don’t have the necessary time or equipment to determine that sort of thing, so we can only learn as we practice and as the situation demands. It’s how I learned how to manifest this when I needed to be able to practice.”

Gai, who had been in the middle of opening up the last energy-bar, stops to stare at it. He must’ve only caught a glimpse of it in the future after she used it to blow up that thing that had jumped him. “You can use that to fire those energy arrows, right?”

“Bolts, not arrows.” She cradles it against her chest for a moment. “It’s a trade-off. I use bolts for precision and speed shots so I don’t end up killing someone caught in the blast radius, like Shinji mentioned. Using arrows causes too much collateral damage, even with my powers weakened here, so I can’t use it in the city.”

“How big of a blast are we talking about if you go all-out?”

“Mm…” She places her hand on her chin in thought. “Let’s see… The last time I checked using my full-power in the future, I was able to level an area roughly the size of that mountain the Ryuudou Temple is on, more or less. I think I was in a different country though, and the mission was simply to destroy one of those towers so I didn’t have to worry about friendly-fire or holding any energy in reserve and got it done as quickly as possible.”

It’s kind of absurd how she basically said something so casually. As someone who has seen things of that nature being done by Servants, I can only scratch my head at it. At least with Servants they had the excuse of magical artifacts from a different age and were decidedly no longer human, if ever.

Then again, they’re not operating under any sort of known foundation from the sound of it. It’s been years since I looked up anything other than magecraft in the library, and even then I stopped reading through the books there after the war ended. If I hadn’t blacked-out, I would have taken the time to properly study yesterday.

The Student President looks up at the clock on the wall before setting the now-empty cup of tea down and rising from his chair. “My apologies, but my brother and I must return to the temple now. We’ll leave your training in Mitsuzuri-kun and Hotaruzuka-san’s capable hands for today. Tomorrow, we will utilize the room in the temple to assist you there in training your Rise abilities.”

Gai crosses his arms and sighs. “I was going ask Himuro if she wanted to see a movie then, but I guess it can’t be helped. This is more important.”

“Practice is a luxury you should take advantage of. It’s better to learn how they work here than out on the field.” The Monk tilts his head towards the Bartender. “For example, she only discovered that she could increase the sharpness of her claws by decreasing the amount after she had gotten swallowed whole and had to cut her way out. If she had known that ahead of time, she could have killed the Taboo before it carried her miles off in its stomach.”

Her eyes crack open slightly to glare at him. “I don’t want to hear that from the guy who picked a fight with that thing that passed for a dragon just because you’ve always wanted to. Don’t think I didn’t see that smile when you lunged for it.”

He doesn’t deny it. In fact, he laughs at that. “Well, how could I pass up the chance in following the footsteps of the monk who had done so before us? That was the purpose of our martial training after all. Besides, you were needed elsewhere.”

She pouts slightly at that before waving the pair off. A square of light erupts from the younger of the brothers’ hand and engulfs them. They disappear just like that. She polishes off the drink that Ayako prepared for her and then speaks.

“He’s right in the end. There’s no telling when you’ll be called back, so we’re going to have to push you a little harder so that you can survive. It’ll eat into a lot of your free time and you might resent us for it, but that’s preferable to being dead. We’ve seen enough people your age die doing this sort of thing, and after Mitsu-chan here came close enough that Nemesis Q decided that she needed to be rescued, it’s best to do what we can.”

“Speaking of which, what exactly is Nemesis Q?” I think back on its mannerisms and the sheer uncanny feeling it gives off. It doesn’t exactly feel human, but more like something pretending to be human.

“Don’t know. What we do know is that only Drifters can see and communicate with it, and it’s immune to our powers—they pass right through it.” She raises a finger in warning. “The one thing to remember is not to put your faith in it or trust it. It is not your friend and won’t hesitate to kill or replace you for whatever reason it comes up with. It may make an exception if you’ve got a useful power like Mitsu-chan, but don’t push your luck with it.”

Ayako’s expression shifts to barely-restrained contempt, reminding me of the face she made on the return trip. “I’m not exactly happy it decided to help me considering it brought these two into the fold. Neither of them asked for this and both of them nearly got taken by the Taboo in the process. It could have teleported me to a checkpoint or anything else…”

Gai doesn’t look all that scornful compared to her. “I’m kind of okay with it since I was looking for it in the first place. Besides, we’re doing something good for the future, right?”

Ayako glares at him and her voice rises. “Even if you’re okay with it, I’m not! You and Shinji arrived there at the very end, so you didn’t see people dying without even knowing what was happening because they were unlucky enough that they caught Nemesis Q’s attention and had their lives cheapened to a few points!”

The idiot flinches back and looks apologetic. He seems to realize he’s said something to nearly set Ayako off and remains silent. As for her, I’m fairly sure that the older woman is talking to her through telepathy to calm her down, given the looks they were exchanging. After the moment of silence passes, the Bartender speaks up.

“From here on out, you’ll see a lot of things you wish you could forget. I’m not sure how Rei-kun and his brother manage to get through the night, but I’ve had to take more than a few nightcaps to get to sleep and Mitsu-chan takes sleeping medication. Realistically, we do what we can to help one another cope, but it’s something that sticks with you and because you can only talk to people already involved, it weighs on you pretty heavily.”

I can relate on a lot of levels. That’s why I know lingering on the subject won’t help and change it. “Then what should we start practicing first while we’ve got the time?”

“Hmm… how about Burst?” She rises to her feet and flexes her fingers to form her claws again. “It’s the most difficult, but it shows tangible effects and both of us are familiar with how it works.”

Ayako looks at her crossbow-gauntlet and then dismisses it. “It’s pretty energy intensive though for people just starting out, so they won’t be able to practice it for long. And I don’t think that we can try anything more than generic telekinesis.”

“That’s probably best.” The Bartender rubs the back of her neck and looks at the clock. “We should have the place to ourselves for the rest of the day. How do you want to do it?”

Ayako looks between the two of us. Her expression brightens as an idea comes to her. “Do we have duct tape and rope?”

… Odd, why did a chill run up my spine at that question?


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September 2016 Sugar Bits Update 2

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/and-as-the-curtain-closes/#sthash.5F1KobKb.dpuf


A Strange Thanksgiving 13-05

You know, that reveal at the end doesn’t really surprise me at this point. I expected some being to proclaim itself the maker of humanity, and for said being to eventually gets its teeth kicked in by said creation.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

My phone was in my hand before Deveron had even finished talking. Of course, that simply led to me glaring down at it. “No bars. Naturally. When in the history of horror has a cell phone ever had service when it really needed to? I’m pretty sure cell signals are actually allergic to monsters and serial killers.”

“You’re not far off,” Deveron remarked. “Well, about the monster thing at least. You know the effect that Alters give off when they’re using their abilities that screws up cameras and stuff like that? Some of that goes for cell phones too. It has something to do with interfering with the waves in the air.”

“Luckily,” I replied while digging in my pocket, “Professor Dare knows my luck by now and planned ahead.” First, I took the little blue shirt button and ran my thumb over it a few times to…

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A Strange Thanksgiving 13-04

From romance woes to Formorians, who really aren’t depicted in a positive light whenever I’ve heard of them.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

Please note, there was a special commissioned mini-interlude focusing on Sean posted yesterday. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to click that Previous Chapter link first.  

“You know, I was iffy on the whole ‘Thanksgiving at a restaurant’ thing,” Columbus announced later that evening as we all emerged from the buffet. “It just sounded wrong. But you know what? Eating like that and coming out of there without any dishes to clean up? Yeah, I think I’m on board now.”

“See? Dad and I know where it’s at.” I nudged my father. “All of the muss, none of the fuss. Or maybe the other way around… Anyway, how many pieces of their pecan pie did you put away this year?”

Dad’s response was a slight groan while his head shook. “Too many. Entirely too many. Why do you let me do that?” he lamented…

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Mini-Interlude 6 – Sean

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

“I guess if you wanna get yourself lost where no one can find you, it’s probably pretty hard to do better than a city in South America with eight million people in it.” Sean Gerardo muttered aloud to himself.

He was standing on the roof of his Uncle Sebastian’s apartment building, overlooking the massive city of Bogotá. Or at least, the tiny part of it he could actually see from there, since the apartment wasn’t that tall. The narrow, cobblestone roads below were busy with the afternoon traffic, and he could hear music coming from the Usaquen Market that was just down the street. Which reminded him that he should probably work his way through the tourists to pick up a few things for Columbus and the girls.

“Did you say something, sobrino?” The voice came from the doorway onto the roof, where Uncle Sebastian himself was just…

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September 2016 Grim Tales Update 1

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A Strange Thanksgiving 13-03

The weight of secrets is growing heavier it seems.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

I had already turned around and was halfway out of the room by the time Shiori hurriedly caught my arm. “F-Flick, wait. Where are you going?” Her eyes were wide as she clutched my arm tightly.

Admittedly more than a bit crazed, I blurted, “Where do you think I’m going? It’s my dad, I have to stop him! I have to tell him about all this, I have to make him stop!” I was already pulling free of her.

“But you can’t,” Shiori put herself in front of me, hands raised while she stammered. “R-remember? Even if you tell him, he won’t remember it and you’ll be back where you started. He’s a Bystander.”

“He’s my dad!” I insisted. “I—I can’t just do nothing! It’s Fosser, he’s investigating Fossor! You know what that psychopath will do? Dad doesn’t even have to be a threat, he doesn’t have to…

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September 2016 PPGD Update 1

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/frozen-without-the-snow/#sthash.ezonpKqn.dpuf


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September 2016 Sugar Bits Update 1

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/when-love-dares-tempers-flare/#sthash.7ZX446WB.dpuf


A Strange Thanksgiving 13-02

Hogwarts teachers should take lessons from Crossroads on student safety… though, so far they’ve had roughly the same amount of trouble when it comes to security breaches.

And that joke was horrible, Shiori.

And I see where Flick gets her investigative nature.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

A Strange Thanksgiving 13-01

Obviously, I still hadn’t quite recovered from that little goodbye with Avalon by the time I made it down to the Pathmaker building (or rather, to the edge of the protective circle that surrounded it). Professor Dare, who had been standing there waiting by herself, immediately questioned me with, “Miss Chambers, you look flushed this morning. Did you happen to stay out in the sun too long?”

Well, that was a good way to make me flush even more. Coughing while shaking my head quickly, I managed a slightly weak, “N-no, Professor. I’m fine. Uh, how are you? Are you doing anything special for Thanksgiving?” Thinking about what little I knew about the woman from history class, I added with a side-eye, “I mean, I don’t know if you’ve got… you know, family you can go visit or anything.”

Smiling faintly at me, Professor Dare replied…

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Fanfic Recommendation 48

My Fanfics :

Calling Card – Interlude 1

Vim & Vigor-  Interlude Cienna

Calling Card 6


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

Cissnei’s Path 50 – 54 (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 29 – 33

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 183 –  191

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.

Poké Wars: The Truculence 10 (Complete)

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Sometimes I wonder why I try so hard to stay alive? In a way I’ve lost so much to get the power to survive, to conquer. And for what? So I can stave it off another day? And yet there’s a part of me that’s dead now. What’s left of me tells me that’s good. That part was weak, and now I’m stronger without it. So do I ever wish Pokemon were normal again? Is it wrong I want to say never

Team 7 Ascension: Line in the Sand 16 – 19

A Naruto Fanfic

Summary: After rescuing Kakashi, Team Seven thought things would be looking up. But life’s never quite that simple, and lines in the sand don’t hold for long when a squall comes along. The world rushing over the precipice of sanity, vigorously at that, doesn’t make it any easier. [Sequel to Blood Wings]

Devil’s Advocate 21

A Naruto Fanfic

Summary: Character study. An accidental meeting brings Zetsu into Naruto’s life as his tutor. With Zetsu trying to sway Naruto to his own philosophy of “the only one you can rely on is yourself”, Naruto discovers that the world isn’t as black and white as his tutor is, that there are at least two sides to every story, and that he has a lot to learn. Hinted NaruIno and NaruTen; grey!Naruto

From Fake Dreams 44 – 45

A FSN Fanfic

Summary: Emiya Kiritsugu was happy living the rest of his short days. He had put his past behind him… until he began to dream of futures that had yet to be. Let it be known that the Magus Killer was not dangerous simply because he was dying and had no plans to fight.

The Trinity – Book 7, Interlude 3  – Chapter 73

A FSN / Harry Potter Fanfic

Summary: A retelling of Harry Potter books with the titular character, alongside two other ones readers didn’t really care about, being replaced by three characters (Shirou EMIYA Archer, now known as Shirou von Einzbern; Takara Aozaki Daughter of Shiki and Ciel Aozaki from Tsukihime, with her name unchanged; Jester, with his name becoming Galen Salvatore) from one of his earlier works. With Neville Longbottom being the one of whom the prophecy speaks after an infant Harry Potter’s death at the hands of Lord Voldemort, they are trying to fix what is left of the world they knew from books and movies, to have a place to live.

Fate Reach Out 31

A FSN / Persona 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)

Welcome Home 8

A Darkest Dungeon Fanfic

Summary: Eldritch horrors and evil men may abound, but in the shadow of the Darkest Dungeon, they are hardly the most dangerous beings to walk this land. Who can anyone trust in this tainted realm?

Essence

A Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Fanfic

Summary: Haruhiro struggles to come to terms with the departure of his friend and party leader, Manato. But nobody should have to face their demons alone, and he is no exception. YumeXHaruhiro. No longer a one-shot, but a compilation of short stories revolving around their antics off-screen, when the cameras aren’t rolling. Find out how their relationship progresses as time passes.

Dauntless 98

A Code Geass Fanfic

Summary: Lelouch had been quite happy with his life. Sure they were living in obscurity, but he and Nunnally were safe. All of that changes however, when his identity is revealed and Lelouch is forced back into the fold of the Imperial family.

The Return 12

A Valvrave Fanfic

Summary: Post Series. The world falls into chaos. A country struggles to form. The Magius seek ways to remain in control. For his part, Tokishima Soichi couldn’t be happier. They really shouldn’t have left the mad scientist alone.

Fairy Dance of Death 40

A SAO Fanfiction

Summary: AU reboot of the entire SAO storyline, beginning from the premise that Kayaba Akihiko was obsessed with magic and Norse Mythology rather than swords and pure melee. As a result, he created the Death Game of Alfheim Online rather than the floating castle of Aincrad—a world in which PvP is not a crime, and the nine player races are in competition to escape.

A Change of Pace: 4.6 – 4.8

A Worm/ Dishonored Fanfiction

Summary: When Taylor went into the locker, she drew the attention of two beings. One offered an absent thought, and a broken tool that wasn’t even meant for her.  The other took a more personal approach.

Intrepid: 12.A Interlude Foil – 13.2

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.

A Cloudy Path 19-2 Interlude – 20.4

A Worm / Supreme Commander Fanfiction

Summary: Frustrated with her school life, Taylor Hebert dons an unfinished costume and goes off into the night to fight crime as a superhero. She stumbles across an infamous crime lord, Lung, talking about killing some kids. Taylor decides she has no choice but to act……and Lung kicks her ass.Not because she’s weak. Far from it. Taylor Hebert is hamstrung by being a moral person with an exceptionally lethal power set, one with horrifying and even potentially global implications.

…Fucking Tinkers: 5.I – Kirito Interlude (Alternative Reading Site)

A Worm x SAO Fanfiction

Summary: After the Golden Dawn, Taylor wakes up in a digital world without any clue as to how she got there after Contessa put two rounds into the back of her head. Initially believing it to be a prison made by a Tinker, she soon learned she was in the world of Aincrad and was now a part of the trapped player base in Sword Art Online. But the Death Game takes a drastic change from canon as the Queen Administrator Shard begins to influence Cardinal, and things quickly escalate beyond its creator’s control.

A Show of Force 2.7  (Alternative Reading Site)

A Worm Fanfiction

Summary: In a world where Eden managed to land safely, Emma Barnes seeks strength to put Taylor in her place as she triggers with Oni Lee’s power. Enter Wyrm.

Legacy. August.M

A Worm Fanfiction

Summary: Sequel to Wake and Cenotaph with Taylor as an independent Rogue/Vigilante.

Hunter: PRT (13)

A Worm/ Bloodborne Fanfiction

Summary: Taylor becomes a Hunter and stalks the streets of Brockton Bay every full moon. Gangsters beware, and let all Fear the Old Blood.

Moon 2.1

A Worm/ Bloodborne Fanfiction

Summary: Arriving in an abandoned workshop, Taylor begins her transition to becoming a hunter in Brockton Bay.

The Bug-Type Queen: 3.4

A Worm / Pokemon Fanfiction

Summary: Taylor Hebert gets sent to the pokemon world by Bakuda’s bombs with her powers intact.  Yes, she does connect with bug-types. You may run now.

With the Ring: A Star Reborn 4 – Demeanor 9   (Tv Tropes Page)

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.

Digimon 02 – The Story We Never Told 66 (Tv Tropes)

A Digimon Fanfic

Summary: Five years after 8 kids saved the Digital World, the gateway opens again… but it is a far darker story than we have been led to believe.

Digimon Trinity 75 – 77

A Digimon Fanfic

Summary: The War is over, or so it is thought. For the Digidestined, life goes on, but with digimon emerging once more into the real world, the world will change once more. Divided they fall, but a new generation of heroes, the Tamers, will rise to unite against the new threat.

Prytaneum 67

A Percy Jackson x DanMachi Fanfic

Summary: At the end of the Second Titanomachy, Percy found Hope to be in short supply. With Kronos unstopped, his friends dead or dying, and the gods falling one by one, it was hard to believe they still had a chance. But when Hestia sacrifices herself to give him ‘Hope’, there’s no reason not to take it, even if it costs him his life. But when he awakens… Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?/Percy Jackson and the Olympians crossover