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 Post subject: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2013-12-31 11:36am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 179
Location: Philippines
Well...I'm sorta back.

So, I haven't updated '6 jobs from hell' in a while. That is because I ran into something. Not writer's block, really. But...I imagined the following:

Why make it fanfiction, and keep persisting with following the canon of the series...when I could make money by rewriting it as an original story, and basing the fictional series on the real shows but not actually following every single canon fact from the series...and then putting that in the disclaimer, and then talking it out with any publisher that I manage to find.

And then I ran into another wall: I haven't written...no I did. It's just I haven't COMPLETED an original fiction.

So...here it is. I'm going to start writing an original fiction story. And I'm gonna write it in a more serial update way, so as to practice and practice more and get more comments about what I'm writing and see where I got something wrong.

And now...on with chapter 1
==========================================================================

Chapter 1

"Thank you for your patronage," the FamilyMart clerk said as I picked up the change. As I was putting it into my wallet, someone tugged my skirt.

"Mama, can we go home now?"

The girl tugging at my skirt was almost five, and was staring at me with an adorable pout on her face, topped by a halo of black hair.

Dear Heavens.

Ao, of all the places where you could have said 'Mama', why here? We’re in the most visible place in a store. A clerk to our front, a line of mothers to the right. A fluorescent lamp above, and very shiny glass cabinet doors behind the clerk.

Then again, maybe it is my fault. I didn't tell her to not call me mother in public because she was always silent around strangers...wait, isn’t this an improvement?

That's good. I just wish you chose another time Ao.

"Yes we can, but you have to help me carry the groceries."

Ao nodded, grabbing the plastic bag containing the spices I picked up earlier. And as I picked up the other one and followed her I felt the familiar stares drilling into my back.

Here we go again.

The reason why people were staring is because even though I’m wearing normal clothes, I'm clearly only seventeen years old. Too young to be called ‘Mama’ as certainly as Ao just did.
Also, Ao looked so much like me. We had the same shoulder length, straight black hair, brown eyes, and heart shaped face. The only difference between us was that Ao got her father’s white skin while I got my mother’s medium brown skin.

Look all you want, judgemental women. I'm just ignoring you – yikes.

I caught my reflection on the convex mirror above the door. My blue t-shirt is rumpled, and some sticky rice had attached themselves to the end of my jeans. I looked sloppy. Unmotherly.

"Ao, stay here for a little bit. I'm just going to fix my clothes."

As I quickly fixed my shirt using the mirror, I saw the clerk shaking her head, while two mothers were whispering to each other and giving scandalized looks in my direction.

Pff. Well, that's irritating. Ok, fix your shirt faster, girl...don't forget the rice...done.

"Let's go Ao."

Upon her nod, I grabbed the grocery bags in my left hand, held her hand with my right, and walked out of the store onto the streets of Matsumoto. And then I noticed it’s already twilight.

Seems we spent too much time there. Note to self. Always check the time on the cellphone.

As we turned right and walked towards home, Ao asked a question.

"Mama, why are those old women looking at us like that?"

Pfft. Old women. Hah! The teller and half of the women in that line were only a few years older than me. That doesn't make them old. Hmm...maybe Ao meant older than me when she said 'old women?' Well, that's still funny.

"Mama?"

"Don't have to worry about those 'old women.' If we just mind our own business so they couldn't do anything more than look."

"But you feel angry when they look at you like that, Mama. That means there is something wrong, right?"

I had to agree. I'm angry whenever I see those kind of stares.

Judgemental women. Just because I got pregnant before I'm fifteen doesn't mean I'm a slut. We're just too stupid at the time. And I have been a mother for four years by now, that shows I'm responsible enough.

Anyways, it's not right to let her see me get angry that easily. It's setting a bad example for Ao...I wonder…

"Ao, what would you do to those 'old women' if they look badly at me again?"

"I would run up to them and tell them to stop picking a fight with you, Mama."

...so sweet. That's so sweet! It's times like this that I'm glad I'm a mother. Unfortunately…

"Don't do that Ao."

Ao blinked. Obviously, she thought I will praise her for filial piety.

"Why Mama?" Ao asked as we sidestepped an old man walking his black haired dog.

"Because that would just create more trouble where there is none. Those 'old women' probably had been taught to be like that to people who didn't conform to society's rules, like me."

I gave her a sad smile, when I saw her looking at me in puzzlement.

"Society? What is that?"

Right. I forgot that Ao is still four. Let's see...how to explain this...how, how, how – Ah! Let's try the style of my Social Studies teacher.

"A society is a group of people with a set of rules that they all follow. Still with me?"

Ao nodded.

"Now, I did something outrageous by society's standards. Because of that, many people...would not be nice to me."

"That's mean. What does outrageous mean, mama? And what did you do?"

"Outrageous is something so bad that people become angry upon learning what that was."

Please forget the question. Please –

"Mama, you didn't answer everything. What did you do that is outrageous?"

Was I like this as a child? If so, I hate you karma. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

"Ao, not now. Maybe when you grow up, ok?"

Ao pouted, and started dragging her heels down.

Oh come on!

I quickly looked around us for anyone who could see this tantrum.

I already had a hard time maintaining some kind of respect when people figure out I'm a teenage mother. If they saw me letting my daughter run roughshod over me, they’ll say I am a bad mother.

After a few moments of looking, I saw that the nearest people around are the drivers of the occasional car, and the old man we passed by earlier.

I whirled around.

"Ao, is this something that you really need to know now?"

"Yes."

I sighed.

Alright. How do I do this...ah! A little truth would do the trick.

"Ao, the answer isn't something you will ever like. Trust me."

"Really?"

I put down my plastic bag and raised my left hand in a pledge.

"I, Ikeda Kurumi, do swear that the reason why other people aren't nice to me is something that would make you sad."

Ao's pout completely faded away into a frown.

"But if that is so, shouldn't you say sorry so those people would stop being not nice to you, and maybe not make me sad?"

...ouch.

"I wish some things happened differently, but no. I'm not going to apologize."

I'm not apologizing for giving birth or for taking care of you. Nope. Never. I'm your mother, and mothers take care of their children.

Ao looked confused.

"So, you aren't sorry for the reason some people are not nice to you?"

I picked up my plastic bag and started walking again. Ao started skipping at my right side.

"...most of the time."

There were times in the past when I regretted becoming pregnant. Like when the ostracism at school became too much for me. Or when I had a very bad fight with my Monster in law...I mean Mother in law.

But I had a piece of advice that got me through all those times, alongside my daughter and my fiance's love. They were Mama's words when I left home. She said "Firmly hold onto yourself, and stay resolute. The path you are walking is a righteous one."

Since I decided that I will be the mother of my child...then I would be her mother, damn it.

We walked home in silence.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Around a minute or two later, we're near our home, Just past a three way junction of two side streets.

"Hello, Mr. Moriya!" Ao waved at the sentinel on the other side of the street. I gave the nice man a smile.

Pvt. Moriya briefly smiled back, and resumed guarding Camp Matsumoto’s gateway. At the same time I tightened my hold on Ao's hand, just in case she tries to bolt across the street.

"Ok Ao. What do we do first before crossing an intersection?"

I want her to learn things like crossing a street or navigating at an early age, so that she can have some advantages over other kids her age...and to rub that in the face of those who say I'm a bad mother.

Ao looked up.

"First we look for the pedestrian lanes."

"And where are they?"

She pointed to the pedestrian lane for the first side street.

We walked over to it, sidestepping a boy in middle school uniform who just crossed the street.

"Now what do we do?"

"First, we look for any incoming cars."

We looked for vehicles on the road.

We’re lucky our home, which was almost right in front of the base's gateway, is located at a side street so it doesn't get much traffic in the first place. And when it's around twilight, there were almost no vehicles.

"Now that we see there are no cars, what do we do?"

"Cross the street!"

We quickly did so.

In a few moments we're already in front of our home.

The rental house was one story high, with white painted concrete walls, and a typical Japanese roof made of ceramic tiles. Inside, it contained a living/dining/kitchen area at the ground floor, a Western style room and a Japanese style room, in addition to a bathroom, a toilet and a washroom that came complete with a washing machine, all on the second floor.

Outside, the house is separated from the street by a low stone fence, a garden that separates the wall from the house, and an empty garage that could accommodate two cars.

As we were about to enter, something soft and wet hit the back of my head. That froze me in the act of turning the doorknob.

I did not just get bird droppings on my head, right?

Right?

...right?

"Mama?"

"Ao, can you look behind me and see if there is something white on my hair?"

While she padded off to my back, I forced myself to –

Stop girl! Don't think about it. Don't think about it. Ok, let's distract ourselves by looking at the door. The door is so clean that it's as white as bird droppings – shit! Now I want to run to the bathroom.

"Mama, I don't see anything white on your hair. But I think there is some jelly on your hair."

Thank Heavens it's not crap – jelly?

I quickly wiped my hair with my left hand. As soon as I brought it to my face, I sniffed at it.

It's Konyaku. How…

I stepped back, leaving the shopping bags at the door, and looked at the sky.

It's not from the kitchen. The kitchen is at the ground floor. Did someone drop konyaku from an airplane? No, that's –

The streetlights around our home suddenly flickered.

Ao grabbed my left arm. She is scared of anything that is horror movie like. Such as flickering lights.

"Mama, what is that?"

"I don't know."

Power fluctuation?

Across the street, I saw Moriya walking out of the guardhouse with a flashlight in hand. Obviously he's preparing for any power outage to come.

The lights flickered again, the headlights of a passing car the only source of light for a second.

"Mama, I'm–"

A loud squeak interrupted her.

Oh dear freaking, fucking, no, no, NO! I HATE MICE!

"Where is the mouse? Do you see it?" I asked her, my eyes looking everywhere around us.

The lights flickered once again, and I finally saw the mouse...no. Worse.

It's a rat.

A furry grey rat literally as big as my foot, with a blue ribbon tied around its neck. It was standing up on its hind legs, looking at us with intelligence that does not belong to an animal.

Look at that face! It's...it's disgusting. Yeesh.

"Look at the cute mouse! Can we keep it, Mama? Can we?"

Ao looked at me pleadingly.

It's my bad luck that Ao loves rodents twice as much as I hate them. I can only blame this on Ichigo. He's the other source of Ao's genes.

"No. You know I hate mice Ao. Why not something else, like a cat? Or a dog?"

"Mama–"

The flickering streetlights interrupted her.

Power seems unsteady today. I should recharge all our cell phones and flashlights right now.

When the lights came on again, I saw the rat looking at us and standing on a faded pink cotton wallet... nylon zipper whose paint has peeled off long ago...Hello Kitty keychain…

Isn't that my wallet?

"Is that your wallet Mama?" Ao herself asked in surprise.

I quickly patted down my left pocket. Nothing. I looked down and pulled the pocket inside out. Still nothing. That means...

...how did it fell out?

Upon hearing something, I looked back at the rat.

It had in its teeth a ten thousand yen note, and its dirty paws, on each side of its mouth, were clutching the note. It looked like it will tear the money apart.

"No! Bad mousey! No biting Mama's money. Put it down, put it down now."

Ao walked nearer to the damn rat, lecturing it like it is a trained animal.

"Ao, stop–"

The rat suddenly tore the note apart.

"The money," I mumbled.

Ever since I moved in with Ichigo and his parents, I had been using the money in my savings account to supplement what the Ota family can spare for me and Ao, which wasn't much. Father in law's income was good for three people, not five.

"Don't you dare break the money card!" Ao suddenly shouted.

This time the rat was holding my JP Bank ATM card in its jaws.

Oh no you don't! I need every single yen for living expenses and future emergencies, not for replacement fees!

I'LL GET YOU!

I took one step forward, and leapt into the air, hands outstretched to catch the fucking rat.

Time slowed down for me, enough to notice a very bone-chilling detail. The rat looked at me with an expression of incredulity.

And then it jumped between my closing hands.

WaitwhydidIju –

OUCH. Bellyflop. Pebbles. Stomach. Shitshitshitowch.

Ok. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Ssswhoo. Ssswhoo.

...ok. Pain gone. Was it worth it?

I took a look at my hands.

YES! I got both wallet and torn paper bill. Now to retrieve the ATM card, and exchange the torn paper bill for a new one at the bank.

“Give the card back!"

I looked at where Ao's yell –

Across the street! Car!

AO!


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2014-04-27 11:37am, edited 4 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2013-12-31 12:40pm
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Youngling
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Joined: 2010-07-20 08:35am
Posts: 84
Location: San Antonio, TX
Sounds good so far, maybe a little too descriptive at first, but not bad at all.



You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2013-12-31 02:01pm
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 179
Location: Philippines
Chapter 2

Before I was able to get back on my feet, Moriya was already there, flagging down the car and letting my daughter pass behind him. Once the car stopped he looked back at me.

“Quick! Get your daughter and ATM card before something else happens!”

I quickly ran across the street at an angle that will put me in front of both the rat and Ao. Half a minute later it’s finally trapped between me and Ao.

The rat looked between me and Ao, who had stopped behind the rat, panting and sweating heavily.

“Nowhere to go now, fucking rat. Give me my ATM card or I will kill you,” I growled at the animal.

Please don’t give the card, rat. I want to kill you for almost killing my daughter.

“Co...come on mousey...Please give Mama...her money card...or she really will kill...you,” Ao pleaded with the animal.

The rat took one last look at both me and Ao. It then ran to my right, towards the chain link fencing of Camp Matsumoto.

“Oh no you don’t!” I yelled.

We tried to stop it before it runs through one of the fence’s weaves and breaks the card.

Contrary to expectations, it didn’t run through. When it reached the bottom of the fence, it went up. In a way that started ringing alarm bells in my mind.

By the time we reached the fence, it was looking down at us, with my card in its jaws.

“Wow. The mouse climbed up the fence just like a pokemon,” Ao marvelled.

I beg to differ. I swear it flew up the fence.

I took a long, wary look at the thing that looked like a rat, moved like a rat but right now didn’t feel like a rat. Especially with the way it’s looking down at us – Dear heavens!

It’s beckoning with its paw!

“Mama, did...did the mouse just tell us to follow it?”

“I don’t think that is a mouse, dear,” I answered, my wariness and fury quickly turning into fear.

I have a slight phobia of mice, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t know anything about the damn things. I actually read a lot about rodents. Know your enemy and all that. So I could confidently state that this thing isn’t a rodent.

Rats may be intelligent but I’m sure I read nothing about them using gestures, such as what the rat was doing right this moment, or that they can express HUMAN emotions with body language, like the irritation evident from the more frantic beckoning gestures it was doing. And I definitely never heard anything about a rat standing on its two hind legs like a human, complete with a paw rested at its waist.

...I guess Ao is partly right. That rat is more a pokemon than a normal animal.

After a few more moments of looking at the pokemon, I made my decision.

“Ao, let’s go home.”

I turned my back on the thing and my ATM card, grabbing Ao’s left hand in the same move.

“Mama? But the money card is still in the pokemon’s hands.“

“It’s not worth getting involved with something out of this world. Besides, it’s just money. I can always get more by getting a job. But a life...once you lose a life, you are never getting it back.”

That reminded me of the earlier near accident. In the distance, I saw Moriya and the driver of the car that almost ran over Ao finish talking and go their separate ways.

“Ao, we’ll have a long serious talk about something called safety when we get home,
understand?”

“But Mama, I didn’t notice that the mouse was crossing the road. I was only chasing it.”

“That isn’t an excuse.”

The car from before started to pass us, when suddenly it stopped. The driver leaned out of his window.

“Next time watch your kid, you idiot!”

He drove off before I was able to respond.

“Hope you have an accident, asshole.”

A sudden clanging of metal against metal distracted me from my ill wishing.

“Mama, look! The mousey is holding something shiny!”

I looked back to see the pokemon holding something that dazzled me for a second.

That reminds me, where did my ATM card go...is that thing holding a Koban? The oval gold coins used during the Edo period? And wow it must be a weightlifter or something. It’s holding something almost as big as itself, in a single frail looking paw while standing on both hind legs.

Then the thing did something even more astounding. It started showing off the dented Koban like a sales agent showing off a product in a shopping mall.

First it rubbed the Koban on its fur, and showed that its fur didn’t change color. Next it scratched the surface of the Koban, and showed that the resulting marks are in the metal itself, not that of paint being peeled off. And then it slowly bit the Koban.

After the pokemon released it from its jaws, it showed us that it made a hole through the coin.

The hole revealed that it’s made of the same metal all throughout, as well as demonstrating it was soft.

Now let’s see...the only thing out of those that I recognized was the biting part. That was about proving that the object was mostly...gold…

...that’s a genuine Koban.

“Mama, I think he is a magical mouse,” Ao excitedly whispered to me.

I paid her comment no attention. All my attention was focused on that Koban.

That sweet, sweet Koban. What could I buy with that? How much would I get for it if I had it deposited at JP Bank?

The pokemon suddenly dropped the Koban from its hand, and immediately materialized two more in both its paws. And then to prove that they are also genuine, it hit them sideways against the fence’s top railing and then showed the dents to me. It dropped them to the sidewalk and then did the same thing two more times.

By that point I got the message, loud and clear.

“Are you paying me to follow you?”

The thing nodded, and made another beckoning gesture.

“Give me my ATM card first, and I’ll follow you.”

It shook its head. It then did the following in sequence; it pointed at the ATM card, at the Koban, made a throwing gesture at me and pointed at me, and then made the beckoning gesture again.

“You will...you will give me my ATM card and the Koban only if I follow you? Is that it?”

The pokemon was about to nod when it suddenly stopped in mid-motion. It pointed at Ao, and then at me and made the gesture one last time.

“Over my dead body. Now, if you’ll excuse us.”

I turned around, gently dragging Ao away from the damned thing.

“But Mama – “

“What did I tell you about strangers?” I looked down at her.

“...don’t trust strangers.”

“And the ‘magical mouse’ is?”

“A stranger.”

“Good. Now let’s go.”

I had barely took a step before my ATM card suddenly bounced off my head and skidded in front of me. From behind, I heard someone with a foreign accent say the following in exasperation.

“Are Bhap Re! What does it take to make you play along?!”

I froze, staring into the distance and feeling goose bumps appear all over my body. I didn’t want to believe that the voice came from the thing.

“Mama! It speaks! It is a magical mouse! It is a magical mouse!”

Ok, it came from the thing. It came from the thing. Stop making me sound silly to myself Ao.

I slowly turned around.

The talking rat was staring at me in frustration. Its paws are crossed, and its tail was agitatedly flickering around behind it.

After a second of me looking, it spoke.

“Alright. I am done doing this subtle, mysterious and clichéd routine. I’m doing this the bluntly honest way.”

The rat spoke as if it had other companions...or it really had other companions in the area.

I had barely even begun to look around when it spoke again.

“Ikeda Kurumi. If you walked away from me right now, there’s an eight out of ten chance that you and your family will die in the next ten months.”

Woah. What!!!

“Are you threatening me, Pikachu?” I growled at the thing. And then I realized what I said.

Oh heavens, I actually said that out loud.

I would cover my face because of embarrassment, if only it would not make things feel worse for me.

“Pikachu? Wha-never mind,” The Pikachu shook its head. “Back to the topic. Do you want yourself and your loved ones to die horribly sometime in the next ten months? That is what would happen if you walk away now and think of me as a figment of your imagination. Maybe you will remember me again when you are about to be eaten. Or when your fiancé is about to be killed. Or after your daughter has an encounter of the unwilling variety with one of the pedophiles in their ranks.”

I quickly covered Ao’s ears with my hands, anger coursing throughout my body.

“How dare you say that in front of my daughter.”

“Oh? But I’m only saying what will definitely happen if you walk away this moment kid.” The rat countered. “A lot, a lot of things hinge on you just following along, in this farce that we have to put up with –”

The talking rat suddenly cocked its ear to the right.

“Tsk. Then misguide them. I only need five more minutes, alright? Five minutes before you let them get on my tracks.”

While the Pikachu talked, Ao wiggled her ears out of my hands. Since there’s no further reason to cover her ears, I let her go. I just hope she doesn’t understand what the Pikachu said concerning her.

The Pikachu listened to the response, and replied again.

“Yes, yes, yes. Just. Give. Me. Five. Minutes.”

The Pikachu then turned back to me.

“Look. Our side,”

Our? Since when did I become related to a magical kingdom?

“really, really needs your help. We need you to be our ‘magical girl’ in Japan.”

It’s weird seeing a rat make air quotes. Weird.

Ao squealed from beside me.

“Mama, Mama, the magical mouse wants you to be a magical girl! You will be just like the Pretty Cures!”

I have mixed feelings about that.

On one hand, I’m a fan of many magical girl shows. It’s a trait that I passed down to Ao by watching them together in the living room.

I was excited by the fights in Pretty Cure and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and charmed by the plot of Kamichu. I giggled at the antics of Chocolat and Vanilla. I loved the songs in Full Moon wo Sagashite. Ao and I got traumatised by Puella Magi Madoka Magica and...that scene with the sunrise. That fucking scene. Vividred Operation had me swearing off it at the very first episode.

If I were a normal, very young, and impressionable girl I would have jumped at the chance to become like my favourite magical girls. The only restraint I would’ve had would be that of pumping the magical mascot for everything that it knows before I accept the magic because...Madoka shows that you should do so.

On the other hand, it’s because I am a fan of those shows that I’m reluctant to enter a job more dangerous than that of a career soldier of the Self Defense forces, or the cleanup crew at Fukushima Daichi. I’m even more reluctant considering that I now have a family of my own to take care of.

“Mama? Don’t you want to be a magical girl?”

“No. I may become like the Pretty Cures, but that also means that I will definitely fight someone, and be hurt in the process. Do you want me to be hurt just like the girls in Puella Magi? Or the Sailor Scouts when they fought Queen Beryl?”

I saw Ao’s excitement evaporate like water droplets on a cooking stove.

“Nooo...Mama doesn’t need to fight someone, does she Mr. Mouse?” Ao turned her head towards the talking rat.

It shook its head.

“Sorry, your mother has to kill some people who really need to be killed. For what’s it worth, we won’t let your mother die.”

“Well that’s comforting,” I scoffed.

“No really. They won’t let you die, even if you are killed.“

Is that a – nah. There’s no way he would know Fate/Stay Night.

“Look,” I tried to reason out with the rat, ignoring the silly words it just said. “I don’t want any part of this. I have a daughter, a fiancé. Parents and parents in law. I’m not putting any of them in danger for the sake of...what?”

“Saving the world from an incoming invasion by a coalition of Dark Kingdoms. Dark Kingdoms with real, professional armies. Just like the JSDF here.”

It pointed behind it, to Camp Matsumoto.

I stared.

“What?”

“That’s something that makes me want to avoid becoming a magical girl even more, rat.”

The Pikachu pleadingly looked up to the heavens. After a few moments, it looked back to me.

“Look. This here is your chance to make a difference in this incoming war. This is your only chance to make sure that when anyone of their people come your way, you won’t have to rely on some other girl who might mess things up and get your family killed in the crossfire. You can fight them off and keep your family safe.”

I see the logic. I really do. But...call me selfish but I’m reluctant to put myself in harm’s way when my family is not in any danger.

“Surely you can find someone else other than me in Japan, right?”

“The Light kingdoms can easily find one. For us however, we’re very limited in our choices. That means we only have you.”

“Only me? In an entire country of millions?”

“No. You’re only one we could give our power to who lives in this area.”

So that means that I am not only having this surreal evening because I’m living in this area, but I’m also replaceable with someone else if I didn’t live here?

“Fantastic. Great. Wonderful. If there ever was an award for the most messed up recruitment speech in the genre of magical girl shows, I nominate this whole bizarre episode. Featured is a magical rat trying to lead an innocent girl to Heaven knows what by stealing her second source of money for her daughter’s needs. And when that didn’t work it switched to threats, bribery and lame excuses to make the girl follow it. I am pretty sure that fans would wonder if the producers are making a parody or just messed up.”

The rat sighed.

“Alright, it’s my fault.”

“It is. You sound just like a very, very bad salesperson,” I said in indignation.

The magical rat took a deep breath. After exhaling, it continued.

“Look. My group, we’re amenable to giving due compensation for this job.”

“As I said earlier, money is something easily replaceable. Life isn’t.”

“It’s not money. It’s something else.”

Something else, the rat says.

Frankly, the only thing stopping me from walking away with my ATM card was the chance that the talking rat is right. That if I didn’t follow along and be a magical girl for this...this group that he belongs to, me and my entire family will die horribly in the next ten months.

“What is this ‘something else’ of yours?”

Last chance rat. If you fail to convince me, I’m walking away.

“You might not want her to hear this,” The rat pointed at Ao, who was silently listening this whole time.

“...Ao, please take my ATM card.”

Ao looked at me with a pout, and then nodded. She then padded off towards where the ATM card lay on the sidewalk.

“Talk.”

“How much did your being a teenage mother, a very young one at that, set you and your family back in terms of Finance? Education? Society?”

Ok. You have my full attention rat.

“Let’s start with Finance. Right now, you and your fiancé don’t have any proper jobs. Therefore you two are reliant on your father in law’s salary from the JSDF, and whatever your father sends your way through your bank account. To me, that doesn’t sound like a good position for a young family to be in, no?”

Ok. I’d be the first to admit that I wished we’re more financially independent.

It’s hard to listen to Father in law softly grumble every time the bills came, and finds out he barely has enough money to pay them because of two additional mouths to feed. Or when he’s reminded that he’s now paying for the school expenses of two people instead of one, and with Ao growing up it would become three very soon. It’s also getting hard on my part, because of embarrassment, to ask Papa for more money via cellphone every time I reach my bank account’s minimum amount from buying things that Ao needed. Like diapers, baby powder, powdered milk for when I’ve run out, and clothes.

Especially the clothes.

As a result of constant grumbling from Father and my embarrassment of constantly asking Papa for more money, Ichigo and I tried to put more money on the table ourselves. We did this by selling Filipino style rice cakes I learned from Mama to hungry classmates and teachers at recess and lunch. Thankfully, we always got sold out at recess time, with quite a tidy profit for our efforts.

“And then we move on to Education. You and Ichigo should be in your second year of high school by now. Instead, you two dropped out for a year.”

“What do you want me to do? Go to school, proudly flaunting my baby bump?”

The mouse opened its mouth to answer, and then just stayed that way. After a few more moments it sighed.

“Sorry, my mistake. What I want to point out is, how much would that event on your school records affect future prospects? Like college –“

“You know there is something called the Open University of Japan, and free online courses, right?”

The rat blinked.

“You’re not going to go to college?”

“Ichigo and I will finish high school. After that he’ll join the JSDF while I’m going to take the OUJ’s online courses.”

“And become an ordinary housewife in the end?”

“And become a self employed housewife with a college degree.”

“Self employed with what? That rice cake side job you have going there?”

“I believe I can make a living out of it. People always crave what is foreign. I just need to find a place for the business.”

With a little bit more start-up money, in ten years I can have a bakery that would be selling well enough to pay for Ao’s school fees and other living expenses. Maybe even enough to open another branch.

“Alright. I see that you two had already planned things out for the future. But how about your daughter?”

“What about her?”

“What happens to her education when people learn that her parents are teenagers?”

“Nothing. We won’t give the PTA or the school a reason to give a damn. And they shouldn’t give us any grief about that. Giving a particular child grief over something that they have no control over is going away from their organizational goals.”

“Alright, bad example. Maybe not the parents or teachers. How about the kids? Imagine. What would they do to your daughter if they learned about you being a teenage mother? What kind of cues would they take from their parents, if their parents were the type to tell them to avoid disreputable people?”

“They would stop at avoiding her, if they know what’s good for them.”

Ichigo and I had decided that if Ao gets bullied, something almost guaranteed to happen sometime, we would both go and ask for a meeting with whoever Ao’s teacher at the time is, dressed in our best clothes and looking as mature as we can be. If the kids continue bullying her, we confront the parents of the bullies themselves as frequently as we need to. And if someone physically hurts her...we’ll see.

We’ll see.

“And how do you Japanese take to being excluded from the group?”

“...not too well.”

I started thinking of the start of own experiences with ostracism from school, which are still continuing to the present day.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Ichigo and I re-entered school again it was at the same school, and our former underclassmen were now classmates. Of course many of them recognized us from the year before so they thought we just repeated the grade, scandalous but not something out of the ordinary. We even made some tentative friends at that point in time.

However, eight days after the start of classes Ichigo and I were late to class because Ao kept us awake until early morning. When I went into my own classroom, it was surprisingly silent. Everyone was staring at something on the blackboard, even the teacher. And when I timidly apologized for being late, everyone shifted their eyes to me.

I didn’t like the looks they were giving me so I took a look at the blackboard, to see what got them looking like that. And there, right in the middle, was a notebook sized photograph of me breastfeeding my daughter in the secluded washroom of a local grocery store while shopping with Mother in law.

That was the most embarrassing moment of my life, and I never figured out who did that to me.

After classes ended, I had to endure a thorough grilling in the principal’s office about that picture. Practically every teacher in the elementary school was present. My former teachers looked at me in disappointment, my present teachers and others who never taught my class looked scandalized, and the principal was on a warpath.

My guess was he is concerned about how his career would be affected by a pregnant elementary school student.

That was a very stressful event for me. I was practically in tears and the only thing that stopped me from crying was a kernel of pride and self-respect inside me. After telling everything except for the identity of Ao’s father, the principal told me to never come to his school, or any school ever again, and just stay home to play ‘Mother’ to my baby.

Up to this day, I’m thankful that he used those particular words. It immediately sparked protests of anti-misogynist outrage from all the female teachers. They distracted the principal long enough for Ichigo to come into the room as my prince in shining armor.

When he opened that door and surprised the teachers, he looked somewhat unsure and tremulous. But upon seeing my teary face, he suddenly looked serious. Furious.

He closed the door, marched across the room while ignoring all questions, and then stood at my side. Then he quietly asked me what just happened. I simply told him that I was questioned. No mention about what the principal just said.

For a few moments, he digested that. Then he gently dragged me out of the chair, and made me stand up, saying “You’re not a guilty criminal, you’re a mother. Act like it.” Then he turned towards the teachers and told them “If you have any more questions for my fiancé, please ask them when I’m with her.”

I tried to deny it to the teachers, doing my best to protect him by directing all the attention towards me. I barely finished one sentence before he shut me up by taking hold of my right hand and squeezing it painfully tight. And then he asked me if I’m serious when I said “This is the first day of the rest of our lives,” the night when I moved in with the Ota family. He said “If you’re serious with those words, then let me to take the heat alongside you. After all, we’re stuck together until death.”

His words touched me. Made me love him more than ever. In the end, I could only say yes.

From that point on the interrogation became better for me. The principal was very quiet and the male teachers were looking at Ichigo with a mix of disapproval and respect. Only some female teachers were asking questions, while the others were glaring at Ichigo.

When the interrogation finally ended, someway, somehow, we managed to get the teachers to help me weather any following scandal by insisting that the picture is photoshopped, and to not make any attempt to expel me from school. After that, we said farewell and walked away.

Unfortunately, the teachers can’t convince the students. Or their parents. Ichigo and I spent the rest of that year being ostracized by our fellow classmates, and some parents even gave us nasty looks whenever they saw us. One mother even told me face to face to never come near her daughter.

I guess that one thought I would be a bad influence on her daughter.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Speaking of that day…

I walked into that office trembling at the thought of what society will do to me. I walked out of there stronger from the experience, and more combative against anyone who tried to put me down for my pregnancy, thanks to my fiancé. If he wasn’t there...I really might have dropped out of elementary school to take care of my daughter.

Then again, my parents and parents in law wouldn’t allow that for various personal reasons. Why, they might even get sued if they let me stop going to school before the age of fifteen, thanks to the education law.

“Hey, are you done reminiscing?” The rat broke into my thoughts.

I turned my attention back to the rat, who by now looked pretty agitated.

“I’m done,” I said. I shook off the memories of the past and concentrated on the present.

“Good. Now that you have recalled your experiences with bullying and ostracizing, imagine them happening to your daughter in the middle of her school life. Worse, imagine them happening to your daughter when there’s no one to defend her.”

“I’ll defend her. Her father and I will defend her!”

“Are you two in school? Are you two in the same classroom as her?”

…come to think of it…

All the times when I’d been bullied or ostracized, Ichigo was always there to help me out or to comfort me after the event. Whenever he got into a fight, I’m always there to tend to his bruises in the nurse’s office and comfort him in return. There was even this one time when I even ran into the fight itself and bludgeoned one of the boys beating him up with the heaviest book I own.

Of course that incident resulted in the second brush that I had with the Children and Families Bureau. Only the fierce opposition of my parents and parents in law stopped them from taking Ao away and putting her in an orphanage.

Going back to Ichigo and I, we were able to comfort or come to each other’s rescue so fast was only because we had always been in the same class from the start of Junior High until now, something that we immediately always requested from the principal. Ao wouldn’t have us in the same classroom or school, as the rat said.

“So? Have you thought about it?”

“What do you propose to do about it?”

“On behalf of my party, I propose that we alleviate not only your daughter’s potential problems with bullying in relation to the timing of your pregnancy, but that we will help alleviate everything that would give you a hard time in society.”

“Such as? And how?”

“With your daughter, we can tamper with any documents in the area so that there will always be friendly kids in her class. Kids who can symphatize with her situation.”

“Define ‘symphatize with her situation.’”

“How do I put this...kids that had also been ostracized or bullied. Kids who also had their own issues. One might have a parent who’s in jail, another might be from a broken family, and yet another might be from a poor immigrant family.”

“...you’re...placing all the misfits in the school with my child?” I slowly asked.

“Impossible. They wouldn’t always be in the same age bracket as her. What we’re going to do is place her with as many of the misfits of her age from the local government unit as we can.”

I was agape at his proposal.

Does this rat realize what it was saying?

“You’re putting my daughter with all the misfits of her age that lives in an entire city?”

“As many as we can.”

...he does know what he is saying. And he doesn’t care!

“That’s not giving my daughter a friendly environment you idiot! That’s outright endangerment! The kids of criminals? Broken families? Po–“

“Are you su-u-ure you have the moral high ground to make that judgement, Kurumi? Remember. You also did something quite scandalous for the Japanese.” The rat teasingly interrupted me.

I slammed my mouth shut. After a few more moments, the rat’s words filtered down my mind and made me realize that I’m also being judgemental. The same as the mothers from the FamilyMart earlier.

I could only look away in embarrassment.

“Oh, cheer up Kurumi. We aren’t putting Ao in danger. We’re just being efficient. It’s a waste doing all this for only one kid. It’s more efficient to help a lot of losers in a single shot.”

Losers? Who the fuck does he think he is to say that about Ao?

“You do know that with this action you’re creating very big nails that stick out, right? And here in Japan, the nail that sticks out always get’s hammered down.”

“Well they’ll need a very big hammer for this class of misfits, kid. Speaking of danger, we also don’t intend to put you or your fiancé in danger once you do what we wanted.”

“What do you intend for us?”

“For you, success in your future rice cake business. We’ll lead customers to you, lead you to cheap vacant stalls, lower your operating costs, things like that. As for your fiancé...”

“As for Ichigo?”

“He’s really going to the JSDF? No question about it?”

“We need to start earning money as fast as we can. And the JSDF is a perfectly respectable job. It would help give us some respectability in the eyes of other people.”

“If that’s so, then we’re going to make sure he’s safe wherever the JSDF sends him. He won’t get any encounter in any foreign peacekeeping operation, he won’t get hurt or killed in any silly training accident, he won’t get hurt from any disaster relief operations. He won’t get a scratch period.”

The rat then took a deep breath, and said a last few words for its spiel.

“Let’s recap. We’re offering sympathetic classmates for your daughter, financial success for you, and safety for your fiancé. Now, do we have a deal, Ms. Magical girl?”

I thought about it.

In regards to Ao, I can’t make up my mind about it.

Ao has around one year plus before going to school at the age of six, so I still don’t know how she’ll fit in with normal kids from normal families. If I agree to the rat’s proposal she’ll never be given a chance to associate with normal kids. From the first day of her class, she would be around misfit children, the kids of the misfits and dregs of Japanese society.

I can’t be blamed for wanting something more normal for my child, right? I can’t be blamed if I want my child to be free of the stigma that being a child of two teenagers would bring, right?

Also very suspect was the proposal of financial success for my business. Relying on this third party for the success of my rice cake business would be like putting a noose around my neck and giving them the right to kick the bucket I’m standing on whenever they want to.

What if they decided to suddenly stop directing customers my way? What if they suddenly decided to stop lowering my operating costs? I would be left with a business that suddenly had lost its customers and starts draining my money with the operating costs. In the end, I might even end up in debt.

However, the proposal that the rat made about Ichigo sounded good. It specified that Ichigo will not be hurt by anything in the line of duty, whether it be here in or outside of Japan. It even took into account training accidents. I can’t find anything to pick apart in this proposal.

I also don’t mind having some insurance so that I don’t become a widow any time soon.

However, to be safe, I should ask something. After all, I don’t want to end up with a Puella Magi situation.

“The deal about my husband sounds satisfactory, but how would it be done?”

“Magic?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Fi-i-ine. Everyone in our side is in on this. That includes those whose domain are in anyway related to misfortune or death. So if you agree to be our magical girl, those ones would be amenable to not touching your fiancé with their gimmick in his line of duty. But when he’s off duty? Or retired? He’s fair game. Is that okay?”

I sighed.

It sounded like that is all I could extract from this rat’s group.

“That’s acceptable. But how can I be sure that your party sticks to what it promises about Ichigo, and me. And there’s still the matter of Ao’s classmates to deal with.”

The rat hissed.

“Look. If it makes you happy, all of those involved will swear an oath to you. Doing so will bound us to what has been decided, to the point that we can’t even imagine breaking the oath because of our nature as –“

The rat suddenly stopped speaking, in the way that someone who almost revealed a secret does.

“And when will you guys swear that oath?”

“After we kill the Dark kingdom squad currently present in this city.”

I scoffed. But before I was able to even mouth off one word, the rat continued.

“Alright. You want one kid? Let’s do one right now. Raise your dominant hand.”

I instantly raised my left hand, wondering what’s about to happen next.

“I, a rat of a certain state of being that’s temporarily using the fake name Gaunilo. Remember that kid. Gaunilo.”

“Gaunilo. Got it.”

“I, Gaunilo, swear an oath that I shall do everything in my power as the servant of a certain being whose nature I shall only reveal after this farce, to ensure that what I promised in exchange for the help of Ikeda Kurumi as our magical girl will be fulfilled. Do you accept that, Ikeda Kurumi? If yes, say ‘I accept your oath.’ If not, say ‘No.’ The choice is now yours.”

The moment the rat had finished saying that oath, I felt goosebumps rise all over my flesh. I felt, I saw, I smelled the world start to become a caricature of itself, as if it’s a photograph that I am standing on and wrapped around by and I myself am a photograph, and the rat is the only real thing inside the world of the caricature.

“Well?” The rat asked me again, this time the voice not sounding like a squeak but that of a monk, a nun, a holy person echoing not only from in front of me but all around me and from inside me.

“I still have concerns about my daughter.”

My voice sounded like the air that is slowly escaping from a balloon.

“Don’t worry mama,” A far-away sounding voice came from beside me.

I looked to my left, and only now did I felt the death grip that Ao had on my arm.

She looked like an animated version of herself, in the style of Puella Magi, moving on a background of Japanese paper scroll and yet I can still tell that this is a real being, my real flesh and blood and –

“Mama, I can make friends with the children that Mr. Gaunilo just talked about a while ago,” Ao interrupted the gibbering in my head.

“But they’re the children of criminals. Very poor people from abroad who might also be criminals. Families that could only be broken if the parents aren’t fit to be parents. What if they bully you?“

“Then I’ll show them that they can’t do that to me! If they try that I’ll – I’ll slap them!” Ao declared with a brave face that contrasted with the death grip she had on my arm.

“Ao –“

“Listen to your kid, Kurumi. She already made her decision,” the rat interrupted me and then paused. It then continued after I looked up at it. “Besides, while kids can do the most cruel things in the world, they can also do the most loving things. You just have to have faith that things would turn out for the better.”

I looked back to Ao.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes Mama. Who knows, those other children might even know something awesome from their parents.”

“Are you really, really sure?”

Ao nodded.

“If that’s your decision...”

I looked back at Gaunilo.

“I...I accept your oath.”

The world snapped back to normal, and Gaunilo stumbled on his perch on the fence, right paw over where his heart is.

“Woah. Weird. That’s a first for me,” he said.

I heard what the rat said but I didn’t understand the words. I spent the next few moments staring up at the rat blankly and randomly hiccupping, all of my senses overwhelmed at what I just experienced.

Someone suddenly shook me.

“Mama, Mama! Are you alright?!”

I slowly came back to my normal, and looked left to see Ao shouting at the rat in a panic.

“What happened to Mama! Turn Mama back to normal right this moment, Mr. Gaunilo!”

“She’s–“

“Now!”

“She’s ok now. Look. Look.”

The rat pointed at me.

Ao looked back at me. She quickly cried out in joy and hugged me around my neck –

My neck? How did she grow up that fast...

Oh. I’m sitting crosslegged on the sidewalk.

I slowly and feebly stood up. After a few moments, I dazedly look back at the rat.

“What...just happened?” I asked softly.

“Usually, anyone that sees the particular kind of magic I and my colleagues do were in certain frames of mind. You weren’t.”

“You mean what happened to me could also have happened to my daughter?”

I should be angry now. So why am I only feeling some slight surprise? Did that...whatever that was mess me up internally?

I’ll have a reckoning for this.

“No. As a child, she possesses one of those frames of mind, a childish sense of wonder at the world. But of course seeing it for the first time without any frame of reference would scare her quite a bit, didn’t it Ao?”

Ao just hid behind my back and warily looked back at it. It seemed like she doesn’t like this particular magical rat anymore, something that I’m happy with.

Gaunilo may be a magical, talking rat but he’s still a rat, and I’m still somewhat creeped out by him.

“So, now that we – hold on.”

Gaunilo leaned his towards his side again, listening to whoever his colleagues are. In the meantime, I collected myself and shook off the feelings from earlier.

“Mama, are you alright now?” Ao asked me in a whisper.

“Yeah...I think I’m alright now.”

“Tatti!”

What the!

Damn rat. What was that about?

“What’s happening?”

Behind me, Ao tightly clutched my jeans, apparently scared by his tone.

Gaunilo looked up at me.

“Quick! Give me your ATM card! Now!”

“Why –“

“Now!” He yelled in a panicked way.

The tone instantly convinced me to give it to him.

“Ao, where’s the card?”

She immediately gave it to me. I then threw it to Gaunilo. He caught it with his right paw, and with his left made a gesture. Two water bags filled with a liquid instantly appeared in both of my hands, and I almost let go from surprise.

“Warn me next time you’re going to do something like that, ok?”

I don’t want to add drying wet clothes to the chore list tonight.

“You two have to drink some of the liquid inside so that we can communicate telepathically – now! Now! Now!”

Ok, ok, ok. We’re drinking. We’re drinking.

By my second gulp, I noticed that the liquid is making me feel strange. Inexplicably, I felt stronger and wiser. And that light was emanating out of my body, and yet I see no light coming out of my arm.

“Alright! That’s enough! Throw the bags over the fence and chase after me!” Gaunilo’s voice resounded from inside my head.

“Wow!” Ao exclaimed, also resounding from inside my head.

Before I was able to turn and look at Ao, Gaunilo yelled again inside our heads.

“Throw it and chase me!”

I took the water bags and threw them over the fence. After doing so, I looked for Gaunilo. He was already some distance away, running at quite a pace.

Ao and I quickly ran after him.


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2014-04-27 11:36am, edited 4 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-01-01 10:28am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 179
Location: Philippines
Chapter 3

After a minute or so, we had almost reached one of Matsumoto’s main streets. Ao and I quickly slowed down, since a lot of people were still walking around. Gaunilo was forced to adjust himself to our pace, and complained about it in a panicked way.

I told him to go rot somewhere if he expected me to continue running and embarrass Ao and myself.

The pace let me catch up with my thoughts.

“Alright. What had you so spooked?” I thought to Gaunilo.

While running, he told us that to talk telepathically with him all we had to do is to think the words we want to say. But we must avoid opening our mouths because the words would instead be loudly said out of our mouths.

Again, I don’t care for embarrassing myself.

“Don’t look back when I say this, alright? Remember the Dark Kingdom folks I mentioned earlier? They’re about a hundred or so meters behind us.”

Oh dear heavens. I thought there’s time. I got to take Ao somewhere safe.

I felt Ao squeeze my left hand, hard.

Ok. I have to ask now –

“Dritt! That’s close!”

Who was that – ouch.

Ao’s fingers scratched across my skin.

“Calm down Ao. Nothing’s going to happen, ok? We’re in a place with a lot of people.”

She just nervously nodded.

I really have to get her to safety.

“What happened?” Gaunilo asked worriedly.

“One of them almost killed Bjorn, that’s ‘what.’”

“Wait. Why are you birds going close to them? You’re only supposed to watch from afar. “

“Because they’re talking about killing you three now.”

At that moment I felt as afraid as when I told Ichigo I was pregnant, or when his other grandfather paid a ‘visit’ to my room a day after I gave birth.

My insides tightened, and my arms shook slightly. A moment later I realized it’s Ao who was shaking in fear, not me.

“It’s alright Ao. Gaunilo here would have some plan for this.”

Gaunilo proved me wrong.

“HERE?! On the street?! What happened to secrecy?”

“Their leader said using their guns wouldn’t break the secret.”

“Damn it!”

Guns?!

Oh shit. Ohshit.Ohshitshitshit. What do I do now?!

“Dozens of magical illusions instantly running around the electric poles of the area would scare them into action. Didn’t we tell him that, people?”

A lot of other people shouted ‘yes.’

“Hey! I had to talk to our magical girl recruit and convince her to work with us!”

“We heard everything. My conclusion is that you suck.”

“What the – “

“I used to talk with dead warriors who were waiting for one of the girls to get them, while I’m eating their corpses. You know what their only complaint was? They complain it’s impolite to talk with my mouth full. Otherwise, I had great conversations with many of them. See the difference with your conversational skills?”

“Alright! Alright! I’m a lousy conversationalist. Now can we think of solutions before our charges get shot?”

A few moments passed before a female voice spoke up.

“I propose giving Kurumi the ring while we block their view one last time. And upon receiving it, have her transform and run immediately.”

“Are you crazy? Have her transform here on the street?“

“What is one of the eventual goals? Wasn’t it to alert the world to the existence of this proxy war between the magical kingdoms? So what if we start things a little bit earlier?”

“Not that one. I mean the assassination squad after us.”

“What’s the problem?”

“That way is going to put the young kid in danger.”

My heartbeat sped up. I began to have second thoughts about this whole magical girl thing.

“Mama?”

“Wait a little bit more, Ao.”

Wait until we get to a crosswalk. Then we’ll run. To hell with being a magical girl.

“Well you messed up the timetable in the first place.” The foreigner interjected. “You could have just appeared in front of her door and told her the whole spiel. But no. You wasted precious seconds, earned her antagonism for the sake of presentation, choreography – “

“Now you’re putting words into my mouth.”

“Then what do you call watching those non-living plays on that box of lightning?”

‘Non-living plays’ and ‘box of lightning’? No way. It couldn’t be what I think they are, right?

“That’s called ‘research’ you dumb oaf! I watched the drivel that stands for the human’s literature on the subject of how magical mascots recruit kids to become their soldiers!”

It is what I thought.

Before I was able to say something, another foreign voice shouted.

“Fy Faen! Duck!”

I quickly kneeled, dragging Ao with me down to the asphalt, just in time for something to graze the top of my head, and for the sound of a gunshot to ring in my ears. And then something happened that I wished we never saw.

We saw someone, a girl my age wearing a Souzou High School uniform, get cut in half with a single bullet.

I saw it in slow motion.

At first, she was walking beside her friend, also from the same school, and talking to her. While she was in mid-word, her elbow blew up into a red mist and separated her left lower arm from her upper arm. And then her stomach started to split apart sideways. The upper half of her body flew counter clockwise into the air, the gaping wound at where her stomach was supposed to be spitting out reddish grey entrails and something else into the air. The lower half started to drop onto the sidewa –

An entrail that was still attached at one end to the dead girl, slapped onto my face. A moment later it slid off, leaving behind a wet trail of fluids and something sticky on my face.

After a moment I blinked, and then I quickly looked at Ao, who was looking at the dead girl. Her face and clothes were coated in blood spatter and little bits of half digested food. I supposed that I also looked the same as her.

Another moment passed and the dead girl’s schoolmate screamed in horror, quickly joined in by many other voices. The scream spurred me to action.

I grabbed Ao, jumped onto my feet, and started to run while carrying her.

At my third footstep I saw pandemonium happen on the street. People started running away from the corpse in two directions; on the sidewalk, and towards the other side of the street. Cars and trucks and motorcycles slammed their brakes trying to avoid the panicked pedestrians who chose the latter. Most of them succeeded. Two didn’t.

A six wheeler truck crushed a pregnant woman in her third trimester under its wheels and left behind a corpse that was smashed open. The smell of bodily fluids quickly wafted in the air.

A motorcyclist slammed into an elementary school kid, leaving the kid bawling out on the street with his left arm snapped in half while a few meters behind him the motorcyclist lay on the street, his neck snapped.

At my seventh footstep another gunshot rang through the air.

A man attired in a rental business suit three meters in front of me was catapulted forward, a hole the size of my fist bored through the middle of his back. Beyond his body I saw a housewife sitting on the concrete, clutching her severed leg and trying to staunch the blood loss.

Then two more shots rang out. One hit the sidewalk and another hit a person beside me. I didn’t look back to see what became of him but he was screaming in pain.

“Kurumi! This way!” Gaunilo vocally shouted from atop the fence that was slowly disintegrating from bullets constantly fired at him, dodging them with jumps and outright flying through the air from one falling part to a still standing part of the fence.

“What do we do now!” I yelled, ducking as yet another bullet whizzed past my head and ricocheted off a street lamp into the windshield of a car, whose doors suddenly slam open to let out an elderly couple screaming for their lives.

“Telephatically! Telephatically!”

“Well?!”

“You know that side street that leads to the ICC factory’s second entrance?”

“The one with a parking lot full of pallets in the front left of the entrance? The gym for the factory workers?” I asked, remembering the place from the time that my father in law gave us a tour of the area around Camp Matsumoto. ‘To familiarize ourselves with the place we are going to live in,’ he said at the time.

“That’s the one! That’s where we are going to ambush these mader chod bastards!”

“And how am I supposed to do that?!”

Another bullet whizzed past my left ear. It made me clutch an unresponsive Ao tighter to my chest. The only thing that assured me that she was still alive was her death grip on my shirt and her breathing on my neck.

“I’ll give you the Greek’s ring once we find cover! Hey people! Where’s my distraction?”

“The hunters are ignoring every illusion we throw at them!” The female voice shouted.

“Then attack them!”

“Are you crazy? We’re foxes! We don’t know how to fight you idiot!”

I blinked.

Foxes? Kitsune - no, Inari?!

The mythological beings?

“Throw fire, lightning, something, anything at them! I don’t care but get them off our tails for a few seconds!“

“We’ll do it,” the bird bombastically declared.

“Are you crazy, silly bird? You’re just birds that can talk!” The kitsune exclaimed.

“Shows you what you know about us ravens, slant eyes,” the foreign voice, now identified as a talking raven, said. It continued a moment later.

“Fellow children of Huginn and Muninn! Bare your talons! Open your beaks! Master the winds! We fly into battle, to stop Ragnarok! Forward ravens! Fram Hrafn!”

“Fram Hrafn!” A lot of voices bloodthirstily shouted.

The flapping of dozens of wings, and the sound of wind gusts came from above me. And then a moment later the sounds of raven calls, frenzied gunshots from several weapons, screams that came from things that aren’t from this world and from scared humans, metal hitting metal and objects falling to the ground echoed from behind me.

At the same time Gaunilo started running backwards on the fence on his two hind legs, looking up at what’s happening behind me.

“Are Bhap Re. Those are some crazy, hardcore birds.”

“Less watching, more running!” I screamed at him.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two minutes or so later, we arrived at the place. It was the parking lot where the ICC had stored the pallets they use, beside a building that father in law told me was a gym paid for by the insurance firm dedicated to the workers, located in another side street that’s perpendicular to the main street I just ran away from.

By now I’m breathing raggedly from running at full speed while carrying Ao in my arms, for almost half a kilometre. To my left rear a growing crescendo of gunfire, explosions and magical beam attacks were wrecking the peace.

All of a sudden the power was cut off, leaving my surroundings dark. The only illumination left was the magical beams, whatever parts of the city was still supplied by electricity, and the stars above.

“Damn. This is going to make things harder,” Gaunilo muttered to himself.

I ignored him, shifting my attention to Ao instead…

Has she been staring blankly into space all this time? No, this can’t be. I have to break her out of this.

“Ao, we’re safe now,” I said while slowly patting her face and putting myself in her line of vision.
She didn’t respond.

“Ao, it’s alright now. We got away from the bad monsters.”

She only blinked.

No, no, no. Please no. Ao can’t be like those people in Iraq Father heard about. No she can’t.

“Ao, Mama’s here. Look at me. Please look at me and talk. Please.”

Ao blinked again. Then she sniffed. Her eyes teared up. Finally she hugged me and started sobbing onto my chest.

Thank you, whoever I need to thank.

All I could do was to hug back and rub her backside, murmuring consoling words to her.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Around five minutes passed since Ao started crying into my shirt, when the rat started talking again.

“Kurumi, you have to go deal with the Dark Kingdom soldiers.”

I ignored him in favor of rubbing Ao’s back. By now, her sobs had subsided into sniffles.

“Kid, I know that your daughter is badly traumatized by seeing that girl die and that comforting her is very important. However there are other more important things that you have to attend to.”

I glared at the rat on my shoulder for the sheer gall of saying those words, at a time when Ao needs her mother’s presence.

“Don’t glare at me. You know we still have to deal with those Dark kingdom soldiers.”

“The ravens can deal with them for a little while longer. You said they were hardcore, right?”

“Hardcore does not mean good. They are barely keeping themselves alive in that fracas back there. Your father in law and his colleagues don’t have the weapons they need to kill them either.”

I frowned at the confirmation that the different sounding gunshots aren’t coming solely from the dark kingdom beings, but also from the JGSDF. And then the second sentence’s meaning hit me.

“You mean guns and bombs don’t work?”

I noticed that Ao quieted down. Obviously, she’s listening to us.

“Oh they work perfectly fine. You just have to do a few things to the guns and explosives at first, which unfortunately...”

Gaunilo trailed off, and shrugged.

I continued his sentence in my mind.

Whatever those few things are, I don’t think that my father in law or the other soldiers have done those ‘few things’ to their guns or bombs. Not a single one of them. And that made me realize something else.

“My father in law’s going to die if I don’t go and fight them. Is that what you want to insinuate?”

“What? It’s not obvious enough from the start? After all the fiction you humans have about otherworldly invasions that only one hero can stop, that didn’t come to your mind?”

I grit my teeth, irritated at his tone when Ao suddenly squirmed around on my chest.

“Ao? Are you alright now?”

Ao looked at me with teary eyes and a flushed face. And she ignored my question by giving off one of her own.

“Mama, will grandpa really die if you don’t go fight the bad guys?”

“Yeah. He will die, just like that girl earlier did, cut in half with – “

I instantly grabbed the rat with my left hand and hurled him at the chain fence to my left. He let out a squeak upon hitting the fence, and upon dropping to the floor.

“What in the name of – what did you do that for Kurumi?”

“You’re bringing back memories you idiot.”

I was about to say more when Ao tugged my shirt.

“Mama...”

“What?”

Ao looked undecided, in the way of someone with a lot of conflicting thoughts at a one point in time.

“Can you please save grandpa?” Gaunilo butted in, mimicking Ao’s voice in an irritating falsetto.

I whipped my head around. I was about to let out several words in anger when Ao interrupted me.

“Y-yes.”

I whipped my head back to look back at a daughter who’s on the edge of panic. The action unnerved Ao into silence, so I coaxed her out of it.

“Yes to what, Ao?”

“Mama...can you save grandpa?”

“I–“

“But I don’t want you to die, I just want you to save grandpa. But saving grandpa means you might get shot at. And I don’t know how tough a real magical girl costume is so that gun might hurt you. And I also don’t want you to get hurt. But being a magical girl means fighting the forces of badness and that means that you will get hurt, and I don’t want that to happen to you because you are mama. My mama. But if you don’t fight the dark kingdom now grandpa will get hurt, and I also don’t want grandpa to get hurt, because he’s grandpa and grandma and papa and me will also get sad if grandpa gets hurt. But I will also get sad if you get hurt, because I asked you to fight the dark kingdom and because papa will get sad that you are hurt.”

She finally ended her spiel, and started breathing again.

...
I’m thankful she let her thoughts go out. It’s obvious that the knowledge that someone will get hurt no matter what she urges me to do was tearing her up inside.

And I think I’m horrified that she knows only she and Ichigo are the only ones that love me in the family.

Mother in law hated me at the start, but nowadays that hate had simmered down to a lingering dislike of me, which includes pointing out any mistake I did in a cruel fashion and always finding some way to disdain my being half-Filipino. Father in law, on the other hand, had always been lukewarm towards me from the start. He doesn’t hate me, but he also won’t mind if I die. All he demanded from me was to be a good wife to Ichigo.

What pisses me off about him was his definition of being a good wife to Ichigo is being only a baby making, food dispensing and housekeeping machine. Aspirations of my own not included.

I sometimes wondered if that was his way of taking revenge on me. He’s doesn’t ask that of Monster in law.

“So basically between your mother and your grandfather you can’t choose who you will allow to get hurt? How deliciously greedy of you Ao. I’m proud of you for your attitude.”

Gaunilo suddenly said those insulting words in the same way that I praise Ao for doing something on her own for the first time, using words filled with pride and affection. The rat was even doing a ‘thumbs up’ gesture!

I was stunned at the incredulity of what I heard that I just stared, leaving Ao to retort for herself.

“I hate you Mr. Mouse! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” She shouted, with genuine anger and hate on her face. She then turned back to me.

“Mama, please save grandpa. But please, please, please don’t die.”

“Alright, I will. I’ll save grandpa.”

I had already decided to go and save my father in law, even though he doesn’t really care about me. After all, he is Ichigo’s father. And as Ichigo’s wife to be, I have a responsibility to take care of my in laws.

I stood up and looked at Gaunilo, waiting for instructions. In the process, I saw him sporting a happy look that says he succeeded in something. And scarily, it looked like Kyubey’s.

I suddenly wondered if angering Ao a while ago was intentional. And if so, I wonder if I could appeal to Gaunilo’s employers are to replace him with someone else. The rat was manipulative, crude, and had a heart attack inducing thought process. Then again, he does have reasonable intentions for doing what he does. And he did just drive Ao out of thinking about the girl who died earlier by pissing her off.

Gaunilo interrupted my train of thought by suddenly tossing an object at me. I quickly caught it with my left hand, and looked.

It was a plain gold ring with inscriptions on both the inside and the outside. In fact...the ring looked like the ring from The Lord of the Rings. The only difference is that instead of neatly inscribed and undecipherable cursive inscriptions, the inscriptions on this ring are angular, evenly spaced, letters that for some reason looked vaguely similar to some letters from the English alphabet. And they’re moving around on the ring’s surface like an eel in water.

“So?” Gaunilo eagerly asked me.

“How do I activate this ring once I wear it?” I asked him, poising the ring near my right ring finger.

“That is the beauty of the Greek’s ring. You decide how it happens.”

“’It’?”

“Everything from how your magical armor looks like, how long it takes to be worn on your body, how it gets worn on your body, and what would make it start working is up to you. That sounds very user friendly, no?”

No. I don’t agree. I don’t think that’s user friendly. That’s user confusing.

“Kurumi?”

I ignored Gaunilo and quickly turned to Ao.

“Help me decide Ao.” I said as I put the ring on.

“Umm...Sailor Moon uniform.”

“No, no. no. Only your father can see my thighs. Pick something else.”

“Just a reminder. It’s a very bad idea to have any exposed skin that is not your head,” Gaunilo suddenly said.

We both quickly looked at the rat, and then back at each other.

His reminder suddenly invalidated most of the uniforms that we saw on TV.

“No skin?”

“No skin.”

“What uniform shows no skin...“ Ao trailed off. A moment later she got an idea.

“The Numbers! From StrikerS, remember Mama?”

I winced.

I have qualms about dressing up in a skin tight outfit. I have no desire to advertise to the world what I might look like underneath all my clothing. And of course, the only one I would wear one for would be Ichigo.

“No good Mama?”

“Can we pick other options that are less skin tight?”

“Otto’s uniform isn’t skin tight. And it’s also dark colored.”

I quickly saw what she was thinking of. Otto wore cargo pants and a jacket, on top of a skin tight shirt. And all of them are colored dark blue. If I remember some of father in law’s ramblings about the military, blue works well with low light levels...in an urban...setting.

I’m in a city block that had its electricity cut off.

...I think I have just found my uniform. But why should I settle for an exact copy of Otto’s uniform, when I can also use a few things from real life for my uniform?

“I got a uniform in mind, and I got ideas for everything else. Ao, close your eyes because you might get dazzled.”

After seeing them do so, I also closed my own eyes and struck the ring against my left palm.

Even with my eyes closed, light still managed to seep through for one single moment. And then it disappeared. I then opened my eyes to hazily see Ao and Gaunilo rubbing their eyes, my vision also affected by my own lightshow.

“Well, what do you think?” I asked them.

I kept the rubber shoes and the cargo pants. But I replaced the skin tight shirt and the jacket with the upper half of a BDU, the belt and buckle with five braided, black shoelaces, and the magical, metal gloves with dark blue colored surgical gloves.

I even made my own modification to the color scheme.

“Mama, is that design from the American army?”

“Actually, it’s from the Chinese navy,” I replied, impressed that Ao managed to remember that kind of detail from that TV movie.

The camouflage design that I added to the pants, and the one on the BDU, was the pattern the Chinese Navy used from before 2007, when they started using those new digital camouflage.

“Grandpa wouldn’t be happy with that.”

“Grandpa can complain all he wants if it means I’d live through this.”

After that I took a moment of pause to recollect myself, and heard the ongoing battle again. That returned a sense of urgency to me.

“Ao. I have to go now.”

Ao nodded, trying to keep up a brave front for me.

“Alrig...wait. Where’s a safe place around here?”

I suddenly realized that I haven’t solved the problem of where to hide Ao. I quickly took her hand and looked around for a place for Ao to hide in.

“I got this,” Gaunilo quickly replied. “Oy! Foxes! Anyone near?!”

A few moments passed before a kitsune slowly appeared out of thin air in front of us. Contrary to expectations nurtured by anime, it looked mostly normal. It didn’t have more than one tail, and its fur is colored red and white. The only strange thing that marked this one as more than a normal fox was the intelligence that can be seen in its eyes.

“That you Moe?”

“I’m Ran. Moe’s back there casting illusions at the fight. Can’t you remember who is who?” the kitsune named Ran replied.

“You girls smell too similar to each other. Anyways, can you spirit away Ao back to her home?”

Ran took a brief look at Ao, and then at me, and then back to the rat.

“I can, but you shouldn’t use the words spiriting away. They have a bad connotation here in Japan if someone really does disappear.”

“Spirit away?”

I felt unnerved for Ao again.

The kitsune was right. That word doesn’t have a good connotation hereabouts when someone actually goes missing. And it also brought to my mind the question about this third party’s nature.

That’s twice now that I heard terms from folktales being used by these beings. Could it possibly be that they are the inspiration for all Japanese folktales?

“It’s much safer than letting her run off somewhere for safety on her own. And you’re assured she’s not going to be hit by a stray bullet.”

Something suddenly hit the pavement behind me, making us flinch. When I looked back, I saw a metal object embedded in the asphalt. I then looked back to see Gaunilo frantically shaking his head.

“I’ve got nothing to do with that.”

“You and your big mouth,” Ran audibly muttered.

Ignoring their byplay, I stared again at the bullet, and then at Ao. And then I shivered and held her hand tighter.

That could’ve hit her. That bullet could’ve hit my daughter her and turn her to paste.

“Before I agree on this, I have to ask: aren’t people changed by the experience of being spirited away?”

“Ms. Ikeda, as long as she closes her eyes during the entire trip, she won’t be changed in any way,” Ran replied.

“Really?”

“Give her a blindfold if she can’t do it all the way back home.”

“Alright. I’ll let you spirit her away back to our house on one condition: Make an oath that says you will bring my daughter to my home, alive and in healthy condition.”

Ran looked taken aback. And then she looked at Gaunilo.

“It’s raining oaths this day,” she commented.

“Blame human society,” Gaunilo replied with an eye roll.

“Do I have an oath or not?”

“Do you want to light up a flare saying ‘Magical girl here, get me’ by doing that?” Gaunilo asked me.

“I’m supposed to kill them, aren’t I?”

“Fine. Your funeral,” he replied after a moment.

“Not that she would be allowed to die,” Ran murmured. The next moment she raised her right paw and started swearing.

“I, Ran of Izumo, do so swear to Lord Oinari that I will bring the daughter of Ikeda Kurumi, Ota – “

“Ikeda. She’s still Ikeda Ao,” I quickly interrupted.

Oinari? As in the god Inari? Now I’m starting to wonder: is this group I’m working with here not the inspiration, but the actual mythological figures that I learned about in school?

The thought started to bring a sense of mystery to me.

“Ikeda Ao, to her home in a healthy condition.”

After that I immediately felt another onslaught of the strange feeling from before, but this time it was different. This time, I felt a sense of calmness wash over me.

All my troubles would be solved, all my troubles are being solved, and all my troubles have been solved. I have no reason to be wary, no reason to be fearful, and no reason to be angry. I just have to give some trust in an Other, and in Others.

After a moment, the sensation faded away, letting me feel the world again. And I immediately acted.

“Listen to her Ao. Don’t open your eyes,” I told her while moving towards the kitsune.

“I will. You stay safe Mama,” she replied as she took hold of the kitsune’s tail.

“Gently, gently! My tail’s sensitive, girl!”

Ao evidently loosened her grip, since the kitsune continued a moment later.

“That’s the way. Now close your eyes and off we go...”

Ao and the kitsune started to fade away from sight, in the manner of smoke in a room with an electric fan. In a few more moments they had faded away from sight.

I truly hope nothing happens to her. But for now…

“Gaunilo, where do we hide in ambush?”

I immediately start looking for hiding places.

“Ah, ah, ah. First we also get ourselves and the opponents spirited away to another place. And then we hide.”

What?

I stared at the rat.

If they’re going to spirit away me and the opponents into another place as he said it, then why the hell did they not do so earlie – oh. I didn’t have the magical trinket yet, and Ao was still with me at that moment. Still, I feel angry for the people who died.

“We’re good to go! Do the spell now folks! And give us some lighting, thank you very much!” Gaunilo shouted out to the heavens.

The stars and the city lights started to wink out one by one while a full moon suddenly rose up from the east, wind started to whip around and an unnatural feeling rain suddenly showered down on the city, creating the impression of a storm happening even though the skies are clear.

And a feeling of eternity, time that had come and is come and will come, an infinitesimal part of which I will be recorded on with every beat of my heart, suddenly pressed down on me.
Behind me the fire fight suddenly lessened in intensity, a full half of all the firearms being used suddenly not existing in this PLACE where I currently am. And a moment later every human that was alive or dead was suddenly not HERE. And I didn’t know why I know all that, just that I suddenly KNEW all that.

“Now we hide,” Gaunilo said, and then he ran for the ICC gym.

I, on the other hand, had another place in mind.


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2014-05-19 07:50am, edited 4 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-01-02 01:59pm
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 179
Location: Philippines
Chapter 4

I ran to my left through the rain, following the road until I found the particular house that I'm looking for about a hundred meters from the ICC factory's second entrance.

It was a two story building with white painted walls, a sliding glass door and windows covered by beige curtains. But most important of all, it has a garden big and lush enough to entirely hide me in the shadows.

I immediately crawled into the thickest bushes there and laid still. A few moments later, Gaunilo almost gave me a heart attack by barging in from behind me.

Asshole. Can't you say that you're coming in?

"What are you doing? We could have hidden in the gym!"

Me too rat. Me too. I also wanted to hide there. The howling winds and splashing rain pelting us were making me a cold, wet and unhappy woman.

Unfortunately…

"Have you seen that place?"

"Yes."

...oh great.

"And you didn't see that there’s no hiding space for me, especially with all those big windows and whitewashed walls?"

The rat just looked puzzled.

"Do you seriously want me to confront magical people with guns in such a site?"

"Is the place a bad one to hide in?"

I didn't answer him.

It seemed that I know more about what I'm supposed to do than my magical mascot. And that’s from listening in while Ichigo did some advanced reading for when he joins the SDF, and from Father talking about his job.

Speaking of knowledge…

"Right, do you have any more information about our enemies for me? I don't know anything other than that they have magic and guns."

"Information? Alright, I'm putting you back into the network. Everyone else would have some."

"Why’d you cut us off from it earlier?"

"Do you want Ao to hear bloodthirsty screams, shouts and curses? She might even learn some bad words in the process."

If he puts it like that…

"No."

Gaunilo tapped his left paw on the ground, and the voices of others suddenly crammed in my head.

"Ahh faen! That hurts!"

"Shut up Eyjolf – "

" – gratulations on your kill, Arnleif! Do you have anything to say to your sisters and brothers, girl?"

"Well...I suppose we have to celebrate."

"Food and drinks! Food and drinks! Food and drinks!"

"Hey Arnleif! Want to – Faen! What did you do that for?!"

"Stay away from my daughter, pikk," the voice of the raven that talked with Gaunilo earlier said.

"Uh...yes sir."

"Daddy!"

What a lively bunch these birds are.

"I see you ravens are quite busy," Gaunilo commented.

Except for the raven that sounds injured, all the others went silent.

"What now rat?" The daddy raven asked.

"Our magical girl needs information. Where are the foxes?"

"Here we are. What is the problem?" A regal sounding female voice said.

"I need information, Lady fox. May I ask where the bad guys are? How many of them are there? And what are they armed with?" I asked.

For a few moments all I heard were hmmm sounds. And then the daddy raven answered.

"Originally there were eight of them. My daughter killed two of them, and Bjorn almost cut off the right arm of another one of them. I'm also quite sure more than a few bullets from the Japanese soldiers found their mark. As for weapons...for melee, four of them used swords, one used a spear and the last one has studded boxing gloves adapted for tentacles. As for the guns, all I know is that they were long, and that some were slow firing and some were fast firing."

Slow firing and fast firing long guns?

...most probably would be bolt actions for the slow ones and either semi-automatic or automatic firearms for the fast ones. Which still means I'm fucked, and I can't agree with that.

Only my fiancé can fuck me.

"Is anyone watching the Dark Kingdom soldiers right now?"

"Moe is. Moe?" The kitsune asked.

"The remaining six are at the parking lot. Hiding behind the pallets and talking with each other while taking peeks at the gym. Shall I go nearer tp hear what their words?"

"No. Stay where you are, and let us know if anyone starts to move."

"Understo – wait...the wounded one's arm is being healed."

Healing?! Damn it! I have more a chance if some of them are wounded. I hope that –

"How good is the healing?" The raven asked.

"Uhh...back to normal."

"Dritt! That's one more spear we're going to have to deal with."

...ok. Think of good news. Let's see...I'm alive and in hiding. Ao is somewhere safe away from this madness. And so is Ichigo, my parents...and the in laws.

That's good enough.

"What are you going to do now Kurumi?" Gaunilo asked me.

...am I supposed to be the only one with a plan? I was hoping they also have theirs, so several contingencies are in place...ah forget it.

"I have some ideas, but I want to hear yours first."

"I defer to the ravens for battle plans," the kitsune said.

"I hate to admit it, but they're the ones to listen to when things become violent," Gaunilo added.

Of course I will listen to them. They're the only ones who fought them among your side. And thank you two for the uselessness.

"I would like to hear your plans first, Kurumi. You have the dubious honor of being the magical girl, after all," The raven said.

Dubious honor? I agree. Now back to my ideas.

Ok. Think tactically, think tactically…

"I suppose I'll wait for them to start splitting up, and wait for one to get isolated. I'll follow that one silently and then kill them from behind."

"How will you follow someone silently?"

"Crawl through the grass, move low to the ground while keeping in the shadows."

That's the textbook answer from the Field Manuals, if I remember correctly. I just wonder how I would do in practice.

"Hmm...I highly doubt your skill in silently stalking someone on the move. I suggest that you wait for them to stop in place, and – "

"They're moving," Moe suddenly announced.

I flinched at the sudden news.

Ok. I hope they don't come anywhere near here.

"They are moving low to the ground, in the shadows...two to the left, two to the right, two split up among the pallets and are hiding behind them...the other two groups are splitting up further, some of them moving towards the back of the building...is anyone watching that side?"

...why is no one answering? Does that mean…

"Is anyone watching the places around me for that matter?"

Another round of silence answered me.

Ok. So even the ravens have some deficiencies.

"Alright. Time to correct that. Sveinn, Inge and Alvar. I want you three flying very high and in circles around Kurumi's position. If you see anything moving towards her, let us know. Then I want you, you, you...eighteen of you to fly high above the opponents and follow them. Three for each one of them. The rest of you, fly around the city and look for good places. Arnleif, you're with me."

"Good places for?" A raven asked him.

"Hiding places, ambush places, high ground, food and drinks and medicine. Those kinds of details. Understand?"

"Yes sir!"

"How about me?" The wounded raven asked.

"Eyjolf, you stay with Mafa. You got a broken wing there."

"Yes sir."

"Alright. Move, move, move!"

I sighed.

Alright, tha –

"The beings who are on the walls are climbing it...they're at the glass windows and are now slicing holes into it with blades...they are all about to throw something – they ducked. What are those things they are carryi – yip!"

"What happened?!"

"I'm sorry. Whatever they threw exploded light and sound. I'm blinking spots from my vision...I'm hearing crashing sounds from inside...everyone of them are inside..."

I waited tensely for what she will say next.

"They came out. I really should try to eavesdrop on them."

"No you don't kit. Let us ravens do it. You and the other foxes are going to provide illusions whenever I or Kurumi want you to do so, so stay under cover and follow them from afar."

"And how will you do that in this rain and wind?" the regal kitsune asked.

"Simple. We're masters of the wind. We can do a few tricks like so...like so...I said like so. What – "

"Got it. I'm now eavesdropping on them," someone said.

Humor in this time? Wow. Just wow.

The sound of rain and wind started to come from inside my head, as opposed to the rain and wind that had just finished turning me into a cold and wet person. Thankfully, the bushes were doing their best to warm me up.

Thank you plants. I'll be good to your compatriot cactus back home.

A male voice talked loudly, trying to be heard over the sound of the rain.

"What now? Do we still continue chasing after the rat and the girl after all this crap, oh fearless leader?"

A second male voice replied angrily.

"Of course we continue you idiot. This is our best chance of killing both that rat and that girl he contracted with, before she learns anymore about how to fight us. I wouldn't want to face a magical bitch prepared for a mix of magic, guns and explosives."

"That would not happen if you only had more patience. What did you think would happen if you fired atop of an electric wire?"

"I took a very clear shot – "

"And missed by a finger length."

"People, can we stop with the recriminations and focus on what to do now?" a sultry female voice asked.

No. Don't stop. Please wreck yourselves with a group dispute. I beg you. Please.

"I say we hightail it out of here now," another male voice said, this one sounding like someone has water for vocal cords.

"Who votes the same. Raise their hands," The female voice said.

Go girl, woman, female...ah whatever you are. Go and leave me alone!

"This isn’t a democracy Imas," the first male voice protested. "You have to follow me – "

"Meria, you got to be a team leader because you have family relations with one of the generals of – " the second male interjected.

"I got to where I am because I have a talent of killing first timer magical girls! And I would be more effective if I have a team backing me up." Meria interrupted.

Goosebumps started appearing all over me.

I'm a first timer magical girl so that meant...I'm exactly the kind of target that Meria had a talent in eliminating…

The second voice started speaking again after a moment's silence.

"Well, you know what? I killed three girls with my sword. Eria here made a pair of twins die from night time heart attacks. Tenty here killed another two with his guns. Duq here killed three with his spear. Grasa got two at their school using poison. Frankly, we all have a talent for killing first timers. I don't see why we should still follow a leader that always puts us in dangerous situations, right people?"

The number of girls they killed stunned me. And then a moment later terror started to suffuse me.

They kill people like me...they kill girls like me...oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit.

That was the moment that the fact a few people want to murder me came home to roost.

"Because we always prevailed against magical girls under my leadership, Varge?"

"Each and every time in direct combat, where we always almost get killed under your leadership Meria. Frankly, you're just using us to get yourself a promotion."

"And? Aren't we and our kingdoms all just using each other?"

A moment of silence ensued.

"You're one sick fuck. I've had enough of you. After this mission, I'm asking to operate on my own once again. I'm much safer when doing things alone and on my own pace."

"But on this mission you still have to fo–"

The conversation suddenly cut off.

"Thank you for cutting that off Busla. Well, I have good news for you Kurumi...Kurumi?"

Oh shit. Oh shit. I'm going to die. Oh shit. Oh shit. I'm going to die.

What I just heard sounded in my head as my death knell, and several images of how I'm going to die kept running all through my mind. One image was that I get stabbed in my heart, another is I get was that of me getting my head shot off and yet another image had me being tortured to death in – Yeowch!

What bit my ear?!

"Are you still panicky or do I have to bite you more?" Gaunilo said as he suddenly jumped down near my face.

Gaunilo bit me? You…

"If I get sick, you asshole – "

"Oh don't worry Kurumi, I'm clean."

‘I'm clean.’ I – I'm speechless. Really, I'm speechless.

"Need another bite on the ear?"

Under the threat of more mouse bites, I used the quickest calming method that I know of: the breathing pattern I used when I was pregnant.

Organizing breath. Focus your attention. Breathe in through the nose, exhale through the mouth. Focus on one part of my body. Breathe in through the nose, exhale through the mouth. Focus on another part of my body. Repeat until I calm down.

"Good, good. Panic is the enemy of all. Don't fall into its paws," the rat said around a minute later.

"Shut up, rabies infested rat."

Gaunilo just shrugged the comment off.

"The rat is right Kurumi. We just heard good news that you could take advantage of," the raven added.

"Which news? The one about how many first timer magical girls they've killed?"

"Didn't you notice that they're fighting? There's dissent in the ranks. We can exploit that."

"How? They used to specialize in killing their targets without help. Dissent means six separate hunters working at their best that I have to kill. Don't tell me you have some kind of plan for that situation?"

For a few moments, the rat was silent. And this raised my hopes.

Could it be that this bird does have a plan? If so, I will praise him as –

"I'll think about it. Now stay where you are and keep quiet."

...I should’ve known.

"Sveinn, are you three flying around Kurumi's area right now?"

"Yes sir. But visibility is limited thanks to the rain."

"We're all working with the same problem Sveinn, bear with it. Anyone detailed to the enemies, what's happening now?"

An unfamiliar voice answered.

"They have just split up into three groups of two. One group is walking down the street where Kurumi hid in."

And more bad luck is coming to me.

"Kurumi, if you have anything that’s white colored, smear it with something dark right now," the raven quickly ordered me.

Something white he says...damn mosquito! How did they get in this world?

I slapped my neck to get rid of the insect, and then something quickly came to my mind.

My neck and my face might be medium brown in color, but that wasn’t a guarantee that something wouldn’t contrast with the shadows of the foliage.

Ok. I need to find something to cover it fast.

"Mud. Cover your face with the mud!" Gaunilo said as he scampered away from me.

Mud?

I looked down at the muddy soil that I was lying prone on.

The soil was very fertile loam, assured to be partly composed of things that I don't want to put on my face. However since it's my life on the line…

...I hope Kracie's facial wash can deal with mud.

I took a handful of mud in my left hand, closed my eyes, pressed my lips together, and started to wipe mud on my face.

First I applied the mud on my cheeks. And then I wiped it across my nose, upwards to my forehead, and then down to my neck. Pretty soon, I had covered every part of my skin that was exposed, except for my eyelids.

The mud felt cold against my skin. And I think I can even feel something wrig...I quickly picked the earthworm off my cheek with a grimace, and then put it back on the ground.

Alright Kurumi, don't freak out. An earthworm is not disgusting. It’s a friend of us humans, it helps make our food grow. Don't freak out, this is nothing compared to changing Ao's diapers and washing them. Or when Ichigo had food poisoning and vomited a lot. Then again, I love them. That might be why I could make myself touch their wastes with only a strained smile on my face.

"Stop moving kid. They're almost within visual range," the raven called Sveinn said to me.

Almost here? Ok, time to lie very, very still.

I laid out completely prone on the muddy ground, even placing my face in contact with the soil itself. However, I tilted my head towards the street. I wanted to see who these beings were.

A few moments later I saw one of them on the other side of the street.

It was some kind of insect – no, lobster...some kind of monster. It was two meters long and as fat as a human waist, with eyestalks like that of a snail's and two long, shrimp-like appendages on its head that are wrapped around one end of two mysterious 1-meter long pipes made from white colored coral. It was crawling along on the sidewalk with the help of what appears to be...not tentacles. They are more like one meter long tongues with hair on their edges. And it has a fan tail with two antennae.

All in all, it was the strangest thing that I had ever seen. And it’s something that was trying to kill me.

Following behind it was a curvaceous, black haired woman dressed in dark, skin tight clothes.

She’s armed with one of those anti-material rifles, and a peculiar wooden sword with teeth and claws of different sizes embedded at the blade's edges. Other than her weaponry, what was strange about her is...something about her curvaceous figure was unnatural.

No, I'm not jealous. I'm quite satisfied with my thin body figure, thank you very much. I could even attest to how much Ichigo loves it. However that woman was less a flesh and blood woman and more a walking D-cup figure...why was her skin wiggling like jelly –

The monster suddenly stopped walking directly across the street, it eye stalks ramrod straight in the air. Its sudden action brought the jelly woman to a stop too.

"What's wrong Tenty," the woman whispered, the words somehow reaching my ears through the rain and distan –

Tenty suddenly aimed the pipes at my direction, like they were guns. They suddenly glowed white and a sound just like a hot air blower star –

The foliage above me was suddenly shredded apart, and to my right came the sound of shattering glass doors and furniture.

Son of a bitch with rabies, those ARE guns!

How did I get found out!

"Don't move! Whatever you do, don't move!" the raven shouted into my head.

"But I'm being shot at!"

I was tensed, ready to start crawling away to Heaven knows where.

"It's only trying to flush you out! Give over and don't move!"

Ok. If the military expert is saying to not move, then I don't move.

I hope to any god that is listening, please don't let it see me. I beg to anyone, please don't.

Please don't. I still want to see my daughter.

After a few more seconds, Tenty stopped shooting.

"What in the name of lust are you doing?" the woman exclaimed. She was looking at my direction while holding her wooden sword in her right hand and a ball of magic in her left.

"I thought I saw something there Imas. Looks like it was nothing."

"Idiot sea monster. Don't scare me like that," Imas grumbled. The two then walked away.

I, on the other hand, just laid there on the ground. Not daring to move until the crows above give the all clear sign.


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2014-04-29 12:22pm, edited 5 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-01-02 08:19pm
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Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-01-04 12:31pm
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Chapter 5

“Are they gone?” I asked a couple of minutes later.

I didn’t dare move from where I am. I’m helpless while they are still more than five meters away since I am only armed with divine melee and thrown weapons. And I don’t know how to use the thrown weapons.

It doesn't matter if the ring would reduce the force of any lethal or bone breaking blow, whether magical or physical, to that of a boxer’s punch. I can still die from a punch to the head. And if they have an automatic firearm I would die from being beaten to death by bullets.

“Wait...wait...ok. They can’t see you now,” the raven named Sveinn reported.

Thank Heavens.

I sat up.

I'm wet and muddy. And my hair’s itchy because of the shredded leaves.

As I picked them out of my hair, I looked back at the house.

The only glass that remained on the glass doors were little, jagged pieces which were still attached by silicon. The exterior and interior walls, as well as the wooden stairs were pockmarked by holes. The sofa set in the middle of the room was full of holes, with much of the stuffing spread all over the floor, and the expensive looking LCD TV in the room lay on the floor in pieces.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. What a waste.

“Kurumi, are you alright?” Gaunilo suddenly asked.

“I’m dirty, and a little shocked. But I’m still alive.”

“Good, good. Now why don’t we start following that monster and pay it back for shooting at you, with interest?”

Ok. That’s it.

“I almost got killed a little while ago. Now you want me to try getting killed again, so soon? Fuck off!”

“Hey, I’m just – “

“I also don’t recommend going after that strange being,” Sveinn suddenly said.

“Why not?”

“That thing’s got dragonfly eyes, if not better because of their sheer size.”

Various voices suddenly started cursing in various languages, including Japanese.

...why is it that things are getting more and more stacked up against me? Did anyone curse me in the past few days? Did I offend any supernatural being? Can I ask for a little bit of blessing here, from any gods that are listening to me? Should I pray for those blessings to come my way right now?

“And you will be blessed, just shut up and calm down Kurumi. Or else the rat will bite you again,” the raven suddenly said.

...I'm talking out loud, right?

Before I was able to say an apology, the head raven gave me orders.

“Kurumi, whatever happens you have to avoid that monster until it was the last one alive, do you hear me?”

“Not that I’m complaining, but how good is a dragonfly’s eyesight?” I asked while standing up from the mud.

“Very, very good. It would see you before you ever see it. You have more of a fighting chance with the human-looking beings than that thing.”

“Alright. That one’s for last. Where are the other groups?”

“The leader's group is heading towards the riverbank.”

The Narai river? Why are they going there?

“This group is going straight towards a bridge.”

Bridge, bridge...nearest ones...they would be two bridges over the Narai river, one to my northwest and the other to the southwest. Now the question is which one is being talked about here?

After this a cascade of reports came in, reporting each and every movement the Dark kingdom assassins made.

“The dragonfly eyed monster’s group has reached the riverbank...now they’re splitting up. The monster’s going towards the north while the human is going to the south...what are they doing?”

“Describe it.”

“They are setting up some contraptions all over the street. And they are hiding each one with magic.”

Contraptions? Setting up? Are they... are they setting up landmines?

“My group is also doing the same thing,” the one who was watching the CO group suddenly said.

Fuck. They are.

This brought home what the rat meant by ‘just like the JSDF.’

“And what is the group going to a bridge doing?”

“One is walking towards the middle of the bridge while the other one is – she’s flying at us! Run!”

Amidst the panicked shouts from the network, I sighed and covered my eyes with a hand.

Damn it. When will things start going better for me?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As it turned out, things started going better once I started making a battle plan.

At first I tried to think about what they are planning, based on everything that happened. After several minutes, I came up with the following: the bridge would have one person on it, who might be serving as bait to me while the other four persons are hiding either in the buildings that overlook the three roads to the bridge from my side of the riverbank or in the vegetation along it. While up above, the flying female would do reconnaissance.

However, this was just a hypothesis.

But the hypothesis became a credible theory when someone suddenly started challenging me, with a magically enhanced voice, to a ‘fair’ fight. It came from the direction of the northwest bridge. And it turned into a confirmed fact, at least for me, when the ravens reported losing sight of all but one of the Dark Kingdom soldiers, and the inability to provide me any information what with the flying female being keeping them away with magical attacks and a machine gun.

Therefore, I decided to abandon this side of the river and move to the other side.

I quickly commandeered a bicycle from a nearby bike rack, and went towards the southwest Narai river bridge one kilometre and three meters away, as told to by the meter on the bike.
It was upon reaching the left riverbank road connecting this bridge to the northwest one that I drew up a blank.

If I remembered correctly, the roads there were elevated from the paddy fields and the forested riverbank. No matter which way I go, I have to get on the road to come up behind the soldier on the bridge. That won’t do with someone flying about.

That was when I consulted with the ravens, foxes and Gaunilo.

They praised me for my initiative, but Gaunilo spoiled my good feelings from being praised by complaining about when I would start killing.

I quickly retorted that he could do my job and I can go home if he wanted death so much. He didn’t reply.

I asked them for any suggestions to the predicament I faced: I can kill anyone within five meters of me, because I am confident I can use the melee weapons. However, I literally don’t know how to use the ranged weapons, or in the case of the bow and arrow, to aim with it. Because of this, they can hurt me before I can hurt them. Moreover they literally had the high ground. They would bludgeon me to death with their bullets before I ever get near them.

The raven quickly made up a plan on the spot. His plan was the reason why I am now here hidden in a rice paddy with sore knees and hands from thirty minutes of slow crawling. And the less said about my drenched and muddy clothes, the better.

Now...the bridge was a hundred or so meters to my front. Thirty meters, or so meters to my left is the street leading to the bridge, with a canal running parallel to its right side. Moe was hiding beside and slightly behind me. Her job was to cast camouflaging illusions over me whenever I demand it.

Now I’m waiting for the raven’s plan to start.

“What’s that?” Moe suddenly asked.

“Where?”

“In the house to our left.”

That house?! The ravens checked that place already! Shit!

I looked.

Beside the road with the canal were two adjoined houses, one a two story and the other a three story building. Two story high trees grew around the house, leaving only the roofs and the third story of the higher house viewable from where I was.

And in that third story, someone was opening the windows and ripping out the window curtains.

For a few moments, I froze in fear. However, the shadowy, rain obscured figure continued
opening windows and ripping out curtains. Eventually, it had opened up all the windows and then immediately placed a rifle with a bipod on the windowsill, facing towards the bridge.

Ok. So there’s a rear guard. I just have to kill that one first.

“What happened?” the raven asked.

“We just found someone hiding in a house behind the bridge.”

The raven grunted.

“Well, that’s going to make the plan problematic.”

The plan was that while the ravens suddenly attack the flying woman, I would sneak behind the one on the bridge, with the help of some camouflage magic from the foxes, and kill him. I would then reveal my presence. From that point on there are two options I was advised to do. If they attack me physically, I should stand my ground and kill them using my novel idea. If they shoot at me, I would create a wall and jump into the river below.

That plan depended on no one guarding the rear. Now that someone was doing so...I wish I had been given magical beam attacks instead of conjured, divine melee and thrown weapons.

If only I have some kind of magical gun…wait.

“...if I kill that one and take his gun...”

I could hear the raven smile.

“Good idea Kurumi. Still, it’s a shame that you don’t have practice with javelins or bows. You don’t know what you’re missing in life.”

I rolled my eyes.

Yes, it’s a shame that I’m going up against people with guns and magic, only armed with melee and ancient projectile weapons. Moreover, ancient projectile weapons that I haven’t even practiced with before! And I’m supposed to hit someone with them? Hah!

I waited for a few more moments to see if the rear guard would look anywhere else other than the bridge. It quickly became apparent that he wasn’t. I didn’t know whether it was because he is being careless, overconfident, or I’m being underestimated here but I wouldn’t let this opportunity go.

“Follow me Moe.”

I started crawling towards the house.

And damn that asshole for making me crawl more than I have to.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Six to seven minutes later, I had finally arrived behind the house. By now I was starting to shiver from the cold, unnatural feeling rain. Even Moe was shivering despite her thick fur.

Just what was this rain made of?

“Can we go inside now? Can we?” Moe suddenly pleaded with me.

Ah never mind.

“First we have to find another way inside other than that glass door.”

The glass door entranceway was in the center of the three story building. It was flanked by three windows of various sizes to the right and one big window to the left that...yep. It is unlocked. Before the window was a solid looking stack of wooden boards, concrete slabs and metal stands that was covered on top with three corrugated plastic roof sheets. And beyond the stack was a group of LPG tanks.

My woman’s intuition is telling me there’s a trap behind that door. And so far, it has only failed me once in every four times...ok, that’s a bad track record. I hope this is one of the right ones.

“That window looks like a good entranceway, right Kurumi?” Moe asked as she looked at the window with the stack, trying hard to ignore her shivers.

“It looks safe...”

On the other hand...I wonder…

“Can you detect magic, Moe?”

“Of course I can,” Moe immediately padded near the stack, sniffing at the ground. She suddenly stopped. After a moment, she backed away to me.

“I apologize for my eagerness. There’s magic here. I think I didn’t recognize it at first because of all this magical rain.”

I snapped my fingers, feeling vindicated by her reply.

“Can you dispel the magic?”

“I can...I think.”

The fox padded over to the stack and started looking with eyes that glowed violet all of a sudden. Which was a good thing, since violet is a dark color. If someone was looking this way and saw a pale colored glow…

A few more moments passed before her eyes stopped glowing violet. Moe turned back to me.

“Now can we go inside?” she whined pitifully.

I was too astonished to reply, seeing several objects suddenly appear from thin air, embedded into the wooden wall above, below and to the left of the windowsill. They were the infamous Claymore mines, their tripwires forming either a curtain of wires near the window’s handle, or glued to the handle.

The only thing that came to my mind was wondering how many more mines are scattered around the house. But that is for later. The first order of business was to take care of the Claymore mines in front of me.





How did it go again?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 21, 2008

“Kurumi, I understand that you want me to improve my English skills while we’re out of school...but why a bunch of pocket books and field manuals? And where’d you get them?”

I looked back at Ichigo from the plate I was washing.

Ichigo was the bespectacled, lean boy seated at the dining table in the LDK room. In front of him were several English military and historical fiction books that I borrowed from the Minamiozumi public library, and copies of U.S. Army field manuals that I secretly asked father in law to borrow or obtain.

I was still twelve years old, six months pregnant at the time. The night before I borrowed the books he said he was thinking about what job with a significant salary he could immediately get after graduating high school, for the sake of our baby. However he can’t think of any job that would immediately pay a mere high school graduate that much other than illegal ones.

A thought instantly came to me, one that I considered...the saying, I believe, is killing two birds in one shot. Although in this case it was several birds in one shot.

“I borrowed them from Minamiozumi and the field manuals are courtesy of father. As for why, well, why not? Not only would reading entire novels and manuals give you more experience with English than our new classmates, but you might also get a leg up on other potential new recruits if you join the JSDF.”

Ichigo was taken aback.

“The SDF? What made you think I would want to join them? No offense to you dad,” he apologized to his father, sitting on the sofa two or three meters away from the table and watching NHK news along with his mother.

They were both looking at us, the TV quickly muted by him. The difference was Ota Hayato, Father in law, had an almost imperceptible smile on his face, while Ota Yuki, Mother in law, was frowning at me.

“Nothing. However, any skill you learn in the JSDF might get potential civilian employers interested. Who knows, someone might talk you into another, higher paying job, right father?”

“Yes, someone might,” Hayato admitted with a sigh. Beside him, Yuki was now openly scowling at me.

That was because she wants her son to be a politician, instead of a soldier or some ordinary businessman. She wants Ichigo to have a chance for the highest office in the land, whatever political affiliation he will choose. And I just happened to be a big bump in that dream of hers, among other reasons like Ichigo dropping out of school in concern for me and making her an object of gossip.

Anyways, I didn’t want to add another reason for her to make life burdensome, so I made an addendum.

“Who knows? Having a few years in the JSDF might give you points with former JSDF members if you ever decide to run for politics. The only problem is we have to settle down in one place long enough for any voters to recognize us as fellow townspeople, I think.”

Yuki nudged Hayato, making him turn around and out of my view. She gave him a meaningful look, the scowl still present on her face for some strange reason. Moments later, her scowl slowly turned into a frown.

I don’t know what Father did, but I hope that puts Monster in law down, at least for this day. Hopefully, she will only be as irritating as usual tomorrow.

“I suppose so...” Ichigo admitted. He then picked up a field manual and was about to open it when I said one more reminder.

“Ichigo, I want you to read out loud, ok?”

“What? Why do you want me to do something so embarrassing Kurumi?”

I looked back and shrugged.

“Apparently reading out loud helps you remember better. I also want to hear how you read.”

Ichigo shook his head slightly.

“Fine. Let’s see...FM 23 line 23. A...something, something...T...I...P...E...aRuu...eSuu...O...”

I swore to myself right then and there that I’m teaching Ao English. Anything to avoid Ichigo’s…level. Also, I’m going to help him learn English. I refuse to leave my future husband an English illiterate person.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

...to disarm an M18 mine, one should…

“Moe? Can you give me needles? And lots of them?” I said, looking back at her.

“Very well. I just need you to put your hand palms up.”

When I did so with my right hand, she quickly put her front paws on top of it and did her magic. One moment there was nothing on my hand, the next there was a pile of needles, made from bone.

“Bone? Can’t you – wait...there might be something electric involved in here. Since bone doesn’t... thank you Ran.” I quickly turned around, picked a needle from my palm, climbed up on the stack, and looked more closely at the firing device atop the mine.

In the background, I heard Moe whisper “You’re welcome.”

Let’s see...one of the holes where a safety pin was supposed to be is somewhere up...there.

I slowly held up the tip of the needle before the hole, to see if the it could fit in the hole. And to my relief, it will go in without any problems. I then started to insert it, trying to control the slight shaking I had from the cold.

It was nerve wracking to say the least. With clothes, you don’t have to worry about it literally exploding in your face if you sewed a little bit too fast. Or if the needle hit something on the way – ohshit.

The needle scraped something.

For a moment I froze. After a few more moments, it became apparent that nothing was going to happen. Even so, I didn’t dare relax. Or think any other thing than this. That was why I scraped something inside in the first place. So...here I go again.

And no more wandering thoughts.

Ten nerve wracking minutes later, I was done.

I had finished placing needles in the safety pin holes of nine separate firing devices.

Nine.

Good heavens, I don’t know whether this was paranoia, or if this is how dangerous other magical girls were to these beings.

Now that the firing devices had been somewhat neutralized, the next thing to do is to carefully cut the wires. And to do that...well, time to do the only kind of magic I could do with this ring.

I softly muttered the name of one of the weapons whose meaning, appearance, dimensions and pronunciation had been embedded into my mind by the ring. And thankfully, without any headaches.

Got to thank whoever made this feature.

“Xiphos.”

A fifty centimetre long sword appeared in my left hand. It was an iron sword, with a leaf shaped blade that was widest at around two thirds of its length. It also had a wooden handle and scabbard. And it was...lighter than I expected from a Western sword. In fact, it’s feels like it was as light as the katanas I saw in TV dramas.

Wait. This isn’t the time for this. On with the magical girl job.

I started cutting the nylon wires slowly, starting with one of the three that were glued at one side to the window.

A slightly irritating eight minutes later, I was done. Now, I had to start with the other three tripwires, which...were more complicated to handle. The reason for this was because, amazingly, the wires were tied at both ends to firing devices.

Twelve minutes later, I’m finally finished with all nine, damned mines. Now all I have to do is pull out the blasting cap cum firing mechanism, and the mines will be as safe as they can be. And this took me only twenty, joyful seconds.

...it’s joyful because finally, the mines are dead. Dead. DEAD!

Ehem. Sorry. Just...pissed off by everything.

After I had thrown them away, and dispelled the Xiphos with the word “dialysei,” I looked down at Moe. She was looking up at me with a pleading expression, huddling against my side ever since I started cutting tripwire number two.

“Can we go inside now?”

“Is it safe inside?”

Moe groaned.

I understand the feeling Moe. I understand, sister.

She quickly took a peek inside through the ten centimetre gap between the ten centimetre gap between the windowsill and the window. After a minute or so, she looked back at me in frustration.

“The disguise spell is gone. There are no traps near the window. The nearest one was planted three of your steps away from the window.”

“How many? And of what kind?”

“It’s a mix of what you just fiddled with a while ago and magical traps. As for how many, the entire floor level is studded with these traps.”

...that’s insane.

“How does that monster up there plan to get out of this house if he blocked his way out?”

“Are you sure he had blocked his way out? Mind you, I they easily climbed up the wall of a building higher than this one.”

“...point. Let’s get inside and start.”

Moe nodded, and quickly squirmed through the gap. I followed her, slowly sliding the window open until it was wide enough to let me through, and quietly landed beside her.

That was when I saw the layout and traps of the place through the rain obscured moonlight.

To my right was the sliding doors, and facing it were a grand total of twenty two Claymore mines, all their tripwires glued to the side of the door and running through an eye hook screwed into the floor to the left of the door. Also facing it was a magical circle that looked like an MGLN one, fifty centimetres in diameter, hovering in mid-air just a centimetre or two from the door.

Obviously whatever it does would be activated if someone runs into it.

Moving on, I was in the corridor that the sliding door opens to. Around two and a half to three meters wide, and fifteen or so meters long, the corridor was mined by the magical circles every two meters. These ones, hovering at various heights, also have an added complicating detail: each one had four strands each connecting them to random spots on the walls around them.

Fortunately for me, the gaps between the strands were wide enough to let someone crawl through the gaps. And better yet, the corridor terminates six meters to my left, at the landing of a wooden staircase. And there were only three magical mines that I had to crawl under.

Well. This is good. Whatever curse was on me is gone.

“Ms. Kurumi?” Moe nudged me.

“I’m going, I’m going,” I replied, at the same time going prone and starting to crawl.

A minute later, I had finally reached the stairs.

And fuck. It seems the suffering isn’t over.

There were more Claymore mines on the stairs, along with many random steps that weren’t planted with them. And this time they weren’t tripwire triggered ones, but the electronically triggered ones…

…which is strange because why would these be here? According to that field manual, you only use that if you can see –

I rolled onto my back, another word at the tip of my tongue and ready to be unleashed if the monster’s looking down at me. Moments later, I sighed in relief.

There’s no peephole in the ceiling…wait. Maybe it’s looking down the stairwell?

“Moe, could you disguise me with magic?”

“I could do that, but how well disguised? Magically speaking, the more absolute a spell’s effects were, the louder the magic will be to a magical being’s senses. That one up there would definitely feel the magic.”

“…how about a recorded image of the stairwell in the air?”

“…that’s soft. I’ll do that.”

Moe quickly padded around in a circle, her tail wagging this way and that. A moment later she stopped, her nose pointed at the stairwell. And then I felt a really, really slight feeling of something that froze in time. And how that can be felt in the first place?

Ah, never mind.

I quickly asked her for more needles. Upon being given a heapful, I walked forwards in a crouch, intent on disarming the first one at the landing of the stairs.

Since this was an electric firing system, all I had to do was to disconnect the wire from the firing device, and then cut the wire shorter. To that end, I summoned another xiphos for the job.

As I was disarming my second mine, I wondered about something.

“Moe, what do you think is the reason some of these steps weren’t mined?”

“My first guess I would think he was starting to run out of those mine contraptions. But he could have just filled in the gap with magical traps. No, I think there was something special about those stairs.”

“And it’s?” I asked as I moved on to my third mine.

“Well…the steps look worn, so I guess they must be very creaky steps.”

I looked back at her, incredulously.

How would creaky steps…of course! You don’t need to see to know that someone was walking around. You just need to hear and then start blowing things up.

Well then, I just need to avoid stepping on one...oh.

Ouch.

I’ll have to do some acrobatic acts here.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It took me fifteen, tiring and painful minutes to finally get up the stairs.

I had to disable every mine on the way...and I did leg acrobatics that I haven’t even done in the bedroom, just to avoid the creaky stair steps.

No, seriously. We’re not that acrobatic.

When I finally, FINALLY, got to the third floor, I saw it.

An open door.

Lo and behold, beyond it was a figure seated on a chair. Its sniper rifle was placed on a table, in a room where lots of chemical containers had been pushed to the walls.

It was a human shaped being, male looking, and absolutely hairless. It also had ears as large as a human palm, and yellow colored skin. And I mean it. His skin is literally the same hue as a sunflower.

And…he’s only four meters away from me.

I grinned.

This is good. This is GOOD! I’m finally done with the fucking traps!

“Sari –“

The male being suddenly whirled around, a handgun held in one hand.

“-sa.”

A five meter long pike instantly appeared in my hands, and speared him through the head.

Goodbye asshole.

“Attack now!” I ordered the ravens.

As the being dropped dead, I ran to the table and took hold of the sniper rifle. Then I looked down at the bridge, ignoring the gunfire, the winds and the battlefield chatter.

The being there was the strange monster from before. It’s walking backwards, its eyestalks pointed at the fight happening in the rainy, moonlit skies.

Alright, wait until the monster looks like it’s around only a hundred meters away. I can do this...I can do this...I can do this...almost there...almost there...allmooost...there!

Remember what father in law’s friend said. Focus. Wind? No wind. Aim the central reticule at the target. Aim small. Don’t breathe. Squeeze slowly –

The gun jerked in my hands. And my ears were ringing.

As I quickly re-aimed, I saw that the monster was headless. Its body was flopping around the bridge in death throes, with blue colored blood being washed away by the rain.

“Watch out Kurumi!”

Whe –

Something suddenly hit me on the top of my head, driving me through the table and onto the floor.

“Ow.”

What the fuck hit me?

The sound of things breaking, Moe screaming, and the sensation of splinters and two more mysterious, painful blows hitting my right shoulder brought me out of clutching my head in pain. I opened my eyes to see tracers passing through the roof. And then one of them hit me in the right arm, giving me another painful blow.

OHSHITBULLETS!

“Sarisa! Sarisa! Sarisa! Sarisa!”

I materialized pikes around me in a panic, all of them embedded in the floor and pointing upw –

A part of the roof suddenly caved in to my right.

Rolling towards my left, I came up into a crouch, ready to summon a spear called a dory when I saw it wasn’t needed.

A white and dark skinned woman with wings like those of a fly had impaled herself on one sarisa, the pike running through her open mouth and out of her other end. But she was still alive enough to weakly aim a hand at me and make a small ball of magic appear.

Like I’m letting her finish that.

“Labrys!”

A symmetrical double headed axe appeared in my hands, and then I quickly swung it at her hand with all my might. I succeeded in cutting it off, extinguishing the magic spell in the process. And with another swing, I split her head open just like a watermelon.

...

...I think I’m going to be sick..

I knelt down and looked away, feeling naus - why’s it getting brig – BEAM!

I ducked down, on all fours. A beam of light suddenly vaporized everything higher than a meter.

Fight back! Fight back girl!

I ran towards the gun, grabbed it, went to what remained of the wall and placed the barrel on it, worked the bolt left-handed, and aimed down at where the light came from.

It was Imas, standing in the middle of the street along the other side of the river. She had her wooden sword in hand, and it was where the beam of magic came from.

I quickly aimed –

She held her hand out –

I fired –

A big magic circle appeared at her palm –

She took a step back from the impact of the bullet, cracks very visible on her shield.

I reloaded and aimed again –

A sudden blow to my midsection interrupted me. Breathless, I let go of the gun and curled up in pain, on top of a lump of metal.

Ouch. That...hurt...must breath...breath...in, out, in, out...in, out.

Someone was shaking me on the shoulder.

“Stop that. Already hurts, damn it.”

“I’m sorry,” a fox faced, long haired girl dressed in a white kimono said.

“Moe?” I wheezed.

“It’s me.”

“Where are the monsters?”

“The ravens, foxes and the rat are delaying them.”

In the background, I could hear gunshots and shouts, things breaking and flying through the air.

“Do you need me to deaden the pain?”

“No. Just…just a little bit more time. I’ll be alright.”

I continued breathing, and waited for the pain to fade away.


A minute or so later, the pain faded away. I could finally move around.

The first thing I did was to pick up the lump of metal I was on top of, and threw it away.

Stupid deformed bullet. It’s very uncomfortable lying on top of it.

Second thing was look out the hole where the bullet came through. It wouldn’t do to be targeted again because I poked my head above the wall.

And what a sight it was.

The riverside vegetation was on fire, a thick column of smoke blurring everything there. The street and the walls, whatever I manage to see of it, had holes everywhere. There were black specks flying out of the smoke, and gunshots were continuously ringing out from –

A ball of magic suddenly erupted from somewhere behind the smoke. It continued flying upwards until it reached the height of a hundred meters or so. And then it exploded like a firework – why are the stars not falling down to the ground – oh no!

“Run ravens! Run!”

The ravens didn’t need my advice. They saw the same thing: the stars were homing in on them.

Several black specks flew away from the smoke cloud in all directions, all of them firing what appeared to be shockwaves at the stars in an effort to blow them up.

“Hey! Wait for me!” Gaunilo screamed.

Moments later it appeared they all succeeded, since no one shouted that someone died. However…the birds were spooked.

“Kurumi, we can’t do your work for you. You have to also attack them,” the head raven said.

“Across a bridge, with the other side covered by smoke?”

“Then swim across. The river’s shallow enough.”

That was true.

This part of the Narai river was easily fordable in good weather. In fact, one could call it a stream during those kind of days. However the current rainfall made the water level higher, around knee height by now. And that was worrying me.

“Could you ask the person making it rain – “

Something suddenly exploded downstairs. Someone female started screaming bloody murder.

Oh shit. How did – never mind.

“Moe, can you fight?”

“As said by Yuki earlier, no.”

Yuki? Must be the fox with the regal sound.

“Then get outside through the window. I’ll try to fight them here.”

Moe looked at me for a moment. Then she moved past me, her body instantly changing into a fox.

...what did I expect when I said that? No – back to the fight girl.

“Hoplon.”

A wooden shield that covers me from shoulder to knee instantly appeared on my right arm. It was bowl-shaped, with a rim made of bronze. It was covered in dried leather and surprisingly heavy for something that looked so thin.

“Xiphos.”

Another sword appeared in my left hand.

Alright. Don’t give them a chance to surround me. Back to the wall. Back to the wall...there’s no wall anymore, remember? Wait, the corner.

I placed myself into a corner, kneeled down, and got ready.

Now, I’m only waiting for them.







...are they playing a waiting game –

The middle of the floor blew upwards, forcing me to duck be – BEAM!

An instant later I was dropping through the air, my mouth numbed by the shield hitting it.

At that moment, several memories flashed through my mind.

Family outings with Mama and Papa, getting an award for best English speaker in class, the time I first met Ichigo, when we made Ao, and confessing my pregnancy to both sets of parents. Giving birth and almost dying in the process, my first fight with Ichigo, the first time I cooked, cleaned and did the laundry of other people –

I crashed.

...

OWWHHHHHHH SHIEEEEEET!

That...that hurts. Thankfully I landed in the rice pa – EEP!

I quickly angled the hoplon to my left, deflecting the spearhead aimed at my head.

There was a sudden blow. Something scratched past my right arm. The hoplon sunk into the mud up to the handle strap. And then someone squeaked in a high pitched - squeak?

I took a peek.

Ouch. Ouch. I’m a girl and I feel for this guy, even if he’s trying to kill me.

The spear-wielding monster named Duq, a humanoid being with red, scaly skin tried to spear my head through with a jumping attack. My shield deflection messed his move, thus making him...land on my hoplon’s edge groin first.

That means the thing that scratched past my right arm was his left foot.

Right now he was only upright because of the death grip he had on his spear. His pants were being stained by orange blood...

He’s bleeding from that. Ouch.

Let it not be said I’m a sadistic person. So, to relieve him of the pain -

“Dialysei.”

The hoplon disappeared. I quickly grabbed his hair with my right hand and dragged his head nearer to me. And then I stabbed him up the chin -

Oof!

Duq’s body immediately dropped onto me.

...heavy. Can’t breathe. Bruises tingling. I should have pushed him down beside me before I killed him.

Ok. 1,2,3, Push!

It wasn’t enough. The body only shifted leftwards, but it was still mostly on me.

One more. 1, 2, 3, PUSH!

I succeeded in pushing the body off to my left.

I took a few moments, letting air into my lungs. Raindrops fell into my open mouth - I spat out repeatedly.

The rain tasted bad.

Ok. Time to get up and see where the other enemies are.

I sat up and...oh shit.

There was another human looking being, with green skin and wearing only a bandoleer and pants, five meters to my front. He’s sitting on his haunches, a sword strapped to his back by a scabbard made of pale, stitched animal skin. And in his right hand he’s aiming the biggest revolver I’ve ever seen, at me.

“Hullo there animal,” it said.


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2014-05-04 09:20am, edited 5 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-01-12 12:42pm
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Deleted the blank posts, cleaning up the thread.
Lady Tevar


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2014-04-03 09:06am, edited 4 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-01-12 11:36pm
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You might try giving us a little more of a chapter to read. So far, this is just snapshots, not enough to really justify a post.



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Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-01-26 01:50pm
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Can we get to the action now?



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Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-01-27 11:31am
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LadyTevar wrote:
Can we get to the action now?


I'm writing it at the moment.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-03 09:08am
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A question.

How does one delete their own posts? I can't delete mine so I was forced to turn them into placeholders for future chapters.

Also, I had edited my whole story. It's now sleeker, more easily read, and chapter 5 gonna have action.

I just haven't finished editing 5.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-03 09:29pm
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You can't delete posts after someone has replied to them, including yourself, or at all in most forums after a short period of time has passed, ten minutes.



"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-04 01:07am
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Sea Skimmer wrote:
You can't delete posts after someone has replied to them, including yourself, or at all in most forums after a short period of time has passed, ten minutes.


Ah.

Now I know. Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-13 10:27am
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Chapter 5 is here. It's in one of the posts above, the former placeholder for chapter 5.

Thanks to the folks on Spacebattles who beta'ed for this chapter. They're the following: Strypgia, Norseman and 100thlurker.

Comments people?

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-13 10:48pm
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Since ou are "Placeholding", would you PLEASE put something in the title (by editing post #1) to let us know when it's actually updated?!



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Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-15 01:22am
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LadyTevar wrote:
Since you are "Placeholding", would you PLEASE put something in the title (by editing post #1) to let us know when it's actually updated?!


...I'm afraid I don't understand.

I did put a very long update above, in one of the posts that was formerly a placeholder. And I ended up with placeholders because I couldn't delete my own posts.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-16 11:09pm
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kilopi505 wrote:
LadyTevar wrote:
Since you are "Placeholding", would you PLEASE put something in the title (by editing post #1) to let us know when it's actually updated?!


...I'm afraid I don't understand.

I did put a very long update above, in one of the posts that was formerly a placeholder. And I ended up with placeholders because I couldn't delete my own posts.

Easily Dealt With. I've removed the "Placeholder" posts you were unable to Delete, so now you may post new chapters properly.



Image

Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-17 11:39pm
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Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
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LadyTevar wrote:
kilopi505 wrote:
LadyTevar wrote:
Since you are "Placeholding", would you PLEASE put something in the title (by editing post #1) to let us know when it's actually updated?!


...I'm afraid I don't understand.

I did put a very long update above, in one of the posts that was formerly a placeholder. And I ended up with placeholders because I couldn't delete my own posts.

Easily Dealt With. I've removed the "Placeholder" posts you were unable to Delete, so now you may post new chapters properly.


Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-27 11:04am
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Chapter 6

I just stared at the revolver in the green-skinned being’s hand.

By the way that the muzzle looked so big to my eyes, I could certainly say it’s aimed at my forehead.

And that made me worry.

Could I take the resulting blow to my head?

...I think I could, but still, it’s a straight punch to the head. I might get a lethal concussion. Proof of that was the top of my head still smarting from the hit earlier. My right arm too...those weren’t there before.

Big, purple colored bruises had formed where the bullets hit my right arm earlier. And that worried me.

If bruises this big were on my right arm, then how about my stomach? And heaven forbid, what about my head? Could there be something leaking blood inside my brain right this moment?

I should get myself checked at the hospital immediately.

“Ah. So you finally noticed the bruises? Congratulations!”

I looked back at the monster.

Is that sarcasm or genuine amazement?

“W – “

The gun fired. A bullet grazed past my left ear.

“Ah, ah, ah. No opening our mouth. We wouldn’t want to catch a bullet in there, do we?”

I slammed my mouth shut and hoped that I’m not glaring.

I don’t want to get a concussion.

“Now, let me finish my monologue here before we get on with the business of trying to kill each other, shall we?”

...is he a moron? Oh well. Why should I correct his blunder? The longer he puts off killing me, the better the chances of someone coming to my rescue.

Now, where are the others?

“Now, what am I going to say again? Hmm...ah! Congratulations! You killed off a lot of Hunters in one battle using only your mind and a shockingly weak magical ability. So weak, that the lowest ranks of a dark kingdom’s society and children have more magic than you have! Quite a feat, I say. Quite a feat.”

...ok.

On one hand I’m flattered. On the other hand, I’m horrified that even mooks have more magic than me.

“Not only that, but we have here magical mascots with their own kill counts. Lethal mascots. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.”

He had a point. I could recall only one anime out of many where the mascot did do some fighting.

...egads.

“And then there’s this weird place we got transported into. This isn’t a barrier of some sort. This is an actual new world that just got created for our battlefield.”

Say what?

Actual new world? Created? As in Kuni-umi? Wait. That’s only making Japan. He said whole new world...

...Tenchikaibyaku. The creation of Heaven and Earth. Gods that were above Izanami and Izanagi...

...my employers are the gods of legend...

I’m saved! I’m saved!

“So...thanks to you and your fucking friends, I had most of my team dead. I’ll never be able to live this spectacular fuck up down. Not even if I kill you right now, and bring your decapitated head to my leader.”

Get to the point! I’m getting bored.

“So here’s how it’s going to go. I’m going to throw my gun way to my back.”

He did as he said, and threw his revolver behind him.

That threw me for a loop.

He’s got me in his gun sights. Why’s he throwing that away?

What on earth was he thinking?

“I’m going to make a barrier inside this strange, new world to keep out those fucking mascots.”

He raised his right hand and chanted something short, in a language that was strange, harsh and proud.

The rain suddenly stopped. The rainy night sky turned into a clear one.
“And now, I’m going to beat you black, blue and unconscious with only my own fists. No magic at all.”

“You’re awfully confident of yourself, you know?” I scoffed as I stood up from the grass, and created a hoplon and xiphos.

“Tse. I already got your measure. I can take you with no magic. It’ll be just like one of the sparring sessions back in my youth, only difference is that I’ll sell you to the highest bidder after I drag you back home.”

What. The. Fuck.

“Surprised? Yeah, it’s not standard procedure, but I know a few, very rich folks who’re interested in having a magical girl slave. And for you, I could demand twice what they’re prepared to offer. That should be enough financial compensation for my oncoming woes.”

“Fuck you.”

I had no intention of serving as a –

“Not me. But you might do a lot of that in the future.”

I saw red.

“So come on! Let’s start...wait. I can sell copies of my memory as pay per view – “

I silently charged across the five meters separating us. If charging without yelling was considered silent.

I’ll smash into his body with the hoplon and my whole body weight. And then when we’re on the ground, I will stab and stab and sta –

I was only one step away from him when he suddenly moved.

One moment he was looking at me with an impressed look. The other he was gone from –

Something suddenly tripped me forward.

I tried twisting in mid-air, to place the hoplon between me and him but all I did was sink half of it in the mud and leave me stuck on my side.

And then I got kicked hard in the stomach, right where I got shot earlier.

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I just laid there on the mud and rice with closed eyes, gasping and clutching my stomach.

“That’s smart of you. Unfortunately, I’m simply better than you,” the monster whispered into my ear.

If I could, I would have taken the chance and tried to use my sword. As it was – ouch!

My back just got kicked.

“Get up! Get up bitch! I’m not finished here. Come on!”

If you wou – oof! Stop kicking me I could – oof.

Fuck it.

I waited for the next kick. Immediately after the impact, I acted.

“Dialysei.”

The hoplon disappeared, I grabbed his leg with my right hand and pulled with everything I had. The act almost got him to fall over, if not for him suddenly sticking his sword into the mud.

“You want to take this to the ground?” The monster incredulously said as he looked down at me.

I didn’t answer. I –

For a moment I saw stars fly in my vision.

I tried to slash the xiphos at his leg, but another punch right at my fingers made me lose hold of the sword. And then he punched me hard.



And again…



And again…



...

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sometime later, he stopped punching my face, and left me alone. I didn’t know what he did because my eyes were closed. But I know that my head was a little bit buried in the paddy field judging from the coldness around my head and the water seeping my ears. And then there was my face.

My nose hurt. Badly. My mouth...I think both lips wer busted...and was that a broken tooth?

After a few moments of discovering more pain with my tongue, and painfully holding it with my lips, I finally got the object with my left hand. And then I had to blink a few times to make the blurry vision go away.

Oh shit. It is a tooth. What’s worse, it’s one of my front teeth.

The other front teeth were also in danger of falling off, judging from the wobbling and the taste of blood.

...I wonder how Ichigo would take this new look on my face? Oh forget it. I’ll go look –

Woah. Little bit dizzy here.

I rested a few more moments, slowly sat up and looked around.

There he was, talking into a pocket mirror like it’s a cellphone. Or maybe it was

“No. No. One million Seeds. That’s my final offer – got to cut the call. She’s awake...it’s ok. It’s ok. I’m not giving you damaged goods. I’ll heal her, plant’s promise. Ok. Bye now.”

He put the pocket mirror cellphone away.

“Awake already, hmm? Well...that’s different. Every other girl I’ve finally put the hurt on cried for their mothers like a baby. You...”

“I?”

Bloody saliva dribbled down my chin with that one word.

Yes. Bloody. I know because I had just tenderly wiped the dribble away with my left hand.

“You keep coming back for more. That’s impressive. Where’d you get such perseverance?”

Where’d I get the bull headedness?!

Hah! How about my life?

Ever had a natural birth days before the expected delivery date, on your thirteenth birthday? How about sleepless nights from trying to calm your baby down, and going to school with just coffee making you function when you’re fourteen years old? Or how about having half of the household chores get dumped on you the moment you move in with your fiancé the same year?

And by the time you’re almost eighteen, you already have years of fatigue, household accidents and the stress of balancing studies, my own family and trying to build some rapport with the normal mothers of the neighbourhood under your belt. How about that, fucker?

I’m lucky Ichigo forced his way into helping me. Every. Single. Time.

“I see you’re thinking something sarcastic and revealing, girl.”

The green skinned being started tapping his foot...or attempting to tap his foot on the mud.
He quickly gave up when his foot kept sinking into the mud.

“Shoo. Wat nhow?”

I couldn’t speak properly. I was trying to avoid having my tongue move as much as possible. There was still the possibility of saving the rest of my teeth with visits to a dentist.

I hope it wouldn’t cost much.

“What now? Well, since you’ve impressed me, I’m now going to beat you to within a node of your life and drag you back to my world without torturing and humiliating you. That’s merciful, no?”

I snorted, and then winced.

Definitely a broken nose.

“Broken noses do that, girl. Now, let’s end it. Charge. Throw something. Whatever. Come on.”

Ok. Think Kurumi.

What did I actually know about hand to hand? Besides pulling the hair and scratching out their eyes.

...only the bayonet part of the U.S. Army’s FM 3-25.150.

Ichigo practiced most of that outside the house with Father. It’s only luck that they somewhat practiced the bayonet part indoors because of bad weather that one time.

“Dory.”

A spear appeared in my hands. It was two and a half meters long, from spear tip to the butt spike. Made of dogwood, and with a bronze spearhead and a butt spike called a sauroter, it was four times as heavy as Ao was when I gave birth to her.

Easily manageable if I use two hands.

“Oh. You wised up.”

Of course I wised up. I’d read somewhere that the spear was the easiest melee weapon that could be mastered by a newbie. Since I’m a newbie...here I am with a dory. Besides, I didn’t know anything else other than the bayonet part...and cutting food with a knife. Which isn’t going to help out here.

I waited for him to move.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A minute or so had passed.

The green skinned being just looked at me all the time, while I spent that time remembering everything I can of how to fight with a fixed bayonet. And adjusting myself accordingly.

Things like the proper stance to assume, but adjusted for a leftie. Or the different ways I could attack. Slashes, thrusts and smashes. And that’s a good thing with the dory! I could stab with a butt smash using the sauroter. Or slash with its tip.

All hail the dory!

“You’re not moving from there, are you?”

Nope. You move, asshole.

“Ok. Here I go.”

He – FAST!

I slashed left, to keep him away. It was a close thing. He almost got himself impaled on the spear head if not for a sudden brake on his part. And that pause was an opportunity.

I made a thrust –

He moved his head right at my first thrust.

A slash to the left –

He ducked.

And a slash to the right.

He jumped backwards, giving up space.

Seeing the opportunity, I chased after him, making a few more thrusts –

He suddenly leapt to my left.

I whirled around.

I faced him just in time to see him about to smash his sword handle on my head. Luckily I got the shaft up in time, to make him hit his wrists on the wood.

The monster jumped back and hissed in pain. He even shook his hands one after the other.

Go me!

“That’s an improvement over before.”

Of course I – shit!

...

Ouch. Fuck.

I spat out another front tooth into my right hand.

Fuck, that’s more money going to be spent on the dentist.

Ok, what just happened? Why’s my elbow hurting like something hit it perfectly? Why’s he clutching his side like that?

Let’s see...He charged. And then...then uh...

I recalled it.

First I made a thrust, but he parried the spearhead to my left and went on, seemingly intent on giving a body blow to me. And then...I somehow shifted my right hand’s grip on the spear so I had my elbow pointed at his midsection. And at the same time I stuck the sauroter into the mud for support.

Then we collided. My elbow rammed into his stomach while his left shoulder hit my mouth. The only reason we never fell into the mud was because of the sauroter. He stumbled away from me while I covered my mouth, both of us in pain from the collision.

“Ok. Third time’s the charm.”

Third time my ass. Just die already asshole!

When he tensed his legs, about to charge again, I pre-empted him. I ran forward, the spearhead aimed at his stomach.

He quickly parried it to his left and realized he just made a mistake.

I moved in towards him and turned his parry into a butt stroke. The sauroter only made a cut across his skin, but that’s ok. My killing blow had just been set up.

Step forward, smas – oof!

He managed to swing his sword at my mid-side, messing my aim. Instead of stabbing his neck, the sauroter only made a deep slash down his stomach, his leg, and impaled his right foot. I was left out of position, leaning towards the grou – ch!

My hair! He’s pulling my hair backwards!

“You little bitch! That hurts!”

He punched my face with his left fist. And again. And then he stopped.

My nose hurt...why did he stop...why’s he looking at my right hand – oh no.

The ring was a visible bulge in the glove.

He suddenly let go of my hair, elbowed my head, and grabbed my right hand.

What’s he planning to do – why’s he holding my ring finger with his hand – ouch!

“Ouchouchouchletgoleggo.”

Something snapped.

“KYAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!”

He bent it! He bent my finger all the way backwards!

I dropped to the mud, clutching my right hand, screaming as much as when I gave birth. But it wasn’t over.

The monster pulled the dory out of his foot, and then limped towards me. He then suddenly dropped his butt on my stomach and pulled the glove off with no regard for my severely dislocated finger, making me black out for a moment in pain.

And then he pulled off the ring.

The moment he did it, my clothes changed back to what I was wearing before.

And then he slapped me.

I felt all the teeth on the left side of my mouth break. Whatever remained of my front teeth broke off. My cheek hurt a lot. And I tasted a lot of blood.

He slapped me yet another time, this time the right side of my face.

The same thing happened on the right side of my face.

And another slap to my left.

Several broken teeth from my left side filled my mouth. And my jaw suddenly hurt. I was seeing double images at this point.

And then he –

...

“You fucking made me do this.”

I couldn’t hear him properly. All I could do was stare at his arm, stabbed in my stomach up to the middle of his lower arm.

The he suddenly pulled his hand.

...

...so that’s what my intestines looked like.

...where’s all the pain? I was feeling a truckload of it a few moments ago. Where did it go? And speaking of not feeling, I couldn’t feel my legs...oh.

If he punched through my stomach and got it embedded up to his mid-arm, then he had also broken my spine.

...fuck.

I’m dying.

...honestly, I should be crying or be in denial right now. But all I feeling was relief that Ao’s safe and away from all this. Ichigo too, and my parents...even the in-laws.

However, didn’t the rat say something about incoming invasion?

“There goes my retirement money. Oh well, let’s go with just bringing your head to Leader.”

The monster took hold of my neck with both hands and started squeezing.

...Ao, Ichigo, I hope we could see each other at the river Sanzu.

I’ll be going there first.

Goodbye.

I closed my eyes and waited for the inevitable. Suddenly the hands around my neck suddenly slackened. And the monster gasped loudly.

What happened?

I opened my eyes, and saw a glorious sight.

A spearhead made of stone was sticking out of his chest. And the monster was staring at it in stupefied amazement.

“Shit.”

After saying that, the monster suddenly dropped to his side, taking the spear with him. It was then I saw the one who killed him.

“I apologize that I only got here now,” the goddess said.

She looked terrifying.

She was wearing a blood splattered white kimono. Her skin and hair had maggots and worms and centipedes crawling all over it. Parts of her skin and kimono had holes where some animal or insect had chewed through, and where I could see muscle, internal organs, and bones that were also being crawled on by the insects. And there was the smell of something rotting wafting off her.

“It was because everything in the heavens was very confused at the moment. But don't worry. My daughter and Ame-no-koyane are quickly setting things right this moment.”

She also looked beautiful.

She had long, luxuriant waist length hair. The kind of hair that I might only get if I wasted half of my bank account and time on taking care of my hair. Her skin, every part that doesn’t have a hole, was pale, as pale as any of the most popular J-Pop idols. Her blood spattered, white kimono with many holes had a look that mixes tradition and abstract modernity and enables the dress to be a top prize contender in any fashion show in Japan.

And she was smiling at me.

“As for you, you can sleep now. You're not going to die. I forbid you entrance into my realm.”

My realm...moving corpse with maggots...a goddess...

“...Iza...nami.”

“We'll talk later. Sleep now.”

She closed my eyes. And then I blacked out.

==========================================================================

Many, many thanks to everyone who had beta'ed the whole thing, or small parts of the whole thing, or even just gave me some advice on specific parts, from the beginning of this thing I'm writing...which was last year.

Among them were Strypgia, Atreidestrooper, Thy-Robocop, DisavateraMX, Swordomatic, Tempera, Norseman, 100thlurker, Aleph, Acatalepsy, crowind, HIMP Dahak, Emy, Havocfett, Cat, LATWPiat, Arkalest, hyzmarca, SolarEnvoy, ckk185, Chaosmark from Spacebattles.

Lady Tevar from Stardestroyer.net


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2014-06-09 07:52am, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-04-29 11:13pm
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Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
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Location: Tahalshia Manor
YAY!
Keep Writing, dammit, I wanna know what happens.



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Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-05-29 11:26am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
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Location: Philippines
Chapter 7

“Wake up.”

I don’t want to wake up.

“Wake up, young one.”

Sleeping feels so good, I don’t want to wake up.

“The faster you wake up, the faster you’ll meet your daughter and husband again.”

The memories of what happened flooded into my mind all at once. I sat up the bed and looked for Izanami.

I was inside a circular pit house with a hardened dirt floor. There’s a big, wooden pillar in the middle, and other smaller wooden pillars surrounding the big one. The smaller pillars were all tied at one end to the big one, creating a conical structure upon which a thatched roof was placed upon. Red colored, round bottomed pots of various sizes with rope mark decorations and leather coverings tied over the opening were placed on my left. And to my left was a door opening, where sunlight and the smell of smoke was coming through.

“If you want to talk, I am outside the house,” Izanami’s voice came from outside the door opening.
I stood up from the mattress, a simple one made from leather placed over a pile of leaves, and briefly noticed that I’m back in the clothes I was wearing when the rat showed up.

Well, that’s good.

I walked out of the house to see a beautiful sight.

We’re on a forested mountain, inside a huge forest clearing. Below the mountain was a coastal plain, and a sea. In the distance, I could see an island, and beyond that were two landmasses bordering the sea from the left and the right. The wind was blowing in from the sea, bringing with it the smell of the sea and the forest, and the sun was rising from the right.

I take it that’s the East of wherever this place is.

“A beautiful sight, no?”

I looked left and saw Izanami. She was seated on a log, and dressed in quite unusual clothes.
She wore a loose-fitting one piece dress with short sleeves, made of hemp, and dyed red with black curvilinear designs reminiscent of Ainu costumes. The belt was a red colored rope that wasn’t made from hemp. Her footwear was made from animal skin, and padded with something inside it.

She was also wearing an irregularly shaped jade magatama pendant, and red colored earrings of a design that I have never seen before: a simple circle with a hole in the center where her earlobes were squeezed through.

“Is something the matter?” Izanami asked with a raised eyebrow.

She must have noticed me staring.

I shook my head. I don’t have any right to comment on anyone’s fashion statement. Not unless it’s corrupting the innocent.

“Thank you. That’s the nicest thing any human after the time of Himiko has said about my home clothes.”

...did she just read my mind?

“In the state you’re in, I can’t help but hear your thoughts as if you’re shouting them.”

“My state?”

What’s she implying here? What happened to me?

“Come here and sit. I suspect the news will not be pleasing,” Izanami said while patting a place next to her.

I didn’t like the sound of that.

I walked over to the log and sat down. Moments after that, she finally said her unpleasant news.
“Your body and your soul are currently separated, but not permanently.”

I just stared at her.

Didn’t the rat say that I wouldn’t be allowed to die? Didn’t Izanami herself said that I’m safe? What on earth is my soul doing being separated from my body? How am I supposed to go back to my family? As a zombie? Ghost?!

“Maybe you would know if you let me explain.” Izanami said.

I blinked once, and then realized that I had just rudely interrupted her with my thoughts. After the realization came the embarrassment of committing a social faux pas, especially to a goddess. And a slight fear of what she’ll do for the transgression.

Stop girl. She’s waiting – ok. Stop thinking and just say everything out loud.

“I apologize for cutting you off, your holiness. I can offer no excuse for it.”

Izanami waited for a moment, and then she smiled.

“Don’t worry young child. Every single human who has been to my new abode had the same problem in the beginning. Now, where was I?”

“You stopped with explaining that my soul and body were temporarily separated.”

Izanami cleared her throat, and started speaking again.

“When I said your body and your soul were separated, it doesn’t mean that you are dead. It means you are in a magically induced coma. This was done so you could have the time to learn how to use your trinket better, and about how to fight. At the same time the Greeks can put additional enchantments into that ring of theirs, and the various nations of Earth would have time to prepare for you and other young girls who are being chosen right now by my fellow deities.”

I ignored the latter parts and zeroed in on one inconsistent detail.

“Maybe I could learn all about how to use magic better with just my consciousness, but wouldn’t I need my body if I were to learn how to fight?”

“You don’t. Not when every heavenly, damned and otherworldly realm of Earth is on your side. Whatever changes the image of your body here develops would be reflected back in the real world with the help of anyone whose purview was related to human health.”

“So if I have muscles here, my body would start getting muscles too?”

“Did I not just say that?”

Izanami sounded surprised that I wanted to clarify something.

“I apologize. I just want to make sure there’s no misunderstanding between us.”

“Sensible.”

“And how long will the training take before I can meet my fiancé and daughter?”

“However long it takes for you to be a hardened warrior.”

However long it takes? How...How much of Ao’s life would I miss?! Or Ichigo’s?! I’m the light of my part the house! I’m supposed to be back with them, not in some...some real life martial arts training montage!

“Time in this realm moves differently from that of the real world. You might spend years here, and when you return you’ll find out that all those years were just one day in there, or you might have the same experience as Urashima Taro. But of course, what we deities want is the former not the latter so you don’t have to worry about that.”

“Why can’t I do the training in the real world instead of your home?”

“Because there isn’t enough time. Tell me, how long do you think it will take for you to be proficient enough in the martial arts?”

“Anywhere from eight to twelve weeks of continuous training. Sixteen at...most?”

Why is Izanami laughing?

“Your holiness?”

“Eight? Twelve? Hahahahaha! You must be joking with me.”

“No I didn’t. That’s the average training time for recruits in the armies of the world nowadays.”

Izanami stopped laughing and looked concerned.

“You are taking your opponents too lightly if you think eight weeks worth of training in martial arts and the magic is enough.”

“But I managed to beat the last group without that training you’re insisting I take.”

“You defeated those opponents by surprise, guile and luck. But remember what happened when the last fight became a ‘fair’ one?”

I winced at the memory of the thrashing I received at the hands of that last one.

“Yes. Because of the limitations of your trinket and ability, that last being defeated you with only his martial arts. And he was just an assassin with a flair for drama. What do you think will happen if you faced the real warriors? Or may the Heavens forbid it, their war leaders, in your current level of ability?”

“That green skinned guy had killed several other girls by his own. I hardly think he isn’t a real warrior.”

“Real warriors do not play with their opponents. They kill them immediately.”

“Oh.”

If what she says is true, I had dodged a bullet there.

“You must also think of this. As agreed we gods will not let you die. However, how would being sent into a coma after every fight affect your family?”

“...badly?”

Izanami shook her head.

“I’ll let you find out yourself.”

She held her right hand out to the sky.

The sun and the clouds disappeared, replaced by the image of a test pattern. And then the image suddenly changed to a live video.

It’s a hospital room. I’m lying on top of a bed in the middle of the room, tucked under white sheets and dressed in a hospital gown. An ECG machine was hooked up to me via my right arm. Beside me were Ao and Ichigo, seated on the usual two seats present in a hospital room.

Ao and Ichigo were dressed in fresh, but rumpled and creased clothes. Most likely they grabbed the dry clothes that were about to be ironed. But forget about that. What’s more important was that Ao was sobbing into Ichigo’s stomach, and Ichigo rubbing her back while looking angry enough to kill someone.

“Do you want me to let the sounds through?”

I meekly nodded, unable to look away from the scene.

The sound turned on.

I could hear Ao now. She wasn’t sobbing, she’s sniffling. Nevertheless, her sniffles were heartbreaking to hear.

“Ao. Where is the rat now?” Ichigo suddenly asked in a tone of voice that I never heard before. And it scared me.

“I *sniff* I last saw him talking with Papa and *sniff* many other people in different uniforms.”

Ichigo visibly clenched his teeth.

“That lucky son of...Ao, I promise that rat will pay for this.”

“Papa, will punishing Gaunilo make Mama wake up?” Ao asked as she looked up at Ichigo.

Ichigo quickly adjusted his eyeglasses.

“No. But it’s something that needs to happen.”

“Oh. *sniff*”

Ao’s reply surprised me. Before now, she would’ve tried to tone down any bad sentiments towards her favourite animals. But now, she just said she’s ok with Ichigo doing something to Gaunilo.

Dear Heavens! Has my coma broken her innocence? Damn it.

“Papa, when do you think Mama *sniff* will wake up?”

“She’ll wake up when she wakes up. Nothing we can do about it but...but pray.”

Ichigo took off his glasses and rubbed his suddenly tearful eyes.

Tears also started pricking my eyes.

“Do you understand now? Every time you fall into a coma, every time you return badly beaten up will hurt your husband and daughter badly. Again, and again, and again.”

“Yes I unders – “

The sound of a door slamming open surprised both me and my family. Two people suddenly entered the room.

One was a pale skinned man with a thick beard and dressed in formal business attire. He’s my papa, Ikeda Kentaro. The other was a thin, dark brown skinned woman dressed in a violet shirt and an ankle length dark blue skirt. She’s my mama, Ikeda Magdalena.

Papa took one look at my body, and then charged straight at Ichigo?!

What are you doing papa!

Stop!


“You fucking liar!” Papa howled at Ichigo.

“Stop Kentaro!” Mama pleaded.

I watched in horror as papa ignored mama, and grabbed Ichigo by the collar.

“You said you’ll protect my daughter! You said you’ll make her happy! Then what’s this! What the hell is this? Why’s she in a coma you son of a bitch?!”

Papa! Stop! Don’t swear in front of Ao!

“Even if I tell you, you won’t believe me.” Ichigo glumly replied.

“Pah! Excuses. What you meant to say was that you allowed her to get into an accident! Or...or is it that you’re tired of playing family with my daughter?”

Papa, Papa! Please stop thi –

Ichigo suddenly grabbed papa’s collar and slammed him against the wall. By this point mama was trying to physically put herself between the two men and push them away from each other.

“You think I want this?!” Ichigo angrily pointed at me, “You think I want Kurumi to be in a coma?! You think I like seeing my daughter crying for her mother?!”

“Papa! Grandpa! Stop it! Stop it!” Ao tearfully pleaded while pulling at Ichigo’s shirt.

Papa just glared at Ichigo, unable to retort at what Ichigo just said.

“I’ve fought with bullies for her! I’ve argued with teachers and government officials and highly opinionated parents for her! I’m ready to sacrifice everything I own for her! I’m fucking willing to die for her! If I can switch places with her right now and be the one in a coma, I will! Don’t you dare insinuate I want her out of my life! Especially like this!”

Moments passed. Papa and Ichigo glared at each other in the eye, while mama and Ao were ready to intervene if they started to shout again.

Papa suddenly looked away, and let go of Ichigo.

“Sorry.”

Ichigo let go of Papa.

“Me too. I shouldn’t have raised hands against you.”

Ichigo walked over to the chairs, and then looked back at mama and papa.

“Father, Mother, you two must be tired. Have a seat.”

“Don’t mind if we do, right Kentaro?” Mama glared at papa.

Papa stiffly walked over to the chair Ichigo’s offering, followed by mama.

“Papa, where do we sit?” Ao asked.

“The bed’s big enough. We could sit on it, but be careful. Don’t sit on mama.”

“Do you still wish to see more?” Izanami suddenly asked me.

“...no.”

The fight’s over already. Papa backed down, and Ichigo’s not rubbing it in. It’s unlikely anything else would happen...dear Heavens.

Papa, where on earth did you get the idea Ichigo wants to get rid of me?! Idiot papa!

The image in the sky disappeared, replaced by the view of the sunrise and the skies.

“If you fall into another coma, that might happen again. Do you still want to ignore an opportunity to become a better warrior?”

Izanami asked that in a discomforted tone of voice. And that comforted me. At least I’m not the only one embarrassed by that scene.

“No.”

Anything to avoid that incident from happening again. Anything – oh shit.

What would Ao learn from that?

I truly hope she doesn’t start using bad language. Or shouting at anyone she argues with.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It’s around noon, and we’re eating under a sky blanketed with clouds that Izanami gathered to shade us from the sun.

Before Izanami suddenly decided to cook us a meal an hour ago, we spent the whole time after the fight between papa and Ichigo in silence. For my part I was deep in thought about how to fix things between papa and Ichigo after that fracas. And about what to do if Ao suddenly starts using swearwords or shouting in arguments.

Our meal, which Izanami personally cooked on two clay pots suspended on an open pit fireplace by a wooden contraption, was rice and soup made from mushrooms, fungi and various spices, served in bowls made of red colored clay. The only thing that ruined the image of a prehistoric noontime meal were the eating utensils that Izanami was using: porcelain soup spoons with ‘Made in China’ clearly written on them.

I guess this is the power of Globalization. How scary.

“Did it taste good?” Izanami asked me.

I finished my third bowl of soup.

“Yes. It’s really tasty. I kind of wonder now how much better it would taste if you added fish to the stew.”

Izanami smiled.

“My husband, and my children used to say the same thing. But now...”

Izanami’s smile lost its lustre.

“Now, I rarely cook for anyone besides myself.”

I frowned.

“What about Susanoo and his wife? Don’t they visit you here...in Yomi...”

I warily glanced at Izanami, hoping that what I just ate wasn’t Yomi food. If I did, I can’t go out of Yomi anymore, just like Izanami.

“This isn’t Yomi. We’re on Awaji,” Izanami answered matter of factly.

I sighed in relief. And then blinked.

“Awaji? How come you’re out of Yomi? Didn’t Izanagi trap you behind a rock?”

Izanami sighed.

“I’ll only tell that after I explain the history behind why magical girls and magical kingdoms from outside this world are running around on Earth. First I have to send a message to some late people.”

Suddenly she brought two fingers to her mouth, and whistled.

The whistle was soft, but I felt my body vibrate as if I was next to a man sized loudspeaker at a concert hall, and I heard the call of an unfamiliar bird.

Izanami then stretched her right hand. Moments later, a big bird landed on it. It was a crane, the national bird of Japan.

Izanami leaned towards the crane.

“I want you to go to my daughter and tell her that the trainers are not here yet in my home. After that, go to the people who’re supposed to come here and tell them the following: ‘Do you understand the meaning of the word punctuality?’ Do you remember all that?”

To my surprise the bird spoke.

“Yes your holiness. Go to Amaterasu and tell her that the trainers were late, and then go to the Greeks, and and say ‘Do you understand the meaning of the word punctuality?’.”

“Good. Go.”

The bird flew up into the sky, and then suddenly disappeared.

“Now that’s done with, how about we start things off with a little bit of history and background?”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I’m honestly not quoting a certain anime character here, but Izanami’s history lesson had left me in despair.

At first she explained that the term ‘kingdoms’ don’t apply to all the magical realms that were spread throughout the multiverse, nor are there any ‘light’ or ‘dark’ kingdoms. The terms light kingdom and dark kingdom were only inventions made by the realms themselves to make themselves sound benevolent to girls. It’s far better to use magical political entities to describe them, since the magical realms all have various kinds of governments, such as monarchies, theocracies, tribes, oligarchies, federations, empires, and to my great surprise democracies and fascist states.
And while I was still trying to get over the fact that democracy and fascism existed in the magical multiverse, she suddenly blindsided me by saying that the magical multiverse is in an age of imperialism and colonialism. Every political entity is either at peace, allied with, or at war with someone.

Worse, there’s no United Nations around to help broker peace between any of these groups.

It shattered my imagination that real magical kingdoms are peaceful. I never expected reality to be a step backwards from where Earth is right now, imperfect as it is.

Next she explained about the reason why magical girls were first recruited in the first place.
And the reason was horrible.

It’s because the warfare between the magical lands was as bloody as the Pacific War. Losing one or two out of every fifteen adults was the normal casualty figure for one war, even when the magical political entities were still only using magic and Stone Age weapons. And that’s the most optimistic outcome. If you’re on the losing side...Izanami simply quoted a man named Brennus, saying ‘Woe to the vanquished.’ And then she stated that’s what Earth faces if we were conquered.

That made me afraid for my home.

She then went on with the story of the discovery of Earth, the creation of the first magical girl, and the cataclysm that followed.

Earth was discovered by a monarchy around the year 1140. News quickly spread throughout the multiverse of a planet where non-magical beings actually exist. However, interest in the potential conquest faded when it was revealed Earth was protected by a mind boggling number of pantheons and ancestor spirits.

However, the ruler of the monarchy that discovered Earth was a scientist of sorts. That ruler, a female, had an idea: Why not empower one of these non-magical beings with the magic of every inhabitant of their kingdom, and send the human against their opposing realm, a theocracy with support from their gods?

If the human died in action, then the human would’ve taken with them a significant amount of the enemy’s army. If the human survived...they could quickly take the magic away from the injured human and leave them high and dry back on Earth.

The queen did as she thought, and recruited a girl from what is now north Germany in the year 1141, from a tribe called the Obotrites, with permission from the Slavic pantheon’s chief god named Perun. The result stunned the multiverse, and started a tradition of recruiting girls.

It was genocide, no. The proper term was xenocide. The theocracy was completely exterminated, a result of the girl being led to believe that the entire kingdom was a realm of demons intent on pillaging her home. Some of the theocracy’s gods were also killed. And the girl was still alive and well.

Equal parts amazed and horrified, the queen let the girl back on Earth, gave her various gifts and had her on retainer as a ‘champion’ of her kingdom. And then she ordered the colonization of theocracy’s lands.

That single event sparked an arms race between every single political entity. Hundreds of political entities lower in power than pantheons and theocracies started recruiting girls all throughout the world, often without any regard for the local pantheons and spirits.

Magical warfare became riskier. And in a sense, bloodier and more desperate. The political entity without a magical girl on their side would invariably lose, either because their whole army was defeated, or their army suffered significant casualties while the opposing army was still fresh. It eventually came to the point that these kinds of realms were regularly fielding child soldiers and started to develop the concept of total war. For the realms that had magical girls, they had reduced casualties, and they greatly expanded. However, these realms also actively avoided fighting realms with magical girls of their own.

It also quickly became bloody for the magical girls, mostly young, gullible and untrained children from every sector of the world’s society at the time. One in four would die in combat, their bodies unrecoverable by their family since it’s in another multiverse. Of the remaining three, one in three would be damaged in some way. Some might’ve been turned insane. Some might’ve been physically injured, even crippled. Some had their lives shortened. And some lost the ability to bear children.

The pantheons and spirits of Earth became uneasy over what’s happening, and in 1150 a meeting was simultaneously called for by several chief gods and demons to discuss the issue. An agreement was reached only hours after the start of the meeting.

It was decided that they would prevent any more recruitments, that they would spirit away the magical girls that were still out in the multiverse, and they would help the dead and the damaged former magical girls. A barrier was quickly erected around our universe by all the pantheons and ancestor spirits, barricading Earth from the outside, and dozens of rescue missions were done. Every single magical girl who was out of this universe had been accounted for and rescued in three weeks.

The multiverse was quickly thrown into confusion. The political entities that had magical girls suddenly had their WMD’s denied to them by Earth. The realms who desperately needed magical girls suddenly found their hope snatched away by Earth. The lands that had no magical girls were starting to get the idea that the only way to permanently deny magical girls to their opponents was to commit xenocide on humanity.

Suddenly a spark was lit by the pantheon of the theocracy that was exterminated by the Obotrite. They incited as many political entities as they can to attack the barrier and kill the pantheons and spirits that dared deny them their hope, prestige, and permanent safety from magical girls.

A battlefield was made in the space between worlds, with three sides participating. On one corner was Earth, the place with the most number of pantheons. Another side was the alliance of those who want to kill the pantheons and get back their magical girls, or who were interested in conquering part of Earth so they could have a constant supply of magical girls. And the last side was the alliance of those who want to xenocide humanity, supported by the pantheon that started the conflict.

The rest of the magical multiverse that decided to sit this war out watched the ensuing carnage in horror.

The three sided battle, simply called the battle for Earth, was the bloodiest one in the twenty thousand years of recorded and remembered history of the magical multiverse. Dozens of political entities were wiped out to the last being, among them the pantheon of the dead theocracy. Dozens more suffered casualties that instantly rendered them as protectorates, vassals and lesser allies of realms interested in conquering them. The rest of the magical political entities suffered heavy casualties. Among them were Earth’s pantheons.

Of the gods and demons of Earth that participated in the battle, half of those that can die, died.

The other survivors were those who can’t die, omnipotent, were incarnations of yet something greater, and human ancestor spirits.

The victor of the battle was the alliance of those who want to have magical girls. But since the cost of regaining access to Earth was too high, and discovering that fear had made many political entities who didn’t have magical girls ally with each other temporarily, the two non-Earth sides made an agreement called the Good Agreement. The Earth pantheons were reduced to being observers at the meeting due to being more outnumbered than they were before the battle.

Rules of war, among others, were laid down at the meeting.

No more xenocides would be allowed. Dialogue and diplomacy are required to be used first by all the signatories, and only when they had exhausted this option are they allowed to go on and declare war. The home territories of all the signatories are immune to conquest, but their colonies are up for the taking. Inhabitants of the colonies who were citizens of the defeated political entity will not be harmed, still be allowed to live there, and still be allowed to travel. The citizens of all the signatories are allowed to travel to other signatories, at their own financial expense.

And most important of all were the rules that had to do with Earth, and the new way that magical warfare between the signatories will be fought from then on.

No one is allowed to conquer Earth. Lethal proxy wars that determines who wins and who loses, to be fought on Earth, would be the new way that magical warfare is fought. The Earth pantheons are not allowed to stop or meddle in these proxy wars. And finally, except for the magical girls and possibly their parents or friends, magic is to be kept unknown to the rest of humankind so the proxy wars could go on into perpetuity.

The proxy wars themselves had rules that made them reminiscent of an anime plot.

There were always only two sides. One side is the magical girl, and a designated agent of the political entity employing the magical girl. The other side were a number of chosen champions of the magical realm with no magical girl, what I would call the dark generals and the boss.

The only weapons and kinds of spells allowed are those that were only present at around the time of the 1150’s. The family and friends of the magical girl were fair game. And the winner is the side that kills the other side first.

The magical realms who initially signed the Good Agreement, and all others who did so later on, all profited from this arrangement. Their populations finally had time to grow, and along with it was more trade and more magical and technological inventions that made life easier for the citizens of the signatories.

On the other hand, Earth suffered from the agreement. Thousands of innocent girls, and unwitting innocent bystanders died and became traumatized since 1150. Earth’s pantheons still haven’t completely recovered from the battle for Earth, and while not exactly helpless, they were limited to secretly ensuring most magical girls survive through luck and blessings.

And so Izanami ended her history lesson.

And to repeat what I said earlier, I despaired.

I despaired at the odds against me. I also despaired at the destruction of my childhood memories.

“Cheer up Kurumi. All isn’t lost,” Izanami said.

I snorted.

“I’m looking at total cataclysm. The literal end of the world. What’s there to be optimistic about?”

“Oh? How did the history lesson make you come up with the end of the world?”

I outlined what I came up with.

“First, whoever my opponents were, the states they belonged to clearly didn’t sign the Good Agreement if you consider the following: they supposedly plan to invade Earth, they had modern guns, and their soldiers had no qualms with a magical fight in public. If they’re so willing to go against the Good Agreement, that means they either have a plan to fight off the agreement signatories or they can fight them on equal terms. Neither sounds good for Earth. Second, when the signatories try to kick this alliance off Earth, the people who will suffer the most will be Earth. Either Earth finally gets subjugated by one side or the other, or Earth is destroyed to deny the other side a victory.”

“Amazing. You’ve figured out the basics of what I’m going to say later. Do you want the specifics?”

I hid my head in my hands.

“What’s the point in knowing? It’s no use fighting against something this big.”

Izanami made an irritated sound.

“And what about us gods?”

I’m too depressed to care about her being irritated. I didn’t even have the energy to look at her.

“The pantheons? You said it yourself. The Earth pantheons were forbidden to stop or meddle in the proxy wars. If you tried to do so openly, there would be a reprisal that would hurt both the pantheons and humanity.”

Wait a minute. Now that I think about it...

I looked back at Izanami.

“Why was I even recruited as a magical girl by Gaunilo? Was the plan supposed to be the Earth pantheons joining the proxy wars and kick off everyone else off this universe? Because if that’s so then it’s unrealistic. The signatories already went through a battle for Earth once to maintain a source of magical girls. They’d happily do it again. And the other states never signed the damned agreement.”

“Pah! We’re not interested in those sadistic proxy wars. We’re recruiting magical girls so we could help humanity break free from the Good Agreement under their own power.”

“Wait,” My mind went into overdrive trying to make sense of things. “Under their own power? Are you saying the pantheons want humanity to go to war, against two sides of unknown strength at the same time?”

“One side. We have a surefire way to get the signatories too scared to try and invade, but we need the cooperation of Earth’s governments, and our magical girls.”

“...that’s only slightly better.”

I thought I was recruited to be a magical girl so I could kill the higher ranks planning the invasion, before it happens. I never thought they want me to fight alongside the JSDF in a world war – World War...dear heavens.

They want World War 3. Why?!

“One reason,” Izanami suddenly said.

“Name it,” I angrily challenged her.

I didn’t care that I sounded disrespectful to a goddess. All I cared about is they want a World War.
They want World War 3. They want heaven knows how many people dead in a war that’ll spare no one.

And that includes my family!

“Waging a war of the worlds is the only way for humanity to survive. All the gods, demons, and spirits whose domain is looking into the future only see one thing no matter who starts fighting first, whether it be the Good Agreement signatories or the Prosperity alliance: All life on Earth will be exterminated if we don’t help humankind wage a war and humankind doesn’t help us wage that war.”

I slowly started to shake my head when she continued.

“Reincarnation cycles will be disrupted because there’s nothing to reincarnate into. Paradises and heavens and hells all left wrecked and without gods or demons. And all their human denizens will be tossed into the space between the worlds for all eternity by one side or another so humanity will never threaten them.”

The picture she painted for me made me cringe.

I imagined the space between the worlds as an abyss, where the universes were just pinpricks of light or existence floating in that abyss. It sounded like a punishment from hell. But this time, every human being whether good or bad, whether already damned in hell or receiving their just rewards in heaven, gets thrown there not because they deserved it, but because some warmongering magical beings decided to do a war crime to take care of a problem that they made in the first place.

Well, fuck that.

Fuck that.


“So you understand? A war must be fought if everyone from Earth is to live, and spend their afterlife where they belonged.”

“I don’t like it. I still don’t like it, but...damn it. Damn it!”

I don’t like thinking of my loved ones in a life threatening situation. I hate thinking of them dying even more. But I’m absolutely disgusted and horrified by the idea that for their afterlife they’ll be thrown into something like hell for all eternity, to give some fuckers some peace of mind!

That is never to happen to them.

I forbid it!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It’s day two since I came here.

My tutors still hadn’t come so Izanami took it upon herself to teach me something she knows.

Archery.

First she taught me some safety tips for using a bow.

Always check if it’s damaged in some way, and never point it at someone you won’t shoot, both of which was obvious to me, since the same thing applies to firearms. Don’t draw the string unless you’re going to shoot something, which wasn’t as obvious since I was thinking of the bow like a gun: a bow with a drawn string and nocked arrow is the same as a gun whose safety has been turned off and the shooter’s finger is on the trigger. She quickly disabused me of that notion by having me pull the bowstring of a bow she conjured for a long time.

I ended up with very sore fingers.

A third one was that I shouldn’t draw the string back and release it without an arrow nocked, since that will damage the bow. What I should do was instead to gently guide the string back into its undrawn position.

After that was a lesson on several ways to draw a bow, since Izanami doesn’t know what kind of bow I’m capable of summoning.

There’s what she called the Ainu way, pinching the butt of the arrow between my thumb and forefinger and placing the butt against the string. There’s the Yamato way, where you normally set the string in a groove at the base of the thumb part of a glove used in Kyudo, put the first two or three fingers over the thumb, slide the whole thing up until the nocked arrow meets your thumb, and then torque the hand a little so the arrow stays in place. And then there’s the ‘Ainu panic mode draw.’

I’m serious. Izanami called it that.

This draw was done when the string was vigorously clutched by three or four fingers, and the arrow is held against the first finger by the thumb.

And after that was...well... I’ll just quote Izanami. You’ll understand what I asked.

“Young one, I’m not versed in warfare, nor in teaching whatever else had been added by your ancestors to the simple act of shooting an arrow. All I know is that you’re learning to use a bow and arrow for war so you must shoot fast. You must shoot accurately at weak points without thought. And you must be able to shoot on the move, irregardless of any stances. Aside from that piece of advice, all I can do for you from now on is just help you learn by yourself.”

She immediately walked towards a big pine tree at the edge of the forest clearing, with a paper shooting target in hand after saying that.

For me, that meant she’s just going to watch over me and stop me when I’m doing something wrong. But that’s still better than waiting for some tardy martial arts masters.

Finally we summoned our respective bows and arrows.

Izanami’s two meter long bow was the ugliest Yumi I’ve ever seen...if it can be even called one since its handgrip was at the center. The lacquered wood was decayed, the hemp bowstring was frayed. There were even some worms crawling around the bow and the smell of something rotting was emanating from it. And the arrow...the only defect with the arrow was that the feathers were dirty. The shaft on the other hand was smooth and red lacquered, while the arrow head was made of some kind of stone.

I seriously doubt it’ll even fi –

Izanami suddenly let her arrow loose.

The arrow flew...flew...flew until it struck the target right in the center. From forty something meters away.

“You were saying something about my bow?”

“I apologize for doubting it.”

“Good. Your turn.”

I looked down to my own bow, called a toxo.

The toxo was just a meter long. Made from a single piece of wood, it was shaped like a W, or a B if you include the bowstring in imagining its shape. There’s a handgrip at the center, and the bowstring’s made of leather. And...that's it.

Oh well, at least my arrow, called a velos, was better than hers. The feathers at the end were in good condition, and the arrowhead’s made of bronze.

I quickly fitted the arrow’s nock to the bowstring and –

“A word of advice.”

I jerked in surprise.

“If a bow is as small as what you’re holding, you shouldn’t draw the string past your ear. If you do, either the bow or the string will snap in half. And the first thing to be hit would be your head.”

“Ok. How far do I draw this little bow then?”

“To your chest.”

To my chest?

I quickly visualized it.

The bow’s in my fully stretched right hand, string is pulled to my chest...I see a problem.

“How do I aim if I can’t look down the arrow?”

Izanami shrugged.

“Don’t look down the arrow. Only look at your target and fire when you feel it’s good.”

I stared.

How am I supposed to aim if I don’t look down the arrow, or any targeting device?

Izanami scratched her hair.

“Look. If you throw a rock, do you even try to aim it?”

“No. I think your body – oh. Instinctive shooting?”

Why didn’t I think of that? Now that I think about it, Izanami didn’t even look down her arrow. She just let loose while looking at her target.

“If instinctive shooting means acting with your instincts, then yes. Now,shoot."

I nocked the arrow again, drew it to my chest with an Ainu style draw, looked at the target, and then let loose.

The arrow flew out of my bow...and then skidded on the grass fifteen meters away from me.

Ok. What went wrong there?

I quickly looked at Izanami, who had this pondering look on her face.

"For now, why don't we try shooting the target while we're nearer to it? Once you've hit the target a hundred times, then we'll start shooting from a little bit further And so on and so forth."

A hundred times?

Oh dear. This is going to take a long time.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 8

Incant. Nock. Draw. Loose.

The arrow stabbed into the shooting target's inner circles.

Incant. Nock. Draw. Loose.

The arrow hit the shooting target in the outer circles.

Incant. Nock. Draw. Loose.

Yes!

I jumped into the air with childish joy.

"I did it! I hit it a hundred times!"

"Congratulations," Izanami said with a smile on her face, "Now let's try doing that from ten meters away, shall we?"

I nodded and happily walked away from the five meter mark.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 10

Incant. Nock. Adjust. Draw. Loose.

The arrow hit the tree instead of the shooting target.

Incant. Nock. Adjust. Draw. Loose.

The arrow stabbed into the shooting target, outside of the circles.

Incant. Nock. Adjust. Draw. Loose.

The arrow embedded itself into the paper target's inner circles.

Ok, that's it. I'm tired. Time for a break.

I sat down on the ground, laid my bow beside me, and rested in the twilight.

"Here's some soup, young one."

"Thank you Izanami."

I took the bowl of soup and a wooden spoon from her and started eating.

"I notice you've been having problems with the ten meter mark."

In four days I've shot...how many did I shoot already?

"You've shot off four hundred one arrows. Only sixty nine of those had hit the target in the circles, while all the others were hitting outside the circles or the tree itself."

"Oh."

Damn it.

"Cheer up young one. At least your arrows are hitting the general area now. That's better than eight hundred twenty eight arrows in six days, and only three hundred twenty of those had hit the tree."

I sighed.

"This is going to take a long time, right?"

"Not as much as usual. After all, you're only training in archery, and you're spending more time in practice than the typical warriors of the past."

Oh?

"Really. They could practice from when the sun rises to the time when the sunlight's almost gone, but only in times when the weather's good and they aren't tending to their families or at their jobs as guards. You're practicing daily from seven in the morning to ten in the evening with the help of a fire that's lit only for your sake, while you're in a coma so you don't have to tend to your family, and in my realm where I have total control over the weather conditions."

When she puts it that way...wow.

Go me.

"Speaking of weather conditions...from tomorrow onwards let's try adding some wind to your practice, shall we?"

...this is going to take a long time.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 21

Incant. Nock. Adjust for wind. Draw. Loose.

The arrow hit in the inner circles of the target.

Finally.

I sat down and basked in my accomplishment.

"Congratulations. That's the hundredth arrow hit from over forty meters away."

"Thank you."

Now I'm closer to going out of my coma...

"So, how many minutes do I still have to spend here?"

Ten days ago I asked to see how my family was doing, since I'm already pining away for them.
Izanami quickly did that TV screen in the sky trick of hers again, and to my surprise I saw that Ichigo, Ao, Mama and Papa were still wearing the same clothes as when I last saw them. They even looked like they haven't gone home in all this time.

Somewhat concerned about their sanitary health, I asked her what was the time difference between a day here and time in the real world. Izanami's answer made me happy: For every day here, around four minutes had passed in the outside world. Nineteen days here amounted to only around seventy six minutes out there in the real world.

I was happy I wouldn't miss much of their lives, when another thought suddenly hit me. They might not change, but how much would I change? In fact, how much of myself would they recognize when I get out of the magically induced coma?

That was when I decided to finish this training as fast as I can, and started to cut an hour off my sleeping time for extra practice.

"We'll know when the tardy ones get here," Izanami growled.

Izanami's still irritated by the non-appearance of my supposed trainers. Oh well, at least I've somewhat mastered archery.

"No you haven't."

I sighed.

"What will I be doing next, your holiness?"

She looked at me and smiled.

"Playing with a boar."

Boar? Inoshishi?

...I hope the boar’s a small one.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 22

It’s not small! It’s not small at all! It’s as big as a cow!

I jumped out of the way of the white furred boar.

As the boar rushed past me, I quickly rolled onto my feet and looked at the animal's backside, studded with arrows.

"Toxo!"

A bow appeared in my hands, to replace the one I had just broke a little bit earlier. And then I grabbed an arrow from the quiver Izanami provided me with.

I nocked –

The boar turned around –

Drew –

The boar charged –

Let loose –

The boar squealed –

The boar’s head rammed into my stomach.

For a moment I was flying through the air. And then I slammed onto my back.

Ouch. Everything hurts.

“Ibuki, did you have to hit her that hard?” Izanami asked the other god on the beach.

“How about you try being hit in the eye, huh? If not for these eyeglasses I would’ve been blinded!”

“By an arrow with a suction cup for a head?” I wheezed from where I was laying.

“You’re using a real bow, girl! Of course I’ll still be blinded – stop laughing kids! This isn’t funny!”

Ibuki was yelling at his children, who were sitting and lying down on the grass at the boundary between the mountain’s forest and the grassy, coastal plain. Most of his children were white furred boars of various sizes ranging from as small as a baby to almost as big as Ibuki himself. The only exception was a young girl with dark, waist length hair who looked like she’s my age, dressed in a short sleeved kimono dyed in bright red and yellow floral patterns, barefooted...and was holding a smartphone and taking pictures of her father.

“Ino, stop that!”

“Oh no I won’t dad. This image should be preserved for future posterity, right guys?”

Her brothers and sisters loudly agreed with her.

“...you owe me for this Izanami.”

“I know. Now, let’s go back to Kurumi. What do you think of her performance?”

“Let me guess first. This is her first time being given a moving, thinking target?”

“Yes.”

Ibuki chuckled and walked over to his children.

“Alright kids. Pull these toy arrows off me and we’ll have mashed potatoes for dessert.”

The smaller boars cheered and enthusiastically started pulling the arrows off his body with their mouths.

“That’s really cruel of – careful with the eyeglasses Shu! Sorry Izanami. As I was saying, she did somewhat well against me but shouldn’t you train her with a moving target before sending her against a live opponent – ouch!”

Ibuki looked at the piglet that made him yelp.

“Sorry father,” the piglet mumbled around the arrow in her mouth.

Ibuki looked back at Izanami with a sigh.

“Kids.”

Izanami nodded in sympathy. As for me, I’m hiding a smile.

I’m thankful that Ao’s such a well behaved child.

“Ibuki, I understand your concern but time isn’t a luxury that we have, even with the magic being done here in my realm. Besides, I’m still waiting for the ones that were supposed to train Kurumi properly!”

Ibuki raised an eyebrow.

“Izanami’s right. I’ve only been training in archery for the past twenty one days, and I haven’t seen hair nor hide of anyone else other than you and your children,” I said to him.

“Is that so? Izanami, do you want me to go to the West myself and ask those folks where the instructors were?”

“Please do. We just don’t have time.”

Once his children had pulled off all the arrows off him, Ibuki stood up once again and walked off into a fog that suddenly appeared. He was followed by all his kids – wait.

Ino had stopped walking and was looking at me.

“Kurumi, do you have Twitter?”

...oh dear. This is embarrassing.

“I...don’t have any social media account.”

Ino suddenly had an astounded look on her face.

“If you want, you can have my contact number?”

She slowly nodded, and tossed me a cellphone.

I quickly added in my contact number and tossed it back to her.

“I’ll text you!” she said with a smile and a still unbelieving expression as she walked into the fog.
I doubt she’ll do so.

The fog immediately disappeared.

...well, that’s another of the things I have to go without due to my early motherhood. It’s frankly depressing to think that the daughter of the god that killed Yamato Takeru has a social media account, while I can’t have one and was stuck with SMS.

“Kurumi?”

“Yes?” I asked Izanami.

“What do you think? Did you do well or not?”

“I know that I’m always hitting him. I just...”

“Go on.”

“I’m frustrated. We put down rules for this practice fight. Ibuki’s supposed to act like he’s actually getting shot with real arrows. Why is he still running around like my arrows were of no consequence to him? Is he cheating or am I hitting the wrong targets?”

“The latter actually. Do you know that boars are very hardy animals, and that you need to either hit their hearts, lungs or brains to put them down instantly?”

“...I didn’t hit any of those?”

“Nope. You hit his stomach four times, his butt five times, his ribcage another five times, his shoulder blade two times, almost got his spine once, hit his skull and his eye once. All injuries a boar can ignore or mortal injuries that wouldn’t instantly kill it.”

...shit. Eight minutes of dodging a cow sized boar, for nothing.

“Now, now, it’s not that bad young one. To your credit, you never missed once. Not even when he’s dodging. As I said, you just didn’t hit the right target.”

Never hit the right target, never hit the right target when I never knew the parts of a boar’s body.

“What’s the lesson here?”

“What do you think?”

...

“I should always aim for the head, the heart and the lungs?”

“What else?”

What else? Ok, what else did I learn from this? That she’s not good at teaching? Well that’s obvious from when she said it’s self study. What else? That a bow and...

...oh. She’s asking for self-evaluation.

“The bow and arrow is only for long range combat and sneak attacks, not whatever I just did.”

“Why?”

Izanami was now smiling, as a mother smiles when her child’s learning something quickly.

“Because I can’t nock an arrow that fast.”

“Correct. And that’s why I’m teaching you how to throw a harpoon.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 27

Look at the target. Left foot towards target, right foot pointing towards the right. Loose knees. Feel the balance of the akontio. Adjust for the wind.

Throw.

The javelin thudded into the middle of a paper target that was taped to the front of a straw dummy.

“That’s a very good one,” Izanami commented as she was leaning on a harpoon with a barbed toggle head made of deer antler.

“You turn,” I said.

I walked away from where I was standing, to be replaced by Izanami.

She quickly took the same position as I did, but adjusted for the longer and heavier length of the harpoon, and let loose.

Her harpoon stabbed right beside my own javelin. The shaft then fell off, leaving behind the spear head embedded into the straw dummy.

“That’s a good shot.”

“As it should’ve always been,” she gloomily muttered.

The reason why she was also practicing alongside me was because...I kind of embarrassed her at the start.

When she first tried to demonstrate how to throw a harpoon, she missed the target. Her second try didn’t have enough power behind it, thus the spear head was only halfway embedded in the straw dummy.

Pissed off and embarrassed, she tried again and again until she finally succeeded in making her spear head stick into the straw dummy, when it was already midnight. And thus day 23 was wasted.

Day 24 was when I first tried my own attempt at throwing a javelin.

I got it on the first try.

The look Izanami made at that point made me symphatize with her. After all, I know how things are at that level of embarrassment. So I suggested that we try taking turns at the straw dummy, with the excuse that I’m tired from the tedium of only practicing by myself...wait. Now that I’m thinking about it more, that wasn’t just an excuse. I really was getting tired from the tedium and Izanami’s lack of practice gave me an excuse to get her to practice with me.

“Your turn – wait. Ibuki’s back.”

I quickly looked around.

The same fog that he used before suddenly appeared beside the house.

The smell of the forest became stronger, with an added smell of boar. The moisture in the air increased, and the wind blew stronger.

Ibuki slowly walked out of the fog with a frown.

“What did the Greeks say Ibuki?”

“Their god of messengers said that they were so busy making trinkets, weapons, magical spells and providing training for their own handpicked girls that they only remembered Kurumi after your message arrived.”

Oh come on!

“Ibuki, are you sure this god wasn’t joking with you?” I asked him.

“They looked busy enough to forget you Kurumi. I saw no less than fifteen human girls being given training by the best warriors of Greece when I was at their holy mountain. And the palace of their god of smiths was obscured by the amount of smoke emanating from it.”

...ok.

So I’ve been forgotten. What next? I’m going to be thrown away like an outdated cellphone – oh dear Heavens I hope not.

What will happen to my agreement with Gaunilo if these pantheons throw me away? Had I risked my life and gave my family and parents mental trauma for nothing?!

“You’re not forgotten Kurumi, nor will you be abandoned. If I have to, I’ll uphold your bargain with that demon rat all by myself,” Izanami suddenly said.

“Abandoned?! You were just forgotten, not abandoned! When I went to their smith god, he quickly gave me your magical trinket.”

“And where is it now?” I asked.

“It’s with Ino. Right now she’s taking a taxi at Maibara, and she’ll be at Matsumoto tonight around one in the evening.”

“So I don’t have the ring on my person right now?”

When Izanami showed me what my family was doing, I remember that my arms were hidden under the blanket. I couldn’t tell if I’m wearing the magical trinket or not.

But if I’m not wearing the ring, how did I materialize every bow, arrow and javelin in the last few days?

“You’re currently a spirit. In this place of mine, a spirit can make whatever they want to appear, appear. But only under my approval,” Izanami stated.

Is that so? Then...

“I want my cellphone.”

A cellphone suddenly appeared in my palm.

“Well that’s convenient.”

“It has to be. I don’t know what their martial arts masters would demand when they get here. And speaking of them, Ibuki?”

Ibuki grunted.

“They promised to send someone.”

Bah. Back to the start again –

I suddenly felt overwhelming love and forgiveness for mankind. I felt the desire to invite humanity to partake in Creation and be with it for all eternity.

“What’s a Christian doing here?” Ibuki asked in shock.

Izanami and Ibuki was staring at something behind me.

I whirled around to see who it was.

There was someone wearing a BDU in jungle camouflage pattern, waving at a figure dressed in white who was walking away into a beam of white light.

The beam disappeared moments later.

The soldier turned around to face...us...no way.

“Good evening to you Ma’m.”

No way.

“Sir.”

He looked just like the pictures Mama had of him before he was killed fighting Communists in the Southern Philippines in 1986.

He then turned to me.

“Good evening...Kurumi, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, my name is Kurumi. Good evening. Grandpa.”

==========================================================================

Thanks to atreidestrooper, Strypgia and Angry Desu for the beta-ing.


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2014-08-07 12:04pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-07-16 11:27am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 179
Location: Philippines
Chapter 8

“Grandfather?” Izanami asked incredulously.

“Yes. He’s my grandpa,” I softly replied.

I...I was feeling overwhelmed at meeting one of the two people who makes Mama sad whenever she talked about them. The other person who makes Mama sad was my Grandma, who died of birth complications from giving birth to triplets.

“The name’s Marco Dimasupil Ma’am. Oh, I almost forgot. This is my wife’s thank you gift for saving our granddaughter.”

Grandfather pulled out from nowhere a Tupperware container filled with cold purin – wait.

If it’s my deceased grandmother who made that, then that That’s not purin. That’s leche flan, the Filipino version of purin.

Izanami accepted the Tupperware of leche flan, with a very eager look on her face.

Guess she likes purin.

“Why are you here in Izanami’s place?” Ibuki asked.

Grandpa smiled.

“Let’s say...I’m on a mission from God.”

...I know I heard that somewhere before, I just can’t remember where.

“And what was...mmm...that supposed to be?” Izanami asked while...oh.

She’s already started eating the leche flan with one of her soup spoons.

She really likes purin.

“I’m going to train her.”

My eyebrows rose at that statement.

“In what? If your god has told you all the information, you’ll know she doesn’t have a single firearm in her inventory.”

“Well, there’s building up her strength and endurance. Look at my grandchild. Look at her.”

Grandpa approached me, pulled my left arm up and patted my skin.

“She’s just skin and bones...my, what lean muscles you have here Kurumi. What did you do for exercise?”

I stared at him in a deadpan.

“Taking care of my baby since the age of thirteen, plus half of the household’s chores.”

Grandpa frowned.

“That reminds me. I want to talk with you about that later, Kurumi,” he muttered.

Oh joy.

I already had that talk with Mama and Papa. I don’t need to go through this again.

“If you’re thinking about her muscles, she’s going to develop that as we go along training her in various weapons, Marco,” Izanami said.

“No, no, no, no, no! Body building first, everything else later. We want her to be able to put some force behind her strikes. We want her to keep striking for a long time.”

“Oh come on. My followers never had any of that when they were living.”

“And when did these followers of yours live, Ma’am?”

“When humans in Japan were still using stone for tools.”

“...oh. Now I see why they wouldn’t,” Grandpa commented with a deadpan expression.

On my own part...I was kind of amazed.

Izanami was that old?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 28

I was still sleeping on the new mattress that Izanami made for me on the second day, when I heard a noise.

My eyes were already open and I was wondering who it was when Grandpa’s voice rumbled.

“Time to wake up Kurumi.”

“What are we going to do at this time of the day?” I instantly replied.

Grandpa immediately made a surprised noise.

I rose from the bed.

In daytime, Izanami’s pit house was not well lit. When it’s dark, I could only navigate the place by memory, and faint starlight helping outline the shadows of objects around the house.

Right now, the pit house was quite dim but it looked like my Grandpa, who I’m seeing as a human shaped shadowy figure, can navigate the place much better than me.

Must be the result of jungle warfare experience.

“Stretching exercises, and then we’ll start jogging. Now, follow me.”

I yawned, stretched, and slowly walked after Grandpa, out into the forest clearing at...since one part of the sky was starting to get a pink color, I’ll put the time at around 5 o’clock.

“It seems like you’re used to getting awake this early,” Grandpa commented.

“I am. I always wake up at around four thirty in the morning to start making lunch for me and Ichigo, and the food I sell at school. And when Ao was a baby I had to be a light sleeper. ”

“I hope the kid who got you pregnant appreciates what you’re doing for him,” he grumbled.

“He does more than appreciate it, he actually helps me. He prepares our clothes and toiletries while I’m cooking, and after we bathe and get dressed for school together he wakes Ao for breakfast time,” I replied.

Together?!” Grandpa whirled around towards me.

Oh shit.

I must still be not all there. Oh what I wouldn’t do for some coffee right now.

“It’s faster if we took a bath at the same time.”

“Oh really? That’s all you two do in there?” he asked.

I stayed silent.

Grandpa, it’s not your problem if we sometimes do in the bathroom what couples naturally do.

“My God. What will you do if you get pregnant again, huh? Tell me, what will you do?” Grandpa hissed.

I was open-mouthed in surprise.

How did he guess – wait.

“Are you reading my mind?”

“No. But I’ve been married to your grandma for all these years, and I took care of your mother and uncles until they were twelve. You all stayed silent just like that when there’s something you didn’t want to admit was true.”

Damn.

Well, at least this shows that I am my mother’s daughter.

“What? Nothing to reply to that?”

Ok. Grandpa’s still waiting for me to answer.

“Look we’re – wait. I don’t have to answer that Grandpa, it’s – “

“It’s also my business. I’m now worried that my granddaughter is going to give me another great grandchild, when she still hasn’t graduated high school. What are you two going to feed your kids if you get pregnant, and your parents suddenly refused to support another one, huh? Air? Garbage?”

I sighed.

I’ve got to give him some answer or he’ll give himself a conniption.

“Grandpa, we’re using protection,” I said to him.

Grandpa looked surprised, as if he didn’t expect me to consider that option.

“And where are you getting your protection?”

“Buying them with money we earned from selling food at school.”

I refused to divert any of Papa’s or Father in law’s money for that need, so we’re taking some funds from that tiny source of money.

Thankfully, rubbers are very cheap nowadays.

“What kind of food are you selling? Or is that a euphemism for something else?”

Euphemism?!

Food is food. What else could the word ‘food’ refer to? Oh never mind.

“Filipino style rice cakes,” I answered him.

“Rice cakes? Kakanin? As in bibingka, puto, and suman?”

“Those three and kutsinta didn’t sell well. The ones I cook and sell were sapin-sapin, halayang ube, maha blanca, kalamay and biko.”

What the latter group had in common that the former didn’t have was that they were all sweet. And their presentation was more appealing.

I felt Grandpa’s incredulous stare, so I explained further.

“We always sold out at school. And since it was genuine homemade foreign cuisine, I could charge higher for the rice cakes than what Mama suggested.”

Mama's suggested prices were downright ruinous to any Japanese vendor. I mean...ten yen for one slice of sapin-sapin? Impossible! I might as well give them away for free!

“Ok, ok, ok. While I know someone back home who managed to raise three kids on selling kakanin, that’s the Philippines! Pinoys love to eat street food. But you’re in Japan, land of high tech marvels like the Walkman, the shinkansen train and industrial robots. I can’t imagine a Japanese city girl walking the streets from sun-up to sun-down, loudly advertising her multiple woven trays of rice cakes to businessmen, factory workers and saleswomen,” Grandpa protested.

I snickered.

Grandpa, you should’ve seen photos and drawings of Meiji era Japan. There were a lot of peddlers who sell their wares in the streets in the way you described. And even today, there were still a lot of street vendors around Japan’s cities, selling their products from food carts to all that, plus housewives and school children.

“What’s so funny? Are you seriously thinking of doing that for the rest of your life?!”

“No Grandpa. I just thought your idea was funny. I’m actually aiming for something higher than being a street peddler.”

“And that is?”

“I’m going to build my own bakery.”

I beamed at Grandpa, quite sure that he can see me.

Grandpa made a grumbling noise.

“Is that not good enough to your liking?” I asked.

“It’s a good business.”

Thank you –

“But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give you a piece of my mind about your pregnancy!”

Ok. That’s it, I’m talking back now.

“Grandpa, it’s already been almost five years since I got pregnant. Five years. Ichigo and I already got lectured and shouted at by our parents, grandparents, teachers and social welfare workers. I’ve already heard all the arguments so what you’re doing is just a waste of our time.”

Grandpa shook his head and made some frustrated noises, and then he quieted down.

Thank heavens he –

“Aside from your mother, have you heard anything from your Filipino side of the family?”

...now that I think about it...

“No.”

“No word from Tatay or Nanay?” Grandpa asked.

Tatay, Nanay? If I remember right...those words meant father and mother respectively. So he means my great grandpa and great grandma in the Philippines.

“No.”

“Well, now’s our chance to say something about it.”

I sighed.

“Grandpa, look. I already agree that having sex before marriage is wrong. I already agree that unprotected sex is idiotic, and what Ichigo and I did the day I got pregnant was stupid. I agree that taking care of a baby and raising it was no easy task, nor is living in with a boy and his parents something trivial.”

“Good! At least you understand you made mistakes!”

“Yes! Yes I do Grandpa! But I’ll gladly go through the pain and hardships all over again if it means I’ll meet Ichigo and fall in love with him again, and if it means I’ll hold my daughter in my arms again.”
Grandpa looked befuddled.

“Are you saying you don’t regret anything?”

“I regret nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing,” I insisted.

Grandpa stared at me, and then he started rubbing his forehead.

“My God, Kurumi. You sounded just like a radio drama protagonist.”

I didn’t know whether that was a compliment or an insult since I never listened to the radio, so I stayed quiet.

“Granddaughter...we may not know much about each other but please know that I’m only expressing seventeen years worth of unexpressed concern for my descendants.”

“Grandpa, I understand. But...for me, that felt more like an attack than an expression of concern to me."

Grandpa scratched his head and sighed.

"Sorry."

"At the very least try to teach a lesson if you're going to lecture?"

That's the most frustrating thing with everyone else who's not Mama or that woman from the Equal Employment, Children and Families bureau who was insistent that I give Ao away for adoption. All I heard from everyone else was I did something bad, I did something bad, I should be punished for this –

Bah!

What about what should I do next? What about telling me what my options were? Do I have to tell them to give me options before they stop lecturing and start giving advice?

“Teach a lesson, huh...ok. Let's do it that way. I’ll tell you a little story."

And now he went the other way, thinking of me as an eight year old. Oh well, I told him to teach a lesson so I better listen to what he thinks his lesson is.

"Me and my wife, named Anna by the way, had a classmate back home in Batangas. Her name was Rica. She got pregnant at sixteen, married her boyfriend at eighteen. And according to my wife, who was her best friend, Rica said she had some regrets.”

I suddenly had an uneasy feeling at the story that Grandpa was starting to tell. But I’m also kind of curious about where he’s going on with this, so I listened.

“Rica said she regretted being stupid enough to have unprotected sex. She also had second thoughts about her husband, since he’s the type who won’t be denied if he wants to have sex.”

Oh shit. Poor woman. I...I could only wish her luck.

“Her only consolation were her children. Last time I saw her, I’ve met them myself and I could definitely say they’re sweet little angels.”

Thank heavens for that.

“With Rica in mind...I want to ask: Are you really content with what happened in your life? No regrets as you said earlier? No problems?”

I stayed silent.

“Me and my wife only got informed the day after you fell into a coma of the fact that you gave birth to a daughter at age twelve, and you’re happily living in with your boyfriend. Before that, all we knew was that Magdalena went to Japan, got married there, and had one child. Nothing else. We don’t know what’s running through your mother’s mind when she let you move there, we don’t know anything about your boyfriend, we don’t know what his family is like or what they’re doing to you while you’re there, we don’t know anything else. Period. Can you can see what’s got me, and my wife up in heaven, agitated?”

I imagined myself in their place, and Ao as the one in my place. The result came to me quickly. Not knowing anything other than Ao gave birth to a child, and is happily living in with her boyfriend would quickly drive me crazy with worry.

“Yes. I now know what’s driving you with this conversation, Grandpa.”

“So for our peace of mind, are you happy?”

I sighed.

Better to tell him most of the truth. He's my grandpa, after all.

“I am happy. But I also have one thing I worry about, which I’m not telling you,” I replied.

“Why not?”

“Because I still don’t know you that much. I know you’re my Grandpa but that doesn’t mean we’re close.”

“And have you told your worries to Magda?”

Magda? If I recall correctly, Magda is short for Magdalena.

“To Mama? No, I haven’t. I...I don’t know how she’ll take it.”

Grandpa sighed again.

“Then I hope we do become close enough for you to tell me that. Can I?”

“...you can.”

I could feel resignation from Grandpa.

“I’m going to get back to this later Kurumi. For now, let’s start stretching.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


After a few minutes of stretching exercises, Grandpa told me to stop. He then slowly led me down the mountain.

I was already amazed at how much better he could see in the dark than I could. But the fact that he was quickly guiding me down a heavily forested mountain, in the dim light provided by the dawn, astounded me. As a result I wondered just how much combat experience Grandpa had in the Southern Philippines.

Surely the war in the Southern Philippines was just a few sniper attacks and minute long fire fights here and there, right? That's what a guerilla war is typically like, right?

By the time we reached the coastal plain, the sun was above the horizon. And from that point on we started jogging around the coastline of Awaji…

And jogging…

And jogging until my muscles finally failed and I dropped onto the sand, with my face upwards.
Just as it was supposed to happen if I’m building up my body military style.

Of course knowing that didn’t lessen the pain, which ranked up there with giving birth, and the beating I received from that green skinned team leader whose name I now remember, Meria.

“Get up Kurumi,” Grandpa suddenly said while bending over me.

“Five minutes,” Inhale, exhale, “please Grandpa?”

He chuckled.

“You’re that tired already? My God, we’ve only been jogging for...less than six kilometers. I even kept myself from going all out in consideration for you.”

Consideration. Ri-i-ight. Can we not forget the fact that my occupation was housewife slash student, who never jogged or run this much in her life before?

“Well I’m sorry to disappoint you Grandpa,” inhale, exhale, “my exercises consisted of cooking, shopping, washing,” inhale, exhale, “cleaning, walking, school,” inhale, exhale, “sex and playing with Ao,” Inhale, exhale, “and lately, archery and javelin throwing. So of course I’m going to get tired,” inhale, exhale, “easily from jogging.”

Damn tiredness. My sentences keep breaking because of the need to gasp for air.

Grandpa suddenly looked like he bit something very sour.

“What?”

“Do you know how awkward it is to hear your offspring say the word ‘sex’ so nonchalantly?”

“I do.”

As a matter of fact, I dread the day that Ao learns what sex is.

“If you do, then why include that in your list of exercises?”

“Because it’s one of the most strenuous physical activities,” inhale, exhale, “I perform lately. I have,” inhale, exhale, “to be completely honest with you so you,” inhale, exhale, “can train me properly, right?”

“Yes...but it’s still awkward.”

I smiled.

“Well, since you’ve already reached muscle failure, there’s no point in forcing you to move your body any earlier than this afternoon. For now I’ll settle with learning about your recent lifestyle so we could start putting on muscles on your body.”

Grandpa bent down and slowly lifted me from the sand. And then he started carrying me over his shoulder like a sack of rice.

“And one more thing Kurumi.”

“What?”

“For God’s sake, please don’t tell me about your sex life. I don’t consider that exercise.”

Don’t worry Grandpa. I won’t, because even I’m not that shameless.

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Day 40

Ever since day 28 in this place, there had been changes in my lifestyle thanks to Grandpa’s orders.

One change was in my diet. Grandpa told me that I was to eat more rice, more leafy vegetables, more fish and beef, and drink more milk to replenish all the energy I was using up, and to put on more building materials for muscles and bones. Izanami quickly agreed to cook more of those, although she was quite miffed by Grandpa’s disdain of mushrooms. Grandpa even asked her to not bother with putting in mushrooms in my food.

Another change was in my sleeping schedule. Before, I was sleeping at around eleven in the evening, and waking up at seven. With Grandpa’s new schedule, I was supposed to be asleep by nine and surprisingly, not to be up before eight in the morning.

At first I thought it was just a touching gesture of familial love on his part. But on the first day that I woke up with eleven hours of sleep behind me, I was surprised at what I felt. I’ve never been more recovered from the previous day’s exertions than I was at that particular time.

The last change was that I suddenly have more ‘me’ time than I’ve ever had before.

No, really. Jogging composed half of all the exercises Grandpa was making me do, and it was the kind of physical exercise that gives you time to think. Also, thinking while jogging was an excellent way to keep the feeling of fatigue from one’s mind.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what to do with my newly found ‘me’ time.

I can’t watch anime here with Ao, nor can I talk with Ichigo about anything interesting. Doing more training is out of the question, since I need the time for rest. Thinking about what my family was doing right now is almost useless, since only one hundred sixty or so minutes have passed since Ichigo and Papa had their fight.

I’m also reluctant to just start chatting with Izanami. After all, she is one of Japan’s most important gods. I can’t just go start talking about things with her unless she starts it. And even when she does start one, I’ve noticed that she doesn’t do normal conversations very well. As for Grandpa...after that talk about what I do in the bathroom with Ichigo, I’ve felt very awkward around him. The awkwardness made me unable to talk with him about my personal life.

So I was left with doing nothing else but contemplate endlessly on my life so far. And doing that would quickly drive me crazy.

Maybe I should start talking with Grandpa. I’ve had the feeling that he was waiting for me to go and talk to him.

“You should start talking with him. This is your only opportunity to do so, young one.”

I almost stumbled in surprise as Izanami suddenly spoke from beside me.

In front of me, Grandpa suddenly slowed down and looked back at us.

“I’m sorry for surprising the two of you, but there is something I wish to discuss,” she said while she kept pace beside me.

“What is it, Ma’am?” Grandpa asked.

“I wish to discuss my dissatisfaction with a particular aspect of your training methods, Mr. Marco.”

Oh dear.

What’s unsatisfactory about Grandpa’s training? It’s the same sort of physical exercise soldiers around the world were given in Basic training, if only modified for the non-inclusion of anything about firearms or other things.

“What’s unsatisfactory about my current training program?” Grandpa complained.

“The amount of time you have her spending on it. Because of your training, she hasn’t practiced with what I’ve taught her in the past few days. And that’s bad because she’s still a beginner. There’s a chance her newfound skills will degrade if she doesn’t get some practice here and there.”

...is it just me or did Izanami sound like someone whose pride had been injured?

Grandpa stopped jogging, making us stop too or risk colliding with him.

“Ma’am, I have no disrespect for what you have taught my granddaughter. But she will be fighting alongside a modern day army. And her opponents had also switched to mainly using guns backed up by magic and melee weapons. I don’t see any reason as to why she should be limited to throwing javelins and charging with a sword and shield at gun wielding opponents.”

“She’s not that limited.”

“Oh?”

“I know she can do more with that ring of hers, but I don’t know the exact details. That’s why we’re waiting for the Greeks to come. In the meantime, I’m asking, no. I’m demanding that you give some time for her to practice archery and javelin throwing.”

“...if you insist. But I still don’t see any way for javelins and arrows to compete with guns.”

Izanami scoffed.

“With magic and the right preparations javelins and arrows can compete with guns,” she boasted.

The boast piqued my interest.

I know there were some western movies that had characters that were killing gunmen with bow and arrow, like Rambo and...Rambo. But that’s fiction. This is real life.

“Exactly how can they compete?” I asked.

“Like this.”

Izanami suddenly had a bow and an arrow in her hands.

She quickly drew the arrow at a high angle while looking at a spot that was in front of us, and then she let go of it.

“Is it some marksmanship feat?” Grandpa muttered as we watched the arrow lazily fly into the –

The arrow suddenly exploded into thousands and thousands of arrows raining down onto a big sized area that starts from about fifty or sixty meters away from us.

“That’s not going to work in urban or jungle – “

Grandpa suddenly shut up when all the arrows suddenly burst into flames hot enough to make my skin sweat at this great distance.

Izanami suddenly snapped her fingers. And the blazing inferno suddenly turned into a solid, misshaped chunk of ice as big as the home me and my family were living in, that’s full of ashes in the act of flying freezed inside it.

“I suspect that the Greeks will teach Kurumi something along those lines. Now, what do you think, Mr. Marco?” Izanami asked Grandpa, who was still staring at the ice.

“Grenade launchers.”

Izanami looked puzzled at his reply. But I think I understood what he was thinking.

What Izanami just showed us was that magical thrown weaponry weren’t competitive with guns. They’re competitive with grenade launchers, and quite possibly short range artillery like mortars, since I do remember reading somewhere that arrows could be shot to around half a kilometre away.

“If you can teach her how to do something like that, I’ll set aside half the day for her to train with archery.”

“Set aside? You mean after you’ve sucked out all the energy out of her with jogging? No. I demand that she practices archery and javelin throwing in the morning while she is still at full strength.”

While my Grandpa and Izanami started negotiating...bickering over my training time, I looked at the chunk of ice and smiled.

It looks like I’m not so defenceless anymore.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 41: around 164 minutes in the real world.

Jog.

Jog.

I started seeing the destination, a hundred or so meters away in front of us.

“How do you like my target range?” Izanami asked me from behind.

Earlier on, when Grandpa and I was about to start jogging to all the newly made target ranges that Izanami created throughout the island last night, she suddenly walked out of the pit house and told us she wants to join. Grandpa expressed some doubt over her ability to keep up with us.

Izanami insisted she can keep up with us...and she did, to my pleasant surprise.

When we stopped for a breather later on Izanami was breathing raggedly, but obviously still game. I asked if she was using some magic, and her reply was that she wasn’t originally an Earth goddess for nothing.

That made Grandpa grumble an apology.

“Kurumi?”

“I can’t comment until I’m on it, your holiness.”

“Call me Izanami.”

That almost made me stumble.

I quickly recovered and stared at her.

Did she just told me to be on first name terms with her?

“Yes I did. It’s irritating to be called ‘your Holiness’ this, ‘your Holiness’ that all the time, especially by a mortal who doesn’t worship me.”

“If that is what you want, yo...Izanami.”

“Thank you Kurumi,” she beamed at me.

I felt a little uneasy at calling her by her name, but since she wants it...

I’ll try to make a practice of doing that.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“How about now?” She asked.

We were now on one of her target ranges.

It consisted of a big, circular space where the vegetation had been cleared, a log on the end that’s right beside the trail serving as the firing line and a few targets on the other end of the cleared space.

And the targets were very different this time.

Instead of paper shooting targets pasted to wood with magic, they were five straw dummies as tall as me, dressed in white, hemp shirts, pants of the same description, and what I recognize to be replicas of Kofun era armor and helmets, the full iron ones – no.

Izanami was the one who made this whole target ranges, so those might very well be genuine artifacts, or new ones made by the people who lived in that time.

The straw dummies also had a rectangular wooden shield tied onto the end of one hand, a three meter wooden stick embedded in the other hand, and were all in what I recognize to be the military’s parade rest position...if only modified for the presence of the shield and a spear taller than a man.

“Is Kurumi supposed to hit the parts where the armor doesn’t cover?” Grandpa asked.

“Yes. But there’s a catch here, Mr. Marco.”

Catch? Wha –

I yelped in surprise as all the straw dummies suddenly moved from parade arms to…I don’t know what to call it.

They had their shields in front of them and their spears were all pointing straight at me.

“The catch here is I want Kurumi to shoot the unarmored parts of all the straw dummies while the dummies are moving towards her. If she hits the dummies before they get to her, she wins. But Kurumi loses and will have to start all over again if one of the dummies poke her with a stick.”

I looked behind me to see Izanami had her hands raised in front of her as if she’s playing with a puppet.

“Poke me?” I asked in incredulity.

Izanami shrugged.

“Don’t worry. I’m not going to make them poke hard. Just hard enough to tickle you.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After an hour of the fastest arrow shooting I have ever done, I’m tired, and quite sore from all the pokes I got from the fucking straw dummies.

“That’s impressive Kurumi,” Izanami stated.

“Why is hitting eleven times in twenty nine retries amazing? That’s a rather poor performance in my opinion.” Grandpa said.

I glared at the straw dummies.

They were all lined up back where they started, the wooden shields studded with my arrows and the iron helmets and armor…undamaged from all the direct hits. The only arrows that were sticking into unarmored parts were all on the legs.

“Because I wasn’t expecting her to get a single one in her first day.”

I frowned at Izanami.

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” I muttered.

Izanami coughed and looked away in embarassment.

“No insult intended Kurumi. Just being realistic.”

“Now that’s over, why don’t we jog to the next firing range?” Grandpa suggested.

“Yes. Let’s go now Kurumi. Time’s running,” Izanami urged me.

…damn it.

Just damn it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 59: around 236 minutes in the real world

Jog.

Jog.

Trudge.

Sit on the sand and gasp for breath.

Wow. I…I didn’t know there’s such a difference between jogging on firm soil or a rocky beach and jogging on sand. I’m now as exhausted as when I was during the first seven days of Grandpa’s training.

“Granddaughter! We still have some ways to go to the next shooting range! Let’s go!” Grandpa yelled from my left, on the grassy, firm soil part of the coastal plain. Behind him was Izanami.

“Kurumi?!”

I’d better answer him quickly.

“Three minutes Grandpa! And why won’t you come down here on the sand?”

“Because you’re the one who’s supposed to suffer here, not me!”

I laughed.

I really like Grandpa Marco. After I broke the ice thirteen nights ago, he quickly proved to be a font of humor and more adult wisdom.

“New targets! On the sea!” Izanami suddenly shouted.

I looked to my right.

There were a few buoys floating around on the sea, with small helium balloons attached to them via string. And they were seventy or so meters away.

Izanami wants me to shoot several targets that move so erratically... while they’re too far for my range? What on Earth? And also, why is this so familiar? I could swear I heard something like this from a Japanese History class.

“They’re too far!” I yelled back at her.

“Just try it!” Grandpa hollered.

I quickly incanted a toxo and velos into being, while wondering what happened to the prepared shooting range I was supposed to be jogging to. These balloons, while they’re very tricky targets, were also very crude compared to the Izanami’s armored straw dolls of poking, of which I’m downing more and more frequently lately.

Maybe they decided to mix things up.

I was about to stand up from the sand when Izanami suddenly shouted something.

“Stay in that position Kurumi! I want you to fire the bow sideways from a sitting position!”

Grandpa and I looked askance at her.

Shoot a bow sideways? Why would I do that? Isn’t that bad aiming, just like aiming a gun sideways is a guarantee of inaccuracy?

“Shooting sideways is how one uses a bow while crouched or in hiding! Try it Kurumi! Or if that’s still too much for you then try shooting diagonally at first!”

“Izanami, isn’t aiming anything sideways a bad idea?!” I asked.

“That’s not a gun!” Izanami shouted angrily, “What is it about those contraptions that had all of you so in love with...you’re not using a gun, you’re using a bow and arrow! Take it from me and all those who worshipped me in the past. You. Can. Shoot. Sideways. With. A. Bow!”

Ok, ok, ok! Don’t get angry Izanami.

I hurriedly titled the bow diagonally, nocked the arrow, took a long look at the target, drew and then let loose.

I watched the arrow fly into the air and...wow.

“See! I told you!”

I could only nod while staring at where the arrow sank.

The arrow, as expected, fell way short of the target and landed in the water. What was unexpected was that I reached my personal best of around fifty meters, while the holding the bow in an unfamiliar position.

“Now I’m going to drag the targets nearer to you. I expect you to hit them, alright?!”

I watched as the targets quickly floated nearer to the beach thanks to the waves.

“Is that close enough?!”

Almost...Almost...there.

“Yes, it’s close enough. Now I just need you to calm the waves Izanami!”

Izanami laughed out loud.

“Kurumi, the difficulty is the point of the floating targets!” Grandpa shouted to me.

I softly sighed.

I’m going to be stuck here for the rest of the day, trying to recreate – oh! Now I remember! Nasu no Yoichi at Yashima…where he shot off a small fan on top of a bobbing ship…floating far from the beach…where he’s on horseback…

I looked at Izanami in incredulity.

She wants –

“I want you to top Nasu no Yoichi! And after you pop all of the balloons with arrows, I want you to use javelins on the next batch!”

“Why?!” I complained piteously.

This is ridiculous! She’s making me do something that Nasu no Yoichi could have problems with. His target was only moving with the ship. My targets are floating every which way the wind makes them go, in addition to whatever motion the water gives them through the floats. Also, I have multiple targets to shoot, while he only had to shoot one target.

No matter which way you look at it, I have the more impossible target. So why is she pushing this on me?

“Why not?!” Izanami answered with a grin. Beside her, Grandpa was looking at me and Izanami with a mystified look.

Oh dear Heavens. I’m going to be stuck here for days.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Days, you said?” Izanami asked while looking at the results of my handiwork.

Grandpa, for his part, was clapping in congratulations for my feat.

I’ve destroyed the two batches of balloons with both arrows and javelins. And it only took me until almost sunset to do so.

It’s not Nasu no Yoichi level, but this is miraculous. Simply miraculous.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 83: around 332 minutes in the real world

“Watch where you’re stepping. As much as possible, avoid things that would make a noise,” I muttered as I slowly stepped onto a bare patch of forest ground.

“And?” Grandpa asked as he silently walked beside me, an assault rifle on his back and a machete hanging by his left hip.

“Test your footing first. You never know how firm a surface is at first glance,” I replied.

We were currently in the south central part of this magical version of Awaji island, where a big, thickly forested valley was located. In the real world, Izanami informed me, this is where Minami-Awaji city would be located.

Just this morning, after a final round of shooting armored straw dummies and floating helium balloons, Grandpa and Izanami had made another change in my training schedule. This time I was to learn how to move and fight in a jungle...using the nastiest, most dangerous version of Japan’s forests that Izanami could conjure up.

Which was why Grandpa was armed in the first place, and I already had a kopis in a scabbard by my hip.

I didn’t voice out my opinion of urban combat being a more likely possibility than jungle warfare when it concerns magical girls because, silly as this might sound to anyone else, I felt learning some jungle warfare would give me more of a connection with Mama’s side of the family.

“Very good. And what do you do if the ground is completely covered with leaves?”

I mentally shook of the reminiscing and got myself back to the present.

“I think...either step slowly or brush the leaves aside with your foot,” I replied.

“Good. Now...practice walking silently on that piece of ground there.”

I looked towards where he pointed.

It was a patch of the forest floor around twenty meters away, that had no protruding tree branches or bare patches of ground to silently walk on. Instead, there was a mat of dried tree leaves covering the whole area.

“The goal here is to get from this side of that patch of forest floor to that big tree on the other side without making any noise I could hear from over here. If I hear a noise, you have to start all over again.”

“And if I succeed?”

“I’ll...get back to you later on that.”

I snickered.

“What?” Grandpa exclaimed.

“Mama always said the same thing whenever she doesn’t have the slightest idea on what to do,” I said as I tiptoed towards the leaf covered patch of forest floor.

I remember this one time when I was seven. I asked Mama if I can buy this one doll that I saw inside a store in Tokyo. It was one of the cheapest on display, and I also promised her that I’ll take care of it very, very carefully. I’ll learn how to wash the doll’s clothes, and brush the hair, and other things involved in taking care of a doll.

Mama had given me a very awkward look on her face, and said that she’ll get back to me later on about that doll.

She didn’t get back to me with the doll, and it wasn’t until I was pregnant with Ao and learning how to take care of my own baby that I learned why. Apparently, the doll that I wanted to buy looked like something out of an American horror movie she once watched. And she didn’t want to wake up screaming in the night because of nightmares or risk the chance that I might buy an actual haunted doll.

I laughed at that time...come to think of it, I also say the same thing to Ao when I have no idea on what to say.

I guess that phrase is now a family trademark –

Crack!

– What was that?

I looked down to see that a snake near my left foot. Its head was cut off from the rest of its wriggling body by a stone axe wielded by Izanami, who was frowning at me.

“Never, ever lose your attention on your surroundings, especially in a forest. The moment you do so, very bad things could happen to you,” Izanami suddenly said while frowning at me.

The noise of leaves loudly being thrown in the air suddenly started coming from behind me.

“Shit. Shit. Shit, I’m losing my touch. Are you alright Kurumi?” Grandpa asked me from behind.
I turned around and glared at him, while feeling sweat trickle down my face due to shock.

What do you think, Grandpa?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 150: around 600 minutes in the real world

I’ve finally finished the jungle training yesterday. And...I don’t want to talk about it ever again.

Grandpa, I’m very, very sorry that I ever thought fighting in a jungle was a somewhat easy task.

Anyways, right now I’m still in the same valley, although Instead of an ancient forested valley it was now occupied by a complete reproduction of the modern day city of Minami-Awaji, down to the parked cars on the street and electric appliances that were turned on. And all that...gave me and Grandpa shivers.

I mean, it’s giving off the feeling that we’re the last humans on Earth.

As an aside, Izanami laughed at the sight of us shivering.

“Are you really sure you want to go straight to trying to hunt each other?” Grandpa suddenly cut into my thoughts.

An assault rifle was already in his hands, and his ALICE gear was chock-full of grenades, magazines and a machete. And what’s more he was finally wearing a green colored steel helmet.

“Sure. I remember most of what the American field manual says about urban combat. I just need to have more practical experience.”

“Ok. Don’t run around naked in frustration,” Grandpa reminded me with a frown. Behind me, Izanami started to laugh uncontrollably.

I grumbled at remembering what happened in the last ten days of jungle training.

My final test was to hunt Grandpa down by getting into position to inflict a potentially lethal hit without being spotted, while Izanami was the referee between the two of us.

It took me nine days of getting spotted twenty six times, and finally going for broke on the tenth by going completely naked and rubbing mud and plant leaves all over me for camouflage, to finally get the drop on him. Once.

...I still can’t believe that I went naked outside of my bed.

“Alright – hahaha. Let’s *snicker* let’s start this test right now. Kurumi, you go we – we – *snicker* west. Marco, east,” Izanami said to us amidst bursts of snickers and laughter.

We started walking to our places when suddenly I smelled a boar, and heard the sound of one running.

“Izanami! Kurumi! Where are you two?!”

I looked towards the south, where Ibuki’s voice was coming from.

Ibuki was running at speeds that could match that of a shinkansen, with the asphalt street being gouged out by his feet and every car in his way being thrown into the air or bisected in half by his body.

Around a hundred meters away from us Ibuki suddenly stopped running and tried to brake, however it took until a few meters away from us for his momentum to completely go away. Behind him, the road had one giant trench in its middle, made by Ibuki’s feet and butt.

“What is it?” Izanami asked, all previous signs of her amusement gone with the wind.

“New development. The human’s Prime Minister is having an announcement on the TV contraption. You got one here?”

Izanami pointed to a nearby electronics store with a signboard that says they’re selling surplus TV sets, whose screens are all filled with static.

Ibuki made a grunt, and all the screens suddenly switched to a live view of NHK’s main reporter, inside the TV Studio. Underneath it was the lower third of the screen. The title shown was ‘Press conference on the Matsumoto shootout.’

Ibuki then looked back at all of us.

“The fucking Indian rat did his job too well,” Ibuki spat out with distaste.

I was puzzled by his words.

If I remember correctly, wasn’t the idea to reveal the existence of magic to the governments and get them to help wage war against the invading magical states? And all the gods of the world was onboard with the plan? Then what’s Ibuki fuming about here?

“The Prime Minister is now entering the room,” the reporter suddenly said.

I cut off my thoughts and concentrated on the broadcast.

I watched Shinzo Abe walk across the room, as if he had – no. He must have drunk some wine, judging by his flushed face.

By the time he got up on the podium, all the reporters were silent. In fact, the room was as silent as the graveyard. The cameras weren’t shooting. The reporters weren’t muttering anything.

My guess was it’s because of the look on his face. He looked scared. He looked bewildered. He looked like a child who upon opening their birthday gift was shocked at seeing it was horribly vandalized by permanent markers.

“My fellow Japanese,” he begun.

“As you all know from the news reports on TV, radio, newspapers, and on the internet, around thirty six hours ago, on May 3, 2013, there was an extremely violent incident in Matsumoto, Nagano. An intense fire fight happened beside Camp Matsumoto involving eight perpetrators and the members of the 13th infantry regiment, 12th brigade who were on base at the time.”

Abe paused and then took a deep breath.

“The resulting number of casualties are the following. Six perpetrators had been found dead, while according to our informants, the last two had already escaped Japanese territory.”

The last two escaped? I guess Imas the jelly woman was one. I don’t know who the other survivor is.

The room exploded with questions.

From what I could make out, the reporters were trying to ask if the perpetrators of the shoot-out were North Koreans.

“Silence!” Abe suddenly screamed, making me jump slightly in surprise.

The room quickly got quiet, shocked by the unimaginable outburst from our Prime Minister.

Abe slowly massaged his forehead, his temple, and the bridge of his nose. He then continued.

“As I was saying, six of the perpetrators were found dead while the last two escaped. On the Japanese side...fifty nine Japanese have died, twenty five of them were JSDF personnel while the rest were all civilians.”

“Fifty nine,” I muttered to myself in horror.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Poor folks,” Grandpa said from behind me.

I remembered some of those. The girl cut in half. The pregnant woman. The motorcyclist. The businessman. And then there were the explosions and the magical beams...it’s got to be those two that caused most of the deaths.

“And there were eighty two wounded. All but five were permanently crippled.”

I winced.

If one goes by the portrayal of lethal magical beams...the least you would get is losing a part of your body by vaporization and severe burns – wait a minute.

Is father in law among them? Or the dead?

...I hope not. I dearly hope not.

“In these past thirty six hours the Ministry of Defense, the Public Security Intelligence Agency, and MEXT has investigated the identities of the perpetrators, and has been assisted in this task by...by certain, very unique informants.”

The reporters started buzzing as soon as MEXT was mentioned, since obviously MEXT is as involved with national defense as the Ministry of Environment. Which was, none at all.

On the other hand, I understood that MEXT would be involved to prove or disprove that Abe’s ‘very unique informants, Gaunilo certainly among them, are genuine magical beings.

“And in light of the information that had been given to me...I’m now taking the following steps.”

“Remember this moment Kurumi. This is going in the history books,” Izanami said from behind me.
Her tone of voice gave me the feeling that I won’t like it.

“First of all, with the most extreme reluctance, I...”

Abe paused. And then he coughed. He has the look of someone who can’t believe something is happening to them.

“I am now declaring that Japan is currently in a state of war with several foreign powers.”

...well, that just happened.

That just happened.

==========================================================================

Many thanks to Strypgia, Atreidestrooper, and Naeddyr of Spacebattles for beta-ing my work.

And also to sofman of the website xnxx, for helping me portray how a grandparent would act.

Also, I have forgotten to give credit to Aleph back in chapter 7 for giving me some insight into archery. Sorry Aleph.

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 Post subject: Re: An unlikely magical girl, and an unlikely world war PostPosted: 2014-08-18 10:59am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 179
Location: Philippines
Well...here's a new update. And it's in third person POV. Enjoy!

=============================================================================================================

Chapter 9

6:05 A.M., May 5, 2013, Matsumoto

“I am now declaring that Japan is currently in a state of war with several foreign powers.”

“Oh shit,” said a bespectacled young man while staring at the TV, where Abe’s press conference was being shown to them.

The lean, seventeen year old young man had slightly wet, black hair and was wearing a red printed shirt with blue denim jeans. He was seated at a rectangular shaped dinner table, with a plate of rice, a bowl of miso soup, and a platter of cooked canned tuna in front of him, all half eaten.

Beside him was a brown eyed young girl of around five years, who was frowning at him. She also had slightly wet black hair tied up in a short ponytail, the same eyes as him and a pink cotton dress with flower designs. In front of her, her little bowl of rice gruel and canned tuna lay suspiciously untouched, as if she didn’t like it in the first place.

In front of them was a man of thirty eight years, who was looking at the TV grimly. He was muscular and clean-shaven. His hair was the same style as that of the young man, although his hair was already dry, and he was wearing the JGSDF’s uniform. In front of him, his plate and platter and bowl lay clean of all food.

And beside the man was a thin woman of forty years, who looked conflicted, as if she got what she wished for in the worst way possible. She had waist length, slightly wet, black hair freely flowing down her back, and was dressed in a white shirt and a black ankle length skirt. She was only just finishing placing her food in front of her.

The dinner table they were using was, in turn, in the middle of a rectangular shaped kitchen. On the north side the room was occupied by a long counter that’s occupied by several dish racks, a sink, an electric rice cooker and electric stoves. Slightly above the counter, a window on the wall gives a view of their neighbor, the local branch of a manufacturer of ship parts. The refrigerator and a cabinet that was filled with spices stood at the west side of the room. The small and old TV that they were watching was at the east side of the room, under another window that gives a view of the small lawn that surrounded the house. And to the south side was a door that leads to the house’s main hallway, which was in turn connected to the main entrance, the living/dining room, the room that was used for storage purposes, and the stairs to the second floor.

“Papa, that’s a bad word,” the young girl lectured the young man.

“Later Ao,” the young man briefly looked at her before turning back to the TV when Abe started speaking again.

“And as the proper response to this undesired state of affairs that Japan had been dragged into, I am now mobilizing the JSDF and putting them on wartime alert, ,” Abe said amidst a crescendo of mutterings from reporters.

“What’s going to happen now, Hayato?” the woman worriedly asked the man in military uniform.

“Not now Yuki. Abe’s still saying more,” Hayato told Yuki with a brief look.

“Also, I am now calling on the United States to fulfill their treaty obligations as stated under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.”

“Abe’s panicking,” Yuki muttered to herself.

“Mom, if you know how magical opponents are portrayed in anime, you too would be screaming for help from – “

“I’m also officially asking for military cooperation with the Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation and the Republic of China in addressing this threat.”

“ – the whole world,” the young man finished, amazed by hearing words that used to belong to the realm of fiction.

On screen, Abe looked older and older with every word he says, amidst a roar of questions from the reporters, who had forgotten all their politeness in shock at the war declaration.

“This is unreal,” Hayato looked at the other people on the table in disbelief, “that – “

“Sounded like it belongs to a Gojira film?” Yuki supplied.

“Yes.”

On the TV, some of the reporters were standing up and shouting out questions.

“And finally, I am declaring a mandatory evacuation of the following areas of Nagano and Gifu prefectures: Matsumoto, Shiojiri, Azumino, Yamagata, Asahi, Omachi, Chikuhoku, Ueda, Nagawa, Aoki, Shimosuwa, Takayama, and Kiso district.”

The roar turned into outright pandemonium. Shouted questions instantly became demands for answers.

“Turn it off Ichigo. I don’t want to hear – “

Hayato was interrupted by one reporter howling out at Abe.

“Prime Minister! Who are these foreign powers that we are at war with now?! Aliens doing an alien invasion?!”

The room went silent after the question. Most of the people in the room, whether security guards, reporter crews, politicians and their aides looked at him as if he was drunk or crazy. A few reporters around him even tried to step away, only to be hemmed in by the sheer number of bodied crowding the space.

The only person who didn’t look at him like that was Abe.

Abe took back everyone’s attention when the microphone broadcasted his tired sigh. At this point it was obvious to everyone watching that he just wanted to get out of that room.

“Unfortunately, the term ‘alien invasion’ is close enough to the truth.”

The bombshell visibly stunned everyone in the room. Moments later, the reporters started shouting questions again.

“This press conference is now at an end,” Abe quickly declared. He then rapidly walked out of the room, while security guards wrestled with the horde of reporters now trying to get past and chase the Prime Minister down.

Ichigo quickly stood up from his seat and walked over to the TV to turn it off. After doing so, he went back to his seat.
He was about to sit when he noticed Ao’s untouched food.

“Ao, why aren’t you eating?” Ichigo asked her.

Ao looked up at him and then at her grandparents, who were looking at her in equal parts concern and curiosity. She then looked back to Ichigo and beckoned at him to come closer.

Ichigo sat down and leaned closer to her. Once he was close enough, Ao whispered her answer into his ear.

"I really, really miss Mama's cooking."

Ichigo moved far enough from Ao so she can see the sad expression on his face, while still close enough to not to look at his mother.

"Me too," Ichigo whispered back.

"What did Ao say, Ichigo?" Yuki asked him.

Ichigo looked her in the eyes and smoothly lied.

"She said she doesn't feel too hungry because she's very worried about Kurumi."

"Oh," Yuki said in a disappointed tone of voice, accompanied by a very brief scowl. She then changed her expression into a less severe frown.

“Even if you are worried about your mother, you should still eat Ao. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting the food I cooked for you,” Yuki continued.

“Mom’s right Ao. You shouldn't waste your food Ao. Don't you remember what your Grandma Magdalena said about food?"

Ao tried to remember what Magdalena said. At the same time she pretended to ignore Yuki’s huff of displeasure at hearing Magdalena’s name.

"Lola said…food is a blessing from heaven. And that so many other children don't have food to eat."

"Good. And your Mama was also taught by your Grandma that way. Do you think she will be happy if you don't eat Mom's food?"
Ao pouted and shook her head.

"Good. Now eat Mom's food."

"But I really don't think I can eat much now."

"And if you get hungry later, will you ask me for sweets? Let me remind you we will be inside a hospital. Everything inside will be expensive." Ichigo said to her.

Ao pouted some more, and then she smiled as she got an idea.

“Papa, can I just eat half of the rice? I promise that I’ll finish all the soup and fish.”

“Well…oh alright.”

Ichigo took hold of Ao’s plate of rice and quickly put half of her rice onto his own plate. After doing that, he put the plate back in front of Ao.

“There you go. Now finish it or I’ll get mad at you.”

“Thank you Papa.”

Ao gave Ichigo a quick hug and then started eating her food.

Unnoticed by Ao, Hayato and Ichigo were worriedly looking at Yuki, who was calmly eating her food.

When she noticed their stares, she swallowed the food she was chewing and said a few words.

“Let’s talk about the evacuation this night. For now, let me pretend the world is still a normal place, please?”

They nodded and went back to their own thoughts.

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6:09 A.M., May 5, 2013, Governmental Palace of the Skinchangers

“Leader No-akho, King Haras sends these gifts as an apology for the trouble that happened in the city of Matsumoto,” the female emissary from the Kingdom of the Light Eaters said as she performed a bow.

She was a green skinned, human-like being with floor length, translucent colored hair. She was also dressed in a floor length one piece dress, made of animal furs dyed in various shades of green.

In front of her were the apology gifts that she had just referred to, twenty five swords that differed only in their sizes and the magical spells that were incised into the blades. All of them had leaf-shaped blades made of amber and handles of carved wood.

She and the swords were in the building’s largest room, the reception hall. Rectangular shaped, it was filled with a white colored rug studded with circular splashes of every color other than white running down the center from the dais where the Leader was at, to the entrance where ten beings at parade rest stood guard, each of them armed with a sword and a revolver each.

Along the walls of the room, ordinary wooden tables and chairs were located, twenty desk sets for each side. At each of these workspaces, a government worker sat waging an endless battle against the paperwork that every bureaucracy had to deal with. And behind each of these desks stood more guards, one for each table and equipped just like the ones at the entranceway.

At the dais, No-akho sat on a comfortable office chair and a transparent glass table imported straight from the U.S. by his agents.
No-akho was a human-looking being with a very aged appearance, which included wrinkles, dry skin, and white hair. He was also wearing a business suit made out of hemp. The only difference between him and an ordinary senior citizen from Europe was the chromatophores on his skin giving him rainbow colored skin.

Presently, he was leaning back into his chair while his hands were crossed over his chest. He was also frowning at the swords that King Haras had sent to him.

“Your excellency?” the emissary asked after about a minute had gone by after her bow and presentation of the gifts, and No-akho still hadn’t said anything.

“Tell me,” No-akho rasped, “how many ancestors of his did he beg to?”

The emissary blinked.

“Pardon me, your – “

“I may be old but I’m not going senile!” No-akho barked, “I remember that sword. The one you laid on the floor last. That belonged to Haras’ grandfather when he went off on that expedition to help put me down during my revolution. I know it was buried with what’s left of the corpse in your royal necropolis. So, why is that here in front of me?”

All of the guards, who were already concerned by the presence of functional magical weapons near a foreign dignitary in front of their political leader, suddenly had their hands on their weapons, ready to draw them at a moment’s notice.

The emissary’s eyes grew wide in realization that a blunder had been made. She immediately tried to smooth it over.

“Your excellency, there was no insult meant with this present. These swords were some of the most powerful weapons that was ever made by our amber carvers, and my king is sending these to you as an apology for – “

“For letting spies enter the surprisingly very, very unsecured war chambers of your kingdom? For insisting that the pursuing assassination team must be the one headed by the…”

No-akho paused for a few moments and tried to remember the name of the one he was referring to. When he still can’t remember, he looked at one of the government workers, the one in charge of organizing the submitted reports given to the Leader by his spy master.

“Please give me the intel report about that spawn of a diseased plant.”

The government worker quickly jumped out of his seat, ran to No-akho and gave him a stick made of clay with writing on it, and ran back to his seat.

No-akho then pushed magic into the stick, to make a dark colored plane of magical light glow out of the stick’s side. In that plane of light, white colored writing was visible.

He then scrolled across the text in the same way that one uses a tablet computer. And then he stopped at a particular section.

“There is it,” he suddenly said.

“Duke Frist insisted his nephew Meria and the multistate assassination team he leads must be the one to pursue, in spite of his subordinates already assembling their fastest people for pursuit, and ignoring all offers of assistance by generals of the same rank from every other state including mine! Now, dear ambassador, would you tell me why that happened?”

The ambassador opened her mouth to say something when No-akho interrupted her.

“Let me tell you what I and my ministers think must be happening. Frist and his cabal of generals and nobles are planning to push the royalty out of power and replace it with themselves. But they know how most of your population won’t stand for it without a valid reason, as I discovered when I struck back at your kingdom for the military expedition against me. So, they’ve got to show a valid reason. That’s why they’re creating a narrative of an incompetent royal house and a super competent military leadership. And that means heroes. That means they must be seen ordering around the generals and soldiers of other nations. That means glorious achievements plastered in every media, like taking the first strike or something like that. So…am I right?”

The emissary stuttered.

“I’m not concerned with politics, your excellency. I only do what I told to do by my king.”

No-akho snerked.

“Look kid, tell Haras I don’t want powerful weapons that I or my soldiers don’t have time to master. What I want is for him to give me command over Frist and his cronies’ armies.”

The emissary looked flabbergasted and quickly protested.

“You can’t do that, your Excellency!? You can’t have command of another nation’s army, that wasn’t in the terms of the alliance!”

“You’re absolutely right. That wasn’t in the terms of alliance, but unless Haras has another idea for getting rid of Frist without waging a civil war, then this is his best chance of doing it.”

The emissary steadily looked at No-ahko, while she started chewing the inside of her lower lips.

Moments later, No-ahko grimaced and suddenly complained.

“Stop chewing your lips, kid. It’s disgusting to look at.”

The emissary blinked, and stopped doing it.

“That’s better,” No-ahko said in relief.

“Leader No-ahko, could you further expound on what you want to do with Frist?” the ambassador asked.

No-ahko smiled.

“How much do you know of the war plans?”

“I know nothing about it,” the ambassador said.

“For you to understand what I intend to do, you have to know what the war plan was. Basically, plan Abyssinia was using multiple units of six thousand simultaneously attacking and occupying all major non-capital cities of every nation on Earth, with more units of six thousand in reserve for any eventuality while the capitals and military bases get destroyed with magical beam attacks. All those units were supposed to be combined smaller units from different states helping each other with their specialties. Air fights, water fights and so on and so forth.”

The emissary started nodding her head, to show she understood what he said.

“But now that Earth is getting alerted, it’s going to be bloodier the more Earth’s armies get mobilized. So, since Frist and his cabal were so adamant on getting glory for themselves, then we’ll give them the ‘honor’ of being the first ones to die against the humans. And to make it more glorious for him, we, the rest of the alliance, will be stripping down our component forces up to the minimum and let him take most of the casualties for us all.”

The ambassador looked at him in horror.

“You’re...you’re going to completely sacrifice those armies? You can’t do that! Frist’s armies compose eight parts of ten of our entire fighting force!”

“Oh don’t worry,” No-akho reassured her, “I’ll return Army Group Frist to Haras after this war. They’ll be be experienced, they’ll still be intact, and they’ll be completely purged of coup plotters. Just leave the manner of execution to me. So, do we have an agreement?”

The emissary looked a little bewildered by the exposition. But she immediately rallied herself.

“I must first consult with my king about this…proposal – “

“Demand.” No-akho corrected her.

The emissary continued, nonplussed.

“Very well. I will consult with my king about your demand. By your leave?”

“Go. I’ll expect an answer tomorrow.”

The emissary bowed and started walking backwards when No-akho suddenly spoke up.

“Take the swords with you. I honestly don’t need those.”

The emissary quickly moved towards the swords and whispered an incantation.

The swords glowed as bright as the sun for a moment, and in the next they had turned into beads of amber.

The emissary gathered them up, placed them in her pockets, and then started walking backwards again. Once she was halfway across the room, she turned her back and started walking normally towards the exit.

At the moment that she was about to pass the passageway of the reception hall, No-akho suddenly shouted, his rasping tone all gone and replaced by his actual voice, a healthy and strong one.

“Before I forget, congratulations on becoming the future queen of the Light Eaters!”

The future queen whirled around and looked at him in a mixture of surprise and fear.

No-akho grinned at her, while he tapped his ears and pointed to his eyes.

The Light Eater quickly fled the place with as much dignity as she could show after that event.

No-akho laughed at the sight.

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7:38 A.M., May 5, 2013, Matsumoto

“May I see both of your ID’s?” an armed, uniformed policeman asked Ichigo several steps in front of the glass doors of Aizawa hospital.

He had his left hand stretched out while his right hand was hovering near his holstered pistol.

Behind him stood three more guards, two fully equipped soldiers from the 13th infantry regiment, and a young Shinto priest armed with a bowl of salt and two opened 40kg sacks of salt behind his legs. And beside him was a table, with a very thick ring binder on it.

The Shinto priest looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but stuck in front of the entrance to a hospital playing as a guard while the two soldiers, who recognized Ichigo as the son of a superior officer, gave him apologetic smiles, trying to convey a message telling him to bear with the security procedures.

Ichigo reached into his pocket and pulled out his student I.D. booklet and Ao’s Mother-Child handbook. He then gave both to the policeman.

The policeman took a long look at each of the ID’s, looked at Ichigo and Ao with an incredulous expression, and then opened the ring binder and started leafing through the pages.

After a few moments passed, Ichigo peeked at the pages in curiosity as to what was taking the checking so long.

What he saw shocked him.

“Are those Koseki copies?” he asked the policeman while recalling the fact that the day before, only a valid I.D. and being showered with salt for anti-magical/supernatural purposes were required.

“Yes they are, kid. I have to check if the information is right or wrong,” the policeman admitted with no apologetic gesture.

Ichigo blinked a few times, bewildered at the depth of paranoia being exhibited here. In the background, the Shinto priest and the soldiers had awkward looks on their faces.

“Papa, what’s a koseki?” Ao asked her father.

Ichigo looked down to his daughter and tried to explain it in the simplest way possible.

“It’s a record of everything that happened to you that the rules of Japan consider important.”

“Like my birthday?”

“Yes. Like your birthday,” Ichigo smiled at his intelligent daughter.

“Found it,” the policeman suddenly said.

He turned back to Ichigo and Ao.

“When is your birthday, Ikeda Ao?”

“July 31, 2008,” Ao cheerfully replied.

“And what’s your mother’s name?”

“Ikeda Kurumi.”

“And what’s your legal status in relation to your father?”

Ao blinked, puzzled by the meaning of legal status.

Beside her, Ichigo glared at the policeman. Behind the policeman, the soldiers winced at what the policeman was asking a kid to declare herself as, and the Shinto priest looked confused by their reactions.

Ao scratched her head.

“I don’t know. What does legal status mean?”

The policeman nodded in approval.

“Good. You’re not an impostor. Now go to Nakai the priest and get a salt shower kid.”

Ao happily skipped past the policeman towards Nakai. Behind her, Ichigo stood still and looked murderous.

“Your name?” The policeman asked him.

“Ohta Ichigo,” he said softly as he closed his eyes and took long breaths.

“Age?”

“Seventeen.”

“Did you sign a recognition of birth document for your daughter?”

“Yes I did.”

The priest’s confused expression suddenly turned into a wince, as he finally figured out what just happened.

“Where is it and who gave the document to the city clerk?”

“It’s in Tokyo City Hall, and me and Kurumi submitted it to the clerk, accompanied by my father and her mother, in front of a line of very disapproving parents-to-be.”

“Good. You could go to Nakai now.”

As Ichigo stepped beside the policeman he hissed one word.

“Asshole.”

The policeman replied as Ichigo had taken one step past him.

“Better she know her legal status in the eyes of Japanese law now rather than when she’s grown up.”

Ichigo silently clenched his teeth in anger as he stood before the priest and received a sprinkling of salt on his head.

“Ohta, I’m sorry about that guy. He’s...not from hereabouts,” one of the soldiers lamely whispered to Ichigo.

“It’s ok. I’ve known for some time that I would get some reactions like that.”

“It’s still not right to make a kid say she is a bastard,” the Shinto priest added with a frown.

He observed Ichigo for a moment, and then he spoke again.

“Alright, no smoke or anything. You can go now.”

Ichigo nodded to the two of them and then walked towards Ao, who was being distracted by the other soldier.

“Ao, let’s go see your Mama and grandparents now,” he said once he was beside her, at the same time giving a thankful nod to the soldier.

“Ok Papa. See you later Mr. Mino,” Ao said with a wave.

The soldier she was talking to earlier waved back to her. He then stepped closer to Ichigo and softly spoke to him.

“Ohta, don’t be surprised by what you see in the lobby. We’re just trying to make sure that anything that forces its way through us will die.”

The soldier ended his words with a grim but determined tone.

Ichigo’s eyebrows raised, but he nodded and turned towards the automatic glass doors.

When the doors slid open, he whistled in amazement.

The lobby as it was when he and Ao went home last night was occupied by a reception desk at one end of the room, and a few rows of pink cotton padded benches parallel to the wall in front of the reception desk. And behind the last row of benches was a big space that serves as the passageway into the insides of the hospital.

Now, three fourths of the benches were gone, and what remained was parallel to the wall. In the space that was cleared were no less than three emplacements made from commercial sacks of salt and sandbags.

Ichigo quickly recognized the weapons behind them.

A tripod mounted M2 machine gun made under license by Sumitomo stood behind two of the emplacements. Behind the third one was a Type 96 automatic grenade launcher, also on a tall tripod.

Behind each emplacement stood two grim-faced soldiers, and there were an additional six fully-armed soldiers scattered throughout the lobby.

And finally, the nurses, waiting guests and patients at the reception desk and the benches looked on at the soldiers and the weaponry with a mix of nervousness, fear and relief.

Ichigo looked back at Mino, who was giving him an awkward smile.

“.50 Cal. and an AGL in such an enclosed space? That’s insane,” Ichigo said to Mino.

Mino replied.

“Ohta, we’re dealing with extraterrestrial beings that didn’t get killed by a 5.56 headshot courtesy of your father. Current thinking around the regiment is that Cal. 50’s might do the trick.”

Ichigo frowned at the information. He was thinking of what to say about heavy weaponry inside a hospital when Ao suddenly chimed in.

“Mr. Mino, did you have all your weapons blessed by a priest or magician?”

Mino smiled at Ao and was about to answer when he stopped, open-mouthed, and suddenly looked alarmed. He then exchanged gazes with the other soldier and the policeman.

“Don’t tell me you guys didn’t? Not after such a demonstration of the supernatural two nights ago?” Nakai the Shinto priest asked them in incredulity.

“I...don’t think anyone has thought about that,” Mino admitted to him while looking like someone who just dodged certain death.

“Ao, thanks for that information. You just might have saved our lives,” the other soldier said to her.

“No problem,” Ao said with a smile. “Let’s go Papa!”

“Right.”

Ichigo bowed to the guards and walked with Ao into the lobby.

As the glass doors were closing, Mino radioed his superiors with the new information while the other soldier and the policeman, who looked ashamed, started giving Nakai their weapons for a blessing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“This is ridiculous,” Ichigo loudly commented as he stepped over the sandbags of the last cal.50 machine gun emplacement along the way to Kurumi’s room , while carrying Ao in his arms.

“You do know that this is all for your fiancé’s protection, right?” One of the soldiers manning the cal.50 in the middle of the hallway asked him with a raised eyebrow.

“It’s not about that sir. I’m actually quite grateful for the protection detail, never mind that it’s inside a hospital. What’s ridiculous is where did you guys get all these cal.50’s? This is the eight one I passed in the hospital.”

The soldier grinned.

“It’s what happens when your unit is considered a priority. You start to get first pick of everything you want.”

“I hope you’re not cannibalizing the TOE of someone else in the process,” Ichigo commented.

“Don’t worry about that kid,” the other soldier said, “My cousin works in the defense industry. I asked him last night if he could direct anything experimental in the industry our way. He said nothing new is in the pipeline for us infantry, but the factories have started working 24/7 and in two week’s time we would have enough equipment for the whole Ground forces.”

“Oh really Matsuoka? Abe’s mobilizing the reserves too. That’s a lot more soldiers to arm, right?” the first soldier asked him.

“Well...my cousin bragged that the industry could do it in two weeks,” Matsuoka admitted.

“Ah,” the first soldier grunted with a smile.

“Come on Hijikata. Have some faith in the power of money and genuine self-preservation to make an entire industry deliver as they said,” Matsuoka joked.

Ichigo and the first soldier snickered at his words.

“Papa, can you let me down now?” Ao chimed in.

Ichigo looked back to Ao.

“What? You don’t like being carried by your Papa anymore?”

Ichigo rocked himself, making Ao squeal. Behind him, the soldiers smiled at the very familial sight.

“I do like being carried by Papa,” Ao replied, “It’s just Mama’s room is over there, and I want to go see her and Lola and Lolo now.”

“Ok. Down we go.”

Ichigo slowly put Ao down onto her feet. They then walked a few more meters until they were in front of the door to Kurumi’s room.

“Now, say goodbye to the kind soldiers guarding Mama,” Ichigo told his daughter.

“Bye Mr. Hijikata! Mr. Matsuoka!” Ao waved to the soldiers.

They both waved back at her, and then resumed guarding the hallway.

Ichigo opened the door and walked into the room, quickly followed by Ao.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The room was still as it was when Kurumi had peeked into the room.

The bed where Kurumi was laid on was still in the middle of the white painted and windowless room. On one side of the bed was an ECG machine, still hooked up to her right arm. On the other side of the bed were two plastic seats that were currently occupied by two people.

One was a pale skinned man who was sound asleep on his chair. He had a thick beard and rumpled hair. He was dressed in a rumpled T-shirt and the pants of a business suit, while the remaining part of his business suit, the coat, was hung over the plastic chair’s back.

The other one was a dark brown skinned woman, who was already awake and was talking to someone on a cellphone. She had long hair tied into a loose bun, and was dressed in a rumpled violet shirt and ankle length dark blue skirt.

The woman heard the door opening, and looked.

Upon seeing Ao and Ichigo, she made a shush then pointed at the man sleeping beside her.

Ichigo and Ao nodded, and walked more quietly than before.

Upon reaching the bed, Ao greeted the woman.

“Good morning Lola,” she said in a whisper.

“Good morning to you too, Ao,” Ao’s grandmother replied.

“Good morning, Nanay Magdalena,” Ichigo softly greeted her.

Magdalena smiled back at Ichigo.

“Good morning to you too Ichigo.”

Magdalena suddenly had a slightly sad expression on her face.

“Ichigo, I’m really sorry for what my husband did last night.”

“Don’t worry about it Nanay. I understand why he did it. Still…he should apologize to Ao or something.”

The two adults looked at Ao, who was sitting on the bed and looking back at them.

“What happened granddaughter? Did Kentaro’s outburst scare you too much?”

Ao slowly shook her head.

“Then what happened?” Magdalena asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I can’t sleep easily because I kept thinking that Lolo hates Papa forever from now on. And I don’t want that because Papa and Lolo are family now.”

Ichigo looked touched by Ao concern over her family, while Magdalena stared at Ao’s worried expression. She then looked closer and then suddenly tisked.

“You have eyebags,” she said in a dismayed tone.

While Ichigo was surprised by his mother in law’s comment and took a closer look at his daughter, Magdalena quickly glared at her husband and hit him with an elbow to the side.

Kentaro spluttered awake.

“Who – what – where…what did you do that for woman?!”

Kentaro then noticed Ao and Ichigo.

Magdalena cut Kentaro off before he was able to even start greeting Ao.

“Dear, please tell our granddaughter the answer to this question: Do you hate Ichigo?”

“Err…what’s this about?” Kentaro asked, looking from Ao to Magdalena to Ichigo and back to his wife.

“Ao can’t sleep last night because she was worrying about how her grandfather hates her father, and she doesn’t want that.”

Kentaro suddenly looked uneasy.

“So dear…do you hate our son in law?”

Kentaro glanced at his granddaughter and at Ichigo.

“Kentaro?”

“No I don’t hate him,” Kentaro replied, “I was just very, very angry last night.”

Kentaro stood up from his seat, walked over and hung his right arm over Ichigo’s shoulders, and gave a winning smile complete with a thumb up gesture.

“If I hate him, would I even try to do this?”

Ichigo had an awkward look on his face at the unexpected close contact with his father in law. Magdalena wasn’t impressed, and Ao…

“You don’t feel like you don’t hate Papa, Lolo,” she commented.

Kentaro’s smile took on a strained quality, Ichigo somehow looked even more awkward, and Magdalena hid her smile behind her hand.

“Uhh…no. Really, I don’t hate your father Ao.”

Ao shook her head.

“You’re lying Lolo. That’s bad.”

“What makes you say that he’s lying?” Magdalena asked.

“Lolo is now making me feel like that time when I pooped a lot and cried a lot because my stomach hurts. But I am also not pooping or feeling bad in my stomach. Do you remember that time Papa, when I tasted the uncooked vegetables?”

Kentaro’s smile was suddenly replaced by a frown.

“What’s Ao talking about kid?”

“It was last year, when we tried to celebrate Dad’s birthday. It was a weekend, we’re all at home and we’ve finished our homework. Kurumi and Mom were preparing to make a salad for the ocassion and I was preparing the table when Ao here got the bright idea that since salad uses fresh vegetables, she could start eating. So she munched on an unwashed cabbage leaf dipped into the mayonnaise…as a result, Kurumi, me and Mom spent that weekend and Monday at the clinic.”

Kentaro scowled. As he opened his mouth to launch a tirade, Magdalena stopped him by pinching his ear.

“What the – what’s that for now?!”

“Now’s not the time for recrimination dear. Also, isn’t Ao being here proof that our daughter and Ichigo had dealt with that emergency properly?”

Kentaro stared at his wife balefully.

“We’ll talk about all the pinching and hitting later,” he grumbled.

Magdalena ignored Kentaro’s words.'

“So Ao,” Magdalena said, “you’re saying you can actually feel people’s emotions?”

When Ao nodded yes, Magdalena smiled.

“Let’s see if that’s true, shall we?”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11:28 A.M., May 5, 2013, Governmental Palace of the Skinchangers

The room was a small rectangular one with whitewashed walls.

At one of the longer sides of the room was a magnificently carved wooden table and a comfortable seat, both locally made products, where No-akho was currently sitting, still in his business suit. In the middle of the room was a row of full length mirrors, with stands made of copper-nickel. Behind the row of mirrors was a magical circle hovering in mid-air. It was a meter and a half in diameter, made of blue light and was revolving as fast as an electric fan.

Behind the magical circle were the mages who cast it. Each one of them were watching the magical circle, ready to pounce upon any technical difficulties that always show up in inter-dimensional multipoint videoconferencing.

“While that was an amusing story No-akho, something you mentioned worries me,” said a male being.

He was middle-aged and almost human in his appearance, and could pass off as one if not for his skin moving like jelly with every movement he made. He was also wearing a finger-width thick mat of gold-colored mold growing everywhere under his neckline and below the hands and feet.

“Let me guess Politrika. Is it about why Haras sent his secret fiancé as an emissary, when he had a full diplomatic corps back home?” No-akho asked.

“Exactly,” Politrika said.

No-akho shrugged.

“At a guess, I think he doesn’t trust his diplomats for some reason or another.”

A male being coughed, the noise sounded as if he had water for vocal cords.

The being was a creature that vaguely looked like a shrimp. It had two eyestalks that end in insect-like eyes that were as big as a golf ball, eleven pairs of appendages that looked like a tongue with hair on the edges, a body as thick as a man’s waist, and two long appendages beside a circular mouth full of small, sharp jaws that looked like the body of a shrimp but were used like a tentacle.

“Do we really have to get the Light Eaters involved in this folk wandering? As it is now they’re more of a burden than a help to us,” he said.

“Yes we do, King Caris. They are still the best barrier-casters around our part of the multiverse. We need them to interdict the power of the Earth Pantheons, and later on the Agreement Lands.”

Caris made some whistling noises that suspiciously sounded like grumbling.

“So that means we must…interfere with the Light Eater’s internal politics?” a female being said with an extremely displeased tone.

The female being was a wrinkled woman whose skin had black and white patches. Behind her was a pair of wings on her back that looked suspiciously like those on an insect. She was also wearing an elaborately woven apron and skirt, embroidered with precious stones of filled with magical power.

“Yes we must,” No-akho politely replied.

The female being simply closed her eyes.

“What? Never expected to do what you had specifically forbidden in your treaty with the Skinchangers, Hesutu?” Politrika asked.
“I still don’t approve of direct interference,” Hesutu said.

“Not even when it’s all our interests that were affected here?” another female voice boomed from one of the mirrors.

The speaker looked like a middle aged human, from her face and short hair down to her regal clothes. She was even seated on a normal looking throne and was petting a felid sitting beside her throne. The only thing that sets her apart from an ordinary human was the fact that the pet was a fully grown tiger that was the same size to her as an Ainu dog is to an adult male.

“Queen Da, as much as I would like to leave those bastards alone, we still do need them. Remember, we’re a grand total of six nations taking on an entire planet’s worth of nations. We need more bodies,” another male being said.

He was a humanoid being of a teenage looking appearance, with yellow colored skin, ears the size of a human being’s palms and a complete lack of hair on his body.

“Weren’t there some interested lands from your world who want in on our venture, Gurititis?” Politrika asked.

“Fair weather people, all of them,” Gurititis replied, “They’re only interested because mercenaries contribute a big part of their economies. Their People pullers have to make some noises or else the mercenary sector will try to replace them with someone else.”

“You seem to be forgetting your people were the biggest mercenaries around until you got elected to your position,” Caris commented.

“That was before we got outcompeted by everyone else, no thanks to No-akho,” Gurititis grumbled.

“Hey, your people were hired by Panchu to help stop my revolution. That’s not my fault, was it?” No-akho protested.

“And that’s what pisses off the everyday Tamer here. You’re just too likeable and sympathetic for us to hate forever.”

“…thanks,” No-akho replied.

“So, does this mean we are all agreed on No-akho’s insane and impromptu plan for ridding the Light Eater’s anti-royalist faction?” Da asked with a glare at No-akho.

“Hey, you can’t fault me for improvising something workable on the spot, right people?”

The other leaders grudgingly gave a nod.

“Let’s tone your plan down No-akho. We don’t need to castrate the military power of the Light Eaters. We just need to have Frist and his cabal killed,” Hesutu insisted.

“And that’s why we are now making modifications to War Plan Abyssinia,” No-akho said.

“And what are your – “

Politrika was interrupted by someone calling him from somewhere off screen.

“Please excuse me. This will take only a few heartbeats.”

He stood from his chair and walked off-screen.

“What’s that about?” Da mused.

No-akho shrugged, while the others used the time to reflect.

Several moments later, Politrika quickly walked onscreen and looked at No-akho with a mixture of pride and horror.

“No-akho, if your spies haven’t reported this to you by now then that means my spies are better than yours.”

“What news?” No-akho asked in a puzzled and slightly insulted tone.

“Frist is sending one group of sixty to a hospital in Matsumoto, to kill the magical girl who took out his nephew.”

For some time after, the only thing that could be heard was the sound of the whirring magical circles and breathing.

This time it was No-akho who broke the silence.

“Well then. Let’s watch the lightshow, shall we?”
===================================================================================================

So...thoughts about how I write in third person?

Also, thanks to Atreidestrooper and Strypgia for beta-reading. I would be dead in the water without you guys. And also, thanks Aleph for help regarding on the subject of how to give a character a name.

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